Right Or Wrong


joseph_icon.gif susan_icon.gif

Scene Title Right or Wrong
Synopsis Joseph catches up with Susan after she leaves behind a meeting.
Date August 9, 2010

Deveaux Building

This building used to be elegant. You can tell. When age withers flesh to form and clouds the eyes, good bones remain a constant attraction, and the same can be said for the bare suggestion that this building was owned by a rich man, left for terrorists and revolutionaries to crawl through like rats in drywall. Susan's imperious footsteps are a good guide to follow, but Joseph knows the way out from having come up in the first place, and he waits for a little while before he says anything. Lets distance fall between themselves and where they depart.

Knuckles stretch the lining of his damp jacket as his hands make loose fists in his pockets. His foot falls sound clumsier to the ear than Susan's, though quiet, mousy. "Wait up," he invites, after some descent has been made.

Susan comes to an abrupt halt at the bottom of the stairs as Grace and Scott are disappearing around a corner, but does not speak until their footsteps have echoed into silence and she and Joseph are left with his clomping and the sharper sound of the redhead's breathing. She wraps fingers around the banister — something she'll regret when she lets go and her hand comes away filmy — and looks back over her shoulder at him as he approaches, handsome face contorted into an expression of fury that she does not bother to hide now that they're no longer on the rooftop.

She is, at least, waiting. "This isn't like Sheridan," are the first words out of her mouth, "or even like that stunt they pulled with the CDC and the vaccine. You know it."

The obvious anger shouldn't be a surprise. Is, a bit. Joseph's mouth is a flatter, sympathetic line than it was before, standing a little above before he's coming down to share the landing, twin crucifixes jolting on the thin chain they hang from around his neck. "Maybe I do. And who's to say that everyone that goes and signs up to this thing won't know it like we do?" He keeps his hands and limbs off dusty corners and walls, content to stand awkward without any cool slouching, crouching to sit on filthy staircase, leaning a shoulder against grimy wall.

Is okay with standing out in the rain without any guard against its dampness, though. Wet brunette strands stick to his forehead, the nape of his neck. "When you joined the council, what did you figure it to be?"

"I was under the impression that the council was formed with the network's best interests in mind," Susan replies tightly, "not to provide aid to groups like Messiah. We have nothing— nothing to gain from this, Joseph. Notice how we weren't presented any evidence about what's inside that facility except for their word, no evidence about whether they're telling the truth."

A subtle shift in her body language has some of the tension in it loosening, and although the anger in her voice remains as sharp and biting as ever, her face's strong features start to soften. It may be that there's something inherently calming about Joseph's presence, or it may be the difference between his tone and Bennet's, his tone and Abigail's. "More people are going to die than we're going to save. How is that worth it?"

"The Bible doesn't teach about weighin' up lives against the other. It doesn't teach me that those are the decisions that I should make for anyone, not for the Ferry, and not for the people trapped up in the Institute. Maybe we weren't presented with the kind of evidence that would sway you, Susan, but the folks out there are optin' to trust them, and that's their choice." Joseph's voice, is as ever, quiet and calm, very fair, but there is some firmness in his address to her, eyes black and gaze wandering away, now and then.

But he doesn't entirely avoid her gaze, and when he meets it now, it's with a hint of a smile. "We're a— a group of cats that aren't interested in being herded, and the rest o' the network runs the gamut of feline kind, too. And I don't think the Ferry is all about what we gain, either. We're a risk for existing."

He scuffs the heel of his boot against the floor. "I guess I should just stick to talkin' to you about your tone, huh? I don't want to carry on the debate personal-like."

Joseph is older than Susan, though perhaps not by very much. A handful of years. Whether or not she identifies more strongly with him than she does some of the other council members is up for debate, but the silence that follows is a clear indication she at least respects him. "If you're going to talk to me about my tone," she says finally, "maybe you ought to talk to Abigail about drugging my food and conspiring against me with her friends because she overheard a conversation I had with somebody else that she didn't like."

She lifts her hand from the banister and wipes it off on the front of her coat. "There's a lot more going on than you see, and it's happening right under your nose. All I want you to do is ask yourself whether the people who voted to let Emile Danko go would vote for this, and whether or not our colleagues were really interested in representing their thoughts and feelings today."

His smile deepens a little, lecture turning around, somewhat, for him to be listener as opposed to the talker — but for someone who made his career standing behind a podium in front of a crowd of fervent listeners, the role of counsel is one that suits Joseph a little better. Or it does these days. "You either trust your councilmembers or you don't," he offers, when she's done. "And I'd be happy to discuss that with Abby, just as I want to point out to you that it won't be any good for the network if you're gonna go lose your temper like that up there. It's one thing to walk out, it's another to start the way you did.

"And if you feel like you're voicin' the opinions of those you represent, then you're doing them no good that way. Besides, as far as I can tell, we're offering the opportunity for people to make their own choices, but like I said — the vote's cast. It ain't up to you and me down here."

"No," Susan agrees. "It isn't." Her gaze angles away from Joseph, past the stairs to the corner Grace and Scott disappeared around. She can't hear what the remaining council members and their new allies are discussion from the bottom of the stairwell, but she makes a gesture with her head as if straining to listen. If she has any regrets about leaving prematurely, they have nothing to do with the picture it paints and everything to do with denying herself the opportunity to familiarize herself with Messiah's plan of attack.

"What's up to you and I is getting people to safety when Petrelli and Cardinal bring down the government on our heads and Homeland Security finally decides that the best course of action is to eradicate the network rather than quietly allow us to exist because we raised arms against them en masse. Are you with me for that much?"

As someone not planning to raise arms against the government, personally— you know, not unless they did it first, Joseph's brows knit together, and he tolerates her pessimism, her warnings and acidic implication, much like a stalwart rock on the stormy beach front. Yes, he did not vote the way she favoured, and no, he's not going to change it or try to justify it down here. Eradicate and allow and en masse crash against neutrality, have no effect, reduced to froth and its quicker erosion. "I was before," he says, gently, "an' I am now.

"Trust that the others feel the same way, and right or wrong, it's what drives their vote, Susan, and it always will be." And now he goes to leave her alone, having said his piece, right or wrong, and apparently holding enough regard for her that he's not about to drill it in through her skull, or change her mind about her own vote. He's not sure he can be much of a token peacekeeper in the longterm, but he can try.

Any argument that Susan might have she chooses not to verbalize, if she has any argument at all. It would be difficult for her to convince anyone that the other council members do not believe they're doing what's best for the network. Her response is a slow, unsteady breath blown through her nostrils before downcast blue eyes move ahead of her and she steps away from the stairwell, away from Joseph.

"Right or wrong," she echoes, but there's no real conviction behind her words. "Have a good evening, Pastor."

The pace at which she retreats this time is less harried, the click of her heels against the floor just a little less sharp. Although this isn't a clear indication of whether or not he's gotten through to her, it's proof that he's achieved something.

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