Waitin' For The Bus


cat_icon.gif colette2_icon.gif

Scene Title Waitin' For The Bus
Synopsis But there's no need to have mercy, it wasn't all day. Just long enough to learn things.
Date January 17, 2009

Greenwich Village

In a time that seems long ago, Greenwich Village was known for its bohemian vibe and culture, the supposed origin of the Beat movement, filled with apartment buildings, corner stores, pathways and even trees. There was a mix of upper class and lower, commercialism meeting a rich culture, and practically speaking, it was largely residential.

Now, it's a pale imitation of what it used to be. There is a sense of territory and foreboding, as if the streets aren't entirely safe to walk. It isn't taken care of, trash from past times and present littering the streets, cars that had been caught in the explosion lie like broken shells on the streets nearest the ground zero. Similarly, the buildings that took the brunt of the explosion are left in varying degrees of disarray. Some are entirely unusable, some have missing walls and partial roofs, and all of the abandoned complexes have been looted, home to squatters and poorer refugees.

As one walks through the Village, the damage becomes less and less obvious. There are stores and bars in service, and apartment buildings legitimately owned and run by landlords. People walk the streets a little freer, but like many places in this scarred city… anything can happen. Some of the damage done to buildings aren't all caused by the explosion from the past - bullet holes and bomb debris can be seen in some surfaces, and there is the distinct impression that Greenwich Village runs itself… whether people like it that way or not.

It threatens to be noon any moment now, with the sun bright and high overhead, making shadows sink and slink beneath what casts them. But despite the clear skies and bright sun, the air is wickedly cold, carrying a subarctic chill that cuts as easily as a knife against exposed skin. Not too many people are out on a day like today, when the cold and driving winds can take a man's breath away, let alone in this remnant of a neighborhood.

Along one of the roughly cleared sidewalks, one of the few people out on this weekend walks quietly past rows of snow-covered houses, past the graffiti-laden facades of convenience stores with bars over their windows, past a VolkswagonJjetta up on cinder blocks with its windshield busted out. She's bundled up for the cold, in a heavy tan suede jacket, hood raised with a pour of cream colored fur around the edge. Wound around her face, a middling blue scarf conceals everything nose down, laving the tuft of messy black hair protruding from the hood to give away a bit of her identity — at least what a pair of mis-matched eyes don't.

At her side, and occasionally ahead of her, walks an old mutt of a dog. Mottled brown-black fur and a jingling collar, he seems content to trod up through the snowbanks and back down again, energetic for one his age.

"Hey, stoopit" Enunciated exactly as imagined, "C'mon, out of the snow, Jesus." The girl swings one arm over her shoulder, carrying a large and rounded plastic boom box by a curved plastic handle. Both it and her overly large jeans are splattered with long dried paint of myriad colors. "I know you're gonna get it all over me."

Even though it's cold, so bitterly cold, she's out and about after talking with Grace as well. Cat has shrouded herself in a heavy coat with gloves covering hands stuffed into pockets as extra protection, with the hood to it up and the hood to a hooded sweatshirt under that, even. She'd only been to Greenwich Village a few times since coming to Nuked York, the first of those occasions one when she shot a man dead and got herself a mocking nickname in the process.

Her booted feet, at the end of legs covered by jeans, move her along the streets in a more thorough exploration of the neighborhood around her new home. She seems perhaps distracted as she goes, what with perfect memories from photos and films of what the area looked like before the city was forever altered coursing through her mind and being compared. Half a block away from girl and dog, definitely in their path, she doesn't yet spot them. But they could spot her, and despite the protections versus cold her features aren't so much obscured as to go without recognition.

There's not even a glimmer of recognition in Colette's half-blinded eyes when she look what might have been dead-on at Cat across the street; a fleeting memory of someone she met almost a month ago that slips between fingers like a snowflake. "Nnh, Jupiter! Moron!" She climbs up onto onee of the snowbanks after the old dog, yanking him by the collar for lack of leash, and ending up dragged through the snow on slippery boots for her efforts.

Skidding down the side of the snowbank and down into the empty parking spaces on the other side, the girl huffs out a frustrated breath, "Hey, hey — Bus stop is the other way, I swear if you get me hit by a bus I will — " The girl snorts out another frustrated breath before letting go of the collar, staring down at the dog with a measure of some king of stare. The two exchange eye contact for a time, and with all of the theatrics reluctantly sighing and throwing his paws into the air, Jupiter lets out a steamy snort and trundles back up over the snowbank with his tail slowly swishing from side to side.

Colette covers her face with one gloved hand, giving her head a shake as she follows Jupiter back over.

She hears the voice calling out after the dog, and it draws her back to the here and now more fully, at least for a few seconds. She watches both in silence for some moments, closer now. It plays out in her head, that time at Le Rivage. Colette and Grace both there, the mention of a henchwoman Grace later said was Ygraine. The talk about fear, and the rain. Colette calling her Doc.

It's definitely her, should she be looked at for an extended time. The same woman who'd been at the apartment building that day, the one potentially seen dressed in black with her shoulders shaking from sobs at the Cathedral on Christmas Eve.

Up, over the snowbank and back down the street, going all the way to the corner of East 4th Street. The girl and her dog circle around a large three-walled booth, pausing to look at the bus schedules, crouching down to follow a trail of one line until she finds the large "You Are Here" star on the route map. Tapping two fingers on the spot, Colette rises to stand straight, then circles around and inside of the booth to sit, with that old dog following her more obediantly than he was before.

"Thirty minutes." She offers to the dog, tilting her head to the side, "Come on, not that bad of a wait, huh?" A faint smile crooks up on her lips, and Colette reaches out one hand towards Jupiter, her extended fingertip glowing with a muted red-white light as she traces a lingering swirl of glowing light in the air, as if she was fingerpainting with nothing, "I'll keep ya entertained." Though she should really keep an eye on who's watching her when she does that sort've thing.

There's a voice from nearby seconds later, as the girl sits inside the bus stop booth and traces with glowing finger. "It's not so long a wait at all," Cat comments. "Colette, wasn't it?" she asks in a pleasant enough voice. One shoulder leans against the booth's entrance, and her eyes flick momentarily over toward number 14, then come back to rest on girl and dog.

"Woahshit!" Clearly she wasn't expecting company. Colette nearly jumps out of her skin at the sound of someone's voice. The light at her fingertip turns a bright orange and then sparkles away into tiny motes of light. Her hand sweeps behind her back, because that will obviously make everything better, "Hey! Fuck, didn't anyone tell you not to — " Recognition, even if muddied. Colette's brows furrow, mis-matched eyes scanning the brunette for a moment even as Jupiter lazily sits up from where he laid in front of the bench, coming to sniff at Cat's feet and ankles.

"You're…" It's on the tip of her tongue, "I remember you." Though she can't seem to quite hazard out from where, "S-sorry I — I'm terrible with names and stuff, it takes me forever to like, get them pounded in my head. Um, are — " She scoots to one side, getting as far to one edge of the bench as she can. "A-are you headed down to the Financial District too?" Her brows raise, even as one hand lashes out to tug on Jupiter's collar, "Hey." She hisses at the dog, because he's being nosy.

"Cat," she supplies. "You talked to Grace and I on a rainy day at Le Rivage, called me Doc," she adds. A slight smile spreads out as she speaks. "I'm not headed for the Financial District, no. I live in the Village now." Her backside settles onto the seat, and she smoothly offers "That was interesting, what you did with your hands, the light." She realizes it could spook the girl, so she continues, calmly asking "Have you heard of attorney-client privilege?" It's mentioned all the time in movies and on TV, she expects the answer will be yes.

"Oh right, I remember now. Ha, God that was awkward, I'm — " Colette cuts herself off as the conversation takes a turn for the paranoia, and her eyes grow a bit wide. "Y-you — I didn't do anything." She hunches forward, curling heer wool-gloved hands in her lap as she turns her gaze to stare down squarely at her feet. "I'unno what you're talkin' about, y-you're mistaken." Then, after a moment of petulence, and sways from side to side very subtly, chewing on the inside of her cheek before mumbling. "S'like, um… Yeah, kinda'. I watch a lot of Law n' Order. Pisses Judah off all the time though, so, not when he's — " She hisses out a strained breath, realizing she was rambling.

"So you know that things talked about between a lawyer and client aren't ratted out to the cops, right? Lawyers don't go trumpeting what clients tell them, or things they see, to the world. So that thing you didn't do, and I didn't see, you don't have to worry about me telling stories." Cat's voice is calm, one chosen to reassure, to put at ease. "But if I did see it, I do understand how it could be. Something which amazes and fascinates you to have, and scares you at the same time." The quiet confidence she says that with could be a indicator she's got something extraordinary of her own going on, it perhaps suggests she understands because she's been there.

Still staring at her feet, Colette can't help but look a little perplexed by the woman's words. Her eyes upturn, a little distrustingly, to her, "I — But like, I'm… not… your client?" Subtlet isn't one of her strongest suits, even when the subtlety is nearly bludgeoning her about the head and neck with the straightforward answer. "Um I — " She leans a little away, then towards, wavering like one of those inflatible boxing clowns.

"You know, like, about it?" She turn sher head, just enough to regard Cat a little more fully. "Were you there too? Um, in Chinatown?" There's a narrowing of her eyes, inspecting and uncertain, "D-did… did you see what I…" But she looks away, unable to really maintain eye contact when considering the gravity of that situation she was in.

A quiet chuckle escapes. "Relax, Colette. I'm not the kind of lawyer who'll charge you six arms and legs just to write down your name. I practice only rarely, and charge people even more rarely than that. Playing guitar and singing is much more enjoyable." Cat intends not to lie to her, so the question about Chinatown is ignored as if she hadn't heard it. "I didn't see you, just a few moments ago, tracing a pattern with red and white light coming from your finger. It also doesn't matter if I'm your attorney or not. I don't give people away over things like that. If there'd been anything to see, which there wasn't." Her back remains straight as the girl nearby wavers like an inflatable boxing clown.

Chewing at her lower lip lightly, Colette stops her swaying and stares down at her hands, watching her fingers fumble with the lower hem of her jacket idly. "I… um, yeah." No sense in insulting the woman's intelligence, she saw what she saw. "It was stupid, I shouldn't be doing it in public." Her lips purse to one side, shoulders rolling forward in that way a chastised child would.

"Conrad'd kick my ass if he found out." She adds, as if the name wouldn't have any weight to Cat, "But, uh, yeah, s-sorry. I didn't mean to like, you know, be all obvious or something." When the girl turns to look back up at Cat, it's with a faintly awkward smile, "Least I can kinda' control it now."

"That brings us back to the bit about it being fascinating, and yet scary, at the same time," Cat replies with a bit of a smile returning. "You can't stop thinking about it, and when your mind wanders, you find yourself using it, sometimes. Especially when it's new, and for you, I think it is. You're in your teens, so te odds are it only came to you recently."

And she ponders for a moment, on the name she dropped. Common enough, the moniker Conrad, it may not be him. But given the other factors; the girl recently manifested, she knows of Grace and Ygraine, her being known to the members of Phoenix, the odds of it being a coincidence decrease dramatically. "Who's Conrad?" she asks with apparent mild curiosity.

"A few months." Colette admits quietly, trustingly — perhaps too much so. "It was like, November? God, I can't even remember, it's been so strange since then." Shifting her focus back to her lap, Colette gives a bit of a sniffle from the cold, wringing hr gloved fingers for warmth. "But, yeah, now… Now that m'not afraid of it like I used to be it — It's really cool." She doesn't want to smile at the notion, but it's a visibl struggle for her not to.

"Oh, Conrad?" The girl turns to look up at Cat with a bit of a smile, "He's my mentor, um, Conrad… uh… Fonziak? Bosnia? Er I forget." There's a slip of a laugh and a grin which she quickly attempts to hide. "Good guy — Kind've a jerk, but like, it works. He's helped me figure out that like, I do more than just make shit glow." Her fingers rub together again. "He's smart." Probably the first person ever to call Conrad smart.

She nods while listening to the teen, comparing things with information stored in her head, and with the speaking of possible surnames for Conrad the odds of coincidence shrink further. A flashback takes place, she perhaps looking distant or distracted for a span of seconds while viewing it.

Grace takes the time to get herself a glass of water, also sans ice, since she predicts a decent amount of talking impending. Always better with water to drink. She sits down across from Cat, regarding the woman almost sidelong, her own demeanor faintly defensive. "Comparing notes is fine, but it's not to go any further."

"The only thing I've recorded in the organization's records," Cat states as she too settles into a chair and sets the glass down, "is that we have no answer to the question of whether or not she has an ability, her affiliation is law enforcement, her guardian is Judah Demsky, they reside at Le Rivage Apartments, and it's best to share no information with her. I'm wary of her curiosity and imagination." The glass is lifted, she takes another small drink from it, after which she adds "It wasn't lost on me that she spoke of Debater as a henchwoman, despite not knowing either of us operate in our circles and wasn't careful who she repeated that in front of."

"We actually do have an answer to the first now," Grace remarks dryly. "But no. She has no sense of OPSEC. Everyone who's interacted with her so far knows this and knows to keep their mouths shut." A momentary pause, before Grace continues. "Colette volunteered for the Cathedral soup kitchen for some time. She's familiar with several operatives through that means, although she herself isn't aware the Ferrymen exist, much less that her friends are associated with us. 'Henchwoman' is, as I said before, a joke of hers which is both coincidentally accurate and completely wrong."

The woman pauses to wash the words down with water. "She was present at the Chinatown incident, although so far as I know unaware of exactly what happened or who else was involved aside from myself and Alistair. She hasn't been to visit Trent, and they were friends while she volunteered; that suggests continued lack of knowledge on her part. It also seems she manifested her own Evolved ability during the chaos; something light-related, I suspect."

"That must be quite the shock to her," Cat replies musingly. "They tend to come on as surprises, often when needed most or expected least. Often enough it's both. I was at Yale when mine kicked in. I knew something was different," she relates, "but didn't quite tag myself as Evolved until the Tragedy struck." A pause is taken to imbibe more of the dark liquid, and speaking again follows. "It's understood and agreed what we speak of regarding Miss Nichols stays between us, Grace, unless you consent otherwise directly."

"It was," Grace agrees. She lets those two words, spoken quietly in a voice that does 'soft' poorly, suffice as a reply. Another drink of water is taken as Cat continues, the other woman inclining her head to the lawyer.

"I know a Conrad Wozniak," Cat replies when she emerges from Panmnesia Lane. She shows a grin. "Have you ever wondered what it could be like to never forget anything, Colette?"

Now it sounds a bit more dubious, almost like a telemarketing pitch. The girl's nose scrunches up, eyes staring a bit sidelong at Cat for a moment before she answers. There's a snort, distant and frustrated, and her shoulders slouch more as she stares down at her lap. "Yeah, that'd be nice. There's a lot've stuff I can't remember… that I'd like to." Her eyes close partway, fingers fumbling with a loose thread on her right glove. "But s'not my thing, I just… bend stuff." The words come out awkward, and her lower lip juts out a bit before pursing to one side, a strange if not thoughtful expression.

She doesn't come back to the topic of not forgetting anything, Cat leaves that behind. "You make and bend light," she observes. "Like if you shine it through a prism, and make white light separate into the colors of the spectrum. Like rain does, when you see rainbows off in the distance. But you can do more than just that, you can coax out the colors one at a time if you want."

Colette's brows screw up as Cat dissects her ability through empyrical study and choices of words, it's clever. "O-oh uh— Yeah I— That's what Conrad says I do." She looks dow at her feet, shuffling them to tuck the toes of her boots under where Jupiter is laying, like a big furry heater. "It's weird, doing… that. I mean, it comes naturally?" She puckers her face into something distasteful, not quite communicating her point as best as she'd like, "But it's like —- It feels weird to do that naturally, because, you know… I… I always thought I was normal."

Colette looks down to her hand, cupping her hands as if carefully and delicately holding a fragile butterfly. And, to her credit, she is. Though, it's not quite a realistic butterfly, but more a construct of reflected light with vibrant carnation red wings with purple tips, and a yellow body. The color flows all wrong when it moves though, like a fluidic oil painting brought ot life. "M'learning. I still can't do the invisibility thing again." She pauses, stutters, and then laughs as her hands close around the butterfly, crushing it into a few sparkling motes of yellow light. "I did it once, but like, it was dark and cold. I haven't been able to do it since."

"That's how it is, with just about anything," Cat assures. "You practice, and experiment, figure it all out. They don't come with instruction books, we have to write our own by trial and error. But, of course, doing it in a less public way would be very good. The streets have eyes, you never know when they might fall on you."

Colette's butterfly is studied, and she smiles genuinely. "That's really cool." Because it is. And… "Invisibility. Interesting. And it was cold, like you made all the light go around you, instead of bouncing off."

She smirks, it's the first time anyone's ever complimented her ability. "Yeah," She murmurs, head tilting to the side slightly. "S'what Conrad said, I bent all of the light and heat away from myself, or something like that." There's a scrunch of her nose at the point; unfamiliar terms not quite coming to her naturally. "So like, I couldn't see and stuff. I haven't been able to do it again, it was like… I was panicked, and it just happened. I've tried a lot, just… I don't think I'm ready yet."

Letting her head tilt to the other side, Colette's eyes narrow slightly, "Do you know a guy named Teo?" She doesn't pronounce it right; or rather she pronounces it like an American would. "Just, like, you know — odd question, yah. But do you? His last name is like, uh, all Greek or somethin'."

"Discovery's a lot of fun, isn't it?" Cat asks with her grin spreading. "I like knowing things, paying attention to what I see and hear around me, what I smell and taste, what I touch. Thinking about something a person says and does, considering what it means, like when you said you bend things, and I'd seen you make red light from your fingers, it just added up, you know? And yes, I know a guy called Tea Oh. Or Tay Oh."

There's a bit of a sheepish grimace as Colette ducks her head down, "Oh — R-right, Tay-Oh." She says with a lopsided smile, "I always — " Jupiter rises up abruptly and dutifully, letting out a half-hearted grunt as he pads to the sidewalk. For a moment Colette's a bit lost in why he suddenly got un-lazied until the roar of a bus catches her ears. "Oh! Hey, wow, that — " She smiles, broadly, looking over to Cat. "Hey, I guess that's my cue huh? Sorry for, like, talking your ear off."

Certainly on cue, a public transportation bus comes rolling to a stop with a hiss of hydraulic brakes. "Out of the cold n'stuff, right?" She wrinkles her nose and pushes herself up off of the bench, grabbing her boom box as she does by its raised handle. "Hey um… Thanks for, you know, talkin' an' stuff. It helped pass the time."

"You're welcome, Colette," Cat replies as she too gets to her feet with the dog's movement and the arrival of bus. "See you, and take care." She flashes a warmed smile as the girl moves away. She will stand there and watch the bus depart, considering the things learned and mulling over how she was linked to those guys, but maybe not to their organization, or was she? With not being a telepath, she can't know the answer. And from there her thoughts drift, to how the girl might be taught an understanding of what Grace called OPSEC without destroying her spirit. This is where Cat's mind is going, before the girl is even more than five steps away.

With an equally warm smile, Colette inclines her head as the bus' door comes sliding open, "Anytime, Doc." She winks, playful and teasing, either only now finally remembering their encounter or having feigned ignorance the entire time. Jupiter is putting his money on the latter. "C'mon Jupe! Let's go!" The girl claps her hands together, ushering the dog up onto the bus as she hurries close behind him, pausing only to turn and look back over her shoulder, watching Cat for a moment before nodding her head in silent approval, to disappear up the steps and onto the bus.

Even though the doors slide shut after a few long moments of waiting to see if Cat gets on, and even though the vehicle starts to move again in a grinding lurch forward, there's still one goodbye to be had. Seated at one of the windows facing the street, a girl with a lopsided smile pressing one gloved hand to the glass, cupped around the fluttering wings of an empeheral butterfly of light.

Maybe there's hope for everyone after all.

January 17th: Paint Me Strength
January 17th: How To Find An Invisible Man
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