Do You Ever Really Know Another Person?


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Do You Ever Really Know Another Person?
Synopsis So many times the answer is no.
Date October 5, 2010

Redbird Security Solutions, Cardinal's Apartment

A phone message was sent out late the previous evening, asking Elisabeth to stop by Cardinal's apartment at Redbird at her earliest possible convenience - preferably before the meeting that was scheduled that evening.

As the afternoon whiles on, Richard's just beginning to wake up; he's shirtless at the moment, gripping the pull-up bar installed on the wall in his living room, lifting himself slowly until his chin touches it, then slowly letting himself back down, the tendons in his arms quiveringly tight as he works through the morning exercise routine. The soft bubbling of a coffee machine churns in the kitchen, almost ready to be quaffed.

She had to work — but luckily enough she's got a boss who… well, tends to look the other way so long as what needs doing is done. Or something, anyway. Elisabeth knocks twice on the door and lets herself in. Since he invited her by, she figures that's allowed. As she steps all the way in, still wearing the black-on-black outfit that serves as her everyday uniform, she's reaching up to unbraid the pinned up hair. "Richard?" she calls quietly, not wanting to wake him if he's still sleeping.

And then she pulls up short seeing him hanging off the bar on the wall. She watches the play of muscles across his back and shoulders admiringly, taking note of the ink. Xiulan's work is incredible - she doesn't get to spend as much time staring at it as she'd like. "Nice," she murmurs with a small smile, running her hands through her now-loose hair. Whether she's referring to his tats or his butt, welll……

A smile's directed at the wall as he hears that murmured statement, and then Cardinal releases the bar - dropping down to the floor beneath him with a soft thump of impact. "Toss me that towel over there?" A sweep of his hand directs a motion to a towel set on the arm of the couch, turning with a crooked smile, one brow lifting, "Thanks for coming by."

There's a roll of her eyes, and Elisabeth walks over to pick up the towel with one hand while the other scratches at the back of her head as if having her hair loose is a huge relief. It's getting long again, brushing the middle of her back once more, similar to when he first met her. "I have to admit, I really was hoping it was just a booty call," she comments mildly. But something about the way he thanks her for coming makes her think it's likely not.

"I wish…" As the towel's offered over, Cardinal drapes it over his shoulders before stepping over to her, his hands sliding over her shoulders and head tilting in to rest brow to brow. There's a hint of sweat lingering about him, of course, because he just got finished exercising. "…Francois came back from his mission, although he'll be heading back again tonight. He's infiltrated one of their facilities, thinks he's found Teodoro."

Both of Liz's hands go up to hold the edges of the towel as she rests her forehead to his. She doesn't mind sweaty — it's the good kind. Her expression eases into a neutral kind of concern. "Thank God. I knew what he was doing, but I was starting to get really worried that we hadn't heard from him. Has he got enough intel for us to go in after Teo?" she asks quietly.

"Not yet, but… he's working on a plan. There's a few other people in the facility that he has the names of, their administrator's apparently a Varlane…" Cardinal takes a breath, and then he closes his eyes, "…and Liz, Trask's there. And he's not a prisoner."

Varlane, huh? Elisabeth purses her lips at that, absently wondering if Felicia…. he can tell the instant that news registers. Her whole body goes tense and her head jerks back and up so she can see him, her face blanching. "What?" There's a sense of prickling along his skin as the hair on his arms ruffles ever so slightly.

Cardinal draws back a bit, though he keeps his hands on her shoulders; squeezing there firmly as if to steady her, brows furrowing together. "Norton Trask," he says quietly, "He's the negator on site… I don't— I mean, he could be trying some kind've infiltration himself. We shouldn't assume anything."

She didn't even know he was back in the country. If he's infiltrating…. on whose orders? Behind a dazed expression, Elisabeth's mind whirls through the possibilities. Christ… he couldn't have gone to work for the Institute because of a shift of perspective. No way. Could he? Did the future change him that much? Her eyes focus once more on Richard's face and she looks… confused. "We… we need to get close enough to find out. Richard…" She bites her lip. "He's proof against telepathy and persuasion and .. Christ. Even telekinesis. Anything that gets within ten feet of him power-wise is just gone." Ie, do *not* get within ten feet of the man, Cardinal. "I… " She reaches up and rubs her forehead. "I can't imagine that he's in there because of … being on their side. That doesn't make sense! Not if he knows what they're doing." There is a gentle kind of stammer to more than half of what she says. Not the full-bore kind that seems to herald imminent panic attacks, but more the kind that heralds deep and profound distress, and that gentle hum in the air is still stirring.

"Relax… relax." A reassuring few words, Cardinal's head shaking slowly, "We'll figure out what's going on with Trask… right now, Teodoro's our priority to get out of there. After that, we'll figure out what's going on with Trask." he tips his head in closer to hers, and he murmurs, "He might not even know what they're doing. I told Francois that… he might be a possible sympathetic person inside their ranks."

There's a small nod, but Elisabeth's brows are pulled together. "Teo's the priority," she says firmly if quietly. The hand that never left that towel around his neck is fisted so tightly into the material that her knuckles are white. The one on her forehead drops to his chest, using the reassuring feel of him to try to bring the topic to more 'important' things. "… You said Varlane too. Felicia Varlane on FRONTLINE… a Varlane in the institute…. " She bites her lip. "Makes me wonder who else is playing on the chess board, babe." She's struggling with the knowledge, especially considering the bombshell revelation she dropped the other day and the man's name having come up once this week. Coincidence just never seems to play a role.

"It's Peter Varlane… I wouldn't ask Magnes or Felicia until we get Teo out," Cardinal says with a tight little shake of his head, "We don't want to blow Francois's cover…" He trails off, then, his gaze leveling on hers as he says quietly, "…so. Um. What was that… password you asked Elle about?"

"Password?" Elisabeth asks dumbly. And then she swallows, her attention fully registering the question. Noting absently that her hand is fisted that way, she makes a conscious effort to loosen it and says quietly, "Cameron." She doesn't pull away from him, but she won't meet his eyes for the moment either. "His name was Cameron. Elle… a number of people, I guess… met him in the future." She shrugs a little, the twist of her lips a shade wistful but there is no true grief as she looks up at him finally. "He was a what-if."

"Oh." Cardinal's chin dips in a slight nod of understanding, his voice quiet, gaze cutting away from her for a moment as well - returning to her once more, the faintest of smiles curving to his lips. He raises a hand, fingers brushing to her cheek as he says quietly, "I'm sorry. Was— Trask?"

She tilts her head and her smile is soft. "Yes. He… in that future, he died at Columbia in 2011. He never knew about the boy. And knowing he was coming back to change everything was… really hard for him," Elisabeth says quietly. "He left the country. I hear from him once in a blue moon, but it's been a while. At least…. I thought he'd left the country," she admits. "Maybe it was all a lie. I don't really know what to think now." She sighs, turning her face into the brush of fingertips.

"One of Arthur's martyrs…" A sigh whispers past Cardinal's lips, his hand stroking against her cheek lightly as he says quietly, "I'm sorry. I didn't— nobody really ever wants to talk about what happened there. I didn't realize."

Elisabeth shakes her head, kissing his fingers gently. "No reason you should have," she says calmly. As she looks back up to him, she says with gentle, brutal honesty, "In a future that isn't going to happen, I lost a man I loved — again — and had a baby alone. It's…. I have regret for the idea that the person Cameron Harrison was … just doesn't exist in the world. I'd like to believe that he's born to someone else who will love him as much as I apparently did. But… he's not real to me. He's an abstract."

After a moment's pause, Elisabeth says, "I don't know everything that happened there. But Norton told me once that… the Moab raid that succeeded here failed in that timeline. Things got worse — markedly worse — for a time. The Company was dismantled, and Pinehearst got into the limelight, and Arthur was the head of it. Company agents were executed, I know that much from Elle and Norton. And I know that whatever else they saw there, they came back to make sure that Pinehearst didn't rise up to become what it was in that future. I took on faith that… it was the right call." She smiles a little. "But yeah… I have a few regrets."

"Hey." Cardinal brushes the pad of his thumb over her cheek, meeting her eyes, "You're not dead yet, babe… nothing says that he won't still be born, eventually." He nods ever so slightly, admitting, "I know a little bit about that future, from Isabelle… from Edward, the one from the future. They were all back from there. The only people who probably know a lot about it - and are still alive - are April and Reed."

"And Helena," Elisabeth offers. "And Elle. And Niki. I mean… they were there for weeks their time." She pauses and admits, "I didn't want to know the details. But that doesn't mean they don't have them." She shrugs a little. "It's selfish to not want the details. I think in the end that's what sent Norton away — that I couldn't grieve the way he was." There is regret in that idea as well.

"And for the record…. no, Cameron won't be born. The boy who was my son in that future was the son of Norton Trask, with whom I am no longer involved." She smiles just a little. "If I get pregnant next year, Richard — whether by intent or accident — the child won't be his. And therefore, it will not be the same person." She grins a little. "Some things in the world are meant to happen as they happen. I'm firmly coming to believe that no matter what we do, there are certain pivotal events that must happen. Things, again, are going downhill and to hell really fast, just as they did in that future. For a different reason. So… perhaps it stands to reason that in the end, good will still come of it, you know?" She pokes him lightly.

At the poke, Cardinal's lips twitch in a wry smile. "Guess we'll just have to see, won't we…?" The pad of his thumb grazes against the underside of her lip, and he pauses a moment before asking, "Should I tell Elle? About Trask, I mean… she was involved with him too, you've mentioned…?"

There's a bit of a grimace and Elisabeth says quietly, "I'll do it." It's something Elle deserves to hear from Liz herself. She stands on her toes to kiss him softly. "I'm going to change clothes for the meeting. You could catch a shower with me," she offers in a blatant attempt to change the subject for a while. She's not grieving, but there is some small amount of heartache in bringing it all up again — perhaps more for losing the man who was her best friend before Felix became that than anything else.

"Sure." The tip of his nose bumps to hers, Cardinal's lips brushing her own in a soft kiss, "Let's get that shower, then, and get ready for the meeting tonight… I should get downstairs to set up a few things anyway." His hand drops down from her shoulder to grasp her hand, and he twists to lead her back towards the shower, "…you can wash my back."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License