Learning To Live Again


elisabeth2_icon2.gif vf_isa_icon2.gif

Scene Title Learning to Live Again
Synopsis Isabelle and Liz come from very different places, but they both have to relearn how to live in a world not torn apart.

New York

October 2012

“Why does she do that?!”

It's been a question repeated often since the start of this visit. Followed by, “How does she do that?!” A bit impressed and Isa feels herself rearing back from the smell and the view. The young woman’s brown hair wrapped up in a loose bun. Her tank top a cool blue color, legs clad in tight black jeans. She's casual and had taken a walk over to Liz and Ygraine’s place after her classes at Brooklyn College.

Fanning her hand in front of her face. Why can't the baby just not go.. number two? WHY JESUS WHY??!

The fanning isn't working so she pinches her nose with a vicious shake of her head, oh no no no baby girl. Come on, don't do Aunt Isa like this. “God fuck, she has her father’s gas.”

Elisabeth is laughing rather uproariously at the faces Izzy's making. "Honestly, that is something I never knew about her father and I'm not sure I wanted to," she gasps through tears of laughter. Aurora at least seems to be fascinated at the activity, her eyes going back and forth between the two women as she grins huge and claps for herself.

"If you can't figure out a diaper, Isabelle, how do you expect me to leave you here with her??"

“Alright alright!” Taking a deep breath the woman leans forward and does the wipe with the wet cloth quickly before raising the diaper to eye level with a quirked eyebrow. What about a sheet, like a toga she wants to suggest but no no that's silly. “Oh yea dude, ripping ass all through the damn front yard of our orphanage. Ask him about the banana and grape incident when you get home. Tell him I gave him the finger.” The pyrokinetic cracks a devilish grin as she does the business of putting the diaper on.

It's backwards.

“For fu- effs sake!” Looking down at Aurora, daughter of one of her best friends. A version she's never met, a piece of him here though. How.. insane. Aurora’s face makes Izzy break out into a smile as she laughs. “Oh you think it's funny do you?”

Now that she has Aunt Izzy's full attention, that cute toothless grin is even bigger, if that was possible. Little legs kick around in the air and Aura blows spit bubbles to make Aunt Izzy smile.

"Of course she thinks it's funny," Liz giggles. "I think it's hysterical! How did you spend your teenage years around small kids and not learn this?" She rolls her eyes and snickers. "That's going in my memory box of things to harass my lovers about when I get home — along with Felix's blue hair and piercings," she snorts.

“I.. well you see,” sheepish look, “I was always running off. Stealing from the liquor store instead of taking care of the kiddies.” Though there was that one group Home she remembered that the foster Mom really wanted Izzy to take more responsibility. The breaking of her room window solved that. It also sent her packing to another place. Rinse, wash, repeat.

“Well, yes use that shit against him.” Literally. Izzy snickers, she hasn't met this Felix. But a friend of Liz’s that's a good thing. She and Magnes both needed support. “All your exes choking at their alternate identities.” That gets her thinking about her own.. and how she hasn't found her.

December 31, 2012

She knows Isabelle doesn't really want to be here. And although Elisabeth attends services once in a while and had Aurora baptized, she's not exactly a regular communicant to Our Lady of Fatima. But New Year's Eve has a symbolism to it, and she always lights a candle. After kneeling on the prayer bench in front of the bank of candles, she crosses herself and gets to her feet slowly. Aurora is asleep in the sling carrier that Elisabeth has beneath her fleecy cape-like jacket, comfortable and warm tucked beneath her mother's heart.

She walks to a pew toward the back and slides in to sit quietly with Isabelle, grateful beyond measure that the other woman came with her when she could have been out getting drunk. Liz has had a lot of struggles this year — the arrival here, new motherhood, the world as a whole. She couldn't explain why at the time but she needed to be here in the church at midnight. Finally she says softly to Isabelle, "Some dates keep resonating through timelines for us. November 8th for me to die…. January 16th for him." And just one year ago, she watched him do it for a second time. The nightmares have been pretty intense this year. It's less now, but Isabelle knows she still has them.

"Last year, I'd just figured out Aurora was coming. I sat in that little room and watched the candle burn down." It was why she hadn't joined Isabelle at the bar, though she'd been invited. "The year before, we'd been fighting a lot … He wasn't very happy with me. But he still came to the apartment so we could scoff at the New Year's celebration in Boston because Manhattan was on lockdown and there was no more Times Square." Her words are simply a murmur. "The year before that we were sitting in godforsaken corners of the world alone… and he'd only just told me he loved me. From thousands of miles away, of course." Said ruefully, because OF COURSE it wasn't simple. Elisabeth looks at the pyrokinetic. "New Year's Eve is something like a celebration of still being alive the past few years. We lived long enough to see the calendar turn again. Eleanor Roosevelt once said 'it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness.' So… " Here they are.

She does in fact hate church's but what can you do. She's a good friend and seeing Aurora was always worth it, sitting idly in the pew she tries to be respectful. Izzy tilts her head up to look at the church ceiling. She thinks of nuns she's stayed with before in the past. She had never gotten gotten along with them.

As Liz comes back with the baby the pyro smiles with a look over at the candles. They flicker and sway a bit more for a few moments before steadying again. Practice has been making.. perfect.

“I use to love New Years. Late ass night, free party cuz I was working behind the bar. Always a young, dumb dude to drag Home at the end.” She has seemed to have forgotten about the fact that they are sitting in a church. “Memories and our association with things are weird.” Isa remembers a kid who barfed at the sight of peanut butter because of some trauma at her previous home. “It's weird about how some dates things happen that.. seem preordained. No matter the choices you make you end up in a similar place.” Or something or the other. Talking philosophy and the meaning of all of this wasn't exactly her forte but it was healthy to indulge in a topic such as this now and again. “What day did I die?”

"Why in the world would you even want to know something like that?" Elisabeth asks quietly. "I know it's sure as Hell not been something I wanted to know. Do you have any idea the nightmares those two days of the year hold for me? I go through the whole day wondering if this year is the one."

Sighing heavily, Liz shakes her head slightly, her eyes on the candles. There is a peacefulness to Catholic churches that she finds nowhere else. Holy ground, if one believes such things. "I'm… not sure I knew the exact date," she tells the pyrokinetic, her blue eyes on the altar and its crucifix. "You died in July of '09. Richard… was pretty fucking out of his mind. We'd only been fu— erm… " She looks around the church. "We'd only been friends with benefits a little while at that point. But he was pretty well destroyed," Liz says quietly.

She doesn't answer why she wants to know because Elisabeth already knows what she's on about. Knowing about her other selves is something she's become.. occupied with. Not so much comparing but interested in how some changes resulted in different Izzy outcomes. The outcome where she dies is scary yes but something she thinks she oughtta know. What's the use of living this bizarre ass twist that is her life now if she didn't learn everything she could.

July 2009.

“Happy Death Day.” She whispers and looks down at the ground. “Summer, when it's hottest. That's ironic don't you think?” Or maybe it wasn't. Isa wagers, though, that things were all connected. It was becoming more and more apparent to her and it scared her less and excited her way more.

"Perhaps," Elisabeth concedes the irony of it. As she looks at the beautiful wall painting behind the altar, she breathes in a slow breath. "Do you believe in the idea of tarot cards as a method of focus?" Her question seems out of the blue, but it's not really. "Two different people put out spreads for me over the past several years…. And they're just cards. They only really say to you what YOU interpret in them. But… in both of those spreads, the lovers cards were central to my future." She looks at Isabelle. "There isn't a path forward that doesn't have Richard Cardinal in it, in some way. I will find a way."

The darker haired woman fidgets as Liz brings up tarot cards. Izzy usually feels wary about psychics and things of the mystical nature she liked to call it. Shrugging her shoulders, “All that hoodoo stuff,” she holds back the curse, “Kinda wigs me out. But.. there does seem to be forces outside the norm..” this coming from a woman who can literally control fire.

Isa tilts her head back to look up at the ceiling again. “Well shit Liz, go on and make me emotional why don't you.” The curse couldn't be helped. “I wonder.. man he'll probably be waiting on the other side if I know him. Waiting.

"I don't expect that of him," Elisabeth demurs with a small smile. "Honestly, Isabelle," she adds softly, "A selfish part of me wants that… but that's not … I don't know if…." No. That's a lie, she supposes. She does know that if he's alive and he has even an inkling that she is… he will never give up on her. One version of him went so far as to bring her back from the dead. So yeah… she does know what they are to each other, even if occasionally she shies away from the depth of it.

"As far as they know, we're dead." Hell… as far as Liz knows, Cardinal himself may be dead. But she won't entertain that idea. It might be the one thing that would make her consider staying in this world — finding out that her daughter's father is gone. "But I'll be damned if I'll give up." So there.

April 2013

"Isabelle, come on… I mean, maybe it's a good thing that you can't find her. Maybe it means she changed her freakin' name and has a fantastic life in Australia," Elisabeth offers, sipping her coffee. The college's campus has a lot of teens running around and she's actually really happy that Izzy's doing all these classes. Second chances with a totally clean slate don't come along often. "Do you really want to give up that idea to find out something horrible? Is knowing the truth better if that's what you find?" She's not being sarcastic — she honestly wants to know where Izzy's at with it.

There's a groan from the other woman sitting across from Liz. She's been enjoying the classes too, using her ability and learning more about it every day. How to use it for more than just burning people. Isa leans back in her chair, hazel eyes full of emotion. Mostly frustration and anger. “Well that shit sounds awesome. I just wanna know..”

Forehead creases as she looks back over to Liz, “I have to know about my family. Thalia and my parents. There’s something there.”

Would she be better off not knowing in case things were horrible for her alt self. Or she died? Well maybe. But coming from where she has, Izzy would rather know. “No matter how much it hurts, I gotta know.”

Liz is quiet for a long time, and she debates whether to say anything. "Richard met Thalia once, I think. After… you were gone in my world," she says finally. "He wasn't convinced that she was your sister at the time. I guess he ever knew about her before she showed up." There's a hesitance, because… Richard didn't have a background or a history. And given what she's learned, it seems like… maybe he didn't come from where he thought he did. She's pretty sure he didn't. She sure as hell didn't. "Do you remember anything about before you were both at the orphanage?" She's never been sure how old Isabelle and Richard were when they knew each other — "since we were kids" covers a lot of territory.

A slow nod on Richard not believing Thalia. Protective bastard. She assumes, “Yea I've never heard of her either.” Could it have been a lie? Why would anyone lie about that? Izzy was an almost high school dropout who had only held jobs behind bars and committing various levels of crimes throughout her life. What would be so special about her for someone to do that?

The question from Elisabeth makes Izzy frown, “Well of co-” head tilting.. huh. “Not really,” She settles on instead. Rubbing absently at the back of her neck. “I just remember.. waking up in that place. Card was the first person I saw…” She remembers that day, her first friend.

“Why.. do you ask?”

Elisabeth is honest with her. "In my world, Richard was supposed to have been raised by Edward along with the Ray children. He wasn't.. like you, he went into the orphanage. Never knew where he came from, didn't remember anything from before it. Kain once went looking for his background — Richard wanted to know what he found, and Kain told him literally he found nothing. There were no records that could backtrace him adequately. We were never entirely sure what the hell was going on… but the two of you being so close, and now the missing Isabelle here… it just makes me wonder what the fuck is going on."

She grimaces and admits softly, "It worries me. There are some peculiarities to the project that was the machine that sent us here. One of those peculiarities is that Richard's mother was the brains of it. And mostly, I'm just trying to turn the jigsaw pieces his way and that to see what clicks."

Raised by Edward? The thought makes her shudder thinking of Cardinal being raised by that.. weasel, “Poor bastard. God, he needs a drink.” Opening her flask and dumping a bunch of her whiskey in her coffee without much flair. Taking a gulp as Liz continues and stiffening in the spine, “No background?” There's a trickle of dread in the pit of her stomach and she clings to her resolution that she knows who she is. Isa knows who she is.

Being a child of the system though, already disproved that. “Card’s.. Mom?” Whoa shit. “That is.. some shit.” Gulp gulp.

Isa’s hand shakes but she steadies it as she looks Liz in her blue eyes. Thoughts racing in her mind. A thought occurs to her but she's hesitant. “Maybe I should see..” a roll of her eyes. Liz knows her feelings on telepaths, precogs, clairvoyants.. psychics in general. They meddled in things she didn't understand completely, sometimes they unnerved her. “Kaylee.. mucking around in my brain to see what's there.” A grimace as the thought plays out for her. Being at the mercy of a telepath though she.. does trust Kaylee.

Elisabeth's blue eyes on Isabelle are wary. "Don't go down that rabbit hole unless you're prepared for the idea that you will not like what you find," she replies softly. It's something she herself is planning on doing, but… she's already been warned what's in her own past. "It doesn't change who you are. You are exactly what you make of yourself, Izzy. The rest of it?" She shrugs a little. "I can sympathize with the longing to know…" more than Isabelle can know right now. "But some things might be better left alone. At least for now?"

There's a wave of her hand. Elisabeth’s words are heard but everyone that knows her that once she puts her mind to something, no matter how hesitant at first. She's going to do it. “I think I'm off the path of staying ignorant of things now.” They are traveling through flippin timelines! “The more we know.. the better. No matter the pain. We owe it to ourselves.

"The more you know…" Elisabeth quips drily.

July 2013

Laughter can be heard in the bar, the sounds of shot glasses being slammed onto the surface of the actual bar where the two women sit. “I'm telling you, you should have seen the look on his face. He was in complete shock. Next thing you know, half his weed farm was up in flames.”

Another outburst of laughter. “Ol Sneezy Larry learned a lesson about saying such unspeakable things to a lady.” Isa grins over at the other woman. Dragging Liz for a night off mom duty and Izzy needing a break from Adell her precious and beautiful niece’s loud crying. Thinking of that little girl makes her think of Magnes.

“Sometimes I'm worried about Magnes, he's a tough motherfucka but I worry. Also about you.”

Liz sets the shot glass down, and quirks a brow at the other woman. "Worried about me? What the hell for? I've got a pretty good thing going. The music is going well, I'm enjoying the hell out of Aurora…" And if her bed's a little lonely, well… it's by her own choice. It's not like she hasn't had offers. She just… isn't exactly interested these days. She doesn't want to draw more people into Aurora's life who will have to be left behind if or when they go home, so she's just not dating.

“Yea well what about home.” she doesn't say 'and Cardinal.' Her expression troubled. “I've been trying to help get you guys there.” Isa’s jaw works as she holds up a hand for another round. Liz knows she’ll have them both going until they’re on the floor if nobody stops them. Hazel eyes close as the next round arrives, she asks for a drink also straight up and knocks the next shot back before looking over at Liz again.

“I’ve failed you guys. I'm sorry.”

Elisabeth knows she's been trying to help and she leans across to put her hand on Izzy's arm. "Hey. You haven't failed anyone." She waits until the drinks arrive and then she observes quietly, "We knew the possibility was there — obviously, we've done it before, it can be done again. But we also are not willing to kill Ruiz to try again. And we're not willing to throw all caution to the wind and turn to Arthur fucking Petrelli. It leaves us having to move slowly and carefully. And no one said that it would be quick. And no one said that we'd ever actually manage it, Isabelle." She shakes her head. "Do not beat yourself up over this. It's not your doing. If we can get home? We will."

Biting her lip, Liz admits softly, "Some part of me? Some days doesn't even want to keep trying. This… every world has a seedy underbelly. Even the best ones. Sometimes I wonder if Aura and I'd be better off at this point letting them all keep thinking we're dead, Izzy. I mean… it's been years. They've got to finally be starting to heal."

Ugh. She's right. It’s not in her hands at all but she wants to help them get home so badly. All the people who must miss them, even though she would miss them. She would want to go home wouldn't she? If Isa’s Home wasn't a virtual ruin.

Nodding her head softly as she sips from her drink, eyeing the audiokinetic with a look of sympathy. “Healed maybe but they would still love to have you back. And if there's a chance of it…” reaching over to grab Liz’s hand she squeezes it tight. “We’ll get you to it.” Slow or not.

She holds the hand offered to her tightly and nods a bit. "I know they would," Liz agrees. "Is it bad, though… that some part of me likes what I have here and now? Honestly, even with all that's gone on, Izzy… the time we've been here has done more for my mental health than I ever thought possible. It's… peaceful, if you can ignore the more totalitarian aspects of things."

Elisabeth grimaces. "I still want to go home… But sometimes that one little part niggles and sort of pokes me with 'it's really not so bad here.' And God knows… if we do ever make it back, do you have any idea how long it will take me to convince Richard's stubborn ass that it's actually me??" Assuming he's even alive — a thought she's considered many times over the past several years and cried over before finally deciding that you know what? The asshole survived eating a nuke… there's no way in hell he died fighting the likes of Ezekiel. That would just be ridiculously prosaic.

Peace, something they all deserved whether you were a native to the Virus realm or had been there passing through. Liz’s words ring with truth but Isa’s inner nature rages loudly at her that there must be a way.

A crack of laughter as she speaks of Cardinal’s lack of trust. “Blood test that baby and have a telepath show what's in your brain. The paranoid man will relax, he better or I'll come through a portal real quick and fuck him up.” She means it, Izzy grins as she knocks back more liquor. That feels nice.

Elisabeth simply laughs at her and nurses her beer. "I'm holding you to it."

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