Timing Is Everything


elaine_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Timing is Everything
Synopsis There I was, none the wiser
Both of us, different trajectories
Who'd have thought, we'd be right here
In this spot, timing is everything.
Date December 30, 2017

The Vault

The Vault is a densely packed antique parlor, decorated with its own wares, full of recovered furniture, ornaments, candle sticks, tea sets, jewelry, collectors pieces, paintings, picture frames, and most strikingly, a canopy of mismatched chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. A certain level of appraisal in the items being made for sale and accepted for sale stops the Vault short of becoming a run of the mill junk store, but the occasional piece of kitsch occasionally washes up despite the owner's best efforts. It's probably best that you don't ask exactly where certain high end pieces came from.




"Toutes les ordures cette semaine."

The words - French - roll off the tongue of a bored looking woman as she moves a vase aside, another clink sound as it bumps into a ceramic pot. Dressed head to toe in black - a frilly and fashionable, thin fabric top standing out against the coats and jackets worn by others in the antique shop, a ruffled ankle length skirt and leggings match in colour. Across her face, a black band wraps around half her face, one eyed covered as she adjusts the small, faux-fancy hat atop her head. She adjusts her similarly coloured purse - careful to make sure it's closed, lest she lose her badge, literally.

Robyn Quinn normally has much nicer things to say about the goods she finds at The Vault. Much nicer things than her roommate at least. But judging from the scowl on her scarred face, she seems less than pleased with whatever new arrivals might be lining the shelves since the last time she stopped in.

Still, this is a fine way to spend her few days off before she leaves town. Probably better - or at least healthier - than heading down to La Mer. Or worse.

There's something about searching for things that have been left behind and forgotten that Elaine finds touches her heart. So in her search for something old that would be new in her hands, she headed to the vault.

Dressed in red and grey, Elaine isn't over-the-top fashionable. Grey leggings under a red knit dress, with her coat being the most expensive part of her outfit, a stylish peacoat that looks like it was tailor made. Shifting her purse on her shoulder, she perks up at the sound of French nearby. She doesn't quite catch what was said, so instead she calls over in the direction of the voice.


Robyn grimaces. She doesn't recognise the voice, not right off - it's been years, after all, and her accent has taken a distinctly French Canadian sound to it, likely rendering her as unrecognisable. Her first inclination is to not respond, of course. Just a random person in an antique store, after all.

And yet.

"«I said, everything is junk this week,»" she replies in fluid French, a sigh marking the end like a stamped on punctuation mark. She moves another tall, glass vase aside. "«Unless you've seen anything worth taking and isn't some sort of… brightly coloured mess.»" Not that she can tell, but- getting things that are naturally in neutral colours helps her feel a bit more at peace with the way she sees the world.

She stands up straight, and her uncovered eye shifts over to glance at the source of the surprising french accent speaking to her, though she can't quite see her.

"«Ah, right. Well, you may be right, as I believe everything this week is particularly gaudy. I was hoping for something worth getting but I suppose this time I'll be disappointed. Usually I find things of worth in here. Pity not this time.»"

Elaine remains on the other side of some shelves, just out of sight. She turns her head in the direction of the voice, idly wondering if she should continue the conversation. Potential new friend and all. It had been a while since she'd really gone and made any new friends, not since she started her job at Yamagato. That kept her busy.

"«Pity,»" Robyn repeats. A frown crosses her face, letting out a short breath as she slides aside another tall glass pitcher aside - and now Elaine can see her face clear as day, though the other woman stands in Robyn's blindspot, just barely. "«I suppose it is a crapshoot, after all,» she starts, before noticing something a shelf down. She bends down, inspecting it curiously - a crystal decanter, somehow now broken and only slightly chipped, cleaned and with two tumbler glasses sitting next to it.

"Ah! C'est magnifique!" She proclaims, picking up the decanter. She doesn't normally make a habit of talking this much French, though she does enjoy it. But, spoken to in French - who is she not to oblige in return? It's rare to find someone else who speaks her language of choice in the Safe Zone. A smirk crosses her face. "«Look at that. A diamond in the rough!»"

Elaine almost drops the 'I <3 New York' mug she was holding and instead places it firmly down on the shelf next to her. Instead of continuing the conversation, she stops to stare. She stares and then her first real instinct is to hide. She looks around but finds herself at the end of a row with a large set of shelves in front of her. Dead end. Slowly she makes her way forward, letting out her held breath.

"Robyn Quinn."

"Oui?" It's an offhanded reply as she continues to examine the crystal decanter, picking it up and setting it on the higher shelf so she doesn't have to bend over. She has plans for this delightful crystal container, and in that distraction, it takes her a moment to register that the unusual French speaking stranger has said her name.

But once it does, her gaze darts up from the crystal decanter, one hand pushing it aside while another reaches into her purse for, of all things, her gun - an unfortunate instinct that's been drilled into her over the last several years. Thankfully, she doesn't get anywhere near drawing it when her eye lands on the person across the shelves.

Now it's her turn to stop and stare. She's been back in New York for enough time that she assumed anyone she hadn't bumped into at this point was either dead or had wisely left the city and was never coming back. This includes the person across from her. Eye wide she simply stares, speechless.

Elaine Darrow sits on the tip of her tongue, but when she opens her mouth, nothing makes it out.

She clears her throat, looking back to the decanter. "J-Je m'appelle-,' she manages to get out, and immediately regrets it. So she stops, looking away from the other woman. No other words, just a half lidded glance off into the distance.

"Robyn Quinn," comes the echo again.

Elaine moves around the set of shelves that keep them apart so that there's no escape for either of them. Not now, not once they've seen each other. Idly, Elaine wishes she was wearing something more… lush. Something that reflected her lifestyle, something that would show Robyn that she was doing just fine all these years later. She pulls her coat tighter around her, then buttons it up. It would have to do.

"So you're in New York. Wasn't expecting you here."

That is my name why do you oh god what is happening

Robyn watches as Elaine starts her way around the shelves, and she knows it's too late to leave. In all her years after she last saw Elaine, she's rarely felt as trapped as she does in this moment. She she does what she always does at times like this.

Take a deep breath.


Just breathe.

"«Hello, Elaine»." Her voice is much more even than it seemed moments again, grey eye focused ahead on Elaine as she continues on in French - she has no idea what's about to happen, so she'd rather it happen in a language few around them likely understand. She releases the pistol back into her purse, feeling the weight settle as she withdraws her hand. "«I live here. In the Safe Zone,» " she states simply. "«I would've thought you'd left»." She quirks an eyebrow inquisitively, but sometimes Robyn still forgets that doesn't really work when a quarter of your face is hidden.

"«Hello Robyn…»" Elaine replies, a shiver going through her at speaking the very words. This felt surreal. It felt unrealistic. Breathing deeply, she slowly started to speak her replies to her former fiancee. "«I live here, in the Safe Zone. I only left during the war, it was too dangerous for me here. I came back when the Safe Zone was established. Were you here, all this time?»" She distracted herself by gazing at a gaudy yellow serving plate, doing her best to use it as the focus of her attention and not Robyn. Still, she kept looking back.

A look of uncertainty crosses Robyn's face, regarding Elaine with careful curiosity. It wasn't entirely a secret what she had been up to the last few years - she had vehemently testified at the Albany Tribunal and been - much to her discomfort - interviewed a few times since.

It doesn't occur to her that maybe Elaine just wants to hear it from her,

"«No»," is a simple, succinct statement. "«I was fighting a war.»" The words are strained, carefully spoken. Fighting is a strong word. She'd only been embroiled in direct fighting in part of 2013, the rest of her time spent smuggling and assisting. "«But I'm here now,»" she offers flatly afterwards. "«Working for SESA.»"

She turns her head slightly, turning her scar away from Elaine and her uncovered eye towards her, looking at her a bit more directly. "«Are you going to keep me trapped here?»" is an honest question.

"«Some of us didn't have the training to be on the front lines. We all helped in our own ways.»" Elaine replied, her voice cold. She didn't like the implications of Robyn's words. It made her angry. In fact, most of this situation made her angry, but she was determined to keep her cool.

"«SESA is a good employer. I'm sure they do right by you. It's good to hear you're doing well.»" Well, that's assuming good employment equals a positive life. In many cases, it is. Elaine knows this by experience. She's trying to be nice. She's trying not to let this fall apart. And then Elaine hears the question and it hits the wrong place.

"«You were never trapped here.»" She says, softly.

Robyn is stunned into silence for just a moment, eye widening as she stares at Elaine. "What?" This time she speaks up in English, though she still retains her French accent. "I-" didn't mean it like that. She meant literally, in the now. She has a decanter to buy, after all. After - or during - whatever this is going to be.

She practically feels her blood run cold though as she lowers her head slightly. "I know you probably think I'm the worst," and to Robyn, Elaine probably should see her that way. "I never- felt that way. I just-" She lets out a huff. "I just- well, I just need to buy this decanter, was…" what she meant, dancing around other sayings and implications.

Now both of them are flustered. Good. Elaine doesn't want to be alone in this. Not now. There are so many feelings bubbling up and she isn't sure she can handle them alone. So many things she thought she had buried. But there was the matter of… "Right. The decanter. I won't stop you from buying it." She steps aside to let Robyn pass. As she does, she lets out a slow breath of air.

"Robyn? After you buy that, do you want to go out and talk?" After a moment, she finds the strength to add, "… please?"

The truth is, if Elaine hadn't added that please, Robyn might have asked for a rain check. She has preparations to make, one of which includes teasing Dirk about making sure he's going to be okay for food while she's gone (never mind that he's probably a better cook than she is). It wouldn't have been out of malice, but out of uncertainty. Out of cautiousness, out of a sort of fear.


"O-Oh." Robyn doesn't offer much response beyond that at first. Instead she makes her way to the counter. Acquisition of the decanter is handled, the two glass tumblers coming with it - she knows exactly where these are going to go, provided there's room when she gets where she's going. And it will almost certainly be full of the most Irish whiskey Robyn Quinn can get her hands on.

When she turns back from the counter her expression is flat for a moment, before the edges of her lips curl up into a small, weak smile. "Sure," she finally says in a quiet voice, looking towards the door. "Lead on."

A million thoughts are going on right now and probably very few of them are good or healthy. But as she might not want to be doing this right now, she probably owes it. At the very least, that.

Gliding towards the door, Elaine moves smoothly, gracefully, and politely holds the door open for Robyn. She waits for her former lover to head through before she slips after, leaving the two out on the street. There was no running away now. She had convinced Robyn to stay, this time. Clearing her throat, she tries to speak.

"Robyn what you did was… it was…" But for one so full of language, she can't find the words. "Was it all just a lie, Robyn? Or did it actually mean something to you?"

Out on the street, for a brief moment, Robyn feels like she's stepping out back into 2011. A guitar on her shoulder, someone calling out "Hey, Quinn," - probably Delilah or Adel - with Elaine next to her as they step out from the Verb, ready for whatever is coming that day.

So she doesn't immediately answer Elaine, staring vacantly out into the street.

"Don't be daft," are the quiet words that come after a moment. She continues to stare on ahead, rather than look up at the taller woman next to her. She breathes steadily, letting her arms hang lazily at her side, the bag that holds her decanter gripped tight. "Of course it did."

"I suppose I just want to not hate you. I don't want to be angry and hurt but it's hard for me to come up with a reason for you to have done what you did." Elaine shoves her hands into her pockets, looking down at the street. "If this meant something to you, why did you just leave me? Be real, don't give me some bullshit answer that you think I want to hear, just tell me. I deserve that."

Another long moment of silence, Robyn looking up and down both sides of the road. She doesn't like just standing here. "You should." Hate me, that is. It's a sentiment that goes all the way back to the letter Robyn had Royce deliver to Elaine, with the engagement ring she had given her. It's almost hard to believe that was six years ago.

She purses her lips, before she finally turns to face Elaine, pulling up the black band that wraps around her face and over one her eyes, fully revealing the scar she has down her face, showing a dull grey iris in her eye that Elaine hasn't seen in years. "I didn't want you to end up like me," she remarks simply, straight forward - though she only opens that eye for a moment, before it reflexively squeezes shut, a pained look on her face.

"When the Ferry fell, I was there." This is said more quietly, to avoid the ears of bystanders. "I didn't want that for you." And that's the honest truth… aside from the fact that Robyn would've run away had she not been convinced otherwise.

Elaine doesn't need to know that.

"I'm not going to hate you, Robyn, because it's easier to shrug it off when one person's angry, when one person hates the other. You can drop it and just leave it. If I hated you, I'd be letting you off the hook for what you put me through. And I want you to pay full responsibility for what you've done." Elaine takes another calming breath in, then studies Robyn's face.

She isn't surprised or horrified, just calm. "I appreciate the sentiment, but my life isn't yours to live. You don't get to decide who I end up being. But you get to see who I am without you. I hope you're happy with your choices."

Unwilling to leave her eye uncovered longer, Robyn pulls the black band back down. It's probably cheating, using her vision and scar as examples - both happened before the war. "You're right, I don't." Lips quirks side to side. "Doesn't mean I have to drag you down with me." Again, stated simply. Very matter of factly.

"It is what it is," is probably not really what Elaine wants to hear. Robyn's gaze turns off to the side, eye half lidded. Choices can't be undone. If she's happy with them or not… she hasn't had much chance to think about over the last few years. It was constantly forward. Is now really the time to look back? Does she have regrets? Is she happy with her choices?

Only one of those has an answer of yes.

Which one it is changes from time to time.

"Would it matter at this point?" She shakes her head. No, it would not. She falls silent again after that, not sure what to say next. While the conversation hasn't been what she feared, that doesn't mean she's comfortable - or that she has any idea what to do.

"You're shit at relationships, did anyone ever tell you that? If you're going somewhere dark you're supposed to tell your partner, let them help you along the way. I chose to be with you, Robyn, because we were supposed to do things together. There was no 'drag you down with me', none of that shit. Partners stick together. You promised me twenty years or longer of your life when we talked about marriage. I recommend waiting a long, long time before you go making those kinds of promises to another woman. Wait until you understand what they mean." Elaine lets out another one of those slow, focused breaths she'd been taking—probably meditative, from yoga. She never used to be the yoga type.

"I don't know what I'm expecting here, maybe I just hoped for…" What had she hoped for? "Anyway, I won't hold you here. You're free to leave. Consider your obligation for a conversation fulfilled."

Oh, good. This old chestnut. February Lancaster, is that you in there? …no, she can't even pretend to lay that blame elsewhere, even jokingly. Despite the end of her "obligation", Robyn doesn't start off. She doesn't turn silently and walk away. She doesn't offer an adieu, she doesn't… do much of anything, really.

She stands there, silent.

"I'm sorry," is a hushed response, barely audible over the sound of the Bay Ridge traffic. "I just… I can't change the past." She takes a deep breath, not realising how loaded a statement like that is. "All I can say is that I'm sorry." A beat. "And mean it."

She clears her throat, looking over at Elaine for a moment. "«I loved you, truly,»" she remarks, this time in gaelic, a language she's barely spoken in years - and it shows, the rust in her voice as she speaks it with an inappropriate accent. "«You're right. About all of it. I can't even pretend otherwise»." She imagines this is maybe what Elaine wants, but that's not why she's speaking up now.

She wrinkles her nose, trying to remember words she once knew by heart, but after a moment, it becomes apparent, she can't, resulting in a frustrated sigh. She closes her eye, wishing desperately she had pockets to slip her hands into. "I've been on my own a long time, now," she admits. "Sorry if I'm not-" She stop, looking off again. "Talkative."

Elaine was fine until the gaelic. Rusty as it might be, languages have always been deeply rooted in her heart and the quickest way to get to it. Tears well up in her eyes and threaten to spill over. She tries to blink them away but it doesn't work and the drops roll down her cheeks, big, fat, and visible.

"Thank you for being honest. It means a lot to me even if… even if the past can't change. I've spent a lot of time over the past six years thinking about where we might have been if things were different. Stupid of me, I know, but it was how I processed everything. Took me a long time to get over you." She rubs at her eyes with the back of her sleeve. "You don't have to be talkative. It's nice to just have you here."

Oh God. Robyn is quick to look away when she sees the first tear roll down the side of Elaine's cheek. She's managed to keep herself mostly composed through this whole ordeal and she doesn't want to lose it now. She lets out a long breath, reaching again into her purse. "I never had time to think," Robyn states, out loud this time. Which means she is now. This is probably not good for either of them. "I just…" She trails off, still staring ahead as she pulls a small cylinder out of her purse. A press of a button, and the umbrella suddenly extrands out and opens. She holds it up for a moment, before offering it to Elaine without looking at her.

Elaine is startled as well as confused at first. Then her lips slowly quirk into a wry smile. She takes the umbrella holding it up over both their heads. "I promise not to cry too much more," she says, dabbing at the last of her tears with the sleeve of her peacoat. "I'm sorry I even started. To be honest when I imagined things I always pictured you as dying in the war. So when I heard your name, when I saw you weren't dead I had to come to terms with the fact that I might one day be having this conversation."

"And, I might add, this is actually very, very hard. I can't promise I won't start crying again."

"Mm." One person walks by them, glancing at the open umbrella. It keeps Robyn from seeing the sky, which always just looks overcast to her. "Do what you need to do." Hopefully, Elaine doesn't take that as implicit permission to do anything that will make make regret saying that. She holds her hands in front of her, trying her best to keep her emotion inside, at least for now. She imagines she'll get back home and Dirk will have to put up with her wailing into a pillow for a few hours. But for at least she'll try and keep her composure. "I know," she adds after a bit of thought, closing her eye and taking a deep breath.

"We're two adults, we can have a conversation like two adults." Elaine says. Or rather she insists. It's more a hopeful statement than anything. It's not that they can't converse like two adults, it's more that they can't keep themselves composed. But Robyn seems to be doing better than Elaine, which is something she hopes to remedy.

"I, er, well… I taught school. During the war, I mean. I thought you might want to know what I did. I taught school and I coded messages. Learned how to fire a gun. Uhm, I know a lot more languages now, which should be no surprise there. I'm graduating from Brooklyn College in a few months with a degree in Linguistics, and I have a job at Yamagato Industries doing translation work. A job which comes with a pretty amazing apartment. So that's my life in a nutshell… busy."

Graduating. Elaine doesn't know it, but for Robyn, in a small way, she's just validated her decision to leave her to a better life. That… doesn't really bring the solace that she had been hoping for, though. A deep frown crosses her face. inclining her gaze down again. "Congratulations," she replies, still in a small voice. "I hear good things, about Yamagato." She gives a shallow nod. "Congratulations," she repeats. Working for a Japanese firm. Wasn't Elaine doing something with Japanese the last time she saw her? Maybe, she seems to recall. Either way, it's no real surprise to her.

"I was a smuggler," Robyn says like it's nothing. "People and supplies." She rolls her shoulders, feeling slightly uncomfortable. "Only really fought in the last year of the war. After-" That's where her breath hitches. Two sore topics at once. "Mom died," she manages to choke out, rubbing at her uncovered eye. "After the war, the trials… SESA."

She spreads her hands out in front of her. There it all is, she asys without speaking.

"I'm so sorry, about your mother." Elaine instinctively reaches out to put a hand atop Robyn's in a comforting gesture, but she stops herself before actually doing more than move her hand. She clears her throat. "It's funny, we took two really different paths but we both ended up here." Two different paths indeed.

"Look at you, being a badass. Smuggling and fighting in the war and SESA. I'll be sure to look you up if I ever have problems SESA can fix." She pauses as a thought occurs to her. "That is, if you want to keep in touch. I know all of this is difficult but I was hoping at least we could keep in touch." She's unsure herself where she draws the emotional boundaries, but she's certain staying connected didn't cross them.

"Yes. A badass." That flat tone returns to Robyn voice as she speaks. "It only cost me almost everything." Probably an unwarranted sarcastic barb, but not an untrue one by any means. "I," she starts, still looking down at her heels, "might not be able to. Help." She looks up, back at Elaine. "Moving to Rochester. Part time, for an assignment."

A small smile forms on her face. "Ask for Thomas Cooper and Rhys Bluthner instead. They'll be thrilled." She manages to keep the laugh at that - a much needed counterbalance to everything else happening - stifled. But not the widening grin. "I still have a place in town. I'll.. I'll be around." She can certainly commit to that much. Maybe a number, but she feels to awkward to volunteer it.

"You could look at it as you're a badass because you lost everything. Just spin it the other direction. Your life isn't miserable, Robyn. It might be hard but you have a job that it sounds like you're a good fit for. That's fulfilling, right?"

Moving? So Elaine just got lucky for once. Right place, right time, couple of days and she could have missed her chance. "Ah, moving. Well, good luck with your assignment. I hope you have fun with it." She hands Robyn the umbrella for the moment so she can fish in her purse for a business card, scribbling her personal number on the back of it.

"I'm giving you my number and leaving it up to you if you want to talk again. You walked away once, you need to be the one to walk back. I'm willing to at least have another conversation." She hands over the card.

Business cards. Fancy. It's with a reluctant motion that Robyn reaches up and takes it again. "It won't be fun," she says solemnly. It's Wolfhound, after all. It's not supposed to be fun. She turns the card over in her fingers, before absent mindedly handing the umbrella back to Elaine. "Thanks," is an honest response. "I'll still be around," she repeats as she pulls a small change purse out of her own back and slips the card inside for safe keeping. "The universe has made it clear I can't leave New York." The jury will be forever out on if this is a good thing or not, and Robyn refuses to weigh in herself at the moment.

"I'll call," is another hesitant remark, thinking back to the dossiers she had looked over. "I don't think your daughter would let me get away with not." Is that weird? It's a little weird. Robyn feels a little weird about that statement, and maybe regrets it a little.

"Well, maybe it won't be fun but you might enjoy yourself. Who knows. Maybe you'll have good company." Elaine offers the sort of smile you give someone when you're trying to cheer them up. "In any case, I'm glad you'll still be around. I'm sure Adel and Sable will want to see you, if you haven't caught up with them since the war." She smiles wryly. "Got a feeling you didn't catch up with much of anyone since the war."

The 'I'll call' causes a half-smile-half-frown to appear on Elaine's face. "Don't make promises you won't keep," she warns, but laughs at the mention of her daughter. "No, she probably wouldn't let you get away with it."

Sable. There's a name that takes Robyn back. Even here, now with Elaine, she hadn't thought of Sable - Raven Diego, as she should go by because it's a much better name, and the one her daughter took. To whit, "I'm sure Raven will be thrilled."

She doesn't give a moment for that to set. "I'll be seeing her a lot." Not Sable, Adel, though if there's any confusion she doesn't seek to clarify it. "I'll keep it." She looks up at Elaine with a more genuine grin. "Have to. You know where I work."

"She's always gonna be Sable in my eyes, no matter what people call her. Some things never die, even with age. But she always hated that name, you know that." Elaine puts one hand on her hip. "Robyn Quinn, are you trying to stir up trouble on purpose?"

With a chuckle, Elaine looks over at Robyn. "Well, make sure neither of them gets into too much trouble if you see them, alright? Gotta look out for the ones you care about." She grins as well. "I know all of this is weird…but thank you."

"Don't thank me." Robyn's expression has returned to an impassive one, hand tightening around the handles of the bag she still holds. "Ever." She doesn't deserve it, and that's the quickest way to get her to feel guilty. She doesn't answer the inquiry of stirring up trouble. If she wanted to do that, she would've put Elaine in tears and walked off. Obviously, that isn't what's happened here today. "No promises."

Scanning the crowd outside of the Vault, Robyn looks up at Elaine. "I need to go." A pause. "I'm sorry," she adds at the end, not looking Elaine in the eyes as she says it. "I'll call."

No promises. That was a promise right there, and one Elaine hoped she wouldn't keep. Looking out for Adel and Sable was a busy job and she was already pretty busy. Having an extra set of eyes looking out for them would help.

Elaine slowly closes up the umbrella and offers it towards its owner. For any other person she would have insisted apologies weren't necessary. In this case, it's welcome. "I appreciate the apology. It means a lot. Good luck with your work, Robyn." She nods once.

"And call."

Robyn doesn't repeat it again. She'll call. The point is across. A glance down at the the umbrella, and she raises an eyebrow - which still still hasn't grasped the futility of. She turns - without taking it - and starts off. She doesn't actually live too far from here, and if she was lucky she could beat Dirk home.

"You need it more than me."

Rain will only fall indoors for Robyn Quinn tonight.

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