The Devil's Due, Part V


kain_icon.gif zoe_icon.gif

Scene Title The Devil's Due, Part V
Synopsis Kain comes to Zoe looking for answers.
Date December 19, 2008

Linderman Building: Archive

Zoe got the call, and from that point it was basically an issue of getting ready. She makes sure has water on hand, makes sure her chair is all nice and comfy, and prays that she won't have to deal with another body part. That was very uncool. Zoe is happy in her world of objets d'art and weaponry and clothing and other artifacts, whenever Kain comes down for a visit the end result is usually quite a grim vision.

It's an hour between the broken sounding phone call to the time when the doors to the archives open. The entrance of Kain Zarek for once isn't preceeded by Manny and Dixon, a rarity to see Kain without his bodyguards and unlikely advisors. Instead, he's followed by one of the archive security workers, rolling a wheeled cart with a square metal box set atop it. Kain just closes his eyes and motions silently to the security officer, dismissing him with a motion of one hand before looking around the room until he finds that bright smile he'll be invariably turning to a frown.

"Porter." It's like he's speaking Hebrew, to not only have forsaken his unwanted nickname, but to also mumble out the formality of her last name. Between that and the sunken, broken look on Kain Zarek's face, it's like he's a whole other man. "Ah'm— " He shakes his head, "Ah' dun mean t'bother you, but this is important." Humility and apologies, even the security guard is giving Kain a second look.

"Ah got somethin' here, Danny's got me workin' on a…" He waves a hand, as if to shake away the rest of the sentence, "Ah'm sorry."

Zoe is completely discombobulated by Kain's behavior. Nevermind the speaking Hebrew, she looks at him like he's grown another head. "Tell me that isn't a corpse. Tell me you're not expecting me to handle a body or an arm or…anything involving severed appendages or human flesh." She peers at him. "You do realize my ability works best with old things? Objects with double or tripe or even quadruple plus digits in their age? What is this?"

"Quit bitchin." Kain snaps unexpectedly, only realizing how horrible it sounds once it's past his lips and he recoils a bit, one hand covering his face, "Ah… Jesus Zoe, just do me this favor. Ah can't… bring it t'the cops until Ah' know who it was." Who. Who it was. He's asking her to handle a corpse. "Ah said Ah was sorry." Kain steps over to the case, flipping the latches to lift the lid of the shallow case, revealing skeletal human remains, blackened and charred in places like they've been burned — but not at all like that strange hand Zoe held before. "Ah jus'… Ah need t'know if'n it's a man or a woman." His eyes lift up to her, pleadingly, "All Ah' need's that. Mah contact at the morgue is outta' town, an… Ah ain't got nobody else t'turn to." There's something strange about Kain, a look of sunken eyes and downturned lips, the way his brows crease at the middle, it's emotion. "It might be… Danielle Hamilton." He swallows, anxiously, "Ah just— Ah need t'know if it's a man or a woman's body." A forensic pathologist could tell that just by looking at the bones, but for some reason Kain isn't even willing to risk the Linderman ties in the police to look this over.

Instead he's using a butterknife to turn a screw.

Zoe narrows her eyes. "And my uncle ordered this? He wants me to…" she can't even finish. Him snapping at her doesn't even register. "Dani? Why would it be Dani? What happened to her?" Her tone is alarmed. Of course she doesn't know that Danielle has been missing, because she's more or less holed up here in the archives. Then stiffly, "Fine. I can't sit in my chair for this. You're going to have take my hand off the corpse, or hit me, or something at some point."

Shaking his head slowly, Kain frowns, "He ain't said nothin' directly, but he ordered me t'look inta' her disappearance." Then, realizing Zoe didn't even realize Danielle was gone from her words, he frowns a bit further, "She— She's been missin' for a while now. Ah went to her apartment, s'like she just vanished. Food out, television on… just… gone." His eyes track back to the burned skeletal remains. "Ah'll help, Ah jus'… Ah need this." He looks away from the corpse, one hand covering his face as he breathes out a sigh into his palm.

"Cops foun' it in a field, out in Yonkers. Snow was 'bout t'cover it all up, an Ah managed to swipe it out from under 'em with a fakeout. Ah jus'…" Kain breathes out through his nose in a slow exhalation. "Jus' work what it is you do, an Ah'll stop it when…" He squints, "How'll Ah know when?"

"Open it up." Zoe takes off her glasses, squints a little, and lays them gently to the side. Bleakly, "You'll know." Her hands lift, fingers slightly curled, waiting to touch whatever it is that's to be found beneath the box's lid. "I hope it's not Dani. I hope to God it's not Dani." She looks anxious, probably more so than Kain has ever seen her before.

Kain grimaces at her ominous portend of how things will be, nodding in a subdued manner as he lifts the lid back the rest of the way, showing her fully the minagerie of disassembled bones that may have at one time made up a whole human skeleton. Most of them have frozen dirt stuck to them, and all look largely intact save for the cracking that heat produces on bone. The sound of Kain swallowing so awkwardly is like a loud shout in such a quiet room, and staring back at Zoe from inside of the case is a complete skull and jaw, as if but with a touch it would start opening its mouth to tell exactly where it's been and what's become of it.

If only it were so easy.

Here's the thing. It's just as she said; the older something is, the better she can read it. And with this corpse being barely days old, she will get precious little. Touching a corpse with her bare hand does not fill her with joy, either. Merry Christmas, Zoe. She reaches out tremulously, and then settles her hand on the skull, in a fashion not unlike a Vulcan performing a mind meld. Her eyes slowly close, lashes resting against her pale cheeks seeming stark and dark against them. And then with a sudden jerk, her chin lifts and her eyes open, liquid mercury, silver with no pupil or iris. Her lips part slightly as she takes in the view, so to speak.

Here's the thing. It's just as she said; the older something is, the better she can read it. And with this corpse being barely days old, she will get precious little. Touching a corpse with her bare hand does not fill her with joy, either. Merry Christmas, Zoe. She reaches out tremulously, and then settles her hand on the skull, in a fashion not unlike a Vulcan performing a mind meld. Her eyes slowly close, lashes resting against her pale cheeks seeming stark and dark against them. And then with a sudden jerk, her chin lifts and her eyes open, liquid mercury, silver with no pupil or iris. Her lips part slightly as she takes in the view, so to speak.

No matter his mood, there is something truly unsettling about Zoe's eyes, and about the way she seems to act, her whole posture and presence when utilizing her talent. It makes Kain bristle under his skin, a crawling feeling that doesn't quite fade as he watches her. The touch of her fingers to the skull fill him with mixed sense of hope, fear, and guilt; Hope that it's only Danielle's corpse, and not something more complicated. Fear that it isn't, and that he has hell to pay. Guilt that he's praying Danielle is dead and her burned remains are here. It's a complex series of emotions, self-serving and foul.

There's a ragged sigh that escapes Kain as he watches her, trying to keep the sound hushed even though he knows she likely doesn't hear anything other tha the secrets left in bone and soil. His eyes uncertainly drift up to here, looking, watching, seeing and trying to understand. It's not as easy as just wanting to, though, and there's nothing in Zoe's silvery gaze that belies what she's seeing. What Kain's revealing.

Everything's shadowed and vague and fuzzy, like a camera that's been pulled out of focus no matter how hard Zoe tries. That's what looking into the near past is like for her. There's a man's voice, and the woman in front of him…the smell of fastfood. The woman…could be Dani, the hair is dark. The man is indecipherable, but something about how the woman silhouette acts as she's consumed her meal gives Zoe what she needs to know.

On the outside of things, five, maybe ten minutes passes by with Zoe's hand on the skull and her eyes gone silver. Abruptly her expression goes from its placid 'viewing' gaze to a rictus of horror, and she starts to shiver, violently.

It's that terrified look that Zoe gives which spurs Kain to movement, he reaches down to carefully — as if she were a live wire — grab a hold of Zoe's hand by the palm and gently, fretfully, lift it off of the skull, squeezing it after he does, "H-Hey— You, c-come on, snap out of it…" His eyes dart to the skull, looking at it with wide eyes and an anxious uncertainty. His focus quickly shifts back to Zoe, his hand squeezing hers again, "…c'mon, snap out of it."

Removing her connection is what does the trick, thankfully he did not hit her. Her eyes flutter and restore to a normal setting of pupil and iris and she stares at him, mute in her horror for a moment before letting out another shudder. She pulls her hand away and walks to the sink, where she begins to scrub her hands vigorously. Apropos of nothing, she begins to speak. "There's a man…and a woman. The woman ate something, it smelled like fast food…she had dark hair. Whatever was in the food, it killed her." There's a pause in the midst of her ablutions. "It - it could have been Dani."

Her. It's enough. "Doesn't matter if it's her or not." Kain murmurs, looking down to his hand as she yanks hers from it, letting his fingertips rub together. His eyes shift back to the corpse in the case, "Long as it's a she an' not a he, Ah'll take it down t'the cops, have them sort it out." Kain's eyes fall shut as he turns his head, only opening them once Zoe is framed in his vision again. "Ah'm — " He doesn't sound natural saying it, he knows it, "Ah'm sorry, for askin' you t'do that." It's the second time he's apologized, "Ah won't… again, ever." The look on her face, what she was experiencing, feeling. Was that what Dani felt? He doesn't have the heart to ask.

Zoe looks like she wants to scrub her hands raw, but stops just before she'd actually start abraiding her skin. "Yes Kain," she says softly not looking at him as she moves to dry her hands. "You will." Either on his own, or because her uncle sent him to.
He will. Kain's eyes close, and it's Zoe's certainty to this fact, that despite what Kain says, nothing will ever clear him of his own ways, nothing can ever absolve him of the man he's become, and that his word means so little to anyone he gives it to. It's because, at the end of the day, Zoe's right. One day Kain will ask her to do this again, or Daniel will, or they both might. It's the nature of who they are, self-serving and heartless criminals looking out for number one.

The question Kain is left to answer and the end of the day is, where does this get the people around them? As he looks to the metal box filled with what little remains of what might be Danielle, he swallows dryly and uncomfortably, settling his hand on the metal lid gently. This is what becomes of the people around him, the people who's lives he touch.

They wind up dead. With that affirmed in his mind, Kain slams the lid on the case shut, knowing full well that at the end of all of this…

That's what he'll wind up too.

Zoe starts a little as the case is slammed shut, and she reaches for the bottle of moisturizer to pour some in her hands. It smells faintly of raspberries. Worrying her hands, she studies him with a slight squint due to her lack of glasses, and dares a step or two closer. "Kain?" she asks, "What's going on with you? And don't tell me it's nothing." He's a jerk, the Calvin to her Suzy, who regularly makes every day she deals with him just a touch more aggravating, and yet the expression on his face worries and concerns her, as if he were a friend. Later, she'll be disturbed by it.

"It's n— " She catches Kain before he can finish exactly what he was going to say. His eyes close and he rests one hand on the metal case, shaking his head slowly. "It ain't nothin' you gotta worry about is all. Ah jus'…" One hand reaches up to rub down over his face, as if to smooth away wrinkles and worry, "Ah'm jus' in the Holiday spirit, s'all." There's a mild smile, one that doesn't reach his eyes. "Ah've given you 'nuff t'worry about fer one day, Spooky." Push her back, don't let her get close, keep the concerned at arm's reach. That's how Kain Zarek operates, and he's resigned himself to this fate. "S'jus another day."

"You're a liar." she says softly. "I mean, you're a liar, but today, you're also lying." Somehow that declaration makes sense. She shrugs. "I know I'm a little bit of nothing, Kain. I'm a mouse. It doesn't mean you have to protect me. And it doesn't mean that someone who's smarter than you - and by that I mean me - couldn't help you figure out a way to get you out of whatever mess you're in, potentially." That's as much vulnerability as he's going to get from Spooky. "You won't leave this thing here, will you?"

Kain's eyes shift over to the case, then over to Zoe. There's a hint of a smile, "Thanks fer the offer, kid." He settles a hand down on top of the box containing the remains, "But when Ah' get in it deep, ain't no divers gonna come pick me outta' it." There's a faint smile as Kain runs one hand down the side of the case, mournfully. "Ah jus' wanted t'keep her outta' this…" His eyes close, and he shakes his head slowly.

"She's mah responsibility," When his eyes open, he's staring sidelong at Zoe, beginning to push the wheeled cart carrying the case, "Ah'll carry the weight."

"Grown woman, not a kid." Zoe replies calmly. At least she doesn't snap, and then she shoos him like an errant schoolboy. "Go on, then."

And go Kain does, on. And much like an errant schoolboy, Kain has one lesson left to learn before all is said and done.

And it'll be a lesson he learns hard.

December 19th: One If By Sea

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

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

December 19th: After the Ball Was Over
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