Just Not That Guy


stella_icon.gif Victor_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Not That Guy
Synopsis Another talk between Victor and Stella, and some tough disagreements.
Date February 24, 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

A phone call earlier to Stella was Vic's way of getting in touch with her, since he was working a short term temp job today at a moving company. He's sore all over, but really wanted to talk, and figured since they've been there before why not go to the Nite Owl? It's even in the same booth he last shared with Stella that he's sitting, waiting for her looking worn out. His arms are crossed on the tabletop and he's lying his head across his wrist, fighting to keep his eyes open.

Been a couple of late nights, that's for sure.

Stella arrives at the Nite Owl just after getting off the phone with Vic, smiling happily at the prospect of seeing him again soon. Turquiose eyes scanned the profusion of tables and booths as she entered the diner, and she finally spotted him, making her way over to him with a slight skip in her step. Smiling down at him, she tapped her fingers on the tabletop to get his attention. "Hey there, stranger."

In spite of his eyes being open, Vic was almost asleep there. He jerks awake and instantly says, "Sorry." He stifles a yawn. Yeah, definitely not sleeping well. But he has a smile for Stella. "Hi." And like that, he's got to think hard about what he wanted to talk about with her. "How's it going?" That wasn't it.

Stella gives him one of her 100-watt smiles, the kind that lit up her face. "Better now. And you? You look exhausted." She reaches out as if to touch his face, but pulls back, suddenly shy, and fiddles with a belt loop of her jeans. "Have you been sleeping badly?"

Aww why'd she stop? Vic can't help but smile back. "No. I mean yeah, I have. And I am." He rubs his eyes, trying to clear the webs out of his brain. "I worked my butt off today. We did three moving jobs, and I was using my speed to help get it done faster. And now I'm just…I'm just beat. It happens when I overdo the speed." And he needs to eat. A lot of food. But that'll come later when he doesn't risk grossing Stella out by that spectacle. "I haven't seen you since that lady put us up at her place for the night. By the time I left you were already gone."

Stella frowns at him. "You should take better care of yourself, you know. You're going to wear yourself out otherwise, and then what will you do?" She scolded him tenderly, taking a seat across from him. She needed to put some distance between him and herself or she'd pounce on him, and where would that get them. Stella, too, was getting cobwebs in her brain, but for entirely different reasons. "Now, let's get you some food. You're hungry, don't deny it."

"Yeah I am. But that's part of my….thing." Vic makes a beckoning motion with his hand as if to himself to get him to come up with the proper word. "Ability. When I go too fast for too long my body needs massive calories. I seriously can eat almost as much as I want of anything and never gain an ounce. It just burns off." Because he's not a mind reader he doesn't get the front row seat to what Stella wants to do. Which probably is why he asks, "So what happened with you at the place? Did that lady talk to you? She talked to me."

Stella nods. "She did. I liked her, did you? She offered me a job and a place to stay. I think I might still try for the job at Old Lucy's, though, I can do both. She wants me to be a kind of talent scout for musical talent. What did she say to you?" She looks across the table at him, curiously, and smiles. He's so -cute-. At that moment, the waitress comes over. "What can I getcha?"

"Huge triple burger." Vic says, forgetting the fact that he's been wanting to try being a vegetarian. You forget about vegetables-only in a hurry when you need protein and fats. Elbows on the table, he has that posture of someone holding himself up from inertia as he runs fingers through his own hair. It's a blond mop. "She was nice, yeah." he agrees to Stella. "You ought to consider it. Being a music talent scout sounds cool. And different." Though he's not discouraging her from anything. If she wants to hold down two jobs he'll probably get behind her for that too.

"A waffle and a chocolate milkshake." Stella orders for herself, smiling at the waitress. She twists a blonde curl around her finger and hmms softly. "I could do both, I think. I like all the action at Old Lucy's. Still have to get hired there, though." She smiles across the table at Vic, reaching over to brush a stray strand of his hair out of his eyes.

Vic closes his eyes and seems to welcome the touch. He's as much as said he likes Stella, so she can paw him all she likes as far as he's concerned. "You know," he replies, eyes cracking back open, "not to sound like a jerk or anything but if they haven't told you by now they're hiring you for sure, you're well within your rights to take the music scout job. If I were you I would."

Stella trails her fingers lower, along his temple and then his cheek, giddy with touching him. She forgot what they were talking about for a moment, and gazed at him dumbly, then remembered. "Hmm? Oh, I saw a closed sign on the door for a few days running now. Said the owner was out of town. So I'm assuming I'll hear back when she returns."

In spite of himself Vic grins and laughs quietly at Stella. "Are you okay?" he asks, watching her. The stumble was noticed. "You been getting enough sleep too? I know bartending keeps you up late." He really isn't in that zone of infatuation at the moment, although it's not far away. All the normal things are preoccupying him. His stupid sister. That Cat woman and how mysteriously she acted. Guilt over slamming Mailbox Man into the mailbox and threatening him. Shame for bawling in the street in public. Sheer exhaustion from work. Been a stressful few days. "I just don't want that lady to lead you on. Some people are really crappy people. Believe me, they're that way to me all the time."

Stella grins and draws her hand back, nodding. "Yes, I'm good." She gets the flood of his thoughts, all tumbling in one after another. Poor Vic, so many things going on. "I don't think she's the type - I didn't get that kind of vibe - but I'll be careful, I promise." She smiled warmly at him. "Oh, look, here's our food!"

"That sounded confusing. I meant the Old Lucy's one. Isabelle." explains Vic with a grin. Food's arrival is a wonderful thing, and he obviously is holding back when it's set before them. Oh god, so hungry. So insanely hungry. It physically hurts not to eat. Such is the wasting hunger that gnaws at him in the wake of a speed-crash. He's picking up his burger when he asks, "Where do you stay?"

"At the place Cat took us to. She said I could stay there. Go on, eat, I know you want to. We can talk more when you're full." Stella grinned and began on her waffle.

Wait a minute. "Where'd you stay before that?" Vic asks, taking a giant bite of the burger and seeming barely to have chewed it before he swallows. Hrrr…it's almost enough to move fast again. He'll need more.

"A motel. I'd been looking in the classifieds and Craigslist for a roommate, but couldn't find one." Stella takes a bite of her waffle, taking much more time to chew and swallow than her companion.

By the time he takes a breath to reply, the burger's half gone. "I wish you'd said something before." Vic says, intending it quite innocently when he says it, although the implications rush to the surface immediately afterward. Oh. Yeah. Inviting Stella to move in with him would sure be a lot quicker than normal, huh? And bigger deal than if she were just a friend, considering the attraction. He decides to concentrate on eating for the moment and very intentionally thinking: I'm glad you have a nice place to stay now.

Stella grins at the thought of living with Vic, shaking her head a little at the idea of it. Then she smiles at the thought directed at her, and nods, thinking back at him, Thank you. She licked the syrup off her fingers, sucking on them lightly.

Yup. She heard him thinking all that about living together. Vic's getting somewhat used to the idea of being interested in a girl who knows everything he's thinking. Damned good thing he's naturally very honest. Somehow he doubts they'd get far if he weren't. In fact he's a little too honest because by the time he's done with the plate, and he's eating the parsley garnish too, he can't help but convey the sensation that he needs more. That was a triple burger and fries with all the trimmings, and he is leaving nothing but the plate and the toothpick they stuck in the bun. And part of him's considering chewing on the toothpick. Sigh. Sometimes he hates his ability.

Stella signals the waitress. "Another triple burger with an extra order of fries, please." She smiles across the table at Vic, wanting to touch him again, but there would be time enough for that after he was fed and taken care of. Yes, she was feeling a tad of an urge to take care of him, but when was that a bad thing?

"Oh no…" Vic protests, too late. "Hey, those aren't cheap." He'll end up paying for it. He's already decided that and is determined. Anyway he has a pocket full of cash from his work today, which was the entire point of busting his butt at three different jobs. Sighing, he shakes his head and smiles at her. "You're such a sweet girl, Stella. Why?"

Stella says sternly, "You need the food. I'll pay, I have some tips left from Old Lucy's. Eat it when it comes," she says firmly. Then she smiles at his comment about her being sweet. "I guess you bring it out in me."

"I've got money." he points out stubbornly. There's just no way Vic can deny how much he needs the food. Fortunately he IS feeling the power return. The supercharged turborocket that he has for a metabolism has a little something to burn now, and it's burning like coal stoking a train's furnace. The fact that he can't even function at human normal when he's out of fuel is what constitutes his achilles heel. "So…Cat told me something I don't think she meant to. I almost forgot to tell you."

Stella leaves the issue of paying to be dealt with later, and leans in curiously, raising an eyebrow. "Really? What's that?" She doesn't see the cautious Cat slipping up, but maybe she had. But with what?

He leans in, grinning. "Sylar's name. I got her talking about him. Apparently she knows more about him. She referred to him as Gabriel Gray." There's victory in Victor's eyes. Like it's a breakthrough. "I always figured Sylar wasn't anybody's real name, or at most it was a last name. But Gabriel Gray…I can use that to look stuff up. Find him maybe."

Stella frowns a little, worried. "And what will you do when you find him, Vic? Go after him? What if you get killed, too?" She reaches over to cover his hand with hers, "I know you want to get this guy, but why don't you leave it to the police?"

The disappointment that flashes through his soul is gone as soon as it comes, a ghost flitting across his eyes. Vic takes her hand and squeezes it, making eye contact. "The police have basically given up, Stel. They're not trying to find this guy. When I find him, I'm gonna take him TO the police. He's going to jail. And yeah, I don't want anybody to kill me either, but…" He looks slightly away, sighing and struggling for how to put this. Looks back at her eyes. "I can't be the person I want to be if I don't confront him. If I try and I fail and he gets away, at least I tried. But it has to be between me and him. Not all his friends looking out for him."

"But what if he hurts you? What if he kills you?" Stella's eyes fill with fear. "Please, Vic, can't you leave it to someone else to take revenge on him? Or at least wait until you have some backup? There have to be more people like you. Why don't you find them first, work together with them, and bring him down that way."

There's a distance in the look he gives Stella as Vic answers, "Who? Who, Stella? Everyone I talk to is scared to death of him. You. Monica. Abby. Magnes. Cat. Mailbox Man. Everybody that knows anything about him would rather sit on their hands and wait for him to take somebody else's sister." He points behind himself at the window, down the street and toward the midtown wasteland. "That. Out there. That disgusting scar on the city is there because of people who are too afraid to do something because it's hard, or it's dangerous and risky. But it's only hard and risky because it's right. Being bad is easy." He shakes his head as he makes this point, as if it's obvious, "There's no future in it, but it's easy. And I'm just not that guy."

Stella sighs, and nods. "If I can't stop you, then I won't try. But I can't fight with you. I'm not strong enough. I don't know enough about my power to protect myself, or you. When I was on Staten Island.. I heard a rumor of a fight club being opened. Maybe you should do some fighting there, practice." Vic's next burger arrived, and Stella fell silent, worry still in her eyes.

That seems like an odd thing to mention or bring up. "A fight club?" Vic asks with a strange expression. He leans back to not get in the way of Burger Two. "I dunno, Stel. I'm not really interested in fighting. I mean…I guess you're not getting me. I don't really want to FIGHT Sylar. I get that it might come to that, but it's not like that's my plan." He looks at the burger and CRAVES.

About two minutes later when he's stuffed the last of the burger in his mouth and looks like he's about to have some kind of transcendant experience of relief and pleasure, Vic sighs and half-lids his eyes. Then says, "What fight club? Where did you hear this?"

"Some people on the boat on the way there were talking about it. Do you really think you're going to find him and /not/ fight him? What are you going to do, then? Ask him very nicely to come with you to the police station?" Stella isn't trying to be difficult, but she's having trouble even imagining Victor getting near someone so dangerous.

"I dunno." Vic pushes the empty plate aside and wipes his hands on a napkin, looking down. And thinking. "I dunno." he repeats, tossing the napkin on his plate and putting his face in his hands. "I just…I dunno. I just know what I have to do. And I know what I can't do." He looks into Stella's eyes again and tells her, "I'm really sorry about all this. You know, I'm usually a much…more fun guy." His gaze goes to the window, looking outside at things less interesting and less conflicting. "I guess this whole thing has just kind of taken over my life."

Stella nods, patting his free hand gently. "I'm here for you. i'm not sure how much that helps, but you have a friend in me, no matter what." In terms of more than friends, that would have to come at another time. Stella glanced at her watch, "I should get back home. You take care of yourself, okay? Don't make me come find you and yell at you."

Smiling at that, Vic agrees, "…okay. I promise. I'll call you." And he pauses just slightly before adding, "Thank you, by the way."

Stella smiles and keans in to gently pat his gand, "Always a pleasure, my dear." She goy up, left her share of thr gio, then blew Vic a kiss over her shoulder as she left.

February 24th: For Every Action
February 24th: One Finger, Or Two
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