Very Mad World


elisabeth_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Very Mad World
Synopsis It's so appropriate a song to the world they find themselves living in.
Date May 18, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

As Graeme had promised Elisabeth earlier in the afternoon, evening comes and Graeme's carefully made his way to the Endgame safehouse. Odin's been left at the Dorchester apartment with Devon, and Graeme's brought a paper grocery bag full of yet more supplies, this time sodas and some fresh juice and even a bottle of single malt and two small bottles of sake.

But the supplies have been left in the kitchen area and when he reaches the second floor, the drifting of music from the keyboard has Graeme listening to Liz play, standing quietly rather than actually interrupting. It's pretty, well, it's beautiful as far as Graeme is concerned, as he's always had quite the amount of appreciation for music. And although he's sure that his footsteps were more than enough to alert her to his approach, he just can't bear to interrupt, or say anything. So he just stands there listening, a smile that isn't fleeting on his face for perhaps the first time today.

The keyboard is set to a straight piano setting and Elisabeth's voice carries softly between the notes, laced with melancholy. "~...Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow/No tomorrow, no tomorrow... And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had. ... I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take/When people run in circles it's a very very... mad world.~"

Her fingers continue to pick out the tune but her voice trails off when she registers the presence in the doorway. Jaiden's on watch — she knows that whoever it is wouldn't have gotten this far if it weren't safe. "What can I do for you?" Elisabeth asks wearily without looking up.

"Hey there you," Graeme says quietly, walking over more into view and then crouching down, knees on elbows and resting his chin in his hands. "I promised I'd be by. Need to … talk to you about Devon, and about everything there." He hadn't had a chance to say much more about it in the park aside from that Devon had called him. "Devon's … not dealing so great, from what I can tell. This morning, he freaked out and refused to stay in the motel he'd gotten any longer. Doctor Brennan and I got him to calm down and he went to work with me rather than let him go off freaking out and have him end up doing whatever … So he's back at the apartment, with Odin." The tone of the teacher's voice explains just how uncertain he is of the whole situation, whether he's doing the right thing, et cetera. "He's freaking out about Ms. Blite, for the most part. About whether telling the doc about this was the right thing to do."

Elisabeth sighs quietly when he says he needs to talk and takes her hands from the keys. She turns her blue eyes to him and listens, her brows pulling together. "Brennan … the one that was at Suresh?" she asks quietly. She doesn't seem to be too freaked by the information. "What exactly did he tell the good doctor?" is where she begins.

"Yes, the one that was at Suresh. Freely admitted to Devon, in front of me, that he's Institute, as well, but honestly, I can't hold that against him at the moment. From what I've been able to tell the doc's a good man," Graeme says. "He was freaking out about the weight of getting the vaccine made, he feels like all of that is on his shoulders right now, and was afraid that he'll do something wrong or say something wrong, and Ms. Blite won't do it. The good doctor explained that the virus is mutating faster than anything, and Devon's concerned about Ms. Blite's motives as far as all of this."

Graeme pauses, considering. "He did tell Brennan that Ms. Blite said she can make the vaccine. Said she can cure the new virus. It didn't sit well with him, like I said."

"It hasn't sat well with me since he brought it up," Elisabeth admits quietly. "Because it's beginning to sound to me like she could be contributing to the problem. I mean… here we have a flu virus mutating faster than anything they've ever seen… and a woman who can manipulate viruses has come to someone wanting glory for curing it, slowly over time with her own agenda attached. How the hell do we know she's not the one who started the fucking thing?" she observes with a heavy sigh. "Brennan's a good man," she agrees. "I know that during the riots, he's the only reason I was able to do what I did to help the people out on the bridge when I blew out my power. He's a negator and got one of the big zombies negated so I could affect him. Richard trusted him. They didn't really … get along or anything, I don't think, but Richard trusted him with Harm and the twins." And it makes Elisabeth willing to do so, to a point. "I've offered Devon every opportunity to get the hell out of this, Graeme. I don't know what else to do. He doesn't want to back down, but I can't figure out if that's because he's trying to impress someone or what."

Graeme shakes his head. "The kid's got some sort of sense of duty. He wants to protect Melissa, despite that as Brennan said, she's a big girl and can take care of herself. And he wants to be doing his part, not on the sidelines being some kid we have to protect, or something." At least that's what Graeme's gotten so far. "And honestly, the same thing occurred to me, this morning. Just like the winter was caused by someone with an ability. That if she can sense viruses, what the fuck else can she do with them… what the fuck else is she doing with them. Brennan's going to approach her in general, without bringing Devon up, as her boss checking in on her, and see if he can learn anything that way now that he knows she's lying about her ability on her registration. It's registered as Weakness detection."

Graeme pushes his hands through his hair. "I do think that Brennan is an ally in whatever the hell this is. He takes the fact that he's a doctor, and the oaths he took with that, seriously. Regardless of whether he's Institute or not," Graeme says. "Somehow, Devon's going to set up one of his dates with Ms. Blite, and Brennan and I are going to figure out something, that they'll have company. And he's threatened to negate her ass to hell and back as well, should she prove uncooperative or anything of the like. Also that if the Institute takes an interest in Devon for any reason, if something goes wrong that way, that they'll have to get through him first." There's a soft chuckle. "I know he's a negator. The first time I met him, he was having an off day and negating everyone in sight in a Starbucks, and I was curious and followed him out to find out if it was him."

Elisabeth nods slowly. She's paying attention but there's a shuttered expression on her face. "All right," she says finally. "I … don't know what to do with this information," she admits. "I need time to think about it." Her fingers absently begin to pick out the melody once more. "Will you let me know what you and Brennan find out? I might have to seek out the good doctor myself — because if this is an Institute job, the virus I mean, and he steps in the puddle, I know that Richard said he's got a family to protect. We can't let him get too far into all this if that's what's up." She clenches her jaw.

"I don't think the virus is an Institute job to begin with," Graeme murmurs, pushing at his forehead. "At least not one that Dr. Brennan knew about." There's a pause. "I'm going to see if I can get Devon to stay with me a few more days until he can get a hold of Melissa or something. She's not answered her phone, and. He's … apparently Kristen, the boss at the studio is sick, the studio is under lockdown." Graeme pauses. "I wish I could do more for Devon, but all I can do is make sure he stays occupied enough that this doesn't get to him, too badly."

"I'll keep you updated … I don't know either, but I think that Brennan can help us make sure that whatever path that Devon takes with getting the vaccine from Ms. Blite is one that's better in the long term." As to whether they can let Brennan get into this or not, Graeme is silent for a moment, then speaks. "Brennan's going to involve himself to some degree, because Devon went to him for help when he was freaking out, and I'm glad the doc was there, I couldn't have dealt with it by myself … at this point, not letting him involve himself might be a significant challenge, and we do need the ally." The observation is made, and then Graeme rises to his feet, a bit.

With her fingers playing "Mad World," Elisabeth grimaces slightly at how appropriate the music is. "Yeah. Well, we all make our choices, don't we?" she says with a hint of bitterness to her tone. Her eyes are on the keys of the keyboard as she plays.

Quietly, Graeme slips an arm around Liz's shoulder. "And all we can do is hope we're making the right ones," he says, a gentle squeeze after the words.

It's May 18th. Elisabeth leans her head into Graeme's shoulder and …. as stupid as it might seem, she is suddenly crying uncontrollably. Turning slightly to hide her face in the curve of his neck she struggles to gain control of it and can't. There are too many things finally hitting home. Too many personal issues that she keeps a calm or neutral front to hide from everyone else. Too many emotions about the things that she knows.

Graeme wraps his arm around her shoulder a little bit tighter, and he lets her cry, bringing his free hand up to run through her hair, what comfort he can offer by being a solid presence offered, without drawing attention to it. "It's okay," he eventually says, quiet words coloured by the drawl as he holds her close. The concern and worry are hidden, not showed except for perhaps that he doesn't draw away.

How much of what happens in the future happens just because we know it? How much of the positive have we changed to negative in a futile quest? One of her sons will never be born — he'd been destined to be born in February 2012 to a father who died before the knowledge of his presence was ever imparted. A man who was supposed to die today along with 13 other people that Elisabeth knew. The other of her sons that she's aware of is supposed to be born years from now to a man who may or may not ever show up again in this timeline. "We changed it all," she whispers in agony. "We saw a future that … wasn't so bad! So much about it was positive. It was just rotten at the core. And instead of dealing with the core of it, we changed it all, Graeme. And God help me, I don't even know if we were right to do it! I feel like everything I've done has just ruined our future, and I don't know what to do anymore," she confesses, unable to keep the absolute gut-wrenching terror inside anymore.

Graeme rocks back and forth ever so slightly, arm around Elisabeth's shoulders and hand still running through her hair, as much steady reassurance that he's there as he can manage. But he doesn't know what to say, doesn't know if he can make it better as much as he desperately wants to be able to, so doesn't say anything, but tilts his chin down to kiss her forehead, gentle, eyes alight with concern. "Something you did has to have been right," he murmurs. "I never met you in that future, I'm betting, and my life would be so much less if I hadn't, Liz. I probably never moved back from New Mexico, there." And then Graeme just wraps both arms around her, holding Liz close for as long as she needs.

Her sobbing gets less but she doesn't stop crying. Maybe it's just that he happens to be here and he's not one of the many men who share her bed. She isn't using him, just leaning on him. Elisabeth wraps her arms around his waist, burying her face against his chest. "I just want to … live, Graeme," she murmurs softly amid the tears. "And I miss Richard. Really, really bad," she whispers. "Not for the planning, or the chess game. Just… because he makes me whole." In aeternitatum.

Once more, Graeme kisses her forehead, gentle, protective, but also tender more than simply gentle. Caring, as he pushes her hair out of her face and with his thumb wipes a few of the tears from her eyes. "I know," he murmurs. "I wish I could bring him back, but …" he can't. He just doesn't like seeing her cry, it hurts in a way that he didn't expect to hurt. A way he didn't expect to care, though she is his friend. Graeme's hand cups the side of her face, for a moment, blue eyes still concerned, worried, but it's that note of caring in that way he's found he does that changes it. There's more light to his expression, and he pulls her just a little bit closer.

In truth, the blonde is … somewhat oblivious to whatever it is that Graeme's realized. She looks up at him with a tear-splotched expression and murmurs softly, "There are very few things in the futures that I've seen that I liked. In the one where Norton's son was born, Richard never touched my life. Felix was Cameron's father for all intents and purposes. The only good thing in the future that we're seeing now is Joshua," she tells him softly. "And my son has only come to see me one time. And he tried to kill Richard, Graeme. He's so mad at what Richard — Zeke the asshole — became that he tried to kill him. What have I done to my son?" she asks softly.

Graeme shakes his head. "I don't know, but I'm sure that you were a good mother," he murmurs, brushing away tears once more. "What Zeke did aside, I am absolutely certain that you were a good mother. That one day, you will be a good mother." Concern etches lines onto Graeme's face, and this time, he kisses Liz's cheek, then wrapping his free arm around her shoulder again. "We will make our future better than the one that's being seen now," he says. It's said with quiet surety, that solid presence that Graeme is good at being, though whether he truly believes it or not isn't something easily known.

He's not the first person to say that. Not even the third. Elisabeth is finally starting to get herself under control, and she tucks herself beneath his chin. There's a quiet murmur. "I can't remember what life was like before we knew all this," she tells him. "I can't remember what it was like …. to have faith in the government to have the best interests of the people at heart even if they did stupid shit sometimes." She pushes backward and then admits, "I can live my life without a guy, Graeme. I can live my life without Richard Cardinal. But he took a part of me with him — and unlike every other man in my life that I can remember, I … don't know that it will ever fill up." She grimaces with the admission. "God, that sounds so damn weak," something she hates.

Graeme's hand rests on Liz's shoulder for a moment, another gentle squeeze after he's let her go, reaches up to brush her hair out of her face and the few remaining tears from her cheeks. He can understand her dislike of things sounding weak. "It may not, ever, or not for a very long time," he says, quietly. "And just because you can deal with things alone, it doesn't mean you should. You're not alone. You're not alone in this, and we're going to make our future better." And then, perhaps a little bit impulsively, but not, Graeme tilts his face down, and steps to catch Elisabeth in a kiss. Not on the forehead, or the cheek, like the platonic kisses of before, but a true kiss, gentle, almost shy. Not insistent, not pressing, and after a short moment, he draws back away, letting his hands fall to his sides, but perhaps enough to communicate his feelings for her.

Elisabeth is listening, struggling with the numerous things on her mind, and she goes still in surprise as his lips press to hers. As he draws back her hands come up to cradle his face and she lingers in a second soft kiss with him. When her hands slide away from his cheeks, though, she is pushing slowly to her feet. Not dismissing him but not drawing him in. "I won't use you to make myself feel better," she says softly, her hand still light on his face. "I know my own weaknesses — and I used a friend to forget once. It hurt him, and he didn't deserve that. I never want to do that again." She leans down to leave a soft kiss on his cheek. "Sometime when it's what you want because it's what you want and I'm not… breaking down on you… make the offer again," she whispers.

Graeme's hand slips around her waist, after a moment, holding her close. "I've wanted to do that for quite a while," he says, head bent to look at her as if he's seeing her for the first time, on some level. On some level, he is, beyond just knowing that she's pretty, seeing that she is beautiful in a way he hadn't noticed, before. "I have." It just took seeing her vulnerable to make him realise it, but they're feelings he's had for a while, now. Another pause, and he leans to catch her lips in a third kiss.

Elisabeth allows it. Even returns it for a long moment, and then she breaks the kiss and murmurs gently, "Go, Graeme." There was a time when she wouldn't have looked the gift horse in the mouth — but she learned a hard lesson with Gabriel. Her chin firms and she strokes his face, her blue eyes serious. "Now. Please."

"Alright." And Graeme will honour the request. His hand finds her shoulder, squeezes, brushes her hair out of her face and behind her ear for one more time, and then Graeme offers Liz a small, quiet smile, tucking his hands into his pockets, before making his way downstairs, saying his goodbyes and making his way out of the safehouse. But before he leaves the room, leaning on the door, words that are probably closer to a whisper. "Goodnight, Liz." There's affection in his voice, and then he's down the stairs, out into the cool night air for the walk to where he's parked a ways away to drive back home.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License