Personal Space


calvin_icon.gif nora_icon.gif

Scene Title Personal Space
Synopsis There are robots afoot in Midtown and Calvin's a little late in deciding to enforce some distance (or something?) in the bedroom area.
Date February 16, 2011

Calvin's Apartment

The bed has become an unusual workspace — a street map of Manhattan is unfolded, Sharpie-red circles around three locations forming a triangle of sorts on the paper's grid; several other spots have been marked in a blue marker with numbers written in above each. Calvin's laptop is open in front of the teen who lies on her stomach, arms and chest on top of two pillows as she types.

Dressed for bed in just a long t-shirt, Nora's lean legs bend upward behind her, fidgeting as she works. Her ankles lazily scissor every few moments, then one foot drops onto the mattress before kicking up behind her again, toes bouncing up and down in time to the music on the radio — tonight it's Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows."

The screen is open to Google's street view of the same locations, and she scribbles down notes on a legal pad in an uneven and messy scrawl, chewing on the pen when she moves to another of the locations.

More formally attired in a pair of vaguely old-fashioned blue buttondown pajamas and bare feet and wild orange hair, Calvin treads through from kitchen to bathroom. He's still brushing his teeth as he goes, tar and coffee and vodka stink scrubbed away into wintergreen save for a touch of the latter that stays on his breath once he's spat thickly down into the sink.

Beard scrubbed clear of sudsy dribble and nails filed after a squint after the state of them, he finally clicks the bathroom light off and pads back to the bed across cold baseboards. More worn out than he looks like he wants to be, circles 'round his eyes retained with guyliner while he dithers over where to sit and finally sinks down into whatever empty span appears most convenient.

"Looking good, over there." May or may not be intentionally double entendre.

The pen being chewed upon is removed from Nora's mouth as she looks up with a smile. The radio's volume drops a touch now that he's out of the bathroom; she tends to play it a little loudly when she's alone — perhaps merely because she can.

Nora pushes up off the pillows, tossing them back up toward the headboard, near her feet. "I can think of a couple of options, if we want to do anything proactive," she says, legs swinging around as she moves into a seated position, reaching for the map to show him. "Just remember Hana has the same information, so, you know." She waves a hand vaguely. Her eyes lift to study his face. "You look beat. I'll clear all this off for you," she says softly, a little worry in her voice before reaching for the laptop, the pens, the notepad.

"Yeh. A lot've the lab techies are buckled down under the dome. So." Less with having vodka pong and sex in exam rooms and more doing exams in exam rooms. Bunches of them. No medical ones, naturally.

Seeing as Doctor Agent Calvin Rosen lacks the necessary credentials.

Near arm hooked with lazy familiarity around her waist once she's up next to him, he takes the map in hand to study it more seriously than most might expect, genuine interest glittering scalpel-like behind the cut of his eyes left to right. Top to bottom.

"She won't do anything with it," is spoken with quiet confidence. Not enough of a concern for him to spare much more than a twitched brow after the idea of competitive intervention. Then she's reaching to clear away the laptop and everything else, leaving him to sit with his map and his legs over the side of the bed, bony toes splayed long and wide. "What kinds of options?"

The laptop is carefully stowed on a nearby table; pens and legal pad dumped less ceremoniously so. One Sharpie falls and rolls on the bare floor until it butts up against the wall. Nora leans her head on Calvin's shoulder, dark head against ginger, as she studies the map.

"Maybe. But just in case. Don't do anything unless you know it's clear," she says, pulling the t-shirt over her knees absentmindedly.

"We could possibly take out those locations, but it'd take a lot of effort, resources and people to get all of them at once. Doubt that's possible," Nora muses. "I could possibly confuse them with a signal, get them to the same place maybe, but I haven't figured it out yet." She chews her lower lip.

Dark eyes lift from the map to study his face. "I don't know if it's the same after curfew or not," she adds, eyebrows rising.

"I've got a loose end or two to tie up before I make m'move." Muttery ends that he is evidently not interested in elaborating on: he rolls the map carefully into a cylinder upon committing the basics to memory and leans to set it after everything else on the desk.

"She tends to think in straight lines, anyway." Implication being it won't get her far. Not with technopathy failsafes already built in here and there. Trapdoors around the kill switch and so on. Unless she intends to judo chop them to death —

Sit adjusted such that he's able to drag the sheets back behind him after a beat spent staring too intently at the far wall, Calvin shuffles himself halfway into bed proper. "You know I'm the last person to make a fuss about you staying out after bedtime."

Her lips curve into a smile that's first fond and then a bit chagrined. "I know," she says, lifting her chin to graze her lips along his scruffy chin, breath warm against his neck before she shifts enough to tuck her feet under the sheets.

She glances to the window, and back to him. "I'm just a little unsure of myself," she admits, white teeth catching on her lower lip. It's a hard confession to make. "I guess it's not that different…" she adds, but she sighs. She's different.

One hand moves to press along his spine from waist upward, pressure intended to ease the tension that she can see etched into him. At the nape of his neck, her fingers curl in dreadlocks. "I can't decide if I want to go back to the island or not," she murmurs in another confession. "I don't want to get sick."

Calvin's quick to swallow against contact at her lead, breath gone a bit uneasily shivery at not-quite-kiss so that he fumbles his shabby blankets with one leg out and the other in. Not shy by a longshot — but subtly, similarly discombulated such that he he doesn't immediately helicopter his other foot up into bed with him.

And she's talking, meanwhile, to make matters worse — serious sort of conversation that he has to backtrack to parse once he's unset his teeth and blinked back into awareness. Of everything.

Of course, by then she's touching him again. "I could probably," he's saying, then, without hearing himself all that clearly, "make a vaccine vanish from work — "

Seemingly, she doesn't notice that shivery breath, that disorientation that her touch has cast over him, for her fingers curl and uncurl lightly at his neck even as what he offers registers. She bites her lower lip before nodding, assent and gratitude rolled into one.

"Thanks," she murmurs, dark lashes dropping with the volume of her voice.

It's hard for her to ask for things, and harder to thank people for them.

The hand at his neck moves to his cheek, fingers feathering over his steep brow and thumb following the curve of his jaw as her eyes lift again. "I also like it here with you, you know," she adds in yet a softer, shyer tone.

"Yeh," says Calvin, which is kind've like 'you're welcome,' only more awkward, especially with her in such close proximity when he runs his tongue past his teeth and swallows dry. "Well, you know — with everyone in such a scramble they'll hardly notice if — one — goes," the breaks are for him to re-situate himself slightly, tension rolling in lean cables beneath her touch.

"Missing. You're welcome to stay as long as you like, of course."

"The Ferry's supposed to do a vaccine raid sometime. I said I'd help but I don't know how long it'll be, and if I come into contact with them before getting a vaccine, which one wins out, virus or vaccine?" she asks with a shrug. "I'm stronger than last time I had it, but."

But. She wrinkles her nose. "Have you had the vaccine? I imagine they gave it to all you freaks working for the Man." She smirks a little at the the idea of unconventional Calvin in the government's ranks and files, fingers brushing across his cheek to tug one of his dreadlocks playfully.

"S'mandatory," mutters Calvin in the beat just before he turns his head and plants a hand splayed at her shoulder to push her back a bit from all the touching. He looks guilty nearly as soon as he's done it, automatic reinforcement of — meager propriety in tandem with knuckles bleaching white against blanket and another shift that threatens to vomit him all the way back out of bed again.

"Ahm," he says. Blank. Ahm.

Her hand drops, immediately, fingers curling inward — not so much into a fist, not at all offensive but rather a defensive, self-conscious turtling into her palm. Her cheeks flush and she looks away, brows furrowing for a moment before she mutters something that sounds like sorry. She's all limbs for a moment as she clambers over the bed herself to stand, bare feet landing on the floor to move away.

Apparently toward the kitchen for a drink of water. A cup is pulled from a cupboard that thuds closed again; the water faucet's handle shoved for a full-force stream of water, the cup drained with a few swallows as she stares straight ahead.

'Fuck,' mouthed silently to the suddenly empty portion of the room dedicated to bedspace, Calvin echoes another more emphatic 'fuck!!' once the water starts running, halcyon eyes forced shut for the time it makes him to shuffle the rest of the way out of bed. He catches, trips. Drags blankets up after him into a stand so that he can utilize them as a makeshift cover for his lap region once he's back up on bare feet.


"Sorry," he's already saying aloud. "I didn't mean – “

An audible swallow finishes the last of the water and the cup is set down with a clink on the counter. She stares down into the sink for a moment, tension riding in her shoulders as she grips the counter. "I know."

Well, she doesn't, really. There's a lot of things he may not have meant — and only one thing he might have, and while she can figure out some of the things he didn't mean (to hurt her, mostly), she can't know the latter unless he tells her.

Nora sighs, shoving her hair out of her face before turning around. Her dark eyes focus on his toes. "It's okay," she adds. "I get it."

Her eyes move up to his for a moment. "You should go to bed. You're tired. I'll sleep on the couch so I don't kick you again tonight. I didn't realize I was such a restless sleeper." Her words are light, a slight smile thrown in to make them all the lighter, flippant and casual as she makes to move past him.

"Right," says Calvin, who fails to look or sound all that convinced that kicking has anything to do with his current predicament. A sharp intake of breath quashes into a waste when he sighs it away a few seconds later. Apologetic. And flustered. "All the kicking."

Voice trailed into quiet once more, he rocks his weight slowly from one foot to the other. Blanket in hand, shoulders hunched. "You're just – young?" is what he has to say, at long length. Young. Yeah!! "Young," he reiterates, more gently. Or tries to sound more gentle. Success uncertain, even by his distracted read. "Younger than me. And also I have some things going on. Like, problems." He hesitates, eye contact wavered off course under another rolling wave of unease. "Mental ones."

"Young," Nora repeats the word in that same tone before going on, "is relative. I don't expect to live long, you know? Even middle-aged would be pretty miraculous." The words are cynical, matter-of-fact as she stops in her path to look up at him. But his confession of mental problems has her shame melting into worry for him instead, and she reaches to take his hand, fingers interlacing as she steps closer, head tipping to try to intercept his off-course gaze.

"Cal?" she says softly, wounded pride shoved aside. "What's wrong? Do you want to talk about it?"

Calvin shakes his head too quickly — emphatic. No desire to talk about it. Already irritated that he's said anything at all, free hand scuffed down across his mouth so that his teeth show in a grin that's probably less reassuring than it's meant to be.

"It's complicated," he says. Predictably. "…I should sleep."

Nora nods, letting go of his hand to wrap her arms around herself. "All right." It's offered in that same neutral tone that suggests that nothing really is, despite the words themselves. That tone that shows she is trying to be mature and understanding while trying to cover up the fact she's hurt.

Somehow, despite her new found vision, life has gotten less clear in the past week.

Her gaze drops and she moves forward swiftly, angling to peck his cheek lightly. Platonically. Chastely.

"Sleep well," she whispers, then swiftly moves toward the couch to make good on her promise.

So rarely at a loss for something to say, Calvin's left to teeter uncertainly at his bedside after the kiss. Which is very chaste — good on her — so much so that it sort've grinds the salt in once he's rankled his nose after her retreat and shut his eyes again. Perpetual enemies with impulse.

He does think to say, "You too," which is nice, if a little embarrassing. Mainly for him.

Five minutes pass. Then ten. And at some point after that he's separated from his blanket (and the rest of his bed) to sidle self-consciously over to the couch to slither onto it with her instead.

As platonically as two people can try to sleep on a ratty couch together.

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