Retired, Still Dangerous


jared_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Scene Title Retired, Still Dangerous
Synopsis Never count the old guys out. Especially when it comes to family.
Date April 10, 2019

Red Hook Market

Sitting in the small used bookstore, Jared Harrison is leaned back in his chair with his ankle hooked up on his knee while he waits for the old friend who is meeting him here. They only rarely catch coffee or a whiskey here and there, but the links of a friendship created aboard a Navy vessel in the Pacific during a war of which no one thought well were far more easily rekindled than some might have expected. The years since Alaska were fraught with their own problems, but the ties that bound men who shared the trenches of battle together were powerful. It didn't matter that so many years had passed, they were still strong.

In this case, the meeting has a deeper purpose than simple camaraderie. Blue eyes flicker upward when Ben Ryans' form appears in his periphery, and Jared's grin quirks one cheek upward in that impish look that often precedes a smart-ass comment. He rises to his feet to offer his hand. "I hear retirement isn't sitting well on your shoulders. Again," he comments in amusement.

“Well, you know I was once told I wouldn't be happy unless I die with a gun in my hand,” Is what Ryans has to say about that, though there is some humor behind his rumbled words. The suit is new since last they met up, he’s clearly dressed for his new position within the SESA. Dressed like a Company man. Only thing missing was the old fedora he once wore. That item was still sitting on his dresser in his bedroom, sun faded and worn, like he should be.

“Good to see you again, Jared,” Ryans offers with a genuine smile, grasping the other man’s hand briefly, before taking up a spot on the other side of the table. “You were a bit vague on why you wanted to meet up so suddenly.” Things don’t often get passed Ben, when he knows a person.

Resuming his seat, comfortable in the company of the other man, Jared Harrison smiles faintly. "It's… not as sudden as you might think," he confesses. "I've been sitting on it, mulling over whether I wanted to approach you on it, for a couple of weeks. You're the only person I'd trust to bring it to." There's a sharp edge to the forthright gaze. "That being said, I also think it's a significant risk to bring it to you. So… I am asking, as a favor to an old friend that, if what we talk about is going to conflict with your current obligations, you speak up and tell me that we can't have this conversation and then keep to yourself that we ever did."

It's a level of trust Jared reserves for few — mainly because most people just don't have the ability to keep their goddamn mouths shut for long. But it's an indicator of his respect for both Ben's knowledge and the possibility of his obligations that he's putting the request out there and giving Ryans the out and trusting the other man to have his back even if he cannot have the conversation.

"I'm concerned that it's old Company business… and I'm concerned that it could very well be tied to the 1982 incident." It's what he can offer before they even begin. If that's enough that Ben walks away, well… he'll have to pursue other avenues.

A single brow kicks up as Jared reveals why he asked him there, but he definitely has Ryan’s attention. “Or in the best position?” There is a touch of a smile, before it fades away. Leaning forward, Ryans rests an arm on the table, leaning forward in interest. “Alright, Jared… Tell me everything and I’ll let you know.” Chances are, either way he’d look into it.

"Perhaps in the best position, as well," Jared acknowledges. Pulling in a slow breath, the lawyer considers how best to lay this out in a way that will allow Ben to walk if he needs to. "In '82, Elisabeth and I landed here. Charles Deveaux wiped that experience. When he did it, there was another person in the room that no one else could see — Liz tells me his name was Walter Renautas. We have no real idea what his ability is, though the suspicion is that it's time-related. But none of us could see him and he apparently allowed Elisabeth as a child to see him… and spoke with her."

Rubbing his forehead, he says, "I have… concerns. Moreso now that Carina is here as well." He doesn't just have a daughter and granddaughter to protect but a wife who has come from another world.

There is a bit of a twitch in the other man’s jaw at the mention of the ‘82 incident and the company’s well known telepathic founder. That is all that shows of the small flash of anger that shifts through him at the reveal. Just a twitch.

What did that mean about the Jared he had served with?

Did he die like his son? Replaced by the version before him. “My son was from your timeline as well.” Is the first things he manages. “But the man you mentioned… I…” Ryans trails off, his gaze dropping to the table in front of him, brows furrowing, thoughtful. He can’t say that he doesn’t know the man.

“Have you ever had something on the tip of your tongue… like you know the word, but it eludes you?” Ben looks up to the man across from him, "if I knew him…” His hands spread a bit, “It was wiped with so many of my memories.”

Jared can't blame him for twitching. It took several glasses of Scotch for Jared himself to stop twitching when he could remember all that was taken. And he's still not quite done raging at times about it. His sharp blue eyes take in the other man's reaction and his jaw tightens. He knows that Ben is aware of the alternate timelines, but he also knows Elisabeth didn't tell the other man who she knows who came through them. He can only imagine what's going through Ben's head and for a moment he looks away. The fact that the other man had a son in the same boat… that is also not something Elisabeth shared, clearly. Jared looks startled.

"God… Ben…" He swallows hard, not knowing what to say to that revelation.

Pulling in a long breath, he lets his gaze unfocus a little as he leans back in his chair. What other secrets are going to keep biting them in the ass? "I honestly didn't expect you to necessarily even know the name," he admits. "Although I did a little digging and there used to be a conglomerate with the same name. I'm going to assume, given the givens when it comes to movers and shakers in this fucking mess, that it's probably the same people. Which… may mean that now that you're back in this ballgame… you may come across information that I need to protect my daughter and granddaughter."

A drag of his hand across his jaw, and then Jared props his elbows and drops his cheek to his knuckles. "I'm asking… as a friend and as someone else whose life just got tossed in the spin cycle by all this… if you come across anything, will you let me know?"

“Absolutely,” There is no doubt that Benjamin will pass any information on. Jared will even leave with a way to contact his old navy buddy, beyond the house number. “And if you could do me a favor and keep your ear to the ground, especially around your family for information on an Adam Monroe, I would appreciate it.” While Richard has always been forthcoming, it never hurts to have extra ears.

There is a touch of a smirk that lifts at the corner of Ben’s mouth, “You know how Richard gets. Sooner or later he’s going to stick a foot in it.” The shit that is….

Unable to stop himself from chuckling, Jared scratches his jaw a bit and acknowledges, "Yeah. All the way to the damn hip." The quip is wry, but the lawyer knows his adopted family pretty well by now. There is worry in his gaze as he watches Ryans. "I'll keep my head on a swivel. Have to anyway."

Pausing, Jared looks down. "You know… things were quiet for long enough that I was almost starting to believe we were past the worst of it. I've watched him ramp back up for the past year." His tone is weary. And as he looks up, there's resolve. "It was just the eye of the hurricane, wasn't it? Getting them home … was just a giant step toward the eyewall."

“This world doesn’t seem capable of peace, as long as we run it,” Benjamin states flatly, with an edge of sadness. This was a world that would always need men like him. “Peace is just a lie we tell ourselves. Even when it seems that the world is at peace on the surface, darker things are always happening under the surface, working out of sight.” The world they live in is proof that it will never stays quiet long.

Ben sighs out softly and turns his attention to the room around them and the people looking through the shelves of books. “All we can do is be observant and watch for the signs of the next wave to bubble to the surface.”

"Oh, did you miss them?" Jared retorts drily. "I can get you a list if you did."

He drags his hand along his jaw and props his cheekbone on his fingertips. "Adam Monroe is definitely a topic on Richard's radar. But I'll keep it on mine too," he sighs. He's quiet for a long few moments. Their friendship had been dormant for decades before Albany, but since then they've talked a decent bit. They've many things in common, not the least of which is the loss of a wife.

But it's something else on his mind. "She's not the person I knew." Those are the words that slip from the lawyer. His blue eyes are troubled and he seems uncomfortable. But there are few others with whom he's close enough to talk about this who don't have a stake. "She's Carina, but … God, Ben, she's so fucking mad. And she's got every right to be. Knowing why doesn't change the fact that we never came home again." He pauses and admits quietly, "She doesn't fight like she used to… she could always flay me alive with words. The edge in them now, though? I don't… know how to fight that." When he meets Ben's gaze again, the shake of his head is rueful. "Is it bad that I'm almost happy that the next wave is already looming? At least protecting Liz and Aurora gives us some common ground."

He's great at giving advice to others, but Jared's completely at a loss with what's happened to his own life.

There is a bit of an understanding smile given to Jared, followed by a chuckle. “Don’t worry. I see the signs just as well as you do,” Ben says of what is coming and Adam.

“I’m not in your position,” Mary didn’t fall through a portal, but.. “though I have found some comfort that in another world my wife is still alive — the one your Carinia comes from I think — and still married to my sorry ass.” Ben tugs at the cuff of his pant leg where it rests on his knee. “Your Liz brought me some photos for Bradley when I see him next. I doubt that Mary is the same one I knew here, but.. It’s Mary.”

There is a curious look cast over at Jared out of the corner of his eye, “We’re old and change is never easy, my friend. Both of you are dealing with change. I doubt you are the same person then the one she lost. You’ve grown and changed and so has she. Products of our environments. The Company stripped me of who I was a long time ago… I am probably not the same man I was before they took away who knows how many decades of memories.”

His foot comes off his knee, so he can lean forward and grip the man on the shoulder, “Look at it as a chance to get to know her again.” Letting go and leaning back he gives a wave of his hand, “Hell, man, take her on dates. Get to know each other again. I’d give anything for that chance with my Mary.” .

The grimace is evident, though it's not over the advice. "Yeah, I'm working on it. I just… keep sticking my goddamn foot in my mouth," Jared retorts. He's clearly a bit aggravated. "We're talking, things seem to be going okay, I say something … and the doghouse looks like a refuge." The rueful smile he sends toward Ryans has an air of apology to it. "Don't get me wrong, I know exactly what a lucky bastard I am in all this… but damn."

For a long moment, he's quiet. "Liz told me she'd brought you some things from that world that she'd managed to save. Not what it was, though." His daughter doesn't spread other people's private things. "I'm assuming from what you said… something happened here that made integrating him into your life impossible?" Jared has his own memories of Charles's manipulations… and he's no fool. The deduction makes sense — he has no knowledge that Ben Ryans ever had a young son, and Bradley came from the other world. Why wouldn't they integrate the boy? "You've gotta be fucking livid," he observes quietly.

“Because I kept breaking the blocks.” It is a simple answer, but the truth. “Bradley in this world died very young, hit by a car. They couldn’t alter my memory or block the event. I always remembered.” Benjamin’s attention is turned out from their table, lost in recently retrieved memories. “So… they cut out those memories and my family. I was even married to his mother.”

There is a sigh through his nose, “So… in my mind he never existed and in theirs I left them high and dry.”

As for being livid… “I was at first,” Benjamin rumbles out quietly, “but there is no one to turn it on. All of those involved met their ends. I even attended a few of their executions, back after the trials.” He felt he needed to, but that was before he learned the truth. Back then he had felt pity, but now… now it was gone.

"Jesus," Jared breathes out in a low voice, pressing his fingertips to his eyes while realizing they'd integrated the child into his mother's life and completely screwed the man in front of him. "I'm sorry, Ben." There is not much else that can be said.

He returns his hand to propping up his cheek, fingertips brushing his mouth in a thoughtful way. He watches the other man for a few moments and then says quietly, "We didn't fight the last few years just to let this kind of shit go on again. If Adam Monroe or Walter Renautus think they're going to step into that vacuum? They're underestimating the rest of us badly. If you need anything I can be of help with… I'll be here."

The apology gets a dismissive wave of Ben’s hand. There was an ache there deep in his chest, but it was smoothed over by the fact there was another version of his son out there in this world. “There is nothing to apologize for, Jared. I am just thankful I know the truth, no matter how painful.” He could have gone his whole life never knowing, but… he wouldn’t have it blocked away again.

There is a heavy sigh as Ryans shifts gears and focuses on the newest threat looming to take the place of the old threat. “People like that tend to be a touch short sighted and a man like Monroe… He sees himself as better than the rest of us.” There is a flicker of a smile given to his old Navy buddy. “Either way, we’ll get them. Just like we’ve done in the past. I’ll be there if you need me, a team is always better.”

"He's not better," Jared opines darkly. "He's just old as fucking Methuselah. Gives a man plenty of time to play the long game… and we're ten steps behind. Ancient asshole." Adam Monroe and his machinations are annoying as fuck.

A rogueish grin breaks out on Jared's face, the kind Ben really hasn't seen on him since those days long ago — a wicked devil-may-care twinkle coupled with that subtle recklessness that always heralded 'to hell with 'em, let's kick some ass.' "If we line 'em up just right, you know those kids are gonna mow 'em right on down." So let's do it!

Amusement finally breaks the mask the man always wears. “I have no intention of letting the kids have all the fun,” Ryans rumbles out with a chuckle. “They can set them up for me.

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