En Passant


broome_icon.gif elle_icon.gif

Scene Title En Passant
Synopsis En passant, (French; In Passing) is a special capture made immediately after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and an opposing pawn could have captured it as if it had moved only one square forward. — Elle Bishop finds herself confronted by Simon Broome who has a very specific series of requests for her.
Date August 23, 2010

Central Park

It's a miserable day to be outside.

Under the fall of strong rain, Central Park is all but abandoned. The summer air has a crispness to it, a reminder that Autumn is approaching steadily. Beneath the verdant foliage of centuries-old trees towering high over hilly grass and snaking paved walkways, the Chess and Checkers house rests on the fridge between the cordoned off section of Central Park that was damaged by the fires spread by the bomb, and the more populace sections of the parkland.

Wooden-roofed shelters run wet with sheets of rain and nearly all of the concrete tables and wooden benches are unoccupied because of the inclement weather. Far away from the noise of traffic, far beyond the presence of joggers or the homeless, there sits one man at the furthest bench beneath the western-most shelter. With a railing surrounding his table on three sides, the darkly-dressed old man looks contemplative at what rests in front of him.

A chess set has been laid out on the marble table, an antique brass-framed hourglass sits beside it, currently with all its grains of sand contained in the bottom bulb. The chess board represents a game already in play, with Broome seated on the white side, many black pieces already intersecting with his own, some pieces removed from both sides in play.

With elbows set on the table and hands folded over his mouth, Simon Broome's weathered countenance looks intently at the chess game displayed, dark eyes squared on each piece, brows furrowed and focus distant. There is much more at play here than just a game, which may very well be why Simon Broome requested company today.

Company that hates the rain.

Ugh. Rain. Elle hates rain, and as much shows on her face as she trudges through the park, huddled under an umbrella. She feels so helpless when it rains, because no matter how hard she tries, she always ends up with water on her person, which means that the smallest of zaps will hurt her. She's decked out in a fancy-looking yellow raincoat that she wears over her white dress, complete with matching boots; her umbrella is extra large, to keep rain off of her as much as possible.

When she arrives beneath the shelter of the Chess and Checkers, there is a large frown on her face. Her legs are wet, and her boots are wet, and she got splashed by a stupid car going too fast on this stupid rainy day. Stupid rain.

Blue eyes scan the area over a wide frown, landing upon the lone figure of the old man. What she sees causes her to stop, briefly pointing to him as her mouth drops open. So that's who Odessa brought into her apartment. Still frowning, she closes the umbrella, depositing it against a nearby chair as she works to get rid of the soggy raincoat. She can at least try to be dry.

A soft greeting is murmured by the blonde as she turns her eyes down to the chess board. "I've never played chess before…"

Looking up from the board, the eyes of Simon Broome's that meet Elle's are surprisingly gentle, but there is something disconcerting about them. Those dark eyes the old man has seem deep, too deep, in the way abyssal waters in the vast reaches of the ocean seems unfathomably deep, like one wrong look and Elle could find herself swallowed by their immensity, or lost entirely. It is like staring into a starless night's sky, something vast and unsettlingly infinite within them.

"It's a very simple game to learn," Simon says with a fond smile, motioning for Elle to take the bench seat opposite of him, "but it can take a lifetime to master." With his hands folding once more, Simon rests his chin on his thumbs, regarding the blonde with a thoughtful expression and slow raise of one dark brow high on his forehead.

"Sit down," Simon adds invitingly, "we have something we should discuss."

Without realizing it, Elle has paused in removing her rain coat to lean toward Simon, a captivated expression settling over her features. Those are some pretty amazing eyes. The cameras didn't show that when he visited her home.

His voice brings her from her daze, and she fishes taking off the rain coat, setting it over the back of the bench next to her. Then, smoothing out her white dress, the electric blonde slides into the bench across from Simon, her eyes traveling over the chess pieces for a long moment. "Perhaps one day you could teach me the basics. I might like that…"

Then, she looks back up to Simon's face, her head canted in his direction. "What's that?"

"I'm not so sure you have a head for a complicated game like chess," almost sounds like an insult despite the very gentle way in which Simon puts it. Looking to his left, the old man reaches out for the hourglass, flips it upside down and begins counting down whatever measure of time that particular hourglass has been created to keep.

Folding his hands beneath his chin again, Simon Directs his dark eyes back to Elle with a faintly offered smile. "I'm also not certain that you have what it takes to be an agent of the Institute." That seems almost like a smack across the face, coming from the elderly man. "I don't mean this as an insult, but as a constructive criticism to your efforts thus far. Being a part of the Institute requires a certain amoutn of discretion, patience and consideration for the repercussions of your actions."

Laying his hands down on the table, Broome arches that same brow again. "How much discretion were you using, when you and mister Ray visited that garage on Staten Island yesterday?" It would seem that Simon Broome is better informed than the old man appears to be. "I'm worried you are going to allow history to repeat itself, and that you will have only yourself to blame."

Elle stares at the man for a long moment, her teeth clenching and unclenching, this much showing in the subtle flex of her jaw muscles. He's telling her all of this, and with a smile on his face no less. Slowly, her eyes venture down to the chess board, the girl swallowing. Shit.

Her eyes hood as she lets his words sink in, the girl seeming to shrink down in her seat, becoming even smaller than she already is. The silence is only disrupted by the patter of rain against the roof of the structure, making the little blonde even more miserable.

When she finally speaks, it is in a tiny voice. "Please don't take this away from me…" She mumbles this out, unable to look the man in the eye. "It's— I—" She stutters for a moment…then, she closes her eyes, raising her hands to her face, resting her elbows on the very edge of the chess table.

"I feel like I'm going a little crazy. More than I already am. I…I keep finding out about more and more of these lies that I've been living. Not even my birthdays were safe from my dad…" She hunches over a bit, staring down at the concrete beneath the benches. "And then, being around Warren, my assignment…I'm getting too comfortable with him. I feel like…he's enabling me." She closes her eyes. "And at the Company, I feel…alone. Way more than I ever did before. I can't relate to anyone or anything, there, I have nobody to talk to unless it's Harper…"

With a sigh, she rubs at her face. "…Those really aren't very good excuses, are they?"

"Not particularly," Broome opines with a fond smile, one dark brow raised as a corner of his mouth creeps up into a smile. "But I sympathize with you, Elle, I truly do. Consider this more a warning than a punishment, I need you to be the best agent you can and I need you to be able to control yourself in situations of high stress and high personal discomfort. I would hate, Elle, for you to suffer an unfortunate fate at the hands of people associated with the woman you harassed yesterday…"

Simon looks over to the hourglass, halfway drained of sand from the top bulb already. "You have to consider that anyone you deal with may have friends or connections that are larger than you, more dangerous than you. This goes for everything from the humble mouse, to the largest predator. There is always someone bigger and meaner." There's a faintly wry tone to Broome's voice on explaining that salient point.

"I want to protect you, Elle, but I can't do that if you make it unreasonable for me to. Any wrath you incur from your actions on Staten Island, I can't openly help save you from. So, consider that, and consider this…" reaching down to the board, Simon moves one of the white pawns forward two spaces from the starting line, breezing through an area that one of the black pawns threatens.

"In chess, there is a maneuver called En Passant; It's French for, in Passing." Broome's brows raise as he looks up from the board to Elle, then back down again and plucks his white pawn off the board and sets it down, then moves the black pawn into place as if it had taken the white pawn during its movement.

"It is a punishment for over-extending ones self. If you put yourself out further than your center can hold, you will find yourself without anyone to protect you, and you will find yourself endangered." Reaching out for the hourglass as he talks, Broome flip it upside down again. "Move one space at a time, Elle… do not move beyond your means to defend yourself, or to see the patterns of actions of your enemies ahead of you."

Moving his hands to fold beneath his chin, Broome's dark eyes sweep up to Elle. It's only here that Elle notices something about the chess board. The black side — her side — is missing the king from its pieces already. It's not off in the collected pieces, nor is it on the board. It's just… mising.

"What can I do, Elle, to help you transition better to this new life?" Now, of course, Simon is offering help.

The girl stares down at the missing spot where the king should be, her brow furrowing. One finger reaches out to touch the spot where it should be, the girl's jaw muscles still flexing. It takes a while for his words to sink in…that's different. Her normal treatment entails a good verbal lashing, with a wholesome helping of 'you were never good enough.'

Then, blue eyes raise back up to Simon, an almost tortured look present in them. "I…I don't know." She glances away, peering out over his shoulder at the rain that falls outside of their little shelter. "I'm almost worried about being around Warren. He brings out a side of me that I tried, so hard, to erase…and I haven't realized it until you called this to my attention." She sighs softly. "How do I deal with that?"

She's back to looking at the empty space where the king piece should be, frowning. "I don't want to be with the Company any more. Every day, when I have to go in to work for them…for the bastards who took everything I had. My mom, my childhood, even my birthday. It's suffocating me. And every little lie that gets scraped away just makes me hate them." She closes her eyes. "It's so…lonely."

"I'm sorry, Elle. But we need you to keep Warren in line, however I heard that Desmond made you an offer recently about seeing a therapist. That may help you curb some of your violent tendencies and also help with your issues about your father and mother." Furrowing his brows, Broome folds his hands together and looks down to the chess board. "Doctor Sheridan is a very talented woman, I'd like to recommend you start seeing her, once a week if you're able to. I can give her advanced notice of your intentions…"

Brown eyes alight to Elle again from the chess board. "I'm also sorry that I can't let you back away from the Company just yet. We're going to need you inside their offices come the end of the month, but just a week and a few omre days, Elle… then you won't ever have to see the Company again, this I promise you." Letting his hands fall down to the chess board slowly, Broome flattens his palms on the cool concrete, then laces his fingers together agaub.

He's silent in the time it takes for the last granules of sand to trickle out of the hour glass, and very dark eyes consider the flow of time being shown before they return to Elle's far paler stare. "Does that seem acceptable?"

The girl nods slowly, scratching at the back of her head. "I'm sorry again, about that thing yesterday…I got a little carried away. I'll be more careful with him, and I'll do a better job of keeping him in line. And I'll certainly look into things before I dive in like I did." And she's got to stop letting stupid emotions get in the way, as well.

The girl looks back down to the chess board, frowning again at the empty spot where the king should be. The offer of a week and a few more days prompts a slow nod, her eyes closing. "No longer than that…please. I hate it there…I hate that place." She takes a soft breath, closing her eyes and trying to calm the thoughts crashing around in her head.

Blue eyes turn up to meet those dark, deep eyes of his. "What's happening in a week and a half that'll get me away from the Company? I wouldn't mind being a little more in the loop. I just know that something big is coming up, but nobody has told me what."

"I can't tell you that, Elle," is Broome's apologetic answer to her question, "just remember that when Desmond asks you to do something, it is in your best interests to listen." Considering the chess board again, Broome's brows furrow and his chapped lips press together firmly, looking to be contemplative of the next move of the game, eyeing the black pieces expectantly, as if they were going to move at some point. When his dark eyes lift back up to Elle, Broome offers her only the barest hints of a smile.

"You should go, and take to heart what I told you. I have it on good authority that you're a strong, capable woman, Elle. But I also know that you're headstrong and rash, and I would be failing as a protector of our kind if I did not help protect you from yourself, and the future that you have awaiting you." With a sigh, Broome offers out one weathered hand to the blonde, a parting handshake to seal their first meeting.

"It was a pleasure seeing you finally, Elle, I'm glad we got to meet each other this time." This time.

The little blonde frowns as he refuses to tell her what will be happening, her teeth knitting at her lower lip. She lets out a soft sigh, turning her eyes downward again. This whole not being in the loop thing isn't fun in the slightest. Finally, she speaks again. "I'll go to the therapist." She watches the man quietly for a long moment.

Then, she raises to her feet, picking up her rain coat again. She's about half way through putting it on, when she pauses, peering quietly at Broome. "Could…could I have my files, soon? I don't care what you take out with research…I just want to have some physical proof of all the lies. I want to see if there are any more. After all…they took my mom, my childhood, and my birthday…what's to stop them from taking everything else I could have been?"

She resumes pulling the raincoat on, buttoning it up. "This time?"

"A wise man once told me," Broome offers in a quietly conversational tone of voice, "time is not a line." Those words seem to have some sort of weight behind them as Simon's dark eyes linger on Elle's, and she can almost feel some sort of pull behind them, as if merely looking into Simon Broome's eyes was like leering over into a gateway of some sort, one that may not be entirely closed.

"I'll have your files for you at the end of the month," Simon adds after that obfuscating comment, his brows creased and lips sagging away from a smile but not quite turning into a frown. "Worry about taking care of yourself, and let me worry about the sands in the hourglass."

The blonde stares quietly into his eyes, her jaw working again, though this time it is more in deep thought than it is in trying to absorb things. She wants to ask, what are you?, but she stills her tongue in the hopes that all will be explained one of these days. It doesn't seem right to ask him such a thing, in any case, especially being that he is Harper's boss.

The raincoat buttoned, Elle Bishop lifts her umbrella, turning a scowl toward the falling rains beneath the shelter. "Can you at least tell me that I'll understand things soon, Simon? That some time soon, all of this will make perfect sense? Because right now, I'm in the dark, and I feel like I don't know up from down." She glances toward the man, frowning quietly as she pulls the hood of that thick raincoat over her blonde locks.

"I can promise that eventually, you'll have answers," and that is a carefully worded one from Simon, "but I can't profess that you will understand." There's a wryness to Simon's tone, and a pointedness to the silence following that assertion that is punctuated by the patter of raindrops on the roof above the two. "But I have hope," Simon finally adds after a long moment of silence, "that one day, you will understand the answers after they're given to you, because I believe you were meant for something special, Elle."

Hands folded under his chin again, Simon's next words are as equally careful in his choice of them as the first. "I want to believe that you have more in your future, than an unexpected and untimely demise at the hands of someone you trust. I'd like to think," he says quietly, "that you have a destiny to fulfill."

Confusion sweeps its way over Elle's features as she looks at Broome, her fingers fidgeting over the handle of her oversized umbrella. What do you say to things like this? Could he mean her untimely death in the future? Or something else entirely? The blonde turns a weary gaze toward the rain once more, before turning to look back to Broome.

"What do you mean? Or are you going to be mysterious and not tell me anything?" She sighs out at the rainstorm, wishing it would clear up.

Broome just smiles, folding his hands in front of himself as he arches one brow inquisitively. "Telling you now, wouldn't do any good. Let's just say that I have your best interests at heart, Elle, and I ask that you trust me…" and therein lies a somber expression that Broome wears, "trust me at least for now."

It's the most he can ask of her.

The blonde raises an eyebrow, and with a click of a button, the umbrella pops open. "Okay. Let me know if I need to stop trusting you anything, okay?" She offers a halfhearted smile to accompany her weak attempt at humor, before turning to sigh at the rain, setting the umbrella over her shoulder. "…Okay. I'll trust you for now, Simon…I'll do my best for you." She nods slowly.

When Elle Bishop steps out into the rain, it's with a few new things on her mind. She knows she needs to change her ways. To be more careful, to avoid doing stupid things.

It's time to leave the old Elle behind. This isn't about having fun. This isn't about having a better life. This isn't about how much she hates her Daddy, or how much she hates the Company, period. No, those are irrelevant. She knows what the Institute can do. She already knows that if Warren messes up, he'll be in their captivity before he can even blink. Who's to say the same order isn't extended to her, if she should mess up too badly?

This is about survival.

As Elle moves away, into the pouring rain, Simon Broome looks back down to the chess board in front of himself, hands folded in front of his mouth and brows furrowed. For a long time he stares at the black pieces in front of his white ones, and reaches out for the hourglass afterward, tipping it upside down once more to begin the flow of time again.

"Your move…" Broome intones, "old friend."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License