The Importance Of Family


russo_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Importance Of Family
Synopsis Sometimes people who look alike are cut from different cloth.
Date December 20, 2010

Central Park - On a Bench

He hadn't known if Russo would meet with him, though Kincaid had assured him. The old man sits on one of the over looking the frozen turtle pond, looking like a man at home on a farm with his brown jacket, scruff looks and brown hiking boots. Benjamin Ryans sits leaning back on the bench an arm laying across the back of it, foot resting on his knee and his other hand wrapped around his ankle. He looks so relaxed.

The opposite is true.

His head is tipped down, but his blue eyes watch the world around him cautiously, since he is after all a wanted man. Just being out here like this, Ryans is risking a lot. Eyes narrow slightly as he watches a couple walking close, arms around each other and sharing warmth.
Russo has reconnected.

Where Ryans attention is made suspicious, Russo's heart is actually warmed, even with the day he's had. Yaaaaay! Random couples in love in the winter… yaaaay! He manages his most charming smile as he treads passed the pair although it becomes moderately nervous for no apparent reason. Even a little weary, perhaps. He turns his head to the bench and catches sight of the man who is… his father.

This isn't quite the meeting (even if they already kind of met) he'd had in mind. And, if he's honest, he's still not ready. But then can a person ever be ready for this conversation?

Swallowing hard, he slides onto the opposite end of the bench, essentially letting Ryan's arm keep him at bay. An arm's length away. The poetry of it isn't lost on the television host, particularly as he raises the collar around his cloak to conceal his neck further.

The greeting doesn't come easily, in fact, all of those nerves and their culmination over the last few months become stuck inside his throat. It constricts beneath the pressure. It isn't until he gasps that he realizes he's been holding his breath. Nothing like positive first impressions.

His arms are folded in front of his lap and he finally manages, "Hey." It's a very eloquent greeting for a man who speaks to politicians and celebrities on a regular basis. "I— " he stops and allows his one word greeting to be all that transpires between them while he stares intently at the nothing in the horizon.

Nothing really registers on the older man's face, he only watches Russo join him. Unmoving like a statue until Russo settles on the bench, then he sits up a little straighter, leaving his upper arm in place, but bending it away from the other at the elbow. "Thank you for meeting with me," Ben's deep voice loud, even if softly spoken.

"I don't know how much you really know about my youngest daughter's situation, but… she pointed me towards you." Ryans head slowly to give Russo his full gaze.

"She left a message for me that simply said the words. Sleep and Brad." Fingers motion in the younger man's direction. "I can only assume she means you." The subtle lifting of brows question Russ as if he might know why.

Sleep. Ironically something he hasn't been doing much lately.

Russo grimaces at the message while his gaze remains on the horizon. His mouth opens to speak, but he closes it again. His leather gloved hands tousle his hair as he rolls them over his face and then his entire head, washing away whatever stress or anxiety this is causing.

His pale blue eyes flit to Ryans a moment only to cut back to the horizon. Inside his stomach, butterflies frantically attempt to escape, but they're pushed aside like every other feeling Russo allows himself to have at this moment. His eyes narrow a little while he recalls some important details while his own hand extends along the back of the bench, crooked at the elbow so as not to touch this man he doesn't know.

Finally, he manages a question, "Did Delia ever tell you how we met? And I don't mean karaoke?"

"Unfortunately, her and I did not have much time to talk leading up to the 8th and after… I was up to my neck in trying to keep people safe." There is a weary look to him, eyes focusing on a point beyond the pond. "I didn't even find out she was gone or… in a coma until she was gone." A pained look flits across Ryans' features before settling into that neutral look again.

"So… no," Ben finally answers, glancing at Russo again. "She never enlightened me." And his tone suggests he'd like to know what this celebrity means to his baby girl.
Russo has partially disconnected.

The celebrity hmmms quietly as he considers the best way to phrase what he has to say. Russo's eyebrows knit together tightly as he leans further back against the bench allowing his gaze to watch the dark sky.

"We met in Vietnam," he says to the black winter sky. "It was a very, very long time ago." His lips press together, almost certain that Ryans will catch his meaning.

"We… have a lot in common." He swallows hard while he draws his arm back to his side, lacing his fingers together in front of him again. His chin drops to stare at those gloved hands, the awkwardness of the situation causing his personal retreat, yet for Delia…

"Similar love of music and singing prowess" which, according to either one, they sing beautifully, although listeners would tell them to stop stepping on that cat's tail "we like causes that matter…" there's a longer pause as he moves his gaze back to the horizon, "…we have the same eyes…"

Something about that last has Ryans head turning sharply towards Russo. He really looks at the other man and those eyes. Maybe it's the fact that just the other day someone told him that Russo and he had the same color eyes.

There is a moment of pause as it really hits home. All of it.

Slowly, the arm slides off the back of the bench and foot off his knee as he sits up straight suddenly. Russo can see the scrutiny in the old mans eyes. It's hard to really see the emotion as it flits across his features, but he almost seems to pale. "How old are you?" There is a strained quality to his voice as if suddenly realizing something very important. Something he should have known. It's a question he never thought to ask, when they first met.

Now may not be the best time to be snarky, yet old habits die hard, "As old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth." Even as the other man looks at him, Russo stares across at the horizon like it's the most interesting thing he's ever seen. He allows his eyebrows to furrow tighter while his chews on his bottom lip, a habit to fight any real expression from showing on his face— a talent for anyone interviewing people with sensitive information.

He sighs softly while his gaze turns downward towards his shoes, "I'm thirty-two." His lets his lips twitch into a very slight smile only to fall back into a pseudo-frown. Now this is awkward.

It's not often that anyone can leave the ex agent stunned. As his spine suddenly bumps against the slatted back of the bench heavily, it's obvious that Russo has done just that to Ryans. A hand runs across his mouth, the rough scruff catching at the rough skin of his palm. "Well…" he starts in an attempt to say something, but then fails.

Benajmin has no idea what to say in a situation like this. "You certainly have your mothers tongue…" He sighs heavily, looking away from Russo, suddenly very self conscious. "I deserved that… that and worse I am sure."

"I think it has something to do with being a September," They both were, she in name, he in birth. "Fall just makes things more biting." Including people, apparently.

Silently, Russo stares out at the park now, his eyes scanning its entirety rather than remaining transfixed on one particular spot. With a near-silent sigh, Brad tugs at the fingers of his gloves, slowly rolling the leather off his hands which have become inexplicably hot. Nerves do that.

He forces a tight smile, reminiscent of his mother's more polite one. "It's fine," and while he may not entirely mean it, his tougher, more logical parts want to believe it. "Look. I'm fine." He rubs his eyes, "Delia, however… she asked me to help her. When I was awake," and high. "And when I dreamt of her… I made an appeal on air. Which… Lucille came to see me. I just want to help Carrots get home."

Ryans has no problem latching on the situation that is his wayward daughter. "There are a lot of people scrambling to get her back to her body. Good and potentially bad." The fingers of one hand flex slowly, anxiety eating at him, from more then just Delia's situation.

"I'd like to get her back before the Institute gets their hands on her," his words gruff, breath white in the cold air. "I just am not sure how to go about it. I was hoping that message, she had a sleeping woman carve into her arm… would bring some insight." Ryans doesn't feel as confident now as she glances at Russo again finally.

"Yeah," the word is abrupt, and even a little curt, but Russo carries on as he ought. "I haven't seen Carrots for awhile now. But I haven't really been dreaming much either. Am I supposed to go to sleep again? For days on end? I'm not sure my job would like that— " Kristen would be beyond confused. "And I have no idea what the message means other than I should sleep more. Maybe. I mean, it seems simple enough."

"She was a wayward traveler in the dream. And I had my own island— " flippantly he waves a hand, aiming to wipe away any symbolism his conscience created. "— and she showed up and was trying to get somewhere. When I woke up I knew it was weird. At the time it seemed— " he just smiles. It's not easy, in fact, it's unusually tense, but it's still a smile.

A single corner of his mouth turns up as he grips the edge of the bench. "Why is it Lucille was the one to see me earlier? I— you said you didn't know she'd been moved? How could you not know?"

Eyes close at the question, brows furrowing a little with a brief flicker of pain and guilt. Benjamin doesn't even look at Russo when those blue eyes open again. "Because I was handed the job to ensure the safety of a large group of people not just her and Lucille. And… even before the 8th we were not exactly talking." Brows furrowing a little when a quick glance Russo's way. "She had it in her head that if she pushed me away that it would save my life, since I was suppose to die during the riots protecting her."

A twitch at the corner of his mouth, hints at a smile. "Honestly, It was smart not to tell me, I would have had a difficult time letting them take her away to someplace better." The old man is protective of his girls when he can be.

He falls silent, gaze falling to the ground before him, swallowing back a sudden lump of emotions in his throat. It makes his words rough as he speaks again, "Last I saw her in my dreams… she looked so weak. Her time is running out, Russo. If you sleeping will get here back again…" The words trail off, but he doesn't think he has to continue that train of thought.

"But if you lose your family what's the point in saving the world?" there's a mirthless lilt to Brad's voice. "Sometimes the order of things matters." Not that he recommends losing one's family first and then trying to fix the state of things, but then, it's given him little reason to fear the outside world as well, except for his own hide. Although after losing everything it barely mattered. "Sometimes the order of things matters more than the things themselves." He clears his throat and quotes, "Who forces time is pushed back by time; who yields to time finds time on his side."

He does nothing to explain what he means. "I'll try to sleep. Does it matter where? I have a…" he narrows his eyes a little, "house guest overnighting who I promised complete safety as within my power. Can I be home for this? Or… do I need to go to whever Delia is?"

"I — don't know," Rynas admits, not touching on the other things. He has not real answer to the order. His order tends to not make sense to those outside of his own thoughts. "I would say sleep where you are most comfortable, see what she wants…" There is a pause before he adds, "If she finds you and I think she wants to talk to you." Brows dip down briefly, before the lift again.

"That's the only advice I can give. Even with my experiences with the Company, dream walkers are a bit of a mystery." Ryans' head wobbles side to side a little as he considers his words. "Abilities in general are unique to each person and work differently for each. What works for one doesn't always work for the other."

"Helpful," Russo murmurs as he pinches the bridge of his nose. And then, as an afterhtought, he murmurs, "At least it's not time travel." Which is, in essence the ultimate experience to be avoided at all possible costs. It breaks his brain. "Great. Now I need to pretend to have narcolepsy and get on the good drugs— " there's a flicker of a smile, Brad does like his drugs, "— to keep me asleep. I'm sure K will be most impressed."

"Abilities are what they are. I'll do what I can to help Carrots. Honestly, been looking for her and want to help in any way I can." He grins a little, "She's a good kid. Good spirit. Good heart. Gave me a photo album to tuck away in my safe for safe-keeping… with what was going on with November eighth…"

"The one their mother made for them," Ryans guesses without hesitation, there is a sadness in his voice. "It was the one thing she grabbed when we had to go underground. Mary had told me once she planned to use it to embarrass her girls." A small smile tugging at his lips. "When they started getting serious about boys. Said… any boy that can sit through that album would have a chance with her babies.

"Didn't get the chance," he adds gruffly, voice ruff enough to force him to clear his voice. Ryans falls silent again, for a long moment before he adds. "I appreciate you helping me get my little girl back." He holds up a hand, "And I know… it's not for me, I don't expect it and I don't deserve it. But for the fact she is your sister and you are working to get her back where she belongs."

"Yeah. From their mom." Brad sighs heavily while he presses firmly against his thighs. "There are some people who don't get what they deserve. Your daughter, Delia Ryans? She's one of them. Whatever happened to make her get lost in people's dreams, I can guarantee you she didn't have it coming."

He chuckles an empty mirthless chuckle, lacking the soul and merriment of even his stage laugh. "I don't know you. You don't know me. I'm not… I've turned out fine." He'd been angry at September about the news and now he can't help but be defensive of her. "And I'm sure Mom had her reasons for doing what she did. I don't know everything. I don't know anything aside from there was this paper company involved." He's tugging his gloves back on, Jack Frost nips at each in turn.

"Yeah…" Ryans murmurs softly. "Paper company," he huffs out in a soft sigh.

"I couldn't tell your mother what I was really doing. Hardest thing I ever had to do." Ryans sits forward, hands settling on the bench on each side of him, leaning forward a little. "At the time, the evolved were a secret, something that the founders felt could never be understood and would scare people." Which if the state of the world says anything, they were right.

He shakes his head slowly, "I went from the war to hunting people like the Midtown Man, trying to protect your mother… later Mary and the girls from that. Of course, it ended up happening and taking Mary away from my girls and September away from you." He wasn't on that case, but he often questioned himself. What if…

"I worked for the Company, Bradley." Ryans doesn't hide that fact, leveling those blue eyes on the younger man who it seems is the son he never knew about. "The people the Government has painted as traitors to the country. I won't defend it… the founders did horrible things. I only defend some of the people within it. Good people. Those that wanted to protect the country from the worst of the evolved. They point at the failure that was Midtown — and I agree it was a horrible failure." There is pain in Ryans face, as he talks, "But they don't see all the disasters we prevented. So many…"

While Ryans talks, Russo just listens. He doesn't comment. He doesn't interject. He doesn't try to make any outright assertions about anything. He just listens. The sharpness in his eyes fades some at the story. The notion of protecting people cared about isn't one lost on Ryans Junior. In fact, that's something he can at least partially understand if not respect. "She was mad. She wrote you this letter that she never intended to send." His lips twitch a little, "I found it in some of her things after she died. And she didn't want you to know about me. Ever, apparently."

But even then, an oddity remains. "But if it helps, she must not have totally hated you." A smile edges his lips, "My middle name is Benjamin. I don't think she would've given it to me if— " he shrugs. It's something to bridge the weird between them, even if it's not completely effective.

"And I think while the Company had its merits there were some pretty major fails more recently." He takes a slow deep breath and closes his eyes tightly against the cold air around them. "Being protected though… a man can lose everything protecting that which he loves. In a way there's no balance in life. All in or all out."

"Amen," is rumbled in agreement. Eyes on the brown and cold withered ground, brows creased in thought.

He leans forward resting his forearms on his knees and folding his hands together. "I can't make up for the past, I am not even going to try." It's not because Ryans doesn't want too. "I loved your mother, just as I loved Mary… even if they were alive, I couldn't even begin to make up for what happened. I did what I felt was right. Even so, I also know I deserved their ire." There is no illusion there.

His head shifts towards Russo, looking at him, with an open honesty. Leaving the mask behind for the moment, Ben's brows tilt upward with his sorrow. "And I'm sorry, my actions kept either of us knowing the other." He looks out over the park as he admits, "Unfortunately, I don't think that will change any time soon. You being a celebrity and me a very wanted man." A rueful smile is given his…. son.

"Just thankful I got to learn about you, Bradley. Even if thirty two years later."

This conversation is in no way going the way Brad had imagined. In a lot of ways he wants to be angry for his mother, for the time, for his evident daddy issues that were far more prominent growing up— according to the shrink he'd seen well-adjusted teenagers didn't start fight clubs in school basements (at that news, teenaged Russo had wanted to punch said-shrink in the face). Yet some part of him doesn't easily permit that anger, perhaps it's the weight of his own vices that cast too heavily on his conscious mind. Maybe he should feel hurt. Maybe he should feel excessively angry. But such feelings would need to start from a place of wholeness. Bradley Russo may be a lot of things, but whole is not one of them. All he feels is a deep craving for comfort he can only find in the bottom of a bottle.

His posture mimics Ryans' while his virtually unreadable pokerface wins out. He doesn't really know what to say, how to act, or how to engage this father of his. While Ryans may have been distant while his girls grew up, Russo was used to having no one other than September. Finally, in a gruff throaty answer he nearly shrugs, "It's fine." It's not. But he's an alcoholic and a man, bottling emotions is his bread and butter. "Everything turned out fine," after he'd been kicked out of two private schools for fighting, his grandfather had managed to get through to him, and at least his grandmother is still alive, even if she thinks he's Benjamin Ryans around to do nothing more than break September's heart.

"I've been alone a long time," his tone is even, and with that dry unregistered expression, there's few hints that he doesn't want to be alone. "Everyone died," his breath steams out of his mouth in a nearly bitter scoff not directed to anyone. Wherever he was going with this is abandoned.

"Regardless, I met your daughter before I knew we were siblings. I— kept her from having a drink." By drinking it himself. What a hero. "You know, I wasn't sure I was actually right about any of this, but then I met you in the past…" Brad's eyes narrow a little as he reaches into his back pocket, fishing for his wallet. The very worn leather wallet is opened and a photo is removed: it's an 18-year-old Brad all decked out in his army gear that looks shockingly like Vietnam-Ryans.

Reaching over to take the photo, Ryans eyes drop to the image of a younger Brad. Brows tip down before leveling out again. "My memories are fuzzy from that time, but… I guess it's your granma… signed the paperwork out of desperation." His mouth twitches into a bit of a smile. "I was a hellion back then. Military did me good." He nods his head at the photo, which looks so much like one of his own. "You had that same look, huh?"

After a moment longer Ben offers the photo back. "After I got shot in the ass, I met a man. A navy man and I decided I wanted to go the same route as my own father. So I changed services. Eventually was a SEAL." Lips press into a fine line. "I spent a lot of time in Vietnam." Too many years.

"Then like I said… I went from one fight to another. Two men that found me after you all disappeared were founders of the Company. I guess it put me on their radar." Ryans doesn't keep on, shifting gears to say, " Your grandparents are still alive. Living in Texas of all places." A smile tugs up again. "I still don't know why they decided to retire out there." Of course, that is here nor there. "There is an uncle too, he has a surprise kid in town." His tone is bland, his opinion not being awfully high about that niece of his. "Keira. I need to talk to her still before I go back underground. I have a couple other siblings as well."

Benjamin studies his son finding that word a little odd still. It will take some time to get use too, especially since right now they don't look too different in age. "I won't be totally out of contact, if you need talk to me." There are people to pass on messages too.

"Service wasn't my thing ultimately. But it gave me the discipline I needed to finish school. I was… lost before." Nothing more than a kid with an attitude and a chip on his shoulder. But his mother had always had patience for that. "I mostly feel bad for mom for the years before. I was… difficult. Not really mischievous" although he was that too with his penchant for practical jokes, "but definitely troublesome. Especially in high school. I was a… hellion too, I suppose." He actually grins at this word. "I guess it's genetic."

While this isn't exactly a touching reunion, there is a certain curiosity that accompanies meeting the father he never knew. There's something oddly reassuring about having family 'out there' in the great beyond, even if he'll never actually meet them. Of course, then, maybe he will someday. He leans back against the bench again, his arm extending over its top, effectively stretching his shoulder in doing so.

"Keira," Brad repeats as his eyebrows arch. It's not that common a name and so he asks,"You don't mean… Keira Fionn, do you?" He'd only just met her in a clinic near the studio on the weekend. Talk about felicity. The tattooed cousin is left alone with the subject itself.

As far as going out of touch is concerned… Russo is a little less understanding, "You're really disappearing when Delia is here?" With 'Clyde's' people, evidently. "Look, I realize your life is complicated, but some things are actually personally more important than others… I asked the question earlier, what's the point in saving the world if you lose everything? If she dies— if she can't find her body and her soul withers or something… do you honestly think you'll be able to look at the man in the mirror with the comfort you saved someone else's kid?" He pauses to clear his throat, "Having nothing lends itself to that." There's little concern for those around Brad considering everyone already died. "Having something… If you don't think this is more important right now, if you don't acknowledge helping Carrots is more important… " that could ultimately result in demise, "it will destroy who you are, then…" he sucks in a quick breath. September was onto something.

Ryans fixes Russo with a flat and even look, slowly straightening. "And what would you have me do, Bradley?" Brows tilt up a little. "Sit there by her comatose body and wait? That doesn't help her." There is no emotions or tone in his voice, his face as unreadable as ever.

"I don't have enough fingers on my hands, to count the people scrambling to get her back to her body." It's hard to explain the feeling to the man sitting there across the bench from him. "For once, I have to acknowledge that this is outside my realm of expertise and I have to trust others to do this." And by the strain in his tone, it is not an easy task. "Especially, when I was manipulated in my own dream and ended up putting a man, who works for the very people looking to put a bullet in my head, on her trail." There is the whole of it right there. He fears giving up his daughter to the bad guys and being helpless to stop it.

But the look in his eyes hardens, the creases at the corners of his eyes deepening as they narrow as he growls out, "But don't accuse me of not caring, Bradley. I have walked through fire for both my girls. Killed men to save them when they were in danger."

"Bullshit," the word is said plain as day. "When I had pneumonia growing up my mother didn't leave my side. There was nothing she could do. There was nothing to be done but wait if I would live or die. She didn't leave me alone to the doctors' care, even though I was in it. And it's not because the woman was a nurse either." He shakes his head, "And don't tell me that's because I was a kid. When my grandfather had leukemia I went to the hospital every day until he died."

He hmmms quietly while pressing solidly on his thighs to stand up, his weight shifting as his balance moves forward. "What we care about, where are hearts are, that's where our passions and time go." He twists around in his standing position to face Ryans, "And yeah, taking care of other people is important, but from the sound of it… you've done that. Now? Now take care of your daughter. If she doesn't make it, or if you aren't among those that help her find her body, some part of you will regret it. When I talked to Lucille she mentioned in the past things have been all cloaks and daggers— secrets. Well choose to be better." He shrugs a little with a tilt of his head. "I have to go. I made a promise I intend to keep. But don't worry, I'll be among those you can count on your fingers helping your daughter. Because family actually means something to me…" And with that, he's trudging back down the path homeward bound.

Ryans sits there for a long time, jaw set in anger, watching his son's retreating form. There is so much he wants to say, but he doesn't. It's obvious that the two of them will have to agree to disagree there. Two people on different sides of the issue and seeing it in different ways. He does call out to that retreating back, "I know where her body is." He just doesn't know how to get her back to it.

Then Benjamin's rises to his feet and walks away hands tucking into his pockets, seemingly without a care, but that is only on the surface.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License