Confessional Call


sf_asami2_icon.gif sf_faulkner2_icon.gif

Scene Title Confessional Call
Synopsis After palming a phone and excusing herself under the premise of needing a few minutes to herself, Asami makes an apology call long overdue.
Date February 25, 2021

Linderman Building

Manhattan Financial District

Of all people to be calling him at this hour, it's Zachery Miller's number who lights up the phone. The cell buzzes and rings before the call is swiped to accept, the time nearly 10pm.

"… Isaac?"

The voice on the other end of the line, though, is not Zachery Miller. For all its calm, sounding like a woman he once knew, there's an edge of uncertainty to it making her sound like the woman he's not sure he recognizes any longer.

"I'm calling because I wanted to apologize," Asami says quietly, the receiver rustling against the side of her face. "For— what happened. For… everything. I'm sorry."

There is a beat of silence. Two. "I was not expecting to hear from you," Isaac admits quietly, coming to his feet and moving to stand before the window; the view from his office at night is breathtaking, but these days it brings him less and less comfort.

More and more, he feels that the world that lays spread before him is in terrible danger, and he feels less and less able to do anything about it.

There's another pause as he considers his words. "Your apology is appreciated," he says carefully, "but why now?" There's a grim undercurrent that he can't entirely keep out of his voice — he hadn't missed that this call is coming from Zachery Miller's phone.

From the other end of the phone only comes a draw of breath that— for how long the silence after is— can only be described as pained. Asami sighs it away carefully. "Because alone? I don't think we're getting through this. Any of us. I don't…"

But she trails off, and her voice dips. "Because you were right," is an admission made in a smaller voice. "You are right, about me, about what happened then. What's happened since. The police chase at the beginning of the month, it— I saw someone else like us, and I couldn't stop myself. I nearly died— people nearly died and I-I couldn't…"

The hard breath that follows comes as she pulls herself back together, drawing on a new, foreign source of inner strength. With a sniff, Asami settles her voice again. "Because you deserve an apology before I don't have the chance to give one anymore. You were the first one I hurt. Enough's happened since for me to see it for what it was."

Before I don't have the chance to give one anymore. Something about those words sets Isaac's skin crawling, even more than the rest of what she's saying.

There's a long, slow exhalation. "Okay. Apology accepted," he says. It's easy enough; there are bigger things at stake than his own ego. "So what do we do from here?"

"I don't know."

With frustration, Asami goes on, "I wish I did, but I don't. There's— there's more of us I found, like I said, and it seems like all of us have in common that we saw things these last few months. Things that don't make sense. There were three cops I found who— Isa and Shahid Khan, and Abigail Muldoon— so they're…"

"But that's not today," Asami cuts herself off. "That's not what's going on now. I hit a wall, and I don't know what to do with what's happened."

What on earth could that be, though.

"Nicole has children."

Isa and Shahid Khan. Abigail Muldoon. Names committed to memory. He'd heard about Muldoon's wife, of course. But that pales — pales — at what she says next.

She got Nicole.

His reaction to that is as visceral as if he'd been punched in the stomach — as if the very floor has given way beneath his feet. It's followed by an urge to violence that makes him want to throw his own goddamned desk out the window, paired with a stab of betrayal that hits right in the heart. He'd warned her. He'd warned Nicole, goddammit, and she hadn't fucking listened, and now…

What did you expect? What did you think you deserved? a sneering voice whispers in the back of his mind — a self-loathing he'd almost buried over the course of the last month. A self-loathing he doesn't have time for right now, either. Fine. That's fine. He can deal with that later. He'd let his father down and betrayed the closest thing he'd had to a mother, what had he expected? But he can bother with self-pity and depression later. Because right now, he has a goddamned job to do.

He lets out a slow breath, and when he speaks, his voice is carefully schooled into a gently sardonic tone. "Would you care to elaborate on that statement?"

Asami's words come from her in an overwhelmed rush of exasperation now. "I brought her to her home, and there were children here. Hers. One could have been ten years old, calling her mom, and I've never seen that child before in my life." On the verge of a nervous panic, that's not it, though— there were children plural mentioned. "The girl opened the door, and then there's twins. Babies— and one of them's sickly."

She sounds dazed at the last of those words, like she doesn't know what to do with them. "Her husband panicked, because they weren't there before we arrived. It was like they suddenly just…"

She doesn't have words for that. Not ones that won't break her at the moment, even if the implication of them go unspoken. They just suddenly appeared. Whole beings into existence, like Justice Quinn's being erased.

Another of those long pauses. "Yeah," he says. "Just like Justice Quinn. Just like the car wreck." And just like God alone knows what else that they don't even know about yet. He lets out a slow breath, biting back a bunch more words that probably won't help anybody at the moment.

"Okay." Another pause. "I cannot believe I am saying this, but. Do I need to come over? If one of them is sick…" he sighs, shaking his head. "Maybe I can help." He is acutely aware of the risk of a trap, but he's also aware that there are a limited amount of moves he can make in this situation, and this is one of the few options that offers the chance of a gain.

"She gave them medicine," Asami tries to downplay that portion of events in favor of focusing on the children's spontaneous existences. "So the child should be fine for now. It's just…"

Miles away, she lifts a hand to her forehead, rubbing it in the hopes it'll help her head process all of this any better. "I didn't do this," she stresses, a need in it to be understood. There's something like panic in there. "It just happened. The others, finding them, I've understood all that, what I've made happen. This… this is different."

Taking in a short breath, she finally winds back. "Maybe you could help, after all, with the child. But you— you should talk with Nicole about that. This— I— shouldn't be here in the first place."

"Duly noted," Faulkner says. "And you're correct, you would probably be well-advised to leave sooner rather than later." He takes a deep breath. "But first… listen. Hear me out. This isn't the first time something like this has happened," Isaac says, speaking clearly into the phone. "From the start, I've had concerns. You may already know this, but not an hour after you… left work," — he pauses a moment to shake his head at the sheer dryness of that particular understatement — "Justice Quinn, an assistant DA for New York, was completely redacted from existence. No online presence, no actual presence, nothing. Only a few people even remember her. Then, when I left our little meeting, traffic started spontaneously materializing and just about killed me on the way out. And now, this." Isaac shakes his head again. "And here's the kicker: In all three cases, these bizarre incidents have occurred shortly after someone was awakened — starting with you."

He lets that sit for just a moment. "Your hostess told me about Violette. I don't know who she is, but…" Here Faulkner pauses. "Are you familiar with the Petrellis? Peter and Nathan, specifically."

Asami interjects a note of surprise when Isaac shares what happened to him after he left the Petrelli manor a month ago. "What?" Her stomach sinks, a feeling which doesn't get better when he goes on with even more.

"Violette was the one who warned me I was in danger," she admits hesitantly. "She was the one who guided me away from the agent, to the roof— encouraged me to jump. She…" It's hard to say more than that. The impression is given there may be mixed feelings. "It's complicated. But the bottom line is, she appeared right then, and since, I haven't been able to find her again."

"As for the Petrellis… I heard from Kaylee. She told me she's worried maybe Peter wasn't crazy after all. That maybe he and Nathan didn't die in an accident."

It hits her, suddenly, that Peter claimed he could fly— the very first power Asami manifested. The phone begins to slip from her ear as that bad feeling in her gut sinks deeper, threatening to drag the whole of herself with it. Because… what a hell of a coincidence that was.

"Yeah, exactly so. Peter claimed he could fly, then Violette shows up and contacts you, and suddenly you can fly. And at about the same time you develop this… this compulsion… and suddenly you — someone who's been teaching children how to swordfight for years without a single serious incident — is losing control. Hurting people. Maybe… maybe worse."

Faulkner exhales. "And here's something else for you. Apparently Violette was in contact with Gillian; Kaylee mentioned that Violette had given Gillian a photo of Peter and Nathan at the time of the incident. One that the police didn't even have access to."

"Something stinks about this. All of this. And the fact that you say this Violette person hasn't even bothered to show up again, even after all of this… it worries me even more. If they're letting this play out, either they're powerless… or this is what they wanted."

Faulkner hesitates for just a moment. "I'm afraid for us all."

Maybe worse, Faulkner says, skirting around the fact Asami nearly killed him— and that he doesn't know who else she's brushed with like that in a violent fashion. She keeps her silence on the topic, afraid as much as grateful he doesn't tread that ground.

There's a subject she can't keep such quiet on, though. "Violette works for whoever did all of this to us, or at least with whoever is responsible for keeping us monitored. If I had to guess, the NSA. She knew in advance they were going to go after me, risked her job and her life to get me out, so I can't— I've known v.iris longer than I've known you."

Agitated, she stresses, "I trust her. I trusted her enough to jump off the roof of a building with nothing more than…"

Asami trails off then, her fang of defense for Violette Iris no longer bared. She tapers the end of that thought with a grudging sigh from her nose. "She's like us. Like me, I think. She had— multiple powers. She could teleport and manipulate technology. Computers, phones."

A beat later, she mutters, "I don't know." Uncomfortable with the thought Violette could somehow be working against them, or using her, and uncomfortable she has no way to currently divine that information, she becomes overall uncomfortable with the conversation at large.

"I should go," Asami announces, rather than just hang up.

Asami might not have recognized what she'd said, but Faulkner had, and now he's got a name — V. Iris. But at the same time, he recognizes that he's starting to lose Asami and needs to say something, quickly.

"I see," Faulkner says quietly. He takes a breath. "You probably should, but… let me say this, before you go," Isaac says quietly, in the most earnest tone he can.

"This… compulsion… isn't you, Asami. I may not have known you as long as Violette, but I know this: you're someone who wants to help people, not hurt or kill them. You've proven that in the past. Hell, the fact that we're having this conversation is proof of that."

"So… come in. We can arrange a place, have you taken in, do some brainscans or… whatever. We have doctors; let us try to help you before this gets worse!" Isaac exclaims. "Before more people get hurt, before anyone else implodes or appears out of nowhere or dies senselessly in bizarre accidents, or God knows what else has been happening out there that we don't even know about!"

"Let us try to help you," he repeats, this time more softly.

A single faint breath filters from Asami before a long pause follows. It could be traces of a laugh, maybe a sigh— the silence that follows heavy with words unspoken.

There's a lot that could happen were she to extend that trust. Aside from worrying about the vice or worse that could clamp down on her, what if it exposed Isaac? Those around him? Furthermore, the insistent voice whispers, the loss of control aside— was waking others up really so bad? And that's what the goal of any investigation would be, wouldn't it? She couldn't stop now. Mustn't. Won't.

"I'm not the answer to everything going wrong in the world, Isaac. I'm just… one piece. One card in a deck, even if that card is a Joker." Voice more heavy, she opines, "And if I stop now, we're not fixing anything, or helping anyone. We're no closer to knowing why or how this happened to me, how I woke at all, or who's behind the conspiracy to begin with… what their purpose is by keeping us all negated how we were."

"What good is an ordinary world to anyone if it's all a lie?"

She breaks the pause that follows that rhetorical by responding with the same softness he used on her. "Modern medicine couldn't help Kaylee before, in the months leading up to all this. I don't have any hope it'll help me now. Not in a way that's worth the risk it puts us both in."

"Good night, Isaac." The call ends immediately, the fact it's dropped known by how the screen of his phone suddenly lights up against the side of his face.

For a long moment, Isaac Faulkner stands there, surrounded only by darkness and silence and the ticking of an old, old grandfather clock, quietly marking off seconds past.

Then he powers off his phone, strides to his desk, and sits. He regards the phone in his hand for a moment longer, then gently opens the back and pulls the battery. "Good bye, Asami," he says quietly. She isn't wrong; he knows that. But does it matter if they find out the whys or the hows if it rips the world apart?

They're not enemies, not really — Faulkner bears her no malice at this point, nor does it seem she bears him any. No, the two of them have become something still further removed — the bearers of different truths. After another moment, Faulkner reaches for his desk phone. "Get me Doris," he says in a low voice. There's a pause before he speaks again. "Doris. I need you to find out everything you can about a v.iris, possibly also going by Violette." He pauses, then blinks. Wait. Violette Iris? Really?

Whatever. "I'm not sure of the spelling on that; cast as wide a net as you can. Possibly a hacker or former hacker, might have ties to the government; not sure. Call whoever you have to, this is highest priority business, and it's on my authority; call me if you have questions, or if you find anything out. Thanks," he says, terminating the call abruptly… and then, again, he spends a moment in stillness and silence. The question he'd posed Asami and the answer she'd given him in return still remain. What do we do from here? he'd asked.

I don't know, she'd answered. Isaac doesn't know either… but the mysterious Violette may be the key to all of this. The key to stopping Asami… because one thing Isaac Faulkner feels very strongly right now is that they're all running out of time.

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