At Least Wear Tighter Shorts!


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title At Least Wear Tighter Shorts!
Synopsis Liz and Jaiden run in the park…. and talk some.
Date Sep 1, 2010

Central Park

She rousted him out of a fine sleep, Liz is pretty sure. Maybe it's sheer impudence that drove her to do it, but he did say he'd run with her if she wanted. So when her alarm went off at 5am, Elisabeth rang Jaiden's phone and let him know she was going. And when she met him at the park's entrance 25 minutes later, she had an obnoxiously cheerful grin. It's evil that she's smiling like that. Or maybe it's just that she went to bed really early last night for a change. She's wearing a pair of running shorts and a white T-shirt, nothing fancy or sexy — she means business in this run — and she's stretching when he shows up. Her ponytail is bobbing about as she looks toward him, the morning sun not even burning the mist off yet. "Morning."

It's remarkably easy to find a parking space at 5:00am in New York. Easier than one would think. The call came, rousing Jaiden from a somewhat interesting dream about Delia and a towering black woman who menaced him with white eyes and sharp, fang-like teeth. Yes, he did say he would run. Yes, give him a few to get across town and he'll be there. And coffee.

Oh god, please, Coffee.

When he approaches the front of the park, two cups of strong black coffee carried - one in each hand - he gives the bending and stretching woman a sleepy smile. "I understand the idea of getting going early, but the sun is barely even up." He gestures to the east where the rosy glow is just starting to build, offering the cup of coffee for energy, setting his own down to begin his stretching and warming up.

Jaiden is dressed for running - not for being sexy. Running shorts, black running shoes, and a Nike branded T-shirt from the 2010-2011 World Cup that hugs his frame quite nicely.

Elisabeth mms. "Well…. I don't sleep as much as I should, and I have to be to work this morning by 8," she replies. "So if I'm going to get the run in, I gotta do it early." She doesn't mention that doing it at this hour also sometimes means she gets to share the shower, cuz hey… no one needs to hear that! She moves to stand upright, taking the cup he brought for her with a laugh. "How're we gonna run with coffee, I ask you?!" But she does drink some of it, grateful for the caffeine.

"We're not going to run with the coffee." Jaiden says with a grin, gulping down the liquid and setting it in one of the nearby trash containers to be disposed of properly by park maintenance later in the day. Apparently his cup was nearly empty. "It's now taken care of." He grins and bounces on his toes. "My run is usually in the evenings, and usually on tuesdays and thursdays, but I suppose I can get a little more cardio exercise in for you. It's Such a burden." He puts on what can only be described as 'damsel in distress' pose, one hand out, other hand pressed to his forehead, almost swooning.

Elisabeth snorts indelicately at that pose and takes another large swallow from the cup before depositing it in the garbage bin. She shakes out her legs once more and then points. "Thataway!"

As they set off at a good warmup pace, learning to match strides to one another, Elisabeth is quiet for a bit. "It's been a while since I made friends with anyone, so… pardon if I'm a little out of practice and it comes out sounding more like an interrogation or something. But I'd like to get to know you a little better," she says as they move.

Jaiden gives her a wink and a playful swat on the shoulder before starting off after her, legs pumping in unison, arms moving back and forth as they start on a slow, terrain-eating pace to get the heart rate going. Off they go, thataway, which to the untrained is in a westerly direction around the perimeter of the park, a few pigeons scattering as they pass a little too close to one of their roosts. "It's okay, Lizzie-girl, I haven't been around many folk I'd want to consider friends in a long time. Just now I've managed to find a few folks who'd fit the bill. You and your boss included."

As she runs next to him, laughing at the swat, she keeps easily with him. Her running regimen is more strenuous than it used to be, when she gets the time to do it. "Thank you," Elisabeth replies. "It's nice to hear that. I don't really… trust people as much as I used to," she admits. "Bringing you and Aric in was probably the first time I've gone with my gut in a year. That it's working out well is a huge relief."

One of the things that Jaiden has kept with him in all the years he's been out of the military is the need to keep in shape. Cardiovascular for bursts of speed, weight lifting for strength and as much endurance training as he can cram in. Being able to do things longer than the other guy is a perfect way to declare victory - after all, when they can't defend is the best time to attack. "I can understand why, with what happened in your past. I am glad you decided to take a chance on me, though. It was kind of lonely all by myself, going out drinking now and again, doing things by myself or just meeting people in bars. This, though? You know what it's like. You know what I'm going through and why. And even though you're FRONTLINE…." he trails off to let another jogger pass, the conversation continuing when he's out of earshot. "….it is nice to know someone real is behind those masks - not just cold-blooded hunters. People like you and Felix." He wouldn't consider Felix a friend, but at least someone to keep an eye on.

"The last time I went out drinking was with you and Felix," Elisabeth admits between breathing. "Before that, I couldn't tell you the last time I sat in a bar and just hung out, Jaiden." Perhaps because she doesn't trust anyone, even now, not to be trying to put a bullet in her head. The FRONTLINE comment brings a rueful twist to her lips. "Most of the people I work with are good people. I can't always say the same about the bureaucrats at the top. Not sure I trust my boss much," she comments. "But I'm not just there for their mission either," she says. "So much like when I was on the PD, I just have to watch my back. Watch how much I do or say where people can hear."

"I don't do that much, and it was like pulling teeth to get you out of your shell a little bit and have fun. And hey, we did save a little girl from a pretty nasty life, yeah?" Normally running is a strenuous event, but this is relaxing - the pounding of feet on pavement, the feel of breezes over bare skin. the Frontline comment was a bit of a tactless swing, and sometimes Jaiden doesn't think before speaking - perhaps that was one of those times. "The people I don't blame. It's the ones that give the orders that worry me. Even the cops who arrest people because they've avoided registration - I don't blame them _ they're doing their jobs, but I don't have to like what they're doing."

"A lot of them don't like what they're doing," Liz replies, her feet hitting the pavement in tandem with his and her arms swinging easily. "There's just as many who do, I suppose. But a lot of 'em are gonna be pissed that they gotta ask for everyone's ID all the fuckin' time," she comments. "And if someone doesn't have one, what the hell you think an unregistered Evo's gonna do to the cop who tries to stop him?" She doesn't wait for his answer, apparently he hit a hot button for her too. "I'll tell you what: Most of them? Nothing. They'll go along peaceably, pissed they got nailed. But for those guys out there who are militant and adamant about not Registering? They'll resort to hurting or killing that cop if they can't run. You wanna know why riots are getting closer? Take a good look, Jaiden… this is the start. Cop killings that lead to paranoid cops that lead to paranoid citizens that lead to riots."

"And so the world burns." Jaiden sighs, shaking his head, having to run a little harder to catch up when Elisabeth squirts ahead when he's slowed, moving a bit ahead, running backwards for a time to talk. "I don't understand at all, why the government doesn't see what this is causing. This is just putting fuel to the fire, registering everyone. Like sex offender lists, nazi Germany and Jews…." he turns to start running in the right direction. "I'll bet you anything that within the first weeks we'll get people denied jobs for being evolved. People using the lists to find targets….it'll be chaos."

"Not fun in the least. We'll be busy."

Elisabeth slows her pace just a little, giving him an apologetic glance. She didn't mean to do that to him when she got ticked off. "Sorry… I've been on the streets of this town through three major disasters and several terrorist attacks," she tells him. "People are already using the lists to find targets. It's exactly what the Institute is doing," she says as they continue to run, her tone grim. "The Registry is supposed to only be accessible to appropriate personnel because the Tier 2 list is published with all of your personal information. It's supposed to be protected like the social security databases. But it's not." She shakes her head, her tone grim. "When people are afraid, they do horrific things, Jaiden. Likening this to Nazi Germany has already been done all over the news in various places, and the argument for this is that 'oh no, it's totally fair, cuz EVERYONE has to Register, just like EVERYONE has to get a social security number when they're born now — same thing!' But it's not."

"Damn right it's not." Jaiden grimaces, running a hand over his forehead, now starting to get nice and sweaty, his muscles working well as he runs. "I've seen the horrible things done when people are just given a reason, and not even a _good_ reason. Just because someone was born in one territory versus another, has a cow you're entitled to due to birthright, is in a lower caste than yours, is white instead of black. It sucks all 'round, Lizzie, and we're going off the rails because of it. You know that glimpse of the future I had? When the riots started? There was a barrier on one of the bridges manned by guards. Do you think…." he pauses, trying to remember. "Do you think they were there to keep people out, or in? On Roosevelt Island, if I recall correctly."

Elisabeth's reply is grim. "Both," she tells him. "And I'm supposed to help man them at various times." That information already came down the pipe as one of the briefings this past week over what would be expected after the deadline.

Jaiden slows to a trot, then stops. "Hey. Serious face time. You know when the riots start. I know that checkpoint gets overrun in the first few minutes of the riot. I doubt anyone survives that mob. If you're there, please. Don't be."

Elisabeth slows, her breathing deep and heavier from the run. She reaches a hand up to swipe at her sweat-slick forehead and keeps pace with him. "I don't know where I …." Elisabeth trails off and her face goes queer. She slows to a stop instead of continuing to move forward. "I…. " She clenches her teeth. "Summer Meadows," she says softly, huffing as she catches her breath. "That's where I was… with my squad. I was… trying to quell the riot in Summer Meadows." She doesn't know if that's the checkpoint he saw — she never asked. Until this moment, it was never exactly important. In truth, it still isn't. "I'm … reasonably sure that no matter what happens out there, if the riots actually happen, Jaiden, I'm not going to survive them. In my flash, it was… pretty bad."

Blue eyes look out over the park, a sense of inevitability seeping over her. Elisabeth says quietly, "Maybe no matter what you do, some things just can't be changed." She should have died a year ago. Against all odds she didn't. Borrowed time…

Jaiden links his fingers together and puts them behind his head, taking low, slow breaths in and out, filling his lungs with blessed oxygen and dumping evil CO2, over and over again. "Summer Meadows, huh?" Jaiden wrinkles his nose. "We can find a way to get you guys out of there, even if the riot's happening. A place to hole up while it goes on, at least. A way out if we can't find something like that. I don't have very many friends and I want to be sure you're there for any fun times in the future."

Elisabeth forces a smile for him and she says quietly, "Some things just happen the way they happen, Jaiden. I have to believe that what we do makes a difference or I couldn't keep fighting it so hard." She shrugs and starts walking to cool down more slowly. "When the day comes, I'll be where I'm meant to be, I guess."

"And when that day is over, you'll be alive, with me, safe and sound buried underground while the world goes mad around us, only poking our heads out to defend the perimeter or help those who need the help." His underground lair would be perfect to hide in during the chaos, after all. Well stocked with food, water, power, weapons….virtually impenetrable unless someone has access to high explosives or earth moving equipment. "This isn't a death sentence, Lizzie." He moves closer, resting a hand on her shoulder. "Endgame has shown that the future can be changed. The flash showed me falling out of a helicopter to my death on the streets below. That is _not_ going to happen."

Looking up at the man in front of her, Elisabeth smiles faintly. "Richard's starting to rub off on me, I guess." Her eyes avert slightly and she puts a hand up to cover the one on her shoulder. "I won't hide. I can't hide." Her tone is steady but not fatalistic. She's not all 'oh poor me, I'm going to die' — she meets his gaze and while she might not be a terribly religious woman in his experience so far, there's a kind of quiet, rock-steady faith in what she says. "Everybody is where they're supposed to be at any given moment, Jaiden. I can't turn my head and look away, I can only fight. Because it's the right thing to do. And if I have to die doing the right thing, that's okay with me." She smiles. "I'd rather not, and I'm doing my best to avoid that outcome….. and I kinda think God owes me a couple at this point… but well, you know… life is what it is, my friend. And if we get to the end of the world and survive it? The beer's on me."

She's got a point, and he's not going to argue it. There's bad things coming in the future and they've all seen what could happen. The world is going to burn and the only thing that can happen is the people will need to try and keep themselves from burning along with it. "Well I'm going to hold you to that, Lizzie. And I know life's a strange thing. We could both be hit by a car tomorrow. We could live until we're five hundred. But we do know that potentially, November 8th is going to be a bad, bad day for all involved. I'm just going to stay out of helicopters and might end up around Summer Meadows….or wherever is best for me to be. "

For a long moment, the blonde studies him. And then she grins one of those sly, cheeky feminine grins. One of the ones that is generally guaranteed to make a man notice exactly how a woman looks, smells, and sounds standing just in front of him as she is. Lizzie's a wicked flirt sometimes. "Well, now, handsome, if you wanna watch my ass…. you can start now. Race ya!" She bolts out from under his hand, heading for a tree sitting near the edge of the path about 100 meters ahead, laughing as she goes.

"Oi! Wait up, or at least wear tighter shorts!" Jaiden shouts as she takes off running, chasing after her with a laugh.

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