Have To Be


hana_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Have To Be
Synopsis Wireless and Teo talk about the sundry ways in which they, the collective world, is fucked, the gotta dos and ignore the can'ts. Among them, a waif, a dead man, and one who should have been by now.
Date December 13, 2008

New York Public Library: Empty Garret Room

Somewhere out there, Eileen has been reunited with her family and Cat forcibly severed from her own. People are coping with that shit right now, Teo thinks. Medical treatment, awkward conversations. Somebody else is doing that right now.

It's night time now and the sky is a comfortable shade of black over the derelict library, peppered with stars and punctuated with a fat moon, nearly full, that makes it possible to see the ruins through the window and otherwise unassisted. Which he's doing right now, peeking through a gap in the wooden boards that have been nailed up on the inside of everything, at the behest of the most basic logic of safety. He's in a garret room, the geometric opposite to the one that his best friend inhabits.

An empty bowl sits on the window sill in front of him, slick with residual sauce, and a stainless steel spoon inside it. To minimize waste — which Phoenix can't really afford anyway, the heating doesn't reach the unoccupied wing, leaving him bundled up in almost as much clothes as he'd need to go outside. He doesn't appear to be doing anything which, in the terminology of his life as it is these days, indicates that what he's doing is waiting.

Night's silence, in this empty and forlorn corner of the building, is not absolute. No attempt is made to quiet her footsteps as Hana walks down the corridor, the sounds of shoesoles meeting hardwood at a measured and predictable interval. Step by step drawing nearer, until they cease altogether, yielding to silence once more. It's the kind of silence that makes the back of the neck prickle, knowing someone stands behind, unseen. Yet all Hana does is stand in the doorway, watching Teo watch the night outside. Black leather jacket and black jeans blend with the shadowed room — frigid though it is tonight, she deems two layers of clothing sufficient for a jaunt through the unheated halls.

Hadn't seen a motorcycle's lights splash out over the asphalt, or heard its motors splitting apart the seeming solitude of Midtown outside. Not that Teo had really expected her to be preceded by the ordinary fanfare, of course. The footfalls are more than he might have expected. The lack of greeting somewhat less, though if asked he wouldn't be able to say why he expected her practical impatience to be characterized by a monosyllable of some sort. 'Turn around, goofy padawan,' encapsulated in a shorter word. He spends only about two, three seconds expecting something before he acts instead, turning around with a smile visible in the dim reach of the hallway's light.

"Buona notte. Occasionally I'm sad we're moving base." The second remark tacked on as if he owes her an explanation; politeness, rather than an ice-breaker for comfort levels that never quite change with her. "Did you hear about the prisoner exchange?"

A shrug that would be graceless if Hana were less physically well-trained; the concession of a few steps taken farther into the room, for sake of conversational ease. "I suppose it gets to feeling like home, after a while," the Israeli woman allows. Perhaps meant as a kindness, or an attempt at normality in a place and between people who have forsaken the mundane; but the words are detached rather than empathetic, spoken by someone whose personal concept of home is as badly skewed as her version of normality. "I heard some of it."

He, too, cedes a few steps to proximity. Padawan takes cue. Answers the bit about home with a shrug that looks sloppier than hers, because— well, obviously. That's probably it. Teo can't think of what else it is: the scenery around here is kind of definitively, catastrophically ugly, really, present company excluded. His sense of 'home' is a little off, itself: he hasn't been back to Palermo in awhile.

"They're keeping Danielle, and murdering her on the condition that we don't hand you to them," he says. There is no real reproach in his voice, of course, but there's nothing easy about saying that; cold and bleak with the absence of valid options, the knowledge that there's no other way, no course back, that it's over now, for everyone — except, perhaps Danielle. If he had ever expected guilt trips to work on her, he had learned better the day Sylar took Karl's face to that bank; she's no stranger to hostage situations.

At his side, his fingers move in the dark. It sounds like a footnote though it isn't, when he says: "You had more on Volken."

Hana's expression, that dark and level gaze, doesn't so much as flicker at Teo's words. If anything, the neutrality of her expression gains a texture closer to stone, or perhaps steel; Wireless, negotiate with terrorists, never. Fight them, yes; extricate Danielle by means of force, without hesitation. Surrender? No.

A mere inclination of her head is the woman's reply; neither gratitude nor apology, but acknowledgment plain and simple. Your words have been heard. So, too, is Teo's final statement, a brief phrase which elicits far more in the way of expression. Steel still, but with a fire banked beneath it, embers just waiting for a chance to blaze.

The technopath strides over to look out the gap in the boards as well, the motion an outlet for some of that pent-up energy. "Volken. Yes." A pause; perhaps to sort through the data, to organize what needs be said. "That name is from World War II. The Nazis," she clarifies, the name a hiss of hate and contempt that bleeds over into her next words. "He was a scientist then. For one of their camps." Stiff and futile anger, its rightful targets long-since dead… save for this man, who should be.

They have neither the time nor the means to take Danielle back by force. Teo knows it. Doesn't need to mention it. Installs himself by the wall as she goes to the window and shuts up in order to listen, his hands in his pockets, his balance shifted back on his heels and propped against the smudgey plaster of the wall. His face goes grim long before her words turn so, brow low, mouth a line, a young man's way of paying attention. Although Teo wasn't a particularly apt pupil, he knows enough to be struck by what she says. Nazis. World War II. Yes: the man who should be.

"I wouldn't have believed that a year ago." His eyes blink frost blue in the cold. Somewhere behind her, a hand falls away before it can reach her shoulder. "But that seems to be consistent within the scope of the ability Eileen talked about and the terminology Sylar used. His lifespan, the project he seems to have chosen to undertake." Cleansings, the Flood, the obliteration of the weak; words Phoenix — some of them, at least — have tentatively assigned to an equally general idea: genocide. "A scientist. Did you learn what he was researching?" </re>

"No," Hana replies, the short, sharp word distasteful. "If those records exist, they exist on paper." It may be she doesn't realize he had the thought of reaching out; it is also possible the woman's thoughts are sufficiently elsewhere that the aborted reach passes unrecognized. She stands before the window, still as a statue cast from marble — but not so quiet, for all that her voice is low. "He used the name 'Richard Santiago' on his transactions. Santiago conducts business around the world; Europe, America, Mexico. He has ties with various drug runners and arms dealers. He owns a great deal of military hardware. Two cargo ships. A decommissioned missile silo in Nevada. Other properties out west and throughout Europe."

She pauses for a breath, but never looks away from the view outside, the ruins lit by cold starlight. "Recently… his purchases have been biochemical. Hazmat suits. Wide-dispersal mortar canisters. Refrigeration units." Now the woman turns, eyes darker than color alone could make them. "It's what's missing that bothers me."

If the news weren't heavy enough to anchor Teo's brain forcibly to the subject, his head would probably be floating inside and spinning around a lot too. He reaches up to the back of his head, seizing the lengthening strands of his hair and gives himself one fierce yank, hard enough to make himself blink. Richard Santiago. One alias: he must have others. Drugs, arms — implies money. Land. Land: God knows what's thereeverywhere.

Biochemical equipment: she had employed the term, and he hadn't realized what that entailed until she mentions the specifics, to handle, store, contain, unleash a substance as yet unrevealed. He isn't dense enough to misinterpret her meaning, and he isn't slow enough to stave off horror for long. The Sicilian's eyes go large, his face pale, before enough synapses tick through the progress of thought and flush his features with something akin to fury — preferable, always, to terror.

His breathing changes, sheeted out between his gritted teeth. "How can we go off that? Should we? Or just send more intel to the Feds? They haven't been doing anything with what's been given to them. I think arrests on PARIAH are going down soon; there's too much other bullshit on their plate.

"Ei—Eileen." For a moment, he's embarrassed by the way his voice snags mid-syllable. He has as little of her control as he does Helena's, as different as those two kinds are. "Nobody else in Phoenix thinks that taking her was worth it. Or that we acted too fucking fast that night. That she won't help, or we should've — fucking — tortured and killed her. I think I remember you considered that. At some point." Though seething still, his gaze fallss to the floor and his hand finds itself knotted on the fabric of his jacket. Some part of him hopes she has a mob of equally horrifically competent ex-Mossad friends on speed-dial. That this is on somebody else, now.

"What can they do? We have no proof," Wireless replies. "And the authorities love proof. They will sit. They will wait. And nothing will happen." That same banked fury, quiescent without anything here to trigger its release, remains an undercurrent beneath an otherwise flatly neutral tone. "We would not be loved for it. But if we don't, no one will."

As Teo continues, the woman blinks once, her lips pressing into a thin and humorless smile. "I joined Mossad to kill terrorists," she informs Teo, the words spoken in a soft, low, dangerous voice. A glimpse into the whitewashed hate, the anger and soul-deep grief that made Hana who she is today. She steps away from the window, suddenly restless, the arc of her movement through the room an aimless one. "Not to torture them." Not to kidnap them, not to release them, and not to negotiate with them either. Though she doesn't state it explicitly, it's obvious Hana still classifies Eileen of a terrorist — and even if she had been in Teo's shoes, spoken with the waif, been stabbed by her, it's unlikely the label so applied would have so much as wavered.

Yet she dealt with PARIAH in their time, works closely with Phoenix now, and had the grace to stay away from Munin when others clearly wanted her to remain alive.

He was going to ask at some point. About the Mossad, what she had done, why she had become what she is now. Teo would have asked eventually, and eventually he'll ask more — probably after he gets his head around the resounding truth, which he's been trying to ignore for the weeks and days since Deckard came in, since they had dispatched their information packets. That there is no one else. It's harder to ignore when Hana says it, and he doesn't like it, evidently.

Tep stares at her in the dark as if the messenger could boast being, somehow, every bit as awful as the news she bears.

In a sense, backwardly, and only faintly for now, that inspires a sort of confidence. Better her with them than with the Vanguard, or the Feds. Slapping the labels on where he can see them, allowing him her proximity and grace, the cold reassurance that there is a killer at his back and that her weapons are pointed away from him. He blinks very slowly and finds his eyes dry from the chill. Don't get him wrong: the stabbing had changed things.

Only the wrong ones, perhaps. "I think I should tell Eileen," he says, finally. "Some of this. Ask her to look around. See if this changes… fucking… anything of how she feels. If I see her again." The last sentence is bitten off flat with the prediction of skepticism, maybe even understanding. It's as much of a plan as he has right now. He has to stop and cough, momentarily beating back the growing rasp in his voice, accounted for by bruises she can't see in this light.

Forget Eileen, he tells himself. For a moment. If you don't have her, you still have something. Have to. He'll go mad, otherwise. "Any of Santiago's property we can look at — maybe bug on Manhattan?"

The whip of Hana's head back in Teo's direction, the narrow-eyed look that answers his words, evidences suspicion of Eileen far more blatantly than the clipped, almost-controlled timbre of her voice. "If you can trust her with it." She wouldn't. But she gives him the figurative space to make that decision, rather than attempting to forbid it.

Her feet continue to wander, turning the arc the other way; the motion is unconscious, automatic, the almost feline prowl that accompanies both tension and thought. Tension from the memories and feelings this conversation has roused; consideration of the inquiry that continues it. "Manhattan. No. I have nothing here." They're clearly here, somewhere… but not that she can find records for. It's extremely irritating. "A warehouse in Providence is the closest I can find."

And Teo has no idea of the value of poking around a warehouse in Providence. Then again, he has no idea of whether or not New York City is a significant location in the overall scope of Kazimir Volken's whatever the fuck it is he's doing. He scowls, the sharper edges and angles of his face picked out in the silver through the gap of boarding. "I don't know what else to do." Except trust her, he means but doesn't say. The risks seem to be accumulating to uncomfortable quantity.

Somehow, the fact that Eileen's name-dropping panned out is cold comfort. Refrigeration units and hazmat suits sound, somehow, profoundly worse than the destruction of Washington Irving high school and perhaps even the job done on Midtown, though Teo could barely have grasped such a thing as he tripped over that blood-rimmed shoe past the lockers and prodded through bloated corpses in the Hudson. "Send people to Providence? Just wait?

"I read the news. Volken's been to Sweden, though he left more bodies here. Do we know if the shipments have been coming to or through New York, or should we be throwing an effort at some other geographical location? I don't know that we could do that," he says, though his tone and features betray that he's already thinking of how it could be done, between the abilities they have to call on, the Ferrymen's resources, the skills pooled between those who are not him. He exhales. Runs blunt nails down the line of his jaw.

Watching Teo, Hana observes those changes in expression that express his thoughts so clearly. "Who would you send?" she prompts. "What would they do?" But they are, just as clearly, rhetorical questions; another curving line described by her feet, as though Teo were a center around which the woman pivots. "We don't have enough information. I can track the shipments, at least, if not the goods. Tell you— " 'You' in the collective sense. "— where they're sent. We can extrapolate what he's doing from that. Maybe. But you— " Again, in the collective sense, as she stops pacing and faces Teo directly. "— need to have a game plan ready." Is Phoenix ready for that?

They'll have to be.

Better orbited than circled, perhaps, though physical instinct leads him to do the same: watch her, slightly stiffened, subtracting her location from the ways out though he makes no move toward them. For now. "We'll think of something," Teo mutters. It may not be the most inspiring or inspired answer, but he sounds convinced enough: he can commit to that, though he can't promise that what they come up with is going to make Hana happy. Nor does he make the mistake of forgetting to pluralize the target of her address. Us. They may be profoundly alone in this, but he isn't. "Could you get what you have on paper?

"Hel will want to know. At least after she issues her new edicts." No torture. More protocols, plans, faster-smoother communication; cut the dead weight. It seems they're always cutting dead weight, leaves him wondering when he'll fall away and how.

Hana looks at Teo for a bit longer after he replies, then inclines her head. They'll think of something. Or they won't. "Of course," she replies, at the request for hardcopy. As simple as locating a wireless-enabled printer. And paper, of course. "Let me know when that's done." It's not like they don't all know how to reach her. Wireless drifts in the direction of the door. "Is there anything else, tonight?" she asks, her back turned to Teo.

Teo head falls, though his face doesn't change. He looks at the floor for inspiration. It would be nice if she had a contingency plan to volunteer in that case scenario. If they don't. He couldn't say he was expecting one, though. "Cameron," he says, finally. It's the other other thing, the one death that's been shoved to the peripheral by all of the others that came before and since, yet would remain the core for so much of Phoenix; perhaps even PARIAH. "You know?"

That question is so vague, so very open ended the figurative door is swinging in the breeze. But Hana can extrapolate. She knows that Volken = Santiago, and that Santiago was wanted for the string of mummified bodies. "I know," the woman says, softly, quietly. And she waits there, unmoving in the doorway, unseeing gaze directed into the hall, for Teo to continue on the subject… or not.

The question is so vague, Teo would prefer not to examine it further. Others knew the man far better than he had. Helena, Alexander, Karl. Wireless herself. Teo sees for himself no right to speak for them. They will be angry — that's evident enough. That connection made, however tenuous, he only nods once where she can't see it. He takes up his discarded bowl, then there's a footfall behind her: he's leaving too. "Buona notte, signora Hana," he offers.

Of that list, perhaps Wireless is the only one who doesn't resent the former PARIAH leader's death. He was, after all, more of a terrorist than the former-PARIAH members of Phoenix were inclined to be. "Good night, Teo," Hana replies in kind, before resuming her progress down the hall and ultimately out of the building.

December 13th: Alter Egos
December 13th: Put Your Foot Down
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