A Walk in the Park

February 02, 2016:

Johnny and Peggy meet up in Central Park to discuss their lack of information on their case.

Central Park

Sitting on 843 acres of public land, Central Park is one of the most famous
sight-seeing spots in New York, and is considered large enough to have its
own police precinct (the Central Park Precinct) dedicated to its protection.
The Park boasts several lakes — all of which have been created artificially
— extensive walking and bridle paths, two ice skating rinks, a variety of
outdoor theatre spaces, several playgrounds, and a considerable collection
of whimsical statuary. It is home to Belvedere Castle, the Carousel, the
Central Park Zoo, the Conservatory, and Cleopatra's Needle (one of three,
70-foot Egyptian obelisks from the Temple of Ra in Helios, its mates
residing in London and Paris).

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a nice evening for a walk. It's mild. It's clear. There's very little wind. For Johnny though, it wouldn't matter if it were 40 below - he'd be just as comfortable. For the sake of appearances though, he is wearing a jacket, though it'd be a bit thin if he wasn't impervious to the cold.
He's waiting not far from the Alice in Wonderland statue. He's holding a pair of hot chocolates and just sort of…watching the people pass by with a wariness not often found amongst pleasant-day strollers.

Strange that in January, the weather is rather mild. Dressed in a dark grey coat, adorned with a bright red scarf that matches her lipstick, Agent Carter walks through the people and the scenery. She's the type of woman who tends to stick out in a crowd if she's not attempting to stay hidden - especially with her normally vintage attire. At the office she tends to dress more modern; however in her free-time, it's the outfits that she is used to wearing.

"Good evening, Major," Peggy smiles as she approaches Johnny and his hot chocolates. "I see you've found the part of Manhattan most like the wilderness. Though, it is a rather tamed version of it."

"Tamed, and full of people," says Johnny as he greets her with a smile nonetheless. "This is…uh, creme brulee hot…chocolate?" he sounds a little confused by the designation, but hands a cup out to her just the same. "The kid behind the counter convinced me to try it when I tried to order the apparently appaulingly ordinary stuff." Spoken like a true curmudgeon. "How've you been?"

"I take it you do not approve," Peggy replies with a bit of a laugh. Taking the cup from him, she also looks down at it curiously. She's never heard of such a thing. "Interesting. Perhaps we should take it back to the SHIELD laboratory to have it tested." Amused, she wraps her hands around the paper cup to feel its warmth. He truly has mastered the 'get off my lawn' sort of attitude. "I've been well enough. Ran into someone I hadn't seen in quite awhile and whom I did not leave things on the best of terms. Other than that, uneventful." She pauses, glancing at him. "I take it you haven't heard anything else on our anomalies."

"No," says Johnny with a heavy sigh and a sour look. "A couple of leads, but a lot of dead ends. Corona's in hibernation. I can only hope that when it strikes again, it's somewhere in the city. Otherwise if I chase it, it'll probably go to ground before I even get there. It's like hunting groundhogs." A passtime that he's actually experienced on multiple occasions. He hesitates before sipping the hot chocolate. His eyebrows arch and his head wobbles. Not bad.

Peggy listens with understanding and sympathy. She knows what it's like for a suspect to go to ground without any credible leads and lives on the line. It's frustrating, and she certainly understands that. "We'll find them." She promised her help and she intends to give it. "So far, everything on the SHIELD radar has been quiet as well. I'll be sure to contact you should anything I see become promising." Taking a sip from her cup, she wrinkles her nose just a tad. A bit too sweet for her tastes, but not terrible. Instead, she decides to focus on something else. Giving him an amused and curious look, she asks, "Hunting groundhogs? Is that a pastime that you've partaken often?"

"More like a necessary survival technique. That and those little bastards dig holes deep enough to break your ankle in." Johnny wrinkles his nose. "They're big, too. Bigger than you'd think. Or rather, they can get that way." His breath fogs as he exhales. He looks around the park, then back to Peggy. "Whoever had the presence of mind to save this greenspace is a hero in my books. There might be way too many people, but at least you can get away from the buildings towards something green."

"I believe the most I've seen of groundhogs is a recent film concerning them and a man trapped in a time paradox." Peggy takes another sip of them. Having grown up in London and then in cities, she's never actually seen a live groundhog. Also, recent is a very relative term for the time displaced woman. The eighties, as far as she's concerned, is far more recent to today than the 40s are. "The creature in that did seem rather large. Though, rather harmless and bucktoothed." At that, she starts to walk down the path, perhaps toward a place less crowded with people so that Johnny can be surrounded more by trees than by people. "Yes, it's quite a remarkable space. I often would come here back in the early days of the SSR."

"Sorry, sorry," says Johnny with a mumble. "I get like this when I'm in cities for too long. They don't suit me." He looks up as a cluster of about twenty students walk by. Some of the kids have snowballs or handfuls of snow and are ready to pelt their classmates. "I start o feel…" he sips his fancy hot chocolate, "…caged."

Peggy grins. "It's alright. I assumed that was the case." While she may not know him as well as her older counterpart does, she is quick to pick some things up. "You're a man who has lived for quite awhile and chose a cabin int he middle of nowhere in order to do so. I imagine being around this many people after this long would be rather maddening. Never quiet, always surrounded, steel and concrete rather than trees. I might conclude that if you were given he choice, you'd merely stay in the woods till the ends of time."

"Heh, probably. Except for the fact that I have this pesky heroic impulse that rears its head. Gets me out of my comfort zone at least once a decade." Johnny strolls along at a casual pace. "How about you? If you could be anywhere, anywhen, doing anything, what would you do? I think you know my answer."

"Yes, they are rather inconvenient, are they not?" Peggy takes another sip of her coffee - strangely flavored as it is. "Though, getting out of your comfort zone does tend to teach you things." While it may be a silly question, the agent thinks it over very seriously. It's something that she has been thinking about every once in awhile when her unique temporal situation comes to the forefront. There was a life a different version of herself already lived. "I believe I know the answer to your 'where', but perhaps not to your when. Mine is quite a bit easier for the where. The when gets trickier. The easy answer is now, as this is the time that I am currently living. But, there are quite a few times when I miss my old friends and know that I will never see them again."

"Welcome to the club," says Johnny with a sad little smile. "Ahh," he laughs and puts a hand to his forehead. "I'm doing it again. Being depressing. Even when I try to make innocuous, pleasant conversation, it cycles back around to existential ennui." He shakes his head. Then he looks around and announces dumbly, "The snow sure is pretty!"

Peggy gives him a smirk. "You can't take the blame for that one. I was the one to bring up friends we'll never see again." Putting a hand out to rest it slightly on his elbow should he allow, she shrugs her shoulders. "We were. I don't believe conversation needs to be innocuous in order to be pleasant." The smirk has now turned into something more understanding. "You know, there's true wilderness not too far from the City. Perhaps we should look into you getting out there for a little while to recharge."

"Aw, Peg. If you get me out of the city, you might never get me back in. I'm like an old bear forced out of his den when he knows he should be hibernating." He looks around and inhales. "You know…the world hasn't changed so much." A beat, "Well no, it's changed a lot, but the people are still the same as they ever were. Just…smelling better and living longer."

Peggy can't help but give him a bit of a laugh at that thought. "A bear that is quite good with an axe. That would be quite a fearsome thing." As the snow falls around them and they make their way to a more secluded part of the park in order to feel as if they've actually wandered into the woods, rather than a section of a large city. "It's true. The longer I've been here, the more I've recognized the same kinds of people. It's remarkable, really. The work has changed a bit - as have the methods - but there are always the same people who are drawn to the sort of work we do."

"Did I ever tell you about the lady Pinkerton I worked with in 1905? You reminded me of her. Tough lady. Fast-talking. From Boston. She could disarm anyone in two seconds flat. You weren't a lot alike in personality, but you were both tough, and both clawing your way into a field that was forcibly trying to keep women out." Johnny finishes his hot chocolate and looks with guilt at his cup. He sighs. "Next time, a reusable one. It gives me a pang in the pit of my stomach whenever I use one of these."

"Did I?" Peggy gives Johnny a bit of a grin as he tells her about the Lady Pinkerton. "Sounds like I would have liked her," she replies - someone who always likes meeting women who buck stereotypes. She's not the type to be competitive with other women. "That was the other Peggy, however." Shrugging her shoulders, she takes another drink. She hasn't been as quick at finishing it off, so the last few sips are lukewarm at best. "It's hard these days. Most things are of the use once and toss variety." Coming from a ration era, Peggy tends to make and mend.

Even if Johnny's very existence wasn't tied to a quasi-deity whose power is tied to the health of the earth, the pangs would still be there. It's hard to comprehend how much environmental change he's seen over his long life. It's with great reluctance that he pushes the cup into the garbage. He mumbles something that sounds like it's in another language - a penance, of sorts. He looks sadly at the trashcan for a moment before he forcibly pulls himself into a happier state of mind. "So. Where do you live? Somewhere central, I'd imagine. Somewhere with a short commute to work. That seems your style."

Peggy also throws away her cup as they near the trashcan. She watches Johnny, not saying anything else on the subject as it does seem to rattle him. While she can guess at what it means to him, she truly doesn't know. Giving him a moment to go through his emotions, she looks as if she's about to distract him with question of her own, but he gets there first. "Not too far away, actually. I didn't come to this time with much, but a friend helped me find a place. It's far nicer than I need, an fit is in the city. You'd most likely hate it." After a pause, she adds, "You're not still staying in those offices are you?"

Johnny chuckles at the 'hate it' line. "Mhmm, to be fair to your apartment," he says wryly, "There's not much about cities I like, in general. It's not personal." He starts to walk again, hands now dug in the pockets of his jacket, even though he doesn't need to do that to keep them warm. It's rather mild, besides. When she asks about the offices, he actually blushes a little. "What if I said I was? Would you shake a finger at me? I'm used to log cabins with no indoor plumbing. Anything in the city is a total luxury." Even if it means an air mattress on an office floor.

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