ace2_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Frequency
Synopsis While the travelers are making their jump, Elisabeth waits anxiously with Odessa, who finds out what happens when the frequency she's tuned into goes out of range.
Date June 11, 2021

Williamsburg: The Callahan Brownstone

"No, Harm… just keep Aura with the twins and I'll be home as soon as I can. … Of course I'll let you know if I hear anything." Hanging up the phone, Elisabeth leans her head back against the wall and closes her eyes. She's standing just outside Odessa's place — not where she expected to be today but… somehow the right place. Who else will understand the gut-deep terror that Liz is feeling better than the woman who lived parts of those years with her? And who loves the man about to leave the world… maybe for the last time.

Pulling in a breath, the blonde fights to get the subsonic hum around her under control. She knows it's not audible, but it's tangible. And Dessa will know exactly how bad off she is by the intensity of the buzzing — the same reason Elisabeth has had to avoid Aurora today. Squaring her shoulders, she pushes off the wall and knocks on the door.

She wonders, for a split second as Dessa opens the door, what she's going to say. And then realizes she doesn't have to say anything, her expression is enough to give Dessa all the information she really needs. She's only seen Elisabeth in this state a very few times, unable to hide the abject terror that has her power slightly fritzing and her body literally shivering.

It’s so rare that the house receives visitors. Sometimes the boys down the block pop over to see if they can play with Rex or if Señora Ourania will help with their homework, but with the summer come, those requests are even fewer. So when there’s a knock at the door, Odessa’s up on her feet like a shot to go answer it.

Seeing Elisabeth on the other side of the door is a shock that isn’t really a shock. Odessa simply nods her head quickly, no words needing to pass between the two of them. She pulls the door open all the way and gestures toward a set of sliding doors. Her hand briefly lays on Liz’s back, between her shoulder blades. There’s a buzzing she can feel beneath the skin almost. In the air between them.

When the audiokinetic has passed the threshold and moved toward the study, Odessa pushes the front door closed and locks it with a heavy exhale. Her eyes close and her head dips low. She smiles after a moment, a faint thing. She takes her palm off the door and turns to her husband who’s wandered to the top of the stairwell from his office to check on things.

“It’s Liz,” she tells Harry. “You can go back to work. We’re good.” And if he’s narrowing his eyes at her in that way that he does when he thinks she’s lying about whether or not she is actually good, she doesn’t care right now. Odessa just shakes her head, moves on to the study, and slides the door shut behind her.

The study is the one room in the house that is wholly Odessa’s, even if it didn’t begin that way. Even if a lot of the furnishings weren’t hers to begin with. She’s adopted them as her own, because she actually likes them. She’s added her own touches. It’s her little nest. There’s a fireplace with a plush rug in front of it and a loveseat with blue velvet cushions. The far wall is made of built-in bookshelves, and it’s full of hardcovers. Most are the standard classics. The types of books that people who want you to know they enjoy reading keep on their shelves. But there are those that are distinctly Odessa’s. A copy of Mean Heat for starters, but also Gillian Childs’ A Memory of Tomorrow and its sequel, Rebirth of Yesterday.

There’s also a beautiful vintage vanity set against the wall just down from the fireplace. It may have been easy to imagine she had a slew of attendants at Rossignol to fuss over her. Costumes, make-up, hair… Judging from the tidy boxes stacked beneath, next to or nearby, however, it’s almost certain that this is where Odessa preps for her shows.

The real focal point, however, is the piano. Upright, made of hickory, vines carved into the wood, climbing their way up the sides and around the three page music stand. It isn’t hard to imagine that this is where she spends the majority of her time away from work. In just shy of a year, Odessa Price (Odessa Callahan) has made a home for herself here in this brownstone in Williamsburg than she has anywhere else she’s lived since she escaped the Company on Sylar’s coattails almost fifteen years ago.

Even her apartment at Raytech looked and still looks like a showing model. She’s finally found some stability. That Harry Stoltz must really be something.

It’s why Odessa knows when she looks at Elisabeth. “He’s fine,” is the first thing she says when they’re alone. “He’s fine, I know it.”

Elisabeth glances up at Harry as he shows up on the stairs. Her demeanor is the same neutral, calm one that he always sees with her and despite where her own headspace is right now, she notes the way he looks at Dessa. It's good that someone worries about her friend. But she's grateful when he turns and leaves again.

When the door to the study shuts behind her, the facade crumbles and Elisabeth swallows hard. "I have to believe that. I have to. But oh God, Dessa…" Her stress is in the stratosphere, and there is a very real danger of a pressure wave. "The sheer number of what-ifs rolling in my head are exorbitant. What if they don't hit the right timeline? What if they do and they land smack in the middle of a fucking ship battle in the ocean? What if the comm link doesn't hold? W-W-W-What if they can't stop all this? What if they can and they just can't get back?" The brief moment of stuttering is almost hidden behind the vibration of non-sound.

The fine tremors of a panic that hasn't fully erupted are creating that fine, low-level hum that heralds things like glass breaking. The piano tinkles under the waves rolling off the blonde. Even in Bright, Elisabeth wasn't this bad — at least not that Odessa ever saw. By the time they were friends, Liz had her fears generally under control. This is a side of her friend that she hasn't ever witnessed.

Odessa lets her friend have her spiral, because she needs to get it out of her and into the air and into the universe, where it’s no longer a high pitched whine inside of her skull, screaming with doubt. “Elisabeth,” she cuts in when she’s had to stop for breath. She clearly telegraphs her intention to reach out, to touch, her hands up, eye level and held for a moment before she moves in.

Warm fingers curl around the back of Elisabeth’s neck, her jaw cradled in Odessa’s palms. “Breathe. Look at me. Breathe.” She waits until she has Liz’s eyes on hers before she continues. “Look. Nothing can stop us. Nothing. Not you. Not me. Not Richard. Look at you. You went through four whole timelines looking for home, and you did it.”

Gently, the pads of her fingers massage at the back of Liz’s neck. “We both know Richard’s a little hopeless, but he’s only got to manage one timeline. He’s got this.” Odessa smirks a little, trying to get at least a startled laugh out of her good friend.

Meeting Odessa's eyes, Elisabeth's are full of the unreleased panic. She's near hyperventilating, but she does as instructed and fights to focus on the eyes of her friend. Tears flood her gaze and she gasps out a startled sound, not quite a laugh, but she's hearing what's being said at least. Her hands wrap around Odessa's wrists and she fights to slow her breathing down, to get control of it. "P-p-p-p-p-promise me, Dessa," she pleads in a whisper. "P-p-promise me he's got this. We fought so fucking hard. I c-c-can't… this can't be how it ends, right?"

She drops her forehead to rest against Dessa's, closing her eyes, struggling not to sob as tears streak her cheeks. Elisabeth is holding onto her friend's wrists like they are the only lifeline she has in a world gone upside down.

Odessa swallows down her own fear, telling herself — lying to herself — that it all belongs to Elisabeth, and thus she can safely pack it away and ignore it. “Shhh…” The noise is only to be reassuring, a susurrus beneath the tinnitus whine, almost like it’s some semblance of a countermelody. In no way does Odessa want Elisabeth to quiet herself when she needs to vent her emotion.

“I’ve got you,” she promises. “And I’ve got him.” Her mouth tugs into a rueful smile as Odessa continues. “Eve has him, as much as we both know she’s chaos incarnate. She will not let anything happen to him. She knows how much he means to us. She knows how important all of this is.”

It continues. “Chess has got him. That girl is strong. I didn’t know… I didn’t know. But she’s… You have to really be something to catch Luther Bellamy’s respect, right? And even if she didn’t have it…” Odessa’s poor husband just keeps finding that she’s friends with people he stood opposite of during the war, even if they weren’t necessarily enemies. Mercenary work is a complicated business.

“Robyn has him. That girl is tenacious. Jesus.” Odessa shakes her head. “I’ve known her since the Ferry days, and the fact that she’s where she is means she’s competent. They wouldn’t have asked her to go if she wasn’t.”

The next one causes her to crack a grin that sees her pressing her tongue to the tip of her tooth. “I’ve never seen my husband make eyes at anyone in my presence before, but I think he and Castle had a moment? I’m just going to say that agent has accomplished something improbable, so I’m sure Richard’s in good hands there.”

See? She’s funny. “And let’s not forget Elliot.” This one is a conspiracy. Odessa actually looks around before she leans in closer to Elisabeth, as though the fact that they’re both already holding fast to each other isn’t proximity enough. “That man survived… A place I can’t even speak of. Richard is in the company of some of the toughest people they could have put him with.”

In summary, “He’s gonna be fine.

While Odessa lists out the people on that team, even the ones Elisabeth herself isn't so sure are a good plan, Liz fights to breathe in and breathe out in the same pattern as her friend. It takes the entire way through Odessa's summary before the blonde can finally pull back and look her in the eyes again. Her face is splotchy with the effort of swallowing so much emotion and there are still fine tremors shaking her whole body, but the swell of subsonic sound at least has lessened. Some.

"Okay," Elisabeth whispers in a choked voice. "Okay. I can do this. I can be okay with it." She really can't — and if something goes wrong, she won't be okay. Not for a long, long time, if ever. But if there's one thing she knows how to do, it's compartmentalize like a fiend. Pulling in breaths, still trying to stabilize herself and not pulling away from the hold that Dessa has — maybe the biggest tell of all that she needs the reassurance still — Elisabeth nods a little. "He has this. He has done the impossible in … at least four fucking timelines. He has all the information that my mom, his mom, and I could give him about that world."

She swallows hard. "I'm so goddamned scared. Getting back here… you know, Odessa. You know that it was never a given. And that last jump… it was a total Hail Mary." Elisabeth doesn't trust the people who are setting this up to actually know what the hell they've gotten themselves into. Sure, they sent people through time. That's easy compared to what they're doing right now.

She chuckles a shaky, watery laugh. "The only thing that man has ever been hopeless about is his frigging phone and computer."

“Sure it was,” Odessa agrees about the Hail Mary with a nod of her head that she times with her breath. “But you know what you all had when you went for it?” She leans in just enough for their noses to touch. She brushes them back and forth quickly, keeping things light as possible and leaning back with a small grin. “Me.

There’s a shift to her that Elisabeth recognizes. Rather, she recognizes it because it’s so unlike her friend, but still so like someone she is. Or was. “I’m gonna be right there when he arrives.” The lighter tone of voice, the optimistic lilt. Destiny. “Once they find a way to open a portal or the Looking Glass? I’ll just reach through time again to find you. The other Odessa taught me — I mean, sort of — how to do the thing with the radios. The tuning. And if I close my eyes,” and those familiar eyes — the ones that are consistent across all iterations Elisabeth has ever known of the girl from Odessa — do close, a nostalgic little smile creeping across her face.

“I can still feel in my chest that thing that Rina used to do. I feel like I can almost hum it.” The girl opens her eyes again. “But I don’t understand the echoes when they ripple back to me.” She laughs a little nervously. “That’s not my power. But I still have a great ear. Mateo taught me that. So! I’m gonna get him home to you.”

Forehead to forehead, nose to nose, Elisabeth clings to the hope and the certainty that Odessa — Destiny too — projects. The younger, so much more innocent version of Odessa is a bright light in the world, and she hopes the girl is able to remain that way. "We didn't use the Looking Glass to get home. Not really. Not exactly. But… Des, if you need me to help tune it… you call me." Because at the end there, Lynette and Mateo and Magnes were holding it, but Elisabeth and Jac pulled it into sync. "I might be able to help again, okay?"

It's perhaps the one thing she can hold onto — the idea that we've done it before, it can be done again. Elisabeth lets her breath out slowly. "He said you'd be … trying to keep an empathic link. If you get anything, please don't hold back? I need to know." The fact that Dessa is now an empath is something that… well, for this moment, it's just something she accepts.

Finally her grip on Dessa's wrists starts to loosen just a little. Elisabeth doesn't let go, but maybe the worst has passed, for now. "They'll be leaving soon. Really soon," she tells Des softly. "You take care of one another."

There’s a pang of guilt that follows immediately when Odessa comes back to herself and realizes the hope she’s just given Elisabeth. The bleedover of the personalities in her head is just that — in her head. She can’t communicate with Destiny across the strings, but somehow, even she has faith in the other version of herself that if they need to, the sailor will find a way. That particular truth isn’t what Liz needs to hear right now. She can apologize later. After they know everything’s gone smoothly.

Instead, she latches onto the assurance she can give. “Yes. I can feel him right now. He seems understandably anxious, but I’m projecting as much calm back to him as I can.” Odessa’s own grip on Elisabeth eases some, but doesn’t fall away. Letting her head tilt back, she stares up at the ceiling before closing her eyes and breathing deeply. She has to find her own calm if she wants to send it back to him.

“Harry doesn’t know about any of this, by the way.” Odessa doesn’t change her position or her posture when she says that or as she clarifies it. “The ability, the link, the mission… None of it. You don’t need to put up the Cone of Silence or anything. I’d prefer if you didn’t. You’re already practically vibrating. It’s like I can feel the resonance of it. Your emotions feel different from anything else.”

With a quiet breath of laughter, she comes back to center and looks at Elisabeth. “Sometimes I feel a bit like Aura. A lot of the time, Harry’s emotions feel like colors. With others I sometimes feel physical sensations. Like sensory memory. Sometimes it’s a smell, or something tactile, some sensation of something that’s mine.” It’s with astonishment that Odessa admits, “You feel like song. You’re a melody in the air. An aria.” There’s a bright smile for that. “You’re beautiful. Even when you’re upset in some way, your emotions still sing so sweet.”

Harry not knowing about the link, about the mission… those are not surprises. Elisabeth has faith in Odessa to know when to keep quiet about certain things that are really not hers to tell. But the fact that she's not told him about the ability itself? That… is something Liz doesn't have the emotional bandwidth in this moment to discuss with her friend. She's struggling too hard with her own crisis.

Still holding Dessa's wrists and trying to take the comfort she can from the contact, her blue eyes study the other woman's face. It takes a long moment for Elisabeth to really comprehend what Odessa is telling her, and she pulls in a soft breath of surprise. Finally, lifting one hand from its grip, she reaches out to touch Dessa's cheek with her fingertips, the description creating a sense of wonder. "If my emotions are a sound, I'm… shocked beyond words that they're not a clashing of wild drums and death metal," she blurts out shakily, trying so hard to find laughter in this. And there is a rise of color in her face at being described as beautiful by the other woman. She doesn't think of herself as any kind of beauty. "When I have an iota of self-control… we're gonna talk about this empathy thing, but…"

Right now, she simply leans her forehead back against Dessa's, her fingertips still touching her friend's face while the other hand clasps her wrist, and she closes her eyes. Elisabeth's emotions are still running far too high, but she fights to try to control them for Dessa's sake, tries to subdue them behind that wall she got so good at projecting. She has no idea if it does absolutely anything to mute what she emits for the empath, but she doesn't want to overwhelm Odessa either.

"I'm sorry," she whispers. "I'm so sorry to bring all this to you. I wouldn't want even my enemies to be this afraid for someone they love."

“I’ve had enough dissonance in my head,” Odessa says quietly. “It’s nice to have some harmony for once.” She lets her forehead rest there against Elisabeth’s, shifting one of her hands to her cheek in a mirror of the other blonde. “You don’t have to go pianissimo for me. I’ve got you. I’ve got him. I’ve got practice at this. I can separate the wavelengths.”

Her gaze shifts off to one side, losing focus. “They must be getting ready now.” There’s a bubble of nervous laughter that wells up and escapes her. “Sorry. That’s… That’s him. You know what Richard’s like.”

Odessa tilts her head for a moment, like trying to adjust the rabbit ears on an old TV set maybe, then turns her head as if to look at something just over her right shoulder in her periphery. Her eyes move back and forth unseeing, like there’s something to follow.

Pianissimo. It's an interesting way to describe what she tried and Elisabeth smiles softly. "It worked, then?" That's kinda cool. But as Dessa draws back and her focus shifts, the blonde tenses slightly. She didn't honestly realize that Dessa would know… and there's a brief moment of envy that her friend will keep that sense of Richard when Elisabeth can't. "I do," she replies softly about knowing what Richard's like — and who wouldn't be a bit jumpy with what he's about to do?

She pulls in a slow breath and nods just a little, watching Odessa's face. At least by being here, Liz will know they departed safely.

Most of the time since they first linked, Odessa has left Richard’s feelings stay to some level of background noise. Like the television left on daytime programming in the other room while she attends to other things. Notable only in the fact that it fills a space where there would be silence. Sometimes she turns up the volume just to make sure the signal’s strong enough, even when she knows it already is. Now, she’s letting it fill her and experiencing it without responding or pushing back. No amount of calm is going to help. No amount of calm is going to serve. Being on edge will keep Richard sharp.

There’s the heaviness of a sort of finality. That much is easily discerned and understood. It feels like cold wind biting at exposed skin, freezing tears to reddened cheeks. Like klaxons overhead and red lights strobing and a need to make it through, because something precious and far more important — someone with more meaning than you could ever hope to hold — is riding on this success.

There’s a sensation, a feeling she can’t name, too. Odessa turns further, without doing so bodily. She doesn’t break contact with Elisabeth to do it. Her head tilts back the other way, trying to make the emotion come into better relief. She doesn’t understand it, can’t place it, because for all that she’s surrounded herself in this room with the things that make her feel like she belongs here, like this is a place for her to return, she still hasn’t felt it. Hasn’t had it.


While she can’t place it, she can understand its greater meaning. Odessa sucks in a deep breath and returns her focus suddenly back to Elisabeth. “He’s ready.” She cracks a half smile. “As he’s going to be, at any rate.” There’s a little bit of both her and Richard in that.

Heh… boy, does Elisabeth know that feeling. As ready as you’ll ever be seems to be the order of the day whenever they’re doing anything now. And Odessa’s smile, the tone that the words come in, somehow it settles all the parts of Elisabeth that are freaking right out. She nods slowly, because it’s the moment of truth. It’s either going to work or she’ll be a widow. And there is not jack shit she can do about any of it.

There’s a kind of peace to that moment, as strange as it might sound to some. But the settling of emotion is evident to Odessa. Elisabeth too is as ready as she’s ever going to be for her husband to step through that portal and either make it or not.

Odessa feels the shift in Liz and understands that, too. There’s a way of resigning oneself to the universe. And in many ways, Odessa feels like a widow three times over. The terror of the possibility of impending loss never properly recedes or gets easier. Yet, in some way, there’s an acceptance to it.

Que será, será.

That intrusive thought coils a knot in her stomach she can’t explain. No. She just doesn’t want to think about it. Can’t?


The empath’s head turns sharply right again, listening to and watching for nothing, feeling for everything. Her eyes sweep wildly left and right, as though looking for something. To Liz, it’s like looking for danger.

“What?” Alert instantly, Elisabeth’s heart rate picks up. She knows that look — that is Odessa’s oh shit look. She’s feeling something bad. And dread twists in the blonde’s stomach.

“Sh-shh. No, no. It’s okay,” Odessa whispers quickly. Something is happening. Even she can’t convince herself otherwise. “I mean, they’re about to jump through the Looking Glass, right? This is normal.” As she so often does, she lies as easily as anyone else might breathe.

The sharp knife of terror cuts its way through her defenses a moment later. Where Richard can see and act, Odessa has only blind sensation. Gasping out a sudden sob, she clutches Elisabeth’s shoulders, using her to stay upright. She refuses to withdraw from the intensity of Richard even as she starts to spiral into her own panic.

Elisabeth’s immediate reaction is to grip Odessa tightly, both hands flying to the other woman’s shoulders. “Dessa. Dessa, breathe. What….” Oh God. She knows that it’s only emotion, that there is no information that Odessa can offer. All she can do is hold on tight for this ride.

As long as Odessa is feeling something…. He’s alive.

Wrapping her arms tightly around her friend, Elisabeth chokes on her own emotions. Not knowing what is going wrong is so much worse than being there. “Breathe. In… out…” The same thing Odessa was doing for her just a few minutes ago. Compartmentalize. Shove her terror and anxiety deep to keep from flooding Dessa. Focus on nothing but the breathing.

Oh God, please… please…

Elisabeth starts praying silently, praying harder than she has prayed in a long while. St. Jude, lend them your strength. Mother Mary, protect them. Please, God… please get them through.

The words to her rosary prayers rise in her mind and she holds tight to the ritual phrases, pleading with whatever powers of the Universe might be listening to keep them all safe. Our Father, who art in heaven…. All Elisabeth can do is rock Odessa slightly.

All Odessa can do is gasp sharply for air. It feels too cold to breathe. Like each draw of oxygen wants to crystallize in her lungs and freeze them in that expanded shape, unable to push out the next breath and repeat.

Then, she screams.

Not the shrill scream of the terrified — Liz has heard that on her plenty and knows its pitch when she hears it. This is the throaty cry of the wounded. Odessa clutches her chest with one hand, pushing hard against Liz with the other as she staggers back, falling over onto the rug in front of the hearth. Again, she screams, sobbing so hard it can’t even produce sound.

Even as Dessa sucks in the breath to do it, Elisabeth slams a silence field around the two of them, instinctively trying to protect Odessa’s secret from the husband who has no idea there’s an emotional bonded link between his wife and another man. She goes to the floor with Odessa with her arms wrapped around her friend tightly, numb with shock at what she’s seeing the other woman experience.

What the fucking hell has gone wrong out there???

That's what Ace would like to know, too.

The beginnings of that cry had carried well enough, caused the dog at his feet to lift its head in an immediate state of alert. His hand had closed around the letter opener on the desk, feet coming to ground. The heavy footfalls of him moving above were a thing that made it overhead of them, rather than to the stairs.

And then a blink of a moment later he's materializing there behind the two, pupils narrowed to pinpoints and the improvised weapon of the letterknife clutched in his hand. He stays still and half-manifested just long enough to read the posture between them, just long enough to see that it doesn't look like Elisabeth's attacking his wife— not silencing the cries of her death but something else entirely.

His throat works, the flat of the opener flipped out from a stabbing angle and pressed back against his forearm instead to conceal it. The quiet panic of his heartbeat suddenly takes shape again, light no longer filtering through a form that's no longer phantom. "What's wrong?" he demands to know, voice and emotions loud and sharp both. "What happened?"

His arrival doesn’t go unnoticed, and Elisabeth’s fierce protectiveness shows in the way she shifts to cover Odessa even from her own husband as she assesses the danger that just arrived behind them. Blue eyes are shuttered, as if she’s keeping her own reactions locked down as much as humanly possible while Odessa is sobbing incoherently.

“I don’t have an answer for you,” she tells him, her voice choked and not as calm as she’d like. What Dessa tells him about what she’s experiencing has to be her own decision. But in the denial, there is also a flash of pain that crosses her face, so deep that if Harry catches it in her expression, it’s gut-wrenching. Elisabeth continues to hold Odessa as one would a grieving or hurt loved one, support in the only way she knows how. “She… she might be able to tell us in a minute or two.”

Please, God, let her be able to tell us something. Elisabeth is fighting so hard against utter devastation, because Dessa cannot handle that emotional load. “Do you think maybe a cold cloth might help calm her?” she offers Harry.

His eyes flash in irritation as he closes the distance between them quickly. He won't be sent off to fret. His place is by her side, protecting her. "Move," Harry demands in a stern voice unlike the softer-spoken person he's presented himself as before. He kneels to reach for Odessa's hands, ready to pull her up by her arms to lift her if he has to.

"O," he calls out for her louder than is necessary, but he's determined to be louder than the sound of what's causing her to cry out. "I'm here. Come." To anywhere not the ground, naturally, but back to him in this moment is most preferred.

There’s a deep, gasping breath that heralds the return of Odessa’s ability to make sound again, a warning before she lets out so broken a wail that it feels as though she might come apart. Odessa clings tightly to Elisabeth, knows her sound and her frequency, but she knows her husband’s heart. She feels it the moment it arrives next to hers.

Even though her face is buried against the other blonde’s shoulder, Odessa is able to reach out blind and ensnare his wrist without fumbling for it. Rather than allow him to drag her up, she tries simply to keep herself attached to him. To them both. “Ace!” she cries out to him, begs him to stay and to meet her where she’s at all in one uninformative ask.

The anguish in the soft wail of sound breaks Elisabeth's attempts at calm as she kneels there holding her friend. Harry might want Liz to release Dessa, but she can't. Shock renders her mute and even deaf to what is happening, and she feels strangely detached from her surroundings. The world around her shrinks, her vision tunneling. Her arms convulsively tighten and instead of standing, she folds forward. Her body curls down into a tiny ball over her knees, her arms around Odessa.

That sound… that heartbreaking sound…

Elisabeth can't hear it. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. She won't hear it, retreating into her own mind from the utter devastation, the certainty that the broken sound can only mean one thing. And she cannot face it.

Ace, as he's now been called, flinches when Odessa doesn't come to him— seeks her comfort quite literally in the arms of another. It doesn't matter that she's still reaching for him. He, too, experiences the detachment of shock in an entirely different way.

"Up," he demands again, this time more forcefully. "If the two of you are going to fall apart down here, have the sense not to do it on the floor." He's careful in keeping his guiding motions to touching Odessa only, but tries to shepherd them both in the direction of the loveseat nonetheless. Satisfied or not, he moves away for only a moment before returning to slam down a retrieved tissue box from the vanity with surely more force than is necessary, leaving it on the sidetable by the loveseat.

Next he's off to the living room-side doorway into the study, rolling the door aside— without slamming it— to round the corner for the kitchen after all.

When releasing the hold she and Amanvir had on each other, Odessa told him to picture a rope. Together, the two of them dismantled it strand by strand, fiber by fiber, until there was simply nothing holding the frayed ends together anymore. There was no more them. There was only her, and him.

To contrast, this felt like the tension cable of a suspension bridge suddenly snapping. The steel wire flung off without the other end of its tether, whipping backward with such a terrible force. The freefall of it inspires nothing short of mortal terror.

She’s been clinging to Elisabeth for dear life since it happened. Even as they’re finally convinced up off the floor and onto the loveseat, she sticks with her and the noise of her own fear that sounds like a dissonant clanging of bells. When Ace shakes her hold on him — No. No, he didn’t shake her free. She remembers her hand closing into a fist, not having her fingers pried loose.

His extracting himself from her is the ice water thrown over her that starts to pull her back toward reality and away from the dark corridors of her fear. The shouts and the loudest sobbing cuts off in an instant, in favor of remembering to breathe at a sustainable rate. In favor of remembering where she is, and that she is safe. And as long as that holds true, anything else can be treated as a problem to be solved.

“He must’ve gone through,” Odessa whispers to Elisabeth. She had told Ace once she thought that if someone she was linked with died, it would kill her too. She had been lying to him then, making best guesses at the most charitable, but now she thinks it may be true. “I — I couldn’t sustain it through the Glass.” A shaky hand reaches for the tissues and drags the box over to set on the cushions next to Elisabeth. “Breathe. Breathe. We’re okay. He’s going to be okay. You’re okay. I’m okay.”

The worried look she gives in the direction Ace has disappeared in doesn’t convey just how much she fears that she may never be okay after this.

Elisabeth follows the order to get up in a daze, barely hearing the man's voice but something deep in her responding to the tone, to the order. She feels encased in ice right now, absently grateful for the distance. The emotional reaction to this is bound to be excruciating. As she moves, helping Dessa stand almost as much as Harry helps both of them, the blonde lets that haze remain over her perceptions instead of fighting it. Numbly, she murmurs, "Thank you," when he slams the tissues down next to them.

Part of her wants to assure Odessa that everything will be fine. The other part, the part she cannot deal with right now, is having a screaming fit of rage and grief. Now isn't the time.

It's a fight to get her blue eyes to focus on Dessa, to stroke her friend's hair and pull herself at least part of the way back into the moment. Whatever happened out there… she won't get information until she can get hold of Chel or Wright Tracy. "Are you okay?" she manages to ask, now that her ears aren't ringing with deafening silence. Odessa's empathy has to have made whatever it was far worse, and so Liz does what she does best — put her own emotions aside.

"You're…" She swallows hard. "You're going to have to tell him something. I…. I've got nothing, Dessa." Usually she can spin a tale with the best of them, but she is not all here right now.

It's not him that comes back first, but the puppy finally making his way down the stairs. Rex rounds the corner of the open doorway, breaking into a run for the couch with his tail wagging. The Irish wolfhound bounds straight for Odessa first, nose investigating Elisabeth second.

But Ace isn't far behind.

He has a glass of water in each hand, a damp washcloth draped over one wrist despite his impassive expression. "Drink. Breathe." He offers the two on the couch a glass apiece, gaze settled on Elisabeth for a moment before opting for Odessa instead. He doesn't understand what's happened, but maybe he also doesn't need to.

"Talk later, if not now," he excuses his wife from needing to explain, leaving better consolation to the loyal creature at her feet. Ace begins to frown nonetheless. He asks carefully, "Just…"

"What do you need?" He sounds uncomfortable, because he is. It's not a demand to know what happened, which he feels he's owed. Ace turns over the cloth and offers it out, too.

“Oh, Rex,” Odessa whimpers when the gangly pup comes to check on her, saving her from having to answer honestly the question of whether she’s okay or isn’t. He’s not supposed to jump, and she knows she is going to regret this so much when the dog can put his paws on her shoulders while she’s standing up straight, but for now, patting her lap and letting him put his paws on her skirt so he can nose at her and her friend is just what she wants right now.

But not as badly as she wants the one who heads in after. There’s a relief that flows through her, even if it can’t be told by the look on her face and the way she sheds more tears. She accepts the glass of water, making sure Elisabeth does the same, going so far as to clink them together. Because now they both have to take a drink. Those are the rules.

And because they’re taking a drink of water, they have to slow down. They have to breathe differently. Odessa’s crying finally quiets. She sets the water aside so she can scritch Rex’s head as he snuffles. “I need two things,” she tells her new husband calmly. “I need you to stay here, and I need you to be willing when I’m ready to talk.”

Like he’d be doing her a favor by listening to her, rather than her capitulating to this unspoken demand he’s made of her. She feels it in the line that ties her to him, even if it isn’t the same kind of bond she’s just felt break.

Taking the cloth from Ace, Odessa doesn’t use it for herself. Instead, she sweeps Elisabeth’s hair aside and gently applies it to the back of her friend’s neck. “There. Let’s ground you a little bit. He’s going to be fine. He made it.” Her brows furrow and she looks back to her husband, scared of his reaction. Preemptively, she mouths I’m sorry.

“I’m sure it was frightening to him. He’s never travelled like that before. Like you and I have.” Now it’s her turn to stroke a hand lightly over Liz’s hair. “He probably felt the link start to stretch too far. It was… too much for both of us to hope that it would hold. We’ll just have to wait until the Directo— Until Doctor Cranston can get us an update.” Odessa sighs, exhaustion settling in bone deep. She reaches for Ace, this time forcing the reach to be casual, ignoring instinct to snare him with precision.

Although she takes the water, Elisabeth can't swallow it past the lump in her throat and she fears being ill if she tries. She wants to believe Odessa's explanation. She does. But there had been more to it — something off, even before the link stretched so far. Still, she makes a concerted effort to make herself nod, trying to take comfort in the cloth on the back of her neck and Dessa's touch. "W-w-we'll hear something soon, I'm sh-sure," she agrees numbly. She has to stay numb. Odessa could be right. She didn't feel Richard die, so there's that. Just…. whatever terror and whatever caused pain. Could have been the link. That makes sense.

Pulling in a slow breath, the blonde forces herself to meet Odessa's eyes and then Harry's. Ace? It's not a name Liz knows — it's just as easily a nickname.

Searching Odessa's expression, afraid to allow herself the hope, she asks softly, "Are you sure about that?"

It hasn't even occurred to Elisabeth yet that Harry is seeing a side of the blonde peacekeeper that isn't what he's learned so far. It doesn't matter what he sees in her, what he thinks of her reaction. The only thing that matters now is the reassurance the blonde seeks from Odessa.

Ace is asked to stay, and so he stays. His weight shifts slowly as the condolence and reassurance begins to flow. He doesn't understand at first, his expression placid and neutral by nature rather than by design. It stays that way. By design.

His eyes slowly roam between the two as he puts it together, keeping his silence, even if there's minimal peace in that silence when he pieces what, in what causes Elisabeth distress, distressed Odessa so greatly.

"If there's anyone who knows her ability best, it's her," he reassures Elisabeth calmly. "If anything worse happened, she'd have felt…" The softer-spoken side of Harry manifests as he delicately puts it, "Worse."

And there he’s just allowed Elisabeth to catch her out in a lie. Odessa lets her hand drop back to her side and turns her head to look at Ace directly. Her expression can’t stay neutral. It’d be suspicious if she managed it anyway. So she gives him her pain as she holds his gaze for the space of five breaths, long enough to decide what lie to layer on top of the one that’s no longer of use to her.

She turns back to Liz again and nods. “They’ll let you know as soon as they’re able.” Odessa smiles apologetically and rests her hand against her friend’s cheek after one more pass over her hair. “They won’t tell me, of course. I’m not supposed to know. We… We kept our link a secret. OEI won’t know there was anything to fail.”

There’s the fact that she’s also not registered, still.

Odessa looks down to her puppy even before he has a chance to whine his concern, which he does anyway. “Chut, mon petit roi. Parle moins fort!1 she coos gently. “Madame Elisabeth a besoin de votre aide. Aller aller!2

Rex tilts his head curiously, then paws at Elisabeth’s leg insistently, as if he understood the wave of Odessa’s hand to mean that he should seek out a different target to comfort.

Elisabeth's hand absently drops down to caress the dog's silky ears. Her blue eyes shift from Odessa's assurance to Harry's and she swallows hard. The fact that Dessa has been outed is a side effect of what just happened — she didn't lie to the man; she told him she didn't have an answer for him. It's not her answer to give. But there was no way, given the circumstances, that Dessa was going to be able to hide much from him. And watching his reactions gives her something to focus on besides the swelling tide of horror that she's keeping shoved as deep as possible. She doesn't voice her thought to either of them, that Odessa would have felt Richard die here but she may not have felt him do such if he were in transit after the link broke. Instead, she swiftly chooses a path and lets Dessa decide if she's going to elaborate or correct whatever assumptions Harry will make based on her words. She assumes Harry knows about his wife's previous power and some of her adventures, and she deliberately implies this is simply Odessa's old power in a weaker form.

"Just let me know if you wind up with any impressions from her, please? I'm sorry that trying to link to them through her caused this." Taking responsibility for asking Odessa to do such is her only way she can think of to give cover for Odessa's fibs. "I knew it was unlikely to work, but… I had to try. To see if they made it, since she's waiting for them. The interference … we should have known it would happen. I'm so sorry." Some part of her brain can't help the detached observation that compartmentalizing her own feelings at least gives her room to spin a tale.

Odessa's long look at him merits something, at least. Ace reaches out to rest a hand on her shoulder, rubbing back and forth in a soothing gesture. His eyes half-lid as he turns eventually to Elisabeth, minds the way Odessa minds her. Eventually his arm slips back by his side, and he stands aside to let Rex better complete their little circle they've formed together.

And what Elisabeth says either profounds the topic or attempts to obscure it; he's not even sure he cares which. He glances momentarily to the pup who leans his head into the affection he's shown. "Liz, if you need the time and support, you're welcome to stay the night. Who knows when you'll get that call. The couch in the living room is a cooler rest, anyway, and there's blankets we could bring down."

Ace looks back to Odessa, judging by her expression whether or not this idea might even be a welcomed one.

“It’s okay,” Odessa tells Elisabeth softly, and it covers multiple fronts. She won’t bother trying to ascribe the response to each one. Slowly, she lets her hands slip away, a shudder running through her frame involuntarily as more tears run down her face silently and without force behind them.

One arm snakes around Ace’s back and the other completes the circle from the other side, hands clasping together at his waist as Odessa leans into his torso, finally grounding herself now that she’s got Elisabeth trying to focus on something other than her own fears. “Harry, mon cœur bat pour toi.3 The women in the room aren’t the only ones requiring assurances, Odessa knows.

But she isn’t done here yet. “Yes, what Harry says. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you need. But if you need to get home, we’ll make sure you get there. Do you want me to call Jared? Or…” Odessa hesitates a moment before deciding to commit. “Carina?”

Carina's name brings such a pang of longing. She doesn't feel like she has the relationship with this version of her mother that she wishes, but as with the first and even the second time her world fell apart, Elisabeth finds herself suddenly and desperately in need of her father. She drops her gaze to the puppy because Odessa's tears are going to set off her panic. "I…. if you wouldn't mind texting my father, I'll …. I'll have an officer pick me up and take me home. Thank you, though." The expression of gratitude encompasses both of them as she looks back up, carefully keeping her expression calm. The cauldron of turmoil below the surface, she can't help how much Dessa might pick up. But she moves to stand.

"I won't be able to sleep anyway and the last thing you need is me pacing your home in agitation. Harmony will keep the kids and I'll… my parents will sit with me. I'll text you if I get any word from OEI or Dr. Cranston." Her eyes flicker to Odessa, a subtle apology still in her expression. She didn't mean to out her friend.

"Thank you. For trying."

Odessa's embrace around him doesn't bring an overt outward shift in Ace, his hand lifting to rest on her head while she holds him. The twisting of his stomach over the machinations of his heart are a silent thing he outlasts with passivity, looking off at a point on the wall now as though lost in thought.

He sees his opportunity to be of use when conversation shifts to reaching out and he shifts his hand to Odessa's shoulder. "I'll go get your phone," he volunteers, slipping free for the doorway again.

With Harry extracting himself from her arms and the situation, Odessa nods her head slowly, then reaches out once more to embrace Elisabeth. “I’ll get in touch with him, let him know you’re coming home.” The hug becomes more of a squeeze, though not an uncomfortable one. Still, Odessa’s hands curl into Elisabeth’s shirt to curtail their shaking.

“I’ll be okay,” she assures in a low voice. “You have nothing to be sorry for.” Her secrets were going to come out one way or another. After another moment of reassuring contact, Odessa releases her hold and turns to her attention to her puppy. “Maman va bien. Assis. Pas bougé.4 Rex tilts his head in the opposite direction from before, then backs away a couple wiggly steps before sitting down and holding there, his tail wagging slowly, his interest still keen on the two women.

“You call me if you need anything, okay?” Odessa wipes her face and takes a slow, deep breath. “Yes, this fucked me up, but I’m not beyond repair, and you don’t have to hold back for me. If I find out you have, I’ll be so mad.” A small smile cracks on her face with the delivery of her friendly chiding that’s also very serious.

Elisabeth watches Harry slip out and gets to her feet, hugging Odessa tightly. "I will," she whispers softly to the order to call if she needs anything. It is taking everything she has to keep her own reactions from bubbling up — she needs a little bit of distance. The part of her that doesn't believe Dessa, that is bracing for news that whatever the hell happened resulted in deaths, is being walled up very tightly. She has to hold onto hope for her children's sake.

With her lips buried in Odessa's hair, a gentle kiss is bestowed on her friend's cheek. "If you need me, you call me too. Immediately," she whispers.

Stepping back, she squeezes Dessa's arms and offers a small smile of reassurance. "Word will come, it'll just be slower than either of us would like. I hope Harry's not too pissed." She gathers her things and murmurs, "I need to go face the music with Mike — he's probably already shitting bricks that I left the precinct without him." Elisabeth wasn't thinking straight or she wouldn't have ditched her bodyguard when she came from work. "I'll talk to you soon."

“I’ll walk you out. We’ll wait for your ride together. The sun and the fresh air will do us some good.” On their way through, Odessa accepts her phone from Ace before making good on her promise to sit out on the front stoop of the brownstone, an arm looped around Elisabeth’s shoulder until the car arrives. With one last hug, she sends her off and watches the car pull away from the curb. Doesn’t stop watching until it turns down the street and vanishes behind the rows of houses.

With a heavy heart, Odessa steps back into her home, closing and bolting the door behind her before turning to lean back against it. She holds her breath. There’s a silence that stretches on that it seems even Rex dares not to break. Ace and Odessa stare each other down, the tension drawing out the longer neither of them is willing to be the first to speak. Finally, she exhales.

“I can explain.”

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