2007-07-30: DF: Before It Gets Too Dark


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Summary: An old acquaintanceship is renewed under even stranger circumstances.

Dark Future Date: June 30, 2009

Before It Gets Too Dark

An apartment block somewhere in Queens

This evening finds the Emperor of the United States (Yes. Still. He's sent letters to President Petrelli.) occupying a first-floor apartment. Clearly visible through a broken window panel, to anyone who bothers to look, he's busy stretching lengths of yarn across the room. It's reminiscent of Future Hiro's string theory, but less coherent.

The storm-ruined and as-yet unrepaired sections of the city may be officially abandoned, but they're not unoccupied, as Randall's presence proves. It turns out he isn't quite alone, either, when an older teen approaches the building from outside. She isn't the same Evelyn who spent April Fool's as the exiled Tsarina two years ago — her hair is merely shoulder-length, and her eyes are not violet but a light hazel color; the girl's clothes are dusty and worn, like the neighborhood around them. Evelyn pauses on the sidewalk, looking in towards the lighted window, shifting the paper bag carried in the crook of her arm before she finally heads up the stairs.

Randall's back is turned, so he doesn't spot the old acquaintance right away. The tell-tale creak of the third step up is what grabs his attention. "Don't go up!" he calls out, even as he continues to tug a stubborn little knot apart. "It's rotted about halfway up, you'd have to jump hard."

It's been a long time since she heard that voice — long enough for Evelyn not to recognize it quickly. She pauses, glancing back towards the occupied apartment, a hint of air movement ruffling the ends of her hair. "I'm aware," the girl replies, quieter than he but the words carrying far enough regardless. "But thank you."

"Are you sure?" Randall runs fingers through his hair. Something familiar there… "I tried measuring a jump from the sidewalk once, I don't th—" Walking over to the window, he blinks and waves. "Oh, hey, I know you! Been, what, at least a year, hasn't it?"

Evelyn positions her feet below the failing section of stairs, dropping the bag from her arm down to be held tightly in one hand. But she doesn't move any further just yet, only looks down at the stairs with a slight, oblique smile. "I'm sure," she replies. Her gaze returns to the window, and the teen blinks at the sight of Randall's face. Oh. I remember, we met before. "Yeah, at least that," she agrees. "Glad to see you're still alive."

"Likewise," he replies. "C'mon in if you like, take a load off." It's not necessarily a forward comment, these days; lots of people are accepting poor excuses for shelter. "What've you been up to?"

The teen smiles thinly, glancing away briefly and then back to Randall. "Just for a bit," she replies, giving in. For the moment. Evelyn chuckles briefly at the following question; it's a rather dry sound. "Just surviving, really. Like everyone else." She refuses to notice the gust of air that sweeps past. "You?"

Randall gets the door for you, and shrugs. "Mostly that. Still trying to map out things in the city, only I realized it needed to be in 3-D… and it keeps moving around." He always did live on the cheap, which has served him well lately; there are a few spare tins of food piled up on a shelf nearby.

"Thanks." Evelyn walks into the apartment, stopping when she sees the strings stretched up about the room. Well, she wasn't planning on going far in anyway. The bag is set down beside the door, just behind the teen. "The city?" she echoes, looking at the cords. "Couldn't you just get a map of it?"

Randall shakes his head. "Euclidean distance isn't what I'm looking for," he explains. (As if anyone could follow this without six months and a ball peen hammer to the head.) "There's some correlation, but it'd be more confusing than helpful. This--" He goes over and tugs at a strand of red, unraveling thin filaments. "--this is the zoo here. Strong. No inhibitions."

Eucliwhat? The girl doesn't even ask. "M'kay." It's a nice, safe comment. Tilting her head, Evelyn studies the clump of red yarn. "I haven't been there in a long time," she remarks.

"I should go," he muses, partly to himself, "I haven't been in a while either. Could open up something big." Randall rubs his eyes, struggling to focus on his visitor. "Heard somebody tried to shake Times Square apart this week?"

Evelyn nods a bit. "Yeah. It was in the paper yesterday. Guess they caught whoever it was, too." One corner of her mouth quirks back in what isn't quite a smile. "Wouldn't want to be in her shoes."

Randall leans back against the wall. "I don't know… I wouldn't, either, but who knows what someone in her shoes would really be thinking? She might be beyond caring." He starts to say something else, but then visibly bites down on it, looking lost even for him as he picks up a fresh ball of yarn.

Closing her eyes for a moment, Evelyn shrugs. "Maybe it was an accident. Can't believe everything the media says," she points out, tone carefully neutral. She looks over at Randall as he picks up the yarn, then takes a half-step back and retrieves her bag. "I should probably go before it gets too dark," the girl says, offering him a brief smile. "It was good to see you again."

The yarn is stared at, then put down again with a frown. "You too. And you probably should… it's rough out there. Especially for the humans." The last comment is added absently, and with a strange sort of detachment.

Evelyn nods slowly. "I know. I'll manage." She glances at the yarn tangle once more, then opens the door. "Take care." Stepping out, the girl closes the door behind her. She hesitates a moment on the stairs before walking back down to the street. Somewhere else, tonight.

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