What The Hell Did You Say, Teo??


elisabeth_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Scene Title What The Hell Did You Say, Teo?
Synopsis <summarize the scene>
Date February 22, 2009

Morningside Heights

She's been struggling to get away from her day job so that she *can* meet up with Colette — it's been difficult, at best. But tonight she's finally managed, and Elisabeth drives into Morningside to pick Colette up from a relatively safe place near her home. She draws the car to a stop, and she moves to get out so that Colette can see Liz is alone.

On the phone, earlier, Colette didn't seem too enthused about the meeting, but at the same time the girl wasn't stand-offish either, she just seemed troubled by the whole idea. Though it didn't take much to convince her to take the short bus trip to Morningside Heights.

Seated on the bench beneath the cover of the bus stop, Colette looks for all her worth like any other wayward teen in the city. Holding her cell phone in her lap, the young girl watches quietly as she thumbs and punches at buttons, presumably working on a text; gloved fingers making the prospect difficult. With the snow falling lightly as it has been much of the week, it makes for a somewhat serene, if not abandoned looking scene when Elisabeth pulls her car up.

Distracted by her phone, the young girl doesn't even seem to look up, just presses her teeth to her lower lip as her head tilts to one side, continuing to fumble with the texts. Her breath escapes in a sigh, a steamy cloud that lingers on the chilly breeze.

Liz walks to the bus stop with her hands shoved in her pockets, watchful of the surroundings. At least if someone happens by, she's got a badge to get them both out of trouble. "Colette?" she says quietly, stepping into the bus shelter. "I'm Liz."

Blinking, the girl quickly tucks the phone away and nearly jumps out of her skin at the voice. She slides off of the bench, slinging her messenger bag over one shoulder, feet slipping in the freshly fallen snow as her mismatched eyes dart up to the police officer. The name is the only thing that causes her to relent from the backpedaling; dark brows furrowing together as her lips part, and a slow, uncertain nod comes over her. "H-Hey um…" Swallowing tensely, she looks around the street through the haze of snow, then focuses back on Elisabeth. "Y-yeah. S'me."

Offering a small smile, Elisabeth says quietly, "C'mon. At least sit in the car where it's warm." She pauses, studying Colette thoughtfully. "I'm sorry it's taken us this long to be able to meet. If you're doubting that I can help you, let's talk, okay? I'd like to know what you want to do next." She gestures to the vehicle, a questioning look on her face.

"S'not like I've tried to call you at all." Colette mumbles, rolling one shoulder as she slips her gloved hands into her pockets, looking from Elisabeth, to the car, then back again. "Alright, we — " Her eyes lower to the ground as she starts to walk across the snowy sidewalk past the Detective, "We can talk, I guess."

Waiting until they're both safely ensconced in the car, Elisabeth turns in her seat to look at the young woman. "So why don't we start with… what's got you cringing? It can't be fear of me, I daresay. So…. talk to me about where you stand right now. What's running through your head?" (repose)

Settling in once the door is closed, Colette is quiet, even for a few moments after Elisabeth stops speaking. She reaches a gloved hand up to adjust the vents in front of her to blow warm air towards her, eventually looking up somewhat sheepishly to the blonde beside her, "Look I — " She brings a hand up to tug down the blue scarf wound around her neck that had concealed her mouth. "I'm… it's flattering that you want to help me, I mean — I don't even know you." Dark brows scrunch together, nose wrinkling.

Looking over at Elisabeth again, Colette closes her eyes and shakes her head, "I have a friend, she keeps insisting on wanting to do the same thing — help me learn how to — I don't know, whatever it is I can do." Her eyes divert away to her feet once they open again. "I… don't want to learn anymore. From anyone." Curling her gloved fingers towards her palms, Colette keeps her eye-contact strictly relegated to her shoes. "I — After I found out about what happened to Conrad I just — I — " Colette swallows awkwardly, then looks up to Elisabeth with that half-blinded stare. "Why do you even care?"

Drawing in a deep breath, Elisabeth looks out the window and gives the girl her space while considering how best to answer. "Conrad was someone I admired. He trained me to use my abilities, too." She looks at Colette and smiles slightly. "When I learned that he had another student, the first thing I wanted to know was whether you'd be okay. If you'd learned enough to be able to control the ability and stay off the radar. Because unless or until *you* decide that Registering is the right thing, I would like to help you make sure you can protect yourself and stay out of trouble."

Liz pauses and studies Colette. "Your … I'm not sure what Judah Demsky is to you. Surrogate father, brother… He's a good cop. And frankly, I think he's a damn good man, to try to keep your secret out of the limelight. I admire him. But especially now, when they're rolling out tests and attempting to make them mandatory for everyone, it's important that you are the one in control of your powers, Colette, not the other way around. If you think you've got enough control, then I'll leave you my number for if you change your mind; otherwise leave you be. It's your choice, I can't make you train your ability. I wouldn't *want* to."

Rolling her shoulders forward, Colette nods slowly, teeth tugging at her lower lip briefly as she rolls one shoulder, looking out the window at her side to the snow collecting on the street. "Conrad helped me… a lot, but… there's stuff he told me about my power, stuff — " She winces and looks down to her lap, "He told me not to ever tell anyone." Gloved fingers brush over the fabric of her paint-stained jeans, and the young girl looks back up when Judah's name is mentioned, her expression mixed with concern and emotion.

"You know Judah? I — " She cuts herself off, biting down on her lip again gently, "Judah's… my dad. I mean, sort've, he — " Finally putting something together in her head, COlette's expression shifts to one far more concerned as she watches Elisabeth carefully, "Wait — W-What tests?" Her dark brows lower into a scrutinizing expression, breath hitching in the back of her throat.

Shrugging a little, Liz smiles faintly. "He was on leave before I came on board with SCOUT, but I've heard of him. Seen him around the station a bit before that." She sighs heavily. "I pretty much agree with Conrad… if you don't have to, you shoudn't. But we may not have choices pretty soon." She looks at Colette. "Homeland Security is rolling out tests… I don't know if they're blood tests or what, but it's definitely going to be an issue soon. So… if you want to stay underground, you can certainly do it. It'll take a little work, and you'll have to be careful. Between me and Teo and Demsky, I'm pretty sure we can keep you under the radar for a long while. And maybe we can head off the mandatory testing. I don't know, Colette. What I do know is that if you want to keep it a secret, you're going to need to be smart about it. Don't tell anyone, don't do anything where people can see. Don't ever let on that you know anything about anyone Evolved. I'd rather see you and Demsky make the choice yourselves, not have you hounded into custody by Homeland." She studies the girl. "If you want to learn more about controlling your power, I'll help you as best I can. If you don't want to learn, that's fine. I'll give you the name and phone number of a contact so that if you need to get out in a hurry, you can. It's your call." Her tone is gentle. "It's a lot to lay on your shoulders, and I'm sorry for that. But in the end… we all have to make this call for ourselves."

It's a lot to take in at once, and while it's obvious she thinks of interjecting at several points, she's too weak-willed to really go through with it. But once Elisabeth takes a moment, and seems to lay the conversation back on Colette's shoulders, the girl asks the most simple and immediate question, "The — The tests, they — they show if I'm — " She struggles for a moment, getting her words under control, talking slower, "They… The tests, they can find out I'm not normal?" Not normal, there's still some issues there with her own acceptance of who she really is. "What happens if I get tested, what if people find out Judah — " She only now realizes that Elisabeth, a cop, knows she's unregistered and living with Judah. He brows lower, tensing for a moment before finishing her question, "What happens if they find out? What happens to Judah? W-won't he get in trouble?"

Now Elisabeth gives the girl her full attention. "Colette. I want you to understand, okay? There is nothing *wrong* with you — you are perfectly normal." She grins just a little. "As normal as any other person on the planet. Just… instead of a talent for music or blonde hair, you happen to be able to do what you do. Hell, girl, for all we know Mozart was actually Evolved." She shrugs a bit. "Look… all actions have consequences. Not registering has a set of consequences, registering has a set of them too. The tests are not for public use as yet, so we've got time. *You* have time to work out what you want to do, okay? My main concern here is keeping you safe. Demsky's a big boy, he knows what he's getting into — and he's chosen to make you part of his family, so don't borrow trouble. Let's handle today first, all right? For today… the only thing you need to decide is whether you want or need help controlling it so that you can stay under the radar. Are you having any kind of uncontrolled bursts of power, anything that will draw attention to you? If so…. I think you should take me up on the training, and let's get *that* part handled." She pauses and says quietly, "And Colette? Whatever you decide, no matter *what* happens… I will not give you away, and I will not give Demsky away. I swear it on Conrad's grave."

Covering her mouth with one hand, much of Elisabeth's reassurances to Colette either fall on deaf ears or are sumarially ignored. She's heard the same lines about how she's perfectly normal from everyone she's discussed, but somehow it never makes it any easier. Looking up to the woman beside her, it's evident that something guilty, something very troubled is weighing on her. The girl's jaw trembles, teeth pressing down on her lower lip. Her eyes wander the car, then fall down to her trembling hands.

"I — I don't want anything, I — I just want to be left alone. I — " She rubs noe gloved hand over her face, slowly, "I don't want to do this anymore, have this ability — I — I'm sorry." Wringing her hands, the young girl just shakes her head from side to side. "I — I hurt some police." She finally murmurs, "I — I was going to visit a friend, he — people started shooting, and everyone was freaking out, and — I don't know shit was on fire a-and then these guys shot tear gas at us, and — " Covering her face with both hands, Colette words are mumbled into her woolen gloves. "God, they just scared me so bad. I blinded them, I just — it happened so quick, just… Oh god, what if they know?" Her hands slide down her face, peering up at Elisabeth between her fingers. "I didn't mean to — I just, I was so scared."

She was at the trailer park riot…

Oh Good Christ… Elisabeth reaches out and says quietly, "Colette. Breathe." She makes the girl look at her. "Just… breathe, okay?" She smiles for the girl, her hand gentle on Colette's arm. "It's okay. Believe me, EVERYONE was scared in that riot." She blows out a breath. "Shit. Okay. Well, it's possible someone saw you, that's for sure. Still doesn't really change much, unless they come for you. And frankly, I think they may have bigger fish to fry. Your options are still the same, kiddo. Register or don't. Taking your power away isn't really one of the options. If you want to Register, I can hold your hand through it. I still don't recommend it. Hell, *I* wouldn't even be registered if I didn't think I had no options with the job I'm in. If you don't want to register, the options remain the same. I can train you to control it so that it doesn't get away from you. Or you can keep on as you are. The day may come when you really don't have any choices, *if* the tests work like they claim they do, but… again, I think that's a ways off yet. If my opinion in this counts for anything, I think you should go ahead and keep training. If only so that YOU control the power and not the other way around." She pauses. "I was scared to death of being found out until Conrad started helping me. And he was a pretty good teacher." She shrugs. "Not sure I'll be as good at teaching powers, but I'm willing to give it a try if you are."

Calming a little, the way Elisabeth speaks seeming to have something of a welcomed effect on the girl; perhaps it's the lack of a strong female figure in her life that is lending her to gravitate a bit towards this near stranger. "I can't register." She says rather flatly, "Judah told me not to, s'too dangerous. I mean, t-the serial killer," her mismatched eyes flick up to Elisabeth, frightened, "They never caught him." The Reaper. "Judah doesn't want me to, I — I won't."

While it seems like she's going to just roll over and accept the training, because she has such little else in the line of options, the words that tumble out of her mouth are in so much the fashion of a certain socially awkward Sicillian she knows. "Teo… thinks you're going to die on me." It may not be exactly how he phrased it, but right there is Colette's largest topic of concern. "Everyone who's ever — " She closes her eyes, hanging her head. "I can't take getting close to someone else, and losing them."

Elisabeth nods slightly, her expression understanding and even supportive of Judah's position *and* the choice not to register. She starts to say something, and then the last part of that pops out of Colette's mouth. "…. I beg your pardon?" she asks, clearly more than a little bit stunned at *that* news.

Letting her focus drift down at her lap, Colette's shoulders roll forward, "He… says you life a dangerous life, like Conrad." Her gloved fingers wring together, "I don't know maybe — " The young girl's eyes close, head shaking slowly as she moves one hand up to thread a lock of inky black hair behind one ear. "You're a cop, I… I understand. I mean, look what happened to Judah." Pressing her lips together, Colette looks down to the olive green and tattered messenger bag resting in her lap.

"I… don't really want to lose anyone else close to me, you know?" Closing her eyes, one gloved hand slowly reaches for the handle to the passenger door, but doesn't quite open it yet. "I — I know you're just trying to help, and — and I — I had no idea the risks Judah…" Teeth pressing into her lower lip, Colette slowly shakes her head. "Can I have some time to think about it?" From her tone of voice, it's obvious she's already made up her mind. Elisabeth's more than keen on it.

It's not up to her to keep every kid safe. It's really not even Elisabeth's job to keep *this* kid safe. But in spite of everything, Liz wants to. She says quietly, "I do live a dangerous life. I'm a cop, and that's pretty darn dangerous. And I help out Teo and the others where I can… and that's pretty darn dangerous too. I'm not going to even try to bullshit you on this, Colette. The trouble is, kiddo… you're living a pretty dangerous life too. And as much as I'd like to help you, you have to want that help. So…. you have my number. Any time of the day or night, you feel free to call on me, okay?" She puts a hand out to stop Colette from getting out for one more moment. "And Colette? I know what it is to be scared out of my mind that the people I love are going to die on me. I lost my mother in Midtown, and I hid what I could do from my father. But whatever you decide to do…. trust Demsky to know his own mind, to make his own choices about the risks. Don't just hightail it out of here on him; you'll break his heart." That much, at least, she's sure about.

Closing her eyes, because it's the only thing she can do to stop herself from showing any more obviously than she is that she's crying, Colette tugs on the handle of the door, cracking it open just enough to let the flurris of snow blow in fromt the outside. "T-Thanks, I — " Her voice is tight with emotion, gloved fingers shaking where they curl around the strap of her messenger bag. With a tremble of her jaw, Colette forces a smile, one that does little to hide that wetness beneath her eyelashes. "I'll call you," she manages to choke out, hastily sliding up and out of the car, stepping up onto the sidewalk after shutting the door with a soft thunk.

The girl stops just away from the car, rubbing one hand at her face before pulling up the fur-lined hood of her jacket, turning to look back with reddened eyes at the passenger side window. She can't see Elisabeth through the tinted glass, she can only see the gray skies overhead, and her own muted reflection.

Elisabeth lets the girl go. It has to be her own choice. She says quietly, pitched so Colette can hear, "I hope you do. I'll be here when you're ready." With a sigh, she makes a mental note to contact Judah Demsky. That's gonna go well, she's sure.

Voice through the glass of the window, as if Elisabeth was standing in the street next to her. She really is Conrad's student, isn't she? Colette keeps that bittersweet smile on her face, taking a few steps away from the car, before turning slowly to walk down the sidewalk into the lightly falling snow.

For now, with direction.

February 21st: Eye For An I
February 21st: Exodus 21:24
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