La Ruelle en Noire


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Scene Title La Ruelle en Noire
Synopsis Richard Ray proves that not all shadows disappear in the darkness.
Date August 11, 2020

Jackson Heights

It’s just past 2 o’clock in the morning when Rue Lancaster stumbles out of the most recent bar she’s yet to be kicked out of. She has an arm slung across the shoulder of a man about her age, a little taller than her, with dark hair and blue eyes. He’s built like a football player.

And she can’t stand without him.

“C’mon, doll,” he coaxes as he guides her from the door around to the side of the building. “My car’s just back here,” he promises as he leads her into the alley.

“Yeah,” Rue murmurs, her shoes scraping across the pavement as she isn’t quite coordinated enough to lift her feet up enough to avoid it. It’s a shame. Those were some nice red patent leather heels before — well, before whenever she started wearing them bar hopping. “Sure it is.”

Once they’re obscured from view from the street by the large dumpster near the mouth of the alleyway, Rue’s date helps her to ease back against the wall. She tilts her head back and looks at the dark sky and scaffolding overhead while he buries his face in her neck. There’s no indication of enjoyment as she simply blinks several times heavily.

A hand finds its way up under her plain black tank top where it’s unhampered by the straps of her back brace on either side, groping at her roughly enough to register as a wince on her face. She moans, more than likely just an effect from her current level of inebriation. Then, more distinctly, she scoffs. “Ugh. What are you messing with foreplay for? Just whip it out, get it over with.”

He lifts his head from where it was trailing down to her plunging neckline, his hand still over her breast. “What did you say?”

“Two minutes,” Rue responds, finally letting her head tip forward again. It sort of bounces, like it was at the end of a rubber tether. She has to squint to make him come into focus, then lift her chin. “Tops.

If he was slow on the draw to realize she’s doubting his sexual prowess, she drives it home with a vague gesture toward the region of his pants. “What’re you packing? Like four inches max? C’mon, don’t kid yourself, honey. Let’s just whatever. I don’t even care.”

Rue doesn’t even realize her head has connected with the brick behind it until a solid five seconds after the fact. When she does realize it, she lets out a low groan of pain. “Is that all you’ve got?” she asks.

This time, he takes a fistful of her hair to pull her forward. “Stupid slut!

“You know…”

…you know…

The words are a low, sibilant whisper that seems to echo through the shadows of the alley. Are they growing darker, or is that just around the two of them?

“…I was always raised to /respect/ ladies.”


The darkness abruptly blossoms on the wall behind Rue, smoky-edged wings sweeping out to either side across the stained brick as if there were something truly awful that had appeared behind the man in the dim lighting.

The sudden explosion of darkness derails the drunk man’s movements, meaning Rue’s head doesn’t come slamming back against the brick a second time, but she is dragged forward by her russet curls wrapped around his knuckles. Her unchecked momentum sees her slamming against his much broader frame. The fact that he’s less in the bag than she is means he’s able to keep from letting that stagger him.

Rue stares blankly at the shadow at first, then cracks a grin. “If I see one,” a lady, “I’ll be sure to let you know.” Her face turns to a scowl then. “Now fuck off. I’ve got this.”

A shove sees her arms windmilling at her sides to keep her balance before the back of her head and her shoulders collide with the wall again, but with much less force than the previous blow.

She does not, in fact, got this.

“You know, you’d think that more people would get…”

The next time the man steps in, the shadow explodes outwards in the shape of an arm ending in a gloved fist that’s aiming right for this particular asshole’s jaw, Richard Ray pushing out of the tenebrous shape upon the brick of the wall in a pointedly aggressive manner.

“…the fucking hint when I do that.”

While the man had already begun to retreat after shoving Rue away from him, it doesn’t save him from the blow to his face from Richard’s fist. His head snaps to the side and he goes staggering back several steps, clutching at his jaw. “What the fuck?!

Rue reaches out to try and push Richard away, dismissively, but her hand doesn’t connect with anything. Her brow furrows with confusion and she tries again. So obliterated, she can’t judge where the man is in space.


There’s a leather bomber jacket, worn jeans, civilian garb. It’s doubtful that in the shadows of an alley a stranger - especially one that’s had a few drinks - would recognize the executive’s infamous face. Richard’s expression is dark, though, as he observes flatly, “You should probably run now, limp-dick. I’m not in the mood to dispose of a body tonight.”

He doesn’t get pushed away, mostly since Rue can’t locate him at the moment due to just how many drinks she’s had. Hoping the man gets the hint this time, he’s in a defensive posture anyway - and he’s got a lot of repressed aggression right now.

The man seems to weigh his options for a moment. On the one hand, he’d probably really like to get a punch in on Richard in return, and on the drunk girl he’s defending even more. He seems the type. On the other hand, however, Richard just materialized from nothing and that bodes ill for his ability to actually manage it.

So instead, he stammers out something that was probably supposed to be a threat, some kind of machismo bravado that falls flat in his inability to form a coherent sentence, before he just storms off. He won’t run, but he’s not wasting his time stalking back the way he came, either.

“Looks like his car wasn’t this way after all,” Rue mutters from her resumed lean against the wall. Then she turns to blink hard and squint at Richard in the darkness. She knows who he is, obviously, but if she didn’t know him by voice, she might wonder. “You are a—” She lifts one hand, index finger pointed in the air while she thinks of the word she wants. When she figures it out, she points that finger at him in accusation. “Fuckin’ cockblocker.

“I mean, maybe you thought being brutally raped in an alley was a great plan for tonight, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one, Lancaster,” is Richard’s rather rough response to her accusation, watching the man as he stalks away until he’s absolutely sure he’s not turning around. Of course, he can’t be sure the man isn’t going to get friends and come back, but he can hope he’s not that stupid.

Finally he turns back to Rue, a single eyebrow lifting over dark eyes in the shadows of the alley. He can see her perfectly fine, even if her own perceptions are clouded by both drink and evening. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Well what do you know anyway?” Rue asks with a scowl. “You don’t know my fuckin’ life.” She follows his attention to the creep’s retreat, blinking blearily in the dark until she can’t see him any longer. He doesn’t seem keen on returning, given that he didn’t look back even once.

Turning back to Richard, she deflates a little bit. “What does it look like I’m doing?” Rue’s head rests against the brick at her back, her eyes slide shut and stay that way just a little too long before opening again and doing their best to bring him back into focus.

“It looks to me like you’re self-destructing rather efficiently,” Richard answers her quietly but with steel to his voice, “And I’m not going to allow that, Lancaster.”

He reaches out to tilt her chin up a bit, so he can see her eyes more directly. “You just drunk,” he asks, “Or are you on anything else at the same time?”

Thank you,” she retorts in response to her efficiency, the sass only partially diminished by the way he vows to stand in her way. Her eyes half-lid when his hand touches her chin, and she’s guided easily enough to meet his gaze with her own vaguely glazed.

“The only coke I’ve had tonight is a-Cola,” Rue enunciates with exaggeration. “A little weed to start the night.” The last thing she wants him to do is drag her off to detox. Or, at least, it’s on the list of things she’d like him to do least. “That was hours ago.”

Rue reaches up like she might shove Richard’s hand away. Instead, she just rests the tip of her first finger along the back of it, slowly tracing a line to his wrist, up his arm…

There seems to be a little more clarity in her eyes then, a little easier focus. “You wanna be the next contestant?” There’s a tease to her voice, but it walks that edge of I’m joking, unless you’re into this, then I’m totally not joking. Even nearly too drunk to stand, she’s still not bad at this. A gentle nudge near the bend of his elbow encourages his reach for her to drift lower.

As she talks, Richard’s searching her eyes; judging reaction, pupil dilation, and all the other fun signs of being drugged that you get used to when you’ve lived the checkered life that he has. She seems to be telling the truth, at least he seems to believe her from the slight, absent nod that he gives and the slight relaxation of relief.

Then her finger’s teasing along his hand, his wrist— that nudge does bring his hand down, but it’s only to her shoulder, resting there lightly as he meets her gaze this time truly rather than looking at her eyes themselves. “If you weren’t drunk as shit,” he replies wryly, “I’d absolutely have you up against that brick wall in about five seconds. Given that you are, where do you live, because I’m taking you home.”

“You chase off my date and then you won’t even—” Rue’s tongue clicks against the back of her teeth with disappointment. “I’m consenting,” she insists, curling her fingers into a light grip on his arm, trying to pull him closer to her. “I can even still spell it. C-O-N-S-E-N-T.”

As she pulls at him, he’s drawn a step closer and into her personal space; that hand slipping from shoulder to brick wall, forearm easing to rest against it beside her head. Richard makes a sound in the back of his throat - irritation, or something else? - as he looks back at her. “You’re not really capable of consent in your current state, Lancaster,” he reminds her quietly, before asking in a sudden switch of subject although never raising his voice from that low, intimate tone, “What’s our password?”

A smile plays on her lips when she seems to get what she wants at first. Even though it takes her a bit longer to open her eyes again after each blink than it should, there’s still an intensity to her bright blue eyes. But he again calls into question her current state. Hers is a sound of irritation, unmistakably.

Then he asks that question and some of that light in her dies.

“Oh, I see.” If it were possible, she seems to lean even harder back against the wall. “I must be her, huh?” Rue is offended to be taken for her double. Then there’s that spark in her eyes again, the ghost of a smirk tugging up one corner of her teardrop shaped mouth. “What are you gonna do to me if I am?

“I’m certainly not going to fuck you against this wall if you are,” Richard replies with a slight arch of one eyebrow upwards, “Guess we’ll find out.”

A closer lean, until she can smell the leather oil on his jacket, until she can smell that hint of cologne lingering from earlier in the day when he was playing executive.


“Why not? Wouldn’t a revenge fuck be fun?” Rue reaches up to trace her fingers along his jaw, more excited than frightened, like he might be hoping for. She inhales the scents that cling to him deeply, eyes closing momentarily.

“We both know I came out here to die tonight,” she challenges. “So how about you just murder me up against this wall and we both get what we want.”

The continued refusal makes the look in his eyes harder, but she can feel him shift ever so slightly closer all the same, can feel him lean into that touch to his jawline slightly. It wasn’t so long ago that he couldn’t be touched at all, after all, and she knows that.

Or does, if she’s the right February Lancaster, anyway.

“Rue,” he says in lower, rougher tones, “Don’t play.”

“Why? Don’t you like it?” Her head tips to one side, her red hair brushing against his hand and his arm along the wall. “Does it just make you angry?” She squirms just briefly, biting her lower lip. “Come on,” she urges. “It’s my fault she’s gone.”

Her hand slides around to the back of his neck, fingers curling loosely against his skin. “Do it.” He can see the pain in her eyes. The guilt. He’s seen this before. “Please,” she begs.

“I am angry.”

As her head tips like that, fingers shift against the brick to tangle into her red hair before curling inward in more of a grip. Richard’s head drops closer still, nose nearly touching hers, lips barely a breath away as he replies in a rough growl of breath, “But not at you, because it’s not your fault.”
His body all but against hers now, his other hand resting flat to the wall beside her hip.

Her ploy hasn’t worked, and it makes her lip quiver, her eyes a little glassier than they already were, just differently now. “It hurts so bad, I just want it all to stop,” Rue confides, eyes closing now, exercising what discipline she still maintains not to lean the rest of the way into him.

“If I say it, will you give me what I want?”

A sigh whispers past his lips, and Richard tilts his head until his forehead rests lightly against hers. “I know, Rue,” he murmurs back to her in a softer tone, “I know it does. I know you do.” If anyone can know, it’s him. How many people have had themselves ruin their lives, after all?

There’s silence a moment, thumb brushing a lock of hair along the side of his hand before he says quietly, “If that’s what you need.”

She knows he’s misunderstood her, but she also isn’t sure she cares at this point. If she can’t get the sweet release of death, well…

Her hand at his neck shifts so she can guide him back far enough to meet his eyes again. She wants to be looking at him when she says it. “We’ll always have Berlin.” Her voice hitches, catching on the last syllable.


It’s clear that he’s neither willing to kill her, or willing to let anyone else kill her tonight — even if she walked away, he’d probably just follow her. Death is an escape that, tonight, Richard Ray won’t let her use.

He draws back as she indicates so, his eyes meeting hers. It’s a painful password. The pain, maybe, is part of it. Impossible to fake. She can see that pain reflected in his own eyes, as he draws in a tight breath - and exhales it just as slowly. “We will,” he whispers.

The first of her tears finally start to fall and Rue drags Richard back in so she can hold him tightly while she cries. The hand curled around her hair means she doesn’t bury her face into his shoulder, but she does press her cheek to his, shaking against him as she indulges an emotional release he’s certain she doesn’t often entertain.

It’s easier to stay drunk. To make destructive decisions. To quietly hate herself for her mistakes and the burdens of events she feels responsible for. The loss of lives she feels are her fault.

That hand in her hair draws her in, encourages her to do so, his head turning to rub his cheek against her hair. He doesn’t say anything, because there’s nothing really to say. No making this all better. The dead are dead. What’s been ruined… is ruined.

So Richard just holds her there and lets her cry for the unfairness of the universe, closing his eyes and wishing otherwise.

Although she may not have gotten what she wanted, this might be exactly what Rue needed. The embrace and commiseration of someone who understands the pain, and the complexity of the guilt that comes with it.

“I loved him,” Rue sobs against Richard’s coat. It wasn’t just Berlin — Nathalie — that she lost. That she blames herself for. “That stupid bastard died because he was trying to make sure I lived.” It’s a cruel trick of fate, to leave her behind when she would feel that missing piece of her so keenly, instead of the one who would have been able to move on. “I loved him,” she whispers, starting to sag against Richard’s broader frame. There wasn’t much left in her to wring out in the first place tonight.

Survivor’s guilt is bad enough - but as she speaks, Richard realizes that she’s dealing with it twofold. If not more. “Oh, Rue…” A sigh of breath, both arms wrapping around her to pull her in tightly against him, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Living’s— living’s a hard one, sometimes.”

Harder than dying. He knows how easy that one is.

She continues to tremble and to breathe hard, but there’s no more tears left to give before very long. The hard sobs become soft whimpers until finally it’s just her breathing. The desperate cling around him begins to ease.

“Do” Her voice dies in her throat before she can manage to form the second word. She coughs gently, loosening the tightness that chokes her words before they manage to find life. “Do you think there’s a chance that… That there’s some other life where he

She shudders again with the beginnings of another round of sobs, but it never gets beyond that first almost violent cringe into herself, against Richard. Rue quiets again, unable to finish her thought.

“I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a version of him that’s alive, and happy. The universe is infinite,” Richard murmurs, as someone who knows that’s factually true, “But don’t think about it too much or you’ll go crazy. Trust me.”

He brushes a kiss against her temple, “You’ll have to live for them.”

He’s right, of course. That kind of thinking, that something she can never have lies just beyond her reach, if only she could break through the barrier between worlds and take it, will ruin her. Very few people have managed to achieve that feat, as Richard knows firsthand.

“I can’t,” Rue insists. “I just can’t. My life isn’t worth— It isn’t a fair trade.” But she knows this is an argument she won’t win. Not against him. Maybe not against anyone with any shred of human decency. Rue stills against him finally, just breathing deeply, calm again even if still anguished.

“Cat’s Cradle,” she says finally. “That’s where I’m staying right now.”

“Then make it worth it,” is all Richard says to her argument. “Or do your damndest to.”

His fingers soothe along her hair and neck a few times, and he nods slightly, murmuring, “Figures. Eve’s not using it. Did you drive here? Nevermind, if you did, we can get your car back tomorrow. Come on.” He shifts to draw away, though keeping one arm around her shoulders, “My car’s not far.”

“Fuck, no,” Rue breathes out a huff of anxious laughter, frayed nerves getting to her. “I’m not — I do a lot of dumb shit, but I don’t do that.” She means driving to the bar when she intends to get absolutely obliterated. Or if she intends to go home with someone else.

Or not go home at all.

One of her arms slides to loop around Richard’s waist. Her steps are unsteady as he begins to urge her toward where a car is actually probably waiting this time. It was easier when she was against the wall, or anchored against him. Moving is hard. “Okay, but what if I just lay down on the ground and sleep here tonight instead? That can’t be nearly as bad as it sounds, right?”

“I think we already covered ‘you’re not allowed to die tonight’,” Richard comments dryly as he starts down the alleyway, arm around her, keeping her as steady as he can. Slow and easy does it. “Just one foot in front of the other, Lancaster,” he murmurs encouragingly, “You can do it. Like all those sobriety checks you faked before.”

That’s an attempt at humor.

The look starts by simply being delivered from the slant of the corner of her eye, but eventually she turns her head to fix him with the full brunt of her stare. “Fuck you,” she fires back with faux indignance.

“I’m the best at faking sobriety.” Rue turns her attention back to front, and down to her feet so she can see where she’s placing them so she doesn’t trip on debris or uneven pavement. (Or her own two feet.) She trusts he’ll be steering her so she doesn’t collide with anything. “I’m just choosing not to fake,” she insists.

Choosing not to because she definitely cannot right now.

At that glare and statement, Richard flashes her a grin. “That’s my girl,” he encourages her, before returning his full attention to getting her to his car before she falls down a manhole comedically and takes him with her. He steers her out of the alley, down the block.

Then another block.

It’s a bit of a trial. Eventually, though, he helps her in approaching a sleek black Yamagato model with the license plate ‘RAYTCH’. Yes, he went there.

The license plate is squinted at. It takes way too long before it finally slips into focus, but once it does, Rue snorts. “Fuckin’ narcissist,” she mutters without any actual bite to it. She’s one to talk, anyway. Her own license plate says ‘RUEBICON.’

Peering through the windows, she wonders out loud, “Could I just sprawl out in the back?” She bets the seats are nicely cushioned. They don’t really do that in Jeeps. Hard to lay across bucket seats.

“Yeah, but if you fall off the seat don’t blame me,” Richard replies blithely as he makes his way to the vehicle, pulling out his keys and depressing the pad. Bleep bleep! Red lights flash; the doors unlock. He opens the back door for her and shifts to help her get in.

“Alright. In with you, darlin’.”

Even though she’d made the suggestion, Rue eyes the back seat almost with suspicion. “I think I might be too tall for this ride,” she speculates, imagining how she’d have to fold up her legs and how she can definitely envision herself tumbling right onto the floor.

Especially if Richard decides to be a dick and hit the brakes hard at an intersection. Would he do that? Rue turns to look at him, considering it for a moment.

Yeah, probably.

“I’ll ride up front.”

“Maybe you’re not as drunk as I thought,” Richard grins, pushing the door closed before he leads her along to the other side. The car’s there for her to catch if she needs something else for balance, this time.

“Alright, but I pick the music.”

Rue shakes her head as she braces a hand against the frame of the vehicle (which also conveniently serves as a padding, should she misjudge when she ducks and smack her head into it) and lowers herself down to climb into the passenger side seat. It’s with a groan that she pulls on her seatbelt — because she’s drunk, but not stupid — and angles a look back at Richard, resigned to her fate.

“Fuck me.

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