Lessons Unlearned


buck_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif doyle_icon.gif tommy_icon.gif

Scene Title Lessons Unlearned
Synopsis While Delilah is busy being a graffiti ninja, some mostly unfamiliar people happen to converge.
Date September 13, 2009


Over the last day and into the evening, the number of those unfortunate nooses being plastered around Brooklyn has grown; needless to say, the moment that Delilah saw a snippet about it on the local news, she huffed and she puffed and she grabbed her paint supplies. Not to mention a balaclava. A horrible black that clashes with the colorful dress peeking out from under her thigh-length coat. Slung around her arms is a square-shaped portfolio case, splattered with paint; around her hips is literally something out of the pages of Batman- a belt laden with spraycans. Untrained in finer arts she may be, but Delilah is pretty good at sneaking around, especially during twilight. She has already successfully painted over a few nooses left by Humanis First!, and is on her way to the next that she knows the location of.

This one is plastered just around the corner of an old apartment building, emblazoned there on the side facing oncoming traffic and pedesrians coming out from under a small overpass. The figure of the tall woman sidles quickly along in the shadow that it offers, the bare clink of cans on her as she flips over the big stencil case to draw one out. When working alone, she has a mechanical feel- the baby bird is here to get this done and get away as soon as she can, little more.

It's not exactly a happening place, this little alleyway behind some apartments. And since the mysterious Delilah is being pretty sneaky, the sound of a bottle shattering on the ground is probably pretty noticeable. It's accompanied by the curse: "Aw, shit." Buck moseys onto the scene, looking back over his shoulder at the liquor bottle he broke.

And here comes trouble with a capital T-R-U-B-B… Wait, that's not quite right, let's try again… Tommy is no stranger to alleys behind tenement buildings, it's where he makes some of his money. No stranger to tagging, either, since he needs to know who runs what block, it can be a matter of life and death. And so a ninja'd out girl with cans, that draws attention of the sort she may not need or want. But for now he's content to just hang back, keep an eye on things. Hopefully she won't be trying to cover up something he or his put up…

It isn't a good few months to be Evolved in New York City. The blood of those who possess the Suresh Linkage Complex stains even the floors of courtrooms and ballroom galas, proving to many that no-one is safe. That's why the brim of a baseball cap is drawn down low over Eric Doyle's face, his shoulders hunched a bit and hands tucked into his pockets as if to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he's no interest in anyone else's business. Just on his way from one subway stop to another overgrown to avoid a delay, keeping to himself and out of everyone's way.

Unfortunately, the shortcut that he's taking is going to carry him along right past the spot where the masked woman wields paint as an ideological weapon. Isn't it just his luck?

The crashing of the bottle is distracting, but Delilah only settles further into the shadows now with one stained stencil looped onto her hand. As she lifts it up to slap it over the noose on the wall, the stains are sparsely visible as the color of fire. She is unaware that she is being watched, and not entirely unaware that it feels like someone is ready to peek over her shoulder. The snipping rattle of the shaking can in her hand may or may not alert Doyle to his destination, but Delilah freezing in place when he rounds that shortcut's corner probably will. She's got the bright orange paint can up, nozzle poised in place above the ready outline of a vaguely Celtic phoenix.

Buck pushes the brim of his hat up in front with an index finger. When he hears the rattle of a spray can, he turns and squints in that direction. "Aw hell," he murmurs. "You paintin' that house without any primer?" He sounds both disapproving and drunk.

A man-sized shadow detaches from a pool of darkness at an intersection of alley and street. There's a swagger in the step of the thug as he steps down the alleyway, dark eyes focused on the girl with the cans, and the drunk accosting her. They're usually easy marks for a street rip, and Tommy is always on the job. He moves closer to the pair, hands stuffed deep in his jacket pockets, and he's pretty intent on his prey. Shit's gonna go down tonight.

The portly fellow rounding the corner is brought up short by the sight of the masked woman, his eyes widening briefly in the subtle shadow cast by his ballcap's brim - above it, the logo proclaiming his allegiance to the Yankees, much as the logo that she's painting proclaims her allegiance to something rather more pointed. "Oh." An awkward clearing of Eric's throat, a glance to the drunk, then to the painted lines, then to Delilah. "Uh. Sorry— heh— wrong alley, miss." A quick, bland smile, both hands emerging held up a bit as if to show he doesn't want any trouble.

She's going to do it no matter what, so Delilah presses boldly down on the nozzle and sprays the Phoenix over the distressing image left by the rivals of all rivals. If it could scree alive, it probably would be. Thundercats, Ho!

Once the bird is now emblazoned over the noose, Delilah glances off towards Buck and back towards Doyle, but only to have her gaze flicker over towards the approaching man. "Oy, I hate it when I step right into a puddle, don't you fellas?" The hole where her mouth peeks out quirks up as she smiles, beaming at all eyes on her and at the same time, shoving the can back into its loop and backing up a bit- not against the wall, and vaguely in Doyle's direction. For him, the voice may be vaguely familiar if he's spent a good deal of time in safehouses at various points; that's all up to chance. The weight of the cans and the case slung on her shoulder is vague in itself for Delilah, who is visibly tensed up, standing under that now drying and slightly dripping orange firebird.

Buck just smiles at Delilah and answers her comment with a blink, not having understood its significance. And after a moment his attention is back on what she's painted. "See, it's drippin' now, y' got too close to it," the Texan drawls, shifting his weight into one hip. "Shoulda backed off an' done a couple coats." He's blissfully unaware if anyone's noticing what an easy mark he is.

A mocha hand emerges from a puffy bomber jacket - all the better to conceal size and intentions - tugging down on the hem of Tommy's hat, getting it low over his eyes. A bandanna makes an appearance from around his neck covering the bottom half of the thug's face. it seems that Delilah's not the only one that's concealing her identity while out to cause trouble. The street punk doesn't waste any time in maknig his move, caution never got anyone a new diamond ring after all. He walks up to Buck, bumping into the drunk, before turnign to face him with a hand full of blued steel, a good old fashioned heavyweight revolver. His voice is low, pure street and pure Old New Yawk, as he says, quietly, 'How's about you pass over da loot, man.'

Oh, Doyle's been in a safehouse or two, though he's since moved on to his own place— always keeping to himself, quiet, sullen, but good with children. He's done his best to be relatively forgettable, but he's not even good at that, really. He might be remembered, certainly, although not by name. He's kept that close. "Right, then. Nice painting, look, I'm just going to…"

Then the hoodlum steps in to point the gun at the drunkard, and he freezes for a moment, his eyes widening once more, then narrowing just a bit.

"Always," he hisses under his breath, "Always something, isn't it, Eric? Damn it."

Oh, well, lookie there. Delilah's eyebrows lift up under her mask before she has time to answer Buck; he's being attacked with the hard end of a gun, next thing she knows. She's not going to get in the way, if she can help it. One hand is still holding onto the big plastic stencil, and the other is balled into a fist at her side. Brown eyes meet with Doyle's face as he scathes words to himself. While mister Revolver is smacking up Buck, Delilah is taking a step sidelong, trying to be quiet as she would rather not be pumped full of bullets- it probably hurts. And there's so much blood, and that whole dying thing- so she'll just be…moving aside now, sidling with one step towards the place Doyle occupies, and the path behind him.

Buck doesn't quite take a step back, but he does shift his weight into the foot that's slightly behind him. He looks down at the gun with a little more focus in his eyes than he had a moment ago. "Oh," he murmurs, smile fading. "Man, you gonna rob me?" he asks, sounding mostly put out by the inconvenience of it all rather than scared for his life like he ought to be. "You gonna let me keep my ID an' my credit cards an' shit?" He slowly starts to reach his hand toward his back pocket, where his wallet seems to be.

He's pretty congenial for a street ripper, judging from the way the cloth over his face twists into a parody of a smile for a brief moment. 'Naw, son, all dat shit. Wallet. Watch. jewry.' His eyes are wider then they need to be, taking in the trio with as little jumpy movements as possible. He gestures with the slab of metal as he speaks, but it never comes offline, not for an instant. Tommy shifts, moving so the he can see two of the three clearly, and his bandanna clad chin jerks towards the fat dude. 'You too, roly poly. Cough up dat shit.' And then come the words that may get him into trouble. 'And da hat, Texas. Put it all up in there.'

At the demand for his own money, Doyle's gaze snaps up from his private railing against fate, God, or whatever terrible luck or dharma has led him to this particular alley this evening— but far from the tired wariness of moments ago, there's a flicker of anger boiling slow upon the fires of frustration and indignation shown there behind half-hooded lids.

"You know," he says quietly, flatly, the words nevertheless audible in the silent night, "The problem with the world is pieces of shit like you that don't know your place, little man."

Bless it, Delilah isn't asked for anything right away. She has nothing anyway- protocol. What she does have is a gun at the back of her belt, a little thing; she is not about to grab for it, however. What she does do is stay stock still, almost rabbitlike, eyes moving from Tommy and his bandanna to Buck when he demands the hat too. Even Dee knows you never do that! All of a sudden she is expecting Buck to explode. Strange, she's the one that was trying to stay quiet for fear of Law- now the guys that snuck up on her have seemingly all turned on each other. It's a train wreck that she can't take her attention off of.

Buck looks pretty unhappy with the thug's verdict, and he positively scowls at the bit about the hat. But he pulls his wallet out of his back pocket and hands it to Tommy. "Ain't much in there," he says. "Those drinks in that club were expensive 's hell an' then fella I was orderin' for wanted all this expensive mixed shit…" He starts to crouch down. "Hold on a sec, lemme get the holdout cash in m' sock…" Once he's down in a crouch he pulls up the leg of his jeans enough that he can reach into his boot. As pleasant as his assailant is, Buck seems pretty friendly about things, too. All things considered.

*click*click* comes the ominous sound of the thug's hammer cocking the pistol. More than one Texan's had a holdout that wasn't green. The thug takes a step back, his voice carrying a little as his eyes dart towards the fat man shielding the girl with the bulk of his body. It might not be deliberate, but the effect is the same. 'Naw, son. The prollem wit dis place bees dat fat mo'fucks like you be eatin' more'n your share and skinnt bastads like me always gotta be takin' to get mine.' His guard is a little relaxed, and for the first time the muzzle of his piece swings off the urban cowboy and onto the chubby guy with the mouth. 'You needs to be talkin' less and reachin' more, fat man. I dno't see you green RIGHT NOW, someone's prolly gonna end up gettin' murt' up in dis bitch tonight.'

The gun sweeps in the direction of the portly puppeteer, and the sullen anger in his gaze crystallizes. "Oh. Really now," he says softly, his hands lifting slowly as if a television victim of a stick-up, fingers curling downwards as if drawing upon strings— and then Doyle's hand raises a few more inches in a sharp movement, drawing those unseen strings taut.

Some amongst the Evolved fly. Some can heal. Eric Doyle's ability exerts itself in a sudden tension that seizes in the muscles, restraining his victim's motion save where he wishes it. The puppet master's invisible strings wind themselves down into the mugger's body to pull his own arms upwards in imitation and hold them there. He smiles, a slow, unpleasant smile as he leans forward slightly, "And who would that be?"

"All right, all right," Buck says, dipping his fingers into his boot. But as soon as the muzzle goes toward someone else, Buck confirms Tommy's worst suspicions and pulls out a .22, shooting it off at the thug's leg. However, when he looks up and sees that the mugger is immobilized, that's even greater luck for him. Being that it's the first little Evolved trick he's actually seen up close, he spends a moment boggling. Then finally, he gets up and retrieves the wallet he'd handed over earlier. "Wouldn't've shot at y' if y' just wanted the cash," he says a bit apologetically. "Thanks, Slim, owe y' a beer," he says over his shoulder to Doyle. And then he's off running. Ever seen a drunk cowboy run? Quicker than you'd think.

While she is by no means cowering behind Doyle, it is obvious to everyone that she's at least putting enough faith in him to be able to help her. Incidentally, her faith was well-put, and the puppeteering of the origin of the danger comes as a great boon. Her eyes move from Doyle's shoulders towards Buck, who still seems to be in such a dull little stupor up until he has a gun in his hand.

Delilah winces as it goes off; she can't help but amend when it is clear that the first gun is no longer in control. "See, this is why highway robbery went out of style. The horses turned into trains." And thus, robbery had to change. Evo-train, choo choo~.

The piece is still in the street rippers's hand, but it's not useful, no longer a threat. Now it doesn't even look like Tommy's gonna get his new (to him, at least) hat. There's a flash of fear in those expressive brown eyes as his body jumps out of his control, but it's quickly brought under control. Several things flash almost subliminally across his face and eyes in rapid sucession. Anger. Frustration. Realization. And the one that sticks, boiling in those eyes as the gun goes off is hatred, pure and ugly. He can't gnash his teeth, he can't even work up a mouthful of spit to fire at these vermin in front of him, but it's not about money anymore.

The pistol is tiny, the .22 a small roudn, and that's a good thing. It just eats a hole through Tommy's jeans and maybe even tears away some flesh as the slug vanishes down the alleyway, spaning loudly off bricks and concrete before it finds it's final resting place in the tire of an old beat up Thunderbird. Someone, somewhere calls it in to 911, but this isn't one of those neighborhoods with a 3 minute response time. Too bad for Tommy.

The drunken cowboy's gun-shot and flight garners a brief, uncaring glance from Doyle before the puppeteer's gaze slides back to rest upon Tommy's held form, that smile lingering upon a double-chinned face. The heavy-weight man approaches with a slow step, circling the would-be mugger without any particular hurry as he holds him bound as if by some unseen hand. A pause, as he glances down to the bloodied pant leg, and he chuckles— a sound that shakes his shoulders a bit. "Well, that's got to hurt. He who lives my the sword, as they say, hmm?"
Control is given a bit of slack—at least to the man's head, his face, giving him leave to talk, scream, rant, bargain, whatever he wishes.

As much trouble as a robber may be, Delilah doesn't want to see anyone die without a better reason- and so she does not leave when given the chance. Though Dee is not waiting, she is in no hurry. Her eyes stay fixed between the two men, drawing down to glance at the flesh wound at Tommy's leg. The colorful print of her dress peeks from between the unclosed sides of her coat, looking for a moment severely out of place.

When Dee's gaze rests back on Doyle, it is with a look that questions whether or not he is going to be merciful here or not.

Clearly, the street thug doesn't get the reference, as the first words out of his mouth are, 'It's a gun you dumb fat mo'fuck.' There's no screaming from the thug who's being held in a ludicrous position, no ranting or raving. Just the cold truth from lips that have seen too much in his short life. 'You goan git got, fat man.' The improvised mask is the only thing keeping saliva in Tommy mouth as his eyes go towards the ninja girl that he can now clearly see. Well, sort of. It's dark in the alley and she /is/ makign a point of concealing her identity. "You ain't goan see it comin, someone goan spit at you, an' you be /done/.'

Muscles jump into stark relief against the tight bandanna covering the thug's face as pain radiates up from the freely bleeding wound on his leg, and he can't wait for it to settle down to a dull ache. No stranger to bullet wounds, this one, and as bullet wounds go, this one isn't so bad. 'You do what you gotta do, fat man, but your time is coming. For you and your kind. mo'fuck.' Brown eyes track towards Doyle, and he watches him with grim determination. He's accepted his fate, in his head he's been dead for years anyway.

"Obviously." Two eyes roll expressively in their sockets before orienting once more upon the would-be mugger's visage, Doyle's nostrils flaring in a derisive exhalation of breath before he leans in closer to the masked fellow as if to confide in him in conversational tones, "You really aren't very bright, are you, little man? Little ambitions, little frustrations, just taking it out on the world because you can't blame yourself. I can empathize, really, I can…"

He gestures with one hand, the motion echoed by Tommy's own arm as if it had become alien to the rest of him— and the pistol within it used to gesture just as he does. "My kind? Seriously…" He chuckles, scratching at his temple even as the barrel of the pistol imitates the motion against Tommy's head, "…what did I do to you until you started waving that toy around?"

He turns his head to look back over his shoulder, to Delilah, asking mildly, "So. You're with Phoenix, right? Nonviolent opposition and all of that… stuff. So what do you do with pieces of garbage like this? Send them to sensitivity classes?"

By the time that Tommy is finishing his words, Delilah is stepping out of the shadows, but just enough to outline herself in the twilight. She glances to Doyle with a passive little smile on her lips, but keeps herself on Tommy's case. "You know, that's what I do, that spitting on people. Imagine that. What a coincidence." Her arms cross over her stomach, and her tone is barely bemused. "If our time's coming, it isn't before yours."

"I am. Though we'll put up a fight if we must…" Dee's demeanor changes somewhat, her empty hand patting down at the length of her coat, a mimic of dusting a skirt. "We don't have protocol for people like this. Wish we did, sometimes. What I'd do is give him the benefit of my mercy. I can't speak for you though." Her words belay 'do what you want', but her tone doesn't entirely mean it.

The pistol drags at Tommy's tuque, leaving it just a little askew when his traitorous hand scratches his head with his own fistful of deadly metal. He's flexing, moving every muscle in his body with no result. Trapped in the prison of his own flesh, at the mercy of that which he hates most. More than the Maniacs that took his brother, more than the rockhound that his mother became. 'What did YOU do? What did you DO?' there's an incredulousness in Tommy's voice like all the Evolved should know why they're feared, why they're hated. 'I'll tell you whatchoo did, fatman…' His eyes shift significantly. looking to the right. He can't turn his head or gesture with his chin at the crater half a dozen miles away, but it's enough to make his point. 'You lived.'

The thug purses his lips, and whistles loudly, three chirps that are answered, though not from close enough to save his life. 'You do whatchoo gotta do, Fatman.' Seems he's foudn a title for Doyle, and it's stuck in his head if only in his head. 'An' I'll do tha same.'

"You spit on people?" Doyle's brow furrows, his head tilting a little, "Seriously? That's a weird— well, anyway, anyway…" The distraction's dismissed with a brush of his hand, of the gun, through the air before he turns fully to stand before Tommy, arms folded over his girth with fingers drumming against the opposite arm.

"Oh, that old song and dance? I'll tell you what, you take responsibility for all the murderous stupidity your people've done, and I'll take responsibility for everything Sylar's done." A bright smile that goes nowhere near his eyes, "Heck, you know, we can make a game of it! Just one monster of yours for ours. Hitler— no, no…" He rubs a hand at his heavy jowls, molding them thoughtfully, "Overdone. Mengele? Amin! Dahmer…"

"Among other things." Dee answers back, cheerful and her own smile quite real. There is something innocent about it, but at the same time it is rather disconcerting. She promptly quiets down to watch and listen as Doyle goes into what he does best, unbeknownst to Delilah. Eric Doyle happens to love mindgames, doesn't he?

This is something else that she cannot stop watching out of sheer anticipation, aside from a second's worth of looping the pack from her shoulder and sliding the stained phoenix stencil back between the others. Anticipation? Since when did she get excited when shit goes down? Maybe it's just the adrenaline. Yeah. Just that.

'Hitler? He ain't no nigga, son, what is you, stoopid?' The thug's head turns infitissimally, and the hatred returns to browned eyes as they dart between one of 'them' and the other. Pure and cold, like a well trained troop or maybe just the bravado of someone who just learned to never show fear. 'Mengele…' He mangles the pronunciation of the name. 'He ain't a nigga neitha, son. Amin, he's got da skin but he ain't nuthin but an oreo, and Dahmer, he ain't one of my peeps. My people's from around here. My peeps be Americans. Real Americans.' A gritting and gnashing of teeth as he struggles with limbs he can't control, trying to get control of his pistol, knowing that with one bullet all his troubles could be solved no matter where it went. 'Ain't one of /them/ mo'fucks /my/ people, Fatman. But it's people like you makes people wanna deal wit people like you.' Yeah, the logic isn't the cleanest or the best, but it's all he's got.

"Wait, wait…" Doyle actually grins, now, his head shaking slowly with amusement, "You actually are holding up poor African Americans as a pinnacle of moral superiority… after holding up three people in an alley and demanding all their money and cards or you'd kill them?" He nearly sputters out a guffaw, "Well, then, Q.E.D…."

A lean in, then, brows lifting a bit towards the brim of his Yankees cap as he regards those hate-hardened eyes for a moment before asking casually, "Do you… want to die, kiddo? I've seen that look in eyes before. Nothing left to lose. Nothing left to gain. Just waiting for the end."

'They's who my people is,' Tommy affirms. 'Ain't one of /my/ people, po' black folk…' He's laying it on thick, that accent, and it's /got/ to be deliberate. 'Ever kilt a hunnert grand in one shot. Evah.' The bandanna moves, lips underneath curling into a feral smile. 'An they sho as hell got moral superiority over you an yours. I just ain't a shinin' example of me and mine.' Eyes narrow as the Tommy focuses on Doyle, the silent and stilled ninjaform behind him lost in this exchange. 'You wanna know what I want, Fatman? I sure as hell tell you…' Brown eyes radiate crows feet as a parody of a laugh escapes from underneath the mask. Humorless and bitter.

'What I want, Fatboy, is yo wallet. Yo watch. Yo jewry.'

"You know something?" Doyle returns that humorless gaze, his smile fading to a more slack, almost thoughtless expression, "I don't think I can think of anything I could do to you worse than having to be you, little man…"

He straightens, then, strolling down the alley with a shake of his head as he adds more dryly, "Well, actually I can, but it'd draw far too much attention, and I don't want to get blood all over the theatre. Then Adam'd come demanding to know what I was doing, and I'd have to walk him into a concrete mixer, and, well— " He sweeps a hand sharply to one side as he strolls away, the motion suddenly surging life into Tommy's limbs, his legs in particular as the hoodlum lunges with every ounce of strength straining muscles can offer for the still-wet image of the phoenix.


"— I'm trying to turn over a new leaf anyway."

Rather than wait around for the end of it, Delilah is moving off after Doyle even before he tosses Tommy so liberally into the wall. People will probably wonder why there is a faceprint in that particular stencil, but there's not much she can do about it. So when Doyle is strolling away and the mighty mugger off flying, Delilah is hitching up her pack and yanking the mask off of her head, the only possible thing visible for Tommy the back of her redhaired head. "…I'm going your way too, chap." She declares as she tails him at a few feet's distance. It doesn't sound like a question of whether or not she can actually follow him off. She's doing it, express permission or not.

Face first into a wall of pain, a wall of paint. If he wasn't masked up he'd have a lot more to wash off later. But for now, the thug just picks himself off the floor with murder in his eyes. He looks down the alley after Fatman, and at the smeared image on the wall in front of him. Slowly, deliberatly, Tommy reaches for an abandoned can of spray paint, used to put one of the many gang symbols up that dot the alleyway, and approaches the smeared image. The rattle of metal balls in metal can ehoes through the alleyway as he replaces the original image on the wall. Well, maybe not /original/, but certainlt the last one that was there. A fresh noose, now around a smeared Phoenix's neck. War has been declared, and Tommy is answering the call.

There were many lessons that could have been learned tonight; where not to walk alone in the darkness, who not to threaten and bluster at, the hypocracy of racism from someone from a race once treated the same… more, certainly, the opportunities endless.

"Wonderful," Doyle mutters as he stalks down the the alleyway at a steady and swift-legged step, "I'll have to pick up some ninja-chow on the way home, I suppose. Don't expect me to take you for walkies, girl…"

As is all too common, however, it seems that none of those opportunities were seized, and little was learned by anyone involved.

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