A Petal From The Beast's Rose


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title A Petal From The Beast's Rose
Synopsis Colette and Tasha come to ask a favor of Brian.
Date February 19, 2011

Bay House

"One… two.."

The silence is palpable, nearly deafening. For someone not used to it, it could easily grate the wrong way. Working in silence of course, is good. But expecting something and getting nothing can be a little maddening. There is no grating noise as the large generator is set in the wheelbarrow, no noise as the wheel turns and crunches the gravel below it. There's not even a noise when Brian mouths,


A partly agitated glance is sent down to Lance. Though the generator is placed into the wheelbarrow soundlessly, Brian waves his hands just as silently.

Dressed in layers, Joe and Lance align themselves on either side of the wheelbarrow. Joe's hands gripping the right handle as Lance's deftly grasp the left. The two start to lift before a constipated groan is let out from Lance's lips. Which earns a quiet chuckle from Brian. Stepping from the side, Brian goes to corral the two backwards, grabbing the wheelbarrow himself. Giving a directional gesture with his chin, Joe quickly goes to stand in front of the door so that Brian and Lance can filter through.

Rain is dropping lightly on the Brooklyn waterfront. The clouds overhead making the afternoon seem like early morning. And despite Brian and his two boys moving in down the long tunnel, Brian remains. Standing in front of the hidden entrance into the tunnel that leads to the Jamaica Bay house, Winters waits against the doorway with his arms folded. He told them to meet him right here. This isn't that hard to find.

He glances up at the rain before pulling his beanie down some. A light sigh brushing out of his lips.

"They're late."

It's as good an assumption as any. The two young girls that Brian was expecting are late, because there's no sign of them. For the last year and change, Colette Nichols has been learning to take advantage of the assumption that something unseen is something unpresent. Learning to act quieter, hold breath when someone is close, walk in such a fashion as to not have a heavy-footed cadence. Deprive a person of two senses worth of input, and you might as well not be present.

Across Jamaica Bay, lights from the air strip out on the waterfront are distorted by the falling rain. It's only because of these lights that Brian gets one of those two senses back, seeing the way that falling rain is bending around something that isn't there. One of the first things that Eric Thompson taught Brian Winters how to discern when he was in the Company, was the presence of an invisible attacker. The old 'bag of flour' trick doesn't always work, not for people that bend light away from the surface of their body.

Rain, though, rain is ubiquitous enough to give away most any type of illusionist. The light-bending silhouette of two figures making their way across the shore towards the tunnel entrance are subtle, but enough of a presence that Winters finally recognizes that he isn't alone once they're within a few yards.

Slowly, ghosts of girls begin to form, semi-transparent black and white images of familiar young women in shades of light and dark. As color begins to be added, Brian recognizes the girl at the fore as Colette, if only just. She's skinnier than he remembers, high cheekbones unflatteringly accenting her thinness now. Dark circles shadow her eyes, reddened around the edges. Dark and greasy hair is matted beneath the dark hood of her sweatshirt, rainwater beading off of a fire-cracked leather jacket.

Held fast in one of Colette's hands is that of another girl, one stumbling as if through the dark behind her, until she starts to come visible. Tasha Oliver— Renard— Lazzaro— one of those three names— gets her footing sooner rather than later, led by a careful grip and slow pace of the half blind girl in front of her. All theatrics aside, they are still late.

Once full color returns to their forms, it may as well not have, for the dark clothing each girl wears, and their features painted mostly in pale skin and nearly black hair, and in Tasha's case, nearly black eyes. This winter has found Tasha in somber colors more often than not, something different for the girl who once wore a goldenrod plaid coat or neon green and hot pink Invader Zim sweatshirts, less than a year ago. Black coat, black cap, black Converse sneakers — the only color she wears is the dingy blue-grey of her skinny jeans. Those who know her better can probably assume that beneath them are some colorful socks, but given the climate and mood of late in her life, even those may be gray.

When Tasha sees Brian's form near the entrance, she lifts up her free hand, the other giving Colette's a squeeze. Once within speaking and not yelling range, she smiles. "Hey, Brian."

Eyes drifting over the mound of curving rain as if he didn't actually see it, a light smirk forms up his lips. Like a kid who can't keep a laugh in while playing hide and seek. The 'it' is passing by, and even though you're secure in your cubby you can't help but let out a little hsssssss of a laugh. Turning some to face the pair of invisible girls, his smile broadens into a less mischievous and more familial one. Though his brow raises some when he realizes there are two of them. Doesn't matter.

When Colette is finally fully visible, his eyes close for a moment. Lowering his head to 'look' down at the ground, he takes a deep breath. Eyes popping back open he gives Colette a smile full of adoration. "It's been a long time." He murmurs, voice trying to keep down the excitement that he's feeling. It has been a long time. And it's good to see her again. Even if she looks a little gay. No pun intended.

Glancing over to Tasha, the smile fades back a bit but remains civil. "Hey Tasha." The greeting is returned before he looks to Colette. Stepping forward, his arms fan out in order to snag Colette into a hug.

Surprise squeaks into the back of Colette's throat, she tenses up in Brian's arms, forgetting how to do anything other than hold her breath through the embrace, and Brian recognizes the stink of cigarette smoke clinging to her clothes and hair. Surprise crosses the young woman's features, mismatched eyes wide. She'd forgotten how close she and Brian are— or were— in the time that's passed between when they last saw each other. It's easy to let distance and time blur the memories of familial closeness, but Brian's hug reinforces in Colette's memory just how important he was to her for a very long time.

That Colette actually returns the hug is surprising, arms winding around Brian's waist and Colette's rain-dampened forehead pressing against one shoulder. She's silent through the hug, save for the noise of an audible swallow as her fingers curl into the back of Brian's jacket.

When she leans away, only just enough to look up at him, Colette's smile is a bittersweet one. Reunions like this should come with catching up, with fond memories, with anything other than what she's actually here for. This isn't going to be a happy reunion, these aren't happy times.

"Hey," is short, if only because Colette sounds choked up, her voice cracking in the single syllable. Lips press together, mismatched eyes avert to her feet, then back over her shoulder to Tasha as she slips out of the embrace. Colette reaches out, curling fingers in Tasha's sleeve, then looks back to Brian. "Can— we go inside?" It sounds hesitant, is hesitant, the new environment elicits a certain sense of wonder in the teen.

The Ferrymen haven't been sitting still while she's been on their periphery. Realizing that the world isn't standing still for her is humbling.

There's a slight furrowing of Tasha's brow as she watches Colette move to hug Brian; her now empty hand moves to tuck into her pocket, as she stands back, letting the two reunite. It's another reminder that there was a life before her for Colette that she never quite feels she fits into, no matter how trusted she is with jobs and secrets within the Ferry's network.

Her brown eyes study her toes, but dart up when she hears the husky quality of Colette's voice, sensitive to the emotions that play through the timbre and tone. When her arm is tugged, fingers curl once more around Colette's, and she nods, moving forward, though staying a little behind, letting Brian lead Colette lead her.

Dipping his head, his eyes close. He was never close to Colette. Hadn't met her until the Lighthouse was rebuilt. Until he took control of the children in his clone's stead. But the feeling that warms in his chest, is something he can't describe. Not all of the memories are there. But deep down below all that Company training and murdering there lies a quality that is distinctly Fulky. And it's happy to see Colette. Taking a deep breath as her arms wind around him, his eyes open when she looks at him.

"Hey." He answers smoothly dropping his arms back around his side. He gives a light nod. "Yeah in this way. Lance and Joe will be real excited to see you two." Two. It is common knowledge by now that the children not affected by the flu have been moved off PLAGUE ISLAND. "Lily is here too. And the babies. But obviously, the babies can't be kept out here." Ducking his shoulder around a crevice in the wall. Walking past a large water grate, he beckons them over his shoulder. Pushing into the moss and overgrowth infested wall. And actually pushes through it. Motioning with his head he smiles gently. "Just start walking down the tunnel." He smiles lightly.

As they do, Brian closes the fake-wall-door behind them and takes lead into the long expanse of the tunnel-way. "So.. We don't even have to make our own escape route. Some really old alcoholics did it for us. I figure we'll just take some black paint and slap the number TWO on the side of the building. For the Lighthouse two? I think we can house like twelve in the actual house. And with some work, we should be able to make the cellar live-able. Just.. Gonna take a lot of generators and gas, you know? If you guys want you can stay here. It's not ready by any means. But living here is better than living with the flu, right?"

One hand holding Tasha's, Colette lifts her free hand as Brian gives an explanation of the tunnels and the building. Her palm begins to glow, before a faint disc of light spins into slowly swirling existance a few inches away from her palm, composed of tiny fire-fly like motes of goldenrod colored light. The glow flickers like candlelight off of the cold, damp stone walls of the tunnel.

As she walks, Colette's boots clomp across the hard ground underfoot, mismatched eyes alighted to the subtly arched ceiling of the tunnel. "This— is amazing. I can't believe this place has just been sitting abandoned like this for so long…" Wondrous curiosity sounds more like the Colette Brian knows, more like the Colette Tasha fell in love with.

As the three walk down the tunnel, Colette's attention shifts back to Brian. "I— Tasha told me about the flu going around Pollepel. I— I'd wanted to go up there to talk to Raith, but— " Nervously, Colette looks down to the floor underfoot as she walks, her hand in Tasha's squeezing tightly. "I'm not— vaccinated. I— I don't— " Want to die is a reasonable worry.

Dark eyes flicker around the tunnel as they walk through, smiling as she shakes her head. "Amazing. I heard about places like this, but I never saw one. It's really cool, and I think perfect. Nice job finding it."

At Colette's tacit fear, she squeezes the other girl's hand, then reaches to wrap an arm around her waist. "You shouldn't go. I'll go for you, if you need," she says quietly, kissing Colette's cheek, then glancing at Brian. "Or Brian has someone there, too, so he could relay messages for us maybe, if it's not something you have to keep secret?"

The words lilt upward into a question, and Tasha's brows pique as well, looking into Colette's face. So much of what Colette does is a secret — there's an understanding implied in Tasha's tone, that it's all right. That she won't be angry if it's something that can't be discussed in front of her, in front of Brian.

Running his hand along the wall of the tunnel. Glancing up. "I figure we put like some tripwire thingies.. Some alarms to see if people are coming down this way. I was thinking about installing an extra door.. But I don't want to hinder a fast escape if it's what we need. Something to think about."

"No one will blame you for not wanting to go there." Brian murmurs quietly, smirking at the light she forms to guide their path. "Wasn't me." He deflects the credit for finding the place. He gives a light shrug. "I could talk to Raith. I'm there. And I haven't caught it." The way he says it seems to imply a word that he doesn't say. Yet. "So if you got a message…"

Glancing to Tasha he gives a little nod. Arching his brow at 'secrets'. He frowns lightly before looking back down to Colette. "Speaking of secrets.. So I'm guessing you didn't come back to see the kids. Or me." He gives a light shrug. "Something you need to talk about?"

Guilt crosses Colette's face, and Brian's accusation — truly shot — elicits a tightening of Colette's hand around Tasha's again. The photokinetic falters, pausing in the corridor for a moment, then looks down to the floor and back up, moving to catch up to Brian again. "I— I'm sorry it— I've… I've had a lot on my mind the last— last few months." It sounds strange to Colette, that months have passed since the downward spiral began.

"Um, I— I guess before I try'n explain anything, I need t'know how much you know about— about what's been going on." Sliding her tongue over her lips, Colette drops quiet as she tries to arrange her thoughts, slowing her pace down so as to walk side by side with Tasha behind Brian, curling one of her arms around Tasha's for support.

"I don't… I don't know if you heard, but— but my dad was one of the Ferrymen's people that was taken on the 8th. He'd— he was passing information to us from his job. He— he was a detective. A few weeks after the riots, I— I went to go see him at his apartment, and— and he'd been gone." Swallowing awkwardly, Colette's brows crease together and her mismatched eyes angle over to Tasha, then back up to Brian, continuing to follow him, her voice echoing softly through the tunnel.

"An Army Colonel named Heller took him. I— I found out from my sister that his partner turned him in, and Heller just— abducted him. No paper records, no— no nothing. I— it's my fault that he was working with the Ferry, it— it's my fault he got captured. I— " Colette's throat tightens and her voice cracks as her embrace around Tasha's arm tightens. "Heller killed a bunch of our people on the 8th. My friends. I— I wanted to ask you for help. I'm— I have people," and it sounds absurd for someone her age to say, but children grow up so dangerously fast in this world.

"People who've promised to help. Kaylee, Melissa, this— friend of hers named Perry. We're going after Heller. We're— we're going to rip the location of my father and our other abducted operatives out of his head, and— "

And then Brian can fill in the rest.

The smaller of the two teen girls is quiet as the other talks; her expression one of worry as her eyes dance between Colette's face and the path of the tunnel they walk along. She swallows uneasily, and gives a slight shake of her head at the names listed — hers very much missing, though not because she hasn't volunteered.

"My dad would probably help, too," she whispered. Almost a year ago, Colette had bubbled over with how much they had in common — both their fathers being "cops," both having ties to Boston. Now their lots are even more alike, except her father is free and Colette's is not. She frowns, and chews her thumbnail nervously before her eyes turn to Brian.

"I know a lot about some things. I don't know a lot about other things." He glances over to Colette, lips scrunching to one side of his face. "How much do you know about things going on? I think we might be involved in different things." Brian points out politely. Glancing over at her, "What things are we talking about?" He gives a little nod as she starts to divulge. "I know about your…dad." He gives a light nod. Brian's hand drops from trailing the tunnel wall as they move around a corner. They move into the first storage room that breaks the tunnel up. In which Brian stops to explain it, "There are two little.. Storage cubbies. On the way to the house. So.. I mean. If in a pinch. We could come grab guns or whatever…" He gives a shrug, waving his hand to continue through the tunnel.

"Heller." Brian repeats, arching his brow at Colette's 'plan'. "So when you say army, you mean like… The United States government army. Not the liberation army of the Maldives?" He gives a little nod. "Yeah.. The first is a little tougher." He closes his mouth for a long moment. Pausing in his walk he turns to face Colette. "Let me stop you right there.."

"You know the army has guns right? And evolved people, too? Like.. Just because we have a few special powers. Doesn't mean we have an advantage.. Do you have a plan? I don't know what Melissa and Perry's powers are.. if they have any. But right now it sounds like we have a bunch of invisible naked guys and a single telepath."

"Not like single.. not with someone. Like single. In number."

"Of course I have a plan!" The sudden raise of Colette's voice is defensive, coupled with a step forward away from Tasha and closer to Brian. It's only in the awkward silence after the outburst that Colette realizes how that sounded. Furrowing her brows, she looks down to her feet, teeth draw over her bottom lip and mismatched eyes flick back up to Brian, then around the storage cellar, squinting reflexively against the dark. Her fingers close around that disk of light, squeezing it until it pops into a few wandering firefly motes of light, casting the basement back into darker ambience. Now that she's not moving, Colette focuses her ability on a different form of illumination, the pupil on her good eye expanding as the ambient light in the room heightens, creating an odd, diffuse glow like sunlight reflecting off of water, shimmering on the walls.

Here is as good a place as any to talk.

"I— don't know if Perry has a power. Melissa's got— something, to do with pain. I've heard people talk about it. Like— she can inflict it or take it away." Looking over her shoulder to Tasha, Colette considers the offer of Vincent with some measure of anxiety, then looks back to Brian.

"You're… one'f the first people I've talked to. There's more. Gabriel, an' Raith, an' Eileen an' mister Doyle." Mismatched eyes shift to the side, then back to Brian. "I know what it sounds like, but it's not like I'm forcing anybody t'help. This is my choice, an' I'll do it with or without anybody's goddamn help if I have to."

Jaw set, Colette squeezes Tasha's hand again, pressing her lips together tightly as she looks down to the toes of her boots. "Until I konw who's gonna' help, I can't make a real plan. But— but the idea's to catch Heller either alone, or— or something. I'm not talkin' about like— like a war. It's just one guy. One guy who deserves t'die."

Colette, again, doesn't commit to asking Vincent for help. Her reasons for that are perhaps the only thing she's done lately that isn't selfish.

That Tasha doesn't push or press to be in the included names likely implies they've discussed this before. Her jaw sets tight and her eyes shine as she looks at Brian. "If we know who all is in, then we can come up with something before hand. It won't be all running off half-cocked, I promise. We'll plan it out, map it out, have back up plans, something before it happens."

Planning is probably the most she'll be allowed to contribute to the mission, but if it's all she can do, it's what she will do. "Right, Colette?" she says, a slight humorless smile curving her lips as she glances at the other girl, to get her to promise at least this much.

Arching a brow, Brian takes a half-step backwards at Colette's exclamation. He lets out a little smirk with a raggedy breath following. Standing out here in the open of this cubby is making him feel awkward. He needs something to sit on. Or lean against. Moving over to the wall, his hands are shoved into his pockets as he shoulders the wall.

Brian shrugs his shoulders lightly. "My fiancee can go through walls. She's a phaser." He tilts his head back. "If she could get us through.. and you keep us invisible." Winters the company agent, the strategist is talking at this point. The father of an unborn baby is busy thinking about storage cubbies. He will not be available to comment on throwing his pregnant girlfriend into a deadly situation until he stops thinking about cubbies. "That could work well." He hmms quietly.

"Where is he stationed?"

"Fi— " Colette clamps down before the surprised parroting of Brian's love-life is finished. A smile, ever so brief, crosses Colette's lips as her brows crease and eyes avert from the replicator. She envies his ability to be in more than one place, and she imagines it makes relationships easier too. That she's wrong would be a surprise.

"Um, he— Heller is stationed at Miller Airfield, you can see it from the Lighthouse. It's on the east shore of Staten Island, Cardinal says this Russian guy named Fedor used to work out of there before the government took all'v his stuff." Reaching out to Tasha, Colette lays a hand on her shoulder, then makes the conscious effort of sliding an arm around her shoulders to draw her in closer, indicative of both an attempt at inclusion and also the trust that she has been so lacking on.

"I tooks ome surveillance photos of Miller Field form outside of the Reclaimed Zone. I didn't wanna risk getting inside. They're on a camera I've got back at Grand Central. I was thinking— if we could get Raith involved, he might be able to figure out the best way to actually get in and get out with the stuff we got." Wrinkling her nose, Colette brushes one cracked leather sleeve over the tip to scratch an itch.

"If— if your, um, if your Fiancee?" Colette still seems awkward even thinking about Brian having a functional love-life, it's unexpected! "If she's willing t'help, that— that'd be rreally good. I've still gotta talk to Eileen, Raith, Doyle, and Gabriel. If I can find 'em, I'd like t'get McRae and his people in on this too, but I dunno if anybody's heard from him or his gang since the riots. If Mister Deckard's willing to help, I— I'd appreciate that too, but I still haven't figured out how t'get in touch with him. He's— I trust him, and he can see through shit like walls n'stuff."

Grimacing slightly, Colette lifts up one hand, scuffing the heel of her palm against her brow. "An'… an I think I might be able t'get Felix Ivanov t'help out too. I— I know he works for the government, but— but he was one of my dad's best friends, and— and I know if I asked, he'd do it." Colette's just afraid of the consequences of Felix potentially throwing his career away for her.

"Seeing through walls, plus a phaser, plus invisibility, plus an army of one with clone boy here is a pretty good start," Tasha says softly. "Raith has the weaponry and the strategy." She doesn't offer. She already has. The last time she held a gun in her hand in an attempt at a rescue, she ended up almost killed by a bullet to her throat.

Her eyes move from Colette's, and then back to Brian. "At least think about it — if we can get everyone else in line, it'll be a lot more plausible, but … you know. If we can say you're in, it might help them agree to help, too." Apparently she's acting as the campaign manager for this little campaign.

"Samara." Brian corrects. His Fiancee? It's Samara. He gives a level nod. His eyes narrow some as they're talking about Samara helping. How did this happen? Oh yeah he suggested it. The Brian that is going to be a father has woken up now, and is frowning deeply at the idea. "Umm.. Yeah. We'll see." He tilts his head. Glancing over to Tasha and then back to Colette. He fixes Colette with a stern look and cocks his head to the side.

"You're going to do this with or without me, huh?"

Dark brows lower, and Colette's answer to Brian's question comes with a curt nod. She swallows, tensely, following the affirmation and exhales a shaky breath, doing her best to try and keep eye contact. "It's my dad," is Colette's uneasu explanation, her voice cracking on that definition of purpose. "I know he'd do everything he could t'save me. I know— I know he wouldn't sleep— he wouldn't stop until I was safe. I love him, an'— an' I ain't gonna let him rot in some cell because I convinced him t'help the Ferry."

Guilt is a powerful motivator, almost as powerful as love.

"I won't stop, jus' because it's hard, or 'cause it's like I might fail. I— I ain't gonna' let anyone talk me outta' this." Tasha can feel the subtle tremor running thorugh Colette's body, both she and Brian can see the glassy quality of her eyes, watery with emotion. Lips twitch on the struggle to not break down in the middle of this conversation. She needs to appear strong.

"I'm in." Brian answers firmly, giving a light nod. "I'm making no promises for Samara. But I have a condition. If Heller is the one who rolled on Staten, he took a lot from me as well." A lot of dollars worth of machinery that he had collected over the time of being a Phoenix operative. As well as working five or more jobs at one time and spending it all on ammunitions…

"So. If there is any adynomine, or amphodynamine when we take Heller? I get it."

He looks up at Colette then over to Tasha, then back to Colette. "Deal?"

At the shine in Colette's eyes, Tasha's glimmer as well, but she simply tightens her grip on Colette's waist and leans her head close, dark brown against black. "I'm here for you," she whispers. "I'll help however I can." She knows it's pointless to tell Colette no — and she knows the guilt that Colette feels, all too well.

Her eyes move to Brian when he agrees, and she smiles a shy sort of thank you.

The names of those drugs send a chill down Colette's spine, memories of the dark room and experiments by Doctor Sheridan come back enough to make her taste bile in the back of her throat. Sliding her tongue over her lips and swallowing down emotion and sickness in the same motion, Colette manages another affirmative nod. Tasha's closeness does something to relieve Colette's worry, does something to help shoulder the burden of what is pressing down on her. She'd tried to do this on her own for long enough that she'd forgotten what it's like to have support.

Sweeping her tongue across her lips, Colette offers a series of short, thankful nods to Brian as she slides her arm from around Tasha to clear the distance between herself and the replicator. Her eyes say more than her silence can, says a lot about apology, about appreciation. When she does manage to find her words, it's with one single syllable that ties it all together.


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