Trying to Save One's Self


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Scene Title Trying to Save One's Self
Synopsis Wes struggles under the burden of something he didn't ask for, while Peyton finds herself unable to help.
Date December 18, 2010

Redbird Security Wes' Apartment

If it weren't already after six-o-clock, Wes Smedley's current state of inebriation might be cause for concern.

But the man is in his apartment rather than keeping a barstool warm. The bottle of Johnny Walker Black on the coffee table is already half-empty, but the low-ball glass next to it doesn't hold more than a few drops of the amber colored liquid. The man himself is lying face down on the couch, his turtleneck carelessly hanging off the arm at his feet and his coat and revolvers presumably in the closet.

Carson is conspicuously absent from the tableau, but it's likely the old dog has retired to the bedroom. Von, on the other hand, sniffs at Wes's side, reveling in the smells he's brought back with him from Red Hook as well as the odd stench of drink and masculine sweat rolled together.

The door opens and Peyton slips in, a few shopping bags making her prior whereabouts easy enough to guess. She winces as she lets the bags slip from her hands to the floor, nudging them out of her way with one booted toe. Rubbing at the indentations left by the bag straps, she then unbuttons her coat and hangs it up on the hat rack by the door.

An eyebrow arches at the sight of a sprawled Wes on the couch. "Hey Vonnie," she croons to the red pup that comes bounding her way, his tail wagging as he paws at her knees to be petted.

"You okay?" she calls to Wes, before moving closer and sitting on the coffee table to peer down at him.

Wes grunts, taking a moment to inhale before he turns to look blearily up at Peyton, eyes just shy of blood-shot. "Mm," he hums the pushes himself up into a sitting position. "J's'nappin'." And apparently now that she's home, the nap is over.

He settles with his hands on his thighs, fingers pressed against the denim as if it were the only thing keeping him stable. After a few moments, he reaches, slowly, for the bottle on the table. "If y'want some," he slurs, "Y'll have'tuh getcher own glass. Thissin's mine."

Another brow is arched and Peyton chuckles and shakes her head. "No, I don't want my own glass, but thanks for the offer," she says lightly, tilting her head to look into his eyes a little closer.

"I know we met when we were both drunk and all, and that it shouldn't really surprise me if that happens from time to time, but … are you all right? Did something happen?" she says, clearly concerned though she keeps her words light and curious rather than admonishing in tone. One hand goes to push his hair away from his face before dropping back into her own lap.

Wes is already pouring another glass, and he tips it back after Peyton asks he question and plays with his hair. "Fuckin' girl," he says with a shake if his head as a healthy swig of the scotch makes it's way down.

"Not you," he adds before taking a second drink from the glass. "'N not her. But she'says I'm killin'er not takin' her t'that island."

Peyton's brow knits together. "Girl?" she says. "What girl wants you to bring her to that island that knows about that island? No one should know about it who isn't invited to be there unless it's someone like you, helping them out, right? It's supposed to be a secret. What's this about?"

The bottle of whiskey is given a glance, perhaps a touch too longing of one. Things are wearing on her, that much is obvious from the dark circles beneath her eyes that never seem to go away. There's an irony that she looked healthier two years ago when she was still a party girl, on drugs and alcohol any time her picture was snapped, than she does now as a business woman.

"She doesn't know," he assures her with a shake of his head before he drains his glass and passes it to her. Apparently his previous sanction against sharing has been either amended or forgotten. "But sh's cryin' and carryin' on'n sayin' the 'lice were gun'get 'er or those damned-" But he cuts himself off, abandoning the glass into Peyton's lap and reaching for the bottle again.

Wes sinks back into the couch, his face twisted into something between rage and guilt, the bottom of the bottle digging into his thigh as he holds it there at an angle. "S'fuckin' not my fault."

She sets the glass down rather than pouring any for her self or any more for him. "Of course it isn't your fault, Wes. How could it be? And if she's in trouble, I'm sure Ferry has a place for her. Who's after her? The police? Just for being Evolved? Or did she do something wrong?"

To soothe him, she caresses his cheek with the back of her hand, then leans to kiss him lightly. "It'll be okay. Who is this girl? How'd she get in touch with you? That seems… suspicious maybe. I don't go up to random smugglers asking them for help, you know? They might be worse than the people chasing me."

She waits a beat. "No offense."

Turning his head, Wes closes his eyes at Peyton's touch and lets out a gentler sigh. But he opens his at at her final comment, tearing from her face to look over her shoulder. He's silent, his eyes full of emptiness for that moment before he turns away from her in order to stand.

"Y'never asked me for help," he mutters once he's stabilized himself on his feet. "Y'asked me not t'help. But Lola. Lola expects me t'drop everythin' I've got goin' t'rush this kid t'the Ferry, like I'm a fuckin' bus driver. And she doesn't think there's anythin' wrong with it. Like it didn't smell as rotten as a cow struck b'lightnin'."

She stands as well, watching his back for a moment, tipping her head curiously. "You're not obligated to do anything for Lola, all right? I don't know her well, and I guess Liz trusts her, but she's had a lot of shady dealings and I don't think she's above taking bribes from people not working in our best interest," she says quietly.

"But if you want to help, talk to someone on Ferryside about it, and see what they say. Don't reveal the island to either Lola or this girl without their okay. It could be a trap, you know? Lola might be trying to help, or she might not be, but I wouldn't make the call if I were you."

She moves closer behind him and wraps her arms around him, leaning her cheek against his back. "It doesn't make it your fault, all right? You can't save the world." She pauses. "Trust me. I keep trying, and it just doesn't work."

Wes rubs the heel of his free hand against his chest and then drops it to Peyton's hand, giving it a quick, weak squeeze. "I know what I'm doing," he murmurs, more to himself than to Peyton. He never intended to get to this point - he was the jackal that preyed on people wanting to get away from where they were, not the coyote who snuck them to safety.

"I don't wanna save the world," he sighs after a moment, leaning his head back and closing his eyes again. "I just wanna save me."

She is quiet as she takes in those words. They seem to have swapped places — with him the lost soul instead of her, and it's a confusing position for her to find herself in. "Save you?" she repeats, interlacing her fingers with his, the other hand curling all the tighter around him.

"What's wrong, Wes?" she repeats, eyes growing a little wet in empathy, though she keeps her cheek against his back where he can't see them — knowing his plight is making her sad won't help.

But We's salvation is far from equitable to Peyton's, even if he's too far gone to even guess at the comparisons she may be drawing. "Mm'tired," he slurs, leaning against her embrace in the direction of the bedroom. But sleeping may only bring about strange dreams again - dreams of pastures and fences - dreams he doesn't want.

"Mm'take a shower."

Because that's what you do when you're tired and don't want to sleep.

Peyton nods against his shoulder blades and releases him. "I'll make you something to eat or that whiskey'll eat up your gut all night," she murmurs, stepping away from him and toward the kitchen. She watches him for a moment, worry marring her delicate features, before sighing and turning away. She isn't sure how to help him with whatever he's struggling with — being a pillar of support is something that takes a strength she doesn't believe she has.

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