How and When and By Whose Hand


felix_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title How and When and By Whose Hand
Synopsis Joseph tells Felix about what the Ferry has in its holds.
Date November 5, 2009

Calvary Cemetery

A massive, sprawling collection of gravestones, all as unique from each other as the names and dates printed upon their faces. There is a chaotic feel to this place, overcrowded with those that have passed away; a jungle of crosses, statues, tombs, domes and headstones as simple as jutting teeth. Winding pathways lead several different tours through the plain, and there is a kind of anxious peace to this place, and its visitors are few and scattered. There is an awe-inspiring view of the wrecked skyline of Manhattan, reminding those that don't need to be reminded of how fast life can be snatched away.

In comparison to the ruin of Midtown making up the horizon on one side of this sprawling Queens graveyard, Mona Rao's grave is a small monument indeed. This place is as vast as the blast that had changed the world, and Joseph's not seen anything like it before he came here. Just once, for the woman's funeral. This would only be the second time.

He has his back to it as he waits, a warm brown jacket drawn around him against the chill of fall and dusk, a hazily overcast sky painted colours of sunset. His hands are white and stiff around where he's clenching the fabric closed, his shoulders stiff, and Joseph has wandered some from the grave to read a handful of the granite monuments around him. Catholic saints make solemn faces above a couple of sites, and his boot nudges near where a tomb is laid into the ground in an expanse of marble and dirt. The air smells like rain, though none of it falls, and grass glistens wetly underfoot while many paths cut tracks through it, including one leading to this particular destination.

It's not his own grave he's come to visit. Because Fel still has one here - there's an austere marble monument not too far from here that reads "Felix Nikolaievich Ivanov. November 30, 1972 - " with the space for the second date not merely blank, but clearly carved out. Reports greatly exaggerated, and all that. The Fed's ever more a dour figure these days, in his semi-retirement, clad in a dark gray overcoat, white scarf, blinking past his glasses. He's got a little bunch of flowers in his hand, all of them white, and there's the rasp of shoeleather and the clicking of his cane on the paving stones, as he comes hobbling up. It must make those Humanis First who know laugh - he may have survived, but they've crippled the speedster, put his power nearly beyond his reach for good. "Preacher," he says, tone neutral, as he comes in to easy speaking distance.

It's the cane that Joseph looks towards first, and then up towards Felix when he makes his greeting, casting him a nod and moving to meet him halfway in that casual distance. Mona's headstone will end the loose triangle they make, participating in only the form of a reminder. He pushes his hands into his pockets, and shrugs a shoulder. "Good to see you upright. How've you been?" The question is too sincerely spoken to be particularly designated in the role of insubstantial small talk.

He stoops to lay the bundle of flowers by her stone before answering - the movements are graceless, like those of a man more than twice his age, and he has to brace himself with a hand on the headstone as he rises. "Well enough," Fel says, quietly, blue eyes opaque. "Got fitted with the permanent prosthesis," he adds, offhandedly. "You?"

Quelling the urge to help, Joseph stands where he is with his hands hidden as Felix sets about laying down the flowers. The pastor didn't bring anything other than his thoughts and prayers, and so the white bundle lies lonely next to the planted stone. "Busy," is a short answer, Joseph keeping dark eyes on the monument before managing to tick his gaze back up towards the former federal agent. He adds, with a smile, "Well enough."

It's not cold enough for breath to hit the air and become visible, but it's certainly audible when Joseph draws in air, lets it escape in a sigh. "This is stupid of me, and unfair on you, but I don't think it's fair for me to keep to myself. We have Danko in— a kind of custody."

And Joseph ends it, there, looking across at Felix studiously and allowing that to filter in before he says anything more.

Felix doesn't freeze or swear or….really particularly seem to react, at least at first. He just blinks at Joseph for a long few heartbeats. And then his gaze goes inward turned for a moment or two beyond that, before he refocusses on on the preacher, with that peculiarly intent glitter in his gaze. "May I ask who 'we' might be?" Since it's clearly not Joseph and the squirrel in his pocket. His tone is mild, not particularly heated. "And what 'we' might intend to do with him?" For all his casual tone, though, his knuckles are white on the cane.

Though it doesn't show visibly, Joseph's heart is beating a little harder than it should be. They're not only two survivors, but men with jobs and alliances and obligations. Trust is hard. "'We' are people he's attacked and killed before, for virtue of bein' Evolved, or sympathetic," he manages to get out in an even tone, slightly too toneless and practiced in an effort to hide his own nerves, frazzled as they are. "And what 'we' want to do with him— that ain't decided yet. I'm aimin' to turn him over to the authorities."

You're not helping, Leon, why is that? Fel lowers his head, just a fraction, eyes Joseph from under his brows. It's….not friendly, for all that his expression is sympathetic. More so, at that final reply. And then he takes in a slow, deep breath and says, simply, "I approve of that. If that's how it ends up, let me know, and I'll do what I can to help. Conversely, if it so happens that he doesn't come alive into the hands of the authorities, I'd also like to help with that." Yes, he just offered to help out with the vigilante justice.

Though that makes Joseph's jaw set a little steelier, paleness standing out all the more, he still manages a sincere, "Thank you." Goodness knows that such an outcome is getting likelier and likelier. His hands emerge from his pockets to run palms together nervously, slightly cloudy wedding ring barely catching the minimal sunlight available to them. "I want to see him stand trial, and punished fairly. I've talked to Detective Harrison already, and she's willin' to help out too. I know it's selfish but I feel like I have some responsibility in this. I think the same of you."

Felix settles the cane more firmly in front of him, both hands on it now as if he needed steadying. "Personally, I want a good bit of time alone with him, a fire, and a steel poker, and then my pistol. Personally. In my capacity as an agent of the government, I also want him to stand trial. I want the media looking at them, holding them up to the light as what they are. Mere terrorists. Not martyrs, not freedom fighters, not defenders of Homo Sapiens Sapiens against Homo Sapiens Superior."

There's no judgment in reply to Felix's response. Joseph's been working on a thicker skin. The lines at his eyes deepen a little in a smile that doesn't really make it to his mouth, and it's not friendly, or amused, or anything other than wry. "You got my admiration for being capable of both sentiments," he says, after a moment, casting his gaze from Felix's glare to the Midtown beyond this hill. "I don't know what I'd do if I stopped bein' a pastor about it. I wish I could give you both."

"Don't leave me alone with him," Fel's voice remains casual. "I can tell you which side will win out. I don't have access to him, it's an abstract question. I'm just glad he's not still running free."

He nods, once, in agreement and acknowledgment, once he's returned his attention back to Felix. "I want to believe we're both better than he is. And that we can make an example of him through the justice system, just like you say. I might need your help later down the line— I'm not sure." Joseph tilts his head, shrugs. "So thanks for offerin'. I guess I just needed to see that it wouldn't be unfair o' me for puttin' you in that position. Not much about this is." Then, a slice of a half-smile, one he couldn't stop if he tried. "Except for him experiencin' what we did, right now. That much is pretty d— pretty fair."

"Unfair putting me in what position, exactly?" Felix says, a little puzzled. "And you're right. When he's executed, whether it's by the state or by inviduals, I seriously doubt he'll be tortured before that. Because we are, as you say, better than him."

Joseph shifts his weight from foot to foot, prior nervousness bleeding off into restlessness. "This ain't easy. I got the luxury of not wantin' him dead. I don't blame you for wantin' different, and so— coulda been unfair to expect you to swallow it to see somethin' different carried out, I guess. He's done terrible things."

The agent closes his eyes, as if to ward off weariness. "He has. He's going to die. The question is merely how and when and by whose hand. It'd be nice if it could be done in the light of day. It's not the Evolved versus these guys. It's the United States of America against terrorists. They're they same as Al-Qaeda. Worse."

"Then if he's gonna die, it'll be by the right hand. Not a motley crew of— " Joseph isn't sure exactly how to finish that sentence, helplessness writing into his expression when not only is there a shortage of words— but there isn't much more to trade. His lifts a hand to rub at his face, before both hands return to his pockets. "Thanks for not arresting me too," is both facetious and genuine, as he turns away enough to watch the darkening horizon, or rather, the many, many gravestones stretching impossibly out before them, the dip of the hill allowing the view.

Felix peers at Joseph. "I don't think you've done anything I need to arrest you for," he says, entirely serious.

That gets a little bit of laughter. "I assumed takin' the law into your own hands, when you ain't qualified, is somethin' of an offense. But don't let me give you excuses, now." Genuine humour warms his tone, though Joseph doesn't peer back at the agent.

"If I arrest you for that, then I have to turn myself in. Also, it wouldn't do me any good. We couldn't make you tell us where Danko is. And leaning on an almost-martyr just makes us look like dicks. Consider yourself a confidential informant," Fel says, as he pulls a pack of cigarettes out of his coatpocket. "You're a lead, now."

Joseph nods his head in understanding, a glance Felix's way as he huddles beneath his jacket. The cigarette pack gets a lingering look but only detachedly wistful, and he certainly isn't going to ask even if that was his variety of poison. "He's the same, you know. Don't matter to him who's chained to what, he's still— on top, I guess. I ain't surprised, but it's nothin' short of infuriating."

The Fed looks up from the ritual of lighting the cigarette, cheeks hollowed as he makes it draw - black, but there's none of that scent of cloves one might expect - and the look in his eyes is pure venom. "He thinks he's part of the master race. I could make him scream, make him beg, but I am not willing to bet I could shake him of that conviction."

"Exactly. I think the only thing that would get through to him is knowin' that for as much as he did, he didn't do a damn thing. Not that it would change his mind— I kinda gave up on that in the middle of our stay," Joseph states. His gaze back is not venomous, but there's a sharpness to it too. "Kind of a lie, but it would grate him nonetheless. 's far as I can tell, anyhow."

Felix blows a smoke ring, with a meditative air. "True." He pulls a sour face. "I wish I could hand him off to some of our better interrogators. I'm too close to it all. I'd lose it. And it's about being able to push their buttons, not have them push yours."

"Yeah. If I stay in the same room as him for too long— I dunno." The explanation is aborted not so long after he begins it, clamming down on it with a dismissive shake of his head. "I hate this, kind of. But I can't say it don't make me sleep easier at night to know for sure it'll all end soon, somehow." Joseph casts another smile to Felix, and this one isn't forced or wry, as is standard for him lately, before he twists around enough to glance back at the granite headstone that stands in for Mona.

Shivers once. "I should head back. I don't like leavin' him in the hands of others for too long. For their sake."

The Fed just nods. "When he's dead, tell me." The tone makes it more of a request than the curt phrasing might make one think.

The word when is problematic, but now isn't the time, or even the person. Joseph just nods in honest consent to agree, before he's moving past Felix and his growing haze of acrid smoke, leaving behind both he and Mona and moving at a meander down the winding path of the graveyard.

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