Let Me Sum Up


elisabeth2_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Let Me Sum Up
Synopsis A long-overdue explanation.
Date Jan 26, 2011

Nite Owl

The message, sent via their previously-agreed and hopefully-safe channels, had indicated a desire for a non-urgent meeting. As a result, Ygraine isn't having to put much effort into seeming relaxed as she waits in one of the Nite Owl's booths. Tucked into the corner against the wall, angled to give herself a good view of the door and the majority of the room, she has one elbow propped on the table and one leg folded under her. Her heavy biker's jacket sits on her bench, its reinforcements keeping it near-upright, while matching gloves are tucked into an all-black helmet sitting beside it.

For her own part, Ygraine is wearing a heavy woollen sweater that rests off one shoulder, though today it exposes a sleek thermal skinsuit rather than bare skin. As she sips at a steaming mug, she toys with the leather thong securing one end of her long, red-dyed braid - her pale features settled into a distinctly thoughtful expression.

Elisabeth's arrival, accordingly, happens casually. She's on a break, it's not that far from where she has to be. She stops at the counter to ask for a cup of coffee and an actual plate of breakfast! Glancing around, she picks out the regulars and those not so regular, then heads for Ygraine's table. Sliding in, the blonde dressed in all black smiles. "Hey there, stranger," she murmurs.

Ygraine offers Elisabeth a warm and seemingly wholly-genuine smile of greeting. "It's good to see you", she says gently, dipping into her jacket to withdraw a couple of items. One, the cell phone on which she had called Liz, is turned off, but the other is set apparently-casually on the table by her coffee cup. The cop might well recognise it as a discreet model of commercially-available white noise generator - though it's presently turned off.

"Just in case", Ygraine murmurs, gesturing an invitation to Liz to activate the device if she wants to. "How're you doing? Though it doesn't compare to November, the city's not exactly been wholly restful as a place to live, of late…."

With a faint smirk, Elisabeth glances at the diner. She waits until the waitress is gone and there's suddenly no sound in the booth. She winks at Ygraine. "I can hold it for a little while. Not too long. But maybe long enough. I'm doing all right. The riots were… intense, but not as bad as they could have been." Thanks to a bit of prep work. And dumb luck. "How're things on your end?" she asks as she cradles the coffee cup.

Ygraine blinks, then chuckles. "I hadn't thought of doing it that way", she says with a sheepish little smile. "I… well. Interesting. All too interesting."

Raising her cup to her lips to avoid anyone else seeing what she says, she murmurs, "In oh-nine, I came face-to-barrel with a tank. In November I disabled one. This year, I've upgraded still further… to seeing Sylar in full, bloody action. I'm hoping that I hit the cusp of the trend right about now, or I'm not at all sure that I'll keep walking away from things. And nor will the people I'm asked to help."

"Yeah," Elisabeth murmurs, sipping her coffee. "I heard he got cut loose. What is it that you need from me?" she asks.

"Sorry", Ygraine says quickly, raising her free hand in apology. "Still… adjusting", she admits with a grimace. "That was not a good night… but I'd been intending to talk to you anyway. See if anyone had taken up that offer you made last month, to help out a bit with covering costs for supplies. I've had requests for some more training materials - from books to martial arts practice gear - and I wondered if the offer still stood."

"The offer's good. I need to be careful getting money to you, so it'll take a little time, that's all." Elisabeth grimaces. "Got myself in a bit of hot water, so I'm under investigation."

A sympathetic wince and a rather worried look precede Ygraine making an awkward, aborted movement towards Elisabeth's hand. "We can leave it for the moment, if you want. I certainly don't want to get you into any further trouble. I just… well. I can tap someone else for money. I was just feeling guilty about taking it from a fifteen year-old. But better that than exposing you to any further risk."

A brow quirks up. "But it's okay to put a kid in the line of fire?" Elisabeth asks drily. She goes quiet as her BLT and fries is set in front of her — breakfast of champions! "Seriously, I can get you some cash. I just need a few days to make it work out. Okay?" She smiles a little.

"So far as we know, she's not under investigation", Ygraine says with a wry smile, once the waitress has departed. "And if she is, then I very probably am. And I doubt that my over-the-counter bug-detection gear will let me find any serious efforts made to track or investigate me by the powers that be. Somehow, I doubt that the Feds let Spy Shop have their latest kit to copy…."

Shaking her head, she smiles again. "I just… don't want to make things worse for you. Helping would be nice, in fact. But if you're sure about getting me cash, I won't turn it down. Sadly, there'll always be more that we could buy for the Lighthouse kids in particular."

"Yeah… I know. In actuality, that would be far easier for us to swing. Jaiden spending money to drop stuff off at a shelter and then you guys being able to pick it up from there isn't going to raise a lot of eyebrows." Elisabeth smiles a little. "And it's not illegal to donate to a shelter for displaced residents." She considers. "And in theory, he can hand-deliver the money to whoever picks it up."

Ygraine looks quite genuinely surprised and rather pleased, brows lifting along with the corners of her mouth. "You can route money via Jaiden? That'd be great. I don't see as much of him as I'd like, but… we're working together to try to provide self defence tuition to the array of people who don't seem to have much of a clue about it. And as a mechanic, he can easily be someone I go to visit without arousing suspicion. It's not as if travel in this weather is kind to a bike…."

Elisabeth nods slightly and her smile is vaguely amused. "Jaiden's one of mine," she admits softly. One of the ones she'll kill for. "I'll make some arrangements." She glances around and says, "I have to drop the field. I can't hold it for much longer without kicking in a killer migraine. Anything else you wanna tell me in here?"

"One of yours?", Ygraine asks, clearly surprised - before hastily shaking her head. "Nothing urgent. Though you've given me new questions I'd love to ask, I admit. And… the offer to help stands, if there's anything a wall-crawling surveillance type or a humble courier can help with."

There's a soft laugh and Elisabeth asks, "You don't really think that when Phoenix stopped the rest of us stopped, do you?" She shrugs a little and doesn't drop the field. If Ygraine wants answers, Liz will give them… if she can. "You have a couple minutes to fire whatever questions you want immediate answers to my way."

"I don't want to push you too hard", Ygraine stresses, pausing a heartbeat to let Elisabeth back out if she wants to. Then… "I was kept… out of the loop for Phoenix", she says quietly, though most of her words are tumbling out urgently. "Was only ever told about one site. My first mission was my last. And after it, I had a Federal agent I didn't know wander up to me in the street and ask how people in Phoenix were doing. I took that as a sign to pass along a warning and get the heck out of Dodge before I brought trouble on the survivors. I took time out, then chased up contacts in the Ferry in the UK, and got back into things by a whole different route to anything I'd seen over here. So I honestly don't know what happened, or what else might be going on. Anything you want to tell me, I'll hear. And if I can help, I will."

Elisabeth purses her lips and thinks back on the last couple of years. "This might be where a Princess Bride quote comes in handy," she admits ruefully. "To sum up…. I never joined the Ferry officially because I wanted in against the Vanguard too badly. Last year, some things came down and I was busted off the police force — similar situation to Norton's, only Norton got out before they actually busted him for anything." She pauses, thinking about it. "All the stuff Rebel put out there? The Antarctica explosion? I was around for all of it. I was smack in the middle of most of it. And when we came back, Phoenix was … essentially defunct. A few of us banded together again and started working on it. The short short version is probably WAY too long to get into here, and you wont' believe half of what I say right now. But the bottom line is that we've got a time traveler on the loose with one agenda — to keep a timeline that is horrible on track. And we have one agenda. To blow it all to hell and let the future shakes out as it needs to."

Mention of Norton had Ygraine looking predictably wistful - there aren't many people who persuaded her to trust them, and he did a better job than most. But what came after that in Liz's explanation soon puts him out of her mind. At the end of it, however, she cracks a wry smile.

"I've been on two trips", she says softly. "Rescued Tamara on one, and… got fried defending Kaylee on the other. The burns had healed just enough for me to 'play' with the tank on the Eighth. So you're… part of a group actively organising those efforts?"

"Not the time travel efforts. That was Nakamura. Though I think we're …." Elisabeth pauses and considers. "At best guess, Nakamura's group is on our side. The Institute? It assuredly not." She shrugs a little and says, "Take that for what it's worth, Ygraine." She picks up her sandwich to take a bite and chews, saying softly afterward, "But I've always been, to the best of my abilities, on the side of the angels." She looks up and meets the woman's eyes. "I've fucked up sometimes. But I've given my own life once and lost two men I cared deeply about and one man I love to the depths of my soul to this fight. I got lucky…. the last one came back. And dying on an ice pack's only given him greater resolve to stop the fucker heading up the Institute."

It's clear that a good portion of that last batch of information is new to Ygraine, and she offers Elisabeth a deeply sympathetic look… but tries to keep her words on-topic. "So… was it your group behind what I was just involved in? Stopping the Institute from getting control of a new weapon?", she ventures. "Or am I looking at still another group out there, pulling strings?"

"Oh, there are definitely people out there who have agendas. Sylar was clearly not part of the Ferry/Endgame run." Elisabeth smiles, though it's not entirely in amusement. "Richard, quite frankly, is having an absolute conniption over that."

Ah. A name to put to at least one shadow-organisation. Ygraine quirks one brow upwards, then chuckles softly. "I didn't think that you were involved in him being there… but…." She frowns. "There was someone else who showed up out of the blue. And who seemed to have some idea of what I could do - when I was fully covered up, in a snowstorm at night, and no one had used my name, so far as I know. He wasn't quite right - but it was like he'd had a briefing or something. And he was there to help. Ran in from the woods. So there'd seem to be at least one other group… pushing at things."

Elisabeth tilts her head with a frown. "Now that I didn't get an update on. All Richard said was that it went… all right. Aside from the Sylar intervention." She considers and then nods. "I'll ask him about it next time I see him — check and see if it's something he knew about. Off the top of my head, I don't think it's one of ours. Which could be … trouble," she admits with a frown. Hmmm. She nibbles on a fry. "If there's another player on the board, I definitely want to know about that." She glances up at Ygraine and smiles a little. "Revolution's becoming a way of life, I guess."

The blonde flinches suddenly and the silence field drops abruptly. "Shit," she murmurs. "Sorry." The stab of pain behind her eyes was all the warning she got this time. Fingertips go to the center of her eyebrow and she sets her food back down, appetite gone. "Shit," she says again. "I think that's my cue to end this portion of the question and answer game, Ygraine. I need to get back to take something for this."

Now Ygraine does reach across the table, attempting to touch fingers to Elisabeth's hand or arm. "I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to push you too hard. I've got painkillers with me if you want something immediately." She sounds genuinely guilty, as well as apologetic.

Actually, Elisabeth looks grateful. "If you have ibuprofen now, that would head off the worst of it. It's not your fault. I blew out my ability in the riots, and it's taken me this long to get it back into working order. If I push it too far, it still tweaks my head, that's all." She smiles a little, not pulling away from the touch. "Don't worry, it's all good."

"Anti-inflammatories, I have in case I come off my bike and land on a joint", Ygraine says with a smile, delving into another of the inner pockets of her jacket. What she comes up with is a simple plastic strip of pills - no box or documentation - which is then offered across to Liz. "Ibuprofen, as requested. Two's the maximum dose for those. And… I'm glad that you're getting things back in working order. I… confess that I haven't dared ask much about what happened to other people on the Eighth."

Elisabeth takes two of them and hands the strip back, washing them down with a sip of her coffee. "It was…. pretty vivid, that's for sure," she admits. "Probably better you don't ask."

Ygraine tucks away the unused drugs, then also removes the white noise generator from the table since it seems that it won't be needed imminently. "Yeah, I can imagine", she says dryly. "Not a good day for anyone. But… I'm glad you got through it. And that you're recovering from the… after-effects. I… sorry. Was about to offer to help again, if you wanted it."

Flashing a rueful smile, Ygraine shrugs self-consciously, shifting position a little to let her nurse her coffee in both hands. "How're things otherwise? It sounds like you're under a lot of pressure. I hope that you're managing to get away from it, at least a little."

A faint smile flits over her face, softening Elisabeth's expression. Something pleasant — something even happy — passes over her features. Or maybe just thoughts of someone. "I get away. As much as I can manage. My best friend's part of the same squad," she says quietly. "And I get home as often as I can from the base." She shrugs slightly. "It's a life, lady."

Ygraine looks genuinely pleased, flashing Elisabeth a distinctly happy smile. "I'm glad. Truly. And… your best friend? Anyone whose name I should be watching out, in reports of glorious heroism - or the saving of cats stuck up trees?"

Elisabeth laughs at that. "Oh, you'll know his name when you see it. Felix Ivanov," she replies easily. And though there's affection, it was apparently the 'getting home' part that made her face get the happy look. "We work together in FRONTLINE. He's also one of mine." The underground form of the term, she means.

Again, Ygraine looks quite openly surprised. The name is indeed familiar… both from a certain chaotic meeting before her lone - but vital - Phoenix mission, and also from what might be termed the Nichols connection. "I… wow. Yes. I believe I've seen him crop up in the news a few times. And he's in FRONTLINE now? I'm glad you have a good friend to watch your back when you're out in the field."

Yeah. "Pretty priceless," Elisabeth admits quietly. "It's a complicated one, but … eh, I'm not sure I'd know any other way to live these days." She smiles a bit. "What about you? You holding up okay?"

Sucking in a long, slow breath, Ygraine then offers a somewhat shaky laugh. "Well. The past couple of months have been decidedly… exciting at points", she says dryly. "And I've been introduced to thrilling new experiences I'd never even considered beforehand…. But I think so. I'm… trying not to let anything fall apart, while also pushing for things to improve, where and when I can. Though I've not given nearly as much time to Liberty as I'd meant to, I admit…."

There's a nod as Elisabeth finally picks up her sandwich and starts eating again. "Seems like the whole last year has been exciting…. interesting in the Chinese proverb sense of the word." She smiles faintly. "I'm glad you poked your head out, though. It's good to hear that in spite of the hardships people are still making it."

"Apparently, there's no actual record in China of that 'ancient Chinese proverb'", Ygraine muses. "Which makes it a wonderful metaphor for all sorts of things…. But yes - I agree. It's… it's so very, very tempting to hide. To run away and just bury myself safely out of sight. To try to never look back, never again dwell so vividly in a world like this."

The Briton takes a long sip of her cooling coffee, then shrugs tightly. "But if I did that, I'm not sure I'd ever come out again. I'm not sure I'd even ever stop running, that I could find anywhere that'd feel safe and normal and the way it should. So… I stick around here, and I put up posters for a civil rights group, and I try to keep in touch over coffee when I can. And I hope that it's enough to make a difference, even if only a small one."

"Any small difference, Ygraine? It matters." Elisabeth grins a bit. "Even if it only matters to one person. It gives people hope. And we all need that."

Laughing softly, Ygraine flashes Elisabeth a swift and rather playful grin - then raises her nearly-finished coffee in a solemn toast. "Hear, hear. To hope, now and forever."

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