cardinal_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title Intangible
Synopsis Cardinal swings by Elisabeth's apartment unannounced only to discover that someone else is already there.
Date November 9, 2009

Dorchester Towers: Elisabeth's Apartment

This is a pretty standard two-bedroom apartment, although the occupant has gone to some effort to make it her own. Although the carpet is the ubiquitous beige, the walls are painted a soft rose-gray mauve shade, giving the main living space warmth. A dark gray sectional sofa sits in the living room facing an entertainment center that contains a state-of-the-art stereo system and a less upscale television setup. A coffee table sits in the curve of the sectional, and floor lamps bracket the ends of the furniture. The dining area hosts a four-seater square oak table and chairs, with the table generally host to a slew of mail and papers. An oak sideboard against the wall has candles on either end of it and a glass bowl with a fake arrangement of flowers. A small wine rack sits next to the sideboard, home to no more than nine bottles. The kitchen is small, but functional, painted a soft yellow color with a transparent blue glass backsplash. Off the living room are two bedrooms, one of which has the door closed and the other appears to be a home office. Its walls are a soft shade of green, and it contains a desk with a high-end computer setup and a bookcase stocked with textbooks.

There is a man in Elisabeth Harrison's apartment, and he's not supposed to be there.

Neither is anyone else, for that matter, which is why it might seem odd to the casual entrant that there is a light on back in home office.

A black suit, light olive dress shirt and darker tie hardly comprise casual criminal attire. Then again, there's nothing casually criminal about the bald man plying absently through the contents of an unfamiliar desk in a pair of white latex gloves. He's trimly professional, if he's to be defined as anything. Tidy, confident, and alert, dark eyes fixed down after anything that might leap out at him as out of place or otherwise suspicious. His back is to the door, and he is very, very busy.

A shadow slips beneath the door, the customary fashion in which Cardinal enters into the apartment in question. Sure, he's actually got a key, but that runs the danger of someone in the building recognizing him.

This time, however, he doesn't find his lover at home, or even some spare food she's cooked up in a bad mood to steal. No, he finds a man that he doesn't recognize inside.

"I wouldn't turn around, if I were you," a voice says from nowhere, from a shadow hiding in plain sight on th floor, "In fact, I think you should stay very, very… still, right now."

The twitch that stiffens out Vincent's spine and seizes at his jaw is inevitable. There was no sound to announce Cardinal's entry. Nothing at the door. Nothing, even, at any of the windows — and all of the ones he manages to take in via peripheral glance are remarkably intact. Curious of them.

Feathers effectively ruffled by unanticipated disruption, they smooth themselves down again in uneven patches, one rolled shoulder and twitch of his brows at a time. Evidently, whoever this is did not plan on being caught. Least of all by a male voice.

Although, with Harrison maybe it shouldn't come as quite the surprise it is —

"Do you know," says Vincent, who obeys inasmuch as he keeps his gloved hands down close to the desk and does not turn around, "that statistics have shown killing a police officer tends to reflect poorly on one's prospects for the future."

A low, hollow chuckle stirs in the apparently empty room.

"You'd be surprised how many cameras that there are here in the apartment, officer. The security expert who set things up was quite… thorough. I'm rather curious how you got in, actually."

Cardinal pauses a moment, then notes, "Statistically, New York's been fairly supportive of people killing burglars who broke into their homes."

Security expert? The hell. Annoyance hardens at the already flat line of Lazzaro's brow, L to the double Z~ and his eyes lift blackly to the room corners as if he half expects to see little lenses glittering back at him where he noticed nothing at all before.

"Friend of hers?" supposed of the security expert as neutrally as he can manage under the circumstances, Vincent turns with deliberate composure and finds…nothing. No one, at least.

"You might say that. The alarms haven't gone off, and the doors and windows aren't smashed in… there's no holes in the walls… and looking at those gloves, you don't have a key. So now I'm wondering how you got in, exactly," asks the shadow casually, "You can stall and everything, but she'll eventually be home."

"And after the hell she's been through, she just might shoot first and ask questions later."

"I take it you've decided not to shoot me yourself, then." Affect having gone a little flat in the absence of a tangible (or even visible) threat, Vincent looks as though he feels his patience is being tried more than anything. "Am I talking to an automated recording or are you just a coward?"

Honest curiosity piques at one brow while the detective tweaks absently at the fit of one glove around his wrist, dark eyes still searching after some hint of who or what he's dealing with, here. Even for an act of superhuman ventriloquism this is elaborate. "Funny. She didn't mention any recent forays into hell to me."

There's no little signs that give anything away; no shadow cast where he can see, no little shuffling movements or sounds of cloth against cloth, not even a hint of breath. No reflections in handy surfaces. Even the voice has a rather raspy, echoing quality that doesn't sound entirely natural. Perhaps it's an automated recording after all.

"I'm not an idiot, is what I am," replies Cardinal dryly, "If I killed you, I doubt that I'd find out why you were here. Which is… why, exactly? Even if you are a cop, last I'd heard they were supposed to have a warrant for something like this."

"Detective business," replied offhand, Vincent finds himself looking at the ceiling, which yields no greater answers than the floor. Then, for the briefest of instances, something changes. A shift in air pressure. A transition where the solid stand of him passes briefly into nothing and then re-establishes itself again no more than a few millimeters to right of where it was standing before, gloves, neatly knotted tie and all. No glasses tonight, perhaps oddly.

"Very complicated. I doubt you would understand, as a disembodied voice. Albeit a curious one." Satisfied that he isn't going to be stopped, with one last glance 'round the office, he turns himself back towards the desk to resume his illicit shufflings. "Suffice it to say, if I took everyone at their word I would still be in Vice scraping sixty year old prostitutes off the sidewalks around Chinatown."

Cardinal isn't sure, exactly, what he just saw; there's silence for a moment behind the other man, and then he begins shuffling through the papers again.

"On the other hand, you still can't legally be here, and the security cameras record off-site."

The shadow glides up the wall, then, and a moment later a man pulls himself out; stepping free of darkness and two dimensionality, slowly bleeding back into colour and light once more, a rather ugly russian-made pistol pulled from his jacket and cocked as he raises it towards the back of the detective's head. "I believe I told you to stop moving."

"You did, and I didn't. And nothing happened," relayed in careful summary in the off chance the boogy man might have missed it somewhere in the course of their initial exchange, Vincent does not stop his browsing until pure chance leads him to glance far enough back that Cardinal's now human presence registers in his peripheral vision. Gun and all.

Ah. Well then.

Attitude effectively drowned for all obvious intensive purposes, Vincent lifts his right hand as carefully as being held at gunpoint generally dictates one should. It's a staying gesture. Sort of. "I have a warrant. Christ. Leave for a year and everyone's a fucking lawyer."

"You have a warrant," Cardinal observes in casually dry tones, "And you decided to sneak in somehow — you're either Evolved or Harry fuckin' Houdini — when Harrison wasn't home rather than honestly coming in the front door and requesting entrance? I don't think I buy that, exactly, Officer. What is it you're really doing here, mm?"

"You know what they say about 'assume,'" droned back with obnoxious aplomb, Vincent brings his right hand slowly in around to reach into the sleek cut of his suit coat. Presumably after a warrant, though said paper's apparent placement is conspicuously near and dear the favored placement of certain shoulder holsters. Either way, it's one of those things that happens quickly, and it's impossible to tell at a glance which one he's more likely to come up with.

The subtle click of a gun's hammer being drawn back is audible as Cardinal holds the gun even, steady, his jaw set with anger at Elisabeth's home being invaded. "Slowly," he states flatly, "You draw, you die, and I really try not to commit murder lightly."

"Do you have a license for that firearm, Mister…?" Mister Blank. So far Cardinal's countenance matches none that he should already know, and for a beat Vincent finds himself hesitating while he turns the younger man's face slowly over int he back of his mind. "If you're familiar with New York's opinion of burglars, you've no doubt come across our general disdain for concealed weapons." And then he does draw. A glock, not a picture.

That pistol'd probably be illegal even if he tried to register it, given its origin and make. Cardinal watches the other man like a hawk… and then the pistol's being drawn from inside Vincent's jacket. As his bluff is called, those tensed muscles push against the floor, sharply lunging to one side and sending him diving behind the couch in a tumble across the room.

Maybe he should've offered donuts instead.


Dark eyes watch Cardinal vanish less elegantly than he initially materialized, resultant tumble marked by a cocked ear and an equally cocked semi-automatic. But past the staccato click and a hazy shift in light through the unobscured doorway, there's nothing. No sudden movement or pursuit — not even the beep boop boop of a cell phone.

It takes a moment or three for Cardinal to subsume his physicality, and as he's learnt before… a bullet's faster than that.

After a moment or two, the darkness shifts in a subtle weave over the floor, threading back along the floor and keeping close to the edge of the couch.

"Well," the voice echoes in an irritated hiss, "Now I am annoyed. And you don't have a warrant for shit."

"You're right."

There is nothing terribly subtle about the way Vincent delivers himself out of a furl of sooty vapor rendered all the more indistinct by low lighting and his unanticipated arrival in the living area. He's opposite the same couch Richard is slithering his way around, gun still held lightly in hand while he peers thoughtfully down after the place current company last thumped.

"I don't. You can tell Harrison I said hello. My name is Vincent. She'll know the one."

As the vapor spills across the room, and the man steps behind the couch, the shadow lingers there unmoving; for all intents and purposes just the shadow of the sofa.

"I'm sure she'll find the tapes revealing if she doesn't," replies the disembodied voice of Cardinal, "I'm guessing you're still shy on answering the whole 'why you're here' question."

"I am an investigator," says Vincent, very clearly even as a final swath of smoke renders itself into a lazy gesture of his left hand to indicate the apartment in its entirety. "I investigate."

"If she wants to talk to me about the tapes, she's welcome, but I somehow doubt that it will become an issue. Any final thoughts? Questions? Felonies you would like to commit before I go?"

"I think you've committed enough for one night," replies Cardinal's shadow rather flatly, "I think you should leave before I decide that I really don't care how Liz'd feel about your brains splattered across the carpeting. I'm sure I'll be seeing you again… Vincent, was it?"

"Lazzaro," confirmed without fanfare, Vincent is careful to release the hammer with one hand while he unbuttons his coat with the other. "I'd give you my number, but I don't think you're my type."

Then, sure as he was standing there, he's gone, fallen away in a fluid surge of heavy mist that dissipates to nothing with supernatural speed.

It's only once Cardinal's fairly certain that the smoky form is gone that he emerges, pulling himself from shadow to flesh once more as he steps away from the wall; staring at the air where he was, he steps over to sprawl onto the couch, one hand lifting up to rub against his temples.

"Wonderful," he mutters, "Liz's gonna have a conniption about this."

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