Come In


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Scene Title Come In
Synopsis Agent Sawyer catches up with former agent Silver to make an offer.
Date December 29, 2010

Freeman's Restaurant, Manhattan

James Silver has been back in town for a while — since before Christmas, in fact — and scrupulously uninteresting in his activities all that time. No one else bothered to walk over and take the simple approach of asking to contact April Silver — but no one else goes about armed with the name Veronica Sawyer, either. Names can be powerful things.

No names are asked for at Freeman's Restaurant, an obscure business bustling in advance of lunch hour despite its location tucked away at the end of a blind alley; they only take reservations for large parties. The interior of the building consists of a collection of small rooms, decorated in an eclectic mix of the modern and the quaint — such as the polished zinc counter contrasting with displays of stuffed birds and antler racks, a juxtaposition repeated throughout the restaurant.

The hostess shows Veronica to a small, two-chair table, its centerpiece a display of silk flowers — white lilies and a single red poinsettia. She's left with a menu, inevitably, and some time to peruse its contents.

Twirling a silken Gerber daisy, the color a bright tangerine, in her fingers, Veronica then tucks it into the vase before wriggling out of her a brand new coat. Everything she's wearing is brand new, purchased and worn out of the fitting room. Her cell phone has been left in her car along with her clothing. While Goodman might trust Sawyer's bedroom to be clean of any bugs, Veronica isn't taking those chances with her possessions for this conversation.

If it happens.

The menu is flipped through absentmindedly while Veronica takes in her surroundings through the corners of her downcast eyes. Her brows furrow with indecision — as Goodman put it, she can't do this job alone, but is it a job she would wish on someone she respects? But then, the alternatives are even worse.

She has a lot of time to worry over the alternatives, and even whether this is going to be a solitary meal.

The waitress comes back some time later, bringing the customer her drink, cheerily asking if she needs more time or is ready to order. Takes Veronica's order, and disappears again, leaving the agent to her own idle devices. A stuffed sheep's head looms on the nearby wall, mounted some distance above arm's reach, horns curling on either side of the wool-covered shape. Other customers are shown to their own various tables, individuals, pairs, groups of three and four; waiters come and go, and in all ways it seems a remarkably normal day in the restaurant. It is.

The woman returns with Vee's plate, setting it down with the quiet click of ceramic against varnished wood. Departs only upon assuring herself that the customer needs nothing else, leaving Sawyer alone with her food.

Or nearly alone.

"Tell me why I'm doing this," comes a familiar voice from behind. The dry humor of the tone makes it a rhetorical instruction. Cup of coffee cradled in her hands, April Silver steps around the table to sit opposite Vee. Her hair is still cut short, as it was upon their last encounter some months ago; she wears a lightweight brown jacket over an apple-green shirt, and no jewelry.

"April," Veronica says with a smile that is sincere, if humorless. She is genuinely glad to see that Silver is alive and well, even if she is a bit ambivalent on whether or not she wanted to actually see her in the restaurant.

If April didn't show, then Veronica would have done her part in keeping her word to Goodman, but had no guilty demons to plague her — on this issue, at least.

"It's good to see you well," she says. "As for why you're here — well, my guess is you don't want to keep hiding. Or you wouldn't be in town, right?"

April's chuckle is just about as humorless as Vee's smile. "Hiding out there, hiding here — it works about as well, I think," she replies, recalling past experiences. "And this way James still has his job." Because the agent wouldn't be here, like this, if she hadn't gone through the man who is sometimes April's significant other.

"I did all that before," she says, somewhat apologetically, around a sip of coffee. "I'm tired of running," April allows. "Giving everything up, having to do it again and again." Setting the cup down, the woman folds her hands on the table's edge. "Is this a warning, Sawyer?" she asks, voice more weary than accusative.

Dark eyes drop to her hands on her water glass. Giving up everything is something Veronica's getting acquainted with — she may not be on the lam like the other Company agents, but she's still hiding in her own way. She brings one hand away, palm up, palm down, in regards to the query.

"Half warning, half recruiting," she murmurs. "I'm with the Institute right now, and your name's on their list. They'll be after you, and if I can find you, so can the next agent. I'll do what I can to throw wrenches in the works, send them down the wrong alleys, because that is why I'm there… The Institute… April, we thought Pinehearst was bad? That the Company was bad? It's the worst of both, with all the money and power and government backing to make it succeed where the others failed."

She sighs, and dries fingers slightly damp from her water glass on her napkin. "Basically, I'm asking if you'll come work with me."

Green eyes narrow slightly, the older woman's lips quirking sideways in a hint of grimace. But whatever causes it, she doesn't volunteer. "I doubt I was ever not on their list," April points out. She picks her cup back up in what is clearly a buying-time gesture, taking a single drink before lowering it partway down, hands cradling the white-glazed sides. "You want me to just walk in."

"I could bring you in, say you willingly gave yourself up to me when you saw that life after Company exists for me, so you figured you could do what I did," Veronica says with a shrug. Logistics are easy enough to figure out. The sell is the hard part.

"Listen, April," she says, leaning forward on her elbows, lowering her voice as dark eyes probe green. "The stuff they're doing is serious. We're talking mad scientist kind of experimentation that even the Company would have qualms about. That the Company did have qualms about, in fact. People with phenomenal abilities that are being made to do the most unethical things."

Veronica shakes her head. "They caused the blackouts, the visions on the 8th — how many people did that injure and hurt? Willingly? Knowingly? That's just the tip of the iceberg."

She leans back, and shrugs again. "You're tired of hiding. You have the skillset they want for agents, but you can try and keep more events like that from happening, from the inside."

Setting the cup down, April curls one hand into a loose fist, holding it out over the table. Palm-up, she unfolds her fingers to reveal a silver orb nestled in the palm, the size of a large marble. "You want me to put this at their disposal." She doesn't need to elaborate with what her ability can do; Vee's seen it in action, for good and ill. "You want me to be one of them. Sawyer, where do I stop?"

Closing her fingers again, she demolishes the otherwise impenetrable field. "Where do you stop? Where do you say compromising myself is not worth this? What effect do you have, in the end? What does your desire prevent?"

The younger brunette sighs a little, shrugging. "I don't know what else to do, April, but I understand if you don't want to risk it, or to give them you as a weapon." She picks up the water to take a sip, then sets it down again, fingers curling around the sweating glass.

"Some of what they do isn't wrong — it's like any law enforcement job, at least at the level I'm at. I'm all right doing that part of the work — to protect people and to try to keep innocent lives from being lost. I can do this job and focus on that. And I can do this job and try to help, and hope I'm doing some good at some level."

She nods toward April. "Like if you walk away from this? I'm not going to stop you, and I'll see what I can do about getting some misinformation in your file about your whereabouts. I've done it for the others." Veronica lifts her eyes once more. "I'm not a good recruiter, April, not for someone like you who knows what's what. I'm also not going to lie to you. It's not safe, no. But neither is hiding."

Closing her eyes, April shakes her head a bit, slow rather than emphatic. "Don't compromise yourself for me, Sawyer. Not if there's actually good you can still do," she amends. "I know the risk I run." All too well; and if Moab no longer exists in this timeline, well, that just means the specific repercussions will be different. The sense will remain the same — as so much has.

Pinehearst never gave April this offer, a fact she fails to admit; it remains to be seen which organization's sense of the woman was better. "I am going to walk away," she continues to her companion, "but I'll think about it, all right?" Law enforcement. Once upon a time, April Bradley did exactly that, behind the authority of a Homeland Security badge. Pushing her chair a bit away from the table, the older woman gets to her feet. "Finish your lunch. The desserts aren't bad here, either." April smiles softly, as if to say you can probably use the indulgence.

Though, more practically, the fugitive may just want the added time.

A card is pulled from her pocket slowly so that April knows Vee isn't reaching for anything more dangerous, and slid across the table to April. "You can contact me at that number, if you want to. For whatever reason," is offered in a husky voice, and Veronica sits back in her seat, the posture relaxed, legs crossing under the table to suggest she's not about to follow the other woman out of the restaurant.

"I don't know how much time you have before they come looking. I'll try to buy you time, but you might consider not staying at Silver's for a while. Like I said, if I can find you, they can too." Another humorless smile tips Veronica's lips upward. "Thanks for meeting me."

April chuckles softly, looking down at the card for a moment but not so much as touching it. "I haven't stayed there in four months," she tells the younger agent. "I don't doubt it's the first and last place scrutinized." Her lips quirk sideways. "I don't imagine I can't be found." Just that, for the time being, fortune — or something — is holding up.

"Be well, Sawyer." Or as well as any of them can be.

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