Can We Walk This Line Together?


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Can We Walk This Line Together?
Synopsis Being on the same page is important.
Date June 29, 2010

Elisabeth's (Cardinal's) Apartment, Dorchester Towers

She wasn't in the apartment when he returned from Arizona or whatever it was he was doing out of town. There was glass all over the place, though a good bit of it — at least all the floor glass — had actually been cleaned up into garbage bags. The note she left simply said, "Rough night. Will catch up with you when you get back." But she wasn't at the apartment that night, and most likely he's not expecting her to be there now either. It's the middle of the day and all hell broke loose in Battery Park barely more than an hour ago now.

In spite of that, Elisabeth is in fact here. She's got every light in the apartment on in spite of the fact that it's still full daylight. And she's apparently just finished mopping the kitchen floor — perhaps to be sure no slivers of glass remain. The half-full bottle of Scotch is not half full anymore — it's more like a quarter, and she takes a long swallow from the glass in her hand, eyeing her handiwork.

The door's lock clicks over, and it's pushed open. Cardinal uses the door for once, perhaps surprisingly, looking tired and generally worn down as he pushes the door closed behind him. As the lights hit him, he pauses, squinting behind his glasses and calling out, "Liz? You home?"

If the lights weren't enough to give that away, the stereo playing probably is. The sound hits him, though, only as he gets about four feet inside the door. It is apparently turned up as loud as it will go and she's got a silence bubble up. Once he passes the barrier, lyrics of the revamped version of "Major Tom (Coming Home)" is literally blasting through the apartment. His voice carries, barely, to the audiokinetic swallowing a mouthful of alcohol.

She turns toward the front door, her eyes taking in his features. And the glasses he's still wearing. Liz picks up the remote control and silence abruptly reigns in the apartment. "Go ahead and turn the lights down if you want," she tells him tightly. The tension hasn't quite drained away, but it's getting a little better.

"You look like you're in a good mood…" A quiet observation from Cardinal as he moves to enter into the apartment, turning a few of the lights off in the process; stopping to drop a few boxes off on the breakfast bar, he heads along over to where she's standing, his brow furrowing in a few lines of consternation. "What happened?"

The empty glass takes its place on the counter, and she doesn't move as he approaches. Elisabeth's tone is … neutral. Almost dead in intonation because it's the only way she's keeping from screaming and breaking things. "Battery Park got hit," she says quietly. "Humanis First. Fuckers killed … I don't even know how many people. Goddamned bomb."

"I know." Cardinal's voice is tired, flat, as he steps in beside her — reaching an arm to wrap around her shoulder, his head falling down to rest against the side of hers as he murmurs, "I was there. Checking out some possible buildings for rent."

She drops her head so they're leaning together, but alarm makes her frame tremble. "You're all right?" she asks softly.

"I'm fine," he says quietly, "I wasn't corporeal. I was right next to the fucking… ice cream stand. I didn't see it in time. Fucking — a fucking suicide bomber. They were using nailbombs."

Elisabeth simply nods slightly. "Yeah. It's all over the news," she replies wearily. "Talked to Felix the other day…. thinking we ought to just have Niki put a bullet in Danko's brain. But I doubt it would have stopped this. Unless it's his cell again." Her tone has a sense of defeat to it, and she turns in his embrace without lifting her head from his. Her arms come up to wrap around his waist and she curls into the curve of his body. She wants to ask how many people. And she just can't even frame the words. Clearly he's pretty much reacting to it as badly as she is.

Cardinal's eyes close as he leans in against her, murmuring quietly, "I should have… followed them back to their cell and found out who was in charge, what their organization was. I couldn't— think straight, I wasn't thinking straight…"

Holding him tightly, he can feel it when she realizes what he's saying. And instead of drawing away, Elisabeth holds him closer, whispering in his ear, "It's okay." Because he needs to hear it, and because … it is. They deserved whatever they got. Even if the opportunity to track them was lost.

"I lost the chance to stop them next time, though," Cardinal replies tightly, his arms curling more fully around her as he murmurs quietly, "Sometimes I wonder why we're even trying to protect them."

Elisabeth melds her body to the front of him, her arms securely around his waist, her hands cradling his back. The answer to that … is simple. "Because it has to be done," she whispers. "Someday, Richard… someday it will mean something." Even if right now it seems like getting the more militant Evos they know and mowing down all the asinine humans they know is a better idea.

Cardinal grunts quietly. "Maybe I should've let Munin go. Just wipe it all clean and start over…"

And if he really believed that, he wouldn't be the man she fell in love with. Elisabeth turns her face into the curve of his neck and kisses him gently. "Letting all the true innocents die in the process isn't your style," she informs him quietly. Then she pulls back just a bit to look up into his face, meeting his eyes squarely. There is a kind of despair in hers too, but resolution as well. "If it means we put a bullet in their heads one at a time, so be it."

"I'm starting to wonder if there are any innocents left in the world…" A weary sigh spills past Cardinal's lips, and he rests his forehead against hers, eyes closing after a moment's resigned look to hers, "…you know the most fucked up thing?"

"What?" Elisabeth asks quietly, simply being there for him.

"The only part that bothers me was that I didn't follow them back to their cell," Cardinal says with a grimace, "Not that I actually shot them."

Blue eyes flicker up to his face. She rubs the end of her nose against his lightly. She doesn't often let it show, but there is a slow-burning, soul-deep kind of rage in her belly against Humanis First as an organization. In general she keeps it on a very tight leash, but between the nightmares cropping up suddenly in the wake of talking to Felix and this attack so close on its heels? Her reaction is visceral, her voice hard and absolutely ice cold in her rage. "Good."

Those dark eyes open again, and his lips twitch in a wry little half-smile. "Yeah, yeah, I know how you feel about them… you're right, too. Anybody who'd do something like that's not even fuckin' human. They're just…" A bump of nose to nose, "Vermin."

Elisabeth is glad they're on the same page. "They kill kids," she whispers. Some of whom she gave them — a stain on her soul that she cannot ever erase in spite of other people's assurances that it wasn't her fault. It makes them lower than vermin. Amoebas on fleas on vermin, maybe. The brief flash of irreverence sends a flicker — barely an instant — of something that's not rage through her gaze. Dark humor. "If you need to work off the adrenaline rush, I've got the time." Because we all know what post-combat adrenaline can do.

Cardinal's smirk widens at her latter words, and he leans down to taste her lips in a soft kiss. "Sounds like a plan," he murmurs huskily, "There's more important things to do than obsess over those fucking bastards anyway…"

Sure there are… and if Elisabeth really believed it, maybe she wouldn't be breaking glass throughout the apartment. There isn't a mirror to be seen in the place; she hasn't replaced them yet. But she returns that kiss with a heat designed to shut him up and take both of their minds off death and destruction.

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