Your Nose Is Welcome


mack_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Your Nose Is Welcome
Synopsis Or so Peyton tells Mack, when he apologizes for nosing in the business she brings with her to the library. They look for books on sleepwalking and Peyton gets a bit drunk.
Date December 5, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fiiiire is sooooo deliightful… True enough, outside the temperature is low and snow falls from the sky like a thousand tiny diamonds. Deep inside the library, however, is a different story. Mack has been a busy little bee, having cleaned out dozens of rooms in the wing of the library he's been working on. As for tonight, he's relaxing. He's set himself up with a sweet little two room complex. The one you walk into, his 'living room', has a leather couch, coffee table, and a tv. Off to one side is a fake fireplace complete with crackling noises. Where did he get all this loot? Its a good question, really, considering he's unemployed. He's dressed in a pair of running pants and a hoodie, relaxing. Oh yes, friends. He's just down in the basement watching tv and hanging out. Creepy.

Peyton enters the library, calling out so anyone inside will know it's her. She has brought more supplies — some food, some first-aid equipment, some cleaning supplies. Whatever she thinks they might need, until given better instructions. She's bundled against the cold, hat, coat, scarf, gloves, boots. It's harder for her to look "poor" in this get up, so she looks like the uptown girl she is.

Instead of searching out whomever is at home or not, she goes into one of the rooms with stacks of books, and begins sorting through them, looking for something in particular as she moves from one stack to the next, reading the names on the spines.

Mack lights a cigarette as he flips through his limited selection of channels. One of those- the clearest one, as it turns out, though the tv he has gathered here isn't very good to begin with -is closed circuit through the security cameras installed here and there. Its on one of these that he see's the newcomer, his eyes narrowing when he sees a visitor. Who is that? Of course there are other people around all the time, but he had thought he knew all who was here. So with cigarette in hand he quickly gets up, grabs his gun, and heads towards the room she was in a moment ago.

By the time Mack is approaching the room she's in, she's onto another stack. Maybe she hears a floor board creak, or she just happens to look up at the right time — but Peyton sees the figure, the cigarette, the gun. She puts her hands up. "Mack, it's me, Peyton," she calls out, her heart beating hard in her chest. Not like she was doing anything that made her look all that suspicious. Would he really shoot her for possibly stealing a library book?

Calm down there, little girl! When Mack see's who it is he sticks his gun in the back of his pants. "Whatchyu up to, kid?" Mack walks into the room, looking disapprovingly at the unstacked status of his books, though he doesn't say anything. "Didn't feel like hitting a library with a working computer system, huh?"

"But these are just here not being used," Peyton says with a shrug. "And I needed to bring stuff by anyway, so might as well kill two birds with one stone or whatever." She frowns a little. "Is there any sort of order to these?" She stands and looks up at him. There are dark circles under her eyes that suggest a lack of sleep.

"Not really. Well, I guess kinda. I mean, I just moved 'em, I didn't… ya know, re-arrange them." Mack makes his way to a stack nearby where she's looking picking up a couple and scanning the titles. "You look like shit, lady. S'wrong wit you?"

"Thanks. You're quite the charmer," Peyton tosses back. "So there's a system? I'd need… non-fiction… I donno, maybe psychology or something. Maybe medical. Sleepwalking. I looked it up … but I didn't find a lot of helpful information online. Som… Som-nam-bul-ism." She sounds out the word as she moves to the next stack.

"Nobody is ever gonna mistake me for a super-nice sweet guy, true enough. But you didn't answer the question." Mack looks at first one stack- Anne Rice novels, apparently. He continues on and tries another one a few rows down; Medical Mysteries. "Getting closer…" He says it to himself, but not so quietly she couldn't hear if she was paying attention. "Big secret I take it."

"This looks like fiction, so it shouldn't be near here. Maybe a different room?" she asks, rubbing her eyes. "It's not… super secret, no, just…" her cheeks color a little. "I had a really bad dream the other night. And in it, I ended up trying to kill myself." She looks away, walking to the other side of the room to bend and examine the stacks there. "Anyway… I woke up and I actually had a knife in my hand. But the thing is, I'm not suicidal. And I had to have walked to the kitchen and gotten the knife and gone back to my room while sleeping. It just doesn't make any sense." A tear slides down her cheek which she hastily wipes away with her gloved hand. "Yeah, this looks like it's all fiction."

Mack stops his search halfway through her declaration, his eyes turning to regard her with a look that is halfway between concern and confusion, with a splash of consternation. This really is over his paygrade, but what is he supposed to do? Say 'tough luck kid' and go back to his Mythbusters or something? "That sucks." Oh, much better, genius. He moves to look in another different row, though he deliberately makes his way past her, pausing just long enough to- unless she recoils -drop a hand onto her shoulder and give it a squeeze. "Do you live alone? Sounds like you should be sleepin' at your boyfriends house til you get it figured out."

"That's the other weird thing," she says, eyes dropping, though her brows are furrowed in confusion rather than any sort of pain. "My roommate, he had a dream too, and he … he dreamt I was killing myself and trying to stop me. And he woke up in my doorway or whatever, so he actually did stop me. So he was sleepwalking, too." She frowns. "Right now we're sleeping in shifts. He's an empath, but not the kind that … he's not one that pushes his mood on you, so I don't know if it's him or what." She lifts her eyes. "I don't really have a boyfriend. I see a guy on Staten, but I'm not about to sleep there every night." Because, ew, it's Staten.

Mack lived on Staten for over three months, thankyouverymuch. "I'm not saying make it look like you wanna marry the dude. But, aww, fuckit." Mack just makes his way on over to another stack of books, leafing through a few novels that appear to be on medical sciences but apparently lack anything on sleep dysfunction. "I guess your business is your business. I won't stick my nose in where it ain't wanted." He opens up another one, and after a few minutes says, "Hey!" But its only a moment before he drops the thing on the floor. "Nevermind, false alarm."

Peyton shrugs. "It's not a big deal. Your nose is welcome." She frowns. That sounds weird. "But what… I mean… how can two people who never sleptwalked … sleepwalked… before, both sleepwalk on the same day for the first time that they know of anyway, and one is dreaming that the other is … I almost killed myself," she says, her face crumpling, before she turns away to head into another aisle of books.

Yes, it does sound weird. And Mack laughs out loud- thats right, he fuckin' LOLz it. But the good humor fades pretty quickly when she starts talking about such pleasant subjects as inadvertant suicide and whatnot. "Well, to me, I'd say there was something else causing it. Either your roomie isn’t the sweetheart you thought he was, or someone else is affecting you somehow. I'm not gonna pretend to know how, I just learned not to believe in coincidences. Coincidences are never just fuckin' coincidences." He picks up another book: It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. No, thats not quite it. He puts that book back down and continues on.

"It was my first instinct, that it was him, but it's not how his power works. He sort of … makes people feel better. By singing. But he stays miserable more or less. Unless it's changed, which is possible. I don't know. Unless it's my power, but I don't know how mine would do that… If I saw his dream, that might make sense, but not the other way around, right?" she asks, wiping her eyes and soldiering on. "So how are things with you? Feel better about your crappy life now that you know about mine?"

Mack laughs again. "My life doesn't suck, mija." Okay, he's lying, sue him. Its for a good cause, for realz. "And I don't think having a bad dream constitutes yours blowin' the big monkey balls either. I mean, the almost cutting yourself open with a cleaver, thats a raw deal." Mack shakes his head, apparently not quite agreeing with what he just said. His search brings him around the end of one row and back towards her. He offers her his bandana- its black, but its perfectly clean and smells recently washed -without saying anything about her tears. "Just a problem to solve man, thats all it ever is."

"I know. It doesn't… at least not right now. It's not been great, not for a while, but I'm not one to sit and feel sorry for myself. If I was, I wouldn't be coming here, yeah?" she points out. She shrugs and turns away from the stack of book she's looking at. "Forget the book. It probably won't say anything useful, anyway. I can try another library." She shrugs. "I brought some food. Most of it's canned and crap, but there's a tub of turkey soup, leftovers from Thanksgiving stuff."

Mack finishes his cigarette, but instead of just dropping it on the floor he actually walks to a nearby room with an ash tray and puts it out. The place is clean now! When he comes back, he leans against the doorway. "I'm good. If you've got a buncha shit to do ya don't gotta hang around here, man. I'm used to the quiet." The little Mack inside of him is screaming at him for saying it, but Little Mack doesn't have a voice. "I can look around for something, maybe I'll come up with something useful while I'm cleaning or something."

"I can't stay past curfew anyway — the roommate… he's skittish, and worried about me, and the whole sleepwalking thing, I don't want to leave him to sleep by himself either," she explains. "But I'm not in a hurry to leave. Unless you want me to hurry and leave, in which case, I can." She straightens the stack of books she was last looking at.

Mack shrugs non-commitantly, withdrawing a little silver flask and taking a drink out of it. "Don't get me wrong, lady. You're as welcome here as I am. Fuck, probly more. And I don't mind the company." He screws the cap back on the flask and makes his way over closer to her- he offers her a drink! Thats big news.

She laughs a little. "Peyton," she reminds him, in case he's forgotten her name, but she accepts the flask and takes a swallow, wrinkling her nose a little at the burn. She can drink a lot of men under the table, but she usually doesn't do the straight stuff unless trying to prove a point or trying to get drunk quick — something she hasn't done in a while. She passes it back. "Smooth," she jokes.

Mack eyes the flask when she hands it back, taking another big gulp of the stuff himself. "Hey, it is smooth." He looks a little defensive, but there's a mischevious note to his voice. "At least for me. We can't all be trust fund babies." Mack doesn't actually know where her money comes from, but that seems like as good of a guess as any. "Anyway, it gets the job done well enough."

"I'm not criticizing the quality. Trust fund babies will drink just about anything that has alcohol in it, in my experience." Since she is one. "Only I don't think it's good with my power. I don't think I can control it when I'm drunk, or when anything else screws with my … I don't know. Probably something in my brain that gets turned off when drunk or high or whatever."

"Sorry.. I'm not very good at remembering shit like that. Uh… you see shit, right? Like.. out there shit." Yes. Way to articulate there buddy. Always want to put your best foot forward, and what not. Mack puts the flask away for now, either way.

"Out there shit. Yeah. I can look through someone else's eyes if I know the person or have seen them," she explains, heading back toward the room she put the food and stuff in. "Give me that back," she adds, pointing to the flask. "I could use a drink. Just promise not to push me out in the street if I go blind temporarily."

Mack raises an eyebrow, but he's not one to tell a lady she can't have a drink if she's demanding a drink. That said, he tosses the silver thing in her direction. "Thats a tough one, you know. I do like throwin' blind chicks out in the street. Its kind of like… an Olympic sport for me, you know?"

She catches the flask and takes another long swallow, not flinching this time at the undiluted alcohol. "Yeah? You medalled in it, or still behind the pack out of medal contention?" she asks, picking up the food from the table she dropped it at and heading into one of the rooms with a generator and a mini refrigerator. She stows the soup and puts the other supplies away where they belong.

"No, I don't half-ass shit. I took silver last time, but I'm looking to step it up. Gold or bust, this year. Watchoutnyow." Mack follows her about, lagging behind a bit every time she switches rooms. No one wants to feel like a lost puppy dog.

"Oh, it's a winter Olympic sport then? Makes sense, since you'd be throwing me into the snow," she teases back. She takes another long swallow from the flask before handing it back. She'll be feeling it soon since she doesn't weigh enough to distribute that much alcohol, even if she is an accomplished drinker at her tender age.

Accomplished drinker she may be, but Mack is a champion. A combination of a habit of heavy drinking and his unique DNA sets him apart, and so when he takes another gulp out of his own flask, he isn't worried. The warm feeling slides down his throat and into his stomach, giving him a pleasant fuzzy feeling. "Yeah. I mean, into the hot sun is fun and all, but take off a layer or two and it really isn't that bad. In the winter, though, when the temp drops down…" He shrugs. "But you're safe for now. Its not quite cold enough outside to really make it worth it."

She laughs, a little more heartily than she would have a few minutes ago, the alcohol beginning to make its way into her blood. "So what would you be doing if I hadn't ruined your evening by showing up and disrupting your pretty little piles of library books?" she asks, putting away the last can and looking over at him.

"Well, lesse. I was into my third hour of Scrubs, as it turns out, but I had some good things lined up. Did you know libraries have DVDs? Well, if you didn't, they do. And its awesome. We're talking classics, here, like an old Dracula, the Thing, Night of the Living Dead, Creature from the Black Lagoon." Mack takes another swig from the flask before offering it back to Peyton. "Okay, so, maybe it really isn't that exciting but… I know I won't get murdered or kill myself trying to get back here or to my apartment, so its the best I got these days." His eyes hit the floor at this point, and he chews on his bottom lip.

"Do I look like the type who's up on the DVD section at her public library?" Peyton points out. "All right. Scrubs or Dracula but no zombies… too much like sleepwalking." She reaches into one of the bags and comes up with a bag of Cheetos. "Course, if my power kicks in, I won't be able to see the TV anyway."

"Hey, yeah, rub it in little-Miss-I-got-tons-of-cash." Mack grants her a look that is full of mock anger. Shaking his head, he turns and- bringing the flask -leads her back to his little quarters he's set up. The living room really is rather nice- whoever let this couch get away is probly painfully aware of what they're missing -though the lights are off in the 'bedroom' portion. He plops down on the couch, grabbing the half empty bottle of vodka from the ground to the right of it, and refills his flask. This done, he takes another drink and presses the 'play' button on the remote. Yeah, he's not wearing shoes.

Peyton takes off her gloves and then her jacket, laying them on the arm of the couch and then sitting beside him. "How the hell did you get all this stuff here? Did you steal it?" she asks, looking around with some wonder. She reaches for the bottle and leaves him the flask, taking a swig as she turns her eyes to the TV.

"Well, kind of. The TV was just an old one I had in my bedroom at my apartment. Since I'm almost never there, I brought it down here. The rest of this shit was… well… you know. Around. Midtown. I figured they weren't using it anymore…" He looks over to the fake fireplace, laughing to himself when he does it. "That was actually from my OLD apartment, the one I had when the big boom happened."

"You actually purchased that on purpose at some point?" Peyton says, glancing at the fake fire and then beginning to laugh, a bit giddily as the alcohol digs in a bit deeper. Her cheeks take on a rosy glow. "You are crazy. My first impression was right."

Mack looks at the mocked piece of furniture sadly, fingers tapping a quiet beat on the arm of the couch. "My girlfriend bought it." Theres no shit talk to accompany it this time, no jokes or drinking of the alcohol. Just a quiet little statement. He chews on his bottom lip when he forces himself to look away from it, to the tv, where on screen JD is riding Turk around the hallways of the hospital.

She stops laughing. Her brows furrow and she curls her feet up beneath her on the couch into a smaller forlorn ball. "Sorry," she finally says, though she doesn't look over at him, knowing it will make it harder for both if she does.

Mack just shakes his head. He takes a drink of his vodka before he leans forward. He sets the thing on the coffee table, and then the reason for leaning forward becomes apparent. He lights a cigarette, but he keeps the smoke away from her- and the fireplace has a filter, which sucks the smoke away. "Don't be. I thought it was cheesy too. But its warm, and its cold down here at night."

"Warm is a good thing," she says quietly, nodding, and a sentimental drunk tear slips down her face. Normally she's a loud, happy, party girl drunk. But times have changed. Suddenly her pupils widen, the ring of brown shrinking until at a glance her eyes would look to be a solid black iris. "Ah, shit, there goes my power…" she murmurs, handing him the vodka bottle so she doesn't drop it. She tries to concentrate on seeing the television, seeing from her own perspective, then covers her eyes with her hands.

Mack accepts the bottle, though he promptly sets it on the coffee table. He watches her, half worried and half fascinated, as first her pupils dilate and then she covers her eyes. Again, there's that bandana. He folds it into a two or three inch band and taps her hands, "Here." He's not going to MAKE her put it on, obviously, but it will do the job much better than her hands. "Put this on, if it'll help." He even positions his hands to tie it on for her, if she'll let him.

"My eyes have to be closed too or it doesn't work, but yeah, I guess it will help, remind me to keep them closed kind of," she murmurs, nodding to him. "I'm… so far I've seen what I think was the crazy guy on the subway's vision and the Starbucks kid's and the lady who sole me the groceries, all in ten seconds. It gets … disorienting… I should try to control it, learn how but it's not working," she murmurs.

Mack ties the bandana around her eyes, and then… well, he doesn't really have any idea what to do. He sits there, fidgeting, for several seconds as he watches her- luckily she can't see any of that -until he places a hand on her somewhere that seems safe- her knee. Maybe human contact will help? Maybe not. Either way, he gives it a shot. "Yeah, that sounds… like… it'd be pretty fucking weird. Like a bad trip. Anything fun in there? Crazy old lady gettin' freaky with her wrinkly husband?" His attempt at humor is pretty weak, but the intent is clear in it.

"Not watching, eyes closed… grocery lady was just counting cash, nothing too weird. Crazy subway guy was eating old pizza from a dumpster. Mouse running by. Nasty shit. At least it's just normal shit, you know?" she murmurs. I saw some guy getting beat to hell one time, when my ability went fubar. And when I was getting released from the hospital, when I first manifested, I saw through the eyes of the crazy gunman in the ER and that was not pretty." Her words are a bit slurred. No wonder she doesn't get drunk.

Well, with shock victims, if you can get em talking- coherently -thats a good sign. Is it the same for… people having powerful hallucinations? Are they even hallucinations, really, if they're real? Well, that certainly isn't the point. He leans back, throwing an arm around her. He's trying to be comforting, but he half-expects her to recoil from the dirty hobo as if snake bitten. "Yeah. Gun violence rarely is. But hey, getting shot is kind of a blast. You know.. a 'blast'. Yeah… anyway. Just… think about puppies. Or… is there someone who you -want- to see through their eyes? I don't know…"

"I'm afraid to look through people's eyes right now… Cardinal or Claire or Liz or Cat… they're all doing crazy dangerous things," she admits, her voice small. She doesn't recoil, grateful for the touch when she can't see her surroundings. Apparently she trusts him. "But… it's not a bad idea. Let me try … focusing on one person maybe… Like if I focus on you, then I'll at least see what you're seeing, which is pretty close to my own surroundings…" He can't see it of course, but her eyes open behind the bandana, trying to focus on him. "There — shit, I look like HF has me again… do you think blindfolds are the new black?" she laughs a little nervously.

"Well, black blindfolds are the new black, fuck yeah." Mack looks away from her, looking at the tv screen instead. Hey, maybe its not conventional, but no reason she shouldn't be able to watch the end of the episode. "I gotta say, this is some shit I never thought I'd see. Or… you know what I mean." Then an idea pops into his head and he looks back at her to make sure she still is blindfolded, then looks down at himself, holding his hand close to his leg and holding up three fingers. "How many fingers am I holding up?"

"You have a much better power. I'd like healing way better than this. It gives me fucking migraines half the time," she mutters, leaning her head back. It is sort of interesting to be able to watch TV from whatever position you want. But then he's looking at his fingers and not the TV. "Three. Why?"

"It… uhm." Mack looks back up to the tv, this time not looking away arbitrarily. "I don't know. My power isn't so great. Just means I get shot a lot, or hit a lot, and everybody's fine with that. 'Yeah, shoot the mutie kid that heals'. It still hurts." He shrugs, but he still keeps her close to him while she's, you know, out of her own head. "And I've just been a loner since it all went down. I've never really… talked to anyone, about theirs. Or mine, either way. Its a new experience to see it working."

She nods. "I guess that makes sense, yeah. And that would suck, because it still hurts, I'm sure." She reaches over to pat his arm. "It's… useful at times. It's helped me find missing people… or at least help to find them. And like, to watch when someone is coming. I'm a great lookout. The only downside is being blind and also… well, I've seen crappy things sometimes. Things I wish I hadn't." She focuses again, this time on returning her vision to herself — thinking of herself as a target to look through, for the first time. Blackness. She gasps, for a second, then laughs, hand coming up to the bandana. "Aha. It's me, again." She pulls down the blindfold, and her eyes appear normal once more.

Mack looks over as she comes out from under the bandana, making sure she's calmed down a bit before he pulls his arm back out from around her shoulders. "Feeling any better? I guess I learned my lesson, here. Sorry about that."

There's an unexpected grin. Perhaps, the first time she's looked truly happy tonight, in fact. "No, it's good! You helped me… I think if I get … you know, drunk or high or something in the future, I can control it. I just had to really focus on one person, and then I focused from that person to me, like I was a focal point instead of just 'dropping' the other person, if that makes any sense. I mean, if I were nine sheets to the wind, it might not work, or flying on something harder than this, maybe not, but you know, light buzz or a bit of a toke, I should be okay!"

"Thats me- enabling hardcore drug abuse since 2007." Mack just laughs at the response, but you better believe that he doesn't waste any time in reaching forward to grab his flask and down some of the juice inside. Strange as it may be, it would seem that was a very stressful few moments for him. "But lets wait to try the practical application portion of the discovery process."

"Good idea. One vice at a time, right? Isn't that how the Twelve Step thingy goes?" So much for Rehab. Not that she ever gave that a shot anyway. After all, she was in for a crime she didn't commit. "But no, it's good for reals. Because the other thing, I've lost control when I was scared, too, and this might help if I'm like, freaking out. To know I can reign it in." Most of the time. She sits up. "I should probably get home, it's getting close to curfew." She reaches over to hug him. "Thanks. And for listening, too."

"No problemo, kid." Mack stands up as she gets ready to go. "You be safe getting home. Give me a call if you get into any trouble, alright? Not gonna keep you outta trouble all night just to get picked up by vice or the uniforms on your way home."

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