Of Familiar Faces


odessa2_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Familiar Faces
Synopsis …and new acquaintances.
Date February 4, 2020

Bay Ridge

Another week. Another grocery run. Stick to the crowds. Keep your eyes open. Walk like you know where you're going.

Don't get complacent.

That's the hard part. Keeping between complacency — which is a good way to end up dead — and hypervigilance, which is both exhausting and draws unwanted attention, which is also a good way to end up dead. Either extreme is bad, so if you want to keep living, you've got to keep to the middle — a happy medium where you're poised enough to react if shit goes sideways, but not so bugged out that it wrecks your blood pressure or makes you go off at the drop of a hat.

That's the theory, at least. So far Silas hasn't ended up dead, which seems to lend credence to it.

He's in a small bodega in Bay Ridge today, on another shopping run. It's been awhile since he's been back to Bay Ridge, but he knows this neighborhood pretty well — it's where the Nouvelle Vue is anchored, after all, and even before this business with his evil twin, Silas has always made it his policy to know the lay of the land; there are times when a good escape route is worth more than gold.

He's wearing his usual nondescript attire — a faded old ball cap angled low, worn coveralls, workboots, and a jacket — and he's carrying a basket on his arm, a handful of prospective purchases inside. Right now he's eying the lunchmeat, debating on beef or ham.

High heels click over tiles in a slow pace behind Silas. There’s a woman looking at the shelf behind him, not seeming to pay him any mind. That becomes obvious when her back connects with his. It’s just the slightest bump, but it’s enough to jar her from her own little shopping reverie. The contents of her basket jostle quietly, but she doesn’t drop anything.

Excedrin. Iced coffee. A king size Symphony bar.

Turning to face Silas, her mouth is formed in a soft ‘o’ of surprise as she moves to form the appropriate apology. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t paying any attention.” She blinks. She knows him.

And he knows her. Or, he knows a version of this woman that’s half her age. Her hair was shorter, blonde. This one’s hair falls just above her shoulders, styled in loose waves and the color of ginger. But make no mistake, this is the girl he knows as Destiny Ruiz.

“Oh, no,” Odessa breathes out quietly. “I can explain.” She shrinks back, bumping back now against the shelf of snacks at her back.

He notices the woman out of the corner of his eye as she draws nearer, but she doesn't seem to be paying him any special attention; that's fine with him, honestly. When she bumps into him, though, his guard shifts into a little higher gear. "No worries," he says gruffly, turning partway away from the lunchmeat to look at her directly…

…and what he sees there causes a double-take. No… he thinks, eyes narrowing in disbelief as he studies her… both her mannerisms and that undeniable sense of recognition he sees on her face. He blinks. She looks different — older — but the mannerisms are a dead ringer for Destiny Ruiz's. Careful! Could be Des's evil twin! If it is, she's recognizing Redd, not you! Which would be… bad. Shit. He works to school his face back to normalcy. "You, uh, alright?" he asks, regarding her with a concern that is entirely unfeigned. If this is Des… she must have had a hell of a journey.

There’s a moment of stunned silence where Odessa was clearly braced for something more than a question about her wellbeing. “Y- Yeah,” she confirms in a shaky voice. This isn’t the man who helped spring her from prison, but yet he is.

“You’re the traveler,” she whispers in awe. Her eyes close heavily for a moment and then reopen to look at him, less frightened now than she was moments ago. A smile spreads across her face. “You got out.” She didn’t see him in quarantine, but that means nothing, considering how she kept to herself. There were so many there, and she was under tight lock and key.

When Des titles him the traveler, he can't help but grin; part of it, admittedly, is with relief that this is not someone who hangs out in the company of his evil twin. God, Des in the same room as Redd. What an awful thought, he can't help but think.

"'cross the oceans, far and wide… and then across the universe divide," he intones quietly, giving Des his best bright and shiny grin — co-conspirators in some grand and merry jest. In answer to her comment about him getting out, he sobers a bit. "I did," he confirms. Then, with a bit more concern, he adds, "Glad to see that you did, too. How've you been, Des?"

She tips her head to one side, noncommittal and nonverbal in her answer to that question. “She did,” is somewhat of a cryptic way of putting things. “Destiny, that is.” With her basket balanced in the crook of her arm, she reaches out her hand. “It’s nice to meet you again, Silas.”

Odessa’s still on edge, but not because of him. If anything, his presence is a boon to her. “I’m not her,” she clarifies slightly. “But she is part of me. I remember you, even though we’ve not met before.” Smiling demurely, she looks toward the floor for a moment. “It’s complicated. But I’m glad to see you.”

Silas frowns quizzically, mulling the implications of her comment over. "Sounds like you — she," he corrects himself, sounding faintly apologetic, "— had a rougher ride than I thought," he says. Then he smiles again; there's a lot he doesn't understand about what's happened to her, but… there'll be time for that, maybe. Hopefully. Shifting the basket around, he takes her outstretched hand and shakes it. "I suppose introductions are in order," he says, taking a moment to carefully shroud them so they can speak without being overheard. "Or reintroductions?" he asks, chuckling a bit. "The name on my ID is John Dantes, but I still go by Silas with friends."

“Dantes,” Odessa repeats, smirking faintly in appreciation. The expression fades as she looks over one shoulder then the other. “Des’ll do just fine for me.” Just because she doesn’t see anyone in their aisle doesn’t mean there isn’t someone just on the other side of the shelf able to overhear. Saying her real name aloud is asking for trouble.

“I mistook you for your twin initially,” she admits, trusting he understands what she means. She wants to ask if he knew her before, too, but surely that would have come out when he sought out Destiny. The world they come from was… so incredibly different. Odessa shakes off the notion. “Let’s say Destiny’s my little sister.” Maybe that helps it make a little more sense.

Silas nods, a faint smile still lingering on his lips… though that fades away immediately when she says she mistook him for his twin, good humor momentarily eclipsed as shock rips through him like a bolt of lightning or three bullets.

"Jesus, you met Redd?" Silas asks, shock shading away to a mix of unease and sympathy; his free hand draws back, rubbing at his stomach for a moment before falling back to his side. "Sorry to hear it, Des. Glad you made it out." 'In one piece' hangs unspoken at the end of that sentence, silent but implicit, like a corpse under a sheet in the corner.

The bit about Destiny being her little sister draws a frown, but he nods. "I… see," he says, though the puzzlement he's feeling, that is showing through on his face, suggests that he most likely does not. Not really. He considers for a moment… then his smile comes back, accompanied by a sudden chuckle. "You have time to swap stories, or do you have places to be? I know a few good places to eat around here…" he offers, raising his eyebrows. Granted, there'd be a risk involved in extending his little trip, but… it's not that big of a risk. Besides, going outside these days is a risk in and of itself, anyway.

“I sure did,” meet Redd. Odessa looks just about as uneasy about that as he is. “He’s a real charmer.” At least that probably explains why she looked so rattled when she recognized him initially.

At his suggestion, she tips her head to one side, considering for a moment. “I can spare maybe an hour. You buying? I’m a little short on funds at the moment…” She has the grace to look sheepish about needing a handout. “I’ve just got one more thing I need to pick up here, but yeah, we can go somewhere else.” It’s probably just as big a risk for her as it is for him, but together, they can probably mitigate some of that.

Silas laughs. "Yeah, sure. My treat." He's got enough cash to cover brunch; only question is where. It's only a moment or two before a solution suggests itself. Pancakes. Yeah. There's a hole in the wall here that serves dynamite pancakes, and has berry syrup, too; problem solved. The best kind of problem, at that — one with an immediate and delicious solution.

"I've got about everything I need. Let me grab some lunchmeat and hit the counter, and I'll be good to go," he says, dropping the shroud around them as he gives her a bright grin.

A girlish giggle is offered in return for his hospitality. “Great. I’ll meet you up front, then.” While he gets his lunchmeat, she gives one more glance to the snacks before deciding she’s good with her chocolate bar and heading for a different part of the store.

It only takes a couple minutes for her to make her way back to the counter and check out, her goods loaded in a paper sack which she folds over at the top and carries in the crook of her arm. “I’m starving,” Odessa admits as she pushes open the door and heads out into the chilly winter air.

The aptly — if unimaginatively — named Bay Ridge Pancake & Waffle House is only a few minutes' walk away; it's an easy enough matter for Silas to keep both of them shrouded for the duration of the trip, all the better for none of Redd's friends to notice either one of them.

The interior is small, with room for only a handful of tables and booths, but it's clean, warm, and well-lit. Silas slips through the restaurant, his ability rendering him unremarked upon and unremarkable as he makes his way around the edge of the room towards a corner booth. "Bay Ridge is where I first set up shop in the Safe Zone," Silas explains. "I always try to know a little bit about where I hang my hat, so I did lots of walkin' about when I could. This is one of the better breakfast places I've found." he says, grinning as he settles in, his back to the wall. "The omelettes are good. The pancakes are great."

Odessa settles down in the opposite side of the booth from Silas, her shopping bag set between her and the wall on the seat next to her. Then she picks up the menu in one hand, one hand fluttering to rest over her chest as she practically swoons at the offerings. “I have choices,” she breathes out with all the excitement of a child overwhelmed at the sight of a packed under-tree on Christmas morning.

Blue eyes get big, mouth drops open in a silent gasp at the epiphany she’s just had. “But what if I had pancakes and an omelette?” The world is Odessa’s motherfucking oyster. Her lips pull into a wide grin accompanied with a giddy little squeak as she finally unfolds the menu fully and starts perusing her options. Her elation might seem a little confusing, but he likely felt something similar when he first arrived in this world.

It's the little things in life that make it worth it sometimes; it's hard not to be happy when you're in the presence of someone who is themselves this joyful, and Silas finds himself grinning back. "If that's what you want, go for it," he says.

Is it weird to get this excited over pancakes? Maybe… but it'd probably be a much better world if more people did. He's not going to risk ruining her mood by asking why. Heh. Reminds me of the first time I really got a chance to stretch my legs and walk around on all this terra firma, he muses. "Let me know when you're ready to order and I'll flag us down a waitress." And drop the shroud so that said waitress will actually notice them.

Odessa hums thoughtfully as she looks over the menu. There are so many good choices, and all of them can be made to order just the way she likes it. No just accepting what she’s given and knowing if she wants to eat, that’s what she has to eat. She’d eat just about one of everything on the menu, given the chance. And infinite stomach capacity.

She gives a nod to let Silas know she’s made her selections, and when the waitress comes over, she looks up at her with bright eyes. “Yes, hi. Two pancakes with the boysenberry syrup. Two eggs, over hard, with hashbrowns just the side of burnt, a side of ketchup. Oh, and pumpernickel toast! With blackberry jam.”

With her order given, Odessa leans back in her seat with a big smile, excited about her impending meal while she waits for Silas to give his order as well.

"Two pancakes with blueberry syrup, a side of sausage links, and sourdough toast. Thanks," he says, flashing a grin to the waitress. Grits, unfortunately, are not one of this place's strong points, but he can forgive that. Nowhere is perfect.

After their waitress has departed, Silas turns his attention back to Des. "So. While we're waiting for breakfast… you wanna tell your story first, or would you rather hear mine?"

Odessa watches the waitress depart even as she listens to Silas speak. She turns her attention back slowly, brows raised to show her interest in the conversation. “I suppose I could go first,” she reasons with an exaggerated frown of thoughtfulness.

“I just got out of prison,” she reveals, after leaning in and dropping her voice real low. “F minus, do not recommend.” Oh, okay. So this is Destiny’s older, crazier sister. Good to know. “I’m still supposed to be in there, so don’t spread that around or anything. But the place blew up. It’s gonesville. Not my fault.”

Silas stares for a moment; his face is set in a picture perfect look of bemusement. That had… not been what he'd been expecting. He blinks once. Twice. "Huh," he finally says. Then he shakes his head. "Well. Prison is definitely F-minus, agreed," he remarks drily, matching the low volume of her voice; he's been in jail a time or two, though luckily he'd kept his nose clean enough to avoid any significant stays in the Big House. The delight at pancakes makes sense now, too; jail food always sucks.

"Explosion… Plum Island?" He remembers hearing about that on the radio. Multiple casualties, an explosion, prisoners missing. There's a faint suspicion at the back of his mind — a couple of faint suspicions, actually — but he isn't sure he wants to ask. Not even worth asking, probably.

Odessa taps the side of her nose twice and nods her head. “Bingo.” Good, he keeps up on the news! Although… bad that shit’s in the news, she supposes. “I didn’t try to leave.” She was certainly planning on it, but only in the vaguest sense. “Someone grabbed me and…” She spreads her arms out at her sides slowly. “Here I am.”

It may be the shortest version of that tale, but it’s actually 100% truthful, which is unusual for her. “I would super appreciate it if you would at least let me finish breakfast before you call the cops, if you’re planning to. Let a girl have some taste of freedom?”

Silas snorts at that. "Cops? That'd be a terrible note to end breakfast on," he observes drily. He leans back just a bit and sighs. "Honestly, though, I'm kinda tryin' to lay low myself. My evil twin and I had… a bit of a disagreement, you see. I thought I should keep living, he disagreed," Silas deadpans, smirking; it's a lot easier to joke about now that he's recovered from the surgeries, but there's still a certain grimness that comes over him in the wake of the joke, like a cold wind blowing from a graveyard.

He shakes it off quickly, though. "I think they want to put me in protective custody or something, but I've got a pretty good idea just how much good that'll do — somewhere in the vicinity of zero — so… yeah. Point is, as far as I'm concerned this morning will do just fine without any cops," he says, mustering a grin.

“Oof,” Odessa responds to the explanation about how Silas and his evil twin, Redd, get along. “And he’s got your same ability,” isn’t a question. She’s seen it in action. Or maybe not seen it is the better explanation. “That’s rough. At least when I encountered others with my ability, we cancelled each other out. Pretty sure it drove Hiro nuts.” She doesn’t clarify who that is while also not really expecting him to know either.

“To be honest,” now her voice drops in pitch as well as in volume, like conspiracy requires a little deeper tone to denote seriousness, “I’m not sure the cops can protect any of us. I mean, they sure didn’t manage to keep me safe from the people that wanted to break me out of prison.” She may be safe for now, but that’s only because no one’s come to retrieve her yet, she reckons.

“You, ah…” Odessa looks a little uncertain about what she wants to ask next, but she ultimately commits. “You still in touch with any of the other refugees?

Silas nods glumly. "Yeah. My evil twin's been out there doing bad things for years; if they were gonna be able to do something, they'd have done it," he says.

At her next question, though, Silas brightens. "Oh, yeah. Kain was the one who helped me hide out right after my last run in with my twin, Liz and I… haven't chatted much lately, but I've got her number. And — whoop, breakfast incoming," Silas says, spotting the waitress coming their way with a tray full of food.

Once their waitress has dropped off the food, Silas picks up the thread again. "Doyle made it across too; I met him the other day," Silas says with a grin.

The mention of Kain initially brings a look of sympathy to Odessa’s face. Remnants of her otherworld counterpart’s affinity for the man who’d suffered similar loss touches her heart. She smiles sadly and opens her mouth to say something on the subject, but quickly turns her head and shuts it again, brightening up for the sake of appearances when their food arrives.

She doesn’t return back to that train of thought, because the mention of Doyle has utterly derailed it. Her head snaps up from where she’d been gleefully looking down at the spread of food in front of her. “Eric… made it through?”

God, Odessa doesn’t know how to feel about that. Not even a little bit.

"Yep!" Silas grins. "He popped up the other day. He's working on the boat, trying to get us ready for the grand opening. Since I, uh, can't. My evil twin already paid me a visit there once," he explains, a melancholy creeping over him like fog rolling in off the sea.

He fights it off, though, mustering a smile. "It's been… kinda rough. Runnin' behind schedule, you know. Lots of things… haven't worked out as I'd been hopin'," is not what he'd intended to say, but he finds it slipping out anyway; seems the melancholy isn't keen to go. He takes a deep breath, and when he lets it out he lets some of the melancholy go with it. "But! With him helping, maybe we'll be able to open this year."

It's at this point that he notices that something about Des's reaction, which he'd first taken for shocked elation, isn't… quite right. "Everything alright, Des?" he asks with concern.

He catches her picking at her food with her fork, tongue pressed against the point of her canine tooth. Odessa’s brows lift and she blinks twice before realizing she’d been sort of zoned out, but still listening. “Yeah,” she’s quick to assure with a shake of her head to banish his concern. “I’m fine. I just… didn’t realize he was around, is all.”

Smiling a little more genuinely, she gestures with one hand for him to continue. “Tell me about this boat. What are you up to with it?” There’s not too much call for sailors here. Not like there was where he comes from. Unless he’s planning on smuggling, or running back and forth to Staten. That can be lucrative work, but it doesn’t seem to mesh with what he was saying.

Des's change of topic is an excellent one if she's wanting to banish his concern. As Silas himself has noted, he does love to talk, and for as much trouble as he's had trying to get his business off the ground, he still dreams of seeing it take off; the broad grin that lights up his face at this particular subject is entirely genuine. "A dinner theatre," he says, picking up his fork and spearing a sausage link with a flourish. "They had a few around back when I was a kid… and if you wanna look outside the States, kabuki's been a thing for awhile. Dinner and a show is an old idea… which, if you ask me, means it's about due to come around again." With a twist of his fork, he chops the sausage link in two, respears half of it, and pops it in his mouth.

Once he's done, he continues speaking. "So… we bought an old ocean tug, and we're renovatin' her into a floating dinner theatre. Fiddler's Green Dinner Theatre," he says, beaming; he's still proud of the name.

His pride shifts more towards rueful amusement after a moment, though. "Of course… we haven't had a lot of luck so far. Amelie… ended up having to leave us," he says, glossing over that whole mess with as much diplomacy as he can muster. "I was working with some friends from Raytech on our Halloween promotion — a ghost ship — but… that didn't work out so well. My evil twin crashed the party." His mind shifts for a moment to thoughts of Seren and Devi — he hasn't contacted either of them since the whole Halloween debacle. He regrets that, but… so it goes. And then there's Richard, who'd helped finance the whole thing, and is now kidnapped and God knows where. Nothing I can do about that one, either.

He chuckles as something occurs to him. Escaping the Underworld isn't easy, he thinks… but he doesn't say that one aloud, just shakes his head and pops the other half of a sausage link in his mouth.

“Shame about the party crashing, but it sounds like a great business plan,” Odessa notes with a brief and sympathetic grimace. She plucks up her container of syrup and starts to pour it over her pancakes. “Oh, that smells heavenly,” she sighs as she leans over the plate and inhales the sweet scent deeply, eyes closed.

When she opens her eyes again, she looks pleased again, smiling across the table to her companion. “I wish I could help you out, but… You know. But if things somehow turn out less of a shitshow than I’m expecting, I’d love to come check out a show sometime.”

Silas smiles. There's a certain gratification to seeing someone else enjoy something you've shared with them; it is, come to that, one of the things Silas enjoys most about cooking.

At Des's comment about hoping to check out a show, he laughs outright, spearing the remaining sausage link with a fork. "You'd be welcome! If the place does well enough… I'm hoping to expand. Open up more places. Build something for myself, you know?" he asks. For a moment, his gaze seems to be focused somewhere else, on some vision of a golden future that only he can see, and his grin takes on an almost fierce sense of pride.

Then his gaze comes back to the here and now, and he chuckles. "But I should quit jawing; thinking about the future's well and good, but it'd be a shame to let the food get cold in the meantime," he says, chopping the sausage link in half as he shifts his attention to the meal. There are other reasons not to delay, of course. It's probably not a great idea for either of them to linger overlong — both of them have their reasons, and their baggage. But what's the world coming to if you can't stop now and again and enjoy the company of familiar faces?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License