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2046-02-23 The Choirboy and the Juvenile Delinquent

From X-Factor

2046-02-23 The Choirboy and the Juvenile Delinquent
Date Posted 2016/02/23
Location Bullet Hole Shooting Range - Queens - NYC
Participants Ciel, Rohan
Summary But which is which?
Prompt Ciel & Rohan @ Bullet Hole Shooting Range. Ciel's word is: train; Rohan's word is: lazy. Ciel sets.
 
Ciciel.jpg Rorohan.jpg
The Bullet Hole is a carpeted building with exposed cinderblock walls. A few old posters are hung near the foyer. The front is sectioned off by a steel wall and a bulletproof glass window. Behind the window is an attendant who registers potential shooters and returning customers. Through a steel door in the steel wall is the actual range. Strict rules are enforced in the range by a security guard. All firearms are subject to possible inspection, and violence of any sort is never tolerated. Each of the twelve stalls are sectioned off by reinforced steel barriers. Targets can be moved via a conveyer belt to any desired distance up to forty yards. The entire space is indoors.


It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and flurrying.


Ciel has clearly been here a while. Her forehead has gained a faint sheen of sweat, a result of Serious Concentration, and her coat is nowhere to be seen, despite the fact that she's standing in the lobby leaning into the wall next to the glass window arguing with the attendant behind it. Her voice is annoyed, and it rises just enough now and then to catch something about malfunctioning targets and hard earned money and refunds. Her gun is carefully holstered at her side, her hair swept up out of her face in a high ponytail, her ear protection slung around her neck.

Rohan sweeps in with a rush of cold air and a trace of snowflakes. It must be cold out; he's wearing his long wool coat instead of his new leather one, his red scarf tucked about his neck, gun concealed beneath the coat. He pauses, a brief traffic block in front of the door as he takes in the scene, the argument, and Ciel. He glances back at the door as if tempted to bolt; instead he assumes a bright smile, thrusts his hands in his pockets, and swaggers up to the glass window. "Lots of loud words here," he observes, turning a brilliant smile on the attendant.

Ciel startles, her head whipping around to stare at Rohan in open surprise. And then her eyes narrow in quick suspicion. Of all the shooting joints in all the world. Her gaze shift back to the attendant, who is not immune to Rohan's smile, and then to Rohan, who gets a scowl. "Because their fucking target system is broken," she tells him. "And they didn't bother to mention it until after I'd /paid/."

Rohan does not react to the eye narrowing, at least not visibly. It's possible this takes a great effort. His expression turns more sombre in a moment. "Is that true?" he wonders. He props an elbow against the booth and considers the attendant within. "I'm sure you're just doing your job," he tells the attendant, with a flash of that bright grin again. "And I know how it is. People yell at you for things that aren't your fault all day." He sighs, the sort of worldweary sigh that indicates that yes, he, too, knows the life of the wage slave. "But this lady's a PI, and she _needs_ to train, and if she doesn't have a good experience here she won't come back. Isn't there anything you can do for her?"

Ciel's eyes narrow further, until she's practically squinting her annoyance at Rohan. But she falls silent, twisting to lean back against the wall as she watches him exude charm at the attendant, who gives him a flustered smile and assures him that they've done everything they can to fix the system, but it's just temperamental.

Rohan exudes charm. He exudes sympathy. "Oh, I know," he sighs. "It's terrible when nothing works the way it should, and there's nothing you can do. Perhaps a credit for her? Partial? You see," he adds, with an even brighter smile, "we know a lot of people who have to keep up their firearms certifications, and if we have something good to say about a range, we'll certainly tell them." He does not look back at Ciel as he works at the attendant. He can probably feel her squint, though.

He can almost certainly feel Ciel's /seethe/. It's a powerful thing, and it ramps up a notch when the attendant grudgingly admits that perhaps she could do that, and without looking at Ciel, her fingers fly over some magic that returns a credit to her account. Ciel pushes away from the wall abruptly, hands thrown up, and says, "You have /got/ to be kidding me!"

"Thanks, love," Rohan tells the attendant, with a dazzling dark-eyed grin that is just a little more intimate than the one before. It almost promises something--and delivers absolutely nothing, as he turns away to blink at the seething Ciel. He exhales for a long moment. "Honey," he says, his voice wry. "Sometimes better than vinegar."

Ciel answers Rohan with a roll of her eyes as she strides toward the locker where she's stowed her coat. "Somehow," she says, annoyed, "I don't think /my/ honey would've gone nearly so far as yours."

"What?" asks Rohan, with a raise of a brow. He takes a step after her, just enough to remain in conversational range, not enough to crowd her. "Customer service logic and a smile? Or are you thinking our friendly neighbourhood gun range attendant is motivated by things other than the health of her gun range?" He keeps his voice light.

"Don't act like you don't know /exactly/ what you're doing with that smile," Ciel answers, waving a hand at him in a flap before she jerks her coat free and shoves her arms into it. She tugs it into place, then turns to consider him with narrowed eyes for a beat. "Are you staying?"

"Yes," says Rohan, one eyebrow still upraised. "I am trying to make people like me. Life goes a little smoother, when people are disposed to like you." His voice remains wry, but with a little edge that seems mostly directed at himself. His lips press together for a moment, tightly, and considers those narrowed eyes. "Well, I did come here to shoot. Although if the targets aren't working..."

"They were working when I got in," Ciel tells him, twisting her purple scarf up around her neck. "But they've stopped swapping out properly. I mean, you can go shoot at a target that's already shot half to hell, but--" She jerks one glove on, then the other as she watches him with upswept brows.

Rohan glances over his shoulder, back at the range for a moment. "I was coming here to relax." That wry edge lingers in his voice, and he looks back. "'Relax' maybe not the right word. I like--the hyperfocus of shooting. Like riding a jumping course, or sculpting with clay. World goes away; there's nothing but what you're doing." He shrugs, a touch awkward. "But that sounds a lot more like an exercise in frustration."

Ciel's brows settle down at his answer, and she watches him for a moment with an expression that's hard to place before she breathes out and jerks her head toward the door, saying, "There's a good coffee place down the block." It's as close to an offer as she's likely to get.

For a moment, Rohan looks startled, brows lifted, but he sweeps that expression away swiftly. "I could use a coffee," he agrees with a faint smile. "Cold out there."

"Fucking seriously," Ciel agrees, tucking her scarf a little wider as she pushes the door open to exit onto the cold street. Outside, the air is crisply cold, and snowflakes drift downward in a slow flurry. "I'm pretty much done with the snow. And the ice. And the slush." She angles sideways, falling into step next to Rohan with a brisk pace down the sidewalk.

Rohan exhales, his breath billowing in the air. "I'm almost used to it now," he says. "Almost. As in I expect it every time I open the door." He falls silent for a moment, keeping pace with her down the sidewalk. He glances at her once, brief, and then looks away again. "When is spring here?" he asks after silence. "I--actually really really miss sitting on the roof with a cigarette. Without freezing my arse off."

"Spring," Ciel says, lifting her hands to offer up air quotes, "Or 'spring'?" She glances sideways at Rohan just as he looks away, her smile a little crooked. "If we're lucky, April."

"April," echoes Rohan with a groan. "Is that 'spring' with daffodils and cherry blossoms and birds singing and little lambs..." He hesitates, flashes her a brief sideway grin, and admits, "Well, maybe not lambs. Or is that just when, theoretically, the snow melts?"

"Daffodils aren't always opposed to the snow," Ciel says. Her smile twitches a touch wider at the sideways glance of his grin. "The snow usually melts in March. Then there will be rain. And rain and rain. By May we'll get sun. And then it will get insufferably hot."

"Rain I can handle," declares Rohan. His smile, too, twitches just a little wider. "It'll remind me of home. And insufferable heat--well, I'm used to it now. So, you see, as long as I manage not to become a snowman, I will be perfectly all right the rest of the year."

"I like the snow," Ciel admits, dipping her head a bit as she sounds a corner and gives a frozen chunk of the stuff a kick. She tilts her chin toward a door, indicating the coffee shop as they close in on it. "I mean, I think Jean-Paul might disown me if I didn't. But it's been a little much this year."

"I'm just glad I don't have to herd sheep in it." There's a faint chuckle in Rohan's voice and he reaches out to open the coffee shop door, holding it open for her. His voice dips a touch softer. "Actually, I do sort of like it. It's--different. Beautiful. I was about ten again the first time it snowed. But," a wry note comes to his voice again, "I don't do so well cooped up."

Ciel moves past Rohan with a quick step, ducking her head as she does. She's silent for a moment, busying herself with tugging her gloves free again, unwinding her scarf. A few snowflakes caught in her hair melt rapidly in the heat. "We used to vacation in the snow," she says eventually. "Skiing, mostly."

Rohan's gaze lingers on those melting snowflakes. He looks away, up to the menu behind the counter, and unbuttons his coat, loosening his scarf. "We didn't have much snow, back home," he says. "Some, sometimes, but not--like this. It was beautiful when it came, and then it'd be a pain in the arse because we were needed at farm." His mouth twitches at the corner, and he admits, "I've never skiied."

Ciel sends Rohan a sidelong glance, her smile quick and then gone. The expression in her eyes is briefly, starkly yearning as she steps forward toward the counter. "I'd say you aren't missing much," she says. "But you really are. Skiing is wonderful. It's as close to flying as you can get without actually--" She waves a hand in ineloquent gesture.

"Family budget didn't really extend to ski vacations," says Rohan, stepping behind her to the counter. He audibly sighs, half-despite himself, but this one is a wistful sigh. Tiny but wistful. "Now you're making me jealous," he admits, the corners of his mouth still curved up in a faint smile. "I'll have to try it. Might be the closest I get."

Ciel laughs, very briefly, and says, "I'm trying to imagine Jean-Paul /not/ finding money to ski." She gives him a brief smile, then steps forward to place her order, which comes with a moment of pleased surprise when they assure her that they do still have mint syrup.

Rohan chuckles at that, and watches her, his smile lingering at her pleased surprised. He orders a mint mocha. Possibly her delight is contagious. "Well, you know how it is," he comments. "Everyone's got a different definition of necessities. And all of us have something we think is a necessity that other people think is a luxury."

"Well," Ciel admits, moving down the counter to wait, "it wasn't ever really a sacrifice. We-- he did pretty well. So."

"Oh," says Rohan. It's a quiet 'oh', and for a moment he retreats behind a careful smile. He leans on the counter and relaxes just a little. "We weren't poor," he says. Firmly. "But--there weren't exactly a lot of luxuries. Love and spices, no skiing."

"We had skiing and take-out," Ciel says, with no particular mention of love. Her gaze remains fixed on the barista, watching with a firm fixation as he steams milk. "Healthy take-out," she adds after a beat. "A lot of salads. I used to sneak his credit card to order pizza." Her lips curl upward at the corner in a very slight smile for the memory.

"Naughty," teases Rohan, light. "I never took you for a juvenile delinquent, Ciel Kane." He sounds amused. "My mum just spent time teaching us how to make curry and samosas and got mortally offended when we came home with chips."

Ciel startles, jerking her head around to blink at Rohan with genuine surprise. "What, really?" she says. "I was a total juvenile delinquent."

"Were you?" Rohan's eyebrows almost fly up with genuine surprise--but he sounds oddly delighted by this. "And here I thought trying to order a pint down at pub when I was sixteen the height of rebellion." He considers her, his grin bright. "I'm picturing you dying your hair purple and smoking behind the bike shed."

"I'm not sure I ever did purple," Ciel says, lifting a hand to the place where she used to bear a colored streak at her temple. It's largely grown out now, but it's habit. She smooths back her ponytail, then glances forward as the barista slides their drinks across. She gives him a quick smile and thanks, then looks back to Rohan to add, "I thought he'd murder me the first time he caught me with cigarettes. It was amazing."

"I'm also picturing very short skirts, but I am doing my very best to ignore that part," adds Rohan. He laughs out loud; not a small chuckle but an actual outright laugh. "It sounds like you and your uncle have a complicated relationship," he notes, lips twitching. "While...I was a perfect angel. I was even a choir boy. And please don't tell anyone _that_."

"If you can picture it, I probably tried it," Ciel answers. Her smile lingers for a moment, then fades as she lifts her drink for a careful sip. Her gaze goes a bit distant at his observation, and she neither confirms nor denies it. Instead she glances at him and says, "Seriously?"

Rohan takes a sip of his drink before he brings himself to reply. "It was my grandparents' fault," he insists. "They were the churchgoers. Always trying to bond with their grandchildren and er. Yes." He looks up to the ceiling. "Robe, candle, singing, the whole bit. Apparently I sang like an angel. Or at least my grandmother said, and I'm sure she always told the truth."

"I grew up with churchgoers too," Ciel says dryly. "I still didn't sing in the choir."

Rohan coughs. He looks actually embarrassed, a little awkward, his cheeks slightly flushed. "I...once wanted to do things right," he mutters. "That looks right when you're young."

Ciel falls silent for a moment at this, burying it in her drink, and then she clears her throat and says, "I should get back." She gives Rohan a quick glance and asks, "You want a ride?"

Rohan takes a long swallow of his drink, lost for a moment in his thoughts. He gives her a lightning quick grin. "That'd be great," he says. "I never object to a shortened commute."

"Button up, then," Ciel says, twisting her own scarf back around her neck. "It'll be chilly." She shoots him a quick smile, then leads them outside and all the way home.

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