|Leon Kennedy||Six months have passed since we last saw our heroes, and time finds them in Paris. Leon is no longer a police officer. He's a- shhh- secret agent, with the Division of Security Operations, hand-picked by the new President of the United States. Oddly enough, he's here with the old President's daughter, or at least here at the Eiffel Tower with her. Today finds them in the park in front of the Tower, like a pair of tourists, with a blanket and a picnic basket.|
|Ashley Graham|| But you wouldn't think Ashley Graham is a tourist, by the way she dresses. She wears tight, form-fitting jeans, black boots, and what appears to be a plain cream top until upon inspection from behind, it has little back save for a lace pattern, barely holding the thing together. Ah, to be skinny, flat-chested, and in Parisian fashions!
The two have seen much of each other in the past few months. while htey didn't end up in DC as planned, they ended up in the same city as each other none the less. Wearing shades, Ashley smiles as she moves along with Leon, sighing wistfully at the sight of the Eiffle Tower above them.
"It's funny," she muses to the man, holding fast to his arm with her own. "The Tower itself is ugly as sin. A revulsion of 1920s architecture. But it's what it has come to represent that has made it beautiful. And romantic, though I cna't imagine why the latter. Men died working on the construction. What's romantic about that?" Still, she squeezes his arm. In the last six months Leon will have gotten used to Ashley, his girlfriend(?) squeezing his arm when she's happy. That happiness comes at odd times. Sometimes in their most dour disagreements, she'll squeeze him like that. She's an odd duck.
|Leon Kennedy||That's alright, because Leon is a bit of a strange bird, with his ideals and his commitment to bringing American Justice to the whole wide world. In the weeks since Raccoon City, he's not only been recruited by a secret government agency (somewhat secret, anyway) but been trained to almost murderous efficiency and is now on permanent retainer any time there might be something worth having a high-powered government agent looking into, specifically in matters of bioterrorism. But the rest of the time, he's given a modest sum to live where he sees fit, which for the moment is Paris. "I don't mind the look of it," he comments contrarily to Ashley, grinning over at her with a sandwich clutched in one fist. Parisian bakeries are fantastic. "It's just a bunch of steel, after all. Triangles are very sturdy shapes, and Eiffel got a lot of them in there."|
|Ashley Graham||"Spoken like a man," she says, looking over him with a playful, teasing grin. But she listens to his opinion, considers it, and looks back to the tower. "You're right," she finally conceeds. "It was considered so ugly for the time, and for so long after. But at it's core it's a simple structure, a triangle of steel. Sturdy. Reliable. Dependible. And well lit. Paris could use some of that--France could, if you could consider what came before the building of it, and what came after." World wars are disruptive things. She continues to walk with thim, arm in arm. "I know it's not DC," she admits. "But how do you like it here, so far?"|
|Leon Kennedy||"I've always wanted to see Europe, too," Leon points out gently, not at all put out despite the fact that she seems very concerned that he might be. "And Paris is... beautiful. I can't think of another way to describe it. It's still busy, yes, but there's just a sense of age here that Colorado is severely lacking." The picnic is over, by the way, and they're on their way out of there, but Leon has Sandwich Number Two to deal with, taking a bite as they go. "What about you, I know we've been here for a while now, but you seem to be adapting just fine."|
|Ashley Graham||"Well, it's often been theorized that southerners have closer ties to Old World Europe than northerners do. The aristocracy, the slower way of living," the subjectication of other people. "Perhaps that's why I'm situated quite well here. I love it, I have to admit," she says, with a slight downward blush. She squeezes his arm again. "I have to go away for a fundraiser next week. Do you think I'll be able to see you, before I go?"|
|Leon Kennedy||"If you don't, I'm gonna be a little pissed," Leon warns with a grin, shoving the last bite of sandwich into his mouth and chewing it up for a moment. "I actually have something I'm being sent on too, so that lines up well. We'll both be out of town together." Little do they know, they'll be together out of town. "Did you want to come over to my place after this?"|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley tilts her head in Leon's direction, gently nuzzling her cheek on his shoulder fondly. After six months, they've become somewhat used to the physical attentions of the other. Mild as those attentions have been, of course. Leon's a gentleman, and Ashley's a good girl. "Yes," she says with a sigh. "Father's home tonight." Since they've moved to Paris, Ashley has been living with the former President. Though who can really blame them, after the stress and trauma they've both been through?
"If it's not an imposition, of course," she adds, politely.
|Leon Kennedy||They may have gotten used to it somewhat, but that doesn't mean Leon doesn't smile when she does it. "Of course not," he fires back, adopting a little of her proper tone in a sign of genuine affection. When people imitate your phrasing and tone, it's either mockery or absolute sincere solidarity. This is the latter. "You're always welcome to come over, as long as you don't bring your dad without telling me. That'd be a minor national crisis, I'm sure." He's tidy but he's not /that/ tidy, and impressions are important. "What's this fundraising thing about?"|
|Ashley Graham|| "It can't be a national crisis, Leon. Father hasn't been President for ages now," she reminds him. Ages are the same as months to barely-full-grown young people. She squeezes him again. That smile on her looks like it threatens to break her features, to split her face right in two. "All he can do is get mad at you in that way Texan fathers do. So it usually involves a shotgun, but you're tough," she teases, leaning up to kiss his cheek.
She does settle down a bit when the fundraiser is brought up, walking side by side, arm in arm with him. "Oh, there's just some big doners who are interested in throwing funds our way. Apparently being a President's daughter gives me good leeway to trust me with their checkbooks."
|Leon Kennedy||"I know it's not a /real/ national crisis but it would feel like one," Leon replies, shaking his head a little. "He's still the President, even if he's not the President." They call you Mr. President for life, and he's supposed to have Secret Service following him around. How he thinks he's going to be a field operative with all that going on is anyone's guess. Maybe pull an Oliver Queen like the first season of Arrow, who knows. "Where are you going that you're gone all week? Why can't they just give you the money and be done with it?" He's so familiar with how this all works.|
|Ashley Graham||"Nice, for a cruise around the Riverea," Ashley explains. "Poor TerraSave. They really had to kick out to do this. But people with millions on the line like to feel that those they're giving the money to are on an equal footing. It stands to reason that a former U.S. President's daughter would provide them the clout they desire," Ashley says, hanging close and comfortable on his arm. She pauses then, to look up at him. "Are you intimidated by my father?"|
|Leon Kennedy||Despite the time that Leon and Ashley spend together, he hasn't spoken to President Graham much more than in passing. The agent's brow furrows, thinking over his words carefully for a moment. "I guess a little. He's a President. I never thought I'd even see a President in person, and now I'm dating his daughter." It's weird. "It's weird," he adds, with a small grin for her.
"Well, that sounds like a fun trip," he replies, not knowing he's about to get a call to send him on the same boat. "I hope you have a good time without me." That last bit comes with a wheedling smile, that 'how could you have fun without me' face.
|Ashley Graham|| "Oh, of course. Drinking by a pool on the French Riviera, how can I stand it?" Ashley teases, smirking just a touch. She's teasing him, playing with him. Having fun with him. They're used to teasing each other, by now.
"Really. Father's not so terrifying. He was a soldier too, you know. You and he likely have a lot in common."
|Leon Kennedy||"I guess you're right," Leon allows, with a reluctant frown. His eyes focus on the path ahead, trying not to think about it too hard right now, since Ashley's leaving him soon for fun and fancy adventures on a cruise ship or something. "I'll just be here, languishing alone in my apartment with a full bottle of wine and an empty heart."|
|Ashley Graham||Ashley smiles up to Leon. That same fondness is there, the fondness that started to appear their last few days in Raccoon City. Over the past six months though it's only grown, so that every look that Leon gets is special, just for him: laced with affection. "Languishing with a full bottle of wine and an empty heart," she notes with a grin. "You've become quite the poet in your short time here. A proper Hemmingway, or the makings of one." Although Hemmingway is overrated. That's neither here nor there.
Ashley gives his hand another squeeze. "I promise I'll be miserable," she assures him. "It's a fund raiser anyway. Won't be a moment of peace. Just trying to schmooze every person with a fat wallet or a quick hand with their checkbook about the importance of what we do." Importance that, in some corners, is likely hotly debated. "I'll be exhausted and frazzled by the time I come back, and then we can languish together in your apartment with a full bottle of wine."
|Leon Kennedy||Leon, trying his best not to look too put out and/or intimidated, gives her a broad smile and squeezes her hand back. "Try to have some fun, though. I know you've been busy and more than a little stressed between school and all this activism stuff." Not that he doesn't support either of those, he does; it's just that he hates to see her pushing herself quite so hard. "It's okay to relax and enjoy it, even if you're technically 'on the clock' or however you guys track your contributions to the cause."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley chuckles, shaking her head. "I'm sure I'll enjoy myself a little," she confesses. "But not too much. No getting tipsy, certainly no bringing a bikini. I don't want to be some sort of ... pharmaceutical sales rep when it comes to getting money. Maybe I should, because money is the object. But that would just feel dirty." She's smart, respectable, and don't anyone forget it!
She squeezes him again, blushing slighly as she glances at the tower as they walk. "So you'll miss me then? That's not good, of course. Missing someone is always sad. But it's nice to know I'll be missed."
|Leon Kennedy||"Of course I'll miss you," Leon replies with a little snort, the picnic basket swinging in his off hand. The newly minted Agent is happy just to walk with her and enjoy some time together before she runs off on her cruise, so he smiles over at Ashley, amused. "You can take your bikini, just don't wear it during your little salespitch," he teases, steadily moving toward the rest of the city and away from the tower. "I'll see you when you get back, and I want to hear all about it."|
|Ashley Graham|| "Good," She says, sounding pleased at his admission. "You know I'll miss you too," she says more gently. "We haven't been apart since we met up in DC and both got our marching orders for Paris," she says, thoughtfully. "And the shrink was right. I'm not afraid to be without you nearly as much as I was before. She's even said that I shouldn't bring my gun, to try and get used to not having it on me at all times." Like now. "But since we've gotten to know each other," she squeezes his hand more firmly. "and all that, I really don't want to be apart from you. Even if it is only a week," she assures him. "And since every day, every waking minute is a sales pitch, I promise I'll leave the bikini at home. That's just for when I'm with you," she promises, leaning up on her toes to kiss him on the cheek.
"Anyway, I'll want to hear all about your week without me too. Going to party it up in the French clubs? Nose to the grindstone on some of your legal manuals?" Because international agents have a whole new set of laws to learn that they will likely never stop learning, one assumes.
|Leon Kennedy||"I'm gonna brush up some more, yeah," Leon replies, nodding to her after she breaks the little kiss on his cheek. "I don't want to step on toes too bad over here, but at the same time, the President generally gives us pretty broad leeway on how we get the mission done. At least in the training scenarios we've run." Because no actual missions yet. Plus he's totally going to go all Jack Bauer the first time he gets the chance, hopefully without ending up in a Chinese prison. "I'm glad to hear all that too," he mentions about her visits with the counselor, a service he hasn't bothered to engage.|
|Ashley Graham|| "You will be careful, Leon. Won't you, when the time comes? I mean I've seen you in action, and you're extremely talented and dedicated. But I'll worry something fierce when your turn finally comes." No doubt they've talked about his career and what it will entail. She's looking up at him, fond and sad and beautiful. Stunningly so.
"I don't want to be one of those kinds of girlfriends," she says, a slow grin creeping across her features. "Breathing down your neck and texting you at three in the morning demanding to know where you are. I'll be quiet about my worry. But I'll still worry."
|Leon Kennedy||"I'll be as careful as I can," Leon replies, with some soothing comfort in his voice, giving her hand a little squeeze. "As long as I can still get the mission done, at least. That has to come first, always." It's the kind of thing you have to repeat to yourself often, because it goes against natural instincts. He chuckles softly at her fretting, shaking his head, sending his bangs swaying a little down in front of his face. "Just trust me. Like you have so far."|
|Ashley Graham||"I trust you far more than I should," Ashley teases, setting her temple against his shoulder as they walk together. "Everyone's always said men were trouble, and I don't doubt it." She grins, lifting her head to look up at him hapilly. Then the grin turns more mischevious. "So, should we pick a place to sit down and have our wine and cheese or just walk around the tower all day?" she asks. "I have to admit, this was really a fabulous idea. Al Fresco under the Eiffle Tower with wine and cheese! I feel so cosmopolitan."|
|Leon Kennedy||"Well, I wouldn't say /more/," Leon replies, grinning casually and pointing to an open spot in the grass up ahead. "That looks good." Making his way over, he finally pulls away from her, pulling the blanket out of their picnic basket and throwing it wide, spreading it on a broad swath of grass and plopping the basket down on one corner. "Besides," he adds, settling down to sit, "Everyone knows it's women who are trouble." A broad, taunting smile at that.|
|Ashley Graham|| "Well that's just madness," Ashley says, volunteering to take the basket while Leon lays out the blanket. She's flushed again, watching him move as he goes about the little chore. "Name two times that I've ever caused you trouble," she threatens. One, after all, would be obvious. "And your mother's a saint for all intents and purposes. Mothers are still women, you know," she adds, that touch of feminist liberalism peeking it's head out.
Once the blanket is settled, she offers over the basket before moving to sit down as gracefully as she can in a dress. It accounts to sinking to her knees and then falling mostly gracefully to the side and leaning her weight on that particular arm. She watches him from that position, then. Ashley seems to like to watch Leon a lot.
|Leon Kennedy||"Mothers are a different breed, and we both know it," Leon answers calmly, swinging the basket lid open and peering inside, quick fingers pulling out a small cutting board and cheese knife, and then a block of smoked Gouda, rifling around in the bottom for napkins. With those out and on the blanket, he goes back in for the bottle of wine and the heavy plastic 'glasses' they've brought along, the wine a semi-sweet red. It is the afternoon, after all. "One is obvious, two will be when I find out you had a blast without me and you've booked fundraisers every weekend for perpetuity."|
|Ashley Graham|| "So I'm told," Ashley says. Although she never knew her own mother, also named Ashley, she doesn't seem bothered by the reference. How do you mourn for something you never knew, never had? On a beautiful day, with a beautiful man, in Paris, it's not enough of a cloud to dampen her eyes or smile.
"When you find out? Are you going to spy on me?" She teases, very clearly. And then she scoots closer to him, close enough that if they want to, they can bump shoulders or knees. Ashley's a touch smitten. "Well," she says gently. "Even if I have fun, it's obvious I'd have had more fun if you were with me." She pauses for a second, and a touch of a blush comes to her cheeks. "And, you know, we could take a vacation when I get back. It doesn't have to be far or crazy or anything. Maybe down to Spain, or to Brussels, or even to Italy if you had a mind for it." She seems a touch sheepish about the suggestion. After all, they've only been dating six months. But she suggests it anyway.
|Leon Kennedy||Surely she had some mother figure in her life. Hopefully. Maybe. One hopes.
"I'm not going to spy on you, no," Leon chuckles, shaking his head in that teasing manner. "I'll hire someone else to do that, I don't have time. Far too busy here in Paris." He's working on the cheese, cutting a few slices for each of them already, while she moves close enough to bump up against him, and he lets one leg rest against hers. "That /would/ be fun," he allows, quietly, "but it sounds like something your dad might veto." Get it? Because he's a President.
|Ashley Graham|| He's a former president. Jeeze Leon, get up on the times. "I'm almost 19," Ashley reminds him. "And even if he does, we can drive someplace. Mont Saint Michel, if you've never see it. Or Nice, which is actually kind of a dump but there's lovely beaches on the Medditerannian," she says, smiling that Leon doesn't seem entirely opposed to the idea.
In true female fashion, she leans forward to pluck one of the already-sliced bits of Gouda, taking a little bite and sucking on it a bit to drag out the flavors before finally chewing. Every bite is slow with this girl.