After the Storm



Scene Title After the Storm
Synopsis Having hit rock bottom, the only way for Nick to look is up.
Date December 25, 2010


And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

The room he's held in is marginally more comfortable than the first — behind bars with nothing but a cot with a mattress stained by sweat, blood and God knows what else and a toilet in the corner, the concrete around it stained by drunkards who couldn't find their target.

This room has walls, at least, and a chair and a table. His handcuffs had been removed once the feds had made a few calls, corroborating Nick's story that yes, the mystery kamikaze bomber in their custody was an Interpol agent in place to infiltrate Humanis First's smuggling cell.

Nick refused to give up Walsh's name to anyone but his own supervisors — which meant more hours spent on the uncomfortable chair, left to nothing but his own thoughts, his own demons, as the representative from multiple and redundant agencies bickered and negotiated. At least they remembered to move him from the cell into the interrogation room that he's been in for a few hours.

The small room isn't large enough for Nick and his demons. He's paced it countless times, circle upon circle upon circle until he finally gives in to exhaustion, slumping into the hard metal folding chair and burrowing his head in his hands. But every few minutes, the events of the night replay behind his bloodshot eyes, and he pushes up to circle the room again.

What if they hadn't been able to disarm that bomb? His choices — every choice he's made since he's come to New York, perhaps every choice he'd made in his entire life — have led him down this path, to nearly killing scores of people in a single instant.

Some might call him a pawn, but Nick Ruskin knows that would be too simple. He was used, sure, but because he hadn't been good enough. Hadn't been strong enough.

"You're so weak."

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

He'd tried to make it right — tried to flee the building, to get out in the open and let the bomb take his life in order to save the lives of others. He'd tried to be better. They had made him stay.

As he sits alone in the interrogation room, he realizes he wishes they had let him die.

That in dying, that in sacrificing himself, he might have proven himself at last.

"I didn't save your life that night when Raith and Epstein dragged you out of the water just for you to throw it away, for you to tear yourself apart, throw yourself on spikes because of guilt you don't deserve to feel." Eileen had told him that, almost a month ago.

Nick didn't choose these spikes — they were strapped to him.

But that doesn't mean he didn't welcome the possibility of death.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

At last, agents come in, apologizing to him, shaking his hand, thanking him for his bravery, his courage. Psychologists' business cards are passed to him discreetly. Offers are made to drive him home. One fed even offers him over to Christmas dinner, as Nick makes his way out.

Nick simply shakes his head, promises to take a couple of days off, and staggers out into the fiercely cold dawn of Christmas morning.

The tux, 5 o'clock shadow and bruised face earn him some stares from the few passersby on the sidewalks this early in the day, but most pass it off simply as a man who must have had a few too many drinks at a Christmas party finding his way home.

Home is one thing Nick Ruskin hasn't had in some time. He isn't really sure where he's headed.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

His feet, in those too-tight wingtips, seem to have a mind of their own, and he finds himself stepping into a church after several blocks.

That it is Saint Anthony's, the patron saint of lost souls, is an irony that goes unnoticed.

Nick falls into a pew. There is no sign of the cross but instead his hands just press into his temples, the elbows on the seat in front of him. A sob racks his shoulders.

He almost killed a building full of innocent people. It would have been his fault.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.

If he had died, what would have been lost? Would anyone have mourned him? Would anyone have cried?

"Don’t act like a martyr for saving my life. No one’s gonna canonize you for that." Funny that Nick's last words to Eileen were to call her a martyr. And here he is, once again saved from what should have been Death's victory.

Nick realizes he is angry that he was saved. That he is angry at Kazimir Volken for saving his life in Treblinka. Angry at John Logan for saving his life in Ipswich. Even angry at Epstein, Abby, and Eileen for saving his life on Staten.

He's smart enough to realize it's misplaced anger. He's smart enough to know that it's not normal to want to die.

I will die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I'll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full and mine so small.
Well I'm scared of what's behind and what's before.

Nick stares up at the crucifix, the face of Christ seeming to stare down at him with compassion that makes the young man uneasy. He shouldn't be here.

This is not a place for rubbish like him — this is a place for believers, for people who still believe in the good of the world, for people who want to praise God for what he's done.

That is not Nick.

His hand curls into a fist to strike the pew in front of him with frustration.

This is not the place for him.

There is no place for him…

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

…Not even Death wants him.

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