Hey There, Cowboy


conrad_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Hey There, Cowboy
Synopsis Conrad and Liz have dinner following the phone call on their way to the safe house. And they do NOT trip and fall into bed!
Date December 11, 2008


After the meeting broke up and the phone call was made, Elisabeth moved to the back of the crowd to where she'd left her duffel bag. What with the insanity going on, people milling about briefly, she figured it'd take Con a while to get back to her, so she sat back there against a wall and talked for a short time with Owen, and when Con finally gets away from whatever it was he had to do, she looks up at him with troubled eyes. "I realize I'm a newbie here, but…. seems to me that much of what I just saw is far more PARIAH than Phoenix."

"Yeah." says Con darkly as he walks up to Liz, hands in pockets. "Yeah…I can't say you're wrong about that. And if they keep it up, I'm out." He sighs. "Wanna go grab something to eat? I think we're derailed for the night."

Elisabeth nods and holds her free hand, the undamaged right one, up for help standing up from the floor. "Yeah… something to eat'd be nice," she replies wearily and she gains her feet. She's not really tired, but the stress is pretty high. "I'm reasonably sure that Sergei's got no more clue about this than you did … and since when does Phoenix run by committee?" she asks. "That's a pretty sure recipe for disaster."

Conrad helps Liz up easily and shakes his head, "Since Helena lost her damned mind. I'm not sure but I think when Sylar tried to kill her it might've fucked her up a little. C'mon let's go." He leads the way out, fumbling keys to a swiped Toyota FJ Cruiser out of his pocket. It was his ride here and he left it illegally parked on the curb. As a testament to how little the city cares about this area anymore, there is no ticket on it. Nobody makes the rounds for that here it would seem.

Hefting the duffel bag she brought with her (expecting to get dropped at the safehouse at some point tonight), Elisabeth nods slightly. "Who's Sylar, anyway? You brought his name up earlier." She walks with him out to the car, her good hand shoved in the pocket of her jacket as they go. When they get there, she hefts the duffel into the back seat. "Clearly I'm on a pretty steep learning curve here," she says as she climbs in with him.

"Sylar is a serial killer who collects the powers of Evolved people. Somehow after he kills one of us, he can take our abilities." explains Con, jumping into the cruiser and starting it. He sits there for a moment, letting it warm up as he plays with the air settings. "Now he's one of the most powerful Evos out there, and he's also evil. I don't think he has our powerset yet either." Briefly Con points between himself and Liz. "So if he finds out about it he might come to collect one or both of us."

Elisabeth grimaces. "Oh, now isn't *that* a cheery thought, what with the fact that I just fucking registered," she responds ascerbically. "On the up side, they're listing me as Tier 1. Probably beneath his notice if he can have mind control instead of suggestion hypnosis, but still… " She sighs, looking out the window, propping her elbow on the sill and her head on her hand as she does so. "Heh…. Sergei and even JESSICA asked me if I was sure I wanted all the way in. Given what I've learned in the last 36 hours, I gotta say that I think I must be brain damaged."

Con gives her a significant look. "Do you maybe have an idea of why I never invited you? I like you, Liz. You're a straight shooter and you've always been cool to me, even when you were a cop doing your job on me. It was always just a job and I respect that." He puts the vehicle in gear and starts driving. "Last thing I wanted was to get you in this crap, knowing what it is. On the bright side though I'm positive Sylar doesn't have access to registration records. Or if he does you're way too easy to lose in the haystack."

Glancing at him, Liz nods slightly with a faint smile. "Thanks… for thinking to look out for me. But I couldn't keep being someone I'm not — I'm not a teacher. I'm a cop. It's who I am, not what I do. When the skirmishes were minor, I could tell myself otherwise. It's getting out of control now — too many people are getting hurt." She pauses then and studies Con with a puzzled expression. "Wait… Sylar… like… the guy they attribute the bomb to? Supposedly he WAS the bomb or something? He wasn't killed?" As if the reports being wrong should shock her at all. She was a cop too long not to be fully aware that mistakes or deliberate lies in official reports is far too common. Shaking her head, Liz merely says, "Mother fucker." and looks back out the window. That bastard killed a slew of people… including Elisabeth's mother.

"Now I don't know about any of that. I was in jail when the bomb went off and I've heard so many stupid rumors about it I dunno what to believe anymore. I just know Sylar's a killer and he's made a move on Helena before. And your girl Jessica is probably his buddy." Con gives a glance at his passenger and over his shoulder at the duffel briefly. "What'd you bring all that mess for anyway? You planning on staying somewhere else?" Apparently he wasn't planning on ditching her at a safehouse.

Elisabeth smiles. "Figured better safe than sorry. Brought several days' worth of clothes just in case you or Teo were planning on dumping me somewhere tonight." She shrugs. "Seemed worth doing, since the two of you insisted it was necessary." She looks out the window again. "If it's not, then it's easy enough to take it home again. Either way I'm covered in this case." Her amusement is somewhat short-lived, though, as she studies what can be seen of the remains of the area in the dark. She hasn't been out here since the Bomb and its aftermath. It doesn't look any better now than it did then. "It's funny. I've waffled about the choice and been blind for so long… it's almost like seeing it for the first time again."

"Don't worry it'll fade in a couple of weeks and it'll all seem normal again. We get that way. Complacent." He takes a turn and away from midtown, to where they start to see a little traffic. "I'll take you right back to your place if that's where you wanna go. I mean, as much as I wish you weren't such a hard headed girl, I'm not gonna make you do something you don't wanna do. That's not me." Con glances at her again. "Even if it gets you killed."

"I still don't think Jessica will kill me… but I'm willing to put up with a safe house for a couple of days to ease Teo's mind," Elisabeth replies quietly. And Sergei's, and even Con's, though she doesn't say that. When they get back toward civilization, she glances back at him. "So…. I'd say we better use all the available time we can get, if you have it, to get me up to speed around here. Before I do something that gets someone killed, hmm?"

"Really it's just yourself I expect you to protect." explains Con, pulling over to the curb and looks out of the windshield. "Where are we going? Make a call."

Elisabeth blinks, looking toward him again in surprise as he stops the car. "…. Thai takeout." Whether she's yanking his chain or not at this point is anyone's guess. She looks sincere enough.

Blink. Shrug. "Okay, thai takeout it is. You know where that would be?" That question would be why Con doesn't put the car in gear just yet.

With a nod, Liz gives succinct directions to a small hole-in-the-wall Thai place in Greenwich Village. And then she smiles faintly. "I told Teo I'd go to the safe house for a week or until Abby's back. I'll stick by my word, Conrad. Besides…. it'll give me time in the evenings to make you teach me everything you can."

"You got it." he puts the car in gear and starts following directions. "How're you on hearing? Using your ability for that."

"Getting better," Elisabeth replies. "I was able to follow the phone conversation without any trouble. Walking through the park, it feels like being in a huge room where everyone's talking all at once. Filtering out what I want is sort of hit or miss. I've been trying to focus on one conversation, but it's like everything off in that one direction still comes in. So instead of EVERYONE in the room talking, it's like everyone in a quadrant of the room is talking at once."

Nodding, Conrad says, "Yeah that just takes practice. And you may not get as good at it as I have because I lost my hearing. That actually helps me because too much sound doesn't hurt my ears anymore." Drive drive drive. "You probably just need to practice that, and sending sounds through solids and liquids, and controlling silence. That fine manipulation stuff is a lot easier than making sonic booms and whatever because the shockwaves and booms are just going all-out. That's the easiest to do and you lose control of it easiest too."

As she listens, Liz nods slightly. "Yeah, … and they're also pushing things AWAY from yourself. That I seem to find a lot easier than manipulating it to bring things closer, so to speak." She glances out the window again. "I did some reading when I first figured out what the power was, and there's a different set of applications that could be useful too. Do you use resonance frequencies?"

"Besides when you're creating the bubble," she clarifies.

"Yeah actually, to vibrate brittle things apart? Little known fact is if you pump enough sonic vibration into the ground at the right frequency you'll pretty much cause an earthquake. But it'd end as soon as you stop, which is convenient." See, Con's done some studying too. "Don't go doing that in California or Missouri or any place with a natural fault line though because you might shake loose a real earthquake that'll get out of control. That plus the fact you can't pick and choose what gets shaken down is why I never do that. But I can shake down buildings and blast rocks into sand with it."

Elisabeth laughs quietly. "Yeah, earthquakes are not what I was thinking about. More like…. shattering glass and stuff like that. I've done minor stuff — broken a glass, cracked the windows in my apartment. But I wasn't sure if using those was useful. Except insofar as, for example, creating the bubble or continuing the sound like we were working with the echoes earlier. The echo thing seems like a good use of the theory. If sound is continuous, you can shift it and use the shockwaves every time you get an echo, even if you can't talk or create a new sound." She pauses. "What other things do you actually do with your power?"

Con holds up a hand flat and wavers it. "Mmm. It's useful if you wanna break things, but that's not actually as useful as some people would think. You could use it to shatter peoples' bones but that's a pretty nasty way to hurt or kill somebody." He thinks about it and says, "I can get around by echo. Kinda like a bat or dolphin. Uhm…if I have a bead on some person or object or place I can listen in on it from pretty much any distance. But of course I have to be close enough to get the bead. I can mimic sounds. That's kinda fun. Especially for phone calls."

Elisabeth smirks mildly. "Sounds like you're a blast at parties," she quips. "So…. really, most of what you've learned is somewhat related to hearing while a bunch of what I've learned is related more to coercion. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing," she says in a wry tone.

"I guess we're bound to have different approaches, huh?" asks Con with a grin, nearing the place Liz told him about. He finds a parking spot across the street and stops the car. "Maybe after you're more comfortable you can show me how you do whatever it is you do. I'm not even sure how sound messes with people that way. Never considered it."

As he parks, Elisabeth looks at him. "They seem to think it's a form of subsonic telepathy. That it's not just sound, that maybe I've got some latent telepath abilities that are tied to it. But … my theory is more that … well, the brain's an organic machine, right? And like any machine, it has an electrical field, and that field has certain frequencies and resonances that are more …. in tune. I think that what I do is sort of an instinctive manipulation of my voice to become more in tune with the wavelengths their brains work on so that I can enhance the ones that influence them." She shrugs. "I may not have all the terms right, but… it makes sense to me. Because I can't *force* someone to do something against their own best interests or anything. No pushing people to suicide or anything like that. But I can suggest, and lace the suggestion with harmonics, that they do things that are neutral or in tune with their own notion of 'good', and they're more prone to do it. I think of it as more a form of hypnosis than telepathy."

Con watches Liz carefully while she explains all this. He takes a hand, whips it past the top of his head, and says, "Whoosh! Let's eat."

She looks at him for a long moment. And then shakes her head. "You're not as dumb as you pretend, Wozniak. And you're far more perceptive than most people think," Liz says as she gets out of the car. "For example…. you and I both know that if Helena doesn't get a grip on some people, all hell's gonna break loose fast. She's a kid, and someone left her in charge. Her intentions are good, but her implementation and her control over her people sucks." She starts walking, heading across the road.

"You're damned right about that." replies Con. To which part he leaves Liz to decide. He walks a little ahead of her, being able at this point to identify said Thai place. "Problem is, I don't have the solutions. If I had, I'd have applied em already, you know? I'm glad I was there tonight to kick the collective ass a little about what was going on, but it makes me sick I had to."

There's a grimace on Elisabeth's face as she glances at him. "Right up until she responded in such a typically teenaged fashion, I'd almost forgotten how goddamn young she is," she tells him quietly. She practices the bubble while they walk toward the restaurant — it's a useful thing to be able to do. "I think she has a lot of potential. But she's very young, and she hasn't grown into the leadership role yet. So what you've got right now is a group of kids playing freedom fighter," she says.

"They WERE playing superhero. And that really wasn't such a bad thing. The Phoenix project thing, where they gave out food and healing and whatever to people. I was proud of her for that." Con thrusts his hands in his jacket pockets and then once they're at the door he pushes it open with a foot and steps inside to hold it. He apparently isn't too worried about being overheard. "Lately though…I dunno. I wish there was another gig to join. Or else I'm gonna have to consider going solo."

Elisabeth nods a bit to that. "Yeah…. that was one HELL of an illustration about what Evolved can do for the world," she admits. "She has every right to be proud. And frankly… it appears there are only a few people in the organization who need their asses kicked into shape. Being as this kidnapping wasn't authorized and is now about to kick a street war into high gear, I hope she cleans house soon."

"The biggest problem I had? I had to find out from Abby about that. And she's not even in the group anymore. They wanted me around for advice and guidance, and they've yet to actually do anything I advise or guide." grumbles Con, looking at the menu over the counter. Funny how to the surrounding people these two are conversing in mute silence. "And I happen to think I have a handle on how to work this. I've been on the downlow and surviving for years now."

Although she can sense the bubble he has around them, Elisabeth continues to work on erecting her own within his — but it's good that he's still doing it. With a sigh, she says quietly, "If they've asked you to be an advisor, why the hell *aren't* they listening? It sounds to me like Helena's losing control, Conrad." She glances at him, "If you want to play vigilante on your own, I think in the current climate it's likely you'll be dead or back in jail very soon." She picks up a takeout menu to glance over it.

"Vigiwhat? Hell no. I don't even try to fight crime now. I commit it." He's rather unapologetic about it too! "I dunno what I want…" Con whines, gesturing at the overhead menu with a hand. Sigh. "I guess some kinda chicken in sauce thing." He drops the silence to order a chicken and sauce thing. And he really calls it that. It gives the counter clerk fits figuring out what exactly he means at first but they get it figured out.

Elisabeth smiles at him and adds to his order a selection of lettuce wraps, chicken satay skewers, macadamia chicken, and pad thai. "You can try them, and then you'll know what you like," she says as she laughs at him. Then she leans on the counter to look up at him. "So …. what? You're gonna walk away and just go all mugger or something?"

"No. Naw." says Conrad with a shaking head. "I mean I'd probably still help out people who need it. I just don't want to be responsible for that turning into a clusterfuck. You at least are a cop. There's something for you, but me? Hell, I can't even get a job."

Tilting her head, Elisabeth studies him. And she also continues to practice the silence bubble — because what she's about to say she doesn't want heard. "That's not *entirely* true," she tells him mildly. "I guess it depends on how you feel about the people who want you to …. 'do things' for them." She smiles a bit. "I'd lay odds you could make a living as an informant, for example. You're the perfect eavesdropper. I'd almost bet that you could work in demolitions, too."

A laconic gaze is given to Liz at that. "What, for NYPD?" he asks a little disbelieving. "Gimme a fuckin' break. Informant I can see. The rest?" Con shakes his head. He's given his food and takes it, then goes to claim a table.

Elisabeth laughs outright. "I don't know… NYPD. FBI…. if you wanted to work for them…." She trails off, looking now a bit off-kilter with a hint of sadness. "Well.. I *used* to know a guy that I trusted." She takes the tray with the rest of the food — and it's a lot of it! — and brings it back to the table as well, putting most of it between the two of them to share. "Anyway… it's a thought, if you ever wanna look into it. Your jobs are limited, to be sure, but they're out there."

Once Liz sits, they're silent again. With a mouth full of his own order, he points at her tray and asks, "You gonna eat all that?"

Elisabeth shakes her head negatively. "Nope. Got it so you can try it and eat whatever you like of it, will take the rest back with us so I've got something there when I get off work the next couple of days."

"What're you buying me food for?" asks Con with a high pitched note of almost indignity. "Jeez, Liz. It's okay. I mean shit, three weeks ago you didn't even like me. Now you're buying me food? Creeping me out, woman."

Elisabeth rolls her eyes. "Eat it if you want it, don't if you don't, Conrad. I still think you're a jerk. You're just…. a nicer jerk than I expected. Some of the time." She grins. "Besides… gotta expand your horizons. A 'chicken thing in sauce' is just not an acceptable method of ordering Thai food, man."

"I go with what I know." explains Con defensively. "Lay off my chicken sauce thing. It's good." He spoons another bite. It probably IS good. "So what's with you and that SCOUT thing? What the fuck does SCOUT even do?"

"Well," she says as she eats a bit of each of the things she ordered, "It's a task force. If the captain of the squad is to be believed, a number of them are Evolved. It's supposed to essentially be a squad of cops specifically able and meant to deal with Evolved criminals." She eyes him over her dinner. "It's gonna piss me off to enforce the whole 'show me your Registration card' shit… but the position was offered, and I want Vanguard off the grid. Permanently. So … after the job was offered, I decided to make the move to Phoenix. Told Sergei I wanted in, wanted to meet his bosses. And offered the intel *if* they were what they appeared to be with the miracle thing — a group worth keeping on the streets."

"Until a few days ago I would've said they definitely are. Now I just kind of hope so." Con says, mostly just thinking out loud. "I tell you one thing though, if it gets much worse I'm not staying a part of it. I can't be part of that shit. Kidnapping people, beating them up in closed rooms, or whatever happened to that girl. Making deals with terrorists who cut the fingers off of women just to make a point. No. Nuh uh." Spoon food. Eat.

"You better fucking believe that if Helena doesn't clean house, I'm out of there." Elisabeth's tone is dead serious. "I don't know if she'll listen to me… not like teenagers are all that with the listening and shit, and she's barely older than the kids I was teaching in school," she says, "but we'll see what she does. But no… I'm so *NOT* in with that shit."

Con's only reply to that is an emphatic nod of his head with his mouth full. "Anyway. So your conscience can be clear on me at least. You won't ever have to come put me in cuffs. Not for that reason." He grins a little and asks, "Bet you'd have treated me differently all those times you arrested me in the day if you knew what all I could do then."

Elisabeth keeps eating, but she smirks at him around a bite. "Nope," she tells him. "I'd have clapped you in irons anyway. You were breakin' the law!" Although … heh… what the hell. What's she been doing the past night and a half?

Conrad reaches across the table and makes a gimme motion. "Lemme have your cuffs." he prompts.

Raising both of her eyebrows, Elisabeth just looks at him for a minute. And then she sets her fork down and reaches behind her with her good hand for the cuffs she's carrying in her back pocket. Cuz well…. yeah… she's carrying them. "What for?" she asks even as she hands them over.

"So I can arrest your ass for breaking the law. Citizen's arrest!" Con says with a big grin, making a grab for the cuffs.

Elisabeth yanks her hand back, laughing at him. "Bite me, asshole." She shoves them back in her pocket.

That just makes Con laugh more in turn, and he looks at his food. Which is about three fourths gone. "All right, I'm boxing this. You want any?" he asks.

"No," Liz answers with a snicker. "You wanna take some of this with you? You'll like the chicken satay and the macadamia chicken. Unless you're allergic to nuts or something. Seriously… help yourself. It's not like I'm gonna eat all this in even two sittings."

"I don't think I'm allergic to anything except people." remarks Con, getting up and returning shortly with some takeout boxes. He goes about boxing things up. "I'll drop you off at the place."

Elisabeth nods at him. "Thanks. Sounds good," she replies. She lets him box it up since he's got two good hands anyway, and when it's done and they're ready to go, she grabs a last swallow of the soda she got with her dinner. "Training in earnest starting tomorrow?" she asks.

"Sure." agrees Con easily, leading the way back out to the car. "I got nothing else to do really. Nothing planned anyway. Though I might go for that prisoner exchange."

Elisabeth nods at that one as they walk. "You'd be a good one to have on hand. I won't be going," she says quietly. "I can't afford to."

"I wouldn't want you to go anyway. Hell I'd rather not go. It somehow makes me feel like I'm giving an okay to this shit." With a sigh Con unlocks the car, piles in. Checks the back to see if Liz' stuff is still there. Leave it to a thief to check.

Elisabeth grimaces, climbing into the vehicle and buckling in. "I definitely don't think you're giving an okay. And I think you should make clear to Helena that you're not sticking around if people are going to keep pulling that shit. I'm sure gonna make it abundantly clear." She sounds perturbed about it. "I didn't sign on to be a fucking hostage-taking terrorist."

"Neither did I." he states simply, starting, putting in gear, and driving. They're not really far from the safehouse. Con adds, "I was in PARIAH at first. They were willing to get dirty like that. I wasn't. So it would've be the first time I left one of these groups, but if I do I think I'm pretty much done with em."

Elisabeth mmms quietly and looks back out the window. "I had hoped that getting involved would help. If it takes Vanguard down… then I may be done too. I don't know. We'll see how it plays out."

They pull up to the safehouse and Con gets out. "I hear you. If we can get rid of them then we've done a lot of good. Need me to carry something?" he asks.

Elisabeth climbs out. "If you'll bring the food, I can get the bag," she tells him easily. When they get the stuff out and go in, she glances at him. "Thanks for the ride. And the company at dinner, too."

"Don't mention it." he says, grabbing the food. Which is a bit of a balancing act because there are like three boxes and they have to be kind of stacked. But two hands do the job. Con walks Liz in, stopping to have a word with the Ferrymen agent (a middle aged lady with eyes full of suspicion) about putting Liz up for a few nights. Then they go in. "Flint Deckard's been staying here. They were trying to get him too. I dunno if you know who he is, but he's kind of a friend of mine." Glance over his shoulder at Liz as he leads them to her room. "Don't trust him."

Elisabeth shakes her head at the guy's name, but smirks faintly. "I'll keep it in mind," she says as she shakes her head. She nods to the agent, keeping her mouth shut while the basics are explained. When they're at the room she'll use, she glances at Conrad. "For what it's worth…. you might be a jerk, but you've been pretty nice to me lately. And I appreciate it."

Con has a key that he uses to unlock the door, secured with a single deadbolt. Leads the way in. Basically it looks like a hotel room might, only more spartan. Not even a TV. But it's not really supposed to be for comfort, is it? "Okay." he says, setting the food down on the night stand next to the bed. He lets out a breath and looks around the room, like assessing it. "Never actually stayed in one of these before." Liz could almost get the impression he's ignoring what she said, but he answers after a thought, "Yeah well, you might be uptight and bitchy, but that's never bothered me." Beat. "You're welcome."

Elisabeth chuckles, merely shaking her head. She didn't expect him to like being thanked. Looking around, she sighs softly. Thrills… a week at Club Med. "Right then… looks wonderful," she says with a clearly forced cheer.

There's one of those uncomfortable silences, not caused by anybody's abilities, and Con asks a little awkwardly, "You need anything? I can…" He shrugs.

Elisabeth glances around the room, dropping her duffel on the bed and shaking her head slightly. "Nah," she says. "I'll be fine. It's a place to sleep without getting my…. how'd you phrase it? My head twisted off my neck?" She smiles at him.

"Heh. Yeah." Con replies, staring at Liz intently. He watches her eyes for a moment, reading. Then steps toward her. Originally that was meant to be a hug but he definitely looks like he's attempting a different sort of landing.

Elisabeth appears puzzled by the first intent look, and then startled by the apparent intent to hug her. And *then*, well… she brings her free hand up between them, on his chest, both her eyebrows shooting to her hairline. "Hey there, cowboy," she chides mildly. "You thinkin' 'thanks' translates to 'jump my bones'?"

"Sorry." he replies, clearly off-balance. "No it…just thought that was something it wasn't." Yeah. You really can't play that off. Just fess up.

She doesn't back away, though she makes no move to invite him closer again either. Liz merely looks up at him and comments quietly, "I'm clearly in far worse shape than I thought if you're getting the jump my bones vibe." Not in a tone that says 'sucker!', but more in one that conveys complete mystification with her own mindset. "Don't take it wrong… because if you want the God's honest truth, I don't even know — maybe it was what you thought." She grins a little. "I kind of like that you're a no-bullshit kind of guy, Con." And what's more… "And I kinda like the fact that if I said yes, it just flat wouldn't mean a damn thing. So maybe it is what you thought. Hell…. I dunno."

"Yeah. Shut up." says Con, waving that off and turning to go. The tone isn't mad at Liz, just kind of frustrated in general. "I'm out. You got my number if you need anything."

Elisabeth chuckles behind him. "Yeah, I do." She doesn't walk near the door, she just leans against the nightstand. See what happens when a guy does something nice for a girl? She overthinks it to death. "Hey… we still on for tomorrow?"

"Yeah. No problem." Con pauses at the door. "Still don't want you getting jacked up by Vanguard. Sorry." He opens the door and escapes to go ditch that FJ cruiser somewhere inconspicuous.

"Don't be," Elisabeth murmurs at the door as he closes it. He might hear, he might not. "I'm sure as hell not."

December 10th: Recruiting a Messenger
December 10th: A Conspicuously Casual Conversation
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