Your Best Excuse


elle2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Your Best Excuse
Synopsis Veronica welcomes a contemplative Elle Bishop back to New York, and gives her a few words of unsolicited advice.
Date July 26, 2010

Fort Hero

Fort Hero in New York City. These concrete walls are the closest thing Elle has to a home. Windowless, cold concrete, artificial light, artifical breezes, artificial everything. She always did hate coming back here after being out in the world, in the sunlight and wind and fresh air, as disgusting as the air in New York might be at times. It's still better than this dreary, depressing place, so much like what she spent the majority of her life in.

But at the same time, this artificial environment is the only little bit of home she knows. She can't help but feel a little comforted by the the coolness of the underground levels.

Today, Elle is seated alone at a table in the corner, quietly poking at a bowl of brocolli cheese soup with a thoughtful look on her face. She's got a lot going through her mind lately, what with her recent three month stay in Chicago, not to mention her recent encounter with her dad…how do you rekindle a relationship that died 20 years ago? Certainly not easily…Elle's finding that one out the hard way.

Catching up on reports is one of Veronica's least favorite duties, and since she tries to stay away from Fort Hero as much as possible, she tends to leave them until the last possible day and do them all at once. She's been holed up in her office too long; the lack of fresh air or sunlight accompanied by fluorescent lights and computer glare have given her a migraine, and it's time to recaffeinate. The slim brunette enters the mess hall and heads for the coffee machine.

"Hey, Bishop," she says easily enough, as if Elle hasn't been gone for several weeks. "Welcome home. Is Chicago as godawful hot as it is here?" she asks, mixing cream and Splenda into her coffee until it's her opposite — blond and sweet.

Pulled from her thoughts, Elle blinks quietly up at Veronica arrives, as is pulled from a dream of sorts. Then again, such unexpected events the past few days have thrown at her certainly have their hold on the petite blonde's mind. She blinks blearily up at Veronica, for a moment, before a slight smile appears on her face. A sip of her soup is taken, before she turns her full attention up to the visitor.

"Sawyer," A pregnant pause as the daughter of Bob Bishop takes another bite of that soup which doesn't look nearly as good as it sounds. "Chicago is miserable this time of year. I never want to even think of going back to Illinois."

"I've only been once or twice, but certainly didn't ever want to go back, myself," Veronica says with a chuckle, leaning against the counter and sipping the coffee, leaving several feet between her and the electrokinetic. "Well, it's good to have you back. Some of these new people around here, I don't know what I think of them. At least I know you can get a job done." They have never been particularly friendly, and Veronica thinks Elle's just a bit crazy, but when it comes down to the field, she would trust the blonde sparkplug more than she would someone like Isabella or Rain.

"You coming back to the investigative team, I assume? Our little pilot 'musketeers' program?" she asks, curiously, taking a sip of the coffee, dark eyes on Elle's face.

The sentiment certainly doesn't go unnoticed. In fact, it prompts a small smile to form upon the electrokinetic's face. At least someone thinks as much; more can't be said for some of the stupid new folks around here, who think it wise to talk bad things about Elle and her father within hearing range of the one they're insulting. Veronica probably heard about yesterday's antics, too, with Elle spooking two new recruit types.

"Thanks, Veronica. It's good to know that not everyone around here thinks I should've stayed gone." Little bit of passive aggression on the electrokinetic's park. The electrokinetic pokes at her soup for a moment longer, before nodding. "Pretty sure I am coming back to investigation. It's what I do best, after all."

The brunette agent laughs a little as she blows the surface of her coffee before sipping it. "I'm sure there are plenty who wish I'd have never come from California, but both of those groups of people can go screw themselves, right? They don't like that we're capable and young and make them look bad. I'm sure I've pissed off a few people getting thrown into leadership roles when there are others who have been around longer, but let our resumes speak for themselves, right?"

It's all talk on Veronica's part — she's hardly the loyal Company agent that Elle seems to be. Once upon a time, perhaps Veronica was. Then she was only pretending to be. And now she's playing at being Harper's lap dog. The two women are very different, but they have a lot in common: the Company has wrought their careers for them, and it's hard to tell what they would be like if they had been allowed to live their own lives.

"Buckley back too?"

The little blonde offers a mirthful laugh at Veronica's talk, leaning back in her chair and apparently forgetting about the less-than-tasty soup she ordered. For a long moment, she stares, listening, before nodding. "That certainly must be the case. Either that, or they're scared of me." She offers one of those creepy little smiles of hers, but it turns into a much more neutral smile after but a moment.

Elle's hardly the loyal little company Agent she seems any more, either. After all, it's quite difficult to trust a company that would do the things that were done to her. She's pretty thankful she doesn't remember the things she has heard about, and the things she has seen with her own eyes. Not that she actually makes anyone privy to that information. It's hardly anyone else's business how she actually feels about her employer. About her father.

"Yeah, he came back with me. He'll be around some time soon, I'm sure. They still have him pretty busy."

"He's probably filing his teeth somewhere," Veronica says lightly, taking a sip of her coffee and wrinkling her nose, turning to add more sweetener to it. "I swear, they leave these coffee pots burning for hours rather than waste money on a fresh pot," she mutters, stirring the coffee and adding the lid so she can carry it back to her office.

Moving toward the door, she comes closer to Elle. "You know, I don't know what the talk is in Chicago, and I know that you knew about the Institute before the rest of us did, but…" her voice has dropped a touch, "if I were you, Elle, I'd get out before the shit hits the fan. Try to have a normal life. It might be possible, and this might be your best excuse. I bet even he would understand." Not Buckley. Elle's father.

Another small laugh interrupts Elle from poking at the soup. "I'm sure he is." She grins toward the other woman, her head tilted toward the side thoughtfully. "They're the same about their soup. I'm pretty sure this stuff has been sitting since this morning." To emphasize the point, she wrinkles her nose at the soup. It really is fairly disgusting.

The next bit leaves Elle blinking owlishly at Veronica, an 'understanding' look upon her face. She knows that things aren't looking pretty these days; according to the look offered to Vee, the thought has crossed her mind more than once. But it's not like she can live a normal life outside of the Company; this is all she has ever known. There was no life before the company for Elle; it was just all company.

Slowly, the woman nods. "I've been putting thought into a lot of things…

Veronica is about to respond — a pep talk, perhaps, for the girl they all know is mentally unstable, thanks to what the Company and her father did to her, all in the name of science and evolution? — but then her phone chimes in her pocket. Vee pulls out the Blackberry, glancing at the display and frowning. "I gotta take this. Good luck re-acclimating to New York, Elle," she says, a sympathetic look on her face for her colleague.

They are so different, and yet, Veronica is victim to that same uncertainty. Life outside of the Company seems an impossibility to her, and she has only been in it since college. Elle is twenty years deeper in, chained by family ties that Veronica doesn't have. "Good luck," Veronica adds again, as she presses Talk on her phone, holding it to her ear. "Sawyer," she answers, heading out of the mess hall and toward her office.

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