Daidō Shōi, Part II


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Scene Title Daidō Shōi, Part II
Synopsis A woman better known as Odessa Knutson finds herself visited by a ghost out of time.
Date March 1, 2010

Old Lucy's

There are a few different sorts of people who give such rapt attention to a television screen: children watching their favourite Saturday morning cartoon, disaster porn fanatics watching the aftermath of the latest earthquake on the Cable News Network, and those who are junkies for a good romance flick. No matter how sad.

"Christ," says Clive Owen, "When I was in flares, you were in nappies."

"My nappies were flared," responds Natalie Portman in a pink bob and silver fringes that catch the fluorescent light of a VIP lounge.

Joy's lips are moving in sync with every line. A box of tissues is perched on the arm of the chair she's curled up in with a blanket over her lap. She isn't crying, but she knows she will be by the end of the film. It's a brutal look at love, Closer is, but it's one that rings most true with the blonde woman watching it.

When the television stops playing, Joy's immediate reaction is to check the remote under her right leg, she had to have leaned on the pause button. Picking it up, she angles it towards the television, only to notice another subtle detail in the room that seems to have changed. The snow outside the window to her right hangs motionlessly in the air, thick white flakes suspended in still-life in the jaundiced glow of the street lights that bathe the exterior of Old Lucy's that sickly shade.

"O-genki desu ka?" Comes the quiet voice from the shadows, a familiar voice from the far side of the back room of Old Lucy's that Joy has turned into a living space. Here, with his back to the door that leads out into the side alley of the bar, a darkly dressed man is reduced to silhouette by the dull street light coming through the windows at either side of him. One booted foot takes a step forward, and Joy is given view of a glint across the hilt of a sword sheathed across the man's back. Ink black hair is drawn tightly back and away from his face, pony-tail tangling behind his head, the collar of his black vest flipped up against his neck.

This is the last place anyone would have expected to find Hiro Nakamura.


Joy is up and out of her seat quickly, sending the remote flying and the blanket crumpling into a heap on the floor. One shaking hand comes up to point an accusatory finger in the Japanese man's direction. "You!" That's my ability! She could have attributed the subtle ache in her bones to the lingering symptoms of withdrawal, but nothing is quite the same as halting of the passage of time. And the way Nakamura does it, just feels different.

It feels wrong.

"Why are you here?" There are just three people that Joy fears even when she's at the top of her game. The Haitian, Peter Petrelli, and the man in the room with her now.

"For you." Hiro states flatly and without ambiguity, his displeasure and mild confusion to her not answering his question comes with a furrow of his brows. "I forgot… when this was for a moment." Practiced English comes clipped and short, no trace of Japanese accent on Nakamura's tongue as he steps slowly across the floor with clunking bootfalls, one of his hands moving into a zippered pocket at the front of his vest.

Removing his hand from inside, Hiro reveals something wrapped in white cloth clutched between leather-clad fingers. He has the sure and steady pace of a predator while closing the distance between himself and Joy. "There is a storm coming…" he admits with narrowed eyes, offering out the cloth-shrouded object in one hand. "You will take this, use it, and then destroy it." No explanation is given, just the utter certainty backing his voice. "You do not have very long."

For all the hatred Joy has for Hiro, she's intelligent enough to know the bulk of it is inspired by envy. He's simply stronger than she is in terms of what they both can do, and while she's stuck in her own timeline, he can traverse history as though it were his own personal playground. Who wouldn't envy something like that? "Why me? Why is it me?" She reaches out to take whatever it is that the man seems to be offering her. There's some trepidation there, but no fear. Nakamura has the advantage, and a large sword. (Oh, how she covets that sword.) If he wanted to harm her, he wouldn't have to resort to subterfuge.

"Don't you dare leave," she warns the other man. "Between the two of us, you've got all the time in the history of the universe to give me answers." Joy may not have very long, but for the time being, they have forever.

"Time, yes. Inclination, no." Hiro states flatly as he offers out what the cloth conceals. Joy can feel in her hand the familiar shape of a syringe beneath the folded cloth, along with a gauze bandage and a roll of medical tape. Hiro's eyes carefully assess the other temporal manipulator with a wary look and an arch of one brow as his hand moves away from hers.

"Inject yourself." Hiro tersely commands, folding his arms across his chest as he nods towards the bed. "Now." There is an unusual sentimentality in Hiro's eyes as he makes those orders, as if whatever harshness is in his voice seems to be difficult to put out towards Joy. But whatever the case for this unusual gift, Hiro makes no mistake in remaining put in the bar's back room. He's going to witness the act, rather than leave it up to chance. "Or I will inject you myself. The choice is yours."

Joy recognises the weight and the feel in her hand when he passes her his offering. Her eyes lid momentarily, a longing to slide back into the stupor and the loving embrace of morphine. Long, slender fingers unwrap the parcel and she opens her eyes to stare down at it for a long moment before turning her gaze back up to Hiro.

"What will it do?" The petite blonde sits back down in her chair, laying out her left arm. The track marks had begun to fade where longing only grew stronger. She doesn't need to try hard to look for her own vein. Syringe raised in her right hand, she pulls the plastic cap off the needle with her teeth before poising herself for injection.

"Save a life." Hiro's answer is equally as terse as his last, dark eyes moving from Joy's stare to the syringe in her hand and then back again. "More importantly save yours as well," Hiro admits perhaps revealingly, taking a step to the side to move out of the way of a column of dirty yellow light coming in through a window to where Joy's settling down onto the chair. "As a matter of fact, I'll take the syringe when you're done with it…" Since he's waiting, there's no sense in not being thourough.

"There are certain events that need to happen, and ones that do not. Consider this both a request for services rendered and payment for the deed in one." A faint crook at the corner of Hiro's mouth brings a rare smile to his lips. "Isseki Nicho," he notes with one brow lifted, "Two birds, one stone."

"This will save my life," Joy responds sceptically. Somehow, she doubts it. Then again… "You've got to give me more than that," she murmurs, tipping her head again so she can watch the way the tip of the needle slides easily through her skin. She depresses the plunger, watching the contents of the vial slowly empty into her veins. "Who kills me?" Perhaps if she asks a specific question, she'll get a better answer.

Hiro's brows furrow as he watches the plunger depress and the clear fluid expelled into Odessa's veins. When dark eyes lift back up, his answer is a rather succinct "No one." Moving across the floor towards the chair, Hiro holds out a black, gloved hand towards Joy, fingers splayed in anticipation of the syringe being returned to his palm. The medical tape and gauze bandage seem to be hers to keep, a consolation prize as it were. Watching Joy, Hiro's eyes drift up and down her slowly, as if measuring something not readily apparent in her presence, trying to assess some ephemeral trait that he cannot quite put his hands on. To put it simply, Hiro seems puzzled.

"What did you just do to me?" Joy asks him again, carefully pulling the needle from her arm, recapping it again before handing it back. Truthfully, she did just do this to herself, but he threatened to do it for her, so this is really his doing. "Did you choose me for whatever this is?" It seems an odd sort of question, but the flip side is something like or did history choose me. This doesn't make sense to her, regardless. She may be the centre of her own universe, but she's never been more than a pawn in the game.

"The choice was always yours," Hiro notes with a quirk of his head to the side, one brow raised. As he takes the syringe back, Hiro carefully tucks it into the zippered pocket at the front of his vest, then offers Joy a more careful look. "Yorokobi means Joy in Japanese…" Hiro comments in non-sequitur, his head turning to the side, eyes regarding the hanging snow motionless in the air out the window to his right. "It sounds much simpler in English…" There's a wistful quality to the swordsman's words, and when he turns to look back at Joy once more, Hiro's expression hardens and his chin tilts up.

"You look… healthy." Hiro's words are carefully guarded behind an awkward expression that tries to mix stern fatherly stoicism and something else beneath the surface. "Do not do anything to endanger that state of being."

Joy's expression skews into something born of frustration. "What was that?" She doesn't feel different, but that could come later. "An anti-venom or anti-virus?" It's the conclusion she jumps to with the suggestion that whatever she's just done will save her own life. But the way he looks at her like that…

"You look like you were expecting a different sort of reaction from me," she cautiously intones. "Should I be writhing on the ground and bleeding from the eyes right about now or something?"

"No." Hiro simply answers again, not looking at Joy. "You just look different than I remember…" Turning his shoulder to her, Hiro takes a long and slow walk away from where Joy is seated, offering his back to her and clear view of the Kensei sword strapped to it. When he stands by the door, his head dips into a nod, and he turns to regard Odessa over the shoulder the sword's hilt does not rise up from.

"Odessa…" he emphatically states the more familiar name, one dark eye viewing the blonde over his shoulder. "Thank you." Tightness plays at the corners of Hiro's eyes, and with that unusual comment, there is a noisy rush of air and a howling sound as Hiro disappears from the back of the store, and snow begins falling slowly again outside the windows, and Joy can hear the sound of her television playing quietly once more.

Disappearing act aside, Joy doesn't even attempt to correct Hiro's use of her name. She's discovering more and more that she can't escape her past by concocting herself a new identity.

She can't escape who she is.


A wave of her hand silences the screen, though the snow still falls silently outside the window. The blonde leans back in her chair and stares down at her arm and a singular bead of blood that's formed there. Her eyes close heavily and a heavy sigh of air escapes parted lips.

"Odessa… What have you gotten yourself into this time?"

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