Hopefully Not


faye_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Hopefully Not
Synopsis Faye and Joseph meet under very different circumstances than the vision given to her back in June, and Joseph tries to repay a debt that he hasn't incurred yet.
Date August 20, 2010

New Faith Community Center: Bronx

The day could be described as low, with a cooler reprieve in the humid summer temperatures, the colour sapped out from the scenery with low cloud, and a sparse population of people in this corner of the Bronx. There's no rain, although the gathering of pendulous cloud above may change that soon enough, humid sealed into the city like a steaming pot. When Faye steps out onto the correct street as penned down by her for reference, the New Faith community centre is an obvious part of the city's atmosphere.

If not explicitly seperate. It's red brick, with grafitti spilling onto its corners from adjacent fencing and building, but open, friendly windows, NEW FAITH nailed in an arc above the main set of doors. These are closed, led up to by a spill of stone steps and a railing that goes up the middle. A sign nearby curves an arrow to the wheelchair access on the other side.

Unfortunately, the other thing Faye will notice almost as soon as she visually locates the building — it's closed and empty, those wide windows blanked out with dimness so that she can hardly see the open space within, the stacked chairs that can conform into pews and circles, the podium nudged off into a corner, although more clearly seen are the childrens' images taped up onto the glass, facing out into the street. A depiction of crayon braided hair, a stick arm clasping in a note to a figure with a crown of thorns and a scribbled beard to denotr Jesus Christ, our Saviour. A circle of yellow depicts a spiky sun.

Closed on Fridays after 4 pm. Services on the weekends, Wednesday nights. And yet, he did ask her to meet him here.

Unlike in the vision of the future, Faye's attire could be considered normal, if airy and light, a summer shirt with simple light capri pants, and flat comfortable shoes. No weapon hangs from her belt, and the visible ankles imply she's not hiding one there, either. The sight of a closed church makes her pause, though, pulling the piece of paper out and double checking the name against the name of the building, and the time against her watch. She's not late.

But the place isn't open.

Hand touching against the door, she squints through the darkened windows for signs of movement, before she looks away to the street, up and down, for someone who would seem familiar.

Hopefully this time not carrying a shotgun.

She doesn't have to wait too long until the sound of a slamming car door snaps through the audio landscape at the edges of her hearing. Where the diminutive Volvo was waiting on the curb, some short distance from the front of New Faith, there's a man now climbing out of the drivers' side, and a cursory glance will show he's the only one that was within it. A plaid shirt of faded red and white is pulled on over and buttoned closed against a generic T-shirt beneath, the sleeves rolled up above his elbows and left untucked over pale jeans, the hems of which partially tucked into sturdy brown boots of a suedy-texture.

He is unthreatening, is a good way to describe Joseph Sumter, with dark hair grown a little foppish, angular features that he grew into several years ago, small dark eyes, a line of tension showing in his brow. Unarmed, too, with twin crucifix dangling on a silver chain that spilled out from his collar.

And a briefly apologetic smile when she does notice him moving down the pavement towards her, as if it to say sorry of the theatrics.

"I was beginning to think I had the wrong information," Faye says with a small smile, sticking her hands into the pockets of her capri pants, to put away the piece of paper, but also to keep them in there. It may come off as rude, but there's a reason for it. And gloves were too uncomfortable in this heat, even if it was cooler today.

"It's nice to meet you, finally," she says, a few more slow steps carrying her closer. "I'm Faye Crawford. I'd offer to shake your hand, but my telepathy is based on physical contact, and I can't always keep it from happening." Something he might know a lot about. Or so she understands from what she could find on him in her free time. "Is this the church you attend?" she asks, looking back over her shoulder and away from him.

Slowing to a polite halt that is just shy of unfriendly in its distance, Joseph glances up at the face of the Bronx community centre, darting over its familiar words and the images in the windows. His own hands settle into pockets, and he nods, just once. "Kind of. My— my former senior pastor, he talks here regular like and sometimes has me helpin' out with sermons. It's a refuge, and about one of the last strictly Baptist gatherings in this city. One that don't have a strong opinion've people like us anyhow."

A glance back to her, then, a shy once over before studying instead the cracks in the pavement. It's jarring, for him, to encounter a stranger willing to speak so neutrally about her status in this world, but then again, his own perceptions surrounding it have been skewed of late. "Is there somethin' I can help you with, ma'am?"

And her perception of him, as brief as it had been in the vision, seems to be coming up against doubt and need to redefine. No matter what she'd read about him, it still didn't prepare Faye for actually meeting him. What do you say to the nice Christian Pastor who killed you in a vision of the future? That's a question she's not sure anyone can answer at all. Not even herself— but she'll have an answer soon. No matter how it turns out.

"I've been looking for you for a while now, ever since the tenth of June. The day of the flashes," she explains quietly, looking past him for a moment, and reaching out toward that small sensation in the back of her mind that tells her that her daughter is okay. She checks it more often than she probably should, even if she doesn't speak. It's a comfort, for her. When she looks back, her eyes focus again, "I saw you in my vision. You looked vaguely familiar, and it took me a while to track you down. My daughter, Peyton, she helped me arrange this." Once she got up the nerve, at least. Even if she looks quite young to be Peyton's mother.

Instant guilt may tell a different story to Faye — but it's toned down, schooled, just a pulling frown at the corner of his mouth, a compulsive reaction to talk of the flashes that have him dreading what she's going to say next, high anxiety beginning to climb up his ribcase from the inside, but it's paused when what she says next— isn't what he expects, remotely. Nothing to do with what caused the flashes, only what was contained in them, and two bushy eyebrows fly up at the news that he was in one.

"She did?" he asks, voice hiking in its surprise, and a small frission of doubt in the way he looks her over. "I, uh. I didn't get a vision, myself. One of those that didn't, I guess." Joseph doesn't know, half the time, why he lies — and why it's suddenly so easy to do it, when he's talking to strangers.

The guilt takes her by surprise, but it's interpretted as being guilty for something else. But how could he know about it, unless someone else had a vision around the same time and had told him— But Faye shakes her head, sure that he must have some other reason to feel guilty. Because he couldn't possibly have known what happened in her vision, especially if he didn't even have one.

"I suppose I just wanted to meet you, see who you were. I'm not going to allow my vision to come true, and I think that might be why I had it— to show me that what I do isn't where I should stay."

A strange way to look at it, but— she doesn't wish to die. And the vision enlightened her on something else all together. That perhaps the job she signed on for won't always be the job she wants to do. Saving lives is one thing, but at what expense? And whose lives would she be saving?

"You're not really what I expected, though, I have to admit."

"Change o' pace. I'm usually about what people expect," Joseph counters, with a hesitant half-smile, all Tennessee accent, gentle expressions, bearing his crosses. He moves to the right by a few paces, enough to lean a hip against the concrete railing that paves its way on either side of the staircase leading up to locked doors. Packed with soil, cigarette butts littered among dying, unkempt plant life — it's rare for a corner of NYC to not be depressingly dreary, and he picks at some of the weedy leaves in an absent fidget.

A glance up, once more, to locked doors, then back towards the woman. "But I guess there's a lot've the unexpected, come November. So, who should ask questions first? I c'n tell you a little've me, or you can say what business I had in your future."

For a moment, Faye can't help but wonder what her commanding officers would say about telling a perspective enemy about a possible raid— and if indeed telling him gives him the warning to arm himself. Prophecy is difficult to understand, even in the best of situations, but— Maybe he won't need to ask too many more questions, because she removes her hands from her pockets and pushes her hair out of her eyes, behind her ear, before she begins.

"I'm the Communications Officer for Squad Two of Unit One of FRONTLINE, and in the flash, we were raiding a building. It looked like a regular apartment building. It was just a snap-shot, a brief look, but I knew I didn't want to be there, that I disagreed with the orders, whatever they were— I didn't get that part. But I know it wasn't something I wanted to be involved in."

There's a brief pause, to allow her to take a breath. "I turned a corner, into a room, and there you were— and you shot me."

Rabbits do this, deer in the road, prey that is easily killable in a lot of ways — going still. This is what Joseph does in the wake of uncoming headlights in the form of the law, for all that the words that rattle on afterwards are reassuring ones, or could be if he read them that way. His wariness is a subtle kind of thing, but he can't stop obvious distrust making his jaw tighter or showing in the black-brown discs of his eyes as he watches her speak.

Unreadable, too, when she reaches the crux of her description, wind briefly kicking up to do the expressing for him — nervous fidget at the hems of his shirt, flopping the collar over, rustling its invisible fingers through his hair.

"You're not here t'arrest me, are you?" is all he thinks to say, somewhat numbly.

For a moment, there's silence. And then Faye starts laughing. Just a little bit, as she backs up a few steps and shakes her head, still laughing through her nose, even if she's keeping her mouth closed after the first few moments. "No— I'm not arresting you. I don't think that would be legal, because it's a crime you haven't even commited. And it's not going to happen at all, so no one should be going after you over it." Or so she's determined it to be— if she doesn't go, will he just shoot someone else?

This is one of the reasons she had to tell him, rather than just meet him.

"I don't know where it took place. Apartment building is vague and— I probably couldn't even identify it if I saw it tomorrow. It's been two months." And memory isn't her ability. All apartments kinda bleed together, too. "You seem like a very nice man, and that future doesn't need to happen. For your sake, and for mine as well."

He nods tensely, no breaking relief or shared mirth when she laughs, just tense silence — for all that Joseph seems to believe her, in her plainclothes and lack of skulking partner in some car nearby. Joseph's hand has already drifted up to touch the dangling crucifixes, rubbing the pad of his thumb over the smooth glass of one them, the stained kind seen in church windows and set in silver. The other, chipped gold, lies against his knuckles, glimmering in low sunshine.

"No, no," he says, the way people do when they're agreeing. "I mean— I'd never— I've never shot anybody." He amends that with; "Not with a gun." Joseph doesn't elaborate on what he's shot someone with, though, too distracted by the revelation. "I don't want that future to happen either. I don't— can't imagine why somethin' like that might come to be. But I'm— for what it's worth, I'm glad you saw it, ma'am."

"I am too, honestly," Faye says with a nod, her smile not carrying any mirth, even if she found his previous question to be a little on the funny side. There's sadness behind her brown eyes, which might make her smile a little more down than it could be. "It's not every day you get to see a snapshot of your future and it allows you to have second thoughts about your current purpose. Though I guess for some people that's a little more common than others." Like, him. From what she found out, he's probably seen this a few times, in others.

"And I'm glad I got to meet you under different circumstances than that. Perhaps just meeting you was enough to change it from happening. But even then, it doesn't change that I will likely get ordered to do things I don't want to do, come November." Small changes may keep certain things from happening, but would the big things happen?

And she knows her training, too. Raids were one of the many training drills she went through.

"Things, uh, do seem like they get a little wild, come November." Joseph's hand goes out to grip the centre railing, lever himself down to sit on the steps that leader up into the community building — his invitation for her to join him is not explicitly made, but he doesn't appear to be dismissing her, either. Pensiveness has crinkled his brow, threatening to remain that way at the news of a future murder, and there are things he wants to ask about it, that he doesn't seem totally willing to. Like maybe he doesn't want to know, completely.

That hand remains folded around glass cross pendant. "You know, then, what I can do? I mean. Seein' as you went ahead and looked me up, and I'm Registered and everything. If it helps any, visions of the future— they don't always come true. So there's— room. Believin' otherwise is fatalistic, and that just ain't Christian, for all that I say that visions are gifts from God. You a believer, ma'am?"

And with how selective the vision was, it's difficult to know if she could answer them. Faye steps up after him, though, hanging back and taking each step in a deliberate fashion, with the idea that he'll let her know if she wasn't supposed to follow. The fact he's still speaking directly to her implies it enough. "Yes, I read up what you could do before meeting you. It was actually you're… run in with Humanis First that helped me find you, though— you were taken around the same time as my daughter had been. When I was researching what happened to her, I'd seen you mentioned in the newspapers, and even some pictures."

From before he'd been taken. In nicer days. When his church was known for being pro-Evolved, and he offered his services to help people find their path.

"I definitely believe there's room to avoid what I saw. I don't intend to walk in without taking the vision as a warning. It's like my father always used to say— being prepared is better than anything else, and if nothing else, this is preparing me for whatever will happen in November." However it happens.

And with how selective the vision was, it's difficult to know if she could answer them. Faye steps over toward him, hanging back a bit for a moment, before she lowers down onto the seat as well, settling her hands on the knees of her capris. The fact he's still speaking directly to her implies the invite more than anything else. "Yes, I read up what you could do before meeting you. It was actually you're… run in with Humanis First that helped me find you, though— you were taken around the same time as my daughter had been. When I was researching what happened to her, I'd seen you mentioned in the newspapers, and even some pictures."

From before he'd been taken. In nicer days. When his church was known for being pro-Evolved, and he offered his services to help people find their path.

"I definitely believe there's room to avoid what I saw. I don't intend to walk in without taking the vision as a warning. It's like my father always used to say— being prepared is better than anything else, and if nothing else, this is preparing me for whatever will happen in November." However it happens.

'Run in' is polite; creates a twitch of rue at his cheek, dark eyes sliding his attention away for the time being and watching the dim Bronx street, not quite empty of people, but it was probably crowded more in New York's own nicer days too. 'Taken', a little bit balder, plainer stated, and there's a glance of sympathy at the mention of Faye's daughter. "Well, here's to maybe already changin' things," Joseph says, with a tuck in of his chin in a nod, a brief smile. "Maybe—

"Well. On account of maybe shootin' you, I could owe you a favour. I haven't used my gift in— a long while. I could count on my hand how much it's been this year. Been more selective about when it seems like the right time." When other's are not so selective, and the memory of his ability abused the way it was tastes metallic at the back of his tongue. Swallowed down. "If you'd like, I could maybe help you see what's ahead now?"

"I couldn't think of a nicer man to maybe get shot by," Faye says with a smile, actually telling a joke, when she's usually not the joking type. It's certainly not something to joke about. After all, at the time she woke from the vision she'd been terrified, and afraid. Alone, and needing some comfort. And there was only one person she could tell about it. It became easier to cope with the further it went.

A hand is offered over, taken from the tops of her knees, and held out gently. It's a worn hand, one that's seen hard work, but kept moisturized and woman-like at the same time. "You don't owe me, but perhaps if I see a different future, we'll both know that you're off the hook." Though she's sure that he will be— if it comes down to it, she will take actions very different than the ones she saw.

Rubbing his palm once down his jeans, just in case of clamminess as his hands seem about as clean as a man's will get, Joseph gently takes her's in a hold that might be surprising in its own roughness. Work calluses, a rough texture to the heel of his palm, and you can't see, anymore, where a wedding ring used to sit, absent as it is and for how long it's been that way. "Me off the hook?" he notes, with a crooked kind of smile. "It's you I'm worried about. Alright. Just close your eyes so you don't get yourself dizzy.

"They're a lot more symbolic than— what I hear about the visions y'all saw. Usually. Abstract in ways that can sometimes just make sense at the time it happens, but— I guess we're just looking for something that ain't, so it'll be easier. Here goes."

The occasional breezes tickle at their faces, hair, clothing. The sound of the city is a low rumble, and the dim sunlight presses patterns against Faye's eyelids. But nothing, otherwise.

The imagery of sunlight playing on eyelids can be abstract all on it's own, like looking into a fractile, forever looping and expanding, the small throbbing on blood through the thin veil of eyelids causing movement and vague inconsistancies, the shifting of the light as the sun is lowering in the sky. But Faye expected something more. Actual images, flashes of some kind, voices in her head, maybe. Something. But all she feels is the strange sensation that always comes when she touches someone, reminding her she can open up a connection with them.

She chooses not to, out of respect for the man, but her head tilts to the side, "I'm not seeing anything— are— does it take a while to happen?" The report didn't mention delays in it working, and she's not sure how else to consider it. She doesn't pull her hand back, infact offering him a small squeeze, but her eyes open again and she looks over at him, confused.

By the time she does look towards him, Joseph is eyeing their joined hands with some doubt. If there's something amiss, he can feel it too, as sure as one might sense the faultiness in a light switch, or maybe the complete absence of one altogether. He's a year and change off forty, and it shows in the shadows of lines at his eyes, though his earnest expression harks to younger years also. His other hand comes around to clasp on her's, his own dark eyes shutting, like it might help, maybe some quick prayer scrolling through his head.

Nothing, still. Eyes opening, Joseph remains holding her hand for just a second more before both leave it to hang in the air between them, touch retracting as smooth as a burning leaf curling inwards. "Had, um. An incident once, when I hit my head, where the visions came floodin' inwards. After Humanis First, sometimes they'd just sort of spring on people without my meaning it.

"Never just not worked though."

The touch breaks, and so does the sensation of possible connection. Faye's smile is soft and gentle, as she shifts over to touch his wrist for a second to say, "It's okay. As long as it doesn't mean I have no future, then maybe it's just not supposed to happen, right now. Though it would have been nice to see what was in store for me from your ability. Maybe— maybe in a while. You said you hadn't used it for some time, so perhaps you just fell out of practice." Or perhaps…

It wasn't meant to be. "You still don't owe me, as long as we both take this message into November and try to make sure that our future doesn't follow what I saw."

She's still framing it in terms of the now, the vision here today, the significance of its failure. Joseph's thought process is a little more distant than that, studying his lined palms as if they might hold the answers, a different kind of fortune than the one he can usually so easily provide. But it only takes a few seconds of not listening before the former pastor finds a way to shelve sudden growing anxieties, tuck them away, let his hands fall and link together.

"I'll— yeah. Absolutely," he agrees, with a hint of a strained smile. "Simple as keepin' a gun outta my hands come November eight, ain't that right?" Gripping the railing, Joseph goes to pull himself to his feet, and when he offers his hand this time, it's to help her do the same.

"I hope it can be that simple. Or if you have to— aim lower. The faceplate isn't nearly as strong as the chest armor is," Faye says as she shifts, standing up from her perch on the steps, and turning to face him, on the same height, much as he's standing with the help of the railings. She doesn't know all the anxieties going on in his head, nor would she even if she had made the connection, but she can see the worry in his eyes. It somehow makes her less worried.

Anyone else having shot her and she might have considered putting them in holding for a day come November. Homeland Security can hold without charges for a certain amount of time.

And she's sure they could do it, if she revealed her vision to her superior officers. But she won't.

The future may have changed already.

"It was nice to meet you, Joseph Sumter. Perhaps we can meet again later, though hopefully not on November eight." Hopefully not.

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