New York's Full Of Weirdos


claude_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title New York's Full Of Weirdos
Synopsis And two of them meet in a magnificent stroke of (good/bad) luck.
Date October 8, 2008


Originally associated with the arts, and later famous for both being a destination for shopping and its downtown scene, SoHo has changed drastically since the bomb. The evacuation of SoHo after the bomb, due to its position in the path of the fallout caused as much chaos and hysteria as the bomb itself did. The damage done to the district in that upheaval alone never truly went away. Only finally reopened to the public on New Years day in 2008, SoHo has been struggling to reclaim itself in the time since. The vast majority of the neighborhood suffered as much of New York did from fires caused both by the bomb itself and arson-related incidents.

The recliaation process for SoHo has been slow going. Portions of the northern edge of the neighborhood were remarkably damaged by debris from the initial blast of the bomb, and even more were gutted by fires. The worst of the lot remain behind the one-story high concrete barricades that divide SoHo from the ruins of midtown, accessed only by Department of Homeland Security checkpoints reinforced by the presence of the national guard.

The fear of radiation from the fallout has also kept many out of SoHo, even after its reopening. While SoHo had become fairly commercialized, much of that business closed and moved on in steady economic collapse that engulfed the city. Yet, the southern part of the neighborhood, along Grand Street and Canal Street, retains some of the feel of SoHo's earlier days, with a handful of small business struggling to remain open despite the rising cost of living.

SoHo itself may not be what it used to be, but that does not mean its small number of inhabitants don't go on living their lives. A hotdog stand might look slightly out of place here, but its owner doesn't look too worried. He has got a customer, after all. A grumpy exchange of 'Can I have a…' and a 'here you go' later, and a hotdog is handed over. And then, promptly, disappears.

That is, for anyone but the person actually holding the excuse for food. Claude has been invisible for days on end now, save for a few meetups, and hadn't had anything to eat for a while. Hungry and careless as he is, he wanders along and stuffs nearly half of the hotdog in his mouth in one go, leaving the people behind him bickering over what just happened. Ah, there's nothing like causing some confusion and getting a good bite to eat at the same time. Or… a bite to eat, anyway. He even makes a point of neatly dodging people on the way to the other side of the street, though this has become an effortless feat after so many years.

Everyone has to eat, after all, including men who can turn invisible, and men who can change faces. A bespectacled lanky teenage boy is standing just outside a Turkish cafe that's still struggling on with its business, a kebab in a paper box and a plastic fork in hand as he digs in. The hotdog stand just across from the store didn't appeal, although nothing wrong with some good old fashioned Americana food, but what does get the boy's attention is the slight kerfuffle that goes on, and the sound of foot steps. On the streets of New York, as ghost-town as it can be some days, in some streets, it's hard to pick out separate foot steps. That is, unless you have a talent for hearing what other people can't.

The tall blonde teenager's gaze slowly moves across the street, tracking nothing, seeing nothing, and yet all the same…

The kebab is discarded quite suddenly into a trash can, wiping his mouth and pulling his hoodie over his head until it shadows his face, and Sylar follows that instinct, pulling the glasses off his face as his face transforms back into its usual visage, shoulders broadening beneath the bulky sweat shirt, filling out his clothes a little more - too subtle a transformation for impatient New Yorkers.

And especially for New Yorkers who aren't bothering to look over their shoulders. Claude has nothing to worry about— he hasn't heard from the Company in weeks, he's been careful not to draw too much attention to himself, and unless he has the worst luck in the world he has not been talking to the wrong people. No, today is a pretty good day. No bad luck to be found here.

He walks with a quick, steady gait and hops back onto the sidewalk to turn a corner. Another part of the hotdog is tentatively chewed on, and he looks around for a less… people-prone spot. He proceeds toward an alley, scratching his cheek absently. Time to sit down and people-watch for a while.

No bad luck at all. In fact, this is good luck. After that little Company handler Odessa had fed to him not a few days ago, it had staved off the hunger, as it were, and Sylar wasn't even trying to hunt. Instead now, he's following a heart beat he can't see. Perhaps he's just going crazy. But Sylar isn't a man who doesn't follow his impulses. His shoulder rams into an innocent passerby, and without thinking, he shoves them away, lip curling and quickening his steps, determined not to lose this thing he's following, determined not to let the sound drown away, but it's hard to discern, with so much other noise going on. He passes by the mouth of an alley way, and realises… he's no longer following anyone. His jaw clenches, and he tugs his hoodie back down from his head, looking this way and that. Heart beats and foot steps everywhere.


Fine. He has things to do anyway. Sylar turns, heading back towards where he came from… and pauses once more, right in the center of where the alley way opens to the street. He doesn't look, only listens. Heart beat. Shoes scuff ground. Nothing there. His mouth turns up with a twitch of a smirk, and slowly, Sylar moves into the alley way, his arms slightly held out from his body, fingers extended, as one might while walking somewhere dark, despite the daylight.

Claude only turns when he's a good couple of yards into the alleyway, just finishing the remainder of his meal when he turns around and spots an unwelcome visitor. Instinctively he lowers his head, taking a slow and careful step back as his lips pull into a light sneer. Sylar's posture and and interest for a seemingly empty alley way doesn't exactly do much to comfort the Company ex-employee.

Still, for now he remains quiet, standing ground in the middle of the alley and closely watching the other man. Like dog cornered in its own territory, unsure of whether to bite or bark.

Sylar's own foot steps are careful and slow, as if trying to diminish the noise of them so that he can pick out who else is in the alley way. And there certainly is someone here, if the steady thud of a heart pumping blood is to be of any indication. That one sound no one can muffle, that only becomes louder when you try. "Go on, get nervous," he urges, and though his eyes don't rest on Claude… he's certainly addressing him. "Bet this doesn't happen often."

It does get louder. The invisible heart Sylar is hearing skips a beat, then gradually quickens its contractions with every quiet second that passes.

Unfortunately, nervousness is not entirely the cause of this.

With unmistakable rage, Claude lunges forward and growls as he strides toward Sylar, meaning to grab him by the shirt and shove him against the closest wall. "Didn't your mum ever tell you not to talk to strangers?!"

The attack comes as a surprise, but when it does, Sylar allows it, back landing hard against brick wall, eyes widening, as if attempting to see what he still can't. "Anger," he says. "I hear it. That's new." His hands reach to grab for purchase — a fistful of clothing, or a limb, anything. Perhaps he could use telekinesis, but a magician doesn't reveal all their tricks right away. "As a matter of fact she did. Let's be friends instead."

Claude's face, though still unseen, contorts with that anger. His grip on Sylar's shirt tightens as he pushes him further against the wall, but his reluctance to let the other man go without a scare leaves him just as vulnerable. His own clothes and arms remain easily within reach.

"Why don't you go follow someone else around. Someone who gives a bloody damn." Although his voice is lowered again, he still spits his words out with clear contempt, his face close to that of his newfound stalker.

It's Claude's sleeves that Sylar finds to grip, at the upper arms, twisting the fabric tight in his fists, as if he weren't the one pinned to the wall. Because even if Claude lets go, it doesn't mean Sylar will. "I follow lots of people around," Sylar says, eyes still unfocused, although surely Claude would be used to being unseen, even when being talked to. The back of his head hits the wall behind him, as if to get away from the words being snarled so close to his face. "But you, you have an amazing ability."

Should people peer down the alley way as they walk on by, it might be an unusual sight, but crazy people in New York City wasn't ever not a feature before. Try borderline apocalyptic New York City, people talking to themselves must be practically normal.

"I don't want to hurt you," Sylar adds. That may or may not be a lie, but his face is seemingly open and honest.

"That makes one of us." Claude retorts in another snarl, eyes flitting between Sylar's face and his own wrists. The wandering eyes, unsure of where to look, only boost his confidence. The stranger might have been able to find him — and Claude already has some theories floating about as to how that may have happened — but at least he's still hidden from view. This may still give him the upper hand when he's not, you know, held onto.

"New York's full of weirdos. I suggest you let go and find another." His voice suggests this may be the last warning he's giving, and the knuckles that soon dig into the other man's chest may confirm this. His heart still races with the supply of adrenaline, despite relatively steady intakes of air. Angry? Yes. A little spooked? Definitely. But at least he knows how to keep a cool head.

Sylar lets out a grunt as the invisible stranger's hands dig against his chest. That's starting to hurt but in fascination, he has to look down at the way the fabric seems to contort against nothing. Fascinating. "You don't sound like you're from around here but you got the hostility down," he says, in what could be an infuriatingly calm voice that's just a touch strained, although there's a glint in his eye that's starting to match Claude's aggression, his own heart rate beginning to quicken. In defiance of the other man's wishes, his grip only tightens, and he actually gives the invisible man a sudden, still subtle shake, almost mocking. "I don't want to find another weirdo." Suddenly, he surges forward, putting his strength behind it in an attempt to slam the other man against the opposite wall.

It's not often they fight back. Claude should have seen this coming, but somehow, something threw him off. Literally. He's pushed back, one hand leaving Sylar's shirt to feel for the wall behind him as he crashes into it. He breathes out an annoyed hiss at the impact on his lungs, and winces as what's left of his grip loosens even more. His eyes stay open, remaining fixed on the other's face.

Got 'im. Sylar's grin is wolfish, a low chuckle rumbling up from his throat. He's dropped that trace of amicability, now, which is slightly more honest, just more dangerous. He can't see who he's threatening but he can certainly feel them, hear them. "Scared yet?" he asks, hands gripping the man's upper arms, pressing hard against the wall. This is far more of a game of cat and mouse than Sylar usually plays, but it's an important question to ask.

All signs certainly point to scared. And in fact, Claude hasn't felt this trapped since he was quite literally trapped. In a cell. For two years. This does not bring the invisible man fuzzy feelings of any kind. In fact, this makes him aware of, how much, in fact, being scared has never gotten him anywhere whatsoever.

With a spitting of the words, "SOD OFF." he tilts his head back ever so slightly before bringing it back down and forward with a start— hopefully on Sylar's face.

Okay. He didn't see that coming. Literally. Sylar's head jerks back abruptly when pain seems to explode at the bridge of his nose, hands easily loosening from Claude's jacket as he staggers back a pace or two. A thin trickle of blood starts to wind down from where the skin has split, although it seems as though the aftermath pain is ignored when he carelessly wipes the back of his hand over it, smearing blood. This… somehow draws a smile from the killer, a laugh as he reaches out with a hand in a wild slash, another attempt to grab. Invisibrawling?

But Claude is quick to dodge, thanks to years of training, and pulls away from the wall. He might not have anything in the way of weapons lying around, but he's been teaching people how to effectively defend themselves in just these sorts of situations (or as far as he knows, anyway) for over a decade. His breath stops entirely as he changes plans— intimidating the crazy person? He's guessing that's not going to happen any time soon. He drops into a crouch, one foot shooting up toward Sylar's knees. If you can't beat 'em… cripple 'em while you get away.

Everyone has a past. Even serial killers. Sylar? Used to be a watchmaker, and they rarely get into scraps, let alone scraps with men you can't see. Claude's kick finds what it was looking for, Sylar letting out a louder grunt of pain, nearly tipping over until his palm roughly catches the ground, and he can push himself back up. It's been a long time since someone fought back, and he's not about to just lose easily. If you wanna get by in this world, you can't be above cheating. Sylar's hand shoots out, but not to grab, not to hit his opponent — but to send a sudden wave of telekinesis, indirect and passionate rather than cold and calculated, the way he usually holds people still. No, what Claude will feel is that sudden force shoving him back into the wall but releasing him once the blow connects, not wishing to crush the man he can't see.

The wave sends Claude in the desired direction, taking him completely by surprise and with no time to think about what's happening. He hits the wall with a thump of flesh and clothes, and a single thunk of skull against stone.

Claude collapses on the ground, groaning in pain as he pulls himself up to his feet, pressing a hand against his ribs. He himself stays perfectly invisible— not even a flicker to give away his position. But… one by one, droplets of red appear on the floor beside him, after a trail from the side of his head down to his shoulder. He bares his teeth, breathing heavy. If invisible looks could kill…

"… Who are you?"

He listens to the sound of the man recovering from the telekinetic blow, Sylar's hand slowly dropping to his side, although he remains visibly tense, as if awaiting the next attack. It doesn't come, but that question does, Sylar's gaze dropping down towards the little spattering of blood on the ground. He takes a quick breath through his nose, lifting a hand to where his face is still bleeding from the smack from Claude's skull, evaluating the red on his fingerstips. "Just another weirdo," Sylar says, gaze flickering up towards where he thinks the other man is standing. "Sorry for not introducing myself sooner." He lifts a hand, perhaps in preparation to unleash his power again, just in case. But nothing happens just now. "Tell me, are you invisible permanently or can you switch it off and on?" He sounds as though he's asking about the features of a prospective car.

Claude pays no mind to his own injuries, standing unsteady with one hand against the wall for balance. He sniffs, blinking uncertainly as he waits for the world to stop spinning quite so much. When his eyes find Sylar in focus again, he scoffs, "Are you always this bloody obnoxious, or do you save that up for special occasions?"

He starts on a slow, backward shuffle on his way out of the alley, breaking eye contact with Sylar to look for anyone who might be able to form a good distraction.

"I've been told my people skills could use some work," Sylar responds, dryly, and he can hear that shuffle going on, but… his hand lowers. He has a general idea as to where Claude is, he could very well slam him back into place, but he doesn't. In a way, Sylar is enjoying this invisible, unknown variable, and at a slow saunter, he sort of follows the sound of the shuffling. "We could start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot. Hi, how are you, what's your name."

"Just another weirdo number two." Claude answers brusquely. You had that coming. He takes a deep breath as he edges out of the alley way, hand sliding along the wall to help keep him steady and his eyes on Sylar's face again. "And I'm leaving."

He did have that coming, a twitch of a smirk in recognition of that. "So soon?" Sylar asks. "How about I answer your question." The hand raises again, but not in an aggressive way, sort of the way someone might gesture to calm another. Not a hint of telekinesis accompanies it. "My name is Sylar."

"Yeah. And I'm Claude Rains." This, though plenty of people have thought it to be true, is said like it's nothing but an outright lie. His heartbeat stays the same, steady rate. Far too fast, but not quite fast enough for someone who's actually realised they're facing a serial killer. He lifts his free hand to pat at the side of his head, wiping the blood off on his sweatshirt. Then, he takes another step back and completely out of the alley way, turning to start to walk off. "I've got better things to do than dealing with your madness. Don't follow me."

"The Invisible Man," Sylar murmurs, and he starts to take a step forward when he hears Claude take one back. The distance, however, is misjudged, and his curious, almost polite expression falls into a flash of cold anger when he realises quite how much he's letting this man get away, hand jerking up indecisively— but his fingers relax, allowing Claude's escape. "So do I, some of the time," he says— by now to himself, and his mouth twists into a smile. "Nice meeting you." And the hoodie goes up, hands tucking into his pockets, and a lanky blonde teenager is what emerges from the alley way, glancing once in the direction he heard a bodiless heart beat leave, before walking off in the opposite.

October 8th: Vertigo Bombshells
October 9th: Two of a Kind
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