Saying It Out Loud


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Saying It Out Loud
Synopsis Words have power.
Date Apr 17, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

She stood watch on the roof long after JJ and Lene left. She watched them make their way back to the truck down the road, observed how careful they were to be aware and observant. The plastic-wrapped pie on the rooftop actually got a little nibble…. though it made Elisabeth's mouth pull into a pucker of oh daer GOD. Her son will definitely never be a pastry chef. When Trask came to take over watch detail, Elisabeth lingered there for a time. Silent with the man who in a future that no longer exists fathered her son. Joshua's existence in this timeline, for the time being, is not something she'll tell Norton…. but she feels suddenly the anguish he must have felt at choosing to come back to this time from 2019. Her choices now… Joshua's choices now… may well unmake the boy's existence.

It's too much to deal with. Her mind's been whirling ever since.

Slipping back downstairs in the early morning hours, Elisabeth hesitates on the way to the room she's sharing with Ygraine. Blue eyes slant down the hallway, and she wavers. She doesn't like to let people too close, but somewhere along the way… she has done it. And she alters her course to take her further down the hall to the room Jaiden's calling his own. She taps gently on the door, not sure if she actually wants to wake him if he's asleep…. and not exactly certain he's going to be alone in there either, given the revelations! Oh, dear… that would be awkward, wouldn't it?

Jaiden's room is one of the more secure rooms in the place now that he's done with it. The broken panes of glass were replaced with scavenged bits - some chunks of sheet metal cut to fit, other panes of glass from unbroken windows in other parts of the building - giving the room a relatively breeze-free cocoon of warmth. Still, Jaiden's sleeping bag is unfurled against the wall furthest from the window on a pallet of cardboard boxes and some couch cushions found somewhere, giving him an interesting padded mattress that allows for surprisingly comfortable sleeping. It's where he is now, actually, curled up, the light from the screensaver on his laptop (the one bit of technology he brought along with him) casting the room into a soothing dance of multicolored lights.

Before sleeping, Jaiden spent a lot of time thinking about the past. About the future. About everything. A brief meeting with Delia after a prophetic dream had him even questioning if Beth, his daughter, would even have a chance at being made, or even surviving, and then JJ….due to be born in 2015 if the math works out proprly….I mean, the evidence that he exists stood right in front of him. It was a lot for the Aussie to process. So once he thought, he slept. It's only Elisabeth's knock that rouses him, the man lifting up on his elbow and blinking in the cool half-light.

There's a sound of rustling from within, the sound of bare feet on cleanswept wooden floors, and then the door opens, Jaiden blinking sleepily in the early morning darkness. "Lizzie." A simple greeting, and the fact that he can recognize her even in nearly pitch darkness. "Everything okay?" He steps aside to allow her into the room if she'd like to talk in private.

"Yeah… it's quiet," Elisabeth says softly. "I, uhm…. " She pauses and then steps into the room, the gentle light of the screen illuminating the room. She crosses her arms, noting the cushions he found somewhere beneath his sleeping bag. A faint grin crosses her face. "Yesterday was a bit of a shock, huh?" she offers. "Did you guys have a good dinner?"

The door closes behind Elisabeth with the sound of wood against wood, one of the hinges protesting as the door is pushed completely closed, Jaiden pivoting on the ball of his foot to lean against it, crossing his arms over his chest, hands in his armpits. He's dressed, if one could call it that, in a T-shirt and shorts to keep the heat in a little bit better than if he'd slept in his skin alone. "Yeah, it was. It's not every day you meet a child from the future." There's a chuckle, his dimples appearing for just a moment as he smiles, glancing up at Elisabeth for a moment, brushing a bit of hair out of his eyes. "it was a good dinner - a lot of awkward silences…you know, we really didn't know what _to_ talk about. Might want to pin them down and get a historical account of the way things go in their timelines at some point, if they could give them."

There's a pause and blessed silence fills the room, punctuated only by the soft whir of the cooling fan on his laptop. "Everything okay with you?" He's concerned since it's not every day that he gets a late night visitor like this.

Elisabeth considers, her arms crossing as she wanders the room a bit. "Everything's …. okay," she says carefully. "There are some things ….." She bites her lip and turns to look at him. "Your son isn't the only one who showed up last night. While you were having dinner… mine came to see me upstairs." On the roof. While she was on watch. The blonde doesn't seem sure what to say exactly. "He's… one very angry young man," she finally says softly. "And I don't know that I blame him, but it's…. complicated." That's an understatement. "And I think it could be a while before we see Richard again, which … may or may not alter how we go about things."

Her son? Jaiden blinks, the sleep flowing out of him through the floor, like someone was suctioning it out of him with a high-powered vaccum. "Your son…the one with Trask? The one that you have the box for? That son that wasn't supposed to exist? Or…is this another son from a different future? One with Cardinal?" He's trying to get a little bit of a reference point before making any kind of judgements. "And why is he so angry?"

She hasn't wanted to tell anyone, but she needs to. Elisabeth is torn. "The box was created for Richard's and my son, in case it ever was necessary," she tells Jaiden quietly. "And the son that came to see me is the one I dreamed I was pregnant with running from robots." She told him about that dream. She continues to walk through the room slowly, feeling her way through the story in her head. "His name's Joshua," she murmurs. "He's… beautiful." Maybe she's a little biased, though. The smile that quirks her lips is soft. "I can see a lot of Richard in him, though he'd be pissed if he knew how much." She looks back at Jaiden. "He comes from the same time frame as JJ and Lene. They're all friends. They… came with a mission. I think… perhaps some of what's gone on here, the things we've already changed, may have shifted their missions. I'm not sure. I know there are least five of them here. Plus Zeke."

Elisabeth hesitates and her next words have that gentle reverb of anxiety, very very low level. "I think the blood in the library was Richard's. Joshua said they fought. That …. " She swallows. "He didn't say it, but I gather his intention was lethal. He said that his friends saw fit to save Richard and … gave me the impression that one of the group may be like Hiro. A time jumper of some kind." Her jaw clenches. "My son tried to kill his father, Jaiden."

Well hell.

There's not really much Jaiden can say at this point - it was such a shock having people from the future showing up, but finding out that one of them may potentially be the reason for Cardinal's sudden disappearance? It makes the blood run cold. "Man…." Jaiden sucks in a breath through clenched teeth, moving across the room to pull Elisabeth into an embrace if she'll let him. "The future….man, fuck time travel right in the ear….." He shakes his head in the negative. "They're here, and they're changing the future just by being here. The things from the library, the collection we made, it's what Richard must have been trying to figure out when Joshua showed up to confront him."

Jaiden goes quiet for a moment, nibbling his lower lip in thought, gazing out of the half-repaired window over the city. "Your son tried to kill his father….which would negate his existence entirely. Without the father, the son would never exist. Temporal suicide. We have to try and determine his motives."

A glance goes to the screensaver, the little clock bouncing around declaring it's 4:30am. "We need to talk with the future-folk…see if we can get a timeline. See if we can get any kind of information to know what was going on…" Yes, he's already said that, but it's early…he's still a little out of it.

Elisabeth wraps her arms around his waist and buries her face in his chest, holding tightly. "My son hates his father so much that he tried to kill him, Jaiden …. not for what he did but what he might do. Because he didn't fucking go after Zeke. No, he went after Richard. Without even trying to notice that things have already changed. Because I was dead last November if they hadn't changed! And God…. who the fuck was shooting at me from a rooftop if it wasn't Zeke." She looks up at him. "Did one of the kids try to kill me? Because of something I'll do in the future? Joshua…. he's more protective than his father, and that's saying something, Jaiden…. but the others? What if…. " She bites her lip. "God, I fucking hate time travel."

Jaiden's arms come up to press against Elisabeth's shoulderblades, holding her tightly against him, patting the back of her head, stroking fingers through her hair in slow, even intervals. "Maybe….mabye it was a mistake? Did he know you were alive? I mean, if Richard becomes Zeke, it's the most logical conclusion - to save millions, to prevent the world that is to come, cut the snake's head off even if it cuts of your own. Was he…apologetic at all? Or was he proud, still wanting to find Richard?" And if one of the kids tried to kill her? Jaiden sighs and shakes his head in the negative. "If one of the travellers tried, then we've got a whole different set of problems to worry about."

Elisabeth sighs heavily. "Joshua said…. he wasn't entirely sure they were all still on the same page. That said… they're all enough on the same page that all of them are apparently revealing themselves to their parents. And I informed my wayward offspring that he doesn't get to run off and fly solo cuz it's the best way to fuck things up royally. So hopefully he will actually listen to me without me getting loud on his ass." She sounds…. perturbed. Shoving a hand through her hair, she steps back from him, her mouth twisting. "There's Josh, JJ, Lene…. Josh mentioned an Adel, who helped him free Alia. And someone named Calvin. They've got a whole fucking time traveling posse on the loose in the past without a clue what they're doing," she bitches softly. "Did none of them get the clue about the whole time meddling thing? Seriously?" Grumble. "But you're right. We need to pull them together. Get some answers. Clearly the things that are coming have at least in some part changed already. Whatever their plan was, the viable parts may still be salvagable… and may segue into our plans quite nicely."

"It sounds like something our kids would do. Full of piss and vinegar, ready to take on the world. Or…" Another thing comes to Jaiden. "Or it's really as bad as all that, and them coming back haphazardly was the last chance they had to make something good out of something terrible. Zeke's proof of that, of course. How bad the future can be. And if we have a group of nice guys around, chances are better than even that we've got a group of not-so-nice guys bouncing through the time stream. It might be the same people who tried to get us eliminated in the past, for what we were going to do…."

She has to laugh. "It does sound like something our kids would do, right?" Elisabeth retorts, shaking her head. "Cuz you know… heaven forbid they not be just as stubborn as the lot of us." She sighs and looks at him ruefully. "Christ, Jaiden." She hesitates and says quietly, "Your son's had my back for a long time now. He's a good man, Jaiden."

"I wonder how long he's been back here. He left in 2040, according to the conversation, which makes him around 25, but if he's had your back for any amount of time, he could be pushing thirty. Wow…" He chuckles. "My son might be the same age I am. Have a hell of a time explaining that to mom. Oh yeah, mum, I got a girl pregnant when I was three. Strange thing, that."

Elisabeth grins slightly. "How long?" She mulls the question over. "He's been on my FRONTLINE squad for around six months. I don't really know how long they've been here…." Her blue eyes are thoughtful and shrewd. "But I know that Zeke came back in time approximately a year or so ago. He said it was a Moab-level accident. If I had to guess, maybe something the kids did that brought them back here also accidently brought him? Or… vice versa? I don't know. It's just speculation at this point."

"Sounds like we need to invite a few folks over for a housewarming party. Or get a spot that's nice and private but away from everything else to talk with them. I got JJ's number, so I should be able to get in contact with him and hopefully, through him, Lene and everyone else. The more input we have, the better." Jaiden wanders over and plops back down on his sleeping bag couch pallet thing, wiggling the mouse with a brush of his fingers over the touch pad to bring it to life. Thankfully there's a nice unsecured wireless hotspot that is just barely in range - yay Starbucks - so they can get a signal and, potentially, E-mail, but not much more. "It reminds me a little of that American remake of Lost in Space? The one with that clean cut, but dumb guy from that show Friends?" He looks up to see if she gets the reference. "Trapped, with no way out but to hit the giant red button and hopefully end up somewhere they wouldn't be dead at the time - and it just happened to be here."

"Getting hold of them will be simple enough," Elisabeth says mildly with a grin. "Not like I don't have JJ's number myself. And Lene's here regularly. I don't…. really know if she knows what happened to Richard yet. Joshua…. wasn't terribly clear." She moves to plop down on the bottom of his pallet, just curling up there. It's nicer than the floor at least. And she gives him a blank look. "Lost in Space remake?" That movie falls into the years she's missing.

Jaiden looks over as Elisabeth joins him on the pallet, rocking over to bump her lightly with his shoulder, pulling up a small streaming radio station to put a little counterpoint to the quiet of the room. "We won't know until we ask. Even if they give us grains of sand, that's more than we had before. And Zeke has to know they're back here, if they came on the same trip he did. Or before. Hell, Zeke may be back here just to prevent them from doing whatever it is they're doing." Grumble. Jaiden shrugs his shoulders and lays back on the cushions, looking up at the peeling ceiling, patting the space next to him should Elisabeth feel the need to cuddle close. Sure, he may wake up with a screaming lizzie in his arms, but that's something he'll be willing to put up with.

Being as it is still ungodly early, Elisabeth curls up next to him and pulls his sleeping bag up to snuggle down into it. Resting her head on his shoulder, she makes no move to turn it into something more than a cuddle. She's quiet for a long time, thinking through all the implications, and then whispers, "Saying things out loud tempts the universe to make the possibility real. I know he's alive. I know he's… that Joshua's friends have put him somewhere safe." She swallows. "I need you to understand why that is something I need to hold onto, Jaiden. I can't…. " There's a bite of her lip. "I can't bury him again. I can't… let myself believe that he's not coming back. It's not time to rest yet." We'll rest when we're through. And God help her, she will break if she has to go through this again.

Jaiden is not looking for anything more than comfort right now. It's been a busy few days and, let's be honest, sometimes all someone really wants is to have another person close while they doze. It's easier to keep warm and there's someone to talk to in case of late night dreams. "He'll come back." Jaiden says softly, his eyes closing as he curls his arms around Elisabeth's shoulders. "he's not dead until we see a body and verify that it's his genetically. As long as there's a chance, you don't need to give him up." He won't ask her to do that. He can't.

She's quiet for another long moment. "We learned…. about what this guy who brought me back to life in Richard's timeline can do. His ability… sort of rewinds your personal timeline. It's… the same guy who brought Aric back to life." Elisabeth grimaces a little. "It's…. a horrible way to die, though. Josh…." She hesitates. "He's pissed because he watched me die," she says softly. "I think."

Watching anyone die is never a good thing, but watching one's mother die? Or be killed? It's not something that Jaiden would wish on anyone. Vengance is never a good motivator, but it seems like so many people use that as justification for the most horrible of acts, such as killing their father. "It doesn't sound pleasant - being rewound. I'd imagine it would make you experience all of the horrid things in your life in reverse before he plucked you back out of the time stream. Nothing pleasant about that at all. And Josh…? Misplaced anger at whoever killed you, is my guess. If Zeke was the cause, then…." he shakes his head. "We need to stop this damn speculation. It's going to make our brains ooze out of our ears."

Elisabeth starts to laugh finally. "Damn, Jaiden…. now that's an image," she retorts. Still giggling, she curls herself tight to his side. "I'm sorry," she tells him on a sigh. "Helena used to call me Chicken Little for all the worrying. I can't help it. I'll try to keep it to a minimum. I can't… do anything about what's going on until we have better information. So hopefully…. more and better information will be forthcoming from the outrageously recalcitrant wretches that we raised to be time-jumping nerfherders." She pauses and giggles softly again. "So much for Richard's adamant announcement when we decided to have a kid that no kid of ours would be time traveling," she snickers.

"You should know as well as anyone that the first thing a kid does is rebel against their parent's wishes. Still, here was hoping any of my kids didn't go through time, but…" Jaiden shrugs slightly, letting out a breath. "Things'll work out. And if not? It'll be a hell of a ride to see where we end up."

"Keep thinking that," Elisabeth retorts drily. "You're going to have to be the optimist for us."

Jaiden chuckles and gives her a gentle kiss on the back of her head. "You were the optimist before, and now I'm the optimist. We'll trade off."

She's not likely to sleep much, but Elisabeth breathes a deep sigh and relaxes. "Sounds like a plan," she murmurs. They've both got a lot on their minds, but for now it's just going round and round and round. Company while your mind hums is a good thing.

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