Monday evening, 7:35 PM. Although mostly hidden, the moon periodically peaks from behind the onslaught of clouds. Chill winds creep across the city, which keeps the temperature fairly low. Temps: 3C/37F lows and 8C/46F highs.
skin credit goes to miss texas, custom structure scripts go to black, and the toggle cbox goes to subdevo. credit for mini profile goes to bee.
It's not a long walk, and Ashleigh makes sure to pay attention to Scotty. It's reasonably quiet, which isn't unusual at night here at the Inn. Upon reaching Room 102, she knocks on the door three times, and calls out, "Mr. Bishop? It's Inn Management. Do you have a moment?"
She hoped it would be enough to get the door open. Then it's up to Scotty to help her keep it open.
"Well let's see how far my name gets you," Scotty says as he trails behind Ashleigh. He images that Noah will be at the very least intrigued to come across someone who knows the name 'Scotty Yamin' - and then they can go from there. Scotty can provide any life details necessary to convince Noah of Ashleigh's legitimacy.
Of course, it may not even be necessary. Noah could be all in from the jump especially if she's able to relay that she knows who's responsible for his death. All this worry could be for naught. "Be straightforward and concise. He'll both appreciate and respect that. If he thinks you're bullshitting him, then it's a door to the face."
With a soured expression, Bishop pulled himself out of bed. It was his first night off in a few days and he'd enjoyed it by pouring himself a few boozy lullabies and falling asleep in the buff. It might be cold outside, but Room 102 was nice and toasty--it made for the perfect naked sleeping situation. The best part about falling asleep at 7pm was that you could wake up at 3am and do it all over again.
That lovely plan was being ruined now, though, by a knock at the door. Why would Inn Management come calling at an hour like this? Business hours were from 9 to 5, people!
The firestarter couldn't be assed to get dressed for some uninvited guest. With any luck, this exchange would be brief and he could crawl right back into bed and pick up where he left off--that all you can eat seafood buffet was calling his name. Yawning, he opened the room door, one hand balled into a fist and holding up the sheets strung around the lower half of his body. His lips smacked as he tasted his own bed breath and the remnants of a whiskey sour. "Can I help you?" he asked in a surly tone. This lil lady had better keep it short.
"Be straightforward and concise. He'll both appreciate and respect that. If he thinks you're bullshitting him, then it's a door to the face.”
“Got it,” Ashleigh nods.
She hears the muffled sounds of someone moving inside the room, then the door opens revealing Nosh Bishop, naked except a sheet held around his waist. Well this is uncomfortable, she thinks, fighting both the urge to look away and blush.
At least she can honestly say it’s not the strangest management door knock she’s made. Yet.
Besides, who the hell was in bed at 7pm anyway?
"Can I help you?”
“I hope so,” Ashleigh says, “I do work for the Inn, but I was hoping to speak to you about someone you knew.” From here on in, she just starts speaking, trying to get enough said before Noah decides to close the door in her face. “This is going to sound odd, but I’m looking into the death of Scotty Yamin, and the man responsible for it. I was hoping to talk to you about it.”
She looks around her, then back at the sheet-clad man in front of her. “Although preferably not in the corridor."
Scotty, who has been avoiding his one-time protege, had been preparing himself for the wave of emotions he expected to feel. What he didn't expect was for Noah to make his grand entrance donning only a towel held precariously at his waist. The ghost immediately starts laughing.
"Oh. And he has no shame," Scotty explains unnecessarily as he turns to Ashleigh with a mirthful grin. "You get used to it."
The young inn worker has woken up Noah from a booze-induced slumber to speak about his dead friend? It's almost too bizarre to be real. He zones out for a second to think about exactly what drinks he'd poured himself. There was no way he could've been that reckless with the concoctions.
Because he spaced out, he missed the part where Ashleigh said she preferred not to discuss matters in the hallway. Thus, he begins to discuss matters in the hallway. "All right, Miss... whatever your last name is. I don't know what this is, but I assure you there is nothing about the death of Scotty Yamin that you can tell me that I don't already know." Bishop was broken up over the death of his mentor at the time of his murder. He'd wrestled with desires for vengeance for some time before making his peace. He didn't need anybody dredging that up again.
"Now, if you'll excuse me," he said too quickly to be polite. He was already beginning to shut the door so he could return to bed.
Reflexively, Ashleigh looks to Scotty at Noah’s response, but she has a few seconds before she truly loses their shot about gaining his help before she’s event had time to ask for it. Without thinking too much about it, she sticks her foot in the doorway so Noah can’t close the door fully, aware that Noah could report her and probably get her fired (thank you, mystical calling, or whatever).
“Look,” she says, keeping her voice low, in case anyone happens to pass by. God, she hopes not. “I’m going to level with you, in spite of how truly insane it sounds. Your friend, Scotty? He’s a ghost, and he’s standing next to me. By some fluke of fate or mysterious magical genetic lottery, I can see him and hear him. We’re going after Burak and he says we need your help, so I’m here.”
Ashleigh looks him up and down. “Also he says you have no shame. Which, frankly, does not surprise me.” She wants to remark on his manners, but hers are lax currently and she decides to keep that bit to herself. She doesn’t like being a hypocrite.
“Are you sure you don’t want to have a conversation?"
The door stopped abruptly. All it ever took was one well-placed foot to bring a closing door to a halt. Noah was looking down, slightly annoyed that his retreat to bed wasn't going as seamlessly as hoped.
For what it was worth, this woman had spunk.
The firestarter re-opened the door some to relieve tension on Ashleigh's ankle as he listened to her go on about Yamin the ghost, magical lotteries and whatnot. She even threw in the magic word -- Burak, the name of the warlock who Bishop knew had killed his best friend. Maybe she did know what she was talking about.
Then again, any magical airhead could have figured that one out. The more compelling argument in all this was the claim that Ghost Scotty was standing right there, his invisible, incorporeal self standing just before a sheet-clad Noah. A part of the thirty-three year old just wanted to know if it was all true or not. "How old was I?" he said gruffly. There was no intent to mirror the medium's own low voice.
"How old was I when I first met him?" If Scotty was really right there to feed intel then she should know the answer.
"Oh ohohohohoh," Scotty yelps. He's about to tell Ashleigh to do something - when she does. The medium catches the closing door with her foot and unloads the cliffnotes version of the story on Noah in an effort to grab his attention. (Well that's a tactic.)
He's curious to see how his former friend will react.
"How old was I?"
"How old were you when?" Scotty retorts... just as Noah fills in the blank by asking about when the pair first met. He stares for a moment as he thinks back... over twenty years ago to when he first saw the news stories about the alleged arson cases that eventually led him to Noah.
"Shit - how old was he? Twelve or thirteen," Scotty says, a little unsure. Not that it should matter - he knows the context of their initial meeting. Turning towards Ashleigh, he smiles rather smugly as he recounts the details of the scene Scotty came upon when Noah's teenage hormones got the better of him and his powers. "Remind him about the bodega he burnt down and the pretty Latina girl - Carmen - who worked there."
Ashleigh resists the urge to rub her ankle; not her brightest idea, but less inconvenient than jamming her hand in the doorway on purpose. For what its’ worth, it seems to have paid off and she has Noah’s attention.
“How old were you when what?” she finds herself asking in response to Noah's prompt, speaking at the same time as Scotty, although only she could hear that.
Thankfully, Noah clarifies.
Ashleigh turns to look at Scotty, waiting for a reply. His answer is shaky to begin with, which doesn’t bode well, until he seems to remember something more.
“He thinks you were twelve or thirteen,” she repeats, “and you burnt down a bodega where Carmen worked. Pretty Latina girl, apparently.”
Noah was fixing to shut the damn door again. He rolled his eyes, peeved with the medium's act of looking to someone unseen. How dumb did she think he was? With no conviction in her voice, she could just be making this all up and guessing for roundabout ages.
Worse, maybe she was a threat. Any run of the mill magical busybody knew that firestarters came into their abilities at the onset of puberty. This chick could be another hunter; if she was, she'd sure picked a bad way to go about getting his guard down. Dragging in Scotty's name was a surefire way to get lit up.
Perhaps sensing she'd need more than an unsure twelve or thirteen, Ashleigh keeps talking. This time, however, she says something that only one other person, dead or alive, could've known about.
No, not the bodega bit.
"Sweet, Caramel Carmen," Noah whispers, reminiscing on the brown-skinned cutie and thinking about what this new detail means. Yamin's really there, feeding the lady shit to tell him. "Get in here," he commands, shutting the door just after Ashleigh passes inside.
"One of you tell me what the hell is going on?" Of course, that's what Michaelson had been trying to do all along, but now she had a receptive audience. Noah sounds and looks paranoid, glancing between the woman before him and the empty space just to her right--where he imagined his dead friend might be standing.
There's a moment when Scotty's stomach sinks as he sees the skepticism in Noah's eyes. He doesn't believe her - and the ghost doesn't blame him. His protegé has always been distrustful of the world.
But Carmen's name pierces the wall Noah has built.
He is about to comment on their success to Ashleigh when she enters the room at Noah's request and he finds himself left out on his own. Though feeling slighted, he passes through the door unhindered and finds himself standing just between the medium and the firestarter.
And nowhere near where Noah is currently looking for him.
"The opportunity to go after Burak should be enough of an enticement," Scotty says, turning his eyes to Ashleigh. It's a very odd position to only be seen and heard by one person in the room and not the other. "Then we can finally go after him."
Finally getting Noah’s attention, Ashleigh walks through the door and opens her mouth to protest as Noah shuts it on Scotty; the ghost passes through the door and she shoots him an apologetic look before turning her attention back to her host.
"One of you tell me what the hell is going on?”
Ashleigh points in Scotty’s direction for Noah; weird doesn’t begin to cover talking to a ghost. Talking to a ghost without seeing said ghost has got to be weirder, and she’s caught in the middle.
“Unless someone knows a useful spell?” she mutters under her breath. It’s not the first time she’s wondered if it would be simpler if Scotty could be seen by others.
"The opportunity to go after Burak should be enough of an enticement,”
“Got it,” Ashleigh replies, before turning to speak to Noah. “Scotty is under the impression that going after Burak is a decent incentive. We both need your help to do this."
So she'd sought out Noah, allegedly under Scotty's watchful eye, to ask for his help in taking on a warlock. The same warlock who'd killed his best friend and mentor. Noah could recognize he was feeling lots of emotions at the moment--a rush of anger, expectation, fear. He pushed them all down inside of him, bottling them up because he refused to let some stranger and elicit those kinds of feelings from him tonight.
(“Scotty is under the impression that going after Burak is a decent incentive. We both need your help to do this.")
"And why the hell would you think that?" he says facing Ashely, who points him in the direction of who he truly wants to lay into: the friend who left him. Turning his head, Noah keeps going, mouthing off at blank space. (When you're wrapped up in all the magic bullshit, it's hard to have shame.) "If he could kill you," the firestarter points at nothing, "what makes you think he won't kill my ass too?" He points back at himself, now. "Dude, I miss you too, but not enough to cross-over. Do you even have a plan, or am I the plan? 'Cos if I am, that's not a very good plan."
He stands there a moment more, expecting a reply. But that's stupid, because he can't see or hear ghosts. "What's he saying?" he asks, turning back to Ashleigh.
Noah never went after Burak because he knew Scotty wasn't one for revenge. He had resolved himself to a life of never avenging the brother he never had. Now, he might need a little convincing to come back from that place.