doyle_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Monster
Synopsis Or… This Little Piggy Had None.
Date March 2, 2010

The Bronx

The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.

It's an overcast evening, the sun just having dipped beneath the horizon an hour or two ago. That's providing enough cover for Eric Doyle's tastes, and he and his cronies have descended upon a particularly decrepit and graffiti-stained empty storefront sitting on the corner of two roads.

A white painter's van is parked outside it, and ladders are being set up against the side of the buildings at the puppeteer's direction - actual vocal direction, since this time he's picked up some scruffy fellows to help out who are actually doing it of their own free will. "Alright, alright," he waves to the van, "Get out the hot pink. Let's go to work."

There's already the beginnings of a good first coat up on the side of the building when a blonde woman is making her way through the neighbourhood, wrapped in a red wool coat and heels that match the fresh new colour on the wall. Four inch stilettos, rather unsuitable for the weather, sound audibly on the pavement as she makes her way nearer to where the Bronx is getting a facelift.

Dark blue eyes narrow curiously. What in the world can be the purpose of that? A black cashmere scarf readjusted around the petite blonde's neck, obscuring the nasty scar beneath. She stops and watches the men work, tipping her head to one side. The foreman of this little project isn't spared more than a glance. She really should pay more attention.

The foreman - such as he is - is wearing a baseball jacket and a Yankees cap, so he isn't immediately recognizable. Not to mention that he's lost a little weight. Not a lot, but a little. His body type ensures that Eric Doyle'll always be a fairly husky fellow at the very least.

"We're just about done on this side, Jason," one of the teenagers calls over as he hops back down from the ladder's last few rungs, carrying the swinging paint can with him along to the corner where Eric's rolling over the glass of the window as well. He turns his head, flashing a brief grin, "Thanks, Dave…" Wait. They're being watched! Years of paranoia tells him that, but as he looks over, he pauses, seeing something familiar.

It doesn't occur to Odessa that it's really impolite to be staring while the men work - such things rarely do occur to her. While she doesn't have the years of paranoia that Eric Doyle has to cause that nagging notion, the woman still knows when she's being spied upon. Years of that simply being her life have given her a sort of sixth sense to the feeling of eyes upon her. Dark eyes lift from following the form of the boy apparently called Dave and her head swivels this way and that.

At first, she doesn't even consider the other painters. Innocuous people such as they are, they shouldn't be making the hair on the back of her neck stand up so. And besides, she's watching them, so it hardly makes sense that they should be making her feel ill at ease. But when a sweep of the area yields nothing, she turns back to her people watching.

Wait a second.

Odessa Knutson backs away a step, eyes wide when recognition takes hold and the man in the Yankee's ball cap suddenly has significance. "You," she gasps quietly, whether he can hear her or not is debatable.

The realization occurs in his own thoughts at just about the same time as it does in hers; the memories of time in Level Five, of time in Moab, tumbling through his thoughts in a rush. As she gasps that revelation out, he spends his time in a far more useful action - his hand raising swiftly and suddenly as eyes narrow sharply, his power unfurling from that place buried within him, tangling her muscles up in his power as he moves to seize her motion in place.

And, of course, to cut off her power.

"Odessa…" A quiet breath from Eric is exhaled, the curious look from the teenager waved off as the puppeteer smiles a broad smile from nearly ear to ear, his hand still raised up in the puppeting posture as he steps along over the sidewalk, the roller dripping gobbets of pink across the concrete and pavement unnoticed, "…how good to see you again!"

In her mind, Odessa is whipping around and running. But the reality is that she simply doesn't budge. Her head's been fuzzy ever since her run-in with Hiro at her new home yesterday, and that's what she intends to blame for the fact that Doyle got the drop on her.

"Eric." It's meant to come out in a subdued sort of voice, with an edge of sweetness. Memories of Moab flood back, memories of her keeper. Her stomach churns, and it makes her voice quake. Odessa hates to be helpless, and that's exactly what Eric Doyle has rendered her. "Surprised I'm not dead, are you?"

"Aren't you surprised that I'm not?" A half-turn from Eric, and he raises a hand to the crew, "…keep working, guys, I've got to talk to somebody." A chorus of friendly calls back as they continue to work at their odd charity of bringing attention to the urban decay of New York City, even while Odessa finally gets part of her wish - as she turns around and begins to walk away along the street, right beside her old keeper.

"You know," he chuckles heartily, "I was just thinking of you. We raided a Company lab… they were doing experimentation with drugs on Evolved. I thought— man, doesn't that sound something like 'Dessa'd be into?"

Truly like a marionette on strings, Odessa walks along at Eric's side, as though it were the intention all along. She's not looking where they're headed. She has no need to watch her footing. Instead, she's watching him out of the corner of her eye. "I watched you escape. You left me to die." That's perhaps being too harsh, but how's a girl to feel when all her manipulation results in a big fat nothing?

At the mention of the Company and their latest experimentations, she manages to look disgusted. "I never experimented on anyone." She maybe drew blood samples and studied them, but it's not like she ever injected anybody with anything. No, the government does that sort of thing. "I'm not a Company girl anymore," she stresses.

"I don't exactly recall you rushing to my aid when Primatech was cracked open like a particularly fragile eggshell, now did you…?" A slow turn of Eric's head regards her sidelong, his lips curving in a slow smile, "…and aren't you? I figured you would've gone running back into their arms like a frightened child the minute the rescuing heroes saved everyone from the horrors of old Moab."

The smile vanishes, replaced with a sneer as he turns back to look forward, gesturing sharply with one hand, "Do you think they would've tried to save me, Odessa? No. They wouldn't have. I was just another monster locked in a cage…"

The idea of running back to the Company is almost more sickening than her current situation. Odessa pulls a face and rolls her eyes. "I stabbed the Haitian," she explains in a kind of he had it coming sort of way, like she was totally justified and can't understand why anyone could possibly be mad at her for such a thing. "So they kind of have a shoot on sight order out for me." These things, they happen.

Odessa falls silent and listens to Eric snarl. It doesn't make sense to interrupt someone who can force you to shut the hell up. Once he's finished speaking, however, she's quick to respond. "The way you tell it, I'm a monster, too." That's not to say that she's trying to tell him that she isn't, of course. The initial fear isn't necessarily subsiding, but the woman is able to push the bulk of it down and start letting survival instincts kick into gear. "Believe me, Eric," the sweetness starts to creep into her voice again, a subtle, slow bleed, "I can sympathise with being caged. I know how hard it must have been…"

"But we're free now, aren't we?" Oh yes, lashes were just bat.

"You are a monster, Odessa. You and all those other bastards… monsters guarding monsters…" The fat man's sneakers creak along the sidewalk as he leads the way down an alley's dark mouth. Her legs guide her with him, of course, though without any seductive sway she might otherwise effect to try and allure him. An actual rat scuttles from bags of garbage so long mouldered that they don't even smell of anything but dust anymore, bounding out of their way, old graffiti staining brick walls, a rusted fire escape dangling from overhead.

Then he stops, as does she, his gaze focused down the alleyway and not on her. "You are… but I'm not. Well." A turn, a slight smile crooking to his lips and an almost boyish sparkle in his eye, "I'm trying not to be. I do… backslide, now and then."

He brings a hand up, rubbing against his thick neck, and hers— hers does the same, muscle and sinew drawing on bone, fingers unfurling and pressing against her far less meaty throat, their tips resting over fragile flesh.

The woman doesn't like the looks of this as she's lead toward and down the alleyway. Her eyes strain to slide this way and that to take everything in, to find a way out.

"We aren't so bad, are we? We monsters." Odessa's voice is a lilt, a silent promise left unspoken in her tone. But when his hand comes up, and hers as well, the colour drains from her face, taking with it the teasing inflection. Though her movements are not her own, beneath her own fingertips she can still feel the soft fabric of her scarf, and jagged, imperfect skin that leaps with a sharp intake of breath.

"Eric," Odessa begs, "please. The Company made us enemies. And the government! But it doesn't have to be that way anymore." She watches him through wide eyes for a moment before casting her gaze down in an attempt to watch her own actions.

"Oh, it was the Company! And the government, of course, of course…" A disingenuous expression fades into a sad one, Eric's head shaking slowly from side to side as he leans in closer, his own large eyes widening, "…Odessa, when are you going to take responsibility for you?"

Those fingers curl — hers as well, and as he turns and drops his hand to one side to step away, she jerks the scarf's fabric away from her neck to bare those scars, fingers uncurling to let the fabric tumble down towards the dirty alley's floor. "You're dressing well for someone on the run," he glances back over his shoulder with a smirk, "So what are you doing these days, if you aren't a Company woman, Odessa?"

A sudden swing of his hand to one side, and her arm jerks into sharp, sudden movement — coming to a halt just before hitting the wall at an angle that would've at least broken a finger or two. "And don't lie to me."

Muscles would tense if they could. Instead, Odessa closes her eyes as she pulls her own scarf away and lets it drop. "It's easy to dress well when you can steal whatever you want," she explains. It's an unrepentant admission. Come on, when it's that easy, it can't be wrong, can it?

Yes. Yes, it can. And Eric Doyle has just proved it with his own display of his ability. It would be very easy for him to break Odessa's hand right now, and in her mind, that would be wrong.

So she's a little biased.

A sharp cry escapes the woman's throat, her eyes wide and wild as she watches her arm fly. "I'm working an honest job in exchange for room and board," she tells him. It's so mundane a thing, it seems so unlike something one might imagine Doctor Knutson doing. "Please, I swear. I don't even know what to do with myself now that I'm not getting high anymore." The admission is honest enough, even if she does have an iron or two in the fire that she's willing to risk a broken finger in order to keep to herself.

"Do you really expect me to believe that…?" A hearty little chuckle shakes Doyle's shoulders as he turns back towards her, his arms both spreading out, "…I know you, Odessa. You couldn't work an honest job if they paid— well, I suppose they would pay you, but, you know what I mean." Such a conversational tone of voice, as if he were discussing something casual and amusing like a television episode over a pizza.

The puppeteer shuffles forwards slowly to stand just in front of her, both brows arching as he looms, teasing almost gently, "Come-on… you aren't a person, 'Dessa, you're a monster. You never felt sorry for anything you've ever done. I couldn't ever really hurt you in Moab, I couldn't make us even for the old days, but you know what? There's no government watching over my shoulder now…"

"I was under orders. I didn't know any better." Odessa's eyes narrow angrily as she's decended upon. A wild dog backed into a corner, raising its hackles. "I wasn't taught to feel compassion." She's making excuses, though it doesn't seem that way at all to her. She instead turns the tables. "If I read your file right, you were. You made a choice. I didn't know there was one until much later." She dares to smirk. "What do they call that? Nature verses nurture?"

At that taunting, Eric's eyes darken… the playful twist of his lips fading a bit for something less pleasant, though the smile doesn't actually fade. "All I've ever done, Brooke," he tosses at her in so very soft tones, "Is defend myself… from the world, if I had to…"

His hand folds, then, and as if he'd let strings go slack — her knees fold beneath her, cracking solidly into the concrete of the alley floor. Not hard enough to break anything, but it hurts, oh yes, and her stockings won't ever be the same. His gaze drops down to her, and he says quietly, "So why don't you give me a reason that you shouldn't kill yourself in lamentation for all the things you've done. Hm?" He smiles, that boyish grin again.

Instinct cries for her to throw out her hands to steady herself, but her arms don't move. When she hits the pavement, she groans. Her knees are going to be bruised, she knows. She can all but feel the purple and blue blossoms forming beneath ruined nylons.

Odessa glares up defiantly, but only after a trepidatious sort of look toward Eric's midsection. "Why would I kill myself in lamentation?" she echoes, enunciating the last word as though she may spit every syllable. "You said so yourself, I've never felt sorry for anything I've ever done." Whether she does or doesn't is up for debate. Admitting remorse is equitable to admitting weakness, but staying impenitent may be grounds for justifiable homicide.

"Oh, because I told you to." A shift of his stance, and Eric crouches down in a squat before her, one hand reaching out to tip her chin up to look at him; lips curving in that impish little grin of his, "You still haven't given me a reason not to tell you to, though. And I promise you… I've thought of oh so many different ways, Odessa. I've finally figured out the absolutely best way, though. Do you want to find out?" He sounds almost eager. Excited. A kid with a present under the tree.

"Or do you have a reason I should keep you alive, bitch?"

"Because the idea of my wet and naked body still gets you hot and bothered," Odessa snarls, lips curling back to bare teeth. "Yes," she proclaims, "I am a monster. And I'm proud of who I am." Her eyes glint, a spark of excitement, "Aren't you? Don't you have a little bit of sympathy for the devil?" Her lips pucker in a faux pout, her tone more sardonic than her expression. "Didn't you like me for all my wicked ways when all we had was each other in that awful prison?"

"Do you really think I ever bought any of that… bullshit you tried to sell me in Moab, Odessa…?" A smirk curls to Eric's lips, one brow arching sharply, "…you never cared about me. All you cared about was saving your own neck." That eye contact is maintained as he reaches out, rough hands pushing open her coat — not to grope, but to search, looking for a wallet, a phone, hunting her belongings. Of course, if his hand happens to linger over the curve of her chest, well, that's not his fault.

Odessa wants to recoil from Doyle's touch. She wants to slap his hands away. There's a cell phone, a simple pay-as-you-go sort that anyone can purchase at a corner store, but no wallet. Someone who doesn't feel the need to pay for anything and doesn't have a legal ID doesn't see much need to carry something like that. There's a pack of bubble gum, a tube of red lipstick, a hair clip, and slip of paper with the numbers 23, 89, 16, 78 scrawled on it.

Spitting in Doyle's face comes with very little warning and is only punctuated with a glare from dark blue eyes.

The phone number's noted as he goes through her belongings, and then he leans forward to shove it back into her pocket, pulling back to start to say something… and then that gobbet of spit splats against his cheek, and he pauses, that smile freezing on his lips. One hand raises up, slowly, to wipe it away, reaching down to smear them clean on her coat's woolen fabric. "Odessa, Odessa, Odessa…"

The rest of what he'd rummaged from her pockets is left laying on the alley floor as he pushes himself up to his feet, heaving a sigh, "…I thought you were smarter than this, really. You know, a part of me really did like you, even though I knew you didn't really mean any of it."

"You shouldn't have left me to rot then if you liked me so much." Odessa can't quite meet his gaze at first, but once she does, she continues. "I was really starting to like you, too. I thought we were kindred spirits." She looks away and growls, "I was wrong."

"You would've done the same to me." Doyle's words are flat as he looks back to her, his gaze challenging her to say otherwise, and he pushes one hand down towards the ground, fingers splayed— as does she, that hand slapping flat against the concrete. "What was it like, by the way, working for Monroe? Oh, yes…" He smirks, "…I know what you've been up to, pet. Did you think I'd completely forgotten about you?"

He isn't wrong, and so she doesn't even consider lying to him. There's just too much bad blood between them to quite keep up the lies anymore. Did she think he'd forgotten about her? "You know, for a minute there," Odessa muses, "I kind of did." As to his previous question, she quirks a brow, cocky in spite of the cold hard knot of fear that's taking up residence in her stomach and makes her want to be sick. "I will say one thing for Monroe, he was definitely a better fuck."

At those words, Eric's gaze lingers upon her face, as something ugly stirs behind them… and his lips curl up at one corner. Nothing spoken as he reaches out with his hand, sweeping over through the air and miming grasping something, and then pulling back.

Just as her hand, without her willing it, reaches over to where her other lies flat against the concrete and takes hold of her pointer finger. And pulls it back. And back.

Until the quiet, fragile sound of something snapping is heard, muffled by the wet flesh that jagged bone digs into.

She might try and scream. Which is when she'll find he won't let her do that, either.

There are no words for the sudden panic that starts pounding through Odessa when she realises what's about to happen. The shriek doesn't make it from her throat, but her eyes widen and tears form. Her chest heaves with the gasping breaths she takes as though the screaming pain in her broken finger might drown her.

"This little piggie went to the market…" Doyle's lips curve in a slow smile as he watches the panic stirring in her eyes, his hand drifting to one side before he repeats the motion, plucking at the air, "…this little piggie stayed home…"

Snap, goes her middle finger.

"…this little piggie had roast beef…"


"…and this little piggie had none!"

Snap. Those fingers pause upon her thumb, and the puppeteer's gaze locks with that of the doctor that's been his tormentor and victim both. His eyes widen disingenuously as he leans forward, "…did this little piggie do anything, Odessa?"

Of course… she can't speak.

Gone now is the spiteful woman that Doyle had come to know in the Company, the one she was trying to be now. The scared little girl he came to know by the name of Brooke has shown up in her stead. Her eyes beg and plead through streams of tears, saying what her voice cannot. Her body cries out, instinct trying to override Doyle's own cruel ability, but she can't even properly show her anguish. That's perhaps the worst part of all. She can't even react.

As that proud and spiteful fa├žade crumbles, revealing the frightened little girl he knew was there, Eric's smile almost softens — reaching out to gently stroke his fingers back through her hair, nearly cooing, "There, there. You know I didn't want to hurt you, don't you, 'Dessa? Why do you make me do these things…? Now, don't scream, or I'll have to hurt you again, pet."

The puppeteer's grip on her throat, her jaw, loosening to let her speak once more, thumb brushing away her tears where they stream along her cheeks.

It's the last thing she wanted, but a strangled sob escapes Odessa's lips when she can speak again. Her eyes shut tightly, her body shaking what little it can with the painful emotion coursing through her. "You son of a bitch," she gasps. The curse itself is more a exclamation of disbelief than anything else. Never did she think he would hurt her. Not like this.

"Yeah. Yeah, I know…" That smile fades, Eric's eyes closing as his chin drops; shoulders rising, then falling in a heavy sigh, "…I'm— I'm supposed to be changed, 'Dessa. I— I help people now. I'm a good person." Maybe if he repeats that enough, he'll believe it. Those eyes open back up, and he strokes his hand over her tear-streaked cheek, and he whispers, "Why couldn't you've meant everything you said?"

Odessa's broken fingers tell a much different story. He's not being a good person, and he certainly isn't helping. It's a long time before the blonde can even stop crying long enough to form words again. "If you aren't going to kill me," she whispers hoarsely, "I'd like to be left alone now." She'd like so much just to curl up in a ball right about now. She'd like to be anywhere but here right about now. With just about anybody else.

No, no, he isn't doing either of those things. Perhaps that's why he's staring at her mutilated hand with an almost wistful expression, as if he'd just lost something. He hurt Colette. He hurt Odessa. And, really, in the long run… who has he helped? Eric leans forward, pressing a kiss lightly to her brow, murmuring, "I'm sorry, Brooke. I should've come and found you."

The small woman's eyes squint closed tightly when he leans in to drop that kiss on her forehead. Her guts churn from a combination of renewed fear that he might be about to do something else, and the agony of her broken fingers. Since her head can't lift, her eyes come up instead. Equal parts furious and broken, she levels her gaze on his face.


"Oh, whatever," Doyle replies with an expressive roll of his eyes, pulling back and pushing himself up straighter as he says bitterly, "Shame, though. I liked Brooke."

Then he gestures - sharply - with his hand to one side, the simple gesture setting into motion a whole series of movements that bring her forwards from her knees towards the concrete.

Head first.

After all, he can't just let her go to turn on her power and do god knows what in retribution. And he can't risk that she's too broken to retaliate. So it's time for her to take a little nap.


Whatever snide remark Odessa might have been about to spit out, it's cut off when her head collides with the pavement. Unconscious, she looks almost peaceful, save for the way her fingers are mangled at her side and tears have stained her cheeks. Golden strands of hair are strewn about her head, contrasting starkly with the dirt and the dark of the concrete beneath. A broken angel in a dark alleyway.

As the doctor passes into Lethe's embrace, Eric brings both hands up, rubbing against his face briefly before they fall, and his shoulders drop with a burdened sigh; his gaze haunted as he watches her in silence for a few long moments, unmoving on the ground. He knows he should kill her, should make sure she never comes back for revenge.

But he was telling the truth. He did like Brooke. At least a little, in his own twisted way. She was his, and he's rarely had something to call his own for long.

In the end, he walks away, heading back out of the alley and leaving the broken angel behind.

"Hey, Dave," he greets the painters as they finish up, tossing the teenager his keys, "Take the van back, I've got something to go do, alright?"

The scruffy teen catches the keys in both hands, blinking at the big man, "Uh… okay. You all right, Jason?"

The ghost of a smile touches the puppeteer's lips, and he just shakes his head, hands tucking into the pockets of his jacket as he walks away down the street, leaving his 'friends' behind to pack up and stare after him, concerned.

No. Nothing's all right for anyone tonight.

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