A Phoenix Is Reborn In Fire


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Phoenix Is Reborn In Fire
Synopsis … And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time. T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
Date July 22, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

Elisabeth's spent a lot of time in the bedroom she shares with Ygraine lately. She's been sleeping a lot. And even when she hasn't been asleep she's been hiding there. She admitted some time ago that she was feeling at loose ends and very down, unsure of what the future holds or how to even impact it anymore. And in spite of the fact that she hasn't given up on the idea that someday Richard will pop back up, there is a part of her that is starting to accept that if he does…. it may be years in coming. It's hot, it's sticky, and ultimately there are just some things that must be waded through. Grief and depression over your life's circumstances are sort of an excuse to wallow, as long as you don't wallow too deeply.

This is the first time in literally weeks that Elisabeth has touched the keyboard. Surrounding in a silence field so as to not wake her roommate the blonde has her eyes closed and is playing. Her expression holds a kind of relief, as if in finding the music again some huge weight has lifted from her shoulders.

The keyboard, however, has not been neglected - especially so once the temperature rose to levels that made art an unusually messy passtime. Ygraine has been doing her best to reawaken her own talent for music, however poorly it might compare with that of her room-mate and occasional tutor.

When the Briton stirs, rolling over atop the bed in a futile search for a patch of cooler material against which to press, she first exhales in slow frustration at the oppressive heat… then cracks open an eye to check up on her surroundings. When Liz and her present occupation come into a blurry approximation of focus, however, Ygraine's lips curl into a sleepy smile of approval.

It's a rare occasion when Elisabeth is so unguarded these days, and there are tears shimmering on her lashes as she plays in the silence of the room. Her fingers caress the keys, though she's not singing with whatever she's playing. Her posture betrays the sadness she still feels, but there is a kind of acceptance in her now as well. She doesn't realize that Ygraine's awake, nor does she know what her face has given away to her roommate.

Though her own features are still very largely sleep-slackened, Ygraine does allow herself to curl up a touch more, shifting position to push an arm under her head to offer a fractionally better view of Elizabeth's seemingly-silent playing. The Briton's smile remains in place, though her expression turns rather pensive as she studies the former music teacher's return to a fragment of more peaceful times.

The song she's playing seems to come to an end. Elisabeth's fingers stop on the keys, remaining there as she pauses. Blue eyes open as she draws in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Her hands raise to her face to scrub, wiping away those tears on her lashes, and then up into her hair to rake it back. Desolation. Resolution. And a soft smile upward, a benediction or a farewell perhaps. She reaches out to turn off the electric keyboard, her shoulders squaring. And only then does she happen to glance sideways and note that Ygraine's awake. The silence field drops and Elisabeth murmurs, "Morning." She knows the music didn't wake Ygraine — she knows her powers. And she tilts her head, studying the Brit, uncertain what to say.

Rendered rather clumsy by lack of wakefulness, Ygraine extends one hand - fingers somewhat curled. "M'nin'", she responds, before working her mouth a little to gain fuller control of her muscles. Lifting her head, she offers a fuller smile. "That looked as if it did you good", she murmurs. "And it's a pleasure to see you playing again."

There's a long pause before Elisabeth forces a bit of a smile. "I've been too damn down to even think about it, honestly," she admits softly. "I don't like to feel this bleak. So I'm forcing myself out of it. I don't know what else to do — it's not like medications are exactly available." Though she could probably use them.

Offering a wry smile, Ygraine nods gently. "That's why I've built up enough sketches and drawings and paintings to build a fair-sized bonfire", she responds. "Many of them aren't exactly cheery… but better to be doing something, and to have it on the page, than to just trap it all in my head."

Elisabeth's smile goes a little brighter and she says quietly, "I caught a bit of a song on someone's iPod the other day. Went looking for it and downloaded it…." She turns back to the iPod that she's had with her since she and Felix ran, and she plugs it into the speakers on the keyboard, turning it on to run again. "Rise Today" comes at a relatively low volume, and the blonde leans back against the wall as it plays.

Reloading is cathartic for Jaiden. The methodical priming, pressing, and sorting of used shells into freshly loaded and ready to rock bullets is something he sits and makes himself do almost every evening - mainly because the target practice that goes on downstairs eats bullets like candy, and without bullets, people can't practice, and god help them if Elisabeth can't bust a few caps now and again to let off a little stress. There's a knock on Elisabeth's door, the knob turning to reveal Jaiden with three racks of freshly loaded 9mm bullets, their bronze noses pointed toward the sky. "Oi there, Lizzy. Hey there, Ygraine. Got your daily raition of stress relief ready whenever you are…." He slips in and puts them down near the door, leaning against the wall. "Everything going okay?"

Squirming around, Ygraine pushes herself upright, resting her back against the cool of the wall as she folds her legs into a lazy approximation of a Lotus position. "Rise today and change this world?", she murmurs, lips twitching into another smile.

Jaiden's arrival with armaments, however, results in the Briton unwittingly scooting a touch further away from the door. "About as well as they ever do, these days", she answers the big Aussie.

Elisabeth looks up as the door opens, allowing the music to pour out into the hallway. She still looks tired, but there's a sense of tension that's missing today. Her depression seems to be lifting, maybe. Her smile at Jaiden is faint. "Morning," she offers. A glance at Ygraine brings a further smile. "Seems… appropriate, don't you think?"

Jaiden leaves the bullets where they are, covered with a newspaper to kind of give the whole 'out of sight, out of mind' thing that helps sometimes, making his way over to slide down the wall next to Elisabeth, reaching over to pat her knee lightly, giving it an affectionate squeeze. "I was wondering why I couldn't get that song out of my head, and now I know. It's your fault."

A low chuckle, and Ygraine nods to Elizabeth. "Reminds me of some old dreams, and of a younger self. And younger friends", she says softly. "Back when the world seemed rather more… malleable." One knee is drawn up, arms wrapping around it - the ugly scarring on each side of one bicep shifting in response to the motions of the reknitted muscle beneath. "Me, I've been listening to my usual collection of eccentricity."

As Muse's "Uprising" begins, Elisabeth leans her head over onto Jaiden's shoulder. Her body goes a little taut, as if this particular tune winds her up. And maybe it's a good thing; her toes tap and her eyes close.

Down the hall a door opens and Devon's head peers around the corner toward the common room. It isn't often there's music playing where anyone can hear, each keeping their own playlists confined between their ears. So the unusual must be investigated. Arms folded over his chest in a manner that would keep things compressed, rather than in a defensive posture, he edges down the hall slowly, curious, and a touch wary.

Jaiden's arm goes around Elisabeth's waist, giving her a light squeeze as the music starts, letting his eyes close as the song fills the room. Yay audiokinetic. Far better than any Bose speaker system that could be built into the ramshackle house. And as the music plays, Jaiden thinks. "I've got an idea….if you guys are willing."

Ygraine cocks her head, brows lifting as she shoots Jaiden a markedly quizzical look. "What do you have in mind?" she asks, dryly curious.

"Well, There's a place in Jersey….no, not the Jersey Shore…that every sunday has a big buffet style dinner with live music and dancing. Very friendly, out of the way sort of place. Been wanting to go and….well…" He glances to everyone gathered in the small room. "Since we've got kind of a family thing going on, might be an interesting diversion."

Her curiosity piqued enough to come out of the music, the pulse of the beat having distracted her, Elisabeth lifts her head. Her eyes, though, move to the door. Someone else is coming, and she offers a smile in welcome as the teen's head clears the frame. She jerks her chin, a silent invitation to join the conversation, and she turns the music down.

A glance through the room brings a faint grin, Devon's head nodding in hello. He takes the invitation to step into the room and sit on the floor, back sliding down a wall as he's seated.

Somewhat self-consciously, Ygraine nods to the youngster as he adds another body to the count in the room, before quirking another smile at Jaiden. "Sounds… unusual. Do any of us have any idea of how actively we're being looked for? I admit that getting out of here for a while and going to somewhere fun sounds very good indeed."

"You guys should go," Elisabeth tells them. "Take whoever wants to go with you, but…. unfortunately, my name is currently Mudd and my face is well known enough that it could cause problems." She grimaces a little. "I was turned in a couple days ago, so I'm going to have to assume that people will be watching for me again more actively. Trying to get in and out of the city would just be dicey right now."

"All from the bodega visit,I guess?" Jaiden asks softly, giving her a squeeze.

Devon directs an apologetic look to Ygraine and hedges a little closer to the door to make the room seem less full of people. He takes a step more to make himself seem smaller, legs folding and crossing in front of him, one leg drawn upward and held with an arm. Further guilt plays into the apology as that incident is brought up in a look that's directed to Liz. "Brennan said he was reporting her," the boy admits quietly, "but giving us enough time to get underground first."

"It's all right," Elisabeth tells Devon with a small smile. "Brennan's doing what he has to so that his own butt is covered — believe me, I don't begrudge him a bit. I'm just grateful that he gave us the time to get out of the way. Richard… trusted him. To a point. He's a good man, trying to do the best he can." She leans her head back down on Jaiden's shoulder, moving to shut the music off altogether when Muse's "Resistance" starts playing. "So seriously, it's a great idea for people to get away. Do it."

Jaiden points to Devon. "Son." Then to Ygraine. "mommy." Then to himself. "Daddy." He grins. "Got it?"

"Turned in?", Ygraine asks, clearly rather shocked - though not, it seems, greatly worried about any imminent threat. "I hope that it was no one we know….." Then Jaiden's plan registers, and her brows shoot up again. "Just how old do you think I am?", she asks with a laugh.

"We met at university." Jaiden says with a grin and a twinkle. "One night stand turned into him, and I, being the honorable sort, asked you to marry me to keep our family's pride intact." Jaiden wisely does not answer the rhetorical 'how old do you think I am' question because he values his manhood.

Shaking his head at Elisabeth's words, Devon glances toward Ygraine and Jaiden. "Might work. But you two could go ahead without me if you wanted. Nothing to explain away then."

Elisabeth just snickers with laughter. She can't help it. "There's nothing to explain anyway — a small group of two adults and a kid is not going to cause any questions. You're not doing anything wrong." She shrugs. "I don't even know that any of you are actually being sought — aside from Devon."

"I'd be surprised if we weren't. Certainly if I wasn't, given what the Feds have on me. But we've probably waited long enough that it's not at the forefront of many people's minds. Just make sure to cover up scars and tattoos, and we should be all right", Ygraine muses. "Though I admit that I am frightened. I've got used to being here, or underground."

"That's why I'm kind of doing this. We need to remember what we're fighting for. We need to go out and be human, not just members of ENDGAME in the safehouse, waiting for the next raid or assault or whatever needs to happen. We need to live, even if it's a little dangerous." Jaiden nods to Ygraine. "Your tattoos will need to be covered and me…" He screws up his face a little and his Australian accent kind of fades. "I'll need to cut out on the more obvious notes of my voice. Perhaps colour my hair." He grins, switching back to his normal speaking voice. "look….if we're always on edge….if we're always like a bow pulled back, ready to fire, we'll weaken. We need to let the pressure off, now and again."

"Yeah, Valentin knowing who I am isn't a comfort." Devon shrugs slightly. While not dismissive of the matter, he hasn't exactly been dwelling on it. "Whatever. I'm not worried about leaving the house and going out. So long as you two are safe and I don't manage to get us into trouble again."

Elisabeth herself is more worried about Heller and his fucking goon squad, but she doesn't comment. Instead she smiles and says, "Go on. I'll join next time; I don't want to take the risk this week." Not on that. She's going to take other risks instead.

Ygraine chuckles softly. "You're not exactly the only one who'll need to watch accent and idiom", she informs Jaiden, before smiling to Elizabeth. "If you're sure. I feel a bit guilty about abandoning you for something other than working on our fall-back positions."

Shaking his head again, Devon glances between the trio of adults. "I'll go if you want me to tag along," he offers with a shrug. He's not totally sure he's up to an outing just yet, but for reasons other than being a potential person of interest. "Could be fun, and a change of scenery."

Jaiden grins at the boy. "There's the spirit. Now, I betting you lot haven't eaten, so I'm going to go take care of that."

Glancing up at the squeeze the Australian gives her just before he maneuvers upward and leaves the room, Liz smiles slightly. "Sounds great." She looks at the other two. "You could invite Monica and Claire and whoever else along. I'm sure they'd enjoy getting out too."

"And you're going to be fine on your own?", Ygraine checks once more. "I'll gladly stay if you'd like the company, or a hand with anything. But if you'd like a bit of peace and quiet, we can certainly all get out of your hair to somewhere with air conditioning."

Devon looks from Ygraine to Liz when the question is posed again. His brows knit slightly, faint creases drawing across his forehead. "We'll bring you something back," he offers quietly, "candy or a t-shirt or… Whatever."

"Nah — I won't be here anyway. Got a couple things to manage," Elisabeth tells Ygraine. Like a trip to the library to retrieve identity paperwork long ago hidden for a particular person's use. It needs a new hiding place. Somewhere he'll actually look if he ever comes back, and Elisabeth things she's actually got one. She grins at Devon. "I'm fine, Devon. Sure, I'd like to be free to come and go, but I'm kind of a more well-known face than the lot of you, so I'm just trying to be careful and not compromise things."

"Our very own celebrity", Ygraine teases fondly, before nodding to the other pair. "Right - you two had best be gone by the time I get back from a shower. I'll see you in a few minutes…"

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