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Scene Title Literary
Synopsis Flint gets religious and tries to warn Leah of her impending doom. She makes fun of him and says she isn't going anywhere. He will die from reading too much and she will die from not listening enough. If their parents were alive they would probably be really proud.
Date January 15, 2008

Leah's Apartment

Run-down and ramshackle, the apartment might once have been nice, with a spacious central area and a series of narrow windows overlooking the Chinatown street. Now, though, it is a veritable potluck of furniture and decor, thrown together haphazardly. The sleeping area is separated from the rest of the apartment by a fold-out wall and there is about room to turn around in the kitchen. The bathroom is cleanly appointed in pale blue and yellow tile, with a chipped toilet, a double-doored double-wide glass shower, and a jacuzzi bathtub whose jets have not functioned properly since 1993.

The place largely exists in a continual state of half-cleanliness, friendliness reflected by a happy litter of discarded clothing, old magazines, and occasional whimsical sculptures constructed from empty cans and bottles, a creative alternative to recycling. The centerpiece of the apartment is a plush sofa of rich, buttery dark leather before a coffee table of polished mahogany inset with glass. The desk across the room, in contrast, looks like it was probably pulled out of a Dumpster and cleaned off. The TV is neither large nor small, neither new nor old, a hulk of black technology sitting on a very old, black, rickety-looking ~entertainment center~ coated in dust.

The heat is on the blink in Leah's apartment, ratcheted up a few notches too high despite her best efforts to jimmy it into a more temperate climate. The air carries the familiar, distinctive acridity of marijuana smoke, tinted by the off-set of rain-scented incense burnt in the kitchen sink.

Leah herself is draped languidly across her sofa, dressed in a knee-length black skirt and a ratty old tank top whose plain white shade might once have been crisper than its current dull, worn off-white existence. Her head pillowed on the sofa's armrest, she watches patterns in the grains of her ceiling with an expression of vague distraction, her legs crossed at the knee. Her feet are bare and her toenails have been painted emerald green. It's clear that she has had a really busy day.

BANG BANG BANG BANG. Deckard does not have a polite knock. The rap of his knuckles is unintentionally aggressive against the paint peeling across the exterior of Leah's apartment door. The same kind of 'open the door or else' knock that policemen and thugs collecting for local drug lords tend to have. Fortunately he's neither of those things.

A fresh lit cigarette drooping from the corner of his mouth, he squints through the wall long enough to see that she's actually home, checks his watch, and starts to shrug out of his overcoat. The leather jacket beneath doesn't match, but it's warm. Which is good, because the hallway is nearly as cold as the weather outside.

Narrowing her gaze at the door, Leah lets her head fall back for a moment against the cushion of the armrest. Her eyes flutter briefly shut, lashes fanning thick and dark against faintly flushed skin, and she exhales a puff of smoke past her lips, held on her tongue a little too long.

Behind her door, there is the horribly ungraceful sound of a bodily thump, and then a sniggering.

Using her coffee table as an aid, she climbs to her feet, and bats random lint and associated imaginary filth from skirt and shirt as her bare feet thud across the brown-peach carpet to the door.

One grey-blue eye peeks expectantly at Deckard through the crack of the door beneath the chain.

Flint doesn't actually look that much better than he did the last time she saw him. The stitches in his face have gone missing, but the black-scabbed slashes they were holding together remain in approximately the same configuration. Overcoat folded over his arm while he waits, he rolls some of the residual stiffness out of shoulders, not bothering to investigate the thump. The only body he saw in there was hers, and two seconds ago it was still alive.

The moment the door opens and there's a semi-free exchange of air, his nostrils flare around incense and marijuana. His eyes roll. So not a good time for her to be stoned out of her gourd. "We need to talk."

At this, the door closes in his face. There is a rattle of chain, and then another rattle of chain, and then the door opens again. Leah kicks it wide with the bare heel of her foot and settles her weight on it, hands on her hips. Her left eye looks a little redder than her right, as though she's been rubbing it too much in addition to smoking weed. "Great," she says as she squints up at him. She doesn't actually get out of the way to let him into her apartment, although it probably just hasn't occurred to her to move. "You look like shit. Still. Again?"

"You look pretty special yourself." Deckard does not say so in a way that constitutes a compliment, brows level with annoyance for her mastery of observation. He is tired in addition to being cut up, mood downtrodden and hair appropriately flat over the scruff around his jaw. "Nice toenails. Can I come in?"

"Sure." Leah flares her nostrils with the exhalation of her sigh, and scruffs a hand her dark hair as she turns away. Her footsteps drift, wandering randomly away from the door as though she's not quite sure where to go with herself. "Want a smoke?" she asks over her shoulder. Gaze narrowing again with realization, she adds, "I'm almost out of ritz crackers. Do you want some cheese?"

"Maybe after we…talk." The pause is necessary while he navigates his way over a dubious-looking pile of clothes. Dubious because some of them maybe don't look like they actually belong to her. One brow lower than the other for that, he eventually makes his way all the way over to the couch. His coat is slung down over the arm. The rest of him follows it down into the crook of arm and cushion, overlarge feet kicked up automatically onto the coffee table once he's settled. "No cheese. Have any beer?"

Leah wanders into the kitchen, opens her refrigerator, and squats, peering into it. She opens a drawer and pulls out a chunk of cheddar, which she breaks a piece off of to put in her mouth. Then she puts the cheese back and pulls out a bottle of beer. She peers at the label. "Dark," she says, dragging herself back to an upright position with the hook of her hand into the handle of the refrigerator door. She swings it shit, knocking into it with her hip to make sure it is all the way closed. "This guy I met at the bar says dark beer is better for your heart. I have no idea who he is, but he sure told me a lot about beer."

Tucking the mouth of the beer bottle beneath her shirt, her face crinkles into an attitude of concentration as she works her palm around the ridged cap through the thin fabric, pulling until there is the familiar hissing pop of it opening. "Got the little fucker," she says in triumph, smile swift and wide as she removes the bottle from her shirt and holds it out toward him, spilling only a little as she waggles it in her hand. "You sound really ominous."

"Beer is beer." So judges the refined taste of Flint Deckard, who keeps his head slightly turned to the door, and presumably everything on the other side of it. Right foot crossed lazily over left, it takes him the duration of her refrigerator exploration adventure to make an effort towards relaxation. Even then, the results are less than stellar.

His eyes are intense, long face and the lines chiseled into it hammered into an expression that could easily be mistaken for anger in the place of less inflammatory distraction. The offer of beer doesn't do much to take the edge off, but he does stop the creepy 'cat staring at something you can't see' act long enough to force a half-smile when he takes it. Thanks, and all that. "My life has been kind of ominous." What's she eating? Cheese. Jesus. His stiff left hand lifts to press its heel into his temple.

Circling around the back of the sofa, Leah comes to the middle cushion and folds herself down into it. Her back pressed against the back cushion, she pulls her legs up with her so that she can wrap her arms around them, hugging her knees to her chest. Tipping her head to the side as she looks at him, it is almost a childlike pose, self-protective. "You're trying to make me worry, aren't you?" she accuses gently, although there is a burr of laughter in her quiet words, spoken slowly and paired with the warm gleam of her reddened eyes. If she laughs while she says it, that makes it less true.

"Yeah." He is. Scruffy head tipped back over the cushion behind it once he's snuffed out his cigarette and taken a couple of long draws off his beer, Deckard lolls the line of his gaze vaguely over in her direction. Then back up onto the ceiling. "What if I told you that a lot of bad things are going to happen soon, and you should probably," he squints an eye there, perhaps aware of the inevitable drama inherent in this kind of proposition, "leave the city?"

"Oh, fuck you." Leah laughs, and looses her arms from their clasp around her legs to sling one across the back of the sofa, behind his shoulders. Her grin bright and fey, it fades slowly to a more contemplative expression. She considers him with a quiet intent. "How bad?"

He can't help but smile at that. It is a flat, resigned smile, reserved especially for things like sisters unwittingly laughing about the oppressive loom of a really unattractive apocalypse over Manhattan's skyline. The curl of his hair is coarse against her arm, dusted with about as much grey as he deserves. So, a lot. His eyes stay with the ceiling.

"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth." How bad? Revelations bad. Deckard's left hand lifts again, this time to rub over his eyes.

There are thin cracks in Leah's ceiling, suggesting very old paint to go with the weird, curling grain of the creamy pattern there. Also some water stains. High class. Running her tongue along her teeth, Leah closes her eyes briefly, and then purses her lips, swallowing. "Jeez," she says lightly. "Drama queen." Opening her eyes again, she lifts her hand to tousle his hair. "Put your pale horse away and give me some information. If it's so bad, why can't you get the hell out?"

"I'm not a drama queen. I'm literary." Indignation borne of that accusation in the company of hair tousling is enough to effectively poop on the atmosphere he was trying cultivate, and he scoots an ineffectual inch or two further away from her on the couch. There he can sip his beer and brood with something like a 5% less chance of having his hair turned up at angles that are even more indifferently homeless than usual. "Stuff to do."

Not about to let him escape so easily, Leah scoots after him over the soft leather, but she does not further assault his hair. Rather, she lays her arm against his shoulder and props her jaw on her fist, looking down at him with exasperation in her gaze. "'Stuff'. That's very literary." She extends her other arm as she glances away from him, looking down its length at her hand, as though she is ignoring Flint apart from using him as an impromptu armrest. Wiggling her fingers, she snorts. "Now what can it be that is so terrible that my big brother must protect me from it, but he won't look out for his own neck?" she asks her fingernails.

Honest annoyance twitches down at Deckard's brow at the Stuff jab. Maybe more broadly at the insinuation that he isn't literary, but just some degreeless dickhead throwing around verse for dramatic effect. Mean. The look he meets hers with is resentful, but lacks real feeling. Whatever. Teo thinks he's smart.

"A mystery for the ages. You could sit here and ponder it for a while. Or you could just take my advice." Because he's been such a great example for her all his life and everything. Beer nursed, he endures the rest of her arm largely by ignoring it.

The slight twitch of a smile touches her lips, though she catches his expression only by periphery. She makes a play at looking around the room. Only high enough to be pleasantly foggy in the ordinary discomfort of her overheated apartment, the usual guardedness of her is relaxed as she resettles in her perch. Maybe she is mean, but there is nothing vicious in her barbs.

"Or," Leah says consideringly, gaze slanting sidelong back towards him, "maybe I could help you. Thought of that, genius?"

"By becoming intangible?" Deckard's weight shifts under her arm, enough to change the position of her elbow away from its too-close rest next to a freshly unstitched cut under his too-warm jacket. "At least then you wouldn't be able to touch me. Anyway. That's not how it works. It's…complicated."

"That's not how it works," Leah retorts. She reaches over and snags his beer bottle, tugging it out of his hands. Then she sits up and away from him, leaning forward to let her heels thunk to the floor and pass the bottle back and forth through the very solid surface of her coffee table. Smile crooked as she tips her glance back towards him, her expression is resigned. "With you it would be complicated, wouldn't it?" she says. "Please tell me there's not a girl."

"Hey — come on." She's making his beer intangible. Maybe now if he drinks it he'll get cancer or something. As opposed to how his staring at everyone in radiation mode all the time is completely harmless. Anyway. If he wanted to reach it now he'd have to lean forward or something. He leans further back instead, shoulders molded into a hunch to better fit the shape of the couch. "So far the only people here that will fuck me want money for it."

Sitting up again, she hands him back his beer. It is fully tangible by the time she touches it to his hand. Mouth turned up at only one corner, she sighs at him. "You didn't seriously think you were going to get me to run, did you?" she asks him, tone almost sympathetic. There is an odd intentness in her eyes as she studies his face, as though she is trying to read it better. Happily for everyone in the universe she has no telepathy.

Deckard's jaw flexes and hollows. He takes the beer back, mainly because she puts it in his hand, and spends the next half a minute or so looking pointedly at the corner of her table. Which remains as solid as the bottle in his hand. "No." He sips the beer. World's ending before too long. Cancer probably isn't that big of a deal, in retrospect.

"But at least now I don't have to feel as bad if you die horribly."

"That's sweet." The words are uninflected, the barest whisper of irony suggested by their flatness. Turning slightly away from him, Leah folds her arms and rests their cross against her knees, looking out across her living room with an expression that almost suggests melancholy. "Actually I will probably outlive you," she says, wiping her hands lightly against each other. "I got to tell you, I will feel pretty bad about that."

She's probably right. Even if she stays. Head tipped in dreary acknowledgment of as much, Deckard looks after her turn away from him with a more genuine frown. It's private and fleeting, but there enough for the few seconds it takes to fade. "Better to die for something than live for nothing. Anyway. With Linderman's men cornering the market, in a few more years I'd have to start deciding whether I'd rather pay for viagra or hookers."

"Oh no," Leah says in a low voice. She laughs, but there is not much humor in it; it is a sobering laugh, and she follows it by leaning back and pressing the heels of her hands to her eyes. "I knew all that literature you've read couldn't be good for your brain." Letting her hands fall to her lap with a light slap, she looks at him with a twist to her mouth and lifted brows. Her expression is ambiguous, but her eyes suggest anxiety and more family feeling than she would probably admit to. "I'd draw the line at procuring viagra for you, I've got to say," she tells him seriously.

"It's not the booze or the alcohol. It's the reading." Delayed death by library. It's ironic, in a vaguely depressing and kind of stupid way. Deckard scratches at the back of his head with one hand and tips his nearly empty beer against the arm rest with the other. He avoids her in posture and gaze, back to staring at the table while his shoulders adopt an awayward lean. "I hear you can get it pretty cheap on the internet."

Leah sighs. She lifts her hand like she is going to broach his personal space again, and then curls it into a fist and drops it instead and pulls one of her legs up to perch on it, letting it fold beneath her. "So I hear," she says, turning the interlace of her fingers upwards.

"Yeah," says Deckard. Kind of awkward. Focus tipped down into the neck of his beer, he takes a moment, sighs, and finally sits up a little straighter. "Is it cool if I crash here? Doc says I'll get all nasty and infected if I spend too much time around the usual rathole."

"Fine," Leah says with a slight dip of her head, frowning briefly at the floor. Then she slowly unfolds from her perch on the couch, catching herself from a stumble by hooking her ankle against the leg of the coffee table and pinwheeling an arm. "—Just don't expect me to cook anything." Although there sure is cheese in the fridge!

"Like I would eat anything you cooked." While sober. "I'll run by the 7-eleven at the corner if you share a doobie." More at ease in the wake of a change of subject and a nice couch to sleep on, Deckard reaches into his jacket pocket to extract two bottles of pills, which are clattered out onto the coffee table with little care for their contents.

"Okeydokey, Smokey." Now standing, Leah fluffs out her hair and straightens her rumpled tank top with a slight tug on its hem, and then moves to wander towards her bed'room' to collect some more drugs from her stash. Maybe she'll even bring him a pillow later if he's really lucky.

Deckard is probably going to be really sick at some point in the next few hours. But RIGHT NOW…beer, pot, antibiotics and painkillers seem like a really great combination. While she collects, he lounges, eventually fishing his good hand down between her couch cushions after a quarter. Sweet.

January 15th: Civil Disobedience
January 15th: Just Another Day In The City
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