A Real Christmas Movie


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title A Real Christmas Movie
Synopsis Richard stops by with a Christmas present, and he gets one in return — a couple of hours of no pressure.
Date Dec 25, 2010

Elisabeth's Apartment, Dorchester Towers

Christmas Day.

It doesn't look much like Christmas Day in Elisabeth's apartment, really. She didn't put up a tree or lights or anything this year. This morning she was at her father's place for brunch and presents, and other than that she planned on simply cooking dinner. The Factory doesn't have a really good kitchen for it, so she's roasting two roasts in the oven along with a number of potatoes in foil.

The classics movie channel is on in the living room showing the first half hour of "It's A Wonderful Life," and Elisabeth is sipping a glass of wine while she listens to it and works on putting together a minestrone soup to go in the freezer. It keeps her hands busy.

"Knock knock." A greeting is spoken from just inside the door, where Richard Cardinal has appeared without any sound or warning before he spoke. He's dressed, today, in a somewhat worn ankle-length trenchcoat of all things, the fedora perched upon his head plucked off with one hand. There's a bag in his other hand, plastic, dangling from gloved fingers. "Mind if I come in?"

She's come a long way. Elisabeth doesn't jump. Her hand hovers a split second, as if she's deciding whether to drop the knife perhaps to grab another weapon, but the smile she shoots toward the door is sincere. Instead of a weapon she sets the knife down to pick up her wine. After a sip she says quietly, "It's your house too. Last I checked. So why would I mind?" She pauses, sets the glass down, and says, "Merry Christmas."

"It is not. You just shared it with me…" A slight shake of Cardinal's head, but he smiles faintly, walking along inside and offering the bag out to her, "Merry Christmas." Through the plastic bag, the bright metallic red of a wrapper can be seen, the paper taped around whatever sort of present is within.

She sets her glass down and comes around the counter, reaching out to take the bag and lingering there a moment to look up at him. "I would have put your name on the deed, but…. I didn't honestly think you'd want that. And considering the last argument we had, I figure that might have sent you screaming around the bend," Elisabeth admits softly. She peeks into the bag. "Can I open it now?" she asks with a grin.

"It's Christmas," Cardinal points out, smile tugging up just a little bit as it's handed over, and he steps to one of the seats next to the counter; settling onto it, one arm resting on the counter next to him as she looks down into the bag, "Of course."

She gives him one of those smiles — the rare, shy ones that only he is ever privy to. And then reaches into the bag to bring the box out. She sets it on the counter near him and opens it with an expression of intense curiosity. What would this man whose thought processes are always so opaque to her have thought to give her for the holiday? Elisabeth is dyin' here! Paper off, box open, quickquickquick.

"Careful," Cardinal warns as she pulls the box out, "Keep it right-side up…"

It's just a box, beneath, cardboard; taped shut, which is easily navigated. Inside is a small little red clay pot filled with fertilizer and soil, and there's a tiny little sapling poking up from the dirt.

She's gentle with it as she extracts it, her smile remaining. Looking up at him, Elisabeth asks simply, "What kind?" Because gardening is his hobby not hers — she actually has no plants in the apartment, if only because she was never here enough to keep them alive. She hopes it's not easy to kill!

"It's a spider plant," Cardinal replies with a quiet chuckle, "It's nearly impossible to kill, honestly, just give it some water and light occasionally. I wouldn't get you something that took a lot of work, I know you're pretty busy."

"I'll take good care of it," Elisabeth replies with a laugh. She moves, aborts the movement, and then ffts and completes it to hug him. "Thank you, Richard."

Cardinal curls an arm around her in return, leaning in to press his cheek against her hair as he murmurs, "Merry Christmas, Liz."

As she holds him, Elisabeth buries her face in his shoulder for a long moment, breathing in the scent of him. …heaven to no one else but me… Dismissing the line of the song that passes through her head, she leans up to kiss his cheek gently and then slips — reluctantly — from the hug. "Can you stay a little while, love?" she asks as she goes around the counter to put the veggies she was chopping into the soup pot that's simmering on the stove.

"I was going to sit here and watch old movies until the dinner in the oven was ready to take over to the base," Elisabeth adds, a gentle coaxing in her tone. "I could get you a beer and we could share a bowl of popcorn."

A kiss is pressed briefly against her hair, Cardinal's breath drawn in and then exhaled through her locks in a stir throught he locks. As she leans back, he does as well, fingers brushing over her back and then falling away. "Yeah, I'm not going anywhere in a hurry," he replies, offering her a faint smile, "Sounds like a good plan. I already had the morning with Kaylee and Val…"

He snorts, "Eddie left us a present."

"Lord…. do I dare even ask," Elisabeth queries drily. Dumping the contents of her cutting board in and adjusting the heat, she covers the soup pot. She tops off her glass from a bottle on the counter and retrieves a beer to hand across the countertop to him and leans there to look at him. "What kind of present?"

"He left his photo album where Valerie could find it," Cardinal says, his gaze dropping to the counter as he leans there and starts working off his gloves. The stain left behind by Peter's hand at his resurrection covering one of his own, leaving it nearly black. It hasn't faded. "Pictures of him, Kaylee's mom, Val's mom, and— some other people."

A photo album? Elisabeth looks intrigued. As much by what he's not saying as what he is. "I'm going to assume that either your parents or you showed up in it as well?" she asks gently. Because he's already told her about the possibilities. Her blue eyes study him thoughtfully. "It didn't have answers for you, though, did it?"

"I don't know." Cardinal's lips purse slightly, gaze lifting up to her, "There were pictures of both of the girls as children or babies, at least. There were two other women pregnant… one of them seemed to be with another guy. He had the same name as my— as the father I was always told I had. David."

Elisabeth tilts her head and says softly, "You don't ever talk about what you do know about your birth parents. How much do you know? And from whom?" Her question is gentle, and she picks up her wine glass to come around the counter and twine her fingers into his hand — the one with the black mark, even, because it doesn't bother her a bit. She tugs gently to get him to come sit on the couch.

"Just what I know from the orphanage…" Cardinal's power-stained fingers curl through hers, pressing warmly against them, although he's not looking at her now. No, he's frowning down at the counter as he considers what he knows, "Father was killed in a drug bust. Mother went into labor during the gunfight, died in childbirth."

His lack of movment simply gives her leave to set her wineglass on the counter near him and then wrap her free arm around his waist, resting her head gently on his shoulder while her other hand remains holding his. "Considering what you've begun to learn…. what do you believe?" she asks softly. It's not something she would have dug into without his permission, but… perhaps it's time to make the offer. "The orphanage, I would assume, only knows what they were told too. And back then records would have been far easier to forge."

"I don't know." Cardinal's head tilts a little to rest against hers, his eyes closing, "I sent out some DNA samples to get them run, so we'll know for sure soon, hopefully. I swear, though, if Edward is just… fucking with me…"

Elisabeth wishes she had the words to reassure him. Most of the time lately she seems to say the wrong ones to him. But she holds him tightly and offers, "I can't tell you he wouldn't. I can only tell you that biology is only a small percentage of a person." She turns her face so that she's nuzzling his hair gently. "I fell in love with you when you were just a two-bit criminal boosting cars, you know," she admits with a half smile. "The personality that you have, the person you are… that's YOU. Not your genetics. Whoever contributed to your biology gave you hair color and eye color and maybe your powers. If Edward's fucking with you, we'll deal with it. And if he's not, we'll deal with that too. I promise," she whispers to him, squeezing gently.

"You lie. I was totally past the boosting cars stage by the time I met you," Cardinal replies with a smirk, turning his head slightly towards her with a push of head against head, his fingers squeezing hers firmly, "I believe I was spending my spare time harassing Logan around then…"

She chuckles softly. "Not entirely true. I do believe I ran you in for something stupid before that," Elisabeth retorts, kissing his temple. "You escaped custody after that one, oddly enough." Totally tongue in cheek. "But okay, fine… the point is that whether Edward Ray is your father or David was…. do you think it makes a big difference? It'll be good to know," she tells him softly. "You deserve to know for sure. But it doesn't change who you are inside."

"No." A close of his eyes once more, and Cardinal exhales a sigh of breath past his lips, "But if does mean the difference between having real family and not. And he'd know— that it'd tempt me."

"Of course it would tempt you. It goes to the heart of every person — to want someone to belong to," Elisabeth says softly. God, if Edward's playing with this man, she will find a way to make Warren make his fucking machine brain fry the bastard. She doesn't know what to do but offer this embrace and her steady affection as comfort. She can only imagine the war of hope and fear that he's got to be dealing with.

"I've never had any family." It's a quiet confession. Of course, she knows that. Cardinal brings a hand up to rub against the side of his face, fingers scratching to the side of his neck, "Kaylee isn't sure how to react either… Val really wants me to be her brother, I think. I'm trying to keep a step away from them in case Edward is just… trying to manipulate me. Brennan should have results in a few days…"

She does know. The sadness and loneliness inherent in that statement eats at Elisabeth's soft heart. She simply kisses him softly one more time. "C'mon. Popcorn. Movies. Relaxation. I know you don't remember what that word means, but I'm about to teach you. And I won't even make you watch "The Bells of St. Mary's," which is a Christmas classic, in favor of inflicting you with "Meet Me in St. Louis,"" she tells him with a smile.

Elisabeth adds with a sigh, "And if you really whine a lot, we'll just watch the whole 6-hour original Star Wars in a marathon run or something."

"You have no taste in Christmas movies," comes Cardinal's accusation, forcing a smile to his lips as he looks to her, a single brow arching upward, "Do you know what a real Christmas movie is? Die Hard. John McClane, now he's the man that really saved Christmas."

"Ooh, I do love a good Die Hard movie," Elisabeth laughs. "So if that's your pleasure, let's watch some shit blow up." She grins at him and says, "You know where the movies are. Go stick it in there." She goes to get the popcorn.

"That's what I miss about the Vanguard," Cardinal complains as he pushes himself up to his feet, turning to head for the DVD collection, "They were bad guys and you could shoot them. They even had enormous super-villain lairs, for Christ's sake."

"No shit," Elisabeth agrees with a faint smile. She heads for the popcorn and pops it into the microwave. In the couple of minutes it takes, she checks the roasts and her soups, glances at the timer on them, and shoves her worries down deep. There are things that need dealing with, but she can't do a goddamn thing about them today. So today is going to be about the things it's supposed to be about… loved ones, family, and Christmas movies. She brings the popcorn bowl and her glass of wine in to sit with him on the couch in her sock feet. "Saw an ad for a movie recently with Bruce Willis in it," she says. "Had Helen Mirren too — best line I've seen in a preview. Looks over her granny glasses and says calmly, 'I kill people, dear.' That's gonna be me when I get old. I'm telling you."

"You'd better live that long," Cardinal replies firmly as he digs out the Die Hard DVD; stepping over and crouching in front of the entertaiinment center to open the box and slide it into the machine, "How's your head, by the way, I was a little worried when you started bleeding all over the damn place last night."

Elisabeth grimaces. "Still hurts. Sorry to scare you," she says as she settles into a cushion. "Ibuprofen's taking most of the edge off." Horse pill doses of it, but at least it's not the narcotics. "By the time I got back from Mass, I couldn't see anything but glare and halos." She pauses and wonders aloud, "Is that what daytime looks like to you?"

"Pretty much." Once the DVD's menu comes on, Cardinal steps back and sprawls onto the couch, giving her a look and asking, "And have you gone to see Constantine yet?"

"I've had time?" Elisabeth retorts mildly. She scoots close to him and leans her head back on the cushion of the couch when he plops in, her glass of wine on the coffee table at her feet and the popcorn bowl settled into her lap. She shares it willingly. "I'll try to go see him after Monday. I have some meetings then that can't be rescheduled." And she refuses to tell him work stuff! Not today. Not about Alia, not about Donovan, not about the fact that she may well be up Shit Creek with no paddle. She slants a small smile at him. "I'm not even sure how to get in touch with him anyway. And I kind of have to be careful about things like this. If they think I'm healing up too fast or something, it could raise red flags."

"Oh, for Christ's sake, it's an injury to your power," replies Cardinal with a roll of his eyes, "And it's been weeks. You recovering at this point should make perfect sense, so get your cute ass out to see Filatov before you have to use your ability again." The remote's pointed at the television, and then he pauses at the sight of Bruce Willis on the opening menu scene.

"Huh. I never noticed this before," he muses, "But Willis looks an awful lot like Donovan, doesn't he?"

"Actually, lover, it's an injury to my already brain-damaged brain that is causing the problem," Elisabeth corrects gently. "When I blew it out, I fried synapses or something. Slagged my throat again. Slagged my immune system with it. And I can't exactly go to a fuckin' healer on Staten Island, which is the last place I knew that guy was working, without a whole lot of people like Heller paying attention." She grins a bit. "I'll go when I think it's safe to. Promise." And then she stares at the screen. "Huh….. knew he was a hottie," she murmurs with a cheeky grin.

"He made a house call to Redbird recently," Cardinal says with a slight shake of his head, "I'll leave his contact information with you when I leave…" A look to the television, and he smirks, "Uh huh." Click. And the movie rolls.

Actually, that bit of intel makes Elisabeth a little more alarmed. "Okay," Elisabeth murmurs meekly. "I'll call him." She forces a grin, though, and then lays her head sideways on his shoulder. Just what the doctor ordered — a bunch of explosions, a smart-ass, and Bruce Willis.

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