Old Dog New Tricks


meredith_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Dog New Tricks
Synopsis Meredith and Ryans come face to face for the first time since their days together at the Company. In Starbucks.
Date March 27, 2010


The downside of the Senior Agents plan to stay in the city till the snow clears, is that he has to go out for coffee. Right now coffee is a staple in this god forsaken weather, the cold seeping into his bones, even if not as deep.

So the morning hours find him standing at the front of the line, blue eyes narrowed at the board in front of him, Ryans never understood all those fancy coffees. His leather clad hands are shoved deep in the pockets of his brown canvas duster. The maroon and cream colored scarf he normally wears, hangs loose around his neck. And perked atop his head is an ever present fedora to keep his scalp warm. It's old, but well cared for.

"So what would you recommend then?" The older man asks, even though he looks young enough to understand it all, mentally, he's still an old man.

The Barrista glances at the menu behind her. "Me? I — I don't know. You say you normally drink regular coffee.. but like this place.. is all about anything but." A pink tipped nail taps her chin lightly as she looks, bleach blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail. "For a newb like you, I'd say just got for a regular hot mocha."

"Well, then.. that is what I will try." His normal stoic expression cracking some for the girl behind the counter as he pulls out his wallet. "A large one."

"You mean a Venti."

"A what?"

"A Venti. It's the large.. but that's what we call it. Seriously, were you born in the dark ages or something?"

The question is innocent enough, but the agent stares at her for a moment, before just handing over the cash for his coffee. Change returned, Ryans steps away with a small shake of his head.

Kids today.

Unlike the Senior Agent Ryans, Meredith almost always knows what she wants. Whether it's coffee, a living situation, a person, she normally has an answer - even if she has to make it up on the spot. And she'll see it through, too. Starbucks isn't exactly any normal sort of place to find the fire starter, however the abnormal winter has driven even the heartiest inside after a few blocks and that's no different for the blonde. As the door opens again, a blast of howling cold wind whistles about, some snow flakes following in as she seeks refuge.

Even though she can make her temperature rise, that doesn't seem to help her much against the biting wind. Plus, her blood is still thin from living most of her life down in the warm South. It takes more than a year or two of New York Winters in order for her to build up a tolerance for this sort of thing. A large wool coat is wrapped around her, blonde hair tucked up under a thick knit hat. The bruise on the side of her face from the excitement on the Brooklyn Bridge has finally started to fade, a faint outline of ugly green and yellow the only thing left of what used to be an angry purple and blue. Her arm is still in a splint, however it has a lot more movement than it has before.

The Starbucks is crowded with people all with similar notions as Meredith and Ryans, but as timing would have it, the blonde is moving toward the curved counter as Ryans is stepping away from it. His younger face is exactly the same as when she knew it for the very brief period of her work as a Company Agent. Her breath catches in her throat for such a pristine example of her past, her step faltering in her march for a warm drink. Of all the coffee shops in all the cities, she had to walk into this one.

At least when he's spotted, the world doesn't go black and white, like the old Bogart movies he watched when he was younger. Turning to look at the counter again to wait for his coffee, his gaze doesn't reach that far, instead they fall on a woman who is much older then when he last saw her. The neutral illusion on his features break apart as brows lift in surprise.

"Meredith?" There is an equal measure of surprise in his tone, as he spots someone who was a colleague at one point. That deep rumble is still in his voice, just as it was back then, as he states what she is obviously thinking. "Interesting, meeting you here."

This is no movie - Bogart or otherwise - and when Meredith regains her composure, her face is returned to a mask of wariness. Edging toward the line without turning her back on him, it's a delicate dance akin to circling a rabid dog. It's not that she finds Ryans rabid, but he's Company and therefore dangerous. Plus, he looks exactly the same way he did when she saw him last and that means there is Something Up.

"I don't know about that," she replies to him as she waits her turn for what she came in here for. There's no need for her to look at the menu, she knew what she wanted when she made the split-second decision to come in. "It's cold, and we both like coffee."

Body language can speak volumes so when he notices her edging around him cautiously. With his receipt still held in between index finger and thumb, he holds his hands out to his side some, to show he is unarmed. "That is true." He offers in those soft tones, eyes creasing at the corners as the narrow slightly. "You seem a bit spooked, so let me assure you I am not going to do anything. I just want my coffee." A hand lifts slightly to point at the counter.

"You look well, the years have been kind to you." He observes politely, though he can't help but add, "Of course, the last time I saw you was just before you and your brother disappeared."

Can he really blame her for her attitude toward him? Meredith's sure he's read the file on her, knows that she's still on the run from the Company. Even after all these years. The run in with Sabra didn't exactly help matters any, either. Though she knows he's the human component of the One of Us and One of Them equation, she knows he doesn't have to be armed in order for him to detain her. "Yeah, well, I've got a good reason. Last time I saw someone of your company, I woke up in a meat locker." She doesn't exactly give much for what the crowds seem to think about this conversation. The man in front of her turns around and gives her a quizzical look, which she meets only with a 'mind your own business' glare.

That accomplished, the blonde returns her wary guard to Ryans. "You certainly look, well, the same." Exactly the same, uncannily the same. "And obviously, we didn't disappear well enough."

"Hazards of the business," Ryans offers up with the slightest hint of a smile, though it fades soon enough. "The doctors have no idea if it is permanent or not." He doesn't exactly sound pleased about the situation in general. "So it is a wait and see if I continue to look like the… old me."

"A meat locker tho?" Ryans asks curiously, brow arching slightly. "An interesting thought, though with your uniqueness, I don't think something like that would work." As the line moves along, so does Ryans, since… well…. he's still waiting for that coffee. "Personally, I have no interest in if you are still on the run. You have not done anything to warrant dragging you in, you simply have a dangerous quality." A glances goes to the person ahead of them.

"Right now, we are after killers… not runaways." With the teetering of the Company on the edge of disappearing, there are more important things.

There's a snort from Meredith. Hazards of the business, indeed. "Hell, I know people who'd pay for something like that to happen to them." In fact, that'd be an interesting business for an Age Manipulator - better than Botox! "More like the young you. You've even kept the hat." Or maybe he's readopted it to go along with his newfound looks.

"Yeah, you guys've really got a sense of humor." It wasn't the meat locker part she really cared about, it was being chained to a chair and then injected with some knock-out drug. Not exactly what she would call 'normal'. Finally, she's made it to the counter and she orders, "Latte, medium, please."

"You mean Grande?" The same barrista asks her, giving Ryans the same questioning eye. Has he infected other customers with his odd way of ordering drinks.

"Whatever. If it's the size that's in between small and large, I don't care what it's called." Meredith has far less tact for this sort of thing than Ryans. Putting the correct amount of money on the counter, she slides off to the side in just enough time to glare at Ryans for his use of words. "Let's not talk about my qualities, hm?"

Tapping her fingers on the counter impatiently, she snickers. "It's not like I ran away from home."

"Whether people would pay for that sort of thing or not, I'd rather have stayed who I was, then to have lost the person involved." There is a crease of his brow and a cast of regret there. Patent leather shoes, scuff across the floor, a ghost smile given to the Barrista and a glance at the workers behind the counter. Is it always this slow?

The glare is only met with that infuriating neutral expression, though a hand lifts to pull the fedora off his head. "This is a part of who I am." He explains simply and without apology. "It only really comes out when it is cold though, and I haven't worn it since I had retired." Though the way he talked before, he is probably no longer that. The hat is turned as he inspects it.

It is lifted again and settled on his head. "It was my father's before it was mine, so there is that as well."


His head turns as his name is called and the large cup is set on the counter. "Ah.. about time. I was starting to think they traveled to South America to pick the beans themselves."

"You're the same, just look different." Meredith glances over at Ryans as she says that, fingers still tapping relentlessly on the plastic counter that's been covered over to make it look as if it's wood. "Unless they messed with your mind as well as your face." She wouldn't put it past anybody, but she hasn't heard of a person who could both affect age and erase memories at the same time. That would be just unfair. "'Course I'm not one to know the difference."

Meredith doesn't have anything really like Ryans - an heirloom to wear proudly or to hide away depending. All she has is herself and her patchwork memories. It's not the same. "I'd keep an eye on it in this wind, then," she advises. The coldness isn't easy on hats just like it hurts faces and any other bare skin it can find.

Though Ryans' coffee is finally up, her own will take just as long to wait for it. "They do promise freshness." Though she'd probably just prefer whatever coffee they had as opposed to having to wait for them to grow the beans themselves just for a cup of something hot.

"Either or.. this cost someone." And that probably bothers the Agent most of all, it shows in the lines of his face. The coffee is retrieved and wraps both gloved hands around it. "But as far as I know.. no they have not messed with my mind." There is a slight furrowing of his brows, "…yet."

"I was one of those lucky few agents that parted ways with them amicably, so I was allowed to retain my memories when I did retire." He pops the lid of his cup and takes in a breath of the chocolate aroma. "Hmm.. smells more chocolate then coffee," he grouses slightly, before taking a careful sip.

"Anyhow, it helped when I was asked to return, though I was woefully behind the times." He really doesn't have a problem explaining that to her, what is there to hide? She knows Ryans was company, it is only logical. A small smile touches the agents lips.

"I see." And she can understand where that would come as a problem for anyone. Meredith assumes this person was a friend, as it bothers Ryans, but that's just her speculation. She can't imagine him getting all bothered about someone he didn't like getting zapped with age. "Ha. Yeah, yet's always what they hold over ya." Much like her own last conversation with anyone of Company persuasion.

Resting her splinted arm on the counter, the fire starter sighs and looks over at the barristas still working over everyone's coffee. With so many people on such cold days it must be more of a madhouse than they're used to. But, that doesn't mean Meredith likes the idea of having to wait this long to get what she wants. "I just didn't wait around long enough to let them take what was mine. And the second time, it never came up." As far as she knows, of course. Which is a worrying thought, now that she actually thinks about it.

"Ugh, you got one of those mocha things. I like my coffee to taste like coffee. Lattes are the most watered down I can manage them. Those just seem unnatural or somethin'."

"My girls are always into the fancy stuff like this. In fact my oldest recommended this place." Another tentative sip is taken, but he doesn't seem all that sold on it. "It is — different." He frowns down at the coffee, but then pushes the lid back on. "I'll remember that though. Latte." His smile hitching up on one side giving it a crooked look.

Eyes travel down to her arm as it is set on the counter, brows lifting slightly. "You take a spill?" Ryans asks politely, a nod to her cast, a hand brushes aside his jacket so he can sink a hand into the pocket of the slacks he's wearing, the other still wrapped around his cup. "I know I had a nasty bump after an accident." His cup is lifted and his touches the edge of it to his temple that is devoid of cut he had.

Wrinkling her nose, Meredith shakes her head. "Kids have no idea about coffee." Or, that's her take on it. She's had more exposure with them having been at the Lighthouse for an extended period of time before settling. And it hasn't really done much for her maternal instinct. Or at least her idea of what they know about coffee. "It's no black coffee, but what I've had of their regular stuff here isn't all that good, so I cut it with that heated milk." She doesn't care if the barristas hear her badmouth the coffee. It's a chain, what do they care?

Her tapping on the counter stops for a few seconds as she remembers the incident that gave her that splint. "Bus crash," she shrugs. "The weather was just too much for these bad drivers, I guess. I'm just glad we didn't go over the railings of the bridge or something." A possibility, though it turns out her real fear should have been the bus exploding. "Had a nasty bruise on the side of my face where I hit the glass, too." Plus, the whole being dragged off by a crazy puppeteer afterward, but that's another story.

Brows lift high enough to be obscured by the brim of his hat, "You were there?" He sounds curious. "I was there as well, my car hit the railing, I wasn't as bad off as some, which was a good thing, since at that point I was an old man." The hand in his pocket, lifts to run his gloved hand along his jaw. "Pulled a rather flamboyant young gentleman from the wreckage of his rather upscale car. He had plowed into the side of the bus, my guess is after the bus lost control."

"I'm glad to see then that you are unhurt." She maybe have once been a target, but that doesn't mean he wishes the woman harm. The sound of an old fashion phone, has Ryans pulling a blackberry out of his pocket. A glance to the screen hints to a text message.

"Speaking of work." He taps a button and sighs. ".. I've been reminded I have some to do." He glances at the phone again and drops into a pocket again. "I am having to get use to this texting stuff as well." There is a touch of amusement as he adds, "I sometimes wonder how the younger agents would do if they were thrown back to the time we were agents."

"Personally, I do not think they would know what to do with themselves."

"Meredith," a particularly unfriendly barrista drops a paper cup in front of Meredith and she takes it with a nod in thanks. It's not a very happy exchange, but what's to be expected when waiting so long for a drink? With that, she turns her back on the counter.

The revelation that they were at the same wreck together is just another one of those coincidences that Meredith can't help but roll her eyes at. They didn't even see each other and he was helping the guy who plowed into the bus she was on. "Huh, that's the jerk that rammed into us." And she doesn't give him the benefit of the doubt of the bus already being out of control when they got hit. It's not really Meredith's style to give people who have hurt her a generous second chance.

"Pht, texting. What's all the rush. If I'm out, I'm out." Meredith doesn't normally carry around a cellphone and she doesn't normally bother with all the new technology. Especially when all it can do is most likely track her down. That's the last thing she wants. "They'd all get themselves killed, probably." She remembers what it was like to be an Agent. It wasn't exactly a picnic.

"And don't worry, you're still an old man. You just look younger." That pleasant statement is said with a smile that isn't exactly sweet, but isn't mean spirited, either. It's just Meredith being herself.

"True enough." Ryans says, with his own kind of neutral smile, at the mention of him being an old man. "And with hope that fact, will continue to keep me alive." His experiences have been many and he has learned a lot, he was one of the agents with a high bagging count, much like Bennet.

The hat is removed again and pressed to his chest long enough to incline his head slightly. "Despite everything in the past, Meredith, it was a pleasure seeing a familiar face." When the fedora rests upon his head again, Ryans studies her for a long moment, before he starts to turn to leave. "Be safe out there."

Meredith has a problem with the Company as a whole, but Ryans himself has never done anything untoward against her. He hasn't put her in a meat locker, attempted to bag and tag her, or any of the other things just about every other Company Agent has done. And so, she gives him that same wary sort of look, but this time a tight smile is added to it.

"Yeah, it was a blast from the past." Though she certainly isn't as polite, she doesn't sound quite as sarcastic as she did in the beginning of the conversation. The blonde isn't headed back out into the cold - the whole reason she bought a coffee was so that she could stay inside and warm up before trudging back out into the cold. "You too. Good luck getting old again." It's really what he wants, so it could be considered a compliment, right?

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