We Shall Surely Hang


darius_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title We Shall Surely Hang
Synopsis Partners have dinner.
Date January 7, 2009

Darius's Apartment

The plaster walls of this apartment are painted in a soft yellow to give a little warmth to the open space. Central to the entryway is a large room which serves as the main living space of the condo. Lacking in true walls, it almost has the feel of a studio rather than a more conservative home. A deep ten foot semi-circular couch marks the focal point of the room and faces a large gas-fueled fireplace. Central to the couch is a glass coffee table whose support is a piece of carved petrified wood. Two plush chairs, matching the couch, are set at the end of the couch. A large flat screen plasma tv is mounted over the fireplace. This room and the dining area are lit by torchiere style lamps. A ceiling fan with 'palm leaf' style blades is mounted on the ceiling.

"Wow," Elisabeth says quietly as she enters his space. "Nice place you got, Darius. Beautiful colors," she admires. She lets him take her coat, still dressed in the black skirt, knee-high black boots with a small heel, and light violet blouse she wore to work today (court at lunchtime). "You know, we could grab dinner out." She grins at him over her shoulder.

Given more than enough notice, Darius has done something of a welcome for his new partner. He's braised some shrimp over his Foreman grill, basted them with a honey glaze, whipped up a rice pilaf, and set out a Greek salad. The dressing is on the side lest the large bowl not get finished. All of these scents have pervaded the condo as there is no wall between kitchen and living space. A glass of white wine is set on the bar counter and two glasses. The flatscreen is off and a fire burns in the fireplace below it, warming the area. "Why bother?" He moves to hang the coat in a nearby closet. "Its already here." Looking back with a grin, he adds. "Besides, we can't exactly talk shop openly at a restaurant. Heaven forbid some reporter hears the word 'bomb'."

There's a laugh as she nods her agreement to that. And the glasses of wine definitely draw her attention. "Oh good…. between being stuck in court and then getting reamed by the captain, it's been a truly suck day." Liz was not in the best mood this afternoon, though she didn't take it out on him. She merely got silent about it all. Running a hand through her loose hair, she moves to stand near the counter and sniffs appreciatively. "A man who can cook. Cool."

Darius smirks. "Mom beat it into me." He closes the closet door and moves towards the counter. "So, would you like wine? Its chilled. I have filtered water, ahh a kiwi mango fruit juice I did up yesterday, and gatorade if you're feeling truly out of it." His hand rolls as he reads off the litany. "What did ol' Billy Bob beat you with today? More 'tell me your contacts or else'?"

Elisabeth's smile is a bit tense. "Something like that," she tells him quietly. "Since I'm no good at the poker face, let's just say…. he's less than pleased with me. The wine will be a most welcome pleasure, thank you."

Darius deftly pops the cork with a tool, not his power, and pours two glasses. "Going to have to work on that. That's something else my mom beat into me. Gotta love corporate lawyers." He shakes his head more vigorously at that. "Suffice to say, smiling at suits all day took some doing. She also liked to bring me to dinners to shock people. Lots of rich white folk still don't know what to make of the whole married a black man thing." He doesn't sound bitter. If anything, he's amused. He sips his wine and moves around the counter to the center island of the kitchen. "Go ahead and have a seat at the table. Dinner will be served momentarily."

Moving to settle into a seat, Liz smiles a bit. She sips the glass of wine and lets her stress of the day start to go. "I used to think I had a damn good poker face. I mean… I work with hostage takers, snipers, and kids! Gotta have a good one. But lately? It's like I can't keep anybody out of my business."

Darius comes over to the table with a plate for her and himself. "Picture them in a ballerina outfit." He returns to the kitchen. "I guarantee you that you won't be able to keep a straight face. It'll piss them off but it'll keep them from asking what they want to ask." His second trip brings the salad plates, salad, and dressing. "Won't work with me, though. I've got that teddy image going. Spaghetti straps, nearly sheer, lacy thing. Oh yeah. Picture Harvard in that once or twice and you'll start wanting for therapy. Of course I solve that by picking other people at random. Like say, you and that Cat chick we were talking to the other day." A third trip brings a carafe of water and two glasses of ice. He then sits down opposite her at the table.

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Yeah, that'll work," she says mildly. "Harvard in a teddy. Sounds great for my demeanor. I might have to gouge out my eyes." She sips her wine once more, and when he sits, she looks at him with a casual expression. "Cat's a good-looking woman," she acknowledges. "Although she bats for the other team." Waiting until he's settled, only then does she pick up the salad tongs, holding them out with salad in them to indicate he should hold up his plate, since she's got it.

Darius laughs and gives her a gracious nod as she offers to serve the salad. He offers his plate. "Nothing wrong with that. A guy can enjoy a good show once in a while and rest, after all." Still in good humor, he winks. "Though I'm sure she'd be glad to know I wouldn't try to 'sway' her back. I figure people will do what they feel is right for them. That's why this is a free country. You want to fight for it, go for it. Stare at my ass in the shower all you want. Just no touching."

Elisabeth manages to put the salad on the plate before a chuckle overwhelms her. "You do pop out with the good ones, don't you?" She helps herself to the salad, and then picks up a fork. "So seriously… I'm betting you've got something on your mind, Darius. Cuz I don't think you're honestly trying to romance me. What's up?" she asks as she takes a bite, her gaze on him curious and frank.

"Who told you?" Darius looks at her, almost pouting. "Seriously, Liz, it doesn't take a genius to know two things. First, you don't drag your partner along on a social call that takes that long when we're hunting for bombers. Second, you don't have said person meet me for a social call without you trying to make them comfortable with me. Which I appreciate. So Cat's a contact. Good to know. Not a worry. Did you learn anything? That's the important question." He sets into his salad ever so casually.

Liz shakes her head slightly. "Well, it wasn't a social call OR a planned meet, if that's what you're thinking." She smiles a little. "Cat's…. a touch on the odd side. She's brilliant. But you know that adage about the fine line between genius and madness? I think sometimes she walks it. But sometimes she can make sense of things that other people miss. Details that don't make sense to me often make sense to her… so when I spotted her there, I asked her opinion on how hard she thought it might be to cause both of the bridges to go at once… and what effect it might have on the city." She shrugs. "She didn't have too much useful to tell me about her thoughts on it, and you came up and … there you have it."

Darius hmms. "Do yourself a favor. Try not to volunteer little details like that when you're talking to the boss. Because what that tells me is that your genius has already been considering our problem and wasn't out on that bridge for her health." He doesn't believe in coincidence, perhaps? "Anyway, not important. Sorry to make you choke down that dog but it was the best I could find locally." He slides his shrimp off of their skewer and picks one up. "There's just too many variables on this one. They'd have to blow them all at once, or close to, if they wanted to be successful. Which is no mean feat. A logistical nightmare really. You mentioned a group that might be funded enough to do it. What else can you tell me about them?"

Elisabeth considers, and then shrugs slightly. "Well, given the meeting I had today, I'm hoping what I know will have some trickle-down anyway. So here's what I know… the group as a whole is huge and VERY well funded. The head of it was, for a time, an FBI agent even." She didn't share that bit with William, though — it's above his pay grade. "HomeSec already has the information as well — the night of the gas main that was really an assassination attempt, they actually hit Matt Parkman, the president-elect's advisor and an ex-NYPD cop. So Parkman has this information as well because the people who talk to me helped save our asses. They're the only reason I'm not dead." She sighs. "Anyway… they gave us a disk with some names and information that Will has been reluctant to follow up on because he doesn't trust me. Someone spilled a few beans and I got hauled in today to tell him what I knew. Which honestly is NOT as much as people think. There's a lot of rumors and a lot of conjecture and a lot of supposition. But I do know the group we're looking at also torched Washington Irving."

"Oh holy fuck." Darius drolls out wearily. "When is he going to get that just because we hate the bureaucracy doesn't mean we're not going to do our jobs?" He takes a sip of the wine and swirls the glass. "So do you have a copy of this disk? I wouldn't mind having a look at it if you don't mind. I'm tired of all this guesswork." Setting the glass down, he looks to her and asks. "Do you work out at all?"

Elisabeth shakes her head. "I have a copy of the old one, but my contact is bringing a more detailed one when he meets with Harvard." She grimaces. "Hopefully it'll be far better than the old one. Will wasn't even willing to deal withthe old one. But the new one, so I'm told, has names, faces, the works. And…. I hope so," she answers as she eats. "He's within his rights… he probably SHOULD have thrown me in a cell for not telling him sooner.

"Telling him what, precisely?" Darius leans back in his chair now, curious. "You start spilling your sources and the sources dry up. Its how it works. Even the guys in intel got that much when I wouldn't tell them what villager was soft to us. I'm just nervous with Harvard meeting people is all. Next thing we know, there's going to be a raid on folk that are trying to help because they're all unregistered."

"Yeah, well…. we're talking about a terrorist cell here," Elisabeth replies with a wry grimaces. "I learned the names last week. I should have told him sooner, but I figured he'd be better off getting them FROM the source instead of me. He's been pissed at me for weeks." She smiles faintly. "And believe you me, I don't want him meeting my sources either." Something about the way she says that might indicate this particular source is okay. "Conrad Wozniak is…. willing… to meet him this time. I already told Will, Conrad's an ex-con. He hangs out in the right places. But if Will starts giving him shit, Con just won't bother to provide intel anymore. And my sources will…. dry up," she says with a bit of emphasis.

Darius opens both hands, bowing his head a little. "And my point will be made. The man wants intel? He needs to cultivate his own sources. Let us do our jobs." Letting the topic drop for the moment, he goes back to dinner before it gets cold. "So. A music teacher eh?"

Liz grins at him and comments, "Will's problem is that he's occasionally a *huge* dick to people … he tries real hard sometimes, but I think somewhere along the way he missed out on the how to relate to people lessons." She shrugs. "It'll work out." She eats some of her dinner, sliding the shrimp off the skewers and taking a bite with a sound of appreciation. "Oh, that's good, Darius. You're right — you're good with a grill." And then he brings up the music teaching. "Well… I needed something else to do when I was too much a coward to go register and stay on the force to face the fallout of it," she says with a shrug. And then relents a little, letting him see beyond the quips and 'I can handle anything' facade. "My mom died in the Bomb and it kinda tore me up. By the time I came out of the funk, all the stuff with Evolved and the negative reactions sort of … I don't know. Not exactly scared, but definitely I felt far more cautious of putting myself out there. So I was always decent at music, and teaching seemed an easy fallback at the time. A way to still serve without being a cop. Not quite what I bargained for, though." She grins. "And ultimately…. a cop isn't what I do, it's who I am."

Darius nods understandingly. "Yeah, I feel you. Part of me feels empty having left the Corp but.. this is home. Why I went to fight in the first place. I couldn't just go back to Iraq and leave this behind." The compliment is lost in a quiet contemplation. "Every time you say the word register.. I have to beat back the Malcom X in me."

There's a nod from Liz at the comment about the Corps. "Yeah… even if they're all bastard asshole brothers, they're still sorta family. And they need me, whether they like it or not. *We* need every capable person to be in this fight. "We shall all hang together or surely we shall all hang."" Elisabeth grins a little bit. "Damn… that's the second time in two weeks I've quoted Ben Franklin, I think."

Darius smirks. "I've got a thing for Jefferson myself." Putting his hands on the table, he thinks a minute. "How's it go? 'All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.' /That/ is why I'm against this registration. You're oppressing a minority. I can't figure out why anyone thinks this is any different than the sixties when King marched on Washington."

Shaking her head, Elisabeth says, "Well, the other Franklin quote I've said recently was actually on that exact though — the one that was "They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." And while it may sound harsh, I think people in this country — maybe in the world — have forgotten their history. That the more you oppress someone, they harder they'll fight back to attain whatever they define as freedom." She smiles a little. "And I cannot imagine you actually want to talk politics at the dinner table. Really?"

Darius offers a shrug. "Either that or football." He finishes his plate and moves to do the same with his wine. "Just thought we could get to know one another a little. Not like we're not going to be spending damn near every waking moment together hunting these bombers." He shakes his head at that. "Speaking of, if you want to keep any personal effects here, that's cool. Spare gun, whatever."

*blink* That makes Elisabeth stop and sort of stare at him. "Not that I mind politics or anything. Just… " She grins. "Well, I've never really had a partner. Not since my days on the patrol." She shrugs a little. "Any my partner back then, he was too wrapped up in his kids , his gradnkids, and his wife to talk about some of the deeper stuff. I was fresh out of college and he was near retirement, so… He taught me a lot, but he wasn't exactly seeing eye to eye with me on politics or on social stuff, you know?"

Darius stops his introspection to look over at her a bit nervously. "What? Good grief, you're in my house eating dinner. I figure that we've stepped past strictly professional. Unless you want professional. In which case, give me back my wine." He holds out a hand for the glass most seriously and gestures to a closed door next to the coat closet with the other.

Picking up her glass and holding it out of her reach, Liz laughs at him. "Not a chance. It's mine, now." And she tilts her head. "I dunno… it just seemed… a little weird. Not bad-weird, just … Well, I don't know! The kind of thing you do with your boyfriend, not your partner! Strictly professional is not required, though."

Darius ahhs. "Well. Whatever. I'm dating someone right now, if it must be said, so don't worry about that." He gets up from the table and reaches for her plate with a questioning eye. "I'll let her know that you might come by at odd hours though so she's not freaked out by some strange woman taking me out at four am."

As she hands him her plate, thoroughly cleaned of all foodstuffs placed before her while they talked, Elisabeth smiles. "I didn't think you were hitting on me, Darius. I have a feeling that if you were going to do that, you'd drop the banter and just get on with it." She moves to stand up, taking the wine glass with her for another sip and then setting it on the table to help him clear up. "This was wonderful. And I may take you up on that sometime, we'll see. I figure if I leave my spare piece at your place, it's not where I need it when I need it, right?" The corners of her mouth remain curled in a faint smile. "But yes… please tell her NOT to shoot me if I show up at weird hours. I'd much appreciate that. What's her name?" she asks curiously.

"Eve." Darius turns to take the plates to the sink. "Don't know how good a shot she is but she does own a gun. Its stupidly big for her, too. I think its mostly there for intimidation. Which works on muggers so I can't argue." There's a clink of plates and a swish of water as he scrubs them briefly. "You could always buy another. Its not like they've repealed the second for Evolved, yet." Though he doesn't seem to think its too far off. "How about you? Seeing anyone? You know, so I don't get attacked by some bravado guy and end up killing your boyfriend. That would be bad. Loads of paperwork. New partner."

There's an easy shrug as Elisabeth carries the salad bowl and the serving silverware to the counter next to him. "Sort of," she says. "Not really. Kind of." She grins at him. "As if that's not complicated enough. I've been sort of dating a guy who decided I needed enough space to … sow some oats or something. I don't really know what he thinks I need, except a little freedom. We sort of fell into dating, and I tried the whole 'be what he wants' route. It changed our dynamic pretty badly. We're slowly finding our way through it. In the meantime, I'm not chained to any one relationship. *So*…. if you show up at my door at 2am, you may find someone there, you may not. Or you may not even find me." She smiles. "So I recommend you call."

Darius nods a few times, loading up the dishwasher as she talks. "I'm kinda in the same boat. I mean we've been seeing each other for.. two weeks? But the whole thing was just surreal. We met in the park while I was jogging one day. And…" His attention goes distant for a moment as he thinks on the whole thing. "Anyway, so, we've been seeing each other off and on. I like her well enough. She's not psychotic or anything. But how well do you know anybody in two weeks? I don't think I even asked her out so much as invited her over for Christmas because I was otherwise spending it alone." The dishwasher is closed and he comes back for the salad bowl. "I don't even know where she lives." The expression on his face is one of perplexion.

Leaning one hip on the counter while he plays in the sink, Elisabeth grins a bit. "You can know a lot about a person in a couple of weeks. The problem comes in when …. they feel more than you do. Or at least, when they know what they feel better than you know what you feel." She shrugs a bit. "He's in love with me. Has been for years, he told me. But…. I don't know. In the few days you've known me, you see what I'm like. I'm coming back into the real me — I feel like I've been living in my own shadow for two years. I never used to take shit off anyone, even the guys at the precinct. And I lived… in a way, I lived in hiding for those two years I was away. So now I'm all kind of …. " She grins. "Sowing my wild oats again, I suppose. Figuring out what the hell I was thinking for two years."

"Know how you feel." Darius wraps the bowl in plastic wrap and stuffs it in the fridge, coming back for the wine bottle after topping them both off. The cork is put back and the bottle goes into a small fridge for drinks only. "I've been spinning wheels as a beat cop for two years. I hated it. In the Marines, I was a captain, had a whole company under my command. I planned sweeps of a whole region. Was out there myself coordinating madness in a command vehicle. Hell I was even consulted on the new MPC project and its ability to shrug off IEDs. Man, I'd love to drive one of those…" He smiles in a truly gung-ho fashion then sighs. "But this is home. I was born in this city. I don't know. Eve's a great girl but I just wonder if we're moving too damn fast. I'm still trying to figure out where /I/ am in the world. 'We' isn't a word I'm comfortable with right now."

Elisabeth picks up her wine glass after he tops it off, and then she smiles a bit. "Well…. the only thing I can offer, and bear in mind that this comes from a girl who understands the words 'friends with benefits' and likes her life that way, is to be straight with her. If she's getting serious and you're not… tell her you like her but you need some space. Cuz… I didn't do that when I should have, and my best friend got his feelings burned and then he dumped me after I shot him." She grins, though, clearly either pulling his leg or there's a great story there. She doesn't let the suspense hang, though, she adds, "Well… to be fair, *I* didn't shoot him. He *got shot* by my bullets thanks to an Evolved criminal."

Darius can't help but laugh at that and shake his head. "Now there's irony for you. Can't say I blame the guy though. I'd be a little miffed if someone shot me. Not that I haven't been before. Got a purple heart for being blown up, though. I took all the bullets in the vest." He beats his chest with the top of his fist. "My power saved my ass… my men… weren't so lucky." He gets silent, naturally, and downs his full glass. The exhale of downing large amounts of alcohol comes naturally and he sets the glass down empty. "Anyway.. I should talk to her. Slow things down a little. Its just nice not being alone at night sometimes. You know?"

She moves immediately, regret at having brought up a bad memory for him clear in her face, to put her hand on his shoulder to squeeze hard. "I'm sorry, Darius." Elisabeth's tone holds no pity, only sympathy for his loss. "And yeah… believe me, I do know." She smiles a little. She knows exactly what he means. "And take any advice *I* give you on a love life with like twelve grains of salt, at LEAST."

"Not much of a salt shaker that." Darius laughs but just a little. "So. Dinner's done. Have anything in mind to do? I've got freeweights and an elliptical in the office." No desk apparently. "Otherwise the dvr is my friend. I have no life." To emphasize his point, he assumes a poise and flexes his pythons for her. Yes, he works out alot.

Laughing quietly, Elisabeth offers, "Actually, there's a question I want an answer to, if you're game." She studies his face thoughtfully, sipping from her wine glass and setting the half-full glass back on the table once more. "You're willing to listen to the information that I have, you seem to NOT think I'm a crackpot. You're willing to ignore the questions about where my information comes from…. why? Why do that when you don't know me from Adam and you know the captain already has suspicions about my allegiances?"

"Because I figure two things." Darius moves out of the kitchen towards the living space and the couch. "First, nobody quotes Franklin. Not unless they're educated and mean it. Second, I'm your partner. If you burn me, I'll just shoot you. Problem easily solved, especially if Harvard would love to do it himself. The trick is that in the field, your battle buddy is your lifeline. You watch him. He watches you. You stay alive. Now I've done you the respect of listening, not poking into your affairs, and inviting you in to dinner. You seem inclined to do the same. So I think we'll do fine." He flops down on the couch and kicks his feet out. "And before you get any ideas, I was trained to kill with my bare hands so guns aren't required.. and my fields are great insulators against sound." He casts her a wink before reaching for his remote.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes at him, clearly accepting his answer and just letting it go. Taking the invitation to sit, she heads in to plop on the couch with him, though more sedately and ladylike than his sprawl given her skirt. She settles in and says with a grin, "Show me what you're watching, man. I'll hang out another half an hour, then I gotta bolt. Check up on my bullet-ridden friend."

Darius looks over at her and tosses the remote at her. "You pick." He watches her briefly before asking. "How about you? Think you can trust me? I could just be working you up to a confession, after all."

Her blue eyes on him are very somber when she looks at him. Liz's reply is dead serious. "You could. You don't think that's occurred to me? But you have two things going for you that lean against it… one, Will seems convinced of the sincerity of your perspective. Which isn't as BIG a plus as it used to be, given his perspective on some things recently, but .. it still carries weight. And two… if you were a plant, they'd have already primed you against my ability. What makes you think I haven't already used it on you to get you to tell me the truth?" She smiles faintly. She did tell him it was a mental influence ability.

"Liz, I took a reprimand and nearly lost my job. If Harvard isn't convinced, I could always roll up a copy of the bill of rights and shove it where the sun don't shine. Wouldn't keep my job.. but I could get paid four times my salary working the private sector. Its not about the money." Darius gives a shrug and looks towards the fire. "You could have. But that wouldn't tell you whether I was an honest person or not and you'd need to know."

"Trust has to be given to be earned. This fight with Will Harvard is teaching me that… gotta give a little to get a little, you know?" Elisabeth looks toward the fire. "So… do you know where your line in the sand is when it comes to sources? Would you take information from the vigilante groups out there on the loose?"

"That all depends on your definition of vigilante, Liz." Darius returns deadpan. "There's a lot of folk who'd call some of them patriots. Of course, that all depends on who they target really. You start bombing civilian targets like shopping malls and day care centers and I'll perforate you quite happily. Bullets or otherwise."

Elisabeth smiles slightly. "Yeah… that's pretty much my definition too," she replies quietly. "What *is* this we're watching, anyway?"

Darius looks to the black screen, to Liz, to the fireplace. "The home flaming channel?" A finger points at it. "Its real. Gas fire. Not one of those dvd fireplace things in case you were wondering." Clearly, he's a little bemused.

Liz slants him a Look, and then snickers. "you are a strange man." Then she moves to stand up. "I gotta head out. It's getting late and I've got a couple things to stop and pick up before I go see my friend. Assuming I make it tonight. Thank you…. for dinner, and for the conversation."

Darius gets up from the couch, opening his arms and bowing his head a little. "I am at that. You're welcome on both accounts. Maybe you'll return the favor sometime. Dinner at least. Conversation is shared, naturally." He smiles and heads for the closet to get her coat.

She moves to take her coat, and then with a faint shrug, Elisabeth actually lets him be the gentleman he's shown himself to be and help her into the thing. "See you in the morning, Darius. I'm looking forward to working with you for a long time to come."

Darius tips his chin. "If things keep going like this, likewise. Just.." He purses his lips and studies her a moment. "Remember you can trust me. I've got your back. I'll trust that you'll have mine when the chips are down. And we'll both try not to do anything stupid." He grins at that. "Good night, Liz."

"We shall all hang together or surely we shall all hang." —Benjamin Franklin

January 7th: Do Not Want
January 7th: The Hand Untaken
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