2008-01-02: Profound Things

Starring:

Novak_icon.gif Felix_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif William_icon.gif Elisabetha_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Pinhead and a Drug Addict

Summary: Potential conflict while waiting at the subway is defused, leading to amicable chatting and saying profound things.

Date It Happened: 1-2-2008

Profound Things


Queens - Subway - Queens Location

The subway is hell for Novak. The cacophony of people and machines, roaring through an enclosed area, the sounds echoing and rebounding off each other, creating a chaotic mish-mash of inscrutable patterns that he simply cannot piece together in his mind for the life of him. And that is just sound. There is also the stink of alcohol, and unwashed bodies, and overly strong cologne, and sometimes even gunpowder, as well as things Novak wishes he could not identify. And yet today, it is almost tolerable down here.

He stands with one hand gently holding Elisabetha's arm, acting as her guide and keeper since Emily is out shopping at the moment. As he stands near a populated bench, he merely waits for the train to arrive. Nearby, some young men, a mix of caucasian, African-American, and hispanic, notice the two of them. One of the men slaps the back of his knuckles against one of his friends' shoulders and points at Elisabetha. The young-adult taunts loudly, "Ain't ya' a bit old fo' her, grandpa?" His friends burst out laughing. Novak turns his head with a mild expression on his face, as though not understanding. Before just smiling slightly, and saying, "She's my…" 'daughter' is almost inserted there, but instead, Novak finishes, "—student."

This only makes things worse, however, as the young men start making crude jokes about teachers and students. Novak is annoyed, but doesn't show it. He can't expect manners from these American brats.

There's a thin man standing near Novak and Elisabetha, waiting for the train. By the impeccably tailored suit and the attache case he carries, he's a businessman going home a bit late, perhaps after a long day at the office. To such keen senses at such close range, however, there's the tang of gun oil mingled with a fairly subtle aftershave; someone's armed, though the suit is tailored to help conceal it. Fel's got his glasses on - the lenses glint dimly in the fluorescent lighting, as he looks back and forth, impatient for the next train.

The smart thing to do would be to ignore the young men. After all, Will isn't their target. No one ever accused William of always doing the smart thing though. He turns to look towards the men and shakes his head. "Show some respect for your elders." He says towards them. Will is dressed down today in old jeans, a Naval Academy t-shirt, and a parka over the top. He steps closer to Elisabetha and Novak giving Felix a quick smile. "Fancy meeting you here." He calls towards the man in the suit.

Elisabetha stands listlessly at her Teacher's side, not flinching or reacting when the young men begin speaking. She just keeps her red eyes directed down at the tracks. Eventually, however, after William speaks up on their behalf, the blonde glances to her right, at the youths who are taunting her and her teacher. "You suffer," she begins, while looking at one of the men. "You feel pain because you… Lack something. I can take away your pain." She starts to try to pull away from Novak, towards the guy she is addressing, eyes half-lidded, and an expression on her pale face that can best be described as 'creepy'.
Of course, being as weak as she is, if Novak even barely exerts himself to hold onto her arm she is not going anywhere.

Novak indeed notices the smell of gun oil, but thinks less of it than one might imagine. If anything, he thinks it is a stroke of luck. If these hooligans turn aggressive, then someone with a firearm stepping in would change the situation drastically. Then again, from what he can see of this man, he might choose to mind his own business instead… Best not to rely on others.

When William speaks up, Novak turns his attention on him, vaguely surprised, and nods in thanks, before starting to look back to the train. When his daughter begins to make her offer and pull away, however, Novak immediately tenses his hand around her upper arm, and says, "Elisabetha. Not here." The man she is addressing has blood-shot eyes, skin almost as pale as Elisabetha's, and his body is shaking visibly. He's probably a drug addict going through withdrawal. He spits out venomously, "Hey, what do you know, huh? 'Think you can start talking about me like that…" While most of the young men had turned to glare at William, when their companion starts going off on Elisabetha, one of them jokes, "Hey, she wants to take away your pain, man! Let her soothe you, dude!" But the rest are already moving off, further down, to loiter elsewhere.

"Not gonna' no one-armed freak," the addict snarls before turning to follow his friends. The joker who initiated this, some punk with more piercings than flesh, it seems, counters, "With a set like that, who CARES about how many arms she's got!?" He lingers behind to eye up Elisabetha, until Novak pulls her closer and stares pinhead in the eye. His own eyes behind his glasses are focused, intense, unblinking. Though the kid tries to match him, he breaks first, blinking and looking away with a light forced laugh. "Prob'ly a dyke anyway," he tosses out before moving at a noticeably brisk pace to catch up with his buddies. Apparently whatever he saw in Novak's eyes wasn't a scared old man he could push around.

Novak watches him for a few more seconds, then turns his attention back to the tracks.

Fel's only somewhat distracted from the confrontation by Will's greeting, though he looks over with a smile. "I know. On my way home from the office," he says, a touch sheepishly. The smile does not reach his eyes, however, and he's watching the pack of young men with the air of a wolf trying to judge if that particular deer in the herd is weak enough to make a meal. And then it's defused, for the moment, and he turns his attention to Elisabetha and Novak.

William watches the men with a shake of his head. He's tense until they leave, ready to intervene if he needs to. "I'm sorry they would talk to you that way." He says honestly before Will gives Felix another smile. "Exciting day at the office today?" He asks over, tucking his hands down in his jean pockets.

Elisabetha tugs weakly at the hold on her one arm, but when she is told 'no', she just stands there, and watches, either not comprehending the words spoken by the punks, or not caring. Instead she just seems… Confused. She eventually relaxes and resumes standing by the man she has no idea is her father. She responds to William with, "Those who suffer are confused by their pain. This confusion makes them lash out. They think it will help them feel better." She is silent for a few seconds, apparently done, before adding on significantly, "It doesn't."

Novak nods to himself and inhales slowly. "What you say is true, Elisabetha, but that does not excuse such actions. Just as they could choose to lash out, they also could have chosen to be as this young man over here." He looks to William, "And been noble and brave. Or this man near him," he indicates Felix with a nod. "Who simply minds his own business and does not seek conflict with others. They could have chosen to be helpful or polite. Instead they chose to be rude and hurtful."

"He is noble and brave." Fel is only half-teasing, as he eyes William.

William rolls his eyes at Felix. "Right." He says before he gives Novak a smile. "Thank you." Will says simply before he looks to Elisabetha. "Not everyone turns suffering into rudeness. It all depends on how you choose to channel your life." At least Will would like to think it is.

Elisabetha blinks her wine-red eyes slowly, and looks with slightly lifted eyebrows from Novak, to Felix, to William, and then back to Novak. "Oh," is all she has to say. She looks down at her right shoulder, with the empty sleeve pinned to itself. After staring for awhile, she turns to look at Novak and asks, "Teacher, am I a freak?" She asks it in monotone, as though bored or uncaring of her own question, but the innocent intent is there.

Novak smiles back, accepting the teasing between Felix and William as a sign of people relaxing. With things settling down, he is almost relaxed himself. The sound of the train approaching in the distance, a number of stops away, is audible to him, though it may not be to others. When Elisabetha asks her question, however, he winces. Not at the question, but at the pain he imagines his daughter must feel at being called such a thing. Just imagining it is enough for him to feel it. He turns and puts his hands on both sides of Elisabetha, and looks her in the eyes.

"A freak is something abnormal. But there is nothing truly 'normal' in this world. Not even average is average. To someone, somewhere, we are all 'freaks'. But to me, you are just the most special girl I have ever known." He smiles at exactly the moment he has calculated will provide maximum comfort to accompany his words.

Felix slants a look at Elisabetha, but says nothing to that question of hers. Instead, he grins at Will again, and lifts his shoes to show the wear on the soles. "Paid a visit to damn near every mosque in the five boroughs," he says, making a face. "The counterterrorism guys have their jockeys in a knot, again. I'm glad I'm just in Organized Crime."

Moving down the subway entrance at the word freak (as if on cue), Gene moves down the stairs, his hands in the side pockets of his black peacoat. Unable to take his usual companion with him, the young inventor merely ponders how to get R2-D2 safely down crowded stairs as he moves toward the group that oddly has more in common than he thinks. He doesn't seem to take notice of Felix, Elisabetha, or Novak, but it's likely just a matter of time.

William gives Felix a smile. "Spend some time praying towards Mecca?" He jokes with his usual very dry tone. "Your poor shoes will never be the same. Organized Crime sounds like it would keep you busy, though."

Elisabetha blinks slowly again. The other conversation nearby is either tuned out, or just not important to her. She looks down and says, "Oh." No 'thanks' or 'you're special too'. Just 'Oh'. Maybe she has a condition? She definitely seems to be out of it. Gene is, as yet, unnoticed.

Novak turns his head from Elisabetha towards the sound of approaching footsteps only after he is sure he has imparted his message. He watches Gene, notes he looks about as harmless as a yellow book with the words 'Don't Panic!' on the cover — which is to say, 'mostly harmless' — and thus consigns the newcomer to the periphery of his senses and attention.

He turns back towards the tracks, letting his hands slip from Elisabetha's sides, and asks, "An officer, hm?" towards Felix. "Dangerous line of work you're in." He almost says, 'I thought I noticed a gun on you' but just the word 'gun' can have negative impact on people. Sort of like saying 'bomb' on a plane. If you say 'gun' in New York City, you can expect people to start eyeing you like scared rabbits.

Fel looks to Novak, momentarily surprised. And then he grins, and it's oddly puckish, considering his usual habitual reserve. "An Agent," he says, nodding to the man. "Though I was NYPD before," Presumably he means agent in the Federal sense of the word, and not the 'Good evening, Mr. Anderson' sense. "How'd you clock me?" he asks, arching a brow in idle curiosity. To Will he notes, "Nah. I'm ROCOR, in as much as I'm anything. Tracking down some names."

The word Agent sticks out in Gene's mind as he makes his way toward the group, as well as the woman with the one arm. If people get close enough to Gene to smell him, he has a slight mix of sweat and Axe body spray. His faded blue jeans move about here and there as he taps his foot, waiting for the subway train to come. He gives Novak, the one that noticed him a simple nod before looking back toward the tracks. He glances over toward Elisabeth from time to time, though it's hard to tell from his face if it's from the lack of arm or her rather attractive appearance. Both tend to stick out.

William nods his head. "Doesn't the suit just scream F.B.I.?" He asks with a bit of a tease towards Felix. "I start at the academy Monday." He adds towards his friend before Gene's approach catches his attention.

Elisabetha doesn't follow or doesn't care about the conversation about police and agents and so forth. If she notices Gene, she doesn't show it at first. Eventually, though, she looks up and towards him. Her crimson gaze moves slowly up his body to his face, as though she had to make a trek from base to top. (Actually, she sort of did. It's hard to lift her head) Eventually she is looking Gene in the eye, if he bothers to look back at her right then. She tilts her head.
"Hello," she greets Gene. A pause, and then, "Are you a freak too?"

Novak grins a bit, and says, "Well, let's just say that I've been around the block a few times, and learned to notice certain things. For one, you made eye contact with those delinquents, and did not seem scared by the possibility of conflict. Instead — or so it seemed to me — you were watching for trouble. However, you also didn't initiate anything. There's few people who feel confident or authoritative enough to act as a sentinel for others, who have not had training in being a protector."

He pauses and then says, "Also, I noticed your, uhh…" he gestures indicatively with one hand in the vicinity of the concealed firearm. He assumes that is clear enough. He is interrupted in this line of thought, however, when Elisabetha asks her question. At first he just glances again at Gene when his daughter greets him. But then he resists the urge to roll his eyes at that question. Instead he just sighs and puts his hand back on Elisabetha's arm. He smiles apologetically towards Gene. "Please excuse her. She has a condition."

Felix nods to that, pleased rather than perturbed at being caught out. "Good eye," he compliments Novak, easily. And then he flashes a grin at Will. "I suppose it does. It's funny to think of. I used to be such a punk when I was a kid. I even dyed my hair blue. And now I'm just another suit working for the government. Good on you, Will. The force needs more guys like you."

"Freak?" The inventor offers, getting ready to be on the defensive. Thankfully, Novak's interjection is enough for him to understand that it is the woman being odd, not him. "If you say so," he replies with uncertainity. Glancing back toward Felix and William, he gives an awkward smile. After all, he is pretty sure he remembers ONE of the two people. Out of all the police men to run into…

"Hopefully it will go well. I'm looking forward to the change." William says before he looks over to Novak. "You're quite perceptive." He states, talking in an easy going fashion, his hands down in his pockets. "I was never a punk. I'll leave that to you. I was a farmboy."

Elisabetha looks towards Novak when he interrupts. She pouts attractively as she looks back towards Gene, to explain, "Everyone is a freak. There is no normal. My Teacher said so. I think…" she pauses and looks up at the subway ceiling, at the clock, to see what time it is. Then she looks back down at Gene and blinks as though remembering he was there. She slowly finishes, "…If we all accept our abnormality, and embrace the differences in others… No one will suffer."
She then smiles. It's an odd thing, as though she wasn't well-versed in the act of smiling, but it's genuine at least. It fades quickly, though, as she looks down the tunnel placidly.

Already well-aware of the approaching train, Novak nonetheless pretends to be surprised by its imminent arrival. "Ah, there's the train now." Actually, it's still somewhat far away, as he realizes after the words leave his mouth. It will be here in about sixty seconds, though, he estimates. Novak nods to William and says, "Thank you. I try." He then turns and looks at Elisabetha and offers consolingly, "Of course, dear. I didn't mean that there was anything wrong with you. Just that you do not communicate the way many people are used to." The roar of the train is starting to fill his consciousness, and Novak sighs and has to grit his teeth and clench his eyes shut to resist the impulse to plug his ears.

When the train finally finishes pulling up, Novak nods to the three other men, and offers, "Have a good evening." Then he guides Elisabetha onboard, and towards a hopefully-underused section of the train. Novak is not in the mood to be squashed between two large Albanian women with excrutiangly severe body odor, or near a child that keeps throwing up the whole time, or anything of that nature.

Fel's only reply to William is an arch smile, as the doors of the train open. "Fetch me that pitcher," he says, quietly, before stepping into the mass of passengers.

Gene just STARES at Elizabetha and Novak. Suddenly collecting comics and making friends with random people from Japan isn't looking so odd anymore. Thankfully, he shakes out of it once the subway train comes. "Take it easy!" he offers with a simple wave, just making sure to remind himself to take the cab or his own car more often.

William gives Felix a genuine grin at that statement. "As you wish." He says back quietly as he steps up onto the train, grabbing a central pole to secure himself a spot to stand.

Elisabetha teeters onto the train, looking back at Gene, as though expecting him to answer her cryptic statements. When he doesn't, she pouts some more and just allows herself to be lead. She'll have to remember that people don't like it when she says profound things.

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