Lasciate Ogni Speranza


vf_cardinal_icon.gif vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Lasciate Ogni Speranza
Synopsis Liz finds the Waiting Room to Hell is full of ghosts of the not-so-distant past.
Date November 23, 2011

The Hub

Late evening in the central area of the Hub is a little quieter than the rest of the day — the small children and those with early shifts have all gone to their various subway cars, broom closets, and offices to get some sleep. Others linger, holding small conversations or playing cards or doing the various little activities that keep them feeling human, feeling sane in this dark world.

Peyton sits at one of the picnic tables where someone's left a jigsaw puzzle in the works for the community at large to poke at, piece by piece. The box is battered and torn, masking tape on the top declaring 2 pieces missing. She's slowly collecting all of the pale blue pieces that make up the upper edge. The picture on the box is of the Grand Canyon — an ambitious puzzle of a thousand pieces, most of them the same shades of rust and red desert, but for the pale blue sky above.

Elisabeth has been keeping a reasonably low profile, overall. Meeting a few people here and there. Peyton is one she hasn't made too much effort to approach, if only because the sight of the young woman makes her heart hurt. What happened to Peyton in her world both cuts deep and causes her immense guilt. She actually pauses in the doorway, noting the presence of the blue-haired woman and finally sighs quietly and bites the bullet. "Mind a little company?" she asks in a low voice as she walks further into the common room.

Peyton glances up, dark eyes curious at the sight of one of the 'newbies.' One corner of her mouth tips into a half smile, and she lifts a shoulder. "You can't really get away from it in here if you do," is probably not the most inviting things to say, but she doesn't seem to say it with any sort of malice. "I'm shitty at puzzles, and thi s one's a bitch. Every piece looks the same. I usually only get like three pieces in before the lack of Adderall makes itself known." She lifts a shoulder, trying to push a piece into the top corner, but it's not quite right, and she pops it back out, setting it back with the other similar blue pieces. "You came from outside?" she says, brows knitting as she looks at Liz.

There's a brief nod to the query, though Elisabeth's answer is a little more ambiguous. "Outside of here, yes." She walks over to get a cup of water and brings it back to the jigsaw. "I'm not hugely good at them either, I don't think. I … can't remember if I've ever done one before, honestly." She grins just a little, searching Peyton's face for a long moment. It hurts to not see recognition in those dark eyes. But then again… it hurts to know that she didn't see enough back home to help the Peyton she knows. "So… what else do you do around here?" The question is casual enough — could mean 'what do you do for fun' or it could be a query about what Peyton's 'job' is. She picks up a couple of pieces to start seeing if they fit anywhere as they talk.

"I could answer that question…" …answer that question…

It's a hauntingly familiar whispered echo of a voice just before the darkness spills upwards in a tide right behind Peyton, darkness giving way to flesh and bone, to a grey t-shirt with holes at the collar and cargo pants, arms marked with tattoos that are missing a few from when Elisabeth remembers them. Richard's arms drape over Peyton's shoulders, and he tilts his head down to grin to her, "But she'd probably slap me for it." One hand lifts back up a bit to edge the shades downward, eyes that are mostly pupil regarding the woman with a crooked smile, "So who's the newcomer, Pey?"

About to speak when that voice and its echo speak for her instead, Peyton smirks, glancing up at Richard when he slides into view next to her. "I don't think she was asking about anything that detailed, but who knows," says Peyton, sliding an arm around his waist. "And I hadn't gotten that far. I wanna say… Leslie? Lindsay, maybe?" There's a grapevine here, of course, and like any, it's not always accurate. Or she misremembered. That's very, very possible. She looks back to Liz, for confirmation of her name, or denial as the case may be.

"I don't usually do puzzles, but sometimes you get bored waiting for people who take their sweet-ass time," she says, angling a faux stern gaze at Cardinal. "Did you find me anything good today?" This is asked more brightly.

It's not exactly unexpected. Elisabeth has been bracing herself to eventually run into the man since she met Isabelle and Brenda — who kindly (accidentally) informed her that he'd survived. But the whisper from the sinuous tendrils of darkness makes her blue eyes slam shut for a long second, her jaw clenching involuntarily. Pulling in a slow breath, her blue eyes reopen and she focuses on this world's analog of a man she's not even sure survived the collapse of the facility on the mountain. Meeting the dark eyes of the shadowmorph, the blonde says simply, "Elisabeth. Liz." She manages a small smile. "And no, I definitely don't think I need the gory details, thanks," she retorts, clearly amused despite the sudden subtle tension that she can't hide. For a moment, she thanks God for being negated because she can feel her ability attempting to react to the flood of stress hormones and adrenaline through her bloodstream. It would not be pretty. "And you are?" she asks in a voice that fights for mild curiosity.

"Nah, not for you. Well, we found a shoe store that hadn't been completely looted, so I guess some people're getting new sneakers," the man replies with an easy shrug of one shoulder, crooking a smile down at Peyton, "I figured you'd just roll your eyes if I brought you some high heels — maybe luck'll be better tomorrow. We haven't wanted to push our luck since… well." Since that other team was taken out recently.

The tension in the newcomer's noticed, but Richard just chalks it up to being uneasy at his power demonstration. "Richard Cardinal," he offers casually, "Don't worry, no body, no virus. Welcome to the waiting room for Hell."

"Peyton," says the blue-haired woman for Liz's benefit. She watches the woman with some curiosity. Newcomers are rare. This one acts a little differently than most. At the mention of the tennis shoes, she shakes her head. "I'm good for shoes." She has a fairly new pair of Doc Martens on her feet, so she doesn't need anything new for some time. "Fuck no to heels. The post apocalypse is liberating in its own way. Aside from the fact that we're literally prisoner mole people. But at least my feet are comfortable," she says with a smirk.

At Cardinal's cheerful welcome, she snaps her fingers and points to him. "We should have that on a plaque. Really bring some morale to the place, ya think?"

So familiar, both of them. And so far away from familiar in the same instant. Having either of them look at her and not know who she is gives her anxiety that Elisabeth struggles to keep tamped down. "Good to know," she replies to Richard Cardinal's information that he can't carry the virus in shadow form. "Although I'd have to say we bypassed the waiting room some time back. I'm reasonably certain this is either the 5th Circle or the 7th. I haven't decided yet, but …" She shrugs slightly. "I'm definitely sure we left Prgatory some time back. We're the unlucky bastards that got left behind or something."

Cardinal lifts his hands, spreading them out as if showing off the sign Peyton'd suggested. "Lasciate ogni speranza…" He trails off in a low chuckle, dark humor stirring mirth to his lips, and then he's dropping down to settle beside Peyton— one hand ruffling her hair before he settles in with that arm draped around her shoulders. "Fifth or seventh, eh? Greed or heresy… wouldn't be surprised at either," he banters casually, "Now, that last one? Maybe, but I think someone'd crack down on it if we started referring to the virus as The Rapture."

"No, I really think it needs to be in English," quips Peyton, either because she has no idea what Cardinal's saying in Italian or because she thinks it's funnier to pretend not to — it's hard to say. She settles against Cardinal easily, letting them banter about what level of hell they're residing in, as she examines one of the puzzle pieces, before reaching across the table to snap it in place.

"I'm not religious, but I'm sure not one of the ones who'd be 'saved,' or whatever, but, there's a lot of good people who shouldn't be here if that were the case," she says, in rare bit of seriousness — at least rare to Richard, who knows this Peyton. "So yeah, fuck that. This might be hell, but there's nothing divine or comedic about it." She apparently is smarter than she lets on. Even in hell.

"I'd have to say the Rapture definitely came before the Virus. Your Catholic education fails you, Richard… the 5th is Wrath, where the people fight one another. The 7th is Violence, against people and property. Pretty sure both of those apply to this Godforsaken world." Liz moves to pick up another piece of the puzzle, using the excuse to stop looking at the two of them. It actually helps to think that in this hellish world, they did have one another — that Peyton found what she so desperately wanted back home. "Any relation to a David Cardinal?" she asks mildly. "You don't seem nearly as creepy, despite the shadows."

"It's been awhile, I must be off," Cardinal's fingers rub against the curve of his jaw in contemplation of the matter, and then he shrugs a bit, "Guess I haven't read the Inferno for too long…" A glance to Peyton, and he nudges her lightly, "Hey. No gloom'n doom today, babe, not with me back from the ruins…" The question then brings his attention to Elisabeth, and he snorts, "I see you've met my old man. Sorry, he's not exactly good with people."
ORDER: It is now your pose.

Peyton looks up at Cardinal, a tacit apology in her dark eyes. "Sorry. I met her buddy Magnes who's like Pollyanna on steroids, spouting hope on a rope. You know optimism gives me an existential crisis," she says, side of her mouth quirking into another one of those sardonic smirks, so different from the Peyton Liz once knew. "I'll cheer up. Now that you're back."

Liz's question and Card's answer have her glance between them. "You met him?" She looks surprised. "Or did you know him from before the 'Rapture?'"

"Met him here," Elisabeth replies, continuing her search for a matching piece rather futilely. Her glance flickers to Peyton and she smirks faintly. "Pollyanna on steroids. Interesting description," she muses. "Not entirely sure I'd disagree." There is some amount of truth to the idea that Magnes is an insatiable optimist. "Hope seems like one of those things that people should have, but…. when it's snatched away too often, it gets ugly," she admits thoughtfully. "Sorry if he managed to offend you somehow. He means well… he's just… pretty well completely oblivious, socially speaking."

"Oh, he's around here somewhere…" Cardinal's fingers brush through the air in a vague gesture of dismissal, "Ironically, never met him until I got here. Guess he was in some black-ops hole for twenty-five years, or something like that… go fuckin' figure we'd end up in the same hole." The description of the two has him rolling his eyes, then, "Oh, wow, one of those guys. Don't let him infect you with something even more dangerous than the virus… optimism."

"Ah, sorry, I assumed. You know, we don't get many new people these days. I don't think too many people we haven't met exist, except, you know, the ones who are shooting at us," Peyton says to Elisabeth. "He didn't offend me. He's a nice sort. Just… nice isn't really what you need to be to survive an apocalypse, I don't think. And I think he has it in his mind he'll save us all. It's kind of sweet. Just, you know." She waves a hand vaguely, echoing Cardinal's gesture of a moment before. "Pointless."

The tone of voice… the words themselves… from RIchard Cardinal bring a lump to Elisabeth's throat. She can't respond to either of them for a long moment as a flashback slams through her.

"Holy Shit," Cardinal exhales upon a laugh, leaning back a bit, "You're an optimist. Don't worry, babe, we can work through this together and fix you've that little problem…"

The rush of tears is instant, and the blonde pushes her chair back immediately, sending it falling to the floor behind her. "I'm sorry…. I forgot something I was supposed to do… It's really good to meet you both." Her words are not steady, a subtle stammer showing up as she backpedals and somewhat clumsily picks up the chair.

Did he die there, crushed under the mass of metal? Or worse… did they fail ouright and *all* of them died?

In just that moment, it hits her with the force of a freight train and Elisabeth has to turn tail before she loses it in front two people who are doppelgangers of some of the last people she laid eyes on in her world. She moves quickly as soon as the chair is upright again, fleeing to the corridors beyond the common area.

"…huh." Cardinal watches as the blonde pushes herself to her feet and beats a hasty retreat, one hand coming up to scratch at the nape of her neck, "Was it something I said?"

He looks back towards Peyton, both brows raising upwards over the edge of his shades, "Maybe she's sleeping with that Magnes guy?"

"You or me or both," says Peyton, regarding saying something offensive, glancing at Elisabeth's retreating figure with a quizzical head tilt, before looking back at him, brows lifted. "Must be Tuesday."

She tips her head closer to his though, and moves her arms to rest on his shoulders. "Now that there's not strange, emotional, beautiful blond women around, give me a proper hello."

"I think it is… figures," admits Cardinal, glancing back after her as she vanishes down the hallway, "I never really got used to Tuesdays. She's got a pretty nice ass, though, you're right." That isn't exactly what Peyton said, but she did say beautiful after all.

Then he's grinning back down to her, hands sliding up her arms to her shoulders and lifting to frame her cheeks, leaning down and murmuring playfully, "Miss me, did you?" He tilts his head slightly, and leans in for a lingering kiss.

"Tuesdays suck," Peyton opines flatly, but really, here, every day is like another. The monotony of survival.

To answer his question, the word "Maybeeee" is drawn out against his lips in a soft murmur, before she stands, finding his hands to entwine with hers, and leading the way out of Hub central and deeper into the tunnels to find the abandoned subway car she's claimed as hers.

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