2007-03-02: He Could Be Anywhere


Eliana_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif Sydney_icon.gif

Summary: Eliana and Jack meet up with Sydney at her loft to discuss the Hiro situation

Date It Happened: March 2nd, 2007

Log Title: He Could Be Anywhere

Sydney's Loft

Sniffles and nausea are excellent excuses for not going to see someone who isn't expecting you. But now that Jack is not so shaky on his feet and Eliana isn't expelling mucus, the two make their way up through Eastern Centennial Apartments to Sydney's Loft. It's Sunday, which is a lazy day, so Eli is dressed in black sneakers, jeans, and a hoodie with her hair pulled back in a short stub of a pony tail, but some locks still frame her face. Outside Syd's door, she lifts a tired hand to knock twice.

Holy crap. The last twenty-four hours haven't been kind to Jack. Last night he left a message on Eliana's machine, letting her know he was ok and that he wouldn't be home until the next day. Then he got stinking drunk and passed out across the desk in his office at the Den. After pouring himself into a fresh set of clothes and snagging a cup of bad coffee, he's feeling substantially better. Still, Jack hasn't yet reached the point where he's ready to tell his lady about yesterday's mess at Hava Java. Instead, he's been uncharacteristically quiet, his boisterous attitude apparently shelved for the time being. His usual suit-and-tie attire is absent. Instead he's wearing a soft, dark grey turtleneck and jeans with a lightweight jacket thrown atop.

"It's open!" comes Sydney's voice from deep within the loft, hoarse from either shouting or smoking — maybe even both at the same time. It wouldn't be unlike her.

In times such as these, Eliana has a hard time understanding why Sydney would let anyone into her apartment. But maybe her ability has something to do with sight. Maybe she knows it's safe for Eliana to open the door and enter the loft with Jack. But even if she doesn't, it hardly matters. With little hesitation, Eliana does just that. "Sydney?" she calls, squinting around the space.

Jack follows Eliana through the door. His face is pulled into a thoughtful, absent frown. It seems he's having the same slightly-paranoid line of reasoning about letting strangers in. Then he shrugs to himself almost imperceptibly. Not his apartment, after all. He pinches his upper arm against his torso, reassuring himself that his TMP is still securely fastened to its under-arm sling.

The handgun sitting across from Sydney at the kitchen table is probably the reason that the blonde feels so comfortable about leaving her door unlocked. A spread of digital photographs, each depicting one of the paintings kept under the tarps on the other side of the loft, covers the surface of her workspace, but Sydney immediately starts gathering them into a pile when the door opens and Eliana's voice announces their arrival. "What happened to you?" The question is directed at Jack, of course.

That's good, because Eliana doesn't yet know the answer either. That plus the fact that Jack didn't come back to the apartment until this morning has been a creature of worry gnawing at the back of her mind. It takes a healthier bite now, and once she closes the door, Eliana fixes that concerned expression on Jack.

Sydney's question and Eliana's sudden, intent expression both catch Jack thoroughly off-guard. A trifle uncomfortably, he shifts his own weapon beneath his jacket until it rests a bit easier. "How the hell did you.. ?" Then he shakes his head. The answer's not important. Telling the truth. Turning over a new leaf and shit. That's what matters. "Nevermind. There was a shooting at Hava Java in the Village. Yesterday evening. It was gruesome, to say the least." He gives his head a brief shake. For the moment, he leaves out the part where he killed the lady shooter.

The dubious expression on Sydney's face turns to one of apprehension when she finally lifts her eyes to Jack and Eliana. "Did you get hurt?" Apparently, when she asked what happened to him, it wasn't in reference to his sling — it was in reference to his absence. Even when she sets to scrutinizing the man from afar, she doesn't notice anything wrong with him; she has to ask.

Eliana merely shakes her head in answering for herself. No, she wasn't there. But her eyes quickly move from Sydney to Jack again, her face expectant. If he wasn't hurt, then he would have come back to her place. Or if he was. There's only one thing that Eli can think of that would have kept Jack away, and that would only because he got an extra dose of noble.

"A few scrapes and bruises. Nothin' serious," Jack replies to Sydney's query about his well-being. For the moment he's carefully avoiding looking at Eliana. Yes, he should've told her sooner. Yes, he does feel guilty. No, he really couldn't help it. See: Irish Stoicism (ouchie pending review.)

"Three dead. Two innocents. That poor, stupid cashier. She was such a sweet girl." Jack sighs and shakes his head. For all his bluff and bluster, he usually doesn't see action any more hectic than the occasional fistfight. The past few weeks have been a montage of bullets, bodies, and explosions, and the strain is starting to take a toll on the normally cheerful young man.

If Sydney's eyes could talk, they'd be saying, "That's all?" People — some innocent, most not — die suddenly and unexpectedly every day here in New York. As long as it isn't someone she knows, it isn't her problem. She shrugs. "I'm not sure if Hiro told you," she says after a short pause, "but Kellie's missing. If the Company came for her while I was out, they would have taken the paintings, too. She had to have gone on her own."

It's funny how such violence still exists in a city which outlawed handguns. Eliana lifts a hand to Jack's arm in a gesture of comfort. When Sydney speaks again, Eliana looks to her, then squints. "Kellie? You mean," and she raises her free hand to gently point to the door where the woman had lingered the last time Eliana was in the apartment.

Jack shoots a vaguely disdainful look in Sydney's direction, his way of responding to her bored, uncaring expression. He's no idiot, and years as a gambler have taught him a great deal about body language. Jack leans gratefully into Eliana's touch, soaking in her comforting presence. "That's not good. I still haven't been able to get in touch with Hiro, either," he muses. "That kid seems like he'd have trouble tying his own shoes. I'm worried."

"Yeah. That Kellie." Sydney gestures toward the tarp-covered paintings with a tip of her head. "The way I see it, our shit's been compromised. If the Company gets to her before we do, we're screwed." As for Hiro, the corners of the blonde's mouth tug into a troubled frown. "I haven't been able to, either," she tells Jack, "and it's not like him not to keep in touch. Do you think Sylar—?" She lets the question hang.

Eliana shakes her head quickly and takes her hand from Jack. "He can't have," she says with a desperation that isn't unlike that of a child. "If he did, Hiro would have just…poofed. You know, gone. And maybe he's with Kellie." If they're both missing, it's a somewhat logical conclusion. Shaking her head again, Eliana moves to the table and sits down rather unceremoniously. "Has he ever done this before?" she asks in a softer voice, but she has no idea how long Sydney's known the small Japanese man.

The mention of Sylar the Brain Inspector is enough to send a shiver down even the stalwart Jack's spine. "I don't know what's happened, but let's not assume the worst just yet," he agrees, and nods to Eliana. "From what Short Round told me, these Company lads are prone to locking people up. Point is, he could be anywhere." Despite his words, there's a lack of conviction in his tone. Wearily, he follows Eli to the table, stands behind her, and lays his long-fingered hands on her shoulders. The fact remains that Hiro /would've/ called.

"I don't know who else we can turn to." The situation is looking pretty bleak, and while Jack's words are enough to inspire a twinge of hope, Sydney isn't deaf to their tone. "This is the best I've been able to come up with." She slides one of the photographs across the table and reorients it so Jack and Eliana can get a better look. It's the one that depicts Hiro facing off against a European-looking man in feudal Japanese garb. "His name is Kensei, and he knows Hiro."

"You want to find Kensei?" Eliana asks as she squints at the photograph of the painting. Hiro's time-travel aside, it looks like a snapshot of action from an SCA shindig. It's not a bad idea - check in with others whom Hiro might have checked in with aside from them. She relaxes a little under Jack's hands, but it's clear that the pink-haired writer is still rather tense.

Jack peers down at the image for a long moment. "I guess we'll have to hope he knows how to use that blade he carries around," he murmurs. "Until Hiro-san gets back… If he gets back…" Jack pauses and sucks in a deep, steadying breath. "Eli's right. We need to do /something/. We can't just wait for things to start happening." Absently his strong hands begin to work at the knots in Eliana's shoulders. "I have to go," he murmurs. "I'm supposed to meet someone who might have information."

Sydney wordlessly watches Jack go. Hopefully he'll bring back something that they can use. If not, well— "I'll call the hospitals again," she tells Eliana. "Maybe they've turned up since this morning." She'll call the morgue, too, but her friend doesn't need to know that. "You ever put an ad in the paper before?"

The following advertisement appears in the personals section of the March 3rd edition of the NY Daily News:

SWFs desperately seeking WM steeped in Japanese folklore. Must know how to use awesome swords — we're holding out for a Hiro. Please call: 212-236-8722.

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