Comfort in Knowing


abby_icon.gif caliban_icon.gif

Scene Title Comfort in Knowing
Synopsis Abigail confronts Caliban about what happened back in New York in an attempt to reconcile their relationship.
Date May 1, 2010

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Seventeen dollars for each of them would be the cost of the conversation. The shark exhibit at the Mandalay bay and some place quiet, public. There were places where people could sit, but still public. Beat sitting in a restaurant and ordering food that may or may not have been wasted. This way too, Mel and Kendall and Gillian could still be there but not there. The bay window, wood planks that imitate the side of a wrecked ship that is the display for the 1.3 million gallon shark tank housing the deadly predators.

Early enough in the morning that not too many people are out and about much less awake yet. One palm is against the plexiglass that separates humans from sharks and all other manner of fish, Abigails head tilting to follow the path of one of the sharks as it goes up and out of view after passing. Supposedly there's a program where you can pay a lot of money and actually go in the pool and swim with them. Abigail however, is not about to pay to be served up on a neoprene platter to the resident of the Mandalay aquarium. Not when she has a shark of a completely different kind to swim with and could be considered much more different. Now, if had been dolphins… maybe.

Dark, enclosed spaces are usually perfect for clandestine meetings, but they also inspire feelings of claustrophobia and discomfort, especially in those who have made a career out of watching not only their own backs but the backs of others as well. If it wasn't for all the pedestrian foot traffic drifting in and out of the tunnel, Caliban would never agree to meet Abigail here.

Light refracted by the water glances off a pin striped business suit that a tiger shark might be able to admire if tiger sharks were capable of admiring anything. Caliban is, but his face is as hard and as expressionless as some of the ones that occasionally bump their noses against the glass, black eyes gone dead.

The leather gloves he's wearing on his hands wouldn't be out of place in New York with the weather as frostbitten and brittle as it's become, but here in the climate-controlled aquarium, they might earn him more than a scrutinizing look or two if there weren't so many brightly-coloured fish drawing eyes away from everything except the imitation seascape on the other side of the glass.

He comes to a stop several yards away, saying nothing.

They earn him a glance down from Abby, settling on the gloves before looking over to the rest of him when the blonde catches a glance in the glass that he's there. Takes a second or two to turn around, maneuver crutches so that she's facing him and there's no expanse of tank topped, tattoo'd back and the front of the young woman who came all the way from New York for just this moment.

But, she does, left foot held back and alot, hidden behind her skirt and the same wary look given to the sharks is given as well to Caliban, a glance to see who else he might have brought along with him. Just her, him, the sharks and no one else for now. Her companions a phonecall away and who knows where Calibans are. "I'm sorry" Is offered up to him. "I don't know what to say to convince you that I'm really Abigail, but I am. No ones taken me and switched me, kidnapped me or.. or anything. I'm just.. I'm just me Ro-" She cuts herself off, unsure of whether she'd be allowed to use his given name. "I'm me"

The first syllable of his name causes Caliban to tense up, shoulders drawn back and chin inclined. He hasn't shaved since he left New York, and the result is a growth of silvery blond hair that makes coarse velvet of his jaw and upper portion of his throat. Like Felix back home, he's started to go prematurely gray, and while this gives most men a distinguished look it just makes Robert appear tired.

The shadow of a shark gliding past overhead conceals half his face in shadow, but the dappled illumination bleeding through the water ensures that both his blue eyes remain chilly and lit. "You don't really expect me to believe that story about a formula, do you?"

"I expect.. I don't know what I expected Robert. I didn't expect what happened in the bar. I didn't think I'd need Odessa to ever save me. There was a formula. It was brought back with Pheonix from.. You know what, it's so convoluted and farfetched that even if you did believe me, I'd think you were crazy to do so. I'm Abigail. Abby. Still the same woman you've visited in the bar and offered help to on behalf of the Linderman group. Who shows up when I call because he doesn't like the idea of Muldoon anywhere near me and because the rules are he has to answer his phone, who.. came to Russia, brought guns, and I'm repeating the very same conversation that we had in the back alley of the bar before we went to my car and had sex after you pulled a gun in my bar."

Lips purse and Abby shakes her head. "Cardinal is dying. He can't keep himself together much longer and there was a pre-cog who had the formula. He asked me to take it incase the healing I used to have might have left an imprint on my DNA and could give it back to me. So I could heal him. But so far Robert, all it does is give me fevers and land me in a hospital with a dislocated ankle and keeping my friends from trying to retaliate against you for something that's not your fault. I just.. seem to be a magnet with a big 'hit me, kill me' sign on my head with guys"

Her own features are less tired these days, sleep, food, less worry about Russians and such not so weighted on her shoulders. "What can I do to prove it? To make you stop looking at me like this? Do I need to get Richard and Tamara, and Teo and Francois, do I need to find you a telepath Robert? Peter, his mother to tell you that I'm me? I can go get Logan even. I can have Elias go pick him up and bring him here, Logan can tell you that it's me"

"No telepaths," is spoken quickly, decisively, and Caliban does not elaborate why, only reiterates: "No." The leather of his gloves creak he tenses his fingers, balls them into a fist and then stretches them back out again. It's the same hand he used to dislocate Abigail's leg, and it doesn't take an especially perceptive individual to guess at what he might be thinking. Although his tone doesn't carry any audible notes of remorse, there's a certain distantness about him that hasn't been present in a long time.

It would be nice to assume that only Abigail is stubborn and bullheaded enough to chase him all the way across the country. "Logan's ability won't be able to determine anything of use," he says finally. "Neither is he capable of turning yours off because it hasn't manifested yet. You'd know if it had."

The same confusion that showed on her face when they had that talk exactly a month ago regarding her going into Burlesque and starting a fight has blossomed across her face. "What?" She pulls her head back, searching his face, blonde brows crimped and frowning. "But…" She claps her mouth shut and leans back against the glass. Peter the idiot. But then again, he had said maybe she had manifested and that's what had made hi- She'd know if she had manifested. There's a glance up, settling on his hands, blue eyes flickering up to Caliban then back down to his hands.

"I didn't know I hadn't. Peter thought maybe I had and that's why you… But now I know I haven't" Crutches slip forward and she pushes away from the glass. "I asked him to have his mother talk with you, find out what happened. Because I knew you both were friends, you took care of her while she was sick. I'm going to go, you have work to do and I don't know what to do so I'm better off not wasting your time. Thank you for coming Robert"

The feeling of being very much an idiot is washing over her and the urge to get out of there before she starts to cry is great.

"I haven't returned any of Angela's calls," Caliban says by way of explanation, his eyes on Abigail's fingers, mouth, the set of her chin. When her eyes settle on his hands, one curls around the other in a protective gesture, suddenly seeming very self-conscious; a gaze that had been stony a few moments before reflects quiet anguish now, but the Brit has enough control not to let it leak out across his face.

He does not allow himself to reach for her, cup her face in his palms, draw her to him or any of the things his body is probably aching to do. Forces his posture to become a little more rigid to compensate and lets out a slow breath through his nostrils that isn't enough to deflate it.

"I hurt you. I'm sorry."

"I'll take comfort in knowing at least that if anyone ever actually does try to impersonate me and try to fool you, that they have a hefty hospital bill and won't be living past five minutes" Abigail's way of saying she accepts the sorry. Weight shifts from one side to the other, not quite able to lift her eyes up to his.

"It really is me, I can bleat all I want, but, you'll have to either choose to believe me or we keep on as we keep on since then." The gloves are where she keeps ending up looking, trying to figure out why he was wearing them. So he could strangle her and not leave fingerprints? "It was when you touched me? That you knew I was different, what I have that's waiting to manifest isn't it?"

Caliban reaches a point where he can stand it no more and shoves his hands into the pockets of his suit jacket, back straight and arms stiff. Neck, too, even as he cranes it to look down at the top of Abigail's head and the halo of light produced by the glossy sheen of her soft blonde hair. He makes a low sound at the back of his throat, some sort of irritated noise that's too quiet to be meant for her. "Yes."

"Am I just really that, or at things… so far gone that you don't want to touch me Robert? I can.. understand the gloves, really but…" Lower lip rises to meet upper, then the two pressed tight as she looks anywhere but at him. Hands tighten on the handholds of the crutches, a glance behind her to see if any of her entourage is deciding to see how things are.

"Or is this it?"

Abigail's glance results in a sharp lift of Caliban's chin as he turns his eyes over her shoulder and searches the aquarium tunnel for signs of Teodoro Laudani or Francois Allegre, half-expecting them to surge into view like the glittering schools of fish on the other side of the glass sometimes do, heedless of the presence of people. Seeing nothing, he immediately flicks his gaze back to the woman standing in front of him on her crutches.

This is one of those moments where his head is telling him one thing and his heart is telling him another, and Abigail has no way of knowing which is answering for him when he says tightly, "It is if you want it to be. I'd understand."

"Oh lord no, I'd really rather it no be Robert, really. I'd rather it not. Because I'd really like it to not be. Because I done went and took a shot of something to try and save a friend and I could really use some friends in case I sprout a second head or… or.. something. Or someone to go sit in a secret room in the basement of a really expensive restaurant that is floor to ceiling dusty bottled wines and I'd like to have really not have come all the way out here for just Vegas and warm air. I came out here for you. I brought the friends because Teodoro told me he'd feel better if I did. I even had Parkman leave the noose necked entourage back in the snow"

The verbal barrier is broken and words are spilling forth in the stream of babble that he's familiar with. "You hurt me, you're sorry, I hurt you, I didn't tell you what I did, and i'm sorry for that Robert and I could just.. I could really just use a hug right now because for two days I have been here and I wanted to do was come find your room and bang on the door and tell you how sorry I am"

Caliban is fortunate that he possesses the ability, in addition to whatever is lurking beneath is gloves, to keep up with Abigail and process what she's saying in a timely manner. Sometimes her words run together; when they do, he drives mental wedges between them and pries them apart, forcing him to pause and reexamine what he thought he heard to ensure that the meaning he takes from it matches what she's struggling to convey. It's the only reason he hesitates.

Cautious steps close the distance between them. A hand comes out of Caliban's pocket and finds the small of Abigail's back, one arm hooked around her as he draws her carefully in with firmness that lacks ferocity but not an ounce of feeling.

She shuffles forward, tense for a moment then two before relaxing against him and working an arm to the small of his back regardless of how awkward it is with the crutches. Face buried into the lapel of his suit and fingers digging in with the fear she has that he just might let go, jump back and it was all a joke.

Only he's not the type to do that, far as she knows. He's also likely not the type to appreciate tearstains on expensive suits, so she reigns it in, leaving only a shuddered sigh, turning her face to the side, pressing cheek to his chest instead. "Thank the lord something's going right. Thank you Robert."

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