2010-02-18: Alone



Date: February 18, 2010


I always got by on my own…


Fred's Apartment — Brooklyn

Madly pouring over her articles, Sydney stands up from the kitchen table, yawns and stretches before padding into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. She adds a little milk before padding back to the living room to turn on Wagner on the stereo. She closes her eyes and heaves into the couch with a long sigh. She rests her legs on the coffee table in front of her, crossing one over the other. Her faded jeans and pink wrap-around sweater make her seem paler with her white face.

The sound of water running, slowly but surely, becomes prominent. Perhaps it's not utterly out of place, in a household this full. Perhaps it's not even out of place as its source becomes obvious — pouring out of the sink in the kitchen, spilling over onto the floor like a thing come to life. With Sydney just in the living room, the kitchen seems empty; the person residing in this place was supposed to live alone.

The water, thusly, begins to take shape, defying gravity to flow upward, twisting, rippling into the very beginnings of a person.

"Jamie, is that you?" Sydney calls as she shifts her position on the couch and picks up her coffee. Jamie is supposed to be practicing in the building's common room with Trent watching. No, it's not the safest area, but then, it's safer than most, and Syd can't very well keep the pair contained entirely in the apartment all of the time.

With a frown she stands to her feet and pads towards the kitchen, "I thought we agreed you would travel conventionally —"

But the water grows; it becomes lithe, but decidedly more shapely and taller by far than the petite Jamie. The silhouette is just starting to solidify when it — that is, Tracy — realizes she is not alone. By then it's too late, she's been spotted. Her form, just an impression of her features, stays watery, clear and ever-moving. Call it an impulse when she spins, something of a torrent flying off her and straight at Sydney.

"What the —" And the torrent definitely hits the currently dark-haired therapist. Sydney falls to the floor when she's hit by the water. She groans loudly as she falls on the hard tile underneath her. The slip is jarring and the torrent completely unexpected; particularly with the idea that Jamie came through the pipe when clearly, this isn't Jamie.

Darker hair, but Sydney is … familiar. It's surprise and a suddenly intense need-to-know that snaps Ms. Strauss into looking as solid as the woman she sent flying to the floor. It takes just a few seconds and she's in the flesh, looking down at the therapist with narrowing eyes; guarded, suspicious.

The soaking wet advisor is also naked as the day she was born, skilled at this new aspect of her ability but not so much that she's learned to take things like clothes with her — yet. She crouches down near Sydney, knees up in some form of modesty though it appears incidental — she's trying to get as good look at the Sydney. "Dr. Falkland?"

"AHhhh," Sydney groans again as she tries to move, but everything hurts. Her eyes narrow as she attempts to focus on the woman in front of her, "Ms. Strauss?! Wh-ho-wha-what are you doing here?!" She finally manages to stand up. She knows the water thing well. Jamie is always nude when she shows up somewhere. "I… you… oy…" She raises a hand to her forehead dizzily. "How? I didn't know you — what are you — HOW?!"
Beat. "Annnnnnd. Why?!"

"Why?" Instantly on the defensive, Tracy fixes Sydney with an incredulous look, almost laughing, though she's making it very clear that she doesn't find this unexpected meeting funny. "I didn't expect to see you again," she says, utterly cool in comparison. Lingering resentment? Perhaps. "What the hell're you doing here?" she asks bluntly, as if Sydney's presence is a thing of disgust. Here.

Sydney groans again. "I… I live here… Kind of." She frowns openly before she tries to stretch. "And I didn't think I'd see you again. Haven't heard anything about you in the news since…" Ivory died. She purses her lips together. "And what are you doing here?! Seriously! I… am guardian two adolescents… one male…. You should cover up or something…" At this she turns into the living room and gets a blanket which she tosses in Tracy's direction.

"You could say I'm paying someone a visit." The blanket is caught without thanks, snapped out of the air and wrapped around the woman's body like a towel as she pushes easily to her feet. All the while, Tracy levels Sydney with that same, suspicious look, following her every move and only growing more full of antagonism by the second. "But you… you live here?" she questions contrarily. "The last person to see my ability started screaming 'n' curled up in a ball," she points out, eyes narrowing, posing the question where she goes silent: what is Sydney's deal here?

"I… one of my charges she… she turns to water… believe me the first time I saw it I screamed," Sydney says still questioning Tracy. "And who on earth could you be looking for? Honestly, it's obviously not me. My charges are on the run from…" She purses her lips together. "Look, Ivory was bad news. And I don't know if you know that, but he did something and hurt people like you… like me… AND even if in the end he tried to stop it… I…" Too awkward. So Sydney just stops talking about it.

Her eyebrows furrow as she steps backwards into the living room. "The girl I look out for once said it's easy to get lost in the pipes… maybe that's the case here…"

Tracy's hard-set face manages to soften when Sydney explains that there's another person who can do what she does — a child? She can't help but think of the little girl from the video. It softens again at the mention of Ivory, only to freeze up double fold, anger and emotions nearly unexplainable flashing in her eyes. "I know all about Ivory." In other words: save your breath.

Tracy steps forward, holding the blanket of modesty, which follows along the floor Grecian Goddess style, in place. "No, I triple-checked," she insists. "Dr. Fred Stone lives here. If these kids of yours're on the run," her eyebrows lift, "You'd better start running."

"What on earth do you want with Freddie?!" the therapist's tone turns defensive as the butterflies in her stomach and her nerves and anger begin to spike. Sydney had had her suspicions something was off, but now she's certain he's one of the guys. Although Tracy's words don't exactly instil confidence. "He took us in when I ran out of options! I don't understand why we would… what are you talking about?!" Over the last few weeks, for the first time in months, she's felt safe.

"Maybe he's trustworthy to you. To me, he's just a name on a list. A list've people who, by and large?" Tracy scoffs. "Want people like me— " And thus at least one of Sydney's charges. " —locked away." The spike in the therapist's emotions spurs a nervous energy in Tracy, and her own anger rise, her insistence only growing. "Or worse. Tell me where he is."

"He wouldn't…" Sydney murmurs to herself more than Tracy as she clamps her eyes shut. "I… " her cheeks redden considerably. Everything is coming together now. The secrecy. The gun. But then, he asked her to trust him, right? The mood of the room changes considerably to a sense of confusion, betrayal, and something else: heartache — a very deep emotional pain.

Outwardly the therapist shakes her head, "No. People like us, Ms. Strauss." She purses her lips together. "I don't know where he is. Work, presumably."

She crosses her arms over her chest.

With the rise in heartache, a glint of sympathy, or something a lot like it, makes it self known as she watches Sydney — before, outwardly, she shuts off. "Either you're being tricked," she starts out, the words more forced than she'd like — why is she so suddenly emotional? "Or he's better than most. But believe me, Dr. Falkland— everyone's a shade of grey." A statement that doesn't exist solely within the Protocol, but that's neither here nor there.

"I — I don't understand… he's a freakin' therapist," Sydney says quietly. "Better than most, how? I'm so.." Confused. Betrayed. Heart broken. Empty. "..confused. I don't get why he'd take us in. He knows… everything. Even my efforts to shut this operation down… he knows about my ability… Jamie…" Her forehead wrinkles into deep worry lines. "Jamie. I need to move Jamie." Her eyes widen some as she begins piling various books and the like on the coffee room table. The therapist is packing. "But… where?! I can't have them finding her again… she's just a kid…"

"Just because someone has doctor in front've their name— it doesn't make them innocent in this." Tracy knows this to be true, if the account of one Tiago Da Silva is to be trusted. "I— I don't know where. Not yet." The hint of despondency in her tone is drawn out thanks to Sydney. Normally, thankfully, it would be overruled by a sense of determination: she's looking for a safe haven too, and she's resolute when it comes to finding one. The question is where… and for how long. "Well. Good luck." It would seem Tracy is in a hurry to leave, after this sudden encounter, her job done, though it's not the job she came for. She starts to turn, though her shift to her easier method of travel hasn't yet occurred.

"I'll figure something out," Sydney replies bitterly as Tracy turns around. The options, however, are becoming fewer and further between. "Thank you… for letting me know." Not that she's better off for it. And then she tacks on as she turns to the living room to continue packing, "I know this probably doesn't seem sincere coming from me, but.. be safe."

Tracy pauses long enough to look over the curve of her shoulder. It's a bitter look, all things considered. Nevertheless, her regard of Sydney lingers just long enough to tone down and return the sentiment — you too — even though the woman herself remains completely silent.

She steps away, back the way she came: the sink. As her body starts to liquefy, just like Jamie's, the blanket falls away and she's gone.

And Sydney is alone again. For the first time in months, she realizes how alone she is.

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