2010-07-04: Bobbing For Arsonists



Date: July 4, 2010


Aaron calls George to set up a meeting. The meeting is had, and Tom Wilkes is discussed along with the mysterious, disappearing powers.

"Bobbing For AssholesArsonists"

Central Park

It was an incredibly strange week preceded by an incredibly stressful couple of days packed to the brim with cops and statements, and thankfully very little press. Not that Aaron would have much restraint in painting Tom Wilkes as some psychopathic arsonist on the six o'clock news. Naturally, some word of the arson reached the media anyway—it's damned near impossible to restrain people from spreading … well, anything.

Aaron spent the better part of the previous day pacing out front of the former bar, now a boarded-up, police-taped building. It took him a long while to finally pull out the card George gave him that night, and even longer to leave a voice mail, requesting a meet. The place of the meeting? Wide. open. space.

Central Park.

Aaron stands—well, more accurately, he paces back and forth—underneath a tree not too far from their original meeting. With the exception that he stands nowhere near the path to avoid any potential run-ins, even if such are unlikely. He's actually paying attention this time. More or less.

Elle's phone had rung earlier, bearing a more pleasant message than the last time, this time from George. The blonde was running late as she made her way to the meeting place, loose ponytail bobbing with each quickened step. There's a purse on her arm, the colours in its geometric pattern matching the rest of her outfit: a slate blue blouse paired with a pale yellow miniskirt.

Pale blue-grey eyes spot Aaron under the tree; he's not terribly hard to spot, his posture all restless, tense motion. "Aaron?" Elle asks when she's close enough to be overheard, slowing her pace as she approaches him. "What's wrong?"

It took a little while for Aaron's voicemail to be received… but not too long. The phone number disclosed to the general public is filtered by a handful of dedicated staffers (of necessity, it gets its fair share of cranks and flames); the card has a different number on it, one that routes directly to George's cell phone. In quick succession, he placed two followup calls: one to Elle to make sure she was filled in, one to his office to rearrange his schedule for the day. Again. At least he pays them well…

He's dressed down as he walks up, a couple paces behind Elle: Mets shirt, blue jeans, orange-tinted sunglasses, and a tall narrow bag slung over one shoulder. To a casual eye, he's just a guy looking to hit a few pop flies. Elle having covered intros already, he merely waves a hand to acknowledge the troubled star.

Despite paying attention, more or less, Aaron still seems somewhat surprised when Elle and George appear. Because they do just sort of appear. Apparently he wasn't paying as much attention as he'd thought. The end result is that the first words out of his mouth are, "You like blue." The words are addressed at Elle though they could have been addressed at him, since he too has a pale blue shirt on. He commonly does.

When his brain catches up to his mouth, he pretends the previous words never came out of his mouth and goes back to pacing like a crazy person. He doesn't wring his hands together so much as he taps them on each other. What he feels like saying is, Would someone care to enlighten me with an explanation as to why my life sucks so badly? It's not what he says, though. "Did you get electrocuted?" he asks Elle as he grows suddenly quite still. "Because…." his nightmare… "I keep having this revolving image in my head of an arc of electricity between you and the fire." The fire. It should be fairly obvious where this is going.

"I do like blue. It's my favourite colour." The electric blue matching manicure and pedicure attest further to that. "However, I'm pretty sure colour discussion isn't why you brought us both here." And here comes the meat of the issue. Elle coughs delicately, tugging on an earlobe. "Not.. exactly. There was electricity involved during the.. the fire, though. I sort of.. helped." Her words are only semi-vague; she won't outright state her ability, but she doesn't beat around the bush quite so much this time.

George knows exactly what Elle is not-so-subtly alluding to; he was less shell-shocked when it happened, plus they danced around it an extra time at a coffee shop the other day. But he has no idea whether Aaron knows anything about the subject - was Wilkes using an ability, or did he have enough time to have a goon come in and splash some gasoline around the place? So he doesn't add anything. Especially if it can't do them any good any more anyway.

"I heard the story on the news," he offers, as if it was just a water-cooler subject. Are they far enough away from the major walking paths? "The place was insured, at least. FDNY's already spinning it for the next round of budget talks."

"Yeah," Aaron says as he musses his hair. "The place was open for ten hours before it burned." He resumes pacing. "Not the first time the son of bitch did it. Set a whole music hall on fire and killed a hundred and fifty-three people, my fiancée amongst them." It's not precisely news. It was a bit story at the time, and anyone can look the tale up on the Internet. It's not hard to find. "Burned my condo and left me for dead. I left him for dead, sorry. Son of a bitch has alluded police for six months."

He stops and faces both of them, deadpan. "Six fucking months." The pacing continues. "Someone told me I was going to be the one to stop him. The only one, or something. Said she'd seen it. If I could just concentrate. If I could just find him, be ready." His therapist told him that. The therapist who's been missing for over a month.

He rounds on Elle, "So tell me about the electricity."

Elle looks visibly uncomfortable, glancing towards George for a lifeline. Does she really have to be the one to put herself out in the open first? It goes against her very nature to do so, especially considering how vulnerable her power's absence has made her feel.

"Uh.. the fire. Fires. Were they all.. naturally caused?" It sounds like a change of subject, but it's Elle's way of drawing lines from one topic to the other. "Or were their origins, ah.. suspicious?" There, that seems like a relatively safe word to use.

George returns Elle's glance, then turns back toward Aaron, frowning and doing his best to think on his feet. "Look, I get that you've been through a lot, but you're not the only one—" Which is true, anyway, and works whether anyone's admitting knowing about abilities or not. Then again, Elle's thought of the same possibility he has; he falls quiet, waiting to see where Aaron goes with that one.

"Depends on how you define suspicious," Aaron says, backing against the tree he's under the shade of. He finally just sits down on the grass, resuming the tapping of his hands. "Because the fact that no accelerants were found…. at least in my apartment, unless he had things on a timer or something… and he'd have needed accelerants for that. That's fucking suspicious is what it is. Unnatural. Definitely not natural, definitely suspicious as hell."

Elle sits down on the grass facing Aaron, her eyes serious. It speaks to her focus that she's not worried about grass stains on her new skirt. "And how would a man start such a major fire - a fire big and strong enough to consume an apartment - without any trace of accelerant? You must've thought of this thousands of times - what are your theories?"

George leans down long enough to drop off the bag, but afterward, he's the one that ends up pacing back and forth. He's still worried that someone will stumble upon them— but then he realizes he's just as likely to draw more attention to them, and so he sits down as well, drawing his knees up close. "You picked a good time to call us," he murmurs, more to himself than anything else. He'll elaborate in a minute, at least if the conversation goes where he thinks it's about to.

"I suspect similar to how I disastrously rearrange my bedroom furniture in my sleep, or play piano duets with only one set of hands or, how my friend is somewhere she really isn't, or where I suspect that arc of electricity came from," Aaron says. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen: He rearranges furniture and plays piano duets, solo. "Either that or I'm completely insane and should be committed. Again."

Elle reaches out to take both of Aaron's hands in hers. It's a comforting touch, or it's meant to be, and she lifts her eyes to his. "You're not insane, Aaron. I have powers. I can.. conduct and command electricity, to an extent." Her voice is low, but steady. "That's what you saw in the bar the other day. That's the reason I have the taser," she pats her purse. "Plausible deniability."

"Oh, four of us, then," murmurs George, arching a brow. "Nice coincidence— story of my life…" He switches to a lotus position, the better to meet Aaron's gaze. "I don't suppose you happen to have stopped rearranging the furniture recently?"

Nothing really changes in Aaron's expression when Elle takes his hands or confirms his sanity. He didn't truly doubt it. But when George asks his question, those hands tighten, and he looks up at George. "What?" He looks to Elle, "Seriously? Not just me?"

Elle nods slowly, her mouth opening to confirm just this. "Seriously. Not just you. A friend and I.." Who thought there'd be a day where she'd refer to Claire Bennet as a 'friend'? "… think it was tied to the eclipse. No one seems to know anything more than that, though. Just that everything has sort of.. stopped."

"Same here," adds George, "I'm pretty sure— mine's not exactly obvious, but it feels like it's stopped. And I think at least three others." Leaning forward, he gestures with his hands. "Which means that Tom has probably stopped, too. Could be a good time to go after him, if he's still trying to recover his balance…"

"Well that … doesn't actually make me feel better. He's still an arsonist. It just complicates things for me, or at least makes it harder for me to stop him," Aaron says. "The first fire, at Aleston Music Hall, was supposedly an electrical fire, or that's what everyone thought. It could have been set through more mundane means, if he was anything like and didn't has his … power, back then. Definitely, complicates things…." Like Gillian. "Well, shit."

"Some of his abilities might be tied to his power, though. Perhaps not all of them, but this… power surge, I suppose it could be called, will have thrown him off balance if nothing else. Granted, he still has mundane ways to set fires, but his options will be more limited." Elle's voice is a few upbeat notes short of a pep talk; there's confidence in her tone. "If you're going to take him down, now would be the time."

George shrugs. "There'd be something of an advantage, anyway. How much of one, I don't know." A shadow briefly crosses his expression as he continues. "On the other hand, if this turns out to be temporary… then I know someone who should be able to oppose him much more— directly, let's say. I can see about introducing you two if it comes to that point."

"There are a lot of ways to burn people," Aaron remarks. "Respecfully, I pray it's not," he says to George. He doesn't feel like destroying his property anymore. His mother's eighteen thousand dollar piano was quite enough. "But, if it is…. this person have a name? I'm not really looking for someone to fight this for me so much as to make sure I don't get myself killed. Direct opposition or not, if he's hellbent on killing me, he's going to be prepared. He's not stupid. I mean the bar, that was stupid. But, that's what happens you fly seat of your pants. He planned my condo. Only thing that fucked him over was the surprise of me knocking a couple of paintings onto him and someone unexpected distracting him. If it weren't for her, I'd be dead."

"If you need backup, I can help, too," Elle offers, with the hint of a smile that's more dangerous than humorous. "I know a thing or two about defending myself, and others that need it. Just find me." With that, Elle's cell phone begins to chirp, and she releases Aaron's hands to fish it from her purse. It's a text message, and as her eyes skim over it, she makes a face.

"I need to take this - it's a friend. But for when you need to contact me again…" Again Elle's hand goes into her purse, this time emerging with a plain white business card, simply designed with her name and number. "Just use this. I'll answer." Rising to her feet, the blonde glances from Aaron to George. "Do either of you need anything else before I go?"

George considers, then shakes his head. "Nothing I can think of, offhand. The more we know about Wilkes and his gang, the better. Personally, I'm tied up a lot, and I don't know a lot about being in a fight" - yeah, he was bluffing back at the bar, for all the good it did - "but yeah, I get that waiting for the usual agencies isn't going to cut it. I'll be in touch, too."

Aaron takes the card, "Thanks." Now he has a business card for each of them. Clearly he should get some of his own printed up. Or something. He nods to George and waves to Elle, "I got nothing. Seems like it might be a waiting game. God knows I have little idea where the bastard is, aside from possibly watching at this very moment. Provide he's not figuring out what to do without his power instead of stalking me. Provided he even stalks me. I couldn't help but notice the lackies. You've got my number George." He pulls out his own cell phone and punches in Elle's number, "And now you do too, Elle."

Elle smiles briefly at the pair, nods, and gives a little wave. It's clear her mind has begun to move forward to other things. "Alright, then. I'll be in touch, or hear from you. Take care, you two." With that, she leaves the park at a light jog, her blonde ponytail bobbing steadily behind her.

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