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Scene Title Karma
Synopsis For once, trying to do right by people seems to pay off. Peyton tries to protect the Library's secrets by actually telling the truth to Bones, there to inspect it after helping save her and Mack's lives just hours before.
Date December 12, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Bones is sore. Definitely more sore than he normally would be if he'd just extended those bone plates normally. This could be due to the fact that he has a couple of sewn-up bullet holes in him! Thank God he always brings along his trusty bottle of Excedrin extra strength gel capsules. Their his best friends these days. Along with his beef jerky sticks. Around noon he finally wakes up, having bedded down in the reading room in his sleeping bag. Not even bothering to make sure he is presentable, not expecting to see if all of his hair is straight or if he could use he shave since he is not expecting to see anyone, he stands up and stretches. Slowly he bends forwards to touch his toes and then places those large hands of his on the floor. Slowly he takes his full weight on to his hands and with a measured and practiced ease, begins to lift his lower torso into the air until his body is jacked knifed and straight as a board, toes pointed towards the ceiling. Dragging one of his saddlebags over in front of him, he manages to spare a hand in order to open the bag and pull out a whole large cylinder of beef jerky. He opens it and places it on end and takes a piece out with his teeth and then lifts himself up while chewing, doing push-ups with his body positioned vertical and grabs a piece of beef jerky every time he comes down.

The door to the lobby opens, Peyton glancing up to the cameras she knows are hidden there. "Anyone here?" she calls, unsure if her texts to the various people were enough warning for them. The pain killers given to her at the hospital kept her from being able to sightjack those she was worried about — Mack, Sparrow, Zuleika.

She holds a bag of food in one hand, which is awkward as she's on crutches. She's wearing long yoga pants, the only pants she owns that would fit over the neon-pink cast on her broken ankle; a sweatshirt and a coat keep her upper body warm. She heads toward the reading room, perhaps hearing some sound there, and there she sees the man who helped save her yesterday doing pushups. "Oh, you are here…" she covers up. It's not why she is here, not at all, but why else would she be there? "I brought you some food and wanted to thank you for what you did last night." The food was for anyone who happened to be here; it's her habit to bring food to Mack or Cardinal or anyone who might want a hot meal, which is hard to get in Midtown.

Swiveling around on his hands, obviously as comfortable on his hands as on his feet, and looks towards where that voice is coming from. Of course he slept with his gun beside him all night long unless trouble managed to find him, so now he glances at the pistol, of course but nudges it under his pillow before he allows his legs to fall and he bends to bring himself upright, practically springing forward. "It's you, the girl in the slinky number. You are on the wrong side of town, even for a thank-you, but it's nothing really. It's what any normal human being would have done. Just trying to help."

"Well, you said you might be around here so I thought I'd offer you some food for a thank you. It's better than beef jerky," she points out, handing him the bag. Italian, and hot and steamy. "It's pasta. Everyone likes pasta, right?" The smell of buttery garlic bread wafts through the air when she passes the bag. "So you actually spent the night here? That's kind of creepy…" she says, peering at a pile of books.

"Trust me, this is by far one of the least 'creepy' places I have slept in. Try sleeping in a forgotten crypt that has been unearthed by heavy rain and a horrible thaw." Bones says as he takes the bag that is offered to him and looks within, raising his brows. He nods and then sidesteps her to upright one of the fallen chairs and shoves it behind her, allowing her to sit before he slumps down on to his sleeping bag, taking the food out of the bag. He has replaced his torn shirt with a shirt that reads 'I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS'.

Peyton leans on her crutches, watching. "No thanks," she says to the suggestion she sleep in a crypt. She does sit when he offers her a chair, leaning to set the crutches down on the ground. "I won't stay long… just thought I would stop by, thank you again." And see if anyone is around, but it's hard to do that with Bones around. "Sorry that you got hurt, helping us. Um. I have some antibiotics, if you want them? I mean, I know it's not good to take other people's drugs, but it's also not good to get infected injuries, I'm pretty sure. Mind you, Mister Goodface Cop Building Inspector, I'm not offering to sell them to you — I think just giving them to you doesn't count as a crime, does it?"

"Technically it does, but it's only a misdemeanor. But I'm only a member of law enforcement when I call in to say that I am on the job, and I have an hour or so yet before I do that." He opens up the carton of pasta and takes up the plastic fork to dig in with much gusto, literally scooping it in to his mouth practically. "And call me Bones. Even my mother calls me Bones. Mostly because she cannot pronounce my first name correctly…" Odd that. Hmmm…

Peyton reaches in her coat pocket for the bottle of antibiotics. She rips off the information that has her name and address on them first, then tosses them to him. "Bones, huh? I can just guess what horrible nickname the kids gave you growing up." She watches him eat, then tilts her head. "So how did you manage not to have a bullet in you at all? All you had were … the holes? You didn't have exit wounds, though."

"Nicknames? No one called me anything. I just had my brothers and sisters for the most part and anyone had messed with us usually got mercilessly tortured mentally, physically, and emotionally. Tight family…" Bones gets out in between bites, looking down at the medication as it is tossed to him, nodding his thanks. At that set of questions concerning just how he survived he slowly lowers the carton of pasta in to his lap and looks at her evenly. "Look, you're nice and all I realize we helped each other out last night quite a bit, but there are just a few things about me that people probably should not know."

"Sorry," Peyton immediately says, dropping her gaze to her hands in her lap. "I didn't mean to pry. I mean, it's pretty obvious, it's just a matter of what brand of Evolved you are. It makes sense. You must not be Registered — that's why you didn't want them to take you to the hospital, right? Smart move. The last time I got brought to the hospital, well, not counting last night, some crazy guy was shooting up the ER, demanding healers for his sick kid. Killed himself in the end. Hospitals suck."

"Evolved? I'm not one of those Evolved." Bones frowns, immediately setting the carton aside. "Evolved do weird things. Weird and horrible things like blow up half of New York or pry in to your brain and stuff like that. No. Not Evolved." he shakes his head, dreadlocks swirling about his neck for a moment. "No, I didn't want to go to the hospital because I'd be put on review of putting myself in harm's way. I rather like my job and would like to keep it if I can help it."

"You sound like one of those Humanis First people," Peyton tosses back, eyes narrowing as he throws all Evolved into one dangerous group of Others. "I'd hope a cop would have a more logical mind than that. Not every Evolved is dangerous, and some can even be useful." There's no point pretending she's not Evolved. If he recognizes her face as being a kidnap victim lately or from any of the tabloids or gossip columns, he already knows she's Evolved or if he's forgotten, could Google it on his cell phone in a matter of seconds.

"Oh I am sure they are out there. Evolved that are very, very nice and want to use their abilities for the greater good and all. I am sure they are out there. But honestly, even then? Who knows if they could lose control and harm someone's family in the middle of the night? Even on accident without realizing it or knowing any better?" Bones asks, clearly the subject hitting very close to home. And in retrospect, he sounds like a horrible liar, denying that he is Evolved. "Sorry if I've managed to offend, but don't you think some abilities are just too much for one person to have? Or a burden upon others?"

"There might be some that have a power that's too big, too much, especially if they're a bad person or they can't control it, but it doesn't make the whole lot bad or evil or something," Peyton says coolly, reaching for her crutches and then pulling herself up. "And if you don't think you're Evolved, I think you should question how you magically managed to get shot and yet have nothing more than superficial wounds. And if your job doesn't know you're evolved, you better manage to evade the blood test that is probably coming your way soon." She begins to hobble her way out of the room. "Good luck with that."

Bones blinks slowly, listening to all that she has to say, actually taking it in and processing it. All good points. And he hasn't gotten a chance to talk this out with someone who obviously seems to be in the know. "Okay… Wait a minute. I'm… Evolved." he makes the word seem rather disgraceful as he shrugs. "I just don't like thinking I am that much different than the normal person. Last night I shoved bone plates up against my skin to deflect the bullets."

She stops, turning to glance over her shoulder, one brow arching at the explanation. "Bone plates? You can… make your bones shift in your body?" she says, turning slowly, carefully on her crutches. "That's pretty cool," she admits. "And you're not all that different from a normal person. In fact, the way I see it, you are a normal person. You just have something extra. Like… we can't all play a Chopin piece after just listening to it once, right? But some people can, and no one called them 'freaks.' Or someone with a photographic memory. Or someone who can do long division in their head. I can't do any of those things, but I don't think that makes them abnormal, just… special."

Funny, not so long ago, she thought she was cursed for being Evolved. "It's good that you're not Registered, though, probably. If they catch you, just say you didn't even know you were, and it should be okay. I mean… with something like that, it's very possible you wouldn't know, I think. But once you're Registered, they might make you go do something you don't want to. I have friends who got pulled off to do some crazy mission right now, just because of what they can do. You don't want that to happen."

"Uh, no you're right. I really don't want than to happen. I like my life and I like my job here. In New York." Bones picks up the carton of food once more and begins eating once more once he is confident that she finds his state not offensive enough to go rushing off to the authorities. "Don't think that I am a coward. The pretty girl that usually sat next to me in history class just happened to be absent the day that we were learning about how the Germans persecuted the Jews. Made them register. Made them mark themselves. I pass…"

Peyton leans on her crutches, watching him. "You know, you can pretend not to be Evolved without saying that they're horrible people. There are normal… make that Un-Evolved… people who don't hate us. Who want to help us, even. Someone like you — you are someone people look up to. If you call Evolved people freaks, dangerous, then… well, you give the message that's okay. Even if you're trying to 'pass' for what you call normal." Her words are sad, solemn. "I didn't care, before I was Evolved. I didn't think about them one way or the other, really. Can't help but think that it's karma, you know? I didn't care, and now I have to care."

"Karma… I like to think of Karma as not the bad things that come back to haunt us. We do enough bad things to ourselves. I'd like to think of Karma as the force that causes the best results to come about for the best of reasons." Bones reasons over his food once more and gives a shrug. "But you are right. I suppose I should keep a more open mind. It's not easy though. I lost someone quite dear to me that day. We all did, but… that wound will take quite a while to heal."

"Keep an open mind. There are good people who are being treated badly because of what a few people who couldn't control their powers did. I've been kidnapped simply because of being Evolved — not because of what power I had or anything. They didn't care. They'd have killed or tortured someone who heals people or who can fix things with the touch of their hands — things that aren't harmful, but useful, right? There are people who'd kill us just for having the E next to our names on some stupid list," Peyton says, a rather long speech for her. She looks weary, resting on her crutches, looking down at him. "I was 17. My parents died in the explosion. I've lost a lot too," she adds, an offering of commiseration, empathy, friendship.

"Quite the speech." Bones points out, sitting there on his sleeping bag, continuing to eat though he is certainly slower in doing so before. He thinks as he manages to actually chew. "You are probably right…" he says, finishing up the pasta and sets the carton aside, gliding up to his feet with a very liquid grace, chewing on a piece of garlic bread. He leans down to pull his gun from under his pillow and sticks the pistol into the front of his waistband, picking a titanium pry bar out of his duffel bag and takes up one of his saddlebags over his shoulders. "You really come down all this way to bring me food? On your crutches?"

Peyton pales, her eyes flickering to the gun and then the crowbar. "Sure. I mean, why else would I come all this way? It's not like I live here or anything. I have an apartment on the Upper West Side," she says quietly. "What's the crow bar for? Don't you have, like, an office or somewhere to be? Maybe somewhere people care about restoring? No one cares about this place you know." No, that's not suspicious at all.

Bones blinks slowly at Peyton for a moment before he turns and uses the hooks on the light weight pry bar to zip his duffel bag closed and then snags it, setting it on his sleeping bag and pillow. He reaches for his key ring and pushes a button on it and a short ba-beep! sounds from it, almost like that of a vehicle alarm. "Peyton, I'm going to level with you and I hope you'll level with me. I was going to spend about 45 minutes in this place, do a cursory sweep of this place and take it off the gas and power grid. Now with what you just said I am going to drop myself in to every little hidey-hole that I think the building could possibly have, from the sewers to the surface levels and if I find anything weird, I'm not only going to be gleefully amused at having done so, I'm going to be equally gleeful to call in whatever resources I need to figure out what exactly what is going on in this place. However, if you know something up front and let me in on whatever secret you are hiding behind your I-live-uptown-am-hurt-but-really-really-wanted-to-say-thank-you, I might be persuaded to overlook certain things in my findings when I make my report."

Shi-iit. Well, no one ever said she was a good actress. In fact, they've said quite the opposite, the few times she ever had to perform for school and such. "Don't let me stop you from your cursory glance and all," she says quietly, taking a step back, brows knitting together with worry. "It's just… shit. Okay. Some people live here. It's all they have, but they're good people. Evolved, and trying to stay low until things get better. It's a good group of people, Bones. They just have the bad luck to be like us. If you … if you came in and threw all their stuff out or tore this place down before they have a chance to clear out, it'll ruin them." The tears that flood to her eyes are real — there's no way that the poor actress could produce them on whim. "Do me a favor — just… I don't know. At least postpone this job for a while… or do what you said you were going to, shove it under the rug for now. Some of the people are out of town, and I don't want them to come home and not have a home."

"Okay." Well. That was simple. Bones sets the crowbar down next to his things and shrugs once he looks back at her, settling his bag down once more. "Show or tell me where they are staying so that I can make sure that the area that they are staying in is safe, architecturally sound, and that a large-scale investigation does not need to be made. I'll even make sure that the electricity and the gas stays on after a quick once over with a detector. Then I'll go home to my little apartment, thankfully take a shower, and call in sick."

"The heat and gas aren't on, I don't think the grid works out here… if it does… it's not getting to this building. They have some generators and stuff, but that's it," Peyton says quietly, eyes dropping. Sometimes you have to take the risk and trust someone. "Most of the downstairs, and then most of the rooms around the Rose Reading Room, if you have blueprints." She reaches up with a gloved hand to wipe her tears. "If we actually could get gas and electricity, that would be amazing. Not that I'd ask for it." It'd be too much to ask. "What… what would I owe you for this?" she adds, knowing it's a favor of great magnitude.

"Owe me?" Clearly the concept of her paying him back or owing him anything had not crossed his mind. Bones digs in to one of his satchels and pulls out some photocopied plans that were made for him, taking out his pencil to make a few marks. "I get told every day to drop down in to tunnels, abandoned subway stations and I see what the people of this city have been brought to. I am told to shuffle these people out of what little warmth and security they have and… occasionally I do it if I feel they they are up to no good or causing the structure they are in to become unsafe or unsound. But when it is just people managing to be people? Well I find it rather hard to do my civic duty to the fullest in these cases."

Peyton smiles. "Thank you. My friend that got taken — he's one of the people who live here. If he … if he lives, I'd hate for him to lose everything." And of course her mind is on Cardinal and Claire and Liz and the rest, as well. "I'm in the book, if you do think of something I can do to repay you, I'm in the book, under my dad's name. Stan Whitney." Her voice trembles a touch — she's not used to giving strangers ways to contact her, not since she became Evolved, not since she was kidnapped, but quid pro quo — he's doing her a favor.

"I'll look you up if I have any further questions. I'm not listed and don't have a phone, but I do have a cell." Bones says, stepping towards her and pulls a card from his pants pocket, extending it to her. 'City of New York, Local 147, Bones" and his cell phone number. Along with his union representative's phone number. "If the service you have received today is not to your liking, please feel free to file a complaint with my union representative." he grins and winks before turning to go back to his things and then turns around again, "One more thing. In my experience, when certain people don't want to be found or disturbed, they have a habit of cooking up various countermeasures against incursions. Might I expect anything?"

She takes the card, reading it, and then smiling at his joke. "I'll be sure to give you a five-star review, should there be a follow-up survey," she quips, but then there's a follow up question. Her brows furrow again. Well. Honesty seems to be working with this one. It's not her usual policy, but then her usual policies don't always work either. "There's alarm systems… some traps… and people who live here who might show up with guns. Tell them Peyton says you're okay, I guess, and that you just have to do a cursory job for the paperwork if that happens." She frowns. Hopefully Zu will remember her. "I'd suggest not trying to go past the steel doors, basically. The lobbies and open rooms, they have cameras and such but no traps."

"Oh hell…" Bones mutters and rolls his eyes. "Alright, I'll stay out of the room, but you make sure to tell whoever is in charge of this little operation that as soon as they get back from wherever they are, I need to meet with them. A'right?" he asks, picking up his crowbar and pack once again. At least this time he'll know who and what he will be looking for where."

Peyton nods, eyes wide at the averted disaster. "Thank you. Really. I'll let them know. It might be a while. He's off on some secret mission for the government but I'll let him know." She smiles again. "If you ever need help, this group might be able to help you, so I'll remember this. We will remember this. We owe you." With that, she begins to hobble away, slow and lumbering on her crutches. It's obvious she's never been on them before.

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