Prescription Jazz


bryan_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif peter2_icon.gif

Scene Title Rx Jazz
Synopsis Odessa takes a break from her work only to discover Bryan in her room. Peter comes by to tell her to get back to work.
Date October 21, 2008

Primatech Research - Odessa's Quarters

It's early evening, long after Bryan has finished his to-do list for the day. For some reason or another, listening to jazz, as is his music of choice when working in his office, hasn't cut it, and Bryan has found the need to infiltrate Odessa's room to play her harpsichord. Where the music would normally be propped lies an empty orange prescription bottle.

Bryan's fingers dance over the keys of the double boarded instrument, pulling an upbeat melody more suited to horns, a bass guitar, and a piano than to this relic of Bach and other such Dead White Men. It's not a standard, but something of Bryan's own sloppy composition, consisting of tributes to men who dedicated their lives to creation rather than destruction.

Odessa is surprised to hear the sounds of her own harpsichord from within her room as she stands in the hallway, fumbling with her keys. She blinks several times and looks first to her left, then to her right down the empty corridor. She frowns and shoves her keys into the pocket of her white coat, making sure her hands are free as she tests the knob and then pushes open her door.

In the doorway, the blonde woman holds eerily still for a moment as it would appear she's processing the scene in front of her. "Agent Buckley?" Doctor Knutson flexes her fingers at her sides restlessly, leaving the door open behind her yet. "What are you doing here?" The question of how he got in remains unasked. She's sure there's a reasonable explanation that doesn't amount to breaking and entering.

So much of Bryan's job is breaking and entering and in such a way that is undetectable. What was Cab Calloway's "Hi De Ho Man" slips into something slower and, dare it be done on such a pristine instrument, dirtier. Rather than answer Odessa, Bryan closes his eyes and starts to speak-sing, his baritone voice in sharp contrast to the quality of the sound coming from the harpsichord. "Folks, here's the story 'bout Minnie the Moocher. She was a red hot hoooooochie cooher. She was the roughest, toughest frail, but Minnie had a heart as big as a whaaaaaaale."

Odessa slowly breaks into a grin, leaving the door only slightly ajar behind her now as she moves further into the room. She watches the man's fingers dance over the keys of her treasured instrument for a long moment, taking in the alien sounds of jazz on an instrument not built to even understand the pre-conception of the invention. Then, her eyes focus on the bottle of… well, nothing now, and her expression slips into something more neutral and thoughtful.

"Hi di hi di hi di hi~," Bryan croons as he slips into the chorus, but he stops abruptly when Odessa doesn't respond in kind. Coughing, Bryan opens his eyes to prompt her with a look. When the desired results aren't immediately delivered, he gives up and leans back, rolling his shoulders and letting his hands fall to his lap.

"I'd assumed you wouldn't mind," he finally answers. "And I apologize if my assumption was incorrect."

"That doesn't explain why you're here, though, does it?" Odessa's expression is something akin to apprehensive, but perhaps closer to shy. She didn't recognize the song, and she has to admit she's mildly embarrassed for it. "I don't mind, I'm just… surprised."

"Where else am I supposed to find an instrument as finely crafted as this one, hm?" Bryan smirks, then shakes his head. "Electric ones can't compare to classic craftsmanship. Just like your drugs aren't nearly as fine as their source. Things get diluted the more they are tampered with." He smiles at Odessa's admission, then reaches out a hand as he moves down on the bench to make room for her. "Then I'll have to play louder next time."

Odessa takes Bryan's hand and takes her seat on the bench. She then places her long fingers over the keys and slowly begins playing a suitable piece for her favored instrument. It's light enough, while maintaining a sort of gothic edge to it - likely a side effect of the sort of music that uses the instrument in the mainstream. Her fingers expertly glide over the keys as she plays a piece filled with trills and staccato notes. "Was that a compliment or a complaint, Agent Buckley?" The conversation doesn't cause the girl to falter, though she does close her eyes tightly in concentration.

While it is a piece that Bryan does not know, it is not hard to 'jazz it up' with a bit of his own improvisation from ends of the boards allotted to his side of the bench. "Would I ever complain about the quality of your work, Doctor Knutson? I don't think such a thing is in my nature."

"I am pretty damn good, aren't I?" Odessa smirks as she continues on, either in spite of or encouraged by Bryan's improvisations. "It's also not wise to complain about one's doctor when they have only one option."

"Exactly," Bryan over-enunciates, leaning over and nearly resting his chin on Odessa's shoulder before he retreats, his fingers flying over the keys in the other direction. "But I did have a reason to come and see you. I ran out of meds, and I need a new script, Doc."

"I hope I'm not interrupting the musical number," A voice calls out from the door, which stands slightly more ajar now than what Odessa left it. Leaning against the door frame, Agent Petrelli has both of his arms folded across his chest, head inclined in a manner as if to suggest mild amusement, which is confirmed by the lopsided smile on his face. That isn't to say he's without stress entirely though. "Doctor Knutson, the people down at the lab are anxious to get your results back from the bodies we recovered last night." The urgency in his tone of voice is indicative of his own desire to know what, exactly, it is he saw. It happened right there in front of his own eyes, and he still can't quite believe it. Bryan is eyed a moment later, one brow slowly raising as Peter inclines his head, speaking in a somewhat less business-like tone of voice, "Buckley." Though his choice of wording doesn't help the more gentle tone in which he speaks.

Odessa flashes Bryan a sidelong glance from the corner of her eye when she feels him leaning close. "You've started taking your medication again? I thought you said you wouldn't be doing that until Agent Bishop was ret-" The doctor squeaks, her music hitting a sour chord as she jumps nearly a foot off the bench when Peter's voice breaks her concentration. She turns and stares at the man in the doorway with wide eyes. "Test results take time, Pe- Agent Petrelli." A healthy flush creeps into her cheeks. It isn't that she was caught dallying with Bryan, but that she doesn't have the answers yet. "I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to take a break."

Dallying? Who's dallying? Besides, Peter has so far been designated for bag and tags or even clean-up, and therefore Bryan sees himself as far above him on the nigh invisible at times Company ladder of seniority. When Odessa jumps, it only takes Bryan a few beats to pick up the tune, but it is lazy and idle, as he isn't really pouring much into it. "Petrelli," he echoes, exaggerating Peter's own tone. "Just because she lives here doesn't mean she's married to her work, you know. I take it Our Dear Miz Dalton has informed you of the change of plan? You can take a bit of credit for it. You turned out to be useful." Effortlessly through a quick cadence, Bryan switches into a minor key. Is it a warning?

"Everyone's on their toes right now." Peter included, "Look, I just watched somebody dissolve from the inside-out, I haven't been able to close my eyes." He's in a restless mood, as much is evidenced by his entrance in the room from the doorway, slow and meandering as his gaze wanders around the room, looking at the furnishings a bit incredulously. "I'm sorry if I seem a bit…" His head shakes slowly, "Impatient. If you heard what I did inside their heads — I just don't want this happening to anyone else." One hand moves to run fingers along the side of his head, smoothing out his hair.

But it's Bryan's words that earn him a rather intent stare. "Change of plans?" One brow raises slowly, "I'm not entirely sure I even knew what the plan was to begin with." His eyes fall to the bottle on top of the harpsichord, then over to Odessa. Are those for his venom? The psychic tone, while hollow sounding, is a bit pleading for reasons Odessa is likely well aware of.

The furnishings in Odessa's room are all clearly from an era far beyond herself ranging from the fifties to the seventies if the hodgepodge of styles is to be interpreted correctly. "It's okay, Agent Buckley," the young doctor responds quietly, "I'll try harder." Her freedom to be able to go outside whenever she pleases likely hangs in the balance. If she can't prove herself useful, she'll never be let out of the facility, will she?

The projected words into the blonde's mind cause her to quickly spin around on the bench so she can face the telepath. Her head nods almost imperceptibly. What's he getting at?

"The only thing that matters is," Bryan continues as he slights into one of the only classical pieces he knows, the "Moonlight Sonata," and regards Peter with upraised eyebrows and half-closed eyelids, "that it isn't the plan anymore." The exchange of looks between Odessa and Peter is noticed, but Bryan doesn't think much of it, passing it off as something to with what is being communicated aloud. "We are going to instead lure Huruma by some means in order to remove the risk of her being an unpredictable variable when it comes to actual retrieving Elle. Then it's just a matter of knocking on the door. If Adam Monroe was going to kill the poor girl, he'd have done it by now, and he'd likely have used the other to do it rather than get his own hands dirty, I think. But she's more use to him alive, and Adam's been around the block enough to realize that."

Peter furrows his brows slightly, noticing that Odessa doesn't quite seem to follow, and even while Bryan seems to have his attention, those telepathic echoes of his voice ring out in the young doctor's mind as well. I don't know if I can turn off Buckley's power. I haven't tested it, I'm too afraid to. I don't want to poison anyone unintentionally. He'd heard just enough of their aborted conversation to have a hope that those weren't just Haitian pills.

"That's a good idea, I'll fall in line with whatever you decide, you've got way more experience than me in handling these things." Peter stops his approach, shifting his weight to one foot as he eyes Odessa briefly, then looks back to Bryan. "I got a lead on them. Some… contacts of mine saw Adam and Huruma in the old subway tunnels beneath Midtown. It was a few days ago though, I didn't get the information until it was cold. But, it means they're still in the city…" Peter chews on the inside of his cheek lightly, "Have you got any more recent leads on them?"

Odessa nods again to Peter's unspoken line of thought. As he and Bryan lay out the plan, she smiles faintly and rises to her feet, pacing the room restlessly. So much so that it almost looks as though she hop-skips a step or two.

"The isotopes aren't telling us anything," Bryan says in a more morose tone. His music starts to resemble something more akin to a detective film soundtrack, minus the lonely saxophone. "Or, they're confirming the randomness of their movement. But they are still in the city. I'd really like to avoid knocking down door after door, even if we do contain the woman. I don't want to give up the upper hand by any means."

Peter gives a slow nod, "I was worried that was the case." His head tilts to the side, following Odessa's odd movements with his eyes before letting them fall back on Bryan again. "There's another option, I proposed it to Sabra, but she carefully danced around answering it. I have a feeling for a reason too." His shoulders square slightly, and Peter unfolds his arms and tucks his hands into his pockets, walking over to lean against the harpsichord with his hip. "If I can find out where they're keeping Molly, I can slip in, absorb her ability, and slip out without anyone being any wiser to it. I don't want to have to do something so underhanded, but if Homeland Security is being so tight-fisted with her, I'm not seeing much other options." He looks away from Bryan, guiltily, "I… I don't know Elle, I mean, at all… But I want her back here, safe, just as much as you do, Bryan."

Odessa's steps falter and she fixes Peter with a frustrated look, though she doesn't say anything at first as to why. "Molly Walker's been through enough already. Let the girl be. She's just a kid." There's more than just sympathy there in Odessa's advisement. There's something far more personal, not that either man should be surprised by that. If you set sufficient bait for the wild woman, I'm sure she'll slip up and you can use her to lead you to Adam."

Bryan's hands stop where they are, and he leans his weight down upon them. It's a chord begging for resolution, and Bryan levels his eyes on Peter. "I don't think that's the case, Peter." Could anyone want her back as much as Bryan? Perhaps Bob, but certainly not Peter. Fledgling, Novice Peter. "Besides, Molly Walker is under the direct control of Matthew Parkman." The Company is just playing hotel. "You'd have to tangle with him if you want to get anywhere near her, and I don't know if you want that headache."

He glances to Odessa, taking a moment to consider her words. In the time it takes, the reverberating sound of the harpsichord fades to nothingness. Bryan finally stands and takes a deep breath. "Doctor Knutson has a point. Having abilities isn't a walk in the park, but being a kid with them is even harder, not to mention Molly's…history. But even aside from that, the idea of two people walking around being able to do what she can do, be it you or Sylar, isn't really a situation I think anyone wants to be in."

One brow raising, Peter eyes Odessa with an expectant stare, "Molly wouldn't need to even know anything happened." He snaps his fingers, only for show, "Just like that. Freeze time, teleport in, get close to her, and teleport out. Like clockwork." He cracks a smile, though it's a sad one, Hiro would've laughed at that. Bryan's words, again, elicit a bit of a leveled stare as he breathes in a deep and frustrated breath through his nose, it was the comparison to Sylar that set him off, and with a deep exhalation he lets that frustration flow through him and not get the better of him, not let it eat at him.

"Then, what do you recommend? We bait Huruma out into the open, and pray she goes running back to Adam like a wounded puppy after we smack her around enough?" His attitude seems to shift visibly, his posture changing, even his tone of voice seems more rough and far less joking. "That seems like a riskier option from where I'm standing." He leans off of the harpsichord, pacing around the room much as Odessa did, though in a far less whimsical way.

"Sure," Odessa spits out bitterly. "Just freeze time. Great idea, Peter. Clockwork." She glances to Bryan, emphasizing his comparison to Sylar. But the next train of thought earns Peter a grin and a roll of the doctor's eyes. Poor, naive Peter. "She'll tell us everything. They always do."

Or will she? "I hadn't planned on letting her talk much," Bryan says coldly. He retains his position near the instrument, letting the pacing and palpable unease of Peter fuel him. "I in fact hadn't planned to bait her until we were sure we knew where they had Elle tucked away. This doesn't need to be drawn out any longer than it already has."

As for the proposal regarding Molly? "Consider your position within this Company, Agent Petrelli. And consider two our lucky standing with Homeland Security. I know I'd be locked up somewhere cold and dark if it weren't for Doctor Knutson's ingenious medication, and I can't begin to imagine what they'd do to you. Not even Big Brother, Ahead in the Polls Nathan could pluck you out of a place like that. If you go messing about in Parkman's proverbial backyard, even for a split second, and he finds out about it? You can kiss that connection, and a lot of decent, hard-working people, goodbye." Is that a risk Peter wants to take? "You don't sacrifice the many for the few, Petrelli."

There's a markedly incredulous look on Peter's face as he eyes Odessa, "You expect Huruma to… to just tell you where Adam is? Even if someone could force the answer out of her, there's no telling that it'd be right." His eyes, narrowed and darker seeming than before flit over to Bryan, and he snorts, derisively, throwing one hand fitfully into the air as he begins walking to the door of the room. The way he walks has completely changed from the way he entered. It's more of a march than simple steps, faster paced and matching his arrogance that seems to grow with his shifting attitude. "Fine, let me know when we start playing cat and mouse. I'll be down talking to Leigh in security for Sabra." Once he passes through the doorway, it slams shut behind him with a loud slam, even though his hands never touched it.

Odessa's hands outstretch suddenly toward the doorway, fingers splayed as though she could keep it from slamming shut through sheer force of will, though to no avail. She curses under her breath and dashes forward, lunging and sliding across the shag - yes, shag - carpeting just in time to catch the framed photograph that falls from the wall as a direct result of the door rocking it loose. "…Ow."

It's not Peter's exit that prompts Bryan's leap from behind the harpsichord. It's Odessa's fall, even if it was intended. Bryan is soon at her side, helping both her up and trying to take the framed photograph from her in order to replace it on the wall. He does take a moment to study it, but it is a fleeting one. "It's alright. Don't…don't mind him. He's young." And an idiot. "New to this, you know? Not an old dog, like us."

"Am I so terribly old now?" Odessa accepts Bryan's help, finally shrugging out of her lab coat and then studying her rug-burned wrist with a frown. At least she caught the frame. Behind the glass is a photograph of Odessa at the age of maybe fifteen. She's holding up a hardcover book that houses a collection of pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope if the cover is any indication. "I don't think I was ever that way." She fixes Bryan with a look that seems to ask 'what does that say about me?'

"Someone has stuck him on a mountain bike," Bryan offers as a better analogy, "and he's never even ridden a tricycle. You grew up with these wheels." Has Odessa ever ridden a bike that wasn't stationary though? Reconsidering, Bryan shakes his head. With the picture back on the wall, he rubs the young woman's arms with his hands, smiling down at her. "You're wise beyond your years, Odessa. Never take that for granted." Even if the price is being rather oblivious sometimes.

Odessa frowns thoughtfully for a moment, considering the revised analogy. "That still doesn't achieve what I think you wanted to, but I know what you're getting at." The doctor ambles over to a counter and a pad of paper there. She jots down a few things and tears off the top sheet, handing it to Bryan - a new prescription. "You're all set. I should get back to my lab and see if I can't come up with some results for the Powers That Be."

Bryan follows, but he doesn't move away once he's got what he's come for. Instead, he leans in close and grins, those fangs digging ever so slightly into his bottom lip. "You should go get some dinner and then go to bed. Maybe take in a book, or a movie. A little more music. Petrelli can wait. You won't teach a puppy to behave if you give him a cookie every time he whines at you."

Odessa eyes Bryan a little apprehensively. “I have work I need to be doing. I’m not doing it for Petrelli; I’m doing it because it needs to be done.” She frowns just faintly, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to sabotage me. What does it matter to you whether I go back to work or sleep early?”

"What would I have to gain from sabotage, Odessa?" Bryan asks with a laugh, leaning back and slipping the script into his pocket.  "In fact, if you need any help, feel free to ask.  I can hold test tubes over Bunsen burners with the best of them."

Odessa squints her eyes slightly. “It’s a bit more complicated than that, you realize.” The sad thing is that she thinks he doesn’t realize and that he’s under the mistaken impression that what she does isn’t terribly difficult. It’s a little insulting. “You’re acting strangely, Agent Buckley. Are you feeling quite all right?” Her gaze turns a bit more critical, as though diagnosing with her eyes. “Do you need me to look you over?”

Bryan stiffens a bit, some of his more "usual" coldness coming through. He waves a hand before he turns in his own, much calmer version of a tantrum. "Call it excitement out of seeing a light at the end of a tunnel. You don't need to worry."

“You’re my patient,” Odessa states rather matter-of-factly, “it’s my job to worry. I would be remiss if I didn’t ensure your health. Has the medication been agreeing with you?” She crosses to the counter again, pulling out and rummaging through a drawer until she retrieves a syringe. “Come here. Let’s ensure the poison’s been neutralized.” It’s unsurprising that she’s got a stash of anti-venom in her room, really. This is Doctor Knutson after all.

"I'm fine," Bryan insists, but he doesn't leave. He lingers at the door and folds his arms across his chest. Eyeing the anti-venom concoction, the agent arches an eyebrow. "What exactly do you want?"

“I want you to make sense.” It’s no mystery that Odessa doesn’t care for puzzles she cannot easily solve, and her attempts to thwart this one don’t seem to be going very smoothly. “What do you want?” She folds her arms over her chest, capped needle resting over her arms. “Nobody’s ever suggested I take time off. I don’t understand your sudden generous streak.”

"Hope does strange things to people." In contrast to the words he states, Bryan's face becomes a stone as he stands toe to toe with the doctor. "I apologize for wanting to spread my "good cheer.""

The doctor shrinks back just the faintest bit, bracing her hands against the counter behind her. “What is— ” Her mouth shuts, corresponding with the widening of her eyes. She sets the needle down and gives it a gentle push behind her, sending it to the wall with a soft clink! Her hands slide off the counter and hang at her sides, so that she can indulge in that nervous habit of her of flexing her fingers.

Now it's Odessa who is acting strange.  Bryan shrinks back as well, tilting his head warily to one side before he speaks again. "Odessa, what's wrong?" What did he say, what did he do to upset her so visibly?

“People are only nice to me when there’s something they want.” This is only partially true, of course, as there are exceptions to every rule - Sabra Dalton being the biggest one to spring to mind currently. “I already gave you that prescription, so I can’t imagine what else you could want.” It’s clear now that the girl’s behavior is merely born of her own confusion of the situation.

It suddenly dawns on Bryan that Odessa's experience with the Company is quite different from his own, despite his having lumped them together in the same category for years.  He had a life before he came here, even if he can barely remember it.  The piano, for instance, is one remnant of it.  "I'm…I'm sorry," he says in a distinctly more awkward and embarrassed tone. "You poor thing."

“I don’t need you to patronize me.” Odessa looks away when she feels the emotion creeping into her eyes and spilling out onto her cheeks. “I’ve done well for myself so far. I’ve got a job to do – and I do it well. I don’t need you to feel sorry for me.”

"There's more to life than work, Odessa," Bryan reminds softly as he turns and opens the door. "Do what you need to do. Just don't forget yourself."

For a moment, Odessa isn’t sure if she wants to protest that work is all she has. And it definitely looks like she’d like to ask him not to leave. Instead, she settles down at the bench in front of her harpsichord, coaxing a heavy, furious melody from the keys in an attempt to express what she can’t through words, or even explain to herself.

Bryan lingers for a moment in the doorway, but Odessa's move to the musical instrument pulls a soft, slight smile from his still somewhat stony face. "There's a girl," he whispers before he slips out.

October 21st: Running Into Neighbors

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 21st: Failure To Share
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