Not the Best Ambassadors

Cast: date: '4 September 2012'
place: Lambeth
participants: 'Jack, Mattie, Teresa'
synopsis: 'Jack and Mattie inadvertently play the good-cop, bad-cop routine with Teresa at her college campus. '
log: "Everyone has to eat right? Everyone, even ghosts, shadows and pyros need to consume sustenance and usually the Waterloo campus of Kings College is an ideal place if you don't have that much time between classes. This is also probably the highlight of Mattie and Jack's day, given that they've been directed by Edith to seek higher education as they way to Teresa's heart.\n\nInstead of going through the third and fourth rib on the left side. \n\nTheir target has finished with her one class and is parked by herself at a table with her tray of food, idly stabbing it with a fork and toying with the salad, she's hard to miss as people migrated away from the table unconciously, feeling strange around the scrubs garbed woman. Or maybe it's just the dejected look on her face. From Mattie's adventures in intangibility, she has a pretty good idea of how her class went and it wasn't good. Not with that lecture from her teacher about theory test score and she better prove herself on the practical.\n\nJack could've spied on the class perhaps, but not with anything like the same ease as Mattie. Someone stumbling upon tranced out Jack in the Broom Closet would've been some kind of incident. So instead he went and attended class. Thankfully it's an easy start to the term, ground rules and 'what you should know already' (in Jack's case the checklist is mostly empty in this area), along with books to buy. Given that he's not at all computer savvy, unlike most of the cool kids on campus he's actually got pens and real, old school paper. With lines on. Vintage, retro, tree killing paper.\n\nMaybe they didn't expect Teresa to be here, having arranged a meetup so when Jack arrives, he's careful to skirt around behind Teresa and claim a table. He still does end up grabbing one that's practically adjacent simply because there's not that many choices at this time of day. Sitting to her back, with his back to her in turn he goes for subtlety. His handwriting on the notes he sets out in front of him, next to the tray of snacks and coffee, is not good. It may require a whole separate college course to be able to read it.\n\nTeresa's unseen tail had to go to the restroom around the corner in order to re-corporealize without making anyone scream about ghosts, so Mattie took a chance that Teresa wasn't going to go a-flambĂ© while grabbing her grub from the cafeteria line. She appears in the flesh, scanning the room for Jack and shaking her head when she sees he's pretty much right beside their target. Well, it's not like she wasn't going to see them soon enough. The only classes Mattie plans on attending are the ones she's in with Teresa, and the ones she's \"auditing\" while invisible to keep an eye on Teresa. \n\nWhile Jack's trying to be incognito, Mattie decides on the more direct approach. She moves toward the two tables but heads for Teresa's rather than Jack's, pulling up the chair and sitting herself down. \"Sup, Murdoch?\" she says in fakely cheery voice.\n\nUp jerks her head, right hand closing tight around her fork and for one moment, Teresa looks like she just might throw and fit. But instead there's just the roll of her eyes and then back down to the salad in front of her. \"Everywhere, like roaches. My laundry, my front door, my dates and now in my school. I predict in two weeks, there will be someone in my shower. Maybe. It seems at least there is off limits though, one of you did already rifle through my underwear\" Tucker did wash her clothes after all. \n\nA glance around produces the back of Jacks head and a raise of brows before she looks to Mattie for confirmation. \"One of yours?\" Fork now pointing in his direction.\n\nMattie's approach has Jack trying to be subtle in a moment of self consciousness, turning over the page from his awful chickenscratch and hiding the evidence of his failings. He flashes her a smile, but doesn't say anything since she appears to be heading right for the other table.\n\nNor does he look around, instead focusing on his foodstuffs like any other student. There are some flyers on the tray to be perused while eating and keeping an ear on the next table. Taking advantage of the relatively decent weather, he's just in a tee shirt and cargo pants and looking quite studenty while also showing off the numerous tattoos along his left arm. Apparently he's going to leave it to Mattie to 'out' him or no.\n\n\"That is not mine in any sense of the word,\" might be some sass just for Jack's benefit or it might be a negative to Teresa's question. Hard to tell. Mattie tilts her head. \"I guess we get around, but I don't know anything about people being in your laundry or whatever. I did see David's face and hands after you ran into him.\" The sentence starts off normally but then her voice cracks at the end, and Mattie looks up and to the left, studying the corner of the room very intently for a few minutes. \n\nMattie swallows and returns her gaze to Teresa's face. \"He said you seem like you're in pretty good control of your ability but I'm not so sure. So. Just so you and I are clear, I'll be watching you here at school. Sometimes you'll see me, sometimes you won't. And it's not a threat, and it's not to piss you off. It's about keeping people safe and keeping things best unknown just that. Unknown.\"\n\n\"Men who skulk after women at three in the morning, when they are alone and drunk, deserve what they get. he should have been smarter. But he wasn't. And it could have been worse. Especially after her and his girl Friday start swinging canes at my friends and get us kicked out of a bar.\" The salad is stabbed at a bit more by Teresa, eyeballing a little slice of tomato and giving it a god skewering. \n\n\"So. At my work, at my laundry, at my door and at my school, understood. like I told David, I'll give you my dating schedule so you can make sure I'm provided with protection. Can't have me flaming up during orgasm!\"\n\nSarcasm. Ha.Ha. \n\n\"you'll be able to strike school off the list soon at least. One less place to find me. Gloomies don't make great nurses.\" She offers up, pushing her tray away. \"Surely you have better things to do than trail me. I mean, this shit happens all the time, disappearing and re-appearing from the gloom. But instead you're parked here and telling me that you're going to be on me like white on rice.\"\n\nItem one is a sausage roll, heated of course. It's currently luke warm, allowing steady progress to be made while coffee is sipped. Soon it's nothing more than those slightly greasy flakes that cling to the fingers. Given that Jack neglected to grab a napkin, the fingertips are rubbed together to try and disperse the mess. It's moderately effective.\n\nHe may have been about to join the conversation but the tone seems to make him think otherwise. So instead he removes the wax paper from around exhibit 2, a slice of bakewell tart and turns his notes back over to try and decipher them while also figuring out how much money this book list is likely to cost. Although it sounds like it may not be worth the investment after all.\n\nThe redhead's brows furrow at the pet name, clearly not taking a shine to it. \"You're not the only one we keep tabs on. You just happen to have a pretty dangerous ability that we need to keep tabs on until we're sure you're in control, and I don't think you are. And aside from that…\" Mattie gestures to the busy cafeteria, most of the people sitting in twos, threes, fours and talking loudly around them. \n\n\"You might have noticed that the population at large aren't big fans. We sort of exude the Gloom. You can meet others like you that won't judge you. Maybe someone in the group can help tutor you so you can do better in class. There are people who manage to have real jobs.\" It sounds like Mattie doesn't count herself in that group. She continues on, pulling a water bottle from her courier bag. \"But we have a group that can use people with all skill sets. You know first aid — you could be useful, you know?\" \n\nMattie turns to look over at Jack, and shakes a head at the man sniffing his food. \"That guy will judge you, though,\" she whispers conspiratorially. \"And yeah, he's one of us. Aside from him, we're not too bad of people.\"\n\n\"No shit it's dangerous. I get pissed off and there's a chance I'm going to have fire crawling all over me. I have a bad dream, and I'm buying a new bed from Ikea. My clothes are from a second hand store most of the time because seriously replacing a new shirt every time around gets pretty costly. I'm a walking match of fire. I'm not the only either. I've done my research and I know that while my control is shit, I have half a dozen failsafes for that express reason. \"\n\n\"As for your group of not too bad people… right, so the whole harranguing and provoking me till we had no choice but to bail for another country. Do you know that shit your people put us through? This following me around is not the first time this has happened. It started out like this. Hey, Hi there, you light on fire, I control bugs. Then there's the following, the hey, we're here in this corner watching you\" Teresa's hands are up, double dance rainbow hands, waggling them back and forth. \n\n\"But then, then there's the midnight knocks on my door, and the riding close to my bike and the instigating and trying to make me go off and hurt people because the asshole thinks that I'm better dead, than alive. So yeah, you don't think it's a threat, but I do, because I've seen what comes down that road. That road leads me bailing, finding another country yet again. Maybe India. I hear the pyres where they toss their dead might need a few hands. At least then I'll be revered as something holy instead of unholy\" The last, she mutters, scowling at her table, then at jack's back as she turns to look at him. \"You're the one from the back room\"\n\nJack's about finished with his bakewell, missing out on the lovely things Mattie says about him. His notes are pushed into a battered looking record bag before he turns about and seat hops to the chair next to Teresa, bringing along his coffee.\n\n\"See. Here's the thing.\" he begins, affecting his Reasonable voice. \"It's like in that movie. The X-Men. With those geezers what can do crazy shit. An' some of them are bad, while the others try to do the right thing. But it's not a company. So some of the people who are tryin' to do the right thing can still be cunts.\" This probably makes a lot more sense to Jack than it does when he says it aloud. \"My point is. I ain't never been outside of London. So drop your fuckin' baggage off when you come to shore. You sometimes set shit on fire. That's fine. However. There's Other considerations. They notice that, an' they come for you. Except they'll never just come for you, they'll cause as much ruckus along the way as possible. So you ain't just burnin' poor Nigel who bumped into you while you were in a bad mood. You're attractin' attention from the other side where things will come for you, an' they'll gut your neighbours, your mum, your friends an' everyone on your street. Just for shits and giggles.\" A pause, while he sips his coffee. \"So yeah. Suck it up and stop fucking crying while also being an irresponsible twat before your family pay for your retardedness.\" This, all still in the jovial friendly tone. \"Also, I hear it's easy as piss to get a job in India in a call centre if you speak good English.\" A small pause. \"Or bad English.\"\n\n\"Ixnay on pissing off the living ame-flay,\" Mattie says, too lazy to really say the whole sentence in Pig Latin. \n\nShe glances at Teresa to roll her eyes at Jack's words. \"As much as I hate to agree with asshat here, he's right, and also, don't judge us based on whatever the people in BFE, Maine did, okay? I'm very sorry that they scared you and made you feel you had to leave. You didn't have to leave the country, though, and you're not going to have to leave this one. The Watch in Los Angeles are wonderful people and I guess I was lucky enough to fall in with them. You're unfortunate enough to have us instead of someone like the Gonzalezes who took me in, but we're not as bad as those assholes in Maine. Not even Jack. Just like you and I aren't like every American. You know? We're just people.\" \n\nThe water is uncapped and Mattie takes a sip, but leaves it uncapped. Maybe just in case Teresa flames out. \"There are people who don't join us. That's fine. If we see after a period of surveillance that you're completely in control, we'll leave you be. But don't freak out if you see us. I figure you deserved honesty rather than the alternative. I haven't lied to you yet.\" \n\nToo late for pig lating, there's a tray of salad with oil and vinegar dressing being heaved at jack and mattie can see the tendrils of flame flicker to life on the back of her hand that she points at Jack. 'You just stay the fuck away from me\" This hissed at Jack through bared teeth. \"I'd rather deal with the others who have popped up and even David than with you, you inconsiderate piece of shit. I'm being responsible by working, and getting an education and trying damned hard to keep from flaring up.\" Which she's doing and is reaching for the bottle of water - thanks Mattie - and pouring some over her hand to quell it before it'll be actually noticed by someone outside their little group. \"You don't like it, then you actually come over here and try to do something about it adn it'll make Davids stupidity look like mild sunburn\"\n\nJack rolls eyes at Mattie for her constant barbing and also at Tersa, despite the new flare up. Sure enough, he reflexes are in fighting form; the tray gets caught on the back of his forearm — no doubt leaving a bruise — and clatters noisily. The plate tumbling to the table, to the floor where it shatters. Thankfully, that's not going to draw attention. Oh. Wait. \n\nStanding, there's the 'It's okay everyone!' face, vague gestures that he's going to get this cleaned up. Leaning back in with a hand planted on the table he talks quieter, lips still curved for show but the smile doesn't quite reach his eyes. \"Failing an education, apparently. Also, case in point. Despite what people might say 'bout me, I'm one of the least offensive people you'll find in London. I'm just more honest than most. If you can't handle my talk, then…\" he lifts a shoulder in a shrug, since she's making his point for him. \"Like that bloke in tights said; I reackon this bird protests too much. Grow up. I'm sure your family will love it when all these students get out their camera phones and snap video of you on fire. No doubt the reporters will teach you the meanin' of harassment. You don't like what I'm sayin' but you should listen an' stop acting like a petulant kid.\"\n\nNow comes the super friendly smile. \"If I were going to kill you, you would already be dead. So don't think your bloody hot tamale act scares me. But think of the consequences before you try to act like a hard bitch. Sorry you've had such a fucking hard life. It must be awful t'have supportive parents who give a shit about you.\" Another roll of eyes as he moves away from the table toward the counter to obtain something to clean up the mess, or aquire a waitress with a dustpan and brush. Lifting up a hand as he walks, his thumb a forefinger rub together. Aww. See. He's so thoughtful. He aquired the World's Smallest Violin and is playing it. Just for Teresa.\n\n\"I should have kept ignoring you,\" Mattie groans to Jack, glancing around when people start to look their way. There's a barely discernible flinch every time David's name is mentioned, but she swallows back whatever emotion that is to focus on the situation at hand. She hops out of her seat, pulling her bag over her shoulder. \n\n\"Come on, let's walk, all right? Get some fresh air,\" she says to Teresa, nodding to the door. \"Jack can clean this mess up.\" \n\nWhen Teresa rises, Mattie lets her lead the way, keeping a respectful distance so the other woman doesn't feel so hunted (hopefully) and also to help bar the view in case anything's smoking.\n\nNothings smoking, thank god. Water putting out the small flame and Teresa's pretty immune to her own ability. But she's starting after Jack when Mattie's intervening with the offer to get some fresh air. Hands in fists, the blonde looks like she might just tell Mattie herself to go suck on something, but then she's obeying, swiping at her denim pack and hauling it over her scrub clad shoulders and stalking off to the exit. She doesn't want to be here when security arrives and agree's at least on one thing with mattie. That jack can clean up the mess.\n\nWhile the ladies leave, Jack locates one of the canteen ladies and gives her his best cockney charm with the apologetic smile and gesturing to the table. Bit of a mix-up, funny story. There's some laughter and she's soon on her way to get something to clean up that broken plate. No need to worry.\n\nReturning to the scene of the china — after aquiring that coffee refill — he ensures that no student on their phone and not paying attention steps in the mess and gives the girls some space to have a little chit chat before plaguing them further with his very existence.\n\nOnce outside, Mattie shakes her head. \"Ignore him. He exists solely to piss people off from what I can figure, though he's handy in a fight.\" \n\nShe shoves her hands in her pockets and waits to see where Teresa will go. She's quiet for a moment, then shrugs. \"So think of it this way. You don't have to join us in fighting the good fight or anything like that, but it's good to know there are people to tell if you see anything weird, right? And know that people won't think you're crazy and will do their best to come take care of it. As far as you — obviously you're not completely in control yet, and there are people who can help you with that, with focus, with managing it, with doing it when you want and not just because some douche bag pisses you off like Jack. If I lost control every time he made me mad, well, you'd never see me. Not that you would mind that, I guess.\" She's talking fast, as if she has to get out a good argument before Teresa bolts. \n\n\"And for now, yeah, we'll be around, just in case something goes awry so that there's people to help you if it does. We'll get you out of here, keep you safe. That's why we're here.\" Her green eyes study Teresa. \"There are good people too. Maybe Jack and I aren't the best ambassadors.\"\n\n\"He's a peach\" Teresa's hands are deep in her pockets, standing outside in the manicured lawns and trees that stretch high on the Waterloo campus. But she's silent after that, trying to get a grip on her temper and not have any further incident here. \n\nShe looks like she might stalk off, make for the parking lot where her bike is parked. But she doesn't, just frowns at something that she said. \"What if we saw weird things\" She looks over at Mattie, waiting.\n\nMattie pulls a card out of her back pocket, identical to the first one she'd given Teresa. \"Call me. We investigate. Kill them if we can. The Others.\" Her words are spoken flatly. \"Try to keep them from taking more people like they took us. Obviously, we don't win every time. But we win sometimes.\" \n\nShe reaches up to tuck a strand of hair behind an ear. \"If you see something weird, let me know, and we'll go check it out. For now… we'll stay off your heels, but if you see us… it's not because we're trying to hurt you. I promise. Okay? I won't lie to you. If I can't tell you the truth, I'll tell you as much, but I promise you now, I won't lie. Deal?\"\n\n\"Fine\" Absently, waving off the card since she already has one. But She's still looking at the ground like she's trying to get something out but then shakes her head. \"I have to go\" She's going to skip class, not trusting herself in the class. \"Tell them to pull you off school sitting. I wasn't kidding. I failed my test. I'm getting kicked out. They don't want to waste class space\" Odds are that wasn't what she was going to say, but it is what she did end up saying and she's digging out keys from a pocket, starting to head away. \"Keep him away. I don't want to see him anywhere, or I will have problems\"\n\nThere's only so much loitering a man can do. Especially when it's slightly awkward. Small talk with the canteen girl takes up some time while he drains the second coffee, but then Jack's headed back outside.\n\nOnce in the open, he snags a cigarette from his pocket and sparks it up and moves toward the pair. He doesn't fully approach though, just watches the interaction and waits patiently for Mattie to give him the rundown. He's said his peice, after all.\n\n\"What did you see?\" Mattie says, tipping her head curiously. \"If you're a decent medic, it's possible we could get you some pay on the Watch. I can talk to our boss about it. We seem to accrue a lot of injuries, and it's not like we're gonna get Workers Comp for it.\" She pauses. \"Does England have Workers Comp? AFLAC? I don't even know.\"\n\n\"I see, what you see and sometimes a bit more\" She's remaining tight lipped for now. \"And I'm going through nursing school\" A gesture to the sign stating that this campus houses the Florence Nightengale school of nursing and midwifery. \"It's nothing, I gotta go. Before I burn a tree, or you\" Both obviously on accident given that she doesn't seem to really be in a mood to purposefully burn people. \"I'll think about it\" Maybe.\n\nThe way he attacks that fag, it's clearly much needed. Adjusting the strap on his bag, Jack accepts a leaflet from someone passing by and moseys a little closer as Teresa starts to leave while remaining mindful of not actually being in conversational distance. The feeling is apparently mutual at this point.\n\n\"I'll be around,\" Mattie says, waggling fingers in a farewell. \"Call me if you see anything we need to come take care of, or if you want to help us, or if you just want to get a coffee and talk to someone who can speak English.\" The mild joke is accompanied by a small smile. \"Hope your day improves.\" \n\nGiving Teresa her space, Mattie turns away and pulls out her phone, texting something as she walks away.\n\nClosing the distance, Jack ashes the cigarette off to the side as he falls instep alongside. Two students, heading off campus for the day. Nothing to see here, move along. \"Well.\" he begins, somewhat more neutral now. \"She seems nice.\" There's a little snort, derision perhaps. \"Looks like you two patched it up a bit. Nothin' like having someone to hate in common, right?\"\n\nThere's a bit of a pause, glancing toward her sideways. \"You ain't seen David then, have you?\" he asks, guaging her reaction given the looks she was making earlier.\n\nThe phone is slid into her pocket and Mattie looks up, tossing her hair out of her eyes. \"Right. You make good-cop-bad-cop easy,\" she says flatly. Her jaw sets at the question about David, and she shakes his head. \n\n\"Not since Friday night.\" She doesn't look at him but begins to walk in the direction of the tube station. \"So you guys just, what, lost track of him in the tunnels? You didn't see anything happen?\"\n\nJack's got a reply to that, but he bites it back. Teeth clench about the filter for a moment and he just puts one foot in front of the other. \"He started screaming about some bird, Rachel and ran off down the tunnel. Couldn't really follow, since there was an Other, right there an' doin' all sorts of weird shit.\"\n\nAnother pause, finger tap tap tapping on the white paper. \"Clean up didn't see no sign of him, so I dunno.\" Unfortunate perils of the job is in the tone. Even if it's not entirely hopeless quite yet. Still, he gives her another of those looks. \"Why you so bothered? Only known him a week or two. You weren't all that cut up about Jill an' her crew last night.\"\n\nMattie stands quietly for a moment, staring down at the ground, her posture tense. Finally she shakes her head in a jerk. \"You don't know how I felt last night. I was on the job and I kept my shit together because that's what we have to do, all right? And we know what happened to Jill and the others. It sucks, and it's awful, but at least we know. And you know as well as I do that death compared to whatever David's facing right now — death's easier. Death's a fucking party compared to being in there.\" \n\nThe tears rush to her eyes and she shakes her head so that her face is veiled by the deep red mane of hair. \"I wasn't blaming you,\" she mutters as she turns away, striding toward the corner.\n\nJack's got a reply to that too, it's clear from the way his expression shifts and hardens, the way his lips curl downwards and press together. It's possible that he may actually be literally biting his tongue for just a second. Whatever's going on in there, he keeps it to himself as she strides off and cuts his steps short to let her go take the tube. There'll be a bus along soon, so he can think and watch the city roads go by.\n\nAnother cigarette gets lit from the first at the bus stop. \"Just wishin' it were me instead, I imagine.\" he mumbles to himself, flatly. The old lady, waiting with her shopping push trolly gives him a questioning look but only for a second. Then she's shuffling down the bench, away. Always away.\n\n\n"
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