Devils and Angels


cardinal3_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Devils And Angels
Synopsis Cardinal comes to warn Peyton that someone from her past is now possibly endangering her future.
Date March 16, 2010

Upper West Side: Peyton's Apartment

The sun for sorrow will not show his head.

That line from Romeo and Juliet seems fitting as today is the day that Wendy Hunter will be laid to rest in snowy ground. Peyton Whitney bustles about her otherwise empty apartment, getting ready to go to a funeral, though it certainly doesn't look like it from what she's wearing: a bright fuchsia sweater dress and matching boots, for Wendy's family asked that guests not wear the mourning and somber hues of black to grieve a loss, but rather bright colors to celebrate a life. On the sofa is a sunny yellow coat to go over the ensemble.

Coming out of the hallway, hair and makeup (water-proof mascara) done, she glances at the time and finds she has enough for a cup of coffee. She heads to the kitchen, picking up her mug that was left by the sink, to refill it with the hot brew, wanting the warmth before heading out to face the brisk cold.

"Peyton." Peyton…

The whispered, familiar voice stirs behind her as she fills her coffee cup, the fluttering remnants of Richard Cardinal crawling slowly up onto her counter. There's something urgent, insistent to his voice, a quaver that isn't normally there, even these days. "Sorry for bursting in on you, this is… important…" Vital…

She jumps, slightly, spilling the coffee. "Shit." She grabs a rag and mops up the counter. "I'm sorry. You scared me, Cardinal," she says softly, apology in her voice for reacting to him as if he were a ghost or intruder. "It's all right. You're always welcome." It's not like he can knock. Or call for that matter. "What is it?" There is fear in her voice — most people come to see her when someone's missing, kidnapped, presumed dead or otherwise in dire straits. Her face holds the question she doesn't ask — who is it? Elisabeth? Gillian? Who else close to her is in danger, who else she loves is being hurt?

"It's… I should have told you earlier. I should have, but I… wanted to confirm first." To confirm… A moment's silence, the shadow splitting and tendriling out before gathering again, "…I didn't get to, but there's no more time to check into it. I… the man I mentioned, the one who steals age…?" Steals age…?

Eloquent Cardinal stammering like she does? Peyton's brows knit together and she shakes her head. She doesn't understand what it is he's trying to tell her. "I remember. The one I told you not to go chasing. Did something happen?" She had told him it was too dangerous, that he shouldn't be the one to try to make contact with the man, that it wasn't Endgame's job to chase down dangerous people or to offer them help unless they could help Endgame. "Are you okay?" Does he seem weaker? His words seem to fragment him further and more quickly than they have in days past. Or is it just her imagination, here in the bright white tile and stainless-steel kitchen.

The answer to her questions is simple, short, and to the point.

"He's your father." Your father…

The mostly empty mug she still holds slips from her fingers, clattering to the ground. It's not as dramatic as it should be, however. It does not splinter into shards of ceramic but instead just rolls to a stop, the handle broken off. "My … father? I don't understand," she says with a whisper, her dark head shaking, negating the information.

"How … you know I'm adopted, right? I don't know how he could… is this from the future? Is this some message from Edward Ray?"

"I don't either… the guy has photographs, Peyton, going back /years/, photographs of /you/… he begged me not to tell you, didn't want you to… know what a monster he was, he said," whispers Cardinal in a sharp, urgent hiss of breath, "He… could be lying, but why? He really did seem… desperate to protect you. Albert Winslow's his name…" Winslow…

Peyton stares at Cardinal, though if she's angry at him it doesn't show. Her face is pale. "How could he know? The father isn't listed… if he's Faye's … if he was my biological father, he wasn't listed and even Faye didn't know where I went to, who I went to." It doesn't make sense, but then neither does the fact she's having this discussion with a ragged shadow.

"Why?" she asks, finally bending down to pick up the broken mug, moving across the kitchen to toss it in the steel trash can, a heeled boot pressing the button that makes the lid pop open. "Why are you telling me now, when you didn't earlier?"

"I told you, I was trying to confirm, trying to find out if it was true or not… but I didn't have the time!" A hiss from Cardinal, "They're after him, I don't know who - not cops. Spooks, or the Company, they were at his apartment, they found his pictures. You're famous enough in New York, Peyton, they'll figure out who you are…" Who you are…

The implications of the pictures takes a moment to penetrate Peyton's numb shock. She leans back against the counter for support, staring down at the tile beneath her booted feet. "I don't know anything. I don't know him or anything about him. There's nothing I can do to help them," she says, anger and fear creeping into her voice. She finally looks at the shadow again. "I won't go to the library then — if they're watching me… I don't want to lead them to you," she whispers, and tears start to prick her eyes before they glimmer on her lashline, threatening to fall.

As those tears glitter like crystals in her eyes, Cardinal's tattered substance spills up her side, over her arm although since there's no feeling to it… she can't feel him. May not even know. "I.. tried. I tried to get rid of them, tried to… take them, but I… I couldn't. It…" Hurt…

"I just— wanted to warn you, to let you know…" Know…

Hurt? The echo brings her head up and she turns her hand over, as if to hold some bit of him, then folds her fingers into a fist at the inability to do so. She sighs softly, a shuddering thing. "Thank you for telling me. I'll … just try to cooperate and try to get them to keep my name out of any public information. I mean… they have to know I was adopted, that I don't know anything about him. He had … how did he get pictures?" she wonders aloud, before she returns to the other echo, the one that didn't match his words. "It hurt you? I … can you feel in that form? I know you get weak, but I don't … I don't know what happens to you, when you're …" she gestures vaguely. Fill in the blank, with something that describes what happens to him, since she can't do it with her limited vocabulary. "I'm sorry."

"I doubt they know he's your… father, or thinks he is, but they have the pictures. They'll probably assume he was… stalking you." And they might be right, really, depending on how you define that sort of thing. "They might want to protect you. Or stake you out, assuming he'll approach you…" You…

Just what Peyton didn't need, though maybe it will at least keep her safe from Wendy's fate, if his killer came for her next. "I won't go to the library then, like I said… have Gillian tell me if there's anything you need me to work on, or Liz or whoever," she says softly, to assure him that she won't let this jeopardize their projects. "Is there anything else I need to do?" Her voice is small, but calm. Tears slip down her cheeks now and then. "I should warn Faye," she adds, the very thought of that unnerving. "But if she doesn't know what he is…"

"I don't think he has any intention of getting anywhere near Faye," admits Cardinal in that shadowy whisper of his, "He said he was planning on getting out of town… probably just stopped in because you were in the paper… but he's on the run now, so I don't know where he's going to go." Going to go…

How did she go to being an orphan to suddenly having a mother and a father, both Evolved, and one a murderer? Peyton frowns. There's something strange in the way Cardinal speaks of him. "He's a murderer… killing people to live a longer life than is normal. Something he could simply choose not to do. He could choose to age and die like anyone else, couldn't he? But you talk about him like… like he's not a bad person." She brings her hand to her forehead, rubbing her eyes as if she had a headache. "I don't understand."

"Are the rest of us so innocent? I'm simply not… judging him," whispers Cardinal, "None of us are saints or angels, Peyton, and the only man I've seen him kill was a murderer himself… whereas the men sent after without knowing who he is at all were told to shoot first… and ask questions later. Until I know more about Winslow, I'm not so swift to chalk him up to the side of the devils." The devils…

"There's a difference between not being innocent and playing God. I've done selfish and stupid things in my life but I've never murdered anyone." Yet. She's young. She might have to someday. "But let me know what you find out, if you do learn more. I guess." She's not entirely sure she wants to know more, but she's already this deep in it all. "What… what should I say when they come?" Not if. It's inevitable, and she can only dodge them so long — she can't hide at the library if they're already tailing her, if they already have her apartment being watched — she would not lead them there for the wide world.

"You've never seen the man before in your life. And get their identification… right down to the badge numbers. Claim paranoia… after the kidnapping awhile back, and after Wendy being killed. They have to show that to you," Cardinal hisses out, "If they're legitimate. Maybe we can figure out who they are." They are…

She nods, scowling once more at the tile beneath her feet. She looks up finally. "Thanks for warning me. I … I have to go. Wendy's funeral… stay here if you need to rest. Thank you for trying to … protect me. It means a lot." Her words are soft, emotionless despite the sincerity behind them — he most likely knows it's her way of battening down her emotional hatches, to prepare to weather the funeral and possibly interrogations by who knows what kind of agents in the near future.

"I'm sorry, Peyton." I'm sorry… The last words of Cardinal before he slips away, vanishing into the shadows of her home.

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