elisabeth_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Admirable
Synopsis Elisabeth follows up with Joseph about his attacker, with a surprisingly familiar photograph to boot.
Date August 18, 2009

Guiding Light Baptist Church

There is no mistaking this building as anything but a church, with its arching glass windows and concrete cross fixed to the edge of the pointed roof. Curving stone steps lead up from the pavement to a set of black double doors, often kept closed during the colder weather, but unlocked during the allocated hours written on a blue sign fix to the brick wall. In white, formal letting, it reads GUIDING LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH and lists its hours of worship.

Through the doors, you first step into an open, nondescript foyer, with access to an unobtrusive staircase headed upwards, and a second hallway leading off somewhere less public also. Mainly, this room opens straight out to the much more spacious worship hall, with immovable rows and rows of pews. A small church, it only seats an absolute maximum of around one hundred and fifty people at a time. It has a high ceiling and is warmly lit, simple and reverent in design, colours light and earthy. The stage before the pews is wide open, with seats off to the side for other pastors and guest speakers, and there is a podium placed off center. On the other side, there is a small organ with music sheets kept nearby.

This morning has already kicked off to a great start… Liz loves to be puttering around NYC at the asscrack of dawn fetching undercover cops from lockup and telling 'em their partners are dead. Since she was already out and about anyway, Elisabeth decided to get an early start on her day and headed toward the Guiding Light Baptist Church. She's got a lineup card to flash at Pastor Joseph, just to see if anyone piques his interest. When she arrives at the church, things are pretty darn quiet — it's not even quite 8:00, she realizes. But someone's clearly on the grounds because the front doors were open, so Elisabeth steps inside the church's sanctuary and looks around. For a change she's not necessarily in a great hurry. And she doesn't look much like a cop, dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a purple T-shirt beneath a beat-up leather jacket with her hair hauled up into a ponytail. Maybe she'll give the pastor a few minutes before she goes looking for him…. the blonde walks slowly to about the middle of the chapel, still looking around. Believing herself in that moment unobserved, Elisabeth bends her knees slightly and crosses herself — it's a movement that's as automatic as breathing as she slides into the pew and sits. A few moments to gather herself and think isn't that much to ask, right?

And Elisabeth is awarded those moments. The church is a plain one - unlike St. John's Cathedral, with all its atmospheric grandness, its echoes, its age, the old stone and the saints faces, the ornamentation. The Guiding Light manages a simpler semblance of this, with high ceilings and arcing windows that filter in stained glass light, streaks of beams that catch the disturbed dust in the air. But there's simplicity, too, in the clean polished pews, the plain cross on the wall above the pulpit, the podium that could fit into any lecture hall if not for the church's name set into a plaque upon it.

Silent as any cathedral, Elisabeth gets a moment to herself. It's about when she's likely about to get up and go searching for the man she's after that she's joined not by a man, but beast. Alicia, a large and black shaggy Newfoundland dog, comes trundling out ahead of her master from some alcove entry way towards the corner of the worship hall, tail a-waggin' and looking unperturbed by the hour. Joseph is soon to follow, dressed for the day in slacks (beige) and a neat shirt (an equally dull shade of light blue), and his foot falls against the ground are softer than the continual *clink* *clink* *clink* of a metal spoon against porcelain as he stirs either tea or coffee in the porcelain mug in his hand.

Elisabeth will see them before Joseph thinks to notice her, having moved in from even deeper within the building, but when Joseph notices his dog veer on over, he thinks to look up. "Oh— mornin'," he says, pausing his walk towards his office, heading towards the pews upon recognising her.

Elisabeth looks up and offers the pastor a faint smile. "Good morning, Pastor. I was just about to come looking for you." She doesn't get up since he's already heading her way, studying him quietly. "How're things going?"

If physical signs can be of any indication, he's healed. Long enough to say that it wasn't by supernatural hand, either, the bruises vanished as well as that look of sleeplessness. He's tired, sure, but that's because it's quite early. Alicia moves to block the way, squeezing herself at the entrance of the pew to look up at Elisabeth with dark, rolling eyes, before Joseph is gently nudging her away. "Things're fine— Harrison, right? Uh, Detective? Things're okay, I think - and yourself?"

The blonde cop's hand goes out to let Alicia sniff and she rubs the dog's ears before Joseph nudges her out of the way. Then she looks up. "Things are going along as they always do," she replies. "Good, bad, and ugly, all rolled into one. I brought you a lineup. It's a long shot, but the guy who came here might be in it; or I could just be grasping at straws and all." She reaches inside the pocket of her jacket and brings out two six-image spreads for him. "Anyone look familiar?" All of them are guys who look similar to the bastard that Elisabeth knows as 'Danko,' whose picture is included, and in truth she doesn't expect the pastor to be able to ID anyone. But eh… it's worth a shot, right? They got nothin' else to go on.

Joseph moves to set his— tea, by the looks of things— tea down onto the next pew forward, hands out to accept the images. "Can't make any promises," he says, already apologetic, but he goes through the images anyway, brow knitting together. At one point, his shoulders go up in a sigh, giving each one a look over, but when he gets to a certain image—

It doesn't actually take that careful study. He stops the slow shuffle and simply blinks down at it. The image is tilted just enough so that Elisabeth can see, fleetingly, that 'Danko' is the one he's come across and summarily stopped at. "Gotta be kidding me…" he mutters.

Her eyebrows shoot to her hairline, but Elisabeth bites back her shock and asks, "You're certain?" It was a complete shot in the dark, and hell, she only brought it to him because it'd be nice to have some reason for cops to be looking for the guy outside what a telepathic 'confidential informant' gave her. He's seriously able to identify him?? Her heartrate kicks up a notch in excitement at a legit reason to look for the man.

"I've seen 'im," Joseph says, before briskly shaking his head, trying to get his thoughts together. It's always bewildering when things just click into place, all of a sudden, at just after 8 AM. "He— he came here. The bastard came by here. That— "

He glances back up at Elisabeth, vaguely apologetic as he struggles to take a step back and explain. "The day after this place got vandalised, with Humanis First stuff all over the front, this man," and he offers her the photo by way of gesture, "came in to talk to me. I get a lot of folks coming by, so I didn't think nothin' of it at the time. Can't remember what name he gave me, but he wanted to talk to me about his son— Evolved son. I remember— it got mighty strange around the end. It has to be him— the same man, who broke in."

A beat, then a sheepish shrug from the pastor. "Sort of short of stature."

Tilting her head, Elisabeth asks, "The man who broke in was short of stature, or this man who visited the church was?" To clarify the pastor's answer without leading him on — because if they arrest him ultimately, a good lawyer's going to try to discredit the pastor's identification. It's why she phrased herself the way she did when she brought the cards with her.

"Both. I'm— I'm pretty sure it's the same man," Joseph says, not quite impatiently, just plainly. "I didn't get a look at 'im when he broke in, he was wearing a mask— been trying to contact, um— Rebecca Nakano? Nak— ana? She was the one that used her ability," and he makes a sort of fingerwaving hand gesture at the word, "on the church when it was vandalised. I figured I'd ask her to take a look at my apartment, see if maybe he took off his mask after he knocked me out. But his voice— I'd swear to you it's him."

"I'll drop by and ask her when she's got time to take a look at the apartment," Elisabeth says, reaching to take the cards from him while they talk. "Obviously since you didn't see his face when he broke in, we can't pick him up for that. You know a good defense attorney would get him off in a heartbeat on the whole 'oh, so because he's short, it has to be him' kind of thing. But the fact that you recognize someone here gives us at least a place to start. You said the conversation with this man was strange… tell me how."

Joseph takes a breath and lets out a sigh, but unwilling to argue the point. Short being only a part of it. Still, he knows enough it's her job to look critically, and so he only nods with vague impatience, handing back the cards. "It just left me feelin' uneasy. We got into talkin' about the Evolved, and then it just— the topic of conversation got left a bit to the wayside, and I didn't see 'im since. You— " He pauses to look at her carefully, searchingly. "You have to know what it's like, when you're in a conversation with someone judgin' you for what you are— even if they ain't outright sayin' what's on their mind, it's there."

Oh yes, she knows. Her blue eyes meet his and Elisabeth says quietly, "I see a lot of things in this job, Pastor. Most of it bad. And before people knew what I was, it was 'admirable' that I put my life on the line every day for them. Now there's this big argument going on in the world about whether I should even be allowed to exist. Had a guy say to my face the other day that he was glad that his school wouldn't hire anyone who was like me. And yet I still go out there every day, not with an invulnerability power or a regeneration power or anything else that will stop me from getting just as dead as I would have before I had the power, and I put my life on the line for them. Somehow it's not as admirable these days. Strange how that works, huh?"

Joseph's mouth twists into a bitter smile. "It wouldn't matter if you had the ability to make rainbows— they'll see you as special. Unfair. You know— I wanted the Guiding Light to be a place where people like you and me had somewhere to go, but I don't preach about how powerful we are, how special we are. I preach that we're just like them. Not above, not below." He pauses a second, then adds, "And whoever this man is sees us as below. Animals. Beyond what he looks like, his voice— I hadn't encountered that before. It just rings familiar."

Elisabeth smiles slightly. "People are always afraid of what they don't understand. I was afraid of myself at first too," she admits, looking toward the front of his church. "I think most of us who got abilities were scared — maybe more after the public learned about abilities than before. Before… we were isolated, alone, we hid it and only told the people we trusted, those we loved. After?" She looks up at him and says quietly, "After, they said 'oh you have to tell everyone' and painted huge targets on our backs without making any attempt to actually protect us from the fear." She shrugs a little. "It's familiar — it happens every time people see someone different. Different color skin, different sexuality, different abilities… it's the same people, really, who always instigate it." She sounds weary.

"The ones who get to sit comfortably within 'normal'?" Joseph says, with a flash of a smile, wan though it might be. "I used to know what that was like. Now I've kind've— become the black sheep of my kind, you could say." Speaking of black mammals, Alicia has long since trotted off from them out of boredom, sprawled on on the floor with her head resting on a step leading up to the pulpit, and the dog gets a glance from Joseph. "I only found out 'bout myself after the fact, actually. It was a rocky time to be. It's easier up this way— " He tilts his head towards the doors. "New York. Well. Relatively." You know, break ins and vandalism aside.

Elisabeth laughs softly. "I barely remember 'normal'," she tells him quietly. "Nothing's really been 'normal' since 9/11 in this city." In more ways than one for a cop whose ability erupted that day. She moves to stand up and looks at him. "I'm not going to give up on bringing in these people, Pastor. But it may take a while. Just…. be as careful as you can, all right?"

Joseph backs up a little as she goes to move away, picking up his neglected tea, trapping the teaspoon balanced inside it between his fingers spidering over the rim. "You too, detective," he says, with a slight smile. "I'll get on the phone with Rebecca. You just be ready with those pictures, if anythin' comes up. Oh— " His free hand goes up, bidding her to wait. "You know— you probably won't find anythin' in my apartment by now, but Ms. Phoebe Thornton— friend of mine— had her bodyguard come searchin' around my apartment pretty much a day or so after. He was pokin' all over the place, bound to get somethin' - if you want, I can give you her number."

Elisabeth's eyebrow tics upward. "I've got a call in to her, but I was asked not to go in an official capacity and I wanted to let a little time pass so as not to lead anyone in her direction." She smiles at him slightly. "I'll make a point of making another call about it, though." She's had a lot on her mind lately and it fell off her radar to follow up until he mentioned it. Guilt! It's a wonderful motivator.

"Sounds fair," Joseph says, without question, and the hand that had becked her to pause now offers a fleeting wave, as he takes a step in the direction of his office. "You have a good rest of the day, now— and be careful too."

Elisabeth tilts her head and looks at him. "Mind if I ask you something personal, Pastor?"

He pauses his trek, nodding once - this underscored by the sound of the big dog several feet away climbing too her feet upon the belated realisation that her master was heading away. "Sure," Joseph says.

"Do you…. ever wonder if letting people see the future, letting them use the gift you have, is a good thing?" Elisabeth asks quietly. "I mean… if they see something bad happening and act to change it… do you think that's what we're supposed to be doing with it?"

Joseph's gaze lowers to observe the creamy surface of the tea he's holding, half a smile playing out on his face at that particular question. "I go back and forth. More'n I should," he says, looking back up at her. "But to put it frankly: yes. It's what we got free will for. God has a plan, but down here, we have our own plans. We'd be neglecting what we are if we didn't try to make our own fate."

Elisabeth's mouth twists into a wry smile. Fate. She believes in fate — not every little action being predetermined but that certain key ones that are landmarks on the path of a life. And she nods slightly. "I used to think that God plunked you on this planet and had an endpoint for you but he didn't really care how you got there. Nowadays…. I think more and more that he sticks signposts and landmarks in your path to try to help you make the right choices." She looks around Joseph's peaceful little church and says mildly, "Sure wish I could read the damn things. Signs saying 'Giant sinkhole of quicksand ahead, go back!' would sure be a damn sight more helpful than rivers of blood that when you change them turn into nuclear mushroom clouds." And then she holds up a hand, fingers splayed in a kind of wave. "Be well, Pastor. Lemme know if you need anything."

Joseph gives a fleeting chuckle at that, and nods his head as if to say 'fair enough'. His ability isn't something he immediately offers - gosh knows how confusing they can be. Perhaps another time. For now, he returns her wave with a nod. "I'll do that. Talk to you soon, detective." Then, a sharp farmyard whistle that has Alicia trotting over, both she and pastor headed upstairs.

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