The Line


lancaster_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title The Line
Synopsis Lancaster and Lazzaro figure out where they stand on either side of it.
Date November 13, 2010


Brooklyn. Early morning. Shoreline near enough for the vacant slosh of dirty water to be audible under cold humidity, every sluggish wave slapping weak into a break against the docks. Several rows of storage units hulk grey out've the foul smelling fog, steel doors drawn and shuttered against the elements.

Only one of them is open.

And only one of them is currently playing host to 5'8" of freshly-showered former government agent shrugging his way carefully into a blazer to go with jeans and a white buttondown. On the bright side, the fact that his first order of business is to put on better clothes likely leaves little doubt in the minds of anyone who happens to be watching that he is himself.

Some pyrokinetics get it tough. Radiation emitters. Those ones. There a directional quality to their power where shits gets caught up along the way, or fades out after the limits of their ranges are hit. Someone with laser eyes is probably going to have a hard time with a pair of binoculars unless they're in a comic book or got in bed with the right person in a certain clandestine research branch of the Government.

Unless you are Lancaster. Then it doesn't matter. It also helps that she's mad.

With an abruptness that Vincent is used to but not at all prepared for, flames burst at the ankle of his new jeans and flick up his calf as the barest surface of his pant leg suddenly ignites. It'll take a few pats to put it out (unless you have cheat skills), and destroy some leg hair and peely skin with it, not to mention his jeans.


That would be stressed brakes of a car when it is pulling up at the mouth of the storage unit not a few seconds later, Lancaster tossing binoculars into the passenger seat.

"HO-" is about all Vincent can think to say about being set on fire. Probably the beginning of a more elaborate spout of vitriol. Ho there, or. Holy shit. But HO- is all he has time for before he loses his balance and starts to fall backwards, better arm windmilling with his cigarette at his less injured side for the beat it takes him to furl into noxious intangibility. Vapor rolls black within self-storage, a sluggish thunderhead roll end over end abruptly lashing into an ophidian plunge out and up.

When he flushes himself back into sooty existance on the roof of the offending vehicle, athletic shoes braced wide, his cigarette is still weakly lit.

Unfortunately, so are his pants.

Smoke to mouth and freed hand to calf, he beats a lingering tongue of flame out without any dancing or cursing, all business for the thump thump thump it takes him to steady himself enough to draw the gun he put on slightly — before he put on the blazer. His heel sinks whunk into the hood when he rights himself. Probably going to leave a dent.

Lancaster is getting out of the car once the engine is killed. That she doesn't have a gun in her hand doesn't mean she's unarmed — one way or another. Smoke lifts off the metal frames of the storage unit mouth, paint on the wall peers as her stare swings wide, just a little out of its own leash, and only barely back on by the time she's staring a furious steel-blue stare back up at Vincent — for once, he is taller, being on the hood of her car and everything.

"Hey, big damn hero, GET OFF MY CAR!" is bellowed with startling volume with a finger thrusting towards the nearest open space so that Vincent may dismount. Probably into the storage unit, unless he desires to jump backwards to stand opposite, or forward into Lancaster's loving arms.

It's a testament to how much better Lazzaro's feeling however many hours after taking his pills that he's confident and light on his feet enough to comply with a diving-board back flip once he's spent half a beat sizing her up. Warm coals to ice, unblinking until he coils off backwards and — pitches himself back into umbral vapor in the near instantaneous between to ensure that he lands comfortably on his feet.

Lighter stuff spools white from the corner of his mouth while he watches her from across the (dented) hood, brows not quite level, gun in hand but not pointed. Not pointed directly anyway. "You should probably calm down," is an earnest suggestion once he's adjusted his grip. Firm but optimistically diplomatic.

Bonk. That's the toe of Lancaster's boot off her front tire — not a vigorous kick, more casual and lazy than that, like a horse agitatedly scuffing hoof into dirt. She should probably calm down. Combustion is heat and excitement and has something to do with anger in the way it feels. However, there's a reason she is Tier 2 and not worse— or there is a reason they allowed her to be— and that is some degree of control. Lazzaro's shirt is not going in the same direction as his pants, at least, and nor is his face when she levels a stare in that direction, shoulders square beneath button down shirt.

If she cares about the gun in his hand, she's paying it no mind. "I'm guessing you didn't tell me what you were gonna do because I probably woulda taken a dusterbuster to your ass before you got within three feet of the Times," she says, her voice gaining back some level to it, if heated, if edged. "I told you shit in confidence, agent."

"Okay." That may be true. However. "First," says Vincent, who lifts his trigger finger away from the guard into a distinctly symbolic one, matte black stare forever unflinching. First: "I was able to re-acquire and verify everything you told me from reliable third party sources." This is first because he is frontloading his riposte. It's fairly obvious in the way he pauses after it, too. Like maybe he isn't all that enthusiastic about moving on.

"Second…" his teeth clip in white around the filter of his cigarette, making space for a jut-jawed expulsion of fluffy haze that isn't shaped by words, "…I was fired. And nearly taken into custody by the Institute." He pauses again, looking at her from under his brows, now. "They're probably still looking for me. Third, what's going on is bullshit and you know it."

First should do some to relax her. And maybe it does. It just does not show visibly, because Lancaster is content with anger right now, or because she isn't concerned about anyone coming after her. Her mouth twists a little as he gets to point second, eyes rolling without seeming very shocked about this, and barely listening to third as a result. "You expose information on an organisation that likes to make people disappear then chances are that's what's gonna happen, shortie.

"Goddamnit. So when I ask you, what are you gonna do now, the answer wasn't coffee. Vince. I almost don't even want to know if you have a place to go or someone to help you right now." If this were true, she probably would not be demanding it in that tone of voice, sharp like a whip and uncaring if people are around to hear.

"You didn't want to know I was doing this, either."

The way he says so kind of makes it sounds like an accusation. Slightly. Carefully kempt stubble turned just so, shoulders straight. Also, he is using his finger that was a one to point at her once he's flicked the stub of his cigarette smartly away. HER. She. Adrianne. Didn't want to know.

"I was going to turn myself in after the 8th. Circumstances changed. Now I can't," moving cautiously on, he is pretty ardently aware that any exposed part of him may be next on the menu. "I'll have to rely on my other option being more open to trust than I am."

Accusation is met with leashed aggression, Lancaster's shoulders going tight and suppressed a full bodied jerk that might have promised to carry her all the way over car hood to latch talons into what would be vanishing smog. She resists, tips a chin up proudly, and listens. She says nothing, this time, her eyes still smoldering in the same way gas flames are both blue and burning, and she communicates a silent question with a raise of a blonde eyebrow. What other option?

Suppressed movement provokes a further turn of Lazzaro's Italian mug. Ready, in turn, to disappear. Should he suddenly need to.

After that, there is no one around to witness the way silence settles across the plink-plink-plinking car between them. Even the pigeons are still in quiet this early and in this weather, a lone rustle of feathers echoing in dismal, dusty and soft from a distance.

Remarkably level despite everything — calm, even — Vincent's already more or less bitten down on his cyanide capsule. His life is over. Whatever happens from here on out happens.

Even so, she can probably read the answer clean off his face, because. He doesn't look all that happy about it.

"You want to run with them," and maybe to the government, they are all the same person, the same entity, although Lancaster does know better, that everyone is different on either side of the line. But there is only one line, a wider gap than the sedan that separates them now, "then you're going to be a loser. They're going to lose." Hands gesture, spread fingers, as if his head were between her palms and she could kind of just jolt sense into him, or—

A lack of a warrant, maybe. "They're sending a bunch of— they're sending people upstate. People that got arrested on the 8th. Black hood no trial bullshit, underground railroad types. One of those things you could have looked into had you not been too busy trying to jerk off on the pages of the Times.

"What are you gonna do? This time, I want to know."

It goes without saying that Vincent does not like making mistakes. The implication that this was right in front of his face somehow subtly galvanizes some of the uncertainty around his eyes into steelier stuff.

Like anger.

The kind of heat that's hard to see. Matte black iron not stoked quite enough to glow. "So are you," on a delay spent staring hard across the hood at her could stand to be more specific within so much context, but. She's probably sharp enough to figure out what he means.

"I know where they are," isn't a direct answer either. Flat. "I don't have a choice. Beyond that I don't know."

Fingers splay, clenching back into fists to cut nails in her palm. She. Probably does get it. And chooses not to touch it, standing tall and silent for the next several seconds and maybe wishing she had her own cigarette to puff away on. "Okay," Lancaster allows, now casting a stare over the top of the car so that nothing else burns. She does have a limit. And she also believes him, evidently.

Moving a step sideways to better access drivers' door, she hooks fingers into the handle and pops it open a fraction, without immediately getting inside. "If you call me, you won't wake up to retrievers trying to rape you," is delivered more solemnly than her word choice should permit. "Just saying.

"And maybe the dust'll settle and things'll change."

Tar black stare finally checking back past her to the open storage unit to measure whether or not anything inside' been compromised by fire, Vincent nods once she's popped the handle. Gun still in hand, possibly forgotten, the way dead weight sometimes is. He says, "Okay," too. More quietly, right hand lifted nearly to settle against the passenger side door before he thinks better of it. Shouldn't touch.

Things aren't going to change. "If you call me, I… don't have to worry about losing my job anymore." So. That's kind of like an offer, even if he openly isn't certain of what.

"I'll contact you when I have a new number."

That first statement gets a slight snort, just an exhale rather than words, and Lancaster is yawning door wider. "Good," she asserts, at the second, before she's folding her tall, long-legged self into the cab of the sedan with a slight head toss of wind swept blonde, mouth finishing in a hard line. It's sunglasses that she picks up next to the binoculars, slipping them onto her face as she kicks the car into reverse.

No screeeeeeee this time, or anything else bursting into fire. She is, however, reaching for the glovebox even as she drives, although for what, that's not for Vincent to see.

Left behind, Vincent stands with his shoulders at an uncharacteristic slope for what feels like a long time.

When he finally picks himself up enough to get back to collecting whatever belongings he was able to squirrel away in time, he tucks the gun away as an awkward afterthought. Mind already elsewhere.

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