The Snare Is In The Blood


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Scene Title The Snare Is In The Blood
Synopsis The blood is in the air.
Date March 05, 2011

New York

A chill wind is whistling through the worst of the barren streets. Boots crunch on broken concrete, and a shadow slides over a wall coloured over in graffiti and miscellaneous stains.

Calvin's been here before, in a similar circumstance, the feeling of invasion, stalking, a female presence that hedges feline-like along the lines of the streets, the corners, the direction of ruined walls. Slinking close to the shadows, even if streetlamps stick dead from the cracked pavement, eyes milky, blind from a lack of electrical grid. It's not quite night time, and towards the west, there's a reddish tinge that folklore claims portends rain at night. Or in the morning. One of those two things, or maybe both. The air certainly holds a current of storm in it, but maybe that's just all the abandoned steel skeletons of buildings tinging the air with a rusty, acrid scent.

Boots navigate around where the pavement has been splintered by something heavy and sharp footed, bullets having peppered the brickwall directly beside. The fabricy shuffle of a coat as the figure turns — taller, broader shouldered than he might have expected. The glint of a pistol— no, a flare gun in her hand. As if whatever it is she might encounter here couldn't be reckoned with on her own, and certainly not from a handgun.

Calvin lazes into awareness on his feet, nictitating membrane slide and roll of stark irises cut clean against kohl and a drift of coarse hair long and gingery through his field of vision on the wind. Familiarity breeds comfort, in ominous sky and abrasive scent and the texture of dusty air rushing dry against his ears. Things he misses.

His feet are bare against cold concrete, flecks of debris tracked quiet after the splay of his toes and the scuff of his jeans when he stirs to trail nearer after the presence in coat and flare gun and boots that he knows.

Curiosity kills, but it's quiet and he's coolly confident, path sure-footed for all that it's also carefully chosen, long coat swinging matted and worn in a turn of chill air after him. Right hand reached to brace against fading graffiti, left swung automatically out for balance as he goes up and over an I-beam wider than he is. More lion than leopard — capable enough at covering distance in mostly-straight lines without an excess of fluid grace to bungle a practical exercise into an artistic one.

When she stops, it's with deliberation, as opposed to random chance.

Some sense of being followed, the sixth sense-like prickling of flesh at the back of her neck, like the instinctual, genetic in-built function prey have. But something more concrete must trigger her attention, psychic and intangible — and directional, her head lifting, neck twisting to glance back up in the vague direction of Calvin's subsequent pathway on his otherwise very silent bare feet. The flare gun is gripped as if it contained more firepower than light and attention. A step to the side, almost dance-like, a hand coming back to grip the blackened lightpost to help veer her around on an axis, dark eyes focused towards the figure coming after her.

Brunette hair, near black, pragmatically scissor-snipped over the shoulders. Strong bones, leggy height, a coat that brushes its hems at the top of her boots. A tentative smile, genuine. Caught you.

Down the beam's length in a few long cross steps that stall into a pause when he's caught, Calvin takes stock of the gun with a kind of wary respect that does little to stave off a pull up at hte corner of his mouth. Glad to see her, for all that her smile isn't as quick as an uneasily paranoid twinge somewhereabouts the region of his cockles tells him he'd like it to be. Deserves for it to be.

So it goes.

An etchy line twitched between his brows is not long-lived, either. He dismounts at a quicker step and drop back onto concrete, ginger mane not so outlandish here, where rust orange is as native to the environment as the sooty greys and blacks that comprise his wardrobe.

The eyeliner is – of course – questionably necessary.

"Little late in the day to be out alone," he says, voice lifted to carry crisp on the wind. "See anything you like?"

The flare is slipped into a deep pocket at her hip, although not out of reach. After all, it is a little late in the day to be out alone. "Yeah. Time gets away from me," the woman admits, her voice husky and mellow in contrast to the hidden sharpness in Calvin's diction, roundly American. The butt of a true pistol shifts where it's strapped beneath her coat, briefly visible with that swing of wool and leather. Face clean of makeup, and yesterday's insomnia writing shadows around her eyes instead, but—

Who ever gets a good night's sleep, these days?

Slower smiles are met with her own, serene and secure. "Maybe. I was looking for you, actually. Big city— I was worried the trail got cold. Where're you heading?" Of course, if he started following his stalker, then it's just a case of a snake eating its tail.

"Oh yeh?"

There's always been a little something off about Calvin, for all that he tries.

The idea of his being looked for so far from home is one that gives him tangible pause. Still at a distance, he shifts his weight from the ball of one foot to the other and tips his head, aiming for (normally uncomplicated) allowance — or even to look flattered and falling far short under her eye. Shadows pitched into the hollows around his face and uneasy posture do all the telling they need to.

He wants to take her at her word, but he's struggling to.

"M'transmitter's giving me trouble again," he says, finally, nose turned down against the wind. Quieter. "Scrapping for parts, is all.

If Calvin isn't going to break down the distance, then she is.

The crunch of pragmatic boots sounds loud out here, as she nears, dark hair tangled from wind and elements but not unclean. The sedateness of the evening drains her skin of colour, but not enough that an ambiguous national heritage can't be seen. "I might have a few things at the shop. She won't mind if you have a poke around," she says, with far more ease than the play of trust and mistrust stewing behind Calvin's eyes, heavy in the hesitations and the reserve.

She stops, her smile crooked. The affect being like she's just noticed his uncertainty. "You okay?"

Leather and polish, are the scents that her coat and clothing hold — too vibrant, possibly, as if they were at a closer range, memory's smells that trigger recollections into rich texture. The textures of wool and hide, the cowl of her sweater, the roughness of skin at the V of her neck. The note, however, of crushed summer-flower fragrance is a wrong note.

"Alright," says Calvin. A poke through the shop with permission. That sounds nice.

He doesn't immediately answer the question that follows, dreary reticence tentative in a part of his teeth for his tongue that recedes gradually away from almost honesty now that she's closer. Instead, he swallows and hollows his bristly jaw out into a clamp, ginger scruff as kempt as it can be with more pressing concerns to mind. Getting there. Gradually.

The nearness of her seems to help for all that it also applies pressure, worn wool and leather warm enough in its familiarity to ease some of the tension bit in between his shoulder blades while he dithers over his wording in an entirely un-Calvin-like display of conscientious consideration.

Until. There's that something.

Nostrils pull thin; the tatty, faded tail of his coat and worn cuffs contract into subtly starker edges. He pauses differently, this time.

The thing with dream is that mere thoughts can saturate the fabric of the setting, things unable to be kept purely internal, contained in chest and head. The woman senses it, her strong chin lifting in a fluid kind of twitch that isn't quite like the confident soldier-set of her spine and shoulders. That crooked smile thins, and there's a guilty shift down of her eyes. Hands lock together, as if she too were considering her words.

Decides not to use words.

Behind her, there's an almighty crash — it isn't an explosion, but an impact, one that briefly shakes the ground beneath Calvin's bare feet in a way quite familiar. As is the police car that falls from the sky, roof down, glass splintering out from crush-imploded windows in a shower of crystal, as malleable as water in the air before it lands. A squeal of a siren, black and white doors flaring open. The sound of traffic in the air, shouts, even if the street is more or less entirely empty save for the car that's been dropped from the sky.

And then van, displaced, misplaced, too close — it squeals on its tires as something preternatural wings it around with the attempt to crush both Calvin and the woman he talks to against the wall to his right, NYC POLICE DEPARTMENT nearing. She remains impassive despite the danger a mere moment away, her jaw tense, hair playing obliviously in the run off of wind it creates.

The thought clearly crosses Calvin's mind to let it come.

It's there in the way he's looking at her, cold burning anger bled back through the cleaner sweep of sickled dreads and long coat. A finer, more theatrical vision of self to compliment shrieking tires and wrenched chassis and rims retching sparks thick across broken concrete.

The beat draws longer that it has the right to, hot iron stink and smoke stinging at her eyes like dragon's breath when he finally locks his teeth out in a snarl and moves. Left hand clawed up into a bitter, backhanded arc, he deflects with a shove rather than take the hulking van in under his power entirely and hold it there, all four ruined tires eating air when it careens off balance onto one armored flank and grinds to a smoldering halt.

Plink plink tink and a hisssss that's punctuated sharp by the whipcrack snap of her firearm out of its holster and into his grip.

The sight of the van careening deflected off its trajectory has an exhale hissing between her white teeth, a flinch for all that she's just been rescued. Attention veers forward, however, by the time her holster tugs with the momentum of her gun getting extracted, a hand moving too slow to grip the leather, sending an alarmed look forward. One that becomes accusing and narrow. Steam and smoke belch into the air from the two ruined vehicles. It's clear that her instinct is to run, maybe physically, the way her legs tense up.

Stands her ground. This is an all encompassing mask, one that turns Jasmine's eyes darker as she watches Calvin, this body taller, more solid, certainly different, mutually familiar.

Cal has taken on the affect of something that should be fled from, eyes ring-ed spectral blue and teeth shown white through an aftershock tremor of breath that filters out more furiously than the rest of him will allow for at a disconcerted shiver and ophidian snap.

"The fuck are you doing?"

Venomous accusation rattles rough through his voice, brow hooded low and shoulders hunched. The gun isn't pointed at her; it's just held at ready, sights set off at concrete somewhere at a distracted angle.

It doesn't have her shrinking back, for all that displays of aggression can.

Fury is matched as he asks that question, of all questions. There's a snaky quality, suddenly, to brunette locks that unfurl and writhe in makeshift wind, a bland anger in her eyes as monotonous and clear as a traffic light set to red. A hand goes up to clutch the silver chain that isn't actually looped around her neck right now, and so she just has a fistful of woolen collar, hand closed and knuckles pressing, a gesture that goes with: "She'd be so ashamed for you.

"What are you doing, Calvin?"

Cagy as he is, eyes wide, Calvin flinches as if stricken, long jaw clamped and wire fine tension bent still deeper into his defensive stoop.

That isn't fair.

In fact, this is all around a very mean, underhanded and not fair thing to do to him and he is rigidly resentful down to his molten core independently of logic or justification or just desserts.

Still breathing hard, he tries to scoff only to have the sound catch linty dry in his throat. Choked. Or something. Thoroughly out of his element. Kind of miserably naked, in purely figurative terms. So far.

This is about when she'd give, feel a little bad about such an invasion, but that Jasmine is on the same wavelength as logic and justification and just desserts, there is only steel in her expression, the molten anger cracking to show some degree of hurt and betrayal underneath, brighter still, something like the shame she speaks about.

The air rushes as a third body of metal is flung into the world, callous and easy. The silver bulk of a Prius suddenly slams into the pavement mere inches behind Calvin, flinging up sparks and glass both — he can feel the latter, peppering his back, and the searing heat coming up in warping waves from the black underside of the vehicle. A squeal of a horn rips through the air like a distant wolf howl, car alarms, the rumble of an approaching tank, even Abby's screams a dim sort of echo in his ears.

"Answer me!"

This from Jasmine, whose chosen form tonight is beginning to break apart like leaves wind tossed off the ground, a flash of red in that dark hair, a slenderness burned off the silhouette of the woman like a fading light trick eroded by eyes adjusting. Her voice snaps more like a plea, lacking command, but the special effects are meant to do that for her.

Calvin straightens his spine as if under the lash of a whip, sparks razored white hot up his back in time with a redouble of his grip bleach boned on Jasmine's gun. An audible, "Augh," isn't strictly as manly as it could be, even if it blends into a baser, teeth-grit "nrrgh!" once he's had a beat to ground it out. Burnt hair mingles gradually with acrid metal: also familiar.

It's enough to rend his mind forcibly away from derisive incredulity. Attention-getting the way fiery pain has a tendency to be, oily smoke still roiling black with the wind when he blinks hard enough to bring her back into deliberate focus.

"I am doing," he dictates, lowly and carefully, "whatever is necessary."

Where she had halted at a midpoint upon coming closer, that distance is eaten up now in only slightly prissy steps forward, and it's as if the movement sheds the rest of the illusion. Jasmine, in an oversized coat of wool, auburn hair that's the shiniest thing in the setting apart from the silver flanks of the overturned Prius, smokey eyes and a painted mouth that would be nicer in a smile than whatever it is it's doing now. Closer, closer, gun be damned, even if Calvin prrrobably has memory of shooting one.

Hitting his mark. "We are not in a war," she dictates back at him, less low but just as careful. "There is no excuse. You're killing— " And the word seems to take her breath away briefly, eyes squinching shut, a hh in a breath out.

They open again. "Innocent people. You didn't have to."

"None of them are innocent. At some point, they all stood idly by." On that point Calvin's confident, hammer coiled back at his side once she's minced closer. Reflex. Searing heat still fresh in his mind.

"Just like the lot've you, curled up nice and warm on your fucking island with the people you love. Everything once lost now reclaimed." There's a cynical play to his delivery, freshly sharpened. "Time isn't yours to piss away."

There's a disbelieving flutter of breath caught in her throat. Snagged there. Anger blazes brighter in clear eyes, whereas hurt is only brief, insult opening her mouth without words coming out. It's not that she doesn't have enough to say.

There are just too many, all vying for attention. And the movement, hand spread, fingers splayed and palm open in a blow directed for Calvin's face. It could be worse, if her fingers were hooked and nails gone sharp, but the slap is kept clean and blunt, and followed by the attempt of another, head, shoulders, as if she could somehow beat sense into the other redheaded entity in front of her. "I didn't— lose anyone— " she bleats in between, breathlessly. Words thin, frustrated.


Calvin's face doesn't actually turn, blunt force soaked by the haughty carve of his cheek before he can formulate any kind of respectable reaction to being assailed. By a barrage of angry slaps.

If anything it's a quick way to beat some of the bitterness out of him — he tolerates being slapped about the head with more aplomb than he did fiery wreckage thrust at him out've the recesses of recent memory. He doesn't try to fend her off.

Just stands with his gun and is soundly spanked with flinches peppered in as muscle twitch dictates.

Slap. Swat.

"— haven't reclaimed anything— "


If Jasmine was waiting for herself to feel better by the time she was through, they'd be here all night, until waking hours tore them apart. A final shove at the chest that does more to lever herself away from him than it does shove him back, particularly with the smoking car just behind him. A shaky breath inwards. "Time isn't ours at all," could almost be a snarl, but words always come across thin, too wavery. Distraught instead, anger frittered away in so many flaily slaps. Smoke soaks the air, the hot smell of searing metal. Gasoline.

"M'sorry," says Calvin, subdued once the swats have petered out and she's pushed away from him and his dramatic coat and bony toes splayed bare amidst safety glass and scrap. Vague but genuine apology. Not as heartfelt as it could be, either, effort muddled against latent, wary resentment.

He hasn't forgotten how this dream began.

Hands go up, press fingertips along reddish hairline, hands obscuring her face as she scrapes back her composure, a minor and weak tremble beneath heavy wool. Long arms then wrap back around her narrow torso. "I don't know if you're sorry," Jasmine says, after a few moments through, her words coming out steadier and wearier, "about the right things." Even in dreaming, her hands still sting from slaps, eyes feel prickly in the air gone dry.

"Probably better to retain nebulous hope than have me clarify."

For a lot of reasons.

The tremble is enough to make Calvin look elsewhere, light eyes and dark kohl. Polite, or something. Also awkward, now that he's made her recognizably upset as opposed to — strictly furious.

"I cannot stand and do nothing."

That gets some silence, standing sad and still angry if muffled with. Angst. Jasmine watches the turn of his face with a hawkish kind of accusation, before she moves again. No mincing steps forward or even authoritative strides — it's something more dreamful. She was there one moment, and gone the next only to reappear sweeping around from behind, a hand to grip his sleeve. The cars are gone, the street cold and empty, much like the look he's getting.

"Neither can I," she confides, and with this impression made, she vanishes again, editing herself out of this dreamscape with the fabric of his sleeve still pinched from her fingers, the scent of her namesake still teased in the general shape she'd made in his periphery.

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