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#Litae'sGrace – August 5, 2018
Litae's Grace is dim, the bulk of its lighting coming from the numerous neon signs behind the square counter in the center of the room that display the beverages offered and a handful of screens around the bar showing off some manner of sports game. Unless seated at the counter, however, it's unlikely one would be able to hear much of the games on display given the music playing. Not that it's ridiculously loud tonight, but the volume on
the screens aren't turned up much either. It's the sort of place that one could go to forget their troubles by dropping them into the bottom of a bottle. Or, given the reputation of a lot of their regulars, find new troubles. Still, as a business Litae's Grace survives on the shoulders of its regulars. And while it's not booming tonight, there's still a nice assortment of familiar faces. Most sit at the bar, conversing with the bartender. A
human woman in her late thirties dressed a black undershirt and jeans, hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. She has the look of someone who has long since given up trying to hide their exhaustion. Regardless, she seems to be enjoying herself well enough, chit chatting with the regulars with a familiarity befitting the local dive bar. A few of the booths are taken, but there's plenty of seating available.
Elena is sitting off to herself by the bar, cradling a bottle of beer in her mechanical hand. It's not her first of the evening. The dim glow of the various signs behind the bar suits her just fine at the moment. She's wearing a pair of worn cargo pants, and a matching, sturdy jacket is slung over the stool she's sitting on. Her top is a plain, light-gray tanktop that shows off her tattoos. She hasn't bothered with taking off her
toolbelt, so an assortment of pouches hang from the top of her pants, some of them holding tools, omni-gel, or, in one, her combat knife. There's a distant, tired look in her eyes as she watches one of the sports broadcasts without any real clue what's going on.
Molly the bartender, eventually makes her way back over to Elena's side just to make her rounds. "You good?" she asks, giving a glance down to Elena's beer and planting a palm against the counter. Given Elena's state, it's clear that she's not trying to intrude. Just doing the bare minimum to make sure a customer doesn't need anything.
Elena turns her gaze to Molly as her distant thoughts are interrupted, a quiet, unintentional snort slipping out before she replies with a sighed "Yeah..." after lifting her bottle to take a glance at how much is left. She proceeds to take a swig of it as her gaze turns back to the screen.
Shane steps inside, passing a glance back over his shoulder to the person behind him. As usual, there's a big grin plastered across his face. Given the weather outside, he's sporting a thick, grey winter jacket and a pair of black slacks. He steps aside to give space to his companion.
Sam enters just behind him, looking a little less cheery than her friend. With a roll of her shoulders she reaches across herself to rub at her upper arms while muttering a complaint about the cold Shane's way. She's dressed in a pair of nice blue jeans, white sneakers, and a white jacket that looks like it might be a bit too thin for a Freedom Falls winter.
Molly studies Elena for a moment longer before giving a short nod and following the woman's gaze to the screen. She watches the biotiball match for only a moment before patting the counter with her palm. "Just let me know if you need anything." she offers flatly before taking her leave and returning to the opposite side of the bar, attention turning to the new arrivals.
Elena nods faintly in response to Molly, her mind having already started to wander again, judging by the distracted look on her face. She doesn't notice the new arrivals, sipping her beer in silence as she watches the feats of biotic athleticism on the screen.
Shane slides the bottle closer to Elena and then sets his own beer down, both forearms coming to rest against the counter as his gaze turns to see what she's watching. "You know you're breaking the rules, right?" he asks, speaking up before she can even get a chance to see who might be joining her.
Elena seems a little caught off-guard by the intrusion, and her head turns in search of the source of the voice. A faint, half-hearted smirk crosses her lips upon spotting Shane. "Am I?" she asks, one eyebrow rising slightly. Up close, it's not too hard to spot the telltale signs of her excursion alongside Redrock. Plenty of bruises and a few small cuts and scrapes. A small adhesive bandage strip on one of her eyebrows, and
Shane props that big charming smile of his back up as he glances over at Elena. The cuts and bruises don't go unnoticed, but it's not exactly a conversation opener. "Beautiful people aren't allowed to drink alone." he says, delivering the cheesie line without the slightest hint of sarcasm as if it's a well known fact. "Sorry. I don't make the rules."
Sam gives a loud sigh and a roll of her eyes as she takes a position on the opposite side of Shane, wasting no time preparing to settle in. "Gross." she mutters aloud as she claims the stool by slinging her jacket over the backrest. Beneath her coat is a somewhat faded old black t-shirt with a simple white logo depicting a peace symbol made of bone. The logo is faded in several places from years of washing. "Does that shit
Shane doesn't seem the least bit deterred by Sam's groaning, eyes remaining on Elena. "See? That's why I brought this bag of sunshine with me." he explains, cocking a thumb Samantha's way before he lifts his own beer up slightly by the neck of the bottle. "Couldn't be caught drinking alone."
Elena lets out a quiet snort, her smirk reappearing for a bit, but it doesn't last long. She sips her empties out the bottle already in her hand, her gaze shifting to Sam as she speaks, studying her for a moment as she tries to place her. As she puts her bottle down her gaze returns to Shane. Cybernetic fingers clank as they drum against the glass. "Uh-huh..."
Shane continues to hold Elena's gaze, even as she turns her attention to Sam. He slides the first bottle he set down even closer to Elena before stepping back and taking care of his own jacket much in the same manner as Sam. Beneath it, he's sporting a long-sleeved dark blue button up shirt. The sleeves are rolled up and the shirt itself is left unbuttoned, giving a glimpse of the simple white Alliance undershirt beneath it. "Hope
you don't mind keeping us company." he says, avoiding mentioning the obvious. 'You looked like you could use some company.' He slides into the stool between Sam and Elena, gaze briefly moving back to the nearby screen.
Sam sets her own beer down as she takes a seat on her stool, rotating a bit to better face the other two. As she catches Elena eyeing her up, she raises a hand briefly in greeting and offers a friendly smile. "Sam." she says simply, obviously aware that Shane has some connection to the woman judging by the fact that she doesn't seem at all offput by their sudden intrusion.
Elena accepts the bottle, lifting it slightly with a nod and a quiet "Gracias". Sam's introduction causes her eyebrows to furrow slightly. The name seems familiar, but there's too many thoughts swimming in her mind to connect it to the grumpy voice she heard during her night at their apartment. "Elena." she offers, mirroring her smile, although hers is short-lived.
Sam cocks an eyebrow, giving a single nod. "Yeah. I'm aware." she says. There's no animosity in it, just a hint that she knows exactly who Elena is. The snicker that follows implies that there's no hard feelings for them potentially keeping her up.
Shane gives a chuckle and a shake of his head, unperturbed by Sam's implications. "Anyway. can't say I expected to run into you here." he says, trying to shift the conversation away from... that. "Thought you were supposed to be long gone by now." he recalls showing that, at the very least, he paid attention.
Elena seems briefly puzzled before she connects the dots, a slightly sheepish smirk crossing her lips, but Shane's words wipe it away quickly. "Yeah, well... things don't always go as planned." she says, her gaze hastily turning to the bottle Shane presented, which she takes a sip from, doing a poor job of hiding the dark look that spreads across her face.
Shane's grin falters. Not that her reaction comes as a surprise given the condition she's in. "You've certainly got one of those 'things didn't go as planned' looks to you tonight." he admits, offering an almost apologetic smile as he scans her over once.
Elena nods a couple of times, tilting her beer slightly as she looks down the mouth of the bottle. She goes silent as she considers how chatty she's feeling. Her gaze turns to the biotiball match, but she only watches for a moment before a frown crosses her face. "Guess I do, huh?" she says, eyes still on the screen, expression distant.
Shane continues to watch Elena as she turns back to the game, a few silent nods his only response at first. He turns back to his beer and takes a long pull from it. "Looking to talk about it?" he asks.
Sam continue to sit in silence. She doesn't know Elena so it's not particularly her place to prod the woman for details about whatever it is that so obviously has her down. So she plays third wheel and remains awkwardly quiet, gaze traveling about the bar.
Elena 's gaze wanders to the back of the bar - the neon signs and the shelves of booze - as she thinks. After a little while she looks to Shane and Sam, and then glances over her shoulder at the booths. She turns back to them, sucking in her lips as she studies them in silence for a moment of indecisiveness. With a sigh she nods towards an empty booth, a questioning look on her face.
Shane follows Elena's nod, responding to the look that follows with a decisive node. "Yeah. Of course." he says softly, brows suddenly furrowed as he finds himself questioning what has left her in such a state. Collecting his beer, he stands from his stool and slings his jacket over his shoulder before starting towards the booth.
Sam is mid drink when Shane gets up. She partially rotates towards him, having to suddenly turn the other way as he passes her by. "Oh we're-... Right-..." she mutters to herself. Leaning forward against the bar, she raises a hand to get the bartender's attention. "Shots?" she calls out., deciding that if they're moving away from the bartender, she may as well come prepared.
Molly is still chatting up the regulars, back to Sam when she's called on. She's far from the perky sort and makes no attempt to display any sort of fake excitement at the prospect of pouring shots for Sam. But she approaches, nonetheless.
Elena slides off of her stool with a grunt, a pained wince crossing her face as she puts weight on her injured leg. She grabs her beer in one hand and her jacket in the other as she heads towards the booth, toolbelt rattling a little as she moves and a slight limp in her step.
Shane slides into the booth, shoving his jacket in the corner and setting his beer down. His curiosity slips into his features as he studies Elena while she limps towards the booth. "...You pick a fight with the wrong hombre?" he asks, his cocky smile making a return as he attempts to inject a little humor into the situation.
Elena slides into the booth with another wince, taking the seat opposite to Shane and doing much the same with her own jacket. "Could say that, yeah..." she offers with a faint shrug as she settles into her seat, soon taking another swig of her beer before meeting Shane's gaze again. She tries on a smile, but it comes off empty, and fades quickly. She shakes her head to herself and glances over towards Sam.
Shane gives a few short nods as he studies the woman across the table from him, smile lingering. "...You in some kind of trouble?" he asks tentatively. There's no judgement in it. Just a simple question.
Sam slides a credit chit across the bar and lifts a set of shots- three in total- between her hands. A multi-tasking feat as she carries her beer by the neck of the bottle between two fingers while maneuvering her way to the booth. She carefully sets it all down near the edge of the table before turning back to retrieve her jacket. Once that's taken care of, she leans across Shane to join her jacket with his and slips into
the booth beside him. "Not sure if you're the shot type-..." she begins as she looks down at the shot glasses, sliding one in front of Shane and another in front of Elena. With a sigh, she sits back and continues, "...But it sure as shit won't go to waste if not." It garners a brief glance from Shane.
Elena shakes her head in response to Shane's question, an empty chuckle following. She opens her mouth to say something, but Sam's arrival causes her to go quiet again. She eyes the shot glass for a moment, looking over to Sam with a nod of thanks as she reaches out for it. Her mechanical fingers clink as they envelop the small glass and slide it closer to her. Her gaze lingers on the contents of the tiny container.
A dark brown liquid fills the small glass. There's only about a million different possibilities that fit that bill.
Sam nods in turn before focusing her attention on her own shot. There's no ceremony to it. She simply grabs the glass, tosses the shot back, and accepts the burn with a brief grimace.
Shane reaches out to pull his own shot closer, too. His gaze fixed to Sam for the moment, it's not hard to see that there's some concern going on behind his eyes. But he's not about to bring up the fact that she's been hitting the booze pretty hard these past few days. There's no point. Besides, he understands. So instead, he lifts the shotglass to his lips and slugs it back, riding out the burn with a brief wince as he sets the
Elena wastes no time in doing the same, closing her eyes and drawing breath through her nose as she lets the burning sensation distract from her aching body. She sinks a little into her seat as she puts the glass down, struggling to do so gently because of her hand. A muttered curse is uttered as it lands on its side and rolls out of her grasp. Traction is a weakpoint for her fingers. She leans forward to catch it with her other
hand, and turn it upright again. She swallows as her gaze wanders the bar for a moment. She may have been willing to talk, but seems like isn't exactly coming easy despite that. "Jason." she starts, suddenly. "He's your friend, yeah?" she asks, looking over at them now.
Shane's gaze falls to the shotglass as it gets away from Elena. The mention of Jason, however, causes his eyes to meet hers once more, brow furrowing. "...Yeah?" he offers, his words carrying a tone implying 'What are you getting at?' with them.
Sam seems to mostly just be along for the ride at first, her attention mostly on the rest of the bar as she nurses her beer now that the shot has been taken care of. It's not until her friend's name is spoken that she actually looks back to Elena.
Elena searches both their expressions for a moment. "He tell you where he spent the week...?" she probes, sucking on her own lips as she waits to see if they know. There's a lingering unease to her, as if she's not quite sure they're even going to believe her if she comes right out and says what it is that's haunting her mind.
Shane seems to catch the implication even if he doesn't admit it immediately. His gaze lowers briefly, thoughts wandering as he presses the tip of his tongue against the inside of his cheek. "He hasn't talked with us yet but-... uh-..." he casts a glance Sam's way. Almost apologetically so as he's sure this sort of thing isn't helping everything she's dealing with. "...But we know." he continues, his voice falling a bit quieter.
Maybe that's not entirely the truth. They don't know. But between what Vasquez had told them and what Gage had relayed after meeting with Jason, they know enough.
Sam's gaze remains locked on Elena. "You were with him." she adds, saying the obvious implication in Elena's words aloud. It's somewhere between an accusation and a question, but not exactly either. Her entire demeanor seems to change, the nagging in the back of her mind immediately brought right back to the front. It seems Elena's not the only one 'haunted'.
Elena 's gaze moves to Sam, studying her expression for a moment. A couple of nods and a sigh follows. "Yeah..." she confirms, turning her attention to her beer as she grabs it, lifting the bottle to her lips and taking a slow sip. She looks tired more than anything, and despite the confirmation that they know, she doesn't seem all that eager to elaborate. At least not right away.
Shane falls silent. It wasn't exactly the sort of bombshell he was expecting Elena to drop. After having heard what all of this was about through Vasquez, a bit of the shock of Elena being involved at all is kind of lost. The whole thing seemed crazy to begin with. And given what Gage had to say about his meeting with Jason, it seemed like Jason was every bit as rattled by whatever they went through out there as Elena seems to be.
Sam doesn't look away, however. If anything, her expression only grows more determined. "You saw them?" she asks, brow furrowed. "The Collectors?" she quickly elaborates, not shying away from outright saying it despite her already-shaky voice, "Did you see them?"
Elena 's attention turns back to Sam. "Saw them?" she snorts. "They kicked our fucking asses." she blurts out, tightening her grip on the beer. She looks out across the bar before quickly taking another swig.
Sam swallows hard, eyes still affixed to Elena. "Tell me about them." she's quick to respond. "Everything. How did you-... where did you run into them?" she continues, trampling over her own words with questions she had been poised to unleash on Jason as soon as she got the chance. It took both Gage and Shane to hold her back when she learned about Jason's return and confirmation that his time away had something to do with
Shane's smile has long since faded away, replaced by a look of concern as he sees the rabbit hole his friend is tumbling down. He passes an apologetic glance Elena's way. "Sam..." he pleads for her to reign it in, but she pointedly ignores him.
Elena seems a little caught off-guard by Sam's sudden questions. She lowers her beer as she meets her stare, chewing on a piece of her lower lip as she frowns. "They took us." she says sharply. "That's what they do, yeah?" She continues to look at Sam, wondering what her interest in the Collectors is. She has a gnawing feeling she knows...
Sam's stomach drops. "They took you?" she asks, eyes visibly tearing up as the words leave her mouth.
Shane reaches out to place a hand over Sam's. "Sam, please-... You heard what Linda said..." he continues to plead, "...don't do this to yourself. Not right now."
Sam jerks her hand out from beneath Shane's. "Fuck what Linda said, okay?!" she says, raising her voice slightly. The music and the random chatter around the bar mostly conceals her outburst, but it still garners a momentary glare from the bartender. Sam couldn't give a shit less, though. "She doesn't know." she adds through clenched teeth. It's not a condemnation of Vasquez or her intel. It's just the last vestige of
hope, hanging on for dear life. "They took them, Shane. They took them!" she says, holding Shane's gaze as she gestures to Elena while repeating the woman's words. 'Just like they took Liz.' It seems to be enough for Shane to relent. Moreso because he's been around Sam long enough to know when he needs to just stay out of her way and let her do her thing than anything else. "And yet-... yet here she is." she
Elena 's shoulders drop as her suspicions are confirmed. She lost someone. She shakes her head. "I don't-... I don't know. We... shot our way out. Got real fucking lucky." she says, her attention having turned to her beer. She picks at the label, but her cybernetic thumb can't get a grip on the loose corner. Failing to distract her self she opts to take another swig instead.
Sam swallows hard, her glassy brown eyes searching Elena's face for-... something. Anything. "What do you mean you don't-..." she begins before a frustrated sigh escapes her. "Where did they take you? You said you shot your way out. Shot your way out of where?!" she asks, clearly putting hope in Elena having some magic answer that will fix everything if she just asks enough questions. Asks the right questions. "Were
there others there?" she continues, firing off another question before even giving Elena time to answer the first.
Elena lowers her beer, her gaze refocusing on Sam as she swallows in a useless attempt at getting rid of the feeling in her throat. The lingering taste of stasis fluid that she just can't get rid of, no matter how many beers she downs. "Their ship." Her eyebrows furrow. "Hive?" She shakes her head. "No sé. It was crawling with them."
Sam sits up a bit straighter as she hears the answer and leans forward, resting her forearms heavily against the table. "Their ship? So you were on their ship?" she says, more as if confirming it with herself than an actual question. "And-... and-.... You didn't see anyone else?" she reiterates. "Just-... you, Jason and your people and the Collectors? What about the colonists?" she continues, nearly rambling at this point
as the first tears finally make their escape, drawing a trail across her cheeks. "All the people they took?! Nothing? Nobody?!"
Elena shifts forward, leaning against the table as she shakes her head softly, running her left hand over her face with a heavy sigh and stopping to rub her eyes. She folds her arms on the table, studying Sam in silence for a moment. "No, we saw the people alright. What was left of them." An empty chuckle and another shake of her head. She opens her mouth to speak again, but she just ends up closing it and swallowing before
looking off to the side. Synthetic fingertips taps against the beer a few times before she looks back. She sucks in her lower lip, immediately failing once more and looking down at the table. "That's what we were shooting at." she finally manages, suddenly staring right at Sam again, an unsettling look on her face.
Sam's gaze finally falters. And with it, more tears. Clearly not the answer she was hoping for. She blinks a few times, causing more tears to fall to the table as the color drains from her face.
Shane gives Sam's hand a gentle squeeze as he passes another brief apologetic glance Elena's way. Both for what she's been through and for Sam thrusting all of this on her. Not that he blames Sam. Not at all. "Sammy don't-..." he begins but is quickly cut off.
Sam snaps her attention Shane's way as he says her name. "You don't get it, Shane." she says, her voice much softer than it was previously. "I don't-... What if she's out there? What if she-... she's waiting for me to come for her? For us to come? The Alliance? Scared. I can't-..." she trails off, a mixture of emotions boiling up inside of her as she lowers her gaze to the table once more. "There has to be a chance,
Elena just watches Sam's breakdown, a distant look on her face as she wonders if one of the monstrosities she gunned down was the person that Sam is missing. Or was she one of those left behind in the pods? Her grip of her beer tightens as she bites down on the inside of her lip. "They took someone you know..." she says with a heavy sigh. It's not really a question since the answer is obvious.
Shane gives her hand another squeeze as Sam takes out her frustrations on Elena. "Come on, Sammy. She's not the enemy. She's only trying to help."
Sam shuts her eyes tightly, drawing in a deep breath as tears continue to silently crawl down her cheeks. Of course Elena is not the enemy. And she's obviously just been through hell. Not that any of that makes her feel a whole lot better. "My sister." she finally says, swallowing as she opens her eyes once more, looking to the woman across the table from her. "She-... When Freedom's Progress was hit she-..." she trails off,
tightly shutting her eyes once again and tilting her head away as she tries to get a grip on her emotions. She's not the sort to allow herself to feel so exposed. Especially not in front of someone she barely knows. But Liz is a special case. With another deep breath she meets Elena's gaze, "I just-... I just wanna know what happened to her..." she admits, her cracking voice filled with painful honesty.
Elena winces slightly as Sam snaps at her, her eyebrows furrowing. She almost seems like she's going to say something, but as Sam speaks again she falls silent, her expression changing as she bites down harder on her lip. She doesn't stop when she tastes blood. It's a welcome change from the stasis sludge. "Lo siento... I-... I'm sorry." she says suddenly, her gaze darting down briefly before locking onto Sam again, studying
Sam presses an elbow against the table, her hand moving up to her head, fingers pushing through her short hair as her eyes come to a rest on her beer. Elena's response gets little more than a hollow, distant: "...Yeah." from her. "...Me too."
Shane's hand remains atop Sam's as she falls silent. He had brought her with him tonight in hope that getting out of that cramped apartment would do her some good. He can't help but feel a little guilty at the way the night has gone. But there's little he can do for Sam other than be there for her. But she's not the only victim of the Collectors that's sitting at the table. The trauma is practically written on Elena's face. "...I
can't imagine what you guys went through out there." he offers, gaze turning from Sam to Elena. "I know it probably doesn't mean a whole lot coming from me but-..." he shrugs dismissively, giving a small nod to himself, "...I'm glad you made it off that ship." Even though they may not know one another very well, it's a sincere sentiment. She's human, after all, and they need to stick together if they're going to survive this
Elena gives a series of shallow nods, her gaze moving briefly to Shane before falling to her beer. She doesn't look at it for long before lifting the bottle to her lips, downing much of the remaining contents. There's no shortage of discomfort on her end. She's barely holding it together herself, and this wasn't exactly what she'd planned when coming here. Her left hand rises to the strap of her tanktop, gripping it as her
knuckles brush absent-mindedly across the tattooed rose for a few moments. The bottle soon goes up again, emptying the last of the beer in one swig. She shifts in her seat, not really looking right at either of them. "A lotta people didn't..." she mutters while looking off towards the bar.
Sam seems to stir at Elena's comment, her eyes briefly closing once again. The guilt settles into the pit of her stomach. So concerned with her sister that she hadn't even considered just how much this woman may have lost to those monsters. It hadn't even occurred to her. "...Shit." she mutters, giving a small shake of her head as she attempts to meet Elena's gaze with little success. She winds up in a similar position as
Elena, staring distantly off towards the bar. "I'm sorry..." she says, her words distant. "I-... It wasn't right for me to put that on you."
Shane gives Sam's hand one more pat before pulling away. She was a hothead and, more often than not, let her temper get the best of her. But he also understood. This was about family. She just wanted answers. She deserved answers. But she isn't going to get them from Elena. Just more bad news. More sleepless nights.
Elena glances back towards Sam, blinking. She shakes her head slightly. "I get it." she says quietly, her own eyes tearing up a little as she studies Sam's expression. "If-... if those monsters had my sister...?" She shakes her head again. "I-... I get it." she repeats, her voice breaking slightly as she blinks again.
Sam gives a few hollow nods. An uncomfortable silence overtakes the table for a short while. Finally, with a deep breath and a sniffle, she runs a hand through her hair and shuffles in her seat. "I-... I should get out of here." she says, which is immediately met with an attempted protest from Shane who she turns to. "Look. I appreciate what you're trying to do but-... Right now I just need some air, alright?"
Shane frowns, giving a small, understanding nod. "Yeah. I get it, Sam..." he says, passing another apologetic glance Elena's way before adding, "Look, I'll come with. We can just take a walk or something." It's not that he's in any rush to abandon Elena but-... his friend needs him.
Sam reaches across Shane to retrieve her jacket which he's quick to assists with by passing it her way. "Think I just want to be alone right now, Shane. Besides, you've got shit to do. Just-... I'll see you back home, alright?"
Shane merely watches as Sam slips out of the booth and begins to put her jacket on. "...Yeah. Of course." he says rather than pressing her. Pressing Sam when she doesn't want to be pressed is a good way to end up on the wrong side of a shouting match, but it's not hard to see that the whole ordeal has him a little rattled.
Elena watches Sam get up to leave, remaining silent as she speaks with Shane. It's not her business, and she's hardly in the right frame of mind to be of help anyhow. Her attention turns out to the bar again, letting them speak as her mind starts to wander, the conversation having made sure the thoughts she'd been trying to drown are fresh as ever in her head.
Sam finishes slipping her jacket on- her jacket that's much too thin for the cold Freedom Falls air tonight- and zips it up. She looks to Elena, seeming momentarily as if she's going to say something, before deciding she's probably already said too much and starting towards the door.
Shane remains in his seat, arm over the backrest as he watches her leave. Even once the door has closed behind Sam, his gaze remains fixed to it. "I'm sorry, Elena..." he offers. "...She's going through a lot right now and-..." he trails off, deciding instead on: "I'm sure you didn't need that."
Elena glances over towards Shane, studying him for a moment before responding. "It's-... I get it." she repeats with a shake of her head, before falling silent. After a moment she draws a deep breath, looking over towards the bar. "I need more beer..." she decides, starting to shuffle out of the booth, wincing slightly as she agitates her leg.
Shane's gaze remains fixed to the door for a few moments longer as his heart bleeds for his old friend. It's not until Elena begins to make her way out of the booth that he furrows his brow and turns back to her, waving her back into her seat. "Sit your ass down." he says as he scoots out of the booth, doing his damndest to try and raise the mood despite the obvious hit it has taken. "Pretty sure I just fucked your night up. Least
you can do is let me take care of you." he continues as he grips the edge of the table and pulls himself back to his feet. That usual, ear-to-ear grin doesn't quite manifest.
Elena offers no objection, allowing herself to lean back into her seat again. Even with the painkillers and the medigel numbing agent the truth was her leg hurt like hell. The doc had patched her up good, but the husk had done a number, and getting back to 100% was gonna take time. She offers an appreciative nod and a faint, half-hearted smirk as she crosses her arms against the table.
Shane takes a step backwards from the table, pointing at Elena playfully. "Don't you go anywhere." he teases, doing his best to prop his smile back up. It doesn't last, however, slipping away as soon as his back is to Elena.
Elena lets out a quiet snort, an empty smirk tugging briefly at one corner of her mouth, but much like Shane's smile it fades once his back has turned. She watches him head towards the bar as the empty, emaciated faces of the huskified colonists play through her mind. It'd been easier to think of them as a swarm. A tide. But they'd been people. Humans. She can't help but wonder if she'd seen Sam's sister back on that ship...
Shane leans against the counter as the bartender takes care of a few other customers. It takes a minute for her to get to Shane, but when she does he doesn't linger. A beer in each hand, he turns around and makes his way back to the booth as Elena falls into her thoughts. This time, rather than sliding in across from her, he slips in to the seat beside her and sets a beer down in front of her. "Thought you could use a little
company over here." he says, his now-free hand coming to rest on the backrest behind Elena as he takes a sip from his own beer and sets it down.
Elena 's mind moves quickly from Sam's sister to her memories of the stasis pod. The feeling of drowning. Hazy nightmares full of shame and panic. She once again finds herself reaching for the left strap of her tanktop, her thumb fiddling with it as she runs her hand up and down, knuckles once again brushing against the tattoo. When Shane returns she's quick to let go and take the beer in her right hand, taking a swig before
looking to her left at him. She leans back against the backrest, leaving only her right hand resting on the table as it grasps the bottle. She studies Shane in silence, finding herself without anything to say while she still struggles to dispel the memories with the aid of additional booze.
Shane seems to be perfectly comfortable with the silence for a while. Especially when Sam is still at the forefront of his mind. And Liz. She wasn't just Sam's sister. He knew her. Had met her husband. Her son. She wasn't just a name associated with Sam. But there also wasn't shit he could do, and that was the most frustrating part about it all. The past week since their meetup at the Respite with Vasquez had been hard on Sam.
It wasn't Vasquez' fault, of course, but watching Sam drown in her grief was agonizing. As he catches himself sinking into his worries he finds himself becoming less and less comfortable with the silence. "Hell of a guy." he says, speaking just to interrupt his thoughts with a glance to his side, "Jason? Not sure how much time you got to spend with him but-..." he nods, "...there's not many people I'd trust more to watch my
Elena lets out a quiet snort, followed by a sighed "Yeah..." and a faint nod as she turns her gaze to the bar, looking past Shane for a while. "He fought like hell over there... everyone did." she says, glancing down at her beer for a moment before taking another swig. She closes her eyes for just a moment, and one of those things is on top of her, cybernetic eyes staring out of hollow sockets as it claws at her armor and she
struggles to reach her revolver. She's just about put down her beer when a sudden crack sounds. She's quick to let go of the bottle with a muttered "Shit...", revealing a crack that travels from beneath the label partway up the neck. She seems to have stopped just short of crushing the glass.
Shane allows a small- if brief- smirk to cross his lips as Elena responds. That was Jason. Give his all until there was nothing left in the tank, and then give some more. The sound of splitting glass pulls his attention to the bottle where it remains, eyeing the fissure. "...That bad, huh?" he says, his voice lowering. He certainly has had his fair share of after-action jitters. You didn't survive a tour in the Traverse without
some bad memories. But it only took a brief consideration of Vasquez' description to know that it probably didn't hold a handle to what Elena just came back from.
Elena 's gaze lingers on the bottle, travelling along the fracture in the glass. She nods a couple of times. "I've seen some shit before, but..." An empty chuckle slips out, and she shakes her head as she trails off, swallowing hard and taking a careful hold of the cracked bottle before lifting it to her lips and helping herself to more of the contents. "Those people weren't there anymore. Like they sucked them out and put
Shane gives a few small, distant nods, doing his best to act like he understands despite them both knowing better. The closest he has come was Horizon footage and stories from Vasquez. "Sounds-..." he begins, but the only word that seems fitting is: "...unreal. Jason's wife talked with us a bit about it. Gotta admit it sounded-... out there." he admits, finding himself having to intentionally swerve in order to avoid the word
'Crazy'. "If it wasn't for everything else going on?" he gives a shake of his head, "I'm not sure I would've even believed her. But geth attacking the Citadel? Entire colonies going missing in the middle of the night? Collectors-... motherfuckers that were little more than ghost stories and conspiracy theories a few months ago suddenly coming out of the woodwork? Shit is fucked... So yeah. I'll believe just about anything