Slippery Slope


boyce_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Slippery Slope
Synopsis Navigating one another's histories and principles is a bit of a slippery subject for Institute agents Boyce and Sawyer, as they enjoy another day off while on "vacation."
Date February 9, 2011

Central Park

"The hills are alive~ with the sound of muuuusic~" Grayer shoots Vernoica a smirk as he tightens his skates. With a broad toothy grin, he offers her a hand— a gesture to help her up not that she necessarily needs it. The grin grows and his dimples emerge cratered deeply within his cheeks.

Grayer Merck has gotten an indiscriminant amount of airtime the last few days, an oddity considering he tends to swap personalities frequently on the job, although, arguably, that could be a stress-induced reaction.

"Sorry, I know I'm semi off-key. There was a song.. on broadway before— " before he got stuck in this mind, "— anyways. I could never really sing— " he winks as his second gloved hand is offered to stabilize her on her skates should she need it. "You know, it's actually kind of warm today, for an icy February in winter. Normally when it snows we're stuck with that yucky icky snowy blah." So descriptive and precise.

The sun is high overhead, and the park has a few lucky patrons able to enjoy that touch of warmth on a winter's day while everyone else works.

Once upon a time, Veronica Sawyer had her own ice skates — white, but they had teal covers with silver unicorns prancing on the sides. She finishes lacing the taupe rental skates, each marked with a scrawled 7 on the back in red Sharpie to denote her shoe size. She glances at the hand and puts her gloved hand in his.

"I can keep a tune, but no one wants to hear me sing," she says, dimples showing as she stands, and begins the mincing balancing act that walking on two thin blades requires.

"I've never done this, here. Just indoors. And years ago, so I will probably fall on my ass. A lot."

"Well I haven't done much of anything for years. AND I'm the techie, remember! ALthough I was never the guy that never got out, because, believe me, Vee. I got out," Boyce tries to say smugly before adding. "Jack is the one with the balance though. You know, he can do some pretty crazy stuff— " he shrugs as he carefully draws Veronica to the ice.

His own feet are a little wobbly under the rubber carpets leading to the ice. "If you need balance, just cling to me— " assuming Boyce isn't the one to follow over. That could be bad. His lips curl into a broad grin, "I'm sure your singing voice is beautiful!" He swallows as his eyes turn to the horizon, quietly murmuring, "Just like the rest of you."

"If Jack has amazing balance, you can, too. That's a body, thing, I think — I mean, yeah, a little learned, but there's such thing as muscle memory and all, so if he's capable so are you. Same with the gun," Veronica begins, cheeks flushing at the compliment she chooses to push aside. She watches her feet carefully as they take to the ice, making sure she's gliding evenly on both blades, feet about a foot apart from one another in two parallel lines.

Back to guns. "You have the same eyes and the same hands, right? So why wouldn't you have the same hand-eye coordination? So it just takes practice. But I think you're just as capable as the others."

She wobbles, her gloved hand grabbing his for a moment but managing to keep herself up right. "Anyway, you have people skills that they don't, so don't compare yourself to them."

"Ha! My mom would've disagreed with you, 'Grayer, get off the computer— " Boyce replies with a smug half-smile. His grin broadens considerably regardless of his words. "And I'm not sure muscle memory works with us the same way, although… I guess? Maybe." A thought that nearly makes him cringe. "I'd say that was scary, but then one of our occupants hasn't showed up for awhile. Maybe he's all cured." He. Him. Sterling.

"So I was thinking about something… why do you work for them? Like— I have no real choice anymore. Since," he taps his temple with a single gloved finger, "But you? You're more capable than that. And you have a lot to offer to anything. Not just government."

The reminder of the fact one of him is a psychopath has Veronica averting her eyes. Even better, she pulls out a pair of sunglasses, the dark lenses obscuring her whiskey-brown eyes completely. She seems to focus on the skating — the memories of doing so as a child coming back, and the in-line skating on the beaches of Southern California make it not too difficult. It's just the other people she has to worry about and the fact the ice is not as smooth as an indoor rink's, thanks to the elements.

As much as she likes him, the truth is not something she can risk. Not the real truth, anyway. He gets the edited version of it — the version she herself once thought was true.

"My father was killed when I was 17," she says quietly. "I found out later it was by an Evolved person, and I got recruited to help serve and protect, all that song and dance. I'm good at it, most of the time, and while I don't think all Evolved are bad by any means, they're like anyone else — good and bad. If I can help protect people from the bad, well. I will."

"You found a purpose. I can get that," Boyce's eyebrows arch upwards. For him, for this version of Boyce, there is no hiding his expressions, his feelings, or his thoughts. This version has few secrets aside from his evident position and its precariousness.

"But there's something innately… something about it all. I can't really put my finger on it," his nose crinkles uncomfortably, "but.. I mean, I'm the hacker, right? I'm the one that reads the news, can peruse the files, and tries to employ measures to keep other eyes out. I see what goes on and not all of it is positive. But then I guess that's anything remotely government, right? Politicking. Even in the office I used to work it went down— "

Veronica arches a brow over the frames of her sunglasses. "You do know what the fate of the Company was, right?" she says quietly, her expression solemn compared to a few moments before. "Whether I buy into all of the 'something,' innate or not, about it, or not, I had three options. Join the Institute, go to prison or wherever they put those people," like she doesn't know, "or go on the lam."

She lifts her chin slightly, defiantly. "So I'm doing what I'm good at, and hopefully helping people at the same time."

It's mostly the truth.

Just at that moment, a kid barrels into her from behind and her legs slide out from under her. One hand darts out to grab Boyce's coat, but it's too late, and she's falling down hard.

As Vee falls and reaches for Boyce's coat, even if she can't catch it, it's enough to set his balance off. Just a little. He skids while his feet twist out, wobbly like a newborn fawn, twisting as he tries to stop skating. But as he does so, something takes over, producing a near devilish grin as Sterling does a half turn on the skates, permitting himself face Veronica and skid back to her. The smile returns to its general mild mannered concern as he nears her again.

"Hey~ " he crouches down, bending his knees to meet her gaze. "Here. Take my hand. You could hang on as we take a few more rounds around the rink.." Pause. "If you want." Beat. "No pressure."

"Little demon," Veronica hisses to the tween kid who doesn't say sorry but rushes off like a point size Apollo Ono.

She arches a brow again at Boyce, and shakes her head. Not allowing herself to be coddled, she grips him by the wrist rather than the hand, pulling herself up. "I think I can manage," she tosses. "If you can do it, I can do it." She's a little competitive. Especially since he's practically a rookie. Vee brushes the ice off her legs and rear and begins to skate again.

"What about you — I mean, I know you don't have a choice, but… do you agree with it? Would you do it if you did?"

The tug on his wrist as Veronica braces herself earns a soft smile from Boyce. He sighs quietly as she regains her balance. He's unsure how he managed to keep his balance; he he'd managed to stay on his feet through all of that rather than his bottom.

"What would I do? If I had a choice?' his eyebrows quirk higher on his forehead. "It depends on the day," is the quiet admission. "Sometimes.. sometimes I think what I do is important. Helping that girl, which we got suspended for? That was worth it. That was important— even if I didn't get to man the helm at all."

His head tilts slightly tot he side. "Other times? It feels.." his lips quirk into a smile. "I'm different than most people like me. I was born in the wrong era, and I've never really… I don't like.. I just think oppression sucks in all of its forms."

The skating is an easy rhythmic pace; music plays, some poppy song that will be forgotten in another year by some girl younger than Veronica whose name won't be remembered either. That they're part of the "oppression" isn't lost on Veronica, and she merely nods before skating, long, graceful strides that take them another halfway around the rink.

"You ever wish you were Evolved?" she asks quietly. "I guess in a way you kind of are. So many memories to draw from. So many skill sets. But you know, in a more traditional sense? SLC- positive?"

"Uh.. I have enough problems without adding another phase of evolution to the list," Boyce's gloved hand rubs the back of his neck and he shrugs. "Sometimes I can pick up skills from the others. Like.. Melody will tell me how to grow something better or how to be more diplomatic. Or Jack will help me strategize or Carter will encourage me to dream or use my imagination… if we could do more? Well.. it would be neat for me, maybe. Depending on what it was. I would love to have tech ability. I can talk to a computer but I can't move as fast as those technopaths. There's no way."

His lips press together tightly. "Melody would want persuasion. Jack, probably something offensive. Carter? He'd like to fly. Charles would like anything to help him with the ladies."

"I don't know what I would have wanted, if I chose," Veronica says quietly, thoughtfully. "My ability's kept me alive a few times now, but so far I haven't been able to use it deliberately much. It could be incorporated into a plan — at least more of a plan than 'let me go first in case my ability can reflect any attacks', which isn't really a plan right?" Her dimples show again, and suddenly she's veering toward one of the paths to lead them off the ice and to the rest of the park.

"How do you decide which of you…" she begins, then shakes her head. It's hard to ask someone questions about how their mind works, especially a walking lab experiment. "Sorry. That's rude I guess. It's… did I ever tell you my dad was a neuroscientist? I was going to go to medical school, actually. Once upon a time." She moves to one of the benches to sit and watch the skaters drift by.

Boyce slides up beside her and lowers himself on the bench, shifting slightly as he lets himself relax on the bench. "How do I determine who's at the helm?" he issues her a lopsided smirk. "Honestly? A lot of the time it's luck of the draw. We each have little control. For awhile.. it was at will. Not mine. None of ours." His. Boyce's lips tick to the side. "Now? Adrenaline. Joy. Things we like often keep us focused. Central. Capable of taking on anything." He sinks at her. Grayer has been at the helm for days now with little slippage into the others. "And sometimes we can just pop out when most needed. Melody wasn't useful getting that girl out. But.. she cared the most. SHe was a mom…"

He swallows hard and issues her a half-smile, "Medical school? That's a different track. How did you end up on this one exactly?"

She begins to unlace her boots, apparently having had enough of skating. It also gives her somewhere else to look. "I thought if I became a cop, I could protect people from the person I thought killed my dad. And then I was top of my class at Berkeley, and I got recruited." She shrugs.

"The funny thing… given what they do at our place of employ," she says wryly, then gestures to him vaguely. "I wonder if I'd still end up in the same place, if I had stuck with it."

Veronica tips her head up toward his while she unlaces her other skate. "So… Grayer." She says the name deliberately, carefully. "Do you prefer that?"

"It is my name," Grayer smirks a lopsided smirk as he lenas back against the bench. There's something casual about this incarnation of Boyce; it's easy-going, informal, and relaxed. Especially now. Away from the Suresh Centre. "They've been trying to make us all one. I think.. I think they'd hoped that we would all meld together or something. But it hasn't happened yet. We all have our distinct strengths and weaknesses. And we're individuals." He shrugs.

"All paths end up in the same place. That's what my grandmother used to tell me God rest her." He issues her a flicker of a smile. Talking about his family is an oddity.

She pushes her sunglasses up onto her head, perhaps realizing it's unfair or rude to block her eyes while he speaks so frankly. "I'm sorry," she says quietly. "I mean, most agents I just call their last name, but it's not your name. I guess for work it's simpler, and we should stick to it, but…"

She stands in her socked feet, moving to the stand where her normal boots are held as collateral for the rented skates. She glances over her shoulder. "I'll try to remember to call you Grayer this week?"

"Sounds good to me," Grayer grins as he passes his pair of skates in exchange for the black oxfords he's been wearing the last few days— Jack's choice. He'd dressed them that first day. "Most of the others will let you know if they're not me. Everyone except maybe Carter. But you can know Carter easily. I'd like to think I act a little older than him…"

He regards his shoes with a wrinkled nose, "Any chance I can get a new pair of shoes? These aren't really my style. And I think the time out.. I think it means the most to me. Melody's family— " he frowns slightly "Jack is a workaholic." Charles is not mentioned.

"Sure. Shoe shopping, not exactly a chore," Veronica says with an easy smile. She may be a tough Company-turn-Institute agent, but she's still a girl, and she still likes shoes. "We'll head to Barney's."

Her own knee-high boots are handed to her, and she returns to a bench to pull them on over her thick gray wool socks. This time, when she stands, she holds her gloved hand to him. "Let's go spend some money."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License