Sorry to be Nosy


kayla_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif brian2_icon.gif

Scene Title Sorry to be Nosy
Synopsis When their paths intersect in Central Park, Kayla arouses Veronica's suspicions. Veronica isn't really sorry, no matter what she says. Winters is oblivious.
Date March 23, 2009

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

It's one of those sparkling clear nights where the air is so crisp that every breath is almost tangible. After a week of "light duty," Veronica is back to being more active, which includes talking her partner into a jog through Central Park — perhaps a dangerous venture for some, but these company agents of course have gun holsters beneath their track suit jackets.

They follow the curving path, running in unison, each footfall in perfect synchronization with the other as their sneaker-clad feet hit the pavement. "It's such a beautiful night," Veronica murmurs. Their pace is such that they can make conversation, albeit a little stilted. Their breath comes out as puffs of steam against the dark cold canvas of the night around them.

Though as Veronica's footsteps are more sure footed and driven, Brian's are barely forced into keeping up. Jogging is dumb. Running just for the hell of it, is not a fun activity. But she's going and it's an excuse to be around her, even if it is doing one of the stupidest activities known to man. Jogging by her side, his eyes raise up to the sky and the lights out of the park. "Yeah." He murmurs back distractedly.

Jogging is not one of Kayla's favorite pastimes either, which is why she is not. The young woman is merely walking along the path instead, looking down at the concrete and grass before her feet, thoughts apparently abstracted somewhere else. She holds a small feather in her right hand, twirling it idly back and forth between thumb and forefinger. Kayla isn't armed; but it's evident from her clothes that she doesn't have anything to steal, and that's one less reason for the night to be a hazard. Which is not the same as there being no reason.

Nonetheless, Kayla is here. And when the two joggers get within about fifty feet of her, she stops moving, gray eyes lifting to look squarely at them. At Veronica, technically, but at that distance and in the darkness such a detail might be lost. She lifts her left hand just a hair; curls its fingers closed as if remembering at the last minute not to move it. And Kayla steps off the path to let them go by, her breathing measured and deliberate.

Veronica chuckles softly, knowing Brian's only out running because it's what she wanted to do. "It's good for you. You don't want me to be able to outrun you, now, do you?" she says playfully. "You might be able to surround me, but only if you and yours can run faster than my single speedy self."

The brunette agent glances up as she sees the motion of Kayla's hand lifting and she nods to the other young woman, if that gesture is meant to be some sort of wave. "Tie your shoes," she tells Brian, glancing down as she hears a lace dragging. She nods to a bench and the two move to it so Brian can do just that.

Brian lets out a groan. "Like you could beat me at anything ever. I could sit at home and do nothing and still save your ass." He says, glancing over at the bench. He is oblivious to Kayla and waving. Instead he makes his way over to the bench and goes to plop down on it, going down to fiddle at his shoelaces, as instructed. "Don't tell me what to do."

It's definitely not a wave. Wasn't intended as acknowledgment. Under other circumstances, however, Kayla would probably at least nod back. As it is, she just looks dubiously sidelong at Veronica. That woman is out jogging with three cracked ribs. It's far from pleasant to experience. After a moment's pause, the healer resumes walking, first along the edge of the path and then eventually back on the actual paved surface.

Veronica rolls her eyes at the man beside her. "You're the one who needs to rest," she says, as if he was stopping to tie his shoes on purpose. She's not winded, though they've already run a couple of miles. She raises a brow at the strange glance from the girl. "You all right? It's not really the best place to be alone," Veronica calls to Kayla. As she waits for Brian, she does loosely wrap her arm around her own waist — she might not be winded, but a stitch in the side on top of broken ribs makes her bite her lower lip in a touch of pain, not that she'd ever admit it.

An incredulous noise is made in response to the woman as Brian tinkers around with his shoes, finding some difficulty. His fingers weren't always the most deft. He does take a while pulling the strings around, before his attention snaps up when Veronica starts talking. Oh, she's talking to someone else. His attention floats over to Kayla for a moment before returning to the task at hand. Though he does notice out of the corner of his eye, Veronica's subtle movement to brace her. "You okay?" Brian asks softly, slowly looking up at her.

Kayla would admit it for her, except — she has too much pride to do so in front of strangers. As such, her drawn expression might look fairly familiar to Veronica. Or perhaps to Winters, did he happen to actually look at them both. The woman pauses, turns back towards them — why? She could keep right on walking… but doesn't. "If there's a good place to be alone, I haven't found it yet," is her acerbic reply. "I'm fine." You're not, but she doesn't say it. Her left elbow hugs against her side, and Kayla tries not to breathe too much, even though that doesn't change anything.

Veronica didn't lose anything in the bomb, and she came from one of the most affluent cities in one of the most affluent counties in the country — the plight of the homeless and the destitute is one that she can only sympathize with but has no firsthand experience with. "I'm fine," she says in an offhand way to Brian. "Just a stitch in my side. I forget, that's when you breathe too much oxygen in, I think, when you're running?" Sure, that's what's causing it. To Kayla, she chuckles. "I get that, especially in this city, but it could be dangerous here. There's less dangerous places…" she offers.

Brian used to be heavily affected by the plight of the homeless and the destitute. Being as he used to be one. But that's all forgotten now. Brian frowns a little at Veronica, slowly going to stand. His hand goes to gingerly touch her shoulder. "You sure youre okay? We can always go home." Winters offers, that would be awesome. He looks back at Kayla then to Veronica, then back again. "Hi." He offers simply.

Continuing to regard Veronica, Kayla snorts softly. "Sure. Three years ago, maybe." Her gaze flicks to Brian, to the woman, to him again. The temptation to say something passes almost as quickly as it came. "Worry about your own back." Or ribs. "I'll deal with mine." She turns away again, slow to start moving; it takes a moment for conscious thought to override the visceral certainty that movement will hurt more. It doesn't.

"I guess you're right about that. Sorry to be nosy," Veronica says with a shrug to Kayla. She might get to act like a cop, but the safety of the homeless in Central Park is not actually in her job description.

"You're such a wuss," Veronica tells Brian with a laugh. "How do you expect to save my ass if you can't keep up with me?" she tosses to him, then heads over to the water fountain nearby, bending to take a drink. The bend definitely does hurt, a sharp twinge in the ribs as they protest the new position of Veronica's body. She drinks for a moment, showing no sign of the pain that twinges through her entire ribcage. When she stands straight, the ribs protest again, before settling into a duller ache.

"I guess you're right about that. Sorry to be nosy," Veronica says with a shrug to Kayla. She might get to act like a cop, but the safety of the homeless in Central Park is not actually in her job description.

"You're mean." Brian remarks in a teasing tone to Veronica, his gaze sliding over to Kayla. He then looks back Veronica, chewing down on his bottom lip a little bit. For a moment he feels a tug as if he should ask if she needs help or something, some kind of good will gesture. But ultimately, the young Agent follows the woman he came with. Going to stand at Veronica's side. "You're a wuss." He mutters in reply. "Can we go home now?"

Kayla can't help but press her hand against her side then, motion stilling as she focuses on coping with Veronica's issues. Her curse is subdued, caught behind clenched teeth because attention is something the healer doesn't want. She can't even take a walk through the park after nightfall, when most people have left, without something like this. When the ache eases, Kayla moves on, walking a little more quickly than she had been before. In some sense, pain is relative. Also, the better to leave them behind before she does something really stupid.

Veronica sighs. "We haven't even done three miles," she complains, frowning a bit as she watches the other woman grip the same side of her ribs that aches in Veronica's own body. "Huh," she says softly. Watching the girl walk away, she suddenly bites on her own lower lip, hard enough to make it bleed — what's a little pain, when conducting an experiment, after all?

"Can't we exercise at home?" Brian whines right back. Going to lean against the water fountain, completely oblivious of experiments and pain and what not. Finally though his gray gaze goes to Veronica's face, where his eyes go wide. "What the hell are you doing?!" Winters exclaims, bringing up a thumb to wipe away the blood starting to be formed on her chin.

Distance matters, and while Veronica draws her own blood, she doesn't draw enough to cross the widening gap between her and Kayla. The healer keeps walking. Ultimately, she crosses that invisible threshold which means out of range altogether in this case; the tension which has been present ever since their paths crossed bleeds out of her frame in another unconscious, inevitable, but far more subtle tell. Maybe she just feels like she's far enough from the strangers to not get knifed in the back or somesuch. 'Tis possible.

It's not too much of a bloodletting. Veronica narrows her eyes and nods toward the retreating figure. "I thought maybe she could feel my … broken ribs. The way she was acting. I was testing if she could feel that. Guess it's coincidence…" she says, though she glances at Kayla again, with a curious glint in her dark eyes. "I'm all right. Really. I'm not having a seizure or something, I swear." She wipes her mouth and spits out a mouthful of blood, before bending to get another drink of water from the fountain to clear the metallic taste from her mouth.

Brian gives a confused glance at Kayla's back before casting a disbelieving look at Veronica. "…What?" He asks, eyes going wide. "How do you pass your psych eval thingies?" The younger agent asks with a shake of the head. "Come on, let's get home before you start thinking people can erase your soul by blinking or something. You're getting paranoid." With that, his hand goes to take slash capture Veronica's hand. They'll be walking back.

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