The Devil's Due, Part II


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Scene Title The Devil's Due, Part II
Synopsis Kain begins his assignment of tracking down Danielle Hamilton for Linderman, and along the way Dixon drags him down memory lane kicking and screaming.
Date December 11, 2008

Linderman Building: Front Parking Lot

It's not often that Kain is strictly business, but on the phone this morning when he requested that Dixon and Manny meet him out front of the Linderman building with little notice, he most certainly was.

Just after nine in the morning, Kain paces back and fort out front of the Linderman building, his car parked in one of the streetside parking spots, running. One hand is tucked into his slacks, the other holding a cigarette up to his lips. As he paces, his feet scuff over a few other crushed cigarette butts on the cold sidewalk.

The air is crisp and cool like the sky overhead, sunlight shining down to afford some meager warmth to this December morning. Kain shifts his shoulders, rlling one and then the other, removing his hand from his slacks pocket to withdraw his cell phone. No missed calls.

Kain exhales a deep smoke-filled breath as he pulls the cigarette away from his mouth and stares up at the clear blue sky. His eyes fall shut, and he tries not to think about just how monumentally screwed he is, given the nature and consequences of the assignment. He can't help but wonder if this is just everything catching up on him, all of his criminal past finally piling up so high that he finally loses his head for a crime he didn't even commit.

Wouldn't that be the way for him to go out?

But right now, there's so many things Kain regrets flashing thorugh his head, first and foremost was the day he ever met Danielle Hamilton out here in front of the building. "God damnit," He hisses under his breath, impatiently pacing back and forth, "Where are those two knuckleheads?" His blue eyes flick down either side of the street, then settle at the crushed cigarette butts at his feet.

It would be just like him to miss what he was looking for, wouldn't it? Even as he crosses the street, Dixon can practically guess what sort of string Kain will be muttering by the time he gets there. And he does get there, albeit from the direction blue-eyes wasn't looking frantically in. As the tall, black man rounds his way by the idling car, Kain is met with an overly familiar grumbling.

"Look who's talking. What did you do now?" It is a preemptive strike on Dixon's behalf, but probably warranted, barring the joking tone he says it with. Dixon is zipped up in a heavy, brown leather winter coat, with a worn baseball cap pulled down over his head. The shadow under it only serves to make him look more stern than he actually is. "You shouldn't smoke so much."

Kain jerks around at the sound of Dixon's voice, letting out a relieved sigh with an exhalation of smoke as he does. "Ah' didn't do nothin'." Kain's eyes narrow at the accusation, then soften to another sigh when he realizes how warranted it is. "Not this time anyway." It's not saying that Kain hasn't done something wrong, just that it's not why Danny is so upset with him. "Ah've got mahself in a big ol' pot a hot water for somethin' Ah' din' even do."

"Hey," From not far behind Dixon another familiar voice rings out, "I tol' you t'wait, I was just finishin' my latte." Manny comes lumbering across the street with a thin line of foam on his upper lip, having hitched a ride with Dixon hear at this unusually early hour for Kain to even be awake. "What'd you do this time?" Echoes the other bodyguard, and Kain's shoulders sink into a slouch as he breathes out a long and laborious sigh, covering his face with one hand.

"Ah didn't do anythin'," Kain strains out, looking down at his half-finished cigarette then up to Dixon. He considers it for a moment, then furrows his brows and tosses it to the ground, his heel grinding it into the sidewalk with all of the others as he starts walking to his car, a four-door thankfully. He's sensibly left his sportscar at home, which means there's actually room for Manny and Dixon in the same vehicle. But just barely. "C'mon, get in," He circles around the front of the car, "Ah'll explain what happened on the way."

Exactly! Not this time. When Kain seems to partially explain his exasperation, Dixon does give a nod of comprehension. As Manny approaches and practically mimics Dixon word for word(see, he is smarter than he looks), the senior of the two can't help but sneak in a laugh at Kain's expense. "Wipe your face and get in the car." He instructs Manny with a tone that an older brother might commit, gesturing towards the back seat of the car with one hand. Shotgun is his, which he takes with a slight dip of the car underneath of him.

"Where are we going today?" Universal question of questions.

Manny gives a bit of a sheepish grimace as his fingers wipe away some of the foam from his lips as if to inspect what he's wiping off, then proceeds to follow up with his sleeve as he slips into the back seat of the car. Kain leans down into the driver's seat, slamming the door shut without answering Dixon's question, at least not until he's got the car going. The radio — at first — rather loudly plays what sounds like a Credence Clearwater song until Kain abruptly turns the volume down. His hands rap against the steering wheel, and he looks down anxiously to a half-finished cigarette he left hanging in the car's ash tray.

"We're goin' t'mah apartment building." He shifts the car into reverse, backing out of the space, then into drive as he slips out into traffic. "But we're not goin' t'mah apartment." It would have marked the first time Kain invited Manny and Dixon back to his place, he's not very keen on company it seems. "You remember that reporter broad?" Kain asks, peering into the rear-view mirror to look at Manny.

"Oh, Miss Hamilton? Yea, I rememba' her." Manny tilts his head to the side, "Don't tell me that Danny wants you to — " Kain's glare into the rear-view mirror cuts Manny off.

"Someone beat me to the punch." He says in half-sarcasm, "Danni stopped showin' up for work, and Danny's — " The emphasis is only for clarification, " — gone an' told me that he thinks Ah had somethin' t'do with her goin' all Houdini on us." Stopping for a red light, Kain looks over to Dixon. It's not a particularly long drive, just a few blocks. "Danny thinks she might be in some trouble, or worse. So we're gonna' check out her apartment. Linderman owns th' buildin', so we should be able t'figure out what's goin' on."

Dixon sits in silence, absorbing what Kain says with a stoic sort of face. Let him gather his wits, then he'll speak up. Both eyes follow Kain's briefly, though actually moving to the backseat instead of the mirror, then back up front and out of the windshield again. Finally, it rests back on Kain. "If you've only been doing his business, I don't understand why he would think it was you. You have been keeping your paws out of honey jars, haven't you? Does he have a reason to be suspecting you other than the fact you didn't like her?" Because Dixon does know Kain like the back of his meaty left hand.

"If she's in trouble, do you think it's wise to just go right up to her home?" Err on the side of caution. "It's possible that someone else might be lookin'for her too, you know."

Kain levels his eyes at Dixon, then makes a rather guilty looking grimace, "Danny an' Ah have an' understanin' on mah side-jobs. He knows Ah' have 'em and Ah' don't compete with his business." Rolling his tongue across the inside of his cheek, Kain sighs slightly when the light turns green, and the car gets back into motion again. "Danny thinks Ah' might've had somethin' to do with it because ol' leathersnatch and Manny went a little off the handle with mah idea a' scarin' her, and it made me look bad."

"Leathersnatch?" Manny's eyes open wide as he tries to puzzle it together, "Who's that? Because it was just me and Misc— " There it is, "Oh." He grins, awkwardly, "That's mean Mista' Zarek."

Kain's eyes flick up to Manny in the rear-view mirror, then over to Dixon, rather pointedly ignoring Manny's comment. "Might be, but Ah ain't got any other ideas. Sides', maybe she just slipped an' fell in her shower, right?" There's mostly sarcasm there, but for as much as Kain's trying to push off his concern, something about this whole scenario is eating him alive. "It's just — this is all happenin' at a bad time. Just… poor timin'." Kain slouches his shoulders, fingers gripping the steering wheel tightly for a moment.

Then, rather abruptly, he glances at Dixon before looking back to the road, "Dixon…" His tone is entirely different, "What'd you do if somethin' happened t'you," And by something, it's clear what Kain means. "Ah' mean, if y'weren't there t'take care of Anny anymore…" His brows furrow together, "D'you think she'd be okay?" This isn't like Kain at all.

Dixon cannot seem decide if he wants to frown or laugh out of pity at Manny, and so only sends the other man a glance. Yes, it's mean, we get it. "We won't have an idea til we get there." He sighs and leans back into the car seat, hands linking together between both knees. A bad time? Dixon's eyes shift sideways to watch Kain as he drives, somewhere between a knowing look and one of mild suspicion.

Then the next question comes, and he turns the rest of his head to look at the blond man. The usually knitted brow that Dixon seems to perpetually have in his presence wanes underneath the cap, and the corners of Dixon's mouth flatten together as if he were going to speak. But, he pauses, and tries again. "She'd have a real hard time with it, but if somethin'ever happened to me, she'd end up with her Gramma down south. She'd be okay… eventually, I think." The rumbling voice in the passenger seat is almost wincing at the thoughts. A child like her? Taking death in any form is hard. Even the death of a pet hamster was something of a trial in itself.

"…What's this all about, Kain?" This is the sound of Dixon asking as a friend, not as Meathead Sidekick #1.

Kain nods, his gaze distant despite his focus on the road. When he turns right onto another street, Dorchester Towers looms on the horizon, "It's just…" Kain shakes his head for a minute, "That time of the year, you know?" He spares Dixon a fleeting glance, blue eyes settling on the man he's known for several years now before paying attention to the street again. "Gettin' near the holidays, you know, all that depressin' shit."

Kain got this way around the holidays last year too, though not till after Christmas. He's never been like this in the years before though, and Kain letting something get to him this badly hasn't ever really been his way of doing things. Maybe he feels partly responsible for whatever happened to Danielle, or maybe it's something else entirely.

"It's nothin'." Or he could just try and be a dismissive ass, "We're here anyway." The car rolls up to the side entrance of Dorchester Towers, sliding into a parking spot and avoiding the valet parking. "Let's just go up there an' see what there is to see…" He peers up through the windshield at the higher floors, silent for a moment before opening his door and letting in a soft gust of cold air.

Dixon is able to keep his eyes on Kain for the duration, only marginally believing the excuse of the winter season. Sure, yes, it is depressing, but not that suddenly depressing. "It's something, and you know that I know." That either means Dixon will likely be trying to get it out of him one way or another over the next while, through guilt or otherwise just being Dixon.

He does drop it after that response, opting to exit the car even before Kain does. The short ride over was a bit tense, even if not purposefully.

Kain closes his eyes and looks to have been beaten down a bit by his own words as he makes his way across the parking lot towards the apartment building. Hanging back a bit, Manny walks up alongside Dixon, speaking in a lower tone of voice than usual. "He ain't usually this down, I mean, not unless Mischa's around." Both of Manny's brows raise, "An' I think she's in Vegas for like, a good long while. So…" Not even Manny is sure where he's going with that line of thought, and perhaps it's a good thing, because by the time hes' got his words all in order, they've arrived at the front of the building.

"Manny, stop chittering like a high school girl with Dixon," Kain nods his head to the doorman as he steps in, and the man in uniform keeps his head bowed and the door open to allow Manny and Dixon in as well. "Manny Ah' want you t'stay down here an' take a look at the security camera footage, Danni stopped showin' up for work on the tenth, so check back a few days and see if anyone down here knows anythin'." Kains trolls into the lobby, trying to hide is anxiety and depression behind a vaneer of duty, "Dixon, Ah'ma need you upstairs, in case there's trouble. You packin'?"

Dixon gives Manny a knowing look as he speaks, and though he has little time to answer the man, he does get out a slow nod of confirmation. There's something amiss, and both of Kain's dogs can smell it.

As for Kain as they enter the lobby, there is a pause between the end of his words and Dixon's. "You called me hours earlier than you ever do, to ask me to come out and meet you. Of course I am. Do you think there's going to be trouble, or were you only making sure?" Dixon suddenly has a lot of questions for Kain Zarek, and they aren't all about right now. He stays a couple of regular steps behind, but close enough to keep conversation at a comfortable volume.

"Ain't no way t'tell until we find out." Kain answers in a manner that isn't honestly an answer at all. He motions to the front desk, sending Manny off in that direction, watching at the lumbering bodyguard adjusts his lapels and strides over to the receptionist with a broad grin and a warm smile.

"Ah'm just rather hopin' t'be prepared, jus' in case." There's something in Kain's tone that seems hesitant, though, and as he makes his way towards the elevators briskly, looking over his hsoulder to Manny, and not speaking up again until they're out of ear-shot. "Ah've got some shit, things Ah did for the Boss last year when you an' Manny were off with family; Ah ain't proud of it." Kain looks down and to the side, then starts briskly walking past the elevators to the first-floor hall of apartments, stopping at apartment 106. "It just — All this is really bad timin', s'all." For an assignment to make Kain so squeamish and unsettled, it must have been something out of the ordinary. Door to the apartment looks closed, and Kain reaches into his suit jacket to produce a key-card, "Boss gave me one'a these a while back, works on all'a the doors here." He slides it into the card reciever next to the door, and the light displayed on the front turns green as the dor clicks and unlocks. "Just… Don't bring up any a'that t'Manny, a'right? S'personal."

Something is falling into place now, but honestly, Dixon can't tell if it is going in a good or bad direction. Talk of what seems like favors strikes a somewhat neutral chord, but the fact it has made Kain moralize over it is not so good. Usually he does have the impervious, rogue quality- not so much this morning.

"Consider it off the record." Which, in more words, means that he will keep his mouth shut(to a degree, which only means if it might pose a danger to someone else along the line will he open said mouth). Dixon stands alongside of Kain as he finishes using the key-card, brown eyes falling on it as purely observation. How exactly is this disappearance 'bad timing'? Is it irony? He can't really tell, but he is saving the big question for sooner than later. Right now, there are cogs abound clicking in his head, and most of them don't seem to fit exactly as they should.

Kain pushes the door open, letting Dixon muscle in first. If his presence doesn't scare anyone in the apartment shitless, nothing will. As Dixon ambles inside, Kain steps in behind him. But what the pair find isn't necessarially what one would expect from the apartment of someone who has gone missing. Nothing looks touched at all.

The apartment is in immaculate condition, and expensively decorated as well. A new looking home entertainment system up against one wall, a pair of leather sofas and a sleek and modern kitchenette. Kain's eyes narrow as he stops by the door, looking down to spot a few pairs of boots, both smaller than his feet, and looks up to continue advancing into the house.

"This ain't what Ah' was thinkin'." He stops in the middle of the living room of the very open-concept apartment, staring out the plate-glass ground floor windows to the street beyond. "Danielle's supposed to live here with a…" Kain withdraws a piece of folded paper from his pocket, unfolding that and squinting at it. "Catherine Chesterfield." His eyes track around the room, then to the small hall that leads off to more doors. "Wonder if Miss Kitty's done gone missin' too…"

Amble is exactly what Dixon does, even when Kain splits from him. He's in no particular hurry to look around, eyes cast downward over the room as he moves through it. "Looks like everyone just up and walked out of here, Kain. Maybe without boots?" The brute pauses as he steps through the living room section of the apartment, one hand lifting to slip off the cap on his head and stuff it into a pocket. His eyes are on an abandoned, single glass of wine on the table beside the leather sofa, but he doesn't move to pick it up or touch it. Dixon has no reason to not treat it as a crime scene.

Even as he follows back into that small hallway, there's a distinct and familiar buzz that he can't ignore, and that is the sound of a television set in one of those adjacent rooms. If the door there is open, he'll look in at first; if closed, one hand will push it open slowly- possibly even too slow for caution's sake.

The door at the end of the hall swings open into a large bedroom, revealing a television turned on but with no channel selected, just a blue and blank screen. Near the television on a stand, a single DVD player is turned on with its tray open and no disc inside, as if someone was just about to put in a movie, and maybe enjoy a glass of wine.

Down the hall, Kain pushes open another door, peering into a bathroom, checking the shower, and then moves to the next door, nudging it open to reveal a mostly unused looking spare bedroom, devoid of particularly telling decorations, everything rather tidy and neat. "Ain't been anybody here for a while, but the heat's still on…" His brows furrow together as he steps back out into the hall. "This is all Roanoke up in here." At least Kain is a well-read hick.

Of course, Dixon knows an input channel when he sees one, and it's natural that he notices the open movie tray alongside. Click, click, click. There are a few things falling into their personal suspicious places now.

"'S like she just…vanished. Drinks left out, heat on, television on, boots still in- did you see any coats hanging anywhere?" The taller of the two even glances around where he is, backtracking slightly to peer around the corner again, just in case there was a rack on the door, or near it.

And frankly, out of nowhere- "Are you going to tell me what you did, or are you that guarded?" Comes the question from across the hall, a deep rumble of conscience seemingly bouncing off of the walls.

Kain starts looking around for the coats when Dixon asks, not spotting any by the rack at the door, but he notices one draped over the dining room table near the kitchenette, and another on the back of the chair. Kain's brows furrow together, and there's a long silence that punctuates the time between Dixon's next question and Kain's ultimate response. He just stands there in the kitchen, staring at the coats as if they'd tell him how to answer.

"It ain't that simple." Kain closes his eyes, bringing his hand up to the side of his head, "Ah did somethin' for Danny that Ah ain't proud of." His shoulders slouch some, "An now that it's almost that time'a year again it just… It's like ah'm relivin' it all over." Blue eyes lift up from the coats to the sound of Dixon's voice, "Ah killed someone."

The coats may not tell him much with words, but their presence there only serves to punctuate Dixon's return into the main apartment and his responses. "I think they were taken. I don't see any signs of force, though, so I bet they knew whoever it was…" As for the more poignant of topics- Dixon himself was never a bad man, but even being a good man with a bad job, he has had to get his hands dirty- and perhaps at some point, bloodied all the same as Kain's, on purpose or otherwise.

"You'd never before?" And frankly, Dixon is somewhat surprised, but also not so much. Kain is not a fist, he's a tongue- while the job comes with a certain possibility of altercation, Kain was never one to actually put himself in that position, was he? "…Barring what the boss told you to do- Did you have to do it? No other choice?" If it were just you, could you have made a different choice?

"It ain't like Ah never shot somebody before," Kain says in a sharp and defensive tone, "It just — " He turns away from Dixon, "It wasn't just — Ah got involved." Kain's words sound bitter and resentful, walking away from the table and through the kitchen, finding the bottle of wine the glass belonged to, opened and left to grow stale and sour on the countertop. "Guy had a kid," Now the conversation in the car starts to make a bit more sense.

"He— Ah didn't know it when Ah got told t'put a slug in 'em. It was a message." Kain's brows lower, "It was punishment for me, t'make me do it. Ah dun gone and screwed up, so Danny made sure Ah' got mah lesson straight." Stepping out of the kitchen, Kain's back by the front door, leaning against the half-wall that divided it from the dining room. "Ah found out he had a little girl, real little. Wife too." One hand covers his face, "Ah' killed 'em on Christmas Eve, Dixon…" His eyes force closed, followed by a strained sigh, "Ah Ain't suppos'ta be th'kinda guy who gets hit up by this kinda' shit."

It does make a world of sense now, but only just. "You're just a man, aren't you? Then I'd have to disagree." Dixon's hands find his pockets, and from where he stands in the room- from where Kain stands the light in the room behind seems to cut his head and shoulders into a sharp silhouette. For a split second, he might even appear as if he'd somehow just lit up- if one would care to envision him catching on fire, anyway.

"How did you get involved? With him, or someone else?" Dixon does want to know where Kain happened to screw up, but largely out of a personal need to know. "Sometimes things have to happen. Not that I'm excusing you- or the Boss. Or what happened, period." There was more than one fault, here. Nobody is God. Mistakes were probably made, and made on every side. "We can't always control what we want to control, no matter how much we might want to. We just have to do our best to change what might happen so it isn't as bad, or has as bad of consequences. All we can do is put padding on Murphy's law and hope for the best." And in this case, it seems as if Kain was meant to learn some part of that same lesson, but in a far messier way. "I'm not saying forget about it, but I will say don't think about it. There's nothing you can do now, because it's done. Learn from whatever mistake you might've made."

Kain's shoulders slouch some, and as he listens to Dixon's rather wise advice, there's a puzzled look in his eye, as if regarding the man in a light he hadn't quite done so before. "He was — " Any admission Kain was going to give about how he got hooked up into that mess, however, ends with a voice booming in the doorway.

"Mista Zarek!" It's Manny. "Mista Zarek, you ain't gonna believe this shit." Barging his way into the apartment, Manny carries a video casette in one hand, waggling it back and forth. "They was taken alright, I spotted some shit going on the video here." He pauses when he takes sight of Kain's face, and then Dixon standing nearby. There's a pause, just long enough for Kain to lose his patience.

"Spit it out Frankenstein." Kain's eyes narrow, and Manny shrinks back some as he sets the casette tape down on the counter in the kitchen. He gives a bit of a crooked smile, and then rubs one hand across the top of his bald head.

"These was two people who ducked int' the room, but the cameras didn't get their faces. Apparently the two girls who live here was taken away by an ambulance a couple'a days ago." Kain's brows furrow together further, and he lets out a hissing breath, "I ah… izzat bad?"

"On'a my boys found an ambulance burned out down on Staten Island last night, it was out front of a place he plays cards at. Looks like it was torhced to the ground." Kain paces back and forth, rubbing one hand over his mouth as he looks around the apartment. "God damnit, what the hell was she pokin' her nose into?"

If there was ever a moment that Dixon truly wanted to pick up the nearest wooden object and smash it into Manny's face, this would be it. Or at the least, one of them. Even through Manny's talking, there is a jaw-clenched, emotionally simmering state to the older man. If Dixon were a dragon, there would be smoke curling up from his nostrils.

"So they were taken. But that doesn't take away the fact there was no struggle. They either knew those people, or were caught so off guard that they really had no chance in Hell of getting away. Did they take them out on stretchers, or just put them into the back?" And generally, No way of getting away- in Dixon's mind, that itself has been prone to include the Evolved in some way or another. Especially over the last few years.

"Did anything or anyone catch any hospital names on the ambulance? Do think we need to look into locals to check on stolen trucks?" While he speaks, Dixon gives Kain a weary, almost tired glance. It seems as if their prior conversation will have to wait to be concluded until another time.

"Video had 'em comin' out on stretchers. But, I'll make a few calls, I gots me some contacts down at St.Luke's, if anythin' comes up I'll text ya both." Manny taps the tape, "Im'a leave that here, them boys down in video analysis might be able to do somethin' with it. S;just a copy." Manny does have moments of remarkable proficiency and competence, it lends one to wonder what his job was before it was a professional mobster.

"Damn Manny who put sugar in your stovepipe today?" Kain adopts a more casual demeanor like a mask, swaggering over to pick up the tape and whack Manny on the forehead with it. "Thanks knucklehead." He turns to look over his shoulder to Dixon, ten tosses the tape towards him. "Take my car and that down to the building, Ah'm gonna take the ferrari for a spin and hit up some contacts down in Chinatown and set up a dinner-date with some old friends." His brows furrow together, looking reticent again. "I got one more gal I can hit up… but…" He shakes his head, "You two go on and get to work. Ah'm gonna head down to the garage." His eyes settle on Dixon for a moment, with an expression that just says.

Maybe some other time.

December 11th: The Devil's Due, Part I

Previously in this storyline…
The Devil's Due, Part I

Next in this storyline…
The Devil's Due, Part III

December 11th: The Dinner Date
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