The Judge had delivered his verdict, his recommended punishment, and his warning to Tyger to never come into his courtroom again. Fine by him. After he exchanged his thanks and apologies to Leo, Tyger turned and left the courtroom. It suddenly seemed to him that with the exception of Leo, everyone else had more important things to do. Some part of him was not at all surprised by this development in the least.
Tyger stepped out of the courthouse without any pomp and circumstance. There was no joy or elation. He had just been acquitted of any crime. Sure he was going to be on suspension, attend Anger Management and perform some community services; and to top it all off, that was the Judge's recommendation, not an actual sentence. In all reality, that was a slap on the wrist and he knew it. He had just gotten off easy, far easier than he felt he should have. He should have been happy. He should have been overjoyed and elated at this turn of luck. However, he was not. He just stood at the top of the steps of the courthouse in silent contemplation at what had happened. He ignored the light drizzling rain that was drifting across the city. Somehow, that alone just seemed appropriate.
He took all of about three steps before he just sat down on the stairs of the courthouse and buried his face into the palms of his hands. He did not care if he was in dress uniform. He cared even less that he was in public. Despite the fact that he knew he could crawl into a Power Armor at some point in the immediate future, or just simply go home, he did not. Something told him that there would be no comfort or solace for him there, just as there was none here. With that unspoken fact, entropy took over and forced Tyger into his current location.
Time passed, and Tyger slowly, reluctantly became aware of the world again. He was wet, and starting to chill. People were passing by—a few pausing to stare at the officer before moving on. To one side, though, a figure did not move on. Standing a dozen feet to one side, Hemelshot stood near a pillar and mostly out of the rain. As Tyger looked up their eyes met and Hemelshot gave a short nod before passing from Tyger to the next passerby. His face was distant, part memory and part sympathy, and part challenge to anyone who paused to long to stare at his teammate. There were no cameras in sight. A voice from the other direction spoke. "Penny for your thoughts?" Carpenter stood at Tyger's side, his dress uniform somehow still looking well-fit even with the rain starting to soak into it.
Tyger was only dimly aware of Hemelshot's presence, despite his own morose mood at the moment, he was still aware of his surroundings. When Carpenter made himself known, Tyger was already quite wet, but he did not seem bothered by it in the least. "I don't know... are mine worth that much?" He lifted a hand to stop any sort of retort from Carpenter before continuing. "I know where you stand, but... it is hard to accept it totally when the vast majority of humans obviously don't share your stance."
He sighed softly and looked at his hands, curling his fingers into tight fists. "I... didn't think they would actually pull that shit in there Nathan... I mean, sure, I nearly killed Marcy, something I regret even more today than I did that night... but the fact that I took innocent lives... no. I didn't tell anyone. How could I? How could I go up to anyone and say 'yeah, I went and wasted a bunch of civvies last night'? Sure. It was an accident... but I have never taken an innocent live Nathan... ever."
Hemelshot's voice is low and strong. "You can't say that anymore, Tyger. No matter how much you want, no matter how much it hurts." He pauses. "I should know, I can't say it either." He looked down, then up into the past as much as into the rain. His voice rose and took on an odd accent, as if quoting someone. "'It is moments as this that scar the soul, but as warriors we must bear it as we bear the scars on our flesh. We must never forget, but we must not permit sorrow and grief to paralyze us or prevent us from making other decisions out of fear.' Learn from this, remember it, don't let it stop you." Silence, though an observant person might notice the index finger on his right hand move slightly in response to a distant memory.
Tyger sighed softly at Hemelshot's wisdom. "Yeah, I know that... but...." he trailed off for a moment, recalling his own past for a brief moment in time."...but with all of my years as a pirate... someone who made a living off of the slaughter of others... I never, once took an innocent's life. Ever. And, it's hard to grasp, that as a criminal I was able to not take innocent lives, while as a cop...well...." he shook his head to silence himself, leaving his thoughts unfinished, and instead ending with something different. "It is obvious that I am not particularly competent at either profession it seems...."
Hemelshot shook his head slightly and looked at Tyger and Carpenter grinning ."I don't know about you two, but my mother raised me smart enough to get out of the rain. I'll see you tomorrow, Carpenter. And Tyger, put in some range time. It'll help." With that, he pulled his hood up and walked off towards the garage.
"Lucky bastard... at least you had one." Tyger quipped with a slight smile. Yeah, he would spend more than a little bit of time at the range. suspended or not, he knew that he had let himself go soft, and it was long past time to tighten up again.
Carpenter sighed as he took a seat next to Tyger on the wet stairs. "Tyger, humans or Clades, we all make mistakes. We are not perfect beings, even if we aspire to perfection. It is in our very nature that at some point in our voyage through life, we will stumble and fall. The measure of a person is not in one's successes, but on how one deals with one's failures and weaknesses. Instead of beating yourself for what you did, you should be thinking of what you can do to make up for it.
"As for keeping matters to yourself, I understand. In your life so far, trust has been something you could not afford to give freely. But you're not alone, Tyger. There are people around you that do care about you and are willing to share your burdens." A small chuckle escaped Nathan's lips. "An interestingly foresighted author from the last century once said, 'Pain that is shared is decreased. Joy that is shared is increased.'"
His tone turned serious but gentle. "If something is bothering you, if there's problem, a concern, a fear that you don't know that you could handle alone, please, let me help. I promise I won't judge you, or condemn you without cause."
Tyger just sat there and exhaled slowly "Yeah... I know that everyone fucks up from time to time. Nobody's perfect, yadda yadda yadda." he turned to look at Carpenter then. "But it sure as hell seems that I have had more than my fair share of fucking up lately." He looked down then and took a long deep breath before continuing. "Nathan. I want you to know something. I... really appreciate what you have said... but I hate you for it." he paused for a very long moment. "It is not because of your expression of such openness and willingness to help that I hate you for. You express that to everyone. I hate you for the fact that you are here, now, instead of being there years ago... among other things. I hate Cadbury for the exact same reasons as well."
Tyger stood up then and looked in the direction that Hemelshot walked off towards and then over to Carpenter. "You both have a funny way of reminding me about some things about myself that I really wish you wouldn't. And I hate that. But don't go thinking that I have any intention on doing anything crazy or stupid... because if I did, I would have at least tried by now." His voice was calm and composed. It was obvious that he was not making any threats, or even considering the idea. He was just voicing his thoughts and feelings in the only way he really knew how, without resorting to physical action.
Tyger would then extend his hand to Carpenter. "I guess I should get going. This monkey suit is more than a little uncomfortable... especially when it's wet. besides, as much as I hate to admit it... Hemelshot did make a good point about getting out of the rain" a bit of a smile would be given Carpenter him as he continued. "I guess I will see you in a couple of weeks then."
Carpenter's smile was open and friendly. "Maybe sooner than that."
Tyger had already started to descend the stairs when Carpenter spoke. He paused for a brief moment only to hear Carpenter continue to speak. "It's never too late to change, Tyger. It really isn't."
Carpenter's words drifted to Tyger's ears clearly. "Everyone keeps saying that, but it's easier said than..." as he voiced his reply, Tyger was turning to face Carpenter, or rather, where he had been but a moment before "...done?" The sudden lack of Carpenter only had the Clade scratching his head. "Dammed ninjas...."