There's A Peace You'll Know


elisabeth_icon.gif with the mental presence of teo_icon.gif

Scene Title There's A Peace You'll Know
Synopsis Everyone has their break point. 60-something hours into full interrogation tactics at the hands of Humanis First, Elisabeth and Teo talk.
Date Aug 24, 2009

A warehouse somewhere


It is the first thing that she's cognizant of, even before she fully regains consciousness. Between the damage done when they knocked her out on the roof and the drugs they then pumped into her to keep her from being able to focus or use her abilities, Elisabeth has been in and out of consciousness for much of the last couple of days. When she is awake…. she wishes desperately that she wasn't. Despite her best efforts, her body is forcing itself toward wakefulness; toward the pain. She hurts. It's the only real thought she has. She mentally shies away, unable to open her eyes and look around due to the blindfold on them. The sound level in the room has by now nearly deafened her.

Time and space

Is a lonely place,

They'll be waiting. She can't hear them. But they'll be there when she stirs, and the pain will go from halfway bearable to excruciating again.

Please… Elisabeth swallows, her throat dry, sore from screaming. God… if they come at me again… please… let me die. She hasn't got the strength to stop the tears slipping out beneath her lashes. It'll be a sure sign to them that she's awake. Any minute… any minute it will start again.

There’s no sound,

Just a heart that pounds,

She'd let somebody in, earlier. Between the needles and the sleep, screaming and pleading, she'd spared a moment to surrender to the push and pry of another mind pressured up against the red wet pain that Humanis First! had reduced hers to. It hadn't done much since then. Sat in the periphery, blinking blurred at the leak of tears and pop of sweat, the dermal puckering of grief. This is how Ghost's ability works, every experience borrowed secondhand, the input of eyes, kinesthetic nerves, ears, taste, except for the finish, the part that makes things real.

He doesn't feel her pain.

Liz. Small as the pea at the bottom of the princess's bed, the second voice niggles at her, a whisper weaker than anything his earlier analogues had ever manifested inside the shared chamber of a skull. Elisabeth. 'Lisbeth, it's Teo.

Life’s unknown, where’s the way back home?

In my mind, there’s a silent cry.

She has no way of knowing how long she has been here. No way to tell time or location. Not that the time matters much. Infinity is what it seems like. Forever. They're not touching her yet. She can breathe for a few more moments without screaming. Elisabeth's mind drifts, Teo's voice in her head carrying her back to …. dinner at the Nite Owl. Even in her semi-conscious state, the memory brings a faint smile to the corners of her mouth. Teo and Alex… sitting in a booth. It was the first time she'd really spoken to the young Italian teaching English at Irving. He'd seemed barely older than his students. Her mind skips to another image — walking on the sidewalk outside one night. I'm sure he does like you, and he was looking. It's the second time this week that memory has made her smile.

She starts to whisper his name, though no sound really escapes her dry throat. "Teo?" She actually tries to open her eyes, hope driving her to try to look for him. Dizzy, confused, it's merely blackness. Hallucinating…. concussion, the rational part of her brain insists. If he were really here, the music — if you could call it that — would drown out his approach anyway.

True: it doesn't make a lot of sense for there to be a random Italian kid jutting out of her brain, short of a hallucination, the product of brain damage or maliciously twisted chemistry, unless he'd lied. Of course he'd lied. Maybe if she'd've known he'd lied, she wouldn't have come to the docks, and she wouldn't be here. He isn't her Teo, in the end, a thing skewed impossibly far away from the young man who'd trotted at her heel and got googly-eyed over redneck war veterans because they knew how to use water to conduct electricity charges for blowing stuff up.

He sounds an awful lot like her Teo, though, when he can't seem to summon up anything better to say than a cracked: I'm sorry. Idiotic, inadequate, a desultory jumble of syllables in her mind's ear, almost clouded out by the static of receding endorphins. I don't know where we are.

What you feel, what you know,

You’re not in control,

Somehow in the waves of pain and chemically induced confusion, Elisabeth finds amusement in the idea that if she must hallucinate, it's an apologetic Teo. At least she's not alone. She actually cracks another half-smile. Me either, she replies wearily in her head, too tired to try to speak aloud to a hallucination. Or maybe, somewhere in the back of her head, she has managed to put together some of the bits and pieces that she's learned since he came back… and just in case he's real, maybe she should say a few things. All of this floats through her head on a hazy wave of drugs.

And I'm the one who's sorry… I can't… hold out much longer. They want… answers. I'm going to have to give them *something*. Maybe… one of the defunct safehouses? Really, Elisabeth's talking to herself, bargaining with herself. Or trying to. It'd be okay to give them that, right? Just… to make them stop…? It makes her flash back on a memory, she's not even sure from where. 'Everyone has their break point.' Maybe Alex said it to her on that long ago day? Hey… if you're really Teo… could you tell Abby that… I'm sorry? For always doing stuff that I have to say sorry for? And… maybe tell my Dad that I love him, okay? She sucks in a deep breath, forcing herself to strain against the blindfold that immobilizes her head against the pole. I'm going to die here.

If you just let it go,

There’s a peace you’ll know.

Jesus fucking Christ. If anything could've wrung tears out of the ghost, it would have been Elisabeth Harrison breaking in a deafeningly loud room that she cannot even see. Fortunate, perhaps, that Teo doesn't have eyes; this isn't really his moment to cry about.

Okay. Si. I got it.

She's supposed — she's supposed to get to be a mom, you know. She's supposed to get to be a mom. Get married at least once, save lives during the day and make sure he's doing more than surviving during clandestine meet-and-greets after-hours, keep him grounded, like a thorned wing or nails in his feet, a welcome burden and a gift to all the European gay boys who like gossip, homemade food, and unpredictable eruptions of giggles whenever their respective home cultures clash. She is supposed to live. He had believed this and he can't bring himself to think it's a mistake, even if he's made some because of it: and such mistakes.

They'll know you're lying. They fell for that once and they aren't going to fall for it again. Also, desperate discomfort tinges the voice in her head. Discomfort, as if that's anything compared to the inexorable erosion of pain on her body. Also you're not. You can't. This sucks way too much, woman. Some — some basement bunker surrounded by perverts with some squirmy Wop liar yodelling psychically in your auditory cortex. This, he falters. This is too uncool.

There is a whimper… of pain. Of grief. Of sorrow. Maybe even a little laughter. Elisabeth chokes back a sob, the floaty feeling of the drug allowing for a minute surge of real hope. It's faint, but the spark is there through her tears. She could not have come up with THAT description in her own head, in a hallucination. 'Uncool'? she asks with a sad smile on her face. Teo? How did you … get into my head? Her question as the tone of 'I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but I expect you to not lie to me when I'm gonna die.'

She waits for the answer, her mind drifting once more to his words. Parsing them. Comprehending them. You're right, she finally says at length. They won't believe anything I tell them. I'll… I'll try not to give them anything, Teo. I promise. The tears gush from her eyes again. I'm really glad right about now that I'm not pregnant. I wasn't quite glad at first.

Got to be something bigger than me,

How to find just some peace of mind?

It's one of those unfortunate truths: the dreary uncoolness of the situation does not shrink away even when that fact is illuminated. For a protracted moment, the Sicilian simply goes cold, says and does nothing, something that resembles despair crystallizing and riming over the abstract stuff of him like frost. Teodoro Laudani isn't very good at despair, though, so it probably isn't that. Not exactly.

I lied to you, he admits, finally. Somehow, that's the easiest topic to broach of all of those available. I'm not exactly the Teo you know. I'm — a — hybrid: of the kid at twenty six and… and — a Teo who came back from the future, a psychic. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I should have gone alone — I was just — both Teos, they… Excuses peter out like the dregs from a rusted drum of a desert well. I'm so sorry.

When in sight, part of you gives light.

In my mind, the same tape rewinds.

Somewhere within her, Elisabeth finds the strength to snap — very wearily — at him. Stop saying that. I fucking chose this, Teo. Oh, sure, she'd LIKE to claim she was an innocent bystander. Wail 'why me?' But the truth of the matter is that she has known for a long time that she is most likely either going to die a martyr to the Cause or of a bullet in the back from an anti-Evo cop or even a random person on the street. It's a fact of being Evo, a cop, and a … whatever it is. Rebel. That brings to mind the night with Cassidy. And for the first time in thirty-six hours, Elisabeth has a true hint of something other than pain. You really are Lando Calrissian to Richard's Han Solo, aren't you?, she giggles. The giggles hurt, oh dear GOD, it fucking HURTS. Liz is forced to smother the laughter because she's reasonably sure something in there… in her chest or her abdomen… is broken. Badly.

Even the most culturally deprived workaholic expatriate student knows Han fucking Solo. Lando whateverissy is a little beyond the grasp of the young man piggybacking in the woman's head, however, as is why she thinks all of this is so funny. He may reside only as a psychic construct for now, but he certainly can't read minds. I'm sorry for lying to you, he responds, a little waspishly, peering about confusedly through the watering panes of her eyes, his sense of humor arriving somewhat too late to party. You might not be here if… Oh, God. You really are all cowboys.

What's so funny? Of course, he knows. It's one of those situations, you can either laugh or cry about it, and she's had her share of tears. Crazy. He seesaws slightly, disgruntled and wobbly as a colt in the uncertain footing of this psychic ether.

His disgruntlement is actually the thing that makes her laugh harder. But oh GOD … AGONY. The tears pour down her face as she laughs softly. I had this girls' night with Cassidy O'Shea, she finally is able to think through the gasping. Now, of course, she can't breathe. It's stabbing her in the chest to try, and she struggles to get herself under control with the pain. And I just…. had this image of some of my friends as Star Wars characters, that's all. You know… the rebel alliance fighting the big bad empire. And Cat was Admiral Ackbar. That image ought to make even Ghost grin. And well… I of course get to be the big female hero, cuz it's my fantasy, right? So I get to be Leia, and uhm…. She trails off, fighting for air.

When she can finally think again, she continues. Felix has to be Luke cuz he's always kinda whiny and 'why me' and shit even though it's his own fault that he gets fucked up the ass at every turn. And Cardinal got to get the role of the lead hottie because I'm fuc…. no, Elisabeth admits softly. Because I love the stupid ass. But you're not allowed to tell him, okay? It'll… it'll make my death worse for him. Anyway…. you got to be Lando Calrissian, cuz …. you're kinda That Guy. The one who tells lies and seems to betray people who are his friends for the greater good, and in the end…. he's one of the bigger heroes in the movie. There's a long silence.

I don't want to die for nothing, Teo," Elisabeth tells him, her mental voice soft and tired even in her own mind. She is …accepting it. When they kill me… You fucking make sure that it means something.

What you feel, what you know,

You’re not in control,

I don't want to leave you, comes the response, desultory, as if Teo's actual mind were getting choked up about the damn thing. As if you could blame him. You have to explain this crazy joke to me, even if you have to ruin it.

I haven't really seen Star Wars; it just sounds like you're just attaching weird names to everybody I know. The descriptions are pretty fucking apt, though, except — except Lando was probably more cocksure, confident in his place, in his good intentions than anything Teo's capable of excusing himself with, for now. There's a fade, fatigued, sadder now despite that he'd almost started to laugh and she knows that he'd almost started to laugh, she would have felt it: He gets the joke. It's a funny joke. But she can't go before she explains it in person. Lucas Arts is, quite possibly, the stupidest conceivable reason to keep oneself alive and lucid under torture ever, but the alternative is accepting the fact that she's going to die. He means to repeat, 'I don't want to leave you,' and she can probably feel that too. Instead, though, he mumbles, Is there a part where Leia gets captured by the enemy?

Naw… that's Solo's part. But there's this part that I do like… you'd never think with my lifestyle that I'd be a sucker for the romantic happily ever afters, Elisabeth admits softly. It's stupid to talk about movies, but hey… he sorta gets the joke, at least. In Empire, the second movie, she says 'I love you' to Solo before he's basically frozen in a block of stone, supposedly forever at the hands of their enemies. And he says 'I know' instead of he loves her. It's not til the end of the third movie, when they're all pinned down by the bad guys and she's shot, sitting on the ground, they're being surrounded… and he looks at her and she's got a pistol hidden behind his body to shoot them with. And *he* says 'I love you' and *she* says 'I know.'

Her head's tipped back at this point, resting as well as she can. I like the happily ever after lines. Real life is never, ever like that, you know. If real life were like a movie, you'd be keeping me company in my head while the cavalry puts together a rescue plan. You wouldn't be sitting in my head keeping me company while I die. She's listening for them to come back, knowing it's going to happen but not when. There is a silence from her, as if she's gathering her energy. The one guy… he's a sadistic bastard, she comments softly. When they come back… you shouldn't be here. I don't… I don't want your last memories of me to be what they're doing to me, Teo. I want you … to go ahead and go.

If you just let it go,

There’s a peace you’ll know.

How much does this fucking suck? Let us count the ways. I'm going to try and come back, Teo stutters, practically stutters in her mind's ear. I'm going — I'm getting better at using this ability. I'm going to — figure out where the fuck we are, I'm going to find my body, and someone who can help. I'll — I'll go through dreams. I travel quicker through dreams. Shit, shit, shit. Fear palpitates at the corner of her mind, refuses to give into grief, though he's swallowing even that the next instant, bearing up with a grit of teeth. Look.

Look, if you have to give them something — if you have to end it, he stops, practically, with a squelch. G-give them the safehouse on Beach Street. 46. I'll warn them. Maybe we can turn this around. Or maybe he should stop gambling with the lives of others and lay his own to bet at the table, someday. Someday.

She's listening. How can Elisabeth not? But the drugs are doing a number on her, and on top of that the concussion is making her dizzy and sick. I don't know if I can dream. I think I'm blacking out, not really going to sleep, she admits softly. I'm pretty sure I have a major concussion. And… probably a good number of internal injuries. I'm pretty sure the last time I lost control of my bladder, there was blood. She sounds beyond tired, and she's not telling him the true extent of the damage that she has already suffered.

Even in her mind, the words are starting to slur together. 46… Beach… Street. And if you can't find a way out to warn them? she asks softly. No. No… not if I can help it. I'll let them kill me first if I can, she finally says. I'm not the first person to die at the hands of sadistic bastards. Dani is strong in Liz's mind right now, though she never met the woman… the knowledge that she couldn't save Cat's lover, and now in the end, she'll go the same way — at the hands of a sadistic madman. No matter what else… you make sure my dad finds out what I've done… what I've been doing to make the world better. You make sure that he's okay…., she murmurs as she starts to drift off again into the twilight zone between awake and asleep in spite of the assault on her ears. Don't… let… Richard self-destruct, Teo. He's gonna be…. pretty pissed.

What you feel, what you know,

You’re not in control,

Her dad. Teo doesn't want to think about her fucking dad. He knows the terror that fathers bear, being one in one bizarre way himself: It's impossible, unthinkable, horrifying, the notion of one's own child dying before you; it's fundamentally wrong like the sea boiling, black ice, or a sun that doesn't set. This isn't to say he doesn't understand, of course. He's someone's kid, too. And maybe, if he weren't so much in the business of getting little girls beaten, tortured, and killed, he'd want his old man to know about what he's done, too. Okay, he acquiesces, finally. I'll take care of them. And I'm gonna try to get back, okay? I'll do everything I can.

He tries to take care of her, too, in the end: push a dream into her head, weave a tapestry of a place - a fantasy - that she can coccoon herself in before they rouse her with cold water or hard hands, but too soon — all too soon, he's gone.

If you just let it go,

There’s a peace you’ll know.


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