2007-03-03: High Morning Commute


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Lachlan tries to read Robert Burns and fails miserably. Instead, he winds up talking to Daniel about business, literature, pets, and sex. Eliana enters the car and everything becomes a party for a little bit.

Date It Happened: March 3rd, 2007

High Morning Commute

The Subway

The subway: crowded, noisy, and what's that smell? The early morning commute is about the worst of them with irritable, sleep-deprived businessmen bearing coffee cups and sour expressions and chipper school kids chattering about the adventures into academia that await them. Among this crowd in the car is Lachlan Deatley, who is standing next to a pole and staring at … a /book/. In his hands. It is surely a sign of the Apocalypse. The Scotsman is dressed in his usual fare — ragged jeans, a rumpled T-shirt, and old leather jacket — and his bandages have been removed save for a strip of gauze that has been taped over the stitches on his cheek. The left side of his face is discolored, but it's healing nicely.

Not all of the school kids are chipper or chattering. Daniel stands with the fingers of one hand latched tightly around the nearest above-head handhold. Nothing on the train has really caught his interest, and his skateboard is tucked tightly under his free arm while his backpack swings loosely from a single strap that's caught around the middle of his supporting arm. He leans slowly towards Lachlan, somewhat intrigued by the book, and squints. Then he squints harder. Looks familiar. Not something he's personally read, but he's seen a lot of books. /Most/ books look familiar. "…scottish prick," he mutters. Yeah, he knows who Robert Burns is. Apparently he's not a fan.

Squiiiiint. Stare. Ponder. Stare. Squint. Lachlan is not so much /reading/ the book as he is staring at it in a mixture of confusion, loathing, and disgust. What the hell was this guy on? Who the hell /talks/ like that? What's the /point/ of all this? Megan told him to read Robert Burns, said it would be impressive if he could talk intelligently about books with a bookstore owner (even though Cass' store only sells poetry about alien abductions). Lachlan loves his sister, but right now he thinks she's full of crap. As he's caught up in his literary-directed distaste, the Scotsman doesn't even notice Daniel until the boy speaks up — but the boy sure knows how to get attention. Hot-tempered as he is, it's enough to get Lachlan to lift his head and /glare/ at the skater. "Piss off," he growls. He's trying to /read/ here.

Lachlan's response gets a surprised blink in return from Daniel, who seems surprised by the bruised and stitched stranger's accent. "Not you," he explains. "Burns. He's a Scottish prick. Overrated. Scotland's bard? Bullshit." Daniel nods once, knowingly, and purses his lips into a short, poorly-formed smile. "…get into a fight with a badger or something, mister? Your face is all fucked up." Just in case Lachlan didn't notice. The teenager shifts his arm and hauls his backpack back onto his shoulder as the train starts to squeal, the brightness of the next station showing clearly out the windows. The soon-to-be influx of new passengers gives the boy the perfect excuse to cram further into the crowded train, and soon his fingers are wrapped around the pole in front of Lachlan.

Oh. Well, if Daniel isn't meaning /him/, then Lachlan has no issues with agreeing — especially since the boy is talking about the tripe in the book. The Scotsman glances down at the tome, then grunts and snaps it closed. He's only on the first few pages and he's already regretting getting the thing. "Yeah," he utters, "'s a load o' bollocks." When the train starts to scream to a halt, he grips the pole nearest him to steady himself and looks to the boy. "Nah, got inna bit o' a scrap s'all."

Daniel lifts his free hand to point vaguely at Lachlan's face, grinning. His own bruise, a badge of honor and victory, is still blotched across his upper cheek - though it's calming down considerably and has nearly faded. "Everyone in this fuckin' city has a shiner lately. At least-" At least what? At least Lachlan didn't have to deal with some chick who makes the ground wobble when she's freaked out? Possibly. "-hell, man, this week has been insane. Doesn't look like yours has been much better."

Dealing with the after-effects of watching and feeling his dog get shot in the face, finding a girl he likes enough to ask on a date, winding up in a major shoot-out while /on/ that date, getting a pen thrown at him for attempting to blackmail a fellow Evolved — yeah. Lachlan's had one /hell/ of a week. One hell of a /month/, really. The Scotsman snorts softly, grinning dryly. "Yeah, this city's full o' crazy shit lately," he chuckles, recalling what Cass asked him before the coffee shop exploded in gunfire. "Canna seem ta catch a break." Hopefully this upcoming weekend will be a little less crazy. Movies. Movies are calm and nobody in the audience gets shot at.

"If you want a break from crazy, I'd huck that Burns book in the nearest trash bin. It'll just fuck up your mind even more than it already probably is." The teenager clings a little harder to the pole as people finish mobbing their way onto the train, which gives a lurch before starting to rattle down the tracks once again. "Where're you headed? Work?" Say it's something interesting, and say Daniel can tag along.

"Tha's righ'." Lachlan bobs his head in an affirmative gesture, scowling as he's jostled by a tall businessman who is growling something about no cellphone service in the tunnels. When the train lurches on its way, he leans into the pole heavily. "Got a bit o' business ta take care o'." And no, Daniel can't tag along. This is the sort of business one does not need witnesses for.

Brief hesitation is overcome by a sudden impulsive urge, and Daniel reaches out to attempt to tug at the book that Lachlan's holding. "Any specific kind of business? You don't really look like an upstanding member of society." Hello, Daniel. You have the tact of a baboon. "—Not that it's a bad thing you don't."

Lachlan is naturally a bit hesitant to let go of a book that doesn't belong to him. It's a good way to wind up replacing a library book later. However, he releases it eventually, figuring he could always beat the snot out of Daniel before the boy could get too far away — and who the hell would want to steal Burns anyway? Yeah. Seriously. "Tha's m'business, no' yers," is the Scotsman's quick response, though it's said with a disarming grin. He /isn't/ an upstanding member of society. That's why it's not any of Daniel's business. "Ye dunna like upstandin' members o' society, then?"

Daniel turns the book over to quickly glance at the back cover, then holds it back out to Lachlan. "They're generally boring. Really boring." The teen smiles again, though his expression is far more tense than the Scot's. Maybe the older man's a murderer! Or a mobster! Or - something interesting, at any rate. "And sometimes I like paying attention to other peoples' business."

"Ye should be careful 'bout tha' sort o' thing. Ye stick yer nose in the wrong hole, yer gonna get it cut off in this city." Lachlan grins again. It sounds like he's just playing, but there is truth in his words. He'd do a lot to protect himself and his business from prying eyes. The Scot accepts the book with a faint nod of his head, then changes the subject: "So ye've read Burns, eh? 'S it popular with the girls?" To some, polling a high schooler would seem … well, childish. However, Lachlan is desperate for opinions and advice on the subject. /Desperate/.

Is it popular with the /girls/? At that, Daniel just grins and shakes his head, tucking it down a bit towards his chest. "I wouldn't say anything about me is popular with the girls. Or the boys. Or anyone, for that matter. If you're looking for romance tips, you'd be better off asking someone with the experience of at least first base." Dan's love-life isn't impressive. At all. "I guess that you could get a girl by doing the opposite of what I do. So, uh. Attempt to be as stupid as possible."

"Stupid" is something Lachlan has in spades, trucks, tanks, and boatloads. This is a proven fact. It's worked for him thus far, but he figures it's /hardly/ impressive to Cass, and that's really the thing that matters to him right now. It's inexplicable, but then he's never been one to question his urges. He scoffs loudly, rubbing at his scruffy jaw with one hand. "Some people tell me ta be smart an' read bloody Burns, some tell me ta act dumb an' ferget bloody Burns. Whole fuckin' city's gone daft." Siiiiigh. Maybe he should enroll in classes. Do they have classes on this sort of thing at NYU? Bah. After a moment's pause, he squints at Daniel, scrutinizing him. "Tha's bloody weird, yer no' popular with the ladies. Ye look like a damn good-lookin' boy." He said in a non-homosexual fashion.

"Stupid" is something Lachlan has in spades, trucks, tanks, and boatloads. This is a proven fact. It's worked for him thus far, but he figures it's /hardly/ impressive to Cass, and that's really the thing that matters to him right now. It's inexplicable, but then he's never been one to question his urges. He scoffs loudly, rubbing at his scruffy jaw with one hand. "Some people tell me ta be smart an' read bloody Burns, some tell me ta act dumb an' ferget bloody Burns. Whole fuckin' city's gone daft." Siiiiigh. Maybe he should enroll in classes. Do they have classes on this sort of thing at NYU? Bah. After a moment's pause, he squints at Daniel, scrutinizing him. "Tha's bloody weird, yer no' popular with the ladies. Yer a damn good-lookin' boy." He said in a non-homosexual fashion.

"I never said the city wasn't fucking nuts. I'm just telling you how it is for me, mister - ?" As he makes his inquiry, Daniel reaches out one hand. "I'm Daniel Price. And while I agree with you about me looking good? It seems like nobody else does." This is an interesting conversation, to be sure. Burns, careers, levels of society, and sex. Also the lack thereof. "I'm goddamn sixteen. Any tips from your end?"

"Deatley. Lachlan Deatley. Ye can call me Lach." The Scotsman takes that hand and gives it a firm shake. "Tha's b'cause people're bloody retarded." Clearly. Only retarded people wouldn't think Daniel was attractive on some level. Maybe girls his age are stupid. "As fer advice? Best I can tell ye is ta never give up, keep pushin'. Ye got a dog?" Dogs help!

"No, I don't have a dog. My dad's got a goldfish, but I don't think that a goldfish is exactly what you'd call a chick-magnet." The shake is returned in due course, with as much masculine firmness as Daniel can muster. It's not a lot, but it's still some. He's not a completely lost cause. "…I'm not gonna argue about the retarded issue, though."

/Goldfish/? That's hardly manly or a chick-magnet. Lachlan grimaces, wincing at the mere mention of such a pet. "Bloody hell, boy, get yerself a dog. Most o' 'em love dogs, an' those tha' dunna like dogs're no' werth the effort." The train starts to squeal again as it approaches the next stop, and once again the Scotsman presses himself into the pole he stands next to.

Not worth the time? But. But. They're /girls/. "I'm not sure /I/ even like dogs. Don't have much experience with 'em." Save for harassing a few at the dog parks to irritate their owners - but Daniel doubts that Lachlan would like to hear that. "I must say I've always gotten along with the cats that my friends have owned."

Biking is fine, sure, but real travel requires the train. When the train lurches to a stop, Eliana is among the few the board, her bicycle lifted so that she can carry it on board and set it down once she's as settled as she's going to get. Unknowingly, the pink-haired writer places herself somewhat close to Lachlan and his current conversational companion. Eli grips the handlebars in the middle with one hand and one of the stabilizing poles with the other. She's dressed comfortably in a light jacket over a t-shirt, jeans, and sneaker. It's obvious someone either has an awesome day job or some other form of employment…or perhaps non-employment.

Pffffsh, cats. Cats aren't anything special, at least in Lachlan's eyes. They're good sport, though, sometimes. The Scotsman shakes his head with a scoff. "Dogs're better. Ye canna take a cat anywhere on a leash, now can ye?" Well … maybe you could, but it wouldn't be /nearly/ as impressive as a Doberman. Clearly. When the new passengers load, Lachlan subconsciously shuffles over a step to accommodate the bicycle and instinctively glances over at the owner — only to do a double-take. Pink hair. A grin splits his features. "Well /fuck me/," he laughs, easily loud enough for Eliana to hear.

"No, thanks, I think I'll skip it. There are laws against guys my age hopping into bed with guys your age." Daniel knows perfectly well that this wasn't the Scot's intended meaning, but hey. He'll be as much of a brat as he likes. "…god damn," he mutters, looking over towards Eliana. "I hate people who take their bikes onto the train. Asshole." More muttering follows.

Eliana whips her head around when she hears Lachlan's voice, and it's all she can do to keep her heartrate down and the subsequent gas only inches away from her skin, hovering on her clothing. "Hate and wish all you like," she replies sharply, her eyes moving from Lachlan to Daniel in turn. "So long as you keep it to yourselves."

Daniel's response to his outburst causes Lachlan to blink and twist his head to regard the boy in a /confused/ manner. /What/? But … no, he wasn't serious. Good. Once the Scotsman has ascertained this, he looks back at Eliana, regaining his grin. "Aw, why're ye so cold? 'Ve done nothin' ta ye, an' I dunna think the boy's done nothin' ta ye either." Another glance at Daniel. "Boy's just statin' his opinion s'all."

Daniel just sort of smirks at Lachlan, shaking his head before he sends an amused look towards Eliana. Hahah, punk. "You could've thought twice before bringing a fucking bike onto the train during morning rush." The boy snorts and sways a bit against the pole he's hanging onto. He shuffles his feet and hefts his backpack again, setting it more firmly onto his shoulder. School books - books that have never so much as had their spines cracked by their current owner - are heavy. Annoyingly heavy.

Eliana 's eyebrows furrow downward as she glares at Daniel, but she then flicks that glare over to Lachlan. She backs her bike up a few inches in order to get closer to the pair, a wry smile playing on her face. Daniel may be taller than her, but he's still just a kid. "He doesn't know me, Lachlan," Eli says with a slightly mischievous tone as she beckons Daniel closer with a finger. Already that gas is lingering about six inches from her, but Eliana has a firm grip on it's production now.

Whatever Eliana is planning to do, Lachlan doesn't seem about to stop it. He has a /pretty/ good idea of what it is, and he's more than happy to stand by and watch with a grin. Because watching kids get high is funny. Absolutely.

"Wow." A stare is soon fix on Eliana and her beckoning digit, and Daniel purses his lips. "That's not completely and utterly creepy at all. I guess you want me to 'know' you better, huh? Sorry. The same laws that apply to Lach apply to you, and I hate the color pink. It's an instant turnoff." Inadvertently and by complete accident, Daniel takes care of himself. More often than not, in fact.

Well, that just won't do. "What?" she laughs out, but there's still a note of maliciousness in her voice. She shakes her head and draws closer still. "You've got me all wrong, kid. I just want to teach you a /lesson./" And on that final word, Eliana jerks a hand forward and focuses in an effort to send a concentrated rush of gas out of the palm of her hand and into Daniel's face. She doesn't make contact with him, however, and with the bouncing of the car and her low voice, it's likely her little act of bioterrorism will go unnoticed by the other passengers.

All other passengers except Lachlan, who is watching quite closely. He even leans back a bit, just to avoid getting any stray whiffs of the gas he knows is probably being emitted from Eliana's pores. "Jesus, go easy on 'im," he mutters. Kids getting high are cool; kids /overdosing/ is not.

Whatever Eliana is doing, Daniel doesn't like it. When her hand shoots forward he snaps his head back, swinging around the pole in an effort to hide himself behind Lachlan. For some reason he finds himself feeling a little giddy, but it doesn't really last. "Jesus /christ/, you fucking maniac. Watch what you're doing with yourself!"

Eliana follows through with her hand, grabbing at one of the straps that hangs from the ceiling with it. Nothing to see here, folks. Just another bumpy subway ride. But Eliana's resolute gaze soon finds Daniel again, and when the train lurches once more, she makes another attempt at giving the kid a face full of gaseous Ecstasy.

"Bloody hell," hisses Lachlan as he once again pulls back. Eliana's hand goes over his shoulder toward Daniel's face, and the Scotsman doesn't like that proximity one little bit. He ducks to the side to avoid getting any side effects, grabbing hold of another pole nearby and nearly upsetting a chattering high school girl who looks /none/ too happy about such an interruption.

It's official: Eliana is definitely trying to do Something to Daniel. Lachlan's first outburst has greatly helped in confirming that. Eliana's weird actions have more or less sealed the deal. The teenager doesn't like it when people try to mess with him. While his initial reaction is a bit more confusion and another bout of brief giddiness, the boy's second move is to lean forward and attempt to shove the woman back. "Back the fuck off, you crazy bitch!" Jesus.

Eliana falls back, but she gropes and finds another pole to keep from falling into a cluster of old ladies on a bench. Her bike rattles against the pole that Lachlan is closest to, but it doesn't fall. Still, without the control she had earlier, Eliana's pores open up and send the gas out all around her, quickly filling their end of the car. Those ladies chatter and giggle just like the high school girls, while they become quite interested in the fabric that each other's coats are made from.

As soon as Lachlan starts to feel a bit lightheaded and giddy, he growls out a quiet "aw /fuck/" and holds his breath to avoid getting any more exposure. As such, he's able to avoid becoming victim to the sudden desire to rub up against the nearest interestingly textured surface — this crazy phenomenon seems to have overtaken the other passengers. He shoots a glare at Eliana, reaching out reflexively to catch her bike by the handlebars to prevent it from falling over. It may be leaning against the pole nearby, but the way that businessman is giddily assaulting the back tire, it won't remain upright for long.

This is way, way, way too much weird for Daniel to handle. It takes him no time at all to tear himself away from the scene, since he's already spooked. Lachlan's reaction helps him along, and rather than stick around to be affected by whatever the fuck it is messing with everyone, he's darted to the other end of the car and has made his way past the sliding doors. It isn't long before he's further on his way and into the next car back. Fucking /crazies/, man.

Eliana is reeling from the jostling car, and the look she sends those under the influence of the gas is not a friendly one. The tell-tale screech of an upcoming stop sounds, and Eliana fights to get her heart rate under control. It takes her some time, but she soon starts the gas into a decline, and any new addition to the car's atmosphere is gone by the time the train comes to a rickety halt.

One can only hold his breath for so long, and being a heavy smoker, that "so long" isn't very at all for Lachlan. By the time the gas starts to dissolve, he's inhaled enough of it to make him feel /extremely/ happy. Damn it. He's doing his very best to focus on the fact that this feeling is Bad, and thanks to his high tolerance and his quick thinking in holding his breath when it all started, he's able to keep most of his wits. Those handlebars feel /reaaaaally/ good, though. Haha, handlebars. Daniel's escape is watched with squinting eyes before the Scotsman looks again to Eliana. "Di'ye hafta do tha'?" he growls in a voice that's meant to be secretive, but in a loud car that is shrieking to a halt, one can never keep conversation /too/ quiet.

"Did /you?/" Eliana growls right back, referring to Lachlan's smart comment. She narrows her eyes, and as soon as she has her feet, reaches for her bike. If she can get it out of Lachlan's hands without a fight, this is Eliana's stop.

It's a small struggle to get the handlebars away from Lachlan, but it /is/ Eliana's bike, and he has no intention of stealing it. Therefore, she's able to get it away from him easily enough. The Scotsman shakes his head as the last of the effects start to fade. "Watch yerself," he utters, and though one might misconstrue it as a threat, it actually sounds like genuine concern. He doesn't offer anything more than that. His stop is the next one over.

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