ellectrical: (darkened)
It's evening outside, and already growing cool enough that someone venturing out onto the lawns might want to bring a sweater or jacket with them.

Elle has neither, but for once doesn't seem to care. She walks across the grass as aimlessly as she did back in Madripoor, with enough speed to suggest she really wants to break out into a run.

But she can't. She can't make herself do it. So she just walks toward the edge of the lake.
ellectrical: (defective)
Elle spent a long time in the shower. Or at least, a long time for her, which is about seven minutes. But it's a luxury she hasn't been able to use recently, and now is easy enough, as long as she's careful.

She exits X's bathroom a short while later, in jeans and a white sleeveless shirt, still toweling off her damp hair. It's something else she probably wouldn't do were she anywhere else but this apartment, but in this moment, she simply lowers the towel, and slowly folds it over.

(Her steps are slow, and deliberate, as though she were walking through shallow water, and her eyes are on the floor.)
ellectrical: (cat (Farrah))
Elle is curled up into one side of the couch, head leaned against the arm, sparks snapping around her neck. Farrah, who has chosen to settle on her stomach, is watching the sparks crackle, head moving back and forth very slightly as the electricity flares and flashes on her skin.

Fortunately, she hasn't resorted to batting her paw at them.

That probably wouldn't be pleasant for anyone.
ellectrical: (I can stop)
Eventually, Elle had leaned back onto the bed, curled away from Ava, watching the IV drip. The sandwiches have been consumed and the packages discarded. X is sitting at the edge of her bed – Elle has been listening to her breathing, while she waited.

She's not entirely sure what she's waiting for.

But if it's for sleep, that doesn't seem to be coming any time soon.
ellectrical: (is the light)
When they had returned, Elle had forced her way through the first door she could, if only to, for a moment, get away from Bennet.

Instead, she'd ended up at the Bar. For the first time, she's not entirely sure she wants to be here.

So she'd retreated through the back door, out toward the grounds, making her way to the lawn near the lake. Though it had been the middle of the night in her world, it's very early morning here, sunlight just beginning to brighten the eastern sky. Elle really only pays attention to the extent that she can see well enough to find a spot reasonably apart from the water, where she sits down in the grass, her knees pulled up to her chest.

She's not sparking, but she is, very slightly, shaking.

The stuffed dog sits in the grass a few inches away from her. It had still been in her hand when she walked through the door.
ellectrical: (black sheep come home)
It's been more than an hour since the sunset, but Elle hasn't moved since she climbed onto one of the rocks near the lakeshore in the midafternoon.

Really. She has not moved. Other than blink, Elle hasn't moved her eyes, her hands, hasn't resettled on the rock's rough surface or follow the line of the tide. Curled up against the stone, she'd simply laid down, facing the water, too still to be even waiting for something.

Someone with a typical set of senses might not even notice her.
ellectrical: (trying to evolve)
This time, Elle stopped running before she collapsed.

As she’d started about noon, it was now nearing dusk. The sky was a deep blue slipping further into black, and Elle had dropped to the ground, sitting cross-legged in the grass near the shoreline of the lake, watching the sunlight along it dissipate as the evening deepened.

Her breathing, which not so long ago had been harsh and ragged, had evened out by now, deep and slow, so that she barely seemed to move. She didn’t flinch or even glance away at the sounds of others on the grounds, or to any sudden ripples in the water. Though her eyes on the water, she seemed to follow nothing at all, her expression not closed, but empty.
ellectrical: (restless spirit)
She's done this enough that she knows where to look in X's kitchen without having to ask. It's been about fifteen minutes she started, and various vegetables are scattered across the counters, one steel pot already on the stove. A look into the latter would indicate she's making soup, though it's not as simple as the kind X likes to order, nor is it coming out of can, the way Elle would normally choose.

At the moment, she's standing aside from the stove, using a large knife to slice up carrots across a cutting board. Elle's careful about it, the knife hitting the board at even and precise intervals.




(This really isn't her favorite part of cooking.)
ellectrical: (wrong way)
At first, she'd said she needed the night. She was tired, she'd been running across the country to get a ferry, (she really hates ferries), it had been early in the morning in her world when she left and she'd spent the night before hiding in a train station in Fukuoka until she could get that ferry out of the country. Whatever was in the folders her father had so carefully hidden away, she could deal with it after getting at least one night to rest.

It wasn't the worst idea Elle's ever had, anyway.

She had meant to do it when X was around. There was no real reason why she changed her mind other than that, after getting maybe three real hours of sleep, she had woken on X's couch to find the apartment empty except for Steve, Farrah, and the ever present fish. She'd thought about waiting, but then, well – then she didn't.

Now, a few hours later, the apartment doesn't look that different from how it did earlier, at least when it comes to being empty. Steve is curled up on the kitchen counter, fur still on end and tail flapping every so often in a perturbed sort of way, as though he had recently been the victim of some affront. Farrah, on the other hand, is contentedly snoozing on the couch, lying flat across a couple of what appear to be MRI scans, though this hardly looks comfortable.

The floor in front of the couch is what stands out. A few manila file folders are set in a neat stack to the side, some with multicolored tabs and paperclips attached. There are some various travel documents set on top of them, including different forms of fake ID, blonde hair glinting on the photo of a New Mexico driver's license.

The neatness of it contrasts with what's been strewn openly across the floor: polaroids and other photographs with the brown tint of age, sheets of paper, some of which have been marked in red, multicolored construction paper. Things that in other households might be fixed to the refrigerator with magnets. All of the photos, in some form, show a small girl, two at the youngest and seven at the oldest, with thin blonde hair that falls to her shoulders. One also features a woman who looks markedly similar to Elle, though her nose is slightly larger, and her eyes are hazel; others show a man with round glasses and thinning brown hair. But most are only of the girl, with a coloring book or a beach ball or a cake with candles. Sometimes just wearing a dress of some sort, or doing nothing other than staring or smiling.

(One involving a red tricycle being ridden through a fluorescent-lit hallway, not unlike the ones X would have seen at the Hartsdale Facility, is crumpled, though still open, on the floor.)

The papers range from spelling tests and handwritten notes to even one report card. Some have the large, blocky penmanship of a child who's just learning to write something besides her own name. The construction paper features rudimentary drawings of houses, animals, stick-figure-like people. She was partial to birds and horses, smiles so wide they make the figures look goofy, and –

One piece of bright pink construction paper has been torn into four shreds, the edges burnt. Bits of hooves, bunchy clouds that hold up an inaccurately rendered yet earnest rainbow,and a horse's head with a horn, the yellow marker used for it bleeding so much into the pink paper that its color appears closer to red, are clearly visible on the scraps that litter X's apartment.

You were a normal girl.

Elle got what she wanted.



At the moment, she's nowhere to be seen. But the door to the bathroom is closed.
ellectrical: (who do you talk to)
She'd already moved from the hostel she'd stayed in during her first couple nights in Tokyo. The place she'd chosen now is in the Nakano ward, still about an hour away by train from where her job would ultimately be. This time, it's an upscale hotel – not great because of the cameras in the lobby and elevators and the fact that it requires a whole lot more legitimacy for her to fabricate, but better because once she's in, there's more privacy. At least, more within her control.

Elle and X had returned to the room about forty minutes earlier; Elle writes a short note on the postcard she'd bought at the shrine before joining X to stare out the window at the city below. Bela already had a keycard to the room; Elle had also given her a map, and marked the train routes that could be taken to Chiba City. She still wouldn't risk a cell phone, but for this job, it didn't seem like it'd be necessary.

And so though both X and Elle turn immediately when the door clicks, and opens, neither looks surprised to see Bela in the doorway.
ellectrical: (no friendship bracelets?)
Mid-June at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo means the tail end of the seasonal bloom of irises in shrine's gardens – bright blue-purple blossoms still remain throughout the complex, though the crowds that come to view them have thinned out since the height of the season. The shrine is tucked into a forest that remains apart from the otherwise urban Shibuya ward, the entrance of the path through the trees marked by a high arch that visitors are meant to bow beneath before continuing onward toward the shrine.

It's quiet – quieter than anywhere else Elle has been in the city so far. She hadn't wanted to visit a museum, and the weather today was amenable; sunny, but not too hot. Enough wind that the leaves rustle in the tall trees that shade that path, but not so much that one would need a jacket. There are still enough visitors for voices to be heard throughout the woods, especially as they reach the main yard of the shrine, and there's an occasional buzzing or flurry of wings above them, but still – it's quieter.

Elle figured X would prefer that.

The main yard opens onto the shrine complex, paved by rectangular stones, the large building of cypress pillars and copper gabled roofs spread over the square beneath the camphor trees. To the side there are desks where visitors can write prayers on small pieces of paper to be left in the walls and shelves set up around the shrine.

Now, with no definite path to follow, Elle hesitates as they reach the open space of the square.
ellectrical: (I can stop)
The first thing Elle asked, after X brought her into the apartment, was to take a shower. She's glad she won't be leaving traces at her motel back her own world, but as for why she should feel safer here than her room in the Bar – there's no good reason for that. But Elle also really doesn't care.

She's still rubbing a towel against her slightly damp hair when she emerges into the main room. Her bloodied t-shirt has been exchanged for a different, light blue one, and her jeans for gray sweatpants. Without her makeup, the bruise on her face is clearly visible, but for whatever reason, neither it nor her broken rib bothers her so much here.

Her bare feet pad quietly against the floor, and she takes a few steps into the room before she looks up, and spots X.

"Thanks," she murmurs.
ellectrical: (I can stop)
It's taken three days, but after getting to sleep at seven the previous night, Elle has managed to get up at an hour early enough to be in the kitchen before X.

It's still dark outside. She'd pulled herself up off the sofa in X's living room, where she'd been sleeping every night since crossing over to X's world. In bare feet, and as quietly as possible, she had crossed the room to the tile floor of the kitchen, and began to open cupboards and drawers. The cats, no longer wakened easily or rushing up to beg for food, made the whole process easier.

But –

Elle doesn't miss the cats. Not exactly. But X's silence seemed a whole lot louder now that it couldn't be broken by mewing and the shuffling of paws.

She moves to the refrigerator first, pulling out milk, a carton of eggs, and butter. The grocery shopping – she'd done the grocery shopping two days earlier. And X had said thank you.

Quietly.

From a cupboard, she pulls out a small mixing bowl and frying pan. A whisk comes out of a drawer. The pan is left on the top of the stove, while she takes the bowl and whisk to the table, and places them next to the eggs. They're cracked, one at a time, and emptied into the bowl – she doesn't use a smaller bowl to check that they're still good.

She's forgotten the salt, spatula, butter knife, and bread. It's not too bad, for her.




But the thing about keeping quiet, about trying to stay hidden from X-23, is that no matter how quiet you are, you can't do it forever.

Or even for very long.
ellectrical: (the moon and the tide)
It's night by the time they reach the park Elle remembers. A sparsely-wooded area, beyond the suburban cul-de-sacs and driveways, it's only about a twenty-mile drive from Hartsdale, but Elle had used every maneuver she and X knew between them in order to make sure they weren't being followed. The late hour means the area is empty; Elle manages to quietly drive off the road and straight into the grass, heading toward the trees and continuing through wide gaps between them, until she slows near the edge of a narrow slope.

They both step out from the front of the white van. Elle moves to open the back while X examines the space, making sure that they're really alone. A small, soft light comes from the van's interior when Elle opens the doors and climbs inside.

After a few minutes, X joins her, and together they lift the body bag out of the back, X in front, directing the way toward the narrow slope, which will function well enough as a shallow ditch. Her movements are slower and more precise than Elle's; the other woman quickly releases the body and returns to the van to get the plastic box left inside.

Elle's movements are much milder as she returns, setting the box aside and stepping into the slope with her father. She gently unzips the bag, spreading the plastic cover to blanket the ground on either side of her father's body. X steps away, hesitating at the edge of the slope for only a moment before returning to the back of the van. Once her father's body is exposed, Elle opens the plastic box and lifts out from it the top of her father's skull, placing it on the plastic next to his right shoulder.

She stands again as she replaces the lid of the box, and moves to join X.
ellectrical: (wrong way)
Dreamless sleep, or at least not remembering the dreams after, is one unknown benefit of losing too many memories.

It hadn't taken her that long to actually lie across the bed, rest the left side of her head into the pillow, and close her eyes. X being there had helped, but there was little more her body could do, and she could at least be moderately certain she wouldn't set the unmoved bed sheets on fire.

It's several hours, and maybe a couple of IV changes before Elle, having been entirely still her sleep, shifts slightly – she rolls onto her back, and then back to her left side.

After another moment, her eyes open.
ellectrical: (but you can't touch)
At some point, Elle had wandered outside to practice.

She's pretty much forgotten when that was. Maybe it was because there was little else to do that wouldn't mean leaving again, or more likely, because X had suggested it, but she'd lost track of the hours she'd spent either shooting up sparks toward the sky or the lake, or practicing movements X had taught her.

Until she fell down, and didn't get back up.

Elle totally meant to do that.

Lying in the grass isn't too bad, really. And she can practice sensing for any footsteps coming toward her.
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