2007-03-04: Confession Lightens the Soul


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Namir pays a visit to Samantha's apartment to unburden himself about scaring Sean and Alyssa, and he winds up letting her in on his biggest secret. The two find out they have quite a bit in common and could, in fact, level a good portion of the city if they combined powers.

Date It Happened: March 4th, 2007

Confession Lightens the Soul

Samantha's Apartment

Samantha lives in an upscale apartment not far from the hospital, though granted on the more 'liberal' corner of the upper part of Manhattan. She must have told the door man that she's expecting company, because Namir is treated to a polite nod once in the entrance hallway from the man in the fancy jacket, and then it's up the elevator and to her front door.

It's a quiet elevator ride, as Namir is the only one in the elevator itself. The Middle-Eastern man is dressed in plain clothes, of course. Tonight, the ensemble is neatly pressed black slacks and a chocolate-brown button-down shirt with a light paisley design over the left breast. All this is worn beneath a heavy black overcoat. Once the elevator signals the arrival to Samantha's floor, he steps off and ambles on over to her door. After pausing a moment to consider the numbers there, he lifts a hand and knocks quietly. He doesn't really look depressed — more overly thoughtful than anything — but he's certainly not his usual chipper self.

It was a spur of the moment thing, and so Samantha didn't bother with any sort of 'unexpected guy showing up' frippery. No, what Namir gets is Sam, hair freshly washed and braided into a pair of tails on either side of her head, an NYU sweatshirt, a pair of scrubs pants, and bare feet. There's also a black and white tuxedo cat winding its way through her legs and eyeing Namir suspisciously from the doorway. "Hi." she says, sounding questioning and surprised, and opens the door wider. "I'd offer you wine, but. How about water instead, or some soda?" She gestures him in.

The cat is eyed right back, though far less suspiciously than the look Namir is getting from it. He steps in obligingly with a faint smile offered to Samantha and the mention of wine. "Water is fine, thank you." And then his attention is right back on the cat. He's never had much experience with cats. They're curious creatures. "I didn't know you had a cat."

"That's Fiyero. He's a rescue kitty." Samantha says, heading for her kitchen. Her apartment is comfortable is admittedly upscale as far as locale, but her home seems to be centered around comfort rather than excessive style. It doesn't look like it's a dorm or anything, it's just…comfortable. "Make yourself at home."

"Hello, Fiyero." Namir doesn't get the reference to Wicked, as he's never seen it, read it, or heard the soundtrack. Alas. He doesn't seem to have any issues with talking to a cat either. It isn't until Samantha exits the room that the Muslim takes the time to examine his surroundings. Hmm. A bit cleaner than his place, but certainly as comfortable. He takes a seat on the sofa and rests his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together. "Do you remember when you and I spoke about heroes?"

He's a cop, he'll notice details. The prints on the walls are of course, musicals. There's quite a few books on the walls, a /sweet/ stereo system, and here and there, there's photographs - a few of her with her family. A couple of her in foreign locales - one green and lush surrounded by brown skinned children, another of of her in a similar situation but a more desert like surroundings, children of much blacker skin smiling into the camera; in this one a painfully skinny, almost skeletal little boy is being carried by her, his spindly limbs wrapped around her like a spider monkey, his cheek pressed to hers. In both she wears a MSF t-shirt.

She brings water for both him and herself in tall clear glasses, with chipped ice. "I do." she says, settling in her armchair and wondering where this surprising start ends.

It's that last picture that Namir is staring at when Samantha returns. His gaze is drawn away again when he's handed his glass, which he accepts with a grateful half-smile and nod. However, instead of drinking from it, he holds it between his hands and watches the ice floating in it. That is clearly the whole purpose of a glass of water: something to stare at during awkward conversations. "Do you think heroes can be monsters?"

Samantha considers a few moments. "That's an interesting question. I suppose one would have to clarify; is the deterimation of monsterhood based on the physical attributes of the person in question, or the motivations of their spirit?" She sips her water and Fiyero jumps on the arm of her chair. She strokes his back absently and he gives her elevator butt.

Namir smirks at his glass. He doesn't /think/ he looks like a monster, though he's always been a bit self-conscious about his ears, and he's fairly sure he wasn't trying to frighten Sean and Alyssa. Still remaining hunched over with elbows on knees, he lifts his head to turn that smirk on Samantha. "I suppose you'd say it's based on the views of society," he offers and then, after a moment's pause, he adds further clarification: "I revealed something about myself to someone that I met in Starbucks yesterday, and I'm … afraid it didn't go over well. I did it because I thought he was similar to me, but instead he ran out in a panic."

Samantha just blinks. "Well," she says after a moment, "You know, despite this being a fairly liberal city, some people just can't get over their own homophobia."

Their /what/? Namir is so fixated on his own knowledge of the events in Starbucks that, in his attempt to remain as vague as possible, he wasn't even considering that what he said might be misconstrued. His eyes go wide in shock and confusion and he's silent for a couple of awkward seconds. Then, he puffs out a quiet laugh that quickly gains a bit more sound and joviality. It's as much embarrassed as it is amused. Namir slowly tips back to rest against the back of the couch, assuming a more comfortable position as he brings a hand up to rub at his jaw. It may not be easy to notice with his skin color, but his cheeks start to pinken. When he speaks, it's broken by small fits of snickering: "No, it's not … I didn't tell him I was /gay/, Samantha, it … I'm /not/ gay. It's …" He trails off with a sigh, hand dropping to rest on his thigh. After a pause, he continues: "I'd like to show you something — but if I do, you have to promise never to tell anyone." He sounds very serious.

Samantha's mouth open and shuts several times, and then purses, brows starting to lift. "If this 'show me something' is perverted or illegal, I just want you to know, I've taken taebo, okay?" She sits up, shooing Fiyero off the arm of her chair and regarding him attentively.

Another grin from Namir. "I'll keep that in mind," he jokes, but the lightheartedness soon fades again into a slight indication of nervousness and fear. The last time he did this to anyone, they wound up freaking out. He really doesn't want a repeat of that. Still, he's given Samantha more of a warning than he did the others. With a quiet exhale, the lawman concentrates. Soon all the sounds in the apartment start to die off: the rush of traffic outside, the hum of the refrigerator in the next room, the quiet buzz of the lights, even the soft whisper of breathing. What's left is absolute silence. As if the muting of all the common white noise were not enough, Namir raises his glass and flicks it with the middle finger of his free hand. There is no resulting chime.

Samantha's brows hit her hairline. "How did you do that?" she demands, or - tries to, only to find out the sound of her voice is gone. It's like being in a very special episode of Buffy. She puts a hand to her throat, feeling her voicebox working and yet, no sound. Her eyes go wide and she stares at him. But hey, she isn't freaking out, attempting taebo, or reaching for the mace.

Even so, the moment Namir detects anything that /might/ be uneasiness at the lack of noise, the volume starts to rise again. It's like a record starting up after a sudden power outage: the sounds are low and distorted at first, but soon return to their regular levels. Cars in the street below hiss by, the refrigerator's motor buzzes, the lights once again emit a hum that always seems to go unnoticed unless it's taken away. Namir smiles slightly once everything is right again. "That's what I did in Starbucks," he explains in a low voice. "The man I spoke of seemed to be similarly gifted and asked if there were others like him. I thought it would help put his mind at ease." Boy, talk about a misjudgment.

Samantha chews on the inside of her cheek for a moment, stares at him. Then she leans forward and sets her glass down on the coffee table. She gestures for him to do the same. "Put your glass down." she instructs, in case the gesture wasn't clear. Is she kicking him out? Well, the corollary 'and get out' wasn't added, so…

Odd request. For a moment, Namir simply stares back at Samantha with brow furrowed, unsure, but then he complies and leans forward to set his otherwise untouched glass next to hers on the coffee table. Then he sits back again, watching her inquisitively. It doesn't /seem/ like she's kicking him out.

For a moment, there's nothing. She stares at the two glasses like they're a puzzle, her attention not at him at all, and her mouth twisting in an almost ugly fashion. Then she swallows hard before taking a deep breath - lifting her shoulders as she does so. Her exhale is not silent. She opens her mouth, almost like she's screaming, except what Namir actually hears is a static-y sound, like the snow from a television set. The air in front of her, originating at her mouth, seems to ripple like in a heat wave, directed in a small cone toward the two glassed. The water within starts to tremble, and then the glasses start to tremble too, vibrating…and then both glasses crack. She closes her mouth, and the sort of white noise sound goes away when she stops. She takes a moment, and then looks at him, lips torqued to one side, a brow arched as if to say 'Well?'

Namir's instinctive reaction to loud, unpleasant, and foreign sounds is to mute them, however the oddness surrounding this particular noise is enough to make him refrain. He watches the entire demonstration in bewilderment, and even after it's over, there's a pause. He mulls this new bit of information over for several seconds, thumb tapping the arm of the sofa as he examines both of the damaged glasses. Finally, he looks to Samantha with a deadpan expression. "I was wrong," he states. "If you and I were to burst into spontaneous song, /you/ are the one who would be wreaking havoc, not I." A smile creases his features, giving away the joke.

"That wasn't singing, that was…sort of like screaming." she says, looking faintly miffed. "I happen to sing quite well." But then she smiles faintly, apparently not as miffed as she initially appeared. "I don't know why I can do that. Just that it happened one day and I was…I was very stressed. I know there are others. I don't know what it means."

"Do you really, or are you just saying that so I won't go looking for cracked tiles in your shower?" teases Namir, his smile splitting into an impish grin. Wiseguy. The grin fades back into a smile and he nods understandingly at the continued explanation. He rests an elbow on the arm of the sofa and props the side of his head up on a fist. "That's how it happened to me, too. I was … in a situation in which I wished I couldn't hear anything — and then one night, it worked." And a blessed event /that/ was. "I didn't really come to understand it until several years ago, when I picked up a copy of Activating Evolution by Doctor Chandra Suresh. Have you read it?" This asked with an inquisitive lift of his eyebrows.

"I'm afraid I haven't." she said, absently murmuring, "I do go through more glasses that way, though." More conversationally, "That's not all I can do, but it wouldn't be wise to demonstrate." Her attention returns to the mention of the book. "It sounds like it's about genetics and evolutionary theory as brought to us by Shirley MacLaine."

He chuckles at that, grin returning once again. "No, it's much less 'out-there' than that. It did help me come to grips with what was going on, however — at least it gave me a more comprehensive explanation than, 'Allah has blessed me'." He doesn't mean it as sacrilegiously as it sounds. "I can do a lot more than what I showed you as well, though I don't think either Fiyero or your neighbors would appreciate it if I amplified the sound of your refrigerator's motor to the level of a passing truck. /I/ wouldn't appreciate it, either: I get headaches and dizzy spells if I push myself too much."

"And I appreciate it, too." Sam says, holding up a belaying hand. "But what exactly did this book tell you? Give me the Cliff Notes version, if you don't mind. I'll be picking up a copy, but a preview doesn't hurt."

"It has been several years since I read it. Basically, Doctor Suresh theorized that through the constant evolution that we as humans undergo, people with strange abilities may pop up — abilities like controlling sound, breaking glasses, flying, rapid tissue regeneration, and so forth. People like you and me." Namir shrugs a little. "Anomalies in our genetic code attribute to it, I think. It's certainly easier to swallow and comprehend when you think that you're not the only freak walking down the street." Another smile, wry this time.

"I'm not a freak." Samantha says with a sudden terseness. "It's just…something I do." She rises abruptly, bending to reach for the glasses and curls her hands around them to carry them away.

The terseness causes Namir's smile to fade a bit. "I didn't mean it like that," he intones. "You're talented. You have a gift, something that God gave to you." He also stands with the intention of following Samantha into the kitchen, if that's where she's headed.

"Maybe so." Samantha is indeed going to the kitchen. She empties out the glasses, studying them thoughtfully and deciding they're too cracked to keep in her collection. Looks like a trip to Macy's. Oh, horrors. "But it's not exactly helpful in what I do." she points out, and seems about to say something else, but bites her tongue, leaning her hands on the sink with her back to Namir.

Namir isn't too far behind but keeps a respectable enough distance. He catches that Samantha is withholding something and even remains silent for a few moments after she's stopped speaking, as though waiting for her to continue. When she doesn't, he frowns and shrugs, glancing briefly at the far corner of the room. "Perhaps you just haven't found a use for it yet," he states simply. His own powers are very helpful in his line of work. The ability to deaden the sound of one's own footsteps is handy when one is creeping around in a building containing an armed suspect. After another brief pause, he adds, "Have you?"

Samantha lets out another breath and turns around, crossing her arms over her chest. What comes out of her mouth isn't what she intended to mention, but it's important enough. "I can't remember if I ever told you about what happened to me when I was in the Sudan." she says, seemingly apropos of nothing.

The apparent change in subject is a bit startling, but Namir figures there is a reason Samantha mentioned it. His brow creases in puzzlement, but he shakes his head. "You've told me a little about your work there with MSF, but nothing specific." He doesn't add the question, but it's there on his face: Why are you talking about it now?

"The Second Sudanese War was…brutal." Samantha says, lifting her chin. "They would take little boys, give them guns. You don't want to know what they did to girls." She reaches up a hand to push at her hair, only to realize it's already bound. Fiyero hops onto the sink and taps her with his paw; she absently rubs his head. "Boys would run away from their villages and end up wandering into the desert. Most would die out there, but if we were lucky, we could recover some. I was in a village with the team I'd been assigned to, we were treating the girls, and had manage to recover some of the boys when a unit of the Sudanese Liberation Army showed up."

The more the story continues, the deeper and more concerned grows Namir's frown. For the moment, he says nothing to interrupt, instead folding his arms over his chest and leaning back against the nearest flat surface.

"When they did, they held the MSF team at gunpoint in the village square, brought out all the girls and boys we'd found hiding in the jungles. Told us in French they intended to rape the girls and execute the boys, but before they would execute us. They told us to turn around, we wouldn't be forced to watch, but we'd hear everything they were doing before they killed us. All the gunshots, all the screams of pain." Her lips flatten against each other, go bloodless. "I don't think it was even so much as thirty seconds before I turned around. What I saw - I screamed." She looks at him solemnly. "I /screamed/. You understand? I knocked out everyone. Absolutely everyone, and I shattered all the guns."

Once again, Namir remains silent as he takes this in and contemplates it. Such a remarkable display of power is truly incredible — and terrifying. Imagine the devastation if it were unleashed in a crowded public area such as Times Square. Of course, it's doubtful Samantha would /do/ something like that, but the lawman has been trained to think this way. When he finally does speak, it's in a quiet and sober tone: "But you saved those children from horrible fates."

"I did." she says. "But I've never tried to reach for that kind of power since then. Want to know how my power applies to my daily life? I can, on occaision, knock out a junky who's high on THC when we're trying to get him to settle. If I'm very careful and don't get caught." She shrugs. "Can you imagine if the wrong sort of people knew what we could do? My god, the government…"

"— is full of idiots." It's a rather blunt and strange thing to spring from Namir's mouth, but he doesn't seem at all inclined to take it back. "If they knew you possessed that kind of power, there's no telling what they would do. If they knew what /I/ could do, there's no telling what they might do." Dampening sounds is the more passive of his abilities. Given enough effort, he could deafen most anyone within 30 yards. "That's why I told you to keep it a secret." He narrows his eye thoughtfully at Samantha, hesitating a moment before he adds, "Have you ever thought what we might be able to do /together/?" It sounds neither giddy nor eager to find out, merely curious. "I wonder if I could contain your scream."

"We're not exactly in a situation where we can experiment, are we?" Samantha points out, perhaps a little bleakly. But she's intrigued, even if she won't admit it. "I imagine if your ability allows you to extend yourself to frequencies that are typically on the upper end of the human hearing spectrum, you could have an effect on mine."

"Theoretically, I can mute the sound of a jet engine, though I've never been in a place where I could test this out." He smirks a bit. "Anything too high might break my brain." And Namir would really not like to break any part of himself. Extending his reach too much is already a bit of a hassle. "I wonder if I could— " But he stops, frowning. If he /could/ boost the effects of Samantha's scream, they could possibly level buildings. That's not something he wants to play with.

If he could boost the effect of her scream, they could possibly level the /Statue of Liberty/. The thought frightens her, but fortunately she's got a grasp of how to ride her fear and dismisses the thought as something she doesn't want to play with, either. "So what happens now?" she asks him frankly.

What happens now? Good question. Namir's lips pucker a little and he considers the floor for a moment. Hmm. Finally, he straightens and uncrosses his arms with a sigh, his eyes lifting to regard Samantha solemnly. "Well, now we really can't be together," he utters in a forlorn tone. "We would wind up in screaming matches over religious matters and bring down the entire city around our ears." Smirk. When the situation gets too serious, disarm things with humor. It never fails.

Samantha stares at him a moment, and then suddenly bursts into an unexpectedly fierce giggle. "I bet you say that to all the women with sonic projection abilities." she manages. "I'll keep your secret, but you need to keep mine too. Agreed?"

"Actually, I usually say, 'Don't call me, I'll call you' because I don't want to have to pay for the damages. This is an entirely new line for me." More humor spoken with a broad grin. Then, Namir grows a little more serious once more. "Your secret is safe with me. I can't speak for Fiyero, though— " he narrows his eyes at the cat suspiciously. "He looks like a bit of a fuzzy character to me."

Samantha rolls her eyes. "Spare me the puns." she says. "I promise to be good if you just spare me the puns." She sighs. "No offense, but I could really use a glass of wine about now." With that, she pushes off the sink and actually starts to head out of the kitchen, away from the alcohol.

And not far behind, again, is Namir, but he doesn't stop in the living room. Smirking, he moves for the door leading out of the apartment altogether. "If my jokes are driving you to drink, I'd better get out of here," he chuckles. "It's getting late anyway, and I'm probably keeping you from sleep."

"Fair enough." Sam says, admittedly a bit wearily. "I'll…talk to you tomorrow, I guess?" Her tone is furtive, and a little drained.

"Undoubtedly," responds Namir with a small nod of his head. His hand is already on the doorknob, but he doesn't turn it just yet, instead glancing over his shoulder with a teasing grin. "You can have more of my awful puns tomorrow. I'll make an alcoholic out of you yet!" It will be his Mission In Life. The doorknob turns and he draws the door open with a soft snicker. "Good night, Samantha. Sleep well."

Samantha sees him to the door, and despite looking drained, gives him a smile. "You too." she says. "Be safe out there." And with that, once he's in the hall, she closes the door, pausing momentarily to take a breath and lock up. Confession, it would seem, lightens the soul.

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