2007-11-25: Tsarevna

Starring:

Noah_icon.gif Haitian_icon.gif Felix_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Sasha and Caretaker

Summary: Felix is taken to visit his daughter, Sasha — under supervision — by the Haitian and H.R.G., who is unaware of what's happening to his own daughter back home.

Date It Happened: November 25th, 2007

Tsarevna


Michigan

The air is crisp and cool off the water. The sun is setting over Lake Michigan, an explosion of colour from orange to pink and gradually becoming golden, dark as the waves lap against the white shore, dusted by snow. A small, idyllic log cabin overlooks the water. Snow covers its peaked roof. Other than those present inside, evidenced by chimney smoke and the black van in the driveway, there's no one around.

For miles and miles.

Until now.

Noah's company car pulls into the driveway, right behind the van that was behind it. When he opens the door, he is not happy. Not only is he forced to go away from his daughter knowing that Sylar is on the loose and actively targeting his daughter, but that the one person he knows and trusts to help him with Sylar is forced on another important duty. It's enough to make a man want to kill…

"So, to review, if the Haitian points toward the door, it's time to leave. No questions, you just go. You will be allowed to talk to your daughter, but I will be accompanying you the entire time. Make no mention of her mother unless she brings it up first… There is no sense in rubbing salt in the poor child's wounds." With that, Noah straightens out his suit coat and begins to move toward the cabin door, presuming that Felix knows how to get out of a car on his own.

"Understood," Felix says, curtly. He doesn't look precisely overjoyed, as he levers himself out of the car and follows after Noah. His eyelids are heavy and his lips very tight with restrained displeasure, but these are the rules that have to be followed. He has, incongruously enough, a stuffed lambie sticking out of his overcoat pocket. Presumably a present for her.

Another car door is shut, and presently, alongside Mr. Bennet is his oft-silent partner. Quiet as the landscape they've driven to here today, and dressed against the oncoming winter in a brown leather jacket and denim, is the Haitian.

Inside the cabin, a caretaker hired by the Company brushes aside a daisy print curtain and peeks outside, expecting the visitors. An older woman, who could be Mrs. Clause in another life, a real grandmotherly figure, moves to unlock the front door. It's quite a process, bolts and latches and finally preparation of the security system to allow the cabin to let outsiders in. She opens the door and steps aside. "She's in there."

"In there" would be on the multicoloured rug beside the gently flickering fireplace, where Sasha sits cross-legged, her back turned.

Noah knows that Felix doesn't like the rules. If the roles were reversed he would be just as unhappy, if not more. But the rules are there for a reason, as shown by the LAST time Sasha accidentally ran amok. Moving over toward door, he nods toward the woman. Allowing the Haitian and Felix to pass by toward the child, Noah figures he'll take the time to check in once more. "Everything been alright since the last visit?" Noah is cautious, but in this profession, you can't be careful enough.

Well, this is it. The moment of truth. And somehow, it's worse than the interviews he had to go through to be vetted by the Bureau. Fel's throat works visibly as he shrugs off his coat and heads towards Sasha. He's in a blue oxford shirt, dark gray pants. No suit jacket, and certainly no gun. "Hey," he says, quietly, as if to call her attention away from the flickering flames.

The Haitian slips past Noah and the caretaker to linger silently in the living room area, powerful hands clasped in front of him. His attention is more on his partner and his conversation with the woman, more than the little girl and her father. He's listening closely, it would seem, because what's to be heard by the sharpest of ears is interesting.

"She's been fine," the Mrs. Claus woman answers. A benign answer, so why does she seem so edgy, wringing her pinkened hands together? "Taking to her lessons well," she adds with a glance over to the Haitian then back to the man in the horn-rimmed glasses. She becomes hushed. "But you know, it's just…"

… Meanwhile, Sasha plants a small palm on the rug and twists around to see her visitor. Bright eyes take in Felix, staring up at him.

"She's normally so quiet… like a mouse, like your friend there…" the caretaker continues.

Sasha turns around to face Felix all the way, sitting neatly, Indian style, on the floor. There's a small rubber ball in her hands, swirled the colours of the earth: blue, white, green. "Hi."

"Lately she's just been chatting up a storm. Did your daughter ever have imaginary friends, Mr. Bennet?"

Felix gives Noah a warning look at that. The Company has his medical history, they know about his illness, so surely they're monitoring Sasha for that, at least. And then his gaze is back on Sasha, and he just looks down at her for a long moment. "Do you know who I am?" he asks, gently, going down on one knee.

Noah seems to not even look back toward Felix, though it's unlikely that the look escaped his notice. Usually, Noah is a man who is acutely aware of his surroundings. Watching Sasha as the woman speaks, he continues his conversation to 'Mrs. Claus' as he watches the interaction of daughter and father. For now, the Haitian is left to his work. He knows what he needs to do. "Sasha been giving any names to her friends?"

The Haitian does his job simply by standing there. The whole cabin is basked in his negation. He steps back, into half-shadow made by the firelight. He's so still, he could be a fixture of the cabin decor. (If the cabin preferred Tall Creepy Black Man over rural and cozy.)

The caretaker shakes her head, her gaze matching Noah's — that is, she too watches Sasha and Felix. "No, no, she won't say. I guess she's bored, no kids her age to play with… but it's nice to hear her laugh."

"You're…" the girl's crystal clear voice falters when it hits the air. She looks down, dark hair hanging in her face while she silently hems and haws to herself. She peeks back up eventually. "You're someone important," Sasha says, as if repeating what was told to her. That's probably exactly the case.

"I'm your father," Fel says, voice flattened out to tonelessness to keep it from wavering. He reaches back to his coat, and fishes the lambie out of his pocket. It's a little bundle of microfiber wooliness, with a smiling sleepy face and a pink ribbon around its neck, scented faintly with lavender. "Brought you a present," he says, proffering to her.

"As soon as you get ANY names, be sure to let me know" is Noah's simple reply. Names like Fuzzy Lumpkins or Strawberry Shortcake are fine. Names like Parkman or Sylar would be clear red flags that something is wrong and immediate action needs to be taken. Even in a peaceful setting like this, it's clear that Noah is on edge, his entire body tense despite a mostly calm poker face. Only the occasion glance out of the corner of his eye would give any outward clue to Noah's emotion state.

The young girl seems to take this revelation well in stride. She's calm, for a child her age — that is, when she's not upset. This doesn't upset her. Thoughtful eyes take in the present, and she reaches out to take the stuffed lamb. The rubber ball stays in one hand; she clenches it tight. Felix's gift gets a softer grip as she brings it toward her. "Thank you. It's … it's really soft." She looks down. "Do you live in Russia?"

The caretaker just nods as she watches Sasha. "Yes, sir."

"Not anymore. I did when I was a boy, but my parents brought me here when I was eleven," Fel explains, voice still gentle. "Now I live in New York City." With your mother, who we can't quite mention yet.

"I don't like New York City," Sasha admits, looking down again. There's a tremulous quality to her tiny voice. She hugs onto the stuffed lambie, hooking it under her elbow, against her chest. After a time, she peeks up, blue eyes settling on Felix. With childlike wonder and curiosity, she seems to study him.

Felix shifts his weight, a bit uncomfortably. "Why not?" he wonders, no criticism in his tone. "Though it's very pretty out here, I'll admit."

Sasha's study ends, for the time being, she she looks at the floor again. "It's … big. The buildings look like monsters and… there're… a lot of people." Sasha blinks her dark lashes, holding the plush toy all the tighter. "I'm not supposed to be around a lot of people."

"It's overwhelming," Fel allows, giving up and sitting down crosslegged beside her. "And at the moment, no, you're not." God, she's so tiny. How'm I responsible for this little person? Felix's expression is equally wondering. "What do you like to do here? You play in the snow, right?"

Sasha perks up a little, nodding swiftly, her pale little face enlivened. "I like it here," she says; and then starts to grow sullen. "At first it was…" she trails off but, night turns to day again with a calm change of mood. "But when it snowed, I got to play outside, with my friend."

Felix asks, tone companionable, "And who's your friend, then? Do I get to meet him?"

Sasha is the most adamant she's been so far in her reply: a shake of her head, back and forth, to and fro, and a widening of her eyes. "Mm-mm!" Drawing in a deep breath, she looks all around, taking in the Haitian nearby, as well as the caretaker and, lastly, Mr. Bennet — recognizing him where she hadn't before, her eyes widen all the more, and she clambers around behind Felix, a little hand grasping his jacket sleeve. "I'm supposed to keep her secret."

And that is officially Not Good. "I see," Fel says, though really, he doesn't. "Why's that?" he wonders, turning to keep her in sight.

If Noah felt that Sasha's opinion of him was important, he would try and console her, tell her that it was going to be alright. Maybe even treat her as he would treat Claire for a short time. But there is someone here already doing the work for him and seemingly doing it well. As usual, Noah's methods seem to be working well… or he has the devil's luck, one of the two. As the girl hides behind Felix, he just moves toward a window to look out, hopefully making the child think he's distracted. Likely not considering she's a bright girl, but hope springs eternal.

Sasha watches the man with the glasses, but she dares to answer Felix. "Because they'll take her away if I don't," she whispers, in the innocently matter-of-fact way of a child, as if Felix ought to understand all along how obvious it is. She draws her knees up underneath her, sitting on her heels.

The Haitian, who has been watching unobtrusively, now slants a glance from Noah to Sasha and tips his head up.

"They?" Felix flicks a look at Noah and the Haitian. "Those men there, or someone else?" He puts an arm around Sasha, gently, as if to keep her from scrambling further behind him, or away.

While it is impossible for Noah to entirely disappear, he does remain his silent vigil. Felix seems more than probing enough. The Haitian gets a second long look, speaking 'through the eyes', before shifting his attention back to Sasha. Felix only gets a brief glance before the attention goes back to the child. It seems for now, Noah is content to see how things go on their own.

A current of fear runs through the little girl. Put on the spot, she clams up and becomes nervous. Sasha doesn't move — in fact, she stays very still under Felix's arm, save for a tiny shake-shake-shake of her head.

Let's change the subject for a moment. "So, what do you want for Christmas?" Felix wonders, oh so casually. She better know about Christmas, or heads are going to roll.

"Um…" Sasha slowly starts to come around as the subject is changed. "I don't know." She looks down at the stuffed toy. "Is this a Christmas present?"

The bit of unusual behaviour seemingly in the past, the Haitian folds his hands behind his back and simply nods to Noah. Meanwhile, the caretaker bustles in the adjacent room, more than likely a kitchen.

Pulling away even further from the conversation, Noah moves his attention to a nearby window, studying the area outside. While it starts to be a simple scan, he does watch the moving tide for a short time. He doesn't want to be here. Sadly, like most here, he's got conditions and obligations to hold up. Taking a deep breath, he turns back toward the direction of the caretaker, trailing her with his eyes as best he can without moving.

"No, not really," Felix says, gently. "Just an anytime present. She's supposed to help you have peaceful dreams - that's why she smells like lavender." He flicks a look at Noah. Do we need to go?

The caretaker is fussing about, putting away dishes. She doesn't notice Noah, but then, she's not doing anything suspicious to be on guard about.

A little smile finds its way onto the girl's pint-sized pretty features, an obvious commingling of Felix and Mariska's. She hugs the lamb. "Will you come back?"

Mr. Bennet just taps his wristwatch in response to Felix when he looks back to see eyes upon him. It's clear that there is nothing too pressing or he would have a trace of a frown rather than his usual poker face.

"Yes, of course. I don't know just when, but it will be soon," Felix assures her, before simply holding out his arms to her. Hug goodbye. Noah gets a nod in return.

Sasha hesitates, at first - she sits there, hugging the lamb instead of Felix. But after her perceptive blue eyes take in Felix's and seem to wile out that he's sincere, she gets to her feet and walks into his embrace. "I wasn't sure that you existed," is all she says.

The Haitian, on cue, moves along the edge of the room and drifts into place beside Noah, waiting.

"We'll talk again, Sasha… Perhaps we can even arrange a friend your age for you to play with." Would Bob be keen on the idea of putting Molly and Sasha together? Not likely, but maybe he can make a case for it by the time he gets a chance to talk to him about it. Looking to Felix, he gives the simple command of "Come along" before heading out of the door. He pulls out his phone as he moves through the door, merely checking to see if there are any messages on it. There aren't, a seemingly good sign. Placing the phone away as he moves toward the car, he climbs in and merely waits for the rest of his party to do the same.

Now that -hurts-. But Felix doesn't wince - there's just the faintest tightening of his lips to betray the sting. "Well, I'm here now," he says, matter-of-factly. "And I'll be back soon." He hugs her gently, and kisses her on the forehead, before rising and shrugging his coat on. "Good night, tsarevna," He cups her chin gently with a palm, before turning away.

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