Reverse Southern Hospitality


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Scene Title Reverse Southern Hospitality
Synopsis Meredith finds Joseph helping insulate the Brick House from the winter overstaying its welcome, and they discuss future Ferrymen prospects, including the concept of never leaving.
Date March 6, 2010

Brick House

The view of Roosevelt Island has become slightly warped and muffled through plastic, the lights from where Summer Meadows is visible become smudgy, conforming to the inconsistencies in the material and made greasy to look at. It's already dark out, which would make the glow of electric lamps telling that this abandoned building is not so abandoned after all, except that the only windows exposed to prying eyes are bricked over, glass remaining in the panes for the eyes that stare out river-side. Glass currently being covered over by the window equivelant of Saran Wrap.

They'd preemptively taken down the necessary measures to keep the place warm during the harsher majority of a New York winter, and so once more, the ritual begins again when it seems like it's not letting up especially soon. The whine of a blow-dryer sounds out as Joseph sweeps the taped plastic over with that gush of hot air, lending its own assistance in heating the room in a more immediate kind of way.

It's been a few days since he returned to New York City. Though he'd felt a sort of ritualistic importance behind the actual departure, including notifying people that he is not kidnapped currently, his return had been more or less understated, a subtle integration back into the network. Fine by Joseph, and it seems like most Ferry operatives prefer their peers to simply be useful, and so he is. Being useful, presumably. And trying to find a place to settle before he finds himself slinking back to the underground of the Grand Central Terminal in a kind of default inevitability.

Joseph clicks off the electric blow-dryer — though not before turning it briefly on his snoozing dog curled up against the wall, watching her roll on her back to relish in the blast of warmth.

"Knock knock."

Forgoing the actual knocking on the door, as it's open, Meredith leans against the doorframe and watches Joseph blow-dry the coverings over the windows. The weather has been out of control lately and she certainly isn't okay with it. She's never liked cold or winter and more of it is exactly what she wouldn't want. She's probably one of the only people on the planet who'd look forward to Global Warming. Weather like Texas all year long would be her idea of heaven.

"Heard you were back in town. Thought I'd holler a hello atcha." She doesn't enter the room just yet - she hasn't been invited yet. Instead, her arms cross against her chest and she has a lazy bit of smile across her face. "So, hello, Joseph. Need some help?"

There's been a lot of changes for Meredith since she saw him last, since she attempted to help with his rescue. Some of it can show on her face, as she's slightly more cautious than last time they spoke. But, mostly, she looks the same.

"Hey, Meredith."

The Newfoundland, working kind of like a low-level energy conservative heater on her own, flips her head around to cast a rolling eye at the blonde woman, before twitching her paws in a sort of hopeful gesture of desiring her belly rubbed. Inevitably, Alicia closes her eyes in contentment regardless, one floppy ear bent back to expose a triangle of pink skin. Joseph simply steps over her, moving to place the blow-dryer down on a squat coffee table currently cluttered with an assortment of items — the rolls of plastic coverings, various tools to chip and grind away loose paint and dirt from the window frames, scissors, electrical tape.

New York tends to have a changing effect on you, and likely Joseph isn't immune to it either since last they saw each other, like having both hands free of a wedding band ot the fact he's actually gotten a few good nights sleep under his belt. "Sure, I got one more window to do in here," he says, finally looking over at her, and then letting a smile shine across at her, subtle though it might be. "I'll bet that keepin' warm isn't so much a problem for you."

Maybe the invitation wasn't exactly from Joseph, but Alicia is good enough for Meredith. There's a chuckle from the blonde and then she bends over to give the Newfoundland a good rub on the belly before straightening.

The changing effect on Meredith had less to do with being tested on for drugs and more with burning down her own place in a way she vowed to never do again. But, still, it is a change. "Can be, depending. 'Course, I've got the good fortune to not need a match to start myself a fire if I need it. Don't help me much with just stayin' out of the wind. Damn stuff cuts right through me, feels like." Which is why all that weather proofing of the windows is a good idea.

Of course, lately, the use of her power hasn't exactly brought good things for her and her mouth turns down in a bit of a frown before she walks over toward Joseph to hep him with all the materials they need to finish up that last window. "How'd ya get roped into this job?"

Passing off the tape to the pyro, Joseph sets about cutting out the plastic, his hands bare of gloves for the ease of working. The sleeves of his sweater are pushed back to his elbows, coat and scarf slung over the arm of the couch pushed off towards the far wall, jeans and boots both speckled with paint likely from another time and place. Work clothes, in a sense. "Well," he starts, as he crouches to snip through the clinging plastic, "the GCT's been putting out warmin' supplies and people with some know how, and I heard some talk that they might go shut this place down for the win'er if they couldn't get it comfortable enough, so I figured I'd come help out."

Moving off towards the window, he spreads the plastic over the glass, indicates with a tilt of his head for Meredith to set about securing it. "To be honest, I'm kinda lookin' for a new place to stay. I— " His smile goes crooked, glancing at her. "I asked about your place, actually. I'm sorry to hear about it." Ferrymen owners of burned down husks unite.

Meredith takes the tape and twists it about until she can find it's end. It's always hard to find it. Pulling it out, she tapes the end of it to the edge of the table and then moves over to help him hold out the plastic to make it easier for him to cut. The plastic won't slip or slide this way. Teamwork!

"Yeah. Kinda why I headed out here, too." Though her hearing of the word of mouth came about differently. She's been a little isolated all the way out in Staten Island at the Lighthouse. "Plus, ya know, the sayin' hi." Which is what she told him before.

The mention of her place makes her focus on the plastic even that much more intently. She doesn't like to think about what she's done in the past. Instead, she just shrugs off the apology. "They got the guy, I heard." Which is the truth. She's still not sure who it was, but she did know that he isn't going to hurt anyone again. "If you find a place, lemme know? I need a new base of operation, myself."

"Hi," Joseph adds in, smile more in the crinkles at his eyes than his mouth as excess plastic is shed, left to fall away for later picking up. If there's any worry about Alicia eating an errant strip, well— the old dog is more or less dead to the world, feet turned up with the pads of her paws exposed to the chilly air. "Will do. You gonna be makin' a mission of it headin' back at this hour or do you need a place to stay the evening? They got a couple of rooms here, or we can catch the next boat back to Manhattan with the others — there's plenty of room at the underground."

The underscoring sound of tearing tape is one he's gotten used to, speaking over it as he holds the plastic in place and curling his fingers out of the way, using them to point out places that need more reinforcement. "Speakin' about getting the guy," Joseph says, broaching what he considers to be an inevitable rift, "have you heard much about Danko." His black eyed gaze is busy crawling over the window's surface, but he does send a glance to what he can see of Meredith's reflection.

"Hell, I'm stubborn, but I ain't suicidal," Meredith tells Joseph about if she was planning on heading back the night. "Thought I'd just spend the night here, if there's room." And it sounds like he's saying there is. It could be good to get a night away from the Lighthouse. Things are a little tense there as of the moment. Plus, she's getting a little sick of babysitting. "Head back into Manhattan later to catch up on the news. Feel like I'm at the end of the pony express at the Lighthouse some days. If you're headed back into the city, though, might just follow ya. It'd be nice to have some company that don't only reach up to my knees." The last one is met with a bit of a smile. She like the Lighthouse, but it can also be too crowded.

Taking the tape, she tears it and then presses it against the plastic and the window, making sure there's a good seal there. The reflection of her face in the window is one of a hardened expression. She will not tell him 'I told you so' no matter how much she wants to. "Not much, honestly. Last I heard he was in Brooklyn." She frowns. "You heard anything?"

Once the most of it is fastened to wall and glass, Joseph backs up to retrieve the blow-dryer, knocking it against the side of his leg at a fidget as he watches her finish up. "Sounds like you've heard more'n me," he offers, fingernails digging along the seams in the plastic, watching his hands idly move rather than her. "Last I knew was that he attended some gala thing at this casino opening, and before that, he was in rehab and asked after me." He shuffles on forward again, brow furrowed as he goes to smooth out some of the wrinkles in the fabric. "Needless to say I didn't return any messages."

And he switches on the appliance, hot air hitting the glass and curling back at them with clammy warmth, and he casts it up and down as if in a window cleaning motion. "Dunno, just keepin' on the low down. If I find a place to stay, it won't be anythin' easily findable. Someplace like this. There's coffee. We have coffee, if we're stayin' here. Everythin's in working order, so." Click. He turns off the dryer, sheepish silence going with it.

Meredith snorts at the comment about returning messages. "Glad to say I wasn't on any sort of name basis with the bastard. He was what?" The idea of Danko being at a gala is enough to make her do a double take. That's certainly not anything she knew about. "When I heard him bein' in Brooklyn, that was months ago. Wish he woulda got himself hit by a bus. Or maybe something a bit more painful. Accidental dismemberment or somethin'." She's already made her opinion made known about what they should do about him. At least she's not saying they should do it themselves this time.

"I like the idea of staying lowdown." Especially if there are people still looking for her in connection with the the burning down of her apartment. "Well, who's watchin' this place. If we're gonna be doin' all the work on it, might as well take the benefit. Maybe we could help out or somethin'. It's big enough, didn't ya say?" The idea of coffee makes her close her eyes and smile. "Now you're singin' my tune. I'll spend the night anywhere that's got coffee."

"This way, then." Glad to maybe leave the possibilities of Emile Danko bloodthirst-related fantasies in the room, Joseph tips his head to the left in a gestue, bidding her to follow and scooping up the electric lamp as he goes. It wobbles clear, golden light, making shadowed edges seem constantly uncertain, but they can see where they're going, down debris-stricken stairwells, down and down to the ground floor where, occasionally, the shadows of other lingering Ferrymen cross past, including Else Kjelstrom picking her way back up and past them.

The kitchen has its own illumination going, one window bricked over, the other facing the river and open a fraction. Turning off the lamp, Joseph goes to close the window against the cold. "Currently this place is seen over by Andy Rourke, though I think he more or less covers Long Island instead o' just this place. Maybe he'll appreciate an extra set of eyes or two, and hands to fix the place up a little. I was tellin' him before, it don't have to look inside like it does outside."

The blonde woman nods at Else and the others as they make their way toward the kitchen and toward the sweet relief of coffee. As they go, Meredith takes in the debris and everything that needs repairs. It's a lot of things. Thinking about it more, living here, fixing things up, making sure they work, it seems like a good idea. Maybe it's just the thought of getting back to her own pace, not feeling like she's imposing on everyone all the time.

"Well. D'ya wanna seriously talk about this?" Operating a Safehouse together is a serious business and she's not about to dive into it without a serious talk. Crazy, Meredith being rational and thought out. "He just might. Looks like he's got enough on his mind other'n just this place. It'd certainly be a lotta work."

A broom leaning in the corner of the room indicates someone's noble attempts at clearing up the space, the floor mostly clear underfoot. An assortment of coffee mugs of varying, mismatch kinds have been left upside down to dry upon a dish towel, and beside that, the coffee machine glaring a red eye into the dim kitchen. Flicking the switch on this, Joseph turns his back on the kitchen counter, his palms resting up on the edges. "He's got a lot done already. Insulation, wiring, water. Just a matter of, uh. Finishing. In all seriousnes—

"Well you've done this kind thing before. My church was somethin' of a gateway rather'n a safehouse, or an emergency stop. The GCT is storage, mainly, and I've near done broke my back tryna keep up down here. Somethin' like this wouldn't be so bad, and you've done it before, right? With the place you had before it went up."

He grins, suddenly. "Our track records don't speak highly on how this place'll go, but maybe we'd be okay."

At least they tried. For now, she looks around in the strange glow of coffee light and the light from Joseph's lamp. There may have been some attempts, but if they haven't had the time to finish, well, maybe they'd appreciate some help. And there they were, two people who desperately needed a place to stay and, dare she think it, a project.

"I set up my safehouse years ago and that was just an apartment." This is an entire house. "I mean, I never had a super, obviously, so I can be handy, but it was never this bad off when I started there. This'll be a lotta work, but it's a lot different'n bein' at GCT. That's a hub, we're just a station. I can show ya the ropes, but you've got a lotta it from the Church."

As for their track record, she smirks. "Well, let's just hope that two wrongs'll make a right here."

"It's rundown," he admits, with a glance around, "while the GCT— was more or less non-existent when it came to liveability. As far as I'm concerned, it's the Hilton. If Andy don't swing by tonight, we can probably catch him in the mornin' and see what he thinks," Joseph says, with a shrug that communicates he doesn't think the Brit will put up much of a fight, not in the face of two determined Southerners who need something to do and a place of their own. "And if he don't like it, we can go scoutin' or somethin' like that."

Leaning back, he lifts a hand to open up one of the cupboards over head, twisting around enough to peer inside where a few freshly brought over supplies have been tucked away. "Somethin' of a full circle for me. Last I saw my home back home, few days back, it was on the market for selling. All cleaned out like new."

GCT was all but in ground zero when the explosion hit. This was certainly farther from the blast, but probably was suffering for repairs even before the explosion. "I imagine people don't get to see people like us house shoppin' much." The idea of the two of them actually operating a safe house together for some reason strikes Meredith as funny and her grin shows it. But, they're probably a good team for each other. The sinner and the saint together and trying to save people. It's a story for the ages.

"I imagine it looked a far sight better'n this place cleared out." Meredith tilts her head just slightly and asks the serious question for Joseph that she's sure he's sick of hearing. "How was back home? You can one word answer me if you need. Just had to ask."

Strangely enough, sometimes it's the questions people are sure the recipient is sick of hearing that never get heard anyway, sometimes. The world is too polite. Wrapping his arms around his torso in a comfortable fold, Joseph mirrors her prior grin at the qualifier, shrugging his shoulders inwards. "Back home was better'n I expected," he admits. "Which probably don't speak much for my expectations. There were just a lot of things I couldn't really talk much about with anyone, but it was nice to get away for a lil' while. And— " He nods once, a birdish kind of movement. "Lay some things to rest before comin' back.

"Several words for you. How about you?" There's the sound of a click as the machine turns back off, and Joseph starts about getting up cups of coffee with all the precision and neatness of a housewife. Or at least a well practiced host. "You got a home somewhere down south or did you get around to burnin' your bridges? As it were."

Burning her bridges. Ha. If he weren't a preacher, Joseph could probably be a comedian. "Never really had much of a home to call home," Meredith shrugs. "Moved around too much for that. Got a brother I haven't seen in awhile, don't much know where he is or how to find him. Gordon's aren't much for the stickin' around, I guess." Her daughter's around the city, she knows, but she has yet to see her. It's all too complicated with her family.

As for Joseph's troubles, that seems to be at least the better situation to some extent. "At least that's good. Better'n expectations is better'n worse than you expected." As for laying things to rest before coming back, she just nods again. She wishes some of the things in her past were buryable. But, then, few things ever stay buried. Especially in their world. "You're lookin' a lot better'n I expected after what you had to all go through. I know it don't sound like it, but that's a compliment, preacher."

Joseph doesn't hope for milk, and the powdered stuff crouching like a fiend in the corner of the pantry doesn't even get looked at, so when Meredith gets her coffee, it's black as pitch but not unpleasant, lurking stagnant in the cherry red ceramic mug. He holds it out to her, now, smile a little bashful. "Thanks," he says. "You didn't see me when I looked about how you'd expect, which I did for— a while. I'm chalking it up to Tennessee air and altitude doin' wonders."

"Ain't nothin' like open spaces to do ya good." Even if Meredith's settled in New York City for now, that doesn't mean she has to completely like it to be that way. Her heart is still Southern and always will be. Not much minding that her coffee's dark, she looks down into the mug for a bit before taking a sip. "Thanks," she tells him honestly. "It's true, I didn't. Wasn't on the right team to see ya that way." Instead, she had to be on Doyle's team for some reason. "Good to see ya up right, though. Sorry I wasn't about to help ya any."

Shaking his head, Joseph leans back against the counter, nursing his coffee close to him. "'s fine, you was on Colette's team, and she had no business bein' in trouble like she was. Anyway it's— a thing long past. The whole facility's been abandoned since and I don't see a reason for draggin' what happened along with me for any long amount of time. Not really like me." Rocking his weight back onto his feet, he gestures loosely with his coffee. "C'mon, I'll show you round the place, and you can pick out yours for the night." Or beyond.

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