2020-08-23: What Lurks Beneath


KajiF_icon.jpg TonyF_icon.jpg

Summary: Kaji was looking to have a moment to recover down in the abandoned subway tunnels when his calm is interrupted by Iron Man.

Date: August 23, 2020

Log Title What Lurks Beneath

Rating: PG-13

NYC- Battery Park- Subway Station

With the ruined remains of NYCs Financial District serving as a backdrop, Battery Park offers a stunning contrast to the city that nearly surrounds it. Left mostly untouched by the ongoing war, its flora and fauna have run amuck, reclaiming several of the sites New Yorkers once looked at from the multitude of windows above. Situated at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, this park still provides easy access to a network of subway tunnels, naval piers, and more. A short distance away, The Sphere continues to stand proudly, serving as a reminder of peace and resistance. One just need know where to look to find either.

Off the coast of Manhattan Island the sonic barrier was broken interrupting the quiet of the shifting water below. The piers that used to thrive with trade, and see Naval officers off to their ships looked mostly destroyed as several docks had been burnt down and a large boat had sunk blocking several others. Cutting power Iron Man landed just outside a storm grate that he easily pulled off and tossed aside. Once inside he found his way through to access the series of subway tunnels. If anyone was lurking in the tunnels they would hear the clang of metal, and see a slight glow growing closer to the stop near Battery Park.

Sitting on one of the benches underground, at an abandoned subway station, is Kaji. It seems that the train itself had crashed into the wall some years ago, as there's still the wreckage there. The anthro wolf just looks at the wreckage, his eyes glazed over as he's lost in thought. The faint clang of the storm grate being pulled off makes an ear flick before his eyes glance over in that direction. The being is clad in the armor that Tony had made for him all those years ago. The Stark logo present on his shoulders and over his heart.

From the tunnel on the far side Stark sees the train stuck into the wall and manages to navigate around it without much difficulty. As he appears on the other side he stops abruptly as he spots Kaji sitting on a bench nearby. Knowing that Ahab's control of the Hounds has mostly been broken, he is tempted to keep minding his own business but knows that wasn't bound to happen. With a lone metal finger pointing at the chest armor he speaks to his x-personal guard in a flat tone, "You know, if I were really a dick, I'd tell you to give that back to me. Considering more than half of New York want's you dead I'll turn a blind eye and leave you to your lurking."

Kaji lets out a flat laugh. "Heh. If you were one, Tony, I'd give it back. But, it seems to be one of the things keeping me alive right now. You did great thinking of it." He looks down at the shoulders before he looks back over at the man. The wolf looks back at the wreckage of the train on the rails before he says, "Thanks. For letting me free. If I had been kept there. I…" He just turns his head and looks another way away from the man.

Tony growls under his breath, "You would have what? Remained in a secured facility? If your goal was to run around the city with a target on your back you're doing a pretty good job of it." Kaji is apparently tech free and the area surrounding this part of the subway is free from unwanted traffic. "If I were you, I'd get out of New York as fast as your feet can carry you or if you're feeling particularly pathetic just jump out and let them take you out."

Kaji looks over at Tony. "I might do just that. I just wanted to see if I could find you first. Before I left that is." He stands up, brushing his legs free of dust from the bench as he looks over at Tony. "I'm sorry, Tony. For everything that I said towards you when I was under Ahab's control. Not a word of it was meant…" He rubs a hand behind his head before he shakes his head. "I'm probably going to go hide away somewhere in California. Or someplace like that."

Despite himself Stark laughs, "You're sorry." The wolf keeps looking away from him which suits him just fine. It would be easier to talk without wanting to strangle Kaji for everything that has happened in the last ten years. "I don't believe you at all, and you should expect that. There had to be truth to your words for you to have wielded them at all, Kaji. Look at me and tell me that you don't think I am at fault for everything that has happened to you. I told you years ago when you first started working for me that you'd be better off quitting and going back to your drawing, to school.'

Kaji takes in a deep breath, closing his eyes before he lets it out in a long sigh. More one of exhaustion than anything before he looks over at Tony. "I figured you wouldn't believe me." Those words spoken quietly before he looks back at Tony, directly before he says, "All those words that I said to you in that lab was something that Ahab told me to tell you. To break your battle calm. To make you emotionally unstable. You were never at fault for anything that's happened to me. I could've left at any time. I could've told you that I was going back to school. But, I didn't. I stayed with you. Because you gave me the ability to experience new things. Meet tons of new people. Without you, I'd've never been an Avenger!" He winces at that, before he adds in an undertone. "Though now, I'm not sure if I even deserve to use that title." He looks back at Tony, "If anything. I should be thanking you. For letting me live a life I never thought I could have."

"If it's not one thing it's another," Tony comments as he walks over to stand just out of arms reach of Kaji. "You should have told your Master that his plan would fail considering how well I thought you knew me. I'm beginning to think you may not have really known me at all. If you're looking for me to absolve you of your sins I'm not that guy. You go looking for redemption its going to be a long rocky road that you need to decide about going down yourself." He extends his hand to tap the tips of his fingers against the Stark logo over Kaji's heart. "You want a hard truth or three? People make mistakes, they even repeat them from time to time, but certain lines crossed are harder to erase than others. Others will understand when the truth comes out about Ahab, and you'll be able to move on. You and me? I think you know what I feel about that."

Kaji shakes his head. "I wasn't looking to absolve my sins. Nor was I looking for redemption. What I did was hellishly wrong. And I have to live with it." He looks down at the hand tapping at his heart and comments, "Well, when you find Ahab. Make sure you make him talk." He looks back down at Tony, and says, "When you're ready to have that lovely long chat that'll most certainly end in me getting blasted about like a ragdoll, you can find me in Palm Springs." He lets out a laugh before he starts to turn around. "Also, tell Rashmi thanks for the help she's given me. I wouldn't dare go near the tunnels."

There was going to be a point when Kaji would no doubt realize that he had to do something, the right thing. It was no longer Tony's place to tell him what he needed to do or not do. The bit about Rashmi's assistance being given to the ex-hound was definitely something he would have to have a chat about in the near future. "Don't let me evict you from your current hideaway as I'm just passing through." As Tony walks past him he turns sideways and backs up towards the busted stairs leading to the city above.
"I had quite the list when I got back from being dead of who died, who was unaccounted for and worse. Haven't had much time to think about it given everything but I knew back then, and it happened regardless of my continued interference." The mask of the helm slips up so that his dark brown eyes lock with Kaji's gaze. "Whatever you think of what happened, I failed you. You were not just a guard to me or a friend Kaji, I considered you family. Anything I did was to help you and if you ever doubted that then I deserve the cards I've been dealt." The mask slips down and Stark heads up the stairs seeking a point where he can take off.

Kaji stops, and looks up at Tony. "You never failed me, Tony." Then as Iron Man heads out to the surface, the ex-Hound lets out a deep breath. Muttering as the man gets out of earshot. "There goes my Run Away plan. … Why do I think I'm going to regret what I'm going to do." He lets out a growl before he shifts into his wolf form, and takes off into the darkness of the subway tunnel.

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