Time Makes You Bolder


elisabeth_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Time Makes You Bolder
Synopsis Ygraine and Adelaide have a plan… and Liz is asked to sing. She's never agreed with Cat that she was good enough… but she is.
Date October 6, 2011

A Studio Owned by Ygraine's Friends

Elisabeth was watchful on their excursion. Getting around is getting harder and harder, and if they are stopped for any reason, Liz’s identity alone is going to cause them significant problems. As they make their way into the building that Ygraine leads them to, the blonde relaxes just a little bit — being off the street makes her feel just a little bit safer. She still looks just a little skeptical about the explanation that this would eventually turn into something useful. But Ygraine asks so little of her, she couldn’t exactly say no. The woman has become one of the best friends Liz has ever had.

The studio has instruments in it, and Elisabeth queries thoughtfully, “You want instrumental stuff at all for Liberty, or just the vocals?” Then she looks at Ygraine. “You know how to work all this stuff?” Because she doesn’t. She’s spent a minimal amount of time in a studio, and only to use the instruments at Cat’s place, not to actually record anything.

“I’ve spent enough time in some of the recording sessions already done, that I should be able to manage something, at least,” Ygraine says, flashing her friend a wry smile. “And I made sure to ask for the instruction manuals to be left out for us. But if we can manage both instruments and vocals, I’d be delighted. Heck, I’m delighted you’re doing this at all.”

She had moved closer to her companion and visibly relaxed almost as soon as they were out of sight of the general public; now she goes so far as to slip an arm around Elisabeth’s shoulders for a quick squeeze.

“This means a lot to me,” she says softly. “It’s a crazy relic of a time when I was a lot more optimistic… but I’m kind of hoping that this can be another way of kicking a few bricks out of the wall, alongside the information you guys have assembled. And I want to keep pushing at the administration from as many directions as possible. And pushing at the public, too. I figure that we need to make use of everyone we can — even the ones whose total commitment might be a few mouse-clicks to buy an album or to pledge ten bucks to a legal case that might never happen. We’ve got to hope that every drip of support will help to build up into something that can make a difference.”

There’s a faint smile that quirks Elisabeth’s lips, and her blue eyes have shadows in them. But when her eyes fall on the high-quality piano through one of the windows, Ygraine can see the abject lust in her gaze. The keyboard Quinn loaned is wonderful, but a fully tuned, full-sized beauty like that? Slanting a look at the gravitokinetic, she smiles broadly. “You did ask for this… I guess you better go get those boards lit up and ready while I warm up, hmmm?”

She walks into the acoustic studio and closes the door behind her, sitting down at the piano and adjusting it. Even as Ygraine heads in to work on her side of the window, Liz’s fingers are dancing along the keys of the beautiful instrument, coaxing a full sound from them as she runs through some scales to warm up her hands.

“So… where’s this all plug in?”, Ygraine asks as Liz moves to depart, tone and expression ostentatiously clueless. Thereafter, she splits her attention between the control panels — all of which do, kindly, seem to have been left primed and ready for use by a novice — and the view of her friend through the window.

“I was thinking….” Ygraine’s speaker-filtered voice sounds even more crisply British than usual. “Something as ‘natural’ in sound as possible might work. Just you and the piano. See how a straight-up recording of you singing as you play sounds, with no layering of tracks or filtering… except whatever you want to do yourself, of course.” She’s not going to tell the audiokinetic not to use however many of her talents she feels are appropriate. “But it already sounds great to me in here.”

Elisabeth’s fingers pluck along the keys of the piano, picking out fragments of pieces of music from her memory. “I don’t want to layer anything — I don’t think it should be powered work. Anything you want to do to it with technology is fine.” A slight frown furrows her brows together, and since Ygraine didn’t ask for anything in particular she has to take a moment to choose what she might do first. She has a list of covers that she knows, though she hasn’t mentioned very many beyond the ones Harmony asked her to sing for the twins… and Ygraine can see when she decides on the one she’ll use. As a warm-up, she sings the song “Scarborough Fair” just because it’s fun.

She sings around the brickfront, sometimes. Just a little, here and there. But there’s a difference between singing under your breath or while you’re fooling around and singing for something that’s going to be a type of performance. And Cat might be the only person who has ever heard Liz cut loose in a more formal setting. The full range of her voice, though not necessarily on par with the pop princesses, is clearly formally trained and sustained. And her amusement at using this particular piece — because it’s brutally appropriate to the times they live in — shows in the grin she shoots at Ygraine.

Take the children and yourself
And hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don't believe the church and state
And everything they tell you
Believe in me, I'm with the high command

She moves from that into the slower “Ordinary Miracles.” Her range seems on par with the original singer’s as she closes her eyes and immerses herself in the song.

It's not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It's just another ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it's time to snow
Don't need to teach a seed to grow
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift they say
Wrapped up for you every day
Open up and find a way
To give some of your own love

It's a long enough song that when Elisabeth is through with it, she pauses to open the bottle of water she brought in with her. And she slants a look toward the other woman, curious about her reaction.

It might simply be a matter of personal taste, and evidence of her complete lack of knowledge or experience in any kind of producer role… but Ygraine is very much a fan of what she has heard of Liz’s ‘real’ voice. She once had the privilege of sitting with the blonde inside a sound-bubble, while painfully raw emotions were released into music — that was what inspired her to suggest that Elisabeth Harrison join the likes of pop-princess Adelaide and the Roberts siblings on Liberty.

Right now, she’s thinking that it’s one of the best decisions she’s made.

The speakers remain silent for a few moments, before they click into life… but it takes a couple of seconds more for Ygraine to succeed in speaking up.

“That was lovely.” The emotion in her voice is wholly sincere, even if the simple little handful of words might seem trite in other circumstances. “Thank you. Do… do you feel able to try anything else?”

The blonde audiokinetic chuckles. “Well… I seem to have some requests. So… sure.” Now that the music is flowing, Liz seems more comfortable. Music is where she puts all the things she can’t say or deal with. The song “Smile” seems perhaps a large departure from most of the others, but it’s solid. “Little Wonders” is an obvious choice for the twins, and Elisabeth tosses in “Time in a Bottle” with a quirky grin at Ygraine. “I have no idea why I remember the words to that song. I swear, I’ve known it since I was a kid.”

She has no idea which of the songs she works on for Ygraine will make the Liberty album, if any. Four specific ones were her own request to have recorded, along with allowing her 45 minutes in the studio just for piano pieces with no words in them, in return for doing what Ygraine asked. Given free rein with her songlist, Elisabeth has a thoroughly eclectic set of songs. She starts for Ygraine with “The Highwayman,” a poem that Sarah McLachlan put to music that’s always been one of her favorites. She shifts from that to a more well-known piece, picking up Fleetwood Mac.

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too…

After that one, she hits a couple more pieces before she breaks for a few minutes — “Stairway to Heaven” is always a favorite, and as she plays “Desperado” there is a gentle smile that quirks her lips. When she picks up again, it will probably make Ygraine laugh — they will actually require more in the way of back-music than a piano. An actual track of music has to be used and will have to be touched up if the Briton wants to use them. But who doesn’t like Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” or, for heaven’s sake, Nancy Sinatra??

These boots are made for walkin'
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

By the time she’s done with those, Liz is breathless… and laughing her ass off. “Cat’s gonna love those.” She looks toward the window. And when Ygraine encourages her to do another, she picks a softer set, Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” makes an appearance, but “New York Minute” is the one that shifts her mood..

Harry got up
Dressed all in black
Went down to the station
And he never came back
They found his clothing
Scattered somewhere down the track
And he won't be down on Wall Street in the morning

He had a home
The love of a girl
But men get lost sometimes
As years unfurl
One day he crossed some line
And he was too much in this world
But I guess it doesn't matter anymore

In a New York minute
Everything can change
In a New York minute
Things can get pretty strange
In a New York minute
Everything can change
In a New York minute

Finally Elisabeth pauses for a break after that song, her expression introspective, and she glances toward the window. “Whatcha think?”

Ygraine’s honestly not sure if she managed to hide it from her friend - the soundproofed booth would grant privacy from most people, of course, but she never has found out the fine details of how Liz’s ability works…. Either way, she’s glad that she has got her voice under control and has wiped away the tears that crept up on her at points, and that a broad smile is now clearly audible in her reply.

“I suspect that a professional’d probably have things pretty much ready to go, but I’m going to need a while to make sure I’ve got it all safely sorted out in here. But that was great from your end. It’s been an absolute privilege to be here. Even if you’re making me feel all the more guilty for having accepted a request to put a few snippets of my own efforts into the background of one of Sable’s songs…. I am so outclassed by you guys.”

The laugh that follows her words sounds delighted rather than envious. “I’ll make a couple of complete copies. And can split things up for individual gifts, as well. But I was thinking that we could stash one or two full copies somewhere, as a backup. One of my little emergency stashes underground, perhaps. Or mailed to someone trustworthy outside the city. Or both those places and others as well, of course…”

Elisabeth nods, listening to Ygraine talk about what she’ll need to do to handle the mixes, commenting as her fingers begin to idly pick through another tune. “If you need me to redo any, let me know.” She doesn’t think Ygraine is outclassed, but nothing she says will convince her friend otherwise, so she opts not to really address it for now.

Humming under her breath, for a moment, her fingers shift into “Landslide” as if she’s going to retouch it, but then she stops. There is one that holds a place in her heart, that she’s considered putting into this list and thought she had chosen not to. It brings an aching expression to her face as she begins it, this piece holding all the emotions that Ygraine has seen before.

Pray God you can cope
I'll stand outside
This woman's work
This woman's world
Ooooh it's hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the Father

As instinctive as breathing, Elisabeth's power flared to life when she allowed her emotions to get involved. Nothing she does in the room can be felt through the speakers, but the subtle backtones that make the music deeper, more powerful, do convey electronically.

I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left…


Oh I should be crying but I just can't let it go
I should be hoping but I can't stop
Thinking and thinking and thinking
Of all the things we should've said that we never said
And all the things we should have done that we never did
All the things that you needed from me
All the things that you wanted for me
All the things I should have given but I didn't

Oh darling make it go
Just make it go away

When she reaches the end, it is a tribute to the original singer. She sits at the bench, a little stunned at the feeling of power that wrapped itself around her in the soundproofed room, wiping her cheeks. “I think I need to take a break,” she says, getting up from the piano and heading for the doorway to take a moment for herself in the hall. She hadn’t realized that it was going to hit her like that, but she probably should have.

Though she’s worried that it might count as a form of eavesdropping Ygraine is mostly very glad that she opted to leave the recording rolling. She had hoped that she might get a few snippets of Liz playing around, that might make for a fun little interlude between songs on one of the blonde’s planned gifts to friends. In that, she has completely failed - but instead has something more than a little moving, and really rather beautiful.

And, partly in response to Liz’s own reaction, it leaves her rather damp around the eyes once again.

She tinkers in the booth for a couple of minutes, casting a few wistful glances at the piano through the window. But any playing with the beautiful instrument is definitely of lower priority than her friend. Once she’s confident that she’s got everything saved to a couple of separate storage media, she cracks open the door — then waits a moment to give Elisabeth some chance of composing herself, before slipping out and going in search of her.

Standing in the hall outside the recording room, Elisabeth is leaning against the wall with her hands tucked behind her hips, her head tipped back and her eyes closed. When Ygraine steps out, she looks sideways and offers a smile. “I’m sorry. I should have told you I was going to start back up.” She actually assumed everything was off, based on what Ygraine had said. “I … there’s a lot going on in my head right now, as you might expect,” she finishes rather ruefully.

Ygraine offers one of her sheepishly apologetic smile-and-shrug combinations. “I, umm, left it running,” she confesses. “It occurred to me that I might get a little of you fooling around. Something silly to relax, maybe. I… definitely hadn’t expected anything like that. I hope you don’t mind. It was lovely. Really.”

Does she mind? Liz has to think about that a little. “I don’t,” she decides quietly. “It just … wasn’t one that I had on the list of things I was thinking about doing.” She shrugs slightly. Reaching up to shove her hand through the long locks of hair at her forehead and pushing them back, she holds the mass at her crown looking thoughtful. “You know… twice in the past two years, I should have died.” The words are stark. “Given what’s coming… the chances are at least decent this makes the third year in a row. I wonder… am I making the right choice?”

She looks at Ygraine and says softly, “The ability to see the future … or at least a future… seems the most hideous kind of cosmic joke. It’s something we might all say we want, but … seeing something horrible and knowing you caused it, you then spend your time trying to fix it… but I’m honestly coming to believe that the very seeing of it is what caused it all in the first place. Because without seeing it, you wouldn’t have done the things you just did to create the situation that lead to it. And sometimes, maybe you even make it worse than it would have been. Self-fulfilling prophecies.”

Shaking her head, there is a long moment where she searches her friend's face for answers that just aren't there. “Richard used to joke that we were in the business of murdering futures,” she says softly. “But it wasn’t really a joke. Because for the third time, I’m walking out there to do it again. All because of future visions.” A soft, self-deprecating huff of laughter puffs out of her. “I met Hiro Nakamura a couple of times. The last time I saw him, I wondered… how many futures has he seen? How many times has he tried to change it all? And just how fucking crazy did it make both him and Ezekiel?”

Ygraine’s expression of hopeful diffidence passes into relief as she’s forgiven. Then she’s listening intently, a thoughtfully concerned furrow in her brow as she silently studies and listens to her friend.

“I….” She pauses, shrugging, taking a deep breath, and then letting slip a little bark of half-bitter laughter. “If I’d known in advance that Athens was by far my best shot - perhaps my only one - at getting into the Olympics, then maybe… just maybe, if I’d gone all-out and set everything else aside, I might have managed to get there.

“But that’s very different to seeing a ‘whole’ future and wanting to change it. Almost everyone has dreams they didn’t get the chance to pursue, but might possibly have attained if they’d made different choices earlier. But seeing a whole world, and judging it? That’s a terrifying amount of responsibility there and then. The temptations must be as horrible as the knowledge. And the fear of getting it wrong - that your attempts to avert disaster will just lead to a new set of horrors..”

The Briton sighs, the long braid of dyed hair slithering across her back as she vigorously shakes her head, seemingly trying to rid herself of something in there. “The little I’ve seen of Richard close-up, he’s seemed saner than I feel I am,” she says softly. “But given that people have a habit of telling me that I’m not at all nuts, that’s not necessarily much of a guide. Though I can’t help but be amused by the notion that “no, no - it’s all in your mind” is meant to be a reassurance of how sane someone is….

“But, ahh, sorry. Tangent. Yet again.” Ygraine grimaces apologetically, before shunting her thoughts (and words) back on-track.

“Richard… has seemed anchored. He cares about things happening outside his own head. I don’t have the impression that he does any of this to make himself feel better, or because he thinks that it’s how to be cool, or because he’s obsessing over a memory, or… well, anything like that.

“Ezekiel, from what you’ve said, has lost contact with the present - any present. Richard fights to preserve what he has, and what that could develop into in the future. Ezekiel… as best I can gather, he’s adrift. I’m not sure if there’s anything in his experiences here and now that he actually really cares about any more. It’s all about other times, other people, other possibilities. So nothing and no one here really matters.

“There’s no way that was true for Richard when I met him. None at all. I couldn’t have drawn those portraits for you if I felt that it was. I couldn’t have found a way to put him on the page.”

Although she closes her blue eyes while Ygraine speak, Elisabeth is clearly paying a lot of attention. The opinion expressed brings her thoughtful gaze to Ygraine’s face, her brows furrowing together above her nose a bit as she considers this outlook. She’s not sure she exactly agrees, but it’s an interesting perspective on the man who’s running about trying to send messages back in time and shit. Huh.

It quirks her lips slightly. “Well… given that you recorded it, you’re certainly welcome to use it for Liberty if you like, Ygraine,” the blonde says, a faint blush on her features. “Hell… maybe it’ll be great publicity to have the former Director of FRONTLINE, wanted for treason or whatever the hell charges they’re trying to nab me on right now, listed in your contributors.” She shrugs, wry in her amusement on that. "Go big or go home, right?"

A merry little giggle escapes Ygraine, before she — slightly diffidently — attempts to move in for a quick hug. “Thank you. I had been wanting to talk to you about what name you might want to use. Or even multiple names: one per track, or whatever, if you wanted to throw around a few messages with your pseudonyms.

“But I think that we should sit down and listen to the recordings. See if there’s anything you want to change — snip out a verse, or whatever - or any you really think worked great that you absolutely want out there. If you’re up for that, I mean. I’ll certainly enjoy listening to them again, I promise. But we could either do that here and now, or relax a bit - you could give me a piano lesson! Or we could tidy up and get out of here while the getting’s good, if you think we ought to get back home.”

Elisabeth turns and perhaps surprisingly returns the tentative hug with a hard one of her own. When they part, the blonde smiles. “I would love to give you a piano lesson. No one’s going to look for us here, so I think we’ve got time. Teaching you some things would be relaxing for me,” she admits. Glancing back toward the instrument, she chuckles at a sudden memory of teaching Cardinal a little bit. But she doesn’t comment on what made her smile there. She merely looks at Ygraine and makes an ‘after you’ gesture to go back into the sound studio. “C’mon, let’s have some fun.”

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