2007-03-29: No Trouble


Cass_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif


Scary Robber. Wooo.

Summary: Enlightenment Books gets robbed by someone who is not totally there.

Date It Happened: March 29, 2007

No Trouble

Lower East Side, then Enlightenment Books

It's about the time when the bartenders yell out their last call and turn on their lights to discourage more drinking. This Saturday night - now Sunday morning - has found Cass out on the town and staying up much later than even she intended. It's so late she may just go and sleep in the office and then use the extra time and the impending hangover that is sure to be there doing the inventory she's been meaning to for months. The store is very well stocked with Activating Evolution and lacking in much else. And, as she's a few drinks in, she thinks this is quite an excellent topic of conversation to be had with Jack as they exit the now closing bar in favor of the street. "I mean, most of the fortune telling section is bare! The /fortune telling section/ Jack. All I've got that's really any good is this Tarot book talking about the major arcana relating to Jungian archetypes. Isn't that just insane?" How could that not be interesting to the Irish bartender?

"Uhh.. Right. Anybody buyin' that junk must me takin' the piss, wot?" Sure. He knows what she's talking about. Yung was the guy who was in all those pornos, right? Thank the Gods, this thought is internalized. Tonight Jack's got on a simple, dark suit and tie and a calf-length overcoat. He's replaced last night's partially melted shoes, as well. "Whoo, I think we need to find you a cab, lady-o. You look like you could use a glass of water and a lie-down," he teases.

Cass shakes her head and loops her arm through Jack's if he'll allow it. Mostly because it helps the stability and keeps her ability to walk into poles and faceplant on the concrete at bay. "Nooo. Jack! Sometimes people experience unexplainable things. And there's just no explination for them. So, they need something more than just what we think of the 'rational world' can give them. So they come to my store. And that Jung book is really good. Not that I've ever done tarot. It /looked/ good, though." Then, she makes a face at Jack. "I do /not/." She does, though, but she's never going to admit it. "I think I'm just going to crash at Enlightenment tonight. It's so much closer. Cab's too expensive and I really don't want to deal with the subway."

Jack is glad to steady the bookstore owner. With a chuckle, he turns and leads her toward her place of business. "You're the boss. I'd offer to pay for a cab ride home, but I get the feelin' you'd turn me down anyway. Shall we compromise, and I'll walk you?" Things have continued to get curiouser and curiouser for the Irishman. He's still a little on edge from yesterday, and is extremely reluctant to loose anyone in the city unescorted. He covers this with a quick excuse. "That way I can wait inside the shop while I call myself a cab, eh? It's bloody cold out here."

Being escorted helps Cass look a lot soberer than she actually is. Using Jack basically as her own stabilizing device works quite nicely. Plus, the added body warmth staves off the cold of the morning. "You are quite correct, Jack-y boy. Why bother taking a cab when I should be back at the store in a few hours anyway?" She laughs. "Fine fine. You can walk me. I probably shouldn't walk alone, anyway. Early mornings are daaangerous times. Who knows. Rapists, buglars, muggers, murderers may be right around the corner. Though, really, I've only seen two since I moved here. Muggers and burglars, that is. I haven't any of those other folks." Steering Jack back toward the East Village and Enlightenment Books, she frowns. "Speaking of! That Sylar guy snatched Mohinder Suresh and his little girl. A friend told me. It's all kinds of bad news."

"I heard about that," Jack replies, gently manuvering Cass around to ensure her feet don't land anywhere treacherous. "That Peter Petrelli chap is organizing people who want to help get Pretty-hair and his girl away from Sylar. I've told him that I'll help, which infuriated Eliana." His last statement is a bit rueful, but his resolve is unwavering.

Cass gives a bit of a humorless laugh at that. "Yeah. She wasn't happy about the idea of going to get that Petrelli guy, so I can't imagine her thinking it's a good idea to go get Mohinder." She sighs and shakes her head. "I don't know. I want to help, but I'm not going to be any good at any sort of rescue." The walk and the cold air is helping clear Cass' head, but it's still all fuzzy from alcohol. It's not that far of a walk into the East Village and soon the two find themselves on the street to Enlightenment Books. "I think I'd trip over my own feet and land right into Sylar's lap. And that would be terrifying and gross."

"Right in his lap, eh?" Jack grins mischeviously. "Well, that'd certainly serve as a distraction, though it might be a little on the dangerous side. In truth, I've no idea what his plan is. I'm still waiting to hear back from him." As has become habit, Jack pats his side with his free hand, reassuring himself that he wasn't stupid enough to go out drinking unarmed.

When the pair reach the bookstore's door, it may become apparent that Jack's being armed is somewhat necessary. The door is locked but only the deadbolt and third lock have been turned. The handle is easily turned and the alarm system (what sorrowfully inept alarm system there /is/) has been disabled. Inside the store, all is dark and quiet.

Cass gives Jack a bit of a push. "Ha ha. Very funny. Because I really want to distract a kidnapper and murderer that way." Laughing, because the thought is actually quite hilarious to her, she starts pulling out her keys to unlock the door. But, as she reaches the door, she realizes that it's not actually necessary. Pulling the door in a curious manner, it opens easily. Without needing to unlock anything. That's…worrying. "I…wait. I'm…I /know/ I locked the door." With the door now open, she looks into the store, the confusion clear on her face.

"Are you sure you didn't just forget?" Despite the innocence of his query, Jack doesn't sound convinced. Squinting his eyes to better view the dark interior of the shop, he takes a careful step inside. Gentleman muscle working overdrive, he glances back at Cass curiously. "Want I should go in first, just to make sure?"

The shop remains still and ominous save for the quiet flutter of paper when the door is opened. Should either one of the pair walk in, they'll find papers and books from the counter scattered over the floor and the register damaged as though with a heavy blunt object — perhaps a crowbar or a bat. The drawer is open.

"Umm…" Cass peers into the shop and then looks over to Jack. The door is still held open for him. "Let's go in together. I don't want to stay out here by myself." Assuming that Jack is with her, she steps into the room and finds books and papers scattered. "My register," she pouts. That old register has sentimental value. And then she realizes that the drawer is open. "The…I got /robbed/. Jack! I got /robbed/! I can't believe this!" As she doesn't hear anyone else, she figures that the robbers are long gone by now.

"/Jesus/," Jack hisses under his breath. "Are all of the people in this town patently unable to keep their mouths shut at the proper time?" The sight of the forced-open register is a sobering one. Grimacing, he reaching inside his coat, withdraws his tactical pistol, and ratchets back the slide. Better to be safe than sorry if the break-and-enterers are still somewhere in the store.

It's still difficult to see in the store thanks to the lights being off, but there's a denseness to the air — almost as though there's a third person breathing it. There's a soft rattling sound somewhere down an aisle near the opposite end of the store.

"Hey!" Cass frowns at Jack, "It's /my/ store that just got robbed." From her spot taking in the damage by the counter, all of the sudden she freezes. Even though she was taking this as lightly as she could, something feels /wrong/. She knows this store and all the different corners of it as well as she knows anything. And there's a patented /not emptiness/ about it. "Jack. I think there's someone still here."

"Shh," is Jack's quiet reply. He knows there's something here as well, but he can hardly locate it with Cass yammering in his ear, can he? His eyes and the muzzle of his pistol track sharp, erratic lines around the store as each nook and cranny is surveyed in turn.

CRASHclatterclunk! Books crash to the floor from one of the shelves furthest from the counter, followed by the CLANK of something semi-hollow and metal dropping to the floor and rolling. The handle of a metal bat comes into view around the corner of the shelf.

Cass jumps at the sound of books crashing and metal clanking. However, she's been ordered by Jack to stay silent and so she tries to. There's someone in her store who just tried to rob it, so she'll defer to the man with the gun.

When the bat hits the floor and rolls into view, Jack jumps and nearly squeezes off a round by reflex. Whispering an unlikely combination of curses under his breath, he flicks a switch on the side of his pistol one click down. The indicator now rests on 'AUTO,' which is a sure sign that he means business. Half of him is itching to go figure out who's here and beat the crap out of them so that he can get some sleep. The more prudent half knows that leaving Cass behind is an unwise move at best. In the end he decides to wait, unwilling to leave Cass without protection.

Silence follows the crashing of books, and then there's the soft scrrrrrrrnk of aluminum sliding on floor as the bat is retrieved. Finally, someone appears from around the shelf. He's thin and scraggly, dressed in layers of clothing that look like they've not seen a wash since 1999. Thin strands of wispy blonde hair fall out from beneath a dark blue beanie and his face is heavily bearded — which does nothing to hide chapped lips and crooked, ugly teeth. Watery green eyes peer fearfully at Jack. In his hand is a wad of cash. "Don't want no trouble," he mumbles.

As soon as the scraggly man comes out from behind the shelves, Cass moves forward from her spot by the register. He's shown himself and shown himself to not be dangerous. As far as she can tell. "It's okay. Just…step away from the bat. Jack, put down the gun." Despite the fact that this man just robbed her, she's somewhat sympathetic. He really does look like the money. Stepping up, she reaches out to scoop up the bat.

Sighing, Jack lowers his weapon, but he doesn't holster it. Hints of sympathy peek through unwilling cracks in his tough, remorseless facade. Once upon a time, he /was/ this man. Then Cass starts to.. No. Cass. No, Cass, he has a bat. Don't.. Oh man. Oh shit. Jack is a young man, but it's been a stressful week. On the verge of hyperventhilating, it takes a herculean amount of effort for him to keep his voice calm and level. "Ahh.. Cass, let's not get too close, yes?" Not only is it unwise, she's currently in his line of fire should an emergency arise. "I think it's best if the nice man just puts the money on the floor and leaves."

The burglar does indeed extend the bat for Cass to take, but once she's got her hand wrapped around it to pull it from his grip, he suddenly changes tactics. Instead of releasing the bat immediately, ye gives it a good yank, pulling Cass right into his arms. Despite being thin, he's /shockingly/ strong, and he's soon withdrawn a sharpened shard of metal from his pocket and presses it to the bookstore owner's throat. He keeps her in front of him, giving Jack a difficult target. "Don't want no trouble," the man continues to mutter at a faster, more terrified rate. "Don't want no trouble. Don't want no trouble." Cass may be able to feel that he's trembling.

In the flurry of activity, the bat is dropped.

"What?" Cass blinks, remembering that this is a man that has broken into her store and not some stray puppy that needs helping. It becomes all that much more apparant when she goes flying forward and suddenly has a sharp metal object against her throat. Terrified and now in real danger, she quicky reaches up to grab the man's arm, trying to pull it away from her throat. Her heartbeat quickens and her eyes widen. She doubts that she can get out of his grasp without getting her throat cut, so she tries talking her way out of it. "Don't…please. There's no trouble. Just…let me go. Let me go and there won't be any trouble. You can keep the money."

Jack instantly has his pistol up and ready. Though he peers down the sights, oddly enough he's aiming at Cass instead of the burglar, though from his position the difference is minute. "Yeah. You heard the lady, no need to be hasty. You just let her go, I'll put down my gun, and then we can all be friends again."

"Don't want no trouble, don't want no trouble." The man's grip is quite firm and strong as he starts to shuffle toward the door, doing his level best to keep Cass between himself and Jack's gun. "Don't want no trouble." It's become a mantra, and the money remains tightly gripped in his free hand.
Though admitedly not the brightest when it comes to dealing with robbers, Cass knows that a nervous man with a weapon is a dangerous man. So, she tries to keep her voice as calm as possible in this situation and moves backwards with him as he starts to step back to the door. "No trouble. That's right. There's no trouble here." Her hands grip onto his arm holding the sharp shiv trying to make sure that if he does try and press it any harder he'll meet some resistance.

Jack doesn't like this situation, not one bit. As much as he wants to just shoot this bastard in the head, one wrong move could put Cass out of comission for good. Wiser would be to shoot her himself and remove her from the equation, then take care of the robber. Somehow, it seems unlikely to him that Cass will appreciate that strategy. Still, even less palatable is the idea of letting this guy walk out with a hostage that he'll do God knows what to. Instead, he changes tactics. After all, he's the /object relocating/ guy. With a snap of his fingers, he dematerializes the man's shiv. An instant later it appears in Jack's free hand. "Let's try this again. Let her go, and I promise not to shoot you right in the fuckin' eyeball."

"Don't want no trouble, don't want no trouble, don't wa— " Suddenly, the shiv is gone. The robber is baffled at first, and then? Then he starts to panic. With a cry, he drops both Cass and the cash, then turns and starts to flee for the door, screaming something about ghosts, demons, haunted buildings.

The moment Jack steals the shiv and she's let go, Cass goes tumbling onto the floor. And then she just stays there for a few minutes, shaking and clutching her throat with her hand. The robber is gone and didn't even get any money out of his troubles, but she did nearly get killed in this whole thing. At the moment she's unable to speak and is content to just sit there enjoying the fact that she's no longer a hostage.

For a moment, Jack seems willing to shoot the man as a matter of course. Then realizing that this is yet another behaviour that Cass would probably disapprove of, he instead holsters his sidearm and kneels down beside her. "Whoa. He didn't getcha, did he? I don't see any blood."

It's true. Shooting is normally something Cass disapproves of a lot. Even if the man that was shot just held her hostage. "No. No…he didn't. I'm just…" terrified? Flustered? Naive? All the answers seem to fill in the blank. Letting her hand fall from her neck, she tries to get herself to stop the shaking now. That takes a bit more effort. "Thank you."

"No problem, lady-o. How about a hand up?" Smiling crookedly, Jack stands and offers the aforementioned hand. If he's shook up by the incident, he's hiding it well. On the other hand, he had to blow a bum away last night, so this is small potatoes.

Totally unaware of any of the events of last night, Cass is just glad to have made it out of this without any injuries. "Yeah. I think that'd be good." Taking Jack's hand, she pulls herself up and then looks around her store. "I'm….I think I'm going to have to get better store security." She smiles weakly. This is an understatement.

"You can say that again," Jack agrees. After giving Cass one more look-over to reassure himself, he releases her and lets out a long pent-up breath. "Jesus, I freakin' hate this city. If it's not the looming threat of tornados, it's the bums."

"I love this city," Cass frowns and starts to pick up the strewn papers and books. "Other than when it's being threatened by tornados and serial killers. And kidnappers." Sweeping up the cash that the hostage taker dropped, she closes the door more firmly and locks the one good lock left. Just in case. Then, she goes over to the counter and puts all the money back where it belongs. Once that's done, she just keeps a hand on her poor dented register and pets it as if reassuring it. "It's gotten a lot weirder these past couple months. I'll definitely admit."

"Ahh. So, you wanna call the cops?" Though he's trying to be helpful, the suggestion clearly makes Jack a little uncomfortable. He spends the majority of his time trying to /avoid/ getting involved with the authorities, after all. "That's what you law-abiding citizens do, right?"

Cass gives a bark of a laugh, having totally forgotten about calling the cops. "Yeah. I'll give the police a call so I can hopefully get some insurance money to up the security." She turns her attention from her register to Jack. "I'll give you some time to make a clean getaway before calling in the boys in blue." She knows how he feels about cops from the last time they were in a situation similar to this. "Really, Jack. Thanks. That's the second time you've gotten me out of a tight spot."

"Think nothin' of it, lady-o." Grinning, Jack tips the brim of an imaginary hat. "I'll keep an eye on things from outside 'til the cops get here, just so's you won't have to worry about 'im comin' back, ok?" After giving the woman a reassuring pat on the shoulder, he turns to peer outside. He might be a little overzealous, but he's not fool enough to step outside and get surprise-stabbed without having a look around first.

There's nobody out there. The burglar is long gone.

Cass smiles. "Yeah. Thanks. I'll lock the door again after your gone. Though, apparently, that's not enough any more." Putting a hand on her forehead, she looks around the mess of her store again and then let's Jack leave the store. She'll wait a little while before picking up the phone to call anyone.

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