The Damage That Can't Be Seen


colette_icon.gif felix_icon.gif judah_icon.gif

Scene Title The Damage That Can't Be Seen
Synopsis After a talk with her sister Colette is visited by Felix and her adoptive father.
Date February 19, 2010

St.Luke's Hospital

The sounds of heels on tile make discernable clicks as Nicole makes her way from her sister's bedside to the door. Metronome quality cadence of footsteps followed by the subtle creak of its hinges and the click pop of an opening latch. There's a pressurized hiss of the hydraulic hinge at the top of the door as it slowly winds closed.

When the door closes, Colette looks up at the ceiling, her neck muscles tensing and tear-filled eyes welled up again. She's silent, here in that hospital room, for a good long time. When her eyes come down, she looks out the window instead, not to communicate with the man in the sky, with a God she isn't sure hears her. But with a god of smaller things, and someone who has an importance in her heart where faltering faith should be.

Watching the nighttime snow fall outside, Colette offers a faint smile to her reflection. Being here, in the hospital, has made her realize the most difficult thing she's got to be willing to do, and it's what all children eventually do decide. To start taking responsibility for their own lives, move on, and transition from child to adult. It's not easy, and it's what Colette's been running from all this time, and why the Ferry is the only thing that's made her fill fulfilled.

She smiles, to her reflection in the glass, not because she's happy, but because it comforts her and reminds her of what she's forgotten the most. That no matter how hard taking responsibility of your own life and mistakes is…

…she doesn't have to do it alone.

The sound of the door to room 23 clicking open again has her realizing this, as she turns her head to look from the window. There, in the doorway, stands the lanky figure of Felix Ivanov, one arm bend and weight braced on a hospital crutch. In the unlit room, Colette's eyes look more gray than green and artificial lighting from the parking lot out the second floor window shines yellow across her face in narrow slats through the open blinds.

She's been crying, but that's not much of a surprise with all things considered. Laying there in the bed, she doesn't raise a hand to wave to Felix, just watches him with a worried expression crossed over her face. The bruising on her cheek, across the side of her face and onto her temple looks worse than it really is, the tiny flecks of red where blood vessels broke under the skin from her impact with the street are a temporary reminder of how lucky she is that it wasn't worse.

The damage that can't be seen is worse, physically and metaphorically.

Fel, for his part, doesn't look too much worse off. Only a very little bruising on his cheek, and that crutch. And after Danko and Co's efforts, well, he's an expert on crutches. The Russian's narrow eyes are sad, and he stumps over to sit in the seat so recently vacated by Nicole. The timing's suspicious. Perhaps he was lurking in the hallway.

He doesn't say anything to her, not yet. No doubt waiting in turn for her to speak. To upbraid or accuse him. Odd, that he doesn't launch into apologies.

The door starts to swing shut on its own, but before it has the opportunity to clap shut on Felix's heels, a large hand catches its edge and narrowly avoids crushing its knuckles against the frame. If the Russian wasn't lurking in the hallway, then the shadow that next fills the door almost certainly was; dressed in a dark jacket, darker pants and a black scarf wound round a thick, muscular neck, the broad-shouldered shape of Colette's adoptive father follows him in without even a word of greeting.

That he does not immediately go to the young woman's bedside says something about the dynamic these three share. Instead, he opts to hang back and adopt a lean against the wall by the door, arms folded across his chest and large hands curled around his elbows.

Maybe he isn't saying anything because he's already shouted his voice hoarse dealing with the hospital staff. He has that cantankerous look about him, something between cross and haggard.

Good Cop/Bad Cop typically implies that one of the two interrogative forces is more plesant to deal with than the other, instilling a sense of trust with the subject of the tactic; This is decidedly more Bad Cop/Bad Cop. Were it not for having gotten out the lion's share of her crying with Nicole at her bedside, Colette may well break out into tears right there and then. But, when it looks like the tightness at the corners of her eyes and the way her throat works up and down suggests tears, she swallows it back with an exasperated breath, barely stilling the wobble of her chin as she quietly croaks out; "Hi."


After having been absent from Judah's apartment for over a month save for sporadic pops in when he wasn't even home, coupled with the fact that she had been feeding Nicole and Judah both with the tried and true misdirection of "I'm staying with Dad" or "I'm staying with Sis" when neither was in fact true, a simple 'Hi' barely begins to put together the litany of words she'll need to string up to explain herself.

Running headlong into an oncoming car aside.
As Judah enters, Fel heaves himself up. Almost as if the detective were some superior he needed to report to. He doesn't say anything, not yet. Colette gets to explain first. He has no glasses on, which might explain the squint with which he favors the other man. His face is drawn, tired, and very nervous. There are uncertain looks at the girl in the bed, and he offers, finally, "I could leave you two alone?"

Judah lifts one hand from its opposite arm to scrub the backs of his fingers over his jaw, blunt fingernails catching in the stubble that he's allowed it to accumulate over the last four or five weeks. The circles under his eyes have nothing to do with the structure of his face; as usual, he hasn't been sleeping and has probably spent the last forty-eight hours subsisting on a diet of caffeine pills and the strongest coffee that the precinct's bullpen has to offer.

Between Colette's three guardians, Felix is the only one who isn't legally related to her, but that doesn't make him any less of a family member if she desires to think of him as such. Tamara, too, is a part of their mismatched unit. Judah has no right to ask him to leave; in spite of everything, this is a decision he leaves entirely up to Colette, and he communicates it with tacit silence.

Of course this all hinges on her saying something. Colette hisses out a sigh and uplifts her eyes to stare at the darkened lights at the ceiling. "…I'm sorry," is perhaps the best beginning to what she could possibly say, but teenage defensiveness doesn't allow the intelligent design of her communicative skills to remain. "I— don't know what else you want me to say." Jaw tense for a moment, Colette carefully turns her head, regarding Judah where he stands at that distance.

Saying she's sorry and being sorry are two largely different things, and both Judah and Felix have been in their line of work long enough to be able to read between the lines of her particular apology to find the understated, …because I got Felix hurt that needs to be ammended to her sentence. She's not sorry about anything else, because she's an unrepentant teenager.

"I— I don't know what else…" Colette's eyes wander down to the floor, and her jaw unsteadies with that arrhythmic wobbling. She's struggling to keep it together, but the silent interrogation isn't helping.

"Why did you run from me?" It isn't the interrogator's bark he was so prone to using. Someone beat the Bad Cop out of Fel of late, along with a good deal of the stuffing. He's genuinely puzzled, and his voice is a gravelled rasp. "Don't apologize to me, explain. If I've become something you're afraid of, I need to know -why- and -what happened-. You damn near got yourself and me killed out of rabbit-brained panic. Has someone been talking to you about me? Or nefarious government plans for the Evolved in general?"

Felix's line of questioning causes Judah to direct a look over his shoulder at the door. It is, of course, closed. Perhaps to encourage quieter speaking voices, he ventures several paces closer and comes to stand behind Felix in the chair, one hand resting on its back and the other steered into his jacket pocket.

Brown eyes with the sharpness of a hawk's settle on Colette's face as though he might somehow be able to determine whether or not there's any truth in her answer. He's just as interested in it as his companion is, if for slightly different reasons that cannot be conveyed by his guarded facial expression or his body's stilted language.

"Stop— " Colette almost immediately hisses out before cutting herself off with an exasperated sound, mouth staying shut and a shallow breath sucked in through her nose before she begins again, this time with less venom. "I didn't want to talk, I— " Nervous eyes wander to Judah, the kind that he's seen in abuse victims and the kind he'd seen in Colette when he had that conversation with her at the Night Owl with Kaydence when they first met. When she looks back to Felix, it's clear she's still being cagey.

"Nobody's said anything about you. I dunno if anybody I know even knows you." Dark brows crease together, and Colette's neck muscles tighten as she makes a ragged swallow. "I ran because you wouldn't leave, and— and I didn't want to talk to you— to anyone." When Colette looks up to the ceiling again, she raises a hand to wipe at thhe bottoms of her eyes, staving off tears that almost started flowing again.

"I'm sorry I ran…" She's still apologizing. "I just— I— " There's a look to Judah now, nervous. She's told him things that she hasn't told Felix. "I— don't want to tell you something that— you— you have a job and— " Colette's fingers curl into the blankets that cover much of her body, and biting down on her lower lip she looks away.

"Bad… things happened." Colette finally rasps out, knuckles white and grip on those blankets crumpling the fabric between her fingers. "Vv— very bad things. I'm sorry."

"Well, stupid medal aside, ideally, no, no one knows me," Felix says, more quietly. "That's the point. If what you're doing is in supposed conflict with what my job demands of me, and thus, likely what Judah's demands of him…..Colette, what -are- you doing?" He shifts in the cheap plastic chair, trying to ease the ache of bruises. "Do you really think I'm going to rat out you and your friends because you're smuggling people into Canada, or something. I'm not with La Migra," There's a hint of impatient laughter in his voice,a little wry. "And if it's worse….are you going to wait until it blindsides the both of us? Like….no one who's supposedly friends with Gabriel Gray will talk to me about the fact that while he's supposedly a martyr, someone's out there killing just the way he used to."

Felix's presence in the room appears to be alleviating some of Judah's dourness, however slowly. He's never been good when it comes to relating with other people, which is probably why his superiors have always tried to avoid putting him in positions where he has to deal with the public except when it's to interview or interrogate someone. He's only broken the news to someone that their loved one has died a small handful of times; none of them ended well.

It may also be why he's never attempted a long-term relationship with anyone.

His throat contracts, swallows. The only noise he makes is the one produced by his breathing. No words, not even a low sound of affirmation. This is as difficult for him as it is for Colette, determined though he is not to let it show.

"Tavish— " No don't go down that road Colette. She bites back those words and does so by stilling her lips with her teeth, gently holding back reflexive responses. "I can't tell you what I do because— because I'm not supposed to. I— don't hurt anyone, I help people. I— " Consideration comes for a moment, and perhaps it seems like an honest admission but it still is something of a dot to allow others to be connected. "I spent the last few months doing charity work at Summer Meadows on Roosevelt Island. I— I spooned out food in a meal truck on Thanksgiving before coming home to dinner with Dad. I— I helped refurbish apartments and bring food to people who need it…"

And yet she can't tell Felix what she does.

"But— but there's a lot I can't tell you, because s'not safe, because I promised." That much seems to be the main point of contention, or at least the most convenient excuse. "But s'not why I ran from you, s'not— it— " One hand comes up to cover Colette's face, hand sweeping over her mouth as she tries to put in words exactly why everything has spun so far out of control to wind up here.

The simplest answer, is in a way the right one. "This all started with Danko." It's probably not the best answer, but it's the root of it all.

"Then you need to tell me about it," Fel's voice gets ever softer. So many of his rough edges have been abraded away over the past few months. Arrogance, certainty, assurance of his own stainless rectitude. He's worn and tired, shoulders hunched, hands resting on that crutch.

But the peculiar set to his jaw indicates that it's very far from being a request. "Emile Danko and I have a great deal between us to address." What a completely bizarre way to describe that particular relationship. Apparently mutual agony and torture puts you on a first name basis.

The reaction that Emile Danko's name inspires in Judah is not as subdued as the one Felix puts on display, but at the same time it pales in comparison to the vitriol Colette is used to hearing from some members of the Ferry whenever he's brought up in a discussion. His jaw tenses, and the fingers of the hand tucked into his pocket curl into a stout fist with nails that press into a rough, callused palm.

His back straightens and he lets out a slow hissing breath through his nostrils.

Chewing on her lower lip, Colette's green eyes angle out the window of her room, silent in consideration of how to best start this. "I've… been doing what I do for a while. I— I got inolved thorugh someone Tamara showed me to, a— pastor named Joseph. He ran this church, the one that got burned down." Green eyes flick back to Felix, pointedly. "The— the day what happened to you and Joseph happened I— Everyone had been looking for the two of you. Danko and his people raided a safehouse on Staten Island, he— he killed a bunch of people. We— we thought you and Joe might've already been dead. But— but when— "

Closing her eyes, Colette just barely misses being able to stop the tears that roll down the sides of her face. She breathes in sharply, then exhales a shuddering breath and slowly opens glassy eyes. "I freaked out. I— went to a friend, got a gun, he showed me how to fire it. I— I found a girl I know— a girl who has an ability to— to track people down just by thinking about them. I— I had her track down Danko for me, and I went after him myself. I— "

Jaw set, Colette's eyes wrench shut as she hiccups out an emotional sound, the tension of the interrogation style conversation starting to play with already frayed nerves. "I couldn't— pull the trigger. I caught him, I had him in an alley and I had the gun out and I— I couldn't do it." Straining out that sound, Colette looks away, ashamed.

People have said before, that her not pulling the trigger says more for her than if she ever had committed the act. But here in the face of Felix, a man tortured and hung by Danko, she still can't see their point.

It takes a few moments for that to sink in. Maybe it's one of those days when English R Hard 4 Immigrint. But once it does, Fel's jaw slowly drops. Lips parted, he just stares at Colette, completely aghast, for a long, silent few moments. And then the thoughts are bubbling up like boiling water, and he's all but tripping over his own tongue.

"That's simultaneously one of the bravest and most idiotic things I have ever heard," he says, and there's a funny wheeze in his voice like he's really having trouble breathing. "This girl, you couldn't loan her to me so I could, oh, bring in whatever's out killing Evolved by opening their skulls?" He's tensed, like he's going to launch himself out of his seat, before he forces himself to relax, digging his nails into his thighs, making little dents in the wool of his pants. "And that's fine, Colette. That means I get to." The concentratred viciousness in that one offhand statement should be eating its way through the worn linoleium flooring to the lower levels, like a drop of acid on a deck.

The hand that had been resting on the back of Felix's chair comes to clamp down on the other man's shoulder, pinning him to his seat. He gives it a firm squeeze hard enough to bruise if it weren't for the natural cushion provided by the material of his clothes. No one will be pulling any triggers as long as he's on watch, which — at least for the time being — he is.

Satisfied that this one gesture is capable of conveying the disapproval written in the harsh lines of his face, he abruptly releases his grasp on Felix's shoulder, steps around the chair and finally comes to settle on the edge of Colette's bed. That same hand finds her face with none of the roughness apparently reserved for Felix, and firmly cups her chin in the seat of his palm to hold her still while he uses his thumb to brush a strand of hair behind her ear.

That single and simple gesture of wordless kindness seems to matter all the world to Colette. In the brush of the hand to her cheek, she does not flinch away, instead there's a slow close of her eyes, and the unbruised cheek leans gently against Judah's palm, enough so that she can ever so gently brush her nose against the inside of his hand. Her breath's warm on the skin of his palm, cheek damp from the tracks tears had made. She seems so small when his hand holds her like this, more fragile and delicate than Colette might wish herself to seem. In that moment, she's still the half-blind young girl who crawled into Judah's lap and told him she loved him the day he adopted her.

When her eyes open and she looks up to Judah, though, it's hard not to see that she's grown in the two years since. "It didn't stop with Danko…" Colette admits in a hushed tone of voice, looking from Judah to Felix. "I— I got really resentful of m'self after that. I— I felt terrible about not being able to save anyone. I just— I spent a lot've time trying to figure out things and… then when I finally confided in Joe and told him what I did, he told me— he said he was proud that I didn't." Colette swallows noisily, breathing in a shallow and mindful breath— it hurts too much to breathe deep— and grows thoughtfully silent.

"Joe vanished again. We— we thought it was Danko. Nobody knew what happened to him, where he'd gone… we couldn't— " Green eyes angle to Judah, "we couldn't go to the police." It's said as an apology, as if she didn't mean to slight Judah by it. "Because— because Joe'd been staying at a safehouse, an' if they searched his apartment, we— we just— " Wetting her lips, she dithers and considers how to approach the topic.

"I spent the next couple of months trying to track him down. The girl…" Colette's attention diverts to Felix. "The one who finds people, she's— kind've like Tamara, but not— but not. She's hard to find." It's hard to say not insane and still say it lovingly. "We didn't know who else to turn to, and when we finally did find out where Joe was, it— it— he was held by this doctor. Her name's Bella Sheridan…" Colette's green eyes alight to Judah again. "She was some psychiatrist or something, and she kidnapped Joseph to use for— for some tests with that weird glowy blue drug thing. I— I got a bunch of people together, and we sort've— tried to bust him out. I did something…"

Colette swallows tensely. "I did something stupid and got caught by her security team, they— " Colette's eyes fall shut, "they locked me up, she— did things… I— " Cohesion is lost as Judah feels the dampness of tears staining his aplm again, and hears the hissing quality of her breath as she struggles not to break down. "She tortured him. She— she did terrible things…" To us is implied, but not said. It's hard to admit not only that it was her own fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but for being too weak to get herself out of it.

Judah's grip does make Felix wince. He's not made of iron - jaw and eyes tighten again. It was a foolish and intemperate thing to say in anyone's presence, let alone Judah's. But he doesn't bridle or apologize or retract it. Because it'd be a lie to even try.

But that stony expression softens, as Colette talks, replaced by something like horror. He looks to Judah to say something, because he can't muster the words. "Colette. Jesus. You should've come to us. Come to me….." His voice trails off.

Felix is looking in the wrong direction. Judah's only outward response is to wrap his arm around Colette's shoulders and pull her small frame into his chest, his other hand settling at the small of her back. He rests his chin on the very top of her head, stubble scratchy against her scalp, and meets the other man's gaze from beneath his lowered brows.

Although he's treating Colette very gently, there's something about the shape of his eyes and mouth and the rigidity of his back that suggests it's taking all his concentration not to clutch her to him so tightly that she crumbles in his arms.

Bella Sheridan, his expression seems to say. Did you get that?

That's really all it takes for Colette to break down again, the embrace. That subtle suggestion of security in Judah's arms bring Colette's up around her father, fingers curl in the fabric of his dark jacket and her face buries against his chest. It hurts, not emotionally but physically, from the bruising of her ribs, but this is the first time in a span of what may be over a year that she's been able to embrace Judah, and for however fleetingly long she can pretend that she's just his daughter, and that she's still his little girl— for as tentative as that arrangement has been.

Nosing at his chest, Colette lets out a weak, keening whimper before finally managing to choke back her emotions and suck a sniffling and somewhat snotty breath back into her lungs. As she slides out of Judah's arms to try and ease herself back down onto the bed, it's clear that the lack of a brace for her ribs has facilitated the need to not be sitting up.

Embarrassedly wiping with one hand at her tear and mascara streaked face. Running her tongue over her lips again, Colette offers an anxious and askance look to Judah, then over to Felix. "I'm sorry for— everything. I just— I can't tell you both everything. I can't…"

"Colette, this is suicide. This is…." Fel look around him, like the word he needs might've been scribbled on the floor. "Insane. Look at you.Suffering Christ. You can't conduct a one woman crusade against the likes of Emile Danko. Look at what you've already been through. Let us help you. This Sheridan - did you tell anyone in law enforcement?….." He trails off again, just shaking his head at her incredulously.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Felix Ivanov.

Judah's hand at Colette's back assists her slow descent until he's certain that he can take it away without hurting her. Only then does it shift to her leg and rest upon her knee through the hospital's starchy linens. If Colette told anyone with law enforcement about Bella Sheridan, her operation, or the things she did to her and Pastor Sumter, then he hasn't heard about it.

Something is happening behind his eyes that even Felix hasn't seen before. "Let it be, Felix," he says, and his voice is as soft as it is hoarse. When he breathes, his throat makes a strange hitching sound that's almost inaudible and isn't loud enough to be heard by anyone's ears except his own.

A small, pale hand reaches out to take Judah's from his side, and in that small gesture Colette offers what meager reassurance she can to her father. Silence is their language, more comfortably than awkwardly spoken words at least. A look, a touch, an embrace; Judah and Colette speak in puzzlingly both simple and complex ways to one another where words often do not serve them well. The slightly pulse of her hand gentle squeezing his fingers comes with suvh a subtly complex smile that the Mona Lisa may scratch her head. To Judah it's as plain as day, it simply means we'll be alright.

Green eyes move to Felix, and Colette offers a weary smile to him. "I didn't want to worry you…" Colette says somewhat breathily, "but there's so much more I could tell you both, I just— not now. Not until I'm ready… I just— I need you both to promise me something."

When Colette looks from Felix to Judah, her expression is somewhat more serious. "Promise me…" She manages an honestly nervous expression. "Promise me that you won't push me away— like I tried to do to you." Because from where she's laying right now, it keeps looking like a worse and worse decision.

The Fed gets that funny, pinched-lip look that means he's literally biting down on possible argument. "I promise," he says, after he exhales, slowly. "Listen. I should go," he adds, heaving himself up onto the crutch. Fear, criminals of the world, Tiny Tim is on the job.
Felix has partially disconnected.

Judah tracks Felix's movements as he rises from his seat on the chair and stands, leaning into the crutch for support. He's a lot like Jupiter in that respect. If dogs were allowed in hospital rooms, he'd be curled up at the foot of Colette's bed or under it, dark eyes locked on the fed.

In this case, Master will have to suffice instead. "I won't push you away," the man says, which is different than Felix's I promise, though the subtle difference between their vows won't become apparent until much later. He turns his hand and closes his large fingers around Colette's much smaller ones in a protective clutch.

The one thing Judah's always managed to make Colette feel is safe, and that seems to be no different now in the way he holds her hand. Her thumb brushes over his, and even when she levels green eyes to Felix, there's no real goodbye said, so much as there is just a faint smile. It may have taken getting hit by a car to reconsider her position on family, but late is better than never. When she watches Felix depart the hospital room, Colette uses her free hand to brace herself as she sits up off of the raised back of the hospital bed, throwing her arm around Judah's shoulder again and gently resting her head against his chest.

The touch of her nose against the fabric of his jacket is a subtle one, but familiar in the same motion. For the time being, she's endure the pain in her side for the comfort and feeling of security in the arms of a loved one. Perhaps it because she knows what Judah's been discovering more and more as of late, that she isn't his little girl any longer. But for the time being, safe and secure in Judah's arms she can at least pretend nothing has changed for a little while longer.

She doesn't need to say it to either Felix or Judah, in their wordless language it's implied in the subtleties of looks and gestures. But perhaps just this once it can be spared in a whisper.

"I love you."

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