Good Seeing You Again


cardinal_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Seeing You Again
Synopsis Raith meets up with a shadow from, just a few months ago to catch up since it turns out neither one of them is dead, after all.
Date June 16, 2010

Piccoli's Delicatessen

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it.

Every once in awhile, Cardinal gets tired of meeting contacts in abandoned buildings, the smoky corners of sleazy bars, and unassuming park benches. Sometimes it's nice to meet somewhere that you can get a good sandwich… and after nearly half a year spent without a body, the shadowman's come to appreciate a really good sandwich.

So instead of some ominous locale, he's settled into a chair in Piccoli's Delicatessen early in the morning, legs stretched out beneath the table as he whiles away the time waiting for the other man to arrive. A plastic tray's sitting before him, elbows resting on the table and both hands wrapped around a pastrami sandwich, savouring every slow bite as it's taken.

"God, I missed deli sandwiches," he mutters.

Cardinal, fortunately, is not kept waiting long. Or perhaps unfortunately, since now he is no longer able to enjoy his pastrami alone and in peace. But Jensen Raith does come in through the front door of the deli, not bothering to call attention to himself, or to don a disguise. He simply walks in as if he was expected, takes a quick look around and, spying Cardinal sitting with his sandwich… steps into line to place an order of his own, allowing his meeting partner a few minutes more of quiet before he comes over with a plastic tray and a sandwich of his own.

"Good call," the ex-spy says, sitting down across from the shadowman, "I haven't been here in months. With the snow, and everything."

Another bite of the sandwich is taken, chews slowly, and Cardinal sets down the sandwich on the wrapping paper — brushing some crumbs from his gloves, a smile tugging up a bit at one corner of his mouth as he watches the other man approach. Once Raith claims a chair, he leans forward slightly, arms folding on the table's edge.

"At least you've had a stomach," he observes dryly, "Trust me, after six months without any taste buds, you really start missing good food."

"I'll take your word for it," Raith says, propping one elbow on the table and rest his chin on his hand thoughtfully, "Sounds like it might be a little bit dangerous to actually try." But then, he dives right into unwrapping his sandwich, stopping in the middle to enjoy a bit of his side of french fried potatoes. But rather than digging right into the roll, stuffed with lettuce, tomato, pepperoni, salami and additional kind of salami, he simply turns it on its side, and proceeds to shove a handful of fries right into it. "Jersey style," Raith whispers conspiratorially, "Don't tell anyone."

"I wouldn't dream of it," Cardinal chuckles quietly, reaching over for his soda where it's set beside him, "I'd hate to ruin your rep." He takes a sip of the beverage, his eyes closing briefly as he savours the caffeine, then looks up, "So how's Eileen doing?"

"She's alright." Raith doesn't elaborate before digging into his sandwich proper with a bite that is just slightly too large. Large enough that he has to spend several seconds focusing on chewing, one of those bites. Must mean it's pretty damn good. "Never stops working, you know," is what he does add when he's finally able to, "Ever. If she was on Wall Street, she'd be heading a Fortune 500 by now. Wowzers."

"She always did strike me as the type," admits Cardinal, gesturing with the cup in hand, ice rattling wetly along within the cylinder of waxed stiff paper, "Good to hear she's doing well. Given that, you know, we're all unbelievably fucked right now, it's nice to know someone's enjoying the meantime."

"Enjoying's not really the right word. But don't ask me what is." But before another bite of sandwich and side finds itself in Raith's mouth, he does think to ask, "How fucked, anyway? What's on your mind?"

"You know me, I like to keep my finger on the pulse of things," Cardinal admits as he picks up his sandwich, "Little things catch my attention. The Institute kidnapping people left and right… visions of a rather unpleasant November afternoon afflicting people… Project Advent being re-opened…" A bite's taken, chewed slowly and thoughtfully, swallowed, "And that's not even covering Rebel's little bunch of aggressive lunatics and their plans. It's going to be a fun summer."

"They're fucking you too, I see," Raith remarks, "Top of my 'no-fly' list, if you get what I mean." Whether or not Cardinal does get it, Raith takes a much more manageable bite of his sandwich, starting to speak again before he's completely finished with it. "I have kids, did you know that?" Slightly garbled, and then the bite is swallowed and speech becomes clear again. "Two. The Institute's got one and that bunch of lunatics tried to kidnap the other. Real spy thriller shit, man. My life is an action-packed novel filled with exciting but poorly-written characters. What does that say about me? Nothing good, that's what."

Kids? That brings Cardinal's brows upwards a little as he takes another bite, and then he continues — and the puzzle pieces click together, causing him to nearly choke on the sandwich. After he manages to clear his windpipe, dropping the sandwich to its wrapper, he brushes his fingers clear of crumbs, "…Liette?"

"There, see? My life's already on store shelves in limited edition hardback, first five hundred signed by the author." At least Cardinal can take a small measure of comfort in knowing that Raith has not stopped being his usual melodramatic self. But only for a moment before he gets serious.

"Been keeping tabs, I see," he says, "That's fine, as long as you don't make it a habit to check in on her independently. I'm trying hard to keep fuckers like Rebel away. Or really, anyone that either isn't me, or isn't supervised by me. Multitude of reasons for that. Point is." Very deliberately, Raith points his finger at Cardinal.

"You got something you want to ask her about-" And then, he jabs his thumb into his own chest- "You ask me, first. That's the new rule. Just want to make sure you know what the new rules are before you play the game." Good God, Jensen Raith is a parent.

"I should've known that your kids wouldn't be anything normal," Richard chuckles under his breath in amusement, wiping at his mouth briefly before raising his hand, both brows twitching upwards before he gives the other man a serious look, "I wouldn't dream of it. Wherever you have her, don't tell me. The less people, the better… and she's too trusting. I met her once. She told me some things that… helped me out, personally."

A sip of soda, and he offers with a tilt of the cup over, "Tell her that Cardinal says h'lo, though, and what she had to tell me about ''Obtenebrative Transubstantiation'' helped a great deal."

"Well, good!" And like that, Raith is happy again. Or he at least looks happy. "I'll tell her as soon as I can, so I don't forget what you told me to tell her." Right.

"And what about you?" the ex-spy asks, finally getting to the million dollar question of his day, "I haven't known you to sit around wasting time with anything, so you've no doubt been up to some project of your own. Or pro-jects, even. How's the shadowman keeping himself busy these days?"

"Oh, you know," Cardinal gestures with his cup, "This. That. Some other things. I'm going to be opening a security and investigation company soon, I figured it could be useful to have a front business and pull in some actual legitimate cash. I should try and find out if my cover identity in the Agency is pulling down a salary sometime, too…"

"You still do side work, or has your life completely turned into a sitcom?"

"Oh, it's mostly a sitcom," Raith replies, as if it were an admission of guilt, "Or a soap opera, what with the two kids I didn't know about and one of them being held captive and brainwashed by a shadowy government organization." A pause. "Well, four kids if you count Gabriel and Teodoro. And Teo's in that rebellious, totally moving out and living on his own with his boyfriend who is a doctor phase. I think everyone goes through a phase like that sooner or later."

"Stop… stop, just…" A hand's held up, and Cardinal looks pained, "…I think I'd rather get nuked again than contemplate this too much, Jensen." One hand lifts, rubbing against his face, thumb pressing against the bridge of his nose, "Ow."

"You ever heard of a woman named Bella Sheridan? Psychiatrist… Company, or, ex-Company. Got my suspicions about her new employer."

"I know of her, yeah." It doesn't even take Raith a moment to think about that to make sure he's heard of her. "Did some contract work for the Ferrymen a few months back, busted some of her shit up, rescued a few kids and assorted bystanders, the usual." The deli is loud enough now that a casual conversation like this, even one with content this outlandish, can be safely held without much fear of being overheard. "Got a suspicion they're about to move on her for something, so if you've got suspicions, they might actually be really helpful to know, just in case."

"Oh, I have more than suspicions…" A single brow lifts a bit, Cardinal's lips twitching faintly. "The Ferry's moving on her? Well, well, guess without Dean's kids running around, they've got to get their hands dirty themselves. Think you can put me in touch with whoever's planning whatever?" A vague waggle of his cup, ice rattling within, "Sounds like my organization and their organization have a goal in common there."

For several seconds, Raith just offers Cardinal a flat, even stare, before he finally asks, "You have people? When did you get people?"

"Jensen," Cardinal replies with a faint and amused smile, leaning back in his chair and dropping the cup down to its base before him, "You don't think I accomplish everything I do on my own, do you? I suppose I should be flattered…" He seems genuinely pleased to've surprised the ex-spy.

Once again, Raith deliberately, and this time accusingly points his finger at Cardinal. "Hey, you watch it mister," he says, "Remember, I thought you were dead until a few days ago. It takes up a lot of time, having kids. I've been busy. And also hungry." And another large bite of his sandwich. Jersey-style, huh?

Cardinal grins just a touch. "That's hardly an excuse," he observes, head canting a bit to one side, "You didn't answer my question, though."

"You're right," Raith replies after he swallows his food, "And what I will do is my best to pass the word onto them. They're under this really bizarre impression that hanging around violent sociopaths like me will tarnish their reputation or something. But they know me, so I'm pretty confident they'll listen to me. Especially since everybody wins here." And to get this particular point across, Raith extends his hand across the table. He'll shake on it, and then he has to tell them.

"I'm pretty sure they'll want to hear what I want to say," Cardinal says with confidence, reaching over to clasp the offered hand firmly as he notes without a hint of humility, "I always have something interesting to say. Good seeing you again, Jensen. Give my best to your daughter, like I said."

"I will." It's a sincere reply, if nothing else. "If you're off, you take care of yourself," Raith says, "Don't die." But whether or not Cardinal is off, Raith returns his attention to his sandwich. It's not every day he has a business lunch that doesn't end in a gunfight. Or a business lunch period, for that matter.

"Eh." The remnant of Cardinal's sandwich is picked up as he pushes himself up to his feet, "I think I'll try to avoid it again. It's not all that it's cracked up to be…" He takes a bite as he walks, humming against a mouthful of food as he heads for the door. People to see. Things to do. Timelines to map.

Facts to digest. Raith has kids. There goes Richard's theory that he's a robot.

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