Get Used To Disappointment


ben_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Get Used To Disappointment
Synopsis Helena attempts to get to the bottom of her conflict with Ben.
Date January 4, 2009

New York Public Library: Rooftop

Some days, one is hard-pressed to find Helena at the library. Which may not be terribly unusual, and Ben may not even be looking for Helena, but it's fairly easy to catch hearing someone commenting about her being on the roof, tending to the garden, and people's subsequent amused lack of surprise as to where they might find her.

Helena is in fact, on the roof, and standing at her makeshift garden of tubs with winter veggies, and one medium tub with flowers that have yet to bloom. Spring isn't close enough. She's holding out her hands in front of her like a ballet dancer, slightly curved, and between her hands is a mass of darkened cloud fluff from which fat wet drops are raining down on the plant tubs at knee height.

Ben is not looking, really; he's more interested in some fresh air. He's got a cup of coffee exuding steam like crazy in the chill and a thick, fat book under one arm. He squints as he steps out onto the rooftop, blinking at Helena's back.
Helena hears the door open, but doesn't automatically turn around. She 'moves' her little raincloud further down the line, and when the new arrival doesn't begin to speak she says, "Yep, whatcha need?" Looking over her shoulder. "Oh, hi." She looks faintly embarrassed and turns her attention back to her efforts. "I won't be long. It's nice up here." It is, and actually it's a few degrees warmer then it might otherwise be, for as Teo likes to say, Helena tends to carry Mediterrenan weather with her.

Ben glances around; he approaches the tubs and peers down at them with considerable curiosity. "It is nice up here. A little warm, even." Gesturing to one of the tubs, he inquires, "What's in this one?"

"That's me." she says, looking a little abashed and proud at the same time. "Uhhh…green onions. Scallions. I think there's a row of carrots in that one, too. Did you need some fresh air?"

Ben squints down at the possible carrots, nodding. "Fresh air is supposedly good for you. I try every once in a while. You do something with, uh… weather? You were watering when I came up, right?"

Helena's little thundercload is still there, though it's slowly spreading and dissapating. "I never told you?" she seems surprised. "I'm an atmokinetic. Control barometric pressure, manipulate weather phenomenon, temperature. Even have a sort of weather elbow, only it's my whole body." she grins a bit. "I always know when a storm is coming. You remember that rainfall that fell over midtown during Miracle Day? That was me. Helped with erosion."

"I never asked," Ben says. "'Til now, anyway. Makes sense, though. The rain and all that." He backs away from the tubs, finding himself a seat on a low brick wall by a large duct. "Are you keeping the roof warm?"

"At the moment." Helena admits with a nod. She looks around until she too finds a spot to sit. "I'm never too hot or too cold. I can pull it in if you're out here to get some of the chill." Her hands rest in her lap, awkward there until she presses them to the edge of her seat.

Ben shakes his head. "Nah. I deal with weather as it happens," he tells her. And he pauses now. "Don't let me interrupt you."
"I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that." Helena says, head cocking to the side. "I meant I don't have to let it be warm. I can push the effect out pretty far, but I can keep it localized to me if you'd rather have the cold." She shrugs. "The plants will wait, but if you'd rather be left alone, I can stop bugging you. Not that I ever do entirely." The corner of her mouth tugs up.

"I mean I don't want you upping the heat for me," Ben says; there's a brief pull at his lips at the bit about bugging him, though what it means is anyone's best guess. "Don't think about it, just …be. Leave it as it is." He stands up again, wandering around the roof, sipping his coffee. "Any news on the bridges?"

"I don't think about it, it's natural for me to regulate." Helena replies a bit stiffly. "No. Why don't you - " she stops, and shakes her head. "I haven't heard anymore about it, not from our seer or from HomeSec. I'll probably try Matt again in the morning."

Ben glances over at her. "Why don't I…?"

Helena gets a completely bottled up expression, but then quietly and avoiding any tone of whinge she asks, "What pisses you off so much about me?"

Ben considers that; he looks out over the rooftops, shrugs a shoulder, looks back at her. "You want to be taken seriously and be listened to as a leader."

"And that pisses you off." Helena's tone is careful, if a bit baffled.

"Nope," Ben replies, shaking his head. "Not really. If you want to have authority and respect, though… you can't act a kid. You can't be cute. Which isn't fair, but that's life for you." He frowns now. "You've got a lot of people around who - I'd say, anyway - think of you more as a sister. A girl." He has another sip of his coffee, adjusting his fingers around the cup while his thumb stays hooked through the handle. "This is getting bigger than it was when it started. Phoenix, PARIAH… whatever. That's the impression I'm getting. You're going to get more people like me who don't know you personally."

Helena is silent for a few moments. "I make mistakes." she says quietly and carefully. "When I find them or they're pointed out to me, I try to correct them. I'm human, and I feel things, and I don't always know how to process them, but I'm trying. I have the trust of the Ferrymen's leadership and so far I have the trust of Phoenix's membership. I don't wake up in the morning with intent to screw up or make bad decisions, I want to do the right thing for everyone." She moves to stand, not beside him directly, but on the same horizontal line, a few feet away. "Do you think how you react to me is going to make me a better leader? What would you do if you were me?"

"If I were you, I'd be more concerned by whether I'm trustworthy and can do my job than why I do or do not like you. You don't need me to like you. I don't actually dislike you, if it makes you feel better."

"I can do both." she says. "You matter." With a shrug, Helena retreats, moving back to her vegetables.

"You don't need me to like you," Ben repeats, blinking twice. "But you're used to people liking you, right?"

Helena stops midway. He's hit a point, it would seem, which may or may not have occurred to her before. "Yeah." she admits, looking uncomfortable.

Ben nods a little. "Thought so," he says. "When you want a sandwich, it's easy to just bat your eyelashes at the nearest guy and ask him in a sweet voice if he'll please do it for you, right?"

Helena eyes him sidelong. "It may be that I could do that," she conceeds, "But I don't. I'm perfectly capable of making my own damn sandwich."

"I've seen you do it," Ben points out before having another sip of hot coffee. "First night I met you."

Now it's Helena's turn to lift a brow. "The first night I met you I was in a restaurant." she counters. "People get paid to bring me my sandwiches in delis. Which they do for everyone. But I've been doing for myself since - for a long time now. Yes, I like having people like me. But you're painting me to be this spoiled brat who uses people, and you don't know me well enough to make that assessment."

"And you're exaggerating," Ben replies easily. "Oh, Ben hates me, Ben thinks I'm awful. It's easy to say that. I'm just pointing out that you got a favour done for you by batting your eyelashes. You can get a sandwich if you want. You're fully capable. Am I saying you're a spoiled brat who uses people? No. I'm saying it's an easy thing for you to do and something you don't think twice about. But it's something a mascot gets away with, not a leader." His eyebrows go up. "That's the other thing. Leaders don't go around declaring themselves to be leaders."

"I'm not even sure how to respond to that." she replies. "I've been around people who've done just that, and made that exact point to them. People apparently listen to me and folow me at least most of the time, and more than most of the time I have no idea why." She's frustrated now, spilling over with things to say, unwilling thus far to let any of it fall past her lips. "I'm afraid - I can't even talk to you, because I keep thinking no matter what I say, you'll turn it around and twist it. If you think I can't or shouldn't be doing this, talk to Teo, talk to Conrad, and find someone who'll do it better. I'm trying."

"I don't intend to twist anything. I like to think I offer a different point of view," Ben says quietly.

"You don't know who I am." Helena says after a moment. "But I'm trying, and this isn't a game to me. I get the impression you think it is."

Ben inclines his head. "I know it's not a game to you." Sssip.

Helena is left somewhat hanging. She doesn't know how to resolve this or finish this, or even what to do with this conversation. "I hate being a disapointment to people." she says tersely, and edges back toward her garden.

"So do I," Ben says after a moment. "And I've disappointed plenty of people. I'm sure I'm being disappointing now. But. In my opinion, that's kind of life. Not everyone will like you, and you will always, always be disappointing someone, seems like." He glances back toward the stairs down.

Helena has turned to look at her squash, but turns back at his comment. "I think you should make an effort not to disappoint people that you care about. But I guess that just sets you up for it."

"Yeah, well, everyone's gotta find their balance. My suggestion here is to just keep it under consideration that I'm not likely to sugar-coat anything for you like a friend would," Ben says, adjusting his grip on his cup and edging toward the stairs.

Helena shakes her head a little. "Real friends," Helena replies, "don't sugar-coat for you at all." She turns back to her garden, lifting her hands. Already air is starting to swirl and darken under her palms.

Ben tilts his chin a little; alright, then. "Take care," he says as he turns and heads back down into the library.

January 4th: Was This an Error?
January 4th: The Others
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