Collision Course


chess4_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif melody_icon.gif

Scene Title Collision Course
Synopsis A collision sets forth a strange chain of events that ends in a pitcher of margaritas.
Date January 24, 2021

Red Hook

It’s taken some time, but Friday evenings in the Red Hook area have become to feel a little more like the old days, before the second Civil War, when happy hour reigned supreme, and people went out to dinner or just to stroll along the water and window shop.

Today, most of the storefronts in the area have finally been repaired and claimed. With the food shortage in rearview mirror, the evening feels vibrant, if cold, as people head to the little bars, cafes, and diners to meet with friends after a long week’s work.

One woman isn’t here to mingle with friends, but instead grab-and-go, as she carries a take-out bag in one hand and six-pack of the local brewery’s hard cider. Chess angles her way through a crowded sidewalk toward the corner.

Isaac Faulkner isn't here for mingling, either; like Chess, he's been out picking things up. In his case, though, the main thing he came here to get isn't in the bag he's carrying, but on his feet — a pair of new running shoes. The old ones are in the bag; he's working on getting the new ones broken in.

He's not done shopping yet, though; he's got a few more things to pick up before he heads back to Aman's. So he looks first one way, then the other, then starts across the intersection.

It's not often lately that Melody DiMico finds herself out shopping anymore, not since she started working at Wolfhound. Still, as she walks down the busy Red Hook sidewalk, it's with three hefty looking bags situated in the crook of her elbow. One bares the logo of a local clothing brand, while another had the logo of an athleticwear brand, and the third, smallest bag comes with a Crown Royal logo.

She doesn't notice Isaac ahead of her as she follows not too hard behind him, an oddly satisfied smile on her face as she walks. It's been a long time since she could afford to go out shopping, much less followed through on it. That makes today a good day.

The light turns green for east-west traffic. A pair of joggers rush out in front of Chess on her side of the street having anticipated the light by a couple of seconds. Living in New York, even post 2014, means taking one’s right of way when it’s due, and sometimes a few seconds before then. They seem to be the only other ones crossing besides Chess, the rest of the pedestrians turning north or south instead.

Chess is only slower to step out into the street because she’d just reached the corner when the light turned. Still, those few seconds put the joggers well out of the path of the car coming from the south who missed the light changing, and somehow still had the lane clear in front of him in an unlikely bit of luck — bad luck, at that.

Tires screech, and this time, Chess’ new ability doesn’t protect her like it did in October. There is no aura that emanates from her, keeping the small sedan from colliding with her. The world seems to move in slow motion for a moment, between her hearing the screech of tires and turning with wide eyes to see the car hurtling toward her. The food flies out of her hands even before it strikes her, as she tries to dodge or jump or block it with that strange power she doesn’t feel belongs to her.

When it hits, in the gray of dusk, even under street lights, it’s easy to see for a second or the glow of gold, like embers, where she’s taken most of the impact — her left leg and hip — before she’s thrown several feet. Her head knocks against the pavement, and her eyes glimmer with that same golden hue for a second, before they flutter closed.

Seriously? What the fuck.

Faulkner spares the driver a momentary look of disapproval — and then a moment's further scrutiny to make sure they're not going to try and go anywhere, potentially further endangering the victim and any would-be rescuers — then turns his attention to the woman, moving to take a look at her.

She looks… out of it. Not dead, at least; that's good, but laying in the road isn't a good look, nor one that's especially conducive to continued survival. Carefully, he reaches down to lay a hand on her shoulder. "Hey. Are you — "

He doesn't get to say alright because the second his hand makes contact, he's a.) seeing stars, and b.) lifted up and thrown back as surely as if he'd touched a live wire. Shit, he has time to think, and then all that's left to him is to brace for impact.

Oh, it's this kind of day. Without thinking, Melody drops her bags and starts sprinting forward as she sees the woman fall, the echo of the tires screeching still fading from her ears. Her reaction is almost entirely instinct, years of reacting to people getting shot and blown clear of explosions during the war. No mind is paid to the value of the shopping spree she is leaving behind as she comes to the corner, eyes locking on to Chess.

She doesn't have time to notice Isaac until she's skidding to a stop and kneeling down next to Chess. "M'am! I'm a medic, I- Isaac?" She's already saying his name as Melody's hand touches Chess' shoulder in an effort to feel out her injuries-]

And then she goes flying just as he does, flying back past onlookers and towards her own merchandise. Yes, this kind of day.

The driver is out of his car, stammering apologies as he staggers toward the fallen woman. “Someone call 9-1-1!” he shouts out. “I’m so sorry, I looked down just for a second-” he says, hands up, lest anyone think he’s trying to get away with a hit-and-run. But he backs up when both good Samaritans are thrown for their troubles when Isaac and Melody go to help Chess.

Chess’ eyes open again just in time to see her fellow pedestrians flung, not by the car but by some force. She scrambles to her feet, wincing, but in far better condition than she should have been for how hard she was hit, how far she was thrown. Her clothes are torn and dirty, but no blood stains soil the fabric, and though she limps, she can bear her own weight, so nothing seems broken. She hurries to where Faulkner and Melody were flung, her brows drawing together with worry and guilt.

“Get away from them!” calls out an onlooker in an angry voice, pointing her finger at Chess. “Don’t touch them again!”

Chess stops short, looking unsure of what to do next. She gingerly touches the back of her head, ears still ringing with the screech of brakes and the sound of her own skull hitting the pavement.

Faulkner's efforts to brace for impact did some good, at least; he was able to curl up, at least, so it's not as bad as it could have been.

The impact's still enough to daze him, though; he sees someone else go flying the unfriendly skies, but it takes a moment for him to get himself back together enough to think about the meaning of that. It takes him a few moments more to remember how to make his neck work, but when he does he looks over to see the familiar form of Lisbeth. "Oh hey. We've… got to quit meeting like this," he manages.

He tries to get up, but something in his arm immediately vetoes that; he falls back with a grimace and a hiss. For a moment, Faulkner's alright with laying there… but angry shouts from onlookers aren't a good sign. No rest for the wicked, it seems. He tries again to sit up, and though he can't quite suppress a grimace, he manages this time. "Looks like she's fine," he says, seeing that the pedestrian who'd been hit by a car seems to be up and about. He starts to raise a hand to wave, but nope wrong one; he's not sure what kind of face he just made, but he's pretty sure it's a frightful one. He raises the other one instead; that one feels fine, or at least no more banged up than the rest of him.

He glances over to Lisbeth. "You okay?"

"Outside of knowing what it's like to have a shoe up my ass, sure." That may not be entirely metaphorical, Melody pulling up a now crushed shoebox from under herself as she rises up to her feet. "Can you get-" Someone is shouting though, and it's exactly the kind of thing that she doesn't have the time for right now, head swiveling to look in the direction of the voice.

"Oh, stuff it," she calls out to the general crowd, something much less harsh than what she'd like to say. There's just a slight limp - likely the result of her shoeing - as she starts back towards Chess. "She's hurt, shit happens."

Granted so might she and Isaac be, but they at least didn't get hit by a car. Eyes move to Chess, and the healer lets out a heavy sigh. "At least you can walk. Do you want someone to call for an ambulance?" She closes the distance between herself and Chess, though a look is offered back to Isaac. "Come on. Let me get the two of you together. Sling an arm over my shoulder if you need to."

This isn't going to be fun for her later, but such is life.

Chess glances down at herself, then to the car where she can see the dent at the front of the hood that probably wasn’t there before it collided with her.

“I’m all right,” she manages to say, though she’s still shaken, looking like she wants to help but not trusting herself to touch anything. She smiles at Melody’s defense of her, despite the fact Chess’ unconscious ability tossed her like a salad. “That’s never happened before. I’m so sorry,” she murmurs.

Horns start to blare and drivers yell, as the light changes again. The driver looks uncertain as to what he should do, looking from Melody to Isaac to Chess, and then down at his cell phone with indecision.

“Let me grab this guy’s info and get him out of the way,” she says to Melody, as she heads over to the driver, stopping a few feet away. As she talks to him, one of the bystanders moves out into the street to help direct traffic around the idle car and Melody’s belongings.

It isn’t a long conversation — name and business cards exchanged — Chess careful not to touch anything but the paper itself — the driver gets back in his car to drive away, and Chess turns to see where her would-be rescuers and accidental victims have gone.

"Hopefully it was a sandal or something and not a high heel. Or a boot," Isaac says, grimacing; his arm has woken up and is now screaming bloody murder at him, and it's being joined by a slow ramp up of the pain in the brain he's been dealing with for awhile now. Great.

Still, at Melody's comment, he nods; he very carefully manages to get to his feet without the use of his bad arm, keeping it as still as possible; something about the way it's hanging looks a little off, but so long as he keeps it still it's… bearable. Carefully, he shuffles towards Melody.

When Isaac reaches Melody, she looks over at him with the flatest of expressions. "I told you everyone only gets one," she reminds him mirthlessly. A glance is given over to Chess, waving her over before she looks back to Isaac. "You may be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but at least you're here with me."

As she turns her attention to Chess, Melody's head tilts. "How… uh. How bad off are you, m'am? I can help, at least a little bit." She certainly has no time or intention of full healing today - not with the new year coming and God knows what at Wolfhound, but she can at least help a bit today.

"And don't let those jackasses get to you," she whispers to her, shaking her head. "I get what it's like to just- have something happen like that. No worries. Some people just don't understand."

Chess’ dark eyes sweep appraisingly over both Melody and Isaac, frowning at the shape Isaac seems to be in — she has no idea he’s already been in bad shape, of course.

“I’m okay,” she affirms again, glancing down at herself as if to be sure. “That’s never happened before, but it’s, um, new, and no one gave me a user’s manual, if you know what I mean.”

As they talk, a few of the onlookers watch curiously, but most have moved on since the trio seems to be handling the matter on their own. Chess looks over her shoulder in the direction the driver went, then back to Melody and Isaac. “I got his information, so if you need it for insurance reasons… I don’t know how that all works. I’d guess I’m the one who’d pay for your medical stuff, not him, since he hit me, not you, but I can, just… you know. Maybe in payment plans?”

Please don’t sue me isn’t said aloud, but she definitely is thinking it. “At least let me buy you a beer or a meal or something? Mine’s all over the street,” she says a little wryly, glancing back to where she was first hit. “And shit, your shopping. I’m so sorry. I can replace it, so long as it’s not Prada or something.”

"Seems like… that's just about anywhere I go, these days," Isaac asides to Lisbeth. He can't quite get the wry smirk he's trying for; it comes out looking (and feeling) more like a rictus. The interaction between the car crash victim and Lisbeth is interesting, though. What would an accident have looked like, with her ability? Probably… not anything good. No.

The car crash victim's question draws a grimace. "My shopping's fine; got new shoes, but I'm wearing them. Figured it'd be a good time to break them in; was carrying the old ones, but they were getting worn out anyway. No loss there." He forces a chuckle. "I don't think I've ever said no to someone offering to buy me dinner, but right now my arm kinda… hurts. A lot." He makes another of those rictus grins, but very resolutely does not let his eyes roam over to Lisbeth.

"Well, stop it." Melody says this with a weak smile, barely keeping herself from hitting Isaac jokingly in the shoulder. Probably a good thing, all things considered. Her eyes drift to Chess and she shakes her head. "I don't know if any place here even still sells Prada. Don't worry about it, I'm sure it's fine." Except for maybe the glass bottle of alcohol, but she doesn't seem to be stressing too much about that.

The offer of a meal is met with a more mirthful chuckle, Melody reaching over and putting a hand on Chess' shoulder. "You don't have to, but I also won't turn down dinner. Besides, I think at this point Isaac owes me or something." Wait, what?

With that, her other hand moves to Isaac's shoulder and she leans forward to whisper to Chess. "I can heal you up, if you want. Not… all the way, but. At least enough so both of you are comfortable." She wouldn't normally offer, but this was exactly the kind of situation Alison would've encouraged her to do just so in. So, here they are.

Dark eyes settle on Isaac when he says his arm hurts and Chess frowns, reaching into her purse for some bills and a business card to hold out, still carefully not to touch anyone or anything until she’s sure whatever energy she absorbed has been used up again.

“At least let me pay for the next one, then, and there’s my card if you need it for insurance,” she says, eyes holding his a moment, before she looks over to Melody. Her brows lift as Chess realizes what the other woman is offering to do, that she has the rare gift of healing.

“I’m okay, just a little bruised and rattled, but thank you so much,” she says, tone both surprised and sincere in its gratitude. Chess nods to Isaac, her expression turning back to one of worry and a little guilt. “Take care of him, give him whatever you might’ve given me, yeah? You two got more of it than I did, I think. I’m so sorry.”

She huffs a short laugh. “And I keep saying it, but I really am. Shit.”

Isaac peers at the offered gift, though it's the card that his attention goes to more than the bills. Chess Lang. Not a name he knows. He starts to reach for it, but, again, bad arm. Wrong move. He can't quite stifle the grimace.

Lisbeth's offer immediately draws his attention, though. "I would… appreciate that," he says, a mix of gratitude and regret in his voice. "Thank you." He considers for a moment, then shrugs — very carefully not moving the shoulder that's screaming at him. "I'll buy drinks afterwards, if Ms. Lang is still offering to buy a meal?" he offers, raising an eyebrow.

Melody certainly isn't going to complain about a healing offer being turned down. Less stress for her. Instead, she takes the card and turns it over in her fingers. Something about the name almost rings familiar, but it passes by quickly. "It wasn't your fault," almost sounds absent as Melody moves to pick up her shopping. "Any of it. People are dumb." Which is putting it mildly in this case. "You don't have to do anything, but… I won't stop you if you'll feel better for it."

Her attention turns next to Isaac, grinning wide at him. "Isaac, I think you're going to owe me more than drinks for this one. We'll have to go out some time." She probably doesn't mean that the way it sounds. The grin on her face says possibly otherwise. "But come on over here. Try not to look too hurt, I don't want to get hounded."

“Maybe partly my fault, in an indirect sort of way,” Chess murmurs, sort of more to herself than to her new acquaintances. She follows Melody to help pick up the fallen shopping, brushing off any dirt she can and tucking it back into the bag. She holds it for the time being, to wait for Melody to be finish doing whatever she’s about to do to Isaac’s shoulder, in case she needs a free hand.

“I used to wish I had a less, uh, dangerous ability. Than my main one, I mean — like I said, whatever that was,” she gestures to the street, her brows drawing together with some discomfort, “That one’s new.”

She doesn’t say the word Detroit, trying to distance herself mentally from all that happened there, at least in this conversation.

“I wished I could trade it in for something more helpful. I mean, I do sometimes still wish that, to be honest, but I didn’t take into account the drawbacks of people probably never leaving you alone,” Chess adds wryly, before she nods to the out-of-the-way and empty front stoop of a shop that’s already closed for the day.

“I’ll block you,” she suggests so fewer people notice Melody’s power being used. Her eyes seek Isaac’s and she offers him another wry smile. She manages not to apologize again.

Isaac's eyebrows rise at Lisbeth's comment about going out, taking a moment to try to parse that. She probably doesn't mean… or maybe she does. One way to find out, he supposes. "Fair enough," he says, mustering a grin that's got a somewhat higher grin-to-rictus ratio than his earlier attempts. As it happens, he does know a place he's been meaning to get to for awhile. "I think I know a good place."

But that's for tomorrow; right now, his priority is getting this shoulder taken care of. Try not to look too hurt, she says. Fine. Challenge accepted. He squares his shoulder and strides Lisbeth's way, doing his best to keep his shoulder immobile without looking like he's trying to keep his shoulder immobile.

He nods appreciation at Chess offering to serve as a blocker; like her, he hadn't really considered the drawbacks of having an ability like Lisbeth's. He offers a lopsided attempt at a grin in return to Chess; at least she's not apologizing anymore. Accidents happen.

The way Melody takes hold of Isaac's wrist isn't exactly what one would call gentle or considerate, snatching it in her grip as she stares ahead. The feeling that follows dregs up memories of that night in the alley for Isaac, that warm and pleasant feeling washing over him in a way that's reminiscent of waking up on a mild summer day with nothing to do.

His pain and the throbbing that goes with it begin to dull, but not fade. Movement returns to his arm, but there's still a sore ache to it. Melody's own hand trembles a bit, vision locked straight ahead but not focused on anything in particular. It's a handful of moments before she releases his wrist, and clutches at her own shoulder.

"Fuck," she breathes out, eyes squeezing shut. "I didn't take it all this time. Gotta be in good condition for work, and this is already killing me. Are you made of fucking glass, Isaac?" At least the last part seems to be some good natured ribbing, Melody mustering a smile before turning her attention back to Chess.

"Thank you," she offers the other woman as she rubs at her own shoulder. "I appreciate it. I've haven't been outed in public in years, so. In fact, I… try not to do things like this, I try to keep it to myself, but…"

She trails off, looking down towards the ground.

“You have to take it yourself?” Chess asks, brows drawing together with concern as Melody rubs her shoulder in pain. “Well, shit, now you’re both hurt. That doesn’t make me feel better! So now we all feel like crap.”

The words are accompanied with a small smile to suggest she’s mostly joking, but it’s clear she still feels bad about everything that just happened.

“Mine can be both subtle and not subtle. That,” she says, nodding to the crosswalk, “was super not subtle, I guess. I’m still afraid to touch anything.” Chess rubs her hip as she talks, the adrenaline from the crash and what followed now faded enough that it’s clear she is in some pain, despite her assertions she was fine.

Her dark eyes turn from Melody to Isaac. “So you’re accident prone? You might be one of my people, then, because I never met a disaster that didn’t want to know me.”

The relief is real. As Lisbeth lets go, Isaac rolls his shoulder; the move prompts a grunt and a grimace, but it no longer feels like his arm is about to fall off. "Thank you," he murmurs quietly, with sincere gratitude.

Lisbeth's question, though, is met with more serious consideration than it had probably been intended to provoke; his brow furrows, his expression halfway between consideration and concern. Made of glass. He weighs the question; is he more fragile these days?

He considers that for a moment… then decides that no, he's probably not. Not really. He still does fine on his exercise routine, his freerunning skills are coming back… it was just a bad landing. Freerunning skills or no, there's only so much you can do when you're launched, after all, and he doesn't have the armor he once did to protect himself against bad landings like this one had been.

Faulkner grins at Chess's comment. "That," he says, "is a great line. I wouldn't really say I'm accident prone, though; I just… have interesting luck, lately." He can't quite call it bad luck, because for all the things that keep happening to him, he keeps on making it through, and usually in better condition than he probably has a right to.

He realizes that he has the advantage of her — she's given her name, but he hasn't given his. "My name's Isaac, by the way. Isaac Faulkner. I'd offer to shake hands, but… maybe not a good idea at the moment," he says, grinning amusedly. He works his shoulder absently as he talks, gently testing its range of movement.

"Getting hurt is basically my job," Melody offers with a weak laugh, mustering a smile as she looks over at Chess. "I'm a medic." As far as Isaac remembers, that's certainly an improvement over the drunk and unemployed woman he met over the summer. "So don't worry too much about it. It'll fade in a day or two." Maybe worry a little, her momentarily gritted teeth say, but either way Melody's not holding it against anyone.

"Melody," she offers, holding her other hand over to Chess. "And don't believe Isaac. I'm convinced he is a walking accident." Despite the way she lays it on thick, she offers him an apologetic smile. "That is a good line, though. I like that a lot."

"You're welcome," comes as a quick addition to that, her smile becoming more genuine. "But if this happens again, I'm making you a punch card and charging."

Chess smiles at the compliments to her word choice, but shakes her head. “It’d be funnier if it weren’t so true. Or maybe it’s funny because it’s true. I don’t know. It’s not really funny though.” Her life has hardly been funny for all that it’s been interesting.

When Melody offers her hand, Chess holds hers up and away, grimacing for a moment. “Still afraid I might accidentally blast you guys again,” she says, but her brows draw together in thought. Turning, she looks around the sidewalk and street before moving toward a trash bin between the building and the curb. “If it explodes, don’t freak out,” is probably not the most comforting of statements she could make. She holds her breath and then gives the thing a tap.

For a brief instant, where her fingertips strike, a gold glow alights, then fades. Her shoulders rise and fall with a sigh, and she turns back. “I think whatever energy… well, you two took it all.” Her smile appears, a little shaky, then fades again. “I knew someone with something like this once.” The words sound sad. Hollow.

"Didn't explode, at least," Isaac says, looking dryly amused all around. He sobers at Chess's descent into melancholy, though; the use of past tense definitely hasn't eluded him, but he doesn't feel like he has the context to know what else to say.

"Hey!" Melody raises a finger, pointing it at Isaac. "No tempting fate. We've done enough of that." But like Isaac, Melody falls silent as Chess's distant words echo around her despite all the noise of the busy street. It's a hollowness she's heard before in her own voice, and held on at least one occasion.

"Well," speaking of tempting fate, Melody puts a hand on Chess's shoulder, "That's good at least. I'd hate to be covered in trash too." A chuckle, and she winces as she lowers her arm, eyes squeezing shut. "Let's, uh. Go get food or whatever we're gonna do now."

Melody’s silver lining draws a soft huff of laughter from Chess, and she grins a little wryly for not having considered that problem. “Yes, at least there’s that,” she says, crossing the sidewalk and glancing down the street.

She points at a restaurant a half a block away. “Good food, expensive drinks, or,” her finger moves to one across the street, “okay food but great margarita pitchers for ten bucks.” It seems whichever option, alcohol is on the menu for Chess, possibly due to that sudden shift in mood. “Food and first round’s on me, either way.”

If they choose Door A with the expensive drinks, they’ll have to buy seconds with their own cash. She has a car payment now, after all.

Faulkner smirks in amusement. "Yes, I'm okay with not being covered in trash, thanks. And I'm more than okay with margaritas." He glances to Lisbeth Melody, arching an eyebrow.

"Margaritas sound like where I might have ended up anyway, so I think that sounds great." Melody's smile is weak, still rubbing at her shoulder as she takes a deep breath. "This is certainly the best accident resolution I've ever been a part of," she notes with a wry smile, glancing over to Chess and then to Isaac.

"Let's just try and keep Isaac away from any uneven pavement or ominous hanging objects while we're headed there."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License