2007-07-31: Safer Than Alternatives


DFJane_icon.gif Manuel_icon.gif

Summary: Two people discuss the involvement of someone in things they'd rather she not be into, and how best to deal.

Dark Future Date: July 31st, 2009

Safer Than Alternatives

Near the ruins of both old and new Yankee Stadia, The Bronx, NYC

Out and about at night probably isn't the best place to be, realistically. Especially when you're likely labelled a threat, like Manny might well be. But caution has never been the young man's finer point, and he's confident enough with himself that he's willing to just walk around. The younger of the remaining Gomez children walks around in rather plain clothes—just a white beater and a pair of jeans, a long black coat over it all.

It's rather warm for a coat, thus Jane isn't wearing one. She's clad in dark colors; t-shirt and jeans over sturdy boots. Also walking at night in the vicinity of what used to be the Yankee Stadia, she could be coming from or going to one of the places she keeps some things stashed around the city. Over one shoulder is a guitar case, over the other is a backpack. Angry and haunted eyes alertly scan the area ahead of her, her path one that might soon intersect his.

Attentive eyes might notice that Manny's hands linger near or in his pockets. The young man looks from side to side, clicking his tongue briefly as he wanders down the street, muttering something about stubborn people. Manny stops to look at the building that used to be the most famous baseball stadium in the country, Manny shaking his head—never THAT much of a baseball fan, Manny can still respect what the building meant to those that were. Aloud, finally, Manny speaks as if he knows someone's nearby: "Sad…to think, this used to be the center of this city…" Again, attentive eyes might notice Manny's right hand shifting from his pocket back behind himself.

"Center of the Bronx anyway," she replies. "I used to sleep in the pinstripes, with Jeter's number on the back." The brunette takes a few more steps to bring herself more directly into the man's view, her hands out in the open and easy to see. "They didn't quite get to finish the new stadium, or remove the old one," Jane observes, "now both are ruins."

Manuel snorts a bit, just staring at the stadium. At least the responding voice is familiar. He returns his hand to his pocket, foresaking…whatever it was he was reaching for, "This country is in ruins…this is just a casualty." The young man's eyes stare, unblinking, forward. It's obvious Manuel hasn't been sleeping as much as he perhaps needs; despite only blinking when absolutely necessary, the fatigue in the young man is obvious. A cost of the war, he'd tell himself. A cost of keeping his family safe. When he finally turns his head to look at the approaching woman, "Everything clear?"

"Looks that way," she replies, not quite certain what he means, but remarking on relative quiet in the area at present. "But if it weren't I've survived before, can survive again." Jane takes some moments to study him, to note the weariness. She herself doesn't seem so tired, just angered and haunted from memories of things done and seen.

Manuel nods a little bit, finally allowing his shoulders to slump and his body to relax. The stress and tension are obviously building in the teen, who just breathes out a sigh and shakes his head. He's silent for a minute, but when he finally speaks again, the tone in his voice is of an obviously unhappy nature, "Portia wants to fight…" Yeah, subtle? Not really in Manny's vocabulary.

She stiffens on hearing him say that. Jane clearly doesn't like it, and the anger in her eyes flashes more intensely with the topic being raised. "She's sixteen. Should be playing music and going to school, flirting with boys and building her talents. But life's made her a grown woman before it was time. Told her that much a few days back. She's earned that respect, just by surviving, and much as we'd like to stop her fighting, it's pointless. She'd just turn invisible, bolt, and do it anyway."

Silence…it's all that greets the response. Manny's already aware of it—whether his step-sister will accept it or not, she argues exactly like Elena. And it leaves Manuel with no ability to argue back, nor the patience to do so.

He's kept his convictions to himself for the most part, though the closest of people to Manuel know that he's not so much the neutral party his allies prefer to be. He shakes his head, unfortunately having to admit after a moment of contemplation, "She'd be an asset…"

"What is, is," she answers. "It's all about making the most of that. And it lets you stay close too. Close enough to take a bullet for her, if it comes to that. Same as I'd do, and have done before in metaphorical ways." Jane's voice is laced with her distaste for the truth, and acceptance of it. She adjusts the gear on her back. "I'm still hoping I can get her to channel part of that fighting instinct into singing and making music again. Just because she can. Some things can't ever be allowed to die."

"The night before I had that conversation with her, she found me and a friend on the move. Got us out of a possibly sticky spot. We were going roof to roof across boards, and I heard her behind us."

There's a momentary scowl on the face of the young Gomez male. He doesn't like the notion of taking a bullet for Portia…not because of the notion itself, but because he doesn't want that to have to be an issue. "She can help," Manuel acquiesces, with an undertone of regret in his voice, "But she shouldn't have to."

"Nobody should," Jane agrees. "Not me, or you, or Elena. You should be racing cars, tu hermana should be getting ready for senior year at NYU and deciding where to apply for grad schools so she can become a doctor. And this fact, among a group of things, is what makes her eyes display such dark emotions. She bends to pick up a small piece of concrete rubble near her left foot and holds it in hand, focusing those eyes upon it. Is she about to give it a dose of her voice and break it down? For now, at least, the rock remains intact. "Let me know before you go out anywhere on operations with her. I may join in."

Staring straight ahead at the ruins of Yankee Stadium, attentive eyes might notice some of the foliage near by, well…dying would be putting it lightly. Grass shrivels and turns yellow, the vines along the building collapse to the ground…okay, so Manny's not happy. He looks to Jane finally, nodding briefly but having to mention, "Trying not to get her comin' on any of /my/ operations…" God knows what seeing some of what Manny does would do to Portia.

"I know what I want to do most for and with her," she states firmly. "Find Desiree. But I haven't the first idea where to start looking." Jane's features darken still further, and she faces away to avoid affecting Manny with what she does next. The rock is tossed up into the air, a short burst of her ultrasonic voice is sent toward it, and the one pound object becomes a scattering of smaller ones.

When she turns back to face him again, a suggestion is made. "We can try to convince her to stay out of actual fighting. Get her to just live her life, and be an intel gatherer. It's what she's best suited for, and…" No, safe isn't the right word. Spies die just like anyone else. "…safer than alternatives."

Manuel nods a bit, "Safer…if such a thing exists anymore…" Not waiting for a goodbye, Manny rolls his neck out and starts to head down the street, the dull thud of the teen's boots hitting pavement the only sound coming as the slow wind blows the coat behind him. Just before he's out of earshot, Manuel pulls his phone from his pocket, keying through the entries and pressing the push-to-talk button, waiting on an answer.

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