Safe House


conrad_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Safe House
Synopsis Teo and Conrad pay a visit to Elisabeth
Date December 9, 2008

Elisabeth's Apartment

The knock on the door isn't any kind of problem. If it were Jessica and she was pissed, she'd just kick the damn thing in. So although Liz is cautious, she's not carrying a weapon when she checks the peephole and opens the door. Her expression on seeing Teo and Conrad, though, is wary. "Hey, guys. C'mon in…" She holds the door open for them and shuts it behind them when they're in.

"Hey there yourself, Liz." says Con, coming in. He looks around the place. "So. No fresh fistmarks in the wall? Furniture doesn't look too broken…"

The Sicilian of the two looks a bit rough, insofar as he has finger-shaped bruises peeking out of his hood and a slightly anemic quality to his skin. A handful of Advil for breakfast never goes awry, tough. Teo looks around, assessing the same way that Conrad does, and blinks his agreement in Morse. "Buongiorno," he says. Then, "Abby's captor has been in touch with me."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "I heard through the grapevine." Trask mentioned that they knew that Abby was okay so far… Liz just neglected to mention anything she knew. It's a first in this case for her. "Are you… going to be able to keep in contact?"

Con doesn't say anything about Abby's captor. He does stand by one of Liz' windows with his arms crossed though, looking out of it critically. Like he can find something. "What're you gonna do, Liz?" he asks.

"Maybe. She's a professional but she's scared." A shrug bobs through Teo's shoulders. "Think that could go a lot of ways. Even offered her help. Healing test subjects. We have contacts. I have nothing against Abby using her ability." Shorter sentences than normal, because it's the least attractive thing since bucket of poop, when a hoarse person chokes out in the middle. "Right now, I figure we do no harm. Means getting you out of here."

At this, his bright baby blues hang a right on the fierce spectacle of Conrad, recalling this was the subject of disagreement he had heard of, between cop and criminal, before he fixes his stare on Elisabeth. Looks earnest. Then again, he'd spoken about classroom grading rubrics with the exact same expression, once; this may be something of a paradigm shift.

There's a glance toward Conrad at the window as Elisabeth moves further into the room, gesturing for Teo to take a seat if he wants one. The finger marks on her throat are visible but not as bad as the original ones that they overlay. "What am I going to do about what, Conrad?" And then she looks back at Teo and says calmly, "If Jessica had wanted me dead, I'd already be there. She'd have killed me when she took Abby or she'd have killed me sometime between then and now. I don't see the need to get out of here." She pauses. "I think you should work with her," she says finally. She slants a glance at Conrad.

Con looks back toward Liz and clarifies, "She just hasn't decided yet. Or else she hasn't gotten her marching orders for it. Hell, nobody in Phoenix even knows where I live, and the bad guys know where you live, Liz. There's a chance that Jessica bitch talks to Sylar. If so, your brain might be on a plate tomorrow. No way to tell."

Lacing a hand around the back of his neck, Teo watches the older operatives talk about stuff. "Where'd you get those?" he asks, finally, indicating Elisabeth's throat with a jerk of his head and the trajectory of his eyes.

Elisabeth looks far, far more stressed than perhaps she ought to given that what they're offering is safety. "Jessica," she admits quietly. "The first ones a week or so ago, the second ones when she took Abby." Her eyes pivot from one to the other. "Look…. Con, would you mind a bubble, please?" She waits until he puts the barrier up — being as it's unlikely that he won't. And when they're enclosed, she looks at them both. "I told you the other day, it's a bigger situation than I can explain easily. I know some things… none of them at the moment seem helpful in keeping Abby alive. And although I trust SOME of you enough — " she looks between them. "I'm still on the outermost fringes of this group, and I'm still learning who I can trust, just like you're still deciding if you trust me."

"There's one around us already. It's just bigger than the room." Con says about the bubble. Once Liz says her peace there he simply looks to Teo to see what he has to say to it.

For a moment, Teo doesn't know what to do. It is a disclaimer for not telling him things. He isn't sure what to do with information about no information. His cheek twitches. "Don't have to trust you to want to keep you from getting beat up by a woman who can flip cars. Jessica murdered someone last week. Homeless lady. It's in the news and on Abigail's conscience. I agree she doesn't seem like a completely indiscriminate killer, but you'll have to understand: that isn't good enough." He breaks into a short, sharp note of a cough, and puts his hands in his pockets. "Are you waiting for her here?"

Elisabeth looks startled at the news that there's one already up and that it's so big — she didn't sense the difference in sound. But then again, she's awfully new to most of the applications of power that Con's started teaching her and she wasn't looking for it, either. And then her eyes look to Teo when he speaks. "No," she replies calmly. "I've already seen her. This morning." The possible explosion from Conrad is pretty much ignored for this one moment. "I didn't want to get any of YOU on Jessica's radar, so … I went on my own. If she'd told me in the first place what she needed instead of being a bitch… I'd have asked Abby on her behalf." She looks between the two men. "For what it's worth, I *honestly* believe that she has no intention of hurting Abby at all, so long as none of us does anything stupid. Abby's cooperating, and if she can't do what Jessica needs, she'll let her go."

Liz looks extremely stressed now, pushing a hand through her hair. "I don't like this any more than you do. I know exactly what Jessica's capable of. But Abby's said she's willing to help, and in all honesty…. I don't feel comfortable putting ANY of you in a position to go against Jessica with some of the shit I've found out in the last day and a half, Teo."

"So you'll bet Abby's life on that now." states Con, not asking the question. He doesn't explode. Just kind of sighs and says, "She's not officially one of us, but she's our friend. She hates my guts." Shrug at that. "But she's still a good kid…"

It isn't easy for Teo to admit this, but he does in the end, with a scowl that makes him look about four years old. "Abby knows the risks she takes with the way she chooses to live her life. Even if we got her out, if Jessica came with a Hallmark card the next day, she'd try to help." Similarly, he's aware that Elisabeth knows the risks she runs with conducting friendships with homocidal lunatics that are, apparently, very very strong. He doesn't bitch.

Leaves that to Woznik, if Wozniak is going to. "Right now, the plan is we sit. I've given Jessica a day to find her own test subjects before we do it for her. She said she'd need a few. That being said, we already have the shit we need to find Abby and get her out. Either that, or Helena thinks we do, which might be kind of worse for everybody involved if she was wrong." Where 'Helena' is a euphemism for 'me,' in this case. He's always been the less visible of two co-leaders. "You sure you don't want to share more?" he rasps, tilting his head.

Conrad's reaction is at least less loud than she expected — and less profane. That's good. It means that somewhere in there, she's reaching him. The options are betting Abby's life on Jessica's word or … betting Abby's life on Phoenix actually being able to get to her before Jessica can break her neck. Teo's response makes Elisabeth relax just a bit, her body language easing some. The plan to sit and wait works for her. "What more do you want to know, Teo? I'll trust you with what information I can." She's not even a hundred percent sure WHY she trusts him, except that working with him at the school makes her feel that she's got some kind of semi-relationship with the younger man.

Con's reaction includes shaking his head. "By the way, Tee, after this I wanna talk to you about something unrelated." It's as if he's said his peace on the Abby issue. "You gotta gun, Liz?"

Uhhh. Teo's eyeballs go left then right, considering. "Who's sick, what's wrong with them. They're important: she said family. Anything else you know." A different sentiment turns over in his gaze, a brighter blue flare of something that probably isn't joy. "If Jessica takes too long or keeps adding days to the schedule, we're going to have to do something. She doesn't seem stable." Kidnapping lunatic homeless person killer woman. He isn't sure if the fact she feeds Abby coffee and lets her watch junk TV makes this image better or worse. He offers Conrad a nod before freezing abruptly with realization. He glances back at Elisabeth. Question, but he can wait until she's answered.

As if that question needs to be asked. "Of course," Elisabeth replies to Conrad with a bemused expression. "Why?" And then Teo asks his questions, and Liz feels her way carefully. "Her sister suffers multiple personality disorder — one of the really rare, true cases of it. I know the sister reasonably well. She's one of the sweetest people I've ever met… but she's not exactly functioning in real life. Jessica is asking Abby to try to heal her. If it doesn't work, she's going to let Abby go. Jessica's a complete sociopath, but she's never gone back on her word that I know of before." That might carry less weight if they knew how briefly she's known Jessica, but Liz doesn't say. "I also know that Jessica got roped into working for the Company, though I'm not clear on precisely what that means or how it impacts anything."

Scowl. Conrad says, "Great. She DOES hang with bad people…" Look to Teo, "We probably shouldn't even be here. They might be watching it. Wouldn't use any electronics either."

A furrow appears in Teo's brow as soon as astonishment clears away. God Almighty. Mental disorders, the Company. "We're covered for electronics," he says without immediate elaboration. Nor does the phrase 'complete sociopath' reassure him much. Means she could break a pattern as easily as she could a human neck, and not feel bad about it, that's all. He does realize they have to go soon; glances at the doorway as if acknowledging its call, before turning back. "Do Jessica and her sister know you're with us? Or part of something?"

Elisabeth shakes her head adamantly. "Absolutely not," she tells him. "I mentioned offhandedly to her sister that I'd returned to the police force after the school explosion, as a matter of fact." She glances at Con. "Which is one of the reasons that I don't want to be shuffled out of here to a safehouse. Helena seemed to really want me in place. I don't really understand the implications or the depth of the pile of shit I seem to have fallen into — the only Company I knew before now was the CIA." She grimaces, looking between them. "Tell me what you want me to do, and if it's within my ability, I will."

Con takes a step or two toward Elisabeth. "You seem to think a safehouse is some kind of prison. All it's supposed to be is a safe place to sleep without getting your head twisted off at midnight, or sniped through the window while you shower. These people don't play by any rules. They're the real terrorists, Liz. Those videos and shit released to the media they keep blaming on PARIAH? Guess who. People like your friend Jessica," he adds with a psychotic fake grin and puts a pinky on his chin in parody of someone innocent, "the Homicidal Maniac!"

Thaaat's helpful. Teo's right eye goes round while his left goes kind of squinty, studying Conrad to his right. After a moment, his gaze rotates around at Elisabeth again and he stares at her for a length of time that might be considered rude if he didn't have a sort of pensively fretful frown on his uncharacteristically pale face. "It could be good for us to have someone with her private line.

"I don't think she's working with the Company on this one. I hear they try to leave personal interests and family shit out." Refer to Claire's excessively visible daddy issues. Grimacing abruptly, he rubs his forehead with his knuckles, feels the subtle bumps of surgical nails under his skin. He nods in agreement with Conrad. "You could do that with your toothbrush and pillow at a safehouse."

Elisabeth sighs. "I don't think a safehouse is a prison. I just think that if I'm in and out of the damn thing back and forth to my job, it compromises the safehouse's location!" she tells Conrad, explaining her reasoning for the first time since it came up — not that she's had a lot of chance to do so before now. She looks between them. "If you honestly think that I need to stay someplace safe for the duration of this, I will. If it will make you both feel better. But I generally tend to think of safehouses as short-term solutions and I frankly don't believe that I'm personally in any danger with this one. So long as you're not attempting to plan a raid or something."

"Well duh, short term solution." retorts Conrad with a roll of the eyes. "Nobody wants you moving in with the Ferrymen for a year. That's just stupid. And about that gun? If you gotta shoot Jessica try to use the full metal jackets instead of the jacketted hollowpoints. You'll need the extra penetration, I'm guessing." He sighs and adds, "I'll meet up with you later and see if we can't work on you projecting sounds without your voice. I'm ready to go when you are, T." He claps Teo on the shoulder as he turns and walks past the other man, going to wait by the door.

Compromising safehouse locations constituted a rather recent bit of clusterfuck that Teo remembers with nauseating clarity, so he finds himself unable to argue that point overly. She will or she won't. The fact that the NYPD has her address reassures him insofar as that he doesn't really trust the NYPD to do anything right by him. "A'right, a'right," he croaks, circling around on the floor to let Conrad past. "Coming. J'ss three things." And then he'll make himself get out before he comes up with fourteen other ones. "You know her full name?" Jessica's.

Nodding to Conrad about the short-term, Elisabeth says, "Tell me where and when you want me. I'll bring a bag and be there." Looking at Teo, she says quietly, "I do. If we need it, I'll give it to you." She waits for the other two.

Ehh. More non-information. He nods at that for lack of any other available options. Teo's brain is still operating short on a some blood, so he keeps count with his fingers. Item two: "Jessica knows my name — 'Teo' — and that I'm a part of a thing." He doesn't sound altogether happy about that, either. Thank you, Abigail Beauchamp. "You might have to play dumb, some time."

Third finger and he squeezes his eyes closed, cracks one open before the other. "I took gen psych six years ago, but I still remember some shit. Conventional theory on Dissociative Identity Disorder has it, that the cure is to either kill all of them except one or integrate all of them." It isn't a question. He simply stares at her face in search of a reaction, before bowing out with a smile and as much genteel grace as an Italian boy is capable of.

Elisabeth nods to Teo slowly. "Even if it were to come up, I'm sure I'll manage, Teo. I've had confidential informants before… I was a cop for more than a decade," she says wryly. "And yes, I know… apparently conventional attempts to integrate the sister's personalities haven't shown much progress. … Let's hope it doesn't come to killing them, okay?" There's something hard to decipher in her eyes when she says it. "I'm sorry that you're unhappy with the answers, Teo… for what that's worth to you. I want to trust you guys, but trust is a two-way street. Give a little, get a little. I'm giving you mine by telling you as much as I have… use your best judgment when it comes to using what I've said. Not for Jessica's sake, but for her sister's." She looks at Conrad. "See you shortly."

Not Too Long Later

Parking Deck Somewhere

Today's lesson happens on the top level of an empty parking garage. Conrad's up there wearing a Cleveland Browns jacket with matching cap, hands in pockets against the blowing wind. For whatever reason the subway has apparently gotten old.

When she joins him up there, Elisabeth is wearing a pair of dark gray slacks and a black jacket. Her arm's slinged, and over her other shoulder she carries a duffel bag that looks like she could be going to the gym or for a weekend somewhere. She leaves it nearby and says, "So what's on tonight's agenda?" she murmurs, apparently right in his ear but in reality from across the parking lot, practicing with the 'throwing her voice' trick as she comes near.

Con is able to cheat and pick up anything said anyway, but he's paying attention to Liz' effects. "Hey." he says, looking over his shoulder at her. Quite a bit more subdued than he usually is. It's probably all the shit that's been going down lately. "I was thinking we could work on you learning to use use other sources of sound. We already know you can use your voice and make it spontaneously, but you can use stuff like a stomp on the ground or a clap of your hands. They can be real effective."

Elisabeth nods to him as she moves next to him. "I'm finding that doing a variety of things with my voice is easy… even newer things. So yeah, that makes sense," she tells him quietly. Her eyes are cautious on him. "You okay?" She's not used to seeing him so low-key.

For a moment Con considers not answering that, but he goes ahead and does so with an honest enough, "Just a lot of shit on my mind." He holds up his fingers to snap, and then snaps his fingers. There's an echo that seems to linger, going on and on and on and on…far longer than would happen if they were in a normal echoing room. "Give it a shot." he suggests.

Elisabeth tilts her head, looking intrigued at the effect. "Can you use the continuing echo as a continuing sound for other things?" She snaps, listening to the sound and trying to mimic what he did. An echo goes out and back, out and back. She focuses on trying to make the small sound continuously go forward and come back. Her first ten tries are pretty abysmal.

"Yeah." answers Con easily. "Actually you can do that with any sound. It's like making one out of thin air, only you have something to start with. Think of it as pushing a swing. The swing's already going, but you make it go farther and farther the more you push on it. Only in this case you push by hearing the sound more and more in your mind and projecting it." He stands behind Liz and asks, "When I do an effect, do you feel it happening?"

Elisabeth focuses her attention the very air around her. "I don't know… I didn't notice the bubble you already had in place earlier. But I'm not sure I was looking. Try now?"

"It was a big effect and I did something you haven't seen me do before. It wasn't in the air, it was in your walls and windows." explains Con, still from behind Liz. "You can do all the same stuff you do in the air in solid matter too. And liquid. Everything material carries so..hold on…" His phone rings. He picks it up and listens. "Con. Yeah. Okay." Closes it and pockets. "We're gonna have to cut this short. You wanna go to a meeting about the Vanguard assholes?"

Elisabeth blinks and turns to look at him where he stands behind her. "What's Vanguard?" She moves, though, to grab her duffel bag. She's clearly intending to accompany him since he asked.

"I don't care that they obviously haven't told you, but they're the name of one of the groups we have problems with. And I think that girl we kidnapped was one of em. Sounds like they've made a move." Conrad mutters a "shit" under his breath and checks his watch, already walking. "I also don't give a shit if they expect you to go or not. You're with me so fuck em."

Elisabeth blinks. "The girl WE kidnapped?" she yelps as they leave.

Conrad nods. On the way here she gets, "yeah that bothers the fuck out of me too."

December 9th: Stoicism, Cruelty, and Screaming
December 9th: Schaedenfreud
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