Reasonable Suspicion


deckard_icon.gif zuleyka_icon.gif

Scene Title Reasonable Suspicion
Synopsis It's hard to define what's reasonable when you're losing touch with reality.
Date May 07, 2009

The Lighthouse - Out Back

It's a clear, warm night - spring tending into summer. There's the surprisingly well-maintained playground - well, it's not old. Thank you, Mr. Linderman. Zuzu's in one of the swingset swings, dangling her legs, chewing gum, gazing out at the glittering lights of Manhattan in the distance. Her expression is curiously old, empty, but not really sad - lost in wistful daydreams, maybe. It's fairly quiet, with only the creak of the swingset and the sound of water in the distance.

Crunch. Crunch. …Crunch. Deckard's boots scuff through dry grass and over sandy earth, enough to disrupt the rest of a fuzzy grey moth in passage. It flutters up in an awkward spiral, stutters, and steers away from the musty stink of cigarette smoke that fogs thick over acrid whiskey and warmer leather.

He's making his usual rounds at the customary hour, black sunglasses and scruffy hair and the isolated speck of an orange ember. He's not completely sober — also par for the course — if the occasional weave to his step is any indication. The stitches winding around the side of his temple look about ready to come out. Various bruises are mottled green and yellow into the bristle of his close shorn beard. He looks like crap. "Shouldn't you be in bed?"

Once upon a time, she'd've snapped back with the reflexive impatience of a teenager for some old fogey of an adult who just doesn't get it. Now, though, it's surprising that anyone at all cares where she is, other than the bizarre band of Merry Men to whom she is Maid Marian. And while Jake trusts her enough to run about on her own, especially when it's going to the Lighthouse - suffice to say she's not as impatient with adult care as she once might've been. "No," she says, gently rather than sarcastically. "I'm not really one of the kids who lives here. I just brought a couple in and I check on them, from time to time. You got a spare cigarette?" she wonders, nodding to the one he's smoking.

"…Oh." Just…oh. Suspicion passes over his face like a shadow, cinching creases into the corners of his eyes and sketching lines in between his brows when he looks her over more intently. Have we met before? Seems like a weird thing to ask. He reaches into his coat instead, knuckles bumping past the butt of his gun to grope after his much abused box of smokes. She doesn't look familiar. "Which kids?"

"Liana and Jeff," she says, quietly. "Seven year old girl, nine year old boy," One hand comes out in expectation. Alms for the poor, right? The two she names….well, they're healthy enough, considering a winter spent as scavengers under her care. Doing about as well as can be expected. Her face is still strangely patient - she doesn't seem particularly squeamish about or afraid of Deckard.

"Mmm." Master of the one syllable response, Deckard follows up the offer of a cigarette with the offer of a lighter after it, thumb tripping the ignition in a muffled sputter of sparks that lights orange across the long lines of his face. As far as wiry old armed crazy people wandering around in the dark go, maybe he's not so bad. There's a full moon, though. Plenty of light. Maybe that helps.

Zuleyka leans out of the swing to get the cigarette lit, making the chains chime. Nothing coquettish about the movement, though. She settles back without any of the coughing or watery eyes of the inexperienced smoker. "So, why do -you- hang around here?" she asks, without further preamble.

Deckard does not require coquettishness to be inspired to frown down thoughtfully at boobies, underaged or not. Especially while intoxicated. Fortunately his sunglasses nullify some of the creepy factor, and it's only for a second or two, until the flame takes and he tips his head aside to focus on fumbling the lighter back into the right pocket. Now that he's established she's probably not here to slit little throats, his attention is inclined to wander for seconds at a time. Case in point, a good minute passes before the lighter's gone and he remembers to mutter a grudging, "I work here."

Thank goodness. Or things could get violent, fast. "As what?" she asks, keeping her tone at least somewhat civil, since she -did- just cadge a cigarette from him, which she smokes insouciantly. He gets a patient, expectant look.

"The janitor." Might as well be. He looks like he could be the type, at least, all sad clown angles and long bones. Civility doesn't seem to interest him, anyway. He's prone to muttering, apparently too distracted to enunciate while he squints back over at the lighthouse proper.

"You look like you been to the wars. Deckard, was it? Like, 'we need that old magic, Deckard,'" she quotes, blithely. There's a distant, malicious curiosity in her gaze, but pity, as well.

There, some of the absent softness to the fuzzy lines around Flint's mouth fades against a hollow clench in his jaw. He turns his head slowly back to her, suspicion creeping back with a hint of stony irritation. "What do you want?"

Zuleyka blows a perfect O of smoke before answering. It's abruptly whisked away by the breeze. "I'm ragging you 'cause I'm curious. You wanna sit and brood in silence, you tell me, I can totally do that."

Paranoia twists unpleasantly into an ill-suppressed rankle at his nose, tensing in harsh at his shoulders and neck. He eyes her in silence, hackles half-lifted with all the stiff insecurity of a mutt that isn't sure if it should snap at its own reflection. The silence. It's awkward.

Her gaze is pale gray, and utterly lacking in guile. Like she's spent a while practicing her Shirley Temple impression in the mirror. She holds his gaze, or the mirrors, for a while, and one dark, carefully delineated brow creeps up towards that punkish hairline. What?

Her gaze is black and empty, filled in only by the concave interior of her skull. On the exterior, his is similarly void of anything worth reading. His latest pair of sunglasses is as effective of a screen as all those smashed before them. "You should go. It's after hours." The stunted stump of his cigarette is flicked aside into the grass, where it continues to smolder. Good job, Smoky. "You're trespassing."

Zuleyka scowls at that, which makes her look about ten. "I stay here," she says, keeping most of the annoyance out of her voice. "Brian lets me, since those two kids are mine. And hell, I'm still young enough I could technically stay. Just….no need to strain their resources," She swings once, twice, and hops out of it at the crest of the forward motion, and then trots over to grind out the butt.

"You said you were just checking in." Free of his cigarette, Deckard speaks more clearly. More loudly, at least. All the better for…whatever it is he's doing. Some shabby, inebriate attempt at responsibility mingled with over-protective accusation. "You live here or you don't."

"Sometime I stay here as a guest," Zuleyka says, firmly. "Ask Brian. And don't get your jockeys in a knot, Obi-Wan. It's cool."

"I'm not — " getting his jockeys in a knot. Less mature (the term applies here only loosely to start) annoyance etches lines out flat across his forehead. He still looks old. No decrease in physical age accompanies his petulance. Meanwhile he looks to be stressing over it, what with the grinding at his jaw and an uneasy shift in weight from one boot to the other. "Fine."

Zuleyka spreads her hands, exasperated, cigarette still jammed between two fingers. "What'm I gonna do, sneak in and tell them scary stories? Steal all the peanut butter?" She flutters a hand, as if waving away Deckard's uncertainty and her own smoke.

Breathe in, breathe out. Deckard is trying to be reasonable. Really, he is. Maybe for that reason, against his better(?) judgment, he shakes off her proposed threat of scary stories and peanut butter theft with a literal sideways stir of his profile that's followed up with a shiver. "I should go…" what to do janitors do? "scrub some toilets."

"You've never scrubbed a toilet in your life," she scoffs. "But yeah, take a nap, relax," She pinches out the cigarette, apparently penurious enough to want to save the butt for later.

"Ngh," says Deckard, which isn't a word so much as it's a non-committal grunt. He's probably scrubbed a toilet at some point in his life. Somewhere. Maybe in prison. With one last glance at her and her cigarette, he hesitates and pushes off to carry on around the building's flank. Alll the way back around to the front door.

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