What Makes A Monster


claude_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title What Makes A Monster
Synopsis Tavisha gets a reality check. Claude style. No puppies were hurt in the making of this log.
Date Februart 17, 2009

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

It's late at night, and the Angry Pelican isn't exactly slamming with activity. It never is, exactly, but even now, there's really only one customer, and he sits away from the lights of the outdoorsy little bar, if it can really be called that. Seated on a slightly broken down plastic office chair, Tavisha has his back turned to the establishment, a bottle of Corona in his hand, half-finished, and another unopened right next to him, set into the sand. His elbows rest against his knees, back hunched, and he doesn't even seem to be looking out at the water, which dances prettily beneath a half moon. Likely the most attractive thing about the place. No, he seems content to let his gaze wander somewhere around the dirty beach of Fresh Kills Harbor, the television further within the bar playing nighttime programs, an inane audio backdrop he ignores.

He's dressed a little too nicely for someone down here, but if there were people and regulars milling around, which there aren't, they'd likely know to stay away. Still, an expensive green woolen coat is a stand out, covering a dress shirt, slacks, and neatly polished shoes that will only get ruined if he roams this territory long enough. After a moment of furthered quiet contemplation, Tavisha leans back into the creaky plastic chair, and takes a long pull from his beer, wincing a little and casting yet another disdainful glance at the label. For later reference.

Quiet and not slamming with activity fits one of the area's new visitors to a T. Despite the usual calculated steps from its source, the grains of sand crunching under invisible soles announce someone's presence even before his steady heart beat and careful breathing. A short distance before the Angry Pelican's entrance, the steps slow to mirror an ever so slightly quickening heart beat. Hesitance, no doubt. At least not for those who can hear it.

Tavisha doesn't react, at first, to the sounds of footsteps. People come, people go. He finishes his beer, tosses the bottle to the side and picks up the other, twisting off the cap with some reluctance, until he notices that there is no one in his periphery that matches the sounds of approach, of life. Slower, a sip of the freshly opened Corona is taken, a hand wiping across his mouth before finally, he looks towards the faint sounds of breathing and heartbeat, eyes darting down to the shadowy sand, where footsteps leave their marks. A slightly amused, slightly drunk smile alights the former serial killer's features, although it fades quickly. "I bet you can do whatever you want," he says, gently, trying to find where Claude's eyes are in his invisible self. A pause, and he says, "Claude?" Because it might not be.

For better or for worse, a choice is made. And it is Claude who enters the visible spectrum a moment later, after a quick look around just to check if no one else is looking in his direction. As he starts to slowly saunter over to find a chair, his muscles are tense. If only because he still can't help being vaguely suspicious. His expression is a mix of exhaustion and relief, and he smirks as he grabs hold of a lawn chair that's seen better days. "It's a good thing I don't want a whole lot, then, isn't it?"

Tavisha offers him a smile when he comes into form, but it's brief, and very tired, casting his gaze down onto the sand again even as Claude approaches, sits down nearby. "Good thing for everyone else," he agrees, looking at him again. Hesitates, then glances down at his own hands where the mostly full bottle of beer is clasped, then glances inwards towards the Pelican. "Can I get you a drink? Probably just a beer, typically not a great idea to order anything that comes in a glass. Jack says they clean the insides of them with their— well. You get the gist."

Tavisha starts to lean back, to perhaps call out to the bartender inside the shack, when the broken down office chair tips a little in the sand, nearly knocking the man out of it. He manages to brace a foot just in time, steadying himself. "Whoops-a-daisy." Does anyone really say that anymore?

If there was any doubt this meeting would be any kind of danger, that last remark seems to have knocked it straight out of the window for Claude. It draws a brief, mocking sort of laugh out of him before he sits himself down opposite of his 'friend', with a creak of plastic trying to hold itself together. "Beer it is. Though you may want to cut back, friend, before you topple over like a Christmas tree in January."

Wait. Was that concern? Can't be. This possibility is promptly ignored by Claude, not even a second after he considers it. All according to plan.

"Last one," Tavisha agrees. Promises. Something. He settles the chair a little more securely under him, before calling out towards the bartender, holding up his beer in indication. "Maybe something better than this," is his suggestion, before settling back into his seat, which only tilts an inch or so. He pins his drink between his knees, gets out a wallet from his coat to peel some money out from within the leather flaps. "I wasn't sure I'd ever see you again," he says to the Brit, passing off a note to the bartender as he brings out a chilled bottle of— well, Corona, and hands it to Claude before shuffling away. "Everyone sort of… disappears. Not as literally as you, but. It amounts to the same." His tone is quiet but there's bitterness there.

Claude pays little attention to the bartender aside from a quick nod in thanks. There's a twinge of face-pulling after he takes his first swig, but he's not picky. A lack of interest is feigned as he, too, looks over the label. "Said I'd be back." He turns the bottle slightly as though the ingredients are of any importance whatsoever, and then adds in a forced, casual tone, "Define 'everyone'."

Tavisha's shoulders lift in a self-conscious shrug, and stay there for several moments before dropping again along with a faint sigh. It's tough to cut back on the visible moroseness after several drinks of the kind he's currently working on, but he does attempt to rein it in with a dismissive shake of his head. "People," he offers, unhelpfully. "Ones like you, from my past. Before." Before he became a blank slate. "It's like they… most of them are glad I've forgotten. Which I understand, now. But then there are the ones who are meant to be…" Friends. Family. He lets a moment of silence drift by, hopes Claude can fill it in himself. "Even they stay away. Tell me it's better I start over. Which I guess is true. Easier." He suddenly meets Claude's eyes, another smile, this time slightly embarrassed and painfully self-conscious. A hand drifts up to rub the back of his neck. "Wow. I'm sorry. I've been thinking too much tonight." And other things that rhyme with that word, probably.

It may be morbid curiosity, but Claude does not interrupt Tavisha at any point during his little speech. Hell, it's interesting. He can only guess what the blank spots are supposed to be filled in with, but the fact that he's even discussing this with… well. With the shadow of the man called Sylar. It's bizarre. "What about…" He finally looks up again, now, eyes narrowed as he attempts to read the other man's expression as best he can. "What about others? Has anyone tried to attack you yet?" That last word, perhaps, being the operative one in this sentence.

Superficial sadness, perhaps is something to be read. It's not like Tavisha has a real imbedded history of angst. If anyone can dance through life with fleeting emotions and shallow perceptions, it's an amnesiac. Depends on how good a judge of character Claude is. Depends on if he gives a shit to read that close, too. The 'yet', however, does make Tavisha smile - not even bitterly. Well maybe a little, but it's born of true amusement. "No," he says. "Not for any reason— not for who I was. I work in a fighting ring, now, so I get attacked there, but… I figure I'm either hidden well, or people know not to attack me." Claude is now studied in turn, and Tavisha adds, "I think you left out a few key things when we last met, friend." It's not really venomous, just a slight prod. Almost good-natured.

Nevertheless, there's a pause in Claude's actions. The news of the fighting ring doesn't surprise him— having wandered around on Staten for a while now, trying to figure out where the hotspots of the criminally infested island are now, but the last time he and this man met? That wasn't exactly planned.

"Yeah?" He takes another sip of his drink. His heart beat might give his slight panic away, but that doesn't mean he's about to drop the casual act, or make assumptions. Not just yet. "Well, you don't rush these things. Found out on your own just fine."

Tavisha's eyebrows raise a little at this, clearly unimpressed, but… Claude isn't suddenly telekinetically dunked into the ocean. He just tilts his head a little, takes a long pull from his drink as his gaze drifts away from the man. "I might not have believed you," he concedes. "It took… hearing about it from a few people for it to sink in. Piece by piece. Now I'm not sure I want to know anymore." A sudden shudder from him, the cold having crept icy, intangible fingers down the back of his neck and drawing a violent shiver. It's enough to wake him up, both out of his reverie and starefest with the ground, looking at Claude with a little more alertness. "Did you find your friend?" He pitches this as what it is - a subject change.

Claude, by now, seems considerably less at ease than he was a minute ago. Being secretive is all well and good, but easier when it's just about sneaking around where you're not supposed to. Conversations are a whole different breed. He inhales sharply and leans forward, elbows on his knees and bottle dangling from one hand as he looks downward. He doesn't appear sad so much as just pensive. "No."

It should probably have occurred to him that shifting the focus from himself onto someone else might not be such a tactful conversational move, especially when it comes to missing friends. Missing friends on Staten Island, no less. There really is only a couple of meanings behind that - only one of which occurs to Tavisha, really, the most pessimistic of possibilities. To say he sobers would be inaccurate, but his shoulders do droop a little. "Sorry," Tavisha says, and for all intents and purposes, he seems to mean it.

It doesn't really matter, to Claude. Sergei's death would mean little else to him but a sad pseudo-friend or two. To say he's upset beyond just miffed would be a lie. "So…" His eyes trail upward, one brow raising slightly as he peers at the other man in curiosity. A simple question follows, as per another subject change. "Now what?" Back to you for the killer forecast, Tavisha.

The spotlight swings around, and Tavisha shrinks away from it, at least on the inside. "I don't know," he responds. "I keep hiding out here, until…" A pause, then some nervous laughter. The future is a scary prospect in that a void of nothingness can be. "I'm working for someone." He changes his answer onto something easier to grapple with. "He says he'll help me get my memory back. He's influential around here, says he can find people who'd be able to do something about it."

This time there's no pause from Claude. No calculated pondering what to say next. "Do you want to?" His features give way to disapproval in a moment of carelessness. He simply doesn't understand, and his brow furrows. "I mean, you've got a blank slate now. Aren't you grateful?"

There's a good long moment of hesitation, Tavisha just shaking his a head at first. He doesn't know. "I did," he says. "I mean, you wake up with no memory and all you want to do is fill the void. But now… maybe it's a good thing. A second chance." And all is right with the world, Tavisha pausing to take a deep, long drink of Corona, wiping away a smear of wetness from the corner of his mouth, before shrugging at Claude. "But how am I supposed to learn from past mistakes? I have to relearn everything. My powers, my— everything."

"Then learn!" Claude exclaims, grinning once more— though sourly. His own drink is set down in the sand before he straightens, his frown deepening as the urge to preach finally wins him over. "Like everybody has to! There's a reason everyone you knew left you tied to a tree. Somehow rubberbanding to that doesn't seem very bright, does it?"

Tavisha winces at the tied to a tree analogy, ducking his head a fraction and suddenly concentrating on the drink in his hand. Look, you kicked a puppy, Claude, how does it feel. How does it feel. "No," he agrees, reluctantly, before… "Well, I… maybe I wouldn't just snap back to that person. It can't just be that simple. If I could just have the memories, I could— I'm still me. I don't think I'd change. I wouldn't want to change."

Claude, puppy kicker extraordinaire. At some point you just grow immune to the wincing and self-pity of said puppies. "You WERE that person!" He answers simply, watching Tavisha closely. "If all it took to get you from monster to this was your memory clearing itself out, wouldn't it be smart to think that maybe, just maybe, what you knew made you that monster?" There's a pause, and a gritting of his teeth that is decidedly very much unlike friendly. "… Made you Sylar?"

Flinch. He knew. Of course he knew, Tavisha knows that too, but to have it spoken— Tavisha sets his unfinished bottle of beer down into the sand without the intent to pick it up again. He can feel the alcohol thrumming in his veins, warm in his skin, and his head is fuzzy, but his attention is sharp as a knife. Monster. There's sense, there. Like he told Teo: I don't feel like a psychopathic killer. Maybe there's a reason for that. Maybe knowledge is more powerful than he could comprehend. "I don't want to be Sylar," he tells Claude, almost spitting out the name. The alias. Which, ironically, he's taking on for the sake of the cage fights. To get his memory back. Ha ha ha. His hands come up to wearily rub his face, smooth around to grip the back of his neck, shakes his head. "You're right." The admission is made faintly, not without despair, but there it is.

This could not be better news, right this moment. Sylar— Tavisha, willingly giving up the lifestyle that costs so many people their lives, leaving many more in anguish. For nothing but greed. At least as far as Claude is aware. Yet it leaves him torn. The admission does not mean he trusts Tavisha to do the right thing, even if it is a step in the right direction. His face shows the frustration easily enough, and once more his muscles tense. The whole situation is still too complicated— too messy. And Claude can't help but feel he's contributing to that. And who is he to stand in the way of progress?

"I lied to you." The words are out before he knows it. Call it a test, call it bravery or stupidity— he doesn't regret it.

The flat confession, delivered so clearly, is almost an electric shock. Tavisha's gaze snaps up from sandy ground to Claude's eyes, studying one to the other as he tries to fit this new information into place. And it does, slides smoothly into it. He almost laughs. Almost. "You just wanted to make it off alive," he says, faintly, and lets out a huff of breath that again almost indicates a chuckle. "Figures."

And Claude is drawn back into scrutiny, a harder, more severe look from the younger man that probably rings a little familiar. Yes, there's anger, it flares up against the slightly soggier emotions of guilt, sadness, as superficial as it may be. And it sputters out, Tavisha choosing then to pick back up his drink, get to his feet. He only sways a little bit, needing to space his legs just a little further apart so as not to do so again.

"But you came back," Tavisha says, as if maybe that makes it okay again. A despairing shrug, a wry grin. "Better than disappearing." This, he tells the invisible man himself. In a way, Claude could have easily walked away even when identified, and Tavisha may have just dismissed it.

The muddle of emotions that his confession brings forth in Tavisha makes Claude not feel guilt, not fear, but amusement. He is, after all, a man who enjoys the workings of psychology. He doesn't play tricks on people's minds for nothing, and this is no exception.

"If my problems with you were personal, I'd have tried to get you six feet under days ago." The older of the two men himself stays seated, picking up his own bottle to bring it halfway to his mouth before he speaks again. "Be glad I understand the importance of second chances. Others, however…" His eyes lift up to meet Tavisha's, his tone indeterminably between threat and warning.

The threat is understood, if not acknowledged anymore than a quick glance away, a clenching of his jaw. Distantly, Tavisha knows he's being played. For how long and what way completely eludes him right now, but that's what several beers will do to you. He finally finishes off the dregs of this last one, tosses the bottle aside into the sand. He needs to piss, for one thing, but this conversation is making his teeth itch, suddenly. Discomfort radiating from the former serial killer in waves.

"Good luck on getting a boat ride back to Manhattan," he says, airily. "Whenever you do." It's likely not going to be aboard the Casino Royale, if Tavisha has any say in it. Not that Claude has been wrong. He's been right. But right and good don't necessarily go hand in hand. Wrapping his coat around himself a little tighter, Tavisha starts to make his swaying, tipsy way from the bar, feet sliding in loose sand as he goes.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. Claude sits, lifting the back end of the bottle for a last mouthful of his drink. A pained sort of grin is given in Tavisha's direction. "You know I'm right. Doesn't matter who I am. I'm right."

And gone. Claude disappears along with his drink, and the chair he was in shifts as the weight on it is redistributed and then removed all together.

February 17th: Welcome To The Hotel Staten Island
February 18th: Blood And Trust
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