Watch Yourself


marisa_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Watch Yourself
Synopsis A cop and an ex-coroner meet in a bookstore…
Date May 27, 2019

Prufrock's Books

Moving long distances was never an easy or fun affair — especially moving from Ohio to New York City. It’s always complicated and exhausting and stressful, and there’s always the worry that you forgot something irreplaceable that will be lost forever — or at least, lost until you have the nerve to visit your parents and deal with them begging you to come back home again.

At least the neighborhood she’s moved into has a bookstore with a coffee shop attached to it. Marisa’s own coffee maker is in a box in the maze that is her new apartment, and her body is crying out for some form of the liquid gold known as caffeine; rather than expend energy she doesn’t have to get the energy that she needs, the woman has opted to instead pay a visit to Prufrock’s for said energy.

It’s a warm and clear day, and the blonde has opted for comfort during her move-in. A pair of purple capri leggings covers her lower half, with a loose-fitting black t-shirt with “D.A.R.E” written across the front in bold red lettering completing her top half; a simple pair of sneakers finishes it all off. She slips into the shop quietly, peering up at the menu for a moment; upon deciding, she makes her way up to the counter, ordering a nice Americano. That’ll help out, she’s sure.

A sound is coming from the front of the shop - the furniture she walked past, set in an area made to look like a little mini living room.

Someone with plenty of experience in the matters of stress and moving both is sitting on the edge of an otherwise empty sofa that faces a long coffee table and the few comfortable but unoccupied chairs that surround it. Surprise, it's Zachery, dressed in white dress shirt and black slacks. There's a brand new book next to him, but it seems to have lost his interest for now. He's hunched over, a big mug of coffee topped with cream in one hand, and a splint keeping three of his fingers bundled up and sticking straight out on the other.

He's using said splint, to reach over to the coffee table and the chess set that stands atop it. It's been left mid-game, pieces scattered. He has been, very slowly and between sips of his coffee, knocking over all of the white pieces. They clatter to the board with tiny, sharp noises of hard wood on wood. Marisa's passing by has him angle his head, just slightly, to turn his good eye toward her. Then back to the board.

Thwap. Tik.

The coffee comes in rather short order; when taken, the woman thanks the barista, and requests that she make another one, nice and hot, five minutes from now. Then, stepping away, the woman dumps a decent amount of sugar into the coffee, giving it a single stir; a small stopwatch on her wrist is given a few button presses.

Drinking coffee is not something that Marisa does for the taste of it. Sure, she enjoys the taste, but this is about the caffeine. In order to get the most bang for her bucks, there is a process that has to be followed.

The woman sets the stopwatch, and takes a testing sip of the scalding hot liquid; she winces exactly once as the liquid hits her tongue, tapping it against the roof of her mouth a few times. Then, suddenly, without flinching, the woman chugs the scalding caffeinated beverage without further flinching. Outwardly, it’s just a woman chugging a hot beverage in record time.

Zachery, with his particular ability, will likely notice the change that makes this possible.

At first, there is no change in his behaviour. He takes a healthy (unhealthy?) glug of his own drink - not quite as hot - and reaches for yet another white chess piece to knock down — but then… he cants his head, again. His nose wrinkles, as if at an alarm going off… somewhere. Not here, it seems.

Slowly, his hand is pulled back from the game board, and settles in his lap. With a shift of his weight, he hooks al elbow up and over the back of the sofa and turns to watch Marisa, eyebrows popping up over both real and fake eye as he does so. Openly, mostly looking at her face, though trailing (a little ungentlemanly) downward without thought.

His mouth opens, but… somehow the only thing he manages is a click of his tongue. The Safe Zone never stops giving, does it.

For a moment, Marisa doesn’t notice the eyes on her — she’s too busy chugging the contents of a large Americano, with only sugar to cut the taste. There’s a reason for this, not that Zachery knows it — if she keeps her ability busy with the coffee, it won’t have time to react to the sudden surge of caffeine coursing through her veins.

In record time, the coffee is finished and the empty cup is summarily tossed into the trash. With a glance at the stopwatch, the woman quietly wanders over to a bookshelf, perusing the book selection with a thoughtful expression.

A book is somewhat hastily selected — it’s one she was intending to read anyhow — and Marisa then makes her way back to the front, paying for the two coffees and the book. When the Barista moves to make the coffee, the woman shakes her head, holding up one hand. “Give it another minute,” she murmurs. Timing is everything.

And the whole time, Zachery keeps staring. She's got his full attention, a smirk slowly coming to pull at his lips as he considers… a plethora of possibilities.

Finally, when that coffee is rejected, he kicks out a leg in front of him and frowns, slumping back against the cushions. "… I'm sorry - excuse me - are you…?" He stops, narrows his eyes as he cracks a grin, and then starts over: "What in the world are you doing?"

Owlishly, the woman blinked as Zachery finally addresses her; for a moment, she looks at him like he has a monster on his shoulder or something. Then, her face breaks into a charming grin as she suddenly recalls that she is not in Ohio any more, and that people haven’t gotten used to her particular routine yet.

“Making sure I can get at least some benefit from caffeine,” she replies, watching as the Barista preps the coffee with her approval on the timing. “My ability makes benefits from coffee…difficult to obtain?” She shrugs. “So I have to use this particular technique.”

Then, she’s holding up a finger toward Zach as her timer beeps, and the barista hands her the coffee. Again, she measures some sugar into the cup, and takes a experimental sip with a small wince. Again, something changes in her. And again, she promptly guzzles down the coffee like it’s a cold glass of water.

Getting comfortable on the sofa, pulling a knee up onto the seat cushion as things ping off in his brain, Zachery's head gives a small, incredulous shake.

"And you have to… have a taste first?" Without waiting for an answer, he lifts his injured hand in a vague gesture. "Come on, sit. Unless you're in a hurry. What's your name?"

“Something like that?” She doesn’t go into much detail. For a moment, she quietly examines the man, rather clearly sizing him up. This doesn’t last long, and with a small shrug she settles into her seat; she takes her time a bit more with this cup, though she’s still drinking it much faster than most would drink a cup of scalding hot coffee.

“Marisa Blomgren. Soon to be detective in the newly reinstated NYPD.” She says that proudly — this position has been her goal all along, even before the civil war. “And you are?” She offers a smile as she slams back the last of her coffee, setting it down. She could do a third cup, but she’ll settle for two for now.

"… Oh." Zachery replies, with all of the surprise and upward-lilting tone of either someone who is very impressed with this title, or someone who is very quickly sifting through his recent memories to figure out if he should be concerned. The sizing up, however, appears not to worry him. If nothing else, he seems to facilitate it by rolling his shoulders back and sprawling on his sofa. Which is all his, apparently.

"Doctor Zachery Miller," He offers all too easily, "Decidedly not soon to be a detective, though I've worked with my fair share of them. Used to be deputy coroner, down in Harlem." He shoots her a smile from over the rim of his own coffee, practiced and pleasant, "Glad to hear things are going to be up and running again, soon."

The reaction is filed away — she’ll probably try to look up Zachery once she gets her clearances, if only because she’s nosy and likes to peek at any priors that might be lurking around. “Oh really!” A bright smile is plastered across her face. “Perhaps they’d be interested in hiring you back.”

She settles on a plush-looking oversized chair, sinking into the seat with a soft sigh. It’s nice, being back in New York. It’s also nice not being in the overwhelming mess that is her apartment right now. “I’m glad, too,” she replies, a bit more relaxed now. “It gave me the push I needed to get out of Ohio.

Zachery breathes out a laugh and pushes further back into his seat. "No, I don't think they would be, but - it's alright, I'm," he hesitates, finding just the right wording, "forging a new path."

He takes a sip from his coffee, then when that one apparently doesn't suffice, a greater glug still. "So here you are, the smell of Ohio still clinging to your hair, so to speak, telling a stranger about the ability you have after he told you you were drinking funny."

If he's making a point, he's not going to spell it out.

The woman upends the cup of scalding hot liquid, finishing the coffee in record time. His answer prompts more curiosity to blossom in the detective’s mind — she’ll definitely be peeking at this one’s file. Zachery Miller. The name is filed away into the back of her mind. “Good on you, then,” she replies with a charming smile.

“Well, to a point.” She shrugs, setting the empty coffee cup down and folding one foot under herself, getting nice and comfortable. “We’ll just say that I’m difficult to harm, which is probably a good thing in my chosen profession.” She peers over the book she’s picked up for a moment, then back to Zachery with raised brows.

And he's still staring straight at her, fingers rapping an idle rhythm on the paper cup he's holding.

"I imagine it's not just… coffee-related incidents, then." Probably a joke, if the smirk on Zachery's face is anything to go by. "You know what, though," he pauses, speaking with the sort of calculated tone of someone who knows they might be on thin ice, "if you haven't yet fully tested the boundaries of that, it may be worth pursuing."

“Oh, I’m very much familiar with the boundaries of my ability.” She says this with an unflinching smile, though there’s a certain underlying note of threat thinly veiled beneath that cheerful exterior. If Zachery has any social finesse at all, he’ll likely recognize that this is not the most ideal line of conversation to hold with the detective — she knows her capabilities and is unwilling to divulge those to a total stranger. The basics are enough.

“So do you often grill people about their abilities when you first meet them, Dr. Miller?” The blonde woman raises her brows, a smile that almost reaches her eyes slapping itself onto her face.

In contrast, Zachery's expression of smug amusement seems all the more sincere. One arm slung over the armrest, he chuckles. "This is grilling?" His splinted hand awkwardly scoops up the book next to him, and he works it open with the soft crackle of dried glue on the spine giving way for the first time. His attention is turned downward to its table of contents, rather than at Marisa. If she should like an out, this may be the right moment to grab it.

"I apologise, Ms. Blomgren." He says, his tone implying the opposite, "I do have a bit of a habit of reaching for the pie in the windowsill."

“Close to it,” Marisa replies with a charming smile. She can’t help it, the guy gives her weirdo vibes and it makes her not want to talk about what she can do. Along with the fact that he said the newly formed NYPD would not want him back…well. She’ll have to read his file before further revealing conversations happen.

“It’s quite alright, Dr. Miller,” she replies, that smile unwavering. She glances down to her stopwatch as the alarm beeps at her, pushing a button again…and Zachery can probably see why she has such a timer, the change reversing itself. And then, shortly after, another change comes, and the caffeine she consumed so rapidly suddenly can’t do its job any longer because she’s immune to it.

Blue eyes turn down to the book, glancing over the cover. Wolves of Valhalla. “Been looking for this one everywhere. It was impossible to find in Ohio.” She mostly mumbles this to herself, but it’s an open invitation to further conversation, should Zachery desire.

Indeed, Zachery's attention on the book in his lap seems cursory at most - at least until a few moments after the alarm beeps again.

At her stoking the fire of conversation, he breathes sharply out through his nostrils. He doesn't immediately answer, instead choosing to leaf through his book first, fingers running along the edge of each page he examines before finally replying, "So's this sort of crime rate, I imagine. I hope the books are worth it."

“All the more reason for me to be here instead of there,” she replies, eyes lingering on the cover of the book for a moment, before turning up to her fellow bookstore patron, one brow arching higher than the other. “The NYPD has a lot of work ahead.”

She sounds rather confident that they’ll get the job done, at least. “I like our chief of police, and I haven’t found one of his appointees that I don’t like yet.” She smiles. “I feel that our police force is in good hands,” though surely there’s a bit of bias there from the woman who is about to join said police force.

"You're basically starting over, aren't you. I find that sort of ambition admirable, if I'm honest." Zachery's tone is flat, but this may be due to the fact that he's still idly browsing his own purchase.

He looks back up at Marisa again, but only barely lifts his face to do so, staring at her from below lowered brow. He lifts his coffee to finish the drink, but not before asking, "Though I do hope not all of you are coming from Ohio."

Or, presumably, other places that aren't here.

“In a way. I’m not new to the city. I was here during the war,” she explains, though no further details are offered; Zachery will have to ask to get more out of her about that one. Her own eyes turn back down to the book, flipping a page open to read the blurb.

“As far as I’m aware, I’m the only Buckeye to make the cut,” she points out with a small smirk, leaning back in her seat and crossing her legs at the knee. “So what is it that you do now, since you’re certain that the NYPD wouldn’t want to hire you back on as a coroner?”

After a brief squint, Zachery slides his empty cup out onto the chessboard on the table in front of the sofa, through a few knocked over white pieces that are roll out of the way.

Calmly, then, leafing through his book again, he answers with his expression pulled into something a little more neutral, "I mainly sell cadavers and vital organs on the black market."

The first response from the woman is about as raw as they come — her eyebrows raise up on her forehead as high as they can go, a look of genuine surprise replacing the smirk she wore moments ago. It is followed by her brows knitting together slightly as she ponders the legality of what he just said.

As far as she knows, it’s not actually illegal to sell cadavers. The vital organs part isn’t so legal, if she can recall. “That sounds risky,” she replies simply, brows raising again.

"Only if you're not wearing gloves," Zachery answers absentmindedly, frowning down at a page in his book as though it's more interesting than the conversation is. He continues to muse— "Or if you don't wait until they're dead before you dig in, but that's a sorry sight I try to avoid seeing. It's all well and good slicing a kidney free for a quick buck, but that becomes more difficult when the movement starts, right? It's so easy to underestimate how tightly someone can grab onto your wrist until they're trying to fight you for their own organs."

Man, if only it was June 10th and not May 27th — Marisa would be slapping a pair of handcuffs on this fellow faster than he could say ‘illegal organ harvesting’. Fortunately for Zachery, however, the woman has no jurisdiction here, and so he gets to avoid staring at a wall in a jail cell — at least, for another two weeks he does.

“Got a card?” She nonchalantly examines the blurb on the back of her book that she was so eager to get. “When you have an ability like mine, you never know when you might need a new liver because someone shot you in it. Don’t happen to perform any medical care, do you?” She puts the question in such a way that she sounds doubtful, hopefully enough to get Zachery to spill the beans some more — he’s so delightfully willing to divulge too much.

Stopping his page-turning halfway, Zachery murmurs in a low tone of voice, simply, "… Wait." Still half-sunk into the sofa, leg kicked out, sitting almost as nonchalantly as he possibly could, he ever so slooowly lifts his face to level a stare at Marisa's.

He searches her expression for something while his own morphs into something that looks to be downright gleeful. Maybe with a side order of idle mockery. "Did you think I was serious?" Her questions are met with more questions still, perhaps unhelpfully. Less helpful still is that Zachery appears to be having a great time asking them. "An ex-coroner, with about a decade of law studies under his belt? Are you joking?"

“One never knows, in this day and age,” she replies, a laid-back smile on her face; whatever he may have been searching her expression for, he’s unlikely to find it. “The war was hard. People have to do what they have to do, right? It’s not like it’s outlandish to consider a doctor working independently in this day and age.” She chuckles softly, before turning to quietly peer over at the coffee bar, apparently eyeballing some of the baked goods available in the glass display case.

“Good health care is difficult to find, in any case. I mean, there are hospitals of course, but they don’t really get the funding they need.” She shrugs, turning her gaze back down to the book. “It’s a shame,” she adds.

"They certainly don't," Zachery answers with an eagerness that lingers on his words, a laugh still threatening in the way he seems to deliberately suck in a breath to keep it from leaving him in a way he'd rather it didn't. "I'm sorry, I don't, ah- have a card, actually. Not on me."

Not technically a lie.

He closes his book with a thwap of pages caught between cover clapping shut, and slowly begins to rise from his seat. "If you'd like, I could certainly refer you to some very decent doctors at Elmhurst Hospital. I worked there until recently, when I changed jobs." He pauses, for a beat. "To organ thief - I mean, shit - to work at Raytech Industries."

Now he laughs, at his own shitty joke. Just can't help himself.

“Well, I know where to look if I need a new pancreas. I get shot at a lot.” She takes her role as human meat shield rather seriously. With a smirk, the woman tucks her book under her arm, raising to her feet right along with Zachery, that cheerful, amused smile never leaving her face.

The smile is a good poker face. Most people don’t look past it.

“Maybe you should steal yourself an eye while you’re at it.” A small jibe, one that she knows probably won’t sting too much, but you know. “In any case, now that I’m a bit more awake, I should go unpack.” She tilts her head toward Zachery, brows raising. “Watch yourself.”

And without another word,s he turns on her heel, exiting the bookstore.

Zachery has seen a lot of smiles, and he focuses on this one in a way some people might not - from behind a more genuine grin of his own. One that twitches slightly to one side as his eye is mentioned. Or lack thereof.

There's something almost prideful in the way he stays standing, angling his head upward a little as she leaves him to his spot. No doubt committing her name to memory the same way she did his. "Take care, now, detective. Don't go losing anything you can't do without for long."

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