I'm a Monster


colette_icon.gif grace_icon.gif judah_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

with an appearance by…


Scene Title I'm a Monster
Synopsis After a catalystic event in Chinatown and just about the last thing she ever wanted to find out, Colette comes home.
Date November 29, 2008

Le Rivage

The sun finally set.

By the time Alistair's car pulls up out from of Le Rivage, the city has been set upon by the darkness of niight. Street lights flickered on during the ride from Chinatown back through the Financial District. Police cars whipped past in the opposite direction the sedan headed, and all the while on the ride home, Colette remained absolutely silent in the back of the car with Grace.

The girl doesn't stop shaking, or staring at her hand for that matter. Alistair had seen from a distance that whole scene play out, from the blast of light the girl launched from her hand, to the man she struck being run over by the other car. It was a mess, a big, dirty mess. Scott would most definitely not approve. Remarkably though, no one seems to have been left behind. Communications from Helena's group on the way back via cell phone inform that not only did Trent manage to survive his encounter, but there were no casualties on their side.

At least there's some good news.

"I'll wait out here." Alistair turns around partly to look over his shoulder into the back seat. His eyes settle on Grace first, then down to Colette who slouches against her with half-lidded eyes. "Take your time," It's not so much an appeal, but a recommendation, both to Grace and to Colette. Some things shouldn't be rushed.

In the passenger seat, Jupiter tilts his head to the side and lets out a small whine, and Alistair reaches across the ex-k9 to open the door, letting the dog limp slowly out from inside onto the sidewalk where he promptly and obediently sits and waits. For the first time since she was wrangled into the car, Colette looks up from her hand, over to the old dog as he limps his way out of the car. The young girl's lips downturn into a frown, and she looks back down at her bare hand, curling and uncurling her fingers. When her focus drifts from her palm again, it is to peer silently out of the window, up at Le Rivage and one of the windows facing the street. With an awkward swallow, she looks back down to her hand, and leans away from Grace to fumble with the door latch, opening the rear passenger's side door to step out onto the sidewalk. She's still shivering, and for once it's not bitterly cold out either.

Blue eyes flick from Jupiter to Alistair, and Grace nods briefly. "Shouldn't be long." But we'll see. She gets out from the other side of the backseat, wasting no time in it. There's still bits of glass caught in her hair, from the right angle of view seeming sparks of light against the woman's black hair; a couple thin streaks of dried blood mark spots where other slivers managed to embed themselves in Grace's skin. Others are less readily apparent; the windbreaker wasn't much protection against today's events. She walks around the front of the car, looking back at Jupiter and Colette. Despite having kept one arm around the girl throughout the ride here, Grace remains at a bit of a distance now, just waiting.

For a time Colette just stands there on the sidewalk, her head down and arms straight at her sides, fingertips barely poking out beneath the length of her suede jacket's sleeves. Jupiter watches her standing there for a moment, and then limps over to her, letting out another whine, as if to complain about standing around outside, and then limps towards the steps. The sound and the movement, catches Colette's focus, her eyes moving while the rest of her body stays motionless. She tracks Jupiter's limping steps, and each unnatural movement he makes causes the girl to look away a bit more.

There's a detatched look on Colette's face, her mis-matched eyes unfocused and distant even as she walks. She looks like someone who was just given a terminal diagnosis; lost. Finally, she turns towards the building and starts moving. Each step the girl takes is a little slower than usual, feet scuffing across first the concrete of the sidewalk, then the stone of the steps up to the front doors of the apartment building. She doesn't look at her hand any longer, she can hardly bear to. Her eyes just stay downturned, staring at some point both ahead of her and angled to the ground, but not on any one thing in particular. From the very faint parting of her lips, and the way her steps make her sway from side to side very subtly as she walks, she's given the impression of a zombie's uneven gait. The slow, swaggering sway of the undead in that old black and white George Romero classic.

Once again the doorman isn't present at the front of the building, and by the time the double doors are opened, he's hastily setting down his newspaper and scrambling up from a chair in the lobby, putting on his hat and grimacing like a cat who caught the canary. His eyes downturn to Colette — a familiar face — then to Grace as she follows in behind the teen. He just smiles somewhat awkwardly, and notices the car idiling outside and quietly minds his way around the pair and out the front doors to at least pretend to do his job.

Hunching her shoulders in anticipation of the Wintry chill, Ygraine bustles out of the stairwell, pausing in the lobby to fiddle with the belt of her long leather coat. It takes her a few moments, but when she spots Colette and Grace she double-takes… staring in evident shock at them.

Grace waits while Colette zones out, trying to mask her impatience (and doing a reasonably decent job of it, all things considered). She manages not to chivvy the girl inside, though Alistair would correctly interpret the twitch of her fingers. The dog does it for her, a hint of wry twist pulling at the woman's lips when he does so. Grace, not being shellshocked from the revelation of Evolved status, doesn't have to work very hard to keep up with Colette, and when the doorman fails to do his job, she grabs and holds the door that the teen plods through. In the lobby, Ygraine is given a small, polite smile; given that they've interacted amicably before, the level of reserve in that expression is almost painful to see. Company, especially company likely to ask questions, isn't high on Grace's wish list right now. Rather much the opposite.

Colette tilts her head to one side, a tiny piece of glass finally working its way out of her hair to land with a clink on the tile floor of the lobby. The young girl breathes in a slow and tired breath, pressing her lips together for a moment. The sound of footsteps doesn't get her attention, not until she notices Jupiter jerk his head towards the sound, ears perked up and head slowly canting to one side. He settles down again on his haunches, not far from Colette, seemingly more willing to wait somewhere that isn't outside.

Colette's eyes slowly raise to linger on Ygraine, and it's clear both from her shell-shocked expression, and the tiny bits of broken glass poking out of the fur collar of her jacket, that her day has been a little bit more than ordinary.

There's no smile, no wave, no cheerful exclamation of henchwoman. She just stares at Ygraine, her lower jaw trembling slightly, then downturns her eyes once they start to take on a glassy look. There's a momentary sniffle, and Colette wrenches her head shakily to one side, looking over at Grace through the black cage of her jagged bangs. She blinks her eyes a few times, finally seeing a few spots of red in the raven-haired woman's hairline. Her lips press too hard together to be a natural expression, and her small hands ball up into a pair of tiny fists. She shakes, for just a few moments, and sniffles loudly again. She won't lose her composure in front of Grace again, not like that. Not in front of anyone.

"Ygraine." Colette's voice comes out as a strangled sound, she's trying as best as she can not to do so many things. It's like she wants to run in every possible direction at once, and it shows on her face. "Y-Ygraine —" Colette's words come out halting and clipped, and she tilts her head to the side, teeth biting down on her lower lip, taking a few more scuffing footsteps into the lobby, her eyes falling on the hall leading towards Judah's apartment, looking at the peeling paint on the ceiling for a point of focus as she tries to calm herself. "H-how — How's…" She can't make small talk, it's just not possible. Her eyes focus back on Grace, head turning to do so, and she looks at the spot of red in her hair again, and a very thin line of it that had run down her right temple from her hairline. That same, restrained expression crosses her face again, and Colette starts to make her way towards the hall towards Apartment 109. Jupiter watches, silently, for a moment, and then gets up and starts limping after her.

Ygraine manages to emerge from her stunned reverie when Colette speaks, her own face crumpling in concern. Then she strides forward, gaze switching to Grace part-way towards the pair. "If she needs carried, I can take her," she says quietly, voice confident — though it softens again as she addresses Colette. "Jennifer's fine — thank you for asking. But we need to get you sitting down somewhere, I think…"

More quiet, while Colette glacially notices and interacts with her surroundings. More denial of impatience. Grace refuses to fret, fidget, or grumble. For now. "She sat the whole way here," is her reply to Ygraine, that ruined, rusty voice quiet. Not soft; it's almost never soft, but the statement is no more than a statement. And no less. "She seems to be walking fine." Grace concludes, expression conveying faint approval better than her tone does. For her part, she just follows along in the wake of girl and dog.

"Don't touch me." Colette snaps, her dark brows lowering and her eyes whipping up to look at Ygraine. She trembles, just for a moment, then closes her eyes as she lets a shiver run from her head and down to her hands. "I — I'm — " She takes a step to the side around Ygraine, "I'm sorry." Heer voice softens, just as her expression does. "I — I don't — You don't need to…" The young girl raises one hand, covering her face with splayed fingers, then runs them back through her dark hair. Another plink of glass as a tiny piece is worked free and falls to the floor, "Just don't touch me."

Her words come out as a whisper, and she turns away from Ygraine, looking over to Grace again with a strained look in her eyes. She still looks to be on the verge of crying, and it's an evident struggle to keep from doing so. But the look she gives is more than just a stare, more than her last couple of glances. It conveys a whole wordless explanation, please don't go.

She stops outside of apartment 109, but doesn't make any move to open the door. Her eyes settle on Jupiter, waiting for him to slowly make the long walk down to nearly the end of the hall. Then she reaches into her pocket and removes a ring of jingling keys, "Ygraine." It's a little less forced sounding. "Can — " She lets out a strained hiss at the keys, fumbling to find the right one. "Can you — " Her hands start shaking again, and she drops the key ring onto the floor with a noisy clatter. The girl snaps, curling her hands into fists and kicks the keys with one foot to strike against the wall beside the door. "God damnit!" She runs her hands through her hair, taking a step back away from the door to 109, her back thumping up against the wall. "God fucking damnit!" She slides down the wall and lands on her backside, fingers curling in her hair as her jaw clenches shut and she lets out a growl that cracks and squeaks at the end; an unintelligible sound of frustration and emotion.

Ygraine jerked away from Colette as if struck, at the sudden command not to touch her, expression turning deeply hurt and worried when the girl then turns away from her. She does, however, drift uncertainly along after the two women… and perks up a little when her name is spoken. A couple of moments later, and she's hurrying over to fetch the dropped and kicked keys, leaving Grace to handle the slumping Colette while she attempts to find the appropriate key for the apartment door….

Grace looks askance at Colette as she practically bites Ygraine's nose off (verbally). She folds her arms across her chest, but since the girl does apologize, the woman refrains from any reprimand herself. "I imagine we have everyone's attention by now," Grace muses to the empty air. The raven's voice almost sounds amused — but surely not. She leans a shoulder against the wall, oddly enough less discomfited now than she was just moments prior.

Ygraine doesn't have to look for long. The sound of Colette's fist slamming into the wall is more than enough the rouse the man inside 109, though it takes him almost a full minute to reach the door on his crutches. Judah appears in the apartment's doorway, his large frame silhouetted by the faint glow emanating from within. Judging by the look of him, he was in the middle of shaving when he heard the bang — one side of his face is still covered in lather, while the other has small squares of bloody toilet paper stuck to it where he wasn't as careful with his razor as he perhaps should have been. Although he's fully dressed, he also wears a bath towel draped loosely across his broad shoulders. His feet are uncharacteristically bare. "So you do," he remarks to Grace, dark eyes narrowing just a fraction as he pulls open the door the rest of the way. "Colette?"

"I'm fine." Colette spits out the words at herself. She waves one hand flippantly in the air by her head, then pushes herself up using the wall, "I'm fine, I'm fine." Her eyes close, one hand covering the right side of her face. Then, quickly her hand moves away from her face and she looks down at it as if something were wrong with it. Her fingers twitch, and she screws her face up into a restrained look of emotional outburst; almost about to just break down and cry, but too upset to.

She looks over to Grace, arms folded and leaning against the wall. Then down to Jupiter, who's merely watching Ygraine with marked anticipation until the door opens. When Judah emerges half-shaven, the dog simply limps up to the door and then squeezes between one side of Judah and the doorway, limping the rest of the way into the apartment. He's earned his rest.

Colette absolutely freezes the moment she hears Judah's voice. It's somewhere between terror and relief displayed on her face as she looks up to him. One hand covers her mouth, and her arms give a small shivver. It looks for a minute like she didn't consider the fact that Judah is almost always home now.

"Judah." There's something wrong. He's been a cop long enough to read people like a book, and Colette's is full of jumbled letters and splotches of color where pictures should be. A mild irony considering her copy of House of Leaves on the table in the living room. She shakily moves away from the wall, then stops right at the doorway, not quite as narrow as Jupiter, unable or unwilling to just push her way in. "Can we come in?" She whispers with her head downturned, a few glittering pieces of glass in the collar of her jacket still.

Ygraine backs away from the door a pace or two as it unexpectedly opens, loitering awkwardly without a clue as to what's going on. She dithers, but finds herself trapped by the keys she holds even more than her own curiosity.

Grace straightens away from the wall as Judah regards Colette; if he looks back her way, the not-so-concealed handgun beneath her windbreaker is likely as apparent as day to the detective. Even with the girl to be a distraction. Grace didn't even think of taking it off; it's pretty much a part of her. "Just wanted to see her home," the woman remarks. There's a mildly stubborn set beneath her expression; questions are not invited. Something else Judah would know well — but without any more context, it could be assumed all she's being close-mouthed about is whatever happened to her and Colette.

Judah shifts his weight to the side, allowing Jupiter to move past him and into the apartment. There's a blanket on the den floor that he can curl up on, assuming he doesn't head straight for the couch or the bed. It takes the detective a moment or two to absorb the sight in front of him, and another three or four to piece the situation together. Even then, the conclusion he arrives at may not necessarily be the right one. Eyes lingering on the outline of the gun beneath Grace's windbreaker, he gives Colette a short nod, swivels his crutches around and moves back inside, making room for the other three to follow suit. He assumes Colette will. Ygraine and Grace? That's a different story. "Thank you," he says, addressing both the older woman in a level, somewhat gravelly tone. "I appreciate it."

Colette shuffles into the apartment with her head hung, one hand lightly rubbing at her temple. She slips past Judah, watching Jupiter limp over to the blanket in the kitche, laying down on his side and letting out a soft whining sound as he does. His eyes, however, watch Judah in the doorway with one ear limply hanging down. He settles his chin on the floor between his paws, then lets out another soft whine as Colette slowly walks just past the door. She wavers in mid-step, then takes a few more shuffling strides into the apartment before slouching down onto the sofa. The girl pulls her legs up to her chest, covers her face with both hands, and just sits there in absolute silence for just a moment. Then, turning her head to the door, she watches to see who comes in, teeth pressed down to her bottom lip to keep it still. Something is very wrong.

Ygraine chews her lip, still dithering. "Glass", she says softly, before finding a slightly higher volume and a somewhat more helpful comment. "We should get glass out of people's hair and clothes, before it gets ground into skin." She darts a glance at Grace. "Or cuts." She loiters outside, clearly unsure whether to move in, or what to do with the keys she still holds.

"Shouldn't be too much of that on her," is Grace's sandstone-rasp response. She snorts softly at Ygraine's uncertainty; a shake of her head sends a couple glittering bits of broken glass to the floor. For her part, the young woman starts heading down the hall rather than into the apartment; responsibility discharged, she considers her part here done.

Judah decides to let Grace go. It could have something to do with him not wanting to bring more guns into his apartment than necessary, or it might have something to do with keeping things simple. Most likely, it's both. If Grace doesn't come inside, he can't question her — and if he can't question her, he can legitimately plead ignorance to his superiors of this turns out to be something serious. Ygraine, on the other hand, is invited into the apartment with an exaggerated roll of his shoulder, a silent gesture. He lets Colette sulk for now; there will be time for an interrogation later, after he's taken the Brit's advice and checked the younger girl over for injuries that might not be obvious.

Ygraine fires a worried glance after Grace, then nods meekly to Judah's silent invitation. She steps inside, lighter on her feet than might be expected as she sways past him, careful not to jostle either the man or his crutches. Instead, she moves to deposit the keys on the coffee table, then inches a little closer to peer worriedly at Colette — also checking for signs of physical damage.

"There's water in the fridge," Judah tells Ygraine, "if you're thirsty." It sounds, to his ears, like the proper thing to say. He doesn't often bring people into his apartment, never mind relative strangers — the correct course of action here is something of a mystery to him. Shutting the door behind her, he turns his attention back to Colette and hangs back, more comfortable to let Ygraine take a closer look at his ward. He's aware that the teen has issues with being touched, so perhaps it's best that he leaves this task to someone of the same sex. Not for the first time, he finds himself wishing that Tamara was here even though he knows no amount of wishing will bring her to the stoop unless it's important. "You want to tell me what happened?"

When Ygraine comes over, starts looking Colette over for an obvious sign of injury, she looks thankfully fine. No blood on her, no scratches or bruises, but she looks shaken up like she'd been in a bad car accident. The girl's mis-matched eyes lift up to Ygraine, peeting at her with a half-blinded and fully vacant stare. "He's dead." Colette's words come out as a hushed little rasp just as the door closes. The young girl furrows her brows together, pulling her legs just a bit tighter to her chest. "Oh my God…" Her words slip into a whimpering noise, "…he's dead." She starts shaking, her fingers curlng into the rough fabric of her jeans, nails that have been all but bitten off scraping against denim. "Oh my God," she repeats herself, "Oh my God," over and over, "Oh my God," and over, "Oh my God," and over. Then, maybe to answer Judah's question, maybe to finish her sentence she enunciates, "I killed someone." That, however, is only said once.

Ygraine sinks into a crouch before Colette, worriedly eyeing her. Trauma-induced shock, she's rather too intimately familiar with. But clear surprise registers on her own features just as she was about to try to interrupt. At that wholly unexpected revelation, she glances to the cop - opting to remain quiet for the moment, though she quickly returns her gaze to Colette's face, and slowly offers her hands to be taken, should the younger girl want to reach out a little.

Maybe Judah shouldn't have let Grace slip out so easily after all. Pressing his lips into a thin line and adopting a sterner expression than he probably means to, the detective hobbles over to the couch, to Ygraine and Colette. Trauma-induced shock isn't anything new to him, either. This is, however, the first time he's seen it crippling someone he actually cares about. "Are you sure?" he asks, adopting a seat on the arm of the couch with his crutches propped up against the back. If he's sitting down, he doesn't need them, and right now he wants them out of the way so he can focus on Colette.

"Yes I'm sure!" Colette turns her head quickly and snaps out her words at Judah, that same abrupt crack of frustration and anger that she showed to Ygraine. The girl winces, then lurches and covers her hands with her face. She lets out a single, muffled sob and then crls her fingers into her hair, tugging. "I shot him in the face, and he fell back, and the car hit him and then he didn't move anywhere! I killed him, he's dead!" She curls up into a small, tight ball and slides her fingers back through her hair, raking her bangs back away from now tear-laden eyes. "I'm a monster. Oh my God I'm a monster." The notion that Colette could handle a gun, let alone have the wherewithal to point it at someone and pull the trigger seems a stretch. "Oh my God."

Ygraine reclaims her apparently unwanted hands, cocking her head as she frowns deeply at the balled-up girl. Then she pushes herself to her feet and turns to stalk through to the kitchen. Better to set about boiling a kettle for drinks, and readying a large bowl of hot water — with a towel stolen from the bathroom — for cleaning up her young friend. She can be noisily busy, and only momentarily present, for a good bit of conversation between the cop and the young self-proclaimed killer.

"Sometimes," Judah starts, sounding more uncertain than he feels, "when things happen very fast, we remember events differently than the way they actually occured. I see it a lot at work, with witnesses." The only way he can be sure is to make a call down to the morgue, and he's not sure he wants to pick up the phone right now. He hasn't seen anything on the news to indicate there's any real truth to Colette's story, but he of all people should know it sometimes takes the news time to catch up with reality. "You said you shot him. With what?"

Colette lifts her eyes up to Judah, watching him as if he asked her something far more personal and invasive. She stares at him for a long while, then ducks her head down and rests it against her knees. Her words are replaced with awkward silence, the kind that lingers like an unwelcome guest, serving as a wedge of distrust and uncertainty between the two, struggling to push apart what bond they've managed to have. Her eyes open part-way, staring vacantly across the room to the television's blackened screen. "My hand."

Colette's dark brows furrow together, and her mis-matched eyes stay leveled on Judah for a long time. Slowly, she moves one hand away from her leg, lifting it palm up in front of the man who took one of the biggest emotional risks possible by adopting her. A whole lot of good she's done to repay that; threatened one unregistered healer with the government, and now this. Colette blinks her eyes, and a tear dribbles down her cheek as a small disc of light, five inches across, bubbles up in the palm of her hand like the lens of a magnifying glass, made of dull yellow-orange light, the same color as that shed by the pair of lamps nearby. It swirls around in her palm, up close looking like tiny little luminous fireflies all joined together, barely able to shed their own glow.

"I'm sorry."

Judah takes Colette's hand in his, interlacing his fingers with hers, and gives it a small squeeze. He doesn't regret the decisions he's made regarding her. If anything, this only serves to further solidify them. His other hand reaches up and, gently, he brushes his fingers against her hair in what he hopes is a reassuring manner. "It's nothing to be ashamed about," he murmurs, voice thick with an undercurrent of mixed emotions. He'll have to call Felix in the morning and ask him for his advice on the matter — he always knows what to do in these types of situations, and the fact that he's in the same boat as Colette might help. Right now, he's still taking it all in. Calling his old friend to lament about this unfortunate turn of events is the furthest thing from his mind right now. "Tamara isn't ashamed," he adds softly. "Mister Ivanov isn't ashamed. Why should you be? Accidents happen."

She squeezes, Colette squeezes that hand for all she's worth. That small hand of hers clutches Judah's tightly, dispersing the lens of light in tiny motes of flickering yellow-white that quickly fade. Her eyes close and she leans into the touch to the side of her head, the faintest hint of a smile crossing her face. The contact, much the inverse that it did the first time they met, seems to calm the girl, steady her words, give her some semblance of focus, "It wasn't an accident." There's a quiet hiss of words, "He was gonna shoot Jupiter. He had a gun. I — I didn't mean to — But — He was…" She forces her eyes closed, lowering her head away from Judah's rough hand.

"I don't know what was going on, things were exploding, a-and Grace saved — " She jerks up into a seated position, looking around for a moment. When she spots Ygraine quietly watching in the kitchenette, she relaxes a little, but failing to find Grace anywhere in the vicinity makes her frown noticably. "J-Judah, I was so scared." It shows in her voice, "Jupiter was barking, and — and people were yelling, and I heard guns, a-and… and I don't… it all happened so fast."

Accident. Self-defense. In Judah's eyes, it's the same thing. "Who else knows what you can do? Apart from Grace and Ygraine?" That's the key to whether or not she'll be registering, isn't it? He lowers his hand, along with Colette's, and places it back in her lap without letting go. "I'll go down to the station tomorrow," he says, more to himself than the teen. "See what paperwork turns up." If the scene was as chaotic as Colette says it was, there's no way the incident went unreported — even if it isn't yet all over the news.

"I — um, t-this guy who was driving the car." Colette's eyes wander from side to side, "I — I've never seen him before. I — I don't know his name. He — he was a friend of Grace?" Mis-matched eyes divert up to Judah, wavering from side to side still. She looks uncertain, scared. "T-there were people all over the place. I — Some guy driving a car, a-and these chinese guys, and some — I — I don't know, it was all over so quick." Colette leans forward, parting her lips in a silent gasp. "I feel sick."

Judah draws Colette into his chest, one arm draped across her shoulders, free hand hanging loosely against her back. "You're all right," he promises. "You've got people watching out for you. Tamara won't let anything bad happen. I won't let anything bad happen." If she feels sick, she feels sick. If she gets sick all over him, then she gets sick all over him. They both have bigger things to worry about.

November 29th: Light on Water, Part II
November 29th: All Those Dark Things
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