Castling The King


bones_icon.gif cardinal3_icon.gif claire2_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Castling The King
Synopsis Cardinal finally returns to the library haven.
Date Feb 15, 2010

New York Public Library

She's back in town fulltime now.Anyone watching her right now might think the blonde has lost her mind. Elisabeth is murmuring softly to herself all the way across the courtyard outside and up the library stairs.

"I've got orders to live fulltime at the base, some old textile factory, but I'm not giving up the apartment. So that's pretty much open to you and I'll be there at least three nights a week. I may be able to negotiate to stay off-base with a beeper once things settle, I don't know." There's a bit of a sigh. "Right now, I'm more concerned about this CIA agent and the intel Francois brought in. If Dreyfus is looking for revenge and he's the one who hit the waitress at Old Lucy's…." She bites her lip. "A lot of people could be at risk in this. Not to mention it's just plain creepy that Kozlow has an obsession for Abby." And the intel from the Ferry, which she hasn't told him yet — she only wants to go through it once.

When she steps into the library proper, Liz falls silent, sending a text ahead to let Claire know she's incoming, though not why. Merely tells the younger woman to round up whoever's in the library and meet her in the map room. While she waits, she murmurs softly, "Let me fill Claire in on what's going down before we drop the bomb on her, okay?"

"Alright." Alright… A whisper behind Elisabeth's ear to answer her words.

Bundled up against the elements, the cold having leeched in everywhere, but downstairs since Bone like rigged up some mattresses to help that, Claire tugs a cap lower on her head to cover the tips of her ears. The laptop Rebel gave her is clutched to her chest, never knowing when she might need it, when she pops her head in the records room, "Peyton.. Liz needs us up in the map room."

A jerk of her head, Claire moves to wait from the other woman just outside the door, so they can move topside together.

Likewise bundled in her coat, Peyton is working, as ever, on filing. "Coming!" Following Claire in to the map room, Peyton gives Liz a bright smile, clearly happy to see the woman even if she is now working for one of the organizations that Cat had first warned the clairvoyant about, when Peyton had been at the Verb. In one hand, Peyton holds a clipboard of her cross-referencing notes that she didn't set down, and in the other a cup of coffee — on the whole, looking rather businesslike and industrious for a former social butterfly and club girl.

"Hey, Liz!" she says cheerfully, clearly not aware of all the gloom and doom that occupies the other's mind.

"Hey guys," Elisabeth greets Claire and Peyton as they arrive, her smile faint but present. "I'm… pretty damn near boiling over with information here, so if there's anything you want to tell me, do it now before I get started." She's trying not to simply launch into this, observing at least a few of the social niceties. "You guys holding up okay?"

Moving to drop into a chair, Claire leans to the side, head dipping below the level of the table, blonde hair brushing the floor. "Ha!.. knew it…" Her head comes up just above the flat surface as she reaches under the table, followed by the sound of tape ripping. The young regenerator brings a Twix bar out from under the table, strips of duct tape clinging to the wrapping. "I swear.. no matter where I look. He's like a huge mutant squirrel tucking away nuts for winter." Course, only the woman in the building would know who she is talking about.

Leaning back in the chair, she brings her booted feet to rest on the top of the table, crossing the ankles. Claire shows no shame opening that candy bar, "I can't think of anything. Nothing new on the Rebel front.." The laptop motioned at, I've been thinking about hunting down West.. or Knox again. But… been a bit hesitant to do something yet." She take a bite of one of the bars, offering the other to Peyton.

The brunette just arches a brow at the bar, having seen the giant do the same thing at some point and just shakes her head at Claire with bemusement in her eyes. Her dark eyes then return to Liz. "Danko's still in rehab and not behaving himself from the looks of things. Don't worry," she adds, raising a hand lest she be lectured for overusing her ability. "I only check in once a day to make sure nothing's changed, in case the surveillance folks miss something." She sets down the clipboard and takes a seat on the edge of the table. "That's about all I've got to report."

Uncertain as to how she was going to present things, Elisabeth has been rehearsing in her head for a long while. But in the end, none of the rehearsing is doing her a damn bit of good. "All right…. then there are several things on the table. First and foremost — none of you go anywhere alone. Take Bones or Mack or each other. And keep your eyes peeled. Kozlow is most likely not the only Russian Vanguard member on the loose in Manhattan — Carlisle Dreyfus is also likely in town and likely gunning for the friends or family of people related to those of us who were there. And from what we can gather, he's not just gunning for obvious targets — you guys are targets as far as I'm concerned…. because I killed the man's son. It's a long story," she says with a grimace. There is regret in her expression, but her tone is all business.

Elisabeth nods to Peyton's intel and replies, "I may have someone hit Danko's apartment to see what they can dig up, I'm still deciding on that. Second,… the thing on the bridge last night? Was, from what I can gather, a Ferry hit." Now there's anger in Elisabeth's expression. "Apparently the woman that I was seeing as a therapist after being held decided that kidnapping people and experimenting on them with a combination of Refrain and God only knows what else was going to be a good plan. Word came down through the Ferry last night that they'd recovered a bunch of people… including Colette Nichols and Joseph Sumter." That was the part she hadn't told the shadow hiding near her yet. "They're in a Ferry safehouse, hopefully being detoxed." <more>

And there's a pause there for a moment, Elisabeth looking between the two of them. "And third….. brace yourselves ladies. Claire already knows because she was here when I got the message, but Peyton…. Richard is still alive. He's just…. got some issues. He's… sort of stuck. In shadow form. And it's taking a lot of energy to interact, so…. take it easy on him. But he wants to have a strategy session." May as well hit them all at once. She's not much for subtlety around here.

"I can introduce myself, you know…" You know… A whispering echo of voice, almost like a hiss of white noise that manages to form words, subtly twisted into another tone for its echo.

A tattered shadow spreads itself up the wall, more translucent in some spots than in others, like a fine if irregular lace or wet tissue spread across the surface of a light. "As it turns out… eating a nuclear bomb causes indigestion…" …gestion… "Hello, girls."

Pausing mid bite, Claire glances over at the shadow on the wall. Boots slide off the table and she sits up in the chair, she can't help but stare for a long moment. Then her expression softens some and small smile tugs at the corner of her lips. "Welcome back from the dead, Richard."

Her head turns slightly as she regards Liz for a moment, "Almost wish Bones wasn't working, since he's the new guy." There is a small sigh as she settles back against the chair back again. "Magnes mentioned something day before last about a raid.. I guess he was taken along to take out the Refrain. He wanted to tell me… somethings in case he didn't survive." Her tone turns a touch bland.

"Even in the … rest of the city?" Peyton asks, regarding not going anywhere by herself — she can't imagine bringing Bones or Mack around with her as she shops in Prada, not that she does a lot of that lately! Also there's a faint shiver, as she was by herself at the Chinatown gathering yesterday — how easy would it be for someone to go unnoticed in a large crowd to stalk her? "Colette?" Peyton says with a frown — she knows the Ferry teen through some of the work she's done. "Shit. Are they all right?"

But then all of that is forgotten as Liz tells them Cardinal is alive. A small part of her still held onto the hope that he was — Tamara's words that they would all return echoing in her mind this past month — even when she knew it was foolish to hold onto the sliver of hope, that the braver and more practical thing to do would be to move on. But Peyton has never been someone ruled by her mind, and in this case, her heart was right when her mind was not.

She stares at the shadow, teeth catching her lower lip, perhaps to keep from crying. She's always crying! But she doesn't this time. She smiles, though it's a worried one, worried for the half-life that Cardinal is caught in. "Welcome home," she manages, a whisper as well.

Slanting an amused look over her shoulder at the shadow who creeps up the wall behind her, Elisabeth comments tartly, "And if I didn't tell 'em you were who you claim to be, love, they'd be looking for halogen spotlights to banish your shady behind. Claire'd be all pumping the shotgun and shit. The girls and I have pulled together and become something of a unit since you decided to go burping up radioactive material." Teasing him is the only way she can really cope. Keep it normal, keep it simple.

Liz moves now to perch her behind on the edge of the desk that Claire's using. She slants the blonde a Look at the mention of Magnes, but turns her attention to more important matters. "I don't know how bad off they are — I just know they'll be detoxing for a while. I'm trying to go through channels to get a better handle on it. I don't…. often get too close to the Ferry network itself these days." Once more that flash of guilt. She can't help it, though she keeps it buried.

"It's good to be home." Home. "And it's good to see you both…" The words spoken scatter the shadow further, spreading like a Jackson Pollock painting across the wall, the pauses and echoes in his speech allowing Cardinal the time he seems to need to draw himself back together once more without splitting into discernable tatters of shadowy matter.

"Do you know her, Peyton? Colette, I mean…" Mean…

Peyton's brows furrow as she watches the shadow scatter — it's hard to watch, and hard to register that the splintering shadows are indeed Cardinal. She nods. "I … I've heard of Joseph but I don't think I've met him, but I know Colette. I can try to find out more, if it's easier on Liz…" She glances at Liz, seeing the guilty expression on the woman's face. "Cat seems to like me. She's visited me a couple of times, and she … she helped me fight off the Oneiromancer." She doesn't like the term Nightmare Man, it makes him sound like some Bogey Man in a child's dream.

"You can find out how she's doing, but… I want us specifically aware of as few safehouses as possible. If something happens, if we get outed…. compartmentalized knowledge of their network could save their lives," Elisabeth says softly. "Beach Street was my fault. I want to do everything I can to minimize any additional threat to them through us."

"I keep telling you, Elisabeth, you can't blame yourself for that…" It's said more clearly, more sharply, and the shadows splinter further — silence falls for a few seconds as Cardinal gathers himself once more, the mottled darkness shifting thicker again.

"Alright… Peyton, keep contact with the Ferry, then. If you already have contacts with them, you'll make a good liaison… I need you to make contact with Colette, make sure she's all right… and bring her in, when you can. I need her…" Need her… "Her sister's highly placed in Linderman's organization. If we can convince her to help turn her sister…"

content just to sit and listen for the time being, Claire works on fishing off the candy while watching the shadow on the wall, worry plain on her features. Personally, she's happy to let others deal with the Ferrymen. Dealing with the organization alerts her father to what she is doing…. she's not ready to deal with him yet.

"I'll … try. I mean, I don't know her that well, and if she's hurt or strung out, I'm not sure they'll tell me where she is to see her, being that I'm not really Ferry. But I'll get a message through somehow," Peyton replies, pulling out her cell phone to look through the contacts, apparently deciding which is the best route to go through.

"Considering what just happened to Colette at the hands of a Company shrink, it's possible that her sister will be more open to the argument all the way around," Elisabeth says. "Though she's still pretty tied to the Company and her position as Jennifer Chesterfield's assistant could also be useful. That may be compromised when she gets word of all this." Regardless of Richard's take on her guilt or lack thereof, the blonde feels it. "Alia and Lola are both putting some feelers out to follow the money — see where Linderman is donating, see what shell companies he's using." She glances toward the shadow. "And I have her tracing Zarek's money too. We'll see where we can assist and/or put pressure to help out there. I'm not honestly sure where to go from there. Nothing in Ray's string map pretty much goes beyond this point."

"…the experiments were being carried out by the Company?" A rush of anger in the shadow's voice, Cardinal's ephemeral flesh splintering in cracked and spreading shards across the wall before he pulls himself together, falling silent again…

Then more quietly he whispers, "…this..could work in our favor, yes. Don't broach the subject with her yet, Peyton, but get closer to her. Once she's well, bring her here. We can use our files to convince her. Liz—get me the file on this shrink you're talking about. I'm sure Catherine has one."

"Card," Peyton says in a soft, warning voice to the shadow as it splinters and fragments across the wall, flinching as if it hurts her to see it. "Careful…" but then she nods at his words. "Okay. I think she likes me okay, so that should work all right. I'll bring her Ben and Jerry's and DVDs and try to help her recuperate, if the people wherever she is let me in."

"I'm all right." All right… A lie, whispered from the shadows, before Cardinal adds, "I need you to… check into Shard's people on Staten, too, if you have the time. Find out what they've been up to, who's in charge, if they're even still working there. I aim to take that island as ours, but it's a long game we're playing here…" …here…

A stir of silent shadows, "…Liz said that you've had contact with Rebel, Red?" Red being Claire, of course, for whatever reason he calls her that. She's no red-head!

There is a slow, firm nod of Claire's head, "Yeah.. Made enough net noise and he sent some old…. friends to talk to me." Leaning forward she taps a finger on the laptop. "Gave a gift too." A glance goes too, Liz, before she continues. "Seems Rebel is gathering an Army…. They are not calling themselves PARIAH outright… but everything else screams a resurrection of the old group, new members seem to be those left from White's posse." There is a bit more hesitation here, "They wanted us to join them since you died.." A small smile touching her lips, "Rebel told them all about what was going on it seems while we were out there, but wouldn't let them go fight Vanguard.. they were kinda unhappy about it… so.. obviously Rebel is in the know."

"I don't want to go back to PARIAH.. but I don't want to turn my back to them… mostly cause it could mean doing the same to Rebel.. and since we're in uncharted territory I think we need him." Claire watches the shadow as if she could get any reaction. "I'm thinking about minimal involvement at least on my part.. as long as they don't go back to the old way of things."

There's a glance at Cardinal when the shadow finally realizes what she said — that the shrink was Company. It was Elisabeth's own shrink, too. The blonde figures if he has more to say on it, she'll hear about it later. Assuming he's not too fractured to remember. "I've already okayed Claire to keep tabs on the PARIAH folks. So long as they're not back to their old ways and they're following Rebel, I'm fine with being loosely associated. But I told you the other night… once they make a move that's PARIAH-like, Mack's going to walk. And I'm unwilling to commit to those actions yet." She shoves a hand through her hair. She's actually glad the brains of the operation is back in action, but she can tell there's going to be a little pushmepullyou going on with instructions. ANd it'll be something she and Richard have to work out.

Peyton's eyes turn from the shadows to Claire to Liz in turn. She's out of her element with the PARIAH stuff — willing to follow Liz and Cardinal's lead on it. "Staten's mostly evacuating due to FRONTLINE coming in," she says to Cardinal. "Shard's group's dissipated. Some of the more costly and more dangerous drugs and such, we got out of there, but left the basics — bandages and Tylenol and stuff, I'm sure they're mostly looted by now. The other supplies are downstairs."

"At least something was recovered, then… thank you, Peyton…" Peyton… As she excuses herself to go make a phone call, presumably regarding Colette, the tattered shadow falls silent for a few moments, considering perhaps Claire's and Elisabeth's words before commenting on them.

"Good call. We at least need to keep tabs on them… eventually, we're going to need them. Eventually, there'll be blood." There's always blood in the end… The whispered echo twisting at the edges of Cardinal's splintered shadow, before he continues, "Right now, what we need to do is spread out and keep in contact with everyone, gather resources and people… which it seems you've done a wonderful job of beginning, Elisabeth."

There is a small bobbing of her head as she listens. "Shouldn't be too hard to contact West and Knox." She murmurs, "Bones doesn't like it, but I can count on him having my back." her head turns a bit, to give Liz a glance out of the corner of her eye. "She's done a pretty damn good job keeping us together.. period."

"Yeah, well… it's kind of what I do, isn't it?" Elisabeth asks quietly. "It's why Kershner wanted me — she can say whatever she wants about my stellar control of my ability, but what she really wants is the contacts and credibility I may be able to provide at street level." She looks toward the ceiling, going mentally back over the other things that need dealing with. "I'm so goddamn bone tired this week, I can't remember what else we're working on. Claire?" She looks at the other blonde, and then says, "OH! Yeah, and I put Lola on getting some feelers out for Refrain and who's distributing and who's supplying. Told her to work with Jack. At this point, with the 40,000 units that I know Cat was heading out to destroy — which may have also been part of the bridge thing last night, I need to verify — we still need to know who besides Logan has drugs running through. Lola acted like she had some information, but she wasn't willing to tell me."

"I knew she would," Cardinal says to Claire's words of support, quiet and proud confidence there.

"Lola? Good, good… and Jack makes a good partner with her…" With her… A thoughtful pause, "…who's producing it, though, is the question. Someone's going to need to speak with the Fat Man."

There is a small shake of her head as Claire tries to think of everything going on.. Her attention has pretty much been focused on her Rebel stuff. She crumples the candy wrapper up, and tosses it on the table, again propping her feet up on the table. "Yeah.. Lola.. that is…. she's interesting."

"Well, we could have a bit of a problem there. The Company — or at least Vee — has been investigating Jack. Trying to determine if he's still a threat. I don't know what move they may make on the matter. But Vee's also looking into the names you gave her," Elisabeth tells the shadow. "So far, Lola hasn't turned up anything that I've felt was remotely useful." She smirks at Claire. "I told you she was a character. Personally, I think Cardinal tapped that and hiding her from Lindergoons is his way of saying thanks," she comments with a cheeky grin. "Who the hell is Fat Man?"

"Fat Man was the name of one of the bombs we dropped on Japan to end the second World War." Bones says as he walks in, munch on a large bucket of popcorn. God knows where he got it. He raises his brows as he smiles his usual humored smile about. "So what are we about today kids and-" he catches sight of the shadow and raises a brow. "Whoa… flashbacks to Peter Pan." he blinks for a moment and then continues eating his popcorn. "Huh."

"I did not 'tap that'…" A protest from the splintered shadows, spread across one wall like some mad shadow lantern whirled and then stopped suddenly at an oblique angle, a voice of torn whispers and twisted echoes that fade off as someone else enters, "…ah. This must be Bones." Bones…

"Eww?" Claire says simply in response to tapping that.. especially in relation to Lola. "Thank god you didn't.. I was going to start working about you, Richard." A pained look is sent to the shadow on the wall.

Of course, couldn't be a better time for Bones to show up. The blonde leans forward to snatch the wrapper off the table guiltily and tucks it in her pocket. "Hey Bones… " She greets with a smirk.

"Meet the boss…" Her head jerks at the wall. "Seems he's not quite dead." Course, she's known this for awhile… but hey.

Elisabeth laughs at the disgruntlement in the protest. With her hips leaned on the edge of the desk, the blonde turns to look toward Bones and looks (for the first time since the man has met her) relaxed and something approaching happy. If tired. "We don't at the moment have a body to sew his shadow back onto, though," she replies. "Bones, the shade of Richard Cardinal. Richard… Bones." She pauses and admits, "He's never bothered to tell me his real name, I don't think."

Catching the flash of the wrapper, Bones narrows his eyes a little at Claire before he glances at the shadow one more time and draws himself a little closer. "Hi. Nice to meet you, Richard. Sorta. And it's just Bones. Even my mother calls me Bones because she feels bad for naming me what she did." he tilts his head to the side and frowns in thought for a moment before he shakes a finger at the shadow. "You know, you're a real bastard for worrying these two ladies like you did. Don't they have phones in 'shadow land'? Damn."

A hollow, toneless chuckle stirs from the shadow, its broken pieces quivering with those vibrations of voice, Cardinal's tattered self drawing back together as best he can afterwards - the effort of speaking clearly taking some attention away from him holding himself together. "I'm afraid that I'm lacking in… hands at the moment." Hands…

"It was a very long walk back from Antarctica, especially with this lethal case of indigestion. A pleasure to finally meet you." You.

This is Claire being innocent, when Bones narrows his eyes at her, she tries to appear totally guiltless, eyes widening slightly, even if she did raid one of his stashes. "He let us know when he could." Claire defends the tattered shadow on the wall. "No small feat that he did… so I think he can be forgiven taking so long."

Elisabeth simply stays out of matters between the men with the mild comment, "You should be glad that he's not been around to watch the foreplay." And then she turns to the other business at hand. "Kershner cut us loose a couple weeks early due to … I don't know, a rousing success in our team-building exercises. But one thing you do need to know is that Diego Smith — the guy who ran Stillwater? — he's also on the FRONTLINE team with me. I can't remember which of you I told, so I'll mention it now. He used to be Phoenix, but he's been out of the loop for months."

It is definitely Bones' turn to play innocent with his eyes widening slightly and gives Elisabeth a questioning look before he glances back at the shadow. "I'd shake, but I guess that will just have to wait until there is a way to, you know, thing with stuff…" he rambles a bit and then just waves the conversation of. "FRONTLINE is that military thing you are a part of now, right? What was Stillwater?" he definitely needs a little bringing up to speed. "Or should I just go and rummage through some comic books?"

"That was before my time… that's very good news, though…" Good news… The shadow's torn, splintered lacing spreads further over the wall, then draws back together as if stretching to relief tension, and Cardinal allows, "…eventually, we're going to need to sway them to our side, but hopefully that won't be anytime soon. Another firebird in there can't hurt…" Hurt.

A pause, then the shadow explains, "The Fat Man - Doctor Cong. He was a Flying Dragon, once, before the whole house of cards came tumbling down, and I believe he was behind their success with Refrain."

Glancing at Bones, Elisabeth waggles her foot where it's crossed over her ankle. Her expression is thoughtful. "Stillwater was Smith's security company — his specialty, assuming I remember correctly, was security systems and maybe personal security? I'll double check. As I said, he's been out of the loop a while, but…. his tendencies might be to back us up if we need it."

Liz considers. "Doctor Cong, huh? I'm not sure he's actually the success. Considering what they found in Madagascar, Richard, I have some serious concerns that the person making and supplying could very well be highly placed in government circles. Perhaps a Pinehearst front company. It might be a good idea to put Alia on seeing if she can trace shell companies tied to Arthur in addition to the rest of her tasks."

Nodding his understanding, Bones draws up a seat and simply listens for now, continuing to munch away at his popcorn. He notes the irony that this all would make for a good movie or tv show and he is eating popcorn which causes his natural smirk to tug at his lips.

"After Monroe handed over the drugs to the Dragons, I believe he was handling it… but since their back was broken, I doubt he is any more. It could be a government operation," admits Cardinal darkly, "Do you know if this… raid had any success capturing records from the shrink?" Bitch…

"No, I don't," Elisabeth admits. "The information I have is sketchy at best. Peyton should have more, but I'll put a call in to Cat as well to see about that question." She grimaces a little. "Christ….. this woman is the one who was dealing with my PTSD, Richard. I'd really like to retrieve my OWN records from her. And since I seriously doubt the Cowboy was in on this, I wouldn't mind siccing HIM on the matter too. But he just got married this past weekend." She winces. "I, uhm…. I didn't go because he married the mother of one of the 35. I kind of thought my presence might mar the day, you know?" She's the one who did a lot of notifications.

"The Cowboy? Got married?" Him? A surprised twist of voice and whispered echo from Cardinal, "Well, I didn't see that coming… perhaps Veronica?"

Climbing to her feet, Claire scoops up the laptop. " Hey, while you all discuss that stuff.. I'm going to go see if I can get started on tracking down my old flame and Knox… and schedule a sit down." She glances at Bone and arches a brow. "Still up for going with me when I do this?" She glances at the shadow on the wall. "I think I need to alert Peter to the PARIAH stuff as well.. More then likely, he'll tell me to stay away, but since he was a member, he deserves to know."

"I admit to being a good bit leery about making Company contacts aware that I know who just raided Bella Sheridan until I find out more information on whether, for example, Sheridan's been actually outed," Elisabeth says. "But yeah… Denton got married. All right, Claire, get to it." She nods to the other blonde, and then looks at Bones. "You still game for this kinda stuff? So far, we're just kind of marking time, but I have a feeling it's not going to be that way for long."

"Peter…" Petrelli… Kazimir… There's a lingering pause from the shadow as those echoes stir from Cardinal and he tries to sort him out, and then he allows carefully, "…I'll speak with Peter myself." Myself. "He owes me."

Bones stands up and nods to Claire. "Yeah, I got your back. Of course." he says, apparently intent to follow her but then he glances back towards Elisabeth and gives her a look as though she were being silly. "Don't be absurd. I've lied my ass off to my bosses over you guys I might as well jump down the rabbit hole. Besides. I got a hell of a bungie chord and I enjoy the ride. Hell, this is much better than shoving myself through nooks and crannies in my free time." he flashes a winning grin and gives a wink. "Saddle up. Lock and load."

"If… your sure, Richard." Claire hesitates at the door, only glancing at Bones when he moves to follow, a small smile going to the tall man. It falls as she glances passed him to the shadow. "Alright.. I'll leave Peter to you then." She almost seems to hesitate, but then nods gives a wave of her hand and heads for the door. "I'm sure we'll talk again later, Boss." It feels good to be able to say that again to him.

Elisabeth nods to the both of them, offering merely a quick grin at Bones's assertion. "G'wan with ya, Alice." When they've left, she glances toward the shadow on the wall. "Well, lover…. what do you think of him?"

"If you can get in touch with Rebel… get everything you can on Linderman. Particularly hard evidence, particularly of what your— of what Nathan did to seize power." Father…

Then they're gone, and Cardinal's shadow bleeds off the wall; spilling across the floor like spattered ink as he curls about her ankles and feet, "He seems reliable. Claire likes him…"

The soft laugh that accompanies his movements is easy. "Ya think?" Elisabeth grins toward the door. "It's very cute. I have to admit, I've already given both Bones and Alia the hard line. If they hurt some of ours, they get taken down. Both seem to get the picture." There's a flash of something cold and immeasurably hard in those blue eyes for just a moment. "So far, I like them both, though. Haven't seen much of her." She pauses. "You going to stick here or come back with me?"

"I'll stay here. I… need to rest," Cardinal admits, his voice quiet, "This isn't easy, holding on like this."

Sliding off the desk, uncaring of whether Claire or Bones come back in the room, Elisabeth sinks to the floor on her knees. "I know," she whispers softly. Her hand slides through the intangible shadow around her and her smile is sad. "Richard…. " She bites her lip. "If it gets… too hard. If we can't find anyone to help you and it gets…. to the point that you really need to… not fight anymore…." She's been worrying about it since he got back in this state; worrying that she will not be able to find anyone who has someone who can help. That somehow this will wear him down or he'll weaken further. "Just…. tell me, okay? I need… a little time to gird myself this time."

"I survived a nuclear bomb, damn it…" Munin… "I am not dying now." A sharp, angry hiss from the scattered shadows that are Richard Cardinal, coiling about her hand and forearm like shredded lace, "We can rest when we're done."

There's a soft laugh. "There's that mantra again. Tahiti, I tell you. And maybe even seriously sparkly jewelry when all this is over, mister." Elisabeth can't feel him, but she runs her hand through the shadow as if stroking a cat. She sits there for a long time, and when she finally moves to gain her feet, hiding the sheen of tears and her worry behind a calm face, she says quietly, "I have to check in at the base. I'll be back as soon as I can, love." And then she's gone.

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