Just Thought You Should Know


benji_icon.gif calvin_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Thought You Should Know
Synopsis After Calvin is brought into Ferry captivity, he and Benji attempt to settle some differences. IT GOES REALLY WELL.
Date November 7, 2011

Pollepel Island, Holding Cells

Castle interior, night. Sconces spill semicircles of light warm across stone walls; doors of heavy oak plug narrow gaps in the masonry, sectioning off side halls and dark, mysterious rooms full of dusty boxes and blankets and sometimes(?) wine.

A few of these rooms are sectioned off by old metal bars instead of old wood. They're furnished with cots and clean sheets.

These rooms are for storing people.

In one such room, a shambled figure is stirring to wakefulness where he's been slung down against the back wall. He's shadowed in the face, shoulders bony and broad under the bristle of his ginger mane. Stripped of his jacket, he's slumped at a barefoot sit with his wrists bound up behind his back — bloody t-shirt, jeans, and a split lip to mark the truncation of his final tantrum as a free man.

For now.

His shirt says: PRIMAL.

The exits are N, S, E and W.

To the E is a door of iron bars.

Beyond it, is a corridor. This corridor is dark and ordinary, and the shadows of other like rooms don't seem to hold anyone within them. The most distinct lightsource is coming from a small flashlight, held not into Calvin's new home but down at a book, illumination coming back up from white, mottled pages. Benji has found a low stool on which to perch, curled over a book, worrying a thumbnail between her teeth while that same hand shines its light down on her reading.

She hasn't gotten through much of it, mind elsewhere.

It's why she's alert at the barest hint of movement from inside the room she sits across from. She doesn't move, chancing one flick of a glance upwards, trying to uncoil the coiling anxiety that's already beginning somewhere in her chest. She turns a page, the wobble of flashlight dipping into the cell, retracting.

A scuff, a sniff and a scrape mark a shift in spine to stone, elbows levered up and bindings tested as a matter of course. The wobble of the flashlight scorches white over pale hide and grey cotton, smudged eyes crushed shut against the invasion.

Trying to think, trying to remember, trying to escape. A bit.

He cranes to try and see back to what the situation is with his hands. They're tied. Fast. Which he might have deduced without having to nearly dislocate one of his shoulders.

"Stinks like mould," he says, with his scruffy chin still tucked. "And optimism."

The thin beam of light goes dark with a soft click, Benji's hand curled around the flashlight, chin tucked atop knuckles as she peers into the cell like a cat peering down from a superior, high up perch. Stays where she is. It's cold outside and it's cold down here, and it will only get colder as time wears on, and Benji thinks it will.

"There are nicer places," she says. Here, she doesn't have to raise her voice beyond her usual preferred decibel. "Even where they kept me, the first time. A view of the river. Books to read. A door."

Calvin Sheridan shivers as if on cue, teeth shown out at a sliver for the half a beat it takes him to stifle it. He tongues at the crack crusted into his lip, small movements slow to resolve out of what little privacy the gloom affords him.

His own vision is mottled with drifts of red and blue where Benji's light had a chance to scald his retinas — but he can see enough to mark her perch opposite the door.

"Even here you're the favorite."

That gets a scoff, immediate and genuine and quiet, drawing her posture back up. "A locked door," Benji adds. "And a steady course of negating medication."

So. Some things are similar.

Because nothing calls to him now, like it's a room in his head where the light has gone out and the door sealed shut. She doesn't seem smug, at all. The flash in the pan fury she'd shown him over the course of their latest encounters isn't there. Tense, and wary, and weary. "A chance to become trusted," is the final thing.

"Little do they fucking know," drifts nasal through the bars, near sing-song out of the shadows. He's slumped to a rest, efforts to see snipped with the same wire that was trying to rouse him further upright.

"S'that why I can't feel the bars?"

A pang of betrayal seems outlandish under the circumstances. A n d y e t.

"You let them stuff me to the gills with 'medication.'"

"I wasn't there when they brought you in, or put you in here." She tips her head as if to try to make eye contact. Politely; "But yes, I would have let them do that."

Just so we're clear.

The book is closed in her hand, now, cover hard to see from this angle. Expression possibly hard to read. In real life, all the gloss and ease of a more vibrant persona is scrubbed out into worn-down black wool and dirt beneath fingernails. Fragile in a way Jasmine is not, but not as elegant.

"You could have been left for dead in the street, is the way I heard it."

This time there's no answer. Calvin draws his heels in a bit, knees pulled up against the cold. It's a damp, sullen silence, metered by the steady draw of his breath behind bars.

He avoids eye contact, never getting any further along than those dirty fingernails. And the floor is preferential to those. Less judgmental.

Less familiar, also.

Benji allows silence to draw out between them, before then she gets up, hesitates, then approaches. Hesitates some more. Descends, again, this time to sit on the floor, using iron bars to lower herself down, a sigh escaping as she does. Not quite cold enough for steam to escape on the exhale, but she hasn't taken off her coat either.

"A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions, but by his inaction." Benji is quoting, in a rhythmic quotey way. Quoting not a philospher, but Calvin. "I liked that, later, when I looked it up, despite everything. I was always impressed by the things you said, you know. You seemed so clever. I always felt stupid, talking you."

She isn't looking at him anymore, but down the hallway, into space. "I took it all very personally."

He's clever enough that use of the past tense doesn't escape him, toes curled against a lump in his throat at the sound of Benji folding herself down onto the floor. The energy it'd take to rise and make his way to his cot saps away nearly as soon as he's considered it, lost in an abortive lift at one shoulder under closer scrutiny.

Bare stone bites cold at his bones; a few of his have taken to poking raw at the edges these past few months.

"I killed BJ."

Offhand honesty issued quiet-like, between them, could have come at a better time. Like never, maybe. As is, it's an effective reminder that a person can definitely do evil with actions, given the opportunity.

Uncomfortable as it is, Benji has her head tipped to lean against an iron bar, as if settling in for some company until she can coax Calvin into moving, so she can knife away the bonds at his wrists, and leave the book behind (a well-worn Penguin edition of Meditations by Descartes) to tide him over. Now, her posture straightens as if on a string.

It's an impossible bit of information, and she rejects it, even as it tries to dig its way to her heart like shrapnel in her blood. Sharp, burrowing.

"No, Calvin," she says, gently. "That's not—"

Possible? Why isn't it possible? Because she should have seen it. "That's not true."

"It is true?"

Calvin lilts towards the surreal, separation of responsibility and deed. He heard himself say so, just now. Nearly as strange for him as it is for her. More dreamlike than some of the dreams he's had lately, in snatches of sleep caught by accident between binges.

"Trust was always'n issue."

He's not looking at Benji or the floor anymore, somewhere else entirely, a brow cocked to the skeleton of his cot. Taking the easy way out, even now — in the dark, the ruff of his hair broadcasts his inability to connect with the mess he's making. The pads of his palms tingle under twisted rope.

"She wanted me to stay behind?"

This last bit of information, uptick at the end, seems to make it real. Make it make sense, in terms of motive, and all that came after. It sinks in, missile guided, a soft scrape of boot heels against concrete as Benji draws her feet in a little tighter.

"Whyever would she want that."

It's not a question, that sort of wandery tone now laden with something else. She's turned her head, now, pride demanding she look away as her vision obscures with watery blurring. One million things to say, at various volumes, tones, and levels of civility, rise up within her and cancel each other out in a tangle that binds itself around her voice. The next breath is a sigh, and then a gasp in, and now that she's betrayed herself so, there's a soft, damp laugh. "You can still do it," she says, shakily. "You can still make me feel so stupid."

The iron bars squeak against their frame as she uses them to drag herself up onto her feet, as if the companiable nearness she had sought out needs to be broken immediately.

Whyever would she want that, and Calvin's focus licks itself clean, eyes icy clear in the dark as they follow Benji up off the floor. He looks on for a moment, and then away again without an answer.

The rest of him has moved very little, the world closed in around him to spare him the need, really. Why shouldn't he just stay on this floor until the end of days?

He could say more, explain himself, but he doesn't do that either, the lift of his chin and the turn of his cheek walled off haughty against Benji's broken breath.

"Just thought you should know," he says, instead, a shudder in his own breath bravely smothered near to nothing. "In the interest of fairness."

The last thing Benji wanted to do was run out of the cellar crying, but it's certainly the most prominent and overwhelming instinct she has, embarrassingly enough. Resistance to doing either of these things has her feet rooted to the floor as he speaks into whatever personal abyss has captured his direct attention.

Realises she's holding the book hard enough that her fingers hurt. He makes a pathetic enough sight lying on the ground that the idea of throwing it at him loses appeal before it can develop into motion. Instead, she drops it onto the floor within reach, if his hands weren't tied.

She knows there is more he isn't saying. His reasons. BJ's reasons. That Benji is running into conclusions like birds and glass doors. That she should be asking him why, but the idea of doing so, of entertaining his answers, is immediately repulsive.

"Thank you," she says, instead, with much the same affect. "For giving up."

Jasmine could just vanish into the shadows, if this was all a dream. Unfortunately, it's all hard, cold concrete, unfeeling iron, book lying there like a rebuke reality, so Benji can only disappear by dragging herself out of sight, the scuff of her boots and flap of her coat graceless and fading fast.

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