2007-03-06: A Strong Undercurrent Of "Skank"

Starring:

Elle_icon.gif Mara_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Date It Happened: March 06, 2007

Summary: Mohinder instills some confidence in his lab rat. The two are treated to an unexpected surprise at Reed Street.

A Strong Undercurrent of "Skank"


Uptown, and Reed Street Laboratories

Just as she said she would be, Mara is waiting downstairs for Mohinder. Although by "downstairs," she apparently meant "outside, smoking a cigarette." She stands in the sidewalk, shivering in the mild, early spring chill. To say she looks jittery would be an understatement. She at least doesn't appear to be ill anymore.

Mohinder doesn't let Mara wait too long. The meeting was coming to a close anyway, and he was concerned about how poor the detective was looking. He steps outside the doors and looks around for a moment before spotting the woman and walking in her direction. "What did you want to speak with me about?"

"I.. don't even know," the detective sighs. "I just…" She rakes her fingers through her hair several times, staring skyward as she exhales some smoke. "I'm afraid to go home. He got loose today. He almost killed somebody… He could get loose again." It's obviously very painful for Mara to admit just how affected she is by Sylar. Ashamed of her cowardice.

Mohinder seems to know that Mara is ashamed and possibly afraid. "I warned you about how dangerous he was. There's no shame in what you're feeling about it. You should go home still, try to relax and to get some sleep." He sighs and looks away, down the street at nothing in particular. "I think I would be more worried if you weren't afraid or wary of him."

"I- I can't." Mara drops her cigarette to the pavement and crushes it beneath her boot. "I can't go home. I can't sleep. I can't be alone in my apartment." Her trembling gets worse as she peers into Mohinder's eyes, as though they might hold answers, or assurances. "I need something to do. To keep my mind occupied."

Mohinder sighs then turns to meet Mara's eyes. He looks firm and resolute as he says, "You /must/ go home and rest. If you don't, you're letting him win. You'll also do nobody any good if you're on the verge of collapse. You're no match for him in your current condition."

Mara seems to almost calm, even though she's being reprimanded. "You're right, of course." She averts her gaze to gather her thoughts. "You're right," she repeats. "I can't brag to him about how my bed is more comfortable than his cot if I don't actually use it," she jokes with a mirthless smile.

Mohinder gives a small smile at Mara. The joke isn't missed, but the humor doesn't meet his eyes. "I'm hesitant to suggest you take any sleep aids. In your current state, you're liable to overdose on accident. Try a hot bath, perhaps chamomile tea. I know it probably sounds, I don't know, New Age-y?" He looks over the officer, taking in the abuse to her face and neck. (Granted he's responsible for the face.) "Tend to your bruises as well."

"I'll be fine," Mara insists, rubbing at her neck with only a faint wince. "I'm still breathing…" She tilts her head to one side, indicating for the geneticist to follow her. "I wish he would have given me an excuse to shoot him. C'mon, I'll give you a lift."

Mohinder chuckles dryly at the shooting comment. "Yes, you are still breathing, that's always a plus." He falls in behind to follow Mara. "Thank you. As for shooting him goes.. I'm not entirely sure it would have any desired effect beyond stopping him. His psychological state, it's a difficult one to comprehend."

"I… I was trying to do what you suggested. Appealing to his pride." Mara pulls a set of keys out of her pocket as she leads the way to her vehicle. "I've gotten into the heads of killers before. Convinced them that I understand what they did, why they did it. Understanding him… I felt disgusting just pretending I could."

Mohinder nods as he listens. "It's not a pleasant feeling, no, but that combined with the visions you got, does that at least help you understand just what sort of monster we're dealing with?"

"Understanding the existence of the monster is one thing," Mara says quietly, pressing a button her key to unlock the car once they're in sight. "Understanding /why/ the monster exists is another thing entirely. Understanding what /drives/ that monster…" She doesn't immediately walk to the driver's side door. Instead, she peers in the back window, checking to make sure the car is as empty as it was when she left it. Once satisfied, she checks the traffic before stepping out into the street to move around the front of her car and climb in.

Mohinder slides into the front passenger seat as he muses over Mara's words. "That's the thing, isn't it? He's ill, mentally so, but you didn't need me to tell you that. His ability to take the powers of others, it has corrupted and twisted him further. He genuinely thinks they are his for the taking, that no one else is worthy of having them." Suresh props his elbow against the door and rests his head in his hand. "Honestly, I'm at a loss as to what to do about him, other than killing him. He cannot remain imprisoned for long. Killing him in a way is giving him what he wants, a release. He's.. too dangerous to live." Gods, where has he heard that before? A brief look of guilt washes across his features as he thinks of Noah saying that about Molly.

"You know what the sickest thing of all is?" Mara locks the doors before putting the key in the ignition and starting up the vehicle. She looks over her shoulder before pulling out. "Knowing he could have killed me, and knowing why he didn't."

Mohinder suppresses the shudder that courses through his body. "That means he's got a plan. Killing you too soon, it ruins what he's got in store. Am I right? He told you he had something in mind for you."

"Yeah… You've seen the bruises. There's no way I actually hit him hard enough to make him stop." Mara can't suppress her own shudder. "Him wanting me alive is almost worse than him wanting me dead. He could have choked the life out of me then and there. He had the chance to shoot me. He didn't. He wants my ability so badly, and he doesn't even know what it is."

Mohinder turns his head so that he can look at Mara. Briefly, exhaustion appears in his eyes. "This.. is not good. Either he's convinced himself that since you were in my lab, you have a power.. or his might be trying to surface somehow. I need a sample of his blood to study." He raises a hand to rub at his temple. "I don't even know /why/ he cannot use his powers, and I can't just let that question remain unanswered. There's a reason behind it."

"They aren't going to let me near him again. Once they see those tapes…" Mara shakes her head, "My superiors are /not/ going to like what they see." She lets out a deep, shuddering sigh as she stops at a red light. Her head tips back against the seat and she looks over to Mohinder. "Nakamura? Maybe we can use his ability to somehow get a sample."

"I can ask.. but Hiro has enough on his mind right now. I could probably work with the blood on the clothes he was arrested in." Mohinder meets Mara's look and nods. "No, I can't imagine they'll like the tapes, but if they have /any/ understanding of what they've got on their hands, they won't chastise you too harshly."

"One can only hope. But it's just another strike against my record. 'The Fainting Girl' isn't exactly earning any gold stars lately." It takes Mara three or four seconds to realize the light has changed again. She continues on her way, crawling through the urban traffic. "I'm seeing a mandatory medical leave in my future. I've /got/ to get control of this, Mohinder. Or I'll never regain my credibility."

"I can imagine that it doesn't. Hopefully, we can put an end to your fainting." Mohinder states firmly. "There's /got/ to be something we can do." He brings his fist down on the handle of the door in a moment of frustration. "I'm still going over your test results, it's all right there, I just need to find the answers. Perhaps a drug could be devised to block the fainting as a reaction, but I'd like to save that for a final option."

"If you can concoct something, do it. I don't care what it takes. But as long as I'm dealing with Gray, I will /not/ be left vulnerable." Mara frowns with determination. "The drug can be a quick fix, until we find something better. Just do /something/. I don't know what else to do. I still have to be in the same building." She falls silent for a moment, changing the subject, "I'll request Gray's personal effects and try to get something with a sample of his blood for you."

If Mara were an official Company 'patient', Mohinder is certain she would be pressed, prodded and pushed to the breaking point and a drug would be devised. Not to mention possibly several, and tested in turn on her. The thought churns his stomach. "Thank you.. just don't do anything to further jeopardize your position. I'd prefer to not have to work up a vaccine if you will, but if that's the only recourse. I already know gloves.. I'm just repeating everything in my mind. I'll want to test you a bit more. Damn, there's just no time." Again, he presses his hand to his temple, rubbing as if trying to chase away an oncoming headache. "The problem.. with coming up with a drug is the constant change within the body's DNA. It's possible that anything I come up with will work temporarily, but change something else within."

"I don't /care/, Mohinder," Mara insists. "So we keep changing it up. We keep making it work." Her fingers tighten around the steering wheel, turning the knuckles white. "I don't need rest. I don't need to relax. I need to keep /working/. I need /answers/. If Gabriel Gray can push himself, so can I."

"I can't tell you what to do or what not to do, Mara." Mohinder says, struggling to keep defeat from his tone. "I can only theorize, test and hope that I'm right. And of course, warn you of possible repercussions."

"Here's a repercussion for ya - I black out at the wrong moment, Gray kills me." Mara tries to keep the irritation out of her voice. It isn't Suresh she's upset with. It's the situation. "I'm sorry," she sighs. "I don't mean to snap." Finally, she pulls up to Reed Street Laboratories. She finds a place to park and idles the car. "I'm sorry I'm not an easy riddle to solve."

"Right, I understand that, and apology accepted. You're under a great deal of stress from many different factors." Mohinder releases the lock on his seatbelt but doesn't exit the vehicle yet. "Don't apologize. Every one has their own unique abilities and riddles. The same answer won't work for different people. I'll work on some formulas to target the specific reactions firing in your brain each time you 'read' on object. I.. I'll want possibly a whole day to work with you on testing. With your consent of course."

"You can have me for a whole bloody week if that's what it takes." Mara undoes her own seatbelt and turns off the car. "I'm walking you to the door," she explains, "Just in case." Understandably paranoid. "Don't spare me. Don't pull punches. Just do what you need to do. I trust you."

Mohinder gets out of the car and shuts the door. He waits for Mara to join before proceeding to the lab. Her paranoia isn't questioned. "Very well, don't expect it to be pleasant. It might leave you feeling worse than the testing from earlier this week."

"I'll remember to bring my backbone with me this time. I wasn't prepared for what you had in store for me. Now… Now I am." As well as she can be, at least. Mara locks up the car and starts walking to the building. "I'll call you tomorrow. I should know by lunch whether or not I'm suspended. I'll certainly have a lot more free time if they suspend me. Either way, I'll get my hands on Gray's things."

Mohinder smiles just a little at the officer. "Again, I'm sorry, I probably should have given you some warning, but that would have taken away the surprise." He converses as he walks with the woman on up to his lab. "I hope for your sake that you are not suspended. I have enough test results to begin working with, along with the blood samples." He nods, "If you don't, I'll think of something else."

"Even if I have to bribe my contacts at the hospital, I will get you that man's blood," Mara vows. One hand slides into her pocket as she waits for Suresh to open the lab. She won't be content until she's walked through it to ensure there are no nasty surprises awaiting the geneticist.

Mohinder simply nods and murmurs a thank you to Mara as he unlocks the door to the lab and opens it. "Again, I ask that you do nothing to further jeopardize your position."

And who should be sitting on Mohinder's favorite laboratory stool, but Elle. She's made herself home and is currently poking through the files on his computer. Clickety click. Stifling a yawn with her palm, she looks over as the door opens and gives her best Innocent Blonde Expression <tm>.

In an instant, Mara's whipping out the gun she had her fingers wrapped around in her pocket and shoving Mohinder out of the doorway with her free hand, perhaps a bit more roughly than required. The safety is turned off and the firearm's trained on Elle. "Five seconds." Start talking.

The moment Mara's got her gun out, Mohinder's whipping around, panic settling in. What /now/? His eyes then close briefly accompanied by an exasperated sounding sigh. "Miss Bishop, I don't recall us having an appointment this afternoon.." He turns briefly to Mara, "It's alright.."

Elle looks unperturbed by the gun. It must be a common occurrence for the blonde. Turning back to look at the computer monitor, she clicks open Minesweeper and starts to play haphazardly. "I wasn't aware I needed an appointment, Doctor Suresh."

Mara turns the safety back on, but she doesn't put the gun away. They'll just have to settle for it being pointed safely at the ground. For now, she merely watches the interaction between Mohinder and his visitor.

"Appointments are generally preferred as my time can be quite limited," Mohinder says, managing to have his tone sound chastising in the blonde's direction. He hears Mara turn the safety back on as he walks fully into the lab. "What can I do for you, Miss Bishop?"

Strange. The young woman looks hardly chastised at all. Elle shrugs her shoulders and says, "Oh, I'm just poking around. Seeing what I can see. Rainer wanted me to deliver those files in person." She indicates the manila folders on the tabletop. "Dare I say: mission accomplished?"

Mara's expression stays carefully neutral as her eyes dart back and forth between the speakers.

Mohinder glances towards the indicated files then, "Thank you for delivering them." As for her poking around, this can't be a good sign. Fortunately, anything he's done 'off the books' is carefully coded and hidden away. Not to forget Mara's presence, he turns back towards her, "Thank you detective for your assistance and concern after the recent break in. If there are any problems, or should I have concerns, I'll give you a call. Promptly."

"Much appreciated, Copper," Elle adds, giving the woman a mock-salute. The minesweeper is left open and she hops off the chair. "Later Suresh." She pauses on her way to the door to eye Mara, then glance back at Suresh, skewing an eyebrow at him with a questioning expression.

Mara somehow manages to keep the concern out of her features. It's as if she's expecting something more from him. She inclines her head slowly in farewell, watching his eyes. Her lips start to form the 'M' for Mohinder, but she changes her mind at the last second. "Doctor Suresh," she says carefully. She knows he needs only say the word. And she gives him that chance, lingering as Elle decides to take her leave.

Mohinder maintains a neutral, businesslike expression as Elle gets up and.. leaves. "Later, Miss Bishop," he says to her. "And to you as well Detective Damaris." He doesn't say the word, feeling it's not necessary. Not at the moment, but it could be considered a close call. There's no idea how much Elle has poked around, or what she possibly even heard. He turns his back on the door and heads straight for the folders left on the table.

Elle gives Mara a wink before pulling the door shut behind her. And then, for shits and giggles, she's gives the knob a little charge. Whoever grabs it next? It's gonna sting. "I love my job," she says as she walks away.

Rather than go for the door, Mara approaches Mohinder. She doesn't say a word, however. She'll let him be the one to break the silence. Her eyes settle on the folders and she folds her arms across her chest.

Mohinder opens up the first of the files and starts flipping through the pages, giving each one a quick skimming. He doesn't say anything until Mara has approached and he says in almost a whisper, "Is she gone yet?"

"Near as I can tell," Mara responds in kind. She doesn't read the contents of the files, but she does eye them pretty intently. Her arms are wrapped a little tighter around herself as a consequence. "Want me to check?"

"No, that's fine," Mohinder says as he closes that file and moves onto the next. "I think we're just about done. I have an appointment tomorrow, and I will get started on your tests and devising possible drug solutions. I'll give you a call when I have a few samples ready for testing." Still erring on the side of caution, he keeps his voice low.

"…I have an idea." Mara approaches the computer and reaches out, her hand hovers just over the mouse. She takes in a few deep breaths. Slowly. In through the nose. Out through the mouth. "I want to see," she says quietly, as though it'll make the difference. She hesitates, a frown tugging at the corners of her mouth.

Mohinder nods to Mara, letting her use the computer. He shall continue quietly going through the delivered files. Nothing surprising, just updates on current patients, information on a new one.. Nothing that required Elle's supervision in delivery.

"All right, Blondie. Let's see what'cha go-" Mara's cut off in mid-thought. Her fingers brush against the mouse and she goes tumbling to the floor in a tangle of dark hair and limbs, smacking one arm on the desk and sending the chair skittering out of her way as she goes down.

"Damn!" Mohinder utters, tossing the files to the side as he moves quickly to try and catch Mara. Unfortunately, he was caught completely off guard, quite stupid of him really. He's only fast enough to move some things further out of the way as he checks on the detective. "Mara!" He hesitates, then pats at her cheek, trying to rouse her.

Elle peeeeeeeers up over one of the windows looking into the lab, just her eyes and the top of her blonde head. Stealth-like. Smiling, she ducks back down out of sight.

The Psychometer is out for only a few minutes before she groans and her eyelids flutter. "Mohinder?" She grins weakly, "Hey. I didn't break anything, did I?" Whether she means her own bones or his equipment is up for debate.

Mohinder breathes a sigh of relief at Mara when she comes back around. "I'm here, and no, you didn't. You might be sore later from the fall. Dare I ask what you saw?"

Mohinder's email alert comes up, a little box saying he has mail. And then, suddenly, the sound of Britney Spears' 'Toxic' comes over the speakers. So obnoxious.

"She was…" Mara winces at the sudden noise from the speakers, "Well, that. For starters. But more importantly, she was going through your files." She grins a little wider, exposing the gap between her teeth. "I did it. I /made/ myself have a vision. There was no strong undercurrent to it." She sits up carefully and rubs at her arm gingerly. That's going to bruise. "Unless you count 'skank'," she mutters under her breath.

Mohinder's brows knit and his gaze darkens at the 'noise' from his computer. Leaving Mara where she is, he stands and moves to inspect the screen. New mail message, gah, what is that garbage playing?? Obnoxious is hardly the word for it. He kills the speakers then checks the new message. "Figures," he utters at Mara's explanation, but does smile over his shoulder at her. "That's good, it's a positive step. Now if we can control the blackouts."

"I'm tired." Mara's head droops, her eyelids sliding shut heavily and she wavers for a moment. "I don't think I should try and go home…" She rubs at her face, attempting to wake herself up. "Can I just… pass out on your floor for a while?" She can't help but chuckle weakly at her own suggestion. It's not like she hasn't done plenty of that already.

"I don't have a problem with that," Mohinder says as he gathers mats and anything that could act as a cushion. The items are set up as a makeshift pad of sorts on the floor. "I think if this continues, I'm going to have to put in a request for a cot or at least a hospital bed. This will be a little more comfortable than the floor itself. Take the time you need, if necessary, I can drive you home later."

Mara smiles up at Mohinder blearily as she makes herself as comfortable as possible. "Yeah… I'm pretty good at crashin' here, huh?" She squeezes her eyes shut tightly in the effort to stay awake just a few moments longer. "Mohinder…" Whatever she wants to say will have to wait until later. The drained detective is finally getting that sleep she so desperately needs.

Mohinder didn't expect anything else to be said, he smiles just a little. A thin hospital style sheet is found and draped over the detective as he leaves her where she is, and undisturbed as he goes about his work.

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