Various Definitions Of Helping


cardinal_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif shard_icon.gif

Scene Title Various Definitions Of Helping
Synopsis Cardinal takes Gillian to meet with Shard, though it's Gillian who ends up asking for help something by the end.
Date September 25, 2009

Abandoned Best Western Motel - Staten Island

The entrance to the Best Western has seen better days. Abandoned for several years, an extremely thick layer of dust lays on the welcome counter like a thick grey blanket. It also seems like several local bums have used this place as various beds, mostly ratty and full of holes as well as stains litter the room among the piles of garbage that are almost waist-high. The entire room stinks of stale air and urine. To the left is a steel door leading to the stairs and in front is the elevator doors.

A set of stairs made of concrete with a metal railing painted to keep the rust away, though many parts are now rusted as neglect has allowd the paint to chip and crack, leads upstairs. It seems as though the stairs only go up to the second floor; the stairs leading to the third floor are missing some, and piles of garbage prevent one from jumping up.

Inside the elevator shaft, it seems that the elevator car has fallen all the way to the basement from what could have been the top since it's been smashed to pieces. Judging from the holes in the sides of the shaft, it's clear the car didn't go down easily as well it seems to have ripped off the ladders that normally are on the sides of the elevator shaft for maintenance the cables that also hang down have been cut at around the fourth floor. The entire shaft smells of moisture and rust.

"Listen, I'm supporting everything you're doing here. I'm one of your biggest fans, not in the rap department, but regardless of how I feel about your efforts we just can't keep operating like this."

The sun lifts over the water introducing a wave of light and heat over Staten Island. It's early. So early, just a half hour ago some would have argued it was still night. But now it is most definitely dawn. And with the dawn of the new day, a whole new heap of problems bring themselves into a haphazard and un-appetizing heap on Shard's proverbial plate.

"We don't have enough guaze to make it through the day. Let alone the week. Let's say only a tiny fraction of Staten comes to us, and only a fraction of that fraction gets hurt, we still don't have enough supplies."

Light creeps through the windows of the abandoned Best Western. Weeks ago, this place was mostly appealing to squatters, cockroaches, and rats. Today the decorations and scribbled signs that are posted throughout it indicate it anything but just another desolate building on Staten Island. Of course many parts of the run down hotel have been caution taped off for the safety of those who would visit, the elevator shaft and third floor stairs for instance. The lobby has turned itself into a waiting room, with plenty of people waiting in line at the front desk already. Those behind the counter work meticulously with what they have, no elaborate computer networking systems but plenty of paper and sticky notes. SAVE STATEN signs are posted throughout the building as well as other cute nad motivational messages. 'What doesn't kill us makes us stronger' and so on.

"Vincent. I know your shipment is coming, but we need something before that if we are going to keep up this… I don't know what to call this, fool's errand seems to optimistic."

Vincent King has turned the desolate building into a hospital slash health clinic. In these hard times where many on Staten are destitute or forced to live in crime, no one is turned away. If patients can't pay for their treatment other means of payment are arranged. Eleven doctors, two surgeons, and twenty three nurses have found their way to Shard's camp and are fighting the good fight. Yet even with their determination, people still have to be turned away. Something that bothers Shard to no end.

Despite bags under their eyes, dwindling supplies, dwindling spirits, and little recognition Shard's mostly volunteer staff still hammers away. Vincent King strolls down the second floor hall with one Doctor Sarah Mahoney, the middle aged strong spirited woman who has taken control of the operation.

"Vincent. You have to do something."

Adjusting the black hoodie over the silver cross splayed over his white shirt the ex rapper lets out a deep sigh. His eyes slide out to the window taking in the line already forming out the door of the hotel-turned hospital. Taking a step towards the window he places his hand on it. "I know Sarah. I know. The shipment comes soon. I… I'll figure something out. We have to keep this project afloat. The Island needs this. The Island needs you." Turning the man gives an almost pleading look to the small white woman. "I need you. I can't run this without you."

"I tried this when I was with Chicago Air, you know, King… it didn't work then, either, and we had more supplies to airdrop in. You don't have the sort of funding that Fedor had…"

The words drift down the hall, as Cardinal steps up from the stairs, having heard some of the conversation through the echoes— and despite the noise from below where the line's been forming and patients are being seen. They're tired words, regretful but honest, his head shaking slowly from side to side.

A glance back down the stairs, and he jerks his head up indicatively to encourage his companion to follo whim up before turning to walk along over towards the hoodie-garbed ex-rapper and his medical director, hands tucking into the pockets of his own jacket. "It was my dream too, but it isn't gonna happen. And as much as I hate saying this— it's too fucking late."

Not more than a few steps behind him would be Gillian, still glancing back at the people who let them up. Being called by a different name comes off as weirder than she imagined, even if she knows it really is her name. Her real one. "It helps some people, though," she says, in a familiar raspy voice, but there's a softer and less brash sound to her voice than the one Shard would be used to hearing. Stef is almost criminal levels of self-confidence and self-assurance. This woman doesn't seem quite as out there. Upon closer inspection there's things wrong with her appearance. Lighter make up, more colorful clothes, hair that isn't dyed completely black. There's brown roots that have grown out quite a bit.

None of her tattoos are visible, and she often would wear clothes that leanes at least the ones on her arms easy to see, not to mention the one on her breast partially visible. Her clothes seem more modest.

"I mean it's good to try and help people, cause even if it's too late to help everyone, I'm sure you're helping someone… And someone's better than no one." She shrugs, then looks back at Shard, tilting her head a bit.

"I'm going to help you Vincent. As long as you're still trying to help this place, I will be trying to help you. But when I say trying you best be sleeping less than my staff."

"I understand that S—" Shard's words are bitten off as Cardinal's voice reaches his ear. Letting out another sigh, "If you'll excuse me Doctor Mahoney. I will get us some more supplies. Soon." With that Doctor Mahoney takes a step back, biting on the end of the pen in her hand she sighs in response before tapping her way donw the hall, nodding politely to Cardinal and Gillian as she goes.

"Another voice of encouragement in the building. That's good." The man smiles as Cardinal approaches. He puts his hands up, palms outward. "Stealing and shooting things may work for you, Richard. This kind of work takes faith and blind misplaced hope. If you're not stupid enough to have it, you're going to fail. So I'm sorry brother, but you're just too smart. Have you come here for any other reason than to bring spirit to the pl —"

Dark eyes swing down on Gillian in a scrutinizing way. Going down to her shoes then back up to the way she wears her hair. A moment passes before Vincent makes his accusation. "You're not Stef." It seems like an affirmatory phrase, as if she had said such and he is merely agreeing with it. Watching her for a moment he nods. "You're right. Thank you."

There's actually a flicker of anger that stirs behind Cardinal's shades, his lips pulling up a bit at one corner. "We came here with trucks of free food and free medical care for anyone willing to come to us," he replies flatly, "Maybe I was just too smart to carry it out properly… but I spent weeks out there in No Man's Land trying to make a difference. I guess all that works for me's stealing and shooting, though."

His tone a bit cold now, he tilts his head towards Gillian, offering, "This is Stef's sister, Gillian. You're going to need her, when it all comes down to a head with Norman."

"I'm not exactly— well, yeah, Stef's sister," Gillian says in the familiar voice, with a totally different tone and style of speaking. It's an awkward thing to talk about, what she is to Stef, but… "I had a bunch of friends who liked your music, they'd probably kick my ass for meeting you and not immediately asking for a fucking autograph, but everyone knows you're on Staten, I'm sure they could've come down here and gotten it themselves anyway…" She trails off.

There's more important things to talk about than autographs! She reaches up, pushing a stray lock of hair behind her ear, "Cardinal brought me here to meet you cause of your situation with White, and… I think I can help with it. I mean there's… are you actually planning to try to fight him by yourself?"

"I respect what you tried to do Cardinal. That takes courage to do in the world today. My only problem, Richard with your methodology is, where are your tucks and free medical center now?" He glances up as if looking for it. "A couple weeks, that is a valiant effort." He lowers his head, bringing one hand up to brush back his hood. "Reminds me of a story of an early missionary sent to a Kingdom many years back. Upon his arrival he was arrested for preaching blasphemy and thrown into a pit." A beat. "For fourteen years, he sat in a cell, malnourished, thoughts must have driven him mad, probably lost all the strength in his limbs. But after all those years, the new King hearing he was a spiritual man let him out. The King asked him for council, when he heard the message the missionary had to preach he immediately accepted what the man had to say and spread the word of this message into his Kingdom."

Shard brings up one hand to place on the man's shoulder. His clothed shoulder. "I'm sorry brother, if I sounded too harsh. It's hard keepin' up faith without discouraging words and I lashed out a little bit. I'm sorry." The words are truly sincere, his eyes lowering for a moment in shame before shooting back up. "I appreciate your heart, Richard. And I would only encourage you to… try again." With a light smile he takes a step back.

Giving a thoughtful look that doesn't imply doubt, but it doesn't imply believing in her story either. Sisters. Hm. "If your friends want autographs, I would be glad to give them." He says gently, watching Gillian quietly, folding his arms over his chest. "By myself?" He glances over his shoulder at the woman still walking down the hall. "I have Doctor Sarah Mahoney, Doctor Ameen Sahan, Anarchy Customs, a legion of volunteers, a fan base, and corporate supporters." He glances at Cardinal for a moment. "Nothing about this is by myself. We're fighting Norman White right now, honey." He motions to the hotel turned hospital. "But if you want to help. No one has been turned down, yet."

The look upon Cardinal's face is a hard one, lips drawing in a thin line. The hand is shrugged off of his shoulder after it lays there, and he drops back a step himself. He starts to say something, thinks better of it, stops and just gives his head a tight shake.

"My… boss sold his soul to the government, and they turned it all into a weapon," he replies with an undertone of anger heating his words, "That's where it is, Shard. I didn't abandon it— it abandoned me for a little thing called the bottom fucking line. Same'll happen to you. FRONTLINE is coming, and Nathan's little stormtroopers will roll right over your little hospitals and commandeer them for their own use."

One hand lifts to brush against Gillian's shoulder, and he informs the other man, "Somewhere in the middle of this, White's going to try and destroy the goddamn island, as I've already fucking told you. You'll need here to be able to stop him from doing that, if you ever stir yourself to actually deal with the source've the threat."

A turn on his heel, and he starts back down the hall at a stalk, calling back, "I'll be outside when you're done, Gillian. Or if you're staying, just let me know, so I can go do something productive."

"Starting to think bringing two guys together for a meeting will always end in something bad happening," Gillian says softly as the words turn a little less friendly and something more akin to… the last time she tried to bring two guys she knew together. "I'm going back with you, Card, so wait outside, please. I shouldn't be too long, I just… need to talk to the ex-rapstar about something."

At which point she steps closer to him and raises her hand and actually points at his face. She may be a lot shorter than him, and not super strong and fear smelling, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have an attitude. "Listen, I'm not talking about pecking away at his control of people in the city, I'm talking about stopping him for good. The kind of stopping that hopefully won't sink the fucking island, if it works out well. But if you're gonna be on his ass trying to stop that, that's what I need to know about."

She puts her hand down, and makes sure the knot is tied up for the moment. She's not sure how his ability works, but she's had bad experience with people who copy powers… and that's what Cardinal suspected. "There's a possibility you can only have my help for the next week or two. You may not be able to get it any longer than that, and then if you actually do fight Norman, you might lose. And if you don't lose, he might sink the fucking island, and that'll only Save Staten if you believe in one of that Biblical floods crap."

"I'm sorry I offended you brother." Vincent calls out after Cardinal, looking most distraught at the other man's angry departure. Then his eyes slide down to Gillian as she steps forward to lay out her mandate. Looking down the finger, Shard's features remain neutral. "I'm not talking about control of people in the city either." Vincent says softly, "And if you want to help, you are welcome to help. There are plenty of spots available for you to help." Vincent explains.

"What you need to know, is I'm not Don King. I'm a different King. I'm not here to set up a boxing match between Norman White and myself. Take a look around at the island, people who live here say it's not worth saving. People who hear about what I'm doing say it's not worth it. Not this festering hole. If you want to help Save Staten, you'll stop getting sucked into the short sighted pictures of everyone else around here. Norman's not the only problem, his ideaology is the problem. You want me to go have a super powered battle, kill Norman, and then what? Allow the gates open for another crazed super powered person to come and do the same thing all over again? If you have a problem with your car, the engine light comes on. When that happens do you rip out the wire that displays the engine light? No, you deal with the problem. Norman White is our society's engine light. He's showing us we have a problem."

"If it comes down to Norman White and I fighting for some kind of proverbial battle of souls so be it. But until then, I need to open the hood and get to work." He lifts his eyes. "Are you going to help, or are you going to say I need to kill White some more?"

Not quite what she expected to hear, but there's also something of a relieved look that crosses her face for a moment. Relief might well come off as odd, in this case, but it's there. "All right," Gillian says, taking a few steps back. "What help I came to offer was if you were choosing to take it into a brawl-kind of fight. Maybe White's the one that intends to initiate it, or maybe it's not gonna happen at all, but…" She shrugs, and then backs up a few more steps. "You already got part of my help in this, more than you know, even. But if Stef's helping you, then I hope that's enough."

It's not the kind of help that she thought she'd have to give, but she's not going to push him in a direction he's not planning to take. "It was nice to meet you," she adds, before she turns to move after Cardinal. She said she wouldn't be too long, though maybe didn't expect to take that little. "Oh," she says, before turning around and facing him again, "If— if you pick up abilities easy, don't ever use mine if you can help it, especially not on me. Just trust me on that." And then she turns to keep going.

The sound of Cardinal's boots echo on the steps, as he heads downstairs to the main hospital wing— past those seeking help, his head shaking as he heads through and outside the building. He leans up against the wall, out of the way, digging out a battered pack of cigarettes to light up as he waits, glaring at the world from behind his shades.

"I appreciate your offer of help, Gillian." Shard says to her back as she makes her way away from him. "And should it be decided that White and I face off in a ring. I pray that you're there." The rapper says softly. "I'll need as much help I can get." He goes to lean against the wall. Pausing, he lets out a breath. "Let Cardinal know he's a good man. And that when he takes up all this again, I expect him to stick with it." One hand goes to scrub at his chin. "Don't tell him that, now, though." He doesn't say when though. He just lets it float through the air. Taking a step back, he goes to open the window.

"I'll keep that in mind." Sitting in the window sill, Vincent slowly levers himself out the window. And like that the rapper is soaring upwards into the sky. Fwoosh.

"Fuck, I miss doing that," Gillian says honestly, before she heads downstairs. There's some tension gone from her shoulders, for the moment, but there's still a serious expression to her face until she gets downstairs to find where Cardinal is waiting with his cigarettes. "Told you that wouldn't take too long," she says, taking in a slow breath as she inhales some of that second hand smoke. That actually makes her smile, for some reason.

"Shard says you're a good man. And I hope if White decides to turn it into a power-pissing contest, that I'll be able to get there in time to help. For now, I'd rather spend time other places." Like with her brother and other friends.

There's a pause, before she glances up and asks, "Did you ever want to see the rest of my tattoos?"

A plume of slowly coiling smoke, laden no doubt with carcinogens galore, drifts upwards as Cardinal exhales it; drawing his gaze upwards, just in time to watch Shard go darting off through the atmosphere. "…just like fucking Superman," he mutters under his breath, "Just as blind, too."

He remains where he is, until Gillian comes down. A push off the wall, and he flicks a bit of ash onto the wind, looking over with a wry sort of expression. "Sorry," he murmurs, "Last time we talked, he wasn't such an arrogant prick. I don't know how he's supposed to help. Maybe that's why the island goes, in the unaltered timeline. He's too busy trying to help the homeless or something when the whole place goes under."

At the question, he slants over a curious look, lips twitching faintly in a smile, "Wouldn't mind seeing them sometime. You still haven't seen most of mine, either."

"I think he just sees this way as less violent and more helpful. He's not wrong, it just may not be enough to stop White. It could build a foundation to help out in the aftermath, though, if the whole island doesn't sink," Gillian says, glancing up at the sky for a few moments, though there's no sight of him anymore. It's not total surport, but… she puts her attention back on Cardinal, and is actually smiling this time.

The smile is enough to make dimples show up on her cheeks, though not quite enough to touch her eyes, "Mine haven't been fixed yet, but I'm honestly thinking of just getting them fucking removed and going with a clean slate when I get healed. Another chance at life, you know."

For a moment, her hand rubs against her wrist, like she's considering keeping at least one of them. "But before I do get 'em fixed or removed… maybe now's the time to see 'em. One of those 'no time like the present' things."

"Xiulan can either fix them or just wipe them out in the wave of a hand…" Cardinal admits, flicking the remnant of his cigarette out into the grass before tilting his head away from the building in invitation, starting to walk and assuming she's trailing along with him.

He tilts his head back, looking once more at the sky as they walk and allowing in casual teasing, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours?"

Moving away from the building is a definite. Gillian sticks close to his side, close enough to enjoy some of that second hand smoke again. It's not quite as good as smoking, but that's the first of many things she'd given up in the last year. The closest she came to doing it again was hanging around Tavisha and the smell that he always brought home with him. Refrain reminded her of that.

"Well I don't really like sex with the lights off when the guy's as good looking as you," she says, sounding a lot more shameless than normal, and even laughing a bit. "So I hope we'll see what each other's got."

There's definately plenty of second hand smoke, even once Cardinal's tossed it away; he usually smells of it a little bit lately, since he's been doing more smoking than is probably healthy for his lungs. Ah well, it's not as if he were planning to live to a ripe old age anyway.

That shameless comment causes him to miss a step, nearly tripping over a rock underfoot, and laughter tumbles up from his gut and past his lips, slanting a grin over towards her. "You're terrible," he points out, "You know that, right?"

"Like you were never being shameless before," Gillian says with a tease to her voice, sticking her hands in her pockets and looking straight ahead for a moment. There's no tripping for her, but the expression on her face turned pleased for a moment when he did.

"Feel free to push me toward the Lighthouse and send me back to babysitting, but— shit, Cardinal, you're one of the few guys I know these days who— well, let's just say I don't see you following me around like a love sick puppy afterwards. You've been around, you won't turn it into something that it's not…" There's a pause, and she keeps her eyes straight ahead, but the set of her jaw seems to be more serious, and that teasing smile has faded.

"I'm not giving up, but I wanna live too, you know? And the closest thing I've had to sex in the last… fuck. Five months or so— has been those god damn Refrain flashbacks. And past is past and I already know how that went, you know? New experiences are a hundred time's better."

"Refrain?" There's a flicker of sharp concern at that, but she's saying it's past, so… a slow nod, and Cardinal reaches over to slide a hand over her shoulder as they walk, fingers pressing down in a brief, warm squeeze. "Dangerous shit, but… I'm guessing you already know that."

That hand slides down her shoulder and arm, dropping to rest at his hip with a loose curl of his thumb through a belt-loop. "Five months? Shit, I'd fuckin' shoot myself, girl, you're a goddamn saint. As for puppy dogging…" An amused smirk curls to his lips, his head shaking, "Hardly. People get sex and love confused too much, if you ask me…"

"Had enough problems with love these days. Nice uncomplicated sex is preferred," Gillian says in her agreement, having moved her arm while his hand slid down. When he hooks his belt loop, he'll feel her hand touching his wrist, before dropping away again. "I spent a week detoxing from Refrain, and I'm not planning to touch that shit again if I can help it," she adds, almost in an assurance.

"Rather add a new steamy chapter to the book, than skip back to the dog-eared pages." This time she does look up at his face. "So I'm guessing you're not gonna send me packing?" There's that smile again, just a little bit hopefully.

Cardinal's other hand lifts as she looks up to him, raising to brush to her cheek at the same moment he stops walking— a gesture meant to halt her as well. "Oh yeah," he replies with amusement twisted through his voice, both brows raising a bit, "I'm totally going to send you packing, rather than drag you back to the library and write another chapter or two."

A grin, then, "Just shut up, woman." That hand, surprisingly uncallused due to its regrowth, brushes back down the line of her jaw, curling loosely to her neck before he steps in, leans down, and kisses her with no holds barred. Sometimes, there's just too much talking.

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