Not This John


bebe_icon.gif felix_icon.gif f_john_icon.gif

Scene Title Not This John
Synopsis They're all just following orders.
Date May 11, 2009


Though it's less than two miles square, Chinatown is home to some quarter of a million residents. Cramped, ancient tenements are the norm, though the fourty-four story Confucious Plaza standing at the corner of Bowery and Division does boast luxurious accommodations by comparison. Mulberry Street, Canal Street, and East Broadway are home to streetside green grocers and fishmongers, and Canal Street also boasts an impressive array of Chinese jewelry shops.

Evening, not long 'til curfew. Mu-Qian's flesh-peddling apprentice has been given a most important task: the woman in white wants a shrubb— er, an armful of the world's ripest… make that smelliest fruit. While it might not be the most appealing errand to run, it's brought Bebe to Chinatown and, sure enough, success! She lingers at a durian stand which has been set up near the mouth of an alley, likely because these fruits probably didn't arrive in the country legally and, uh, did we mention they stink?

Fel isn't quite jogging. But it's the quick step of a man who's tired and impatient and has been on his feet all day. Everywhere he turns, impassive, dark-eyed faces claim no knowledge of a man named Tyler Case, and he's weary and frustrated with all of it. He's in his suit, and that and his habitually wary air mark him out as law enforcement. He pauses, however, at the booth next the durian stand to buy a bottle of water, lip curling in reflexive disgust. What is that sme- hey. He frowns a little bit once he spots Bebe and says, tentatively, "Oh, hello,"

It's a fruit! "Hi." Er, rather, it's the fruit! Bebe's currently got both hands occupied with a pair of prickly, green, cantaloupe-sized husks and she offers one up to Felix and asks unabashedly, "Which one of these smells worse to you?"

His expression is comical in its complete disgust. "Ugh. I don't know," he says, taking a step back. "Awful, either way. What -are- those things?"

"Liu lian," says the wee white girl in a language that most certainly isn't her native tongue. She then gestures to a hand-written sign hung over the stand and offers an alternative pronunciation: "Durian." Her eyes bow down to consider the two incredibly potent pods in her palms before she asks, "What're you looking for?"

His gaze follows her to the little sources of stench. "Not those, I can tell you right now," he says, smile at the corners of his eyes, despite that stink. "Info on one Tyler Case," Fel says, as he gets change for his bottle of water. Quite likely overcharged here as well, but what can you do?

"Never heard of him," she says before plunking one stinky fruit into a brown paper bag, shortly followed by another. How many of these things did her mistress say she needed again? Half a dozen? Man. The muggers around here are going to be able to smell her all the way around the block at that rate! Still, Bebe dutifully continues to pile up fruit in hand until she's arrived at a sufficient quantity. "What sort of info are you looking for?"

"Whereabouts. Possible powers," Fel says, looking morose, and trying not to shy away from the nearly visible wall of reekiness. The repulsion of stinky produce, versus the appeal of being able to ogle the petite tart.

Kicked tin clangors away from a shoe once, twice as the stranger's other foot catches up. There's a scratch of footsteps behind Bebe when a face segues up out of the darkness over her shoulder, sprung straight from the photographs in Felix's hands— give or take a year or ten. Tyler Case is here. There is a decided lack of klaxon or shouted heraldry in his being so, but the look on his face is strange from meaning, if only that of a man who's grasping at it. He's staring down at the curly, bobbed back of her head. Bebe's. And then the delicate angle of her jaw as it rotates in with the swing of his approach, the line of her profile.

Only to fade, promptly, into some strange vestige of disappointment.

"Sorry," he says, suspecting that she had sensed him staring. Dark eyes turn toward Felix briefly, then return to the woman again, and he hitches his shoulders high underneath his denim jacket. "I thought I knew you."

While Bebe's smile seems to have faded by a degree or two, it's only for a moment, and then she's pretending to play nice with the handsome stranger while secure in the knowledge that she's standing next to a man with a gun somewhere on his person, presumably possessed of enough speed to draw and fire before Tyler might have the opportunity to do anything untoward amidst the array of potent and prickly fruit. "I get that a lot," she says, almost joking, one corner of her mouth hitched up slightly higher than the other. This is a game she's used to playing with Johns — just not this John. Little does she know…

Well, Felix knows him. All too well. "Mr. Case," he says, tone oddly tentative. "I've been looking for -you-," There's already the pounding beat of adrenaline in his system. He doesn't pull his gun. "My name's Felix Ivanov, I'm with the FBI…." Honestly, he should just jump him and cuff him.

Probably. Still, John doesn't have weapons drawn or anything. He looks about as lost as he is, his aquiline features drawn around a look of melancholy consternation. He's been floating through Manhattan for more than a month now, and instead of clarity, the flashes of detail he retains or locates lead only to further confusion. Tyler Case doesn't feel like his name. Evokes nothing, not even personalized fear, when spoken from the lips of an agent of the Bureau. "Okay," he says, after a moment. "Yeah— I understand.

"If you don't mind me asking, what are my charges?" His eyebrows skew upward slightly, and he inclines his head at Bebe. "I don't mind if she hears." He slides his weight over to the left slightly, scratches at the thigh of his pant leg.

Well, isn't that sweet? Bebe bounces those big brown eyes from Felix to Tyler with the luster of hidden apprehension dipped in chocolate to be seen beneath her long lashes. Her shoulders have already begun to sink slightly as if her greatest desire had suddenly manifested in the want to slink slowly out from between these two men and their officially flavored business. John Doe vs. John Law isn't a fight she's particularly interested in refereeing.

And… he's not fleeing. He's not fighting. Fel doesn't really relax, though; it remains too much of a puzzle. "We just want to ask you a few questions," he says, resorting to that tired out chestnut without any flicker of shame. "Last I was aware, you were in Homeland Security's custody. And while I don't believe you're wanted for any crime, there are some very odd things going on, and your name keeps coming up."

"So you can't arrest me, but somebody else did? Before? Kind of?" Tyler's countenance is appropriate levels of confusion and disgust; not the overt expression of an amnesiac, maybe, but someone appropriately prissy at having been served confession of some other asshole's wrongdoing. Felix gets categorized as that other asshole. "That's fucking great. Can you believe this?" His eyes swivel at Bebe and he opens his mouth; clicks teeth shut again the next moment, better nature taking over long enough for him to exude a lugubrious sigh. "Sorry, sorry. Choosing sides is bullshit when the other guy has a gun and a badge.

"Uhh. All right." His mouth flattens. He shifts his gaze between the skinny Russian and the tiny whore without moving his head, looking for all the world like a hapless third wheel. Then, apologetically, he says, "On the bright side, I probably don't even have the answers you're looking for."

Instead, he shares a pocket full of lightning. It's quick as the actual scorching tongues out of the sky, too fast for even Felix Ivanov to outsprint, a burst of jagged-edged energy that vaults out of his left hand and his right. One bolt crashes into Bebe's little white dovelet hands, flickers and sparks bloodily incandescent over the ridged hull of the outlandish produce she had just acquired; the other spikes through Felix's chest, guttering in his sleeves and glowing, for on eerie moment, out of his open mouth. It's no pleasant sensation, having the whole of one's genetics sliced, pureed and reconstituted in one's own veins. Vertigo.

The first thing you want to do is throw up, though that doesn't last except for an instant. The second, recover your center balance somewhere above the flat of the sidewalk, which should be flat, which is flat to the best of one's recollections, except it's seesawing now, lurching, blurring, for both the girl with the mutilated identity and the man haunted by the worst elements of his.

Bebe splays beautifully; she's a real expert at the art of sprawling out in all sorts of ways meant to be appealing. Her limbs hang heavy against the dank and dirty ground while she struggles to lift up her head unsuccessfully — which, incidentally, feels as if it's been shoved underneath a phosphorous fountain along with her hands.

As a matter of fact, her whole body burns while her brain shamelessly dumps adrenaline into her veins in an attempt to urge her upright and elsewhere in haste. The results are tragically comic and she manages to move faster than the naked eye is capable of keeping up with… for all of three seconds until she promptly slams into one of the durian stands and very nearly knocks herself unconscious as she crashes back down onto the pavement.

Poor Bebe.

It's the most excruciating pain he's ever experienced, and Felix Nikolaievich Ivanov has been hurt a -lot- in his life. Mind-numbing, consciousness-erasing, like being shoved into a crucible. He's flattened to the pavement like that was a bullet to the brain, rather than a jolt to his whole system. The bruising that comes from falling -on- his gun is just sort of the pain cherry atop the whole dolorous sundae. He rolls on to his other side, does not throw up. Just sort of stares blankly at the flaws in the pavement and chokes, like air is in short supply.

It'll only be a few minutes before Felix finds all of his magnificent speed externalized and specialized to points of strength, and Bebe's quiet and rarely-demonstrated symbiosis with the wrought bones of her urban habitat bizarrely inversed. Tyler is leaving, though, amid the shuffle and shrieky, violinish hysteria of the public outcry. He won't be here to watch them when they do this, and by the time the squadcar sirens whine in, they're only a distant echo chasing him down the alleyway, rebounding off the graffiti and walls, filling for the absence of real answers.

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