If I Were Special...


abby_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Scene Title If I Were Special…
Synopsis Abby comes to Colette to tell her the decision she's made about Judah's injuries.
Date November 10, 2008

Cathedral of St.John the Divine

The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains partially unfinished to this day, despite its construction having begun in 1892 - true to form for buildings of its type. Nonetheless, it is a grand and imposing sight; possessing the characteristic grand arches, pointed spires, and beautiful stained glass windows, including a large and striking Rose window. Where the walls aren't covered with old and meticulously preserved tapestries, they are often ornamented.

Guided tours are offered six days out of the week. Services are open to all. Since the bomb, the main nave is open at all but the latest hours, though the smaller subject-specific chapels close in the evening. The cathedral is also a site for major workshops, speakers, and musical events - most especially the free New Year's Eve concert, which has been held without fail each year since the bomb.

St. John's has long been a center for public outreach and civic service events, but since the bomb, those have become an even greater part of its daily affairs. Services include a men's shelter, a twice-weekly soup kitchen, walk-in counseling, and other programs besides. These are open to everyone - non-Evolved, unregistered Evolved, registered Evolved… the philosophy is that they're all children of God, and that's what matters.

The world has been turned on its ear in the last few years, revelations about the nature of humanity itself, and a painful example of the violent nature of humanity. Freedoms have been erased, lives have been torn apart, and lives have simply been snuffed out in a single flash of light. But if there is one thing that the world has not lost since the day the world was turned upside-down, it is hope.

Some find hope in themselves, in their ability to persevere where so many others have failed. Some find hope in others, leaning on the strength of those who can support both themselves and those they care about. Others find hope in the ideal of faith, that just maybe there is a higher power out there somewhere, a force that knows the great end destination for the world. These people hold out hope that things can be better, that for all the suffering and struggling, the world will one day be a happier place. That perhaps, just perhaps, there will be a brighter tomorrow.

The Cathedral of St.John the Divine is one place these people congregate. A monolithic structure of aging stone that has survived two world wars and the devastation of New York City. Perhaps it is by no coincidence that people see this buildings constant state of repair, change and transformation a sign of the hope to come, a sign of the future and the way things are. They find hope in its stability, and they find hope in the help it offers.

Thorugh the back halls of the Cathedral, it's clear that renovation is a constantly active process here at the Cathedral. The interior halls lack that certain opulence that the main prayer chamber does. And while the old stone walls and marble floors give it some semblance of grandiose appearance, the stacks of folding tables, cardboard boxes filled with canned goods, and the constant through-traffic of transients makes it seem more like a well-built relief shelter than a place of worship.

A double-wide series of old stone stairs with anachronisticly new looking metal handrails wind down beneath the central floor of the church. The muffled sounds of prayer and orgel music echo through the halls from above. Downstairs, there is even less of a sense of old-world charm, as exposed water pipes and unfinished ceilings give the expansive basement a very worked-on feeling. Makeshift walls have been put up to separate a portion of the basement for the living quarters for the homeless that spend time here, looking quite like a disaster relief shelter, lined with rows of cots and privacy curtains.

It is past the living quarters, though, where the most activity of the volunteer effort is made during evening hours. It is down in the soup kitchen, a large and open room filled with folding tables and long bench seats, the kind used in highschool cafeterias. The dinner crowd is thinning as the hour nears seven, most of the long tables empty, save for a few wayward souls. Serving areas serve as partitions for the kitchen in the back, and a long area of counterspace features tall coffee pots and stacks of cardboard cups.

"Ohhh I'm so sorry!" One voice above the din of the others is remarkably apologetic. On her hands and knees of the tiled floor is a young girl, dressed in a dark blue apron worn over a carnation red hooded sweatshirt and loose jeans. She scrubs at the floor with a rag where an orange-brown splatter and a plastic bowl are. Standing nearby, an elderly man with an equally apologetic look on his face looms nearby.

"I-it's alright… I — I have shaky hands. S'the Parkinsons, please… y'don have t'do that…" It is a monday night much like any other.

Abby's made her way here, knowing where to find Colette, thanks to trent and his visit to her Diner. Dressing down, save for her scarf, she's doing her best to look like any other person who's coming here for a hot meal and possibly shelter. The blonde can't see COlette, thanks to being on her knees and helping clean up the spilt food so she continues to scan while in her place in line to be "fed"

"Good evening miss," A gentle voice says quietly as Abby steps inside the soup kitchen. The voice comes from a matronly looking old woman with her gray hair wound up into a tight bun behind her head. She steps over from beside the door, hands folding in front of her apron as she comes to a stop, head tilted to the side. There's something mildly saddened about her expression as she looks Abby up and down, "Is there anything I can help you with, darling?"

Rising up from the floor, Colette comes into Abby's field of view just beyond the woman attending to the blonde. "T-there, um, I — I'll go get you another bowl of chili. You just go and have a seat." She offers the old man a warm smile, motioning to one of the empty seats before hurriedly heading back to the steam tables, tossing the bowl that had fallen to the floor in the trash as she passes by the large barrel.

"I'm looking for someone Named Colette?" Abby dips a gloved hand into a pocket and produces a small sealed envelope. "Think you could pass this to her when you next see her? I was told she'd be here" Abby spots Colette though a moment later from the corner of her eyes. Does she? Does she not? "Not important, just see that she gets it?" It's offered to the matronly woman, body poised to leave and quickly.

"Colette? Ahh, well you have fortunate timing actually. You can give it to her yourself, she should be ending her shift now, actually." The gray-haired woman offers a warm smile, turning at the waist to look over her hsoulder at Colette, "Colette, dear. You have a visitor!" It's not exactly what Abby seemed to have wanted, but her intentions weren't clear enough to be said otherwise.

From across the soup kitchem, Colette perks up behind one of the steam tables, a broad smile immediately flashing across her face until she sees just who stands by the entrance. The girl's expression shifts, becoming somewhat inscrutable at first as she tilts her head to the side, one brow raising over her blinded eye. Quickly, she scoops up a helping of chili into a new plastic bowl, and circles around the steam table. She lays down the bowl by the old man, giving him a soft and apologetic smile. Her eyes drift up again, regarding Abby, and starts to make her way over.

Abby schools herself, face sliding into neutral though before that, she gives the older woman a smile. 'Thanks, I guess I will" And the letter gets tucked away into a pocket. She hadn't been wanting to do this face to face, letter would do well enough but thanks to the best laid plans of mice and men… So Abby waits where she is till Colette is close. "Hey, umm hi. A mutual aquiantence told me i'd find you here"

Lips purse to the side as Colette hears the explanation, but that very faintly upset expression slips away as she takes another long look at the girl. Seeing the two together, the woman who had called Colette over politely dips her head down and steps away, heading behind the steam tables to inspect the people still working. "I um, I didn't think I was gonna' hear from you." Colette starts to untie her apron, struggling with the knot in the back for a few moments before getting it undone, "I'm surprised you came all the way down here an' didn't just call." She tugs the apron up over her head, mussing her hair up — more than it already is — in the process. One hand smooths down the back of her hair while the other swings the apron around, wrapping it around one arm.

"So, like, are you gonna' help?" Her head tilts to the side, bangs falling down over one eye as a smile creeps up on her lips. "I… I'm really glad you thought about it, I mean — " She nods with her head, turning to start walking towards one of the tables, "It's so hard watchin' Judah hobble around the apartment. I had to leave him on his own tonight, and I'm worried if he's going to be too stubborn to get up and cook himself dinner… or if he'll be too stubborn not to cook dinner and hurt himself, or…" Her arms wrap around herself after the drapes the apron across the table, coming to sit down with her eyes uplifted to Abby. "I'm really glad you're here."

Good god. Subtle. Abby raises her brows at Collette, rolls her eyes a tad in frustration and the blonde turns on her heel heading out about midway through Colette's flow of conversation, heading right straight for the exit.

Colette blinks when she's back at the table, noticing Abby's already headed for the door, "H-wha?" She pushes up to her feet, rushing hurriedly across the tile floor to reach out and lay a hand on the blonde's shoulder, "H-hey, what gives? I thought you came down here to talk?" Her dark brows furrow together, head canting to the side. She looks around, then back to the young girl with a puzzled expression. "R-really, I mean, why — " She circles around in front of Abby looking puzzled, and it's clear she doesn't understand the reason for the departure at all.

Abby's quick to keep Colette from touching her, a dodge from the hand and a frown as the woman steps in front of her and is once again, talking. "In a /room/ full of /people/. /People/. You start talking about a subject like that, here? Are you /daft/?" Abby moves to sidestep Colette, and walk out, adjusting scarf to hide most of her face, pull down the ballcap.

"Wh — " Colette looks back to the soup kitchen, tilting her head to the side, then runs after Abby, following her out the door and into the stairwell. "What? What's your problem?" The girl's brow furrows as she dashes up the steps, clomping footsteps making echoing sounds in the hall. "I didn't say anything weird! Besides, there's hardly anyone in there, you're being paranoid! It's not like you can't talk about stuff like that in public, there's all sorts of people — um, you know, who do that stuff." She stops on one of the steps, arms held out to the side, looking up at Abby, "If I had a gift like you, I wouldn't be afraid to use it to help people who needed it!"

Abby cranes her head around to look up the starewell then back to Colette. "If you had a gift like mine, you wouldn't be afraid to use it. Heavens.. do you think I jsut sit around and sqaunder it? That I save only those I deem worthy? That it doesn't come with a cost? Do you think that i'm selfish like that? If you were me, then maybe, maybe you'd understand, but your not me. Your not living in this world with a precious gift from god. I'm not registered. I shouldn't need to register i'm not 'evolved' i'm just gifted from god with the capability of laying on hands. But you don't understand. Instead, you come into my work, you look for me, and say things in front of strangers. Make demands that I have to do it, because he deserves it. There are /hundreds/ out there who deserve it, but I can't /help/ hundreds. I can only help who I can. I checked into your Judah. Officer of an anti-evolved task force, injured in line of duty. He's alive, and he's not dying."

Abby shakes her head. "Who are you, to make demands on who I heal? Only god does, when he places them before me, and I have the strength. I'm not going to this time around. Because of you. Becuase I can't garauntee my safety, I can't garauntee that your not going to keep on doing what your doing. So don't blame me Colette. Don't go hammering at Trent, and don't show up at my diner, or bring /him/ to my diner and demand I heal him. He's alive, he's not dead, my gifts are needed on other people who aren't so fortunate as him to survive, who don't have so positive an outlook as he does"

The younger girl's eyes widen as she listens to Abby, her jaw trembling slightly as faint misting comes over her eyes. Right there, the hope for Judah's recovery is walking away. For all her preceptions, the injury isn't life-threatening, but to Colette it's something more important to her than most anything — and in her own selfish thoughts, it's even more important than the girl in front of her. Her small hands curl into fists at her side, and she bites down on her lower lip, "I — "

She breathes in a deep breath through her nose, coming up a few more steps, "If you don't help him, I'll turn you in." Those words ring out like a gunshot through the stairwell, despite how softly they are spoken. It is not the volume of the words said, but the gravity that they carry. "All I asked you for was help. Judah — He — He's protected my best friend from the people — from the thing you're afraid of. He's kept her a secret, and I know he'd do the same f-for you… but…" Her arms shake, rational thought slipping away to emotional response, "I'll do it."

"And I knew you'd say that. I was hoping you wouldn't. Try it Colette. Try and turn me in" Abby stands there, her blue eyes on the woman, calling her bluff and prepared to follo wthrough. "You won't find me at the diner, Homesec won't find me at the diner. I'll have disappeared by the time i've left this building" Abby turns away, starting to head back up the stairs. "They told me not to tell you in person. But I couldn't do that. I needed to do it in person, needed to tell you that. You, and He deserved that much. I'll pray for Judah, to god, that he give him what strength that your officer can lend, but the miracle you want, it can't come from me"

Colette winces, she called her bluff and it didn't work. "I — I know your name! I'll — They'll find you! Y-you'll…" Her jaw tenses, hands curling into fists again as she hurries up the stairs to get a little closer to where the blonde is heading, "Please!" She looks back down to the base of the stairwell, towards the double-doors leading into the soup kitchen, then back up to Abby, "Please, he — he's the only family I have…" Her tone of voice shifts entirely, the vitrol that fueled her threat slipping from her like air from a punctured tire. "I — It kills me to see him the way he is… P-please, I — I don't understand…" She falters in her ascent, stopping in the stairwell with one hand leaning against the iron railing, her head hanging. "I… I don't…"

"You know my first name, and even you know that names can be changed, if you know the right people, and hair color can be changed, and eye color can be changed and for the right amount of money, a face can be changed" Abby keeps right on walking up the stairs much as it hurts he to do it. "He'll live Colette. And trent lived. If you made me choose, between him, and your officer, who would you choose" Abby looks down over the railing as she goes. "That's the choice I have to make, every day, that my parents made. Think about that Colette. Could you do that? If you had my power? Go home. Go home and wrap your arms around him and be thankful that a miracle let him live, and give trent one as well, that a different miracle happened to be there, and that he's live. Becuase I don't think your thankful enough. I think your being greedy, the same as you think i'm being selfish. Maybe I am, maybe i'm not, in the end. God decides, not you, and not some person with a badge who would lock me up and wear me out like a battery" She's walking further away up the stairs.

A slouch comes over Colette's shoulders as she listens, slumping down to crouch on the stairs where she is, her hand falling from the handrail. Her eyes close, but her jaw is tense, eyes wrenched shut and arms around her waist. She refuses to let the blonde see her cry, or her her show that weakness. She lets out a whimpering sound, once the noise of footsteps has long since faded from the stairwell, and with that very strangled release, she collapses down onto the stairs. She keeps her eyes closed, shoulders shaking as she lets out a weak and restrained sob. She doesn't want to be weak, she doesn't want to be emotional, she wants to be strong — strong enough to do for Judah what he did for her, strong enough to tell the person she cares about how she feels, strong enough to be honest with who she is.

But she's not. She's only a girl.

But if she were special…

November 10th: Welcome to the Vanguard

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 10th: Guilt
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