Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology


bella_icon.gif kayla_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology
Synopsis Bella is abducted by one of her psychiatric patients to see an alarmingly unsympathetic secretary about getting a sit-down with The Company's Sabra Dalton. According to every available approach: a crazy day.
Date October 12, 2009

Manhattan — Homeland Security Offices

Description of location, if any.

Handing paperwork to Kayla Reid is a dangerous business.

She doesn't routinely work at the Homeland Security offices proper, but the other members of the administration here have learned it at their cost. It does have the useful side effect of reducing the amount she has to deal with. But the woman settled behind a preempted desk on the fifth floor of the office building still has more than enough at hand to sour her temper. Shuffling the stacks doesn't make them any smaller.

It's afternoon, from the angle of sunlight through tall windows and the cant of clock hands; early yet, which means the meeting going on down the hall is far from over and her time here similarly stretches on. Sometimes she misses the clinics — until the next office worker who pulled a muscle at the gym this past weekend wanders by, anyway.

Grabbing another set of invoices from atop a pile, Kayla pulls up the associated records on her laptop and refocuses on work without anything outwardly resembling a sigh.

"Hello, Ms. Reid. Do you know if Sabra's coming in today?"

They'd make a handsomer couple than, likely, any of those which the men on Dr. Sheridan's answering machine would have comprised a half of. Teo's fingers are vised companionably around the point of the dear doctor's sleeve.

It's the only part of her tidy workday's dress that he had left rumpled after the blow to her ginger head, the catch with one arm, and subsequent weapons and bug search, peremptory and not perfunctory, that had left her earrings cracked under the heel of a boot before discarding and the duckbill clip loosed from her hair to negate the necessity of washing the scabbing of locks at the base of her skull. Explanations remain as minimal now as they had then. Threat of death in lieu of eloquence. Don't talk.

He's in a suit, namebadge clipped to jacket, head shaven and snipped. Stands his leather shoes neatly spaced on the carpet, as interchangeably unremarkable here in his HomeSec rookie affectation as his shabby college-wear and scruff generally serves him on the street. Or the psychiatric clinic, as it were. He turns up the corners of his mouth, waits to see if — or how much Peter Petrelli's erstwhile (would-have-been) personal aide is now like she was then (when—?).

This is an occupational hazard, nothing she wasn't warned about during her training. She sees enough clients for post-abduction trauma to know that this is just something that happens these days. Bag or be bagged. Tag or be tagged.

As such, Bella swims back into an equanimous attitude, adjusting pretty neatly despite what is very likely a mild concussion. Her eyes are in focus at least, and she doesn't seem to have dilated pupils from what she can tell from taking glances at the overhead fluorescents. Play nice, go along to get along and hopefully get out alive.

She examines her surroundings carefully, trying to place where she is based on what she saw when she came too. It's civilization at least.

And when she sees the familiar Ms. Reid (documented complexes: classic 'white elephant', recalcitrance, suppressed stress and trauma), she manages a smile of her own, a little tarnished by the pain in her head. Something the fuck is going on.

And curiosity alone is half the reason she plays along so neatly.

There's similarities, familiarity in the lift of gray eyes, the expression that forms around them — suspicion rather than welcome, devoid of any 'may I help you' implications. Now and ten years from now, Kayla Reid is the dragon at the door.

Ten years from now, there were fewer inadvertently rough edges involved. The woman stands, resting open hands on the edge of the desk and leaning forward slightly. She's the shortest of the three of them, if barely, but ire and animosity is collected and aimed at Teo as if it were a blunt weapon — with no regard for the fact that he decidedly outmasses her. Of course, the outrage of a secretary isn't much threat compared to some he's elicited.

"Whether she is or not is no fucking business of yours," Kayla snaps. Gray eyes flick to Bella; there's no way she could not recognize the shrink, but the familiar face isn't an automatic pass. Not for the healer with all her complexes. Of course, she recognizes him in some respect, too. Her jaw sets in a decidedly stubborn line. "You show me the schedule with your name on it, then we can talk."

Bigger and taller than two outraged civilian women. Go Teo. He studies the set of the healer's eyes slitted in her head on top of her blouse, regards her from over the towers and battlements of her paper stacks, desktop computer, and the bristling array of stationery advancing on him from the demarcation of her keyboard. He's watching her hands the old-fashioned way: with the periphery of his eyes.

"It's very short notice. Sorry," his mouth flattens into a smile that fails to look insincere despite the circumstances. His best guess has it that she's either five minutes in or five seconds from feeling the swelling pulsation of the injury concealed in Isabella's hair. "I was hoping I could make an appointment. Today would be good for me. If later in the week would be better for Ms. Dalton, then I'll leave a memo with the good Doctor." He tips his head sideways, down to where the roof of Bella's head teeters faintly on its axis, shifts his eyes at her nearly as an afterthought. What do you think?

"Kayla," Bella pipes up, and her voice is normal, level, so that's one section of the brain that hasn't sustained any real damage; goody! Kayla will end up with Bella's injury shortly anyhow, but that discovery might be bad for both Bella and Kayla's long term health. When things go wrong in abduction situations, things get ugly, and Bella's first loyalty is and always will be to her own life and lifestyle.

"Kayla," she had said, and then, "I'd really appreciate it if you could help us out here. I wouldn't have come if it weren't serious. I really don't think it can wait. Could you please make an exception?" She looks over at 'Alias Brandon', at the nametag he's sporting, "Mr. Brown's circumstances are urgent; that's my medical opinion."

Damn skippy it is.

The woman's chin dips slightly, the better to level a narrow-eyed gaze at Laudani. "Not in my job description to modify her schedule," she replies, clearly interpreting obstructionist to the full extent of its spirit; if Kayla were anyone else, the words might be saccharine sweet. She isn't: they're curt, truncated by hostility that shows no signs of abating despite his courteous manner. Apparently the sincerity of the smile doesn't matter. "There are channels for such requests. As the 'good doctor' undoubtedly knows, I am no part of them." Of course, for thirteen days out of every fourteen, or so, Kayla is no part of this building, either. Such is Teo's bad luck.

Bella's luck isn't any better. Though her words are reasonable and logical and probably not spoken in complete free will — not with the headache hanging off the back of both their heads — Kayla offers her a smile that isn't much more than bared teeth. "Don't tell me about fucking medical opinions." In other circumstances, Kayla might admit that gauging mental health is well beyond her scope. Maybe. Her gaze swivels back to 'Brandon Brown'. "You have ten seconds to walk yourself back out that door."

Good luck is a lot to count on when you run around shooting up people you want favors from later, so Teo balances around his disappointment with adrenaline, practical acceptance, and examines his next recourse which was— technically always his first. His face changes, fractionally, even as his gaze eases back through the trajectory of obnoxious sunlight, his apology promptly displaced by the integration of the fact that Kayla Reid is going to be in no way cooperative. Not of her own volition, anyway.

"All right. Can't blame a guy for trying, can you?" The fabric of Bella's sleeve bunches between his fingers, a thumb eased down to flirt with conspicuous discretion with the pressure point of the brachial nerve ribboning down the thin flesh inside her elbow. No actual strike, only the vague intimation of malicious intent coruscated down against skin pressure as Teo blithely tugs his hostage away.

Ten seconds isn't long at all. "We'll go start one of those channels, and I'll come back in a few days."

A moment comes now when Bella considers deviating from Teo's plan. Well, actually it's more like she's going to try and continue with the original plan. Basically she's not sure what that plan is, but she's pretty sure stalling here would not be what he has in mind, not at this point. Right now, though, Bella's got someone present who, complexes or no, could be of some help to her. If she walks out that door with Teo, out of Kayla's sight… well, she would really rather not tempt any situation where anyone could say 'and that's the last time she was ever seen'. So, even with the threat to her nerves, she makes another attempt at the gatekeeper. At the very least she wants to linger long enough to shirk her head trauma off on Kayla. Win/win, really.

"Mr. Brown," she says, digging in her heels, "This isn't a matter I feel comfortable leaving unresolved for 'a few days'," that's no lie, "Kayla, please. I need you to make this exception for me. You know I'm usually entirely on the straight and narrow, protocol-wise. This is a one-time situation, I promise. But it cannot wait."

Sure she can. Kayla can blame guys — and girls — for anything she damn well pleases. Her expression conveys something of this. "You can pull up a chair and take a number if it's so all-fired important, Sheridan." Figuratively speaking, at least in the latter; she does wave the doctor towards a chair. "But you know better than to bring someone outside the department by without so much as a call ahead for clearance; he leaves. Denton's forgiving. Dalton will have everyone's heads." Or maybe that's Kayla.

Or that might be the guy who abducted the Company shrink and throws around terms like 'memo' in a facetiously polite tone of voice because his priorities are in an order that Dr. Sheridan would probably love to take a closer look at, but not this close. As long as everyone's heads remain attached, however, Teo is offering the healer a sidelong smile from over the top of Bella's bright crown, doesn't wink because that would just be inappropriate. "We're obliged to do this one together. Wouldn'tve bothered you, otherwise. Scout's honor.

"Don't worry about it. Your dedication to your country and occupational excellence is paramount, Ms. Reid." These parting compliments are spun off with an odd slant of quizzicality, the temptation to say worse carefully restrained. The Sicilian continues to usher the psychiatrist away, leaning into her shoulder like a fond pet dog. You know. A big breed, designed to be scary in size but friendly in the face.

Bella's smile is no longer warm, an unusual thing and almost something of a relief since she usually has to act so fucking good natured and understanding. Frost curls her lips as she casts a look towards Kayla, a rictus glaciei. "Indeed," she agrees with Teo, "This will be duly noted on your routine evaluation." Okay, perhaps not the scariest threat anyone's ever given, but last Bella heard the pen was still occasionally mightier than the sword. "Until next time, Kayla."

Please let there be a next time.

Decision made. Rather than risk this turning violent here and now Bella judges, for good or for ill, to continue going along to get alone, her (eventual) cooperation a show of good faith.

Please let it be seen as a show of good faith.

The lack of warmth from Bella is met with an equal lack from Kayla; but Kayla's isn't a new thing. She doesn't seem to care about the psychiatrist's regard any more now than she did before — never mind the threat. Later she'll think about how something like that might cost the healer her job — much later. It won't change anything anyway.

For now, Kayla Reid watches them walk out into the hallway, down the corridor; she remains standing until they're no longer in sight, headed for an elevator or stairwell or simply somewhere else.

Then the secretary gets out her phone. Speed-dial is a very useful thing.

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