Fireside Politics


elisabeth2_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif

Scene Title Fireside Politics
Synopsis Not your usual Valentine's, but then… not your usual pair, either.
Date February 14, 2020

NYSZ Raytech Complex, Richard and Elisabeth's Apartment

"… and now I've got Donovan chortling with glee about shoving me into a spotlight, cuz we made him look good. Plus he's trying to get me to talk to this guy from Florida he's been trying to convince to run for President and shit. I haven't figured out yet if Marcus has his eye on something bigger than Commissioner, honestly."

The lights are off, leaving just the fire in the fireplace and the candles on a few surfaces to light the room. A half-finished bottle of wine sits within reach, and Elisabeth is leaned with her back against the couch and her feet outstretched toward the warmth of the fire as she holds her wine glass. She slants him a rueful smile in the darkness. "So yes, I would love to go up to Detroit for a couple of days and have a real live date night away from all this bullshit, handsome," she laughs.

“It’s mostly a business meeting, InVerse wants to work with us on some sort of project, but…” If this were a few months ago, Richard would be on the couch cozy against her rather than an arm’s reach away from her, but it isn’t a few months ago. He’s pushed his limits, but skin to skin contact is still dangerous. A rueful smile over, “At least we could hit up a real restaurant, dress up, enjoy the night…”

He chuckles, then, “Donovan? A politician? I can’t see it… who’s he want to back for President?”

Waving off his explanation that it's a business meeting, Elisabeth rests her head back on the couch and smiles at him. "I think the last time we tried that, Silas got stabbed. Maybe we'll have better luck in another city," she observes lazily.

Then she shakes her head a little. "Guy's name is Joshua Harding — he was in the primaries with Mitchell back when. He was openly Evo when it was brand new." Liz's tone is a bit pensive. "He wants me to convince the guy to run. Apparently he's on the fence." The subtle emphasis on the word implies the kind of convincing. "I only promised to see if I could get the guy talking about his doubts, see where his reluctance is. But…"

When she looks at him, she's got a wry grin on her face. "It's very strange to work for a guy who knows what you can do and wants to cover your back when you do it."

“Huh. Why’s he want Harding in the game? What’s he bring to the table? I should probably familiarize myself with the possible candidates… I should ask Nicole,” Richard admits, lifting a half-empty glass of wine and motioning with it towards her, a wry smile, “She’s got a background in this sort of thing. I’m still hoping Hesser somes up clean, though, his daughter might be…”

A beat, “Important for the future.”

He takes a sip of wine, then, and he chuckles, eyebrows lifting, “That’s because you’ve never worked for me. I think you keep thinking it’s a conflict of interest because we’re married or, you know, were just fucking on the side.”

Elisabeth laughs, tossing a random pillow from the couch at his chest with her free hand. "I've worked with you," she objects. "Just… never on the up and up." The concession is amused. "I don't think it's a conflict of interest to work for you," she adds just a hair more seriously, "I just know my limitations and if you are my focus in both personal *and* professional life…. I'll lose myself and turn into that crazy cow that was jealous of Harmony or something." That admission is maybe a little more serious than she intended it to be and she takes a swallow of her wine as she looks toward the fire.

Moving on!

"I broached Hesser to him and Marcus's reply was a rather scathing condemnation —- he's Libertarian." Liz side-eyes and grins. "It's a death knell in politics. In his estimation, Harding is what he called 'one of us' and said if we really wanted someone to help set it all up right, this guy would be the one to do it." She pauses. "I'd been stressing hard on the fact that we were supposed to be rebuilding the PD *better* than last time and what were Kaylee and the rest of us doing? Skirting the fucking law already." She rolls her eyes. "It didn't hit me until that moment that the whole reason he wanted me in this position was his admiration of my 'dirty hands.'"

Richard’s brows go up a little at Liz being jealous of Harmony, but he lets it pass, taking another sip of his wine. Mhm, moving on from that.

Then he’s exhaling a bit of a snort, “Donovan’s still in a pre-war mentality. The libertarian viewpoint has always been anti-strong government and pro-corporation, and let’s be honest, after all the shit of the past decade nobody trusts a strong central government. Even the government is handing territory over to Yamagato, to Praxis…” Not them, which still rankles his ego a bit. He’s grumbled about it before. He thinks it’s because of Ezekiel, and he’s probably right.

He grins over to her, then, “He knows you can get the job done.”

"Yeah," Elisabeth snorts, "that's exactly how he phrased it too." Cue the eyeroll, because she definitely gives it. "He's not wrong, though… the law still doesn't take into account all that people can do now, and we're stuck in the gray area in the middle. So… I'll do the best I can to keep a clean department and kick his ass to make sure he's clean too. At least for a little while."

She considers the thought of the pro-corporation mentality and points out, "Considering how much trouble we think Praxis may be capable of starting, I don't think I want a pro-corporate government either. I mean…" There's a slow shrug and a screwing up of her face into a disgruntled, nose-wrinkled expression. "Seriously, look what happened in Pinehearst world and the Blasted future one." Elisabeth pauses and looks at him. "I don't know that I think that is a better option."

“I’d argue that the future in the Pinehearst timeline were because he had control of the government, the company as incidental,” Richard replies with a shrug of one shoulder, “And then again in the Wasteland — the Institute’s tech was being appropriated by the government. Every time it’s those assholes in DC deciding that they know better than the people…”

He grimaces, hands spreading a bit, glass in one hand, “I’ll look into this Harding guy, but after everything I’ve seen, I trust the free market more than I trust a bunch of pencil-pushing bureaucrats being manipulated by god-knows-who.”

"Well, you're certainly not going to get a huge argument out of me one way or the other," Elisabeth retorts mildly, swirling the wine in her glass. "Everyone has to play the game at some point, I guess…" Not that the thought makes her very happy. "When we get back from Detroit, I'm thinking I might start doing a little nosing around on Civella. It sounds like some of the same old players might be in the mix over in the hellhole that has always been Staten." She shrugs slightly, and then admits, "Is it bad that part of me wonders if the PD got played? The takedown was … stupid easy, really. I mean… not the part about a dozen guys trying to blow us away, but … it's all nice and neat and packaged." Blue eyes slant toward him thoughtfully. "You know how much I believe in coincidence."

Shaking her head, she admits, "The other part of me is asking why the fuck I find it so damn impossible just to say 'you know, my own life is decent, how about I don't fuck it up by turning over the rocks just to see what's under there?'" Elisabeth's grin is rueful. "I think you turned me into a paranoid conspiracist."


Richard points at her with one finger, eyebrows raising a little, “It’s not paranoia if they actually are after you, although I may have to have an argument with my therapist on that point. We’re still trying to determine if it’s actually megalomania if world-affecting events really do revolve around you sometimes, so maybe I’ll wait a few sessions to introduce that.” Tongue, meet cheek.

He wrinkles his nose, then, “Could be, though. Sometimes it does all just wrap up nicely, but it never hurts to keep aware of what might be going on.”

The snort of laughter is accompanied by the back of Liz's hand covering her mouth because she was just taking a sip of her wine at that comment. As she manages to swallow it, the giggles pour out. "Oh God. Your poor therapist." Maybe that's not the best way to put that, but yaknow… if the shoe fits. "If she keeps seeing you after finding all about your insane life, love? She's definitely a keeper."
Shifting to her side some to prop her elbow on the couch cushions above her head and rest her head on her hand, she considers him. "Speaking of things that might be going on… Think you'll find the rest of those albums you're searching for?" If there's one thing she's never suffered from it's lack of curiosity.

“God, I hope so. I’m so tired of finding all these… fragments,” Richard grimaces, the wine glass brought to his lips to take a longer swallow, eyes closing, “Ezekiel seemed to have no trouble finding everything he needed. Neither did Adam. All I find are… wisps of smoke that vanish when I reach for them. I’m always just a little too late to succeed.”

He grunts a little, “Robyn should be going by the radio station soon, I think, hopefully… Pines had some there.” Pines. Another wisp of smoke that vanished when he reached out.

She understands the frustration of that. Savoring a sip of the wine in her glass, Elisabeth is quiet for a time. "Ezekiel and Adam both had something we don't," she points out quietly. "We have no idea how many times Zeke tried to go back and change it all, but it was more than once." Of that much, she is pretty damn sure. "So of course he could find things — he already knew where some were. And Adam apparently has the benefit of a ridiculously long life span to learn how to find shit that no one wants found. So don't make me have to stick my boot up your butt to remind you to get your head out of it — it is not all on you, and if you start acting like it is this time around? I swear to God, we're gonna fight."

The tone may be mild and there may be a half-smile on her features, but there are shadows in her eyes at the thought. She has fought too long and too hard to watch him do that to not just himself but their kids.

"We're never going to have all the answers. I'm not saying we shouldn't look for them," she adds so he doesn't think she is doing exactly that. "But I don't want us killing ourselves taking on the weight of the whole world all the time. Not this time. Okay? No one is going to win. Let's just try for… balance."

“It’s just— frustrating to constantly be one step behind, constantly… I can’t ever get my hands on something until it’s too late, it seems,” Richard laments in consternation, one hand lifting up in a vague motion through the air before falling back down to rest on the back of the couch.

Then he sighs, shaking his head, “I’m not taking it all on myself, Liz, but I fucked up already by trying to stay on the periphery… we don’t have the leisure to just assume it’s going to work out.”

Tipping her glass as she points at him with one finger, Elisabeth merely offers, "I'll agree with you there. And you know you're not going into this without me. So… just don't do anything stupid. I still have shoes, I will beat you with them." The threat isn't so much threat as amused callback.

“Huh.” Richard leans in a little, squinting as if peering at her, “You don’t look Hispanic. Where did you learn the ancient martial art of La Chancla?”

A smile tugs up, a little sly, as he makes the joke.

"I am Princess Liz, daughter of King Jared of the Order of the Gibbs-Slap. I have learned many things in my travels, husband," Elisabeth intones dramatically. And then she giggles at him, ruining the faux-somber facade.

“Alright, alright…” Laughing, Richard leans back, both hands coming up defensively, “I promise I won’t take the entire weight of the world on my own back. So long as people fucking talk to me so I don’t have to.”

The smile fades a bit, “They don’t as much, anymore.”

Normally she'd just kiss him stupid. Circumstances being what they are, Elisabeth says simply, "We'll figure it out. We're always stronger together, love." Reaching out, she's careful for his peace of mind to only place her hand on his arm where it's covered and only for a moment in a comforting squeeze. "The one thing I had to learn on the way home was to deal with the thing in front of me. Can't solve everything, can only do what we can do with what's directly ahead." Her smile at him is a small one as she pulls her hand back so he won't worry. "We'll just do the next 'right' thing, as much as we can, and keep going."

“Yeah. I know.” Richard reaches over to cover her hand with his own gloved one briefly, offering her a faint smile, “And we can do it together. Just need to… pull everyone together again, as best we can.”

Then he chuckles, “We should just call Nicole and ask her advice on the whole presidential candidate thing while we’re at it. She’s better at it than we are.”

"Not a bad idea," Elisabeth says after a thoughtful pause. "She was married to the President in another timeline, after all," she murmurs, rolling her eyes. Squeezing his hand, she offers a soft laugh when he draws back. She stops the movement by brushing at his hair. "Aura has been here again." She holds up her hand — there's pink glitter. "They'll love you in the office with this."

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