Partnership Phoenix And Plans


jennifer_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Partnership, Phoenix and Plans
Synopsis A slice of domestic bliss… with added politics. Minor sexual allusions, and references to same-sex civil partnership.
Date December 23, 2008

Le Rivage: Ygraine's Apartment

A comparatively large and well-maintained apartment occupying one corner of its floor. Windows dominate two sides of the living room, illuminating it brightly throughout most days. A kitchenette occupies one corner of the lounge, while several doors offer exits.

Luxurious but slightly worn brown leather furniture is arranged around the television in the main room, with a small dining table and high-backed chairs diagonally opposite the kitchenette. Wall-mounted shelves and stand-alone cases take up a lot of space along the walls, almost wholly filled with books. A collection of full-size geographic, political, and historical atlases have been given pride of place - though academic texts on history, international relations, conflict theory and linguistics are also prominent, alongside a fair collection of DVDs. The one sizable decoration is a blown-up photograph of mist-shrouded Edinburgh castle at sunset, a black silhouette rising out of white and luminous gold.

Of the exits, one (with an extra lock, deadbolt, and a sturdy chain) leads out of the apartment; another to the bathroom; and the next to a small room that has been converted into a rather cramped home gym. A computer desk, filing cabinet, and a single bed take up most of the space in the next room, while the last is the master bedroom - dominated by a double bed (upon which sits a two foot tall cuddly penguin) and more bookshelves (these holding a jumble of magazines, art books, Neil Gaiman graphic novels, and a collection of science fiction and historical novels), with a clearly well-traveled laptop resting on the bed-side cabinet. Here, high-quality art-prints of dragons decorate the walls, while a small cabinet holds a collection of cycling trophies.

In spite of the sub-zero temperatures outside, Ygraine rousted Jennifer out of bed comparatively early this morning, to make her early appointment and thereafter be taken ring-shopping in the Christmas sales. Her own tastes apparently tend towards silver knotwork and ornately plaited designs rather than simple bands with big rocks, but she seems to have thoroughly enjoyed the process of browsing the offerings with Jennifer.

Now, however, the pair are back in the apartment and Ygraine is putting her extra security precations back into place on the door. That done, she ambles through to the kitchen, flashing a smile across the living room towards the little tree, glowing with lights, that rests in one corner of the main room. "I… want anything to drink? I've got a few serious questions to put to you, if you're game…."

Jennifer chuckles a bit. "Sure, something light would be nice, if you don't mind contributing to the delinquincy of a minor."

Ygraine laughs softly. "Is there a state in the US where you're still underage for other purposes?", she enquires curiously, moving to pour them each a glass of wine, carrying them and the bottle over to the coffee table. Sitting down, she starts divesting herself of her boots.

Jennifer laughs. "No. Eighteen is consent for that everywhere." She heads over to the couch, and sits, plopping down.

Ygraine pouts playfully. "Darn. I'll have to take you travelling then, to really have a chance to break the law." She winks teasingly, then chuckles and shoots Jennifer a rather bashful look. "I… hmmmm. Would you like the awkwardly political questions, the life-plan ones, or just to relax?"

Jennifer laughs. "Well, why not start with whatever's most on your mind, and work your way down from there?" she asks. "Nice to be in. It's cold out there."

Ygraine curls up, snuggling into the corner of the sofa, cradling her glass in both hands. "Okay, then. I… when'd you like to tie the knot? I've been doing some research. You're eligible for the ceremony in Britain, so long as you can enter the country. In Scotland, there's no residency requirement. In England, it's all of 7 days before the ceremony. So we could, in theory, fly in, tie the knot, and fly out in one day if we went to Scotland. Not that I'm suggesting that - but it gives us a lot of flexibility for timing…."

Jennifer debates it. "Well…would it be too long if we wait till summer, when term is out?" she looks seriously to Ygraine.

Ygraine chuckles softly. "I confess that the idea of whisking you away to make you mine as soon as possible does appeal… but if we want any sort of a celebration beyond inviting your parents to visit mine for New Year and the partnership ceremony, then a little bit of time to plan could be good, I admit."

Jennifer laughs a little. "That was what I was thinking. Plus it would give time for a proper honeymoon, not trying to cram one into winter break." she admits, and takes her glass up, sipping.

Ygraine blushes happily. "Darn Yanks and your semester system. Terms give a longer break at Christmas…" She winks. "Ummm. So - we go to your parents for Christmas, then to mine for New Year? It'll probably be cold and dank, but it's worthwhile, seeing Edinburgh Castle under Europe's largest fireworks display."

Jennifer laughs at that. "Sounds like a plan for that. A lot of travel, but I suppose we can manage it easily enough."

Ygraine nods quickly. "I hope that we cope all right. And that you get on with my family. Your parents are impressively laid back…. So… a Summer ceremony, then? We'll have to figure out who to invite. And what to do for it. There's no religious element to a civil partnership, though in Scotland it's pretty easy to get a church blessing afterwards, if you want. Would… what do you think about name-changes?"

The shorter girl nods. "Something like that. And honestly, I hadn't really thought about it. What do YOU think?"

Ygraine giggles, blushes, and shrugs. "I… I admit I kind of like the idea of you becoming Jennifer FitzRoy. But that's ever so slightly arrogant…."

Jennifer considers. "Let's talk about it closer to time? I'm not sure how that would work over here. There may be legalities to consider."

"It's not automatic - it'd have to be done as a name-change by deed poll. In which case it'd be legal on each side of the water. And… I know I'm springing it on you. Just… thought we should think about it. Some leave their names the same, or go double-barrelled, or…." Ygraine shrugs gently. "I've… I got set to thinking about this sort of thing more intently, of late. Particularly since Cat showed up out of the blue - no longer disappeared. But.. she'd got really bad news. And that's where my other questions come from…."

Jennifer frowns just a bit as she hears the question take this turn. She nods. "What are they?"

Ygraine bites her lip. "They were kidnapped", she says quietly, gaze dropped to her wine. "And Dani's been murdered. Cat said she couldn't tell me more - something about the case having become a federal investigation. I'm trying not to beat myself up for failing to realise sooner, not getting in touch with the police faster…. But it's made me worry about you. Rather a lot. Making you formally "mine", even changing your name to FitzRoy - that won't protect you much, if at all. You'd have to live in the UK for 3 years, after the ceremony, to become elgibile for a British passport through naturalisation…. But I feel that I really ought to do whatever I can to help and protect you, if you want me to."

Jennifer frowns. "Well, a lot of it is Phoenix business." she says, admitting that much. "So…there's some of it I'm not supposed to tell you. And I'm really not prepared to move to the UK for three years."

Ygraine quirks a wry smile. "I was hoping it'd be easier than that, but… yeah. I wasn't expecting you to up sticks in the middle of this. Maybe once you've helped save the world, I can lure you over to Stratford-on-Avon to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company, or something. But… what's your opinion of Phoenix, having had time to see them in action? Specifically - do you still want me to sign up?"

Jennifer looks back to Ygraine. "You know my opinion of making your decisions for you. I can't and WON'T make this one for you."

Ygraine ducks her head. "I apologise if it seemed like I was trying to get you to. But… you're the only person I can ask for any sort of assessment of how it's working out. I know about the Miracles Project, and think that was a great idea. And it seems to have been very well-implemented. But… I'm scared. For you as well as me. Things seem to be getting nastier in general, and I don't want to sign up if you're just in the process of getting out, or something."

The younger woman sighs a bit. "It's dangerous. I won't lie to you. But no, I'm not planning to bail on them. They need me. Dani and Cat got too close to the bad guys…and it wasn't pretty."

Ygraine winces, frowning worriedly at Jennifer over her glass as she takes a long, deep draught of wine. "And you think that I could actually make a difference, this way? I don't want to put you at extra risk, never mind myself, if there's no real role for me. Better, in that case, if I don't find out anything more to serve as a security risk. But if I can be genuinely useful…." She shrugs awkwardly, then musters a weak smile. "I do kind of have an interest in saving the world, too."

Jennifer nods. "I think you could, yes. But it HAS to be your decision, Ygraine. I can't make it for you."

Ygraine chuckles ruefully. "But you do get to provide your thoughts, darling", she says gently. "Right now, I think that I'll go for it. I'm pretty seriously dubious - certainly, I have the impression that some of the people involved could do with some education on quite what they're meant to be trying to do… but the Day of Miracles has done a lot to sway me, I admit. That showed real ability in planning and execution. And not just on the part of a certain someone in whose favour I might be biased…."

Jennifer smiles a bit. "Well, I think it's a good thing or I wouldn't have done it…and still be doing it. But I'm just the supply girl."

Ygraine laughs, shaking her head. "Never under-estimate the significance of a conscience to an organisation. Of any kind. You've got rather a powerful moral compass, my dear. It's one of the things that helped you to make such a strong impression on me…."

Jennifer smiles. "You sound like Helena. "Oh, don't underestimate yourself." I'm a bit player, Ygraine. I don't stick to walls, I don't control the weather, I don't make sonic booms, I don't throw stuff around with my mind."

"You just perform miracles", Ygraine says gently. "You could do the feeding of the five thousand. Or clone vaccines. Or…. Heck, as an offensive weapon, you could bring down companies. Even governments, given time and a little bit of planning for the implementation. The most dramatic use for my ability that I've come up with would be to horribly break someone in short order, if they lay hands on me near a wall. In some of my nightmares, I fight back - but they're still nightmares, whether I win or lose. You… your gift is permanent, lasting. You literally change the world every time you use it."

Jennifer looks a little dubious at that. "I don't know that I'd be bringing anyone down. All I do is make things. Money can do what I do."

Ygraine shakes her head. "Not in quite the same way. You can perfectly clone documents, money, bills of sale, proof of identity. Unsigned contracts. Items "uniquely" stamped and registered with insurance companies - or the government. Car number plates. Passports. If you weren't so moral, you'd have the prospect of a stunning career in crime ahead of you - certainly if you could find a competent thief to bypass security and get you temporary access to items. You could frame companies for insurance fraud, flood the market with perfect copies of real bills and then leak proof to the press to undermine the currency. Take patented prototypes and make a few copies to give to rival corporations. Me… I can get up high, easily. And hurt people. You've got far more potential power than I have, even if dancing on the ceiling might look flashier."

Jennifer nods. "Well, true." She admits to that, and then chuckles a bit. "Well, still. A lot of that only helps if you're a criminal."

Ygraine chuckles softly. "Which, sadly, Phoenix members are - or are set to be. I'm not sure if they've got around to formally outlawing the organisation yet…. But I know what you mean. The converse, to some extent, holds true. You have the potential to change people's lives for the better. Perfect copy of a valid passport, to let someone get out of the country? Sure. Need some cash to give to a homeless guy? Not a problem. Want to duplicate a few dozen vaccines to boost a clinic's supplies? There you go…. At best, I'm a bodyguard or a spy. I've got a minor advantage in staying on a vehicle, and I can go places most people can't. But… Spiderman got his webs, Spider-Sense, and supernatural strength and endurance. I'm struggling to even be a third-rate version of him, in turns of powers."

Jennifer laughs. "I'd tell you to stop, but I think I like all the compliments! You're really sweet, you know that?" she asks Ygraine.

Ygraine flushes, squirms, then giggles and pokes her tongue out. "'m sure it's just the wine talking. You're horrible, really!"

Jen smiles, and pokes Ygraine's leg with her toes. "Mmm. I am. That's why you're trying to marry me. Cause of my horribleness."

Ygraine nods swiftly, pushing back against Jennifer's foot. "You're purely an exercise in self-flagellation, born of my deep-seated antipathy towards myself…. I'm only with you for the torment, you know."

Jennifer laughs. "Mmm-hmm. Sure you are. And all these nights have been just torturous for us both."

Ygraine giggles, blush deepening a touch. "So that's what all the noises from you were about, hmmm?", she asks archly. "I love you", she adds in a sheepish mumble.

Jennifer laughs. "Must be. And I love you too." A pause, as she finishes her glass. "So…have you decided what you're going to do?"

Ygraine bites her lip. "I'm thinking that I probably shouldn't sign up and then immediately leave the country anyway. And leaving a formal decision until we get back to this side of the Pond gives me more time to mull it over. But I'm pretty sure that I'll go for it. Of course, if you're aware of something that I could help with immediately, please do tell me. I'm trying to avoid causing problems, not skip on a chance to make a difference."

Jennifer nods. "I'll let you know. There's lots of big things in the works right now. But I'm not sure your ability would tip the scales."

Ygraine chuckles softly. "I suspect that the main thing I might have to offer'd be the fact that I've studied conflict and terrorism. I can potentially offer advice on how to educate people in how to present themselves, and in figuring out how to implement strategies in such a way as to alienate as few outsiders as possible. I'm hoping it's my brain that'll be most useful, though that's doubtless very arrogant."

The younger woman nods. "And THAT could come in handy right now. These people we're up against…yeesh."

Ygraine nods worriedly. "I'm… trying not to leap to conclusions. But… Cat told me that it wasn't the local mob boss who… you know. And I know that Cat's Evolved and that at least one person thought Dani was, at least briefly. Which does make me wonder if this "Federal investigation" she mentioned is something to do with something big and nasty… and that's just the sort of thing I'd like to think Phoenix was trying to stop." She shrugs awkwardly. "Not that you can tell me yay or nay, of course."

Jennifer shakes her head. "It could be, yes. And…I can tell you a little. There's a very, very dangerous group of Evolved right now. And they've got something really bad in mind. They were responsible for the incident with the president the other night."

Ygraine snorts softly. "It probably wouldn't have rung a bell so strongly with many other people here…. But…. During the Second World War, the Germans developed international-ranged rockets. They used them to bombard London after the Battle of Britain was won in the air, and major bombing raids were no longer viable. The early rockets were lucky to land in the right 10-miles-on-a-side box on a map and were often shot down before they ever blew up, but the later developments… those were rather nastier. Faster, more accurate, harder to intercept. The official government line every time one blew up was that it was a "gas main explosion". The phrase became a sarcastic popular reference to a blatant cover-up." Ygraine shakes her head, then shrugs nervously. "Is Rickham okay?"

Jennifer nods. "He's all right. For the moment, at least. They're trying to figure out what to do now."

Ygraine bites her lip. "I take it that they didn't manage to round up any of the would-be assassins or break into their network? I figured something screwy had happened, as soon as I heard that "gas main explosion" line, but I hoped it wasn't anything too bad. But… gah. If you want, you could tell Hel that I'm available now if she needs me. Or I can, I suppose. Depends on who gets hold of her next."

Jennifer replies "I wasn't there. So I only heard everything after the fact. But some people got hurt. On both sides. No one too badly, so far as I know. I'll try to contact Helena, but you should do the same."

Ygraine winces, then nods. "I am taking you to Edinburgh, barring truly urgent need", she warns with a smile. "I want to show off my home city to you - and vice versa. But… sounds like I might actually be useful. I… ahh, one of your, ummm, colleagues had a word with me a couple of days back. Chap called Brian…?"

Jennifer smiles back. "And I can be entranced by everyone's accents." She says, with a grin. "Brian, huh? What did he have to say?"

Ygraine grins. "They're not all lovely. There're a few rather odd ones around Edinburgh, but the "main" city accent's not too bad at all…. Ummm. Brian seemed to be trying to recruit me. Sort of. Rather odd. He said you'd asked him to talk to me, but some time ago. Was surprised that I'd spoken to Helena. He was quite nice - but he's part of the reason I'm sure people need education. The line "we're not terrorists - we're freedom fighters" was sincere, but is precisely the sort of thing you never want getting into the public domain…."

Jennifer laughs. "Good god, he finally got around to doing something about that? He was supposed to talk to HELENA, not you. And I asked him that…geez, a month ago?"

Ygraine giggles and shakes her head. "The poor lad was rather embarassed. But… he's well-intentioned, I think. But definitely, if there're more like him, some education - clarification of what they're doing, why, and how to say so - might be wise. And that, maybe, I can provide."

Jennifer replies "Brian is kind of a space cadet, in my opinion. There's a lot of the others who are a lot more grounded." She smiles. "But. I'll try to call Helena, and you do the same. One of us will get through to her. Right now, it's been a long, cold day, and I think a hot shower is called for."

December 23rd: A Proposed Experiment
December 23rd: A Brief Encounter of the Telephonic Kind
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