Of Trust, and Issues Thereof


colette3_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Trust, and Issues Thereof
Synopsis Felix tracks down Colette to the Lighthouse, but their conversation takes a turn for the worse when mutual acquaintances come up.
Date July 28, 2009

The Lighthouse

The last time Felix Ivanov saw the Lighthouse, it was full of bright-eyed and smiling children. Now, it's like a derelict shell as much as the rest of Staten Island's coastal properties are.

Two pickup trucks are parked out on the saltgrass beyond the Lighthouse, and six ten or twelve men and women in grubby work clothes are moving through the Lighthouse interior, six more outside picking up wood and stone debris from the yard beyond the Lighthouse proper. Among those helping out, one particular volunteer looks largely out of place, seated on the open tailgate of one of the pickup trucks, her legs swinging back and forth, hands planted behind her to support her weight as she leans back, watching everyone else work.

Seeing Colette Nichols here on this overcast, humid day is almost as much of a shock as seeing the Lighthouse in ruins. Portions of the brick wall are blown out, masonry missing and furniture blackened and burned to a crisp. Most of the people inside are hauling ruined furniture out, breaking out the remains of busted windows, and making piles of the debris outside.

Colette, she can't quite be supervising, but the dark-haired girl is watching the display with a quiet scrutiny. One hand moving to push up her sunglasses along the bridge of her nose, then reaching down towards a thermos at her side, bringing it up to drink straight from the container. Closer in, it's easier to tell she has been working. Sweat beads on her forehead, hair is damp and matted down messily. Dirt stains the knees of her worn out jeans, and smudges of black from the charred furniture darken her fingers.

It seems like whatever happened here, people are banding together to help make it right again.

He walked past the place he died, every hair on him bristling like a frightened dog. Because the mists of memory have cleared, and he remembers it. All of it. Bleeding and helpless on the filthy sand, Deckard standing over him laughing, dragging his ruined body along the tideline. So Fel's in no good mood when he appears. Far from it. He looks haunted - just a skinny guy with glasses, in a white t-shirt and jeans. Too thin, hair cut a bit too short to flatter those severe features. The wreckage….he'd heard of it, but not seen it, and the total ruination is worth a little contemplation, before he picks his way over to put a hand on Colette's arm. "Hey," he says, gently. "Hey."

Startling at the touch to her arm, Colette jerks her arm holding the thermos just enough to slosh the contents around a little inside. She turns to look over at Felix, surprise writing itself across her face, sunglasses slouched down the bridge of her nose to reveal those eyes, both still as blind as a bat. "F— Felix?" It's the sound of a girl caught with her hand in a proverbial cookie jar.

"I— I uh, this— " darting her focus over to some of the people working at the Lighthouse, it's obvious more than a few pairs of eyes are on Ivanov. Colette sets down the thermos, sliding herself off of the tailgate as she straightens, wincing for a moment after the hop to the ground, a hand coming to her right shoulder briefly. "W— what're you doing all the way out here? I— I mean, it— it's good to see you, but…"

He steps back, lifts his hands in that 'I'm come in peace' gesture….but he's eyeing her keenly all the while. "To see you," he says, bluntly. "Just check up." He ducks his head and angles it at her shoulder in an oddly serpentine gesture. "You hurt? And don't bother to try and lie to me, you can't," he adds. He is getting some rather obvious looks, but then, he pretty much does have John Law stamped on his forehead.

"Just— uh," Colette's brows furrow, even as a smile creeps up on her lips. "I hurt my shoulder, uh… helping out." She lies by omission alone, "It's nothing big, it'll be okay. I— I'm helping out rebuilding. I guess," she glances over at the lighthouse, "there was an explosion here. The kids got out okay, I just— I owe it to Brian since he took care of me for so long."

Squinting slightly, Colette tucks one hand into the pocket of her jeans, "You haven't been by Dad's in a while." Dad's, she's not even calling him Judah anymore, at least not unless she's mad with him. "I'm over there every weekend, uh, most of the time. I flaked out this weekend on him, but Nicole's off in Vegas for work, so I kinda'… uh, I wanted to do something on my own. You know— for a little while."

Rubbing one hand against her forehead, Colette offers a more honest smile up to Felix, not noticing one of the volunteers starting to make his way over to them both. "So… So you came here just to see me?"

Now it's Fel's turn to look guilty. "No, I've been a little wrapped up in personal stuff. I need to have him over for dinner," he says, scuffing a foot in the dust. He's wearing sneakers. He gives her a skeptical look over the rims of his glasses. "Helping out how? You aren't involved in one of the underground groups, are you?"

Colette mostly chokes at the question, teeth drawing her lower lip between them as she dances around the question. "I— do some volunteer work, um, y— you know like at the Church?" Sheepishly smiling, it's only when the voice of an older man chimes in that Colette jerks her head around to look at the person who'd come over to see exactly what's going on.

"Hey there," tanned and grimy, a tall and broad-shouldered man in a yellow Habitat for Humanity t-shirt comes lumbering over to Felix, offering out a hand. "Will Larson," he states with a broad, if not something unwelcoming smile, "Colette's not giving you any trouble, is she?" Grimacing, Colette runs a hand through her hair, taking a step back with a sidelong glance given towards Larson, then up to Felix.

"He— we're Mr.Larson, r— really. It'll be alright. He's… he's an old friend of mine." She motions with her nose, as if trying to shoo Larson away with it, then glances back up to Felix with a lopsided smile. "Just— helping out, you know, stuff." You know, stuff. She always leaves it with that when she's being evasive.

Felix's smile is reptilian and unconvincing. "No more so than usual," he says, blithely. I understand this is how you humans interact. He takes Will's hand, shakes it firmly and does not bother to lie. "Felix Ivanov," he introduces himself. "I'm a friend of her father's." He gives her one of those gimlet looks that remind her that what she just gave him really wasn't an answer.

Larson gives a slow nod, squeezing Felix's hand firmly before taking a step back, looking down at Colette. "If you need anything," which is to say if this guy is bothering you, "just come and get one of us okay?" There's a look given back to Felix, a nod and a feigned smile, and the foreman of this rebuilding effort turns around and starts to walk back towards the Lighthouse.

Colette heaves one shoulder with a sigh, the other stiffly staying in place. Her blinded eyes flit up towards Felix, wry smile crossing her lips. "S— Sorry about that, they're uh, protetive?" She sheepishly smiles back to Felix, biting down on her lower lip. "I— I'm fine out here, r— really. You don't— I mean— " her lips press together, worriedly looking out towards the Lighthouse, then back again, "I'm making a difference here."

"I'm not going to browbeat you into going back to live with Judah full time, though the more you see him, the better," Felix says, quietly. "I'm glad you're somewhere where you feel you're contributing." He's stiff, but trying to reassure. Bizarre to think that one universe over where New York proceeds untouched by anything worse than September 11th, he's working on getting his daughter into first grade….and learning who the hell Hannah Montana is. He glances after Larson, dismisses him with a shrug.

"I don't think Judah wants me full time anyway," Colette says in a quiet, understated tone of voice. "Nicole won't be out of state for too long anyway, just… I mean, it's just work." Her lips purse together, not quite a pout — at least she'd never admit it is a pout. "Tamara's been helping me out a lot, I— " she glances over her shoulder when she cuts herself off, making sure Lawson is out of earshot before easing a bit closer towards Felix. "We— that's probably the best thing, I mean, she and I are— " the young girl grins stupidly, face a bit red. "A— Anyway I— I'm glad you're here actually."

Slipping around to Felix's side, Colette grimaces a bit awkwardy. "I— I want to tell Dad about us. Um, I— I just haven't figured out how to. I— how'd you tell your parents?" She offers a sheepish smile, assuming after their conversation so long ago it would be an alright topic.

"I never have," he says, simply, looking to her. "I mean, I'm sure my mom fucking knows, she's ex-KGB and sharp as a tack. But ….you think gay people get treated bad in America, it's nothing to how homosexuals get treated in Russia, or in Russian communities. She doesn't ask me when I'm gonna get married and give her grandkids, let's put it that way. My father doesn't press, also. But….let's also say that I suspect it'll be a lot easier to tell Judah than it would be for me to tell my parents." The look he gives her is very pointed, and a little dry.

It's, admittedly, not the answer Colette was looking for. Slouching her shoulders she manages a faint smile, tilting her head to the side subtly. "I… guess that, uh, kind've helps." The young girl huffs out a sigh, folding her arms carefully as she leans up against the pickup truck, looking out towards the burned out Lighthouse. "Felix… if I want to talk to you about something," her focus stays distant, lingering on the building, "can you keep it a secret for me?"

When she looks back to the Fed, there's a certain worry on her face, one of trust, and issues thereof. "Like, between you and me secret, nobody else?"

It's, admittedly, not the answer Colette was looking for. Slouching her shoulders she manages a faint smile, tilting her head to the side subtly. "I… guess that, uh, kind've helps." The young girl huffs out a sigh, folding her arms carefully as she leans up against the pickup truck, looking out towards the burned out Lighthouse. "Felix… if I want to talk to you about something," her focus stays distant, lingering on the building, "can you keep it a secret for me?"

When she looks back to the Fed, there's a certain worry on her face, one of trust, and issues thereof. "Like, between you and me secret, nobody else?"

"As long as it's not a matter of national security or a threat thereof, yes," Fel says, simply. "This isn't just about your preferences, is it?" He's poised, stiff and painfully upright, in that odd soldierly way he has. But his face is open and guileless, pale eyes very curious.

A grimace spreads across Colette's face, and her blind eyes wander as she straightens her sunglasses to cover them again. "M— maybe it can wait, then." Dark brows furrow together, and once more lying by omission it starts to dawn on Felix rather quickly that it might have everything to do with national security, which puts him in a precarious situation. "I— I should… probably go and see if anyone needs help pulling up some of the burned boards."

A sheepish smile comes, and Colette leans away from the truck, circling around behind Felix as she tries to extricate herself from the situation. "M— maybe we… maybe we can talk next time? It— it's pretty busy today and, you know, all that."

His hand comes out, with that snake's quickness, though not superhumanly so. And there's no softness in his face, but that grim look. "No, Colette, it can't. You of all people should know better. I give you my word, I won't move on it in any professional capacity unless lives are immediately at stake. But -trust- me. People keep trying to kill me, and one of them succeeded. And now they keep trying to kill my coworkers and friends. If you know something even tangentially related, I need to know it, too."

"Ah— " Colette winces, not from discomfort but from acknowledgment of the words Felix is sharing. The young girl looks up over the frames of her glasses, teeth tugging at her lower lip. "I— I don't— I don't know." This, right here, is bigger than she wanted it to be. "That— on the news. The building," she looks fretfully over to Larson, who's hawk like vigilance has spotted Felix stopping her with a hand. She waves him away, turning back to Felix with brows furrowed.

"The building that imploded? I was there." Swallowing audibly, Colette reaches up to move Felix's hand from her shoulder, but her hand lingers on his. "People… people needed my ability, needed my help. I— it wasn't like what I thought it was going to be. People were getting shot, there— I met Eileen Ruskin there. Her and Tavisha— Gabriel." She swallows tightly, squeezing Felix's hand. "I helped save people, Felix. I just— I wanted you to know. I wanted you to know I'm trying to make a difference, to help people, to— to do something with my ability. You told me not to register, you told me to watch out for myself. So I am."

He, in turn, looks quite literally ill. "Gabriel Gray," he says, faintly. "Yes. Apparently the folks at Pinehearst were up to some very, very dirty things. But….what exactly was all that about? What did you do there?" His tone is….somewhat steady, at least. But the look in his eyes is lost.

"I helped sneak them in." Colette keeps a hold of Felix's hand, and though he can feel her, for a moment he can't see her. She flickers and fades out like a heat mirage, no longer even present save for a faint distortion around the edges of her body like the ripples of unstill water. A heartbeat later, she reappears, still holding his hand. "There was some old guy, he— he alomst hurt someone, so— I kind've got in the way. I'm alright though, I— I saved a lot of people's lives. I protected people, that's… that's what I always wanted to do."

Gently letting go of Felix's hand, Colette offers the agent a weak smile. "Gabriel and Eileen helped me out of there, I was pretty um, I— they helped me get back here to Staten Island. They looked after me. They're good people, Felix."

Oh, god, not this argument again. He's gray, white around the lips. "I….how did you meet them? What are they like?" Trying, as delicately as his tendency to shotgun bluntness permits, to feel this out, before he loses control.

"I fell." That's not the best explanation, and she winces, "Down… an elevator shaft. I— I was in an elevator but it— " she shakes her head back and forth, voice quiet. "They were fighting some… big… metal guy. I don't know, he was hurting everyone, trying to hurt Eileen. I showed up and, I just— I did what I do. I used my ability to help them stop him and— and Eileen just…" she swallows tightly. "A lot of people were hurt. This guy Deckard, he got electrocuted, and so did Eileen and…"

Colette stops, taking in a slow breath before exhaling again. "Gabriel's got this special power, where he can heal people, but it needs other people to like… to fix them. I helped him fix Eileen, so… I guess, in a way, a part've me fixed her. So… so the black fog stuff kind've fixed everyone, and then we left. There was some people I didn't know, but they were all really nice to me." She smiles, a bit sheepishly, as if being accepted and needed is what all of this is really about.

"They helped me, and I helped them. Now… now m'just trying to lend a hand helping Brian and the kids get the Lighthouse back together. They've got a house inland they're staying at, but— right now fixing this place up is what I need to do. You know— make a difference." She tenses up slightly, "I— I was scared, um, back— back there, but… but I know I can do it. Tamara's watchin' out for me."

"Did you know them before? Before this….expedition?" Felix inquires, tone cushion-soft, eyeing her sidelong. "And Deckard was there? What was the purpose of all this - what did you go there to do?" He's tugged off his glasses, and it makes his face look oddly gentle and defenseless, heightens that overall air he has sometimes of just being some random office clerk who's somehow managed to escape the stifling confines of his cubicle and the mounting pile of the TPS reports in favor of running amuck with a badge and a gun, indulging some crazy G-man fantasy.

Furrowing her brows, Colette looks up at Felix for a moment with a crooked expression. "We lived like, three apartments down from Eileen when I stayed with you, Felix. Heck, you were there the day I said I ran into her and she wanted me to tell Judah something about some… Peter guy." Her nose wrinkles slightly, and the young girl rises up onto her toes, tapping Felix on the forehead lightly, a small smile crossing her lips as she settles back down on her heels.

"I met Gabriel here on the island, remember? We had that talk about him? I metr Deckard once before too, I had to get reminded what his name was though. He used to live here at the Lighthouse, I guess he's a friend of Brians. The other guys…" Colette scratches the tip of her nose, "There was this kinda, shaved head guy? He was pretty beat up… nobody told me what his name was. There was this kinda like, scary guy? Dark hair, scruffy, he had this huge pistol. I dunno what his name was either, he was really goofy though, kinda' nice. He was worried about the other guy, I think. Might've been brothers or something."

Exhaling a heavy sigh, Colette folds her arms carefully. "I dunno what they were there for. I went in with other people… friends." She smiles faintly at that, "I got separated from them, and found Gabriel and everyone else on my own. I— I'm still sort've… shaken up I guess, about everything that I saw. I um," one hand smooths along the side of her neck, "I'm just glad I was there. Eileen… she— probably would've died if I wasn't."

"I need to talk to you about them," Felix still has that dreamlike delicacy to his tone, though his eyes are now glittering with something odd. "What have I told you about Gabriel Gray and Eileen Ruskin, Colette? And Flint Deckard murdered me in cold blood," he says, with the first hint of something slipping, the first tectonic tremor of a real raging fit.

Once upon a time when Leland and Felix were the scourge of organized crime in New York, Lee wasn't always the bad cop. He lacks the younger man's mass, the air of brute violence, but can sometimes summon up the air of ingrained callousness, the one that let his grandfather ship entire families off to the wastes of Siberia with a casual swipe of a fountain pen. He nods back along the path that comes along the coast, "About a quarter of a mile that way."

Exasperatedly, Colette holds up both of her hands. "Stop exaggerating," she's a little defensive about the situation, or perhaps the implications of being told what to do, or that she — as a seventeen year old — might not know everything ever. "He didn't kill you, you're right here, and— and don't even try the whole death sympathy thing. I— I cried at your funeral once already. Don't you give me a line of shit about secrets or— or making decisions or— " her face scrunches up, hands balling into fists at her side.

"You told me Gabriel's dangerous. You told me a lot of things, you said Eileen's dangerous once too, but— but you know what you weren't there. You didn't see what happened, you— you didn't see them trying to save me, to protect me from that— that monster in the basement. You weren't there when Tav— " she catches herself, "when Gabriel was holding Eileen, when he thought she was dead and the look on his face. You don't know them like I do."

Every moment she continues to talk, it is a reminder why Felix Ivanov does not have children.

"I know the fourteen known victims of Gabriel Gray. I know their faces…those had that had faces that remained. His initial work was…sloppy, but his technique refined over time. I know the way a human skull looks when it's been nipped neatly off the top and the brain matter within scooped out like a melon ball. I know the bodies the Vanguard left. I saw them. I saw the eyeless bodies that Eileen left, two cops to begin with, one of whom was a mother. I've met the orphans and the widows that they've left behind them. And Flint Deckard killed me, Colette. Ask him. Ask him to his face. I'm here because there is an Evolved who can -raise the dead-. Ask Elizabeth Harrison. Ask a man named Cardinal. Ask a man named Teodoro, if you've met him."

It's a toneless recitation. His gaze is fixed on some middle distance a few feet beyond her left shoulder. "You don't know them. You don't know the half of them. Gabriel Gray is a serial murderer who consumes the brains of the Evolved. Eileen Ruskin is a terrorist, a former member of a group who aspired to slaughter every Evolved human being -in the world- and most of those who aren't Evolved, in the name of some fictional purity. The Vanguard made Al-Qaeda look like children armed with slingshots. What you think you -know- is a facade and a moment of blindness. Ask Gabriel Gray if he regrets all those people he killed. Ask him. Ask him about Brian Davis. Ask him about Charlie Andrews. He murdered them in cold blood. Perhaps he feels bad about it. Perhap he really has turned over a new leaf. Does that make it okay?"

His brows cant outward, down, that oddly puppyish expression. "If I killed Judah in order to rob him of something he had, if I went to his apartment and gunned him down, but I felt bad about it later, what then? Does that excuse it?"

Too much at once, information overload, and from the look on Colette's face she stopped listening at least halfway through. "No!" She shouts out, red in the face, "No! I don't— " Teo, the name hits her like a sack of bricks. She's never met another Teodoro in her life, never even heard the name before the one she met. "Teo was there," she spits out, "they said so. Teo'd never work with a serial killer, you— you've got it all wrong, Felix. They— they're not bad people!"

Taking a few steps back, Colette breathes in a heavy breath, shoulders rising and falling as she curls her fingers into her palms, small fists trembling at her side. "Gabriel's a good person, they're all good people! Someone— someone set them up, I— I don't know! They— they're not like that!" She takes a few steps back, shouting now drawing attention from the people working around the Lighthouse. Swallowing dryly, Colette flings her good arm to one side, motioning away from the building.

"Just— just stop! You don't understand! I— I have to— " she looks over to the people watching, wiping at one of her eyes with the back of her hand, "I have to— to get back to work. I— " swallowing noisily, Colette's feet awkwardly tread back and away from where Felix is. "Just— just stop, Felix. You— you're wrong, I— " she grimaces, "they're not those people."

"They absolutely are, Colette," Felix says, mercilessly. He's got that bizarre, tightlipped stillness to him. "Teo knew. Ask Teodoro where my medal is. And what you saw there at Pinehearst wasn't Teo. That was someone riding in his body, possessing him. Gabriel Gray makes Jack the Ripper look like an amateur. They consume people. Gray, especially, consumes the Evolved. If you stay around him, it's only a matter of time before he kills you,too. Whatever his contrition, whatever his supposed change of heart, he has the blood of at least a score on his hands. Why would I make this up, Colette? Gray is my greatest failure. I caught him, once, because he was either confused or pulling his punches. And then he killed those charged with taking him to jail. If he's innocent, then why doesn't he stand up and prove it in court?

And then he laughs, briefly. "Deckard's another issue. Let me show you something." He tugs up his t-shirt, exposes ribs a little more prominent than they should be, wiry muscle, and the various scars there. The most prominent of which is just a hair off center, a few inches above his solar plexus - the whorl of scar tissue that's all that remains of his death wound, right over the heart. "Flint Deckard shot me in the back, and destroyed my heart. That's the exit wound. Not in a firefight, not in self-defense, but out of sheer hatred. You've met the little healer, Abby - ask her about why she couldn't heal me after I woke up on Staten, not knowing who I was."

A sudden, sharp exhalation is fired thorugh Colette's nostrils. The girl clenches her jaws, brings her hands up to her ears and wrenches her eyes shut, "Felix— Felix shut up!" When her eyes open again, they're shedding a colorless light, and it's likely she doesn't even realize it. "Just— just shut up, just— stop! I'm— I shouldn't have told you anything! I knew you'd do this, you'd do exactly what my father used to do," Father not Dad, there's a distinction. "He'd just— he'd make shit up, he'd— just leave me alone! I don't know what you have against Gabriel, but he— he— he's not a monster!" Because if he is, because if Colette's been so wrong about everything, it makes the very effort of coming out from hiding, pulling her head out o fthe sand, it makes all of that too hard to live with.

"Stop trying to tell me what to think!" Her fingers wind into her hair, boots scraping into the dirt heavily. By now people have stopped moving the debris into organized piles, started coming over to see what's the matter, what this wiry man is doing that's making Colette shout.

"Hey, you alright?" One of the relief workers asks, moving over towards Colette, but for his effort all he gets is a baleful stare from the blind girl and a sudden flicker-snap of white light that erupts between her and him, causing the young man to jerk back covering his eyes with a yelp.

"Leave me alone!" When the bright light fades, neither Felix nor the people around see Colette anywhere. Sparkling motes of light flicker and crackle in the air where she was standing, a few sputtering out of existance in their short lived illumination. But she's gone. Murmuring sounds erupt around the crowd, and eyes begin to fall on Felix.

This is why Felix Ivanov has cats.

One Special Agent Ivanov doesn't even have cats. Glock and Ingram are currently getting fat on palmetto bugs and crabs in the sandy environs of Sarasota, Florida, and shedding contentedly all over Felix's mother's furniture. He has a grumpy cop lover, and that about tops out his emotional assets. Welcome to the glamourous life of an FBI agent.

"«Shit.»" Felix says, in his native tongue, letting his shirt fall. It didn't help that he also exposed the pistol riding by one sharp hip. The crowd is undergoing that grumbling transformation into a lynch mob, and Larson steps up, that crucial foot or so too close. "What did you do?" he demands, as Felix takes a stumbling pace back. He's already regretting his outburst - he could've found out where Gray and Ruskin were holing up. "Nothing! I told her the truth about some people she thought were her friends. You have to tell her to keep away from Gabriel Gray. He's a murderer, and if she tries to confront him about it, he'll kill her, too." He's white-faced and sweating.

Larson's brows furrow slightly, breath sucking in through his nose as he looks over his shoulder, "Mary, go see if you can find her around anywhere." His focus turns back to Felix, "I think you've said enough today," it's perhaps a little more firm after having seen the holstered gun. "Why don't you just go back wherever you came from, and give the girl some peace, alright? We're just tryin' to get some work done around here." He waves one hand, motioning down the road from the Lighthouse.

"Get out of here," which would usually be followed by before I call the cops, but this is Staten Island, and irony of ironies — Felix is the cops. "If she comes back, if she wants to talk to you, I'm sure she knows how. Now you probably best be going…"

There's a little spark of madness he carries with him, and it all but flares into life here. Fel doesn't look like anyone trustworthy, he's got the wild-eyed expression of someone who should be pounding a pulpit and and warning his parishioners about the wrath of the LORD. But he sucks in a series of ragged breaths, lifts his hands in a gesture meant to placate, and just nods, silently. ANd then he turns on a heel, shoulders hunched, and heads back down the path he came by.

Several yards away, crouched down beside a tractor parked near one of the debris piles, the hunched form of a young girl flickers into reality in a shimmer of a heat mirage. She wraps her arms around her legs, head pressing against her knees as those last sharp words she shouted to Felix run through her head over and over again. When she looks up, eyes focused on the agent as he dejectedly starts walking down the trail between the saltgrass to the Lighthouse, she exhales a ragged, strangled sob and presses her forehead back down to her knees.

Just when she thought she had pulled her head out of the sand and was looking around, she got the rude awakening that she'd only driven her head deeper into the ostrich hole.

It's a rude awakening.

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