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SPOILERS: 1.10 Hearts and Minds
Up All Night Long
(And there's something very wrong)
She is remarkable because she is in fact unremarkable. Anna has encountered millions if not billions of the same breed. Determined, confident, distrustful, calculated. Honorable characteristics that must be stripped from their enemy if they are to succeed.
Anna clears her throat and Erica starts, hand over her heart as she regards the visitor queen standing pristinely at the end of the bed.
"I guess privacy is just a human thing."
Anna raises her eyebrows in a silent show of amusement, waving a hand to brighten the room and taking a seat on the chair beside Erica.
It had been her son's idea via Lisa's that his mother should experience life on board the ship before allowing her son to join the live aboard program. There had been in a gleam in the blonde's eyes that Anna had not missed, asking for a day to think about it before contacting them at the end of the night to arrange a room for her.
"I wanted to speak with you." Anna says simply.
Erica made a small snort of laughter, getting out of bed from the opposite side and pulling on a pair of jeans. They had offered her a gown and robe (Anna had watched the tapes), but Erica had insisted on her own shorts and tank top.
"What did you need to speak with me about?" Erica asks, turning around and pulling her loose hair into a pony tail.
"Do you know a man," Anna begins, tracing on the arm rest, "named Ryan Nichols."
Erica's eyes snap to Anna's, "Doesn't sound familiar, no."
"He seems to know you. Quite well actually."
Erica crosses her arms, leg shifting backwards, defensive stance Anna thinks and smiles, "What do you want."
"I want us to trust one another." Anna says as if a suggestion of anything else would what was it? Hurt her feelings, "Your son cares deeply for my daughter, as we speak she is giving him a tour of one of our mechanically advanced units."
"You mean the cloaked ships?" Her voice hardens and the worry for her son is etched deeply into her frown.
"Yes." Anna stands, unsurprised when Erica shifts back as she moves closer, arms dropping, fingers half curled and ready to form a fist if need be, "They snuck off moments ago for a rendezvous it seems, if not for me checking in it would have gone unnoticed." she placed a hand on Erica's arm, establishing contact, "I came to you first, as mothers we must look out for the ones we love the most."
"And you love Lisa?"
"With all my heart." Anna's mouth quirks upward again while her fingers slide down Erica's arm in a subtle caress, "Metaphorically speaking of course."
Erica doesn't look amused and her fingers curl in a bit more, her face beautifully blank, emotionless, "What is this? Why are you here?"
"The same reason you are."
"I am here to look out for my son's best interests."
"As am I. It would be very unfortunate were something to happen while you were here." At this all trace of a smile has fled and green tints the woman's dark eyes, "We have been having a disturbing amount of incidents as of late. I must do everything in my power to avoid another tragedy such as the human lives lost only weeks ago and the attacks upon my people." Erica hadn't even been aware that Anna's fingers had wrapped around her upper arm, that they were so close a deep exhale would press them flush against one another, "Do you understand? Do you understand that I will do anything necessary to protect those I cherish the most even-" she tightens her grip on Erica, "-even if it means sacrificing the ones that they cherish as well."
Erica swallows hard, giving a curt nod, "I understand."
"Good, I am glad we are on the same page." she releases her and adopts her usual serene smile, "I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at breakfast. Seven thirty."
"Seven thirty of course."
Anna turns and Erica is thankful, thinking that she is leaving when she only crosses over to the drawer and removes a gray robe with red sashes. She outstretches it to Erica, "I had these made especially for you. They should be to your liking."
Erica placed her hands on her hips, "Thanks, but I really prefer-"
Anna came behind her, breath at her ear as she held it open for the blonde to slip into, arms wrapping around her waist to tie the ribbons. Erica closes her eyes, ignores how cold Anna's fingers are as they brush against her exposed stomach before retreating. Those same hands turn her around, the visitor's eyes alight with amusement
"There we are, you almost look like one of us."
Erica bites the back of her tongue, giving a smile just as saccharine as the other woman's, "Yeah, almost."
"Goodnight Erica. Seven thirty."
"Seven thirty." she confirms
As soon as the door slides shut behind Anna, Erica reaches into her bag and unearths a throwaway phone, bypassing the scores of unanswered texts to Ryan before landing on Jack's number.
Something is up. FIND NICHOLS.
"Chad Decker here to see you."
Anna finishes her order for a ship to uncloak itself after a vicious battle in east Africa and send medical supplies to both sides.
"Tell him I have other matters to attend to."
"I did. He seems persistent today."
"Then tell him I will arrive shortly and tip him off on the Africa story," she turns to face Marcus, "discreetly of course."
Marcus nodded, "Of course and when he's left?"
"Put a tail on him, not a soldier."
He nods and leaves the room, letting Anna turn back to the bank of images currently being projected. One of them is of the entrance where Marcus is pulling Chad aside, she watches the reporter's eyes widen before pulling out a cell phone and waving a goodbye to him.
He would have been of use to her today, but she can't afford it. There was something going on, something he had seen that required a re-basis of trust. Until then she would restrict his access to her before his emotions got the better of him and he forced her into a confrontation. It was the most logical solution.
Now she brushes aside the other images to focus on the feed following Erica. Breakfast had been a success, having chosen the tactic of dining in the main Visitor/Human hall. Intermingling of people, a show that Anna did not think she was too much above her followers, an opportunity to emphasize how infatuated Tyler and Lisa were as they murmured back and forth, tossing bits of toasts at the others nose and laughing.
Erica was due to meet her soon, to give an update on anything fifth column that the FBI had obtained. It was yet another manipulating tactic of course, Anna could quite literally obtain their files with a wave of her hand. No, this was about trust, about devotion.
When she arrives Anna notes that though she snubbed the outfit brought to her, she still donned their colors, the gray and red pantsuit making her appear washed out weak.
Anna smiles and held out a hand
"Good evening Erica, I trust your stay has been pleasant."
"Yes, your people are very courteous."
"We strive for both comfort and efficiency." she gestures, "Have a seat."
Anna sits not behind her desk but in the arm chair beside Erica, taking a folder of holographic files from her desk and setting it on the table between them, business in her movements
"We have acquired certain information and character profiles on ten people who are at an advantage in seeking out and expanding the terrorist group fifth column."
Erica looks at the folder in hunger, hands folded in her lap to restrain them from snatching the contents off the silver surface. She watches like a hawk as Anna picks up the folder, flipping through it aimlessly
"These are the names of well respected figureheads in your society, I worry that revealing the information prematurely -before they have a chance to redeem themselves-might hurt your people as a whole."
Erica clears her throat, "Our tactics for dealing with these people have been very effective."
"Perhaps you might explain them." she closes the folder and places it on her lap, "We may be able to reach an agreement of sorts."
It is well into the night when their work is finished and Anna struggles to keep her initial faint amusement with the agent from escalating into full blown interest.
Human and yet exhibiting all the traits that Anna prides in her people, more admirable for the fact that the other woman exhibits them in the face of her of human emotions. She'd glided from unanswered question to unanswered question and yet with the confident fluidity that made it seem as if she had in fact given more information than she had withheld.
Anna was superior in this dance and saw through it, wormed her way into making Erica admit what she hadn't intended to, but it had taken thought and there were moments .there were moments when she wasn't sure who was manipulating whom.
Erica has taken to walking about the room, obviously tired, and Anna adopts similar movements, relaxing into the chair and resting her forehead on her fingertips. The reflection of Erica stretches its arms high above her head, before rubbing at her mouth, tracing down to her ear. Anna sits up, head tilted to the side as she observes for moment before turning around in the chair.
"I enjoyed this."
"The exchange of information," she smirks, "Intelligent conversation with another strong empowered woman. "
"You flatter me."
"You are a bright and admirable agent, Erica, it is your type that makes a strong ally." A muscle jumps in the woman's cheek and she reaches for her jacket, flipping her hair over the collar. When she bends beside Anna to retrieve her purse, the other places a hand gently on her wrist, gazing up into her eyes, "You are my ally, are you not?"
"How could I be anything else?"
And there it is, that unremarkable remarkableness that renders Anna speechless. Erica gathers up her belongings and moves swiftly to the door. Anna still manages to reach it before her, but-Erica notes with curiosity- she seems somewhat stand-offish, offering the folder as if it is tainted.
"I want you to have this and do with it as you wish."
"My chief will probably-"
"No." Anna steps forward, "as you wish."
Erica takes the folder, tucking it beneath her arm, "Thank you, well I have a pod to catch back home."
"Peace be with you."
Erica chuckles, "Ditto."
The door slides open and she brushes past Marcus who regards her sternly, eyebrows drawn together and only a ghost of emotion on his face. Anna remains frozen, gazing at the spot where Erica stood even after the door has closed and Marcus occupies it.
"You missed the meeting with the high commander, your soldiers prevented me from entering your office."
"But the commander."
"That was not a suggestion." she snaps, "It was an order."
He turns on his heel and exits.
"So you think it's a trap?"
"I think that we should be careful seeking these people out." Erica circled the room, Hobbes had interrogated and broken in an associate of Joshua, Nathaniel, who knew his way around V technology. He had given the all clear on the files being clean of tracking devices. He now sat in a corner, nursing bruises and glaring at the dark haired man as he dressed them.
"Defense attorneys, mayors, government appointed historians. If they are fifth column they'll be a great asset and must be protected."
"And if not?" Jack asks, looking up from his hands
"If not then they're in the perfect position to lock us up and throw away the key."
Hobbes slams his hand on a countertop, "So what the fuck do we do then?"
Erica continues to pace, flicking through the documents aimlessly until she stops, biting her lower lip, "Let's take one of them down."
Jack nods, "Good, like last time. I'll be on-"
"No, I mean the FBI and the new taskforce. We'll take down one of the lesser threats and gauge the V's reaction."
"Their reaction?" Jack stands, "Their reaction is gonna be to kill them."
"And how they go about it will show whether or not they actually are fifth column. If it's discreet, a rogue gunman or any of their other covert tricks then we'll know to seek out the rest. If they let us hold them, question them then we'll know they're innocent or a trap to draw us out."
Hobbes grins, "They wouldn't dare let a filthy dissenter pollute the minds of their little human drones otherwise."
"It's a good plan," Nathaniel puts in, "I like it."
"Well I don't. You're sacrificing the lives of innocent people."
"They're sacrificed anyways Jack! Would you rather one life or ten? A hundred? A million? This could save lives. A voice of power and reason speaking out for our cause, a voice that the V's can't write off as con men and traitors." she throws the folder at him, "Honorable citizens speaking out against the visitors. We need this."
"What we need is to find Ryan. So you three go ahead and slaughter an innocent man just to see what they'll do. I'll be out searching."
"Come on Jack." Hobbes drawls
He turns to leave but stops, glaring at Erica, "In your quest to eliminate the V's, be careful you don't become one."
She sighs, having no choice but to watch him go.
They go after the commander of the united nations security force, a squirrelly looking man who Erica takes down herself. She lets her team ransack his home and they unearth plans to stage an attack on a group of Visitors attempting to establish a safe zone on earth. He seems dazed, most likely from shock as he's manhandled into the back of an unmarked truck, too stunned to do anything but put his head in his hands and murmur incoherently.
The first person Erica contacts is Anna, or rather Marcus who assures her he'll relay the message before transferring her to speak with Tyler briefly.
"I want you to stay on board. No leaving the ship until I come to get you, it's safer there for now."
"So you're bringing in the bad guys in."
She laughs, "Let's hope so."
While taking him into custody Christopher Guest is shot in the head, the shooter is never found. It is both a victory and a loss.
Erica shares a drink with Hobbes while Nathaniel begins to run the names through a secured database and formulate means to make first contact with them.
"We might actually win this thing."
Erica taps her glass against his, daring to be optimistic, "It's a start anyways."
"Are you pleased?"
"I gave him to her and she turned him in." Anna has just finished bestowing bliss upon her followers and steps into the robe waiting for her on a hook, "I am very pleased."
"The sedative held, he did not disclose any damaging information while contained."
"If I may ask, who was the shooter?"
"A friend of Tyler. Apparently he tipped them off."
"A human killing to defend a V."
Anna takes a seat, gazing serenely out at New York "We must handle it delicately when he is found. Emphasize that we appreciate how they have welcomed us into their blanket of security, but we do not condone violence under any circumstance."
"And-" he stops walking towards the door, "I want you to bring me Erica Evans, so that I may thank her personally."
Anna unfolds the napkin onto her lap, "You are nervous."
"Well, what do you say to the Queen of an extraterrestrial race with impeccable taste in wine?"
"'Good evening' would be a start."
Erica laughs, it is an infectious noise, "Good evening, thank you for inviting me to dinner."
"Thank you for coming. Your actions yesterday were very heroic, it seems to be a trend."
Erica's head twitches to the side in false humility, taking another sip from the glass before her, "Well just a day in the life, capture a sniper here, prosecute a terrorist there. You know me."
"No," Anna rests her elbows on the table, "but I would like to. It's why I wanted us to have some time alone."
"Then ask away, I'll do my best to be honest."
Erica raises an eyebrow, but Anna's face is a portrait of blank curiosity, "Yes, I will." she says slowly, sincerely. It seems to satisfy the other woman who leans back and picks up her own glass
"Tell me about where you grew up."
They flit from topic to topic. Erica making offhand jokes and Anna having her explain them. Anna talking about some of the areas on her planet that would appeal to humans, how the task force was doing and an array of other things that reminds Erica of a poem she read. Time is a thing with wings or something like that, flying away.
Their food goes untouched although their glasses are constantly kept filled, the moon glowing brightly from outside the ship windows as Erica places a hand over her heart, tethering the laughter which had filled the room
"That sounds like a horrible experience."
"We strive to accept all varieties of humans, even the more eccentric ones."
"I hope this night hasn't been too tiring for you then."
"Oh, no, no of course not." Anna sets her glass down to squeeze Erica's hand, "On the contrary, you are a delight. It is difficult for us to find humans who truly understand our ways and intentions. It is why the live aboard program is such a joy to both our people, an opportunity to bridge the gap. To no longer be an us or them, but a 'we', united as one for the same purpose."
Erica giggles, the wine fuzzing her better judgments, "I feel like I should be applauding."
"I don't follow."
"You. You're always 'on', like you're incapable of saying the wrong thing. It's dis discon .it's off putting and some might say a little suspicious."
"So you're saying it's wrong?" she rubs her thumb against the back of Erica's knuckles, "To act as one should, logically and yet with compassion?"
"No, no I'd never say that."
"What are you trying to say?"
The blonde shrugs, "That sometimes the softest ones hit the hardest."
Anna silences never having thought of what Erica's words imply. Was there such a thing as being 'too perfect'. Never stepping out of line, never making a mistake. To err is to be human and are they not trying to be humanely at least for appearances sake. Would it not be wise to show that even ones as superior as themselves could
She regards Erica carefully, "You believe that some see our kindness as a front?"
"I believe that if your intentions are pure then it shouldn't matter." another evasive answer. Another fake smile laced with vague intentions, "Does it?"
Anna snatches her hand from Erica's, pushing back from the table, "I think it is time to say goodnight."
"Oh, now don't-"
"Leave. Me." she hisses, literally hisses, canines unearthing to slash into her human lip although Erica can't see. The blood nourishes her, sustains her, but there is still an edge to her voice when she orders the other to leave once again, collapsing into her seat with shaking hands.
Erica isn't sure what's going on, isn't sure what happened in that dining room, the utter complexity and array of emotions on the Queen's face. It went against everything she knew about her. Anna was their ruler and Erica had done enough interrogations in her time to know real emotion when she saw it. Nathaniel had mentioned the rumors of her supposed outburst, but he'd added it was undoubtedly exaggerated. As a human she couldn't understand the implications of Anna truly experiencing the barrage of hormones and mood fluctuations that the average person had throughout the day.
"Bliss is how we maintain our detachment from you things." he'd explained ignoring the growl Hobbes sent his way, "Anna is the source of that bliss, it's inconceivable."
But Erica knew what she had seen.
She groans, frustrated and heads into the bathroom. The live aboard program didn't start for another few weeks and tomorrow her and Tyler would be going home, the one safely back on earth where things made at least a bit more sense than here.
When she gets out of the shower, the robe and gown are still there, folded neatly on the hamper. She rubs her hair dry, picking up the red gown and shrugging What the hell, Jack already thinks I act like them.
Whistling the tune of an old song she enters back into the room to find Anna standing in the middle of it. She tosses aside the towel she'd been using to dry her hair.
"I guess privacy really is a human thing."
"I want you to explain yourself," Anna begins immediately, "the things you said tonight. I need to know what you meant."
"To be frank I'd rather not do this now."
"Because it's almost one in the morning and I have to be up early. There's work and Tyler and-"
"Forget about Tyler for one damn second."
Erica brushes past Anna to the door, "Get out." she orders calmly
"Get out right now, I'm not having this discussion and you've lost the privilege to demand anything from me."
Anna approaches, fingers twisting in the fabric of Erica's robe, "You did this to me, you and that reporter Decker and I refuse to leave until you fix this. Look at me," her eyes scan her white knuckled fists, aggression and emotion personified, "Oh god look at me. What am I doing?"
"Anna," Erica's hands overlap the other woman's arms
"It's like a voice, questioning everything I've ever done. Let me...I want to see if I can."
Before Erica can ask what she's talking about, Anna's palms rest on either side of her head, the dark haired woman's gaze tilting upwards as Erica feels herself enveloped in warm light. It's unlike anything the agent has ever felt before, a surge of untainted happiness and peace. No questions, no aching joints or racing thoughts, just the sound of Anna's voice. A part of her resists, a hard worn mental part that bucks against the sudden intrusion and threatens to cause actual pain.
We are one.
You and I.
Let me in.
Let her in let her in let her in.
A place where there is no pain
Only us, only me.
Erica opens her eyes and Anna's lips are parted breathlessly before her own. Without thinking, she closes the gap, backs the queen up against the door and kisses her like her life depends on it, like her heart will stop beating if she doesn't. Anna kisses back fiercely, grabbing the sash of the robe and unknotting it quickly, nails trailing Erica's skin over the fabric before lengthening and piercing it, red falling to the ground in long strips.
Anna's skirt is skintight, when Erica finds its zipper, it falls off her into a neat pile followed almost immediately by a matching gray vest.
Her legs wrap around Erica firmly as the other holds her up, a hand working between her thighs. She looks distraught, lost, hopeless. Erica can't bring herself to see the killer that she knows lurks within. This mass murderer who presses her forehead against Erica's and moans for more. It was, it was-
She snickers and Anna shakes her head, "Don't do that. Why are you laughing, why " she breaks off into another moan, but it's overshadowed by Erica's sharp cry. It wasn't nails that were digging into her shoulder, but claws, sharp curved claws that penetrate the robe and tear the thin strap holding the gown together. She tries to back away but Anna growls, digs in deeper and captures her mouth again. The pain ebbs replaced by light and coolness from where the throbbing emanates.
Eventually their movements slow, Anna's moans fade and they crumble to the floor in a mess of gray and red, black and golden.
"I have obligations." Anna mumbles as Erica bites into her shoulder, "It's 3pm in Tokyo, there are meetings to attend."
Erica yawns, tosses the robe over their half clothed forms, "Shut up, go to sleep."
Not love 'em then leave 'em, Erica muses ruefully when she wakes up on the floor of the room by herself, the robe still wrinkled from where Anna tossed it off herself. She feels sick, a little hung over, a little dazed around the edges from whatever it had been that the V had done to her. She knew there was anger, flashes of pure blood lust and thoughts of revenge, but whenever she tried to grasp the full emotion of it they slipped away.
"We are at peace." she says to the empty room, finally comprehending the words.
Marcus knows better than to question her. She is his queen and he her advisor. He advises, he does not order or question. He obeys and he suggests. This is their way.
But he also watches. He watches Anna go through the motions of her day, interrogating their people, overseeing the experiments of some of the onboard humans. He stands in the door way and he watches her feed, the carcass rolled past him towards the disposal wing.
"Brunch with the prime minister." he informs her as she fixes the last button of her vest. He clears his throat and taps the corner of his mouth, "You have something."
Anna rubs a thumb over the corresponding spot and it comes back red. She swipes it clean with her tongue and straightens, "Tell him I will be there shortly."
Nathaniel checks his watch once again, peering out the tinted windows at the small house.
"We've still got another twenty minutes." he taps his fingers on the dash board, "So why didn't you check in that night?"
"I thought we went over this? I spent an entire meal across from someone who's made me spend more time defending my life than living it." she grabs the binoculars, "You'd be worn out too."
"Touché." for a moment there's only the sound of the radio, transmitting the noises from their target's apartment. Shuffling into clothes, hollering at her dogs to quit barking.
"You're aware," Nathaniel starts and Erica rolls her eyes, "that I'm tapped into some of the ship's surveillance networks?"
"So you know that since it was your last night they took you off secured watch, meaning I had access to the camera outside your quarters?"
She sets the binoculars down, staring coldly into Nathaniel's ice blue eyes, "Alright what do you know?"
"Nothing, except that Anna came in when I was locking up and came out early this morning. Are you gonna tell me what really happened?"
"She wanted to talk about the fifth column." Nathaniel continues to stare at her, "That's it, I swear."
He leans close dark strands of hair nearly touching her, but she refuses to move away, "Whatever she did or said to you was a lie."
"You don't know that." Erica looks away, fiddling with the volume of the radio, "I mean you already said she's unpredictable. I've proven myself to her through the task force, with Joshua and again with the Guest situation."
"We don't trust. I mean that's where you're going with this aren't you? She's deceived an entire planet, you think you're so difficult? Anything that happened in that room was planned beforehand, psychological warfare tailored especially to you, I guarantee it." He eases back tapping the window, "There she is."
Convincing Maria of both their identities and the danger she's in goes smoothly ie without gunfire or bloodshed. En route to meet Hobbes Maria explains how she oversaw three quarantines in which the source of the viruses were unknown. The only definite fact was that all of them had the same origins and had been engineered specifically to attack human life. When the visitors had arrived she'd jumped at the chance of comparing it to a truly alien substance. She'd asked a colleague with some pull to go on board and browse around, see if there was a chance it had originated from them.
"I haven't seen him in two weeks. A few days ago I got a note saying that he was living aboard, I've been trying reach him ever since."
"What's your friend's name?"
"I can't say."
"He's the son of a mayor who opposes most if not all the research my lab conducts."
Erica and Nathaniel exchange a look, "Carl Leoni?"
Nathaniel swears. It was one of the names on the list meaning the Vs already had him. Erica broke the news to Maria as quickly and sympathetically as possible then rang Hobbes who was using his connections to construct a makeshift lab for Maria to work in. She nodded to Nathaniel who cracked his knuckles
"I'm gonna have to do something and you're not gonna like it."
Anna watched Chad Decker standing outside a house currently in flames, reporting that earlier that day a group of unknown activists had set flame to a well accredited biochemist's home.
"Authorities have confirmed the death of Maria Bass. Bass was a graduate of Yale, survived by-"
She muted the coverage. She already had someone from the ship investigating the attack as well to ensure its validity.
"Her name was on the list." Marcus says simply
"There have been several names on several lists that fifth column has found. Tighten security and run a full check on our systems." She brings up the live aboard applications and types a command which brings up the face of her daughter's bunkmate "Inform Lisa that Tyler's information has been processed more quickly than anticipated. He will continue his courses on board with his mother's permission." she blacks out the screens and turns to Marcus, "Bring me Ryan Nichols."
Tyler whoops with joy when he receives the news, walking around the house with the phone pressed to ear and a cell in his hands, taking the time in between texts to toss clothing and Cds into a suitcase. Erica tries to distract herself with work, cases that she's been putting off in the face of her absorption with the visitors.
When he finally tears himself away from his social networks Erica looks up to see him sitting on his suitcase before her. She sets down her pen
"I really appreciate you letting me do this mom, seriously. It doesn't make up everything, but it makes up for a lot."
"I just want you to be happy, honey, and safe." she sniffs and springs off the bag, enveloping her in his arms, "I will be, I swear that thing with that terrorist guy I barely even knew him you know that. I'd never do that."
"I know, I know."
"Will you see me off?" he stands up, rubbing the back of his neck, "I mean, I know you're busy, but "
"I'll be there."
"Cool. Lisa says that Anna wanted to talk with you anyways."
Erica wipes her eyes, trying to keep her voice neutral, "About what?"
He shrugs, "I don't know, mom stuff whatever you two talk about normally. I'm gonna meet some friends to play soccer, that okay?"
"Yeah sweetie that's fine."
Anna is composed. Erica doesn't know why she expected the V to be anything else, but there it is. She smile graciously and talks with Tyler about the summer mechanics program she's enrolled him in so he'll be caught up when the semester starts, about the times they keep and the rules for leaving and returning to the ship. She doesn't catch Erica's eye or even acknowledge her outside the odd comment addressed to everyone present or the hello's they exchanged earlier.
At some point Lisa sends him a pointed look and suggests she show him the wing where his room is.
"May I mother?"
"Of course, Ms. Evans and I will meet you there shortly."
"Tyler," he sighs, fingers already interlaced with Lisa's, "behave yourself."
She smirks and tugs him into a hug before letting him go, alone in the corridor with Anna. When she suggests they go to her office Erica can only agree, following demurely behind her.
"Allow me first to express my sincerest apologies for what happened."
Erica watches the line of images depicting a scattering of news stations in different languages while Anna stands stationary behind her, "I think the more important thing is knowing what actually did happen."
"You addressed a problem I had not anticipated, everything beyond that was a gross overreaction on my part. You handled yourself well and I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. However I see no reason for this not to stay between us. It would damage both our lives and careers, not to mention the emotional damage inflicted upon our children."
Erica laughs hollowly, "That's what you're worried about? Your reputation. With humans and your own people."
"We all seek acceptance from those we love."
"But the question is can you love? Can you Anna, like us?"
"I cannot answer that. Only a human knows how a human loves."
But Erica remembers the look on Anna's face when her fingers were at her temple. The anguish and passion that wrinkled her usually calm features. It was as if they were exchanging one another's emotions or lack of in the V's case.
She approaches slowly until they're a breath apart, tilting her head accordingly, "Touch me." she whispers
"I beg your pardon."
She sweeps her lips against Anna's, "Show me the place where there is no pain."
"We are one."
"Let me in." Erica murmurs and kisses her. Anna's fingers slide into her hair and there's pressure then the light. Anna's thoughts tumbling with her own, the sensation of her own fingers wrapping around the other woman. The kiss is less frantic than their first, but nonetheless all consuming. Again there is a part of her that feels, that is terrified and wants nothing more than to use this as a chance to lay Anna flat on her back to
"Stop it," Anna hisses, "I feel you in my thoughts," she pulls Erica's head back, latching onto the bottom of her ear and scratching at the base of her own neck with one hand, "in my chest. You're everywhere."
She drops her other hand, but they don't stop, buttons flying, shoes shuffling as they grapple for the right hold, clutching and pulling away only to be tugged back into place. The backs of Erica's legs finally reach a chair and she rests on the arm, looking up into bullet black eyes that shift and expand. A flash of green slits as Anna lowers her mouth to Erica's neck
Red lights. Red lights flashing above the door as a face jumps onto the screen
"Anna, it's Chad Decker. You've avoided me long enough, I demand a meeting!"
Erica lets out a breathless laugh, Decker's petulant whining ripping her from the moment. Anna reacts with inhuman precision, seeming to take only seconds to compose herself to face the intercom. Her tone hints at neither annoyance or surprise as she informs the reporter she's wrapping up police related business and would be with him shortly.
Erica meanwhile smoothes both her hair and clothing, managing to appear at the very least semi-formal when she reaches Anna at the door
"In three days I will be attending a conference in London. Marcus will contact you with your flight details and inform your chief of your absence. I hope you will find the accommodations suitable."
"I'm sure I will." she smiles faintly, "Peace be with you."
It is nightfall when she has finally pacified Decker with false reconstructions of what he believed he saw and carefully formed explanations accompanied by a sedated eye witness. Lisa left moments ago after giving an update on her assignments and Anna has expressed to Marcus the desire of a few hours solitude to collect her thoughts. It is then with great annoyance that she notices the red light announcing a visitor.
She waves the door open and looks up into the eyes of Ryan Nichols
"There's something you should know about detective Evans."
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