The Easy Way


abby_icon.gif caliban_icon.gif

Scene Title The Easy Way
Synopsis Abigail leaves a voicemail with her Linderman Group contact and asks him to meet her at her apartment at the Village Renaissance Building. As always, he obliges.
Date June 24, 2009

Village Renaissance Building — Abby's Apartment

An average middle class apartment, it's populated with decidedly not middle class furniture. A solitary red suede couch occupies the immediate living room, with a battered coffee table and side tables as it's companion. A decent sized TV sits on a cupboard with a stereo, DVD player. The kitchen sports a relic from the 70's, with matching chairs that still seem to be in decent condition. The two bedrooms off the hall are distinguishable from the other, one bearing a gold cross nailed above the door, the other not.

In the corner of the living room is an ornate cage on a bird stand, a blue budgie within it's depths. In another corner is a massive cat tree house, and often occupied by a black cat with a red suede collar. It looks barely lived in, like the owners are not yet investing their effort quite yet to move in.

The bulk of the day has come and gone. Classes, groceries, worrying about Niki, Elisabeth, Teo. Deckard. Dinner is already done early with and the dishes cleaned away in preparation for needing to attending the Wednesday evening services at the Guiding Light. Excess shoveled into two containers. One for her blonde next door neighbor and the rest to the fridge for her temporary and long term roommates when they get in. But the phone had interrupted her in the bathroom while putting in earrings. A visitor downstairs and when the name is relayed, there's permission for Mr. Caliban to be directed to the elevators. The defunct healer is standing in her doorway, body angled half out and waiting with her door open. Gaze on the banks of elevators.

As the elevator doors grind open, a tall, lean man with a head of dirty blond hair steps out into the hall. An unlit cigarette is tucked behind Robert Caliban's left ear, his hands tucked into the pockets of the weather-beaten leather jacket that hugs his long torso. Blue eyes seek out Abigail's face from several doors down; he offers no smile to the young woman, not even the slightest curl of his upper lip, flecked with day-old stubble. "You wanted to speak with me," he murmurs as he draws closer, sidling catlike into earshot. Although there isn't anything predatory about his movements, he appears as at home in his urban surroundings as a tiger prowling through sawgrass, surreptitious and slithering.

'Well you look like you're having a good day. Welcome to my home" She draws further back inside her apartment when he nears. Not because of the air that he's seeming to wrap himself in, but more because it's easier for him to come in and she close the door if she's not standing in the middle of it. "I have to admit Mr. Caliban, that I didn't expect so… prompt a reply. Can I get you something to drink?" She's in her sunday best, absent some shoes since she's not heading out quite yet.

"No," says Caliban, "that's quite all right." He maneuvers himself into Abigail's apartment, but seems content to linger in the entryway until he's invited further inside. Once the door has shut behind him, he removes the cigarette from behind his ear and rolls it idly between his fingers. "Mr. Linderman has someone else playing errand boy this evening," he explains, "and as it happened, I was already in the area. Rest assured, Ms. Beauchamp, making time in my schedule for you was no trouble." His cordial tone suggests that even if it was, he'd have been happy to do it. "Do you mind terribly if I smoke?"

"You can go by the window, I’ll get you an ashtray" It’s summer so the solitary window in the livingroom is open to let early evening air in. "You may say different when I ask you my question" She disappears into the kitchen to suss out the black plastic that she keeps for people who do smoke. She reappears not long after, placing it on the windowsill for his ashes.

"I never did end up doing the FRONTLINE ad. I don't know if that might brighten your day. You won't find me on their advertisements"

Now, Caliban does allow himself a small smile. It tugs at the corners of his mouth and creases the age lines there, giving him an almost whiskery appearance. "I'd noticed." He takes up a position by the living room window and leans back against the sill to take some of the weight off his legs. Droplets of sweat glisten at the edge of his hairline — chances are he walked all the way to the complex rather than pay for an air-conditioned cab. "I hope I didn't come off too strongly," he adds, producing a matchbook from his jacket's interior pocket. "It occurred to be afterwards that I may have been more aggressive with you than I'd intended."

"You have nothing on some individuals I know. When you've faced Sylar trying to take your gift, a passionate man who's convinced that perhaps you're not doing the right thing is.. a walk in the park" Abigail takes up a perch on the arm of her couch, legs crossed at her knee's.

"What does a favor from Mr. Linderman cost?" She'll get right down to it. Not waste Caliban's time it seems.

Caliban's brows lower at the mention of Sylar. He thumbs open the matchbook, selects one of the phosphorous-tipped sticks and cracks it against the attached striking strip. The match head glows orange, casting half of his gaunt face in shadow and the other in luminous yellow. "It depends on the favour," he tells Abigail, pursing his lips around his cigarette's filter, "and who's asking. Why? Are you in some sort of trouble?"

"I'm asking. Trouble.. some might call it that. Others an unfortunate accident. One that could be remedied. The problem being that the remedy lays with one person. Before you perhaps launch into a warning, I already know that Mr. Lindermans more… private and unseen activities are likely on the less than legal side. I already know that I'd be likely making a deal with the devil but… once you know why, you'd understand"

Less-than-legal is the polite way of putting it. Caliban gives a soft snort as he lights the cigarette and discards his spent match in the ashtray provided by Abigail. "I feel obliged to warn you anyway, but I'll hear you out this once rather than jump to a foregone conclusion." After taking a quick drag from the cigarette and blowing out the smoke through his nostrils in a steady silver stream, he removes it from his mouth long enough to graze his teeth over his upper lip in thought. "What's happened?"

Abigail is always polite. Usually. "Duly warned. A man named Tyler Case is an evolved, who took my gift and gave it to another. The other individual involved, lost his ability too. But it's literally gone. I didn't get it. What would it cost, the favor, to find Mr. Tyler Case. Since combing the city on my own and others that I know, isn't working. It's been 4 weeks…" 4 weeks? something like that. "We tried something else already and unfortunately, that didn't work."

Her bright blue eyes keep an eye on Caliban's, watching him carefully, even as the lone black feline occupant of the apartment opts to jump up onto the window ledge and then ease on past to the fire escape to soak up the rest of the fading sun.

Caliban edges sideways, making room for the cat as Abby had made room for him in the apartment's doorframe. "I can look to see if Mr. Linderman has any record of a man called Tyler Case on file," he offers, "but as far as names go — I'm afraid it's one I'm unfamiliar with. That said, our resources don't end there." The cigarette finds its way back to his lips, and he moves it from one side of his mouth to the other, tonguing the filter. "As for cost?" He makes a vague gesture with his hand. "That can be negotiated in the event my leads turn up something of real use. It would be unfair, I think, to charge you for the organization's services unless we're able to deliver what it is you're asking for."

"That, Mr Caliban, sounds fair. Then I can decide if the cost of the information, if you find it, is worth it" Her feet flex upwards, pointing towards the ceiling then back down. "That was all I had to ask. I'm trying to… do all I can, to get it back, to a degree. I don't think I will, but it's not just me who's affected and so I have to try, for them. No matter the cost. They deserve their life back as much as I would think, that I do as well. I don't like having people think less of me when they look to me to fix them, and I have to turn them away. They tend to think I'm abandoning them without good reason"

Caliban's gaze dips down to Abigail's shoeless feet, then slides up the lengths of her legs as she angles her toes. A quick glance is all — nothing lingering, nothing overtly inappropriate, nothing about the casual manner in which he holds himself that indicates he was attracted to anything except the movement itself. "I understand," he says, "insofar as what it's like to feel helpless. Before I joined the Linderman Group, there was nothing I could do to help the people who needed me the most — or myself, for that matter. But the truth is, Abigail… the things you've done in the past put you in a position to help others regardless of whether or not you have an ability. Would it really be so terrible if you never found a way to get it back?"

Does she tell him? Not? She looks at least like she's mulling around in her mind, the answer to his question. "I don't have the.. gene? The gene, that anyone who's evolved has, apparently. I should never have had what I did. It breaks my heart to know that the odds of me ever being able to do what I did, the way that I did, is never going to happen" Her shoulders go up in a shrug and her palms upwards in a 'who knows' sort gesture. "I'm not doing this for myself, but for the person who has my gift. They won't see to getting themself taken care of, until I'm taken care of. They're certain that so long as they possess that which god gave me, that I can still have it back."

Her palms turn against to cup her knee, fingers interlaced around her shin and thumbs resting on top. "I'll continue going to school Mr. Caliban, and become an EMT, maybe a nurse. Like someone else suggested, I'll learn to heal like everyone else, instead of the easy way"

"There is nothing easy about what you used to be able to do," Caliban reminds Abigail, tapping ash into the designated tray. Smoke rises in thick plumes from the tip of his smoldering cigarette. "Healing is as much a burden as it is a gift," or so Mr. Linderman has told him, "to cherish and to bear." He straightens where he stands, rolling some of the excess tension from his shoulders, and is rewarded with an audible pop as his spine slips back into perfect alignment. "Whoever you're doing this for is very lucky to have you for a friend. You'll let me know if they start taking your kindness for granted, won't you?"

"Everyone thinks it's a burden. It wasn't for me all the time. Maybe here and there, but it was a burden then I was born to bear and I did so with a smile on my face. Faint it might have been on Staten Island, the smile was still there. I'll miss it's weight on my shoulders, I will confess that. I did take a certain amount of joy from seeing someone whole again." The blonde breaths deep, letting the breath out after a few moments. "As for my kindness. Everyone takes it for granted Mr. Caliban. It's New York. I'm used to it. It won't stop me from being kind now and in the future. People need to be reminded that sometimes, people do something without expectation of anything in return. With good intentions behind their actions and no ulterior motive" She slides off the arm of the couch. "Southern sensibilities I suppose. Maybe. Or an old fashioned upbringing"

Caliban is silent for what, to Abigail, might feel like a long time but can really only be a few moments in reality. The expression on his face remains carefully neutral as he snuffs out the cigarette on the ashtray's plastic lip, folds its remains in half between two pinched fingers and then drops it into the bowl. "I hope I haven't taken you for granted," he says, his voice a throaty purr. He pushes away from the window, crossing the room in a series of smooth, purposeful strides. Rather than approach Abigail, however, he appears to be headed for the door. "In any case," he concedes wearily, "it's true — most people do expect something in return for services rendered. This is, after all, one of the business capitals of the world."

The ash tray is scooped up so she can dump the solitary inhabitant of the black plastic into the garbage. "No Mr. Caliban. But then, You haven't showed me anything but good manners these whole three times. If anything, it's I who is taking you for granted when I call and ask for your help. I never thanked you properly for your help, and Mr. Lindermans with the church. We haven't had anything else happen there. Maybe they took the hint that they couldn't cow us"

The black plastic is slipped into the kitchen so that she can take up her messenger bag off a series of dragonfly hooks on the wall. Next comes her own leather jacket and stockinged feet into a pair of simple flats. "Thank you. For everything so far. Regardless of what you find out, if anything, if there's anything that I can ever do, you have my number. Call. I'll see what I can do about letting you abuse my kindness"

"Some of the words that come out of your mouth—" Caliban shakes his head, giving a breathy murmur of laughter as one calloused hand finds the handle and gives it a rather abrupt twist. Never mind. "You can expect to hear from me again by Sunday morning at the very latest," he assures her on his way out the door, "preferably earlier. Searching our records for Case shouldn't take more than forty-eight hours at the very most, and in the meantime I'll call in a few favours." Which, if the rumours about the Linderman Group are true, means breaking a few kneecaps.

Then again, they might not be. "Have a good evening, Ms. Beauchamp."

"Some of the words that come out of my mouth are… " She smiles at that, a real one and not the empty one at the bar when he met her the first time. "I'm an odd breed of person, I know. I shall keep my phone close. God bless Mr. Caliban. May he watch over you safely" With her door locked with a jangle of keys slid into the bag, Abigail doesn't follow Caliban towards the elevators but instead towards the stairwell to take the stairs down. "Come to church sometime. See what you helped" Her palm connects softly with the door and the bar to unlock it and push it open. "Who knows. You might like it" and with that the blonde disappears into the stairwell, the door closing slowly behind her.

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