Not A Threat


lynette_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Not A Threat
Synopsis Ray and Lynette have an exchange of information that is mostly friendly.
Date March 17, 2018

The Benchmark Recovery and Counseling Center

Benchmark is a tall, red brick building renovated into a rehab facility. The first floor holds doctors' offices, reception, waiting areas and conference rooms. The lobby is warm and inviting, with a rust-colored design scheme and paintings of calm oceans and pristine beaches. The common areas follow this design, but each doctor has designed their own offices to their own tastes. The upper floors holds dorm-style rooms, split for two occupants per room. Each floor has a communal shower/bathroom. Very dorm-like. Freshman dorms. There is one room on each floor for an employee assigned to that floor, as a communication point for the clients and semi-guard for them, too. This room is more self-contained and the employees are not expected to use the same facilities as the client.

The top floor is different, set up more like an apartment building, where people come to live. These are typically ex-Ferrymen or the like who need a place to stay and are willing to exchange room and board for some work maintaining the building. They do not interact with the clients. The doctors are also welcome to stay in these apartments, but most choose not to.

"Hi there," Richard Ray flashes a disarming smile to the receptionist of the Benchmark center, dressed in a black suit, pants and jacket, white shirt beneath, no tie. He's terrible about putting the tie on. "I'm here to speak with Lynette Row— err— Ruiz, Lynette Ruiz," he corrects himself, shaking his head at his own slip, "If she has a few minutes. Tell her it's Richard Ray."

She probably remembers the man as Richard Cardinal though, so they both have new names to stumble over.

The receptionist turns to Ray with a welcoming sort of smile, since most of the people who come in here need a little support just to come talk to her. But when he asks for the lady in charge— and gives his name— she perks up a little. "Oh. Yes, of course. One moment." She turns to an intercom to let Lynette know.

And it isn't a long wait, as Lynette's office is just down the hall, before she comes out into the lobby herself. "Well," she says with a smile of her own, "to what do I owe this pleasure?"

"Lynette." Richard steps away from the desk with a warm smile, hands spreading a touch, "Good to see you. I wish I could say it was purely a social call, but…" He motions a bit with one hand to the hall, brows raising, "You mind if we speak privately? Got something to discuss with you, if you've got the time."

"It's good to see you, too," Lynette says although his follow up gets a wry smile. "I figured it wasn't," she notes. "And it's my building, so I have all the time I want. This way," she says with a nod toward the hall. She only pauses to tell the receptionist that she'll be radio silent for a while, then leads Ray down the hall into her office. It's big— because she got first dibs on rooms— and full of dark wood and blue accents. "Have a seat," she says gesturing to the couch and chairs she has off to one side. "You want some coffee?" Because she obviously can't offer him anything harder.

Ray steps along after her, looking around the place with an easy smile. He's been here before, of course, when Des was recovering from — whatever she'd been through. "I like the place," he compliments as he steps inside, moving over to claim a seat on the couch and slouching back comfortably, "It's very relaxing, very welcoming. And yeah, hell, I can always use coffee. As close to tar as you can get it." Bad habits die hard.

"Thank you. That's what we're trying for. And to not look too much like a clinic." Some of that is unavoidable. Since it sort of is one. Lynette seems to have coffee ready, maybe all the time since it's the one vice left to her now, and she brings over a couple mugs. The coffee itself stands out a bit, since she brought it up from Mexico with her. "I'm afraid tar isn't on the menu, but black is easy enough." She takes a chair herself, sipping her own coffee before she looks over at him again. "So what can I do for you?"

"It's less what you can do for me…" Richard trails off as he tries to think on how to phrase things, reaching over to accept the coffee mug with a quick smile of thanks. He draws it in back to him, pausing a moment before admitting, "It's about your husband, and about Desdemona. This is fairly— sensitive, too. You were there for all the crazy bullshit we dealt with back in the day, though, so I think you'll understand."

Lynette lifts an eyebrow as he begins. But she's pretty sure he's not here to sell her anything, so she settles back in her chair to listen. "Yes, the crazy bullshit levels have to be pretty high to surprise any of us around here." Even though phrases like it's about your husband are not the most comforting things to hear, she doesn't seem worried about what Ray is about to tell her. "Des works for you, right? At Raytech."

"Yeah." Richard takes a sip of coffee, then rests the mug down on his knee, "So, cutting right to the heart of it — your husband's memory of his early years has been heavily altered, we believe by agents affiliated with the Company. More than likely by the woman he believes is his mother." A hand comes up, "And the first thing I have to caution you about is, don't bring this up with him yet. There's a very strong mental block in place, and pushing it in the wrong way could be potentially damaging."

This news is taken in with a tilt of her head. Lynette does seem to be taking it well, so maybe it's not that far up the crazy bullshit scale. "He and Des are connected, I hear," she says after a moment. "I did tell him that I trust Kaylee, if he wants to figure it out. She might get a call." The notion of not bringing it up gets an amused shake of her head and a crooked smile when she looks back over at him. "I understand being careful around this sort of thing. And I wouldn't hurt him."

"We broke through some of Des's own blocks…" Richard's nose wrinkles slightly, "…it wasn't a pleasant trip shall we say. There's something weird going on there, with her mind, and its connections. We think she's connected through multiple timelines to her other… selves. As far as we can tell, they are or were raised as siblings." He nods slightly, "And the first attempt to separate them led to an entire building full of Company agents slaughtered."

"She mentioned that. That she was aware of herself through multiple timelines. Something of their… past was already stirring. Before she… came here to recover." From all the fun in her own head. Lynette sets her coffee down on a side table, listening as he goes on, although that last note gets her attention. And for the first time in this conversation, she looks surprised. It's a mild expression, but hard to miss even though she eases it back after a moment. "Well. I can understand that. I'd do the same if someone tried to take him from me." She pauses, a finger tapping against her mug, internally debating. "She was Institute," she says, although it is more a question than a statement of fact, "Des. Wasn't she?" It was a long time ago, when Richard and Elisabeth were part of taking down the Staten Island hospital, so maybe it's easy to forget that Lynette was there, too. But not as a rescuer. As the other thing.

"Not like they died, Lynette," Richard shakes his head slightly, a mild shudder working down his spine, "Not like they died. It looked more like something Sylar would've done in a rampage. I don't understand how she did it, still, but…" He brings the mug up, grimacing then at her question. "Yes. Vanguard, before that. Company, before that. She's never worked for someone who wasn't holding her under threat of death before. It's a… process." His gaze flickers up, "So if you could be careful who you tell about her — I'd rather not have Gitelman kicking in my office door."

"Ah. Slaughted wasn't hyperbole, then." Lynette, with the gift of distance from what he saw, only frowns at the description. "Well. If they thought she was too dangerous, they might have tried to supress her ability, too. Change it, if only in her own mind. She thinks there's a limit to her ability, so there is one. They create one." The theoretical can wait, though. When he answers her more thoroughly than she expected, Lynette looks down at her lap, but just for a moment. "Of course. No one will hear about it from me. She wants a fresh start and I'm going to support her in that." It's kind of a thing she has going lately. "That was going to be my next question. If you were protecting her or… watching her."

"Six of one, half-dozen of the other?" Richard offers over a faint, rueful smile, one shoulder raising in a shrug, "She deserves a fresh start, but she also needs someone watching her to make sure she doesn't fall back into bad habits. She's not used to having people who care about her as a person…" He nods a bit in her direction, "You and Mateo have been good for her, I think."

"Alright. You watch. I'll support. Mateo will, too. She can do it," Lynette says with a conviction that might seem optimistic. "It isn't something a person can do alone, believe me. And I understand how difficult it is to turn your life back around. But I know she can." If Lynette is putting on an act, it's a good one. But more likely, she actually believes it. It's one of those traits that made her a good fit for the Ferry, with it's hodgepodge of reformed.

Eric Doyle, after all, was by all definitions an absolute monster before he joined the Ferry. Eileen, Ethan and the others were part of the Vanguard. If there's one thing the Ferrymen believed in, it was redemption.

"Mateo will need your support too, but I know I don't have to tell you to give him that," Richard quirks a faint smile, his head shaking, "We're basically tearing everything he believed of his life apart step by step and… he'll need things that are real to hold onto, to keep himself steady."

"No, that part I have covered," Lynette says with a wry expression. "He's got us here. Silvia and me. He'll have plenty to lean on." She blinks for a moment and something seems to have occured to her. "Oh. Hang on, I have something for you." She stands up, crossing to her desk. "Eve told me I would see a red bird," she says, looking over at him with a crooked smile, "and I was supposed to give it something. Him something, I suppose." She slides open a drawer and pulls out a small figure of a cat. There's a note attached to it. "She's been having… some difficult visions lately," she says, in the biggest of understatements, "so I can't tell you if this means something or if she's just processing." She sets the cat down on the table near him. "She was saying a lot of very… unsettling mantras at the time." Which she might be saying to explain the note.

I See You.

At the mention of Eve, Richard's expression darkens. He reaches over to pick up the cat figure, regarding the note, and then he sets it down with a rough snort. "Eve is a dangerous lunatic who won't think twice about murdering someone in cold blood because she thinks a vision told her to," he opins sharply, "She convinced Des to go shoot up with Refrain to try and recover her blocked memories."

"Eve is someone who needs support. And grounding. I'm not sure she's had either in a long time that didn't involve someone handing her a weapon." Which is less than helpful, really. Lynette sits back down in her chair, picking her coffee back up. "She told me. Well. She told me she went to see the blue fairy as if I don't know what that means." Lynette is pretty much the hippest mom on the block. "I didn't know Des was with her. Although, I'm not surprised. Eve and her met over a painting of one of Des' other… Desses. Did she mention them? There was one of another you, too."

"They may have travelled in time. It's unclear. Des lost several years of life, since whatever those two did accelerated her aging process," says Richard, still clearly irritated at the entire business, "She murdered one friend of mine already. I'm not about to let her accidentally kill another one with drugs."

"I've never known Refrain to actually cause time travel. But I suppose it wouldn't be the most out there thing to happen. And I don't approve, obviously. But anger never helped anyone in recovery. It won't help either of them, either. I'll help keep them both from repeating whatever they did, as much as I can." Lynette never used to be a very zen person. But she seems to have found her own sense of equalibrium. "I don't want anyone lost to that drug. Or to visions. Or any of it. So. You have something of a partner in trying to keep people… as sane as possible."

Richard rubs a hand over his face, "I appreciate it. If Des is going to experiment with that… stuff in order to recover her memories, she's going to do so under strict laboratory conditions or not at all." He doesn't sound pleased with even that idea, but sometimes you need to do things you don't like for a goal.

"Let's go with not at all," Lynette says with a sigh. "I understand wanting her memories back, but what that drug is going to do to her is not worth it. Eve will understand. I hope Des will, too. I could tell her that it will completely ruin that shade of blue for her forever, but." That's a joke. Maybe a dark one, seeing as it comes from a Refrain addict, but everyone handles their issues in their own way. "It's an easy answer. It's not the only answer."

"Maybe you'll have better luck than me," says Richard with a grimace, "Eve doesn't listen to me. Honestly she's likely to do the opposite of anything I say out of spite, because she's still tweaked that I was upset she shot my friend in the goddamn face when he was begging for help." Yeah, he's still a little angry about that. "And no, she didn't say she had a painting of me. What was it?"

"I mean, you're not wrong." As far as Eve being likely to do the exact opposite. Lynette has witnessed Eve killing in the name of her visions before, even that specific time. "I'm working on it. I'm not excusing her, but I am trying to help her find other ways to resolve her visions. Murder is another easy answer." And she's not a fan of any of them, really. Easy answers. "It was you, terrified, banging on the glass trying to get out. But a different you, from what I could gather. There was one of Des, too. And… another precog that Eve knows. I didn't know her."

"The glass…" Richard's lips purse tightly, "…a triangle, I take it?" He shakes his head, "Okay. That's terrifying, but… right, I meant to ask, shit." His gaze lifts back to Lynette, "What is Mateo's ability? I don't actually know."

"Yes. The Looking Glass." The capitals are noticeable. Lynette spreads her hands, because things are terrifying and none of them can help it. When he asks about Mateo's ability, her expression turns more neutral. Maybe even a little stony. "You'll have to ask Mateo about that," she says, her voice still carrying the same calm it had a moment ago. Protective hackles are there, certainly, but she's trying to keep them down. "He'll share what he feels comfortable sharing."

Ray's free hand lifts palm forward in a peaceful gesture, "Fair enough, fair enough." His tone wry, "I'm not a threat here, Lyn, I'm trying to help. Don't need to look at me like that." There's warmth to the words, though - protectiveness, he understands.

"I know. My therapist says my level of paranoia is unhealthy. But I say that it keeps me alive. So. It's a work in progress," Lynette says with a crooked smile. She might be kidding, but he's sure to have noticed the security system around her building. It's more than a recovery clinic should really have. "He's a lot nicer than I am. He'll probably tell you, if you ask."

"I'd say it's healthy," says Richard as he pushes himself up to his feet, straightening and setting the coffee mug back down, "There's something coming, Lynette. I don't know what it is, but it doesn't feel good." He offers her a smile, though his gaze is serious, "So I'd keep that paranoia sharp, for his sake as well as everyone else's. If there're any more developments… I'll let you know."

"Don't worry," Lynette says as she stands, too, "I'm always ready." She offers her hand out to him, for a farewell shake. "Thank you. I'll do the same. We'll ride this out yet." Stepping over to the door, she slides the door open and seems to assume he can find his way out. "Say bye to my receptionist. She likes the attention," she adds with a more genuine smile.

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