amato_icon.gif doyle_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Humanity
Synopsis Amato, Doyle, and Nick discuss the state of the world over a cup of tea.
Date December 19, 2010

Bannerman Castle: Dining Hall

It's early morning — most people are still asleep or just waking. Breakfast has yet to be put on, and the castle is still dark, the gray light outside just beginning to grow in the east not strong enough yet to brighten any of the rooms that actually have windows. It's dawning as a cold and gray day, bleak and dreary.

Entering the dining hall with an armful of firewood, Nick York's cheeks are ruddy from the cold outside. He's bundled in his peacoat, tuque, a scarf around his neck. The hard labor of chopping firewood and lugging it means he's mostly recovered from the myriad of contusions he's suffered in the past couple of weeks — or that he simply is working through the pain.

The firewood pile is much higher than it was last night, suggesting he's been at this for perhaps a couple of hours now. Once people begin to trickle in, he'll likely leave: Bannerman may have lost one ghost when Samara became corporeal, but in some ways, Nick is like another — an ephemeral presence that will flee as soon as another soul enters a room he happens to be in.

It's off to one side of the dining hall that Eric Doyle's seated at a table, bereft of children bustling around him for a rare moment. Chances are, they're comfortably sleeping in their bed with visions of sugarplums and all of that dancing in their heads. Or hopefully at least no nightmares. He appears to be sewing of all things, some felt and other scraps of fabric strewn about the table. A long needle's in hand and a pair of shears off to one side, and he's carefully cutting and sewing together the lapels of a tiny suit.

There's a headless wooden puppet resting on the table to his side, laying limp as a corpse to one side, and occasionally he holds the fabrics up against its side and frowns to himself as he checks sizes.

Between the last trip Nick made into the castle, a fire has been built. It's not very large, but it works well enough to heat the kettle that's been hung from the iron bar balanced on forks for just such a purpose. As Nick adds his armload of wood to the fire, Amato strides casually back into the room, holding the tongs used to remove kettles and pots and the like from the flame. In the other hand, three mugs are hooked on his fingers through the handles, and several teabags dangle from their strings.

Amato's sweater is one of many salvaged and saved at either the hands of the Ferry or the monks upstate, and it's homey in a way he would have shied at years ago. Now? It's simply something warm and utilitarian. He nods to Nick before he lifts the softly whistling kettle from the fire, setting it on the stone hearth. Returning the tool to the rack beside the fireplace, Amato bends and pulls a thick towel from the back pocket of his jeans, using it to protect his hand as he lifts the kettle and pours water into one of the mugs. Looking first to Nick and then to Doyle, Amato offers a quiet smile. "Tea, gentlemen?"

Nick rises from the stacking of the stockpile of wood that should get the fire through at least two or three days now and brushes off his hands on his jeans. Blue eyes seem all the brighter of their special brand of ice blue when juxtaposed with his pink cheeks — despite having to recuperate from two assaults, he looks healthier than he has since the 8th, if a little chilly.

He gives a nod of acknowledgement, rather than a nod for tea, to Amato, before turning to look around for the other in the room that makes Amato's address into a plural. He hadn't noticed Doyle.

For a moment, he looks like he might — as usual — flitter away at the presence of strangers, but he's cold and the tea is hot. "That'd be nice, thanks," he manages.

As the offer's made, Doyle lifts a hand to pull a needle and thread that he has held between his teeth away. "Sounds good to me, thanks. Do we have any honey?" A tired but affable response and question from the puppeteer, his current project set down for the moment in a carefully folded set of fabrics and thread beside the puppet.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"If we do, it's in the kitchen," Amato says as he pours water into the other two mugs and drops a bag of tea into each of them. Setting the kettle down and away from the fire so that it won't boil over, Amato takes care in lifting the hot cups of tea so that he can move them to Doyle's table without risk of mishap. "I neglected to bring any with me, however." It's likely that Amato doesn't believe in honey in tea - especially at the start of the day.

At the table, Amato sets a mug in front of Doyle, and one to the side for Nick to join them on the puppeteer's side of the table. Sitting down himself, he studies the lone American's work with slightly narrowed eyes. "A gift for someone?" Wooden puppets look like wooden dolls, and while it is unlikely the best thing for a young child to hold as they fall asleep, Amato isn't one to judge the good intentions of others. At least, not anymore. Much. Maybe a little.

There's a wary glance as his mug is brought to the far table, but Nick pulls off his gloves and scarf as he heads that way, stepping over the bench to sit beside Doyle and giving the puppet a raise of his brows.

His hands, red from cold and exertion, reach for his mug, wrapping around the warm ceramic. He'd prefer it with milk and sugar, but he's not about to ask or go to the kitchen. "Thanks for making the fire," he adds to Amato, his accent American for Doyle's sake.

It's in the kitchen. Is Eric's desire for possible honey stronger than his laziness this morning? As it turns out, no, no it is not. As the mug's set down on the table, he offers a wry little smile, reaching out to warm his hands on the heated sides of the cup. "Thanks…" No more mention of honey, despite an urge to make Amato go get it.

He's supposed to be behaving himself, after all.

"A gi— oh, no, no," he chuckles, reaching out to smooth his fingers over the headless puppet, "It's a marionette. I'm a puppeteer— or. Well. I used to be."

Wrapping the string of the tea bag around his thumb, Amato gently bobs the collection of leaves in and out of his mug while his other hand curls around the warm ceramic. At face value, it's a story not unlike any of those carried like nostalgic photo albums by the residents of the castle. I used to be. He nods with the vague sympathy of what he might have been himself before turning his head on one side.

"Did you make the puppet too?" he asks, glancing to his tea for a moment. "Or just the costume?"
Ethan has disconnected.

"Seems that kinda thing, you are or you ain't," Nick offers to Doyle, with a nod toward the puppet. "If you're still making them and still playing with them," his brows knit a little at the inaccuracy of the words, but he's not sure what else to call it, "then you still are, right? Unless you have to get paid for it to count, I donno."

He shrugs — he's not had enough jobs in his life to be sure about the proper semantics. "You gonna put on a show for the kids?"

"I made it all," Eric affirms, reaching over to brush his fingers along over the smooth-sanded wood of the puppet; the head, presumably, is still being worked on elsewhere, or just hasn't been put on yet. "And, well. I mean I used to do it for a living," he chuckles a little, "I had my own theater and everything. I put on shows for the kids now'n then, they expect it, it makes them laugh."

"Then it would seem you still are a puppeteer," Amato affirms with a nod toward Nick. "Working with children takes a gift," he adds, testing the flavor of his tea with a careful sip. "And eliciting laughter, even more so. Now more than ever." Taking another sip of the tea, Amato turns his attention back toward the fire, tossing a belated don't mention it sort of smile to Nick.

"You take pride in your work," Amato says rather than asks, looking back to the careful stitches and carving. "And joy, even if it's simple."

The younger man of the three studies the surface of his tea as it grows darker, and he nods. "Kids need laughter in their lives. Here, now, more than ever. It's important," he says quietly, jaw tensing once he grows silent again.

He lifts the mug to his lips to take a careful sip, then sets the mug back down. Releasing it, he wrings his hands a little, wincing from the pain that comes with renewed circulation and warmth to previously chilled hands. He nods to Doyle. "Haven't met you. Nick," he says, offering a hand for Doyle to shake. He leaves off the last name, knowing that too many tall tales about his "heroism" have spread through the castle that he'd rather be forgotten.

"They deserve to be kids as long as they can be," says Eric in quite, wistful tones, looking down to his cup and reaching to bob the tea-bag around a bit by its string, "The world'll take that away from them in a heartbeat if we give it a chance. And I won't let it." A slightly sharp note to the last, grimacing at his own words - and at the world.

Then he smiles again, quite suddenly, reaching out to take the offered hand, "Eric. Eric Doyle. Good to meet you, Nick. And… you?" A look, expectant, to Amato.

Amato stiffens visibly, if only just, at the exchange of customary greeting. His smile fades, and he shakes his head slightly even as he lifts the hand he would shake with away from his mug to present Doyle with his palm in a defensive gesture. "My name is Amato," he says after a moment, what smile is able to creep back onto his face weak and nervous.

"It's a pleasure," he adds, placing his hand back around his mug.

The conversation is an uncomfortable one for Nick, whose childhood was taken away from him in too many ways, and he just nods in tacit agreement to Doyle's words, muttering, "Nice to meet you, too."

He glances up at Amato's defensive gesture, and gives a tense smirk of apology with his lopsided shrug. Sorry? Amato only recently told him of his ability, though not its specific quirks. "So you're part of that orphanage group, huh?" he says, with a nod back to Doyle. "That's important work. Good for you."

As the hand's pushed out to ward any attempt at offering a shake, Eric pauses for a moment and then shrugs — a roll of heavy shoulders, and he leans back, one hand lifting up to rub back along over his shorn scalp a bit. "The Lighthouse, yeah," he admits, a little too quick, a too-wide smile, "We may not stay here — forever, we're a little, I mean. Worried about this place being such a target."

"There must be other places," Amato offers with brows furrowed upward, happy to let the awkwardness pass, forgotten. "Either already operated by the Ferrymen, or perhaps even yet to be discovered." He doesn't mention the monastery, or even Noah Bennet's plan to use it to funnel people up toward Canada - there's no telling if Eric Doyle was who betrayed the Ferrymen to their current fate or not.

Or there is, but it isn't a move Amato is willing to make.

Nick nods, then adds another left-shouldered shrug. "Anyplace will be with time, I think, but hopefully by the time it's time to move, there'll be something better to go to," he offers, an optimistic view.

He takes another sip of the tea, eyes glancing toward the door at some noise, someone passing by but not stopping inside the hall. "I'm not stayin' long myself. Ain't Evolved, just here to help out, now I'm able to repay some debts." His eyes drop at that. "I may do some supply runs, so lemme know if you need anything special for your puppets and I can see what I can find, but no sure thing on when I'll make it back."

"Sometimes I think we should all just… go find some undeveloped country in the Amazon or something, and…" Doyle spreads his hands, "…make our own world. Nobody seems to like that idea, though, so…" A slow, wry shake of his head, and he lifts the cup up in both hands, murmuring, "There isn't any way this is ending well anyway. And thanks, I'm— good, for now. Maybe some fake white fur, for the little santa costume? Or rabbit fur, if that's easier to get."

"Are you precognitive, Eric?"

Amato's question comes with a slight raise of his eyebrows as he lifts his mug to take a sip, watching the heavier-set man over the rim of the ceramic. Once he's set the mug back on the table again, he turns his head slightly to one side. "There is no reason why the rest of humanity can't be helped to see that we are all, in essence, the same. It is unfortunate that philosophies take longer to evolve than the human genome."

Nick is rather inclined to take Doyle's perspective on this philosophical debate, but he nods. "Rabbit's easy enough. Just ask the kitchen staff to save you some, or maybe some deer tail for the white. They're probably saving it somewhere anyway to make good use of it all."

His eyes shift to Amato's and he shakes his head, climbing over the bench and picking up his mug to bring to the kitchen. "Humanity's full of pieces of shit, and you an' I both know it. You can't help people who are determined to hate others because they're different. There'll always be people like that — the targets change over the years, but there's always an Other, always a reason to fear and hate. By the time they get over one group, it'll just shift to another."


Eric's gaze lifts from the cup of tea after a sip of it spills over his tongue, and his gaze is flat. "Humanity is a cess pool. The reason that they won't ever accept us isn't because they're afraid. It's because they're jealous. It's because every time they see something joyous, something new, something wonderful all they want to do is crush it because it's not theirs. Because they've frittered away every dream and burned every hope they ever had to become part of this filthy… wreck that they call society," he says with a bitter snort of laughter, sweeping one hand as if to show off the world, "This moldering old corpse of a culture they call the United States of America, that began in freedom and turned into a self-sustaining circle of hatred and envy."

"No," he murmurs, gaze dropping to his cup, "None of us are getting out've here without wading through blood. Don't fool yourself."

Amato sits a little straighter, then shakes his head. "I've been down that road before, Eric," he says with grave sobriety before he stands with his mug. His face is even paler now than usual, and his icey eyes darken under furrowed brows. "It is a dangerous one - tread carefully, or you may find your own blood filling the pool you walk through."

Stepping away from the table, Nick gives a nod to the men. There are voices in the hall, and the kitchen crowd is due to arrive any time, which is his cue to leave. "Nice to meet you," he repeats to Doyle, ignoring the diatribe and nodding to Amato once more before heading toward the kitchen to clean his mug and head once more out into the snowy day to make use of idle hands and pay off more debts.

"I'm not advocating war," Eric says dismissively, taking a sip of his tea and then setting it down, leaning back with a heavy sigh of breath, "I'm just…" A wan smile, "…warning of it. Be as peaceful as you want. It's not going to work. They're not good enough people for it to work. Neither are we."

"Then we must be better," Amato says with another weak smile before he nods to Doyle. "Have a good day, Eric," he adds in parting before he follows in Nick's footsteps, but rather then go to the kitchen, Amato slips into the hall. There are animals to be fed, and that requires a coat and gloves.

"This is as good as I can be, Amato." It's a quiet, wistful comment before Eric reaches over to pick up his sewing again, "It's better than I was. Have a good day."

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