This courtyard is the lush central hub of the surrounding Harbor Commons, bound in on three sides by rows of duplexes and triplexes, cutting upward at the sky with the sharp thrift of a minimalist's style, neat lines and bountiful windows, boldened with accents in wood towards the upper stories, stone towards the base, the whole of the compound sealed in by a low stoneworked wall that opens entrance gates to the streets beyond at its two far corners, smaller gates at building back doors.
The fourth side of the courtyard is open to the East River, the ground forming a slight decline, controlled on one side by micro-retaining walls to form wide steps where picnic tables sit beneath the nominative shelter of a trio of dogwood trees, accessible by ramp. The other side is allowed to slope at its natural angle, a wide open yard space, until its cut off at the river's edge, where a massive pair of oak trees stand, a staircase leading away up one of their thick trunks.
The yard itself is carpeted in an organic flow of emerald grass swirled through with wending channels of smooth-paved cement walkways, flowing naturally away from the building's front entrances, where some are arced by trellis, some flanked by hosta plants, fern and lilies, a few laid in gentle switch-backing ramps for wheelchair access, before forking off at matching angles to sites of small garden installments. Bird feeders and baths suspended from the necks of small lamp posts, a rock-lined koi pond, a sleek gazebo tucked to one side in simplistic varnished wood, its southern side overgrown with a mass of thriving grapevine and a caged-in barbecue pit under its sheltering roof. A play area and proper garden are within sight off another branch, until finally all paths spiral in like wheel spokes to a shared common house at the center of all traffic flow.
Rainy humid mess? That sounds about right for the day, though rain has given over more to humidity but left its mark plain--concrete is drying in mottled patterns of grey and darker grey, the lawn squelches if anyone's brave enough to step on it and water still drips from the abundance of leaves provided by the courtyard and its occupying greenery. This lull in the weather is being used efficiently by a crew of men in blue coverall's, FRANK'N'SON'S MOVERS emblazoned across the back of each. Two gentlemen are wrestling a dolly with a mattress around the paths on a course to an open door across the courtyard, where an empty unit is soon to be less than empty and a third fellow--older than the others, though with a marked family resemblance--is speaking to a young woman in blue jeans, a spring-weight off the shoulder sweater, and ballerina flats. This, then, is Frank and he is discussing an itemized list clipped securely to a clipboard while offering the blonde a pen.
"Wasn't much, just the one truck load. When you decide to fill this place up, you call me 'n my boys, we'll get you a good deal," he's saying in a Bronx accent so thick, you could cut it with a knife.
Neve smiles as she takes the pen. "Thank you, Mr. Legetti. I'll remember that. No one gave you any trouble?"
The dripping water has left its /mark/ on Dusk, enormous black wings stippled with glimmering droplets as he makes his way back down the pathway into the Commons' courtyard. He is flaring his wings wide -- politely a good way /behind/ his companion so as not to shower /Billy/ with water when he shakes them out. In this brief unfurling they stretch to their full seventeen-foot-and-change span though it's kind of remarkable how tidily small the flexible membranes fold back up when he pulls them in.
Having been /out/ for a time in the world of Food Establishments, he actually /has/ a shirt to pair with his cargo shorts and Vans sneakers (and clunky ankle monitor) -- though as is his habit he is /already/ stripping this garment off as they head back into the Commons, unbuttoning a flap at its back so that he can ease his wings out of it more easily. "-- We could stick with Katamari," he offers to Billy with a sharply fanged grin, "/everyone/ is good at Katamari. Though we can't let Horus watch it or he starts wanting to cover himself in glue and roll up the whole --" He trails off as he heads in further, tracking the motion of the movers over to their destination. The wings at his back pull in tighter, and though for a /brief/ moment there's a tiny rumble of growl in his chest, it dies in its infancy, leaving him quiet and his expression thoughtful.
Having managed to remain perfectly dry, Billy curls himself away from the flapping of Dusk's wet wings. He laughs weakly in response, "/Everyone/?" Challenge accepted. A bad habit of his own, he leaves his prim, cream-colored windbreaker perfectly zipped up and all of his clothes completely on.
"Is that the one-" Already very soft-spoken, the blonde allows his voice to trail off into silence as he picks up on the spark of tension, "New neighbor?" In a self-soothing gesture, he crosses his arms over his chest. The fabric of his jacket makes a crinkling sound as he rubs it with his hands.
"Naaaah, told them reporters t'fuck off when they came sniffin' round," Mr. Legetti shares with a broad grin that exposes a missing tooth and a streak of the naughty. "Me'n my boys, we know when's to keep our mouths shut. You just sign there 'n holy Mary mother of God." Three guesses as to when he catches sight of Dusk of the impressive wingspan. Stubbly salt-and-pepper jaw sags. He stares.
Neve turns, clipboard and pen held poised for her signature. She doesn't stare but she does blink once--and those with senses attuned to such things will no doubt sense the coordinating lurch and rapid thrum of her heartbeat. She swallows once before turning back to the mover. The pen is scribbled against the bottom of the form before both items are pushed back into the older man's hands. "If that's everything, Mr. Legetti," she prompts.
"...yeah. Yeah? Yeah, that's everything." The mover drags his eyes away from Dusk and his guest, taking clipboard and pen in a rush. "I'll just see how the boys are getting on." Chivalry might be dead--he doesn't invite Neve /with/ him as he hustles towards the pair with the dolly, though surely he must have noted the batman's interest in her.
"Everyone," Dusk affirms again, though this time it's with a small bit of distraction. His wings rustle out in a brief half-stretch again, lips pulling back into a sharper wider grin when he notes the mover's staring. One wing curls in a small wave. The grin dies again as the man moves off, a touch of colour in his pale cheeks and a slooow breath dragged in. "New neighbor," he agrees, all traces of growl gone from his voice though now it's a little /too/ calm. "You follow news much?" He's approaching Neve at a slow saunter, wings tucking neatly against his back. "Settling in alright?" For all his usual habitual warmth his tone now has gone flat-dead.
Billy widens his eyes, his head bobbling as he keeps pace with Dusk, "Not if I can help it." It's with uninformed innocence that he smiles to Neve. "Hiya!" A thumb shoots out, gesturing towards the retreating Mr. Legetti, "I always say that I'm going to hire movers next time. It's so much less to worry about!" His light eyes flick between Neve and Dusk awkwardly and he takes in a breath - perhaps in preparation to babble some more.
By the time they get near enough to be within hailing distance, Neve has slipped her hands into the front pocket of her jeans and fixed a mild expression in place. There's a small smile to tilt things towards the pleasant end of the spectrum, though it appears only after Billy's attempt at tension-smoothing. She dips her head to him first as a result, two parts greeting and one part gratitude. "Fewer worries is worth the expense, if you can manage it. Hello." Brown eyes cut up towards Dusk, a glancing moment of study to gauge what look he wears. The look is broken when she dips a nod to him as well. "Hello," she repeats. "So far it seems to be going smoothly. Smooth enough. I've been fortunate, it's lovely here."
"I got rid of the need for movers by getting all my shit blown up." There is a small huff of laughter given with this statement, as well as, "Probably wise, news is fucking unhealthy. Enough to drive a man to drink." Not that Dusk needs many /excuses/ to imbibe, especially lately. Not a man given much to stoicism, it's easy enough to read the tension in the set of his jaw, the pained tightening of his eyes. "You've been hella more than fortunate. Fortunate implies /luck/, what you've had is more than your share of /good/ people." There's an uncomfortable edge creeping into his tone that suggests he /doesn't/ class himself in here.
Looking on helplessly, Billy perseveres to retain the same dopey smile. "I've always thought of luck as sortof an umbrella term that includes like, good... people," he offers positively, a cartoonish bead of sweat appearing on his temple. "I don't think understand what's happening," he whispers from behind his still gritted, white teeth. He takes a step back, unintentionally startling himself with Dusk's wing.
Neve takes a short breath when Dusk speaks. Another when he finishes. There's strain in her smile but it seems the sort that puts a little more height into her posture. "There are many good people here, it's true," she says on the heels of Billy's statement. "And I /am/ fortunate to be allowed their company. Though I would rather not make anyone uncomfortable, so perhaps I should see to my things. My apologies. I hope you enjoy your evening." Some ease enters the curve of her lips as she nods to Billy again. After a minor hesitation, the same courtesy is given to Dusk before she turns to find the path taken by the movers. The mattress has disappeared through that distant and open door but Mr. Ligetti stands just outside, watching the trio.
"You're kind of a little too late for that," Dusk answers Neve's statement with a short breath of laughter. His wing curls out when Billy startles into it, mantling almost protectively over and above the other man. He takes a half-step back, chin dipping sharply in answer to Neve. "-- I coded you a keyfob," he remembers with a belated frown, as though suddenly remembering that he /had/ had something to say. "I'll have to --" His lips press together briefly. "-- put it in your box tonight." His wings tuck back behind him, his breath rushing out in a heavy exhale. "She helped torture one of my friends get my brother killed," he explains without actual /preamble/ or any lowering of his voice to match Billy's whisper. "There might be an. /Adjustment/ period."
Expression slackening, Billy turns to consider Neve as she leaves. "Let's go," he gently coaxes Dusk, reaching out to try and place a hand on his. He keeps the million or so questions that spring to mind to himself. Even the compliment, of being impressed that Neve is still alive, is held back. His sneaker squishes against the soggy ground as he takes the first example step forward.
Retreat is hampered by something requiring a response but Neve only half-turns back towards the pair. "Yes, thank you. That would be fine." Both face and voice are schooled to mildness, betraying nothing of her thoughts--though surely she /heard/ him. She turns away and hastens up the path, a hand raised to hail the mover. Caught at staring, the man raises his hand in return and then ducks inside. Neve soon follows him.