He'll Be Back


elisabeth_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title He'll Be Back
Synopsis The interim heads of Endgame and Redbird meet and reassure one another that their leader will return.
Date November 15, 2010

Red Hook

The coffee shop in Red Hook is not in the best shape. But it's close to the base, and Elisabeth needs that. She's in no shape to be going far from the base right now honestly. She's sitting in the shop with a cup of coffee waiting on Peyton to arrive.

The door opens with the metallic chirp to alert the owners that a patron has entered, but Peyton waves off with a smile the hostess and heads toward Liz's booth, sliding in and setting a piece of paper on the formica table.

"Hey, Liz," she says softly. She took looks worse for wear — she may not have knocked herself out with her ability, but she certainly looks like she could do with a few hours sleep. Her eyes are bloodshot with dark circles beneath — it's been a rough week, and it's clear she hasn't caught up on rest yet.

She nods to the envelope and frowns slightly, staring at it before lifting her eyes. "From Cardinal."

Elisabeth doesn't exactly look in the peak of health either. There are circles under her eyes and her face has a drawn look of exhaustion. Peyton's expression as she sets that note down would normally make her panic, but she's too worn out to really react that strongly. With a heavy sigh, Liz asks in a husky voice that sounds like she is just getting over laryngitis, "What's it say?" Because she figures the other woman's read it. The blonde's knuckles on the cup are white, she's gripping it so hard.

"He's taking some time off," Peyton whispers, hating to be the bearer of this bad news, brows knitting together as she stares down, willing herself not to cry. "You're head of chess, me of Redbird," she adds. "There's some other things. About plans. You don't have to read it now."

She reaches to pick up one of the menus stuck behind a napkin holder, more for something to look at besides Liz's eyes. "I'm glad you're okay," she says, a little louder but still softly — the alternative that Cardinal told her might have happened is unthinkable.

Elisabeth finally reaches out to take the envelope. The fact that Richard hasn't returned her last text…. well, it sort of spoke for itself. "I kind of thought he might have gone underground," she admits quietly. "I know about what he saw." Her tone is soft, not angry. Merely…. tired. "He sent Lola to watch my back. It's a good thing he did. Someone tried for me." Her fingers play with the envelope, her jaw clenching tightly. She's so goddamn tired. Carrying this load on top of the rest seems… insurmountable right now. But carry it she has to.

Looking up at Peyton, she says quietly, "Lay low. Do what you have to with Redbird to keep her running, okay? Anything you're not sure about…" She bites her lip. "I can't officially make the call because my name's not on the paperwork, but you can text or call me and I'll advise you as best I can. We've lost most of the FRONTLINE squads, and I got promoted six months early to operations director." She grimaces. "It's going to be tight for a bit here — it means a lot of hobnobbing and such, but I'll do the best I can by you, Peyton. In terms of Endgame activities, I want all the operatives to lay low, just keep their ears to the ground. Everything's a fucking mess as it is, and the last thing we need is any of ours picked up off the streets for anything. Give me the rundown on who's where?" Her fingers haven't stopped playing with the envelope.

Peyton presses her lips together an nods. "He'll be back. He promised," she whispers, and then takes a shuddering breath. "I asked if I could look in on him once a day, to make sure he's okay, and he agreed — so I know he's not trying to hide entirely. And he can look at a message or something if he needs, to let me know what's up."

She pauses as a waitress comes by to reach for the coffee cup on the table, filling it, then refilling Liz's if she gets the nod. Once she's gone, Peyton reaches for the sugars and creamers. "Monica I think is arrested somewhere," she says quietly. "Elle's okay, still injured from the other night. Jaeden's with Ferry. Everyone else is okay, around, I think."

Elisabeth closes her eyes. That hurts. That he'll allow Peyton to look in on him but he won't even return a text to say 'yes, I'm alive' —- it twists her stomach in knots. But the blonde keeps her expression placid. "If he said he'd be back, he'll be back. Give him some space, Peyton. He's found out a lot of things over the past couple weeks that …. are making him doubt himself. He has to sort through it on his own." She hesitates and says softly, "I'm keeping Lola near me. Given the way the attempted hit came down, I don't think it will be the last one and I'm going to be something of a public figure. So…. put her on the payroll as a bodyguard, could you? I don't know under what ID, but … I'd like to have her officially hired on by me through Redbird as personal security." Making sure the woman who saved her life has an income seems the least she can do.

Other thoughts swim about the blonde's head. "I can't do much about Monica if they picked her up," she admits. "If Niki turns back up, have call me. She's… got a lot on her emotional plate right now too. I think we could all use a little bit of a rest." Elisabeth pauses and says quietly, "And you get some sleep. Starting this weekend. I mean it. Unless you have a reason to be extending your ability, don't." She bites her lip. "I blew mine out. They're reasonably sure it'll come back, but we don't know how long that might take."

"He will be, Liz. And you know he loves you, right?" Peyton says softly, her dark eyes glimmering with tears as she looks up at the blonde finally. "He's doing this… because he doesn't want to be that person who could ever hurt you. You know that, right? You're the most important person to him in this world."

She nods at the rest. "I can do that," she murmurs regarding Lola. "I put Elle in an apartment, too. I'll try to rest — but people need to know where people are, I'm not gonna say no."

When Peyton tries to reassure her, Elisabeth can't stop the flood of tears. She's too tired to be able to control them as well as she otherwise would. "Just… don't, okay?" She looks down at her coffee cup. "I can't talk to you about Richard right now." She's not sure she can talk to anyone about Richard right now. "He'll be back when he's able," she says quietly. "In the meantime, we have our jobs to do, okay?" She looks up at Peyton. "People do need to know where others are, but you burning out your ability means that we have no way to check up on them when we need to. So you limit it. Two to four looks in a day unless it's an absolute emergency. And you go home this afternoon and rest, and you sleep tonight. I am not fucking around. If you don't, Redbird's going to fail." She smiles a little. "And then I'm gonna be pissed, cuz I went out of my way to make it a viable business so that if something happens, Richard has something other than stealing to fall back on. He's got a hell of a talent for this job."

Peyton ducks her head when those tears come, though her own begin to slip down her cheek and she looks away and nods, laughing a little weakly through the tears at the small jokes. "All right. I promise," she says softly. "We'll get through this. All of us. I know we will."

Elisabeth reaches across and squeezes Peyton's arm gently, forcing the other girl to look up. "We will. Have a little faith, babe. I promise you, we will." She moves to stand up. "I need to get back. Call me anytime, okay? I may not be able to answer immediately, but I'll do my best." She drops a kiss on Peyton's head and whispers, "Don't tell me what you see with him, okay? He's a free agent — he needs space. Whatever he's doing when you check, you keep it to yourself." And then she slips away.

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