Caring Communities


ben_icon.gif brian_icon.gif

Scene Title Caring Communities
Synopsis Brian mentions his idea of opening a shelter for Evolved teens. Ben talks about his last experience with that sort of thing. Hint: it didn't go well.
Date January 11, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

The library is a little more active than usual on this night. There aren't a whole lot of people present, but there are a lot of bodies.

Brian's everywhere!!!

The young man(s) are at a lot of different places, with boxes, backpacks, and dufflebags, putting away supplies making piles of things. The replicator is trying to make a big push on the moving thing, and so he is here in full force. A small little iPod cradle is present supplying the work music for the worker(s). One Brian in particular is perched on top of a table, reading a book. A half eaten sandwich rests on the table beside him as well as a large water bottle. Looks like it's break time for this one.

Ben steps into the library, shrugging off his coat and still dressed in his EMT uniform. It takes him a moment to realize that the people in the library are all Brian. "Oh. Hey, Brian. Where can I help?"

"Benyameen." Brian says with a little smile as he looks up from his book. "It is no problem my bromosexual. I got it covered. Take a seat. Want this?" He points to the half eaten sub at his side. "It's good." He says enticingly.

Ben's brow furrows. Bromosexual? He shakes his head. "Naw, that's okay. Do you have to eat more when you have multiples out?" He waves a hand toward one of the other Brians.

"Yeah. Well I mean. Not me me. I'll just get full. But like.. all of me have to eat. You get what I'm saying?" Brian asks, arching his brows with a questioning look at the other man.

Ben nods, leaning against an empty shelf, folding his arms across his chest. "I think so. What happens if you don't feed multiples and then re-absorb them? Do you end up hungry or is it okay as long as you've eaten?"

A little smile comes up at the young man's lips. It's always nice to talk about yourself. So he doesn't mind the other man's questions. "That's the neat part right. Say I'm hungry? If I duplicate, I will be hungry in the new body right? Okay but. If me over there." He points to a copy not too far away packing something. "Is not hungry and comes to absorb us both, poof poof. No hunger." He gives a thumbs up.

"Does it work that way with injuries as well?" Ben inquires, squinting an eye at the younger man.

"Yup." He says, picking up the sub and starts to go at it. "Like.. I got shot? Remember? But I touch me and poof. No bullet hole. But.. I still have like the memory of being shot and it kinda hurts in my brain.. If that makes sense. Like, I feel it without feeling it kind of thing. Anyway. Doesn't mean I can always do that. If I don't have any copies around and I get shot.. I can't do that. Cause I duplicate now I just have two shot me's. Sucks."

Ben's head bobs. "Gotcha. That's helpful. You doing alright? No problems from when I saw you last?"

"What do you mean by alright?" Brian asks, looking up from his sub for a moment to the older man. He chews thoughtfully on a piece of chicken as he looks at the other man. "You mean like physically?"

"Physically," Ben confirms, nodding again. "Mentally isn't so much my purview."

"Yeah. Physically. I'm fine." Brian says softly, finishing off his food. Crumpling up the piece of paper he sets it down on the table. "Why did you want to be an EMT Ben? If you don't mind me asking?"

Ben smiles thinly, humourlessly. "I wanted to be a doctor first, but I lost my scholarships in my last year in medical school, so an EMT is doing well enough. Eventually, it was to help people who needed help."

"You wanted to be a doctor? Cause you want to help people? Or you wanted a paycheck? I mean.. Eventually? What does that mean? I'm not trying to question your noble intentions, just wondering." Brian says softly, placing his hands on the table to stand up.

Ben cocks an eyebrow at Brian, hesitating before replying this time. "I didn't really have a goal. I liked books, people said I was smart. My family wanted me live up to my potential. I didn't really want to be a lawyer, but I always liked knowing how things worked, so I decided to become a doctor. Honestly, not for the most noble of reasons. And the paycheque was a factor, sure. We struggled, yeah. I wanted to do better if I could. Then my friend needed my help in taking care of Evolved people who were being discriminated against, and I actually started to understand why people wanted to become doctors other than the challenge."

"Gotcha." The young man says, tilting his head. "Discriminated against. I had this idea. I told Helena about it but.. She's like busy with you know the whole terrible guy trying to end the world and whatnot. But I figure once we get rid of this guy.. I mean. What are we really doing to fix the world?" The young man asks. "Besides save it. Whatever. I was thinking about starting like a home. Like a home for kids, Evolved kids, runaways or whatever. Kids that need a place to stay cuz no one will accept them and what not, cause of the whole Evolved thing."

Ben rubs his chin, the five o'clock shadow in progress again. "Yeah? The problem would be setting it up so kids could find it but other people might not want to. You pay for being open right now." His jaw tightens for a moment.

"I was thinking about being public." The young man says, tilting his head. "We could show the world that we're trying to help the world not hurt it. Like the Miracles Project." Brian says, hopefully, really hoping Ben will support his idea.

It takes Ben another few moments to answer; he looks away from Brian, something dull in his eyes. "You might get some leeway for them being kids, but you might not. Being open to the public is a very large risk. You become the target for anyone who doesn't like the Evolved. It starts with small things. Graffiti, getting egged. Getting picketed or protested. Yelling, other harassment. Then getting broken into. If you're renting the property, you might get kicked out or denied altogether." His gaze shifts back to Brian. "Then it goes to the physical harassment. Possible assault. Worse." His tone is flat.

Brian scratches at his stubble, he hasn't thought about that aspect that much. "Well.. we'll protect it." He murmurs. "If they do come at us. Maybe the rest of the country, the world will see, have sympathy. Support us."

"The Miracles surprised me," Ben admits, reaching up to scratch the back of his head. Hair's getting long in the back. "That was good. I'm just not sure it's quite the time for an open place. I'd be wary."

"But it could be good, don't you think? I mean. I bet there's kids out there that are like desperate right now. If we were to be secretive about it they couldn't find it. Kids aren't connected to the underground world of Evolved and whatever, you know?" He asks, tilting his head. "We could like have Cat do lawyery things to protect us legally and whatnot." Brian says.

"It could work, Brian. It could. It might be better for kids who couldn't find their way," Ben says, brow furrowing again, eyes still dark. "It could be good." He sounds like he's trying to convince himself.

"But do you think it would?" The young man asks, stepping up and away from the table. "Would you help me?" He asks, a little weakly. Brian tucks his thumbs into his belt.

Ben winces faintly. "I can't… that's something I might need some time before I'm ready to try again."

"You tried making a home for runaway Evolved kids before?" He asks with a little grin. Knowing that's not what the other man meant, but pretending he doesn't Brian looks inquisitively at the man.

"No, a friend of mine tried to make a support group," Ben says, pushing away from the shelves and eyeing the grin on Brian's face.

That stare could make a lot of things run away, including Brian's grin. "A support group? Isn't that kinda different?" The young man asks, tilting his head. "Did it end really bad?"

Ben bristles less once the grin fades. He nods twice. "Similar. He wanted somewhere Evolved could gather and be there for each other. Talk. Get medical help." He makes a little gesture toward himself with one hand. His jaw sets again, and there's another small pause before he adds, "It ended pretty bad. People got hurt. He died. It scattered after that. People were too scared."

"How?" Brian asks softly, quirking a brow. "How did that all happen? Who killed him?" The replicator asks, glancing at the other man.

"Four random bigots and a crowbar. I think a baseball bat was involved in there, too. I kind of blanked out when someone was telling me about it," Ben says. He sounds tired, and that dull look is just not going away. "My friend's big scary ability was that he could breathe underwater. I was just a regular guy. Maybe they didn't mean to kill him, but they did mean to beat the hell out of us." And Ben looked like he'd been in a nasty fight the first time Brian ever saw him.

If Brian remembers that he doesn't say anything. "I'm.." Giving a frown he steps forward to put a hand on the other man's shoulder. "I'm really sorry man."

Ben nods curtly. "It pretty much sucked," he says, blinking twice, voice controlled. "You see how I'm reluctant to encourage that kind of idea again. Right now, anyway."

Bringing his hand back, he gives a little nod. "Yeah man I understand. You're scared. That's completely understandable. I would be too." He admits, giving a soft sigh. "That really does suck.. Were you close with him, bro?"

"He was my best friend," Ben says, tucking his hands into his pockets. "Look, if you do wind up doing this, I'll help when someone gets hurt or something. Do general checkups, that sort of thing."

"I'm real sorry man." He offers again, his face emitting a certain sympathy and concern that he gets when these sad stories come. "Yeah.. thank you so much man. I'll keep that in mind. But yeah, I completely understand. That's really rough. If you ever need anything.. you know? Let me know."

Ben smiles thinly, one of those polite smiles. "Thanks, Brian. I'll talk to you later, okay?"

"Sounds good." Brian says a little sadly, "Yeah, I should help myself move all this stuff." He motions to his other copies still hard at work. "Uh, seeyalater Bro."

Ben nods to Brian as he heads out, removing his hands from his pockets so he can raise one to pinch the bridge of his nose like maybe he's got a headache.

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