s_calvin_icon.gif unknown13_icon.gif

Scene Title Insidious
Synopsis Calvin's sleep is interrupted.
Date December 15, 2010


Night. Mid fall. If there were leaves they'd be orange and the air's already cold enough to make the cloying damp uncomfortable. Dirty water stings in its grey filter through the soft bristle of his beard when he runs it over his face from the shallow sink of a caved in car hood. Hands pale, face morseo, chilly stuff running down the wiry cords in his neck to soak past his collar and into the shirt beneath that. Ginger mane. Dramatic coat. High collar. Long tail.

Bare feet. His toes curl numb against cold concrete, restless when he rights himself to survey the empty street, runoff dripping thin off his chin and the tip of his nose. Hands held clawed away from his sides, like he thinks he's heard something. He's breathing faster than he could be but slower than he should be, deadly calm under the circumstances. Tellingly so, perhaps, for anyone with an interest (or PhD) in such matters.

In any case, he's clever enough not to cut in run, clear blue eyes seeking out rings of green in the dark, or still worse — red. A softly oiled inorganic whirr or a scrape.


When it does happen, it comes from somewhere higher than maybe he anticipated. A soft creak of stressed metal, and a subtle thump, and then stillness. It comes from the direction of an adjoining side street, cast into angles of black and grey, and fire escape makes a dynamic shape against the flat, desolate side-face of a building. Whatever was there is out of sight— from where it had been on the steel staircase, anyway— by the time he thinks he took in that direction, save for a swift shadow that lands too lightly to be something anyone might consider a threat.

A flash of red tresses as well, of glossier quality and lengthier excess. The silhouette it's attached to sinks against the shadows of the wall. Someone is doing a bad job at being sneaky, and they're doing it across the road of the dented car reject.

Gripped cold by a paranoid tickle of adrenaline licking up the straight base of spine, Calvin holds his ground, brows hooded and eyes narrowed sideways after the flicker and blend of Someone Else rather than Something else in the shadows.

He's worse standing still than he is on the run, eyeline invisible under the shadows pitched in by his brows, the shape of his shoulders haggard under his coat. Teeth white in a sneer that doesn't last because he bites it back, defensive impulse smothered by reason where he has the unruly crest of his ruff and coat to make him appear larger than he is. Ginger or not, there are not many people here likely to poke fun.

An increasingly feeble drip. drip. drip. plots circles of darker pavement into the space splayed out between his overlarge feet while he watches and waits. Standoff.

Until he isn't watching or waiting any longer, and is instead stepping back and sideways one-two-three four to blend himself into the familiar womb of an alley too black to see into easily.

There's a saying, about how you can run, but you can't hide. Overused.

But truthful, in some situations, and this might be one of them. If he's watching, he'll see someone emerge as if in a kind of concession of a standoff lost, a coat doing much to obscure shape and form — it's the season for it. Light from the ambiance of an open night time street runs up long legs, the hem of black or navy or dark green wool as shadows are drawn back like a pulled curtain. Before it can tease towards the frazzled ends of ginger hair or pale throat, Calvin might suddenly get the feeling that he's not alone in the alleyway anymore.

A split second earlier than a touch of a fingertip to his shoulderblade, touch retracted as swiftly as it came, and the scrape of a heel against concrete as the offender steps back. The face he encounters is half obscured by a mask — but rather than fixed in place, it's attached daintily to the end of a tortoiseshell patterned rod, masquerade-like, and it flits away just as easily. Hair the same tone of autumnal leaves is fashioned into loose finger curls, and heavily made over eyes blink once.

She doesn't exactly match this place, save for the pragmatism of a woolen coat, the lankness of ginger hair, and a tired quality in blue eyes. "Where're we going?" she whispers, conspiratorially.

The figure across the road is gone. Because she's here, now.

"S'there anything I can help you find, princess?"

Calvin's voice emanates from aft rather than fore — a disjointed jitter of displacement reversing him from the brow-knit look he'd been in the process of craning back at her over his shoulder to some four or five strides previous, framing him close to the alley's mouth. Not unfriendly, necessarily. Just unsettling.

There's water in his nose and he sniffs, nonplussed, save maybe for some residual tension ossified into the cro-magnon ridge of his brow when he lifts a sleeve to scrub after moisture inclined to linger there over his chilly Cheshire stare.

Closer, the earlier and warmer Calvin remains at a more muddled blank, shoulderblade poked sharp under his coat against subtle contact. He looks less interested in conversation. Sullen, even, in his molasses slow survey of red hair and elegant mask. Two Calvins and no answer.

The mask is pulled from her face, twirled by its stalk between long fingers as Jasmine schools herself into looking not quite as startled as she might feel at the second shape that cuts its way into reality. Startlement and maybe vague guilt, which is communicated more in hesitation than expression, pulling back another step from either Calvin on sensible, modestly heeled shoes. "An umbrella," she suggests, one shoulder raising up and rolling a glance upwards at dreary night time sky seen in a fraction beyond the open top of a New York alleyway. Clotting clouds making sure there aren't any stars out tonight.

"But that's just me. I was just asking you a similar question." She tilts her head towards the closer of the Calvins, arms bundling around herself. The dress worn beneath is plain, grey, too wide of a neck for the chill, the pale ridge of a collarbone visible. "You seemed a little lost."

"Oh yeah?" Genuinely, even politely interested, the more astute of these two Calvins proffers a skeptically inquisitive lift of his brows. Appraising of his other self as he takes a long cross step closer, careful and slow, as if to avoid disturbing the natural interaction of dream and dreamwalker. "I suppose I do seem a bit down and out."

The same murky water drying in rivulets along the sleek sculpt of cheekbones and nose marks both men along the same irregular paths, with the same smudges and the same stray hairs sprung coarse around the same eerie blue eyes. "But a little rain never hurt anyone. I even look like I could use a shower."

Not quiet optimistic in the face of a dimly squinty look from his current, former and perhaps imagined self, Calvin prowls on, bare feet quiet against concrete in his indirect curve around after Jasmine's back. He trails a hand 'round her waist on the way, and seems likely to stop once he's there, awfully familiar. With her. "You're looking nice, though. I like your shoes. Very sensible," loftily complimentary as it is warm near the back of her neckline.

"Nowhere," is the belated answer the original Calvin has to give. Genuine. He really doesn't know. "M'just walking."

There's an uncomfortable bodily shift beneath the fall of her coat, long fingers latching tighter around the mask's stalk and the hem of buttoned wool. Outwardly, Jasmine allows for a half-smile, showing a sliver of ivory between painted lips, that open a little more to reply before the second— or rather, the first Calvin interjects with his answer, and the other can probably feel the startlement that goes with it.

At least sense it. "Thank you," in belated response to compliment, hesitant, before turning with a swish of wool and scrape of (sensible) heels against the concrete so as best to stand side on. "Coincidentally, they're good for walking."

And have them both in her view. Resting a hand on his shoulder— a small, vaguely flattering sqeeze— and a brighter smile to follow. Blue eyes match blue eyes in darting analysis, a curl of auburn rainwater-plastered onto her brow. "Had I known there'd be two of you, I might have brought a date," and that last consonant clips deliberate on her teeth. "Is three a crowd, Calvin?"

Is three a crowd? "Don't think so, no."

As for the squeeze, Calvin rolls with it, comfortable enough for both of them, relevant shoulder dipped as if into the start of an indolent waltz that never gets so far as actual footwork. "I could be your date." Evidently arrogant enough to think himself worthy of such an honor, however ephemeral and temporary, Cal dips the damp-spined scruff on his chin to better measure the placement of his bare feet on either side of hers. As a gesture, in tandem with a quieter note to the drift of his voice, it might appear deceptively shy if not for the fact that he is bold enough to look directly at her again once he's verified where he is. And how he is, slacks dark with damp from heel to calf and dreads sickled lank in the humid air.

The less outspoken ginger — behind him, now — eyes them warily every now and again on his way to withdrawing deeper into the alley's pit, not quite alarmed or "present" enough to bristle. It doesn't take him long to draw himself up onto the closed lid of an old dumpster to better reach the rung of a rusty fire escape.

Smile wavers, overt shyness in a stare dipping down and away towards where one bare foot makes its pale outline on the slick concrete, but that hand doesn't move. The texture of his coat is tested between thumb and the side of her finger, other hand now settling on his other elbow with the mask's handle caught between fingers, flagging elegant shape on a discarded angle. Perfume is roughly the same scent as her name, a little mature of a choice, maybe, and too summery for an autumn New York evening of rain.

"And go dancing?" Jasmine says, with a lift of coy hope in her voice, but they are standing too close for Calvin to not detect the slide of her attention off him and towards where the other one has decided that three is a crowd, continuing his story in the direction of the fire escape. "How irresponsible of us. What were you doing out here?"

And back to the one standing inches from her, a small line in her brow to communicate a sort of concern. "It's dangerous for a stroll. You're so scared."

"I hear there's still a club or two operating out've Chelsea these days." Calvin smells a lot like the city. Wet concrete, newspaper and car exhaust. A touch of cigarette smoke and an underlying tang of warm metal in the coarse wool of his coat are customary as well — the latter a more recent addition. Increasingly common despite the cold.

Which he only seems to have just remembered. His next breath is foggier than the last, tempered by the barest edge of a shiver when he follows her eyes after himself. Climbing.

Hand and foot, sole to slick iron and flakey rust on his slow progress the second level landing. He pauses once he's there, study tilted up and then down before he decides to settle in. Maybe for the night.

"Happens a lot when you're wont to roam," says Calvin on the ground, patient for all that watching himself at a distance feels increasingly unnatural. "Y'lose track've time. Sun goes down." His brows lift — more polite than a shrug. "I made it out alright."

Ah is more mouthed than spoken, eyes hooding, eyelashes thick and black from where they're darkened with careful application of pencil. "I know what happens when roaming," Jasmine agrees, with a wry tilt to her smile, watching the second Calvin make his perch with the same anxiety as a dog left on the porch. She doesn't whine, at least, but there is something fundamentally wrong about being left behind, evidently, her fingers tightening compulsively on Calvin's sleeves.

Vapour streams out in a sigh. "I don't think that you're the one I should be talking to," she says, now bringing up the mask on its stick to tap stiff felt against his jaw, before moving to sway back a step. The world around them shimmers, a little, but doesn't change — raindrops fall upwards after a slow down, and there's a ghostly rattle of the rusty fire escape.

Not exactly a threat, depending, but a toying of a rewind button, for all that dreamwalker and the incarnation before her stand as impassive to it as they do the falling rain.

Blackly ringed as they are in their habitually thick application of kohl, Calvin's eyes go all the bluer and blacker at the glitchy reversal while he (but not him) drags backwards out've his huddle in his coat and turns as if to descend off balance down the open gap from landing to ladder. He then finishes leaning forward again, more slowly than before, arms pulled in out've soggy sleeves one at a time to better mold coat into blanket.

It's not an effect he's happy to witness from afar, requisite awe dampered considerably by displeasure painted in subtle strokes through the angles of brow and cheekbone and jaw. But the impulse to intervene is fleeting and the tension even moreso; he remembers to breathe insofar as breathing is necessary in the given setting, poker face precariously maintained in the dim and dank and damp.

"You think he'll tell you anything different?"

Expectancy is divided between one and the other, although for all that the more vocal of the Calvins can tell, Jasmine has her eyes turned upwards on the slow down of movement going on, water glimmering upwards for the sky before dropping again. Wet and irregular patters against coat shoulders and pavement underfoot, and she swallows as he asks that question, chin tucking in shyly. "I think that's what you're for," she notes, quietly, still looking somewhere away like one might when chastised. Or admitting something. "To tell me anything different."

She drifts a step aside, a more physical representation of concession. Mask spins on tortoiseshell stalk with a fidget of fingers, offering him a more genuine smile than the ones that came before. "Sorry," she says, almost quiet enough that the shape her mouth makes saying it is a better cue than audible syllables.

"Well'm here because you are," says Calvin. "It's alright, though."

"No harm done."

Forgive him if the punctuation there is a touch pointed. Prickly even, in the style of a rankled nose or clipped teeth, though neither shows in the shadows around his face when he angles it away and the rainfall resumes its cloying run across dirty brick and into broad, flat puddles.

He watches her drift, bitterly resigned to nebulous suspicion the way self-aware creepers sometimes are. Like he knows he must deserve it for something or another, even if they are all on the same team now.

Or supposed to be.

"S'everyone else safe in their beddy-byes?"

Mouth opens, probably to say how that's not exactly what she meant, and argue, but Jasmine gives up even before he can properly cut her off, gaze dropping only to steadily climb its way back up him by the time she feels his regard on her. "Not everyone," she says, with the sigh of someone who only wishes that people could, you know, sleep at the same time. Get more out of their days. "But that's par for the course. I'll leave you alone." It's warmly spoken, as opposed to dismissal, and—

A decision she can make. Much like the darting step forward, and the bird-light grip on his sleeve. Jasmine leans into place a kiss against one haughty cheekbone, soft and warm and fleeting.

Calvin has less time to make more or less the same calculation in turn — his profile slated back in to return the gesture in a touch to her hip and an easy press of a kiss to her near cheek. "Good to see you again," even sounds well-meant as far as farewells go, for all that he makes no obvious effort to escort her to any metaphorical door.

A smile that's more in her eyes is meant to communicate much the same. Then, Jasmine is gone, a brief flicker-glimmer of a woman with red hair turning for the mouth of the alleyway, edited ahead and stepping out onto pavement, before disappeared altogether. Leaving Calvin alone with a dumpster, and, well.


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