2009-12-04: Unexpected Visitor



Date: December 4, 2009


An unexpected visitor causes problems.

"Unexpected Visitor"

Sydney's Apartment

The deadbolts of the door click open before the door opens. Decked out in her grey pant suit, Sydney steps into the apartment, her heels clicking against the floor. She drops her briefcase to the floor and drops her keys on the counter. "Hello?" she calls out haphazardly to anyone who might respond.

The room is silent, however, so Sydney unbuttons her blazer and lets it slip off her shoulders. She finger combs her hair into a ponytail and pulls it back using an elastic that's wrapped on her wrist. With a smile she kicks off her heels and puts them in the hall closet. Quietly, she pads over to the fridge and takes out a bucket of ice cream from the freezer and a spoon from the drawer. She pops off the lid, but before she has time to dig into the ice cream, there's a knock at the door. Furrowing her eyebrows, Sydney tilts her head, "It's unlocked… I'll be there in a second…" she snaps the lid back on the ice cream, but when she turns around her visitor is already there, producing a rather startled gasp from the therapist.

"Hello Syd," the broad-shouldered, average built sandy-haired man greets with a smirk.

There are several beats as Sydney backs up further until she's right against the counter, "What are you doing here?"

Why was the room silent? Because, Tiago was a bit too busy chasing his new-found kitten around the guest room, that's why. And once the kitty squeezes past the guest room door, the big bumbling child-man crawls out of the room before pouncing. onto the floor and capturing the fluffy creature in his hands. "Ah! I'm…here…" Guilt is written on his features, for after all, he hadn't introduced little JD Fluffykins to the owner of the apartment yet, and doesn't even know if pets are allowed. And so, scrambling to his feet, Tiago holds the kitten to his chest. "Yo, Syd…I had somethin' I wanted ta…"

But, wait. There's someone in entering the apartment as well, and suddenly, the blonde has grown silent. It is with a sort of muffled curiosity that he steps out of the hallway and into plain sight, although the kitten doesn't do much to make him look intimidating. "…Syd?"

"I wanted to see you…" the man smiles easily through his southern drawl.
"How did you—" the phrase is interrupted, however, by the entrance of one of her roommates, "Chi!" Sydney chimes almost too merrily as she slides along the counter, trying to leave the man in front of her a wide birth continuing to stare at him. "Bryce, this is Tiago. Tiago, this is Bryce." Her lips purse slightly, but she forces a smile despite the butterflies in her stomach. The therapist finds herself standing next to Tiago, still staring at Bryce, clearing her throat, she continues with her line of questioning, "What brings you here, Bryce?"

Bryce offers the apartment dwellers a warm dimpled grin, "Heck, I wanted to see you, Syd. So I called Nana. She directed me to a different apartment, but the current resident pointed me here…" He smirks. "It's been like five years…"

Tiago isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's not the dullest one either. He notices the relief in Sydney's voice as she literally scatters over to his side, and this knowledge prompts the Brazilian to narrow his eyes thoughtfully upon the other man and draw himself to his full height. "Bryce, huh?" He calls out, darting Sydney a very significant sort of glance, before bending over to let the kitten run wild. With this done, he can straighten himself out sans fluffball and extend a hand Bryce-wards, using it as an excuse to step forward between the man and Sydney protectively. "Yo. So like, you're jus' here ta catch up with an old friend, right…?"

"Yes. Bryce Wheaton," he expands his name as his gives Tiago a firm handshake. "Yeah, something like that. It's been a long while and Syd's a sight for sore eyes."

Like Tiago, Sydney shoots her roommate an equally significant glance as she strains a smile, "Well Bryce, now you've seen me, maybe you should go?" THe therapist's expression is hopeful.

"I went to a lot of trouble to find ya… ya think I wanted to see you then leave?" Bryce runs a hand through his hair as he shifts his weight uncomfortably from one foot to the other. "Gee Syd, I didn't think… I mean… I thought you'd be livin' on your own still… didn't like livin' with people if I recall. Too much drama." He offers both that same dimpled smile.

Tiago is already tensed, and the bumbling, warm hearted child that was chasing a kitten just mere moments ago seems to have evaporated, only to be replaced with a street-hardened gangster. The expression on his face leaves no room for light-heartedness, and when the full name is given, he reacts with a curt, business-like nod before allowing his hand to drop back to his side.

"Y'know what I think there, Bryce buddy?" He begins, arching his brows slightly. "I think if the lady wants you ta go, you better damn well turn your ass around and walk right outa this apartment. If you're who I think you are, I'd stop fuckin' smilin' and run. What she does aint none of your fuckin' business." He monotones, casting a clinical glance back towards Sydney as if looking for confirmation.

Sydney nods a bit at Tiago as she takes a step backwards putting more distance between herself and the older man, "I really don't think it's a good idea for you to be here." She tightens her jaw slightly as she crosses her arms over her chest. She murmurs quietly, almost losing her nerve, "I thought I made it clear that I didn't want to see you again…"

Bryce reaches into his jacket pocket and extracts a wrinkled piece of paper that's been folded into a palm-sized mess. "I recall ya wrote that in here, Squidney." His lips continue to smile while his cheeks continue to dimple. To Tiago he just narrows his eyes and tilts his head, before turning back to Sydney, "Quite the comp'ny ya keeping these days…" Following a sigh at Chi's words, he merely shakes his head, "I got some business to clear up with the lady. Just making sure she's taken care of —"

Tiago can feel the weakening of her resolve from here, after all, this isn't the first time the man has dealt with abusive significant others. In a show of solidarity, he moves to clap his palm upon Sydney's shoulder, giving her a squeeze of reassurance before moving ahead. Stepping up, face to face, with the other man, Tiago's careful neutrality is replaced with a sneer of open hostility, and he moves to snatch the letter out of Bryce's hand. "If you recall it, what the fuck're you doin' here? Get the fuck outa my house before I fuckin' put my fist through your face, seu filho da puta. She told ya ta leave, so do it." He has no fear reflected in those pale green, no hesitation whatsoever in the lethality of his movements. This is his arena, this is where he excels.

The arm on her shoulder increases Sydney's resolve at least a little. For a little while. "Yes. Please Bryce, just just go," she pleads as Tiago steps forward. She bites her nail as she watches the interaction of the men, silently staring.

Bryce steps back as Tiago steps into his space. "Look, buddy. Tiago, right? Syd and I go back a long ways. I'm here to apologize," he finally admits. "I owe her an apology." He tries to peer around Tiago to make eye contact with the blonde therapist, "Syd, I'm sorry. I was wrong…"

As Bryce gives ground, Tiago takes it, greedily. He continues to step forward, almost herding the stranger back to the door without pause. Even his intention to apologize does not lessen the Guard Dog's intensity, and in fact, it prompts Tiago to narrow his eyes critically. "Yeah, you're fuckin' sorry. You're sorry she had the balls ta leave you. You're sorry you're about ta get your ass kicked, humiliated in this fuckin' room. Talk is fuckin' cheap, /buddy/." He lifts his hands upwards, threatening to escalate the situation with a shove to the man's chest if he doesn't get moving, though the action isn't taken quite yet. He casts a glace Sydney-wards, nodding in her direction. "She heard ya, ya gave your fake-ass 'pology, now you can leave. If she wants ta talk to you, she'll call."

Sydney falls silent. The apology is working its magic again. It's sincere enough. He means what he's saying, this, of course, doesn't mean things will be different. Her lips twitch as she stares at the pair.
The stranger doesn't back up further. Bryce stands his ground this time, not giving into the urging towards the door. Instead he stares at the man, his jaw tightening and he raises his arms to shove Tiago. His jaw tightens as he attempts to meet Tiago's gaze.

Sydney's eyes widen as she can feel where this is going, quickly she steps forward, "No. No fighting in my home." All she needs is the cops to show up.

Tiago is shoved. But then again, he half expected this. In fact, he was counting on it: it makes you look so much better when you don't /actually/ initiate the contact, but end up finishing the fight anyway. In the end, the man is forced to take a couple of steps backwards, and then he proceeds to disprove a widely accepted scientific theory.

Every action does not have an equal reaction when it comes to Tiago. Oh no. His reactions are so much more explosive - and it shows in the particularly violent shove he returns onto Bryce. He's not trying to irritate Bryce with this shove - he's legitimately trying to knock the big lug onto his behind.

It's right around then, as the men begin their rammy charge at each other, that the front door is open to admit Lena into the apartment. She's got a ratty military green messenger bag slung over her shoulder, and is bundled up in her huge cast-off winter coat. The girl's cheeks are rosy with cold, her hair mussed by the wind outside. And she is nothing less than stunned to discover a brawl taking place right in the entryway. So much so that she stands there gaping, at first.

It takes only a moment for reflexes to catch up to the thoughts running through her mind. The bag is tossed aside, books spilling from it across the floor, and she slams the door shut behind it. There's no way she's going to let the guy Chi is about to beat escape from what must be a righteous ass-whupping.
"…what the hell?"

"Guys. Not here. Please. Just not here. We — we can't," Sydney is desperately trying to remain calm, but her emotions differ significantly from her body language. She's an odd mixture of terror, anger, frustration, affection and even a moderate measure of forgiveness. She steps towards the pair, "Please stop."

Sure enough Bryce is knocked to the ground, but it only takes him moments to recover, getting back on his feet in only a few moments. Of course, now he's good and angry. Narrowing his eyes at the apartment's occupants, he balls his hands into fists. "I just wanna talk ta Squid. Back off. You heard her. She doesn't want us ta fight."

"Are you fuckin' serious?!" Tiago yells out, frustration and pure, unadulterated hate is reflected in his aggressive stance. He is /about/ to jump ontop of Bryce, about to put his history of street fighting to the test, but the opening of the door prompts him to stop moving and look, clinically, as Lena arrives.

For once though, his girlfriend is the last person on his mind. He turns to scowl at Sydney's direction, furrowing his brows darkly. "Sydney! Remember what you fuckin' told me - don't let him suck you inta that shit again. He /hit/ you. He hurt you, again and again, 'cause you kept apologizin' ta this dickface. He don't /deserve/ ta talk ta ya! He don't deserve ta see your fuckin' face!" Should he have yelled this out, with Lena in the vicinity? Undoubtedly not. But he is pumped with adrenaline and anger, impassioned to doing so. And, as he lists Bryce's past sins, he feels the hate taking over him. Enough so that when he turns around to face the sandy-haired man once again, his fist hurtles through the air, intent on connecting with the smarmy bastards face despite Sydney's nonviolent wishes.

The gloves Lena has taken to wearing almost constantly (again) were already in the process of being removed, while a careful eye was kept on the strange man Tiago's pegged as someone worth shoving around. She's not entirely ready to jump in, or she wasn't…coping with the wave of emotion put out by Sydney leaves the girl hesitating by the door, blocking Bryce's avenue of escape.

Hearing her boyfriend declare the stranger an abuser? Yeah, that removes any and all hesitation.

Just as Tiago winds up for his swing, a punch that would surely break the ex's nose, Lena surges forward. For a moment it seems like she's actually pushing Bryce out of the way, connecting hard against his side; she's short but she's solid.

But with the shove comes her own attack: her hands are already moving, one reaching for Bryce's wrist, the other swung open-handed at his face. Her manner of attack? A very, very nasty acid trip.

"Chi, it's not that simple. Yes, I want him to go home — but I don't want him hurt — that would bring me to his level. I need to be better than him." She sighs, "All we need is more attention. We have Hallis visiting, George visiting, and now…" Sydney frowns deeply. Laying low isn't working. Too many people showing up. "Tiago, no!"

The fist connects with Bryce's cheek. That's poetic justice if it ever existed considering that's similar to how he last hit Sydney. And while he's down, the therapist runs towards his side, frowning deeply, but Lena gets their first.

"Lena, no!" she begins to spout, but it's too late, Bryce is LSD high.
The sandy-blonde man visualizes things that aren't there. He sees and feels his skin covered in giant man-eating roaches, and instinctively he tries to flick them away. To viewers he looks like he's flicking at air. The roaches continue to attack him and the man emits a loud shriek.

Vindication! Sweet, sweet vindi- wait a minute, that's Lena! Tiago stumbles back, cutting his intent to absolutely destroy Bryce off shortly in the interest of making sure Lena is not hurt. It is with a heaving chest and clenched fists that he pulls himself back, composing himself before bothering to even really consider the situation. "Yeah - okay - but /I/ want him hurt. An'…"

He's screaming. He's screaming and tripping and…and this isn't something he recognizes. Anger gives way to confusion as the man peers down at the spectacle, furrowing his brows before looking to Lena. "…I…Lena - what…was that you?"

"You don't fucking hit women!" Lena's got a knee on Bryce's chest to keep the man pinned as he writhes and screams. Every word is punctuated by a fresh shot to the cheek, loading more of that particular effect into his system. For a time, she's oblivious to the others, entirely enraged in a creepy sort of way: quiet, intense and utterly focused on making sure the man is suffering.

But gradually it dawns on her that someone's talking. Tiago. Oh. She tilts a look up at him, not entirely comprehending the question. Without looking, her hand clamps down over Bryce's mouth. A moment later, he's given a dose of the same drug that she'd used on Hallis.

"I…um." The girl scrambles off of the strange man and backs away, hands slipping behind her back. "…yeah."

Sydney's face pales. Her mouth gapes. And she's frozen. Completely and totally frozen. Her thoughts, however, are racing. What will Bryce say? Will he remember any of this? Will he remember where he found her? Will he find her again? What did Nana tell him? She's frozen in time. Frozen in space. Stuck. Her brain won't even allow her to react, until she sputters, "W-we …. we … we need to move…" she stares at the now-unconscious Bryce following several more shrieks of terror.

"What do we do with him… if we try to move him someone will see us take him out of the building…" she frowns deeply. "This is why I didn't want it going this way." She mutters to herself, "Damn my emotions…"
Now, Tiago is familiar with near all of Lena's abilities. He's run the spectrum, being doped with the lightest to the most intensive drugs, including having been knocked out once and purged a couple of times. But…he's never had a reaction like Bryce is having right now. And this is what scares him. He looks down at the man, then to his girlfriend, who happens to be backing away. Guiltily. "What…what didya do? What /is/ that, Lena? Didya know you were doin' that…?" 'Cause it kind of looks like she did know it.

However, Sydney's desperation saves Lena from the limelight for now. He glances back at the man dispassionate, straightening himself out. "We'll find a way. Maybe hide him in trashbags or somethin' and pretend ta like…" Trashbags. Bingo. "Eric! Eric. He can teleport 'im down. An' like…Lena can make him lose his memory. No problem, no harm no foul."
"I'm sorry." It's a weak apology, offered up in a meek tone that's been stripped of all of its anger, and aggression. "I'm sorry, Syd. I didn't even know who he was but Chi…Chi said…I'm sorry." But she doesn't go near the other woman, doesn't reach out to accompany apology with any sort of touching. Her gloves were lost in the tussle, and her hands remain bare. They're shoved into her jacket pockets.

"It's…I dunno what it is yet. It's just…a bad trip. Kinda like the LSD but…twisted a little." Pause. "I can give him more of the stuff that might make him forget but he's gonna be out longer if I do," she goes in that same small voice. Another pause follows. "Did he really hit you, Syd?"

A hand is raised to Sydney's forehead as she stares pointedly at Bryce's still-twitching body. She presses her lips together and nods a bit, as she mumbles, "Eric." Swallowing she just shakes her head. "I wish I knew how he found me. Nana… I haven't talked to them in ages." Her eyebrows furrow as her eyes narrow. There's some silence as she considers Lena's question.

"Yes," she finally answers. "It's not that simple though. I think my ability mixed with his temper was lethal for me." She frowns and then quips with a bitter smile, "And even five years later I'm defending him. And no, I don't want him back… although for a moment…" she frowns.

Tiago looks to Lena curiously, his pale green eyes reflecting a sort of pensiveness that is not usual for the lad. He isn't rushing to her side and swooping her into his arms, but he's not reprimanding her either. "Yeah…dose him with more, Lena. We'll…we'll get Eric here and plant him in some motel, yeah? Bring some empty bottles of liquor…maybe y'should write a note, Sydney. Tellin' him you never wanna see him again. That way, he'll think he came ta see you and you gave him the note, and he drank himself ta sleep or somethin'…" He's good at this now. Too good at staging excuses, almost.

However, when Sydney defends the bastard, Tiago feels his anger spike up once again. "No - stop right there. He fuckin' deserves it, Syd. Don't you /dare/ say its ever alright for someone ta hit ya - it fuckin' aint. Especially for a guy - fucking coward." Sneering, he mimes spitting at the unconscious man, displaying just how little respect he has for him.
Unlike Tiago, Lena looks at Sydney with open sympathy. It's plain there on her face, sharing space with the guilt: she knows, she understands. Then she's moving without saying a word about it, avoiding Tiago's eyes while kneeling down beside Bryce again in order to put her hand against his cheek. Blue eyes close in concentration. It doesn't take long, that's the beauty of her ability.

Afterwards, the girl straightens up and pulls her phone out. Eric's number was stolen from Syd's phone and programmed into hers, for instances like these. Just in case. And calling the man means that she doesn't have to actually speak to either Sydney or Tiago.

"Hey, Eric, when you get this you need to get over here. Sneaky like, okay? Sydney's ex showed up, we need to get him to a hotel." Pause. "Maybe bring some Jack too, if you've got it." Click.

"But I exacerbate things, Chi. You guys have seen it. When things aren't that bad I make them worse. And no, I'm not defending him; he still hit me, it's just…" she frowns. "Besides I broke up with him in a note. Tell me that's not junior high…" Sydney sighs again. "He's not like that. It's best if he doesn't think he found me. He doesn't take rejection well…" Her lips quirk as she shakes her head, "He wouldn't even believe he'd done that — drunk his troubles away, I mean. Can we make him forget he was here? That might be best. I've dodged him for five years…" She shrugs a bit.

"If Nana sent him, she will call and ask. Seriously. We need to move."
Tiago scratches the top of his head, frowning heavily as he considers the situation in light of Sydney's new information. "Well…yeah. He'll forget he came here, it's what happened ta that bitch Hallis. But…he might not forget the number of the apartment… Yo - how 'bout this? I'll open the door from now on, yeah? So if he tries ta find you again, I'll be here, and I'll act like I aint ever heard of you none. He'll think he came ta the wrong apartment." Beat. "We do need ta move. We need ta move soon, too…"
Gingerly, he stoops down to the man, before grabbing hold of his arms and proceeding to drag him out of the middle of the room, looking to deposit him by some wall. "It's…whatever. It happened. It's good. It'll be fine…babe? Didya grab hold of Eric yet?"

"I can't control how much he remembers," Lena puts in quietly, sliding the phone back into her pocket. "He might forget all of it, or remember everything. He probably won't remember what happened right before he got knocked out, though. That's what the doctors' book said."

She looks up finally, eyes tracking Tiago at his manly effort to conceal the "body" before shifting to Sydney. "No…left him a message. Guess we'll know if he got it if he shows up. We do gotta move." Moving is so much easier than learning how to not run amuck with her abilities, after all. Lena sidles towards the therapist; she begins to reach out to place a hand on the woman's arm before drawing it back and hiding again. "Hey, Syd? I'm…really sorry."

"You can't open the door though. What if it's Hallis? This is getting too complex. Let's move within the week. I'll work harder at finding something this weekend." Her attention is then directed to Lena, "Lena, it's okay. It's been five years. I've done what I've had to do. And as far as drugging him goes, no need to apologize. He might've found a way to twist everything in his favour. He's done that a lot. He's like that. He's not stupid despite…" She shrugs.

Tiago quirks his head to the side, furrowing his brows thickly. "Well…Jade'll open the door. Or, better yet! Aint no one openin' the door for no one, ever! We'll give people who know us like Eric and Gene and shit a…a secret knock or somethin', so we can recognize it and open! It'll be like a passcode!" See. This is why playing spies with your friends in the streets of Miami is productive in the long run.

With the manual labor done, and lacking anything else productive to do, Tiago heaves out a thick sigh before crawling over to the couch and collapsing into it. What a crazy, uncomfortably day. It's only after he has made himself comfortable that he realizes that the couch is squirming beneath him, and that…

"FLUFFY!" He yells in horror, throwing himself off of the couch to keep from squishing the poor feline.

Lena tucks her chin down to her chest, shuffling awkwardly on her feet. "Yeah…yeah, I know, Syd. Trust me. It's…fucks like that, they know how to work it so you don't know what's right from wrong anymore. Chi is right, we set up a system and then we get out of here soon as possi—jesus!" The cry of man and cat almost make her jump out of her shoes, a hand clutched to the heart thumping madly in her chest. "Jesus, Chi!" The kitten is given a glare as it rockets by, tail poofed out. That's quite enough for Lena!

"I'ma take a shower. Knock if Eric shows up, okay?" she grumbles, directing herself down the hall and into the bathroom. The door slams emphatically behind her.

"Oh!" Sydney is completely distracted by the kitten now. "Kitty!" she chimes as she strolls over to the couch. Apparently the therapist likes cats. "Hello kitty." Her lips curl into a small smile as she reaches down to stroke the little cat. "When did she come here?" Or he? And as she reaches down to pick up the cat, she nods at Chi, "We need a passcode or something, especially until we move. This is ridiculous. If he knows I live here, he might know where I work. That I'm still in school. I don't know what Nana told him." She frowns a bit, but the frown is short lived as the kitten leans against her. "Kitty…"

When the kitten is captured, it squeaks, before squirming frantically in Sydney's hands, attempting to escape and jitter away. But alas, the blonde is too good for him. So the tiny grey then settles down, only to begin shivering with fear within Sydney's foreign hands, blinking its large, blue eyes at the woman. It's clear that the kitten is not exactly used to humans yet - and is a rescue patient.

Tiago looks a little sheepish as he peers over to the women, particularly to Sydney, though he grows with enthusiasm as Sydney proves to be a fan of felines. "/Maybe/…a couple days ago? Lena found him outside in the cold, and she picked it up and brought him inside. It was jus'…is that okay? If we keep it?" Because he's grown rather fond of little JD. Even if he wouldn't admit it. "He has nowhere else to go…Ahem. D'you…think you should talk to your nana?"

"What's kitty's name?" There's no doubt in Sydney's mind that the cat is staying. She coos at the kitten, "It's okay little guy. Syd won't hurt you." She gently strokes his back. "Who's a pretty kitty?" She gives him one last cuddle before gently returning him to the couch. "He can stay. I like animals. Children. Babies. Defenseless creatures are welcome here." She smirks as she waves to the cat again. The smile fades very quickly, however, at the mention of talking to nana, "We haven't talked in two years or more… they call every holiday. Every birthday. But that's it. If I call her… hmmm.'

"Oh…I dunno, I haven't really thought it over much, but I've been callin' him Jack Daniels Fluffikins Esquire." Sure, Tiago. You haven't thought about it at /all/. When she lists her likes, the man kind of jumps, freaking just a tad bit as he squints his eyes in Sydney's direction before breaking out into a faint smile. "Well…yeah, don' worry none. We aint goin' ta show up with a baby anytime soon, no sirree." Because a baby would push him over the proverbial edge. He, quite literally, would have the heart attack he's been threatening to have ever since the whole 'government' fiasco. "Oh, well…I dunno. I mean, I dunno if you should or not, it's up ta you. You don't gotta if you don't wanna."
Meanwhile, JD Fluffykins calms once he's released. He even pads around on the couch, lingering around Sydney and sniffing her with a kitten's curiosity, before finally losing interest in his new landlord and jumping of the furniture to go explore.

"He's cute. I always thought if I got a cat or dog I'd name it a la Dead Like Me. If a dog it'd be JD for Just Dog, or a cat JC for Just Cat." Sydney grins happily as she watches the kitten hop away. "I've meant to get a pet for some time. It's nice to have one around. And he's sweet enough. Just make sure he doesn't ruin my furniture." She glances at the couch and shrugs.

"Would you call?" she asks with a quirked eyebrow. "After everything, a phone call seems so small, but it is Christmas. It's supposed to be a time for family and joy and stuff. But seriously… how can all of these things be forgiven. They wanted me to marry him despite what he did… just to save face, I think. Although they never really explained the why…"

"What's Dead Like Me?" Tiago inquires, pleased that the name, and the kitten, has been accepted by the blonde. He grins brightly, beaming over to her and shuffling towards the woman on the couch to impress the nod he offers as assurance. "Yeah! Yeah, no worries, man. I'll make sure he don't wreck none, I swear!" He sobers considerably the moment that she brings up the family issue again, and settling back in the couch. Brows furrow considerably, and he stares at the distant wall, clearing his throat. "…Me? I…Nah. I wouldn't call. I'd say fuck 'em, but…I think we're diff'rent kinds of people, Sydney. I think I…well. I jus' don't make up with people all that much. But you sound like y'got shit ta hammer out, still. Ta resolve why they did that…ta know why they ratted you out ta that rat bastard."

The bathroom door opens to admit a swirl of steam, and Lena wrapped in a towel. She wanders across the hall to the room claimed by herself and Tiago, disappearing inside. When the brunette appears again, she's decked out in baggy pajama bottoms, a purple tank top and her opera gloves. The towel is draped over her shoulders, and she's rubbing the wet ends of her hair between a length of the terrycloth.

"Serious conversation or what?" The question is asked after Lena pads over to the couch and sinks onto it beside Tiago, sitting cross-legged. One look at their faces is enough to give her the answer. Bryce, in his corner, is ignored.

"It was this television series about Grim Reapers. They like lived among the living. Entertaining dramedy-type. And a comical look at death," Sydney explains as she nods about the cat keeping away from her furniture. "I don't know if I should call them or not." And then she adds simply, "They liked him. They always liked Bryce. Of course, he never disappointed them. Nah, they had their daughter and their granddaughter for that. I just never understood how I became a symbol for all of their crushed dreams." She hmmms a bit before turning to face Lena. "Trying to decide what to do about my family is all…"

"Oh, right." Tiago admits, nodding faintly and drawing his attention over towards Lena as she emerges. When she settles onto the couch beside him, the man quirks his lips into a wry little smile, quirking his brows before repositioning himself, turning towards her to brush his rough hand over her clothe-protected thigh supportively. Or just to cop a feel. Hey - he's allowed, okay. "Well…fuck, man. I dunno what ta tell ya, Sydney…" Trailing off, he looks to his own life thoughtfully. "Y'know…that day, back then? With the waffles and shit? My ma called me. She…got a letter from my da. I haven't heard shit 'bout my dad in ten years, and he writes her a fuckin' letter. She was all cryin'. So, it got me thinkin' yeah? If I had the chance, would I talk ta him?"

Dramatic pause. "I'd probably see him again…but only ta beat the livin' shit outa him for what he did ta us. I wouldn't talk ta him. I don't wanna hear what his fuckin' reasons were, I jus' wanna hate him, so I'll know never ta /be/ like him. So I can make sure I'm diff'rent, that I aint a piece of no good shit."

"Oh…" Lena looks briefly uncomfortable before that expression is hidden under the excuse of needing to dry her hair. The towel is pulled from her shoulder and draped over her head. But before she can get to rubbing the terrycloth over her hair, Tiago drops a bombshell. She peers out at the young man from beneath the towel, lips pursed in a frown. "Your mom called you? How…you didn't say anything about that, Chi."

She is such a hypocrite.

"Jesus Christ, and you guys say I'm depressing." The wet towel is dropped on the floor and she stands to leave the two of them to their gloomy conversation (and the unconscious body propped against the wall) to venture into the kitchen. This day calls for a heavy dose of Cap'n Crunch.
"I'm not going to beat up my grandmother, Chi. It wouldn't be a fair fight, Nana can't take the heat," Sydney quips with an arched eyebrow and lopsided grin as she pads into the kitchen for a glass of water. A glance is given to Bryce's unconscious body. "Do you think he actually was sorry?" she tilts her head as she examines him from a distance. Interestingly she still keeps a wide birth even though he's a drugged out body. "I almost feel bad…" And she actually feels a little bad even after everything.

"Not depressing Lena, just have an unconscious ex laying on the floor of my entryway." And then she murmurs under her breath, "At least he's the unconscious one for once." Pause. "So there's really no way to know what he'll remember when he wakes up?" Beat. "Has Eric called you back Lena? You told him to be sneaky about stuff, right? Honestly, all we need is Hallis seeing us transport a body out of the apartment…"

As Sydney grumbles and asks just where the millionare is…a small swirling bloch of darkness appears in the kitchen on the floor. After a heartbeat of it being there, Eric staicks his head out of it and then pulls the rest of himself out before shaking himself a moment. "…alright. That was a wierd way to do that…" He mutters half to himself before raising his voice. "Sydney? Lena? You two here?"

Tiago blinks. First one, then the other blonde and former blonde ditch him. And then, with confusion written on his features, he glances down on himself, and he proceeds to take a cursory sniff of his underarms, trying to make sure he doesn't actually smell, and that's the reason they ducked away. When he confirms that he smells perfectly presentable, he cranes his head over towards the kitchen. "I wasn't sayin' that you should! I was jus' tellin' ya why I don't wanna talk ta my dad…" Beat. Oh, man. He looks so incurably guilty when Lena presents him with that accusation. "I was goin' ta tell ya! But…then she made waffles and that made me happy, and you had a damn kitty when ya came back, and then we…/you know/." Were he anyone else, he might flush with embarrassment and shame for having not come clean about that particular issue.

But, then Sydney manages to make him hard again. "Don't feel bad. We aint even hurt him like we shoulda. Fuck, if he's sorry, then it aint for hittin' ya, 'cause he wouldn't have done it in the first place if he did. Or the second, or the third…" See where he's going with this? Eric's arrival prompts the lad to stand up, and he furrows his brows grimly, facing the man. It's all business once again. "Hey. D'you have your car here? We needa favor…y'need ta transport some…er…thing inta the car, and we need ta drive ta a far away motel room."

"Don't feel bad. You know how it goes, Syd. They're always sorry after, while you get stuck hiding the marks, right? He's a bad guy. Even Gene said so, the ones who keep doing that shit, they deserve what they get." Lena goes up on her toes to reach the shelf where the bowls are kept. "Nah, my phone hasn't rung. I did tell him to be sneaky, don't worry, it'll be—shit!"

For the second time tonight, Lena is scared out of her wits. The bowl slips from her grasping fingers, plummeting to the floor to shatter about two feet from Eric as he emerges from his shadow hole portal thing.
"Don't fucking do that! Jesus! What's wrong with you people?"

"But he wasn't lying. Like he was sorry for something. I just. I dunno. If I made a mistake and I honestly was sorry, I'd want people to at least accept the apology. Of course, I've never hit anyone like he did… and maybe I'm just too much of a therapist to believe that people can't change…" Sydney purses her lips as she absentmindedly rubs her cheek.

"Eric! I swear he's alive… just a bit drugged is all…" never a good sign when a person has to preface any conversation with that phrase.

This of course causes Eric himself to leap half a foot away from the shattering bowl and the scattering cap'n crunch. "ODIN'S RAVENS!" He exclaims as things shatter like that. "Don't DO that Lena!" A pause. "…and I didn't know anyone was in the kitchen! You people TOLD me to come over as fast as I could didn't you?!" He asks as he settles down enough to listen to just what Tiago and Sydney are saying.



"…alright. Someone explain to me what happened and just WHY you have someone napping in your front room like that?" Pause. "Someone that from the nature of your talking I have a very vague idea that I might want to punch him."

Tiago allows a brief flicker of amusement to cross his features as Lena jumps - prompting Eric to jump in return. Is appeals to his inner brat to see them both scared witless. "Yo - hey guys? Could we like…/not/ yell and have the neighbors call the police on us, yeah?" He advises calmly, heading towards the kitchen slowly. Although when Eric asks what exactly is going on, he falls silent. Not for a lack of things to say - but instead, the Brazilian turns his gaze over to Sydney, very clearly offering her the floor. This is her story, her life - and he's not in a position to reveal anything she might not want revealed to The Crush. "Syd…?"

Lena has no such qualms. Once she has her pulserate under control again, and a full breath in her lungs, she straightens up and proceeds to deliver the story. As she sees it. "Syd's ex tracked her down, got in here and was giving her a hard time. When I came in, he was shoving Chi. So…I knocked him out."

Clean, simple, to the point and without a hint of the fact that she tortured him a little with hallucinations before putting Bryce out of business.

Her version of events spoken, the brunette crouches down to begin gathering up the larger shards of crockery. With gloves on, it's safest for Lena to do so, less chance of cutting herself. Probably.

Raising a hand to her forehead again as she's asked for an explanation Sydney is almost relieved when Lena cuts in with an explanation of her own. "It's not quite that straightforward," she hrms. "He's trouble, Eric — and I'm sure he'd have had no qualms about …." her sentence kind of just fades away into mumbles. "And while I'm not thrilled that he's knocked out in my living room; I'm also glad I wasn't home alone." She shoots a grateful glance to Chi before shaking her head, "It was my fault. I left the door unlocked so I could empty my hands. I had my briefcase and my keys… He let himself in. And I know better." There's another pause. And a sense of urgency in her voice, "We need to move. Like soon."

The young man looks towards Tiago and resists the urge to stick his tounge out at him before he sighs and shakes his head. A glance towards Lena before he sighs slightly. "Alright…lovely. Trackeded her down and he didn't want to just come over hand have tea I guess. If he was shoving Chi the you had every right, and he laid hands on anyone else then I would have done alot worse to him before KO'ing him with that stuff you make Lena." He adds with a matter-of-fact tone before he nods distractedly towards Tiago.

"I got my car, I can dump him at some seedy place somewhere." Then a glance again towards Sydeny before he pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket and starts to scribble somethign down on it with a pen he plucks from his coat pocket. "I'll give you a few addresses of places I know. One sells townhomes, the other duplexes, and the last condos. Find something you like and get back to me. I'll find some way to get you three the money to pay for it. You need to be out of here as soon as you can."

"I got a good jaw-shot in before she…knocked him out," Tiago points out almost childishly, frowning as he looks to Lena, but he's perceptive enough to also leave out the Drug Lab's personal brand of Crucio. There's no way he can leave it like that, like he was being bullied and needed to be saved by his esteemed girlfriend. His arms crossed over his chest, he looks to Sydney with a faintly supportive smile. "No worries, Syd. S'what I'm here for. But, she's right. Aren't we supposed ta be movin' outa the city sometime soon, man?" The Brazilian asks of Eric as he watches the exchange of lyrics, slowly striding Lena-wards

"It's not your fault, Syd, stop saying that." It's a line that's been used on Lena often enough that she's able to parrot it with the same fierce inflection used by Tiago. Sans accent. She tumbles the broken bowl into the garbage can, then goes to rummage around for the broom and dustpan to get the smaller shards. "And see? I told you it was the right thing to do." Even the bad trip! It does help with the guilt, to hear Eric say what he does. And her boyfriend, of course, earns himself a placating look, even a smile. "I wouldn't have been able to grab him if Chi hadn't stunned him first…so if you can clean up after Eric, that'd be awesome. See, Syd, we got it covered."

The dustpan is offered to the Brazilian. "You hold this, Chi, I'll sweep?" The matter of their moving she leaves to those in the know. Or with fat bank accounts.

"Thanks Eric." Accepting the piece of paper Sydney just looks down at the unconscious man before shaking her head and sighing. She says nothing, however, instead her gaze goes to what used to be a bucket of ice cream. Now it's just a soupy mess. With a frown, she picks it up and walks the sticky bucket to the sink while wrinkling her nose. She turns to face the others, and opens her mouth to speak, but it takes several moments to come out. "How isn't it m fault? Today, I left the door unlocked." Pause. "And before that… it's my fault too. He has a temper, I escalate it. He apologizes, my emotions told me to let it go. I did. I followed what I thought was right. This is the way my ability works. I just push people over the edge."

Frown. "I probably caused my issues with Ivory." Yes, she's been giving this some thought.

"Well thats good, so it was an old one-two punch then right?" Eric asks as his gaze flickers between the couple before he shakes his head. "I'll get him moved. Dump him in the trunk of the car and then drive him somewhere and port around to dump him in an alley or something. How long he is he gonna be out you think?" He inquires of Lena as he strolls towards the body. "I can get him to the car." He adds with a shake of his head. "Though just make sure no one comes in, this is gonna be…sorta disturbing for you guys if I can get it right."

Again a frown though before he turns to look towards Sydney with a wry smile. "What kind of therapist feels /that/ sorry for yourself. This guy had a rage problem apparently. Thats not your fault. Ivory…well he did that with /all/ the women I've known to spend any time with him apparently so again not your problem. Just get ready to move though and think of a good reason to break your lease here." He adds as he stars to drag the body by the legs and non-too-gently towards the kitchen.

Tiago blinks as the dust pan is offered to him. Not one, but twice, before he grabs the handle and just kind of stares at it. Once this is complete, he bends down and places it on the floor to collaborate with Lena. Naturally, this makes Tiago's next words a bit hard to take seriously. "Sydney!" He barks, faint irritation on his face. "The guy's a fucktard. /I/ was under your influence too - all of us have been, and we aint beat anyone!" Well…discounting Lena's brand of knife crazy. "Listen - there's two damn things ya can do. You can move one, or you can throw that pity party for you. Normally, you could do whatever - but right now? Hun', things are pretty fucked up, and we need ya ta be tough for us, Syd. Okay? Y'didn't do shit. Tha's like sayin' someone who was raped was askin' for it by wearin' a skirt and make-up or somethin'!"

"Fuck that, Sydney. Fuck that. Listen to them, they're right. If it wasn't my fault I used what I can do to get popular in school and ended up with a goddamn thug who knocked me around, then it isn't your fault that asshole used what he does, and what you do, against you. Jesus, you're acting like it's been five minutes since you got away from your ex, not years and years." Lena ends this diatribe with a soft sigh, the sound delicate enough to sit oddly with the previous statement. Why? Well…
Quietly, to Tiago, she murmurs, "No wonder you get so frustrated with me. Remind me to tell you sorry when we get some alone time, okay?" Then the broom is wielded to pile up the last of the broken dish and nudge into the dustpan being held by her boyfriend. With that job done, she leans against the tool and watches Eric.

"You just do what you do, man. No one's getting in here, I locked the door and we aren't answering it again till we got a code."

"I'm not feeling sorry for myself," Sydney murmurs quietly, even if the statement is true, she'll deny it. "And no, it's not like I left him five minutes ago… I just have a lot of lingering questions." Including her own culpability. And unfortunately, she's far more prone to blame herself than anyone else, including him. "Fine. Not my fault. Happy?" She crosses her arms over her chest as she studies the man on the floor. "He looks old," she observes. "I swear he didn't look that old five years ago." Her lips press into a very strained smile, "I think I can get out of the lease. I can probably gain sympathy from them… or empathy at least…"

"Actually not really. I have to lug this idiot that you obviously still feel sorry for for some mysterious reason out to somewhere to get rid of him," Eric replies as he stops next to a wall. A nod towards Lena then before he reaches out and lies one hand on the wall. A spiral of shadows branches out from his hand as he concentrates slowly, and then he sticks his head though. There is a moment as his head and shoulders dissipear before he pulls them back again and shakes his head. "…eh, I need to clean out the trunk." A glance then towards Iiago. "Get one arm and help me dump him through. I was actually on target this time…I /ment/ to aim for the trunk." He adds before he starts to heft the man up and then over into the shadows as he dissipears.

"And you need to believe that its not your fault before you tell us it isn't Sydney." He adds reasonably enough as he works. "…and not moving out of the city…but fmuch further away at the very least."

Tiago looks over to Lena with surprise, but then his face splits into the proudest, brightest smile. She gets it! And beyond that, she's conceding that he was right all those times! He doesn't even mind the dust flying in the air as he grins over to Lena, allowing Eric to handle Sydney. "Yeah? Oh - I'll remember alright." He assures the dark-haired girl, before straightening up and dumping the dust pan into the trash. The entire dust pan, accidentally. "Whoops, I'll…" But, Eric is summoning him. Frowning at the trash, he starts sliding away from it, moving towards the unconscious body on the floor and bending over to try and pick it up. "Okay, let's go. Ready?" Lugging the man up, he approaches Eric's portal.

Lena shakes her head, hair swinging into her face. The strands are still damp and she pushes them back with an impatient swipe of one hand. "I swear to god, it's like listening to yourself on tape or something. You need some serious alone time with another shrink, Syd. Or me." Because nothing is quite as effective in helping one change perspective than realizing that you hold a double standard. She shoots a small but fond smile at Tiago before busying herself with retrieving the dust pan left by the man. They're doing the heavy lifting, she's more than happy to handle the domestic affairs…this time.

"You guys be careful, okay?"

"I feel sorry for everyone, and I almost m- " Sydney's words disappear in a sigh as she watches the men transport Bryce. She faces Lena, "I have talked to a shrink about it. It's just… knowing what I can do has kind of screwed with my acceptance of the whole thing. But I won't talk to a shrink about that. All I need is to be committed…"

"I can't figure out why he showed up now. I thought he'd taken the letter in stride and moved on to his next vic-girlfriend." So many lingering questions.

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