Over The Wall


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Scene Title Over The Wall
Synopsis A Company agent is presented with a difficult choice that has lasting repercussions.
Date November 9, 1989

The rumble and crack of a skateboard's wheels on pavement cracks past noisily, and a brisk, cold breeze blows in across the street carrying autumnal leaves in dry, rustling procession over the sidewalk. Here at the wrought iron tables of Piccoli's Delicatessen's new outdoor cafe, everything seems to be charmingly new and fresh. So many people have gathered here today outside the store, gossiping and conversing despite the gradually dropping temperatures.

Seated at one of those round tables, Benjamin Ryans' cup chai tea wafts a coiling strand of steam up from its ceramic rim and the piece of coholate biscoti perched on the rim of his saucer is invitingly untouched. Newspaper unfolded across his lap, he prefers to observe the passings of this historic day by more traditional means than the youth all huddled around the television inside of Piccoli's do.

On the front page of the New York Times, there is a photograph of a tall and graffiti scarred concrete wall replete with chips and cracks, crowds of people standing around the structure with sledgehammers, smashing away at the masonry while onlookers have their hands raised over their heads in still-frame cheering. The headline reads; The Wall Comes Down and a generation will be born today that will have no direct memories of the Cold War Era.

Ryans is the only man seated in the outdoor cafe at the moment, the only one keeping patient eye on his wristwatch for the time, the only one not engaged in excited conversations about the monumental event playing out for them across that tiny television screen. New York City is watching the end of an era, and for Benjamin Ryans, he knows it's just another day at work. He's not waiting here for his partner, not today, no he's waiting for someone else from his job, someone with news that isn't about the end of the Cold War…

…but another one all together.

Little Italy

November 9, 1989

Eyes lift from the printed word on his lap, cradled by the way his patent leather clad foot rests on his knee. Scanning faces, eyes narrow slightly as the people as they pass him, making the crossfeet that have been starting to show, to deepen, making him look a bit older. Each person is watched and noted, as some stop to join the crowds around the TV, others — like Ryans — with much better things to do. Sighing softly, finger lift to rub thumb and fingers across those weary blue orbs, exhausted from long nights with a baby. Last night had been his night to get up with ten month old Lucille, Mary has been so wonderful to remind him over the wails of his unhappy daughter. He little girl has been suffering from a cold, so it had been a particularly long night.

Like many parents before him, the new father can't help but wonder if he'll ever know what sleep is again. How many years till she's 18?

As the hand falls away moving to flip the page, but not before he hazards another glance goes to his watch, brows furrowing. How much more time did he dare risk?

Were it not for the way the wind picked up and tossed Ryans' fedora from the wrought iron table, history probably would have gone in utterly different directions. Something as simple as a gust of wind changed the lives of so many people, even if it takes decades for it to pan out. The hat is caught on the cold autumn wind, lifting off of the table and striking the sidewalk before rolling on its rim across the ground. The hat comes to a stop at the feet of a man walking down the sidewalk, trodden upon when the hat scuttles beneath his feet on the breeze.

"Oh— darn." Huffing out a breath, the man who just crushed Ryans' hat flat crouches down, using one hand topull his bulky leather camera bag to one side, the strap over his shoulder biting into the side of his neck slightly. Picking up the hat, he dusts it off on his slacks before standing up, bringing a hand to pop against the interior and punch out the dent in the fabric, thick brows arched towards his hairline, looking around for the owner.

The man holding Benjamin Ryans' hat is someone he hasn't seen since a mugshot in 1970; James Montpillier. He goes by a different name that the assumed alias, but Monpillier's new surname of Winslow hasn't been something Ryans' has been accustomed to yet.

With a crooked smile and an awkward laugh, their eyes meet from across the outdoor cafe, and James holds up the hat with one hand, brows lifted in a silent apology for treading on the man's hat. Had Monpillier known about the agency known as The Company, he might not have stuck around to return it.

A hand shoots out to try to catch the hat, but it avoids capture by the Company Agent. He loved that hat, sure in someways it was out of fashion, but it heralded back to the days when movies were black and white and he was little. Mary often teased him about it, said he looked like a gangster, but she never stopped him. It had been his father's fedora.

The newspaper it tossed on the table, foot dropping to the ground as he prepares to make chase, but by then the poor thing is getting crunched. Rising to his feet, the normally stoic man's mouth pulls to the side in a grimace, eyes surveying the damage to it as he starts forward. He doesn't realize who trampled his fedora until the man reaches down to pick up the hat.

This is when Ryan's steps falter and he comes to a stop, he hasn't mastered the art of hiding his expression completely, so the moment of recognition is clearly stamped on his face. This was someone thought long gone.

Slowly, a smile spreads across the Company Agent's lips, a pleasant one, but then back then it was easier. Giving a bit of a forced laugh, Ryan's finishes closing that distance, falling into something other then a predator on the hunt. His deep voice carries across the noise of the city. "Thank you, sir!" He manages a cheerful tone, hands motioning towards James. "You have just saved me from having to buy myself another hat." He reaches to take it, grinning some.

"Hey, no problem." James notes with a crease of his brows, returning the hat to its rightful owner. "Sorry about stepping on it, I kind've had my head in the clouds there, got a lot on my mind— " he flicks a shot over towards the windows of the delicatessen, then back towards the agent. "Guess everybody does these days, right?" Eager to get on his way, James offers a mild smile and an awkward tip of his head in a nod, resting one hand on his camera bag as he takes a step around Ryans.

"Well, you have a good day, alright?" Those brows of James' lift up into an earnest expression again, and as he starts to move past Ryans, a nearly twenty year old case comes bubbling to the surface in his mind, a case of a withered husk found shriveled dead in central park and a man wanted for questioning that eluded the Company men seeking to interrogate him further.

This would be a good break, for a Company man.

"You too." Ryans says with that faux brightness in his voice, fedora gripped in one hand, the other lifting in farewell. That is at least till James' back is too the agent, then all pleasantness slips away into something much more serious, bordering on dangerous. The fedora gripped in both hands, the Agent starts to tail his target, the streets were too populated for him to make his move.

A smart agent would be finding pay phone and calling in backup to help with such a dangerous individual, but Ryans' doesn't want to risk loosing this guy. In fact, he doesn't dare take his eyes off that retreating back, he follows at a distance. His black duster flutters behind him as he picks up a the pace a bit.

He'll take the risk.

People like this one, Benjamin Ryans fears to leave wandering loose. Of course, that revelation had only really come along recently, when he held that tiny baby girl for the first time.

He vowed, he'd make the world safer for her.

Ignorance is bliss, butit breeds complacency. The man who has become Albert Winslow has no reason to suspect anyone in the world is actively looking for him. Murders some generations ago could never be pinned to a man with his background, with his face, with his age. The world can't possibly know about his kind. He passes right past Piccoli's, down the busy streets and towards a long-time business here in this cramped neighborhood, Eagle Photo, a quainte little photo development and camera supply store.

Pushing the door open and stepping inside, Winslow's figure is visible as a muted shadow thorugh the windows and glass door, moving up to the counter and settling his camera bag on it. There's only one other person inside the store, and they work there from the looks of it.

Ryans' casual approach to the storefront shows motion behind the windows, the store clerk speaking with Winslow and then heading towards the back door behind the front counter, likely to find parts or product for some special request.

The brim of his fedora tilted down, to shade blue eyes as he moves across that store window, his attention is on the actions within. Once the clerk move to the back, Ryans knew he had little time in which to act. Reaching into his jacket, the Company agent slowly pulls out the Company issue weapon, a clunky thing. He hated how they felt in his hands, but for what they were, it was state of the art. As the weapon is extracted, the other hand catches the handle and slowly opening the store door. Slipping inside, he has to move quickly as the worked slips into the back.

A few steps closes the distance between them, the weapon coming to rest in the small of his back, "James Montpillier" There is nothing bright about that name rumbled in deep tones, that old tranq gun is lifted, centered at his back. "You will come with me quietly." The muzzle of the gun, presses a bit deeper as a warning. "I do not recommend you try resisting." His voice drops to a whisper, though it continues to carry well, "I know what you can do and have done, and I will not hesitate to shoot you where you stand."

The name comes as a chill to his spine more so than the gun placed dead center at the small of his back. Slowly turning around, the wide-eyed look of uncertainty and fear on Winslow's face is as clear as day. Hands slowly rising up at either side of his shoulders, Winslow flicks his tongue over dry lips and stares at that gun now aimed at his midsection. There's a tension in his shoulders, brows lifted and throat working up and down in a noisy swallow. Winslow's stare flicks towards the door the store clerk had come from, and by the time they return he's finally come up with a response for the agent.

"I— don't know what you're talking about." Comes the bald-faced lie from Winslow's mouth. "My name's Albert Winslow, I— I could show you my driver's license, it's right here in my jacket," and without so much as even a nod, he starts to reach for the inside of his coat slowly.

A single fingers comes up and his gives it a small wag, those blue eyes hold a very dangerous look, when Winslow starts to reach into his coat. "Keep those hands where I can see them." He says softly, and edge to his voice, the tranq gun gives a little jerk to the side telling him to get his hand back up. "The people I work for, Mr. Montpillier, know all about you and how you keep that youthful appearance."

"What you did to that man in central park did not go unnoticed." He growls out, hazarding a flicker of a glance at the door, at this point in time he doesn't have the law connections, only paper sales. Later down the line, he'll learn to shoot first, talk later. For now… "Did you truly think that people turn their cheek to what happened?" Brows arch upward beneath the Fedora.

It's the first time in a long time that Winslow has faced fear in the face of what he is, and fear in the presence of his own horrifying existance. Immortal as he is, one agitated man with a gun can change all of that with the pull of a trigger. Swallowing dryly, Winslow lifts his hands back up again and ducks his head down subtly. "Please," Winslow breathes out, thick and dark brows lifted up towards his swept bangs, "Please you— you can't do this to me…"

Glancing towards the front door of the store, Winslow tracks a nervous, wide-eyed stare back to Ryans. "I— I— " his eyes wander, brows crease and attention focused on the barrel of the gun. "Please, I have a little girl." There's a croaking quality to Winslow's voice. "I— I just found out today," he admits with the tiniest crack in his tone, "I can't— please you can't just— you can't take me from her, not— not now."

Swallowing noisily, throat working up and down and hands trembling, Winslow ducks his head down and stares up at Ryans. "Please, the— the man in the park it— I didn't have a choice. You have to believe me, I— I promise you I won't ever do it again. But you can't— you can't take me away from my little girl before I even get to know her. Before— before— " dark brows scrunch together and Winslow's head shakes slowly. "Don't— don't make me lose the chance to see her grow up."

The pleading is not new to the agent, but there is something in those words that hit a cord in the agent. The agent has done his own share of horrible things in his time in the Teams and within the Company. His jaw clenches tightly, blue eyes bore into the man.

Like a cobra strike, a hand lashes out fingers curl tight into the fabric of Winslow's shirt, and the age-manipulator is shoved back against the counter. The weapon is pressed tight into the man stomach, a reminder as Ryans leans in a touch. "Didn't have a choice? Explain it to me." The words growl out, sounding much like a big cat. "Explain it and I might just consider it."

"Have you ever— ever been afraid for your life?" There's a weak and fretting tone to Winslow's words. "I— I was going to die, if I didn't do what I did. I was acting in self defense. I didn't— I didn't want to kill, I don't— I didn't have a choice. It was either kill, or die. I— What would you have done in my situation?" Twenty years from now these very words will take on a wholly more sinister meaning, here and now it sounds like self defense of a man who felt threatened. In twenty years time it will become clear that this threat that Winslow so fearfully speaks of is simply the end of his own natural life.

But the greatest lies that can be told, are ones hidden within the truth.

"Just let me walk away…" Winslow breathes out, fingers curling against his palms. "Let me watch my little girl grow up, let me— let me have that and I promise you it won't happen again. Don't… Don't take a father away from his little girl, please, I— I'm begging you." Jaw trembling, Winslow looks towards the door again, then back to Ryans. "Do— do you have a family?"

His blue eyes shift back and forth looking for something in them that say he's lying something, or anything. Ryans' lips press together in a thin line, and after a moment air escapes through flared nostril, with a sound of frustration in the back of his throat. He shoves the man back a touch hard and pulls back some. There is frustration in those intense blue eyes, it's a moment of indecision.

"I — I have a baby girl." Ryans says softly, glancing down to a moment at the gun in his hands, brows furrowing. What would he do if his life was on the line? The answer was simple…

Anything he damn well could.

Winslow is pulled close by that fist in his clothes, the brim of that fedora touches his forehead, he can't not look the agent in the eyes. "The first time I hear about an aged husk. The very first time I hear you kill someone with your ability." The threat is very clear into eyes, "I will be the one to hunt you down, and I will make sure you are put in the deepest and darkest hole the Company has." Winslow is shoved away, the hand letting go, but the tranq gun continues to be pointed at him.

"And I will not be so merciful."

"Company…" Winslow breathes out as he takes a step back, arms slowly lowering, reaching for his camera bag as he takes a half step away, brows creased and eyes settled on Ryans. This was the first indication, to Albert Winslow, that there were people out there who knew about people like him, that it wasn't going to be a free ride from here on out, that he'd have to be careful, that he'd have to be cautious and that — most importantly of all — he'd have to be invisible.

Backing away to the door of the photo store, Winslow pushes the door open with a jingle of the bell over the frame, stepping out with brows raised and a worried expression as he swallows anxiously, lifts his brows and takes a slow step back, turning around and darting off down the street. The door comes to a slow close, bell jingling again just as the back door opens and the store's desk clerk emerges from the back, looking for his customer, a box of film held in both hands. He huffs out a breath, looks at Ryans and murmurs, "I'll be with you in a moment…" failing to notice the gun held idly at the agent's side.

When the clerk moves back inside of the stock room, and Ryans can feel that tension in the back of his neck slowly beginning to loosen, there's a crooning voice over his shoulder that makes it all come back again. "You know…" offers the phantom, "A'never thought you were much of a bloody softie, Ryans." In the agent's periphery, a shimmering blur fades into reality, revealing the familiar figure of a wiry Brit with toussled hair and a prominent nose. "A'won't tell if you won't, yeah?"

The shit-eating grin on Claude Raines' face is one Benjamin Ryans has come to find frustrating, but the gently slap of Claude's hand on the agent's shoulder is one he'd been waiting for all day, after all. "Mister Thompson says we've got a little job. There's a man out there, huntin' down an' killin' people like your friend there." Claude motions towards the glass doors, then reaches in to the interior pocket of his jacket and holds out a black and white photograph of a squinting man's profile, ducking down an alley.

"Come on," Claude notes with a jerk of his head towards the door, squeezing Ryans' shoulder again.

"Let's go find this Bennet fella'."

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