To Live


elisabeth_icon4.gif bf_odessa_icon4.gif

Scene Title To Live
Synopsis Elisabeth reaches out to a wounded friend.
Date November 26, 2018

The Pelago

The longer they're here, the more on edge Elisabeth gets. They're making little to no progress figuring out how to do what needs doing, and it's getting closer and closer to Christmas. If Richard and Dessa were to be believed… Christmas is when their chance will come. If Edward Fucking Ray is to be believed, it's their last chance.

Coming off a shift assisting on the docks, Elisabeth goes through the market looking for something small for the kids. She's always seeking out things they might need when she has spare things to trade. She stops and picks up several oranges — lord knows where those came from at this time of year, and they're dear, but she's not going to look that gift horse in the mouth. A fish taco from one of the many stands will be her own lunch. And as she makes her way back toward the open balcony area of this level, she spots Odessa looking out over the water.

"Hey," she greets quietly as she comes up behind the other woman. "Penny for your thoughts," she offers facetiously. A penny ain't worth much, even now.

As Elisabeth comes up alongside her, Odessa turns to give her a bleary-eyed look. The bottle in her hand might give her more than a penny's worth of information about her thoughts even before she's spoken a word.

Slowly, her jaw works one way, then the other, as though she needs to loosen it up before she can give voice to thought. "Just admiring the view," she lies, horribly. "Wondering what the fuck I'm doing here," is far more honest.

She's seeing her people fall apart. Isabelle. Kain. Odessa. With a soft sigh, Elisabeth holds out the fish taco and gestures with her other hand to demand the bottle. "Well… the bottom of the bottle won't have the answer. It'll just kill every brain cell you have left," she tells the other woman drily. "Eat. Gimme that."

Despite the cold wind coming off the water, she doesn't attempt to draw Odessa back inside. Out here, in an small corner where the wind can be blocked, she wraps them in a silence field to talk. "You're doing the same thing we're all doing. Biding your time. Talk to me, Des."

There's a surliness to her expression as Odessa holds her half-consumed bottle to her chest protectively. She doesn't find this to be much of a fair trade. "Not hungry," she grumbles, and takes a drink just to be petulant.

"Last world," she explains slowly, "I had… I had things I could do. T'stay occupied." She had a bridge to build between herself and what she had lost. "Here? It's just waiting before we can ever even start doing." Which isn't to say she's been laying around feeling sorry for herself the whole time. After all, Odessa earns her hooch.

She looks out to the ships with a helpless sort of mien. It isn't hard for Elisabeth to follow where Odessa's mind wanders to. "I just need to get to the next world. I… I need to find my mother." She knows what that means she's giving up.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes heavenward, as if asking for patience. But she doesn't fight for the bottle. "I know you do," she says gently. If there is one thing she understands with every shred of her being, it's the need to find a way to get to someone. Crossing her free arm under the other, she bites into the taco herself. No point in letting it go to waste, and it was her lunch anyway. After chewing and swallowing, those moments giving her time to think about how to respond — she hasn't been doing the best job with her people lately!! — Liz finally says,"You know… you do have things to do here."

Waving that aside, though, she says, "Is it the need to get to your mother that's causing this?" Elisabeth nods toward the bottle. "Or the idea that there is yet another version of your husband here and … you don't know what to do or feel about it?" It's a pointed question, but … she and Odessa have never been exactly gentle with one another.

The pointed question received a pointed look in return, but Odessa doesn't contest the validity of it. It's more than fair. "Little of column A, half a dozen of the other." Her body sags with a heavy sigh. "It was complicated before. But this?" She gestures with the bottle, maybe to where the Featherweight is moored, maybe just in general. "This is impossible."

And that's assuming she's attempted to make contact. For all her ability to skulk about relatively unnoticed, it's unlikely she'd completely escape rumor of she'd approached Captain Woods or his ward. It's already strange enough for the people aware of Destiny Ruiz to see a full grown woman wearing the girl's face. Odessa's taken to wearing her hair back a tight bun, making her seem slightly more severe, even less like the teenager. Trying to make the contrast enough to pass off resemblance as coincidence.

Nodding slightly, Elisabeth looks out over the water again. She forces herself to finish her fish taco. They're not large, but wasting food here is not an option. Wiping her hands on her pants, she then shoves them into the pockets of the jacket she's wearing to keep them warm in the chill wind. "Yeah… it's not exactly simple being here for me either." How to even explain that? "I was apparently born here. My mother… is a mate on Woods' ship. When the original rip in spacetime happened, my dad and I were apparently yanked through mid-car crash. My mother… was left behind to nearly drown. I don't know what to say to her and what not to say to her. I keep wondering what her life was like after my father and I just disappeared. Pretty shitty, from what I can tell so far." She swallows.

"And to be quite frank about it? I'm scared to death what we're going to find when we manage to get where we're trying to go. All of this started because of Richard's mother. And now I have to walk in there, hoping that she's not the devil incarnate the way every other fucking person involved in the goddamn Looking Glass in every world seems to be. And I have to hope against hope that she will actually want to help us."

Elisabeth looks back at her, blue eyes bleak. "I don't have a lot of faith in that idea. Assuming she's even still alive at this point, which is not a given. According to Edward Fucking Ray, we've got to save a girl made of light — who is apparently a friend of your alternate named Rianna — and Michelle from some kind of mess they've gotten themselves into. And I'm scared to death I'm going to get more of you killed for a fucking pipe dream, Odessa. So… yeah. Feeling like it's all impossible? I get it."

Odessa waits and listens patiently, taking casual sips from the bottle in her hand, but nothing like the defiant gulp earlier. She’s not quite as self-destructive as it might seem on the surface. “I’m under no illusions that I’m the only person for whom this situation sucks,” she enunciates carefully, being certain she’s making herself clear. “I’m mostly surprised there aren’t more of you right here with me.”

Her head tilts in a sort of shrug. “Zarek notwithstanding.” She’s noticed. “He looks at me like a ghost. ‘S much as misery loves company, I give him his space.” They’d probably have the easiest time commiserating, given their similar traumas and coping mechanisms.

She shifts the subject after another drink, as if to wash away the previous one. “Mini Me seems to believe Michelle Cardinal is more than worth saving. I’d like to think that I have some innate sense of how to detect evil assholes that crosses dimensional bounds. If she was one, I think Destiny would know.”

Snickering at the description of Destiny, Elisabeth can't help the amusement. "Mini-You is…. There are just not words," she chuckles. Sighing heavily, she looks back at the other woman. "I'm mostly surprised there aren't more of us here with you too. I worry most about Kain and Isabelle in terms of implosion," she admits. "Lynette's …" She stops, and then just shakes her head, looking back out over the water. Her feelings about Elaine's and Lynette's suffering are deep and the fact that the other women don't hate her is still something she's not sure she expects to hold once they do get their hands on their children — Magnes is going to be a whole other problem. Because once we hit home, Elisabeth has the notion that he's going to go full-on tactical nuke to get hold of Addie, and Lynette and Odessa are not going to be far behind him. She, Elaine, and Mateo might want to go about it more strategically… but she cannot blame any of them for wanting to go balls-to-the-wall to retrieve the children.

"Odessa… what happens when we find your mother?" she asks quietly. "What… do you see happening there?" Her blue eyes come back to this woman in whose body the other Dessa resided and became her friend. "No one in this group has had an easy go of it, regardless of which world they started from. I just… you know that if we do make it there, I will still have your back, yeah?"

"Lynette's driven," Odessa finishes for Elisabeth. Stretched thin and hurting so much, but strong enough to withstand because she must. None of them have the luxury of a full breakdown, despite the fact that Odessa appears to be standing on the razor edge of it and slowly leaning over to dive headfirst.

"I dunno what happens after I find her," Odessa admits easily. "I think we fuck off somewhere to hide out. That's…" She trails off and clicks the mouth of the bottle against her teeth absently, ultimately lowering it without a drink. "S'not the life I want for her. Either'f us. But Desdemona's made that a problem. 'Less we can find some way back to our own world…"

A look is cast back to Elisabeth with a shake of her head. "I'm none too keen to repeat our odyssey in the hope of getting the right jump." Her mouth contorts itself into a sad smile. "Not sure there's a much better situation waiting for me there, either. I've aided and abetted terrorists, y'know. And I killed my friend to save your lives."

Her breath hitches. She hasn't discussed the way she turned on Roger Goodman in the eleventh hour. It was the sort of move people who know her better than she realizes probably expected. That doesn't mean it didn't hurt. "I don't know what my life will be when I stop… moving." That's been the danger here so far. She's lacked momentum.

She listens. It's one thing Elisabeth is really good at — the listening. She doesn't always say the right things, and she knows it. But she definitely listens. Seeking the right words, she says quietly, "I'm sorry." She genuinely is — Roger Goodman is half-remembered from her own world, and she can't put together the details. It's been too many years. But she does understand the fact that Odessa burned all her bridges to help us.

"Going back to your world… I told Cassandra when we found her in the Wasteland. I don't know if it'll be possible. I certainly won't stop anyone from attempting if they need to. But honestly? If there's any way I can get you a clean slate in my world… you don't have a history there. Whatever Dessa's history was, it's not yours. I have no way to know if you'd be heralded a hero or traitor in your world, Odessa… I don't think any of us is really either of those things. We just… do what must be done." Liz sounds weary. "The determination of 'must' is always a gray area, of course. I've aided and abetted terrorists in my world too." The rueful tone is evident. "One man's terrorist is another man's revolutionary."

"I knew from the jump that the probability of going back was next to nil," Odessa assures. She may miss the world she called home, but home hasn't been the same since 2011. "My home isn't a place. It's my people. I'm chasing the only thing that matters now." Wherever she ends up, she can rebuild as long as she's found what's left of her family.

A look is spared to the seabirds flying overhead and settling here and there on the docks. Odessa stares out at the sea again, thoughtful. "I only ever tried to do what I thought was right, you know?" There's a heaviness to her words. It's like an admission she's never made before. "When I was young and with the Company, I thought we were saving the world. When Arthur came along and recruited me rather than have me imprisoned, he told me we were going to protect society."

The contents of the bottle are swirled around the bottom, Odessa stares at the small vortex created in the clear liquid for a moment before she knocks back another drink and enjoys the burn of it, though it's dulled considerably over the life of her drink. "I didn't — don't — always do things that are pretty or nice. But I did them because I was told it would protect the greater good." Which she isn't offering as a defense for her proclivities.

"I dunno what that makes me," she mumbles. "I jus' know that once I find her, I'm done fighting other people's battles. I just… I want to live as close to a normal life as I can get."

The assertion that she only ever did what she thought was right brings a raised-brow murmured agreement. "Of course you did." Because … no one sets out to be killing people and shit. Elisabeth is of the firm belief that even the 'bad guys' don't really think they're bad guys. "It makes you human, Odessa. You did shit that turned out to be the wrong shit, someone offered you clemency in the guise of protecting your country and the people in it. I mean… who is going to say 'no' to that?" She quirks a faint grin. "Christ… it's scary sometimes how similar the paths we took are." Looking out over the water, she actually starts to chuckle.

"I didn't want to Register. So I quit being a cop to go be a music teacher. And then the fucking Vanguard blew up the high school I was teaching in." There's a bleak kind of acceptance to her voice at that. "At which point, I hooked up with my world's version of Helena Dean and her group. Started fighting the Vanguard and their ilk from the shadows even while I went back to the police force for a day job — because we needed eyes and ears in law enforcement. Worked on both sides of that fence. Got myself tortured and nearly killed by an anti-evo terrorist faction because they nabbed me taking sniper shots at them on the docks." She looks at Odessa. " Got offered a pardon for all of that shit if I'd go on an international black op to stop this." She gestures to the world. "In my world we stopped the bombs under the ice shelf." She shrugs a little. "And not a damn bit of it was pretty. It was just … protecting the greater good."

She pauses and shrugs slightly. "I don't think 'normal' is … exactly what anyone thinks it is. I mean, one might have considered the life I lived in your world 'normal' — job, raising my daughter. But we were technically on the run the entire time. Tired of fighting is definitely a way of life now."

"I appreciate everything you… wanna do for me." Odessa stares down at her boots, tongue running over her teeth. It isn't that she has a difficult time showing appreciation, but she hates how raw she feels at the moment and knows that she isn't hiding it. Her mask has come away and left only her. It's not the way she likes to present.

With a huff, "shit's fucked," is her pronouncement on their lives. It has to be to have them in this place at this moment. But it was even well before then. "I dunno what normal looks like. I'm probably going to fuck it up, but at least I'll fuck up trying."

Chuckling softly, Elisabeth simply echoes, "Shit's totally fucked Odessa." A brief shoulderbump — she doesn't want to knock the drunk lady over! — and she says softly, "I can't remember 'normal.' So… how about we just work on living life when we get there?" She shrugs a bit. "We're all pretty goddamn damaged." Why in the world it occurs to her, Elisabeth will never be able to say, but she blurts out, "To live will be an awfully big adventure." And then she starts to giggle.

She tries to stifle it! She really really does! And when Odessa gives her the side-eyes, it makes her laugh harder. You'd think she was the drunk one. "Peter Pan…" she giggles harder. "He told me if I quoted Peter Pan at him again, he'd spank my ass." There are actual honest-to-God tears suddenly. Liz claps a hand over her mouth, laughing and crying all at once.

"Did you just—" Quote Peter Pan? Yes, she did. Laughter bubbles up from Odessa unbidden, even as she also begins to cry. Bottle still held in hand, she wraps her arms around the other blonde in a tight hug. They're both broken, but not defeated yet.

"We're going to make it," she promises, murmuring the assurance into Liz's hair. "We're going to make it back there and we're going to pick up the pieces and we're going to live." And just like that, unexpected empathy has restored some of Odessa's hope. All is not yet lost.

With her arms wrapped tight around Odessa in return, Elisabeth can't stop the upsurge of ridiculous amounts of emotion. "Okay." She buries her face in the other woman's shoulder to cry there, to share the moment of tear-streaked laughter, of shared burdens and shared hopes. Inasmuch as she hoped to help Odessa, the fact that the other woman could actually laugh when Liz lost it lightens the audiokinetic's own depression some too. "Okay. That's a plan," she sniffles into Odessa's shoulder. "I'll hold you up and you hold me up and fuck it… we'll make it."

Odessa nods a little shakily as she draws back, wiping at her eyes with the heel of her palm. "You've got it." Whatever came before will always be there, but what matters now is moving forward. "C'mon, let's get back inside. I've got some blueprints to draft and bridges to build."

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