Do What You Do


danko3_icon.gif delia2_icon.gif

Scene Title Do What You Do
Synopsis A bit of unintended advice goes a long long way as Danko finds himself the victim of a former groupie.
Date December 8, 2010

The Witch's Wood

Through a lacy veil of skeletal branches, the full moon shades its demure face from the world below. What silvery light does manage to pass through the dense wood lays a soft white light against the grey and black of the surroundings. This wood, this place, this is where they say one of them is hiding.

Not many of the Haves have been able to keep themselves squirreled away from Danko's keen eyes. He alone has managed to trap and escort more than thirty to the gallows. He is the pride of the small wooded territory and the residents therein feel safer knowing that he is lurking about, catching the witches that would steal the sun. This night, this endless night, is no different from any other.

It is just off in the distance, the glade where the augur is said to dwell. A woman who no man has ever been fit enough to capture, a fact that doesn't deter this one a single iota. The reason it has taken so long is simply because he had others, many others, that posed a larger threat to bring in. Tonight is the night that he will bring in the prize, were she a stag she would have a crown of antlers larger than any other in the wood.

Unfortunately, the face of a full moon is more hindrance than boon when it comes to retrieval operations. You can see what you're looking for, but the same is plenty true in reverse — cold lunar light washing in tell-tale bands of blue and white across the hollows and arches of Emile Danko's skullish face.

The effect is more subtle against the matte black of his fatigues, out've context if far from out of place scuffing quiet around his lean frame. Leaves muffle soft under the fall of his boots, automatic rifle slung cold across his shoulder. The stock sways regular with the steady beat of his progress around spindly birch trunks and dry brush, sighted barrel and scope kept well away from the sidearm strapped stiff at his side.

Maybe the reason he's so efficient is that he seems to have all the right cheat codes.

Not that preparation and experience alone are enough to muffle a stir of adrenaline under the sink of his ribs when he draws up close against an older tree to survey the glade just ahead. It's a little different when you're alone.

One cheat code he doesn't have is the one that his opponent is using. Slowly, the rifle on his shoulder begins to fizzle and fade, disappearing into nothing in a blur of static and replaced with… What? A bow and quiver full of arrows. Likewise, his clothing melts and shimmers to suit a more medieval style. Just what everyone wants to see, Emily Danko in tights. The sidearm strapped to his leg has the same fate, but what it turns into is… a rather cruel looking hunting knife.

From between the branches, a stooped figure ducks and weaves around the thorns and grasping fingers of the bushes. The augur, he knows her by sight, and given that she's upwind, by smell. When was the last time this woman took a lesson in personal hygeine? Her tangled mat of brown hair is stuck with twigs and leaves, looking much more like a nest than a mane. Her clothing is ragged and torn, to look at her, she doesn't seem the formidable opponent that she's reputed to be. But these witches have a way of making believe they are something that they are not. Eyes can be deceived, quite easily.

Were it not for the shadow that glides into his vision, Emile might never have noticed the one who came to join him. Sliding up beside him, with a broken sword in hand, a young woman makes her presence known. But only to him. "She is your target," the amused tone of voice isn't familiar but the crimson hair and combination of forbidden blue eyes, eyes of a witch, niggles at him. He knows this woman from somewhere.

Unlike the augur, this one is dressed in a crisp white sundress. It almost glows in the pale light and if either of them should make a substantial sound, they will likely be noticed by the other one.

Not even Danko wants to see Danko in 'more medieval' garb, regardless of whether or not it is his favorite~ color combination (black on black) and comes with wicked cool leather arm guards and a bow. Brow furrowed and nose rankled in venomous confusion, he sloughs out've the quiver and bow like someone shrugging out've a giant squid's embrace, equal parts baffled and disgusted.

Fortunately the equipment's tumble is muffled by the leaf litter and he's savvy enough to bite back any outward exclamation of the fuck that crosses his mind.

Suspicion sharp in the same inhale that feeds him the augur's stink, he rakes his glare once around the surrounding area before searching his own person and coming up with the knife. The grip's torn free just as a shadow falls fluid across the forest floor and tension seizes across his torso in a viper strike of lean muscle and ligament, the blade snatched into his hand stayed inches from the nose buttoned in between her blue eyes.

He stays like that, quiet, frozen, teeth bared, a threat (or someone who clearly believes he is one), brown still dusted thick into the close sheer of an equally familiar buzz.

Bitches with swords don't just appear in the woods. This is witch country.

Bitches with swords don't just appear anywhere. Unless you're in a movie.

The young woman doesn't even flinch as the blade threatens to pierce her skull. Instead she raises her free hand to move it slowly out of the way. Her eyes are focused on the creature beyond them. The Augur. The one, with the flash of Emile's weapon, who has lifted her head and straightened her back, much like a deer caught in the crosshairs of a hunter. Should she run?

Those blue eyes flit to Danko's finally focusing on him, if only for the moment. "You hate what you don't understand. My hero." The last two words are spoken in a chiding manner, a smooth smirk coming crookedly to her lips. With a single flip, she springs from his reach and anchors her bare feet on the soil. Her weapon is arched above her head defensively, the broken blade shining in the moonlight.

"…I understand what I hate just fine," riposted at a murmur behind the raised knife, Danko retracts the blade after barely a moment's thought. He is here on a mission to kill the dirty witch. He can worry about the zestfully clean Clorox harpy once he's taken care of the one he was ordered in to take out.

Skull swiveled ninety degrees on its anchor at the base of his piano-strung neck, he starts off at a more deliberate plod, knife ready at his side. Nothing to be gained in subtlety now. He's already been made.

It'll be a trek for him because in the seconds it took to relay his perception, the Augur has disappeared into the thicket, like a scared rabbit. By the time he turns around, the woman in white is gone as well. Was she there as a decoy? Or was she the Augur?

But he's already been made. Now the hunter has become the hunted, the Augur, whichever one she is, knows where he is and knows what he looks like. Paranoia, something that keeps prey alive, is sometimes a good thing. Sometimes it's also a bad thing. In this instance it's quite the mixed blessing as the Augur's wood seems to come alive around him.

Guns gone. Dirty bitch gone. Tidy bowl woman gone. Period costume still present.

"Goddamnit," says Danko to the forest. Succinctly. Frustration in the form of spittle flecked cold through a clip of his teeth when he turns once in place. Not enough clear sky to see the stars, not enough awaress of the season to gauge by the moon.

In the end he's forced to circle like a hairless wolf, head down and path ever widening, sunken eyes glinting pale silver in what little light there is to spot stirred leaves or overturned stones. That he hasn't seen either of them actually physically take off running at any point doesn't hinder his efforts.

The ever-present distraction of sound and movement through the surrounding wood does.

"God has nothing to do with this…" The wind whispers around him as he curses his situation.

Somewhere, somewhere around him, Tidybowl is watching. Mocking him. Making the wind talk to him. Adding insult to injury, his hose snags on a bramble bush and a sizable hole is torn in the back. Skin the color of a fish belly is exposed, standing out almost as well as the redhead in front of him now.

This time, she has her sword raised.

"You were my hero." She seethes, the words coming out like venom. "I wanted to be just like you." She seems a little miffed, nothing that could be pinned on him though. He hasn't done much except point a knife at her face and she seemed to ignore it before. "Do you know what it's like to have your entire world just…"

Her free hand squiggles hurriedly through the air, like she's trying to communicate something. Frustration creates a sign language language barrier and it's practically indescrnible.

Being Danko and so having fought people (plural, no doubt) naked before, Emile looks like he is seriously considering adding another mark to a tally that shouldn't be spared too much thought. He literally pauses to look exasperated, calf muscle knotted like a loop of eel under fishbelly pallor and tatty hose when he snaps his focus back to the fore.

Fear's a natural response for things appearing suddenly in front of your face, be they bitches, hos or witches and he flinches for a second time, adrenaline spurred quicksilver through the catlike dilation of his lifeless eyes. Hunched at ready, knife in hand, he's leery enough to hesitate for a spring-loaded second.

"What do you want?"

"I don't know."

The answer is given honestly, even if it doesn't clarify anything for either of them. Unlike the hunter, the witch's own reflexes aren't as sharp and with each of his movements, the hand holding her blade twitches a little. She's anticipating his attack, at least trying to. He can tell that she's quite inexperienced at all of this, not nearly as trained, if she's trained at all.

"I just… I saw you and I wanted to talk to you."

He was her hero after all. It might even be the sort of thing Danko might do himself if he saw one of his own heros up close. J Edgar Hoover? They could both talk about tights~.

Self-sufficient in a way where the concept of heroes seems extraneous somehow, Danko tightens the screw of his silvery focus quivery shrill on her pale face. Past the sword dipping subtle degrees after his own movements.

He's looking for something. Familiarity, explanation. Reason. And more importantly, exploitable weakness: frustration and insecurity hand and hand to fuel reptilian self-assurance that the way things are is not the way things should be or will be.

There's a blend at the mean hook of his blade — stainless steel bleeding back into more tactical craftwork when he coils and snaps, free hand wrought harsh around her sword-wielding wrist to twist it down and drag her close in the same merciless motion.

The woman is relatively passive through the ordeal, moving rather fluidly into his grip as her broken sword drops to the ground and fizzles out of existence. She doesn't struggle not just yet. There's no blade to her nose threatening to split her face in half, which is really most of what she expects from him.

"I suppose you don't really want to talk then…" She says, a little edge of depression hitting her voice. "I guess I should have figured as much." There's the tiny huff of a laugh that mingles with her breathing, nervous, maybe a little afraid. Just a little though.

There is something about her that does seem familiar though. A face among the masses maybe, or the thing those two women were talking about over coffee the other day. The freak that people are dreaming about.

The grip he has on her is hard enough to hurt without cracking anything, tendon primed bloodless white from knuckle to wrist. Leather creaks. He's shorter than her by a good three inches, cadaverous countenance fleshed out enough to pass him off as 40, greying hair uniformly thin. The ten year loss doesn't do much for him.

He's still short. And grey. And sizing her up like he would a potentially rabid ferret he'd managed to seize by the scruff of the neck, breaths spent quick through a narrow part between his teeth while he tries to force himself to wind down.

On the cusp of realization, he can't quite force himself to say what he thinks must be going on, here — too distracted by the uncomfortable uncertainty to leap one way or the other. He is not usually this uncertain about anything, skepticism cinched in sketchy lines at the corners of his eyes when he looks her up and down. "What is this?" is a question he probably already knows the answer to. Evidenced by his next demand: "Give me back my clothes."

Pursing her lips, Delia takes a little too long to consider her words. Gulping a large breath of air back, her blue eyes flit over his face as her eyebrows hook upward at the inner edges. On one hand, the romance cover that this fairytale would be on isn't exactly a dream come true. On the other, it probably wouldn't be a best seller anyway. She's not exactly heroine material. At least not his.

"I— Clothes…" Without so much as a blink; the tights, leather, tunic, gloves, all melt and waver over his form before turning back to how he was originally found. Much to Emily's misfortune, the weapons are missing. All of them. "Okay, no more ti— .. leggings." Perhaps he's not a fan of the LARP, not that she is but it makes for a great story.

As for what this is, she doesn't exactly answer.

In most romance novel cover art, the guy is taller, for one thing. And the list of disadvantages Danko's up against in his quest to be featured on Oprah's Book List is an uphill struggle from there. Poor footing aside, the colorless slit of his glare lacks little in the way of patience or understanding for her hesitation, and compliance only fuels confirmation: he's been stalked right out of reality by some kind of — female follower. Something.

This is not a problem he is prone to having.

He squints at her all the harder once kevlar and high impact reinforcements have hardened back in place of tunic and leather, brow furrowed, the more familiar cut of his uniform fitted to fill out the spaces where he's mostly sinew and bone. Gratefulness for the resolution of his dignity is demonstrated with a twisting shove and a sharp look over his shoulder. How the fuck does he wake up?

The simple realization of what is happening is the catalyst to all sorts of good things for the rest of Danko's night. The first of it being the woods starting to disappear into something more familiar to him, a street in New York City.

Perhaps his mind is stronger than the redhead's. Maybe she just doesn't have the willpower to deny the man much at all. In the end, all that's left after she stumbles backward is a twitch of a sad smile. There's no fight in this one at all. At least not right here. "You're dreaming," she finally says, allowing him the opportunity to force himself out of it. "I could keep you with me forever if I wanted to. Just to let you know but I won't. Remember that."

"You could do more than that."

A twitch more conversationally practical (and coldly appreciative) once the forested world around him has receded away into damp pavement and humid city smog, Danko kicks a held breath out at a fog once he's paced a few slow steps away, eyes angled warily up to take in the sweeping change in setting. Power is power. Tangible here as is in a more conscious state of mind. Maybe even moreso.

And it's not like there's a door anywhere marked exit.

"Heart attack. Insanity. Suicide in my sleep." Other things that he hasn't thought of. His brows lift.

"How'd you find me?"

"I couldn't do that, murder. I wanted to be a doctor once, before this happened." It's on public record, in the news, not like he couldn't find out if he wanted to anyway. As the two of them stand in place, the cityscape slides around them until the nearest stoop comes up behind the redhead to allow her a seat. As if obeying the scenery, she sits and brings her knees up to her chest to hug them. She hasn't changed from the forest, her white cotton dress and bare feet don't seem at home here.

"Besides, I told you that you were my hero, once upon a time. Even if my— " well it wasn't really her mother, except in her mind. "Even if people are right and you are a monster, I still couldn't do it. I'm not like you, I guess." She looks down, a small crease between her eyebrows making itself known. He asks the hard questions.

"I— " her hesitation is nothing more than a simple argument in her head of should I tell the truth? An accident. Delia knows what sort of threat he can be, accidents can get you killed. "I've been wandering for a long time." Not a lie.

Wanted to be. Was her hero. Once upon a time.

"One of them," clarified at a disaffected gravel and scrape for the nature of her wandering state, Danko keeps his distance, slow to turn from the dank and damp of the street to look her over again once he feels like he has his bearings. He's a lot less irritable now that he has pants on.

"And now?"

"Now, I can't be a doctor."

It's half an answer to all of the questions, she smiles a timid little smile and averts her eyes from what she sees is a strong jaw and refined features. "I'm one of them, I couldn't be a doctor if I tried." She's not like Dr. Brennan or his wife, not legit and carded. Shrugging, the smile fades and she looks off down the street. Everything here is hazy and empty, an odd parallel to the young woman herself.

And now.

"Now…" she gives a sort of a mirthless laugh as she turns her head in his direction again, looking past him rather than at him. "Now… I'm sort of stuck between wanting to stay or going back. I've been gone so long, I can't remember what my body feels like."

"Cupcake," says Danko after a pause, brows back at a self-assured slant to match an upturn at the corner of his mouth, "if you're looking for a guidance counselor, you've stopped in the wrong hippocampus."

Hands empty and open at his sides, he huffs out a non-laugh at both of their expenses, at home in a ghostly shell of New York as he is Angola or Kuwait. People to kill, points to be made. He runs his tongue past his teeth, judgment at as much of a remove as the rest of him when he fidgets restlessly to adjust the high ride of his collar at the back of his wiry neck.

"You keep up with this and sooner or later someone's going to make the decision for you."

"So I should keep looking," her bright blue eyes sweep over the soldier again and she pushes herself up to a stand. A swipe of her hands down the front of her dress smooth out the nonexistent wrinkles before Delia glances up at him again. "Sorry to bother you, Mister Danko. I'll leave you alone now."

An anti-climactic ending if there ever was one.


As the young woman fades into the background, life comes to the dark streets. And death. The bodies around the man are the first to fizzle into view in a blur of television static. Then there's gunshots before Emile finds his hands laden with the automatic rifle he lost in the woods and the firearm strapped to his side once again.

Somewhere in his mind, the echo of the young woman's parting words, "I didn't think you'd want to be left in a field of tulips."

"You do what you do," delivered with a touch of sass not strictly becoming of his age and more genuine honesty than anything that could be even remotely construed as empathy, Danko gives her one last sideways up-and-down when she starts to fade, weight rocked around onto his left heel. Casually, coolly comfortable in a dream New York with an Evolved stalker and no gun.

He doesn't start to tense up until the first of the bodies starts to show, but even then, reflex is swifter to take hold than dumbfounded delay. Already out've the street's center and taking cover at her stoop's side even before the light weight of the rifle resolves into his grip, crooked nose at an acrid rankle that is not, after everything, entirely unappreciative.

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