No Arguments Here


emily_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title No Arguments Here
Synopsis Emily and Lance catch up with each other over a lunch break, and it almost goes without incident.
Date May 14, 2019

Fort Jay, Governors Island

Emily usually isn't much for talking, but she's grumbled a few times about the incursion of the World's Fair onto Governors Island. Today, she sighs as she looks out over the foot traffic in the distance, separated by metal barriers laid out to clearly demarcate SESA space from visitor space.

"I'm giving in and checking it out this weekend," she announces lamely on the back of a sigh, in the middle of pulling open the single-serve bag of chips she's packed. The weather today is agreeable for once — no otherwise pleasant gusts of wind that would carry away lunch items, the sun is shining, and the air is warm. Maybe it's what contributes to her reluctant admission that she's going to see what all the hype is about.

Hey, she actually admits it at least.

Giving the chips a shake, she casts an uninterested glance down into the bag. "Devon wants to go," is only half-true. She also wants to go, and it's clear in her overt nonchalance about the matter. "There's also this … VR thing that they're doing." Emily looks sidelong at Lance, her interest guarded but definitely present now. It's been a while since she's been deep into gaming, much less had the opportunity to see anything on the forefront of technology.

"It looks pretty cool." she finally ends up admitting, sheepishly looking off again.

A peanut’s tossed up into the air, and Lance catches it in his mouth as it comes back down, chewing contentedly and swallowing — a bag of peanuts rustling in his hand as he digs for another. “Sounds pretty primal,” he admits, looking out towards the barricades, “I’m not usually big on all the… big production stuff, but I’m sure some of the tech is cool.”

A sly look over, a twitch of his lips, “So…. you and Devon are working out, then?”

Emily's expression twists in response, balking at the concept of answering when she was sure to get a ribbing about it. Shit, she already was. She almost says something to brush him off like 'for now' but catches herself as she starts to form the phrase, cutting her own self off with a harsh, "—Yes." instead.

She fishes out a chip, gesturing with it. "Before he left, he made a big deal of trying to work things out. Apologizing. I saw him once and… after we thought he was dead, I regretted it." After gnawing on the chip, she clarifies, "That I didn't have more time with him."

Lifting her shoulders in a small, loose shrug, she peers forward again. It's easier to talk about things closer to her heart without looking at anyone for some reason. "So I said fuck it, that I wasn't going to waste a second chance. As soon as I figured it was him, really him and not some jackass from another reality or anything who shares his everything… I told him I wanted to try." Emily pauses just a beat. "So we're trying."

Going to a trade show was a thing people did on dates, right? She doesn't know shit about this stuff. Maybe it shows.

"I'm trying, anyway." she mutters. "He's put forth the effort all along, stupid shit that he is for doing it in the first place and all the other shit that's happened along the way." For a moment, she marvels at it aloud: "Out of all the possible people he could have gotten infatuated with…"

She shakes her head with another crunch of a chip. "I don't fucking know, man." Emily sighs.

“Hey, you’re both doing better than I am,” Lance chuckles, reaching out to play-punch her shoulder lightly, “Good luck with the whole boyfriend thing—” A bit of a tease, without fully being one. “If he acts up, let me know and I’ll replace his shampoo with Nair.”

Also his brake pedal with a grenade or something, depending on how badly he acts up.

A few peanuts are pulled from the bag with a rustling of its sides, and he points one at her, “Besides. People from other realities aren’t that bad. I should know.”

Emily side-eyes him at the knuckle to her shoulder, nose wrinkling at the word boyfriend. Shit. Her expression breaks and she grins despite herself when he offers to help her with revenge. "He's constantly acting up," she confides wryly. As for the people from other realities, she politely defers with a proper, stiff shrug.

She still goes back and forth about what she thinks of Eileen Gray.

It's easy to deflect away from bringing up anyone she knows, though, by pressing into what he's said. "Should you? Who do you know?" It hits her a moment later, brow ticking up as she looks away. Her voice is lower, and she says in a murmur, "Aside from Lene." like now is the time she worries someone might overhear them.

“So, ‘Lene and them,” says Lance, leaning over a bit and draping crossed arms on the table, keeping his voice quiet but conversational. He doesn’t want to seem to be whispering or someone might get interested. “They had a whole bunch that came back, y’know? The next generation, coming back to save the past…”

He turns his head a bit to look off to the barricades between them and the Fair, silent for a moment before he says softly, “So, uh. One of them was there a lot when I was growing up, before and during the war, Cash. She’s pretty primal— “ A flicker of a smile with something behind it, although it’s hard to tell what, “She helped train me in my power and shit.”

Hesitation, and he slants a sidelong look to her, “You wouldn’t’ve met— Kasha yet. She’s just ten or something, was just a baby back in the literal lighthouse days.”

Her gaze hesitates between thoughts, split off into two different directions at once. "You've mentioned Cash," Emily muses out loud, freeing up her thoughts to wander down the other path while she pops another chip before wiping her hands free of crumbs. All the better for folding her own arms and leaning against the table in a mirror of Lance's posture. It takes her a moment of silence, but she mutters, "Well, holy shit."

She looks back in Lance's direction, brow popping up. "So is that the same situation like with… Magnes and Elaine's kid? Adel and Addie — Odette." Her weight shifts in her seat, realizing maybe he wouldn't know exactly about that one. Maybe not to that extent. Her brow ticks back down as she tries to move on from it. "I guess I never realized there were a whole batch of them. It makes sense, though."

“Adel, yeah, I think that was one of them too…” Lance picks up a deshelled peanut between two fingers, rolling it around as he looks at it for a long moment, “Cash was like… thirty-something when she came back, I think? She doesn’t age a lot when she’s stone, that’s her thing, she’s a rockmorph. She… came back because her husband had died, I think, and she didn’t know what else to do.”

Looking at the peanut, he adds more quietly, “I never really asked how I died.” Then he pops it into his mouth, chewing and not looking at her.

Emily looks back to him, surprise plain. For a moment she stares, and it's broken by a long, heavy blink. "She—"

Anything else is bit off before it's said, and she looks off back in the direction of the barricades, quiet. It takes her a beat to collect her thoughts, but when she swivels her head back to him, she's centered. "There's some things you don't need to hurt yourself by finding out," Emily suggests. "Especially things like that, that'll never happen."

They can't, right?

Her brow furrows anyway. "She needs to find something. Someone." Not you is implied in there. "Do you think she will, or will she just…?" Emily quirks her mouth to one side, not sure how to describe Cash's rock state out loud.

“No arguments here,” Lance admits, glancing up to her with a rueful almost-smile, “I’ve been trying to get her to— socialize more, at least, and not just sit out in her garden like a scarecrow. I need to drag her out to visit ‘lene— “

He brightens up then, straightening as he brushes off the subject of his extremely strange relationship with an older woman that is not romantic at all in this timeline thank you, “Oh! Shit, I forgot— Jolene found a healer! She’s walking fine again!”

Emily sits up a little straighter herself at that, suddenly hanging off his words. "She did?" she asks, maybe with a little too much interest. "That's amazing!" Which she really does mean, and a softer smile than normal breaks out on her features, her gaze distant for a moment before she looks back up to Lance. "Does she seem happy? —Is she happy?"

“Yeah,” Lance grins broadly, leaning back again in his chair, “She’s doing really good, like… someone turned on a light that was off before. It’s really primal, she was— “ He hesitates, then admits, “I was really getting worried for her.”

Emily's relief is palpable, even physical as it manifests through the relaxing of her shoulders, the softening of her gaze. To the concern about Lene's previous state, she can only nod. "It's good," she states, an unmeant pause occurring before she can continue. "That she gets that back. She deserved it. Deserves it."

She leans forward on her folded arms, head sinking into the crook of one elbow. A stray hair blows about in a breeze that kicks up. "That's a happy ending if I've ever heard one," Emily murmurs.

“Yeah,” Lance agrees, “It is. I was really worried, but now— now I bet she could take on the world.” He tosses another peanut up, catching it in his mouth and chewing, swallowing. “I don’t think it repaired her ability but I think she can deal with that, so long as she can walk around just fine.”

He leans back in his chair, “She’s gonna help us find that Lonely Girl too. Says she can triangulate.”

Emily hms into her arm, considering Lene's lack of an ability along with that second bit. Her brow furrows as she adjusts her head, glancing back up at Lance from her nested position. "Lonely Girl?" she echoes back as she tries to put the pieces together. It clicks. "Oh, the radio girl?" There's surprise there, eyebrows shooting up. "Wow, she can do that? That's awesome."

It hits her that would have been a perfect moment to call something 'primal', but doesn't bash herself over it. Instead, she sits back up halfway, looking liable to lie back down. She's sore and tired lately, with irregular frequency.

"I heard Raquelle try to reach out to her. I heard you guys try to reach out to her." Well, more specifically, someone had snagged recordings of those moments and she saw it posted on some website, but still.

"I keep wondering who she is, where the hell she came from. It sounded like she saw the Dead Zone, grew up there, maybe. Some of her messages have been hard to listen to." Emily's brow furrows hard as she offers up as a suggestion, voice lowering, "Like her last one." She shakes her head a little. "Like, god, what was that about? Shit, you might not even have to find her — she might show up at the station."

“Yeah,” Lance shakes his head a little, “Lene thinks she can triangulate the location after her next broadcast - should let us find her, we can go talk to her. She…” He grimaces, “She seems like she needs someone to talk to. You know?”

A shake of his head, “We know what it’s like to be alone. It sucks.”

"Yeah, well, just be fucking careful, Lance." Emily replies with dry, serious regard for him. "Traumatic shit can turn people into nutjobs. Could be she needs help rather than just a friend."

She leans back, lips pursed for a moment. "Seriously, she sounded a little conspiracy theorist at the end of her last message."

At that, Lance can’t help but grin. “Emily, baby, darling, dearest friend within arm’s reach,” he teases, eyebrows going up high, “Haven’t you figured it out yet?”

“Our whole lives are a conspiracy theory.”

Emily only lets out a scoff in reply. Regardless of the truth in it, which she couldn't even bring herself to argue, she finds there to clearly be a difference between the unbelievable things they lived and knew as truth and… and…

"Lance, there's a difference between that and stark-raving mad 'the end is near' conspiracy theorist." is how she chooses to sum it up. She lifts her hands off the table in a sign of surrender. "Just saying," she quips before snagging her chip bag off the table with a swift swipe of one hand.

“I just told you that the wife of Future Lance, after he died, came back in time to save the world from being destroyed,” Lance points out in dryly amused tones, “I think that’s all I need to say, right there.”

He shrugs one shoulder, admitting, “I mean, maybe she does just need help. Fine, then we’ll get her help. That’s what we do. Help people.”

Popping a chip, Emily only lifts a shoulder in an echo of his action. Some comment comes to the tip of her teeth before it dies with a shake of her head. Another chip follows the first. "No winning this one. I guess as long as you're careful, that's all that matters."

Finishing chewing on her current bite, her brows tick in idle thought. "You know what else is messed up, though, speaking of people coming back in time and passing through realities or whatever?" She slides her gaze back toward Lance, holding him in the corner of her eye. "I really thought when Devon showed up at Brighton that he had to have been some other version of him. That him washing up from the shores of some other reality was the worst yet most plausible thing that could have been happening right there."

Flatly, she states, "Nope. The truth was even more fucked than that."

“Oh?” Lance’s brow knits a little in worry as he leans forward, weight resting on folded arms, “What happened…? I mean, it is him, right? It’s gotta be, you just said things were going okay. So he’s alive and him, how can it be worse?”

"It's him," she admits more quietly, sobering up quickly at the turn in the conversation. Emily contemplates cutting it off, but she merely gives a small shake of her head and a hard look indicating this is definitely secret. "But he died, first."

From there, she doesn't know where to go for a minute. She manages far too many seconds later to say, "And then fucked up assholes brought him back to life as a science experiment." Having dug around in the bag, she almost pops another chip, but her heart's not in it, and her arm sags under an invisible weight. "And I still don't know what to feel about that, Lance. He's alive and he escaped and he made it back home to us safe, but… it's at the cost of what they did to him."

"I'm scared of losing him again," she admits. "Either because they come back for him, or because the science experiment… comes to an end."

There’s that look, and a silent moment, and in that moment a silence field whispers around the table securely. Lance’s hands move briefly in a simple sign that means Safe to talk.

“Jesus,” he breathes out in horror, his brow knitting a little, “Well, he’s got Wolfhound around him, I know they won’t let him just get taken again like that. Is he— I mean, is he okay? Physically, mentally…?”

Her shoulders arch up in a helpless shrug, her gaze distant. "Physically? I mean as far as anyone can tell, he's fine. Whatever they did to heal him and bring him back to life worked." Emily tapers off uncertainly, the start of her next sentence lost in a hiss of breath at first.

"But mentally?" she sighs out, giving a slight shake of her head. "No. He's not okay. And I'm not sure how to even have that conversation with him." Biting down on her lip, she ends up admitting, "Berlin said he's been suggesting doing … something stupid in order to get answers about what was done to him. Putting himself in danger." Apparently she can't bring herself to repeat it. "I'm not even sure how you go about bringing something like that up."

She gives him a glance that's far less baleful than it would be normally at being this personal, this direct. "It's not like the two of us got where we are by being open with each other and talking about the shit we don't want to talk about."

“You want me to talk to him?” Lance’s brows go up, “I mean, I can lie and say I got it from someone else. Although seriously you two need to talk more openly, not that that’s your thing—"

Wryly, he observes, “I mean we basically had to bully you into being friends with us.”

With an overexaggerated sneer, Emily reaches out to shove his shoulder with her forearm. Bullying might be an exaggeration, but only just. Her feigned offense poorly hides the smirk it inevitably turns into, but that fades as soon as she speaks again. "If I can't talk with him about this, I might as well give up on having an honest relationship with him. He needs a shoulder, and he needs to know I can be that for him. He's stressed the same enough to me already, so I just…"

Scoffingly sighing at herself, Emily acknowledges, "I need to just step up."

After a beat, she leans to the side thoughtfully. "You know, I think Brynn was the only one who out and asked me if I just don't like talking about personal things. The rest of you just like taking boundaries and trampling all over them." With a huff of a smile, Emily shakes her head. "I get around to sharing, after all. It's just… my own terms. Slow."

"I'm not as easy with trust as you are," she acknowledges, no accusation to it.

A laugh at the push, and Lance flashes her a smile before settling back down. “We didn’t grow up with boundaries,” he admits, “Hard to, with so little privacy. Trust, though…”

He shakes his head, “You’ve got that wrong. We’re slow to trust, Em. We just don’t show it. And we’re good at picking up from each other on who can be trusted.”

"Well, you could have fooled me on the slow to trust part," Emily murmurs. "Though I guess my first experience with you all was with Joe, and I'm not sure he could keep a secret to save his life." She'd laugh, maybe, if it weren't true.

"He keeps swearing I'm 'good people.' I don't know about that sometimes, but for some reason you all try to keep me around anyway."

“We were watching you even if you couldn’t tell. And— if you tell him it’s a secret, he will,” Lance chuckles, shaking his head, “He just… talks, and talks and talks. He never fucking shuts up unless he’s upset. And pft— “

He gives her a serious look, “You are good people. All you ever fucking do is worry about other people, Em.”

Emily returns his look with a skeptical one of her own. "Pretty obligatory bar to set." she grouses, still not believing it herself. She tilts the rest of the chips back to noisily deal with the rest of them, cognizant of the time they're allotted for their break. While chewing it over, she tips her chin in his direction, brow furrowing. "So how're things going on your end, anyway? How's the new place coming along?"

“Nah,” Lance opins, tossing a peanut up and catching it in his mouth again, grinning over to her as he chews, “That’s how you tell who’s good and bad. Who they worry about. Themselves, or other people.”

He shrugs, “Been busy here mostly— the girls are working on it, I think they’ve got a place picked out. What about you? Things any better with your dad?”

Emily grunts as she considers the question. "I don't know what counts as better. He did show up when I panic texted him about Devon the other day, but his emotional support capacity is at a negative five. I'd make a joke it's because he was healed, but I didn't talk with him enough beforehand to know for sure." The bag is crumpled up between both hands, a rueful shake of her head at the topic in general. "As far as I'm concerned, nothing's really changed. Time'll tell, and it's not like we see each other at all, still."

It's a shame the trash can is just slightly too far away to throw the bag and land the shot, because that sort of outlet it certainly needed at the mention of her father. "He's still on his bullshit, still with Wolfhound…" she tapers off, thinking about what else has happened on that front. "Oh, I found out he really did cheat on my mother, and found out I have a sister." Emily announces, hoping that their sounds are still kept to themselves just a little too late. Her brow arches anyway, cavalier and putting off the sarcastic uncaring of someone bothered. "So there's that."

“Damn.” Lance’s brows raise sharply… and then he quirks a bit of a smile. “You know, that’s…”

He clears his throat, “He’s always off busy with Wolfhound trying to help other people, just like he used to. He helped us get out of here when we were kids— man, you should’ve seen his face when Joe and Paul tried to rush a checkpoint. Anyway. Who’s your sister?”

Her expression falls, a knot in her chest as Lance puts her father up on a pedestal. She doesn't know how, or if she can acknowledge what he's said without lashing out, so she buys herself a moment by pushing herself to her feet to pitch her trash. When she turns back around, her posture's still closed off, but she's able to speak even though it's accompanied with a shake of her head. "Someone who knows him better than I do. But that's just about everyone, isn't it?"

“Oh, don’t be dramatic— “ Lance pushes himself up to his feet with a snort, “I don’t know him that damn well at all, haven’t seen him since a few times when I was a kid. What I’m saying is…”

He points at her, well, pointedly, “You worry about people and don’t get why people worry about you. He sounds like he’s the same damn way. All I’m saying.”

Emily would have bristled even if he hadn't pointed at her, and her gaze sharpens considerably when he does. "Sure, if…" she scowls, looking off as she tries to find a mundane comparison. Something obscure to keep the conversation civil. "If you're talking about fucking bananas and plantains. It might look the same, but it's not. I'm not like him, Lance."

And she either believes it wholeheartedly, or at least wills herself to, because it sounds very final.

Lance’s hands spread a little, “C’mon, you aren’t bananas and…” He trails off suddenly, and breathes out a sigh, hands falling to either side, “Look, I’m not saying that you’re like him, I just… you’re both good people in your own way.”

A grimace, “Nevermind. Look, I don’t wanna fight, Em.”

"Then don't bring him up," Emily replies pointedly, brow popping up her forehead. She sounds weary all of a sudden, but still ready to go swinging on the topic if she has to. "It's literally that simple."

She bristles, her arms folding as she tries and fails to settle entirely. She sees what he's said, and it makes her uncomfortable. Emily doesn't get as far as apologizing, but she sighs, "This is why I don't talk about him, Lance. Everyone's got their own image built up of him, from— from my mother, to you, to Benjamin goddamned Ryans, to Eileen, to…"

She sputters out with a note of exasperation, trying to remind herself the matter was supposed to be being put aside.

“Whoa, whoa, look,” Lance wrinkles his nose, holding his hands up in surrender, “I barely know the guy, just been there for a few things he did when I was a kid. Maybe he’s even different now, maybe I’m looking through rose glasses, I-don’t-know. C’mon, let’s just go back to work…”

A hopeful attempt at a smile, “After work we can play ‘check the World Fair perimeter for security holes’ if you want? It’s practice. For work.”

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