1963-12-31 - Fist Full of Stars
Summary: Happy new year. Out with the old, in with the new.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
blackagar rogue 

Given the waning hour signalling the day and the year's demise, Central Park lacks much of a crowd. Those who intend to celebrate the impending year congregate around Times Square or in their homes, in bunkers in the suburbs or the cabins high in the Adirondacks, fearing what might come when a hateful age flips over into another year. 1964 does not look likely to dawn in a light of hope or welcome. For some, they struggle and keep their guard up, fearing the bitter end.

Few souls linger on the paths, largely connected to the festivities of drunken college students on 5th Avenue. The testament to their pain lies in the candor of their dancing and music, none of which is particularly good, dark and desperate as it is.

Scarlett has no time for it. She walks through the evergreens towards the west face of the park, her fluttering white scarf swirling around her satsuma minidress. The shade Buddhist monks prefer, a sign of enlightenment, for her it signals a different meaning altogether. Nonetheless the garment sets her apart from a sea of black or grey, and she lacks so much as a coat. Thin leggings and killer boots christen a look rare here; the bohemian represents a new age, albeit an annoyed one. In her hand she carries a book, and her neglect leaves her finally reaching the plinth of some forgettable statue — the Falconer — several yards from Central Park West Boulevard. Landing upon the plinth, she gazes moodily outward towards 71st Avenue. Greenery doesn't much block her view over the paths.

"Is it too much to ask for a break? Hope?" she hisses in Old Norse.


Old Norse.

The words drift over and strike Blackagar's ears as he walks the park himself. It had been only a few days since he'd returned from the walls of Attilan and he had found himself again lost in New York City. In only 30 short years, a movie will feature the same name with a child, the sequel to the film 'Home Alone'.

It is ironic in many ways that is precisely the sentiment that Blackagar is in; alone. All of his people are free, at least in his mind, free from burden of destiny and free from his brother. It was a success, but along with that freedom came the realization that now he had no real direction himself. He had returned to New York, lost in the sense of knowing what the date meant until he had read some material on it while walking. Not being from the region, his own views on the 'New Year' held different meaning and so he sought his solace here, in the park.

It was the old Norse language that pulled him from his own mind's downward spiral, a language he had not heard in nearly seven years and it pulls memories of the Egyptian desert and a battle there. A stark contrast to the winter of the park. It shocks him a bit to locate the source of the words, a woman, dressed as a monk in much the same way he normally would and brazenly forgoing any protection against the weather, exactly as he does. The pieces of this cause him to tense around the eyes and shoulders, who else could be after him now…

Arms fold, brow furrows and blue eyes lock in upon the woman walking, measuring carefully.


A young woman dressed as a monk only in the sense of colour. No monk chops their robes off mid-thigh if that, or perches with gossamer sleeves floating around toned arms, or bothers with white leggings and white boots that belong to the futuristic edge of imagination in fashion designers' minds. No wrapped sisal sandals here, or a begging bowl at the base of the high statue, a bronzed ode to falconry and the sport of kings. The gentleman in question wears the clothes of 16th century England, when Elizabeth I ruled the realm, and he certainly appears to be naked from the waist down as much as Scarlett might be thought to be. Minus, of course, the lack of visible skin.

She stares at the book in her lap, cover closed. Revealed, it would make no difference: old Norse is equally written upon the pages, stamped in the chapbook no larger than her palm, full of details barely understandable even to a student such as herself. No joy to be found there in the information captured in runes.

Brilliant fox-red braids gathered into an elaborate coiffure make her something more of a bohemian shieldmaiden than anything else, light stifled in frosted jade eyes. She looks away from the book, her thoughts shredded.

Someone looking at her has an inevitable weight, something distracting. In time she surveys the bushes and paths, finally centering upon the blue-eyed man staring back at her. His challenge is met by the lift of her chin. Should this be the day dreams die? So be it.



Those blue eyes, cold to match the weather continue to stare at the woman for long moments, only until she speaks up. It is then that it dawns upon Blackagar that he is, in fact, staring and shaking it off shrugs his shoulders silently in the universal gesture of 'I don't know', offered to the woman in turn. Her book in hand is glanced and without much further thought he pushes the concern that had creeped its way up his shoulders back down.

Continuing his own journey in the park, he moves to find a nearby bench that had earlier caught his attention and going to it, sits down comfortably, settling in with elbows falling to knees and hands resting upon forehead to look downwards to the ground. Whereas 'The Thinker' pose molded centuries ago brings forth the astounding aura of man's thoughts, this pose merely screams of defeat and struggle. A New Year means nothing if it is on the tail end of yet another.

A hand reaches down to snatch a handful of snow, rubbing it over his face and letting the cold shock a bit before he leans back to straighten how he sits upon the bench.


Blue eyes meet their like, frozen jade so pale it might as well be a kiss of winter upon an Irish valley. The potential for surreal emerald ought to be there, and normally would, but the dimming hue gives Scarlett an equally unusual measure. She leans forward from that high stone plinth, her hands clasped around her knees, pinning down the book in case it wants to slip away.

Scarlett's patience for such oddities has been yet strained by the business of the ice rink hours earlier, though she can measure even wordless despair connecting someone's actions and gestures. The man sitting under his own vine in loss, his back bowed and shoulders dropped, is sufficient to warn her of what it must be. The Norns have a very strange idea of what constitutes toying with their daughter, prodigal creature that she is, putting her in front of those she may be unable to aid. Consigning restraint to oblivion, she rakes her braids back from her face.

"That is a rather chilly way of going celebrating the year," she murmurs, not unkindly. "Or has it really been that bad? The sun hasn't even set yet."


It was humorous, really it was. The thought that this was a 'bad' year has enough thought to illicit a small smile from Blackagar as he looks up at Rogue's question and with that smilesmirk present shakes his head slowly and again shrugs his shoulders. The man seems to be rather intent on body language, the explanation why coming shortly.

Reaching up, he points to his throat and shakes his head in the 'no' gesture, an attempt to clarify that there will be no words coming from him anytime soon. Looking back to the woman he nods towards her however, opens his hands in a surrender gesture and motions. So difficult is it to communicate with people, the inability to use the common language and further support on the need to surrender himself.


Humorous? Perhaps for some. Those who long to see the world burn smile; some revolutionaries and conspiracy theorists practically wriggle in liquid anticipation for the damnation they see descended upon the face of the planet, and do nothing more than gloat to be proven right. The redhead is none of those things, witness to much, and shackled by the heavy weight of weary knowing. Her heels click against the front of the statue's base, and she balances carefully, prone to leaping down at any moment. All she needs is a good push to land on her feet, if not tempting a disaster.

"Ah. I see, you can't talk." Her mellifluous voice favours a tinged English accent, albeit it could be Selkirk or South London as much as Savannah, cultivated to a honeyed pitch. "Forgive me for putting you off. I have been quite the expert at that, today." Her braids wreath her shoulder in evocative whorls, wild in the art drawn there, and she spreads her palms in a universal gesture of diplomacy. Empty-handed, no weapon, and rich with apology.


A flat look for a few moments and then a small nod is given by the man of acknowledgement, followed by a nod of his head to the bench beside him. The offer made he settles back on the bench a bit more and instead of focusing on the woman at the statue, focuses on the statue itself. Looking at it, he ponders in silence before pointing.

The hand that lifts, points at the bird upon the hand of the Falconer before he points at himself, making the gesture of flapping wings with his arms, as ridiculous as it may seem before pointing to the sky and then off towards the horizon. The look on his face is one of amusement but also desire, apparently the longing to simply fly away from it all.

He had left without his writing slate on purpose. He wanted to simply be and in this busy city no one ever stops to 'talk' to a stranger, yet here he was, in a position to be in a conversation with someone but he will make do.


"Flying away does not help. Eventually you have to return to the lifted arm, and land whence you began. That bird goes full circle." Philosopher queen that she is, Scarlett does not venture further than this, though she gazes up at the Elizabethan falconer and his raptor, jesses flying and wings outstretched, forever in motion. A lesson might be caught there, too; that no matter how much a person seems to move forward, they are locked perpetually in the gravity of time. No forward motion, no backwards slide. Is it terrible, more than suffering by other means?

All the same, she slips off the perch, landing lightly upon her feet in front of it. The bunny hop forward flits about her hemline, and nothing untoward transpires, though her markedly long gait is limited somewhat as she rests her shoulders on the hard granite and peers upwards.


A small shift comes from Blackagar, looking to be ready to move forward to assist but instead he watches the woman catch herself and he settles back down into his seat. He looks up at the sky, contemplating over the words before returning attention to the woman and shakes his head.

With hands, he makes the motion of a bird or butterfly, flapping the wings with the thumbs together before spiraling and crashing down to the planet, the explosion like motion given at the end. Looking up now at Rogue, a small smile coming forth, he points at himself and makes a 'Yeah, that's me' look before offering a gesture to her, to see if she fits the description as well.


"Thank you." It never hurts to be polite, and for Scarlett, saying as much intends to show gratitude for his willingness to intercede on her behalf. Even that she catches herself and leans back without trouble, she is not above telling Blackagar such things. Her gaze follows his hand motions of a butterfly when he speaks wordlessly to her, puzzling through the meaning. Ideas spark, thoughts welling up from the brim of creativity, and only there can she adequately generate a plausible answer for what he pantomimes. Oh mysteries, will they never cease?

Flicking her tongue over her lips, she asks, "A flap of your wings creates a typhoon on the other side of the planet? And so I have found someone who ought to be in the United Nations, or perchance whatever league is formed to combat the aliens — Kree, Skrull, Skree, whatever they name them now?" With a quiet sigh, she dips her head forward in silent testimony to the oddities of fate. They play with her, those sisters three, and she is no more than their subject. "Or you have fallen here for all the wrong reasons and need directions. I've heard that, too."


Contemplating in silence, as is the only way he can, Blackagar waits and then weighs his head back to side as if trying to decide then simply nods in agreement. He holds up two fingers, as if to indicate two options and nods with an amused expression again towards the woman. Slowly he pushes himself up off the bench and looking around finds what he is looking for. Walking over to a tree, he hops up and grabs a branch before making his way to the drifts of snow.

Small flakes lift up as he works, a few falling to dot his face and features before he stands back and looks at his work, turning to nod at Rogue. «Can't both be true?»


Snow provides an excellent resource for writing, though its depth is not particularly great and the grey slush on top speaks to the recent changes in weather. Cold to less than cold, at least, and back between, he has a fairly broad hillock to make into a slate. The young woman's scent is neroli, the whisper of citrus and orange, cut by woodsier notes harder to identify except in time and proximity.

Her gaze flits over every curlicue, crossbar, and dot. "Directions and someone who ought to be in the United Nations? Hell's bells, you have ended up in the wrong corner of town for that. Though the neighbourhood around here," a gesture indicates the upper side of Central Park Boulevard, "is particularly upscale. Safe should you need to hail a cab, compared to others. Or have you grown so turned around that you cannot be certain which way you are?"

This is not the first time she's had to offer a map, clearly.


A humored expression touches his eyes and he shakes his head, the man taking a moment with the stick to etch over the slushy writing surface for a bit before he steps back to look. «I don't need directions to a where. Only a why.» It is deep, philosophically so before he looks at Scarlett and inclines his head. He motions to where a little bit further down he had written another pair of words. «And you?»


This gives her reason to pause and consider. Scarlett rubs her hands together, reacting to the cold at least in part. Not by much, though, given she lacks a coat and anything reasonably called winter attire. Even the flowing scarf belongs in some open airplane, allowing her to be a bombardier of the last war, a WASP to fear.

"A why you should go somewhere?" She has to guess on those letters he pens in the snow, since the shapes do not correspond clearly to everything. It causes her thoughtfully read over what he has 'said' so far, and then slips her gaze back. "I do not know. The world fell apart. What I was meant to be is no longer."


Her words catch him and the man looks at the woman for several long minutes in silence. Finally he moves over to find the freshest patch of area to write on and does so.

«I gave up who I was meant to be to free others. I am lost without direction.» He pauses and turns to look at the woman then, eyebrow quirked up to see if the statement he writes of himself also matches her as well.


What perhaps she might give for a fireplace, a good glass of stout, and not a care in the world. Drinks such as that are temporary conceits against trouble. They give some blunting to the sharp point of discomforts that the truth delivers upon the unexpected. Scarlett scratches her nails down the lines of the book, its cover traipsed over once or twice.

She straightens, her hand pressed to her tailbone, pinning down the mimosa bell of her dress, hinting at her silhouette. "Still looking for a guiding star, a compass to follow? It's a long way to search, sometimes, and yet I'm told that most of the time the answers are within reach." Her head tilts up. "The stars give no direction that I would seek, not any longer, so do I search for something else."


«Stars hold no answers for me.» Blackagar writes down and then after several moments he slides over to a new spot and writes some more. It takes a bit of time but he turns to look at Scarlett with arms folded over, eyebrow quirked up in a questioning expression.

«You look cold. Want to go someplace warm that might have pen and paper?»


Stars hold none for a man. A woman seeks upwards, when the earth fosters the lack of knowledge in plain, bright detail. It is an irony beyond ironies, one of those delicious games the gods play with mortals by baiting them, strings of fate puppeting the unsuspecting. Sometimes it truly hurts, almost aches for it.

"I don't remember what it was to be warm. Once the fires of creation heated me, but now I have to shift for myself." Poetic words, hinting at deeper truths, ply between them without a sound, the shape of the syllables cascading off her tongue. "I can think of a few places that would. Are you particular about the location or do you leave it in my hands?"


The poetry of words causes a tilt of Blackagar's head, uncertain at their meaning and moreso their depth. The warmth of creation? So much to be read into that in itself and even though better judgment would dictate otherwise, he makes a gesture of 'at your will' towards Rogue when she offers to lead to a place. Such is his life, that he would blindly jump into whatever hole the woman would walk them too; for what is there to fear for him?


Whatever does this mean? Projections do not give an obvious outcome, but she turns her attention towards the southwest arc of the island. No gambles can be made on the threshold of possibilities where a new year is involved. Hands curled around her book, Scarlett throws a lengthy regard for the horizon. "Come. No other place to be right now than Greenwich Village, and I can think of few places worth spending a few hours. The buildings are warm if a touch dark, and well suited for a quiet conversation. I know a few jazz clubs suitable rather than rock and roll venues or folksy beats." A gesture might as well indicate the way to pass.

"Is this what you suits for you?" asks the young woman, rolling her heels against the ground easily enough.


Looking up in the direction offered, Blackagar nods his head having heard of Greenwich village prior and so he starts to walk, to fall instep along with the woman but vacates his stick and snow while doing so making the in-depth of conversation difficult, at least for the duration of the journey. The journey taken does have him glancing towards the woman from time to time however.


Greenwich, the city's real heart, is a pretty place where they all hide away and pretend to be wild children. Excitable artists and musicians congregate like ducks of a multitude of feathers, some in colours unimagined by the likes of mere painters and sculptors in earth's history. There go the revolutionaries and the questioners, the dreamers and the believers, and everyone in between.

Scarlett knows it like almost no other, a child of those streets and a daughter of the spirit of the zeitgeist. Leading a stranger through the masses of partiers trying to capture the bon vivant excitement of New Years instead of despair pass them by, sharing a few drinks or salutes with glasses purloined from somewhere. Music seeps out of the ground-level entries and up from the basements, while lights on the windows of higher flats suggest parties might be stirring up instead of people watching their TVs and radios for signs that things aren't going bad.

He's guided onwards into this depth of humanity, punched through the heart of the Village. A meander passes the Black Cat, famed for its debauchery of forbidden conquests, and down to the Village Vanguard; it's the heart of all jazz, all folk and beat. Soft curtains and murmured words are the rule of the hour. Yellow posters advertise for the Speak-Outs held every Monday, admission and drinks for a buck, while a number of trios and musicians, like Miles Davis or Ornette Coleman, are promised on the rotational schedule. It's popular and not densely packed, a $1 cover for them both winning them a seat somewhere near the corner away from the stage.

Drinks go for a buck each, and an order of red wine for her allows a distraction from the servers. A drink for him, be it wine or harder spirit, she'll interprets. That, and a request for paper and a pen. Something for the music, right? The server should understand.


The walk was refreshing, however the approach of people and then the ensuing activities of the environment certainly do have Blackagar second guessing his decision multiple times during the walk. It really was not his sort of scene, considering his life was spent in an isolated room or atop an isolated mountain that should come as no leap. However, once the winding path is completed and they are settled into the booth, he is able to seemingly relax. Looking over the items, he points at the drink he is interested in; vodka. After a moment he shakes his head and tries again, this time selecting a whiskey. Not vodka… too many memories down that road.

Settling in, he waits for the pen and paper to be delivered, blue eyes looking around the venue rapidly to take in the sights of it, evaluate the dangers; the man on edge even in this place only settles down after long moments and the return of the server with drinks and paper. Quickly he moves to scribble down and slide the note to the woman next to him. «Interesting place.»


Darkness in the club is at an intimate level, and the soft murmurs of jazz tend to cover up conversations without intruding. A good singer or a pianist can provide just the right balance and the Vanguard — being among the best clubs in the northern U.S., with some heavy contentions from New Orleans and possibly Chicago — isn't slouching in any way, shape or form.

Let them sit together, then, separated by a low table a bit scarred by many glasses passing over it, or musicians putting their instruments down. None of those nicks or gouges is deep, sanded and coated in a layer of shellac to prevent scratching. Their drinks will be brought slower than the paper and pen, which the server provides as a straightforward notepad and biro. No one is likely to look askance at it. Plenty of escapes exist; at ground level, and higher, this place has doors out this way and that, few windows, exits marked clearly.

"Great for the music and drinks, not so much the food. No one really expects to dine here much," Scarlett says, her chin resting on her palm. "Somewhere warm, you said, and the music is warm to the soul as anything. They do say it's the devil's music, sometimes."


A few moments of long scratching is made on the paper as Blackagar writes down before sliding it over to the woman, his eyes glancing around again at the location before they return, settling on the woman that shares the booth with him.

«It is said that Lucifer himself was a musician, so it only makes sense that music would be his.» The line written, when it was, had the hint of humor on the man's face when he wrote it. «I am not familiar with these kinds of places, or this kind of music. I am not from around here, so it is all quite new. It is different in sound, not unpleasant. Stirring of unique emotions.» He looks at the table and his finger traces over several of the patched lines upon it, travelling the path they make before he realizes his hand wanders close then it retreats back to the notepad and paper, preparing to write again.


The candle on their table, like every other table, casts a little better light than they might have with overhead lamps. The musicians up at the stage pour out their sorrows and loves, their hopes and dreams to the silvery microphone planted stage centre. It's a mix around here, young and old, few minorities, but those who have their position refuse to be totally segregated. Scarlett is none of them, lambent in the dark, her frosted gaze shot by filaments of pale green fire that could crack through the winter ice given a chance.

"Devil and a violin, though they never seem to say anything about him singing. Naturally perfect. Seraphim, they were supposed to stand by the throne chanting 'Holy, holy, holy' all day long." She lifts her glass of wine in muted salute to Blackagar. "You ask me, I suspect that God would find that terribly boring. At least those of my acquaintance prefer more active conversation instead of mindless chatter." His comments do not go without notice, but she sips her wine and arches her eyebrows, encouraging him no doubt to explore whatever he will, in written form or not. "Unique as in they're something you've never felt?"


«In many ways, yes.» Blackagar writes out on the paper slowly as he turns the whiskey in his hand and looks at it before he scribbles some more. «Is it customary for strangers to share their harrowing journey's with one another here in this country? I have been here for a time but have not really ventured out to meet others.» He slides the paper over for the woman to read, before leaning over and scribbling on the bottom, «Especially when I do not even know their name?» The hinted at question is offered.

His eyes have wandered on however, wandered to the singer on stage listening to the music now in a deeper way. A country rolled tone, something that would fit better in the south but it certainly seems to roll off of Blackagar himself, particularly as he looks at the drink in his hand. The desire to sigh comes over him but is squashed, for the safety of all.


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 1


He doesn't know her name. Of course not, and that brings the faintest ghost of a smile to the young woman's lips. "Maybe for one day out of three hundred sixty five, I want to be someone other than me. No better time for reinvention than the final hours of the year, leaving behind what was for what is, no?" Her fingers twirl the stem of the glass, the only other worthwhile possession she has other than the small text written in the language of the gods for channeling powers no mere is supposed to possess. She coils her scarf among her fingertips, weaving a curled Mobius strip pinched between thumb and index finger.

"They call me Scarlett around here. It's as good as name as any, given I know no better one, stranger. Unless you prefer to call me something else?" The curl of her smile leaves a moonlit arc upon her face, and her eyes slowly grow the more brilliant as fractures in the psyche bleed with promising whispers and she answers the tidal tug of the moon out of her league. She cannot ignore it any more than the Pacific resists rising to Luna's endless drag. "No rules here. Choose to do what you like, as you find satisfaction. Spilling out your story to the bartender is something of a tradition." She glances to Blackagar's drink, as though considering. "That and my wine may not mix, but I can mix up something suitable if it is important to you, ami. Harrowing journeys, I could tell you a few. How the president died. What aliens look like falling from the sky."


The man smiles, a humored one as he starts to etch upon his writing pad again, this time taking time in the art of drawing. If your only means of communicating is written it becomes imperative to develop that ability as well. After a few minutes, and pauses to finish his whiskey then summon another one, he finally slides the pad over to Scarlett and leans an elbow on the table, eyebrow turned up humored. The paper is completely written over with notes, comments and a couple of drawings.

First, the drawings. One of a Skrull and another of a Kree, rather well done at that considering before he writes their names underneath it. Then the commentary starts. «The Kree. I was actually created by them to fight the Skrulls.» He smiles towards the woman then. She has harrowing tales? Then a tale off it will be.

«My name? Some call me Blackagar, but that name is for royalty. How about Blackbolt? A combination of my formal and surname. That is what you can call me. That or Mike, either way I'm not much to care right now.» There beneath that comment which was circled, is more writing.

«There are rules everywhere. At least even within oneself. I have to follow rules. But I know what you are thinking.» He had drawn then two bottles, one of whiskey and the other of vodka, the vodka with an X through it. «Ever been infatuated?»


"That." She points at the sketch of the Skrull. "That thing fell out of the sky in Times Square about six weeks ago. Two of us tried to catch it but it hit the ground too soon, run through by energy weapons later used to murder… too many people." The President, but Scarlett hardly needs to say that, given anyone under a mountain and atop one knows this fact by then.

She takes a sip of her wine and puts the burgundy down beside the candle, throwing the oddest of shadows glittering across. "Of course, it begs the question — oh, let's be quite honest, hundreds of questions — why someone made by the Kree is here on Earth, whether you mean to fight them or these Skrull or the rest of us poor souls discovering our planet has some interest for all the other empires, cosmic forces, ravagers, scavengers, merchants, and missionaries on the starways. Or if we're just going to sit up pretty and find out one day they shackled us over night while we slept?"

Such is the terror of a girl who has been — and can remain, in point of fact — a Columbia professor incognito while a student in the same class. Her legs cross under the table, foot bounced for good measure to a tempo. It has been an age since she has remotely felt alive. Ice cracks and shifts mentally. "Blackagar. Blackbolt? That's going to draw a bit of attention, but together we sound like a band. Go with it if anyone asks tonight." Amusement fades out of mirth, back to regarding the world through a cat's calculated, slanted eyes and measures. Listening to the soulful outpouring on the stage, her breathing catches a little upon the lyrics, and then settles back.

His question registers and she laughs, a low sound, so fraught by melodies that might beguile the ears they're a danger and a half. "Since semantics matter, Blackbolt, then let me say this." Scarlett's full mouth arcs in that fleeting smile. "This place imposes no additional restraints upon us, other than the ones we tie our own wrists with. It may even loosen those bonds, if you choose to let them. Take that how you like. As for infatuation? Worse. I've loved with no hope, fought it, and witnessed the tragic outcome of it all. I have witnessed someone whose infatuation for another dominates all she does, even if she is blind much of the time to it, and still I choose to call her friend and help. So. Yes."


Blackagar listens and after a bit starts to write slowly, looking up at the new song starting to play before he looks back, letting the red hues of the wine lit candlelight fall. Turning his new glass around, he takes a sip before writing on the pad. «Don't know the why's or the how's really. Only what was done. As for what is to happen? Well, this planet's my home as well and I'm about at my end of them interfering.» The boldest line he's ever taken on the Kree-Skrull conflict and here it is, written on little more than a bar napkin in a blues house. Turning the paper around in his hands a few times, he writes down on it.

«Don't know if I've ever been in love. I've been told who to love but that's not the same. Been destined to love, don't think that counts either. Tried on my own, failed miserably. So figure it's not worth it, right?» The last word underlined before he looks at Scarlett and adds, «I'm probably asking the wrong source, or maybe the right one. Emotions, attachments, they're a waste. See, I have had to spend my entire life alone, so I have convinced myself that is what I needed.»


"Lovely. Now if we can simply stop the interdimensional invasions and make them go, say, bother the Proxima Orionis system? I would be a great deal happier." Astronomical quadrants flung up into the air as easily as she ordered a good wine, the girl who would buy the stairway to Heaven flips her hand over, palm to knuckles, and her pert chin rests short of that mount. Scarlett is silent for a time, long enough for the next set to follow the first on the stage. Fresh inundations of patrons never seems to fill the place up, too much of a cavern for that, or maybe some kind of spatial warpings distribute the customers through six different dimensional rooms of the Vanguard. It would be appropriate.

Blackagar has a full pad of paper the servers use for taking orders. He can probably run out of words and ink before that. "Everyone arguably is destined to love. Unless you are setting yourself up as a Lancelot to Guinevere and Arthur somewhere, or somewhere in the millennia, a divine source took a liking to you and set aside your bride. Those, even, I hear are quite malleable. Romances for the ages are not merely for stories, though destinies… Probably not the wisest to ask on that front given my own path has splintered under my feet, and still I buck and defy what was wrought. Your own allotment is what you want, and I could give you a proper divination if you want. Though if you seek the expert, that's someone I would have to contact for you." Throwing a beloved friend under the bus? Not exactly, only touching upon her existence.

Ruby light flickers and burns. She may be sheathed in the hues of a dying sunset, her hair the blazon of the autumn queen she is, but it's not her natural alignment; Scarlett's name betrays her sacred hue is green, the burning emerald, the soaring plasma shades of the auroras so intense, they defy description. "Your head tells you all the questions to ask, but what is your spirit saying that you disregard? Attachments can be the only things we have, and emotions cannot be put aside. You become some kind of machine when you try and, unless I sincerely miss the mark there, you cannot survive without them. You will live a half-life, at best, spending all your energy holding something in you need to thrive. An awfully high cost for what you suspect may help, but for what consequence, what benefit? I spent earlier today telling a man hit by rejection hard enough to kneel and cry on a skating rink to get up, and live. That's what makes us whom we are, the sum of our being is wrapped up in the experiences of our life. One failure does not spell eternal failure. So you lose the apparent love of a lifetime. You walk away from that perfect girl or that arrangement that should have been perfect. Oh, I'm not a pie-in-the-sky optimist, far from it. But I firmly believe opportunity exists at the next step because if it doesn't, then why bother getting out of bed? Don't say the ideal partner makes leaving the bed suboptimal. I've heard that one from someone much better arguing it than either of us, and he still got shot down."


«Hope for the weary, hmm?» Blackagar writes after listening to Scarlett and then sitting in silence, and it is a long sit, stretching into several minutes before he finally penned his response. He adds a bit more to it however after the first. «The journey is long and I have sold myself on the necessity to focus on other tasks rather than the intangible flutterings of a heart. Afterall, if things are meant to be as they are, they will fall into place. If they are not and there is no such thing as fate or destiny, then I'll eventually figure it out upon my own.»

With that, he slides the paper over and then pulls out another piece and writes on it. «I have never danced.»


"If there isn't hope, I have no reason to carry on or be. I refuse to accept that. So might you." Pushing back her seat, the redhead pushes herself up from the table and draws out a long, taut breath. Stated so boldly, the statement very much terrifies as it resolves the cusp on which she hinges. Halos of gold and copper flash sunshot darts into her vibrant hair, and she reaches up to find the clasps holding together the whole mass of her braids. Just tugging two or three won't send every last plait free, but the annihilation of the central support system by extracting them leaves the curtain bouncing down almost to her waist. Look close enough and he might see trails of winter snow spread among the filaments, marking her as other to the perceptive eye.

Looking to her hands, she tugs thin calfskin gloves from her pockets and slips them on, making no explanation whatsoever. This is an era where ladies still wear white, pearl-buttoned gloves just to go out to dinner or the department store, so no surprises perhaps. Then she offers her hand to him. "This would be where a gentleman generally offers to lead, but under the circumstances? Nothing frightening about it. We go out to the floor. You watch, I move, and you move as feels right to you."


The man's lips curl into a smile and he taps at the paper on the next sheet, having not finished on the first. «I have never danced to this kind of music before.» The additive being placed in there but regardless he does rise up from the booth and extends his own hand to take Scarlett's, nodding and guiding towards the area where a few others have established themselves upon the space granted for dancing. Before leaving he did grab the pad of paper and the pen, slipping them into his back pocket.

At the proximity, his scent of wood, like fresh cut oak is noticeable moreso than from distances kept and the ruggedness of his features catch even in the lighting so dim. The footsteps he takes to lead lack a refined grace but still carry an air of agility to them as he turns and faces Scarlett, looking at her steadily before holding out his second hand for her to take as well.


Heat permeates those gloves, the leather fine enough to tell the trace of her fingers, the few rings there, the marked implications of strength. Oh, beautifully contained and conscious in every gesture, but there is some hint of it that no one can fully conceal if they might snap a table in two by looking askance at it. The way she walks through the seats to the space set aside for a dance floor avoids contact in any unnecessary fashion, even the idle swish of the minidress that turns heads for being so out there. Her crown of swaying braids adds another element to the mix, giving a metronome to tease the tick of the clock with. "They say there's no time like the present. Or dance what you do know, and make them meet your speed. It's no tango and I can keep up."

Confidence, there, might borderline on arrogance. On the other hand, there are advantages to being a master practitioner of yoga. It lends a physical awareness almost like no other, one refined and redoubled in every waking breath that would make her a devastating ballroom dancer if she ever intended. Neroli lingers around them, the underlying chypre responsible for the whispers of the spice and wood. Richness and depth plunder the senses up close, a breath of glamour and ancient wonders. Such is her nature, locked down as she sets her hand to his, and around Blackagar's back. He may lead, or he may follow with the appearance to lead, but at least she knows how to execute those graceful turns and steer them away from any kind of collision.


Within moments of the music's guidance and the presence of Scarlett, the washes of the world fade away and Blackagar finds himself drifting into the moment, letting the crest of her hair time his movements as well. No slouch to the world and having spent his years training deep in the mountains with those accursed monks has left him lighter on his feet than his physique would hint. But still he finds himself a step off, or behind as it may be, at times. This would mean much to him, if he cared, but for this moment he does not as the world and the impending year turning over has faded away into the mists of a blues dance floor.

Not since his youth has the complete loss of time fallen so complete until one song's end and the next's beginning blend away into a washed stance and finally after a time that he cannot measure has passed, his blue eyes blink abruptly.

Awoken, as if from a dream, he finds himself smiling and realizes his proximity to the woman, the stranger really that throughout it all he had drifted closer and closer to until finally propriety requires an apology, one given with a small blanched smile and shifting of posture. It was the music, the environment, and of course Scarlett — all of them making it so easy to be washed into one another and lost into time.


1963 can die in the fires of purgatory. No more will the children of the atom or a lost city stare backwards, but turn hopeful faces to the future. The emcee calls up the patrons to dance, or serenade in the new year with their glasses held high. Anticipation a world away in Times Square brings everyone to looking up at the screens, counting down minutes instead of seconds. They come with their furs and their tuxedos, their jeans and their glittery A-line dresses, in the style of Andre Rieu or Bing Crosby singing Auld Lang Syne to wish 1964 into a better showing than the previous ones. Their spot on the dance floor narrows, of course, though Scarlett does what she can to erase those barriers for one unfamiliar with the flowing take on ballroom, jazzed up - pun intended - for their current scenario. Spin, as her foot slides back, and guides Blackagar to fill a space no one occupied before.

"Turn," she murmurs, a warning prior to another of those pivots, leaving a stir of sparkling flames on a dark sea, through the lyrics: Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

Propriety drags him back. She arches her copper brows in mute inquiry. "Would you rather dance under the stars, then?"


It's there. That look that men get, the look that is possessed of insanity often when a moment sweeps over. A New Year, a dive bar, dancing and now a back corner away from the chaos of the celebration. Facing Scarlett, he looks at her, hand lifting. The question of dancing under the stars pulls an amused look and a spark in his eyes as he leans forward. It's the look, the look of letting regret and fear go to just kiss someone.

But he stops.

It's that voice in the back of his head, his voice, the one that always kicks him in the shins or punches him in the mouth to remind him of his place. To remind of what he is and to not entangle these poor humans in his wake. So instead the hand begins to lower and with a swallow, a slow nod of his head comes, the best he can manage in the term of 'yes' to her question. What question was it again? He does not even remember after the swimming of consciousness.


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 95


To be fair, the Vanguard's not a dive bar so much as the premiere jazz venue in New York. Greenwich isn't exactly high class, though, full of all walks of life just trying to make their million and their mark on the world. So many hopeful stories take root here, in the great melting pot of the United States of America condensed and squashed to a few miles square.

The distant cheers rolling in from outside make a collision course to the lively take on Auld Lang Syne, and half a dozen other performances in the streets. Someone probably illegally imported fireworks from Maine or Ontario and the ping-ping-crack of them put war vets in a sick frame of mind, while laughter and cheering spill out.

To be fair, the girl called Scarlett can read /far/ more into an expression with a whisper of a gift in the back of her psyche than she lets on. It may be Blackagar who fails first, but the unnatural luminescence of her eyes spills through the vaporized pallor, a blink bringing back the hue. She tips her head and pulls him back towards the edge of the dance floor. "First, my book and your paper. No more snow for writing materials. Then we go out the door and around to the back of the building because, cheri, no need for everyone else to cause a scene because they didn't get invited to share in the fuss."

She waits for a sign of affirmation and then they're moving through the crowd on a whirlwind of motion, perhaps something too quick for him to credit … if he were normal. The table is easily reached, belongings snatched up, and let them fly out into the night. Enough people clack spoons and shout in the best tradition of New Yorks, but the labyrinth of one-way streets and narrow alleys is easy to be lost in. Easier still for someone used to thinking on another dimension. Night is cold after that, but Scarlett, at least, doesn't even notice.


What is cold? Entropy, the absence of movement of molecules but when his entire being is powered by an energy he doesn't understand and cannot even control the cold melts off his body. Factor in the energy of the night, the thrill of the unknown and the difference between the Antarctic and New York streets is negligible. The rest of the pad is stuffed into the pocket of his jeans, and he even swipes an extra pen from another table, both stuffed away as he then follows Scarlett out of the club, into the streets and to wherever she is leading.

There is no stopping to catch his breath, no need to, the night is just a blur as they wind past revelers and merry makers, those looking to a new beginning in the New Year and those… those like them, looking to escape the past year. He follows the woman however, not noticing them beyond the ambience of the evening they provide, eyes locked on the proverbial partner in crime that he follows now.


Energy types exist in plentiful measure, some absorbed through the flesh and others running like a nuclear reactor in the veins, in the chest. Whatever fuels the redhead is pure verve and the souls she steals by right of being a ginger and her DNA threaded by the darkest secrets of the Creator. For whom else justified her possessing the right to absorb lives, powers, pieces of people's very self?

She guides them around to the back of the Vanguard, through the alley and onto another adjacent north-south connector street. From there, a quick enough dash with her fingers still wrapped around his, thumb to the pulse point of his wrist at times, leads them across the low brick buildings to one of the taller towers. At nearly ten storeys, it counts as a grand old dame for this area: Albert Chambers, according to the stone sign chiseled above the lintel. "Trust me. The best dance floor in the Village is at the top, and we take the stairs. It's an easy mark up there, and the view is heavenly." Literally.

If he chooses to join her? People come and go, but the bohemians and artists of a generation on the rise make this place their home, and they need little reason to look her way when she enters. The undisputed queen of the ninth floor, the highest suites, she has a bit of cachet among them. Blackagar is merely another visitor, given a once over and a nod, the nearest equivalent to bros approving of bros, or something like that. Stairs switchback and she's not slowing much as the takes them one or two at a time through the glittering array of murals and closed doors. True to word, there are only three or four apartments, and hers is the one with the damn Old Norse runes hidden among the lining, a proof of certain spells possibly laid down at one time or another. Not the thing she's going for, pointing to the window. "Fire escape. Out, and we climb the last bit. You game?"


The pulse at his wrist should have sparked, picked up and moved quickly with the pacing through town but it never did, remaining calm and steady like a metronome marking the passing moments as measured as a stoic. It is only with the final march, the passing by the rest of the hippies, or bohemians as some would self identify, that Blackagar looked anything remotely close to unsettled. Then through doors, to a place where he sees a window. A fire escape?

He tries hard not to laugh as he fumbles for some paper and writes quickly upon it. «A fire escape? I have trudged the Himalayas, I am not worried about a fire escape.» Boastfulness, perhaps. But it does not fit his demeanor, in fact he walks to the fire escape and shutters it open before making a gentlemanly gesture as if holding the door open for her, the first time in their flight away from the club that he has had the slightest idea of where they were even going.


Show off. She shrugs and pulls open the window after unlatching three or four hooks that hold the frame shut. Then Scarlett steps through the narrow aperture left for herself, slithering through almost effortlessly once she has a grip on the outer ledge. It's a bit of a masterful move hitting the narrow platform of the fire escape, but she gives no time to really survey her athleticism for she sets out to ascending the stairs three at a time, then springing straight up to take the lip and step into her midnight garden; a garden of considerably lovely proportions, for that matter. In dormant winter, the architecture devolves upon evergreens: those trees whose needles remain lush and green, though the dogwood's red spikes are nearly as searing as her own hair. Herb beds laid out according to some rhythm and purpose match the very pretty assortment of dormant hardwoods and perennials there, and a central quadrant rounded in a circle leaves room enough to dance beneath the stars.

Such is rather the purpose where she waits for him, setting her book aside onto a small terra cotta stand of no purpose other than decorative. Redhead under the stars, an unmatched view of the Village and its eastern end. Behind and around them, New York shines in handfuls of diamonds. "It may not be the Himalayas, but it is mine."


Finishing his own climb, leg swinging up and over to the rooftop, Blackagar takes a moment to gain his footing, and his balance which in this case is separate due to the astounding nature of the view. He looks around, turning slowly to behold it before finally producing pen and paper once again to offer to the woman a note, holding it to her before he paces around a bit to look some more.

«It is breathtaking.» The simple enough comment offered as he moves to the edge, looking over before backing up and after a glance at some of the brilliant sparkles in the sky brings his blue eyes back upon the red head, staring at her with a coy, if not awkward, smile.


Patience to read; it's a good thing, however, Scarlett is a graduate of Barnard College and a Columbia senior. It means she reads fast. So too the lessons of devouring all the information in a library off-world require her to excel at absorbing information on the fly. "Music may be a bit hard to hear," she confesses, "though we could bother spoiling it with a radio. Just listen." A tip of her head indicates the distant melodies below, crackling pops of the fireworks going off and the clubs lending their murmurs. Up here the wind blows and the air is chillier, though not by much.

Her hands are held out. Yes, they stifle his ability to write, maybe even speak, but it means the promise is fulfilled to carry on with a dance. "Isn't it? Peaceful, in its way. Welcome, one thousand, nine hundred, and sixty four years since an arbitrary starting point. May this actually bring some joy and knowledge and hope to us all." Her auroral gaze lifts towards the sky briefly, and then alights upon him, her lip bitten for a moment. It halts the smile only a little.


The music does reach his ears, the years of silence having attuned them to note the slightest noise when focused on and hearing the sounds as they climb up to the perch helps to lead Blackagar's steps towards Scarlett. Steps glide across the rooftop until, reaching his hands out to take hers, he draws them and by proxy her, towards him. Unable to write, unable to speak now, all that is left is body language, glances and expressions; the non verbal language that can speak more than words but leaves so much at times to be distorted.

An explosion of fireworks turns his attention for a moment but then his eyes drift back and catch that lip bitten smile. Studying it for just a moment, a soft smile of his own touches over the mans' eyes before he reaches up to tuck at her chin, to turn it up a bit more to his gaze.


Expectations and expressions are slightly a stock in trade, as far as Scarlett goes. She knows what she knows, and might guess the rest, the unspoken at least something she is attuned to. It helps to have no distractions up here, especially when they simply step into a dance or stare at the stares overhead, visible through thready filaments of silver clouds that take on a gilded-orange tinge from the lights of the city. Here and there, fireworks erupt in copper, red, and yellow sparks. Rarely do the blue or green spectra appear, a rarity worth holding one's breath for, perhaps.

It takes a very light touch indeed to tip her head up, raising her chin. Pupils blown wide devour the effervescent viridian weight of her irises, showing the midnight sky in all its glory, his image captured against a sea of stars. If fear ought to rise, trepidation jolted on an adrenaline surge, it's only fair that it ends up quenched a step later when her bare steel control of self locks down on the hunger burning through her veins, singing for absolution, that reason why she must not be touched.

That alone could justify a war, if she lets it slip its leash. Dualities turn, and the redhead comes out above the pantheon of whispers in her skull and the darkness in her soul. "Happy new year?"


He may live one day to challenge those stars up above, for today Blackagar faces a different struggle. The internal kind, the kind that most pass through when they are in their teens. But he is not normal enough to have fought that battle, so now he faces it again. The question strikes him back from the gaze that had absorbed him and slowly he nods his head, smiling just slightly. Nodding in agreement, for it was at least thus far, a Happy New Year.

Still standing there, chin in his fingers and eyes upon Scarlett, the moment for him breaks and slowly his other hand lifts up to his lips then passes away from them in the universal sign language gesture of 'Thank You', offered with a slow motion, the hand from his hips coming to rest for a bare moment on her cheek before both fall away. A New Year, but the same Blackagar.


He doesn't get a second chance with that touch. So be it, and damn them come yesterday or dark tomorrow: leaning in, Scarlett lightly brushes her lips against Blackagar's for a moment. The tilt of her head broadcasts the intent 'ere it transpires, and the wine-dusted taste of her mouth promising a particular warmth if breached. Such a gesture is tentative in some respects; it has to be, as she's still a child of the Sixties and for all her modernity, a young woman of no especial providence but the prodigal child of the Norns.

"Mmmhmm." A muffled sound, albeit an honest one, that.


An amusing phrase perks through his mind, the thought of kissing a near stranger on the rooftop on New Years Eve. But Blackagar's moment of brevity is pushed aside with the realization that the look upon her face following the brush of her lips was not one of tentative regard but what he perceives as expectation. His hand returns, one upon her cheek to fall with the cold skin on the surface and warmth of flesh underneath it. Leaning forward himself, letting the warmth of the whiskey and the cool of the night blind judgment, he kisses Scarlett in return. Old year be damned.

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