Deliver Thine Enemy


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Scene Title Deliver Thine Enemy
Synopsis Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee.
Date November 1, 2009

Grand Central Terminal

There are probably rats down here. The old brick, the rust stains on the metal door, and the general age and earthiness of this place would suggest as much. It isn't, however, the scuttling sound of of claws against iron and concrete that Emile Danko wakes up to. It's the sound of human voices, hushed as they are through the door which is opened by a couple of inches, revealing to him shifting shadows of life beyond. An electric light buzzes in its cage overhead, pallid and sickly white revealing to him the details of his room.

These things go under what can only be a wave of morphine. It's a little time later that the world comes back into focus.

Cold metal wraps around his wrists, two sets of handcuffs which connect down to the metal frame of the cot he's been settled upon, on either side. His bullet proof vest, his ragged fatigues, and certainly his weaponry have all been stripped away, and an IV needle is dug and trapped into the back of one limp hand. Its piping winds up to the bag upon the delicate wire stand, glistening with newness in contrast to the filth of this place.

The steady drip of water from somewhere makes a steady kind of ticking rhythm, as good a method as any at judging time. As opposed to being alone, there's a second figure within the room, towards the opposite corner his cot is shoved into. With a newspaper in his lap, Joseph only appears to be reading it in as much as it's something for his eyes to do, behind the clear veneer of glasses. He's seated, legs stretched out, crossed at the ankles, wearing the same black and grey clothing of the— previous night? Or was it only tonight.

It's a change in breathing that gives him away.

The leaden rise and fall of fractured ribs under a worn out black shirt keeps the rhythm of drug-enforced sleep up until it doesn't. There's a sudden, steep hold where the muscle fiber strung long through his sides locks stiff against the distant register of cold metal at his wrists, pain a distant, cloudy suggestion fogged by god-knows-what. He's slow to roll his head over after the sifting rattle of chain link that accompanies a lift at his left hand, lax fingers clawed into a fist that does nothing to give a pull against the restraint any added strength. A second, even deeper drawn breath works to stave off the ill-concealed anger that rides immediately into a hood at his brow while he still thinks no one is watching.

He smells a little better, at least, various infections flushed out and treated by hands more capable (and likely cleaner) than his own. A week's worth of camp fire smoke and cold sweat remain, dry salt ringed in white at his collar and across his narrow chest. That his health looks to be on the decline in general should probably come as no surprise — this is likely the most sleep he's had an opportunity to have in days, and there are still rings sooted in black around his pale eyes when they harden into shrill focus on the caged lamp's bleary bleach at the ceiling.

At the gentle sounds of a waking Emile, Joseph doesn't immediately react more than simply looking up and watching. The newspaper remains perfectly still within his hands, and his feet don't drag on the concrete in an effort to move. Counting down the seconds until he has to be noticed, he watches the older, now bed-ridden man go through the motions of coming to terms with where he is.

He moves around the time he realises he doesn't want to get caught staring. There's a rustle of paper as he folds the newspaper over into quarter, casting it aside onto concrete and levering himself up with fingers gripping against brickwall, other hand flattening its palm to the ground before he dusts himself off. The door, first, Joseph levers open a fraction to check outside, before tugging it shut.

There's no click of a lock, just iron settling into its frame. "How do you feel?" is honest inquiry, Joseph remaining near the door for a liiittle longer before making his approach for the end of Danko's low cot.

The paper's rustle is answered with a flex and jerk of movement that nearly sees Emile up into a half-sit, cuffs utilized with mechanical precision as leverage to pull him back and up, socked feet dragged back a few inches further from the foot of the bed in the same reflexive motion. He looks small down here, strapped down close to the floor, with pupils constricted against manic alert and skull face smeared with five-fingered tracks of soot and ash. Haggard without boots and automatic weapons and fatigues to fill him out.

Recognition is near immediate. Both of Joseph and of the irony inherent in his current position. Hatred's hot on its heels, unmistakable in the grinding contempt that rankles into his nose and knits his brow, left shoulder twisted after the fashion of a coiled python against locked cuffs to little avail. Only a matter of time before he hurts himself.

"Like I'm chained to a bed in some mutant freak's basement," is the obvious answer to an obvious question, the croak of his voice shivered with writhing dislike. It nearly takes more willpower than it's worth for him to force his brows up into a more cynical tilt while he measures the reluctance in Joseph's approach, breaths back at a shallow wheeze in no time flat. "If I'd known this is what you were after, we could've worked something out before I released you back into the wild."

Hatred from Joseph's end is more subtle, if it's there at all. No bridling or even expression aside from the one he has currently carved of stone and carefully tamed. A slow blink, and a twitch of a shrug at that comment - affront managing to manifest into something visible. "You put in a call to one of your people. For help." There's a rougher edge to Joseph's voice, but it's likely more to do with sleeplessness than true anger and wrath, though hard to say, what with his gaze tracking more bedsheets than the man's face.

Danko does get a brief glance, as Joseph rocks back a step and then moves around the cot, still keeping his distance. "And they sold you out to us. All things considered, you could be doin' worse for yourself."

Danko listens close past the hollow echo of his own panting breath in his ears, delayed dizziness doubled under this new revelation. Harlow sold him down the river. Cynical disbelief is short-lived — it tugs at the corner of his mouth only long enough for it to show when it fades into something more like exasperated (and maybe even blackly amused) dismay.

He's too drugged up to do a decent job of masking much of anything. Further weighing of potential truth to probable lie cinches in tell-tale at the corners of his colorless eyes. Baffled while they search after details that might be written into Sumter's dumb teddy bear face. He didn't do anything to her.

Of course, it's not about what Danko did to her. More what the Ferry did for her. Such crucial details aren't Joseph's to share, and slate-grey eyes won't find much more than a tired kind of— resignation to the situation Joseph has put both of them in. His hands slide into the pockets of his slacks, as if affecting casual might help him be more so. "Yeah. So there you go. I don't exactly understand what you expected."

Boots tread mostly silent across the room, closer still if only to check that the bag of fluid used to hydrate the former Marine. "You never had a cause, not a real one. You got your men killed left and right. Did you figure you'd wind up any way other'n alone?" Volume peters in, heightening just a little, just enough, to give the iceberg tip hint of anger the pastor is harboring as he switches out the near empty bag of fluid for a full one, not looking at Danko as he does it, movements brisk and unpracticed.

"And lettin' me out 'into the wild'? What did you count on? That I go crawl under a rock and die for a while?"

Emile could answer. Both questions. Both accusations, really. He even seems to entertain the idea of a legitimate reply back behind the fish-belly pallor of his eyes for as long as Joseph is willing to talk to him, cool gaze eventually felled to trace the span of floor between his cot and how close the younger man has to stand to play nurse.

By the time it lifts again to measure its mark, the glassy sheen of his not-quite-lucid glare has found an anchor to wind itself into, one cold coil at a time. The tension of his initial struggle is slacking out into slower breaths. One at a time while his eyes rove from Joseph, to the door, and then more slowly back to his own bindings.

It's a while before he says anything, and when he does, there's a quiet distance to his voice that has all the makings of polite, passing interest without ever actually getting there. "You planning on letting me live, Sumter?" His brows twitch after a deliberate turn of slender wrist under clamped metal jaws. "Gonna trust Johnny Law and your new friends in the Ferry to keep me from squeezing the life out've every last telepathic toddler you've put through Sunday School?"

Joseph only works out that his questions weren't rhetorical when Danko doesn't answer them, which does little to help his mood. The metal rack shudders a little when he's done with it, the release of his hands quick and abrupt as he turns his back on the other man, pacing away— only to steer a look of disbelief back on the ex-Marine, dark eyes blinking, coal-like even beneath the invasive light hovering above him.

'Disbelief' not for the words themselves, it's all he can expect, but for the words— here. And now. There's a pause underscored by the buzzing of the electric light, Joseph schooling his expression into something more neutral. Tension makes his shoulders tight, squares them into a solid horizon. "If you think that wherever you're sent after this means you'll eventually git back to doin' what you do without consequence, then I suggest you learn somethin' about self-preservation," he says, voice even and measured.

Slightly more exasperatedly, he adds, "And manners. Tryin' the patience of the Ferry ain't gonna do you any favours."

"And what consequences, exactly, do you think I deserve?" There's a loaded pause while Danko plies around for eye contact. An icy hand that navigates carefully over farm boy features and tennessee twang in search of coal eyes while he leans himself further over to one side, right wrist going nowhere fast.

"Life in prison? …Torture?" Intensity, it turns out, is hard to maintain past the ache that eats in through the side he was trying to rest his weight on. He's forced into a hard blink and swallow, whatever color he might've claimed to have blanched out into stock stillness while he recalculates the best way to get back into a respectable position that doesn't hurt like a motherfucker. "Death?" as a laggard third suggestion is therefore less pointed than those before it. Just kind of there, like an afterthought.

"You've kept me alive and well this long. Why should I concern myself with self-preservation if you're gonna do all the heavy lifting for me?"

"Because you hung me outside my church while it was burnin', along with a dead woman and a man who survived through God's grace alone." Joseph's voice crackles more than he would like it too, back teeth clenching as if there were more words required to be bitten back. Perhaps he only does so thanks to the physical manifestations of Danko's pain, black eyes analytical rather than finding any particular enjoyment out of it.

His palms run together nervously, and he steps back, moving to retrieve his glasses up off the newspaper, folding them. "So, you know. A man's liable to change his mind. But I reckon prison sounds about right, for now. Because I know that either way, the Lord'll see you serve your time regardless. I ain't you. I don't enjoy this.

"And you should lie still - you'll injure yourself otherwise, and your cop friend shot the medic we had with us."

"You think I get off on this?" Resentful, earnest skepticism strains quick enough into cinched crow's feet and raw throat that it just might be legitimate. "Chasing specials down like animals, putting you down one tally mark at a time?" He's breathing harder again despite himself, frustration hooding at his brow and lining wiry old muscle taut against snaggletoothed cuffs.

"If the government did its job, I wouldn't have to do mine."

Past tense doesn't occur to him as an option apparently, even with his height disadvantage somewhat more painfully enforced than usual down here close to the floor, legs lazed into a V, back hunched and shoulders rolled forward as far as restraint is willing to allow for. "You have your tormentor here, at your mercy and you're talking about prison. But there's nothing sacrosanct about cowardice. You exercise 'compassion' here and I'll live long enough to see you and your friends suffer for it."

Newspaper folded beneath the wing of his arm, Joseph simply stands and manages to meet Danko's critical eyeing. It's easier, when you're up here, although not by much. "Oh, come on now." Sarcasm is unnatural for Joseph, when it's not good humoured - but now it lines his voice bitterly, and is almost too easy. The words are coming faster than he can think. "You did the same for me. Bitch of a cycle, ain't it?"

Foot steps carry him for the door, hand curling around the handle and wrenching it open. His fist is tight around the cold iron, out of instinct not to betray the shaking there. If he can convince Danko he's leaving because he has better things to do, than maybe he can believe it too.

"I'm not following you to Hell," is added, gaze dropping more towards the grey cement floor than the cot and its prisoner. Behind Joseph, it's difficult to make out much. Rather than a hallway, the darkness beyond suggests more of a cavernous space. "You weren't that good."

Snap. Corralled into poisonous silence in the face of more resistance than he was maybe immediately prepared to hassle with, Danko watches Joseph's move for the door without turning his head to follow. Lifeless eyes track the pastor's progress alone, degree by polished degree until the door is open, and for a few significant seconds, he has that to focus on instead.

Emptiness assessed with a sideways squint, he glances up at the ceiling before he zeroes back in on captive turned captor. At a distance, there's more unspoken promise about his intentions to be somewhere else other than in this goddamn bed by the time that door opens again written out across the stark mask of his skull face than he could get into another ten minutes of bared teeth and raw baiting.

If that's what Joseph reads from the look sent his way, it's responded to with stony silence, at first, rather than words - which would be appropriate for this particular transaction. He glances once around the room, as if to make sure there aren't any windows (there aren't) or more doors (just the one) than he immediately accounted for before honing back in on Danko. The light is kept on, as he backs out.

"I'll bring you somethin' for the pain." Words are scissor edged, taunt and threat and reassurance all in country church lilt before Joseph is gone, rusted door coming to seal shut behind him, and the solid sound of a lock turning into place following his departure.

A tell-tale rattle and clang laps at the door's far side when Danko jerks once against locked cuffs, poorly suppressed anger lashed through grit teeth, up his sides and down his leg. A second snap carries less force than the first. Endorphins already worn thin are taking their sweet time, leaving him to sit and ache with his head bowed and his hands forced away from his sides while he waits for his head to clear itself out again.

At the rate things are going so far, looks like he should have plenty of time.

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