2007-06-14: Cut And Run

Starring:

Cass_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif

Summary:

Ramon visits Cass for a long needed heart to heart. He catches her up on the Squaring the Circle Case and then, later, is broken out of the hospital in the wake of more mystery.

June 14th, 2007:

Cut and Run


Beth Israel Hospital

For the last couple days, Cass has been getting stronger and stonger. Mostly now she's just kind of bored with being in the hospital and all but addicted to One Life to Live - her soap. Angling to get out of the hospital in the next couple of days, she should be reading up on biology and science and all those other things that go along with opening the lab that she's planning on almost as soon as she's out. She'll do this from a wheelchair if she has to. Luckily, that doesn't seem like it'll be a problem. What with Peter's help as soon as it happened and the day before, she's made an all but miraculous recovery. And she's celebrating it by watching more of her soap opera. Really, she didn't need another addiction in addition to medicine and science.

When Ramon arrives during visiting hours, he just sort of appears at the door, looming. His long shadow cants over the bed and there he stands, like the Hispanic fourty-something Dark Knight. "Cass," he rumbles by way of greeting.

"Ramon!" Cass is kind of surprised to see him. He's a friend to her, but at the same time she hasn't seen him in quite awhile. However, she /is/ pleased to see him. "Hey!" And she's a lot more herself lately than she has been the past few visits people have seen her. "It's good to see you."

"Good to see you too. Sorry I haven't been by." He comes forward and pulls up a chair, which he turns around and straddles. "What happened to you?" He dangles his arms over the back of the chair and frowns at her. Deep lines of concern criss cross beneath his eyes.

"The word on the street is I got shot." A couple times. Cass raises the back on her bed so that she's sitting up even more. The better to see him. "I don't really remember a lot of what happened. Some guy attacked me outside of Enlightenment and he pulled a gun on Lachlan. I got in the way somewhere." There's a moment. "Your daughter and Peter saved my life." A shrug. "No need for sorry. It's good to see you now. I should have come by to see you. I'm sorry about that mess at Jaden's party awhile back."

"She said you were in the hospital. I don't think she mentioned shot," Ramon growls. "Nor did she mention getting within …. " he sighs. He's having to give up on being protective. "Yeah well," he says. "It's over and the party's not that big a deal." Granted it had a lot to do with why he stayed away awhile.

"She wasn't there when it happened." Cass tries to explain. She doesn't want to get Elena in trouble after everything she's done for the bookstore owner. "Just…she showed up after it all happened." It's impossible to be protective when Elena is as deep as it was. "No. It was. It was really bad of me to just leave you there. I'm so sorry." This is something that's been eating at her. "I asked you to a party and then left you there after Lachlan made that spectacle." She sighs. She doesn't blame him for staying away. It's part of the reason she hasn't gone to see him, too.

"It was more that I felt I was just sort of there to teach your boy there a lesson," Ramon admits after a long moment of silence. "And I was disappointed too. I was really quite sweet on you." His mouth quirks into a bit of a smile. "You are the first woman I tried to date after Catalina. In a way though, it's comforting that it didn't work out. Because if things had gone into the whirlwind of romance I was envisioning, I'd have maybe been kidding myself."

"You weren't. I had /no/ idea Lachlan was going to be there." Cass frowns and fiddles with the blankets. This is harder to do when she can't pace and do the normal things she does when she's uncomfortable. "I…You are my friend and being around you makes me feel comfortable. I…needed some of that after everything." And now she feels even /worse/. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean…." Oh this is such a mess. "I wasn't…" She sighs. "I really like you, Ramon. But…not in a whirlwind romance sort of way."

"It's alright," Ramon says, sort of patting the air. "It's water under the bridge and I've gotten involved with someone else. Are you going to update the security on your store given what just put you in this hospital?" He always comes back to the practical sooner or later.

"Someone else?" Cass is now curious. She's been watching soaps long enough that she can't help but wonder who the mystery woman is! "I'm glad. Who is she?" Because Ramon deserves some happiness in his life. As for the practical, she nods. "I already started. And a friend who's a genius with computer is going to add a bit more. High tech stuff I'll probably never be able to figure out without his help." She smiles. "But it doesn't really do much good for me outside of the shop, which is where this happened." She makes a vague gesture at herself to indicate the shooting. "But, I'll figure something out. I'm not about to die in some random shooting. That'd be embarrassing."

"Dezi Russo," Ramon answers. He frowns at the mention of outside of the shop and sighs. "Guess I can't wrap anyone in bubble wrap. We're living in New York City after all. I'll try not to get too overprotective of you, too." Its a skill he's trying to develop.

"Dezi Russo?" Hm. The name sounds familiar, but she can't play it right now. Cass smiles. "I'm glad. She good to you?" There's a pause and then she moves back onto the other subjects. "It's hard to. I'm kind of trying to not be over-protective to. It's hard when you know they keep being in dangerous situations and you can't do anything to stop it from happening. Other than just trying to be there." Which doesn't always work out the right way. "Thanks for trying." She smiles a bit.
"Heh," Ramon says by way of reply. "I'm beginning to think my daughter kicks /way/ more ass than me. I might have to take up cigar smoke or something to compensate." But he's smirking in mild amusement. "Just the other day I punched a guy and she hauled off and punched him harder."

Cass laughs and finally releases her hold on her covers. "Or grow a mustache. A big thick one. I've heard those are great. Or maybe a leather jacket. I think you'd look very scary with a mustache and a long black coat." The image is both hilarious and frightening. "I heard about that. Sort of. Then Jack and Lachlan came in dressed as a ninja and a pirate and we kind of lost the train of thought." True story. "Hey, let's…not do the whole not talking thing again. I missed having you around. I could have really used your input the last couple of weeks."

"What did you need input about?" Ramon asks, nodding his head in acceptance that the not-talking-for-weeks thing is done. He raises his eyebrows and looks at her. Whatever else has gone on, Cass has his undivided attention right now.

"I'm going to open my lab. As soon I'm out of here." Cass' smile is still there, but now it's a bit more mischievous. Her voice is lowered so that only Ramon may be able to hear her. The soap opera playing the background helps that. "I've got a couple of thing I'm starting to work on. And I would love your help. As well as to maybe test your powers. I'm trying to work out how they manifest, how they work, how different powers affect different people…I'm also trying to help people figure out everything they can do with….what they can do." She shrugs. "I just want to help people. And I don't think you should have to join some secret society to do that."

"I'm with you," Ramon says. "And…I do need your help." He wets his lips. "I think a new, dangerous edge has emerged on them. I think I made Elena briefly hallucinate something weeks ago. It has never happened again but…imagine if I did that by mistake on a plane ride, to the pilot. Or maybe it didn't happen. Maybe she just breathed too many hero fumes that day. How can I help you with your lab?"

Her mischievous smile turns into a grateful one. "Hm." Cass thinks about this and already wheels are starting to turn. "Alright. Well. I'm going to have an MRI once I get that place open. If you're okay with it, would you mind me scanning you while you use your powers? I may be able to figure out what you're doing and from there figure out how to control what you need to concentrate on to make sure you don't accidentally do something like that again." Pause. "Or maybe just a lot of practice." Then, she watches Ramon. "Just…by being there. Telling me I'm not crazy or in way too over my head for this. Also…helping me figure out who is who. Someone bugged my store. And I don't want that to ever happen to the labs. I don't want to use information against anyone and if they need help, I'm going to help them. But I'd like to know who I'm dealing with."

"I'm going to try not to say I told you so," Ramon says quietly. That very second night he wanted to rip her store up for bugs. "Alright," he says thoughtfully, at last. "Here's what we're going to do. We're going to add white-noise generators to your store. I'll take your MRI. And I say before you start working with anyone you let me do a scan on them to make sure they're on the up and up. Without them knowing, before they've been told."

"You just did." Cass gives a bit of a humorless laugh, but she's still in her good nature feelings. "I'm fine with that. I mean, I'm not about to deny anyone help, like I said. This is going to be kind of like a clinic, so I'm going by Hippocratic Oath. But if they try and use the information against others? I've got a problem with that. It's just I can know who to look out for." She sighs. "I hate thinking the worst of people I don't even know." Then, moving on to /his/ problem. "I think it's just a matter of other uses of your power manifesting. Now that it knows that it can release, it's rapidly showing other ways it can work it's way out of hibernation. There may be other ways you can use your telepathy. We'll figure it out."

"I've mostly learned to shut out people I don't /need/ to read," Ramon says. "Unless they're just screaming their thoughts at me, or I catch them in the middle of a sweep, which I do every time I go home. I've learned how to project thoughts, and implant suggestions into the subconscious, though I've only tried that once. Communicating with a coma victim helps them come out of it, so it's got some healing implications too. I can dig into a self-conscious. It sometimes scares me, the implications of what I could do."

"I think that's how Peter helped me." Cass nods. So she has /some/ experience with it. "Wow. You've found out a lot on your own. You'll probably help me understand this more than I'll help you." Which she isn't too surprised about, to tell the truth. People who can use their abilities are already a step ahead of her. "The implication of what everyone with powers can do kind of scares me."

"No, Elena figured it out," Ramon says. "She makes up these exercises and tests. I only figured out the subconscious implant out of necessity, and I don't know if it works yet." He leans forward. "I found Nima and Lee's mother, Cass. I've got her under the guard of my family at this very hospital."

"Elena's the smart one of our group," Cass grins. "Well, we'll figure out if it does work. I don't mind being a test subject for small things like that. Just as long as it's not testing regeneration or something like that." Then, however, she just stares at Ramon. A good long stare. She knows about Nima and Lee's mother and her disappearance. "You…you what?" Confused about this whole thing, she just can do nothing but ask, "But…what about her dad? What happened? Where has she been?" A lot of questions.

Ramon walks over and closes the door, then sets another chair beneath it. He then closes his eyes and does a 'sweep'. Ascertaining nobody is listening, he says, "Nima and Lee's parents have both been his pet puppets for three years now. She showed up under an Alchemist program to kill Desiree. I interrupted it with telepathy and I also planted what I hope will stop it for good in her mind. Her husband is still out there somewhere. All I saw were the three of them, in a kitchen, and only the back of his head. But this will come to a close. I have a name, and it might be him."

There's a long pause while Cass processes this. Her friends parents as puppets? Trying to kill Ramon's girlfriend? What…what is going on here? What kind of scenario have they all fallen in to? "I hope so. He's got to be stopped. If….if you need anything. To help. I'm here for you. As soon as I can get out of this stupid hospital gown, that is." Another thoughtful silence. "Does Nima know yet?"

"I keep trying to reach her and she won't pick up, but her shop seems fine," Ramon says. "Maybe she'll answer your call. You and her and Lee all need to be carrying earplugs. Here's how it works." He leans forward, catching Cass' eyes. "He finds out your name, and he says it, capturing the attention of both your conscious and your subconscious mind. Then he speaks. He might say 'raise your right arm and hold it up.' Your thoughts order all in that one direction. All I hear in a puppet is what they've been made to do. It all runs like a tape. 'Raise my right arm and hold it up. Hold it up. Hold it up. Hold it up. Hold it up.' Imagine if you could only think of one thing, only conceive of one course of action, ever."

"I'll call her." Cass can't really process all that is going on. Well, she can, but it's just so hard to believe. To think about. "God. That must have been…" Poor Mrs. Jones. Forced to think about only one thing, one course of action for three full years nonstop. It would drive anyone insane. No wonder it's going to take time for her to heal. To think of natural thoughts again. "I can't even imagine." It's impossible. "I'll find ear plugs. Or something. It'll go with all the other back things I need to be carrying with me." Because a lot of people know her name. She hands out business cards with it on it all the time at the store. And the last thing she wants is to think about just one singular action and be forced to hurt her friends. "It must have been a nightmare. But you said you can stop it. That you know how to stop him."

"Well she thought whatever he told her to, but yeah. I think she's pretty bad off," Ramon says grimly. "And yes. I — insert thoughts. Like a skip in the record. If the tape is 'kill her and flee the scene' I insert 'no' between kill and her. And 'I don't want to do this' or 'you're better than this' or 'don't' or 'stop' or 'fight' or whatever. It breaks the pattern. It shatters the tape. After that a little physical trauma helps, but my son discovered that strictly against my orders." He clears his throat.
And more silence. Hearing these things about a complete stranger is one thing. But hearing them about her friend's mother, well, that's something completely different for Cass. Even if she never met her. "But…she's okay? I mean, she will be?" How is she going to tell Nima that? This is all so weird for her.

"She will be," Ramon says. "Right now I'm focusing very hard on not letting her get taken again. I wish I had a place to hide her. Maybe some of your friends can do something for her. I don't think I'm the man to do it. I just stopped the tape, but…" He shakes his head.

There's some thought to that. "Well. I'm planning on having a cot set up in my labs. She can stay there, if she doesn't mind staying in a lab. A mostly empty lab." Since not everything is set up yet. "I don't know where else to hide her. If there /is/ a place to hide her. I'd offer my apartment, but it's a single bedroom. And not the safest place ever."

"The lab is already well secured. I'll take her there tonight," Ramon decides. "If there's a way I can get in there without you." He'll have to smuggle the woman out of the hospital but…he can possibly cheat to make everyone think he's on the up and up if he has to.

"Talk to Peter." Cass is quite confident in that. "I know he can help smuggle her out." He's the invisible man, after all. Or, one of them. "If he's willing. I'm…not sure if you can get in without me. But it's in the new Seville Hospital. The basement rooms. Talk to Lachlan. I'll tell him where I keep all the keys and the codes and all that." She doesn't mind sharing that information with Lachlan, Ramon or Peter. She'd trust all three with her life and so keys are little matter. "But." She thinks. "I think I've been in this hospital long enough. If you're going to take Mrs. Jones out tonight, I'll come with you."

"Lets go then. I don't need to disturb Petrelli for this, I'm already going to ask him a major favor." He holds out his arm for her and nods to the I.V. "Need help ripping that shit out?" He's so cultured, is Ramon.

"Alright." Even if yesterday she need Peter's help walking, Cass has been getting up and around when she can't sleep at night. So, she's steadier on her feet. "Nah." Without much thought, she pulls out the IV from her arm and then presses down on the spot so that it won't bleed very much. Pause. "I. I don't have any other clothes. I've got hospital pants, but that's it. The clothes I came in are ruined." That may cause a stir on the streets. Or maybe not. This is New York, after all.
Ramon stops to consider that for a moment. He grunts and thinks about it for a moment. He's wearing a button up shirt and an undershirt anyway. He unbuttons his shirt and passes it over, leaving him in a simple Hanes white teeshirt and slacks. "There. That over hospital pants, nobody will notice. Don't go returning the shirt, people will just read it all wrong and my life will turn into a romantic comedy real quick." He sagenods. "And I hate those damn things."

Taking the shirt from Ramon with a sort of ironic grin, Cass slowly makes her way for the bathroom via the dresser. Grabbing a pair of pants, she changes as quickly as possible and then shuts the door without turning off the light. She's borrowing from Peter's sneakiness the day before. She looks a little ridiculous as the t-shirt is too big for her and the pants look more like the bottom of scrubs, but it's clothes. Smiling sheepishly, she gestures for the door. "Don't talk to me. I just got very involved in some cheesy soap opera about a hospital. While staying in a hospital. So, my head is just rife with such storylines."

"Great," Ramon says. "So tomorrow I'll reveal you're my half sister via the love child of Elvis and an alien, but for now lets go." Given what he is, that might be…oh never mind. He leads her down several wards only to find two Hispanic men come walking towards them in the hall.

"What the Hell are you doing off of your post?" Ramon demands.

The two men exchange glances. In thicker accents than Ramon, one of them speaks. "Well she left, man."

"She /what/???"

"Some people, they came. She said she knew them, man. Said they'd go and take her someplace safe. It weren't nobody like you described, they weren't actin' funny or nothing."

Cass will get to see a literal vein pop out of Ramon's forehead and start to throb.

"Elvis and an alien, huh? So is your Dad Elvis or is the Alien your mom?" Important facts to know if she's to become Ramon's half sister. Checking around the make sure she hasn't left anything behind, Cass nods. "Ready." Off down the hallway she goes with Ramon, being careful to not look like she's a patient of any sort. Her legs are still a little weak, but she manages to keep a pace that isn't too suspect. However, when the men inform Ramon of the departure of Mrs. Jones, the book store owner gapes. "/What/?" She may not know who they are, but now she's very worried. "What did they look like? What did they say? How many of them were there and when did they leave? Why didn't you /tell/ anyone until now?" This is serious stuff and they need to get the information as soon as possible if they're to track down Nima's mother.

"They were to guys, man. In suits. White guys," the guards say, as if this is vitally important to know. "Skinny. Weren't no fat balding guy man. Just young. And they talked normal. No vacant eyes, no nothing. She said she knew them."

Ramon advances, growling, looking like he's going to put the hurt on someone, his eyes flashing with irrational fury. "How long ago was this?"

"Maybe about six, seven minutes ago? We were comin' up to tell you. You got your cell phone off man. You forgot to pay the bill. Your boss, he gonna be pissed."

Guys in suits. White. That doesn't really narrow anything down, does it? There are a million white guys in suits in New York City. Cass frowns as she thinks this over. "She knew them? Did she say where she knew them from? Did /they/ say where they were from?" There needs to be more. "Which way did they go?" Because if they didn't leave too long ago, they may be able to still catch them. She looks over at Ramon, ready to go as fast as she can to try and catch up.

"They had to have gone back towards the front," Ramon says. "Emergency's out back." He turns and races that way, but he keeps his hand on her wrist. If she falls he doesn't want her to be without support, someone to catch her. But they're on the fifth floor, so its not down that Ramon brings them, but over to the window at the end of the hall…where a black car is pulling away. "Black car," Ramon mutters. "Why's it always have to be black car?"

While she tries to keep up, Cass isn't really up to hard running. It's more like Ramon is dragging her along willingly and she's just trying to make her body stay close and not fall over. "Because everyone loves a cliche," she sighs. "And there's a /million/ black cars in the city." As the car pulls away, she watches it for a moment, lost as to what to do next. They can't follow it if they're on the fifth floor and it's already leaving. Her eyes still try to track it as far as she can. "You said you may know where that guy is? The Puppet Guy? Where did you think he was?"

"I have an address," Ramon says grimly. "And we're going to follow it. If Peter will help us, you can come along too. Perhaps you'll see something I miss. We're just going to look for now."

"I'm not up to anything other than just looking," Cass replies. "I think a stake out's the best way for us to know what we're all up against." Taking a deep breath, she readjusts her (Ramon's, rather) shirt and gives a resolute nod. "Okay. Let's get out of here before my scary doctor finds I've ripped out my IV and flown the coop."

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