Some Days You Feel Like The Bug


alexander_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif maria_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Some Days You Feel Like The Bug
Synopsis Teo, Alex, and Liz run into each other at the Nite Owl, and just as they leave, Maria pops in.
Date January 2, 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is beginning to become the place she spends the most time outside her apartment. Elisabeth is finally coming off duty, thank god…. because the weather today has been positively ABYSMAL. Snow showers made the entire day gray and slushy and wet and cold. Just the kind of weather to make you HATE being on the streets for anything, and she was out in them for several hours just before going off duty. By the time she steps into the cafe, her blond hair is matted down with the wet, her cheeks and nose are red from the cold, and her hands are frozen. She slides into a booth right next to the bar, and as soon as Natasha spots her, there's clucking and coffee appearing practically the next instant. It's one of the reasons Liz comes here — Natasha clucks like a mother hen, and sometimes everyone needs a little mothering. She gives the woman a grateful smile, slipping her arms out of her heavy wool coat but leaving it wrapped around herself as she cradles the caffeinated source of heat in her numb hands.

Alexander isn't arm in arm with Teo. He's too American to be comfortable touching another man in public for any length of time, no matter what goes on in private. But he looks better than he has in a while, relatively speaking - the scars on his face and arm are nearly vanished, as if years of healing had taken place in a few weeks, and he holds the door for his comrade. He's in his usual winter garb of parka, fatigues, black watchcap, and boots, with half-fingered gloves on his hands. He's still rather pale and weak, but seems almost cheerful, in a rather puckish fashion. He follows Teo towards the counter, pulling off his cap, only to turn it into a rather theatrical bow towards Elisabeth - making a leg, as they used to call it, as if the shapeless knit cap were a cavalier's plumed hat.

It's crawling toward the end of the day for normal people now, which means Teo just got out of bed. Six hours of sleep probably wasn't enough, but there aren't a lot of things a terrorist wouldn't do for dinner-as-breakfast, coffee, and some decent company, including foregoing another two hours of shut-eye. In reality, braving the weather wasn't one of the things Teo had been prepared to do but, foregoing a cautionary look out his bedroom window an hour ago, he'd already passed the point of no return by the time he realized it was unadulterated Hell out. He's speaking in monosyllables and not seeing particularly straight as he comes up to the counter, stilt-legged, in inglorious counterpoint to the theatrics of the redhead to his left. Spotting Elisabeth, he gives her a weary wave.

When the guys come in, she notes their presence. She's forced to chuckle in spite of her frozen self when Alex acts so silly, and she calls quietly, "you're welcome to share the table." But she's not moving. She's sitting right under a heat vent in the ceiling, and she's not giving up her spot.

"If you don't mind, then sure," says Al, slipping in to sit a decorous distance away, but still next to her. "How's it been?" he wonders, flashing one of those fox's grins at her. Teo gets to sit across and stare at the both of them, clearly.

Teo can do this thing. He traverses the distance with all the grace of a particularly uncoordinated walrus, props himself up on the wall inside the booth, shoulders up near his ears, sandwiched by the edge of the table and legs in a loose sprawl down the padded seat. Though he spends most of his time carefully self-contained, exercising some sort of polite restraint, occasionally he feels free to take up as much space as he humanly can. "Heyyyyy." He squints one eye shut, the other rolled up at the ceiling. The heat vent. "Heyyy." Unwilling to construct a coherent compliment, he simply beams at Elisabeth.

Raising both her eyebrows, Elisabeth peers at both of them. "Are you both hammered?" she asks mildly. Cuz Teo sure looks drunk off his butt at the moment. She grins at the two of them. "No fair… if you're going drinking, you're supposed to take girls too."

"I'm exhausted. I don't know what his excuse is," Al says, cheerfully. No need to look at the menu, he's been coming here for years, and it doesn't change fast enough to escape his memory. "How's tricks?"

The Sicilian shakes his head two or three times. "Just woke up. No booze. Swore off it." Might last him up to a week this year. His head teeters against the flat of the wall and falls to a halt with his chin on his shoulder. He makes his own order with Nastasha without referring to the menu, some terrifyingly-proportioned sandwich. "How w's work?" He looks at Liz and mimes a fireball with his hand. It probably doesn't look like a fireball to anybody else, though. "Find the guy?" </re>

"Turning," Liz promptly replies to Alex, her grin faint. She, too, looks tired, though frozen is the more important one at the moment. She raises the cup of steaming coffee to her lips to sip from it, finally getting the hot brew inside her shivering body. "Work was okay, I guess. I hadn't realized how many 'suspected Evolved crimes' are taking place in the city," she tells them with a grimace. "Heavy emphasis on 'suspected' — cuz at least 80 percent of them aren't even close. They just want personal attention." It might explain why she's got freakin' icicles in her hair. "And no, not yet. Still don't have an arson report that it was anything but bad wiring. So I'm looking, but can't move on it too terribly hard until the report comes in. How about you guys? How's Abby doing?"

"I don't envy you, much as I miss the force," Al says, quietly. "It all went to hell after Nathan got us to step up." Yeah, he's still bitter about all that. "What guy you after now? WHat's up in the world on the other side of the thin blue line?" He orders the soup and a half sandwich. Nothing too extravagant, really. There will be pie, later.

Ordering the biggest bowl of hot soup that Natasha can find and a salad, Elisabeth turns her attention back on the guys. "Believe me, I'm still not happy about stepping up," she grimaces. "I hate getting people to register. As for what's going on there? Eh…. same old bullshit, new targets for hazing, mostly." She shrugs a little. "Seems it's even more fun to give the Evolved cops shit than it is to give gay ones shit." She sounds… bitter's not quite right.

Teo merely hates cops. This much information, he chooses to withhold from the present company, both being — or having been exceptions that prove the rule. "Abby's okay," he answers, belatedly. "She fixed herself up good enough I could take her home. Figure you know what happened by now, eh?" The young healer and her companion had given the full account to SCOUT, referring the officer who had taken their statement to one William Harvard. Sylar could do to stop trying to pull off Abby's head.

Al looks forward to the day -he- gets to pull off Sylar's head, and permits himself a grin at the thought. Just as Vader no doubt smiles to himself behind the mask when he chokes the everliving hell out of some Imperial fool. "Tell me about it," he says, flatly, eyeing her.

Elisabeth shrugs a little and says, "I don't suppose you're actually sincere about it, so I'll spare you the gory details." She smiles a little wanly, doctoring her coffee so that it's stupidly sweet and very creamy. She might as well be drinking sugary milk laced with a little coffee rather than the other way around. "Glad to hear Abby's okay," she adds. "I read the report when I got in this morning. I'm grateful she walked away relatively unscathed." A single bullet when facing Sylar? Yeah… they did well. She glances around the cafe — clientele is light tonight, but she pops up a silence bubble just out of sheer force of habit now. Maybe in part to practice, but maybe because she kind of likes the way it feels sometimes to be isolated from the petty slurs and comments that might come her way — not so much in here, Natasha tends to have lots to say to people who mutter in her hearing, it seems to her.

"I'm going to kill him," Al says, conversationally. "I shouldn't tell a cop, really. This is a confession of intent or premeditation, I guess," he says, leaning back in the booth and draping an arm along the top of the seat. Not in the 'I intend to surreptitiously find a way to touch you' way, of course. "But that man needs to be put down."

"Yeah…. well, if you get the chance? From cop to cop, Alex… don't hesitate for a second. I'll find a way to help you get a clean shoot out of it." Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "I don't even think anyone would blink. Though they're not publicizing it, they know it was an assassination attempt on Rickham, so you'd be doing everyone a favor. Not that they'll appreciate it in the slightest." She grimaces at that. "Sorry…. rough week," she tells him. Then she turns her eyes back to her coffee. "Teo share the coffee cake with you?" Abrupt shift of topic.

Alexander nods, and there's that momentary grim rapport between the cop and the ex-cop. And then he shakes it off, like a dog coming out of a pool, and nods. "I can bet. I know just how you feel, doll," he says, bluntly. "The pie's really good on Friday nights."

With remarkable celerity for a groggy person, Teo acquires fork and one bite of coffee cake in a single fluid motion. "Cin cin." He waves the bit of coffee cake gallantly before sticking it in his face. Tucking the crumby mouthful into his cheek, he studies his comrades for one long, lazy moment. He feels no particular compulsion to talk about killing Sylar. Any of them would. Then, "Are you not venting because it'll just shit on your mood more? I hear catharsis helps, sometimes. To be honest, I'm a little out of touch with anti-Evolved politics these days so I could use a reminder.

"I see it in the paper, I know a little about HomeSec, and my faith isn't going anywhere, but it's all pretty secondhand. You understand, signora." He's an ordinary man, himself. Different fears follow him down the streets — ones that he chose to accept into his life. Though the majority of his friends are Evolved, he remains a little apart from their minority.

Elisabeth grins at Teo a little. "I was referring to the one I sent home with you. Not Natasha's," she says with a nod a the coffee cake he ordered and is now munching on. And then she hesitates and says mildly, "It doesn't do any good to vent, does it? The thin blue line is not really such a brotherly place to be some days, that's all." She shrugs. "I'm not dealing with anything different than any other outed Evolved member of society, right?" Well… any other outed cop, at least.

"I don't know. The NYPD is like a family, but it can be an incestuous one," Al points out, dumping unholy amounts of sugar and cream into his coffee.

"If we only bitched about things on the selective basis of having a unique complaint, none of us would have met," Teo points out, his voice light with something that isn't exactly cheer. The teeth of his fork grate against his plate. Not to pressure, though. He softens his insistence with a hapless half of a grin. "I was hoping to hoard it for myself." The coffee cake. "Thanks for nothing."

Elisabeth laughs softly at him. "You can have another one tomorrow, if you want. I wasn't kidding when I said I cooked enough for about fifty people. I have eighteen casseroles of varying kinds and another dozen coffee cakes, three dozen muffins, and five dozen cookies to get rid of." She shrugs a little. "I cook when I don't know what else to do with myself. I think it's the Italian mama genes in me." She smirks at Teo. "It's just been a shitty week… my boyfriend decided I needed space from him, I got shot, the boys in blue that I used to work with are *mostly* being pretty cool about the whole Evolved thing - my old captain is fabulous. But the rest of the people I run into - the uniforms on the streets, some others… there's just tension. Jeers and under the breath shit, comments on how I think I'm special, shit like that. Nasty notes in my locker." She shrugs. "It's hard enough being a woman on the force, even in today's world. I thought I'd seen it all until I was an EVOLVED woman on the force. Now I have to listen to their 'she slept her way to the squad' all over again."

"Shot?" Al says, startled into stillness. "I….what? How?" he wonders, eyeing her. And then he extends a hand, reaching to her. "I know a lot of how you feel," he says, quietly. "'s why I had to quit. I still feel bad for it."

Halfway through his coffee cake, Teo's sandwich of doom appears and he tucks into that while listening to the woman speak, watching her smirk. He looks more alive for the fuel. Wiping mustard off his bottom lip with a thumb, he nods his head. "Silly cunts," he says, by way of agreement. "Everyone needs a fucking scapegoat." At least, back in Palermo with the football and the beer, they had enough dignity to admit off-screen that their wars had none. There's a quaver-beat's lull, awaiting her explanation on the new bullet hole before he asks, squinting, "'S this the boyfriend who asked to keep you at the kiddie table?"

Elisabeth shrugs. "The Rickham thing," she tells Alex easily. "I got creased on my first SCOUT raid, and then took one during the attempt on Rickham." And then she slants a glance at Teo. "Yeah," she comments. Though in her opinion that's not what he was doing. "He didn't want me at the kiddie table, he just didn't want me taking bullets. But I was a cop when he met me, and he's fine with the choice." She then starts to laugh. "He gave me a fuckin' kevlar corset for Christmas. Best. Gift. Evar."

"Damn. I mean….that's also pretty funny, if you don't mind my saying so," Al says, with that sheepish beast grin. "I wish I could give you my little trick. Helps when you're being shot at."

The Sicilian lowers his eyes momentarily, rueful: "Meant nothing rude, mi dispiace. Actually," her laughter inspires a grin wide enough to make Teo's ears lift a discernible fraction of an inch on either side. "I kind of think he sounds like a genius. I'd ask whether it's under-bust or over, but I'm a nice kid, annnd— my phone's fucking ringing." An irritated twitch; he twists, slinging his legs to the floor, a rough hand scrambling to hunt up the twittering buzz of the device. He glances down into the screen, his previous haze cindering away with alertness that almost passes as professional.

Muttering, he casts his friends a hand up, excusing himself. "Be right back." Either for good or long enough to apologize profusely and shove all his food into a doggy bag. He slides out of the seat, phone to ear, scratching the back of his head.

Elisabeth chuckles at both of their reactions and shrugs, her own laughter easy. "Yeah… it's funny, but I thought it was the coolest gift." She watches Teo get up and leave with a worried look. That kind of call can only come from Phoenix stuff. She casts a glance at Alex and says quietly after Teo leaves, "Believe me… just about now, I really wish I had a different option. I understand totally why you left. And … it sucks a lot." She shrugs a little. "If something better pops up, I'll probably take it. Otherwise…. I'm gonna take a page out of a friend's book. This guy, a Fed I used to know killed in the line of duty, he was out as Evolved and he just stuck it out. I just… try to stick with my own kind, mostly. I'm good at my job, that'll have to be enough."

"I ….that Russian guy. I knew him when he was on the force, and he was a prick. Not to speak ill of the dead," Al says, hastily. Though clearly, he just did. "But he joined the Bureau partially because of that, if I remember right. He did something weird during a firefight, and while it may have saved some lives, it did jump him right out of the freak closet. I don't know. If I weren't….involved in what I do, I'd still think about rejoining the force. I miss that job."

Elisabeth grins. "He could be a complete ass, sure." She shrugs, her demeanor more serious. "But I liked him." It's that simple. He was good to her. Her eyes on Alex are thoughtful. "You know… going back to the force doesn't mean giving up what you're doing out here." She offers a faint quirk of her lips. "I'm sort of walking proof. If you're serious, you know… maybe I could help."

"I'll have to see. I like being my own master, too, though," Al notes, making a face. "I know, I sound like an indecisive teenager. Sorry." He glances after Teo. "And I should be getting along myself."

Elisabeth shakes her head and says quietly, "You don't. You sound like I did for three months before I finally decided to go back. I whined to my friend constantly, waffling back and forth. Take your time. It's a tough call. If you wanna talk it through, you know where to find me." She smiles at him. "Get going, then. I'll see you around, Alex."

"I will do," Al says, offering a salute, as he leaves tab and tip on the tabletop. "You take care, Bess," he says, affectionately.

She may have been seen approaching the place through the windows, landing some distance away, walking up, and talking briefly with a red-haired teen girl a few inches taller than she is. Then she came to the door, opened and held it for the girl, but the girl walked away and Maria enters alone. If eyes settle on her, she may well be recognized as flying woman in the papers. Five feet and three inches of Persian/Hispanic heritage, dressed in athletic shoes with jeans and a winter coat. The earbuds of an iPhone are in place.

Elisabeth chuckles faintly at the diminutive. It's unusual enough. "Later, Alex," she says quietly. And then she settles in with her cup of coffee and the rest of her soup. She's finally feeling warmed, though her hair is still wet from the snow outside. She's looking at the door when Maria comes through it, and actually… maybe it's good the woman popped in. She definitely deserves to have dinner bought for her after her heroism the other day. Liz waves to get her attention around the music and gestures to the table she's at in silent invitation when she catches Maria's eye.

Her eyes settle briefly on the man leaving Elisabeth's table as she enters and spots the invitation; Maria walks over and settles into a seat. "Detective," she greets, as her brow furrows. "So there was this girl outside, maybe sixteen, a little taller than me, had that typical attitude thing happening. She looked at me when I landed, and I played at looking over my shoulder to see if someone was back there, like clowns or bags of cash, y'know? Then she says I should get used to people staring. It seemed like maybe she meant for more than me flying around." She takes the earbuds out.

Nodding a greeting, Elisabeth tilts her head in puzzlement. "Well, I suppose it's possible. They got a shot of you into the morning paper. Did you not see it?"

"They did?"

Elisabeth nods slightly. "They did." She picks up her spoon and starts working on her soup. She still looks rather cold and wet, like she came in not too long ago from the snow. "Just… be aware of your surroundings. They didn't have your name, but it won't take much if someone spots you."

"They did?" Maria's eyes widen, and her features show a bit of displeasure. "That… would explain it. Damn." Question answered, indirectly. She close her eyes and leans her head back. "I don't live a secret life, but photos like that, too much attention. Still," she adds, "what's done is done."

Elisabeth grimaces, her expression sympathetic. "I'm sorry," she offers.

"Don't be. I was out exploring, and went for the window, I didn't even think about cameras. Those are to be expected at such sites." Maria reaches for a menu. "So, that voice thing you did…" A grin forms. "Not bad."

Elisabeth grins at that. "I just have to remember to tell people where it's coming from, I guess," she offers. "Sorry about that. Could have turned out poorly."

"I knew the voice, but couldn't spot the source. How long have you had that?" Maria's head tilts to one side and she laughs a bit. "And no, you can't trade with me."

Elisabeth shakes her head. "Wouldn't want to," she comments easily. "About eight years, though I've only begun very recently to really explore the breadth of the ability." She pauses and adds, "I used to use it for my job, until the Bomb. And I was… and still am… very much anti-Registration. But I needed to help, and this seemed like the place to be." She shrugs a little. "So now I'm under oath to uphold a law I abhor in order to make some small contribution to helping innocents."

Her features turn serious as Elisabeth speaks, the response starts with a nod. "It does have that kind of 'you're a scumbag degenerate' feel to it. It isn't lost on me that before the Act we only required such things of sex offenders. But to me it's just one of those things. My skin isn't pale, can't hide that, there've been times I've been hassled for it. And then being a woman in the Navy. There's always going to be that fringe."

She switches subjects. "Eight years. Ten for me, and change. It happened on a mountainside."

Elisabeth grins a bit. "Yeah… being a woman on the force is similar. Being an EVOLVED woman on the force…. well…. " She shakes her head at that. It's not been fun the past couple weeks, that's for sure. She keeps hoping it'll die down. Ease off. "Mine happened on September 11," she admits softly. "I knocked over a wall."

"It seems like a tool is needed for a situation, and it just appears in hand, doesn't it?" Maria asks. "I was on a mountain, at the edge of a cliff, and the ground was loose. It gave way and I was carried over the edge, screaming my head off."

Elisabeth winces. "Ouch. Yeah… I suppose in some ways, the abilities seem to have some rhyme or reason to them. At least… some of them. I didn't need to shout a building down, but I did want him to hear me," she admits. "And it sure has come in handy as a negotiator."

"So, twenty feet down, I stop falling. Took me a bit of time to get my heart out of my throat, let me tell you. Those rocks at the bottom, they looked hard. That landing was going to seriously suck. After the initial shock, it was seriously cool."

And she nods briskly. "I can imagine. Those instructors at OCS would love to have your ability."

Elisabeth laughs! "I can only imagine how utterly terrifying THAT was. The rocks, I mean. But yeah… I can see how the flying would be seriously cool." And then she laughs more at the comment about the drill instructors. "You know…. never thought of that. Can you see it? I know someone else who can do what I do, and he was IN the service a while. I wonder if he ever thought about it."

Her shoulders shake as she laughs, thinking about it, and a hand gestures aimlessly. "There they are, a group of recruits, the instructor is nowhere to be seen, and they're all at attention, just left there. She can see them, they can't see her, but suddenly there's this clear voice just inches away. "I said nobody moves in my formation!"

Elisabeth was taking a sip of coffee and she chokes on it. "Oh. my. God," she laughs between coughing and gasping for air.

"Your police academy had to have some similarities to it," Maria comments, once she calms her laughing a bit.

Elisabeth clears her lungs, hacking and coughing into a napkin while she wipes tears — it's not THAT funny, but hey… any port in a storm. "Yeah, a little. But not really. They don't do the whole drill sergeant thing," she is finally able to gasp out. She just shakes her head. "Damn, woman, you're trying to kill me," she giggles.

"Still, physical training, markswomanship, customs and courtesies, procedures. Did they have you stay in dorms for the duration?" Maria watches Elisabeth recover, laughing a bit more.

Elisabeth shakes her head negatively. "Nah… stayed at my apartment," she says with a grin. "They're nicer to us than the military is to you. But yeah, the rest of it is pretty spot-on."

"I've not fired in a while. Think you could get me into your firing range sometime, Detective?" Maria makes eye contact. "Let me scrape off some of the rust, so to speak. I'm thinking of maybe applying for a weapons permit."

Elisabeth looks thoughtful. "I think I can manage that, sure. When would you want to go?"

"Name your time, some evening after work, or a weekend. I do the nine to five thing at the lab," Maria replies.

Elisabeth nods thoughtfully. "I'm a bit less structured these days, but I can usually carve out some time on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon."

"Excellent," Maria replies. "I was decent with rifles and pistols."

Elisabeth grins. "I'll look forward to having a partner on the range," she tells the other woman. "I haven't had time to really find a new shooting partner since I got back on the force, so this'll be fun. I had to do quals when I came back — I passed, but I could still use the practice."

"Absolutely," Maria replies with a spreading grin. "My concept of fun can be odd," she admits. "When I want a thanksgiving turkey, I don't buy one." She lapses to silence, letting Elisabeth figure that one out and see where she goes with it.

Elisabeth hesitates and raises both eyebrows. "You… kill your own? Really?" She grimaces. "I'm so not the hunting for my food type. Not a bit."

"Sometimes. But I do it like a race." Maria seems entirely serious as she says this.

Elisabeth looks very confused. "I don't get it," she replies.

"They fly," she explains with a chuckle. "So do I."

Elisabeth ….. ohs! She looks nonplussed. "Well, now…. that's interesting," she says to Maria in the tone of one completely flummoxed. Clearly totally a city girl.

"I can't really expect you to completely understand," Maria admits. "Like I can't know the feeling of projecting a voice like you do. It's just a matter of finding creative ways to be who we are and do what we do."

Elisabeth grins at that. "Absolutely. Just…. don't ask me to go on a turkey hunt with you, okay?" She chuckles.

"I don't think that's your thing," Maria agrees, "but, think about it. Pigeons do… what pigeons do. You could easily make sure none are ever near you."

Elisabeth looks amused. "Yeah, I suppose. But it seems like a waste of my time to be emitting sonic sounds near pigeons."

"Maybe you've never had to have their results drycleaned out of a favorite blouse," Maria rejoins. "Might cause you to rethink that." Meanwhile the server brings her a glass of Pepsi, which she starts to drink.

Elisabeth sips at her coffee, the remains of her soup and sandwich disappearing with the server. "I suppose," she comments easily. "But although I can do it, it just seems like something weird to do." She tilts her head. "What do you use your flight ability for, besides getting around?"

"I can reach the top shelf without a stool," Maria answers. "it makes being short less of a problem. And I can get creative. One time I wanted to get away for peace and quiet, I went on leave to the mountains and took some books. I hovered around, watched, waited, and spotted an eagle's nest. Spent that day perched next to its house and read. I also like to find a tree to have lunch in sometimes."

"One of the best things is to just get up high and look down, to enjoy that view of everything spread out under me."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Those are all very creative and interesting ways to use an ability that I'm not even sure I would love to have. So congratulations on that," she says sincerely.

"I wish you could experience it, the freedom of it all," Maria offers in quiet sincerity.

Elisabeth nods slightly, and then asks quietly, "Ever wish you could just fly away and ignore the world?"

"I do, sometimes," she admits solemnly. "But I always have to come back. I like the comforts of society too much to abandon them all, even though I easily could." Maria drinks from her glass, silent for that time, and sets it down to speak again. "I like cities, the sounds and the sights. So much I made one, this one, my home."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "Yeah…. I know that feeling. I left New York to go to college, and enjoyed it well enough… but I was glad to come home," she admits with a smile.

She just nods in response to that sentiment and drinks a bit more. The server returns, she has food for the woman who flies and gets photographed snatching kids from burning places. Maria thanks her, and begins to eat. Silence mostly reigns, for that purpose.

January 2nd: The Corpse of Josie McCallum
January 2nd: Get Used to It
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