For Auld Lang Syne


f_eliot_icon.gif f_zoe_icon.gif

Scene Title For Auld Lang Syne
Synopsis Eliot comforts Zoe on the night of Linderman's execution. The new year turns over.
Date December 31, 2009

Zoe's Apartment

It is December 31st, 2009. In a few hours, Daniel Linderman is going to be executed.

He had told Zoe that he wanted to face his end alone, and so she's here, in her aparment, standing in her kitchen barefoot with a can of catfood in her hand and a Maine coon rubbing at her ankles. The tv is on - but it's not tuned to any celebrations. Or rather it is, a macabre one, outside the gates of the facility where Linderman is being held, and is going to meet his end. There's a crowd outside those gates, shouting things and holding signs that villify the man - and he does deserve to be villified. A reporter drawls in journalist cadence in the forefront of the screen.

Staring at nothing, Zoe doesn't hear any of it.

A knock on the door. Knock knock. Outside, Eliot Ford leans against the frame of the doorway with a frown on his face. This isn't a good night. It's not that he feels pity. It just… doesn't seem right, is all. For the first time, Eliot feels something is /wrong/. Oy.

Zoe snaps out of her reverie, looks down at the cat. Wordlessly she just sets the can down and lets the animal eat from it. Like bothering with a dish is too much to care about. Swallowing, she goes to the door, and like any smart New Yorker, looks through the peephole. Presses her forehead to the door and sighs before sliding the locks and turning the bolts and opening it.

Zoe's dressed for comfort, not for receiving guests. Her hair's in a ponytail, a Sorbonne t-shirt, and a pair of plaid pajama pants fit the bill. She stares at Eliot a moment, blinking owlishly. She doesn't have her glasses on.

"I can't believe you're here."

Her tone is so…toneless, it's hard to tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

"Yeah? Where else would I be?" Eliot frowns and steps inside without an invitation, his arms wrapping around Zoe's shoulders to bring her closer for a warm embrace.

For a moment, for some mysterious reason, she goes oddly stiff for a split second, and then relaxes. Sinks into it. She's been a good little soldier with a stiff upper lip since she saw Linderman just a few days ago. No one's asked her about her last hour with Daniel, and Kain and Eliot have shielded her from the press. She's grateful. She also doesn't cry. "I can't seem to be able to turn the tv off." she says in a whisper.

"Do you want me to do it?" He doesn't need to see it to know it will happen. When things like this go down, they always happen. Linderman has no escape plan; this is Daniel's escape plan, as far as Eliot knows.

Zoe shakes her head. "I think it'll be worse if I don't. I'll just stare at the clock." Freeing herself, she pushes the door closed behind him, rebolts it. Her cat comes raing up to Eliot and immediately starts twining around his legs, purring loudly.

"Heeey, Raggy." Eliot dips down and snags the cat, lifting her up to his chest and scritching behind her ear. "How are you, girl? Miss me? Yeah?" He nuzzles the kitty.

Ragnell is practically climbing into Eliot's arms as Zoe walks away. Her apartment is actually pretty posh as far as size and amenities. She picks up the remote and mutes the tv, frowning at it, but unable to actually turn it off entirely, then tosses the remote on the couch. "Um," she says, trying to resolve being a good hostess with the inevitable ticking of the clock, "Do you want something? To drink or eat, I mean."

"I'm fine," Eliot says with some sympathy. "I think your cat has claimed my arm as her throne, anyway." He smiles pleasantly, and reaches over with his free hand to squeeze hers.

"Wait til you sit down." Zoe says, trying to summon a smile. "You may be fine…but I think I need a drink. You sure you don't want anything? Is it morbid that I bought a bottle for tonight? I decided it was medicinal."

"Well. If it's for the occasion," Eliot said morbidly. "I don't think it's morbid. I think it's… thoughtful." He would. He sits down, and the cat claims his lap, curling up.

There's puttering about the kitchen, and Zoe returns, putting down an expensive red (not her usual - she prefers dry, sweet whites), now opened, and a pair of glasses. She pours before she sits, and once she does, she picks up the glass and drains it, making a funny face as it goes down.

"Maybe a little slower on the intake?" Eliot suggests, taking a gulp of his own glass and smiling at her. "It's gonna be okay."

Zoe lets out a soft huff of laughter of the sort one makes when one doesn't find anything funny at all. As she pours another glass she says, "I asked him if there was anything he wanted me to do." After she pours, her eyes flick up to the television. One of the jubilant crowd is being silently interviewed. He carries a sign: 1 for .07% = FAIR TRADE. She quickly resolutely turns her head away.

"And what did he say?" Eliot wraps his fingers around her hand and squeezes tightly, smiling at her briefly; reassuringly.

Zoe seems to be watching him sidelong, almost skeptical, but ashe cannot help but answer him, cannot help but be charmed by his smile. "He told me to be happy." she admits.

"I think," Eliot says, raising his glass to hers and clinking them softly. "That that is a reasonable request."

"I am not entirely sure as to how to go about it." she admits ruefully. "Content? Yeah, that I could manage. Happy? That takes work."

"I'm sure you'll find a way," Eliot says. "You're a smart, capable woman. He didn't say you had to be happy now. And I think he would accept a good old fashion try as much as he would success."

"How would you start?" she asks. She shifts on the couch, presses against his side. It's not a seduction tactic. It's one part his ability, one part her need for contact as she counts down the minutes.

"Heh." Eliot shakes his head. "I'd start by making sure the right people are in my life for something like that to happen. Not just whoever I can scrounge up. But the right people."

"Well I have you and Kain," she smirks. "Are you the right people?"

"I think you're the only one that can say who the right people are, sweetie," Eliot tells her with a small smile. "I can tell you I'd be honored."

Her gaze goes to the tv. It won't be long, now. The news is being intercut with New Years celebrations, but inevitably cutting back to the crowd outside Daniel's prison. She stares at it. "Are you sure this is how you want to break in your New Year?" she asks quietly. "You could be at Rapture, not thinking about any of this."

"I could be at Rapture," Eliot says, looking over at the television. "But I could not be not thinking about any of this."
Zoe turns her head to look at the television, and then turns to look at him, looking at the television. "Thank you." she says quietly. "For coming here. You make it better."

"I thought you could use some company," Eliot says with a smile. He leans over, and kisses her cheek.

Zoe closes her eyes briefly at the kiss, opens them again when he pulls away. "Won't be long now." she says, eyeing the small time clock running on the bottom right corner of her television.

"This is positively macabre of them; putting a timer on the god damn television. I've half a mind to sue them." Eliot looks upset, too.

"It's New Years Eve," Zoe gently reminds. "There are lots of places on the Eastern Seaboard that are waiting for their balls to drop." A pause, and she presses her hand to her mouth. That was unintentionally funny.

"Doesn't mean I can't—" Eliot grimaces and then snorts at her unintentional joke. "I couldn't've put it better myself."

Zoe chuckles a bit more briefly - and then her eyes fall on the clock again. Every minute makes her edgier. The crowds are starting to grow louder, both the celebrants of the New Year and the jackals outside the prison gates.

Eliot reaches over to take her hand and squeeze it tightly. "Turn the television off, Zoe. It's only making it worse for you."

She is so easily persuaded by him. Dutifully, she reaches for the remote, hesitates, and then clicks it off. "I don't know." she mumbles, more to herself. "He did terrible things. How can I love him when he's such a monster?"

"You just love his memory, Zoe. And keep everything you felt to yourself, and enjoy the memories that were sweet, and good, and true." Eliot pulls her over to hug her gently.

Ragnell vacates because something bigger than she in the form of Zoe more or less replaces her presence. Not so much in his lap, but held close. She's silent for a long time, and he might even think she's fallen asleep, but then she moves, slowly. Her hand slides down one his arms slowly, comes to his wrist. Her fingers may seem surprisingly nimble, but she pops the release of his watch - no doubt expensive - and slides it off his hand, reaching past him to put it on endtable.

Eliot watches her for a long moment, and once the watch is on the endtable, he reaches over to turn it down, so they can't see it. "Just forget about it, Zoe. Close your eyes and forget."

Closing her eyes is easily done. Forgetting, that's much harder. "If I fall asleep," she murmurs, "If I miss it - " she'll feel guilty, somehow, if she is not awake at 12:01 AM, when Daniel Linderman has passed on.

He doesn't say anything. Eliot just raises a hand to bring her forehead to his shoulder and closes his own eyes. After a minute he does say, "I don't think anything you do not can be a sin. Just try to find peace."

"Is that what you do," she murmurs, "Try to find peace?" Because his life is hardly anything of a sort.

Eliot smiles a bit, heaving a sigh. "All the time," he lies.

Dude. Naive as she is, even she's got a bullshit meter. But she smiles, charmed anyway. "Liar." she says softly. "I think you're the sort who'll find peace when he's dead. It always has to be /interesting/ for you."

Eliot smiles, and shakes his head a bit. "You're probably right. I guess I'll find out the hard way."

Her eyes are still closed. "Will you stay?" she asks. "If you need to go, I understand, but I think I'd like you to stay til morning." It's not that she's propositioning him.

It doesn't seem like he thinks she is, either. He nods, and brings her a little closer. "Sure. No worries."

And that's when she actually gives in. He can feel the lethargy loosening her limbs, the wine helping it along its way as she sighs softly and drifts away for a while. Her cat, sitting Bast-like on its haunches on the far couch arm, peers at Eliot in faint puzzlement. Mew?

Eliot glances at the cat, and raises a brow. "Don't look at me like that," Eliot tells the cat solemnly. "You'd do the same if you were me."

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