Conversational Distance


gabriel_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Conversational Distance
Synopsis Gabriel pays Odessa a visit and the two strike a deal that may solve some of her problems.
Date April 27, 2010

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the black and cream risqué wallpapered walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar.

Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the back room and owner's office and a stairwell that leads the residence above the floor above the bar.

Old Lucy's may be closed, but the lights are still (half) on, and music can be heard just outside the door if one listens closely enough. Inside, tables have been shifted to the walls with their corresponding chairs stacked atop them, leaving the floor open. A pair of high-heeled shoes have been kicked off haphazardly and are laying with yards between them. In her stockinged feet, Odessa slides across the floor with a bottle of Galliano clutched in her hand as a makeshift microphone as she belts out the words to the song playing through the speakers.

"Ce que j'ai fait, ce soir la? Ce qu'elle a dit, ce soir la? Realisant mon espoir. Je me lance, vers la gloire." She may have the French down, but Odessa is utterly and horrifically tone deaf. It's obvious she did not secure the nickname of Nightingale due to her musical ability. Florence is the more likely explanation, to be sure.

Upstairs, there's the calculated thud of something landing.

It can't be heard over the music, no, but whatever caused it can certainly hear the music, and does so for a little longer before makes its descent. There's no opening nor shutting of any doors, nor the sound of footsteps — Gabriel has no use for the former and can conceal the latter without much effort on his part, and with the lighting the way it is, even his shadow lags behind him rather than spilling out at first indication of his presence. Content to stand and watch, Gabriel leans his forearms against either side of the stairwell's doorway, peering with neutrality into the main room of the bar and the woman occupying it.

He doesn't look worse for wear. Whatever inevitable injury his body might have, it's concealed or healed enough not to be visible, his face clean of it and clothes disguising possibly bruises, lacerations and bandaging. He's also a picture of black on black, and this should surprise no one.

Odessa's eyes are squeezed out as she continues to mangle the lyrics "into" the vaguely club-shaped bottle of Galliano. Her hips rock from side to side, denim miniskirt shifting stiffly as she dances back several steps, then forward a few more. Twirls easily in her stockings and strikes a pose with a huff of laughter made breathless by a combination of physical exertion and her tightly laced black corset.

Blonde hair sticks to lipgloss and lashes, which flutter, then widen the moment she realises she is no longer alone. "Sylar," she cries with elation, running headlong toward the man with the intention of leaping into his arms. Hopefully she doesn't end up phasing through him and a tangled heap of limbs on the stairs.

And Gabriel's eyes snap further open as the woman goes to launch herself at him. Several things happen in a manner of a few seconds, tension initially bridling up his arms, his back, softer expression going steely as if expecting some kind of attack. But the joy ringing in her voice shatters that illusion, and he has the sense of mind to at least lower his arms and accept a friendlier assault than he'd anticipated. It's been a long time for her. And it's been even longer for him, no matter how many timestops the woman has under her belt.

His arms bear-hug around her firmly — not to worries, he's solid as flesh. His clothing and skin smells mostly of the snow and ice outside, earthier sweat from the effort of coming out all this way, and something stranger. Ozone-like and ethereal, like a storm. Inevitably, the embrace breaks and likely by Gabriel forcing her back so that he can study her face, finding what's familiar and what's become stranger to him.

"Hello, Odessa. How are you today?"

The woman is understandably reluctant to be pulled back from her hug, but she does lean back, even if she does keep a firm grip on the man's biceps with her good hand as if that might somehow ensure that he won't simply disappear. "You're alive," she breathes out. "Who the hell cares about me? You're alive." Tears glisten in her eyes, which she's obviously trying very hard not to shed. "Why didn't- You look- How-" Each querey is halting and shut down before it can be completely given a voice, banished away with a rueful shake of her head.

"You're alive," she repeats, because it's important. Nervous, bubbling laughter replaces the need to ask something serious. "I've missed you." She watches his eyes study her face. A scar still exists at her brow where Peter Petrelli once used Eileen's power and ordered a flock of birds to nearly peck one of her eyes out. She's wearing makeup, which is something that didn't happen terribly often before. Dark liner around the eyes with silver eyeshadow fading to a metalic blue at the inner corners. More telling than anything in her face or her posture, however, is the blue gemstone choker lacking about her throat. Instead of jewellery, the ugly scar there is worn almost proudly.

Speaking of things familiar, that slit-throat scar catches his attention. Gabriel doesn't remember how many rebirths he's gone through, how many cleanslates and all-body healing washes and regenerative recharges it's been assaulted by to make his own scar-history a gappy muddle of undocumented injury. Not that he lacks scars now — he has twin starburst bullet holes in his chest, now, and a tattoo beneath a sleeve. His brown eyes stay leveled there, one hand sliding up to rest at the base of his throat, brushing the pad of his thumb against the very edge of the badge of honor that represents something of him, too, some rite of passage.

It was so long ago. "Who told you I was dead?" he asks, without looking up, though an eyebrow quirks up a fraction to lend expression to his query as much as his eyes are far away.

Odessa's eyes darken and a shiver runs through her when his thumb brushes over her throat. "Someone who lied to me," she replies vaguely. "I destroyed a kitchen when I heard about it." She can remember vividly the catharsis of smashing plates and bowls and glassware in her fury, screaming and crying loudly in the safety of her frozen time. All of it pales to this moment.

Cobalt eyes lid heavily as Odessa comes up on tiptoe to crush her lips to Gabriel's. Desperate, needy, passionate. Her good hand comes up from his arm to tangle in the back of his hair. This moment has been so very, very long overdue for her.

Maybe he should have seen it coming, but doesn't. Maybe to their own benefit in a myriad of ways, because there's no defense for Odessa to break down before her mouth meets his. They both go back a step, Gabriel's hands siezing her in a neutral limbo that is neither pushing her away or drawing her in, until he does both. Her back meets the edge of the doorframe in a shove, but he goes with her, this time, a flare up of that same desperate needy passionate in a reaction much different from the clammy cold aloofness of a Sylarish alterego clone roaming out somewhere out there, or Tavisha's inability of anything human, or the other thing's removal of mind and self.

Out of any of them, Gabriel is allowed to be flesh, and this is about the friendliest welcome home, glad you're not dead he's gotten — and it knocks him off his guard. There's a soft groan that reverberates in his throat like a cat's purr, his hand at her throat firm, all at once, as he kisses her back in the midst of the crush of their bodies.

There's a mewling sound in the back of her throat that comes in tandem with being shoved up against the doorway. Odessa's taped and splinted hand fumbles for a moment, unable to grab purchase of anything, so she instead uses it to press flat against the base of his spine, keeping him held to her. One stockinged foot comes up to hook her leg around the back of Gabriel's calf, tangling further with him.

An arm gets between her and the hard edges of the doorframe, bracketing her waist and pulling her against him, soaking up warmth and shamelessly given affection and easily reflecting it in return. There was an awkward kiss in a stolen apartment, once, whimsical flirtation that seem bizarre if not necessarily trivial in comparison to the more pragmatic exchange of kisses, tangling limbs (and the subtle lift of her body as that hand stops fussing with her throat and goes to grip to her thigh) and some quavery mutual want without particularly wanting the same thing which—

Gabriel breaks the kiss as he did the hug, hot breath blowing almost noisily past her ear before he thinks to lift his head with his chin grazing near her temple, stray stands of cornspun blonde tickling his skin. There are important questions, philosophical quandries to ponder. Does the tree in the forest make noise upon falling? Is the cat dead or alive in the box? If you stop time when you fuck another woman, does it count as cheating?

"This isn't what I— "

No, it is. In a sense. If Odessa is characterised by anything, it's a stupid amount of admiration and warmth given for the taking. The woman is still dropped back down the inch he'd risen her. "— came here for," he finishes anyway.

The disappointment when Odessa's released is truly palpable. "It never has been," she answers quietly, unwilling to part completely yet. She rises up again for another kiss, brief now. A reiteration of how badly she wants this. Wants him. Her broken hand trails down lazily, thumb hooking through a belt loop.

Her eyes open again finally, but focus on his mouth, tracing visually the curve of his lips rather than study his features, his expression, for fear of what she might see there. As long as Odessa focuses on those lips, she hopes she can delay any sense of regret that he might attempt to convey with dark eyes and furrowed brows. "There's time enough for both," is assured with a third kiss for punctuation. A belated sort of response to a question unspoken.

The third kiss is met with a subtle kind of response to it. Shapes his mouth to receive and give back, and with it— a flooding numbness that begins there and floods out. Minus the sting of an injection, that's almost how it feels as Gabriel swiftly steals all sense of touch from Odessa, tingling all the way down to her feet, until even the inward sensations of her breathing tight in her chest and the warmth of her pulse all become a distant echo of what they once were. Gabriel rocks back until his spine connects with the opposite door frame, blood having risen to his face and eyes hooded.

If he wants her too, it's shown in these simple, human manifestations of it. His voice always has that slightly mechanical tone to it, however, and remains there when he tells her, "It's not worth it." The tip of his tongue touches the corner of his mouth before adding, "Not what comes after. Sorry."

Odessa's breath hitches in her throat and her limbs slide awkwardly away from Gabriel's form, the sudden absence of feeling an unfamiliar one. Usually, she's sprawled out somewhere and gradually allowing something similar happen with the prick of a needle. "You mean it isn't worth it for you." There's a slight bitterness in her tone. She knows who stands between her and what she wants, she just hasn't decided how to eliminate that obstacle yet.

Her hand turns over in front of her slowly, a sort of incomprehension there. "Make it stop, please," Odessa begs softly. "I don't…" She shakes her head, closing her eyes against the thoughts jumbling about between her ears. "I was with you when you picked this one up." Rather than continue the subject, she repurposes her analytical mind. "But it's not quite right. This is new." The numbness isn't the same as the one stolen from the agent in the cemetery so very long ago. Then again, she barely remembers what it was like when the agent still possessed it. And his brain.

He doesn't argue with her, mouth in a soft line and eyes sleepy from a sort of maleish desire to continue where they left off, but the more concrete will behind it keeps his back stiff and hands off her. "It is new," Gabriel agrees. "It's indiscriminate. I can steal senses, now — I could take your sight, hearing, ability to taste— " He swallows, nudging his weight off the doorway. "Ability to feel. It's really handy, if you have a lot of pain in your life, but it makes you more prone to," his head tips on the axis of his spine, regarding her carefully for a second, "damage."

His hand comes up, numbly brushes knuckles down the slope of her jaw, and as he does so, feeling stirs to life again, all the discomforts and awkwardness, a sweeping tingle that settles itself down and recognises that it's just feeling the press of air and clothing against her skin.

Odessa understands that more readily than she's about to admit to. Too much escapism always creates more trouble. She instinctively leans into his touch before sliding down the frame and ducking back to sit on the steps, staring up with wide eyes. "Why did you come here, then? You didn't seem to care to check up on me before. You aren't complaining of injury…" Though if his ability allows him to take away is own pain, that would explain that much. "What use can I be to you?"

Comfortably, Gabriel shifts to lean against the dooframe, one shoulder angled out of view and a large hand gripping the wooden edge. His own eyes are wide looking down at her, heat of the moment giving way to the kind of analysis she was getting before she knew he was there. "I've been out of town for a while. It's one of those things. You check in on old friends to make sure they're not planning to kill you any time soon, you know how it is. And then I saw you at that Ferryman vaccine thing." His fingers all fan out, rhythmically beat fingertips back down against wood. "I wondered. What was in it for you?"

The woman's lips twitch upward in the briefest of smiles before she shakes her head with a sigh. "I don't… know. Allies? Munin asked me to help, so I did." Odessa shrugs a little helplessly. "I don't even know what I'm doing anymore. Things used to be simple. I followed you, did as you told me to do. Before that, I did what the Company told me. I'm beginning to discover that I honestly don't know how to function now that I'm left to my own devices," she admits.

Blonde veils her face for a moment, clearly not finished speaking, but needing a second or two to gather her thoughts. "It was Carlisle Dreyfus that told me you were dead. I assume that means something to you."

"Vanguard," is confirmation that he knows a little something of that situation, resting his head against the doorframe. "Gave the sales pitch to a few of us. Not to me." It's flatly unambiguous, according to Gabriel's tone, how well that would have gone. Better for everyone they thought he was dead. His gaze drops to the floor between them, an eyebrow going up as he adds; "They weren't entirely wrong. Or— they weren't entirely lying. A lot of people thought I was dead — kind of fashionable, but what can I say? I'm a trendsetter."

"Lucky for your friends in Charlie that someone finally told me you weren't dead," Odessa points out. "I'd have done everything Dreyfus wanted otherwise." It's all so matter of fact, the way she tells Gabriel she'd have murdered people he might actually have some connection to.

Another small pause and a rueful smile tugs at the corners of Odessa's lips. She shakes her head. "Ethan is the trendsetter." Her expression turns sad. "What does it say about me that the men I care about prefer I think them dead?"

"It probably speaks louder for the kinds of men you care about," Gabriel informs her, voice both rough and wry. "I see value in people thinking I'm dead — so did Ethan. We have better, braver ways than avoiding individual people, you know." Or— supposedly. Gabriel would at least like to imagine so.

Restlessly rocking his weight up off the doorway, he sways a step more into the middle of the space, hands tucking into the pockets of his coat. "I imagine you'd understood — you seem to be into the whole vanishing act thing yourself."

"If you think I escaped that explosion entirely unscathed, you're wrong." Odessa's voice is quiet, tone defensive. "I wasn't exactly looked after. I didn't know how to get back to New York. Didn't know how to get in touch with you, if you had even lived. If you weren't still Kazimir." Glossed lips purse childishly. "I thought we were past this. I ended up in Moab. I think I've been sufficiently punished for not checking in with you."

The blonde pulls herself to her feet again and ambles back into the main room of the bar, picking up the discarded bottle of Galliano and setting it carefully back on the shelf she took it from. "Or are we talking about the times I disappeared because I was so strung out I couldn't tell which end was up, let alone the day of the week, or month of the year?" Odessa turns around and searches Gabriel's face and posture for any tells. Any sign that she's struck some sort of chord, some note of understanding.

Stepping aside as she goes, Gabriel watches her with a blank and predatory neutrality — if such a stare can be mastered, it would be one that Gabriel could arrange. Twists on a heel and wanders after her for but a few paces before stopping. After a few stagnant seconds, he says, "I'm not chastising you. It's a thing that happens — that's what I'm talking about. Near death, jail, drugs. I figured you'd at least understand the concept that shit happens.

"I didn't get away unscathed either." Despite the argumentative nature of his words, aggression is devoid from his voice and demeanor, as if too lazy to coax that brand of emotion. "All things considered, neither one of us get to expect much more from the other."

Conflicted is about the only word for Odessa's expression currently. Her lashes flutter as her eyes continue to track up and down Gabriel's length as though she might see something that would have the answer to every question she can't find the words to ask. "You're right," she says finally. "I do understand this concept that shit happens. I guess I just…" She finds the lack of echo of her own footsteps almost disconcerting when she makes her approach again, so used to wearing her heels around downstairs. Her good hand comes up to cup the side of his face, the battle against the urge to lean up and kiss him again visible in her dark blue eyes.

"I've always seen you as this amazing creature, Sylar. Before the Company had you in custody, I'd always heard tales of what you had done. The things you were capable of. And by some fluke, there you were in my care." She smiles fondly at her memories, but only because they're twisted into something far more romantic than the reality of her own past. "And people still gave you this wide berth. I recall you having found the strength to get past the awful stupor once. It was the most magnificent thing I had ever seen." Her head tilts to one side and she catches herself leaning forward, quickly drops herself back onto her heels.

"I guess what I'm trying to say… Is that… I've never thought of it as possible that shit could happen to you." Her grin is more wicked now, that look she would get just before she would utter the words show me when there was a new trick to be seen. "You were the shit that happened to people."

Fond memories to her are mostly— dreams and hallucinations and wakeful spite to Gabriel, but it's not a conflict he has with Odessa apart from snide remarks once or twice. Old wounds scar over into superficiality that doesn't even twinge at night. He only blinks and doesn't shift from her hand, allowing himself to be slid beneath the microscope and analysed, expression stoic in its wolfishness. That last but does gain a smile, broad and pearly toothed for all that the rest of him is variously grizzled and dark in some way of another.

"I still am — in more ways than one." That's enough to sober the smile, and he draws his head away from her touch. "Part of that unscathed thing — I made a mess that I'm still cleaning up. Duplicates. Copies. You don't get to keep one — just stay out of their way or kill them on sight. If you can stop time around them, then know it's not me.


Odessa's brows furrow at first in confusion, and then she nods her understanding. "Are they…" She squints and traces the lines of his face as though memorising the feel of him beneath her fingers. "Killing I can handle, if that's what you need from me. But…" She doesn't completely understand, and doesn't want to insult the man in front of her by asking if he's the real one.

"Killing you would be exceptionally difficult for me, you realise," she leans up finally to wrap her other arm around the man's shoulders, bring him into an embrace. "Though only emotionally so. It would not hurt you, killing these duplicates?" Her head comes to rest against her own hand and his shoulder, her breath on his neck. "I'm in a rather tight situation in which a dead copy of you would actually come in handy." Odessa's lips can be felt to pull into a small smile against his skin, "Shall I explain?"

She can feel the way his chest becomes a fraction broader with a drawn in breath, his hands hovering against her waist — dogs hug like this, in that when you wrap your arm around their solid bodies, the subtle nuances of their frame indicate willingness or rejection without any overt cues, as well as neutral limbo of study limbs and thick bones. Odessa will feel the subtle resistance before the real thing manifests probably around when her breath is curling warm and damp against the column of his throat, untangling himself from her embrace, and his voice has an edge of overtuned guitar strings of tension when he asks; "Can you do it from a conversational distance?"

It's a predictable shift of mood, from him. Heavy, slightly uneven footsteps carry him to the bar, stealing down a stool to set its legs to the ground with some ample amount of restlessness. "I'll feel them die. It hurts, but having them around keeps me up at night." Sitting down, hands tucked partially beneath his thighs, Gabriel shrugs his shoulders at her, brow turned quizzical.

It's terrible, this rejection. No less than what she expected, though she did have hope after the initial greeting. There's a pang of sadness that pales in comparison to the flare of jealousy and anger that stirs in her belly but doesn't show on her face. Only the slow intake of air accompanied with flared nostrils gives her away, but that could be misinterpreted. Or so is her hope. Odessa does not move to join him at the bar. Not just yet.

"I've been offered the chance to return to the Company." The doctor rolls her eyes. "At least, that's how it was presented. It was really a case of do this, or I'm going to kill you. And I've really survived far too long to let the Haitian put a bullet in my brain pan." If the sneer on her lips is any indication, the very idea disgusts her. "I don't know if you ever had the misfortune to meet Agent Martin Crowley, but he's a real charmer. If you don't mind the grease he leaves on your hand after he's done shaking it."

Finally, Odessa comes to settle in a chair next to Gabriel, leaning her elbow on the bar and her head on her hand. "So Crowley tells me, Sylar's alive and I want you to put him down for me. Imagine my surprise, since I thought you were dead."

The name gains no recognition, but Gabriel's mouth does pull in a twist at the news that the Company is, once more, gunning for him enough to ask people like Odessa to take him down. He's not sure what that says about either of them. "It's unfortunate that I wasn't aware before. I buried one of me when I first got back to New York, and no," there is a strange kind of defense manifest in his voice, his demeanor, a dog placing its head over some prized possession and showing teeth in warning, "you can't have that one.

"But if I have to put down the other one I have, I'll let you know. There's only one that's a problem right now. I have a feeling you'd like him," he admits, with a raised eyebrow. "He goes by Sylar. But know that if you switch sides out of sympathy for the devil, he dies if I die." Just, covering all bases. "And the whole world isn't big enough for both of us."

"Now that one would be hard to kill. Do you suppose he'd tell me that you'd die if I kill him, given the chance?" Odessa's brow quirks, intrigued by this twist of events. There's no doubt she'd like the other duplicate running loose in New York if he's like the man she met after her initial escape from the Company. She waves the thought off. The only way to know the truth it to pick a side and hope for the best, non? "There's more to it than this, though. You should know me well enough by now to know that. I wouldn't even think about killing you if there weren't something in it for me. Keeping my own life is nice and all, but I know you'd help me kill anyone before they could kill me first." If only for the thrill of the hunt, she suspects.

The conversational warmth and flippancy drains away quickly, replaced by a somber expression. "Crowley knows who I am. Knows what I am." Wide blue eyes search the man's for some sign of recognition. An understanding of what she's getting at.

"Addict," Gabriel guesses, not necessarily callous but it's a fair assumption to make, a facet of identity one would want to keep hidden. He does continue, however, rest his back against the bar with his elbows rested back against the edge. "Ex-Company scientist, ex-terrorist, timestopping liquor store thief and ex-con? You're a lot of things, Odessa."

By the time he's finished listing off all the things she is, none of which she finds flattering, the gaze Odessa's levelled on Gabriel is flat to say the least. "You left out survivor, murderess, and revenge artist." How did he know about the liquor store anyway? "That's not what I'm talking about." She tries to recapture some of that earnest conveyance from a few moments before, before he knocked the wind from her sails. "Crowley knows where I came from. I- I mean it's what he says. He…" Tears glisten in her eyes and she lifts her head, silently cursing when she realises that the moment of time she's stolen to wipe the pad of her thumb across her dampened cheek is shared by the man in the room. It was so much easier to play strong and brave when he didn't have her ability. She'll have to ask him about that sometime.

"I don't know who I am, really, or where I came from." Odessa's voice cracks when she says this, revealing just how deeply it bothers her. "Adam Monroe told me once that I… I could be synthetic." Which almost terrifies her more than the idea that she might have simply been abandoned. "That can't be right, can it? There's… there's no way I'm just some…" The unexpected (to her - if he's been watching her face at all, he definitely saw it coming) sob eliminates her ability to finish her thought for several moments. She turns away in her seat as though that means he can't watch her fall apart.

After bawling heavily for several long seconds and a few hiccups once she's calmed herself again, she turns back, heedless of the puffy redness of her eyes and her wet face with makeup smeared. "My ability… it can't have been some sort of accident, can it?" The words perfection is not an accident echo in the back of her mind, the stray thought batted away easily. Odessa may see her ability as some manifestation of perfection, but she's not foolish enough to voice it aloud.

When Gabriel gets sympathetic, it shows in the way his eyes go like mirrors — reflective with his thoughts turned inwards, as opposed to the way most people would reach out. What he empathises with isn't verbally volunteered — whether being a science experiment through to having a murky past made much murkier lately. "All of these powers are freak shows," when she turns back to him, asks him a question. "Random. If it makes you feel any better…" And his mouth twists in a wry kind of smirk relatively distant from the cold set of his eyes. "They all kind of look the same to me." Thunk thunk, go his feet against the ground.

"He's probably lying to you. And if he isn't, he's getting the information from somewhere. You should find it out and take it for yourself before it can be used against you." A roaming glance up and down kind of communicates that Gabriel thinks Crowley has already done that.

"I couldn't get my hands on it in twenty some odd years," she grits out between her teeth, resentful at the idea that she somehow maybe hasn't tried hard enough. Though that's a rather self-projected accusation. Odessa wipes at the tears on her face, wiping her hand on her skirt afterward. "I don't know if he really has it, or if he's making it up, or where I could find it if that information even exists."

She slides off her chair, a challenging look in her eyes. "They can't all look the same," she insists, referring to his earlier comment. "Or you wouldn't get so damned excited every time you have the chance to collect a new one." Odessa's turning the topic around, something safer. She catches herself at it, though, squeezes her eyes shut and lets her chest rise and fall a few times with deep, calming breaths. "I don't like it. I don't like what he's reduced me to."

When her eyes snap open again, there's a vicious need to destroy something that he perhaps understands himself. "Help me. He says I have a mother." The so-called revelation would be laughable if not for the fact that it's shaken Odessa's world so completely. "I don't even know exactly how old I am. And he's dangling this fucking carrot in front of me and making me choose between the only two things I've ever gave two fucks about in my whole life!"

There's a sudden sharp intake of breath as Odessa curls her arm in toward her chest, gingerly wrapping good fingers around her opposite palm. In her anger, she'd forgotten that she isn't meant to flex both sets of fingers into fists. "Damn it!"

Diversion of conversation or projected argument is more or less ignored, when Odessa more or less ignores it all on her own. Gabriel's dark eyes are narrowed as he watches her, listening with a certain kind of discomfort made tangible in the set of his shoulders, but curious enough to stay silent and still. His gaze focuses on her hand when her attention sinks there too, and after her empathic curse, silence reins once more. It practically vibrates the air, hums like a whine in their ears. His head tilts, a slight creak in the bones of his neck.

"So, what?" he asks, eventually. "If you can't get this information yourself, and you can't take it from him by force— " And there's a beat of hesitation, before whatever he was going to say is batted away with a blink. "— then what is it he wants in return? My head on a platter? You playing pattycake with the Company?"

"Essentially," is the quiet reply Odessa gives. For a moment, she considers holding out her hand and asking for that numbness. It's visible briefly in a rocking motion that doesn't result in a step forward. "I kill you, bring him the evidence, I suppose, he puts me back in a cushy position with the Company and tells me where I came from."

She stares down at the floor now, feeling so small and helpless, voice still very subdued. "Maybe he's lying," Odessa reasons, "but I don't want him to be. I have to believe that somebody knows. If not him, with all his clearance and access, then who? How am I ever going to find out without playing his stupid game?"

"You play the game," Gabriel states, simply, a minute shake of his head. "You play it with your rules. He wants a dead body of Gabriel Gray? He can have one. If he doesn't keep up his end of the bargain, it won't be a loss." A beat, before he adds, "And you should probably kill him for it." He turns on a heel, then— his left one— and begins for the locked door of the bar at a lazy kind of saunter. "You'll owe me, Knutson, but that's how you make allies. Pick a time and place you need me dead, and I can arrange something."

He glances over his shoulder at her, hesitating, before he adds, "I get it. That he has something you need, and I get needing it."


It rings hollow in her ears and brings an accompanying feeling to her stomach, which has dropped some, she's certain. Odessa steps after Gabriel, in a silent begging for him not to leave without expressing it more than in her movement and in her eyes. "You don't have to do this for me. You… We could persuade him to simply give me the information I want." It's an idea she likes better, but it doesn't quite bring the smile to her lips she might have wanted it to. "I… don't want us to barter and owe favours. I just—" She doesn't know.

"I don't want you to rely on me."

The words are clear, if still quiet, still low. "If you want my help, that's my offer, but I'm not tangling with the Company right now — I have enough I need to worry about. Enough people," and this is said with a sneer, gaze going vague and dropping to the floor somewhere between them, "that seem to think they can trust me. "The last time you wanted me help, on Staten Island, I drew a line, and you ignored what I could give you. If you want to do that again…"

Gabriel's head tips doggish and heavy on his neck in something of a shrug. "It's your call. But I can't be your favourite monster and your best friend at the same time. I think a lot of people could do with remembering that."

If the way her head dips low so that she can study the floor beneath her feet is any indication, Gabriel's words have made their point with Odessa. "Fine. I'll take what you're willing to give." She shakes her head slowly and tips her chin up, though her eyes don't follow that movement for another second or two.

"I don't want you to change your nature." Now she meets his gaze. "Not the way some might." Some is so ambiguous. It could mean everyone else, or it could be a very specific someone. Odessa only tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. "Come back to me soon. There's so much I want to know."

A flick of a look up and down has him taking in the sight of her once more, before Gabriel gives a grunt of assent — and with that, he goes. Appears to collide with the closed door, until his body sinks effortless through it as if it were no more corporeal than a fine mist as opposed to solid wood. The last thing she sees is a flick of the tail of his coat, before she's abruptly left alone in the bar as abruptly as she gained company.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License