Family Doesn't Run


kincaid_icon.gif russo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Family Doesn't Run
Synopsis When you're family you stick around. Mostly.
Date February 21, 2011

Studio K — Kincaid's Office

"I was trapped in a Dome" seems to be a great excuse for missing work and not getting fired, but Kincaid hardly expected to still have his small office open and untouched. There's no pictures in frames on his desk, or anything personal really, besides a few coffee mugs and a personal coffee maker. Man has to have priorities. It's the coffee maker that he's fussing over immediately upon getting in.

Someone had been using it!! Messed with all his settings, so he's doing what will fix everything. A factory reset.

The door to his office is opened for one of the first times since he got trapped. Visibly, he looks about the same as he did before. Shaven to allow for stubble, though not a beard, though his hair left shaggy and unkempt. His clothes are much the same, rather slick and snappy looking, but there's new bruises on his face and neck, bandages holding cuts together, and both of his wrists visible under the cuffs are also bandaged. Clothes cover most everything else, so it's difficult to know how much else he was hurt… It certainly doesn't show much when he walks.

Thanks to his eyes being about as dark as they've ever been.

There's a rap on the frame of Kincaid's office door, and the Advocate host peeks in the door, shuffling into the office without invitation. He's not suited today— dressed in khakis and a sweater rather than a full-on business suit. The blue-hue of the sweater pulls on the blue in his eyes, brighter than normal, less grey.

His eyes narrow substantially as he takes in Kincaid's injuries, but he makes no verbal note of it. Instead, Brad shoots Kincaid a rather rehearsed smile. "Hey," he quips rather than greets. "Good to see you among the land of the living," like the Dome had been some kind of morose grave, a bubble of water containing all life inside.

His arms fold over his chest as Russo leans against the wall and gently gives the door a push, causing it to click closed. "So.. Ryans?" he asks as evenly as he can while his eyebrows arch upwards.

There's a small laugh from Kincaid that doesn't seem to bother any injuries he has. He seems to genuinely find that statement amusing. "Yeah, glad to be out of a giant bubble," he says, as he shoves the pot back into place and begins selecting which coffee to brew of the many he has waiting. There's already a steaming cup filled next to him, but that was from the Starbucks across the street, and this will be the batch he'll spend the rest of the day nursing.

"It's good to see you again," he says in softer tones, once the laughing is done. "Ryans was fine last I saw him, if you were concerned. Saved my life, in fact." He rubs the back of his head, where the gun had been held flush. He still remembers it. If the man had missed, he wouldn't have a head anymore.

"Yeah.. " what exactly Brad agrees with is altogether unclear. He sighs heavily as he shifts against the wall, his hands are allowed to fall to his sides as he shoves his hands into his pant pockets. "Well, it's good you're in one pieces." He shrugs slightly, "He texted me about you."

His teeth play at his bottom lip while his fingers tap gently against his own leg. "Look, I don't know if it warranted an actual life or death emergency, but I called Calvin." There's a very slight, yet still visible, cringe at the memory of the conversation. "I know the instructions said to call Jolene, but— " tears. Brad can't handle crying women, it's like his kryptonite. His mother knew. His grandmother knew. "You might want to be in touch with him or something.'

Oh that warrants more of a wince than his unfelt injuries. Yeah, Calvin is one of the ones he probably regrets giving a contact number for, though at the time he gave them out, he'd been the most likely to have a phone on him. And less suspicious than the others. Or at least potentially.

"It was life and death, but… I can not imagine that was a fun conversation," he scratches at his scalp as if it itches, or just a nervous gesture. "I'll make sure he hears I'm okay. He… is a little odd, but I knew he'd at least pick up. Jolene too, but… I'm glad you called."

J.J. had been in there too, and he wonders if the man would have responded as quickly in their favor if he hadn't known about him. Possibly, but his timing had been perfect in the saving of his life as much as Ryans. "I have a bunch of calls to make today, so I'll add him to the list— " Whether he's looking forward to it or not.

There's an awkward change of subjectness about the way he asks, "So… how have you been?"

"Calvin was— he knew things," there's almost an edge to Russo's tone, a vague indication of some moderate discomfort with the call. "It was fine," he counters with a smirk and flippant wave of his hand in a sad attempt to undo his aforementioned discomfort.

He takes the subject change easy enough, while his hands slip back into his pockets— a kind of safety net to produce an out-of-sight, out-of-mind placement as he answers as vaguely as possible, "Fine." His eyes turn up to the ceiling while he rocks uncomfortably on the balls of his feet, "You know. Work." Because that's the bulk of his life. "Things seem to have settled since my television revelation so— " he shrugs.

His nose crinkles as he forces a tight-lipped smile. It's not easy, it's not comfortable, it's a show— nearly defensive in form and function. "I never thanked you. For C— .." his face contorts slowly, thoughtfully in weighty indecision only to relax once one has been made, "Delia." No cutesy nickname needed.

"I'm just glad she wasn't stuck somewhere alone while I got trapped in the Dome," Kincaid says quietly, relieved that he's being thanked at all. It answers a question he hadn't yet. She's okay. He wouldn't be thanked if she wasn't, he would imagine. "It's good they settled…" he says, but the next moment is followed by a pause. So that he can take up his cup of coffee and drink a big steaming gulp. There's questions he wants to ask, so many…

But when he lowers the cup he asks a question that revisits something he'd moved away from, "What happened with Calvin?"

"I'm sure she was thankful," the edge in Brad's tone returns, but he forces it away, pushing his thoughts towards more important topics like the Dome and Calvin. With the few effects in the room, there's little for Russo to distract himself with other than blank wall, which while it may appear awkward he can't peel his eyes from.

"Calvin.. knew about my connection with Ryans. It's a rather… closely guarded secret," Russo's lineage, for everyone's sakes— Brad's, Ryans', Lucille's, Delia's. "Other things," like his addiction. There's an odd lilt to his voice that to most could pass for boredom, but it's more than that, it's his guard.

"He's an odd one, your friend. Almost immediately I'd wished I'd called Jolene," he admits. "In my experience women handle bad news worse than their male counterparts." He presses his lips together tightly.

Taking another long drink from his coffee, Kincaid needs a moment to respond, and his dark eyes stay lowered toward the cup as if examining it for something. Or just avoiding eye contact for a moment. Could go either way. "Jolene likely would have handled it okay," he says slowly, as if not entirely sure with that statement himself. "She can cry and make a fuss like any other girl, but she treis not to do it around strangers… Calvin just tends to be an abrasive bastard who gets under people's skin."

As the man learned.

"But he's a reliable abrasive bastard most the time." Reliable to get the word to a few people, at least. Whether they could really help him out or not.

"Hopefully nothing will happen anytime soon so you won't have to make a call like that again," he says with a lopsided smile, looking up to meet bright blue eyes with his unusually dark ones.

Brad's smile eases as some now, the guardedness fading, "Well, stay away from Humanis First, okay? I'd rather not call that Calvin guy again, just— weird. He pretended to be some company and then a receptionist at that company and then— " he holds up a single hand like he plans to withhold judgment already imposed. It's all he can offer as a pseudo-apology. The grin becomes dimpled as he shakes his head. "I'm glad you're okay. Honestly? If I ever need to make a call for you again, it'll be to Jolene. Tears are better than crazy."

He shoots Kincaid a lopsided grin, twisted further as he shrugs his shoulders. "So…" Russo's hands shove deeper inside his pockets, one of his tells to indicate impending awkwardness— one that often reflects when he's about to ask an awkward question in an interview, "What happened in there?"

Awkward question indeed. The first responce, beyond the smile carrying over from the last comments, Kincaid picks up his cup and moves around to drop into the seat at his desk. His body seems to relax slowly into the chair, as he looks back up. "I got caught up in a situation where they thought I was one of them at first," he explains.

"I don't know how it looked to others, but when they pulled me into the van they thought they were rescuing me… I ditched my phone and registration card and ID and played along with them, blessing my stars that they hadn't had test kits on hand at first."

At first.

"I was able to pull it off until a few days ago. They never involved me in any of the violent activities, or it likely would have come out earlier…" He doesn't think he could have stood by and let them torture or murder someone— in fact he knows he couldn't. Which is why… "I got caught, they lined me up with a few others to execute us in order to bring out the guy who made the Dome and force him to take it down… They were just about to kill me when Ryans showed up." Ryans and that other guy.

Russo's smile fades as he nods with understanding. "I.. sorry," he manages. "I shouldn't have agreed to that. Ever." He sucks on the inside of his cheek, making an indecisive fishy-face. His head shakes and he twists back towards Kincaid, taking a few steps towards the desk and the work of reprogramming the coffee maker. "I haven't been exercising the best judgment lately. K suggested— " he smirks slightly and waves a single hand again "— I'll do better. Some stories aren't worth what they cost."

He swallows hard, his near apology left between them in the air of the room. "And I'm glad Ryans helped you," he mutters quietly. "I'm sure.. he was competent at that." His lips tighten into a near-smile. "I take it you contacted him when.. she.. " Delia "..had to move? I know.." his hands extend in front of him as he shakes his head again. He's not supposed to be doing this, chromosomes don't dictate family.

"It was my decision to do that, not yours. You don't need to apologize for anything that happened to me in there," Kincaid says, actually beginning to stand up again, as the man gets closer to him. It's as if he's tempted to step closer again as well, offer some kind of assurance. That look of comradery, followed by an awkward glance away.

"Yeah, I contacted Ryans to help with Delia. I figured she should be with family, not a bunch of strangers— And we thought if they suspected anything about you, they might search my apartment as well. I thought you'd be able to sweet talk your way out of things, but… it's hard to say."

Especially these days.

"Though I do kinda feel bad for Delia that he was stuck in there with me too… He should have been with her."

"I have a talent," Brad agrees as his hand rubs the back of his neck. "Mom used to say it was acquired through talking my way out of trouble in the Principal's office. Especially high school," he chuckles lightly at the memory with a shake of his head. "Though it didn't take much this time around. Just my loyalty. Or, more precisely," his blue eyes tick upwards to the ceiling, "my public loyalty."

There's a quiet hmmm regarding Delia and contacting Ryans. "I'm sure she appreciated it. She's been asking for him for some time." At that he actually frowns, an expression not easily erased by theatrics or general merriment. "Judging from past history I doubt he would've been by her side anyways. There will always be something." He shrugs again.

"She seems content regardless." Unceremoniously, Russo clears his throat, "Regardless of it all, I owe you one. For moving her. I really had no idea what they would do, talents aside."

"That's going to get you in trouble you can't talk your way out of someday…" Kincaid says quietly, biting down on his injured lip, despite the fact that it's injured. Sadly, he can't even really feel it, which means he doesn't recognize that he's bleeding until he tastes it and releases his lip and gets up to find a tissue.

There's some blood on his teeth when he speaks again, even as he presses a tissue agianst the abused lip with a soft dabbing motion.

"How much public loyalty do you have to give them? Are they going to start making you take that drug to suppress your ability, or are you controlling it yourself?"

"Haven't run into trouble that bad yet," Brad returns casually enough. "Although, this seemed.." he smiles bitterly, "Praeger knew." There's a tightness in his throat as he rests a hand against Kincaid's desk, leaning into it. "But the official byline puts fault on bad test kits, reiterating the importance of registration to all." His eyebrows tick upwards, "Don't think Mom would've ever imagined her baby boy would become some kind of cautionary tale."

He frowns at Kincaid's bleeding lip, but has enough courtesy to not really discuss it aside from, "I used to suck on ice cubes when I busted my lip. Or an ice pack over the front. Just gets the blood out of the area. Mom used to put neosporin on it, but that tasted terrible— I don't recommend it."

"I support the registry, have a nice little Department of Evolved Affairs contract…" there's a half-smile at the notion of control. "I'm only controlling it if you use the term loosely." He frowns slightly, "I broke a mirror." And then, as if to minimize the severity of his revelation he tacks on, "Seven years bad luck, I guess."

"I don't feel a thing, but I definitely don't want to taste something gross, either," Kincaid says as he tosses the tissue away. No longer bleeding, and he washes the blood off his teeth with his favorite drink— hot coffee. Probably not good for keeping out infection, but that's not what he's most worried about.

"Don't break a second one. Fourteen years of bad luck would be pretty bad— and won't end til 2025," he says with a soft whisper, increasing the volume when he adds on, "Bad luck's no fun." And neither is the idea of supporting the registry, really…

"I might be able to help you with control— I've lived with my ability for a long time, and I had to learn pretty active control. I'm using it all the time." Except when Humanis First releases a negation gas into the air.

"I considered taking the drugs," Brad admits openly with a heavy sigh. "I lost my temper. It doesn't happen often, but when it does— " it's always been fierce. "It's what happened the first time as well. Clearly." He leans a little harder into his hand on the desk.

His eyebrows furrow at the thought of help. "Do you think you could? I.. I haven't actually tried to use it." He pales slightly as his gaze turns down to his hands, the potential to hurt someone haunts him in his sleep.

"What exactly is it that you do?" There's a pause as his chin turns up to the ceiling, "Or.. have I asked you that before?"

"Don't. Even if it seems like your power is scary… the drugs won't do anything except make you rely on them, and the side effects…" Kincaid trails off, shaking his head as he leans to reaches into his desk to pull out his application for a new Registration Card. It's already been faxed in to the DoEA, but it has his original ability listed, his original numbers so they can issue a new one quickly…

"I'm offically Temperature Adaptation, meaning hot and cold doesn't bother me, but can still hurt me. Not a lie, but… I actually have a form of Neurokinesis. I can stop nerve responses from reaching my brain or I can heighten my nerve endings, which is just a fancy way of saying I can make myself feel everything or nothing at all."

The application, which includes why he lost his card and why it took him so long to ask about it, in a steady offical hand, gets put away. "When I first manifested I would use it to read in the dark, cause I could feel the letters and taught myself how to see with touch. That part was nice, but… I can't do that anymore, cause of this…" he pulls up his right sleeve a bit, and shifts the bandages around.

The hand has been brutilized, looks like he was bound and struggled, the bindings hard and cutting deep into the skin, but under that is older scars. "Nerve damage," he explains.

"So it cripples and empowers. Having it on all of the time…" the logic is pieced together thoughtfully; carefully considered and weighed. With a slow exhalation of breath, Brad pushes off the desk, sliding his weight off his hand and back to the balls of his feet. There's scrutiny in the examination of the older scars, a discerning examination nearly unreadable, unquestionable in his claim. He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, allowing himself small grace of space— space yielded to Kincaid, a gift in a way, a personal defence in another.

"What happened?" his hand rubs the back of his neck as the question is posed to the wall rather than his comrade. No short story or shrift answer will satisfy him. "How?" The freshest of the wounds is of little curiosity, but the other, that which makes Kincaid keep his ability on all of the time, that's the concern.

And then, as a kind of afterthought he adds, "As a kid I would've killed to be able to read in the dark. Mom never would've caught me with a flashlight under the covers… bet your parents never knew." There's a twinkle of mischief, a vague indication that he's trying to lighten the mood.

"My parents were— weren't around when I manifested, but it saved me needing a lamp, definitely," Kincaid says with a sad glance away for a moment, paying attention to his desk for a few moments, as if he's trying to find something. Or just fidgeting.

"It's kind of a long story— but I'll give the short version. My hand got crushed. I was with a group of friends and we were trying to help someone— someone in a situation like Delia's. Only worse."

Moving his hand, opening and closing it, he stands up again from the desk, and meets his eyes.

"That's why I knew keeping Delia safe was so important. Because I knew what could happen if she didn't have someone helping her."

"I'm sorry— it was presumptuous of me to assume they were around. I should know better growing up with a single mother." There's a continued measure of apology in his eyes.

"Crushed.. by who?" Brad's eyebrows knit together tightly as he folds his arms over his chest. "And why?" his grey-blue eyes watch his cohort carefully, and while he keeps Kincaid's gaze, he doesn't make any effort to close the distance again; he intentionally leaves that space between them.

"She's.." there are a lot of things Russo could say on the subject of Delia, a lot of responses he could give about his sister, her whereabouts, and her choices. Instead, he opts for, "naive. She accepts help in forms she shouldn't. But I appreciate your helping her just the same, even if.."

"More like a what than a who," Kincaid says, as he flexes his hand again and moves closer. "Let's just say there were traps, and I got my hand caught in one of them when I was trying to get us through them. I should have been more careful. And her, if I had you're power I could have blasted our way through— would have been way more useful than 'gropes sides of buildings looking for secret doors'."

To illustrate, he wiggles his fingers at the air, like he's groping it.

"And yeah, I imagine she does— I just wish I could have helped her more— did she end up somewhere safe? Is she okay still?"

Brad remains in place, even as Kincaid closes the distance. His lips curl upward slightly and his words become sarcastic, "That would take some measure of control." Which Russo neither has, nor, if he's honest, has he really attempted, even after being reprimanded by Huruma. "I take it you got out okay even with the crushed hand? How about your cohorts?"

At the mention of Delia, however, he takes a single step backwards, sliding away a little. His sister leaves him unsettled. "There was an arrangement with— " he openly scowls while the heels of his hand press tightly into his forehead. He can't quite finish the last of it. "She's not safe, not in a way I would have her be, but she doesn't care." The scowl remains as his eyes clamp shut, "I have no idea if she's okay; she made it clear she didn't want my help or my advice. She's made her choices and unlike everyone else in her life, I recognize she's an adult— a fact she's pressed for months." His hands drop before their held out semi-defensively in front of him, "I'm out."

"Most of us made it out okay," is all Kincaid says on that, with a hint of something unsaid. "And we'll help you get some of that control, we just need to figure out what triggers it, and learn to use it when you want to— which'll just take a very secluded location and lots of patient on both of us. We can even have someone film it, make it into an inspiration training montage for our viewing alone," he says with a joke, taking the hand that he's been holding out and slapping it against the man's upper arm.

Despite the issue with Delia. He needs the hand clasp for that, too.

"Delia's not a kid, but she is… lost. I think eventually she'll realizing that there's nothing childish about needing help, and not paying anything at all for it. She was so obsessed with paying us back…" He shakes his head. "What do you mean by being out, though?"

"Sounds like the Karate Kid," there's a bemused glint in Russo's eyes at the notion of training. "I could use the practice though. I don't even know how to turn it on at will." He sighs quietly as his gaze moves to the hand on his arm. His instinct would pull him away, but he doesn't, he remains in place.

With a heavier sigh, laden with the weight of the month's events, his own thoughts, and his true feelings, his head shakes. "I let her choose. I'm.. " he forces a tight smile, an ironic smirk, "..evidently a bad bet. I told her as much when we last talked." In his dream. "She made her choices. I've seen what.. what poor choices, what guidance she's received. What guidance they've both received…" the smile falters. It doesn't fade, it vanishes, draining with the good humour in his eyes, "I was reminded… family is more than sharing chromosomes."

The hand raises away, moving to scratch at his scraggly hair. "More than shared chromosomes… yeah. It's about trust and truth, which is something that I don't think Ryans ever had with Delia, something he's never had with you— " Kincaid says quietly, as he looks toward the door, as if to make sure no one's watching from the edge of the door. What they're already talked about is dangerous enough.

"I have a ton of calls I need to be making. Unfortunately I lost all the footage of the Humanis First activities, but… After what happened in the Dome I imagine we could find more than enough witnesses to talk about what happened in there, what they did. Doctor Brennan was one of those lined up to be executed with me."

He doesn't say Melissa Pierce was there too, though.

"I do plan to dive right back into work. And training."

Weight shifts from one foot to the other, a visual consideration of the choices in front of him. "A smarter person than I reminded me that we choose our family. I was fortunate. I had my mother and grandparents growing up, people who genuinely cared about me— who were there for me. Even when things went wrong, they were there for me." His head turns towards the wall, a glance away, cutting back to memory rather than the present, "Even when I disappointed.. they were there. This one time.. I had taken more of a beaten than I should have. I ran.. I ran a fight club in our school subbasement." A smile cuts at his features. "And I thought I was tough. I came home completely beaten. Mom didn't even ask questions until I was patched up. Always convenient to have a nurse around." His smile weakens, "I was lucky as a kid." That much he can admit.

"But family— the family I have left… it's not like that. I used to scare away September's suitors, pretending I didn't know what I was doing like some kid with a chip on his shoulder. That was my role. To the day she died I denied it. But I took care of her. And she took care of me." His hands splay in front of him, "This? I can't make heads or tails of it. They think they are caring for each other by avoiding each other. By dancing around each other. By being concerned for themselves rather than each other. I gave myself up for her. I could've run. I could've disappeared. I'm not afraid of fading into oblivion.. K would've had me run."

His throat clears and he shakes his head, "But that's not what family does. That's why." Like he's given some grand explication.

As far as work is concerned, "I'm sure K will be pleased. And we can build a panel or something around the events, I guess. We're working on some different ideas. The board was ugly on Saturday.." he cringes. "Fluff is easier to come by than meaningful stories that effect people."

"I wish I had a nurse for a mom," Kincaid says with a glance down at his hands, which are crudely bandaged. He likely should have gone to a real nurse about them, but instead he handled it himself, and turned off the transport of pain nerves to his brain from those areas. A fine control, and one he spent years perfecting.

Longer than many people with abilities— much longer than the late bloomer that stands nearby.

"Fluff's easier to come by, and a lot easier to stomach— I don't think there's a lot of people who want to hear about people being dragged out to be executed…" Or everything else going on in there, for that matter. "Personally I'd rather hear about the cat that survived the Dome, or something sweet like that. Surely there were cats stuck in there who survived."

Who doesn't want to hear a story about a cat?

"I'm glad you stayed," he adds after a moment, voice more serious. "But there may be a time when you need to run away, too. Depending on how this deal you made goes— you may find you’re giving up things that will turn you into something your family wouldn't want you to become."

"Depends on the family as to where they'd draw the line," Brad counters with a lopsided grin that melts as quickly as it appears. "My grandmother has dementia; for years I couldn't figure out why she kept calling me Benji and griping about how I just about killed September and dulled her spirit. It wasn't until after I figured out my father's name was Benjamin that I could remotely discern what she was talking about. She'd be mortified that mom ever was engaged to someone on the other side of the law. Not that I would tell her."

His tongue rolls over his lips. "The family now? They're all wanted. I'd rather not be on a wanted poster if I can help it. My aspirations have never included that level of infamy."

His lips twitch to the side. "What could they do to motivate me out? We have a deal. I talk for them, give them good publicity, and we maintain our.. odd peace. It's not perfect, and while it has its issues, the government is better than none. The dome? That's what the world is like without government. Complete anarchy."

Moving to settle back into his chair once again, Kincaid lets out a long sigh as he does, looking across the desktop toward the older man, whose job is to advocate a government that would, for all intents and purposes, lock the rest of his family up. "Somehow I knew you'd see things that way— that's why I wasn't too worried that you'd find yourself in a dark hole somewhere when your hands exploded on live TV."

Though his tone is soft, quiet, and dark. As if he doesn't have to like the thought.

"You're not running, and neither am I. So no matter what, you won't be doing this alone. I may just be an assistant Producer, but like to think we're friends. And you're gonna need someone to watch your back to make sure this peace doesn't blow up in your face."

"I told you— it's a talent, talking my way out of things; and it's served me well. Again though, I didn't do much this time, they'd already decided what would be done. Even though those test kits would've cost them a small fortune." Brad's eyes study Kincaid carefully, as if considering the other man. "And a mild inconvenience."

"It's good to know someone's got my back," he quips quietly as he slides towards the door. "Friends are fewer and far between these days." His head turns towards K's office, which is far from visible at this moment, "It's good to know I have at least two friends in this world."

His hand goes to the doorknob which he turns carefully, "Just.. avoid Humanis First, and take care of yourself, Joe." The door opens, bidding Brad's exit into the hallway.

"Caid," 'Joe' speaks up as he exits, raising his voice so that he doesn't get to far before hearing it. "I actually used Joe as my name when I was squating amongst them, since I was used to being called that." It was to save his own neck. "It kinda ruined the nickname a bit, I think— so I'd perfer if you called me that."

There's a hesitation before he tags on a soft, "Brad," at the end, like he's not sure, even if he's just said they were friends, that he's earned the right to use the man's first name yet.

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