A quite huff, a subtle relaxation of the shoulders, a look to the side, and blatant frustration washed over her features for a moment.An action she’d gleaned from living with Veld, occurring subconsciously and unchecked. No, he said. She felt like a three year old, denied something just within her reach.
Although here would be a bad place the throw a tantrum.
The gleam in the older man’s eyes grounded her from her thoughts, and she resisted taking a step back. Instead, she played a bluff (at least she hoped it was) and sat down heavily at the table, staring into the tea cup in apparent, utter defeat.
He’d like that.
Mentioning Fu was a low blow. But, she reasoned, that’s why he said it. She tried to keep the cringe, the sadness, the anger-any emotions that had developed over the years and been tied to that name-away. Her hands left the katana completely, and she fiddled with the tea cup. It gave her something to do rather than reply.
If what he says is true, I’m going back to the base. And there isn’t anything there. But he could be lying. Lying and science. Things where he’s steeped in talent.
She forced herself to stop thinking about it. She had to face this man with a clear head, and thinking about Fuhito and AVALANCHE and the past…she couldn’t afford the slip.
He spoke again, and anger was apparent in her eyes before he even completed his thought. His “intellectual property”? What did that make her, then? Her grip tightened on the cup. Intellectual property, eh? What if I cut off your head, old man? Then you don’t have much intellect left.
“You have no right to withhold information what you did to me,” she said, tone level, her speech slow. “I am not asking because I want to repeat the atrocities that you find enjoyable. I only wish to understand exactly what was done to me.”
Appeal to emotion? Was she stupid? It wasn’t going to work; neither was citing each and every law that he was breaking.
Still drenched, Felicia sank into one of his chairs, and Hojo was somewhat bemused but not surprised by her utter disregard for his furniture. Her expression was subdued as she spoke, voice admirably emotionless, but the grip on her mug betrayed her agitation. Hands still in his pockets, the professor let the silence drag out long after she finished speaking - like a patient parent might wait for a child to realise the ignorance of its own words - before he chuckled, and rounded to the other side of the kitchen counter to pick up a tea towel hanging beside the sink.
"Can you tell me something, Miss Felicia?" Placing the fabric down beside her tea, in case she might want to do something about the rain on her face at least, Hojo pulled out the chair across from Felicia to sit down at the table. "What would be the purpose of understanding exactly what was done? My notes are extensive, outlining every anaesthetic, every post-surgical complication, the results of every TPR - but such intricate details would be uninterpretable and utterly meaningless to the layperson. They would take you years to work through, and I guarantee you’d emerge from your reading more confused than before you began.”
At this distance, he could see the spark of anger in Felicia’s eyes clearly. Amazing, that though she resembled her father better when she was younger, the girl now captured Veld’s mannerisms so well as to remind Hojo infinitely more of that infamous ex-director. It didn’t sway him, however. Not back then, and certainly not now.
"So, rather than wanting to read about the actual procedures in themselves, I gather you’re hoping to find something else from pursuing my notes, hmm? What is it, Miss Felicia? What, exactly, are you searching for? Because, though you won’t be able to persuade me to give you those files, I am available to answer any… existential questions you might have.”
He leaned back in his seat with a tepid smile. “A nice chat would be much more useful to you than, say, killing me and ransacking my house. That, I promise you.”
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