I'm Curious Too


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Scene Title I'm Curious Too
Synopsis Discovering Thomas Redhouse's worrisome final paintings, Cat and Barbara push too hard on the topic, and find themselves out in the cold.
Date January 28, 2011

New York

Five black canvases. That's unexpected. She just stares at them with an expression steadily becoming speculative and a flash of memory entering her mind.

June 27, 2010. Coyote Sands Relocation Center, Arizona.

"I'd rather it be in your hands than theirs," Angela says, watching from the hut's doorway. Caliban has joined in, either at Epstein's request or of his own accord, it's difficult to say which. One of them has already answered Catherine's question about Broome.

A breeze floating by ruffles her shawl and the dark hair beneath. "I've seen what's coming, and so have you. The only way to change the future is to make amends with the past, and to do that, you have to unbury it. Keep digging."

"Fuck," Cat mutters, "so this is Vanguard Round 4. That damned thing keeps growing a new head every time it gets mowed down." As she puts the film in the truck, Veronica is observed. A mental note is made about not letting it get tucked away in some Company vault, never to be seen again. She also intends to go through Building 26 again, as well as the others onsite, and gather all she can. But for now, she seems unbothered by manual labor and picks up a shovel.

"Just to make sure we're all reading the same book, what have you seen, Mrs. Petrelli?"

"Good luck," Avi grumbles frustratedly when Cat tries to plumb the depths of Angela's dream world. With he, Cardinal and Caliban all digging now, the loose and rocky desert soil is more rapidly disappearing from the space they're excavating and more rapidly piling up in dusty heaps beside a growing hole. Under the last remnants of the fading Azirona sun, Aviators takes a look over to Cat, then shakes his head slowly.

"I wish it were that easy, Chesterfield." There's another crunch as the soil is lifted and tossed aside from his shovel and another immediately afterward when Cat's shovel adds to the work. "Broome doesn't want to end the Evolved, he's not like that, but I don't know what he wants why he's so eager to do what he's doing for the Government." Another heavy shovelful of sandy earth is heaped aside, mostly small rocks and loose, infertile land heaved into that growing pile.

Sweat bears thick on Avi's brows, darkens his shirt under his arms and on his back and chest. Wiping a grimy hand across his forehead, he breathes a heavy exhalation then looks down to the dirt. "I dunno what the hell Broome wants" he says with a tone of both desperation and lack of understanding, a man who's tried to discern another's motives and came up with only darkness and silence.


Cardinal's shovel hits something solid, and it causes Avi's back to tense up. His eyes cast over to something that looks like a larger rock in the dirt, and as their shovels scrape through the sand and the gravel, the tan orb revealed isn't a large stone, judging from the gaping eye sockets and missing teeth of its frozen open jaw. A hissed breath is drawn in when Avi notices the bullet hole in the skull's forehead, then the tattered, nearly dissolved clothing its wearing.

That there is a decaying teddy-bear buried in the hole with the small skeleton makes his jaw tighten and tremble. "Oh, God."

The president's mother's fingers curl in on themselves, her hand making a tight knot above her heart. "The beginning of the end."

Barbara Simms just stares, eyed wide and framed by redhair that falls across her face as she pulls off her hat. "W-What?" Taking a step closer to one of the pictures, she leans forward, eyeing it carefully, before she leans back and look first to Cat, then to Thomas. "Is this- a metaphor or something?" There's an unhappy look on her face, before she looks back to the painting, reaching out to touch it. "I don't get it. Why… black? I mean, I can't believe things are that hopeless," she says with a shake of her head. "It's just not possible."

"I don't know," Thomas murmurs, looking at the paintings with heavily lidded eyes and a tired sag of his lips into a frown. "I just… know that those were the last things I ever comitted to canvas, or paper or…" Redhouse looks away, turning his back on the artwork. "Too many times I saw myself painting tragedy, too often ones I couldn't prevent. Whether this is tragedy or something else, I can't tell. All I know is the sense of finality that I felt when I looked at what I had made."

Thomas looks back over his shoulder, then makes a distasteful sound in the back of his throat, walking out of the small room, back into the narrow hallway of the kitchen. "You can take them, if they mean that much to you. I'd be glad to get them out of my house…" Even if he can't erase them from his memory.

Shaking herself free of the memory's grip, Cat's eyes remain on the canvases. "Beginning of the end," she murmurs, "but I don't accept that." Maybe she heard Thomas, maybe she didn't, there seems to be some dissonance about her in the midst of the other two as they spoke. "Black could be a dire situation, or it could be another form of a starting point. If such an end comes, I won't surrender to it. Will go fighting tooth and nail."

Turning slowly to face the retired artist, her features show a mix of curiosity and some hopefulness, a question being formed and expressed. "Mr. Redhouse, it was more than four years ago you painted these. What turns up now is likely very different. Would you paint, sir?"

For all the circumstances of her life, she remains at heart a rocker chick. Such black surfaces, made by paint, bring the Rolling Stones to mind.

I see a red door…

There has to be something deeper. The girls going by dressed in their summer clothes, at the very least.

Barbara meanwhile, looks at the painting with a thoughtful expression, and then over to Cat. "We should take at least one," she remarks, a hand to her chin. "See… if we can learn anything from it." That is to say, she feels there's something Thomas isn't entirely telling them, and maybe studying the picture will give them some sort of insight into the matter, one can never tell.

With a bit of a sigh, she takes one in hand, looking over at Cat with surprise. "Cat… we shouldn't push our luck. We're probably lucky he hasn't kicked us out as it is." Also fot the best, given the stupid amounts of snow outside. Even Canada wasn't this bad. But… "Though you're right. A lot's changed in the last four years. It's impossible to know what might come up, now. It might be… better." Ot it could be much much worse, considering the martial law and robots. "But I'm with Cat. I can't accept that things are so hopeless."

"You should listen to your friend," Thomas sternly admonishes as he makes his way down the hall and into the kitchen. "I've retired from that, I've put away that part of my life and I don't have any intention on looking back. Man should not know the future, it only leads to problems. Nothing good has ever come from my artwork, only pain and suffering and loss."

Turning towards the coffee pot, Thomas pulls it out from the machine with a clunk, upending an overturned mug that sat on a dishcloth on the side of the sink. "If you press the matter further, I'll have t'ask you both to leave, weather be damned." Pouring himself a black coffee, Thomas doesn't openly invite the others to have any, and that he finishes off the last in the pot is perhaps why.

"Most of my older work was bought up by a city-type, you probably've heard of him. Daniel Linderman, the one in the papers and on the television…" Thomas motions to Cat and Barbara with his mug of steaming coffee. "But that was years ago, and they weren't anything special. He was an old friend of Carlos', he was supporting my work."

Following the man back out, she doesn't press the issue by direct request he paint again, but Cat does address it. "You may have heard about the Vanguard, and their attempt to release a dangerous virus, sir. That was stopped because we, meaning me and people close to me, were warned by other than mundane means. Other disasters were averted because of precognition telling what to look for. That song called La Mer, it got wide radio play for a time, was such a warning. I can't, therefore, agree about no good coming of such things, but I accept your wish not to do so."

Silence, then, for a stretch of contemplative seconds. "I know of Daniel Linderman and his friends. Carlos Mendez, Victoria Pratt, Adam Monroe, Angela and Arthur Petrelli, Charles Deveaux, Robert Bishop, Kaito Nakamura, Harold Fletcher, Maury Parkman, Paula Gramble, Susan Amman… The founders of what was the Company."

"Linderman…" Barbara shakes her head, falling silent as Cat rattles off the names of the Company founders - names she knows all too well. SOme people she knew all too well, in several cases. For a moment, she seems a bit uneasy, instead choosing to focus on the black washed paintings in front of her. The one in hand is settled under her arm, another one taken in hand. She purses her lips for a moment, before turning back around with the two in hand.

"She's right," she notes, just giving that on the matter. "I'm not… surprised Linderman would want them. An' I'm surprised you haven't had any other visitors recently…" And by that, she mostly means Richard Cardinal, given what Barbara has learned about in him the last few months.

Silence shadows Thomas' features as Cat casually links two of the closest friends he ever had in his life with treasonous terrorists that destroyed Midtown. Sadness creeps over his features, a tightness causes his throat to work up and down and as he looks away from the pair, it's clear that close to everything Cat had said was a revelation to the old man.

The coffee is set down on the counter, heavily. The motion is firm enough to jerk Juno's head up from her sleep, eyes blinking open and ears slowly lifting to lazy alertness. She can sense the vibe in the room, even if no one else can. With a tremor in his jaw, Thomas looks to the doorway out of the kitchen and then back to Cat, and then Barbara.

"You should go," Thomas words like a suggestion, but states like a fact.

She doesn't seem cowed, surprised, or much of anything in response to his tone and the wording of it. Cat's eyes rest on the man with unerring calm, the only emotion shown in them and on her face perhaps disappointment or disdain. "I would prefer to think of you, sir, as better than this, to kindle a spark of hope back to life. I don't expect everything I might tell you would be well received, don't imagine none of it would be painful, but I wouldn't just tell you what I think you'd want to hear to get into good graces, sir."

In silence she turns from the man and heads for where her boots were placed, the process of leaving. Once there, she offers a verbal acquiescence. "As you wish, and thank you for your time, Mr. Redhouse."

Barbara just rolls her shoulders uncomfortable when Barbars speaks, Redhouse's request having moveed her gaze down to the floor. She keeps a hold on the two paintings she has, but makes no effort to grab the other two, choosing intead to follow after Cat, an apologetic look offered to Thomas as she passes. "Sorry to have bothered you, sir. Thank you for speaking with us. It's been appreciated, trust me." The paintings set aside so that she can put her boots on, she looks over at Cat, and sighs. "Do you think we can make it back to a motel?"

Juno seems more animate than Thomas does, watching Cat and Barbara head for the door. Thomas is silent, stoic and tense as he listens to the sound of them headed to the front door. At that distance, they can hear him eject a sigh through his nose, hear the creak of floorboards as he moves away from the counter, steps over Juno, and comes to stand in the doorway between kitchen and the hall overlooking the foyer of the cabin.

At first it seems as though he's just ensuring that they leave. "If I find something," Thomas murmurs, reluctantly, "maybe— cleaning up this old place…" gray brows furrow and Thomas' gaze never quite meets either of the two women. "If I find something, who should I send it to? I don't ever much clean up around here, maybe… something will work its way out."

"I think so," Cat replies to Barbara's query halfway through lacing up the right boot and securing pants over the top of it, "Buffalo's not small and we have funds to work with." The elderly Native's question draws her eyes back his way moments later, the answer being a post office box somewhere in Harlem.

She has ways to retrieve things, even when avoiding capture or being shot dead.

"Mm. That works," is Barbara's reply to Cat's suggestion of where to leave things, offering a bit of a nod to her, and then to Thomas. "Don't stress yourself on our behalf," she replies, giving a weak smile, "but we would appreciate it if you manage to stumble across something." Boots reaffixed to her feet, she takes the paintings into hand and rises back to her feet, and expectant look given to Cat.

There's a grumble of a response from Thomas, a turn of his attention out the window to the snow coming down, and the lack of concern that shows on his face indicates that he's seen worse as far as the weather is concerned. Lingering in the doorway while Barbara and Cat get on their boots and redress for the cold, Thomas imparts no farewells on the two women, only his silent and stoic stare as he watches them depart onto the front porch of the cabin into the drifting, windblown snow. When the front door finally shuts, Thomas exhales a steady sigh and looks down to Juno where she lays on the tile floor in the kitchen.

The old dog lifts one ear up slowly, tilting her head to the side and whining. "I know, girl, I know…" Thomas murmurs in response to the dog, stepping closer to the door, and peering out the front window to the silhouettes of Barbara and Catherine moving away from the cabin and back towards their truck.

"…I'm curious too."

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