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Ponyboy? Dally? Shoot, I-

I--

[Nervous shifting, followed by the sound of someone slapping down their pockets in search of cigarettes; eureka! Hiss of a match being struck, and shaky breathing.]

Ain't there supposed to be clouds here? Or... fire? Ain't I dead yet?

[ooc: Open for action by the fountain! And voice replies, too, but it's going to be a long while before Johnny figures out how to work a network device; I mean, the handheld calculator was first invented in 1967. Laptops, not so much.]

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Date: 2009-04-18 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hundredth
Hong Mei considers Johnny carefully, eyes unfocused and staring slightly into the distance as she tilts her head, ponders his words. So maybe he's not quite as young as what she initially anticipated, and by not young she doesn't mean age, but instead experience, the things that truly make a person feel old, jaded, worn out like leather on a pair of shoes worn far too often. "No, it doesn't make sense," she agrees, eyes narrowing slightly as she looks back to Johnny. "Because people are supposed to be self-serving, selfish, hoarding things to themselves because you never know when you're going to hit a rough patch, so you need to look out for yourself at all times. I get it. Maybe I don't look like a 'hood,' but I get it, and I've seen more than most people think that I have. And this place... makes you soft."

After chewing on the inside of her cheek for a moment, fighting the urge to ruffle his hair like a little brother of sorts, Hong Mei sighs, hooks her thumbs in the belt loops of her jeans.

"Like I said, I know you don't have any money. I don't have anything much that you could steal back in my apartment, being low-maintenance and the like. And you're smarter than you give yourself credit for if you're suspicious of this place in a way that most people arrive here aren't." Although hesitant, Hong Mei's lips still curve slightly upward. "But you don't seem like the type of guy who'd want to hit a girl. Sure you don't want to head inside? My apartment's about five minutes away."

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Date: 2009-04-18 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelastandleast.livejournal.com
Johnny opens his mouth, and then closes it. Opens it again a second later. He really hadn't expected-- appearance was so important to him, to everyone he knew and understood, that he had believed it would translate even to someone from somewhere completely different. In Tulsa, the length of your hair and the clothes you wore dictated who you could talk to, where you could go in town without gettin' jumped or chased out or stared at real bad. Here, as he was starting to understand, it was totally different; Hong Mei said she'd seen more than he thought, and Johnny believed it.

Maybe it was the way she could put it into words real good, maybe it was just the way she said it; either way, he closed his mouth the second time and ducked his head down, nodding.

It was true, anyway; Johnny wouldn't hit hardly anybody unless they were already hitting him (and even then, he had the unfortunate tendency to not bother defending himself unless it was real, real bad), but he certainly wouldn't ever be violent with a girl. Most greasers wouldn't, unless they were old already and friends with the bottle like- "I," he looks indecisive for a moment, before finally just shrugging. He is pretty cold, and he hasn't seen any empty lots that he can hide out in yet. "I guess I could. If it don't bother you none."

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Date: 2009-04-18 09:31 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hundredth
The reluctant agreement is more than enough for Hong Mei, who turns on her heel and drapes an arm over Johnny's shoulder, squeezing his upper arm encouragingly before guiding him in the direction of her apartment building. Physical touch is something which is treated a little bit differently where she's from, not really a sign of great intimacy if people link arms, but instead of camaraderie. Things aren't taken in a romantic sense, not on face. Instead, everyone's a cadre, everyone ought to be on an even playing field, everyone ought to feel comfortable with one another and that type of mentality makes Hong Mei very much a character reliant on trust. It makes her feel normal, like she blends in, even when in all honesty she should probably be the nail that sticks out, ajar.

"It doesn't bug me at all," Hong Mei grins. "Actually, there's this thing about the City... whenever you're alone, not talking to anyone, not occupying yourself with a task, the City ticks. You'll just hear it in your ears, a steady tick-tock that a lot of people think comes from a clock deep down underground here.

"You're keeping it from ticking, for me. So instead of bothering me, you're doing me a favor. Are you hungry at all?"

action;

Date: 2009-04-18 10:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelastandleast.livejournal.com
Johnny glanced over at her, fast; at least one person in the gang seemed to have an arm draped over his shoulder whenever they all gathered somewhere, but she was... well, a girl, and that made a lot of difference to him. She didn't look like she thought anything of it, though, so his ears just went red and he stubbornly looked forward again.

"Tick-tocking?" he asked, looking a little dubious; she'd been there the moment that he arrived, so he hadn't had the misfortune of being subjected to it quite yet. He did relax slightly at the last part, though. Whatever matter of pride that was there before had disappeared, since it was for her benefit as well. That settled, he considered her question, and surprised himself.

He hadn't eaten anything since he got burned, the doctors just said he was getting nutrients intra..something-or-other; Johnny wasn't too quick to get things sometimes, especially when overly large words are being thrown around, and he'd been distracted by the paralysis and searing pain besides... so all he knew was that he should be hungry but he wasn't.

Maybe it was on account of being dead.

Most likely, actually. "I don't think so."

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Date: 2009-04-18 10:36 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hundredth
The longer Hong Mei's arm draped over Johnny's shoulder, the more she began to realize that there was no heat coming from him whatsoever, and that was something that his thick jacket alone couldn't explain off. Every now and then her hand would rub against Johnny's upper arm, almost as though trying to warm him up, even if Hong Mei knew that it wouldn't work. She pulled the apartment building's front door open, not holding it open for Johnny exactly, but keeping it ajar behind her for the boy to slide through.

"Ticking, yeah. You probably haven't heard it yet, because you happened to arrive in the middle of company," Hong Mei explained, jabbing once at the up button for the elevator.

"I guess it makes sense that you wouldn't be hungry... or, well. Anyway." She pushes her hair out of her face, ruffling it and working the strands into tangles. "You don't seem to be from the same time as most of the people I've met here. When are you from? The sixties? Seventies?"

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Date: 2009-04-19 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelastandleast.livejournal.com
Johnny glances around when they enter, and he looks uncomfortable. The apartment building is nice - much nicer than he's used to. The kinds of houses that are on the North side of Tulsa - the poor side - are rundown and crumbling, with bad paint jobs and worn floors, stained carpets and fraying furniture... it'll take some getting used to, and for the time being he can't seem to shake the feeling that he's somewhere he's not supposed to be and he'll be kicked out in short order for it; probably painfully.

He tries concentrating on the floor and smoking while they wait for the elevator, but it doesn't help much. He tries not to shake too much under Hong Mei's arm and does an okay job of it, but his hands still tremble a little and he jams them deep into his coat pockets.

Well, that strikes him as a weird question. "What do you mean? 1967," he said, brows furrowed when he glanced over at her again. Even if he would have tried looking through the guide that someone sent him he wouldn't have gotten far; he isn't exactly a speed-reader, and he hastrouble understanding things shoved at him too fast.

Which is the long way of saying he didn't get the everyone-is-from-the-past/future/whatever talk yet.

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Date: 2009-04-19 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hundredth
Before she can answer his question, the elevator dings and the doors slide open, but Hong Mei tugs the cigarette away, crushes it on top of a nearby trash can before guiding the both of them into the elevator. "We're not supposed to smoke indoors," she explains, peering up at a smoke detector in the elevator that blinks red, now and again. "Not in a public place, anyway, so the entrance, the elevator, the halls--can't smoke there, have to wait until we get into the room. It's bad for people's health. Or, well. Most people's health."

His tremors reach her hand and she runs hers comfortingly over his shoulder again, trying to ease the tension away.

"And what I mean is that people here are from different times. A lot of people are from the future, and some are from the past. Different times, different worlds... I guess in that way, this place acts a lot like an afterlife would. Heaven doesn't reject people just because they were from the sixties, right?"

She smirks, inwardly pleased at the actual response he gave.

"I'm from February 1967, myself. So we're year buddies."

action;

Date: 2009-04-20 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thelastandleast.livejournal.com
Johnny blinks in surprise, but doesn't argue - it was almost down to the filter anyway, with the way he'd been puffing on it for the past couple of minutes. The teachers wouldn't allow students to smoke in school, that much he remembers, but with everywhere else he went no one seemed to take issue; he'd have to get used to that, too.

"Yeah," he agrees - it makes sense when she puts it that way, about the different decades. He relaxes just a little under her hand and pulls his hands back out of his pockets so he can fiddle with the lapels of his jacket; make sure they're flipped up. It doesn't look tuff the other way, alright?

Anyway, he grins a little, sheepishly. Her 1967 may not be familiar to him in any way, halfway across the globe, but it was something. "Shoot, it was just March, for me."

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Johnny Cade

April 2009

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