In Their Footsteps


colette_icon.gif judah_icon.gif

Scene Title In Their Footsteps
Synopsis Judah and Colette discuss Felix's passing, and some of the implications attached to it.
Date December 5, 2008

Le Rivage: Judah's Apartment

Yesterday wasn't an easy one: Felix Ivanov is dead.

Colette didn't take the news well, and she didn't come home the night she got the call until a few hours after dark. However, she wasn't much worse for wear despite it, but the young girl was in no mood to talk. Jupiter, thankfully, remained by her side as an ever-vigilant companion, and while Colette isn't aware of it, she had another vigilant watcher that night as well; even if Grace may not ever admit to it.

The next day isn't any easier. Colette stays hidden beneath a mound of blankets on the sofa, refusing to drag herself out of "bed" before noon. However, there isn't much outside to get up for. The skies outside of Le Rivage are a bright gray-white that swallows the tops of nearby buildings. Light flurries of snow come down from the heavy cloudcover, and the very first dusting of white to hit the city this winter just so happens to fall on the day after Felix's passing.

Once she gets up, Colette doesn't go far. Wrapped in a cocoon of her comforter and sitting on the sofa, she stares listlessly at the red and dog-eared book on the coffee table, while Jupiter watches on from the floor nearby, head down and eyes up, as if studying Colette from a comfortable position. Both she and her canine protector seem weary, with both Jupiter's injury from the attack Colette witnessed still not having fully healed, to Colette's mental scars from both that traumatic event, and then Felix's death weighing heavily on her.

Wherever she went, though, she's come back with all of her tears cried out of her. It's something Judah's come to notice about the girl, ever since he was injured. She doesn't cry around him, at least as much as she can manage. It's like a matter of inconvenience for her, and he can tell it's not just something as simply as awkwardness, but perhaps a sense of obligation.

Or perhaps guilt. She seems to have a lot of that these days.

Judah isn't taking the news much better than Colette, though all his grieving is done behind closed doors in the privacy of the spare bedroom. Felix Ivanov was a good friend — if one that the detective tried to keep at arm's length — and will be missed, in more ways than he's willing to admit to at this stage in his life. Unlike Colette, he's spent the day outside of the apartment, away from familiar surroundings in an attempt to get a fresh perspective of the events of the past few months. So far, the strategy has worked.


When he arrives back at the apartment, crutches tucked under his arms, he shoulders open the door and hobbles inside, using his good foot to nudge it shut again behind him. Draped over one arm is a crisp black suit, fresh from the cleaners. Too professional for a beat cop and specially tailored for someone of Judah's unique size and build, the suit isn't the type of clothing that Demsky is accustomed to wearing. It's funeral garb, plain and simple.

There's a ghost of a smile that is fleeting across Colette's lips when Judah finally comes back. Jupiter is a bit more proactive in his curiosity, lifting his head up from where he rests to watch the detective hobble into the house, though his own injuries make the dog reconsider getting up to sniff at the unfamiliar suit. It will be laid down, eventually, and then it will be his.

"Kay called while you were out." Colette says in a small voice, "I… didn't pick up." She looks down at the portable phone in her hand, pressing a button with an audible beep, "Couple other numbers I don't recognize too, but they're all marked NYPD." She leans forward and stands the phone up on the coffee table, then lifts her eyes up to the suit, then to Judah.

She hadn't even considered the possibility of the funeral. Despite all of the death the girl has been exposed to, she's never had to attend one before. "S'very black." She observes rather astutely, managing another faint smile before pulling the comforter tighter around her shoulders, slouching back against the sofa with her head dipped down. "You haven't said much…" She's one to talk, but the attempt's being worked out. Judah doesn't deserve the silent treatment, and she knows it.

"There's not much to say." Judah crosses the room, much more adept with the crutches than he was a few weeks ago, and lays his suit across the back of the couch. "I went to the hospital, to see the body for myself — nothing. They'd already removed it. Red tape. The feds don't want the local precincts getting anywhere near the case." He can't say he blames them, either. SCOUT already bungled the Santiago investigation. Who's to say they won't fuck this one up too? "He wanted to be cremated. Felix. Once the autopsy is officially completed, they'll turn the body over to the morgue and process it in accordance to his will." He pauses to reflect on everything he's just said, going over it again in his head to make sure he hasn't misremembered any of the details. "There'll be a service," he adds, almost as an afterthought. "I don't know when, but you should pick out something to wear. It doesn't need to be black." He'd prefer it if it wasn't.

Colette looks puzzled for a moment, considering going to a funeral seems off-color for her, especially one for someone so close to her. But to not go, that would perhaps be worse, especially for someone she trusted and admired as much as Felix. She breathes in slowly through her nose and leans back enough to tilt her head up and stare at the ceiling. There's been so much happening all at once, processing it and taking it all in just seems like an alien idea now. "I wanted to talk to you about something," Colette shifts her mis-matched eyes up to Judah in a side-long stare, both of her brows raised in an expression that seems somewhat piteous. "I mean, if… you have time." Those eyes wander away, down to Jupiter with her head tilting forward again, and then down to her blanket-shrouded lap. "It's important, so… so don't just go n'say you have time to talk if you don't." Those words come out just a little sharp, everyone's on edge lately.

Judah exhales, long and laborious, through his nostrils. While he has the time, he's not sure he's mentally prepared to sit down and have a discussion with Colette — especially if that discussion has to do with Felix. His duty to his ward far outweighs his duty to his own well-being, however, and so he adopts a seat on the arm of the couch beside her. "I have time." It isn't a lie. Even with a dead fed on the city's hands, he hasn't been called into the office. Most of the missed calls on his phone, he suspects, were to express condolences for Ivanov's passing or to discuss whatever arrangements are to follow it. "I don't have anywhere I need to be. Kaydence can wait."

There's a bit of quiet that comes in response to the sigh Judah exhales. The young girl rolls her shoulders forward, tugging the blanket up to cover the back of her neck while her fingers curl into the soft fabric. "How do you feel about Registration?" She wanted to have this conversation with Felix, she knows how it meant to him, and she wanted to see how that may have changed. Now, though, there's no way to have that conversation. Now she has Grace's perspective, and she needs Judah's. It's as close to parental figures as she can get in both spectrum of gender, for as frightening as that comparison may be.

"I — I talked to someone about it, th'day I took off. I…" It is a diversionary topic, perhaps intentionally so. Maybe Colette feels how awkward and how depressed both she and Judah are, maybe it's just a happy coincidence. "Y-you're a cop though, so," The halting nature of her sentences is the only real sign of her anxiety over the topic. Of her indirect admittance of what she is. What she's become, "I want to see how you feel about it. Honestly." The young girl's eyes focus on Judah, and she leans just a little bit in his direction, then rocks away, teeter-tottering back and forth on the sofa with her legs crossed.

If Colette had asked Judah the same question the day she'd met him, he would have answered without hesitation. So much has happened between now and then that he has to close his eyes and raise one hand, pinching the bridge of his nose between index finger and thumb in an attempt to find his focus. Only a few days ago, he was planning on picking up the phone and dialing Ivanov's number so they could discuss this very topic. Maybe if he had, his friend would still be alive. Maybe…

"Don't," he responds at length, voice hoarse. "The situation — it's rapidly deteriorating, Colette. Mummified corpses. Dead children in the streets. Violence against the Evolved is spiking all across the world. Registration. I don't see how our government is going to reign things back in without taking steps against…" He trails off, lips twisting into a grimace. He drags his hand down his face, across his mouth and stubble-encrusted chin. All of a sudden he feels very tired. His eyelids are heavy, and the weight of the world is bearing down on his shoulders, pushing him into a slump. "I don't know what happened to Felix," he admits, finally, "but the administration is being more tight-lipped than I've ever seen it. I'll join him before I stand by and let the same thing happen to you. Tell no one what you can do."

And Judah echoes Grace, if perhaps in a slightly less militant manner. The young girl shrinks back, as if Judah told her that Jupiter had to be put down, curling her shoulders forward again before unfolding her legs and drawing her knees up against her chest, blanket and arms wrapped around them all. "Then…" Her mouth comes to rest down on the blanket, "I… That answers my other question then." Her eyes close partway, giving a weak stare across the room to her muted reflection in the television's black screen.

"Thanks for…" She searches for the proper words, "For being honest, I guess." When those eyes level on Judah, it's clear this isn't the answer she was expecting. "I haven't done that… that thing since the last time I showed you." She bites down gently on her lower lip, "An' I won't again. I… I just want to be normal." It's quite obvious that even before she awakened, Colette never was, and never would be normal. Perhaps she hasn't quite come to terms with that yet.

Colette will come to terms with her ability in her own time. Judah has faith in the girl — there will come a day when she'll be able to use her power, her gift, without fear of reprisal from the police, her peers and anyone else who might try to hurt her for being different. Until then, he'll be right here by her side, one hand on her shoulder, squeezing tightly. "We'll go shopping tomorrow," he promises. "Macy's. Find you some new clothes. As soon as my disability starts coming in, I'll look into finding a bigger place that the three of us can grow into together." Jupiter gets a look, however brief. The dog is already starting to grow on him, and he's not sure he could give it up now that he's seen the way it's affected Colette for the better during this hard time. "How do you feel about Brooklyn?"

There's so many things she wants to be able to explain right now, but this just isn't the time. There's a lot she only told Felix, and now that confidence was taken with him to the grave. Colette's eyes force shut, her head hanging at the thought of Ivanov. A weak, and fake smile flickers across her lips for a moment. "Yeah…" She wants to tell Judah why she needed to know about Registration, why the idea is so important to her, but now that dream is dashed. She leans just a little bit closer to her guardian, to her surrogate father, and rests her head against his side. "That…" She speaks in soft undertones, "…that sounds nice."

She'd do anything to be able to be like Felix and Judah. School, Registration, Work. To protect people, to make a difference, to use her gift to make a difference. Maybe it all could've happened.

It's a lot of maybes, and right now, even one is too many.

Right now she needs certainties.

And Colette's pretty certain she's never going to follow in their footsteps now.

December 5th: Rebuilding a Life
December 5th: Sledgehammer
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