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Insomnia: Part Deux
Submitted 19 September 2003 by Hope.
IC Date:   19 September 2003
Point of View:   Hope
Participants:   Connor, Hope
Locale:   South Bronx, New York City
Summary:   Drawn once again into the city due to restlessness inside her of memories that will not quite come clear, Hope seeks out the place where the werewolf she once knew used to dwell. Unfortunately she picks up a little company on the way and realizes the erro

Ah, another sleepless night. For whatever reason the demon known as insomnia has struck Hope once again and she finds herself walking the city in an attempt to relax or at least figure out the glimpses of memory that have begun to plague her mind. She finds herself drawn to the darker, more dangerous parts of town without knowing why. Of course, being out of her element she is unaware of the dangers that this area possesses or the threats that lurk around the corners in the darkened alleyways. her restless footfalls bring her to the site of the Abandoned Warehouse and she stops, tilting her head a little. So this is where the man tha was a wolf lived. Where she once spent time. Eyeing it dubbiously and trying so hard to remember she doesn't realize that she has attracted another set of eyes on her. Of course she practically screams easy target as she stands there alone in the dark. A few tenative steps are made around the warehouse edges to find the opening that will allow her access to the building. All the while the predator in the darkness watches and once she steps inside, decides to follow her in. Yep, easy pickings from the rich looking girl. Should be able to bring in a good little haul on this one, and maybe even have some fun out of it to boot, the criminal thinks to himself with a grin.

Connor had been following the known rapist/kidnapper's acts for a couple weeks now. Tonight was to be the night where Connor stepped in and insured the fact that he never hurt another innocent person. He was outfitted well to do the job. He's carrying two 9mm Berettas in holsters under his jacket and a Glock 26 strapped around his boot. He's watching, waiting for the man to become vulnerable, waiting for the perfect moment to end the trouble he's created. Connor hasn't really caught a good glimpse of the girl ahead of him, but can see her well enough to make sure she's safe. He follows the two into the warehouse, slipping steathly across the walls.

Hope stumbles a little as she steps into the darkness of the warehouse, her footing uncertain over the debris and holes in the floor, stumbling quite a bit. She digs through her vest pocket and produces a little box of wooden matches she had picked up at the Hellfire Club. She had meant to use them for the candle sconces in her room but it seems they come in handy here as well. Striking a match she holds it up a little to look around and peers into the darkness. The scene around her is grim and a bit frightening. Stepping closer to the walls she reaches out to touch one of the symbols scrawled on it and her brow furrows as she tries to make out what it is. Her ill intended follower remains back in the darkness, carefully stepping around the debris in the way. A true night creature this one is. He's silent, though his heart pounds a little heavier at the anticipation of the night's fun. The girl hisses slightly as the match burns down towards her fingers and singes them a bit. She shakes it out and puts her fingers to her lips, sucking on the slightly burned tips and shaking them before reaching for another match. The sound of metal grating softly against metal as the man in the darkness flicks open a Zippo and lights it her to freeze though in mid reach and her eyes grow large and round. As she turns slowly to see the grizzled face illuminated by the orange glow of the lighter's flame her breath catches in her throat, his voice barking out in a harsh chuckle "Well well well, what do we have here? You know.." he pauses to light a cigarette that dangles from his lips, "a sweet little thing like you shouldn't be out alone in a place like this. You never know what you might find."

Connor eyes grow as he realizes that it's Hope, the girl from the other night. His heart skips as he remembers her extreme fear of guys in general. Without hesitation he sprints over to the man and tackles him straight into the wall. He doesn't even bother to use his guns. Fists are flying left and right as he unwields his anger out on this man, who the hell does he think he is? Nobody has the right to go around taking people as they please, let alone Hope, the girl he had developed a slight crush for the other night. After he's knocked the man out he runs over to Hope, trying not to startle her more then she already is. "Hey love, It's me, Connor, from the other night. You're going to be fine alright? You'll be fine..."

The thug is caught off guard, his attention diverted to the prey of the evening as he is tackled from the side. Hope screams and presses her back to the wall, dropping her matches allover the floor as the darkness reclaims the place, the thug's lighter dropped in the scuffle. Her hand goes into her pocket and clenches something in there tightly as she strains to see in the darkness what is going on, her own heart thumping wildly in her chest. After a few weak attempts to fight the man ontop of him the thug falls silent, out cold. She backs up a little with a yelp as Connor rushes over to her, her hand coming out of her pocket instictively and arm thrusting out in front of her. In her hand is a small can of mace (the good stuff, not pepper spray) with a small white feather also in her grip. She stares in the dark to the person in front of her as she shakes.

Connor stopped dead in his tracks when he felt her point something at him. He searched for his lighter deep within his pockets before finally finding it. He flicks the lighter to illuminate the room once more. "'s me,'re going to be fine..everything's going to be fine." He reaches out to lower her arm so the mace isn't at a risk of hitting him in the eyes anymore. His face is soft and concerned, he wants to reach out and hug her but at the same time doesn't want to scare her more so then what has already happened.

There's resistance in her arm at first as Connor tries to lower Hope's arm. Though after a few moments for her to realize what is going on the resistance is gone and her arm lowers, though in her shock she still keeps the mace and feather gripped tightly in her hand. Large green eyes stare at the man in front of her and her mouth opens to speak but no sound comes out. She shakes like a leaf. Those eyes dart from Connor to the unconscious thug and then back.

Connor keeps his eyes locked onto hers, his arm reaching out for her. "Hope..say something honey...You're going to be fine ok? I'm here..I'm not going to let anything happen to you...I promise." He's trying to walk that thin tight rope line without crossing it. He isn't quite sure what to do to make the situation better, but he's trying and there's credit to be given for that.

Hope swallows hard and takes a breath with a sharp gasp. "S...s....somethin'" she manages to squeak out in little above a whisper. It's notable that her body guard is not here with her. Of course it is about 2am so he's probably asleep. Her eyes drift back over to the man and she swallows again and backs up a little, but the wall behind her stops her retreat. "I...I need to go...I sh..should.." she pauses and tries to get a grip on her breathing and her stuttering, her accent thicker than usual in her fear and nervousness. "Shouldn't be"

Connor looks back to make sure the man is still unconcious before returning his focus to hope. He's nodding, understanding that this is probably the last place she wants to be. "You want me to accompany you? Make sure nothing else happens?" His eyes are softer then they've ever been and he's got a look of compassion across his face.

Hope looks at Connor, her eyes still, if it were not for the seriousness of the situation, comically large in the glimmering darkness. If he can tell in the low light, she is looking at the tattoo on his neck. When those eyes leave him they go to the white feather in her grip and then slowly nods, still in shock. Had her little Angel girl sent her this help?, she thinks to herself. "Y...yes. I need to go back." she says, thinking of where she's staying but not realizing she's not making a lot of sense.

Connor reaches out and takes her in his arms, gently with no force in case she wants to back away. "Alright, We can go..." He decides to wait until they're out in the street before asking her where "back" is. Connor's eyes notice the feather in her hand and looks at it with a bit of curiosity before his attention snaps back to her.

Hope tenses all over when she's touched but in her mind she's thinking that this was some sort of Divine Intervention and thus doesn't resist too much. She walks on numbed legs to the opening that she'd entered through, stumbling a bit over the debris on the floor as she moves. Not once does she release the feather but the mace is slipped back into her pocket once she manages to remember that she is holding it as well.

Connor follows her out of the building, not letting his eyes leave her, in fear that if they do something might go wrong again. He keeps his arm locked around her shoulders, thinking it would give people a bit of a threat to come around. "So where are we off to?" He leans down a little to look back into her eyes after shoving his lighter back into his pocket.

"U..Upper East Side....I'm ..." Hope pause and her eyes cast fearfully back over her shoulder towards the warehouse. Too bad she can't remember Jack the Werewolf completely. Perhaps she'd have remembered some of his hiding spots for things. She's still tense all over, muscles taut and unyielding under his shoulder. "I..I'm staying at my Aunt Emma's social club." Ah yes, won't that be ironic and interesting. Connor the Saint in the Hellfire Club.

Connor nods "Sure..Of course" As they start walking he sees the IHOP that they're passing and pauses for a moment. "Would you mind waiting her for just a second? I'll be gone for just a minute ok?" Without waiting for a response Connor sprints into the local Ihop, disappearing for a minute. When he returns he has two strawberry shortcake sundaes in to-go cups with spoons. He smiles and hands one to her "Here...maybe this will make you feel better aye?"

Hope shifts nervously as she stands outside and waits, one fist still clenched over the feather as she rubs her arms, shrinking back against the side of the building as people pass and quickly looking down at her feet. As he returns she stares at the ice cream and then back at him in slight confusion but takes the sundae and nods. She waits for him to start walking again, holding the sundae in one hand and the feather in the other. "Th....thank you." she stutters in a quiet voice.

Connor isn't quite sure if his feeble attempt at making her feel better worked or not but he tried none the less. He resumes walking as he takes a spoonful of sundae. "So should we take the subway then love?" He's looking around for the best way to get to Upper east side. He's from Boston and although he's been here for a bit now he still doesn't quite have his way around her pin pointed.

Hope shakes her head immediately as he offers this. The subway is one place she hasn't gotten the courage to go to yet. Too many people in that dark little hole underground. "T..Taxi." she says and glances quickly to the side at him before looking back at her sundea. She takes the spoon and gies a tenative nibble to the sugary concoction. "I...I don't like the subway."

Connor smiles as she takes a bite of the sundae. It worked!! TOUCHDOWN!! He beamed inside with joy but his face never flinched..well, maybe a little. "Taxi it is" He waves down a taxi with a free hand after munching on some ice cream.

Hope is silent for the most part of the taxi ride, nibbling at her sundea unenthusiasticaly. Her appetite is just not there right now. If he's not careful Connor gonna get the nickname of the IceCream Man in her mind. The taxi pulls up in front of the swank Hellfire Club and stops, meter stopped at $20. He looks back expectantly and Hope holds out a fifty. Seems that's the smallest she has. She doesn't ask for change and the cabby doesn't offer it willingly. Hey, it's a good tip. She steps out and looks up at Connor through her eyelashes and then down again, her head bowed a little as if in penance. "This...this is it." she says a little bashfully. No she's just not used to the poshness of her new life and it shows.

Connor looks up from his seat in the cab and gives a silent 'wow'. He runs his hand through his hair. " you want me to come with you? or..." He's not really sure where to go from here.

Fear makes her want to say no but politeness makes her stop. She looks from the building to Connor and nods a bit "They..they've got a dining hall in here. You can finish your sundae." No Hope is not used to this at all. The door man is already moved into position and waiting for the two, a frown on his face as he notices it's Emma Frost's god-daughter. Uh oh...better be on you're best behavior or the Queen will have your guts for garters. All the employees know well the storys and legends of the White Queen and her wrath.

Connor smiles a bit, as always. It's hard to catch him without a smile on his face. "Are you sure...I'll understand if you'd rather be alone." He looks up sincerely at her, but finding it once again damn near impossible to catch her gaze, but who would expect less.

Hope shakes her head 'I...I insist...After all you helped me." She waits for him to exit the cab and then begins heading to the door, staring at her feet, the melting sundae in one hand. The door man quickly opens the door and holds his hand out with a flourish, hard appraising eyes going over the more urban looking Connor as he escorts Hope. Not exactly the ilk of the clientel they are used to here but the 'Princess' guests are welcome on orders of the Queen.

Connor steps out of the cab with a smile and follows her through the door. He smiles and gives a brief thank you to the door man as he trails in behind Hope, thinking that this poor little irish boy is DEFINATELY in over his head.

You ascend the beautiful white steps and enter the elegant doorway of the prestigious Hellfire Club of New York.

Hope leads Connor through the lush inner halls of the Hellfire Club into the Dining hall without so much as a word. The two of them catch more than a few eyes though, that's for certain. Tounges will be wagging about this one for sure and Emma will know about it very very soon. Gossip is second nature in a high classed social club after all. She leads him to one of the tables and takes a seat, a server stepping forward to pull the chair out for her. "If...if you're hungry you can get anything you want here. They have a good kitchen." she offers, setting her sundae in front of her on the table and staring down at her clenched hands, a tiny bit of white peeking out from the top of her thumbs.

Connor looks around, jaw practically hitting the floor. " I'm fine...thanks." He's getting stares from everyone, and why wouldn't he? He sticks out like a sore thumb at a place like this. After a few moment of taking everything in he refocuses on her, his gaze once again soft and caring. "Are you alright?"

See? That's the difference with Hope. Sure, she looked at him like he had two heads before but that was cause he's male. but his fashion sense doesn't seem to phase her in the least. She nods slowly, her sundae forgotten. "I'" she says slowly. But what drew her out again tonight? What called her to that place to remember old memories. A hand reaches up and distractedly tucks an errant curl behind her ear. "I just...I didn't expect..." She bites her bottom lip and frowns a little. "But I guess i should know..known better." Yeah, going out all alone at night like that is not of the good.

Connor nods a bit, looking at his lap, wishing to himself, somehow, someway, that he could prove to her that men aren't always as bad as they've been portrayed. "Yeah, a girl's got to be careful...but no worries right? You're back home safe and sound now" His gaze glances back up at her. "I'm just glad I could be there to help"

But what if you weren't there, Hope thinks to herself. "It was stupid of me...going off in the night by myself." she says quietly, almost apologetically. She never meant to put anyone in a bad situation and feels bad about it. She's already played ove in her mind how things could have happened instead and it's not pretty. She reaches out to poke at the sundae with her spoon.

Connor leans forward on the table a bit with a smile. "Well promise me you won't do it again and we'll call it even hm?" He's already finished off his sundae and watches as hers slowly melts into a puddle in the little plastic cup.

Hope glances up at this, a tiny sheepish smile on her face, like a three year old getting caught doing something they shouldn't. "It's a deal." she says but isn't too sure how she can stick to it. It was almost as if she left against her will tonight. Just as it was the night before that. Maybe she's sleepwalking. She hadn't thought of that before. Hey wait...why was he...She looks up and tilts her head curiously 'Why were you out there that late at night?"

Connor sighs and hangs his head a bit, running his hand through his hair. Connor looks around at all the people in the room before looking back at Hope. "There isn't a quieter place we could talk is there? Someplace a little more secluded?" It's obvious he doesn't want other people to know, but doesn't want to lie to Hope either.

Hope looks a little confused and shakes her head slowly. "I...I don't think so." she says as she tries to think . Of course she hasn't tried to go to any of the secluded places in the Club aside from her own room but she can't have a boy up there. Aunt Emma would have a fit. Not to mention she would be terrified.

Connor looks around a bit, suddenly becoming a little uneasy with the gazes he's still getting. " it's kind of private and I don't want word getting around." He's looking at the ground now, avoiding the gazes he's getting from some of the other dining room members. "Sorry.."

Hope nods and chews her bottom lip. She hates doing this but.... Motioning to the waiter she calls him over and whispers a bit into his ear. The maitre'd is the next in the chain of whispers and is soon speaking to the people at the tables closest to them. Shortly there after they rise and move to a further section of the dining room, leaving one wing of it exclusively to Hope and Connor, even the waiters have cleared out. She looks down at the thing in her hands while this happens only raising her eyes once the area is cleared for them. Yep, that's a benefit of being 'Princess' too. "I'm sorry. I guess they're just not used to...well..anything other than Armani or Prada." she says a bit embarassed.

Connor laughs softly to himself as the room clears "'ve got some power around her huh?" He sighs and decides to get down to business. "Well actually..I don't want you to be scared ok? Because I'm not a bad guy, but in all honesty I was there today because I was planning on killing the man that was after you..." His eyes are planted on the ground, expecting her to be terrified and run away. "It's sort of what I do...I go around and find all the low lifes of the world and make sure they can't hurt innocent people anymore..Sorry.."

Hope shakes her head a little and says softly "No...not really. I just asked politely. They're very friendly and understanding here." Oh if she only knew. She listens to him, her eyes widening as he speaks and disbelief crossing her features. For long moments she sits there like that, not moving, eyes still locked on him for what is probably the longest span of time on record. "B...but...couldn't you the police?" yeah, she's naive. "K...killing?" she whispers softly.

Connor nods somberly, his voice barely audible "Aye, police don't do anything..they give a tap on the wrist and then the criminals are off to the races again..I'm sorry..and if you don't want to talk to me anymore, I'll understand, but I didn't want to lie to don't deserve that. I can promise that I've never killed an innocent man before and that I'm not particularly proud of what I do, but I feel like it has to be done." He looks up with incredibly somber eyes before murmuring once again "I'm sorry..."

It's now the country bumpkin's turn to look away uncomfortably. Even her worst enemy she's never wished death on them. Not even the Ryan boy who attacked her. Not even the predator tonight. It's just not in her to seek death as an option. "B...but why?" is her breathless whispered question. She just can't grasp it and it shows. To her thinking there's always another way. There has to be. Perhaps that's part of her living up to her name. Perhaps it's the deep seated and hidden memories of the atrocities that were commited in her image so long ago, a part of her past that is long forgotten.

Connor looks away as well before responding "Because people don't always change Hope. Because innocent men come home from working hard all day and turn on the news to see rapists and murderers walking out of prison. It's wrong..and somebody has to do something about it...I don't expect you to understand or accept it...I just thought you should know..."

Hope just nods slowly, not knowing what to think of it all or of him. It has to count for something that he's honest enough to tell her this right? She places the feather to her lips and kisses it, much like one would do a rosary, her eyes closed a moment as she thinks. She lets out a slow, long breath. "But how do you know?" she asks, still whispering despite the lack of others near them. "I...I do you know that they are...well....what they are and not...." she hesitates. ..."Not like you?"

Connor states flately, his gaze still on the ground "Research. I'd been checking out the guy on you for awhile now. I make sure that what I'm doing isn't being done to an innocent man...I promise Hope. My brother and I do background checks on these people, we follow them. We make sure they aren't good men in a bad rut."

Hope frowns and swallows a bit, composing her thoughts, or rather, keeping them from running as wild as they are. "B..but....all life is precious. I...I mean..we're all here for a reason, right? A purpose? " It's hard to tell if she's thinking out loud or to him. The crease in her brow, working slowly as she lifts a hand to her lips and chews a fingernail, a nervous habit she doesn't even realize she has.

Connor shakes his head somberly "I don't know how to justify my thinking to you Hope. If a man spends his time raping defenseless women, I don't think that's a very noble purpose in life, even if it is a purpose..I don't know how else to explain it."

There is a visible wince as he mentions the raping thing and she drops her hand, realizing that she's chewing her nail and she stares at her hands. She knows she's not very wise to the ways of the world or it's workings. How can she argue this with someone like him. As far as she knows he's seen more of it than she has. if she could only remember everything she's seen it might suprise her. "I...I see." is all she says in response. Hope shifts slightly in her seat, slipping her hand in her pocket with the feather. After a few moments of silence though she says is a quiet voice "I'm glad you didn't kill that man tonight though." Her words are simple and honest.

Connor looks up to Hope, his eyes soft and somber "Do you want me to leave Hope? I can go...if you want me to...I don't want to make you uncomfortable" His face is still very somber at having to tell her all these things, and even more so at her response.

Hope thinks about this a moment. There's a lot to consider there. Emma might not approve. But he did save her. But he is a killer. But he only does it to bad people. But....Finally with a frown she shakes her head " don't have to I's.." What? She cannot quite find the words.

Connor brings his eyes to hers after much hesitation. "What is it Hope?" He's hoping, praying for something good at this point. Thier relationship hadn't been all bad up until tonight. It hadn't been much of a relationship, but it wasn't a bad one either.

Hope takes another steadying breath "I,...It's hard to think about. With how I was raised." Heh...if he only knew about half the people in the room right now there'd probably guns ablazin right now. Hope knows nothing about these people either, though. It's just a social club right? Yeah...riiiiight. She's used to the simple life. After her visit to her family in Kentucky and Emma's help she can recall most of her childhood. Simple and pastoral.

Connor nods "I know...and I understand, there's a lot of people that feel the way that you do, and I respect that..I just didn't want to lie to you...You don't deserve that" His hands are fidgiting by now, nervously at that.