Trying Science


colette2_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title Trying Science
Synopsis You might want to stand back.
Date March 3, 2009

Abandoned School, Formerly St. Joseph Hill Academy

It's amazing the damage two years can cause; to lives, and to cities.

Before Staten Island became the haven for criminals that it is, it was a suburban neighborhood that, while in decline, was still home to families and institutions of education. All that, and so much else, changed with the bomb. The St. Joseph Hill Academy was one of many things lost as a casualty to the bomb. Resting on Staten Island's east coast, this crumbling brick-faced building lies within sight of the broken spine of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, set atop a rocky hill overlooking the sea.

The academy was a Catholic school operated by the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity. Located on a fourteen acre, park-like campus in the Arrochar section of Staten Island, New York. Now it is one of many derelict instutitions under the "ownership" of James Muldoon and John Logan.

"Woah." Under cover of the fallen night and the drizzling rain, the dark silhouette of the Academy looms like some disapproving parent ready to admonish wayward children to the two visitors approaching up the crumbling stone steps that ascend the hill. The building's three floors all lay in various states of disrepair, the leafless and snarled apple trees flanking the steps leading up to the building looking like gnarled, black hands trying to reach forth from rocky, snow-dappled ground.

"This— this place is— " Hesitating on the steps, Colette stares up to the dark structure, backlit by the glow of Brooklyn across the waters, casting a hazy yellow glow on the low-hanging rain clouds. "Woah."

Moving up the familiar path, Tavisha only stops as Colette does, height difference yawning even further between them from his vantage point. The rain is a continual presence, but dismissed with barely a thought - in a wide and loose dome above them, the droplets of water seem to slide away, as if magnetically repulsed. An invisible, occasionally faulty umbrella that saves them from the worst of the drizzle, although by now his hair is slick from wayward droplets, and some catch in the woolen of his coat and fling determinedly.

"I told you," he says, and tilts his head towards where the doors are shut against intruders, although it becomes clear, from the rusted nature of the locks and the broken rolling gate that's been carelessly left swinging on rusted hinges, that it's certainly not locked. "Come on. It's empty."

Perhaps an obvious statement - no students, teachers, or nuns look like they even remember the place, but what he means is that they're free of the presence of those come to train, here, in the privacy of the abandoned building. The doors groan as Tavisha levers them open, leads the way through the place that smells of water damage and aging wood and decay. It's not particularly unpleasant, almost forest-like, earthy. "It's good place to go if you want to practice without drawing attention," he says, voice bouncing off the cavernous main room as they go. "And not worry if you destroy anything, either."

Destroy anything.

Those words bring a crook of Colette's lips that quickly fade as she Conrad's warning words echo in her head. She's quick to dismiss them, ascending the stone steps behind her darkly-clad accomplice. She's cold, so much dampness and rain will do that to her, but even risking pneumonia seems worthwhile given what is being offered here, the insight — not to mention the companionship — of someone who isn't trying to treat her like a child.

Even if she often acts like one.

"I always imagined running around… in my school after hours." Colette says in a hushed voice upon entering thorugh the old doors, as if fearful that some long-passed specter of authority will emerge from one of the school's rooms to dispense punishment for speaking too loudly. "This place," she steps over a piece of broken plaster, fingers running along the peeling paint on the walls, "it's awesome."

As she walks side-by-side with Tavisha, Colette's mismatched eyes flick over to him, her pace not hindered by the dark and the debris, navigating it as evenly as she did the beach under dark of night. "So— you've come here before?" One dark brow rises higher than the other, "I— used to use rooftops, I mean— back when I was being trained. The more light there is, the easier it is for me to do what I do." There's a hesitant, but proud, smile. "First time I ever did anything neat though, it was dark like this…"

With the way Colette talks, it's clear she's nervous. The creaks, bumps and groans of the old building filling her imagination with all manner of real-life boogeymen that could be hiding here — present company excluded. "There's these old… like, subway stations on Manhattan," her eyes peer through an open door as they pass a classroom, on the way to the gym. "Nobody goes there anymore, and some of 'em are like, flooded. It's really…" she pauses as her eyes turn to the creak of old hinges, watching Tavisha push his way through an old pair of double doors marred with spray paint into the gymnasium floor, "creepy— Like this."

Spotlights of fading daylight streak from on high through windows - some broken, some grimy but intact, swirls of disturbed dust visibly dancing within these beams like bottom feeding ocean creatures clustering around warmth. Any equipment that may have been here has long since been looted, no matter its worth, but the expansive plane of wooden floor is scuffed but intact, the lines of netball courts, basketball courts, badminton courts still painted and overlapping each other in different colours.

It could almost seem normal, save for the obvious neglect its undergone - the broken basketball hoops, the evidence of pyrokinetic play in the form of black scorch marks on the floor, the walls, even as high up as the rafters, the strange bullet-like holes littering one wall. Strange smears, marks, and scratches, all reminiscent of the kind of broke-down quality of the cage at the Pancratium itself.

Footsteps makes thin echoes as they move inside, and the slightest twitch of Tavisha's hand sends the double-doors behind them slamming shut, promptly. "Then this mustn't be too weird for you," he says, flashing her a half-smile as he makes his way further through the space. "There are places like this? On Manhattan?"

The slam of the doors makes Colette jump, turn around quickly with a flourish of wet locks of hair, the ones that aren't clinging to her pale brow. She tenses, if only for a moment, before realizing it was Tavisha's handywork. "Yeah…" she finally breathes out, turning her head to look up at her taller companion, her boots scuffing and leaving black marks on the floor to add to the mess, "worse."

She turns on one heel, taking an exploratory step forward, eyes upturned to the thin shafts of light filtering their way in through the tall windows. "Midtown… it's— " She turns slowly, one brow cocked, "Haven't you seen it before? I mean, even on TV?" There's a quirk of her head to the side, mismatched eyes peering at Tavisha where he stands half in shadow.

Tavisha's eyes find her mismatched gaze in the dark, and there's a beat of silence before he shows her the palms of his hands in a shrugging gesture. "I don't have a TV." Well, it's not a lie, and as he walks away from her, showing his back in favour of his face, neither is: "I've been on Staten Island for as long as I can remember."

A ponderous glance around the place, before he focuses on the expanse of cement wall towards his left. It's clearly been dealt quite a lot of abuse - cracks spider-web through the rock from various blasts of any kind, a deep gouging fist-shaped mark, and someone had rather mockingly taped up a strip of paper with the shape of a person outlined onto it. It hangs mostly in tatters, now, unrecognisable. It's towards this wall that he holds out an arm, palm facing the ground and fingers spread.

Without a sound, three thin beams of light leap out from his fingertips, continuous streaks that hit the wall with literal light speed, tracking deep black sears in the rock as he moves them, just a little, aware of the danger. "Light. Heat, too," he says, with a glance over his shoulder at her.

All she can do is watch with furrowed brows as Tavisha moves past her, the avoidant way he dodges the topic of Midtown brings a sad smile to her face, one he never sees. She nods her head in silence, meandering steps following Tavisha across the gym as she leaves it at that — everyone lost something in the bomb, she figures, even Tavisha it seems.

When the blue-green laserlight sparks out from his fingertips, though, all of that is cast aside for a gasped cry of astonishment. "H-holy shit that is awesome!" The young girl quickly moves to Tavisha's side, eyes wide as she looks at the whisper-thin beams, then up from them to Tavisha. "They— that is— " When she looks back to the beams, her brows furrow, watching the black marks they carve into the rock.

"Light and heat are the same thing, pretty much," she rather astutely describes, moving to walk paralell with the lasers. All Tavisha would have to do, is sweep them to the side, and then the world would have two Colette's in equal halves. Admittedly both dead. "The— Conrad," she corrects herself, "The guy who trained me?" One dark brow rises as she looks back to Tavisha, "he made me learn about what I could do, about— light and, stuff." Her nose wrinkles as she crouches down, looking to the beams, letting their thin blue lines reflect in her eyes. "It's all, waves. Light, n'heat, and…" one small hand reaches out towards the lasers, and her fingertips begin to shed a faint luminescense as Tavisha's lasers begin to ripple and distort, undulating up and down like a sin wave.

Her lips crook into a smile, and her palm turns upside down, curving the beams into knots of light that still end at the stone. "I— never used to understand how to do this, until he taught me. Once I got a hold on the idea that light's waves it all made sense." She looks back to Tavisha, head cocking to one side with a swish of her bangs over one eye. "It was like, I could feel the waves, like a texture on my skin. Like— you know how air is always moving, but you don't feel it until the breeze is strong enough? It's like that." She looks back to the beams, wiggling her fingers as they straighten out again. "I can feel the waves, and— I guess it's like— I don't know. I just know that I can move them, it's like clenching a muscle…"

Tavisha knows a moment of rational thinking, the urge to instruct Colette back away from the lasers, or to cut them off, maybe at least move his hand away. Instead, he stays as still and unwavering as a statue, arm held straight and hand steady. A twitch in the wrong direction could leave scars and he watches her more than the lasers as she moves to crouch near them, to reach out as if to touch them, then—

He doesn't quite speak, just gives a faint grunt of surprise as the deadly straight beams of light twist and bend under the girl's manipulations, gaze inevitably drawn to the little display. All he has to do is maintain, and so he does, until the lasers are running straight once more. Without ceremony, they vanish instantly, and he curls his fingers back inwards. "Impressive," Tavisha intones, and he sounds like he means it as he studies the girl. "And that's why it's easier, to do what you can do in lit places? Because you can feel them."

A pause, before he extends that hand out again, palm up this time. A few inches from it, something starts to glisten, catch the light - a floating, shimmering droplet of water, like a hanging jewel. It's quick to grow into the size of a golfball, rotating and rippling in the air. "I'm the same with water," he says, looking beyond this show of power towards the girl. "But even when there's not a drop in sight, I can collect it from the air, gather it into something… more useful. Light has to be the same, there're no truly dark places. Like in the subway stations, right?"

Colette's eyes lift up from where they had been staring, even after the beams were gone, "Yeah, exactly," she states in a hushed tone of voice. "It's all waves, after all. But what I found out is that I can't make light, even what you saw on the beach it — " She holds up her hand, as if to offer something out, still crouched on the floor. In her palm, illumination begins to intensify, eventually manifesting in a swirling lens of light the same grayish color as the vestiges of sunlight filtering through the windows. The edge of the disc breaks apart in tiny, firefly-sized motes of light that all swirl in a slow clockwise motion, like a tiny galaxy held in the palm of her hand.

"I— think I concentrate light. The more there is to work with, the better. If it's pitch black— " she shakes her head, "There's not a lot I can do." The disc bends, distorts and warps before flexing inwards like a bowl. From that shape, a three inch wide cylinder of light shoots upwards ten feet, like the beam of a flashlight.

"I hurt somebody with this…" Her tone changes entirely, looking at the gray beam of light. "I— didn't even know I was different." Colette's brows crease together, her gaze transfixed on the glow. "I was scared, he— had a gun and I just— it was like a cat learning it had claws. My body just— " Her fingers close around the disc, discorporating it in so many flickering points of dying light. "How long have you known what you can do?" Her eyes focus on Tavisha, stepping away from that memory.

Tavisha's hand tips, and as if someone had punctured the sphere of water, it seems to drain itself into nothingness, a small stream of water that spatters on the cement ground until there's nothing left, watching the hazy beam of light flashlight itself across the gym. "I was the same, with the lasers," he says, head tilted a little. "A man was about to attack a friend of mine, and it just— happened. Hot enough to cut through metal. Bone." And he'd sawn through the legs of a SCOUT sniper, too, which isn't a detail he shares, steering his mind clear of it as he rests his gaze back on her when the lightshow dies away again.

Like her, he's happy not to think about it, although this new subject isn't particularly easy either. His shoulders lift a little as he takes a deep breath, sighs it out and gives a slight shrugging gesture. "Not long," he answers. "Maybe a month or so was when I found out I had any power at all. New ones just kind of… come up sometimes. It's like— you said, about a muscle. Finding out they're there as I go, I guess. That time in the clinic, when I almost disappeared— that's a new one."

Rising up from the crouch, Colette gives a small, subtle nod. "Yeah I— " she smirks, "you're really different. I just have, you know, the one thing," her fingertips tub together over her thumb of one hand in a small circle, "you're like, all full of awesome things." Taking slow, wandering steps towards Tavisha, Colette tilts her head up to look at him with one raised brow.

"What you did for Teo, that— was that new too?" Her head tilts to the side, "The— the black. The darkness that— " she squints, "that hurt. How… does all of that work?" There's such an insatiable curiosity in her expression as she stops inside of arm's reach, folding her hands behind her back as she looks up to Tavisha. "How does it work?"

"What I did to Teo was new," Tavisha answers, slowly, and wishing that his first instinct wasn't to dance around the truth. All things considered, it's probably a good idea as a general rule, to exercise some caution, but here, in the desolate, derelict gym with Colette looking up at him with such insatiable curiousity that only echoes flaintly in the chords of his own soul, he doesn't really want to.

Besides, it's her choice. And she should know if he's dangerous. "Actually I did it once before," he says, his voice actually losing some tension as he explains it. "The first time happened like all the others just happen… I was hurt, badly, and I took from someone else to heal it. I wasn't thinking straight, and in the clinic…" An eyebrow raises, gaze drifting away at the memory. "I could feel it, like a current."

A twitch of a smile that isn't really suited to the conversation, but he can't help it, even as he stifles it once more, explaining, "Life, that is, and I just started taking from all of you and putting it into him. Without really thinking about it, I didn't really realise…" He trails off, meets her gaze again, focused on the vibrant green of her seeing eye. "I'm sorry about that, I'm— I'll learn to control it. Just like all the others. But the way it works… I can't give life or just take it away. It has to go somewhere. So I direct it. Concentrate it. I guess all powers work on the same principles, don't they."

Tilting her head to the side, Colette slowly starts coming to the same conclusion Tavisha is, "It… sounds like it doesn't it?" Her lips creep up into a smile, "So… you can heal people, kind've like— " She shakes her head, "I knew someone who did something similar, she… didn't like doing it though. I dunno if she did it the same way you did." Turning on her heels, Colette wanders away from Tavisha, breathing in slowly before looking over her shoulder, head tipped to the side.

"Try it." One eye narrows, "Bending light, hiding." As she begins to turn to face Tavisha again, Colette holds up her hands. "I— still don't know how to do it myself. I can only do it when I'm scared, or— startled or something. Maybe if I watch you, see how you do it, I can…" She shakes her head slowly, "I can talk you through what it feels like… if it's anything like what I do, knowing what to feel for, it might— I don't know. I just— I need to learn too."

He doesn't vocalise his agreement, just raises an eyebrow at her and offers no protest. Holding an arm out from his side, he focuses on his hand, and slowly, from his fingertips, it becomes the hazy, greyish quality of the surrounding atmosphere. This far out in the middle of the room, it seems less seamless than when Tavisha had been flattened against a wall, or his hand against a table, but he becomes indistinctive all the same, that cement-shadow tone climbing up his arm, spreading inkily across his chest, blending skin with coat with shirt. Up his throat, over his face, his hair, spreading through his body until he becomes something like a glass statue, the background blurred and distorted through the bending of light through such planes. He steps to the side, colours shifting as appropriate, a delay until they right themselves again.

"It's different," Tavisha says, the movement of his mouth barely detectable, such details lost. "You disappeared completely, I have to concentrate or else it doesn't work right."

The sound of footsteps herald the fact that he's pacing, the shifting of colour becoming a little smoother as he adapts. "You have to separate what you can do from your feelings. Fear triggers what you can do, but it doesn't have to. Powers are… logical, they work the way you need them to. If it's only to do with how you feel, I think it's chaotic. You let them rule you. Then… bad things happen. People get hurt, you hurt yourself."

Swallowing tensely when she watches Twvisha change and vanish, it's his words more so than his actions that cut her. Being ruled by her emotions is something that has defined Colette as a person for a long time. "I— I'm emotional," she admits, a wry smile crossing her pale lips. Though as she watches Tavisha transform his exterior to refracted light, she steps closer, reaching out with one hand to touch along his sleeve.

"You're… bending it. Not away, but— around. Like a heat mirage… mine— the invisibility— it's like this when it starts." She hesitates, moving her fingertips up along his sleeve, "It's like, you're distorting the waves of light, which is why…. you're all bendy and hazy looking." She pauses, mismatched eyes peering up to Tavisha intently, "Can you see? It's— pitch black when I'm invisible, and cold. It— because the light's being blocked out. Can you see fine?"

Tavisha ceases his pacing when she comes near him. This, in itself, is an experiment - how hard to see he is, but there's enough to go on, it seems, as her hand locates his sleeve. As her fingertips make contact, the colour ripples in a liquid fashion - the one of her skin, for a moment, sends a hazy ring of colour over the cement toned sleeve of his coat, and then in turn, that blurred colour seeps into Colette's fingers, skeins of it starting to trickle through her hand before dying out.

"I can see," he confirms, and though it's hard to tell, he's looking at her hand at his arm, watching the effects of colour and light. "But I can't see myself any clearer than you can. I don't feel anything, either." His outline shifts a little - a nod of the head. "You try it." Avid curiousity has to be assumed rather than seen, but it's there.

Colette looks down to her hand, brows tensing, and exhales slowly, biting down on her lower lip as she closes her eyes and concentrates. When her hand pulls away, the air around the girl begins to ripple and distort, a heat-mirage of varying shades of bent light, "…it's… all waves," Her eyes close, brows tensing further as she draws in a slow, focusing breath, "logic," her form blurs and distorts around the edges, like a funhouse mirror, "not emotion…" and then vanishes entirely, leaving a perfect image of the space behind her as she emulates what she feels from the air around Tavisha.

"I— " Her voice is as clear as day, "I… I did it." Her exasperated exhalation of those words comes with an unseen hand grasping Tavisha's sleeve, "I can— I can feel where you're standing, the ripples you're making," when her invisible fingers grasp onto Tavisha's jacket, the bent light around his body curves the light waves further, dropping Tavisha too into sightless darkness. She pulls him into her invisibility, shielding him in a haze of distorted light and darkness, only slightly colder than the room was.

Beneath the effects of Colette's ability, Tavisha's hold on his own lets go, colours slamming back into place— although right now it hardly matters as they're plunged out of the realm of visibility, Tavisha unable not to give a small, startled gasp.

"Col— "

His head turns this way and that, as if fascinated with the sudden, oppressive darkness. "You…" Blindly, Colette will feel his hand wrap about her wrist, as if to stop her from moving away too quickly and disrupting the effect. "You took me with you, I can't see a thing." There's a laughing quality to his voice - where most people might be alarmed, he's far more fascinated. "Do you think you could mimic what I do… partial invisibility instead of— this?"

"I— " She hesitates to just say I don't know, "I'll try." It's at least progress. The hand around her wrist it met with a measure of tension, more reflexive than intentional and coordinated, as if the firm touch brings back some long-used reaction, even if it is just to tense up and stay still. "I'll try."

For a long while, the total darkness is all that keeps Tavisha company, that and the increased rate of her heartbeat fluttering in her chest. The girl tenses again, this time in her brow, and breathes deep before exhaling slowly, and soon the world comes back into a strange hazy distortion. It's like looking at the world through muddied glass, everything blurry and indistinct. Shapes are made out, but fine details seem lost through the grease-paint obscuring vision.

"I… just have to change the way the light bends, and… colors." Her head cants to the side, "Colors are— just the way light reflects off of objects, so— as long as I focus I— I can keep it like this." The image sharpens, as if someone began wiping at the glass with a cleaning rag, then slowly comes back into total clarity as the distortion ends.

Colette slouches, just a little, her free hand coming up to rub at the side of her head. "I can't hold it for long, it's like… tightening a muscle? It— it's hard to keep up." She looks down to the gloved hand on her wrist, lips pressed together in an inscrutable expression, mismatched eyes flicking up to Tavisha. "I have a limit. I— don't know what it is. Conrad, he— he had me practicing on illusions," illusions, like the ball at the restaurant. "When— I tried one too big, I— I got a pounding headache, a-and…" she swallows tensely, "and my eyes, they— blood vessels burst in them, hemmorhaged. I— he said I'd be okay if I didn't push myself."

After a moment, strong fingers loosen, let go of the girl's skinny wrist and smooth up to grip her arm, before letting go completely. "Then I guess it's a matter of getting stronger," Tavisha offers, mildly, stepping back. "Like with a muscle. Trying not to push it to a limit that hurts you, but getting better each time you try it."

And this time, he's speaking in theory. Somehow, what he can do is effortless - dangerously so. His brow furrows once he realises he's not exactly speaking from experience anymore, and shakes his head as if to dismiss it. "I won't know as much as your friend did. Conrad. But I know some things, if you want my help. I'd like to. For now I should probably get you home." What light is coming through the window has diminished to whatever the moon feels like radiating, and the reflection of light pollution from the thick clouds.

Biting down gently on her lower lip, Colette nods, but not before looking to the stone again, "Yeah I— guess so." She pauses for a moment, "But… show me the lasers again, one more time?" There's something in her voice, some hint of mischief, brows raised, lips creepng up into a crooked smile as she turns her back to her far taller companion. "I…" her head tilts to the side, leaning back to look up at Tavisha upside-down, damp hair falling away from her face, "want to try science on them," her smirk only grows.

The corner of Tavisha's mouth quirks up, eyes hooded for a moment before he lets out a quiet, almost shy chuckle, lifting his hand once more. Barely seen, the air seems to ripple for a moment at each fingertips, before the jets of blue-green light can shoot forward.

"Stand back."

She doesn't.

The young girl steps forward, towards the beams, close enough to touch them where they emerge from Tavisha's hand. It's not that, however, that she reaches for. Rather, her hand finds its way atop Tavisha's, eyes narrowed, watching the beams glow. Colette closes her eyes, a warm, golden glow suffusing her hand where she steadies it on Tavisha's outstretched palm. Slowly, the beams begin to change colors, shifting down from blue-green, to a more intense sapphire blue. The smoke from the stone becomes greater, and both of them hear the sound of the lasers shearing through the rock.

"Lasers… operate on wavelengths of light," her head tilts to the side, "I watched a Nova special on them, Conrad told me… maybe one day I could do this myself. The colors are— like— the spectrum. Red, you know, the kind you see in pointers n'stuff?" She looks up to Tavisha with a wrinkled nose, "S'like, harmless light. Then you get down to green n'blue, those're used for laser cutting, like metal," the glow brightens, and the blue beams begin to darken towards a purplish shade. "T-that spectrum of light, the lasers…" She moves her hand away, shuddering as the beams change back to blue-green. "If you get it down to a tight enough, um, squiggle?" One dark brow raises, "You can use a laser to split an atom." Her lips pop apart as she mouths the word, 'boom'.

There's a hesitant expression, and she wrings her hands together, "I… just wanted to see if I could amplify your lasers using ambient light." Her nose wrinkles again.


Tada? Tavisha stares at where cracks have begun forming in the cement, fresh ones, and to his ears, he can hear the concrete groaning against itself, smaller fragments loosening, until it settles once more. For a moment, he concentrates, and the lasers seem to fade, heading towards the reddish shade she mentioned, no longer leaving searing tracks, before petering out completely, leaving only wisps of smoke from where they'd scorched the wall.

That hand goes out, taking a handful of her shirt sleeve and tugging her towards the door in a small, almost playful jerk. "Yeah, okay. Let's get out of here before we start fucking with too much physics." All the same, he curls his fingers towards his palm and can't help but stare at his fingertips.


March 3rd: Like Moths
March 3rd: Making Plans
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