2007-06-16: The Power of Persuasion


Elle_icon.gif McAlister_icon.gif

Summary: Trying to help out a friend by bringing cake and beer is one thing, but when the conversation touches on a hidden and unpredictable power, the strangest things can happen…

Date It Happened: June 16, 2007

The Power of Persuasion

Elle and Jane's Apartment, Greenwich Village

*taptaptaptaptap* It's not a knock. It's a woodpecker rapraprapping at the door, though not with quite the same insistance. Actually, it's an Ali on the far side trying to balance what looks like a store-bought bundt cake and a rather large paper grocery bag while still knocking.

Truly, a feat of gymnastics.

But! She accomplishes it enough to get knuckle in contact with door, and that's what counts in the end, right?

The blonde inside got drugged up with -hippo tranqs- yesterday, and if it weren't for the knocking at the door, she would probably have slept…well, a lot longer. She's still in her clothes from yesterday, though thankfully her heels are off. But you wouldn't know it from the way she sort of staggers drunkenly to the door. She peers through the peephole.

It's a bag.

Why is a bag knocking at her door? Elle opens it, bleary-eyed and dazed.

"Hiya!" Oh, /that/ distinctive alto is happy and warm and vibrant and… somwhere along the way, Ali's forgotten to stop for breath. "Hey, where can I put this stuff? I got a cake and beer and I think there's some chocolate in there 'cause, frankly, I wanted chocolate and I'm like that. I didn't wake you up, did I?" She's peering /around/. Over. Sort of as best she can through the bag… grinning. "Sorry. I didn't sleep much - but I figured everything's better with bundt cake, right? My mother always said so."

It's a talking bag. No, wait. It's Ali in a bag. Behind a bag. Elle looks over and gestures in the vague direction of…well, the rest of the apartment. "S'over there…" she mumbles. "You can put it over there…"

And in she sweeps! "Here, sit down, you probably shouldn't be up anyway, right?" Nevermind it's Ali's fault that Elle /is/, at the moment. "Hey. Weren't you wearing that yesterday?"

"Nevermind. Hey. You want beer or water or.. whatever? And cake - but let me get things settled."

Elle looks over, blearily, at Ali. And then down at her attire. "I…oh. Yeah. I think…I think I've been asleep since then. I should change…" Elle starts to stumble towards her room like a drunken woman. Beer is probably NOT the best plan.

"Woah. Sit first. I'll give you an arm." Ali offloads bag-o'-bad-for-you-groceries in the kitchenette, setting the Bundt on the counter .. and she's quick to head back that way, quick to offer a shoulder, or a leaning post, or whatever. "I chickened out - I kinda saw you fall down and then ran anyway. I don't think i'm cut out for facing down charging rhinos."

She offers a sunny grin, "Geez. What'd they shoot you with? 'cause I want some."

Elle looks back at Ali. All three of her. "Ummmm…I think, I got shot with the…tranquilizer. An' the rhino is pretty big n' I'm not." Elle is a wee-tiny person. Both in height and petiteness. "I thought it'd be dead alreaddy."

And then Ali's there. Supporting - "The rhino? Nah. I think they managed to stuff it back wherever they stuff rhinos. You seen a doc? 'cause that stuff can mess you up pretty bad - I think it /did/ mess you up pretty bad. Stop your heart and all that, if you're not careful." But, right now? It's all about the worrying, apparently. "You just wanna lay down? You can worry about clothes later, or I can help you get sorted and in a real bed instead of on the couch or something."

Elle shakes her head. "No, got comp'ny, shouldn't lay down." Honestly, staying moving to get her heartrate up is probably better for her than lying there. "Just gotta get changed." Soon as she can find her feet. Right now she's leaning heavily on Ali.

… who isn't /that/ strong. Lucky Elle's not, you know, of heroic proportion. Anyway, the DJ nods - "Yeah. You know, you're insane? I mean, in a good way. But crazy. Charging /toward/ that thing? I still can't get over it." And.. odd, she keeps up that steady shower of words as she carefully shivvys Elle in the likely direction of /somebody/'s wardrobe, anyway.

"And I'm not really company. I brought cake, right?" And with a grin, she points out - "If facing charging rhinos is the stuff you put up with every day? I'm kinda not envying the cool factor of your secret agent job anymore, if that's quite alright with you."

Elle finds her way to her bedroom with Ali's help. "No, usually s' people with abil'ties. Sometimes bad ones. Like Sylar. 'R Lyndsay. R' Drake. We finally dealt with him, though." She starts fumbling through her closet and dresser, pulling out clothing.

"Uh-huh." Ali nods right along. "Scary people, I guess." Nope. Not /one/ of those names brings up any flash of recognition. "Still don't envy you. I like running /away/ from Scary Things. I'll give you stupid, but I won't give you brave. Not for me, anyway."

Elle looks vaguely sulky. She's also managed to pull out a blouse, skirt, and shoes that absolutely do NOT go together, and she has no business being in heels right now. She starts to undress, apparently heedless of Ali-audience. "M'not stupid."

"not /you/. Me. You're about as brave as it gets, best I can tell." Ali rolls her eyes - and lets the stuff not match, but /does/ sneakily reach down to shove the heels under the bed. Hidden. "You're not planning on actually, ya know, going /out/ today, right?"

Elle finishes undressing, and grabs underthings from the dresser, starting to put them on as best as she can manage. (Panties are pretty foolproof; bra-while-tranqued is a little more of a misadventure). Then it's into the horribly mismatched outfit. "Ummm…I dunno. I should call and make sure that everything's okay. An' I think I have to kill Lyndsay. But I don' know where t' find her." Grumpy about that.

"It can probably, you know.. wait. 'till tomorrow. I can call in for you - you're pretty loopy, and I can say 'Hey, she's sick and needs a day' as well as you can." Ali winces, but still lets the outfit pass. "And no killing anybody 'till you're sober. You might, you know, miss." The DJ aparently hasn't really connected 'kill' with the reality of killing. no, this is the usual definition, in her head, thankyouverymuch. "I could always say, 'hey, there's a Dr. Who marathon on Sci-Fi, and it has lots of pretty colors', and that might be a better plan, right?"

Elle would argue. But agreeing with Ali pretty much always seems to be the right option. "Okay. I don' need to call in. Daddy runs the company, I won' get in trouble. What's a Dr. Who?"

"It's a TV show. A pretty cool one - british, and sort of campy special effects, but it's got pretty good writing. I never get to catch it unless they run it special - I'm usually working." Ali hmms. "You have /any/ shoes without heels? Well, heck, you're home, you can do without, right?" She hops up anyway, heading for the closet-equivalent.

Elle considers. "Ummm. I have sneakers somewhere." Elle and heels kind of go together. "But sure, I can go without." There you go, another Ali-agreement. "Oh, yeah, you and work…you didn't get in trouble, did you?"

"With.. what, the rhino? Nah. Jack's kind of understanding with that stuff." Rummagerummagerummage. "You have sneakers. Really? I can't imagine.. " Ali crouches, peering into closet depths. "You have like a heel /fetish/ thing going." Oh, she's teasing, lightly. "Seriously. I think I'd end up falling over in half of these."

Elle does, in fact, own a single pair. But yes, they might well get buried. Elle owns LOTS of heels, and pretty much none are less than 3", and a good many are higher. "M' really short. They make me not so short." she explains to Ali, who even at her own petite height still dwarfs Elle.

"It's not about how tall you are, ya know? It's about how people see you. But.. I guess that might be a work thing, too. I mean, nobody sees me at all, really." And.. aha! There! One of 'em, anyway, Ali tugging it out from under heel mountain, there. Notably, she's leaving a mess, likely without thinking. And.. in an effort to keep talking, or perhaps just babbling on, she adds, "The kid whose arm I broke was at the zoo - I hope he got out alright. I kind of lost track of him in the running-for-my-life part of the evening."

Elle replies "Oh, yeah. That's my boyfriend's nephew. I don' need shoes." The earlier agreement. "He's fine." Not that she KNOWS that, but she has faith in Peter. "Les' go back out." Wobbles in the direction of the door.

Ali leaves the shoes behind, hopping up to quickly scoot over, and - again - offer to be a leaning post. "Kay. Yeah, I guess he is. Your boyfriend's nephew?" She winces. "Well, I'm glad you don't hold me being stupid against me, at least. Thanks."

Elle shakes her head. "You're not stupid." She leans on Ali as they head back out. "Yeah. And no. I mean, not holding the, you know, against." That was almost comprehensible. Not. "Why'd you come by?" Confused look now. That question FINALLY dawned on her.

"'cause I wanted to check in on you. And I figured you needed cake." Ali offers a wry, lopsided smile. "you're my friend, right? I mean - I know you don't really know me and I know you're all secret and agent and you've got stuff you have to do, but.. doesn't mean I can't worry and poke my head in. Besides. Cake. Seriously - any excuse for cake."

Elle smiles. "No, it's good. I like friends. Friends are good. I don't have many. You're my…third?" Confused look, and she ticks them off on her fingers. "Jane and Elena…yeah, and you."

"And a boyfriend, right? He should count. 'cause they do - if he's not, that's just sex, and that's a whole different thing." Ali sort of angles both of them in the direction of the couch. "You're nice - seriously. You should have more than that - who's Elena?"

Elle nods. "Peter. I didn't count him. Cause a boyfriend's different." She moves over to the couch, and *FLOOMP*. "And I don't have more, cause I only got out last year, kinda. And Elena's nice. And pretty. She's my friend." Which answers very little, but hey.

… which sort of pulls Ali down next to her, but the DJ doesn't seem to mind. Instead, she laughs, shaking her head - "Got out last year? I can't imagine living in /New York/ and not, you know, getting out."

Elle shakes her head. "No, no, no. I mean from the facility. They didn't let me out." Ali is on the verge of learning all Elle's big secrets.

"Facility?" Ali blinks. "okay. Well. Uh.." Clearly, this is unfamiliar ground. "Well, ever been to the Met?" It's lame, but it's out there, coming with a grin. "'cause, you haven't lived in New York until you've gotten bored with the Met."

Elle shakes her head. "No. I haven't been lots of places." She leans against Ali. "I went to my first amusement park about a month ago. It was fun. And my first date."

"I have tickets somebody owes me for Phantom. Wanna go?" Ali seems startled, but.. she goes on. "Yeah? So he's a new boyfriend, then?"

Elle looks a little puzzled. "Phantom? And yeah. I met him when he was locked up. Helped him get out."

"Oh, hey. Ex con." Ali teases, then, gently - "Don't let him hook you up with prison tats - they get you in trouble. Trust me." She goes on, even as she shifts to get a bit more comfortable on the couch. "Yeah. It's a broadway show, you know - Phantom of the Opera? Raul is seriously hot. Definitely worth putting on a dress for."

Elle smiles. "No, no…he was…cause of what he can do. S'complicated. And sure, I'd like to go." Of course she would. Ali suggested it. "So are you still onna radio?"

And that brings a faint sigh, the DJ not looking at Elle. "maybe? Depends on how the court case comes out, they tell me. So.. right now? not really. Gimme a couple weeks, though." A shrug. "Kind of sucks, but.. I guess I get it. reputation of the station and everything. Jane said that it'd probably work out - if she's right, then yeah. Soon."

Elle frowns. "I'll make sure everything's good. I gotta call about that. Ohhh, my head." The headache is starting in now. "Remind me not to get shot again."

"Don't get shot again. You want some aspirin or something?" Ali's already starting to stand, carefully. "I can do that. With water - I dunno if that's a hangover or what, but water always helps."

Elle nods. "Please. Some water…and some aspirin or something." She's starting to sound a little more coherent.

"Sure." And into the kitchen Ali goes - "Where do you keep your pills?" But, it's an absent question. "Elle.. you know, calling about me. Is that going to get you in trouble?"

Elle frowns. "No…why would it get me in trouble? And in the medicine cabinet."

One glass of water later, the DJ heads for the bathroom. "I dunno - I mean, I used to date a cop. 'Misappropriate of police resources for personal gain' - s' what he used to tease me about, and why he never fixed tickets. Nice guy, though. I just don't want to see you getting in a mess, is all."

Elle shakes her head. "No. We do lots of things that normal people would get in trouble for, Ali. I don't think…you quite follow all of it." Still a little groggy.

"Maybe." Ali allows that, as she vanishes into the bathroom, raising her voice to be heard. "But people are still people. I mean, I know some of the cube farm types get in trouble just checking personal email." A pause, then.. "Elle, I /know/ I don't get it. I feel like Alice, and there's a rabbit hole, and instead of climbing in I'm just falling 'cause I happened to trip. "And he fell, and fell, and fell for an eternity, tumbling in the blackness - " Milton had a great turn of phrase." That jersey accent puts an oddly wry twist on those words.

"But what else is there?" She comes back out, carrying a bottle of ibuprofin and worrying at its cap. "I mean, so the world's stranger than I thought it was. Okay. Either you cope or you run away, and maybe I don't get it, but I'm /trying/, you know?"

Elle nods. "I got it. I had to bring Jane up to speed too. It was a lot. But she's really helpful to things now. S'good."

"Sure. And I'm not special - I know. So I figure that I have to end up trusting both of you and you'll tell me whatever.." Ali tips out a couple of pills - then offers water and medicine. Bringer of all things good, today! "So I probably have most of it wrong. And that's okay too. 'cause, you know, I have this feeling half the time it's all in the 'I'd tell you but i'd have to kill you' category of weird anyway."

Elle laughs a little. See, Peter, Ali's not special. She says so! "I can tell you. And I won' kill you. If you wanna know." Cause she trusts Ali. Completely.

And Ali settles in the floor, wrapping her arms around her knees and looking up to Elle. "Hey, I trust you. Don't worry, right? I mean - i'll listen to whatever, but I know that everybody's got secrets, I guess."

Elle looks confused, still muddled by tranqs. "Issat a yes or a no?" she asks, puzzled.

"it's more a … whatever you want. I mean.. I'm not the one that really /knows/ one way or another, and I don't want you to say something you regret saying later." Ali offers a sunny smile. "Take your pills, though."

Elle nods. Yes'm, Miss Persuasion. Elle downs the pills in quick order, and swallows. "I can trust you, Ali. I wouldn't have offered otherwise."

And, abruptly, Ali asks a very odd question - "… why?"

Elle opens her mouth to answer…and then looks a little confused. "You know…I'm not sure? You just…I just do." she says. And that's a little odd.

"Yeah. And I like thinking I'm nice, and .. I really like /you/…" Ali actually bites at her lip for a moment. "But you got really paranoid and worried at NYU. And then some people have said something, and.. what if what you were supposed to do was trust me, and tell me stuff for some reason? 'Cause you and Jane both.. I really like both of you. And I like being your friend, but …" Apparently, she's been /thinking/. Or Elle's paranoia so long ago rubbed off, one. "Listen, the kid - the one with the broken arm? His mom said he saw somebody cutting the water lines. And before that, you said something was attacking you in the NYU quad.. maybe it's all… oh. Hell. I don't know."

Elle considers it. Jane and Peter both had their opinions…Elle looks very thoughtful, trying to push rational thought through drugged-brain. "Okay, a test. Tell me to do something, that I wouldn't usually do." she says.

McAlister blinks. And just stares at Elle. "What?" Apparently, that question unsettles the woman - perhaps more than it should.

Elle nods. "I've known, or known about, two people that could influence people's behavior. Both of them could tell you to do
things. Tell me to do something."

Without any real belief, without any focus or effort, Ali, tentative and a bit blankly, offers, "Er. Recite your favorite poem?" And it comes with a faint, sort of lopsided and worried smile.

Elle looks back at Ali with a decidedly "get real" expression on her face. "Something I wouldn't do unless something was -making- me do it." She clarifies. "And you have to try hard. Concentrate."

Humor the druggie lady - ayup. Ali sits up a bit straighter, keeping her arms wrapped around her knees - and while there's an air of disbelief around her, she does her best, focusing on Elle, visibly frowning in concentration. Of course, what she comes up with is… a little lame, but, there's pressure involved here, people. "Go get me a beer." and she can't /help/ it. She even adds, at the end, after a wince. "Please?"

Elle does just that. She stands almost immediately after Ali's done talking, makes her way out to the kitchen (swaying a little still), grabs one, and brings it back to Ali, immediately. And frowns. "That still wasn't much of a test, Ali. I would have done that -anyway- if you asked me." She looks mildly miffed. "Come on already. Something that I wouldn't do."

Ali's temper flares, just a bit - "I don't /know/." But.. she does take that bottle, looking more than a bit edgy. "I don't know why you're even … " And then she clambers to her feet, brushing at her jeans. "Fine! Fine. Hit me." And her eyes narrow at Elle. "You wouldn't right? So hit me or go fly a kite. This is /stupid/."

Again, it's almost automatic. No sooner are the words out of Ali's mouth than Elle's drawn up her right hand into a fist, and WHAM. Right cross to Ali's face. She's not holding anything back, either. That's not a play-punch, that's Elle laying down the smackabitch.

And /down/. See. Ali wasn't expecting that. You don't just /hit/ people, right? And given that getting punched isn't exactly on anybody's list of things that happen to them often? She's frankly unprepared.

Heck, it's the first time it's happened.

*thud* *whump* .. and Ali's on the carpet, holding her jaw, still too stunned to do more than, for a moment, realize she's not really /standing/ right now.

Elle blinks as soon as the punch is delivered. "I…what the…Ali, you nutjob! The way to test it was NOT to have me do something that's gonna hurt you!" Elle never looked -angry- when punching her. Her expression was, if anything, a little vacant. Now it's concerned, and she's immediately moving over to the other woman's side.

"Ow." Ali moves to sit up - voice soft and somehow a bit faraway. "That's.. you box, right? You have to.." And there's a panicked sort of laugh, near hysteria, that comes with it. It's a joke. really. "What else wouldn't you do? I mean. really. 'cause the only other thing I could think of was 'walk out in the hall naked'.' Hysterical. Yup.

Elle shakes her head. "No, I don't box. But I've had to fight before. And I'm sure there's lots of—" And then her fingers start unbuttoning her blouse. She gets the top three buttons undone before she shakes her head. "Okay, gah. You can stop doing that now."

Ali has gotten as far as sitting up, and - yeah - her arms are a back around her legs, even /with/ that merry bruise developing. Half hysterical still, she offers a plaintive.. "Doing /what?/" And a swallow. "I'm not /doing/ anything…" It's only half-believed, but.. c'mon. Denial's hard to shake.

Elle frowns. "I wouldn't start stripping for nothing, Ali. You've got to get a handle on it." She reaches down to offer the other woman a hand up.

"maybe you just think I'm cute. Or you're messing with me." Oh, she's /hunting/ for possiblities. Hoping - "I .. nobody can /make/ people do things. And not /me/. Christ - I'm about to get thrown out of my apartment."

And after Ali says what she does there, Elle gets a sort of a coy little smile on her face. "Mmm…I could mess with you if you like." Rather than pulling Ali up, Elle goes down, so she's sitting on her knees there next to Ali. She definitely has a sort of "imminent kiss" look on her face. Well, if Ali wasn't convinced before…

McAlister squeaks. No. It's not dignified, not in the /slightest./ Neither's that abrupt backpedal. "Elle, stopit!" And /that/ has force behind it - and a bit of the DJ's native intelligence comes out, "You have a boyfriend. Remember." That's.. a command, not a period. Hey, if this is /real/? Might as well make it do something useful.

But there's panic on her face, along with the signs of a slowly growing headache - pale to go with the new bruise, eyes that are definitely not as focused as they should be.

Except that apparently the whole "stop" command doesn't work so well. That could be because of the rather-suddenly swooping-in electroblonde, who moves in to pull Ali to her and give her a rather passionate kiss. (Unless prevented, of course.) Kristen Bell + Drew Barrymore lesbian kiss scene. That sound? That was the ratings going up.

And for a brief minute, there's just abject, complete, and utter surprise. And then? Hey, not that it ain't a nice /kiss/, but Ali's in full retreat mode, with flaming face and a faint nosebleed that certainly doesn't establish her in the realm of 'romance ready', even if the swing went that direction. Apparently, given the abject flaming cheeks (above the bruise! It's gonna be a good one) and the fleeing? Well. Uh.

"Elle.. I. I gotta. Snap out of it, huh? You have a guy, and I'm .." fending off an affectionate secret-agent killer-type? ".. mmph. I.. I gotta go."

Elle shakes her head. "You can't go." she says, and there's almost a -purr- in her voice. "I'm still drugged up and you might have a concussion. You can't go anywhere."

Whump. Ali fetches up against the couch. Retreat. Blocked. OhmangottagetOUT.. "I can. I do. I have to work, remember? Job. Thing. With drinks. And really annoying cabbies. And it's down in brooklyn.. " Panicked, she tries out, "You can stop now. It's not funny anymore, kay? I believe you." Blood. Yup, that nosebleed's getting worse, especially as she tries to focus on Elle. "Why don't you go.. I dunno. Lay down and grab a nap or something?" But focus is getting harder, "I'm fine. You just.. need to sleep. Yeah. That's it."

The electroblonde just scoots forward as Ali scoots back. She stops a couple feet away, and looks Ali up and down. That's right. Ali is getting. Checked. Out. That same near-purr responds "Sleep doesn't sound too bad. But like I said, your brains got all rattled when I punched you. You should sleep too." Coy, impish smile. "Thankfully, my bed's big enough for two." Elle finishes moving forward, now sandwiching Ali between the couch and her.

Blood. And it's bad enough now that it drips, just once, to the carpet, Ali reaching up to wipe, somewhat ineffectually at it, looking somehow dazed. Feebly, she points out.. "I gotta work. I can't lose the job - " ooh. A /different/ tactic - whatever power she has isn't doing much without her will behind it, but she can be artful nonetheless. "After work, right? I'll come back by. and you won't be tripping on rhino tranqs and I won't get worried about getting fired." A glance to the door. Flight! Fleeing! Hope! But Elle gets an artful, even dissembling smile.

Elle frowns at the blood. "Sweetie, you're really not in any condition to be going anywhere. You need to rest." And see, this is where the bad part of having a sociopathic "girlfriend" comes in. Peter could have warned her, really. Elle reaches out to put a hand on Ali's leg, as if concerned…which she is…but the ensuing taser jolt is -probably- going to have the other woman out cold.

"I don't need to - Elle, I just.. " PZAP. Whump. With a jerk and a low, startled cry that cuts off nearly as soon as it's uttered, Ali's out like a blown christmas light, slumping against the couch.

Apparently, being tazed into insensibility is turnin' into a regular thing, in visiting the Electroblonde's place.

Regardless, Ali isn't in much of a position to object, at least at the moment.

Elle decides that they both need some more sleep to handle things. So she works with diligent effort to get Ali into her room, and then up into bed, making sure she's positioned such that any nosebleeds are going to end up on the pillow, not running down Ali's throat. Elle then climbs up into bed next to her, drapes an arm over the other woman's waist, and settles in to sleep off the drugged haze. Zzzz.

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