Guardian Angel


colette_icon.gif felix_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Guardian Angel
Synopsis Colette may have her own guardian angel, but Felix's encounter with a man named Gabriel was anything but heavenly.
Date October 28, 2008

Le Rivage: Judah's Apartment

The tenant of this small studio could probably afford a larger space on his budget but, judging from the unique style of his decor, seems like the type of person who would rather spend his money on other things. Several Ansel Adams prints in black and white are positioned strategically throughout the room, stark against the studio's walls which have been painted a light beige colour to lend the area just a hint of warmth. Through the use of furniture and built-in shelving units, the apartment has been divided into three distinct sections: one for cooking and eating, one for relaxing, and one for sleeping.

The kitchen is a barebones affair with outdated tile floors that contrast with the stainless steel appliances and glass backsplash. It also contains a tiny eat-in nook with a circular table, two matching chairs and a plain white tablecloth held in place by a potted jade plant at the center of the arrangement.

The living area consists of a dark leather couch, a matching armchair, a zen-style coffee table that sits a mere foot off the ground and — the centerpiece of the apartment — an entire wall of bookshelves that house several hundred different titles ranging from such classics as Crime and Punishment, Heart of Darkness and The Turn of the Screw to more modern titles like Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. More prominent, though, is the tenant's varied collection of nonfiction which includes works on forensic studies, criminal psychology, philosophy and even indoor botany. On the coffee table rests a copy of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, but why this particular title is on display is anyone's guess.

The bedroom area is separated from the rest of the studio by a low wall and a series of thick black curtains designed to block out the light streaming in from the apartments untreated bay windows. Even at night, the area is unusually bright thanks to the placement of a street lamp directly outside this street-level unit. The bed itself is a twin-sized platform dressed in crisp white sheets and a down comforter for warmth.

The bay windows open out to a small patio completely enclosed by wrought-iron bars designed to prevent and unwanted guests from visiting the premises when the tenant is out, and while this gives it the appearance of a prison, the effect is lessened somewhat by swaths of ivy and a meticulously-cared for succulent garden.

Muffled footsteps, along with quiet and mildly giggling conversation begins heading towards the apartment door. As it gets closer, Colette's rather cheerfully chirping voice echoes down the hall, along with the crinkling swish of plastic grocery bags, "…tiiiiired, are we setting up a surprise dinner for Judsie or something?" Now clear enough to hear, the young girl isn't alone. Another pair of footsteps with her come towards the door, though any words spoken are left as hushed murmurs in the hall, her company not nearly as prone to loud words as Colette is.

Not long after, there's a click in the lock as the deadbolt slides open, and then the lock at the doorknob. Finally, as the door opens, a shaft of yellowed light from the hallway comes spilling into the apartment, along with Colette's voice far more clearly — and noisily — with it. "Cause I think that's a really good idea! We could cook him some kind've super special dinner to welcome him home, we could even invite Grabbyhands n'Felix and stuff. I think Judah'd like that, if you ask — " Colette halts her speech as she spots lights on in the apartment once stepping in, half-blind eyes darting around curiously. Was the surprise on her, has Judah already come home?

The silent silhouette of Tamara behind her isn't sharing the truth of the matter.

No. Felix has used his hard-won criminal expertise to jimmy the lock and let himself in. Judah….well, he can apologize later. When he tells him what happened. What Fel is doing is utterly disgusting. Because he's in Judah's kitchen, sitting at the kitchen table with his shirt off, stitching up one of his own wounds. A minor one in the arm, really, but it looks ugly. There's not too much blood, though - most of it's clotted by now. He's also sans his glasses, so his face looks oddly young and defenseless as he glances up, skin goosebumped by the draft from the door. "Oh, thank God," he says, with real fervor. "You're safe."

"I promised," comes the very calm reply from behind Colette. Perhaps that promise existed only in a time that hasn't come to pass, but she seems to think it valid. Or maybe she remembers a bit more than usual of prior events. Tamara steps around the younger girl, resting a hand on her shoulder in passing — reassurance, apology, it could be either. Or both. And she crosses the apartment to stand beside the fed, glancing at the half-stitched wound. Her gaze lifts to his face, eyes much too dark, the blue irises very thin rings around dilated pupils. "Will you let me?" the girl asks, holding out a hand.

It's uncertain of Colette heard any of that over the sound of the grocery bags falling to the floor. Her eyes are as wide as possible, one hand covering her mouth as she sees what Felix is doing in the kitchen. A rough, frightened squeak is strangled down into silence as she freezes there by the door, even as Tamara gently makes her way inside. She lurches forward — blood — her eyes close for a moment, head turning away. She whips her gaze back around, looking again — blood, thread, needle. Her hand cups her mouth, hands shaking as she takes one shaky step to the side, shoulder brushing up against the open door casing.

"Felix!" She finally manages to croak out, rushing over into the kitchen with all of the composure and grace of a frightened child, leaving the door wide open and the grocery bags on the floor, an orange rolling out of one to come to a stop beneath the sofa. Colette's approach stops at the kitchen entrance, leaning on the doorway for support, eyes wide and words strained through her fingers as if her hand was a facemask. "Oh my God, Oh my God, is that your blood!? Oh my God!" A lurch backwards, eyes blinking rapidly. Her mind races with confusion and fear. Now two of her 'indestructable' parental figures have been injured. It's a sobering transition from an almost childish ignorance, to know that all people are so fragile. It's one thing to be told it, and another entirely to see it. First Kaydence, then Judah, now Felix.

Tamara gets an owlish stare for a moment. There's a flicker of skepticism, before Fel holds out needle and thread to her, carefully. Then Colette's ….not taking this well, and he hesitates. "You might want to comfort her," he says, quietly. "Colette!" It's not the usual gentle, almost deferential voice he uses around her. "Calm down. I'm okay - these are just scratches." Maybe the snap of command will work better on quelling that incipient panic. There are uglier, older wound in evidence - a puckered gunshot scar tucked under one collarbone, with a twin a fewer inches down on his chest, the seamed and ragged cut that was a gift from AMato, still pink and new. "I've survived much worse. If blood makes you feel faint, sit on the couch and put your head down."

"It didn't take long," Tamara assures Felix, in a slightly detached tone of voice. And it doesn't, as she delicately accepts the needle, completing the stitching with a deliberate confidence. She doesn't hurry, and Tamara certainly isn't trained, so it's not a doctor's neat work — but she doesn't hesitate for so much as a moment in the stitching, and it's probably an improvement over what Felix was doing by himself. The thread is tied off, the needle set aside — and Tamara wobbles slightly as she turns back around, pressing one palm against her forehead. Blood? Doesn't matter any more than the paint did before.

One small hand smooths over the girl's face, her mouth is agape, looking for explanation more so than anything. The sharp tone of her name being spoken causes an immediate and very distinct reaction of her shrinking away and rolling her shoulders forward, much in the reflexive manner than a dog who has been beaten will recoil from a raised hand. She doesn't even seem to realize she's doing it as the girl just slinks back, eyes not quite focused on felix, more just below him or off to one side at any given time. She wordlessly stumbles back towards the apartment door, pushing it shut before walking right around the bag of groceries to go sit down on the couch, arms wrapped around herself and head bowed, doing almost exactly as told while Tamara finishes the stitching on Felix.

Fel cleans it all up in a few hasty motions, once Tamara is done. His shirt is simply ruined with blood, so he leaves it be. The .45 is sitting on the kitchen table, an ugly, sleek presence. But he realizes he's done much more harm than good, so he literally treads carefully as he approaches her. "I'm sorry I spoke so sharply," he says, gently, reaching for her face to turn it towards him. "Listen, you're safe now. But one of our neighbors….he's Evolved, and a killer in his own right. He attacked me. We can't go back to my apartment. Not for now, anyway. The dark haired man with the glasses….did you ever speak to him?" He gives Tamara an apologetic look, and murmured thanks.

Of all things, while Felix attempts to soothe Colette, Tamara moves about the apartment picking up the loose ends — closing the door, retrieving the abandoned groceries and moving them at least off the floor. The orange that rolled under the sofa is left there for now; rather than picking it up, the older girl curls up in the other corner of the couch, watching Colette with a concerned expression. Felix's murmured thanks are met with a single, distinct nod.

Colette looks up, sharply and quickly when she hears Felix's voice. She looks a little puzzled, half expecting to see someone else over her shoulder as he nears. Her eyes divert to the gun beyond him, then back, an ugly thing she's never really been in the presence of in a situation of implied violence. One hand comes up to wipe at her eyes, making an unbecoming sound as she sniffles loudly. When Felix's hand comes up near her face, though, she leans back and away in a very immediate and very unfavorable manner. Again, it seems reflexive, as though touch is something not earned in this situation, even in the suggestion thereof — not for Felix, anyway.

"S'olright." She murmurs, scooting just out of arm's reach along the couch, and she still doesn't make eye contact. The young girl's arms stay wrapped around herself, head down and her suede jacket still on. The girl swallows, nervously, and she merely nods at the rather overwhelming explanation of an Evolved and one that kills.

All that fear she keeps bottled inside, it's coming back, visible in her eyes and the tension in her body. Felix got hurt, Judah is hurt, security is in short supply and high demand at the moment. Now somewhere on the couch between Felix and Tamara, her legs curl up towards her chest, the heels of her boots on the edge of the sofa, forehead coming down to rest against her knees in awkward, scared silence.

There's an Evolved that kills present right here, right now. Though it used a gun to do so, just like any mundane human. Fel withdraws his hand, leaving it hanging uselessly in mid-air for a moment, fingers poised. He flushes, as if ashamed. "Evolved are his targets, so you should be safe," he notes to Colette, quietly. "Tamara, I don't think he knows about you. After tonight, I'm not coming back to Judah's until I'm sure he's off my trail. I don't want to lead him to either of you. I'll be staying somewhere else, hotel or something. I'll have my cellphone," And then there's another chill, and he looks embarassed, if suddenly recalling just how much skin's on display, and ducking into Judah's room to look for a shirt.

Tamara lets Felix's statements pass without reply, just offers him another, shallower nod. She could elaborate on a couple of those points — but Felix doesn't need to know, really. Instead, the teen looks at Colette, who's now just a little closer. And after a moment, she shifts position to rest her head against Colette's nearest shoulder, tucking a hand around the younger girl's back to reach the other.

"Y-you're — " Colette manages to rasp out some words from her tightened throat once Felix is actually out of eye-shot, as if that in itself was enough to shake her from the shrinked back stupod. "You're going to leave me by…" She breathes in sharply, not expecting when that head comes to rest on her shoulder, but its very presence there halts the rest of what she would have said, the rest of a childish plea to not be abandoned or forgotten. Perhaps Colette forgot that Tamara is in the room, perhaps in that moment she was somewhere else, long ago. But whatever the case, those words end the moment she feels that reassuring closeness. The arm that slips around her shoulder is met by Colette leaning a bit of her very slight weight against Tamara, a very subtle shivver running through the girl as she seeks some semblance of comfort from a situation far and above her control, and one she has been fearful of for two years now.

Colette shakes her head, her voice just about a murmur, "No, s'good here. Safe." Her head turns back towards Tamara, eyes closing slightly as she continues to quietly speak. "Felix, c-call someone. Okay? Anyone?" Her brows knit together, one arm omving up just to rest her hand on Tamara's side, as if to reassure herself that the girl is there, that she's not going to be completely alone with the thought of a serial killer stalking her in the dark corners of the apartment.

"Don't be alone. I…" She looks away, voice a little more hushed, "I don't want you to get hurt, okay?" When she looks back, finally making eye contact with Felix, there's some sternness and stubbornness to her tone of voice. "You better call someone tough, or I'll… I'll…" Her resolve falters for a moment, "I'll be all upset." It's as best as she can manage, to hide her anxiety and fear behind a thin vaneer of sarcastic humor.

"My zaychik, I am going to call both the NYPD and the FBI. I literally couldn't call anyone tougher unless I had a direct line to Delta Force," Felix says, with a faint grin. "Now, lock the door behind me, and don't let anyone in unless they call first. Me, or Judah, or Kaydence, it makes no difference," he says, picking up the ruin of his overcoat.

It's not much of a reassuring smile, but enough of it is there right now. "O-okay. Um, but," She eyes Tamara for a moment, but then reconsiders. Tamara knows how to sort these things out better than anyone else. Her eyes drift back to Felix. "W-where are you going to be? I mean, h-how do I — S-should I call you and check in, o-or…" She's so unbelievably afraid right now, Tamara can feel the tension in her arms and shoulders, in how her thin frame is trembling very slightly. She's terrified of the implications this night has brought. It's been a long, hard month for her.

"J-Judah's suppos'to get out've the hospital t'morrow…" She mumbles somewhat, "W-who's going to pick him up? A-and, I… I was going to… to…" She shakes her head. "I'll be okay." Colette knows by now that she doesn't need to speak for Tamara in that. Right now, that girl is her last bastion of faith in people who she can always count on, even if she's not quite as flawless as once believed. Everyone's flawed, it's what makes the best parts stand out.

"I'll have my cellphone. You can reach me as normal," he says, lifting a hand. "Have him take a cab home. I'm going to find a hotel. I don't know which one, yet, and I may not tell you. What you don't know may be better. I won't be gone long," Fel's voice is calm and even, now. Putting on that good cop face for her benefit.

Nodding very slowly, very nervously, Colette's eyes stay fixed on Felix for the time left with him. She makes a quiet, weak sound in the back of her throat, teeth pressed to her lower lip until she manages to very gently extricate herself from within Tamara's grasp. Once on her feet, the girl hustles over to Felix, throwing her arms around his waist in a gentle hug, "Don't get hurt." That's an order, judging from her stern tone of voice, and Colette turns to rest her forehead against Felix's chest for a moment, whispering quietly, "Don't you worry Judah, or me."

It startles him. Not in a bad way, but it's definitely a surprise. He's all sinew and bone in that embrace, heart still racketing behind his ribs, with the scent of cordite, fear sweat, blood, and the faintest trace of his aftershave - there's a grunt of surprise - a hard squeeze, and it's been a long evening there, as well. But after a moment's hesitation, he puts an arm around her in turn, awkwardly. «I won't,» he says, before repeating himself in English, "I won't. It'll be okay, you'll be safe. I won't let anything happen to you."

"Don't you worry about me," Colette says with a bluffed strength, "I've got a guardian angel." Her head tilts back towards the sofa, a very serious look in her eyes as she purses her lips and reaches out to jab two fingers into Felix's midsection lightly, "But… really, don't get hurt, okay?" Some of that feigned strength chips away to reveal the scared girl beneath, but it's a fleeting glimpse before she takes a step back, letting her arms go from around the agent, eyes uplifted towards him.

It may not be her own strength that keeps Colette from breaking down into a bundle of nerves now. But when she finally does succumb to the fear and anxiety that is gripping her on the inside, she won't be alone to deal with it. She has her guardian angel, and that's more than enough.

October 29th: Hunter and Hunted
October 29th: Between Devils
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