Stranger Than...


bryan_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Stranger Than…
Synopsis Bryan proves to Odessa that when he plays games, he plays to win.
Date October 28, 2008

Primatech Research — Level Five: Odessa's Office

It's mid-morning down on Level Five, not that Doctor Knutson is aware of that. It may as well be late in the evening or the middle of the night for as exhausted as she seems to be. Burning the candle at both ends will do that to a person. The physician absently counts out some pills before absently sliding them off the counter and into an orange bottle one by one.

There has never been a really good reason for Bryan to wander his way down to Level Five, but that doesn't mean the special agent isn't able to do just that. While he isn't surprised to see Odessa here, her behavior is quite unsettling. "Doctor Knutson?" he asks with an obviously concerned tone as he approaches her, not unlike one approaching a possibly hostile dog.

Odessa lifts her head and blinks at the interruption to her thoughts, carefully dropping the last of the pills into the bottle and capping it. They're the pills that Bryan takes, or they're identical to them in looks. "You have feelings for Agent Bishop." There's no preamble, and it's not a question. It's a statement of fact.

It's a larger bombshell than the one that Bryan dropped. But it isn't as if that bomb went off. Plans change. As it is, Bryan is floored. He stands up straighter and squares his jaw. "I have a lot in common with Agent Bishop," he says carefully. "We may have different methods, but we have a similar job." Everyone knows that, right? "Besides, I can't win our game if she dies."

"Game. Right." Odessa carefully applies a label to the bottle in her hand and then drops it into the pocket on her lab coat before pulling herself up to sit on the counter. She's wearing the same clothes she wore the night before - denim miniskirt, black tank top and bubblegum pink high heels, suggesting that the woman hardly finds the time to sleep. "That's interesting, though. You see, Agent Petrelli has been trying to convince me to find her, and he's either entirely wrong, or he's right about one of us. I know it isn't me."

Such news draws a heavy, frustrated sigh from Bryan. "Or incredibly impatient," he growls. "Maybe it's his nature to want to be the Golden Boy of whatever side he finds himself on, but he keeps it up, someone's going to end up getting unnecessarily hurt." Bryan's eyes narrow as his lips thin, and he shakes his head. Could he be implying he wouldn't want that person to be Odessa?

Odessa hums thoughtfully. "You didn't even ask what on earth Petrelli could be right or wrong about. That's something, too!" There's a hint of childlike glee through the sleepiness that's beginning to glaze her eyes, much to her chagrin. "So, tell me about this game of yours."

Bryan has folded his arms across his chest by this point, and if Odessa is experiencing childhood glee, he's covering the building tantrum. "Only if you promise to go to sleep after you finish filling that bottle," he nods to indicate, then fixes Odessa with a sharp look. He sees those heels missy.

"Can't," Odessa says with a simple shrug. "Petrelli's out finding me a sample. And when he does, I'm going to have to scramble to work it out before it degenerates on me. I'll have plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead. Not that that will ever happen." She follows Bryan's gaze down and then back up again. "You like them?" She sways her legs back and forth, indicating her shoes.

"Can't, then," Bryan echoes, mimicking Odessa's shrug. "What sample?" he asks, tilting his head to one side. No, Bryan isn't above Peter in rank - the two are in completely different 'departments' of The Company, but that doesn't mean he doesn't worry about why the bumbling new agent is keeping Odessa awake. "Why not just nap until he gets back? You can't sacrifice your health-" but then the doctor's words needle in his head. "Is that it, then?" Bryan asks in a quieter voice.

Odessa slides off the counter, heels clicking on the hard floor. "The apparently maniac Evolved that've been exploding into goo or whatever it is that the Agents are claiming is happening. I need a sample of one before the goo-ness." She lifts her brows curiously, lips twisting into a quirky smile. "Is what it, then?"

"You not dying," Bryan says with a smirk. "You'll have to forgive me. I haven't been paying that much attention to people exploding into goo. Not that Petrelli's reports aren't undoubtedly masterpieces of prose. Regardless, I think he'll be long enough that you can afford to take a nap."

"Haven't you heard?" Odessa giggles and winds her way in a slow circle around the agent. "I'm immortal! Haven't died yet, can't prove me wrong." Well, he could try. But she's not likely to let him. "And it isn't Petrelli's reports that are the fun reads. Oh, no. Far too many suggestions on how to remedy things. If you want a good read, you check out Woods' reports. Now those are colorful, creative non-fiction!" Because the truth is stranger than.

About mid-way through Odessa's rotation, Bryan relaxes some. It comes with a sigh, and he unfolds his arms to let them hang at his sides. Maybe that's why Odessa has such an affinity for Adam Munroe, assuming she isn't yanking his chain. "I'd rather read the reports put on my desk in the proper chain of command. Reports that are useful to me."

"Well, there is that, I suppose. You and your chain of command. You're so straight-laced." Odessa completes her circle and comes to stand in front of Bryan again, eyes narrowing faintly. "And avoidant. You like Elle Bishop. Admit it!"

Bryan slips his hands into his pockets and peers down at Odessa through narrowed eyes. "Alright," he finally says. "I like Elle Bishop just as much as I like you. There."

Well, now that was unexpected. Doctor Knutson actually backs up a step in surprise. "B- Beg your pardon?" She blinks several times. "I- I don't under-" Oh shit, where are my words?

But Bryan is quick to pick up the slack as far as silence is concerned. "It's easy, Odessa," he says as he takes a step forward and angles his head downward. "You are both co-workers. Possibly even friends. If they had taken off with you instead of Elle, what makes you think I wouldn't be just as adamant for your safe return?"

"That's a stupid question. I wouldn't have been taken." Odessa smirks, though it's uneasy, as though that were obvious. "Nobody can take me from here against my will." She has a hard enough time getting out when she wants to, after all. She purses her lips. "That settles it, then. Peter Petrelli was wrong on all accounts." And yet, she shrinks back a bit further. "I don't have feelings for you, and you don't have feelings for Agent Bishop."

There is an awkward pause then, during which Bryan swallows and tightens his jaw again, though such movements are subtle at best. "Friends, then," he says at last, pulling a hand from his pocket and extending it to Odessa.

Odessa eyes the outstretched hand dubiously. "I don't have any friends," she states quite plainly. It isn't so much a rejection as it is perhaps a statement of confusion. This concept is foreign to her at best.

"You don't?" Bryan asks with a tilt of his head, keeping his hand extended. "I promise it isn't difficult work, Odessa. And I don't let anyone sleep on my couch."

"You didn't exactly have a choice," Odessa insists quietly. "I don't think I could have made it to a cab unless you carried me." Her eyes flit from his hand, then to his face, then back down again.

Discomfort wins out, and Bryan pockets his hand with a tense sigh and a furrowing of his eyebrows. "Have it your way then," he says somewhat briskly before he turns to head out.

"Wait!" Odessa's heels click on the floor as she skips forward a couple steps after the retreating agent. "I… Friends? Why d'ya want to be my friend?"

But Bryan doesn't push the issue further. His own steps are leathery-soft on the cement floor, and he doesn't turn once to look at Odessa in her pursuit. The conversation is over, as far as he is concerned.

October 28th: We Are PARIAH

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 28th: Hindsight Is 20/20
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