Maybe Mary Magdalene


bebe2_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif

Scene Title Maybe Mary Magdalene
Synopsis <summarize the scene>
Date June 26, 2009

The Rookery

After the bomb, Staten Island grew to become a haven for undesirables. If the Island is their home, then the Rookery is their playplace. Equal parts gritty and decadent, it boasts dark alleys, bright lights, and every pleasure that one could imagine. Provided you know where to ask, of course.

Some areas have fared better than the rest of the island; some have fared far worse. For each well-tended brothel or gaming house, there's at least one creaky, crumbling structure left over from the days of pre-bomb suburban glory.

The population is considered universally distasteful, even by much of the rest of Staten Island. Criminals, refugees, victims of radiation poisoning… Those who have nowhere else to go often end up here. The most common method of getting out is to have your body dropped in the river, followed closely by being left wherever it is you got killed.

Good luck.

It's night in the Rookery. On a normal night, that would mean the garish neon would cast its coloured light over whores lingering upon the corners showing off their wares— lights that hide stretch marks and bruises due to their tint— it would mean that the black markets set up in darkened alleyways were taking business, and gangs wandered freely amongst independent operators moving from bar to bar. A wretched hive of scum and villainy indeed…

Tonight, however, things are different. The neon seems more subdued, the shadows darker. There's less people moving in the streets, and those that are often glance upwards warily towards a sky shrouded in coils of black fire-smoke, a reminder that the Rookery only stands because whoever rules those skies has decided not to deal with it yet. There's a tension in the air, and on the street. What comes next?

The poster-covered door to the Fleshwork swings open, and Cardinal walks out; a fresh change of clothing cleaning him up a bit, the bloodied things he'd been wearing most often probably thrown out or burned. They certainly weren't salvageable. The edge of his fedora's tugged down to shadow his face, as he moves out into the streets.

It's one thing to be adrift just on the periphery of the city; to loiter listlessly on the Hudson like so much luxurious flotsam and jetsam, corporate sponsored castaways. The thought of jumping overboard and swimming the Styx back over to land of the living dead is easy to resist when feasibility remains remarkably minimal. At best. However, it's another thing entirely to be tied in port at Fresh Kills and kept aboard and below deck for the sake of what both of her would-be babysitters probably consider to be 'her own good'.

However, she isn't kept behind closed doors and, in retrospect, that was probably a mistake. The very first bathroom break John dares to take is Bebe's opportunity to escape. And she does. With alacrity. She's long gone by the time he realizes what's happened. There is precious little solace to be found in the thought that, surely, Bebe couldn't possibly be that desperate to return to her life of pseudo-slavery…


Signs seem to indicate the contrary as she races down the rubble-strewn streets of the Rookery, headed in the direction of the Happy Dagger at maximum velocity… right up until a door opens almost directly in her face. Bebe's traveling far too fast to stop herself and while she misses the door itself, she collides bodily with the man who just exited the tattoo and piercing place.

Ow. That smarts!

Did someone order a tiny tart to-go?

Of course, the brothel in question is the foremost thing in Richard Cardinal's mind, and the primary location that his gaze keeps returning to as he tries to make his way along down the street fairly surreptitiously. The shadows that he was saw many things in that club; the desperate facade of passion so often found between whore and john (or John), the pain and punishment of those who'd transgressed upon the devil's territory. Deckard losing his eye in defiance. Abigail's hope guttering as he sought to fan its flames. His own blood running upon the floor, as someone he thought trustworthy gazed down at his body and smiled.

The shadows are empty now. Their doors are closed to him. It hurts as much as the torture, in some ways. It wasn't anything at all, but it was all he had. More a part of him than the missing hand.

So he's not really looking to the woman running down the street when she smacks into him as if he were a brick wall. Instinctively he twists 'round, thrusting out his stump-ended arm defensively as his other hand goes for the gun under his jacket— and he stops, staring for a moment as recognition wakes behind his eyes. "Bebe?"

Despite being in possession of Felix Ivanov's fleetness for more than a month, Bebe's body still hasn't rightly reckoned with how to handle her short bursts of superspeed. Knocked onto her backside by the collision, she's still sprawled out on the sidewalk like so much spilled milk for a moment or two until her head stops spinning and her thoughts collect themselves accordingly. When her senses finally return to their regularly scheduled programming, she registers but a single word uttered in acknowledgement of the situation she's found herself in:


The realization of exactly why the girl's here and what's going on settles into Richard's thoughts over the span of a couple of seconds… and then he folds his arms across his chest, turning to face her, head canting just to one side as he gives her a look mingling disapproval and disappointment.

Never let it be said he never learned anything from the nuns.

A flicker of dark hazel towards the brothel, then back to her, and he takes a step forward before offering her a hand up. "Addictions," he says in quiet tones, "Are hard t'kick, babe."

Right now, Bebe isn't listening; there's a ringing in her ears that prevents her from hearing anyone whose voice doesn't come brushed with a posh London accent. Unable to look Cardinal in the face, she's cast her big brown eyes aside… so that they might be able to carefully calculate the distance between here and there. It isn't far. If she reached out an arm, she'd be another foot closer; it's a metaphorically ironic realization.

"You don't— you don't understand." Reluctantly, the little (ex?)whore returns her attention to the man with one hand currently giving her the evil eye. "I just… need to make sure he's okay," she says pleadingly. "I won't stay." It's an easy lie to tell because she's actually sincere when she says it. She wouldn't mean to stay, at any rate.

"Oh, he's fine," Cardinal replies in casual deadpan, though there's something darker that moves behind his eyes, tight lines etching around their corners when he speaks, "The last I saw him he was giggling like a little schoolgirl as he left me to bleed to death in a small, dark room."

The good hand remains out, offered if she cares to use it to help herself up from the sidewalk. The hand, and a door not too far down the block, both offering very different paths. "You'd stay," he says almost tiredly, "And before too long you'd probably forget why you wouldn't want to. Not your fault. S'just his ability."

"He does not giggle like a schoolgirl." Of all the brief but worrisome things to fall from Richard Cardinal's mouth, apparently that bit was the most bothersome to Bebe and required immediate addressing, even as she's climbing back up onto her feet — but, only after some hesitation on her part in accepting the man's offered hand. It's almost as if she considered the possibility that she might not get her appendage back since, you know, he is a thief and just so happens to be missing one of his own.

While dusting off the dirt from her denim backside, Bebe's nose and brows both wrinkle simultaneously as something else Cardinal said suddenly registers and she takes pause in order to wager a naively vague, "…what do you mean?"

As the hand's taken, Cardinal's fingers close on hers firmly to help haul her up to her feet; his hand sliding free once she's risen, dropping down to his side in a loose rest. He regards her for a long moment at the first firm correction, just a hint of a smile edging to his lips but never quite making it, as if the mere subject of the man banished all such expressions from his somatic vocabulary.

The latter question, however, causes a brow to raise slightly. "You didn't know? That's his power— he's Evolved. He makes people… feel good. Like a fuckin' drug. He can keep people's abilities from working, too, don't know how that works— biochemical thing, maybe, I'm no scientist." A shake of his head, "Hard to keep a clear head when you've got that on you, I'm sure."

Bebe just can't help but to regard the man standing next to her now as a suspect source of information. Dubious, to say the least. Disbelieving. The tiny tart cants her head ever so slightly to the side and looks askance at her ambidextrously-challenged companion. There's a little voice chiming in at the back of her brain about how it all suddenly makes sense but Bebe isn't interested in bowing to any other instinct save the one urging her to run right down the street and disappear into the Dagger before— before…

…before she can be saved. Not just from John Logan, but also from herself.

"How do you know?"

"How do I know?"

A faint smile, then, finally; his head shaking just a little at the petite ex-prostitute before him, not in amusement at her ignorance but more a hint of disbelief and sadness for the life she's led. "It's my business to know things, Bebe. Who do you think arranged Abigail's rescue? The last time I was in there, I was looking for another person who'd gotten swallowed up by that hole across the street… I've moved around in there freely, and without anybody knowing. I've been watching John for a long time now." The smile's gone, now, Cardinal's eyes on the brothel. Who knows what he's thinking. More softly, "You deserve better than a life like that, babe."

"Yeah? Really? That was you?" Those three relatively rhetorical questions are uttered in rapid succession — bang. bang. bang. — with an undercurrent of abrupt anger suddenly infused into Bebe's otherwise tiny tone of voice. "Are you proud of yourself?" she asks with a certain shade of Irish ire burning behind those big brown eyes but it isn't her own design. It's an expression she's borrowed from a Somali pirate, if you can believe that; the same man who walked on water in order to abandon her somewhere this side of the Atlantic in the very same boat that her new motley crew just so happens to be using as a mobile base of operations and all things ice cream.

"Who do you think paid the price for Abigail's escape? Where were you when I needed saving, huh?" Oh, this is unfortunate. She's actually inching forward, closer to Cardinal, expression intense. "Where was my brilliant rescue? Was it because I wasn't useful? Because I was a whore and not some magical healer??" It's as if someone's thrown open the floodgates; all of Bebe's pent up aggression and anger and now being vented into the closest and most convenient target. How much of this is the so-called addiction talking?

He takes it. It's not the worst he's been accused of, far from it, and he's no illusions of being everybody's hero— leave that to Magnes, or Teodoro. He is what he is. Cardinal lets her rant at him in that rush of emotion, arms folding patiently back across his chest, before replying quietly, "I'm right here. An' John's back at the boat, I think, if he's not looking for you." One shoulder lifts in a shrug, then, before he notes, "I don't give a shit if you were a whore, or are for that matter— never gave a shit that Abigail was a healer, either. You're people, though. And both people who deserve better than that asshole."

"Logan loves me!"

Bebe can't possibly believe that — not actually — and yet the words are spurting out of her mouth and squirming around on the ground grotesquely before she even realizes what she's saying. She looks… embarrassed. But, instead of keeping her trap shut, she proceeds to muck up matters worse by meekly adding more fuel to the fire as she confesses another falsehood underneath her breath.

"He's all I've got left."

No, Bebe, no. That's not true either — and she knows it. She's got John. Doe. And quite possibly the one-handed man standing right next to her. Maybe even Mu-Qian, somewhere.

However, the third time's the charm, as they say, so when she makes the decision to make another amendment, this one rings resoundingly true, though it's spoken in barely more than a whisper: "I'm scared."

The ejaculation of those words, spoken aloud as if it were the only way to understand how wrong they were, garners a rather dubious— yet sympathetic— look from the one-handed man, his brows beetling a bit. Did she actually believe that bullshit? Could she? He's uncertain, but as she continues, his expression softens a bit.

"You've got more than you think," he says, his voice quiet, almost gentle, "People who're willing to look out for you, for one. And you've got a future…" A future. An idea flickers on in the back of his head, like a fluorescent bulb fluttering to life. "…maybe you should meet a guy I know. You religious at all?"

Oh, that look. When Bebe's babydoll eyes finally find their way back up to Cardinal's face, the expression she's trying so hard to hide behind speaks of not only a mildly amused slash slightly irritated level of consideration but also an imminent proximity to tears. "Not… really," she offers uncertainly. She isn't exactly Mary Magdalene.

Or maybe she is.

"There's this guy that I know," he repeats, offering her a wry little half-smile, "I don't know… if he can do anything, but maybe he can. He's a pastor, but, don't hold it against him."

Oh, that look. Richard's drawn a half-step closer and he brings one hand up a bit to brush against her cheek. Those hazel eyes, no longer touched with light's burn, meet hers that try to hold back tears, as he murmurs, "C'mon. Let's go, Bebe. I'll buy you dinner on the mainland."

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