2009-12-05: Troubling Things



Date: December 5, 2009


George and Syd talk about some unsettling things.

"Troubling Things"

Hope Hearth Distress Centre

Hope Hearth is open, and even though it's Saturday (and technically her day off), Sydney is in her office with housing listings strewn across her desk. She's not normally in on the weekend, but she needs to find a new place for everyone to live. Pressing her lips together, she runs a finger down the listings and wrinkles her nose a bit. Her office door is open as she sits behind the desk in blue jeans, and a pink sweater. She certainly doesn't look like she's on the clock.

Which is just as well, because if George had actually checked her schedule first, then he wouldn't get to see her anyway. Not without waiting around a lot, or paying for a session (and pushing out someone who actually needs it). "Hi, do you know if Dr. Falk—" he starts, wandering past the receptionist's desk and peeking his head in the door. "Oh, hi, you're in. Movin' on up, huh?"

Sydney can't help but jump just a little as George pokes his head in her office. She's been on edge since Bryce showed up at her apartment yesterday. If he knows where she lives, it seems likely that he knows where she works. With a strained smile, she waves him into the offices and points to her therapy chair (the one she normally sits in during therapy) which is on the opposite side of the desk as her office chair.

"Hi Congressman. Please, have a seat." She blinks a few times as she closes the paper she's looking at and collects the documents together in one pile. "On up?" she quirks an eyebrow coyly. Yes, she's playing dumb.

"Well, down, technically," replies George, gesturing toward some of the real estate ads - one features a prominent photo, a suggested price, and not much else - as he settles into the chair. "I apologize for cutting into your personal time, but there are… things… we should discuss." He's playing dumb too, at least until he figures how many euphemisms he can safely dispense with.

Sydney swallows and continues with that same strained smile. "Due to circumstances beyond my control, I need to move," again. "Fortunately, I managed to get out of my lease." Her smile warms up some, but only for a moment. She'd managed something good for once. Her eyes narrow at the congressman. "What kinds of things?" she asks as she quirks a single eyebrow and crosses her arms over her chest. She picks up a pen that's sitting on her desk and rolls it between her fingers. "Actually given the circumstances, I'm surprised you're here. Didn't think I'd be hearing from you in the end."

George inclines his head. "Sorry to hear that— it's a nice place. And we'll be losing a neighbor. But good luck with the search, anyway…"

"I needed to ask you about some things that Hallis said she told you," he continues, "and said you believed. If she's mistaken about that - I know there've been some misunderstandings - then I'll go ahead and get out of your hair. If she's not… hmm. Then I might have an idea what circumstances you have in mind."

Sydney frowns skeptically at George. "What things? I'm not sure if you've ever had therapy before, Congressman, but a good many things are discussed." Pause. "And I tend to believe everything said on my couch because whether or not someone spouts the truth they normally believe it here. And I can generally tell if someone's lying to me. And I've heard some pretty outlandish stories I've believed in the past." She offers that same strained smile as she puts the pen down and crosses her arms over her chest, effectively closing off her body.

There's a pause as Sydney tilts her head, "Did you believe her then, Congressman?" She arches an eyebrow.

George shakes his head. "I haven't, but— I don't mean just believing that she's honest, I mean believing that she's right." His hands are resting in his lap, maintaining a studied neutral pose: he's not trying to persuade Sydney of anything, just to speak his piece and see what she makes of it. "I know from personal experience that she's right about the broad strokes. I believe she's right about most of the details, too… she did admit to an educated guess or two."

Sydney's lips curl downwards into a frown. She can't even force a smile now as she tilts her head at George, examining his body language. Finally relaxing her arms and merely folding her hands in her lap. "Yes," she finally answers. "I believed her. For better or worse, what she said… I believed it."

A faint smile flickers across George's face, then is gone again just as quickly. It's something… but it's only the beginning. "I don't suppose you've had any personal encounters with it yourself?" Still playing it low-key… or maybe not, as he continues on to what's really been on his mind.

"There was one person in particular that she described, one she said you labeled 'Carol' for convenience. I'd appreciate whatever you can tell me about them." He leans forward now, folding his arms across the edge of Sydney's desk. "I don't intend to rush in and do something stupid - that would only put her in more danger, if anything - but I'd like to be able to plan."

Flushing moderately, Sydney glances towards the door for a moment. Just one. Just long enough. She tilts her head a bit and narrows her eyes at George. "Why, have you had any personal encounters, Congressman? Or is it as uncommon as most believe?" She raises both eyebrows and glances at the door again before forcing another very strained smile.

"What do you want to know about Carol? I don't really know anything beyond what Hallis told me, and she has her files now, I'm not sure how I can help further…" she drums her fingers on the desk before glancing at the door again.

At that, George follows Sydney's gaze, glancing over toward the door to make sure no one else is going to blunder in on them at just that moment. Is it the same reason she had in mind.

"I don't think," he finally offers, absently fiddling with his cell phone, "it's quite as uncommon as we might expect. After all, they're just like any other person, right? Except in those moments when they aren't." He turns the phone around, then, so she can see; it's playing a copy of a now-infamous video clip of a young girl seeming to melt and then re-form. "For all I know, you could be one of them yourself. For all you—"

The video clip cuts off, then, and so does he. But the ideas are now firmly on the table.

"As for Carol…" He takes a little more time to think this one over. "Okay, you don't know anything, but maybe you can guess. What might push someone to treat Hallie the way she did - no better or worse or different?"

Swallowing, the therapist nods at the video and leans forward in her seat. "So anyone could be one of them then?" Sydney raises both of her eyebrows as she tilts her head. Several moments pass as she tries to decide how to phrase her thoughts, "I told Hallis what I thought. I was as clear as I could be. I suspect that Carol was afraid. The video itself is evidence that people with abilities have something to worry about." She purses her lips together. "It's no secret that you and Hallis are together." Beat. "If I had an ability, then I might not trust you either. You work for the government. She's your girlfriend. Clearly these things are… troublesome at least… right?"

And suddenly it all clicks into place. With his own attention drawn to those publically associated with the situation - the president and Senator Wynn most prominent among them - the idea that others would just be afraid of anyone in the government hadn't occurred to him. It should have, but hey. He's been busy.

"Right," he echoes, making no attempt to hide the dawning realization written all over his face. "Hell, how do I convince anyone else I'm not? I mean, I didn't even know about it until she—" At least Hallis believed in his innocence, or else it probably would've been over right there.

Sydney hmms as she studies George intently, "I don't think anyone would intentionally hurt Hallis, but people do strange things out of fear." Her lips twitch as she tilts her head. "The trains were enough to leave a lot of people with abilities unsettled. They don't know who they can trust and who they can't."

"I don't know how to convince anyone of anything when the United States is turning into a totalitarian regime arresting people because they might someday do something illegal." She offers George a bit of a shrug. "Are you trying to do anything about what's gone on?"

George sighs, gesturing helplessly. "I've been trying to pry more information out of Wynn's office - since before I knew what it was, actually - but that's probably a dead end until they find him again. Or someone on his staff pulls a Haig. I can't just go talk to the president blind, and my own staff… well, I suppose I could put Special Projects on it, but that's one hell of a risk for all of us. Which doesn't mean it won't happen."

"Whatever you do do NOT trust Ivory Wynn," Sydney sputters pointedly waggling ehr pointer finger towards George. "Try not to talk to him face-to-face if you can help it. He's dangerous. " Plain and simple.
"Perhaps you can do something to make sure this gets into debate? I don't know much about politics…" She tilts her head a bit, "Special Projects? What is that?"

George takes the hint right away - that sounds like an ability of its own - and even if it isn't, it's easy enough to do anyway, they've barely seen one another since the last round of elections; most of the actual contact is handled by aides from both sides.

"You know how some job descriptions throw in 'additional duties as required'? I've got a few people on retainer where that is their job description. College kids, mostly. I'll ask them to see what they can do."
Sydney hmms again with a nod. "Just be careful. He's not someone to be trifled with. Believe me. I would know." Her cheeks flush involuntarily. This is a very different tune about Ivory then she had just weeks earlier. With a smirk she shakes her head slightly, "None of this is simple, Congressman. The problems are large. The video… didn't help. Most people think it's a hoax. And the government is still bagging and tagging people…"

"Well, I didn't sign up to deal with simple problems," George murmurs, rising to his feet - it seems the two of them have covered as much as they can, for now - and leaving a business card on the desk. "Let me know if anything new comes up, I'll do likewise. And you be careful, too— after all, I can't take care of Hallie all by myself." Ahahaha, as if that were the biggest worry that either of them had to face.

"She fired me. And I'm not going to be living in the building much longer. In fact, I need to be out by the end of the week. Don't know how helpful I'll be in looking out for Hallis," Sydney says rather matter-of-factly as she takes the card and turns it over in her hands. "You can reach me here if you need, however." She blinks at him. "Stay safe, Congressman."

"You may, however, want to keep an eye on Hallis yourself. I am… concerned about some of the company she's been keeping. You can't tell her I even said that much. Although I never heard about them in an official capacity…" She frowns as she twitches slightly.

George pauses, frowning. "I won't mention that I'm worried about it, either," he replies, after thinking it over a moment. "But I'll be sure to ask about it, if she doesn't bring it up on her own."

"Thank you," Sydney murmurs before she reopens the listings. "Take care of yourself, George…" she uses his name for the first time today. "… and her."

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