Something To Hate


corbin2_icon.gif martin_icon.gif

Scene Title Something To Hate
Synopsis Assistant-Director Martin Crowley knows what can happen when an Agent loses someone close to them, so he preemptively refuses to allow Corbin to resign from his job in the Company, but encourages his personal vendetta. Having something to hate makes each step a little easier.
Date March 18, 2010

Fort Hero : Library

The library at Fort Hero is a peculiar institution, an amalgam of books and files, records and references and reports. It is a succession of rooms housing the many recent publications on Evolved, beginning (but certainly not ending) with Activating Evolution by Dr. Chandra Suresh. It includes both the few truly authoritative references and every single one of the many hypothetical, unsubstantiated, and/or purely erroneous documents also printed concerning them; add in the very extensive literature on cryptids, urban legends, and supernatural myths that could have been of Evolved origin, and it's clear that on these shelves rests the most comprehensive library concerning Evolved anywhere.

It is all the more uniquely thorough in that, beyond the book-filled rooms, through heavy doors and past a couple of watchful security personnel, Fort Hero is also home to the entire records of the Bronx Facility of the Company. Over thirty years of Company research and observations, along with documents from and investigations into projects older still, supply a wealth of information to the hands and minds of Fort Hero's staff — provided they have clearance, of course.

Hokuto Ichihara and Corbin Ayers never got the chance to work together in the archives of Fort Hero. They never had the opportunity to bicker over the organizational placement of literature, Hokuto favoring the Dewy Decimal System and Corbin favoring the Library of Congress Classification. They'd argue for hours over QWERTY keyboard setups and AZERTY arrangements, the latter of which Hokuto thought was "darling, if not just fun to say, Azerty!"

She'd named her goldfish Azerty when she had one.

Maybe that lack of emotional context is why it isn't quite as hard for Corbin Ayers to be down here, to answer the call of the Assistant-Director who had requested his presence in Fort Hero's archives. Ayers and Crowley never spoke much in their tenure together, Martin was a beast of different stripes when he worked at the Bronx facility prior to the bomb, and when Martin just disappeared after the explosion, Corbin had not seen any sign of him save for documents of retirement that were filed two weeks following.

Someone else must have filed his reinstatement papers.

Seated on a a short step-ladder between two aisles of old documents, Martin Crowley has one leg propped up on the top step, knee bend and a bright red folder laid out across it, open. Situated flat on the floor, his other foot keeps him balanced in his awkward seating arrangement.

Paging thorugh the file, Martin's dark brows are creased together, eyes somewhat unfocused, and largely unaware of the sound of Corbin's approach from the hall and through the security doors into the archives proper. Agent Crowley is not easily distracted, but some things pull stronger than others.

The only time they'd even approached the room together was during the the brief tour, after he got the surprise that she'd accepted the offer to rejoin. Corbin pauses briefly at the door, remembering a comment made about how they'd probably spend a lot of time in here. Pooring over research and figuring things out. It never happened.

And never will.

Normally there's a little hop to his step, but now his feet almost drag. A brown jacket and pants, nothing colorful or standoutish. He'd already started dressing more drab for some reason, but now he's got even more reason to. Even forgot his tie, so that doesn't add a spec of color. There's more color on his face.

Eyelids reddish from lack of sleep, the area directly around darkened as well. Pale blue eyes have a haunted look. The fact he hasn't slept much since the 16th is pretty clear to be seen. What little sleep he has gotten…

"You wanted to see me?" he asks after a few moments of waiting to be noticed.

Startled by the sound of a voice, Crowley looks up quickly, all wide-eyed and dazzled for just a moment before he recalls why he's down here and who he called. Clearing his throat and stammering some, Crowley waves towards a packed cardboard box of books nearby as a makeshift seat for his company. "Ah— yes, I ah— Corbin…" He never uses first names, not in a business environment. "Come on, take a seat." Martin slowly closes the folder, laying it across his lap, both hands settled atop it. This is like being called in to the school guidance counselor after someone in your glass dies. But it isn't Richard, the Company psychiatrist, that Corbin is seeing but rather his superior. It's like the vice principal wanting to talk. It's odd, and awkward, and Martin is just terrible at it.

If it were any other day, Corbin might wonder if someone was playing a prank on him. But it's not any other day. There's a moment where he looks around, as if confused about where he's supposed to sit, until his eyes settle on the cardboard box… Full of books. Just like so many boxes in the bookstore.

Shaking his head a moment, he steps forward and drops down onto the makeshift seat, perhaps too distracted to really notice little details he might have before.

This is hardly the kind of meeting he'd expected. There's an awkward moment, as he stares forward at the folder. "I— saw the thing about the Petrelli Mansion. I can probably go and question Thatcher if necessary. She and I knew each other, I could go as a friend, rather than an Agent." Either he wants this to be about business so much he's trying to make it about business, or he's trying desperately to keep his mind elsewhere.

"N." Martin says quietly, offering out the folder in his lap to Corbin, it's not a new one, but the serial number on the front, 'AF-14707-21A4' indicates it's an agent roster file, and the black sticker ont he corner means it's a deceased agent's file. The number on the white sticker next to the black one as a "4" indicates the agent's security clearance prior to death. Martin doesn't say anything, just lifts a hand to make a motion for Corbin to open the folder.

"I thought you might want to talk…" Martin admits in a hushed tone of voice, throat working up and down in a swallow, eyes angles down to the folder in Corbin's lap and brows furrowed. There's a weariness in Martin's expression, even if he's trying to smile despite himself.

The arrangement of the numbers call of memory more often then the actual numbers. But Corbin knows one thing right away. The file isn't Hokuto's. It's not a file he wants to touch anytime soon, and he's sure someone else has already taken care of it anyway. There's a pause, eyes sliding up to the man in charge's face, and then back at the folder. It takes a few moments before he flips it open… Names are easier to remember than numbers.

Norton, Sarah. Level 4 Clearance. European Company Branch.

He remembers filing it, because it's been one of the few employee files in the aftermath of the explosion three years ago that he didn't know at least in passing, and the ability name. "Reactive Precognition…" he repeats it quietly outloud, just as he did when he first read it. He'd wondered what it meant.

Eyes slide further over the file, past the picture of a dark haired woman around his own age, and…

Crowley, Martin (engaged).

There's a blink for a moment, and he looks back up, "I remembered you retiring but I didn't…" That's why he wanted to talk. Tension settles around his eyes, and he closes the file carefully, holding it back out. "I'm sorry. We lost a lot of good agents that day."

Martin waves a hand dismissively, both at the sentiments and the folder. "You're the file clerk, you put it back." Martin notes in a somewhat joking manner, but no really you put it back later Ayers is written all across his face. "I just… I know what it's like, losin' a partner you're close to. It doesn't take me checkin' your psych evals t'know you an' Ichihara were more'n just friends…" Maritn's eyes drift down to his lap, fingers laced together and shoulders hunched forward.

"I lost Sarah 'cause the Company wasn't good enough, 'cause we failed t'protect our agents an' failed t'catch Sylar. I lost…" There's a slow shake of Martin's head as he looks back up to Corbin. "I know what I was feelin' back then, and I just ran from everything in my life. I dove into a bottle an' prolly' would've drank m'self t'death if it weren't for Sabra. So— " Martin motions with a see-saw hand gesture in the air.

"This is pre-emptive. I don't want you jumpin' ship, Ayers. I don't want you just… rollin' off the deep end and quitting on us. You may not be a bag an' tag agent, but you're still a damn good one an' I need your brain still."

"We weren't— We weren't more than friends. Not really," Corbin protests quietly, even though he holds onto the file, reading the expression as well as the joke. He'll put it back where it belongs later… Too bad it's likely going to take him too close to Ichihara. All three files with black stickers now.

"I'm not leaving, not until I find out who— who killed her. I can't really find that out as a reporter. Or without the help of the Company." Revenge is a strong motivation, even if it really doesn't suit him at all. It's not something he ever thought he'd be capable of…

Maybe he already knows he'll fail doing it, anyway.

"Would've been better if I was a bag and tag agent. One of them might have been fast enough to stop him." He wasn't.

"That's why you're getting partnered with one." Martin admits with a furrow of his brows, breathing in deeply before exhaling a heavy sigh. "From here on out I want you working with Senior Agent Ryans. I would have put you with Mister Thompson, but when I approached him about the idea he put me in a headlock and ground one of his knuckles into the top of my head for the whole elevator ride…" There's an inscrutable expression on Martin's face, is he joking, is he serious, it's hard to say.

Shifting his feet so both now rest on the floor, Martin pushes himself up to stand, looking down at Corbin with furrowed brows. "You've my permission to look into whatever holes you need to t'find the person that did this, Ayers. Bein' able t'focus on what I have been all these years, my job, is what's kept me sane. I'm no' about t'let you 'ave that taken from you." There's a wave of Martin's hand towards the door, then a look back downto Corbin.

"Don't lose sight of what you want, Ayers. Don't lose sight of what ever it is you need to keep going. Sometimes…" Crowley looks down at one of his hands, rolling his forefingers and thumb together, "sometimes 'avin' an enemy— someone to hate— is a powerful thing tha' can keep a man goin'." His eyes track back up to Corbin. "Don't lose tha'."

The enemy is an unknown man in a scary mask he hasn't yet identified. A man who gutted and stabbed the woman he…

Corbin shakes his head, trying to clear the memory away as he stands up, taking the file with him, almost as if he's taking this as a dismissal. Or, from the way he shifts his weight, he may just want to stand. "I don't really want an offical partnership, but since Ryans isn't Evolved, I'm guessing this isn't one anyway…" his voice is quiet with his protests, but they're there. They're the same protests he had for months after Hokuto left. No, he didn't want another partner. And what partnerships he did have…

They were only temporary.

Hold on to hate… when he used to hold on to hope. It's a big change. But before… "I'm leaving my job at the newspaper," he finally adds, an odd addition. "It'll give me more time for the investigations."

"If that's what you want t'do, that's fine." Martin notes with a dip of his head down into a nod, eyes tracking the motion of a spider as it scurries across the floor. "An' no we're not doing standard partnerships anymore, not for the Investigative team. You'll be helpin' Ryans with whatever e's investigating, an' doubling up with your normal information processing assignments. But this should get you some better field expertise."

Chin tilted up, Martin offers a brow-furrowed look towards Corbin. "I've arranged for you to 'ave an hour at the shooting range daily too. There's no reason an agent like yourself shouldn't be able t'hit a target near point blank range, Ayers. I think you might be able t'agree with me on that one too." Crowley's tone isn't sharp so much as it is gently admonishing. He doesn't need to drive home that point, it does it all on its own.

"You'll keep me informed, yeah? About what you find out?" Martin quirks brows up, watching Corbin quietly. "I want t'stay in the loop on this."

The most Corbin can really do to that is nod in stiff response. The man's right. Some more field experience might have made him faster, better— he might have at least shot the bastard in the back of the head and they'd have had two bodies to clean up instead of one. But all he got was a shoulder, and as far as he can tell it didn't leave any blood behind on the scene. The man probably had had a vest. Which…

She'd finally started returning to her old self. Wearing color.

She never got to go to the Statue of Liberty. She never got to see the new Flower Market. She never…

He blinks a few times and then keeps turned away, so as better to hide the fact he's trying not to get emotional in front of his boss. One step at a time. Paperwork. Filing. Meet with Ryans and see what cases he wants him on. Gun range… And most important…

Breathe. That last reminder is necessary.

"I'll let you know what I find out," he finally says, moving to take the file back toward the Agent listings. One step at a time…

Nodding his head slowly, Martin's back is to Cobrin by merit of the senior of the two agents positioning in the archive doorway. His expression is impassive as he stares out into the hall, brows furrowed and shadow stark from the fluorescent lights overhead. It's not an easy job, motivating an agent ot stay on board when everything healthy in their live would tell them they need to take time off. But here in the concrete halls of Fort Hero, there is nothing healthy, no good advice to be had, just Company policy.

"Thanks for… talking, Ayers." As Martin steps out of the room, his hands tucks into the pockets of his slacks and departs, the sound of his shoes scuffing on the concrete floor barely audible on his departure. Here at Fort Hero, there is no healthy advice, just business. Even if, every so often, there's a glimmer of something more human in Martin Crowley.

One step at a time, after all.

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