Dying for Something


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Scene Title Dying for Something
Synopsis "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."
— Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama
Date August 20, 2009

Somewhere in New York City

The arrival at the building is rather under less pleasant circumstances than Doyle'd hoped, needless to say, settled in uncomfortably in the passenger seat of the vehicle being driven by Adam Monroe's goons. The shoulder strap crossed his chest, digging in against the fabric of his shirt, his head turned away from his companions of the moment to watch the city go past until they stop. The puppeteer's head turns to regard the building, eyes searching for the number before he nods once, firmly.

"Two-fifty west," he affirms, reaching down to unclick the seat-belt, "This is it, then."

Adam looks out the window and at the building Doyle indicates. He's leaning comfortably from behind Doyle. "I hope that this isn't some wild goose chase." he says. But eventually, the suv stops and doors begin to open as everyone gets out of the vehicle. He nods to one of the two gentlemen, "Stay with the car." and then motions to Doyle, "Well, lead the way."

The seatbelt's wrestled out of, and Doyle steps out from the passenger's side door onto the sidewalk; pausing to glance over at the parking meter out of habit more than anything, as there's someone staying with the car after all. The portly fellow adjusts his shirt, tugging up his pants a bit over his girth with a shift of his suspenders before heading for the building's door with neither hurry nor sloth, shuffling along into the lobby with the others behind.

Adam follows along, every once in a while he whispers to the gentleman next to him who isn't Michael. The man seems more tense than Adam, but Adam makes a concerted effort to stay to Doyle's left while the other man stays directly behind him. He glances around the lobby, "How elegant," he comments dryly.

The dry comment recieves no response from Doyle, who appears to be trying to pretend that he's not being followed by the pair, even while occasionally checking to make certain they haven't wandered off— needless to say, he's succeeded better with the 'making sure' part than the 'blase' part. The portly puppeteer hits the stairs, one hand on the rail as he puffs his way along up to the second floor to look for the apartment of a woman named 'Anna'.

Adam follows along with considerably more ease and less hard breathing than Doyle. As Doyle begins to look a bit…quizzically? at the various apartments, Adam says, "You don't mean to tell me you don't know exactly where she is?" and with that, he knocks on the first door he sees, "Hello? Sick girl inside?"

The door swings open a few seconds after Adam's knuckles have rapped against it and the sound of a deadbolt turning fills the stale air of the hall. A face appears in the sliver of light created, one large black eye fixed on the figure of the blond man standing on the other side. "You lookin' for the Garrisons?" a voice asks, clearly audible in spite of the smoker's rasp that scratches in the men's ears. Then, "You with the media?"

At the knocking of the door behind him, Doyle's feet pause on the hallway's floor as he stops dead; taking a slow breath, eyes closed as his fingers unfurl, then tighten into fists by his side, silently counting to ten as he stares at the inside of his eyelids. "Adam…" He turns, stepping back down the hall towards the man and his goon with a scowl creasing his features, "You'd think after all these years you'd develop a sense of subtlety…"

Then the door's opening, and he looks back to the crack in the door, flashing a quick and false smile and bringing up a hand to wriggle his fingers, "Hi, uh, yeah, we're looking for Anna…? No, I'm, ah, I'm— was— one of Jasper's friends, he left me some things I wanted to pass on to her?"

Adam smiles towards the person on the other side of the door and he says in his British accent, "Yes, I'm looking for the Garrisons. But no, we're not with the media." he motions towards Doyle, "And he's not as creepy as he looks. We're just here to make sure that poor woman and that poor little girl get their late loved one's things."

Hinges creak, groan, and the door spreads a few more inches, allowing Doyle and Adam to glimpse inside the apartment. Although it appears clean, it's also cluttered, most of the space taken up by pieces of mismatched furniture and glass display cabinets that boast collectible figurines in many different shapes and sizes, all of them porcelain, all of them immaculately arranged. The speaker is an old woman with sallow skin the colour of aged paper and a cigarette dangling between two gnarled fingers, their nails pristine in comparison to the aged hands to which they are attached, and therefore probably plastic. "You don't look like you got Jasper's things. They down in your car?"

"I'm not even sure if she's still living in this apartment," admits Doyle with a faint chuckle, his head shaking a little, "I'm not going to haul things around the whole place until I know where I'm bringing it." A wry smile curves to the man's lips, one hand lifting to rub a bit against the shaven pate of his scalp, "C'mon, if we were the press, we'd know the apartment number. Just point us in the right direction, if Anna'n Faith are still living here?"

Adam apparently had been hoping Doyle would let him do the talking. While Adam's goon could pass for a mover, but Adam is dressed too nice and Doyle looks like he gets winded eating. But, the woman's old, she might let these inconsistancies slide, "To be honest, there isn't that much." he leans forward as if to include the woman in the conspiracy, something he shouldn't be sharing but he just darn does, "To be honest, most of it was money that Jasper was owed. I know, it seems old fashioned, yeah? But I always pay my debts. I'm sure the widow and the child could use it."

The old woman wrinkles her nose at Adam and Doyle, curls her lip and exposes a set of teeth ridden with dental plaque, the smell of decay mingling with the tobacco on her breath when she says, "Money. Ha. Nobody ever owed my boy a debt, not his whole life. Always the other way 'round." She taps ash into the hall. "Where you know Jasper from, eh? If you three were so close? Prison?"

At the 'money' story there's a slightly irritated glance over to the immortal, before Eric turns his attention once more to the old woman at the door; smile fading to something more almost abashedly rueful, thick fingers scratching there at his nape before falling down to his side. "Got it in one," he admits, chin lifting in a bit of a nod to the woman, "He asked me to— do him a favor. You must be Anna, then?"

Adam rolls his eyes, of course the guy was a debtor, he was a friend of Doyle's. He lets out a bit of a sigh, "Well, then you're Anna? Is there a little girl who's sick?" he questions, "Because I've got it at 50-50 that this is all some sort of elaborate ruse." he glances at the woman, "Though you don't look like you're holding up too well yourself."

Shaking her head, the old woman coughs up a dry laugh at Doyle's question. "No," she says, and pauses to take another drag from her cigarette, wrinkled lips pursing around its filter, "someone in this family's got to work. You want to leave her a message, I can do that for you." Her attention shifts to Adam, dark eyes narrowing to cattish slits. "Watch your mouth, pup. I've got friends over at Immigration."

"Your green card up to date, there, ol' pal?" A hint of cynical amusement at the question, Doyle's head tilting in the direction of his 'friend' for a moment before he returns a more serious gaze to the old woman. He starts to say something, pauses, then exhales a frustrated sigh and straightens, falling back on blunt honestly, "Look, lady— I promised Jasper I'd get his little girl some help, before he blew his head off." He jerks a thumb towards Adam, "I got her some help, believe it or not, in the form of this guy. Is she here, or somewhere else?"

Adam lets his smile open slowly, amused, "Did you hear that? She called me a pup. That's always amusing." he turns to the woman, "I can heal the girl, but I don't really care if I do or not. So we can sit here bantering each other, making little jibes or you can let us in and have this all done with." he glances at Doyle, then back towards the woman, "And perhaps you should watch your mouth. I have friends in Hell."

The old woman looks down at her cigarette, contemplatively rolling it between her fingers. There's an irritated tic at the corner of her mouth, but she offers no further resistence than that — a moment later, she's smothering it out against the doorframe and inviting the two men inside, stepping back to make room for them in the apartment's entryway. "Surprised you've got any friends at all with that attitude problem of yours," she mutters brusquely in Adam's general direction. "Didn't your mother ever show you any discipline as a child?"

Doyle, on the other hand, receives a faint smile for his efforts, though it does not quite reach her dark eyes. "You don't be telling Anna about this. Poor girl's at the end of her rope."

A tired smile's offered back, the mask dropped, and Doyle steps over the threshold of the apartment at the offering made for them to enter; his nose twitching a bit as he tries not to wrinkle it at the scent of the woman's breath and the apartment in general. The man's thumbs hook into the suspenders that stretch down the sides of his front, head turning a bit to look around, admitting, "Oh, we probably won't ever meet her. Once I've taken care of this promise, we'll— be out've your hair, lady."

Adam nods to his man to stay behind and then makes his way into the apartment. He wrinkles his nose as well and looks around with obvious disdain. He doesn't comment though, "Oh, I can be quite charming, I just don't like you." he explains to the woman. "You should know, I'm here for free. Whatever my attitude, I'm still here out of charity." he pauses, "Show me the girl. What's she got anyway?"

Doyle and Adam are led through the apartment, its plush carpet cushioning the sound of their footsteps. Apart from the acrid sting of tobacco smoke hanging heavily in the air and wafting off the furniture, they may detect the smell of cat urine drifting out from one of the bathroom doors at the end of the hall, and while there are no felines in sight, there is undoubtedly at least one somewhere in the modest two bedroom dwelling, its whiskers twitching with irritation as it watches the strangers move deeper into its territory. "Cystic fibrosis," the old woman says as she comes to a stop in front of the door to the left of the bathroom and rests the tips of her fingers on the handle. "Don't expect you've heard much about it."

"I've seen the television commercials," Doyle replies in an absent half-murmur of voice as he walks along after her, his feet sinking into the plush carpeting as if the weight of the man was trying to push through to the floor below. After that first nose-full of scent, he's breathing as shallow and rarely as possible to keep from suffering it too deeply. As they pause before the door, he looks back to her once more, admitting, "Jasper was— frantic, though. Desperate."

Adam stops a moment, "Cystic fibrosis? Isn't that a lung thing?" he sniffs around, "And you keep her in this environment?" Unbeknownst to Adam, it's not a lung thing, though there are respritory elements. Still, there is a bit of a point. He looks at the old woman for a few moments, his eyes narrow and he shakes his head. He glances at Doyle for a moment, then pushes the woman's hand aside and opens the door himself. He looks back at Doyle, "Keep her out here." for whatever reason, he seems genuinely upset.

"Doesn't surprise me," the old woman says, lowering her voice as Adam turns the handle and opens the door into a darkened bedroom in which a slim figure bundled in blankets is laid out on a twin-sized bed, curtains drawn shut. A breathing apparatus, attached to the child's mouth by a plastic mask and a long tube attached to equipment hidden behind the bedskirt, hisses in the background, its operational punctuated by the occasional click or whirr.

As the door's opened, Doyle takes a half-step over to look past the other man into the room with actual concern on his face; brows raising a bit, lips pursing in a thin line at the sight of the bed. The click and hiss of the breathing machine stir unpleasant reminders of the sort of machines he's seen in other places that he's been… detained in… and he draws back, leaving the procedure to the immortal with only a mildly untrustworthy glance at his back. "Let him work," he says quietly to the old woman, "He's an asshole, but he can make her better."

Adam steps into the room, quietly hiding the visage of the girl's body by the other two people. He opens his jacket and pulls out a small tube. He slowly unscrews it and pulls out a needle. Who carries one of those besides junkies? Why, the immortal healer of course. He rolls up the sleeve of his jacket and unbuttons his cuff and rolls that up as well before he inserts the needle into a vein without any of that make a fist stuff, he's well practiced in this. Withdrawing his blood, he continues to look at the girl tight lipped until his needle is full. Then he steps towards the bed, like a reaper and looks over the frail body before he takes the girl's arm and bends it a bit, squeezing it without her help until he finds a blue line. Injection complete.

Faith Garrison does not stir when Adam's shadow crosses her bed, or when she feels the pinch of the needle enter her skin. Her eyes remain closed, dark lashes dewy with moisture, her kinky brown hair spread out around her head on the pillow and matted with sweat. There is no immediate improvement, no flush of colour spreading through her cheeks or brightening her complexion — these things take time. What Adam might detect is a slight hitch in her breathing, a whimper of a sigh exhaled through her nostrils as an expression of contentment settles across her diminutive features.

"What's he doing?" the old woman asks Doyle in a gravelly whisper.

"It's part of his… gift," Doyle replies in a sideways murmur of his own, leaning in a little bit to the older woman, "He can— well, I hope he can— " A vague wave of one hand, "— heal her. Make whatever's wrong just… you know… go away."

Adam reaches up with a hand and strokes her forehead gently, uncharacteristically gentle. Then he leans up and carefully puts his needle away. He turns and walks towards the entrance. "It's time dependant on how sick she is." he says, "Given her disease," he turns to the old woman with an annoyed look in his eyes, "And living in an environment of smoke, dust and cat piss, it'll take a bit. Check in on her in half an hour." He sneers at the old woman and then steps passed her, saying to Doyle, "Let's go."

Saying nothing, the old woman regards Adam studiously when he emerges from the bedroom, her eyes clouded with an emotion that isn't easy for him to identify at a glance. Neither he nor Doyle receive a formal thank you, but somewhere amidst the telltale creases of caginess and suspicion that define her face, there's gratitude entrenched as well.

A hint of relief is visible in Doyle's expression as the other man emerges, and he looks into the bedroom after him for a moment— reaching out to take hold of the door's edge and draw it shut quietly in their wake. "Tell her Jasper didn't die for nothing," he tells the old woman quietly, hurriedly, before turning to hustle his girth along after Adam towards the door. There's been press here, and probably the police. He'd rather get caught by neither.

Adam never gave the old woman another look, he kept walking through the apartment until he was out of it. He stops on the outside gathering his other man as Doyle comes lumbering out as well. The pair, Adam and the goon, keep walking until they're out of the apartment. Once outside, Adam grabs a handrail and leans forward on it, grabbing a breath and apparently calming down as he waits for Doyle to leave the building.

Not quite the brisk walker that the other man is, Doyle comes out a minute or so afterwards; taking a breath as he hits the street, then exhaling it in a contented sigh, managing a faint and honest smile before slanting a look along towards Adam. "Thanks," he says finally, quietly, "I appreciate that, Adam."

Adam pushes off the rail before he turns around and says to Doyle, "I didn't do it for you, Eric." he pauses as he leans back against the railing now, "This wasn't a prid pro quo. To be honest, part of me wanted to know if this child really existed, if you really were trying to go on the straight and narrow." his lips purse a bit as he says, "Apparently you have and that presents me with a problem." he considers Doyle quietly before he says, "You know, I was asked to kill you. Fortunately for you, I had a disagreement with that particular employer. But it leaves me with an honest dilemma, Eric. You're too powerful to be allowed to wander freely about."

That brings Eric's back up, his head leaning away slightly as he gives the other man a startled look— one that then crumbles into some weak chuckling, a hand waving vaguely through the air, "If you were planning to kill me you wouldn't be telling me so, Adam. Go your way. I'll go mine. And neither of us 'powerful' people need to worry about the other." A derisive twist to his voice, "Wander freely about… who do you think you're with? The Company?"

He was. But that was a long time ago, "No…Eric. See. You're destitute, scraping by. Eventually, you'll get too desparate. And then what? You go to work for Linderman? See if the Company will give you a job? Join up with a local nutjob?" he shakes his head, "I know you won't work for me and quite frankly, you're not a team player. At least in the long term." he considers Doyle slowly, "So, other than killing you, I only see one option." he pauses blankly, "I want to buy you out." he says, "Keep you out of the game by keeping you happy. I found a nice place in Bed Sty. It's not huge, it used to be a dance studio. But it's big enough for a stage and a shop in the back. There's a studio apartment on top and I'm even throwing in a used van to get around." he pauses, "In return, you do what you're trying to do. You lay low, you don't get involved and you most certainly don't stand in my way." he pauses, "Also, I get free puppet shows if I want them." he puts his hands on the railing, "That is my offer, Eric."

"I have a place to stay," Doyle replies defensively, his head shaking in a sharp little motion, "I may not— have a job yet, but I have a place to stay, I have food, and clothes, and a new identity. I don't need you for that, Adam. And I'm not going to go work for— for anybody, not ever again." A hint of heat there, his spine straightening, "I'm my own man now. Nobody else's."

Adam rolls his eyes, "Of all people, Eric. I would have never guessed that you'd let pride get in the way of pragmatism. I'm not offering you a job to work for me. I'm offering you the opportunity to do what it is you love and what you claim to want to do so you won't work for anyone else." he raises his hands jazz hands, "No strings…other than the string that says you stay out of my way."

"…and the ones that tell you where I am, and what I'm doing." A scowl twists across Doyle's lips at the continued proposal, though he doesn't turn and walk away. After all, there's a stage being offered, and he certainly doesn't have the money to set up that sort of thing himself. The man gets a suspicious look, then— "No strings?"

Adam considers, "Well, except for the one I've mentioned twice already, no. You're not going to be my minion. We won't even be business partners. I will be your landlord, but only in so much as you're not going to be able to afford property taxes doing your little puppet shows. I don't want to have to worry about where you are, Eric. I want you, now fully rehabilitated by the Company, to be happily giving children joy around the city or…whatever you would say you're doing. If you're not going to work for me. At least I can make sure you aren't working against me. Frankly, this option is better than open warfare, yeah? I have a soft spot in my heart for you, Eric." he points to his chest, "Right here."

"Who are you," comes the sarcastically dry response, "And what have you done with Adam Monroe?"

The puppeteer's gaze drops down to the street's gritty concrete for a moment, and his head dips in a faint nod— and then another, as he looks up, lips pursing together before he states, "Alright. So long as it's… just that. I just want a normal life. No more cages."

Adam nods a bit, "Good. I'll have the contracts drawn up. I'll even throw in the contractors." he holds a hand to the side of his mouth as if sharing a secret, "They'll probably be illegals. I'm doing all this on the cheap." he blinks lightly, "Do you have a phone number or something?" he questions, "Or should I just scout the homeless shelters for you?"

"I have a phone number," Doyle replies with a roll of his eyes, reaching to dig in his pockets for a moment before asking, "You got a pen…? And I'm not staying at a shelter, I'm not that badly off. I know how to take care of myself, Adam."

Adam hmms. He opens his jacket and looking through the various equipment he keeps there, then pulls out a pen and a tiny notepad. Like the small version of post its. He hands them over, "Here you are, Eric."

The pad's accepted, the pen as well— the latter turned around in Doyle's hands, a number scribbled before he hands them back, "There. You can usually reach me here."

Adam nods and takes it back, "Just remember, Eric. I do this and you're out. No looking for extra work. No going to Linderman or making peace with the Company. No joining the Scooby Gang…or as you know them, Phoenix. You're just a puppeteer in a slightly run down studio in Bed Sty, giving smiles to the little children. And you especially don't play hero and get in the way of my plans, yeah?"

"I don't care what your plans are, Adam," Doyle replies with a shrug of one heavy shoulder, handing over the pen as well, "I never have. I just— just want to be left alone, okay? And just— live a normal life. You know?" He sounds tired, more than anything, his head shaking slowly, "I'm just tired of running."

Adam nods, "Well, to be fair a little running would do you good." he pauses, "Alright, you'll hear from me soon, Eric. I assume since you can take care of yourself you can find your own way home, yeah?" he motions towards his goon and they head to the suv. "That old woman was a bitch, Eric. She was killing that girl with her ambivalence."

"You killed her father with yours," is the low mutter beneath Eric Doyle's breath as he turns away from the other man, letting a hint of anger darken his expression only once he's turned away from the immortal. The portly puppeteer heads down the sidewalk at a steady walk, one foot before the other, a scowl lingering despite the fact that he's just been offered everything he wants.

The world never works out just as Eric wishes it would. And, despite his wishes, he couldn't live a normal life if he tried…

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