2008-02-04: Mutually Beneficial Arrangements

Starring:

Joule_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Summary: Joule and Mohinder have their second meeting, finding themselves a little disarmed around each other.

Date It Happened: February 4th, 2008

Log Title Mutually Beneficial Arrangements


Brooklyn - Suresh's Apartment

The Brooklyn apartment is mostly empty at this hour. Molly and Matt are away, leaving Mohinder to his own devices. (Which probably isn't wise.) Alas, he is staying out of trouble. The smell of spices remains strong in the air from the vindaloo he made earlier, and most likely this was because Molly hinted she wanted some later. Otherwise, he might have forgotten to eat all together. As it is, he's sitting in the section of the apartment designated as office space, surrounded by papers, files and old research.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap-tap. That would be the rhythm riff to The Cars' "Since You're Gone" Joule's using to knock. Punctual, she is. A minute before he asked her to arrive. She's bundled against the cold in a leather coat, scarf, and fun-fur hat. "Evening, Dr. Suresh," she says quietly. The cold has husked her voice a little. Or something has.

Sometimes, when he's in 'the zone', Mohinder tunes the out the world around him. Fortunately, he's not /that/ out of touch at the moment. The tapping at the door creeps in and gets his attention. He almost dismisses it, then remembers that he has a scheduled meeting with Joule. Leaving his papers as they are on his desk, he goes over to open the door and let Joule in. "Miss Dahanukar, I'm glad you could come," he greets in return, stepping aside so she can enter.

"It was my pleasure," Joule replies. She stopped at the tea shop, to pick up a bag of the chai he liked. She remembered she promised him a cuppa. "Here you are," she tells him, handing him the small shopping bag as she begins peeling off the clothing for cold weather. Underneath is a black turtleneck, black jeans, and black boots. Stylish. She also was wearing shades. At seven pm. Go figure.

Mohinder shuts and locks the door behind Joule, and takes the bag of tea with a faint expression of surprise. "Why thank you," from the look on his face, it's safe to say that he forgot about Joule's promise. "I'll prepare a pot in just a bit. Here, allow me to take your coat." Even if there's a beaten up coat rack with jackets of his, Molly's and Matt's on it right there, he offers out of politeness to hang it up.

"So — what all have you been up to since last we spoke? Immersed in research? Remembering to eat, I hope?" Joule asks, lightly, taking a quick glance around the apartment to acclimate herself. And to spot the exits. Old, bad habit leftover from old, bad days.

Mohinder laughs easily, putting the winter garments on the rack. Bag in hand, he moves towards the tiny and cramped kitchen to prepare a pot of tea. "I did in fact remember to eat today, and either you know me well after one meeting, or I'm that predictable. Yes, I've been researching quite a bit. I'm afraid it never ends." Around the apartment Joule will see signs that Mohinder isn't the only one living here. However, it's what you would expect from two busy bachelors sharing space, watching a young girl.

"Neither, really," Joule assures him, stepping out of the wet boots. "You mentioned it when listing the qualities you'd like in an administrative assistant," she reminds him. "Hardly be worth considering for the position if I wasn't detail-oriented enough to keep track of such things, now would I?"

That said, though, she sighs. "Making any headway on what you're researching, at least?"

Mohinder laughs further, "Ah, my apologies as that slipped my mind, and you have a very good point." He gestures to the table and chairs, "Please have a seat." Despite the look of the place, it's clean. In areas. The apartment isn't a den of filth, just run down and worn out. "No, unfortunately not. It's a precarious situation that requires delicate handling. Since it's specific to one person, I am also at a loss to test further without possibly creating more damage."

"So you're working on one person's issues? A power that…that doesn't work quite right?" Joule asks, eyes lighting with interest as she finds a seat at their little table. "Or something for the roomies, perhaps?" Yep, there she goes being detail-oriented again, as she tucks one bare foot under her in an easy, casually boneless pose.

"In a manner of speaking. Let's call them Patient X. Patient X has the ability of super-strength.. X also has a multiple personality disorder that is shall we say, less than normal." Mohinder begins as he works on preparing the tea. "Patient X has tried the traditional methods, but I theorize that this ability has worsened the condition, making this person incredibly unstable with the personalities out of control. Patient X has tried new medications that my colleagues have created. The drawback to these medicines is they leave a person unable to function. That's no way to live. So X came to me for assistance." Leaving the water to boil, he settles down into a chair at the table across from Joule. "I work with X, endless tests on patterns, bloodwork, nervous system activity and devise injections to help control this disorder. I explained this was unprecedented, no other trials, there could be side effects. We went into this, knowing of the risks."

Joule listens, expecting it to go over her head. But she's surprised to discover she does follow him. "Blimey," she whispers, eyes widening. "A power like that on someone who suffers from unstable disassociative identities." Some of Daddy's brains must've gotten in there after all. "But you're having trouble isolating the power from the brain chemistry, is that it?" And more softly, "and I thought I had problems." Her bracelets jingle softly over those last six words.

Mohinder inclines his head in a nod, delighted that Joule follows. Unless people are also in the field, the man could bore them to death when he gets going like this. "Several documented identities for Patient X as well, some more dangerous than others. It's incredibly tricky yes. The documented side effect I have is severe memory loss. I'm now back on the case to try and unravel what's causing Patient X's memory loss. I'm not sure if it can be reversed or if it should be. Further tampering could have lasting damage. Patient X wanted to be functional and raise their family, to try and be normal." Although, once you know you have an ability, and have participated in the fantastic, how can you have a normal life? "That is what I was hoping to achieve. Not so much as taking away the ability, but tending to the personalities."

It isn't so hard. Fantastic isn't always fantastic as most people define it. "Have you thought about finding a sympathetic psychotherapist to assist you? A psychiatrist, perhaps…they can prescribe, and help you sort out the chemistry, hmm?" Joule drops her chin into her hands. "Daddy never dealt with anything of this order. His focus was on finding a healer. After we lost Mum, it was all he could think about."

Mohinder shakes his head in the negative. "I already am acquainted with a therapist who specializes with abilities. He's with my associates who prescribed the medication that rendered Patient X unable to function." His mouth curves into a broad smile with an expression of excitement taking over, "I'm sorry your father didn't live to see the day. But there are healers out there. Those that heal themselves and their blood has proved to have restorative properties for others."

Joule's eyes suddenly swim with startled tears. "He'd…he'd have been elated to know he was right." She pauses, silent and worrying her lower lip with ther front teeth, before adding. "If he'd even lasted another five minutes, he'd have known. But next time I visit his grave, I think I'll tell him just the same." She sniffs. "Oh, bloody hell, pardon." She gets up to pluck a clean Kleenex from her pocket.

Mohinder blinks and reaches across the table to take Joule's hands. "My apologies.. I didn't mean to make you cry." The tears did not go unnoticed. "I also know of another healer, who simply uses physical contact to aid others. No matter how much I research and how many days go by, I remain amazed by the abilities out there. The endless gifts that have been bestowed upon people. Flight, kinetic manipulation, healing, powers of possession, psychometry, thermo nuclear. The possibilities are virtually endless."

Joule gives him a faint smile. "Terribly sorry," she says, ducking her head so her hair falls to obscure her face. She's not used to the vulnerable thing. People don't usually get to see her cry. They get to see her throw dishes. Screaming hissyfits, even. Drumsticks, when she's performing. But not tears. "So it would appear, they are," she agrees, after she has a moment to compose herself. "Still, it's good that someone like you is working on it. There are people who'd do otherwise. Seek to make a profit from such people."

"There's no need to apologize," Mohinder states as he pulls his hands back as if realizing that's physical contact. There's the faint embarrassment on Joule's behalf, and the water coming to a boil. He withdraws from the table, and goes to see to the water so that the tea can be steeped. Also, this helps to keep his back to Joule as he speaks, "They too exist. Perhaps, not to make a profit, but they have their own agenda." He's guilty of participating, yet he wanted the position offered. Not for money or fame, but for his own need to prove others wrong, to live up to his father's research and expectations, to have the necessary funding. One could say he got caught up in it all.

"Mmm, I suppose I'm not surprised at all," Joule admits, thankful he gave her a moment to collect herself. "You've met them? Run afoul of them? Is there —" she snaps her mouth shut on that last question, eyes wide again. What is it about Mohinder Suresh that takes her carefully constructed walls down?

Mohinder carefully measures out the loose tea, placing it in the pot to steep. Bringing it on a hotpad to the table, he lets it rest while fetching a pair of mugs. One looks like a laboratory beaker, the other says 'World's Greatest Dad!' on it. "No, you shouldn't be," he offers quietly. "Some things are no longer surprising to me, while others manage to amaze me every day… and you could say yes to all of the above."

"Well, you don't seem to be much the worse for wear," Joule observes, her usual devil-may-care smile once more on her lips. "Is there anything one would need to watch for…to know them by? Is this some secret clandestine group of dodgy old men with Mason rings and Fezes?" There's a deeper, unspoken question in there. Let's see how clever the good doctor really is.

Mohinder sets out a sugar bowl, a container of milk and some spoons. "What can I say? I hide the scars fairly well." There's something about the flippant manner in which he says that, which hints towards seeing more trouble than he outright lets onto. "Nothing so distinctive, no." He settles back into his seat, folding his hands in his lap. "I apologize and beg your indulgence if I don't say too much on the matter. There is a lot of good done by this organization with an equal amount of questionable activities."

"So. No fezes. No mason rings." Joule accepts her mug, and a spoon, but toys with the spoon, twirling it on her knuckles idly as Mohinder speaks. "That's too bad. Naturally the world doesn't work that simply." She quirks her head, disappointed he didn't pick up her other, unspoken question. "So they do a lot of good in between doing a lot of evil? That's convenient. Walking moral bloody conundrums, they are, aren't they?"

Mohinder shakes his head as he checks the tea before pouring any into Joule's mug and his own. "No rings, no hats. They do however have weaponry, people with abilities and questionable morals on their side. I've done a few things I'm not proud of.. and I'm not sure why I'm telling you any of this." Once the tea is poured, he settles back into his seat, letting his mug cool a little. "You could say that, I think the term is quite appropriate. In medicine and science relating to abilities, they've done things our fathers only dreamed of."

"Perhaps because you needed to," Joule says, simply. "One can't carry the burden of a secret all the time without occasionally needing to put it down." She reaches to take his hand. "You've done things you're not proud of. Who hasn't? But the important thing is that you've been doing good to make up for it. Balance. More than most people could hope for." She tosses her head, getting her hair back out of her face now that she's feeling more herself. "And I don't know that my father would've dreamed much of such an organization. He was a bit of an idealist." She smirks, faintly, but affectionately even as she utters the cynical remark about her own father.

Mohinder smiles just a little as he measures out some sugar for his mug of tea. "Possibly.. and perhaps you're one of the few people on the 'outside' who understands. It's a little odd to come to that conclusion and this is our second meeting. Yet, I know of your father's reputation, perhaps that is clouding my judgment. One would think that I would exercise more caution with virtual strangers these days." Stirring the sugar into his tea, he takes longer than necessary as he looks into the contents of the mug. "The concept is a difficult one to fathom, even once you get past the reality of people with abilities being in existence." Setting his spoon aside on the table, he picks up his mug for a sip. Without any lead-in or further thought he asks, "Would you still like a job?"

"I'm not a virtual stranger, luv," Joule assures Mohinder. "I'm actually strange." She takes her turn stirring sugar and milk into her tea. "And I suppose I could be persuaded to help you out a bit. My real vocation is photojournalism, but half this city wants to do that." She raises the cup to her lips, and has a long sip, closing her eyes to savor the fragrance of the chai. Afterward, she lowers the cup, and meets his eyes when he looks up. "So that'd be a yes, unless you're looking to lock me up…" Another sip. "In a contract. Then I'd have to extend you my regrets. I'm a bit too unconventional for such ironclad arrangements."

Mohinder chuckles from behind his mug, "If you can tolerate my schedule and frequent disappearances that are beyond my control… then I think it's time that I cave in and get an assistant." Who better than the daughter of a noted name in the field? He chokes just a little on the liquid as Joule starts with her statement about locking her up. The phrasing caught him off guard and he almost did not hear the rest. Shaking his head, he states, "No.. There will be no contract."

Joule raises a brow at Mohinder's reaction, and has to hide the resultant smile behind her own mug. She has another sip, pleased, before she nods. "Very well. I can use the downtime to work on my own pursuits. But there is something you ought to know before we commit to something more formal." Aside from her original warning that she's not trained in the sciences, it would appear.

Mohinder coughs once to clear his throat and takes another sip of his tea before the mug is set back down on the table. "We can negotiate a salary arrangement, hopefully a suitable amount. I can be difficult to keep up with." He doesn't try to be difficult, it just happens that way. "Very well, what is it I should know?"

Joule takes a long, slow, deep breath, and sets her mug down. She's not normally so apprehensive. About anything. Yet telling this man the only thing she keeps a secret about herself is proving difficult. "D'you remember how I said my father, if he'd lived only five minutes longer, he would've known he was right?" she asks, eyes dropping to her bracelets.

Mohinder glances across the table at Joule, waiting for her to explain. There's no pressure as he says, "Take your time, and yes I remember you saying that."

"…I walked in on the killer," she explains. "And the reason the police got to him was because he never left my father's apartment. I lashed out in anger." She places her hands demurely in her lap, body language illustrating her words for her — that she didn't lash out physically. "Struck him blind. On the spot. He couldn't find the door. And after I …" kicked him until he was heaving and retching on the floor, "…realized what I'd done, I called the police. He didn't get his sight back for some days afterward." She pulls her gaze back up to Mohinder's face. "…y'see, that's my ability," she adds, to make certain he doesn't misunderstand her.

Mohinder listens quietly, waiting for Joule to finish. He says nothing until she goes quiet. There's a look of wonder on his face as he looks at the woman in a new light and some sadness. "I think your father would have been thrilled to know what you had been gifted with. Can you only inflict blindness upon others?" If he sounds just a little more curious than is appropriate, you will have to forgive him. Despite the way this came about, he's fascinated. "It sounds as if the trauma of finding your father caused your ability to manifest. That is if you hadn't displayed any tendancies before then."

"None before then, no," Joule confirms, with a wry twist of her mouth. "And if I'd displayed any other indication before then, I didn't know it for what it was. But no. Inflicting blindness isn't the only thing I can do. I'm…" she pauses, searching her vocabulary and finding no truly appropriate word. "Neurokinetic, I suppose works best. Blinding people is just the one I've the most facility with."

"That sounds about right. On average, a surge of adrenaline, a traumatic moment, these things can cause an ability to manifest. Then later, a burst of power not ordinarily exercised." Mohinder then seems to realize he's running off on a tangent then quiets down, and canting his head in a nod. "If you like, we can explore your ability at length, see what other things you are capable of, run some basic tests."

"Rather like a comic book, yeah," Joule confirms. "And I've got a few steady tricks. Once I realized what I'd done, I studied. Bought a few anatomy texts. Some highlighters. And the odd couple of gerbils." She shrugs. "But someone who knows their way around whatever sort of new science people like me are would probably be useful. So — " she raises her mug in a toast. "To mutually beneficial arrangements?"

"I think your father would be proud. His interests rubbed off on you," Mohinder says with a grin as he's impressed by Joule's initiative. At the toast, he picks up his own mug and clinks it against hers. "To mutually beneficial arrangements."

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