Think About It Tomorrow


elisabeth6_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Think About It Tomorrow
Synopsis Richard drops bombshells and Elisabeth is DONE.
Date December 19, 2020

Richard and Elisabeth's Apartment, RayTech

A few days abroad receiving terrible secret knowledge and then back to news of an attempt on his mother's life and research. It's been one hell of a week, and it's been non-stop since Richard got back in and had to deal with everything at Raytech. He hasn't even gotten to see his wife for more than a few minutes!

The day's finally ended, though, and he's in their apartment. The bathroom door's open, and he's standing within, washing his face with both hands and staring into the mirror. His suit jacket thrown on the couch, tie on the bathroom floor.

Elisabeth's had her own hands full, between managing their small brood of children (with Harmony) and dealing with the kinds of crimes that her division is getting called in to handle. She has concerns, regularly, about the 'settlers' that came through with her — anti-Evo sentiment is better here than it is where they came from, but … sometimes not as much as Elisabeth would wish.

As she lets herself into the apartment, she seems to almost be surprised to find him there. "Hey you," she greets, a smile blooming across her features. It eases lines of strain that seem to have developed recently. "You made it home at some time that's not ungodly," she adds teasingly. "Is it the end of the world as we know it?"

There's silence from the bathroom for a few moments, before Richard replies in a quiet voice as he stares into the mirror, "Just might be. Just might be."

He shakes his hands dry, wiping them on his pants (rather than grabbing a towel, the barbarian) and stepping out and over, offering her a tired smile and reaching a hand out, "Good to see you, love. I was hoping things'd be quiet while I was gone, but apparently that's too much to ask…"

Oh shit. He's been stressed and running about like a crazy person. She hoped it was that he came home to a ridiculous hellstorm of what-the-fuck. But… maybe not? He hasn't spoken of what he learned yet, and despite her intense interest in the trip, she hasn't wanted to put added pressure on him. Elisabeth closes the door behind her and moves forward, sliding her hand into his.

"Yeah. Well, when it rains, it fucking pours," his wife agrees quietly. "Abby's struggling and Kaylee's … well, you know your sister. She's brazening it all out. Aside from the situation with Michelle, we're… eh. I don't want to say quiet but … better than some years?" She's going for a little humor there as she advances the final step to press her cheek to his chest. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." Richard wraps his arms around her as she leans in, his head tilting to rest his cheek in her hair and eyes closing. He just holds her for a moment, breathing in the scent of her, then exhales it slowly.

"So. Guess I should just pull the band-aid off quick," he murmurs finally, "Uluru's next step is just killing everyone in the world. In all timelines. The magnetosphere in all local superstrings is degrading to the point the sun's just going to… burn it clean."

She takes the moment to simply enjoy being held by her husband, wrapped in the sensations that well up just by virtue of being here. And when he lets the breath out and finally says what's happening, Elisabeth is silent. There's an instant of he can't be serious and an immediate negation of that thought with he never jokes about shit like this, and then a subtle stiffening of her shoulders. Because how the hell do you react to that?! Her brain stutters over the vastness of the problem.

"Well… that's what I get for speaking too soon." The dry, matter-of-fact tone of voice is belied by the adrenaline tremors that work their way up her spine beneath his hands and the indistinct, almost inaudible hum that shivers along his arm hairs.

Swallowing hard, Elisabeth searches for a response and comes up empty. She's got no words.

Richard's fingers brush along her neck, gentle, soothing. "DOE's from, ah, the Pinehearst timeline, operating cross-string. They've got a plan, some old technology that we might be able to recover. Rebuild the magnetosphere or— something, I'm not clear how it works. So we're going to be working on that."

His eyes still closed, as he murmurs, "Just found living ghosts over there. Raith's grandfather. Walter Renautus. Simon. Yaeko."

Her body jerks under his touch, taut with alarm as she pulls back enough to look up at him. "What? How the fuck is that even a thing?" Now her brain is reeling. "Did they… did they land here the same time Eileen did somehow? Or… during the Moab thing?" Elisabeth is scrambling to make sense. "Walter Ren— the dead guy is still running loose? Simon is alive?" Raith's grandfather and Yaeko are a little less familiar to her, but ….

Her hands fist against his sides, practically twisting her fingers into the waistband of his pants. "Okay…" She breathes out slowly. "Okay…. start at the beginning for me."

"Easy, easy…" Richard exhales a sigh, leaning back a little bit to look back down to her with a faint, rueful almost-smile, "I'm not sure how they get back and forth. They might have someone with an ability, it— I don't know all the details there. Raith's grandfather— Marcus— is kind of a closed-mouth asshole. We all wanted to punch him, honestly. He's the head of some kind of internal group in the Exterior, the OEI. You know how spooks like their acronyms."

He shakes his head, "I don't know all the details, but I'm not surprised— Kaylee ended up as vice-president over there, which means Edward's involved."
She's struggling, but he can see the same strength in her that got her through four timelines — she is not a quitter. Elisabeth nods slightly. "Are they… in communication with people over there?" There's a pause, and Elisabeth can't help a small smile. "She was Liz's partner there. When Samson killed her… we met once." Pulling in a slow breath, she's forcibly calming and channeling that panic reaction. "Wasn't Raith's grandfather in one of the Nazi pictures from way back?" she asks.

Edward's involvement in all of this doesn't surprise her in the slightest. "Of all the things you've said so far, the only positive one that I'm hearing is that we might have two worlds worth of goddamn scientists who know about that bitch and are working to stop her."

There is a long moment of silence as she looks up into his face and her chin lifts just a degree or two. "Do we have even the beginnings of a plan, since Simon's already in this mix? This … magnetosphere thing sounds a bit like a crazy sci-fi scheme, but it's not the first crazy-ass sci-fi scheme we've been part of."

"Yeah. He was an infiltrator for some intelligence organization back then," Richard affirms, "And yeah, they've got ways of communicating. I'm not surprised, that timeline has way better infrastructure than we do…" His tone touched with rue, "Give me some proper industrial facilities and the authority of the White House and we could do it too, I've no doubt." He'll eternally be frustrated that he doesn't have the resources that Ezekiel did.

"So, like I said, we have at least the beginnings of a place. There's some tech that the Core Timeline was working on that could help, if we could recover it. So I'm…" Here it is. "Going to have to lead a team there to retrieve it."

Tipping her head, Elisabeth murmurs, "The 'Core' timeline…. you mean the flooded one?" And then she pauses, because she knows that tone of voice. She knows him. "No. No! Richard, tell me you are fucking kidding me right now," she demands. There is rage in her expression, disbelief, helplessness.

Pulling backward so she's only just within arm's reach, her hands still apparently unable to unclench from around his pants. Instinctively, a silence field slams into place around their living room at the same time that every glass, picture, toy, and piece of furniture starts vibrating. Oddly, the hum that should be accompanying that level of emotional reaction from her is missing. But all the other parts are present.

Her voice is icily controlled as she asks him in a calm voice that really doesn't bode well, considering the way the world is rattling, "So you're just going to … what? Work with the DoE, jump timelines, and go back to the world we were born in? And hope that none of the allies we might have had there are dead in the Pelago? Because on our way out, the Pelago was under attack and likely to be obliterated for lack of tech."

She sounds so reasonable and logical right now.

"Oh, and don't let's forget that I almost didn't make it home from there…. and you're going to get there and get back exactly how?"

Ah, yes. This is what Richard was expecting.

He closes his eyes for a moment, and then nods slightly. "Yeah," he says softly, "Yeah, I am."

Dark eyes open once more, and he grimaces, one hand lifting to touch her cheek, "Because I'll be damned if I'm going to lose you and our kids just because some Sumerian bitch is having a temper tantrum, Liz."

Her jaw clenches and she pulls in a breath through nostrils pinched with a combination of terror and rage. "Why? Why does it always have to be us?" It is a demand less of him than of the universe itself. Blue eyes fill with tears and Elisabeth can't stop her body from shaking almost as badly as their apartment is rattling. Shock, fear, all of the emotions tangled up in the knowledge that really, under it all, there is no choice. Of course he has to go, and of course it's potentially world-ending.

Her voice catches and breaks on the plea. "Why, Richard? What did we do to deserve this?"

"Personally," Richard replies without missing a beat, "I think it's that pack of gum that I stole when I was nine. The nuns told me I was going to suffer eternally in hell for theft, I really should've listened."

Out of left field. Completely thrown off balance, Elisabeth stares at him in confusion. What? A chuff of laughter erupts unexpectedly. And then the giggles start, an almost musical sound as he effectively short-circuits the incoming detonation that was going to break windows in their apartment. Giggles that quickly become mixed with tears as she leans back into him, her forehead to his chest this time.

She wants to beg him not to be part of this team. Not to go. If they're going to die, at least let them do it together this time. And she can't force the words past the lump in her throat, because it's not in Elisabeth to walk away either.

"You should— you should talk to some of the survivors. They… they might be able to help. Your mom… may know where to find some of the tech. And when…. when you get there, Ben Ryans, if he's still alive. He might know. Tell him— you can tell him I sent you to him." She is trying so fucking hard to get words past the sobs that she has in her chest.

"Shh, shh, we can talk about that later," Richard says, his arms sliding around her shoulders to cradle her close, eyes closing and chin resting atop her heads, "Also, mom might just try and fucking taser me so I probably should tell her while she's still in recovery." That's… not really a joke, that's something that might actually happen. "I'll talk to them. And to you. And Des, she still has memories from there."

His voice quiet, a little distant. He's trying not to lose it himself.

Choking on the tears she wants to shed, Elisabeth nods against his chest. "When?" she whispers, finally releasing his waistband to press her body to him tightly and wrap her arms around his waist. Please don't do this. "You'll be lucky if she doesn't rip your goddamned head off herself," she adds, because Michelle is a badass. Please don't go. Let someone else be the sacrificial lambs. We've already done our part!

In a whisper that more than one version of him has heard, Elisabeth informs him in a choked voice, "If you get dead, I will never forgive you."

"We have a few months. Probably sometime in March…?" Richard breathes out long and slow, his arms tightening around her, "And I don't plan on dying, Liz. Not this time. Got too much to come back to. Besides."

A little teasing, "Isn't it my turn to go get lost in time and space for a little bit? I mean, you got to do it, it's just unfair otherwise."

She hates that their lives are so frigging complicated that his reasoning actually holds water. Elisabeth laughs again softly, not really amused but unable to stop the brief chuckle. The moment helps keep at least some of the waterworks at bay as she looks up at him. "No. You already took your turn and went to 2041 or whatever the hell for six months," she retorts.

She doesn't want to think about this right now. She doesn't want the end of the world — again — to be a very real possibility in their future. Tomorrow is soon enough to face reality. One hand comes up and cradles his cheek. "Make love to me. Make it go away, just for tonight," she pleads in a whisper.

"Oh c'mon, that was only one timeline, don't I at least get to see two?" It's that humor that Richard always uses to fend off the frank horrors of their lives and the responsibilities they can't seem to escape no matter what. He turns his head, kissing her palm softly for a moment before murmuring, "Well. I mean, if you insist, I guess I could find some time out of my busy schedule to— "

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