2010-05-01: Why We Do What We Do



Date: May 1, 2010


Erin catches Cody red-handed, so to speak.

"Why We Do What We Do"

The Warehouse Apartment

It's the wee hours of dawn before Cody creeps back to the warehouse. She's not exactly expecting anyone to be awake. Even though the place is a lot emptier than it was a few short weeks ago, it's still got extra occupants that she former agent needs to be mindful of. She's a little dishevelled, it could have everything to do with waking up less than an hour before.

Slowly, the heavy metal door swings open to the apartment and she creeps inside. The alarm is disarmed and feeling just a little peckish, Cody decides to have a little something to eat before heading off to bed.'


One might say Erin is attuned to all kinds of viruses. For her, looking at a sick person is kind of like playing with flash cards. The very image of a virus in her mind conjures up the name of that same disease. Some are easier to discern than others, like her favourite - SARS - and some of the most potent - Ebola. There's one that she's very familiar with, though… The tracking virus with which she infected Max.

Erin is sound asleep just before Cody arrives. By now, she's used to her roommate being out at random hours, and so she very seldom cares to ask questions anymore. Maybe it's because her nightmares are still full of monsters, but when she awakens to the sound of the door closing, she instantly knows that Max is in her apartment.

"Fuck!" she squeaks, abruptly wide awake. She shouldn't have left him untied! The only weapon she has within reach is a pistol, so she'll have to hope that his ability isn't back. Taking it out of her nightstand, she creeps from her room to the upper hallway, peering around a corner to see… "Oh, god, Cody. That's revolting."


Looking up to the second floor, Cody's actually quite baffled as to what Erin could be talking about. Looking down into the skillet that she'd just cracked a bunch of eggs into she furrows her brow and then stirs them around a little. "What? They're just eggs… Want some?" She lifts the pan to show her room mate what is in the pan. It's breakfast food and it is almost breakfast.

Oblivious to what might be bothering the starlet, Cody continues to move about the kitchen, adding all sorts of strange things to her eggs. She's hungry and she's making it into a hearty meal rather than just a light snack. "Do you know if we used all the green peppers already?" She asks a little absently. Looking up again, she grimaces a little and shakes her head lightly, "Are you just going to stand up there? If you're going to have some, you should come down so we don't wake up the baby or Molly." Forget about Matt and Janice, they're adults… they can handle a little lack of sleep.


Erin makes a face. She's not handy enough with a weapon to just tuck it in her pants and not fire it, so she turns, returns to her room, and places it back safely in her drawer. When she returns, that half-disgusted look is still on her face, and now she'll forever associate the scent of eggs with…

She sighs. "Well, I guess I don't have to ask where you were," she says, almost bitterly. There's no truce between Erin and Max. He's only started to prove the fact that he does have a set of morals buried somewhere in his soul, but she'll never trust him. The companionship between him and Cody is still uncomfortable and disturbing. Erin doesn't like it. "Why? Why do you let him get to you like that? You know what he did - what he does. It's not like he actually tries to hide the fact that he's a bastard." After making her way to the bottom of the stairs, she sits at the counter.

"I thought he was here. What if I'd shot you?"


"Then… I would have had to cancel my trip to Brazil…" Cody answers a little slowly. She has no idea, really. Given that Erin's had about as much practice with a gun as she's had in the kitchen (maybe less) the blonde isn't exactly worried about it. Stirring around the eggs a little more, she shakes the pan to loosen the bottom a little.

There's a grim set to her jaw, she's thinking hard about something and it shows. "I don't know. I really don't. I was ready to walk away from him forever until you brought me to your apartment. He's changed, he's different… I don't know how to explain it." Sweeter? That just sound wrong no matter how she tries to wrap her mind around it. Max Swan cannot be sweet. Except he was.


Erin looks miserable. How do you tell someone that the person they're seeing is playing them? Max isn't sweet. He is, however, cunning, intelligent, and resourceful. Erin has no doubt that the first moment she slips up, Max will hurt her. Badly. Which means she's not going to slip up, and further means that she's not going to allow Cody's judgment of him to cloud her own.

"He's lying," she says. Erin's never known Max to be a liar. He's always told her the truth - exactly what he was going to do, exactly what he wanted from her. And yet, she can't see him as anything other than a void for ethical qualities. He has none, which includes honesty. How can she possibly be too hard on him when everyone here knows what Max did?

"That's the mistake people make. Someone puts on a nice smile and you think they're okay. As soon as you turn your back he'll have a knife in it."


"He doesn't have a reason to lie, he's infected and could very well die." Cody utters unhappily, she's already considered cancelling her trip but she's been planning too long. Looking forward to it for even longer.

Scooping the eggs onto two plates, Cody places on in front of Erin before sitting down beside her and digging into her own. She seems a little mellowed and plays her fork through the mess before turning to Erin and frowning a little. "Erin, why did you bring me there? You must have known what would happen if I saw him like that. I can't just… leave him… Not after what I did to Emily… and at least we were giving her medicine, he's not getting any."


Taking advantage of the fact that Cody's sitting next to her, Erin uses her ability to very discreetly remove the virus that's all over Cody, until she can't detect it anymore. Meanwhile, she pokes at the eggs with her fork, propping her head up with her other hand. "Yeah. Yeah, I knew."

It would have been so god damned easy for her to just kill him, get it over with, and never tell Cody what transpired. No one would ever know. No one would even care that Max was gone - except Erin. And the guilt that would haunt her over another murder might very well finish the job she started with Hamm.

It's hard to actually say, though. Erin doesn't want to kill again. So she doesn't say it at all! "I figure while he's busy trying to win you over again, he won't bother me while I'm deciding what to do with him."


"So you were using me to buy more time," Cody surmises as she pops a bit of egg into her mouth and swallows it without chewing. "And now you're upset… because it worked?" It's a hard road and Cody hasn't yet decided whether Swan has completely won her over yet or not. Certainly he seems sincere, but there's always the nagging doubt in her mind. What's really going on in that calculating mind of his.

"it's a conundrum, thankfully the time is almost up but you really only have a few choices here." She takes another few bites before going on and then just pushes the food around on her plate. "You can kill him and get it over with, get him some medicine to buy more time while you decide, or let him go so he can find medical attention himself. Choices one and three aren't really good ones, you would be haunted forever either way."


Erin fliches at the words 'using me.' In reality… yes. But not in the way Cody's been led to believe. It was more Erin using her as a morality wall. She certainly doesn't like lying to Cody.

"Hey. I don't need anyone telling me what my good choices and bad choices are." Stabbing at the egg, she takes a bite. "The longer I leave him alive, the longer I'm haunted. Christ, you're hell-bent on destroying that Sayid unf Undies guy because he's a king asshole. Well, that's how I feel about Swan."

Except if she did, really did, he'd be dead already.

She's quiet for awhile. "Help me understand. How can he be anything worth saving after what he did to me? And don't say he was misled. He wasn't. He did all that and enjoyed it."


"You were a means to an end for him. You could annahilate everything on the planet that threatens the things most important to him." His work. She wasn't conflicted about her place in his life before Erin reintroduced them. She was moving on, going forward to something better. Now.. he's the soup when she ordered the salad. She'll always be haunted by what could have been if she had just stuck with the soup.

"If killing him is going to end your torment, why don't you just do it then?" She asks, finally looking over at Erin. Her eyebrows are knit together and she's pursing her lips, trying her best not to frown. "He wasn't misled, but he's not Sayf Udeen. He's… " She's not even sure what he is, he's changed. It's almost as if he's resigned himself to Erin's mercy and he's actually at peace with it. "He's content. Except for the pain… he's content."


"I'm not the bad guy here," Erin says through gritted teeth. "Stop trying to make me into one. He deserves this. I couldn't have been the only person — he— There were others. I'm just the first one to catch him. And if he gets out of there and— If he hurts someone else, then I'm responsible. Because I could stop it right now.

"Because I don't want— " she starts, almost stepping right on Cody's words before she realises that this is what she's been not saying.

What the hell is she going to do with this guy in her apartment if she's not going to kill him?

"I don't know what to do. I really wish he'd just left me alone. It still hurts, Cody. I wasn't supposed to be someone with all this … this… Whatever you call it. Baggage. Trauma. I wasn't brought up to be able to handle it." Pushing the plate away, she stands. "I don't even know how this is supposed to end."


"I know he deserves it, he knows he deserves it, he's fine with deserving it. At least, that's what it seems like." With Max, no one ever knows if what it seems like is actually what is going on. He's cold, calculating, always with a plan. Only this is the first time Cody's ever seen him like this. "I don't know Erin, I don't know what you want me to do. He asked me to stay with him, I did. I shouldn't have, I know, I just did."

She doesn't even have an excuse, there isn't one and he doesn't want to make one up. There's no point, it would only insult the both of them. "Listen, it's a tough road… If you want, maybe get in touch with the people that took Emily away. I don't know.. but I think he worked for them before so I don't know how much good it would do you." A long sigh is let out before Cody tries again, "You did something to him, Erin… I don't think he's lying. He's never been like this before."


"It'll never be the same." Erin would have to start a top-secret government division for capturing evolved, go after Max, completely strip him of all his dignity, and manage to completely break him to be truly satisfied.

Before she turns around to head back to the stairs, she studies Cody for some time. Erin trusts her judgment, but this is testing the boundaries of what she's willing to believe. It's as if someone just told her that Santa Claus really exists, that's how absurd the notion is that Max could be telling the truth.

"I'm not… going to kill anyone," she says. "But don't tell him that. It's about all I have keeping him there." She starts to continue, but stops mid-word, shaking her head and finally heading toward the stairs.

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