benji_icon.gif howard_icon.gif nelly_icon.gif

Scene Title Reprieve
Synopsis Seeking to venture off of Pollepel Island to do something stupid, Howard Phillips makes a few glaring mistakes.
Date January 2, 2010

Bannerman Castle

Mother nature has a strange sense of humor.

Just days after dumping over a foot of snow on the New York area, the skies over the ice-crusted parapets of Bannerman Castle could not be any more clear. Not a cloud is in sight for the second day in a row, nor is the air even so much as cold. The radio had said temperatures would raise over the fifties today, and that has brought many of Bannerman's residents out from the cramped stone confines of their residence into the unseasonably warm weather spreading across the nation. Perhaps a good-natured atmokinetic is responsible, perhaps the warm weather is a sign of a turn of the age from the frigid autumn and the riots, to something warmer, something better.

Howard Phillips doesn't look convinced.

He's been by himself all day, up on what amounts to the roof of Bannerman Castle, exposed to the sky where crumbling walls should have afforded another floor. Time, money and perhaps secrecy prevented another level to the castle from being constructed. Instead he watches the sky here like a widow would watch the sea from a walk on the roof of her home in days long gone by.

Blonde hair is toussled by the wind, blue eyes set to the mountainous northern horizon through the narrow view of a glassless, pointed-arch window flanked by crumbling walls damp with melting ice. Slush and water covers the floor beneath booted feet, and his silence conveys that tangible sense of uncertainty hanging in the air around him.

Unseasonably warm weather always makes Howard nervous.

Nelly quietly makes her way up to the roof of the castle. At least as quietly as such a place allows, the echo of footsteps and the soft splashes that follow as she makes her way into the open likely to announce her presence long before she chooses. It doesn't take her long to spot Howard amongst the emptiness of the floor and she soon begins to make her way over to where he stands. "Hey." She calls out softly as she approaches. "You make it awfully hard to track you down, y'know." She continues on her path until she stands beside Howard, following his gaze out towards the horizin before looking up to him from the corner of her eyes. "Hope you don't mind a little company?"

Silence is never a good answer to questions like that. It's as if Howard was taught how to make any social situation remarkably uncomfortable.Shifting his attention towards the sound of the voice, Howard affords Nelly a profile-view of his face, one blue eye staring her down before shifting back to his view of the horizon.

"Maybe I didn't wanna' be found," isn't an out-and-out denial to the offer of company. It is exactly the way Howard typically frames his responses, just defensive enough to drive away the people who don't really care. Or at the very least, likely how he frames it in his mind. "What d'you want?"

Nelly smirks and gives a slight shake of her head. "Well, I kind of figured with you being so out of the way." She shrugs. "I was just trying to be polite though, you have my company whether you want it or not." After the question she's quiet a moment, as if thinking, though all she manages in the end is another roll of her shoulders. "Honestly? I don't know. I just figured this might be the last chance I get to talk to you and I dunno. Just felt like I should talk to you before I leave."

"I guess, whether you talk back or not is up to you. I'm gonna be heading for home though on the next boat. I've been here longer than I should have and everything is probably a mess now. For all I know, I looters tore everything I have apart by now. Could be as broke as you."

Snorting, Howard shakes his head and lifts up one hand to rake fingers through his disheveled hair. "You remind me of— " Howard's voice hitches in his throat, eyes narrow and that hand slips out of his hair as he twists tor egard Nelly more fully. "You're leaving?" One brow raises high on Howard's forehead as he considers the brunette more carefully. Casting an askance look down to the melting snow on the rooftop, Howard's lips twist into an uncertain expression before his attention flicks back up to Nelly.

"I need a favor." Admittedly this is the last thing Howard, of all people, should be asking from someone he hardly knows and hasn't made much of an attempt to be sociable with. It is also a distracting measure, he needn't focus on the fact that Nelly wanted to come see him before she left if he's busy offering up infuriating requests to her.

Only then does Howard fully turn to face Nelly, hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans. "It's not a big one//," isn't much of a consolation.

Nelly leans over to lightly nudge at his side with an elbow. "Of who?" She asks curiously, but she doesn't press it as he moves on. She does quirks a brow at his reaction to her news. "Yes, I'm leaving. I've got…business, I need to handle and I don't think I'm doing much more than taking up space around here at this point." When he does turn to face her she's polite enough to do the same, tilting her head to one side slightly.

"A favor?" She smirks. "What makes you think I owe you any favors? I mean, if anything, it's probably the opposite." She closes her eyes and nods at that as she crosses her arms over her chest. Though after a moment she does peek an eye open. "But, I guess I might as well hear you out at the last. If it's not a big one."

Wrinkling his nose and stepping away from Nelly after he's nudged, Howard has all of the demeanor of a gruff old hound dog. Scrubbing one hand over his mouth, he looks away from Nelly and down to the ground, shaking his head slowly as he dodges her first question in favor of the second. "I… need t'get off of the island too. But like— quietly. I don't want nobody to know I'm leaving until I'm gone." Blue eyes alight back up to Nelly, and it isn't really a small favor at all.

"Somebody's doing something stupid on the mainland, and I gotta' put a boot up an ass because nobody else is gonna'. So…" Howard's brows furrow and his nose wrinkles. "I heard you can move people n'shit. How's it work? You gotta' know somethin' or is it just like.. wham-bam-zap?" Brows furrowed, Howard rolls his shoulders and looks out to the horizon again.

"S'important… otherwise I wouldn't bug ya about it." Important and secret, it seems.

Nelly still doesn't push the first question, but this is likely due to the fact that she goes wideeyed about the second. "Wait, what? You want me to help sneak you off the island?" She lifts one hand, nudging glasses up and rubbing at the bridge of her nose. "Just saying that raises so many red flags by itself. I'm sure the boat captain won't be happy. Whoever you don't want to know you're leaving here won't be happy. And if someone doesn't want you to go, it's probably because this something stupid isn't something you shouldn't be handling by yourself."

She exhales a sigh, giving another shake of her head as she settles her glasses back into place and stares up at Howard with furrowed brows. "Before we start working out any kind of plan, you're going to give me details." Seems she's not the kind to let secrets lie. "I want the truth. If I think you're lying, don't think I won't go down there and find someone who will give me the right answers, who'll also probably proceed to help me put a boot up your ass instead." She certainly looks less than happy about this favor, but she hasn't outright said no.

Huffing out a frustrated breath, Howard sweeps one hand over his head and sucks in a sharp breath, pacing away from Nelly like a caged tiger pacing his cell. "It's— " complicated isn't going to cut it. "C— complicated?" Howard winces and shuts his eyes, rubbing one hand down his face. "Somebody did something stupid and— my idiot friends'r gonna' sit and fucking talk and deliberate how t'fuckin' handle things. But y'know what, fuck'em, 'cause I can handle this shit by myself."

Howard crosses his arms over his chest, still pacing in a circle. "Hannah ain't gonna let me just fuckin' waltz off the fuckin' island like— like they'll let you. I've been stuck here, an' they don't want me off. Nobody needs t'know that you did it. I ain't gonna' fuckin' tell on you or nothin'. So just— it's personal. Fuckin' family shit, a'right?"

Nelly rolls her eyes as she listens, giving a quick shake of her head once he finishes. She moves to stand in front ofhim, stopping that pacing as she presses a hand to his chest, her gaze fixing on his. Unless he pulls his usual act of looking into the distance. "You think I care if they find out I got you on the boat? What are they gonna do, scold me?" She huffs and attemps to push Howard back a step. "I do care if it's my fault you end up going and getting your dumbass killed though. You think I'm not gonna feel anything if I see your corpse on the news and I know I'm the one that put you there?"

Another firm push is given to Howard's chest before she turns around, pacing a few steps away herself as she throws her hands up. "Think a little will you? Forgot whatever stupid thoughts of revenge you have right now and think. I don't care if it's personal, family, whatever the fuck. If you want my help you're gonna tell me what you're doing and what your plan is. If I think there's some way you can pull it off then maybe I'll help you out of here."

She turns to face him again. "And if you don't? Well, then you're sure as hell not leaving until they let you because I don't mind playing taddle-tale and letting all of them down there now what you're thinking if it keeps you from going and getting yourself killed. So hurry up and make up your mind, because patience isn't one of my virtues."

Frustration lances through Howard's expression as indignation rises in tandem. "I ain't got a fuckin' plan, other'n going straight up to the dipshit that's got my bro and kicking him until he stops being a dipshit. That's— about all'f the plan I got. So like— don't go fuckin' judgin' me, I ain't a schemer like Hannah n'shit. I just go in and do something. So— either you're gonna' help me get the fuck out of this stupid goddamned castle," his voice lowers to a sharp whisper at that. "Or I'll just— fuckin'— find… another way."

Howard's dubious tone of voice is his dawning realization that there may not be another way.

"So what's it gonna' be?" He urges, taking a step closer to Nelly, brows furrowed and scowl growing. "You gonna' help a bro out, or just fuckin'… whatever." He isn't the most eloquent person.

Nelly drops her hands to her sides, her expression softening at the relevation of someone being held hostage. Rescues were much better motivation than revenge. When Howard steps in closer she hardly seems intimidated, as is soon evidenced as she reaches up to catch his nose between two fingers, pinching hard. "Save the attitude. It's not gonna get you anywhere with me alright? So just calm down." Her own tone is more relaxed than earlier, her expression calm. "Alright, so no plan, that's fine. We can work on that."

"Details. You have to have at least some details though. If you're going to get someone back, then I can probably help you with that." Shen nods firmly. "If you can hand out some ass kickings along the way, fine, but if we can do without I imagine we'll come out a lot better. So now it's your decision. It's the last time I'm going to ask you too, so start spilling the beans or get ready for a long swim, because we both know you aren't getting out of here any other way."

"Me'n water don't get along real well," Howard admits in a bitter tone of voice. "I already told you what I know, f' cris'sake, woman." Howard smooths a hand across his forehead, then rakes back his bangs. "One of my friends got his dumb ass kidnapped. I know the guy that did it, an' I'm gonna find him and fuckin' break stuff until he tells me where my bro is. That's the fuckin' plan, okay? That's it."

Howard tosses both of his hands up into the air slowly, "The fuck more d'you want from me, 'cause you ain't gettin' it. An'— " Howard's brows scrunch up. "What's this we shit? We ain't doin' nothin'. You get me off'a this shit-hole island, an' you ain't never gotta' worry about it again. Simple's that."

Nelly exhales an exasperated sigh. "Yes, I got that much. You don't know anything about this guy except that he has your friend though? Where he is? Bodyguards? Abilities? That's what I'm talking about." She laughs at that last part and shakes her head as she reaches out, prodding at his chest. "Look, you're the one asking me for the favor. You don't get to make the rules. You're stuck here without me so don't you dare act like you're in charge." She says sternly, expression unmoving. "I'm not letting you go alone, especially if there's someone else in danger too. And if you really care about this person you should want all the help you can get if it's not keeping you from 'em. So get over it alright?"

"It's private," Howard insists with teeth clenched together, "I know more about this dickwad than's fair. I ain't tellin' you nothin' though. Trust me, it ain't a big fuckin' deal. He ain't dangerous, at least not more'n I can handle. If I wanted fuckin' backup I'd have asked for it, alright? This ain't your problem and ain't any'f your business either."

Howard's hands tuck into the pockets of his olive-drab jacket. "I can handle my damn self against a couple of belligerant nudists," and that is probably the least flattering way to describe Brian Fulk in the whole world. "Just— fuckin' trust me. A'right? This ain't your problem and I don't want you slowin' me down none."

Nelly quirks a brow at that last part. That's certainly not the kind of description that she expected. "Why again should I trust you?" She lifts a hand, ticking off fingers as she speaks. "I save you, you treat me like an ass. You talk trash about the Ferry leaders. You ask me to smuggle you off the damn island for some vendetta." She shakes her head. "Not very trustworthy sounding to me." She closes her eyes and presses that hand to her forehead, shaking her head slowly before looking back up at Howard.

"See, that's the thing. Even if you wanted backup I don't think you would ask for it. You would just go run off all by yourself, whether you really can handle it or not." She says, voice soft as she holds out one hand towards Howard. "Look, I'm coming with you alright? It's not like you can run away from me, trust me, it won't work. Besides, what harm could come from having someone to watch your back?"

"There's shit about me that I ain't told anyone!" Howard insists with a raise of his voice, one hand slipping out of his jacket pocket so he can brandish it wildly at his side. "This is a fuckin' private family thing, okay? I ain't asked you why you're with these people, 'cause it's none of my business. This ain't any of your business, a'right? I ain't fuckin' bein' like this because I ain't appreciative of all you've done. You saved my fuckin' family from some hard shit, some bad shit."

Drawing a deep breath in, Howard exhales a sigh and brushes a hand over his face again. "Look, if it makes you feel any better, I got a couple buddies on the mainland who like to wreck shit. All I gotta do is look 'em up, okay? I'll… get in touch with 'em and we'll do it together, but not you. You'd just fuckin' hold me up 'cause I couldn't say everything 'round you. I got secrets for a reason."

Nelly draws her hand back to pinch at her nose again, turning away from Howard to begin pacing around in frustration. "You are making this really hard you know that? And the fact that you have buddies that like to 'wreck shit' doesn't really make me feel any better since that shit is probably going to be trying to wreck you in return." She drops her hands to her hips and exhales another faint sigh, kicking at the slush beneath her feet before turning to face him again.

She stares up at Howard for a few moments before she asks, "Fine, you have your secrets. I understand. Can you at least introduce me to those buddies of yours before I let you out of my sight? That's probably about the closest I'll be able to get to a guarantee that you aren't gonna go rampaging alone and getting yourself killed." She nods at that. "Promise that and I'll get you out of here. I won't pry or try to force my help on you after that once we're back on the mainland."

No almost leaves Howard's lips, caught just in time to be held back by his tongue. He swallows down the opposition, blue eyes casting askance to one crumbling stone wall, then back to Nelly. "Fine," he coarsely grumbles, brows furrowed and lips downwardly turned into a frown. "But I don't know how the fuck to get in touch with you once I get to the mainland. I… don't have a cell phone, they tend to— not work for me." Howard's nose wrinkles at the notion.

"Gimme a place t'meet you at," Howard recommends, his eyes averting to the old stone beneath his feet before attention alights back to Nelly. "An' trust me, when my buddies an' I wanna wreck shit, we do it right. Maybe we won't have to, but y'know— who the fuck knows? But nobody gets away with fuckin' with one of my buds."

Nelly rolls her eyes as Howard complains. She thought it was a pretty simple request considering the circumstances. She tsk's at the question however, giving a firm shake of her head. "Nuh-uh. I said you don't leave my sight until I know you have help. You need some private time once we get out there, fine, but I'm not going far until you go through with your side of the deal."

"Christ. Just come up to say goodbye and end up getting involved in all this." She mumbles to her self as she lifts her hands up, running her fingers back through her hair before giving an agitated little ruffle. "You have anything to pack or is it just going to be you when we go? "

"We?" Howard's brows raise slowly. "Woah, woah, woah sister. I didn't think you could take you with your stuff. Wasn't that the whole damned reason we had to take a boat in the first place out of the rotten apple? 'Cause you didn't wanna' get stranded by your onesies. Unless you were just playing it straight for them, and you're a touch better at what it is you do than you told er'ybody else…"

Stalking up to Nelly, Howard lifts his brows and tilts his chin up slowly, giving the teleporter an assessing stare. "So which is it? You beena bad girl an' fibbin' to the Fairy," which is to say the Ferry. "Or are you fuckin' with me?"

Nelly first gives Howard an incredulous look, than simply breaks down into a soft laugh as he gives her that stare. "We, as in when we go to get your ass on the boat Howard." She takes in a soft breath as she smirks up at him. "Really, turn down the intensity for a sec alright? I'm not trying to trick you or anyone else. I can't move myself, so no, I couldn't have made things any easier during the mess. I can just walk onto the boat after we sneak you on though, so that makes tonight easier to deal with."

"Fuck— no. I fucking hate boats don't— " Howard percolates with frustration, trying not to seem as frightened as he is of the prospect. "I was almost fuckin' unconscious when your buddies dragged me onto that death trap when we were escapin' the riots. But— I ain't gettin' on no boat of my own free will, you can just for-fucking-get that." Suddenly there's another side to this request, one that is less obvious than Howard's desire to sneak off the island unnoticed.

He doesn't want to seem weak or afraid. He's the only one of his friends, possibly barring Hannah, who hasn't left the island since arriving.

"I fall in that fucking river, or the boat sinks or— I'm dead. You understand? I can't— fucking get submerged like that. It— I'd kill me and all'f you. I'm on a fucking— island— surrounded by fucking water and I want off!"

Nelly blinks as he brings this to her attention. Those earlier questions were beginning to make a lot more sense now. "Whoa, whoa. You want me to get you off the island without the boat? That changes things." She rubes at the side of her head as she looks to the floor, though her attention is quickly drawn back up toward Howard as he shouts. "Hey, hey. Calm down alright? Look, I seriously doubt the boat is going to go down. People've made plenty of safe trips back and forth already."

Nelly reaches up to place her hands lightly on his shoulders, giving a little reassuring squeeze, if he allows her to. "If you want off that badly without the boat, fine. But we'll have to figure something out. I can only move things to places I can see." She then draws one hand up to tap lightly at one leg of her glasses. "I mean, if we had a webcam feed or a live newscast or something like that maybe, but there are very very few places I can send you without seeing and without having been back home I don't even know if any of those places are safe."

"Do photos or some shit work?" Howard asks as he paces across the slush covered rooftop, circling back towards Nelly with his hands tucking back into the pockets of his unbuttoned jacket. "We got newspaper's n'shit down in the galley I think. I could find something with a good picture of the city or something and you could magic me up t'wherever, right?" One brow lifts, a booted foot scuffing across the melting snow as Howard's brows furrow.

He's silent in consideration of that question, a ray of sunlight piercing down through the unfinished stone overhead when the sun comes out from behind a thin wisp of cloud that drifts through the sky. "Or… does it need t'be live stuff? Cause then I ain't got a solution, really. Unless— " Howard's eyes narorw thoughtfully. "D'you have a phone?"

Nelly gives a shake of her head to Howard as she watches him pace about the roof, sighing softly as she does. "Unfortunately it isn't magic. If photos worked it would be easy, but unfortunately they don't. Even if they did would you want to risk being dropped in front of a speeding car or something? It has to be live. It sucks, I know, but that's just how it is. So spare me any complaints eh?" She folds one arm over her stomach, resting her elbow against it as she brings a hand to her chin, chewing at her lip as she thinks.

Her attention turns back to Howard as she mentions the phone, giving a nod. "I do have one. Should work I guess, haven't turned it on to see if I have any signal out here. Didn't want to risk making any calls from the island and I figure recharging it out here wouldn't be the easier thing either." She quirks a brow curiously as she studies Howard. "Why, got something we can do with that?"

When the third party of the rooftop does appear, Benjamin Foster doesn't make it immediately clear whether he's been listening for a long time, a short time, or if he is only just now moving from one end of the castle to its upper point of crippled rooftop mmmaybe to get some fresh air. That there is expectation in the way his clear blue stare settles on Howard without surprise might help indicate one or the other. There's entitlement in his demeanor, unapologetic about interruption, but his presence is also quiet and practically shy when he steps out into the space after a few crunching footsteps made his presence known.

"Hello," is quietly said to Nelly after a split second of wondering what smooth way he could interject himself into the conversation (and finding none), ears growing a little pink, said pinkness threaten to spread to freckled face, but Benji keeps some poise. He's hastily bundled into his clothing, a woolen coat he keeps latched around himself, a sweater beneath that, and a blue scarf draped loose over his shoulders.

He clears his throat, and glances back to Howard. "Howard?" is a loaded question.

"I could call Jos— " Any bright ideas Howard might have had are swallowed back behind an awkward grimace as Benji's voice carries out onto the rooftop. Like the cat that ate the canary, Howard turns with wide eyes and what might as well be tail feathers poking out of his mouth for the way his lips are puckered around half-spoken words.

Staring at Benji in awkward silence, Howard steels himself and looks unsure of how to react or even compose himself. "Ben," is stated flatly and in just the parlance that he hates to be referred to in. "I'm busy, uh, you know…" Howard's blonde head bobs towards Nelly. "Can't a dude be alone with a chick on a rooftop around here without somebody faggin' up the place?" There's a crooked and nervous smile spread across Howard's lips as he lifts both hands up in a guilty gesture someone surrendering to the police might.

Not the most convincing lie evr told.

Nelly tilts her head to glance in Benji's direction as she hears the voice as well, giving a calm nod in greeting. Which is probably easier for her to do, since she's not the one getting busted here. Her attention shifts back and forth between the two as she listens to the awkward exchange, though Howard's choice of words earn him a sudden punch to the gut. Benji might note it doesn't look particularly playful as it makes contact. Nelly does however, offer the new arrival a warm smile after a moment.

"Hello, I'm Nelly. Nice to meet'cha. Forgive Howard here, we were just having a bit of a private conversation." She nods at that before making a small thumbing motion at Howard. "You're welcome to stay and chat with us if you like though. You wouldn't belive how grabby handed he gets when he's alone with a girl."

"Oh— " That sound is involuntary, a mix of surprise and worry when Nelly makes that jab in the gut, but Benji can't help the corresponding, amused smile that spread across his features in its wake to mirror the warmer one Nelly deals him. It's better than the flash of chilly irritation Howard received for his efforts, at least, but he struggles smile away regardless, a hand up to twitch black hair out of his eyes. "My name's Benji, how do you do?" As opposed to Ben. "I'd love to stay, thank you," he demures, stepping into the space proper, sending a glance up towards the hazy winter dome of sky.

A quick shrug, naturally a little twitchy when it comes to any form of confrontation, Benji steels his attention back on Howard once more, though he doesn't turn a shoulder to Nelly. "We're not really meant to leave," is for her benefit, even if he is eyeing the other man down with a set of eyes that resemble glaciers is colour and coldness. "Or be seen to be making contact outside of Pollepel Island. Trust is— a rare commodity."

Apparently the 'private conversation' is what Benji is inviting himself into.

Benji's comment implies enough that Howard drops the act. Well, one of them.

"Well you can tell that to the shit-head that kidnapped our friend." Howard cuts those words across to Howard in a hushed sharpness; a whisper wielded to hurt. "I ain't just gonna' sit here on shit-hole island because y'think we should. This ain't a fuckin' democracy, 'cause there ain't no leader." That much may not have been intended to be a barb, but it is none the less. Howard is right, there is no leader here, no chain of command. These are just disparate children clinging to hope on the edge of a police state.

"He wouldn't wait to save one of us and you know it. I'm gonna get Josh and Adel and we're gonna' fucking bust heads until somebody tells us where he is. You'n me both know that sitting on our fuckin' hands like Hannah'd have us do ain't gonna' get a fucking thing done. You can tell them I beat you up, tell them I ran off, whatever. I don't give a shit what they think, I care 'bout getting shit done."

There's a look flashed to Nelly, Howard's brows lowered. "I'll call my friend Josh," more like co-conspirator, Josh, "and he can like, video from his phone to yours or some shit. Bam, instant window off this fuckin' island."

Nelly grimaces slightly at Benji's last comment. She tried! Still, it's Howard that seems to cause her worry once he starts his little speech. She sighs faintly and looks to him with narrowed eyes. "Look, I want to help your friend, but don't forget who's going to be the one stuck here after you're gone if I help you. I'm the one that's going to have to deal with all the backlash. Keep that in mind alright?" She then turns to Benji, smile more crooked than warm now.

"Sorry for the stupid act, but well, kinda would've preferred this stayed between Howard and i. I don't agree with everything he's saying, but I do know that waiting and arguing over what to do usually never works out for the one that's actually being held hostage. Besides, we're not prisoners here. There's plenty of people that have come and gone already. From what he told me, it's just you and the other people in your circle that are gonna have a problem if I get him out of here."

Well. Howard can talk for himself. Benji is not a child. Maybe a little disparate, though.

And the twenty-six year-old looks for a moment like he might strike the younger man for the two seconds it takes for his hands to go into fists and fury to blaze hot his previously cold stare. It's really only Nelly's presence that stays that rare spark of pure temper (luckily for Benji tbh~), taking a breath in that hisses audibly through his nasal passages as he tries to rein himself in and look towards her. "It's for his protection— and that of the friend he wants so desperately to help— that I'm going to ask you to not do anything for him until I have an opportunity to get some sense in his head. Howard isn't being— sensible.

"Especially considering as we've all been told that the man he wants to attack is a Ferryman." He raises an eyebrow at her, a sort of silent plea to trust him, someone she just met, over the volatile blonde to his left.

Benji flicks a look back to Howard. "I wish she was here. But we have a leader," he argues. Still quiet. There's only a minor tremor in his voice. "And more importantly, we have a plan. That doesn't involve using people."

"Bullshit," Howard calls in retort to Benji, wheeling around from facing Nelly to state that directly to him. "All we know how to do anything is fuckin' use people. There ain't no fuckin' plan, Ben, otherwise this shit wouldn't be so screwed up! Show me how this fuckin' plan is even close to workin'!" Both of Howard's hands fling out to his side as he steps away from Nelly, sparks craclking in his hair briefly.

"That fucker has our friend and who the fuck knows what he'll do. I ain't riskin' somethin' happenin t'him just because that fucker thinks it's a good idea. We can break a few of his goddamned replicants an' he ain't gonna miss 'em. Maybe if he didn't fuck with our friends he wouldn't be gettin' fucked with." Howard's hands sweep towards Benji, fingers curling into fists as they drop down to his side.

"Don't listen t'this prick," Howard suddenly jerks his head around to look at Nelly, "can you pop my ass across the river?" Howard motions through the narrow pointed-arch that he was staring out of earlier to the banks of the river alongside the Break Neck Road. "I can fuckin' walk."

Nelly has her own hands clenched into the fists by the time any attention is turned to her. "The guy you're going after is a Ferryman? That's not the kind of shit you keep secret." She says sharply to Howard. "Everytime I start to think you're not a total ass you do something to surprise me." She closes her eyes as she shakes her head, breathing out a heavy sigh. "I certainly don't like being used, no matter whether you guys do it all the time or not. I'm wondering what you reason you think I have to send you over the river now."

She turns slightly, motioning back to Benji. "You wanna talk about bullshit? This guy is saying just about everything you told me earlier, except that this guy has your friend, is a lie. So, until I get some real answers you aren't going anywhere. You try and walk down that road, you'll find yourself sitting in the top of a tree."

Benji folds his hands together as Howard and Nelly talk, eyes half hooded and only some minor regret displayed in the way his jaw is tense and his stare at Howard is stormy. "He does that," is muttered snippily at the line about you do something to surprise me. "And thank you." The first part was a backhanded comment to his friend over here, but this second line is most definitely for Nelly, tangible relief in the way his shoulders loosen and his voice scrapes quietly from his throat.

Chin up, his posture is kind of tense straight up and down — more meerkat than soldier. "I'm not risking him. Just like I never risked you," he says to Howard.

Howard's expression flashes with emotion, his eyes grow wide and there's a shocked look that crosses his face. Beset on all sides by detractors to his 'plan' (one that no liberal amount of air-quotes would suffice for), he recoils from the conversation with backwards steps of sneakered feet on the stone underfoot.

Blue eyes flick to Nelly for a brief moment, then back to Benji. Betrayal, even if tempered by something less negative, warps his mouth into a frown and threatens something as unexpected as a watery sheen to his eyes. "F-Fuck you both then," Howard stammers, swallowing tightly and stepping around Benji. "F— fuckin'— fine!" His hands come up into the air, jaw trembles and eyes are downcast to the ground as he strides towards the stairs in attempt to just run away from the conflict.

Nelly watches Howard, making a faint sound as she sees that hint of tears in his eyes. She exhales a deep breath before moving over hurriedly to block Howard's path to the stairs, 'moving' him back a few steps to beat him there if necessary. So unless he plans on pushing her down the stairs, he's going to wait. "Look, you wanna prove that you care about your friend, then you'll stick around and here out their plan." She glances to Benji, narrowing eyes slightly at him. "You better not be lying to me too, because I'm running pretty low on mercy." She then looks back to Howard. "If they got a plan, maybe I can help you all get out there faster to carry it out. Not to mention that an actual thought out plan is likely to work better than you just bustin' in there with no other idea than to smash some skulls."

Regret becomes minorly distraught at the show of emotion from Howard, mouth pulling into a frown, but Benji isn't being quick to take anything back. There is a slump to his shoulders when Nelly both stops the other man from leaving as well as her words to him, an attempt at a weak half-smile following. "Let him go," he implores Nelly, with a flick of a hand. "Perhaps we can discuss this when emotions aren't running so high. You as well, ma'am. Howard— "

His voice hitches, that prim and mildly condescending tone of gentleness that comes so naturally to him stalling out in hesitation. Mincing steps has him edging to the blonde man's side. "Come find me later?" is request, rather than command, and deliberately made to sound somewhat submissive, placating.

Howard's eyes bat shut, his shoulders roll forward and head bows when Nelly corners him by the stairs. He swallows, audibly, and looks up to Benji only when he gives the request to let Howard pass. The blonde makes no move to try and shoulder his way past Nelly, however. There's osmething unusual about his presence, about the whipped-dog demeanor that bears no semblance to his normal pugnacious nature.

Benji used a trump card, emotionally, and Howard now has no anger left in him to level at either the teleporter he had gone to for help, or the friend he was trying to subvert the authority of. All he has is his own guilt, and the expression of defeat hanging on his face. "You heard 'im," is his murmured response to Nelly, eyes squared down on his Converse sneakers.

Nelly furrows her brow as she looks back and forth between Howard and Benji, looking reluctant to let the former pass. Though now more out of concern rather than anger or distrust. She had seen him throw tantrums or lash out, but never quite this before. It also wasn't the ending to the evening that she had imagined when she first came seeking Howard. With a sigh she steps back, turning to make space for him to pass. Before he does however, she reaches out to place a hand on his shoulder.

"If you want any company…" She offers, her voice genuine. She doesn't look as if she expects him to accept however, at least, not from her. Nelly then drops her hand from his shoulder to let him move freely, dropping her hands and sliding them into her pockets as she turns her gaze down towards the floor.

Benji studies the smoking crater that is Howard Phillips with the acute discomfort of someone who clearly knows they are the cause of it in some fashion. He fidgets with the sleeves of his coat and turns his back on the pair at the stairway, content to remain on the rooftop while also giving Nelly permission to make her retreat if she desires it, or to otherwise stay. Hands drift up to grind the tips of his fingertips up and down the sides of his nose as if to alleviate a developing headache, or maybe just—

Tiredness. Apologies will have to come later, maybe even from both sides.

Howard rolls his shoulder out from under Nelly's hand, stepping around her and down the stairs, the clap of his sneakers on the steps being his measure of giving a farewell. For all that he is a cactus of a man, his barbs have little sting in them now when delivered in such a disheveled state of emotion. By the time he disappears down the stairs, there's only the warm breeze and his sneaker prints in melting snow to remind anyone that he was ever up here. The impressions left on Nelly and Benji about the predicament he nearly forced them both into will stick with them a bit longer than the snow will stick on the roof.

A repreive from winter may have been given by mother nature, but a repreive from Bannerman Castle for Howard Phillips…

That will have to wait for another day.

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