2007-08-08: DF: Whether Or Not The World Is Hell


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Summary: Portia's encounter with the armed man in Central Park is talked over.

Dark Future Date: August 8th, 2009

Whether Or No The World Is Hell

Manhattan, NYC

Time has passed since she brought Portia here after her ordeal in the park, some of it spent trying to convince her without any success to come get looked at. Jane at times was close to insisting, but in the end relented. Trying to force someone who can become invisible to go anywhere, she realized, would be useless. And after an hour or two went by, with Portia seeming coherent again, the need to find such assistance seemed much less pressing.

The location they're in when morning arrives is far from comfortable, it lacks even mattresses to stretch out on, but there are chairs. She's in one of them, half asleep, keeping watch over the injured one as best she can. Checks were made from time to time through the night, fingers tracking the pulse, watching to see her breathing was normal, etc. It took a few hours longer for Jane to finally worry less and let her eyes close.

Shifting positions in the chair, Portia's unable to sleep for much longer. Opening her eyes, she glances carefully over to Jane, frowning. She's not entirely sure how long she's been asleep, and definitely feels a little groggy. Pushing herself carefully to her feet, Portia looks around, deciding not to try and wake Jane. Especially considering how tired she seemed.

Her word, above and beyond the watching, was kept. Portia wasn't left alone. Her movement registers somewhere in the older one's mind and she stirs, eyes opening slowly. Blinking happens, and fingers raise to rub at them. "Portia. How's your hand? And your head?" Arms stretch, extending over Jane's head, accompanied by the sound of a yawn.

There was a look towards Jane as she spoke before Portia nodded slowly. "Wrist sort of aches and my head's feeling a little fuzzy, but it's mostly okay." She lets out a breath. "So I guess it's getting better."

"I still think having it looked at is a good idea," she replies while getting to her feet. "Are you ready to go over the details of what happened?" Jane moves to the desk, she opens one of the drawers to pull out a pad and pen for writing things down. Some of that worry is still in her expression; while Portia claims she's getting better, neither of them are doctors and can't be sure there wasn't a concussion. Or worse.

"I'll be fine. Not like I'm going to die, right?" Portia glances back over to Jane as she tries to stretch her arms out, careful of her wrist. "Yeah. Fire away."

"Not before me, in any case," the ten years older woman answers seriously. At least not if she has any say in the matter. But she knows life isn't always that easy, as much as she expresses otherwise aloud. Her fingers position the pen at the page's top, ready to write, as Jane begins. "You said you were in the park, and saw a man leave something, so you decided to check it out…" Eyes rest calmly on Portia when she trails off, this is Focused Operational Jane now. Her legal training, the years spent at Yale, all those study habits are applied.

The teen's got a good memory, but she focuses extremely intently as she recalls the situation that nearly got her a bullet to the brain. "Right. Well, he didn't really look like he left something. There wasn't really anyone around, but he went and looked.. /under/ the bridge in the park. Then he went over to the statue and made a mark. I went to see what he did and he did, and he made that V over a circle.. like the movie, V for Vendetta."

Notes are taken, she says the words while writing them down. "Drop zone under the bridge, V for Vendetta." The pattern is drawn on the paper, then she asks two questions. "Which statue? And what did he look like, Portia?" Jane's eyes dip to the sheet where information is being recorded briefly.

"By the pond, there's a statue with two swords.. it was low on one side of the stone pedastal." Portia nods. "I.. I'm not sure I remember all of what he looks like. I think I could recognize him if I saw him again, maybe.. it was dark. But I remember his voice.. took me a little to think of it, but.." She fidgets a little. "A few years ago? Before the war there was this.. thing, that happened in the park. Someone died. Fell right down from the sky. It was the first time I ever even saw something like that. But.. anyways, there was this cop or agent or something another that was in the park and he ran to go investigate the body. I think it was him.. I only remembered because it was Central Park.." She shuts her eyes. "I remember he'd talked to these other people while there.. I can't remember what exactly they'd talked about.." She's trying to offer something helpful. She opens her eyes, after a moment. "Anyway, he left a message under the bridge. So I read it."

"Statue with two swords," she echoes while noting that next to the V for Vendetta mark already drawn. "By a man, voice recognized, who was at the site of a falling death in CP, antebellum. Possibly police or agent of some sort. Message left in drop zone." After taking that down, Jane looks up at Portia again. "What did the message say?" she calmly asks. Her eyes check the younger one for signs of distress in talking of this, any indication she should ease off or stop. It isn't meant to feel like the interrogation it actually is.

Portia seems quite fine talking about this part. This part she remembered clearly and didn't quite terrify her. "Um.. it was about miscommunication. The message said something about the freight yards and asked what 'P' was thinking and to call. And then it was signed by this funny symbol. Kind of like a circle with a line through it, vertically." If Jane's clever enough to draw what she's describing, she'd probably recognize the Greek letter Phi.

One doesn't spend seven years in the Ivy halls of Yale University without coming across the Greek alphabet. All those fraternities and sororities… Jane's fingers take down the info Portia shares. "Message text: Miscommunication. Freight yards. What was P thinking? Greek letter Phi." That's drawn on the paper next to the words, and beneath it a question is written. P for Petrelli? Sounds like a reference to the train destruction.

She suddenly stops writing, her brows furrowing as she takes time to think this over. "Oh, hell, Portia," she breathes after a few quiet moments of that. "Do you understand what happened there last night?"

"Shit." Portia murmurs as she makes the conclusion. "You don't think that.." She frowns. "But then why would I.. when he.." She trails off, looking down.

"I think you came across a resistance operative leaving a message for his contacts," Jane states solemnly. "And when he knew he'd been seen, he acted to determine who it was that found him out. You said he might be a cop or agent, that suggests he could be an inside man. Such persons don't react to discovery with flowers and puppies. They get mean, and deadly, because it could mean death for them if you're on the opposite side. He doesn't know you, so he treated you like the enemy. Safety first."

That's not the best of reactions from Portia. Her expression sort-of blanks, her voice a little unsteady. "Right, so.. I almost died because of a damn misunderstanding?"

She isn't harsh in her reply, but she's not soothing either. Jane simply says it like it is. "Yes. To do something like you did last night, trailing someone to gather information, the stakes are high. You have to remember that, always. If you get caught, there are consequences. People doing what he was doing don't want to be caught, thrown into a cell, tortured, and killed. They'll act to avoid that, or the possibility of that, by any means necessary." Her eyes rest on the younger one, in them is deadly seriousness, the determination Portia understands the risks of things she's chosen to undertake. And if it makes the teen not want to undertake them anymore, well, that's not in any way a bad thing.

The reaction Portia has is not one that Jane might expect. The teen's expression sobers entirely. Hands hovering over the chair she'd been sleeping in, she roughly shoves it over, regardless of how it might hurt her wrist. "Right. Because, you know, I've forgotten that everyone in the world is selfish." There's barely a pause before the teen continues. "Cause, you know, three hundred and sixteen people died on that train thing that went on. And you know? For /what/? What gives anyone the goddamn /right/ to just take people's lives away like that?! Right, is that because you know, it's making a stand against someone else who takes away people's lives? What sort of fucked up world is this?"

The chair is kicked. "I'm SIXTEEN! Two years ago, when I thought about what I would be doing when I was sixteen, I thought it would be great to be able to have people take me seriously, to get to wear more makeup, have an excuse to ask my mother for more money and then sneak out to go on dates with some guy from my history class. But you know what I'm doing Jane? I'm getting a gun to my head because of some paranoid freak agent is scared that I'm going to turn him in. Sure, it's fine to be fucking selfish and worried you're going to die. It's only natural. But what if he puts a bullet in my brain? What then? You, Ramon, Elena, Manny, Kitty… you all probably cry and then it just goes on again. Someone else gets shot. Someone else dies. I'm entirely forgotten because I'm not even fucking old enough to make a /difference/. And then that stupid agent will go back and spread more information, and that information will be used by the stupid people he's supplying to make some other ridiculously dangerous maneuver to 'stick it to the man', and then a mere three hundred more people die. But what does it matter? They're just a number. They're not important, cause you know, they certainly aren't people that have anyone who care about them. /They/ certainly don't have their entire biological family /missing/. Because no one fucking cares anymore. No one cares about a goddamn thing or person or place or anything but their stupid little ideals and their stupid little powers and their stupid little war. When the hell is everyone going to stop and realize that there is, in no way, any reason a sixteen year old girl should ever get a gun held to her head that is any possible way justified."

She listens, to the whole tirade, in stony silence, her eyes never leaving the girl. In them are so many things. Anger, pain, compassion, sadness, mourning. With Jane Forrest, emotions run deep. She agrees entirely. There should be no justification for holding a gun to the head of a sixteen year old girl. Portia should be going to school, fretting over things like sneaking out to go on dates and being able to paint her face more. Plotting to have her mother pay for it all, too. It all makes her want to scream. To shriek over having to kill her own band in self-defense, then the other people she killed for that reason afterward. For any killing she may do in the future, whether for revenge or ideals, perhaps both.

Her head turns toward a wall opposite Portia, and her mouth opens. No audible sound emerges, but the wall she's looking at suddenly has a two inch long crack in it.

And then she's speaking, quietly. "You're right. There's been too much death, families torn apart. Sixteen year old girls shouldn't have guns held to their heads. But the world is what it is. Choices carry consequences. If you choose to follow people, you could get caught, and you could be killed. If that happens, it's beyond tears for me, Elena, Manuel, and Senor Gomez. It's having our hearts ripped out of our chests and stomped on. I can't ask you not to make that choice, to avoid doing what you did, because I've done the same thing. But I can make sure you understand exactly what it means. That you know the choice you make completely. It isn't fair, it isn't right. It just is."

Biting her lip through the pain, Portia's hand reaches down to fetch the chair she pushed over, in spite of the strain it causes. "I'm sorry. I know what I'm doing, I just.." She laughs, mostly on the verge of tears. "I'd just hate to think that I died just because someone's paranoid. I mean, if I have to die, I want it to be saving lives or doing something that /means/ something.. you know?" She slowly sinks down into the chair. "It just hurts. Growing up."

"Yes, it does," Jane agrees, standing up to approach and open her arms. "It hurts, the choices you face in it, whether or not the world is Hell. I wish you could have the same problems I had at sixteen. If the girl I was could see the woman I've become, there's no way she'd believe I handled it all and survived. And she'd hate who I've become."

Moving into Jane's arms, Portia's already wiping away the tears. "So what do I do? How do I go about making the whole world right again? I can't just sit around and wait for the building I'm in to blow up or someone to misunderstand… it's not safe anywhere, so I might as well try.. I just don't know how I can make any sort of difference. I don't want anyone else to die. Especially people I know. I've seen enough of that.."

She's encircled and held, tightly. "You stick with and defend your own, doing all you can not to die in the process, Portia," Jane whispers. "You get cautious. And you don't get caught. If you see a man writing a symbol of rebellion on a statue, you freeze. Observe the evidence, act accordingly. Wait until he's gone, really gone before you check out what he was doing. Think over what happened, identify the errors you made, and learn from them. Things you see and hear can be valuable. But they aren't worth us having to bury you. We're older. We're supposed to die before you. If you choose to be involved, don't take risks you don't have to. Don't endanger yourself. And you make your music. Write what you feel, turn it into song, and express it."

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