Bigots And Killers Are Easier Than Personal Problems


elisabeth_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Bigots And Killers Are Easier Than Personal Problems
Synopsis A rough morning at the office — Liz and Felix have a chat, and then head out to handle an interview with a bigot.
Date Aug 15, 2009

Police HQ/School in Queens

Two Evo serial killers cases, a terrakinetic on the loose ready to trash Manhattan proper one more time, and a fucking bitchy fairy Feeb on top of Elisabeth's own personal issues? Saturday morning in the precinct started off decently, sure enough. Coffee, paperwork, more cold calls trying to find anything that might tie the victims of the serial killer together somehow… gotta love that. And Felix grumbling and griping one more time about Feng. She finally explodes on him. "Will you just shut the fuck up about that guy? For God's sake, Felix, he's doing his fucking job being a complete prick, and you know that's in the goddamn job description for the lot of them. Why the hell are you letting it GET to you like that?! If you bitch about it one more fucking time, I'm gonna throw a goddamn stapler at you!"

Her own outburst actually seems to embarrass her, and Liz looks around the squad room, grateful that the two of them — for this moment — are the only ones actually in it. She shoves away from her desk and says in a very subdued tone, "I'm sorry. That was totally uncalled for." And she literally flees the room, and him, heading for the stairwell. The rooftop of the precinct is one of the last bastions of absolute privacy… well, sometimes. Today, at least.

Except that Encyclopedia Brown there has neither sense nor grace enough to leave her the hell alone. Fel stands there looking as if she'd slapped him with a fresh fish before he hastens after her. He shows up a few heartbeats behind her, looking contrite. "I'm sorry," he says, quietly. "I shouldn't run my mouth so much. But something else is wrong, isn't it?" he wonders. And has sense enough not to ask, 'So, are you on the rag?'

"Just… leave it alone, Felix," is the reply he gets. Elisabeth heads for the side of the building to lean on the protecting wall. "You've already flat out told me you don't want to know — that I need to make a choice. I've got… a lot on my plate, both professionally and personally." Her voice is choked and she refuses to turn to look at him.

"I'm beginning to think I am wrong about that. I keep edging nearer to where you are. FRONTLINE is coming, the DIA is already here. We shouldn't have to be fighting the people who are nominally supposed to be on our side, as well as the people who are genuinely out to oppose us," he says, softly.

Elisabeth wraps one arm around in front of her and reaches up to rub her forehead. Or maybe to wipe her face, it's hard to tell the way her back is turned. "Well, you let me know when you figure out what it is you want to know. Cuz let me tell you something, Fel…. once you can see the colors out there? It's goddamn near impossible to go back to living in the world of black, white, and grey. It's kind of like visiting Oz."

"I know," he says, mournfully, even as he sidles up to her to offer a clean hankie. An actual cotton one. "I miss living in my film noir world. Doesn't the director know the heroes are supposed to win?"

The hanky makes her pause, and after a brief hesitation, Elisabeth takes it. Very carefully, she spreads it out and then hides her face in it with both hands. Her shoulders shake, though there's no sound of the crying part. Sobs she might want to let loose she holds in because well…. Felix followed her up here, and being this much a girl just …. yeah.

He puts his hands tenderly on her shoulders, leans his nose against the nape of her neck for a moment. Not afraid to be affectionate….and honestly, the more rumors that swirl around the HQ in regards to them, the better cover Fel and Lee have.

"There is no fucking winning," Elisabeth finally says through tears. "There's surviving. And there's enduring. And there's… watching people die." All of which she's done pretty recently, after all — one baby banger shot in the face by her own hand, one victim of a serial killer that she attempted to resuscitate in spite of copious amounts of blood. "And there's trying to figure out what the fuck to do when you don't KNOW what to do," she says softly, leaning back against him. Like with a plan Edward Ray put into motion… and if he'd trusted the right people, he might have actually carried it off…. and is that a good thing or a bad one? Even she doesn't know. But she's starting to think it would have been for the greater good. "God, Felix… I'm so fucking tired of being scared all the time. Just for a little while, I want to go back to when it was all so much damn simpler. I knew how to be a cop in that world. I would have never even dreamed of becoming … whatever the fuck it is that I am. And I sure as fuck would never have needed healing because I melted my vocal cords into nothing but medical waste."

"I know what you mean," he says, quietly. "I liked being NYPD. I'd go back to it, but it isn't the Bureau that's the problem. It's the world around us. I was -dead-, Liz. I don't remember it. It's like everything is breaking down," He puts his arms around her, settles his head on her shoulder, tenderly.

Elisabeth tilts her head sideways to rest on the side of his and says words that are guaranteed to shock her partner. "And I'm late." The starkness of those words alone may be lost on the man — the wouldn't be for a woman, but she has no idea whether the impact will shake him one bit. They're sure as fuck rocking HER world. "And I'm really, seriously in love a with a guy who wouldn't want that." She lets out something that's almost a laugh, not quite. "And I had a great date with Max Quinn the other night. It was the first date that I've been on in months." She starts to cry a little again. "That's a sad, sad commentary on my fucking life."

"Late for- oh, Jesus." No, Liz is not late to meet Christ. Felix understands, though it takes him a moment. "I…uh. I'm glad you enjoyed your date. Maybe I shoulda taken you on some. This guy — does he know how you feel? Maybe you should tell him? And well, have you taken one of those tests?" He's gone all over goosebumps. If she is with child, it might well be his.

Only now does she laugh softly around those tears. "Hell fucking no, he doesn't know how I feel. And I'm not going to tell his stupid ass either, cuz he'll turn into a guy about it. Run for the hills or do something ridiculous. And frankly…. I don't really want more than what I have with him, Fel. Not like I want to get married and settle down or some shit. Of course…. I'm not supposed to be fucking accidently PREGNANT for a couple more years, and it was by someone ELSE that time either." Elisabeth doesn't move her head from his. "And no, I haven't taken a test. Just…. it's too much. I can't deal with this much shit on my plate."

"That's the important thing, Liz. That's the big decision," Fel says, quietly. "If it comes up positive, you need to know what you're gonna do. That's your life at stake, and the possibility of someone else's. Might be stress setting you off your cycle."

"Yep… it exactly might be," Elisabeth says, and then gently disengages. "And since I'm already stressed to the max, let's go ahead and do some more canvassing of the second Evo killer on our docket. The poison dust sprinkler chick out in Queens." She holds onto his hanky. "I don't want to deal with this right now, okay? Just….. let it go." She looks up at him, blue eyes pleading. "Please?" And then she loops her arm through his to drag him toward the stairs.

"Liz, Jesus, what if it's -mine-?" he says, tight-lipped. "Promise me you'll go to the drugstore and take a test today? Just… humor me. Get a stick, pee on it."

Elisabeth replies brusquely, "It's not. Had a cycle since then. There's only one guy on the hook, Felix." Her laughter is bitter. "And he's a fucking wanted felon-turned-vigilante. So… hey… life's looking up, right?"

The insistance and nagging from Felix continue most of the way to Queens, until Elisabeth finally tells him to shut up about it or she's letting herself out of the car this very second, whether it's still moving or not. She does not want to deal with this. Period.

It's both warm and cloudy, an overcast sky crushing humidity downwards, making hair and clothing stick to skin. A cooler breeze whistles through the chainlink fence, providing some relief as Elisabeth and Felix make their way towards the elementary school grounds. At this hour and day, the asphalt of the play yard sectioned off from the street with fencing is empty of children and devoid of loiterers, and foot steps sound hollow against cement as they approach the entrance.

They don't have to go especially far into the school grounds before they're noticed by the man; presumably the one who had contacted the police in the first place. Elijah Tracey is pushing back the sleeve of his shirt, glancing back towards the one occupied classroom, before briskly moving on towards them, to meet them at the gate. A lanky individual in his thirties, distinctly nervous, and Henry Stroughton's teacher.

Tweed jacket, and dark thinning hair that catches in the light movement of the wind continuing to glance over the open school grounds, and his hands rest in his pockets until he's opening up the gate for the two.

Oh, that drive was just the most fun one she's had all week. If Liz wasn't stressed enough before it, between Felix's driving and the lecture she got in the car, the blonde is in a foul mood. One that she hides from the man meeting them because it's just not professional to do otherwise. "Good afternoon, Mr. Tracey. I'm Detective Harrison, this is Special Agent Ivanov. We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us further. As I mentioned on the phone, we're following up on the attacks on the Stroughton household."

Felix has on his best Agent pokerface, in order to conceal his irritation with the world at large. He's wearing a darker suit than usual, as well as sunglasses, and honestly, it makes him look as if he's come in search of Thomas Anderson. He forces a smile, which comes out looking sharkish, and offers a hand.

"Hi— yes," Elijah says, without a trace of a smile, though it can be seen in his eyes - grateful that, perhaps, he contacted them and got a response. He nods to both of them, a hand out to shake Felix's without any true, visible discomfort at that smile the federal agent happens to be wearing. "Thanks for coming by," he says, hazel eyes swiveling a gaze between the two. "And it was the least I could do— I read the news when it came out, it's…"

He trails off, a hand up to rub the back of his neck before he gestures towards the school buildings, and specifically, the benches just outside. "Uh, would you like to sit down? I'm sorry, last time I talked to the police it was over a speeding ticket, this is outside of my realm."

Elisabeth chuckles softly. "Not to worry, sir, you're not in any trouble at all. Please, by all means, let's sit. I understand that you said you recognized the sketch of the woman when it was circulated. Can you tell us a little about where you saw her? What the circumstances were?" She tries to put him at ease, what with Felix being all Annoyed Feddie right now, moving to sit with the man while they talk.

Felix is forcing himself to ease down. There's no point in trying to be the real Good Cop, not with pretty and approachable Liz on hand. But he can look at little less like Government Man Here From the Government, and he takes off his sunglasses.

Sitting down, Elijah nods along to the questions as he adjusts the fit of his jacket over his long torso and lanky arms, ankles crossing. There's the strains of voices that creates a thread of noise through the ambience - children, both young and hedging towards teenagehood, an older female voice. Bible study, would be an accurate guess. Otherwise, they're cloaked in the distant, nondescript sound of distance traffic, wind through the trees and bird calls.

"It was lunchtime, so all the kids were outside, maybe— this was only a couple of days before— before what happened," Elijah says, although whatever nervous stammer he might have seems to be wearing off, easing thanks much to Elisabeth's demeanor, a hand hooking casually over the back of the bench. He addresses both of them with fleeting looks between them, more tired than nervous. "When I took a look at that picture, I knew it was her. She was standing right over there— "

He points, then, towards a section of fencing that lines the street, nearby a tree planted amongst the concrete, offering flimsy shade. "Just standing there. I knew she wasn't a parent, or any guardian I knew about."

"What was it about her that drew your eye, Mr. Tracey?" Elisabeth asks. Because it's not terribly unusual for people to stop at the fence of a school, though it's not terribl common either.

Felix is listening, fiddling with his glasses. He's still got the butterflied wound on the side of his head, though it seems to be healing nicely. Barring an encounter with a healer, Princess's mark is permanent, it'd seem.

"Nothing," Elijah readily admits, with a quirk of a smile. "Nothing especially, at the time. She only stuck in my mind— she's an unusual looking woman, you know? And I remember she was dressed kind of like she was coming down on hard times, which made me think it'd probably be a good idea to see what she wants. You know, you can't be too careful." He snorts lightly, a hand up to scratch his jaw. "As it would appear, anyway. Anyway, I go over to her, a smile and a wave and everything, and she immediately takes off as soon as she sees me. Didn't manage to get close enough to talk or anything. I didn't think much on it, went back to watching the kids— then when it was time to herd them back all inside, she was there again."

Elisabeth glances at Felix with a faint frown. "Did she seem to pay attention to any of the kids in particular?" You know, like Stroughton… or someone else?

Felix wonders, "Had you ever seen her before? Or since? Anyone else notice her?"

Elisabeth's question brings Elijah pause, a moment of 'oh shit good point' crossing his face, which turns rueful a moment later. "I'm sorry— I really couldn't say. I couldn't have even told you if she was watching Henry— um, the boy— " he starts to clarify, quickly followed by the realisation that he probably doesn't need to. "She didn't seem like she was looking out for anyone specific, you know? Just watching the kids play. It's why did I didn't give it more than a double-take. I've already forwarded the info to a couple of other schools in the area, told a few colleagues of mine about it. We're keeping a look out, so— I can contact you right away if something comes up, or hand out your details?"

Those last few words have him redirecting his attention back to Felix, and he shakes his head. "Not since, not before. The Stroughtons— last I heard, they were gonna move to some other area as soon as possible, so if were just after them, then maybe we won't be seeing her."

"Of course," Elisabeth replies, fishing a business card out of her jacket. "By all means, call immediately. And let the other schools have the phone number too." She looks at Felix to see if anything else trips his mind.

Felix finally wonders, "The Stroughtons themselves….did they ever stand out to you in any particular way? Had you noticed them before now?"

Elijah bobs his head gratefully, holds out a hand for the card before glancing to Felix. He hesitates, then finally draws his mouth into a smile - a sad one, regretful. "Now that you mention it, yeah. Henry's mom died just as he was starting out here, so it was a difficult time, trying to get him established - that's mostly what I remember. It's just the two kids and their dad, Ted. Good guy, as far as I can tell, but broken homes are rough things, rough on the kids. This must be hell for them."

Elisabeth mmms quietly. "Be vigilant, Mr. Tracey. I'm … more than a little concerned, as I'm sure are all the teachers at every school at this point. Call if anything seems odd to you."

"You remember, offhand, if you knew….what did Mrs. Stroughton die of?" Fel's voice is gentle, even as he proffers a card, as well.

"I will," Elijah assures Elisabeth, accepting Felix's card as well, and ferreting both into his pocket as he gets to his feet. "I don't entirely know, I'm sorry - I could probably ask, but if I recall, all I got was she was in an 'accident'. Probably a car wreck or something, it's always a car wreck." There's a beat, before he seems to nudge himself into speaking up; "Look, can I ask you both something?"

A worried glance is exchanged between the two law enforcers, his voice somewhat hush. "And I get if you can't say anything, but I have to ask, anyway. Does this have anything to do with the murders in Brooklyn? I read it, in the news, about this being compared to them, and— I just want to know."

Elisabeth tilts her head, her expression questioning as he asks if he can ask; tacit permission to do so. "Don't believe everything you read in the headlines. You know the papers are all about sales," she says gently. "Although we are obviously looking into any possibility of a connection, nothing has leapt up thus far. Try not to worry, okay? Just… do as you always do, and keep your eyes peeled. If she comes back, or if you see anything else out of the ordinary… call."

Felix nods to affirm Liz's statement, but doesn't volunteer anything beyond that.

There's a pause before Elijah nods, once, his expression drawn into serious lines, though a flicker of a smile manages to get communicated. "I'll do that. Okay. And they wonder why we petitioned to avoid hiring anyone who tests positive for being a mutant, you know? Equality's one thing, but it's like a live gun in any old hand." A familiar rhetoric, passed off as casual conversation. "I'll be in touch if anything comes up— I should get back."

It takes every single damn thing Elisabeth has in her not to retort, and Felix can absolutely see the flash that indicates her blood pressure just shot up about 50 points. Very calmly, she bites out in a cool tone. "Real sorry you feel that way, because I was a kick-ass music teacher — your loss." She pivots on her heel and walks back to the car without another word.

Felix notes, and his voice has gone very dry, "It's a very good thing the NYPD doesn't feel the same way. Nor does the FBI."

"Superhero law enforcement's one thing," Elijah says, voice agreeable, a glance to where Elisabeth is striding away. "But I guess that's a discussion for another day. You have a good day for now, Agent." And he withdraws, somewhat nervously, and making quick work to getting back to his class room.

By the time Felix gets back to the car, Elisabeth is back within it, fuming. "Tell me again WHY I continue to do this goddamn job??"

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