2012-03-06: Dishing Up The Dirt


Donna_icon.jpg Connor_icon.jpg

Summary: As agreed, Donna produces what information she could find for Connor.

Date: March 6th, 2012

Log Title: Dishing Up the Dirt

Rating: PG-13

NYC - Hell's Kitchen

The rough neighborhood in Midtown West New York known as Hell's Kitchen almost has a darker tone to it. Once you step into this neighborhood the city takes on a different feel, the buildings are shorter but everything feels darker. There is real grit to this part of town where many of the New York City criminals see to make their home.

Given that the stage, the players, and the script are now revealed to both parties involved, Connor does not have any need to be as showy as he was last time. Though given the part of town and the people in it, his armored uniform is worn under street clothes, in the form of baggy cargo pants and a military surplus coat. Returning to the alleyway is oddly easy, despite the maze-like nature of the kitchen, even going to far as to stop at the deli once more, getting another roast beef and horseradish sandwich for the road. This leaves him standing outside the alleyway from before, trying to be as casual as possible and failing at it miserably.

"You're fucked, you know," comes Donna's voice from deep in the alleyway, one shadow among many. The darkness parts, revealing a face far too pale to have been naturally blotted out, a small and slight figure in utilitarian street clothes, and what looks to be a small, thick diary held under the woman's arm. "What you wanted me to find out? I did. And in the end, what I learned is that you, child, are quite proper fucked."

Connor's reflexes kick in before his courtesy does, and he's turned with one of those knives of his at the ready from inside the jacket before the full realization of whom he's listening to kicks fully in. As he slides it back away under the cover, there's a deep breath taken and he replies, "Sadly… I think it's a position I'm familiar with. So why don't we discovered how much by degrees." There's a tenseness about him, not from the environment, but from the waiting, a whipcord sensation ready to flick and crack soon.

The unsheathed knife is met with a cold, heavy *crack* and a faint jingle of chain, as a heavy ball of blackened steel drops from the nothingness next to Donna's free hand. "…And jumpy, too," she murmurs, one thin black eyebrow rising. "Looks like you have a better idea than I thought you did. Well." The chain is jerked upward, weapon disappearing to wherever it was pulled from, and the woman steps forward, holding out the book. "I know fucked *very* well, child, and you have found yourself in *rare* company. It seems your friend is somewhere in Romania, for starters; where, I couldn't say. You've no *idea* how difficult it was just to get the general area locked down."

The look the young man has is less shocked, and more resigned as he nods once, and moves a bit further into the alley, becoming neighbors with the shadows being played off of, and settling himself against a wall. This his arms cross over his chest, fingers going under the coat for warmth even in gloves as he puffs out a held breath, "Romania I knew… and I get the feeling you're about to confirm the rest of what I suspected. But what I can't tell is how much you either enjoy, or dislike what you're going to tell me." Looking back out onto the street, Connor then adds softly, "I'm not asking you to get involved. I just need the information… please."

Donna wiggles the book in her hand as though impatient, brow furrowing just enough to be visible. "When it comes to magic, child? Ignorance, often, truly is bliss. I don't *like* this one bit. I'm also going to tell you that you'll find yourself much better off running back to your home and pretending it was something safe and reasonable, like Albanian slave traders for your government to shoot, or a particularly interesting clump of Kurdish militants. Because the reality is far, *far* worse than any pack of men with guns and bad hygeine could ever be."

He's off the wall, and two steps towards Donna before Connor speaks, his eyes showing their anger, but there's a literal crackle in them, something else in the young man fighting to get out at the same time, "Listen Lady… this isn't Harry Potter, and he's not Lord Voldemort. If you have a name, say the name." Spoken as if foreknowledge had already been given, but comfirmation are just as uncomfortable as the misgivings. The book is finally snatched from the hand taunting, and Connor looks at the cover suspiciously eyes flicking up to the pale lady and then back down. Then his hands slide over the binding, as if feeling the age of the item, and somehow it's inherent value.

The book appears to be quite new, and still bears the sticker identifying it as a sketchbook sold at Barnes & Noble's for twenty dollars. Inside, however, are pages and pages of carefully-copied notes, illustrations, and diagrams, all written with the precise hand of a drafter, or medical illustrator. "Legends about the area… a twenty-mile radius, mind, and I defy *you* to compare an atlas to a bowl of water with ink in… what I could learn about the creatures you'd described… also likely more than you'd need, in some cases I simply decided more is better… and how best to destroy them. But, again, I don't expect it to come to very much, if you're looking to beat down the door of Vlad the Impaler and tweak his nose."

"Thank you." Connor says simply and plainly as he flips through, quickly examining what's there, the details to be absorbed later, "Please don't misunderstand my shortness as being with you. It's the situation. When you're in so far over your head that you're seeing your own boots again, it makes for poor perspective on the problem." The book is them closed, and he reaches into his pocket to take out, not a roll of bills, but instead a bag full of gold chains and a few other things, "I thought cash wouldn't do you as well as this… jewellry can be worn, and sold… gold stores well and the value goes up over time. That and I understand that rare metals are valued for your kind of craft, if I'm not mistaken."

Donna opens her mouth, then closes it with a click as she peeks into the bag, amusement warring with utter, weary frustration. "…Yes, well… There's one… *minor* diffculty to this, lad." Reaching into the bag, she plucks out the thinnest chain she can find, holding it up to the light and frowning at it. "…I'd planned on charging you a touch more than the cost of the book."

Connor mouths the word 'lad', and then replies, "You don't own a computer, do you. There's two ounces of gold in there… that's nearly two thousand dollars. But if you need more money, I can make arrangements. But those come on my terms, and require you to suffer a bit of exposure." The book is put away into the inner pocket of the coat, flashing where the knives are kept, and then Connor looks back and forth down the alleyway again, "I don't pricetag someone I value as family, but I'm not going to let you take advantage of me for it, good intentions aside." A beat, "Ma'am."

Donna's visible eye narrows, the chain gathered up in one hand, before her arms are crossed over her chest. "…You look like a smart boy. Tell me, then; two thousand, *minus* thirty, is…?" Her head tilts to one side. "Best think it through, as I *don't* take advantage of help freely asked and freely given. I did, in fact, take special care to note that *I* would set the price, and I've already accepted more than I planned to, which by the by is *not* good business. The money is not the *point,* child, or haven't you grasped that by now?"

"Please. Call me child one more time. Just one more. It's really amusing me how you can manage to be helpful and yet talk down to me." The lacy bits of sarcasm in his voice drifting off it like spiderwebs to cling to their intended target. But calming himself some with another deep breath, Connor says, in a slightly more polite tone, "I owe you a favor… or a service. Something. A task equal to what I asked of you for help." His hands go into his pockets so he can his his balling and squeezing fists now, ensuring not to meet eye contact as his urges suddenly feel necessary to neaten the garbage pile close by.

"You owe me," Donna says, her voice softening faintly, "what I said you owe me. Which was thirty dollars, American. Dinner, for me and my apprentice. That was to be all. Now? I owe you. I don't like it, mind, but that's rather beside the point as well." Lifting a shoulder, the woman shakes her head. "Either way, I'm afraid I can't help the bitter pill I am to swallow. I'm sending a young man, armed with his wits, his powers, and a book, into the den of the single most powerful monster that calls this world home. Tell me; how would *you* react, in my place?"

Connor replies softly, "I don't have any powers. What I had is gone… burned out because I let myself become a monster to fight one." Still not meeting her eyes, he then nods once, and takes the book back out, looking at it, and takes a deep and shuddering breath, "If this is goodbye, then it's goodbye… and thank you for helping me, and those who were taken. If it's not… well… then we can both count ourselves either stupid or lucky, and get on with living." That last bit causing him a brief smile before he finally does meet the woman's eyes again, letting her see the pain and the anger there, tempered by warrior's reason, "Dracula is a monster, but I've fought monsters. And monsters forget that there are monster rules too. Power comes at a price, for everyone. And they hate it when you remind them of it. Thank you. You've been more than kind, given my attitude. Keep the jewelry… as a gift. No other strings or favors attached. My mother says a lady should always have something nice to wear."

Silence, for a moment, then a truly annoyed gust of air is blown past Donna's lips, as she stoops to gather up the bag of jewelery. "I've noot been anything like a *lady* since I was a child," she grumbles. "Like as not the Jager would have you swallowing your own teeth for *thinking* such nonsense. Fortunately for both of us, though… it would seem I'm not him." Looking back into the sack, she frowns. "Lad… honestly. If you *must* go… survive. I'd not wish to have a death on my hands I'd actually regret."

"And I haven't been a child since I had to kill someone who thought that gunning down mutants was nothing more than points on a scoreboard. But I don't want to die either… I've developed this bad habit of living with myself, and I'd just as soon not have to give it up." Smiling a bit, he turns to leave, hands back in his pockets, "Maybe next time we meet I'll be a little less ignorant, or at least a lot less stressed. Have a safe evening."

Donna scrubs a hand over her face, closing her eye for a moment. "I'd say the same," she says, turning her back and moving toward the shadows, "but I've the idea that you're the sort who'd make a liar of yourself for trying to tell me you will. If not safe, then, at least be smart."

Connor replies over his shoulder just before turning to walk down the street, "You know? You're a nice person… when your theatrics aren't screwing it up. I'll be smart. Excuse me… I have to go ask a favor from someone who's probably not going to like it."

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