Simply Their Time


carlisle_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Simply Their Time
Synopsis Carlisle treats Odessa to breakfast and confronts her before she has the opportunity to do the same.
Date April 28, 2010

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

There's nothing about Carlisle Dreyfus that identifies him as a mass murderer, but very rarely do physical exteriors reflect the truth about what's inside. The silver-haired gentleman with the spectacles perched on his nose and his gloved fingers wrapped around a mug of cheap English Breakfast tea is dignified but unassuming and mild in every way, from the tentative smile he offers to the waitress every time she comes by to ask if there's anything he needs to the tone his voice takes when he tells her no. He and his companion are quite all right, but thank you.

Although he's abstained from eating anything except for a slice of warm apple by purchased at the beginning of their meal, there's a plate of hot waffles dripping with glazed fruit and whipped cream for the blonde sitting across from him in their booth, in addition to two eggs cooked over easy with a side of pork sausage and hash browns drizzled in ketchup.

Whether or not Odessa ultimately partakes in the offering is up to her. It's either an act of kindness or some sort of test, and with her employer she can never be sure which.

On one hand, it's impolite to turn down an offer of hospitality. On the other, it's impolite to eat in front of someone else. However, those waffles look really good, and so after a you're sure you don't mind, Odessa is carefully cutting the entire plateful up into bite sized pieces before she even thinks about putting one in her mouth. Call it peculiar, or call it a safety measure. The fact that he agreed to meet her in public at least puts her mind somewhat at ease.

"You look well," the doctor comments, glancing up from her semi-surgical work. "All things considered," is an afterthought. No one who's grieving as deeply as Carlisle Dreyfus truly looks good. There's little nuances here and there. Little tells. Small talk can come first. One she's sure the waitress and other patrons have let their conversation drone into the disinteresting.

Dreyfus acknowledges the compliment in silence, thumb resting on the rim of his mug, dark eyes focused on Odessa while she eats. There aren't any many people in the diner as there would normally be; the continuously worsening weather has kept the oldest and most loyal of the Nite Owl's patrons at home, huddled in their armchairs or in their beds, televisions tuned to the old Wheel of Fortune and Price is Right reruns that play alongside soaps during the day while most of New York is busy at work.

Glass tinkles. Porcelain chatters. If Odessa listens carefully, she can hear the sizzle of bacon spitting fat in the kitchen. "Daiyu is gone." Small talk, apparently, is not his forte. "Allegre tells me that Kozlow is dead. If you've chosen to walk, I'll understand."

Odessa tries to keep her upward glance less sudden than the urge to do so actually is. She only half succeeds. "Daiyu has left?" That news obviously surprises her. "Why would he do that? Unless he caught wind of Holden…?" She doesn't necessarily expect confirmation of her speculation.

The thought that Sasha is dead leaves a hard knot in her stomach. "If Kozlow is dead, I haven't yet heard of it. Where did you manage to corner Allegre? He's well practiced in evasion. I hate to admit that he's managed to elude me, but it is what it is…" Her fork is set down, and she wraps her good fingers around a glass of juice, bringing it to her lips in an attempt to keep their look conversational, even if said conversation is weighing heavily.

"He has a home in Greenwich," Dreyfus says of Francois. "I know his habits and the patterns in which he moves. It was not difficult to track him. If he's still alive," and he places extra emphasis on the word if without needing to raise his voice, only sharpen it, "then so is Kozlow. I'd like you to determine his current whereabouts for me."

Odessa swallows a hard lump growing in her throat. She looks sick, and she knows it. "I'll find him," she assures her employer. She takes a drink of her grapefruit juice to try and wash away the churning in her guts. "Do you expect me to keep up the charade? They seem to trust that I'm mostly harmless," she lies. No one with any knowledge of who Odessa Knutson is and what she can do believes her to be something as innocuous as mostly harmless. "At least, they believe I'm on their side."

"The charade won't be necessary for much longer," Dreyfus assures Odessa around the rim of his mug, pausing to drink shallowly from it. The empty plate that the waitress presented his apple pie on is pushed aside, crumb-caked fork balancing on its ceramic edge. "It's time this came to a close. I imagine you're eager to get on with your life now that your Sylar's in it again."

The smile creating folds at the corners of his mouth is warm, but it isn't genuine and he makes no attempt to appear sincere in his happiness for her. His brown eyes are matte and devoid of feeling except for the curiosity edging in around them, waiting to see how she responds.

Odessa holds completely still for a long moment before she sinks back into the booth like a teenager that knows she's about to be grounded for lying to her father. How much does he know? she wonders. She considers using her ability to give her extra time to think over how to respond to this, but that in itself would be too telling, if he were to figure it out. "Did you know you were lying to me when you first came to me?" Hopeful she's not revealing, her tone is defensive.

"No," Dreyfus says, and unlike his smile it is entirely genuine if not particularly heartfelt. "There was a wake at the bar and flowers left at the watch shop in Brooklyn. Kozlow observed the contents of Ruskin's journal. I had no reason to believe otherwise until the bodies started making the news, and now— confirmation." He sets his mug down on the table's surface with an audible clink that, although light, causes the packets of sugar to quiver in the porcelain bowl. Ripples spread through what remains of his drink. "Lying to you doesn't benefit me, Odessa. I have too many enemies already."

"Smart man," Odessa murmurs, leaning forward again. "When did you receive confirmation?" She isn't sure if this means someone's been watching her at Old Lucy's and knows about her late night visitor, or if there's something far less disconcerting at work here. "I heard conflicting rumours for a while myself and didn't know what to believe."

The waitress returns with a sunny smile that would be a lot brighter if her face wasn't so overcast and tired-looking, exaggerated amounts of make-up applied to her eyes in an attempt to make them appear bigger and more youthful than they really are. This time, she doesn't stop to ask Odessa and Dreyfus if they need anything — she knows when to take a hint. When she leaves, it's with his empty plate and Odessa's glass, only because the blonde is entitled to a free refill.

"Just now," Dreyfus says as soon as she's out of earshot. "What are you going to do?"

The tremor that runs through Odessa's body is visible. He tricked her, and she even saw it coming. There's a colourful stream of curses flying through her head that doesn't make it past her teeth. At least he hasn't had her followed. "I don't know." She's trying to muster more courage to keep her tone steady than she feels. "You've been good to me, and he let me think he was dead. To whom should I owe more loyalty?" She glances about the diner if only to track the movements of their waitress and ensure she isn't going to say the wrong thing as she's coming near enough to hear.

"Does it take the edge off? Yes. I'm filled with a little less murderous rage knowing that he's not dead, I won't deny it." Odessa shrugs a shoulder, feigning casual. "What are you going to do?"

"Gabriel Gray is no concern of mine unless he attempts to interfere with my work." Coming from someone else, it could be construed as a warning, but there's an absence of malice behind Dreyfus' words that may put Odessa's mind at ease. "I have no quarrel with him, and — at least to my knowledge — he no quarrel with me. I foresee few difficulties. My concern rests with you."

Maybe now she should be worried. "What can I give you to keep you in my employ, mm? What do you want more than anything else in the world?"

Odessa actually smiles, despite the knots in her stomach and the instinct to flee. She's definitely not eating anything else on her plate for now. She's rather lost her appetite. "I'm willing to wager what I want more than anything else in the world is something that isn't in your power to give. What you want most in the world isn't in anyone's power to give, either."

There's a sympathy in her eyes now, devoid of pity. "Killing all those people won't bring him back, Carlisle. Is this still what you want? Will it make you feel better?" She falls silent for the space of time it takes their waitress to set a fresh glass of juice in front of her and depart again. "People like us have little difficulty killing, but do you derive any satisfaction from it?" It's phrased as an honest question, rather than any attempt to dissuade the man from his course of action.

"It's not only about the boy." Dreyfus' voice has gone gravel rough in the short amount of time between his last question and the one Odessa poses to him, but the waitress does not notice when she whisks by to return Odessa's glass to her or slide the bill in its faux-leather sheath across the table. She's gone again just as quickly.

"The world is a better place without people like them in it. Take the number of innocents that Kozlow and I have killed in this little crusade of mine, multiply it by itself and you still have only a fraction of the lives they've affected. Like Volken, it's simply their time."

"And they were created by people like Volken, essentially." The irony doesn't appear to be lost on Odessa. She reaches out across the table to brush her thumb over the back of Dreyfus' knuckles briefly. "And by us doing this, it'll only inspire more like them. It doesn't end. It's something that will keep going and what we're doing is only poking the hornets' nest." Dark blonde brows furrow. "Where does it end?"

"If you don't agree with what I'm doing," Dreyfus says, "then you're free to go. I won't stop you; Kazimir allowed me the same courtesy." As he speaks, he pulls his hand out from under Odessa's touch and reaches into his coat to produce his wallet, which he flicks open and thumbs out a two twenty dollar bills from. Both are deposited in the slip without even a glance at the receipt. "If not, then I expect to hear from you again by Monday morning with a status report on Allegre."

Odessa nods her head slowly. It seems she understands. "I'm not going anywhere," she assures. "Keep giving me purpose, and you have my support." If he can't give her what she wants most, he can continue to give her what she needs to continue to survive. "And if I locate Kozlow, and he's in no immediate danger, what would you have me do? Freeing him will blow my cover, but it's what I'll do if it makes the difference between life and death."

Dreyfus is silent for several long moments, one hand resting on the table, the other on the slip. The rustle of clothing breaks it as he rises from his seat at the booth and pulls his long arms back into his heavy wool coat and pauses to adjust its collar between his fingers before he sets to buttoning it with his mammoth hands. They rather than Odessa have his attention as he speaks. "Tell him that Tania wants to see him, and if he doesn't find a way out of his predicament, I'll meet with her myself."

Tania. Odessa is willing to bet paying a visit to Tania is a threat, but she arranges her features into wide-eyed, innocent confusion. "Yes, sir," she murmurs low. "Be well. Stay in touch."

"And you." It contains the same number of syllables as good bye and serves the same purposes. His broad back to Odessa, Dreyfus shows the blonde his back on his way out the door. If he had his fedora, he would tip it to the waitress as he passes the front counter. Dips his head instead, places one hand on the door and, bells jangling forlornly in his wake, is gone.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License