Joseph Is Just Alright With Me


joseph_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif

Scene Title Joseph Is Just Alright With Me
Synopsis Lynette meets up with the resident pastor to discuss her options with the safehouse, their run ins with captivity, the visions and, of course, the question of sanity.
Date September 14, 2010

Gun Hill: Rooftop

The roof is a work in progress, sure, but it's still pretty peaceful. For New York City. Above the honking and yelling and general crush of people, Lynette is seated in a lawn chair, an ash tray on the ground next to her that's littered enough to make one wonder how long she's been up here.

Brooding, of course. It's a favorite pastime these days, and all the more so for the last Ferry meeting. It might also be partially responsible for the chain smoking, it's hard to say.

When Joseph does duck out onto the rooftop, he feels the need to check his watch to see whether or not he's late, as the aura of waiting seems to wrap around the young building owner like a fog, whether it be her demeanor or perhaps just the number of cigarette butts at her elbow. Joseph doesn't smoke, but sometimes imagines that he wishes he did, just for the social inclusion of it. Kind of like why he started drinking, and that didn't get him anywhere either.

"Hey," is his announcement of himself, possibly a familiar face if only fleetingly, by virtue of common living spaces and affiliations. Joseph is a man in his late thirties, a woodwork fader-inner in his flannel and denim, sleeves rolled to his elbows, boots on his feet.

It's a familiar face for more than that, but Lynette'll get around to that later. When he makes his appearance, she leans over to snuff out her cigarette before pushing herself up to her feet. She even goes so far as to come over to offer him a hand, "Sumter, right? Lynette. I've meant to stop by, but…" Never did. Obviously. "Thanks for taking a moment for a visit. I've been… pointed your direction, I suppose, for the virtue of similar experience. I believe Miss Ruskin thinks I could use some advice."

Drifting closer the several feet necessary, Joseph takes her hand in a warm and brisk shake. There's a rough quality to his palm, the worked over edges of his fingers, that speaks of past labour and some amount of guitar playing. His smile is easy and friendly, tucking his chin in at a nod. There's a silver length of thin chain at his neck, but whatever swings from it is hidden in his collar. "You can call me Joseph," he invites, retracting his hand to tuck it and other into the pockets of his jeans. "I, uh. Know a little of your situation, but probably not everything."

Lynette's shake is firm and business like, but she gives him a smile that's more friendly. "Joseph. I, ah… yeah, everyone seems to know a little bit," she says, that smile turning a little more strained as her hands slide into the back pockets of her jeans. "I met with the council about what to do here, and… it was mentioned you were… at that hospital, too, and have been through the wringer a time or two. So, before I announce any formal decision… I don't know. I'm not really sure how something like this works." And by the sudden hunch of her posture, she's probably not exactly at her most comfortable at the moment, either.

"I don't think it does," Joseph offers, moving enough, now, to lean a hip against the rise of the rooftop ledge, peering over it towards the street below, beyond the zigzag of black fire escape against the red brick. "Works. No real protocol, just instinct, learnin' from past mistakes. They're right, I got picked up by the Institute. They had me and one other gifted person work together to create those visions, and after it was done, they kept her, and did a capture-and-release arrangement with me."

A shrug, looking back at her. "Before that, Humanis First gave me some trouble. I guess that's just the climate of the times. What sorta formal decision did y'have in the works?"

"I had one of those visions. You were… in it, actually." Which Lynette seems to find some irony in, if her crooked smile is anything to judge by. She moves to lean back against the ledge, too, her arms folding as she looks over at him. "Well… about this place and myself. I've been trying to decide… if it would be for better or for worse to register, which, most seem to think not is the better choice there. And as it turns out, this safehouse is very likely compromised, so, I have to decide if we're going to shut it down and move people, or keep it open. Either way, Toby and I'll be letting the Ferryfolk know it's dangerous, and letting them decide to stay or find another house."

Lynette's eyes narrow a bit before she asks, "Do you think it's self-destructive of me to want to keep it open?"

Joseph's eyebrows communicate that's quite a question, in a sort of jump up and then flattening into pensive line, ever-expressive over his dark eyes, as black as buttons. A lean rests his weight fully on the brick ledge. "I can see why y'might think that way," he admits. "All things considered. But I'll tell you— well. First operation for the Ferry I could call my own was my church. A place called the Guiding Light, a place for Evolved folk instead've just Christians. I was loud and proud about my gift — I gave people visions up on the pulpit, was how public I was. Even after it started attractin' attention, I kept at it, 'til Humanis First burned it to the ground.

"They took me for a while too." A vague hand wave, as if to push aside that part of the story completely. Because it's irrelevant, or because he'd rather not. "I had a lot of opportunity to rebuild. I didn't, because I couldn't stand the idea of people like them using it again, to hurt people, or to make demonstrations. So I told myself, when I told 'em all no. I didn't shut it down, but I did keep it that way."

He shrugs. "I regret that. I think I'd've been happier sooner if I kept the place goin'. Feels like defeat, still, to give it up that easy. I dunno if you'd feel the same in the aftermath, but it's somethin' to consider. This building is good work, you know."

There's just a sort of helpless spread of her hands in response to those eyebrows. But Lynette is quiet as he tells his story, her head canted to one side. "Really, I'm just trying to be practical about it all. There are people here who are a little too dangerous for any of the other safehouses, but they need a place to hide in all the same. If they're compromised and I'm compromised and this building is compromised, we're all sort of a perfect fit, aren't we? However. I admit there's something of a… well. Like you say. I don't want to admit another defeat to them and certainly not to any imagined version of them. I suppose that's my own pride there."

She turns then, to look out at the city for a long moment. "I've never been in it like this before. I mean… I've been helping smuggle people out, helping the safehouses, all that jazz. But it seems like the moment I stepped into New York, I stepped into quicksand or something."

That gets laughter, from Joseph, mild and rueful, but his smile is broad and genuine. "Yyyep," he agrees, lines at his eyes as he glances back out at New York City, or the Bronx part of it anyway. "And it'll just keep tuggin' you in. But it ain't so bad as all that." It is, actually, but he seems to mean it, a hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck. "If you wanna talk practicalities — outside o' ego and pride — I figure we can keep this place a little longer, and you and I could work to help folks relocate who want to, I got a rough handle on the New York network myself. For the record, though, I don't think it's self-destructive, at all, to keep it running.

"Kinda the opposite."

Lynette looks up at him at that laughter, lifting an eyebrow before she gives him a little, playful shove. "He laughs. Cruel," she says, but with her own chuckle. She doesn't mean it. But, she straights up and looks over his way. "You know, Eleanor Roosevelt said something… about how when you do the thing you're afraid of, when you take a moment to look fear in the face, you gain courage and strength. The idea being… you tell yourself, you survived the last crisis, there's no reason to think you won't survive the next one. So, I suppose that's the theory I'm working under for now."

When he turns things back to the real subject at hand, she smiles again, just a little, and nods, "I'd appreciate the help. I don't want to leave anyone stranded, and I don't want anyone feeling forced to stay here in the danger or be out on the street. So, yes, please." She does pause at those last words, though, looking at him for a moment like she doesn't quite agree, but she nods in the end all the same. "I'm saner than I thought. Good to know," she remarks, lighthearted.

"Congratulations," is tagged onto the end of the last comment, having taken light shoves and comments of supposed cruelty with amicability. Taking his weight off the ledge, Joseph doesn't immediately move to walk away, resting his hands to perch lightly on the ledge with the implication that he could breeze away whenever she bids him. "If it helps, whatever you do figure, in the end, the network'll support the decision."

A beat, then— "And maybe later, I'll ask you 'bout that vision you saw."

"Yeah, they've been good about that. And it's appreciated." Lynette looks over at him, her expression still friendly, if a little teasing, "You know, Preacher. I think you're alright." It's almost like she had expected the opposite.

Her eyebrow arches again with those last words, but she nods, "Maybe you should. Bring Kaylee with you." And there, she pushes away from the ledge herself to fetch another cigarette. Her hands seem to be shaking some as she goes about lighting it, but she doesn't seem to notice. "That ability of yours, it's a trip, I've gotta say."

There's a sharper glance at that mention of Kaylee, near-black eyes holding some suspicion to reflect back at her — maybe not for Lynette, but for whatever it is the future is promising. He simply nods to that urging, watching her make for the cigarettes, and allows for a rueful smile to draw across his features. "I been told," Joseph agrees, wandering from the ledge himself — more doorwards than promise of further company, his boots scuffing along the concrete of rooftop courtyard, baked warm from the sun.

"But I wouldn't ask for more even if you wanted to. The Institute burned it clean outta me. Dunno if that was deliberate or if giving visions to some six million people sorta wore it out, but there it is. Anyhow. Good to know I'm still good for somethin', even if it's being alright."

"Well. We knew they were bastards already, but that just tips the scale right over, doesn't it?" Lynette says with a frown. "But don't worry. I'm not the type that likes to look into what's coming too much. Busy thinking about what's happening now, yeah?" She doesn't follow toward the door, apparently she plans on lingering up here a little longer. But, she does smile at him at those last words. "Yeah, you've got nothing to worry about there," she says with a little chuckle before she returns to her perch looking out over the city.

The corner of Joseph's mouth hooks into a half-smile, before he simply nods to her and adds an awkward but certainly well-meaning, "You too." Lots of alrightness to go around. With one fleeting glance out towards the bleak cityscape, the squat brown and red buildings, the greyer towers and the scars beyond, Joseph turns on a heel and heads for the door he came through, ducking into the gloom of the interior and leaving Lynette with even more thoughts to meditate on and smoke away.

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