Diminished Capacity


bella_icon.gif deckard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Dimished Capacity
Synopsis Deckard's second-to-last stop before Mexico is the private apartment of his therapist, who may or may not be pleased to see him.
Date December 5, 2009

Bella's Apartment

It's early evening. After work hours. After dinner. Before bed. For most people, anyway. Worn overcoat buttoned up over the pin-striping of a suit that might have been decent once upon a time, Deckard is currently in the process of checking his watch for the fourth time since he arrived outside of Bella's door.

Her real door, that is. The one she lives behind. There's a different kitchen, and a different window, and no convenient arrangement of face to face furniture or circle of trust. He probably shouldn't be here.

His moral compass is intact enough to register as much as a wavering, uncertain blip in its otherwise skewed take on the world, and so here he is, standing as he has been for five minutes? Ten? The vaguest shadow of his own reflection is cast against the polish of her closed door, buzz bristled close to the skull and ears overlarge on either side of it. It can't pick up how hard he's frowning when he finally knocks, and if a scrub of that same hand over the narrow set of his jaw is at all successful, neither will she.

Bella was not expecting callers of any kind, and her heart gives a small lurch, some leftover anxiety from incidents here and there. The project makes her feel better, that's for sure. It makes her leg hurt less, makes her feel focused, accomplished… even sort of protected. But when she's not on the job, her nerves are just a bit more delicate.

She's in a terrycloth bathrobe, pale blue in color, robin's egg blue, and she has white fluffy slippers on that have clearly seen better days, heading in a grey direction, the fluff uneven, inches away from getting mangy. She is reading when the knock comes, reclining on her couch, frowning at the lines in a copy of 'If on a winter's night a traveler', which she's less than halfway through. She looks up at the door, suspicious, smoothing out the fabric of her robe in a sort of needless motion of modesty (it's not like he can see through walls… anymore).

After a moment's hesitation, she gets up and moves to the door, shuffles actually, since slippers just demand that you shuffle. She peeks through the peephole, and blinks. This is not someone she expected. But it's someone she knows. Another hesitation, a hand hovering above the knob. Then… she opens it a crack, leans around to give Deckard a skeptical look, red brow raised, "Whatever you're selling, I'm not buying," she says, then allows herself a smirk, "What are you doing here, Flint? How did you even find out I lived here?"

Crack taken in after the fashion of a tethered hawk automatically weighing its odds of being able to hook a mouse out from under a board, Flint takes in the limited space first and her lean through it second. The beat it takes him to catch himself is a chilly one, however quickly it's overtaken by a knit at his brow and a more casual backwards shift in weight to give her room. "I've got friends in low places," is the obvious answer once he's taken her in more completely, right shoulder hitched into a shrug that highlights the unease carved into subtle tension around his long face. He knooows he shouldn't be here. He knows.

"I'm leaving town. Actually — I'm leaving the country. I thought I should tell you." Simple and clear cut enough, right? His jaw slides into a sideways lock on its hinges, reconsidering elaboration as his eyes drop near unconsciously to squint after rough-worn slippers.

A beat.

"Come in," Bella decides, drawing the door open and stepping aside to let him enter. Her free hand tightens the tie on her robe, cinching it closer to her waist. It's a security gesture, something meant to make her feel more covered, even if it does practically nothing meaningful to her wardrobe's stability.

Deckard glances after the cinch in passing, as is to be expected, but manages to keep himself from saying anything on the subject of the tie or any other aspect of her wardrobe. All the way down to her fluffy slippers.

His hands have eased down into his coat pockets by the time he's paced in a ways and half turned back to wait while she manages the door, clear gaze sweeping wide to take in unfamiliar furnishings along the way. Odds are he wasn't actually expecting to get past the stoop.

The place is remarkable only in its utter blandness. If a house's interior really does indicate something about its owner, then there must be something very unimaginative and basically boring about Bella. The furniture is all nice enough, in a 'upper end of the IKEA catalogue' sort of way, and may well be arranged as suggested in that very catalogue. Bella pads over to an armchair, taking her seat. She looks like she's about to cross her legs, then thinks better of it and, instead, flattens the bottom of her robe further across her thighs. She gestures to the couch. It's weirdly reminiscent of therapy. "Please, have a seat."

Aware of a certain parallel familiarity to the vibe here, Deckard follows directions and trails after her to take up a seat on the near end of the couch. Any attempt he makes at causal ease is shoddy at best — he's still in his overcoat, and there's an awkwardness to the way he lets his arm fall across the rest. The way people read when they're trying too hard not to look weird against the inevitably surreal backdrop of a Sears portrait studio.

Anyway, he's sitting here in his coat and suit and she's sitting over there in a fluffy blue robe and slippers and he finds himself wondering after her sparse taste in decoration even as he forces himself to focus on her legs (there's a twitch at his brow and a minute adjustment of focus) face.

Really all that's missing is a some framed picture of a famous city scape. There's about as much personality here as her office. In fact, her office has more personality, marked as it is by her radio and her crosswords and whatnot. Bella smiles, folding her hands in her lap. "Easy question first. Can you tell me where you're going?"

Something about the way he's sitting; something about the way she's sitting. Something about the way she asks. There's a belligerent furrow through the lines etched in over his brow, and after an unsteady hesitation, he pushes back up onto his feet easy as a champing a bit out've its teeth before the rest of the rigging's set behind its ears. He doesn't answer 'til he's had a second to test the air again, rather as if anticipating a sudden stink of burning wires or metal on its way to overheating as he circles idly around the couch back. "Mexico."

"Okay," Bella says, "Mexico. Sounds fun. Cost of living is way lower down there," her head tilts slightly, "Harder question. Maybe harder, that is. Why in person? Why not call? Why not leave a message?"

"I like you." Turns out being straight forward is easier when you're intending to leave the country for maybe forever. His voice is flat, demeanor direct despite the couch between them and the fact that he's shoulder's half turned while he browses around. "You could have called me after Teo shot you."

"Thank you, Flint," Bella says, and it's a little horrible how easy it is for her to say it. It's effortlessness makes it sound mostly empty. 'Have a nice day'. "I like you as well." A pause. The Teo issue is a little harder to be professionally pleasant about. Her lips actually thin somewhat. "I didn't have a phone on hand at the time. Otherwise I might have."

Suspicion is one of those things that comes easily when you're a Deckard. For the first time since he sat down he turns his head enough to look directly at her, and there's cause for annoyance in what he discerns there. He shakes it, or tries to, in an irritable twitch of something indecipherable through the hollow of his jaw.

Pragmatism, on the other hand, doesn't come as easily as it used to.

Despite his best efforts, he's lost his train of thought, and it takes a moment of staring hard at a span of wall that would look better if there was something to break up the steril span of it for him to recall himself. "Do you want me to fix it?"

"My phone?" Bella asks, brow arching. It's not a smartass comment, she's really not sure to what he is referring. And then her brain starts actually working, memory synapses firing. "Oh!" she exclaims, and her distance decreases. The offer is a surprise to her, and her feelings on the matter are mixed. Without a clear response, ready made for her use, she resorts to a momentary stammer. "I… you mean… this?" she reaches down and touches her leg, a bare spot on her calf, visible and still marked by the shadow of scar tissue.

Hard to tell whether or not he expected surprise in turn. He brings himself around to face her in full across the couch back, shoulders at an obtuse slope away from the tilt of his head on his neck and brows tipping gradually into a cant somewhere between expectant and exasperated. Yeah. 'This.'

Bella's lips quirk. She has to think hard about this. "I… I am not sure," she says, "I mean, yes, I do want you to fix it. That would be great. But I don't know that I can let you fix it. If you know what I mean. You're my client. This might be considered a crossing of a boundary. And what would I say to my doctor?" Or to her superiors.

"I guess you'd say a mutant you know happens to be in possession of a healing ability. He's not going to know who I am. That I'm registered as something else." A lazy lift at his right hand encompasses the ease with which vagaries can overtake lies, or even half truths. "You can't bullshit me about boundaries after my best friend kidnaps you and you're willing to keep me around. It doesn't look like you did it because you need the money. And now I'm in your home and you haven't called the cops." His hand falls, the studio stretched out at his back hollow in its support. "If you want it fixed, I'm offering."

Okay, fair enough. Best friend, though? New information. "I never had a best friend," Bella comments, off handedly, "It never made sense to me. Friends are good for different things, and I never met anyone who was the best at everything. Though I guess that's not how it works," she gives a thin smile, "Why are you offering now? Instead of before? When you first found out? Why now, when you're leaving?" And when it's already so closed to healed, asshole.

"Me either, until him. Based on my experience so far I'd say you're probably better off without one." Eyes narrowed into flinty slits on a subject he didn't intend to fishtail into, Deckard goes a little stonily silent after that. His ribs rise and fall slow and measured beneath the hang of his overcoat, still worn as if he only sauntered by in search of a cup of sugar. Buffering.

"I didn't want it to be weird if you said no." Honesty requires more force of will than it did just five minutes ago, before she started doing her polite voice at him. There's a twitch of a rankle at this nose, fleeting in a bitter kind of way, and he flexes both hands into the raised barrier of the couch back. "Now if it's weird I can drown myself in tequila and Mexican hookers. Did you want me to fix it earlier?"

"I never assumed it was an option," Bella says, and this is the honest truth. As opposed to the dishonest truths she's usually tossing about. "Flint… this feels like a goodbye. What are you going off to do?" A small frown. "Is Laudini involved in this?"

"Teo's in Russia saving the world again or something. I wasn't invited. He doesn't remember what happened with you. And the leg." Paired fingers indicate which one, in case she's forgotten that's what they're supposed to be talking about. Then Flint's moving out around the far side of the couch from the one he sat on, touch trailing as he goes.

"Quite the rage these days, saving the world…" Bella's tone is very, very wry. It actually sounds a deeply tired. It's unlike her. She doesn't inquire about the forgetfulness. She'll pass off the lack of inquiry as lack of interest and information, when it's actually because she knows precisely what happened. He got what he wanted. Fuckers. They should have put him down. She pushes this thought down quickly. If she lets it simmer, she won't be able to hide it. Her eyes trace Flint's movements, "What is it like? Being healed? What does it do?"

"It feels good. Kind of buzzy or…warm." Deckard's descriptive vocabulary is apparently limited when it comes to experiences that might classify as pleasant, which probably comes as no surprise. He scuffs self-consciousness out've his expression with a transparent pass of his hand over his mouth and shrugs, letting her extrapolate for herself.

"It doesn't hurt."

Bella looks very nervous. She sits straight as a pole, arms visibly tense. She eyes Deckard's hands. She bites her lip. For all her tension, in her robe and with her lower lip slightly blanched by her white teeth, she looks accidentally adorable, which is rare: usually it's very purposeful. Then, finally, she nods.

Hands that have lifted slick livers from gawping incisions in human bellies warm and tacky with blood look relatively harmless at Flint's sides now. They're squarish about the palms, long in the finger, callused and bony with lead staining smudged yellow through the interior of both thumbs. They don't glow or hum or shoot sparks, even after he's passed them roughly over each other a few times in crossing the distance between the couch and her chair. Once he's there, it's more awkward. Most of the people he's healed have been lying down or standing, and the only one that looked anything like the way she looks was the one he grabbed up outside of the hospital and —

He blinks hard; offers his right hand out a little plainly, palm up.

Bella peers at the hand, looking momentarily dubious. Her eyes dart up to his. "This had better not hurt," she says, "I'm a doctor, I know how frequently we lie about things hurting. This had better not hurt or else…" Or else what is not said… but perhaps the terror will be in the uncertainty! She sets her hand in his, touch very light.

"Fortunately for you I'm not a doctor. Or a liar."

Looking (and feeling) vaguely like a much abused universal cell phone charger posted in an airport somewhere, Deckard stands near the chair. He's patient, sort of, blue eyes cast down to meet hers without shying off, which might be some small comfort even if he looks more curious than sympathetic.

At eventual contact, delivery is as promised after a drifty pause where nothing much happens. And at any sudden twitches made to second guess or withdraw when warmth starts to soak its way up through the angle of her arm, his hand can be expected to close hard around hers. Even if that proves to be the case, the process is otherwise non-frightening. Unnatural heat bleeds from his palm to pool through her system into the wounded flesh of her leg, where worn and torn muscle fiber is thickened back to full capacity and softer damage winds itself away at an accelerated pace.

Nerves tickle and buzz here and there, communications waved off course and delivered nowhere. Muscle moves under skin at his direction rather than hers. Deckard breathes easily, meanwhile, in no rush to let go once the sensation has ebbed. There wasn't that much to fix, and he's become passingly aware of the fact that his current vantage point could yield a glimpse down her robe if the planets line up while she's still distracted.

It's true that Bella is not focusing on her modesty as the strange sensation flows into her. She's not frightened, just interested. Her eyes actually close as she concentrates on the exact sensation of rapid healing. The only marker of any kind of tension is the slight squeeze of her hand on the arm of her chair, more a gesture of steadying, like she's afraid that, if this keeps going, she's in danger of sliding off the chair. For half and instant there is a promising view down the front of her robe, but then her hand is up, covering that spot all too soon, though it's to express her surprise at the experience, not to block his view. The planets align for mere moments, sadly.

Christ. Deckard misses x-ray vision. You didn't have to be sane or nice to people to see them naked. Long-suffering dismay repressed into a flat look sideways while she comes to terms or whatever — a glance down at her puzzles him more than he'd like — he splays his hand somewhat under hers in an understated ghost of a tada and squints one eye against the static buzz receding from the fringes of his vision.

Bella's eyes open, and her hand lifts from Deckard's. She reaches down, touches her erstwhile wounded leg, then offers both her hands to Deckard. "Help me up," she says, simply. Not a request, but hardly an order either.

Flint can push the bit out've his teeth all he likes. Fact of the matter is when someone worth anything tells him to do something he hasn't already had time to make his mind up on, he usually does it. No different, here. He takes her hands and counterweights her up out of the chair without flourish. Without looking at her oddly either, which is more of an accomplishment.

She's on her feet… and she's just fine. Just… fine. She blinks, testing her once wounded leg. She looks up at Flint. She's not smiling. She actually looks sort of serious. "Thank you," she says, looking him right in the eye.

On a delay, Deckard says, "Welcome." He also looks serious, if simultaneously slightly uncomfortable, like the word is a rock in his boot. But one that he put in there, so. He tips just the one brow up this time.

"I'd like to schedule an appointment, for after you return from Mexico," Bella says, rather abruptly. Her hands are still in his, her gaze locked on his eyes.

"Okay." No argument, no offhand remarks about how he is going forever times infinite never to return. Flint's eyes slide off sideways, then back to hers, searching back towards uncertainty. They're still holding hands. His expression hasn't changed much, if at all, save maybe for a hint of compounded knit between his brows.

"I don't know your flight times," Bella says, matter of fact to the last inch, "What day would be best for you?"

Flight times? Puzzled distraction is naked for as long as it takes him to parse what she's saying, and he shakes his head a twitch, dismissive. "I'm driving. …I dunno when I'll be back."

"Set a date," Bella says, and there is just as little room for argument as when she asked him to help her up.

Deckard doesn't say anything in the conspicuous space where he should say 'okay' again or 'no.' That he's considering something is pretty clear in his eyes while he watches her — too close. Preparing to measure the margin by which he is about to err. "Fuck me and maybe then we'll talk about it."

Bella tilts her head just slightly. "And let you walk out of here, mission accomplished?" she shakes her head, "This way, you'll come back. Maybe just in the hope that I'll answer differently next time." She lets go of his hands, gives him a light shove in the chest. "Go on, Flint. Go do what you have to do. I'll see you for our next session."

Stored tension exhaled in a gruff gust that sifts audibly through his sinuses, Deckard glances off sideways again and — yeah. Doesn't argue. Her hands fall away and so do his, shove accepted with a sidelong look on his way to moving past her and the chair in the direction of the entry. A few dragging paces later, he's levered the door open and closed it behind himself with a muffled click.

Bella adjusts the ties on her robe once again, a show of propriety for no one at all. She watches the door, as if she could see him through the peephole at all this distance. The psychiatrist closes her eyes, flexes her healed leg. Is it just her, or does it still sort of hurt?

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