Nite Owls


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Scene Title Nite Owls
Synopsis A pair of strangers strike up a conversation in a diner in the middle of the night.
Date Fevruary 25, 2019

Nite Owl Diner

The Nite Owl Diner is a small restaurant located on a narrow strip of land adjacent to the Greenwood Heights Cemetery in Bay Ridge. It is a classic metal-walled diner with large windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. The outside signage even promises Coney Island Hot Dogs, even if Coney Island only exists in memory now. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

It’s nearly midnight, and most of the Safe Zone is quiet. There are a few people out at bars, but on a Monday night, most people are at home, tucked in for the night or enjoying the silence of their own homes. Even the Nite Owl is relatively quiet — there’s a teenaged couple in one corner, obviously out past their curfew, whispering and giggling amongst themselves as they idly hold hands across the table. In another corner table, an older man sits alone, looking as if he couldn’t sleep and so decided to come down for a bite to eat.

And then there’s Weasel. She sits alone at the bar, a barely-touched chocolate milkshake and a plate of eggs and bacon and ketchup-streaked hashbrowns in front of her, along with, of all things, a road atlas. It’s opened on New Jersey, and she is studying it thoughtfully, occasionally shoving a fork full of food into her mouth and absently chewing.

Clara Winters wears her standard jeans, tattered and frayed in places, along with a long-sleeved thermal shirt, covered by a t-shirt from some summer camp that apparently took place in 1997. Her nearly black hair is nicely spiked up into a fauxhawk, and she even decided to wear a bit of makeup today — just for the hell of it. On her shoulder, a tiny white weasel of some sort is curled up, slumbering contentedly.

The creak of the Night Owl's door announces Isaac's arrival; he's wearing a black coat, slacks, and shoes, set off nicely by a white button up shirt. Despite the late hour, he looks wide awake and, judging by the faint smile on his lips, in good spirits, despite the lateness of the hour. He surveys the place casually; mostly empty, at this hour. Pity. There are a couple of the usual late night stereotypes out and about, at least… teenage couple cheating curfew, older insomniac killing time… and, alone at the bar, a girl with an atlas.

That one's not typical, even without the critter nesting on her shoulder. Interesting. He knows where he's sitting.

He approaches the bar, taking a seat two stools down; he's not exactly ignoring her, but he's not crowding her, either. He raises a hand a few inches as the waitress approaches, offering that faint smile again as he considers what he wants to drink (water), then starts studying the menu as she departs.

The young woman doesn’t look up immediately, taking a bite of bacon before setting the breakfast meat down and wiping her fingers; then, she traces a small line over the map with her fingertip. After a moment, she nods to herself, setting the atlas down and picking up her fork. A swig of the milkshake, and then she’s cutting into her eggs.

The waitress brings out a hardboiled egg in a small bowl on her way to get the water pitcher, and the girl’s eyes finally lift, offering a small nod of appreciation to the server. She reaches up, then, gently scratching the tiny weasel atop the head; the creature rouses with a squeak and a shake of its head, and promptly shimmies onto her hand, and then onto the bar, where it promptly starts devouring the egg.

Briefly, Clara’s dark eyes take in the new presence, almost seeming to size him up for a potential fight; she quickly looks away, however, apparently intent on eating her own fried eggs.

Isaac doesn't take long to pick what he wants on the menu; chicken strips aren't fancy, but they're reasonably hard to screw up. Not that that's stopped Isaac in his own culinary crimes against humanity, but hey, this place presumably has a cook who's better than he is. He folds the menu and sets it down… just as the girl is rousing her pet from its resting place on her shoulder.

His head tilts slightly as he watches the animal skitter down her arm and starting to devour a hardboiled egg; he turns his attention back to the waitress when she comes his way, but once his order is placed he resumes watching the critter eat. He spots its owner eying him for a moment, and shifts his gaze slightly to meet hers, a hint of a smile on his lips… but she's already shifted her gaze back to her food.

Well. That's fine. Isaac goes back to watching the ferret or whatever it is gnawing on its egg. His smile lingers; Isaac doesn't usually go for adorable stuff, but he'll make an exception here. Besides, it's not like there's much else to do here aside from twiddle his thumbs and wait for the chicken strips.

“His name’s Ron Weasley. Don’t get too distracted by his cuteness,” Weasel remarks, turning to peer at Isaac. “He’s a vicious little shit who kills rabbits for sport.” She sounds fond of the little creature despite the remark, reaching out one hand to run a finger over Ron’s snowy white fur. The tiny beast ignores the petting, far too focused on demolishing the egg; he’s gotten to the yolk, which is still mostly liquid, and he seems quite pleased as a result, yellow goop staining his white muzzle.

“You should get a milkshake with your chicken,” she adds, turning her attention back to her plate. “They’re the best I’ve ever had.” She says this as if she is an expert on such matters — perhaps she is.

"Does he now?" Isaac asks, arching an eyebrow; he sounds somewhere between amused and impressed. He can't entirely disapprove, in any case. He eyes the critter a bit more closely; if the name is anything to go by, 'Ron' is probably a weasel. He's heard of weasels, of course, but hasn't seen one before now. Most of what he's heard is that they're vicious, evil little buggers who menace chickens.

Interesting. Definitely interesting. He considers her advice for a moment and nods; he hadn't been planning to go for a milkshake, but… sure, why not? His eyes flicker to the girl herself, and he gives her that small smile. "I'm Isaac," he says, by way of introduction.

“Among other things,” she replies of his question of Ron, idly running a finger along the creature’s back before shoving a forkful of eggs into her mouth. She takes this moment to further size Isaac up, giving him a better once over than her initial quick glance., chewing ponderously.

“Clara,” she replies once her mouth is no longer full, washing it down with another bit of the milkshake. “But everyone calls me Weasel,” she adds, closing up the atlas and setting it on the bartop next to her. “What’s got you up so late?” She apparently already knows the story of the young couple in one corner, and the insomniac man in the other.

Weasel, eh? He wouldn't have picked her out as a Clara. Probably she wouldn't pick herself out as a Clara either, judging by the nickname; Isaac's smile grows a bit. "Just got back in town; barely made it in before nightfall. Now I'm trying to figure out what's changed and what's stayed the same." He shrugs; the answers to those questions seem to be 'nearly everything' and 'precious little', respectively. "But night time's the best time anyway," he states as an afterthought, in the same tone that someone might state that the earth is round.

"You?" he asks.

The girl turns her dark eyes toward the man, studying his face thoughtfully as he explains himself — an entirely unnecessary gesture, and one she appreciates. “Depends on when you were here last,” she replies. “If it was before the war, I can’t help much.” She points at herself. “Canadian,” she adds. “If it’s been in the last five months or so, there’s some new buildings popping up, and some old ones getting repaired.” A shrug rolls over her narrow shoulders.

The return question is met with a small smile. “Planning a trip. There’s a settlement out in Jersey, and I have a lot of rabbit pelts to trade.” Apparently, she profits from Ron’s love of killing rabbits for sport.

"Really? Huh." He glances to 'Ron Weasley' for a moment, recalling Weasel's crack about him killing rabbits for sport and arching an eyebrow; before he can come up with a good comment, though, the waitress approaches with his order of chicken strips, diverting his attention. He adds a chocolate milkshake onto his order… then, as the waitress departs again, he glances back to Weasel.

"It's been eight years, so… pretty much everything's different," he says with a rueful grin. His grin starts to fade a bit; he falls silent for a moment, turning back to his plate and taking a bite of a chicken strip. Pretty good; pretty greasy, too, but YOLO. "I used to live here. Before the war."

“Yeah, eight years ago I was in Canada being an asshole child.” Weasel chuckles softly. She takes a break in talking to take a bite of her bacon, chewing slowly and methodically as she watches Ron lap up the egg yolk that he’s eaten his way to. The tiny thing can certainly put the food away. “My siblings have told me stories about this place, and you can see the ghost of the city outside of the Safe Zone.”

She tilts her head toward the man, smiling. “It’s good living, though. Plenty of opportunities, depending on where you look.” Some would disagree, but those are the ones who aren’t comfortable with nature — Park Slope has been great for her.

"Whereas eight years ago, I was here being an 'asshole child'," Isaac says with a smirk.

When she starts talking about opportunity, though, he takes on a thoughtful expression. "Opportunity…" he muses. "I didn't really come here thinking of settling down… but suppose I am going to need to figure out some way to take care of myself, aren't I?" he says. "With how much this place has changed, it may take me longer than I thought to find anything out…" he muses, rubbing at his chin… then he glances to Weasel, his expression somewhere between a grin and a grimace. "And the prices have certainly changed quite a bit, too," he says, shaking his head in disbelief.

“If you don’t feel like waiting in a SESA trailer for a place in the lottery,” Weasel points out, “Park Slope is nice. There’s no gas or electricity unless you get a generator,” she adds, “but there’s some nice old places.” It’s unspoken that Weasel lives there, having taken up residence with her closest sister. “Those are expensive, but they’re worth it.”

She scoops the last of her eggs into her mouth, turning her gaze back down to Ron, who has made short work of the yolk and is chewing into the white of his egg a bit. “If you’re Slice, you should figure out how to make money off of your ability. It always helps.”

"Yes, I think I'll pass on the lottery. And the trailer," Isaac comments drily. Park Slope sounds promising, though. "Park Slope… that's the part of town that got taken over by trees, right? I'll have to check it out."

Slice draws a chuckle from him; he hasn't heard that one before. "I am, as it happens," he says… but the waitress's return forestalls him from saying anything further along those lines. She's got his milkshake; he tips her a polite smile, and takes a sip once she's departed. Not bad; not bad at all.

“Yeah. It’s not as bad as it looks from the outside. You’re not supposed to live there, but that doesn’t stop anyone.” The girl smirks. “My sister and I have a nice place in there. It’s better than those shitty trailers. Being packed in like fucking sardines…hard pass, y’know?” She chuckles, shoveling a few bites of hashbrowns into her mouth. After chewing it down, she continues, “If you want a tour, I know a few promising looking places that haven’t been too destroyed.”

The mention that he is indeed Slice draws her attention, brows raising. “Same,” she replies, as if it wasn’t easy to guess with her companion. Once the waitress is gone, Weasel reaches out to pet Ron atop the head — the small creature lets out a squeak of contentment. “I talk to these guys, among any other animal that falls under the Musteloidea superfamily. Skunks, raccoons, weasels…I think I can talk to red pandas, but I’ve never encountered one to test the theory.” She sounds like she would love to test that theory, though.

"Hence the rabbit pelts," he says with a smirk. He nods. "Handy trick, that. Mine's a bit…"

He makes a gesture with one hand… and the shadow beneath it darkens. The shadow of Isaac's hand on the counter seems to take on a bit more definition, become something substantial rather than a mere shadow; it stretches and thins as it reaches out, curling around the milkshake cup and sliding it to his waiting hand —

— and then it's just a shadow again. Isaac takes a drink of his milkshake, grinning. "…situational," he finishes. "Neat, but situational."

He takes another sip of his milkshake, grinning. "If you've got time, I'd definitely appreciate a tour."

The girl watches, her brows slowly crawling their way up her forehead as he demonstrates his ability. When he finishes, her face brightens up with a large smile. “Oh, that’s fucking awesome, man.” She giggles a bit — sometimes people have the most amazing abilities, and she can’t help but respond like a geeky little kid who just found out that superheroes are real. “Is it just shadows, or is it darkness in general?”

That shit is cool.

The request for a tour prompts her brows to raise just a little bit higher, and the goofy grin turns into a warmer smile. “I could probably give you a tour. It’s harder to see everything when it’s dark out, but something tells me that isn’t as much of a problem for you as it would be for other people.”

Isaac grins back; she's not wrong, it is pretty damn awesome. He thinks so, at least. "Shadows and darkness both," he says, finishing up a chicken strip.

He gives that small smile of his at her comment about it being harder to see. "It's not as much a problem for me, no. Night time's the best time," he says. It's not untrue; perfect darkvision isn't part of the package where his power is concerned, unfortunately, but all those nights in Big Sky Country mean that his night vision isn't bad… and what he can't see he can feel.

He frowns thoughtfully, considering Weasel. "You?" he asks.

“That’s awesome.” Weasel seems satisfied with his answer about his ability, a grin set into her features. “So on a really dark night, you’re in your element.” She makes note of this. “What about when the sun’s out?”

The question about her prompts a small smile. “I can’t see in the dark so well, but skunks and raccoons are nocturnal, and raccoons are fucking everywhere.” She reaches out, petting the little weasel — the creature has finished a good amount of his egg, and is grooming himself with tiny little paws now.

“We can certainly have a night tour of the city.” She grins, taking a sip of her milkshake.

He nods at her comment about dark nights, still wearing that small smile; it fades a bit at her question about days, though, replaced by a more thoughtful expression. "When the sun's out… things get a little more complicated," he says, taking another drink of his milkshake while he considers what he's going to say.

"Even when the sun's out: everything casts a shadow. They're everywhere," he says, gesturing with a hand to indicate everything around him. "But bright days are… harder. A lot depends on the time, of course. Morning or evening are fine. Noon… isn't so great. There's less to work with, and bright light is… unpleasant. So I have to be a bit more creative to get mileage out of my ability then."

He looks back to her with a smile. "Like I said. Situational," he says, finishing off a chicken strip; he's a good way through his place now. His smile widens at her pronouncement about the night tour. "Sounds like fun."

“Sounds pretty rad, though.” She grins, apparently quite fascinated by this ability of his — and perhaps by him as a person in general. “At least you don’t lack for shadows most of the time.” Clara finishes her meal, pushing her plate away; Ron is offered a hand, and the little creature, with his belly full of egg, slowly climbs up to his original spot on her shoulder.

“Mine isn’t nearly so cool. I can make a Raccoon hang out long enough to let you pet it, though I usually have to bribe them. Raccoons are greedy assholes. Skunks are actually pretty sweet — I have one who has been with me for six years. His name is Pepe, and he really just wants to eat bugs and be warm.” She grins.

“If I were in a Disney movie, I’d be the smelliest princess ever.” She smirks as she adds this in, shrugging.

Isaac listens, nodding and/or smiling where appropriate as he works on finishing off his food; if Weasel's offering to show him around, it'd be rude to make her wait.

Her talk about raccoons catches Isaac's interest; he's always rather liked raccoons, and Weasel's description only furthers his appreciation of the mercenary little nutjobs. Well. He's always liked them except when the little bastards are making a mess in his garbage, but he's not had that problem for awhile; they're not stupid. He nods when she starts talking about Pepe; pet skunks are not particularly common, so it's interesting hearing about them from the perspective of someone who can telepathically communicate with them.

He almost ends up snorting his milkshake at her Disney princess crack, though, both because it's hilarious in its own right and because the image of a Disney classic movie set in the bombed out ghost of New York is absurd enough to appeal to Isaac's more cynical side. "Mmm," he grunts with amusement, giving Weasel an amused look… but most of his attention is devoted to trying to swallow the last of his milkshake and not drown on it.

He pops a last bite of chicken strip into his mouth, then pushes his own plate and cup away, raising a hand in a lazy gesture to flag down the waitress and get his check. "Well. Once the check's settled… if you're still inclined to give a newcomer a tour, I'd be happy to follow," he says, giving that small smile of his again.

His amusement at her joke about Disney Princesses prompts a wide grin to appear on Weasel’s face; as he’s finishing up his meal, she pays for her own food, making sure to put down a rather large tip — it’s always nice when restaurants are kind and accepting of her creatures, and the waitress also squealed a little bit when Ron climbed out of her pocket, so she feels the need to compensate well.

“I am still inclined, I think.” She does wag a finger. “No funny business, though, or you’ll find yourself smelling horrible, and I won’t tell you how to get rid of the stink. Tomato juice doesn’t work.” She winks, also not mentioning the fact that she can defend herself — in this day and age, it’s a bit necessary to pre warn people.

Then, she’s standing up, pulling her coat on; Ron promptly climbs down into her pocket, apparently quite ready to nap off his egg feast. “Ready when you are,” she adds, tucking her atlas into her pocket.

No funny business? She invited a stranger who has power over darkness to walk out into the night with her, and now she's worried about funny business? The thought is almost as funny as Disney in the post-apocalyptic ruins. If she really thought she had cause for concern, it would be pretty stupid to agree to show him around in the first place, wouldn't it?

Well, whatever. Even interesting people are still people, and therefore subject to the occasional faux pas; it's human nature. Even he can't escape that, much as he wishes otherwise. And… the fact is that she's doing him a solid here. A few reassurances aren't really that hard to offer, even if they are nothing more than pretty words with a pretty smile; they'd be just as easy to offer if he did have bad intentions, but if they make her feel better, well, it's a cheap enough price to pay.

So he doesn't laugh or roll his eyes or make light of it; instead, he raises his right hand. "Scout's honor; no funny business," he says, his voice serious.

Then he smiles; it's a matter of half a minute to settle his check (tip included), and then he's standing behind her, ready to go. "Lead on."

To be fair, it’s a good warning to give — most people don’t have the Ace Ventura-ish benefit of having a skunk’s butt that can act as a weapon, and skunk stink is a smell that doesn’t quit unless you know how to wash it off. Darkness is cool and all, but it probably can’t do anything to get skunk smell out of one’s hair.

Clearly, though, Weasel doesn’t seem to feel too concerned, if her general posture and demeanor have anything to say about it. She zips her coat up, gently patting the pocket to be sure Ron is nice and snug in his spot; once he’s up, she moves toward the door.

“There’s lots to show you. Where would you like to start? There’s Yamagato park, but they’re closed for the night I think. What all are you familiar with here in town?” She turns to peer at Isaac, brows raising slightly.

Isaac follows along in her wake, considering her question. "Not a lot," he admits quietly. "I didn't get out a whole lot, really. Most of what I remember is just… the skyline. Driving by places. Some of them I recognize — like this place — but other than that… it seems like everything's changed." He is silent for a moment. "I lived here for years, but… I didn't really have much of a life here, being honest," he admits. It's a rather uncomfortable feeling.

“That’s okay — everything probably has changed, so it’s probably not so bad that you aren’t familiar with much. Easier to adapt.” The young woman smiles faintly. “You’ll like it, I think. Yamagato Park is really pretty, but you have to be registered to get in.” She doesn’t assume either way.

“Let’s start with Park Slope. If you don’t have a place to stay yet, I’m sure we can find you a nice townhouse that isn’t inhabited. There’s no power or running water out there, but there’s always a workaround for that,” she murmurs, turning to the door and pushing it open, letting the chilly night air billow in around her.

Ugh. Registration. At some point he'll probably have to go in and update his information, and what fun that will be; he's not looking forward to it. Well. That's something to consider later; for now, he has a tour to enjoy. "Sounds good," he says with a smile. "I used to live in a townhouse, back in the day…"

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