2007-03-07: Nervous Little Thing


Claudine_icon.gif Max_icon.gif

Date It Happened: March 07, 2007

Summary: Max runs into Claudine trying to clean up her mess from the previous night. She finds out that her mind possibly could've been tampered with, and that she has implant and she reveals just a little bit of what she knows.

Nervous Little Thing

Central Park, then a Crepe Place

It's early morning. Ridiculously early morning, around 5 AM or so. It's a time when only garbage men, psychopathic killers and those with something to hide would have reason to be up. With that said, Claudine's headed back to Central Park, being rather wary and cautious the entire time. "Damn that vigilante.." she curses under her breath, as if she never encountered that guy who saved her, then maybe last night wouldnt of happened.

She eventually reaches the part of the park where all that crazyness happened. Yup, the two holes are still there and so are the two pillars. The two thugs, however, are gone, and so for that, she's rather relieved.

A quick scan of the area is done to make sure there isnt anyone around, particularly any homeless who might use the park for a gigantic bedroom or the cops who patrol the area. Once she's satisfied, she places her hand on one of the pillars and concentrates. It's so much easier when actually touching it afterall..and slowly but surely it falls apart into a mound of dirt..One down, one to go..

Meanwhile, Max is rummaging around behind the same hedge he used for cover last night. No bodies. Barely even any blood. Satisfied, he rises just in time to catch Claudine sinking hundreds of pounds of dirt and rock back into the earth. Maybe it's because it's 5am and he hasn't had coffee. Maybe he's just sloppy. In any case, a loud "Holy shit!" rolls off of his lips. An instant later he claps one hand over his mouth.

Okay, so she didnt check completely and she looks back towards the source of the sound and smacks herself once she realizes there might've been a spot she missed. "Fuck me.." Claudine grumbles under her breath, as she's barely a week out of Company custody and now probably more people know about her powers than before. She curses a little more under her breath as she heads on over, "Why is it that is the first reaction everyone has when they see something like that? I mean seriously..is holy poop the first thing that comes to mind?" she asks while placing a hand on her hip.

Slowly, Max steps out into full view. No use hiding, after all. He's shucked his suit in favor of matching black track pants and jacket. Not a bad attempt to blend into the early-morning park scene. "Honestly? Yes. That's quite a show. As for fucking you?" He pauses and makes a show of looking Claudine up and down. "I'll think about it. You're a little young, though."

"I'm almost eighteen!" Claudine says before she realizes what she just said and her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red. "Look..I didnt mean it literally anyway.." she says as she looks back towards the other pillar. "I just gotta fix this mess before -they- find out.." her tone rather urgent as she puts a hand on the other pillar and concentrates once again.

The closer he gets, he'd notice she's sweating..a LOT. And it's not even hot. It's actually quite the opposite, but maybe it's an effect of her powers..

Max's gaze still lingers on the girl appraisingly. His initial surprise is abated. After all, he was here to see the pillars' creation. "Who's 'they?'" He queries, though from the look on his face, he already has a pretty good idea. Other than the general public, there's only one group of people that someone who can literally move mountains would need to be frightened of.

"It..it doesnt matter. I just dont want them to know this happened.." Claudine says rather flustered as she presses her other hand onto the pillar since it still isnt doing anything. Her sweating becomes more than just profuse now and she winces as she concentrates some more while chewing on her bottom lip. After a few minutes, it collapses and just falls apart into a pile of earth once more as she starts to guide the combined masses into the holes. Got to clean it up. And if he comes closer, he'd notice that her nose is starting to bleed..a lot as well..

Boldly, Max reaches out and wipes the blood away from Claudine's upper lip with one thumb. "Ought to be careful with that," he comments mildly. Then, strangely, he sticks the thumb in his mouth and sucks it clean. "Tell me more about 'them,'" he continues, his blue eyes wide and curious. This could be the key. Someone who was willing to talk.

Ewww. Gross. Why is it that she always has to run into the wierd ones? Well, either wierd ones or jerks..gah. After everything it all settled, she drops down onto the ground on her rear and curls up a little so she can rest her head on her knees. That took a lot out of her and she just huffs and puffs for a few moments. There's no adrenaline pumping through her system, so yeah..it was a lot harder than she remembered and all.

"I..I just dont want to go back to them. That's why I need to destroy this evidence or else they'll ask me to come back.." she says, leaving it vague. Waittaminute..she said ask, right? Maybe she's talking about something else..who knows?

Sure enough, this odd conversational turn sends Max for a bit of a loop. Confused, he blinks. Perhaps a softer touch is in order with this one. Hastily, he wipes the last of the blood from his thumb on the back of a pant leg. "If don't want to go with this people, don't go. Last I heard, this was a free country." Unaccustomed to the prensece of sad females, all Max can do is lower his voice to a gentle, friendly level and give the girl a gentle pat on the shoulder.

"They'll ask, and if I say no that's fine. But if I say no, I might lose control again. I dont want to black out againbecause of it. If they see this here, who knows, I might black out again and end up there.." Claudine says rather cryptically, as well, that's how it was explained to her anyway..that she came voluntarily after blacking out from causing too many tremors in the city. "I cant make them think that I'm losing control.." Seems like she's more scared of losing control over them, but who knows. They seem quite related afterall.

"Whoa.. Slow down, missy." Unperturbed, Max plops down on the ground beside the girl and meets her gaze squarely as he smoothes the wrinkles from his jogging suit. "First things first. My name's Max. What's yours?" Carefully, he keeps his tone light and friendly.

She looks up at him, realizing she'shaving one of those girly emotional moments that she was teased about before and takes a deep breath to calm herself down. Hey! No tremors during that too! Yay! "Claudine.." she says, introducing herself before extending her hand out towards him, "Um…nice to meet you, Max.."

Max accepts the hand in one that's strong, but lightly callused. "Pleasure to meet you as well, doll." He gives a firm, genial shake, then releases her hand and reaches into his pocket. A moment later he comes up with a spotless, neatly folded handkerchief of white linen. "Go ahead and take it. Swab your nose up. If somebody happens by, I don't want 'em thinking I'm giving you the whatnot."

"Oh..yeah.." she says, not even thinking about that as a possibility, but she takes the handkerchief gratefully and wipes the blood from her nose with it, until she's all cleaned up, but she's still sweating. Oh well, she just needs to drink lots of liquids later. "Why do you want to know about -them-?" Claudine asks curiously, canting her head to the side as she looks him over once more. "Have..do you know -them-?"

"It depends on who you mean when you say 'them,' dearie." Max produces a second handkerchief, identical to the first, and offers it to Claudine. "Go ahead and wipe yourself off. I know it's not gentlemanly to point it out, but you're sweating a fair bit. While you do, you can tell me about your experience. I think you'll find me a willing listener."

Claudine's cheeks flush a little at the mention of the sweat and she folds the handkerchief so she can wipe it off her brow, but it's still hot, and so she continues to sweat. It's not nervousness, it's more of exhaustion, or close to it. "I..I dont really know you, sir, so um..yeah..but um..if you could not mention what I can do, that'd be great.."

Flick. Max taps a fingertip against the marks on Claudine's neck. "You might not know me, but we have more in common than you might think." Megalomaniacal even on his best day, Max pulls aside the collar of his jacket to reveal a still-healing, inch-wide gash on the curve between his neck and shoulder. "I used to have one, too. Not long ago."

"Oww!" Claudine replies, wincing a little as she reaches back and runs her fingers, feeling the marks on her neck. "Wh..what is that? Why do I have one of those?" she says with more than a bit of alarm in her tone. "And..you had one too?" Okay, this is getting way too confusing now and she rests her head on her knees. "What..what happened then? Someone fucked with my head.."

"Whoo.. Sweetheart, sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you got worked over." Max winces as he watches Claudine finger her lovely new tracking implant. "That thing inside you is a tracer. I cut mine out when I was still in the hospital. Tell me something.. If I say 'The Company,' does that mean anything to you?"

"Th-they said they would leave me alone.." Claudine says, not quite sure what to believe or even think anymore. "And yes…I know of the Company. I blacked out and ended up there..they helped me..control my powers..they seemed nice.." she admits ruefully, as from what she can remember, she was treated rather well. "Why..why would they do this?" and then it dawns on her.

"They're not the only ones. There's another group out there..they probably do something similar…" she says, thinking about Rianna and her Foundation now, especially since she knows of at least one other scholarship recipient under their program.

Max nods easily, though it's a show to conceal his ignorance. He knows of no other group. Pulling his face into it's best concern expression, he jerks his head vaugely toward an 'out-of-the-park' location. "Want to go get some breakfast and chat this over? I can tell you're frightened. I was, too. I won't reveal your secrets, but I'm dying for a bite and a cup of coffee. I bet you're hungry, too."

She thinks on it for a few moments, and nods, letting out a soft chuckle. "Yeah..I'm kinda hungry too. There's a really good crepe place in Morningside Heights..been there before..that is, if you like crepes.." Claudine says with a slight shrug of her shoulders.

"Love them," is Max's reply. He hoists himself to his feet, then gallantly holds a hand out to assist Claudine. May as well play the sensitive bit to the hilt. "We can catch a cab. Honestly, this early in the morning, I'm satisfied if the coffee isn't lukewarm." Max grins winningly.

Claudine reaches out and grabs his hand so she can ease up on her feet, pulling sightly to get some leverage. "They have really good coffee there, it's French-pressed and all, not dripped.." she says matter of factly before starting to lead the way to the same place she had breakfast before..

It doesnt take too long, maybe a 10-15 minute walk from Central Park, but soon the pair arrives at one of the crepe places in Morningside Heights, not too far from Columbia's campus. There arent too many people around, just your usual yuppies in early before work, but the smells of the crepes fill the restaurant as there's a variety of fillings ranging from chocolate to strawberries. Anything you could think of stuffing a crepe with..they probably have it. And they have really good coffee too.

With that, Claudine heads to the counter and orders a medium house coffee and a crepe stuffed with nutella and strawberries before looking over to Max, "Um..what do you want?"

"Large coffee, black. And two crepes. One blueberry, one raspberry. Cream with both, please." Apparently this isn't Max's first time at a crepe house either. He flips a few bills onto the counter to pay for both orders, then turns a smile on Claudine. "My treat. I've been a uni student too," Lie. "I know how tight money can get. Why don't you find a table while I pick this up?"

Her cheeks flush a slight tinge of red as he pays. She was fully ready to pay, but sheisnt going to insist either. "Um..okay.." With that said, Claudine looks around and finds a secluded table in one of the corners so they can talk..about whatever it is he wants to talk about. Of course, on her way there, she grabs a few napkins before easing down and waiting.

Moments later, Max is at tableside with the tray of food and coffee. Crepes take all of six seconds to cook, after all. He sets it down and slides in across from Claudine. Before so much as making eye contact, he scoops up his coffee and takes a whiff, then sighs greatfully and sips from the cup. "Ahhh… Much better. It's godforsakenly early."

"Well, I did purposely go out this early to make sure it wasnt there.." Claudine says with a soft chuckle under her breath as she starts mixing some cream and sugar into her own coffee, just stirring it a big longer than needed. Yeah..she doesnt know what else to say at this point.

That's fine. At this point, Max has plenty of questions. As he pulls his own plate of crepes from the tray, he finally meets Claudine's eyes. "Please, tell me more about the Company. What they're doing here in New York." Calm. Must stay calm. With effort, Max masters his hunger for knowledge. He busies himself by slicing a bite from his raspberry crepe. Admittedly, it /is/ deliciously sweet and tart.

"They..help people. They helped me gain control over my powers. Lots of people were talking about earthquakes here in New York…that was..me.." Claudine admits ruefully, looking a bit guilty at that as she sighs and starts to dig into her crepes as well. "I blacked out and found myself at one of their hospitals, and they helped me gain control over mine.."

"I see," Max replies. "Well, don't feel bad. Abilities like ours can be difficult to control, at first." Yes, that's right. Ours. Max smiles enigmatically and takes another long drink of the crepe house's rich, bitter coffee. Damn, that /is/ good. Fair smacking his lips, he takes another bite, this time of blueberry.

Claudine takes that in and blinks blankly for a few moments. "Y..you were there last night, werent you. You're the one who made the gun's barrel close on itself?" she asks in a hushed whispers, hoping it's him instead of Daniel. Ugh, anyone but Daniel and she'd be happy.

Despite his admission, Max's eyes widen slightly. So he's capable of being surprised, after all. "That's quite the impressive deduction, my dear. You are correct. I also took the liberty of.. disabling.. several more of your assailants. Consider it a favor, from one special person to another." His smile stretches into a small, satisfied grin as he licks blueberry filling from his fork.

"Thank God..if it was Daniel manifesting powers..I dont know what I'd do. He's a brat and him having powers just makes me shudder.." Claudine says with a hearty laugh as she idly runs her fingers through her hair while mixing a few of the strawberries in the nutella before popping them into her mouth. "It was more of a haphazard guess with some hope that it wasnt him.." she admits, giggling impishly in the end. "So you control metal then? Or what?"

"You showed me yours, I may as well show you mine." Still grinning, Max looks left and right to ensure himself that the two aren't visible to any other patrons. Once reassured, he makes a brief 'come hither' gesture with one finger. In response, Claudine's fork floats out of her hand and over to Max's plate, where it quickly scoops up a bite of raspberry crepe and cream. "Try it," he urges playfully as the fork returns to its owner. She isn't the only one who can be impish. "They're excellent."

Claudine's cheeks flush a bright tinge of red and her eyes widen at the trick. She then leans forward and takes the bite before chewing on her bottom lip. Very suave, and well, she is a teenage girl. So yeah..her heart's all aflutter. After swallowing the bite, she whispers, "So..you're like Magneto? Or more like Jean Grey?" It could be either..she isnt sure..

"Magneto…" Max muses. "I like that. Yes, I'm like Magneto. My power only affects metal." He pauses to scoop up a raspberry bite of his own. The effect his presence is having on Claudine doesn't go unnoticed. Smiling, he continues, "And you, you're like Avalance, yes? Moving rock and what-have-you. Most impressive. You could even say we have something in common." Sadly, Max isn't above toying with the affections of a too-young girl to get the information he requires.

"Well..kind of sort of. I can do a bit more than just moving rock and what not.." Claudine then hrmms and thinks back for a few moments at the comic books she was given while she was in custody. "Oh..that really obscure character Petra..the one who could turn coal into diamonds..I can do that too.." she says rather proudly, trying to show off for the older hunky man..

"Really?" Max purrs. Things just got a little more interesting. "Now /that's/ impressive. I certainly can't turn tin into gold, after all." His blue eyes fix on Claudine's, outwardly passive and gentle. "So these Company people, they taught you how to control this gift you have?"

"Well, it's not complete, but I mean, they certainly helped me discover what I can do beyond just moving a bunch of rocks around.." Claudine says matter of factly as she runs her fingers through her hair once more, doing that hair-flippy flirting thing that girls do in the presence of cute men. "I mean, they're good people for the most part.." at least that's what she thinks..

"Well, that's good at least." Max replies. Unabashedly, he reaches across the table to press one fingertip in gently near the spot where he saw the Company tracer last night. "Did they tell you anything about that? Or did you just suddenly realize you had it, like I did?" Max knows a great deal more about the tracking implant than he's admitting, but it's safer to play this one slow.

Her cheeks burn brighter red at the touch, but even she didnt know about it until now. "I..I didnt know I had it. I just remember being given my papers to where I could resume my life again..and then you point out I had it. So I dont really know when it got there.." Claudine says, as well, that was part of all those fudged memories..

Max lifts his finger to tap Claudine's temple lightly. "That's because they messed with you in here. I think they did the same to me." He lowers his voice, and looks a little uncomfortable for the first time. "I don't know how long I've been in New York City, or even where I live, but I know my way around. I can remember everything that happened /before/ I got here," Including repeated snatch-attempts by the Company. "But after? Not much. At least not until a couple of weeks ago when I woke up in a public hospital."

"That sounds awful..I dont remember much either. They just told me my blackouts were because I'd lose control over my powers.." Claudine says, chewing on her bottom lip a little as she mulls it all over, not quite sure what to do or what to say. "The Company..even with that..I still think their intentions are good..I'm more worried about the woman who was reading my mind the entire time.."

"Start from the beginning, my dear. Try telling me everything you remember. It might help you feel better." And it'll certainly help Max feel better. Raised brows, wide eyes, and carefully pressed-together lips form a perfectly innocent and concerned expression

"The shootings. I was going for some coffee and then there were shooting and I freaked out and almost destroyed the building by raising a wall of earth to protect myself from being shot. I ran and then..then there's a bit I cant remember. I woke up in a hospital, unable to use my powers.." Claudine says matter of factly as takes a big bite of chocolate tomake herself feel better..

Max reaches out and lays a comforting, reassuring hand on Claudine's shoulder. A portion of him /does/ feel for this girl. He's been through the same thing, after all. "Where was this hospital?" he asks.

Claudine tries to remember, she knows she asked where she was and just closes her eyes for a bit. There's flashes here and there, but she cant remember. She does remember seenig Marcus though. "I..I cant remember. I know someone who does though.."

"And who is that?" Max's tone is casual, and he pointedly forces himself not to sink his fingertips into Claudine's shoulder. Instead, he slowly withdraws and smiles reassuringly at the girl. "Anything you can tell me about this would be extremely helpful, and you have my word I won't reveal you as a source." As strange as he is, that much is true at least. Once given, no torture or temption could convince Max to go back on his word.

"He's one of my friends. He works there, but doesnt know what they really do. I dont even think he has powers, but we're on the same Primatech scholarship.." Claudine says as she mulls it over once more. "I..I'll talk with him, then I can tell you.." She doesnt really know the guy, or his intentions, and after the incident with Rianna, she isnt going to take chances, revealing her friends to random people.

Max nods in an easy, friendly fashion, though inwardly he's seething. Still, he knows better than to squander this opportunity. "I understand completely. I'd never ask you to betray someone's trust." Lie. "Can you tell me anything about any of the people who were working or being held there?"

There's flashes here and there once more. Damnit, why cant she remember everything? "I.." and she hrmms once more, looking at Max, chewing at her bottom lip. "I want to know..do you work for Rianna Johannssen?" Claudine says firmly and resolutely. She knows that woman hates the Company, and she doesnt want to help her at all.

Max frowns. "The name doesn't ring a bell," he admits honestly. "Should it?" His blue eyes are wide and curious as he toys with the remains of a raspberry crepe.

"She reads minds..she read mine and she started talking about this crap. The Johannssen Foundation..they give out scholarships and internships as well, and she knew about my powers..probably before she read my mind as well.." Claudine says rather angrily, as well, she already had her mind fudged with, and she's thinking that Johanssen woman probably did it. "Their Foundation's motto has to deal with the future and children. If anything, they're shadier..she was hinting I'd help her rebuild her building using my powers..I'm not manual labor.."

"Fair enough," Max concedes. This conversation has gotten him a few leads, but has hardly been the goldmine he was hoping for. Still, better half a loaf than no bread at all. Masterfully, he conceals his disappointment and instead reaches over to touch the back of Claudine's hand in a friendly fashion. Best to keep the byplay going.

It's not that she doesnt know a lot, it's just that, living in New York has taught the once rather naive girl to be very distrustful of anyone who seems to try to help. "I..I'm sorry. I dont know you very well..I've been burned a lot..I just dont go telling people things anymore.." Claudine admits ruefully, also even hinting that she knows a lot more than she let on..

A fact that was clear enough from the get-go. Smiling, he leans back in his chair and stretches languidly, like a cat. "Oh, I understand," he purrs. "Since I woke up in the hospital, I've had more holes poked in me than I care to count. This can be a rough city, and you've got to take care of yourself."

"Um..I live in John Jay dorms..you can always ask for me..if I find out anything more, I'll let you know..or something.." Claudine says hesitantly as well, she still doesnt trust the guy, even if he is hunky and has acted nice to her thusfar. The Company was nice to her as well. So was the Johannssen woman. "I..um..should get going.."

"Go ahead, you nervous little thing," Max teases. "Wait a sec," Quickly, he jots down his number on a napkin, folds it, and passes it across to Claudine. "There. So you can call me if you like. Have a good day now, Princess."

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