New Friends and Fireworks

Summary:
January 1, 2015: Hal Jordan and Reese Takeda go for a walk.

New York City

"The people are mean and it smells like pee." - Eric Northman


Characters

NPCs

  • Random thugs
  • People in the city

Mood Music:
- Goldfrapp: Forever (Mountaineers Remix)


Right out of Stark Industries with a bag and stick in hand is where Reese was going. People were coming and going, beepers were going off, fields being disrupted and someone sang something about California and people actually wanted to meet /her/. This was a life that she did not want to live, life in the eye with friends where 'Everybody knows your name' and they're really, really happy that you came. To her? After so long, would have been odd.

So out into the streets at a slight run she goes, bare feet padding the cold ground, her lines of life allowing her to see if there were anyone in her way that she needed to avoid. Thankfully, one hand was out in front of her in case she hit a wall (in which she did), and it was felt until the exit was finalized and she was out on the street to let out a breath of air. She felt like Cinderella, but no prince to come and no glass slippers to warm her feet.
Well, maybe not a prince. A pilot, perhaps. Hal had stepped outside at first just to get a bit of his head clear, both from engaging in too much whiskey and in listening to too many acoustic jams. Plus, he still wasn't as comfortable as he pretended among the elites. He wasn't really reach, just fast-talking and with a few connections, but they all seemed to know each other and he still felt like an outsider. Just like that woman with the stick…

He sees her walking away, and, at first, just wishes her good luck when he sees a shadow detach and start to follow her from an alley. Then two, then three shadows. Hal doesn't even bother to change into his costume, just starts to make his way in that direction.

Reese stops only for a moment to hook the plastic bag upon the crook of her arm, the stick held aloft at an angle so that she could traverse the grounds to walk. To her friends house in Little Italy is where she'll go, if she had the nerve to actually ask for directions. But she was barefoot in an expensive dress, someone may ask /her/ anything. If she were attacked, robbed, tea ma'am, a ride madam?

And she'd say no. She was unaware of the shadows following her, her feet already stinging with an icy chill. She'll get over it, as she usually would, but she hates the deterioration part of it all.
One of the men following pulls out a switchblade, the soft click of it probably the only giveaway, the three of them planning to drag Reese off into a nearby alleyway. Robbery? Oh, sure, absolutely, but, honestly, that wasn't the prime interest of these three particular scumbags when they saw a woman in a nice dress leave a party all alone, heading towards a questionable neighborhood.

Which is all fine until one feels a hand on his shoulder, turning him around, "It's not very polite to stare," Hal says, then casually decks the would-be rapist. "Somebody might think you're…" pause, duck a punch from another one, give a quick rabbit shot into the punk's ribs, "up to something!"

The soft click could have been anything. Someone lighting a cigarette, turning something on. Anything really, doesn't matter to Reese. She was just walking.

But it would be too hard to ignore the sounds surrounding her, with the loss of sight, her hearing went up two fold and she couldn't but help know that there was a fight going on at her back. Whether it's for her? That was up for debate.

She did the only thing she could at the moment, she kept walking. Walking far enough with shuffled feet to carefully step off towards the side against a brick masoned building. Her stick pressed against her chest, chin lowered and eyes peeled to the ground to focus and /wait/.

The third guy runs, getting distance from Hal as his two buddies end up bleeding on the ground, the second one taking quite a punch. Hal hasn't even used his powers but, when the third guy makes a run for it, he finds himself suddenly moving, a flash of green light accompanying as he jets at superhuman speed until he hits the guy in the back of his head, sending him sprawling and flying right past Reese to crash into the side of a dumpster, landing in a flop.

Hal dusts off his fist, then realizes he's glowing and quickly douses it. Hopefully no one in the building was looking out the window at that moment. "You all right, um, Reese, wasn't it?" he says.

The crash causes her to jump, the stick held upright as she's ready to twack someone atop of their heads. The sounds of a fight seemingly over with and a familiar voice clouding the senses. "Hal?" She was good with voices and names, she had to be, all things considered.

"Did you fall or something? Was that you in a fight?" It had to be really, there was no two shakes about it. If he thumped his head though..

"I'm fine, but are they still here? Are you alright?" She takes a step forward towards his voice, her hand reaching out towards the air.. but then it hits her. She really didn't know how tall he was, so she withdrew.

Hal Jordan starts to nod and then realizes there's no point to the gesture and walks closer until he can reach out and catch her hand, if only to reassure her that he's allright, "Yeah. Sorry, just a couple of local guys lookin' to pick your pocket. I ran 'em off, no problem. Score one for the Air Force," he says.

"Still, it's pretty cold out," he says, noticing her lack of shoes, "Can I help you find your way home. Or somewhere warm?

Once her hand was caught, her fingers instinctively curl around his own, then immediately lets go. She didn't snatch, it was a slow pull away and a press to her chest, the bag ruffling in her wake. "Really?" She seemed surprised at that. She didn't have anything worth stealing, unless it was the food. "Wow. Well.. thank you."

She let out a slow breath, her head turning this way and that, a little frown drawing upon her features. "You're /sure/ you ran them away, right?" Just to check. The mention of it being cold causes her to shrug slightly. She also didn't have a coat to wrap around herself. Just that dress.

"I'm alright with the cold. And I really don't have a home. I'm staying with a friend for tonight. In Little Italy. I think I was going the right way."

Hal Jordan considers, 'Well," he looks towards the unconscious one in the alleyway, a dent in the side of the dumpster where he hit, "Well, run away is close enough," he says, "They won't be bothering you. Why don't I just walk along with you, to make sure, though? I'll try not to be terrible company. I take it you weren't enjoying yourself much at the big bash, hmmm?" he says.

His hand reaches out and just lightly touches at her elbow, guiding her a little bit as if he can't help himself. Hal's used to telling people what to do and having them do what he said. The idea that she wouldn't do as he suggested seems ridiculous.

"You're just jam packed with the chivarly gene aren't you?" It was a joke, even though her tone seemed a little too sarcastic. As he leads her own by the touch of her elbow, she winces and draws her arm back, then takes the step further to slip her arm between his to cup against her side. She was stealing body heat, in the guise of a couple walking down the street.

Odd couple, that is.

"I don't like being in crowds so much or holding attention of people. I.. really try not to meet anyone. When you're essentially homeless, you're worried about them asking you to sleep on their couch.. being forced to be apart of civili.."

She stops herself, shaking her head. "I had a fine time. I just wasn't used to the friendliness. That's all." She turns her head a little, a half smile given. "What about you?"

Hal Jordan makes the heat theft even easier. Recognizing the ruse a little bit for what it was, having been trained on how to share heat in extreme climates, he lets the ring generate a light thermal bubble. Nothing hot, nothing that would stand out to anyone but a passerby, and then only for a moment, but still, it quickly grows more and more comfortable as she walks along with him.

"Chivalry's just code for a man being nice to and protective of a woman. Nothing medieval about that to me," he says simply. "And I know what you mean. My family…we didn't always have much growing up. Sometimes we appreciated the help. Sometimes you'd rather just be left alone,' he says. He knows very well that nobody wants to be anyone's pity project.

"As for the party…I dunno. Kind of dull. I didn't know rich people were that boring. I expected…I dunno, Thunderdome or extravagant dance numbers or masked orgies. Mostly, it's just like every party you've ever seen on old fifties TV shows." he says.

The warmth, she felt it. Little by little, but her skin crawled in a good way, the gooseflesh were leaving her and her feet felt as if she were walking somewhere nice. She decides to slow the pace at which she walks, occasionally using the stick to check for bumps that she may stub her toe on, and using it just out of habit even though she had a walking partner for now.

"It's a welcome and refreshing thing. Most people, man or woman, usually forget that it just feels good to the other person when you're protective and polite."

She nods slowly though, agreeing with the party. "I… try to at least stay away from most social gatherings. But I couldn't pass this one up. Free food." She lifts her arm, shaking the bag. "Did you get an invite there?"

Hal Jordan laughs at the last, "I did this time, just not the first time. It's amusing, I crashed the Christmas party and apparently that was good enough to get me invited to New Year's. I guess I made a good impression. Mostly, I just didn't have anywhere I wanted to be on Christmas," he says. He loved his family dearly, but Christmas…Christmas just made him miss Dad. Made them all miss Dad. He didn't feel like going home and watching other people be sad and pretend to be happy. He could get that right here in New York with strangers.

"I usually go by the motto of Randall, from the movie Clerks: I hate people, but I love gatherings. I like a good party. That wasn't a party. That was, like, somebody's wake or an office mixer for the Dundee Paper Company."

She listens with a smile, her head occasionally tilting to catch inflections within his voice, picking up on a few things here and there as a natural empath would. "You don't have any family?" She asks.

"But you almost fooled me, Hal. You were the chattiest person there. No filter. Just go. I know the type." Yeah, she could tell from a mile away that he probably didn't want to be there, or that he was hiding something that was underlying. "It seems like you were playing a role back there /to/ fit in. Why is that?"

Hal Jordan considers for a moment, "I have family. I love my family. I love them when we play softball and when I can razz my brothers about how much the Chargers are sucking this year. I love seeing my Mom when she's trying to sneak cigarettes on the back porch, t hinking we don't notice," he says, allowing a moment before he said. "But, ever since my Dad died, holidays…I'd rather just be somewhere else. They all want to pretend like nothing's different. And I can't. So, I let them have their way and I send a card or make a phonecall and, a few days later, I'll come and visit, but it won't be the holiday anymore and everything's normal again."

At the keen observation, he shakes his head, "Here I thought you were blind. It's not an act, necessarily. Maybe a little bit, in that I was trying to get people to loosen up. People like the life of the party. I'm good at it and I don't mind doing it. Sometimes I even get wallflowers to join in," he says.

She listens like an apt pupil, nodding occasionally, taking in each word with as much seriousness as she could, or ever will about the subject of family. She had her own reservations of family, but that would be the story for another day. "Just because you can't let go of his death, it doesn't mean that you have to let go of them." She looks towards him now, the face of an old mother staring down a child who just needed those words said. "In essense, nothing is different, because your dad filled them and taught them how to love. They're just carrying on the tradition in his honor whether they know it or not."

She looks away now, then smiles slightly. "Your efforts were valiant. You got a blind girl to leave and you saved her life. I think you won tonight."

Hal Jordan just leaves the subject of his father alone after that. There's some truth in what she said, no doubt, but Hal's in no particular mood to hear it at the moment. He's being stubborn about it, and he knows it, but knowing you're being stubborn doesn't always make you less so. If anything, it can cause you to dig your heels in worse. He doesn't feel as though he's letting them go, so much as choosing to do things his way. Hal always chooses to do things his way, most of the time.

"I don't know. Somehow I'm not sure how much I saved your life. A blind, barefoot girl with a cudgel who finds her way into one of the most exclusive parties in New York probably has more resources at hand than she shows. But I'm glad you think I won. I do like winning."

Reese frowns a little, but she doesn't bring up what she felt. Not just yet.

"It's just a branch. But.. here."

She stops and pulls him off to the side, another alleyway surrounding brick masons. She presses her back against the wall now, keeping him close to not lose the feeling of warmth. A deep breath taken and inhaled as she invites him to try. "Just stand still for a moment. And listen. Close your eyes if you have to." Her own were closed as well, not as if they needed to be. "You could hear everything and anything. You could learn everything and nothing at all, but all you have to do is just stop."

Hal Jordan is usually pulled into alleyways by women walking through New York for a kiss. He almost starts to lean in for one when he realizes this isn't that kind of interlude. Hey, Hal's a good guy, but pretty girls get kissed, even if they're blind and homeless, in his world.

He does as she says, even if it sounds just a wee bit New Age-y to him. He also still has the ring there, giving him its own readouts of his surroundings, scanning for energies, alien signatures, technologies. An entirely different sort of awareness. "I'm doing it, I promise. Eyes closed. No peeks."

While Hal had his ring, she had her own natural abilities. She could hear someone speaking on the phone about dinner, the conversation was cute enough for her to smile. She could hear the way a woman walked in her heels after a long night of partying; she was limping, pacing herself and bearing with the pain that the heels gave her feet. She could smell the pizza that was being carried out of the shop and put into a car. She could even smell Hal. A little bit of wine, tiny bit of cologne..

Her hands lift to lightly press upon his cheeks, fingers glancing over his eyes just to see if he was actually trying. She didn't know about the ring, so she figured he was genuine. "What do you hear?"

Hal Jordan considers, genuinely. His senses weren't nearly as attuned as hers. Still, there's something there and, if only to satisfy this strange woman, he'd give it a shot, "There's something crawling around in the dumpster over there, I can hear it…crinkling something like tinfoil. And the traffic a couple of streets over…somebody laughing, probably at a joke that isn't funny so they can get laid," he says, unable to help but make something of a joke out of it. Hal kept his defenses up very well, especially on anything that smacked of sincerity. That she'd caught him so off-guard earlier was the only explanation for his slip into directness.

She still held onto his face lightly, thankfully, she took a bath and her fingers smelled of food and perfume, and not garbage that she probably would have picked in. She tilts her head a little, searching for the sound of crinkling tinfoil, and smiles. "Yeah.."

She lowers her hands to his shoulders, giving him a light pat. "When you're in the right place and at the right time? You can hear about high profile parties and crash them without much of a fuss." Her head tilts a little, focusing in upon the laughing couple. "I think he's actually going to get laid tonight. It sounds like she likes him."

Hal Jordan grins, "Rich people do tend to be kind of noisy, don't they?" he says. He realizes that he's just wearing his tuxedo jacket - he probably looks awfully cold to the passersby. Luckily, there don't really seem to be any of those.

To the last, he smiles, "Good. People should get a chance to have some fun. Traditional way to break in the New Year, isn't it? Banging the gong slowly. Or quickly, if that's your preference."

"They are!" Reese finally laughs, and it almost sounded musical to her own ears. Though his last lines? Drew out a little bit of a blush, along with a light pat to his shoulders, hands soon traveling down to grip his own hands to tug him into a quiet stroll yet again.

"Quiet dinners." She states after a time. "Ignoring the fact that a New Year is coming because in the end, it doesn't and shouldn't matter. As long as you're with someone who matters." Though, this causes her to stop, then pick up again. "What time is it?"
Hal Jordan considers for a moment, realizing he isn't wearing a watch, "Honestly? I haven't the faintest. Has to be close, though, things were looking that way when we left the party," he says. "But yes, New Year doesn't really matter. Just an arbitrary measurement of a planet's revolution's around the sun, a stopping and starting point picked a long time ago by people who probably didn't know very much about stuff like that," he says.

"Why, you have somewhere you have to be?" he says.

Reese laughs a little, then continues to walk. "And would you look at that. Deep and smart." She clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "Air Force, chivvy, brainy. Your wife or girlfriend must be proud." She didn't mention, that while she was touching his face, it drew a picture of him in her head. And he was handsome. "Total package, I bet."

She shakes her head a little. "No. Not really. No ones expecting me. I float on where I please, just how I like it." She lets go of him but only for a moment, switching bag arms. "You're great company though, even when you're being talkative to rouse the crowd. And I really don't want to take up all of your time. So you're welcome to leave, I won't be offended."

Hal Jordan grins his crooked grin, the roguish one that all his friends know all too well. Actually, Hal doesn't have a lot of friends. Acquaintances, yes, but nobody very close. He's better at that. Real friendship required too much of that pesky sincerity again. "I have plenty of package, but neither wife nor girlfriend. No woman's been willing to put up with me long enough for any labels in a while," he says.

"If I wanted to leave, Reese, I would leave, whether it offended you or not. I do what I please, it's one of the freedoms of being a grown-up, along with beer for breakfast and pay per view pornography and having as many hot dogs as I like. If you want me to leave, I'll leave, but, given my own choice, I'll keep hanging out with you and let the pampered few continue with their jollies without me."

"That's a shame." She states, while she did entertain the thought? She just figured that she had millenia worth of baggage that no one wanted to deal with. Nearly four hundred years on this planet, in this life would do that to a person. But to entertain the thought once again.. it was nice. Being normal, arm in arm with someone, dressed to the nines absent shoes. The end of the year was being awfully kind to her. She was waiting for the shoe to drop.

Hearing his words though? They gave her a little bit of comfort. "I don't want you to leave." Which is all she really could say in that moment, for the loud crackling boom of the fireworks actually catches her off guard, causing her to jump just a little and let go of her source of warmth.
Hal Jordan looks up as the fireworks start to go off, cascades of color casting over the sky. Standing still this long, the little pocket of warmth Hal created has actually had an effect, melting the ice around them and leaving a bare patch in the world, like it marked the place where they'd stood.

"Happy New Year, mysterious girl," he says and, before she has a chance to protest, he leans in and kisses her, full on the mouth. It's not an overly pushy or aggressive thing, nothing she couldn't say no to with the simplest of pressures, but neither is it some sort of simple, platonic smooch, a chaste little peck.

Hal Jordan likes kissing women, knows how to do it and doesn't pass up on opportunities to do so when presented. That he liked her, more than he'd expected when he just set out to protect her from a few muggers, was besides the point. Or maybe part of the point. He wasn't sure yet. All he was sure was that he liked the way she tasted and the way he felt her get all surprised against his mouth. He liked surprising.

There was an instinct there to look up as if she were watching, her lips parted, a breath taken and.. "Oh.. Happy New Ye-.."

What happened next was just as surprising as any, the kiss that immediately shut her up where before? She barely spoke more than a few sentences and often times, not at all. There was initial reluctance, a slight lean back, hands at her sides yet slightly lifted to support her bag. Lets not forget about the bag, shall we?

And then a lift upon the tips of her toes to ease the strain, and the matching of movements that were all but natural to both to celebrate the fire in the sky.

And it continued, much like Hal, she liked him. No, she couldn't have, her main point of existing this far was to avoid situations as this. Liking someone, being used to someone, and watching them fade away with time as you kept moving on unscathed on the outside.

But.. he surprised her. Even if it was just a one time kiss, and she returned it gladly.
Hal Jordan seems to know just how to measure such things and finally draws his mouth back, although he doesn't entirely withdraw his face. He can't suppress the smile either. It was a very good kiss, after all, and enjoying it is entirely the point. "That seems like a damn good start to me," he says.

He hooks her arm properly, "Now, back to the chivalry…I'm going to escort you to the friend you certainly didn't fib me about earlier, so that you may get a good night's sleep…and I'll give you a way to get in touch with me again, just in case you feel like you could stand the company of a loudmouth attention hog like me for a few hours. Or…just if you want to talk. How does that sound?" he says.

His withdraw left her wanting; her hand reaching up to lightly touch his cheek as if he were to disappear at that very moment. It would all have been a dream. "Yeah.." She echoes, pulling away enough for her to shake her head to knock away the little birdies that float nearby.

Back to the stroll again, it left her quiet. The happy quiet that one chooses to take at certain times to reflect, her hand reaching up to touch her lips and a deep inhale, exhale to bring her to the now. "Oh. I wouldn't lie about anything like that. He's in Little Italy. I don't know where, but I follow my nose." She glances towards his direction, then away again, a little smile taken in and immediately faded. "Yes. I'd like that. I'd like that a lot."

They didn't have far to go, luckily. For once she felt that she was near the house of her friend, she disengages Hal's arm, keeping the awkward to a minimum. And once she felt that he was gone? She'd turn towards the house, waiting until she felt the porch with the tip of her toes to move towards the side of the house to crawl into the window. She never had a key.


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