The Kids Are All Fucked Up


abby_icon.gif cat_icon.gif claire_icon.gif

Scene Title The Kids Are All Fucked Up
Synopsis Claire comes to Abby looking for a friend. While she's baring more of her soul than usual, Cat arrives to discuss the state of things.
Date March 22, 2009

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the shady crimson walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar. Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the owner's office and just inside a stairwell that leads a apartment on the floor above the bar.

The boss has been arrested, but that doesn't mean that Old Lucy's for the moment shuts down. The employees still all show up to work and get the bar open until someone says to do otherwise. So the beer's pouring out, people still come, and music still blares. When a mysterious message comes over the phone, an inquiring young woman asking where Abby is and wanting to meet up, Claire's directed to the bar where she's working. Working her corner of the bar closest to the door, where bouncer and other bartenders alike can keep an eye on the skittish gaunt blonde, Abby slings beer after beer up, popping caps and taking money.

Claire slides onto a stool at Abby's end of the bar, flashing a smile to the 'tender. "Hey you. Red Stripe for an old friend?" Dark hair is brushed behind her ears and despite the forced cheeriness, there's something obviously troubling the young woman. "When's your next break? I'd like to catch up at a table a little less bustling if you can spare the time."

Claire is not 21. Claire is not anywhere NEAR 21. Abby likes her job, even though these days it's a little noisy for her likings. "I can get you a coke, or anything else that doesn't have alcohol in it. Sorry." Such a party pooper. "I can take you into the back if you want." Serious, something serious.

"Give me a shot of grenadine in that Coke and you've got a deal," Claire bargains. She can't say she didn't expect that she wouldn't get served, but stranger things have happened. "The back room would be great," she confirms.

Grenadine is not alcohol, hell Abby even spears a cherry with a sword and balances it across the cup of Cola after it's doctored with a shot of the red syrup. There's a gesture to the door in behind the bar where employees go for breaks and gives access to the upper floor. That's off limits right now thanks to Izzy's arrest and the ordeal that comes with it. But they're in the back soon enough, Abby wiping her hands on her apron. "What can I help you with? If there's someone that needs healing, you're going to try and wait a week, I'm not supposed to heal any more people till I get some weight back."

"No, nothing like that," the darker woman assures the healer quickly. "I just… I didn't know where else to turn. I don't really have… friends anymore. I've been so busy fighting the system and laying low in the downtime that I haven't really had time for friends. And the ones I did have are disappearing more and more." Claire sits down in a chair heavily, sipping from her cherry'd Coke. "You've got so much to deal with, I'll totally understand if you can't offer me friendship right now. I just needed somewhere to go for an hour or two."

"Teo set you up to this?" There's a thread of suspicion in the blonde's voice, but Abby takes a seat. "Send you to try and .. watch over me?" There's curiosity as well in the weary blue eyes.

"I haven't spoken to Teo for months," Claire insists. "You're a big girl, Abby. If you wanted me watching your back, you'd come out and ask me. I'm not here to watch you." There's a wry smirk and another sip before she continues. "I'm here for purely selfish reasons of loneliness."

"I barely know you Claire, that's all." She murmurs, fingers toying with the bottom left hem of her apron. "I've met you maybe three times and even then, just in a room with others present. I'm not much of a friend right now truth be told, lord am I ever not a good friend right now. But… There's the bar, here. You can always come. Would.. be nice to have another friend."

"My friends all got hauled off to some hole where I don't even want to think about what's happening to them and there's nothing I can do about it." Claire pauses for a moment. Such negative thinking. "Not yet, anyway." The woman begins to reach into the inside pocket of her dark denim coat. "Turn your head a sec, yeah?"

"Turn my head?" What in the good lord's name. It's with great hesitation that the blonde does that, blonde hair staying anchored over her shoulder save for a few strands as she turns her face to look at the wall instead of Pariah member. "Do I even want to know what's in your pocket?"

"Culpable deniablity says no." Claire procures a flask from her coat and pours a shot of dark liquid - spiced rum if one were to get ahold of it - into her drink before capping the flask and replacing it in her pocket. "Okay. Decent again." Claire swirls the drink a bit with a subtle motion of her wrist to mix the liquor in with the soda. "I used to live with this guy… Not like that or anything. I don't know if you remember Julian or not, but he let me come stay with him after things fell apart… At home, you know?" Home meaning PARIAH, but Claire doesn't say as much out loud.

"Julian…" There's a vague memory of an accented guy not much older than her who sat at the bar. Kept his hands to himself. "I haven't seen him around, did he get picked up?" Extra liquid poured into the glass, and a raised level in said glass, Abby's not dumb, but at least, thanks to Claire, she can state that she didn't mix the drink that way and doesn't know where the girl got the rum.

Claire nods slowly, sadness sinking in to her expression, drawing lines on her face that simply weren't there before. "He just up and disappeared one day. I thought he was maybe laying low. Flirting with disaster is kind of his thing. But I came home one day and found… There were people at the apartment. I haven't been back since." With a long drink of her Courage and Coca-Cola mixture, Claire turns her eyes toward the ceiling. "I don't know why I'm here, telling you this. I just needed someone to talk to. Hel' is gone and Teo's… I haven't been very good to Teo. I couldn't ask this of him. I don't know why I'm here asking it of you. We don't know each other very well." She presses her lips together, staring hard into the dark liquid in her glass. "But we do know each other, and I need someone right now."

"I can't give you a place to stay, I already have someone who's staying in Al's room until he's out of mutant gitmo." As others are calling it. "I can… offer a shoulder? It's nto you know, a very… fleshy shoulder right now. Might not ever be if people don't stop getting shot and burnt and broken and let me heal in peace for the next week or so. But.. I can listen. I have church tomorrow, your welcome to join me"

"I've got a place." And Flint Gordon kind of counts as a built-in security feature, when you think about it. "Church? I haven't been to church in a while… I suppose I could give it a try." Claire forces a small smile that doesn't last very long. "I never realised how much Julian meant to me until he was gone. And I'm just hoping against hope that I can bring him home soon." Before he isn't Julian anymore.

Claire reaches into an outer pocket this time and procures a folded piece of yellow paper. "Here. This is my mobile number. You can call me if you ever need anything, any time. And Teo won't even know about it."

Abby reaches out for the little slip of paper, regarding the number on it with her blue eyes. She'd memorize it later. "Don't come with me to church if it's not your thing. I mean, there's other things… that we could do." But then she's talking about Julian and Abby nods. "There's a lot of people, who think the same way. It's not the same without Helena and her little space of warm air around her. Or Al in the apartment flopped on the couch beside me when we don't have work watching some movie."

And as Abby speaks of people thinking the same way, the door to that back room darkens, a female shape appearing in it. Cat lets her eyes travel over to the brunette and blonde before she speaks. "Good to see you, Abby," she greets with a smile of sincerity, "and you, Claire." The source of that voice steps forward into the room and full visibility, as her mind flashes back to the Flint Deckard breakout operation. She almost appends 'again' on to that, but holds back.

"Exactly. Nothing's the same anymore. Nothing's right." Claire's train of thought is interrupted with the entrance of, "Cat." An incline of the head is added to the greeting. "It's been… a while." A little while is still a while. Interrupted by Perfect Memory Girl, Claire is caught off guard by the rivulet that slides over her cheekbone and tickles the side of her nose before she notices it. Quickly, one hand comes up to brush away the tear and wipe away the evidence with her thumb. I wasn't crying. It was just raining on my face.

To the door Abigail looks, her fingers tightening for a few moments. Who's coming back here and does she have to bolt for the door that leads to upstairs? But it's just Cat. Abby's thin, not so thin as when she was first seen on the closed circuit security that permeates Cat's building, but she's still in need of some pounds. Silently Abby passes over some napkins for Claire. "What brings you down here?" This was not the kind of place that she even thought Cat might hang around.

"I was looking for you," Cat answers. "We hadn't talked in a while, since late January, and it's good to have you out and free. Finding you with Claire, well, that's just a bonus." A few steps are taken toward the pair. Maybe she sees Claire move to wipe away and cover tears, maybe she doesn't; the older brunette doesn't let on. Abby knows how Cat is, she's seen her crack before, and how she reacted on knowing she'd been seen. The healer also may, or may not, remember seeing a ski-masked woman of her height and body shape at the rescue site.

"You were talking about Helena and Al," she adds, voice somber and face taking on a look of quiet determination.

Claire covers her discomfort at letting the cracks in her armour show by downing more of her rum-spiked Coke and grenadine. "Missing friends," she affirms under her breath. "I think I would like to go to church with you, Abby." Not an intentional attempt to change the subject, but still. "It's an excuse to get out. If I don't like it, we'll find something else to do. Just don't judge me too harshly if I can't remember all the ritual associated with religion."

"I'm going tomorrow. You can come. Late service, I won't be in any shape to actually go in the morning." But Abby hooks a foot around a chair and pushes it over for Cat to take a seat. She doesn't remember Cat on the helicopter. More focused that she was getting out and the pain in her abdomen at the end. "Just that we miss them. That's all. I'm here for another hour then I'm heading home. I can only take it a few hours at a time, before I start seeing John Logan on every guy's face at the bar. If you want something to drink…" There's a gesture to the boxes of beer stacked along the wall of varying kinds.

John Logan. Heard, and thus remembered. Cat settles into the seat she's offered. It occurs to her to ask about that man, to gather as much intel as she can, but hesitancy exists over whether to probe at what right now is an open wound, she's sure. So that subject is avoided. The offer of beer causes her eyes to flick over toward that stack and look among the boxes for stout. Guinness stout.

"I've not been to church since Christmas Eve."

"At least you're getting out and making an attempt at this thing people like to call life," Claire commends with a lift of her drink. She has no idea of the ordeal Abby's gone through, but judging by the look of her, it hasn't been good. So any attempt to keep on living is a good thing.

"Because I have no choice." There's bottles of what Cat's looking for, in the far corner. "Not a choice at all." There's no cup to salute Claire back with so Abby opts instead to lift her chin just a fraction. "Boss got arrested. I don't know what for, other than she's not registered. So far, no one's come to close those place down, I really hope they don't opt to close this place down. But, she went down in a blaze of fire and tried to take a few people with her." There's a glance to Cat. "She might be joining the others I suspect."

This news causes Cat to lift a brow, and her features become stern. "Your boss is female, and she makes fire." That matches someone, at least in part, she recently saw. "There was such a person in your liberation team. Was that her?"

She rises and moves over to the stout, pulling out a bottle of it, then returns to her chair. Just before sitting, however, she lets her eyes wander the room in search of a sheet of paper and a pen.

Claire sits quietly, listening to the exchange between two former faction-mates. Her expression turns pensive and she stares at the ice in her glass, swirling it slightly so the cubes clink softly against the edges.

"Yup, that's her. She burned Officer Baxter to a crisp yesterday. He's fine now. I got a phone call really early in the morning." That and cops have been showing up with alarming regularity in the security tapes, usually carting a sleeping/unconscious Abby, or a very tired Abby, into her new home. Only paper and pen is the notepad in her apron and the two pens that are clipped to the waist of said apron.

Not finding what she's looking for, Cat unslings the backpack she's carrying and sets it on the floor. From inside she pulls out paper and pen, using a book also retrieved for support as she writes. "And you think DHS has her, Abby?" Cat's features become a bit more stern as she considers the possibility, the likelihood. Yet another person to spring when the mission goes off.

Her fingers move the pen across page, doing so in such a way as not to have what she's writing be seen by Abby, but also not have it appear obvious she's concealing that intent.


Talk to me later in private. Have data on prison, am getting more. Plan afoot to make missing friends not missing anymore. And please, please, make sure you avoid traffic cameras!

When done, she folds it in half and hands the sheet to Claire.

Claire doesn't notice the note passed her way right away. Her head lifts with a sudden jerk when she spots the paper in the edges of her vision. The note is unfolded and her blue-green eyes skim the words. She offers Cat a small nod as she tucks the missive away. "That's our girl," Claire murmurs in response to Isabelle's attempted blaze of glory.

If Abby sees the note, she's not complaining. It means that she knows less, and it's better that she does. She's not good at lying, lying gets her in trouble. If she doesn't know, then she can't tell if she's ever asked. "Maybe, I don't know. It wasn't explained to me much this morning. But she's unregistered, so, it wouldn't surprise me."

Seeing Claire acknowledge what she read with that nod, Cat turns her eyes back to Abby and floats a question. "Where are you living now, how would I get in touch with you?" There's not a trace of indication she already knows the answer. Her bottle of stout is held, fingers poised to open it.

Claire opens her mouth to say something when Duran Duran erupts from the back pocket of her jeans, fading in.

A chance to find the phoenix for the flame. A chance to die… But can we dance into the fire?

Claire pulls the phone out, "I have to take this. Thanks for the soda, Abby." She leaves the glass sit as she rises from her chair quickly, heading back the way she came. She has to raise her voice to be heard over the crowd of the bar, "Slow down, Fl-" The door swings shut and cuts off whatever else she might be saying.

Abby watches Claire run off, talking to someone whose name starts with an F. The girl'd have no problem getting out. Which leaves just Cat and Abby within the back room, the noise of the bar taking a dive once more when the door closes behind her. "Not far from here. There's a new place, I think. Since I got taken. Village Renaissance. Close to work, and the rent's affordable. Lots of security. My number…" since she had to get a new cellphone. Her own is somewhere on Staten island in the possession of one John Logan. The 10 digits are rattled off for Cat to memorize the moment they're spoken. "Slowly getting moved in, but If cops don't stop bringing me home, they may decide to kick me out unless I tell them what it is that I do and why cops keep bringing me home." She glances over to Cat. "How are you doing?"

"I'm all good," Cat replies, holding down the urge to smile at Abby's relating of where she lives. "I don't think there'd be trouble because police bring you home," she adds. "The problem is when they come to pick you up and start asking your neighbors about you. Or kick down doors." Her bottle of stout is opened and lifted, she takes a small drink of it.

"How are you holding up, Abby?" she asks softly. "Our experiences aren't exactly the same, but captivity is captivity."

"I'm.." Abby shakes her head. "Drugs help. I wish they didn't even need to help, but, they help. Keep me able to work a few hours, Seeing if they'll help me go to classes next week. Dr. Bianco got me set up with someone who helps people with uhh, Post Traumatic Stress. Brian is staying at the apartment right now, so I'm not alone." Her fingers worry at the hem of her apron still. "How'd you do. After. I mean, you weren't there as long, but… the things that were done."

"Things weren't done to me directly," Cat shares, her tone somber. "Ethan knew she and I were more than roommates. He would ask questions of her, threatening to hurt me if he gave her an answer he didn't like. Then he would ask me questions, under penalty of hurting her if he didn't like the answer. And he cut off her thumb." Her eyes close, she forces herself not to let the memories of that surface and fill her mind.

"I didn't believe anything he said. First thing off the mark, he said he didn't play games, then he proceeded to play games. He didn't say he'd hurt the other if the answers weren't truthful. He said if the answers were things he didn't like. It meant there was no point in telling the truth."

She makes eye contact when silence returns. While the memories were held back, denied a playing out in the mind's eye, the emotions they draw is visible. Anger, hatred, grief.

What do you say to all that? Nothing. Just a heavy silence in the room. Hurt, horror and fear war on the blonde's face who unlike Cat, just can't make eye contact like she normally does. The talk of cutting off fingers brings the back of her hand up to mouth again, her own tongue pressing to the roof of her mouth as if to remind herself that it's still there.

"Abby, look at me," Cat asks in that same voice. "See, here's the trick, it comes in the little things. They're hard, I know. But you have to force yourself to do them. Break John Logan's power over you." Silence returns for a few beats, before Cat softly asserts "I know it won't happen overnight. Could take months, even. And I don't claim to be a psychologist just from having read a book on the subject. But I do have some idea where you've been; we're both survivors."

"It's so hard" Her voice quiet behind her palm. "Every night Cat, he takes my tongue. It's not… the guy who actually did it. It's Logan, there, taking it. Telling me to try and pray now, see if I could ask god for help then. And I see his eyes, and they're glowing and I can feel his hand on my throat and the w… way he made me feel when he touched me. And I wake up screaming." Abby lifts her eyes finally, up to Cat's. "I can't heal myself Cat. I can't fix myself because there's nothing wrong with me. And some part… of me, blames myself for it happening. I shouldn't have tried to go home. I should have brought Brian with me instead of Magnes. I shouldn't have registered, if I hadn't have registered, they wouldn't have known about me."

"How did me make you feel when he touched you, Abby?" Cat asks quietly. "I know it's hard to talk about. It will be for a long time. When you think about it, when you remember, does it feel like you're reliving it all?"

"Think… of the one thing, that makes you really happy," Abby answers. "That makes your heart race, and make you glow and you're happy, beyond happy. Like you don't care whatever's happening in the world around you, you just want to say there, in that spot and linger. I loved it. My body loved it when he did that, it was like god reached down and touched me and… but it was Logan's touch, but it wasn't real and I hated it too. Because I knew when he did that, he was trying to get me to go somewhere, or just playing with me, doing it because he could and I couldn't escape and I couldn't run. He didn't even need to touch, to do it. He'd just stand there, and smile. He's always smiling He's always smiling and his eyes never stop being green."

"His eyes would glow green," she repeats, "and he gave you sensations you didn't want. Did you notice any kind of unusual scent when he would do that, Abby?" Cat's mind goes to work. It could be something he transmits by chemical secretion into the air. And it's odd. Delilah gives off a substance, but her eyes don't change from what Cat's seen and been told.

"Do you feel now that if you let yourself be happy you're right back there, experiencing whatever he was using?"

"No Cat, I just… I see him everywhere. And silence, is… I like the bar, even with all the people, because it's noisy, and I don't feel like I'm some animal in a cage. Happiness is something far from what I can reach right now. It's somewhere probably, but the fear suffocates it." Did she smell anything from him? Abby rubs at her eyes, leaning forward much like she had in the police station. "No. I couldn't smell anything from him. He could do other things from touch or even just standing there. He turned off Magnes's gravity control. He could make you go into a panic attack. He did that, the night Eileen and Teo came. They scared him and he came down and he'd been drinking, and he wasn't even smiling. He just wanted to know who they were, who they were to me, that… that one little girl was not going to bring his world down around him."

Facts are collected and analyzed as she listens. Multiple effects. Negating abilities. If it's anything like what Delilah does, this is an extreme degree of control. "He's not here right now, Abby," Cat states in a soothing tone. "It's just you and me here, talking. You may not believe me now, but time will come when you don't see him everywhere. Piece by piece, you'll take that away from him, and his power will be gone."

Silence comes as an interlude, Cat perhaps letting that settle in, before she resumes speaking in that same tone. "Do you see me as tough, Abby? Tougher than you?"
Time. Sme day, and time. Even she knows that answer. There's a nod given to Cat's answer. "Some days, it feels like you all are tougher than me. Everyones tougher than me.

"Remember Christmas Eve, at the Cathedral," Cat prompts in reply. "Not so tough now, am I?"

"I remember. I remember that day too well." Cat crying in a pew, about Dani. Abby rubbing her back and being a silent supporter. "The question is, Cat, did you think everyone else was tougher than you, that moment?"

"I didn't. I just felt broken, guilty, grieving. It's not entirely gone, never will be." Cat keeps the eye contact and the supportive voice. "But I don't let that rule my life. You've got that same steel in your spine, Abby. The difference is this was the first time you've felt it being tested so harshly. It's happened before, in lesser ways. Being criticized for your faith, being looked at oddly because you heal all comers, and you never faltered."

"I'm trying, Cat. Really, I'm trying. You guys are going to get Al back and he's… he's going to need someone to help take care of him. And I gotta, I gotta get to that point. The point where I don't need Brian, or someone around me, or I don't need those pills. The new place helps, It's close to work, the security is there, all the time. I thank god nightly that the rent is what it is. It should be three times what it is. I'm not doing as many hours, and there's school." Abby looks over at Cat. "Thank you, for that. It's you. The tuition. I'll try, and be worthy of that."

She avoids commenting on the topic of getting Al back. Abby doesn't need to know any details about that, at all. Cat's reply is kept to the issue at hand, recovery. "I know. I believe you'll get there." A gentle smile forms, and she lets the topic go.

"We'll meet from time to time, I'll read your books and test you to help."

Abby says, "I got no lack of people to help me with that. With everything. Lordy in heaven I got no lack of people helping me anywhere. I got the bar here and all the ladies, watching and making sure the customers don't touch me. I got Brian who's shadowing me, which should upset me, but it doesn't. Dr. Bianco helping me find someone who will help me. Elisabeth, and trying, with the case against Logan."

"Claire now, too," Cat adds, taking another drink of the stout. She doesn't mention Logan, choosing instead to stick to positivity. "It won't take that long, and you'll be in uniform driving around with your ambulance crew."

"Claire now too." But Cat's words bring a smile to the corner of her mouth. "We'll see how long. What I can do, I'm sure, will bring no end of of job offers to ride the rigs. I probably won't be driving, not if I use god's gift. The hard parts going ot be learning not to use it all the time." Abby inhales deeply, holding her breath a few moments before letting it out. "Officers at the NYPD, the Distrcit Attorney won't move against the case. Give them warrants, anything. Say that Staten Island is right now, out of their hands and their jurisdiction. Agent Ivanov, I think, is going to be trying to take my case. The FBI are getting involved, I think, now. Human Trafficking."

"That'll help," Cat states. "I think it might take an army division or two to straighten out Staten Island. Enough boots on the ground to physically occupy it, and that'd be some time in coming. The people who make those sort of decisions have their eyes on what, to them, are much bigger issues. It won't always be this way. I believe that. I have to believe that."

"We'll see" Abby murmurs. There's a glance to the door as she drums her fingers on her knee. "Izzy got arrested, will they be taking the bar? You're a lawyer. So I know whether I need to go find another job or whether I'm safe to stay here."

"I don't know the answer there," Cat tells the healer. "Who arrested her? I can see about asking some questions along those lines." Inside, she expects it was DHS who took the firemaker, but she doesn't know it for certain. If they do take the bar, she thinks without saying, the Feds would sell it at auction and she could take a shot at buying the place to keep it open. First, in any case, she needs info.

"Liz." There's a purse of lips. "She didn't know it was her. She apologized to me. Hana might be able to find out. But… She's unregistered so even you know who's got their hands on her now" Up from her seat Abby heaves herself, heading for her purse so she can grab a pill. 'I'm going to try an hour or more of work. If you want, you can stay back here. Drinks on me, or there's a place you can play, out there in the bar, there's some instruments around here."

Her eyes close. Damn. When they reopen, Cat is getting to her feet. "I should go," she answers. "I need to talk with Elisabeth, and I need sleep. It's been a long day." A few steps are taken, she stops at the doorway and faces back to the healer. "Keep your head up, and good night."

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