It Should Matter


ash_icon.gif melissa4_icon.gif

Scene Title It Should Matter
Synopsis Melissa runs into Ash at the Messiah headquarters, and topics like murder, innocence and kissing come up.
Date July 6, 2010

Howland Hook Facility

Ash is sitting out of the way of the construction crews, but still within easy sight upon walking out of the Hook facility. He's up on a pile of steel girders, just… sitting, and watching the men move about. He's got a sketch pad in his hands, and the pencil is moving over the paper with slow but sure strokes, the man's attention focused on a crane off in the railyard. He's ditched his normal button up shirt for the moment, the thing laying folded up to the side with his coat.

It's a hot day out, but that doesn't seem to have changed Melissa's style of dress. She's still in black and black. This time though, it's a skirt and tank top. Easier to stay cool that way. Her blonde hair is pulled up into a neat little knot at the back of her head, and she's got a backpack slung over a shoulder. It means that most of her scars are all nice and visible. Two gunshots on her left shoulder, little cuts all over her arms, and the line across her forehead. Not very attractive to most people.

She wandered out of the facility itself, perhaps because no one is there, though she pauses when she spots Ash. After a moment there's a soft sigh, then she begins moving over towards him, not calling out, but not making any effort to hide her approach.

Ash bears his fair share of scars himself. A few gunshot wounds are visible, one on his right shoulder, one on his left bicep, and the third on his right forearm. A number of small blade wounds cross his skin as well in random spots along his arms, not to mention the claw scars on his face. He continues to sketch, not paying attention to much else around him, which is rather unusual for him, then again, so is making concessions to the weather, which he has by not wearing his normal button up. He finishes his sketch, and lowers the pad down a bit, his eyes adjusting to focusing on the nearer rather than the far, and it's then that he spots the girl… still in black, and he shakes his head a bit, but raises the hand with the pencil in it in greeting.

The raised hand has Melissa nodding, but she still doesn't say anything until she's closer to him. "Hi Ash. Haven't seen you around in a while," she says, her tone nice and neutral. Empty, even. "Been well, I'm guessing?"

Ash lifts his sketchbook up again, and flips it over to a new page, his pencil taking a few little strokes here and there, laying the outline of a picture he can flesh out. He pauses when he's spoken to, his head tilting to look down to Melissa, a faint nod of his head to her. "I've been here." He offers back, eyes watching her for a second or two. "I'm alive. You?" With the question asked he lifts the sketchbook up again and resumes his drawing whatever it may be.

There's a shrug, and Mel steps forward, trying to steal a peek at the sketch. "Oh, you know. Couple explosions, tiny gunfight, drunken beatdown…The usual," she says casually. "But since I'm still alive, I must be doing something right. That or someone up there really likes me," she says, tipping her chin upward to indicate the sky. Or heaven.

Ash is sitting on a stack of steel girders, so is probably not in easy step up and see the sketch range. More than likely his feet are dangling up off of the ground a few feet or so. "Same shit different day." He mutters at the reply about what the woman has bee up to. He stops his sketch, and turns it around to show her. The picture is raw, mostly just outline at the moment, and that's not even finished, but it's a simple sketch of her in the railyard. "Or you're just good and know how to keep yourself alive." He lets a brow slide upwards, a smirk on his lips, then turns the book back around and resumes his sketch, his eyes though give a glance to Melissa's outfit before going back to it.

Head tilting, Melissa studies the sketch. "Huh. Never figured you for an artist type," she muses. "And no, I can't take credit for most of my recent shit. First explosion, had a friend pull me to safety. Doctor patched up the gunshot, and a bouncer ran off the Humanis First thugs who decided to see how I'd look with black and blue skin." At least she's honest?

Ash shrugs his shoulders a little bit to the statement about him being an artist. "Growing up I was a geek, still am I suppose. I learned to draw, was good at school, did all kinds of reading, was in honors classes.." He sighs softly. "Only learned to fight so I could protect myself." Pencil continues to move over the picture as he listens to the explanations for living through the situations. "You could have run those thugs off." He offers softly. "But yeah, the other two… not so much. Least you had people to take care of you."

Melissa shakes her head. "No, I couldn't have, Ash. I tried. And you've got people too, Ash. You've got all of Messiah, just like every other member. You get hurt, you call one of us, we get you fixed up. It's just how it works."

Ash lowers the sketchbook again, his eyes settling upon the blonde. He reaches over and grabs his button up, and his coat down, then slips forwards and drops down to his feet before he shrugs somewhat. "I have comrades. There's a difference between a comrade and a friend. A friend has your back when you're in a bar, or a restaurant, or down at the pool hall. A comrade doesn't. They do however, have your back when you're doing a mission." He offers a faint smile before bringing the cover of the sketchbook back around and sliding the pencil into it's spine.

A brow arches. "You really believe that, Ash? That you have no friends? Though I still disagree. Messiah helped me after my drunken beatdown. They'd do the same for you," she says, sounding utterly convinced of her words. "It wasn't a mission. It was just me getting my ass beat."

Ash stands there, silent for a long moment as he thinks about an answer to that question, finally, he offers a nod of his head. "I do." He says simply, sounding pretty convinced of the fact too. He listens and then shrugs his shoulders some. "Helps when you're good friends with the group's leader." He glances to her, then stops and sighs. "I'd rather not argue with you again, so it's probably best we drop that particular subject." With that he begins walking, not quickly, just walking, making his way towards the Hook facility with slow steps.

Melissa falls into step with him, shaking her head. "I don't know how good of friends we are, Ash," she admits in a soft whisper. "But you have friends, whether you believe it or not. But I've about reached my quota this year on trying to beat truth into stubborn heads. You won't believe me no matter how much breath I waste trying to convince you."

Ash turns his head, his eyes flickering to his walking companion before he snorts. "You're just as fucking stubborn as I am, possibly even more so, so where do you get off?" He looks back towards the facility, his shoes scuffing on the ground beneath his feet as he walks along. "If I have friends, name me one, cause I'm pretty fucking hard pressed at the moment trying to think of any."

Ash hunches his shoulders as he continues to walk, the man's eyes moving up to the facility to look it over, a comment made about it being an odd headquarters with a soft laugh.

"I never said I wasn't stubborn, just said I'd had my fill of trying to convince hard-headed people of truth," Melissa says with a faint smile. "Never said I wasn't one of those, now did I? And when you're not being condescending, I'm your friend, believe it or not. Maybe we won't ever be best friends, we bitch too much for that, but just friends? Yeah."

Ash scrunches his eyes up, eyebrows bunching together, and a hand lifts to rub at the bridge of his nose before dropping back down, his head turning to the side to look at Melissa. "You know, you throw an awful lot of rocks for someone who lives in a glass fucking house Mel." His grumble isn't truly irritated, more like frustrated. He stops at the doors to the facility, pulling them open, and ducks inside. His stuff is put down in a random spot, but he knows it won't be messed with in here, and then he turns and heads back over to Melissa, outside if she's still there, inside if she's followed. "We fight and argue almost every fucking time we talk Mel. Half the time I want to smack you, the other half I want to kiss you, despite the jolt of agony it would earn me." He laughs a bit, a soft and genuine laugh.

There's a sigh as Melissa follows, stopping just inside the doors. "I don't—" The comment about kissing has her stopping, blinking at him in surprise. "What? Wait, no, you're just trying to distract me," she says, shaking her head. "And I never said I didn't annoy you too, Ash. Just said you annoyed me. And hell, you wanna smack me, go for it, if it'll get it out of your system. I've had a hell of a lot worse than a slap, and if it would clear the air, then it'd be worth it."

Ash makes his way back over to her then since she's stopped inside of the doors. He stops a few paces away, the big man's hands at his waist, thumbs hooked into the belt loops of his jeans. He blinks a single time at the mention of him being distracting. "No I'm not? What fucking purpose would I have in trying to distract you? When have I ever? I have no problems with confrontation, you should damn well know that." His head is given a shake to the offer to hit her. "No." He states firmly, his eyes focused in on her features now, the answer standing rock solid, and him just standing there.

"Why? Or rather, why not? If it would get it out of your system so that we would fight less, I could deal with a smack," Melissa says, shrugging. "It's not like I'm any stranger to pain. And with us both being in Messiah, with there being the possibility of going on missions together in the future, we need to be able to work together. Anything less could result in imprisonment, injury or death."

"I'm not going to fucking hit you Mel!" It's not.. quite… shouted, but close, his voice echoing around the interior of teh big building, no doubt turning a head or two from various and sunder present in the facility. Then, more quietly he narrows his eyes and speaks. "Why? Because, despite everything, you're a woman. It may sound sexist and shit, I don't care…" He stops and turns, looking at her, eyes lingering for a few moments, only for a flash of a grin to flit across his face like quicksilver, and then he leans in, and unless stopped, will kiss her, a quick and soft kiss to her lips, but a kiss before he's pulling back, expecting a jolt of white hot agony for his action.

Melissa's eyes narrow when he gives her gender as an excuse. Oh yeah, she thinks it's sexist, and Mel is all about equality. No doubt she would've plot some violence of her own in return for that. But then he's leaning in for a kiss, and she's so surprised that she doesn't think to pull back until he's already done so. She takes a step back, just one, and she looks at him, hard, eyes still narrowed. "Why…did you do that?"

Ash pulls back to a safe distance, about six feet, which is he guesses, about her striking distance, and then he offers her a slightly cocky smile. "Because I wanted to, but I also didn't want to get jolted onto my ass with pain so I kept it quick." A little chuckle bubbles from his throat, his face in a 'whatcha gonna do now?' type of expression, waiting to see how she reacts.

That has Melissa frowning. "I don't hurt people just for kissing me," she says, sounding almost offended. "And why would you want to kiss me? You said it yourself. We're always fighting. There's been a time or two that I would've loved to knock you on your ass for things you've said."

The information that he wouldn't have gotten blasted has him relaxing, the tension in his shoulders bleeding out. He doesn't duck back in for another kiss, that would be a bit cheesy, but he does offer a small smile to her. "It would take a lot of explaining, most of which wouldn't make any sense to you." He shrugs his shoulders, but doesn't seem ready to give more of a reply than that. He does allow himself to step in closer though, not trying to stay beyond the getting hit range anymore.

There are few places in the room where Ash would truly be out of Melissa's range. Just most of them make it impossible for physical violence without a gun. And really, where is she going to put a gun in that outfit? In her backpack maybe? When he takes a step forward, she takes a step back, shaking her head. "I'm not stupid, Ash. Explain it to me."

Ash sees her take the step back and he heaves a heavy sigh before he slips past her and makes for the doors, not at a heavy pace, just normal walking pace, letting her walk with him if she wants. Not the doors they came through, the doors that will lead back out to the whole of Staten Island. He waits to see if she's going to stick with him though, not talking unless she does, head turns, eyes going back over his shoulder to her, the twist of his neck bringing the Moab scar into view on the side of it, that round spot from all those vaccines.

His reaction, or lack of, has Melissa hesitating, frowning at him. But she's a curious girl, and she seems to truly want to know, so she follows, though not as closely as she did before. She leaves a good gap of space between them, and keeps an eye on him, as if worried about what he'll do next.

Ash sees her following, and his head gives a slight nod ina cknowledgement, and then his eyes are facing forwards again as he moves across the Howland Hook. "You're strong and independent, but you have no qualms with asking for and accepting help when you need it." That's spoken loudly enough for the woman to hear it, but not loudly enough to carry beyond the pair. HIs steps bring him to the doors on the opposite side, which he opens, and holds open for her, givign her plenty of space to go through the door.

That doesn't seem to lessen Melissa's confusion at all, and she shakes her head as she steps outside. "What's that got to do with it? Only fools don't ask for help if they need it. I do my best not to be a fool when it's at all possible to avoid it."

Ash glances over to her as he lets the doors close behind her and turns to start walking again. "Would you shut up and let me finish?" He asks with a rolling of his eyes towards the heavens. "And you're right. Only fools don't ask for help." He pulls in a light breath, then exhales it. "Shortly after I got out of Moab and got back to the city I had a girlfriend. Isis, a body snatcher. I was helping her teach herself to control her power and we got close. She was a strong woman, and independent, the kind I like. I"m not a guy who likes a meek woman who can't defend herself and make decisions for herself. Isis though, refused to ask for help, or to allow me to help. She'd disappear for days, sometimes a week or more. She'd be in trouble, but wouldn't clue me in. So instead I had to sit in the dark worried sick about her and unable to do a damn fucking thing." He continues walking, a lacing of old anger and frustration in his voice. "I cared a great deal about her, but I broke it off, because.. I couldn't do that anymore. Sit and wonder." He glances to Melissa again then. "I've kept myself distant from women in general since then. Not let myself get close to anyone beyond a casual acquaintance. You though, managed to break that. Can't say I love you or any shit like that, but I do care about your well being. Even if you annoy the hell out of me, and as I said, half the time I want to smack you, the other half I want to kiss you. And yes, I know I sound like a babbling idiot."

Melissa rolls her eyes, but makes a motion for him to continue, remaining quiet throughout his explanation. "So…because I'm strong, but not a fool, you've got this…thing…for me? Even though half the time we're around each other I'm wondering if this will be the day that we have one hell of a fight?" she says slowly, as if trying to really get it sorted out in her head.

Ash shrugs his shoulders to her question, as if he doesn't make a whole lot of it himself. "What? shit has to make sense?" He barks a soft laugh and his head shakes as he moves along, walking away from teh facility, his shoes scuffing every so often on the ground underfoot. "I don't know if it's a /thing/." He admits, his head lifting, eyes going to the sky. "And there wouldn't be a fight and we both know it Mel. I'm a killer, and I'm damned good at it. But I wouldn't stand a chance if it came to a fight between us. You'd paralyze me with pain and that would be it. I'm arrogant, and an asshole, but I'm not stupid. I know when I'm outmatched." He may not realize the full extent of her abilities, but he knows she'd have him cold.

Killer…Killings. That has Melissa going quiet, pensive, her thoughts turning to darker things than relationships and kisses and things. "I killed people last week, Ash. Put bullets in them. Me, just me. It wasn't incidental, it wasn't just wounding and someone else took care of the final blow. I killed them," she says softly, voice barely even a whisper.

A curious look is tossed towards Melissa as she talks about killing people, and his head is given a slight nod to it. "It happens." He murmurs. "But, what I meant was… that you'd have me cold despite my skills and experience." He then shakes his head a little, stopping to turn and look at Mel, concern in his eyes. "How are you holding up?" He asks, a genuine note of concern in his voice. He knew she'd have to kill, and now she has, and he's worried about her mental well being.

Melissa shakes her head at his first comments. "Not what I meant. And I was…At first I was nothing. It was the job. I shot, killed, moved on. I did what I had to do in order to keep us alive. To keep us safe. I didn't feel anything for those men. They were just…ants. Crushed underfoot. Nothing more," she murmurs, voice still soft.

A hand comes up, touching her hair lightly. "My hair was brown when we went. Dark. I had to get it turned blonde again, because every time I looked in the mirror, I saw my face at the airport afterward." She glances to him as her hand drops. "Part of me…" She shrugs. "I did what I had to do. I know that. I'd do it again. Hell, I know I will do it again, Ash. But another part just wishes that I could've had a normal life. One where I don't kill."

There's a lengthy pause. "Another part is just afraid. Because it was so easy at the time. I've essentially tortured people with my ability. It bothered me…at first…but then it just started becoming something I did. And part of me is worried that killing will become like that. It won't mean much to me. If anything. And it should mean something, shouldn't it?"

Ash is silent at first, just listening, and his silence lasts for a handful of seconds before he breathes in slowly and exhales with a long sigh. "Yeah, it should. It doesn't mean anything to me anymore. But it should. And that's why I fight, so more people don't have to come to this point that I'm at, where life means so little. A pull of a trigger, a thrust of a knife and it's over. That's all death is to me now. People shouldn't have to end up like this, no one. Not me, not you, not Peter, especially not kids like Harrison and Kendall. That's why I fight." He rolls his broad shoulders, sweat glistening and highlighting the man's scars. "Fuck it's hot." He mutters at the end of that, and if she lets him, he'll put an arm around her shoulders and resume walking.

Melissa nods at his agreement, but she's silent for a time. The arm around her shoulders has her stiffening automatically, and she shakes her head. "Not right now, Ash," she whispers as she steps to the side. "And you're right. Kendall and Harrison shouldn't have to learn how to kill. If I have my way, Kendall never will. But right now…I think I should go home." She gives him a faint smile. "Was nice talking to you, Ash," she says, before her steps quicken to carry her away. To carry her home.

Ash shrugs a bit, his arm falling to the side. "Was trying to offer some comfort. That's how normal people do it isn't it?" He doesn't seem put off or anything, more just confused, and in unfamiliar ground, with the whole trying to comfort someone thing. "Harrison is already in this though…" He shakes his head sighing. "And you as well…" He looks confused, but doesn't try to stop her. He himself turns and makes his way off towards his own apartment above the pawn shop, eyebrows furrowed as he ponders over what he might have done to upset her this time.

Melissa smiles a little and shrugs. "I don't know what normal people do, Ash. I've never been normal. Even before I manifested." And that, it seems, is that, because she says nothing more as she hurries off for home.

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