Do We Deserve It?


doyle_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Do We Deserve It?
Synopsis Odessa turns to Doyle for answers, only to discover he doesn't really have them.
Date March 26, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffiti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonment.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr. Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

It wasn't Odessa's fault that she got too drunk to remember the route back home the other night. Really. Roosevelt Island is new territory, okay? And it isn't as though squatting is new to her or anything. It gives her a chance to clear her head. Have some time alone.

She's been sitting in a vacant apartment, huddled in front of the radiator with her phone in her hands, staring at the screen and a number she's afraid to dial, for at least three hours. Taking a deep breath, she presses the green button on the phone's face and brings it to her ear. The screen transitions.

Dialling Eric Doyle…

As the number's hit, Eric's leaning against the frame of the window, staring out at the accumulated snow, more than he thinks he's ever seen in this city, paths and routes cut through it by Brians with snowshovels. His thoughts drift, troubled, until suddenly there's a ringing from his belt that makes him jump.

Shaking his head at himself, he reaches down to pull out the phone, frowning at it. Who's calling him? Nobody ever calls him. The number's unfamiliar - it's not Kaylee's, but maybe she's using Peter's phone? Snapping it open, he brings it up to one ear, "Hello?"

"E- Eric?" Odessa's voice sounds different over the phone, but there's something about it that's unmistakeable. Maybe it's the way she sounds uncertain and scared. So very, very small. Like the girl wrapped in chains with the haunted eyes. "Please don't hang up. I… I didn't know who else to call. Please. I need to see you."

There's silence on the other end of the line for a long moment, before Eric blurts out, "Bro— " No, not Brooke. She's not Brooke, that was a fantasy woven for the government's eyes, while only they knew the truth. Their little secret. But that's not her, not anymore. "…Odessa?" It's a confused, whispered question. What she's saying doesn't make any sense, after all. "W-wait, what?"

"I'm in real trouble," Odessa confesses in a voice that hitches and breaks. "You're the only one I know who understands. Please. Pleeease just let me meet you somewhere. No abilities, no grudges." Her plea seems authentic, and Doyle has definitely heard her genuinely beg. "I'm on Staten Island right now. Is there somewhere we could meet?" She doesn't relish the idea of going back out into the cold and the snow, but it's better than sitting alone.

There's no response from Doyle for at least a full minute, as he listens to her words and struggles inwardly to give them context. She's hurt him, he's hurt her. Logically, this is probably some sort of trap, or trick. He's heard her beg, though, he's heard her plead and knows the difference between her crocodile tears and her real ones. "I'm on… I mean, I don't know if you could even get here, with the snow. I can't, can't leave, they need me here…"

"Where are you?" Odessa asks, her tone peppered with desperation. "Wherever you are, I will find a way to get there. I have to see you. I can't… do this over the phone." As if intuiting his thoughts, she murmurs after a sniffle, "We're even, okay? Score is cleared. We're zero-zero. Just please." Odessa shivers, listening even to the way the man breathes on the other end of the line for some glimmer of hope.

"No one else gets it, Eric. You're all I've got."

A sigh stirs like static against the phone's speaker for a moment, and then Eric says in quiet tones, "…alright. Alright. I'm on— I'm on Staten, I'm at the Lighthouse. There was an— an accident, I'm helping take care of the kids."

Someone let Eric Doyle take care of the kids?

Clearly he fooled them with his puppet shows. It never occurs to Odessa to question the fact that anyone thought Eric Doyle was the kind of person you'd want to trust with the care of children. After all, she convinces people she's a good person all the time. — Okay, so maybe she doesn't actually fool anyone, but she at least understands how that might work. "The Lighthouse," she echoes in confirmation. "I'll see you there." There's a pause and for a moment, it seems as though the line might have gone dead. But then there's a rasp. "Thanks." And then silence.

The snow's piled up a man's height or more in places, Staten Island buried beneath it; sure, the government's making inroads towards fixing things up, but the infrastructure's still rather weak. Doyle assumes that it'll be awhile before she shows up, and he lingers on the steps of the Lighthouse, wrapped in his second-hand jacket and with a baseball cap shadowing his features.

It's almost a full hour before the form of a blonde woman wrapped in red appears amidst the wasteland of white. Snow flakes cling to the strands of her hair, and he can see they also dot her eyelashes when she draws near enough. Odessa's face is rosy from the chill, the area around her eyes puffy and ringed with varying shades of red and pink. "You know," she muses with a weak smile that never reaches her eyes, "for a minute there, I thought you wouldn't be here. That you might have sent me off on some wild goose chase." She holds out her hand - the one that isn't a mass of metal splints and white medical tape. The gesture is meant more as one of truce than it is to be friendly.

There're a few paths up to the Lighthouse, carved through the snow by shovel and muscle, and as a form of red and blonde begins to move through one of them, Doyle pushes himself slowly up to his feet; watching her with an untrusting expression, arms folding over his chest, lips pursed and gaze hooded against the glare of sun against snow. "Mhm." He tries not to look at the hand wrapped in medical gauze and splints, regarding the other for a moment before reaching out hesitantly to take it, "So what've you done now, Odessa?"

Odessa shakes Doyle's hand once to seal their shaky accord. Her attempt at a smile fades. "Gotten mixed up with the wrong people," she explains. "The problem is, I can't decide which side is the wrong one to be mixed up with. I think it might be both." She tilts her head toward the building. "I'm fucking cold. Can we go inside?"

Doyle's lips purse together in a tight little frown, and he glances back over his shoulder. "…I… I guess. Just stay away from the kids," he says defensively. A step back, and he pushes the door open, "We'll go into the kitchen."

Eric Doyle, when have you ever known me to hurt children? Odessa lets the look she gives him actually ask that question, rather than give it credence through voice. "I won't bother anyone," she half-promises. Only half, because she can't account for the actions and sensitivities of others. "Could I get coffee?" To her credit, she only attempts the doe eyes for the briefest of moments.

A few faces, small and teenaged alike, look over curiously from the living room as Doyle walks in with a strange woman accompanying him. "Who's that, Santa?" A quiet peep from one little girl, at which he pauses, looking over with a wry half-smile, "Just an… old friend. I need to talk to her for a little bit at all."

Into the kitchen, then, and he heads for the coffee machine, asking quietly, "So. Who've you gotten mixed up with now? Back with Monroe?"

Odessa manages not to look too confused or shocked when the children take an interest in her, or at least in Doyle's interest in her. She doesn't sit at the table like a normal person, but instead pulls herself up to sit on the counter after shedding her coat and draping it over one of the chairs. Her yellow chiffon dress is rumpled some, and the black corset that matches her patent boots isn't laced as tightly as it should be. It's what happens when one sleeps in their clothes. Her face wrinkles up when he asks who she's consorting with. "Oh, no. Not him."

The blonde watches Doyle perhaps a little warily. "It's kind of a long story, but I'll try to give you a concise summary." Her tongue darts between her lips once. "There's this Russian man, and his son was killed by the members of a group called Team Charlie." She doesn't entirely understand the roots of the problem, but it seems an adequate explanation to her. "This man told me that someone I loved had been killed because of these people, too, and asked me to help him with his revenge scheme." Blonde brows raise. With me so far?

"I'm surprised. You seemed to like his dick enough," Doyle replies, tongue as sharp as a knife; apparently while there's a loose truce in effect, it hasn't completely eased things between the pair. Once the coffee's on the pot, he eases himself down to sit opposite her, elbows resting on the table and hands clasping beneath his chin as he looks back to her, listening in silence.

"Mmhm. Alright."

Odessa's face flushes a shade of red to match her discarded coat. She had said that to upset him, and he knows it. Or, at least she thinks he does. Regardless, the notion of sleeping with Adam Monroe again causes her to squirm briefly. Rather than address this, she continues her story.

"I didn't know what else to do with myself, you know? I mean, it's not like a girl like me has a whole lot of options." Odessa expects Doyle to sympathise in some manner, clearly. "But this guy lied to me. About a lot of things. And the people he sent me to spy on, well… They've been almost nice to me. But I don't know if I can trust them." Maybe because they don't trust her.

"Wait, wait…" A grin that doesn't touch Doyle's eyes as he leans forward a bit, "…you were working for some people who turned out to be bad guys? Well, we'd better call the press, then, because that's never happened before." A roll of his eyes as he leans back, "Seriously, you'd think you'd've learned by now. Who're these people?"

"Hey," Odessa snaps with a narrowing of her eyes, "when someone tells me I'm going to be killing people, I already know that I'm one of the bad guys, okay?" I'm not stupid! "I thought you would understand that." It's not meant so much as a jab, but it does come across that way.

"I've been watching Teodoro Laudani, Francois Allegre, and Abigail Beauchamp, mostly." Odessa shrugs her narrow shoulders. What's the harm in sharing those names with Doyle? It's not like they've pissed him off, right? Well, it isn't her problem if they have, anyway.

They're not names that Doyle knows very well, so he just shrugs one shoulder a little. "Well, if you knew, then what the hell's the problem? I mean…" His hands spread a little, "…pick a fucking side, Odessa."

"Oh please," Odessa snorts derisively, "as if you know what kind of person you are better than I do." She holds up her healing hand to illustrate her point. "You said you help people, but you still do things like this. Well, maybe I've got the same problem. I do bad things because it's what comes easily. There's no guess work to it. You fuck someone over, they're going to want to fuck you over in return. But this good guy shit?" The blonde looks vaguely disgusted. "It's for the fucking birds, I tell you!" She throws her hands up. "You do something nice for someone, and you can't even expect that they're going to be grateful or do anything nice in return. They may still fuck you over!"

It's so easy when you're evil.

A hand braces down to the edge of the table, and Eric Doyle pushes himself up to his feet - his expression shutting down as he looks towards that healing hand. "You could make the argument," he says, turning to step over to the coffee machine and pour two cups, "That hurting you is a good thing, Odessa. You're the one who's still going out and hanging around with murderers. Yeah, maybe they'll fuck you over, but is that any reason to fuck them over first?"

"Uh, yes?" Odessa gives Doyle a look that asks are you crazy? She disagrees with his assessment that hurting her was a good thing. But then it sort of clicks. And she frowns. "I don't know what to do. If I don't stick with the plan, then I become another name on the list. If I do stick with the plan, it means I'm going to hurt a lot more people. People that didn't actually do anything to deserve it." Odessa's lips purse. "I'm all for retribution, but I don't think I like the idea of hurting anyone who wasn't involved."

"I guess that's up to you," Eric says with a shrug of one shoulder, turning back to slide over one cup of coffee before sitting with his own, smirking a little, "Either you turn on the bad guys and risk the good guys not caring, or you kill a lot of people that you don't think deserves it." A slight lean in, brows raising, "So which is more important, 'Dessa? Your ego or their lives?"

Odessa takes the cup of coffee in her hands and stares down into the dark liquid and the way it ripples when she blows gently. She considers her muted and dark reflection for a few seconds before taking a sip, watching Doyle over the rim. "That's a tough question," she responds with absolute honesty. "What would you do? I mean, honestly. This is a question of saving my own skin, too. If I just stick with the Russians, I stay off their shit list and I go on breathing, if weighed down some by guilt."

Dark blue eyes flicker down the the mug clutched between pale hands, and then back up to Doyle. "There are only a handful of people that can scare me, Eric. This guy is on that list, and so are you. And here I am, asking you for your advice. You tell me." Odessa leans back slightly, thoroughly unamused, and unimpressed with her own situation. "There's always the third option, of course… Walk away from everything and hope that by not helping either side, I keep my head."

Doyle lifts one shoulder in a slight shrug, looking tired as his gaze drops down into his coffee. He has the look of someone who's lost a bit of weight through deprivation rather than diet and exercise, but who hasn't lost the flesh yet, giving him a somewhat run-down appearance. "I'm a coward," he points out quietly, lifting the coffee cup up to his lips and taking a sip, "I'd probably just run away. Unless they were threatening the kids."

A moment of silence passes between the two after he makes his admission. It's nice to have him be as honest as she's being. In different circumstances, the two of them would likely have been better friends, instead of tense adversaries. "Do you have friends, Eric?" Odessa's tone is tinged with genuine curiosity, conversational.

It's an unexpected question. Eric's gaze remains on the coffee in the mug, silent for a few long moments as he considers the question. Does he? He thinks of Colette, of Kaylee. Even Jericho. "I… guess so," he says quietly, "I don't see them much. They have their own lives and shit."

"What's it like?" Odessa's brows furrow, fixing the man with a gaze burning in its need to know. "Do you trust them? Do they trust you? Do they know who you used to be? Do they know who you really are?"

"Some of them," admits Doyle, his head shaking slowly, "Jericho… heh." A half-smile, "S'how I ended up where I am, I guess. Adam bought me a theatre to get me out of the way, shuffled me off to some back street somewhere. Some of these guys, they showed up collecting money, recognized me from Moab. Jericho nearly killed me."

"They don't like us much, do they? The people we played games with." It's the kind of question that doesn't require an answer. Odessa's lips twitch in semblance of a smile. "I think I have a friend. I don't know. I… Do people like us really deserve those things?"

"No, they don't…" A faint, humorless chuckle from Doyle, his head shaking slowly, "…but. I mean, last time I saw him, he wanted me to come home. Maybe…" He sighs, eyes closing, "I don't know. I don't think we do. But they won't go away."

"We go away," Odessa feels compelled to point out, given their propensity to run away from everything. "I hate this," she finally admits in full. "I hate where I am right now." Not in the physical sense, but she doesn't suppose that the semantic is lost on her companion. "When you're here, and the kids are here, and you know your friends are nearby, do you still sleep with one eye open?"

A slow sip of coffee is taken, Doyle's attention remaining on the cup; the slow eddies and swirls of the glass as it shifts subtly in his hand from moment to moment, the patterns the steam creates as it swirls up from the surface. Then his gaze flickers over the table, and he smiles wanly. "Yes. Just not for the same reason anymore."

"You wanna run away? Maybe to Minnesota? Iowa? I've got some money stashed. Maybe between the two of us, we could keep our demons away, huh?" Odessa tries to smile, because it's such a funny joke what she's suggesting. Except that there's still a part of her that's serious.

"No can do…" Doyle shakes his head, turning to look out of the room, "…someone needs to keep an eye on the kids. After Denisa…" He breaks off with a grimace, a flicker of pain across his expression, and falls silent, taking a sip of the coffee.

Odessa nods slowly. She doesn't understand this connection that he has, but she doesn't question it. "It was worth a try." One shoulder comes up with a shrug. "I don't mean to impose, but… Is there a bed I could borrow for a couple hours? I haven't… had any real sleep for a while. A nap would be great before I try to make my way home."

Doyle scratches at the side of his neck, looking around with a frown, "Well. Um. I don't really have the authority to, and most of the beds are filled, there's a bunch of… extra people here right now. You could probably take a nap on the couch."

Odessa's quick to wave a dismissive hand. "It's fine. I'll soldier on, as they say. I just thought it was worth a try." She slides off the counter after draining the last of her coffee. "Thanks for talking to me. I feel better." Even if she didn't necessarily get the answers she wanted. She begins pulling on her coat, expression pensive. "Does… this mean we're okay?"

The coffee's set down, and Eric pushes himself up to his feet; not trying to get her to stay or suggesting any alternatives. At the question, he glances over, regarding her for a moment with a frown… and then he exhales a sigh, his head shaking, "You helped with the bus, so…" A shrug, "I suppose."

The woman's blonde head bobs up and down once in a nod. "Good." In no way are they even, despite Odessa's earlier assurances, but perhaps retaliation can be forgotten at least for the time being. "Take care of the kids, huh? I'll show myself out." Her heels sound sharply on the floors as she makes her way to the front door.

Of course, which one of them owes the other? It's a rather arguable point, and no doubt each of them has a different opinion. Despite her words, Eric walks her to the door anyway, a tiny face peeking around a sofa to call after her, "'Bye lady."

Odessa isn't quite sure how she's supposed to respond to a smile child wishing her goodbye, so when she waves and offers a smile to that peeking face, it's a little awkward. But less so than how she stands still in the door for a moment, trying to decide how to say goodbye to Doyle.

In the end, she doesn't say anything.

Neither does the puppeteer, just standing there watching her go.

Eventually, when Eric Doyle closes the door, he turns back to a room full of children who trust and adore him, in a place that he's actively wanted, even cherished if just for his ability to entertain the young. Even if it's just for a little while, he belongs there.

But where will Odessa go? To the people she's supposed to betray? Or the men who only care about her as a weapon against their enemies?

The snow, shifting as the wind whistles over it, has no more answers than Eric Doyle did. Only she does.

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