When The Going Gets Tough...


melissa_icon.gif scott_icon.gif

Scene Title When The Going Gets Tough…
Synopsis …some people quit.
Date February 19, 2010


There's something about a taciturn man in his fifties dressed like he rolled out of an Army surplus store that seems incongruent with a Goth Club. Tartarus won't be opening tonight, or probably for the rest of the month, given the weather. Last night's crowd of three people meant that the club was at a loss for the evening just from the expense of being open, and informing the bouncers, cooks, bartenders, DJs and other staff that they won't be needed for a while unfortunately falls on the shoulders of the young woman that out of place ex-soldier came here to see.

Admittedly the front doors were locked, since the club isn't open for business, but the sound of boots clunking heavily down the stairs inside is indicative that Scott Harkness isn't a man to be impeded by something as simple as a locked door. How he knew Melissa would be here is a mystery in and of itself, and one he keeps the answer to hidden behind the impassive expression of his weathered countenance.

The only thing about Scott's attire that fits the club's normally niche clientelle is the color; black. From combat boots to cargo pants and even his arctic survival jacket, to watchman's cap everything is black. Coming down into the open dance floor, lit not by colorful lights like it would be on a normal night, the club is instead under the ordinary house lighting, making all of the counter-culture decorations seem a bit cheapened by the lack of ambience.

"Pierce?" Scott's at least not trying to mask the fact that he came in uninvited. "You around?"

Though the club is empty now but for Melissa, since there's no point in anyone else being here, there's music playing, albeit at a much softer volume than it would be when the club was in full swing. And Melissa is behind the bar, checking to make sure that when they do open, there's enough liquor there to cover it.

Hearing not only a familiar voice, but one belonging to someone she's rather irritated with has her eyes narrowing, even as she straightens to look towards Scott. "Considering I work here, yes. The better question is what the fuck are you doing here? Or here's another. Why should I not just kick your ass right out of here? Or worse?" There's the Melissa everyone knows and loves. Direct and to the point.

"Older and meaner girls have tried," Scott notes with a raise of his brows, "you ain't got nothin' on Young, let me tell you." Admittedly Megan would probably lay him flat out if she heard that, Scott's taking his chances, but hedging the smile he would normally offer behind a more stoic expression. "I'm here because you need someone to talk to, because I'm not just going to let you run off and pretend like you're okay with it, or whatever it is you think storming out of that meeting solved."

Moving over to the bar, Scott comes to stand behind the stools, leaning forward and folding his hands on the bartop, eyes down on the matte black surface before looking back up to Melissa. "I made a mistake, Pierce. I made a mistake not telling you what was going on at the Den, and I don't expect you to give two shits about that, but I do expect you to listen to why I did what I did. You can be mad at me all you want, God knows enough people are already… But don't take your own frustrations out on all the people who counted on you and still need your help."

"You wanna' be pissed at me? Fine. But don't let this," he motions towards Melissa, "make you lose focus on what's actually important. Bullshit cover or not, the work you did at the Den was important and you enjoyed it."

A hand comes to rest on the bar as Melissa leans towards him, her voice low, deadly. "You don't know two shits about me, Scott, so don't pretend like you do. Or that you give a damn about me."

She straightens, picking up the clipboard again to begin her inventory again, writing a little awkwardly with her hand bandaged, just not as badly as it was a few days ago. "You brought me here on false pretenses. You betrayed me and made a fool out of me. And because of that, my safehouse no longer exists. You say that people depend on me? I say bullshit to that too. Who depends on me? Delilah? A grown woman? Three kids who were in Megan's care, not mine? Luke, who ran off when the Den got raided? Or maybe Kendall?"

Mel glances back at him. "The only person who was at the Den at any point who still counts on me for jack shit is Kendall, and your fuckup hasn't changed that. It may not be legal, but for all intents and purposes I'm his adopted mom. And all I am to the Ferry now is a joke."

The clipboard is set down, and a bottle of tequila grabbed, along with a glass, and some of the clear liquid is poured, then downed without so much as a grimace. "Did you think about that, Scott? What could my position with the Ferry really be now? I'm the women who couldn't even be trusted enough to know that her safehouse was a front, was expendable. So I have no credibility. I also have no safehouse. No skills that aren't replicated dozens of times over in other members of the Ferry."

"So tell me, Scott. How does anyone still need me besides Kendall?"

"Will you shut your goddamned mouth for five fucking seconds and listen to me?" Scott bluntly states as he leans over the counter and looks at Melissa. "You wanna throw away the Ferry, fine. But the only credibility you lost was when you stormed out of that meeting. Bennet, Ruskin and I had a meeting after you left where Ruskin wanted a short list of people that I thought were leadership material. Your name would've been on there if you hadn't just given up when shit got hard, Pierce. You don't think I know about you? I know enough."

Shaking his head, Scott runs one hand over the side of his head and starts to turn around, then looks back to Melissa. "We had the Department of Evolved Affairs breathing down our neck wanting to shake hands, if we turned away everything would've been screwed. We needed someone to take charge of the Brick House and use it as a front. Nobody could know the safe house was a cover, Pierce because they have telepaths!"

There's a slam of Scott's hand down on the bar. "If Brennan wasn't a goddamned negator I wouldn't have told him either. We needed someplace out there to make it look like we were playing patty-cake with the government because otherwise they were going to stare down at us a lot harder than they are now. But when the virus came up, we got screwed. Yes, I put those people into your care there knowing the government knew about it. You want to know why?"

Scott's tongue slides across the front of his teeth. "Because I knew you could make the tough decisions. After getting to see how you handled yourself, I had a hell of a lot of respect for you, Pierce, but I couldn't comprimise the deal with the DoEA by letting you in on it. Catch-22, Pierce; no good outcome. Either I keep letting it be a secret and it eventually comes out, or I tell you and risk you rabbiting or worse the Department figuring out what we did and hammering down on us."

"Those sick people were there because its' the closest safe house to a hospital. Take a fucking look around you Pierce, this city's buried under ten goddamned feet of snow. We couldn't risk leaving them at the Hangar, or the Brick House or Grand fucking Central. No, they had to be somewhere that— if things got out of our control— we could get them to a hospital. The sweep, nobody saw that coming, Pierce. Don't blame me for not having that foresight."

Being told to shut up has Melissa's jaw clenching, and it's a wonder that the grinding of her teeth can't be heard over the music. She shakes her head, small, controlled movements. "You don't know jack shit about me, Scott. Prior to that meeting? I was planning on telling people that I was taking a hiatus. That I could be grabbed if there was an emergency and no one else could help. Just a hiatus, because I've never had a rougher two months, ever, and frankly, I wanted some time to heal from all the various injuries I've gotten."

Eyes close and again there's a shake of her head. "Do you know how much of a slap in the face it is though, to come up here for the sole purpose of running a fake safehouse, Scott? You say you had a lot of respect for me - and yes, I noticed that past tense - but why haul my ass from Georgia to New York to run a front? Blindly? Isn't there anyone else in this fucking city who could've done the job without relocation?"

Cold blue eyes open to settle on his face. "And you should've told me when I started taking in the plague victims, Scott. I had children there. Barely more than babies in some case. Was your deal with the DoEA worth more than their lives, Scott? Are we focusing on pure numbers now? Like they do?"

Her unbandaged hand slides through her hair and she looks away, towards the door, but as she does, she seems to calm from a 9 to an 8. "I can handle myself just fine, Scott. I can run circles around just about anyone if I put my mind to it. That's not the problem. That was never the problem. The Ferry work never got too hard."

She lets her gaze slide back to him. "Like I said. You don't know jack about me, so maybe you should find out what the deal is before you start making assumptions and throwing out backhanded compliments that are more like insults now."

"Maybe I was wrong about you then…" Scott notes in a quiet tone of voice, lifting both of his gloved hands up into the air, brows furrowed. "Fine, you want to give up when it's hard, I'm not going to stop you. I already said my peace, and if you're going to bail when things get hard or when something you don't like happens, I don't need you being unreliable." Sliding his tongue across his teeth again, Scott backs away from the bar, dark brows furrowed and jaw set, eyes cast to the side before finally just turning his back on Melissa.

"You do what you need to do, Pierce. You can turn your back on the Ferry, but the Ferry doesn't have the convenience os turning it's back on you. When you need help, we'll still be there, whether your too proud to accept it or not. That's your call, not ours."

The past few weeks have helped Melissa develop a bit of an anger problem, and when Scott turns his back on her, it comes to the forefront, and the glass in her hand is flung against a wall. "You aren't fucking listening to me, Scott. But then, you didn't come here to talk me into coming back to the Ferry, did you? You came here to try to make yourself feel less guilty by making me out to be the bad guy," she snaps at him.

"The Ferry isn't working. And part of it is because of what was said the other night. We've gotten too big and our leadership is too infrequently seen or heard from. Decisions take too long to make, and when they are made, they're not made by people who know what the fuck they're doing, but people who are thinking with their soft sensibilities. Liette didn't get taken back to her 'dad', did she? You guys got soft, and decided to just keep her around so her sister will continue to miss her and continue to dump more and more snow on us, didn't you?" she accuses with a sneer.

"I didn't leave the Ferry because things got hard, which if you had listened to a word I said, you'd know already. There isn't a single damn reason for me to stay, and dozens for me to go. So you can blame me all you want, and crucify me to every other Ferry member so you and yours look better." She shakes her head. "Won't matter. Because I know why I quit, and you're too stubborn and self-rightous to even ask why."

Scott looks over his shoulder, dark brows creased together as he looks at the spot on the wall where the glass shattered, then back to Melissa. "Don't you worry, doesn't seem like it's your problem anymore." It's all he has to say in response to Melissa, gloved hands tucked into the unzippered pockets of his jacket, turning to walk quietly back through the dance floor, then to the stairs and up again without defending a point made. He'd made enough points already.

Melissa smirks and nods. "Yeah…that's what I thought. Guilt and pride. Do everyone in the Ferry a favor, Scott. Take Stick B from Slot A and beat yourself over the head with it. The macho man routine isn't as endearing and trust forming as you seem to think it is," she calls to him before turning and moving to pick up the shards of glass.

Maybe he wasn't the best choice ot come and talk to a hyper-sensitive young woman, but Scott either doesn't hear her or just plain ignores her as he makes his way up the stairs and back out of Tartarus, pausing with the door open to twist the lock before letting it close, one hand rubbing against his forehead now that he's out in the cold and on the street. The ex-soldier's cell phone comes outof his pocket, flips open and thumbs over a speed-dial button, head shaking slowly as he looks up to the snow falling down over the streets.

"Yeah it's me…" Scott grumbles into the phone, "No, it didn't. You were right, send it out." Flipping the phone shut, Scott looks back at the door to the club, then shakes his head and tucks the phone into his coat pocket with his hand, headed off down the street into the blizzard.

There's still work to do.

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