2007-03-20: Judah... Has a Girl?


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Summary: Judah receives an anonymous gift. It's not his birthday. Matt jumps to the obvious conclusion.

Date It Happened: March 20, 2007

Judah… Has a Girl?

Police Station, Downtown NYC

If it weren't for Mohinder picking up Molly today, Matt wouldn't still be sitting at his desk slowly going through the doctor's thick file on Sylar. Sure, there are other cases he and Demsky are supposed to be working on, but Matt has a sort of personal and professional obsession with the brain-stealing murderer. The detective's eyes are narrowed, and he seems to be concentrating very heavily on reading the file's contents - perhaps a bit /too/ carefully.

While the kid who walks into the room looks slightly unsure of himself, that doesn't necessarily mark him as out of place - plenty of civilians look like that when they find themselves here. He looks to be in his early teens or so, dressed as if on his way home from school - backpack and all. It's what he carries that is utterly bizarre - a small package wrapped in plain green paper, perhaps the size of your average hardbound book. With a flower on top, a daffodil, in place of a bow. That parcel might have something to do with why the kid's counting desks.

In the cubicle beside Matt's, Detective Judah Demsky is looking considerably less focused. He's leaning back in his seat, feet up on his desk and a copy of the paper spread out across his lap while he drinks from a deep cup of coffee purchased at the newly-reopened Common Grounds. It's been a slow day in the bullpen, so it might not be all that surprising when Judah's attention is lazily drawn to the teen with the package. Is it somebody's birthday again?

Unlike Judah, Matt is too focused to notice the boy. But because he's concentrating so hard on deciphering the letters on the page, trying to make them go the right way, he starts to lose his grip on the constant, if minimal concentration it takes to keep the volume of thoughts around him low. If anything is really loud, it has the potential of leaking through.

The boy doesn't notice Judah's regard right away - he's too busy checking his count. After which he starts moving again and has no choice but to notice the detective looking at him. Since, well, it /is/ Judah's desk he's walking towards, with a brief glance given to the nearby Matt. "I believe this is for you, sir," he says politely, setting the parcel down on the near corner. Up close, the wrapping has one other decoration besides the flower - an antique-looking button, oval and metallic with a black enamel rim.

A quick glance at the calendar posted on the side of his cubical confirms that no, it isn't anybody's birthday — especially not his. Judah raises both his dark brows at the teen before dropping his gaze to get a better look at the parcel. Definitely not something his mother would send. It's much too ornate-looking. "Thanks," he says, reaching to pull the package toward him. "Who should I address the thank you card to?" (Not Damaris. Why would Damaris send me anything? That flower—)

Damaris. Shit. Matt still has to go see Damaris…but he wasn't thinking about Damaris, and a quick glance up and over his shoulder clues Matt in on what's going on, at least in part. Closing the file with a tired sort of sigh that one might exhale after a long mental struggle, Demsky's new partner stands and walks around the corner. "You get a present, Judah?" he asks causally, but the exhaustion is clear in his voice. Slowly and subconsciously, Matt dials down the volume again, and the teenager gets a once-over.

To touch, the object beneath the plain paper is definitely a book - there's no box to mask its edges and contours. "Don't ask me," the kid answers, stepping back, hands raised with fingers splayed and palms facing out. Matt gets another glance, and the boy shakes his head a bit. "She just asked me to bring it here. Didn't say nothin' else." A moment's pause. "Look, can I go now? You've got your thing, and I need to get home before dinner." Despite asking permission, he's already starting to slowly back up.

She? Judah mouths the word, but he doesn't dare repeat it aloud. "Yeah," he says with a vague wave of his hand, "get going." If the package is from who he thinks it is, he wants the teen out of the office as soon as possible — preferably before he opens it. He lifts his eyes to Matt, searching his face for a sign of some thing or another, but eventually he decides not to worry. It's just Parkman. "Looks that way, doesn't it?"

Parkman heard that 'she' too, and he lifts his eyebrows. Damaris? Maybe she was trying to get back into the Sylar case more than one way… "Well, don't leave me in suspense," he says with a slight smirk. "Open it. Let's see what /she/ got you." Whoever /she/ is. Matt glances at the teenager again, but his attention is soon on the package once more.

Given leave, the kid bails without another word. He doesn't /run/ - but he does walk quickly on his way back out that door and onto the street.

Judah places the daffodil and the button aside, handling them both with the care he usually reserves for pieces of crime scene evidence. The paper is treated much less gently; using his letter-opener, he slices into the package lengthwise, slips his finger into the tear and peels the covering away.

"Didn't know you had a girl," Matt comments as he leans against the cubicle wall, peering down at Judah. He /could/ skim his partner's thoughts to find out who it's from, but that would destroy the bond of trust the pair are working to build as partners. Plus, Molly and Mohinder'd get mad.

"I don't." Judah turns the book over in his large, calloused hands. It's a copy of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and it brings an uncharacteristically genuine smile to the detective's lips. "I haven't seen this one before," he muses as he skims the blurb on the back and allows himself a small, dark chuckle. "Smart kid."

Parkman moves to stand behind Judah and look over his partner's shoulder, slipping his hands into the pockets of his dress pants. A book. Well, Demsky is certainly more of a reader than Parkman is. "You're lying Judah," he teases blandly. "Who's it from?"

"If I had to guess?" Judah asks. "My cousin. She's in New York on a university-funded fieldtrip, studying the floral ecosystems in Central Park." Where this lie comes from, he doesn't know, but it flows smoothly enough off his tongue that he hopes Parkman won't question it. As if lending extra credit to his story, he even gestures to the daffodil on the desk.

While he might suspect, Matt doesn't push it. He doesn't know Judah well enough to know if he's being honest or not, and he'd rather not press it. With a nod and a soft sort of grunt of acknowledgement, he returns to his own cubicle.

Judah still has a few more hours before he can comfortably punch out and head homeward. To pass the time, he opens the book and begins slowly thumbing through its pages. The Black Swan was a thoughtful gift; when he takes the subway back to his apartment in Brooklyn, he'll undoubtedly be thinking of a way to return the favour.

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