Walking Home


hagan_icon.gif laura_icon.gif

Scene Title Walking Home
Synopsis Hagan walks Laura home after a dinner out. One secret is shared, two are not, a message is passed along, and Laura continues her project of teaching Hagan how to smile.
Date January 17, 2009

Several Streets near the Financial District

Something about the casual Indian restaurant with Bollywood on the TV and plastic over the linen tablecloths that has the Irishman so much more relaxed. Perhaps it's that Hagan knows Mr. Rangan by name or that he helped his daughter Anipa choose a design school. Maybe it's because he actually recognizes the food on the menu, or that the prices are very affordable. All of it together makes him less self-conscious and more talkative.

By the end of the evening, he's smiling more than he has since the bomb. He's walking along the street after he paid and said he was for sure going to walk her home. Stated it for once, instead of just asking. "Can you honestly say you've ever had better naan? Or that…stuff, with the, with the chick peas. And the chicken. Aw hell. The yellow one."

'Home', for Laura, is the Financial District; a bit of a walk after dark, but the white-haired woman doesn't really seem to have noticed it's dark. Just one of those little details she chooses to ignore. "Hummus? Couscous? Curry?" she supplies, taking the shotgun-scatter approach — eventually she's bound to hit the right word… right? Laura laughs easily, and it'd be a strange day indeed to see her without a smile; today doesn't fall under that heading. "I think it was all yellow," she teases Hagan.

"No, no. There were some red ones, you know. And creamy…whiteish…well, okay, mostly yellow. But not entirely." Hagan's adamant about that. He shakes a finger. He…notices the dark, but it doesn't bother him. He can sense any movement in the shadows, so he'll be forewarned of any thuggery. "So uh, did you like the dinner? Really? I know it's not everyone's thing, you know. And it's not precisely gourmet."

"Close enough!" Laura declares, refusing to cede the point. She grins broadly at the shaken finger, undeterred. The grin softens at Hagan's question, the woman sidestepping closer to link her arm with his. "Of course. It was very good. Which is the definition of gourmet, by the way." At least in her book. "It's not like I always pick the most expensive places on the map, you know. That'd get old," Laura concludes, wrinkling her nose in distaste. Boredom = bad. "Not all that often, actually. Just on special occasions." Like completely discomfiting Hagan.

It doesn't really take fancy tablecloths to shake Hagan off his foundation. Laura does that just by paying attention to him, really. "I feel like my manners aren't good enough for those places." He looks around as they pass down a darker part of the street. His power tells him it's safe - that although the streetlight directly above is out, there's no one moving nearby. But it does give him a thought. He stops.

"You…do you want to know what I can do?" It's a self-conscious question. He looks down at the ground, then up at her.

Laura laughs again, pale hair flying as she shakes her head. "Your manners are fine," she disagrees. Mostly because Hagan's still on his best (if bewildered) behavior around her. She looks around as he stops, attempting to guess his purpose. His power? Whatever makes this particular spot opportune for a demonstration fails to present itself to Laura, as her puzzled-but-game expression shows. "Sure!" the woman declares, face dimpling in a cheerful smile. "I asked, didn't I?"

"You did ask. Or rather I got caught and you're sharp," Hagan shifts from foot to foot and scratches his head. "Uh. Well. Promise not to freak out?" He looks left and right, but there's not very many people in the area.

Laura moves back just half a step, giving Hagan a little bit of room to do his fidgeting in. That smile shows no sign of going away; rather, it widens just a trifle at the designation of sharp. She does try! "I promise," she assures Hagan with a semblance of solemnity. A very poor imitation, at that. Requires a throttle on cheerful energy that Laura just doesn't seem to possess.

"Right. Well…" ahem. Hagan extends his arms and then, in a breath, he's swallowed up by darkness. So is she. In fact, everything around them goes black, inky black. The only light is from the second streetlight down in either direction.

Laura's hands come up to her mouth as there's suddenly… nothing to see. Anywhere. She peers left. She peers right. Stands very still. "Oh, that's cool!" Does giddy glee with a small side of envy count as freaking out? "I think I'm jealous." Except jealousy is not usually proclaimed with a broad grin, even if it's mostly hidden behind her hands. Also, she assumes Hagan is still over there somewhere for her to talk at… it's not like she can verify this by sight.

Hagan is. It's clear by the sound of shifting feet and of his breath. He's fairly close. There's the touch of hands on her shoulders. He's hoping she doesn't flinch and freak out. "I control shadows. And things. And darkness, I guess. I can feel…" a beat. He clears his throat. "…I can tell where you are. Even in the dark."

She can hear him moving, but wasn't quite expecting the touch (though she should've been). Laura does start, twisting her head to look over her shoulder and see… a lot of blackness. Her hands come up to cover Hagan's. "Huh." Note to self: no sneaking up on Hagan in the dark. Broad daylight, on the other hand… "I'll have to remember that!" And she grins.

"I should have known this'd make you smile. Everything bloody makes you smile," and then Hagan's moving in closer. She has lots of warning via the warmth radiating off him and his breath. But then he's trying for a kiss. In the dark. Somehow for him, that's less pressure.

A reasonably correct observation, which causes Laura to giggle. "I could stop smiling," she offers brightly, although she doesn't actually do so. "That'd be—" Kinda hard, at least when left to it on her own. Kissing, however, is an effective distraction, and one Laura doesn't mind discarding her prior point for.

It's a tense, unsure kiss from Hagan's end. He's someone who's more used to rejection than anything. But several dates worth of 'I don't think you're reprehensible' has boosted his confidence. He manages to not chicken out for a minute or so at least. When he pulls back, the light level slowly returns to normal. "You're the most optmistic person I've ever met. When…you…you make things feel a bit less shit." His cheeks redden. Fortunately, it's still fairly dark, so it's hard to see.

As Hagan comes back into view, Laura tilts her head slightly, regarding him steadily. The smile that lingered after the kiss broadens again with his uncertain remarks. "Hah. Only a bit?" The woman pretends to pout, but her inability to suppress that smile renders it utterly hopeless. "Talk about faint praise." She slides her hands up so that her arms rest on either of Hagan's shoulders, hands loosely clasped behind his neck. "Thanks." The last statement is the only one that isn't teasing in the least.

"Hey, with things as shit as they are, 'a bit' is a whole hell of a lot. Don't you think?" Hagan's brows go up. He's got a goofy grin on his face. Then again, all of his expressions of anything other than dourness look kind of goofy on him. "I should keep…you know…walking you towards home. It isn't exactly safe here. In the dark." But he doesn't seem in a hurry to. His hands rest on her hips.

"Iiii… suppose you have a point," Laura allows, grinning right back at him. Although hers is less amenable to the label 'goofy'. "Two points, seeing as you would clearly know." Whether or not 'here' was safe, that is. "Better get going, then." Not that she's taking the first step, either, right this minute.

It takes some effort, but Hagan starts to lean in again. What she didn't see the first go-round was the hesitance, like he's not sure he's not going to get slapped. Slowly but surely, he closes the gap for another surprisingly gentle kiss. Well. It seems he can use his mouth for something other than uttering profanities.

Given that no slap was forthcoming last time, and not much has changed in the intervening minute or so, there isn't one in response to the second kiss, either. Laura leans in to meet him, one hand resting lightly on Hagan's shoulder, the other sliding up into his hair, curving over the base of his skull. She doesn't hesitate at all, but she's careful not to push, letting Hagan's confidence (or lack) set the tone.

Hagan's confidence seems to be growing for every minute that Laura doesn't reject him. Not that she's said or done anything to discourage him at all. It's cold, it's dark, but the Irishman doesn't seem to mind, especially with the hand in his hair. He holds her closer, tighter. Then, finally, he breaks off with a slow exhale, though he remains close. "Right. Getting you home. Out of the cold."

That smile really doesn't go away. Ever. "Right," Laura agrees. This time, she does initiate movement down the street, pulling Hagan around to face the right direction and tucking her nearer arm around his waist. Walking.

Hagan just kind of walks along with a goofy look on his face for a few minutes. The closer posture doesn't really help. Ahem. But then he's reminded of something that pushes the more lighthearted expression away. "You…remember my friend from the other night at the restaurant? Rupe?"

Rupe. "Rupert?" What's it… "…Carmichael." Laura dredges the name out of memory, sounding it out a bit slowly. It's not all too hard to recall, though, given how much time she'd spent studying the man not all that long before. "Yeah, I remember," she confirms with a bobbing nod. "Why?"

"He…said he wants to meet you." Hagan's jaw tightens. "He mentioned he knows about your work? Something about getting a better security system for his house." He shakes his head and gives her a slight squeeze.

Laura doesn't reply immediately, although she doesn't delay for an awkwardly long period either. She takes the time to weigh the request and wording; is agreeing particularly wise? But she's Laura. 'Wise' is not a valid descriptor. "Okay," she tells Hagan, nodding. "But I'm not giving him a discount," Laura concludes, grinning.

"No, no of course not. Fucker's rich. Gouge him." But Hagan doesn't say 'fucker' with any malice. In fact, it sounds more like a term of endearment. There's even a tiny twitch of a smile to go along with it. He pats down his jacket and hands her a business card. "He said you can call him at this number."

Accepting the card, Laura looks at it with mild interest, then tucks it away in a pocket of her own coat. "All right; I'll do that," she agrees easily. "How well do you know him?" is her next, cat-curious question.

"Not well. We met recently through a friend. Seems to be a nice enough guy. Little strange, but I guess anyone would be with that kind of money." Hagan half-shrugs. His steps are lazy as they walk towards the Financial District. "Didn't realize you were such a big name in your field." That provokes a little half-grin.

At that, Laura laughs softly. "I'm not," she replies, casting a cheerfully sly smirk his way. "Unless you have quite a bit of money and know the right channels to ask in. I'm very good." She's smug about it, but it's a well-deserved smugness.

"Well. Rupe has that," Hagan's brows go up. "I thought I knew a lot of the rich snobs, but apparently there's a whole other level I've never heard of." He shakes his head. "I don't think he's dangerous." The question wasn't asked, but the answer is given anyway.

"Well, sure. There's the rich snobs, and then there's the people who're just plain rich," Laura explains. "Rich snobs actually give me a fair amount of work, because they're worried enough to always need better security." The woman states that with a dramatic roll of her eyes. "Yeah, he seemed pretty harmless." Half a heartbeat. "At the restaurant." There was no pause. You didn't hear that pause. "Take a left up there. I'm at Le Rivage."

"I suppose the really rich people could replace whatever'd get stolen, hm?" And no worries about Hagan picking up on any pauses. He's not a master of the subtleties in human speech. It's a good day when he understands everything someone is telling him. Not that he's not smart - he is, but there can be culture gaps, or lack of interpretation in pauses, like now. He turns down the street that she indicates. "I'm…glad that you're not freaked out. By what I can do."

"Pretty much!" Laura agrees. They walk around the corner, and she sets her sights upon their destination, lit by the ugly orange output of the block's streetlights — along with softer yellow from the windows of occupied apartments. Such of them as aren't hidden by blinds or curtains, anyway. "I think it's pretty cool," Laura disagrees. "Useful, too. O-or it could be. Somehow."

"Not in graphic design," says Hagan with a twitch that could be called a grin. Because what else could he possibly be doing? Cough. "Em, this building?" he motions towards where he thinks they're headed.

One secret down, two still to go. "That's the one!" Laura affirms brightly. She hops quickly up the stairs to the entrance, turning back to face Hagan. "You want to come up, for a drink or something, or are you headed home yourself?" She figures it's only polite to ask. Save Hagan the difficulty of possibly broaching the subject one way or the other.

Hagan climbs up the stairs after her. The question causes more fishmouthing and shifting than it really should. "I'd really, really love to, but I have a thing. A project due Monday morning, soon as the printer opens. If it's not done by then, then I'm in shit. Pantene will send the shampoo police after me or some bloody thing." He hesitates only briefly, then moves in close. He touches her face gently, and kisses, this time underneath the full illumination of the porch light.

Laura leans into the kiss, then breaks off after a little while, though she doesn't pull back. "Monday's a holiday," she reminds Hagan in an almost singsong voice, the corners of her lips tugging up in a light grin. Then she steps away, turns, opening the building door. Glances back over her shoulder, free hand sketching a brief wave. "I'll call you Monday evening!" And then there was just one pedestrian on the porch.

"What? What kind of holiday is Monday?" Hagan looks a little bewildered, but doesn't try to stop her otherwise. He stands there at her door for a moment, and gathers his thoughts. It's a bit like the puppy waiting at the door after its master has gone away. But the puppy eventually drops back off the stoop, lights a cigarette and starts to walk briskly towards home. With a grin on his face.

January 17th: Bowling For Dinner
January 17th: A Drink with a Walking Stiff
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