2007-02-23: We're Always Open


Darcy_icon.gif Orion_icon.gif

Summary: Darcy and Orion encounter each other in a chance meeting. Darcy discovers he's not quite alone as he thinks.

Date It Happened: February 23rd, 2007

We're Always Open

East Village, NYC - The Secret Lair

Today is a good day for New York City. It's the middle of February and, as the case seems to be with global warming, it's not a terribly uncomfortable sort of winter's day. It's in the lower 40's temperature wise and the wind is relatively quiet, even in the wind tunnels created by the concrete canyons of Manhattan.

Even so, it's nice to step inside and hang out for a time. After all, even with calm winds, 40 degrees is 40 degrees and 40 degrees is not upper 70's. As it happens, Orion Granger is standing in The Secret Lair. The tall man is absently browsing through some Marvel compilations while Panthro circles around one of his legs.

Slipping inside is Darcy, looking a little out of a breath and somewhat unsure of the store he walked into. He casts a quick glance outside before shutting the door, backing up more than a few steps before taking in his surroundings. The store itself seems rather friendly and welcoming and yet, the young man looks nervous, but he does nod in greeting towards the person at the counter before stepping further inside, hands deep in his jacket pockets. He heads towards the shelves of comic books, not really browsing, it's as if he's waiting for something.

Granger looks up to eyeball Darcy for a moment or two when he hears the door open and close. The tall man casually returns to his browsing, eventually pulling out a Secret Wars #1 compilation to study it quite intently. Orion should stand out, being rather tall and being in a business suit… But who knows.

On the other hand, Darcy looks like he should fit right in - a slightly gawky student-type. However, he doesn't seem to think so, and picks up a comicbook to look at without really seeing it before glancing around. His eyes rest on Orion, and whatever's on his mind at the moment seems to let up in favour of looking at the man in amusement, eyebrow raised.

In spite of the several eyes on him, Granger seems unconcerned. He keeps the Secret Wars book tucked under one arm as he starts browsing some other collections quietly.

Darcy smirks to himself, but continues his perusing, now actually interested in what the store has to offer. Putting the comicbook he had taken back on the shelf, he carefully chooses another one - one of those glossy, thick, expensive ones that some defensively call 'graphic novel'. Something gets Darcy's attention about it, and he glances over it, wincing when he sees the price. This doesn't seem to thwart him, however, and he takes a flick through the pages, as much as one can without buying the thing. Finally, he makes a decision, grabs what is probably the sequel to the comicbook, and heads to the counter. As the employee rings up the items, Darcy seems to make no move to grab his wallet, just watching. Then, when he's told the price, there's a long silence between he and the person behind the counter and no transaction is made, and slowly, the employee shakes his head and looks confused. "Are you alright?" Darcy asks, reaching over to take the bagged items and backing up a step.

Orion tilts his head at the abject silence coming from the counter. He arches an eyebrow, watching Darcy and the employee interacting before he starts quietly making his way toward the kid. Granger stifles a sigh, he wouldn't want to lose the element of surprise after all, but he really, really wants to sigh at the insanity of the situation.

"Oh, yeah, fine," the employee says, looking somewhat apologetic, and then casts an uncertain glance towards the cash register, and back to Darcy, who seems about to leave. "Wait, sir, I don't think I…" And another strange silence, Darcy looked at the man behind the counter with obvious intent, and in return, the employee seems only to stare blankly into space. With a self-satisfied smile, Darcy says, "You have a good day now," and takes a step towards the door.

This would be an excellent plan if Granger were not standing between Darcy and the door. He looks at Darcy and stares annoyedly, "Instead of stealing that and ending up on the evening news, along with the lists of people like me, how about I just buy it for you?"

Darcy looks startled, apparently having thought the exchange had gone unnoticed, and then matches the stranger's annoyance with a look of irritation of his own. "I don't know what you're talking about," he says, voice full of challenge, as he goes to sidestep Granger, apparently wishing to leave about five seconds ago.

"You know precisely what I am talking about," replies Orion. He lifts the hand on the side nearest Darcy to 'restrain' him. Metal droplets start percolating out of the flesh on the palm of his hand in Darcy's clear view. "Now why don't we talk about this over comics and coffee like civilized gentlemen?"

That gets Darcy's attention. He's paused any escape attempts, staring at the silvery substance that… can't possibly be coming /from/ the man, can it? But it is. He glances at Orion's face, and manages to collect himself from his moment of surprise. He shrugs, thrusting the would-be stolen comics at Orion. "Fine, I guess I can swing that."

The mercurial substance promptly retreats back into Orion's flesh. He takes the comic books and adds them to his stack before making his way back to the counter. Granger pulls out his wallet before knocking on the counter to awaken the memory wiped victim, smiling cheerily. "This'll be everything."

Poor employee. Darcy watches on without much guilt as the guy blinks down at the comics, looks towards Orion, to Darcy, back to Orion, and shaking his head. "Right, okay," he mutters, ringing up the comics and telling Orion how much they'll be. Darcy heads to the door to wait, and once Orion is finished with the transaction, he holds his hand out for the books, looking sullen. "Happy now?"

The tall man pays for the comics readily enough and makes his way back toward Darcy. "Come on. Let's get some coffee and we'll discuss this a bit more," he replies calmly. Orion holds out the bag with Darcy's comics though, his other hand discretely fingering the cellphone in one of his overcoat pockets.

Darcy takes the bagged comics back, and if he notices any pocket phone fidgeting, he doesn't show it. He glances at the door, as if considering taking off, but instead he gives the older man a brisk nod. "Fine," he agrees, obviously too curious to just run away.

Orion smiles and nods, leading Darcy toward the door and out of it. He glances up the street and then down it, casually making his way toward a local deli. The old school sort where you can sit and eat, not unlike at Katz's, but this is a much smaller and less well-known place.

Darcy is silent on the way there, sneaking curious glances at the man in the suit beside him. But whatever questions he has, he's holding onto them until they're seated, coffees in front of them and Darcy wrapping his hands around his. It's a mild winter, but winter enough to appreciate some warmth, after all. "Are you a cop?" he has to ask, squinting at the man, before anything else is said. "Or… something?"

Granger smiles gently and shakes his head at the first question, "No. I'm not a cop. I work for an organization of people like us." He pauses a moment, sipping his hot chocolate as he studies Darcy for a few moments. "What about you? You a cop?"

Darcy raises an eyebrow at that question, and dismisses it, focusing instead on that first part. "What's 'us', exactly?" he asks, lifting his black-as-pitch coffee to his mouth to blow and cool the surface, taking a sip.

"What? No laugh? I thought it was a good one." Orion shrugs it off and takes another sip of his hot chocolate while Darcy asks his question. The tall man smirks slightly and leans back in his chair. "Those of us with natural gifts and talents that make us… Different from the rest of society." Orion takes a moment to consider his words carefully; while he does so, he taps the bag of comic books. He smacks his lips once before continuing, "Comic books are good for learning about this, but… Activating Evolution by Chandra Suresh would be an excellent choice in reading material for you. Depending on your level of education, parts of it might go over your head, but the thrust of it should be understandable."

"I'm just a photography major," Darcy agrees, wry, and looks down at his drink, considering. "So you mean, you know what I did?" A quick glance back up at Orion, this time wariness mixing a little into disbelief. "Back at the comic store?"

"I know the basics of what you did. There are a number of different abilities that could have done what I saw." Orion smiles a little bit, apparently amused by some sentiment. He steeples his fingers around his cup of hot chocolate and looks at Darcy seriously. He doesn't say anything just yet, simply regards him with a serious, non-threatening gaze. Finally he adds something more. "If you would be willing, the people I work for would be more than happy to take you in, train you with your ability, give you a full health exam, and return you to your daily routine."

This gets a skeptical reaction from Darcy, whose mouth turns up in an uncertain smile, and he shakes his head. "I don't know if that's a great idea," he says, turning his cup of coffee in his hands. "I wasn't banking on anyone finding out about this, you know?"

Orion smiles and nods, "It's totally up to you. Besides, it's not like there's anything for you to lose. We provide everything free of charge." Granger leans forward again and produces a business card from his pocket. It has his name, an address at Kirby Plaza, and a phone number on it, he slides it across the table and nods. "If you decide you'd like some training with your power or even just a health exam… Or help with the law or something. Give us a call. Pay us a visit. We're always open."

Darcy picks up the business card, noting what's on it (and what is not) as he flips it over in his fingers. "Orion?" he says, and seems to debate something internally before slipping the card into his pocket. "I'm Darcy. And yeah, I got some questions," he admits. "So maybe I'll give you a call, but I can't promise anything."

Orion smiles and nods, "A pleasure to meet you, Darcy." He stands up and takes another sip of his hot chocolate while listening to Darcy. "Just give it some consideration. Some people… Have unfortunate accidents with their abilities if they haven't had a chance to master their use. It took me a very long time to learn how to use mine as well as I do now."

Darcy stands as well, picking up his coffee. An expression of recognition, or mild alarm, or /something/ flashes across Darcy's features before he goes back to looking apathetically sullen as usual, and 'huh's at that last part. "Maybe you can tell me what it is if I wind up calling you," he says. "Show me yours and I'll show you mine, and whatever."

Well crap. Granger scared the kid. He was hoping to avoid that little faux pas. He smiles and nods, "Of course. I'd be happy to show you what I can do if you call up. Have a good one."

"You too." Darcy, however, stays where he is for just long enough for it to be awkward, then seems to make a decision. He flashes Orion a quick grin, then turns on his heel, taking off, and to his credit, he does so without any mindsweeping. Trust? Stupidity? Either way.

When Darcy leaves, Granger makes his way back up to the counter. He waits until he's pretty sure that Darcy isn't lingering outside and pulls out his cellphone, dialing the Company to put an asset on surveillance of Darcy. Strictly surveillance for now.

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