deckard_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Vigil
Synopsis On Easter Sunday, Joseph checks in on Deckard to see if the rumours (the ones about serial killing and subsequent captivity) are true. Unfortunately, they are.
Date April 4, 2010

Basement of The Garden

Basements. They are what they are. Cramped, dark and dank. Quiet, save for the occasional scamper of little rodent claws or water rushing through ancient pipes overhead.

Deckard hasn't moved much.

Fire poker pain smoulders in his side in unpredictable waves — worse when he breathes deep and his slatted ribs expand against bandages that are soft but not soft enough. His leg beyond that doesn't seem so bad. In and out the calf. No organs to rupture, no nicked bone.

He's cuffed to a cot, flat on his back now with the sheets kicked down by bare feet to an uneven rumple on the floor to expose the clammy sheen about the rest of him. Nightmares all day means he isn't tired at night, and occasionally his eyes sear off their bleary lack of focus to burn blue at the ceiling until he gets bored of that too.

His clothes are clean. One set of many his size and shape left forgotten at a Ferry post weeks or even months ago. The dress shirt is rumpled and nearly white, open from collar to gut over an undershirt and dark jeans. He looks sick. He could use a shave.

His hands are shaking and have been long enough now that it no longer distracts him.

Joseph's been awake for a while. There was a sunrise service at Calvary Cemetery for Easter Sunday, and though it's hard to tell down here, the hazy winter sky has switched over into pressing on into noon. A few hours before he'll want to make a decision between staying here or heading back to Queens, because once the forewarned blizzard of the day kicks in, there will be no travel for him. Actually coming here, however— that was less of a question.

When the basement door eases open, not only does the hazy interior illumination above filter in, but the warmer orb of light that transmits from the swinging gas lamp he's using to guide his way down. He's put his coat by the door upstairs, which also has a handgun hidden in the depths of his pockets, which just seemed like a good idea since the last time he came up this way and the— wild dogs and—

From Teo's words, Joseph kind of feels like he's walking into the den of one. It's a feeling that passes soon enough, by the time he's moving down the stairs.


Stainless steel chain slithers over itself like dragon scales in the gloom, and by the time Joseph makes it to the bottom of the stairs, twin rings of spectral blue have zeroed out into fine focus through shadows pitched long by the (former) pastor's gas lamp. What lurks down here has its canine qualities.

Unfortunately, deliberate malice is one of Flint's more distinctly human traits.

It smells a little like stale vomit down here to boot, dry air's chilly circulation not quite enough to keep the stink from sticking in the stretches between fresh buckets. Fortunately more substantial stenches have been cancelled out by the fact that he isn't eating.

Which brings us back to muttly shows of resistance all the way down to a hunkering of his shoulders at the sound of his name, elbow-propped half sit bristled and spined with stale sweat.

There is a lot wrong about this situation, on enough levels that Joseph can't really quite recoil all at once. Too many smaller specifics, half-formed memories and the lambent glare of eyes that see through you and the admittedly familiar smell of sickness and close confines kind of just form together to create an ambient sort of. Wrongness. The light from the lamp weaves and swings like nausea, before Joseph sets about hanging it up, letting it fall golden light all the way over to Deckard's cot, showing first the sheen of sweat and the shine of metal chains than it does the subtleties of expression and body language.

Maybe for the best. "You wonderin' how you got here yet?" Joseph asks, finally, lowering a black gaze from where he's secured the lamp to shift it uneasily towards his friend. His voice is as quiet as it is rough. "They said you was unconscious when you did and so I don't mean that literal. I mean in the first place.

"Christ Almighty, you look like hell."

Deckard watches. …Maybe too intently. Lamp first, then Joseph moving closer, the gun in his pocket burning white hot and heavy enough to fall through to the floor. If only things worked that way.

Realistically, x-ray vision is no accurate measure of heat, and if he stares for much longer it'll be obvious what he's staring at, so. His glare ticks pale-washed against yellow light to twitch over Joseph's face. Skull. Muscle. Face again. Detail's hardly necessary to discern feeling from translucent flesh. Long face a hard, bitter blank, Flint settles himself a little deeper back into his broody recline, taking some of the pressure off his far side in the process. A tremor run from hand to wrist rattles the chain there and he coughs.

Not an answer. "Whatever you're selling," one wrist lifts enough to scrub at the corner of his mouth, clearing dribble away at an uncoordinated scuff on his way to rolling flatly back on to his back hard enough that the blood drains cold from his face. "I gave at the office."

Joseph halts. Stands. Tries to do it at some distance so that he's not looming over the other man, his arms folded across his chest and shoulders tucked in against the unrepentent chill in the air. Being a rather restrained individual, it's unusual that he is visibly so, like right now, where silence clamps down and his body language closes off — incidentally, it happens to look a lot like being intimidated. His fingers clench into his sweater sleeves, and there's the minute scrape of his heel against the ground in a minor fidget.

Uncomfortable silence. But at least he's not trying to fill it with— no never mind. "What do you need? I'm sellin' nothing because I got no idea. I wish I did."

Silences are as much Deckard's armor as the occasional dose of venom he's capable of delivering. Once shocky pain has ebbed away into a fresh flush of endorphin warmth, he tries to relax as much as he can into the quiet. One muscle group at a time. Arms and chest and legs for as many seconds as it takes him to arch his back restlessly off the cot again, head turned away with brows knit and bare fingers flexed open and closed amidst the shakes. There's a writhing quality to it — constant, painful motion that stops when he catches himself and starts again when he can't stand the stillness any longer anyway.

It hasn't taken him very long to become pathalogically bored out of his skull.

What he's looking at now is a mystery — some activity going on outside or upstairs that isn't Joseph and doesn't look like Joseph or sound like him. "I don't know."

This place isn't really made for comfort. Storing basic supplies, a generator, a couple of guns, and Flint Deckard chained to a bed with the minor tremors of a man possessed. Joseph steps closer, naturally attracted to pitiful things, as much as he hates being that pitiful thing. "Yeah, I— dunno what I can do," he admits, gaze dipping down to where his shoes are set against the concrete floor, peering over folded arms. "Suppose that's why this is the first time I heard about any of this, huh? God knows, Flint, I thought you was— just— going off on your own again as you do. But he said that you—

"He said that you killed a bunch of people. An' that you're out of control." There's some measure of desperate accusation buffered by Joseph's usually mild tone of voice, a quick glance over Deckard from head to toe. "I don't believe that. I don't think that— Abby's power coulda stuck to someone who was like that. What happened? You were doing good."

"Abigail's ability was a genetic parasite with an agenda. It forced me to be better to accomodate its own needs. Then it left," Deckard tells the far wall, tone mildly matter-of-fact where his brow hoods down into glacial resentment over eyes cold enough to burn.

"I realized nothing matters."

This the sort of sweeping statement that typically entails elaboration. Instead, there's a sift of cotton over cotton and a deep drawn breath that he refuses to wince against, lambent eyes pitched hollow in his head when he rolls stiffly away onto his side.

His left hand stays awkwardly behind, twisted at the small of his back with its faint rattle and fresh bruising black around the wrist.

The ideal thing would be for Joseph to unhook the lamp, creep back up stairs, and leave Deckard back alone to the room that's only as dark as he wants it to be. Instead, there's an elongation of silence, probable uncertainty, and he might feel if not see Joseph's focus somewhere upon the horizontal tip of his spine. Then, the sound of drawn breath, and a scuffed step closer. "I never really thanked you proper," he starts, unable really to hide a certain amount of tension in his voice, which really only communicates he's hiding something else. Temper.

Frustration. "For what you did f'me, back at Abby's.

"'s the kind of situation where people only got kind words or the option to look the other way, and you didn't. So— for what it's worth, anyhow. Thanks. For not bein' as bad as you seem to think y'are, Flint Deckard."

He considers leaving it there. Then asks, in a tone that communicates only open curiousity: "Where do you picture this finishing? All've this."

"I don't like losing people," says Flint, selfish motivation again confessed flatly to the wall rather than to Sumter. And if he can't feel the younger man's stare, he can certainly feel the step he takes closer. Air currents change in their whisk through the sweat-spined hairs buzzed down at the back of his head, every sensation amplified by chilly evaporation and the hollow ache in his skull.

Meanwhile temptation rises like bile in the pit of his chest, tension bit into the base of his neck, where fresh ink stands out black against the sickly pallor of him. He could see at a glance how far away he is. Overpower him. Bite, claw and strike after the gun he knows is there.

Instead he closes his eyes, x-ray glow snuffed out after a while spent listening and breathing and…not much else. "Someone will kill me. Maybe Teo."

There's a soft huff of breathing at that. Doubt. Disbelief. Then again, Joseph might not have believed this scenario too — New York City is all about shattering his notions of the way things work in the most violent ways possible. He doesn't seem to believe that Flint might attack him, either, for all his minor worry and hesitation at the top of the stairs.

"I don't like losing people either," he states, eventually. "Not in this life. Do want me to stay?" A beat, then: "Do you mind if I stay?"

No answer is not the most reassuring of answers one way or the other, but Deckard is less intimidating than he could be when all six feet of him is laid out sideways on a cot sorting out claustrophobia and bullet holes and substance abuse. Facing away, eyes turned off, locked down here like a rabid animal the refugees upstairs probably have no idea even exists. "You can stay."

Eventually, there's the scratch of the lamp being taken down, the light wildly flinging up the sides of the wall with even the most minute of swings. It withdraws, but not far — enough to be set down slightly more distance away from Deckard, because only Joseph really needs the light. There's a creak of a step, but no further — the pastor perches down at the bottom of the staircase, breathes out a sigh that strikes out as steam even down here, and loops his arms around his knees.

What he hopes to accomplish by keeping some kind of vigil in the dank, dark basement is unclear, apart from being present for the time being whether the other man in the room wants such a thing or not. It's something he himself had come to miss (whether he wanted it or not), and so provides. Chances are, Joseph doesn't get too bored easily anymore.

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