The Monster's Cage


darren_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title The Monster's Cage
Synopsis When the sign says Do not tap on glass don't tap on the glass.
Date April 8, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

To say Darren Stavens has been laying low to be a disservice to his ability to literally go underground. Hundreds of feet beneath the streets of New York City, the Ferrymen's resupply hub of Grand Central Station has become something of a makeshift hideout for the wayward doctor. While snow and ice has buried many entrances into Grand Central, the networks of snaking, partially collapsed tunnels and access hatches still afford some semblance of maneuverability down into the subterranean levels of the ruins of Midtown. However it's becoming harder and harder to get inside Grand Central, which perhaps for Doctor Stevens is for the best.

His residence is a makeshift one, a ticket booth situated near the rails of Grand Central Station, a fifteen foot long and ten foot wide windowed building with venetian blinds drawn and a single glass security door for access in and out. Remarkably an efficient place to hide for someone who wants to sequester himself from the outside world, lately he's been requesting his meals be delivered through the payment box at the teller windows.

He's also begun locking the door.

Which is obnoxious.

Unfortunately for Darren, Melissa is an insanely stubborn woman, and she's braved the equally insane drifts of snow to get here for the specific purpose of talking to the 'good' doctor. After managing to get into the station she tugs off her gloves and hat, shoving them into her pockets. It doesn't do a lot to help the feeling of being cocooned, but it does help, a teensy bit.

Abby said that Darren was staying in a ticket booth, so that gives Melissa a good place to start looking for him, after peeking in the room that she last left him in. She's in no real hurry to find the right one, so it takes a few minutes before she arrives at the hidey hole and tries the door. Finding it locked, she sighs and raps on the door. "Steve, it's Melissa," she calls.

There's silence for a moment on the other side of the glass door, he can't rightfully say nobody is home, because the chemical lantern is on inside and through the slats of the open blinds she can see him sitting on the edge of his folding cot. "Oh, that's wonderful. S'very nice of you to come all the way down here and see me. Whatever you've brought me you can drop it by the door."

Dismissive to the lasy, Melissa can see Darren swing his legs up onto the cot, back up against the wall, book folded open in his lap as he looks back towards her silhouette through the glass and open blinds. "Thanks for stopping by, very thoughtful've you. See you later, now."

Well isn't this going to be fun? "I haven't brought you anything. So open up. I've talked to Abby, so I think you can probably guess that I won't be leaving without talking to you first. And I really don't want to try something stupid like kicking in the door. It looks cool in the movies, but me? I'd probably break my foot or ankle or something, and you don't want that do you?" Sure, as far as guilt goes, that's a lot less than killing people, but she only thinks that, rather than pouring salt in the wound.

"It's bulletproof, actually." Darren closes his book and looks up to the door, "The ticket booth, that is. Did you know that? It's why there's a folding box to slide in money, so's it can't be robbed." There's that thick Brooklyn accent. "So, you can go ahead and huff and puff all you want, but really…" there's a wrinkle of Darren's nose. "Well, hairs on my chinny chin chin and all that other three little pigs nonsense."

Satisfied with his answer and offering a smile, Darren opens up his book again and settles it down in his lap, using his thumb to keep the pages of the novel open. "I don't really care what it is you have t'say to me, in case you're wondering, or thinking I was joking. You told me you could get me away from the hospital, an' you did, good on you. Now leave me alone, unless you're here to tell me my trip out to Canada's all secure, I'm just going to sit here and finish my book."

"It may be bulletproof, but I seriously doubt that it's proof against evolved abilities," Melissa says dryly, arms folding over her chest. "And you harmed one of the people who was helping you. She ended up with the same glowing mark that I did, do you know that? And funny thing…apparently there are a bunch of people turning up dead who have that glowing mark. Wanna explain that and tell me why I shouldn't ship you out to somewhere without people instead of teaching you how to control your power so you don't accidentally hurt anyone else?"

"Teaching me, right. Teaching me right into a pine box. Look," Darren huffs out a sigh and closes his book, looking towards the door. "Your blonde friend got slapped, nothing else. If she's got green marks it's not going to hurt her, I— don't think." There'a a clearing of his throat. "I can get help in Canada, I don't need you to go nosing into my life. People died, they've got marks. You can jump to whatever conclusions you want, but that wasn't part of our deal."

Running his tongue over his lips, Darren narrows his eyes. "Unless you want me to leave, and sure. I can leave, if you'd rather. But…" The doctor's tone becomes a bit more hushed. "I can't promise people won't find out about this little underground railroad of yours." There's a ghost of a smile. "I wonder what the feds who're looking for me'll be more interested in. A few dead Chinese mafia thugs, or you guys?" He looks awya, back down to his book. "Now, leave me alone."

"You're seriously a dick, aren't you, Darren? Maybe you like killing people. And trust me, out of everyone I know? I'm one of the few people who knows what you're going through, and can teach you to control your power. I don't heal. I don't do anything showy like levitate stuff or fly or anything like that. You know what my ability is? Hurting people," Melissa says, starting to get seriously ticked off. Not quite to the point of losing control herself, but there's definite anger. And a growing desire to get him the hell OUT of any safehouse in New York. The pine box is starting to sound good.

"And no, it's not part of our deal, but then neither was you slapping Abby or leaving marks on her that, except for the two of us, mark someone who's died." Melissa shakes her head. "I want to help you, Darren, I honestly do. But I won't risk anyone else to help you if you don't want to be helped. Or do you want to live your entire life sleeping, eating and pissing in a tiny little room, with just a book for company?"

"Isn't that noble of you?" Darren quips, one brow raised slowly. "I'm glad you're such a bleeding heart that you brought me down here without a second thought, and only once things started going wrong for you did you actually think, gee maybe this wasn't such a good idea? Well that's too bad, darlin'. Look, you can want to know all you damn well can about what happened to those dead thugs, but I ain't tellin' you. I don't want to tell you, I don't care if you want to know."

Laying down his book on the side of the cot, brows furrowed and eyes leveled at the partially blinded door that he can see Melissa's silhouette through, Darren finally gets off the cot and approaches the locked door. "You promised me you'd get me away, an' that's all I want. I ain't hurt nobody down here, nobody that didn't need a good smack in the mouth." It sounds so very defensive, he's scrambling around emotionally, feeling cornered.

"I sit in this booth, all locked up, I have them send me my food through the payment box for tickets. Nobody gets hurt, you understand? I just want to be left alone. So unless there's somethin' that you need to know so I can get shipped out of your hair and off to Canada?"

Darren punctuates his sentence by turning the rod that closes the venitian blinds with a rattling clatter. "Go away."

"You really don't get it, do you?" Melissa says, shaking her head slowly. "I knew it might not be a good idea right from the start. You freaked out on me, the first time we met, remember? You hurt my wrist for doing nothing more than offering to help you. Which I did anyway. And now I'm here wanting to continue helping you, and you just threaten to blackmail me and risk so many innocent people so that you can sit in there pouting? That is unbelieveably selfish and childish of you, Darren. I would've expected better of a damn doctor."

Mel's eyes don't leave the silhouette until the blinds are closed, and then they narrow at him. "And as much as I'd like nothing better right now to kick your ass and ship you to Antarctica, I'm not going to risk innocent penguins. Or are you going to trade a ticket booth for an igloo? Going to avoid people for the rest of your life? Get the 510 over and over again so you don't have your ability? Seriously. Have you even thought this through? Or do you not give a damn who you hurt so long as you're not being forced to heal?"

Arms unfolding, Mel's hands curl into light fists by her side. "Incidentally, I've heard of someone with an ability like yours. But I guess you don't want to know anything about that, given that you're so fucking special. Surely no one could understand someone like you, could they?"

"I've thought about it more'n you have, obviously, and I don't care about some poor bastard who's got the same problem I have." Darren leans his head against the door, lifting his arm up and resting his brow on his forearm. "It ain't a matter of control, all those fancy green lights can't do nothing to you. What I do, it's gotta be conscious effort. So if I go somewhere that nobody knows me, don't know the power I got? I'm just a little green sparklker that ain't going to hurt no one."

"This is what your people do, right? Get people out of the country? Why don't you go'n figure out when this storm's going to stop and come back when you've got an answer other'n I don't know." Pursing his lips, Darren leans away from the door. "I don't wanna be your friend, I don't wanna' tell you my problems. I just want out."

"Well that's a damn good thing, 'cause I'd really hate to disappoint you when I say that I'd rather be friends with the guy who tried to split my head open," Melissa says, voice thick with sarcasm. "But clearly it's not a conscious thing or you wouldn't have accidentally left a green handprint on my wrist. One that you obviously didn't know you left, and don't know what it does or means. Because hey, I'm not dead. Still got the cut on my head. So no healing, no killing. So stop acting like you know what the fuck you're doing. We've all been where you are. Admitting that you're new to your power and don't have control over it isn't anything to be ashamed of. It's just like walking doctor. Gotta walk before you run, and even then you're gonna fall on your ass until you get the hang of it."

"Good, good…" Darren notes a bit distractedly from the other side of the door. "Why don't you practice that walking, show me how its done. In fact, why don't you just keep on doing it until I can't hear you pissing me off anymore." There's a creak of the springs of his cot as he settles down on it again. "I'm glad we could have this talk."

Okay, so maybe Melissa's control isn't quite good enough to deal with Darren, and so maybe she slips a little and starts radiating some pain. And kicks the door as hard as she can. "You want anymore food you selfish, egotistical, childish prick, you come out and get it yourself. The people here aren't your damn servants."

There's a flash of green inside of the booth when that pain comes ebbing out, followed by a hiss and a snarl of confusion. All of the blinds begin rattling, one after another, vibrating like a train was coming down those pipes. Even when Melissa stops the inflicting of pain outwards from herself, the green glow continues, shining bright between the spaces of the blinds, flaring yellow on the edges and sending strange intangible paritculates of green light out through the walls in rolling clouds, like the way dust looks when caught in sunlight.

The glow moves closer towards the door and the rattling of the doorknob and blinds grows stronger until the lock flips and all of the fluorescent lights begin flickering overhead. One by one the bulbs in the light stands rupture and shatter, the fluorescent lights begin emitting a purple illumination as the spectrum of light is bent around the electromagnetic energy radiating out from the doorway.

Strumbling out of the ticket booth, Melissa Pierce only sees a black skeleton wearing dark clothing, green flesh luminous and muscle slightly darker, lime a lime-green X-ray of a man seething with flares and bands of lemon-lime light.

Then, like a birthday candle blown out in a huff of breath, Darren's internal radiation ceases and every single light in the terminal goes out. There's just a faint greenish glow hanging in ambient motes that drift like fireflies around where Darren is slouched up against the door frame, irises still glowing a shade of emerald. "What— did you do to me…"

The initial flash does nothing to abate Melissa's anger. But when the fireworks begin, her brow furrows and the pain eases as anger is replaced by confusion. And okay, a bit of fear too. The purple is new. Abby didn't mention purple. Dammit.

When he comes out of the booth she takes a step back and looks him over, up and down. "What are you?" she whispers, still frowning at him, apparently not hearing his question. Or maybe she's just being stubborn and answering nothing like he did earlier. Anything is possible!

"A monster." Is what Darren growls back, green light still flowing out of his mouth from the back of his throat, turning his teeth dark as rays of light emit between them. He pushes himself up, staggers to the side, then looks squarely at Melissa with brows furrowed and green irises slowly darkening as whatever charge he had fades.

"Don't— Don't follow me." Darren splutters out, taking a few scuffing footsteps away in the dark. "Don't come near me, or— so help me I'll kill you. Just— just leave me alone." She can barely see him now in the dark, the generators have turned off, fuses blown. Melissa can hear Neil shouting and cursing from down the tunnels, other voices joining his trying tog et the breakers flipped and fuses changed.

Darren's not heading towards them.

It sounds like he's leaving.

As soon as Darren starts moving, Melissa whips out her phone. Oh cellphones, how I love thee. Fingers move quickly over the keys, sending just a single text message, to Abby.

need help @ GTC. Steven

Then does Melissa do the wise thing and let Darren go off to self-destruct or just leave her life completely? Of course not! She starts moving in the direction that he took off in, though she does keep her distance. No way is she getting within arm's reach of that guy right now. "Wait! You're not a monster. I've seen monsters, and you're not it," she calls to him, brow furrowed in worry and confusion. "I'm sorry I hurt you, I didn't mean to, but if you leave, we can't help you. We can't get you out of the city."

There's a lot of major mental kicking of her own ass. Good with people? Hah. She's apparently lost that touch. First a girl with multiple abilities and now this frightening man. "Slap me if you want, like you did Abby, but please, don't leave!"

All Melissa can hear is the crunch of gravel as Darren jumps down off of the platform and down onto the tracks, the noisy report of his loafers on the gravel crunching with each running footfall. But it's pitch dark down here, how the hell can he even see in the dark at all to begin with? Whatever Darren's secret is, he's making a hasty retreat before the Ferry gets the lights back on, and he's doing his damndest to get as far away from them as possible.

Melissa may try and say he's a monster, but after being reminded of just how little control he has on his ability, Darren Stevens isn't taking any risks. After all, he wasn't sequestering himself in a bulletproof ticket booth to keep everyone else out…

…he was trying to keep himself in.

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