Playing At Hero


helena_icon.gif sal_icon.gif

Scene Title Playing At Hero
Synopsis Helena used to be where Sal is now, but that doesn't help the situation.
Date May 30, 2009

Old Dispensary

House arrest wasn't really necessary. Sal's not gone further than the kitchen for a little bit of food in the past day. And then it's back to his room, door closed. He hasn't made an attempt to leave the Dispensary, so if there were guards to stop him from leaving, he doesn't know that.

Helena has left Gillian in her room to sleep off the fatigue of her night, after managing her own toiletries and breakfast, she goes to knock on Sal's door. If he hasn't tried to leave the Dispensary, then he'll never know that she'd arranged his prevention from doing so. "Sal?" she calls out.

It takes a moment or two for a response. She might think for a moment that Sal isn't going to answer. And then, a quiet, "Yes?" from the other side of the door. If she opens the door, she'll find him on the bed, on top of the covers, lying out, hands at sides.

Helena steps inside, looking around for a seat. Presumably there's at least one, and she grabs it and moves to the side of her bed. Sitting, she leans forward a little, and laces her fingers together as she looks at him. "I'm sorry that this is happening to you. We still don't know what is going on with Teo. Leo spotted him last night, but he managed to get away. We think this is some kind of personal agenda, because if it were on behalf of anyone else, we'd have been routed out well before now."

"Whoever this is," says Sal, quietly, "Don't underestimate his cruelty, or how far he'll go. This isn't someone who is just moving according to an agenda. Or he wouldn't have fucked with me before he stole the formula." His voice is small, lacking in confidence. He continues to stare at the ceiling.

"What you've been through is very hard." Helena says, with patience. "And awful. And makes you soul sick. I understand how it feels to be violated, and soul sick, and feeling betrayed and frightened by and for someone you love."

"It's not pleasant," Sal agrees, the words falling heavy off his tongue. "I'm not like you, Helena. I'm not like Al, or…" he hesitates, "…Teo. I'm not a fighter. I shouldn't have joined with you. I should have stayed with the Ferrymen." He swallows. "I did it for him. To be part of this part of his life. But I've been fooling myself. For a long time now."

"Even if you were still with the Ferrymen, we'd need you to be doing what you're doing." Helena points out quietly. "And none of what we've asked you to do involves fighting or going face to face with anyone. We don't even have a way of determining if this was Teo yet, which I know in some ways makes it better, and also worse for you." She stays leaned forward, looking at her hands. "Phoenix is still inclusive in the Ferrymen, but is he the only reason you made the jump over the fence? This sort of thing…you can't do it just for another person, no matter how much you love them. I had to learn that."

"I wasn't making any progress, Helena." Sal doesn't mean to, but his voice tightens. "I'm a cosmetic surgeon. I'm not a chemist or a geneticist. A plastic surgeon who's primarily used his power or sewn up bullet wounds in the last three years. Best case scenario? I can tell you how it works. I'll never be able to tell you why, or how to reproduce it. It's over my head by two storeys. And I doubt how it works has anything to do with why…whoever it was took it."

He shifts, but still only glances occasionally over at her. "That's why I say it was a mistake. It was for him. I tried to tell him and myself otherwise. But it's just not the truth." He inhales slowly. "And it is him. Somehow. That thing knows what he does. Private details. Things…just.." He puts a hand to his face. "…trust me, Helena. If he was just an imposter, I would know. I would have been able to tell."

"It doesn't mean there aren't other influences involved. I've known Teo for a long time. I've never been his lover, but I do know him." Helena's voice is soft when she says this. "I wouldn't ask you to fight unless we had no choice." she says quietly. "A detective was murdered last night. Someone put Phoenix grafitti all over the walls. Law enforcement's now offering a fifty thousand dollar reward to anyone who can lead them to capture Phoenix operatives." She leans forward now. "I had to learn while in prison that the cause I was fighting for meant more to me than just one man, and even then I made choices that I regret because of him. You're needed, even more now, even with what minimal effort you've made with the formula, and surely you can see that. Paying dues is hard, and so many people can avoid capture because of you. If you can't be here, if you need to be with the Ferrymen, that's fine, but don't let all the good you've done and can do be negated by this. You're doing yourself a disservice. I know it's painful, but remember what you said to me? About paying your dues?"

Sal makes a rough sound that's hard to interpret. "I don't see how it helps. How does knowing why the formula works do you any good? I…could guess. I could give you any number of ideas of how it works. And it would be just as good as me bending over a bench and trying to focus on this thing." Which he doubts he can do. "I was doing it to find out if it was safe to take. But with it gone, there's no reason to keep doing that, is there? I mean, I had to convince you to even let me have a look at it in the first place. You were confident it was safe. It's clear it was stolen to prevent anyone in Phoenix from taking it."

Slowly, Sal sits up. "When I said I'm not a fighter, I didn't just mean I can't throw a punch. I mean I don't fight for things. Working on the formula isn't paying dues, it's busywork." If he had a shorter temper, those words would be harsh. But he just sounds tired, and completely deflated.

Helena sighs. "Sal, listen to me. I'm not talking just about the formula - but if you want to address it? Yes, the information is worth having, even if we don't have the samples. But law enforcement has declared Phoenix to be a full on terrorist group. Think about what's in your power to do. There's more that you're needed for than just the formula. You think I was always like this? I grew up in an upper middle class him in Sleepy Hollow, for god's sake. Maybe you need to learn to fight for things, because if you don't, the things you take for granted? They'll be taken away. And you won't even realize they're gone and that you needed them until they are. Define yourself by more than who you love. That's what I had to do."

Sal's lips pull into a small, sad smile. He turns his head and looks at her. "The only thing that feels important to me right now is getting Teo back. And I have no idea how to do that. I think…" he looks her in the eye. "You are a very strong young woman. And you've been through a lot. But you're young. You have idealism. That's…important. And what you're doing is important. But I know politics. And I know enough to know just what an uphill battle all of you are facing. And me? I'm just a spoiled rich kid who's playing at hero to be with his boyfriend. Nothing more than that."

"And I used to be a spoiled little girl who played at freedom fighter to be with her boyfriend." Helena tells him, her voice intent. "Cameron used to keep me out of the fight. I used to steal my best friend's clothes. You know politics Sal, but I don't think you really understand the consequences of them. Moab taught me what abuse of those politics could mean. Do you want to be just a spoiled rich kid playing at hero? Or do you want to actually be one?"

"I thought I did," says Sal. But he can't find a way to say more. He rubs his palm across his face. "I don't know about anything anymore." And then he lies back down and resumes his ceiling gazing.

Helena studies him a moment, her expression going through several transformations on her face. "Members of Phoenix could be arrested, shipped off to places like Moab, executed for terrorism, or worse. Your services may be needed. So while you're thinking about what you may or may not be capable of, think about the people you could be helping." Helena rises from her seat. "I'd prefer if you decide to leave the Dispensary, that you let me know before you go. We can make sure that your exit is made safely, here and off the island. But I would really, really prefer it if you stayed and helped. I'd be interested in meeting you. Not your father's son, and not Teo's lover. You." With that, she heads for the door.

If she's expecting a passionate response, an argument, some sudden decision to fight, well, she's not going to get one. Sal greets that only with silence. The doc is numb to everything, what strength he had, sapped. He doesn't even turn his head as she exits.

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