Not A Special Snowflake


abby_icon.gif ben_icon.gif

Scene Title Not A Special Snowflake
Synopsis See the title.
Date January 16, 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

Ben has settled himself in a booth for a quite bite of lunch. He's off-duty for the moment, his EMT shirt unbuttoned to show a gray long-sleeve under it. Right now he's waiting for Abby, sipping some coffee and reading a very thick novel. He hasn't ordered food yet.

She's running late, Arranging stuff, phone calls, some sleep, so it is, with the scooter secured, that Abby comes bustling in through the door. A wave to Tom in the back before she discovers Ben sitting in his booth. Direction changed, like a flock of birds, except it's a bird of one, the helmet slid into the booth followed by her worming out of her jacket. "How are you Ben? Good Afternoon"

Ben takes a moment to register something's happening beyond book land; he glances up, blinks, smiles a little. Taking an old-fashioned blank library card tucked into the book, he wedges it in his current place. "I'm alright. You? Hopefully better rested than when I saw you last?"

"Not dead on my feet. Bad day. Three people, not two, spent the next day and night in the police station with stuff. But no. Got a few hours sleep today and some errands on the way here. How goes saving people?" Coffee! The waitress swings by to drop off a cup for Abby, and take orders if Ben's ready. Abby is.

Ben orders himself some chili and that's it; the waitress patiently waits for Abby's order before taking off again. Once she's gone, Ben smiles a little again. "It goes fairly well. Has anyone talked to you about the upcoming project they'd like your help with? I think Teo said he would."

"Helena and Teo did. Helena realized she couldn't get by with you patching her up, so she came to me. Ask for my help. Told her i'd be there. Managed to get Sylar's promise to stay away till after whatever happens, happens. He agreed" She reaches around the table for sugar, doctoring her coffee up wanting that little boost. "Are you going to be there too?"

"Yeah, I just helped with the initial treatment," Ben says, shrugging. "Better she's not on painkillers. I'm not sure what I'm doing. I guess I stay on call in case something happens and they need a quick band-aid. I wish I knew more about how the virus worked. Or that they had scientists that could learn more." He reaches out to arrange the sugar packets neatly in their holder and starts absently arranging them by kind, making sure they're all facing the same way, that kind of thing. It's a habit.

That, Abby didn't know. "Virus?" Abby picks up her spoon, stirring the coffee, mingling the sugar within it. "She never said anything about a virus" She's dropped her voice low. "I haven't been to visit lately, busy with other things and work. Moving again soon. Whats happening Ben?"

Ben has a sip of coffee, brow furrowing. "Virus. Kills ninety per cent of the world's population. Or maybe eighty. Regardless, a very high amount. They didn't mention the mortars or the steam vents?" He's pitching his voice low, obviously. This is sekrit stuff.

Abby bring a hand up to rub at her lower face back and forth before shaking her head. "No. No. She didn't. No one has" Abby closes her mouth, running her tongue across her upper teeth, puzzled. "She told me something else, that I shouldn't probably speak of, and I don't know whether I should. Not even Teo knew yet. But it involves my gift.. I can't.. cure a virus Ben. Not of it's in the blood. I can take care of what it does to a body, but.. Ben… a world killing virus?"

"It's funny how these things do and don't come up," Ben murmurs, eyebrows knitting together. "Yeah. I don't like playing a waiting game. I'd rather take out their means of spreading it instead of waiting 'til the last minute. This is a very big deal."

Abby nods, looking into her coffee. "I'm not supposed to be dealing with a virus. I'm on a team with Sergie, Helena and myself. And.. probably as important as dealing with those mortars and steam vents, Ben what on earth is a mortar? I thought mortar was the cement between bricks…"

"It's also a cannon that throws things at high angles," Ben tells her, voice still low. "I'm not sure how the teams work so much. Like I said, I'd rather people were destroying their ability to spread the virus. Or the virus itself, but they'd need more information."

Abby's chewing on her lower lip, more information. A virus.. " The downside to never being home when the other two are, or going to the library. She's not part of phoenix. "Helena.. thinks… You can't tell her I said this Ben. Nor going spreading it willy nilly. Helena thinks that Sergei, I and her, are going for a Kazimir Volken. He does the opposite of what I can do. He takes life and .. can give it" Her blue eyes levered up and locked onto Ben's.

"I don't know who Sergei is," Ben murmurs, "But that's a tall order. Very tall. And dangerous." He leans back in his seat, brow furrowed again. "Then again, someone has to do it."

"Sergei.. You wouldn't know, your not.. evolved. Sergei negates. No ones power works with I don't know how many feet of him. I can't even heal when near him. Which, I guess might say some things, but I don't care. But, yes, it is, and you see why she's keeping that close at hand" Her hands slide around the coffee cup. "They'll need your help Ben, afterwards. People will be hurt and I don't know if I'll be in shape to help, or whether I'll even be…" She's going to leave the last unsaid.

Alive. Ben gets that. "I'm there to help," Ben tells her quietly. "Someone like this Sergei guy sounds like the only way to go against Volken. That and a gun."

'Good. Cause, seriously, even if everyone gets hurt and i'm still able.. I'm not going to be able to heal everyone back to full. God doesn't give me that much energy" Even if she drank a thousand red bulls. "How are you doing? Through this all, so far. Sorry, about the bar thing"

"I'm fine," Ben tells her. He pauses, then says, "Can you call in next time you're that tired? I don't think you should work then. I think you need your rest and frankly, you're shitty customer service without the rest. Trust me, I used to wait tables."

"Isabelle read me the riot act after. But, yeah, I will. I intend to. I feel really bad, I got all up in that guys face and it was a right thing to do even if he was being.. rude" Guilt seeps into her features before she changes the subject, or tries to. "Tell you I got accepted? Classes, start sometime after this whole thing should go down"

Ben nods to her as she talks about the incident at the bar; then he flashes a bright grin, so rare from him, at the mention of classes. "That's great! You need any homework help, feel free to ask me."

"You, there was another paramedic I know, who's offered, someone is helping pay for my tuition, without needing to take a student loan, though i'll still pay them back" urge to say 'if i survive and Sylar doesn't come for me after two weeks, but it seems to upset people so she doesn't. "You might know him. James Harvard"

Ben shakes his head. "I think you've mentioned him before, but no. I haven't met him that I know of. Who's helping with tuition?"

"Mystery person" Abby answers Ben. "and I've been told not to question, just accept" look, here comes food, when they're not talking about security sensitive stuff. "So I'm not. Thanks" the last murmured to the waitress, looking down to her fish and chips, slathering the fish with lots of ketchup before starting in on it.

Ben snorts faintly. "I hope that doesn't come back to bite you on the butt later." He was going to say 'ass', but thought better of it. To be nice! Stirring his spoon around in his chili, he adds, "That's good. I think. Loans are a pain in the ass, and scholarships are hard to get."

"I don't think it will. How's your chili?" thereby tempting him to take a bite. "Do they let you take people on rides with you in the ambulance? The ones going to school? Or say, ones who are registered healers?"

"You know, I'm not sure how it works for EMTs," Ben tells her, squinting an eye. He dutifully spoons some chili in his mouth. "Good. Hot." It's steaming a lot, though he doesn't seem bothered if he's burnt his tongue. "Yeah, you'll have to ask about going along on rides. So you did register?"

"I did" Even though she hated the whole ordeal. "It's made life easier" She dips a hand down to bring out the piece of ID, slide it over to him. One abigail Beauchamp, evolved healer, tier O. "So the SCOUT captain couldn't hold it over my head, or anyone else for the matter. So far it's not been trouble but that's not saying in the future it wouldn't. It got me out of a hospital bill, well a large one. I just asked god if I could fix myself enough to get out and I did and they didn't make me stay longer"

Ben slides the card further toward himself, picks it up after plucking the edges ineffectually a few times. "Huh," he says. "You might get off easy, considering what your ability is." He hands the card back. "The picture's not bad."

"Maybe. We'll see. I'll have a fall back anyways. I'm listing Isabelle's as my contact place, for the address, and keeping my new place out of the directory they have. Isabelle agreed to help me. That way I can potentially avoid people showing up at where I live, in the future. Though keeping my number, so if you need healing or know someone who needs it, call my number"

"Sounds sensible to me," Ben tells her, spooning more chili into his mouth. "Are there programs you can join that would help you explore the limits of your ability?"

"I know the limits of my ability Ben" Abby points out to the young man across from her. "There's a man though, who helped me after I ran into sylar on christmas eve. A Dr. Suresh. He knows Sylar, and he gave me his number. He offered to help, to.. see if god would grant me the ability to use his gift when I saw fit, and without needing to ask him every time"

"Are you sure you do?" is Ben's answer. He shrugs slightly, one shoulder higher than the other, and nods again. "He knows Sylar and is willing to sell you out, or he knows Sylar and will protect you from him?"

'The last. He knows Sylar. Sylar killed his father" Abby answers, picking at her fish, dissecting it with her fork. "What, what if Ben.. I am evolved, and this isn't because of God, but, something else? what if God didn't single me out to do what I do, for him, because I deserve it or he's testing me. What if i'm.. some scientific.. screw up in the world of.. others. What if I don't.. need god's permission? What if.. He has nothing to do with it at all"

Ben keeps eating, looking calm. He smiles a little at her. "We've covered this before, Abby. You can look on your abilities as a gift from God. Like being able to paint well, or knowing how to sing. What you do with those abilities is up to you, but maybe you're not the super special chosen of God anymore than someone who can sing is. Is that a letdown?"

"It is" The blonde answers quietly, ceasing to even poke at the deep fried fish. "Like.. finding out there's not Santa Claus.. when for years, you've gotten gifts from him over and over. And to still believe, after you see your parents put those presents under the tree Christmas eve while you watch from a hidden spot"

Ben waffles a hand from side to side with a hint of a wince. "Sort of? Maybe it evens out, though. Instead of God having a particular interest in you and only you, He saw fit to grant the gifts to others. That seems more fair to me, and more like the type of God I'd like to believe in. Believing you're the one single chosen strikes me as a touch arrogant, Abigail." He holds up two fingers just a fraction of an inch apart as he says 'touch'. "But that doesn't mean you're not still special."

"Liked it better Ben when it was just me" comes her confession across the plate of food and bowl of chili.

Ben smiles crookedly, stirring his spoon around to catch the bits of chili clinging to the sides and encourage them to join the rest of what's left. "Yeah. I can imagine."

'Doesn't explain why I can't do it till I give him due Ben though. Maybe everyone's right and I'm just another one of god's blueprints, or maybe their not. I don't.. want to be just like everyone else, I'm not like everyone else. Why would I be given this gift then and not.. not a different one. Why a gift like his son and not one like Al's?" The plate of fish and chips is pushed away to the side to be collected and takes her registration card back to shove away into the dark recesses of her purse. "Why weren't you given something like this then?"

"Why can't I sing like Justin Timberlake?" Ben counters, spooning more chili into his mouth, chewing, and swallowing before continuing. He gestures toward her with his spoon. "As for it only working when you pray… that's how you believe it works, so that's how it works. Maybe you don't have to pray, but if that's how you do it, that's how you do it." He squints an eye at her. "Do you realize what you sounds like to me, who doesn't have abilities?" Putting his spoon down, he goes for his coffee with a frown. "Do I not deserve them as much as the guy who can float things with his mind? Do you deserve yours more than that guy? Are you somehow better than me or Justin Timberlake? Aren't we supposed to be equal, all of us?" He pauses, then adds, "Justin Timberlake was the first guy that can sing that popped into my head."

"I was raised to believe I'm better than someone who doens't give themselves to god, and that because I did, what I do, that I was a gift, someone special. Blessed by god and that they were special to have gotten such a divine gift. That by using my gift on those who didn't believe, they would, when a miracle happened" Abby falls silent when the waitress comes around again to fill glasses and mugs with coffee or what have you. "But why didn't god say "hey, I'm going to give Ben's mother and father a child… and decide that you didn't get some gift like Al's or myself. Why did I get it?"

"There's a difference here between your view of God and mine," Ben says after a moment. "I see God in science and genetics, not as someone making decisions. I could be wrong, but I could also be right. As for better… it's been a long time since church, but I seem to remember something about a prodigal son. I kind of resent the idea that you're better than me because you go to church." His eyebrows lift.

"I'm not better than you Ben. I've never been better than you or anyone else. I've just been Abigail, blessed by god, doing his work. I said I was raised to believe it, but living here, and doing what I've done. I'm not. I swear, and I .. pour beer on people and I heal those who have hurt and murdered others, I lie, and I don't show up to work on time when Isabelle needs me because I'm too busy healing people, the list could go on Ben" Her nose twitches, looking down to her coffee, as if the black liquid held answers. "I'm not better, I don't think I'm better, I wish I could be better. I'm not self righteous, or.. volatile or everything else I'm called to my face or behind my back "

"You still are Abigail, blessed by God, doing his work," Ben says gently. "You're just not as much as a unique and special snowflake than you thought, maybe."

"I don't know Ben" Abigail lifts her head. "Snowflakes are all different, no single one alike, and I haven't met someone who can do exactly what it is that I can do. Even James Harvard can't, and he can heal people" A ghost of a smile is on her face though.

Ben grins. "It's a big world out there with a lot of people you haven't met, but sure. We're all unique."

'Am I self righteous? Is it wrong that I don't care what a persons done, that I heal them? It's okay for a doctor to do it Ben, but it's not okay for me to do it?" things keep burbling up in her mind, spoken over the last few weeks. "I'm sorry Ben, for all the sighs that I make you do. For making you sigh all the time"

Ben snickers outright. "You don't make me sigh nearly as much as other people, Abigail," he says. "I'd say healing people just because they're hurt and not picking and choosing is the opposite of being self righteous, personally. If it's alright for a doctor, it's alright for you." He finishes scraping chili out of his bowl. "In any case, I'm apparently naturally curmudgeonly."

"Why Ben, are you naturally curmudgeonly? Because you sigh a lot? I know some curmudgeons, your not one" the blonde points out, with her own spoon at him this time. 'And thank you. For understanding, for listening and not.. ramming stuff down my throat""

Ben shrugs again, lightly, seeming amused. "I don't know. I didn't think I was that bad. And that's okay, I'll listen any time."

'I'll do the same Ben. If you need it. That's what bartenders do" She brings the cup of coffee to her lips, swallowing a huge mouthful of the liquid inside. "How much longer and do you have class or are you out and about saving lives?"

"I'm doing both at the same time," Ben tells her. "Or concurrently, I guess you could say." He has another gulp of coffee, tries to flag a waitress to get more. "You get told many stories, bar tending?"

"Not yet. I've met some different people. Other evolves. I met a guy who tell that i'd broken my nose and my cheekbone. But he couldn't when I fixed that. Weak spots he said. But he couldn't see it after I touched it up. I met another guy who's far from home, and stuck here. Locked in because of work and can't go home. I don't know if he'd want to go home even if he could. I'm sure once I stop needing to concentrate on what i'm making and more on the person i'm making it for. Wait, so, your learning WHILE in.. an ambulance? It's the same? Or I mean, you spend your morning in class and then the rest of the day, in an ambulance?"

Ben nods along, listening as his cup is refilled. He goes for the sugar packets again. "I take some courses with other trainees, but it's when the classes come up and not necessarily mornings and evenings. I'm going to be on course for most of the day all of next week. That sort of thing."

"So for the most… your" She points to the uniform he's wearing. "That's what I'm going to be wearing?" There's a pause and she leans forward. 'Ben, how on earth am I going to get a job once i'm done? DO you just.. hand out resumee's like I did to get the job here two years ago?"

Ben shakes his head. "No, you're just gonna have regular classes in civvies, I think. I'm a special case because I went to medical school. You won't find it hard to get a job." He stirs more sugar into his coffee. "People get hurt all the time. Especially around here, so there's always a need for trained medics."

'Not for a long time. Be a long time till they toss me in an ambulance the business end of it. Though I suppose… If i just walked up and said what I could do, they'd toss me in, in a heartbeat, training or no"

Ben waffles his hand again. "Maybe, with a partner with the usual training."

'Have to restrain myself from healing everyone full" There's a turn up of her lips at that. "Don't rightly know Ben if I can do that! How much time you got left? and if you need it I can give you a lift on my scooter"

"I have to head back home soon. A ride to the subway would be great," Ben says with a grin. "I'm not too dignified for a scooter. Got a spare helmet?"

"In the storage in the back. I'll let you wear mine though cause it's blue and the other one is the pink one. Save your masculine pride" The blonde offers. She digs in her purse for her wallet, laying out the necessary money for her food and coffee plus tip. "Thanks ben, for the invitation for lunch. Was nice to… sit, and talk, though, you know, I did a lot of the talking. Thank you though"

Ben starts digging out cash, nodding. "Thanks for not sticking me with the pink helmet. And it's good to talk to you, Abigail. Call whenever."

"I will. Lets get you to a subway huh. I have to go look at apartments and start arranging stuff for Al and I. Hey, Teo got me a cat for Christmas, did you know that?" As she gets up from her side, the blue helmet paw'd and passed over to Ben. it'll be a snug fit, but he can make it work. "all black. But i'm going to call her scarlet"

Ben zips up his jacket and tugs on his gloves before taking the helmet. "A cat, huh? Nice. Shelter?"

You say, "I don't know, knowing him though, likely. He's been training it not to eat the bird. For like weeks now. I don't know how he did it, without me knowing, but he did. She likes laps" Glvoes on, jacket zipped up, the Scooters parked like a motorcycle and she take sout her keys, to unlock the back of it and exchange her purse for a helmet before closing it all up again."

Ben pulls his helmet on and starts doing it up. "Why're you moving again?"

"The wrong people know where I live. That's why. Protect myself, protect Al. Teo's moving somewhere else" Abby doesn't know about the strain between the two men, or the broken hearts. One has to be home to see it." She scoots forward on the seat, more than enough room for Ben to hop on.

Ben climbs on behind her with a faint sigh. "You're going to go through a lot of apartments." He wraps his arms around her after a moment's hesitation, ready to go.

January 16th: Past The Mission
January 16th: The Healer Protocols
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License