Cross Purposes


hana_icon.gif lynette3_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title Cross Purposes
Synopsis A news article causes a flutter of activity at Fort Jay.
Date April 29, 2018

Fort Jay

Up front, Fort Jay is a marvel of modern engineering and decor — a bright spot on the map for New York's recovery efforts, with an open floor plan, bright, sunny windows and a plant for every desk.

Deep in the bowels of the building, Vincent Lazzaro's remote office is walled off on all sides, with no windows, no art on the walls, and absolutely no plants. There's a heavily weathered wood and metal Department of Homeland Security seal mounted up on the wall over a dark desk, a chair behind the desk and two before. And that's it.

It's a little dire.

Seated beneath the seal, dark eyes on Hana, Lazzaro leans forward to depress a button on his desk phone.

"Send her in, please."

Hana sits in the chair nearer the wall, leaving the one in front of the door for their guest. She's dressed in black, plain and severe; regards Vincent across the desk with one minutely raised brow; and waits in anticipatory silence for the third participant in this little meeting to arrive.

The promptness with which they were contacted had come as a definite surprise. One well worth postponing other business in order for the major to be here now.

Lynette is still frazzled— it hasn't even been a full twenty-four hours since he saw her last— but how it's hidden under armor. Which is to say: makeup, hair, suit, heels. Fort Jay gets very little appreciation as she makes her way to Vincent's office, a scowl keeping her from appreciating all the plants.

Another day, perhaps.

She has a newspaper with her as she makes her way into the office. There's a pause she she looks between the two of them, waiting for the door to close behind her before she addresses the issue.

"Tell me at least some of this is bullshit," she says. The distress… is obvious.

Vincent's in grey over gingham, this fine Sunday, fresh shaven, tie clipped. Pocket square. The whole shebang. Armor for armor. He pushes to his feet on Lynette's entry, a small, tidy devil in his den, unruffled by her scowl or her language or any remaining hint of a frazzle about the newspaper she has in hand.

"It's not bullshit."

Plainly spoken, flat rest assured in the dip of a nod across the office.

"Have a seat."

"Not a word of it," is Hana's contribution to the assurances of the moment. She does not rise — the space between other chair and wall is limited, and the major in no mood for formulaic courtesies besides. Instead, she regards Lynette rather like a cat might contemplate a bird in a tree, nonchalant indifference a deceptive invitation.

Yes, come join us, do.

"I don't want to sit, I'm upset." As if to prove it, Lynette paces the room, making a few laps before she comes over to slap the paper down on Vincent's desk.

And then she sits.

Her hands move to smooth out the paper, very carefully easing out folds and creases. But eventually, she looks up at the pair of them. "I would have told you, if I'd known," she says, her tone implying that they should know that already. "I was under the impression that she had been with these organizations under duress. I— She's never told me about any of this directly. I picked out that she'd been involved with the Institute by… context clues. Knowing more than a captive could ever." She looks between then again, not feeling much the bird, not feeling much the clever fox, either, though.

"I want to help her," she says, simple and honest. "I've been working on an idea, I was going to present it to her first, but given all the givens, I think it's better to start here."

"Okay." That's — understandable. Vincent remains standing while Lynette prowls his office, watching her pace it out without particular judgment. The invitation for her to take whatever time she needs is implicit in his silence, easy tolerance in the slope of his shoulders, his thumb hooked to make an idle adjustment at his tie. Sure, he can hold.

The eventual slap of the paper sees a lift at his chin, like he suspects he might catch a rolled swipe at his chest, next.

But she sits. And he sits, with a glance for Hana while Lynette's still caught up in smoothing the offending newspaper.

"I know," is what he says first, to the would have, if, a little dry. There's a reason things have played out the way they have, if — potentially a little more quickly than he might have anticipated. "What was your idea?"

Hana watches Lynette's pacing with slightly raised brows, but maintains silence of much the same quality as Vincent, waiting with patience, with the air that she has all the time in the world. All the time it takes for this thread to spin out to its conclusion. She catches Vincent's glance in the periphery of her vision, breaks off scrutinizing Lynette to look obliquely at the front page of a paper she doesn't need to read again.

"I would be surprised if she had said anything," is Hana's mild observation. A story. The implication of a story. A mask.

Mention of an idea brings the major's gaze back to Lynette in narrow-eyed consideration, dubious as to the — desirability — of whatever the woman intends to propose. Still, she offers no preemptive judgment, waits for that idea to be presented.

"She wants to turn her life around," Lynette states as if this is a fact, "we could arrange for her to have a chance to do so. I get her to come forward, she gets shackled to government work. She's a scientist, a doctor, she has skills that are useful. Knowledge that's useful. Permanent parole, live in guard, see, the details weren't ready— " She glances over at Vincent there. Because he knows that already. "She wants a chance to prove she's changed. Let's let her have that chance. And if she hasn't, then she's there with your people already. Some freedoms, a lot of leashes." Better than a deep dark hole anyway. "I can put my name on it, vouch for her. For whatever that's worth."

Speaking of deep, dark holes, Vincent listens, still as black water pooled over a tar pit. He's intent, hands in his lap, watching her speak. Hardly a ripple at the surface. He waits until she's finished, and silence has had time to close in slow over what she's proposed to say:


In the quiet that ensues, Hana reaches out, places a hand palm-down on the newspaper and slides it nearer to herself — though not so far that Lynette cannot still read the text. Between the article and Lynette's confirmation of Institute affiliation… process of elimination gives only one match for who it is they're discussing.

Thumb and forefinger bracket the line mentioning Company, Institute, Humanis First, and Vanguard, highlighting that litany. "That woman," Hana says, low and sharp, "has had a lot of chances. Gun Hill. The Arcology. A bargain after the war." Sheridan was allowed to make one; Price could have, too.

The major sits back in her chair, returning to her waiting, poised silence. Aside from pointing out the obvious, she leaves further response for the man to whom this office belongs.

Looking over at Vincent when he uses her name, Lynette lifts an eyebrow in his direction. He's stillwater, but she's anything but. She pushes up out of the chair she only just started to occupy, arms folding as she walks back and forth. A glance Hana's direction proves that she's still listening, at least.

"And she needs one more," Lynette says, firmly. "And just one person to believe that she can do it." That would be her, it seems. She's built a whole life around believing in chances, so it isn't likely to surprise anyone. "We worked with people in these same organizations all the time in the Ferry. We harbored them. Eileen led us, for christ sake. You know that what you did isn't what you are always doomed to do."

With a cuttlefish flourish of black ink on leather, Vincent vanishes from his chair behind the desk. The vapor seems to dissipate entirely, only to condense back into the Secretary in a violent churn of shadow some three or four feet from Lynette. And her pacing.

"We've all made decisions we regret," he can acknowledge, with absolute certainty. "And we've answered for them.

"I don't know what she's told you, but while you and I were fighting tooth and claw against the systematic destruction of our country and our people, Knutson was in bed with the man torturing and hanging the ones we couldn't get to in time." He turns to face her more directly, angling for boot black eye contact, quiet fury prickling his whiskers stiff at his chops. "Valentin herded civilians into buildings and burned them, and she was fucking him." He lets that settle.

"The war ended, and she ran. She's out of chances."

Lynette's words earns her a dark, narrow-eyed glare from Hana — so far as the major's concerned, there is no comparison to be made. None whatsoever. "Ruskin committed herself and saw that choice through to the very end," is voiced in rumbling growl.

Hana held a knife on Eileen once, in private. She also backed the woman in council, later, against those who would hold the past in the same way. She has, indeed, been willing to let people change their lives, even supported it. But this one?

"All evidence says Price is incapable of doing the same — or perhaps capable of nothing but saving her own skin." Which renders anything that one might say, anything she might promise, utterly unworthy of trust.

"One more chance, you say," Hana continues from where she remains seated, dark gaze intent upon Lynette. "One more. And then one more after that? Another? Will you ever draw that line, Ruiz, or will you enable her unto the end of her days — or yours?"

"Last I checked," the major adds with sidelong glance, dust-dry tone, "enabling was considered unhealthy behavior."

"Yes, she did. That is my entire point. Do you think her past would look much different than this, painted out with every one of her worse moments, counting every chance she had that she didn't take? Until she did. And then she was the best of us."

Lynette takes a step back when Vincent forms in front of her, surprise more than fear. No, she's willing to meet that gaze, to listen. She walked in upset and that hasn't changed, but when he mentions the sex her eyes squeeze shut. The god damn it is clear without her needing to say it.

When she looks up, she looks over at Hana, her expression carrying a certain amount of disappointment. "There's no need for barbs, Hana," she remarks, meeting her dry tone with a more teasing one of her own. "I am in no way saying that she shouldn't answer for what she's done. If it came off that way, I apologize. What I'm asking is that she not be thrown in a cell and left to rot. Her punishment can still be a punishment, but maybe a more creative one."

Ultimately, her gaze falls back to Vincent. "I don't know what else to do." Whether she means in this specific instance or her general tendency to give chances is left up to him to interpret. But it's clear that she's regarding him as a friend in this specific moment, rather than his position.

Poor Lynette's getting it from all sides — Vincent looks away to Hana at her piece, showing out the scar carved in a fine line over his ear. Then back to Lynette, his hands turned down into his pockets while he weathers the pushback meant for Gitelman. Not getting caught in between that exchange.

"Right now, you don't have to do anything but talk."

He's there waiting, when she looks back to him. His hackles are still in the process of smoothing back — there's a weariness to his patience despite himself, grace packed dense under pressure, stiff between his shoulders and in the butt of his spine.

"Our job is to bring her to justice." That's all. It sounds very reasonable, laid out in plain terms. Simple. For him, it is. "Law and order have been restored; it's not up to any of us what that justice looks like. It's up to a judge. Or a jury."

Hana gives Lynette a level look that speaks more clearly than words: I find your argument flawed. She does not engage with the counterpoint given, however; she considers it beneath any further discussion.

Obviously, neither of them are willing to budge on the subject of extra chances.

At the request for creativity, Hana merely lifts one hand, indicates Vincent where he stands before Lynette — where he echoes the same sentiments she gave voice to not so very long ago.

"Up to the lawyers, you mean," Lynette says. She does try not to be a cynic these days, but it creeps up sometimes. Like now.

She regards Vincent for a moment longer, her eyebrows furrowing a touch. "I feel like I've been talking quite a bit. To the both of you. And I haven't really gotten much reciprocation. You already know what I know or you wouldn't have come see me the day before this," she says with a gesture toward the paper. A glance goes to Hana, too. The lift of her hand, her silence, "And I can see that talking's been going just peachy so far."

"I'll talk all you want," says Vincent. "But I won't negotiate."

A pair of steps take him out of her immediate reach — idle movement while he coalesces thought from what's amounting to be a very clear division in philosophy.

"Who's better equipped to decide her fate? You?" Empathy incorporated? He hikes his brows, not deliberately needling. Just making a point. "You sure as hell don't want either of us to do it." He and Hana, he indicates, with a tip of his head. Not unless they're all agreed that the solution is a quick drop and a sudden stop.

"Part of the problem here is that you're not the only one protecting her."

"What do you want me to say, Ruiz?" Hana challenges, upon being bidden to talk. "There are no judges under my authority. If you expect me to beg, bribe, or threaten to influence the decision… then you do not know me at all."

Evidence is definitely piling on that side: see Lynette asking for leniency in any form.

"If I find her," Hana adds, "I will aim to bring her in alive." As much as that obviously chafes; there's an edge under the words, too many teeth in evidence, all implicit reinforcement of Vincent's statement. "To have the chance at 'creative' sentencing. But that is where my influence ends."

While his back is to Hana, Lazzaro looks up at Lynette from under his arched brow — a silent you're the one who wanted her here.

"Either one of you could have come to me with this before it hit the papers. I might have been able to get her to come in. Now she's going to rabbit." Lynette shakes her head, seeing as the thing she wanted them to say would have been in the past. "I wanted support. Get her in, give her a chance. Not a bribe, jesus christ." But there's the teeth and they make Lynette step back to regard Hana. "What did she do to you?"

That's a genuine question, rather than an accusing one.

She looks back to Vincent, to his look. She doesn't seem to mind being in full view of Hana when she brings her fingers to her temple to mimic a headshot. It comes complete with sound effects.

At least she hasn't lost her sense of humor.

Lynette puts her hands on her hips at Vincent's explanation of the problem. "As far as I know, her associates also believe that she was involved in these organizations against her will or under manipulation. I'm certain no one is knowingly keeping a fugitive. We all remember how hard that was, right?" Super hard. There was an island involved.

"You're right, we should've come to you discreetly about the war criminal you've been harbouring in your skirts. We really have egg on our face there." None too concerned about the prospect of Odessa 'rabbiting,' Vincent can't do much more than close his eyes and mirror her posture, hands to hips as more and more italics sweep into the mix.

God give him patience.

"I can't speak for Hana, but I do take her volunteering for an organization that preyed on noncombatants personally." Call it a flaw. He's back looking at Lynette, weight shifted to one side, exasperation etched tight into crow's feet.

"Where is she staying?"

"I did come to you, Ruiz," Hana reminds, rising from her chair at last, tightly leashed energy driving the motion. "You hedged and you deflected. You gave me breadcrumbs and allusions instead of straight answers — and you're surprised I kept digging?" is accompanied by an incredulous look.

Chasing breadcrumbs relating to people in hiding is Hana's job. Evasions, she just plain despises.

Tension coils in her frame, energy in want of an outlet — energy sternly denied outlet. For all that, Hana doesn't seem to care about Lynette's gesture; neither does she respond to the personal question. She remains focused on the business at hand.

"Who harbors her, their beliefs, their knowledge — I told you, Wolfhound is not the police. They can step aside. They can turn her in. If they do not obstruct, they are not my concern." She described the limits of Wolfhound's permissions before; those limits apply here, too.

Vincent's department is another story, but also not Hana's concern.

"You didn't tell me any of what you put out there today. All I knew at the time was that she was scared and she'd been used. I didn't think there was a reason for you to dig any further. As soon as I saw this, I came to you both." Lynette pauses there, something striking her. There's a blink. And a mirthless smile. "Neither of you thought that I would." Wow carries in the tone. "You know, I knew she was stone cold, but you too, huh?" She's not mad, she's just disappointed.

"Well, by all means, Hana. I wouldn't dream of obstructing." Okay so maybe she's a little mad. Her attention turns to Vincent, a heavy sigh accompanying the look. "You're acting like I'm asking you to let her go. I'm not. You may think there's nothing between a pardon and a noose, but I don't." She lifts an eyebrow at the question, though, and spreads her hands. "I don't know. She comes to me, I don't go to her."

There are a number of things Hana could say, but her patience with this conversation that seems doomed to continue spiraling into nowhere has run out. Gesturing slightly in Vincent's direction, ceding the rest of it to him, she lets herself out the office door — closing it perhaps surprisingly quietly in her wake.

If anything actually useful comes out of this, she trusts he'll pass it along.

Right hand brought up to scuff over his mouth, Lazzaro dips his chin in hazy farewell for Gitelman's imminent exit.

"Thank you, Hana."


The door closes very quietly.

"Yeah," says Vincent, left behind to contend with Lynette on his own. Probably fair. Probably for the best, also. "Me too."

His desk is over —-> there, and he turns to walk back to it, already hooking a drawer open as he rounds the back side. The stiffness worn into his bones late yesterday seems to have left him, the uneveness in his stride shaved down to something the average person would have to know to look for. There's a tin in the drawer he's fishing for, cap popped open so he can turn a lozenge out into his waiting palm.

"We weren't sure that you were involved." Palm to mouth, he drops the tin back into the drawer and bumps it closed. "I didn't think it made sense that you would be."

Lynette keeps her focus on Vincent while Hana leaves, hands on her hips, foot tapping. But the stance breaks once the door closes.

"It is very annoying that she is so calm all the damn time." The words burst out of her like she's been holding them in. She follows him over to his desk, taking the chair opposite and falling into it. Her head tips back, just for a moment, like she needs to collect herself. She probably should have done that… earlier in this conversation. "I could be on a beach in Mexico right now. But no, I came back here, back into this mess." The city as a whole, she means, and she gestures to it with a sweep of her hand. She sits up to look over at him again.

"Well, I appreciate that you found it less likely." It's a bit dry, that statement. "And I didn't know that she— fought for the other side. I don't know what to do with that, yet, exactly." Not think about it, apparently. "I need a drink."

"Don't worry." Rather than sink back down behind his desk, under the loom of his department's seal, Vincent hikes up to take a seat on the near corner instead, angled half away to the adjacent wall. "She's furious."

There was definitely a little bit of growling in there, at one point.

"You don't need a drink."

He bumps the side of her chair with his shoe, chiding at the suggestion, if lazily so. Make no mistake, he'll be breaking out the bottle as soon as she's gone.

"And any idiot can rot on a beach. Knutson could, if she had any common sense. You're helping people."

"Well, that's comforting," Lynette says, as far as Hana's current disposition. She seems to mean that part.

"I want a drink, then," she corrects. That is a bit different. The bump of his shoe gets a sideways look, but at least it's a friendly one. "It's all I ever wanted to do. Help people. Somehow I keep adding to the pile of people I absolutely did not help." Like she might have just added to it today. She smirks a little, at herself mostly, "I'll stop feeling sorry for myself any moment, promise."

His shoes are nice — brown wingtips, freshly polished and tightly laced.

"No rush." He folds his arms across his chest, eyes cast over to the door, as if he might be able to see through to Hana's status on the other side. "It's not like I came in on a Sunday morning to meet with you."

"Oh please, like you weren't going to be working anyway," Lynette says, but she sits up straighter and looks over his way. "Is this where this turns into an interrogation?" she asks, lifting an eyebrow in his direction.

And, as if anticipating a yes, she lifts her feet to prop up on his desk. Her shoes are also nice, to a certain beholder's eye. Yellow to stand out against her blue suit, and heels high enough to wonder how she walks in them.

One ankle crosses over the other.

"This was my legal complication, by the way. Although, I realize now she probably wouldn't have agreed to it if I'd asked her to turn herself in."

Lazzaro twists to furrow his brow, first at her for the Sunday callout, and second down at her shoes on his desk behind him. Excuse you.

"It might," he acknowledges, by extension, in place of actually saying anything, or reaching to push her heels back down onto the floor. They are very nice. And she does shoot electricity.

"I suspected it might be," he allows, in milder truth. "Do you know who she's working for?"

Lynette sees the brow furrowing, there's little doubt of that, because her smile takes on a smug quality. But she can deny understanding that he would very much prefer her feet on the ground.

"This was a set up, wasn't it? The visit, the paper. You wanted to shake the bushes and I ran right out of them." Eager to help Des. Eager to clear the smudge on her own name. "I've become predictable. I'm disappointed in myself."

But to his question, she folds her hands and looks over at him. "I want my lawyer."

"We're all only human."

He can't quite stifle a sigh behind the fold of his arms at what she says next, shoulders lifted, chin tucked in acceptance of the inevitable. It takes him a long beat to say anything — eye contact broken off and turned down to the floor. You know. Where shoes go.

"I understand the virtues of rehabilitation, Lynette. I've read the research." Up off the desk, he gives her his back, her newspaper swept to her heels with a push. "You're advocating mercy for someone who has done unspeakable things to innocent people, who knows what she has done, and has refused to answer for it. Someone who has lied to you by omission up to this very moment.

"You know where the door is."

"There is room for compassion in the law, Vincent," Lynette says, her tone softer there. Her feet (finally) hit the floor as she takes her cue and stands from the chair. "I agree with you that she should answer for what she's done. I just also believe her that she wants to be different. But you are right, it's not really up to me." She picks up the paper, folding it back again to slide under her arm.

Since she does know where the door is, she turns that way and heads out. The only farewell she offers is the ever retreating click of her heels.

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