#Halisi'sApartment – July 3, 2018

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Ilyna returns after about half an hour, having been reasonably lucky with the transports. The same cannot be said for the meeting however, as she doesn't look for either Vasquez or Li before making a beeline for the bathroom. There's some droplets of blood on her jacket, and her nose and face appears slightly swollen and bruised.

Vasquez is seated in the couch when Ilyna returns, a distant look on her face as she watches Li, who has returned to her drawing. The opening door snaps her attention back to her surroundings, and she looks over her shoulder, opening her mouth to speak only to cut herself off when she notices the state Ilyna is in. She's quick to stand up, glancing over to Li, who has sat up on the floor. "Stay here." she says with a

gesture of her right hand as she rounds the couch, prompting a frown from the girl. "You okay?" she calls out as she approaches the bathroom. Li, to her credit, does remain by the couch, crawling into it and trying to get a look at Ilyna from there, worried confusion in her face.

Ilyna doesn't look up from the sink while Vasquez speaks to her, wanting to wash away most of the blood before seeking out medi-gel. "I'm fine," she says, "just give me a minute." When she can see Vasquez in the mirror, she lowers her voice. "I thought nobody was home," she says, "I didn't expect an ambush." Her expression contorts in pain every time she musters the courage to wipe a swollen part of her

face. Her nose is not crooked and is not currently bleeding.

Vasquez ' eyebrows immediately furrow, and she glances towards the door - and to her jacket, in which her machine pistol lies compacted in an easily-accessed pocket. "Ambush...?" she repeats, the urgency in her voice growing. "What happened?"

Ilyna closes the tap. "I was searching their apartment for anything that would help me find her," she says, "but when I opened the bedroom door, Mian jumped me." Ilyna turns around to look at Vasquez. "I managed to get the situation under control for a moment, and got out of her that she tried to stop Ehanis, but I couldn't stay there longer."

Vasquez ' stance seems to relax when it becomes apparent that the 'threat' is nothing more dangerous than a spooked roommate. "So, back to square one...?" she says with a small sigh, looking questioningly at Ilyna.

Li is leaning to look around Vasquez. "Are you ok...?" the girl asks, big, worried eyes scanning Ilyna.

Ilyna nods. "Yeah," she answers Vasquez with a sigh. "Mian said she knocked her out, so she must not have been in a sound state of mind when she left." Ilyna looks over at Li, and begins taking her jacket off. "Yeah, I'll be fine, Li," she says with a strained smile. She was still in quite a bit of pain, as she haven't applied medi-gel yet.

Vasquez looks visibly confused by this additional bit of information, but she doesn't comment on it. "Call to the spaceport didn't yield much, but none of the departures were taking passengers as far as they knew."

Li retains a faint frown, but goes silent as she listens to the adults speak, still leaned over hte back of the couch.

Ilyna turns back towards the counter as she starts searching it for Medi-Gel. "Goddess," she mutters in resignation. Her search ended badly, but she didn't expect Vasquez' to also be fruitless. "So, we have nothing?" Ilyna says between trembling breaths. "I... I can't lose her, not again."

Vasquez shakes her head, furrowing her eyebrows a little as she watches Ilyna's reaction. 'Comforting' is not a word ever used to describe Vasquez, unfortunately. "We know she's probably still planetside, that's... about it. If she's determined to leave, there's not really much you can do." she says, attempting a diplomatic tone, but there's one thought that sticks to her mind and prompts a question: "Attacking her

roomate - that's-... do you have any idea why she'd do that?" She glances briefly over at Li, perhaps wondering if this is an appropriate conversation to have in front of the girl. Does it even bother her at all, after everything? A quiet sigh follows as her gaze returns to Ilyna. "She was in a rush to leave when I spoke with her, but I just took it for nerves..."

Ilyna finds some medi-gel and starts applying it. "I cannot understand why she'd want to live with a person like Mian in the first place," she says, "so I don't know why she'd attack her." She pauses as she tries to keep her emotions in check, but the fatigued asari doesn't have it in her anymore. "You should have called-...." She thought Ilyna knew. "You shouldn't have let-...." No, this won't help. Ilyna

goes quiet, tears welling up in her eyes.

Vasquez gains an uncomfortable expression as Ilyna starts to break down, unsure how to handle the situation, but the final comment causes visible annoyance. "'I shouldn't have let-'? I don't make a habit of babysitting my employees." she comments, perhaps coming off a bit harsher than intended. "She wants to run away without prep, pay, or telling anyone? Stupid, but her choice. I'll know not to hire her again." She

says with a snort, but Ilyna's obvious worry causes her expression to soften as she searches for more sympathetic words.

Li watches in silence from the couch, frown remaining on her face.

Ilyna turns to stare at Vasquez as she twists the knife, her expression hardening. Ehanis was a difficult person to deal with, she knows that, but she also doesn't feel blameless in that. Nor should Vasquez in her eyes. "We tracked you down across half the galaxy after you hurt Jason and joined up with extremists," she says, raising her voice. "We don't abandon our people, that's not who we are." Ilyna looks

down. "Get out," she says in a lowered voice, unwilling to offer her a chance to explain herself.

Vasquez looks momentarily stunned, blinking as she processes Ilyna's words. "Y-..." A very unamused chuckle slips out as her expression fluctuates between disbelief, fury and an almost queasy look. "You-..." she shakes her head to herself, hands clenching into fists as she takes a step closer to the asari. The sight of Li in the corner of her eye is the only thing that stops her from taking a swing right then and

there. "Are you-..." A finger jabbed at Ilyna's chest and another incomplete sentence spoken through gritted teeth. "How fucking dare you?! We launched a rescue op for your daughter not a week ago. Mobilized everyone, no questions asked. Shit, I would've led the damn mission myself if I could've! Now your brat sister skips town and you-... you fucking dare..." Her hand trembles as she pulls it back,

rubbing at her temple and drawing a deep breath as she struggles to retain control. She's looking past Ilyna more than at her now, gaze distant.

Li sinks into the couch as Vasquez raises her voice, halfway hiding behind the backrest as her gaze darts back and forth.

Ilyna flinches as she notices Vasquez is about to hit her, and she steps back as a hand is placed on her chest. A faint shimmer of biotic energy surrounds her at first as she prepares to shout back, to let out her anger. Ehanis for all her faults is her sister, and she is responsible for her no matter how much trouble she is. "She..., she-... I-...," she struggles to form any coherent as emotions overwhelm

her. She stare at her quietly for a few seconds before the biotic energy dissipates and she turns away. Anger replaced by guilt as she thinks through what Vasquez said rather than looking for holes in it. "I..., you're right," she says, barely above a whisper. "It's my fault. All of it. Ehanis behaving like that, the company she keeps. I was absent from her life when it mattered, and... and...." Ilyna

takes a deep, trembling breath. She brings a hand up to her forehead. "I... I apologize, I shouldn't have said that," she says, barely coherent to someone listening carefully. "I owe everything to you, and everyone who answered-... answered..." she trails off as her sobs make it difficult to speak.

Li 's expression is filled with uncertainty, and even fear as Ilyna's breakdown is worsened by Vasquez' outburst. She doesn't say anything, just watching anxiously from the sidelines.

Vasquez ' anger is undercut by Ilyna's sobbing, and another deep breath follows as her shoulders drop and she pulls back slightly. She doesn't respond right away, going silent for a moment as her gaze refocuses on Ilyna. She swallows hard as her gaze falls on Li for a moment, nodding a few times to herself as she lets out a heavy sigh, willing the tension in both her body and mind away best she can. "I-... we're there

for our people, Ilyna. You know that. But it's pretty clear she doesn't want our help." she says, her voice much quieter, although it remains obvious that both Ilyna's comment about her time with Cerberus, as well as Li's reaction, has shook her.

Ilyna is quiet for a moment as she tries to compose herself. "I know," she says. "She has made it," sob, "clear to me," sob, "many times too." That changes little in how she sees it -- Ehanis needs help -- but Vasquez was right about that. Ilyna lets out another sigh, and lets the topic rest there; she has done enough harm. Ilyna turns around to look at Vasquez. "You don't need to forgive me," sob, "for that

outburst." Ilyna also owed Li an explanation, because she didn't need this after everything that had happened. She opens her mouth to speak again, but she cannot find the will to utter another sentence in this state. Nor does she know what to really say. Ilyna hesitates for a moment before suddenly throwing her arms around Vasquez in a loose, slightly awkward hug.

Vasquez frowns as she listens to Ilyna's attempt at speaking in her distraught state. She seems unsure how to react, still rattled by the exchange a moment earlier, but nonetheless aware she ought to do something. Ilyna is a friend. Maybe not a very close one - she has precious few of those - but they've had each others' backs for a long time. The hug catches her almost as off-guard as the earlier low-blow, and at

first she just stands there uncomfortably, but eventually she lets out a sigh, patting Ilyna's back awkwardly. "Look, it's-..." Something halfway between a grunt and another sigh is her only acknowledgement of the comment on the outburst. "We-... I know you've got... a lot on your mind. And you're worried. But if she wants to leave, that's her choice..." She finds little to relate to in Ilyna's

overprotectiveness of her sister. Markus was the protective one. Even then, he hadn't pushed when she isolated herself. He'd respected her. Of course, she'd run what was left of her life into the ground back then... and now he worried. More than she cared for, at times.

Li is still silent, watching, although Ilyna's tears almost cause her to move - only the hug stops her, and she remains in place for now.

Ilyna lets a few moments pass as she tries to calm her sobbing. "She showed up when I needed help," she says in a low, flat voice. "She shouldn't have, but she did. She... will get her pay. From me or the agency, it doesn't matter." Ilyna starts to loosen the hug, and lets out a long sigh. She glances over her shoulder at Li. "Thank you," she whispers.

Vasquez seems relieved once Ilyna lets go of the hug, although her words causes a brief moment of frustration which she pushes down in the face of the state Ilyna is in. "We can... discuss that later." she sighs, taking a step back. "I... need to be getting back to work. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Are you... going to be alright here?" she asks tenatively, quite obviously unsure how to handle her breakdown.

Ilyna frowns at the implications of discussing that later, but she lets it be for later when she is (hopefully) in a better frame of mind. "I'll be fine," she says, her voice still low. "I've taken up more than enough of your time." She knows very well that Vasquez is carrying the whole company on her shoulders right now. Maybe that was a greater burden than everything on Ilyna's mind.

Vasquez gives a few faint, uncomfortable nods. For a moment it looks like she's going to say something, but instead she turns to Li, forcing a smile into place as she says an awkward goodbye to the girl, perhaps worried about what kind of impression her outburst has left. She heads for the door next, grabbing her coat and starting to put it on. "I hope you hear something soon." she offers to the asari, lingering only a

moment before taking her leave.

Ilyna nods and leaves the bathroom after her. "Yeah," she says in response followed by a sigh. She doesn't know where Ehanis even is, which is worse than hearing that she doesn't want anything to do with her. "Take care," she says just as Vasquez exists. Afterwards, she turns towards Li, and tries to find the right words to say. Instead, she stands there quietly with a lump in her throat. How can Ilyna

expect Li's scars to heal if she cannot ensure a calm and safe environment for her?

Li 's expression is full of uncertainty, and it doesn't take long after Vasquez leaves before she speaks: "Hannis is gone...?"

Ilyna is quiet for a few more moments. "Yes, she left today," she says. "I'll send her a message, so she can write back to tell me where she is going." She doesn't wait for a response before around to the front of the couch. "I'm... so sorry, Li," Ilyna says as she sits down, looking at Li, "what I said to Vasquez when I shouted was wrong, and... I'm sorry for making it uncomfortable for you."

Li frowns faintly as she studies Ilyna's face. "Why was she angry...?"

Ilyna frowns, and looks down for a moment. Her expression is a mix of sadness and shame. Ilyna has asked for honesty about Li's problems, so she decides to tell it as it is. "We... didn't agree on whether I should let Ehanis leave," she says. "I don't think she meant to hurt me, but... what she said got me so angry that I hurt her back by making a wrong comparison." Ilyna lets out a sigh.

Li 's hands drop into her lap as she listens, expression inscrutable, eyes just watching. She goes silent for a while after the explanation, perhaps considering it. "Why is Hannis leaving? Why are you sad?" she asks, worried frown returning to her face.

Ilyna sighs and looks over at Li, her expression staying the same. "I don't know," she says. "I'm worried for her, and... I want to help her, but she doesn't let me." There are many reasons that might be why, but speculating won't help right now.

Li 's frown lingers as she sits back down properly in the couch, a brief pause following once again. "Why not...?"

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