Do The Right Thing


stella_icon.gif victor_icon.gif

Scene Title Do The Right Thing
Synopsis Victor helps Stella move into her new place and tells her what he's learned.
Date March 2, 2009

Stella's Apartment

Vic has been incommunicado for a few days, which really is not like him most of the time. These really aren't normal times, but he is a lot more considerate than most others tend to be. When he called Stella the first thing he did was apologize for not getting in touch with her sooner. The second thing he did was to ask her if he could come over and talk to her. It being one of those days when he's not working, he has it easy making time for the visit. Well, that plus he can be anywhere he needs to be in a hurry.

It's also helpful that he's been here before, thanks to having stayed a night in one of the rooms at Cat Chesterfield's invitation. In not much time after hanging up there is a knocknock at Stella's door.

Stella is, of course, expecting the knock. She has been tidying her somewhat small room, into which she is still moving in, and the speed in which he arrives still startles her. Stella had sensed the presence of another mind on the other side of the door before she heard the knock, so she'd gotten the chance to quickly check her appearance in a mirror and smooth her hair. Then she goes to the door, unlocking it and pulling it open, smiling warmly at Vic. "It's good to see you. Come in." She steps aside so he can do just that.

Once Vic appears he's wearing a smile that doesn't reach his eyes. But it's obvious from the state of his thoughts that he wordlessly WANTS to be pleasant for Stella. He wants to convey to her that he's glad to see her, because he is. But it's also obvious from those same sensations that he is chaos inside.

"Hi Stel. It's…yeah. I'm glad to see you too." He steps in and looks around. "Wow. So this is all yours now?" Definitely smalltalk making, that.

Stella winces a little as he enters, and his thoughts get louder. Holy hell. She resists the urge to rub her temples, and tries desperately to find the volume knob on his brain, a practice she's been working on lately. It works, a little, but she's hardly fooled by the small talk. Still, she indulges him. "Yup. All mine, as long as I want it. Still moving in, as you can see.. have some things to unpack yet." She gestures to a few cardboard boxes in the corner.

"I'd offer to help but I dunno if you want me going through your underwear." remarks Vic with a more or less sincere grin. And he means the double entendre. His hands were in his pockets at first but they come out to clasp behind his back. Then he turns to face Stella and look at her, chewing his lip. "I'm not fooling you am I?" Yeah. Because you can't really fool girls that are mind readers, when you don't have the first clue of how to keep them out of your head.

Stella shakes her head. "Nope. But we can talk some more about you and my underwear if it'll make you feel better." She flashes him a playful grin, as playful as she can be with his thoughts weighing her down. Then her expression changes, concern infiltrating teasing, "What's wrong, Vic?"

"I found Gillian. My sister." begins Vic. And really from there he may not even need to say more. Flashes of actual memory burst through his mind.

Gillian and Vic shouting at each other over Jenny and her death. Gillian telling him to leave, that he ought to take their parents and leave. His gut twisting in a knot of pain when she admits to him she knows who killed Jenny, and that it WAS Sylar. That she's known. And somehow, impossibly, she's in love with Sylar.

"It's…bad. I don't know what to do. I just really need to talk and Monica's not around to talk to, and Abby, I dunno where she's at. You're really all I have, Stel." And in Vic's mind it's a sad commentary. He can't go to his parents, nor to his sister. What friends he has, they're vanished or busy. In spite of how he makes it sound with words, he's thankful to have met Stella.

Stella gestures to the small, threadbare couch she'd found at a yard sale a few days earlier, "Sit, Vic. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I can just.. take it from your mind. Only with your permission, though. Right now I'm only getting glimpses. Do you want me to do that?" She smoothes away the hair from his forehead, tenderly. "Or do you want to tell me it all yourself, out loud?"

A handwave is all Vic says at first. "You can take it from my head. Take it all. I don't have the energy for secrets right now, Stel." he says, allowing fatigue into his voice. The couch tempts him. To sit and use that much less energy that he could've been using to stand. But instead he reaches for Stella to put his arms around her and grab her up in a hug. "Please just tell me you can see some kind of sense in it that I'm missing?"

Stella takes mere seconds to extract the whole debacle from Vic's thoughts, so fresh is it in his memory. She winces at the pain there, raw and bare, and pulls him closer in the hug. "I'm so sorry," she murmurs in his ear. "I just see tangles upon tangles. But maybe.. maybe you should trust your sister. It seems like she's done as much investigating into this as you have. Maybe Sylar really is different now. But I don't know, my dear. I can't tell you what to do. It's your heart."

A stab of anger about trusting Gillian occurs. But it's not at all directed at Stella, just at the idea of the thing. "How can I trust her, Stel? She's been lying to me all this time. Over a stranger that murdered our sister." Pulling away just enough to search her eyes, Vic asks, "Could you love someone who killed your sister? How is that even possible?"

Stella strokes his back in slow, soothing circles. "Love isn't about logic, Vic. It doesn't happen because it's supposed to, it happens because it does. I don't know what you should do, but it sounds like if you go after Sylar, you're going to go after your sister, too. Do you really want that?"

"No I don't." That's an easy answer, isn't it? But stating what one wants is so often the easy part. Vic's eyes flicker from looking into either of Stella's. "You really think I ought to just let it go? Do nothing? I don't know if I can live with that, Stel." The twist is that deep down, he really IS that crusader. The one willing to do what's dangerous to protect someone else and, barring that, see them vindicated. "I loved Jenny. And I can't help thinking that if I died she would be doing this for me."

Stella tilts her head, her voice gentle. "Would she? Would she be betraying her own sister, maybe killing her too, to seek something that's maybe not the right thing? What if you do it, Vic, and you find out you were wrong, and it's too late to go back? What if Sylar really is different, really has changed?"

"Stella, just because somebody changes does that mean they don't have to pay for what they did?" There's a sudden note of skepticism in his thoughts. Vic looks a little harder at her. "You seem like you're really ready to defend this guy. He's killed people like us. Doesn't that bother you?"

Stella looks back at him just as hard. "It does, of course it does. But I don't want you to do the wrong thing and only find out afterwards that it was so. I don't know.." She lets out a breath. "I don't know what to do. Your sister seemed really convincing, that's why I sound it. But I just don't know." She turns to him, letting him see the doubt, clear as day, in her eyes. "What if you do the wrong thing? What if you get hurt? What if you get killed like Jenny, then what?"

"So it's just about me getting hurt?" Vic asks, suddenly catching a horrible thought. If Stella is somehow in on this. Is she one of Them, whoever They are? It's been a slow process getting to this point, but when Gillian yanked the rug out from under him he's been spinning, finding himself in a world where he sees things polarized into himself and everyone else. Mailbox Man. This mysterious Cat, who WAS rather eager to get Stella staying here, wasn't she? What if something was done to her?

That line of thought is arrested suddenly and Vic takes his hands from around Stella to dig the heels of his hands into his eyes, shaking his head. "I'm just…I wish I could describe this to you." Although perhaps that's about the easiest thing to do with a telepath. "I'm not trying to get killed. I don't know. But somehow the last thing I am is afraid. There's something pulling me in this. Maybe it's Jenny. Maybe something of her is telling me to keep going. I don't know anymore. Maybe I'm going insane." Like from paranoid delusions.

Stella winces when she catches this new thought, taking a step back as tears suddenly fill her eyes. "How could you think that, Victor? I just found you, someone I could possibly /love/, and you want to run off and get yourself /killed/, and you think I'm in league with those people?" Tears spill out onto her cheeks and she takes in a heaving breath, wiping them angrily away. "People who, who, cut open heads so they can use whatever's in them for god only knows what? That's what you think of me?" Her sea green eyes are blazing.

Aw shit, she HEARD that. And instantly Vic just pours regret. "I'm sorry Stella. I don't really believe that, I really don't." At least what part of him is rational doesn't believe it. That much is true.

But the irrational, angry, cornered-rat part of him that has been beset on all sides by doubt and indifference and what he views as betrayal? It's prepared to think anything.

"Please don't…" Don't what? Don't read his mind and see the truths there? That he's begun to sink deeper and deeper into this pit of blackness from which it's hard to see a way out? It's hard to really complete the spoken sentence in a way that is both truthful and supportive. "You shouldn't love me, Stel. I'm not even the same guy you met, and that was just a few weeks ago. I'm a worse person now." And the truth is Vic feels like he wants to crawl under a rock somewhere for seeing that look on her face and knowing he put it there.

Stella feels his regret just as starkly as his desperation, and shakes her head to try to clear it, taking in another shaky breath. "I believe you. And I'm not in love with you, not like that. It's just the thought of you going out there, getting hurt, getting killed.." Her chest aches. "I can't stand it. You're my /friend/, Vic, and I care about you, and I want you to do the right thing. I want to help you. I just don't know how."

If there's anything irrational it's the way someone feels when it comes to family involved in crazy drama. Vic is getting tired of feeling like he needs to be running away and locking himself in a room somewhere. "I really think…that the right thing is going to be the dangerous thing." he says with a high degree of introspection while he says it. "Because if I ignore what I know and let it go, that's wrong. But if I go after it, that's dangerous. And it'd be the easy thing to let it go. I guess when it comes down to it the hard thing to do is usually the right thing to do." His eyes go to the floor. "I'm losing my way."

Stella takes his chin in her hand and lifts it, gentle as can be. "You're the bravest person I've ever met, Vic. I believe you'll do the right thing. I'm afraid for you, but I believe in you. Just think of Jenny, and you'll find your way again. You can do this, Vic. You can." Her voice rings true and clear.

There's a hint of the light that usually shows itself in Vic's eyes as he looks for Stella's. It seems like that might be more or less what he wanted to be told even if it's clear she doesn't really agree with him. Both of his hands close around hers to pull her fingers away from his chin and just touch her. Warm hands. "Do you want some help unpacking?" he asks, voice a whisper.

Stella nods. "Sure. You can start over there," she nods at a box marked "BOOKS". Clearly sensing his need for small talk, she says, "Oh, guess what? I got the job at Old Lucy's!"

A small grin and then Vic suddenly has the box open and its contents starting to come out in an orderly pile. "That's awesome, Stel." he says brightly. "So you decided to go for being a bartender girl instead of a music talent agent?"

Stella kneels next to a box labeled "CLOTHES" and begins extracting the contents. "I decided to do both. No reason why not, right? I'm going to ask Cat if that's okay with her next time I see her, and if it is, go with that plan. After all, I might run into some musical people at the bar."

"You probably will. Musicians are always hitting the booze." replies Vic agreeably. He pauses and sits back on his knees, looking around. "Where you want the books?" Then looks at one. "John Keats?" Significant glance toward Stella. "Lot of poetry. And is this a Pern book? Oh Stella…" He shakes his head gravely.

Stella grins. "I like Pern! Well, I did when I was younger, and now I can't bear to part with it. And poetry is my food and drink. You can put them in the bookshelf," she points to it, hidden in a corner. "And then there's another box of books right under it if you finish quickly. There's food in the kitchen if you're hungry, too."

Somehow having a guy with superspeed around is helpful for moving lots of things in a hurry. In a rush of activity he empties the box, putting the books in the shelf. They're grouped together by subject for the most part, poetry all together and fiction all together, art together, etc. Alphabetical order seems to be ignored or accidental at best. That's done, so he's looking for the next box of books. "You know I can literally eat like, everything in your kitchen and still be hungry. Try not to offer me everything you have." he warns in a friendly manner. "Unless it's y'know…on the couch by the fireplace." He winks at that and begins blurring away at the next load of books.

Stella chuckles. "I forgot how you eat. Well, there's stuff to drink.. or do you drink as fast as you eat? And do everything else?" She teases, working compartively slower on her box of clothes. She sorts them, and lays them out on the couch for later putting in the closet. Her clothes mainly consist of jeans and t-shirts, with a few blouses and scattered skirts.

"You wanna find out?" Vic fires back, teasing on his own. He's trying hard to forget the mood he came here in. In truth, it's WHY he came here. He wanted to forget about slowly going mad, which is what it feels like he's been doing for weeks. It takes very little time for the books to be put away and now he's got two empty boxes. "Empties?" he asks, holding the boxes up and looking at Stella for some guidance on them. "Pitch or keep?"

"Pitch. They're the kind that fold up, so fold them and then put them near the door. I'll throw them out later. You can do the CDs next. Put them on the bookshelf if there's any room left, I'm going to put this stuff in the closet." Stella disappears into a bedroom with armfuls of clothing, only to reappear and repeat the process. Several trips later, she starts on the next box of clothes.

"Check." replies Vic briefly, going through a few hurried motions of breaking one of the boxes down and stuffing it folded up inside the other. The intact box will be a breakdown-box receptacle. When he grabs the box of CDs he's significantly slower with it. They're CDs and those can be kind of brittle, so best not to stress them. This'll take him a little time. "By the way? I really am sorry. I guess sometimes thoughts are a lot uglier than any words." Must be about when he briefly considered Stella might be part of some conspiracy.

Stella lifts her face and smiles at him. "It's really okay. You're having a rough time, man that's such an understatement.. and there's a reason thoughts should be private. I forgive you." She reaches over to briefly squeeze his hand.

Squeeze returned, and Vic's expression is one of ruefulness. He sighs, going back to putting CDs away. "There was a point when I was with Gilly that I had my back to her and she was talking about how she won't let me do it. I guess, go forward with finding Sylar or whatever. And I imagined she had a knife or gun or something and was gonna take me out." He shakes his head at himself. At least the mood is less absorbed in the madness of it all, because he's occupied with some kind of task. Easier to detach from what he's saying. "I don't know what's happened to me. It makes me an ugly person."

"I can't imagine what that must have been like for you. I'm so sorry." Stella, too, is occupied with her unpacking, but winces at the thoughts swirling around in his head and the feelings attached to them. So very intense.

For some reason Vic shrugs about it. Not like Stella's watching to see the gesture. "I should just skip that subject. I feel like I've beaten it to death. How did you get all this stuff over here? Do you have a car?"

Stella nods. "Yup, Dorothy. She's a beat up old volkswagon that my mom gave me when I turned 16. Don't think I'll use her much in the city, though."

"Do you name everything you have?" asks Vic with a grin, one by one putting CDs in the case.

Stella chuckles and nods, sorting clothing. "Yes! They have personalities, they deserve names. You should name your things, too." She points to the television that came with the room. "Her name is Sally."

Briefly Vic looks over his shoulder at Sally. Glances at Stella. And then doesn't vocalize his next question about what particular bits of Stella might be named, or if they deserve their own names. Although a wickedly amused grin spreads over his face at the thought. Putting CDs away…putting CDs away…

Stella glances sternly at Vic. "Bad thoughts!" She exclaims, a blush rising to her cheeks. "You are a bad, bad man." She tuts and begins another trip into the bedroom closet.

"I didn't say it!" Vic says in his own halfhearted defense, though he mutters where he's sure Stella won't hear (with her ears anyway), "…a guy gets curious though." Checks out a CD. Is that Vangelis? Huh. In the bookcase it goes. Yeah these'll take a while since he's not using his speed on them.

Stella comes back to take the next lot of clothes in, and then the next, carefully arranging them all by color. Yes, she is slightly OCD. But no one will see her closet but her, after all. She then returns to the main room and enters the kitchen, "I'm getting a snack. I'll fix you something if you want it, even though you'll still be hungry after."

Hey who said Vic won't ever peek into Stella's closet? Well. Okay, no he wouldn't. He gets the CDs in and breaks down the box they came out of to put it with the other broken down box. "Sure, surprise me." he replies easily to Stel's offer. He checks out the couch and on a whim starts taking the cushions off to look under them.

Stella blinks. "If you're looking for Narnia, try the closet," she quips, while piling potato chips, pretzels, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on plates, grabbing two root beers from the fridge, and bringing the whole thing in to the living room and setting it on the table. "Seriously, what are you doing? I haven't lived here long enough for there to be any spare change down there."

"I was checking to see if it had a fold-out bed. You never know." Vic explains, finding that it's just a couch. Which you know, is okay too. He starts putting the cushions back. "I mean they're really heavy to move and you're not a very big girl, but hey you could've had help getting it up here."

Stella explains, "The guys who I bought it from helped me move it in." She sits on the couch, now that the cushions are back, and begins munching on chips. "Go ahead, eat."

Vic sits next to Stella and takes a couple of chips. "Thanks." he says, sighing and looking around at the room. "Is she charging you?" he asks before looking back at Stella and leaning against the back of the sofa.

Stella shakes her head, finishing chewing before she replies. "No, no charge at all. It's really generous." She cracks open the can of rootbeer and takes a sip.

Huh. "Must be nice." Vic says, practically inhaling the chips and taking a moment just to watch Stella and her rootbeer. "You glad you moved to New York?"

Stella sips slowly, enjoying the taste, and nods. "Yeah. I'm really liking it so far. Nice people, and I have not one but two jobs!"

"You should probably be kinda careful about this place." suggests Vic, eyes giving a touring glance of the ceiling and walls before coming back to the girl sitting with him. "I'm not sure they're on the up and up here. If somebody comes in and raids Cat at some point they might think you're involved with whatever she's into. All I know is people don't just offer free apartments to strangers." And once again, he wasn't always this paranoid. Vic's really gotta get a handle on that before it gets out of hand.

Stella raises an eyebrow, but nods. "I'll be careful," she promises, taking another sip of her drink, then putting it down and reaching for a pretzel, popping it into her mouth.

Shamefully it's probably the first time since he's seen her today that Vic has taken a moment to contemplate how much he likes Stella. Because he really does. And that is certainly a lot more pleasant thought to explore than all the things that are wrong in his life outside these walls. "I've been pretty selfish, haven't I?" he asks, watching her. "I come in here and just go on about myself and stuff."

Stella smiles and shakes her head. "It's okay. You're having a really hard time, you're allowed to be a little selfish. You've got some pretty heavy stuff going on."

With a sigh Vic admits, "Yeah, I guess." With a smile he reaches for Stella to touch her cheek and brush a finger back over her ear. "Thank you for caring what happens to me, Stel."

Stella leans into his touch with a smile. "You're welcome, Vic. Anytime. I'm sure I'm not the only one who cares, either." She points out.

"Oh yeah?" Vic asks with mild interest. The touch lingers, not the least because Stella seems to like it. "Who else? What is there, a fan club?"

Stella speaks, trying to distract herself from his touch. "Well, there's Abby. You mentioned her. And Monica. You mentioned her, too. And I'm sure there are more people. You're quite a likeable guy."

A half-shrug. "Monica's my roommate. She's real nice and keeps to herself a lot, but she and I barely know each other. Though I think she probably cares about everybody a little." Vic thinks about Abby for a minute. He used to have what could've been called a crush on her, but that was a plant that died from poor sunlight and lack of water. "I dunno about Abby. Haven't seen or heard anything from her for weeks." He pauses, trailing fingers down Stella's neck. "How do I keep you from reading all my thoughts?" he asks with a grin.

Stella shivers a little from the touch, then speaks. "It's not easy. It takes some training. You need to learn to clear your mind completely of thoughts, and keep it clear. It's not as easy as it sounds.. there are books about it, in new age bookstores. I bet you could find one. Meditating helps, too."

With a twinge of hesitation Vic stops touching Stella and uses that hand to prop his head against the back of the couch. "Yeah I think I ran across a couple of those books on your shelf when I was putting them up." he mentions with a smirk.

Stella nods, glad to be talking about something she knows something about. "Yes. You can borrow one, if you want. It's really not fair for me to be able to read your thoughts all the time. If you can keep your mind clear, I would only read them when you wanted me to."

"So what? It's not fair that I can totally catch you no matter how fast you try to get away. And no book's going to help you with that." Vic replies with a grin. Although he projectively thinks on the matter of the book: Thanks.

Stella chuckles. "That's true. We are freaks, you and me." She says comfortably, leaning back on the couch and eating a handful of potato chips.

"Do you ever wonder what kind of kids we'll have?" asks Vic with a distracted air. "I mean, not you and me, but our generation. I keep wondering if we're gonna all end up with babies that shoot lasers out of their eyes or burst into flames."

Stella almost jumps out of her skin before he clarifies. "I, um, have no idea. Aren't there already people around who can burst into flames? Pyrowhatsits?"

"Probably." Vic manages while snorting into a laugh. "You totally thought I meant you and me!"

Stella blushes hotly but denies equally hotly, "I absolutely did not!"

"You did too look at you. I can't read minds but you're blushing! You are so pink." And this clearly amuses Vic to no end.

Stella shakes her head. "Okay, fine, I did, and I thought you were positively loopy. Happy?" She mutters something about boys who think too well of themselves.

"I just think it's funny you went right to that." muses Vic with a big grin. Because he's still amused. "Well I guess I've imposed on you enough. I'll get out of your new place so you can munch pretzels and dream about breeding."

Stella chuckles at him. "You're silly. Thanks for helping me unpack. Are you sure you don't want to finish eat.." She glances down at his plate, and sees that it's empty. "Well. Nevermind."

Vic gets up and gives Stella one of those grins, leaving the plate behind. "Later, Stel." he says, letting himself out. "Call me, kay?"

Stella nods, giving him a wave. "I will. Take care of yourself, will you?"

March 2nd: Cherchez le Deckard
March 2nd: Old Blue
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