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Scene Title Like This
Synopsis Colette returns to St.John's Cathedral to volunteer on Christmas Eve, but the presence of Abby sets off an argument between her and Trent, while Cat grieves and Teodoro tries to help out.
Date December 24, 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 keeps spinning and life doesn't stop, no matter how much some people wish it would so they could get off it for a breather. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Abby hasn't stepped foot in there since the whole attack. With the variety of people who are staying at the Library for Christmas she's on an errand to pick up some burners and groceries so that she can dos oemthing for everyone come the evening. Because that's just Abby. But her first stop is just as she swore to James Harvard. Service at the Cathedral for Christmas Eve. Save that it's the afternoon. The blonde, is parked near the back, afternoon mass having ended some short time ago. Her head bowed with the little gold cross and it's companion ring dangling over her clasped palms and her lips moving in prayer.

"To tell the truth, I didn't think you were going to come back…" It's a voice Abby is familiar with even in its long distance from her, moving on the periphery of teh central worship area as the crowds from afternoon mass are clearing out; Trent Daselles. "I mean, after we had that argument, I just figured — " He stops not far from where the healer sits in hushed prayer, carrying an armfull of boxes filled with canned food as he talks to someone walking behind him. He shifts his handling fo the boxes, trying to get a better grip before someone bumps right into him from behind, sending the top box tumbling over, and cans falling to the marble floor with a riotous clattering and clanking. "Colette!"

Another person Abby is ruefully familiar with, Colette Nichols. Dressed-up as it would seem, despite doing menial work in the church, the young girl lets out a startled squeak as a tall stack of wrapped pakacges of bottled water she cas struggling to carry tilt, skew, and remarkably manage to stay balanced after she walks right into Trent. "I— I'm sorry! I swear, this doesn't happen /all/ the time!" The girl whines, head darting one way and then another before finally setting down the wrapped bottles on one of the nearby pews so she can help Trent pick up the canned food.

But as she starts to stand up straight from setting the bottles down, it's clear the pew she's chosen is occupied by someone she didn't entirely plan on seeing. "O— Oh my God!" The young girl's mis-matched eyes grow wide as she slaps one hand over her mouth, staring right up at Abby's penetently bowed profile, "I— " She gapes, and her stuttering followed by silence causes Trent to turn around, one brow raised as he first look to Colette, and then the object of her stupification.


It's not a place she frequents. To her, in general, churches tend to be the sort of places that on occasion decry her beloved rock and roll as the Devil's music. That, and other facets of organized religions such as a long history of misogyny, have the effect of being Cat repellent. She in her mind, while logic says God must be real, also has some doubts on the relevance of the concept. Yet here she is, clad in a simple black dress with modest pumps on her feet, the heels one inch. Hair hangs loose around her shoulders and down her back, the woman's eyes seem pensive, haunted. Perhaps even tinged with guilt.

Little attention is paid to people around her; while she may well be spotted by Abby and Colette she doesn't spot them. Feet keep going into the collection of pews until she picks an empty one a few rows from the back and sits there in silence. Her mind, however, isn't at all silent. It's Christmas Eve, instead of spending a first Christmas with her partner in a new relationship, she's alone and grieving. A scene begins to play out in her head.

The situation, as it comes into the eyes of others — it's one of those nightmares of the "ordinary" person. There are broken windows, dented cars, screaming and running people. And two people? Who are not running and screaming. Both are dressed in scuffy, tattered attire. Both seem in a frenzy shrieking and flailing at anything at hand. But not running in terror; apparently lashing out at anything around them. Oh, and both apparently Evolved. One seems to have a powerful acid spraying from his hands, substances dissolving in wide arcs with his wild flailing. The other is the source of the boom, apparently. His body begins to glow, and then emits a pulse of energy, lashing out and blasting things around him. The two are on opposite sides of the streets, and separated by about a block.

This isn't good at all. Not only are they destroying things, they're adding to potential public fear and giving ammo to anyone who believes the Linderman Act is a good thing. Cat won't disagree these two need to be locked up forever, she'd just argue they can be tried, convicted, and imprisoned under laws that were already on the books prior to that Act. Her gaze rests on the pair as they move along, the faces and details are committed to memory quickly; an easy thing for Cat. And she moves to pop open the trunk of her car. Her bow and several arrows are in it. One is picked out and strung in the bow. Cat turns sideways, closes the eye not needed to fire, takes aim on the radioactive one's chest, holds her breath, and lets loose. She hopes to strike his heart and end his destructive career.

Both of them are shrieking incoherently. The destruction continues to build up, as another pulse booms out from the one man, denting cars, throwing people too slow to flee about, shattering windows. The other grapples with a woman who'd fallen, as her screams fill the air, her skin beginning to melt away under his touch. The arrow flies through the airand strikes true, apparently. Or true enough. It catches the man in the chest. His features twist in befuddled confusion, and he falls to the ground.

As this plays out, Cat's eyes lift to the ceiling, and the question she mentally asks whatever deity might be in play is simple. 'Is this karma? The reaping what I sowed?'

It's Wednesday, she'd thought she'd be safe to step foot in here, but, it's Christmas Eve; she should have seen that coming a mile away. Of course the one eye'd whelp would be there. And Trent. Trent first, not the end of the world, it's Colette though and her sputtering and her blaspheming the lords name in a church. She can ignore it. Ignore it and pretend the woman isn't there. That's right, keep on praying. Keep her eyes closed, head bent, tune her out. There's no Abby here, no sir, no ma'am it's just random other parishnor, praying for people to make it through christmas. Like Alexander. Brian. Cat. The president elect, matt parkman, a whole host of people.

But you can't ignore Colette. It's like, trying to move a mountain. "You're disturbing my prayer. You disturbed my life, now you're disturbing my prayer, can you please be quiet for one minute to let me finish please? Then you can jabber and whatever you may afterwards." One blue eye is cracked open towards Trent and Colette.

"She was just leaving." Trent swoops in like an overprotective parent with a wayward child, grabbing Colette by the wrist before yanking her away from the bench that Abby rests on. "Can't you do anything without screwing up?" The words come off as just a bit too sharp from Trent, espescially after how he was talking to her, but his patience for the girl has thinned over the months.

With a yelp, Colette is yanked away from Abby, looking to her wrist, then up to Trent with wide eyes. The girl recoils, as if struck, from his words. Her eyes close and she downturns her head, not in any way trying to wriggle free of his grasp. At the look, Trent's shoulders sag and some of his vitrol fades as he lets her hand go. "Just…" He scoffs slightly and runs one hand through his hair, looking at the cans all over the floor. "Just go downstairs and help Stephen or something. Just be useful for once in your life."

The young girl's shoulders slouch from the second scathing comment, and her teeth tug at her lower lip. While Trent tries to keep his voice down as he berates the girl, a few people situated near them turn to look up and over at the situation, but do nothign to intervene. Colette looks down to the cans, taking a few hesitant steps over to one before crouching down to pick it up, then another, then another. Slowly, she starts trying to recollect them to put back into the toppled box. Trent watches, dumbstruck, and presses one hand to his forehead with a deep, heavy sigh.

She adjusts the sleeves of her black dress which reach just short of her elbows, and the hem of it at her knees, while the conversation in her head continues. 'Help me, Dani, to find the strength, the stoic way I handled us being captives. How I could be focused and strong on the street when the President-elect was under attack, and again when his insides were outside, it all leaves me when things are calm, when I have time to think. I just can't stay busy enough. Sometimes I can honor your wishes and remember the good times, focus on happy things, but it's Christmas Eve, and the triggers are just so many.'

Cat's head remains tilted back as if looking at the ceiling, and she would be were it not for closed eyes. 'Help me not see a red door and want it painted black. Help me, when the weather is warm enough and the girls go by dressed in their summer clothes, to not have to turn my head until my darkness goes.'

"Nothing." Trent hisses in a dismissive tone, shaking his head as he turns his back on Colette, crouched down to pick up the toppled cans. "Nothing, she'll leave you alone." Coming to lean against the pew in front of Abby, Trent folds his arms with a click of his tongue as he watches Colette scramble to collect the cans, eyes then soon downturning. "I… uh, actually, did want to talk to you myself, though." His eyes track up from the plastic-wrapped cases of bottled water to the young blonde, "I've been hearing stuff that you're not, uh," He rolls one shoulder, "Directly associated with your old friends. But, I don't really see any of the others. I meant to, you know, say thank-you for getting my ass saved."

Still crouched on the floor, and now out of earshot of Trent, Colette looks somewhat like a kicked puppy as she slowly gathers up the canned food that had gone rolling everywhere, picking them up and re-stacking them inside of the cardboard box she'd knocked out of Trent's hands. Occasionally her mis-matched eyes flick over to Trent, then Abby, but then return back down to making right on the mess she can fix. Even if she'd been asked to be elsewheres.

"It's — Did you even hear about that?" One brow raises as Trent tugs slightly on his lower lip, keeping his voice down, though with all of the other conversing going on as afternoon mass clears out, he doesn't have to try hard to mask his words. "Hel' and some other guys, I was in a bad spot, and they came in guns-blazing and rescued me. It — By the time I was conscious again, they'd left me with Alistair and the boss." There's a bit of a grimace, "Not the best of company." He seems to be doing his level-best to patently ignore Colette's attempt to make right on her perpetual mistakes.

There's a rock in Teo's shoe. He has no idea how it got in there, given his shoes were built for deep snow and thus go up reasonably high inside the legs of his pants, but there you have it. When he climbed onto the bus at Midtown, it had been rattling around in the trough curled underneath his toes.

Over the course of bumping into rotund ethnic mothers on the bus and then stumbling to rejoin the pedestrian stream in the Bronx, it had migrated around the perimeter of his foot and wedged into the arch. It isn't until he's grabbed all the shit from the apartment and dragged it to the cathedral that it finally steals a window of opportunity when he lifted his foot mid-step to stab him in the heel with a previously undiscovered pointy end.

He doesn't swear, of course. He's at church, and it's Christmas, and Abby's supposed to be somewhere around here, and besides he's made of sterner stuff than that.

However, his head thinks loud and cantankerous thoughts as he steps over the threshold and onto holy stones, even as he stiffly finds himself a pew upon which he might uninstall his boot. Which only takes one hand. Unilaterally, his other is in charge of depositing his box of ambiguously defined 'stuff from the apartment' next to him, and his eyes rove the patrons in search of his friend. He isn't much surprised to see rolling cans and Catherine in the distance, first.

In the pew she chose, a few rows further in from where Trent speaks with Abby, and some measure more distant from Colette as she gathers up cans to restore order to them, the woman in her short-sleeved black dress keeps her fingers at the garment's hem, past her knees, and continues the unspoken conversation she's having with her eyes closed and head tipped back. There's no appearance she's got any awareness of Trent, Colette, and Abby being present.

Inside her head, Cat continues addressing the departed. 'Help me, Dani. Please. Tell me if I look hard enough into the setting sun, my love will laugh with me before the morning comes.' The words stop for a moment as her closed eyes move from being aimed at the ceiling and toward a bowed position.

And she asks the question again, inwardly. 'Is this karma, the reaping of what I sowed?'

Her head continues to bow, the hands come up to rest it in, and her shoulders begin to gently shake. The rain begins, and in this small fashion Kazimir's lieutenant has caused a flood.

'No, I hadn't heard. I'm only called when somethings needed and I prefer not to talk about that here, if you mind Trent. Some things you just don't talk about in churches that echo very good" Hint. Hint. ABby's gaze goes from him to Colette. "You never called them" Soemwhat accusingly. "So you were bluffing?" Teo. She catches the movement from the corner of her eyes, the familiar cloth layered shape but doens't wave at him for the moment.

"You're too paranoid, with all the noise here it's a miracle God can hear anyth— " Trent's words cut off when Abby addresses Colette, and one dark brow rises in disbelief. Between that and the dismissal of his question and the attempt at offering thanks, he clicks his tongue and leans off of the pew, bending down to pick up the water bottles Colette had left on the bench, "Whatever."

Colette looks up, uncertainly at first until she can actually see Abby looking at her, but her mis-matched eyes follow Trent as he walks from where the young blonde was standing and past her without saying a word. Apparently she gets to carry the box of cans now. Her brows furrow, watching Trent just walk off, and it leaves her with no other recourse but looking back to Abby where she kneels on the marble tile floor. Her hands become idle, rolling one soup can back and forth with the heel of her palm, "No." Her voice is small, hushed and embarassed, not to mention disappointed in herself and more.

"I never was…" Her eyes wander the patterns of light and dark in the tiles, teeth toying with her lower lip as she palms the can, looking down at the label vacantly. "I was just— " She frowns, "I was scared. I— Nevermind." Her eyes force shut, and the girl lets out a small, tired sigh as she places the last can she can see into the box, missing one that rolled all the way over to the direction Teodoro had come into the cathedral from. "I didn't mean t'bother you." Colette mumbles out those words, and with a grunt of effort she struggles to lift the box of cans, barely getting it off of the ground with her thin arms, then struggles to keep it held fast to her chest.

Drawn out by a spare tendril of gravity, the stone falls from Teo's upturned boot. Hits the floor with a click and rolls to a halt against the rubber edge of his other shoe, flat on the floor. Momentarily unable to locate the healer in the skeins and straggles of church-goers, he succumbs to juvenile curiosity peers down over the collar of his jacket and finds himself unpleasantly astonished by the size of it. How these things find their way into his footwear, he'll never understand. He—

Tok. Something touches the other side of his shoe. He cranes his neck, finds a can, sandwiching his foot opposite the stone. Blinking, he stoops low to lift the can. In a moment, he's retracing the projected course that the can had taken toward him, cutting an only slightly absurd figure: six foot, marshmallowed in winter clothes, one shoe in hand and socked foot muting half the cadence of his approach.

"Scusa, I think you… Oh. Hi, Abby. And…" Colette. Her name momentarily escapes him. He offers a smile and the errant can; the former of

And still amid the activity between Colette, Trent, and Teo the twenty-something brunette is oblivious, caught in her grieving and release of emotion. The rain still falls, the flood washing over banks of ducts within Cat's eyes as her shoulders shake.

"If you didn't mean to bother me, you wouldn't have picked up all the cans and hung around" Teo makes his way over and Abby looks to him. "Teo, Colette. Yes, that colette. Help her with her cans. I still don't want to be near her" Abby grabs her stuff, having watched Cat out of the corner of her eyes and slips thataway to the grieving womans pews.

With Trent slipping through a doorway that leads down to the soup kitchen in the basement of the cathedral, Colette is left for only a moment more to struggle under the weight of the box until a stranger moves in to help her lift and carry it. The young and frail girl smiles awkwardly as she fumbles with the corners of the box, trying not to spill the contents everywhere as Teo fumbles along with her, eventually getting the whole box lifted up into his arms. Getting a better look at her, it's the girl's short statue, slight frame and dark hair that brings back a somewhat unplesant memory to Teo — Munin — though a bit younger, they have much the same waifish feel to them, though this young girl seems to be far better kept, with her more stylish and expensive looking attire. She looks to Abby at the introduction, one brow raised, then turns to focus back on the vaguely familiar face now that she gets a better look at him. But it's Abby's dismissive tone and sharp words that stings just as much as Trent's words do, and she bites down on her lower lip, looking away guiltily when the box is taken.

"I — I'm s— " She wrings her hands, then nervously lifts her fingers up to straighten the collar of her shirt, smoothing out the front of her vest worn over it afterwards. "I— You're a friend of— " That Colette. Those words cause her to shrink back, eyes halfway lidding. She doesn't look to where Abby departs, she can't, too much guilt there. With Cat's familiar face lost in her blind periphery, Colette reluctantly motions to the doorway Trent had disappeared into. "Um, I — It's heavy." The words are fumbling and apologetic, "I — I'll — C-could you?" Carry it? She seems to have a hard time finishing her sentence. The girl's half-blind stare levels on Teo for a time before she takes a few steps to the door, "It — they've gotta go downstairs. I — I'm sorry."

The Japanese do this head-bobbing thing way better than Italians do. Flustered, inarticulate hyphenation is a language that Teo has always found infectious, and there few better catalysts for that than painful mental association with a girl whose face he nearly cut in half with a knife, all too recently. He grasps the box, both-handed. He half-bows every time he nods. Which is a lot.

Of generalized confirmation. That Abby's leaving, that Cat eneds company, that Collette is that girl, that the box is heavy, that he could. Carry it. Despite being short of one shoe, and his box of stuff is abandoned to potential thieves along with the blight of a dirty old rock on the cathedral's otherwise pristine floor. It's Christmas. Everything will work out. You have to have faith.

"Si. Si, I'll follow you," he remembers to say. He stops nodding to do exactly that, a parting glance for Abby's back and Cat's bone-white profile.

She doesn't even notice being approached, adrift in the release of anguish and the monologue inside her own mind which has entered suspension for the venting of it all, with her head still resting in hands. No words are being spoken, it's just Cat with her shaking shoulders and muted sobs there in that pew.

Abby, in jeans and sweater, since her sunday clothes had to be destroyed thanks to blood that will never come out, slips onto the wood pew. WIhtout permission or question, she lifts her hand and lays it across Cat's back and settles her hand on the other womans shoulder. No squeeze, no grip, just laying it there as a notice that she's not alone, and there.

Leading Teo out of the main floor, Colette passes a quick stare over her shoulder to Abby, only now seeing her standing beside Cat with a hand on the woman's shoulder. It's her. She pauses, just for a moment, and perhaps a bit too abruptly as Teo wavers in an attempt not to collide into her. His very motion stirs an equally apologetic nod from the girl, slightly mimicing his own repeated genuflect as she backpedals with her eyes focused on Cat and Abby.

How connected is everyone? She muses to herself, before both she and Teo disappear into the side hallways of the Cathedral.

Her head lifts when the hand settles at her back and another head is placed on her shoulder. Cat's hands come away from the face, revealing the salty moisture of shed tears and the tracks they left across her skin. The woman's expression shifts from grieving to shocked and embarrassed, a touch of horrified even. She's a proud woman, one given to displays of toughness and poise in public as best she can manage. Few have been given opportunity to ever see her this way. One was the mourned departed companion shortly after she fired the arrow which had her asking if karma had come to call. The other was Helena Dean when it was realized nothing could be done to secure Dani's release, no way to save her life. Caught out having lost it, given in to grief, Cat has no words. Her eyes close again and the head tilts back to rest against the pew.

Abby's not about to say anything. There's nothing to say. Just a glance to cat as she moves her hand from the womans shoulder and offers her hand, palm up to the woman.

The silence lasts a long stretch, how much is unclear. To her it may well seem an eternity. It could be minutes, or just seconds. Eventually, though, Cat does speak. The voice is hushed, somber, and pained. "You didn't see me like this, Abby. It never happened. Please."

"See what? I just saw a woman, in a house of worship on Christmas eve. No more, no less" Is abby's murmured words. She still keeps looking ahead, to the sanctuary and the candles, trapping and such of a cathedral.

"Thank you," is the bereaved one's terse reply. Her eyes focus forward as fingers begin to wipe away the evidence of what Cat sees as personal weakness on display. One hand goes into a pocket of the black dress and pulls out a cloth, which she uses to continue in the task. It's been less than two weeks since the release, the separation and the certainty her partner's death would come, just five days since the confirmation of that hamburger wrapper holding last words. To many the time frame may be reasonable, but Cat wonders inwardly if she'll ever be able to get the handle, the way all memories stay so fresh and detailed. In any case, she's exposed now. Pride takes hold, fueled also by remembering those final written words, and she summons up a display of strength. Her mind turns to a scene of happy times, an attempt at honoring the scribed wishes.

"You'll meet her again. When your supposed to. We all do, meet the ones were supposed to, when it's our time. God has plans, plans for everyone, and reasons for everything, no matter how… cruel and unfair they seem." She doesn't look to Cat. Give the woman her pride, some of it still by not looking at her while she's putting herself back in order.

Further moments pass as she hears Abby speak, her face adopting a neutral expression as the happier memory plays out. When it's done, she manages something of a subdued smile and moves to stand. "Merry Christmas, Abby," Cat offers, followed by exiting the pew. One inch heels tap on the floor as she makes her way back out into the city beyond cathedral walls.

"Merry Christmas, Cat." Is Abby's reply, letting the woman go. She waits till the heel clicks are lost in the people who come before she heads to the rear pews, to her stuff, and to Teo's. To wait guard over it and watch.

December 23rd: Blood Loss
December 24th: While Shepards Watch
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