Nobody's Forcing You To Stay


angelina_icon.gif cardinal3_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title Nobody's Forcing You To Stay
Synopsis Liz comes looking for Richard and finds a new face.
Date Feb 28, 2010

New York Public Library

Music is probably one of the last things that people might expect to hear coming from an 'abandoned' building in the ruins of the city. Especially at night. But that is exactly what is heard from one of the rooms. A guitar and someone singing. Angelina is sitting on the floor against a wall, playing a guitar rather well, and singing along with her own playing. It's a soft, poignant sounding song, the music slow and almost sad.

It is perhaps not as unexpected to the person who hears it as it would be to others. Elisabeth isn't, however, aware of any of the current residents of the library who play guitar. Which makes the jeans-clad blond more than a little alert and frowny-faced as she follows the sound of a song that she actually knows…. and in truth knows well enough right now that it causes her chest to hurt. She pauses in the doorway, a shoulder against the jamb and her arms crossed while she listens quietly without announcing herself. It is only as the song ends that her soft contralto insinuates itself into the other woman's ears. "I'm assuming since you're down here that someone in my group has already cleared you. It'd be somewhat conspicuously foolish for you to be doing something so mundane as playing a guitar down here otherwise." Her tone is gentle, wry, though her blue eyes hold a kind of combat-honed wariness. "So…. you've got a good bit of talent on you. Got a name to go with it?"

The surprise of an unknown voice has Angelina's fingers slipping on the guitar strings and making a horrible bit of noise. She's frowning when she looks up, unhappy with being interrupted. Before she answers she looks back down, checking to make sure that she didn't break a string. Once she's assured that her guitar is in as good a shape as it was two minutes ago, she looks back up. "Clearly. Though I'm not sure they mentioned you. You're blonde, but not short."

Elisabeth cants her head slightly and says quietly, "You could call me…. the front woman for this little group we're running. Or maybe the senior partner… depends on how you look at it. I'm Liz." She doesn't push off the door jamb, simply studying the younger woman. "The short one's Claire, and if she doesn't already know you're here….. why don't you tell me who brought you in, kiddo? It's definitely better for Claire to know ahead of time. She's got an itchy trigger finger and might ask questions later, if you know what I mean."

Angelina smirks faintly. "Funny, I was told that she usually asks questions first, shoots later. Shotgun, right?" she asks, absently strumming the guitar lightly, so the chords don't disturb the conversation. "And I don't know if she's been told I was here or not. Last person I met hadn't. He nearly shot me too. Or at least put the gun out in the open to warn that he would if he had to."

"I did." I did…

The echoing whisper of voice stirs from the darkness of the library, splintered shadows coiling themselves up Elisabeth's leg and then her back, draping over her like a shawl of torn blackness, "My apologies. I've been working to get in touch with Jensen the past few days, and I haven't had time to be about…" A hint of black humor, "…settling in well, I see, Angelina." Angel…

The blond starts to chuckle at the gun story, but it's the sound of the shadow's fractured whisper in her ear that brings Elisabeth's blue eyes off the girl and to the darkness draped around her. She no longer has a smile, her worry for him hidden behind a more neutral expression though it's given away by the hand that reaches up absently to her own shoulder to touch the intangible darkness. "You wanted to talk to Raith? Why?" She snorts faintly. "Never mind. I'm sure if I need to know, you'll tell me." OH good… now she has a name for the girl. "Not that I mind additional people, but…. might be a good idea to let people know to expect a new person." After all — DEFENSES! And valuables locked away in the rare book room downstairs.

Angelina looks at the shifting shadows, and she shakes her head. "Not really, no." And she does have shadows under her eyes still. A sign that she's not sleeping well, even with a 'safe' place and no Nightmare Man interferrence. "I'm still not sure why the fuck I'm here, Card. Only person I've seen between when I first showed up and now is Bones. Everyone else seems scarce, and it sounds like you have enough people without adding my firepower. If you only invited me so I'd have a place to stay, then don't do me any favors," she says, sounding a bit bitter. She shifts her gaze to Elisabeth, but it's clear that the next words are still for Cardinal. "And my welcome has been far from pleasant. One gun drawn. Another one threatened to be drawn. And I nearly broke a string." Something Cardinal would know is a VERY big deal for her. After all, when you have no money, it's not exactly easy to replace a string, and music is one of the things that's kept her sane since the bomb.

"I wanted to bring him… up to date on what Eve brought us." Brought us… Those shifting shadows coil about Elisabeth's shoulders, Cardinal's response dry, "…you've dealt with less welcoming people before, Angel. And I told Peyton to help her settle in, after all. As for why you're here, there'll be a need for your power eventually. Just because right now isn't the time doesn't mean we won't need you. Relax." Relax…

The blond's blue eyes go back to Angelina and her tone is cool. "You're more than welcome to be here, Angelina." Elisabeth didn't miss the name, clearly. "And if Cardinal says you're needed, that's more than enough for me. Don't mistake caution for not wanting you here." Her right hand still rests up on her right shoulder where the shadow drapes around her. "Given the state that Richard's in, the welfare of the people in this building is my responsibility. And it's not one I take lightly." She smiles faintly. "So welcome aboard. You just became one of mine." She nods to the guitar. "And if I'd caused you to break the string, I would have replaced it. Music's a hobby of mine too."

Angelina's eyes narrow at Elisabeth. "I don't take charity," she says flatly. "And i can protect myself just fine." She looks back towards…well, the shadows. The ones that may or may not be Cardinal. "Well maybe I just don't feel comfortable here. I don't know these people except you, and you…well, you're not exactly fully here. And you seem to be pretty busy elsewhere anyway. You can make use of my power as easily where I was as you can here."

A whispered sigh stirs through the shadows. "You should know the difference between charity and… well, nobody's forcing you to be here, Angelina. If you'd rather go back to where you were, you're certainly welcome to…" Go back… The shadows twist back along the audiokinetic's body, spilling off her to crawl along the wall, "Perhaps I was wrong. I'll talk to you later, Elisabeth." Liz…

Elisabeth ffts gently. "Well, replacing a string I caused you to break isn't charity, is it? It's making up for my own actions." She narrows her eyes slightly, but she watches quietly. When Cardinal slips off her shoulder and heads along the wall, her gaze follows him for a long moment. "I have a couple bits and pieces for you before I have to head back out. I'll meet you upstairs?" She waits long enough for him to answer before her eyes turn back to Angelina. "You're free to stay or go as you like. The door will stay open to you. The only thing I ask is obvious — that you don't mention to anyone that people are staying here. Bones, Claire, a couple of others…. this place is a haven for us. A place we know is secure. Avail yourself of it as long as you like, Angelina."

Liz pauses and considers. "Out of curiosity, you interested in making that guitar of yours pay your way?"

Angelina frowns, then she shakes her head. "You're not listening, Card," she says on a sigh, starting to push herself to her feet. "But I'm not going to have this conversation in front of a stranger. And since you two need to talk and you don't want to have this conversation with me right now, I'll go. Makes more sense for one to go than two," she says, picking up her guitar, looking a little…sad…as she heads for the door. She does, however, answer Elisabeth. "I'm not good enough to play for money," she says, so simply that it seems like she truly beliees that.

Raising a blond eyebrow, Elisabeth says mildly, "Arguing with the man's like talking to a brick wall some days. Frankly, he's about as stubborn as they come." If he's still listening, the tone she says it in holds a wealth of amusement and affection. "And he's particularly insufferable when he's right. Which is a lot of the time lately." Her blue eyes never leave the younger woman. "If he says he needs you? He does. If he told you about this place… he trusts you. And I think if you give it a chance… you'll find that you can make some friends along the way." She shrugs a little. "We're a little insular to start with. For all the same reasons you are. But it's worth the try. Being alone out there gets harder and harder." She shoves herself off the jamb now and moves to turn halfway out.

"For the record… I've been both a music teacher and a performer. And I think you're wrong. You've got talent. Could use some time in a good practice environment, from the sounds of it, but I think if you put some solid time to it, you could pretty easily do the club circuit. Might not get famous, but it'd pay the bills. If you're interested in trying it out, let me know. I know the owner of a club down in Greenwich who'd give you a shot."

"I don't want to be famous. That means too many people looking at you, wanting your time, looking for dirt. Last thing I need is for that to happen," Angelina says, shrugging a bit. "And I don't know if he needs or trusts me. He just wants someone who can blow shit up and is impressed for some reason with me helping with the nightmares. But none of that is the problem. I just can't pin down the jackass long enough to talk about what the problem is."

Elisabeth turns back and meets Angel's eyes dead-on. "He trusts you or there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that you'd be in this building right now, Angelina." There's a long pause, and the blond says softly, "And if you helped take down the Nightmare Man? You earned your place here three times over. I used to be a cop. The 35 was my case… and the Nightmare Man made that happen. So you gave 35 kids that I consider as much mine as the kids I used to teach justice." She smiles a bit. "I think you're pretty much exactly where you should be, kiddo. But you have to believe it too."

Liz takes a quick breath and says, "Talk to me. Tell me what the problem is, and maybe I can help. I owe you for my kids, if for no other reason."

Angelina looks uncomfortable at the tone of the conversation now. "Look, I just helped because I was tired of the nightmares. I just showed up and blew stuff up. I didn't really do that much," she says, shuffling her feet a little, fidgetting with the guitar. "So you don't owe me jack. And no offense, but I don't know you, and some of the questions I have, I think only he can answer. Though even if he couldn't…I've only met three of you guys, and just barely that. I…I'm not comfortable with people, as a rule."

"It's possible that only he can answer the questions you've got," Liz says mildly. "And if that's the case, I'll tell you I don't have the answers. I won't bullshit you. And I'm not going to convince you that you should be here either."

Angelina shakes her head. "I don't know if I should be here or not. I just know right now it feels like I'm freeloading. I don't like that feeling."

"Fair enough," Elisabeth replies. "I can relate to that." She leans a shoulder on the doorway and seems thoughtful. "Besides blowing shit up, what are you good at?" she asks.

Angelina shrugs. "I'm not. I just blow shit up, and do my best to survive. That's it."

Liz chuckles. "Well, so here's the thing… it sounds to me like you've got a talent we're going to need and we're offering you a place to stay so as to be on-call, so to speak. In the meantime, I venture to say you're as free as everyone else around here to do whatever you want to. Richard doesn't want to run about town trying to get to our people if he doesn't have to, that's all." She shrugs. "So… if you want to stay, stay. If you don't want to stay, don't stay. As an example…. Peyton is working on organizing and filing the information we have on what's been going on. If you want to turn your hand to helping her, or helping Bones do some clean-up work in the main levels of the library as a way of earning your keep here, feel free. Bones and I both have day jobs we have to keep to in order to keep them off our backs. And if you're interested in the club thing, I'll put in a good word for you with my friend." She shrugs and says lightly, "It really is that simple."

Angelina smiles faintly. "Not really that simple. But I'll keep all that in mind. Not gonna make a decision right now anyway."

Elisabeth nods. "Smart woman." She grins. "If you need me, my cell phone number's scrawled on the white board down the hall in the kitchenette they've got set up."

"Is there a phone in here somewhere?" Angelina asks with a slight flush to her cheeks. Clearly she has no phone.

"No land lines in here. I'm going to bring in a stack of disposables for the people who don't have them already. You're not the only one," Elisabeth assures Angelina.

Angelina doesn't look so sure, but she nods. "Okay…sure. And me…well…if I'm not here, Card knows where I hang out. Hung out," she corrects, with a little frown.

With a faint nod, Elisabeth says quietly, "If you don't mind letting Peyton know too, that would be helpful. As you can see…. it's a little hard for Richard to get around a lot. He's… " She shrugs, with no real words to describe it.

"Not quite all there? Yeah, I noticed," Angelina says with a nod and glance to the wall she last saw him on.

"Yeah." That's as good a word as any, Elisabeth guesses. She moves to head out. "Hang tight, Angelina. We're trying to pull together a lot of disparate bits of intel at the moment, but things won't likely stay this quiet for long." She grins over her shoulder. "The Chinese curse weighs heavily on us lately — these are interesting times."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License