An Open Door


ryans2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title An Open Door
Synopsis Ryans check in on Veronica and they talk about the choices before them.
Date May 22, 2010

Fort Hero

The particular lab room that Veronica has spent the last twenty-four hours is at least equipped with a bed. Well, a gurney. The infirmary being rather full, it was thought best she remain in the lab room while the tests to determine her power were conducted — it would keep her away from others, lest her ability flare out of her control (what control?). That and she doesn't actually have a room on base — she'd been sleeping on the couch of a rec room while staying here for the duration of the storm.

Though the room does feel a little like a cell, with a one-way mirror for observation of the tests conducted within, the door is actually unlocked. Veronica Sawyer is not a prisoner.

The woman is dressed in yoga pants and a tank top, one of her ubiquitous Berkeley sweatshirts folded on the corner of the cot. She didn't bring many clothing options with her when she packed to "move" temporarily to the base, and the few outfits she has have been often washed. Her feet are bare as they take her around in slow, thoughtful circles, pacing the small perimeter of the room like a caged tiger.

A soft knock echos in the small room, before the door opens. "Sawyer?" Comes the question, before it opens the rest of the way, to show the tall form of Benjamin Ryans. Wearing a sky blue dress shirt, with the sleeves rolled up and for once a pair of blue jeans. Of course, he is sporting a bulky cast on his right arm where Paulson snapped the bones with his ability. "I hope I'm not interrupting." A small tug at the corner of his mouth, showing just a hint of a smile, which crinkles the corners of his eyes, pulling at the healing scratches left by Huruma.

"I thought I would come down and check how my new Assistant Field Director was doing." He tries to keep the tone light, but it comes out a little dry. The older man still trying to grasp at the new appointments, he's only ever been a field agent. "They figure you out yet?" He glances at the mirror briefly.

She pauses in her circuit of the room when he enters, then leans against the wall closest to where she stands. She looks exhausted. Her face is wan with dark circles under the eyes, though she has no visible wounds unlike the rest of her team, besides some bruising that doesn't show. She got off light. Physically.

She gives a shake of her head, brows knit together at his words. Shut up here, she has not received the memos of the promotions, so his words make little sense to her.

"Yeah. I … here." The blood work isn't back yet on why the old tests came up negative. Veronica pushes away from the wall to a chair nearby, where she picks up a folder. This she carries to him to hands over. In it, a summary of the findings on her ability. "Still trying to figure out some of it, and some of it … well. Not willing to be a guinea pig for everything, not that we have everything possible here at the base to test with."

While she leaves him to read, she moves to the gurney, to force herself to sit.

Taking the file, brows lift slightly. "I'm guessing by that look, you have not heard. I thought you might be out of the loop." Shifting the file to cradle against his chest with his broken arm, Ryans reaching back to pull a folded sheet of printer paper and sets in on the gurney next to her, finger pointing at it, as he states matter of factly. "You'll… want to read that. Memo just came down the line."

Benjamin then turns to take a few steps away, leather shoes scuffing on the linoleum, as he opens the file to read it. As eyes scan over the printed words, brows lift high on his head. "Really?" He asks, looking up from it to her. "Well… that explains yesterday." Propping the file on his cast, he skims over the findings again. "I can honestly say I've never seen this before." And the old man has been around a long time.

The younger agent picks up the memo and skims it, then snorts, shakes her head, and hands it back. "Congratulations. You'll do a good job. I'm shocked I'm not fired, really. 'We had our orders,' and all," she murmurs flatly, quoting Bianca Karina's words after shooting Paulson. "I just thought… there might be another way."

She hands back the memo and nods to his arm. "I'm sorry you got the brunt of that. How are the others? I feel a little bad that I don't have any casts or stitches like the rest of you." For once. Just bruises around her throat and her back, emotional scars and a new ability to make sense of.

"You're not the only one that hesitated, Veronica." Ryans points out turning towards her. "But… I'm not sure there was another way. Not to mention all those people he killed. Many were involved with Icarus… but others were true victims. Including one woman just returned from maternity leave." Closing the file, he turns back to her slowly, lips pressed into a fine line. "Don't beat yourself up about it. We all get faced with things like this. It won't be the last time either."

His lifts up his cast and grins, "And this… this is nothing. This is a minor set back. You forget I've been doing this job for longer then you have been on this earth, I've honestly had to heal worse. Though, I do hope to have some time to at least heal from the past week. Not to mention a chance to deal with the cluster made by someone kidnapping my girls." The file is set on the gurney and he studies her.

Hand resting on her shoulder so that she looks at him, Ryans asks, "How are you holding up, otherwise?"

As he speaks, Veronica nods to show she hears, but her eyes remain downcast and her attempt at a stoic expression doesn't change. "I'm sorry about your daughters. I'll do what I can to help with that, if you need me," she murmurs, voice cracking a little, though from her bout of laryngitis rather than emotion.

Her eyes finally come up at the hand on her shoulder, and her dark eyes meet his blue. She gives a shake of her head. "Nothing makes sense. And… I'm a person who needs order and sense. I was going to be a doctor, you know? Everything is just… chaos… and I don't know what to do." It's a rare honest moment for her, to actually tell someone how she feels, especially a coworker.

His head gives a short little nod at her words, his eyes turning aside thoughtfully, an humorless smile playing on his lips. "Honestly… this world hasn't made sense for a long time." Fingers tighten a little, a gesture meant to comfort. "I tend to just plow my way through it all and hope I make it out alive."

"What you need to find is something to keep your focus. Something that reminds you why your doing this as you wade straight into that chaos. For me is my girls." He explains softly. "Getting the most dangerous of evolved off the streets, keeps them safe." His head angles away, a glance over his shoulder towards the door, "Do I like it here? Not really." He offers honestly. "I have… witnessed the worst of this Company, but when it comes down to it…" Eyes narrow at her in a thoughtful manner when he look back at her, "…they still protect people and I know what this place is capable of."

Hand sliding away he adds with a lift of his brows, "And we'll treat these people like their human." A jab at the Institute in that statement.

Her focus is miles away on Staten Island — or at least that's where at least one of him is. She nods, glancing away as well, her brows furrowing together. In moments like this, Veronica looks younger and more vulnerable — not the duel-black-belt hard-ass ice-princess agent that many think she is. A little girl lost in a dangerous world.

The word human brings her eyes back to him sharply. "Like they're human," Veronica repeats and there's a short huff of a humorless laugh. "I didn't even think about that. To … a lot of people, I'm not human anymore." A slight smirk curves her full lips upward, pulling the dimples in her cheeks out, though the humor is superficial at best. "I guess to some people, I wasn't anyway."

"No, Veronica." Ryans says with a deep chuckle, his head shakes slowly. "You live and love just like the rest of us. Have a family just like the rest of us. Have dreams and regrets — You're human… just…" He makes a gesture with his hand as if looking for the right word. Then his brows lift and he gives her a true smile as he offers, "…special and now just happen to have an edge over the rest of us."

The smile fade away slowly and he sighs, moving to the mirror. Though he doesn't look at the scratched face, he's looking beyond it. "I've seen a lot of agents come and go Sawyer and I won't blame you if you do. I've seen that look in the eyes of a lot of agents." His eyes refocus on the reflected image of the woman sitting behind him. "But, I am selfishly asking you to stay, at least for awhile longer." He slowly turns back to her. "Help me." His words are softly spoken. "I need someone I trust at my back." Someone that would turn a blind eye to some of the decisions he knows he'll make.

The talk of love and family makes Veronica drop her eyes again. She has love. Family — not quite. A secret fiance. An almost sister. An estranged mother lost in a world of alcohol and valium. The Company was her life and it's been crumbling under her feet brick by brick.

"I don't know what else to do, to be honest. But… Except that Ichihara and Paulson were murdering people — I agree with some of what they said. And I want to find out … they knew about the bomb? And let it happen, or just… couldn't stop it? Even so — they could have evacuated. Come up with a lie, that there was going to be a terrorist attack, something."

Her eyes lift and she seeks his in the reflection. "I believe what I said — that we've changed. I know your principles are like mine. I know Ayers' are, too. I believe that we're trying to do the right thing, but are we just pawns trying to do the right thing while the founders and upper management move us around like pawns to do things we wouldn't agree with?"

"I agreed too, but the only way to find those answers is to keep doing what we are doing." Ryans offers honestly. "Keep finding ways to keep doing the right thing and make them think we're doing the job."

He moves back towards her, turning to lean back against the gurney, arm folding awkwardly, cause of the cast. "Do you know…" His voice softens to a whisper. "Winslow. Now this doesn't go beyond us, but… twenty years ago, I found him." It's something he has never told anyone, only one other knew his secret. "I… let him go." His head turns away, gaze dropping to the floor. "All because he and I both were both brand new fathers. He… begged me to let him watch his little girl grow and promises to stop using his ability."

He sighs softly, eyes darting back to Veronica, a corner of his mouth tugging up into a crooked smile. "Bit me on the ass…" His head moves back and forth, his smile widening just a little, into a more amused look. "Or benefited me depending on how you look at it."

"I… I guess what I'm saying is." Ryans doesn't continue for a long moment as he considers his words. "This job, what we do. Ways can be found around what they want us to do that we don't agree with. We've already been doing that." He points out. "But… I am running out of options. Of course, then they stick me in this job…" He doesn't continue, shaking his head slowly, the old man still a bit shell shocked by it.

The fact he showed mercy to Winslow earns him some respect. Their principles are more in line than he knows — as he doesn't know about Brian or the fact she shares information with Elisabeth Harrison and Cat Chesterfield. Those, he probably wouldn't agree with — couldn't, in his new position.

Veronica chuckles and shakes her head. "You know, for a while? The only thing keeping me here was I was afraid they wouldn't let me go without wiping my memory. I know too much to just get a handshake, you know?" She taps the file now set back on the gurney. "They can't do that to me now. It opens a door."

Her eyes flick to the door, then back up to him. "I have a choice. I … I'll think about it. To help find the answers and to help protect people. To help you. But I need to think about it for a bit."

His eyes roam over her features thoughtfully, before he gives a slowly nod of his head. "A choice." Ryans repeats softly, "That you do have, you're right." Straightening from the gurney, he sighs softly out of his nose.

"Do think on what I said. I need allies at my back… especially, with people like Allison around." Ryans has always had a distrust of people with mental abilities, especially ones that have that and think they know what your feeling or what your issues are. More then likely from experience.

"For now, get rest. I'll be up for a time. I still have a lot to look over, not to mention the paperwork and deciding how to deal with O'Niel." The Assistant Director grouses softly, never having been one for management jobs. His head nods towards the door, "You are welcome use the room I took over, while I'm stuck here, to get decent sleep in a real bed."

Turning towards door, he stops again, turning back, "And if you ever need some one to talk to Sawyer… my door is open." A true smile creases the corners of his blue eyes again, "And not as your boss… as a friend." It's not a word tossed around casually with agents, especially not Company agents.

A real bed is something she hasn't slept in since the power outage necessitated her staying at Fort Hero. Rec room couches, office chairs, and the infirmary gurneys have had to suffice. "A real bed — that's an offer I might take you up on," Veronica says with a smile. "This room is feeling a little too…" she casts a glance at the one-way mirror as she stands, picking up the file and finding the pair of flip flops for her bare feet. She doesn't finish the sentence, but it's easy enough to guess. It feels like a cell or possibly a cage, even with the door unlocked.

"Richards," there is a slight smile as she begins to move toward the door, "won't be able to get in my mind. There are some perks." And disadvantages, but with spring finally around the corner, just in time to turn into summer in a month's time, it's best to focus on the positive.

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