|Leon Kennedy||The church is a nice spot to stay and figure out what the heck to do next, so that's what Leon is trying to do. Of course, the thing with the President's daughter is that she has an opinion or something. They're enjoying the remains of a sparing meal outside, beans and other canned vittles, and the young officer glances across at Ashley. "So. I'm thinking right now our best chance to get you out of here is going to be to head back to my place, barring any changes."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley? Opinions? Wherever could Leon have gotten that idea? For now, she displays none of those horrid, unfeminine things. Instead, she eats her canned green beans with a fork, without complaint, her eyes on the food as she consumes it. She nods, clearly listening, obeying, and understanding.
She'll chew, thoughtfully, swallow, and then speak at long last. Though she won't look up. "But there's no evacuation team there, or anywhere else," she says, matter of factly. She knows there's not, or Leon would have said as much. So she just continues eating. "It might just be time to stop thinking of me based on who my father is," she suggests, very softly, for his ears only. "I don't think that's going to be of any help, anymore. I think I've just become a total reliability, instead of just mostly one." She takes another bite. These are words she's thought over in the past few days. Scary words, words that terrify her. So she says them as void of emotion as possible.
|Leon Kennedy||"Ashley, I promised I was gonna get you out of this thing and when I say something, I mean it," Leon answers, letting some conviction bleed into his voice. He's serious about this. "When I give my word, I follow through." Just like Dad taught him. The kidney beans in his can aren't as tasty as they would be with chili, but when you're hungry it's hard to complain. He glances down into the container, poking a few more legumes on the tines of his fork. "That being said, the direct approach may not be the best way to accomplish that, I'll give you that. But with just the two of us, I don't see why we couldn't reach the city limits and once we prove who you are, they should let you out." They should, right? Unless that's why they dropped a SEAL team down inside the quarantine zone.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley has an Opinion on that. She bites the lower right corner of her mouth to keep it snuffed away for now, and instead focuses on her green beans. Another big bite seems to be just what the doctor ordered for such a distraction. It's that which she focuses on. Until the last part. "Should let us out," she corrects, perhaps in a slip he didn't know he made. "Us both."
At last, after that, Ashley looks up at him. She's still wearing his shirt, her leggings, her own boots, and her hair in a fresh plaited braid. There's no more blood or brain matter from MIKE on her face, but stains of it still show on that shirt. Those are so minor, now, though, that they're forgotten entierely. Just part of the scene. "They should let //us// out."
|Leon Kennedy||Damn these Opinion things. Leon purses his lips, brows drawing together slightly on his handsome face. "...Let /you/ out," Leon reiterates, glancing over at her with his serious grey-green eyes. "I'm not done in here. I can help people. I promised I would get you out, and I'm going to." Turning his attention back to the can, he shoves some kidney beans into his mouth, like that's all there is to it.|
|Ashley Graham||"Then I'll stay too, until you're ready," Ashley says. Even though it's said matter-of-factly, it's said with a tremor in her voice. The thought of not just walking out is terrifying. But then, it's the same terror everyone who isn't named Graham is facing just now, isn't it? "I'm not going to be the cause of your death, as well as the SEALs and the Secret Service members who were here too," she informs him, a little softer and a little more gentle. And with that, she resumes her green beans.|
|Leon Kennedy||"Ashley, no." Leon shakes his head, looking back over. "You're not causing anything. Whatever I do is my decision, and you're /not/ staying here or threatening to just to make me leave." Not cool. A muscle flexes in his cheek as he grinds his teeth together. "I'm trained for this. I swore to protect the people of this city. You are neither of those things."|
|Ashley Graham||"No one's trained for this," Ashley points out very quietly to Leon, looking sad as she does so. It's not meant to be a dig at him, merely a statement of fact -- no one is prepared for this. Not a single one.
"I'm not trying to force you to do anything," she says, easily and patiently. "But hear me out." She lowers her fork into the can, still holding it but not eating with it, just now. Leon has her full attention.
"After two failed evacuation attempts, we might not get a third," she admits, not without some tremor of fear. "And if we do, it'll be a bit of a miracle. There likely won't be many more behind it before the city is really overrun. In places like this," she removes the fork from the can, gesturing. "People will just get sicker and sicker, and worse and worse until it's all over for a lot of them. But," she turns and looks him in the face again. "At least, because I'm here, we can imagine they'll try at least one more time to get me. That's one more time to get other people out as well. Maybe the last opportunity to do so. That's why I said when you're ready, we'll both go. We'll get what people we can together, and however they want to evacuate me, we'll load it up. But that has to include you. Because there might not be another chance," she admits, solemnly. She watches him with those big, blue eyes, curious for his reaction. "At least, maybe, my being here might actually be able to do some good for someone."
|Leon Kennedy||Leon lets the bit about no one being trained for this go, because it's mostly true. No one is prepared for the zombie apocalypse, no matter how much they might think they are. Not even weird conspiracy blogger wingnuts with their SHTF and TEOTWAWKI acronyms. "They're not going to wait to evacuate you again," he points out, digging in his can of beans distractedly. It's hard to focus on debate and beans at the same time, and his face is still drawn in towards a point in the center, brow furrowed and lips pursed. "They want you out of here yesterday. I can't just say 'Ashley would like to stay until we have a chance to save a few more people,' and neither can you. Getting you out has to be first priority, and /then/ I can help everyone else in here, as much as I can for as long as I can." Stubborn, serious, fearless eyes look back over towards her. "If I don't get out, so be it. But I'm not giving up on the people left in this hellhole."|
|Ashley Graham||"But we don't have any evacuation information right now, do we? So what's stopping us from doing that, now? Getting as ready as we can?" She shakes her head, her own can now more or less forgotten, only barely held in her weak grasp. "I may not be a Police Officer, but I am a human being. And I may not have taken any oaths to protect anyone, but you're not the only one that feels sick at the thought of leaving people behind." She sighs and looks at him, almost fondly, but also sadly. "In what world is it right that you are required to save the whole city single-handedly, but I can't provide even my name to the effort? In the grand scheme of things, I'm no more important than anyone else. I just have a powerful man who loves me, that's all. And if it weren't for me there's a list of people whose names I don't even know who would still be alive. Why do you think I've been crying every single night?" Guilt, most likely. "We save as many as we can. I can help. My name, which is really all anyone cares about anyway, can help."|
|Leon Kennedy||"Get ready as best we can for when we get intel on the next attempt, yeah," Leon agrees grudgingly, scooping out a bite of kidney beans and popping them into his mouth. "I know you're a person. I know you feel bad over what happened, and some of the people you blame yourself for getting hurt. If it wasn't for you, it would have been for someone else. You can't blame yourself." The cop shakes his head, setting the can down on the ground and dropping his plastic fork into it. "Your name isn't good for much other than a ticket out of here. It's as likely to get you kidnapped as anything else." He frowns at that. Threats from the living are just as unwelcome as threats from the dead.|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley still seems to have forgotten her own food. She just watches Leon. And frowns, though it looks like more of a sultry pout even when she does it in earnest, rather than doing it just to try and get a drink without getting carded. "A ticket out of here is gold," she points out. And then she cocks her head to the side.
"Why are you fighting me on this, Leon? If you want to try to help as many people as quickly as we possibly can, I'm giving you a way. I'm pretty fit; I won't take up an entire helicopter or humvee to myself." So she just watches.
|Leon Kennedy||"Because I promised I would get you out of here." Leon sighs, sure they'd gone over this already. The longer she fights, the more it feels like they're going over the same ground over and over until he finally relents. Honestly, that's how most arguments go anyway. "The longer you stay in here the harder that will be. I need to get you out, and soon." Or something might happen I can't save you from is left off.|
|Ashley Graham||Ashley sighs. "You can't really expect me to leave you behind though, can you?" she asks, almost rhetorically. "When there might not be another chance out?" She moves to set the half-finished can beside her, slipping the fork in her mouth to lick it clean and then pushing the metal tin back over the top to preserve what food remains inside. "You know I won't do anything to go against what you say," she says, vocalizing her trust for him. "But at least, until we have something to do, I can help around here. Maybe see how many vehicles can be available on short notice, how much gas." She rises and looks down at the man with a little shake of her head and a small, sincere smile. "There's no reason we can't do something now to try and help some others get out, is there?"|
|Leon Kennedy||"I expect you to do what's best for this country," Leon fires back, "and for this city. Your father will be devastated if you don't make it out of here. The American people will be devastated. Raccoon City's problems are enough tragedy without adding your sacrifice on top of it. The best thing you and most other people can do for this place is to get yourself out of danger so that someone else can be rescued." It's not soft, and it's definitely not coddling. It's realistic. A shake of his head, a sway of his bands, and a downward turn of his eyes. "I'm sorry, Ashley. I know you want to help." His tone drops lower and softer now. "I made a promise."|
|Ashley Graham||If Ashley feels anything by his strong words, she only shows a bit of surprise. Slightly taken aback, but there's no trace of hurt or regret in her features for anything he's said. She just watches him for a moment and then turns to approach him. She grouches down in front of him and, gently, she'll reach out to set her hands on his in a comforting gesture, if he'll allow. "A lot of fathers are going to be devastated, Leon," she says softly and gently. She's definitely the coddler here. "I have no intention of sacrificing myself. I just want to give a few more fathers and mothers their kids back in the process." She tries to catch his eye, tries to get him to look at her. She's smiling softly, as if being reassuring. If he's let her touch his hands, she'll even give him a squeeze. "I know I haven't asked, but I should have. How are you doing?" Obviously not meant as a pleasantry, that question. "You keep asking me, worrying about me. But I've been so focused on myself I haven't asked you."|
|Leon Kennedy||Her hands fall on his, and Leon shakes his head, deliberately trying to keep his eyes off hers for now, looking away. "I'm fine," he insists, in that tone everyone uses when someone asks how they are and they don't want to talk about it. It's terse, tense, and not that convincing. "We trained for emergencies, disasters. I'm fine." She squeezes his hands, and he finally looks her in the eye, grey-green intensity leveled with her gentle blue. "I'm fine. I'm gonna get you out. I don't get to not be fine." That last phrase is tight with emotion that he's busy swallowing down with his spit.|
|Ashley Graham||Ashley nods as she listens, meeting his gaze in a very relaxed manner, even so close. She even gives him another, sleepy little smile of encouragement. For now, her soft hands remain where they are. "Well it's okay to not be fine for a little while. Isn't that what you keep telling me?" She broadens her smile for him a little bit. "If that advice is good enough for me, it's got to be good enough for you too, doesn't it?" She asks, rhetorically and a touch playfully to try and make this whole emotion-sharing moment at least bearable.|
|Leon Kennedy||"I'm fine," Leon repeats stubbornly, taking a deep breath, his chest and stomach both expanding before he slowly lets it out through his nose. His eyes close, like a little mini-mediation, and when he opens them again, the nervous energy of the previous moment is gone, and cool, brave, in-command Leon is back. "We're both going to be fine." Now it's his turn to give her hands a little squeeze. "Don't worry about me."|
|Ashley Graham|| "I know we will," Ashley assures him. And while he tells her not to worry, it's pretty obvious on her face that's what she's going to do anyway. But she accepts the squeeze with a smile and a slight downturn of her eyes. Then she nods, and with a pat of her own hands again, moves to stand in front of him again. "We'll take care of each other," she says. How Ashley could possibly be of any use in taking care of Leon is anyone's guess, but perhaps it's the thought that counts.
She takes a half-step back then, to give Leon his personal space bubble back. "I'll go in and see about the fuel and vehicle situation. So long as the Major doesn't see me -- he might have an aneurysm to find me picking my way through his things." It's pretty much code for 'I'll leave you be if you want' with an added attempt at levity and another $10 thousand dollar smile.
|Leon Kennedy||"As long as you don't take any of his stuff, he should be fine," Leon replies, rolling his eyes a little and offering her a charming smile of his own, albeit a small one. He doesn't bother to point out that there's not a whole lot she can do to take care of him other than companionship, but that aspect can be very helpful as long as they're not in direct danger. "I'm going to see what the sentries are doing." They've already learned not to be too trusting of other people's competence.|
|Ashley Graham||Maybe, just maybe, by the end of all this, Ashley will have provided some usefulness to Leon. Maybe even save him once! You never know. For now, she just smiles and moves to pluck up the half-eaten can of green beans to bring back inside. "I'll look for you inside this evening, then," she assures him. He'd be rather hard-pressed to get away from her. She always makes sure to select a cot near to Leon, most times the one beside him, though there was one night where she selected one further away in the corner. That was a bad crying night, that one was. "I'll see if I can't scare you up something else to eat, too." With that, and with a passing look of gratitude and fondness, the now-bloody-blonde turns to move back into the church.|