Trust Issues


cameron_icon.gif helena_icon.gif trask2_icon.gif

Scene Title Trust Issues
Synopsis Helena finally catches up with Cameron. Cameron needs to catch up on sleep. After a brief discussion, Cameron agrees to release Trask from the boiler room.
Date September 2, 2008

Condemned Tenement — Rooftop

While some parts of the roof are less structurally sound then others, someone seems to have sorted out which areas are dangerous and blocked them off. Some overhangs have been jury-rigged up to block a direct aerial view that gives definite indication of the presence of squatters - a rooftop garden, clearly meant to provide sustenance rather than aesthetic. Tubs full of dirt are situated to take best advantage of the light despite the overhangs meant to keep them from prying eyes. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, even potatoes and onions and chili peppers are carefully tended, little laminated labels indicating what each row of planting is. There's a separate section for a small variety of herbs, and a sole small window sill style planter that houses the one concession to beauty; a row of sunflowers, and even these can be harvested for their seeds. Here and there decrepit lawn furniture has been scattered to give the illusion of abandonment; a stone bench here, an ironwork table with chairs there, one of those latticed metal fold-up chairs leaned at an awkward angle in a corner. Aside from the overhangs, the rest of the roof is open to the sky, providing a view of the city and the span of rooftops surrounding the tenement.

So here's how it went; after Claire and Helena and Eve discovered "Sergei" in the park, innocently eating his lunch with his shiny shiny COP BADGE pinned to his belt, and after a few hours later when he showed up back at the tenement on his own and took him down to the basement and duct taped him to a chair (with a ten foot demarcation on the floor to indicate his power range) and after Helena ran off to try and find him through at some of his known haunts throughout the night (and thus ended up being chased by thugs in Chinatown and rescued by an emo guy with a scar and more abilities then there are options on a See n' Say) and coming up empty, Helena is back up on the rooftop. She's left messages with the cell members who are keeping an eye on the door for when he comes in, if he could please, please come speak to her about how Sergei is currently duct taped in the boiler room. Yep, exactly those words.

Cue to the present moment, she's sitting at one of those green-grey ironwork chairs somebody managed to rescue, a mug in her hands as she watches the sun rise. Every now and then, her gaze slides to the door that leads back down into the tenement expectantly.

Cameron has always kept strange hours, and now that he single-handedly operates one of New York's most-wanted terrorist organizations he doesn't have the time or opportunity to sleep during the day like a normal person would. The midnight hour is when he does the majority of his legwork, so when he arrives back at the tenement just as the sun is peeking through the skyscrapers he is, in a word: bushed. If he weren't so exhausted, he might react to the news that Sergei is tied up in the boiler room with his usual lopsided grin, flashing only a sliver of tooth before making his way up the stairs to meet with Helena. Instead, his expression darkens and he dismisses the messenger with a snarl.

A few minutes later, he crests the top of the stairs and opens the door, stepping out onto the rooftop without saying a word. He'll let the sound of gravel crunching under his boots do the talking for him as he makes a beeline for Helena.

Helena sees him approaching, and the dark expression on his face. Wordlessly she bends in her seat, picks up the thermos from under it, and sets it down on the table. Popping the top, she pours coffee into the makeshift mug that makes its top. Straightening, she pushes the chair opposite hers out for him to sit. "So," she says conversationally, "First thing's first - is he our mole, or theirs? Because we didn't want to take chances when he showed up, and we're pretty sure he's ours, but not so sure that we were just going to let him go while you weren't around."

"Did you have to /duct-tape/ him?" It's hard for Cameron to stay mad at Helena. On the way up the stairs, he devised all sorts of horrible, scathing things to say to her — but now that she's sitting right in front of him, well… "Jesus, Hel'," he breathes, "yeah, he's one of ours. With what he can do, do you really think we'd be up here right now if he wasn't?" He sits down in the chair opposite Helena and rests his hands on his knees, one of which is wrapped up in gauze and stained a dark, angry shade of red. Maybe his bad mood has something to do with that and not the early hour at which this conversation is taking place.

"With what he can do, he'd be a great mole for the cops to be able to get to us." she says plainly. "Drink your coffee and tell me what happened to you. And do we keep calling him Sergei? He wouldn't tell us his real name, though he did quit the stupid Boris and Natasha accent. After he got done making bondage jokes." Then smiling sweetly, "Now you see why I opted for duct tape."

Cameron gives Helena a flat look. Bondage jokes? "I hope you slapped some across that fat mouth of his." He reaches out with his uninjured hand and uses it to cradle the coffee in his palm as he holds it under his nose, letting the steam waft up, filling his nostrils with its scent. "Some cop, huh?" he asks with a tiny grin. "Can't even keep his cover around a bunch of kids." As for what happened to his hand, he keeps quiet, flexing his fingers in a way that suggests he's not completely sure that all of them still work. "What do you think? Should we let him rot down there for a few more hours?"

"No, but Eve and Kathleen both threatened to shoot him, and that was pretty funny." Helena says lightly. "We didn't know you had a mole in the cops." She leans back in her chair, looking thoughtful. "I guess I could see how you might not want to tell anyone. We can't betray what we don't know, but you gotta be careful - people are going to be all trust-issuey now. If you're certain he's one of us, then we may as well let him go." She sips her own coffee, grimacing a little bit. They don't exactly get to have Starbucks in the tenement. Then, looking down at the rim of her mug, "Claire kind of assaulted him, in the middle of the park. There were other cops there. I managed to get her out of it, claimed it was a sorority haze gone bad. But she's really pissed, Cam - oh, and I uh, bumped into that guy again. Actually, he kind of bailed me out of some trouble."

Trust issues. /Just/ what Cameron needs. He drinks from his coffee as Helena speaks, his blue eyes studying her from behind the rim of his mug. It isn't until she mentions 'that guy' that those eyes go wide and he makes a sputtering sound, causing coffee to shoot out his nose and all over the front of his shirt. And it /hurts/. Make no mistake; just because Cameron can fling balls of fire like lethal Frisbees doesn't mean he's immune to the effects of hot beverages squirting from his nostrils.

And worse, some of it gets on her. "Oh, /gross/." she declares, and half lifts her shirt to wipe off her face. "That was…well, that was just special." she makes a face and mops herself up as best she can, apparently the heat having leeched out a bit by the time what he spewed hit the air, and her. "You're so lucky this wasn't Claire's shirt. She'd murder me."

"Not if I murder you first." The threat doesn't carry as much weight as Cameron might like. He's pinching his nose, and so his voice is nasal. "The hell were you doing that he had to save you from?"

"Well," Helena begins, somewhat defensively, "We'd just put Sergei in the basement, and I told Eve not to shoot him until someone got a hold of you, but you weren't around. And since I know a couple of places you go to meet contacts, I figured I could check them out. You should be grateful to me by the way," she adds loftily, "Because Eve was saying she was gonna come find you instead." Uh huh. Continuing! "So I checked a few places out, and the last one I looked was that cock fighting place in Chinatown." Yes, where Triad bully boys like to hang out. Great place for a tiny little white girl to go, even if she is Evolved. Only not!

Cameron lets out a low, frustrated groan. He thinks he knows where this story is going. "Cockfighting in Chinatown," he mutters, his tone growing more incredulous with every word. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" It's a rhetorical question. In spite of his rigid posture and the disapproval etched in every line of his face, the look in his eyes gestures for Helena to continue. He may /think/ he knows where this story is going, and while he's arrogant — he's not so arrogant to assume that he's thinking correctly.

"What the fuck is wrong with me?" Helena's not outraged, her tone is almost surprisingly conversational, "I was looking for you! So anyway, a couple of the guys tried to get frisky and wanted to drag me to their car only I got away and as I was running, I smacked into someone only they weren't there and then suddenly he was there and I got up and went into an alley and knocked them on their stupid asses and it was Peter, you know, the emo guy with the scar, and he teleported us away. Also, he knows Claire."

It's a lot for Cameron to be taking in all at once. He raises a single finger and reaches out, pressing it to Helena's lips before she can get any further. "Okay," he says, "let me make sure I'm hearing this right. Tony Montana, the guy from the subway — his name is /Peter/, and he saved you from a bunch of asshole gangbangers at a cockfight?" He's not even going to touch the part about Claire. Not yet, not until he's sure that his injury isn't infected and causing him to hallucinate.

"Oh no, not at the cockfight." Helena says brightly. "They tried to make me get in their car and I ran away, and I was running down the street and I slammed into him while he was invisible. So I ducked into this alley and knocked the wind out of them when they came in after me and while people were gathering by their car he helped me get away." She rolls her eyes, sips her coffee. "Sheesh, Cam. Don't you listen?"

"At a cockfight. By a cockfight. Within ten miles of a cockfight. Is there really that much of a difference?" Cameron listens, sure. He's just not very good at it when he's running on only a few hours of sleep. "Did he tell you he knew Claire?" he asks. "Or did Claire tell you she knew him?" It's a very important distinction.

Helena cocks her head. "He's the guy that saved her from Sylar when he tried to eat her head or something." she says with a shrug. "Sylar, I mean. Not Peter. And his thing really is taking on other people's powers. That's why he can do all that." She lifts brows. "He really doesn't like you."

Sylar. The Bomb. It's almost imperceptible, but if Helena is looking for it she might notice Cameron flinch when she speaks the name. "I'm not sure if you've noticed yet, Hel', but /nobody/ likes me. Or you. Or anybody else who does what we do." He lets his arm drop back to his side. "I'll talk to Claire next time I bump into her and see if she can't tell me more, okay? But until I can check my facts, I want you to stay away from him. Got it? He's dangerous, whether he's on our side or not."

Helena lifts a brow. "Actually, lots of people like me. Because I'm charming and personable and no one knows I'm part of this shindig. And I'm prettier than you." She finishes her coffee. "Let me talk to Claire. Peter had a message for her and I promised to give and no, I won't tell you because it's private but I promise it isn't anything compromising. I think if we went about it the right way, we could help each other, but I'm pretty sure you're going to be all no about it, so okay."

"Fine," Cameron concedes, rising from his seat. "/You/ talk to Claire. /I'll/ talk to Sergei." He dumps the rest of his coffee over the side of the building, heedless of any pedestrians on the street below. "You're damn right I'm gonna be all 'no' about it. I'm serious, Helena. He has as much control over his ability as an incontinent cat has over its bladder. You saw how he reacted when you called him out on his shit in the subway."

"He's not so bad when he's not being all paranoid." Helena rises and holds her hand out for his mug, which serves as the top to the thermos. "Look, if we bump into each other again, I'll be careful, but I won't seek him out. Oh, and take Sergei a sweatshirt, because we made him take off his shirt before going down to the basement." Predicting an incredulous reaction, she adds, "We wanted to make sure he wasn't wearing a wire." As bizarre as it sounds, it might be considered a sensible precaution.

If Cameron had a sweatshirt, he would. Instead, he has to settle for the jacket he's wearing. "What? You couldn't go the extra nine yards and just toss a bucket of cold water on him?" Sometimes it's difficult to know when Cameron is being serious and when he isn't. This is one of those times. "Go find Claire, and when you do, tell her the same thing I told you. Just because she and this Peter jerk were cozy in the past doesn't mean they get to be cozy now. He's a liability." And with that, he sets the mug down — loudly, to emphasize his point — and treks back across the roof to the door, then down the tenement stairs.

Condemned Tenement — Boiler Room

Trask sits where he has been left. He has been guarded since the incident, mostly by Kathleen. He is sitting in the middle of the duct taped circle, waiting patiently.

The door to the boiler room opens and in walks Cameron Spalding, his jacket slung over his arm. One of his hands is bandaged, the gauze stained red, while the other sits casually in his back pocket. He spends several moments lingering in the doorway, watching Trask with a neutral expression on his face. When he finally speaks up, his voice is dull, tired. "Bad day, huh, Sergei?"

Trask gives Cam a little smile, "Guess that depends on your point of view boss." He seems rather relaxed at this point, almost like he's relieved Cameron has finally arrived.

Cameron removes his hand from his pocket and brings a Swiss Army knife with it. "You know," he says, keeping his tone conversational as he crosses the boiler room and crouches down beside Trask, "if a bunch of teenage kids can figure you out, what's to stop the NYPD from doing the same?" He taps the very tip of the knife against the other man's cheek a few times. "I'd hate to start looking at you as a liability, buddy."

Trask shakes his head. "They figured out I was a cop, eventually that was bound to happen. In order for me to keep my cover, I have to wear the uniform, and eventually I was going to run into one of our people." He sighs, "Luckily Helena was able to cover well after Claire went off. That's a sharp cookie you have there. /IF/ Claire had been right about me, she would be in the hands of homeland security by now."

"Don't I know it." Cameron uses the knife to cut through Trask's bonds. It's a slow, jagged process — one that takes several minutes from start to finish. "Helena's talking to her now. I doubt anybody's told you yet, but she knows that guy from the subway. The one with the scar. I don't like it." He peels away a length of tape and holds it up to the light, pausing to inspect it for a moment or two before continuing. "Helena says she doesn't plan on tracking him down, but you and I both know how she gets. She's just a kid. Stupid. Idealistic." And obviously very dear to him, judging by the grudgingly affectionate tone of his voice. "I want you to keep an eye on her and Claire for me. Just in case."

Trask nods. "Kathleen and Eve both were willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, and while I appreciate that, if I had been bad that means this whole building would have been surrounded and likely everyone dead before you got back. We need to consider just what lessons this little adventure is teaching us."

"Adventure. That's a nice way of putting it." With a sharp jerk of his wrist, Cameron slices off the last piece of tape, freeing Trask. "From now on, I want you to run a background check on everyone that joins up with us. You're a cop — they give you access to those kinds of files, right?"

Trask nods. "You really think I haven't already been doing that when possible? I'll make sure to redouble my efforts though." He shakes his head and rubs his wrists. "So is Claire still mad?"

With a shrug, Cameron stands back up and tosses Trask his jacket so he has something to wear. "You'll have to ask her yourself. I didn't see her when I came in, which means she's probably off sulking with that useless boyfriend of hers." He snorts. "If I were you, I'd call in sick to work. The last thing you need is people asking what the hell happened to your wrists."

"Good." Cameron glances back in the direction of the door to ensure that nothing they've said has been overheard. In hindsight, he should have done that earlier. "Let's go. I don't know about you, but there's some eggs and bacon in the fridge upstairs with my name on it."

September 1st: Storm Warning

Previously in this storyline…
Storm Warning

Next in this storyline…
We Don't Know Them

September 2nd: Art and Things
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