The Most Important Meal


hiro_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title The Most Important Meal
Synopsis Hiro is looking for Tamara. Fortunately for him, she wants to be found.
Date August 28, 2010

The Nite Owl

This time of morning, the Nite Owl's biggest seller is coffee, far and away unmatched in volume of requests and quantity consumed. Even though the diner itself is sparsely populated in the lightening dawn: a few businessmen in sharp suits with papers and Blackberries in hand, a knot of hospital staff in uniformly solid plum, a college-age boy with dark circles under his eyes who probably only sees dawn now because he's been up all night, drinking coffee as if the caffeine were as vital as oxygen.

The cup before Tamara is upturned, smooth ceramic dome presented to the waitress keeping a watchful eye on her customers; she isn't having any of it. Rather, the blonde girl is working her way through a stack of two plate-sized waffles liberally decorated with strawberries and syrup. Her ivory shirt is astonishingly free of spots or spatters in red and maple, so far. This despite the seeress' all-too-often haphazardly distractable approach to food; the fork-sized pieces taken out of their edges at multiple points silently attest to the number of times she's remembered that she's supposed to be eating.

The cup which waits by the other side of her booth is upright, steam still rising from the dark liquid within.

The man that enters the diner is a distinctive sort, which has less to do with his ethnicity and even his stature, and more to do with demeanor, the snake of black ponytail sitting where it's tied low, vague severity shaping an expression on a face that seems more inclined towards being gentle or smiling. He wears no sword, and there's even colour in the form of his ordinary pale button down shirt over white t-shirt, dark jeans. Despite this, Hiro Nakamura is much the same man as when Tamara last saw him.

And she is very much the same girl.

When she's so identified, Hiro stands still and thoughtful as he regards her making work of her waffles, eyes narrowing on the cup of coffee directly across from her for her invisible guest. Or maybe him. This jarring realisation makes his mouth twitch, before he's moving across the Nite Owl's main space without waiting to be seated, headed for her. If he teleported, it wasn't within sight — he did, however, startle some pigeons in an adjacent alley.

"Good morning, Hiro." Or is that hero?

Her hair is shorter, chopped some time in the recent past so its ends brush her collarbones, but in the scheme of things that's an immensely unimportant change. Blue eyes lift to Hiro with the same almost childish lightness over a seer's too-well-informed wisdom; she smiles in pleased welcome, waving a syrup-dripping piece of waffle towards his approaching form, somehow failing to drop sticky liquid anywhere except onto the plate despite the clear vagary of the motion. And in abrupt tangent, she looks to the window, wrinkling her nose at the growing light outside.

"Well, almost morning. The sun's very slow about getting out of bed." Tamara shrugs as she looks back to her companion: what can you do? Inevitably, her fork falls to rest on the plate, chink of metal on ceramic muted by the lump of waffle still speared on its tines.

Pulling the chair out, Hiro casts a look behind him before he's sitting, a tension forever present in his around shoulders and the angle of his arms coming to fold against the edge. A distracted glance out the window and the slow crawl of sunlight, and then down at his coffee. This is a place he might have felt comfortable, once. Now it's all he can do to take his mind off the place he left his sword, or avoid concentrating on what he feels like time trickling by him, more subtle than a breeze, more pressure than a current.

He pinches the ceramic handle of his coffee cup between fingers. "I have been looking for you," he tells her. "You know that much. I am curious, if you know what for."

Tipping her head to one side, Tamara watches Hiro's tense consideration with a lopsidedly rueful smile. She doesn't tell him that it's really okay here, at least for their purpose; although true, it would have no useful result against the traveler's habits of survival. Plus, sometimes relaxing is a bad thing — better not encouraged. "You need answers," she replies, sitting back and idly shoving blonde hair behind her ears.

Eyes that seem shaded somewhat darker than blue look into the distance beyond Hiro's shoulder. "You and the boy. To tell him what he doesn't know he knows. I don't know why," she confesses, which might more address the spirit of his question. Tamara's gaze shifts, and she offers him both a shrug and a game smile. "That's okay. He knows why and you know why and the pieces were more together than alone." She twists the fork in her hand, looks down as if the motion suddenly reminded her of its presence; pops the bit of waffle into her mouth and idly sets about worrying off another.

A modest sip is taken from the caffeine, richly Western in its darkness, a little polluting but not exactly unwelcome, either. It is early. "There are a lot of things," Hiro notes, as he sets the cup down in its saucer, brow crinkling with thought, "that the boy doesn't know he knows." Folding his hands together again, he studies more the thatch shape of waffles than the clarity in Tamara's blue eyes. "You brought a man to me, once, and I fulfilled for him a promise he imagined I had made. I was— glad to fulfill it.

"It did not twist things, or shape the world we are in, only his. I also told him that it might be time for the prophets and the time travelers to try something new, in battles against evil and destruction. But there is— " He thinks, for a moment, for all that his speech has been greatly improved in English since he first came to America, that accidental fold of space into the once beating heart of New York City— he still sometimes can't find the words.

When he does, it's disappointingly plain. "There is overlap. Someone like me is changing things in the past. I cannot fix it alone."

Her smile now is patient, in a slightly indulgent kind of way; but the girl's attention is earnest, even avid, for all that Hiro studies the waffles more than her. Meanwhile her fork is occupied with dissecting the waffle remnants into little pieces that can be fidgeted around the plate, less important than the words the time-traveler chooses to impart, however plain. There are plenty of waffles in the world, and more time to eat: words are ephemeral. "It's easy to break things, alone," Tamara remarks, as she sets the fork down on the plate, its handle chiming against pottery rim. "But we're not alone.

"It's okay," the sybil tells the time-traveler, not prophecy but promise, no smile now in the solemnity of her nod. "We'll all fix it."

He nods once, a short and sharp gesture that conveys not as much gratitude as he should, although the prophetess in front of him might know better than to take such things as they seem. "You can both help me. There is only so much I can see with string," and there's maybe a minor smile there, an allusion to Rhys' criticism of the new web he's been designing at the abandoned sword store. Hiro contemplates his coffee again, takes a sip like it's a decision, allowing it to both warm and wake him.

"Do you know what it is I must do next?" he asks, knowing it's a tall order for even the talented precog in front of him when it comes to seeing the actions of someone who dips in and out of time that he's only fleetingly sure of where he began.

Tamara grins at Hiro, in the kind of enthusiastic meddler's cheer that invariably inspires thoughts of what did I just get myself into. "I know… what you can do," she tells him in unhurried fashion, propping her elbows on the table's edge and leaning forward a little. Her fingers lace together, hands folding, then twist back apart; the girl picks up her fork and deftly points it — not at Hiro, but past him.

"It'll help to see the boy; the mirror only kinda knows him. You've got people to talk to after; they'll help, too. Eventually." Unconcerned wave dismissing exactly what timeframe is involved there, the seeress pins another fragment of soggy waffle on her fork. The waitress bustles over, summoned by the girl's gesture to check on Hiro's coffee and offer him a menu, to the accompaniment of Tamara's good-natured but nonetheless dictatorial conclusion:

"First, you have to eat."

Possibly blind to Tamara's sight, there was a blonde woman shot through with a machine gun, and the memory of this has Hiro saying nothing in the event of people to talk to after. He doesn't protest— and she knew he wouldn't— but stays grimly silent in consideration by the time the waitress is at their table. He sits upright a little further as rich coffee is refilled into his cup, his hands automatically going out to the menu before he flicks a darting glance across at the girl in front of him. They probably make a cute interracial couply sight, from the kitchen's window.

It'll be hard, to not be a loner. But if there's anything Hiro knows best about the currents of time, it's that it's a lot like the ones you get in the water — fighting it only tires you.

And he thinks he will order the waffles.

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