What Do You Want?


colette_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title What Do You Want?
Synopsis Colette and Felix have a heart to heart about things they have in common. Neither of which, Colette is aware of.
Date October 20, 2008

Cliffside Apartments, Felix's Apartment

It's a pleasant, airy apartment, with pale hardwood floors and high ceilings. The front door leads into a little entryway with a coat closet on the right and the door to the miniscule kitchen on the left. It then opens out into a living room crammed with bookshelves - there's barely enough room for a plain entertainment center and a dark green couch. Beyond that a short hall leads to the bathroom and two bedrooms, the second of which is more an office and spare room, judging by the desk and the weight bench stored there.

Overall, the decor is spartan at best, with little by way of personal touches. The only decoration in the kitchen is an antique icon shelved high in a corner, where the Mother of God smiles benignly at the infant on her lap. A blue glass vigil lamp burns before it. Over the doorway to the back hall is hung an officer's sabre; no mere trophy, it bears the mark of long and constant wear. There are a handful of posters and prints - mostly landscape, though a few are fencing-related.

Felix's apartment… well, he and Judah have the books in common, at least. But he's got plenty of movies, and a PS2, as well. He's fairly quiet, but he's been trying to be accommodating, even gracious, though he's obviously not used to having another person staying with him. But he's asked about her likes and dislikes, in terms of food and habits. At the moment, he's in his bedroom, having dragged his desk in there — it's the one piece of furniture that's not new, cheap, and clearly from IKEA — it's a gorgeous antique rolltop, painted a deep black with brass embellishments. There's a laptop that he's hunting and pecking at with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Paperwork sucks.

For a teenage girl, Colette has a very short list of preferences. First and foremost is to simply be left alone, there's a confrontational nature that she has, and it's one that — despite her acceptance of Tamara's advice — isn't something she easily lets go of. What happened to Judah has taken a toll on Colette, more so than perhaps even Judah might have expected. The first, and most obvious thing Felix has come to notice about the girl is how reclusive she's become since his injuries. She hardly leaves the apartment, but even then she hasn't occupied her time with anything constructive. When Felix isn't around, she hides away on his laptop entertaining herself with who knows what on the internet. When he is home, she doesn't speak more than two words at a time with him, and only if he asks her a question, she never initiates anything.

It's obvious to Felix that she doesn't go to school, and doesn't have any intention of it either. It's an issue she dances around as much as possible, not directly answering questions about it or herself. For the few days she's been here, she's been nothing but an awkward presence in the apartment. Yesterday was the first time she'd left the house since Judah's accident. She didn't leave a note, she left while Felix was out, and returned when he was already back home. And all she had to say about where she'd been was, "Seeing Judah."

Tonight is no different from the others. She's curled up on her side on the couch with the hood to her sweatshirt pulled up over her head, facing the back of the sofa. It's hard to tell if she's sleeping, if she's awake, or if she's even alive. Laid on the coffee table across from the couch is a red covered paperback book. The plain black text on the front reads, "House of Leaves." It's one of the few things she's taken out of her single bag since she got here. The impression that's given is that the contents of that messenger bag is all she has to her name. Two changes of clothing and a worn novel.

Fel, apparently, doesn't feel compelled to act in loco parentis. Colette's a borderline adult, and not his kid. He's almost equally silent….and his one request has that she leave a note about where she's going, and when she expects to be back. He's content to cook, work, and otherwise read in his room, and not to press her. But he says, coming out of his room, and looking her over, "Do you have more clothes at Demsky's house, or do we need to do some winter clothes shopping?" At home, he's removed his tie and suitjacket, safed his gun, and hung the shoulder rig over the back of his desk chair, so he's wandering around in gray slacks and a white oxford shirt, open at the collar.

"I've got what you see on me," Colette's response is muffled by the back of the couch, "And another thin shirt." It did look like those are the same pair of ratty and far too big jeans she's been wearing the last few days, but sometimes it's hard to tell. "My clothes got nuked." She doesn't move, or even perk up at the offer of going shopping. She's simply too stuck on her own disappointment in herself, more than she deserves.

Cats, like some people, tend not to mind the moods and matters of the people they live with. When they want attention or affection, they're proactive about it. Paws land on the sofa behind Colette, followed by the low rumbling purr of an enormous black cat — Glock. She grunts slightly, one hand swatting behind her, even as the cat rubs its head between her shoulders. "C'mon…" Her mumbled complaint goes mostly ignored, and that batting hand then gains Glock's attention, turning around to rub his head against the side of her hand, as of forcing her to pet him. That little act is followed by a whimper as Colette gives in, rolling over in place to face the cat, one hand smoothing over the top of his head, even as he contentedly steps in and rubs his face directly in hers.

Colette splutters some, trying to get loose fur out of her nose and mouth, one hand brushing at her face. Glock, however, just turns around and begins brushing his head along her stomach, tail swatting back and forth in her face as it to say things could be worse. With a begrudging sigh, the young girl sits up straight, "You're such a pain in the ass." But her actions don't match her words as she picks the cat up under his forelegs, lifting him up as she lays back down again, settling her new feline friend on her chest, her head resting against the armrest of the couch. "You're just a big dumb furball, aren't you? Yes you are." Cat's have an amazing ability to make anyone seems schizophrenic in their presence.

Once she's sitting up, her focus shifts towards the door to Felix's room, "Why, you actually get paid enough to buy something? I thought government paychecks were crap?" The rough-edged humor is clearly how she hides how much she might care about any given situation. A defensive mechanism Felix knows quite well.

"Well, you see how I live," he points out, tone drily good-humored, even as he arches a brow at her, lazily running a hand through his hair. "So, despite my swinging bachelor lifestyle, I've managed to save up a little. So long as you don't demand Chanel and Dior, I think I can help you out a bit." Glock sounds like an idling Harley. "I've never met such an affectionate cat," he notes, as Ingram skulks out from behind an end table, and starts to twine around his ankles.

Colette's brows furrow for a moment, down at Glock, and then she tilts her eyes back towards Felix's direction. Lounging on the sofa she can't quite see him, but she can at least tell where his voice is coming from. "Whatever's fine, I'm not picky. Stuff that fits would be great, I mean, even if it's Goodwill." One hand lightly curls beneath Glock's chin, fingers stroking under his neck whils his head tilts from side to side. "You didn't strike me as the kind've guy to have cats." The conversation pieces as they are have at least roused her out of her foul mood. "I mean, you live out here. I mean, this place wishes it could afford to be the ghetto." A smirk fades across her lips, just briefly. "And like, you're Mister Bookworm who has two cats. I know some old ladies who would love to meet you if you're available." The smirk grows into a smile.

"You don't need to buy me anything though, it's not like your family — or even a friend." Her attentions to Glock ends, not long, but just long enough to make the cat ram his head into her jaw in protest, purring loudly again until she reaches down to idly stroke her hand down the cat's head and across his back. "I don't need hand-outs. I can get by on my own, I'm only here because…" She dithers, "Because…" Colette's eyes slowly close, followed by a soft sigh. "I'll be fine on my own." And dressing as she does, likely fine with pneumona in a few more months.

"I have cats because they were given to me. We found a mother cat and her kittens in a warehouse used for weapons smuggling, after a raid we worked with the ATF. That's the reason for their names. Kalashnikov, their mother, is now precinct mouser in the 4-10. They have a sister named Beretta, a brother named Walther… and a couple of more siblings whose names I don't recall. All of whom were adopted by either particular precincts, or individual cops." He shrugs, gracefully. "I don't need to, no. But I might as well. You will need better clothes. Indulge Judah. The last thing he needs now is to worry about you, so bear with me. I promise, I'm not an ogre," he says, simply. No comment on his availability.

There's an overly dramatic sigh that passes from the girl as she gently rolls to her side, moving Glock off of her chest and onto the sofa. Then, as if he's had his fill with her, springs off of the couch and goes charging through the apartment, chasing after nothing in particular. She looks over to Felix, head tilted to the side, then slowly begins to rise from the couch. "Actually, there is something you can do for me." Suddenly her focus is entirely on the agent across the apartment, and she's clearing the distance quickly, socks as mis-matched as her eyes scuffing on the hardwood floor. As she moves, one hand slips down into her right front pocket, followed by the crinkling of what sounds like paper.

When she finally comes to a stop in front of Felix, she produces a badly burned photograph from her pocket, at first showing the browned back of the photo, then turning it around to reveal a badly damaged picture of a brunette woman seated at a table somewhere. Her expression is something between an aborted laugh and an awkward smile, clearly a candid photo. Colette just holds the picture up, wordlessly, and then asks, "Have you seen her before?"

Felix takes it gently, and eyes it for a long moment, before raising his gaze to Colette's. There's something like sorrow in the blue eyes. "No. I don't believe I have," he says, tone apologetic, as he hands it back to her. "Who is that?" Ingram puts a paw on his knee, and says, distinctly, "owl," Which is a signal for Fel to pick him up and drape him over his shoulder, almost as if burping a baby. Because every sharply tailored dark suit needs white cat hair all over it.

When the picture is lowered and returned to her pocket, Colette doesn't look disappointed. She just smiles faintly and nods, "We… can go out for clothing whenever." Her tone of voice has dropped, despite her best attempts at not looking discouraged. Shoulders hunched forward, she stalks back towards the sofa, the black hood of her sweatshirt still pulled up over her head. "I'll be, you know, around…" Her slight weight is thrown down onto the couch, and she reaches forward for her book, which has been kept on the spot she's read up to by leaving the book open and face-down on the coffee table, enough so that it's bent the spine. Colette grows quiet and introverted again, opening up the book and resting it against her legs as she pulls her knees up towards her chest, feet partly hanging off the edge of the couch.

"I'll be around after work tomorrow. Target do for you?" he wonders, shifting Ingram to the other shoulder, before putting him gently down on the floor. "Are you hungry? I'm too damn tired to cook, so I figured I'd see who was brave enough to deliver out here," he says, sprawling out wearily in a rather threadbare armchair. Not a lot of spare seating in Fel's luxurious digs.

Chewing at her lower lip, Colette's eyes flit back over to Felix, "Yeah, um, that's fine…" Then, a considerate pause, "On second thought why don't you just leave me some money on the table and I'll do it myself when you're at work." Her eyes close partway, and with a click of her tongue she hastily corrects herself, "I — I'm sorry." Her book closes, dropped down to the sofa at her side, "God, I'm being such a bitch. I'm sorry…" Arms come to wrap around her legs, and her head falls to rest against her knees with a strained groan of frustration. "I'm so sorry, you really don't deserve this shit I keep giving you."

Felix cracks an eye and rolls it to peer at her, not all that offended, apparently. "It's okay," he says, generously. "You're under stress. Listen, I know it's hard, but relax. Between Judah and I, you're safe. I know you've lost a great deal."

"It's not stress, and — and that's not it at all! I'm not some — " Colette catches herself and her sharp temper, wincing visibly before shrinking back down on the sofa. Her eyes close slightly, and she shakes her head with a mumbled, "Sorry." Her head comes down to meet her knees again, thumping several times as if trying to knock some sense into herself. "Look, I just… I've… I've got a lot on my mind right now and… and it's stressing me out. M'sorry… You're just trying to help, and I'm being stupid about it." She eyes the door to the apartment, grumbling, "Maybe I just need to get out more… I… I just…" She mumbles something, to herself, arms hugging her legs tightly before she can be heard again.

"I can cook." It's a small, weak answer at first. Followed by her chin coming up to rest on her knees so her voice is less muffled by her jeans. "Um, cook alright anyway. It…" There's a tiny sigh, "It's the least I can do for you."

"Well, then, let me know what you want to cook, and on the way home tomorrow, I'll stop and get the ingredients. I really have about jack shit in the cupboard right now," he admits. He opens his eyes, and pulls himself wearily up from his seat to pad for the kitchen. "What….what do you want, ultimately? Where do you want to end up?" he wonders, as he pours himself a glass of juice. "I'm not a parent, I'm not a relative, I'm not going to lecture you about school or therapy or whatever. But….having a direction or a goal might help?"

The question about food is something Colette thinks about, and thinks about it rather intently. "If you pick up some white rice, curry powder and chicken… maybe some vengetables, I can throw together some curry. You can get everything down on canal street." But it's what Felix says next that causes the girl some pause, and eventually causes her to rest her mouth against her knees in silence. She doesn't talk for a few minutes, her eyes staring vacantly towards the television across from the couch. When she does finally speak, she's watching Felix's reflection in the darkened screen ahead of her, "I… don't know. I, um, I don't really have any skills. High-school dropouts aren't in steady demand. I don't have any family…" She furrows her brows, "I have to get a place to live, um, permanently. Then Tamara has to stay there with me," There's a slow, small nod at the otherwise strange statement, "That's about… all I know."

"Well, first thing, then, is either to get back into school and finish, or get your GED," Fel says, as he comes back to his former seat, holding his glass delicately between his fingertips. "What do you want to do? And a permanent place is obviously contingent on work. In the meanwhile, I have space… I don't presume to speak for Judah, of course. I don't mean to pry, but Tamara… I don't think she'll be the one getting steady work, any time soon."

There's a bit of a glare at the last statement, less so than Felix would've gotten a few hours ago, but it's still there. It's evident Colette's fiercely protective of Tamara, even when the accusations are pretty much spot on. "GED?" Her head cants to the side, turning around enough to catch Felix in the peripheral vision of her good eye. "Um, I…" She looks a bit torn, teeth tugging on her lower lip, "Sounds like a hell of a lot more work than just going to school and getting pushed through the system." Those don't sound like her words, the latter part of her sentence. Likely a sentiment she picked up somewhere.

"I… I don't know what to do. I don't even know what I'd want to do, except…" Her voice grows more quiet, "…who I want to be with. I mean, that's about it." Her lips purse into a forced pout, then shift to the side. "I won't be able to afford a place to live bagging groceries, and that's about all I'm good for anyway." She snorts out an awkward laugh, "I take that back, I could probably find a way to fuck that up too." Her brows knit together, shoulders rolling forward and arms hugging her legs tightly.

Felix just gives the 'Mr. Cop Doesn't Give a Shit' face. Because honestly, Tamara's not his problem. "It is actually easier to just get your high school diploma that way, yes," he affirms, inclining his hea to her. "You don't have to have grand ambitions," he says, gently. "But yes, most of the work you can get as a high school dropout doesn't pay worth a damn," He tilts his head, eyeing her. "I don't know what you've been through that gives you that self-opinion, but that's going to need some work."

There's a mild sound of discomfort, and Colette slides off of the sofa, settling her socked feet on the hardwood floor. "You get told something enough, and you start to believe it." That comes out bitterly, remarkably so. She shuffles across the living room floor, then up towards the front door of the apartment, sitting down by the door and snatching her well-worn black boots. "I think I'm going to head out for a little bit," She bites down on her lower lip, half-blind stare raising to Felix. "No offense, I mean. I just… I think I need to get out. Don't have to worry about me though, creepy serial killer isn't targeting useless dropouts that aren't super heroes." She says with a wry, self-deprecating smile.

Which is when that distant, clinical curiosity comes into his gaze. "You aren't Evolved, are you?" he wonders, tone remaining gentle. "And I won't stop you. But be careful," he says. "The ordinary humans in this part of town are bad enough."

Colette snorts out a laugh, "God, no. Like I need any more reason to hate myself?" She shakes her head, lacing up the tall boots before rolling her pant legs back down over them, obscuring all but the scuffed toes. "I'm pretty much your ordinary half-blind bomb survivor." Her brows raise with the teasing tone of voice, pulling herself up to her feet before she grabs her messenger bag and slings it over one shoulder. "I'm… I'm not one of them." The bitter tone used earns a hissing wince, "I mean, I… I'm trying not to be so hard on 'em. I mean, after…" She shakes her head, "It's nothing. But, no… I'm just an average girl."

Fel's eyes have half-lidded, and he's turned his face away, fractionally, so he's now eyeing her sidelong. "You would consider that reason to hate someone? Judah didn't tell you about me, then, did he?" His voice is soft, and rather matter of fact. A little flat. But he's braced, almost as if for a blow.

Colette freezes in her tracks, she was going back into the living room for her book, but when she hears what Felix says, her eyes divert over to him, and there's a long and awkward stare. "You're…" To Colette, it's like telling her that you're carrying a bomb, it elicits an anxiousness and nervousness one would expect. "W-what… what do you do? T-Tell! Don't… don't show if it's like… freaky." She swallows loudly, not moving from where she stands. "I mean just, just tell me, s-so I won't… I just, I'm trying." Not for herself, but for someone she holds in a higher esteem.

"It's not particularly freaky. I have…..the best way to describe it is superhuman reflexes. I can't dodge bullets, but it's close," he says, slowly reaching into his pocket to pull his registration card out of his wallet. "I'm a registered Tier 1," he says, leaning forward a little, to offer it to her. "I'm no one you need to fear."

Colette wrinkles up her nose slightly as she listens, "So, that's…" She eyes the card, "That's kind've cool. You're like one of those dudes from the Matrix." There's a faint smile, she tries to associate what should frighten her with something more familiar, more accessible. The girl edges over to look at the identification card, then looks up to Felix. "That's a terrible picture of you." She says with a smirking matter-of-factly tone of voice.

"Isn't it dangerous to, uh, have one of those cards or something?" She twirls one finger in the direction of the registration card. "I mean, if I wanted to I could totally look up your details on the internet like that crazy killer guy. I mean, I can see why people don't want to be all documented and stuff." It's good for Felix, that he didn't meet her earlier this summer. Oh the impression she'd have made on him.

He looks down at it, and makes a face. "I wasn't feeling too hot when it was taken," he explains. And indeed, it's a very drawn, gaunt Fel in the image, pale eyes haunted - afraid of losing his job and being ostracized, if not actually taken away. He nods. "Frankly, that's what we figure he's been doing. Since my power is not obvious, I thought about not registering. But….I'm law enforcement, and I have clearance. If it'd been found that I'd been lying about it, I'd've been fired," he says, quietly. "So, when they passed the Linderman Act, I registered. I was one of the first, actually. And apparently they did consider firing me, but didn't dare."

Colette nods slowly, "Well," her eyes wander for a moment as she turns and heads into the living room, bending down to pick up her book. "For what it's worth, I'm trying to not freak out around, um… you people." It's the best term she can manage, even if it is remarkably offensive. When she returns, tucking her book into her bag, there's a hesitant smile on her face.

"You wanted to know what I lost… that made me the way I am? I think my sister died in the bomb. The woman in the picture? That's all I have left of the one person who has ever given two shits about me and meant it." The young girl looks down at the floor, straightening the strap of her bag over her shoulder. "But I don't know. I get to live, probably for the rest of my life, not knowing." Her brows tense slightly, "That's what the Evolved took away from me. Not only did they take Nicole, but they took away any hope of peace of mind." She points at her milky-white and blinded eye, "And that. But really, I'd give my other one to have her back."

"I didn't do that. The Evolved I know didn't do that," Fel's voice is very calm. "And it's frankly racist to tar all of us who carry that gene with the same brush. I've lived in New York ever since I left Russia, with only a couple of years' exception. If ever I had a home, it was here. I was NYPD on September 11th. I lost many a good friends that day. But that doesn't entitle me to hate Muslims, or Arabs. I lost more when the bomb went off. I also lost any security I might have had. I'm registered, and while the government makes pious noises about protecting those Evolved who aren't a threat, it just means I'll be on the top of the list to be shoved on to the cattle car when the day comes. Genocide has been committed on far more specious bases than supposedly dangerous mutation." His face and voice are utterly devoid of self-pity - there's only that dry arch of a brow.

There's a bit of a withdrawl on Colette's part, and she nods slowly with understanding. "I… I know it's bad. I just…" She frowns, visibly, "It's hard." Her eyes downturn, and they're watering slightly, though she struggles to keep her compsure despite all of the unfortunate memories recalled. "Um, I met someone… someone special, and… you know, she's like you are." Colette blinks her eyes, reaching up to rub at them with her sweatshirt's sleeve. "I've sort've been trying to realize you're all not monsters. But, but it's hard." There is, though, a smile offered to Felix, and one more honest than any painted smile she'd given before. "It might just take a while."

"Everyone in New York suffered, no matter what their genome," Fel says, quietly. "You're in love with someone who's got this mutation?" He hates the word Evolved. Everything human evolved in one way or another. "Monstrosity isn't written in the DNA. It's in the heart," There's no indignation. She's a kid, she'll learn.

Colette turns a fierce shade of red, "I — I'm not! — I'm just — Y-you're misunder — " She swallows loudly, flustered and bright red across her cheeks, threatening to turn her ears a cherry shade as well. A series of nervous laughs slip from the girl as she edges towards the door, wringing her hands around the strap of her bag. "Y-you're um, y-yeah, in the heart…" She says with a nervous smile, reaching out to unlock the door and open it, hastily. "I — I'll be back, um, tonight… S-so, yeah. Don't wait up for me!" She's an absolute poster-child for embarassment as she edges out into the hall.

He removes his glasses and cleans the lenses with a scrap of cloth taken from a pocket. It's not really necessary — more one of those gestures that give you something to do with your hands. A reason to avoid her gaze, for the moment, as he lifts it up to the light to inspect for scratches. "That's hardly anything to be ashamed of," he says, in that passionless voice. "But I will say that it's not merely professional pride and what I owe to Judah that has you safe with me," A rather oblique confession, at best. Let her read it as she will.

Whatever Colette makes of that odd sentiment, it's swallowed by the sound of the door closing, and her feet hustling off down the hall with her heart racing a mile a minute. She hasn't quite come to terms with who and what she is yet… more than she even knows.

October 20th: Everyone Likes Freedom

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 20th: Bang, Not a Whimper
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