I, Chimera: Call for Help


scrivner_icon.jpg vette_icon.jpg

Scene Title I, Chimera: Call for Help
Synopsis One of Louie's druggies comes to Rufus and Vette for help. Shou was the Storyteller for this scene.

Scrivner's Flat

It's a swanky flat in the Chelsea Towers.

Earlier in the day Rufus called Miss Adams and told her he'd be home a bit early from the office. As early as noon, in fact. And if she met him there at the apartment, he promised to take her out for lunch somewhere. The man rents a swank flat in the Chelsea Towers, one with a balcony that grants a splendid view some ten stories above the streets of New York. The decor is modern and fairly Spartan, all clean lines with black leather, steel and modern art on the walls. Having changed out of his business suit in favour of a black turtleneck sweater and dress slacks, Rufus Scrivner idly lounges in an overstuffed armchair, scowling as he fiddles with his laptop. Even out of the office, he's still working.

Vette had let Rufus know that she had a class that ended at 11:50 but she'd race home to have lunch with him. At 12:10 she manages to get into the house, but she would have done the best she could. In jeans and a blue button up men's shirt that somehow looks more feminine on her than some women's clothes, Vette slips in and spots Rufus on the laptop. She comes and puts her hands on his shoulders and kisses the top of his head, squeezing his shoulders gently.

Hearing the door open, Rufus glances up, and he very faintly smiles as he tilts up his head into that kiss. He's not finished with his work, but he closes it up anyway and shuts the laptop, setting it to one side. "There you are, my dear," he says, as he stands and turns towards her, lightly kissing her forehead in turn. "How was class?"

"Pretty good," Vette replies. "It was just a vectors review." She doesn't bother explaining vectors, figuring that nobody in their right mind would necessarily be interested in hearing about them - she likes physics and calculus and even she had trouble being interested in hearing about them. "I'm glad to see you - what got you home so early?"

"Believe it or not, I simply didn't want to be there anymore, so I… left," Rufus says with a shrug. He slides his hands into the pockets of his slacks, and turning away from the lady, he meanders over to the back patio door and slides it open. He expects she'll follow. It's chilly in October, but at least it's sunny today, and he steps out into the wind. "It's getting so damnably dull anymore that I'm about ready to just sell my portion of the firm to my colleagues and take a step back from it all. I've been contemplating other means of paying off the bills. Investments, mainly."

Ever been followed? It's not nice, but the good thing about it is, if you're followed /well/, you never even have to know. A few minutes after Yvette arrives at Rufus' flat, there comes a brief knock at the door. Knock knock… knock.

There's that knock, and Vette blink blinks. Since she was at the door anyway, reaching for her coat, she reaches out to open it without even looking at the peephole. "I think that's a good idea," she says, never stopping to think that she might be aiding and abetting making life way more exciting that it has to be. "I wonder who is at the door?"

Rufus turns to look over his shoulder, frowning to himself. He steps inside from the balcony and closes the door behind himself, flipping the latch to lock it. Indeed, who'd be knocking? For the moment, however, he says nothing, waiting to see.

On the other side of the door is a young man. A boy, really. No more than fifteen or sixteen years old. He has on a pair of ratty jeans and a leather jacket, and a wifebeater underneath. He's pale, with surprisingly smooth and long, raven-black hair. His eyes are /sharp/, and when he looks up at Rufus and Yvette, they are also /terrified/. He doesn't /say/ anything. He just stares at them.

In an instant, Rufus is there at the door, scowling down at the young man in some bewilderment. This … is not quite what he expected. "Yes?" he asks, drawing out the word just a touch. He glances briefly at Vette, then at the kid, then past him and into the hallway.

Vette, in the meanwhile, backs off a few steps. It's at that moment that her phone starts ringing, and whoever it is, it must be very important, because she flashes Rufus an apologetic glance before slipping away into another room of the flat to deal with it. She'll be nearby if trouble breaks out, but for now, it's up to him to deal with the teenager.

The kid's voice is cracked when he speaks, intakes of breath coming in spastic motions. "Y- you- are you the guy that was uh, that was with Amy, when she- uh, when she got shot?"

There's the briefest pause, and Rufus stares at the kid for a second or two, wavering. On the one hand, the last time he thought something looked weak, it kicked his ass. This could be a trap. On the other, and perhaps unwisely, it's difficult to resist the inclination to pull the kid inside. In the end, the man exhales a sharp breath, and he nods his head. "Step inside," he says, before he takes a step back and opens the door wider to invite the boy into his flat.

The kid curls his arms around his torso and steps inside, shivering a little. "Heard you uh, heard you went to see Louie and uh, and, and I th- I saw her," he makes a motion towards Vette, "and followed her and I need yor help. It's- it won't stop."

Rufus takes one last look into the hallway before he closes the doorway tightly and locks it, turning away to approach the boy. He reaches out his hand as if he'd touch the kid's shoulder, but he doesn't quite touch, and instead he gestures in silent invitation for him to sit on the couch. "Well, first and foremost, what's your name?" he inquires, nodding his head. "And what's happened?"

He jumps a little at the almost-touch, and swallows. "James." He pauses, and then pulls his jacket off. "It's happening without the drug, now." As he takes off his jacket, it becomes clear that the back of his arms as well as his shoulder-blades are covered in small black feathers.

There's no surprise, but there's something very grim tightening the corners of Scrivner's mouth. "I see," he says quietly. "All right, James. I am going to need all of the information you can give me about Louie and his operations. The more you can tell me, the better chance I'll have of actually succeeding in stopping him." The man comes to stand behind his couch, resting his hands atop it and gripping tightly. "Do you know where he's making the drug?"

James shakes his head. "N- naw, man. I j- just took it a few times. Amy and Rick were the ones that uh, that got the stuff. Down in the Bronx. But uh, uh, I uh, I dunno. Maybe like, I heard them say something about Spanish Harlem one time? Like maybe they had to wait for the shipment? But it d- I mean, shipments?" James isn't making much sense; but then again, he's terrified.

Folding his arms, bending at the waist, Rufus rests his elbows across the back of the couch and studies the boy, eyes narrowed pensively. "All right, it's a start," he says as calmly and as patiently as he can. "Shipments are going into Spanish Harlem? Do you know the names of any of Louie's more trusted associates? Anyone you've ever seen with him or that he's mentioned?"

"N- nah, I only saw him the once with this girl that had the uh, the rat-thing going. But usually he stays away from us, just gives his dealers the stuff." James scratches at the feathers, tears welling up in his eyes.

So far, it's looking like a search for a needle in a haystack the size of his living room to… the search for a needle in a haystack the size of his couch. Scrivner arches his eyebrows, and silently, he turns away from the kid to walk into his kitchen, rummaging through the fridge to pull out a can of Coke. He offers it to James quietly, saying, "Steady on there, chap. There's some hope for an antidote, after all. I'm acquainted with several brilliant ladies who might be able to concoct something, given some time."

"Y-yeah? Cool." James takes the Coke and sips it, just huddling a little. "At- at first it was like we were invincible. Then uh, then we had that fight with you, and her, and you killed Rick… and knocked Kyle out… and just… it…" He shudders again.

Rufus takes a step back and folds his arms across his chest, watching James for a long while. "Had we known that Rick was a human instead of a monster, we wouldn't have killed him," he quietly explains. "But that begs a question of what should be done about you. Do you have any family who could take you in and get you out of the city? For that matter, do you have any idea how widespread this drug is?"

"S'everywhere, man. Everywhere. Uhm. He had to have our blood before we could take it, though. I don't- I don't know if that helps." james takes another sip of Coke. "I can't go back to my moms. If she saw me like this…"

Rufus nods his head just once. "I understand," he says, attempting a reassuring smile. Mostly, it comes across as wry. "Then I suppose you shall have to stay in my flat until the situation can be resolved and your condition reversed. At the very least, my acquaintances may need to study you personally to ascertain /why/ the Chimera has been behaving the way it is. Given Louie's apparent knack for being at the right place at the right time, you are likely in some considerable danger yourself."

"Y-yeah, well, with Kyle missing and Amy and Rick dead I ain't got no one, an' anyway like you said he might be able to find me anyway I figure you guys can take care of yourselves better than uh, better than my mom." James shrugs timidly.

"I like to think we stand a somewhat better chance, yes," Rufus says, somewhat drily. Though inwardly he's not entirely too sure of that himself. The man retreats a few steps to sink down into one of his chairs, exhaling a sharp, long sigh. "How did you come to get tangled in this mess, James? When did you first encounter Louie?"

"Few months ago? At first it was just pot, sometimes some coke. Few weeks ago we started taking chimera." James sighs.

The man nods his head, resting his elbow on the arm of the chair, and he rests his fingers against the side of his mouth. "Can you name and describe the dealers you most often met? Tell me where you met them?" he quietly asks.

"Nah, man." James shakes his head. "Like I said, it wasd mostly Amy and Rick that did the uh, the pick-ups."

Several seconds pass in silence. His fingers tap against his cheek, and he nods his head. "All right." Rufus draws in a breath and sits up a bit straighter. "Well, digging about in Spanish Harlem and working towards an antidote should keep us busy for awhile, till we turn up another lead. In the meanwhile…" His mouth tightens. "You can scarcely lay about on my couch all day, watching my television and eating my food. How old are you, James?"

"M'fifteen." James gulps a little, and picks at his feathered forearm, plucking a feather with a wince.

There's a loooong moment of silence after that one, then a very quiet sigh. "With intentions of dropping out of school, I expect? You are much younger than I first thought. Much too young." That last is muttered beneath his breath, at least. "Very well. Even if you are still enrolled, you can scarcely attend classes if you're… having issues of that sort. We shall have to speak to your mother, James. As you are only fifteen, she is still responsible for you, and she needs to know what is happening to you."

Vette probably finished her phone call some time ago but was quietly listening and not calling much attention to herself. "And I think I'll need to take a sample of your blood, too, to look at." She doesn't seem to realize that this sudden in medias res from inside of her own head will potentially come as a somewhat alarming nonsequitor, but at least she offers a reassuring, almost motherly (or maybe detatched dotty aunt) smile at the kid.

"I don't- my mom can't handle something like this." James shakes his head. "He glances at Yvette, and sighs, nodding. Like he was maybe half-expecting that.

"We cannot simply have you disappear without saying /something/ to her, even if it not the full, unpleasant truth. If she believes you've run away, then surely she'll call the police, yes?" Rufus inquires with an arch of his eyebrows.

Vette will let Rufus handle being Dad. She goes into her room. Believe it or not she keeps a kit, because she took samples of Dee and Rufus' blood too. She sits down beside James and says, "Roll up your sleeve, kiddo, this won't take a minute."

"I didn't /run away/. I've only been gone a few days. She won't notice for a while, yet." James shrugs. "I stay at other kids' places all the time." Vette's reappearance makes him sigh. He has no sleeves. Wifebeater.

While the lady does her thing with the kid's blood, Rufus falls quiet for a few minutes. He watches the procedure fairly impassively, fingertips lightly tapping together. "Very well then," he finally says. "You can handle your mother, but you will stay in touch with her. When this nasty business is finished, you will go back to school and graduate. Yes? May I have your word on that, James?"

Vette double takes. Oh look, a wifebeater! She blinks again and then takes out a local anesthetic. She starts swiping over his arm with the cool brownish yellow substance, using a cottonball. At least, if she's sometimes still a bit dotty, she focuses on what she focuses on. She takes out one of those rubber things that nurses always have when they draw blood and winds it around with no particular issue, then brings out the blood kit and proceeds to do the deed as efficently and as pain free as possible.

James nods at Rufus' instructions. "Yeah. Yeah, okay." He winces at the poke in his arm, but doesn't whine. He just grabs his jacket and puts it back on when Yvette is done.

"And while you are here in my flat," Rufus goes on, chin lifting a touch, "you will be expected to study, James. As it is, I expect you have a lot of catching up to do. You can expect us to begin working with you on that matter tonight over dinner, which will be at seven o'clock. You would do well to spend the rest of this afternoon contemplating what you would like to really do with the rest of your life. Hanging about in the streets, taking drugs and getting into trouble is over."

Capping the blood, Vette says, "I'll need to take this up to the university as my home based equipment is inferior. I might also need to do some light reading." Granted, for Vette, "light reading" gets a little bit frightening. In a few hours of reading she can expand just about any level of knowledge she needs to do what she needs to do. "I'll begin working on, at the least, a blocker injection of some form that can halt the process, and then from there a cure. It seems James here needs a fast solution, and then will have the luxury of looking for a slower one…"

James watches Yvette go, and then coughs, setting the empty Coke can down on the kitchen counter.

Rufus nods his head to Vette, and then he rises from his chair. His eyes track the kid's movements, and then he wryly smiles. "Well, now that you're here, would you care for some lunch?"

James' face lights up. Can he have eyes with that!?

Shou was the Storyteller for this scene.

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