Kamikaze Kindness


rocket_icon.gif shard_icon.gif

Scene Title Kamikaze Kindness
Synopsis A street urchin meets someone else's rap star hero, fallen but unfaded. It is like they are from two completely different Staten Islands, but they agree to meet.
Date August 26, 2009

Staten Island: Coast

The coast of Staten Island is as much of a presence as its inland, with rivers that invade right into its heart as well as cutting off the circulation of transport from the rest of New York City. The coastal regions reflect a lot of this borough's rural nature, with rough shores and plantlife, broken brick, and general abandonment. The harbors are left to the devices of those that freely come and go, a conspicuous lack of official presence - a number of them notably overrun by the developing crime syndicate, but there are still quite a few, particularly on the coasts nearest to Brooklyn and Manhattan, that are accessible to the lawful public.


The waves lap onto the beach peacefully, advancing before retreating back once again. And the cycle repeats over and over. The only sound disturbing the serenity of the waves is a small, yet persistant


The lighter pops open and generates a small flame before being doused at. The zippo is played with idly. The flame persisting back after being put out, it seems the little flame doesn't want to give up.

The waves rush in, and the flame springs up. The waves fade back and the flames die down. His eyes stare down the vast amounts of water levelly, his eyes vacant, distant. A hood settles over his brows, the hoodie mostly obscuring his identity.

Vincent King sits quietly, obviously having not much to say to the beach or the water in front of him. His free hand traces patterns in the sand idly, his boots dug into the sand.

It takes Rocket some time to realize there's another man loitering on the beach, just as it probably takes the other man loitering on the beach to notice that he's in the company of a… well.


There's a big stick in the kid's hand, knotted wood and notched erosion of rot dragging tik-tik-tik across the sand. He isn't walking very slowly, though. Capering, more like it, jolting forward a few running, jogging steps every now and then, only to veer away with the incoming rush of the tide, ever keeping his sneakers only a few gurgling inches ahead of the water every single time, plugging footsteps into the sodden sand as he goes. Sometimes, the scratch of driftwood on sand is erratic, following his meandering stride. Other times, there's illustrative form to it, a vestige of art. Lopsided iconographs of hearts, a jagged-edged letter or two.

Nothing that Shard is near enough to see. Or at least, not until Rocket's near enough to get a proper look at him, and then he's stopping anyway, blinking round eyes warily in the thin light, but braced, instinctively wary the way kids on Staten Island are conditioned to be. All they ever know is the empty palm or the closed fist. "Hey."

Sand flies up as King reacts a little quickly for his own good. Springing to his feet gets a lump of sand in the back of his shoe, not to mention jumping up like a scared little girl does not look good for one of the world's most hardcore rappers. His hood flies back as he raises to his full height. The lighter gripped tightly in one hand. New York is not his city, and he's pretty sure he doesn't like it.

As the hood does fall back, Vincent's features are exposed to reveal that he is in fact 'Shard'. One of the most prolific and famous rapper slash superstar slash icon things. But his name has fallen off the magazines lately, except for those tabloids suggesting that he's been abducted by aliens or placed in a secret government prison. Other than that, Shard has disappeared.

Until now. "Hey."

Shard's a rare name, and the ghost of the verbal association raises a half-formed thought in Rocket's head, an inchoate scowl knotting his brow. He's half-turned away, his fingers white around the stick in his hand, sand scudded up in a lumpy rim around his bezelled shoes. He doesn't overreact to Shard overreacting, which is very Staten Island kid-ninja, too, but the paranoia's still there, etched into the skinny lines of his frame, reverberating in the salt air around him.

"Hey," he repeats, unhelpfully. Nothing else, for a few protracted seconds, though by now Shard knows the searching look of slow recognition, that painstaking tick-tock, dawning incredulity as the mind reviews tabloids and television— no, no, surely not; not on Staten fucking Island. Behind him, the tide eats away the last of Rocket's latest love letter. His stick pendulums uncertainly in his fingers. "Hey— you look familiar. You work at the Rookery or something, dude? The Bloods? Crackhouse down on the Drag, or something?"

A thin brow arches at the small rail of a kid. Shard stares hard at the boy for a long moment, mostly because this little ninjababy made him jump up and diminish his street cred. That and they are at a beach on Staten Island in the middle of the night. Creepy stuff happens in this city. It's like every single day someone is dying or buildings are being blown up, or peoople are going into the future…

"No." Vincent answers simply, his grip tightening around the lighter slightly. Which in turn, completely busts the lighter in half. A small frown tugs at his lips for a moment. He had thought he had gotten better at that. Apparently not.

"Not from around here. Los Angeles."

"But I never been to Los Angeles," Rocket points out, stringy brows buckling together in the middle of his face. Consternation and confusion mingle in the dark of his eyes and the expression on his round face. He wipes at his nose. It streaks a thin trail of wet sand up the edge of the bridge, loses momentum before falling into a translucent pocket of seawater below his eye. He sidles up to the left a split instant before sweater rolls up into the ridged print that his shoes left, his timing peculiarly precise, thoughtlessly so.

"Whatcha doin'?"

"Maybe I just have one of those faces." The shrapnel of broken lighter is dropped into the sand. Bringing his foot over he kicks beachdirt over the broken zippo fragments. "Or you're racist." His face zips up as if to cheack by Rocket's reactions whether or not he is in fact, racist. But that is quickly dismissed at the frankness of the boy's question. Something about being on a beach, in the middle of the night with some weird kid makes one surprisingly honest.

"Thinkin' about my life. And about insane boys, and what I'm going to do about them." His hands come up and slide into the pockets of his hoodie. He peers through the dim light at the boy.

"Whatchyoo doin'?"

Nnnooothin'. Rocket's expression goes slightly furtive, shoulders hooding up in a manner halfway between a feral cat's retreat and a fat baby's fetal bundle. Nyerr. Nuuuh. Nnnoothin'. "I don't think I'm racist," he answers, after a moment. "But maybe I'm a peoplest. I meet a lot of people these days. All the boat captains seem like each other. Even all the kids at the Lighthouse, sometimes.

"'Cept maybe Zu." He raises one rail-narrow arm up, swings around the axis of his lanky torso. Click-points a long forefinger at the shape of the orphanage rising out of the surf, its lights off, but sheen of paint glowing ghostly matte despite it. "I'm hanging out," he answers. "And keeping look-out for cannibal monsters. And thinking about the band I'm in. And the chicks who're in it.

"Do you want a doobie for that thing?" Peace-offering, maybe. In case Shard is the monster, his flesh-eating habits cleverly disguised behind brown paint and keen interest in relevant minority demographic civil issues, or else, a monster. Possibly packing heat.

"I don't think you're racist either." Vincent confirms Rocket's suspicions, kicking the lighter into the sand deeper. His features crinkle up a bit. Was he just talking about a zoo? Cannibal monsters? This kid is getting increasingly more weird as the seconds crawl by. But then he talks about something normal, chicks. He gives a slow grin before that grin stops cold.

Drugs. "You shouldn't do drugs." Shard suggests, taking a few steps forward. "Won't do anything for you. I can tell you that much as a fact. From experience. What's your name, little brother?"

A smile tugs at the corner of Rocket's mouth when his lack of being racist is corroborated. It isn't an insincere smile, judging from the slight crease of the corresponding eye, but it's a little less enthralled than your average teenager would show to a rap legend's kindly approval. The few steps that Shard takes forward are measured out equally in a handful of grasshopper steps that the little rogue measures backward. "'S just pot, man.

"I stay away from the hard stuff," he answers, tentative rather than the tooth-bared, hackling, why do you give a shit, old man? stylized defensiveness with which a different breed of urchin might have shown a bossy stranger. "Rocket." A beat's pause "My name is Rocket. My parents gave it to me," he clarifies: "Not a nickname. How about you?"

"Your parents named you Rocket." Shard repeats, looking at him blankly. "No wonder you do pot." He mumbles, giving a nod as if that makes sense. He pauses at the question being asked back to him. Bringing up his hand he taps his lips thoughtfully. The rap legend pivots a bitm guvung a soft sigh. "You have to promise you won't tell anyone else."

"Shard. My parents didn't give me that. Vincent King." His parents didn't give that to him either. But it's the only name he goes by, these days. Vincent King is a lot cooler than what his parents gave him. "You should stay away from all of it." He suggests, half turning from Rocket. "Nice to meet you, Rocket."

Okay, it's a little wonder Rocket does pot. Come on: it isn't that bad a name, it… it… just isn't nowhere damn near as cool as Vincent 'Shard' King. It is gradual but dramatic, watching this realization hurtle in, connect, mushroom on Rocket's face. His eyes pop huge in his head and his jaw unhinges with an almost audible creak of cartlidge on cartlidge, instants before the tiny inclines of his cheeks suffuse scarlet. He is, abruptly, deeply self-conscious about having applied the actual word, 'band,' to the not-band he's joined.

He believes it. He believes that is true. He— except, you know, that can't be true. "Shard's rich," he points out, eventually. "You aren't— you're not one of those casino impers… impersonators, are you? If you're one of those casino impersonators— I, uh, I'm not trying to be rude, just— Shard's rich and famous and he disappeared, and you're all— hiding here on an island full of criminals and mutant refugees, wearing—" he motions with a flick of twiggy forefinger, "playing with a lighter, and…"

Rocket's face goes blank. Oh.

"Shard is rich." He agrees frankly, hiking up his shoulders and nodding in concession. "And he has a really nice house. And really nice cars. And air conditioning, and a view of a beautiful ocean that doesn't have dirty diapers in it." He gestures to the water. "I met one of those impersonators once. He didn't really talk like me at all." Vincent brings his hands out and gives a shrug. But then Rocket comes to the rapid conclusion that Shard is in fact Shard.

"Shard's also evolved, hear of that? And he got arrested for that." Well technically he got arrested for..

A sharp breath is drawn in at the thought. His lips clamp shut as he looks down at the beach. He shakes his head. "Now, Shard can't even call his wife and kids." Ex-wife. "Or he'll get tracked down."

Ex-wife. Is different to ex-kids. Kids don't become exes. Something about this situation is making a pang in Rocket's gut. The kids part, not the wife part, or even the mutant part, the part where he had to run away from the cops and people are usurping his life while failing to uphold the accent.

It's a special bond, between father and child, but that's easier to dismiss with idiot jokes and notions of Lost Boy self-sufficiency when a hardass rap legend isn't standing brokenly by the sea thinking about it. His eyes drop to the sand, the footprints smudged and snuffed into its ashy, rough medium. His lover letter to Zu's already being washed and worn away by the grind and slide of the sea's rustling membrane. "So… S-so—" he lifts his head, blinks out from under curly brown locks. The stick jogs in his hand. "So what are you gonna do?"

"You're a nervous little guy, aren't you." It's not a question, it's a statement. After telling Rocket he's nervous, Shard takes a step forward. "Nothin' wrong with that. You seem like the kinda kid who can step up when he needs to, 'm I right?" His eyes wander over the smaller of the pair of males standing on the romantic beach together.

His brows screw up for a moment. "I'm going to stop a madman from killing a lot of people. And I'm going to try and reinstill hope in a nation that has lost it, and I'm probably gonna die tryin', cause I don't think I can do it on my own." It's refreshing to let out his inner most thoughts.

The innnnner thouuughts of maaadmaaaaaan, or so says Rocket's face, despite the fact that he had forgotten entirely to take a step back just now. This may be cocksure wasted from his confidence in the use of his ability, or else something about the way that Vincent King had spoken about the family he lost after the Bomb has cast a spell over the younger man. Fortunately, this isn't that genre of fiction. No. Really. In a few stilted seconds, Rocket's eyebrows finally untangle from their stringy knot.

"Maybe you should just call the cops," he suggests, awkwardly. The stick swings once, twice, ends up rested at an oblique angle over the slim crook of his shoulder. "About the madman who's killing dudes. And stay alive, I mean— I— I don't— I don't think anybody'd feel better about you being dead, Mr. King. You seem like a nice guy." It proves the point rather than weakening it, that even whilst crazy, Shard seems like a nice guy.

"You're right. The cops are really effective out here." He motions to the island itself as a whole. "They've got this whole place under control, don't you think?" He grins a bit. "You hear about the earthquakes? The one in Chelsea, the one over a tthe Pa—" He frowns deeply. "That fight club place?" Obviously relaxing around Rocket, Shard turns to face the water again. Sinking back into a seat on the sand, he props his elbows on his shoulders. "They were caused by a man, an Evolved man."

"He was in prison with me. The illegal Evolved prison. Only thing is, he's crazy." And Shard isn't. Really. "And he has the power to sink this whole place." His hands come up to cup his chin. "No one else is going to do anything."

Oh. That— cognitive dissonance clashes in an almost visible spray of static snow from opposing directions behind Rocket's round brown eyes. Oh. Oh. You can't call the cops because the madman is on Staten Island, which makes sense, as does the earthquake, the fight club place he does remember.

What makes profoundly less sense is that somebody's going to take a stand against this psychotic ground-mover, for the sake of Staten Island. Nobody does anything for the sake of Staten Island.

Sure, individuals with AKs and sufficient income might do something significant for a specific enterprise, a boat, a shop, a safehouse on Staten Island, but for its people, disunified, self-cannibalizing filthy carrion-crawling as they are, no one— no one— why would—? "You can't do that, man," Rocket blurts, abruptly. The stick falls to the beach with a rusty pat. "You're a dad, you gotta go… you gotta go—" he gestures across the pewter stretch of sea. "No one cares. If he knocks a bunch of buildings down, we'll just— we'll just leave. You got kids off this island."

As Rocket reminds him he has kids, Shard hunches over his knees all the more. Practically clinging to them, his head lowers, tucking itself between his kneecaps for a brief moment. When his head raises back up, the water welling up in his eyes would be definitely noticeable were it not for the darkness of the night. "How many other dads are on this island, Rocket?" Picking his head back up he turns to look at the boy plainly. "How many kids are on this island?"

Rocket almost, almost points the stub of driftwood in his hand over at the spike of the Lighthouse protruding through the distant horizon, but he refrains somehow. Point taken, all right! There are a lot of kids, and those who might be so lucky to have their fathers with them still wouldn't want to join them up at the Pearly Gates or whatever.

"Okay!" he squawks out, finally, clutching at his prop as if it were a teddy bear. "Okay, look don't… don't—" cry, but it seems ridiculous to request a man like Vincent 'Shard' King not to cry, to make a fuss out of it; when Vincent 'Shard' King cries, there's dignity to it, and treating as if there wasn't is somehow a crueller insult altogether than the man snivelling on the beach. Rocket turns furtive eyes inland, before looking back. "D-do" he lurches into an uneasy pause. "Do you… do… I— I know some people. I-if you want some help I can… I could find help for you. There's people who do stuff like this, and who know people like— that." Children in the company of madmen. It's what the world's come to, and what Shard is trying to cure it of.

Shard definitely is not sniffling. Watering up, yes. Letting his affection show, yes. Sniffling, nooo. "A youtube video just went out, me asking everyone. I mean, everyone, son, to donate food and supplies to the Save Staten foundation." The save staten foundation being him and a few attractive women, thus far. "If you want to help. Show up."

Bringing one hand up, he splays out his fingers. Surges of blue and white electric jolts dances from finger to finger before fizzling out. Placing his hands on the ground he goes to push himself back up to his feet. "We'll need all the help we can get to make sure everything goes awright."

"I'll be there," Rocket responds instantly, before he laps into a wilted sort of pause, his eyes rimming white as he spins them to and fro inside their sockets, as if some part of him is wonderingif— he wasn't supposed to see that peculiar little stray jolt of static energy and fizzling light. His throat works once, nervously, and then he wipes slim knuckles against his cheek. "I can't— really get to YouTube," he ofers, finally. "I don't have a computer or Internet or stuff like that. Uhh. Could you—

"Would you mind just— telling me?" Optimistically, his arm buckles his sorceror's staff close to his ribs, his round face taking up the intent expression of Listening.

"I basically just told you." Shard says, craning his head at the smaller man. "I asked everyone to donate food and supplies to Staten. So they will. I have confidence in that. And I'm expecting…" A shitload? No that's inappropriate. "A lot." Vincent explains gently. "So I imagine others are going to be there too. Others that might not be so receptive to me handing out food to the masses."
"A lot of people out there owe me favors. A lot of people…" He gives a shrug. "Look up to me. And a lot of people just want to be able to say they've done something good during the month. We'll get a lot." He gives a smirk to Rocket. "I appreciate the help, Rock."

Basically, Rocket almost repeats, but he stops, wary of something like the man's temper. Those sparks that his fingers shat into open air were not the glittery lights of harmless optimism, after all. No, that was something with potency, potential for violence, and quite possibly a burninating sensation if he gets too close. He's had his share of mutant pirates and early-manifested orphans. He knows, if only a little. "I meant," he says, studying that smirk as if wishing he had a light to hold it up against, as if that would disambiguinate the shadowy receses of Shard's other motivations— because everyone has other motivations. "I meant— where?"

Oh. That. "The old boat graveyard. Over, yonder." He motions with one hand in the general direction. "Should be a pretty massive crowd. I don't think you could miss it." Vincent murmurs, taking another step forward he reaches out slowly to place his hand on Rocket's shoulder gently. A small squeeze before he drops it back down. "Saturday. See ya there. Rock." A genuine smile is flashed before Shard takes a step past the boy.

It doesn't occur to Rocket until the man is two, three steps past that HE COULD HAVE BEEN INCINERATED UPON TOUCH. He almost hits himself with his stick when he hefts it upright this time, jerking stiff, blinking at the big man's turned back.

His skinny jaw lapses open for a protracted moment. Swiiings ever so slightly in the buzz and press of the wind that the harbor's funnelling down toward them. Saturday. Massive crowd. No one does anything in the mornings on Staten Island, which narrows the margin of time enough that the river rat doesn't see any point in asking for a more specific schedule. It's not like he owns a watch or a cellphone, anyway. "You'll have to run away until Saturday!" he croaks out, suddenly: a reminder. "You can't face off with the crazy mofos until you're done with the hope. On Saturday."

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