Raise Your Glass High...


robyn3_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title Raise Your Glass High…
Synopsis On the eve of their last big operation, Robyn and Rue find themselves back where they started.
Date January 8, 2019

The Bunker

It hasn't been long since Robyn Quinn arrived back at the bunker. It actually felt a little strange being back here, after her prolonged time away working her own leads and trying to figure how to proceed forward with her investigation into the whereabouts of Adrienne Allen, as well her own personal investigation into her mother's apparent connection to the Company.

But even with how strange it felt to be back, knowing what her job there was, and what circumstances had led her there to begin with… it felt stranger to know that the following week she would be finishing packing up everything she's been keeping in her office at the Bunker - the oil lamps, the record player, the crystal decanter of whiskey, and everything else - to move back to the Safe Zone.

That her time here was about up.

Funny how that works.

While she isn't sentimental enough to be taking a last tour of the premises, she does find herself wandering into the Bunker's common area, the first place she had met many of the Hounds, and - like she has been wont to do - spacing out for a bit. At least this time, it's for something better.

Seated in a plush armchair, bent over a coffee table with a partial deck of cards in one hand, the rest spread out before her in a game of solitaire, Rue Lancaster lifts her head at the sound of footsteps. Setting her cards aside, she instead lifts a tumbler of whiskey and leans back in her chair, pulling her knees up toward her chest, feet resting on the edge of the cushion.

“Hey, Agent Quinn,” she greets with a faint smirk at her teasing. Whatever calm she’s trying to project doesn’t quite manage a convincing front. Tomorrow’s a big day, and it weighs heavy on her shoulders. This is all a part of her ritual, however. Cards and a drink. Later it will be pills and bed.

The smirk, faint as it may be, is a bit infectious, a small one forming on Robyn's lips as well. "Hello, Rumor," she offers back in return, settling on Rue's common nickname. She turns on her heel, moving close to where sits. It has been uncommon to see a mirthful expression on Robyn's face, but tonight she apparently can't quite help herself.

"Are you losing to yourself at cards?" Another joke. "I was hoping I'd see you tonight. I just figured it would be out in the Range or something. Her eyes drift over to the tumbler that Rue has, making note of it but choosing not to comment yet. "I guess I should've known better." Since tomorrow is… well.

“I’m also beating myself at cards,” Rue notes with a brief lift of her brows. “That’s the beauty of this game.” One arm loops loosely around her knees, the other holds her glass and rests on the arm of the chair between drinks. They’re short, but turn out not to be infrequent.

“Passing the time,” is a more accurate description for what she’s doing. Winning or losing, the goal is the same. Get through the night. Get on to tomorrow. “Yours here is almost up. ‘Bout time they let you get back into the field. You’re wasted on trailing us around.” The praise is rare enough, especially when it’s genuine.

"Particularly when I wasn't needed here to begin with," is Robyn's way of offering praise of her own. "My professional conclusion," she adds with that smirk widening a bit. It thins after a moment, making her way over and around to the couch near Rue. "I'm better suited for the field anyway, if the last few months are any indication."

Settling down into a seat, she relaxes just the slightest bit. "But first, tomorrow," is a rather somber addition that isn't meant to have that tone, but there's no real helping it. She looks to Rue's glass again, and then up to her. "Do you have more, or should I fetch my decanter? They really should be emptied before I pack them up."

There’s a downward dip of her chin in time with the lift of her glass, gracious acceptance of Quinn’s professional conclusion. Rue takes a sip and grins, her dimples showing. “By all means, let’s drink your alcohol.” Hers will still be here for the afterparty.

Though, that’s getting ahead of themselves.

Setting her glass aside, Rue starts to gather up her cards in a neat stack, shuffling them while she waits for Robyn to retrieve her stash so that she’ll have a refill ready. Her glass is empty by the time the other woman returns. The cards are set aside for later. Maybe.

At Rue's acceptance of Robyn's offer to get her alcohol, she's back up and on her feet, gone without another word. When she rounds back into view, it seems the idea of being her decanter was literal, as she carries on by the neck in hand, rather than a typical bottle of liquor. She sets it down on the table, and then another tumbler down beside it. "Whiskey, Irish. Green Spot." She offers. "Not the nicest I could afford, but it's good." As good as alcohol needs to be, anyway.

She's quiet as she pours herself a glass and then settles back into her seat. She stares ahead for a moment. Not quite at Rue, more like next to Rue. "It actually feels strange that the end is here. I believed I was here indefinitely. I'm glad I don't need to be, but…" She looks around, eyes shifting back and forth dramatically, before she leans forward and speaks in a conspiratorial tone.

"I'm actually rather fond of you lot," she says like it's a huge secret.

A slow smile spreads across Rue’s face at Robyn’s admission, shoulders shaking faintly with a breath of laughter. “You’re not so bad yourself,” she counters, as if it had been in question. She’d always been gentle with her ex-girlfriend since her arrival. It seemed not only the decent way to be, but also just what she needed.

“So, ah… I know this maybe isn’t the best time for it…” The best time is long past now, but Rue works with what she has. “I just… Am I gonna see the Mad Hatter on the battlefield tomorrow?” She’s referring to the way her friend behaved on their last mission together. It had gnawed at her, but never seemed important to address before.

“I’m not saying… I don’t know. I’m just asking you not to lose yourself. I don’t have near as much personal intel on this as I want.” That’s not to say they have no intel - they wouldn’t be moving forward without sufficient information - but that she didn’t spend the time in personal observation that she’d liked to have done.

Apparently there’s something comforting about sitting around and waiting for something to happen. Watching patterns form gives Lancaster a sense of how to control a situation. This isn’t going in blind, but there wasn’t near enough time spent in unfamiliar hotel rooms and spying on people’s lives through binoculars for her liking.

Robyn takes a sip of her whiskey, cocking an eyebrow at Rue. "The Mad Hatter?" There's a soft chuckle. "Is that my nickname around here?" She tilts her head back a bit, a thoughtful look on her face. "I know I went by Alice during the war, but that seems like a bit much, if you ask me." No, she doesn't seem to realise just how she acted on her last mission out with Rue. Or at least, not at first.

Lose herself. That mutes her expression a bit, pursing her lips as she shifts in her seat. "Oh, I see," she remarks a bit more quietly. "I suppose we'll see. I'm not going in with more explosives than can possibly be safe this time." Rolling her shoulders, she musters a small smirk. "Blame the person who trained me how to handle those." That would be one Eve Mas, not that Rue would know that.

"But maybe I'll make a 10/6 label to wear in case someone needs to be saved again," referencing how she tackled Francois to protect him from the bizarre suicide bombing they were both far too close to to be comfortable. "The war was… a crazy time. I guess combat like that puts me in that mindset again." A wilder mindset, not at all like what she displayed at Operations Skycastle or Geopoint.

Maybe that's why she's effectively a federal detective now, and not in an outfit like Wolfhound.

"The lack of intel is bothersome," she confides. Of course it's there, but… "It feels like going into a case with two scraps and a half written note, and having to figure out what happened. I don't like it, but it is what it is." Another sip of her drink. "We'll figure it out either way."

“Please. We’re not so good at keeping secrets around here that you wouldn’t know if that was our codename for you,” Rue teases. It’s easier than the seriousness of what she was levelling at her friend. Robyn’s glee at throwing grenades while they stared down death is not something Rue’s soon forgotten. In her own gratefulness just to be alive, she’d let the concern fall by the wayside. That was a disservice.

“I trust what we’ve been given,” Rue admits of the intel, “but I don’t like that I didn’t gather it all myself.” The only eyes she trusts are her own, ultimately. But above that, she trusts her commanders. No one wants to set them up for failure. But it bothers the control freak in her.

“We will,” she agrees. Figure it out. “I’ve been dealt worse hands during the war.”

And we’re still here is tacit.

"I never had much of it at all in the war," Robyn admits. "Not as a smuggler at much. Once I started taking orders from Varlane it got better but…" Quirking an eyebrow, Robyn levels her gaze at Rue. "You're probably the best intel person I've met. Raith trained us very differently." And there's Robyn's other compliment for the night, rather than think back more on that glee she expressed at Fort Irwin.

"To be honest?" Swirling her glass and looking off to the side, there's a dramatic pause that for once is unintended. "As weird as it is to be leaving, I'm glad this hunt," the Institute, "will be over. It's about God damn time."

The compliment is taken to heart, even though it’s only shown in a brief nod of her head. Like it wouldn’t do to admit that it feels good to know she’s appreciated. Keelut’s first lieutenant likes to act as though she’s above such things. And honestly, for the most part, she is. Except where certain people are involved. Robyn Quinn’s on a short list.

Again, Rue lifts her glass. “Fucking cheers.” One less nightmare in the world once the heads of the Institute are finally cut off. “I don’t even know what I’ll fucking do with myself when it’s over. Find someone else that needs to be taken down, I suppose.” There’s still no shortage of bad people in the world, it’s just that the ones she’s dedicated herself to hunting are worse than most.

“Maybe I’ll finally take a vacation,” she muses, twisting one of her ginger curls around a finger.

It’s unlikely.

"No. You won't." There's a bit of a tease in Robyn's voice, sipping on her whiskey. "But that's fine. We're all in this for the long haul at this point." Whatever this is. "Although maybe take at least a short one," she adds after a moment's thought. "On my behalf. I go straight back into the field next week. No rest for the wicked and all that nonsense."

Still, Robyn lifts her glass, though she doesn't make the effort of leaning forward far enough to clink it into Rue's. "Cheers, then, to putting an end to all of this once and fall." The Institute, her time here and what it meant, and at least for the short term, anything else that may plague them.

Or most things at least.

After a moment, Robyn lowers her glass in her lap, and looks more directly at Rue. "What do you make of the lights in the sky?" is a question that may seem out of the blue, but Robyn's expression seems to soften significantly as she asks the question. "The… phenomenon that people are experiencing?"

“That’s unfortunate.” That Robyn has to jump right back into field work after what will undoubtedly be a draining operation. But at least it’s the last time she’ll have to hit the ground running quite like this.

That their glasses don’t actually meet in the middle might be a perfect metaphor for what their relationship has become. They’re each comfortable on their separate sides with a line in the middle they need not cross in order to maintain their friendship. Or maybe crossing the line is what would bring it all to ruin. Either way, Rue smirks faintly, unperturbed by the lack of satisfying clink of crystal.

At the subject change, Rue huffs out a small breath of laughter without mirth. “All that cosmic nonsense? Shit.” She shakes her head. “The last time people had visions, all I saw was death. This time… I ain’t seen shit.” The glass of whiskey is downed in one smooth motion and Rue doesn’t ask for permission to retrieve the decanter and fill up again.

“S’pose that means I’m already dead.”

A moment is spent studying Rue, considering that remark, before Robyn leans forward and refills her own glass once the decanter is returned. "I have," she remarks a bit flatly. "And in that case, I suppose that's something we both have in common." Dying, that is. She punctuates her assertion by throwing back a surprising amount of the tumbler she holds in hand, before setting it down beside her.

Care not to have too much, too fast.

"Eventually, someone is going to play with all of this… cosmic nonsense enough to break something." There's a pause there, before she looks towards the nearest window. "…if they haven't already."

“I’ll worry about that when they pay me to,” Rue declares, a humorless smirk on her face. Her lack of any visions — especially now that Robyn has admitted to having her own — bothers her more than she’d dare let on.

“It’s all just… otherworld BS anyway, right?” Her expression sours and she tries to wash it down with more drink. It doesn’t work. “Shit that happened to us differently than what actually did. I’m still here,” is what she keeps telling herself after all these years. “So’re you. So I guess we’re the ones doing it right.”

And Robyn's expression sours in turn at that. She looks down into her drink and swirls it once, before taking her time to drink the rest of the glass's contents. "Yeah." She doesn't sound entirely convinced in that comment, leaning forward and setting her glass back on the arm of the couch. "Yeah. That's what I hear." That lack of confidence probably isn't going to help either of them, but Robyn commits to with a hard sigh before pulling herself up from her seat.

The tumbler is picked up with one hand. "At least you didn't get to see yourself like I did," is muttered under her breath, maybe just enough for Rue to hear, but she doesn't leave time for an immediate response before she motions to the bottle. "Feel free to finish it. I need to get moving."

As she moves back around the couch and on her way, she stops behind Rue, and gently reaches down to put a hand on her shoulder. "Be safe out there tomorrow," is offered in a low voice, with a smile.

Any protest or assurance Rue might have offered up dies on her tongue when Robyn rises to her feet. It saves her the trouble anyway. Ultimately, none of it may matter come tomorrow.

Her freckled face is flushed slightly, her cheek is warm where she tips her head and presses it against the back of the hand resting on her shoulder. “You too, Robyn.” May they both live long enough to argue about who owes who booze after tonight.


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