Odd One Out


colette_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif

Scene Title Odd One Out
Synopsis In the Den, Colette is the only guest without a Southern drawl…
Date February 19, 2010

The Den

There's people you invite over your home, that sometimes make themselves too much at home. Among the Ferrymen, these kinds of people have earned the nickname barnacles. Just like the ocean life they are named after, they cling to a place and never quite let go. It's not that they're unwanted, it's just that — like a barnacle — they never ask to come or go, they just do.

Today, Colette Nichols is a barnacle.

Seated on the ratty and torn up sofa near the metal spiral staircase that serves as the entrance to the subterranean safehouse known as the Den, that eponymous teen is hunched over the old wooden coffee table in front of the sofa, sheets of newspaper laid out over the top of the surface, and the parts and pieces of a handgun laid out on top of that. An open book is laid out across the lap of her dark jeans, and disheveled locks of ink black hair hang down in front of the green eyes that are studying the schematic of a Baretta 9mm shown on the current page of the book.

A gun cleaning kit is set out on the table next to th disassembled gun, along with two additional magazines of bullets and a small portable radio that is currently blasting at too high a volume for the speakers the shrieking vocals of some old Guns n' Roses song loud enough to drown out the noise of footsteps clunking overhead in the butcher shop.

Rolling her tongue over the inside of her cheek, the darkly dressed teen reaches out for the slide that normally would sit at the top of the gun, rolling it around in her hands and comparing it to the depiction in the book. Apparently, she's trying ot teach herself how to clean and maintain a firearm properly, and has turned the living room of the Den into her own private workspace.

Melissa comes down the stairs, humming to herself and carrying a box. She pauses when she sees someone there, but more, someone she doesn't know. And more than /that/, a stranger with a gun! She arches a brow and glances over Colette, and her gun stuff, before she walks over to the radio, looks it over for a second, then reaches out to turn it off.

"Angel, don't be rollin' your hands all over that. You'll be puttin' dust on it, gettin' all gummed up with skin oils, that's no good," Leo's given up the Brooklyn accent - it's all Spanish moss and tidewater, this time. Rhett, Rhett, whereever shall I go, what ever shall I do? Helpful Leo is helpful, as he comes clanging down the spiral staircase like all the Valkyries rolled into one redneck bundle. He's clad in fatigue pants, dark t-shirt, black hoodie, and general air of being an attitude problem. For someone who's been a cop, he comes off way more like a thug.

Sorting through some of the recent supplies that Meredith herself and brought over to the Den, the blonde pyro gives Colette a bit of a wary glance. The last time she held a gun, there was a lot of collateral damage. Luckily, this one is taken apart. She can't do much damage with that, can she? Of course, Meredith isn't completely ignorant to Colette's plight, her desire to learn how to hurt back the people who hurt her. So, instead, she does a very Old Person thing and instead comments on the music.

Pulling one of the cotton balls she stuffed into her ears when she realized she'd have to be working with such a racket, Meredith all but shout over the screaming, "Y'know, it's not a crime to play hairband music at a lower volume." Her voice doesn't exactly have the mother tone that others have managed, but it gets pretty close.

Green eyes lift up only when the radio turns off, Colette hadn't even noticed Melissa come down the stairs. Now she's jerking a gaze up towards Leonard's approach down them with the clang-clunk of each step, before sweeping a look back to Melissa as she lays the piece back down on the newspaper covering the table. "Oh— hey, yeah… sorry. You must be— " one eye squints, "Melissa? Sorry about makin' myself at home, nobody else was around and I needed some, like, crash space."

Offering out a hand towards the young woman, Colette furrows her brows and looks down at the gun greaze on her palm. She brings it back to smear the grease off on one dark pantleg of her jeans, then offers the hand back out to the sfaehouse operator. "Name's Colette, I ah, I'm a supply runner for the Ferrymen." There's a nod of her head to a shipping box next to the couch. "First aid supplies, thought I'd kick m'feet up a little bit and— yeah."

There's a look to Leo, someone she hasn't seen since the whole Pinehearst thing over the summer. A smile creeps up on her lips, and she can't seem to remember his name. There's a jerk of her head though, sort've a combination of a nod and a c'mere gesture.

Melissa glances to Leonard, giving him a quick, distracted grin, before she looks over Meredith. Then her attention is returned to Colette, and she takes the offered hand. "Yeah, I'm Melissa. And it doesn't rain but pours around here it seems," she says, relaxing a touch. "No one came by much the first week or two I was here, now you three…" And it's then that she fixes her gaze on Leonard, after pulling her hand back. "Didn't expect to see you here though, cutie."

And …..oh, hey. Leo's grin is sheepish, and he does the whole pantomime of ducking his head and tucking his hands behind his back and scuffing a toe along the worn floor. "Li'l ol' me? I'm a man of many talents," he assures Melissa. And then he snaps out of it and clumps over to Colette like he's a Big Daddy and she's a Little Sister who's just grabbed herself some ADAM. "You want I should show you?" he says, as he seats himself right by her. Question's a little late, considering the action.

There's a raised eyebrow at all the talking and greetings. While Meredith knows a lot of the Ferrymen by reputation, she certainly doesn't know them all face to face. Tossing over another box of miscellaneous random items, she frowns. "Who eats that much beef jerky?" she mutters to herself, eyeing the instruction that Leonard is about to give Colette. While she introduced herself when she came in to drop off the supplies, she didn't catch Melissa's name when she did so. "Meredith," she nods, just in case Melissa didn't catch hers, either.

At Melissa's comment to Leonard, Colette quirks up one brow and looks beteween the two, pursing her lips during the handshake in thought. That's too bad, flashes across her expression in a momentary look of disappointment as green eyes flick up and down the young operator, and when Colette takes her hand back, she's folding the book in her lap closed and tossing it to the floor with a clunk.

"Yeah, uh, I've never really fucked with guns like this before, but I figure I need to learn. I gotta' start remembering to carry this with me, and uh— I guess I sort've need some lessons on using it too. I mean, I got the basics from my friend Brian," her head cocks to the side, one pale hand brushing a lock of dark hair from her face, "you know safety off how to pop out the clippy— thing— and uh, breathing out on the shot. But like, I dunno…"

Leaning to the side, Colette angles a look up towards Leonard, forearms draped over her knees and the Operation Ivy logo on the back of her jersey more visible now when she slouches forward. "I had the gun stashed in a filing cabinet down in the ruins, it's been sitting there in the cold for like, I dunno, since like, fucking Halloween?" One of her brows goes up. "I— I dunno if that's bad or… I could use a few pointers." Just a few.

"Ahh. Well, glad to know you're on my side. Or, you know, this side. one of the good guys or whatever you wanna call it," Melissa says to Leonard with a grin. Then she sets her box down, plops herself down in a chair, and looks to Meredith. "Nice ta meetcha," she says, her southern accent coming out clearly in the greeting. Then her gaze slides to Colette again. "Can help you some with that too, in the future I mean," she offers.

"Likely me. The beef jerky, I mean," Leo says, absently, glancing up at Meredith. "Leo Shelby," he adds, easily, before the disassembled gun scoots towards him all at once, like he's a magnet. It's…. really sort of weird. "Good guys," he says, parroting back at Melissa, amused. "Well, I do try." To Colette, he nods, and starts laying it out again. "Yeah. Gotta learn how to clean it and maintain it," he agrees. "Nothin'll fuck you like having an automatic jame when you need it."

The Southern accent makes Meredith narrow her eyes just momentarily at Melissa. They get all types in New York, and especially with the Ferry, but Meredith likes to be the only other Southerner around normally. It gives her a little bit of a character, if you will. It also means she could get away with saying something like 'tarnation' if she truly felt like it. The look that she gives the other woman isn't unfriendly, it's more surprising. Her own Texas accent is clear in her voice, though a bit more subdued from living up North a bit. "Pleasure," she tells the both of them in a shortened sort of greeting. "Guess a little preserved cow never hurt anyone. Or, a lot of it, I guess." It is a whole box. Her next question is angled at Melissa. "So what part've the South d'ya hail from?"

"Huh," Colette opines as she affords a side-long look to Melissa, "You know, I'm gonna' start thinkin' that every skinny girl in this city's a secret mercenary if they keep havin' cool gun skills." There's a crooked quality of Colette's smile at that, "You'd like my friend Eileen, I think. You two kinda' even look alike a little," she motions fingers at her eyes back and forth as if in some vague indication.

All of Colette's attention on Melissa over in the chair is snapped away when she sees the parts of the gun moving from the table like some sort of psychic magnet got turned on. "Woahly shit— " Colette breathes out, leaning away form the display with wide eyes. The young girl opens her mouth just a touch, breathing out an exasperated sound before very slowly edging in to get a closer look at the floating pieces in the air. "Fuck that is awesome!" She squeaks out, running a hand thorugh her hair to try and keep that same obnoxious part of her bangs from covering one of her eyes.

Craning her neck to look around the basement, it suddenly becomes very clear to Colette that she is the only person in the room without a Southern accent, and that long since faded Boston glibness behind her words seems more and more out of place the more she thinks about it.

"Georgia," Melissa answers Meredith. "And hey, if worse comes to worse, at least we have one food we don't have to worry about starvin'?" she says with a shrug as she eyes the moving gun pieces. "Magnetics, telekinesis or some weird gravity thing?" she asks Leonard curiously. Then she's glancing to Colette and grinning. "Never said I had /cool/ gun skills. I'm just…competent. Hand me a sniper rifle or somethin' though, and see me laugh my ass off."

Apparently assuming Meredith's question is addressed to him, Leo says, absentedly, "Savannah. Or thereabouts." The poor, poor 'burbs, basically. There's an ugly glint in his face at the mention of Eileen, but he doesn't comment. nor does his control falter. He holds the whole assemblage up before Colette with his power, like it somehow got paused in the middle of an explosion. He does stiffen a bit at Melissa's comment. "Really? What part?" he wonders. "Telekinesis," he adds, casually.

Meredith blinks. Oh, right, Leonard has a Southern accent, too. Then, she gives them both a crooked grin. "I'm from Texas, myself. Aren't we just a group. The South'll rise again. So're you two, like, cousins or somethin'?" It's mostly a joke, as they both replied as being from Georgia. "Hell, we all should know how to do some shootin'. Gotta keep the Yanks off our yards." Her Texan accent gets stronger as she focuses on it more. The show of Leonard's ability catches the blonde's attention. She cocks her head slightly to the side and then looks up at the male Georgian with a bit of respect. Yeah, that was cool.

Absolutely fascinated by the display of telekinesis, Colette's green eyes dart up to Leo when he explains what the power is off-handedly to Melissa, but then her focus is back on the disassembled parts. When dark brows furrow together, she takes a look over her shoulder, towards Meredith, then back to Melissa again. "S'kinda' funny that nobody down here's from New York originally." Her nose wrinkles, eyes diverting back to the broken up pieces of the gun as she rests her hands on her knees.

Seemingly attentive for not only the display of power, but also the instructional Leo's promised, Colette looks back towards Melissa, angling a side-long and discreet look at the young woman before glancing away and back to the hovering parts in mid-air. "I feel nervously left out've the whole south've the Mason Dixon thing," she comments with a smirk, then huff of breath blowing that same lock of hair from her face before she finally just loses patience and reaches into the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out a metal hair clip, fidgeting on the sofa as she snaps the length of dark bangs into place with it.

Melissa gives Leonard a curious look at his reaction, and studies him for a moment before she answers. "Just outside Atlanta. So no where close to you." She pauses a beat. "And telekinesis is handy. Wouldn't have minded gettin' that one myself." Meredith gets a grin, and her accent changes to a drawl, something right out of Gone With the Wind. "Why of /course/ we are, sugah. Don'tcha know that all Georgians are related?"
Leonard rolls his eyes at that, but it's good natured impatience. "Here," he says, wafting the barrel towards her - it's a little tube of metal, innocent looking on its own. "When was the last time you cleaned this out? And what tools've you got to do the cleaning with? Remember to hold it with a clean cloth, if you can…."

With a snort, Meredith takes out another box and sets it down next to everything else she's unloading. This one looks like it's more useful, though. Bandages, aspirin, most like some anti-septics and other basic first aid kit necessities. Eyeing Colette and Leonard, she shoves that one closer to their couch. Just in case. "I'da thought. Ya'll've got that whole Peach thing covered." Her own accent is more cowboy, less drawl. To the only non-Southerner, she gives a crooked sort of smile. "After yer gun lesson, I'll give ya a language lesson. How to draw out your vowels in twelve easy steps. You'll be fittin' right in with the rest of us Confederates in no time."

Suddenly jerked back to the conversation with Leon, Colette's green eyes go wide. "Uh— nnnn— never?" Not quite the best answer. "I— I got the gun from my friend Brian back in the early part've October. He— he's kind've like, a crazy-person with guns, so I figure he kept 'em in good condition. I ah," her dark brows crease together, "I never fired it. I— I should've but— " both of her hands come up, eyes close and she just changes topics right then and there.

"I dumped it after I nearly shot somebody with it, left it in a filing cabinet down in the ruins. I— I figure it stayed dry since it was indoors, uh, mostly— but it got cold a lot so— I— I don't know a lot about this. I picked up the kit," Colette motions to a professional looking gun cleaning kit that clearly isn't hers on the table, "from a friend over at the Hangar. He gave me the cleaning manual too, so— " Colette's brows furrow, "I guess I just need to learn how to take care of it. I can't rely on like— my ability to save my ass all the time."

Not anymore, at least; She's been proven that uncomfortable truth.

When Meredith makes that tongue in cheek comment, Colette wrinkles her nse and offers one brow raised and a gree-eyed look to the blonde. "How about we call it a fair trade. I won't make fun of you for sayin' stuff like Ya'll, and you won't make fun've me for using Wicked as an adjective?" Her smile turns more into a teasing smirk.

Melissa glances at Meredith's box, and stands to move over and look it over. "Oh good. Can never have too much of this sorta thing. Thanks, Meredith." She arches a brow at Colette. "Never? Good thing you haven't shot it yet, then. Dirty guns can be damned dangerous."

Leonard whistles at that. "Yeah. That's for certain sure," he says to Colette. "No firing it until you've learned how to maintain it. That…" A strange, fuzzy snaky looking thing lifts itself out of the kit, as if Colette were a snake charmer and this the cobra in the basket. "Take that, run it through the barrel both ways a few times," he notes. "Lef' mah Redneck to English Dictionary back home. God bless Mr. Foxworthy," he adds, "You mean as a adverb." The irony of Leo correcting anyone's grammar….

It isn't lost on anyone. The South isn't really well known for it's good grammar. Meredith just laughs at Colette's proposed truce. "No trade. Wicked's worse'n ya'll. Much worse. But if you don't make fun of me sayin' ya'll, I won't tie ya up with the Confederate flag while singin' Ole Dixie." At the thanks she shrugs, but also smiles. She's not below taking compliments. "No troubles."

Snorting out a laugh, Colette snatches the barrel of the gun out fo the telekinetic minagerie, then leans forward to take the clean cloth out of the kit and and grabs the barrel cleaner, folding the cloth around the outside of the barrel to hold carefully in delicate hands, then leans back on the couch and crossing one leg over the other as she goes about cleaning it like Leonard had instructed.

"So this place has only been open for a few weeks?" Colette asks across the length of the table to Melissa in the opposite chair. "It's a pretty big setup. I thought it was just this tiny-ass basement till I saw the passage connecting to the tenement building. Is it just you running the place? 'Cause I might move my stuff from Queens to here if you don't mind… I do some work out at the Meadows and this'd be easier than having to cross over from Queens to the island every day."

Sliding the cleaning brush out of the barrel, Colette looks down at the two pieces, then almost like playing some sort've psychic Jenga places the barrel back where Leonard can put his mental grip on it and cracks a smile.

Melissa nods at Colette as she plops back down. "Yeah, just a few weeks. It's not just me though. Some guy named Brennan is co-op. Haven't seen him but once though, so…" She trails off, shrugging. "You wanna stay here though, that's fine by me. What's the point of a place like this if it's not used?"

It's like helping someone wind yarn, really. Leo's paying enough attention that the barrel remains where it's set, like she put it back on an invisible shelf. Another piece goes wafting towards her like some sort of alloy insect.

"Yeah, consider this stuff a House Warming present." Most of the shelters have the basics and as much of them stockpiled as possible. Meredith was just elected to help out since she doesn't have a home base to call her own quite yet. Which reminds her. "Y'know, I'm stayin' at the Lighthouse, Colette. If ya want me to give a message to Brian, I can try. Haven't really seen hide nor hair've 'im since I've been there, though. Boy keeps himself busy. Or, he's hidin' from all those kids." She can't really blame him. "Or ya can come out and visit yourself." The company'd be nice.

"Doctor Brennan?" Colette's brows go up and she offers a crooked smile. "Yeah, definitely then. Doc's an awesome guy, he's been hung up helping some drug detox patients down in a safehouse out in Midtown for 'bout five or six days now, so's probably why you haven't seen 'em. He's a great guy though, I spent some time in the hospital after the bomb…" Colette quietly explains, one booted foot bobbing up and down to the rhythm of that song that's still stuck in her head, "and he was one of the doctors I had in recovery. Really nice guy, just— you know— he's a doctor so he's kind've stern but it's cool. He knows his stuff."

Snatching the next piece out of the air, Colette looks to be handling the instructions and cleaning process well enough now, with Leonard's telekinetic Rolodex of gun parts a very entertaining addition ot a particularly disinteresting process of firearm maintenance.

"Cool…" Colette distractedly notes, green eyes moving from gun part to Melissa. "I'll pack up my shit from the Brick House and get out've Andy's hair. He'll probably appreciate it anyway," not that she'll say why, bad for prolonged reputations. But it's Meredith's comment that elicits a nervous look from the brunette. Her head shakes, awkwardly, and she just looks back down at her lap. "N— Nah. He— Brian's got his own stuff, like, going on now. I— I really shouldn't be around the kids. It's— " her eyes narrow, "I've got stuff to do here."

Melissa grins at Meredith. "It's appreciated. I've been getting some stuff little by little, but been spendin' most of my time here just tryin' to clean the place up, get it a lil' more comfortable, you know?" Again she nods to Colette. "Just lemme know when you're in. I'm in here a couple hours, minimum, ever day."

About that beef jerky. Leo, while still leaving enough attention on the gun bits to leave them where they are, wanders over to go rummaging among the food sources. Just a nibble, please.

That draws a frown from the blonde. "Suit yourself." It's not her place to tell Colette what to do or not to do. "I'm sure you'd be welcome, anyway. I'm not a good babysitter." They all can take that for what they will. Everything unloaded and stashed away, she stands up and puts her hands on her hips. After a quick survey of what's been brought and what still needs to be done, she tucks some her hair behind her ears. "Understandable. Underneath a butcher shop couldn'ta been too pleasant a clean up."

"I ah, something happened out at the Lighthouse back last summer…" Colette explains to Meredith, "this— psychopath homeless guy or something, he broke in. Wild like, lunatic, some kind've power too— he was like almost indestructible. He went after the kids, it was late at night, I was staying there helping Brian out and just…" Colette shakes her head slowly as she offers up another piece of the gun into the telekinetic swirl of parts, fingers plucking out the trigger guard, turning it over in her hand before putting it back and laying the tools she has on her lap, stretching out to pick up the gun oil bottle from the corner of the table,

"I got pretty badly hurt, a bunch of the kids had to be moved to a new shelter. They just wouldn't go back. I— I kind've haven't really been back there much since. I run supplies out there when I have to, sometimes I'll help Brian during the day outside, shoveling or whatever if his clones are busy somewhere else. But— I can't sleep there anymore. It just— " she waves a hand at the side of her head, "bad memories."

Melissa watches Leo for a moment, then Meredith gets the same treatment, before Colette gets her full attention. "Understandable. Don't think anyone can blame you for wanting to avoid that place. Some things just hit us a lot harder than we might expect 'em to."

"I know that feeling," Leo says, softly, returning to the table. All the better to nom on a strip of jerky like a puppy with a rawhide. The control over the parts doesn't waver, though Colette can maneuver them as needed - they don't stick.

Colette's story is met with silence from Meredith. What with everything that has been dragging up her past, she can understand about not wanting to revisit it. So, she considers the story she's been told and then gives the teenager a nod. "I can see that." Maybe it's a wonder any of the kids went back to live under such conditions. She has no such qualms about the lighthouse, but she's sure there's a lot of people who have no problems with a certain block back in Kermit, Texas, too. "Well, that's about all I've got for ya'll," she gives Colette a bit of a pointed, half smiling look at saying that. "I should be back on the move. More supplies and stuff."

Melissa smiles and nods at Meredith. "Sure thing. Thanks again." The smile gets turned onto Colette and she nods. "Appreciated. I like loud music as much as the next person, but…hard not to draw attention if there's music blaring."

Leonard offers a lazy salute to Colette. "Later, girl, we'll go shooting," he says to her, in that molasses slow drawl. He looks to Meredith, "You want some help movin' stuff, ma'am, just let me know."

Looking up to Meredith, Colette offers a hesitant smile, nodding her head slowly as she starts picking pieces out of the telekinetic pile one by one, laying them down in the unfolded cloth on her lap to prepare reassembling the gun. "See you 'round," the young girl offers in farewell to Meredith, before turning to angle green eyes over to Leo with a thankful smile, then Melissa with a lopsided grin.

"Guess this means I should go pick out a room," Colette considers, cracking a smile, "I'll try not to blast the radio too loud next time," she adds teasingly, dropping her head down into a nod.

"I think I might like it here."

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