2008-01-23: Confrontational Nightmares

Starring:

Benjamin_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif

Summary: Benjamin is forced to face some uncomfortable truths in an equally uncomfortable setting.

Date It Happened: January 23, 2008

Confrontational Nightmares


Company Medical Facilities - Benjamin's Room

A promise is a promise. Even a rashly made, hard to keep one. In this case, the promise was that Kory would try to find Elena for Peter. A woman she's met all of once; a mind she's touched exactly the same amount of time; and searching for that selfsame mind in a city of millions — a city that is purported never to sleep…

She starts searching from Peter's apartment, hoping a resonance is there, and reaching outward in hopes of finding Peter's girlfriend, asleep and dreaming.

Following the ass chewing by Noah, Benjamin is only able to sleep with the aid of the drugs in his IV. HRG has an uncanny ability to strike fear into people with a look, or a few simple words. If it weren't for the fact that he really hurts like Hell, he would have already have taken out his IV and walked out. Alas, he's going to be a good patient, wait for Meryl to call on Bekah. Until then.. stay put and rest.

It's in this current state that he's found. Perhaps because having been the one to kidnap Elena weighs heavy on his mind.. perhaps this is why Kory's able to stumble upon him in her search for Elena.

…unexpected resonance to Elena. But …at least, a step in the right direction. Peter told Kory Benjamin was involved. She's so angry and hurt to know that. Just when she'd finally been convinced that he was a good guy. That he was trying to be a good father. But he's involved, and she can find out from him where to find Elena if she plays her cards right.

She takes a few minutes to concentrate, crafting herself into a ghostly image that looks nothing like the woman who manages the Secret Lair. She's angry, but not enough to fray her common sense.

The invasion into his dreams is unsettling, having never experienced this before. Of course, the first thing Benjamin could attribute this to would be the morphine and anesthesia leaving his system. That and a good dose of guilt. The morphing image of his daughter, Sasha and Elena is indeed something trippy enough to be drug induced, yet it's not.

In this dream, this state, he finds himself ignoring the fact that he's been shot, operated on and hooked to an IV. Sitting upright, he looks in the direction of the figure, watching it curiously. If this isn't entirely due to drugs, and if he does remember this later.. it's kinda obvious why those three people are represented here.

"So — give me one good reason not to step between you and the wrath of Morpheus," the multi-morphing apparition Kory's wearing demands, intentionally putting an icy resonance into her voice. "Tell me you have good reason to steal babies." Sasha's face. "Instead of protecting them." Rose's face. "And why you use them." Elena's face. "What. Kind. Of. Man. Are. You? Are you a man at all? Or just a wolf wearing sheep's clothing so they trust you until it's too late to avoid your sharp teeth and claws?"

Is this still something to be chalked up to drugs? Or some other interference entirely? Instead of moving to approach the figure for further investigation, Benjamin stays put. Maybe this will go away if he wakes up… yet sleep isn't ready to leave at this moment.

"Sasha's safe… she wasn't stolen. The child has abilities she has no control over. Without her medication to keep her ability subdued, she was creating a dangerous situation. Because of her, I was able to subdue the people around me, kept others from losing control of their powers and creating a lot of destruction. I did what I had to do…" It feels a little silly to Benjamin to have to explain himself to some apparition he doesn't fully know the cause of.

No, he's not going to wake up right away if Kory has anything to say about it. But she listens, with Sasha's face, as Benjamin explains. "Tell that to her mother," she says, Sasha's face briefly morphing up until it's Mariska's face, and then sliding back down to Sasha's. "That alone might have been enough to calm the child, don't you think? Try. Again." Rose's face slides into place now, and faces Benjamin expectantly. "Are you lying to me, or to yourself? Neither answer is going to give you any peace, you know…"

"Mariska knows about her daughter's ability. She knows why it is this way. It sucks! I didn't want to have to take the child from her mother. Mariska should be with her daughter. I don't see why she can't have Sasha back so long as she's on medication.. until she can control her power. She's just a little girl." Benjamin is now starting to panic a little in this state, his emotional distress registering some on the monitors in his hospital room. "It's one of the unfortunate policies of this Company! I don't agree with it! Why are you doing this? Who are you? I've already lost sleep over this as it is!"

That's information Kory hadn't had. Information she's pleased to receive, but it still isn't enough to satisfy her, not now. "Who am I? It doesn't matter who I am, Benjamin. Why I'm doing it doesn't matter, either. What matters is why you're doing what you do. Especially if you believe differently." The Sasha-Mariska face slides away, though, leaving Rose. "Will you do this to your own child if she turns out to have some ability that she can't control? Hand them to people who make you do such things?" She laughs, but it's a hollow, humorless sound, like the wind blowing through a wide, empty space. "People who make you use people as pawns?!" The hospital room around him fades away, leaving only the sound of the beeping machines. The apparition takes on Elena's face, floating disembodied in the dark before Benjamin.

"My daughter has control over her ability! I am with this Company to keep them from laying a hand on her!" Now Benjamin's starting to grow heated with his arguments back at the apparition. Angry that he's arguing in general, not liking the confrontation, and angry with himself. "They threatened her, so I signed on! To keep her from them, to use my ability for something good!"

The shift in the dreamscape is enough to make him think he's awakened.. save for the floating disembodied head of Elena.

"Oh, so you're a coward, then," the Rose-apparition says. "They threatened your little girl, and that's why you help them threaten other girls." The apparition drifts closer. "Do you really believe they'll leave her alone if you screw up? If you lose enough points with them and aren't their Good Little Scout anymore? Do you truly delude yourself that deeply?" She rotates, arms toward the sky as if pondering smiting him, or asking a higher power for strength so she doesn't. "People who use methods like these — are they really the good guys? Are you really a good guy? Are you really doing something good?"

"It's not like that!" Only, in a way, it is. Benjamin is a bit of a coward, hating confrontation. Which is why his ex-wife managed to railroad him for so long. "I'm… I'm not threaten… and …" And what? His arguments fall silent. "You don't understand. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I can subdue people peacefully, those that do mean to cause harm. It's just.. lately.. I don't agree with it… but… maybe I am deluding myself." There's silence on his part before a bitter and strained laugh escapes. "First the daughter of someone who's been a friend to me… but you know what? I'm glad it was me and my partner. Anyone else might have willfully hurt her. I gave Elena my word she wouldn't be mistreated while in custody. If I hadn't of gotten shot, I would be watching over her constantly."

"Your word? Your word?" The apparition shouts with each repetition, culminating in, "YOUR WORD IS WORTHLESS!" She's so angry. Angry at what Benjamin's been doing, even through a truer lens. Angry what they're driving Peter to. She's so angry that Peter's mother betrayed him and is using Gabriel to do it. She's angry that her power has all but ruined her own life, cost her a chance at love, and still she's using it, and still trying to help. "Do you really think you can protect her by watching her constantly?" There's sarcasm so thick it practically drips like unguent from the apparition's fingertips. "Are you going to put all your bosses to sleep to protect her and make sure she comes to no harm? Really? Do you have the balls to stand up for her like that?" The Elena-face shakes her head. "You're lying in a hospital room because you followed orders rather than standing up and saying 'no, this is wrong.'" The Elena figure's hair blows as if in an unseen wind. "Whatever they do to her is ultimately your fault because you brought her to them so they could do it."

"Maybe it is," Benjamin says dully in response. "I don't blame anyone for not trusting me, let alone being in the same room anymore." He cringes back from the anger of the apparition taking on the form of Elena. This is a nightmare. A nightmare he brought on by his own actions. "If I stand up and say no, there's always someone else ready to take my place. I'm hoping I can make a difference." The truth is, he's too soft hearted for a lot of what's asked of him. Easily manipulated as well. "She'll be released, same with Peter's other friend if he just turns himself in. He can be helped with this new ability he's absorbed. I'm worried that he's a good man, and it will make him end up the same as Sylar!" With that statement, he starts to fight at the sleep, trying to wake himself up. He can manipulate the sleep of others, but not his own. He's left like anyone else trying to wake up from a nightmare.

Oh, no, no struggling awake. The apparition listens, and nods. "Well done," she says softly, voice drifting to a gentle, dreamy, summer-breeze sound. "So you are seeking to infiltrate them from within? That's noble. You'll need help." She seems to consider this, hovering thoughtfully behind him. The blackness goes away, replaced by calm, soothing blueness. A reward for him showing her there's something good in him. Something kind. "You know he's a good man, but you know why he won't turn himself in, don't you? That he feels he has so many people to protect. You know that he'd rather die than become another Sylar, don't you? But the Company doesn't want to believe that, do they? They just see a threat. They don't see the scared man trying desperately not to be that threat?"

"… I…" Didn't say that… Benjamin stares, dumbfounded, still trying to wake himself. "I realize that… I don't blame him. He's been held by them before. I don't have full access to his file… But I've met him before. I told him I'd help him fight Sylar." His agitation dies down some as the apparition calms. Still, he's wary, "Look… I'm not happy with myself. I don't like kidnapping people. That's not what I wanted to do here with the Company. I just wanted to do some good with my ability… Instead of going back to living the life of a nobody accountant."

"So what's stopping you from doing good?" the apparition asks. Now it's wearing Benjamin's face instead of Elena's. A smiling, confident Benjamin face. "Will it do more good to make him a prisoner, or to help him? Is it a hard decision for you?" Kory's calmer now, so her display in the dream is calmer, as well. And she's back to using her psychology.

"My daughter and my mother are all I have left outside the Company. My friends want little to nothing to do with me anymore… and I didn't have much of a life beyond work to begin with. Don't you think I hate how things have turned out? I want to find a way to do more good." But face it, Benjamin's convinced Noah will have him taken out once he's proven to be of no further use. "… Helping him would be better… but if he has to be contained, kept away from people, to keep him from unintentionally harming another person…" This coming from the man who just a year ago found himself kidnapped, put into a hospital so that he could learn control. Without causing another accident without meaning to. His thoughts are scattered, fleeting back to being told he'd caused someone to die.. Then his attention is back to the here and now. "Things just don't seem as simple or as black and white anymore."

"Your actions are your responsibility," the Benjamin-faced apparition says. "You made those choices that lost you your friends." But it listens, and bobs serenely in front of him as he struggles with himself. "Nothing is ever black and white. Nothing is ever simple. You know that. It's just easier to believe that. But is it right to continue to embrace that illusion. Are you alone? Does everybody in the Company enjoy what they do, or do they have their doubts, as you do, that this is the best way to go about things?"

"Some have their doubts.. I can't be the only one here who feels this way. There are those that have their own agenda. Even I can see that." Although Benjamin would like to ignore it, keep his head down and just do what's asked of him. Unfortunately those with the agenda are the ones in charge, dealing the cards. "I know my actions are my responsibility. I know my decision has cost me my friends. I don't blame anyone but myself… But what was I supposed to do? Just be one person, telling this organization no when they came up to me, threatening me and my daughter? I know this just sounds like an excuse and maybe it is! Even if I get together with others who feel like I do.. we'll have to take this place down from the top!"

"…and?" asks the Mighty Benjamin Apparition. "With what you can do, that should be a piece of cake. You said so yourself. You can take people down peacefully. So there's no fight." The apparition shrugs, ever so calm now. "Your friends might even forgive you when they realize how far your arm had been twisted. Do you want to continue making excuses, or put on your big boy pants, man up, and choose between what is right and what is easy?"

The truth is, Benjamin has no idea where to begin or even how to initiate a coup. He's afraid. Is it better for him to continue as he has been? Or maybe try to see how others feel… and what can be done. Does he have it in him to walk the halls, knocking out the execs and putting THEM in their level 5? Just the thought of that alone makes him shudder. This dream is getting more and more unsettling and again he fights to wake up rather than answer.

Kory, still wearing her spooky ghost form, switches to Elena. "They lied to you, you know," Elena-face says. "There's a file. They plan to hurt Elena if Peter doesn't give himself up. The longer he avoids coming in, the worse they will hurt her. Making you a liar. Do you want to live your whole life having to keep lies straight?" The form floats around Benjamin in a circle. "You said you wanted to be more than an accountant. Here's an opportunity to do just that. Find the ones with doubts. Join forces. Fight. Take this Company down or make them give you your freedom if that's what you want. Doesn't it beat living with a weight of guilt dragging your heart toward hell?"

"NO!" Benjamin shouts, possibly aloud in his hospital room where those awake can hear him. "I told her… she wouldn't be hurt… My word may not count for much but I told her she wouldn't be mistreated!" and if he could just wake up… if he has to drag his IV with him, he's checking on Elena. The determination within is strong to see to it that nothing happens to Elena. There's a sense of urgency to prove this dream person thing wrong as he continues fighting to wake up.

"Then you have some decisions to make, my friend," the Elena-no-Benjamin-no-Elena-faced apparition says. "Choose wisely. And remember." The entity's eyes grow wide and glow as she seeks to make him remember with a code word.

Benjamin's eyes fly open, perspiration beading his face as he looks around the room wildly. He awakens to nothing more than the beeping of medical monitors and the quiet hum of noise out in the hallway. He raises his good hand to wipe at his face as he second guesses himself, and whether or not he was dreaming. Maybe it's time to ask the nurse to take him off the morphine.

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