Preachers And Saints


joseph_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif

Scene Title Preachers and Saints
Synopsis Meredith goes to visit Joseph, who is guarding Danko. They have a discussion about the turn over tomorrow.
Date November 11, 2009

Grand Central Terminal: Subbasement

The lowest levels of the Grand Central Terminal is the stuff of legends and urban myth - turns out, it didn't disappoint. A mess of platforms, of tunnels, of steam pipes, and storage areas, there's been no real effort made to restore power to this place - be prepared to wield a torch or a glow stick (both of which are provided readily, unless you're an intruder…) or enjoy stumbling around in the oppressive darkness. Or at least, such is the case for most of this area.

Renovations are ongoing, but have progressed to this level as well. Platforms and their unused tracks are used for storage - where trains might have marked their gigantic metal forms, there are now boxes of supplies of many kinds, labeled and ordered for a time when they are needed. Minimal light systems have been set up for when work down here is required.

In addition to wider spaces being utilized, the smaller storage rooms have been converted for other purposes - residential spaces. These are basic but not uncomfortable, though chill sets in quickly if a space heater isn't handy. Some are private, some have space for two or three, some are merely rows of cots. Bathroom facilities have been installed, and some even have running water, but it's definitely a work in progress in comparison to the upper level.

There's a lot that needs doing, at the Grand Central Terminal, both above and below. Tunnels that need clearing, electricity that needs patching, supplies that need handling. Activity isn't quite buzzing through the abandoned concourses and foodcourts reverted into supplies storage and safehouses below, because they simply don't have the manpower, but all the same. There's work to be done, and people are doing it.

Regardless of what's in their basement's basement. Word has it, now, that Danko is going to be carted off tomorrow. Local authorities, which got some objection, but not quite the loudness of objection from the other side of the debate. The ones that want blood.

Or a definite end. Despite the activity going on over his head, Joseph is more or less alone when it comes to guarding Danko's room, although he's emerged from the danker darkness of the abandoned secret tunnel that the storage holding space wings off. The subway is lit brightly and utterly abandoned, save for boxes and crates worth of supplies stacked variously. There's work to be done down here, too, but rather than doing it, he's taken to using the light to read. Back against a crate and his giant black dog, a Newfoundland known as Alicia, lies curled up beside him, Joseph attempts to absorb himself in the text rather than his own spiralling thoughts.

Further down the hallway - or tunnel, whatever the proper nomenclature for something that used to accommodate trains - Meredith has come down here under the pretense of carrying boxes. Those boxes most likely belong some place very different, but the blonde doesn't really care. Right now, all she wants to do is glare at the locked door that houses the criminal that is causing everyone such pain. Though she had voted to end Danko's life, it's not because she was out for blood, nor is it because she wanted revenge for those lives that he had took. She was serious when she said that it was for the good of the Ferry to put him down. In her mind, he's no different than a rabid dog.

With one shoulder against the dirty wall and the box held against her hip, she looks like a disgruntled moving person. Though she came down here to glare at Danko and perhaps rattle his cage a bit, should the right Ferryman be keeping guard, what her eyes fall on is Joseph and his reading. The dog will most likely have been alerted to her presence, but she doesn't approach the pair. Of course it would be Joseph to guard Danko. She should have thought of that before she even came down here. "You know," she finally calls out after spending who knows how long staring. "I can't tell whether I should admire ya or shake ya. This is all kinds of stupid. You realize that, doncha?" She doesn't care if their captive can hear them or not.

Though Alicia lifts her big head at the sound of approach, and rolls her pink tongue out in a fixed canine smile, Joseph doesn't immediately look up from his page. It's when Meredith's voice rings out that he gives a guilty start, black eyes wide as he looks up to see who caught him reading on the job before he relaxes a fraction. Jeans and plaid and boots all work together to be slightly more lumberjack than Joseph intended, but comfortable for the chill down here. He still has stitches in his head, and he still could use more sleep. "Hi, Meredith."

But couldn't they all? He dog ears his book and sets it aside, giving Alicia an ear-ruffle before he's getting to his feet. He brushes off the seat of his pants, processing her words and making his mouth twist into a rueful smile. "If you half wanna admire it, it can't be all stupid, right?"

Forgoing the general introductions, Meredith waves off the hello. It's only the two of them down here (three including Alicia) so there's no need for it. Plus, they're past that now. Done with the excuse of bringing something down here, she sets the box down haphazardly on top of another box. Will it stay there for longer than a few minutes? Who knows, and Meredith doesn't rightly care at the moment. Hopefully whatever is in there isn't fragile. There are bigger fish to fry. At least she didn't laugh at him for starting at her voice. Not the best alert status while guarding someone.

"Hell, Joseph, I half admire lots of things that were plenty stupid. And it's not the action, it's the attitude. This guy burns down your church, tries to kill you, does kill others and you're right and ready to set him all loose again to do it again. I just don't rightly understand it." If it were Meredith, he'd have been lit on fire days ago and left to burn out. If he was lucky, she would have left out roasting marshmallows over him for s'mores. That would have only added insult to injury.

Crooked smile is quick to melt away, brow knitting as Meredith speaks and he comes to stand in a range just outside of conversational distance. Hands sliding into his pockets, work rough and wedding ring adorned, with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The thin chain of his crucifix is barely detectable at his collar, mostly hidden by the faded red plaid. Joseph listens, as he's good at that kind of thing, and lets his gaze track down to tile stretching between them.

He shrugs, once, though his attitude is far from flippant. "If I thought I was turnin' him loose to repeat what he did, then— hell, Meredith." Joseph doesn't want to say he'd kill the man himself, and doesn't. Lying is a sin. "Well, let me just say it'd be outta my hands. But last I checked, they were still convictin' murderers."

Never having had a smile on her face, Meredith doesn't have one to fade away. Instead, she looks serious and not just a little determined. "You got a lot more confidence in those people than I got." With a shake of her head, the firestarter just leans up against the wall again. Even with their words echoing and bouncing about the hallways, she doesn't approach any closer. She doesn't need to. Plus, she doesn't feel comfortable about it. The distance makes it easier to criticize.

"They're crooks themselves. You know there're tons of murders that never get caught. They hate us. They think we're no better'n animals." They register them, hunt them, cage them. What else is there to think about them. "The system is gonna let 'im walk. And then we'll be right back where we started and he'll kill again. He'll probably come after us here, since he knows where some of our places are, now. You may be a preacher, but you don't gotta be a saint."

"This ain't about being a saint," Joseph denies, shoulders going slack beneath plaid. "Decent, maybe. Human. You know why they're crooks themselves? It's 'cause they found out about us not 'cause a healer cured cancer, or— heck, a weather witch made the air clear for a day. They found out through the destruction of this city. One-hundred-and-fifty thousand people killed instantly."

A hand had gone up, pointed somewhere left of them, either to indicate the White House or the justice system or the ruins of Midtown they stand beneath. It lowers again when he adds, "And maybe it could do us good not to give 'em reason to hate us. Like takin' a man round the back and shooting him like a rabid dog. He's not an animal, and neither are we."

With a quick shake of her head, Meredith feels frustrated by this conversation. She's not even sure why she started it in the first place. She should know she would never convert Joseph to what she thinks of as the rational train of thought. With her own wave of her hand toward the ceiling where the others are, she wants him to understand what she means when she says, "Yeah, fine, so they find that one person and they take care of 'im. I got no problems with that. But bein' told that I'm not a proper person 'cause I can make fires ain't what I'd call a fair shake down. I ain't the one that blew this place to kingdom come." She's never been one to mince words. Maybe their vague hand gestures will get them to a place of agreement where their words can't.

The mention of him as a rabid dog whens he had just been thinking about him as that very same thing throws her. After a second to get her bearings again, though, she continues, just as aggressively as before, "This ain't a reason to hate us, Joseph. For God's sake, he's a murderer and we ain't about to get a fair trial." Frustrated, she lets out an exasperated breath. "He is rabid. You heard 'im talk. He hates us! And he'll don't care if he kills someone could heal everybody in the world or Sylar himself. This is 'bout keepin' folk safe while we can."

He knows. They all know, that not every Evolved is Gabriel "Midtown Man" Gray. Joseph's head dips a little in a nod of acknowledgment, mouth thinning into a line - his own frustration with this conversation is quiet and sedate and also very tired. Meredith won't be the first one to have this train of thought, and she won't be the last. Silence rings out after Meredith makes her point, and he rocks back on a heel to regard her.

Mouth opens, closes. Starts again. "You're not wrong."

His arms close in a tighter fold over his torso, shoulders rounding defensively inwards. There's injury in his voice when he continues. "I know how he thinks. I spent— I think the better part of a month in his keep, and he made damn sure I knew how his mind works. For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

The worst part is that Meredith knows that Joseph knows. Maybe that's why she came down here in the first place to start this conversation. Joseph isn't one of those people who doesn't think bad things will happen to him if they always do the good things. As far as Meredith is concerned, there's no such thing as karma. Bad things will happen to good people just as easily or even more frequently than to bad people. There just ain't no damn reason for it. The world is random and she knows it. It's why she takes the attitude of catch as catch can.

The silence doesn't cause Meredith to back down. Instead, she folds her arms in front of her and looks down her nose at the pastor. She doesn't mean to look like the angry in-the-right mother figure, but she does sort of. The last thing she's intimidated by is silence. She waits for Joseph to argue again, or say something, but what he says catches her by surprise. It's one of the few things that could deflate her own high horse as if it were only something inflatable.

Hands fall down to her sides from being tucked into each other over her chest and then rest uneasily on her hips. She can't argue that he may know better than the rest of them how he thinks, having heard him speak the most. Instead, she just asks, confusion evident in her voice, "Sorry? Why are you sorry?"

He meant it in a small way. Sorry for this conversation. Sorry for being self-righteous, or cowardly, or whatever euphemism passes for what it is Joseph is trying to be. Except from there it spirals out and out and his smile is somewhat sudden and not mirthful. "Got plenty of reason to be sorry. Not the least of which was runnin' my church and turnin' it into a damn beacon and bringin' this whole thing down on the Ferry in the first place. You know that's how he found us?"

Not everyone does. He doesn't expect Meredith to. "He put wires in my worship hall and worked from there. So I'm sorry for that, and sorry that you gotta stand by and watch this happen because I'm not lettin' you or anyone put a gun to his head and ending it that way. Not after I brought him in. I can't have it on my conscience and I'm not puttin' it on the Ferry's conscience.

"But I will see that we never see him again. That we can continue on from this. He don't know a thing about where he is now, not any of our safehouses that he knew before. Gosh, Meredith, I want this to be over too, and it won't ever be if I knew I had a hand in murder."

While Meredith may know a couple things through Ferry lines, this development in the story is new to her. She didn't know that Danko found them through the church, and she didn't know that there were plants. She'd figured it was random. That's why she was so scared for her own safety and livelihood. It could have been her own place that got burned to the ground, herself taken by a murderer. Knowing there were wires in a place that she frequented - in order the help shepherd people to a safehouse as well as get supplies - doesn't do good things to her pulse as her heart does somersaults in her chest. But, now she knows it wasn't exactly random. And somehow that's a comfort to her.

The speech is met with it's own silence for a second and then, for some reason, Meredith laughs. It's not exactly filled with good feeling or mirth, instead, it sounds nervous and gives away her own uneasiness. "Preacher, I just don't know how you can make 'gosh' into such a serious soundin' conviction, but you got it." It's all she can think of to say at this juncture. And it's certainly not an insult toward him. She actually sounds admiring. Once she has herself under control, she shakes her head. "I ain't got a particular need to do any murderin', Joseph. But I don't think it's as simple as that. Just turnin' him over doesn't mean this is over. It only gets more complicated from here on out."

Joseph shakes his head, and though her laughter had been without cheer, it does something to ease him a little. His hands drop to his sides again, hook into his pockets. "This weren't ever gonna be easy," he states, voice mild. "And doing the right thing, for better or for worse, is hardly simple - as much as you don't think it's the right thing, I do. But that's why it was put to vote. The Ferry's decided that the complications are worth it. That maybe a shot at saintliness ain't such a bad idea after all."

Meredith just gives a snort - it sounds a little like a disgruntled horse. "'Course there's no easy. Is there ever?" While mostly that's the way that Meredith attempted to live her life before the bomb, that's completely impossible now. Everything is changed, including the woman herself. Would she really be here talking to Joseph if she thought that Danko was going to be let loose and knew who she was and was out on a bender to kill anyone with an ability? No, she'd already be halfway to the border. Wouldn't matter which one, though Canada's a bit too cold for her. Plus, they have that 'eh' thing they say that bothers her.

With a raised eyebrow, she just levels another look at Joseph. "Thing with saints is, they're all dead." That's one of the requirements to be a saint, isn't it? It's been awhile since she stepped into a church for something that wasn't just Ferry related. Sure, she can pretend to be religious when the need suits her, but she's just as rusty at it as the next pagan.

Joseph's foot swings just enough to nudge toe and then heel against tile until resting still once more. "Only the Catholic ones." There's a slice of teeth shown in a grim smile, before its stifled and smoothed away when he brings his hands up to rub at his face, then back through his hair. A gesture towards Meredith that incorporates the box she took down with her, eyebrows raising. "You come all this way to yell at me?"

His head tilts to the left, doggish. "Sorry if I disappointed you." Whether he means now, for not relenting, or for standing on this side of the line in the first place, is left ambiguous.

With a semi-good natured shrug, Meredith lets him know with that one gesture that she really doesn't know much about saints or the like. It was mostly her way of trying to make another point. One that she's made quite often in their conversation. The box in question has, luckily, remained on it's precarious position without falling yet. Having forgotten about it until that very moment, she gives Joseph her own version of a feral smile. "Not you in particular, Preacher. Just whoever happened to be down here. Shoulda reckoned it'd be you." Who else would take such a job?

As for disappointing her, her head tilts just slightly. "Disappointed me? You think I thought you'd vote any way but you did? You've got all that heaven stuff to worry about." She doesn't worry about it and whether it's more freeing or less is left unsaid. "I can't say I'm sorry if I disappointed you 'bout the way I came down. I still think he's dangerouser than a viper. But, it would put me out if I thought you thought poorly 'bout me."

There's a spark of surprise in black eyes, at the concept of someone like Meredith hoping someone like Joseph doesn't think badly of her. He shakes his head. "I got friends who've said and done worse, believe me that one," he says, gently. "Disappointed, maybe, but it is what it is. We all try to do what's right and live our lives by those beliefs and convictions, and it was never meant to be easy. I can't fault you for that much, can I?" Behind him, a few feet away, Alicia the dog lowers her head back onto her paws, enlightened animals taking no interest in such debates of morality and justice.

As Joseph is coming dangerously close to someone Meredith could consider a friend, it does start to figure that she'd worry about his opinion of her. Maybe worry is too strong of a word. She's just curious. If he thought she'd vote any other way, well, they don't really know each other and Meredith can be a complicated woman. At least Joseph's morals are easier to pin down. Trying to catch her own would be like herding cats. Impossible. "I can live with disappointed. But, I wouldn't quite agree with that. We can fault people plenty for whatever they believe and do." Didn't they just attempt to do the same thing to Danko? The shifting dog catches Meredith's eyes for a moment. The sounds in the tunnel are exaggerated and she's on alert being this close to Danko himself.

"That's true," is Joseph's quiet concession, following her gaze back towards his dog, who flicks her ears forward to catch stray words that might be intended for her. None are, however, and he starts towards where the box is perched precariously, hands out to shift it back into place before pushing aside flaps of cardboard to see that— it doesn't belong down here.

Amusement has the corners of his mouth hike up a little, before he's sliding the weight of it into his own hands. "Come on, lets get this where it's meant t'be and I can see about gettin' us some dinner down here. If you're staying around any longer, at least."

Meredith makes no apologies for the box not belonging down here. The same could really be said for herself. She's not supposed to be anywhere near Danko, especially considering her vote. But she's not about to go rogue and set him on fire, as that would bring problems for everyone involved. Letting Joseph take the box, she can't help but smile back at him, as he doesn't comment on either it or her unauthorized presence. "Alright. Just 'cause it seems like you need the company down here. Your dog's sweet'n all, but she can't talk back." Though, maybe, that's why she's a good companion.

"Also true." And she can't vote, either. But at least Joseph would have tolerated her companionship anyway even if she could, in that he seems ready to allow for Meredith's as he moves with her to put box back in place, call down some form of lukewarm if edible food, and not talk about Emile Danko.

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