Footprints

Cast: date: '14 October 2012'
place: 'Regent''s Park'
participants: 'Cedric, Hilary, Mattie'
synopsis: 'A little bit of slime makes the day go by. '
log: " A chill east wind blows across Regent's Park, and storm-dark clouds scud across an overcast sky. The rain has stopped for now, but the clouds suggest that it could come again at any time. The ducks don't seem to mind too much, a small flock of them floating across the iron-grey pond, but everyone else has buggered off, seeking someplace warm and dry. Those few that are around hurry through in raincoats, clutching umbrellas and rain gear as they head off for their destinations. \n\n The path is nearly deserted, but Cedric doesn't seem to mind too much. He wears a black jacket over a hunter-green hoodie, the hood up beneath the jacket and covering damp black hair. The jacket is half-zipped only, and he's got his right arm stuck into it, the hand well out of sight. The left hand holds a lit cigarette, from which he pauses to take a long drag and breathe out, his eyes on the ducks sailing in loose formations across the glass-like pond. \n\n\nHilary is appropriately attired for the cold in a black pea coat with a white muffler wrapped rather carelessly around his neck. He too is smoking, cigarette held in a gloved hand as he brings it to his lips, inhales, then lets it fall to his side. Somewhere along the way, he must've stepped in something, as he's leaving dark footprints behind him on the path.\n\n\n The gentleman in the peacoat walks past Cedric as he stands, idly watching the ducks across the pond, and initially, he pays the other man no mind. After all, when one stops on a footpath, others will walk past, and he absently steps aside to make room. He's about to turn on his way, though, to follow the man, when the dark footprints catch his attention. Glance down, glance up. \"Oi,\" he calls quietly. \"Step in something?\" \n\n\nHilary pauses, looks behind him at the trail he's left, expression nonchalant. He has another drag on his cigarette before he answers, looking back Cedric's way. \"Apparently.\"\n\n\n The nonchalance of the reaction draws a frown from Cedric, but he shrugs at first. \"Just thought you'd want to know,\" he offers genially enough, taking a last glance at the ducks before turning away to head down the path, towards Camden. He's taken about two steps when he pauses abruptly. What looked like mud at first in a different light appears shiny, as if it's … oily. Like motor oil. Huh. He looks back up the path - just how far has he been tracking that? The wheels turn almost visibly in his head, and he lapses into a momentary silence.\n\n\n\"Mm,\" Hilary says, a noise of vague agreement rather than a proper thanks. He flicks ash away, pausing to watch the ducks himself for a little while. \"Bit young for duck-watching, aren't you?\" he asks, though Cedric has already begun to move on. \"You don't feed them, do you?\" He lifts an eyebrow, either not noticing or willfully ignoring the fact that Cedric has been looking at the tracks he left.\n\n\n Cedric's really about to let it go and move on when the man speaks again. \"Nah,\" he answers, dismissing the black slime for now and pausing again, now watching the ducks himself again. \"It's a place to smoke without some busybody banging on at me about how unhealthy it is.\" His voice is a low baritone, almost a bass, and rough around the edges, and he takes another drag from said cigarette. \"Or having to buy a beer in exchange for a place to smoke.\" \n\n\n\"One can't smoke in bars now, either,\" Hilary laments, dragging on the cigarette until it gets dangerously low. He looks aside from the pond to give Cedric a more thorough once-over, then back at the ducks. \"Everybody's terrified that they won't live forever.\"\n\n\n A shared complaint, to be sure. The comment draws a laugh and a genuine enough smile from Cedric. \"Right?\" Definite London accent in the word. \"They won't live forever anyroad, but no-one will hear that if you tell them so.\" Flick of the ash, the movement abrupt. \"You want to live as long as possible, right?\" He affects a mocking falsetto, the voice of a nagging housewife. \"That rot is so dangerous. Shame on you. Think of the children!\" \n\n With a snort, he drops the falsetto to add, \"I don't smoke around children.\"\n\n\"I attempt not to breathe at all around children.\" Germ-factories, says Hilary's doleful look. He flicks the end of his cigarette away. \"That was my last one. Do you have another I could nick?\"\n\n\n Another laugh from Cedric, one that quickly fades into a troubled look. \"I don't hang about children if I can help it. Can't stand the screaming.\" The request for another cigarette changes his thoughts' direction, though, and he puts the cigarette into his mouth, then fishes in the left-hand pocket of his jacket, his right hand remaining firmly tucked in the jacket and only moving enough to keep it clear of his rooting. \n\n It only takes him a few moments to produce a mostly-empty pack of cigarettes - there's like two left. With the pack in hand, he retrieves the cigarette from his mouth and holds it between two fingers. The ash is getting long as he offers Hilary the pack. \"Sure, but you'll have to get it out yourself. Getting those out one-handed is a right arse-on.\"\n\n\nHilary takes the pack and selects a cigarette for himself, then hands it back. \"You're a saint,\" he says, perhaps intending dry humor and perhaps not. He gets his own light, and once he's sucked in a lungful of air, he comments, \"If you were older, I'd guess you were a widower, but it's a tricky call at your age.\" Wherever that came from.\n\n\nThey are standing at the edge of a pond, watching ducks glide by, apparently sharing a pack of cigarettes. It's easy to tell where Hilary's been, as he's left a trail of oily black footprints.\n\n\n While Hilary is pulling a cigarette, Cedric takes a drag of his own and flicks the ash away, taking the opportunity to do so. A snort of laughter at Hilary's comment is dry at best, but instead of commenting, he puts the near-done cigarette back in his mouth and tucks the pack away before retrieving it. \"Nah,\" he answers quietly, looking out over the lake this time. \"M'girl ran off.\" Another drag of the cigarette, this time into silence.\n\n\"Didn't fancy ducks as much as you did?\" Hilary asks, humor bone dry. He exhales a cloud of smoke and condensed breath.\n\n\nSpeaking of girls — but not Cedric's girl — Mattie turns the corner rounding the duck pond and comes into view. Seeing Cedric, she raises a brow and gives a nod of acknowledgement, but she doesn't make an effort to join the men, in case they're in a private conversation. After the initial pause, she continues to walk the path that will take her past them, leaving it up to Cedric as to whether he wants to greet her or not — sometimes people want their private lives private from the Watch, after all, and Mattie's happy to oblige.\n\n\n For his part, Cedric doesn't seem particularly concerned about whether Mattie should join them or not, looking over and raising a hand in acknowledgement in response to her nod. The gesture neither invites nor pushes away, but he wears a troubled look that she might or might not catch. That done, he turns back to Hilary, a half-a-smile and a snort his first answer to the question. \"Didn't fancy something, anyroad. Ah well.\" There's a momentary silence, which Cedric would seem to be entirely comfortable with. \n\n\nHilary exhales another long stream of smoke, looking Cedric's way. \"She must've been a pretty girl,\" he guesses, though he does not divulge why he thinks so. He smiles to himself. \"Are you waiting for her to come back then?\" He notices Mattie, but makes her no greeting, since she is a stranger.\n\n\nIt'd be easy enough to continue on and pretend she didn't notice the troubled expression, but since he waves, Mattie moves a little closer. \"Hey,\" she says in that non-eloquent American accent, and she gives Hilary a nod of greeting before tipping her head toward Cedric. \"Doing all right?\" is asked casually, but her brows lift in a curious manner that asks what she really wants to know — is anything Wrong here, and Wrong with a capital W.\n\n\n \"Hi Mattie,\" Cedric answers her in a low voice before turning back to look over the duck pond. He's closed in on himself, a far cry from the polite and friendly man he normally is. He glances briefly at the path, and the footprints, before returning his attention to the duck pond. \"She won't come back,\" he says, a sad finality in his tone. \"She's gone. Reckon she's got some other man. She doesn't even know I'm still alive. Took out a restraining order on me.\" \n\n\nHilary takes a deep drag on his cigarette as he listens, nodding, eyelids lowering partway. \"Another man…\" he repeats quietly, nodding. \"Well. Women will do that. But do you really suppose she's forgotten, as close as you two must have been? She never thinks of you at all?\" He glances Mattie's way but says nothing, just nods, half-distracted.\n\n\nThe American's green eyes follow Cedric's gaze to the footprint, then back to the two men. \"Taking that as a no,\" says Mattie dryly, then cocking her head to regard the stranger through narrowed and focused eyes. \n\n\"Hi. Mattie Dahl, friend of Cedric's.\" That might be a bit of an elaboration of their relationship from coworker/acquaintance, but she's hardly going to tell the stranger where she knows Mosely from until she knows if he's trustworthy. She offers a hand to Hilary to shake. \"And you are?\"\n\n\n \"Don't worry about it, Mattie. I know you've got places to go. I'll ring you later, all right?\" Cedric's response to Mattie is somewhat pointed, but genuine enough; there's a catch in his voice, and he absently tosses his cigarette to the ground and crushes it out, then picks it back up and slides it into his pocket. He's not looking at either of them, but out over the pond and indeed past it. \"Doubt she ever really cared at all. Certainly dumped me fast enough. Was going through a bit of a rough patch.\" His answer to Hilary is short and terse, and he looks up at the man suddenly, and removes the left hand from his pocket. \"Look, I don't mean to rattle on at you. I'm sorry. Cedric.\" He offers the left hand to shake, the right hand remaining in his jacket. \n\n\nHilary holds the cigarette in his left hand while quickly shaking Mattie's hand with his right. \"Hilary,\" is all he answers. \"We're becoming acquainted.\" A quick, sharp smile and then his attention is back on Cedric. He smiles and takes Cedric's hand as well, clamping his cigarette in his mouth so he can take the left hand with his own left. \"It's my pleasure to listen,\" he says. \"Anytime, really.\"\n\nMattie raises her brows at Cedric in an unspoken and sarcastic 'Really?' \n\n \"So I see,\" she says in that dry manner that suggests some skepticism. \n\nThe footprints are glanced at again, and she tips her head curiously back at Hilary. \"You work for BP by any chance?\" Apparently she's not taking Cedric's pointed hints to leave.\n\n\n \"Most people don't want to hear about that sort of thing.\" Cedric's shoulders are tense, and he shakes his head, as if bringing himself back to the world with an effort. A glance at Mattie, and he frowns suddenly, then glances at Hilary, waiting for the answer. \n\n\n\"Very clever,\" Hilary says dryly to Mattie. \"I've stepped in something, obviously. Nice of you to point it out.\" He looks back at Cedric. \"And that is why most people never get to speak,\" he says with a sympathetic expression. \"Not really. Because they're so concerned about what others want to hear. Let me give you my card,\" he suggests, reaching into a pocket.\n\n\n\"Obviously,\" Mattie says skeptically. \"You'll want to get those shoes shined no doubt.\" \n\nShe watches as the card is handed to Cedric, then looks back to Hilary. \"So are you a psychologist or something, then?\" she asks, before moving to one of the footprints to peer at it, squatting down close by, but then angling her head up to wait for Hilary's answer — and reaction. \"Good news. It's not shit. But I'm not sure I'd want it on my feet. But then I'm touchy about things like that.\"\n\n\n Cedric takes the card readily enough, studying it for a moment before tucking it into a pocket. \"Theater, eh? Not my thing, but thanks anyroad. If I need to talk, I'll look you up.\" He takes another deep breath and fishes the near-empty pack of cigarettes from his pocket. It's a bit of work to get a cigarette out one-handed, but he seems to be accustomed to the difficulty, and he manages, putting it in his mouth and tucking the pack away. Quickly, he produces a lighter and lights it, then tucks the lighter away and inhales deeply, pulling the cigarette from his mouth before he releases the smoke. \"Looks slippery, though. Be careful, all right?\" He doesn't seem to be too concerned about the stuff, but seems to be waiting for something.\n\n\n\"A theatrical director,\" Hilary says. \"So I do most things a psychologist does, only I'm not paid for them.\" He spares a sharp smile for Cedrick, flicking his spent cigarette aside, not offering to help Cedric with his. Then he glances aside to Mattie and back. \"I should probably be going…But it was a pleasure meeting you.\"\n\n\n\"And without the actual psychology degree,\" Mattie says to herself, then a little louder, \"See ya,\" in a faux-cheerful voice. Straightening from her squat, she moves to a trash bin to pluck out an empty water bottle. \"People never recycle,\" she says with a shake of her head to Cedric, as if that's why she's in the park — just doing her part to save the environment, right? Reduce the carbon footprint if not the oozy ones.\n\n\n Cedric looks after Hilary, waiting till the man leaves before he moves at all. He's still quiet, but rather than tense, he seems more down. He says nothing of it, though, instead watching the direction the man went., to see where he goes. \n\n\nHilary glances Mattie's way with some distaste but says nothing. \"Take care,\" he murmurs, heading off again in the direction of Paddington. Whatever he'd stepped in must have dried up by now. He's stopped leaving footprints.\n\n\nOnce Hilary's gone, Mattie turns to Cedric. \"You know him before today? Because that was fucking weird,\" she says bluntly. \"I've never heard you mention this woman before, not like I'm the type to invite sob stories, I know, but… what'd he say to get you going?\" \n\nAs an afterthought, she adds, a little less bluntly, \"Are you okay?\" Her sympathetic frown turns angry as she looks back over her shoulder to where Hilary's form moves along the trail out of the park.\n\n\n Cedric doesn't answer immediately, looking after him instead. \"Tell you later,\" he says hoarsely. \"Look.\" He points out the lack of footprints, and the footprints that come in. \"He didn't step in that, too much of it there for too many steps.\" Usually footprints will peter out over time if whatever was stepped in gradually wears off. No, he probably isn't entirely okay, but he seems to not want to talk about it. Instead, he looks back down at where the man was standing, and the footprints leading to that point, kneeling down, dipping the fingers of his left hand in it, sniffing it. \"Not motor oil, either.\"\n\n\n\"Don-\" \n\n Too late. Mattie's warning is cut off by a sigh and she shakes her head, moving to where the footprints are a bit thicker and using the bottle to get a sample. \"Next time, don't touch it. Didn't you spend a week in the infirmary already for getting Gloom splatter all over you?\" Her reprimand is sharp and irritable. \"Let's get this back to the Daniel and maybe see if there's anything to be found on this guy, yeah?\"\n\n\n \"Doesn't burn,\" Cedric comments, but quickly wipes the stuff off onto a bare patch of grass next to him. He accepts the reprimand in silence - she is right and well he knows it. Instead, he straightens up, letting her in to collect her sample. \"I know you're busy. I can take this lot back to Regal if you want to go get some sleep,\" he offers. \"I've got time, still not cleared for field work.\" Duh, wonder why?\n\n\nThe bottle is handed to him accompanied by a withering look. \"You can cut the comments about how busy I am, Moseley. I have time for field work. I don't have time for dealing with smartassery.\" But as long as he's offering, she's willing to let him run the errand. \"I swear this park is a fucking magnet for weird shit,\" she adds, before giving him a nod of farewell and moving along the trail once again.\n\n\n This time, Cedric is less nice, taking another drag from the cigarette and flicking the ash away before sticking the cigarette in his mouth. A little awkwardly, he stuffs the bottle in his right-hand jacket pocket before taking the cigarette out of his mouth. \"Stuff it, Dahl. You want help, you got it. Go get some sleep, I got this.\" Without waiting for an answer, he turns and starts down the path towards the Watch HQ. "
Date:




Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License