Socialization Therapy


deckard4_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Socialization Therapy
Synopsis … is something that both agents probably need. A game and small talk makes for an interaction much different than the one only one of them remember.
Date May 16, 2010

Fort Hero: Rec Room

The 'rec room' at Fort Hero is not, actually, a single room, although people often refer to it as such; it is several, all branching off a single hall. They were once something else — offices, perhaps, or residences, or storage rooms; holes in the concrete remain where things were once bolted into place, and here and there an odd device remains attached to the walls. By and large, however, such details are irrelevant. Concrete has been softened with draperies and cushions; somehow, chairs and couches have found their way down here, probably with the help of one teleporter or another. All told, it's a fairly comfortable place to be.

These rooms have been dedicated to games, entertainment, unwinding and socializing, the passing of time; each one seems to have its own theme. There is a room with shelves of books and magazines, which were once orderly and neat until people started trading them around; stragglers can always be found in the other rec rooms. Card tables double for ping-pong games; various other boxed games, from Monopoly to Charades to Scrabble, can be found on shelves and in drawers. Two rooms have been fitted with small entertainment centers — TV, VCR, DVD player, stereo; when the metal doors are closed, a decent level of volume can be reached without disturbing anyone else. Too loud, of course, still tends to get noticed. Broadcast and satellite TV stations can also be accessed on these systems. The video/DVD library is across the hall.

It's late enough that even agents operating on odd hour schedules are pretty thin through the compound at Fort Hero. In this room specifically, Deckard is alone.

Dressed down under the mind numbing hum of fluorescent lights barred cold overhead in a v-necked undershirt, jeans and no socks or shoes, he simultaneously looks like a hallucination and like he might be hallucinating. The border of his goatee is increasingly diffused by outlying scruff rallying for a comeback and the short sheer of his wiry hair is bristled into the kind of disorder that makes it look like he might've already tried to give sleeping a shot. He's standing with his back to the door, long face tipped up and aside after a stack of boardgames like it's been years since he's seen such such a thing.

He's not touching anything or listening to music. The tv isn't on. He's just looking. Like a weathered mesquite fence post that's somehow found its way onto the floor of a chainlink factory.

Displaced from her home and mostly working on base, due to the possibility of a remote-controlled puppet among their ranks, Veronica is off-duty herself as she wanders into the rec room. Without an actual room here at Fort Hero, she often sleeps on a rec room couch rather than take a cot at the infirmary — there are too many bad memories in such places, for someone as oft-injured as she is.

She's dressed in comfortable clothes, not planning on going out anytime soon: black yoga pants and a green and white raglan tee, the word "Irish" across the front of the baseball-style shirt. Irish, she is not.

Expecting to find the room empty, she tilts her head curiously at the man near the boardgames before she realizes who it is and smirks slightly to herself, crossing her arms to watch him for a moment. He won't remember her, but she is amused by the presence of Flint Deckard in her midst.

"Fancy a game?" she says after a moment.

Flint flinches alert with a twanging snap of wiry muscle across his back, scruffy head whipped around to replace the cross carefully penned into the back of his neck with the goshawk intensity of his glare.


More than a few reports from other Agents will eventually say the same thing.

There's no recognition in his eyes when they take her in at a flick and sweep, but there isn't much of anything else either. This might be a little what trying to stare down a zombie is like: human shape held fast by muscle and bone without even animal awareness to shave down the stony edge to his stare. "Of strip poker, maybe."

"Whoa, there, rookie, relax. No one's gonna shoot you here. We're all friends. Buddies. One big happy family," Veronica says, arching a brow at the jittery movements of the new agent. "Which puts your suggestion of strip poker in a new and disturbing context," she adds, with a bit of a smirk curving her full lips upward.

Brown eyes sparkle with perhaps some sadistic amusement as she watches his stony blue gaze, knowing how out of sorts he must feel. She doesn't know the details about why he is here, but she has her guesses. She doesn't buy that he was always an agent, just undercover. Her first meeting with the man contradicts that story entirely.

Unfolding her arms, she offers one hand to him. "I'm Veronica Sawyer. You are?"

Larger than he looks like he should be in a muleish kind of way when he steps close enough to swallow her hand in his, this iteration of Deckard is cleaner and smells better than the one Veronica remembers. That he also has slightly better manners (read: he only touches her hand and nothing else) may have to do with the setting. Or the fact that he is no longer under deep 'undercover.' Or. You know. The people who approved him being brought in tried to shake him out like an etch'n'sketch first.

"Deckard." Amusement at his expense is detected on a delay when milder blue fills in through the rings of his irises. If he has a first name, he doesn't offer it, ill-disguised irritation rifling back through posture and expression alike. "I didn't think anyone else would be in here."

"I'm sorry to interrupt your sanctuary, then," Veronica says, lightly. This version of Veronica is much more friendly and polite than the one he last spoke to but doesn't remember. The one who kicked out the chair that a beaten man was handcuffed to and then had him mindwiped by a certain Haitian. Of course, she's not really that Veronica at all these days, and she knows that this man was somehow friends with Brian, which means he can't be all bad. At least in her mind.

"I didn't really expect anyone in here, either. It's sort of a skeleton crew around here these days, with the blizzard and all. I've been sleeping here," she explains, nodding to the couch nearby, where there's a pillow and a blanket folded up on one arm. "You getting your bearings all right? It's kind of overwhelming. To be new," she says, husky voice quiet before adding, perhaps a little hastily, "Or, you know, come back from being away. I've had to do that myself."

Bristle, bristle. Unsure of exactly how to interpret polite apology and inquiry so close on the heels of her smirking at him, Flint watches her like a starving monkey watching a delicious piece of cake sitting out on the sidewalk. Somewhere halfway between uneasily suspicious and retardedly needy without enough information to call it either way.

In the end he rewards her with wary, faintly mistrustful silence, which means he doesn't say anything directly dickish to slap her off or have to risk saying anything stupid about himself either. Not that standing around like a deaf mute is likely to earn him many points, so.

A glance away and a shrug at one shoulder eventually are deemed safe, sufficient and ambiguous enough to pass. "If you need to sleep I can go."

The strange look he gives her isn't lost on the agent — she does, after all, have a psychology degree to her resume. She shakes her head, and then gives a shrug, ambiguous gestures that contradict each other. "I've gotten what work I can do done, and to be honest, this place is kind of creepy after hours," she says, a slight smirk at her own expense.

"I probably was going to read or watch a movie or do something for a while before actually sleeping… the lack of any real sunlight's screwed up any sense of day versus night I had. If you want, we can …" this might be the strangest thing she's ever done in her time as an agent, and that's saying something, "I don't know. Watch together, or play a game, or something? If you wanted company. Otherwise…" she nods to the door. "I can find another couch. There are other rooms, and you were here first."

"I have a room."

Odds are there's a reason he's saying so beyond random statement of fact, but he seems to catch on something before he can push further than that, brows literally creasing towards a knit with the strain involved in forcing himself to behave. Tatty cloth snarled on barbed wire and the wind's always howling.

So there they are mired in another long and awkward silence while he watches her. He's already starting to look kind of worn out to boot, like he's out of practice with people and prone to mishandling 'company,' which — is true. Technically his most intimate engagements in the last four or five months have all involved murder and lasted less than an hour. Overthinking cycles into stress, stress cycles into the muscle rigged lean in around his neck and up the backs of his arms. "Whatever you want to do."

This is not the Deckard she met — either on the street or later in the cell when they interrogated him. Something very wrong has happened to this man in the months since Sawyer dealt with him — that much is clear. Something somehow worse than the bad things that have happened to her, which is saying quite a lot. And the fact that he needs interaction is clear.

He will be a liability to anyone who has to work with him if he doesn't get it, and soon.

Her dark eyes sweep to the wall of board games, and she shrugs slightly. "No strip poker," Veronica says with a smirk, trying for some form of comic relief. "Not on the first date, anyway."

She moves closer, giving a head shake at most of the choices. "You don't seem like a 'Clue' or 'Life' sort. Chess?"

"I'm not." A 'Clue' or 'Life' sort. Unless you count losing at both. Frequently. In real life. At the same time.

Papery box corners touched at all the same, Flint flattens his mouth out and nods. Chess, evidently, is a sufficiently distracting tradeoff to compensate for Clothing On gameplay. Then again, his ability comes with Clothing Off toggles and he isn't half as afraid to use them as he is to pursue titties in technicolor these days.

A restless coil of tension sifts out've the cagey lock of his ribs in a long exhalation at her side. He is pretty awkward. Even moreso than usual. "Black or white?"

"Black," Veronica says, moving to a couch where a chessboard is already set up on the coffee table in front of it. She kicks off the flip flops she's wearing and, curling one foot underneath herself, settles into the couch. "I … haven't played for years so I might need a reminder now and then. I used to play with my father, but…" her voice trails off as she, perhaps with just a touch of OCD, adjusts a few of the black pieces so they are all aligned facing forward, as some were turned a bit askew.

"You move first. I remember that much." A dimple emerges in each cheek as she glances up at him, then pulls the other foot up on the couch at a bent angle, arms wrapping around as she leans on her own thigh to watch his first move.

Less inclined to care about the precise positioning of his pieces, Deckard slouches himself into a tired sink into the the opposite couch. He waits until she's done, watching her do her turny thing with knees white apart and long toes lifted bare off the cold floor under the table. "We had a board in prison," isn't a great choice for an icebreaker, even if he softens the statement somewhat with a scuffing scratch at the back of his head.

Happily, he's pretty quick about making his move after that. First knight swung forward out over the pawns and planted down without real thought, marble white horsey head cheated of one ear by some mysterious past interaction with the concrete floor.

The younger agent is less certain and puts a finger on one piece, before changing her mind and pushing another outward and into the fray, brows knitting together a little. "My dad was good. I just … never really wanted to play after he died," she says quietly. "If I'm totally lame and present no challenge to you, I apologize, and I do assure you it's by no means a way to help you assert your confidence or masculinity or anything like that."

The words are said teasingly, as she looks up to watch his next move. "I don't play that whole 'helpless female, isn't it cute she doesn't know the boy's game' kind of thing. If I knew better, I'd be all competitive about it and seeking to kick ass and take names. I'm still seeking to kick ass and take names, but I think the outlook is not so good in this game for that."

She smirks. "Poker, however, I excel at. You know. For future reference."

The same knight swings out again, exerting invisible pressure on her ranks in its nearness before he starts plodding a few of his own pawns into a less cutthroat advance. "I'm not that great," is all he has to mutter on the subject of his own chess skill. As for where he learned how to play — technically he's already explained. In concise terms.

Which she should probably get used to, if she intends to try to have a conversation with him.

Comfortable enough with listening, he doesn't interrupt or look like he wants to, chilly eyes kept down on the board until she mentions poker again and he glances up to measure whether or not she's serious. "Maybe another night."

As the game continues, Veronica makes small talk, offering self-deprecating comments about poor choices in strategy, or asking him now and then for a reminder as to what way she can move a particular piece. In some ways the social interaction is similar to the game being played on the board between them, requiring strategy and thought, offense and defense. Veronica might have a psychology degree but it's more of a recognition of the paradox Deckard is caught in — needing social interaction and yet pushing it away all at once — because it's something very, very close to her.

In some ways, it's her reflection she sees in the man across the table, as different as they are.

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