The Present Is Much Easier


abby_icon.gif francois_icon.gif



Scene Title The Present Is Much Easier
Synopsis Advice is sought at the Bronx Zoo.
Date July 17, 2010

Bronx Zoo


Chinchilla's! And not dead, flayed and laid out on some high society hoity toity madame who's accented it with diamonds. No, no, this is a real life chinchilla the size of a football all varying shades of grey and black that's moving around with half a dozen others that prompts oooh's and ahhh's from patrons of the Bronx Zoo.

Prompts Abigail to cock her head to the side watching the very large rodents as she stands beside her favourite frenchman in the hours just before dinner. The zoo filled with people, a public place instead of private to have a conversation that was inevitable is what she wanted and who doesn't like animals? That and she has a stroller filled with a conked out baby who sleeps away with her pacifier chugging away in her mouth.

"Never really seen one of those. Don't know whether I prefer them there… or whether I might like a coat out of them…" Fur had a place in her world. Won't catch her cringing at the sight of a fox fur jacket. Won't catch her in one either. Too expensive. "What's next on our tour? The Lemurs? or were we gonna go see the butterfly's? I think it should be butterfly's, easier to talk there. About stuff."

Francois thinks the chinchillas are a little dull, as they are. Round versions of the commoner kinds of its species, and the coats they can make are pretty damn impressive. There was a lot of that, in the decades he remembers — fur coats, disappearing like the way cigarettes still didn't even after the sixties. He is pretty sure that the Englishwoman on the boat to America had had a coat out of chinchilla, although by then her forties glamour was a little old fashioned. These thoughts and more, not entirely in place that celebrates the life of species they display. He only feels a fraction guilty.

Kasha is asleep, though. That's ruder. At Abby's summoning of his attention, Francois picks himself up off his lean on the wooden railing from where he'd been absently worrying the plastic arm of his shades with gnawing canine teeth. These he remembers to stop fidgeting with, fold, pocket, as he thinks.

"About stuff?" he queries, mouth bending into a brief smile. "Then by all means, let's go see the butterflies." Papillon, as Raith had once inexplicably called him.

"Stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, crazy stuff. I need to bounce something off you and ask you for a favor. Because you're Francois and you have a good head on your shoulders, and I might need someone at my back if what I'm about to tell you doesn't make you wonder what on earth I was smoking"

Her hands tighten around the stroller, emerging from the rodent area and taking a few moments so she can orient herself and so can Francois. The place is big, there's land everywhere here and hundreds of different animals for all of New Yorks citizens to enjoy. 'Ferry business, sorta. What are you doing Tuesday? I think.. in the evening? Don't worry, it's not babysitting"

Abby has a lot of words, sometimes — which is fine, they take up time and give Francois an opportunity to be quiet without it going noticed or any such thing. His mouth twists in a smile, first, at why he qualifies for some kind of advice-giving, and doesn't offer agreement nor protest in response. Thinks that certain other people could stand to agree with her! And. He did already cite being tired as an excuse for thoughtful quiet.

Hands sealing together in a loose hand-to-wrist clasp behind his back, Francois glances sidelong to her when she prompts a response, eyes rolling skywards in thought as if to pluck his schedule out from the cloudless blue. It's a warm summer day, his sleeves folded up to elbows, loose over his jeans and shoes adequate for long walks in the expansive zoo.

"Evening, Tuesday? I think it is empty, except for this thing you want me to do that isn't babysitting."

"Then you're coming with me and Mel. We're meeting with peter and a post-cog in Central park, probably one more other person too. The post-cog needs people she can trust, or it would just be here and us, but…" When you want to get something done, sometimes, you need to acquiesce to what the person doing the thing, wants to do.

"I should probably explain right? About why we're meeting a post-cognitive in a park. Mel's all gung ho to do something right now, and I just.. I want to just dig some more, see if it's what It hink it is or if I'd just being a blonde and stupid and seeing something where there is nothing. Making a mountain our of a molehill" She could fill hoover damn with words and seems content to do so. Not for the sake of talking and hearing something, she can on occasion be quiet. But even waaaaay back when, she still talked. A lot.

Thankfully, there are no juice boxes here, raisins or Dreyfus bearing down with weapons. There's a bench not far up, shade abundant as it's beneath a towering oak and Abigail steers the stroller that way. Better for Francois to sit, relax, while she fills his ears up to the brim.

July has extended forever. Maybe for as long as he's been here at all. October through February seems to accordion together in Francois' recollection, and everything there after where Dreyfus made peoples' lives miserable seems fractured and scattered outside of mere months and days. It hasn't even been a year, yet, that he's existed since 1994. Not to put too fine a point on it — he already feels like he's had a normal life for-ev-er now, maybe seems like longer because he keeps waiting for Teo to shatter into a million pieces like he promises to.

Keeps waiting to wake up the age that he is in November and keeps waiting for his first pay cheque. And so it registers as surprise, to him, when Abigail starts on about this, of life outside neverending normalcy. Postcogs and parks.

Okay. "Melissa?" he asks, a little stupidly. Last he knew, she was— managing a Gothic club or something. Tribal people. He sits, on the bench, an obedient kind of gesture despite the fact that she didn't tell him to (and that's when you know the training works). "You may have to explain, oui."

"I'm going to have to explain. I know that silly Frenchman" She takes up a seat beside him, uncaring the looks it might give or the mistaken assumption that some people might make that they are not a perfect happy little nuclear family. Abigail's foot settles on the foot of the stroller, using it to push the contraption back and forth to ensure that it never stays still.

"I have to start, I think, with the afternoon out in Queens, with Delilah. That way, you have everything" And she does. Hand in lap, thumbnail picking at thumbnail as she relays the story of Susan and the menfolk, out in the alley discussing keeping things from Kaylee lest everything falls down. Damon and his 'not one of them' despite being in Moab, the passing over of a item in white cloth and the suspicion of what Susan's ability lends itself to be.

"Then there was that thing in Central Park" She points out. "Right after, there's an altercation in Central Park that makes my spine just crawl. I need to know what went on, see if it's just.. me or whether… there's something to it. There's more to this all, but…"

He'd liked playing house before. In the kitchen, over wine and dinner. Out here, too, is nice, and the assumptions are nice too, in a sense. It won't be the first time — Francois has pretended to be in a lot of relationships! Ones where he was the only one who knew better.

He's focusing, though, pulling away from subconscious thundercloud tangents, hooking his arms back over the back of the bench, legs at a lazy sprawl and one knee weaving back and forth like a restless, mildly inconsistent pendulum as green eyes squint and study her, listening carefully. Above the collar of his shirt, that rippled, pale necklace mark of Dreyfus' knife can be seen over dark cotton, swifts a little whenever he talks, swallows, breathes deeper.

"And the postcognitive will have you knowing better about the altercation," Francois deduces, makes the easy connection out loud. "What do you know of it now? And what is the more?"

"It'll help me know whether it's just some co-incidental random event or whether there really truly was something connected with Susan and Clark and Damon. Clark and Damon who since that meeting have been gone. Susan says they're on a run, that she knows we overheard her. I went to Hana to see if she'd heard anything or knew anything. She confronted Susan I suppose, must have done something because she texted me to tell me that it was being taken care of it, it was all fine"

Abigail's nose wrinkle, the few freckles she's managed to get from the sun of the short summer shifting. "Something just… It feels wrong Francois. This will make me feel better. If it's nothing, if it's just some little gang war, then.. it's some little gang war and I'm just being stupid and paranoid and I worked myself up and others. I'll drop whatever it is that I think and just carry on."

The more though. There's more to make her think such. It's with no small amount of shame that she relays about the Garden, the spiking of the teapot with negation drugs and Susan's behavior. Noah's visit and how the man knew that Francois had been over, checked over Kasha and what had tweaked her wrong with the way that the charming white ninja of the Ferry had just… once again, tweaked her wrong when it came to Susan. How everyone seemed to think that susan was A-Okay.

No shame! None at all, is what Francois' brief grin at the news of her negation drug trick seems to imply. Craftiness is a stunningly useful keep-alive tool, and it doesn't take Teo or any other member of team Charlie to take a verbal stab at his sharpshooting skills to say that it's a good thing he recognises that. As said, he's only been here less than a year, and only a small fraction of that time contributed to the scars he's since accummulated since becoming a mortal, and faded away again.

"Unfortunately," he says, after a moment of thought, "that might mean that Susan is indeed clear. But then, that is a thing that everyone might have said about Carlisle Dreyfus also, back in Ryazan."

A hand drifts out to let a snag of Abby's hair, having drifted free enough to count as out of place, curl around his fingers, subsequently pushed back behind the shell of her ear as he thinks, and worries, a little bit. "And what is it specifically that you fear she is doing? Hurting people, trading information? It must be dire, if you don't trust the opinions of those you seek first."

"I think… I think she's influencing people. She's doing something and not just the person who was blackmailing her and she had killed. Of which she told me she had done. I think she's doing something that if found out will be bad for the Ferry or else why would they not want Kaylee to find out. Susan said she'd take care of Kaylee, that Kaylee could bring it all down. Take into account what her ability is, Kaylee can tell if someone's been tampered with and maybe even fix it. She checked me, said nothing had been done. What if I hadn't spiked the tea? How did she know I spiked the tea, unless her ability didn't work after drinking it and she tried to use it"

She holds still to allow him to adjust her hair, tuck errant strands of blonde away. So pink and then, back to normal. As if she might have changed it just for him at that dinner.

"I need to know, for myself. If she's influencing people, using her ability to do something with the Ferry" Abby shakes her head. "What if it's to… oh I dunno, oh lord. She's choosing the people she wants on the council" Abigail's eyes widen and she looks to Francois, stroller stopping it's rocking as she snatches up his hand.

"That's what she's doing. She's choosing who she wants on the council. She wanted McRae. She wanted Pastor Sumter and myself, said we'd be the perfct pairing and that if someone didn't nominate me, she'd make sure it happened. Francois, that's got to be what she's doing"

But he's already shaking his head, the hand she took tightening around his own. "Abigail, that— maybe," Francois concedes, first, to the possibilities that she's not wrong. His thumb presses gently into the palm of her hand, as if that gesture could stop her from thinking herself into a tangent. "But the council has been Eileen's idea for a long time. She— "And he hesitates, here, but soldiers on."She would consult with me on her ideas for the Ferry, back when Dreyfus was a problem, and she had names and impressions as to who she wanted there on it.

"And you are all doing it by vote, non?" That had been the idea. "You think Susan can influence however many hundreds you have? And to what purpose? There is no evil in these choices that I can see, or anything that could be gained that could not be gained with others. Allies, perhaps, friends, or people who do not suspect her."

Unlike Abby, for instance. "You do not even know what her purpose is, so you are at a disadvantage. Let us see what happens at the park, observe her without making more red flags, before we try to shape the findings to fit theories."

"what if you could stop time. What if you could stop time Francois, and in the span of a single moment, or periodically through a day when you have all those people going to vote. Infinite time, and if your ability lets you persuede, implant a thought, a little wriggle of a worm in the ear so to speak and no one is any the wiser? She was looking for Odessa. Kaylee said she wanted to talk to odessa but that the surface thoughts just rolling off the woman was anything but nice towards her. What reason would she have to go to Odessa?" Both hands hold his sandwiched between hers. "Maybe she's not going for everyone, but just enough to … tip the scales, to balance it in the favor of those that she wants"

Squint. Woah. Francois does give consideration to her words, for several long seconds, and they could just be sitting in a park for all he cares, or his home, for all that he remembers they're at the heart of a place full of wild and exotic animals, ones that can be turned into coats, but better to be observed. "I do not know if Odessa could do such a thing," he says, after a moment, cautious sounding. "The scope of her power, I mean, and she has always been troubled with her addictions, but she has loyalty to you, also, I think. As strange as she is — she has a clinic, now, in the network."

Shame on him for having faith in people, yadda yadda. "Also, I don't know if someone who is frozen in time will be changed by anything. They are outside of progression and movement, and it takes time for a thought to settle. It is not like as I was, a statue — frozen but with thought. Time still passed, for me." Pleasant memory.

He squeezes her hands again. "Do not discard the idea. If it is true, then— it needs to be considered. But, just— tread carefully. Both for the sake of endangering yourself, but also others. Susan, too, if she is innocent. You wanted to talk to me for my advice, non?"

"I did. Because you in your infinite wisdom that comes with age" Because she trusts him, because she's pretty sure that susan hasn't been near him to fuck with her Frenchman that she loves so dearly. Down goes her head on his shoulder as she settles her back against the seat, still holding his hands on her.

She had unfettered faith in people once. When she was just a waitress in a diner and soothing away the hurts of italians who came in with hangovers and headaches or not quite insurance salesmans with concussions. Before she'd been kidnapped a few times and taught that everyone needs a fresh dose of Paranoia.

"Maybe I just need a good nights sleep, a couple good nights sleep and relax"

There is mock injury in the chuckle that acts as response to her remark. Kind of mock, anyway. Francois still allows his shoulder to be a resting place for her head, adds a second hand to the nest of fingers and palms they've gathered between them. "Mm," he agrees, concedes, and doesn't really know if she's going to listen to him yet, but time will tell.

It's of a different topic entirely, but still prompted by something— jests about age and wisdom, maybe, or the echoing anguish of the stories from a support group just a day ago— when he asks, "Did you see anything? Of November."

He's not the first to ask. "Little Lord Laudani, being born in a store front, by my own hands. All hale and hearty, screaming his lungs off at the audacity of not being in Delilah's belly and Delilah being all weepy and naming him Walter. Apgar of 8, born at six forty-two in the evening. Mother and child well" Nothing to be said about the other man in the ambulance and his status of life. "I think we were both okay, Ambulance was crashed, I could see it through the window of the store"

She intertwines her fingers in his, holding tight as she resumes rocking the stroller with her foot. "That's what I saw while I was in the bus on the bridge. I woke up and had whiplash and bruises and … it was hanging off the bridge"

Francois is rarely the first to do much with Abby — including liking her, and probably holding hands in this manner, too. It comes with the territory of being behind in the times. His eyebrows go up, unsure exactly how to feel of something so good and so terrible wrapped up together as if they were not mutually exclusive concepts. In another future, maybe the ambulance gets where it's going. But it doesn't stop a child being born. He's silent, now, jaw shifting against the silk-spun softness of blonde hair tickling at his throat.

"How much credit do you give your vision?" is his next inquiry.

"I give it enough to have told my partner who I saw dead in the vision, to take that day off, go somewhere else but don't come into work. And told delilah that she needed to park her rear at a hospital that day because I wasn't gonna be delivering a baby. I put enough into it, given the source of the visions. Joseph's visions, they tend to come true. SOmetimes not in the strictest of senses but on occasion, not at all."

Francois might smile to know that maybe two people have held hands with her in such a fashion, and her current boyfriend isn't one of them. She closes her eye's, shutting the world from view. "What did you see Francois? If anything. I know some people didn't see anything. You don't have to tell me, if you did. Sometimes.. they're too hard to process, or just not want to share"

Laughter suggests itself in only a couple of syllables, hitching his breathing, dwindled. "That seems to be the way to ask, non?" Francois queries, though doesn't bring himself to detangle from her, hands loose in hers' and shoulder unmoving beneath the rest of her head. "The 'you don't have to', part. I don't die, in mine. I think I live a long and meaningful existence." His shoulder nudges beneath her head, gentle urging. "Let's go see butterflies."

"But I'm cooooomfortable" Abigail whines oh so softly, as if she were only four or so years older than the child in the stroller. She remains where she is, letting the nudging happen, but not budging. "Define… long and meaningful existence. These things supposedly all happen November 8th. You .., well, one could say that as of right now, that you might have done that very thing."

A heavy sigh, she lifts her head from his shoulder, pressing an affectionate kiss to the clothed shoulder and starts untangling fingers and hands. Butterfly's await. "So you don't die. But something else happens. But you don't want to elaborate. Silly Frenchman. Knowing the future, changes it. You know that right?"

In the stroller, there's a snuffle, possibility of Kasha waking up, maybe not, depending on noise, motion, many things. "Teo's asked me to come for lunch tomorrow"

"Non," is mild disagreement, allowing for a smile now that they've room to look at each other. "Well. Perhaps. But knowing the future can also create it. How else is it that I would have given you my power, if I had not known you would one day need it?" Francois levers himself up to stand, offering out a hand to help her up in kind, tilting back enough to glance down into the stroller before looking back at Abby. "By tomorrow, I will have already lived a long and meaningful existence. I can believe it happens in November too."

"Here I thought that you gave it to me because you were convinced you were dying and I was some little five year old who was nearbye" There's a push of her fist against his arm while he's standing, teasing him about that day so long ago that he remembers as if it were just last year - which in truth, for him it is - instead of more than a dozen. She takes his help up though, letting him peer in on the infant while she peers at her phone, obsessively checking a program on the new phone and seemingly satisfied, puts it away again so she can peer at Kasha.

"We all have lived at least meaningful existences. You and I at least. Done what the lord expected and set for us to do. And some day, she will do what the lord expects for her to do. "Did you really know, Francois, that you were going to give it to me?"

A glance to the phone follows but it's easily dismissed, Francois taking a step back, shoulders coming up in a shrug. "It was the fifties, that I was told my power would go on to another, and that I wasn't going to stop Volken. Perhaps my future would have been different if I never knew that, and I allowed it come true. But then, after that day, it was difficult to keep up with him at all, so perhaps it was fate and not choice.

"Je ne sais pas." He starts to walk, then, headed for where the fork in the road has an angled arrow towards the butterfly house. "The present is easier."

"So it depends, upon the person who see's the future, whether they work to prevent it, or to ensure it happens"

Hands close around the stroller after ensuring the sucky is still being sucked on in infantile sleep and with a gentle push, wheel turn and they carry on as if they hadn't stopped to converse about things perhaps illegal. "Blame Hiro. He's the one who went back. He took Xiu with him, they came that ni-" She doesn't stop walking, but a look of dawning crossing her face, followed very quickly by a laugh. "I almost met you. Hiro came for Xiu that night. I was gonna go with her but… I think Hiro had other plans. They came back after, sat me down and tried to explain that I didn't have an SLC gene and was never evolved, that I was a host to a Kami. Lord they were confusing that night"

"You're right. The present is much easier. Better to live in it, than try to live the future. One day at a time yes?"

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