b_deckard_icon.gif young-logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Observation
Synopsis Deckard plays surveillance and John opts to keep him company.
Date January 2, 1999

England, London: Brixton

It's the turn of a new year, one Deckard's already long since experienced, three hundred and sixty five days off a new millennium, and it's cold. The petty day to day life of someone you dislike is probably just as boring as the petty day to day life of someone you do like — no higher education, not during this period of time, no particular pattern or routine save for a Saturday spent at community arena along with the trickle in of other boys his age, hefting a sports bag over one shoulder and getting knees bitten by the cold, remaining ignorant to reluctant, glowy eyed lurking.

The bars are pretty good about here, anyway.

That's despite it being a dreary, economically dire end of the city. There's a little bit of Staten Island in the grey streets, the vandalism. Mixed heritage thickening the populace of south London, African and Asian and Jamaican making it difficult for either Deckard or Logan to blend in particularly, which makes for easy following at the very least, if not easy hiding.

Hiro had given the spiel, the one about time-traveling assassins, the changing course of history, and then handed Deckard some '90s London money. Politely.

This afternoon, sun has actually managed to break through the overcast sky, and it hasn't snowed since yesterday, though slush in the corners of pavement is still melting to run ice water through the gutters. State housing pressing close on all sides, two storey things, sometimes three — but necessity rather than excess, narrow places, homes resembling piano keys in the way they crush and join together. Logan is currently seated on the stoop, enjoying dry if chilly chair and lighting a handrolled cigarette, embered away half an inch of it by now. Feet shoved into boots, jeans blue enough to be almost new, a sweater mostly obscured by the thick woolen coat, all greys and blues.

If he has a purpose for being out here, it's unclear. Maybe he's not allowed to smoke indoors, or waiting for someone.

'90s London money has gone about as far as Hiro might have guessed, if he did any kind of background research on his latest hero to be before dragging him backwards a decade or so. Whiskey and cigarettes have (so far) been sufficient enough to stifle the shakes that'd been creeping up on him after his latest stint in the hospital. It's the SSRIs and mood stablizers he's missing now, overlarge hands drawn up in dark gloves under his armpits and peacoat a few shades shabbier than his usual. Knit cap, sunglasses and grizzled beard growth serve to blend him in better than he might otherwise; for once, his general air of ~whimsically~ offbeat homelessness and mental disorder are doing him a favor.

Breath fogged thin and crow's feet scratched in tight at the corners of his eyes, he's stooped on a stoop some three or four stoops down across the street, also smoking, conspicuously himself to Logan despite the commonality of scruffy, stooped figures on stoops in this bend of the neighborhood. The windows behind his stoop are boarded and spray paint blurs blue and white across the thick chain that kept the door off limits until some point last night, when Deckard decided to use his '90s money on a pair of bolt cutters instead of rent.

The complete lack of activity is showing through. Maybe Hiro is mistaken. Unless Deckard is not looking hard enough, he's the only one who has an interest in stalking. (A liberal interpretation of the word 'interest', anyway.)

Movement registers in the corner of Deckard's eye, out the edge of his glasses. It's a quiet enough street— the cold driving most people indoors— that boots hitting the pavement in even casual steps ring out in warning as Logan, after a steam and smoke mingled exhale, makes his approach. The tips of his fingers peek like blunt claws from thick woolen gloves, a smear of ash caught in navy fuzz along one set of knuckles. The other arm winds around his stomach, keeps the warmth in, though his coat is buttoned shut against the elements.

The lift of both eyebrows is meant to communicate greeting, coming to a deliberate slowdown and halt by the time he meets Deckard's territory. Pale eyes troll their gaze over the backdrop the older man has chosen for himself, curiousity silent for the moment.

Not interested in talking to Logan any more than he is interested in talking to anyone and certainly not any more than he is interested in being in the 90s in the first place, Deckard sniffs miserably to himself as he sits. Sleeplessness is eating at his sinuses rather than the cold.

It's also eating at the fuse of his freshly unfettered temper.

There's a canine stiffness that bites deeper into the hunch of his shoulders for every step the sociopath tadpole takes closer — warning dislike clamped hollow and bitter into the sink of his jaws when he dips his chin down past a fold of his arms across his knees. London sucks. More than China. Less than Mexico.

Overt dislike is something John can read, at least, but it doesn't have the desired effect in that he doesn't keep walking or turn around and go back — except, maybe, discouraging him from the assumptive invitation of parking down next to Deckard. Remains standing, at least, before awkwardly finding a lean against brick divider between one stoop to the next. By now, Deckard can probably pick up the all too familiar, distinct scent of marijuana lacing ordinary tobacco leaf, explaining the crinkled, home rolled look of stubby cigarette between curved fingers, fingernails with grit beneath them, gone a little blue beneath fine veneer of bone from poor circulation and the cold.

"So I s'pose you mean it after all," he says, because a hello seems about as inappropriate as it does unwelcome. There is a blustery casualness in his tone that does a poor job at concealing some degree of nervousness and uncertainty. "I mean. It's not the first time I've spotted you since."

"I'm not surprised, given your future career as a secret agent," muffled mercilessly into tatty, unevenly faded black wool, Flint closes his eyes against a sweet stink that muddles him into nostalgia somewhere midway between his own 90s timeline and the present he better belongs in. What with all the strife and destruction. And irradiated zones.

He's slow to open them again. Not that it makes any outward difference — his glasses are dark enough to mask what would otherwise be a conspicuous withdrawal from every known iteration of the past, present and future. The rest of him stays static, hating the cold and the slush in the streets and the grayness of everything.

He normally likes the grayness of everything. But this is not the grayness he knows.

It's wetter.

A line forms between Logan's brows in honest, mildly annoyed confusion. What? Single syllable doesn't get spoken out loud, but is contemplated on when he takes another inhale of mingled drug, shakes off the cindered aftermath. Thick-white smoke expelled through nostrils, vaguely draconic. "Nah. Sounds like the sort've thing you need exams for," is good-intentioned banter in return, a little misdirected with an attempt of a crooked smile to follow as the back of his wrist sweeps hair from his eyes and careful to avoid splotchy, bruisy patches where Deckard's fist had landed days prior.

His lean turns more into a sit against brick, too interested in the thing taking apparent interest in him to just leave it there.

The quiet game is one of few competitive endeavors Flint triumphs at consistently. It doesn't require muscle or wit or special training.

He just sits there. And breathes into his sleeve, damp warmth flushed back against the ridges of his skull to dull white over his glasses. Good intentions are absorbed with an uneasy shift of his assbones against cold bricking. His shoulder bones poke restless on either side of his spine.

"How old are you?"

There's hesitation from John, like some other answer is on the tip of his tongue — an instinctive lie, or maybe a birthday just recentlyish passed. Neither fib or forgetfulness happen, though. "Seventeen," is supplied, wisps of remnant smoke curling out the corner of his mouth and a proud toss of his head also casting pale stare off Deckard, towards the opposite side of his street. Nothing in particular to see, naturally, one row of state housing about the same as the one that faces it, too close down on the ground to get a chance at seeing city more northwards.

"How old are you?" is jovially delivered, corner of his mouth upturning.

"I dunno," likewise supplied without any tell-tale flickers of sarcasm or untruth, Flint surveys the same stretch of street without lifting his head. "Forty-something." He is less fun like this, or at least — less engaging, electric, neon energy worn down into a listless, reluctant sense of waiting, or. Erosion. The same way brown trees rustle around waiting for the wind in fall or cliff faces wait for rockslides.

"Where are your parents?"

Logan's been asked these kinds of questions before — usually from cops, mind, and this American in his sunglasses and gargoyle hunch is about as fascinatingly uncop like as it gets. John's eyebrows go up, mouth setting in a defensive line before he twists to indicate with a glance over his shoulder, down at the building he's been sitting out front of. "About four doors down," he says. "Usually, I mean, not now. In the mornings. She works afternoons and nights.

"Couldn't tell you about the other half, so." There is a sharper note to his voice, there, as if he's quite used to defending his own family unit. Smoke is inhaled, exhaled, after it's given a few seconds to soak in his lungs. The cold and drug both help out with making him forget his bruises, or at least not feel them. "Your guess is as good as mine. Did you— "

There's a slight, disbelieving laugh at himself, more smoke and breath than voice. Looks back at Deckard now, eyes narrowing in a squinted stare. "Did you want to come in or something?" It's freezing, after all, and also: John's almost done with his spliff, so he won't be soaking telling marijuana into the ceilings and carpet if he does go inside.

It takes less mental math than it should for Deckard to come to the distant, cold-numbed conclusion that — if he plays his cards right — he may have a shot at sleeping with Logan's dear old mum. Interest stirs slow from the brackish depths of whatever else he had been thinking about accordingly, whiskey stink still stale on his breath from the night before when he turns to squint at the matchbox home in question.

There are plenty of reasons to say no. His occasional penchant for pushing button rarely extends into personal history. Background is background. He is used to managing people as they are. In the present. Neuron clusters and beating hearts.

It is probably not a coincidence that his stare drifts to the region of John's torso when he says, "Okay."

Less than half an inch worth of damp paper, ash, and remnants of gritty green and brown leaf are dropped to the soggy sidewalk and crushed into a smear with the edge of his sneaker, as oblivious to the future and Deckard's penchant for pushing buttons as he is sunglassed stare making a tilt for his ribcage. There is some accomplishment, in the cut of Logan's smirk, like he'd made up for running like a girl and wild-eyed fear a few days ago, somehow. He takes his weight off grey-brown brick, and steps back with the expectation of leading.

"Then you can tell me about this help you said about," he says, implied condition, scratching nails at white-blonde hairline at the nape of his neck, turning his back. "Or at least— you can start where you're from." A mildly sardonic glance over his shoulder. "In the States," before Deckard can say 'the States'.

"New York," given over without resistance, Flint creaks to his feet with a grunt and a grimace for the fresh pull against pain that had just begun to warm into less of an issue at his core. Everything in him hurts. He is tired. And he feels older than he's felt since he met Abigail's father, boots dragging and shoulders sloped broad at Logan's back. Maybe he is 50.

Hiro might be mad about this, but Hiro and his sword are not here to strictly define the meaning of "observation."


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