Seen Your Face A Hundred Times


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Scene Title Seen Your Face a Hundred Times
Synopsis Elisabeth reconnects with her dimensionally estranged mother.
Date November 28, 2018

Sometimes she knows this woman who is her birth mother. Elisabeth feels the bonds between herself and the tousled blonde Carina Harrison became in this world. Other times… this person she watches is a complete stranger. Her mother was a brilliant legal mind. She practiced business law all of Liz's childhood, and she'd been well respected in her field. This mother… had the respect of certain people. She has calloused hands that speak to hard work and she was far more wary of people in general, understandably. She didn't laugh as easily as the mother Elisabeth grew up with. But the audiokinetic can see, in the damaged and occasionally sharp-edged personality, the woman her mother might have become in the post-Midtown world. Brain damage can do so many things to a person.

Shaking off the reverie, Elisabeth shoves her hands into the pockets of her pants and approaches where Carina is pulling the last of the salvage run off the Featherweight. Aurora is off with Squeaks, and Liz knows the young teen has plenty of experience looking after other kids so she's got this time to really get to know her mother… maybe ask questions and perhaps answer them for the older woman as well.


Carina holds up a hand to Elisabeth in the universal language of sssh. Brows furrowed, she inclines her head to the side and then emits a sonic ping that reverberates through the ship, the wooden dock, Elisabeth, and the water below them. It's a nearly subsonic sound, but powerful enough and low enough in frequency to penetrate concrete.

“Motherfucker,” Carina says as she looks over the side of the dock. “Somebody dropped a bottle of wine down there,” she says with two shuffling steps to the edge of the pier, emitting another sonorous ping. “Yep, right there. Twelve feet down, on a submerged windowsill. I'll be damned.”

Brow raised, Carina looks over to Elisabeth. “When's the last time you had a glass of wine?”

There's a blink when Elisabeth registers the sound that her mother … creates? She's not sure about creation versus manipulation at this moment, but what she is surprised by is how familiar it feels. It's not that different from what Squeaks does. "Uhm…. well over a year," she replies for lack of a better response. "You're not… going to dive off the boat and fetch it, are you?" Because that's just craziness. Isn't it?

"I felt that," she admits to her mother. "In my teeth, practically. Do you … are you making the sound or just using ambient ones?" Elisabeth isn't entirely sure how to interact with this woman who is so like her mother and yet so different. So she walks a fine line here between thinking of her as 'mom' and thinking of her as her mom's twin sister who she's never met. And they haven't really talked about much of substance as yet, still feeling one another out in terms of personality.

“Fuck if I know,” Carina says with a laugh, brushing her bangs from her face. “Connie passed away before I even realized I had something special about me. I had to learn this by the seat of my pants. It's like breathing, it just happens.” Then, giving a side-eye to the water, Carina considers the other question and laughs to herself with a slow shake of her head.

“That water’s like thirty degrees, and there ain't no way this body,” Carina motions to herself, “is fitting into Jimmy’s wetsuit. So,” she looks up to Elisabeth again, “unless you know a good swimmer, that bottle’ll just have t’stay sunken treasure.”

"Nope," Elisabeth replies immediately. "Definitely gonna stay down there." She grins at Carina, peering briefly over the side. "Magnes might be able to fetch it. I'll mention it to him later. If he can grab it, you can have it for Christmas." Or something.

There's a moment where she studies the older woman, her expression softening from laughter to an intent kind of wonder. "I know you don't really quite understand everything I've said about where I ended up," she begins. Another world. Another Carina who is her mother. These things are not simple. "But I need to talk to you about it some, and I'm … struggling with what to say and how to talk to you about it," she admits softly. "I can't stay here, Mom. I … this world isn't mine anymore." She was born in this world, to this woman. But this isn't where her heart lies. Even as the idea of her mother staying here breaks it, that heart yearns for home. Maybe Carina will choose to go too.

Carina looks away, down to the water, down in silence. She nods, though, to show she's received Elisabeth’s message. Though her reaction isn't clear behind the stony facade of her expression. In so many ways she reminds Elisabeth of the version of herself she saw in the wasteland ruins of New York, a scarred woman who was broken by the world.

“I suppose that's your choice.” Carina’s tone suggests disappointment. “This is a free world, you live it however helps you get through the day. I'm not…” she stumbles over her words, staring at a fixed point out on the water a few feet away. “Nobody’s going to hold you back.” But then, throat tense, she finally looks up to Elisabeth and stares at her for a good long while.

“Is…” Carina takes a breath. “Is your father waiting for you back home?” There's no way to phrase that which doesn't show her own interests. She resents the personal tell, resents showing a vulnerability or a need. Elisabeth’s seen that sort of behavior before in people who have been in prison.

Returning the look, meeting her mother's gaze, Elisabeth is quiet while Carina works out what she wants to say. The question is not unexpected. "It's your choice too, Mom," she says quietly, fisting her hands inside the pockets of her jacket where the tell can't be seen. Her stress, her wants in all this, are just as conflicting. "If you want to come with us… the door is open to you." She won't push, won't harangue. She steps carefully with this woman who is her mother but is so different.

"Yes… I don't know if he still thinks I'm dead." She shrugs a little. "But as far as I know, Dad is still there." She did warn Eve to tell Richard that her mother was alive here — she can't have her father having a heart attack on the spot if they come through with her mother. "He doesn't know … what happened here. They removed his memories too," she says in an uncertain tone. The idea that her father went on and had a life with another version of her mother has got to be both painful and less than happy-making for her mom.

“Removed his memories…” Carina says softly, wearily. She looks her age, now, standing there with slack shoulders and listless eyes. There's fatigue in her expression, in the weathered lines of her face. Swallowing audibly, Carina nods once in silent understanding. She doesn't want to, but she does.

Looking away from Elisabeth and watching the water, Carina seems at once wistful and crestfallen. “Your… the woman who—” Carina exhales a sharp, frustrated breath. “Was he happy?” She finally decides how to phrase it, asking after the real heart of the matter rather than dancing around the periphery. “Before she… passed. Was he happy?”

Now Elisabeth is the one who looks away. Because this conversation gets worse and worse, but it's one she knows needs to happen. If she'd never run into her mother here, had found out she was alive… would she have even let Carina know she was alive? Was it worse for her mom to know that it had been a good life? But those aren't options.

"He was happy," she finally answers. "I haven't yet seen a world where Jared Harrison didn't love Carina Barbieri." When she looks back at her mom, she says softly, "What happened to all of us… there aren't words for how bad it sucks. Part of me feels… so horrible for being unable to remember, Mom. And the other part… is grateful for what they did. Because there was no way home. And he would have moved heaven and earth to get here if he knew." Just as she herself is doing now.

Hand over her mouth, eyes downcast and stifling a sob, Carina Harrison nods in acceptance of both the consistency of her lost husband’s love for her, and that history itself had changed so much between here and there that he’d forgotten everything they had. It is a bittersweet truth about a man she has avoided thinking about for decades.

Carina stands as an island in her own misery for a moment, trying to force everything down and bottle it up back in the dark corner of her mind it had sat for most of her life. But as the second sob threatens to break free, Carina lurches in Elisabeth’s direction, then stumbles, then lunges at her and throws her arms around her daughter. Carina doesn’t — can’t — say anything, but in the vice-like grip of her embrace, in the way she buries her face in Elisabeth’s shoulder and cries for the daughter she lost, for the husband she lost, for the life she lost, it says more than any word could convey.

It rips her apart to hurt this woman who gave birth to her so deeply. Uncertain what to do except give the truth in as unvarnished and simple a way as possible to whatever questions Carina asks, Elisabeth feels like she's continually bracing herself to be a disappointment and to keep having to live with the fact that the answers hurt her mother.

When Carina finally lets herself feel and react to all the information, her daughter stands firm and catches her in a tight embrace. One hand cradles the back of Carina's head, the other holds her in a tight hug, and Liz's own tears slip down her face to land in the tangled blonde hair of the older woman as she grieves both women and the lives that were so changed by science experiment gone wrong. Her lips buried in her mother's hair, she whispers words with no sound — words that the child couldn't give either mother before tragedy ripped them apart in two different worlds.

"I love you, mommy."

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