To Go In Discontent


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Scene Title To Go In Discontent
Synopsis Kazimir ventures down to the brig to visit the young woman he raised as his daughter — whose belief in him, in the end, overcomes suspicion, and leaves their parting even more poignant than their reunion.
Date January 6, 2009

USS George Washington

This isn't the end anyone expected.

Deep in the bowels of the USS George Washington, the Brig area is a confined and claustrophobic thing, made of matte gray walls and iron bars, small cots and no semblance of privacy with toilets in the cells. In some sort of twisted form of company for the prisoners, they have been placed in close proximity to one another. One such barred cell looks more like a hospital room, where a raised gurney contains a withered old man hooked up to an IV drip and a respirator, machines monitoring his heart-rate and brain waves, a prisoner inside of his own skin. In this regard, it is perhaps the only safe way to contain the likes of Grigori Zukhovsky.

Able to watch him from where her cell is, another prisoner is given far less comforts. Yvette Volken is treated as all of the other Vanguard captives are; like an animal. Her cramped cell is more like a coffin than it is a prison, for all the comfort it brings. Deprived of her ability by means of regular injection, they have effectively silenced her, locked her — much like Grigori — into a prison of her own flesh, even if a mobile one.

Somewhere nearby, Hector Steel and Ethan Holden are taking up equally small prison space, but neither have been particularly talkative to one another, and of course Yvette herself is not the best conversationalist. At least one predictable constant down here, is the passage of people in and out. Twice a day, for food and injections, and never more.

That's what makes the creak of the distant metal door leading into the brig unusual.

Mobile she may be, but in these surroundings it doesn't much matter; there's nowhere for Yvette to go, and nothing for her to do save sit and listen, the only distraction stray sounds from outside and the ebb and swell of her own pain. She's refused their efforts to hide her disfigurement, for here amongst the enemy it is a badge of pride and identity; and perhaps in time those who look upon it will leave an opening for the girl to take advantage of. It's a slim hope, but she has little else left.

Seated on the cot, Yvette has moved little in the past hours; in past days, for that matter, her back against one of the unadorned walls, hands folded across her thighs, posture a stiff rigidity that gets translated merely as hostile. It is, of course, but not just that; stubborn pride, bitter determination, the fact that not moving hurts less. She's seated where she can watch as much of the corridor as the bars allow, of course, not that that takes much work in these dimensions; and for all that her mind perks up at the unusual entrance into the brig, she doesn't give anyone watching the possible satisfaction of seeing any twitch.

There is familiarity in the metered procession of noisy footfalls that comes down that polished floor of the hall. Something in the way the click of hard-soled shoes harkens back to a comforting memory, but there is a distinct rhythm to these footfalls, the clack-clack of shoes interspersed with something else. It is the hard, metallic click of a cane touching the floor that seems to drive the memory home, a three-note beat that has always been like the irregular sound of a heart to Yvette.

"Now go we in content," comes the voice down the hall, echoing off of the walls in theatric projection, not a shout, but enough to be heard. She knows it is As You Like It, Yvette could likely recite the play forward and backward had she the capacity to do so; one man in her life was ever so fond of educating her in the great playwrights of the world.

It is with that first line that the figure reveals himself to her, coming into view of the narrow mouth of her cell, his silhouette divided by white bars. His posture is immaculate, as is the cut of his suit and its ink black form. As he turns, the scar across his face is no semblance to the one she bears, but worn as a badge of honor none the less. But beneath furrowed brows, it is blue eyes so azure in their hue that give away what a new face cannot, "To liberty,"

They narrow, blue slits peering into a cage of white bars, a long black cane supporting his weight on one side with a polished bronze head and end-cap that makes such clicking when he walks. His eyes follow the line of the cell up to where Yvette sits on the cot, and his cadaverous countenance softens as much as the lighting in here allows it to. "and not to banishment."

Such irony in those words of the play, as two people are banished from their country, only to find that life outside of what they have known for so long will undoubtedly be better. He always did have a way with words.

She rises with the words, with the click of the cane, drawing herself up to her full height before the bars of the cell. Reddish gaze starts at the bronze-capped cane and works its way upwards to meet azure; Yvette stands just beyond reach, fingers curled in towards her palms, those loose fists not quite easily set by her sides. Water wells in her eyes, and a flickering procession of emotions that most people would be hard-put to interpret in the absence of lips; but he is too familiar with her expressions to have that problem. The rising flare of hope is plain as day; and the crash of suspicion that follows on its heels, regardless of what she wants to be true.

This ship is the stronghold of their enemies, those who fight the Vanguard's Work, and he — he walks about it freely, without manacle or even escort.

The flicker of her gaze towards Zhukovsky's cell is brief, but not likely to be overlooked.

Yvette Volken lifts her chin, gaze now steady upon the man before her. For all that suspicion, that sense not quite daring to cross the line and approach betrayal, she grants him what she has given none since her capture; the young woman lifts her hands, fingers stretching out to dance upon the air in a swift parade of shapes.

He died, one studied in his death; threw away the dearest thing he owned, careless, a trifle.

The quote is mangled by the limits of the constructed language that is all Yvette can use, but recognizable nonetheless: Macbeth to his As You Like It.

She pauses a moment, then adds one more word. Explain.

"Just like Gabriel Gray after Richard Santiago, after my original body, I persist." Kazimir intones in a quiet, regretful voice as he moves towards the bars. His cane moves to stillness at his side, one gloved hand reaching up to the bars, black-clad fingers offered to the young woman behind them. "Measures of survival I was willing to accept, but a guilty conscience I was unwilling to abide." Blue eyes narrow, and Kazimir's brows furrow on an unfamiliar and youthful face.

"My little Yvette…" he offers in a hushed voice, throat tense and neck tight with a swallow. He is forced to witness her disfigurement here, forced to be confronted with yet more instances of his failures as a man. Emotion becomes visible against those blue eyes, glassing them over just enough.

"I'm sorry, for everything that has happened to you, and for putting you in this situation to begin with." There's a tension at the corners of Kazimir's eyes, fingers sitll reaching out for her hand thorugh the bars.

Then, leaning his cane against the barred doors with a clink, his now freed hand moves into the pocket of his suit jacket, retrieving a syringe. Blue eyes glance down the hall, then back to Yvette, voice lowered. "It reverses the effects of what they have injected you with," he whispers, "it should take effect quickly."

The twitch of her fingers to take his hand is reflexive; aborted just shy of contact, as she looks back up into his face, studying it as if to find answers somewhere between sword-slash scar, blue eyes, glimpses of teeth made visible by spoken words. Can she trust this apparition that both does and does not speak to her dearest memories?

What are you doing?

Yvette has no voice to break, no lips to tremble; and no power with which to express her feelings in incontrovertible terms. Only the swifter, sloppier motion of her hands, the twist of surface muscles that sends saltwater tracing tracks down the contours of her decayed face.

What are you doing?

The young woman steps forward, her torso half an inch from his fingertips, hands flickering through one final sentence before they clutch at his as if he were all that keeps her from drowning. It may just be that he is.

What madness is this?

She isn't talking about the drug he offers.

"Fixing my mistakes…" Kazimir offers with a croak of his voice and a tightness in his throat. The darkly dressed man squeezes those thin, delicate fingers behind his gloves. The feeling of the pin-prickling tingle of his ability through that intermediary is so familiar to her, like a comforting scent of a mother's cooking or the sound of a father's voice; such as is the distortion of their family unit. "A great many things have happened in the last year, Yvette. My world has changed, and I have seen everything that I thought was built on a foundation of righteousness turned into something disgusting."

His fingers squeeze hers more tightly now, breathing out a shuddering exhalation of emotion so rare to find in his typically stony countenance. The syringe is offered through the bars like a dirty secret. "I'm cleaning up my mistake, and I'm setting you free…" swallowing dryly, Kazimir nods his head once, slowly. "I can't— won't— allow you to die for my mistakes. I have taken so much from you, and given you so little in return. Take this," he urges the capped syringe closer, "take this and wait for Eileen." Eileen, not Munin. Eileen who turned on him, Eileen who helped kill him.

"She's going to help get you off of this ship," Kazimir's words are hushed in clandestine tones, "help get you away from these people, and away from danger. I— " he slows down, finally, all his haste fading away as breathing regulates. "I am not deserving of your love."

More than the cane and the meter of his footsteps, the blue of his eyes and the measure of his words, it's that touch that finally allays Yvette's fears. This is real and true — even if she doesn't understand. She doesn't understand at all.

Her shoulders shudder with the sobs that are no more than soft hisses from the young woman's ruined throat, but she keeps her hands steady enough as they draw back to form another statement, red-tinged gaze widening in disbelieving protest. You gave me everything, Yvette says; and so the child who remembers no different life believes.

She looks at him for a long moment, an infinitesimal eternity; and then she lets her hands drop to where his waits, sliding up one sleeve of her jumpsuit to bare a pale forearm. Eileen she wouldn't trust — but Kazimir is the keeper of Yvette's faith and loyalty, and if he says to wait for Eileen… then, obedient to his words, she will go with Eileen. Cautiously.

But first things first: a needle, and the concoction it contains.

Yvette's words, such as they are, burn him to the core. Kazimir has to close his eyes, force himself to draw back emotion, to not break down from what he is confronted with. His hand holding hers trembles as much as her shoulders do; the cruelty of this brief meeting is unbearable. Once again, he is forced to send her away, when he wishes more than anything to keep her so close.

What Yvette injects herself with, it is like liquid fire under her skin. Some untold cocktail of adrenaline and god knows what other synthetic compounds. In just as much that the neuro-toxin that depoweres the evolved is a mystery, the anti-toxin that removes it from their system is just as shrouded in secrecy. The fire spreads quick, like wild flames roaring across the plains of Africa in midsummer, an inferno that finds Yvette's heart and courses up the sides of her throat, burning behind her eyes like alcohol burns the throat.

Somehow, in their fiery sensation, there is also clearing. Like the way antihistimenes can unclog sinuses, it feels as though a part of her body has been expunged of some foreign invader, and for its worth it has. Kazimir takes the used syringe back, replaces the cap, and tucks it carefully into his coat pocket. "We are going to Antarctica," Kazimir murmurs in a hushed tone of voice, "Mikhail is there, and…" his words are carefully chosen, "I have to stop him."

He squeezes her hand again, and Kazimir's eyes downturn to the floor. Not for a moment does he ever let go of her hand, break that contact. But when he looks up, there is a sadness behind those blue eyes. "This will likely be the last time I see you. I… do not expect to survive my encounter with Wagner." His dark brows tense, creasing that scar across his brow. Gently, his gloved thumb strokes across the back of one of her knuckles, leaving that tingling sensation in its wake. "At least this time, I have the chance to say goodbye."

Her fingers tighten around the curve of the syringe as the drug begins to take effect, not hard enough to threaten its integrity but turning pale knuckles whiter nonetheless. Eyes nearly closed, the muscles of her frame going taut, Yvette carries the fire's weight almost in silence; the stifled hiss of breath escaping her throat carries not beyond the boundaries of her cell. But as Kazimir's fingers brush against hers, she unclenches her fist, relinquishing the needle to his grasp; she retains that awareness.

Also the capacity to hear and comprehend his words, even if their meaning remains a mystery. Yvette is too young, too sheltered, to carry as many regrets as the far older soul she calls father — to even quite understand what that means for him, for his choice of actions. She lifts her gaze to meet his, a film of water still covering her eyes; eyes that smile where lips cannot as her fingers squeeze his hand, the intangible caress of faithful love made more than a mere impression by power reawakening within the girl.

No, she signs, one-handed, unwilling to relinquish his hand now even for sake of the concrete words her ability cannot convey. Not goodbye.

He has returned to her from death once. Of course he will return again. They have a long ways left to go.

Blinking back that mirrored emotion, Kazimir looks down to his feet, teeth stilling his lower lip as his eyes are forced to avert from her countenance and the thoughts it brings. He breathes, loudly, and a gloved hand is raused to wipe with forefingers and thumbs at his eyes. With a noisy motion of his throat, Kazimir swallows back emotion to confront this as best as he can. He can't bring himself to crush that hope in her, to crush that fleeting presence of emotion that has bound them together for so long. A hand reaches thorugh the bars, leather reaching to caress the side of her face, a face that Kazimir has come to never turn away from the way others do. His thumb strokes gently over her cheekbone, beneath one pink eye.

"Shakespeare had lines for this," Kazimir admits with a tightness in his voice, "on parting and sweet sorrows." The gloved hand falls away, his arm slithers back through the bars, and he forces himself to wall back the overflowing tide of conflicting emotions inside of him. "For once, even the Bard's words fail to convey everything I want to."

Stepping back from the bars, Kazimir leaves one hand lingering on a cross-bar support, blue eyes matched against pink ones, the creak of the ship's depths their background noise. "Then, not goodbye…" Kazimir reluctantly admits, words hitching in the back of his throat. "I will see you again," he utters with great difficulty, "in another life."

She lets his hand go only reluctantly, but does bow to the inevitable; hard not to, when the bars pen her in. Yvette nods to him, eyes again glinting in the wan light but no tears falling from them. I don't want you to go, she admits, letting words frame the sentiment rather than the more delicate channel of emotion's plucked strings; the Laeding to her power's Gleipnir, that difference holding it to an admission and not a plea. If the expression in her eyes mingles bittersweet sorrow and loving warmth, she shares none of the former with Kazimir.

I will be waiting, Father, Volken's daughter promises.

In truth, he doesn't want to go either, and in a way Yvette is temptation to turn back to the old ways, to forsake the path of bitter redemption that he and his host are both on together. But as easy as that would be, the sight of her uncovered face is all the grounding in reality her needs. He did that to her, he took away from her the innocence of youth and a hope for a new life. With all his power, all his restorative secrets now learned, he still cannot give her back what his cursed touch took away all those years ago.

Retreating from her after taking back his cane, Kazimir dips his head down into a nod, to be strong for her, to feign strength he is not even sure he has anymore in himself. "I know you will…" he rasps out to the prison's walls, eyes saying more than rough voice ever could.

And as he makes his departure, he hates that she will follow her promise, hates what he has turned her into and hates what he took away from her life.

But at the same time, he can't help but love her.

The one person who keeps him human.

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