Adaptation And Manipulation


kincaid_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Adaptation and Manipulation
Synopsis A date/business meeting turns into two people hanging out and trying to avoid talking about themselves.
Date December 5, 2010

Ice Skating Rink

There were only a few instructions given regarding this date that has been scheduled. Dress warmly being the main one, and with the weather the way it is, that could mean anything. Perhaps their dinner will be outdoors, or maybe he just expects long walks from the parking lot, but what she may not have expected is a rather echoy and loud building, with many people dressed warming. And rightly so, because it's still chilled inside.

It has to be, because of the ice.

Handing over some cash for a pair of rented ice skates, he looks over at the woman with him. "This is one of my favorite hobbies, though I've never been to this one." And from the fact he's renting a boot instead of bringing his own, maybe he doesn't do it as often as he might like. "I hope this is okay. I'm surprised there's this many people who still want to come inside to get cold."

Dressing warm is easy enough. Black is naturally warm, and Melissa is a sissy when it comes to dealing with the cold. She's too southern to enjoy it. But showing up at a skating rink has her looking surprised, and maybe even a little baffled. And…curious? "I've never been ice skating," she murmurs, moving over to where she watch the people already on the ice. "Tried once, didn't happen."

She's quiet for a moment as she watches, then she looks back to Kincaid, her expression curious. "Thought it was gonna be a business thing though? Talking about the Advocate and all that? Did you change your mind? Oh, and fully expect me to land on my face or ass. It's guaranteed to happen."

"Everyone falls on their ass or face, it's kind of a right of passage— ass is more likely, or knees, because usually your knees catch you before your face hits," Kincaid says as if speaking from experience, as he hands over money for her boot as well, after getting her estimated shoe size. "If it doesn't fit we can just come back and get another," he explains, as he carries both sets, one in a mysteriously bandaged hand, as he motions over to one of the benches near the actual ice, complete with locking lockers to store shoes and purses and other stray things.

"And we'll still talk about the show, I just…" he hesitates for a moment before sitting down and holding out her very black skating boots. "This is okay, right? If it's not we can go somewhere else." Even if he already paid for the time and boots both.

"What'd ya do to your hand?" Melissa asks curious as she heads towards a bench to sit down and take the skates. "And yeah, this is fine. Just threw me is all. And surprised me. One'n only time I tried to go ice skating it…well, I didn't get to the skating, and it ended up with me, one of my buddies, and a very large bottle of tequila that was quickly emptied," she says, shrugging and tugging her boots off to put on the skating boots.

Kincaid raises it up in a dismissive fashion. "I spilled coffee on my hand. It was hot, but it doesn't bother me really, I just cover it up cause it looks bad," and likely to avoid possible infection.

"I'm sorry that you didn't get to go— I… I learned how to skate cause I was always supposed to go with— I never got to go when I was little, so it kind of became one of those things I had to learn when I got older. I'll try to keep you from falling."

"Eh, don't worry about looks of stuff like that with me. Been hurt enough that it doesn't bother me anymore," Melissa says with a shrug, getting her second skate on, then peering down at them, then looking up at him. "You keep dropping little tidbits like that, Kincaid, and I'm not gonna have an easy time of not prying. I'm nosy, I'll tell you that now," she says, smiling.

But then it's back to worry about the skates. "Never actually put skates on before. I know I'm gonna fall. Maybe even before I get on the ice," she muses. But then she shrugs and grins. "Oh well. No pain, no gain." And up she goes, carefully, with a bit of a wobble once she's standing. But, luckily, she is normally fairly coordinated, so there's no falling right off the bat. Score!

"You're the curious type, huh?" Kincaid says with some amusement, as he stands as well, locking away their things into a locker, and pocketing the key. Some would say the walking to the ice is just as difficult, so Kincaid takes it slow and sticks close to her, until the get there. "It's best to stay close to the wall at first— as you can probably notice." There's a few people on the rink practically hugging it. "But if you want to move away, you can hold on to me. I'm fairly sturdy." He even holds out the bandaged hand.

"Yep. I like to know things. One day, I will be the only person in the world who can truly say they know everything," Melissa says with a grin. She's moving slow as they head towards the ice, arms slightly out for balance. "And don't worry, I'm gonna be holding onto something. You, the wall, random kids whose heads are the right height," she says, probably joking on the last bit. Probably. It would mean touching kids, after all.

"So what sorta business stuff you wanna talk about?" she asks, taking his hand for support before she dares to put a skate on the ice. And it's a good thing. That first step nearly has her foot shooting forward and landing her on her ass. If it weren't for her grip on him, that's precisely what would've happened.

"I got permission to run the Humanis First show pretty much on my own, though the head producer doesn't want your relationship with Brad to come out if that's possible. To avoid tabloids decending. We want ratings for the topics, not the… behind the scenes," Kincaid tries to explain, squeezing her hand a bit as they slide along the slick surface. He seems quite comfortable, not even cold, as he skates along. Sturdy is a good word for it.

"And there's a possibility of a second show as well, if this one works out, so you're also wanted to stick strictly to your experiences with Humanis First. You won't be the only guest, so you don't have to worry about the spotlight only being on you, we have two others lined up, as well, both who've been on the show before. You're going to be the newer voice."

Brows lift and Melissa glances over to him as she slowly adjusts to be on the ice. "Why would I talk about anything but Humanis First? I want people to know how wrong that particular…group…is. I want them to see what happens when they do whatever they want. To see that they hurt people. I can't exactly press that point if I'm talking about guys or experiences not related to Humanis First, now can I? What do you mean about second show though? And who're the others?"

"My boss just thinks it might be difficult to stay on topic, I guess. I don't really think so, though," Kincaid admits, almost seeming to think the idea is foolish, really. He'd not gone to her for any other reason. "The other show we'll talk about if you want to come back again, and if I can manage to get other people on as well." It may not happen, so no need to grease the wheels too much, it seems like.

"But the the other two are Peyton Whitney, since she's publicly known for being held by Humanis First, and Magnes Varlane, for the 'this guy's crazy' factor. My boss adores him, cause of how crazy he is." While he talks, he seems more or less right at home on the ice. Many years of practice.

"I know Peyton. Sorta. She seems like good people. Magnes…I'll go ahead and warn you. I can't stand that little shit. I'd be happy to never see him or hear his name again." And if he gets chatty about the past on air with Melissa there, there will probably also be some immediate radiating of pain. "For that matter, last time I spoke to him, I hurt him. And it was fun. Immature, loud-mouthed, idiotic, jackass," she mutters.

She shakes her head and keeps moving hesitantly, slipping here and there, which causes her grip on him to tighten. "But I'll stick to topic, trust me. America needs to see the reality of what Humanis First does, instead of how some people see them as…I don't know. Weeding out the freaks or whatever. So I'll ignore Magnes, I'll stay on topic, and I'll bare my scars if I have to. Whatever gets the job done."

"My boss wanted to have a medical doctor look at you first too. One in the Suresh Center should be enough, just to verify what has happened to you, to cover our asses," Kincaid explains, ignoring the topic of Magnes Varlane for now, because— really he probably doesn't blame her. Having the crazy person in front of the camera is helpful, though. "I trust your word on the injuries, but you never know who might say you're crying wolf— better to cover ourselves."

There's a pause. "I think that may be it for the business stuff. Kinda why I picked this. Gives us more to do after we're done, cause it wasn't going to take too long, unless you have questions."

"A doctor? Why? Most a doctor'll be able to tell you is that the injuries are consistent with the sort of injury I said it was. Not whether or not it Humanis First. But hey, whatever. I know a doc at the Center who'll do it. One verification on shrapnel and bullet wounds coming up," Melissa mutters, not sounding too happy about it. Almost insulted. But she's going with the program.

She gives him another glance, but it's brief. More important now to watch the ice and her feet, to prevent a fall that he can't help with. "Still surprised. You seemed kind of weirded out at the thought of this being anything more than a business meeting."

There's a grimace of apology on his face, as he grips her hand tighter. It's his silent way of saying once again that he really does believe her, Kincaid's just doing as he had been told. But she goes on the topic he tried to set, so he continues it. "I wasn't weirded out exactly— I had this in mind when I bid on you. Just because I don't think it should be a date date doesn't mean it shouldn't be something fun and enjoyable. I'm already going to get tormented by my boss, who paid more than I make in four months for me."

Frowning, there's another look back at him before Melissa asks, "Why the hell is she gonna torment you? It was for charity. Hell, she bought two dates. And I don't think you gotta worry about Brad either, for that matter. But no, doesn't gotta be a real date to be fun. I've had a lot of fun on fake dates." Which is, honestly, all she's had, so she knows what she's talking about!

"She's my boss— isn't that what bosses are supposed to do?" Kincaid asks, a grin on his face, when suddenly some poor young person comes out of nowhere and just runs right into them. The kid, a young dark haired boy, isn't even a teen, likely somewhere between seven and nine, and ends up sliding into Kincaid's knees, knocking him a bit so he finally starts to stumble, and sending a sharp pain up his legs, that the woman beside him feels for an instant— before it quickly disappears.

The kid on the ice isn't quite so lucky, a bump or two likely to leave a bruise, but not enough to make him cry.

"Sorry mister!" the kid calls out as he starts to get up. Just like kids. They shake it off quickly. Either that or milk it for all it's worth. He must want to keep skating, cause he's taking the 'shake it off' route.

Before Melissa gets a chance to reply, she's wincing a little, and Kincaid's stumble threatens her already precarious balance, and, free arm flailing, she tumbles over, down to, as predicted, her knees, which prompts a low curse. Kids are around, she can't yell out obscenities. A hand presses against the ice as she starts to try to push herself back to her feet, which isn't as easy as she might've thought. They didn't have much in the way of ice skating where she grew up.

"I'd ask if you're okay, but I think you are. And that…seriously sucked. Think anyone'd laugh if I just sorta pushed myself over to the edge like this? Might be easier than getting up again," she mutters.

With her ability sensing pain other than her own, there's an odd sensation of… nothing… coming from Kincaid. Specifically from his leg, where the impact was, and the hand that he reaches out to take hers with. Almost like someone who's constantly on painkillers might feel— It's a numbness. An emptiness. "I can help you get up," he offers, steady on his skates as the young ruffian skates away, going 'I'm okay I'm okay!!!' to a worried supervising adult. "But yeah, we can make our way over to the edge once you're on your feet again."

Melissa gives him an odd look, even as she takes his hand and starts to carefully work on standing. There's a bit of slipping, so it takes some time, but she's stubborn. "Okay, what's the deal? You're evolved or something, aren't you? Because you were hurt. Now you're not. You're not hurt or not hurt. You feel…weird," she murmurs, careful to keep her voice low.

"Oh, yeah, I have a form of adaptation," Kincaid explains rather simply, dark eyes down toward where they're touching, as he helps her over toward the side. "I adapt to it quickly, at least to handle it comfortably, no matter what it is, that's why I can handle being in the cold, really. I used to ice skate with nothing but summer clothes on, but I'm not really wanting to draw attention to that, hence the coat. But you're right, I'm okay more or less. I'll likely still have a bruise, but I won't feel it."

"Adaptation? Kincaid. You're numb. You're not adapted, you're numb," Melissa says, still eying him, but once they reach the side she grips it with both hands. Nice and sturdy. No falling when she's holding onto the side! "You feel like I do once I dope myself up with painkillers once I give myself a migraine. And trust me, I know that feeling very well." But despite that, she just sounds more curious than accusing. She did warn him that she was a nosy sort though.

"Do you want to get off the ice to talk about this?" Kincaid asks, motioning away toward the benches that they first were on. "It's really not an interesting story. I hurt my hand a few years ago…" he twists the hand that she's holding and pulls down the sleeve a bit. There's a scar visible there, though it's hard to tell what caused it. "I have chronic pain, so I'm always using my ability to… adapt to it. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to use my hand at all. It probably has the same kind of effect as yours, though, in the end."

Considering that I don't have a supernatural immunity to cold, and can't use my ability on myself if I land on my face…Yep, I would." And Melissa starts to move along the edge of the ice, still holding onto the rail, until she can get off the ice and head for the bench. "Mine isn't adaptation though. I'm a pain manipulator. I can cause it, or remove it, temporarily. And lately, I can sense it. Sometimes. Haven't gotten the knack of that yet. What did you do to your hand though?" she asks, flopping down on the bench, legs stretched out.

Sitting down on the bench, Kincaid's too dark to even be called brown eyes close, a slow inhale before he shifts the bandage around so that she can see it better. The scarring is on both sides, around his wrist, and on his hand, even along his fingers in places. "It got crushed under a piece of machinery. They think that a bunch of the bones got broken, but it was the nerve damage that never quite healed."

The fresh coffee burns are visible, it must have been fresh from the pot, practically boiling. The skin has blistered where it hit, and the blisters have burst, but been cleaned and rebandaged many times to keep anything infectious out. "So you can fix other people's pain? I can only control my own."

Melissa isn't a shy person, and she has no problem reaching for his hand to draw it closer, to examine the scarring. Her touch is gentle though, even if he's adapted to pain at the moment. "Doctors can't fix it? Or a healer? And yeah, I can, though I wouldn't say I fix it. With one extreme exception, the longest I've been able to keep someone pain free was an hour, give or take a few minutes. But while I'm working, they really are pain free, no matter how bad the pain was to begin with."

She lets go without ever having touched the fresh injury, but then, maybe it's too eww with the blisters. "So you can adapt yourself to anything? You said cold and pain. Is it just physical sensations, or could you adapt yourself to, say, breathe underwater, or withstand the pressure at great depths. Or lower oxygen at high altitudes?" she asks, rotating one foot a bit to keep it from going stiff.

"Just physical sensations, and it really doesn't stop me from taking damage from it," Kincaid explains as he blinks his eyes open and wraps the bandage again, to keep the burn from being exposed to open air too much. "I can basically adapt my sense of touch, stop sensations before they reach my brain, whether it's cold or heat or pain, wherever I want to. But yeah, that'd be pretty cool if I could breath under water or something. But I can't really feel people tickling me on my hand either, so there's downsides."

As he blinks, his eyes seem to lighten a bit, and that dull pain can be felt from his knee. "Knee's tolerable now, so back to just the hand. It's difficult keeping an ablity on all the time, though— I have to drink a lot of caffeine."

"Why a lot of caffeine?" Melissa asks, even as she's turning on her own ability, to eliminate even that dull pain. She'll still feel it, but on the scale of 1 to Second Sun it's way low on the scale. "I just get migraines or nose bleeds, or the occasional bleeding from the ears if I overdo it. But I guess our abilities aren't quite the same. I literally only affect pain. And only of other people, which does suck. I'd love to be able to negate my own migraines."

"When I registered I called it temperature adaptation cause it was fairly simple, especially if they know I still take damage, I can just tolerate it better," Kincaid admits as he opens and closes his hand. "As for the caffeine, I don't really know. I used to take stimulants for a while, but coffee and Red Bull seem to work just fine, too. So I guess a stimulant is enough, but if I don't I start getting horrible headaches, and not just the caffeine addiction kind." Though that probably is a bad version of it. "I can't really drink alcohol, though. It numbs pain in it's own way, but I also can't quite regain control for a while afterwards if I get drunk." A horrible kind of hangover. So he avoids it.

Melissa's quiet for a moment, brow furrowed lightly as she thinks over what he's said. "So you need a stimulant, and depressants suck. I bet you'd have a hell of a time with tranqs or even shit like pot then. Ability-wise anyway. You need to hit the snack bar for a cup now? Or go hit a Starbucks or something?"

"That'd be great, yeah, but did you get enough ice skating in?" Kincaid asks, glancing out onto the ice once again. "I can still handle myself for an hour or two, and I want to make sure this is enough. You said you never got to before, and I don't want you to think you finally did and you didn't get to actually enjoy it."

That prompts an almost sad smile from Melissa. "Nah, it's cool. Last time I was hoping to go skating with this guy I was head over heels for. Instead he dumped me. So I'm fine with heaving towards coffee world. Besides, I can't adapt to the cold, and I'm still a southern girl despite having lived here almost a year, including through that mega blizzard earlier this year. I like warmth. It's not warm in here."

"Sorry to hear that— This was before Brad?" Kincaid asks, even as he starts to unlace his boot, showing that he's listened to her idea and will get his boots off to turn in, and then get their belongings out of the locker to go. "You're smart and talented woman with a lot to offer, maybe you're just looking for… it in the wrong places. I don't think Brad's a very good choice for you, anymore than whoever this guy is. You need to be with someone who appreciates you as much as you appreciate them, possibly even more than you appreciate them. So that they'd make you happy… I don't mean to pry into your personal life, or anything, but… you don't look happy."

Brows shoot up and for a moment it looks as though Melissa can't decide whether to be amused or irritated. And they don't even have the same facial expressions to make it look less odd. "Okay, first, yeah, it was before Brad. Second, you're probably right, since Brad never even replied to my voice mails to see if he was alright after the riots. Third, I've stopped looking. There's no point and it's just a lesson in futility and how to poorly handle hangovers. And lastly…No, I'm not happy, but who really is? I doubt there's a single person in this city who's really happy. Just a fact of life. But I have a job I like, I'm doing good with the Suresh Center, so I'm…content." Big. Fat. Lie.

"No, you're not," Kincaid says, calling her on the lie as he steps over to get their things out of the locker and hand them over, so they can put their shoes back on. "You're not content, but you're not miserable— not yet. And it's not unattainable, some happiness. I'm just afraid you'll look so hard for something and you'll miss what will make you content." He's not really looking at his shoes, or putting them on, just looking her right in the eyes. "And when you give up entirely, you really will sink into being miserable, and nothing will be able to pull you out of it. And I don't want to see that happen… to you." Now he looks away, to sit back down and pull on his shoes.

The shoes are taken, and Melissa starts to switch skates for shoes, only to glance up at him. "Never said I was giving up completely. I'm just not looking. The perfect guy shows up, he's gonna have to man up and ask me out. I'm done making the first moves, because that's what happened with Brad and that's what happened with P—the other guy." Nope, not gonna get into that story with a guy she's met all of three times.

"Why are you so worried about it though? We barely know each other. I'm just a chick you want on the show and whose date you bought as a way to get to charity, right?" Her head tilts. "Or is there something you're not telling me? And no point in being shy. Shy doesn't work on me."

"I knew people who went through the same things," Kincaid explains, voice a little cautious, but not exactly shy. "I just don't want to see the same thing happen to you that happened to other people in my life. It wasn't a pretty sight to see, and when I see someone going down the same paths… I try to warn them against it. That's all really. Besides— I like to think we're not complete strangers anymore."

"Well we're not bosom buddies, even if we're not complete strangers," Melissa says with a shrug, finally getting her street boots on. "As for not seeing that happen to me? You better invest in a blindfold then. My life doesn't seem to work well with regards to guys and romantic involvement." She pushes herself to her feet, thumbs tucking into her pockets. "So. Coffee?"

"Then remember that you can have happiness and family without having any guys with romantic attachments around. We mess things up more often then not, trust me," Kincaid says with a smile and a bit of a laugh as he stands. "Lead the way," he says with a gesture.

"Oh, don't even get me started on family. I've got enough issues there to be a sob story on Montel or something like that," Melissa says, shaking her head and moving towards the door. "Besides, it's not the guys with romantic attachments I have issues with. It's the guys without romantic attachments, to me, that I have issues with. But whatever. I've decided that when it comes to anything besides friendship and sex, guys are just jackasses."

"And friends can be far more fulfilling than either, I think," Kincaid says with an awkward tinge to his smile, before he continues in the direction of the exit. Back into the cold, to find the warmth of the nearest Starbucks.

Melissa makes a noncommittal sound and shrugs, pulling her coat more securely around her. "Had more luck with 'em anyway. Oddly, the friends who have pissed me off the most are chicks. Go figure, huh? And how did we get to talking about me again? We talked about your ability and hand, but then got stuck on me. How the hell did that happen?"

"I was always told people like to have the conversation turned to them occassionally," Kincaid says with a grin, avoiding eye contact for the next few moments, as if to silently say that he's also a master of changing the subject when necessary. And talking about himself seems to trigger that quite well. "What kind of coffee do you like?"

There's a soft sigh and Melissa shakes her head. "Yeah, well, most stuff about me isn't pleasant, so focusing on others is generally happier. And I like any coffee that's hot, sweet and full of caffeine. So let's hurry up, get there, get our coffee, and talk about subjects that are neither of us. How about that local sports team?"

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