When Suddenly, And Without Warning


abby2_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif f_john_icon.gif

Scene Title When Suddenly, And Without Warning
Synopsis A few rounds of awkward conversation are interrupted by a gentleman with mysterious motives and an even more mysterious ability. Mild emotional turmoil ensues. Da doo.
Date May 24, 2009

Outside of Old Lucy's

Sometimes after 7 pm. Sun has set, but the sky is still light. The side doors to Old Lucy's are open, a red head parked on a box at the door. White dress, white flats hair up and back. It's Sunday and she doesn't work on Sundays, had been stopping in to pick up her paycheck and to help a little bit by bringing some of the boxes of alcohol from the basement up when it seemed like they were out of some bottled drinks.

Gotten enough cool air though, the door to the side is closed, the messenger bag at her side picked up. Her helmet has long since been deposited and her scooter is now back at the Village Renaissance till she can deal with it. It's been a long and tiring day for Abigail and it seems like it might get longer.

It's really not cool enough out to call for a leather jacket, but Deckard is in his anyway. Waterstained, scuffed and scarred, it's a better visual approximation of his various mental malfunctions than the rest of him on account of being immune to Abigail's tender ministrations. The dress shirt underneath is white and has been ironed by someone who may or may not have been paying attention to what they were doing. His jeans are clean, his belt is fastened.

He's still inside when he notices Abby outside, beer abandoned with a meager tip so that he can sidle through younger pairs of shoulders and then out the door entirely. He's only a little off balance against the blasting breeze that greets him out there, blue eyes squinted against the wind while he tries to get his bearings, then starts off for the side alley, boots scuffing along at a familiar pace.

Scuffling footsteps in an alley. That's worthy of a look over her shoulder. And it's flint. "Hey" She answers, pausing a few feet from the mouth of the alley. A beer bottle is kicked, having gotten loose from it's compatriots waiting to be hauled off for recycling. "Elisabeth said you'd be around. That you needed something?" She's got her own leather jacket on, the one that Teo managed to ninja onto her, he and Sonny. She wasn't about to argue. "Didn't see you at the church yesterday, though I left a message"

"Hey." Deckard's voice is a few shades coarser than usual, grit and cigarette tar cleared out with a scuzzy cough while he tucks his hands into his jacket pockets and lingers awkwardly at the alley's mouth. His shoulder lifts into a bland shrug at news of Elisabeth's message, slumping back down into its previous slack set in time for the offer of a subject change he'd rather not deal with. "I was afraid I might OD on warm and fuzzies."

'Fair enough. Pastor Joseph didn't think you'd show up either" Abby shrugs her shoulders. "I'm heading home, do you need me for anything?" He had a vision, and she was in it, helping him. So, she was offering, just in case. Who knows.

Flint's brows tip up, matter of fact in their easy acceptance of Joseph's accurate absence of faith. His eyes are dark, hooded and colorless in the shadows cast by the ridges in his skull. Probably should've just stayed inside; kept to himself. He's already retreating, even, right foot bracing back a few inches into the beginnings of his first step away. "No."

"When do you need me to come and look at this guy Elisabeth says is with you? She didn't tell me much, just that she wanted me to look him over and see if there was anything off, she thought there might be something off. Something I could help with" Her hand tightens around the strap of her messenger bag even as she takes her own few steps forward, bring her closer to him.

The days keep getting longer. There's still a tincture of light in the sky now, flattening out the possibility of stars and staving off the emergence of the moon's rock-candy relief. It annoys John that he notices these small, insignificant things, skims them up like fish, and that he feels the scraping, peeling passage of time as acutely as being dragged bodily down the sidewalk, but it's been two months now and he still has nothing but an empty name in his ownership despite all of Edward's assurances.

It was salt to the wound, when he'd thought he'd— almost— recognized the back of that girl-whore's head, and nothing at all of the FBI agent who'd been fingering his cuffs.

Anyway. Anyway, he's clippety-clopping in with an ornery expression on this fine dusk, his caveman forehead hanging heavy over dark eyes, dissatisfaction write in blocky sans-serif in the corners of his shoulders. Despite Deckard's superior height in inches, John appears large and ill-tempered enough to constitute a considerable physical barrier, to his exeunt out the alleyway. "Excuse me," he calls out, to both man and young woman. Either. Both. He's interrupting; knows he's interrupting. Doesn't care enough to be tactful in asking, "Do I know you?"

"I'm not sure he wants help." Dreary honesty drags at the observation, further confirmed by the absence of Niles's presence at Deckard's side now. "If he decides he does, I might be in contact. Otherwise, I dunno. We may have to…" May have to what? He trails of at the interruption that is a male voice at his back, shoulders following the sharp turn of his scruffy head in slower kind.

What little light there is left in the sky is not nearly enough to account for the color in his eyes. Too bright, too blue, ringed as distinct as retina reflection without benefit of an exterior source to reflect. He's stiff, paranoid, alert. And he takes an automatic step sideways once he's all the way around, placing himself more directly between Geico Caveman and Abigail as his hands fall out of his pockets.

His mouth opens to say something. NO, or fuck off, or get the hell out of here. …Only it closes again instead. His brows twitch into a faint knit. Huh.

Deckard's movement, the placement of himself is not lost on Abby. Annoyance maybe at the protectiveness that he's giving off, but it fades soon enough and she white knuckles her messenger bag strap a little more. "Flint?" A wealth of questions in that one word. Is it safe? Should I run? Should I grab my phone and scream rape?

The recognition that jumps out of Deckard's lupine-narrow face looks a lot like the stuff that Felix's differently bony mug had framed. Hostile. Wary. Excited in all the wrong ways. Plus, you know, glowy Jawa eyes— and holy fuck, John Doe knows what a Jawa is. Disconcerted by this muddled autowreck of revelations, John actually steps back too, a clumsy half-retreat, his heels jarring a rusted tin of moulding protein away behind him. His eyes dart over to Abby. Or, you know, the red corner of Abby's head peeking up behind Flint's shoulder.

That's a new one. 'Rape.' John certainly hopes not.

"You're safe," he reassures the girl. John's voice cracks in the middle of the sentence and he has to cough up the next one. "I…" Though it fizzles anyway. "You're both Evolved, right? But you don't have dangerous abilities. Look— mine isn't, either. I was told to come here. I'm trying to figure some things out. You help people," he finishes, lamely: not that he'd been eavesdropping or anything. Edward's going to kill him.

"I dunno," is the best Deckard can give for Abby's inquiry. And he doesn't. His recognition is a vague thing at best, made hazy by time and the absence of context and intervention. It's on the tip of his tongue — on the tip of his brain. Then it's gone entirely, leaving him to squint with equal parts distraction and puzzlement while the bigger, broader guy steps back and looks to Abby. Deckard's head tilts aside, intercepting again in less-than-subtle fashion, reassurances of safety or no.

He's silent for the duration of John's explanation, cracked and disjointed as it is, and then for a little longer after that. "Lemme guess: glasses, buggy eyes, told you to say the Ferry sent you…?"
Ferryman wouldn't send anyone to her. Ferryman call, she meets, and they shuffle her somewhere. For once, Abigail lets Flint do all the talking. Buggy eyes, glasses. The description isn't ringing a bell in her mind. So the redhead stays silent, a glance to the side doors, almost willing someone to come out, exit the side door in a drunken stupor. Or for Huruma to have been on duty and feel the worry and alarm coursing through her. There's always the basement. She could pry the door open and slip in, in the time it would take for flint to probably bean the guy.

Edward has buggy eyes and glasses and a tendency to hand out working deceptions, which was probably why he hadn't handed John this one. Figures. The one time he tries to construct a lie as to his purpose for himself, it's for better intentions and promptly associated with Doctor Ray's megalomaniacal machinations. He frowns at the pair for a protracted moment, feeling distinctly foolish, and looking how he feels. Yep. Buggy eyes and glasses.

"Well," he says, presently. "Nnno. No boats." His mouth flattens and it brings out the lines of age in his face like someone had raked them in with a pick. Both of the long, broad-knuckled hands he'd hung down his sides pop suddenly open, like automatic knives flipped out of their handles.

John Doe isn't the quickest draw in Manhattan, or in the mob of his time-traveling peers, or even between the grizzled grave-robber and his Louisianan companion, but his is the distinct advantage of carrying his weapons around in his DNA and aiming at stationary targets out of his palms. The simplicity of the action is brutally mathematical, as many of the operations he's conducted at Edward's behest have been. Red lightning arches out. Two lances blended almost into a single dense column of bleeding electricity, crashing vertigo through the narrow scaffolding of Deckard's torso and through Abby's fair-skinned brow, chasing a brighter flare of color through the sanguine tendrils of her hair.

First of all, Deckard's eyes go out.

No boats. Then Case is moving, and so is Deckard, both so quickly that things seem to happen very. Slowly. The splay of his right hand claws up under the beaten cover of his coat in search of cold composite, demon eyes as blind to red bolts of crackling energy as they are to flesh and blood. The gun swings out, soft leather giving way to gunmetal grey in a single swift movement.

Not fast enough. The alley pitches from black and bone to brown and battered brick, and no amount of reflexive, panic-driven dilation at the open shutter of his pupils is going to bring it back. He blinks hard, staggers sideways into damp bricking, forty-year old knees ill-maintained and disinclined to keep him him standing straight against the rush of asphalt under his feet.

Even as his hands are opened, palms getting ready to disgorge their strange red electricity, Abigail's turning, making a break for it while Deckard gets his gun. Run Abigail. She wishes that she'd left that damned door open, that flint had left it open when he'd passed through it. Red hair swinging up in an arc with her turn, the vertigo hits her within moments of John Doe's ability and she closes her eyes, stumbling a few steps, but still trying to get away. Maybe it's like that man's ability at the bridge. Distance will help, distance has to help.

And John Doe, soulless doll that he is, begins to move. There's the sound of quickened breathing, retreat scratching backward. Gun. He could tell— Deckard was going for a fucking gun. Valuing life and limb even without the story of their origin, this serves as a cold-shock reminder that these things are all the more precious being all he has left.

Still, there's a belated apology hiccuping out of him as he goes, belated, errant, escaping in the wrong direction like a retarded child. "Sorry guys."

The corner of his jacket slaps the wall's mouldy corner like an old man claps his thigh in appreciation of a badly told joke. Good one, kid. John clips the rim of a garbage can stumbling around to see where he's going and scuffs onward, his shoulders hiked up high, defensive in the face of something and somebody who isn't here to offer censure in any appreciable form, his eyes darting furtively behind the rigid lines of his scowl. He fades out into the night.

Sorry guys. Somehow, Deckard has found his way safely onto his ass, back propped up partway against moldering brick in a dumb rhinoceros sit. Gun held slack in one hand, the other lifted aimlessly away from his side, he sits, and…sits some more.

No amount of staring at things is bringing them into focus. No amount of blinking or squinting or furrowing over his brow is peeling flesh from bone or grime from stone. The reflex is gone. It's like forgetting how to talk.

"Flint!" Abigail calls from the far end of the Alley when John Doe has taken off. Go back, stay? What should she do? Times like these she needs to remember what Xiulan has been teaching her instead of running like a little pansy. The vertigo's gone, leaving just her, calling back. "Flint!"

"I'm here," Deckard observes more than he announces, rather as if he's too hazy to be 100% sure that he actually is. There's a fumbling clatter when the gun drops itself off the tips of his fingers, discarded. Doe is gone; there's no one to shoot, and he's no longer exceptional in his ability to pick out hiding places in the dark.

"Who was that?" masked man… or well, strange man. Certain that it has to be okay, Abigail's picking her way back through the alley to Decakrd. "Flint… are you okay?"

"I can't see." Not exactly the truth. He just can't see in the way that matters. Deckard looks lost, if not so blind that he can't swivel his eyes up onto Abby once she's near enough to blip onto his unconscious radar. He hasn't had so much to drink that his blue eyes aren't clear in the absence of their inhuman glow. Clear in a kind of brokenly confused…questioning…way. "I don't — " He doesn't know. He thought he did, maybe. For a second, there.

But he's looking around. When he confesses that he can't see, Abigail's footsteps pick up tenfold and soon enough she's there, crouching in front of him, placing her palm to either side of his face. "He hurt you? Whatever it was he did, stay still" trying her best to control her tone, make her voice more soothing despite her heart thudding away in her chest as a result of the adrenaline that is the byproduct of John's actions. "Lemme see if something's broken" Though she doesn't try yet, waiting for Deckard's permission first.

No flowerpots around you know.

It doesn't hurt. Nothing hurts, he just — there's something missing, and he looks increasingly sick over it. Loose skin is cool beneath her hands under its usual bristle, cheeks sunken in over hard-angled bone. He nods against her hands, protest hardly crossing his mind. He's scattered, distracted, breath shuddering and stilted along the mantle of mounting panic. Fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it. He doesn't care. Fix it.

There's no fixing. Not on Abby's part. Fingers laid to flesh, Abigail doesn't even have a chance to say a prayer, to work that ability. It's instead working on her. Moment of contact, the tiredness that was healing Amato, and the small cuts on her hand from picking up that bottle she'd dropped and broken. Every little thing in her body is wick away. Abigail's hands snap back, surprised. The warmth and the comfortable tingle that accompanies healing, ceasing when she severs the contact.

Lines draw themselves out flat across Flint's forehead, perplexed wonder trailing after a touch that breaks off too quickly for him to even really catch what it is. His breath hitches after a hold after the loss of contact, mouth slacked open, eyes fixed too intently upon Abigail's face. The hell was that?

A single palm goes again to Deckard's face, hesitant at the last second before she does it anyways. There it is again. Over and over Abigail does it, pressing her hand to him then pulling it away, horror washing over her face. "No… " Down onto the dirty ally she thumps on her butt, murmuring quickly a prayer, any prayer, some prayer, turning her gift inwards.


Deckard is sharp enough to draw the one conclusion that seems readily apparent, here. He no longer has his ability, and she no longer has hers. Persistent touch and withdrawal is ended with firmer touch where his right hand lifts to grasp at hers, restrictive without real comfort in the warm wrap of his calloused fingers until she's settled back and he lets go. He doesn't say anything when he does, still at a dull loss.

"No…" Mournful, mouth downturned. "you have it. You have it. Whatever he did.. God.. God's given.. it to you…" She can't heal. She can't heal but every touch to Flint, from Flint Deckard, a man who even Pastor Sumter thinks might never see his way to god.. has.. "I want it back, please give it back" Abigail scrabbles upwards, the white dress now irreprably dirty from the alleyway as she moves to the mouth of where he disappeared. As if somehow she might see Tyler Case there. "I WANT IT BACK!"

Jesus. Flint looks her over while she's still at close range, long face slack, empty save for the shadows pooled in dark beneath the hood of his brow and sunk shallow into the hollows at his jaw. For a few seconds he searches, tracking blindly around through the sodden wreckage of his brain after some kind of trigger, or release. There's nothing. "I can't." It sounds more decisive than he feels. Maybe he can. Maybe he just doesn't know how. Hasn't figured it out yet.

Distant guilt doesn't come 'round full circle to haunted self-loathing until her raised voice echoes back down the alley.

'I'm not.. talking to you" He can't give it back, she's sure that he would if he could. A hand slides through her hair as she looks left and then right, trying to find the man who did this all. The bearer of the red lightening that took gods gift from her. Gave it to … Flint.

"No, no.. no this is unfair. I didn't do anything, why would god do this. Wh…" She healed Amato. She forgave Amato for all that he did and.. she healed him. Her other palm comes up to cover her mouth, hanging open. A scream in her throat.

"Eileen tried to warn me." But that was weeks ago. It didn't even cross his mind. Too downtrodden to stand, he stays where he is, shoulders slumped back to cold brick while Abby crumbles and falls apart in front of him. He closes his eyes. Not quite enough to kill the muffle of her scream.

Eileen warned her too. Told her to be wary of strangers. But .. But it was so fast. He just walked up… She turns. stumbling back to Flint, kneeling on the ground before him and her hand settling on his knee's. "What were you able to do. What exactly were you able to do? You have mine, he gave you mine, somehow, he gave you god's gift. what were you able to do?! please tell me Flint, please!"

Deckard's response times are such that Case might as well have run up and slapped him in the face with an aluminum bat. He's slow to draw in another shaky breath, eyes opened again on a delay. At first he doesn't look like he's heard her clearly. Like surely, surely he must have mentioned at some point what happens when his eyes light up in his skull. Surely. Surprise turns over into hesitant reluctance quick fast and in a hurry. How best to say this in a way that isn't a direct confession of the fact that he's been looking at her naked for six months?

She knows it had something to do with his eyes. How many times had they glowed. "Please. Flint. Tell me. So I know what to do. Because everything looks fine to me right now, everything" Her hands tighten, not painfully enough though, on his knee's then go back up to either of his cheeks, cupping his face. There's nothing left to heal of her, so there's no expenditure. "Please Flint," A near whimper.

"X-ray vision," muttered after a reluctant cave in his resolve, Deckard's suddenly having a really hard time looking her in the face despite its proximity and her hands on him and maybe this is why secrets are for sharing after all. So they don't come out at the worst possible time ever.

"Ex-Ray Vision…" Except she's not seeing a damned thing. Not at all. Maybe later she'll come to realize what it was that he'd done before. Thank the good Lord that she's not the type to wear exciting underwear. Wait. Yes, she does. Some of them have polka dots on them. woo hoo. "I'm not.. I'm not seeing anything strange, I'm not seeing bones, or.." Abigail looks at the wall to the bar. No bodies. Nothing. Back to Deckard the red head looks, palms still planted to either side of his face. "There's nothing Flint"

"You would know if it was there. It's…" something. Weird to realize now that he no longer has it that he's never actually made an effort to describe it to anyone. To share it in any capacity. His hollowed out face shakes gently against her hands, eyes still turned down and averted. "I don't know why this is happening."

"I forgave him Flint. I forgave Amato Salucci. He was.. he was part of Vanguard, he's.. he he lost his hand and he asked my forgiveness, that he could .." She can't even say it. it was the last thing she did. She healed Amato. Forgave him and now she's devoid of her gift. Devoid and someone gave it to flint. Right about now is when the tears start to tip right over the edge of her bottom lids. "He's punishing me"

"I don't think it works that way." With punishment doled out where it isn't deserved and gifts thrown to the wolves, where abuse of an ability Abigail's held sacred all this time is inevitable. Parts of his mind are already going places, contorting after ideas not yet fully formed. A hard blink staves the worst of it off. She's crying. Worse, she's crying and he can't turn her face off.

"Then how does it work because I'm…" Ability impotent? Do they make little blue pills for something like this? Take one and for the next four hours you too can shoot lasers out of your eyeballs! "I.." She what? Wet blue eyes looking into ones that aren't glowing and in a split second, her hands are pulled away again and she's backing away from him then heading for the alleyway mouth.

"I don't know." This seems to be a popular answer with him lately. One that's doing a good job of reminding him of how much of an idiot he is in the big scheme of things. "Sometimes He's just…an asshole." Capitol He, that rhymes with gee as in gee we're screwed. But she's already pulling back, leaving him to his sullen sit. Alone. Misery is a given at this point.

She's looking again, left, right, wondering what the hell to do right now. Wiling herself to see skeletons, and god only knows what else but there's still nothing. "We need to go somewhere."

"I have to get back to Staten. I've missed too many days already." Practicality gravels out of the vacuum that persists where a wealth of likely alternatives should lie. The only thing worse than being hired by Brian that he can imagine would have to be being fired by him.

She's not going to Staten. It sends her heart into skipping beats at even the mention of it. "Go" She tells him. Can't get fired. Wouldn't do him good. She'd tell him to be careful but, really, how much more worse could it be?

"Okay." Okay. Except he just sits there, too dumb to get up and do this thing that she is apparently agreeing is a good idea. Maybe he will in a little bit.

But she's moving away. She's used to Deckard. His strangeness. There's a glance down towards her apartment building, and then promptly takes off in the opposite direction. What if whoever this person was is there, waiting? There's a glance to Deckard before Abigail disappears from sight, all kinds of sight. Off to who knows where.

Deckard watches her go, all the way to the point that the opening ends and the alley wall begins. His eyes strain there, pulling at an automatic mechanism that no longer exists until he's forced to look down at his hands instead. Bony and scarred, calloused and yellow from the passage of cigarettes and lead.

They're better at breaking things than they are at trying to fix them again.

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