More Of A When


hiro_icon.gif teo2_icon.gif

Scene Title More Of A When
Synopsis Two people who have a reputation for peeing in the timestream meet in a supermarket. One recruits the other.
Date November 4, 2010

A Supermarket!!

Nobody was born looking the way the ghost does.

Not even the other two. It involves working out like a demon and drinking shakes that involve powder substances, beating the fuck out of people weekly and practicing katas for hours. It had annoyed him, a little, to find evidence that the hybrid had even tried. Splitting in the wood of the top frame on a few of the brownstone's third floor, running shoes from the ghost's favorite brand. He had turned up his nose at the former and absconded with the latter. Maybe also checked himself out in the bathroom mirror as he passed it by but, you know. He doesn't not deserve that.

For now, however, he is neither swinging knives in martial implementation nor exercising fanatically at any sort of dingy and private gym space. He is standing in Aisle 4 at the corner store, studying the long row of branded protein powder bottles with a knot of consternation in his brow. Apparently, Weber Corp isn't conceived around their excellent new formula just yet, and there's no comforting gleam of patterned blue and racing white script to greet his eyes.

He shifts his weight to his left shoe, heaves out a sigh expansive enough the gun under his arm nips briefly at his ribs, a bitter noise like wind through broken glass— a sigh worth a thousand pictures.

A half-dozen yards away, a doddering old couple cast him a fleeting glance of suspicion, squeak their cart in the opposite direction. Reacting to the visceral, gooseflesh warning that Darwinist evolution has encoded in a fair fraction of annoying humans around the world. Human progress is erratic and unreliable. Quite possibly out to get him. Teo scratches his jaw sullenly.

Hiro is an accurate being. Or tries to be. Lately, he keeps being off by a few minutes, a few days in worse cases. In this case, he is off by an aisle, which has him pacing through the store a little like a restless tiger, all black and militant and a big damn sword strapped to his bag which might get police attention if anyone can be bothered calling them. If so, he doesn't plan to exist here for very long in any case. There's a moment where his short and black coat clad frame passes by the mouth of Ghost's aisle.

Pauses, backs up, peers down it. Ah.

Only a little harried — for a time traveler, he never seems to have enough time — Hiro starts down the aisle, not really looking at the selection of product that Teo is perusing. "Teodoro Laudani?" he enquires, like he doesn't know. It's not that he doesn't know! But hello tends to get him strange looks, but to be fair, that usually occurs when he teleports into someone's bedroom (Logan had gotten off two shots from his revolver before realising it's difficult to hit a teleporter, for instance, and that had been a particularly polite greeting).

Hiro glances, then, at the shelving, then back to Teo expectantly, looking up.

"A bit." Hey, it's that asshole the hybrid would sell an arm to stick with ability-suppressant and coerce into finding his boyfriend for him! Ghost's eyes cut sideways from the nutrition panel of a particularly tall, squared-off container of unfathomable health freak substance. "Hiro Nakamura. It's been awhile since MFP. Or we hauled little Varlane out of the Company witch's trunk, huh?" He cants his shaven head forward an inch or two, then puts out a hand, callused palm cupped inward.

He should know better, maybe. In light of this being the asshole the hybrid would sell an arm to stick with ability-suppressant and coerce into finding his boyfriend for him. But Francois doesn't seem to be anywhere in the world anymore, and the flashbacks, Nakamura's other proclivities, imply that the question of where Francois Allegre is now is more of a when. And God knows, the ghost's relationship with timelines has always been erratic and uncertain. Anyway. Anway: lately, he's been thinking.

"What can I do you for?"

That hand gets an uncertain glance, hesitation, before Hiro accepts this Western method of greeting, giving a short bow over joined hands and a pump up and down before his hand is swiftly retracted, taking a step back and squaring his shoulders. Kind of like someone about to deliver a telegram, which in effect is not unlike someone delivering someone's destiny. Hiro would know.

"I would like you to rescue Eileen Ruskin," he says, and there's a slow blink that goes along with those words. His eyes communicate very little except focus. "In 1995. Villians have convinced her brother to go back and change the course of her history by removing their younger selves from their home before they are meant to."

As Hiro talks, a student-aged shop goer with a plastic shopping basket drifts by, giving both men strange looks, but ultimately keeps walking. Oookay.

"Nicholas Ruskin of that time has been rescued, and the older one has been stopped. But Eileen needs to be retrieved." Hiro has a habit of assuming that everyone in the world is on the same page as he is. Having been someone who wouldn't have hesitated had a time traveler appeared into his life and asked him to save the world, fair assumption that people with investment in humanity must be the same breed of hero.

The same breed of hero.

Ha, ha. Hahahahaha. Hhhwhat. "Is that where you took Allegre to?" the Sicilian inquires, his eyebrows shoved up high on his face. "Man you stop reading the newsletters for five fuckin' minutes, and suddenly everybody else's picked up time-travelling as a hobby, too." Annoyance creases his nose, the amiable sort. "Damn. Well, that sounds right up Francois' alley, I guess." The same breed of hero. Easier to laugh at that inside his head, insouciently confident on the outside, watching Hiro through narrowed, sharded eyes, than to admit he's circling one subject in particular there.

One guess as to which. Ghost reaches up and turns the powder bottle around again. "Little girls with good families don't end up joining the Remnant halfway out of puberty."

Hiro's brow crinkles in consternation. That name keeps coming up, snarled from Eileen's mouth and icily inquired from Elisabeth's. He at least has an answer prepared, even if Teo's question was more assumption. "I brought Francois Allegre to 2009 so that he may stay here," he says, neutrally. "I did not take him anywhere else, but I understand he is missing. If I can help… then it will be when all this is over. There has been a lot of work happening for me."

His arms fold, steering a look away from Teo to regard their surroundings with a ninja's paranoia. "She did not have a good family. But it is her history, and brought her to where she is now. The people she has rescued might not be rescued. The good she has done in the world could be undone. There is much fate that hinges on her actions, and if her life is steered away from them so early, then there is no telling what may happen to the present.

"I am also asking Jensen Raith to go. He has assisted me before."

The ghost takes a few seconds' silence, turning those words over in his head, checking their weight, shape, size, color. That's almost like a promise. Not one that he's nearly as invested in hoarding as some of his counterparts might be, but it's something, opens the possibility of a balance of favors.

Ghost can always use more favors! Even if they're little ones. "What happens if we don't go and move her?" he asks, suddenly. "'S this place disappear?" He takes his hand down from the shelf and flexes a pfffoot of motion with callused fingers, broad palm. "Gone in a gas fart of molecules and imploded physics, wiped out, garbage-packed into a void of darkness?

"Kind of weird we haven't had the precogs screaming shit and painting black canvases." The tattoo ink patterned scaley up the side of his neck. Or maybe not. Maybe his home dimension had been the strange one. He could think about this all day. (He thinks about it more than he should.)

(He does not believe in souls anymore, so contentment for any fragment of what makes Eileen, he thinks, is what she deserves.) "How old is she? Should I bring a bag of cute clothes? Tell her anything?" That would be a yes.

"Tamara Brooks came to me," is all Hiro says. It's really all anyone needs to say. "And yes. Perhaps. Maybe something worse. Maybe nothing at all. But I do not think it is nothing, and I am unwilling to allow such things to chance and time, due to the actions of one."

But he's not about to oversell what seems to be sold. His mouth quirks in a small smile. "You could lie. You could tell the truth. She won't remember the things that will be damaging to the time line — I have a telepath who is assisting me." That's a minor fib — misleading if not completely dishonest. What it is, above those things, is irrelevant. "This was 1995. She will be about five or six years old.

"You will not have to bring anything, unless you would like to. No iPhones," must be a running issue, as Hiro thinks to add it as he takes a step back, begins to move away. "I will find you tomorrow."

The old specter obliges to look amused and surprised when the subject of the iPhone comes up. Poor Eileen. Not that a 5 or 6-year-old would know how to appreciate an iPhone anyway, one would imagine. Maybe he will get her plastic ponies. Maybe he should wonder why the name 'Tamara Brooks' is enough for him, too. Has always been, and even the probability that the inconsistencies between the temporal physics of one world and the other can be attributed soundly toward lies is—

Ironically flattering: if she'd wanted to get rid of him, there were more mundane methods. "Okay," he says. "Sure. I'll get some," Guns?

Armor? Should he ask more questions, or settle for underpreparation? Maybe Raith will bring a lot, and not notice it missing afterward; an approach that seems neither practical nor impractical. "Supplies. But," a thought occurs to him, not exactly random but a touch off-cue. He squeaks a boot backward one step and cranes his head. "If you're going to visit 2015 or anything any time soon, I'd appreciate it if you could pick me up some of Weber Corp's chocolate-flavored protein isolate powder. No need to go out of your way or anything, but I think you could do that without causing paradox and I'd appreciate it."

Hiro stops at that but, turning to attentively listen before one eyebrow twitches up at this request. It was 2013— or was it 2014?— that Hiro broke into the future stocks of the Institute, retrieved non-addictive Amp and a horrifying ability-neutralising weaponised version of the Evo-flu, all to add a little fire power to his side of the time battle against Samuel Sullivan. Surely— surely it would not be difficult to pick up some protein powder.

"If you complete your task," he says, and successfully doesn't need to go spoken, "then— I will think about it."

And he moves to take another, needless step. Needless, because he vanishes into a different timestream the next time his sole makes a percussive click against the lino'd ground of the supermarket.

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