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It was too late… Elizabeth ran her fingers over the stub of her little finger, sighing. “It’s not scared, exactly. We…” Elizabeth leaned against the wall behind her, feeling distinctly like Booker as she did it. There were worse habits of his to pick up.
“We have work to do, I know, it’s just–”
Tenenbaum tapped ash from the tip of her cigarette, continuing Elizabeth’s thought. “The work will be there.”
The embarrassed smile came to Elizabeth’s face instinctively, and it was a sort of relief. At the labs, the sterility and risk were stifling. Betraying her emotions would make them lose everything. All of their sacrifices would be for nothing.
Elizabeth steadied herself with a series of long breaths… And Tenenbaum’s hand rested on her shoulder.
“I have worked there,” she reminded Elizabeth, her eyes focusing on the wall behind them. Did… Did Elizabeth look like that these days…? “What you see and do, I will understand. And you need to know that you do this for far nobler reasons than Suchong or I ever did.”
“It doesn’t feel noble,” Elizabeth admitted in a whisper. “It’s not just the girls. The plasmid testing,” she hesitated, remembering the assistant who died in the last failed test, shuddering.
“The failed pair bonds and the Big Daddy project, it’s all…” She rubbed her forehead, trying to counter the dull headache that came whenever she thought about these experiments outside of the lab. “There’s the little girls, the people who just didn’t agree with Ryan, and we can’t save any of them.”
“Not yet,” Tenenbaum corrected, pulling Elizabeth closer. Their gazes met and in Tenenbaum’s eyes, she saw a softness… And a certainty. “But by what you do, however monstrous, your actions will ultimately save these girls.”
Smiling again, Elizabeth looked towards the beds as she thought of another person who would be rescued. “Wait… Where are Jack and Booker?”
Tenenbaum whipped around, the maternal tenderness dissolving almost instantly. The guitars were each on their own beds, but both Jack and Booker were nowhere to be seen.
“Scheisse!” She flicked the cigarette to the ground, crushing it under her dirty brown heels. Tenenbaum was usually insistent on cleanliness, a good habit for the girls, she said.
She stormed to her office area past the reinforced glass, and Elizabeth approached to see her grabbing a pistol. “I will kill that man, I swear,” she spat and paused. “He is your father, I know–”
“No, no,” Elizabeth waved her apology off. “I hear that a lot…” Her eyes wandered to the other weapons in Tenenbaum’s office and slowly, all her muscles tensed.
What do you want to do, Elizabeth?
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