We All Do


elisabeth_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title We All Do
Synopsis Liz gives Graeme one last chance to back out. He doesn't take it.
Date March 23, 2011

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

The Nite Owl is seeing a lot of Elisabeth lately. She's starting to feel like she should get a plaque on her table in the corner. She's sitting there with a cup of coffee looking… less than thrilled, quite frankly.

Graeme slips in the door, minor lines of worry creasing his brow, and pauses a moment, before he spots Elisabeth. The black wool peacoat that simply hangs on his shoulders is removed, and he walks over. "Hey. Sorry I'm a little later than I expected. I was down at the district arranging not to lose my place in the gigantic hierarchy of substitutes who actually get work," he says, as he places the jacket next to him and then sits down, slightly adjusting the sling his right arm is in as he does so.

Elisabeth looks up at him and nods slightly, forcing a small smile. "It's no trouble. I'm on call, but that's the norm anyway." She gestures him to a seat. "Sit… tell me what's what." The silence field slides into place even as he does.

Graeme finishes sitting down, carefully. "Point one, the DHS agent I spoke to, one Audrey Hanson? She seemed far more interested in the fact that I know you than I really expected. The same of Richard, though she didn't press me for how I know Richard like she did for how I know you."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "What'd you tell her?" she asks mildly. "She didn't really ask me about you so much as Remi — and I told her we all lived in the same building. I also told her that Remi's telepathy seems general as opposed to tactile and that she seems to spend most of her time trying to block out everyone's surface thoughts. So if you talk to Remi before I do, you can let her know what I said. If she goes ahead and tells them something like that it's only in the past few weeks or something… they may go easier on her. She may get released with nothing more than a fine."

"I told her that we live in the same building, and that you took pity on me when I was new in town and we have since become friends," Graeme says. "I'm quite sure she wasn't satisfied with my answer, but she didn't press me on the matter. She didn't also specifically ask me about Remi's ability, which meant I didn't have to say anything one way or the other." He then nods, tilting his head to one side a bit.

There's a slight nod. "All right," Elisabeth says. "And so…. that was the first thing. The second?"

Graeme chuckles, and purses his lips. "The second thing," he says, eventually, "is just idle wondering. Alice Shaw put me in touch with Ygraine deliberately, yes. But not for Liberty, more than to have me help her out as and when I could, no; deliberately because of her ties to the Ferrymen, apparently. It took me a damn while to put the pieces together, and I'm still not sure I entirely understand." His fingers drum on the table, and he looks over at Elisabeth, a faintly expectant expression on his face.

Elisabeth's caution has been forged in blood. And even in death. A single brow quirks. "I believe I told you that you were asking the right questions…. or at least starting to," she comments quietly.

"You did, yes," Graeme says. "So, I thought that we might as well continue the conversation." His fingers drum on the table some more, a slight sign of the restlessness that he's not that good at hiding.

"What is it you want to know, then? Because up to this point, Graeme — you've been concerned about putting people in danger. The thing you have to know is that once you start down this road, it's not just about the people you put in danger. It's about the people I put in danger by exposing them to you." Elisabeth studies him. "And I believe you can be trusted. But at the same time…." She shrugs a little. "This is your last chance to back out. Once I start talking, I need you all in or nothing."

Graeme watches her, and for a long moment, he's silent, looking down at the table. The edge of his mouth quirks as his lips purse, the only indication that he's actually thinking, considering, and he looks back up. "I appreciate the chance to back out," he says. His voice is serious, level. "But I'm not taking it." His gaze meets hers, blue eyes that neither flicker from the eye contact nor blink.

Elisabeth nods slowly. "All right then. Welcome to the revolution, Graeme Cormac," she murmurs quietly. Encased safely in the field of silence, the blonde begins to fill him in. "Four years and a bit ago, I took a hiatus from the NYPD when I lost my mother in Midtown and the reality of the Evolved was exposed. I didn't want to Register and so I fell back on my music. I was a substitute teacher when the Vanguard blew up the high school I was teaching in. I couldn't sit by anymore. I Registered, went back onto the NYPD as part of the SCOUT program, the all-Evo squad that was the precursor to FRONTLINE.

"At the same time, I joined a rogue group calling itself Phoenix. Over the course of time, I came to learn that there were things precogs could tell us about the future…. and that there were time travelers who'd actually been or would go to the future in the time that I knew them…. and though some of what they brought back was amazingly beautiful, other knowledge was not. And I joined forces with a variety of people to help stop the horrible things that were being seen from coming to pass. I have done many things. I've killed Vanguard members in cold blood when they attempted to loose a virus on the world that would have wiped out 95 percent of the world's population. I've blown up the Pinehearst building and helped kill a man named Arthur Petrelli, one of the architects of a future that we all believed was bad. I've watched the man I love absorb a nuclear weapon into the shadows with him as it exploded, shredding his incorporeal form into a thousand shards while he saved the Antarctic ice shelf from outright collapse, which would have flooded the world." She pauses here and lets him assimilate.

Through all of it, Graeme doesn't actually blink, simply nods. It's a fair amount for him to process, and he's simply putting the pieces together in his mind. And then, he does blink a few times, and then nods again. "Right," he says, quietly, with a slightly awkward indication for her to go on. What she's said has him at more of a loss for words than usual, but the seriousness of what she has said is echoed on his face, if not in his acknowledgement.

"Nowadays I work with FRONTLINE doing what I know — protecting as best I can. But I also work with a small group of people who still talk to precogs about what's to come. And what's coming is not pretty. It's not nice. And it's not going to be anything remotely resembling fun. It's going to look more like the fucking Terminator crossed with 1984." Elisabeth sips from her coffee cup. "It'll be war. It already is war. Because some of us are trying to if not stop what's coming — because maybe it can't be stopped — to at least mitigate the horribleness. But there's another group out there headed by a man who thinks that he knows exactly what needs to be done to make it all come out his way." There's a hint of bitterness in that tone. "Richard always did have an ego." Pursing her lips, she says, "And a version of him from somewhere around 2030 was time-jumped into the past and he built — or helped create at least — the Commonwealth Institute. And that time-jumped version of him that thinks he knows best? Is determined that the current Richard Cardinal and whoever is working with him is just dead wrong in attempting to head off what's coming. SO… we're all fighting a battle that maybe nobody can win."

Once again, Graeme nods. "I used to always wonder why people thought time travel was something that they wanted," Graeme says, "when I was a kid. It always just seemed like a bad idea to me." It's a musing comment, quiet, serious, leaning back. It's still a lot to process, and so, he's quiet.

"Yeah. Well… let me tell you that in the last two years, I've become convinced that time travel and precognition are the single most horrible powers out there. Tied for first place. Seriously," Elisabeth retorts. "We are not meant to know the future, and we sure as hell are not meant to be mucking about in the past."

"I won't argue with that," Graeme says. "Some of the other boys, they'd joke that they'd go back and make their parents be better at it, or whatever. I used to just always wonder if they wouldn't mess up more than they fixed, and well, that's pretty much what it sounds like it does. Messes up a hell of a lot more than it ever possibly fixes." His gaze meets Liz's again.

Blue eyes meet his and Elisabeth looks… tired. "I don't have an argument for that," she says quietly. "But we're already in it to our eyeballs, and I refuse to let a man who has decided that saving his son must be done at the cost of thousands of other lives. Even when that son is mine too."

Graeme doesn't speak, yet, almost does but it's just a half-formed murmur of sympathy that he lets fade off, before he picks up the glass of water that he's so far been ignoring, takes a sip.

Elisabeth sips her coffee quietly. "This is enough for you to take in right now. Ask what questions you want of me and I'll try to fill it in. You have to realize that's a hugely sketchy overview of what I've personally had experience of, and there are a lot of others out there who've had other or different experiences."

"Yeah," Graeme says. "It's going to take a bit, before I figure out what questions, really." He shrugs quietly. "I'm a little tired, today. Ygraine and I ran into a friend of hers, last night when we were out, and I decided after that that it might be a good idea to take the pain medication regardless of whether it otherwise bothers me or not. Though, I'm going to make a slight leap to conclusions, and guess that Endgame is the small group you work with?" There's a faint smile. "Jaiden mentioned it by accident, yesterday, at the same time as he mentioned Ferry. I did have a slight break."

There's a faint smile. "Keep the Ferry under your hat. They smuggle people out who need to get the fuck away." Elisabeth is serious in spite of the smile. "If you want to help them, Ygraine can put you in contact, I'm sure. I…. keep my distance for personal reasons."

Graeme nods. "I'm familiar, vaguely, with what they do," he says, lips pursed. "It was on the list of last resorts, had things gone south in New Mexico, further. I never needed to, and for that I'm glad, but. I'm more curious as to why that was what Alice mentioned to me."

He shrugs, and then winces. "Fuck. Um." There's a bit of a sheepish look. "That hurt. I think. Not as bad as running into Ygraine's friend did," and there's a murmur of something along the lines of fuckingnegators, "but ow."

Elisabeth looks up sharply, and then smiles. "Yeah… sometimes it's a pain in the ass. Other times… not so much."

Graeme gives Liz what is almost an amused look. "Sometimes?" He grins. "No, really. If I never experience it again, I'd be happier, but something tells me that once my shoulder's doing better I ought to go about learning to deal with the one thing my ability doesn't and can't help me deal with. Even if I also think I'm crazy for even contemplating the idea." The grin fades into a faint grimace. "Because it's … like there's less between me and the rest of the world and more disconnect at the same time. And it hurts."

She has no response to that. Really. Elisabeth just shrugs a little. "Good luck on that," she tells him mildly.

There's another slight grin from Graeme at her words. "Yeah. Somehow, I think I need it." There's a pause, and Graeme continues. "Somehow, I think we all do."

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