2010-01-10: Dun Dun Dunnn



Date: January 10, 2010


Sydney seeks help in a therapist's office, only to have the therapist hit the dramabutton.

"Dun Dun Dunnn"

Fred's Office

It's a beautifully sunny day in New York City, but at least one New Yorker can't find anything to be cheery about. After an incredibly sleepless night, a very pale-faced Dr. Sydney Falkland, finds herself seeking help. Despite herself, her recently re-dyed blonde hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, and she managed to get dressed into jeans and a turtleneck this morning. And now she's seeking help. Help to sleep. Help to focus. Help to discern. And the only place she knows she can find said help is in the walls of a therapist's office. A professional secret-keeper will know how to advise her and won't even pass on information, hopefully. With a sigh she steps up into the community centre. She'd found this centre through google — a community initiative where different therapists from around the city volunteer time (and others practice here full time). And thankfully, they take drop ins.

Quickly she pads up to the front desk and gives the receptionist her name, "Hi. I don't have an appointment, I'm Sydney… Falc-on. Yes, that's me. Sydney Falcon. I really need to talk to someone…" The urgency in her tone is enough to grasp the receptionists attention, and the girl at the desk has the blonde take a seat in the waiting area where she picks up a magazine to hide behind; not to read.

"Look Jack, I knows you don't want to talk with you father, but I think it would be very good for you to do, okay?" A young man says to a teenager as they walk down the halls of the community centre. "I would suggest just telling him what's on your mind. Maybe he'll listen." The young man says. The teen gives a grunt and a little nod, obviously not happy about the idea. As they approach the reception area, the young man slows. "Remember, you've got my number. If you need to call me, night or day, if you're ever in a bad place, call me."

The teen nods and replies, "Yeah. Thanks Dr. Fred. I'll see ya in a few." And he's off out the door.

Dr. Fred Stone approaches sighs and shakes his head. "I worry for that boy." He approaches the receptionist. "Whose next, Rose?" Rose, the receptionist, points out Sydney to him, giving him her name. As he approaches her, he says, "Ms. Falcon?" He enquires of her.

Lowering the magazine, Sydney gapes at the man in front of her, blinking for several seconds as he comes into focus. "Freddie?" she asks almost haphazardly. "I'm. It's. I'm Sydney. I think… um…. " She places the magazine on the small table next to her before standing to her feet and stretching out to shake the man's hand. Awkwardly she tilts her head at the man before producing a smile. "It's Falkland, actually. Dr. Falkland." Beat. "Everyone gives fake names at these places…" As if that makes it all normal.

A slow smile starts to creep across Fred's face. "Syd? WOW! How are…you? Well, I guess I should leave that question until…you know. But wow…" He shakes Sydney's hand. "Dr. Falkland eh? Wow. Congratulations. Doctor of what? MD, PhD, DEd?" He nods a little. "No, I don't blame you for giving a fake name. Plenty of people do do it, you're right. Here, follow me." He starts leading toward his office. "I happen to have 'doctor' attached to my name now too! Dr. Stone. Most people around here just call me Dr. Fred though."

"Dr. Fred. Well that suits you," Sydney cracks back with a half smirk as they head towards Fred's office. "I'm a PhD; a therapist, actually. I work at Hope Hearth Distress Centre in the village — near the university." As the pair reach it, she glances around. "It seems like yesterday we were both dressing in black and listening to death metal." She smiles wistfully. "So… where do you want me?"

Fred chuckles softly. "I suppose. Besides, people don't want to call someone as young as I am 'Dr. Stone' until I'm older, it seems. Which is fine by me. As long as credit is given where it's due." He grins. "Hope Hearth Distress Centre? I've heard good things about that place. I'm sure you're great there." He says with a sincere smile. "Oh, the days of death metal and all black and the whole 'rarara'. Yeah. Just like yesterday." Is said in a slightly wistful tone. "Take your pick of seats. I'll take my cue from you."

Hesitantly, Sydney sits on a semi-comfortable looking chair along the wall closest to the door for an expedient exit should she need it. Her lips flicker into a very weak very weary smile. "I… Hmmm. I know how this works, I've done it from the other side a lot, and I've gone through this side before… I just… don't know where to begin." She swallows, "And before I try. Can you promise me something, Fred? Can you promise me you won't think I'm crazy? I realize this might be an outlandish request once I start telling you everything, but I swear, I'm not crazy…"

Fred takes a seat across from Sydney once she's seated, a pad of paper on his lap and a pen in one hand. "Don't worry. We're friends. Or…were friends. I know it can be strange to sit on the other site of this, when you're so used to being the one listening. Trust me, though. Part of our jobs as therapists is dealing in the outlandish. You've got nothing to worry about here." He smiles. "I won't think you're crazy. I'm here to listen."

"Alright." Sydney hmmms quietly to herself before she leans forward, "I'm going to tell you something that sounds deluded. I… hmmm. There are people in this world who are different than the rest. They have special abilities. And I don't mean special in the high IQ or super fast way. I mean… special. Like the X-Men." She swallows. "That came to my attention in October when, while consulting on a case with the NYPD, I saw video footage of a blonde invade the mind and body of an officer who later opened fire on a restaurant full of innocent civilians before taking his own life…" She moistens her lips and twitches while staring openly at her former friend. "Shortly thereafter, I learned that the government is taking people. Special people and neutralizing them in a way. SO I housed two such people in my home to protect them. Except… they got arrested anyways. And they disappeared… but broke out of prison. One of them called me and said they'd been tortured, had put me on the government's map." Why the government would be interested in sweet, innocent-looking Dr. Falkland isn't explained. This story is disjointed and confusing. "But now. This dark haired woman came into my office, she was a government agent and she told me that my roommates were… well murderers! They killed people! Conned people into letting them move in and then killing them. But Fred, I thought… I mean… they were my friends. Are my friends… could they do something so vile? And BEYOND that!! The dark haired woman — Cory Barker — asked for my help…." Beat. "I told you. It sounds crazy."

Fred doesn't speak for a good little amount of time, taking notes on his pad of paper, scratching out thoughts. "This police officer that you mentioned…do you know if he had had any stress in his life prior to him being taken over, mind and body?" Trying not to make it sound like he's discrediting what Sydney is saying. He lets out a long, slow breath as he considers all that was said. "Perhaps, if these friends of yours confessed to being housed by you, that would be why…the government wants to talk to you? Housing criminals doesn't give you a shining star in the eyes of organizations like the FBI. Beyond that…I don't know if your friends actually did murder anyone. I couldn't tell you. But people are capable of doing just about anything given the proper set of circumstances." He gives Sydney a little smile. "If you were sitting in my chair, and I was the one telling you this story…what would you tell me?"

"I was afraid you were going to ask that," Sydney sighs loudly. "I just needed to tell someone. And the thing is I would never believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I would never have believed that human replication was possible, or that a person could be an active drug lab through her own skin, or that a person could move through shadows. These are real abilities, Fred." She swallows. "And I have been in that spot, unsure of what to say. The first person that told me faced disbelief and the officer had no mental illness. He wasn't mentally capable — all of the psych tests he'd taken said so, and while outliers exist, I saw her do something to a client. AND I had a client encounter someone who made fire come out of his palms…" She furrows her eyebrows, "I… Hmmm…. proof. Substantial, tangible proof. I… I can give you what I can." she sighs and closes her eyes before reaching over to touch Fred. She focuses as hard as she can on his emotions. She presses joy into his psyche as hard as she can.

Fred shrugs a little. "You want me to believe that there are people out there with abilities to…control people at will? Now, I've heard of people using motivational speeches to rile up a crowd in order to get a desired response. But that's about the only 'ability' these people have." He says softly. "And people have been known to snap under pressure when there has been no previous history of mental instability." There's a little smile. "I'm no engineer, but couldn't someone create a device that makes it appear they're generating fire from their palms but it's really…some sort of machine hidden in their sleeves?" It's not that he doesn't want to believe her, but…okay, it's exactly that. To him, this just sounds delusions brought on by stress. He furrows his brow as she touches his hand. Quite quickly he starts feeling the sensation of joy. He lets out a laugh, and he smiles widely. "Hey! What…haha…what's going on? I'm suddenly…really happy!"

"Yeeeeeah…." Sydney can feel edges of joy in her own emotions. At least she picked something good to make him feel. Her smile is short-lived, however. "….I did that…" her face turns three shades of red. "Fred, it's not engineered or contrived or a figment of my imagination. I haven't had a psychotic break with reality, am not schizophrenic, and don't hear voices. In short, I'm not crazy. Abilities are real. I know they are." Her voices turns to a whisper before her admission is uttered, "I have one." The admission isn't said with any measure of pride. It's a confession, something to be ashamed of, in a way.

Fred blinks and shakes his head as the sense of joy fleets with Sydney's removing her own hand from his. "I…you?" He takes a deep breath in, shaking his head again. "I've never heard anything of this. Why is it…what…" He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath in. "But, these things are…real?" He's reluctant to believe, as surely most people are. "So…'abilities' like the X-Men have are real? Whoa…" A smile brightens up his face. A real, genuine smile. "That is so cool!" Perhaps not a phrase you'd expect to hear from a therapist of any kind, but hey! There it is. "And you have one? Wow…you're like…wow."

"They're real," Sydney nods, still quiet. She was excited before she knew she had one. "And most of them are incredible, and wonderful, assuming the people using them are semi-responsible. This one guy that came to my office could move metal things — like magneto. And I got threatened, and held at gunpoint, by this green eyed man who could make like tonnes of copies of himself. While this young woman who came to see me produces drugs through her skin. And this other guy I know is a complete genius, he can build stuff. I… I influence emotions or something. I'm not good at it, and I normally just give off what I'm feeling. OR I pick up on other people's emotions. It's… kind of a curse." She shrugs.

"Magneto? Oooh. The bad guy. Dun dun dunnnn." Yes. Fred actually says 'dun dun dunnnn'. He blinks though. "A…replicating dude…guy held you at gunpoint?" He thinks for a moment. "That must've been horrible for you." A tilt of his head. "Producing drugs through ones skin…huh. Well, defeats having prescriptions though, I guess…" He says with a nod. "So that's how you made me feel so happy! That is totally cool. I don't think it's a curse. It's the coolest thing ever! You're kinda like Deanna Troi from Star Trek!"

"Yeah, having thirty some copies of the same guy pointing thirty some guns at me, really wasn't cool. Honestly, since I found out about abilities, life hasn't really been the same," Sydney's lips twitch involuntarily as she tries not to relive her experience in her own mind. "Yeah, my friend can produce like any drug. It's hard for her though — I got high once when she used my chapstick. And another time when I borrowed her hoodie. Like I was on E again," she smirks. "But I give off all kinds of feelings of joy to people around me when high." At this she shakes her head, "It's not all it's cut out to be. Like I don't know if people like me because I like them or I like them because they like me. I just don't know if relationally anything in my life has been real, you know? And I have no idea how long I've been doing this. I chalked it all up to intuition…"

Fred lets out a long, thoughtful breath (if breaths can be thoughtful). "This is a little out of my league, you know? Never exactly been told about abilities such as these…not that were real, anyway." He furrows his brow. "I think…the best way for you to know if someone is your friend or not…you have to look for the physical clues as well as the verbal. Ask them if they really like you for who you are, as a friend. Try and see if you can detect the physical signs of telling a lie or telling the truth. That helps in determining the validity of a friendship." He says with a firm nod. "When is the first time you remembering thinking that you could intuit people's emotions?"

"The thing is, they think they like me. They're happy around me… how can anything be real when feelings are simulated… it's all very complicated," Sydney tries to explain. "I used to believe the one thing I really knew was my emotions. Like no matter whether I was right or wrong in a situation I knew the way I felt. Apparently this isn't the case." She shrugs slightly. "Well, I remember when I told the grandparents I was going to school in New York… they weren't happy, and then days later everything seemed fine. Like they were excited or something. And I had been ecstatic to be accepted… that's the first time I know for certain. Or I think I influenced something to get my way. It's really hard to say when it actually started though…" She smirks, however, before observing, "I guess I have more issues than my current problem. I really haven't told anyone any of this. Not about the replicator or my own uncertainty. Except for that genius I told you about. He was the one that told me about abilities in the first place."

Fred takes another deep breath in. This is definitely beyond his professional expertise. This goes into the comic book world. "I think…in the case of your grandparents, you lived in the same home as them. But your friends, if you've got times of absence from each other, and they still seem to like you, then their liking of your is probably genuine. As is your feelings toward them." He smiles. "Well, it's kinda my job to hear what is on people's minds, what they're too afraid to tell others. And hey, we're old school buddies. If you can't tell me, I'd be worried." He says kindly.

Sydney offers Fred a relieved smile. "This is, so incredibly helpful. And you're not really solving anything, I just really needed to talk it out." She leans forward with a mischievous grin before adding, "Can I just say how relieved I am that I met you today?! Seriously! I was so afraid I'd be sent to the asylum. Although I'm not sure I would've told someone else the particulars. I probably would've left them out and spoke vaguely about my situation and got no help whatsoever." She leans back in the chair again before getting back to the problem at hand, "So the question is, do I trust the supposed murderers I've been harbouring, or a government who have — apparently — been taking people like me (although, arguably, the Cory lady said they were only after dangerous ones…)? Who would you trust, Fred/"

Fred smiles. "Hey, I offer my advice, and I hope it helps in some way, shape, or form. I'm happy that I could offer you some help." He tilts his head. "Well, this certainly was a chance meeting, wasn't it? Who'd've thunk it? Two people who knew each other in high school San Francisco, who both became therapists, would run into each other in New York because one of them needed help talking something through." He grins. "It's like something out of those mystery novels that kids read where they get to choose what happens next, and in doing so get sent to a certain. But what happens next? Turn to page Eighty-Six, half way down the page, to find out!" He says somewhat jokingly. "Well, lets think of it this way…do you trust this Cory person? What was your first impression of her?"

"It's like providence or something, Freddie. While I know it's kind of weird to talk to someone you know, I really wouldn't have told a stranger any of this," Sydney agrees. "I used to love those choose-your-own-adventure books. I always felt so powerful. But then… I'm pretty sure that every decision I made led to eventual death." She beams at him, although her smile fades somewhat as she reflects on Cory, "Well, she dressed like my roommate — dark hair, hoodie… like I did when we were young… and I felt elated to see her. And JD — that's my roommates' cat — he went right up to her, and he doesn't really take to people…"

Fred smiles and nods. "Yes, it can be strange talking to people that you know. But sometimes you need a friend's ear, and nor a psychologist's." He says kindly. "Do you think it would be the right thing to do to help this person? You may not have to like her, persay, but do you believe in her cause?" Fred, of course, knows nothing of the underlying issues here, of the government taking prisoners with abilities and all that.

"Well… it's not that simple," Sydney tries to explain. "I was told by a friend I do trust — one that helped me — that people like us are being carted away like criminals, even if we didn't do anything. The thing is, the government agent claimed that they're just taking dangerous people, and I'm still free… but… what if she's lying…" She frowns. "I don't want to believe Chi and Lena — my roommates — were just using me to kill me … I want to believe that they're good people, that they were just victims from a government…" She sighs again. "Do you remember that video awhile back that had that girl turn into water and she talked about how they were taking children? I have reason to believe it wasn't a fraud…" And so does Fred. Now.

Fred frowns. "I…see how this would be confusing for you. It would be confusing for anybody, I'd imagine." There's a pause as he thinks for a moment. "If they're really your friends, then they wouldn't be trying to kill you." He says simply enough. "In the end, the decision is yours. You have to weigh the pros and the cons of joining this woman and working with or for her. You shouldn't do anything that you don't believe would be beneficial first and foremost to yourself. And then you take baby steps and see what comes next once the decision is made."

"But I have no idea what to do. My ability makes it really hard to trust my own feelings on everything. And if I think about it, I trust Chi and Lena. Chi pulled out a gun on a friend trying to protect me when I got lost in Harlem… oh, my sense of direction hasn't improved since we were in high school," Sydney shoots him a half-smirk that fades as quickly as it appears. "The thing is, if I don't help the government agent, what will happen? They're only after dangerous people, but who's to say they won't deem me dangerous?" Raising a hand to her forehead, she shakes her head. "Fred, I'm in impossible circumstances. If I withhold information from the government and Chi and Lena are murderers, then I'll have hurt people. Blood on my hands. And if I help the government catch Chi and Lena… " she frowns "…I'll be the worst kind of traitor…"

"Have you considered talking to your friends about this? Certainly…Chi and Lena?" Fred gazes into Sydney's eyes. "This is not the type of decision that can be made for you. Not in a million years. I gather that you're afraid. Afraid of loosing friends but at the same time afraid of 'deemed dangerous' by the government if you don't agree to help. Who is to say, though, that you can't be a good friend and still work for the government to help them?" He smiles. "Whatever you decide, your friends should be supportive of you." He nods. "Remember, with friends, honesty is always the best policy. Even if you can't trust your emotions or theirs, it doesn't hurt to talk to them about what is on your mind."

"I have, but the government agent told me not to talk to anyone about it, hence the fake name with your receptionist. I don't know if I'm being followed, or if my phone has been tapped, or if I can even go home without being watched. They found me once, obviously I don't hide or blend very well…" Sydney sighs heavily as she massages her temples. All of this gives her a headache. "There are no easy answers here." Unless… "Do you think it's possible to play both sides of this? I mean, give enough information to the government that they stay off my back… or feeding them false information to throw them off-track…"

"You're talking about being a double agent…or something similar to a double agent. That's heavy territory." Fred says quietly. "I mean…sure, it's possible to do. But…do you think you want to risk it, if they catch you? Seriously…that's a major offence to the government." He says with a firm nod. "But…what do you think you should do? What do you want to do?"

"I want to not deal with it all. Run away. But, as you and I both know, problems just follow us. They reincarnate themselves in one way or another. And I've run — very unsuccessfully — from problems before," Sydney can't help but offer an ironic smile with a simple shrug of her shoulders. "There are no easy solutions here. I already have a target pointed on myself, and I don't want to hurt my friends. Chi said they were tortured." She purses her lips together, "The American government torturing its own citizens… it should be unbelievable… but…" she frowns. "What would you do Fred? If you were in my shoes, what would you do? And I'm asking you as a friend, not a client…"

Fred shakes his head. "No, running from problems can often make them worse. You and I both know this." A deep breath is taken. As he slowly lets it out, he says, "I can't tell you what I'd do, Sydney. I wish I could. I wish I had a definitive answer for you to help make this an easier decision for you. But I don't. And even if I did, would I tell you? I don't know. This seems to be a more complicated decision than I've seen before. I've never encountered a situation like this before. Until today, abilities such as these were just a fantasy. Something out of books and movies. Something out of the dreams and imagination of children. But somehow…I doubt children could imagine something quite as fantastic as this." He sighs. "What do you want me to tell you, Sydney? That I'd do it? That I'd try to work my angles for both sides of the fence? I don't know. I've never had to face that kind of situation."

"I just don't know what to do, and I realize how incredibly impossible my circumstances are," Sydney says honestly. "If I run away it'll find me. If I turn on my friends, it'll haunt me. And if I don't help the government, they'll likely torture me. No decision helps. No decision works. And then, if Ms. Barker — Cory — is right about Chi and Lena, then I've been very well conned." She sighs heavily before stretching her arms into the air with a large yawn.

"I never thought I'd have circumstances like these. I'm a therapist. I'm not a spy, or a cop, or anything that could make these circumstances easier. I help people talk through problems, but I'm so bad at dealing with my own…"

Fred smiles softly to Sydney. "You know what I find helps me in times like this? A little death metal. I'm not really into it much any more, but during down and difficult times, I find it help relieve some of my stress." He says softly. "In the end, it comes to this…what is the right thing to do? Maybe you should work for the government. If you find that this Cory person isn't completely truthful, be more of a spy. Feed them information."

"Is that a recommendation you make to all of your patients, Dr. Fred," Sydney grins mischievously while suppressing a giggle. "It's not a bad idea though, it might clear my head — get rid of those pesky thoughts and help me realize what I really think about all of this." She hmms and nods, "And it's easier to gather information if I cooperate anyways, isn't it? Like maybe I'll figure out what's really going on. For myself."

Fred chuckles. "Only the ones I really like." He says with a mischievous grin of his own. "But if anyone asks, you didn't get the suggestion from me, deal?" He says with a soft smile. "I'm a consultant for the FBI. If it got out that I told someone to spy on the government, they'd be on me in no time flat. And I'm just not ready for the prison commitment. I'm not ready to go there for America. Not just yet."

"I won't tell anyone the thought came from you, Dr. Fred. Scout's honour," Sydney holds up two fingers in the air. "Besides, you didn't throw me in an asylum despite the level of crazy I exhibited at the start of our conversation, I think that earns you an extra tally in the friend column." She grins broadly at him. At this she stands to her feet. "I think I've come to a decision. I just hope it doesn't come back to bite me." She straightens her turtleneck and looks at her former friend, "We shouldn't have lost touch, you know."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License