2009-12-10: Go Among Mad People



and Trenton Hawthorne

Date: December 10, 2009


"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

"Go Among Mad People"

Starbucks, New York City

It's weirdly like being a bachelor again - working and living without the wife and the daughter at home. They are safely stashed around the world. Hopefully safely, anyhow. But it's a tired and morose-looking Felix who's calmly working his way through a decaf mocha as a sort of dessert, and idly reading the day's Wall Street Journal.

Matt is doubly familiar with the concept of hiding his kids (one bio and one non) from would-be kidnappers. The wife… well, let's not go there. He hasn't seen too many familiar faces since returning to New York; he tries calling the bookstore owner while he waits in line, but it turns out to be a wrong number. He'll have to track down a phone book later and look it up again.

Winter weather is nasty, but in a way glorious; it allows for one to wear the various accoutrements related. A lovely chill breeze allows for wonderful sweaters, gloves, hats and coats to be worn…and if you have the money, making sure they all look good is no problem at all. So it's no shock that New York's new glamour couple is out and about. Maybe it's bad for Emily, her face in the press when being spotted with the new toy Trenton, but they're working on that; he's not giving them any new stories with wild romance and crazy sexual escapades, and she keeps her face out of the papers. So when they decide to take a walk specifically for the walk (ok, and maybe some coffee), they get all dolled up in fancy, expensive winterwear and wander Central Park, before winding up here, at Starbucks, pulling the door open and shuffling in, a tall blonde with wind-whipped hair and a rich playboy boytoy.

She likely spends more money in a day than Fel makes in a year on his rather grim little government salary. He glances up, and there's recognition in his face, but only a dim flicker, when it comes to Emily. Not much for the tabloids. Matt he's not sure of either - he squints at the man curiously, as if not certain if he knows him or not.

Matt returns Felix's glance for a moment, recognizing someone else who evidently wants to be left alone, and proceeds to do so. The pair who just walked in, on the other hand… he knows her all too well. To hell with not drawing attention to himself: Don't touch me! he thinks at her, instinctively tensing up and glaring daggers at her.

Just inside the doorway, she stops suddenly, grimacing and holding her forehead, leaning over in pain a bit. Trenton looks a little concerned and holds her for a moment…but it should be noted that they're both already holding hands, gloved though they might be. "Owwww!" she calls out, looking up and around the coffee-shop until she sees Matt. "Get out of my head! It hurts!" she says, staring at Matt. She's lucid enough to make it to a chair, before whispering into Trenton's ear; he goes to stand in line as if nothing's wrong, while Emily leans forward on the table, letting her conscious thoughts slide deeper and deeper, until she's barely breathing, and only the autonomous body functions continue…just until he gets coffee for them, that is!

Matt's reaction to Emily doesn't go entirely unnoticed - Fel looks up from his paper, watching him for a moment, and then glancing to her. And she, in turn, looks like she's on the border of a seizure. That's all just weird. He doesn't say anything, but nor does he make any kind of secret of his scrutiny.

"Serves you right," Matt mutters under his breath. Not wanting to make a scene— well, it's too late for that, but not wanting to make it any worse than it already is, he turns back around and steps forward, giving Trenton his back. Which leads to him coming face to face with Felix. "What're you lookin' at, ya hockey puck?" It doesn't have the same impact without the New York accent, alas.

With Emily resting her head on the table in her arms, she passes for just looking tired, rather than vegetative. In the meantime, Trenton stands in line contentedly enough, sliding off his gloves and hat and all, putting them in the pockets of his long overcoat. Surprisingly enough, there aren't any paparazzi around to snap his picture, and he just stands there in line, looking over the menu for what he wants; what she wasn't is already hammered into his skull. Just go ahead and look you mind readers…it's all there to be seen!

"You," Felix says simply. And there's a distinct flare of Brooklyn in his voice. He nods at Emily, "She your ex-wife or somethin' - you gave her a hell of a look when she showed up."

Matt rolls his eyes. "Or something, yeah. It's… complicated." Ex-lover, maybe? Stepping forward again, he glances back toward Trenton for a second. It doesn't seem like Emily is messing with his head, but that could change at a moment's notice. "Uh, sorry," he adds, realizing that he's reached the front of the line now, "gimme a— whatever that one was?" He points to the person who just walked off before him. "Smelled decent. And one of these," indicating one of the smaller pastries.

When it comes time for Trenton to order, he manages to successfully place his own order, mostly because it's simple; a large mocha latte. For Emily's though he's a bit more careful, even if the other is simple. "And a uh…a small…uh…pumpkin spiced chai…plenty of milk and sugar." To the uninitiated, it would sound like he doesn't know what he wants, rather than the fact that her voice in his head, his own imagination running wild, is pretty much keeping him in line.

Felix doesn't press, but nor has he abandoned his curiosity. He nods, mutely, and at least feigns going back to his paper. Not all that convincing an actor, though.

Matt collects his order, passing across a few crumpled bills in return, and grabs an abandoned copy of the Post as he heads over to an empty table. At least it's the sports section, he won't have to pretend to be interested. He does shoot Emily another quick glance, though… and spots that she seems to be passed out. Just like when she was controlling Charlotte. Did she do the same to Trenton, just before he got in line? Lifting the newspaper once again, he takes down his usual mental blocks and lets the collective thoughts of the coffee shop flow in. He'll need an aspirin afterward, but hopefully he won't have to keep it up for too much longer.

Quite surprisingly, there's only one voice in Trenton's head…and Emily is still gloved. No chance for her to touch Trenton with skin, at least. Unfortunately, it takes on two distinct tones and sounds. The first is his own sort of stuttering voice, the one that eventually seems to congeal into ordered thought. But there's one guild it, a more sinister tone, and one that doesn't seem to be entirely his own. It says teasing, controlling things, things that sound like what someone influencing another would sound like. It is only him in there though, he just seems to be a little hard on himself…or something like that. What Matt doesn't know is that that's Emily's influence, even if she's not in there at the time.

And Fel's gaze follows Matt's, and comes to rest on Emily. There's an odd, uneasy expression on his face now. Surely not paranoia?

Well, that's nice and confusing. Matt has heard people internally arguing with themselves before, but usually both sides sound like them. And he still doesn't really know how Emily's ability works, it could be physical or mental or some of both. Shaking his head, he shuts out the background roar once again and goes back to just watching for outward behavior, turning a page and then a few more as he skips past the classifieds.

Trenton at least seems to act normally enough, if not mentally conflicted. It's not like he's psychotic or not…he's just got a laundry-list of rules to follow. It's like when a kid hears their mother's voice in there heads when they have a decision to make, or even think about doing something wrong. When he finally gets what he ordered, he goes back to Emily and nudges her on the shoulder…which seems to bring her out of whatever state she's in, looking groggy, but normal enough, even smiling a bit.

Felix is still glancing between Emily and Matt, like he's sure he's missing the puzzle. Like one of those stupid magic eye photos.

Another surreptitious glance from Matt as he reaches the end of the section, setting the paper down and turning his attention back to his cup of Kenyan blend. Hi again, Emily, yes you're still being watched.

His face is lined with tension. By now, he's had enough time to connect her face with that video footage that Emma showed him a couple months back. What did it feel like, killing all those people?, heedless of her earlier request? Did it make you feel powerful? Did it *amuse* you?

Well, it certainly didn't make me feel like a clown, if that's what you're getting after. Yes, she's seen Goodfellas too! It was…interesting though, to say the least. Something new. She's smiling more pleasantly now, sipping away at her coffee and looking at Matt when she thinks quite clearly what she wants him to hear. Oh, by the way, how do you like my new toy? Isn't he precious? I'm helping him shape up…I'm really good at that.

Matt sighs, shaking his head. As far as he can tell, there's no helping this woman, apart from a shrink or a handgun. Or a shrink with a handgun. We've got bigger problems with the government. That's the only reason you're still walking around.

Oh…I'm quite aware. I've already been recruited to help…see? she thinks back at Matt. For a moment she fiddles around in her purse, before pulling out a strange-looking cell phone. I got this from Prometheus…some guy that goes back that name at least. They're plotting to take down the government. I'm on board, so don't worry about me.

He's working with you? You're both insane. Tell him not to come near me. But insane or not, at least she can't help but be honest. At least Matt thinks so; someone with their own mental ability might be able to lie to him like this, but it doesn't sound like one, even so. I'll deal with you once they've stopped.

I look forward to it…for the moment though… she thinks at Matt, before tapping Trenton's hand. They both stand up, taking their drinks and bundling up again, heading for the door. Before she leaves though, she takes the chance to come toward Matt…clearly still gloved, but wanting to make a point. She smiles, and pats him on the shoulder. "So nice to talk to you again, Matt. You could've said hello another way, though." With that, she's heading for the door.

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