Closer To The Edge


elisabeth3_icon2.gif bf-felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Closer To The Edge
Synopsis What the hell do you do when you have the proof right there in your hands?
Date November 15, 2014

Elisabeth and Ygraine's Flat

Contained on the micro USB thumb drive provided by Avi Epstein, are records ranging from 2008 to 2012 regarding Pinehearst's research into synthetic evolved abilities. It isn't the *how* of their research, but clinical studies, test results, and the like. It details a conspiracy by Pinehearst in which they have bought the US government with the promise of an Evo army. The drive contains names of congressmen, senators, military officials, and other top government operatives that knowingly allow Pinehearst to continue human experimentation. Some of the 2008-2010 research includes coverups of deaths involved in the trials.

Sitting on her living room floor with Ygraine at work and Aurora in Cassandra's capable hands for the evening on a playdate at Lee and Felix's home with her … well, let's face it, Aurora's brother… Elisabeth was positively boggled at the information that the Feeb brought with him. Not just the thumb drive but also some of the older files. Now with the files spread out and the Russian-born Fed having finally run out of words, she is almost speechless. She takes a long minute to look at him, and then she gets up and heads for the high cabinet in the kitchen, bringing back with her two glasses and a bottle of good vodka. It's definitely not a wine-drinking night.

"What the fuck are we going to do now?" she asks him softly. Because what they have in their hands is the equivalent of a tactical nuke — they could blow Pinehearst out of the water. But at what cost?

“I don’t know,” he says, simply, bluntly. “No idea at all. We can ruin Petrelli with this, if we do it right. And that has to happen. But…this is implicitly the will of the US Government. Heavy duty classified stuff - to blow the whistle on this is treason. The other thing is…..when the other national governments realize what we have coming, it’s going to be a genetic arms race. If super soldiers can be made, they will be made.”

A shake of his head. “But it’ll also be fuel for the fire of the anti-Evo factions.” He’s grim and still, shoulders hunched, unhappily. In his egotistical heart of hearts, he wanted to be part of history….but not like this. Not as the guy who was dumb enough to yodel in the mountains and start the avalanche. “When this gets broadly publicized, as it has to, it’s gonna be some serious Lord of the Flies shit. Petrelli’s a cap on the sewers…..and if I were less certain he’s going to try and turn America into a fourth Reich where the ordinary humans live under the boot of the Evolved, I’d burn all this shit and shoot myself and call it done.”

Liz pours the vodka while he talks through all of the ramifications of what they have in their hands. Handing him the glass, she tells him softly, "We can't burn it… and we can't just turn it loose, Felix. This is … huge." Jesus fucking Christ, she can barely wrap her head around it. This is what he was trying to accomplish in her world, and only a shadow war and a vial of Advent stopped him. She sips slowly. "In my world, Felix… we took Arthur down in 2009. We killed him. And still to this day, I'm … even with the proof of this in my hands… I'm not sure we did the right thing. What came after was in so many ways even worse. The anti-Evo factions were the government for a long time. Arthur is one of the main reasons, if not the only reason, that the Vanguard doesn't have the foothold here that it got in my world. Humanis First personnel were… everywhere. The President, the Vice President, the head of Homeland Security, the Mayor of New York City… I mean…" She sighs heavily.

"My world without Arthur Petrelli and Pinehearst was turning into the fourth Reich in the other direction."

She gets his driest look in return. Harrison, you aren’t helping, why is that? Then he knocks back a slug of vodka with the air of a man dosing himself with a very unpleasant medicine indeed. “Fuck,” he says, under his breath. “That’s not an answer I wanted. But….we can’t let it sit. The ideal would be if we could have a structure waiting in the wings to take over when we bring down Petrelli. But he’s got his fucking tentacles into everything, and tearing him loose is going to do enormous damage. Do we know of any one or anything that could shore things up in the meanwhile?”

The expression he offers at that is not hopeful.

She gives him back wide blue eyes. What?? You expected this to be simple?? He really should know better. Blowing out a slow breath, she finishes the glass of vodka in her hand. "I hope you told Lee this might be an all-nighter," Liz observes. "Cuz we might be passed out drunk on the floor at this rate." It doesn't stop her from refilling their glasses though.

"There…. might be. In my world, there was sort of a shadow group — Charles Deveaux's group. They split off from the Company early on. I seem to recall Richard telling me that he'd warned Deveaux that things were gonna go to shit. But .. I don't know if that warning translated to this timeline. My best guess is no, considering the one person I'm in contact with is in hiding and Sabra Dalton is dead." She scratches the back of her head. "There are…. A few people we might be able to look up and find, and if we move carefully over the next however long it takes, we might be able to put some of them into positions where when Arthur falls, decent people can step up. Marcus Donovan, Karen Lau… I don't know if either of those folks are still alive, I haven't even looked. But both were people I would trust here in New York. Uhm…"

She's struggling a little to remember from a long list of people she's dealt with over the years who might be people they could find for help and she downs the shot in her hand. "In my world… I only had a fraction of this kind of info on Humanis First the year before we dimension-jumped…. I gave an interview to Brad Russo…" And then she blinks. "Oh … Oh, fuck me to tears. I wonder if the time-hopping kids only came to my world. … or if you have a version too."

By the way his expression goes bewildered, he doesn’t get it. “None of those names ring a bell,” he says, softly. “Time-hopping kids?” More vodka. He hasn’t gotten to the threshold of drunkenness where booze can shout down depression. For this version of Fel suffers from it, too. Though functionally it’s mostly translated to a very hard-headed realism and an expectation of nearly nothing from his other humans. No wonder the death of his Liz has hit him so hard….for it has.

She's refills her glass again, perhaps hoping with enough good vodka this will all disappear. Elisabeth's not exactly a lightweight, but hasn't done a lot of drinking in recent years either. Who has time to drink when you have a baby at home?? "No," she finally decides. "I'm pretty sure the sequence of events wouldn't have lined up right for you to have that happening." Looking at him, she says, "Short, short version… a bunch Ferrymen children came back from like the year 2040 to try to change their future. You know, go back and kill Hitler shit… only they didn't understand how time works either. So even though we did, in fact, stop their Hitler… it's not really going to fix their futures." She ponders that and wonders to herself if that means that the kids can freaking well go home again. Would they even want to?

She derails that train of thought immediately. Way way too much wading through the strings and possibilities for her to handle. "In my world, Marcus Donovan was a good man — a former cop who was trying to lobby for the Evos, among other things. Karen Lau was the commissioner of police about the time of the Virus. She was killed in 2010." By the same man who killed Liz Harrison, though she hasn't mentioned that. "She's the reason we were able to stop the Vanguard, actually… she authorized the SCOUT team to work with the faction that she didn't want to know about." A faint smile. And then she sighs and scoots over to sit up against him, offering her shoulder.

"This sucks, Feeb. I mean… for fuck's sake. All of this intel, and no way to put it out there without literally destabilizing your whole world." Liz wishes she were smarter… more able to think 12 moves ahead and see the dangers. "I know a guy who is basically a probability specialist. Maybe… maybe he can help us sort out the possibles and see a path to make this work."

That’s piqued his interest. There’s enormous risk in each person they add to the pool of those in the know….but even with his position, one Fed, one cop, and one former cop….not remotely enough.

A grim little nod from him. “Exactly. I don’t know who I can trust with this,” he says. “Beyond a small handful of people. And even if I could magically get all the FBI agents in New York to help me….we’re too focussed a group. Do we have any kind of opposition at all we can enlist? The problem is that the few groups I know of have been stepped on pretty thoroughly….and Petrelli’s watching. I know he’s gotta have people with feelers out for situations like this.”

Elisabeth pulls in a breath, her lips thinning to a line that he knows well. She looks at him and says softly, "I'm glad you have the proof of her murder; the man Cassandra saw isn't Gabriel Gray, obviously. But I don't have the first clue what the fuck the endgame for this move is. I just can't figure out why the hell, if Arthur sent the man, that he'd take this step, much less take this step now."

Leaning her head back against the couch, she rubs the side of her forehead in that characteristic move that always gives away this Liz — she does it when she's overwhelmed and the hamster in her brain is flying at mach 2 in circles, getting nowhere fast. "Ri— To go up against Petrelli is going to require heavy hitters. On the up side, we have Gray on our side." Sylar. "And … if you want him… I have a FRONTLINE officer we may be able to get on board pretty goddamn fast," she admits. "Because once he sees this shit — he's the General's grandson. And he's a good man, but I'm not sure how he's going to react to his grandfather being complicit in all this. If he's willing to stand against it, he could potentially bring on board some high-level government folks. Maybe. We're gonna wind up spending most of our time here mapping out who the hell the people named in it are so we know where the people we might be able to trust could be."

“Needs must when the devil drives,” says Fel, in that wry voice. If things are bad enough that he’s allying with Gabriel Gray…. He pauses, looks at her. “I imagine this has its claws in a lot of the US military. IF we out this…it’ll justify declarations of war on the part of other nations, at worst. At best….they’ll be trying to get their share. Make up their own ubermenschen, or whatever. The question is what percentage. Enough of the military goes with Petrelli, we’re fucked, that’s the possibility of an actual coup, open or subtle. Even if enough of it doesn’t, we’re looking at civil war. But….yeah. FRONTLINE may be the wedge. Bring him in.”

"I'll reach out to him," Elisabeth agrees softly. "I don't know where Sarisa Kershner is these days, but she might be someone who would be willing to step up and into this quicksand. Also, a lot of the old Ferry network is former military. We might be able to see about bringing some of them in… or you might be able to, if I give you names. One of the things we've always been leery of is getting too close to our local selves and their lives." She looks up at him and smiles sadly. "You were the exception for me… as selfish as it was and is… I needed you." And today, at least, perhaps it's reciprocal. She lost her Felix and now he's lost his Liz.

At least when the day comes that they’re able to weave their timelines back together, there will be a Fel waiting for her, even if one likely to faint or jump out of his skin when he sees her. “I’m glad you did,” he says, softly.

He’s not often physically demonstrative with her, beyond the occasional hug. But now he cups the line of her jaw with a narrow hand. “I will, if you do. If you think they’ll be able to trust me. The catch-22 is the more we bring in, the more we risk the crucial leak that lets Petrelli know we’re moving against him…”

"I don't honestly know what any of them will do," Elisabeth admits quietly. "Although a great many things remain the same between our timelines, not all… I was very deliberately not building a fucking army, walking a very fine line trying to keep Petrelli off our backs. Not rocking the boat. So that he'd just leave us alone." She tips her cheek into his hand, looking up at him with his own grief reflected back at him. The loss of his Elisabeth is hitting her almost as hard as it's hitting him — it's not exactly often you basically stand around while your other self dies. "God, Feeb," she breathes out sadly, "I didn't want to fight this war again."

His hand lingers, lightly. It’s a strange way of being able to say goodbye, to touch the doppelganger. The old legends are true - the appearance of the fetch was a herald of death. But there’s no bitterness in him for it. “I’m sorry you have to, angel,” he says, and his voice is gentle.

“We’ve enjoyed peace and prosperity, but at the cost of letting corruption spread. And now it’s time to pay the piper.”

As if she knows what he's looking for in her face, Liz simply closes her eyes and lets him trail his fingers across her features in farewell. He's not really looking at her in this moment, and if she can give him the solace of a private goodbye, it feels like such a small thing. Not really enough. Were it not for Leland she'd comfort him differently, but they both love Leland too much to hurt him that way. "Payment comes due in ways you never expect," she murmurs softly, leaning forward into the light touch of his fingertips.

A goodbye, indeed. One that Lee and Cameron will not get to have, most likely. Indeed, no, not looking at the Liz of the civil war, the one who’s seen her pet Russian keep getting up every time he’s knocked down. A farewell to a beloved ghost, for all that the one wearing her features has an entirely different history.

Then he lets his hand fall, steps back, and says, in an entirely different voice - that raw cops’ humor, “Do me a favor. When you get back to your own world, go find your Felix and screw his brains out, okay?”

The smile that quirks her mouth upward is pure amusement. So many things she'd love to say, but she won't. Instead Elisabeth opens her blue eyes and replies simply, "I promise."

She's quiet for a long time and finally she tells him, "I don't think I'm smart enough to actually fucking sort out what's going on, Feeb." Dropping her head back against the couch where they are leaning, she picks up the glass that still holds just a swallow of vodka. "If Samson Gray is dead — which both Gabriel and you seem sure of — then it was someone masquerading as him. My money would still be on Petrelli, but … I honestly have no idea what the fuck they're trying to do." She bolts the swallow down like he did the first one, as if it's medicinal.

“I….don’t think I am, either,” he admits, with that expression of utter discontent on his face. For all the cop’s stoicism, he’s transparent, at least when it comes to Liz. A broad shrug, hands spread. "I think you’re right. I don’t know what he hopes to accomplish, other than starting something. Setting the ball rolling for some conflict…I don’t think it was aimed at me personally. He’s got his grubby fingers so deep in government, if he wanted me gone there are less messy ways to do it.”

She's apparently just as unhappy about being in the dark as he is, too. "More vodka," she decides. "I don't want to think anymore. It requires more goddamn vodka. This is about the point where I generally look at Aurora's father and tell him 'Let me know when you've untangled it and I'll go kick in some people's faces.'" Elisabeth grimaces. "Chess is his game, not mine."

There’s a rueful look from him. Once upon a timeline, they’d’ve been having this conversation as pillow talk. Because nothing goes with afterglow like planning to save the world….again. “Agreed,” he says, that bemused curl to his lips. Then there’s a heel of his palm to his forehead, as if to grind out an incipient headache, before he cocks an eye at her.

“I saw your face, when I said something about no spies in Petrelli’s camp….’ There’s that ridiculous grin, almost canine. “You have someone, don’t you?” He all but whispers it, like they’re kid conspirators at a slumber party.

Elisabeth pours more vodka in both glasses and works on nursing this one a little more slowly. His anticipatory gleam makes her smile, she can't help it. "I do, actually. Two of them… Magnes has been working at Pinehearst since last year. He's not really a spy though — Arthur recruited him to work on Looking Glass, Michelle's research. The machine that brought us here. Magnes felt it better to work with the devil rather than not know what he's up to. And Peter Petrelli approached someone else in my little cadre of travelers a couple of years ago and they've kept in touch. Although that person's job is just to make sure that Petrelli doesn't view our people as threats." She sips the vodka, letting the alcohol burn another path to her stomach — the first shots have left a warm sort of numb feeling and is definitely feeling warm.

Only Americans nurse vodka. Nonsense. Fel knocks his back again - never much of a drinker, but if there’s an occasion that demands it…this is definitely among them. “How much info is Magnes feeding you?” he asks, bluntly. A flush has start to appear on those stark cheekbones. Lightweight, despite his metabolism. Or perhaps because of it. “And honestly, what can we do? Destroy it?”

"The Magnes that came with me here from my world is feeding me every bit of information we can glean. Though admittedly, I'm not the best science brain around," Elisabeth replies calmly. She swallows the vodka in her glass with a sigh. "And I don't have that answer. Magnes went ahead and went to work for them because ultimately…. Do you remember those old Terminator movies, Feeb? Every time they stopped the stupid computer from coming into existence, they didn't really stop anything. They just… postponed it. And it kinda made everything worse. That's kinda what I feel like we're dealing with here. If we destroy it, someone else is just going to build it and use it to invade. Or something." She shoves her hand through her hair — she too is feeling the alcohol now. Three shots inside of 15 minutes is a lot, especially when you don't drink much anymore.

"Christ… I've been wrestling with this for so long," Liz admits softly. "I'm so tired of the world-altering questions, Felix. I'm tired of people getting hurt because of my decisions."

Sympathy in his face, at that, unfeigned. “It’s a hell of a burden to carry,” he allows, looking at her. “I…when I was a kid, I wanted to be a hero. Like….we had all this propaganda about the great war. How we basically saved Europe from the Germans singlehanded, all that.” Then that little curling grin reappears. “But now that we’re in a position to maybe save the world….I just wish I was at home watching Lee read a cooking magazine. He gets like….six a month.”

A nod, the smile persisting. “Yeah. I loved those movies. The first two were the best….but you’re right. Cyberdyne kept happening. Skynet kept happening.” He spreads his hands. “And here we are.”

Elisabeth giggles at the cooking magazines. "Seriously. Six? Jesus. That's so cute." Not that Lee would appreciate being called cute. "Saving the world is serious business, Feeb," she tells him. And then she has a moment where she looks like she's thinking too hard. "I'm tired of saving the world. I'd rather just get shit-faced for tonight. Goddamnit… we both deserve it." She climbs up from the floor where they're sitting to curl into the corner of the couch, admitting, "Okay… note to self, the good vodka can't come out when we're here alone." She hauls the fleecy throw off the back of the couch and drops it onto her lap and points, "You get to relax in that corner. Because if you don't, I'm going to revert to very old coping mechanisms. And I don't wanna. Lee would lose his shit."

He looks almost sulky, for a moment….but then relaxes into a grin. “Yeah, he would.” Then there’s an exaggerated sigh from him. “He’s the monogamous one. He likes women, too. Hell, if I thought it wouldn’t have him tempted to put me through a wall, I’d volunteer him for a threesome.” Because that’s totally not a long-cherished personal fantasy, right.

Obediently, he settles in to the opposite corner. “Yeah,” he says, more somberly. “I guess it’d be kinna weird, anyway.” Both of them with other versions of their partner in mind.

"Maybe a little," Elisabeth agrees with a slightly cheeky grin, "if only because…" She trails off, deciding to leave that one lie. Felix doesn't want or need to know the amusing thought that ran through her head — Norton told her there was some kind of disastrous marriage between Leland and Liz, but apparently that didn't happen for some reason. And … yeah, it doesn't quite seem the time. "Anyway," she says, stretching out her legs to rest her feet on his thighs and wiggle her toes, "Who knows. Maybe someday." Amusement flickers across her face. "Just so you know, you might in fact be the only person I would ever consider such a thing for."

She's definitely feeling the vodka, cuz she doesn't get personal with him, but it's loosened her tongue up a bit. "It's funny. You're probably the person closest to me in the whole world. And you're the lover I told Richard I wouldn't give up… we weren't monogamous anyway. Some of the others, he seemed to be bothered by, though. Never you — even after we were really serious. Like 'I love you' kinds of serious." She hasn’t said his name to Felix before and she’s never used the L word that he knows of — his Liz was pretty adamantly against the L word and commitment. "I never understood why that was. He just… liked you. Respected you. Trusted you. And lemme tell you, for him? That's a huge thing."

Fel makes a surprised little moue, a purse of the lips. “If yours is that much like me….he’s probably a big old queer, too. That tends to be read as ‘less of a threat’ by the average hetero guy, unless he’s gonna get up in arms about a pass being made, or something. The other thing is….I bet yours isn’t naturally monogamous, either. If Felix Prime,” He flashes a grin at that idea, since to Liz, well, surely that’s how it feels, “Didn’t want to take you away from him, didn’t want to demand that you choose one or the other, well, no loss to this Richard, right?”

Then his face softens, sobers. “My Liz and I were like that. We were friends and lovers, but we were never *in* love. The bond was immense, but it wasn’t romantic, if that makes any sense at all. It’s like we skipped that whole part where you think your beloved is perfect and flawless and hung the moon, and went straight to a solid marriage. There was never any dip of disappointment, because we saw each other clearly from the getgo.”

He spreads his hands. “I’m not naturally monogamous myself. I don’t consider sexual fidelity the axis that determines the quality of a relationship. Lee is, it matters a lot to him.” Fel’s face turns mock sulky. “At times, I wish it didn’t. We both like women as well, I’d be delighted to be in a tripod relationship.”

Elisabeth leans her head comfortably on the tall back of the couch, content to be here like this. "Sounds very much like my Felix," she admits. "And actually, like Jai too." She toys with her hair idly, a sign that she's buzzed; it's about the only time she does that — it's another mannerism she and his Liz share. "You and Jaiden were the only lovers I stayed with… when Richard was killed — or I thought he'd been — you were the only thing that kept me sane. And when he was blipped out of our timeline, I would have walked away from the fight if not for you. I needed to be there for all our people, but I honestly at that point was so tired I didn't think I had the strength. So.. you and Jai propped me up until I could stand on my own two feet again."

That actually makes her pause, but she seems to dismiss the thought — Walter, if he's alive here, is still a baby and of no help.

"Lee and Liz were good in bed together, from what I heard." She glances at him and grins, a bit unfocused but relaxed. "Trask traveled with the group that landed in your future. He told me a little about her life. We were both kinda boggled that she and Lee were a thing for a short while before you guys finally figured out how to be married."

“I think that’s what kept them together as long as they were. God, I wish I’d been there to either blow it up or get in the middle,” he says, frankly. “But I was doing my forty days fast and wandering in the desert that is DC, and out of touch. Hadn’t a fucking clue….and I nearly went nuclear when I heard. I gotta admit, that first five minutes of knowing, I felt like Caesar on the Senate floor.” Then he pauses. “So, this Richard, he got blasted out, as well? Did he end up in this one?”

"No… he didn't get blasted out with us. It was actually earlier… remember the kids I told you about who traveled back from 2040? Well…. that world is literally a nuclear wasteland. Richard landed there and … found out a lot of things. He got back about 6 months later, just in time to stop the machine thing… and knock me up," she snickers.

“So that’s Rosie’s dad, eh?” he says, thoughtful. “And yeah, you mentioned.” He pulls a face. “God, all this insanity is enough to give me a headache…” Fel eyes the vodka ruefully. “I’ll need to make a point to burn all this off before I go home. Lee hates it when I come home drunk.”

"Apparently I'm a bad influence this week," she observes in amusement. But her tone is gentle. "I think, given the situation, he'll forgive you." There's a lump in her throat. She tries not to think about Aurora's father… it hurts. God, she wants to go home so much right now… to not know what she knows and not have ruined people's lives here. To have Aurora's father or her Felix. Elisabeth studies his drawn countenance and whispers, "I love you, Feeb. Go home."

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