vf_isabelle_icon.gif vf_shaw_icon.gif

Scene Title Jackpot
Synopsis Isabelle and Shaw return to the Hub after their scavenging run to take stock of all that happened and what's to come.
Date December 25, 2011

The Hub, Shaw's Quarters

A section of subway car that's been stripped of seats on one side to create a long storage area on one side. A boxspring with seat cushions serving as a bed is propped against the doors when not in use. Despite the clutter, the items here are organized by some methodolgy and neatly placed in an appropriate categories of similar things.

It's taken hours to get back to The Hub. Every shadow seemed to be the Vanguard huntress waiting for them. Every step was a wary poke out from a mousehole waiting for the swipe of the cat's paw. The attacks didn't come, though. And they've gotten back to relative safety, laden with what weapons, equipment, food, and supplies to be traded and distributed.

What they are lacking is one more living, breathing soul.

The decontamination process was done in silence on Shaw's part. It's a ritual, the process of scrubbing down and making sure the both of them are fit to return to the Hub commons. Freshly marked with a color-of-the-day hospital patient band indicating they're clean, they've come back to debrief and in some manner, to grieve.

Now, sitting on Shaw's bunk or in his case, on the floor of his small living space, the pair are able to take stock of what they've returned with.

Getting back was a mostly quiet affair and Isabelle didn't try to puncture the silence at all. Stewing in her thoughts, in the intel they received. The goods, the fact that she tried to kiss Shaw and failed at it. And the fact that he inspired such emotion in her was well, strange and off putting for the woman. She didn't understand that feeling at all. And how it could have happened. But then as they are decontaminated her mind wanders into thoughts of his hair and the way his eyes twitch, all the endearing things.

When they've come to rest in his living space Isabelle looks downcast. Unsure of what to say, “We hit the jackpot?”

It's as good as any for first words after going through what they just did. “I guess jackpot is when you don't lose anything, or anybody,” she looks sad at the thought of their companion.

It’s a lot to go through. A harrowing combat experience, the loss of a friend, the gain of so much that’s needed simply to survive. And the attempt at another kiss, the thoughts of coffee and all that it implied. Surrounded by supplies - some of them dropped off at K-Mart’s as part of the man’s cut, because there’s obviously no room for a pallet jack in Shaw’s small living space within a subway car - he takes in the bounty of Bloomingdales bags that surround the pair.

“Thompson punched his ticket so we could win it,” Shaw replies softly to her words. We. The two of them. All of them. The ones who remain of them. He reaches over to pick up the backpack he wore, stuffed to the brim with miscellaneous items. It’s so full, the jewelry from the store counters that make up the bottom of the pack’s innards are poking out of the rip in the middle. The rip that wasn’t there, but for their most recent encounter, where the Vanguard hunter threw her knife straight for Isabelle, and Shaw reflexively put himself in the way. His fingers reach slowly to the cut, fingertips running along the ripped seam, brow pushed together in study. Then he looks back over to the woman, summoning a faint ghost of a smile. “But we won,” he says next, sitting up straighter. “We faced the wolves and didn’t get bit. Made out like bandits.”

Shaw unzips the backpack, reaching in to pull out a rolled up hoodie freshly taken. That one’s for him. But as he unrolls it, he unveils the hunter’s knife. Vör’s knife. He runs his finger along the long flat of the blade. Then he turns and offers it over to Isabelle. “Here… you should keep this.”

She guesses they did win. A tough win but they did. She smiles faintly, “The wolves aren't fast enough for us,” her blue eyes search his. Making sure he's okay. Or as okay as he ever has been while Isabelle’s known him.

When the man across from her takes out the knife and hands it to her Isabelle’s eyes widen as she takes the knife. “You sure..?” As her fingers slide over the hilt and brush over Shaw’s fingers before she pulls it closer to her to inspect.

“This almost had my blood on it.” His too, and Thompson’s.

Her hesitation gives Shaw pause, his dark eyes caught on hers, especially when she mentions that the knife should have blood on it. Theirs. He swallows down, ignoring the shiver in his spine at the thought. “Y-yeah,” he starts, then with more conviction, “Yes. You fought the hunter, this is your trophy.” With the fingers on his one hand, he touches where she’d brushed his on the other. A stray thought lingers. Then Shaw coughs lightly.

His hand then reaches back to scrub at the back of his neck before diving into the pack, pulling out more items. Pistols, which he sets off to the side carefully, then the remaining jewelry dumped onto the bath towel beneath. His immediate goal is to sort out the rings from the rest of it. “We have a lot of stuff,” he goes on, “Lots of stories, lots of songs.” The values he places on the items may seem strange, but as one of the few scavengers whose method of payment could be immaterial, that’s been something of a popular way to trade with Shaw. “Do you want anything for Brenda?” he asks after a look up from sorting.

The faint smile reappears. “It could be a Merry Christmas.”

Back at Bloomingdales there was a suit to obstruct the passing of the virus, to protect them. It also cut Isabelle off from feeling Shaw. That brush of contact that lingers causing a light intake of breath and her eyes widen.

“I can't sing for shit but I can hum.” A joke to try to distract from the way her heart beats in her chest. Looking down she mentally kicks herself, she's not usually nervous around a man usually it's the other way around.

“She can have,” Isabelle peers over and nabs a bracelet, jade. “She’ll like this. It’ll make up for the hairspray.” It actually probably wouldn't but Isabelle secretly wanted Brenda to revert back to blonde away so anything to disrupt her hair ritual.

Merry Christmas..

The pyrokinetic leans forward to press her lips onto Shaw’s. It's tender but hungry. Not the kiss you make right after escaping certain death or a drunken kiss of passion but a soft, lingering melding that evokes for Isabelle.. gratitude. “Merry Christmas,” She says softly as her forehead leans against his. “Thank you.. for saving my life.”

If Shaw has ever been heard singing, it’s likely that he doesn’t do so at anything other than amateur hour at the karaoke bar level. He smiles at her joke, catching the humor, missing the nervousness beneath. “It gets better after a drink or two,” he says, “which is kind of true for almost everyone.” Some nights after the Lucky Lady, and all that.

He peers at the small collection of jewelry too, and takes stock of what Isabelle picks out for Brenda. “She’ll like it,” he agrees.

His smile falters slightly, lost to seeing the look on Isabelle’s face just as she makes that decision… When her lips press upon his, she catches Shaw at a moment of stillness, his own mouth just barely parted. A moment of clarity and focus. The experience is completely different from the last. He soaks it in.

Upon remembering to breathe, Shaw blinks a few times, and, eyes still on hers, the smile returns. “You’re welcome,” he remembers to say. “And… I liked that. I like you, too.” The man’s cheeks tint with a flush of warmth, and his gaze dips to her lips before lifting up again to her eyes. Debating. “Let’s finish putting the stuff away,” he says after a long pause. It’s something to distract the man from other thoughts. And something to distract her, too, perhaps.

It takes several minutes to go through their bounty. By the end, they’ve got it sorted, categorically set in order from what’s to be traded to what to keep, to what they’re willing to simply give. Christmas gifts, in a way. Hair dye and headphones, clothes and accessories, bedding and creature comforts, and food. The rings and jewelry are set on a special shelf, to be given to Ruiz and Lynette. Even he recognizes the value of that symbol.

“Maybe now, Lynette won’t be so mad at me,” muses Shaw as they no longer sit on a cluttered floor, but on his cleared up bunk made up of subway car seat cushions stacked over a boxspring, covered in one of those recently taken bedsheets. Now there’s even a couple of pillows and a warm blanket. He reaches up to wipe off his forehead with the sleeve of his hoodie. Cleaning is tough work, in the end.

Then, he glances over to Isabelle, head tilted at what she’s pulled out of the stockpile for her own purposes. “Are you going to need help carrying those back to the Lady?” offers Shaw.

There’s a snort because Isabelle is actually craving some of that moonshine but that can wait, she has other things intoxicating her. More important things and as they stare into each other’s eyes Isabelle grins widely and nods her head, “I like you.. I like you around.” Whenever, wherever, a breath of fresh air. Blue eyes alight with a wicked look as she notices his gaze on her lips. She winks and waves her hand, “Uh yea, let’s sort this out yea, can’t get.. Carried.. Away.” She almost kisses him again but she starts to help with the sorting of their booty, not that booty.

“I think you’ve done a great thing, to make her not mad at you. She might even end up having one,” a kid that is. Izzy grins at the thought. “Dirk wins after all. There must be a timeline where he just always wins, I probably hate him there.”

One of the hair dyes are nabbed and placed along with a sweater for her, she isn’t hurting. She gets traded with everyday, she just takes the things that she doesn’t have or really really wants. Isabelle’s hair hangs over her shoulder into her face, obscuring one of her blue eyes. “Well aren’t you my big and strong man.”

It’s not meant to sound teasing, she likes that he asked. “Yea that would be nice..” she bites her lip, “We can hangout here for a little bit,” eyebrows raised.

At first there is a blush from Shaw for the compliment, as well as just the way she looks with her hair down. He lifts a hand to reach over and gently brush the hair from her eyes. Then his hand retracts back to his side, fingers curling against the edge of his sweater.

The proposal to hang out longer gets a light grin, and Shaw nods eagerly, if a little cluelessly given the way he doesn’t read into her raised brows. “Okay,” he says as he grabs one of the extra hoodies he took from Bloomingdale’s and then reaches into a nearby box of miscellany, digging around for a Sharpie. Once he’s found a red one, the man sits back onto the bunk, pops the cap off the pen, and starts to write onto the inner neckline inside the hood. The letters spell out, SHAHID, and beneath it in right-to-left, Arabic script. The man diligently moves the marker across the cloth, then blows on it to dry the ink.

He’s capping the pen again when he looks up from his work, as if realizing that there was something more to what Isabelle had said just moments ago. And to that, Shaw belatedly reacts, brows pulling into a furrow of confusion. “What do you mean, a timeline where Dirk wins?” The poor guy does look confused. This is the same Dirk they all know, the man of the mullet… “You hate him?”

The woman doesn't flinch away at the caress down her face. In fact she leans into it and chuckles when he retracts his hand. Isabelle almost reaches out for it but she doesn't want to scare him. She's content with watching him do his thing. He fascinates her. Especially as he is writing his name in sharpie on the tag of his new hoodie. She almost audibly awwws but doesn't want to offend him.

“Shahid.. sexy.” She comments quietly and then she's moving to sit right next to Shaw. Laying a head on his shoulder. Izzy closes her eyes but doesn't sleep just being in the moment. Breathing in his scent, happy to be sitting here and not running around outside. She forgot what it felt like to be outside and caring about the person that's next to you.

But then she goes and blows it, “Well I…” Isabelle doesn't move away from him but does raise her head to look at him in the eyes. “Let's just say.. that Liz and Magnes are from a different timeline and are here on accident because Magnes became a black hole and now Magnes wants to use Ruiz’s holes to get us all through to a place where this,” She waves her hand. “Had never happened.” A cleaner place, Isabelle's taken to calling it Paradise in her mind.

The reaction to when she speaks his name - his actual name - is enough to give him pause. Shaw swallows down with a light bob of his Adam’s apple when she leans on him, stilling. Then there’s the matter of what she’d said about a timeline, and then when she looks back up to him to explain the logic (if that is what it’s to be called) behind her words. Again there’s a long silence, but Isabelle can see Shaw’s eyes twitch in and out of focus on her face, likely as he’s taking apart the statements, checking what he knows versus what’s been said, and forming the connections to what’s been going on.

It’s a lot.

“You mean… the way out is not…” The man struggles with the concept for a bit, because it’s unbelievable. He clearly wants to believe it. “But, how?” He fiddles with the red Sharpie, suddenly nervous. “Ruiz… his heart.” Shaw sits up bolt straight, turning to Isabelle fully. “That’s why he was working so hard. I told him. I told him, he should tell Lynette.” Faced with all the onrush of thoughts, though, Shaw seems frozen in inaction. “A place where this hasn’t happened…” His gaze focuses on Isabelle again, blinking at her. “You knew?”

The look of confusion from Shaw is not lost on Isabelle and she reaches over to clutch at Shaw’s hand. “The way out is through a black hole.” She tries to put more weight behind the words as if they aren't heavy enough or wild enough.

“Magnes is one of my best friends.. in the other timeline. Here we were close as well. But I haven't seen him in.. shit.” She can't even remember, “It’s been a while. I'm pretty sure he's dead.” That still makes her hurt inside, she failed her Magnes at least in her eyes. But she had a second chance.

“So yes I knew. They didn't want to cause a panic. Ed can be scary,” to most of the people down in the Hub. “I went along with it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I lied.” A great way to start this new aspect of their relationship with a lie.

“But we’re getting out of here.” Her look is hopeful, she didn't believe it for a while. “I didn't think we were. I think that I just thought Mags and Liz would get home and we would be stuck here. How could we be so lucky?” There's a chuckle from the pyrokinetic.

We have a real shot.”

The clammy feel of his skin as she takes his hand reveals the turmoil in Shaw. He’s trying to wrap his head around it, around black holes, around hope. Her touch is electric, sending a point of focus like a lighthouse through the fog. He aims for it, steering the mental ship away from perilous, thought-arresting rocks. He still can’t truly understand, yet the conviction in Isabelle’s voice and in her eyes, that’s real to him. Shaw swallows dryly, looks down to their hands, turning his own so their palms touch. Fingers curl against hers, sharing the space. “I don’t know,” the words come softly, filled with quiet doubt, “but, we can’t stay here.” All the Hub knows is survival, but even then they seem to understand it’s a matter of time, a death sentence.

“Does… does this mean that we have to fight?” Shaw wonders aloud on his next thought, looking up from his and her hand to her face, her eyes. A flicker of a smile makes it into the dark gaze of the man. “We did pretty good against the hunter.” Well, his idea of pretty good being that they’re still alive. “And, you didn’t stab me in the face.” So… yep, pretty good. And it’s a twinge of actual humor from Shaw, a rarity.

“No, we can't.” Izzy agrees with Shaw and then she's smiling at him. “What do ya say? Adventure Buddy?” The offer is one that Isabelle is sure Shaw will take. He knows how dead this world is, maybe the next will be better. The notion that they can even have a chance to start over in a sense, is still mind boggling. But Magnes is confident in knowing he will bring them out of here. “We can follow after Moses.”

Blue eyes stay centered and locked onto Shaw’s, “Shahid,” her lashes flutter as she looks up towards the ceiling before giving him a contemplative expression the way she says his name, it just rolls off her tongue. So easy. She wonders why she never tried to see if Shaw wasn't his actual name.

“We do. Have to fight. But if we work together? I think those Vanguard bitches will have to look out.” Her face is inches away from Shaw’s. When did she get there and how did she so fast? “I think you're special enough to beat them. Us together? We’re unstoppable babe.” Her breath for once not smelling like her moonshine is hot on his cheek as her gaze bores into his.

Shaw’s breath hitches again. His ears might be a bit warm as his face flushes to the way she says his name. The title of Adventure Buddy gets a slow, accepting nod. A distracted nod. “Moses, Magnes. Either way, we’ll leave it behind. Exodus.”

His gaze meets hers, his deep brown caught up in her fierce blue. “We can be…” he starts, trails, and leans the rest of those scant inches to press a long, lingering kiss against her lips. His hand lets go of the capped pen, lifting up to cradle the base of her jaw and neck.

Shahid taking the initiative is something that surprises Isabelle. She's delighted though and she makes sure that it shows by her warm smile she wears into that kiss. Izzy's hand running through his short hair, blue eyes close as she feels his hands on her. Their fingers interlock at points.

There are moments of silence and moments that aren't so silent. The rush of getting back alive was almost no match for the passion the two felt rising between them. The spot near her heart burned brightly.

It felt almost like having her ability back.

Completely consumed by the fire.

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