Dearest Daddy Deckard


brian_icon.gif munin_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Dearest Daddy Deckard
Synopsis In which Munin lies about her deadbeat daddy, interrupting Brian's wallowing, and Teo looks for Ashton Kutcher in the trees.
Date December 2, 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

Mid-morning in Central Park this blustery December second finds the trees with long, skeletal fingers encrusted in frost and ice while a light sprinkling of snow still covers the ground, not yet melted. It's not the best day to be standing out in the open, but it isn't the worst either — and this is exactly what Munin has chosen to do with her time, a colourful cashmere scarf bunched up around her neck and the bottom half of her face to keep the wind from nipping at her lips and nose. She wears a double-breasted coat with faux fur trim for warmth — like the big black bird perched on an overhanging branch above her head, its feathers puffed out in every which direction, it makes her appear bigger, more cumbersome than she really is. Her thin legs and the small gloved hands poking out from the ends of her sleeves are the only real indicator of her true size, just a few hairs above five feet and ninety-odd pounds of rosy skin and fragile bones.

Although her reasons for milling around Central Park aren't immediately obvious, the young woman is currently engaged in subdued coversation with a blonde-haired jogger whose leash is wrapped around her forearm. A large Irish Setter tugs impatiently at the other end, its nose angled toward a nearby lamppost as it stretches its neck, trying to get a better whiff of the last animal that lifted its leg there. "You're sure you haven't seen him?" Munin asks, holding the photograph she has pinched between her fingers just a little bit higher. "Maybe somebody like him?"

"Crazy guy, dude. Crazy, crazy, guy." Comes the soft words from half of the testosterone filled pair that meander their way through this area of the park. The two seem to be mid-conversation, though the one who speaks looks distant and drawn away from the current conversation piece. The younger man of the pair is dressed nicely, a long brown pea coat, a dark green scarf, and a bair of black jeans. His hands are tucked into his pockets as he walks slowly next to his more cheery companion. "I hope he'll be alright. Even though he was a crazy motherf—" Brian catches his tongue as a mother and her young child move on by the pair of men.

A sigh brings on a sudden gust of steam from the man's mouth. "How did I get here?" The young man asks, though he's not sure if he's asking about this physical location or something more. Who could know? Grey eyes that match the sky shift over to take in Teo. "I.." A quick look around. "..I fucking hate this, Teo."

Can't trust snow. It's the wrong color, the wrong smell, holds shape. Teo watches it where it clumps like moulding beluga whales on the sides, and turns brown underfoot where it sits, treacherous, so closely resembling terra firma and trying to trick you into thinking so — but not, and you know it, every time it gives a fraction of an inch despite the serration of your winter shoes. Water ought to be green or transparent. Move around. Drown with tides and batter the shore, support fish and retain heat. It's barely recognizable in this state. He kind of understands that Brian feels same about himself.

"It'll get better." Apparently the Sicilian has assumed that Brian isn't referring to the park, either because he has audaciously cornered the market on hating Manhattan's barometric errors or because of — you know — the obvious. He swings his arms at his sides, their muscled breadth bound in two layers of wool and another of leather. "Grief works in stages. My brother's psychologist told us: the Kubler-Ross ones. You've been through what, now? Shock and denial were short, I guess. Depression, anger… Uhh.

"You're not textbook— that's not what I mean," he says, glancing up as if eye-contact means earnest. In his case, it frequently does. "I mean you're not alone, amico. You'll be all right. You both will." Though normally Teo doesn't qualify as a reliable source of comfort, and is well-aware of it, he's alive and stuff. That counts for a lot, in post-Bomb Manhattan.

Back by the trees, the blonde jogger shakes her head, offers Munin a mumbled apology and carries on her way, dog following at a brisk trot alongside her. It's then that she sees Teo and his gloomy companion. There's a moment of hesitation as she eyes the pair from afar, photograph clutched to her chest the same way one might guard something precious to them. In the end, curiosity wins out over caution, and she begins to approach the pair, crunching through the snow and slush, leather boots glistening slick with moisture in the morning light. She raises one arm, perhaps to get their attention, perhaps to bolster her confidence, and waves to them, calling, "Teo!"

"It doesn't feel like it'll get better." Brian retorts sadly. He's aware of the grief stages, and he's not sure where he's at. Though he thinks he is in the 'shitty' phase right now. That would make the most sense. Another long sigh is given, he's prone to huffing and puffing in his depression, especially when someone is there to coddle him. Then he tilts his head back a bit. "I should probably tell you something, Teo.. You trusted me, so I should respect that trust." Brian murmurs, looking to the man as if he has something on his chest that he needs to get off. But then, a single word derails his whole train of thought.

"Who's that?" He asks, stopping short in his stroll with Teo. Looking inquisitively at the young woman who approaches them. He's almost too depressed to notice how cute she is. Almost. He watches her silently while she comes toward them, expecting Teo to deliver the obligatory introductions.

The huffing and puffing are preferable to listening to Brian bay for the blood of Triads, among other things, so Teo merely watches as the younger man's breath disispates with a sullen sound, his own expression quiescent now that the alternating guffaws and chagrin of the Midtown field trip have faded from the foreground. "You're alive, amico," he answers, always one to be contrary. "Eventually, you'll fucking… get used to the idea." Then Brian mentions trust. And then trust promptly loses the stage to the silver-tonal interruption of a woman.

Yep. Hos over bros, as ever. "Si?" he asks, intelligently, turning his still-bruised face to the direction where Brian's looking and his name is calling. Recognition is instantaneous, though the name takes a quaver-beat. "Eileen!" then out the side of his mouth, "She likes birds and miserable people. So lay it on, Brian," cheeky as a man his age is permitted to be. He claps Brian's shoulder, comradely, before offering the girl a hand. "Friend, acquaintance. Vice versa."

Munin takes the proffered hand and gives it a warm squeeze — or at least she would, if there wasn't at least one layer of leather separating her skin from his. Her gloves creak beneath the slight pressure, letting very little heat escape through her palm. "It's a smaller world than I thought," she remarks, her tone soft, attention shifting to the man beside him. Maybe she was expecting Abigail or Elisabeth to be with him, because something of a bewildered expression crosses her face when she looks up at him. However faint, there's recognition there. Her arm drops back to her side, fingers curling into a small fist, and she tucks that hand back into the pocket of her coat. "Do you two have a minute, maybe?" She idly thumbs the edge of the photograph as she speaks, though she doesn't yet show it to either of the men. "I'm looking for somebody, and I don't really— I mean. I don't think putting an ad in the paper is the best idea with the way things are, so I've just been asking around…"

"I hope so." Brian says quietly in response to his Sicillian compatriot. He gives a weak and rather sad smile in greeting to the young woman. Bringing his own forward, he softly offers. "Brian. Nice to meet you, Eileen." Comes the quiet gentle greeting. He eyes her for a moment before giving a slow nod. "Yeah, no problem. Who's missing?" Sadly, post bomb New York has a lot of these. Thought not so many, recently. His hands are re-tucked into his pockets after he shakes or doesn't shake her hand.

His mother taught him how to shake hands because his father had a weak one, and Teo employs this knowledge before letting go and smiling brightly between the two who greet one another. This is nice. Having no way of knowing how the physics of an Awkward Moment are slowly converging on them through the space-time continuum, he occupies his mind and body with being helpful, as a good Catholic ought to. His purpled snout drops until his chin dips into the collar of his jacket, following the line of her arm where it ends in the photograph's crinkled and creased contours, before his gaze reverts to her face in time to say, "I think ads can work. Better than il polizia, at least, but might as well cover your bases. Any way we can help."

"It's my da," Munin starts to explain, then pauses, lips pursed as she contemplates the best way to go about this. Unfortunately, there is no best way — or even a good way — and so she picks the safest route available to her. "Well," she adds, "my bio-da, anyway. I've only met him a couple'a times, but my mum's on disability so we sorta… need the money." Her voice contains a note of guilt, though not for the same reasons her story might suggest. It's not that she's a bad liar, but being dishonest around people she's starting to like makes her slightly uncomfortable. "He didn't make this month's payment, and when we tried to get in touch with his landlord, she said she hadn't seen him for awhile. Place was totally ransacked." She holds up the photograph for Teo and Brian to see. The face that it portrays, shielded by a pair of sunglasses and a layer of scruffy stubble, is one that they'll both almost certainly recognize. "Flint Deckard? I tried talking to the police. They won't even file a missing persons report."

Concern floods on Brian's face as the female tells them of her plight. He looks very sympathetic, muttering a soft "Sorry." Between her sentences. He gives a soft frown, expecting to just say no once he sees the picture. Though Flint Deckard is closest to one of the last people he would've thought on that paper. He tries to hide his reaction, but he's not very good at it. His eyes go wide and flick over to Teo quickly then back to the picture. His breath is even held for a moment. Then he looks up to Munin quizzically. "I.." Looking back at the picture. "How about you Teo?"

Suspecting Ashton Kutcher's about to leap out from behind a tree with a styrafoam machete aimed at his goolies, kind of, except not even that hypothetical scenario can accurately describe the dizzying drop of Teo's guts inside his abdomen. He may be a little blonde when he gets enough sun, but even a blonde would register that little Eileen Deckard isn't, and happens to match a perp description her alleged father had given them weeks ago. The notched wheels in his brain click in place for a moment, stuck, while he peers at the photograph.

"He looks kind of familiar," he remarks, slow with what may or may not be construed as effortful desperation to help. "Do you have a picture of him without the sunglasses?" He raises his hand to tap his face at the corner of his eye, as if 'sunglasses' could be confused for something else. Not really. But he has to say something while he's figuring out what the Hell

"Not with me," Munin says, lowering the photograph, "sorry. You're not the first person who's said that today — I guess he just has one of those faces." She offers the men a small, weak sort of smile, and tucks the picture of Deckard back into the interior pocket of her coat where it's less likely to be ruined by pocks of snow. "Thanks, anyway. I'm sure he'll turn up eventually, you know? Sooner's just better than later."

Brian does his best to keep the shock and horror off his face. On Deckard's little stick figure drawings there was.. His eyes go a teeny bit wider as elsewhere in New York City a quick series of events confirms that this girl is definitely not Eileen Deckard. Then his eyes go that much wider. "Oh yeah, Teo, I forgot to tell you. My brother gave that old angry guy a call. And he said no. He doesn't have those DVDs you wanted." A little smile. "Sorry Eileen, that might seem random and insensitive, but if I don't tell him now I'll just forget again, you know." The man says softly to the young woman. In New York's Public Library, Brian slams down the cell phone with wide eyes.

The expression on Munin's face looks too much at home there, an errant thought through Teo's head. He looks at Brian when he's addressed. Gets the sense that that wasn't the best lie ever, but really, none of we three are telling any that could qualify. Nevertheless, he acknowledges this information with a sigh that is entirely heartfelt. "I think I might have seen him around my school before, bambina," he tells her. "The lines look familiar." He tools a pinkie down the sides of his cheek, where even the subtlest of Deckard's expressions tend to pull his vulpine features into a chicken thief's wicked creases.

"Maybe at one of the bars or diners. Washington Irving is — was — in the Chelsea area. I think you should check there. I'm going back to help out soon, too. Does your mother have a number I can reach her at, if I find anything?" He slides his hand into his pocket with an uncomfortable, wedged fit of scrappy cotton glove into denim pocket. He finds his cellphone and glances back down into her face.

Random, maybe. Insensitive, not so much. It does cause Munin's eyes to narrow just a fraction, her gaze drifting down to Teo's hand as he reaches for his cellphone. After what happened to Vanguard's funds only a few days ago, she's reluctant to give out any personal information that might lead to a similar incident — phone numbers included. "We have a land line," she says slowly, carefully, choosing her words before she opens her mouth to speak them. There's a cautious air to her that wasn't there before, a lingering sense that she may have just made a serious misstep by showing Deckard's face to these two. "Seven-one-nine, nine-five-two-three." She isn't pulling the numbers out of thin air. They belong to an old Vietnamese take-out joint only a few blocks away from Cliffside Apartments, one of Vanguard's abandoned haunts. "Leave a message if nobody's home, yeah?"

"Ask for Eileen? Or your mom?" Brian asks softly with a tilted head. Miles away, Brian is tapping said numbers into his cell phone. The young man stands, trying to keep his curiosity at bay. Doing his best to act casual, he turns slightly. "You got a pen and paper for that?" He doesn't need a pen and paper. His copy is already pressing send. If it's really a landline, it should be fairly easy to hang up.

Someday, Teo's probably going to have to put a Brian through a wood-chipper. Until then, he merely shakes his head at the question asked and types the number into his cellphone, saving it as 'Deckard.' It's the only entry under that name, of course. "Sounds like a worthless stronzo, leaving you and your mother like that. If you're going to walk around Chelsea, please be careful." His pupils are contracted against the glare of sun off snow as he watches her retreat. "It's not a very good area. Best to go during the schoolday. I think they have more police patrols there. I mean, I think they still do," he says, with difficulty that can hopefully be passed off on the high school's recent— demise. He closes the phone against his chin and runs a gloved thumb over his ruined nose, once, relieving an itch before he stuffs it back in his pocket and blinks hard in the cold intensity of light.

"Sophia," Munin tells Brian. "My mom." At least that much is true. When she doesn't have to lie, she prefers to stick to what she knows — it's easier to keep track of stories that way. She gives Teo a short nod, glancing back over her shoulder toward the bird perched in the tree. "You don't have to worry about me," she says, trying to sound reassuring, though it comes off a little flatter than she intended, "I can take care of myself. Thanks again." For your time? For your advice? For your lead? Chelsea isn't high on Munin's list of places to go sniffing around for Deckard, but she isn't going to ignore information when it's being dangled right in front of her nose. Felix Ivanov is a well-known patron of one of the diners there, so she will have to be careful. Just not for the reasons Teo has insinuated. "It was nice meeting you, Brian. You be careful, too." Moving off, she slips her other hand into the pocket of her coat and puts her back to the men, dark head bowed as she retraces her steps and heads back toward the treeline.

"Okay. Well, I'm sorry about your dad. I hope you find him soon. Nice to meet you too, Eileen." Brian says with a soft smile. Then she turns around, and once her back is to them, Brian's face is an explosion of emotion. He simply points strongly at Munin's back. Then looks to Teo with a 'WHAT THE FUCK WE DO' face. He even dares to whisper, turning slightly into Teo. "Number is fake."

"Ciao, Eileen," Teo says, before looping an arm goes around Brian's shoulders and yokes his neck with companionable strength. The Sicilian proceeds to lean them forward into a walking pace, dragging the younger man into the start of the same lazy gait they'd used before. "We're going to keep walking around until I no longer feel the urge to put my knee in your face for being a tactless jerk," he says bluntly, glancing sidelong with a the beginning half of a grin. Three steps. Seven. He doesn't look over his shoulder, up, or sideways. Remembers she hadn't been travelling alone, last Flint Deckard had seen her. Quieter, then: "You know answering machines click to note someone hung up. You've never had an answering machine before?"

"It's a fucking Chinese Restauraunt or something." Brian hisses back. Glaring at Teo. "How was I being a tactless jerk? I.. I was trying to—" Whatever he was trying to do will have to wait for later. He looks around his shoulder to the departing small figure. "Shouldn't we have grabbed her or something?" Frowning deeply at the other man. "She's the.. little girl stick. Don't you think?"

Callused fingers wind their way around Brian's head, pinch his nose. "No," Teo answers, wryly. "We're going to try something called subtlety. We aren't exactly playing on a level field here, amico." If that weren't made blatantly obvious by the amount of dollars that Hana gutted from those secret reserves, then the caliber of personnel and other reported resources offer further evidence in detail that is almost as excruciatingly painful as the amount that they don't know. "Later, maybe. For now, it's on God and the other eyes in the sky to work that out. And yeah: I think. Come on. I think you should climb a tree." He squints at the ones immediately available, hemmed in frost and powder snow. He has a text to type out. He can do it behind one of those.

This text message rings into Hana's inbox from Teo in the afternoon:

Brian and I have probable ID on Unknown 3 from the assholes trying to end the world. She is in Central Park this afternoon, probably heading into Chelsea shortly. Would you be able to filter traffic camera feed for her? I can pick her out of any given photo.

Further counsel welcome.

December 2nd: Fail
December 2nd: Upside Down
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