Wolf In Sheep's Clothing


amato_icon.gif shannon_icon.gif

Scene Title Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Synopsis An act of kindness turns a casual, not-quite-friendly scene into something that is neither kind nor friendly.
Date January 31, 2011

The Garden

Staten Island isn't the normal place for a lot of sane people to be anymore, not since the government started doing some serious poking around. But the Garden is still there, and though the traffic is much lessened, there are still Ferrymen coming and going, as sneakily as possible. Among the sneakiest is Shannon. The door opens, and closes a moment later, and only after it's been closed down a chilled looking Shannon appear, rubbing her hands together and muttering softly to herself. Probably cursing the cold.

After a moment she takes the time to actually look around, seeing who's here and who's long since abandoned one of the remaining few safehouses in New York City. "Anyone here? It's not DHS, so no hiding, 'kay? It'd just be a pain hunting for you if you are here."

There's the moderately heavy clunk of boots from the hall, and then Amato is leaning to peer around the doorframe. The collar of a button-up shirt peaks out from under a dark sweater, but jeans and brown leather boots speak of the blister-worthy life of tending to horses and corpses that Shannon is familiar with him leading. His initial expression is wary, but upon recognizing Shannon's face, the tall blond smiles. He's fair-skinned again by the shrouded winter sun, and some of the small amount of muscle he gained over the summer has melted away from his frame. Relative inactivity does that to a man, after all.

"It would appear I'm not the only one keen on nostalgic shadows," he says as he steps all the way into the doorway, revealing hands clutching a book, presumably forgotten by his bedside before the perils of the eighth and his departure to proverbial higher ground. "It's good to see you, Shannon."

There's a soft snort at that. "Nostalgic shadows? Hardly," Shannon scoffs, shaking her head and sticking her hands into her pockets. "I'm here because I was bored and figured I'd do a check of the safehouses, make sure they were all…you know, safe. I figured if anyone could do it without getting caught, it's me." A lack of confidence isn't something she suffers from. "But you're just…reliving memories? Of this place?"

"It's as good a place as any," Amato says with a slight shrug, his smile becoming lopsided for a moment. "Everywhere we spend time, be it a minute's walk or a week's repose, we create memories. Pleasant or shuddering, they shape us. One should not regret the journey that has formed them, else they regret their very being." He stops himself then and shakes his head. "My apologies," he says as he enters the room and sets the book - a slim leather volume with John Donne etched into the cover - on the table.

"I assure you," he adds as he moves around the table to pull out a chair for her, "that all is well here. Other than the temperature, that is." Then again, with so few in residence, it's hardly necessary to do more than light woodstoves in what rooms are in use.

He's given an odd look, but Shannon starts forward, moving towards the chair he's pull out for her. "The temperature's a bitch. I hate New York winters." She reaches for the book, curious about it, and perhaps that is why she ends up tripping, perhaps on one of the other chairs on the table, arms flailing as she pitches forward, letting out a girlish squeal of surprise.

It's a reflex, really. Something done without thinking. Rather than allow Shannon to fall and potentially crack her jaw on the edge of the table, Amato reaches his hands out to catch the young woman's shoulders. But what he thinks is carefully shielded by a thick layer of knitted fabric isn't, and he's punished for the contact of skin against skin.

At the first flash of images from Shannon's youth, his eyes snap shut, and his fingers dig into the flesh of her upper arms as an anchor in the sudden storm of light and sound that assaults his senses.

The first scene he sees is of someone in their mid to late teens. An overweight goth girl, and one who is far from pretty, angry, hating, as she hides in one of the stalls of the girl's bathroom, listening to girls chatter. Then screaming, horror, and the girl leaves the stall, to see one of the cheerleaders, her face covered in boils, appearing to rot. A flash of the goth girl in the mirror, a shocked look on her face.

The next one cannot be much later, still in a high school, this time a gym. A gym that's on fire and filled with people. People screaming in fear, skin blistered, the smell of smoke thick in the air, the heat of the flames almost unbearable. But this time the goth girl, Shannon, isn't startled. She's smug.

Other flashes, some of faces that Amato might recognize. A hotel kitchen, sitting with Linderman, discussing things not quite legal. Company holding cells, smirking at an unconscious Ted Sprague through the window. Noah Bennet, while thin, dressed as one of the cheerleaders she'd despised, then becoming someone else, threatening the former Company man's sanity. Again, with Linderman, arguing, but he doesn't call her Shannon.

He calls her Candice.

Shannon looks startled when she's grabbed, then confused when he grips her and closes his eyes. It's enough that she doesn't immediately try to pull away, too curious about what's going on, and since it's not hurting her…

But as the images progress, Amato's grip gets tighter and tighter. Finally, when the name that echoes among the flashes of film is said one time too many, he releases her, nearly pushing her away from him rather than trying to keep her from falling free into the table. Trying to find breath that catches in his throat given the surprise contact, the man stumbles backward bringing a shaky hand to his brow. But the strangeness of it all is shortlived, and as the gears in the old terrorist's head turn, shock turns to anger.

He scowls.

"No more games," Amato says gravely, his boots making the floorboards creak as he advances on Shannon - Candice - once again closing the gap between them. He'd told himself he wouldn't go looking for the one that betrayed the Ferrymen and all the refugees under their wings. But his oath to once again weed out the wolves is fresh in his mind. Brows furrowed and lip nearly curling, he reaches his pale hand down, fingers spread and seeking.

His reaction has the illusionist frowning at him. "I…don't think I'm playing any games. I tripped, you caught me, then you wouldn't let me go. So what the hell are you talking about, horse boy?" she asks, choosing, for the moment, to remain standing rather than take the chair he so politely pulled out for her.

That reaching hand curls quickly into a fist, with a warning index finger extended as Amato stands inches away from Shannon. "Show me who you really are, or I'll hold you down and find out myself, fingitora." Bearing down on her, intent on effectively pinning her against the table with his sheer presence, Amato's scowl twinges toward a smile.

It would seem that old habits never really go away.

"Come now," he says in a lower, slightly smoother tone. "How will we ever survive if we can't learn to trust one another with the truth? You know my name," he offers with a slight arch of his brow. "I think it's time you shrug off that fleece and tell me who you really are, Candice."

The threat doesn't seem to bother her. If she wanted she could just disappear and slip out, so why should she be afraid of him? But when he uses that name, the one she shed, recently and unwillingly, she jerks as though he'd used that fist on her. "What did you call me?" she demands, though the words are soft. Her eyes are narrowed, but there's a fleeting glimpse of fear within the brown depths. He shouldn't know that name.

"I called you a wolf, Candice," Amato says with a smile that is far too close to a knowing leer to be fueled by any real mirth. "And you didn't do as I asked." His smile fades with that fact, and he shakes his head. Setting his jaw and breathing in deeply, if quickly, he shoots his hand out to both grab at the woman's hair, close to her scalp, and push her down toward the tabletop.

But this time, Amato is ready.

There's another bit of a squeal as the woman's face is shoved against the table. Her true form is big, yes, but she's not exactly strong, and the position doesn't allow for much leverage in order to try to straighten. Nor is she a fighter. And she doesn't know how to defend against this particular type of ability. "What do you want?"

Again he glimpses into her past. Walking down a hallway with a man, both with guns. Bodies littering the floor. Yellow gas, shock on the face of the man with her as her illusion dissolves. Another man, Japanese, appearing out of no where.

Her, as a tall, black woman, pretty, in a loft apartment. The police leaving. The air shimmering, revealing a woman identical to her, but for the nasty gunshot in her chest, the blood that's spread over clothes. Her mocking a man who's clearly grieving.

In a high-dollar apartment, looking remarkably like Barbara, but blonde, fighting with a woman who looks identical. Getting punched, HARD, then blackness.

In a hospital, in her natural, overweight form, talking to a scrawny boy in the hospital bed. Shifting to look like him. The boy, Ren, freaking out. Her sobbing when she later heard that he'd died.

Speaking to two men, one of them Matt Parkman, in a wheelchair, while looking at Noah Bennet. The other man passing over money after she wins a bet.

More recently, in this guise, helping Nick escape Walsh and friends, leading him to the Ferry boat. Then later, helping to hide from a patrol via sea. And later still, sitting in the Bannerman kitchen with a bunch of kids, the room more homey than it should be, all of them drinking cocoa, though it was really just water.

It's not all bad, and there's little violence on her part, mostly just lots of deceptions. And a good deal of theft. There are many, many faces, and dozens of them are hers.

There's a shift of cloth, and Amato's pulled the edge of his sweater over his hand in order to protect himself from his own ability while continuing to hold the woman down. "You can't hide it from me," he snarls once he has his wits about him again. "I'll find it. It's only a matter of time, really."

He leans down, bracing his free hand on the table far from where Candice is pressed, and puts his face close to her hair. "And it is written," he hisses, "Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee." He pauses then, letting a cruel smirk twist onto his face. "Tell me, Candice.

"Do you know these words?"



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