2007-02-10: Like Father Like Daughter


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Summary: Just your average daddy daughter talk.. only not so much.

Date It Happened: February 10th, 2007

Like Father, Like Daughter

Winters Apartment, New York

Later in the day following yet another visit, Benjamin is pacing his living room. A phone is held up to his ear and he's talking, a defeated tone, "No mom.. look.. It's not serious, no please, don't come to the city. I'm sure it won't be for long. I promise when I get back I'll see you.. besides.. I have something to tell you, but not over the phone.. No, please, don't. I'm asking you not to come over." His end of the conversation pauses long enough for him to roll his eyes before he interrupts, "No.. yes I'm wearing my coat outside. I'm not four. No mom, I've got to go. I don't have a lot of.. Yes. I told you already, I'll come by, like I said.. are you even listening?" A wince and he holds the phone slightly from his ear, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get cheeky with you mom. Yes.. I love you too.. Why are you crying? It's not serious. Okay, okay, I'll talk to you soon." There's a beep as he hangs up the phone, head lowered.

On the coffee table in the living room, there's a copy of 'Activating Evolution'. Resting atop it, an admittance form for a Hartsdale hospital.

Somewhere in the middle of that conversation, Rose appeared in the doorway, her face bearing an expression of vague curiosity. Leaning one shoulder against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest, she watches him, unblinking, as he speaks on the phone. The bow from her cello is in one hand, tapping against her thigh as she listens. "Je-SUS," she says as Benjamin hangs up the phone, rolling her eyes dramatically. "That was brutal. Who died?"

Benjamin yelps and damn near drops the phone in surprise when Rose speaks up. Something about her choice in words wasn't good, because it clearly hits a nerve. Distraction being the mode of the day, he puts the phone back on its cradle. "My mother.. she's a little over-protective." Right arm still held immobile in its sling, he looks at his possible daughter.. then moves away. As if putting more distance might make him feel better or at least a little more secure. "You're going to get the apartment to yourself for awhile.. I'm going to trust you with it, okay?" Trust, hell, he hardly knows the girl. It's an insane thing to do. "Yesterday.. nevermind. The details don't matter. I've got.." What's a good word that wouldn't be lying.. oh right! "Therapy. I'm going out of town for it."

Every word that comes out of Benjamin's mouth is a new test of composure for Rose, and she seems to be closer to bursting into laughter with every syllable. It finally breaks apart when he says the word 'trust,' and she snorts behind her hand, clamping it down over her mouth to try and stifle the laughter. After a few slips, she manages to get herself under control… and then he has to go and say 'therapy.' "Oh. Oh my god," she says, pushing away from the wall with her hands up, palms facing Benjamin, in an almost defensive gesture. "Tell me you're not crazy. Are you crazy? Addicted to smack? Speed-freak? Are you like one of those crazy high-functioning suicidal types, but lately the voices have been louder and louder, telling you to leap off your balcony? Because you have GOT to be crazy to go out of town for some kind of therapy and leave me this place." She's still fighting through laughter just to speak. "Dude. What are you THINKING?"

Benjamin just stares at Rose. His mouth works for a few moments before words come forth, "I'm .. serious here and.. you're /laughing/ at me?? Fine. Laugh. Look, the DNA test results came in yesterday. I haven't opened it.. I got.." he moves to the little dining room table to retrieve the envelope from his briefcase, where it's been since yesterday. "No. I wish I was just crazy, or addicted to drugs. I could accept that a lot easier.. and I don't have a choice. I mean, I probably do.." Then he shakes his head, waving the envelope fiercely. "If I am your father.. I'll just /have/ to trust you."

Bounding forward, her twin ponytails bouncing with each step, Rose steps up on her tip-toes and snatches the envelope straight out of Benjamin's hands. "Chill," she croons as she flops down into the armchair, one leg tossed over the arm, the envelope settled into her lap without being opened. "Mom? Total nun. I told you that. I'm just surprised you guys didn't make like a crazy neurotic freak-baby who arranged all her toys parallel with the lines in the hardwood floor." She does manage to compose herself somewhat, having stopped laughing by now, and she turns an inquisitive look on Benjamin. "So you're not crazy /or/ a junkie. What the hell kind of therapy are you going in for?"

"Easy for you to say. Chill she says," Benjamin says then 'heys' as Rose swipes the envelope. "Maybe we would have.. if she had of told me about you before now. Then again, how do I know that you didn't do that with your toys?" There's a great deal of hesitation when Rose asks about the therapy.. "Open the envelope first.. I don't need to tell any more people who aren't related to me.."

Rolling her eyes emphatically, Rose makes a big deal out of lifting the envelope out of her lap, showing both sides to him. "Alright, cracker-jack. See this? No sleight-of-hand," she teases, flipping the envelope a few more times before she finally gets to opening it. And boy, does she take her TIME opening it, sliiiiiiding her finger under the flap and peeling it apart bit by tiny, inching bit. When she does finally get the envelope open, she pulls the papers out and sets them in her lap. "Can I get a DRUM ROLL?" …when none comes from Benjamin, she does her own, tapping her bow and the opposite hand against her thigh. "Benjamin Winters." Pause… pause… pause. "You ARE the father." She points her bow at him like a rifle, miming pulling the trigger and the subsequent kickback. There is, of course, a colourful explosion sound effect. "So, come on. Tell me all about your fucked up problems. I deserve to know what I'm in for." She waves the paper at him, just in case he doesn't believe her.

Benjamin watches Rose, anxiety gnawing at his insides for a variety of reasons.. and when she reads off the results.. he's not sure whether to feel relief or insist she leave for her own safety. ".. Maybe your mother shouldn't have sent you to me. Not that.. I'm angry or upset to know I have a child. Just the opposite.. it's.." He drops into his armchair, looking exhausted and disbelieving of what he's about to explain. "Things have been.. weird for the past year. Since before my ex-wife filed for divorce. I thought I was going crazy and getting paranoid, so I started seeing a therapist." Then a humorless and short laugh escapes, accompanied by a shake of his head. "Apparently I'm a danger to myself and people around me. According to my visitors in the past two days, I've got an ability and I.." He glances across at Rose, as if expecting her to make a run for it. "They told me I caused the wreck yesterday."

Is she running? No, not at all. She does, however, swing both feet down to the ground with a resounding thud, leaning forward in the seat more as he speaks. With her elbows resting on her knees, she regards him with an attentiveness that has been almost entirely lacking in their previous conversations. She stars, flat out, giving him undivided attention. "Wait, wait." One hand gets held up now, her eyes narrowing slightly. "What ability and how did you cause that wreck yesterday? I thought the guy just passed out in the seat."

Stunned. Yes. That would be the look Benjamin now gives Rose. Bewildered, he answers her, "I guess.. it's.. putting people to sleep. The driver did pass out, he hit the taxi." Guilt floods into his expression, a deep guilt. "I just thought everything had been coincidences until now, and that I was being paranoid. I never would have made something like that happen!" His left hand raises to rub at the back of his neck, and he immediately winces gingerly at that spot he found this morning. "I don't want to hurt anyone."

"Oh, man." There's a grin breaking across Rose's face the longer she sits here listening to him, and she's practically bouncing in the seat as he speaks. "You can put people to sleep?" Why isn't she more freaked out about this? "That? Is awesome. So totally awesome. Man, you could do /anything you wanted/ and get away with it because you could just be all-" She waves her hand before her face, crossing her eyes as she watches her own fingers move. "-SLEEP. And then they would. Dude, why are you getting therapy for this? This is like the one hella cool thing about you and you want to fix it?"

Benjamin blinks in stunned surprise at Rose. "What? Awesome? No it isn't! A man died because of me! There's.. I've hurt a lot of people!," he comes close to shouting his protestations. "The woman who barged in last night, said I was a danger and she's in an organization that can help me. She's right.. I was supposed to fly to Richmond on business in a couple of weeks.. what if I had made the pilot fall asleep without meaning to? I.. this.. it's not cool. Wait, you aren't weirded out. Why aren't you running away or saying I'm insane?"

"I'll show you why." Rising to her feet from the armchair, leaving her cello bow on the coffee table, Rose tips her chin down, regarding Benjamin through her bangs. She holds both her arms out for dramatic effect, shaking out her hair and slanting her head back. The changes are subtle, at first: a shift in weight, a sudden shade of blue in her eyes that wasn't there before. After a short few minutes, however, the girl standing in the living room of Benjamin's apartment looks nothing like the girl who showed up on his doorstep a week prior. Her hair is long, red, and heavily curled. Her skin is paler, with rosy cheeks and dozens of freckles. She is taller, the smaller shirt leaving her midriff bare. Her finger nails are painted. In short, she is different in almost every way possible from Rose Madison. "Like father, like daughter, I guess."

It's a good thing that Benjamin was already sitting, because what he witnesses.. would have had him on the floor. As it is, he scrambles back in his chair, scooting it backwards by a few inches. "Odin's Raven!," is the exclamation of choice as he stares in open mouthed amazement. ".. I just.. didn't see that.. I know I didn't.. and gah.. cover yourself up.. please.." If he were a frequent drinker of his own volition, now would be a nice time to reach for the tequila. Alas. ".. How did you /do/ that? Have you always been able to do that? I don't even know what /that/ is, but it.."

"I dunno how I did it," Rose explains with a lazy shrug as she stretches her neck, slowly allowing her normal appearance take over again over the red-haired illusion. If it was an illusion, that is. "I just… did it. Kinda freaked me out the first time, actually, but now it's totally boss." Heaving a sigh, she drops back down into the armchair and rests her head against the back of the chair, using one hand to smooth down her shirt, which now fits her properly again. "I don't get why you think you've got a problem. Embrace it, man."

Benjamin continues to stare, now it's something of a fascinated expression. "There's no way I can deny this now.. between the woman banging on my door, my therapist working for that organization.. now my own daughter." He gestures with his good arm at Rose, "What you can do.. that won't harm anyone. Me? I do have a problem. I don't want to be responsible for hurting anyone else. Now that I have you, I don't want to accidentally give you brain damage or something."

"You can hurt someone just as badly without layin' a hand on them," Rose replies, fixing Benjamin with a level stare. "Walk into a room looking like Johnny and look him straight in the eye when he realizes he's not looking at a mirror. It's like watching a window shatter, only it's their brain." Pause. "Not… that I ever did that to anyone. Look, the point is, what happened totally wasn't your fault. Unless you were wishing for that guy to fall asleep, in which case it totally was, and none of this matters. But hey, you wanna go sign yourself up for crazy camp and leave me the apartment, I'm not gonna say anything. I'll answer the phones and say you're away on business, like a good kid should, and forget to give you your messages when you're back. Just leave money for food and make sure you paid the bills, capice?"

"No! I wasn't! It was on accident," Benjamin says, defending himself. "Wha.. woah, wait, you didn't play any mean tricks on someone like that.. did you?" A sigh escapes as so much rattles around in his poor abused brain. "It's not.. crazy camp. I don't think. Anyway, Miss, I think she's a miss.. Alvarez. Said her organization could help me learn control. I sure don't want to walk around and create accidents, so I don't have much of a choice." Then again, he had been walking around, oblivious, but knowing might put a plus on his side. Just the simple awareness factor. A genuine smile does crack however, "I'll do that. I just have one more thing to do before I go away, it's a favor for someone. I think I can make a quick delivery without doing any damage."

"Couldn't you just, like… get a bunch of crickets and learn control that way?" Picking up the cello bow from the table, Rose drums against her leg absently as she watches Benjamin, her gaze (and attention) drifting now. "Well, whatever you need to do, man. I promise not to burn the place down while you're gone. I hope Miss What's-Her-Face can help you figure it out without killing anyone. That? Not an ideal situation for anyone involved."

"… I don't know.. I didn't even realize I was doing this until yesterday. How am I supposed to know how to control, or how to even begin?" Benjamin remains seated, slumping forward as comfortably as he can manage. His gaze drifts to the coffee table, and the book on it. "I wonder.. Don't laugh, but the day I got that book there, I bought one on meditation. The sales lady suggested it might help with stress. Maybe I won't need to go away."

He tells her not to laugh, and what's the first thing she does? Laugh. It's another one of those moments wherein she tries to maintain composure, but even a hand covering her mouth can't quite muffle the snicker. "Alright, Zen master. I'm not sure meditation is really gonna help you," Rose replies, her shoulders rolling in another noncommittal shrug. "Look, this has been a fascinating little father-daughter bonding session, but I have like fifteen pages of theory to do before tomorrow or they're gonna boot me out of school. If you kill anyone else with a bus, I promise I won't tell." With that, she shoves herself up from the chair again, heading for the hallway that leads to her room.

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