Drowning In Our Own Tears


elisabeth3_icon2.gif bf-felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Drowning in Our Own Tears
Synopsis How many times will one of them mourn the other?
Date November 9, 2014

Ygraine and Elisabeth's Flat

The morning's news had her dropping her coffee cup on the floor and dodging for her phone. Texts immediately flew out to the people from Virus to say It wasn't me, but LAY LOW. Stick to your routines and BE AWARE of anything that looks off. Someone may be searching for us. However, to a Russian-born Fed… Elisabeth doesn't even know where to begin. Hearing about her own death on the news makes her want to throw up. She texts him with shaking fingers, There are no words. I'm so sorry. We are okay on this end, laying low. Contact when you can.

He comes to her when he can, the end of the day, past dinner, in the darker hours of night. Took him a while to be sure he’s shed any possible surveillance.

Still in his usual good suit, fancy cufflinks, all the signs of material success. Still sleeker and healthier than the gaunt and worn-down wreck she left in the original timeline. But the eyes — the eyes are the same. She knows what it looks like when obsession has its claws into Felix Ivanov, and it has him but good right now.

His manner’s gentle enough, subdued. She gets a tight hug, and then he steps back, to look at her. As if to make sure she’s alive and well and okay. No speech as yet, though his throat works, adam’s apple bobbing.

When the knock at the door happens, she opens it near-immediately and lets him get inside and the door secured before wrapping her arms tightly around his slender figure. When they part and she looks up at him, grief is visible but so is regret and guilt. "I'm so fucking sorry, Felix," Elisabeth whispers, cradling his cheek in her hand. It can't be easy for him to look at her right now, even as a brunette.

She urges him gently into the living room, careful to seal the two of them into a silence field both for privacy and just to keep from waking Aurora and Ygraine. "Sit," she urges him quietly. And for just a few minutes, she's bustling around to bring tea into the room and set it in front of him before sitting next to him a little gingerly and grasping his hand tightly.

There are many things she'd like to ask him but more important to her is simply giving him what she can of comfort first.

He was Russian, long before he was American. And Russians are nearly as obsessive about tea as a means for comfort as the English are. So he lets her go through the ritual, dumping his usual unholy amount of sugar into it, taking careful sips. It’d be funny, his primness, if it weren’t so obviously a means of keeping a handle on things.

Deep breaths, and then he looks at her, directly. Blue eyes made all the more vivid by the red rims for contrast. “The MO is Gabriel Gray,” he says. “I…..my Liz…” He chokes on the name, coughs, starts again. “Was an FBI agent. Which makes it our case.” He purses his lips. “I….I would really like to bring Cassandra in on this, albeit under the table. But, if I do…..we’ll have to read her in on your situation.” He looks up again, watery gaze fixed on Liz’s face. Asking for permission, rather than issuing orders. This one’s a very different Felix, indeed.

"It wasn't Gray," Elisabeth says quietly. "Bring Cassandra in. Prove it." If this is what she fears… She wants so badly just to think it's a copycat killing with no connection to alternate-dimensional visitors. But as Felix pointed out when she made contact two years ago… there is no such thing as paranoia when you're us. She squeezes his hand tightly. "I spoke with Gabriel when I first got here. There was… an incident between Magnes and Eileen, a misunderstanding. So Gabriel has known that we've all been here since 2012. I don't know if he knew your Liz yet… but in 2019, they were at least friendly toward one another, if not actually friends. Gabe had absolutely no reason for this. Hell… if he'd wanted my power, it would have been a hell of a lot easier to kill me."

She shakes her head, looking down. "I thought that by staying out of my own way, she'd be safe." Elisabeth feels the guilt of this deeply — And worse, now she's worried that other people are going to be targets. The crane is already in the window tonight.

“We’ve got jurisdiction - the Bureau does, since she was an active agent,” he says, softly. “I do intend to have Cass help, but under the table. My gut says to keep her right out of the official record. I’m willing to believe it wasn’t Gray, but….who or what was it?” His hands are gentle on hers, but she can feel that leaf-fine thrumming of nerve and muscle. Like he can’t entirely clamp down on his ability when he’s that upset. “It’s not you, Liz. It’s not you at all. It's whoever did this."

Now is not the time to wallow in the guilt she feels for what's happened not only to her alternate self but to the people who now suffer the grief of her loss. Elisabeth holds his hands, chafing them gently — the vibration is not unexpected, though she's not entirely sure he's ever done that around her. Of course, she's not sure he's ever been this upset either.

"Listen to your gut," she murmurs. "If they think she can see anything, they'll kill her." The stark words hold fear for the young woman. "You already know who I think did this." In a grim, soft voice, she tells him quietly, "There are things about herself that she didn't know… that I only learned when I got here. I think her murder definitely has to do with what happened to bring us here."

“Like what?” he asks, softly. Just because he knew his Liz so well doesn’t mean he knows this one. Variations are variations, after all. “And spell it out for me, please. Gimme your theories, in fact.” The strain is so evident; Fel has so few people left he genuinely loves, and to lose one like this….at least he’s in position to track down and avenge her killer. But that’s the coldest and bitterest of comforts.

Closing her eyes, Elisabeth squeezes his hands a little tighter. "She wasn't born in this world," she tells him finally. "Something similar to what happened to me happened before — in 1982. It was the result of an accident with a machine, like mine. There were around 20 people stranded here. They were given new lives or, where appropriate, inserted into their doppelganger's life. In Liz's case, the latter — she and her father had been killed in a car accident. So… memories of their family were shifted, the accident erased, and they picked up their lives as if they'd always been here."

She swallows hard. "Arthur Petrelli has at least some of the research on that machine. He's been looking for us since we arrived … I'm afraid he hit her because he found out that secret."

It all and always leads back to Petrelli. As she says that name, there is neither shock nor denial in face or body. He simply considers, nods. “So my Liz was from yet another world.” Then, there’s a quizzical, almost amused lilt. “I wonder if I was. If this has happened multiple times….” What a nightmare. Where young Felix did get spirited away to Siberia, to suffer and die under the scientists’ knives. “Who’s doing the erasing? Petrelli himself? I’ve already encountered incidents where peoples’ memories have very clearly been altered.”

"No," she replies. "In point of fact, Arthur's own memories were changed so that he didn't have knowledge of these people." Liz nibbles on her lower lip. "Charles Deveaux did that — to keep the Petrellis and the Company away from them. To protect them as best he could. Charles is dead, though."

Tipping her head, she asks, "whose memories have you come across recently that have been erased?"

He pauses. This is beyond his remit, and this Liz isn’t cleared for secure information. “I’ve been investigating a death that happened years ago. A young woman named Michelle LeRoux. And it’s clear that there was something vastly wrong with the whole scenario. I found one witness who remembers a hell of a lot more of the incident. Saw a team there to clean up, and someone mentioned Petrelli as someone they needed to contact….and he saw an aurora, in Kansas, of all places.”

A breath, and he goes on, “I found a related file, something buried in the old FBI archives, partially redacted. Lonestar. Does that ring a bell? Vietnam-era stuff, some of the earliest official mentions of superhuman powers - mostly about the massacre of a village….”

"Blyad." The epithet is a succinct expulsion of breath in a hard tone, and definitely feels much more vulgar in Russian. Pushing off the couch, Elisabeth releases his hands to go pace the room. "Michelle LeRoux created the original version of the machine we were attempting to stop. The aurora was an effect of the machine. Her research was being done in Kansas." Shoving a hand into her dark hair, it's clear to him that she knows a helluva a lot more than he ever had reason to guess. She hesitates and confesses softly, "She was Aurora's grandmother."

Her brows pull together. "Lonestar … I'm not familiar with that one, however… they were aware of Evos long before that. Coyote Sands, New Mexico, was one of the first essentially internment camps for Evos. The founders of the Company were trying to make sure such a thing never happened again. What's Lonestar?" Liz slants him a ferocious look that his Liz has never worn, exposing the battle-tested core of pure titanium this woman has for a spine. "And don't fucking give me the security clearance bullshit — I ran FRONTLINE Manhattan and I've done my share of classified-beyond-belief missions — including one to Russia with you to take down Vanguard there."

She resumes pacing. "Tell me what actually happened to Michelle," she asks. "Her husband never knew. And whatever it was, his ass got picked up by Petrelli and he's currently either languishing in fucking Level 4 detention somewhere in Michigan or Petrelli has killed him already."

That word’s enough to make his eyes go wide, shocked. He may drop the F-bomb in English like a fairy scattering pixie dust, but the censorious eleven-year-old who fled Moscow is still in there, in the back of his brain. Then he grins, reflexively, even as he blushes.

“Basically, she appeared out of nowhere and got run down by a truck. That was apparently and genuinely an accident,” he says, softly. “But it’s clear Petrelli and co had a hand in the clean up afterwards. Memories and records altered ….and not public stuff. FBI. Petrelli keeps turning up like a bad penny. I honestly don’t know what LONESTAR really is. Like I said….the file references a massacre in Vietnam during the war. Two people, Austin and Dallas are the code names. But as far as I can say, Petrelli is doing his best to erase any findable traces of that research.”

Rubbing her forehead as she paces the room, a worried glance goes toward the hallway. "Christ, Feeb… " Dragging both hands through her hair, Elisabeth looks distraught. "What if they try for Dad and Cameron? Look… I know that man is trying to re-create the experiment. I know he is, Felix." She's very certain. "If he's tying up loose ends, then Liz's father is a loose end. He's one of the few that I know for sure is a loose end — and he's got memories of his own original timeline locked in his head. Liz's … wouldn't have been of use. But her father's might be. Please… protect them?"

Oh, hell. “Cameron’s in my custody now.” He pulls a face. “That sounds wrong. I’m not his jailer. I’m his adopted parent, basically. I’m working on clearing that all up. The catch-22 is that if I move openly to deal with Liz’s father, I’m tipping my hand. Basically, I intend to do my very best to look as if I genuinely believe that Gray or some protege of his is the perp. I want Petrelli thinking I’m gulled, or motivated by old hatred…..but I can do something to try and get Liz’s father to safety. Assuming anywhere is safe.”

"I … don't know that anywhere is safe," Elisabeth admits softly. But she can't help the faint smile of relief to know that Felix is Cam's legal guardian now. "It won't be odd for you to make sure Liz's father is okay — you're his grandson's father now. And you're all suffering a massive loss. Being together would be expected." Blowing out a slow breath, she goes back to pacing the living room.

"I have some avenues I can call on. Assuming this move is Arthur — and I honestly at this point have to assume it is. Who else would have the balls to frame Gabriel fucking Gray? — there are people still in the shadows standing against him. I'll put word out that I need them." Liz stops pacing and moves to stand in front of him, worry clear in her expression. "I… don't know what to do," she admits reluctantly. "I don't know if seeing me standing here when she's not… is just making things worse for you, Felix." She has always been a little more reticent with him than his Liz, trying not to cross that line of assuming on their previous friendship or cause him any kind of stress in terms of his friendships with both Lizes. "Tell me what you need from me? How can I help you?"

His smile is watery, again. It’s harder when he’s not focussing on it as part of the job. When he has to come face to face with the part of him where the light’s gone dark for good. “That makes sense,” he says, quietly. “I should bring him to stay with us. Cam does need his grand-dad, and Lee and I both work. To get them, they’d have to come against me directly, and I’m gambling he’s not yet ready to be that open….”

A deep breath, let out again. “I won’t lie, it’s hard. But….it just confirms that we need to get you and Aurora back to where you came from. Hell, part of me is tempted to give you Cameron, terrible as that sounds. But I can’t be that open about it. Now…”

Elisabeth honestly couldn't look more shocked if he'd slapped her. The thought of taking the other Elisabeth's son obviously never crossed her mind. "I couldn't take him from you and her father, Felix. It would…" She swallows hard, not wanting to admit that she's somewhat afraid that losing all of us when she has to take Aurora and go — whether that's to another world or on the run away Arthur somehow in this world — would shatter something irreparable in the man she stands in front of. Instead of saying anything else, she simply moves to sit next to him and hug him as tightly as she can.

But hasn’t that always been his besetting sin, the abiding flaw - that insistence on charging ahead and flattening himself against whatever windmill has presented itself to tilt against? Which was bad enough when he was a young gun of a cop with no ties….but now he’s a husband, a father, even if by adoption. Even if he’s learned a relative degree of restraint, a modicum more discretion than the maniac she used to keep company with. Suicide on the installment plan, Lee called it. And Fel’s still paying in.

“I didn’t figure,” he says, softly. “May it not come to that.” But part of him suspects it will. He leans in to the hug without hesitation, rests his head on her shoulder. There are no sobs, not even silent ones, but she can feel the wetness of tears soaking in to her shirt.

"You promised her," she whispers fiercely. "You do not get to martyr yourself. You have responsibilities here." Elisabeth pulls away from him and captures his face, tears wetting her own cheeks too as she cradles his jaw in both of her hands to meet his eyes. "We're not allowed to rest until we're through. Cameron needs you. Jared and Lee need you. You promised her. Now swear it to me, dorogoy." She gently shakes him. "Swear to me — no fucking kamikaze suicide runs, no leaving Cameron without the only father he has ever known."

She isn't pleading with him — she's tearfully ordering him. And she leans in to kiss his lips softly, briefly, whispering against them. "You are charged with keeping all that is left of her safe."

He looks into her face, wide-eyed, lashes spiked with tears. “I wouldn’t dare. Lee would take me apart.” And Lee in a temper is frightening, even if you’re talking about a dead man. “I swear,” he says, laying his hand over his heart. “I gotta husband and kid, lady. Who’d’a thought I’d ever settle down, have something to risk.”

She can feel the flutter of his heart, ragged and furious, the kind of uneven speed that’d herald a serious cardiac incident in anyone else. But then, his whole body is mutated to support his power - cardiovascular and nervous systems, resilient joints, extra lung capacity. NYU used to have a whole file on him, as part of a project studying the Evolved.

She nods, her body relaxing just a fraction. He has never broken his word to her. Not in any world. Elisabeth's faith in him is absolute. And she wraps her arms around him and draws him back to rest in the couch for a while. "Have you told Leland yet?" she asks softly, tugging on him gently so that she can wrap herself around him and hold him tight. "He'll be waiting for you to climb in to bed so he can hold you."

“We’ve already done some climbing in bed on the matter,” he says, with a hint of his old wry humor. “Lee likes to take out stress or heavy emotion that way, and honestly, it’s a good way for both of us. But yeah, he saw the news. He knows. He’s home dealing with some of the paperwork stuff. Cam’s safe with us, in bed. We’ve got a spare bedroom that’s his now. Poor little guy, he’s too young to understand much of it. Lee’s a big softie, though. He’ll be good.”

Liz nods again, not able now that he's begun to let his own tears fall to stop hers either. But like his, they are silent. "In a lot of ways, it's good that he's so young," she murmurs softly. "He will miss her… but you'll teach him that she loved him with everything in her. And that's the important thing. That he knows it all the way to his toes." She can't stop herself from putting her hand over her heart — it hurts for that baby, barely 4 months older than Aurora is. Just the thought of his grief and his confusion is killing her. And her grief isn't even the important one in this room. "I… have no words for how much I regret what's happened," she admits, wiping her tears. "And there's not jack shit I can do to change it." Even with Hiro Nakamura on something like a speed dial — a paper crane in a window — what good would it do to go backward? Can it be done? Or would that….

No. Stop. This train of thought has to get derailed. It has to. Would it actually stop Arthur from anything?? Or just split the timeline? And is it worth that? She's going to have to figure it out before Hiro shows up. Because… she just might be willing to ask the impossible.

“She did. Which is why …..” He pauses. No confessing that what he really wants to do is just murder Arthur. He can’t piss away career and freedom for vengeance. Not with the forces now in play. “I will find her killer….and keep her son safe. I wish I could say he was mine, genetically. I’d be proud to….”

He trails off, takes a shuddering breath. And then, from some pocket, produces a handkerchief that he offers to her.

It makes her laugh a watery chuckle. "You and your handkerchiefs," Liz teases softly, reaching out to take it. She does a little mopping up and then looks up at him. "Genetics isn't what matters, Felix. You are his father. You've always been his father. And she knew that you loved her more than any other woman in the whole world." She smiles faintly, attempting to lighten things just a little. "Except Irina, of course. That's a whole different thing."

“Well, kleenex always end up being gross,” he says, pragmatically. But her response makes his jaw tighten. “Well, yeah. I mean, who doesn’t love their mother? Especially when their mother risks torture and summary execution by stealing from the KGB for decades in order to buy them asylum in the West. I mean, you can’t fuckin’ beat that for sacrifice.” Practical as ever. “But you’re right, on all counts.” A beat, and he adds, voice fissuring, “…..just like always.”

There is nothing she can say or do except reach out for him again, to hold him tightly against the grief the same way another Felix once held her when she was shattering under loss. Elisabeth whispers softly, "She loved you too." Just in case the other Liz never said it. "More than you will ever know."

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