When You Were Young


len_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title When You Were Young
Synopsis Len and Odessa recall the first day they met.
Date September 29, 2009

Tracking registered evolves are a tricky thing, but each morning Len Denton receives a report on the whereabouts of certain individuals that the Company has been keeping tabs on. Though a certain young doctor has been on his mind as of late, due to her reemergence on the Company radar, it was the visit that Len had with Odessa Knutson that really has caused him to relive a few memories of the young woman he has known for years.

She is still spending some time with Adam Monroe, the report dictates and Len shakes his head. The girl seems hell bent on hanging around trouble. He remembers the girl when she was just a teen, back when the Company would keep children and test some of their theories on them.

What the hell happened? Just when everything seemed to be- Well, no. Things were definitely not going according to plan, but they were at least beginning to work out. Then, everything fell apart again like a house of cards tumbling down. Odessa Knutson huddles under an overpass, sitting on the suitcase containing her only possessions, the blanket she took from her bed is wrapped tightly around her shoulders. She should have listened to Denton. Resting her head against the concrete slab behind her, her mind wanders…

September 29, 1998
Odessa, Texas

Walking into the facility for the first time, a much younger Len Denton is being led around by another man. "We've taken precautions, but you should be aware of a few things going on here." As the man explains how they came to be here, he opens a large metal door into another part of the complex and leads Len into a room where children are playing. Board games, card games or chase. Some are reading books and magazines. There are different ages here. Some very young and up into their teens. A few kids look at the tall black man who's actually dressed in a black suit today. One little boy goes, "Whoa." Len offers the children a smile. "Hello everyone." He has mixed emotions about what's being done here, but at least while he's here can keep an eye on some of them.

Sitting in a side room, visible through glass, is a girl in her mid-teens. She has blonde hair pulled up into large, teased pigtails, and wears a pair of baggy jeans that seem to be popular with the kids today. Over a white tanktop is a worn zip-up hoody that probably outdates her, with holes cut in the sleeves for her thumbs, and the iconic album cover for Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon peeling on her back.

One hand rests half on the table she sits at, and half on the thick textbook in front of her, black-painted fingernails drumming absently. The other hand holds a Ziploc bag full of ice against her mouth. She doesn't seem eager to join the other children to play or socialise.

Len chats to a few of the children. He was told that it might be best to get acquainted. Not that it matters, he has always been good with children. If it weren't for the fact that his wife was not ready to have children, he probably have spawned a few by now. As he gives one of the kids poker tips, he notices the blond teen sitting by herself and stands, tucking his hands into the pockets of his slacks and heads in her direction.

"Someone punch you in the mouth?" he asks with a grin on his face. It could be truth, and an obvious assumption. That or she pulled out her own tooth. He pulls up a small chair and takes a seat. Seems he's determined to settle in and try to cheer up such a long faced girl.

"Hm?" the girl responds absently, turning a page in her book and then picking up a highlighter to mark a term. Task finished, she slowly lifts her head. "Oh." Dark blue eyes blink several times as she takes in the man's form. "Are you new? I don't think I've seen you before." To answer his question, she flashes a smile and points to the braces on her teeth, jazzed up by alternating yellow, red and blue bands. "Just got them."

Oh. Well, it could be the braces too. "Someone's planning on having a pretty smile when she gets older. Good for you." Len glances behind him to the man who'll be his partner for the next couple of years, but he seems to be distracted with some of the other children. "Name's Len. And you guessed it, I'm new. So you'll be seeing my bright cheery face around here for some time to come. What about you? What's your name and how long have you been here?" Len keeps a relaxed posture, making sure not to impose his giantness upon the smaller girl. It's one of the reasons he sat down.

The girl smiles a little sheepishly and tells him, "I'm Odessa. And, no, I'm not kidding." She shrugs, "I was born here, hence the name." Odessa gestures around herself to encompass the facility as here. "And you don't have to talk to me like that. I'm not a kid." She flips closed her textbook, marking the page with one finger inside. "I'm going to be a doctor. See?" That's a very heavy book for a girl her age to be reading. Definitely med school material. "The director says that if I study hard, I should be a surgeon in five years, but I'm aiming for two."

Either they're cropping surgeons really young in here, or this girl's a smart cookie. "I didn't mean to insult your intelligence." Len doesn't even like looking at books that big. At least not yet. He gives the girl another look. Definitely young. Curiousity gets the better of him, as he asks. "How old are you?" Len was never one for wearing ties and his current one is feeling just a tad tight around his neck. He never once thought he'd have a job where he wears a suit and it's quite a different look for him. He vowed from the first moment he put one on that he would do what he had to do until the day he no longer had to wear the suit.

Odessa's face clouds for a moment, she seems to have to think about the question. "Well, how old do I look?" When she smiles again, she doesn't show her teeth, already self-conscious about the hardware in her mouth the way most young girls are. Her eyes drift over Len's face and then down. "I like your tie," she compliments before reaching out," but it's crooked. Here, let me…" Small fingers loosen the knot a bit so she can readjust the neckwear, careful not to make it too tight when she's recentred it. "There. That's better."

Well that was unexpected. As the girl straightens his tie, he watches her trying to guess her age, then of course he adds 2. It's a guy trick. "Well, if I had to make a guess I'd say you were 16 or 17." Len cants his head to the left or right as the collar at his neck is bothering him some. "Surgery is some pretty heavy stuff. But you strike me as the type who could handle it."

"Thank you, Len." Odessa beams and sits back in her chair once more. "And yeah, you guessed right. Give or take a year." It's a rather odd response from someone, but she's at that age where girls are sensitive about how old they are and want to appear more grown up, isn't she? "Are you going to make the world safe, Len?"

"Hey, Denton. We gotta go."

Len turns and nods to his partner as he stands. He looks down to make sure his suit is all straightened out. Can't go out all wrinkly now, can you? He reaches his large hand down to place it gently on the girl's shoulder. "I'm going to try." It's the most honest answer he can give her at the moment. He starts to go, then turns. "If you need to draw blood or practice stitches, I've a feeling I may become a regular patient of yours." At the moment, he's teasing, but in hindsight it's funny how this little statement turns into reality just a few years later. "If you need anything, just have them give me a call, Odessa." With that, he turns and walks towards the exit and disappears after his partner.

"Ooh. Free test subject," Odessa grins. "I'm going to hold you to that, Agent!" Only once he's turned away does she allow herself a decidedly girlish giggle. Gosh, he's awful tall, isn't he? Her eyes track his path, watching the newcomer walk away until he's finally out of view. In the binder she was writing notes in, she scrawls his name in the margin, underlining it three times. She smiles.

Len clicks closed the report. He leans back in his chair and shakes his head. "I hope you're not around when this whole thing goes down, Odessa." His voice is barely whispered.

Beneath the overpass, Odessa's eyes come back to focus on her immediate surroundings, a shake of her head clearing some of the cobwebs from her mind. Looking back, she's amazed that she can remember the colour and the pattern of the man's tie, but can't recall the face or name of his original partner.

Memory is funny like that.

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