2007-02-26: How... Altruistic

Starring:

Ramon_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif

Summary: Ramon comes 'round knocking on Ben's door to check on him.

Date It Happened: February 26th, 2007

Log Title How… Altruistic


Winters Apartment

It's been a week since Benjamin got to come home from the care of the Company hospital. He still has a week or so left on his medical leave, so he's trying to relax. The damages Rose made to his apartment? Maintenance requests have been put in and things are slightly back to normal. As normal as they can be as he is adjusting to having a power, but more jarring than that? Having a teenaged daughter sharing his living space. Somehow, that makes his ability coping seem easy. There is a little gap there in his memory that disturbs him, but he's trying not to dwell. In an attempt to relax, he's laying on his sofa, trying to focus on a book. One he was starting on, but for some reason, he can't remember what happened to the copy of 'American Gods' that Angie loaned him.

Ramon comes and knocks twice on the door. He…looks a little odd, primarily because the top of his face from the bridge of his nose on up, plus his hair, has been weirdly bleached out. So have his hands. Other than that, he's the same old dour faced Ramon, standing out there with his hands in his pockets.

The knocking at the door startles the man as he was relaxing on the couch. Benjamin rifles around for his bookmark and notates the page he stopped at. He gets up from the couch and walks to the door, tucking his shirt back into his waistband. A look of surprise is given as he peers through the peephole. There is the sound of tumblers turning as the door's unlocked and opened. "Good evening Mr. Gomez… what happened to you?"

"Some sort of weird gas attack on the ferry," Ramon rumbles, looking at Benjamin the way he might look at one of his sons to ascertain potential injuries. "I swear this city gets more loco by the passing day. I could ask the same of you though. We were trying to track you down. You don't look like you have any cigarette burns or anything though. How did you escape?"

"OH. That.. I think I read something about that in the paper. No arguments about the craziness here," Benjamin says as he raises a hand to run through his hair, tousling it into untidy short waves. "Sorry, come on in?" He steps back to allow Ramon to enter the apartment. "Pardon about the mess. I'm not used to cleaning up after teenagers." Indeed, there is a mess. Things everywhere. Fortunately, embarrassing female underthings have been moved out of sight. "I didn't escape, they actually let me go. Although it seems kind of weird in retrospect. They held me in one hospital and moved me to another. I'm sorry I gave people a scare."

Ramon steps inside and looks around. "They do that," is his grunted response about the teenager. Which, they do. His house is not always terribly clean either. He hesitates, then finds a spot to sit down in. "So you're really alright, man?" He looks critically at Benjamin, as if not entirely sure he believes it.

Benjamin shuts the door behind Ramon then slips his hands into his pants pockets. There's a half-smile given in regards to teenagers. "I think it would be easier if I got to experience the little girl years up to teenaged, but, I doubt it would have made a difference with Rose." When Ramon seats himself, he follows suit and settles into an armchair. "I think I am. At least I know I'm not going crazy anymore, or being followed constantly."

"I don't know that it would," Ramon agrees. "My boy, Manny, runs off all the time. Angry. You know." Ramon scritches at his beard, which is still the right color. "Who are they? What did they want with you?" He pauses, and says, "And you don't have to get creative. I know about people who can do 'things'. I just don't seem to be understanding anything else."

"I'm sorry to hear that about your son," Benjamin says, not really able to offer anything else. Parenting is foreign to him, as well as troublesome children. When Ramon changes the subject, he shifts a little uncomfortably in his seat. ".. I don't know if I should, or can say." What he's not saying however, is there on the surface of his thoughts. "Besides, while I know I'm not crazy, you might think I am." (Who's going to believe people really have superpowers and there's a group of people to 'help' them?) The last statement of Ramon's has Ben looking a little puzzled, "What do you mean, 'do things'?"

Ramon rubs a hand over and over his face. "I mean women who throw fireballs out of their hands. I mean Angie, who makes poison out of her hands. I don't know what you do, but I'm figurin' you do something. I read minds, so yes, I'm going to believe that people have superpowers and my only question is how pistol whipping you counts as help." His voice doesn't ever raise. It's just tiredly even in its low rumble.

Benjamin simply blinks and stares in silent disbelief for a few minutes across at Ramon. It takes the man that time to formulate a response. "I.. can manipulate sleep patterns," is the statement that comes after that pregnant pause. "I didn't know they would kidnap me. Angie said I could think it over. I don't blame them, that they didn't want to take any time.." He trails off and noisily blows out a huff of breath. "I accidentally caused that traffic accident with the bus. It's just dumb luck that I haven't done worse. I disagree with their methods in taking me and said as much.. but they did teach me how to control this ability… Wait.. you read minds?"

Ramon listens to all of this without interrupting. Then he nods as it slowly starts to make sense. "Mmmnnngh." Is his response to 'wait you read minds'. He gives a very slight nod to go along with it. "And that's it? They're done with you? You're back to your old life, no harm no foul, and you're in control?"

"I think so." Benjamin doesn't sound entirely too sure about it. "No one's bothered me since last week. I still feel like someone's going to come knocking from their company and tell me I have to do something for them.. but so far? It seems like all they wanted was for me to be able to control my powers."

"That's awfully," Ramon pauses. And then he gives just the right cynical twist to the word, "altruistic." But he sits back. Considering. His dark eyes are narrowed faintly as he rubs his thumb and forefinger back and forth across his chin. "What did you tell your job, anyway?"

Benjamin doesn't comment about the cynicism in Ramon's voice, but offers a shrug. "I think, that they do have altruistic ideals.. they just got twisted along the way. I felt like I was some sort of lab animal most of the time." Almost unconsciously, he raises a hand to rub at his neck, where that mark is under his collar. "That I needed a couple of weeks off for my shoulder, they understood. In fact, I think HR was glad I was taking some time off."

"I'm sorry. I'm not meaning to be a jerk. I was real worried. You're a good man. I didn't want to leave you to them, but by the time we'd even gotten as far as Hartsdale, you were already back." Ramon watches Benjamin rubbing his shoulder with a faint frown, but he decides not to ask. And for the most part he isn't attempting to 'listen' either, unless something 'loud' comes across.

Benjamin exhales audibly. "No, no, that's okay, you weren't being a jerk at all. I guess anyone would be worried if they saw someone pistol whipped and kidnapped, no matter how little they.. knew them. Which applies here." He offers another slight smile. "I really appreciate that you guys came and looked for me. It's a little surprising." Surprising, because he feels like a nobody, not even a real face in the crowded NYC streets.

Ramon looks at him and says, "You were scared to death and took the time to come all the way out to Queens with my taxes." His shoulder hitches. "Good people are rare. I like you. Anyway, the way I saw it, as much as I could figure, we're all in it together. I couldn't sleep at night if I was just gonna turn my back on you." He pauses. "Your daughter, she talked to my daughter. It sounds like she was pretty worried and wanted to see you safe and sound too."

Benjamin rubs at the back of his neck again and looks a little uncomfortable. "Angie, and my therapist came to see me over the weekend.. That Monday I was trying to tie up loose ends before I went to the hospital, but all day I felt like I was being followed and watched.." And tracked like an animal is thought. "When they said I had time to think about it, they didn't specify." A smile, a little bigger than those previously given is made. ".. Thank you. I like you too, and you have a wonderful fami - Wait.. Rose was worried?" He looks genuinely surprised by this. So far, he's gotten the impression that Rose is merely using him for crash space while she goes to college.

"I didn't talk to her directly, but Elena said that she darted off on her own to try to find leads. Sounds like worry to me," Ramon says. "I'd not ever take her giving you Hell as a bad sign. She might just be trying to see if you're going to love her unconditionally. Seeing if you're really going to be a serious part of her life."

Benjamin still looks a little taken aback by that, but gives a slow nod. "That could be it.. She's my daughter, my only child, of course I'm going to love her." He glances around the small apartment, mainly at the mess Rose has left. "I didn't even get mad at her for breaking the dishwasher, or whatever she did to the oven while I was gone." Instead of looking frustrated, he seems to be a little amused. "I'm just glad I was able to come home, even to things being a mess and needing repairs, and to see if Rose will let me in, even just a little. From some of the people I spoke with, they made it seem like this company was going to force me into working for them or who knows what.."

And the darker side comes out. Ramon looks truly unsurprised, but he asks, "What did they say to make you think that?" He gazes at the door as if expecting them to come knocking /now/, but of course nobody's out there. That he 'hears', anyway.

Benjamin shifts a little in his seat as he looks across at Ramon. "Just from past experiences, people who have been helped. Kind of a 'we scratch your back, you scratch ours' sort of deal. There was this one lady who said the company was helping her, and in return, she works for them, doing what they tell her to do." Again, he shifts in his seat, but not due to any physical discomfort. "I hardly know you, but I feel like I can talk to you about all of this." Seeing as Ramon watched as he was kidnapped. "People with abilities.. powers.. the 'normal' people at this hospital treated the - I mean us - as if we weren't human half the time. Sure they were polite, but we got looked at like some experiment." He looks away from Ramon, towards the window facing the street, and buildings across the road. "It was like they felt they were doing good, but at the same time.." He raises a hand and rubs at his forehead, "In a way, it felt like they thought they had the right to do with us as they pleased."

The look on Ramon's face says that his dislike for this group is only growing as Benjamin talks. He listens, but what he says is, "Inferiority complex. If they think of themselves as somehow 'more human', or 'purer', or 'better' because they /don't/ have strange abilities, it short circuits any jealousy reaction or fear reaction that you do," Ramon says. "Its about them, not you."

"I.. suppose. What you say makes sense." Benjamin just isn't sure what to think about any of this. Still. "The only good thing about this whole fiasco, is that I may not cause anymore accidents without meaning to. I'm trying to put that awful week out of my head, but at the same time, I can't help but think about it a lot."

Again Ramon thinks before he actually answers. He never seems in a hurry to use words. At last he says, "You can't hang on to guilt about that. That's like blaming yourself for having the flu, and not knowing it yet, and passing it on to someone else and they have a bad reaction. Take on guilt for sins you mean to commit, not things you don't have control over. You didn't have control over that. You didn't even know. It wasn't even a logical conclusion."

Benjamin gives a slow, and almost hesitant nod. "I realize that, but I've never hurt another person in my life.." He turns his head, staring at Ramon, really taking in the man's words. "You're right, and that's extremely wise." Yet, he still has that guilt he's going to carry for awhile at being the cause of a death, even if he had no idea. That's something that won't ever really leave him.

Thing is, Ramon would probably feel a similar responsibility. Heck, its one of the reasons he likes Benjamin. "On the flip side, now you won't ever have to," he says, standing up. "Some idiot mugs you, you put him out, he has a nice snooze and neither you nor he gets hurt." God, he can imagine, briefly, what it would have done to Benjamin to end up with something like that girl with the fire. He points a finger at Benjamin. "Dinner with my family and I. My apartment. Friday. No sitting here stewing in your own juices."

Benjamin nods his head, then stands when Ramon does. "They studied me and my abilities. I think.. that I might be able to hurt.. nevermind, I don't want to think about that. I just won't go there." In fact, he doesn't intend to use his ability unless he absolutely has to. He laughs a little at Ramon, "I was just about to think of that sort of situation." Smiling in a wide and genuine manner, he nods, "Alright. I look forward to it."

Ramon claps Benjamin on the shoulder in a friendly manner, and then heads out the door. He mutters, "Now I'm off to find a tanning studio or something. I look like a moron." And with that, he makes his way out of the complex.

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