2007-08-18: DF: Flowers For Laurel

Starring:

DFElena_icon.gif Eric_icon.gif DFDaphne_icon.gif

Summary: After breakfast at the Saints' stronghold, Eric and Elena deliver some scientists to the Bronx Zoo. They hear of Daphne's loss, and update her on news.

Dark Future Date: August 18th, 2009

Flowers For Laurel


Bronx Zoo, Somewhere in New York

Word passes quickly in the zoo. When visitors arrive at the gate, Daphne usually knows within minutes, and usually, she's right there to greet whomever shows up. That's partially because she only really trusts herself nowadays, and mostly because she wants to know who the hell's in her zoo - the two go hand-in-hand. Over the last couple days, though, she hasn't even bothered, leaving the animals to take care of guests, leaving some of the other personnel to take care of new arrivals… In other words, the only person who's really seen her over the past couple days has been Rudyard.

At least she's out today. At least she's done a little work — very little, considering. She doesn't know if the baby's okay - she hopes it is, but can't be completely certain - and work takes her mind off that and the fact that Laurel is stuck in a hole in the ground for the rest of eternity, and it's her fault. She's fairly hard to find, though the chimps have taken to leading those who need to speak to Daphne to her… They've sort of learned what's happened. Even if they're child-like in mentality, the understand death, and have sort of taken over as the welcoming committee at current. When Elena and Eric arrive, they'll be taken by the hand by one of the smaller females, and led toward the back of the zoo, where Daphne's dragging a wheelbarrow full of trash to a compost heap.

"Something's not right."

Elena's murmur is soft once she gets off the Battle Shell (she veto'd the Ferrari, since they've got three scientists with them) and pulls her hair out from underneath the collar of her leather jacket. She moves, shaking out her long, dark tresses. Hanging it in her handlebars, she looks over at Eric. "Daphne's usually here to greet us when we come." Out of all the Saints, she's the one who keeps most contact with the Zoomistress. Hell these days, she considers the two of them friends. And she could just detect a hint of -something- in the air. She didn't know what it was.

However, when a small female takes her by the hand, she….well. Follows the monkey to the banana. She looks over her shoulder at Eric, a quizzical expression on her face.

The three scientists that Benjamin rescued look around in aw of the place. They've got on civilian attire now, gone are the white lab coats. They seem to look rather curiously at all the animals doing work around the Zoo. Especially considering these learned men and women specialized in living organisms, the sight is fascinating to them. They've each got a bundle of supples and clothes under one arm, things that the Saints managed to spare them in their Headquarters before moving them here.

This time, Eric gets to drive.

Mostly because Elena would /crash/ the damn Battle Shell. He would rather of had the Ferrari, but ah well. Its not something that can carry extra people. He nods though, frowning towards Elena. "…your right," He adds. Dressed in his usual denim and jeans, fresh and clean, he looks much more awake now. Though he does shake his head slightly, amused by the monkey. He lets the creature lead him though the gates and into the zoo. "…when in Rome," He mutters towards Elena.

Something is very, very wrong. There's absolutely no evidence left of it, though. The car Laurel drove is gone, the blood has somehow vanished from the parking lot. The only evidence that something's wrong is contained within the zoo, where the bad guys can't find anything, because they can't get in.

The little chimp is talking to her from afar as she continues to drag Eric, Elena, and the scientists toward where the old B entrance to the zoo used to be. It's blocaded off now with electrical fence and barbed wire, so there's no passage through it.

Eventually, Daphne leaves her cargo, brushes herself off, and heads onward to finally greet the Saints and their newly-rescued companions. She smiles, but it doesn't reach her eyes - which look completely blank, honestly. "Sorry. Lost track of time," is her explanation for not being at the gate. It's a complete lie, because she just couldn't be arsed to make her way all he way across the zoo to get to the gate.

Normally, when new refugees arrive, Daphne's quite welcoming. This time, she just sighs. More work that she has no desire to do. At least she doesn't say this out loud, though. "How are… things?" she inquires, looking from the scientists to the Saints.

"As good as can be expected," Elena says truthfully, introducing Dr. Walsh to Daphne and three others. "We had an insider rescue Cass and these three. Cass is alright, as…" There's a blank look to her face as she speaks. "Healthy as she could be of all things considering." Her voice is quiet at the last, looking somewhat far away…but she shakes her head. She'll let the primates take care of the other refugees. And they can't be any happier because…well. ANIMALS are taking care of them and they've never seen this before. "We also figured out something about the human detention camps." She searches the Zookeeper's face, pausing a bit.

"What's wrong?" she asks. Perceptive as always. In her position, she has to be. "How are things going here, with your pregnancy?" she asks. She hopes nothing is wrong, a quick glance at Eric is cast there. Otherwise, however, she focuses on Daphne.

She absently pats the female monkey's head when she starts toddling off to show the scientists around. "They're doctors," she tells Daphne. "Some of the best. I figure while you're here, they could be of some use to you." Hence why she introduced them first.

As Elena speaks, and pauses a moment to falter and stare off into space, he raises on hand to gently place it on her shoulder. He squeeses slightly in a comforting gesture before he lets the hand slide away from her, simply smiling towards Daphne in greeting. Elena said pretty much all of the important stuff, so he will content himself with glancing around the place and at the leader of the Zoo herself, something it just a bit out of whack with her, something worries her just a little bit. "Cass will be fine though, we'll fix her up in just a week or two."

She shakes their hands cordially, but the tired, disinterested look prevails. There actually is a relieved expression, albeit extremely brief, when Elena mentions that Cass is okay. Good news, finally. Not that Daphne's had a lot of bad news lately, but the one bad thing that happened was just really, really bad.

They have all kinds in the zoo. One of the residents happens to be somewhat decent with stonework. To that end, Daphne motions for Elena and Eric to follow, while giving instructions to the chimp and a couple parrots to make the doctors as comfortable as possible in the newly-converted barracks. There's people there, at least, who will help them settle in. Unfortunately, Daphne won't be one of them, this time, and will, in fact, completely forget names later. Poor people. They must thing Daphne is a horrible host.

So she leads the others along a path, and talks.

"I think things are okay with the baby," she says. At least Elena asked - if there was something really wrong, she would have said something, right? Mention of the detention camps is a sore spot, since that's … kind of what started the whole fight. "Yeah? Still filthy?" is asked. Except, of course, for the ones where the government stores the human families of evolved officials.

The doctor's use to the zoo is a point she hadn't considered before. Maybe she can reverse-train them to take care of the animals, and they can always use medical staff for the people who live here. Daphne glances over her shoulder as the animals lead them off… Maybe she will stop by later.

"It's good to hear that Cass is okay. Really good. I don't know if I— " Falling silent, she continues the rest of the walk without word, until she reaches the cleared patch of dirt with a flat headstone laid at the base. Laurel Halifax.

"I hate to ask something else of you, but I ned flowers. Whatever you can find, the brightest colours possible. Reds, yellows, orange, I don't care. Wherever you have to look."

"Worse," Elena says softly, stopping to look at Daphne. "Cass told me why they took her. There's…some sort of classified government program going on. To change ordinary humans by forcing evolution. The bodies are piling up because the procedures are preliminary. The death rates are up. Because of Cass's expertise with Evolved, she was taken to…help reduce the death rate. Or so they say. Honestly I think they're going to use her research for something else aside from that if she had stayed long enough with them. But that's what they're doing. Nuremberg all over again, back in the 1940s. The camps are a smokescreen. It's not just DETAINMENT. It's human experimentation. Mass human experimentation."

"She's good, but….she's got a bad case of post traumatic stress," is all she's going to say. A brief smile is cast to Eric when he squeezes her shoulder, and her hand reaches up to touch his knuckles lightly. But when Daphne scrapes off the dirt of a flat headstone, she blinks at the name.

"Laurel Halifax? Someone died here?" she wonders, looking at Daphne. And then, she asks for flowers. She pauses. "….I'll try," she says. "I'll do what I can, but…the atmosphere around the city…it's going to be hard to find florist shops still open, but there still might be more upstate. We'll get you what we can."

As long as Daphne lets them stay without hurting them, I think they would be happy. However Eric frowns ever so slightly. She…/thinks/…the baby is al—-wait. WHAT BABY?! SHE'S GOING TO HAVE A BABY TOO?! IS EVERYONE GETTING PREGGERS WITHOUT TELLING HIM ANYTHING AT ALL?! Not…that they really need to tell him. He looks suprised for a moment though before he just shakes his head slightly. Time enough for explinations later.

A pause then as he is lead on towards some other direction. As the three stop infront of the obvious headstone he once again lets a flash of suprise flow across his face. A flash of sadness as well.

He dosn't know the name, but its obvious that Daphne knew her. He pauses a moment though before he nods once. "…I can go find them now if you want me too." He offers quietly. He is the only one that could travel that fast. He smirks slightly before he glances towards Elena. "…I can have them imported if I have too."

No! He dosn't do this /just/ because he is guilty at shooting at Laurel.

The revelation makes Daphne close her eyes. If only Elena could have told her this just a day earlier… She could have had more information for Laurel. And so now Daphne has no idea if her parents are alive, dead, or tortured into death with experimentation to evolve their brains. It's not fair. Nothing's fair. And the bad news just keeps getting worse; now the only person she really //does/ have is Rudyard… Though she's slowly starting to trust other people - Elena among them.

"It's understandable. Could take years for her to really get better." If they have years. Daphne thought Laurel would have a whole lot more years — Everything seems to come down to that now. Everything she thinks of brings her back to the same thought.

"I told you about her before. Laurel, she was my best friend." Worked for Nathan. "I couldn't control the— It was an accident." And what Laurel left for her is, in Daphne's opinion, more important than any resource in this god-damned war. More important than any tactical advantage, any armoured car, any amount of C4 or firepower. "Whatever you can find," is her reply to Eric's offer. Anything to cover up the bare patch of dirt. She does catch the surprise, though, and while there's no smile for it, her expression softens a little. "Me and Rudyard. It was kind of unexpected. Do you… Have a little time?" She looks between Elena and Eric. "I want to show you something. It's important."

"Thanks, Eric," Elena says softly. She had just mentioned to him before about how she couldn't even risk putting flowers in her family's graves, just because she was afraid that HS would start stalking the graveyard to try and figure out just who keeps visiting the Gomez plot. She gives him a small smile, and she turns to look at Daphne again. She watches her close her eyes at the news, at some point in their acquaintance, she had found out about her parents. But it didn't feel right not to tell Daphne either.

"….I'm sorry." Her hand reaches out to touch Daphne's shoulder lightly. She doesn't want to intrude on the woman's personal space. People had different reactions when it came to touch. Peter was quite free with his. Eric only did to close friends. She….her first instinct to being held was to resist these days. It depended on the person. So she tries her best to be comforting without being intruding.

"Sure," she says. While they're there. They can afford to stay for a few more moments. She glances over at Eric, and then she starts to follow Daphne.

"Least I could do," Eric replies with a slight nod towars Elena. He dosn't want to intrude on Daphne in her grief either, remaining standing there next to Elena. He sighs slightly though as he starts to go through things in his mind. He wants to reach out and comfort Elena once more. However his eyes open again as he looks curiously towards Daphne and nod slightly. "…lead on Daphne, we are on your turf." He says with a slight smile.

It just means she has to worry about what the hell happened to her mother and father. They were citizens of the United States at the time, with their residence in Canada only secondary, which means… It was perfectly within the government's rights to take them into custody. One thing she won't ask of the Saints is to find them - that's just selfish. Everyone's looking for someone… And despite the fact that she loves her parents very much, they aren't important in this battle.

Besides, for all she knows, they could be dead.

When the hand contacts her shoulder, There's a quick intake of breath. Daphne has to bite her lip to prevent tears - again - and it mostly works. It's not something she's going to get over overnight, but… Really, she has to. No one has the luxury of sitting around for days on end, just grieving for their friends. "Thanks. She left me something— It's really… I need you guys to pass on the message."

To the small concession stand that her and Rudyard call 'home,' then. She enters it, and a couple minutes later, she returns with a photo album, which she'll hand to whomever takes it first. Inside? Pictures of Secret Service agents and Homeland security. People who were all killed in action, complete with obituaries, each one mentioning family. "Laurel came here and I just expected her to be…" The statement ends with a shake of her head. "She had no idea what was going on. None. The — secrets the government keeps from their own people… I know this is a war, I know that people have to die on both sides, but they're not all monsters. They're not all— Nathan Petrelli." She flips a few pages. It depicts these people smiling, having fun in civilian clothing, looking for all the world like they're just trying to live normal lives. Each and every one is attached to a little newspaper clipping, too, though — Laurel meant to drive the point home, and, at least with Daphne, it had that effect.

"She died with no idea what was going on. I'm not saying every one of Nathan's people just has the wool pulled over their eyes, but, just…" Remember that they're people, too. On the wrong side, but… Each time a life is taken, it is a life. And that's the entire message in this book.

On the last page is Laurel's picture. No obituary, because Daphne hasn't seen it yet. But it'll come.

"I'm going to keep this going, for both sides. I don't know if there's another way. I want there to be, but I don't know if there's anything… If there's even the smallest chance that someone can be educated…" Really, she knows where she wants to go with this, but she can't get the words out. It just hurts to think about, and it's now impossible to hold back the tears.

"I don't want her to have died for nothing. I need to make things right."

At the photo album handed out to her, Elena hesitates, and then reaches out to take it. She flips through the pages, but her expression is, while soft, carefully neutral still. Daphne suffered a great loss, she's not about to harp in her usual way that it was either them, or her Saints, and losing any one of her Saints is unacceptable. But….in a way, she's right. She knows Daphne's not asking them to lay down and die, but rather not kill if they don't have to. If they surrender, or something. This was a war. A civil war. God knows this wasn't the first this country's seen.

She closes the book slowly after Laurel's page, and hands it back to Daphne. "You do what you have to do, Daphne. Some people already believe what you're saying. I guess the point is to spread the word to others." This wasn't the first time she's heard this. Gene has been doing his best to rein the Saints in. She is aware of their bloodthirsty reputation. But it was a reputation that had been cultivated out of necessity. It was one of the things that prevented other groups from coming into direct conflict with them.

Eric just looks at the photo album. His face is thoughtful though before he sighs slightly. "…we will do the best we can Daphne," He says with a slight smile towards her as he raises his eyes towards her once more. "I…" He shakes his head. "…you know we don't want to kill more than we have too. Regardless of the rep we have." He knows what he's been doing though, he isn't ignoring it, he's just accepting of it. After all, if they don't…who will stand up to do it?

"…if you want to use any of the recording equipment I have, anything like that all you have to do is ask. If you want to spread the words."

And she isn't going to stop them, or chastise them for doing what they do. Hell, Daphne's killed more people than she can keep track of to protect those who call the zoo home, and she will continue to do so. Getting a reminder that the people who are being killed have souls, though, can't ever be a bad thing. If they completely lose themselves in what they're doing, how are they going to get themselves back? Nothing will ever be the same. But if the world isn't going to do a complete 180, if it's going to keep some of its compassion… Someone has to remember.

"Just take it into consideration." She'll take the book back after that, holding it close. Her judgment is slightly clouded from the recent death; Daphne's not quite one hundred percent at the moment, and she knows it. Eric does remind her, though, of the fact that she wanted to contact Ali, get something on the radio. "Can you put me in contact with Alyssa McAlister? I haven't seen her in awhile. I need to."

Something's nagging at the back of her mind… Elena and Eric came here for a reason. Right.

The doctors.

"Want to tell me a little more about the people you brought over?" The curiosity is forced, though she'll listen to whatever they have to tell her. And because time is precious… "You can tell me as we walk, if you have to head out."

"We will," Elena promises. "And I'll talk to Ali as soon as we're able. We have an operation tomorrow night, Ali has to be there to broadcast." She quirks a small smile. "She'll be within easy reach then, considering we intend to all be in the same bus." Operation: Nuns on the Run. Coming soon to a Logs Page near you. The operation was, however, personal, considering the haul includes some member of the Flock.

When she mentions the doctors, Elena nods. "Come on, we'll talk while we walk," she says, and she starts walking with Daphne towards wherever she would lead, a circuitous route back towards the front, perhaps, if the talk needs to be longer. "Dr. Walsh is the tall one with the blonde bob," she says. "From what I could get from her when I talked to her, she was kidnapped because she was an expert in treating genetic diseases. When I looked her up on Google, she was an MIT professor." Her alma mater, which made talking to her easier. "And she actually developed a better way to splice genes together for medical purposes. The two others are Dr. Llewelyn and Dr. Clarke. Dr. Llewelyn is an expert in organic chemistry, and Dr. Clarke is a surgeon - and apparently a brilliant one. He perfected a way to siphon off brain tumors with an instrument as opposed to cutting them out with a scalpel. Dr. Llewyelyn is an Oxford man, Dr. Clarke is a John Hopkins graduate."

She watches Daphne carefully as she walks. The haunted expression is still on her face, and she's clearly not in her right mind - at least, not completely. She knew of grief - everyone did these days. She can't help but close her eyes. If things had gone better, Laurel had probably been first in line to be Daphne's child's godmother.

"We will," Eric promises, an echo of Elena's words. "Yes, we will tell her, as Elena says…she might can just drop by after the party tomarrow," He smiles slightly as well. The thought of who else might be in the camp that they plan to raid though brings a dark look to his face. What information might he find out about his own family he wonders.

He follows along next to the pair, his arms tucked behind his back. Letting Elena introduce the doctors, as she knows them better, he simply listens and thinks. He has alot on his mind at the moment, time to think is welcome.

Everything is just a mess, unfortunately. And Daphne's in no condition to be running missions, even if she was at her best. She has a little daughter (or son, but she hopes it's a daughter) to take care of now, and Rudyard would injure her with bees if she ventured into more dangerous territory. In other words, the zoo is her home and haven for the forseeable future, and… she can't really say she disagrees with that.

"I'll have a talk with them later," the woman sighs. Last thing she wants to do, honestly, but… Elena and Eric are right. They'll be huge helps to the people in the zoo. And, possibly, with their research, a means to end this war.

She eventually gets a couple steps ahead of the other two. Minutes pass where she says nothing, though she'll listen as Eric and Elena talk. When they near the gate… she turns, standing in their path. There are no tears, just a resolute look on her face as she wraps both of them in a hug at the same time. "Stop by again soon, okay?" she says quietly between them. "Just to talk sometime. Just… to talk."

It feels like a weakness. A break in her armor, but… She needs people so badly right now. "And good luck on your op. Bring everyone home, okay? Please. Make sure everyone stays safe."

With the knowledge of Daphne being pregnant, Elena wouldn't want to see her outside either. The Zoo was one of the last, almost impenetrable sanctuaries the city has. She was needed here. The Saints were born to be mobile. They fought on the road. The air. The sea, if necessary. But when she tells her that she'll talk to the doctors later, Elena nods quietly. "Keep them safe," she requests. "Dr. Walsh, especially. That's what our insider told us. He told me she was really something."

When they get to the gates, she looks over at Daphne, and she reaches out. Her hug is tight, though not too tight, of course, meant not just to comfort but to perhaps will any strength she could spare (and she would like to think she had an eternal reservoir of it in her size four body) into the pregnant Zoomistress. "I will. We're….we're having a going away party for Cass. We're running her to the border. I can't trust anyone but my crew to deliver her, Lachlan, and Abby to their destination safe. You should come. You and Rudy, it'll be a blast. Trina said she wants a group picture before she goes."

She pulls back, and the determined expression is set on the striking brunette's features. "We will. I'm not leaving any of my Saints behind," she murmurs fiercely, that same fire burning behind her dark eyes. She leans in to peck Daphne gently on the forehead. "I'll bring you some fresh fruit and whatever I can find of my classical music CDs." For the baby, but for Rudy and Daphne too.

"…you never leave any of your Saints behind," Eric replies with a slight smile and a shake of his head. He dosn't know if she could if she tried. He knows none of them would leave her behind. He smiles as well, reaching out to put a gentle gloved hand on Daphne's shoulder. "We'll be back to talk…I'll get Louis to come over and cook something festive up for all of us after this party."

Then there is a second and genuine smile. "…yes though, the'll defintially have to be a group picture, and a road trip…the good kind," He knows they all will be going with Cass. Like the last ride of a group of friends. Until better days return. Letting his hand slide away though he turns to look towards Elena. "…we should be getting back soon." He murmurs softly.

If there's any strength to be had, Daphne'll take it right about now. It's been hard enough getting up in the morning when your first thought is that you killed your own best friend. She'll never get that back, and neither will Laurel. "One more thing. Laurel said before she died that her parents are in one of the government camps. The nicer ones. If you hear of them— They'll want to know what happened." It's cliche TV resolution, really, but even so… "Tell them she died protecting the president, send them a note, something. Even if we all hate the bastard."

Who know where the hell they are? It's the sentiment that matters, and Daphne doesn't have the resources to look for them.

Hesitating at the invitation, she finally nods. "Just let us know when. We'll be there." Even if Daphne has to drag herself. Anything to take her mind off… This. "Thanks, both of you. Be careful going home." As usual, they'll find some bird of prey flying circles wide enough so that it can keep an eye out, but not so specific that it'd give away their location. Daphne, after all, likes to hear when her friends have made it home safely.

"I'll…" Elena pauses. "I'll see what I can do, Daphne. No promises. It…it could be a lie." Because the possibility was very, very real at this point. She hugs Daphne again, and steps away. "You take care of yourself, okay?" She winks. "We're breaking out a priest tomorrow so if anything, someone's gonna be available for christenings." She presses her lips on her fingers, and blows it to the Zoo mistress. Then, she falls a step next to Eric.

"Let's go," she tells him softly, looking over her shoulder. "And we will. You won't regret it. Eric had to kidnap Louis from a Michelin-starred bistro in France. He won't disappoint." She winks at her, and reaching up to touch Eric's shoulder, she starts moving back for the Battle Shell. Climbing in, she waves goodbye to the monkeys, and she puts her communicator back on and activates it.

"….I have a late night appointment," she tells him without looking at him. "But you said something about signing papers earlier?"

"…a late night apointment?" Eric murmurs before he shakes his head. He will figure that out later. "…I'll be back with the flowers as soon as I can." He adds with a smile towards her. "It might take a little bit of time…but I'll get them soon if I have to shadow-walk over half of the seaboard to get them."

He waves once towards Daphne before he moves to stride on next to Elena. He climbs into the cab, turning over the engine as it roars to life. A smile is directed towards Elena, warm and reasuring before he nods. "…nothing large. Banking things…it sets up a new account overseas for you and Ramon is all…" He's been thinking again he has.

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