Lambskin - Photodelectric Numb


jericho_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Lambskin — Photodelectric Numb
Synopsis Crime-fighting: a good date. Especially if you bring enough champaigne to suppress the rest.
Date September 1, 2010

Staten Island — The Sweat Lodge

When Jerry asks her out, it's not like proper dates. Peyton has been on proper dates before, and this isn't it. No theaters, nor merry-go-'rounds, fine restaurants with soupy sentimentality hovering over the candle-light dinners. Instead, there are trains.

Or sociopathic anti-Evolved terrorists who show up with guns. The occasional cup of coffee, candy that doesn't seem in small enough quantity to have been anything but stolen, offers of marijuana, snatches of conversation and maybe a kiss or two stolen fifty feet above ground at the tops of derelict construction sites. There don't seem to be other girls (or boys, for that matter), or not serious enough to show up often if— or when she slips a peek through his eyes.

Today they're at the Sweat Lodge, even though that must feel like staying in, to him. It's a weird neighborhood here, where children on their bikes act the part of neighborhood watch, the first line of defense against the violent bikers and drug-panhandlers that rumble the mile's-radius like thunder. He takes her up to the roof, but you can still hear the television inside. Laundry lines flutter below, the tops of a handful of pedestrians' heads, a pitbull on a leash.

"Look what asshole brought you today," Jericho says, brightly. Charmer. He is holding up a bottle of champaigne, for real, and there are two flutes in his hand, offered at her. Sure, they're made of plastic, but the golden fizz of alcohol is real enough, like the shape of his grin on his dusky face.

As usual, Peyton's dressed down for her trek to Staten in skinny jeans, flip-flops (taken off for sitting on the roof), and a red sleeveless blouse. Her hair is in a loosely looped ponytail to keep it off her skin in the humid heat, the hairstyle revealing the still new-ish tattoo of a peacock feather, its single eye staring out from the nape of her neck.

She smiles and takes one of the two plastic flutes, bumping it very lightly against the other, though the contact lacks the satisfying, if tacky, clink that real crystal or even just simple glass would evoke.

"Cheers," Peyton offers, lifting the champagne to her lips and taking a sip. "Are we celebrating something, or are we just feeling fancy?" she asks.

"Being fuck'n' alive," Jericho answers, easily. It is probably at least half masculine bravado, but hey. "Shit seems to get more fucked up in this state every month, huh? Institute. And…" he trails off at that, brow darkening slightly, and she knows that look. The ones boys get when they nearly said something unsuitable for her girly-ears, regardless of whether or not she has a tattoo, a sensible pair of jeans on, and a reasonable reputation for staring into the minds of serial-killers, Humanis First! operatives, and other things that need doing.

He grins crookedly, drops into a crouch. Despite that he must eat better here tha he did back at Moab Fed Pen, he's still all long limbs and gangly angles, looks like a praying mantis when he crouches at her feet. "How you been hanging?"

For just a split second, there's a furrow in her brow at that mention of being alive — maybe if she makes it past November or her 22nd birthday or another year, she'll feel there's something worth celebrating. But his easy way of talking, self-editing withstanding, and that crooked grin makes her own frown dissipate, a smile replacing it as she takes another sip of the bubbly golden wine.

One bare shoulder rises and falls, and her head tilts to one side as her dark eyes study his. "Our little business is open. I never thought I'd be a business owner, or part partner, or whatever. It's kind of crazy. Other than that, same ol', same ol'." She doesn't want to talk about precognitive visions of her own death or clairvoyant visions of abominable monsters that were once men or the anniversary of her kidnapping or any other "news" that he hasn't heard. "You?"

A shrug seesaws through Jericho's angular shoulders. He drinks his champaigne like it's water, and then looks slightly quizzical about its texture. Not much of a champaigne-drinker, apparently. Not that this shocks anybody present. Down below, a children screams laughter. "'Business' she says," he says. "Funny how that sounds like a euphemism coming out of your little mouth. I dunno what that says about you, I don't have one fuckin' cluepon to cash in about whether you mean you threw your money at something new, or you're doing some spotting for the Ferry again.

"Or someone else." That cause doesn't sound nearly derogatory, in his tone of voice, insofar as that everything does and it all cancels out over enough time and acquaintance. Money for investments, paramilitary espionage, sometimes in outright defiance to Federal law. He twists his dark features into a lined scowl that might remind her he's that much older than she is, and then rakes his curls with one long-fingered hand. "Well, we got a small problem with kiddie-pimps on this island, maybe.

"There's no evidence that would hold up in the court of law or anything the white hats would regard as respectable, but that's so much red tape and bullshit, you know?"

Stifling a giggle at his curious glance at the sparkling wine, Peyton takes another sip before her lips part and she throws Jericho a mock-shocked and mock-prim expression at the comment of euphemisms. Laughing and shaking her head, she murmurs, "No, like, a legitimate business. Richard Cardinal, me, some other people are running a security firm of sorts. We figured we may as well make some money while we do what we do, right?"

But then the talk grows serious and she frowns, nose wrinkling with disgust and contempt. "Yeah, no shit. And it's Staten, so they don't care, right? And they're too busy making sure that every Tom, Dick and Harry have papers just to cross the street, starting today, no time for the stuff that matters." She gives an angry shake of her head. "That's awful. Do you know where? Can we string the bastards up by their balls?" Peyton may come from a different world than Jericho, but they share some sentiments, it would seem.

It's true. Even in prison— that is, real prison, you'd be hard-pressed to find inmates who'd tolerate those who operated in that particular industry. Jericho punctuates her remark by spitting to the side, being a delightfully classy gentleman. He washes down the rest of his champaigne all in one swallow after that, the sharp bone in his throat lurching with the drink. It takes him a moment, maybe two, and then he's climbing to his feet, his knee giving a little pop.

He steps close, and his breath smells like nothing worse than fizzy drink. Maybe some kind of gum. Not altogether unlikely, that he chewed gum before she got all the way out here. Something like guilt changes the slope of his brow, makes sheepish the line of his mouth, clears his throat. No matter how sincere his disgust had been, what he's about to say next turns in a different universe.

"We need to find the sick fucks first. We got an address of one of 'em, but the asshole's dead now and he was low-level, probably wouldn'tve talked even if he'd fuckin' wanted to. Do you think you'd have, uh." His left eyebrow purls upward, and his right eye goes squinty. "Some time for that?"

Her brows knit together as he comes closer, her head tilting as she listens, and Peyton's brows rise in understanding of why she's here, or at least a part of why she's here, before he quite gets to the question. Her lips part, and her scowl deepens as she turns away. Not in anger. At least not anger directed at him.

Her power can be useful, and she only has, or so she believes, a few months left at most on this earth to do some good with her life. There is no question what her answer will be. She glares at the roof beneath her bare feet as she shakes her head, though the word that follows that negative gesture is positive.

"Of course," she murmurs, reaching for his hand and bringing her eyes back up, glistening with angry tears. "But I have to see them, or at least see them through someone else."

"There's this club in Harlem," he says, scratchily. And that's weird, isn't it? Scratchy. Jericho's generally oddly smooth, for someone comprised almost entirely of rough edges and stinky scatology. "We found matchboxes. The one shithead they rat-trapped was meeting guys— maybe the mafia, over there.

"They don't let just anybody in. Which is fuckin' weird, because he was some skinny, stinking redneck asshole in flannel." He has to clear his throat again, wipes his jaw with the back of one raw-boned wrist, before he's reaching into his pocket, pulling out a tan-colored napkin. Flicking it open, he scuffs the layer of tissue against her cheek, his thumb bracing it smooth, drying off the telltale track there. It's awkward, but he doesn't poke her in the eye, or accidentally muffle her nose with the paper.

"We think this guy, uh. One of Linderman's tit-sucking parasites— John Logan? Maybe he could get somebody in, but it'd probably have to be somebody that looked the part, give or take one of us boys passing ourselves off as security." And even then, hardly believable, she knows. Jericho's tall, and Tier fucking 3, but he's hardly built to bodyguard.

"I know Logan," Peyton says, her voice neutral, even as her lips quirk in a little smile at the oddly gentlemanly gesture, Jericho wiping her cheek. She tilts her head so that her cheek brushes his hand, before going back to business.

"If I meet the guy going in, I can watch through his eyes, see the guy you want me to watch for," she suggests. "Or I can maybe suggest a couple of people, might look like security, though I hate to think anyone I'd associate with could pass for anyone affiliated with something like that." The contempt in her voice is clear, but she reaches up to push a curl out of his eyes. "You didn't have to ply me with champagne or anything first, you know," she teases.
[Pose Order Object(#154){Builder}<-(#449)] ORDER: It is now your pose.

Jericho glares at her, which is kind of what Jericho does when he's embarrassed about something. "The Hell I was plying you with," he pauses, realizing she's making fun. "Chee-ky wench." Knock-off British accent, an empty farce of Cockney. "You think you've got the whole world wrapped around your little pinkie, don't you? Well, I hope your fuckin' right, woman.

"The asshole we knew about is dead, I'm afraid." He shrugs his crow-boned shoulders. "And not high enough in the pyramid, it sounds like. Some people rooted through his stash, found some kiddie porn and fucking creepy Polaroids, but no books, nothing that's going to help us figure out who the fuck he's working for. Or where the damn kids are. There was a boy in the fuckin'—"

The lanky Arab boy sucks a breath in through his teeth, and there's a click-click of his fingers in his pockets now that the napkin's discarded, the urge to fuck around with fire repressed. Nerves. Anger. Something. There are too many children within the Ferry, especially out in the lawless sanctuary that Staten Island is, democratic secrecy, for monsters and men alike.

"We got a cellphone from him. It's got numbers, but we don't know whose they are, or their real names. Club's where we need to go to get that and faces."

The fake British accent gets a soft laugh from Peyton that's welcome in the midst of so much ugliness. She lifts her hand, pinky finger raised, then reaches down to grab one of those fidgeting hands, curling her fingers through the pyromaniac fingers to distract him.

"What if you get someone in this club somehow, Logan's guy or whatever, I mean, and I can meet Logan's guy to help watch for these guys — what if while he's in there, in the club, someone else, you, maybe, is calling through those numbers from the cell phone you have? I assume they don't know their guy is dead, right? So they'd think maybe it's him," she says suddenly, the idea tumbling out as she thinks through it. "It's a long shot, but … but he'll see and I'll see, if anyone picks up the phone while they're in there? It might not work for a lot of reasons, but it could, maybe."

"We got some notes on where the private booths are," Jericho says, a wry twist to his mouth underneath the scraggly-loopy shadows of his hair. "You know, the fat cats. Exclusive even among the fucking exclusive. Between that idea and John Logan's well-paid metrosexuality, that sounds like it could damn well work." His brow furrows, probably trying to remember where the Hell said captured cellphone is, but nothing comes to mind immediately. It's been a cagey few weeks, and it'll take more than some fizzy piss-colored wine-equivalent to take the edge off that. "Jesus fuck.

"Anybody tell you you've maybe been doing this too long?" he adds, an arm draped over her shoulders, suddenly, the next breeze crisply redolent with aftershave as he leans in, slants a kiss on the middle of the poor little rich girl's forehead.

"Just a year," Peyton murmurs, arms sliding around his waist, letting him hold her. "I can hear now too. And no, I still don't look in on anyone unless it's for a good reason," she adds, remembering his joke from so long ago. She looks up, dark eyes solemn as she studies his, darker than her own.

"You guys gonna ask Logan or you need me to do that? I don't … I mean, I know him, but we're not best friends or anything. I'm not sure if he'd do it if I asked out of the goodness of his heart." She doesn't hate John Logan, and their last run in was amiable and harmless enough, but indifference and mutual civility are different than trust.

Jericho hikes his raw-boned shoulders, thoughtfully. The champaigne bottle slaps back into his hand, and he wiggles it around a bit, listens to the fluid inside swinging and clinking off the olive-colored gloss of the walls. "Maybe we can ask him together," he suggests, finally. "He looked at me like I was less than a little bit of dog manure he needed to scrape off the bottom of his fucking Mary janes, last time he walked past me, but I'll admit: I didn't look at him like he was much more.

"He owes us, a little. We're putting up a girl for him. I don't think he feels like it's his debt to need to pay, but." He wiggles an elbow in an indifferent shrug, tips another sloosh of champaigne into her cup, and then his. Never mind the circumstances of its imbibement have begun to diverge rather excessively from traditional celebration. Good ol' Jericho: sure knows how to get a girl out on a date. "It's the beginning of a fuckin' relationship. 'Least he can do is refrain from asking why he'd do this for us. Y'know.

"If we're lucky."

Lucky is one thing Peyton Whitney rarely feels. Knowing she's going to have to see more atrocities through eyes that are not her own with the hope that it might put an end to the suffering of someone innocent and weak, she feels she has little to celebrate. Still she lifts the plastic cup to her lips and takes a long draught — much longer than would be proper etiquette in polite company. But Jericho, a gentleman in his own unrefined manner, doesn't require such niceties. It's one of the things she likes about him.

"He probably won't look at me like I'm much better, but we can try. If not, there are others I'm sure would want to help on this sort of thing," she says, standing on her tip toes to kiss Jericho's cheek. "We'll get in. Somehow."

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