Going Off Script (Again)


castle_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif

Scene Title Going Off Script (Again)
Synopsis Faulkner gets a special delivery, which leads to his own wellness check up. Which quickly goes off script. Because the Agent who decided to mail themselves the question is Agent Castle.
Date September 09, 2020

Lighthouse Memorial Park

This wasn’t the first time that one of Faulkner’s jobs had some weirdly specific instructions. The small envelope came with a note with specific instructions asking him, specifically him, to bring this to the Lighthouse Memorial Park on Roosevelt Island before sunset. To be delivered to a Castle, described as someone in a dark suit with curly hair, who would be waiting at the bench.

Sitting on the bench is said person in a dark suit with short curly hair. He? Is leaning back in the bench, a leg raised over one knee, staring up at the top of the lighthouse. There’s sounds of sea birds and the beginning of night bugs in the air, but the park hasn’t closed to the public yet, and it’s not empty by any means. A few people stand around, visiting the park, most are just there for a walk, a couple walking their dog, another taking a jog, but there’s only one person on a bench that fits the description.

Sunset is near, but not quite here, and Faulkner has the recipient in his sights. Well and good. It would have been better if someone had seen fit to give him the request a little earlier, of course, but there's not a lot he can do about that. What's important is that he'd managed to make his trip in time. Also that he'd done so without getting run over, wiping out, or going blind again.

Also that he'd sent a few text messages indicating where he was going. Just in case someone kidnaps him.


With that in mind, he feels fairly secure as he walks towards the person on the bench. "Castle?" he asks.

Yes, no one wants to be kidnapped.


For a moment, Castle doesn’t look away from the lighthouse, even raising a hand as if to quiet him for a second, before there’s another bird’s cry and the sound of the water against the rocks, before they look down at the younger man, with pale eyes highlighted a little by eye-liner and eyeshadow. The suit definitely gives a masculine look, but as for the rest, it’s difficult to tell. “Oh, yes, I’m Castle,” they say, in an American accent, a friendly smile cutting their mouth as they stand up from the bench, dusting off their pants with their hands. “You must be Faulkner. Nice to meet you.”

While tall, Castle is pretty skinny looking, spindly and not exactly muscular or strong looking. But it was hard to tell anyone these days.

Faulkner waits patiently; he's pretty sure this is Castle, and if it's not… he's still got enough time to look around and try to find them. Luckily, though, that doesn't appear to be necessary. "Pleased to meet you," he responds politely. He frowns slightly as he sees their face… in the sunset light, it takes him a moment to pick out what's up with their eyes. Then when he realizes that they've been expecting him, specifically, his frown deepens.

Someone asking for him specifically is… a little unusual. A recipient expecting him specifically on top of that is odder still.

But. The important thing here is getting the delivery passed off. "I've got a delivery for you," he says, offering the envelope. "Though I'm guessing you already knew that," he adds dryly.

“I did, I did— I hired you,” Castle says with a grin, reaching to take the envelope and rip it open at the top, using fingernails to cut the edge more cleanly. The letter pulled out seems to have a list on it. “See, my boss gave me a job, and it was boring, if I did it the normal way, so I decided to play a game with it. I’m Agent Castle, I was tasked with giving you a wellness check— for that plane crash you were in. Make sure you’re doing good, that everything’s ship shape and all. Or at least not getting worse.” Cause how can one really be ship-shape after they’d lost something that had been such an intrical part of them?

Yeah. But this Agent doesn’t seem very Agent-y— even if that is a nice suit really. “Mind if we walk?” is asked with a gesture toward the trail as asks, gesturing toward the trail so that Faulkner can walk his bike comfortably as well if he wanted. “I was told you had a home in Park Slope, but it’s hard to find things you’re way around there, and this seemed like better idea than just showing up at your house and annoying you for an hour.”

The paper is waved around, showing off that it’s just a simple list of questions, nothing else really. “It’s just a few questions, but if you have any concerns you can share them and I’ll pass them along.”

Agent Castle, huh? That explains that… although, to be fair, as unorthodox as Castle's approach had been, he had probably had the right idea. Park Slope is not always the most hospitable place, and Faulkner isn't a particular fan of surprise house calls — especially under the current circumstances. Instead, Castle had caught Isaac at the end of his workday, after a bout of exercise, when he's feeling at his best. And he'd even had Faulkner bring him his questions. How… interesting.

"Most people don't go there unless they have to," he says, shrugging nonchalantly. "And my place isn't exactly the best environment; Park Slope isn't big on creature comforts, unless you like gloom and solitude. So…" he glances towards the trail. A game, Castle had said. Why not? This was going to be his last job for the day anyway, and it's not like he's short on time at the moment. Maybe he'll be able to learn something.

"Lead the way, Castle," he says, with a faint smirk.

With a grin, Castle leads the way down the walkway, twisting the paper around to read the first bit out loud. And from the way it's read,, this may be the first time the agent has actually seen these questions. There’s a kind of naivety to the way the first one is read, “How has your appetite been?”

Then a moment later, there’s a face, the paper is waved to the side as if to fan away a bad smell, as he continues with a shake of his head, “Really guys? Who wrote this dreck. Oh well, I gotta ask what they want, I guess. We’re mostly just wanting to make sure that you’re recovering and adjusting, but these questions will help them decide that.”

Reaching into a pocket, a phone gets produced, one flicked skillfully with a left hand. This agent is definitely left-handed, from the look of things. “Do you mind if I record your answers? You can say no. I got an okay memory, I can fill in the blanks later.”

Faulkner chuckles a bit at Castle's reaction to the question; theatrical, perhaps, but entertainingly so.

"No objections to you recording my answers," Faulkner says nonchalantly, wheeling his bike after Castle. He waits a moment, allowing Castle a moment to press whatever buttons are needed to start recording… and watching to see if the agent actually does.

Then he answers. "My appetite is… somewhat reduced. Although I'm also somewhat less active these days, so it's possible that one is a byproduct of the other."

With the phone recording, Castle keeps walking, listening to the answers with small nods. “I guess that’s understandable. It’s a pretty big life change.” There’s something that’s almost understanding in that statement, but perhaps for different reasons. Well, likely definitely for different reasons. Faulkner knew most everyone on the plane at least by sight by now. There hadn’t been that many. This Agent hadn’t been among them.

“Have you been able to sleep regular hours and have you been experiencing any strange dreams or nightmares?” There’s that face again. “Really— did you come up with these questions, Em? Of course they’re going to have nightmares. They were kidnapped and in a horrific plane crash.” With a shake of the head, the Agent looks back at Faulkner with a hint of apology in their smile, perhaps due to the unprofessional outburst.

"My sleep schedule has been somewhat erratic, although that's not unusual for me; I've always been a rather light sleeper. In fact, I'd say I've been sleeping more than usual lately, if anything," he says, his tone one of faint amusement.

"And yes. I would agree that it has been… a fairly significant life change," he adds, amusement fading for a moment… then he chuckles. "As to bad dreams… occasionally. Nothing I can remember, much. Darkness. Silence. Distance."

He smirks, fixing Castle with a wry glance. "I have to admit, though, I'm surprised you're asking about bad dreams."

“Think we should ask about good dreams instead?” Castle asks, eyebrows raising with a grin. “But I didn’t write these questions. I guess it has to do with your mood or something.” That piece of paper gets fanned again, flapped through the air. There really aren’t even that many questions on it for what’s said to be a wellness check, but perhaps it’s just the conversation and the demeanor of the person in the conversation that is taken as much into the evaluation. “I mean the next part is pretty— have you had increased feelings of sadness, depression or any thoughts of self-harm?”

It was a standard question that doctors and other care providers were supposed to ask in specific situations.

Even as it’s said in kind of a ‘of course not’ fashion, Castle’s eyes still look toward Faulkner as if to check for something that might not be spoken properly. After all, when someone loses a big part of themselves… This is a worry that should be addressed. A concern they might need to take action over quickly, if it became valid.

Faulkner snorts when Castle asks about good dreams. "That would admittedly probably not be particularly helpful," he snickers, shrugging to concede the point.

Castle's next question is met with a sour chuckle. "Yes, yes, and no," he answers, his tone one of sardonic amusement. "In that order. If I hadn't been having feelings of sadness or depression, I think that would be worrisome in itself, don't you?" As he speaks, though, the amusement leeches away, the energy burning off to reveal a sense of exhaustion. "I am less than I once was, Agent Castle; that is a simple truth. There is a hole in my life, now, and I have to figure out how I can fill it."

He is silent for a moment. "For now, I'm dragging myself forward. Step by step, day by day. In time, I will walk, and then I will run. But for now, it's… difficult."

Faulkner takes a deep breath, visibly pulling himself back together. "So. Hopefully that was satisfactory. Next question?"

It must be satisfactory, because Castle nods and actually starts to fold up the piece of paper, like one might do when making an airplane, or a piece of origami. With only one hand, so it’s slow going. “I think that’s enough for the script from upstairs. Let’s ask some more interesting questions, eh?” there’s a question to the voice, but that’s not one of the questions. The phone continues to record, though, as they slip their finger through a phone ring so they can continue folding with both hands and just have the phone dangle off their right hand.

“What happened to you was weird— have you experienced any episodes of deja vu? That whole about being somewhere you know you’ve never been but feeling like you’ve been there before?”

Whatever it is that the Agent is folding the paper into, it’s not an airplane. It’s definitely origami. And something that they’ve probably made thousands of times, from the way they’re barely paying attention to it.

Faulkner walks silently for a moment, expression creasing thoughtfully. "No…" he says after a moment, frowning. "No," he says a second time, this time sounding a bit more certain, though still thoughtful. "You're right, though. That was a more interesting question."

Downright odd, even, to ask about deja vu in the context of a horrific accident, isn't it? Asi's talk of copies floats unbidden into his mind, but is just as swiftly set aside. Observation is an art best practiced sans preconceptions.

That origami starts to take shape, and it’s definitely a bird of some kind. Perhaps a crane, which might make sense as it’s one of the most common Japanese origami shapes known to man, but it’s also a little— off anyway, wings pulled in tighter and laid back more. “It’s a common sensation, usually caused by memory problems, but not having memory problems is a good sign.” That may not be what the Agent was fishing for, but Castle makes it sound somewhat convincing.

Then gears are switched and another question gets asked, “If you had the opportunity to meet yourself, or another version of yourself, would you do it, and do you think you would be friends?”

Now that is definitely an odd one, doubly so on the heels of the last one. The answer that comes to mind immediately is yes, but… for all that the question seems purely hypothetical, Faulkner doesn't want to answer it lightly.

So he thinks on it for a moment, turning it over in his head, studying it. "If I had such an opportunity… then yes. I would," he answers, his gaze returning to Castle. "As to whether we would be friends…"

He takes a slow breath. "Impossible to say. I'd like to think so, but…" He trails off, silence falling for a few moments more as he considers. "I think it would depend at least in part on what was different between us. Wouldn't you agree, Agent Castle?"

“That would be a pretty big issue— “ The phone dangles off the ring hanging from the Agent’s finger as they finish up the piece of origami, which is still definitely some kind of water fowl. With it finished, Castle holds it out in offer to Faulkner, as if a gift, stopping to look at the younger man for a moment..

“How about this scenario~— “ For a moment, the way that the Agent says that word sounds a little off, as if there’s a hint of an accent lurking behind the word, or the Agent is just playing with the way the word is said.

“If you could meet the you from before the crash, do you think that he would be friends with the you now?”

Faulkner tilts his head quizzically at the odd pronunciation, but there's not really enough there to make anything in particular of it.

He studies the origami, considering Castle's question for a moment… but only a moment. Has he changed since the crash? Yes. Does he think that he's changed enough that the differences between his past and present selves are irreconcilable? No.

"I do," he says quietly, nodding once. He reaches out tentatively for the offered origami.

“Good to hear,” Castle says with a grin, before letting go of the piece of paper that’s now maybe a loon. The phone is turned over and flicked off, dropped down into a pocket on the inside of the agent’s coat. A moment later there’s a folded dollar bill (a twenty) between two fingers.

“I think that’s enough questions. A tip for your delivery. It was nice meeting you, Isaac Faulkner. If you have any questions or concerns, call your local SESA office and I’m sure they’ll help you out.”

The way that that is said, it sounds like Castle might not be with SESA after all, if that was the assumption.

"Oh, I will," he says, eying the… loon? for a moment. "And, honestly, I've enjoyed your little game, so thank you for that," he says, snagging the twenty as well.

"Though… I hope you'll not object if I ask one of my own, since you've finished with yours. Who exactly are you with, Agent Castle?"

There’s a moment where Castle hesitates, looking off into the distance for a moment, toward that lighthouse struction. It’s almost nostalgic really, but then they pull out another object, a wallet that flips open to show a badge. It’s a simple badge, not very fancy, but it does have a name— notably no first name. A picture. Some numbers. An agency seal. And an Agency name.

“The Department of Exterior,” the Agent answers. “I’m going to see if I can feed some birds. Have a good evening,” they say with a wave of fingers, before they continue down the walkway in the direction of the water.

Where there are probably signs saying: don’t feed the birds.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License