In the Spirit of the Holiday


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Scene Title In the Spirit of the Holiday
Synopsis 'Tis the season, after all. Even at Liberty Island when there's work to be done.
Date December 23, 2018

Liberty Island Detention Center

Christmas on Liberty Island isn’t exactly the most festive affair. It’s hard to say whether the little tree someone has set up behind a pane of glass — well out of the way of anyone coming in and out of the highly secure facility — makes it nicer, or more depressing because of the stark contrast between it and everything else. It doesn’t help that all the ornaments on it are ones that wouldn’t do any damage should they suddenly fly off and hit someone. It’s been known to happen.

There’s the faint strain of music playing as people go about their business, echoing somewhat eerily in the halls, bouncing off at odd points so that it’s hard to figure out where it’s coming from.

Therefore, Christian folk, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.

A nice sentiment, though maybe a little ironic given the surroundings. It's an attempt, though, and there's a man who's humming it as he walks down one of the halls, his footsteps making an odd syncopation to the straight rhythm of the song.

Stepping through the processing area, Tasha collects the items she’s still allowed to bring in with her, having had to abandon some of her belongings to the employees stationed there, to hold until her return. Slipping back into her heels, she gathers the briefcase, sans cell phone, and stands aside to wait for the guard who’s been paged to take her back to one of the rooms set aside for legal counsel, depositions, and other meetings.

The petite and youthful lawyer is certainly out of place — or at least, a rare sighting — in a place like LIberty Island. Most of the “residents” here are big-name terrorists and war criminals; most of them have attorneys with a much bigger CV. Not a bigger name though — Lazzaro is one of the biggest names of this brave new world, and Tasha happens to have it.

She presses her lips together, studying the tile beneath her Italian shoes. Professionally attired, she looks the part of up and coming attorney on the outside. Inside, she’s nervous, and her fingers tap against the burgundy leather of her briefcase as she takes a deep breath, in an effort to get her shit together before the guard arrives.


The man catches sight of her from behind the plexiglass as he gets closer, and the expression that had been rather stoic just a moment before softens into a smile. He waits for her to pass through security, murmuring something to the guard who isn’t processing her.

They have an exchange that takes the same amount of time it takes Tasha to get through, and when it’s done he turns to her, holding out a hand to shake. “It’s been a while,” he says. “How are you? Did I know you were coming? Are you here for Pierce?”

“Mr. Waite!” says Tasha, smiling and reaching to take his hand in both of hers, before stepping forward and on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek — probably not the most professional, but she’s known him almost her whole life. “Or Director, sorry. Director Waite,” she says, stepping back.

“I didn’t try to keep it a secret when I put in the paperwork,” she says teasingly, “but I’m sure you’re not the one who handles such minor business as this. You are far too busy for that.”

At the question of Pierce, Tasha nods, once, perhaps a little noticeably nervous, in the way she shifts her grip on the briefcase from one hand to the other, then back again. “I have a client I’m hoping I can clear with a deposition from him. If he’s feeling charitable.”

Professional or not, Waite accepts the gesture, and while he doesn’t return it, it does make his smile widen enough to notice. “I think Sebastian is fine nowadays,” he says as he straightens up. “Either that, or I should be calling you Miss Renard-Lazzaro. In fact, I should probably get into the habit, shouldn’t I? I’ll try to shake the memory of you and Ezra running around together through the hose in the summer.”

His smile fades just a bit at the subtle shift in posture from Tasha, and there’s some sympathy that creeps into his expression, though he doesn’t mention it, just nods. “Of course. Follow me,” he says instead, turning and gesturing down the hall as he starts that way, his steps purposeful though not necessarily quick, for the moment. The guard who he’d spoken to before falls in behind them unobtrusively.

“Miz,” corrects the petite Lazzaro, because she is a feminist and a social justice warrior. She laughs aloud at the comment about getting the memory of them out of their head, glancing over her shoulder. “Shush now. People believe I sprung out of my father’s head as an adult. Let’s not let them know he’s merely a mortal man,” Tasha says teasingly.

“How is Ezra? I haven’t seen him for years, though we were on Facebook before everything.” Before she was basically in hiding in a castle on an island in the Hudson RIver. Before Heller shot her in the head (well, after she shot him). Before the Civil War. “He’s well?” she asks, then realizes belatedly the error of asking when the answer could be that he’s dead — she would have heard, right? There’s another nervous raking of her lower lip through her teeth as she waits for the answer.

“Ah, of course. Miz.” A little chuckle escapes Waite at this, and he shakes his head, though mostly at himself. “Feel free to correct me as many times as is necessary.” They come to another set of heavily reinforced doors, and he keys in a code, then presses his thumb onto a pad above it, and there’s the sound of a lock clunking open. The door is just one of many, though, that leads to another hall much like the first — it’s going to be a walk to get to where they’re going.

“He’s well,” Waite confirms, glancing over at Tasha as they walk. “From what I hear, anyway. He’s busy, so we don’t talk often.” It’s hard to tell whether there’s some sort of story there, or whether it’s just a case of an adult child not calling their parent as much as their parent might not like, as happens to many of us. But in any case, there’s no death involved, so that’s good. “I’m sure he’d say hello.”

There’s a brief pause as they walk, before he continues, “I’m glad you’ve made a full recovery, by the way.” Or at least, it seems she has. She’s here walking around, anyway.

Tasha smiles at the concession to her need for that softer s, then relaxes a little when it’s clear Ezra is still alive. The heels clicking on the floor sound much more sedate and professional than she ever feels, especially in a place like this. “If you do talk soon, tell him to say hi one of these days. I’m not hard to find,” she says. That’s a small understatement, of course.

“Thank you,” she says, somehow an emphasis on each word that makes it sound much more sincere and earnest than it might otherwise. “I was very lucky. And my dad saved my life.”

She smiles at that, then adds in a quick rush and tumble of words that’s both due to her nervousness and because it’s unsolicited advice of sorts, “He and I were not close for a few years, you know? But we’re good now. Even if we fight pretty much about everything, I know he loves me, and he knows I love him, and we’d do anything for each other. So even if I go a bit without talking to him, it’s okay. Because we’ll always have each other’s back.”

“I will. He’ll be happy to hear you’re doing well.” They pass another few guards standing in front of another door similar to the one they’ve passed through, and Waite nods politely to them both, but does not take that particular avenue. It’s easy to imagine someone getting lost down here, even if it weren’t locked up tighter than a drum — everything looks the same.

He turns them down another hall instead, nodding at the assertion of her being lucky. There’s another glance in her direction, though, when she continues, and Waite’s eyebrows raise slightly. He’s silent for a moment as they walk, considering the words. “I suppose it’s inevitable with strong wills,” he remarks eventually with another little smile. “You both certainly have one. But that’s good to know.” While he doesn’t actually acknowledge the parallel in words, there may be some gratitude in the tone, if one listens hard enough.

“Well, here we are,” he says briskly, the other topic left for now — and considering how long it has been since they’ve last seen each other, likely for a while. “Ms. Renaud-Lazzaro is here to take Pierce’s deposition,” he says — emphasis on the Miz — as he turns to the guards in front of the hall, and they both nod, one of them turning to begin opening the door behind them. Waite, for his part, turns back to Tasha. “Very nice to see you,” he says. “If you need anything else, please let me know.”

Tasha grins when he says she and her father have strong wills. “That is a very polite way of you to put it, but I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced stubborn as a jackass.” she quips. “So much diplomacy. Now I know why he chose you for this position,” the young attorney adds, and certainly, it is one that takes diplomacy and strength of character.

When they finally reach the door she needs to enter, it seems the walk was too short, even on Tasha Renard-Lazzaro’s short legs. Tasha takes a breath, smoothing her blazer and shifting her grip once more on her briefcase — her hands are sweaty — before releasing it in one last nervous sigh.

“Thank you. I’ll come say hi on the way out, if you’re not buried in a boatload of paperwork,” she tells the director, before nodding to the guard to be taken inside to face Pierce.

Despite the seriousness of her errand, her first words bring a real laugh from Waite, one that echoes in the hall with that same strange contrast of the music; it doesn’t fit a place like this. But he doesn’t seem to think anything’s amiss. “We all have our talents,” he says. “Some are more impressive than others.”

“Of course,” he continues a moment later, that same warm expression on his face from when he’d first seen her. “Please. I’d be happy for a break, and you can have some coffee or tea before you head out.”

He turns then, starting back down the hall from whence he came, and in his wake there’s the very, very faint strains of another song, though it’s hard to believe it could be coming from the same place. Maybe someone else around here is trying to find a little Christmas spirit, too.

Most highly favored lady,

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