2009-11-05: Guy Fawkes Day



Date: November 5, 2009


Sydney invites Alex over to watch V for Vendetta on Guy Fawkes day. An unexpected visitor shows up after Syd spills her guts about October.

"Guy Fawkes Day"

Sydney's Apartment

Sydney's apartment is strikingly similar to her office with nothing on the walls. Not a single picture hangs on the walls. It's small, a fairly normal for most graduate students who manage to live on their own. Her living room contains a couch, a coffee table (on which lies a single frame, faced-down), and a television and is connected to a makeshift dining room (with a very small table that's overshadowed by a desk littered with papers in disorganized chaos) and small kitchen. A hallway connects to the living room and presumably extends to a very small bedroom and bathroom.

It's been a long week for Sydney, and it's not even over yet. She's managed to finalize two chapters of her dissertation (only two left to revise!), mark all of her midterms, and consult on a police case. Regardless, today is the fifth of November, and there's one thing she always does on the fifth of November: watch V for Vendetta. It's Guy Fawkes day and it's only appropriate. She's invited several people over to watch with her, but most have bailed as usual with excuses about dissertations and the like… it's a Thursday evening after all. Her air popcorn popper hums loudly as it makes delicious white fluffy popcorn (that will likely be loaded with butter and salt once done). But despite her plans and productivity worry has set in for Syd. And, unfortunately, it permeates the apartment. The neighbours have even been acting unusually paranoid. So she sits on the floor, practicing some breathing exercises in her blue jeans and oversized hoodie.

Alex had barely settled in herself at home, after a strange run-in with Lena and Hallis at the coffeeshop Common Grounds. A few things were set straight, thankfully (mostly, that Alex isn't scoping in on Hallis's on-again, off-again boyfriend, and even wound up slapping him!), and then she boogied on home. A quick, hot shower later, and then, she's off to Sydney's, a rather uncharacteristic change in plans for Alex, who had intended to do some work but you know what? Screw it.

The cab rushes her over in the rain, and she hurries into Sydney's building, thankfully more able to handle the rain out of her pump heels and dresses, now in sneakers and jeans and all. She still has her bag with her though, so maybe work might get done, but she tries to shake the feeling off as she gets into the elevator to go up, find Sydney's door, and knock a few times.

The knocking breaks into Sydney's breathing. She's calmed herself down. A little. Maybe. Well, not as much as she would've liked so instead of actually feeling calm, she'll fake it. Or she'll try. Quickly, she stands to her feet and pads to the door. She glances through the peephole and promptly, takes another deep breath and forces the most serene smile she can muster. After unlocking the bolts, she opens the door. "Alex!" her tone is almost-too-bubbly. "I'm glad you made it! Please come in," she waves her friend into her apartment while peering semi-nervously into the hall.

"Hiya!" Alex calls cheerily, but when she steps over the the threshold, she can't help but look out into the hall as well. "Is there, uh…something wrong tonight?" It's pretty evident that, as Alex gets near, she's starting to feel nervous as well; she looks around, sliding out of her coat and revealing the white tanktop and silver-gray vest over it, looking like it was cut from a suit jacket. It's all over dark blue jeans, and comfy looking sneakers (though, always one to be prepared, there's the tops of some pump heels peeking out of the top of her bag. "Oh…popcorn? That smells good!"

"Nothing, really. I don't know… just on edge. Probably too much time with the police this week," Sydney forces another smile, this one tighter than the last. And then she sighs, the smile fading from her lips, "I'm lying. Do you remember how I told you about needing to blow off steam and then we went dancing after the train incident and my time at that safehouse? Well… I kind of just left it. Like the guy who took me there figured I'd be fine, so I went home without knowing… anything about anything…" She frowns a bit. "There's more though. A lot more." She bites her bottom lip before adding, "October was insane."

"Oooooh, that'll do it!" Alex says with a knowing smile. "So…are you sure you even want to watch the movie? Or did you really want to gossip and talk about all this?" But really, she's had so much on her own mind recently that, beyond the night at the club, she hasn't heard much about what's been going on in Sydney's life. Maybe a mention here and there, but that's all. "Come on…you sit down and just…go for it. Tell me everything." She points at the couch, able to collect herself a little bit even with Sydney doing her thing powerswise, and makes for the kitchen to finish up popcorn prep.

"Actually, talking would be good. So much to process…" Sydney rolls her eyes a bit at the last month as she sits down on the couch. "Okay. So…" Where to begin? The beginning, maybe? The story of October comes out quickly, hastily, perhaps even guiltily; Syd's worry and concern mounting with each sentence, "So it all started at the beginning of October when I got assigned to this case. A police officer opened fire at a restaurant. Except… mentally he wouldn't have. It like wasn't him. I was perplexed, and —" she frowns as she bites a nail. "I let someone in on the entire ordeal which, is completely unethical, and he told me about people with abilities and said he'd take care of it. That was three weeks ago! I've heard nothing. He's dropped off the face of the planet!" Pause. "And then, I met Joel at my office, he was kind of a client, sort of… and something felt wrong so I followed up, had guns pointed at me, and he took me to a safe house. But NOT before I realized that I empathize with people more than a therapist should. I seem to feel what people feel or they feel what I feel. It's all very confusing and I don't even know what it is." Pause. "AND then the safe house… I left randomly." Pause. Brows are furrowed, "I think that's everything?"

Of course, as fortune would have it, that's the moment that there is a second rap upon the door. Just a short thump-thump-thump, knuckles given free rein and rattling the wood faintly. It would take little effort to find out the identity of the new visitor, and indeed that visitor is Joel. Well it's probably Joel, sure he's looking a little mussed, a bit out of normal sorts what with this yankees baseball hat on and a few bruises upon his cheekbone giving it a nice bit of swelling. But it's still that fellow, the dark blue eyes that look straight at the peephole sell it decently so. He stands there, waiting all patiently, hands in the pockets of his jeans and his gaze a touch hazy in its distance.

"That's…a lot of stuff to process, for sure! So…who's this Joel character? What's his role in all of this? Why'd he take you to the safehouse in the first place?" It's almost comical the way these 20-somethings talk about harrowing, life-scarring experiences as if they were totally commonplace, as if this happens to every girl who decides to move to NYC and live and work.

When the thumps come on the door, Alex snaps her gaze at Sydney, eyes as wide as silver dollars. "Holy crap! Who's that? That was creepy!" she peeps out from the kitchen. "Were you expecting anyone else?"

"His parents they like scheduled a session with me at Hope Hearth for him… and we kissed… and I'm so getting fired… I think he's a spy or something… and he might be dead… like the gun guy could replicate himself or something…" Syd begins to explain before she's interrupted by the knock at the door. Eyebrows are furrowed at the second knock as she turns back to Alex, "No one else could make it…" With a frown, she stands up to the couch and quietly pads to the door. She peers through the peep hole before turning back to Alex and lowering her voice, "…speaking of the devil…" She bites her bottom lip as a tinge of relief swells over her. At least Joel's not dead. And then the irritation begins. She glances at Alex and looks through the peephole again. Hesitation. Decidedly the unlocks the door once again (she'd made sure to lock it again once Alex had come in), but stops at the chain lock, pursing her lips together quite annoyed.

Those wafting waves of irritation make it through the door, affecting the young man in proximity to Sydney. One can almost /feel/ the way it subtly affects him, though not too terribly much, thankfully. It's given evidence as Joel lifts his voice to snap a mite bit annoyed, "What's the hold up?" But then his brow furrows just a touch. He shifts his weight from one foot to the other looking towards the door and then, presumably, towards the people within. "Heya Syd," He offers, "Things've been a tad busy."

With a sigh, Sydney opens the still-chain locked door just a squeak. "I thought you were dead," she offers simply, lips still pursed together. "Seriously. Dead. It's been like two weeks. It takes all of thirty seconds to call to say you're alive." Why do no guys call to verify life? She bites her bottom lip. And drums her fingers with mild impatience against the door.

There's a cock to his eyebrows, a slight shift in his gaze. He cants his head to the side curiously as he considers her through that sliver of a crack in the door. He folds his arms over his chest and then he tells her in that level tone of his, "Well, I'm alive." He gets a faint smirk, despite the waves of disapproval wafting over him. He then adds, "And things are cleared up, so you don't have to worry much anymore." A tilt of his head the other way, "That's it." And he seems all right with leaving it at that. He takes a step back.

"Clearly," Sydney quips to the comment about him being alive. She frowns a moment before closing the door, unlocking the chain, and then opening the door. With another sigh she stares at the bruising on his cheek, "You need ice. Come in." She steps back to let him inside. "Besides, I'd like to know what happened…" She swallows and forces a very weak smile.

From the kitchen, Alex is fishbowling a little, looking in even as she empties the popcorn into a big bowl and adds the butter and salt and all the other things that make it pretty awful. "W-who's that?" she peeps out, looking on as the rather disheveled and brusied Joel is invited in. "He looks pretty roughed up! Do you need ice?" she says, thinking the same thing as Syd (and likely, feeling a little concerned to, if she is), scrambling around for some baggies and a washrag.

"Nah, self-inflicted." Joel grins a bit and despite his initial feeling of grumpiness, he seems at least somewhat glad to see Sydney. He steps into the apartment, giving it a once-over as if considering its layout and approving… as if he hadn't ever seen it before officially. There's a tilt as he considers Alex sidelong, then he tells Sydney, "Didn't know you had company, can prolly come back later if you want." Of course that might be another few weeks down the line, considering how 'reliable' he seems to be.

"Ziplock bags are in the bottom drawer next to the fridge," the words are highlighted by the click of a locking door. "Alex this is Joel. Joel, Alex," Sydney introduces them to each other quickly. "Alex is a good friend," she explains. "And Joel is…" Sydney's at a loss for words so instead she shakes her head at Joel, "No, you can stay, you need ice and we were just hanging out." Quickly she walks to the freezer, opening it and taking out the ice cube tray. Fortunately it's full.

Alex scrambles to pull out a baggie, and hands it to Sydney. "Pleased to meet you," she says with a polite nod in Joel's direction. In the kitchen, basically hip-to-hip with Sydney, Alex turns to face the other woman and whispers so only they can hear-"Is this the guy were talking about earlier? From the police station?"

A few steps are taken, his gait easy as he moves. He's got that lazy sort of stride as if he were giving the place a once-over, which he is. Joel pauses at the small entryway into the kitchen where the two women stand. He proceeds to lean in the doorway, considering them both. A look from one to the other, then back to Sydney, before he says, "A pleasure." His dark blue eyes fall heavily upon Alexandra, "So you know each other from…?"

The whisper is met with one of her own, as Sydney hits the tray against the edge of the counter to break up the cubes, "Yeah, he's the one, except it was at my office at Hope Hearth. Practicum hours and all." She forces another smile as she places several cubes in the baggie before handing them over to Joel, "Well… we met when we were almost mugged in Central Park last month. They caught the guy though." Pause. "Wow, October really was insane."

"Almost being the key word, I guess. We both managed to escape with our purses and shoes intact." A knowing smile and a bit of a wink are passed i Sydney's direction from Alex. "From there, I guess we just started hanging out and doing a bunch of random stuff, and now we're friends. One of those strange chance encounters I guess!" Alex smiles plesantly at Joel from the kitchen, and now, with his bruses mildly tended to, she goes back to the popcorn!

Accepting the bag and the ice cubes, Joel gives a small 'hnh' of understanding as both Alex and Sydney regale him with the tale of their meeting. He starts to step after them, moving a bit towards the living room. He peers across the way, espying the television, and the exposed DVD box. Another 'hnh' comes from him and he leans there, still a bit non-commital as he holds the icepack to his cheek. "I just stopped by to touch base with Syd, figured I should… you know, let you know that things are mostly a'right with the craziness." That covers a lot, but he lets it go at that.

Eyes are narrowed as Sydney tilts her head, "So the green-eyed man is gone for good then?" There's a moment of hesitation before she follows that question up with another, "Is he in prison or something?" And then she glances at Alex before quipping, "I already told her about him. And his guns. Pointed at me." And then with a shrug she adds as a sort of weak defence, "I thought you were dead. Besides Alex has her fair share of unusual experiences." She shrugs again.

"That's putting it lightly," Alex quips a little, mostly to herself. It's been a while since the train rescue, and Sydney's really the only one that wasn't involved who has any idea what happened on that adventure…but most of it was probably obliterated in the drinking and clubbing that followed the stories.

"Hm," Joel does seem a bit on edge now, clearly uncomfortable, perhaps partly from Sydney's empathy, perhaps from his own emotions. He lifts his chin and pulls back the bag of ice, looking at it for a time, then he looks back over at the two girls. "Things are resolved acceptably for now." He leaves it at that, loathe to give details or information, perhaps due to the mixed company. Perhaps not. He steps further into the living room, free hand sliding to rest in the pocket of his jacket. Over his shoulder he murmurs, "How've things been for you all?" He glances, "Anyone following, anything suspicious?"

An eyebrow is arched at Alex before turning back to Joel, eyebrows furrowing, "That's not exactly answering the question." Sydney sighs before she purses her lips together again. Yes, she's still annoyed. With another deep breath, however, she manages to calm herself. Her nerves. In fact, it's almost an emotionless calm. "Things are fine," she answers stoically with a freakish kind of calm. "Just telling Alex about another friend who disappeared. No one calls. He's probably dead in a ditch somewhere." The tone, the inflection, and the emotional state are completely inconsistent with the words themselves. Eerily inconsistent.

Alex appears from the kitchen, her lips pursed together tightly as well. She doesn't seem to know who or what Sydney's talking about this time, but her face is the same blank, emotionless slate that Sydney's is. "Nobody's following me, as best I can tell," she answers with a flat tone, not showing any sort of fear or concern that anyone might be following.

Rubbing at the side of his jaw, Joel looks thoughtful for a time. He considers Sydney sidelong, a small frown touching his features. He casually undoes the ziplock and pulls out a piece of an ice cube, holding it between two fingers. A glance is given towards Alex, then back to her. "Well that's good. You have my number and all." He takes a deep breath, as if having a few more words, but not offering them for now. The bit of ice cube is tossed into his mouth and he crunches down on it audibly.

"Not that you answer your phone," Sydney responds with that same emotionless disconnected calm as before. It's not an angry statement, it's just a statement. In fact, there's just blank expression. Sydney pads back to the kitchen, picks up the ice cube container, and turns on the tap to refill it. "Besides Alex is very capable." Ordinarily she'd smile at that kind of statement, but right now? Nothing. Unfortunately lack of emotion also can mean lack of a filter. Anything can come out. "She may be little, but she's strong. Like strong as granite. And she wears very beautiful shoes."

"Well, maybe not granite…" Alex starts to reply, but looks Joel over. She wonders if he knows about Sydney's ability, let alone her own, and she's a little unsure of whether or not he needs to be in the know. For the most part, a statement like that, talking on two levels which would normally make Alex grin a little, barely causes her to flinch; she just stares at Joel and shakes her head. "I don't think I'm in too bad of shape if someone comes after me, in all honesty. I've…gotten a little more confident lately, I guess."

Casually, and to the side, Joel replies to Sydney's first few words. "If it's important I tend to respond, if I can." That could be taken a few different ways, of course some of them aren't so good. He zips up the small bag again, then adjusts the yankees cap as he turns to start towards the door, "Guess I'll leave you two to it." The ice pack is set down upon an end table nearby as he strolls along the way, "Capable hands and all that."

Alex's objections begin to pull Sydney out of her other-worldly state. Shaking her head a few times, she clears her throat, "I'm sorry… I didn't mean…" Narrowing her eyes she shakes her head, "Of course not granite. How… silly of me.." She forces a faint smile while shaking her head again as if trying to wake up from something. "My point is, Alex is capable." But Joel's words sting. Just enough. Her normally bubbly, easy-going demeanor is decomposed entirely. She blinks and then twitches, her hurt and anger filling the spaces in the room. "O-out. Now." The word is emphasized as she points to the door, pressing her lips together.

Off to the side, Alex is sort of hands off, watching as Sydney handles her guest. Guess letting folks know you're alive isn't quite important enough to justify a response? That's a little odd, at least to her, but she keeps her mouth shut and lets things play out, being a guest herself and silent observer.

The door is opened, and over his shoulder Joel calls calmly. "Nice meeting you, Alex." He's always been one to internalize, to quash emotions at times of stress. Naturally he does so now but also due to the way Sydney might feed off them. Once he's out in the hall he closes the door behind him, jamming his hands into his pockets. There's a slight scowl upon his features, suppressed after a few strides carry him off and down the way.

After Joel's in the hall, Sydney marches up to the door, and locks each and everyone of the locks before turning to look at her guest. She pushes her feelings aside as best she can, but the calm doesn't come this time. Instead she offers an apology, "Alex, I'm… I'm sorry about that…." She frowns as she pads back into the kitchen with a sigh. "Very sorry." And then she feels like she owes an explanation, "I called him a number of times without a response. I just don't let people insult me in my home." She shrugs a bit.

"I imagine I'd do the same, really. Just a shame I don't really know him or much about what happened. I would've been able to help a bit more then, I think." But, really, Alex doesn't seem too bothered by any of that. It's…surprisingly calm in here now, after Joel's left and Sydney calms herself. "Are you…still wanting to watch the movie?" she asks with a wry smile, holding up the big bowl of popcorn that's still kind of warm.

With another deep breath, Sydney manages a genuine smile now. "Yes, it's still Guy Fawkes day! AND I worked really hard this week. Totally deserve a movie." She beams while padding into the living room to enjoy a quiet night of V for Vendetta.

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