Being Different


colette_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Being Different
Synopsis Colette and Felix discuss the many ways they're different.
Date October 27, 2008

Cliffside Apartments, Felix's Apartment

It's a pleasant, airy apartment, with pale hardwood floors and high ceilings. The front door leads into a little entryway with a coat closet on the right and the door to the miniscule kitchen on the left. It then opens out into a living room crammed with bookshelves - there's barely enough room for a plain entertainment center and a dark green couch. Beyond that a short hall leads to the bathroom and two bedrooms, the second of which is more an office and spare room, judging by the desk and the weight bench stored there.

Overall, the decor is spartan at best, with little by way of personal touches. The only decoration in the kitchen is an antique icon shelved high in a corner, where the Mother of God smiles benignly at the infant on her lap. A blue glass vigil lamp burns before it. Over the doorway to the back hall is hung an officer's sabre; no mere trophy, it bears the mark of long and constant wear. There are a handful of posters and prints - mostly landscape, though a few are fencing-related.

In the hours after sunset, in that frame of time when Colette is alone in the apartment, there's a certain level of absurdity that often is present. It's not entirely Colette's fault that she does what she does, it's a habit the girl has had since she moved away from home, a way to express her anxiety and at the same time help put her thoughts in order. It's in this time, that words and the sound of something bubbling in the kitchen fill the air, along with the scents of jasmine and curry powder.

"Maybe she doesn't like spicy food…" Feet donned in mis-matched socks thump across the hardwood floor of the apartment, back and forth from the living room to the kitchen, "…she likes crackers and water, and chinese food…" Brow tense with considerable thought, Colette continues having a conversation with herself, one arm wrapped around herself, the other held up to tap fingers across her cheek. "Maybe she doesn't remember what her favorite foods are? Oh God then I might feed her something she doesn't like — Or maybe she'd know already, and wouldn't even show up to dinner!" She pauses in mid-stride, letting out a gasp, "Oh! M-maybe that's why she's been gone most of the time I've cooked!" Colette's fingers move to her mouth, biting down gently on her nails anxiously. "Mmnh. Maybe I should order takeout…" Her eyes lift up to peer into the kitchen where a saucepan simmers on a low heat, "Where'd Felix leave his credit card…" She mumbles, eyes darting about the otherwise empty apartment.

It's bitterly cold out. Fel's face is red from the chill, as he quietly turns the key in the lock and lets himself in. The cats rouse themselves from their doze on his bed and come barreling for him, complaining that the strange girl is not yielding to their constant requests for more treats. Fel gently nudges them out of his way with his feet, even as he sniffs the air. "Smells good," he comments, quietly. No sign of the credit card - presumably it's on his person.

There's a muffled yelp from the kitchen when Colette heard the door open, hustling out just after the stampede of cats. One hand curls around the door-frame of the kitchen's entryway, and she leans out, bangs falling to one side at the angle she stands, peering towards the front door to both see who's come home, and see if they heard her talking to herself. When Felix's silhouette is made out instead of Tamara's, there's both a look of relief and an exhaled sigh of mild disappointment.

"Heya'," she says quietly, slipping back into the kitchen with thumping footfalls, followed by the gentle sound of a lid being placed on a saucepan. "You're back form work early. I mean, you know, comparitively." She speaks up a bit, enough to be clearly heard from in the kitchen, the clanking of pots and pans coming after a few moments. "I think I'm gonna' bring this down to Judah at this hospital, actually. I was thinking of ordering out instead."

"If you like," Fel says, mildly. "I'm good either way. What were you thinking of getting?" IT's like a deadly version of Mr. Rogers, the way he has the same routine every day when he gets home - hang up the overcoat, remove the tie, take off the suitjacket, take the gun out of the holster and safe it in the locked drawer in the nightstand, and remove the leather shoulder holster. But he's still in earshot as he does all of this, clearly listening to her with at least most of his attention.

"Chinese. There's a good place down on Canal Street. It's a bit of a haul from here, but the delivery fee is worth it." Finally the girl emerges from the kitchen, no more sounds of simmering from behind her as she walks out, hands folded behind her back, head tilted to the side with another swish of her bangs, this time covering her blind eye. "You were out late yesterday," she eyes the gun going into the nightstand, locked with a click, then flits her mis-matched eyes back up to Felix.

"Thanks for the extra blanket, by the way… I ah, must've fallen asleep reading on the couch." Reading, of course. It had nothing to do with not wanting to budge an inch from her company who was already asleep on the sofa. There's a small, very pleased smile on her lips, betraying the truth. "Was Tamara home when you got up this morning? By the time I managed to roll off the couch around noon she was already gone…" Her eyes divert to the table in living room, where her new book rests, then back to Felix, one brow raised quizzically.

He's not easily deceived. But he doesn't comment on that, other than a, "You're more than welcome." Young love - it's enough to make him feel old and cynical, as if that many years of being some flavor of cop weren't enough. He puts the tie back in the drawer it came from, and unbuckles the leather shoulder rig. "I think she was gone by the time I woke," he says, musingly, raising his gaze to meet hers in the mirror that hangs over his low dresser. "I was out late. Taking care of a lead or two," he says, tone serene.

Colette folds her arms and leans towards Felix on one foot, her eyes closed halfway as she regards him sidelong, a crooked smile across her face, "Well, aren't you just Mister Gumshoe." She says with a wrinkle of her nose, spinning on that one foot in a full circle before walking with a skipping gait into the living room. "Hey, um… Felix?" She stops by the table, staring down at the book before turning to look over her shoulder. "Do… do you mind if I ask you something?" Her tone has become slightly less teasing, brows knitted together as she looks over her left shoulder back to her current caretaker.

"I didn't mean to be," Fel retorts, doing his best Bogart impression. He hangs up the shoulder holster on a hook on the back of his bedroom door, and undoes the first button at his throat. Much more comfortable, he pads back into the living room to sit on the couch and take his shoes off. "Certainly," he says, tone almost affable.

Colette turns in place, following Felix with her eyes into the living room from where she stands by the coffee table. On the table is a book not of Felix's collection, a purple and teal covered book as thick as an encyclopedia. It's a popular book, Activating Evolutions by Doctor Chandra Suresh. "When… when did you first realize you were different?" It's a bit of a loaded question, and Colette doesn't bother to specify exactly how she means it either, just leveling her mis-matched eyes at the agent with her head very subtly tilted to her right side.

"Are you asking me when I figured out boys and girls were different, when I figured out I liked men as well as women, or when I figured out I had an ability most humans do not?" he asks, tone dry, slanting a look at her from under his brows. Shoes kicked off, he leans back into the cushions of the couch, and stretches bare feet out before him.

That puts Colette in her place, mouth hanging slightly agape with awkward silence. She blinks, a few times in rapid succession, then stammers out, "T-the ah, w-with…" It was a bit more than she had originally wanted to know, but it confirms a suspicion, one she didn't exactly need confirmed. "Y-your ability." Nervous laughter slips free from the girl as she wraps her arms just a bit tighter around herself, ducking her head down and lightly biting down on her lower lip. She covers up one socked foot with another, wobbling to the side for a moment from the awkward positioning, then starts circling around the coffee table, her eyes not meeting Felix's now.

Felix permits himself a thin smile, entirely unembarassed, at least to outside appearances. " You have to admit it was a vaguely phrase question," he notes, "When I was a child, in Russia. Playing games with the other children. I remember my father hurrying me inside, telling me not to do that again. To feign slowness and clumsiness in the future, lest I attract attention we didn't want. I'd say….age six, perhaps." He laces his fingers over his belly, watching her with that calm expression still firmly in place.

"S-Six!?" Colette gapes at the answer, eyes wide as she hastily walks over towards Felix, "T-that young?" She looks remarkably worried, wringing her hands together as her eyes divert back to the book. "Mmnh…" It's that non-verbal sound of worry that Colette often makes, nervously looking at the book before peering back at Felix again. "H-how did you handle it? I mean, being like that? I…" She circles around to perch on the far arm of the sofa across from Felix, one leg raised and the other balancing her weight on the floor. "I… Um, you know, was it hard to… to be normal?"

"That young, yes," he says, gently. "I hid it. As long and as well as I could. My mother was a KGB archivist, and she was well aware that the Soviet government looked for oddities like me, and took them for experimental purposes. Happily, it wasn't hard to control. Especially during childhood. Things got a little wobbly during adolescence, but by then we were in America," His gaze is clear and guileless, as if this were just an everyday subject of conversation.

"Woah," She slides off the arm of the couch without any grace, landing hard on the cushion. She watches Felix with a scrutinizing expression, "You're like, a double-agent or something?" Her only impression of Russia is from movies and teleivision, largely ignorant that it's full of anything other than spies and perhaps a moose and squirrel. "Er, n-nevermind that." She shakes the discourse from her head, settling her hands in her lap and staring down at her feet. "I guess it's different for everyone…" It's not the answer she was looking for, clear enough on her expression as her fingers idly pick at a spot of dried paint on her jeans. "So, do you have one of those card things?" One brow raises, and she looks towards the agent with an anxious expression. "Um, you know, like a liscense to be special?"

That has him laughing. And it's not a polite titter, but a full-throated guffaw. "No," he says, when he can speak coherently again. "I left Russia just after turning eleven. I've been a US citizen for almost twenty five years now, and I assure you, the Bureau vets its men very thoroughly. Yes, to my knowledge, these traits can manifest almost anywhere in a human lifespan." HE cocks his head at her in return, mirth fading from his face. "I am registered, yes," he says, more quietly. "I don't much like the Linderman act, but I love my job. And were I found to be lying about it, I'd've been fired. So the day they passed it, I registered."

Letting her eyes wander as Felix speaks, Colette continues to idly pick at the corner of that splotch of dried paint on her jeans, shifting about on the sofa, fidgeting as though she were having a difficult time getting comfortable. "So, like, o-okay…" Her lips press together in a thin line, thoughtfully staring down at her feet as if to divine an answer from the stripes on her socks. In the end, all she does is sigh to herself, closing her eyes as she nods her head once, slowly.

"M'just… tryin' to figure stuff out. It's hard for me, um, being all… y'know, normal?" She cracks a smile, despite herself, "Well, normal with the whole average person thing." The smile fades, "I keep making stupid mistakes, asking the wrong stuff, I… I keep looking dumb in front of her, and it's hard, because… I'm trying to understand, but I keep feeling like, um… like I'm stupid or something."

There's something like tenderness, or its echo, in Felix's face. It looks completely bizarre there. "No, you're not. Far from it. Wiser people than you and I have devoted a great deal of study to these things, and still don't know much about it. And the powers involving time are trickiest of all," he says, quietly. "You seem to understand her at least part of the time, which is certainly more than I do."

Colette smiles almost immediately when Felix implies that she understands Tamara more than he does, even minor victories are something she can cling to. "You… you think so?" There's a hopeful look there, and she nods to herself, the question obviously rhetorical. "It's really hard, because… She's got these really special things about her, the way she thinks. She… she can't remember much about who she used to be." Finally, the corner of that spot of paint flakes off from her jeans and falls down onto the sofa. "I talked to her a lot the last couple of days. I… I asked her about stuff, you know, family?" Her eyes lift back up to Felix, "She couldn't really remember much, other than that she has a sister. It… it's so sad."

Rolling her shoulders forward, Colette dips her head down, pulling her feet up onto the couch, one tucked beneath the other, and her arms wrap gently around her midsection. "Every time I try and help her, I just keep screwing things up. I bought her a journal yesterday, but… but I don't think she can read n'stuff. Because of what she does?" Colette doesn't sound sure of herself, "I… I just don't want her to forget me, or… or Judah, like… like she forgot her sister." That tugs at her heart, enough to make the young girl rest her forehead against her knees, looking much like a cat curled up on itself the way she's seated now, dark hair falling down beside her face to shadow her eyes. "She says she won't… but… I just, it scares me so much."

"In this day and age, forgetting the past and looking to the present and the future might be less of a curse than you would think," Fel's tone is gentle, still. "I imagine time as we see it is perplexing to her. Is she truly a precog? I don't understand her well enough to reassure you, much as I might like to. I've been tested, done what I could to contribute to the understanding of these genetic anomalies, but …'s not my field, really."

Were it even a few days earlier, Colette wouldn't even know what the term precog meant, or that it was short for precognitive. But now that she's been reading Suresh's book, that wealth of terminology is starting to make sense to her. "Yeah." It's a simple enough response, and one that doesn't leave any room for argument, "She… she's amazing." Though her words are tinged with personal bias, "She saved me, my life. I almost got hit by a car, and… and she was right there. She…" A smile creeps up on her lips, remembering the embrace as she was guided away from the crosswalk. It's that thought which spurs Colette's next question.

"F-Felix?" Her teeth press down on her lower lip again, holding her from speaking until it gradually slips free. "W-when… when did you know you were different." The emphasis and her anxious, very nervous tone, and the faint color in her cheeks is rather evident that she's not talking about super-powers any longer. It's a question she doesn't bring up without much anxiety, "A-and… and you c-can't tell anyone we're having this conversation…"

He's still for a long few moments, blinking a little. "I…I guess I always knew. I mean, as soon as I began to be aware of what desire was, what it felt like. And to understand that most of the people I knew didn't…..want so indiscriminately. Again, it's much harder in Russia, but by the time it became an issue, we'd defected to America." He's actually blushing a little himself, for all that his features remain impassive - but there's a faint bloom of color on the high cheekbones.

Colette nods, laughing awkwardly as she rests her forehead against her knees, again, this time mostly to hide how red the conversation is making her. "I think…" She snorts out a sigh, "I know I'm different too. I mean, I didn't always know, but… I just, stuff… stuff happened to me, and…" Her arms slip out from around her midsection and pull her legs in closer. "I never felt this way until I met Tamara. I'm so scared of everything… I don't even like people getting close to me, let alone…"

Her eyes force shut, and she croaks out a laugh. "It's so stupid, I want to tell her how I feel, but I'm so scared… I've never… I just — If she doesn't feel that way, I… It's not like I can just forget. But… it's so stupid because maybe she already knows, right? She sees the future, she knows just how dumb I can be, how I just blurt stupid things out… and… and what if she's just waiting for… or…" Colette quickly works herself up into an shaking ball of nervous energy. "I don't want to scare her away."

"You think she doesn't already know?" Fel ventures, quietly. "I imagine she does. It can't hurt to tell her, though if she's as far gone as you say, I'm not sure how relevant we seem to her. What do you think she's waiting for?"

A deep sigh is exhaled as Colette calms down at the sound of rational thought coming from Felix. Her little form slouches forward, giving her the look of a deflating baloon. "I have no idea…" The admittance comes with a whimper, "Sometimes it's really hard to understand why she does what she does, but… I mean, I want to have faith in her. I want her to… you know, I want her to know I trust her." Finally turning her head, Colette rests her cheek against her knees, looking at Felix with her half-blinded stare. "Maybe you're right… Maybe it can't hurt, I just…" Her eyes close slowly. "I've never had anyone I care about, as much as her. Except for my sister, but… that's different. That's family." Her brows knit together, "I never thought I… I never thought I could love someone, you know? Not after how I grew up. I didn't even think it existed outside of movies."

He pulls off his glasses,and sets them gently aside, the lenses glinting in the lamplight. And then he rubs at his eyes, wearily. "I know," he says, simply. "I felt much the same."

There's a faint hint of a smile there, and as her brows tense for a moment, Colette's eyes divert back to Felix. "Um… Felix," She swallows awkwardly for a moment, "Thanks, for… you know, listening to me? I… I always wanted my sister to be the first person I told, but…" She doesn't go any further with that line of thinking. There's just a very small, very hesitant smile. "Do you want to come with me when I go down to the hospital and bring Judah some dinner?" Her smile grows a little, as if in quiet understanding.

"Of course. I'll drive you - it'll save us time, and walking. I've been out enough I'm willing to be lazy now," he says, more cheerfully. "And you're welcome." Felix is back to his usual reserved self, even as he replaces his shoes, and heads to get his overcoat. He doesn't replace the shoulder rig - instead, there's another, smaller pistol dragged out of his little nightstand. A Walther that simply goes in his pocket, mafia-fashion.

Colette smiles, warmly, letting her feet slide off from the sofa as she sits up straight, regarding Felix in a different light than before, a warm smile curled across her lips, replacing that emotional and distraught look she's had most of the night. "…and on the way back, we can pick up Chinese." She says with an impish grin, rising up to her feet.

Seems like she'll be alright after all.

October 27th: Unsafe
October 27th: Take No Prisoners
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