We Are Okay


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Scene Title We Are Okay
Synopsis Faulkner meets up with Melody the morning before the mission to track down Colin Verse.
Date July 10, 2021

Days spent around the Bastion are often… unexciting at best. Most often spent training in the gym, shooting out on the range, or hanging around the Lounge. There's a reason Lisbeth DiMico chooses to leave the Bastion as much as she can, rather than hanging around the empty and stretching hall within. Dive bars, shopping malls, all manners of things - particularly now that her employment at Wolfhound allows her to start recapturing the lifestyle she grew to love before the war.

To retreat into something comfortable and familiar.

Which is probably why she looks a rather bit ragged as she trudges through the halls of the Bastion, a thermos of coffee in one hand and a breakfast biscuit in the other. Sometimes, you don't want everything you want from the lounge and kitchen. Eyes half lidded, she huffs out a sigh as she crosses down the main hallway. It takes her a long moment to notice that there's someone else crossing the hallway ahead of her, prompting her to stop and blink. Someone she doesn't recognise in the halls? That doesn't happen every day.



Immediately - and despite her slightly disheveled appearance - she is practically running to close the distance between them, boots echoing against the floor.

Isaac Faulkner is lost in thought. He'd shown up early to give himself time to think of what the hell to say to Melody, but so far he's… not having a lot of luck finding suitable words. A part of him wants to go outside and get some fresh air, to try to think there… but he's self-aware enough to know that if he does that, it'll be that much harder coming back, and it's no guarantee he'll be able to think any more clearly there than he has been here.

It takes him a few moments to recognize the sound of boots advancing at high speed; he turns his head, looking over to see the very person he'd come here early to talk to advancing on him at high speed.

Despite the troubles on his mind, his lips curve up into a smile. "Melody!" he exclaims, grinning.

Lisbeth doesn't slow down as she gets closer to Isaac; if anything she speeds up until she's upon him, at which point she skids to a sudden stop and throws his arms around him in a hug. "Oh my god, I'm so glad you're okay," she murmurs as she briefly buries her face into his shoulder. "I've been worried ever since the fires hit the city, but I've had issues getting calls and texts to go through, and I've been kept busy with…"

She blinks, trailing off for a moment as she leans back and relinquishes Isaac from her grasp, brow stitching her together as she looks down and away. "I guess it doesn't matter with what. I wanted to make sure you were okay, because you and I both know you have a history otherwise," she remarks in a clearly teasing tone, "but I didn't want to just… show up at your friend's house."

Mostly because Isaac hasn't given her the address, and sure, she could get it from Violet, she remembers that sort of thing like it's no problem, but that just seemed a bit too far even given the circumstances. "But, uh, hey! Here you are, all fine!" Arms held up a slight bit, hands out, and she smiles. "Hooray!"

The sudden hug catches Isaac a bit off guard, but for once it's an extremely nice surprise; his smile widens as he hugs her back.

The mention of the fires sees his grin fade a bit, but he recovers at her teasing tone. "Hooray indeed," he agrees. "It's been… a very eventful few days, but I actually managed to make it through without any serious injuries. For once," he says, eyes gleaming with humor; he's not afraid to poke fun at himself, either.

Then he frowns. "Although, now that I think of it… I don't think I actually gave you my address, did I? I should probably remedy that." But then his smile fades, a more serious expression taking its place. "Probably sooner rather than later, come to that," he murmurs, eyes slipping off to the side distractedly.

"I almost got it from Violet," Lisbeth admits, echoing her earlier thought, "but I thought better of it." When he looks off to the side, she looks down at the ground, chewing a bit on her lip. "But hey, is everything okay? It's not terribly often people just kind of show up here." She stops for a moment, thinking. "Like, apparently the SESA agent that used to look in on Wolfhound stopped in a few weeks back, but before that?" She shrugs - she clearly doesn't remember the time before that.

So, this is her caring way of asking why are you here? without falling on being that blunt. It doesn't help that the dip in his tone tells her that, no, everything isn't okay.

She looks back up at Isaac, smiling as she runs a ring bearing hand back through her hair. "Remember. Better okay than not," she says with a smile and a point of her finger. "So, what's up? What brings you by?"

"Better okay than not," he agrees wryly, meeting her gaze again… and then to the side again, to the gleam of gold on her ring finger.


Might be something to ask about. If he's alive next week. Which is a big enough if all by itself.

"Two things. In a few hours, I've got a briefing, and then I'm… going to be out of town for awhile. And I, uh… wanted to talk to you first. To let you know," he says, eyes falling to the ground for a moment. He looks back to her. "Is there somewhere around here we can talk?"

Furrowing her brow, Lisbeth turns and looks back around the hall. "Sure…" She sounds uncertain, a clear sense of worry washing over her that she tries her best to hide, but can't quite. "How much privacy do you want? If you want it to be absolute, we'll have to go back to, uh." She pauses, frowning. "Back to my room. Otherwise, it's the lounge, or one of the conference rooms. I don't think I could take you anywhere else."

Nor would she want to risk getting in trouble for it.

"A briefing? I haven't heard about a briefing or… a mission?" She turns, waving for Isaac to follow her. They'd have to head up at least one floor either way, with a briefing coming in today it's likely that Avi is prepping the first floor conference room. "Are we subcontracting out now?" She blinks, looking back at him, a weak smirk forming on her face. "You never did tell me what you do for a living," is somewhat of a tease, but maybe a little probing as well.

Isaac moves to follow; she's the one who knows this place. "Up to you. I'm fine with just not standing in the middle of a hallway, where someone might bump into me and break my spleen or something," he says wryly.

The question she's pitched his way is one he can answer, at least. "Package courier. Or if I'm feeling fancy I say I'm in 'freight distribution'," he says wryly. "Though I seem to have a disturbing talent for finding trouble of varying stripes. I took the job because I wanted to be able to see the city…" he muses, looking thoughtful.

A courier. Definitely not the type that gets brought in for Wolfhound briefings, particularly not ones that someone in Wolfhound isn't aware of - particularly with Elliot and Wright gone as of late. "I feel like…" Lisbeth sighs out as she reaches back and takes Isaac's hand, pulling along in a slow, almost plodding pace.

"We'll go to my room," she says quietly, "if only because I don't trust Lucille or Adel to not interrupt, either accidentally or on purpose." She'd really rather not, but so it goes. "You don't mind, do you?" At least she cleaned it up last night when she got home. Fewer bottles, less clothes on the ground. A bit more presentable, at least.

"Works for me," he says. He debates making a comment about how he'd been hoping to see her room at some point, but decides against it; she doesn't seem entirely enthused about the prospect anyway. "Lead on," he says, following behind. Again he notices that gleam of gold on her hand, and again he says nothing.

It takes two floors and half a hallway to reach Lisbeth's door. Without a word,she pulls a card out of her pocket and presses it against the door, before pulling it open and sliding wordlessly. As promised, her room is at least a bit clearer; there's an old takeaway carton on her desk by her laptop, which is currently turned off. Otherwise, the room is spartan - a bed, a space heater, the desk, a clock, a TV, a few empty bottles, and one of those recent Yamagato video game systems is all there is to be found out in the open.

If the cracked closet is any indication, though, that's where all the flair and sparkle is hidden. Out of sight, where no one can comment or judge it.

She moves to the edge of her bed, lowers down with a frown on her face. This feels like high school, taking some hapless boy or girl back to her room when her mom wasn't paying attention. "So, what's up? Everything's okay, right?" she asks again.

Isaac follows her in, eyes sweeping over the interior of the room; a faint smile creases his lips. Something about it reminds him of his Park Slope place — less room, more electricity, barebones but with enough of those small touches to indicate that yes, someone is living here.

He settles in by the side of the door frame, lounging against the wall, and it takes him a moment to answer.

"In the immediate moment… yes," he answers carefully. "If you look much past that… no." He smiles, but there's no real happiness to it. "In a couple of hours, I'll be sitting in on a briefing. Shortly thereafter, I'll be headed to Eastern Europe. My first exercise in hostile territory," he says ruefully, and with that there actually is a hint of humor in his voice — gallows humor, maybe, but humor nevertheless.

He takes a breath. "Do you know Asi Tetsuyama?" he asks.

"Asi Tetsuyama?" Lisbeth's voice is deadpan as she looks to the door and points at it. "You mean my neighbor across the hall? Nope, never met her." The joke is a deflection as she tries to gather her thoughts about the where and the why and the what the actual fuck that Isaac has just relayed to her.

"I don't understand," she says quietly. "Exercise in hostile territory? I'm supposed to be the military one here." Or well, paramilitary. And resistance army before that. "You must be a hell of a courier." Another joke of deflection, and she takes a deep breath. "So, I have concerns," she admits after a moment. "Particularly since this is a briefing I apparently wasn't read in on?"

Isaac raises an eyebrow. "Now that I didn't know," he says, an amused smile touching his lips. "Small world…"

That joke loses most of its humor fairly quickly, in light of what he's learned about himself in recent days. He takes a moment to consider his words. "About a year ago, she was in a plane crash. So was I, and so were several others." He falls silent for a moment, looking at Melody for a moment to gauge her reaction.

Lisbeth, by being here in future from that plane crash and talking to Isaac, has the benefit of in turn knowing for certain that he survived, and if he didn't… well, something made sure he did. She lets out a heavy breath, keeping her eyes on him as he talks. "That must have been awful," she whispers quietly, a frown drawing its way across her lips. Maybe it had been before she signed on? Who knows.

"You really are prone to bad luck, aren't you?" she offers, reaching over and placing a hand on his. "I'm glad you're here now, and seemingly okay." She wrinkles her nose. Well, except for maybe emotional trauma, but that's not exactly her expertise. "Do you know what happened? With the crash?"

Isaac lets out a small, bitter chuckle. "I do. Now, at least, I finally have some idea of what happened…" he sighs, his hand turning to take hers — ring and all. He slouches a bit.

"I had an ability, you know. But when I woke up there, amidst the wreckage and the screaming and the fire, it was gone," he says quietly. He looks over and gives a hollow grin. "I tell you this, by the way, to give a little context to our first meeting. I do free-running, and my ability gave me some… added tricks. On the night we met… I was trying to pick it back up again. I chose something that, before, I would have considered an intermediate challenge… but I underestimated just how much I had to relearn. My reflexes, my muscle memory…" he trails off, shaking his head.

"I fell," he says simply.

Lisbeth remains quiet through the whole explanation, lips pressed thin. She squeezes his hand, looking up at him from where she sits on the bed. There's explanations running through her head, all stuff learned during the war, through loose training, and what little "official" work she'd done medicine- wise - one of these days she should look into classes and a license.

Trauma resulting in loss of ability comes to mind, but that's obvious enough that she decides not to voice it. Brain and muscle damage next, but that probably would've been healed through either of their interactions, right? No, that would've done a number on her and taken much longer.

No matter how it's sliced, it sounds awful. It's not her job, nor her place, to try and explain away whatever's happened to him. Instead, she rises off the edge of her bed and steps forward to him, reaching to take his other hand in her as well.

"I'm so sorry," is a quiet, useless comment, but one she means sincerely. "I didn't realise. I wish I could help." And she does - and if it was something she could help with, her ability would've done it by now. "But I'm glad I could be there when I was."

But clearly there's more here, and she's figuring out how to broach that topic.

Melody's apology sees a flicker of surprise in Isaac's expression… but it's one that quickly blooms into warmth, first curving his lips up into a smile, then reaching his eyes. "You already have," he says quietly, giving a gentle squeeze to both of her hands. "More than you know." And that, too, is sincere.

But he sees that she's trying to reach for a question; his smile takes on a more pained edge. "Since the crash, I now test completely SLC-negative; it's not just burnout. It's gone. And that would've been bad enough alone, but…"

His eyes close. "I believe I mentioned some complications of my condition, during our evening at Rossignol; if I remember correctly, I believe I said something to the effect that if I had been alone in Park Slope, I probably wouldn't be here." Isaac takes a deep breath. "About… four months after the abduction, several of us suffered minor strokes. On the same day. Then, a couple of months later, there was a second round of strokes that hit several others. Again, several on the same day."

"The short of it is that as nearly as we can determine… all of us who were abducted and woke up in that plane crash are suffering an ongoing neurological deterioration. Our brains are breaking down. There is a cure — a fix, I suppose — but we've got to go get it from some people who are probably not terribly keen on helping us out. Who are, in fact, quite probably very keen on doing the opposite of helping us in any way, shape, or fashion."

"Wait, you're saying-" Lisbeth isn't slow on putting together pieces of this conversation, eyes narrowing. "You can't just lose an ability, DNA doesn't work like that! You're saying this was intentional?!" She seems mad all of a sudden, but certainly not at Isaac. She almost immediately releases his hands, letting them rise up as she presses her hands to his head, a determined look on her face.

For the briefest moment, Isaac feels a familiar warmth from her hands - her ability - before it suddenly stops. Lisbeth's eyes snap open wider. "What?" she says in a small voice. "Come on… not now!" Her shoulders slouch and her hands move down to Isaac's cheeks as a frown comes to dominate her face.

"So you're going to get it sorted out," she whispers, looking down at the floor. "And Wolfhound is… helping? Lending resources? If it was something we were actually contracted for…" She'd be involved. She's maybe a little sore about that, but keeping it to herself. "I had no idea," is a small whisper. "Do you know how long?"

If it can't be fixed is something she doesn't want to say, so she doesn't.

"It was absolutely intentional —" he starts to say, and then her hands are on his head. As he feels that familiar warmth his eyes widen… but thankfully nothing bad happens. Admittedly, Melody's used her ability on him twice now and nothing bad has come of it… but that had been before he'd known about the whole PHARO thing. Before the whole Isis incident, too.

"Yeah. Wolfhound's lending resources. I'm… not terribly sure on the specifics myself, but. I'm going to find out in a few hours," he says, putting on his most confident smile, trying to catch her eye. "I don't know the specifics of how long the treatment will take, but I got the impression it's just a matter of knowing how to do it and what to do."

"But," he says, laying his hands on her shoulders, lowering his head a bit to look more directly into her eyes. "I'll let you know all the details about it when I find out, after I get back," he says softly. "Okay?"

"No." It's a quiet remark from Lisbeth, uncertainty painted across her face as she searches Isaac's eyes for more, for understanding. "It's not." It's hushed, a word spoken in reluctance as she finds nothing more in her search. Nothing more than a man she's come to like quite a bit in the few months she's known him, talking about leaving suddenly on what sounds like a rather dangerous mission.

It reminds her too much of the war.

It reminds her too much of…

She swallows, sucking in a deep breath before she tips forward on her toes, pressing her lips to Isaac's in a sudden, and only slightly awkward kiss. She holds it as her arms slide down and circle around him, her frown only deeper when she pulls away.

"But I know there's nothing I can do at this point, and I have to trust you. So it has to be okay."

When she says it's not, for a moment it feels like Faulkner's heart is freezing in his chest… and then…

The kiss catches him by surprise, but after a moment he responds, kissing her back. When she pulls back, he's smiling — hard not to, after that. "Well," he says softly, then hesitates. Considering. That frown on her face. The ring on her hand. He is aware, for a moment, he is acutely aware of how much he does not know about her, and in those mysteries there is a fascination. His own smile fades into something more serious as he studies her for a moment.

"It will be," he says quietly, with all the confidence he can muster. He's not going to make any promises — he isn't planning to die over there, and she knows that, but there's still the risk of things going not according to plan; better to spare her of any hollow promises. But this much, at least, he can say — a statement of hope. "It will be," he repeats softly, his eyes locked on hers.

Lisbeth sucks in a deep breath, looking up at Isaac and nodding. "It better be, or I'm going to give you and everyone who goes with you hell." She says this with a barely mustered smirk, her shoulders losing some tension as she lets them sink and relax. After a moment, she tips back up, this time to simply peck him on the cheek before releasing him and making her way back over to her bed.

"I know we haven't know each other that long," she says as she turns back to face him, lifting a comb off her desk and beginning to run it through her hair so that she looks a little bit less she like she was caught by surprise. "But I… it's been a while I really connected with anyone. Even just as friends."

Her smile grows a little bit as she tilts her head aside. "I'm hoping you consider me at least that," she offers with a wink. Obviously, but. The joke needed to be made. "I'm sorry if I- came off a bit strong or, um. Overly worried. I just want people to be safe."

"At the very least," Faulkner says, grinning. "I'm still very much hoping to take you out on that proper date, you know, if you're still game," he says, his eyes all but gleaming as he regards her intently.

Then his smile fades a bit; it's still warm, but there's a bit of self-consciousness to it. "But… this is something I've got to get dealt with first. And I wanted to tell you, before I just… left in the night, you know?"

"Your sense of timing sucks," Lisbeth offers honestly, lowering to sit back down on the edge of her bed. "But I get it," she offers, her smile still present but losing a little of its luster. "Thank you for telling me this much, at least. I'm… guessing I'll learn more when you get back home?" She huffs out a breath, hands folding into her lap.

"I can live with that. It just means you have to come back home," she says resolutely, nodding confidently. She blinks, looking up at Isaac with a curious expression. "Have you thought about where you want to go? Next time we go out. Or do you want me to pick this time?"

Isaac laughs with genuine amusement at her comment on his timing, shrugging. "I can't argue that one, I suppose; the only defense I can offer is that we've been living in… interesting times, these days."

The question of where they're going to go sees Faulkner look thoughtful… then he grins. "I'll let you pick. It'll be a nice surprise… and I do love a good surprise."

"You play a dangerous game, Isaac, letting me pick." This is offered with more brevity and amusement that previous, Lisbeth letting out a measure laugh. "Spider to the fly, and so on," she remarks with a dismissive wave of her hand.

A moment passes, and she lets out a shuddering sigh. "How long do you have until your meeting?"

Isaac smirks when she accuses him of playing a dangerous game, one eyebrow raised in a silent invitation to bring it on. Her question sees him check his smartphone before tucking it back away. "Mmm… two hours or so, looks like."

"That's enough time to go get some food nearby," Lisbeth replies thoughtfully, looking up at her ceiling. "If you don't want to leave and come back, there's… not really much to do here. I can't take you to most of the Bastion. Wouldn't even if I could, to be honest."

Looking back down, she offers him a small smile. "So it's pretty much just stay here. Nap. Hang around. Talk. Whatever."

Faulkner nods when she says she can't take him to most of the Bastion; it is a secure facility, after all, and he's a guest.

"Fair enough. I got here a bit earlier than I maybe needed to," he admits with a rueful grin. In part because he hadn't been sure how this conversation was going to play out; he's been wrong about that sort of thing before, disastrously so.

He considers for a moment, then peers back at Lisbeth. "So… what would be your recommendation for a quick lunch around here, anyway? I'm always interested to learn about good places to eat."

"Nothing here," Lisbeth is quick to reiterate, chuckling. "Avi's briefings tend to last forever, so…" She slowly rises back up to her feet, offering a hand to him as she looks towards the door. "There's a deli near here. Harold's. They basically give a bread bar and a tray full of whatever sandwich meats you eat. Leftovers for daaaaaays."

She smiles and shakes her head. "Maybe not the best thing before long meetings and a flight, but… you certainly won't want for food for a while. That would be my choice." Moving to the door, she pulls it open and sighs happily, looking back over her shoulder at him. "But there's a few places between here and there. The Hearth for one, a nice little restaurant fucked into the corner two blocks up. Belmont Pizza's good too."

Isaac smiles, making mental notes of the places she's listing off; things to look forward to after the mission. "Harold's sounds good; lead the way," he says, taking the offered hand and falling in behind her.

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