So We Fight


elisabeth_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title So We Fight
Synopsis Talking shop in the morning. Shop includes: a healer and the dick who keeps trying to abbreviate her head, Jimmy Fairfield's case, a missing pyrokinetic, a biomedical tech, and a certain sense of hopelessness at the unebbing flow of shit that besieges the city that's awakening around them.
Date January 2, 2008

Dorchester Towers: Elisabeth's Apartment

This is a pretty standard two-bedroom apartment, although the occupant has gone to some effort to make it her own. Although the carpet is the ubiquitous beige, the walls are painted a soft rose-gray mauve shade, giving the main living space warmth. A dark gray sectional sofa sits in the living room facing an entertainment center that contains a state-of-the-art stereo system and a less upscale television setup. A coffee table sits in the curve of the sectional, and floor lamps bracket the ends of the furniture. The dining area hosts a four-seater square oak table and chairs, with the table generally host to a slew of mail and papers. An oak sideboard against the wall has candles on either end of it and a glass bowl with a fake arrangement of flowers. A small wine rack sits next to the sideboard, home to no more than nine bottles. The kitchen is small, but functional, painted a soft yellow color with a transparent blue glass backsplash. Off the living room are two bedrooms, one of which has the door closed and the other appears to be a home office. Its walls are a soft shade of green, and it contains a desk with a high-end computer setup and a bookcase stocked with textbooks.

It's a gray, nasty morning in the city, and it's starting to snow AGAIN. It's the snow showers that kill Elisabeth. This winter has been so cold and wet, it feels like it's never going to end… and officially, winter has only just begun. She made the phone call to Teo this morning, asking for some of his time — she knows he's busy.

Indeed, hiding from the snow takes a lot of Teo's time. He takes that particular task very seriously. Or something. Actually, it was mostly the New Year's he was fleeing from, probably; sick from indulgence toward the end of 2008, he's kept himself out of the parties, Ferrymen-sponsored or otherwise, preferring to spend his time being around Wireless, doing chin-ups in the basement, writing things on his feet, or whatever it is a twenty-six-year-old terrorist ought to be doing instead of holding a proper job.

Something he feels kind of self-conscious about, sometimes. Especially when he comes to meet Elisabeth, as he's here to do now, knuckles to the door. Through the peephole, his hair is in a tousle, his eyes momentarily pointed up at the ceiling light. There's a dead moth silhouetted by the bulb above it. Creepy. The next moment, he lowers his head again.

When she answers the door, it's clear she's getting ready to head to work — she's dressed in a pair of dark brown slacks with an ivory button-up V-necked blouse tucked into them. She's pulling a khaki blazer on over her shoulders (and her shoulder holster) when she opens the door to him, but Elisabeth's smile is easy when she sees Teo's face. "Well hi, stranger," she offers lightly, flipping her hair out of the collar of her blazer and settling it so it covers the weapon she wears. "C'mon in. I have coffee waiting."

She steps back to let him come in, closing the door behind him when he steps through. "You know… I haven't had a chance to talk to you much since the school. Thanks for coming this morning."

Of course, she's preparing to head to work. "Look at you," Teo says, after his customary greeting— Italian. He steps in after her. The snow and ice already long since knocked off of his shoes outside, he automatically sheds his footwear now, a kick of toe against heel and yank each. "Fancy khakis, good job, all your own teeth." He looks up and sets his socked feet down on the floor, turns to let her lead the way to coffee. The corners of his mouth turn up when she makes mention of gratitude. "Not at all. Thanks for inviting me over. And feeding me coffee. Pre-emptively." He doesn't shrug his own jacket off yet, despite that Dorchester Towers' central heating has hugged him to her lovely bosom. He glances through the interior again, absently, noting little in the way of change since his last visit. His first.

Slanting an amused glance over her shoulder, Elisabeth murmurs, "Well, gotta eat somehow." She walks him into the kitchen, she too still in bare feet because her boots are near where he left his, and she sets about pouring coffee to set in front of him. And pulling out a box that she starts loading up with baked goods while they talk. There's a full-sized crumb-topped coffee cake, a half dozen of a couple kinds of muffins, and a pastry roll of some kind. She sets one of the muffins — a pumpkin one — in front of him while he sips his coffee. "Take this back with you — you and Alex and Abby can have it. And I've got a frozen shepherd's pie for you too," she comments mildly. "I spent the whole week after I got shot cooking." She grins at him. "I'm eating better than any three people I know right now."

The quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Either that, or a gun with an adequate caliber or blade of appropriate length. Teo's heard of many schools of thoughts, but only the first one is occupying his mind as he stares down at the food as if searching for some sort of trap. He isn't, of course, but he does look unaccountably embarrassed — and perhaps tinged with a figment of unrelated discomfort, his fingers curling close around the mug. "We couldn't. Really. We're better than okay for food, and…

"I really like shepherd pie," he admits, after a protracted moment, good-natured greed playing across his features, before his expression lapses thoughtful. "If you let us bring you stuff. Salve our collective pride. You know. Abby got shot the other day." Despite the discernible darkening of his gaze, saying so, his humor remains intact. "There are parallels."

Elisabeth laughs at him softly. "It's not about you guys being hungry — it's about the fact that I literally cooked for about fifty people while I was not working. You can bring whatever you want to salve your …." She is cut off mid-sentence when he says that. "She was WHAT?? Is she okay?" Of course she's okay, or Teo would have told her over the phone or something, right? "Holy shit, what happened?" She comes around the counter to sit in the stool next to Teo with her own cup of coffee, concern and anger darkening her blue eyes.

"I'm not sure," Teo answers, ruefully. He lets himself sag between his shoulders, propped up on his elbows in a delinquent's slouch, and closes one eye, squints out at her through the other. "I was kind of hoping you wou'dve known about it. I got a call from the hospital late last night — something about a clusterfuck in Chinatown, with SCOUT on it. Visiting hours aren't in a little while. But she got stitches, looks okay for meds, paperwork in order. Somebody probably deserves to die, but I'm clueless." There's nothing especially pointed about the look he levels sidelong at the woman, but it would probably be easily miconstrued as such. Abigail is loved by many people. Most of them know people.

Elisabeth frowns and says, "No, I don't. But gimme a minute." She gets off her chair, picks up her cell phone — her regular one — and dials it. "Hey, Sergeant Yancey? This is Elisabeth Harrison, over on the SCOUT squad? I was hoping you could do me a quick favor and pull up last night's incident reports on the computer. I'm looking for a report on Abigail Beauchamp." She listens for several minutes, and then nods slightly. "Thanks, Sergeant. I owe you one."

When she hangs up, Liz looks at Teo with a faint scowl. "It sounds like a mugging… Abby was with someone who ran. They were attacked by at least one Evolved perp. A telekinetic. The officer on the scene made a note that they just disappeared." She grimaces and says, "Christ… Abby…." as she runs a hand through her hair.

The first name that erodes its way to the surface of Teo's consciousness happens to be the right one. Sylar. Perhaps ironically, he tries to dismiss that as paranoia, at least for now. She had been attacked by him so recently, and that penchant for traveling in groups and vanishing calls easily to his understanding of the Vanguard's tactical patterns and capabilities. He hadn't moved the whole time Liz was on the phone, his chin perched on his shoulder, brows furrowed with concern, coffee temporarily forgotten. He takes another sip of it now. "I really want to see her," he admits, then, pointlessly, dropping his gaze into his drink. "Poor lady. Shittiest New Year's ever." </re>

Without speaking to Abby, Elisabeth has no way to confirm what Teo is thinking, though she herself is thinking it as well. "I'll see if I can catch up with Baxter in person to ask him about it, see if I can glean anything more than what he wrote. But… I have a feeling we both know what happened." She sighs. "I'm more concerned about who she was with and whether that person knew she got hurt." She sighs. "But she'll be okay. You know she's all right. And while it might be the shittiest New Year ever, she's alive. It's more than we can say for some." She moves to sit back down with him, and there's a lull in the conversation for a moment. "I asked you to stop in so we could just chat, you know… but I have to wonder if there's anything more I should be doing."

"You save lives every day of the week. 9-5, some evenings, no fiscal grasp of overtime. Don't be greedy; you're making the rest of us look bad." It had taken Teo a moment and more than a little effort to shake off the dark fugue of Worrying About Abby, but he manages. He spends far too much of his time transitioning between those two states, anyway. It used to be his job.

Tilting her head, Elisabeth says quietly, "I don't save lives every day of the week. I investigate crimes, and hopefully I help someone here or there. It's not always that good. And working Evolved crimes is sort of like working the Special Victims Unit — all you see are the worst of the worst stuff. For example… I got called out on a fire a couple nights ago that we think is an Evolved. *I* think it may be an eruption event — the guy'd been complaining about the cold and trying to get warm. So now I have to go find this guy and take him in, get him registered. And if he won't do it voluntarily, I'm going to have to compel him. Because he needs help with his powers. He torched an entire apartment building. *IF* it was him. The arson reports haven't come back yet." She shrugs a little.

The boy of the two at the table grimaces sympathetically. The downside to having a proper job, Teo would suppose, would be having to do actual work. That sounds like a morbid mess, imagines it's worse for an only reluctantly registered Evolved who took enough exception to the Linderman Act and like-minded stupidity to join a categorical terrorist group. "At least they put you on it. Means the poor stronzo isn't going straight to the pens.

"Hey," pulling himself upright with a little bit of effort, exaggerated, he lifts his coffee mug up to mime a toast at hers, encouraging she reciprocate to make it real. He snags himself his pumpkin muffin with his other hand. "'Least you aren't the tool who gets all those girls kidnapped and shot. C'mon. Gallows humor. Smile 'cause you mean it." It's too soon to joke about any of that, but that isn't what he really means. "To the best of the best." His pinkie pops out from his grip on the mug handle, pointing at her: that would be you. Though he has to add— "And central heating."

Touching her coffee mug to his, she smiles for him — it's not funny, but … well, you take your moments where you find them, right? It helps that he thinks so highly of her in some ways. She takes a sip and says, "By the way…. I have an appointment later today with a good lawyer for Jimmy Fairfield," she tells him quietly.

"Not Catherine, is it?" There's a fleeting shadow over his face as Teo mentions their comrade's name. She's the lawyer he knows, and one of the best as far as he's aware; a convergence of ability, Evolved and otherwise. He's fortunate to have as many people as he does that warrant thinking highly of.

Elisabeth looks surprised and shakes her head. "No," she replies. "Actually… a guy named Paul Heart. Someone I knew from before. He's good. I didn't know Cat was a lawyer, or I would have asked her."

The muffin breaks in Teo's hands, crumby pumpkin-flavored lobes between the fingers of his left and the palm of his right. "He sounds familiar. Heart. I might have seen him in the news at some point. 'M glad. Does he think Jimmy's case looks good?" He sticks a fingerful of muffin in his mouth and finishes it with coffee.

"I got the impression that he was going to do everything in his power, but that it seemed like a decent case," Liz replies. "He's also looking at why Mr. Fairfield isn't in jail too, since Jimmy's been remanded to Juvie Hall."

The Sicilian's head lists slightly, curious in that morbid, pessimistic sort of way. His right eyebrow's gone up, the lazy stoop of his shoulders sharpened slightly like the bones of a hunting cat in long grass. That is annoying. "Why wouldn't Mr. Fairfield be in jail?"

Elisabeth glances at him. "The cop whose gun was taken — the rookie — didn't make any arrests because he was held hostage. The two guys on the scene ultimately didn't run him in… something to do with 'self-defense' with regard to Jimmy using his ability." She sounds bitter. "Paul seems to think he might be able to get the judge to issue a bench warrant — that Jimmy himself yanked the gun for his own self-defense. The ER took pictures of Jimmy."

She sounds bitter. She ought to. Teo's eyes fall to his own hands, pulling and prying the bread apart, his features still in a way that fails entirely to indicate neutrality or indifference. "Does this whole clusterfuck go on Jimmy's record, or is Registration going to be the only piece of paper that sticks to him after this? I'm going off the glorious assumption Heart wins."

Elisabeth smiles at that. "Heart always wins. It's part of his charm." It's the reason she went to him. "He's a juvenile. The records should be sealed; Registration should be all that he has to worry about. Aside from a place to live when it's over," she says quietly.

"The Ferrymen could probably help. Contacts all up and down the social ladder." Teo says, "If the ordinary channels don't pan out. I don't know what kind of protocols they have in place f' that. Foster care? He's almost old enough to be on his own, isn't he?" Old enough— as if being on his own is somehow preferable to having a family, a secure home, a father who wouldn't come after you with a closed fist or an open palm. The man brushes brown crumbs off his hands, gentle, so as to avoid accidentally sending the fragments ricocheting off in all directions.

"It's good to know. I hope it doesn't result in foster care, but I think that's almost a given at this point," Elisabeth admits regretfully. "When your own father attacks you, regardless of the outcome with the cops, I think it's pretty much over." She sighs. "You know…. I've seen more crappy stuff in the past two weeks than I have seen in the past two years. Tell me again that I'm making a difference somehow?"

If Teo hasn't forgotten Jimmy's name by now, he won't have by the next time he sees Hana or Grace. He thinks it's better that there are enough eyes and souls in Phoenix to commit themselves to at least one Evolved boy who might have been otherwise lost to the system, even if the corollary to that realization and token happiness is that there are far too many who were less fortunate. Teo's hand finds a fist, lifted up to offer Liz a dap of knuckles.

"From what I remember, you're doing this job because there's no one else to do it right now. The shit I used to hear in the teacher's lounge about Fairfield— it was amazing Mr. Thatcher didn't turn him into the cops himself after Jimmy fix a pock mark in some other kid's glaze job in ceramics class or some shit, for a Father's Day gift. Hate to speak ill of the dead, but — Jesus. That was ugly shit. I think Demoiselle Sagnier talked him down. You're what they've got because you're what they need, si? A cop who won't jiggle a thumb over her shoulder and say 'the buck stops… over there.'

"Somebody in this fucking city needs to show it what it could be." He'd looked terribly serious as he said all that, steely-eyed and breathless in the way that a little hero gets for his close-up. He lets it go toward the end, naturally, sagging on his elbows a little with something that might be self-deprecation, his words punctuated with nothing stronger than a crooked grin and the sincerity of cerulean blue eyes.

Touching her fist to his, Elisabeth says softly, "Thanks, Teo… I needed that." She shakes her head. "I'm just grateful someone didn't tell his father before now, honestly. Hopefully Paul will be able to help him out, and then we'll get him out of the system, okay? He deserves it."

Because everyone does, Teo reminds himself. He has no place judging, not really. Not until somebody tries to saw Abby's head in half, anyway. Punishment is, occasionally, easier to dole out or measure than privilege. "Sounds like a plan, signora," he says, his smile balancing even. He lays his coffee mug down — empty now, then starts to stand up, casting about for the sink to rinse after himself. "'Nother day, eh?" he asks, perhaps a little pointlessly, glancing out the window at the passing whoop of sirens.

Moving to stand when he does, Elisabeth says softly, "I'd like that. If there's anything more that you need me to do…. just say so, okay? I'd like to think that all these efforts are not in vain." She pauses. "And by the way… I recently came across someone who might be useful to us. She's a biomedical tech of some kind — I'm trying to get a feel for where she stands and what she actually does, but I'm not sure I can vet her in enough time — nor am I convinced I'm qualified at this vetting thing." She smiles at him a bit.

"Name?" Teo gets the faucet on and lets the column of bubbling white water fall into the cup, diluting the dregs of coffee before the level begins to rise and clarify. Snagging the detergent, he starts to clean it out with the expedient fingers of a reasonably hygienic bachelor who isn't used to owning enough cookware or culinary implements or money to be acquainted with a dishwasher. "We have Ben and Abby, but at the rate we get shot up — and those two crazy kids' schedules, I don't think having another medic would hurt."

Elisabeth shakes her head. "No… I mean like I think she does something in a field that might actually help us with this attack that's heading our way." She hesitates. "She's an ex-Navy lieutenant, registered. Maria Delgado. But…. seriously, Teo, unless she does something to indicate she's interested, or I find out what she does really CAN help us, I'm thinking I'm not going to draw her in. Life's complicated enough, you know?"

It'd be a gratuitous waste of his breath for Teo to pretend he didn't know. He grins blearily. "No shit. Uhm." His brow furrows, the effort to be constructive cranking inside his armored skull. "If you're going to talk to her, you might as well see if she's ever read of any diseases that target Evolved. Or affect abilities— something like that. You know, if she's read research. If there are publications, there might be studies. Samples. Experts. We don't know the first fucking thing about how Volken gets his hands on this bug. There were a couple splashes in the news about that stuff in the last few months, so you might be able to shunt a query in without looking like a nutcase." He lifts the mug, now pristine, into the dish rack and looks at her inquiringly.

Elisabeth looks thoughtful. "That's a good idea." She grins. "It's why I raised it with you. I figured you'd come up with something useful." She has let him play with his coffee cup in the sink, but only because she's not paying attention. When she realizes he's washing it, she moves to hand him a hand towel. "Stop that," she scolds lightly. "I'll take care of the dishes. Geez, I'm standing here in my own kitchen with my thumb …. well, you get the idea." She grins. "C'mon… go get some sleep. You look like you could use it."

"Can't. Have to speak to Catherine about some shit." By Teo's tone, this shit actually warrants the term, rather than being a facetious dispensement of swear words by a boy as often characterized by scatology as he is by a wobbly adherence to his own somewhat eccentric concept of manners and appropriateness. He accepts the hand towel and dries his palms, then his fingers, the hue of his ears touched by embarrassment. Hard to say what for: behaving like the scullery maid or her compliment. Flattening the terrycloth out, he docks it on the edge of the counter, shoving fists into pockets even as he obediently begins the trundle toward her door.

Neither sleep nor Catherine are to be found in Elisabeth's abode. "Are you gonna give me pie? Please say you're going to give me pie. We'll make you food things. It'll be worth your while."

Elisabeth laughs at him, and she picks up the box of things she packed him. "There's no pie. Didn't make pie. Just muffins, cakes, casseroles, and cookies." She winks at him. "Go on, you."

January 2nd: En Prise

Previously in this storyline…
En Prise

Next in this storyline…
Knowledge is Power

January 2nd: The Balcony Scene
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