Covert Engagement


brian_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title Covert Engagement
Synopsis Brian and Veronica meet at the ruins of Primatech for important secret business; Grimalkin is discussed, to Brian's annoyance, as he has more pressing issues on his mind.
Date September 5, 2009

Primatech Research

Lots of rubble.

Why is she in this godforsaken place, a place where she saw fellow agents fall and die, she doesn't know. Her jaw is set, her mouth in a firm line, trying to keep her emotions vised tight. Veronica crunches over the rubble until Brian comes into view, and she shakes her head at him. Why is he making her meet him here? She pushed aside all of the fears and sorrows from her last night in this place, shoved them so far down that she had forgotten they exist. She had fled the city and the job for a month in Costa Rica where she flung herself headlong into one dangerous activity after another — the more dangerous the activity, from rockclimbing to bungee jumping to white water kayaking, the less time she had to think about the fact she could have died, that some of her friends had died, that she escaped only by luck.

"Why here?"

It only takes a little bit to realize this might have been a big mistake. Pushing against the slab of fragmented marble, Brian raises to his feet. Taking a step forward his hand jumps out to grab at her hand, pulling her over to him to steady her and ensure she doesn't trip as well as pull her into him. "I've been looking for a while… I'm not exactly sure if this is it but…" A little shrug is given as he waves his hand over the little section of torn up Primatech they stand over.

"I feel like an idiot." He whispers. "I didn't think that this would be hard for you coming back here. That didn't cross my mind. I'm such an idiot." He whispers harshly at himself, his eyes running away from her and on any bit of debris that can serve as an excusable distraction for his eye.

Don't you dare get sympathetic on me, Veronica thinks. If he starts to fawn over her, the tears will come. She shakes her head, left, right, left. A tight, barely noticeable shake of her head. "Just explain," she says, her eyes narrowing — not in anger, but to keep a tight lid on any traitorous tears. "Why are we here?"

"We met here." Brian murmurs quietly, dumbly. "I just didn't think. I'm sorry Vee. Let's get out of here." His hand fastens itself around hers, fingers intertwining around her fingers. He gives a tight little tug for her to come with him, as he starts to climb back over a slope of rubble back the way they both came.

She closes her eyes for a moment, and wills herself calm. She lets him lead her out, silent but for the crunch and rattle of the rubble beneath the boots she wears. There are too many ghosts in this building, and not all of them those who died here when the Locos annihilated the place. Her face is pale against her dark hair and dark clothing, but she manages to make it out without shedding a tear. Some might call it denial, but she calls it a victory.

His shoes return to more solid ground, turning he goes to fling his arm around her waist, helping her down from the last pile of rubble. "I'm sorry Vee. I meant this to be romantic. I didn't.. I'm stupid. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." He rambles as they begin to walk away from the scene. "I was going… God. I'm sorry."

She shakes her head. "Forget it. It's okay. You… weren't there. You wouldn't have known what it was like. It's okay." She takes his hand and squeezes it. "By the way, I have news on our friend and former co-worker Grimalkin. How much have you talked to him, in Adam's group of merry little murderers?" she asks, glancing up at him. Change of subject is in order — Work will work to distract her from the feelings she just had to face and shove away after months of denial. "What's he been up to, what's he saying?"

Brian looks like he is about to protest, but his mouth shuts at her little hand squeeze and then she is talking about Grim. His shoulders slump, and his features sag, completely and utterly deflated. If you listen close you can hear the wind rushing out of him. "Uhh.." He starts, looking around as they walk side by side. "He's out of town. With Adam. Right now. I'll have to wait til they get back."

Vee nods. "All right. Let me tell you what I'm looking to confirm. Apparently Corbin and Castillo found him and he's claiming to be undercover. Not for the Company, according to Denton, but maybe on his own dime or who knows, maybe for someone else. That's not clear. Anything to suggest that he's not really trying to help out Monroe?" Veronica's fingers interlace with Brian's, needing the warmth and nearness of him, even as she speaks in that detached manner.

Brian isn't detached, but extremely distracted probably fits the bill. His eyes go everywhere but her and all of his words are proceeded by a healthy dosage of 'Uhh' and when he does speak it's slow, forced words. Just enough to answer the question minimally. "Not really. He left. I didn't get a chance to see. When they come back." He shrugs. "I can investigate, I guess."

"All right," Veronica says, nodding. "I wasn't sure how to handle it. Just let me know if you can confirm, without compromising your own stuff, or if you see anything suggesting he's telling the truth. Or vice versa. He's an illusionist, so that's no easy task of course. Wait. Seattle…" There's an a-ha moment. "Did he do any of the dirty work in Seattle? Do you know where that group is headed next?"

"No." He sounds a little irritated this time. "I told you, Adam didn't let me in that much. I don't know their plans or what Grimalkin has to do with Monroe's plans. I just know they went together. I don't know where they're going next or when they're coming back. The girl in the group might call me and tell me. But I don't know." He srugs his shoulders heavily, his hand going to untangle from hers.

Veronica slows to a stop. "Where are we going, anyway?" They're just walking aimlessly, it would seem. She turns to look at him, a little confused at the irritation in his voice and his pulling away from her.

"I don't know." He pauses when he realizes she's stopping. "Where do you want to go?" He looks over his shoulder, tucking his hands into his pockets. Taking a single step back towards her, he lets his head dangle over his chest like a scolded dog or child, or something to that effect.

She steps up closer to him, reaching up to put her arms around his neck, tilting her head up to kiss him softly. "I'm sorry I ruined our date," she murmurs. "I don't think of it as the place I met you, not anymore. Too much happened there. But it's not your fault, and I'm sorry if I ruined your plans."

"Well then where did we meet?" He groans into her lips, his arms don't go around her just yet. They simply dangle at his sides. He doesn't pull away from her, simply allowing her to climb up around his neck, letting his head bow down to meet hers just a little.

"I don't know. Pick a place, and it will be our place," she says softly, trying to make it better, whatever she ruined, whatever wrong she's committed because of the feelings that flooded through her at the sight of the rubble and destruction.

"You choose a place." Brian insists, slowly sinking his head down again to plant a brief kiss against her lips. "Right now. And then let's go there." Winters insists, finally his arms start to snake around her waist.

"No pressure or anything," Veronica tosses back and shakes her head. "I can't think with that kind of deadline!" She tries to think of some place that they've been, that they've met, where nothing has upset them, where work hasn't caused a problem, where there have been no issues. She draws a blank. "The Shakespeare Garden in Central Park." One of her favorite places. Not one she's ever been with him.

"Okay, fine. Let's go." With that he pulls away from her. Snagging at her hand he goes to tug her along the street, away from the site of destruction and back into the common populace. Now in desperate search of a cab.

It takes getting to one of the main streets a block away before they find one, and then they're on their way to Central Park. It's not the safest time to go to the park but it's not like they'd make good mugging targets. Imagine the poor muggers in the aftermath. Veronica leans against Brian in the cab. "Still love me?" she asks, trying to evoke a smile from him.

"A little, I guess." A nervous grin pulls up at his lips. One hand remains glued in his pocket, the other dangles around her shoulders haphazardly. He adjusts himself, allowing his head to lean against the top of her head. His lips pucker briefly to plant a brief kiss against the top of her head. "You still love me?"

Central Park

"I suppose," she quips back, to tease him for the 'little' comment. Soon enough, the cab pulls up at the west entrance to the park. Veronica steps out and begins to follow the meandering path to the hidden garden so many people don't even know exists, with the rustic wooden benches made of small logs, lush greenery and trees, and flowers inspired by Shakespeare quotes.

Paying the driver, Winters flows out of the cab behind Veronica. Kicking the door closed and watching the yellow vehicle roar off, he presses forward through the path behind Veronica. A bead of sweat drops from his bow, one hand quickly going to dab at it as he follows her. "I didn't even knew this existed." As they arrive, he takes a deep breath, his eyes going to fix onto her.

Veronica makes her way into the center of the garden, and moves to sit on one of the benches. "Like it?" she says, smiling at him. "It's hard to find if you don't know what you're looking for, I guess. So it's usually quiet, and empty. A good place to think."

"That's deep." A little grin. "Hard to find if you don't know what you're looking for." He remains standing, though he gravitates toward the bench. Looking down at her he smiles warmly, "I love it." His hand finally pulls out of his pocket, pulling out a small object. A flick is given of his wrist and the thing sails over Veronica's shoulder to plop right behind the bench. His brows knit, "You were supposed to catch that. Could you get it?"

She had been looking to her left, not noticing the pocket rummaging or the throw, though she turns her head back as something whizzes past her. "Some warning maybe," she suggests, though she reaches behind her seat to find whatever Brian flung at her.

A slow. Steadying breath.

By the time Veronica finds the little black box, Brian is on one knee in front of her and the bench. His hands clasped together over his knee. His lips are drawn tight, and there is more than a single drop of sweat on his forehead now. He doesn't say anything now. Now he's just waiting.

Fingers close on the… black velvet box? Veronica bites her lip and turns with it in her grasp to find Brian on his knees. "Oooh." The single, though drawn-out, syllable speaks volumes. Now everything makes sense. And yet now nothing makes sense. "I…" she doesn't know what to say. She closes her mouth again. She holds the box for a moment, looking at him, before she looks back at the box in her cupped hand. Her brows knit — she does love him, but how in the world can this work? She swallows, hard, a gulp, and shaking fingers move to open the lid.

Remaining on his knee, Brian looks down at the ground in front of him. Looking at her right now is a bit of a task. This is taking a long time though. It feels like it has been an hour that he's been on his knee. God why can't she open that freaking box a little faster?

When it is opened the engagement ring is clearly visible. A single simple diamond resting on the silver band. It would have cost a decent amount of money, with Brian's financial situations these days, he certainly could have bought something much more extravagant but it's simple. Simple speaks volumes in a complicated relationship.

"If you're thinking about.. everything else. Don't. It's not what matters." He says quietly, more to himself than her.

Part of her wants to say yes. But while the ring is simple, their situation is not. "How?" she says, her eyes filling with tears, half of love and happiness — that anyone would want to marry her is beyond her — and half of confusion and despair. One hand goes to his face, caressing it, cupping it so he looks up at her, into those glistening dark eyes.

Slowly letting her guide his gaze towards hers, he lets out a soft sigh. "That's your question? How we could make it work?" His eyes flick to the side. "My question is how I can do life without making it work with you. It's not whether or not we can manage it. It's is there really any other choice?" He watches her quietly, one hand coming up to cup the hand on his face.

She slides off the bench onto her knees facing him, bringing her lips up to kiss him, to assure him she loves him. "I love you," she murmurs, her lips against his, her hand curling around the ring. "And yes, one day, I will marry you. I want to." She pulls back, and looks up, the tears that have been threatening to fall all night glimmering on her lashes. "We need to resolve things… this Adam stuff, and the Company stuff, before I can wear this and not have questions about what's going on. But I want it, and I want you. It's just not the right time, not this second, but it will be, sometime." But she does take the ring out, putting it in his palm, then holding out her left hand. "But let me wear it now, tonight, with you. And then we'll put it away or I'll wear it on a chain or something."

She looks up, to make sure she's not breaking his heart utterly. "Does this make sense?"

Lips drawing thin, Brian remains on one knee just staring at her. He's tense. In fact he may have turned into a statue since he last spoke. It's definitely a possibility that he died from cardiac arrest within Veronica's monologue and now his upright body is the result of rigor mortis.

But finally his eyes jingle jangle around to rest on her gaze. "Just fucking say yes and we can work those details out after." It's almost a growl.

"I did," she points out, chuckling a little out of nervous laughter. She drops the hand she's held out for him into her lap, glancing down. She realizes now what the whole night was about, that he wanted to propose to her in the place they met, and she ruined it. Well, Mortimer ruined it, back in June, to be exact. "I'm sorry," she adds. For so much.

"You didn't say the actual word. Could you just say the word. So I can hear it. For my sake. Please." His voice is in a tight staccatto. Choppy rough and delivered rather quickly. His eyes are still down as he waits. "I just need to hear that part, clearly."

She closes her eyes. One day is too ambiguous, even for her. It may never happen. One or both of them may die before one day comes. She nods.

"Yes," she whispers. She doesn't need to repeat the rest of it; he heard it. He knows how complicated it all is, and that she can't just show up to work with a rock sparkling on her left ring finger. He knows that she can't have a legal ceremony that the Company would know about immediately, no matter how secret and private they keep it. He knows all of that. But she repeats the word "Yes" again, a little louder, her voice huskier than usual with tears and emotion.

Reaching into the little box, Brian pulls the ring out. Grasping her left hand he goes to gently slide the ring onto her finger. His features are hard to read as he slides the ring on, his eyes follow the diamond intensely until they go up to her eyes again.

He parts from his knee, hands urging her back onto the bench. Going to slide into her lap, he lets his forehead rest against hers. "You love me." He smiles.

She laughs as he slides into her lap. "Oof. Yeah, I do even if I question your sanity in wanting me," she points out, pushing him off of her lap and onto the bench proper. She glances down at the ring on her finger. "It feels strange," she adds with a chuckle.

Grunting as he's shoved out of her lap, he instantly gravitates back towards her. One hand goes to rest on her stomach while the other wraps around her shoulders, his chin settling in on her shoulder. "Do you not like it?"

"No, I like it. It's beautiful," she murmurs. Just never something she'd expected to wear, not once her life revolved around the Company. She brings her lips to his again, kissing softly. "Thank you," she murmurs. Are fiancees supposed to thank their fiances for their engagement rings? It seems strange, but it's also a rather costly "present." "I'm just not used to it." She leans her head on his shoulder.

"You don't have to like it. I can always get a new one. Or we can go together and get one you like." Returning the kiss, he smiles warmly as she leans against him. "You think Denton would have a problem with you getting married to your informant?" He grins broadly at that. "I think he would be totally fine with it."

"Right. And Adam can be your best man, right?" she teases back. "The ring is beautiful. I like it the way it is." She's not a gawdy kind of dresser and her jewelry is always simple, if she wears any at all. A single stone fits her perfectly.

"Who gives a fuck about Adam." Brian lets his hand trail down her wrist. "We only invite the people that matter to the wedding. And all of the people that matter, won't betray us. We can go to Mexico or something, I don't know."

"We'll figure it out. It won't be in the immediate future though," Veronica repeats quietly. "Unless we do it for us and it's not a legal matter with a license and stuff for the time being." She stands, and pulls him up. "Let's head home."

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