For Saying Hello


danko_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title For Saying Hello
Synopsis Danko is greeted out of the blue by someone he's been looking for. Her reward for coming to visit is an attempt at capture.
Date August 12, 2009


Originally associated with the arts, and later famous for both being a destination for shopping and its downtown scene, SoHo has changed drasticly since the bomb. The evacuation of SoHo after the bomb, due to its position in the path of the fallout caused as much chaos and hysteria as the bomb itself did. The damage done to the district in that upheaval alone never truly went away. Only finally reopened to the public on New Years day in 2008, SoHo has been struggling to reclaim itself in the time since. The vast majority of the neighborhood suffered as much of New York did from fires caused both by the bomb itself and arson-related incidents.

The reclamation process for SoHo has been slow going. Portions of the northern edge of the neighborhood were remarkably damaged by debris from the initial blast of the bomb, and even more were gutted by fires. The worst of the lot remain behind the one-story high concrete barricades that divide SoHo from the ruins of midtown, accessed only by Department of Homeland Security checkpoints reinforced by the presence of the national guard.

The fear of radiation from the fallout has also kept many out of SoHo, even after its reopening. While SoHo had become fairly commercialized, much of that business closed and moved on in steady economic collapse that engulfed the city. Yet, the southern part of the neighborhood, along Grand Street and Canal Street, retains some of the feel of SoHo's earlier days, with a handful of small business struggling to remain open despite the rising cost of living.

It's been a busy week in bigotry. People to lead on, people to interrogate, people to kill. Other people to plan on killing. The shadows darkened into the hollows of Emile Danko's eyes are more distinct than ever, speaking volumes about sleeplessness and insinuating sickliness that's probably contained to the mental side of the spectrum. In defiance of a sluggish breeze and a warm day, he's in the same black leather jacket he's always in, pallor stark against the equally dusky collared shirt beneath and grey cloud cover sagging heavy overhead.

At his back, a row of hollowed, broken, burned out buildings leans into cleaner construction — evidence of whatever limited funds have siphoned into the neighborhood to clean things up without really cleaning them up. A woman in a suit cranes her head back to squint at the damage in passing, but he's had plenty of time to stare. That, and he's on break, cigarette in one hand, paper coffee cup in the other. For a little while he'd taken up residence on a nearby bench; for now he stands a few feet away, lifeless grey eyes focused dimly on the middle distance of traffic crawling through the street ahead.

"Would you like an orange?"

It's an incongruous question, given their surroundings — who, in this neighborhood, would offer anything to a stranger? Unless it was drugs, firearms, or other items on the shady side of the street… and produce does sometimes qualify, given the current state of the city.

The person who stands a short distance from the back of Danko's bench, however, fits the tone of the question — young, female. Familiar; the picture he's seen was over four years old, her hair was shorter and less disarrayed, her gaze a touch clearer. She does indeed hold out an orange; carries a second in the other hand as well, presumably for herself. Tamara tilts her head slightly, smiles ingenuously.

It takes Danko a beat to realize he's being addressed, and a beat longer still to register that he's being addressed in the form of citrus. Perhaps understandably. This is SoHo, and the girl offering has a name that's been scribbled down into his big list of people to make disappear. Made more complicated by the fact that she'd already done a pretty good job of making herself disappear.

Predatory recognition is distinct in the way it flares the aperture of black pupil wide against asphalt grey iris, but it stops there. The slope of his shoulders holds slack. There's no tell-tale tension drawing lines through the loose skin cold at his neck — just some baffled weight pressing down at one brow and a lift of his left hand to the corner of his mouth to replace the cigarette that belongs there. "No thanks."

She already saw it, doesn't need to see it. The girl's shoulders rise and fall, her smile stays the same. "All right." She sets the second orange down by her feet, ignores it — or seems like she doesn't notice — as it slowly starts to roll to the side. Tamara's thumbnail slices into the peel of the one she offered Danko; pauses, blue eyes flicking back to him. "You sure?"

Danko could be watching a ten-legged cat walk by for all the difference there'd be in his expression. There's a thread of discomfort running taut beneath his having been caught off-guard — apparent in the whole if less specifically in any one part. He's too sideways in the way he watches her, cigarette spiraling smoke without any of it finding its way into the regular rise and fall of his breath. There's a lot of traffic on this street. There's also a lot of as of yet un-acted upon potential for him to reach into his jacket after his gun, and he's not blinking nearly enough to keep the lifeless grey of his eyes from drying out've his head. "I'm all caught up on my daily serving of vitamin C."

His watching doesn't bother her. She drops her gaze to the orange in her hands, peels it with focused deliberation, slowly working the rind off in a single convoluted piece — while the strange man with the gun not actually in hand stares intently. Most people's skin would be crawling. "What about yesterday's?" Tamara asks nonchalantly, still not looking up. "Yesterday is important too. Maybe you should take the other one with you." The one that's sitting about two feet down the sidewalk, not too far from three pigeons perplexed by the thing that isn't quite in their usual category of edibles.

Silence pervades Danko's end of the exchange, smothering any miniscule hope the conversation might've had for normalcy. Leather scuffs over leather with a shift of one shoulder. His coffee is getting cold. Steam no longer lifts past the rim of the cup, and the cloud cover overhead is getting thicker still, blotting highlights out into a soft, uniform grey against the shadows hooded in beneath Danko's brows. "…The hell's wrong with you?"

Tamara wasn't aiming for normalcy, exactly; that wasn't very probable. Its loss goes unregarded. She splits the orange in half, tugs a wedge off one end and pops it into her mouth. Chews, lips closed, and takes her time before addressing her current companion. "I'm not wrong," the teen informs Danko, her smile considerably brighter than the gray-filtered daylight around them. "Not always right, either, but one's only a small part of the shadows and there's no changing that. Even if I wanted to. I don't." Another piece of orange; she holds out the untouched half to Danko, brows raised. Are you really, really sure? "S'good."

Silence is accompanied by stillness. Stillness is accompanied by creeping confusion. Danko's eyes narrow beneath lines etched out at an irregular slant across his forehead, furthering the chilly, dubious unease written into the angles of his skullish face while he watches her chew. Something's wrong. Hard to tell if it's just her or the entire world at the moment, but he's getting tired of trying to guess. Tired enough to take action.

He moves all at once, left foot crossing towards her over the right while his free hand reaches securely in past the lapel of his coat. Odds are he's not going for a cell phone in there.

"Not a good idea," the sybil says quietly, her tone still youthful but gone solemn. Her gaze sharpens; not predatory as Danko's stare, the shift giving the sense that he didn't have her full attention — until right now. Dark eyes give the impression of looking through him; knowing. "I know you're not me," Tamara continues, still speaking softly, gravity beyond her years, "and you had to make your own mistakes.

"But I assure you, Emile Danko. It was neither here nor now."

"Why's that?" Danko seems to think it's a pretty good idea. It's clear in the way the line of his mouth slants up into a ghost of a smirk. Short, bald, past his prime — he's probably used to being underestimated by her kind. The coffee cup tossed into a near full trash can in passing, he's just about lifted the blunt nose of his semi-automatic past the fall of his jacket when she says his name.

If he was doing her her the favor of underestimating her in turn before, it's a mistake that falls clear out of the lines in his face, leaving stark irritation where good-natured amusement was on its way to fogging up before. He's just out of arm's reach when he stiffens against whatever it is she must be doing. Reading his mind, perusing his thoughts. No telling, but he's deadlocked for the few seconds it takes him to reassess the situation.

She regards him steadily, eyes darkened, the tilt of her head assessing. "Today is only you and I," Tamara replies. The orange halves rest idle in her hands, unimportant, disregarded, forgotten. Her posture is relaxed, for the most part — the tension of impending motion beneath, but prepatory, quiescent; she seems not afraid. Neither concerned nor wary, nor angered; just calm. Aware. The sybil's lips curve in a cool smile. "Today is just for saying hello; both shadows walked away."

When Danko's brain doesn't rupture in his skull, blue screen or otherwise forget itself, he favors her with a regard reminiscent of the way lions size up things with horns that have unexpectedly rounded and stood their ground. He's alone but so is she. She knows his name and he knows where she is. Temptation creates potential, potential cannot be ignored and bleeds into motion — the vast majority of it forward.

He's quick, when he makes the decision to move on her anyway. Hands and feet moving in deft tandem with clear intent to sweep her down onto her pretty face, all practice and cold, deliberate intent.

He knows — where she was. Hands and feet sweep through empty air, the seeress sliding out of the way in a manner deceptively simple, anything but easy. Step back, twist, step back, arms up — all the elegance of well-practiced choreography, with far more focused intent. Tamara doesn't stop moving, even when the immediate danger is past; she retreats, without speaking another word, nor even a glance back to determine whether the predator intends to give chase.

As if it doesn't matter what he decides to do.

Swat and sweep go unrecognized by resistant force. The curled club of his palm disturbs only air, and it's all he can do to stay on his feet when the brace of one leg fails to put a bend in hers. Weight thrown out of balance by his own momentum, he has to swing his gun hand out into the open, black composite, metal and all for him to regain himself enough to snap a hard look over his shoulder to where she's wound up. It's fortunate that no one seems to be paying enough to attention to freak out, though an older lady across the street does reach instinctively for her cell phone.

Hard to fathom how so much hatred fits so comfortably into such a subtle shift in expression. A twitch of his brows and a flicker of constriction in his eyes promise pain in the beat it takes him to turn, holster his weapon, and pace swiftly away in the opposite direction.

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