Supposedly Safe Spaces That Aren't


elisabeth2_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Supposedly Safe Spaces That Aren't
Synopsis It's not so easy to leave the past years behind. But hey, sometimes it kick-starts a cop's brain.
Date April 1, 2019

Outside the Cherry Blossom Gala

The surge and crush of people evacuating from the gala is chaos. Absolute and utter chaos in the dark with security swarming and things happening with Isabelle lighting up back there, people screaming about being stabbed. Despite her actions inside, Elisabeth is with the surge of the crowd instead of making any attempt at anything else…. And once outside, she breaks off and moves as far away from the throng as she can reasonably get. Even in the darkness outside, she looks haunted. Or hunted. Or both. She makes her way toward a tree beneath which she pauses a moment to shelter, dropping her chin to her chest and closing her eyes as if she's listening for something.

Something that happened inside isn't as noticeable here… but that low not-quite-sound that makes bones ache is happening near her.

Whoever had been working the crowd had done their work well; between the wailing stab victims, the general unhappiness of the crowd pouring out of every exit, and Isa… finding anyone who looks 'suspicious' outside of the building is less like trying to find a needle in a haystack and more like looking for decaf in Starbucks; they're all over the place, sure, but none of them are really what you're looking for.

Still, something draws Silas's attention, something more felt than seen. Intuition, perhaps. Or maybe it's the faint, sub-bass vibration rolling off of Elisabeth, not heard but felt somewhere in the marrow of his bones; low frequencies carry, after all.

Whatever it is that draws him in the direction of that massive cherry tree, though, it's the sight of Elisabeth Harrison standing beneath the tree that catches his attention — more specifically, the sight of her hunched over. His first thought is that she got stabbed by one of those weird needle things. Oh shit.

He redoubles his pace, not quite running but definitely moving quickly to join her. "Elisabeth?" he asks, alarmed. "Lis, you alright?" No signs of visible stab wounds; that's good, at least.

Jolted slightly by the question — he's never been able to sneak up on her before, not in the months they've known one another — Elisabeth pivots around and into a ready stance in those heels the women all wear for fancy shindigs. But unlike the first time they met, she's not wearing a combat-ready face. There's genuine fear in her expression, and the subtle thrum of the low frequencies increases so that it's a hum against his skin, not merely felt through the soles of his shoes and in his bones a bit. "S-s-silas?" It sounds vaguely sibilant as she stammers over her words, but not the same way as what they heard inside.

"I'm okay," she insists, despite the fact that her blue eyes are flickering back toward the crowd. "I d-d-d… " She stops, pulling in her lips to quit speaking for now.

Silas blinks. The fuck.

Elisabeth Harrison… looks like she's having a meltdown, or getting real close to it. He doesn't need to feel that subtle bass coming from her intensify to know that; it's written on her face, clear as day, and that's nearly enough to unnerve him.

Silas has never seen her like this, didn't expect it from her. Hadn't heard of it happening when they sailed into the Stormfront and did battle with the most dreadful of the dread pirates, hadn't seen it when they'd boarded that rickety old sub, hadn't seen it during their stay on Kenner's Ark, or when she'd faced him in the kitchen —

— or in any of those other situations where she was geared up for mortal peril, on a desperate mission to find her way back home, a small, patient voice at the back of Silas's mind finishes up.


Oh, right. That was hostile territory. This… this was not supposed to be. Silas can relate to that, since he's feeling it himself, to an extent.

Okay. What to say here? Humor's his normal go-to when it comes to relaxing people, but not in a situation like this. He needs to get her to wind down, to relax, and humor's not gonna do that. If ever there was a time for a soft touch, this is it.

"Yeah, it's me," he says, mustering a smile with just the right amount of tiredness in it. He takes a moment to gather his focus, readying his power; it won't protect them if someone spies them from far off, but he can make sure they're undisturbed for awhile, at least. He walks over to the tree, leaning against it, and lets out a long sigh.

"This night… hasn't really turned out like I'd expected," he says, his voice quiet and calm with just a tiny pinch of regret; he can't imbue his words with authority like Lis can, but adopting an air of quiet confidence can go a long way towards helping people calm down.

Her nod is slightly jerky and Elisabeth turns slightly, moving to give him room to lean on the trunk near her. With him identified and the two of them at least somewhat alone, with a good view of all directions and the tree at her back and the barely budded tree above not flocked with birds of any kind… the audiokinetic manages to settle herself enough to rein in the rolling sound. Reduced to a mere hum in his feet and against the hairs of the arm, no longer audible at all, it's at least better.

She's quiet for a long moment, and then somewhat ruefully murmurs, "You w-w-wanted t-t-to know wh-what it would t-t-take?" The stutter is gentle and she deliberately slows her words down to let them escape properly with less interruption. "The thing that came through the portal? That's… what it once said to me. Five years ago or so."

Silas is silent for a moment, digesting that as he stares out into the night. "So that's what a lightning monster sounds like."

Another long pause as he considers his words, listening to the faint, low sound rolling off of her and the susurrus of the crowd, not so far away. "Gave me the screaming mimis even without that bit of context. I can see how that'd…" he glances to Lis from the corner of his eye to make sure she's looking at him… then, with enough telegraphing to make sure it's not going to startle her, he spreads his hands and makes a tiny sound effect, miming an explosion.

"But… lemme say this," he says quietly, turning to look back out into the night. "I know you already know this, but I'ma say it anyway, because someone was aimin' that whammy at you, and I want to make sure that you're thinkin' about this just as much as you are what that bottomfeeding scumsucker had to say."

He levers himself halfway out of his lean, enough that he can turn to look her in the face, his expression intent. "No one, spooky voice or no, is gonna send you away again. Not you, and not Aura. You're home to stay."

With a faint smile, Elisabeth tips her head back against the tree trunk, her hands shifting to brace behind her hips where she leans. This, at least, she accepts on a level deep enough to quell the stammer if not the low-level anxiety that the bass seems to herald. "I'm not worried about being sen—" She stops, unable to utter that lie aloud. "Okay, let's try that again. In this case, at least, it's not about that. It's about… owning the consequences for actions." She turns her head to look at him.

"It was trapped between superstrings. Magnes and I jumped them four times, and I… wonder if, each time, it got stronger. And then we set it loose on our world, Silas. It's not the Virus. Maybe it's better, maybe it's worse. I don't even know. But in the end, it's kinda on me and Magnes that it's here and on the loose." She swallows hard. "And there are others who do hold me or us responsible for things… and I'm not sure they're wrong to. I never have been."

"Hmm," is Silas's response to that, followed by another period of silence as he thinks. His understanding of this end of it is… somewhat lacking, though he thinks he can figure out the broader strokes of it by virtue of having been there, briefly, in that nothing place.

"That's somethin' I've never been too good with. Ethics, I mean," he says slowly, his voice thoughtful. There is another brief silence. "'Owning the consequences', though… yeah, I can get behind that. Maybe in my own way that's what I've been tryin' to do since I got here. Since I looked around in Sunspot and saw all the empty spaces there, all the people who didn't make it." And you've probably seen a lot more than I have, haven't you? Four trips, and I'll bet none of them were easy, he thinks, but does not say; he only glances to her for a moment, sympathy in his eyes, before he turns his gaze back out to the night.

"You know, I'd always wondered why I'd survived. The Flood. What came after. Why me, instead of so many others? So many better people, drowned or lost. For a long time, it haunted me. But at Sunspot, I decided that I was gonna leave that behind. That instead of wondering why I was alive, I'd try to make something of the fact that I was. For myself, as well as all of the lost. The boat's where I'm starting," he says, waving a hand airily.

He realizes he's drifted off-course and shakes his head. "My point with all of this, though… is that it seems to me that that's part of owning the consequences, too. Your paid dear for it, but your wish came true, so now you've gotta own it. Live the life you fought so hard for." Silas glances over to Lis and grins. "And from what I can see, you're already doin' that."

He takes a breath. "As to this… whatever-it-is, though… yeah. That'll be part of it, too, be it for better or for worse. That's something we'll all have to own… and that includes me. I'm from out of town too, after all, so if you hear anything on that front… you've got my card. Give me a ring." Silas's smile takes on a grimmer aspect for a second. "I'll foot my part of the bill. That's what crew's for; we all bought it, we can all pay for it." He hopes everyone feels that way, at least.

His words strike deep at the heart of Elisabeth's own issues — that guilt of those who survived. What makes us the lucky ones? Or are we the damned? Sometimes it's really fucking hard to tell, isn't it? She smiles just a little bit at him and comments, "I never quite thought of it that way… going forward and living the life I already paid in blood for."

Blowing out a slow breath, that subtle hum has reduced still further so that it's no longer even detectable around them. She seems to be relaxing despite the chaos that continues around them. "That you're willing to step up if push comes to shove?" Elisabeth presses her lips together and she nods. "Yeah. I don't think you know what that actually means to me personally. But it's a lot." She looks at him and then says, "And I know that all the therapists keep saying this to all of us — assuming you're still seeing one — but you don't owe anyone but yourself that better life. I'm glad that you're working toward a dream, Silas. I'm working on new dreams, since getting here was about as much as I could dream of for a long time." She pauses and says softly, "It's not how I dreamed of it… but it's worth it."

Pursing her lips, she tips her head and watches the people milling about and the building. "So… whatcha think? A heist? Someone just trying to embarrass Yamagato somehow? Seems like it was a bit more than a simple power outage, given the givens." Like the voice.

Silas glances to her with mild surprise; he's not sure why his particular buy-in means all that much, but it's good to hear. He's just… not sure how much it's gonna mean if they're fighting goddamned lightning monsters. Or, god forbid, something that's somehow worse. But hey, that's a bridge they can burn when they come to it, lightning monsters or not. Elisabeth has raised a more immediate concern — namely, what the hell happened in there.

He feels a hint of distant amusement at the thought that Elisabeth Harrison, ex-cop and Evo SWAT commander is asking him, Evo grifter, short-con man, and general shady type, about what manner of shady stuff had gone down at the Gala. TOGETHER, THEY FIGHT CRIME! echoes at the back of his mind, a forgotten tagline of a cheesy weekly radio program; he makes a quiet noise that's somewhere between a snicker and clearing his throat, and shakes his head. Time to get serious.

"Definitely more than a power outage; hard to speculate about what they were after until we know what all went down in there. Heist? Bad PR? Could be either. I can say that there was definitely some crowd work going on in there, though. Someone bumped me, and it sounded like they bumped several others; it was a little too deliberate to just be someone wanderin' around in the dark. My first thought was that someone was tryin' to add to their wallet collection, but I've still got mine. Then there were people getting stabbed by these needle things, too; nothing too serious, far as I know, but there sure were a lot of people got poked with them."

"My thinking is that all that crowd work was to make the exits as chaotic as possible; Yamagato's got a pretty good power grid, from what I've seen, and the Gala's not gonna stay dark long… and whoever it was isn't gonna want to stick around once Yamagato's back on their feet. Not if they're smart, anyway. Hence, stirring the pot a bit. They're probably hoping to slip out and fade into the night while everyone's busy." Which means the window to catch these assholes is either closing or already closed, but… so it goes. Yamagato's probably got tons of people who are going to be poring over every single second of footage from the Gala. Note to self, return salt shaker.

There's something in all of this that doesn't quite make sense, though. "That bit with the voice, though. That one puzzles me. I mean… you said it was the exact words that the whatever-it-was said, years ago? I'm… gonna go out on a limb and assume those aren't common knowledge…?"

The more they talk, the calmer Elisabeth becomes. The conversational gambit is perhaps because she's a former cop and he's a former criminal. She's well used to that dynamic, though he has no way to know that. Being able to listen while he lays out his thoughts reinforces her own thought processes. It just took her instincts a bit of time to kick in and the panic overrode them for a time.

When he asks her the last question — the one she hasn't reached yet because she's so frazzled — he can see the reaction. She pulls up sharply and looks at him. "Oh shit." Elisabeth looks back toward the building, her brows pulled together and now she looks intrigued. "What the fuck could she possibly have to gain?" she murmurs aloud, surprised. The only other people who know what was said that day are Eileen and Mateo. And that sure as hell wasn't Mateo.

Silas's only reaction to that is to frown thoughtfully; seems he had the right of it. Lis was able to immediately settle on a likely culprit, just from those words being used. "Sounds like you've got an idea whodunit. Think we can nail 'em before they get away?"

The implications of her own thought processes bother her immensely. Now that her mind is engaged on the actual specifics, Elisabeth's power-reaction seems to have eased off entirely. "No," she replies absently. "Let Yamagato handle their own shit." Her brows are still furrowed but she looks at him and her expression eases into a wry smile.

"First because this isn't in my purview anyway. Even when my job starts, I refuse to be chasing perps on the street if I can possibly avoid it. Second because even if it were my job again, Yamagato is apparently sovereign territory. Like an embassy. No jurisdiction." Her glance goes past him for a moment before returning. She's worrying at her thoughts like a dog with a bone now.

"Main reason though? If the only other person who heard those words was involved in whatever the hell was just going on? I'm… not entirely sure what to do with that."

Silas frowns, mulling that over for a bit. After a few moments, he nods slowly. "Fair enough," he nods slowly, staring out into the night once more.

"Yeah. It's easy to forget that bit; about how this isn't actual American territory." He snorts. "Even usin' my trick could probably get me into trouble here, if they caught me at it; dunno how Japan feels about Evo abilities, but… I suspect they're probably not quite as nice about it. Luckily, mine's also kinda subtle." His frown deepens as he thinks a bit further on that. "I hope Isa's alright."

A glance back toward the building brings a faint smile though her eyes are worried and her tone has an edge. "She'll be fine. If I don't hear from her tonight —" because she'll text Isa, you can count on it — "somebody'll have some explaining to do." Whether that's Isa herself or someone who thinks they can mess with Isa, well… that Elisabeth leaves ambiguous.

Glancing at him again, Elisabeth can finally breathe more easily than when he first arrived. "Thanks," she offers quietly. For the company, for his ability to defuse… for a lot of things, perhaps. "I should, uhm… get home. I have a feeling this is about to turn into a clusterfuck." The chaos will eventually get pulled together into the security teams asking everyone questions. And she'd rather not be here for that part. "Do you need to go back to your … serving gear or something?" He'd said he was working the event.

Silas grins and waves a hand when Lis offers him thanks. "De nada."

The rest of it, though… hrm. "Nah. I precooked a few trays full of karaage for this so that I'd be able to spend some time on the floor; Warren's buddy was hitting it pretty hard, but Yamagato's got minions to do the restocking." He hesitates a moment longer, then sighs. "You're right, though. I oughta be getting back. Assuming this shindig goes on, there's still opportunity to be had. And… I should probably touch base with Amelie, too. Saw her earlier, didn't look like she'd been stabbed, but I oughta check at least."

He sighs and levers himself off of the tree, brushing at his back to make sure no bark's lingering there, then offers Elisabeth a wave and a smile. "Take care, Lis."

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