Sugar Rush


aura_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title Sugar Rush
Synopsis Elaine and Elisabeth meet up while people are in Antarctica; Aura has fun with cookie decorating.
Date December 14, 2018

RayTech, Richard and Elisabeth's Apartment

When she opens the door to allow Elaine entry, Elisabeth is holding back the bouncing little girl who has been waiting for her arrival. "Aunt Lainey!" I doesn't matter to Aurora that Elaine isn't the same Aunt Lainey who came through the tunnel with them — well, it does but she's also still Aunt Lainey. The child has a really flexible definition of who people are.

Laughing, Elisabeth gestures Elaine toward the dining room table with the items she's brought with, and she manages to hold the petite dervish until at least it's all set down. Then Aurora throws herself into Aunt Lainey's legs and starts breathlessly telling her, "I'm learning to read, Aunt Lainey! I gots whole books I can read all by myself!"

Liz's eyes flicker up to Elaine with a small smile. "She's been dying to tell you she can finally read that book the other you was reading to her."

Elaine carries the small box under her arm to the dining room table before she chuckles as she’s attacked around the legs. A hand comes down to pet the top of Aurora’s head affectionately, although she smiles a little sadly at the thought of the other Elaine. The one that didn’t make it. She’s got complicated feelings about that situation. It’s a brief thought, and soon forgotten as she peeks down at Aurora.

“Well aren’t you getting big! Whole books, huh? I bet you’ll be reading big ones soon enough. You’re smart like your mama, so I’m sure you’ll be tearing through all these books in no time.” She affords a glance at the box on the table. “I brought you something fun.” She does turn her attention back to Elisabeth after a second. “She’s a treasure.”

She can see the emotions flash across Elaine's face, but a subtle shake of Elisabeth's head is reassurance — Elaine doesn't have to worry. It's okay. Aurora seems thrilled with the praise, and she capers about. "What did you bring??" Scrambling up onto one of the dining room chairs, she starts to inspect the box on the table with avid curiosity.

Liz smiles and says quietly, "She definitely is my treasure." Blue eyes rest on the small sandy-haired girl, amused at her excitement. "C'mon, we can get her settled with whatever you brought — she'll love it. And I made coffee." So while Aurora does her thing, the ladies can talk. Moving toward the counter, she has mugs and things laid out. Pouring the coffee, she watches curiously as Aurora gets the box open and squees a bit. "You bringed cookies??"

“Not just any cookies, these are Christmas cookies. You get to decorate them!” Elaine’s brought the tubes for piping, pre-filled with icing, and even several different types of sprinkles. “This might be a bit messy, so we should set it up where it’ll be easy to clean.” She suggests. She glances over towards the coffee. “Coffee would be fantastic, thank you.”

She carefully starts to set up Aurora’s cookie decorating station. A plate so the sprinkles won’t get everywhere, the icing is very snugly closed so as not to end up flying when squeezed too hard, and a thankfully unbroken sugar cookie in the shape of an angel. She pulls an already decorated cookie out of the box.

“That should give you an idea of the kind of things you can do with it. But make it look however you want, this is just what I made mine look like.” With Aurora all set up, Elaine looks back to Elisabeth. “You holding up okay?”

The little girl is in raptures over the cookie decorating possibilities. "I'm gonna make her dress the same color as you, Aunt Lainey!" Kneeling on the chair, the little girl loses herself in the inspection of the tools at her disposal. This is like coloring! Woohoo!

With coffee poured, Elisabeth brings the mugs over, first handing one to Elaine before going back for the other. Her braced hand gestures toward the family room — Richard's apartment is slowly looking more and more like a family home, though it's taken nearly a year. THere are still no pictures on the walls, but the place has small touches that show the kids live here and things that definitely have Elisabeth's touch — like a colored rug beneath the dining room table that can be easily later destroyed after there are no small children in the house!

"Aura, Aunt Lainey and I are gonna girl-talk for a bit while you decorate," she warns the little girl, who waves off the information. Tacit acknowledgement that she won't be able to hear them accomplished, Elisabeth fields the room she and Elaine are in as they settle onto the couches. "I'm …. Doing better than I expected to, but maybe not as well as I could be," she admits. "Not sleeping great. But Harmony's out of classes and able to be around, so I still have two of us around to deal with munchkins. So that helps." She sips the hot brew and eyes the redhead. "What about you?"

The last time they saw one another, well… it was awkward! "I hope you'll forgive both of us for taking the coward's way out," she offers with a rueful grin.

Elaine watches Aurora start with her decorating before turning back to Elisabeth. “I imagine it’s a scary thing to be worrying about if he’s coming home. He’s got a family. I’m not sure what they’ll find, to be honest. It could be nothing. Honestly, though, I hope they at least find some kind of answers for Robyn.” She shakes her head.

“Don’t worry about your retreat, it was well-timed. Robyn and I were due that conversation and she made her choice. She’s been so caught up in this whole thing about her mother that she’s forgotten the rest of the world around her exists. I think Matty is the only thing that grounds her, so I’m grateful for that, but I told her… I told her I’ve been waiting for her to come back since 2011. I never told her not to pursue her answers, but I told her if that’s all she was going to concern herself with that she was choosing to walk away again.”

Elaine shrugs. “So she walked away again. I made my stand, which was my choice, and she made the choice to walk out the door. Like a coward. She left a note instead of saying goodbye to my face.” She sighs. “She chose Antarctica, so I hope this goes well. I hope Richard has her back and I hope to high heaven she doesn’t do something stupid that endangers everyone. Robyn’s been an idiot lately but I swear if she comes back and has done something completely insane I will slap her.” And Elaine’s not exactly the slapping type.

Elisabeth visibly winces at the revelation that things have been that bad for Elaine and Robyn for so long. "Wow," she says quietly. And then she sighs heavily. "Richard will have her back. So will Devon." She looks up at Elaine and nods a little. "But believe me, I get you on the completely insane and slapping mentality. I literally invoked bringing him back from the dead to kill him myself if he did something stupid and got killed." It might have been funny, if it weren't so possible. "I didn't fucking come back through 4 timelines to sit on the sidelines and watch this bullshit happen again."

Leaning her head back while she considers the redhead, she asks, "Are you doing okay with what happened?" Elisabeth isn't sure where Elaine is really sitting emotionally… this is not the young woman who was all but her sister-in-law.

“I am,” Elaine answers, honestly. “It’s not been good for a while and I think I was trying too hard to make it good when it wasn’t. I tried so hard to keep Robyn from… well, getting worse. She’s just been in this downward spiral and then she got all caught up in searching out what went on with her mother that it was nothing but destructive, both to her and everyone around her. Us not being a thing was something I hoped would make her start to question what she was doing, sort of a parting gift, I guess. Not really sure it worked or if it even matters.”

She takes a long sip from her mug. “Point being, I’ve moved forward with my life. I’m not letting her problems bring me down. Sure, I wonder what happened with my mother but it’s not something I’m pursuing single-mindedly.” She chuckles. “Anyway, things are positive. They’re really good for the first time in a while and I’ve found someone who makes me genuinely happy.”

Both brows rise behind the sip of coffee Elisabeth is taking, and she lowers the mug to swallow the sip and smile. "You've met someone? Elaine… that's a good thing!" She seems genuinely thrilled, although she does offer softly, "Just… be careful, okay? For both your sakes. Make sure it's… not just rebound, yeah?" She grimaces a little bit. "I hurt a very good friend that way once. I didn't mean to or anything, but… " She shrugs slightly. "I think he forgave me eventually, but it definitely made me a little more careful." Her smile is soft. "Not that I think you're doing it, just… you know. Looking out for you." At least, she's trying to. "Tell me about them?" The invitation holds genuine interest in hearing how Elaine's dating life is going.

“I know, I know. It’s not a rebound. I’ve known Rhett something like eight months now and things with Robyn weren’t… I mean, there was a formal end to the relationship but I don’t know how much of a relationship there even was by the end. The timing seems weird, yes, but it worked out.” Elaine smiles back over at Elisabeth. “I promise it’s not a rebound.” She takes a long sip of her coffee before she continues.

“Rhett’s the guy I get my cooking supplies from. Spices and stuff. He hunts them down for me and brings them in on his boat. One day we just started talking. He was kind and listened to me and was incredibly well-behaved and then at some point we came to the realization that the joking was flirting and there was a chance there and neither of us did anything. We just danced around it because we were too damn polite and too damn scared to admit attraction. Eventually it happened and it was just… it was strange. I felt things I’d forgotten were nice in a relationship. It’s really good.”

She pauses. “I almost fucked it up by trying to explain some of the weird shit that’s gone on though.”

Oy. Elisabeth makes a face. "Wow. Honestly, Elaine, that takes a braver soul than I am," she laughs. "Poor guy. I mean… Jesus, we literally live in a science fiction movie. I feel like mine's been a cross between Terminator and Sliders, and everyone else is like friggin' X-Men!" She's really spent a lot of time around Magnes, one can tell. And it makes her chuckle aloud. "If he didn't run after you attempted the whole Terminator story of future kids and crazy portals through time and space, I think you might have a keeper."

That poor, poor man. "We should invite that poor man for serious drinks, after you gave him that mess to chew on. You did at least get him half-drunk before you started, right?"

“He’s not really much of a drinker, his ability kind of waters things down so it’s not really very effective…” Elaine looks sheepishly over at her. “I tried to explain Adel and he basically thought I was saying there was an expiration date on our relationship because I was going to have a kid in the future and I had a hell of a time explaining to him that it was not how that worked but I think I finally got that part through. I kind of stressed the whole ‘other Elaines are not me’ thing so that he got the picture.”

She rubs her face, then takes a long swallow of her coffee as a distraction. “I figured I’d go ahead and tell him because fuck if I know if any of that shit is going to come back to haunt us and I love him and I don’t want him to be caught unaware if weird shit goes down. Scared the crap out of me because I thought he was going to leave but it turns out it takes a bit more than that to scare him off. He’s a good guy.”

Elisabeth's laughter is stifled as Elaine explains all about the Adel explanation. "Yeah," she agrees on the decision amid chuckles. "It's not really like you could hide it. I mean… Adel's around!" And who knows if Magnes brings the other Addie around how that might create confusion too. She doesn't bring that up, though. "I definitely think at least giving him some amount of fair warning is a good idea…." She pauses and eyes the other woman over the rim of her coffee cup. "Especially if you're throwing around the L word, m'dear."

And then Elisabeth waves her coffee cup a bit, as if to wave off something. "And don't think I'm criticizing," she adds quickly. "I just don't think you use the word lightly, and if you've known him long enough that you're using it… you definitely can't just let him get hit in the balls when the shit hits the fan." There's a slow raising of her shoulders in a resigned shrug. "And we both know it's going to hit the fan at some point. We're still fighting the same battles." A wistful grimace is accompanied by a brief look toward Aurora. "I don't think we're ever going to learn."

“I figured if he could handle Adel he could handle any of the rest of it,” Elaine chuckles lightly. “I mean, sure there are plenty of complicated things to try and explain but I figure that bit is the most directly tied to me so I might as well get it out there.” She smiles. “It’s a mutual word throwing thing, it’s a whole thing. It is what it is. It’s weirder using it in front of other people, though. I haven’t told anyone that part. But yeah, the whole thing is… it’s enough to warrant me wanting to keep him safe.”

She doesn’t seem to like the idea of shit hitting the fan, and she buries her face behind her mug to take another sip before she answers. “I wish we could just finish whatever battle we need to so we could get it over with and live our lives. I’ve been living my life and it’s great but I know there are things going on and I can’t really help. So I guess I’m waiting for the shoe to drop and trying to keep those I care about safe.”

"I don't think it's about any one battle," Elisabeth confesses. "I think it's just human nature. The civil war ramped things up so that the pendulum has swung at least partially toward positive Evo stuff. But… the trick is always finding the happy medium. Not entirely sure in this case where that is, because so many people are still threatened by what people's abilities can do." She shakes her head. "But I promise you this — if I hear anything at all that you need to know to keep yourself and whoever else safe? I will warn you. Straight up. Okay?"

It's a more serious conversation than she'd planned on for today, but then again… they're both worrying for someone they care about in fucking Antarctica. So… ya know. Serious stuff has to crop up. "I can't remember if I had time at lunch, I think it fell by the wayside a bit. But I meant to ask you if you'd do some language lessons with Aurora." She grins a bit sheepishly herself now. "So, uhm… one of the things I learned a lot of in the world where she was born was Russian. She and I both used to work with Felix," and with the other Elaine, but she leaves that out for now, "and now that my Felix is back around, we're still doing that. But … she could use someone else to keep practicing with. I don't want her to lose it, you know? Do you think you'd be interested?"

“I do appreciate being kept in the loop. If nothing else, having a head start on whatever’s happening is good,” Elaine has a feeling that if something happens, Richard will be in the midst of it, and if Richard’s involved then Liz will certainly be privy to things. “If, for some reason, I hear about something… I’ll do the same. We’ll keep everyone safe.” That’s something she could drink to.

Coffee, that is. She takes a long sip. “I love that idea. I haven’t really gotten to work with kids since the war and Aurora’s such a sweetheart. I’d be happy to help her keep that up.”

The glance at her daughter brings a softer smile to Elisabeth's features. "I think she'd really love the chance to get to know you, too. She's… pretty damn amazing when it comes to her perspective on alternate versions of the same people." Shaking her head, she just looks nonplussed. "The girl is crazy resilient." There's admiration in her tone for that, but she looks at Elaine. "She knows you're not the same Elaine, but it really flat out doesn't matter to her. You might have to remind her sometimes that you're not Uncle Magbutt's Elaine." Rolling her eyes, Liz murmurs, "I don't think she will ever call him anything but Uncle Magbutt, thanks to Isabelle." The amusement in her tone is easy, though.

"So you said your friend Rhett does spice runs and stuff." Blue eyes twinkle. "Can I put in special requests and things? I'll share my inland sources with you if you share your boat sources with me," Liz teases.

“Nice to see someone in this world that can handle all this shit and take it in stride,” Elaine chuckles. “But I’ll remind her, if needed. I’m sure it’ll be fine, though.” Her expression turns into a wide grin at the mention of special requests. “Rhett is an excellent supplier. He’ll bring in all kinds of things that are harder to get in the Safe Zone. He’s no gun runner, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, he can get just about anything. I’ve just used him to get cooking ingredients. So he’ll take your requests for certain.”

She pauses for just a moment. “Liz, when they get back from Antarctica, can you tell me how it goes? I don’t know that Robyn will talk to me and I still do care and I want to know if she found what she wanted.”

"Of course," Elisabeth's reply is immediate. "Frankly, I'm not sure they're going to find a damn thing down there," she admits. "But I never discount Richard's instincts when it comes to shit like this." She grimaces slightly. "Sometimes I swear to god that's actually the man's power — to find connections in the unlikely places."

There's a long moment of quiet while Elisabeth sips from her coffee, her parental eye still on Aurora's fun and games. A smile crosses her face and she murmurs on a chuckle, "She might be eating more than goes on that cookie." Indeed, the little girl is currently attempting to be surreptitious as she squeezes dollops of frosting onto the ends of all five fingers of her other hand.

“I appreciate it, thank you,” Elaine offers a warm smile. “But I really hope that there’s something there. I’m not sure how much off the handle Robyn will fly if she doesn’t get information on her mother. So I hope for everyone’s sake there’s something. If I had to pick anyone to go with her, I’m glad it’s him. They’ll find something. They will.” Her gaze slowly drifts over to Aurora with a laugh. “I’m sorry for the sugar rush in advance, but I remember doing this as a kid and loving it.”

They'll find something. Of that, Liz is certain enough. She's not sure she wants that, since who the fuck knows what that something will be. That's the source of her own stress. Forcing the thought away, she shakes her head and chuckles. "Honestly, Elaine? I prefer to see her doing exactly that. She's being a typical kid, and that makes me feel like I haven't completely screwed up her head over the past few years." It's her biggest fear, that she didn't protect Aurora nearly well enough from the madness that their lives became. "She and Evie seem to be recovering far more quickly than we could have hoped, but… some things still have the power to cause setbacks." She shrugs a little. "Her counselor says she's doing really well, though, overall."

There's a pause. "She still misses the people we left behind. And she misses the hell out of Kain." WIth Kain now in hiding, though, there's not much she can do about that. "She keeps asking me when we're gonna visit him."

“It’s hard to tell a kid something hard,” Elaine shakes her head a bit. “During the war… part of the time I was helping deliver messages and codes, the other part I was looking after kids. Teaching. There were so many times I had to try and explain things I would rather not have to explain to anyone. I just tried to be honest without going into detail.”

She shakes her head. “I can’t imagine going through that. I’m glad it wasn’t me, I don’t know that I’d be that strong. And I think Aurora’s the strongest out of everyone.”

Elisabeth nods, sipping her coffee. "Honest and information are their level has always served me pretty well," she agrees. "Sometimes I have to think through what she's asking. Like … you know, when she asked how she came out of my belly, she didn't need a biology lesson. She just wanted to know if I pooped her out." Elisabeth rolls her eyes and laughs at that memory. "So you know, explaining girls have three holes was all she needed, but damn, the things no one tells you about being a parent. The weirdest questions."

The blonde is still giggling at the thought of that conversation and Felix's gimlet stare when she told him about it. But she does nod as she looks at Aura, a wistful expression crossing her smile. "I think you're right. She doesn't have the attachment issues that I was worried about… she just incorporates all versions of a person into her worldview. It's amazing to listen to her when she's talking about things sometimes."

“Smart kid,” Elaine chuckles. “Maybe one day I’ll have some of my own and I’ll get that experience for myself.” Maybe, maybe not. That’s not a question she’s answered yet. “She’s at least adjusting better than most people. I’m sure it’ll get confusing over time, for me at least, if she’s referencing someone I don’t really know. Maybe at some point I’ll figure out all of this.” This being the aftermath of all of what the travelers experienced. “At least we know the future’s in good hands,” she says, glancing over at Aurora.

"Maybe you will," she agrees. "It's funny. She's jumped worlds and run into enough duplicates that she actually keeps pretty straight who is who. She's… organized them in her head in particular ways, I guess. Like… she knew Kaylee in the world she lived in until we ran. And she calls both Kaylees 'Aunt Kaylee', but she knows this Kaylee isn't the same person. They don't have the same memories or anything. And that's just…. Normal to her." Elisabeth shakes her head. "I guess I did okay with her." She smiles a little. If there is only one thing in the world she is proud of, it's that she's managed to give her daughter enough security not to be (at least so far) severely fucked up by all she's seen. "She amazes me every single day."

“Either way, I shouldn’t keep you from Aurora’s sugar rush,” Elaine grins. “I’m sure you’ll both enjoy that. I’ve got things I need to do anyway. Just, you know, keep in touch. Things are better when we stick together, right?” She’s learning that a bit more every day. “We’ll see each other again when we get through the other end of this whole ordeal.”

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