If The Day Comes


elisabeth_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif

Scene Title If The Day Comes
Synopsis Lunch on Graeme's birthday turns to more serious topics of conversation.
Date March 17, 2011

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

He'd called Liz to ask her to lunch, mid-morning. Their food arrived several minutes ago, and since it did, Graeme has ceased conversation, paying much more attention to the plate of sandwich and french fries, with an occasional grin at Liz. In what could possibly be an amount of time that he inhaled the food rather than eating it, the first half of Graeme's sandwich is gone, and he's picked up his soda, before actually speaking again. "Thanks for coming to lunch," he says, with a bit more of a grin.

Elisabeth is working her way through a BLT herself and is just as quiet. She glances up as he speaks and smiles for him. "You're quite welcome…. though I'm not used to actually having people hold whatever it is on their minds hostage until I eat." Taking up her soda and sipping from it, she watches him. "So… what's on your mind?" she asks easily.

"Was just as much about it being until I eat," Graeme counters. "I had a game of pick-up basketball this morning and I'm pretty sure it kicked my metabolism a bit further into overdrive than it usually is. I've been sorta scatterbrained since then." Food's helped him settle and sort through his thoughts, though. "A lot, I guess," he continues. "Keira called today. Nothing in particular, just to wish me a happy birthday. It kinda threw me a bit, that she remembered."

There's a moment of surprise. "It's your birthday?" Elisabeth asks. "I'm … well, happy birthday, Graeme." She grins at him. And her blue eyes study him quietly. "I can believe that it threw you. Are you okay?"

There's a shrug. "I don't know. I will be, though." It's as good of an answer as he's going to come up with, and it took him a moment to come up with that one as it is. "Yeah. It's my birthday. I'd sort of forgotten about it entirely until I had dinner with Felix last week. And I keep forgetting about it, really. It … wasn't as important, last year, with both of my adoptive parents gone. So having someone remember's weird enough. But …" He trails off, leaving unsaid the obvious: the fact that his half sister he barely knows remembered is weirder yet.

Elisabeth smiles just a little. "Birthdays … tend to fall by the wayside when bigger things are going on," she agrees softly. "But… it's nice that she remembered." She pauses for a moment. "You know…. Richard's assessment of her situation is that she's in over her head. That she maybe really didn't know what was going on before she got that far in. So…. maybe you should just take it at face value."

Graeme nods. "It is nice, yeah," he says, picking up one of his french fries and chewing it thoughtfully. There's a bit of a pause after that, and he smiles. "And I know she is. It's just hard, more than I realised. Hard to see, hard to know. Moreso yet when my roommate tends towards the naïve and head-in-the-clouds," he says, laughing slightly. "Speaking of Richard, he told Remi to stay out of his head, which resulted in what might have been a temper tantrum were she a child, when she got home." Graeme sounds… frustrated, but mainly good-natured.

A brow raises and Elisabeth murmurs, "You know… coming from you, I have to admit that the term naive sort of… frightens me, honestly." She shakes her head and hmmms. "Well, I … can't speak to what might have been a tantrum. I don't know Remi that well. But she is a diva sort, so….."

"It's really the best way to put it," Graeme says. "Her privilege has shielded her from how the world has changed." He laughs a bit. "Then again, some people are lucky enough to have that, to not have to see the worse ways in which things have in fact changed." Not him. Not either of them, and he doesn't need to say it. "Richard apparently told her he was telling her to stay out of his thoughts and such for her own protection. She spent a while whining about that she's not just a pretty princess that needs protection, or something like that."

Graeme sighs, quietly. "I'm good at humouring her," he says. "But she is naïve, especially with regards to her ability, that whatever she hears from someone's mind she doesn't mention, which is well and good until something happens." Not that Graeme wants to consider what that might be. "And I didn't feel like long explanations at the time. I'm involved," whether she's sorry that he is or not, "but at this point, I'm choosing to take a side, not just lay low and wait for things to pass and then go back to my life. Because it's about doing the right thing. Always has been. It's why I was a teacher. It's why I do things." And the wording and tone of voice is chosen carefully. There's the same edge and determination in them that she's heard once or twice before.

Elisabeth looks down at her plate and murmurs quietly, "Tell Remi something, if it ever comes up again." When her blue eyes come up to his, they're … haunted. "She needs to start getting better at both hiding what she can do… and blocking people's thoughts. Because telepathy is the single most dangerous ability out there in a lot of ways. People kill for secrets. And Richard and I? We've seen a lot of things that other people will kill for. She may not be a pampered princess in need of protection…. but she walks a very fine line with the way she lives."

Graeme nods. "I know that, but… I'm not sure how to tell her such that she knows." His lips purse, and he picks up another few french fries. "I don't want to see her learn the hard way." There's a hint of sadness in his voice, and that same bit of an edge. He leans forward on his hands, elbows on the table.

There's a grimace and Elisabeth says softly, "She needs to be careful." Pursing her lips, she asks, "So… what is it that you're going to do to get involved and help?" she asks, changing the subject.

Graeme shrugs, ever so slightly. He's not really terribly the leader type, or the alpha male type, and so he just raises an eyebrow. "Good question," he murmurs. "But I don't really think I can just go back to living my life, overall." He's not the leader type, but there's motivation in his words.

Elisabeth nibbles at french fries while she considers. "I know Ygraine was interested in having you work with her," she finally says. "And that you were…. reluctant to get that far into the fray." There's a pause. "It could make a target of you, to be involved with Liberty, but… your talents make you pretty uniquely suited to doing it."

Graeme tilts his head to one side, taking a sip of his soda before responding. "I've been doing some things and then running them through anonymising software, media work," he says. "I'm reluctant to put my name to it at the moment, though, until things resolve, overall, because I don't want to make a target of Liberty."

"Hate to be the one to break it to you, Graeme…. but Liberty's already a target. At least in the way you mean." Elisabeth shrugs a little. "You should talk to her about your concerns. Frankly, if Liberty were to become a visible target, it only enhances its position because it's doing nothing wrong."

"I'd only make it more of one, on the books," Graeme says, another sip of his soda. "Or at least be another potential avenue for criticism. Which isn't something I'd realised too much before, but do now that I think about it." He purses his lips a little more. "I had a juvenile record, albeit a fairly minor one. Sealed now, but … that doesn't put it beyond where it can be used against me." There's a shrug, somehow without removing his elbows from where they're firmly planted.

Elisabeth simply nods. "It's your call — it's one of the best ways I could see you putting your skills to use." She pauses and says quietly, "I don't want to have to ask you to be a soldier, Graeme. I have too many as it is… and I hate that the day's coming where they're going to be needed."

Graeme nods in response, a gentle smile on his face. "I figured as much." There's a pause, and then Graeme continues. "There's a lot I can do for Ygraine and for Liberty without having my name to it, and I plan to keep doing that." The next pause is longer. "I don't like that that day's coming, either," he says, "but if that day comes that I can be useful in that role, Liz, then please… tell me. Not now, but…" Whenever it comes. His words are soft, gentle.

Elisabeth studies his face, so boyish. He looks so damn young compared to the way she feels most days lately. Lifting her soda, she takes a long swallow of it and then says quietly, "If you ever had any… brush up on your firearms skills." Her tone is weary. Worried. But… in the end…. "If the day comes that we go to war, you'll be glad you did." She glances at a text on her phone and then moves to stand up, dropping an impulsive kiss on his temple. "I gotta go. Happy birthday, Graeme. Really."

There's a nod. Graeme smiles, reaching up to grasp her arm briefly in parting. "Thanks." Even after she's gone, he's smiling as he sits at the booth.

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