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#IlynaApartment – October 23, 2016
Vasquez steps out of the company car, the door closing behind her as she makes her way towards the apartment complex. Her mind is preoccupied, and she doesn't notice the spot of ice under her foot until she slips, cursing as she just barely keeps from tripping. She looks a little rattled as she glances around, and then quickly makes her way the rest of the distance to the door. She presses a gloved finger against the haptic
interface to buzz the door, and then wraps her olive green winter coat tighter around herself as a gust of wind hits. Another uncomfortable glance around as she waits.
Ilyna is standing at the kitchen counter, wiping a difficult stain off the stove top. A bucket with various cleaning supplies is on the floor near her, as this is only the first task of many before her. She's wearing a plain black t-shirt and gray sweatpants, which is not clothes she'd wear in public. The doorbell startles her and she stops for a moment to consider who would visit her this morning. A glance
out the window does provide an answer, however, as she spots the car. "Maybe it's Jason," she guesses aloud before wiping her hands off on towel hanging above the sink. Ilyna makes her way down the hallway and taps on the door's interface to unlock and open it.
Li is lying on the floor next to the TV, drawing with color pencils on some papers. She perks up as the doorbell sounds, and climbs into the couch, peeking over the backrest until she knows who the guest is. She is wearing a simple, colorful dress, as is usually the case.
Vasquez unfolds her arms as the door opens, moving her ponytail back into place after is it blown into her face by a particularly sudden gust of wind. "Could I come in?" she asks, looking almost apologetic if it weren't for the cold hardening her expression.
Ilyna narrows her eyes for a moment. The chief's unapologetic dismissal of the promise had cut deep, but now is not the time for her emotions to show. Not in front of Li. "Yes," she says with a nod and steps back, her tone neutral. "How are you?" She turns around and makes her way over to the kitchen, mostly to get out of the way in the somewhat narrow corridor. "Can I get you anything?"
Vasquez shakes her head as she steps inside. "I'm fine." she says dismissively removing her gloves and stuffing them in a pocket. She wipes her boots before heading further inside, looking around the apartment. She wasn't in the habit of visiting her employees normally. Then again, she wasn't sure Ilyna was an employee anymore. "I wouldn't say no to something warm to drink." she says, sounding uncharacteristically soft.
Ilyna offers a smile. She wasn't sure what brought Vasquez here, but deep down she was hoping it was to sort things out between them. Though, she would have preferred having been asked to go to her office in that case. "I have coffee," she says as she opens a drawer, pulling out a jar of instant coffee. She's not a coffee drinker herself, but she's aware of its popularity among her friends and thus bought some
a month or so ago. "What brings you here in this cold weather?" she asks while pouring the kettle, looking towards her as she awaits her answer.
Vasquez takes a seat by the kitchen table, keeping her coat on for the moment. "Coffee is fine." she says with a small nod. She doesn't answer the second question right away, considering for a moment before sighing. "I... I don't have a lot of friends. You know that." she begins, glancing at the asari. "I know we've never talked much. But... I know how much you mean to Jason. I don't want to push you away. You've been
Ilyna starts the kettle and turns to face the chief. She gives a long sigh. This was as close to an apology she was going to get, and now that Ehanis is safe, she was willing to accept it. "I'm... sorry," she says. "I won't deny that I still feel... betrayed, but the mission is over, and she's home." While it may not be what she wants to hear, it's what she honestly feels. "I spoke with Jason about it, and I
Vasquez nods. "I understand. She's your sister. I just think-..." she lets out a sigh. "This is something you have to speak with her about. Let her make a choice. It can't work the way it does now. For what it's worth, Jason tells me she did good out there. I hope you understand I care a great deal about the safety of my people." she says, turning her gaze to Ilyna. "Don't ever doubt that." she says.
Li has brought her drawings over from the couch, and is now deep in the creative process, paying little attention to anything else. Well, except for a glance at the TV now and again, which is playing a turian's children's movie about a dutiful legionnaire in the days of old.
Ilyna looks down for a moment, a sigh escaping her. She glances at Li, a little bit relieved that she seems focused on the drawing before her. "That was what Jason said, too," she says. "I... I shouldn't have put my family matters in the agency's hands. I just don't want her to get hurt... and... that does conflicts with what she wants." She turns around as the kettle is done heating up the water and she
starts mixing the coffee. Even though she tried to follow the label's instructions, it might be a bit on the stronger sides. She picks it up and extends it towards her, though it's way too hot for drinking.
Vasquez takes the cup with a nod, giving it a sniff, which causes her nose to twitch slightly. Oh well. It serves its purpose well enough. She holds the cup in her hands, on the table, warming them. "It's your personal business. I can't tell you what to do." she says, offering a faint smile. "But I can do a better job of keeping you updated on her activities in the future. Alright?"
Ilyna takes a seat by the table, as well, opposite the chief. "I would like that," she says. "I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if something happened to her. I do trust you to keep our employee's safety in mind, but...." She shakes her head, not wanting to complete that sentence with Li nearby. "I've already failed her once."
Vasquez frowns in confusion, studying Ilyna as she lifts the coffee to her lips - and just as quickly lowers it again, reconsidering when it burns at her upper lip. She considers asking what the asari is referring to, but instead looks past her to Li, who is happily refining her artistry in the couch. "It was a great thing you did, taking Li in..." she says, keeping her voice down a little. She doubts there's much chance
of the child hearing them between her focus and the noise from the TV. "You saved her from a much worse life. Or maybe no life at all. She clearly loves you a great deal." she says, smiling faintly as she looks back at Ilyna. "How has it been for you? Taking care of her?"
Ilyna looks over at Li, and a smile creeps up. "It's been challenging, but I'm very glad I did," she says, lowering her voice in turn. "I just don't know if Freedom Falls is the right place for me to raise her, but it would pain me to take her away. From the snow, from you and Jason, from the agency." She then sighs, glancing down for a moment as she picks her words. "And... I may not even have a choice," she
Vasquez seems a little troubled by Ilyna's earlier words, but she has little time to reflect when faced with the last statement. She raises an eyebrow. "I... I'm sorry. I didn't realize." she says, glancing down at her still-steaming coffee. After a moment's thought she adds: "This isn't such a bad place for a child, is it? Aite is a beautiful planet, with a great deal of space. And freedom. It must be better than some
Ilyna tilts her head, considering the question for a moment. "Maybe I'm just too focused on safety," she says with a sigh. She was very protective of those she cared about, and she was aware of that. The asari wasn't a barrier specialist due to random chance, after all. "Freedom Falls is a nice town, but it is in the lawless Terminus Systems."
Vasquez frowns. her gaze falling to the table. "Yes. I... guess there are risks." she says quietly. She clears her throat, looking back up at the asari as she suddenly changes the subject. "Did you want children? I mean-... I know you don't... have anyone in your life, but..." she shifts a bit, clearly intensly uncomfortable with a personal conversation such as this. "...did you hope to be a mother some day?" Her frown