No Karma


ghost2_icon.gif helena_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif

Scene Title Karma-Free
Synopsis You want to know the shitty part? Bright future, not so bright. Trust issues abound, the Formula lacks, and Leo desperately wants to get laid with the proper Sicilian.
Date July 14, 2009

Greenwich Village — Village Renaissance: Roof

It is pretty up here.

After Tyler Case's sister is situated with the information she's been granted, Helena reiterated to Ghost that she needed to speak with him, and asked to meet him on the roof. This should not be a surprise of course, him knowing her as he does in either manifestation. She sits under one of the trees, knees clutches to her chest and hands linked across her shins, eyes toward the sky. As usual, pleasant weather is carried with her, the hot city night curbed into something more cool and pleasant.

Of course, he comes to the roof. Or— if not of course then it would seem that Helena had bet the right way, when she made her request and didn't choose to hover around glaring insistence that he meet it. There is a footfall on the stair, a scrape of door against concrete under the pressure of his shoulder swiveling it further open.

His eyes blink devilline under the upward lance and tinge of street light, and then he treads closer. "Helena," he says. Once, he'dve said Signorina, but it's a courtesy in and of itself, that he's let that ruse go.

Helena turns her head to study him a few moments, trying to associate this stranger's face with Teo. "I told people from Phoenix to stay off your back. Sonny didn't listen." she begins. "And then I had Liz come to me and tell me that you'd been killing cops. And I really want to believe you had a good reason for doing that. But it's getting harder for me to play ostrich, so please, if you could just - I need to understand what you're doing, and you've done what you have. Please."

The ensuing silence is pregnant, through no means anybody would construe as funsies in the way that other pregnancies occur. Ghost comes closer.

Trudging wouldn't be the wrong term to use, judging from the stoop of his shoulders and the lackadaisical rate of his pace, but his makes no noise. His answer comes even, regular as breathing. "Vigilante justice both in service of the public and for Deckard.

"Revenge— for me, Abby. Staten Island, I guess, on the greater principle— that fat bastard had a lot of shit on his shirt that needed airing out. Nothing you or Phoenix need to or should get behind. Or I probably would've asked for help." He stops a few yards off, within speaking distance but at greater than arm's length. Doesn't smile; he knows that would bother her.

"That's not the point. People in Phoenix looked to you for leadership, you were someone people trusted. Now you've gone haywire by their reckoning, though not everyone knows you're Teo-from-the-future. Even if they did, they'd still want to know why. Were those cops going to do something," she searches for a word, "Bad?"

And Al is playing Cerberus, yet again. Honestly, if it wouldn't imply kinky and incorrect things, she should leash him. The saturnine looks Sal gave him only add to his air of being a guard dog in human form. At least he doesn't wear a collar. He comes up to the roof, only to stiffen on noting Ghost. Doesn't say anything, though.

A shrug moves through Ghost's shoulders, neither diplomatic nor particularly nonchalant. As are most things about Teo in 2019, when he isn't— you know. Lying. Through his teeth, with his body. All for the best, no doubt— at least when contained in his rather dubious purview, but lying nevertheless. His honesty is invariably accompanied by a whole lot of heartache.

Headache. Whatever. "I don't really want anybody to sanction what I'm doing here. The law never would, good conscience probably shouldn't— if anything, a justified explanation would probably make everybody feel a lot fucking worse. They'll figure out I'm not their boy eventually, whether Sal explains to them in a snarl of pre-menstrual rage or Teo does after he's back in the saddle."

Still, it's only a beat's silence that splices itself in, not a conclusion: "Yes." He doesn't look at Jesse, though he'd have to be blind not to notice the telekinetic coming up, a blur in his peripheral, a tug in his gut that has nothing to do with butterflies. He blinks his eyes.

"I'm not trying to find a way to sanction, but I do want to know what's going on." Helena says. "I want to understand your choices, even if I don't agree with them." Al - Leo - is noticed, offered a faint smile, and a hand held out toward from her seated position under one of the potted trees. She looks back to Ghost. "I feel like Phoenix has failed you in some way."

Leo smiles back, pads over to take up his usual place at her flank. He's not glaring at Ghost, and the air lacks that muting sense of pressure that happens when he's clamping down on fury. He just looks oddly weary, as he looks for a place to settle himselg down.

That last line there, out of the weather witch's pretty pink mouth, makes Ghost stop, very suddenly, like a cat who heard something far below or above the limits of human perception. He closes and opens his eyes once.

Breathes in, and out again; struggles with the effort of understanding, this time, which seems momentarily as insurmountable as the prospect of making himself understood, despite all the stock he's put in knowing precisely which strings and levers to pull to get what effect. It's probably terribly maudlin, when he ends up staring sidelong at Leonard.

"You didn't fail me," the ghost manages, eventually. "You just died."

Helena's spine straightens, brow furrowing as her expression drops to her knees, pulled in toward her chest. "That future is gone." she says quietly. "And it doesn't have to happen that way. It's not locked in." She looks up at him. "Here and now, I'm alive."

Helena blinks a moment, and looks over at Leo. "Oh," she says, "You don't mean me." Her tone is revelation, not upset at the prospect.

"What she said is true. What you've done - it won't happen like that. However I die, it won't be at Columbia," Leo's tone is low, as if that what were needed to keep it steady at all. "I want you to be yourself again, give up this vendetta. I wish there were a way for you to keep a body of your own - the Teo that's in this timeline doesn't love me like you do," The confession is strained, he's reddening at saying such things in front of someone else, even a friend as intimate as Helena.

The revelation isn't precisely what Ghost meant, by the cant of his brow and his answer— "I didn't not mean you," but he lacks the fervor of real protest.

No point in pretense, which probably wore off, cracked open, peeled away some point between the murder-suicide that was instrumental to getting them here and the exercises in high tension that have characterized his presence in 2009 snce. He was staring at Jesse— excuse me, Leonard— for not irrelevant reasons. It would be a disservice to what he'd felt for either of them to pretend that it had been the same thing.

"You want to know the shitty part," of course they don't want to know the shitty part, but Ghost has been a demonstration in traumatizing lies and even more uncomfortable truths for awhile, now, and this wouldn't be the time to stop— "I probably don't love you the way I do until you die. It's one of those fucked up things. And I'm sorry, but you still feel dead to me. Even when you had your ginger on, your face was wrong. You said it yourself: my boy's dead.

"But you're right." Humor blacker than the gut of a coal furnace, bitter, though Ghost is a few years past regret, now. "It's not going to happen that way. Not for you two."

Helena sits in silence for a few moments. It's obvious she wants to say something, but for whatever reason, at the moment she is silent, because this feels like it's Leo and Teo's time, and what requests or demands or pleas she has in her pocket she needs to just sit on for a bit. She's not antsy about it. She's coverly watching the pair of them, bearing witness while trying to make herself seem unobtrusive.

It's like they're a pair of gears whose teeth never quite mesh. "I know. You were fucking a ghost, back in the future. Even though I wasn't him, really. You wanna go back to Darien, some day? Give all that another try?"

"World's going to Hell in a handbasket. There's no time for Darien, hero." There's a slow intake of breath through Ghost's teeth, a smile. An apologetic glance fetched at the blonde girl, however absurd that may be, given she had been interrogating him on his whole murder habit.

"No time for love, Dr. Jones," murmurs Helena under her breath. She lifts her eyes back to Teo. "I'd like one of the formula doses back, please." Her tone is quiet, a little tenative.

Leo grunts wearily. "Some day," he repeats, tiredly. And then his gaze cuts to Helena's.

No. Ghost doesn't honestly think so, but he doesn't say this aloud. Doesn't answer at all, choosing instead to give Helena the attention she deserves, again. There's a tilt to his head, a darkness illuminated behind his eyes like light knifes through a depth of standing water. "For who?"

"Maybe for Peter." Helena says frankly. "But maybe not. I don't know what kind of state he'll be in, or if I'll be able to get him to Delphine, or what occasion may call for to have it. But I'd like to have it in case we need it. I kind of think if we don't succeed, whether I have it or not may not matter anyway. But it might make a difference."

Leo stretches a long leg out before him, props his back against the low wall. Just eyes Teo, mutely.

This makes Ghost stand around and squint for a few long seconds, not because he suspects Helena is lying but because he isn't sure what to make of this truth— other than that, self-evidently, his own thievery had been founded on a similar principle. Presently, he grunts. He's terribly articulate like that. "I'll take you to it after. And Peter as well, if you decide you want to award him another gift."

"If he's powerless, but he's rightminded, we might need him." Helena insists. "And if Arthur makes a power grab for someone crucial, we'll have an option immediately on hand. Delphine can fix him after, but I'm talking about the possibility of needing him, or anyone else, available."

Assent drops Ghost's head an inch, a degree quirked with the same razor-measured precision as a raptor adjusts its perception on a thing sliding under water. "I'll take you to it, then," he answers, beatifically. "We'll find the time. Or it'll find us." Enigmatic shmenigmatic. He's being cheeky, little doubt, his mouth bent around a smile that's all teeth and serrated brightness.

Helena looks frustrated. "Why don't you trust me?" she asks. "You know perfectly well we likely won't have time - we can't count on Hiro, which I assume is what you're talking about. I won't let Arthur get his hands on it, and this is important."

"I do trust you," to an extent, but Ghost obviously doesn't have to say that; nor does she, "or we wouldn't be having this conversation. I don't mean Hiro. I mean, I took a few pretty odd precautions against Arthur that have nothing to do with your hands or mine. I'd say we could go tomorrow, but we have other shit needs doing. We'll make the time.

"Before we go to Pinehearst." Possibly not the most reassuring or delicately courteous concatenation of words, but well-intended and spoken with an easy, factual sort of conviction. He makes fists, puts them in his pockets. Stops looking at his companions at all, his gaze sliding briefly out of focus, searching out something beyond line of sight or the limits of his hearing, before he shutters back in with a canine sniff.

"'S that it?"

Helena is silent a moment, and then she nods. Is that it? She offers one more thing, not intending to be cruel, though it might be interpeted such: "Teo knows we love him." And that's it. All she can seem to say. "I hope what you leave behind here won't have too many consequences for him."

Leo laughs at that. It's a bitter bark of laughter, entirely in line with that canine persona. Oh, if only.

Other times, Ghost feels kind of old. The boys whose ensuing romance he untimely interrupted with his C-4 and catalog of felonies. He remembers being young enough for drama, once. Jesus fucking Christ. "Okay," he says, crooking Helena a half a smile, visibly stemming the urge to roll his eyes in Leonard's general direction. "Buona notte. I'll check in again."

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