Dance With Me


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Dance With Me
Synopsis There are no happily ever afters… but there are moments of light in every war.
Date October 15, 2011

Harmony's Hideaway Apartment

Harmony is getting an evening out, all to herself. Elisabeth tries to make sure the other woman does it once a week – it’s only a couple of hours, but she knows how tired Harm is, and it’s important. So… being as this is the first night that the children’s father is actually around, he of course gets roped into the duty as well. The kids were sleeping when they arrived – they’re only a month old, they sleep most of the time. So Liz checked on them, left Richard standing there staring at them because… well, that’s to be expected, and brings back a beer and a mug of coffee. She offers him the beer, her smile on him gentle.

“They’re not going to vanish when you aren’t looking,” the blonde tells him, amusement clear in her tone. “Trust me. You’ll know when they’re awake too — They are both incredible loud when they want to be.”

"To be fair, you don't know if either of them inherited my ability," is Richard's wry observation as he looks back from the crib, a smile twitching up at the corner of his lips and one hand reaching out to accept the beer, "They might vanish when I'm not looking. You don't know."

Fortunately, usually abilities don't express quite this young.

He looks back down to them, then, twisting the cap off the beer with a pop of sound, "Just… look at 'em."

Elisabeth laughs at him. “Well, I suppose there is that,” she concedes. “One of them might disappear. They haven’t yet, though.” Pulling in a slow breath, she leans on the door frame with him and confesses, “I do. Every time I come here and do this, I sit here and watch them almost the whole time she’s gone.” She sips her coffee and gestures. “He seems to dream more than she does. Or maybe he’s just going to talk in his sleep,” she tells him. “He squirms and makes faces and looks totally ferocious sometimes. Makes me laugh. Lili’s going to be the one to keep an eye on, though. Even this small… she watches. She’s generally quieter and just… watches everything around her.”

"I've heard her laugh," Cardinal's lips twitch in a bit of a smile, "So she's not quiet all the time…"

He brings the beer up, taking a hearty swig of it and then breathing out a sigh, looking down at the brown glass in his hand. "I don't… I don't want to make his mistakes, Liz. Or Edward's. Or my parents'."

“Then don’t,” Elisabeth tells him softly, as if it’s just that simple. And in some ways, to her it is. “Someone once said, and I don’t know where I heard or read it, that all a child needs is unconditional love, a soft place to land when they make mistakes, and someone to listen. Somewhere along the way? They forgot the most basic premise — that in the end, the only truly important thing for a kid is to know they’re loved.” She looks at him and smiles faintly. “I can’t see you making that mistake now. Not seeing the consequences of it firsthand. You’ll make others, maybe some just as big. But not that one. And I think that one will make all the difference.”

"You know how I grew up. I never really had any of those things," Richard admits, watching the two babies in their crib for a moment longer before looking back to her, "I can't promise I won't… die, or be lost in time, or something. But so long as I don't, I'll do everything I can to be here for them. But I've got to keep fighting to make it a world I want them to live up to." He steps along over towards Elisabeth, reaching his free arm over to slide around her waist, offering her a faint smile, "I forget. Did I ever tell you why I stopped being a crook and went into the whole resistance thing?"

She shifts, leaning into the arm he puts around her, laying her head on his shoulder for a long minute. The babies are pretty darn amazing, after all. And then Liz looks up and grins slightly. “Uhm…. not really, I don’t think. I kinda thought it was because of… what was her name? Isabel’s arrest. But I don’t think I ever really knew.” She wrinkles her nose. “Boy, you were pretty pissed at me over that.”

"Nah." Cardinal shakes his head slightly, "I was pissed about that, but no, that wasn't it. It was the thirty-six? Do you remember?" He tilts his head down, brow resting against hers, "Those suicides. Those kids, that were just… they saw what was coming, and didn't want to live with it."

"I listened to that recording they made over and over. I was just… trying to make sense of it."

He takes a deep breath, "Finally I decided that if that was the world we were building, that all these kids would kill themselves over it, I needed to try and change that. To change me, if I had to, so I could change it. And that's… that's what scares me the most, I think. What if, in the end, that's the world we leave for these— for my kids."

The mention of The 36, and Elisabeth’s face goes pale. Resting her forehead against his, she has to swallow hard against a sudden feeling of nausea and the upsurge of humming against his skin is instant. “I remember the 36,” she tells him softly. “They were my case. My partner and I were first on the scene.” The memory of that day is brutal.

She hugs him a little tighter and pulls in a deep breath, deliberately quelling her reaction so as not to wake the twins. She doesn’t say anything for a long moment, and then she murmurs, “I don’t ever want to hear you tell someone you’re not a good man again, Richard.” When she looks up at him, her blue eyes hold telltale traces of tears that she won’t let fall. She’s cried enough over those kids. “My kids at Washington Irving were the reason I started doing all of this.” The Vanguard attack. “And it’s damn hard to work with them. But I’ll do it if it means giving your children a world to live in.”

The hand that's holding Richard's beer fumbles briefly for somewhere to put it down, finally locating a flat surface to do so on, and then lifts up to brush against her cheek; thumb grazing just beneath one blue eye as if to wipe away those tears that won't fall.

"All our kids," he says softly, "We owe them that much, I guess. Even fucking Joshua."

There's a pause of a few long moments.

"Do we have to name him that, though?"

Elisabeth tilts her head up, her cheek turning into the cradle of his hand. And she laughs softly. “Even fucking Joshua, huh?” That thoroughly amuses her. “And no, we do not have to name him that.” Her tone is quiet, very thoughtful as she admits, “When he came to me… I asked him what his name was. No one had told me. And he asked me what names I thought I’d pick. So I told him a couple, and he laughed. He said he had no idea where I got Joshua, and it’s not one that was ever on my radar.”

She shrugs slightly under his hands and her blue eyes search his face, reaching up to take the shades down — it’s dark enough in here it won’t hurt his eyes. “Are you telling me you’d still consider something like that? You have two you weren’t counting on already,” she points out. “Hell, if we survive, I’m terrified we’ll completely fuck all of them up!”

There's a momentary squint of Richard's eyes before they adjust to the light; they're still mostly pupil even in this dim illumination, the hazel just a highlight at the edges. A smile tugs up at the corner of his lips, crooked, though his expression is gentle.

"I mean, it's better than Cameron, I suppose," he jokes, leaning in then to rest his forehead against hers, "And yeah. I didn't plan on the twins, no. I never planned on you, either. Still not sure how that happened, Red Queen."

The tip of his nose brushes hers lightly, "But if you think for one moment that the idea of having a kid with you one day isn't up in my head, Ms. Harrison, you're crazy. I've gotta prove I'm not as big a fuck-up as Zeke, after all."

There’s a snort from her, a rather inelegant sound. “You’ll never be as big a fuck-up as Zeke… so long as you don’t resurrect me.” Elisabeth smiles just a little. “And don’t ever go back in time just to save me. And… love your kids. Wherever they come from.” Her grin gets a little wider. Shifting so that she can tip her head and kiss him softly, she murmurs between soft touches of her lips to his, “I think it happened one crazy night on a rooftop, lover. Not sure when it turned into this, though.”

"I mean, if I can find a safe way of resurrecting you," is Cardinal's only half-joking response, a soft kiss returned, smile gentle, "Not sure. I don't even remember when I first told you that I loved you."

He grins then, barely any distance between lips, "The cop and the crook. Who'd've guessed?"

“Don’t you?” she whispers. “I do… I was sitting Russia and you were here.” He made her cry that night.

Elisabeth closes that minuscule distance between them to indulge in a rather tender kiss, which is not exactly interrupted… but there’s definitely a movement from one of those cribs that makes both of them have to pause and listen, waiting in …. Dread? Anticipation? … for whether one or the other tiny being is going to come all the way awake.

And that, more than anything else, makes her smile against his lips. Teasingly, she murmurs, “I dunno… I kinda like being able to give them back.”

"Oh, shit…" A slight widening of Cardinal's eyes, and then silence a moment as he returns that kiss, those eyes closing for a moment to savor it. Then, that moment's silence, gaze slanting to the cribs — and he chuckles softly, looking back to her. "I remember now. That call. Damn, why are women always so much better at remembering these things? At least I've got you to remind me."

Her laughter is soft. “I remember, I think, because I never expected you to say it,” Liz admits mildly. “I knew that I loved you by then. I think I figured it out just before they grabbed me. But… it terrified me.” She pauses and considers. “And then, of course, I acted like a jealous idiot somewhere in there.” The grin is cheeky.

“Who’d’ve guessed? I’m kinda thinking a few people. Maybe everyone but us, even.” She moves carefully to set the coffee mug she has, miraculously, managed NOT spill down his back over next to the beer bottle. Then both of her arms come up around his neck and she teases, “Didn’t you tell me… there are no happily ever afters? I’m pretty sure that was you.”

"There aren't any happy ever afters," Richard replies, his arms loosely wrapping around her waist and then drawing in to pull her close as he grins down at her, "But there's happy for a little while, at least, and I think it behooves us to try and find that place whenever we can. You know? I mean, I think it's a moral imperative, lest we all turn into Deckard."

“God forbid!” Elisabeth chuckles softly. Her expression isn’t one he has seen very often in the past year or more. She seems peaceful here in this moment. As she strokes her fingertips through the hair at the nape of his neck, she asks softly, “Dance with me?”

A soft laugh answers her request, Cardinal's head dipping in a bit of a nod as he slides one hand up to her shoulder; moving to guide her into a slow dance, a step back to the side, repeat, around in a circle on the floor.

"Dance with me," he sings softly, the words of Johnny Reid of all people, "Don't say a word, just dance with me… let the world outside disappear. Baby, what we got here is all we need… dance with me…"

Some moments remain in the memory for all of your life. As she wraps them in a field that will keep the soft song from waking the babies, Elisabeth rests her forehead lightly against his jaw and lets her feet follow the simple steps, absorbing this moment as one of them.

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