Closer And Still Holding


elisabeth_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Closer And Still Holding
Synopsis Title refers to At Arm's Length And Holding. Wherein Liz and Teo share a little more mutual understanding of what's going on in each others' lives, and it doesn't get any easier.
Date January 23, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Lunch time means everybody should be enjoying an interlude between meetings, and hopefully either washed the stink of booze or sex off their skin or skilfully concealed its evidence in work clothes enough that Phoenix can, as a collective, pretend to be some semblence of professional rather than the tard reserves whom the viral apocalypse accidentally onto their laps. Teo has put coffee on in the derelict Library's kitchen. There isn't a lot left in the way of personnel, heating or electricity here, thanks to the larger part of the generator and other available maintenance equipment having been moved to Staten Island, but caffeine is essential.

He is sitting on the counter because he never sits on chairs and staring at the seamy crack in the plaster wall opposite as if it were a Rorshach inkblot.

When she called and he said to meet him here, Elisabeth wasn't too surprised. She can be heard approaching from down the hall — heels on the tiles and such. When she steps into the deserted place, she gets the shivers, actually… it really does look abandoned now. Somehow just having people here made it feel less desolate. But she heads into the area that used to be the 'kitchen', and she pauses there to study Teo from behind. "Hey," she finally greets him quietly. "Hanging in?"

"Si," Teo replies, automatically, for lack of a more detailed response. His head quirked toward the sound of her approach without actually taking his eyes off the flaw in the wall. He does so after he speaks, however, quick to remedy this lapse in manners. There's a half smile, subdued by something that isn't displeasure at her company, then reaches up over his head to find mugs out of the cabinet with blind hands.

"You look well, too. Heard you weren't going to the meeting tonight? And that you weren't in jail, too." One mug is held out to her on the pretzelled crooking of a forefinger and thumb. It is orange with a laminated Snoopy peeling off its convex exterior. Teo's mug is green, whatever fashionably ironic block-lettered slogan that was once painted around it long since scarred to illegibility by age.

Elisabeth smiles faintly and takes the coffee cup, setting it down so he can pour. "Yeah… not in jail. Worried about my boss's reaction to all this, honestly. Although…. I don't know, he may actually by now BELIEVE that I'm in contact with DHS. The police commissioner went for the plan, Teo…. we're going for the bombs tonight."

Wow says Teo's face, eyebrows scaling the altitude to his hairline and stare widening by a discernible fraction. He forgets the wall, the infinitessimal spider he had watched creep into the riven plaster. "Damn," he says, after a moment. When he remembers how to move again, he reaches for the coffee pot, disengaging it so that he can fill both their mugs. "I'm glad to see that shit is going through. Gone with the bombs is one less terror to worry about, although I can't say I envy you walking around a hundred pounds of explosives between a Company agent and a civilian teleporter with civilian traffic going right over your head. Hel going to do the fog?"

Elisabeth nods. "Helena's handling fog….. and her fog gave me a good idea. We're going to stop traffic. Anne says she can make the teleports pretty damn quick, so… each bridge'll have a different excuse for stopping traffic. Maintenance, a stuck drawbridge, a jumper, an accident… that kind of thing. They won't be able to see what's what from the ends of the bridge, where uniforms'll stop traffic for the hour or so each bridge will take. And hopefully… if God is with us and our experts are actually expert…. we won't blow ourselves to hell in the 8 to 12 hours it's gonna take." She lets him pour and picks up the cup to sip from it.

Liz's tolerance for unedited coffee looks just like Felix's tolerance for shitty dispensary machine coffee. Teo watches her drink it with something like morbid fascination. A cop thing, no doubt. Himself, he's putting sugar in, though he foregoes the cream. The refrigerator is all the way over there. "That might look suspect," he says, after a moment. "That each of the bridges was systematically shut down, one after another, throughout one evening. There might be scandal. Or there might not; I guess —" He has been saying this a lot, and that distinct awareness conjures the other half of his lopsided grin. "I trust you more than I trust me. Make the call, stay alive. If you get in trouble, we'll do our best to get you out in time to play and deal with the consequences."

She hates her coffee black, but she can drink it that way. Besides… with the run she'll be making tonight, all the caffeine she can get is going to be necessary. Though she does start liberally dousing it with sugar. Elisabeth smiles slightly, "well, it won't be the getting in trouble I'll worry about for now. It'll be the getting dead part. So… " She bites her lip. "You'll get me the information I need to do my part later, though, right?"

"One way or another," Teo answers, the corners of his eyes deepening with a smile that is partially concealed by the rim of his mug. He breathes in coffee vapor, then lowers his mug with an abrupt frown. Christ, sometimes he really fails at words, for all the languages he has learned to speak over the past decade or two. "Eh, fuck. I don't mean anything morbid by that. Media, I mean. Like, electronically, or verbally… In bocca al lupo, Liz. Good luck. In the wolf's mouth." On first pass, those two lines make more sense in tandem than the longer explanation he had offered Salvatore Bianco days ago. He raises his mug to offer a toast.

Elisabeth touches her mug lightly to his and merely says quietly, "To all of us… I'm not even near the bombs, so…. " She smiles a bi, though the worry that's clouded her for days is taking its toll.

That makes Teo feel a little better, and he isn't above showing it: a slight easing in the lines of his shoulders, brow, which momentarily betrays that the tension had been there at all, coiled up and white-knuckled underneath the false calm. One swallow of coffee, then he starts to lay the mug down. "Maybe we should head-bang each other," he says. "Or hug. The answer to that is 'Crepi il lupo.'"

Elisabeth chuckles, sips her coffee, and then sets down the mug to hug the young man tightly. "In case I don't see you again, my friend, dominus vobiscum." She grins a little, remembering just that much Latin from catechism. Go with God indeed. With all of us, she hopes.

January 23rd: Well. That's Interesting
January 23rd: Ten Years
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License