Moving Fast


grace_icon.gif sawyer_icon.gif

Scene Title Moving Fast
Synopsis Sawyer arrives to help, but the people he intends on assisting already have help — and they're not sticking around long.
Date March 22, 2009

A House in Harlem

Some say the Linderman Act runs contrary to the fundamental principles of the nation which approved it; and this is true. But principles are high and lofty things, while fear is visceral and runs deep; when push comes to shove, principles bend under the weight of fear — and everything different is a cause for fear.

There is nothing elegant about fear, and no bias either; everyone is subject. It is fear that has guided Homeland Security into its current role and fostered the suspicion of Evolved that can be found around every corner and on every street. It is fear that caused 35 students to take their own lives just over one week ago — and fear that caused one Harlem family to keep its two children home for nearly as long.

The night tonight is dark, sodium streetlights dimmed, the crescent moon hidden behind clouds and having little more to contribute in illumination even if it weren't. It's but a couple hours after curfew, a time when even the stragglers have retreated indoors and the city streets are unbelievably quiet. Those who remain outside endeavor not to garner the attention of the patrols which enforce curfew.

This particular street is empty; several blocks of West 121st lined by three- and four-story brownstones, the earth-toned building faces visible behind the limbs of trees just beginning to expand their leafbuds with the onset of spring. Most of the windows are dark, the various building inhabitants retired for the night; a few are lit, but masked behind drawn curtains and lowered blinds. Parked cars line the street. One seems to have been parked in the street — a four-door sedan of some dark shade, perhaps black or green or blue; it's difficult to tell in the dark. The residence it sits in front of, 158 W. 121st, is three stories tall and occupied by two families, although the one who uses the upper floors is out of town for the weekend. A single light is on in one of the first-floor rooms, its radiance dull rather than bright; not a high-power bulb.

Pulling slowly down the street is another dark car, a Crown Victoria. Commonly known as a 'cop car', but this one is simply dark. No law enforcement logos on it. It comes to a halt, and then parks against a curb near 158 W. 121st. After a moment the driver's side door is opened, and a man in a nice suit steps out and onto the sidewalk. He shuts the door, and the car locks with a 'beep beep' sound that echoes down the silent street, the sound reverberating off the buildings. The man, Special Agent Daniel Sawyer, begins to walk towards his destination — towards a contact he's here tonight to meet, hoping to help.

Every now and again, there's a flicker of motion evident behind the curtains of that one illumined window, proof that there are people up and about in the building. However, whatever they're doing seems to be contained within the walls; no one comes out. Yet.

Sawyer steps softly down the sidewalk, his shoes making nearly no audible noise. He's clearly a quiet walker. He notes the car parked in the street, and the flittering of curtains. He tucks this information away safely in his head, and then climbs the small steps to the building. He knocks — not a cop knock — and then stuffs his hands in his pockets.

There's a slight delay before the curtain covering the small door window is twitched aside just far enough for the woman on the inside to get some semblance of a view of the man outside. Another delay is accompanied by the susurrus of conversation too hushed to be heard clearly through the thick wood panels. Then the door cracks open, the mother of the family peering out through it at a familiar face. "Mister Sawyer. Should you be out so late?"

Sawyer smiles to the woman. "Ms. Nix. Nice to see you again." He tries to get a look inside, but it's pretty tough. "Actually, I'm here on business. Did your husband not inform you I was coming?" He looks back at the car, then back to Kathy. He whispers quietly. "Miss.. are you in trouble? Blink twice real fast if you are."

Kathy Nix doesn't blink — a scowl gathers over her face instead, the age-old expression of a woman irked at her husband. "Of course he didn't, the fool." She glances back into the house, just for a moment, then opens the door to allow Sawyer entrance. There's a short entryway which runs back to what looks like a dining room, two doorways leading into rooms on either side. While the stairs are not visible, the sound of teenage-boy feet pounding down them is audible throughout the house. "Andrew James, what have I told you!"

Sawyer steps inside, far enough only to allow the door to be shut. He looks around, trying to see if there is any sort of danger despite the rather normal appearance of the house. "Have you done something with the lighting? It looks much brighter in here." He tries to cover it up. Hopefully successfully. "Is your husband home? I have some important matters to discuss with him." He then lowers his head when she scolds the kid, containing a laugh. "Those teenage boys, they sure can be a handful, huh?"

'Far enough to allow the door to be shut' isn't as far as Grace wanted, but on the other hand it isn't far enough for their unexpected guest to get a clear look into the side rooms, either. It isn't until Sawyer attempts the casual conversation with his hostess that the Ferrymen operative steps out into the main corridor, Beretta pointed square at his chest.

"The older ones can be, too," Grace points out dryly. Her voice rasps over the words, gravelly tones as might be expected of someone who had ruined their vocal cords with decades of smoking — not a woman apparently younger than Sawyer himself. "Take the gun out — slowly — and drop it."

Meanwhile, Ms. Nix has already closed the door, and is now looking between Sawyer and Grace. The sigh she voices is recognizably exasperated; she apparently doesn't consider this tense situation a hazardous one. However, Kathy is smart enough to stay back and out of the way while the guests settle their differences.

Well, that is a surprise. And definitely not a pleasant one. Being the quality shot Sawyer is means nothing when a gun is already leveled at you from ten feet away. He opens up his suit jacket, revealing the standard issue sidearm in its holster. He then reaches for it, and withdraws it with thumb and forefinger in a way to show he isn't going to risk getting shot today. He then drops it, kicking it over to Grace. "I had a really horrible day at work, and I get really upset when people point guns at me." He then reaches into the other side of his suit, into a pocket — slowly, again — pulling out his badge. He flips it open, showing it. Special Agent Daniel Sawyer, FBI.

"I can sympathize," Grace replies, the very corner of her mouth pulling up in a subtle smirk. "It's not my favorite thing to do either, but you were not in the plan." One dark brow arches at the badge. "Not the usual place to find a fed, Special Agent Daniel Sawyer." It isn't exactly a question, even if it is a leading statement. A slight shift in the woman's attention suggests there's someone on the other end of the headset she wears; someone currently chiming in on the conversation. She doesn't, however, give Sawyer enough of an opening to do anything about that ten-foot distance and the gun aimed in his direction.

Sawyer pockets the badge, and then raises the hand back into the air. No. Sudden. Movements. "Maybe not yours." He looks at Kathy, shaking his head. "Your pies are marvelous, Kathy. Really. But right now, I have to say I've got a bad taste from you in my mouth." He frowns, turning his attention back to the gun pointed at his chest.

"Hmph." Grace tilts her head, attention focusing again on Sawyer. "Apparently you're in the clear." According to whomever ran that awfully quick background check. The woman returns her weapon to its own holster, sliding Sawyer's across the hardwood floor back to him. "Still not sure what you're doing here…" Her arched brow is directed at the woman behind him.

Ms. Nix snorts. "Apparently Jared wasn't listening to me. Or only half of it. Mister Sawyer offered to help a while ago, same way you and yours did." She gives the FBI agent an apologetic glance. "I'm sorry, Mr. Saywer, but I wasn't sure how far to trust that badge of yours. And Jared…" The woman casts her gaze to the ceiling and shakes her head; while the word men! is muttered, it is nonetheless clear to those in the hall.

Sawyer bends down to pick up his gun, not taking his eyes off of Grace, though he hears every word Kathy says. He clears his throat as he holsters his weapon. "I'm here to make sure that the government doesn't harass their boy for being evolved. Not everyone wants to have their name thrown across the internet, especially when there are people out there who react with violence." He adjusts his suit, cracking his neck. "Now that we're done waving guns around, Ms. Nix, would you be a dear and put some coffee on?"

"I don't think so, Mr. Sawyer," Kathy replies apologetically. "See, I guess Jared may not have told you, but we're leaving. And I— Grace? How long did you say?"

Grace looks at the watch on her wrist. "We've got fifteen before the next patrol comes through. I'm gone in ten, one way or another." Blue eyes flick to Sawyer, then settle on Ms. Nix. "Up to you, Kathy."

Sawyer takes a deep breath, nodding. "Well. I didn't realize things would be moving this fast. I guess that means we'll need to get the coffee on the go." He takes his suit jacket off, tossing it on the coat hanger by the door, and begins to roll up his sleeves. "Have you packed anything? Come on, I'll help you get ready." He holds ups his wrist, and sets a timer on his watch for ten minutes. "Ten minutes, let's get busy."

"We're almost done, Mr. Sawyer," Kathy replies, as she finally moves past him. "I was just finishing my bag when you came to the door." Which means how he can help her pack. "Andrew! Ho—" As she moves to the dining room, the kids come into view, seated at the table with duffle bags at their feet; Andrew and a girl some two years younger, obviously his sister. They both have that bored look impatient children get. "Oh, good, you're ready."

"I'll get them squared away, Kathy," Grace remarks in her wake.

Sawyer nods, following the woman to help her finish up, doing whatever she asks him to do to get it done quicker. As he passes by Grace, he gives her a smile. Apparently he's over having a gun pointed at his chest. It seems a genuine enough smile. When he finishes helping Kathy, he returns to the hallway, carrying her bag in one hand. "Where are you taking them? I'd say I have room in my car, but I'm pretty sure that sedan parked in the street is yours. It should fit all of you, though it might be a little tight with the bags."

"Bags will fit in the trunk," the harsh-voiced woman points out. The kids are no longer in the dining room; presumably they're in the car. "Of course, so will one of the kids…" Grace's ruined voice obscures all subtleties of tone, but the statement is probably meant as humor.

She leads the way out of the house, waiting for Kathy to lock the door and gesturing for her to go on down to the car. Grace herself pauses on the steps, waiting for Sawyer. "There's a safehouse over in Morningside that'll put them up for a few days; Jared's already there. It'll take a couple of hops, but we'll get them either well out of state or out of the country altogether, whichever they're more comfortable with."

Sawyer holds his suit jacket in one hand, having grabbed it on the move out of the house. He stops to put it back on, taking the time to talk to Grace. "Right. I'm following. Unless you want to shoot me where I stand, and I think you would have done that before if you thought I was a threat." He smiles. "Besides, I'll pay for coffee."

Grace raises a brow. "Agent Sawyer— " Even her ruined voice can apply suitably pointed emphasis when it's necessary. "— while you're on Wireless' list of probable sympathizers, you wouldn't be the first plant we've had, either. I'm not going to divulge a safehouse to you on first meeting." She holds up a business card, the face turned towards her, fingers obscuring the details of whatever is written on the back — although what is visible looks like part of a phone number. "There aren't any coffee shops open at this hour— " Curfew. "— else I'd suggest after, but I'd be willing to meet you at one tomorrow."

Sawyer says, "Damn. There went my plan to swing by the station and pick up some coffee and say I paid for it. I guess nothing gets past you." He reaches out to take the business card, if she lets go of it. "If I'm on some list of yours, then you know I'm just like that boy waiting in that car, a boy whose life is being uprooted and ruined because of something he never even chose." He adjusts the collar of his coat, moving down the steps. "I can see I'm going to have to earn your trust. Not surprising, a woman in your position and a man in mine. I won't lie, I definitely could just as easily swing back and undo all the good I've been doing. I'll just show you how steady I am."

The card is relinquished; after all, that's why it was there in the first place. "We're used to taking that chance," Grace replies, walking down the steps with him. She tips her head in the direction of the car and its waiting passengers. "But while I will risk it, I'm not willing to bring them along." Which says where her priorities are, right there. "That's my personal cell on the back. I'll let you pick time and place; just give me a call. Pleasure meeting you, Agent Sawyer," Grace adds, as she breaks off and heads for the car.

Sawyer looks at the card a moment, then watches as the sedan drives off. He returns to his car, unlocking it with the same 'beep beep' sound before opening the car door. He looks down the dark road a moment. "Yeah.. a pleasure." Then he climbs in, shutting the door. The car roars to life before he pulls away from the curb, and heads the opposite direction.

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