If You Build It They Will Come


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title If You Build It They Will Come
Synopsis Knowing the future is not always a good thing to base your actions on.
Date Mar 27, 2011

Elisabeth's Apartment, Dorchester Towers

The apartment's redolent with the scent of cooking. She hasn't gone hog wild…. although it might be hard to tell. There are a couple of loaves of homemade bread next to a pot of hearty beef stew. Those are set to the side, though, and Elisabeth is currently sitting in the living room with her head tilted back on the back of the sofa, a glass of wine resting on her thigh. A guitar's music accompanied by a soft voice pours from the speakers, something soft and a hint on the haunting side. "Shipwrecked" seems to suit her at the moment.

"Something smells good." Cardinal's been busy dealing with a new security contract of late - an actual legitimate one, surprisingly - so he's been busy the last few days. Possibly he's also been trying to keep her from finding out about the shiners he had, which by now have healed up. As usual, he didn't use the door, but took form just on the other side.

The smile that crosses her face is visible as she turns her head toward the door without opening her eyes. "Thought you might like dinner if you turned up," Elisabeth murmurs. "If you didn't, I'll just take it to the base." She blinks her eyes open lazily to look at him. "But I was really hoping you would." It's why she let him know she'd be at the apartment tonight… the invitation was pretty obvious. "How's the contract shaping up?"

"Oh, it's coming along alright. I'm hoping that Warren can start producing that armour for us soon, then we'll have more contracts than we have people to man them…" Cardinal steps along over to behind the sofa, leaning in to brush a kiss to her forehead, "How was your day, lover?"

"Took the day off, actually," Elisabeth murmurs without raising her head from the couch. She reaches up to draw him down for a more lingering kiss, upside down as it is, and then releases him stroking a hand down his neck. She tastes of wine and smells of bread and chocolate. There might be brownies out there somewhere! "Get a glass and join me?" she offers.

Cardinal's head dips down as he's drawn in, and he returns the kiss slowly… leaning back with a softer smile as he hand caresses along his neck. "Sure," he murmurs, pulling away and stepping around over towards the kitchen, "How's Autumn integrating?"

"Far better than you might think," Elisabeth replies thoughtfully. "And …. while I'm not willing to trust him entirely… I will admit that part of me wants to. He talks a fucking good talk." She glances at him. "And apparently he's been spending a little time with Claire, trying to help her."

"Mhm. He still think the government is right?" A dry question as Cardinal delves into dinner; gathering a bowl of stew, a glass of wine, and generally sorting things together to bring dinner back into the main room.

Elisabeth grins slightly, "Actually… if he's to be believed, he signed on to protect the country… not a bunch of assholes running the government that is no longer by the people." She watches him come around the couch with his dinner and the wine. She waits until he sits down to add, "And if we're taking the Institute down, he apparently wants all-in."

Cardinal sets the plate down, and he leans back on the couch. "That's the problem," he says a bit dryly, "We aren't. Not right now. Right now… we need to stop Humanis First. The Institute's a — relatively low priority at the moment."

"Mmmmm. Well, it appears he's on board for that in a big way, too," Elisabeth says mildly. "Matter of fact… the words 'blight on the face of the world' and 'we could use the same techniques we used on Messiah' came out." She purses her lips. "He may prove very useful. And quite frankly, …. I think we have enough to hold him to us, if we play it straight up with him. He's got…. ties. To people we care about, and he's got reasons to keep them safe."

"He still told me that he thought the government was right to use Messiah like it did," Cardinal replies darkly as he raises the glass up to his lips, "He's the worst kind of soldier. The sort that follows orders without question."

"Not sure I'd go that far…" Elisabeth muses. "Or perhaps he's changed his tune some after firsthand exposure to what Claire's going through. We'll see." She sips from her wine glass and scoots around to face him, setting her glass on the coffee table. The music, mostly instrumental at this point with piano and guitar, continues to play softly but mainly because she's ignoring it. "So….. there was something I needed to tell you. And it… could be complicated." Elisabeth pauses. "Not as complicated as twins, just so you know."

Uh oh. Cardinal regards her over the edge of his glass of wine warily, then takes another sip and leans over to set the glass down on the table. "Alright," he allows carefully, "What is it?"

She's not good at dancing around stuff. Elisabeth never has been. So she clears her throat and says baldly, "Trask got word that apparently he was working for the Institute. While he was in South America for the past year with the Ferry. He… came back to check on things. He's… in town."

"Okay…" Cardinal watches her, brow furrowed a little, perhaps thinking there's more to the complication bit of this.

The fact that he took that much as calmly as he just did makes Elisabeth wilt a little and breathe out. "Okay… So… basically, we have one of two options here. Either…. Zeke fucked up royally and changed the timeline in ways that are about to blow up in his face — because he claimed in his timeline Norton Trask never turned back up, and being as he has in this one and he's completely invisible to precogs and telepaths he could be a massive ace in the hole for any plan. Or….. he's been sent by Zeke." She looks at him. "And while my gut says that he can be trusted, I…. don't know that it's enough."

"Mnm." Cardinal leans back slightly, one hand raising to rub at the side of his neck slowly. "You've talked to him, I'm assuming? What'd he say to you?"

"I've spoken to him, yes. He basically has said exactly what I've told you," Elisabeth tells him. "He's been in South America since he left. He couldn't handle everything. He's been working with the Ferry network and had recently gotten word about both the attack on the council and about his own name showing up in conjunction." She purses her lips. "You can't use a telepath to find out with him, so… the question will be what you want to do about it." She pauses. "He's already met up with both Ygraine and Harmony. The latter is actually thrilled to have met him — she thinks his name's Bennet Dean right now — because of the negation."

"I can imagine so." Cardinal exhales a slow sigh of breath, his eyes closing, "We can't risk him falling into another faction's control, he's too— powerful, honestly, and too much of a possible asset. We should bring him in, if we can."

Elisabeth tilts her head. "If we can?" she asks, amusement quirking her lips. "Richard…. he's already in. He's been in for years. My primary concern at this moment is…. you." She nibbles her lip, and then scoots closer to him to slip one hand along his jaw. "Is this going to be a problem for you?"

"You know what I mean," says Cardinal with a tight shake of his head, "I don't know him. I don't know what he'd think of our tactics or goals.." A tilt into her hand, then, watching her with a slightly crooked smile, "Why? You planning on leaving me for him?"

"I believe I once told you that a man who has had a woman ask to give him a child will never have to worry about something like that. Did you not believe me?" Elisabeth asks softly.

"No. So why…?" Cardinal leans in a bit, nose bumping nose, "…would it be a problem?"

With a soft laugh, the blonde tips her head and kisses him softly, her nose rubbing his gently. "Well…. it's just one of those things I wasn't sure how you were going to react to, that's all. You occasionally… surprise me," Elisabeth murmurs. "I'm going to see about putting him up at the safehouse with Claire, okay?"

"Mm. Alright, but…" Cardinal cautions, leaning back a little, "…make sure Monica and the others there are aware of his - ability, alright? I don't want her trying to flip down a staircase and break her neck or something?"

Liz groans. "Oh Christ. Yeah… okay." She snickers. "Eat your dinner, you. Before it gets cold." She reaches up and strokes his cheek lightly, dropping one more kiss on his jaw before slipping away from him to pick up her wine glass. "And just for the heads-up…. I offered manpower to the Ferry if they opt to try to get to a convoy on April 2." She glances at him over the rim. "There's a possibility they're moving Harkness and Demsky."

Cardinal starts to reach for his wine, and then stops— dead— and turns his head slightly, regarding her with a furrowing of his brow. "Shit. They're… if they're moving them both at once, you know that OS is going to be there, Liz. Heller knows they'll make a move…"

"Yeah." Elisabeth's tone is grim. "Yeah, I know." She swallows from her wine glass. "But I can't let them make a move without us. And if that fucking means tearing my squad apart by pitting them against Heller? Then I'll do it."

"You can't deploy FRONTLINE against FRONTLINE, that'd be a fucking disaster," Cardinal says with a sigh of breath, leaning back in a sprawl, "We don't— who's running this insane operation? Who'd you promise help to?"

"No one, yet. I told Ryans, who'll pass it to Raith and the Council." Elisabeth's smile is dark. "And I think we could pull it off. If we can get Alia eyes in the sky and she can scramble their comm gear, it'd be far more useful with a teleporter. But… since we don't have one, I'm thinking a shadow who can drop a grenade or two right into the middle of them without being spotted. And a negator to knock out their best people…. I think it's got a chance."

"I think Alia's suffering from PTSD. Getting her to go anywhere near that sort of gear is going to be fucking impossible right now," Cardinal sighs, his head leaning back a little and one hand raising up to rub against his face, "And this is about… eighty percent likely to be a trap, too."

"I think we're all of us suffering from PTSD and it's about 95 percent likely that it's a fucking trap. And they may not go for it. That's on them. I offered help if they wanted to do it." Elisabeth looks at him calmly. "If Alia's unwilling, if Warren's unwilling, if you're unwilling… I'm not volunteering any of you. But I have enough people who are willing to make a go of it, babe. And if they want to try to do this to get their people out… I'm sure as shit not turning them away. Demsky's a good fucking cop. And a good man. I won't do it."

"Even if by doing this," Cardinal says quietly towards the ceiling, "You put your position at risk, risk giving the government the excuse they need to label the entire Ferry terrorists and hit the island… that's what the trap is. Not to catch them, but to turn them into monsters in the eyes of the public."

"Richard…. that has to be their decision. Though in point of fact…. I did lay that out for Ryans." Elisabeth sighs heavily. "I could have kept it to myself. But … it's not up to us to make that choice for them. It can't be. I hope they make the smart one. Their primary goal should be the safety of the network, not retrieving a couple of members of it. But…. it's got to be their call."

"Yes," Cardinal replies sharply, "But that doesn't mean we need to pave the way to hell for them. If they think they have our backing on this, they're more likely to do it."

"I didn't say they had our backing — I said they had mine," Elisabeth replies. "I hope that Ryans and Raith will make the right call. But I'm not going to leave them hanging either."

"You speak for more than just yourself, Liz…" Cardinal's hands both lift to rub over his face, his eyes closing, "…alright. Well… let me know if they call, alright? As much as I want to see Demsky free, I don't— think this is the right way."

"I can't argue there. But I couldn't in good conscience not tell them either," Elisabeth says softly. "All hanging together, remember?" She reaches out and touches his leg.

"Yeah, yeah." Cardinal murmurs, "It'd just be simpler if we were all hanging together listening to me."

Maybe that's what Ezekiel thought, too.

Elisabeth smirks, unconsciously echoing that thought. "Hrm…. and we wondered where you stepped off the path onto egomania, yeah?" She finishes her wine and sets the glass down. "Did you know… that there's a blonde out there who loves you in spite of your occasional demented plans? Did you know that she loves you even though you ate. a. nuke and didn't even say goodbye?" She moves to scoot in next to him and wrap her arm over his belly, her head on his shoulder. "Did you know that she loves you even though you ran off into the sunset because things got too intense then promptly knocked up your lover with twins?" She smirks. "All of that said, however, I think you keep me around to deflate your ego periodically. Because otherwise you wouldn't fit through a door, Mister I Know Everything."

"Yeah, I know," Cardinal says with a faint chuckle, leaning in to rest his head against hers, "It's just hard to fucking figure out a plan for all of us to survive this when everyone seems determined to run around and do stupid shit, sometimes. I keep having to revise."

There's a few moments of silence, and then he says quietly, as if to change the subject, "If we can't… find evidence against the Humanis Four, I have a backup plan."

She rests her head against his, and Elisabeth says quietly, "You don't need to revise around this one. You didn't even have a plan for this one." She smiles slightly. "And sometimes…. sometimes you just have to do the right thing, Richard. You know that." She sighs. "So…. tell me what your backup thought is?"

"Sometimes I just have to stop planning and act like Richard Cardinal." A slight twitch of Cardinal's lips, "Someone told me that recently… and I think they were right. I love you, you know." He nuzzles in against the side of her head, exhaling a sigh against her ear, "We plan evidence that they've been talking to each other… emails, letters, that sort of shit… about a possible infiltration of Humanis First. Point fingers in Heller's direction."

"Then we kill them all and take credit in the name of the Firsters."

Elisabeth grins. "I do know that," she admits. "But you can tell me anytime you like." She remains sitting against him and laughs softly. "Well… it sounds easier than it will probably be… but I like it. It's simple. It's elegant. There is time-honored tradition behind it. And whether it's true or not, in the end it doesn't really matter, does it? Because the perception of reality is what will rally people." Elisabeth considers and then says, "It is time to stop trying to second-guess. We spend so much of our effort nowadays relying on precogs and knowing what's coming…. we did better when we didn't really know." She looks up at him. "And we made a huge mistake with Pinehearst. We need to learn from that. Knowing the future did not help us make it better."

"The one mistake I made at Pinehearst was killing the wrong Edward. If he'd managed to pull that off, if he'd activated everyone in the city…" Cardinal grimaces a little, his head shaking slightly, "…well, things might be different. I think, though, it's time to stop trying to guess the future, and start trying to build it. Starting with taking control of what we're doing."

She doesn't know who got to him… but a silent 'thank you' wings into the universe. Elisabeth's lips quirk. "It's a start," she murmurs. "You know…. I talked to Harmony today." Speaking of taking control of what we're doing. "She's nice. Mostly. Although she leaked all over again. I'll be glad when the hormones chill."

"Yeah." Cardinal's nose wrinkles a little, "The hormones terrify me."

Elisabeth laughs. She can't help it. "Did she always talk so damn fast and skip topics so often?" she wonders aloud.

"No," says Cardinal with a shake of his head, leaning over to reach for his wine, "She didn't. It's the hormones, and they're terrifying."

She continues to giggle. "Yes. Yes they are," Elisabeth agrees. "Good Christ, I think she shifted topics like four times in a breath. She was all upset because Trask was going to leave and then she was upset cuz he thought she was cute, and then … I don't even know what!"

"She's crazy. It's the hormones. They turn women into terrifying monsters," Cardinal murmurs in faux-grave tones, "When you get pregnant, I may move to Siberia for a few months."

Elisabeth waggles her brows. "You might want to take away my guns too," she offers.

"Why?" A teasing grin over the edge of Cardinal's glass, "So long as you can't shoot me, that's all that matters, right?"

"I suppose there's that," she agrees. Elisabeth just shakes her head and cuddles into him. "Now…. are you going to eat that stew? Or you going to join me for a hot bath and another glass of wine?"

"I'm going to eat," Cardinal replies, leaning down to kiss the top of her head, "And then we can take a hot bath."

Elisabeth buries her face in his chest for a long moment and then grins. "Sounds like a plan. I'm going to clean up the kitchen, then." She kisses him lightly. "Tell me about the contract while you eat," she invites easily, taking her glass with her back to the kitchen to refill it. If you'd ever told her a 'normal' night at home might sound like this at her apartment? Heh….

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