Wisps Of Smoke


ash_icon.gif isis_icon.gif

Scene Title Wisps of Smoke
Synopsis Another reunion. A reminder of an older flame.
Date June 24, 2019


Well. That was a thing. The meeting. The new faces, the old faces. The talk of assignments and strikes. Ash makes his way down from the building separately from Isis, but he agreed to meet her nearby. And he can be seen lingering not too far from the building with what looks like a churro bought off a street cart in one hand, and his phone in the other as he leans back against a spot of wall. Looking for all the world like yet another distracted person too busy with their phone to notice the world around them.

Ash is not, but it would take a trained and practiced eye to notice the attention to his surroundings. Taking in everything in his periphery without betraying that he's keeping watch. He takes a bite of churro, and has to brush cinnamon and sugar from his shirt when it gets all over it. Of course he uses the churro holding hand, which gets more debris on his clothes, so he swaps the churro and the phone and then just uses the phone to brush his clothes off before he returns to his browsing. A bit out in the open, but if anyone did recognize him as Curtis… Ash can easily pretend to be the person who resides in his head.

Isis rounds the corner of the building, momentarily looking every part the tourist as she glances first one direction and then the other to get her bearings about her. Ash's broad silhouette is a good enough anchor it would appear. The little redhead straightens, lazy waves falling over bare shoulders, as she moves forward. Nearing him, she dips her head and turns a cheek so as to look up and aside at the taller, wallflower. "I have expected to come up out of a sewer," she comments quietly before glancing back to their surroundings and the idle passersby.

The backs of her fingers banish clingy, red curls away from her neck before her short glassy nails are given to a quick scratch at her exposed collarbone. "Was it just me, or was it hot in there?" She glances back to Ash, brow raised.

"Regular feeling when you're in a room full of zealots ready to do whatever needs doing to achieve their ends." Of course, Ash believes in those ends, or at least, he believes in Adam, so he was there. "Not that everyone in there were zealots mind you. But the intensity is real." Ash glances over with an easy smirk on his lips, pushing off from the wall and pocketing his phone. The churro was just a cover so he looks to Isis to see if she wants the rest, which is most of it, if not he'll find somewhere to toss it. Are there trash cans in this part of town yet? He turns and he starts walking, his gait slow so as to keep pace with Isis. "What got you tangled up in all that?" His tone is curious, not judgemental. Ash is the last person on the planet who could be judgemental about getting involved in causes. But this sort of stuff is old hat for him. "And uhhh… how are yah?" He asks, turning his head to look down and over at her, a warm and ready smile on his features.

“Are you a zealot?” Her golden-flecked gaze dances in the way it searches his countenance briefly.

Isis gives the churro a perplexed look. “What is it?” She reaches out apprehensively. “And don’t say food,” she warns, shooting a playfully sharp glance upward. She falls into an easy step at Ash’s side. Ash’s side. She gives the man a second once-over to be sure, her analysis graded with a tilted smile.

Isis gives the churro a perplexed look. "What is it?" She reaches out apprehensively. "And don't say food," she warns, shooting a playfully sharp glance upward. She falls into an easy step at Ash's side. Ash's side. She gives the man a second once-over to be sure, her analysis graded with a tilted smile before she turns back to the strange treat in hand. She runs a fingertip over the dusting on the churro. "I used to work for him, too, you know." She pauses to lick the granules from the tip of her finger.

"But, there's more to it than that." A lot more to it. "What happened isn't okay. What we've got, isn't okay…" Her pale lips part, but nothing further on the topic spills forth. She bites the tip of her tongue visibly between her teeth and pushes a smile.

"I'm getting by. How are you?"

"It's a churro. Basically fried pastry dough with cinnamon and sugar caked onto it. It's overly sweet and really quite good. But I'm not much in the mood for sweets. There was a cart selling them and I figured a guy standing there on his phone was more suspicious than a guy taking a break to eat something while playing on his phone." Ash is more at ease than he used to be. But even back then he was a much more at ease person than Curtis ever has been. The behavior is a marked difference. "Curtis could pretend to be me if push came to shove." Ash admits, seeing the examining look from Isis. "But if you really want proof you could body sna…. actually I wonder what would happen. Would you only swap with the dominant mind and have to deal with the other of us? Or would we both swap into your body?" Ash huhs a bit as they walk. "Well I have no idea. Probably best we don't test that on second thought."

"Adam? When did you work for Adam? Or am I forgetting that you used to work for Adam? Or are we talking about entirely different people?" Ash taps the side of his head a bit. "It gets jumbled. When I'm in charge. Not used to being at the forefront and sometimes the memories get a bit jumbled. They're all in there, just a matter of sorting them out." His head dips to her explanation in regards to why she's part of it all. He considers it a few moments before he smiles. "That's why I did it before. I was angry sure. But I also knew what was happening wasn't right. Had to fight back against it. Regardless of what, and… who… it cost me." He turns to look over, a little laugh leaving him. "Yeah that question doesn't have a good answer. I mean I can sure answer it if you really want but…" But he'd rather just enjoy the time he does have and walk and talk. "Things seem to be coming along pretty well though. With everything going on."

"Ohhh. So, that's a churro." This does not make her gaze any less skeptical, but the sugar taste test of her finger does provide some reassurance. She takes a nibble and pulls back blinking at the treat. "I'm always in the mood for sweets." Her step falters, a boot otherwise hidden under her billowy slacks catching so that she nearly trips. She blushes and quickly rights pace and her words.

"Anyway…" Ahem. "So, he's still in there, huh?" This is said with a few little ridges etched into the bridge of her nose. "I don't like him." Very mature. "As for Adam, yes, I used to tend bar and then…" She makes a finger wiggling gesture. "A few side jobs. Nothing crazy. I fell outta it before things turned to shit. But…" The churro finds its way into the next bin. Maybe she's lost her appetite. She brushes sugar from her lips with the delicate pad of her thumb. "I'm done being afraid. It's like I'm constantly stuck on fight or flight. And, the flight thing is… fucking exhausting." She takes a deep breath, bare shoulders sinking.

"Pretty well? You're still sharing your skin!" She reaches out, almost touching his elbow, but lets the fleeting gesture fall away unfinished. "When can we evict him, hm?" She smiles mischievously as they turn another corner.

"Yeah, that's a churro. I'd never had one before. But Curtis had. I'm not as impressed with them as he was. They're not bad though." Ash's broad shoulders roll upwards in a half hearted shrug as he walks along with the smaller redhead. His pace falters when hers does, waiting to see what's wrong, but when she starts back up again he resumes his walk as well. "He is. I am. We are. Sometimes it's hard to pick us apart and tell where he begins and I end. Other days it's clear as fucking day."

There's a long sigh let out, and a nod of acknowledgement. "Curtis is… hard to like. He doesn't let people in. He's not standoffish. He just… doesn't want people to get hurt. I don't like him either. I understand him. But I don't like him. Still not sure whether to believe the body was his originally. My memories are of this body. So I'm not sure how that's possible. Whether it's him that's in the wrong body or me. His memories are of being in this body too. It's pretty tangled. But he spends WAY too much time dwelling on it." There's an amused snort from Ash at that. "He's afraid to let loose. Afraid of what we could become. Afraid of what we are capable of."

"Running away doesn't solve shit either. All it does is exhaust you so that when they do catch up with you you've got nothing left to give." He reaches his hand out to take hers for a moment, giving it a gentle squeeze. Ash is not afraid of Isis' touch, never has been. He'll let her hand go though, and hook his thumb into his pocket, hands at rest as he walks. "I imagine my day to day isn't much different from the idea of being trapped in someone else's body for the rest of your life. You have more control over it all than I do but I imagine the feeling is pretty similar."

Isis listens, head tipped ever so slightly to one side. "Well, at least he's smart…" Her peach-pale lips draw up at one corner. "To be afraid." She catches Ash in the corner of her eye with a chuckle. It's a fleeting thing, though. She falls silent once more, though, as he continues on, stringing together their perspectives and experiences as only those who can separate consciousness from flesh can understand it.

When his fingers find hers, there's a familiar little flutter - a wanting and hungry tug. It's not the vicious pull it once was, but something more subdued and luring - a siren call to shed one's mortal vessel and slide into another. She stops walking to close her eyes and bites her lower lip until she can wrangle the sensation and anchor herself in herself. She takes a deep breath and tightens her fingers when his hand moves to slip away, inviting his touch to remain instead if he so chooses.

"Running kept me alive. I've worked really hard to stay off the radar…" Till now. She opens her eyes and turns to face him. "Everyone always said this thing-," she wiggles her shoulders "-it's different even among those like us. But, now, it's going to make all the difference." Now she sounds like a zealot. A quiet one - a conviction burning more like a need to believe than belief itself, keeps her tone subdued.

She takes a deep breath and inclines her chin, looking up to Ash. "As for Curtis… You just say the word and we'll find a way to yank him outta there." Surely, she of all people could help… right? Maybe? "You know my thoughts on prisons, and those of the mind sound worse than anything I could have imagined."

Ash pauses when Isis pauses, seeing the moment of internal battle. He doesn't break the contact in response. Either he's going to suddenly find himself in an Isis body, or he'll remain in his own. Either way he doesn't withdraw from contact. And when her hand tightens he leaves his hand with hers, his own paw of a hand dwarfing hers as he holds it. "He is." Ash pauses a moment or two. "He's also angry at everything that's happened. That's been done to him, done to the country. To the people. I think… eventually… I can turn him around. Point him in the right direction. And maybe then things will be a little more mutual in here." His free hand lifts to tap the side of his head before falling back once more to his side.

"What thing?" Ash asks thoughtfully, his head tipping to the side, a bit of confusion on his features. He's not sure what thing she's referring to that would be different. "I'm not sure how or even if that could be done. I know he's talked to people about it. Or tried. He's even worse with words than I am." There's a short laugh from him and his head tilts back, his eyes scanning their surroundings. "I think we might be a bit too entwined. Someone, one of his friends, suggested integration. Which might be our best option. Some of me, some of him, but one mind. No longer torn and attacking each other. Don't know what would be lost and what would be gained though. Might be an entirely different person from the two of us separately. But yeah, the mind prison sucks. Had a visitor not so long ago though. An old friend. She can enter dreams. That was kind of nice."

Ash thinks on that a moment before clarifying. "It was kind of nice, having a conversation. She didn't much like Curtis either. Gave him some pretty horrific nightmares."

"My thing. My ability." A shrug brushes it all off, though, favoring attention on Ash's situation over her own. "Integration…" She wrinkles her little nose. "Sounds risky."

"A dream walking friend, hm?" All the weight is lifted from tone and visage alike. "At least you're getting some company in there. And, he got some of what he deserves." Wow, she really has it out of this Curtis fella. From one body thief to another, he's crossed a line. "Whatever. I'm glad you're out." Another squeeze.

"Speaking of friends…" She glances down the street, the signage of a vaguely familiar hotel name jutting out over the street ahead. She squints at it. "How do you know Godfrey?"

"Riskier is continuing to battle each other for control over this body. Even riskier is ripping one of us out. Shortly after we both ended up in here it would have been fine. But now our memories are so intertwined… I'm afraid I'd lose a good piece of myself if we were separated. It's a tough… thing." Ash admits, but looks over with a small smile. "Your ability is different. But I don't think I've honestly ever seen the same ability twice. Similar abilities but not the same. As varied as our DNA."

"It was just the once, but it helped. A lot. Reminded me that there are people out here who actually give a fuck about me. Need to get a hold of her at some point. But don't have a number or anything." Ash looks pensive for a moment, then lets the tension ease. "I'm glad I'm out too. Even if it's only for a little while." He turns to look down at Isis, raising a brow at her as he waits for her to finish her question. "Ahh. Godfrey. He worked for Adam too back in the day. And he's just as…. Godfrey as he was back then. Maybe even more so. God help us he might be even more Godfrey than he used to be." There's an easy laugh from the big fighter. He's not going in any particular direction. He's just walking. Enjoying the time he has while he has it. "You seemed to have some friends of your own up there."

"If you need me to get a message to your dreamy friend, let me know," Isis remarks simply. "I think the abilities are all the say, but it's how our experiences and needs in life mold them that make them different. Telepaths - all the same at the core, but adapted differently by their pasts." She gives a casual shrug.

The small redhead turns and takes back up an easy pace when Ash seems to take no notice of their position in proximity to any one specific location or another. "Friends?" She inquires, clearly not following at first. "I had drinks with a few of- Oh, you mean Dr. Miller." There's a little rush of air through her nose to coincide with a subtle smile. Her gaze wanders to follow the straying cracks in building walls beside them. "Yes, I suppose he is a friend," she admits as much to herself as to Ash. Her line of sight flits to the street for another pause before she chuckles. It takes a moment before her thoughts seem to circle back around to Ash. "He helped with the last assignment," she offers as some clarification.

"I don't know exactly how much time I have. Sometimes it's a couple days, sometimes it's less. I don't know if they use different code words when they activate me for different time frames or what it is. But I always seem to have enough time to get done what needs doing before going back in the box. This in reference to the hotel being right over there. Yeah I saw you squinting at it." There's a little smirk from him as they walk. "Delia Ryans. I don't know where she lives anymore, or what her number is. I don't know where… anyone lives these days. Or what anyone's number is." A saddened glance to the side at conversation companion.

"Ahh. Well I certainly hope you're making friends these days. I hope you have people around you to help you out, be there for you." Because he… can't. He can't be that person for anyone right now. His jaw tightens a moment as he pauses in his walk, turning to face her. "It's good to see you though. Knowing you're okay helps."

Isis purses her lips off to one side and scratches an itch beside her little nose as hazel eyes wander back to the indicated hotel. "As far as denials go, that's a new one." Her words are thorny, but not with the same whipping ire that a younger Isis might have cracked. "I didn't expect…" With a flushing backdrop to the cinnamon shift of her freckles, she lets the topic slip away on the summer breeze. "Delia Ryans - I'll see what I can do." There, see? No hard feelings.

She pauses with Ash and even pivots, turning to face him - all the better to read the silence of words unspoken but instead writ into his expression. She gives a little nod of understanding. "I'll try harder to play nice," she quips back. "Friends weren't really my priority, but…" She inclines her chin, looking up to the sky wedged between the tops of looming renovated skyscrapers all around. "I can think of a few that might be up for the challenge." She grins before she brings her face back down, meeting Ash's gaze. "Be careful. I'll see you soon, Ash." Her fingers fall away from his.

"It's not a denial I just…" Ash has no idea how to go about explaining that he's worried about being there and having Curtis wake up. Even if they're just sitting and talking it would be rather odd for Curtis to wake up there. "Curtis." Is all he manages at the end, a heavy sigh leaving him. He reaches a hand up and pinches the bridge of his nose. Then she's saying farewell, and his eyes close for a moment, emotion write across the man's features. Fear, longing and a whole lot of frustration. "I'm sorry Isis." His eyes open and he pulls in a deep breath, then lets it out in a long sigh. He doesn't say anything else, just stands there for the moment, with her, in silence, but silence with company.

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