That Could Cut Glass


cardinal_icon.gif mack_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title That Could Cut Glass
Synopsis It's a bit nipply out at night in autumn, as Mack finds when he comes to without a shirt or a memory of why he feels like death warmed over. Peyton and Cardinal give him shelter and warmth.
Date November 10, 2009

New York Public Library

Its a chilly New York night. Just a hollow precursor to the winter to come, but compared to the blistering heat of summer and the relative warmth of fall, fifty degrees just has a way of sucking the heat right out of a person. Unless that person happens to be Gabriel Patrick McNamera, anyway. As it turns out, Mack is making his way down a dilapidated sidewalk, chunks missing from this walking medium like the teeth of a junkie. In fact, to Mack's mind, the sidewalk somewhat resembles just that; a junkie, cackling wildly at his expense.

Of course, it doesn't help Mack has no shirt on; just a pair of well worn BDU pants that have been tied off just below the knee and some unadorned black skate shoes. Oh, and a wrist band on his left forearm. That'll keep him warm. He isn't far from the home of Cardinal's merry little band; that might even be his destination. In any event he walks slowly, his sunglasses mysteriously absent- which forces him to wince every time he walks under any kind of street lights that may miraculously work -and he shakes his head every few steps as if banishing a dark thought.

The stairs of the New York Public Library are rightfully famous; the broad steps have been featured in more movies than almost any single other building or stair alone, the brazen lions icons of the city. The nuclear fires have left one lion naught but slag, however, and the other deformed and melted by the great heat that was only held barely at bay by the thick marbel walls of the structure.

It's down those steps that Cardinal's walking; his own shades firmly in place despite the hour, kept warm by the flight jacket he's wearing, hands tucked into the pockets, combat boots thumping against the stone steps as he heads down from those doors. "We're going to be moving underground soon," he explains in quiet tones to the woman he's with, "It'll be easier to heat it, what with winter coming."

"Do you need anything for that? I mean… I mean… I have money, you know," Peyton says softly, glancing up at the man, her own hands firmly buried in the pockets of the gray swing coat she wears, along with jeans and boots and a sweater beneath. "For anything, really. If you need something, for the cause or whatever, I'm happy to help." She no longer throws away $200 a night on booze and food and drugs. "I mean… Food's cheap and I don't have any rent to pay, just taxes and utilities. I can help out."

"No! No! You shut the fuck up!" Whoever it is Mack is talking to- er, sorry, yelling at -isn't immediately apparent. Then he stops walking altogether, just a few feet away from the bottom of that fabled stairway. He takes a long, hard drag on his cigarette, inhaling until he can feel the fire raging inside his lungs. When he exhales, the sound is tinged with the sweet harmony of relief. He scrubs his face in his left hand as soon as the butt is flicked off into the darkness, looking very much like a drunk that is just starting to sober up. "Fuckin' Christ." Then he turns and sees the pair coming out from the library for the first time, and he quickly gathers himself. He holds his posture upright and offers a cheery smile; though its really little use pretending nothing is amiss. Due to missing his shirt, his skin has a faint blue tinge and his nipples could cut glass. "Howdy, neighbor."

"If you really want to help out monetarily, what we need most is gasoline, to keep the generators…" Then there's that shout from not too far away, and Cardinal's hand jerks up to stop and quiet Peyton; his other sliding into his jacket, fingers wrapping about the grip of the russian-made pistol held there. His gaze cuts through the darkness like a spotlight, recognizing the man before the light would normally allow, and he drops both hands down to his sides.

"Jesus Christ," he calls, heading down the last few steps quickly, "What the fuck happened, Mack?"

The fact that Peyton's in over her head is made all the more apparent by the fact she literally steps behind Cardinal, much like a child hiding behind her parent, when she hears the shouts coming from down the sidewalk. When the tension leaves Cardinal's voice and body, or at least some of it, she follows, though not as quickly as the man, down the steps to peer at the stranger without a shirt on. Her brows are up in surprise, quizzical as she tilts her head to look over Cardinal's shoulder. "Maybe we should go inside… where it's warmer," she says softly.

"Whowhat? Hey, calm the fuck down over there, shits cool man. We're straight." The words begin as foggy as the mind trying to formulate them, but by the end they're crystalline. Then he folds his arms over his chest, suddenly wishing that the tattoo's all over his flesh could offer some kind of warmth. "Yeah, insideinside. Inside sounds good, bro, no fuckin' lie." They seemed to be leaving, but he heads up the stairs, speaking as if thinking they're coming too. "Dunno what happened for sure. My head… don't know for sure man. Only guesses right now." From one pocket of the BDU's comes a thin silver flask, which offers some warmth in the form of whiskey. "Guesses are shit, though. No good."

"You're half naked and about the same frozen," Cardinal points out rather dryly as they intercept him; shrugging off his jacket, he tosses it over towards Mack before heading with him up the stairs and towards the door, "Get the fuck up inside and to the generator room, it's the warmest place there."

Peyton's dark eyes are still wide, uncertain of this man and his connection to Cardinal. "You want some tea or coffee or something warm to drink?" she asks. She's been around now often enough to know where the food and kettle and such are kept. She glances at Cardinal to doublecheck that it's okay for her to offer.

"Got somethin' warm to drink. Thanks though, lovely." The combination of known company and the cold appears to be bringing him back around. He catches the thrown jacket and hurredly slides it onto his frame even as he jogs up the last few steps in the library. "No need for the generator; just need outta the cold. Plus this." He takes another swig before sliding the cap back onto the flask and depositing it into a pocket. "Can't remember shit right now. Do I have any clothes here? Seems like I should, but. Fuck. Thanks for the coat, bro." He pauses just inside, raising one hand shield his eyes from the harsh lights. Harsh to him, anyways.

At the man's clearly disoriented words, Cardinal exchanges a rather worried look with Peyton; a nod to her words, giving her permission although Mack doesn't seem to want it. "Whiskey doesn't count," he observes in dry tones, "You need something that'll actually warm up your insides, soldier." The lights, what few they are inside the deeper rooms of the library, are thankfully somewhat dim - it's not as if the ringleader of this little group needs them, after all! "I think you left some shit here, yeah. What d'you last remember?"

There's a bit of a nod and Peyton heads off to put on some coffee. At least that way the drunk and disoriented man might spill some of his whiskey in it and drink it, she decides. She looks around for something to eat to go with it, to perhaps help sop up some of the alcohol. She finds some bread and makes a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich, while continuing to listen to the men on the other side of the room.

"Whiskey'll warm that shit up, don't you doubt." Mack blinks several times, though the wincing subsides the longer he is in the light. After a quick search, one of his beloved zip-up hoodies is located. Unfortunately its a Tap-Out brand article, so coupled with the BDU's he looks like a bad UFC wanna-be. It'll serve, in any event. "I don't remember shit before this morning, to be honest with you. Need to get my shit together and check my notes back at my pad. Its like I took one helluva fuckin' narcotic cocktail, and now a nasty hangover. But here's the kicker, bro- I don't get hangovers. Shit, for all I drink, I really don't get drunk." He shakes his head in one more vain attempt to break free the cobwebs. "I don't get it."

Once the hoodie's found and Cardinal's retrieved his jacket, he makes sure to herd everyone into the hall that's being used generally as a gathering and discussion area - the Rose Reading Room, the lights faintly illuminating the long tables, the plastic over shattered windows above fluttering with the wind. He drops himself down into a chair, leaning back with a frown at Mack's words. "Shit. Sounds like you were drugged or something, man… think back, what'd you remember last, outside've waking up?"

Pouring the super instant coffee into a mug, Peyton picks up the sandwich and the cup and follows to where Cardinal herds them like a zealous corgi. She approaches Mack cautiously, handing him the mug and the sandwich wrapped in a napkin. "Hope you're not allergic to peanut butter, or I'm a realllly bad hostess," she teases softly. She moves to a chair to listen to his answer to Cardinal's question. "I'm Peyton, by the way," she adds, a little belatedly.

Mack hesitates for a moment before accepting the coffee and the sandwhich. "No such problems; you're amazing. A doll, they'd say in the old movies, right? I wonder if people ever really talked like that shit…" After wandering far afield in the topic department he takes a few bites of the sandwhich and washes it down with the coffee. "Anyway, the last thing I remember I was just gettin' out the shower. Shaved, got dressed; I was goin' somewhere, I just don't have any idea where. There's gotta be something in my notes, or I'm fucked." Another bite of the sandwhich.

"Alright." Cardinal's fingers rub against his forehead briefly, his eyes closed, "Pey, do me a favor and check his neck for any marks? Just to make sure the Company didn't tag him. After that…" His hand drops, and he looks up through his shades with a frown, "…guess we should head over to your place and check it out, Mack."

Ew. She has to get up close and personal on some drunk guy she doesn't know? Not that he's drunk, but he seems that way. Not that she hasn't done that before and many a time in her clubbing days, for different and less serious reasons, though. "Sure," she says, a little uncertainly. She gets out of the chair and heads over to him, not sure what she's looking for; no one's really shown her or explained to her the markers the Company tags people with. She begins to look at the back of his neck, lightly pushing his head forward so that he leans slightly forward in his chair.

"Bashful one, this girl." Mack has no outward signs of being tagged. Or drunk, for that matter. Yes, believe it or not, he has not even the slightest scent of alcohol on him, despite the two shots of whiskey when they entered the library. Or sweat! A bonus of being shirtless in NYC instead of wearing way too much in the clothes department in a crowded dancefloor is that there is no stench. He just smells… clean. "In the morning; do you mind if I stay here tonight? Whatever happened today, it must have involved bad things happening to my body somehow. I feel like a rag doll in a car wash. Guess thats a bonus I wasn't aware of with my particular blend of mutant goodness." Its clear its not something he had thought of previously.

"'Course. We've got room, it may not be the most comfortable housing in the world…" Cardinal waves his question off, "You're always welcome, it's why we've stocked up on sleeping bags and blankets'n shit." His brow's furrowed just a bit, a frown lingering on his lips as he admits, "You're a regenerator, though, you shouldn't've… been able to be drugged or anything. Maybe somebody killed you?"

"Killed… him?" Peyton says, shrugging and shaking her head when it's clear he hasn't got a mark on his neck. "Nothing weird on his neck, not that I have a clue what I'm looking for, mind you. Regenerator — that's like Claire, right?" Now, that's not a bad ability to have, in her book. Much better than being able to see through other's eyes and getting nightmares and migraines as a reward for her spying. She flops back down, this time at Cardinal's feet, leaning back to look up at Mack. "Why … what kind of notes do you have at your house that would give you any information?" she asks curiously, less 'bashful' now as she realizes he's not a weird druggie/drunk/crazy hobo or something.

Mack says, “Well. It'd have to be some serious shit. But if you gave me enough to kill somebody, it might work until my body metabolized it." With the examination complete, Mack leans forward and holds his face in his hands. He speaks through them clearly enough, before his hands slide back to rub at his temples. "Its hard to say. I'm not exactly like Claire, though. My shit doesn't work that well. I can die, it just ain't an easy thing. And any kind of serious injury, it heals… but I feel sick after. We'll see how long this lasts. How bad it gets. Gettin' shot is a day or two; the bomb was over a month. It all depends. Fuck, sorry to bring this on your doorstep, Card."

"Don't be fuckin' ridiculous, you're one of my people," Cardinal replies rather firmly, reaching out to clap a hand against the other man's shoulder as he leans forward—giving it a firm squeeze before leaning back in his chair once more, glancing to Peyton and then back up to him, "Never really asked about the particulars… shit, could've been anything. We'll check out your place tomorrow, see if it got rolled or anything."

"Got any one in particular who would want to hurt you?" Peyton asks. Not that you need enemies who know you in this world — there are plenty who are willing to hurt you just for being born the way you are, at least when you're Evolved. "If you find out who did it… I can try and help maybe. To help you find him. I can see through their eyes, so if I can tell where he is, I can tell you where he is."

Mack lets his eyes flick down to where Peyton sits, almost searching for something before leaning back and rubbing his hand across his face one more time. Then, as if remembering for the first time at Peyton's mention of eyes, he searches the pockets of hoodies for one of his pairs of shades- which he luckily finds -and slips them into place. Well, aren't these two cool. 'I wear my suuun-glasses at night' and all that jazz. "I got a lotta people don't much care for me, but none I've been fuckin' with lately. Check my notes, see if I had a meeting with anyone shady yesterday. Or maybe something will jar my memory. Worked a case once, had witnesses who claimed they couldn't remember shit. We thought they were lying, but had a chat with some buddies over at SVU, turns out- no lie, theres this crazy drug thats like GHB on steroids. Knocks you out and blasts your short term memory. Fuck, I don't know. Anyway, enough about that. How are you kids doin'?" He has already long since gratefully devoured the sandwhich and coffee.

"I'll back you up," Cardinal states firmly, his chin lifting up in a nod, "I can scout out the apartment before you even go in, and nobody'd even know that I was there. Just in case someone's set up a trap or something." One hand lifts to rub against the side of his neck a bit, masaging the tension as he sinks back into the chair with a faint, wry half-smile, "Can't complain, I guess. We managed to retrieve an old weapons cache, so we'll be doing some drills this week."

Weapons? Peyton frowns and looks at Cardinal. "Drills?" When are drills ever a good thing? The very word brings to mind dentists and gym class and boring exercises of tedium. Weapons, on the other hand, is an even scarier word. She was terrified holding the taser the other day, in the Belinda Aniston rescue. "When you say we, you mean…?"

Mack grins; at once allowing himself a moment of amusement and forcing the grin into place to, if for nothing else, serve as a reminder to his body that he can still enjoy things, even if it wants to revolt. "Girly hangs with a strange crowd for somebody that don't wanna shoot at some paper assholes."

The worried look from the young woman's face gets an amused look from Cardinal, one brow making an appearance over the edge of his oakleys. "I mean," he states firmly, "That I am putting an M-16 in your arms and you are learning how to shoot it. You don't have to carry it around, but I'm damn well making sure that everyone knows how to defend themselves if they have to."

"My name," Peyton says in a cool voice, "is Peyton. Not girly." She wrinkles her nose at Cardinal's comment. "M-16? Seriously? Do I look like a short blonde girl who can heal herself?" She shakes her head with disbelief.

"Well, Peyton, if you could heal yourself your need for protection would be greatly reduced." Mack stands, but he bows his head in apology to said 'girly'. "Sorry, Peyton. I don't know if we did introductions… I can't remember. My name is Mack. Anyway, the more you dislike the guns, the better off you'll be. As long as you know how to use 'em. In any case, I'm gonna find a table or a couch or something to crash on. My head is crushing me right now. Thank you guys for your hospitality."

"No, and like Mack's pointed out…" Cardinal pushes himself up to his feet, "…that's exactly why I want you to learn. There's a war coming, whether we like it or not, and I'm not losing any of you just because you don't know how to defend yourselves." That said, he heads towards one of the side doors, "I'll go hit the infirmary and grab you some headache meds, man. And you're always welcome, you know that."

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