Don't Forget To Sleep


cat_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Forget To Sleep
Synopsis Cat counsels Magnes.
Date August 23, 2009

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is primarily a residential and shopping area, and not much about that has changed since the bomb. Despite bordering the region of Midtown that was torn asunder by the blast, the Upper West Side managed to survive the fires that raged out of control in the days following the destruction. It was one of the first areas hit with the massive relief effort. While the areas that did burn have yet to be recovered, that region of the upper west side has been cordoned off by large concrete barricades and Homeland Security roadblocks, preventing most through-traffic into ground zero and the affected area. Beyond that border zone, much of the charm of this upper-class neighborhood has not been lost.

The Upper West Side has the reputation of being home to New York City's liberal cultural and artistic workers, in contrast to the Upper East Side, which is perceived to be traditionally home to more affluent conservative commercial and business types. The neighborhood is decidedly upscale with the median household above the Manhattan average before the bomb, and much of that status-quo maintained by the money pumped into the neighborhood from the reconstruction effort. As one of the first neighborhoods to have electricity and water restored, this area saw a massive temporary influx of transients and refugees from the destroyed areas of the city, most of which moved on as more and more of New York was brought back to life.

Famous sites of the upper west side still remain active today, with Broadway Avenue cutting through the center of the borough. But the reminder of what happened to this city is decidedly visible on the south end of Broadway, where the high concrete barricades rise up one story from the ground, and the jagged, broken skyline of Midtown refuses to remain hidden.

Her purple Neon is parked in a safe place, Cat's now on foot and walking on the Upper West Side of Nuked York City. In the near distance, perhaps two blocks away, Dorchester Towers come into view. It's a place she hasn't been around much since the middle of December last year. A place she's avoided on purpose, both for perceived risks in being there and avoidance of memories the place holds. For her memory is such a powerful thing, it can be easily triggered. And this occasion is no exception. She stops in her tracks, standing there with eyes on the building; the five feet eight inch brunette in t-shirt and shorts with a guitar case and backpack over opposite shoulders plays out a memory from September 8, 2008.

It's early on this particular Monday morning in Nuked York. Cat's in bed still, with her phone nearby. Her eyes flutter open, but she remains where she is, thinking. Being up and about isn't something she wants to experience just now, the woman takes time to process things from recent days. It's such a load of data that came her way so unexpectedly. "Holy crap," she murmurs after a few minutes of this introspection. "Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow instead. So glad I didn't go for the corporate life."

And then there's the ringing of a phone. Ring. Ring. Caller ID shows it to be old college friend, Dani.

While lying there, much debating with herself on the chances of not getting up at all today, the issue seems to be decided for her in favor of feet touching floor. The iPhone goes off, and the ringtone is personalied to Dani. A snippet of tune to fit her personality somewhat. Rebel, Rebel, from David Bowie. Cat swings her legs over and stands up, moving to pick the device up. It's reached just as the device sounds out 'Rebel, rebel, you tore your dress' a second time; she puts the earbuds in and taps the button to answer. "Morning, Dani." She sounds a bit less than awake.

Dani's voice sounds far too awake, which probably means it's been an all-nighter for herthe woman is many things, but a morning person isn't generally one of them. She replies to Cat. "Hey there, Kit-Kat. How's it going in the Big Roasted Apple?"

The question draws out a chortle from her end of the conversation. "Oh," she begins, "interestingly. What're you doing up at this hour?" She checks her phone's display for the time. Six a. m.? Damn. Cat squints, not sure if she saw that right, to make sure. Being partly asleep might have her eyes playing tricks on her. "What time is it, anyway?"

Dani's voice confirms it. "It is six-twelve in the morning, eastern standard, Kit-Kat. And I'm catching the Early Bird down your way. Hence my oh-so-well-timed phone call!"

OhGod. It is 6:12. And there's a guest coming. Today. Cat places one hand over her face for a moment, eyes closing. "That's great!" she replies after a moment. "What's bringing you down, coming to visit? It'll be really great to see you!"

Danielle's voice is still doing its best at being chipper. "Nope. New employment. Which kiiiiind of leads into the call. I was sort of hoping I could crash with you till checks started rolling in? Maybe? Possibly? Pleeeeeze?"

"Of course you can stay here, Dani, as long as you want to," she replies. "But don't flip out when you get here and see the place. There's a story to tell, which I'll let you in on when you get here." Cat sounds pleased to have her coming, the offer is sincere, but there's that hint of 'oh, yes, I do have a story to share' in her voice.

Dani smiles. "Cool. And if you've gone all rebel, I'm going to laugh my ass off. I'll be at the airport at 8:30, assuming my flight's on time."

Just wanting to be away from people, just for an hour at least, Magnes, in his tight faded Batman t-shirt, comfortably fitting blue jeans, and skates, slowly rolls in Cat's direction. He looks pretty exhausted, drinking a large cup of coffee as he intently surfs news sites, mostly rumors about Staten and Refrain. He's not paying attention, and is on his second collision course with slamming into someone today.

At the point the phone call in her memory ends and she set out for the airport to pick Dani up, Cat shakes herself of that perfectly clear reverie. She remains unaware of Magnes being in the area, her eyes still focused on the apartment building. So many emotions rise, and believing herself not in the vicinity of anyone who'd recognize her she's slow to force them back, to avoid signs showing on her features.

That day had been the start of it all. Dani's introduction to New York, to Peter Petrelli and his prophetic art etched on her wall, to being beaten up in connection with her inquiring about Daniel Linderman and suffering brain trauma she went to the old evil man to get healed. To Dani working for Linderman. Cat hadn't met Abby yet, she doesn't even know if she was in New York then.

And that day had led ultimately to Dani's murder at the hands of Ethan just over three months later with Christmas looming. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you, Dani," she whispers.

The whispered words, while unclear to Magnes, are a sound that breaks him out of his haze of news surfing. His skates simply stop rolling as if they had some break inside, taking another long sip of his coffee. "Michelle?" he asks, staring at the zoned out woman for a moment before looking down at his iPhone again. She can probably see it, the extensive searching of things related to Refrain, occasionally checking a thing or two on Humanis First.

She too is drawn back to the here and now, quickly composing herself. Cat was not just caught in a moment of mourning or grief, no, everything is Just Fine.

"Magnes," she replies with a bit of a smile coming to her features. "How've you been?" Those eyes do catch sight of his iPhone screen and remember what's on it in that moment, but she avoids letting on. She's become Michelle Parks, drawing out the persona as she worked it with Mr. Varlane before.

"Busy." is Magnes' answer as he briefly glances up at her again with those baggy eyes, like one who hasn't been sleeping much at all lately. "Projects, not much in the way of help, haven't been able to see the girl I'm dating much this week."

"That sucks," 'Michelle' replies with sympathy. "You're working too hard, man. Don't forget to sleep, yeah? You look like you've been awake for six hundred hours, dude. What projects are you busy with?" Curiosity exists as to what he's up to. She fights back the urge to both smile and scold him for floating around the Cellar and possibly drawing attention from anyone there with HF tendencies, because Michelle Parks is totally not supposed to know that.

"I'll sleep when I'm done, and there's lots of work to be done." Magnes answers in a not-so-bright-eyed tone, just, a mixture of driven and likely pushing himself too hard. "I can't tell you, I'd love to, but, some things you shouldn't know. Conspiracies are one thing, but you should just enjoy your normal life. It's a bit too late for me, I have too much to make up for. You know what I did in Japan, and now they're having martial law, because of me."

"Really?" 'Michelle' chews her lower lip, thinking for a moment. "You sure? I mean, it didn't look like you did anything wrong, Magnes," she tells him supportively, "it looked to me like you were trying to help a friend, a Japanese citizen who got attacked or something. And you said you know a guy called Hiro… His father was murdered about then, I looked some things up because I was curious, and…" she seems hesitant, trailing off for some moments while nibbling at her lip a bit more, "… that Kimiko you were asking him about, she's Hiro's sister? He does have a sister by that name."

"I didn't mean to do anything wrong, but if I had anywhere near the level of control I had now, I could have ended things non-violently, and if not non-violently, I could have just thrown that guy to Germany or something." Well, Magnes may not know that for sure, Jake had some weird ability, but he sounds confident enough. Scrolling down some website that seems to have some amateur analysis of Refrain, he half-distracts himself with reading it as he speaks. "Yeah, Kimiko is Hiro's sister, she's a really nice woman, though she's always muttering stuff about otaku when I give her manga. But, I just can't excuse myself, and no one's gonna excuse me. My friend Abby pointed out how immature and irresponsible it was, and even though the girl I'm dating thought it was kind've cool, I tend to think the people saying it was bad are probably the ones who are right."

"Don't beat yourself up so much," she tells him, "I mean, lots of people like to lay blame around. Maybe you could've handled it better, but… I don't know if you really needed a pardon. Magnes," she asks, "when people came to you and said you were in trouble, did… did you even think of demanding a lawyer? Because cops do that, sometimes, y'know? Bully people into accepting things they don't have to. And you were helping the Nakamuras, or trying to. Wouldn't they have gotten you a really good mouthpiece and paid the bill?"

"What are you talking about?" Magnes looks completely stomped and pulled away from his iPhone, staring at her as if she's crazy. "What pardon? Who are they?" He clearly has no idea what she's talking about, and it doesn't appear to be an act, she saw his acting prowess before.

"You had to have been offered something, right? I mean, you weren't disappeared when you came home and they let you into the police academy. You weren't presented with some sort of deal to take, to become a cop or anything in exchange for not being prosecuted?" 'Michelle' covers easily, her features looking like all she says is pure speculation.

"Oh, uh, I don't really remember all that well, I know it was taken care of, I don't know anything more than that." Magnes answers with a shrug, calming and returning to the news on his phone. "Most of our generation is screwed now, if my friends are any indication. I just wanna do what I can to pave the way for the next generation. And if you can be happy, do it, don't get wrapped up in anything, because most of us are gonna be as damaged and screwed up as the Watchmen in the end."

Cat might have also noticed the small fading nail punctures on his cheeks, as if someone grabbed them hard. And when he turns his arm around to sip his coffee, much deeper nail puncture scars are visible, with electrical burns surrounding them.

She hadn't made the connection when they first met, not having known Magnes was with the Company, but now having that data she puts the pieces together. Female, electrical, a bit cruel. Maybe Elle Bishop. Elle, in Cat's mind, may be a lot of things but she at least seems honorable enough to have kept her word and not given them all up.

But she avoids mentioning the injuries, being careful not to venture into territory of stolen memories. Be happy, she also muses inwardly. Maybe someday. A big part of that potential died with the woman she was remembering not so long before.

"Life is what it is, Magnes," 'Michelle' ventures, "it isn't about the big gestures all the time. Sometimes it's enough to drive on living life and not letting it all grind you down, y'know? We can still do that, so our generation isn't screwed."

"Maybe I shouldn't speak for the generation, then." Magnes seems to finish his coffee, then flicks the cup into the air, and it just keeps going up. "I'm living life, to make it easier for other people to live their lives. I'm not giving up on the girl I'm dating or my friends, but I can't live and not do anything, especially since I come so close to dying so frequently, I probably don't have too long."

He turns to his side, then lifts his shirt, showing stitches just below his chest, in between his ribs. There's another wound on his back, longer, probably the exit wound of a gunshot.

"Wow," she breathes out at the sight of his evidence of wounds when they're shown. "You really do live dangerously. It's… not really for me," 'Michelle' lies, "but someone has to. You're brave to face what you do." If perhaps naive. Her eyes shift to the distance again, settling on Dorchester Towers. Can't fault the man for trying, and he does seem, in her eyes, to have learned a thing or two about operational security in declining to tell her about his efforts.

"I'm not brave. I'm guilty, I'm protective of the emotional connections I have that aren't shaky, ruined, or forgotten, I wanna rest not wondering if I might have to one day pull the trigger on one of the two most dangerous men in the world." Magnes closes his phone, which briefly flashes his address book by accident, though no numbers. Claire, Delilah, Teo, and Daphne are the only ones that show, due to the others being scrolled out of view. "I'm not brave, deep down I just think I'm powerful, and it's probably gonna get me killed."

Loaded words, those. There are so many things she could tell him and chooses not to, keeping her connections and involvements, her actions, to herself. Maybe someday it'll seem safe to clue him in on the wealth of information she's garnered in the past year, safe to help steer him in directions. The names are spotted, the only one not familiar to her being Daphne. And guilt. Cat knows that too, it stays with her in some part, despite Dani's instructions to let it go. She's aware of Peter's guilt and how it skews him in directions that aren't helpful when he could do so much if he'd just sit and listen for one minute. And Gabriel, the killer of a woman who had memory like hers. Hiro's girlfriend Charlie, among many.

When 'Michelle' speaks, her words are few as she starts to continue on her way. "I hope you don't die, Magnes."

"I just hope Claire never realizes how miserable I am when she's not around. I never want her to feel like I'm giving her another burden to carry." That's all Magnes says before pocketing his iPhone, then suddenly rockets into the air just like their last meeting.

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