Small Piece


abby6_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Small Piece
Synopsis Catch up over dinner brings about unpleasant news on both sides of the conversation, and a suppression of anything otherwise.
Date May 12, 2011

West Village: Maison d'Allegre

Alley-oop over back walls to brownstones in New York, instead of coming through the front door, followed by knocks on the back door till someone - likely Francois - answered. Kasha tucked safe in the bowels of midtown and safe, likely to sleep soon with people who will keep the baby content till Abby can return. Soon, she'll be going back to the Island, very soon, but a choice had to be made and counsel sought.

Of the French Variety.

That being Francois and not some other Frenchman who might be lurking about the city. The sun will set soon enough and she's brought a pack of steaks and two bottles of wine - cheap, her apologies - brought in peace offering for not having swung by sooner or for bringing better wine. No longer the skinny sick thing that should have by all rights been shot and put out of her misery, she just looks moderatly miserable now, and in need of a few good hours of non-interrupted sleep by the dark circles under eyes.

But she's a mother now who wakes up when a one year old gets restless or wakes, and she's got issues - who doesn't - and one of those issues brings her back to the feet of Francois, leaning against a counter in the kitchen, layered t-shirts to hide tattoo's and lengthening hair held back in a stunted ponytail like some clydesdale's tail.

"You remember Russia?" As if he might need help remembering the cold climate. "you brought me tea, in the snow"

The stove top is on enough to generate heat, steam clouding the edges of windows, and the sizzle of oil as it seals the steaks. When they cut them, they'll bleed, and that's surely the way a European and a southerner would appreciate their meet. A squat pot is steaming vegetables to side, another with a red sauce that some of Abby's wine contributed to. Otherwise, two fat wine glasses are filled with the fluid, Francois' half consumed by the time he's flipping the steaks over. He seems well enough, if also over tired, and apart from a cough into his elbow when Abby had been divesting a bottle of its cork, he's otherwise healthy.

And happy, too. Content, where he is in the world. "I did," he agrees, eyes on the steaks rather than the woman. He is dressed how she found him, bare foot in jeans, a white t-shirt buttoned loose, a watch on his wrist. "You were upset."

"Very. Over a man, that we thought was out there" She's healthily - or some might say unhealthily - tippling back her own glass, stomach desiring what's cooking, looking forward to the filling portions that the both of them know they don't get when on the Island. "He's in new York" She eyeballs him, the cough, wrinkling her nose at the myriad of possibilities that it might be. Everything from just a cold due to the ever changing spring weather, something more serious or the evolved flu that has crossed genetic barriers that she knows was released.

How to tell him, what she's found out. What she was told.

Lazy blue eyes wander over the Frenchman, reaching over with her free hand to press the back of her palm to his forehead. Check for a fever. "He's in New York and I was married to him. James Muldoon was Robert Caliban"

There's a muttered little French protest that doesn't come loud enough to Abby to parse, when she's directing her hand for his forehead. Physically, he is gentle but firm, fingertips resting on the inner of her wrist and pushing her away, although the heat she detects from the slope of his forehead is there, simmering, but could also be attributed to standing over sizzling steak as well. Rubbed with cracked peppercorns and salt. Francois doesn't look at her when he does so, merely turning his attention to seeing how down the vegetables are, steam billowing out as thick as a waterfall in reverse, everything inside vibrant green and orange.

Cutlery rattles on the stove with a shake from plastic handles, and he squints at her. Quoi? "How can that be?"

"There's people, who change faces. Peter said the Linderman Group has one. Plastic surgery. I'm sure there's… there's probably half a dozen other ways that it could be done" She takes her hand back with a mental promise to leave a note somewhere for Teo to find to make him keep an eye on his lover. She reaches up to scratch at the side of her face, near the corner of her eye.

"It's him though. If it was just one person who said it was, I could… dismiss it but-" But there's been more than one. "I borrowed a gun, from Eileen" Small confession there. "In case I did something stupid like go find him in his office and shoot him. Would that be stupid?" Please be the voice of reason.

There's a small exhale in response, thin through nostils, Francois focused on cooking because it's a much easier thing to focus on as steam simmers vegetable matter and he himself simmers the idea presented. He can imagine, how it might happen. He can't imagine— "Why?" He glances over his shoulder, a shrugging gesture for the dishes stacked to dry, gesturing for her to lay things down as the meat continues to cook. "Why would he do a thing like that? You have been together longer than I have even known you, I think, or— at least— " He trails off, there, but romantic, is what he means.

"Where is the gun? I think you should give it to me." It's sort of a joke, but there is a flare of concern passed her way, and the fork he's been using to manipulate the hunks of steak hovers in the air as he pauses, slows down. Tries to figure how that would begin to feel. His gaze darts for her hand, for the wedding band.

"I'm sorry."

The band of gold is absent, nor is it at her throat, nowhere to be seen, hidden wherever it is that Caliban has stowed away the little melted puddle of 18 carats. Likely wherever it is that he's stowed her engagement ring and her cross. "I don't know why. I haven't seen him since he told me that he was seeing another woman and had filed for divorce. It's not like I can rightly walk right in through the front door of his work and to demand answers. That's just asking for two minutes later Frontline and Heller to come in with negation gas gunning for me"

Abigail pauses mid-thought. "They'd get him at the same time though" But no, she won't be sacrificing herself on that altar. But there's another sorry, coming from people who shouldn't be saying that word for that reason. "It's in my bag. unloaded. I haven't touched it. I made a promise to someone that I wouldn't go find him, kill him. I think… I think it's the only thing that keeps me from doing it"

She's ocused on the meat, making sure that Francois doesn't kill that while she finishes off her glass of wine in a few gulps. She just needs to be able to pedal straight when she's done here.

"WHo in their right mind Francois, marries the woman that they kidnapped. Who does that?"

"No one in their right mind, I posit."

He tips the pan for her to look at, gain her approval, before he's taking it out to rest on porcelain, its own juices stewing thin but rich around it. Medium rare is certainly how he likes his steaks, sliced in half to reveal it to be so, but there's a twist at his mouth of disapproval. Or some other displeasure, his appetite no where close to triggered at the smell of it, but he obediently goes to spoon the veggies into place, presentation domestic and modest. "Murdering him would be a sacrifice that you make, and he does not deserve. Do you remember, when I shot Carlisle in the head?"

Honestly, Francois isn't sure that she does. What would someone remember, when converted to living flame? He doesn't know, hasn't asked.

Approval gained, her appetite there if only because it's an abundance of food that she might not otherwise get to consume. Dragging down the plates for him that she didn't reach for before, letting him serve it all up with the care and concentration that she's seen both him and Teodoro or even herself give to food.

"I remember. I remember that someone did. I couldn't, I can't see normal when I'm turned like that. I was… burning him alive, so he couldn't come after us, escape with you guys and someone shot him in the head" She can see well enough, the varying thermal shades that presents itself, a surprisingly well detailed image but not with the complexities of the visible spectrum.

She reaches for the bottle, to fill up her glass again. The neck clicking with the mouth of the bottle and the content sgurgling out, a gesture to top off his as well. "I promised someone, that I wouldn't. That if I loved someone, cared about them, that I'd not go seek our Ro- Muldoon and kill him. Someone else encouraged it, but that if I dragged FLint into it, they'd kill me"

Tension straightens the sit of Francois' shoulders, shooting her a sharp look at this last piece of news, as if she told him Flint Deckard himself had threatened her life. But he keeps his silence for the moment, roughly putting away metal pots and pans for later cleaning before taking his dish and moving to sit, though he doesn't dig in readily, nor top up his half-finished glass of wine. When she offers, he shakes his head no, already warm beneath his clothing without the addition of more alcohol.

"Well, they don't sound overly concern about your soul, if that is so," he says. "And it wouldn't take back how much time you— spent with him." Wasted on the tip of his tongue, but he bites it back, studying Abby. This isn't a very. Normal thing to discuss.

Glad that his hands are free of jewelry, as it seems a difficult piece of news to bring up in the wake of her revelation.

Abigail is not jumping about. No inner warmth added to the pot in this room, nor a sunny disposition. She just shifts her glass, swirling about the wine so she can watch it cling to the sides and color the glass red for brief moments. Scratch her thumb against the side of the glass as she lifts her shoulders a fraction, lets them drop so she can rest her head against the cupboards while waiting for the steaks to rest.

"I don't want him to get away with it. I want… I want to go, hold a gun to his head francois, to ask him why. I made it off that island and I never… broke, I never… let what he did and what Logan did, break me and… now at least once a night, I'm just breaking out in flames. You know what the guy said? I said he'd never be near me, and he said Near me, on me and in me." She wrinkles her nose at that, pushing away from the counter to join him in sitting down.

"You killed carlisle. How… did that make you feel?"

Francois' hand moves, but doesn't take her's — a sense of invasion is not something he wants to help, so only brushes the backs of his fingers against her knuckles, his attention dropping there. There isn't a lot he can say to deny any of that, and he isn't sure he wishes to. "Relieved," he says, raising an eyebrow. "Such a long conflict. Years and months. And over then, swiftly. It did not make me feel good, but— " He pauses, looking back up at her. "You saw my home, after he broke in. And me. It doesn't— his death doesn't make it go away, when I dream of it, or remember. It doesn't eliminate the shame he inspired, that night.

"But at least now I know he cannot do it again. Cannot fondly recall it." He goes to take a sip of his wine, despite himself. "I do not propose that… Muldoon be allowed to exist any longer, or should walk free. But I do not think you should damage yourself more for him, or go alone."

She saw his home, waded in his blood and probably had three more heart attacks than she'd ever want to have again, trying to keep him alive enough till he could get to the hospital and she could get Peter. She turns her hand, palm up, traps his fingers with her, but gently enough that he can pull away.

"I think, that more than anything, I just want to know why." Why marry her, why go with her to Russia, why everything. Where did he keep his monkey? "You still dream of Carlisle? Nightmares?"

"Yes," is a simple answer. The question itself simple, in comparison to why, which he'd echoed himself just a few moments ago, and doesn't have anything smart to say about it now. The hand not tangled with Abby's goes up, parting the collar of his shirt enough so that she can see, some, the scarring that remains from the severing bite of piano wire. "This, and knife scars, and the black mark that Petrelli gave me when he healed me. Carlisle has made his mark on my life, and sometimes I dream about it, that evening, and when he hunted me in Louisiana. It is what it is."

He glances back at his food, still untouched, but at least now he has an excuse for not desiring to eat it. "But perhaps I shall live long enough to grow out of it. I stopped dreaming of Dachau too, eventually."

"Were you volunteering to go with me Francois, when you said I shouldn't go alone?" She won't bring him, even if he was. She doesn't want to put that burden on his shoulders, in as much as Cash doesn't want those same said burdens on her shoulders. "Or do you have a suggestion of who to take with me, if I decide to… go through with it" If.

She's been having doubts, mostly to do with not wanting to disappoint the elder Kasha. "Tania offered her brother. Sasha" you know Sasha, russian, tall, ginger, vicious. "But… I don't know. he lives with logan and Logan… is involved with Robert" So who knows what might come from all that.

"I know raith's fee is a nice five grand. I could always ask him"

His nose wrinkles even as a half-smile tugs at his mouth. This is a morbid dinner conversation, but he doesn't have complaints. "I would, oui, of course. As would Teo. Raith, too, and perhaps if he knew why, he would give you a discount." Francois shakes his head, finally retracting his hand from her's when he can feel his palm begin to get damp. "We all made our attempts to accept him, and so the deception carries out, and of course, we love you. Is that really what you want to do? Besides understand why. You wish for him to die?"


The answer comes after a minute spent thinking. "No. Because that'd be too good for the hell he put me through and what he's done to me. Courting me, wooing me, marrying me and cheating on me." She's quickly loosing her appetite too, tkaing back her hand once his is pulled away, covering the wine glass.

"No. I'm not that kind of person. I want him to hurt though. Two years ago I would have just turned the other cheek, he was a man responsible for making me look like one of your Dachau people, for making me afraid of my shadow and stealing my nights, still steals my nights."

She bends fingers inwards, thumb nails catching repeatedly on that of her pinkie. "What… what could I do. We do. Do I just… walk away, consider him dead to me, focus on Kasha and being a mom, or… satisfy that small little piece of me and.. hurt him…"

There's a sliver of steak sawed off to eat, then, as if to encourage her to do rather than sate himself, Francois listening as he does so, gathering green with stringy beef and forcing it down in a neat bite. Water to wash it down, and then another, before he looks back at her at that question. "I think," he says, after a moment, utensils at a hover over his plate, "you will have to decide for yourself. Neither is wrong. I don't think so. Although I do not suppose you cannot do the former after the lat— "

His fork drops sharp enough to ring loud against the plate, and he'd apologise save for the coughing fit coming up like a breaking wave. His chair scrapes back from both food and lady, angled away so that he can funnel it against the back of his hand. It's over when he takes a ragged breath in, swallowing.

"you're sick" Food can be reheated, shoved in a microwave and eaten later whether it be here or in the terminal, shared with someone else. "You are running a fever. Francois, you're supposed to take care of yourself, have you been dosing yourself up with cough medicine at least and fever reducer?" She doesn't leap out of her seat, she can chide him from right here fine enough.

"I do look after myself," comes defensive, a little rough toned, and Francois smooths his throat with a brisk sip of wine, brow furrowed. "I am very good at looking after myself, s'il vous plait — some would say too well, occasionally." The plate is pushed away now that the charade of his healthiness is over and he doesn't have to pretend to want to eat right now. "It was worse this morning, before I medicated and slept it off. I'll be fine."

Open mouth, insert foot, flip the switch to turn cheeks red. Abigail's looking properly chastised for going all mother hen on a doctor. Of course he's done these things. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done all that. You've got a mind in your head on your shoulders. Of course you did all that. I'm sorry" Palms on the table, fingers spread in apology to the Frenchman and any possible wounded ego's that might be suffering along with his health.

Giving her a wry smile, almost seeing the wheels turn behind her apology, Francois shakes his head and lays his fingers over hers, the pattern a criss cross of digits. "No, it's— no one should take it for granted, the concern of friends. I just— you know it, I am sure. I hate being unwell." He glances at her, and points out gently, "But there are worse things."

"You don't like being unwell, but more so, being unwell and unable to anything more than to endure it till it's gone" No magic ability to just wick it all away, or at least wick away the symptoms. "I'm still sorry. I'm sorry too that I've been standing here and rattling off my worries and such when you probably just want soup, or hot tea and to just hibernate Francois" Instead of slaving over steaks perfectly done and vegetables perfectly steamed.

"Is Teo here, to fuss over here or are they out and about right now?"

"If I did not want to make and eat dinner with you, than I wouldn't have tried," Francois promises, before glancing up in the vague direction of the bedroom situated roughly over the living area. Not that Teo is there, but it's where his mind goes. "He is out — he does work on the Internet. Translation tasks, for stories in Italian, or in English and to Italian. Sometimes he will take his computer out to work. Anywhere he wants, also."

It's a little too advanced to not be weirded out by, and his stilted explanation comes as the result of more patient explanation from his live-in fiance, and his brush with employment came with a site of employment, a dress code, a white coat.

Less so these days. "Perhaps you can take all this back with you, to have later."

"I'm sure there will be people in the terminal who will drool over the steak. The brothers at least" Which is to say, she'll pack it all up, shove it in her bag for when she does take off. "It's going good with him? Them. Or… whichever the proper term is? I haven't really talked to any of them in a while. For that matter, Ro- " A stiff pause, a tuck of her hair behind her ear. "Hasn't dropped off Pila has he? Or sent someone over with her?" He'd promised, and for as much as she'll take his promises at face value, she's afraid that his bird might be a casualty of some hidden war.

"Him." It's a quick correction, a little snipped, if not necessarily aggressive — just bothered at the prospect of it being referenced in some other way. Francois glances away, at his hands folded together, swallowing back the compulsion to cough growing tickled in his throat. "Just him. The others have their own— their own. I have not seen much of them myself." He lifts a shoulder, and shakes his head. No, no Pila, or else the house would probably be filled with musical birdsong at the presence of Abby, the cage situated proud in the main living space.

Hand exploring for his wine, he nods once as he says, "Things are good, merci," with a twitch of a smile he dims. Not one to gloat or emphasise good fortune in this area no more than Abby might be inclined to boast about her improved health.

Add the lack of a bird as another count against Robert Caliban/James Muldoon and his assertion that the pets would be taken care of. "Here's to hoping that his monkey hasn't eaten her" Or there might very well be a dead James Muldoon at the hands of Teodoro should anything happen to his beloved queen. She should have taken the bird with her, it wasn't that cold outside.

"Well, you don't feel like eating, so… I can make some hot tea, and honey, or heat up the wine and we can sit and watch a movie before I have to get going back to Kasha. Or if you like, I can bring her here and stay up in that third floor and play nurse. Reverse this time. Only I don't think you look as bad as I did" Teasing, if gentle, a rarity from Abby these days.

"If I get to be as bad as you, then even Teodoro will have to struggle to be allowed near me," Francois asserts, his smile growing, if crookedly, pushing himself away from the table to stand. Teodoro and Abby, let alone an infant, Evo or not. He goes to pick up the plates, moving slow but not with pain or caution, or diziness. "But thank you for the offer. I will take the tea, and a movie. You can pick one yourself, if you like."

As long as it's Ang Lee, Michael Bay, Ridley Scott, George Lucas. His range only extends so far.

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