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Scene Title Glass
Synopsis Abigail asks one of Pollepel's two resident telepaths to take a look at something she suspects is more than meets the eye.
Date February 22, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

Enough early sunlight creeps its fingers into the edges of the dark little corridor that Benji Foster doesn't feel moved to waste resources on fuel and battery to guide his way down for Abigail Caliban's summons. It's been some time since he's felt insecure enough to suspect danger, but that doesn't mean that old brick and daylight shadow and isolation don't slow his steps in some nervousness. A home-knitted scarf of various blues pythons around his shoulders and neck with the tassled end knotting in his fidgeting fingers; loose white cat hairs snagged into the wool of his jacket; a sliver of flower petal snagged errant in his slightly greasy dark hair that he fingercombed before coming here.

A pause, wherein he turns in a nearly full circle to see if he missed a cue, a note—

Close to calling out, but the idea of raising his voice enough to echo is too much for someone who is naturally shy. It's chilly enough for steam to whisper out between his lips in favour of words, but then thankfully, some cue gives Abby's presence to him— the sound of her voice, or a light lit, maybe— and soon, the sounds of his approach reach her ears.

"Hello?" he offers, very quietly, a call one makes in a library or an abandoned bookstore with its till swung open.

"Fern," he said gently, "you will have to learn to control yourself."

"Control myself?" yelled Fern. "This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself." Tears ran down her cheeks and she took hold of the ax and tried to pull it out of her father's hand.

"Fern," said Mr. Arable, "I know more about raising a litter of pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble. Now run along!"

"But it's unfair," cried Fern. "The pig couldn't help being born small, could it? If I had been very small at birth, would you have killed me?"

But Benji is calling out, the sound of footsteps heard over her hushed voice. "Over here" Which is pretty ambiguous, but a few more steps brings with it the soft glow of light spilling from a doorway, gleaned from a solar camping lamp, perched on a stool beside the brunette that he was here to see.

The bowels of the castle are usually reserved for supplies, for food that needs the cool, storage of all kinds and this room is no different. Only it's currently a little warmer than the rest because she's in it, bundled up a little in sweaters, khaki's and boots, her own dark scarf blending in with the whole of the navy palatte that she seems to have adopted the last few months.

There's even a line of black stitches that march out of her hairline on the left side, finally sewn up, a thin strip of lost hair that will eventually grow in and easily hidden by the rest of her hair.

But with her, is a cage. the kind one puts small dogs in while travelling, bulldog clips keeping it securely closed. The canvas cover is off, revealing inside it a bird, a goshawk. Possibly the remains of a big ol rat that she had bought a handful of at the same pet store that the cage was purchased at as sustenance for the bird. She has a nook on her lap, having been reading out loud from it and it seems to the bird.

The goshawk does not seem happy about this development, but goshawks do not seem happy about anything — its hooked beak curls into a permanent scowl, and its eyes, a fierce red-orange, gleam with the kind of intensity unique to predator birds like this one. It's a handsome specimen with a sharp black mask on its face and bold banding on its ruffled chest feathers, which are puffed out in obvious displeasure and in an attempt to make it look larger than it actually is.

It belongs in the sky, not in a crate made for something the size of the little lion-maned monster Noah Bennet's wife is sometimes seen cradling in her arm when she is seen at all — not very often these days.

It's not only the presence of the bird and the size of it that has Benji startling to stillness — but also the type, recognition rounding his eyes for the creature that had threatened him that first time on the docks. Fingertips hover near his mouth in what might be an affected display of concern, but on him, rings genuine somehow. Scars and freckles both mar his face, the former from the scratches of the birds and the violent head injury that had pursued, Abby's best efforts evidence in their fineness.

"Mrs. Caliban?" contains all the question and worry he needs it to.

A button is pressed, the screen on the device dies down to black as she turns to regard the 'effeminate' man - as howard described him - that cautiously speaks her name. "I think you're like the only person who uses that name. It's like, everyone else just chooses not to believe that I'm married or that being on the run, I'd want to use my maiden name." Which prompts a wrinkle of her name.

"I like hearing it. Reminds me that he's waiting. Grab a seat, I have something for you. Don't worry, it's not getting out of the cage. But I do need your help with it, if you'd be so kind as to help. Eileen off the Island and I don't wanna keep it cooped up unecessarily you know"

Reservation doesn't stop Benji from sitting — he moves quiet across the room to pick up a low wooden stool and set it down somewhere suitable, nearish the lamp light without taking up a spot in its direct illumination. "I tend to think people should be called what they want," is a shy mutter, voice dying out towards the end like he convinced himself at a midpoint that vocalising sympathy is silly, a shake of his head to dismiss it before he tucks his hands between his knees, perched on the stool.

Unsure. His pale, blue eyes linger on the entrapped goshawk, and by the time he's looking back to Abby, he's reflecting that uncertainty back at her even as he forces a smile at the corners of his mouth.

"I don't understand."

'Well thank you for calling me that." She draws in a breath, reaching out to touch his shoulder, give it a fleeting squeeze before she's pulling her hand back, tucking it around and under the nook. "We were out scouting new potential safehouses, and … we had an incident." She tilts her face, getting the left side into the low light and lifting her hair to show the stretch of stitches, familiar to him by now.

"With this one. I managed to stun it while it was trying to give me a new haircut, and Delilah picked it up like a chicken for the cutting board while I got my… heat under control." She gestures to the cage, to the glowering bird inside, studying it. "It stopped fighting, just hissed while she held it. Normal bird, it'd be fighting like crazy, flapping wings and lookit the beak on it. It would be trying to cave a brand new eye socket. You're a telepath, I need you to try and take a peek"

She's asking him, to use his supposed ability. "If it's just a bird, it's just a bird, but Eileen has this little trick, like teodoro, of just snuggling on up inside a bird. I think… that maybe, someone's done just that"

With the bird. The angry pissy bird.

"Um. Hm."

A leg crosses over the other— a closed off gesture, away from the bird in the dog crate— with hands coming to hook on either side of the stool, smile washed away to pinch his mouth closed in thought. Or affront, at being asked. "I don't know what influence over birds you imagine I might have — a whole flock of them tried to kill me not very long ago. I haven't— " Benji pauses, glancing over the scar driven across Abby's scalp, worry flickering across his bony features.

Mouth pulls, shyness or something akin to it bringing warm red to his skin, making freckles stand out. "I haven't really told anyone…" …what? He doesn't continue, curiousity instead capturing him enough to edge off the stool and take a knee beside the crate, as he peers inside.

She's wincing, yeah, she was there, first hand, with the birds. There's that fading line across her cheek that she so vainly bought a tube of mederma to make sure that it wouldn't scar. "Yeah, I'm not becoming too fond of birds. They're quickly becoming a tie with telekinetics for abilities that I'm not so fond of" The former healer remains on her stool, not quite joining him on the floor yet or the cage. "Is there some sort of limit to your telekines- Oh baby jesus in his high chair do you have to touch it?" That's a wary look crossing her face, regarding the bird in the cage and watching for it's reaction to Benji.

Burning ember eyes focus on the young man's gentle blues.

I was made of glass, the goshawk tells Benji, a sinuous quality to the voice leaking airily and ethereal into his head. But the world broke before I did. It twitches a look up at Abigail through the bars of the crate and parts its beak around a hiss that originates somewhere in the back of its throat, conveying anger that the voice does not, its tone distant and with a texture like early morning fog rolling off the Atlantic — nothing he can touch with his own mind. Still, it imparts to him this warning:

She holds a piece of me in her hand and I will cut her.

Benji silently shakes his head to Abigail without reply, meeting that stare with more passiveness than he is capable of. His brand of focus is one of ice, the hearts of glaciers. The bird's is edges.

An exhale, a soft hhh that whines through nasal passages and mouth both as he listens to the voice, hands coming to plant on the edge of the crate despite risk of getting bitten. A few rapid blinks before he gives a meek report: "I think you made it angry." But it's something both he and Abby could both read, in the furious bird-stare and the snaky bird-hiss. "The bird and whoever's inside there, I— I mean. I can—

"Hear it. You can talk to it, if you want. I mean— " He darts a glance towards the reading device, a touch of natural disdain forcing an eyebrow up, briefly. "Besides that."

So there is someone in there. That it was pissed, that was a given, the sounds it made, directed to her and not to Benji. "I made it angry? I mean.." Abigail has to rethink how she's talking, tucking the nook away to where it can't be seen and is soon enough settling in beside Benji with a rustle of cloth but not as close as him.

"Why did I make you angry? You're the one that attacked me. I mean, you kept us from setting off the explosives but… I apologize, for hitting you with the flashlight, if that's why you're angry" Talking to the bird now, instead of through Benji. Guilt impressed on her features, Abigail seems genuinely sorry - if puzzled - as to how she's upset the bird.

When the sky grows dark, the goshawk continues, and it isn't clear whether it's addressing Benji anymore or addressing Abigail through Benji, I will take back everything that was mine and destroy what is not. You understand.

Blush all the way to his ears to burn pink in the quasi-dark, Benji only becomes aware that he's meant to be translating for Abby by the time the airy voice has quieted again in his head. "Um. It— " It's difficult, sounds too weak, and he rediverts. Explains, haltingly, hush-quiet. "It's just that it's not making a lot of sense. Sorry. The— the sky grows dark, and it will take back ev-everything that was mi— um." A nod to the bird. Speaking for the bird, not himself. "Mine. And destroy what is not."

His fingers rap a little against the edges of the crate. "What are you going to do with it?"

Bird, bent on vengeance. Abby plunks down cross legged, listening to Benji as he relays, nodding to him and as confused as him. She takes literal things metaphorical and metaphorical things as literal and have never really been good at the whole riddles thing. She wants to reach out, settling fingers in the feathers at it's nape, promise it that she's sorry, for whatever transgressions she seems to have done against it.

For whatever affront that she's committed to the creature. "I don't… know" She only has so many rats for it. Doesn't think that it would be fair to feed it from the meat that they only had so much of for everyone else here. She wants to let it go and yet… and yet she can't, not here at least. Maybe back at the warehouse, maybe… borrow a car some where and turn it loose further upstate.

"Can you…I mean.. not you" She's sheepish feeling as well, looking down to her hands as she fiddles one thumbnail against another thumbnail. "Is there anything I can do? I mean, to make it up to you for… whatever it is that I've done?"

The bird's beak creaks shut. Feathers rustle inside the crate, and although it cannot spread its wings it lifts them, stretching as much as the cramped quarters will allow. Its head dips. Preens vainly at its proud chest and neck.

It is quiet for a long time, long enough to maybe think that it has nothing left to say, but then— Find what was taken. He tried and now he is broken too but I held his face in my hands. Do they know what you are?

The crate shivers slightly under force of Benji taking his hands off it, collateral pressure, and fingernails bite into palms as he settles back on his haunches. He doesn't repeat any of that this time — not the first part, nor the last. Intimidation makes his mouth tremble into a frown, before he fusses some with the cuffs of his jacket as if to communicate everything is fine, even as he says, "It's— just riddles. I can't make it— you'll have to find a better— a better telepath—

"Excuse me." He tries to rise to his feet, ends up off-balancing himself enough to land on his hip with a kick up of leg that narrowly misses the crate before he rolls with ungainly grace onto his knees and hands. To his feet.

"You were good enough Benji, really. I don't think Eileen could have frankly done any better" And she shouldn't have expected eloquence out of a person shunted into the brain of a bird. But she at least know something more now, than she did before. There is someone in there, and they don't like her.

She shifts to her own feet, using her palms to push herself up. "What did it say? Could you tell me? Maybe it makes sense to me or… I don't…" She could always get Kaylee, see if Kaylee could talk to it, or get a message mainland to Francois's place, tell Eileen about the bird and ask her to come back to the Island.

"Are you okay?" This to Benji. Concern. "You've been staying away from the infirmary right?"

"I'm not sick."

This answer is swift and almost sharply delivered in contrast to his usual airy gentleness. Having caught himself on the frame of the doorway out, looking back, brief apology splashing across his expression. "I'm— I've been trying not to go there, even since— the changes. Even if Hannah's there. I'm fine." He eases a breath out and casts a wary look back towards the bird, a hand drifting up to fidget fingers over his since healed scarring.

Thus earning no swats for it. "It just said it was looking for something taken from it. I think it's crazy. I also won't be using my ability on command, Mrs. Caliban, so I would very much appreciate if this did not become a habit amongst the Council, or the network generally."

"I wasn't asking as council" But she does accept what could be chastisement. "I was asking just as myself. I know that sometimes it…" She looks towards the bird, tilting her head a fraction. "It's rude, to expect that one will use their gift just because they have it. I know very much about that. Too much and I'm sorry. If I ever ask again, please, you can refuse, I won't be upset. Not the first time anyone's told me no."

She starts to head towards the door with him, tearing her gaze away from the bird. She can come back for her stuff, drop in another rat, see if she can't find Kaylee, wait for Eileen. Something. What on earth could have been taken from the person in the bird. A body? "I won't tell the council you helped me. I'll do my best to make sure that they don't call on you to do such. that if you so, it's taken as a no. Come on, it's cold, you must be freezing and I'm hungry"

Benji withdraws from her slightly, but not out of the room, his back coming to press against the brick frame, a hand wandered up to consciously tug at a lock of black. He manages to look slightly abashed with regards to an attempted hasty exit, the accusation of Council orders, but pink blush finally manages to settle, to leak out from his features. One shoulder lifts in shrug, before he relents, managing to paint a smile for her.

"Thank you. If you— keep the bird down here, I can help you look after it. My kitty doesn't need me fussing over her all the time."

"You have a kitten?" Awwwww. He's shot an arrow into Abby's heart, the part where her animals reside, of which she misses too. "It's being kept down here, for now, till I can figure out what to do. I'll probably take it back to where we found it" She hates calling it an it now that she knows there's someone in there. But she doesn't know the gender.

"For now, for now… I dunno I guess you can close the door and let it fly about the room, stretch it's wings but we can't afford to turn it loose out here. Not here" Wherever here is, she doesn't think the bird has figured it out. "I should go, change, get back to the infirmary, kick Megan to bed. If you do find anything else out will you let me know?" She slips past him, one last glance to the door.

"Oh and if you need anything for your cat just… send a list with the boats out, I'll make sure it gets filled best it can"

When the sky grows dark, the goshawk reiterates even though Abigail cannot hear it. The words are meant just as much for the man who does.

All Benji can really do is nod mutely. Yes, Abby has to go, yes, he will make a cat-needs list, yes, not here.

He remains frozen at the door edge by the time she's cleared the corridor, before letting out a long exhale, sending a glance back towards the crate. A moment later, the blanket is drawn over it, shadowing it and the bird within in oppressive darkness. It's not exactly the sky and its portending shade, but it'll do for as long as he has time to think.

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