Who's Shrinking Who?


bella_icon.gif len_icon.gif

Scene Title Who's Shrinking Who?
Synopsis Bella meets with Len to talk about some of his agents and where their head is at.
Date July 21, 2009

Deli in Manhattan

Doctor Sheridan has felt a little cooped up lately. It's nice to be working, but it's not always nice to be /at/ work. So when she received the call about the followup on Kayla's initial assessment, Bella was more than happy to meet in the inobtrusive little deli she's been meaning to have lunch in for weeks but has never gotten around to visiting. She arrives early, just so she can at least have her reuben ready, maybe even eaten, by the time she has to get to business. She's half considering asking the man behind the counter to switch the station so she doesn't have to miss All Things Considered. Ah, the sacrifices she makes for her career!

At nearly seven foot tall, Len Denton, dressed in a cowboy hat and boots, a plaid shirt and blue jeans that sports the biggest belt buckle anyone has probably ever seen, commands attention. As he walks into the deli, the bell above jingling to announce his presence, folks look his way. He would immediately disarm them with his cheerful grin and white teeth as the black man spies Dr. Sheridan sitting down enjoying her sandwich.

He clops over and slides into the booth that was surely made for short people, without invitation. "Dr. Sheridan. I just wanted to say that it's a pleasure to meetcha. With vacation and all, I haven't had the chance to catch up with you and have a proper chat with you. I trust you have everything you need at the new facility?" Seems the cowboy isn't much into girly sandwiches you have to dip into sauce to eat.

Bella has finished as much of her sandwich as she can reasonably eat, and the open face tower of meet, cheese, kraut and sauce still stands at a respectable height. She pushes her plate a couple inches towards Len, smile sparkling. "The pleasure's mine. There's no way I can finish this. Would you like some?" She shifts in her seat, crossing her legs, the chance in posture marking the change in her composure. "Honestly, I haven't seen much of the new location yet. I do most of my work at my own stomping grounds. Better really. It's easier to be open when you're out of the work environment," her smile is slightly impish, "When you aren't afraid someone is looking over your shoulder."

This said, and with all proper irony, she leans over and pulls a file out of the bookbag by her feet. She sets it next to the plate and pushes it further, towards Len, "This is what I've compiled so far. Right now it's little more than what I've already faxed you, but still," she folds her hands in her lap, "Do you have any specific questions for me?"

Reaching to pull the file closer, he glances at it for a moment. It fairly similar to what he's already received so he just skims it. "I think you have Ms. Reid pretty well nailed down, Doc." he grins up at her. His smile is almost a proud smile though as he adds. "Isn't she great? Probably the best assistant I've ever had. I can actually get some work done, you know what I mean?" Len slides the folder back. "Who else do we need to talk about? You should have a fairly thick folder for me on Varlane."

Bella sets her elbows on the table, hands lacing, index fingers lifted and tapping together. "Magnes is a promising kid. His is the kind of optimism that keeps us honest. However, he's recently gotten involved with Elle Bishop." Her tone is unambiguous, she is clearly skeptical of this development. "I'd like to find some way to defuse the situation," her smile flickers back on, "This is one of the reasons many organizations don't allow interior dating."

Turning to look out the window, Len is quiet for a moment. When he finally turns back towards the counselor, he smirks. "You do realize you're talking about a young man who falls in love at the drop of a dime, has probably never had a sexual encounter and read comic books, right?" He shakes his head slowly. "Unless you get to Bishop, you're not going to get Varlane away from her. He's got the 'puppy dog' eyes. The only cure for that is heart break."

"And I'm sure she'll give him just that cure, given time. I just don't want him rendered inoperable because of it," Bella says, "He's in an important stage of development, a healing stage," she pauses, "I'd like permission to inform Magnes of Ms. Bishop's psychological condition. That we are having this meeting only goes to show we are interested in efficiency over doctor-patient confidentiality. If he's warned, at least he won't blame himself when things inevitably go south. Because blaming himself is exactly what he'll do."

"The fact is, you know and I know that at some point she's going to get bored with the kid and walk away. I'm going to have to have words with her as well, I'm sure. The last thing I need is all of the work that Agent Castillo has been doing with him to go to waste because he can't keep his crotch in check." Len leans back against the booth. "She doesn't need to be encouraging him either. So tell me, if this all goes south, how bad do you think this'll be for us with him?"

"Honestly?" Bella says, "It's obviously impossible to say until the time comes, but… Magnes is resiliant. Handled well, he'll make a fine agent, as long as we don't push him too hard or try and rewire his moral compass to thoroughly. And I trust that Castillo, with a little input from me, will do a fine job managing damage control. But Kayla… before I say more on her, I want to know what you /want/ from her. I have no illusions about my role. I'm not here to make people better, I'm here to make people better than their jobs. So what job do you have in mind for Ms. Reid?"

"Reid? Oh. She's my personal assistant. If I can boast a little, she's perfect at the job. She doesn't take crap from anyone. I don't have to worry about her getting romantic on anyone, and hell, she really doesn't like anyone. She's the perfect secretary. If I could talk someone into letting her carry a gun, we'd be all set." Len is practically beaming as he leans back against the booth. "Did you have some concern about her that I should be aware of? I mean, besides the fact that she's perfect?"

Bella's skepticism over Len's glowing appraisal is masked only by a small smile. "None, if that is all you genuinely want from her. I suppose her talent wouldn't have much in the way of field use. But be careful. That no-nonsense attitude, that inability to form romantic attachments… it's unlikely to last. I'm not saying she won't always be a hardnosed, tough minded woman. I am saying that much of what supports the dominance of that personality mode is traumatic and exhausting."

A little more serious now, Len leans forward, his elbows on the table. "Look. When we found her, she was jobless and living in a run down trailer park. She has the uncanny ability of taking on other's injuries. A police officer was fired upon and should have died, but she was close enough that she took all his injuries from her and was in our facility for weeks. At first, I was skeptical about how she'd do in the position, but she's actually done well for herself. We have given her a new place, a job and she's doing well for herself. As for her mental state? I can't say how she's doing there. But she does her job and she does her job well. Don't you dare break her."

"I'm flattered that you think I have the capacity to," Bella says, not precisely leaning forward to meet Len, but not backing down at all, "But it's not me you should worry over. She may well resolve her issues on her own, however inefficently and with however many side effects. But she may well break on her own, a result that might, in the long run, be better for her and for her place in our company. And when and if she does, she'll need a support system. That system may not involve me in the least, but it /must/ be there if you want to catch all the pieces of her as they fall."

Just by nature of his size, Len might look like it's trying to be intimidating, but he's not. He realizes how it may seem and he draws back. "Personally, I don't think she's broken. With the ability she has, she's far better off keeping everyone at arm's length or more. When Primatech blew, she almost died. Not from any injuries of her own, mind you, but the dying were all around here and she almost succumbed to it. If she had somewhere else to go, I imagine we'd have lost her services after the explosion."

Bella does seem to appreciate Len's recession. She's not a big nor a substantial woman, and God alone knows what sort of implicit racism bubbles in the depths of her suburb-bred mind. "Having nowhere else to go is rarely a circumstance that lends itself to psychological wellbeing. Cornered creatures display tremendous courage, of course, but that's does not make them healthy or clever." She purses her lips, "I don't wish to cast aspersions on Kayla, nor on your judgment. I am simply advising caution and care. She /is/ a remarkable worker, I'm sure. I just want her to stay that way."

"I think she's doing what she needs to do to survive. It's not ideal and I can't say for certain that she's trying to be happy. For her, happiness seems to be something that she's determined she cannot have. The best I can do it give her employment to give her job some sort of meaning, and money with which to survive." Len's PDA vibrates on his belt and he reaches for it, glances at it, then tucks it back. "Honestly, I have far more concern for Varlane than I do for Reid. She's not nearly as fragile."

"Magnes' strength is tensile. He can be bent but it will be hard to break him," Bella says, "Kayla's strength is compressive. She can endure enormous pressure. Both need to be given the necessary vents for their strain or else both risk being overcome at their weak points. Again, Kayla may not need me. She certainly doesn't want me. But she needs someone or something, and I'd much rather that someone or something be in line with our interests."

Len slides out, standing. "I'll see if there's something I can do. I do know she's shown in interest in self defense and maybe that'll help her release some of her aggression. I do need to be getting back, but there is someone else I'd like to see you talk to. She should be returning shortly and I'll send her your way." He dips his head. "If you need anything at all, just get in touch."

Bella gets to her feet, offering her hand in a shake farewell, "I am always glad to do my part," she grins, "And to meet new people. I hope I can get you on the couch myself some day, Mr. Denton."

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