Made Personal


francois_icon.gif sarisa_icon.gif

Scene Title Made Personal
Synopsis Francois makes contact to discuss the Institute and what America thinks it's doing.
Date August 22, 2010

West Village: Maison d'Allegre

It's customary for Francois to extend both hands in greeting to take the set of the female friend he's greeting, maybe a kiss to the cheek if it seems like it fits in with the circumstance, with the person. Elisabeth and Odessa, yes, Abby as well. Maybe not Eileen, respecting the young woman's reserve, and he's pretty sure that Melissa would laugh. For Sarisa, distance is maintained not for the sake of that, but for entirely different reasons altogether. Keeping the door open for the psychometer to enter, Francois moving bare foot across the space in expansive invitation.

He's cleared up the place a little. Enough, anyway, out of respect for her, for the house she bought for him. Wooden floors, and you can't even see where blood from gushing, broken nose had spilled a puddle not far from the front door, nor can you smell the bleach it had taken to clean it, by now. Time moves on, and he's tidied up, and there's the scent of a recently powered vacuum in the air, as well as coffee. He's in jeans, a thin grey sweater with a loose collar, sleeves rolled up, an analogue watch wrapped about his wrist. The place looks lived in by one.

"You remind me of my grandfather," is an unconventional greeting from an unconventional Sarisa Kershner in the door of Maison d'Allegre. Uncharacteristically casual this morning, the blonde wears jeans that seem so working-class for someone like her to be wearing, though the chocolate-brown of leather boots set it off some. Her sky blue button-down shirt has its two two buttons undone, sleeves rolled up to her elbows and the loose silk fabric of a white scarf wound around her throat and tied in French fashion to one side, more like an ascot.

"He used to walk around his house, barefoot, any time of day." Sarisa's boots clunk across the floor on entrance, one hand lifting up to pull down her sunglasses as she looks around, blue eyes meeting green as she offers a look to Francois. "He also used to have a shot of whiskey before noon to prepare him for the day," she adds with a raise of her brows, "you don't strike me as a heavy drinker…"

"Au contraire, I have a terrible affinity for wine when times are terrible, no matter the time of the day. Would you like any?" It's a joke, sort of, a slice of a smile sent to her — for all that he reminds her of her grandfather, there is that preserved youth whenever he lets himself smile, which might also be why he doesn't, that much, 'reserved' being his default.

Rather than steer himself to the kitchen to go get it, he drifts more for where there's a sofa opposite the empty hearth, leaning against the arm of the furniture and tilting a glance around as if to indicate the fruits of her generousity. There's a shelving installation that lines an entire wall, slowly filling with books, too much money being spent towards constructing something of a small library for himself — when you live nomadic for decades, owning books is a rarity. "I wish I could have invited you here before I had things I needed to talk to you about," he says, wistful. "It would seem less rude."

"I can't drink," Sarisa explains with a faintly apologetic smile, "or… I shouldn't. It does unfortunate things to my ability, and I'd prefer we avoid any embarrassing encounters like that tonight. I'm sure Jensen could regail you with stories about my drunken escapades if you two are still in contact with one another, he and I go back a ways…" Treading across the living room to make her way to an armchair, Sarisa at first considers to setle herself down on an arm, and looks to be ready to attempt that before realizing it's exactly what Francois is doing. Grimacing, she instead tries to smoothly slide down into the seat, looking a little awkward as she does.

Clearing her throat, Sarisa folds her hands in her lap, crossing one leg over the other as she leans back against the soft upholstery. "I'm used to people only really calling on me when they need something or have bad news to deliver. I'd like it if you and I had something less of a business relationship, but I understand that your life is likely busy, now that you have time to live it."

Lifting up a hand to scratch at the side of her head, Sarisa closes her eyes and furrows her brows. "I'm somewhat dreading asking, but… I'd rather get it out of the way now. What— exactly is it that you called me here for today?"

Hands linking together— healed things, now, scarless, but that might have been news he'd already forwarded to her when he'd gotten his position with St. Luke's. There is rippled scarting, still, at his throat that he's not quite brave enough to see if Constantine can manage, and the piece bitten from his ear that Constantine's power won't manage, or he's pretty sure non, anyway. Too vain, also, for Francois to put into words — at least fixing his hand had true function, and as long as Teo's face had been mangled—

"The Institute," he says, readily, though there's a twinge of regret, knowing there'd be people who wouldn't like him having this conversation. "Maybe it would be unfair, to ask you why such a thing is allowed to happen. I know that we repeat history's mistakes, because people— don't live long enough to amend such cycles, non, but there is no excuse for it. But I would sooner see what you know than argue with you. They have someone I love, I believe, or they may."

The invection of the Institute's name, as if it were some sort of demon called on, has Sarisa dipping her head down and awkwardly wringing her hands together. "I couldn't tell you," is offered in hushed quality, "The Institute was formed by a Presidential order just about a year ago now. They didn't begin full operations until this winter, and their security clearance is so black that my years of service in counter-intelligence doesn't mean squat."

Bristling some, Sarisa uncrosses her legs and looks up with those cold, blue eyes to Francois that seem so antipodally fiery at the moment. "I'm not privy to their operations or their actions, or even most of their membership. There's a CIA operative named Desmond Harper who'se the closest to a second in command that the facility has, beyond that I only have names of people I've never met in person. Simon Broome, son of Otto Brum, one of Kazimir's conspirators on the original Project Icarus. Jean-Martin Luis, a French geneticist. Mohinder Suresh, the famous. They're the core of the organization's operation."

Leaning forward to rest her forearms on her knees, feet planted flat on the floor, Sarisa offers one brow up in query to Francois. "If I told you I knew people you could go to for help to find this person you love… but that it would be so far outside of the bounds of legality that I likely couldn't protect you… would you want to hear his name?"

Francois is good with information, good for remembering information, although his hands twitch like he'd like to go write some of these names down and compare them to the information they've already gotten, although most syllables are ringing faintly familiar. His stare has gone intent and focused, but he's shelved the aggression that might have come out accordingly, remaining leaning as he is, his hands linked and demeanor that of a listener.

Not that it's gone completely, but he meant it when he spoke his priorities. Over what he'd hear from her first. For a second, yes is set to instantly fly from his mouth, but he allows a measure of consideration before, "yes," is dropped between them, heavy like a stone, the same emerald quartz his stare seems carved from.

"Richard Cardinal," is the first thing off of Sarisa's lips, the name of a man Francois Allegre shared an icy tomb with once. "He's the best shot we have at stopping the Institute, and he knows my operation." Which is to say, "You're not alone in wanting the Institute ended, Richard is working in cooperation with me to that end, and I think it would do well for you to meet and discuss your common interests."

However, Sarisa Kershner is never truly out of the field, and the first thing a good spy learns is that people love to talk. "Do you know anything about the attack that happened at the Staten Island Hospital last week?" One of Sarisa's dark brows slowly rise in tandem with the question. "I've heard that the Institute was operating out of that facility. Cardinal may have been involved," which is her indirect way of offering up a morsel of information. "I'm curious to know what you do about it."

And Francois laughs. It's almost disarming, actually, a rippled thread in the fabric of the conversation, going awry — just a soft and breathy bleating of mirth, edged and ragged in some amount of the anxiety he's been carrying for more than a month, now, muffled then in white palms as he raises his hands to his face, scrubbing away the weariness that would inspire such a reaction. With a graceless slide, he tips himself onto the sofa he was leaning against before, and when his hands come away, there's only a dim shadow of a smile.

"I know of Richard Cardinal. We have met and discussed our common interests. I feel like I have gone in a circle, now, but I suppose I should not be surprised, ah? These are the people you would rest the fate of the world on, a collection of criminals and people who know too much for their own good, and are too ambitious."

He leans back into the corner of the sofa, an arm slung over the arm of it. "You will have to ask Monsieur Cardinal's involvement about such a thing. But he does not know where Teo is." If Sarisa's hasn't been updated about Francois' apparent loved one, Laudani might be a surprise, spoken flippantly. "But if there was an attack on the Staten Island Hospital, then do you know of other facilities they use? If they moved anyone from there, to somewhere else?"

Blue eyes narrow for the barest of moments as Sarisa assesses Francois' reaction with some degree of feline mannerisms. Slouching back into her chair, long fingers lace together and elbows come ot find the armrests, her hands folded beneath her chin. "I only know that they have a central facility located on the campus of MIT in Cambridge Massachusetts and that the security for the facility is measured with twelve zeroes." That's billions for the uninitiated or the mathematically uninclined.

"I know nothing about the size of the facility or who it's staffed by, save for what crossed my regarding something called Unit Zero. You know I'm associated with FRONTLINE," Sarisa explains, "but after General Sebastian Autumn's death, I took over lock, stock and barrel the entire project. I learned through this that Autumn had two seperate prototype units. One dismantled by Sylar a little over a year ago, and the new one put together shortly thereafter. As far as I'm aware, they're the Institute's personal security detachment."

Sarisa's brows rise slowly, head tilting to the side. "Unfortunately," she finally adds, "that's the majority of my knowledge of their facilities. I imagine they're going to be making a new local branch, but… I don't know where yet."

The last of mirth trickles away as Francois listens to what Sarisa has to say, hand tucking beneath his jaw with the other pushing digits beneath the inner of his knee between it and couch, fidgeting with the grain of denim between curled forefinger and thumb. His glance slices away from her as he thinks, and nods a little. "I can tell you— " He hesitates, before bringing up his gaze for green eyes to meet blue. "I can tell you that there will be no raid like the one that happened on Staten Island. There aren't the resources for another, especially not now that they are taking more measures.

"There are only so many people who would be willing to take up arms, even against something like the Institute. How is it you can serve your country as you do, knowing what they do here? It was the Americans that dismantled Dachau — did you know that that is where the Institute has its beginnings?"

"I hunted the Vanguard for nearly two years," Sarisa explains quietly to Francois, "I'm well aware." Which indirectly says that in a way the Vanguard are responsible for the Institute, not a wholly uncalled for comparison. "I serve my country because I still believe in it, and I believe that with a good leader, with a strong leader this nation can become something proud to be a part of again. I do not serve our President, but I will pay him whatever lip-service I need to in order to insure the continuity of this country when he falls."

There is zeal in Sarisa's voice, pride, but also ambition. Three pillars that Francois has seen in others in the past, many of them now dead by firing squad. "I kept FRONTLINE away from Staten Island," Sarisa admits in the confidence of her ancestor, "I did what I could, behind the scenes, to help the people who participated there escape and survive. Even now, I have a team attempting to infiltrate the Institute from the ground up, so that when something can be done about them, there is help waiting."

Breathing in deeply, Sarisa exhales a sharp sigh. "I have a feeling that by the year's end, everything is going to change. I won't lie to you, Francois, I plan on following through with a coup-de-tat to end this tragedy."

Zeal meets zeal, although it doesn't mesh, not right away, Francois' stare glancing off from her's to watch the play of shadows on the wall, lacking something to attack — and trying to find it in his great-granddaughter is a little cheap, even he would admit. One breath in and the following exhale is enough to relax him, allowing himself to understand her words, and accept them. "That reassures me," he says, because he has to say it — he sure doesn't look it. "There are those who wouldn't trust you. Who would tell me you're lying. But I do trust you and I do believe you, that you did what you could.

"Are doing what you can. You have already started but you may have to consider winning the hearts of those who would help you in turn. There were politicians and true soldiers who worked with ordinary men and women to create the revolution in France, too. But perhaps that will have to be a later conversation."

A beat, and then, "If there anything I can do, to try and find the information I seek, you will let me know? Besides Richard Cardinal. Anyone I could find." What happens after he ~finds~ them goes implied, but he is good at looking harmless right now, in American blue denim and soft sweater.

"I wouldn't recommend you find Desmond Harper," Sarisa notes in quiet tone of voice, "not without a good plan. He's CIA, took over the mantle of King of Swords from Jensen Raith. He's a very well-trained operative." Brushing one hand beneath her jaw, Sarisa tics her eyebrow up again on considering something. "There is one thing you could do for me though," and that does come with something of a faint and wholly unknowing smile.

"If you find Teodoro Laudani," either she knows and is cruel or is oblivious and is cruel without realizing, but Sarisa's request twists a knife that Francois can not see, buried hilt deep in his heart. "Tell him I'd like to talk to him, about… cooperation? He has something I'm interested in, and I have something that I think he might find beneficial in the long-term."

Exhaling a slow sigh through her nose, Sarisa's blue eyes soften just a little. "Otherwise," she says after a moment of silence, "I can come up with a list of names. People who… may have information? I'll leave it up to you how they're made to cooperate."

"Any help is appreciated," is spoken coolly, favouring ice and aloofness over pained hesitation. Which Teo? is seriously on the tip of his tongue but even between family, discretion is advised — and even if he is split three different ways, and even if he does trust Sarisa, some fraction of possessive protection that just has Francois nodding stiffly to this, jaw angled in steel tension and mouth small. "Not all of my plans are bad," he offers, cracking a small smile.

Green eyes go a little distant as he runs his mind through the names already listed, standing in the precipice of how stubborn is he, or, as he'd told Eileen, acceptance. Or a quiet life, as Cardinal described it. "It's been a long time since anything's been very personal," he confides, after some thought.

"Time always finds a way," Sarisa opines with her eyes falling shut, "to make any pain personal." When those cold blue eyes open, her lips manage to creep into a subtle, softer expression that eventually blossoms into a fond smile. "There is no way to expedite this, though, so…" her hands unfold and Sarisa leans forward in her seat again, arms draped over her knees as she arches a brow and considers Francois carefully, as if about to ask something important of him.

"What if I changed my mind on that glass of wine," is offered from the blonde with a wry smile. "I think we're both deserving," Sarisa adds with a tone of dark humor in spite of their earlier conversation. It would be a shame to visit someone she so rarely gets to see, without at least enjoying her time here.

Not everything need solely be business. Family, too, is important.

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