1964-07-30 - Gone Until You
Summary: Having powerful friends means having potent enemies.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: Go to War - Nothing More
rosemarie lucian 

The working day draws to a close around the New York Public Library. Not that the main line branches shut early, even in an era of civil service shutting down squarely at five on the nose.

The employees aren’t permitted to leave by the front door. The cleaning crew comes in to deep cleanse the floors, sprucing up appearances in expectation of a VIP visit over the weekend, evicting the staff through other ways: the service alleys, docking bays, and whatnot.

Not that fate conspires with Rosemarie for her to leave early. Oh no, there’s a missing tome to be recovered, another to be sent down for repairs, and a few miscellaneous tasks ticking the minutes forward before she can clock out. Fifteen minutes past the normal time and only then is the dastardly memo missing from her boss’ desk accounted for.

But she has an evening for herself to look forward to, so there’s something to be enjoyed for that.

To Mrs. Ketch’s desk the memo goes and she turns in a flurry of brunette hair and flaring skirt. Rose dressed for the weather today, which means she emerges in a harried manner from one of the two docking bay side-doors of the library, out of the sight from the general public.

That is a blessing, to her mind. Her bun is cattywampus and frizzled from ducking beneath tables and brushing against the innards of shelving units looking for that stupid book. Someone can’t read. A 6 is NOT an 8 and will NEVER be as such. That’s all it takes to screw up the decimal system and its labeling. The trials of the book-keepers are such that the audience who attends their library may do so and assume to find their choice read the first time, not the twentieth.

With her courier-purse slung over her shoulder, bisecting her chest, she begins to make her way carefully down the concrete steps. It’s somewhat muggy back here and the librarian winces, pulling at the collar of her light, white blouse. Navy-blue skirt and white shirt, with comfortable flats in black. All she’s missing are some knee-high socks and she’d be prim and…questionably proper, to some enterprising minds, assuredly.


The cleaners already pulled up into the service bays in the back, and parked in the employee lot across the street. Bringing out their supplies through the long, sweaty lug is no one’s idea of fun but all in a days work.. White suits and white hats abound, along with the usual paraphernalia for assuring a spic-n-span appearance. Buckets and boxes of cleaning products in arms end up hauled by a staff of varied age. All men, mostly older.

Rosemarie’s path takes her out where others trod, through the marginally cooler shadows into the brighter daylight. The orderly streets are thick with more vans, one white or black vehicle after another, all of them absent of emblazoned badges. A full team of twenty might be needed to do the thorough scrub, and add all the necessaries.

No one really pays attention to her. Not when she trods enough route to home or a subway, maybe dreaming of seeing the latest Broadway show plastered on every power pole in the area. They flap dimly, advertising Hello, Dolly! as the latest, greatest thing. Colourful distraction.

Another few stragglers hurry up to the doors behind her. Doors slam and open. There’s a security in uniformity. But not safety.

What’s one gloved hand from another clamped over her mouth? One van from another when dragged backwards?

Indeed, her mind is completely elsewhere. Nothing like dismissing one’s entire surroundings when it has a sense of continuity throughout it. White vans, cleaning crew, it’s to be expected with said important guests arriving tomorrow.

Still — the sudden heavy slap of a warm hand across Rosemarie’s mouth is enough to jolt her from her reveries of coffee and a book with Lola on her lap. The mind can’t comprehend what’s occurring fast enough to immediately react — no hardened superhero is she — and by the time the other arm has wrapped half around her torso, trapping her against a taller, sturdier body, she’s making panicked, offended muffled sounds from behind the gloved hand. Black shoes kick randomly in an attempt to throw balance or glance off a shin, like as all for naught. Height is not her advantage here.

Within her subconscious, the Otherness unfurls like a hyperactive flower in response to the adrenaline in her veins. Already, her wide brown eyes are bleeding to gold. If only it can convince her to fight like her life depended on it! Depending on the would-be kidnapper’s intentions…it just might.

She might kick off a shoe, and someone has the presence of mind to snag it. Hauling a woman off the street into a van takes very little time, especially with someone manning the doors conveniently.

A few seconds of fighting, yanking her out of the relatively safety of public sight to a metal box on wheels. The few cleaning supplies in boxes attest to some legitimate activities and maybe these fellows simply need to ask questions about the decimal system. Or they’re offended she walked into a dangerous area.

Let her kick and squirm. The metal length of a window cleaning squeegee is perfectly acceptable to whack someone with, if need be. It’ll leave bruises.

“I’ll make this real simple,” says one of the cleaners. “You cooperate, you don’t get hurt. You fuss and you’ll get hurt. Get it? Now nod if you plan on being a smart girl.”

At the moment, she nods, attempting to quail away against the inner wall of the truck. Chin tucked, shoulders up, Rosemarie is the very picture of the shocked, the awed-into-submission by the brisk and rough snagging off the street.

They need but brandish the metal length of the cleaning tool once and her golden eyes drop to the floor, rubberized to prevent slipping — on what, precisely? Spilled cleaning fluids or something else entirely?

“What d-d-d-do y-y-you w-w-w-want?!” Probably pretty easy to hear the weak, wavering question in the closeness of the van.

Oh god, please. Please, no, please!!! Help!!!

Except for no one’s going to hear that mantra for aid, thought in rapid, glittering spikes of fear.

The Otherness bides its time, lurking beneath her skin in electrifying balance. That blouse won’t survive the sudden eruption of wings when the alien battle-bird deigns to show.


For men like those to perform work like this doesn’t exactly speak well to their moral convictions and ethical fabric. The pleas of a nice librarian in her schoolgirl outfit elicit terribly few responses.

“Go,” the one speaking tells the rest of the crew. The fellow with his arm around her neck doesn’t loosen up much on her windpipe and there’s a large gloved hand ready to clamp over her face if she demonstrates any intention to suck a breath in.

One of the other cleaners begins a quick, impersonal pat down of her. The purse she usually carries they wrest from her hands, going through the details in short order. What’s sought with such dispassion is simple enough: her badge.

Once that’s swooped up, there’s the corresponding driver’s license or state ID card, if any, to confirm she is whom she says she is.

“Bird’s the one,” mutters one, his accent crisper, sharper. It holds some air of Eastern Europe if subtle.

Oh yes, there’s a state ID card to go along with her badge. This sprung into being not long after a certain rare (if literally singular) book was turned in to the Archival branch of the library. Access was granted to her during the process of its vetting and afterwards, the official card came down — just in case she managed to come across another tome.

Rosemarie swallows against the line of muscle across her throat with some difficulty. She can still breathe, but it’s patently uncomfortable and she can’t help but wiggle and whimper. Desperately, she’s attempting to keep the Shi’ar battle-bird’s influence at bay, but it’s becoming as implacable as an incoming tide. Little by little, it creeps further beyond her control and the itching at her ears is a fairly good sign that the crumbly edge of that cliff is already breaking apart beneath her feet.

Bird?! Oh god, what do they know?! Her pupils shrink to pinpoints and rise to the man with the accent.

Please, someone, please — anyone, please! Help me!!!

The gentlemen go about their business with perfunctory ease. Deeper into the van they go, and three strips of tape have a job to do. One, over her mouth to keep chicky from bawking. A bit of baling rope often used to secure or lash together their sandwich board signs ties neatly around Rosemarie’s wrists, and they’ll manhandle her to get that in place. The second piece of tape, longer, is used to keep her fingers stuck together. Probably as a means to keep her from getting hurt, really.

The third unceremoniously slaps something small and flat to the small of her back.

“Now you’ll just sit real nice here while we buckle you in, and this’ll be over.” The one who seems to lead the plan speaks while he pushes one of the doors shut, sealing in the woman and the fellow who bound her. Not in total darkness then.

The motor starts up and the weight in the front of the van shifts. That’s three around, maybe four. How good does she think her odds are?

Her inner bird is ashamed, rest assured, at how she fought so little the bindings. The tight winding of rope about her wrists cranks her shoulderblades near to touching, winged while she is not currently. The muffling of the tape across her mouth is cause to fight hyperventilating; one can thank the Shi’ar Otherness for the sangfroid that prevents this. Rosemarie, without the double-edged sword of alien genetics, would have long ago passed out dead to the world.

Alien indeed, this glistening thread of primal opposition keeps the flame beneath the molten auriance of her irises. With her chin tucked, the fall of her bun, mostly come apart from the rough handling necessary to keep her in check, hides their intensity, even in the side glances she gives each visible being.

The floor and walls rattle after the engine starts up. Her heart leaps up into her throat.

The Shi’ar Otherness decides that it’s had quite enough, thank you very much. It has no concept of the stickiness of duct tape and chooses to ignore the wrappings of cord around its host’s forearms. The tape about her fingers will fall fast enough to even spastic motions of her fingernails, once they’re done elongating into the peach-hued talons that hold enough strength to gash the metal innards of the van.

Firstly, the unfurling of the crests, one behind each ear, and the azurine feathers are dulled in the low lighting. Maybe their motion isn’t bright enough to be captured. It’s the pinch at her shoulders that causes the unavoidable sudden straightening and throwback of her skull, the muted cry of discomfort behind the silver rectangle of tape.

Ever been unable to pop your hip? Your neck been stuck in a crick with no reprieve?

Those beautiful wings, fledgling as they are according to a certain archangel, aren’t able to expand beyond their pockets with how her scapulae are cranked together.

It may be they’ve prepared for something odd. Their containment systems aren’t very fancy, this is for certain. Buckets and mops, squeegees and duct tape, do not a high technology organization make.

The crew chief snaps the doors shut and leaves his crew mate in there with an angry bird dusting up the place. Plumage emerging gets a grunt and a shout in the gloom, the overhead light not doing much to keep things bright with its inadequate flickering disk.

Bulgarian shouts warn the two in the front cab what’s going on. But then, it could be they expected this. Maybe not.

He dumps her to the floor without bothering to secure her with the seatbelt fully. She might well be tangled up instead as he lunges for a bottle of some greenish cleaner. He squirts it in her direction: green, antimicrobial, very stinky, that.

Then he simply rips the lid out and splashes whole sprays of it on her. No, it’s not chloroform, which takes an awful long time, but he goes for ‘throw cleaners on her to make her stop.’

Stay classy, San Diego.


The splash of the cleaner on Rosemarie is shocking and the chemical scent enough to make her cringe away — and that’s after the air returns to her lungs from being knocked to the floor. Akin to a pinched nerve, those wings aren’t appearing still and it hurts something awful.

If her captors are thinking that throwing chemicals will be enough to make her stop moving, they aren’t taking into account the reactions to bare skin. What gets doused will begin to tingle shortly, to burn shortly thereafter. There’s minimal risk of scarring with an anti-microbial, but it doesn’t mean that the discomfort will keep her still.

Distracted enough to avert her focus from them? Yes, absolutely, mission accomplished. Between the stifled Shi’ar shift and the sunburn-pain of the cleaner, they’ve got her under control now. All she can really do is kick out and wiggle and pant, her face pale and color high in her cheeks beneath those freckles.

Uncomfortable, pain, wings, Lucian It comes in the middle, some flight of fancy in a panic-spackled brain, a memory connected to the concept of feathers in impossible lines of light — It hurts, please, stop, stopstopstop, no more, help, HELP!!!

The man back at the doors smacks on the roof three times. The van corners and slows, then he wrenches the door open. A streaking vision settles into resolution, daylight and a blank street. He steps out and slams the doors shut, the idling van still rolling at a very slow pace. One good twist of the handles locks everything in place, and he doesn’t hesitate to wave them on.

Down one person by resignation, the others take off as the driver hits the gas.

It’s the curse of New York traffic to be at times slow, very twisty, and hard to tolerate. Diesel fumes, regular fumes, they all mingle together in the back of the van. Mostly secured boxes and bits at least don’t crush the librarian.

Meanwhile, back to the library, the first crews setting up their ladders and floor cleaners begin the act of tidying.

And elsewhere, a man pondering whether the blue bowtie goes better than the black for an evening out pauses as he stares in the mirror. The brocade fabric hangs equally in twin tongues to either side of his throat. He’s long since learned to parse out the unwanted interruptions, a dim hum in the background.

Reaching for an end, he starts to fold it over, busying himself against the usual threnody. Unconscious of intentional error by committing an affront, he indulges himself against the plea. Dedicated to tying that knot will consign him to falling face-first into the mirror by the poleaxing pressure dumped on his back.

“Oh, fuck you, Father!”


Between the noxious fumes of the cleaner smearing her hair in oily streaks, clotting her clothing to her skin, shining in patches on pinking (rapidly reddening) skin, and now the thick cloy of diesel — her mantra is making it from minute to minute. Shock and regression into that lizard brain of survival take the underlying control while the Shi’ar war-bird fights for the wheel.

Don’t vomit don’t vomit don’t vomit sick so sick why me why sick motion sickness sick no vomit no more please no more —

With eyes squeezed shut against a runnel of cleaner across the lid on one side, Rosemarie is subject to the unpredictability to said New York traffic and it’s a bear. Convulsive clenches of her hyper-sharpened nails may prove to break through that tape, on sheer luck and not thoughtful skill at all, and if so, the Otherness is gunning for those ropes next, even if it takes the entire trip to shred at them with the very tips of those talons and it feels like someone’s stabbing her an inch out on each side of her spinal cord with every flexion of those fingers.

The world comes in two flavours; shit you can do things about and shit you can’t. Lucian knows this. He flings down the strangling bowtie and surges out from the en suite into his lofty pad. Swinging, by Sixties nomenclature.

He has all of a few moments to reach the terraced balcony and take a short look for any pigeons flying about. No flapping sky-rats. His shoulders shudder under the weight of stepping up onto the railing, but that has been effortless even since he flung aside a sword and named himself a free agent, not bound by fate or time.

The ruffle of feathers catching the wind is purely semantics. He isn’t made of flesh or anything of that stuff, a heel resting on metal briefly no more alive than the sunshine. Thus it makes sense when he soars heavenward, it’s not with any mechanics like a normal bird. One down draft of his wings and he’s already up like a shot, soaring triple the height of any building in East Village.

Hardly constitutes a matter of public inquiry. Sadly it’s not as though he can just find her.
Maybe he can go drink somewhere else. There’s a good watering hole on fire somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen…

The vehicle navigates turns and twists until finally coming to a halt. How long it takes really doesn’t matter so much. The two of them in the front are planning to come round and deal with their irate passenger, which is to be expected. The cranky otherness still has rope to worry about. Maybe it already did.
But the doors will be opened one way or the other, and a warehouse full of gloom and cans of fish await Rosemarie.


A box bumps against Rosemarie’s shoulders and she flinches, those feathered crests fallen completely flat and drawn tight against her skull. Tears don’t help, but the puddling of them finally escapes over the line of her nose to join the others leaking from the farthest corner of her other eye.

Don’t vomit no vomit vomit no no don’t — Man, gag reflexes suck. Her back curves as her gut nearly rebels and the ropes at her wrists are tested. A few more twitches of the peachy talons and like a tendon snapping, the bindings give. Even as the brakes are hit, jolting her onto her stomach, those broad wings rip through the fabric of her blouse as if it were made of tissue paper. No majestic sight these, not right now, having been stymied and scrunched in place for some time. Their major joints remain contracted, stiff like old war wounds on a cold day, and even as she begins to paw at the tape across her mouth, the librarian is realizing that the van is no longer moving.

One claw glances across the tape, parting it in a slant-diagonal and she’s able to inhale a desperate near-full breath of…diesel-perfumed and far-too-close air. Her captors likely enough hear the muted thump of a shoe’s momentary grip on the rubberized flooring skipping loose and kicking into the van’s wall.


The doors open upon a dazed, frantic being flailing about with as much desperate ferocity as the offspring of an oiled seabird and a cornered wildcat. She has only one eye to work with, the other still smeared overtop by the cleaner splashed on her body, and this one is bright-gold, her humanity rapidly receding as the Shi’ar war-bird’s influence is finally allowed to surface.

It’s got a better grip on reality than its host. Spread wings, menace, maximum sound, fury — angel, Lucian, wings — wings, fight, blood, fightfight — It thinks in short bursts. Its host body fills her lungs and then brassily SHRIEKS at the top of her lungs, the van’s inner shape acting as a megaphone for the sound.

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