The Ultimate Sacrifice


brian_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Ultimate Sacrifice
Synopsis Brian and Veronica meet for the first time since the fall of the Company.
Date November 5, 2010

Roosevelt Island

Cold and crisp — autumn has always been Veronica Sawyer's favorite time of year, even when she lived in a state without so much seasonal change as New York. Contrary to popular belief, there are trees that change color in California, and trees that lose their leaves as well — the fall foliage is simply not as stunning or as vibrant or as ubiquitous as it is in the east coast. Palm trees and pine trees mingle with the maples and other color-changing trees back "home."

The agent has already been home, shed her work clothing and donned a track suit and Nikes so that she can run in the cold evening air. The sun is slipping toward its resting point, casting the buildings and water with a red golden light. It's a beautiful night — and yet there is a shadow that seems to taint it. Monday looms ominous and dark on the horizon.

Ipod buds in her ears, Veronica's feet pound the pavement to the beat of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's not the safest thing to run with music drowning out the noise, but Roosevelt Island these days is one of the safest neighborhoods in New York — even if at times it feels like a prison.

It took a long ass time to find her, and even longer to put himselff in position to actually make contact with her. But finally, he's there. Wearing sweats and his own track jacket, the young man practically emerges ffrom the shadows his own sneakers slapping the pavement adjacent to Veronica's. His arms swinging freely as he jogs beside her. Dipping his chin, his eyes slowly roll over to fixate on her features. His greeting is passive, a solid gaze onto his counterpart.

While her hearing is compromised, Veronica has the knack for observance that comes with being an agent for most of her adult life, and she realizes someone is coming up on her periphery before it registers who it is. She carries a gun and taser beneath the light track jacket, but she has no reason to worry yet — it's in all likelihood another jogger, out for a run in the brisk autumn air.

Except it's not.

Her breath catches in her throat when she sees Brian, when those blue eyes catch on her dark, and her brows instantly knit together in a worried expression, glancing behind her to see if anyone else can see them.

A hand comes up to tug down one of the earbuds, though she doesn't stop running. "It's not safe for you here," she whispers, heart pounding not from the exertion of her run but from adrenaline borne of worry and love.

"What are they gonna do? Kill me?" Brian mutters, shooting her a look. "They'd be doing me a favor, next to what you did to me." His features then break into a grin affter a few moments of trying to repress it. The sheer amount of corny angst does not ffail to make him laugh. His eyes are immediately scanning for any sign of a particular ring on her person. Though he tries to do so descreetly, "I don't really care."

"I don't know if you've heard.. But apparently shit is going to go down on Monday. We're taking the kids and getting out of here. It's going to be too dangerous for them. And since we have a tradition for visiting each other right before every apocalypose I thought I'd come see you.."

A deep breath is taken. "Fuck I need to do more cardio."

Her face contorts with that first barb before he makes it clear it's a joke. She nods at the mention of Monday and she presses her lips together. Her eyes dart to the side — the water on her left, a copse of trees to her right, and she gives a jerk of her head in the direction of the latter, suddenly veering off the paved running trail and into the little wood.

Within, it is darker than without, the meager sunlight not strong enough to break through the foliage here. She drops onto the grass and reaches to turn off her iPod, pulling the other bud out of her ear and looking up at him. Her eyes shine in the minimal light, threatening to spill over. Out comes her cell phone, the battery removed — just in case — the split parts set beside the iPod.

"I'm sorry," she whispers, reaching a hand up to him, to tug him to the grass beside her.

A light smirk forms after his little barb. He doesn't feel all too bad about that. Though he would never really truly maliciously attack her, but she did massacre his emotions. It's not surprising that he lash out slightly. Following her jerky motion, he runs after her until she is tugging him onto the grass. Watching her break down the cell phone silently, he tucks his hands into his pockets. Watching her without much emotion.

"What are you sorry about? That I need to do more cardio?" He mutters, eyeing her a little. "Or that we have to move the kids or…" Or for something else. His grey blue eyes slowly go to fixate onto her facial ffeatures. Watching her without expression. He purses his lips ffor a moment, letting out a quiet sigh. "Uhmm.. So.. Yeah. I just wanted to say goodbye I guess. In case I don't see you."

Veronica swallows and she shakes her head, not answering what she's sorry for. He knows what infiltrating is like, after all, and he'd left her, hurt her in the past, all for the cause. Her eyes flicker away, studying the water beyond the land's edge, the red sunlight bouncing off of the small waves.

"I'd ask where you're going, but it's probably better you don't tell me," she says, her husky voice softer than usual. "But don't confuse my not asking for not caring, okay? It's probably safer."

Her eyes remain on the water, but a tear slips down her cheek. "Did you know Goodman's alive?" she asks, almost conversationally. "He tried to warn me, to tell me to run away before the Company fell. Told me to run, to get out while I could."

"Thought you killed him." The answer comes back dully. Though his interest in Goodman at least for now, is plainly not very high. "We're going to Jersey. Wildwood." He says almost like he's in rebellion against anything she says. She is probably very correct that it would be much safer iff he kept the location from her. But the raging twelve year old inside him begs for justice. He takes his gaze from her and peers around as if bored.

"So I should probably go." He mutters, giving a light shrug. "Don't get killed, alright."

"No," she says suddenly, shaking her head vehemently. "No. You don't get to chase me down just to … just to make me feel like shit, Brian. If all you're going to say is don't get killed, then why the hell are you here?"

Veronica pushes off from the ground, grabbing the cell and the ipod and shoving them into her jacket pocket as she strides a few feet away, arms wrapping around herself as the tears begin to stream down her face. It's a rare moment, her guard completely eradicated by the ambush, by his presence, by the knowledge the world as they know it might end Monday.

"I'm just trying to keep you safe, you know?" she says, head jerking as if to look over her shoulder but she doesn't turn all the way. "I'm not doing it to hurt you." A hand comes up to brush her cheek.

"Bullshit." Comes the blunt answer. Normally the tears would cause him to bring his attitude in check. But apparently he's too angry right now. Sticking with his teenage rebellion he remains still and stares at her back. "I don't think you're trying to hurt me. But I don't think you're trying to keep me safe." He tilts his head back, reaching up to grasp his hat and pull it down slightly.

"You can do whatever you're doing because you're scared, or whatever the fuck you're doing. But don't tell me it's because you're trying to protect me, alright? Don't try to make yourself into the martyr in this situation. Like you're undertaking the ultimate sacrifice." He sighs heavily. "Maybe I did just chase you to make you feel like shit. I don't know. But.. I don't know. Be careful. What are you going to do Monday?"

Her head drops and she studies the ground, shaking her head. "I don't think I'm a martyr, but it is a sacrifice. You're … you were the only person who loves me in this city. Maybe the world, to be honest." Her mother's too lost in a haze of valium and wine to even remember where Veronica lives most of the time. "You don't know what that's like, Brian. You have a houseful of kids who love you and need you. And sure, you could probably give up one of you to be with me, and run wherever it is that I'd be safe, but I don't know if that place exists."

She swallows hard. "I'm trying to make sure it does exist, some day, you know? Or that was the plan, but I don't… I don't know how. I haven't been able to get close. They're keeping us at arm's length. So far our only real case is to try to find the Company agents."

Veronica sighs and turns to look at him. "I probably made a mistake. I'm probably going to get arrested or killed doing this. I figured it was easier to just … stay away. And safer for you if I did. But I do love you. I always will." She reaches up to tuck a strand of dark hair behind her ear. "I don't know. They haven't given me any specific orders on Monday. I don't think what I saw in my vision will happen."

"Yeah you probably did." Brian almost growls, before finally pulling himself back out. When she says she loves him, he simply stares back at her. He remains silent for a long moment.

"We have a baby at the lighthouse. Do you know anyone that might be able to take care off a baby ffor a few days? A safe place? We're taking the kids on the run. I am hesitant to take the baby with us if I can ffind a saffe place for her." Brian murmurs softly.

The coldness makes her shiver, dark eyes averting again and casting out their gaze over the water to look anywhere but at his face. Her hand comes to her forehead, pressing the palm against the skin there as she takes a deep breath. In that moment, she pushes away the guilt and pain from herself, pulls back on the mask that distances herself from everyone.

"Turnabout is no fun, is it, Brian?" She'd forgiven him for leaving her before, but this is self preservation.

But the baby — most places she can think of would be related to the government. Is that safe? Is that better, if the baby is evolved? "Two ideas. Denton or Parkman. I can put you in contact with either. Denton's retired, living in Texas. His wife could teleport here, get the baby and head back. They have one of their own now."

"We weren't like in a relationship before, Veronica." Brian mumbles, using her full name on this rare occasion. "This is different and you know it. You know it." He tries to press with a little venom. Making sure she knows she knows it. Tucking his hands back into his pockets he glances over his shoulder.

"Denton and I don't have the greatest history. You think he would bring the baby back when I called on him?" Winters brings his hands out of his pockets and folds them over his chest. "Texas would be safe. If she could teleport her in and out for just a couple days. How would I get a hold of them?"

She doesn't say anything, flinching at the name, and instead pulls the cell phone and its battery out of her pocket, putting them back together, scrolling through until she finds the contact. The mask has slipped once more, her eyes filling with tears that blur the digits on the screen in front of her. With the battery in, she doesn't speak but instead turns the screen toward him, having to move close enough that he can read it and commit the numbers to memory or into his own cell phone if he has one.

Once that's done, the battery is slipped out again and put back in her pocket. "I think so. Tell him to call me if he needs to confirm or something, he can reach me through DHS, it's still my cover," she whispers, her voice even huskier than normal.

Her liquid eyes flicker back up to his face. "I thought I could make a difference. The Institute — they're going to be worse than the Company ever was, Brian. I thought I could somehow stop it. I guess that was arrogant of me, but … I couldn't run away if there is even a chance I can keep it from happening."

Taking a halff step forward, his eyes fall onto the phone. Somewhere else in the city, another Brian hand picks up a pen and quickly jots down the number. Writing Len above the number. The replicator nods slowly. "Thank you Vee." His eyes ffall onto her eyes, watching the water form around them. "Yeah, you're totally opposed to running away, right?" He lets out a quiet sigh. "Sorry. That one was uncalled for."

"Well.. Uhm. I guess I'll see you after the world ends right? I'm sure I'll be around the city, here or there. If you need help or something."

"Keep them safe. The kids. Gillian. You." The tough girl's voice cracks on that last syllable, and she suddenly moves forward, planting hands on either side of his face, staring up for a moment, so many tacit things in her dark eyes. Apology. Love. Loneliness. Everything she cares for in the world is before her and yet so very out of reach. She leans forward to kiss him, a soft brush of lips.

"I'm sorry," she whispers, backing away. It's not the kiss she is apologizing for.

"I will. I'll.." The last few words ffade offf into nothing as her lips raise to press up against his. Leaning in slightly he barely returns the kiss. Bringing his head back up away from her kiss he tilts his head lightly. "Be safe okay." Winters murmurs, taking a ffew steps back he turns around. "It's okay.. Don't worry about it." Whatever he's forgiving it sounds like he's not really sure either.

Veronica presses her lips together and nods once before turning away. The sun's light has dimmed and instead of red and gold, everything is tinged with the blue of the gloaming — cold, indifferent. There are no more words, just a choked sound as she breaks into a run, not returning to the side path he had met her on, but across the grass of the copse for the other side of the narrow strip of land.

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