At Least We're in the Same Book


elisabeth_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title At Least We're in the Same Book
Synopsis Neighbors and friends run into one another on the anniversary of a bad day in Liz's life.
Date August 22, 2010

Dorchester Towers Liz's Apartment

Sundays are the days that religious people tend to do things liiike…. go to church. Elisabeth is not someone you could call particularly religious, though there are days — days like today, when an anniversary so horrible looms and casts a shadow so dark you don't think you'll ever find your way out of it — that she does return to the old, familiar rituals in the hopes of comfort. Sitting with her father in the vast stone chapel to hear Mass, keeping up a good facade for him through lunch with his girlfriend, these things have taken their toll today. As she walks back into the lobby of her apartment building wearing a pair of summer weight navy slacks and a green and white sleeveless top, Liz is carrying a paper bag that clinks with bottles. She has a shuttered expression on her face as she hits the elevator.

At first glance, the auburn-haired woman at the mailboxes is not likely to be taken for Veronica Sawyer. She'll keep the dye job until she's sure her days as "Kiki" are over, but at least for now she can be home in her own bed and not that disgusting mattress at the Rookery. She collects her mail, heading for the elevator as well and walking up behind Liz before she realizes she knows the blonde.

"Harrison," Vee says in an amiable low voice. "How's it going?"

She's surprised, and the jump is visible. Elisabeth should have heard Vee coming, but she didn't. And the possibility that she could be snuck up on this week? Not good. The bottles almost drop as she bobbles the bag she holds. She holds in a full-fledged scream with sheer will. The sound she does make as she pivots is … well, very girly. And the look in those blue eyes is, for just a moment, terrified. "Oh! Oh, shit Vee," Liz says as she recognizes the speaker in spite of the hair. "For God's sake, don't sneak up on me this week, okay? I might accidently shoot you," she informs her friend in a tone that is absolutely not kidding.

Veronica knows that look and that tone. Her eyes widen a touch — at least they are her typical brown and not Kiki's fake green today, so she looks more like Veronica. The fact she's not wearing a skirt that could double as a headband helps. Jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt make her look more carefree than a struggling prostitute or a Company agent. "Wow. Come on, let's get you to your apartment where you can relax a bit," she says, stepping into the elevator and tugging Liz in, then pushing the close doors button before anyone else can share their space. Her worried gaze takes in Liz's face. She'll wait to ask questions until they're out of the elevator, since cameras might pick up their conversation.

Elisabeth has seen Vee in disguise before — it's the only reason she recognized the agent. She nods slightly and allows herself to be tugged into the elevator. She doesn't say anything until they get to her apartment, and she lets Veronica in only to turn every lock on the door. And Alec made sure she had a full-length hinge down the door frame and a locking bolt that went all the way through into the other wall. SWAT-proof, at least for a while. Once that's done, Liz seems to relax a little bit and asks, "Wanna glass of wine?" She'll share her sedative of choice.

The agent moves to set her mail down on a table, her keys and cell phone on top of those. "Sure. White, if you have it," she says, as she crosses her arms, dark eyes watching Liz. "This have to do with Staten, or is something else wrong?" she asks softly. The past year has flown by in some ways, one crisis after the next with no time to breathe in between, and in other times, it has been slow and torturous. This particular week doesn't have any particular meaning for Veronica, though if she thought hard, the significance might occur to her.

Her teeth clench and Elisabeth has to go into the kitchen to open one of the bottles in the bag she's carrying. There are four in there — either she was seriously out or she's seriously planning on getting smashed. It could be a little of both. When she comes back into the living room Liz hands one of the glasses of wine to Veronica and moves to kick off her sandals and curl into the corner of her couch. "One year ago tonight," Elisabeth says quietly, starkly, "I went on a hit against Humanis First. Someone got the drop on me… and when I woke, I was blindfolded, wet, naked, and tied to a pole sitting on a cement floor with a fan blowing cold air at me and a stereo playing the same song over and over and over again…. except when they'd come talk to me. And I stayed that way for what I'm told was somewhere in the range of three days before a man who never once lied to me about what he'd do to hurt me ever so calmly informed me that if I didn't give them a Ferry safehouse, he would cut off my foot and feed it to me." It's one of the few moments of those horrifying days that she actually has any clear memory of. So much of that time is just mental snapshots of pain and terror. That she manages the tone in which she delivered this information to Veronica, and with not a hint of a stammer too!, is a major step forward in Elisabeth's mind. She half drains the glass in her hand now that she's forced out the barest bones of what happened to her.

Veronica winces, perhaps regretting the question, though she's glad to be there to listen, or simply even to help make Liz feel more comfortable, less alone. "That's right. Oh, shit, Liz, I forgot. I'm so sorry," she says, reaching over to touch Liz's shoulder and squeezing in a show of support. "I heard about that, but we weren't really friends back then." They were merely acquaintances, though connected through Kat Marks and colliding cases, but it wasn't until Antarctica that they became friends.

"What can I do? Want me to make you some lunch, or we can get delivery, watch stupid chick flicks and paint our toenails?" The words are light, but her concern is heavy as she watches Elisabeth.

There's a faint smile, and though Liz goes taut under the hand on her shoulder she says quietly, "You can do exactly what you're doing right now. Just…. be here. Sit with me." She pauses. "I don't think I knew that anyone in the Company would even know. The only people who know for sure what happened to me were the people who rescued me and … my father. Though I didn't tell him for…. months." She tilts her head, curious. "How'd you find out?" She honestly has no memory of telling the woman, if she did.

"I didn't know details, but you'd mentioned it briefly. One of our nights of drunken debauchery," Veronica teases. Not that there was much debauchery. There was a lot of drunken crying. "But I can hang out and be here," she says a little more solemnly. She doesn't know how to do a lot of things right now, but being present for a friend is something she wants to do well, even if she's not very good at it. Veronica sips her wine and reaches to set it down again. She stares at it for a moment, trying to think of what else to say. Should she ask questions? Should she change the subject?

She's intimately familiar with that expression — the deer in the headlights of 'oh shit, what do I say now??' Elisabeth actually chuckles slightly. "This has been a year from hell for me," she admits softly. "Right before they picked me up, I'd had a pregnancy scare that totally freaked me out. I was dealing with Azrael the serial killer along with the Nightmare Man shit, which was tied to one of my first cases with Kat Marks. The 35." That of course was before this one-year timeframe, but it was still majorly significant. "We were…. in far more combat around then than I'd ever seen before. And then not too long after that was Russia and then Antarctica. I don't think it's let up all year."

Elisabeth pauses and smirks slightly. "Richard promised me a vacation when it was all over. Tahiti. But it's never going to happen because it's never fucking over," she says drily. There's no self-pity in the statement, merely a rueful acceptance.

Veronica reaches for her wine glass, tipping it back for a couple of hard swallows, and keeping it with her this time. The glass will be empty soon enough. "Yeah, it's been an insane year," she agrees, the focus of her eyes in some far off place. "Sometimes I wish I'd never come to New York. California was never this bad. I thought it was so exciting, and that it meant I'd made the big time, right? To be asked to join the Company out here, in the center of everything? How incredibly fucking naive." She heaves a sigh.

"Go to Tahiti anyway," she advises. "Because you're right. It's never over. You might as well go now and enjoy it. I told Brian I'd marry him once I did a few more things for the Company, once I helped do this one last thing, and … now that one last thing is probably going to get me killed or arrested or God knows what else." Her dark eyed gaze returns to Liz's face. "I'm not gonna make him a widower, you know? But vacation? I'd do vacation. You deserve it."

"Mmmm," Elisabeth replies softly. "I do deserve it." She pauses until she's taken another swallow from her glass, then adds, "He's moving out." There's a wealth of … something to the words. Sadness, of course, but… maybe a little relief? Just a little — she's clearly torn over whether she wants him to do that or not.

"Oh? I didn't know he lived with you," Veronica says softly, "but I'm sorry. If that's… not a good thing for you. Or even if it's the right thing, it still kind of sucks." She frowns, and downs the rest of her wine. "Is it because he can actually be on grid again, without being arrested and without people mistaking him for a shadow?"
Elisabeth laughs softly. "No, actually…. it's because we're both used to having our own space, and he… thinks I need somewhere to retreat to where what we do under the table can be shut out sometimes. And since he lives and breathes what we do under the table and we both used to use my apartment as a refuge from it all…. we kind of have nowhere to get away from it all anymore. If that makes sense."

She finishes the wine in her glass and moves to go get the bottle, bringing it back and offering with a silent gesture to top off Vee's as well as she talks. "On some levels, I guess I think it'll be nice to be able to walk off the base and come here and not have to worry about whether I'm interrupting something he's working on. It's not really living together because I have to stay out in Red Hook most of the time, right?" Liz says as she fills the glasses again and retakes her seat. "But….. the other part of me… " She hesitates. "I find that I don't sleep quite as well anymore when he's not in the apartment. We're on completely opposite schedules, but… knowing he's here even when he's not sleeping the same times makes me feel… safe, I guess." She shrugs. "That's a stupid reason to not give him his space."

And then there's a grin, a wicked twinkle as Liz adds over the rim of her glass, "And of course, there's the matter of cramping one another's style a little. The standing rule for this apartment is that neither of us brings anyone else here for the evening. Even when he moves out, I still won't, though." She's pretty sure of that.

"I understand," Veronica says softly, letting Liz fill her glass and sipping it again. It'll go to her head fast enough at the rate they're drinking it. "Space is good when you need it, but really really lonely when you don't," she says with a soft chuckle. "It must be nice, though, to be on the same page so much of the time, even if you need a break from it now and then." There's something wistful in her tone — Brian and she are hardly on the same page on so much, mostly because they keep secrets from one another for the other's own good. "Me and Brian, we're … kind of in the same encyclopedia, but not the same page or even the same volume." She smirks a little at the analogy, though the humor doesn't reach her eyes.

"Most of the time," Elisabeth admits quietly. "Or at least…. within a few pages of one another, to carry the analogy further." She smiles faintly. "He doesn't tell me things. Sometimes for security purposes and sometimes…. because I think he's afraid of my reaction. To this day he still won't tell me what he saw in the Flash." She shrugs a little. "It's a little one-way in that I tell him pretty much everything, but… I accepted a long time ago that he'll keep his own counsel. It doesn't really bug me much. Most of the time."

"It's hard. Jobs like ours. Missions like ours… it's hard to know what to tell and what not. We want to protect the ones we love, but then we hurt them by not telling them those very things," Veronica says sadly, her eyes distant again, before bringing the focus back to Liz. "Just know that if he's not telling you things, it's because he is trying to protect you and because he loves you, I'm sure. Not because he doesn't trust you."

Suddenly she grabs her cell phone, setting her wine down and scrolling through her phone's file on local restaurants that deliver to the Dorchester. "Let's get something to eat, or I'm going to be drunk on two glasses of wine. Your call. Italian, Chinese, Thai, or Indian."

"Oooh…. Indian. Spicy as you can stand it," Elisabeth says easily, sipping from her glass. She doesn't respond to the reasons Richard doesn't tell her. That he loves her she has no doubt. That Veronica understands the situation — the whole traditional relationship thing that just doesn't really apply — is also a given. So she simply smiles quietly, curling up in the corner of the couch again. "Mostly I just try to keep from making him nuts," she admits. "In being used to our own space, there's that whole chafing at the sharing space thing even though I don't really want him to go. Or hell… maybe I do want him to go ahead and go, so that we go back to the way things have always worked for us. Maybe it's just too much familiarity for him." She grins slightly. "Hell, I don't know. And obsessing over that keeps me at least from obsessing over the rest of what's lurking in my brain."

"Well. It'll work out. Maybe you'll find you like having your space, too. Or that you like his space, once he gets it. Kinda nice to be the girl in a guy's space, sometimes, instead of the other way around?" Veronica teases, as she dials the restaurant. She hasn't had that in a long time, herself. She lifts a finger to Elisabeth to let her know she's got a live person on the other end.

"Hi, I'd like to make an order for delivery. Yeah, it's me, but a different address," she laughs, blushing as that indicates how often she gets take out. She gives Liz's address, before ordering. "Murgh vindalloo, tikka Masala, saag paneer, saffron rice, and two orders of naan," she orders, no need for a menu. "Extra spicy on the vindalloo. Thanks, see you then."

It'll be a spicy girl's day in for the two Apollo teammates as they talk about the various things they have in common, while side stepping the secrets they can't quite trust one another with.

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