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Scene Title Reciprocity
Synopsis Returning evidence, paperwork, mutual acquaintance, and discussion of second chances.
Date January 21, 2011

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

It's only the beginning of the lunch hour, and the Nite Owl isn't quite as busy as it will get. At one of the booths, incidentally the one farthest from where anyone else is sitting, Nocturne Ziadie sits, hands wrapped around a cup of tea, glancing up towards the door. He's early, earlier than they agreed on, so he has some paperwork next to him, which he's idly filling out, drumming his fingers on the table in between doing so. His left arm is in the sling again, making everything just a little more awkward.

The door rings open and the blonde woman enters. A pair of jeans, a lined brown leather jacket protecting her from the cold, and a pair of low-heeled brown leather boots are the order of the day. Elisabeth Harrison is not dressed in the overt black-on-black, though she's a regular enough in here that the redhead behind the counter waves and calls out, "Coffee in a minute!" With a glance around the place, those lovely blue eyes fall on Ziadie and she makes her way directly toward him. As she drops into the seat across from him, she pulls a weapon in a leather holster, snapped shut, out and slides it across the table. "It's cleared," she tells him quietly.

Ziadie nods, biting back a small sigh, and thumbs through the papers next to him, pulling several over and sliding them across the table. "Thanks. I owe you these, I believe." He pulls the weapon over, unholstering it briefly to look it over before setting it to the right of the paperwork for now. The Smith & Wesson is practically an antique by now. "I 'preciate it." Ziadie is … less all-there than he was yesterday. Not fully drunk, after all, it's still early, but odds are that he had some alcohol this morning before he left.

She's not unfamiliar with the signs of alcoholism. Elisabeth remains silent while coffee is brought and poured for her, doctoring it liberally with sugar and cream before speaking again. "I'll have them faxed over to the NYPD," she tells him calmly. "Thank you. I wish it hadn't turned out that way, but I appreciate that you had the presence of mind to take the shot."

"You had his attention long 'nough that I could," Ziadie responds, leaning back a little in order to move his left arm so it's resting across the table. A small frown crosses his face, and he picks up the cup in front of him. Tea, it looks like. "So much more paperwork, these days," he remarks. "A lot more."

"Yeah, it's a lot more paperwork in some ways…. not nearly as much in the ways that matter," Elisabeth replies, keeping her tone neutral. "There's no inquiry into the situation. It's already been deemed justifiable. You're entirely in the clear." Whereas two years ago, it would have been a couple of weeks of full inquiry into whether other options had been pursued to the best of their ability.

Ziadie nods, glancing around the rest of the restaurant. Whatever the first thing he thought of to say is, it's held back, and he squares his shoulders a little — likely unconsciously — as he rubs his temples with his hand. "I think I've used my quota of excitement for a while. Between that …" The older man trails off. That he hadn't meant to say that is obvious.

Elisabeth doesn't miss much. "Between that and…?" she queries gently.

"Monday," he responds. Monday, when he didn't get back home at night. He glances around again as he takes a long sip from his tea. There's no one seated close to the table he chose — that's why he chose it — but he doesn't say more. At least, not really. "Monday night."

"I'm afraid that's code for something I'm not privy to," Elisabeth admits with a smile. "But it sounds bad, whatever it was. I'm sorry. Perhaps you should …. well, I'd say try to stay out of trouble, but it's not like you asked for this."

Ziadie laughs. "I don't seem to be very capable of that these days," he says, with half a smile of his own. His voice is slightly quieter as he continues. "Ran inna a fucking robot in Midtown," he says, with a nod of his head to the fact that his arm is in a sling. "Somehow, I don't have to ask for trouble. I end up wi' it anyway."

"Mmmmm," Elisabeth murmurs softly. "Believe me… I understand that feeling." There's not a hint of sarcasm there. Just commiseration. "Take it a little easy this week, okay?"

"Right, yeah." Ziadie chuckles again, quietly. "Told Ivanov I would." He sips his tea. "Saying it again might jinx it."

There's a blink. "Ivanov?" Elisabeth asks, startled.

Ziadie gets this look of realisation on his face. Of course. Reciprocity and all that. He nods. "Kid's been helping me get back on my feet the past few weeks." Ziadie just might be the only person to ever call Ivanov kid.

There's a moment of pause, where Elisabeth suddenly realizes that the man in front of her is the houseguest Felix mentioned in passing on a night or two when they were… you know… sneaking in. She doesn't blush — not ashamed a bit — but she rubs her eyebrow lightly and murmurs, "I see. It's nice to finally meet you."

Ziadie gives that half a smile again. "Likewise," he responds. He makes no mention of well … anything, though he tilts his head askance a bit when Liz rubs her eyebrow. "Ye' alright?" Right, like he is one to be asking that particular question.

"Uhm…. yeah," Elisabeth says. "Just… " She grins a bit. "Guess I wish I'd had a name to go with the face. It threw me to realize who you are."

"Makes two of us," Ziadie says. "I just had twenty-two hours longer to get over it." He purses his lips, looking off into the non-existent distance for a moment, fingers drumming silently on the table. Awkward silence, more than anything else; though eloquent when he needs to be, most of the time, words are not the older man's strong point.

Elisabeth now does have the grace to look abashed. "Well… now that we both have a name and face to go with the information…." She smiles. "It's nice to meet you," she tells him sincerely. "You're helping keep Ivanov out of trouble, and I do appreciate that more than I can say."

Ziadie's expression is more bemused than anything else, but there's only kindness behind it. "He's a good kid," he says. "He really is." He pauses, observing Liz quietly. "I'm … I'm not so sure I deserve the chance." Ziadie shrugs, and winces, unused to the arm and shoulder injury getting in the way of things.

Her blue eyes are speculative on him. "I can't answer that for you… nor can I reassure you blindly," Elisabeth says quietly. "What I can say is that you won't find a guy more loyal than Ivanov. If he believes in you, there's a reason."

The older man nods, and is silent for a few minutes, half-empty cup of tea in his hand. "Suppose there is, yeah." No shrug this time, but Ziadie does manage another half-smile. "It's just taking getting used to, a bit," he says. "I don't have a family, aside from a niece somewhere in Jamaica, so." He trails off rather than finish his sentence, and just smiles as he sips the tea.

"I'm sure we'll see each other again, Ziadie. You take good care of yourself… and Ivanov too, if he lets you." Elisabeth moves to stand up. "I need to get back to the base. Woman's work is never done." She takes the papers with her and nods toward his weapon. "Make sure that doesn't sit out long. Makes people nervous."

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