Not So Different


colette_icon.gif wayland2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not So Different
Synopsis When Colette Nichols stumbles onto Wayland Powers just after a workout, she finds herself presented with someone just as lost as she was after discovering her own manifested fate.
Date July 20, 2010

Gun Hill

The third floor entrance hall is littered with three things - a few scattered dumbells, a wet cardboard box and an emaciated-looking kid, no more than seventeen, sprawled on a couch in jeans, sandals and a black sleeveless shirt. His skin is flushed from what looks to be intense activity, but his hawkish face is a strange mixture of unease and complete, floppy relaxation. For the moment, he just stares at the ceiling.

This late at night most everyone in Gun Hill is asleep, though the distant noise of bass guitar thrumming from up on the sixth floor is typical at this hour when Magnes insists on practicing even when most sane people are going to sleep. With the corridors devoid of residents it indeed seems like the perfect time for Weyland to be exercising, little in the way of anyone to get in his way.

When the downstairs door creaks open in the lobby, the sound of ascending bootfalls clomping up the steps heralds just the proof that Weyland isn't going to get an uninterrupted night of exercise. The sound draws closer and closer, noisy footfalls rounding each landing before coming up to the next. Only when a wind-toussled mop of dark hair is seen coming up from the second floor is the late arrival evident.

Colette Nichols comes and goes from Gun Hill so much she's more often than not out of the apartment than around, but by merit of her activities with the Ferrymen she's required to at least be passingly familiar with the myriad of odd residents in this tenement building. The short, dark-haired girl comes to an immediate stop at the top of the stairs, attention settled on the sofa, then down to the cardboard boxes, then back up again with one dark brow raised.

Evident on first glance is her eyes — mismatched — her right eye a cataract white and her left a far more colorful green. The rain-dappled denim jacket she wears looks a little heavy for how warm it is out, as do the matching jeans tucked into her high-laced boots. "Woah uh— hey," she offers in awkward, stammering greeting. "You're… uh…" she's hoping that her first guess of homeless isn't correct. "New?"

Running one hand through her hair, Colette shifts the weight of an olive-drab courier bag around one shoulder, hesitating from approaching as she nervously waves a greeting with a waggle of her fingers..

The rail-thin kid doesn't respond for a moment, a long awkward thing, like the inner sibilance of a human on a drug high. The first response in fact comes from his body: his arms, legs, neck, midriff all begin to twitch and pulse irregularly, and the look of weird unease trumps his formerly relaxed expression. Wet flapping of spasming muscle is audible for a second in a building wave that rattles up and out of his body, until he is normal again. Turning to Colette, Wayland sets his arms on either side and, squinting in discomfort, pushes himself upright. "Yeah," he says. "I'm Wayland. New here. Manifested. Ran. How's it going?" He gingerly lifts his legs up level with his body, stretching them straight, face twisting up with soreness. "How about you?"

"Oh— ah— " Colette's voice hitches in the back of her throat, an awkward smile spreading across her face as she looks back down the stairs and then turns back to Weyland, making a slashing motion with a wave of her hand across the front of her throat. "Yeah don't— just— talk about that out in the hall?" Glancing up to the ceiling on finally hearing the bass playing, Colette's brows furrow and nose wrinkles, but her attention is soon to turn back to the rail-thin young man.

"Wow ah, sorry it— I heard about you. Cat left me a message, ah… I guess she didn't give you all the nuts an' bolts." Rubbing a hand over her mouth, Colette approaches the sofa, giving it an askance look before swinging her courier bag off of her shoulders to drop down on the arm.

"Not everyone who lives here is uh, in neck deep like me an' you are. Just to be on the safe side, you wanna' can the whole show and go story unless you know exactly who you're talkin' about. I mean, most people here are cool an' stuff it's just— better safe n'sorry, right?"

"I see," Wayland replies, leaning his head back; now that the spasms are gone, something feels /good/. "Jason," and here he gives her a pointed look meaning 'I'm really talking about Eric Doyle' "Told me someone on the inside has eyes like yours. So I think I know you're safe. Still, will watch it." An arm suddenly spasms, a bicep attempting to yoink his elbow on the hinge. One eye squints and he lays his arm out. "Lot to learn. Sorry. About myself more than anything else. Everything okay here? I built some trellises for the roof garden two days ago. Did you see 'em?"

Grimacing faintly, Colette rolls her shoulders and pushes the courier bag bag across the arm and occupies it like a seat, one foot balancing her on the floor and the other folded beneath herself. Looking away from twitching flesh and trying not to look like it weirded her out, Colette's brows go up to her hairline when the trellises are mentioned. "W— Woah really? Oh man that— that's awesome!" Clapping her hands together, the teen offers a crooked smile. "Hardly anyone's had time to help out with the garden, it's been such a pain and with allt he courier work I do it— uh— I really appreciate it."

Wrinkling her nose, Colette reaches up to rub a hand at the back of her neck. "'Least you get the Jason thing right. I've called him Eric enough in front of people we had to start pretending it was his middle name." Managing an awkward laugh at that, Colette shakes her head and leans back, looking up towards the ceiling.

Squinting at a brown spot on the white paint of the ceiling, Colette exhales a sigh, then looks down to Weyland again. "What's up with the boxes?" There's a motion of one booted toe towards one of the wet pieces of cardboard.

"Carried these weights in 'em," Wayland replies, lazily lifting a hand to indicate them. "Decided to try a little experiment. I think… I think this is an endorphin rush. A really strong one to match the lactic acid buildup in my tissue." As if on cue, his right tricep spasms visibly, and his eyes half-close. "It's like my skin is made of lead… but yeah, glad to help with upstairs. Mind if I make a box of my own, raise some herbs? Pull a Tyler Durden herb garden?"

Snorting out a laugh, Colette cracks a smile and bobs her head in a repeated nod. "No, man, go for it! That's wicked cool, I mean… that's exactly what I was hoping for up there. Everyone sort've having their own little thing… the network isn't entirely self-sufficient, so I figured any little thing could help, right?"

Lifting up a hand to rake back dark bangs from in front of her eyes, Colette glances around to the apartment doors, then looks back to Weyland. "Did they set you up with a place of your own here yet, or are you rooming with somebody? Cat's message was kinda'… uh, terse, but I guess that's kinda' how she is." There's a crack of a smile at that, and Colette quirks her head to the side. "No offense to Cat a'course, she's just like that."

"Just slipped into a room, 305," Wayland says, breath cavern-deep and even. "Don't own any noisemakers. Just trying to think now. Think and plan. Wondering what's in store. What I can do now that I'm… you know." A yawn splits his face, and a thin arm comes up to shield his mouth - it looks thin enough to bite through in one snap.

Snorting out a laugh, Colette offers another one of those bobbing nods. "Better 305 than 304, toilet's still broken in 304…" That attempt at humor aside, Colette's expression seems more determined to bend towards seriousness than anything else. "I uh, I've been in your shoes before… I kind've know how hard it can be so, I mean, I probably ain't much older'n you, but I can maybe give you some pointers on how to move on?" Lifting one brow thoughtfully, Colette shifts her weight to the side, looking down to the tiled floor.

"I used to be terrified of people with special abilities, thought they were the root of all the world problems an' stuff. I was bitter," there's a shrug of one shoulder, "stupid…"

Continuing in that shrugging motion, Colette slides off her jacket and lays it down over her bag, adjusting the collar of the faded, red t-shirt worn beneath with a nearly worn off stencil of Che Guevara on the front. "After I manifested, I didn't know what the fuck to do with myself, freaked out, hid… it was dumb, but I mean— it's pretty scary when it happens the first time."

Lifting her chin up, Colette delicately sidesteps the issue of what Wayland's power is and opts for a less personal — in her mind — question. "D'you hurt anyone when your power showed up? I mean— accidentally?"

"Don't know," Wayland says, shrugging his shoulders the barest amount. "They think it has something to do with my metabolism. It only affects me, far as I know. Right now I'm running my metabolism faster, and my hypothesis was correct: lifting those weights was twice the work crammed into each motion, with twice the burn. More energy, more hunger… more spasms. The other side, the cold side, my mind is a lot quieter. Barely any energy, though. Couldn't harm a flea like that. Don't know about the hot side, especially when I'm nervous or angry." He shakes his head. "I always thought of Evolved as something distant and philosophical. Never thought I'd be a real version of something I dreamed up. Uh, if you don't mind, do you have any survival tips for being like this?"

With a worrying bite of her teeth at her bottom lip, Colette's brows furrow and she offers a slow shake of her head, almost apologetically from her expression. "I— " one eye squints, and when her focus shifts back to Wayland from the floor the apologetic look is fading to something more hopeful. "Actually… I do. First, and probably most important: Don't ever let nobody tell you who you are, only you can figure yourself out. Second: Find someone who has a power like yours, learn from 'em. A mentor's the best thing anyone like us could have…"

Reaching up to thread a lock of dark hair behind one ear, Colette exhales a sigh. "I guess three would be… don't try to do everything yourself. If you need help, don't be too proud to ask, 'cause us?" She taps a hand at the center of her chest, "we're here to help each other. M'still kinda' bad on that lesson so… maybe we can both work on bein' able to ask for help. Though you seem to've gotten off to a good start at least."

"Of course," Wayland says, arms flopped to the sides as he listens. His eyelids are heavy and his body looks ready to relax completely, as if urging him to power down for tonight. His eyes close for just a second and it looks like he's asleep for a long moment, but then he speaks. "I may be a total newbie at fighting, or moving or anything like that really. But if you need an extra pair of hands with a lot of energy, just let me know. It's safe here, but safety means inertia. Without endangering anything I'l like to put in for a difference."

"Nobody needs to fight nothin', not right now. We're not really… like that? I mean— " There's a noise in the back of Colette's throat as she srunches up her nose, "it's hard to explain. But what we could use a hand on, if you wanna' help us out, is around this place." Colette motions a hand around herself. "There's still repairs that gotta' be done on some of the apartments, there's all these kids runnin' around that Jason takes care of. We're all sort've pitchin' in until… well, we're all just pitchin' in."

Wringing her hands together, Colette looks back up to Wayland. "If you don't mind like, me being nosy or nothin'… why'd you decide not to register? I know it's like— it's personal… I just— I know why I didn't, and I don't think my stuation's really the same as other people's. So, I was wondering what made you rabbit."

"Ruby Ridge, Dignity Village, Moab Federal Penitentiary," Wayland rattles off, a distant, fevered look in his eye. "To name a few. Humanity is arrogant, including we few who showed spontaneous mutation. We think we know better than Mother Nature, shaping her life to suit /us/ then wondering why, all of a sudden, a few have developed advantages over other humans. Evolved are just mutations. Competitive mutations. Not calling for violence or anything. Just saying, we're too different to be anything other than enemies to humanity, with xenophobia coded into its genes…"

"So you think it's all like…" Colette's brows furrow, "some sort of conspiracy? Registration and all that, to like… hurt people like us?" There's a nervous look down to her lap at that, and Colette's voice grows quieter, even as she offers a fleeting look around to the other apartments. "I've… I know some people who really believe the same thing, read a lot of stuff about how some people think that flu virus we can catch was designed for us. I ain't ever seen any proof but…"

Colette shakes her head slowly, "I've seen a lot of weird things since I joined the Ferry. Seen some stuff that just… it can't be right that it goes on, and that people in the government or whatever lets it happen. I dunno…" there's a slouch of Colette's shoulders, "sometimes I wonder if it'll ever be different than this, you know?"

Drawing her teeth over her bottom lip, she lifts a hand to wave dismissively to the comment. "Sorry I'm like, gettin' all mopey and doomsday on you. Probably like the last thing you need to hear right now."

"I think it, yeah," the thin kid says. "But I don't know for sure. Don't think it matters what individuals are like out there. Good, bad, indifferent. They're all working for the same thing. But it's all someone else's words in my mouth. For now."

"I think it, yeah," the thin kid says. "But I don't know for sure. Don't think it matters what individuals are like out there. Good, bad, indifferent. They're all working for the same thing. But it's all someone else's words in my mouth. For now." Whatever words were in his mouth before seem to just float away from him as his eyelids drift shut. A few seconds later what looks like a spasm seems to jump out from his skin, a tiny bit of definition in his arms… and it stays. Fast-forward muscle development is never quite as shocking as the first time someone watches it. At any rate, he's out like a light.

Groaning out a sigh, Colette lifts up a hand and rakes fingers through her hair. "Kid…" she mumbles under her breath, sliding off of the arm of the sofa, picking up her jacket and swinging it around, draping it over Wayland's unconscious frame. "M'gonna' have to find you a tutor before you burn out like a candle…" she admits with a crooked smile, running one hand through her hair.

"I wonder if I was ever this hopeless?" she asks herself with a faint smile and a rueful shake of her head.

The answer is yes.

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