On Improbability


cat2_icon.gif colette_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title On Improbability
Synopsis Demonstrative improbability: fig.A; Lazzaro, Vincent. fig.B; Varlane, Magnes. fig.C; Chesterfield, Cat.
Date May 10, 2010

The Lighthouse

The sound of sleet has been clicking against the windows of the Lighthouse nearly all day. A constant ticking clatter that joins the howl of wind that creaks and groans with stress put on the refurbished old structure. Groaning as it is, the Lighthouse survived Arthur Petrelli's nuclear fire, it will survive one angry storm and the others to come.

Contrasting to the noise of the sleet, the sound of a popping fire burning low in the hearth is comforting. To the one young woman curled up beneath three layers of quilts and comforters on the sofa, the glow of the fire is a comforting distraction from the chill permeating out through the walls. Tasha Oliver's presence there used to be joined by one other, but the rumpled end of the blankets and depression in the couch coushions where Colette Nichols once sat has good reason to be vacated.

Standing by the door, she's doing her level best to avoid the ice and snow sloughed off of the winter jacket and arctic survival gear worn by an unusually late-night guest. Catherine Chesterfield isn't a regular here at the Lighthouse, nor are callers visiting that are looking for — of all people — Gillian.

"I— Gilly went up to bed about… half hour ago? She's been exhausted the last couple of days with the kids running her ragged. I mean, if it's important I can go see if I can wake her up," the young woman turns, offering a look first to Tasha on the sofa,then deeper into the ground floor of the Lighthouse, where the lights in the kitchen are still on and the scent of apple and cinnamon clings heavily to the air. Why Magnes Varlane thinks to bake at 9:30 at night is as unlikely a mystery to be answered as any of his other odd proclivities. But at least this one smells fantastic.

"Come on in," Colette says in quiet tone to Cat, "I'll put on some tea or coffee or somethin' an' go listen and hear if Gillian's just laying down or if she's passed out. You could stay here the night if you really need her, I mean…" padding in socked feet a few paces from the door, Colette runs her hands through her hair in idle nervousness. "It'd probably be better than trying to make it back to Manhattan anyway, right?"

While the visit is unexpected, it's not outside of the realm of plausibility. What comes later, however, that's the kicker.

"I wasn't sure she was even in the city," Cat admits as she crosses the door's plane and further inward so Colette can close it. "Coffee's very good," she adds. There's no commentary on why she chose to set out from Manhattan so late. She simply did. "Thanks, Colette." Thick gloves and parka are the order of the day, along with a few layers under the coat, her face mostly hidden by the raised and drawn hood which she only lowers once inside.

Shivering a little at the cold air that comes through with the open door, Tasha glances up from where she sketches on a sketch pad one of the older kids gave to her. She smiles and gives a wave to Cat. "Hey, Maverick," she teases, having been impressed with the other woman's helicopter piloting not so long ago — so, Top Gun wasn't about helicopters. She's short on helicopter allusions. The sketch is of Juniper, who posed for it earlier, but a half dozen of the pages in the sketch pad are already full of likenesses of Colette, in various poses and postures.

No amount of insulation is likely to completely keep out cold of the kind currently crusting itself over the city layer after icy layer. There are cracks under doors. Loose panes in windows. Uncaulked crevaces and open chimneys.

Presumably the same sorts of weaknesses an entity less solid than solid could utilize to gain silent entry after hours.

This one coalesces at the join of living area and entry, straight shoulders wreathed in sooty smoke that furls noxious on the fringes of his first breath. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5'8", balding and in need of a shave, Vincent is in a suit because he's always in a suit, warm grey, crisp white shirt and dusky pyrite tie offset by the altogether blacker set of his overcoat on his shoulders. And gloves. Leather, eliminating both fingerprints and fiber evidence in one. He looks pretty dapper for someone dead center in a wintery apocalypse, all things considered. Maybe it's Department regulation.

"Coffee would be excellent," agreed without fanfare, he sizes Colette and Cat up with a brackish squint, back to the living room. And the couch. And his daughter.

Magnes is in the kitchen, baking a pie. Though right now he's just watching it. "Come sail away, come sail away! Come sail away with me, lad!" He's also singing and dancing with a mop. That is, until he looks out from the kitchen upon hearing a voice that causes a sudden rush of blood to pump through his brain.

The muppet part of the mop is quickly snapped off, and the next thing the girls know, there's a gravity enhanced stick quickly flying through the air, aiming for Vincent's chest. "What the hell do you think you're doing here?!" he asks as he marches from the kitchen, wearing a dark blue shirt with the white letters 'Bobolina' and a <3 after it, and some blue jeans and black snow boots.

"Well, she wasn't," Colette admits with a wrinkle of her nose, walking from the front door and past the sofa on her toes. "She just got back from Vegas a few days ago. I dunno like, how the whole jet leg thing works, maybe that's what's got her all tired n'stuff." Brows creased together, Colette offers a look down to Tasha and a small smile. "Oh hey ah you— "

—oh hey that's Vincent Lazzaro isn't it? —

The sound of cognitive dissonance rattling around in Colette's head sounds something like shrieking lemures leaping from branch to branch in some Costa Rican jungle. It's noisy, it's unfortunate, and it makes little sense, just like what she just saw happen right in front of her eyes. "Ahh— hh— ha— how're— " lips move dumbly with mixtures of indignation and confusion, she can't be certain whether to be mad that Vincent invited himself in or startled that he even knew where to look. Mouthing a few more unspoken words, one of them winds up hissing out as part of a mop goes airborne towards Vincent. There's really not a log Colette can do about that except slap her hands ineffectually and frantically at Magnes' shoulder. "Whatareyoudoing!?" is blurted out in a very quick cadence as well. You do not greet guests with murder, that is for crazy people.

Strike one, Magnes.

Her lips are moving, sound is about to come from them in reply to Colette, maybe even to float a question. Like how does a person get to Vegas and back in all this frozen di-hydrogen monoxide? It dies unvoiced by the distinctive tones of a smoke man coalescing nearby, her attention shifting toward that man. "Agen…"

Once again Cat's voice cuts off prior to emitting a complete word, attention drawn away by the PieMan and his sudden flung broomstick. There's a thought to quickly apply Krav Maga moves and kick it from the air, but she realizes such a thing isn't necessary. The man can, and likely will, turn to smoke.

She instead surveys the collection of people present, including Magnes and Tasha, before finally speaking words. "Magnes, really. You brought a broom to a smoke fight?" Her head shakes. "It's interesting to see you this evening, Agent Lazzaro."

Is she unflappable, or is she just really good at covering?

Tasha's eyes had dropped to her sketch, trying to get just the right expression on Juniper's angelic face when she hears the familiar voice. Her pencil freezes and only her eyes move, to see if she's hearing things or if her father really did just enter the Lighthouse on the proverbial heels of Cat Chesterfield.

The hurling of a mop handle at the man has those brown eyes, so like his, widening and she drops the sketchpad to jump to her feet — she hadn't decided just what she'd do once on her feet, but apparently it's not meant to be: the quilts and comforters tumble down around her ankles so that when she moves toward the entryway, she stumbles and trips, landing on hands and knees, bruising both along with her ego as she stares up like a deer caught in the headlights. So much for Colette's plan.

Dark brows twitched down towards a knit at Colette's stuttering, rather as if she's the one being rude here, Vincent doesn't have much more than a beat for eyes of pitch to tick sideways after Magnes's advance. And for as little time as he has to have an expression, much less for it to register for everyone else, it's difficult to mistake the depths of his irritation.

Many things happen at once. Predictably, Magnes's stick cracks itself harmlessly off of whatever happens to be at Vincent's aft. Most likely a wall. Vapor streamers after it and outward, rippling into a sizeable hole in the fading agent's midsection in the second or so it takes him to pull himself back together. You know.


Knuckles crack somewhere in one of his fists once he has — the only concession to a minor bout of chaos that ends with his daughter falling noisily to all fours somewhere behind him. He twists warily — turns just his upper body to look dead at her, eyes blacker than she's previously had the privilege of seeing them — and then turns back. Curiosity evidently satisfied.

"Who's 'Bobolina?'" inquired blandly of Magnes in turn, probably still with Colette slapping at him, Vincent eyes him only for as long as it takes to determine he's not going to have to dodge anything else in the next two seconds. Then, finally, Cat has his full attention. "Interesting is one word for it. Can we speak privately?"

"What?" Magnes, with all the rage and murder in his eyes, and a Colette flailing at him, suddenly extends an arm to try and make some space between him and the younger girl, then looks down at his shirt. "Oh. From Bobo in White Wooden Houses." He's… a bit disoriented at the moment, not even sure what to do next, but apparently no one's in favor of murder. "That evil bastard's standing in the middle of our living room, there's children here. If no one's putting a bullet in his head, you better all have a damned good reason."

There's a push of Colette's hands against Magnes's houlders, just a little shove to show her considerable displeasure at what just happened. "I can't believe you just did that," she rasps through clenched teeth in a too angry to be quiet whisper, green eyes wide as she stares up at Magnes. "Are you crazy? Shut— shut up. Stop talking, he's— shut up. Go— go upstairs, just— get out of here— what if that hit him!?" She's trying, she's honestly trying to keep her voice down with all the people that are sleeping. But Magnes, Magnes is out of his mind.

"Go— " the teen steps to the side and points to the stairs, "go upstairs, let me handle this." One black brow twitches, green eyes still wide. "If you're going to— I— I don't even know. Just get out of here. Please." From the sharp quality of her voice, the tightness at her throat and the square setting of her jaw it's obvious that Colette's honestly angry.

Rubbing one hand at her forehead in trembling agitation, stumble-stepping over herself as she moves away from Magnes and over towards where Tasha tripped and fell over. Hands shaking, Colette crouches down by Tasha's side and wraps an arm around her shoulders, gesture somewhere between protective and comforting, letting her other hand come to rest at the closer shoulder in squeeze.

Those wide, worried green eyes affix on Vincent silently, and it's very much the deer in a headlights expression that Tasha's wearing, tinged with something more pleadingly apologetic; forgive Magnes, he was raised by raccoons. Maybe not quite like that.

"He's not so hostile as you might think, Magnes," Cat assures. She's still oblivious that Tasha is the agent's spawn, standing there with eyes moving from one person to another while continuing to assess the situation. Tasha, Cat decides, is perhaps some fugitive from DoEA that Magnes seeks to protect, even while Colette appears to believe she needs nonesuch. Poise continues to rule, while the events may be of a type to promote stress, they certainly don't compare to hearing her girlfriend scream from Ethan's tortures, having to leg it after thermiting a lethal virus, facing Arthur Petrelli, or hearing the clock run out on a nuclear detonation.

"Certainly, Agent Lazzaro," she calmly agrees, eyes seeking such a place and body moving to go there.

Once back up on her feet, Tasha's brows furrow — he came to speak with Cat, who doesn't even live here at present? Did he follow her from the city? Why? Why not talk to her there? The questions pile up and she can't seem to find her voice to even ask the most basic one — What are you doing here — or to offer any sort of explanation for why she's here, why she lied on the telephone, how she's with these people, one of which is trying to kill him.

"Please," she adds, finally able to make a sound and it's aimed at Magnes of all people. Please, quit trying to kill her father; if anyone should have that honor, it should be Tasha.

She gives a slight shake of her head in disbelief, eyes narrowed with hurt and confusion, with a touch of regret still for the unkind words she'd said last. Her arms wrap around herself and she backs up to sit on the sofa, watching Cat lead her father to discuss whatever he has followed her here, of all places, to discuss.

'Evil bastard,' mouthed and brows lifted in appreciatively incredulous echo of Magnes's assessment, as if he's flattered but not entirely sure he's worthy of the title, Vincent sidesteps neatly to fall into place with the pace Cat sets. Probably to wherever she chooses to set it short of back into the fireplace or off a cliff.

Like this isn't already treacherous enough territory to begin with.

He keeps an eye on Magnes as he goes and looks only briefly down the opposite direction after Tasha and Colette. It's too fleeting a thing for much to be read into it, but he doesn't look happy.

"What if it hit him?" Magnes asks as if Colette is the crazy one, starting to head to the stairs as instructed. "He'd be dead, and the world would be a much better place." Then, Cat possibly earns the first sharp look he's ever given her. "Not as hostile as I might think? He kidnapped me and ruined my goddamned life! The only reason I haven't ripped his heart out right now is because I don't wanna have to explain it to the children."

Strike Two, Magnes.

"Magnes." Colette tenses up as she looks back over at Tasha on the sofa, then walks over to where he's standing, whispering sharply to him again, though a bit more restrained than before. "I said go upstairs not be an immature little shit." Her arms tremble, fingers give a twitch, and Colette flicks her eyes to the kitchen, then back to Magnes. "That's not a request and you don't know what you're talking about." Green eyes are wide, fingers curling at the sleeves of her sweater. "For— once just— shut up right now please and go upstairs." She's trying to remain calm about this. "Don't come back down either, I'll— take care of the pie." As if that's somehow a concern still.

Offering a look over to Vincent and Cat, Colette's mortified expression shows strain at her patience. "It— it's safer to talk downstairs…" though she has trouble vocalizing the comment at first, a few abortive starts because she's afraid of the sound of her own voice in this instance. "Laundry room— " she motions towards the hall beside the stairs, then looks back to Magnes sharply, disapprovingly.

"Ruined your life?" Cat asks in a dry and quiet voice, eyes briefly settled on Magnes. "Yes, you've suffered. But you have the comfort of knowing the people taken along with you are still alive. The one kidnapped with me, by the Vanguard, isn't." There's a subtle character to her expression then, and a flash to her eyes, of pain and rage which she won't let rule her.

There's no further debate or commentary on the subject from Cat. Silence is kept until she reaches that laundry room and grants the currently solid agent her attention.

The word 'kidnapped' draws another shake of Tasha's head, and the younger Lazzaro is suddenly on her feet. There is a strangled sound as she chokes back a sob, rushing past Magnes for the stairs. The footfalls ascend rapidly, and patter down a hall overhead until the opening and the dull thud of a door closing — she has the presence of mind not to slam it with sleeping orphans in the house! — can be heard.

There…Vincent has to pause. Something about kidnapping, for whatever reason, in this current setting, with his daughter watching from somewhere within these many, many commas, draws him up into a halt that is the worst kind of quiet. Dangerously quiet, that is. Poisonously.

Somewhere he isn't looking because he's looking at Magnes — behind him, or to his left — the pitter patter of Tasha's feet winds up the stairs into a solid


and he's left to work his lower jaw only somewhat successfully out of its clamp. His eyes are dark. So is most everything else about him. "Try," he says (patiently) "to keep in mind that Dr. Chesterfield and I are technically the only people on this island with enough security clearance to know what you're talking about." And then to Colette, an even milder, "It's fine," before he crosses the treshold into the laundry room.

"Yeah, well, revenge is the closest thing to a religion I have, since being Christian just makes me think of Abby." Then, when Vincent speaks up again, Magnes just raises a hand, and flips him the bird. "Go to hell." he casually suggests, before heading upstairs.

Colette's just staring, staring at the bottom of the starewell, staring with lips parted and shoulders slacked, brows lifted and eyes wide. Her jaw gives one small tremble of emotion at the sound Tasha makes, before Colette does her level best to try and reel it all in. Her throat tightens, she swallows noisily, and green eyes level up to Magnes's back with the one thing the can't just try and will down, and that's the glassy reflection of emotion misting her stare.

"Asshole," Colette sharply delivers in hippocritic lack of maturity after Magnes has left, one hand rubbing at the side of her head, brows furrowed and teeth worrying enough at her lower lip to leave little red dimpling marks. While her approach looks to be stairward, it winds up diverging at the last minute, towards the narrow hallway between wall and stairs that leads towards the cramped confines of the laundry room, which is little more than a spacious closer where a washer and dryer has been shoved and a few feet of space. Colette walks to the doorway, breathing in deeply and offering a strained look to Cat, not at the brunette but more in a can you believe that moment.

Lowering her head and lifting one hand, Colette massages forefingers and thumb at her eyes, using the stressed motion to dry them and try and visibly express her own exasperation. The teen does not say anything, though neither does she explain her own presence, she just noses in to the conversation like she belongs. It's easier than the alternative at the moment, and better to try and find out an explanation to give to Tasha once she's got her crying out. It's easier to be responsible for someone else's emotions when you've got control of your own, presumably.

In that glorified closet populated with mechanical objects, Cat awaits Vincent. She allows herself to muse for a moment upon Magnes. The phrase that enters her mind is spoken under her breath. "Such an excitable boy." Which in turn causes her brain to call up a Warren Zevon tune by that name. Colette, when she appears in the doorway, is greeted by a calm expression, one which suggests she's a bit adrift in memory. Or was.

Whatever the case, she makes no objection to Colette's presence. Even if only for lack of desire to be seen as meeting secretly with such a man as this.

"I need to know what you're doing about the situation with the weather," Vincent wastes no time, outwardly even less ruffled by essentially being forced into clandestine conversation in a glorified closet than he was by his daughter flouncing off about a kidnapping incident just now. Jesus Christ, Mondays. Colette's presence doesn't go unnoticed either — he looks at her like he expects she shouldn't be listening and goes on all the same. "And I need to know why it hasn't already been done."

Leaning her shoulder against the doorframe, Colette looks from Cat to Vincent wordlessly, her black brows furrowed and nose scrunched up in a thoughtful expression for a moment. There's a look to Cat, one that implies she isn't entirely in the dark on this thanks to their conversation, before squaring a look back to Vincent that's a bit more studious than it is confused. Cat's the one with the answers on this one, and Colette does her level best to stay behind the conversational line for now.

"We've formed a plan," Cat begins, "which is why I came here. A person key to it is present in this place. Once that person has agreed, we'll pull it all together with Liette and people who can alter weather. As to why it hasn't been done yet, we've just gotten Liette to agree on helping."

A pause there.

"We want the snow gone as much as anyone. None of us enjoy living in the Antarctic. I should tell you," Cat adds, "Liette told us the Institute has invented a drug they call Amp, which enhances powers in those using it. We don't have Amp. But we do have an amplifier."

"So you're not actually reuniting them." Probably an unnecessary clarification to make. The fact that Vincent still hasn't quite managed to unlock his jaw enough for words to fit through cleanly doesn't help, and there's a hint of attitude in the way his eyes roll briefly ceilingwards while he stifles something in himself with a slower breath than the one before it.

"I appreciate the information, and I'm not here to break your balls about methodology," but. The inevitable but. It's silent for a short time while he looks at Colette, who is also silent and roundabout his daughter's age and close to her. Apparently. Vincent forces himself to blink irritably back into focus. "But people are dying. And if I have to come back here again, it won't be to talk."
One black brow arches at Cat's commentary, and Colette's voice hitches in the back of her throat. "Sheridan," she practically chokes out given that Vincent wasn't talking about methodology. "I— D— Doctor Sheridan, when— when she kidnapped me for— for the experiments," there's a tension that runs down Colette's spine, makes her stand up straight and makes her neck tense visibly, this is more for Cat than anything, but she's excitable and anxious and feels the need to babble.

"She— she injected me something that turned black when it was mixed. She— it— " green eyes warily lock on Vincent, then settle back on Cat. "It made my ability freak out, I— cut right through her MRI machine, then blacked out." Those wide green eyes flick back to Vincent again, and her tongue flashes out to wet her lips.

She shouldn't, in allr ights, trust him. But the fact that she knows he's Tasha's father engenders her to him in ways that may not, ultimately, be healthy for she or Tasha. The benefit of the doubt, at least, seems to be offered to him whether reputation says he deserves it or not. After all, she is friends with Sylar, good judgement calls aren't always her strong suit.

"It— it was a mixture of two things. Refrain, and— and something else. I dunno what it was, but I know Refrain glows blue, and that's what she stuck me with, then whatever she added went all freaky. I— " Colette's voice catches in the back of her throat, arms wrap tightly around herself and she ducks her head down. This isn't the topic they're trying to discuss.

"We know," Cat replies in full seriousness, not that she's very often other than serious. "We hear you loud and clear, Agent Lazzaro." Eyes rest on the man as she speaks and for some seconds after, before shifting to Colette. No words are used regarding that piece of information, if she intends to do so it's probably only after Mr. Smoke has departed. But it clearly doesn't make her happy to hear the Company maybe had a hand in developing Amp and giving it to the Institute. Or that there's another link to Pinehearst raising its ugly beak.

"Okay," says Vincent, eyes glinting like obsidian flints in the dim light of the laundry room between them. They know. So long as they do.

Meanwhile Colette's tumbling information dump bears thinking about. Unfortunately, time is short and he has a lot of things to think about. None of them pleasant. He just looks at her, expression inscrutible beyond a faintly worried downturn of one brow. Worry about further kidnapping. Worry about the scenario described. Worry about Sheridan. He doesn't know her. "First name?" asked without inflection or emotion, he's already in the process of taking a step back.

"Bella. I— I was told she works for something called the Company. I dunno any more, 'cept that she's still out there somewhere. I got pictures of her and stuff, if— if you need it. It'd take me a day to get 'em, I dunno where the phone I sent 'em to is." It's a bit off, to be cooperating like this, colluding would be the better term. Colette bows her head, looks up and over to Cat, then flicks her stare to Vincent again anxiously, as if not quite trusting enough to keep him only in her periphery.

"It's just speculation," Cat mutters, "to say whatever Sheridan gave you was Amp, Colette. But it would certainly fit, and it that's the stuff she either gave it to the Institute or to someone else who did." She doesn't say it, but she's very glad to have a Gillian to counter Amp, in conjunction with anyone else who can be brought to bear.

"I'll look into it," is more of a wary statement of fact than a promise. Vincent lingers for moment, blackly tangible for as long as it takes to say, "I'm glad we're on the same page."

Sublimation from there is less dramatic than his initial arrival. Rather than fade to vapor he appears to be cloaked in it, murky stuff that obscures quickly and efficiently like magician's smoke concealing a trapdoor. Once it's gone, so is he.

Tensing up when Vincent sublimates into that ephemeral cloud of smoke, Colette twists to follow his movement, but is ultimately unable to track him as fast as he moves. There's a look of startle in her eyes, unsurprisingly so, and when she finally addresses Cat again, it's calmer than she looked after trying to deal with Magnes earlier. She'll have to thank Eileen for this assignment later, perhaps by letting Jupiter shit on her favorite carpet. Maybe.

"I'll get you some blankets…" Colette offers tiredly, more so than she was before. This might well be the first night in a while where she goes to sleep before midnight. "I'm— sorry the only free space we have is the couch. It's comfortable, but… you— you'll get woken up early when Gillian comes downstairs." She steps out of the laundry room at that, arms wrapped around herself and eyes alight to the stairs.

"Gillian can talk to you in the morning… and…" Colette turns to look back over her shoulder to Cat, brows furrowed and teeth toying at her lower lip. "I should too." But first, she has to take care of Tasha.Given what happened tonight, it's not surprising how things line up there.

Her priority number one.

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