2007-07-29: Too Old Too Soon


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Summary: Because someone has to worry about everyone else.

Dark Future Date: July 29, 2009

Too Old Too Soon

Candywasteland Studios

Whatever time Jack and Candy agreed to meet, it is now. The studios, once bustling with people not two years ago, are completely abandoned now. On the surface, it's a wreckage, and no one has bothered to clean up the demolished half-standing walls and debris. If you know where to go, however, inside the broken shell of the first storey, there is an elevator leading down to the untouched subbasement levels. Normally, this entrance is locked and disabled, but Candy has arrived early, and left it on for her frequent guest. They agreed to meet in interior lot five. It's an impressive space.

A movie set that hasn't been cleaned up yet. Here and there, a few cameras stand dusty - these are all private property, and Candy didn't sell everything. But the movie set itself is an outdoor war scene - a maybe-fake armored humvee and a large truck are two features on graveled ground. Debris and evidence of wartime explosions, much like some of NYC as it is currently, make up the environment, but at least here? It's not real. The lights are turned on, but the space is currently empty of people.

With much of her armor and her nitrous tanks removed, Julia IV is extra fast and agile tonight. Jack is taking advantage of this, swinging the large-bodied classic car around corners at far higher speeds than is strictly required. It's not a particularly wise move. These days it's easy to catch Homeland Security's attention. Then again, Jack isn't a particularly prudent man.

He cuts the schoolboy shenanigans a few blocks from Candy's place, even going go far as to shut off the lights as he coasts in the last few hundred meters. He's careful to park with the trunk angled toward the concealed elevator at the nearest entrance. The Irishman picks his way through the wreckage and boards the lift, whistling tunelessly under his breath as he reaches out to push the button for the basement with a leather-gloved finger. The ride down is consumed by a quick mental review of his shopping list.

More Stingers. AGL belts. 20mm AP. Shit. Shit. Need more 5.56 kinetics.

DING! The doors slide open and Jack steps out of the elevator.

Candy wishes she had one of those communicatey radio thingies. And someone on the other end to listen to it. It would help her into character, as she spies Jack walk into the set from where she's positioned. And where is she positioned? You just have to look up. In the shadowy rafters, amongst the blinding lights that create an overcast ambience for the dreary set up below, Candy crouches, dressed in camouflage. Fashionable camouflage. Fashionflage. Really just olive green feminine slacks and a matching tank top.

She waits until Derex is near enough, before simply… falling. There is nothing to indicate that she has any support - no visible wires, not even the sound of rope running through a pulley, and certainly no one around to make such a device work. And yet, she swoops instead of simply dropping, and strikes a pose as only an ex-action heroine can. She lands just a few feet from Jack in a slight skid, and blows hair out of her face. And gives him a bright smile, like, 'well?'

Jack is appropriately startled when Candy literally drops out of the sky. He drops into a defensive half-crouch, even going so far as to tuck a hand under his jacket to where some sort of weapon is undoubtedly concealed. It only takes him a half-second to figure out what's going on, though. He lets out a wry chuckle and smiles his first genuine smile of the day as he leans in to give the former actress a chaste kiss on the cheek. "Crap in a sock! You're good, mum. I fall all the time, but never with such flair."

Candy rewards him with a warm smile for not shooting her, leaning in to accept the cheek kiss and patting him on the shoulder. "The trick is to land on your feet," she says with mock-sageness. Now that she's up close and still, one might be able to see the spiderweb-like strands that— well it's very difficult to see exactly how they're connected to Candy, but there are spots where her shirt and pants crinkle unusually. Linking an arm with Jack's, she starts to stroll with him through the simulated war-torn area. "Two questions. Any trouble getting here, and, how are you doing today?"

"Nope. Everything's quiet topside. And I'm good. Tired. Been on the move all day," Jack replies to the questions. Arm in arm with the Saints' den mother, he looks her over in a manner that some would take to be appraising. He's not shy about pinching a fold of her shirt and tugging at it experimentally, either. "Wires?" Unlike most men would be in his position, there's nothing flirty or sexual about the Irishman's demeanor as they amble through the mocked up battleground. "Shit. Forgettin' my manners. How're you?"

"Keeping busy," Candy replies, then steps back from Jack, nodding once. "Wires. They attach to a harness and it's a bitch to get on, let me tell you. But. Perfect for wuxia-pian pictures, or any sort of martial arts production. State of the art. Beats me how it works, but, it works." She crouches, then jumps. Rather than zooming straight to the ceiling, she seems to float up into the air a few feet, then back to the ground, landing lightly, as if the gravity had been turned way down. "If you ever want a go and you're not bruised all over, just say the word. But I suppose you're here for the…" She makes gun shapes with her hands. "Peeow peeow."

Jack cocks his head to the side curiously in response to Candy stunts. He appears fascinated by the concept of the gravity-defying harness. "Man," he muses wistfully. "I wish I could get a setup like that in the field. I wouldn't need to worry about being bruised. But yeah, sorry. Here to re-up again." He shakes his head to dismiss daydreams of flying and floating through hordes of enemies ala Crouching Tiger. "Need another crate of the Stingers, some belts for the AGL, and you don't really care what I take as long as I lock up when I'm done, do you?"

Candy wrinkles her nose and shakes her head, shorter hairstyle than it was two years ago fluttering a little with the movement. "Not at all, sweetheart," she says. "I barely know what's in there in the first place." Taking out a small ring of keys from her pocket, she places them in Jack's hand— but then doesn't let go right away. "How's Jaden?" she asks, her usually bland smile a little more vulnerable. That name. Hardly anyone really uses it anymore, except for her.

"He's good. He's damn good," Jack assures her. There's respect in his voice and quiet pride in his eyes. "I couldn't do this without him, Candy. I'm doin' my best to keep him safe, but mostly I think it works the other way around." He swings the jangly ring of keys around on one finger, then tucks them into his pocket for later. "I don't like this," he admits. "Not one bit. None of 'em should be in the trenches like this. They're too young, all of 'em."

That smile remains, but her hazel-green eyes glisten just a little, and Candy nods mutely. She lifts a hand to delicately dab underneath an eye with the tip of her fingertip, to make sure her makeup isn't about to streak, then quickly shakes her head. Just like that, it's gone. "They are," she says. "But they have you watching out for them." Candy could point out that Jack can't be a hell of a lot older than the rest of them, but she doesn't. Because in his own way, she believes he is. "Times like these, everyone's got to grow up all've a sudden." Says the 43-year-old connected to a harness for simulated flying.

There's a moment where Jack meets Candy's eyes. He nods, silently aknowledging the compliment. If there's one thing he'll always care about, it's making sure his crew is taken care of. He sighs wearily. The stress of the last two years is beginning to show around the edges of his usually impassive mask. "You're right. There's no room for innocent kids on the battlefield." He gestures to the war movie set and chuckles wryly. "Anyway, they're big boys and girls now, and they're all capable as hell. You know me, though. I worry."

For a long moment, Candy just looks at him, then chuckles. Her hands come up to his face, a firm touch on either cheek. "Of course you worry," she says. "That's what makes you right for the job." She withdraws her hands again, placing them on her hips. "Just remember to take care of yourself too, Jack. And to call if you need a hug."

"Thanks. You're a hell of a lady, Candy," Jack rasps. A wisp of his old, lopsided smile comes to the fore. "An' it's not just me, y'know. You've done your fair share o' lookin' out for everybody. Myself included." Absently, he touches his fingertips to first his throat, then his torso. There's a noticeable lack of comment on his part about taking care of himself. Even if he had the time, what's left to take care of?

She bats a hand in the air. "I'm just trying to keep my head above the water," Candy says, then smiles. "Any time, sweetheart." Then, her tone lightens. "Which reminds me, you know that… it's a gun, right?" With me so far? She spaces her hands apart to show the length. "Kind of chunky, hold it like this." She mimics holding an assault rifle. "Now they look fun. Maybe next time you drop by, you can show me how to use one and not kill myself."

Jack nods agreeably at the suggestion. "You got it. Knowledge is power, right?" At least this is a kind of knowledge that Jack can comprehend and properly teach. And in this case, it really does translate to power. "I've got some stuff lyin' around that'd probably suit, if you've got time to pick one out. We can find you somethin' to match your shoes."

Now that brings the usual twinkly smile into being. Candy even bounces a little on her toes. "I bet I have an entire outfit to go," she says, and links her arm once more with Jack to leave the movie set. Until she gets caught on her wire harness, but the exit works for a good twenty seconds. That's the sacrifice we make for a good entrance.

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