2009-12-28: A Place of Calm



Date: December 28th, 2009


Nathan checks up on Tracy when she doesn't go to the office or return his phone calls.

"A Place of Calm"

"Linda's" Apartment

Midtown, New York City

Large and spacious, this apartment is mostly open save for a few short hallways that block off the living room from the bed and bathroom. It's a one bedroom, but what it lacks in rooms it makes up for in space everywhere else, and what it lacks in view — being on the second story — it makes up for in design. The walls are painted a pale blue with a faint distressed patina bare of art, and the floors are a dark, red-toned hardwood shined to gleam with a classical rug taking covering almost entirely in the living room. Thick white drapery is always drawn shut, the view that of the street. There isn't much furniture — a black leather couch and a white armchair — and it lacks modern luxuries like a TV and stereo, only a phone. It bears no personal touches like photos, but is decorated with a few lamps and some metallic vases of white flowers. All in all, it's modern, elegant, and simple, if slightly incomplete.

The dining room and kitchen blend together, seperated from the living room by a counter; creamy marble. The appliances are white as is the dining room table which features a singlular row of tealights inlaid in a black wooden block, a small chandelier hanging above.

What can be seen of the bedroom is a queen-sized bed with light-coloured bedding and a feminine cluster of pink roses in a vase on an end table.

Tracy is home and both her home phone and her cell phone, each set up, like this apartment, in the name of Linda Johnson, are working just fine. She ought to — planned to, was scheduled to — drop into the office today, but such a thing has not happened. She's been here all day so far, ignoring the rings. She's not ignoring her responsibilities; she has her reasons.

Presently, she's seated upon the living room's single white armchair, one knee drawn up, her head resting in one hand as she leans against the arm of the chair. Bare-footed, she's wrapped up in a robe — thin, soft, white terrycloth with a blue ribbon accent. It must be a trend today for Nathan's redheaded staff to stay at home in white bathrobes. Tracy seems bored, tired. Distant. She finally procured a TV for her apartment, a small but wide flat screen, affixed to the wall to her left. A national news station drones on at a low volume, given little attention.

After leaving Anais' apartment, Nathan jumped a cab to Tracy's apartment. He'd called her phone a number of times already this morning, and as per the latest news on Stephanie and her ability, he's concerned, although he tries not to show it as he walks up to the door and takes a deep breath. He's still wearing his Armani suit and that same red and green plaid tie (one of Brayden's favourites) as he raps gently on the door.

Tracy looks at the door from afar before she makes any move to answer it. It's with a resigned sigh that she reluctantly moves one foot from the chair cushion to the floor to meet the other. Long strides take her to the door to glance out the peephole, first spying Nathan's tie and then the Senator himself. She slides the locks open and twists the doorknob just enough to cause the door to become ajar — before heading back the way she came. "It's opeeen."

Relief. Tracy's alive. Stephanie hasn't gotten to her yet. Nathan pushes the door open with a low creak before padding in, making sure to lock the door behind him. "So. You're alive. Good to see." He smirks slightly as he glances about the apartment while he paces towards her. "So." Beat. "Your phone is broken then?" at this he raises a single eyebrow.

Tracy just sits back down in the armchair and must expect Nathan to seat himself — she doesnt offer him a seat. Or anything at all, for that matter. Anais is a better hostess. By all appearances, it looks as if she had full intentions to start the day as normal: her long hair is brushed, straight, neat, and there's a touching of makeup on her face. Subtle gloss, mascara. "No." A beat passes on her part. Her gaze is rather dulled when it finds Nathan. "Did you speak with Anais? She left me a message."

"Yes. I spoke to Anais," Nathan states matter-of-factly as he sits in one of the armchairs. Invited, or not, he doesn't much feel like standing. Leaning back in the armchair he hmmms quietly, "Seems our blonde friend paid her a visit." And essentially tortured her for information about Nathan and Niki. Beat. "I hired a head of security. Someone who's experienced dealing with people like her. He's compentent to deal with the situation."

By and large, Nathan's advisor seems apathetic about the news. "Good," she says in a dispassionate, flat tone, crossing one leg over the other and settling in. She may be wearing a robe, but it's only marginally less modest than a skirt, if far more casual. "That's— good." Tracy runs a hand through her hair, twirls the ends of it. "I'm sorry I've been M.I.A. I should've called."

Eyes are narrowed at Tracy as Nathan openly stares at her. His expression is quizzical. Yes, he's confused. Silently, he watches her, wholly unsure of why she's at home today. Finally he furrows his eyebrows, "What's going on? You're not sick, are you?" Of course, even then she should've called. "Seriously Tracy, I half-thought I'd get a call you were dead in a ditch somewhere —"

She could have been, in reality. "I was in an accident last night," Tracy announces dully; the explanation is just as dismal as the rest of her words until she quickly turns to assurances. "No one was hurt, I'm fine." She leans ahead to pluck a blue ceramic mug from the nearby glass coffee table; another new addition, not that Nathan would know the difference. She looks into the mug, toying with the string dangling over the edge from tea. "It's my power. I don't know how to control it. It's like I shouldn't even be around anyone anymore."

Nathan opens his mouth to ask if she's alright, only to clamp it shut at the preemptive response. He twitches a bit as he hmmms quietly to himself. "Did it cause the accident then?" He frowns as he hmmms again. "Have you had these issues before? Or is it new?" He's fortunate and hasn't had any huge issues with flying (other than several rather unfortunate falls, one of which occurred following his memory wipe).

Only a short-lived nod acts as a confirmation. "For a couple of months," Tracy discloses without looking up. She's explained it before, the lack of control she's experienced lately, though not exactly to Nathan, and doing so seems to place her in an uncomfortable position. Edgy. "Ever since— " The woman looks up to study the Senator. He's here, he deserves to understand why she isn't working — and how the government has made an impact. What they're capable of. Why they're to blame. Her voice isn't quite even, belying her struggle to explain, but she fights to keep it in measured. " —I was in Building 26. The Protocol… they locked me up… and… made sure I couldn't use my ability. After that…" Another glance down. There's a pause before she adds quietly, "I mean, you saw, in the alley, what I'm capable of without meaning to. Peter… says I should just go far away. You know. Let it all out. There's just one problem."

"Does it come on at any particular times or is it a generalized thing?" Nathan asks, eyebrows furrowing. Maybe they caused it while trying to control Tracy. He frowns as he shakes his head. "Capable, but not responsible," he finally quips as he shakes his head again, "Why can't you go? I mean, I can really use your help, but your health and wellbeing is first and foremost." And really, the wellbeing of everyone else around her. He swallows and tilts his head, "When you caused the accident were you stressed? I only ask because when our friend showed up the office, it happened. And maybe you didn't find it stressful, but I did…" he smiles ironically at the admission.

"Kind of. I guess?" It does come upon her during varying degrees of emotion. Tracy looks to Nathan with a flash of vulnerability in her eyes that turns hard-edged barely a second later. "It feels like it's just building up. One of these days…" she trails off meaningfully with a sharp twist to her lips, a bitter smirk before her lips purse and she glances off to the side — toward the TV that's been mostly ignored. "Peter had a good idea and all but I don't think I'd be coming back from that. I'm not— I don't think I'm immune from… myself, Nathan. I'm not Peter, I can't heal."

It's a waiting game.

Meanwhile, a picture of the former Senator, Ivory Wynn, appears on the TV screen with a reporter in the foreground. "Breaking news today about the former Senator of New York, Ivory Wynn…"

"So it freezes you too. And you think…" Nathan silences and frowns. He stares at her incredulously. "Does it hurt you when you freeze things? I know Peter's unique in the swiss army knife of abilities, but…" He continues to frown. "I want to help you." He stares at her several moments before a smirk curls his lips upwards, "Maybe you can't heal, but Peter could heal you…. he fixed my brain…" Or there's always regenerative blood.

Nathan's plans, however, are interrupted by the news cast, "What…?"

Tracy's attention is caught by the news, but she does look back at Nathan for an instant, her doubt as clear as the sinking in her stomach. She doesn't quite have faith in the five hundred and one ways special abilities can — or might — be able to fix things. It may be true, she's experienced it. Peter's healing. Lena's purging. All she knows for sure in this case, though, is the gradually growing cold inside, a building adrenaline. Once she looks back at the screen, she feels a pang of it. Waylaid from replying, she reaches for the remote on the coffee table to turn up the volume. "It's Ivory…"

The female reporter goes on. "… dead this morning after being found by his mother Elizabeth Wynn this past weekend at his family home in Richmond, Virginia. Initial reports are suggesting Wynn passed away due to an overdose of medication as a possible suicide. Someone close to the family has informed us that there was a note left, reading simply… 'I'm sorry.' However, an autopsy has been requested by the family. Results … are pending.

"Wynn was a highly recognizable figure in the media as of late, known for his dedication to his country both as a Senator with strong focus into recent anti-terrorism campaigns and as the former Secretary of Homeland Security and was well-received by many. A service will be held in Richmond this Thursday …"

Nathan's face pales at the news. Ivory Wynn, former Alpha Protocol fall-guy and evolved villain, is dead. His eyes widen as he turns to face Tracy. She worked with him. His jaw tightens as every muscle in his body stiffens. He has little to say. Nothing, really. The chances of suicide seem slim in his own mind. Although still possible. His expression softens some as he shakes his head, "I'm… I'm sorry Tracy."

Tracy doesn't seem like she quite knows how to respond at first. She doesn't. Her sentiments are at war with one another. Her emotions conflict and cause the woman to stare agape at the television in disbelief. Slowly, she sits further back against the chair, but by no means is she comfortable. "I told him— I wouldn't let him…" she says, quiet, wavering slightly. Despite herself, there are tears in her eyes. Of all the times for Nathan to check up on her. "I shouldn't even care anymore," she says to the screen with an underlying hiss of anger, pointing the remote at the TV to kill the news even though it's since moved on to a piece on an uprising in Iran. Before Tracy can press the button, the device freezes straight through. She lets go and it falls to the floor in brittle, frozen pieces.

Soothing as best he can, trying to summon the non-ascetic monk to his mind, Nathan says, "Caring doesn't stop that easy," even when a person wills it to. Even when a sociopath overtakes the mind, but the frozen remote causes Nathan to leap to his feet and take a step or two back. Like Tracy he can't heal. Blinking a couple of times, he remembers something he learned while in the monastery. "Take a deep breath… slowly…" His instructions are calm. Not-panicked, although this is how he feels. "And then exhale. Slowly. Think of a place of calm…"

Tracy takes a deep breath in while giving Nathan the most dubious of stares out of the corner of her eye. Inhale… "What is this, meditation?" …exhale. It's worth a shot; better than her power going out of control and freezing more than just a remote, as satisfying as it might be at the moment. Stopping it— it's a band-aid. One of her "calming" breaths hitches before she leans her elbows onto bare knees, head in her hands, and tries to think of a place of calm. It's harder than it sounds to imagine when her life has had so little places of real calm lately.

"Yes. It's meditation. I did a stint in a Buddhist monastery while trying to get my memory back," A story for another time. Nathan inhales deeply, "Good energy in. Bad energy out." He exhales. After studying her body language, he bites his bottom lip and lends a place of calm as best he can — a place Charlotte told him Niki liked when she'd taken Brayden there. "Think about a quiet unknown island in the Caribbean. The warm breeze touches your face. The sound of the water laps quietly against the shore. No other people are around. The sand is white in colour and gritty between your toes… the water itself is warm and a blue-green. The sky is pure blue and all around you are ferns and tropical plants of various sorts…"

Frustration overrides Tracy's attempts at calm a few times. Trying too hard never works. She does eventually focus, however, on the image Nathan unexpectedly puts forth. His voice. There's something calming about its pitch and the composure of his instructions. At the very least, nothing else, herself included, freezes. Slowly, she starts to sit up straight, hands falling gradually to her knees. She laughs at Nathan, though it sounds like nothing more than a 'hmmm,' and shakes her head. "You're just full of secrets, aren't you."

He's relieved as she begins to sit up. Crisis averted. Maybe. For now. The comment, however, earns a reply, "If it makes the image any easier, I really was a terrible monk," Nathan's lips quirk into a broad grin complete with a chuckle of his own as he stands from his chair. "If you need some time away from work, that's fine. Just let me know that you're alive once in awhile. Please. We're in a dangerous game here, and my priority is keeping everyone safe. If they're going to target someone…" he'd rather it be him. He shrugs at this as he pads towards the door. Which they're he's talking about, however, is left alone. They are, after all, playing two sides of this.

Tracy manages to smile for a split second, nearly laughing once more under her breath, though the sound is dull. She just lifts her brows at the image of Nathan as a monk. She doesn't know him well, but she knows him — and Brayden — passingly enough to imagine the contrast. "I still want to help you do this." With help from her temporary calm, she pushes all other weighty thoughts away to focus on what's ahead. She slides out of her chair, following Nathan toward the door, pausing in front of it with a hand on the frame. "I just might have to be a remote contact for awhile until I…" Until she…? In lieu of an answer, she moistens her lips and just skips ahead. "…Anyway, I'll answer my phone from now on."

"Thank you. I appreciate it. If you need anything from me… you know how to reach me," Nathan says as he walks to the door. "Tracy, if you want Pete's help. Let me know. Or you can call him directly. I'm sure he'd be willing…" He shrugs at this as he opens the door. "Take it easy." That said, he walks through it, unsure of what his own fate will be once the evolved know of his public stand and the Protocol of his defection (assuming everything continues to go according to plan).

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