The X-Files Stuff is Real

Cast: date: '22 October 2012'
place: 'East End'
participants: 'Julian, Mattie'
synopsis: 'Julian finds himself inexplicably in 2012 and Mattie takes the disoriented FBI agent under her wing. '
log: "\nThis East-End street is bustling with the Monday morning traffic, both foot and vehicular, and while the sun shines down from overhead, the bite of late fall is in the air. The corner news stand sees quite a lot of business, but as it nears late morning, most of Mick's regular customers are already squared away in their offices and on their third cup of coffee while doing whatever it is that earns them their day's wages. \n\nThe headlines aren't particularly awful today, at least. There's been no grisly murder overnight, or at least not one that's front-page fodder. What is upsetting to Mattie Dahl as she peruses the goods is that the last black currant soda was already bought for the day. She sighs as she pays for her newspaper and nothing else, before turning to head on her way.\n\nJulian is somewhat conspicuous. He's wearing a black suit that seems somehow ill-fitting, and his eyes are shielded by black sunglasses that conceal them from view. He's holding a newspaper and staring at it as if he can't comprehend what he's seeing. The paper trembles in his grasp, his scarred fingers clenching at it until the news agent rebukes him, telling him this isn't a library. He mumbles an apology and drops the paper back on the news stand, turning as if to make his way away. His face is ashen.\n\nMattie scowls at Mick for a moment. \"So much for customer service,\" she says with a shake of her red hair, before turning to follow Julian. \n\n \"You alright, sir?\" she asks, her words colored by an American accent. Her eyes narrow slightly as she looks intently into his face — to determine if he's just having an emotional break down, on drugs, or Touched — or all three. It's very possible. It wouldn't be the first time. \n\nJulian says quietly. \"I don't think so.\" She see an image of a face enveloped in fire, with flames flickering in the eyesockets and out of his mouth and nostrils; as he pulls the glasses off and stuffs them in a pocket. His accent is pure Midwestern US. He studies her back, eyes wide. \"Twenty-twelve?\" His tone is a mixture of fear and confusion.\n\n\"Right,\" Mattie says, quietly, glancing around the street to see who else is nearby; for the moment, they're more or less alone, but for Mick a few feet away. \"What year was it when you left? Did you just make it out?\" Her voice is soft, sympathetic, with just a bit of caution in it as she studies him. \n\n\"Walk a few feet this way, where no one will hear. I'm Mattie,\" she says, though she doesn't offer him her hand. \"Do you know your name? Where we are?\"\n\nJulian moves with you, away from the line of traffic and out of earshot of others. He speaks softly. \"The last time I bought a paper it was twenty-ten. I'm Special Agent Julian Walker, FBI. I think I just escaped hell. This should be Chicago and it certainly isn't.\" He moves very fluidly, even under duress; there's some martial arts training there. \"This just doesn't make sense.\" The last comes out as a plea. He's begging for a rational explanation.\n\nThe last comes out as a plea. He's begging for a rational explanation.\n\n\"You have,\" Mattie says softly again. \"You're in London. We call where you've been the Gloom, and you're one of the few to make it out alive. There's a group of us who look out for one another and try to keep the same shit from happening to others.\" She studies him, thoughtfully. \n\n\"If you were an FBI agent, we can definitely use your skills in doing just that. But for now, I think you might want a safe place to sleep and maybe get a meal in you. We have places like that, to keep people who've just made it out safe. Would you like me to take you there?\" Her tone is gentle but also wary, watching him carefully should he suddenly snap; now and then she glances around to keep tabs on their surroundings.\n\nJulian hesitates a moment, and then grasps at the offered thread of explanation. \"Yes please.\" His voice is soft and laced with strain, but he seems focused and reasonably alert. \"I'm starving, and something's just not right at all. My hands…\" He holds them out and looks at them. At the scars, old and new. At the thinness of his hands and fingers, with the wrist joint prominently visible. \"Let's get out of her before something happens.\"\n\nLuckily there's a safehouse not far from where they stand, and Mattie nods, leading the way. Her phone comes out and some fast and furious texting takes place, alerting headquarters where she's going and with whom just in case anything should go awry. \n\nKeeping her voice low and pausing any time another pedestrian passes them, Mattie does her best to explain. \"Supernatural or paranormal things do exist. You've been to… the best we can explain it, I guess is that there are pockets to their world. They pull us in. Sometimes we escape. But we're always different when we come out. We call people like us 'Touched,' as in touched by the Gloom. By the things we've been through.\" She glances up at him. \"We usually come out of it with some power of some sort. Have you… do you know yet what yours might be?\" There's some nervousness in that question — a brand new Touched is always dangerous in that regard.\n\nJulian goes with you with a desperation that he tries to mask, hanging on your every word. He quips. \"Okay, so the X-Files stuff is all real and we're in the thick of it.\" Asked about his power he goes quiet for a moment, then says softly. \"I start fires. I don't know how I do it, I just make and effort and think about fire and there's fire. When I…got back…it was dark and I was in an alleyway and I made a little fire for light, like a candle.\"\n\nThere's a quiet laugh, and Mattie nods. \"Pretty much, yes. If you recall things that can't seem real, don't seem possible, from your time there… I hate to tell you they aren't just bad dreams.\" She turns up an alley off the main street, digging into her pocket for a key. \n\n\"I don't think anyone's here. We'll get you situated, order some pizza or curry or whatever you like for a meal, hm?\" \n\nShe leads the way up a staircase above what looks to be a storage facility, and knocks on the door before unlocking it. There's a staleness to the air, and the darkness of the flat suggests no one's been there for some time. \n\nMattie gestures to a sofa before moving to flip on a light switch, then going to the little kitchenette to rummage for food. Coming back with a container of 'digestive biscuits' and a bottle of water, she adds wryly, \"I see no one's stocked this one up. This'll have to do for now, unless you want mustard or HP sauce instead. You said you felt like you might do something out on the street? Do you feel like you were going to go out of control? We have people who can help train you use your power until you've got it better handled, but it sounds like you're getting there already.\" She smiles, and adds, \"Which is very good.\"\n\nJulian takes off his jacket as he enters the flat. Under it he wears a white button down shirt and an alarming holster that obviously sports a pistol. He grimaces as he moves to the sofa and then slips the holster harness off to offer it up to you, gun and all. \"This might be a good idea, until I stop shaking.\" He settles into the couch and accepts the biscuits, nibbling one before finding them quite good enough to eat. He eats as if he was starving, interspersing bites with sips of water. \"I…honestly I don't know. I think if I was frightened enough or angry enough it might go off. I need more training to figure out what I *can* do.\"\n\nThe offering of the gun gets a smile from her; apparently it bodes well. She moves to set it on a small table close to the door for the time being. \"Thanks,\" she says lightly, then moves to take a seat across from him. \"We can have someone do that, yeah. It's mostly a matter of will and focus, regardless of the ability, I think. People with less discipline, they don't do so well, takes them longer. You being an FBI agent, I assume you'll be just fine, unless you have anger management issues.\" \n\nShe watches him. \"You're taking it all in pretty well, so you're either in shock or you know it's all true, or some combination of the two, which isn't a bad thing. Before I explain a bit more, any preferences for a real meal? I'll have someone bring something now,\" she says, the phone on her knee tapped.\n\nShe texts something to someone, and then slips the phone back into her trench coat's pocket. \"Disoriented is pretty damn good. I was found in a coma, and once I came out of that, it took me a long time to get back to relatively normal,\" Mattie says quietly, then adds with a shrug, \"but I was 15.\" There's no self-pity in the words, simply information to let him know he's not alone. \n\n\"Reporting back in… you can, but I'd suggest taking a bit of recuperating here first. Get your ability under control, that sort of thing. If you want to go back to Chicago and reclaim your life, we'll find a way of doing that. You'll have to come up with a cover story of some sort, because the truth won't fly. But it's been done before. Two years isn't so bad. We have people there, too, who can help you.\"\n\nJulian nods as he listens, filing away the information and looking increasingly thoughtful. \"I suppose the question really is going to come down to how much you can use a Profiler. I have no family of my own to pine for, and the Agency has likely written me off. The problem with suddenly reappearing would be coming up with a story that passes a credibility check without lapsing into 'abducted by aliens' territory. I don't want to do time in a psych ward, and explaining how I vanished from a crime scene is going to be damned awkward.\"\n\n\"Of that, I'm not entirely certain,\" Mattie says. \"Regarding the profiler I mean. Because the things we're dealing with, they're not human and so trying to figure out what makes them tick… I don't know. They are made of evil and don't have any real motives aside from that, that I can tell, but maybe the skills still work on some level. Like looking for patterns and the like, maybe?\" she seems uncertain, and unhappy about her uncertainty. \n\n\"But, we can always use a steady head and gun,\" is added with more certainty. \"What happens now is that you're free to come and go, but if you want to join up, then we'll assess you, make sure you're in control of your ability, and do some processing elsewhere. If it all adds up, then we'll bring you into the fold, so to speak. For now, just getting you into a warm dry place with food is probably enough, yeah?\"\n\nJulian nods and says softly. \"I need a bath and a meal and twenty-four hours to rest and recover.\" Then he smiles. \"Might as well put me down for staying, and get the ball rolling on training and assessments.\" He lets the smile slowly fade. \"I don't want to see innocent people exposed to this thing, or the monsters in it. Therefore it's my -duty- to do what I can to help.\" He looks a little embarrassed then, pausing. \"Could I request a loan? I've no useable money, and this suit is it for clothing.\"\n\nHis answer earns him another smile. \"That's my take on it, too,\" Mattie says. \"Taken care of. Go take a bath and by the time you're done, food and a couple of changes of clothing'll be here for you. We can get you some more as needed.\" \n\nShe points to a door in the small studio flat — there's only two aside from the front, so one's a closet and one's a bathroom. \"Shower's in there. I'll set some clothing just inside the door when it gets here.\"\n\n"

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