The most populous of the boroughs, Brooklyn has nothing if not character. With a thriving music and arts scene, and a distinctive New York slant to its stereotypical gritty accents, Brooklyn ranges from the high-cultured to the very much working class. From botanical gardens to beachfronts, Manhattanites might like to think their borough is the only one that matters, but Brooklyn has a lot to offer of its own.
Overcast skies and the smell of snow on the air don't really seem to phase the people of Brooklyn. The buildings and bustle, coupled with the steam rising from grates in the pavement, seem to create a warmth that gets inside a person. It's still pretty damned cold, though. Dan is walking along the street, dressed in heavy jeans and an army flak jacket over a thick cabled sweater in purple. On his feet, heavy military-issue combat boots, and on his head is a wool cap, pulled down to cover the tips of his ears. The ex-soldier moves slowly as he walks, one gloved hand extended at his side where his little finger is clasped firmly by a girl of no more than three or four. Dressed in pink jeans and a green t-shirt with a picture of an orange pony with a cowboy hat on the front under a /fuzzy/ hooded winter coat of cream, the most remarkable thing about her is her skin. Where it's visible (which is to say, her face), her skin is a uniform shade of amethyst, and her hair, where it falls over one eye messily, is violet. She hop-skips at Dan's side, babbling on in a stream-of-consciousness that seemingly has no end.
"--an' then Mickey said he was gonna tickle me till I peed, but I told him I would pee on /him/ if he did. Isn't that funny, Daddy? Then he said he would put my head in /poop/." She giggles, clapping a mittened hand over her mouth. "I said a bad word."
Dan grunts a laugh, his expression not matching the outburst as he watches those passing carefully, his head pulled down into the collar of his coat. "You can say poop."
"You said it, too!" Colleen clamps the mitten tighter, giggling furiously. "Aunt Katy's gonna wash your mouth with /soap/, an' make you go to 'fession."
"She's done it before, kid."
And so on, as they go.
The building Rasheed is emerging from does not look like anything much, one lean brickfaced building among a host of other lean brickfaced buildings. There is a small sign pointing people to "Youth on Fire", an arrow marking the way down stairs into the basement levels. Rasheed is climbing up the stairs, dressed neat if nondescript; khakis, dark sweater, dark coat.
He is in company with a younger boy, mid-teens, perhaps, dressed scruffy-messy in mismatched layers and uneven dreadlocks poking out from beneath his knit caps. "-- just /saying/ he didn't have to be getting all in my /face/ like that, you know what I'm saying? Like there is a /time/ and a /place/ and I ain't /coming/ here to be starting no shi-- shiiiiiiiit," this impassioned rant cuts off midway through, the teenager doing a quick doublestep backwards away from Dan and Colleen, "Shit, girl, Halloween ain't for months."
Rasheed has been listening, up till now, with quiet hums of acknowledgment, but this last draws a frown from him. He looks from the boy, to Dan, down to Colleen. "Apologies," he says, in an even tone, and just as even to his companion, "Malik, do not forget your appointment next week. I don't imagine there'll be another incident."
"But I mean shit, you see that?" the boy is saying, a little wide-eyed as he walks -- backwards, to keep an eye on Colleen -- towards a bus stop.
Crap. People come out of nowhere, around here. But Dan's a hometown boy, and he manages to pull up before there's a collision, eyes narrowing at the dreadlocked boy's words to Colleen. "You got a fuckin' problem, kid?" Dan's growl is instinctive, and he pulls his hand back around behind him in an attempt move his daughter there, too.
It doesn't work, as the little girl pokes her head around the man's legs Colleen is undeterred by the boy's repulsion, flashing him a tiny grin. "Halloween was before Christmas," she says helpfully. "I was a ninja turtle. This year, I'm gonna be a pirate, though. Or a fairy. Or a truck. I like your hair, 'cause it looks like pasghetti." She looks up her father, coming around him to point. "Do you see, Daddy? He's got pasghetti hair, like that man on Brendan's CDs."
Dan tugs his hand. "Leave the kid alone, baby. He likes his hair like that." Rasheed gets a nod. "No harm done," he grunts, peering down at his daughter, who waves cheerily when Malik moves off. "Kids are kids, I guess."
"A truck," Rasheed echoes with some small bemusement, watching as Malik heads away. He pauses with a slight frown at a buzzing in his pocket, stopping to lean against a cement post by the stairwell to check the message. His eyes flick up from the screen to Colleen, then to Dan. "His attitudes are hardly exclusive to the young," he says, with a slight thinning of already-thin lips.
Colleen brightens when Rasheed speaks, and whips her face around to beam at him, eyes the same shade of brown as Dan's shining brightly. "Yeah! My cousin Mickey said he would make a costume for me. He's real smart. Is that your son?" she asks, pointing after Malik. "How come you don't have pasghetti hair?" She turns a curious look on the older man, hanging from her father's finger as she leans forward. "My Aunt Katy has orangey-hair, but my daddy has regular brown hair, an' they're brother and sister. And he's tall and she's short. But Mickey, Brendan and Jason are all brothers an' they look all the same. Isn't that funny?"
Dan looks uncomfortable at his daughter's ease in talking with strangers, and tugs at his hand lightly, frowning at Rasheed's words. "True, but I hope that adults would be a little more cautious in how they expressed it." His mouth presses tight in imitation of Rasheed's expression. "If he was five years older and pulled that, I'd have knocked his teeth down his throat."
"No," Rasheed says, very mildly, as he frowns at his phone, "we are both brown but that is about as far as our similarities go. I have no children." He glances up with a slightly puzzled expression at Dan. "Would you?" It sounds a little confused. "Is that being cautious?"
"Oh." Colleen is momentarily flummoxed by this information, and then her brow furrows before lifting helpfully. "I'm purple," she says. "But I don't know any other purple people. Aunt Katy says that's what makes me extra-special."
"Baby, that's enough," Dan says, tugging his hand with more meaning, pulling his daughter firmly to his side. "Little kids shouldn't pester grown-ups. It's rude."
"But Father Mike said --"
"I said that's enough," Dan's tone hardens when Collen begins to protest, and she falls into a meek, shy silence, ducking her head into her hood. Dan offers an apologetic look to Rasheed, and lifts a shoulder. "If someone lacks the discretion to keep their mouth shut, they deserve what they get, right?" he asks, lifting his eyebrows. "That's a lesson I've learned more than once, in pretty much the same way."
"Ah --" Rasheeds mouth opens, then closes. "I have met some other purple people," is what he says first, slowly, but he's looking at Dan and not Colleen. Straightening, slipping his phone back into his pocket. "Many people lack discretion. We still, ah, make laws against assault. There is a far stretch between a rude quip and physical violence." He tugs his jacket down, slipping his hands into his pocket and edging back a half-step. "I've never really been very clear on the concept of who deserves what. The world doesn't seem to work with the same sort of balance people like to imagine it does."
"I think it's different, when your kid is involved," Dan says, looking down as his arm is tugged when Colleen turns to watch a Corgi waddle by on a leash, apparently not hearing grown-up words. "She might not understand what they're saying, but that doesn't mean she has to hear it." He frowns, and rubs at his chin. "I don't mean that punching him would have been my first option," he clarifies. "But he's the sort of guy who'd probably wind /up/ being punched in the mouth, you know?"
"I can balance real good," Colleen suddenly offers, although she doesn't look at anyone when she says it, balancing on one toe wobbily. "I'm gonna be a gymnasium."
"I don't know," Rasheed admits, with a slight dip of his head and another half-step back. "I admit I have never been punched in the mouth. Or punched. It's not generally how problems are resolved in --" He shrugs a shoulder, a little stiffly. Colleen gets a blank look, for a moment. "-- Gymnast," he corrects, reflexively. "That is a, ah, nice dream you have."
"Different worlds," Dan says, with a similar lift of his shoulder. "In my circle of friends, you could get punched in the mouth for a lot less. Old habits, eh?"
"Gymnast," Colleen repeats, and nods. "But it's not a dream. It's what I'm gonna be. I dream about candy and sharks and sometimes Mickey an' Brendan, an' Applejack," she says, gesturing at the pony on her shirt. "But those are only when I'm sleeping. Dreams aren't for being awake." She says this in a patient tone, as if grown-ups just don't know any better. "Uncle Brian says it's better to have golds than dreams, 'cause you can actually get your golds."
"Different worlds." Rasheed offers this agreement in a clipped sort of tone, his eyes dropping to look at Colleen. "Dreams are for any time," he says, looking away up to the sky instead, "though some better suited for a world we don't now live in."
Dan's brow lowers lightly at the clipped tone, but he doesn't say anything, looking down at his daughter as she tries to understand the older man's comment. "Uh. Okay, Mister," she says, her brow lowering much like her father's, and she pokes out her bottom lip. "You talk funny," she decides, and then tugs at her father's hand, glancing at Rasheed as she beckons Dan to lean down, and makes a show of stage-whispering in his ear. "Daddy, I'm cold, and I have to /pee/."
Dan raises back to stand, a smile playing on his lips. "Ah...we should go," he says politely. "It was nice talking with you, Mister...?"
"Doctor," Rasheed answers, neutral-polite, "Toure." He nods his head to the pair, small and curt, and, hands in his pockets, turns to head off to hail a cab.
"Dr. Toure," Dan repeats, and nods. "Dan Rourke." He doesn't bother to introduce Colleen, instead giving her a light tug as he moves off. "Have a good day." Then he's leading Colleen down the street, her cheery babble trailing well behind them.