Special Appearances By:
Date: April 10, 2010
The last message that Justin never got to send is received. In part.
"The Good Twin"
It's noon Saturday and the sun is streaming through the open blinds of a small one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of the nine-story apartment building in Morningside Heights. The tiny apartment is no more than 700 square feet, and looks like what it is — a student's flat. It is not messy but lived in, and while the furniture is a bit mismatched, garage-sale finds no doubt, the decor matches with an overall theme of red, gray and black.
Tori is curled up on her sofa, a re-run of House on the television while she eats leftover curry from its to-go container. Tastes like home — London, that is. She isn't dressed for company, wearing cut off sweats that hit just above the knee, and a tank-top, her short hair up in a pony tail with many strands pulling free and framing her face.
Ready or not, company may be visiting anyway. There's no knock of warning, but that doesn't mean she won't get a warning. It's the sudden smell of something burning, like a neighbor overheated their food, or left the stove on. Not quite enough to set off the smoke detector, especially since this smoke has half a mind to avoid them whenever possible, but enough to make her sniff a few times.
It might as well be his knock. The smoke condenses and solidifies, forming into a shape, before solid feet touch the floor of the apartment beside the couch. He looks much like the previous times she'd seen him, except for a hint of blood on his cheek, like he'd gotten into a brawl recently, and a jacket that's longer and thicker than the weather would call for.
"That Australian guy is kind of a dick," Devon comments as an aside, before looking away from the television. "Sorry for barging in." Or, wafting in?
She's sniffing the air, glancing toward the kitchen, though part of her knows that's not it. By the time the smoke is solidifying and coalescing into the shape of a man, Tori is setting her container on the coffee table and standing up to … what? Greet him, she supposes, though her breath is caught in her throat with a touch of fear and maybe a little excited anticipation.
"You could knock, you know," she says, though she's tilting her head to inspect his cheek, frowning with a little worry. "Are you all right?" she asks, her voice a touch softer, one hand reaching up toward his cheek before the fingers fold back in and she keeps from touching him.
Even that near touch was enough to feel that the air closer to him seems warmer than it should be. The way it's distorted around him also drops hints that that fact, like the way it looks in the desert. "Knocking is a little inconvenent for me," Devon says with a grin, reaching to pull off the too heavy coat so he can put it down somewhere. As he does, he pulls something out of the pocket, something that's been wrapped in plastic and has evidence stickers on it.
A personal planner, by the looks of it, something fancy and expensive, with a touch pad. "I'm fine, I just had a disagreement with someone I've been working with lately. I quit." The coat is drapped on one of the pieces of mismatched furnature, and he holds that object wrapped in plastic towards her, "I need you to do something for me."
She drops her hand from his face. There is a shift of expression in her face — from concerned and curious to one of resigned understanding. Of course. He needs something from her. She told him her power, and that's why he's been following her around. She should be angry, but instead, she's perhaps just disappointed. She glances at the device, and then arches a brow up at him as she lifts her hand again to take it.
"Simple Information's easy but … what I did yesterday, that's harder. I didn't try to do that yesterday, it just happened." She didn't mean to get the vision of the assignment from the would-be kidnapper. Her panic brought it about. Trying to do it is a whole different ballgame, for some reason.
"If you can't do it, then I'm at no big a loss," Devon says, unwrapping the evidence bag and breaking the seals that the police probably put on it. It won't ruin any possible investigation, since they'd already closed the case. "The reports say my brother commited suicide. I know he was murdered, and I have a good idea of who was responsible, so I'm not asking you to see that…" No one should have to see someone get shot in the face.
Especially someone who looks just like another guy, with shorter hair.
"I just want to know what he might have been doing working for them. If you can't tell me, then I'm back where I started and no worse for it."
Sitting back down on the sofa, Tori frowns, the concerned look back in her dark eyes as she listens. "I'll help, if I can. If they didn't clean it, I should be able to see what the last information was, anyway. I didn't mean to … suggest I wouldn't. I mean, I owe you, after all. For a couple of favors now." He took care of the body parts and then he helped her last night. The mark of the would-be kidnapper's first is still on her cheek, slightly bruised, though no blood on it like he sports.
She reaches for the remote control and turns off the television before reaching for the device. "You might want a piece of paper and a pen for taking notes," she adds, nodding to her school work nearby. A notebook and several pens litter the coffee table.
"You don't really owe me anything. I'm sure the monkey woman would have scared them off even if I hadn't been there," Devon says with a hint of a shrug, eyes shifting down and to the side, away from her. Either he's embarassed, or he just doesn't want praise for something like that, same as he hadn't really wanted to be called a knight. It's just not… him.
He'd never been the good twin.
Still holding the object in the plastic, he steps over to gather up pencil and paper with his free hand, before walking back over and sitting down on the couch next to her. "You don't have to look into it if you don't want to." That steam effect around him seems to be fading, slowly but surely.
"I want to help you," Tori says, her eyes following him as he moves to sit next to her. "Whether I owe you or not, but I still feel like I do. And even if I didn't … someone murdered your brother, and you said he was looking into the stuff that involves people like us. It could be … important, right?" she asks, turning to look at him and putting her hand out for the object again. "At the least, I should be able to get the passwords, and then you can read any email and that sort of stuff on your own, right? It's easy enough. It won't hurt me to try."
"A password would be helpful, yeah," Devon says, holding the personal planner out to her. There's no juice in it, but he can likely get a cord to charge it for later investigations. Her ability shouldn't require the battery to have power, and he can just hope that they didn't wipe the harddrive. And if they did…
Well he might have to ask for a bigger favor, based on what she knows she can do, but doesn't know if she can do it.
"Thank you, for being willing to try."
She smiles, though it's a little uncertain. She isn't sure what she'll find or if he'll like it — and she doesn't know him well enough to know how he'll take any news that isn't what he wants to hear. She takes the device, holding it in her hands for a moment, brushing her fingers over the buttons as if she were reading by Braille, tilting her head as she makes sense of the flood of information that rushes into her thoughts.
The last things typed flash into her mind. The flickers come with a face, that looks so much like the man sitting next to her. Cleaner shaven, short military cut hair, and full body armor garb. He's dressed like what someone would expect in a movie, many pockets, with sidearm and everything. A hall stretches out around him, as his fingers type in some numbers. Not a password, but a date.
The next few moments he types in more, letters this time, that form into words.
The UN Conference. And Governor's Island. ZETA and ETA activated simultaneously. Thousands of people killed. If you get this message—
There's a sound of something behind him, a female voice asks, "Something interesting, soldier?"
His hands move again, this time to delete the message, and he puts it away. It's the last time he held it.
The girl holding the device now rubs her temples as the information flashes through. She hadn't expected to get the visuals, and seeing Devon's twin, knowing he is already dead, dead before she ever met the man who sits next to her now, is disturbing. Startling. Her brows knit as she shakes her head, not understanding any of it, even as she murmurs the information to Devon as it comes, then describes the last actions she can see of Devon's brother before he died.
"I can try to go back, deeper, see if there's anything else," she says quietly, turning to look at him. "I don't understand. It sounds like that already happened but the date is for … that's Thursday!"
And when she snaps out of it, she's looking at the same exact face. Very much alive, with longer hair, more stubble, and a surprised look on his face. One that also twists towards concern. Devon was expecting a password, but the information that she rattled off doesn't really sound like a password. In fact it sounds familiar.
"I know that date, it was in one of the last emails he sent me, along with mention of ZETA, nothing about Eta, though." The UN Conference… "Governor's Island. Their base is on Governor's Island, in what's left of the old Coast Guard station… I wonder what's supposed to happen on Thursday. I guess that's the email that he never managed to send me…"
"I don't know what any of that means. Why does it sound like it's in the past tense? What's ZETA and ETA? Should we tell someone — Cody, Nathan?" Does he know Nathan? Tori looks more alarmed at the worried look on his face — she hasn't seen him actually look worried the couple of times she's seen him, and that unnerves her all the more. She puts the device back in his hands, as if eager to get rid of it, despite the fact she offered to dig deeper back.
"I don't know," Devon says quietly, taking it into his hands for the first time. He'd avoided touching it to make sure that his fingerprints didn't contaminate anything for her, but now… now he knows that this is what his brother had been using to send the messages. And that was the message he never finished.
"Yeah, I guess we should tell Cody. I don't know this Nathan person, but Cody seems intent on stopping everything that Justin was trying to stop." Even if it got him killed, but not the woman who fights with her hair. "Thanks, Tori," he adds, reaching up to touch her cheek where the bruise shows up. "I should've hit that asshole harder."
"Nathan's… the senator," Tori says, her dark eyes dropping when he touches her cheek, before smiling up at him through dark lashes, her own hand touching his cheek lightly, the same cheek she reached for before when he first showed up. "Instead you went and got yourself hit because misery loves company or some such nonsense?" she asks, a sorry attempt at a levity, an attempt to draw a smile from the somber man whose brother she just envisioned.
"Something like that… I haven't really had company in a while," Devon says with a grin, hand lingering on her cheek for a moment, before he pulls back to stand from the couch. There was something quiet and longing in his voice for a moment, but— it's gone when he speaks again, walking to the too big coat to stuff the object she read back in. He's leaving the notepad with her, as it's sitting on the couch he just vacated.
"I should let you get back to your televsion," he adds, pulling the coat back on. "You can pass the word to Cody and your Senator."
For someone who longs for company, he's sure quick to turn to smoke and go the way he came. Which is pretty much exactly what happens as soon as he finishes speaking.