2010-06-03: Who Are You, Again?



Date: June 3, 2010


Emily has forgotten a lot, but not how to be the center of her own universe.

"Who Are You, Again?"

Starbucks, New York City

This was supposed to be so much simpler. With the government conspiracy finally off his back, there was nothing standing in the way of his return to the NYPD; he'd even come up with a convenient story to explain his absence. Not too far from the truth, even; if he had a nickel for every time he woke up on the island or in the safehouse, and the first thing on his mind was to go pour himself a drink…

But that's all behind him, now. Now he just has to balance his work hours against his newly assembled family - and it is not easy, even with Janice around to help out. Raising a toddler is vastly different from raising an adopted teenager.

Work has been busy, too - following up leads on a couple of unusual open cases - but it's been a lot of footwork chasing down one long shot after another, and who knows when a break will finally come along. At least it's his turn to make the coffee run today, which will buy him a little extra time ot think things over before the afternoon shift begins in earnest.

Today just happens to be someone's lucky day in tracking down one mile-long longshot. She'd turned herself in once, but managed to get out by some shady backdoor politics stuff. Now she's back out on the streets, leaner and…meaner?

The midday lines at Starbucks are killer in New York, practically out the door! Thankfully though, it doesn't quite go out the door, so that the patrons can enjoy the conditioned air. Towards the back of that line? Said longshot stands waiting, pondering her drink order. Hot or cold? Mocha? Chai? What would go good with one of those brownies?

Sure, the long blonde hair is gone now, replaced by a slowly re-growing spiked do. The expensive clothes are replaced with simple jean cutoffs and and a Jets t-shirt. Beat-up Chuck Taylors replace designer shoes. The girl's the same though.

It's crowded enough - not just the line, but the people already sitting down, too - that Matt doesn't turn around until after he's already placed his order and stepped off to the side, grabbing a handful of napkins and stuffing them into the side of the to-go carrier. And stops, eyes narrowing at the sight of Public Enemy Number… well, at least Three in his book, the exact order is up for debate.

A crowd means a whole bunch of minds that she could take over— and then figure out something lethal to do with. Better head off that possibility right away. "Emily, hey, how are you?" he asks out loud, voicing a friendly attitude he doesn't actually feel in the slightest, while projecting a simple but hopefully effective thought beneath it: Don't touch anyone.

"Oh..uh. Hi! I'm…good? But hey, do I know you? Have we met before?" When her name is called, Emily spins around to look at Matt rather than the order board — besides, she'd pretty much decided on something icey and chocolatey already. Her brows furrow a bit as she wracks her brain for any memory of this man, but it turns up nothing.

Well, nothing that she is able to remember, at least. "D…did you hear that? Did you say something?" She looks even more confused when she hears a voice in her head. "Why would I touch anyone? I just washed my hands and stuff."

For a split second, Matt looks downright pissed. Everything she's been through, and then she has the gall to toy with him like this— well, of course she does, but… then he pauses, listening instead. No, she really doesn't remember him. What the hell happened to her? And how much else has she forgotten?

"We… have, yeah," he replies, lowering his voice and motioning toward a table that's just freed up. "Listen, do you have a few minutes? I need to talk with you." The boys back at the station will just have to wait a bit longer. Or hit the vending machine.

"I…I guess? Look, can this wait until after I order or…" Her blue eyes look up and down the line, and she tilts her head to the side a little bit. That's a hell of a line to wait through twice for a drink. "Unless it's serious, of course. But I don't know how it could be serious when I'm having a hard time even remembering who you are."

Matt shakes his head. "No, go ahead— I'll go hold the table." Indeed, he's already edging toward it, shooting a gwan-I-saw-it-first look at another customer along the way. He continues to keep an eye on her, just in case, but it looks like it's safe to give her some space. At least for the moment.

The line moves forward — creeps forward. One person. Wait two or three minutes. Next person. Wait two or three minutes. You know how it goes when you stop by one of these shops at lunchtime. Eventually her turn comes up and she puts in her order for the tall icey drink and a brownie. Hopefully that little snack order won't too big a monkey wrench in things, as they start the 12 step process to mix ice, coffee, cream, and chocolate and grind it up in a blender like it was rocket science.

Eventually — 15 minutes or so later — Emily finally gets around to sitting down at the little circular table with Matt. "Ok, so…you wanted to talk to me about something? Is it super important?"

Enough time for Matt to clear through a couple routine voicemails, and spend the rest of the time figuratively pacing back and forth, waiting for Emily. "Okay, the thing is… I think you're suffering from some amount of amnesia. I don't know how much, but if you don't remember me at all… then it could be several months. Maybe more. And some important things happened during that time…"

"What sort of important things?" For the moment, she seems only moderately interested, her voice a little flippant at the moment. Frankly, she seems more interested in getting her straw unwrapped and having a piece of that brownie. She uses a fork, of course, to keep from getting her fingers all messy with chocolate. It's not like she's not interested in, it's just that when presented with a choice of talking about amnesia or a brownie, she's going to pick the brownie: it's not like she hasn't figured out already that something of her memory's missing given that the external calendar and her internal calendar don't jive.

Matt, meanwhile, is working his way through a Kenyan blend that he barely tastes, focused instead on the blonde. He pointedly does not start his story with the murder-suicide case that first brought her to his attention. "Well, the main thing for most of it," he explains, keeping his voice low enough to be drowned out by the crowd murmur in case anyone's being nosy, "is that the government was trying to kidnap us. Do you remember anything about that? Or why?"

There's a real opportunity here. Telling her about her memories doesn't necessarily mean she'll get them back - and considering the nature of them, maybe that's best for everyone. Maybe this is her chance for a fresh start.

"You mean…because of the things…I can do? That we can do, apparently?" For the moment, her fork is set down, and she just holds up a hand, opening fer fingers, staring at the palm. A smile plays on the corner of her lips. "I've used it. What I can do, I mean. For my own gain you know. When I couldn't cut it in school. BAM. Instant A."

That smile at least is familar. It's not warm. It's not welcoming. It's cruel. Emotionless. Predatory.

…and then again, possibly not. Looks like the Tabla case was just the next logical place where she was headed.

"All right, here's the deal," Matt says, voice hardening as he leans closer. "You hurt people. A lot of good, innocent people. And I should really bring you down for that alone, but…" Well, how would he explain it for the courts? He can only manipulate the system so far, especially after the case has had the better part of a year to go cold. "…but I'm warning you now, Emily. You hurt anyone else? Last mistake you'll ever make."

"What…the hell are you talking about? I'm just talking about making a teacher give me the grade I think I earned. You're talking about what? Murder?" Oh sweet irony! Sitting across from him, Emily just shakes her head. "No…no, I don't believe you. I'm just in it for me, ok? Where's it say that I can't use what I do to help myself out, huh?"

Matt continues to meet her gaze. He doesn't say anything, doesn't even think anything at her— just lets the silence speak for itself. Probably best not to tempt her to re-create the incident, anyway. "Well, believe what you want. You just want to be selfish with it, well… you can guess what I think, but I've got bigger things to worry about." On that note, he stands up again, collecting the rest of the group order and checking his balance as he starts toward the exit.

The silence stands. Only the sounds of hustle and bustle inside the shop fills in the void…until he stands to leave. "Hey…aren't you even going to tell me your name? Who the heck are you even?" She spins around in her chair to catch him before he hits the door and leaves.

Matt keeps right on going, glancing back once - and turning a smirk of his own on Emily. "Hey, you said it yourself— you're all about helping yourself out. You don't need any help from me." And you're not getting any, either, is the clear implication. Is she still chasing after him as he hits the sidewalk?

There's nobody behind him. There's no Emily grudingly following him to beg for help. There's no girl following after to beg him for information about what she's done. Things are…well, only slightly less normal than they were just a little while ago. The seeds of…doubt - self-doubt - have been planted though. Maybe that will be enough to keep events from happening again.

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