Lee And Liz Sitting In A Tree


elisabeth_icon.gif leland_icon.gif

Scene Title Lee and Liz Sitting in A Tree
Synopsis Liz goes by to see Felix, and instead Leland is home. So she checks up on him, they debate… and he remains crotchety.
Date March 28, 2009

Leland and Felix's Apartment

The news that Felix wasn't at the apartment and never showed up for work hasn't caused a lot of alarm for Elisabeth — it's not like it's the first time the Feeb has wandered off to follow his own leads, after all. She stops by the apartment, though, because she wants to check in on Fel's crotchety roommate and see if Felix is at home. She knocks on the door and calls out, "C'mon, Lee… open up."

The fresh scent of baking bread wafts down the hallway. Seems odd that it would be coming from the apartment listed as Felix and Leland's, but sure enough, Liz is hit with the homey scent the moment he opens the door. The cop's wearing an apron that is spattered with flour and his sleeves are pushed up to his elbows. He blinks, then his expression darkens. Caught in the act. "Harrison."

The blonde outside the door is wearing jeans, sneakers, and a long-sleeved violet shirt beneath a loose navy hoodie. There's a nice purple bruise across her left cheekbone, her lip is cut, but Liz smiles for him and holds up a bag. "I brought your goddamn noodles." Her tone is calm, 'goddamn' becoming an everyday adjective in this case. "Fel around?"

Leland eyes the bag, the bruise, then glances past her shoulder. Then he shakes his head. "No. Hasn't been around for a day or so. Probably off being an idiot and hunting someone down all by himself." He rocks a step into the apartment and leaves the door open. That's all the invitation Elisabeth is going to get. He goes to the oven and tugs out a tray of cloverleaf buns. The kitchen is a mess, but it sure smells good. "Heard some fuckers roughed you up."

Shutting the door behind her, Elisabeth follows him into the kitchen to set the bag of noodles on his counter. She shrugs. "Yeah, whatever. They'll get theirs. IA's all over their asses." She glances at him. "The honor code doesn't extend that far, in my book." She looks around the apartment briefly, not like she's inspecting is, just…. she and Lee aren't friends or anything. "Smells great," she offers. "How's your side?"

Guys like the ones who roughed Liz up are the same kind of guys who would come to Lee and brag about it. He may not be friendly to the Evolved, but he's not a bully - despite appearances. "Nf. You want some coffee?" He starts to pry the buns out to set on a cooling rack. For an apartment kitchen, it's fairly well-equipped. He owns a shiny set of stainless steel pots, professional baking trays and a full set of chef's knives. The rest of the apartment is dull, mismatched and faded - but clean.
Without even asking her if she'd like one, he plates up four of the buns and pulls out a pat of butter. He heads towards the kitchen table and sets them down. Grandma Daubrey.

There's a shrug. "Sure," Liz replies, uncertain what 'nnnf' quite means. She moves to sit down, watching him move about the place. "How long you on desk duty?" She's treading carefully. He's Felix's friend and former partner, and Felix is important to her. She wants to be at least friendly with Lee for his sake.

"Just a few days. S'not bad." Lee touches his side tenatively. "I've had a lot worse." Coffee is served in a press pot. Only cop in the world who drinks fine quality stuff at home, but can also tolerate the motor oil at the station. He fills up a pair of off-white china mugs. Unrefined sugar in a dish is set on the table.
He didn't slam the door in her face and he's sharing his baking with her. That's huge progress, even if it might not seem like it. The buns are hot and fresh and delicious. No wonder Felix has been looking a little less pale lately.

Liz's own weight still hasn't made a recovery either, though her appetite's been better lately. She picks up on of the buns and nibbles at it…. oh, man…. "Dear God, Lee…. why are you a cop?" she asks around a bite of heaven.

Leland tugs off one piece of the bun and puts butter on it. He shrugs, "Cause chefs are fuckers. My dad's one." An he's not a fucker? "Got a family restaurant back in Boston. S'like I never had a choice but to be a chef."

There's a distinct grin about it when he says that. Cuz.. yeah, he's not a fucker? Okay. Of course… he's not being one right now. "Sounds like a lot of people. My folks were flabbergasted that I wanted to be a cop instead of a lawyer."

"Too much pressure in a commercial kitchen. People get stressed out for no damn good reason. Least when you're on the job, if people're keyed up, it's usually cause lives are on the line. Not because some CEO's steak isn't perfect." Leland takes a big bite of the bun and rubs his fingers together to clean them of crumbs. He eyes her, "You're not enough of a bitch to be a lawyer."

Elisabeth eyes him and says mildly, "I could be, I suppose. I wanna be Kay Damaris when I grow up." She grins. "But no… I can be a bitch at various times, just not constantly. Not in my nature." She smirks. "Not like Felix."

"Takes a certain kind of twisted mind to be a lawyer, I think." Then again, Leland's never had a good relationship with them. Most cops haven't. He snorts at calling Felix a bitch. "Nnf. You shoulda seen him when he was younger. Careerist little rat."

"Hasn't changed," Elisabeth comments. "He's still as careerist as they come." She nibbles on the bread. "Just wait… he'll be running the damn place someday. And then what the fuck're we gonna do. We're gonna be the only things that keep him in check, you know? His head'll swell even bigger."

"He's too unpredictable for that. Gets hot-headed, lets cases get to him. I keep talkin' him back from the ledge, but he keeps going out there." Leland snorts. "That's probably where he is now. Chasing down some thug with his bare hands."

Glancing at him, Liz shrugs slightly. "Wouldn't put it past him…. I'm actually a little concerned that he wandered off to Chinatown or something equally stupid. If he turns up in the hospital, I'm gonna kick his ass into next year and not let Abby heal him this time."

Leland snorts. "I'm with ya. Might do him so good to be laid up in a hospital bed for awhile 'stead of getting healed right up. Maybe it'll make him smarter." A beat, "Maybe not."

Elisabeth snickers softly. "Most likely not," she admits. And then she glances at him, unsure what to say. Their mutual friend is who he is. "Mind if I ask you something?" She doesn't wait for him to answer it. "What do you have against Evolved people? I mean… except for Felix." She's asking out of what appears to be genuine curiosity.

Leland's expression darkens. His jaw grits and he looks away. "Ngh. Fuckin…makes the job harder. Escalation happens quicker. And you can never be sure the criminals are disarmed. S'unpredictable. Dangerous for everyone. Be better off if everyone could just get repressed. Hard enough to keep the streets safe when there aren't kids out there who could be fuckin' literal timebombs."

There's a long silence while Elisabeth nibbles at the bread in her hand, and then she nods slowly. "Unpredictable and dangerous… I'll get behind that idea," she admits softly. "Trouble is… most of us just go about our lives quietly, or use what we've got to help people. Not sure I'd want to be 'repressed' if I could be. Not sure Felix'd want to be either. You having trouble making that mesh?" She's not asking to make him mad — really!

Leland looks up at her and holds her gaze. "The problem isn't people like you and Felix. It's when the serial killers get the power. Or there's cops with Evolved abilities so they use more force than they would've. And more people get hurt. Or kids who don't know what to do with it." He starts to shred a little bit of bun in his hand as he talks. "I've seen shit escalate like mad when abilities are involved."

Elisabeth nods at him. "Yeah," she says quietly. There's not much to say to that. She's seen it too. And then she grins just a little, looking away. "Well, for what it's worth to you… I'd rather use cop skills than ability skills to do my job. What I can do? Only useful as part of the arsenal. So if you start seeing me rely on it as the only tool I've got, kick my ass, okay?"

Leland grunts. "Problem is, guys like me are gonna be obsolete pretty soon. What good can a guy who can't shoot fireballs do against a criminal who can? We can't respond with equal force, then we're no longer effective. And people have no reason to follow the rule of law. There need to be people like you, people who can fight 'em on their own terms. Else things'll break down."

Shaking her head, Liz is adamant. "Nope… never gonna happen. Because there will never be enough 'people like me'," she says with air quotes, "to do the job, number one. And number two, even if there were, how many of them have a calling to be a cop? And number three, if 'people like me' forget that they're 'normal people,' then the 'normal people' start to look like so much chattel. And then we really see shit hit the fan." She pauses. "Oh… right… I forgot. It already is. We've already GOT Evolved terrorists out to take over the world." She shrugs. "Never happen," she tells him.

Leland grits his teeth. He stands abruptly, under the guise of putting things away and straightening up the kitchen. "I feel like I don't have the tools to do my damn job. My success rate's plummeted since people stopped hiding that they're Evolved. Even the name of it. 'Evolved. What's that make me? A neanderthal?"

There's a snicker. Elisabeth can't help it. "Some days? Yes." She shrugs. "I didn't come up with the name. Frankly, I think it's a stupid name. But mutant sounds too comic-booky, I'm sure, and besides… it's already been done. And they probably couldn't think of anything else."

Leland shoots Liz a glare. Some other day, in some other context, he might've taken the joke. But the Evolved are a sore spot for him. He tosses dishes into the sink. "Some days I think of turning in my badge and working at a restaurant."

Realizing she's overstepped, Elisabeth moves to stand up. "I'm sorry, Leland. I was kidding." He's an abrasive guy, but she's seeing a side of him that she figures few do, too. She crosses her arms and moves to lean on the edge of the counter. "I turned in my badge because of what I am, you know." Her tone is matter-of-fact. "Just after the Bomb. I was damn good at my job. You can look it up. And yeah… I'd been using the ability to help it along, but most of my record comes from plain everyday skill. I worked hard at being a negotiator. But when people with powers became known, everyone freaked. And between losing my mother and then suddenly this mandatory 'sign this registery' shit hit…. I ducked. Got scared to death. Hid out, went back to be a schoolteacher." She pauses. "In the end, it didn't matter. Vanguard assholes came and blew up a high school full of kids, most of 'em unpowered, just ordinary kids. And I couldn't turn my back on it… I needed to be back here." She tilts her head and looks at him. "I have a feeling you've got your own reasons for staying a cop in spite of the undeserved reputation you have as a hothead and the shit you take as a result of it. Don't give up because you think you don't have the skills…. because I've seen you at work. You do. If you leave, do it because it's what you want." She's not going to talk him into staying. Why bother trying?

Leland isn't really serious about going anywhere. Truth is, he doesn't know what he'd do with his life. But the thought's always there. Whenever someone disarms him with telekinesis or suddenly has armour when he tries to shoot them. Whenever he sees his colleagues with Evolved abilities being more effective…well, it stirs up all sorts of feelings of inadequacy.
He grabs a hunk of dough and tosses flour down on the counter. He works at gneading it, pounding frustration out on that hunk of flour and water. The dough's brown and full of grains rather than the white of the cloverleaf buns.
"Not saying it's easy for you either. But I suddenly feel like I've got a fuckin' handicap. I'm loosing a lot more than I'm winning."

"Pfft," Liz replies mildly. "I think we're all losing a shit-ton more than we're winning right now." She watches him pound bread dough. "I dunno… maybe some of the guys on the squad got it better than me. Forcefields keep them from getting shot. But you know? Being able to fly didn't help Baxter at all when we went up against a pyrokinetic. He'd be dead if Abby hadn't been able to help. He was mega-burnt. Bad. And you think what I can do helped with this?" She gestures to her face. "Hell, Lee… they grabbed me, I froze like anyone else, and they got some pretty damn good hits in before I could fight back." She shrugs.

"That doesn't change the fact that you always have one more skill in the bag than I do. And so do the criminals. You've got an edge. You're gonna be able to get out of situations I can't." Lee punches his fists into the dough and flops it over again. He dusts the table and the loaf with flour. He's radiating discomfort and a barely contained temper. He does not like this conversation.

Elisabeth looks at him and raises both eyebrows. "One more skill? No, Leland… what I have is one different skill. Cuz I'm reasonably sure you would have been able to punch out anyone who opted to even ATTEMPT to smash you into a wall and rub up against you and then slap you around. It's a skill I don't really have."

When Leland can't articulate a good response in an argument, he says nothing at all. Instead he focuses on gneading the bread. He knows what his stance is, but he's never been good with words. He knows he won't win this argument.
The dough is separated into two loaves and then shaped before being placed on a baking sheet. He's an immovable rock in more ways than one.

Shaking her head, Liz sighs. "Never mind." She can tell it's an argument they'll never see eye to eye on… and truthfully? It shouldn't matter. She doens't expect him to come around to her point of view, so arguing with him is just plain stupid. "I'll get out of your hair, okay? Tell Felix, when he turns up, that I was looking for him." She grins a little. "I'd offer to bring a good, thick soup next time I come, but I have a feeling you cook better than I do." They actually have something in common *gasp*.

"Yeah," says Leland. He opens the oven and slides the loaves in. For a moment it seems like he's just going to ignore her and let her show herself out. But then he reaches for a paper bag and drops half a dozen of the buns into it. He hands it out to her, then heads towards the washroom.

Elisabeth reaches out to take the bag, watching him a moment. "Thanks," she says quietly. She heads for the door as he hits the washroom. "See you later, Lee."

Leland glances back over his shoulder, nods and then enters the washroom. Is it any wonder he hates court? This was just an ordinary conversation.

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