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Car Keys
Hood generally avoided driving through Moscow. The place was a hot-bed of terrible drivers and traffic jams. She had chosen a very public venue; a place with lots of people, and from which one could easily excuse oneself. Smarter than he had expected her to be; he wouldn't have been surprised if she had invited him straight to her home. Maybe the damn wasn't an endless wave of terrible life choices. Just breaking into monster infested old factories and admitting it to cops.

Whatever the case, Hood drove her ridiculous little eco-friendly junk pile to Izmailovsky Market, arriving almost a full hour early as he managed to avoid the worst of the city's traffic. The market wasn't as much an 'open air' affair that time of year; even for Russians, it was too cold to be standing outside manning a market stall all day. But there were plenty of large, open-floor'd buildings, their walls removable in the summer and insulated for the winter, in which the markets could run all year.

Hood found his way to the entrance of the building they had agreed upon, which was close to the metro station she was likely to emerge from, but far from the public parking lots. He was dressed much as he had been the previous night, and stood leaning against a post near the doors, his back to the corner and surveying the thin crowd of people wandering the market hall, bickering over prices or talking about the day's news.

After Ivan had left her place in the morning, Zoya had been nursing a hangover. She wasn’t the sort to complain, and honestly, she’d had it coming but she couldn’t deny that she felt miserable. Unfortunately, regardless of how many pills she took, or how much water she drank, it didn’t seem as if her symptoms would be getting any better. On the contrary, she suspected that come the evening, Zo would be bed ridden as she’d done some years before. Still, she needed her car.

It wasn’t hard to spot White despite the crowds, assuming one knew what she was looking for. It wasn’t that he had some neon sign flashing straight over his head, but despite his nondescript attire, he invoked a certain amount of attention. Whether he liked it or not, Zoya had a feeling hers weren’t the only eyes that had traveled his way as people walked past him; particularly those of the female persuasion.

She was glad that he’d offered to bring her car back to her, and happy he’d accepted the meeting place. It was relatively out of his way, but Zoya liked the atmosphere. After all, despite all the alcohol she’d downed, she still very vividly remembered the way he’d dispatched the three punks that had been bothering her the night before.

“Hey there,”

despite his serious expression, the woman offered him a smile. Like him, her clothes weren’t too different from the prior night. Simple and effective was usually how she preferred things. “I hope you weren’t waiting long.”

Hood spotted her coming easily enough; she stood out in a crowd and it couldn't be denied that she left a few lookers in her wake. As she drew closer, Hood pushed off of the post he was leaning against and drew to his full height, glancing over her shoulder with a pointed look, levelled at a greasy Russian fellow whose interest Zoya had caught on her way through. He hated Russian men. Eastern European men in general, really. There was a very bass-ackwards mindset in them about how women should be treated. Hood was no saintly gentleman, but at least he didn't see women as baby-making kitchen-dwellers. "Not long. You look like hell, kid."
Not entirely true, but it seemed pretty obvious that she wasn't fairing well from the previous night's bender.

Well, he was taller than she remembered, but judging by the way he had looked at some poor guy she remembered his character just fine enough. What he said to her made her smirk. It wasn't the most tactful thing to tell a woman; but Zoya couldn't deny he had the right of it. "You should have seen Supercop's shoes; but, I suppose it is to be expected when you feel as if someone is doing the Hopak in your head. Thank you for this, and last night. I wasn't entirely myself."
That was perhaps the statement of the year.

"I don't even remember if there was enough gas in the tank. Do I owe you anything?"
She slipped her hands in her pockets and took a step sideways as a kid ran past them, obviously too intent on getting from point A to point B to watch his step, then turned her head to watch where he went.

Looking back to White, Zoya quirked a curious brow, "Any joy rides I should know of?"
It was obvious she was teasing him. Headache or no headache, some things just couldn't be helped.

Hood didn't move, he didn't fidget or pace or even really seem to glare at the crowd around them, but his eyes would sweep the room and look back to her casually. There could be no denying he was aware of them. The child's approach was noted, and his stance shifted just enough to allow the little brat to pass without incident. He'd taken her car straight back to his garage where it spent the night, while he had tagged along with a pair of Atharim to the old factory she had mentioned.

They'd found and dealt with the dead Rakshasa; he was really getting a hang of identifying some of the creatures, at least the ones he had actually crossed paths with before, although he didn't know nearly as much as an actual Atharim might. "Don't worry about it. Was pretty full already."
He'd topped the tank off, although that had been more habit then actual generosity; he insisted on always starting with a full tank. "Good gas mileage, considering how far that factory of yours is."

"Best for the environment."
She made a point to mention as much, mostly because she remembered something about being called a liberal hippy twit. What he said, however, perked her interest. Considering how far the factory was? The smallest for frowns touched her features while she considered this. "What do you mean? Did you go?"
For a moment, she was alarmed. Had the thing been there still? What if there had been more?

"Only went to the bar for a good fight. And those three shits didn't provide. You'd think fighting to take a girl like you home would have motivated them a bit better. So, I checked it out, yeah. Don't need to worry though. There's nothing left there now."
He shrugged; it was all so matter-of-fact for him. Disposing of a person's body was easy enough. A man-sized monster? Not much harder really. He pulled out her car keys and handed them over.

She couldn’t do much but blink in response… to everything. Slipping her hand out of her pocket, she accepted her key and shook her head a little while tucking her hand back in her jacket. “Well, don’t fault me if I’m not disappointed they were just a trio of chumps. Maybe next time something tries to eat me I’ll have you tag along.”

The fact that he had seen it and was talking so matter-of-factly about it was a good indication that she had not been crazy. “Never seen anything like that in my life. You don’t seem too shocked though. I didn’t realize the security industry dealt with boogiemen, Mr. White.”
Despite her attempt to make light of the subject, she felt the hairs in the back of her neck stand on end. “And, is there anything else I could call you?”

He grinned down at her; he had other names of course, but most only knew him as Mr White. "Or John."
He gave the room a once over, making sure no one was lingering or watching them. "Most people never see something like that without going out of their way to. The few who who don't survive. Just content yourself to know there are folks out there making sure that those sorts of things stay a myth."

He was certainly the sort of man few would have any trouble calling Sir, and though his smirk provoked one of her own, Zoya decided that John would be a better suiting name coming from her. There was no ignoring the fact that he was alert despite their casual surroundings, and it made her wonder exactly what he expected to jump out at him in the marketplace; but then his words made everything make sense.

It really wasn't the best conversation to be having out and about in the open. Then again, there was something in his statement that made her think of things pertaining pretty little heads not worrying about much. "Heh... Easier said than done John. But perhaps for now, you are right. Where exactly did leave the car? Need a ride back?"

"I'll walk you to it. And no offense, but there aren't many people I'm comfortable riding shotgun with."
Either he was in the driver’s seat, or someone he trusted to know how to handle themselves in a dangerous situation. Otherwise, it was his feet or the metro that got him around the city. He started walking, leaving a wake in the crowd that she could easily stroll through if she kept up.

After a little shrug, she followed him as he parted the crowd like Moses did the Red Sea. Ok, that was quite an exaggeration, but people did seem to stay out of his way. Zoya couldn’t deny that she kind of liked his commanding presence, nor that it had its uses. “None taken. I’m likely to get you lost and in disreputable bars anyways. Though, you might just like that.”
After a few steps, it began to dawn on her just how much worse her headache was likely to get. She liked that the market was a public and safe enough place to speak to a man she’d only met once, but at the same time, all the noise was beginning to make the place seem less and less like a good idea.

It didn't take long for them to break free of the crowded hall and back into the less crowded pedestrian streets between the buildings. Most folks stuck to the indoors, where it was warm and where all the vendors were. Those outside were likely of a similar mind to Zoya; they'd had their fill of the crowds, or were moving to other buildings. "You're probably right. Not going to find a good fight in a shithole like Manifesto."
He nearly spat at the idea; packed full of wanna-be rich kids. The only thing he liked about their kind was their daddy's wallets.

Despite the state of her head, she had to laugh. Manifesto wasn’t exactly what she would consider a shithole. Most people probably had a completely different opinion than John, but, to each their own. For her part, Zoya never set foot there; she couldn’t afford to. The sort of money flying about that place wasn’t exactly what the likes of her could justify. “Hopefully they at least have good liquor.”

As the number of people decreased, she felt more comfortable. The walk was nice, but turning back to look over her shoulder, she wondered if perhaps they should have agreed to meet somewhere closer to the lots. “Is it me, or are you taking me to the last lot in Izmailovsky?”

"Intentional construction. Inconvenient parking lot means most people use the metro."
He shrugged, and avoided walking through other heated buildings on their way to her parked car. The cold didn't seem to bother him much. "They carry expensive liquor. That does not mean good."

"I suppose you are right."
About everything... and that made her wrinkle her nose. "It's not as if your joint was the best in that regard, either."
She walked the rest of the way in relative silence. The sooner she got to her car, the sooner she could get to bed and ignore the rest of the world. She had things to think about, and it was a little difficult to do so at the moment.

He was perfectly content to continue in silence; inane small talk was not a joy of his. It only took a few minutes to reach her car, which was parked in good view of a security camera and a lamp post, although the light was not yet needed considering the time of day. "Here you go kid. Right as rain."

Judging by where he'd put the car, it was obvious that he meant to return it to her in good working order. Though she suspected that it was all a matter of habit for the man. Being careful about such things seemed to fit him as well as his pants. Which, she would have been blind not to notice. Calling her 'kid' also seemed to be a matter of habit, and though she sighed inwardly, Zoya didn't bother correcting him.

Walking up to her door, she unlocked it, but paused to talk to White. "Thank you. I do feel like I owe you one, though, I'm not exactly sure how I can return the favor."
He was... interesting... and honestly, Zoya wouldn't have minded if they ended crossing paths again, though she couldn't say how likely that would be. He didn't seem the sort to want a cup of coffee with a hippy.

"Easy. You ever plan on going to a dive bar and getting tanked again, or you find some interesting trouble, you call me. You’ve got my number."
He thrust his hands into his pockets and turned to leave. He wasn't the sort to be on the beck-and-call of a pretty girl, but if she called, there was a chance it could be interesting. And, if he was right in his suspicions of how things played out at that factory, she was probably going to find herself on the wrong side of the Atharim someday. Hunting her kind didn't sit well with him; he wouldn't stop them from doing it, but he wasn't going to go out of his way to make it easy for them either.

A small smile parted her lips after he turned to go. “I’ll keep that mind,”
she called after him, “take care Mr. White!”
Now, the chances of the events of that night repeating themselves given her current condition were rather slim just then; but one never knew. She was more likely to spend more time with Supercop. Later, once she made it home however, Zoya did her best to put all thoughts of John, Ivan, and the whole event that connected them all in favor of sleep.

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