The Creeper Stare Alert


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Scene Title The Creeper Stare Alert
Synopsis Growing moody in isolation, Dantes heads out of the loft for a night of drinking and staring creepily at people who pass through Old Lucy's. He finds a few familiar faces.
Date January 6, 2008

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the shady crimson walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar. Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the owner's office and just inside a stairwell that leads a apartment on the floor above the bar.

Dantes is drinking. Hard. This is not a 'get the beer and watch football with your buddies' sort of drunk. This is a 'on the way to reeling, blind, and bumping into walls' drunk. Edward Dantes has no friends, anyhow. A sometime lover nearly half his age who wishes he were someone else, a couple of allies, and parents in FLorida mourning his 'death' A row of upended shots on the bar before him betrays just how far he's already gotten on the road to oblivion

Over in the corner, meanwhile, Marla is sitting with a small group of her own cronies. There is a mass of glasses of alcohol sitting empty (some tipped over) in the space between all of them, indicating they've all had a few shots themselves. The thief's voice can be obnoxiously loud just as it is, but added to this is the well-known fact that tipsiness makes people talk louder. This is not a good combination. At that table, somebody cracks a joke and the entire group bursts into laughter, an interruption that is sharp on the ears of other people sitting close to them. Marla's drunken voice can be heard drawling over the tops of their heads while the laughter dies down, and presently the noisefest starts all over again. Good times.

It might just be paranoia. And really, with his job, for whom is it more justified? But that voice….it's familiar. Dantes's head swings slowly over to that corner, and he narrows his eyes. It's not a pleasant stare, already red and bloodshoot.

Nobody in Marla's vicinity notices the Creeper Stare Alert, at least not immediately. Marla continues talking, settling her chin on both overlapped wrists at the end of propped-up forearms. She uses one of those hands to wobbily gesture a moment later. One of her friends interrupts the monologue by elbowing her harshly in the side, leaning across the tabletop to whisper and point at Dantes. A moment later, both of them are staring in his direction, Marla fairly unsteadily.

Dantes nods, with distant politeness, before resuming his staring contest with the distorted reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

"Dude, you know that creeper?" This is from Marla's companion, and a little more cuttingly audible. Marla continues her unfocused stare over the tops of her hands, watching the man. No recognition takes place. "Ff. Just some - hurr - single guy. Probably a serial killer."

Arguably, yes. He has killed more than one person. Just….not just for his own jollies. Dantes shakes his head, more as if trying to clear it of the haze of alcohol than in negation, and waves off the bartender's offer of another round.

"You know, I met a serial killer onesh." Slur, slur, slur. "I really did. He offered to let me come to his apartment, but I was like /hell/ no fuck it." Marla actually thumps the table a little to emphasize her point. Each word is increasingly spaced and drawn out, the sentence itself followed up by a rumbly belch. Aah.

Dantes can't help but overhear that, and chuckles to himself. And then lets himself be persuaded that just one more is okay, really.

There is something that sounds like, "How'd you know she was a serial killer, honey?" The response is a very emphatic: "I seen 'em bodies. Hides them all over his apartment - hic - beside his cleaning supplies." 'Cleaning supplies' is basically an audible 'raaar' as Marla's normal speaking voice spirals further out of her control. "And. And you wanna know wot else he had in there (hic) ?"

Dantes is half-listening. It's crazy drunken boasting, because a real serial killer would send her screaming. Assuming she even escaped. But he's apparently daydreaming.

"Well, aside's from the babies' preserved heads," Marla continues knowledgeably, "(Hic) He had some (hic) /secret identity shit/. High-profile stuff. No shitting you. I'm telling you, 'Licia. This guy is a wacko." And a dangerous one, if her half-assed words are to be believed.

Dantes is slowly giving up on any pretense that he's not listening. Ed's smirking, entirely amused, listening to the tale being spun.

The two sitting across from Marla are now half-listening too, aside from the one who had originally begun the conversation. One of them lays a hand on a passing female server's arm, presumably to ask for another round all around. After an inaudible reply to her and a moment of silence from Marla, she starts again. "He killed one of my friendsh," she says, more vaguely than ever. "I know, cuz' I saw his face right there in the papers. Right there." Her index fingers jabs the surface of the table, as if the aforementioned picture is right in front of her. "Poor, poor bastard. (Hic). Having ish apartment broke in and stolen by serial killers."

"What friend?" Dantes finally has to ask, turning half way around on his stool to eye her.

Marla stops at that, as does her friend. They both resume staring at Dantes, just like they had earlier. "Who wants to know?" the darker-haired woman asks blandly, picking up one of the empty glasses in front of her and flicking at its bottom with thumb and middle finger. Plik plik.

"No one in particular. Name's Edward," he says, mildly, eyeing her, trying to look well-meaning and harmless.

The stare lasts but a second longer. "Well, Edward," Marla comments acquiescently, now sticking a long straw down the length of the empty glass and swirling it around uselessly as she looks down its length. "(Hic). If you really want to know, it wash this guy named Felix, see. Don't ask me (hic) how he got a bloody name like 'at. Maybe he made an identity for his cat, I dunno. (hic)"

She knows. As apparently everyone in this whole damned town does. Ed only blinks, once, at that name. "I….was it that Fed that the terrorists murdered?" he says, curiously. "I think I saw that in the Times."

Yeah, news spreads fast around here, doesn't it. "Terrorists? Naw, man, I'm telling ya, it was the serial killer. I saw 'im." And then a dim light bulb goes on over Marla's head. "You sayin' the guy who killed him ish a terrorist? Because… man…"

"That's what the newspaper said," Edward says, with exquisite politeness. "WAs it a coverup, or an error? What did you see?"

"Might've been that firsh one. The coverup." The glass in Marla's hand goes thunk, back on the tabletop. She seems to be mildly frustrated that there is (as of now) nothing more to drink. "You were listening, weren't you? I saw this guy break into this Felix guy's apartment, see, okay, and go through stuff. Y'knooow, you look kinda like that guy." An easy laugh bubbles through her throat, then another hiccup.

Dantes chuckles at that, amused. "I see. And you've met this serial killer?"

"I tole you I saw him." Marla shakes her head a little. "Some people needa lishen."

Dantes nods. "And how did you see him? He didn't see you there? Were you hiding in the apartment?" he persists. He's flushed and drunken, but not slurring. If anything, his English is icily precise, if faintly accented. Something Eastern European.

"Yeah, 'course I was hiding. Wasn't gonna let him see me, now, was I." This seems like a very sage comment, at least to Marla, who nods and moves her hand about a little more. "But hey now. Awfully curioush, aren't yer." Beside Marla, her group of drinking buddies have resumed their conversation with only sidelong glances at their fellow, after confirming there's nothing wrong. With the exception, that is, of the friend who had originally accused Dantes of being a creeper. That one seems more sober than her friend, and the look she is giving Dantes is both curious and hostile.

"What were you doing in the apartment, then?" Dantes's brow is furrowed….and he's let curiosity get the better of him in turn, clearly.

"Awfully curioush", Marla repeats, this time with more irritation. This she refuses to answer, a lapse covered up by the return of the server with a trayful of more drinks. Just what Marla clearly needs, yup.

Dantes can't say he's never met a serial killer. "Interesting. I've never heard a story like that before," he says, gently.

Promptly picking up a filled glass almost before the server can slip her hand off it, Marla shrugs, her profile partly obscured by the standing woman. "It's true. All true. But whassit matter to (hic) you?"

Dantes spreads his hands. "Not at all. I'm just curious. It's like something out of a movie," he explains, keeping face and voice as mild as he can.

"I shee," Marla says as breezily as she can, slurping off the top her drink. And then she stops. Looks at Dantes with squintier eyes. "Y'know, sh'like I said. You do look an awful lot like… him." Hm. This is suspicious.

"I'm not a killer," Dantes lies, blithely. "And I sure as hell am not stupid enough to mess with a Federal agent."

"See, I dunno that. You're sitting in a bar all alone like a loser…pardon…" And who knows? Might've 'ad a grudge against him, to kill him. Maybe you were him." Marla had meant to say 'maybe you were one', but, just a tiny slip of the tongue.

She does know. Dantes's eyes are cold, now, even as he smiles. It is unpleasantly reminiscent of Sylar, and would perturb him if he could see himself. "I never met the man," he says, quietly. "I don't kill cops, or Feds, or anyone. Were him? Hardly. Surely there's some decent afterlife for even police - not reincarnation as a drunken jerk in New York."

"Hmph. You know what - whatever." is Marla's hiccup of a reply. But even in that woozy, half-focused mind, she keeps a slim beam of light concentrated on Dantes' figure, tucking away the memory for later. When Dantes leaves, given that happens before her groupie does, she is still trying to make up her mind as to whether she should follow or not. Probably not a good idea, given that she's drunk as a horse.

One last for the knockout, one more and he kisses the canvas. Dantes knows better. Way better. But he does take that last vodka from the 'tender, and knocks it back, only to sigh. This hasn't helped. What pains him still hurts - he's no happier, nor is his guilt and loneliness numbed. But he lingers, rather than heading out into the biting cold, still eyeing his distorted reflection in the mirrors behind the bottles.

Teo has arrived.

Teo knows better than to pretend to understand girls. Asked to bring 'stuff' from the apartment, he doesn't look too closely at what precisely 'stuff' is. He knows better than to drag a box or bag with Abigail Beauchamp's name on it, too, with Wu-Long theoretically lurking somewhere out here, playing the watchful guardian. It's in the trunk of the car out in the carpark across the street, the keys dangling from his conspicuously bare ring finger, jingling cheery as change as he pushes his way in through Old Lucy's, tracking snow in after him.

He shoulders his way through patrons with a polite word or two, subtly checking for Wu-Long or a man who might pass for Elias, clunks to a halt against the bar. Marla warrants an automatic smile, short hair and cat's eyes, all; Dantes, in his peripheral, a subtle double-take. And then a scowl, instantaneous, before he turns his shoulder and calls out to the 'tender, holds out the keys. "For the girl upstairs. It's parked across the street."

For her part, Marla meets Teo's glance with what might be a silent eyeroll, turning back to the rest of the occupied table in the corner. It isn't long before she melts back into the heated conversation already taking place there. Dantes, and basically everybody else in the bar, go ignored in favor of the most important thing in front of her: her alcohol. As far as she is concerned, the conversation is over.

Dantes only nods absentedly to Teo. Might be actual recognition, might be merely polite acknowledgement. He's placed his hands on the bar in that gingerly fashion that means that gravity is starting to go funny on him, and he really doesn't want to fall over drunk in front of the Sicilian. ANd with great deliberation, pays both tip and tab. Oh, he can hear the hangover approaching, practically thundering in the distance like a herd of panicked appaloosas.

The bartender takes the keys, her fee and her tip in one walk across the bar, offering Teo a subtle nod of assent without actually looking at him. Though uncertain of whether he's being snubbed or whether every employee of Old Lucy's — and probably every other person in Manhattan — knows of Abigail's bizarre life situations, he accepts that without flipping his shirt. Installing his hand in his pockets, he steps back, sidles around the next stool, and turns toward the door. Finds himself peering at Dantes' ungainly grip on the bar. A twitch takes up residence in his jaw.

Marla has disconnected.

Dantes meets Teo's gaze, and the opacity is striking. Even that drunk, that's all it betrays. No emotion beyond that. With a last jingle of change on the bar, he rises with dignity, if no real grace, and shrugs on his coat, to head for the door. He's tightlipped and white around the nostrils - sick drunk, or still in pain.

Never one to insinuate himself — or always one to insinuate himself — whatever, Teo proceeds to walk Dantes to the door. It passes for a coincidence of destinations and gaits, but he's watching the older man's back, carefully straight-faced as he measures the distance across the floor. And then, barring any melodramatic speedster tricks, he gets the door.

Greenwich Village — Outside Of There

"Thank you," Dantes says, politely, voice a gravelled rasp. No tricks. He'd kill himself if he tried that on while drunk. He slants a look at Teo, still unreadable, as if trying to gauge the blonde's intentions, and then passes through, out into the cold, hands in his pockets. His head is bowed, as if huddling against the chill, or in thought.

It never fails. Conscience over pride. Teo's more Catholic than he looks. He looks fairly Catholic. "You all right, amico? Need a cab to the loft?" Today's a good day for running into old men getting sloshed by themselves in the armpit of Manhattan, apparently. Inertia carries him to do for Dantes what he'd done for Sonny. He swivels himself out the door, suppressing a grimace at the already renewed sting of cold, and lets it fall behind him, a clack of metal and wood, a shudder of plateglass.

Booze is usually a good ward against what hurts. It doesn't cure, but it can but the pain a bit, for a little. "I….don't -need- it," Dantes says, trying for scrupulous accuracy. "But it would be nice," he murmurs. No smartassery, this time. "I'll walk a little ways. The cold will help," he assures Teo, quietly. He's steady, but it's clearly taking a lot of concentration to keep that straight course. "What….why're you out this way?"

The younger man's attention halves between Felix and the world outside for a moment, looking for any terribly obvious muggers or alley mouths to not traverse, in case anybody has their hooves, Uzis, or any other manifestation of sinister intent out for show tonight. Hagan's mishap was recent enough for Teo to remember. "Waiting for a phonecall of world-threatening importance," he replies, blinking at the stretch of pavement to the nearest loiterer. He's still walking. Invited himself along, apparently, at least for the next distance. His gaze shifts back, and Dantes slides into focus past a drift of snow. "Christian or partner know you're out here?

Dantes is heading for the nearest subway. Which isn't near at all. Maybe the walk will sober him up. "No," he says, with no shame. "Minea is out with her guy, Christian is out, period. Couldn't deal with the quiet there, anymore. And I didn't want to raid her stash again, so I went out." Really, if he were wise, he'd've just bought a bottle or two, brought it home. "Sorry, should've offered to buy you a round." He sounds almost apologetic. Far more humble than the other evening….but then this is a chance meeting, rather than one where Teo comes as the supplicant.

Either that, or Dantes makes a habit of humility when he's fucking around in the disconsolate cold of outdoors. There is precedent. Teo shot him on a night like this not too long ago, and offered him a little help in another one less than a week afterward. Possibly, evenings just work better. Daylight tends to find Teo in various compromising circumstances with him, anyway. "No." For the round. "That would have been weird, I think." A harmless half a smile, or a ruin of a grin. He's keeping his distance. Not concpicuously, but all the same.

"Possibly," Dantes acknowledges, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of his coat pocket, along with a cheap, disposable lighter. No offense, there, or regret. His body language is perfectly neutral, that of chances acquaintances. He crunches along the pavement stolidly, avoiding ice as hegoes through the absentminded ritual of lighting the cigarette. Not his former Black Russians - something generic and American, Camels, perhaps.

A fractional jerk of Teo's elbow betrays the request suppressed before it can reach actualization. He's a social smoker most of the time. With most people, he'd have asked for one. "Maybe you should try the park next time," he suggests, idly. "Go for a walk, instead. Feed the birds. It should be safe unless they're sitting too still." Eileen. Or Sylar, as new intel has it. It's the closest he's come to talking about the Vanguard to their casualty.

Dantes's grin is feral, and unpleasant. But he offers the cigarette without thinking, proffering the pack. "Not so much with the park, these days. I don't like birds," he explains, sliding the words out from between gritted teeth.

"You, and everybody else who knows the kind of people who use them." Teo's eyes thin with something that resembles a smile. He looks at the pack of cigarettes. Hesitates on the verge between foxhole manners and jangling nerves. After a moment, he snags it out of Dantes' grasp, tapping out one for himself. "What's it you're lacking? Movies, more paperbacks," he remembers the fucking paperbacks, "walking around money, what. This doesn't resemble health," he explains, motioning up and down Dantes' teetering self with the cigarette box, before casting it back at him, gently underhand.

"I don't like winter," he says. As if that might be explanation enough. To some extent, it is. It's the depth of his yearly circuit, and unlike wiser creatures, he can't hibernate through it. "I shoulda stayed in LA," he adds, not entirely sequitur. "Don't mind me, please," he adds,, flicking the cigarette to the other corner of his mouth. "I'm good, really. I have money. Minea and Christian are very kind."

Rarely one to insist, Teo merely bobs his head, obligingly. "Si." He finds his own lighter in some unimaginable place, takes three clicks of the diminutive wheel before he manages to fire up the flame, effort that implies the fuel is running down. To some annoyance. He glances at the level inside the plastic, frowns slightly. Drops it into the next trash can they pass by, amid styrofoam cups of stale soda and sodden newspaper. "Can't fight from LA," he points out, perhaps irrelevantly.

Dantes concedes the point with a nod, leaving his little trail of smoke behind him, like a genie in a hurry. "Yeah. I didn't want to come back here. I got sent," he says, simply, curving a palm around the end of the cigarette, before reversing it so he's smoking off the back of his hand. The gesture of one who can't afford to be profligate with even cigarettes.

"Why don't you go?" Two drags in, Teo lets the cigarette dangling from his hand, momentarily failing to correlate the older man's frugality with the probability that he shouldn't be wasting his own cancer stick on open air. Two drags isn't enough to calm him the fuck down, but it makes a little bit of headway. "The Demskies seem to be getting along okay without you. You have other nails in your feet?" Keeping you here? He couldn't name any himself, if he was asked.

"I'm assigned to the New York office," says Dantes, quietly. "This," An expansive gesture encompasses the veneer of Sonny's work, "Is temporary. I'm still a Fed. Just on a sort of sabbatical. I don't go where I please," he says, stoically. Still jonesing for that job, apparently.

This time, Teo goes all of eight paces without speaking, turning a notion over in his head. He was going to do it alone, after Eileen calls. If she calls. It wouldn't have been the most intelligent thing he'd ever done, though he'd left a note on the fridge up in the Bronx, a message with Hana and a GPS tracker in his phone— nor would it have been altogether stupid, as far as he's concerned. "I might have to do something in a few hours. Morning," he clarifies. "No shooting, I think, but you might learn something. Give you something to do. Once you're sober.

"I'm going to try and see Eileen.

"She was our informant." Past-tense. Not the most reassuring format he could have phrased the invitation in, Teo knows, but if Dantes requires reassurance on this point, he isn't the trigger-finger that Teo wants anywhere around him or the birds' girl.

January 6th: Exit Wounds
January 7th: Choosing Your Enemies
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