Inviting The Shadows In


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Inviting the Shadows In
Synopsis Cardinal comes by to check up…. there's an exchange of information and an offer of haven involved, along with an occasional flirt.
Date May 6, 2009

Elisabeth's apartment

As the night falls, the shadows grow long - and some of them slide through the evening of their own accord. There's a familiar car parked near the apartment, so he's assuming that a certain policewoman's still home. Of course, she might have visitors, but since when's Richard cared about interrupting?

That's the line of thought, at least, that leads to him sliding under her door.

Elisabeth is alone tonight — and apparently she's been here a while. An empty bowl and a small plate with half a club sandwich sit on the end table, the bag next to it emblazoned with the name of a deli not too far away. She's reading through some files on her laptop, comfortably ensconced with a glass of white wine on her couch in a pair of gray sweatpants and white tank-top, her feet bare and her blonde hair wet from a shower. She's not looking in the shadows, if only because it's not like Richard's a regular visitor here or anything, and so far as she knows, she hasn't done anything recently to piss him off.

The shadow slides along up the back of the chair, and spills over her shoulder as if the light there had been suddenly eclipsed by something that wasn't there. After a few moments of reading, Cardinal observes in mild tones from right beside her head, "Did I just commit a felony by looking at those?"

She looks around, a frown crossing her face as the light seems to vanish… and although she has an inkling who it is from that moment, Elisabeth can't help the jump that happens when he speaks. "Christ, Richard," she murmurs. "This is getting to be a habit with you. The least you could do if you're going to crawl all over me every time we meet is make it worth my while. This shadow thing is so unsatisfying," she comments with a chuckle. "What brings you by?"

"I just thought I'd check in… see how you were… what was going on…" The shadow spills down over her shoulder, sliding visibly down her throat and into the neckline of her tank-top. Cleavage shadows! Yes, Richard is crass. "Everything alright?"

Elisabeth snickers with laughter when he pulls that stuff. "See anything you like?" she quips, setting her wineglass down. Not like she's got a ton of cleavage, being built more on the lean, sleek lines, but hey… he didn't complain when he was corporeal, so… Closing the laptop and setting it aside as well, Elisabeth leans her head back and considers her answer. "I guess I'm fine. Still no news on our missing people… I'd have called you about that first thing. But there's definitely been some hints on what may have happened. We've got time travelers running amok in the city for the past couple of weeks. Including the future version of Tyler Case," she comments. "As to what we're going to do about it? I have no fuckin' idea except the obvious — make some attempt to arrest them… or something."

"Time travellers?" The shadow spills back up to her shoulder, down her arm and pools atop the laptop in the shape of a bird cast there by a light that doesn't exist. "Tyler Case — what?" A pause, and Cardinal notes dryly, "I think I'm missing something."

"Oh, I'm sure you're missing a lot," Elisabeth sighs. "The short short version is that when we hit Moab, there was a temporal distortion, which we already knew from Cat and Teo's situations afterward. Best guess is that our people are somewhere scattered in time…. but when the temporal clusterfuck happened, some people were also brought backward. At least six of them. We've ID'd at least five, the other one is still up in the air — based on the Brill painting, there should only be six. But …. who knows?"

"Tyler Case…" The shadow spills down over the table, across the chair, and Richard hauls himself out of it in a ripple of darkness fading to colour, leaning forward to rest folded forearms on the table. His lips purse in a tight frown, "Did we ever figure out just what he does?"

Elisabeth grimaces. "Well, we believe that he can swap people's powers or something. Transfer them to other people, perhaps." She glances at the shadow-turned-man, watching the process with interest. "It's a guess, we have no real confirmation, but it makes sense."

"Mmnm. That's interesting." Richard's hands brace under his chin as he looks over, quirking the slightest of smiles as he notes, "Someone's planning an assault on the Company's facilities, by the by. He's one crazy motherfucker, and I doubt he'll succeed, but it's interesting nevertheless."

Raising both her eyebrows, Elisabeth asks, "A Company facility where?" Because Felix gave her a bit of information that may actually make this interesting. "And who's doing it? Cuz I've been told that there's one close by and that it's possible that Case hasn't been moved as yet. This person working with our time travelers? Cuz if so…. that's gonna potentially get ugly. They're here to STOP us from taking the Company down, apparently."

"I don't know. The name's 'Mort', he runs a motorcycle gang called the Locos…" Cardinal's head cants a bit, a smile tugging slightly up at one corner of his lips as he regards her over the edge of his shades with tired eyes, "And he didn't give me a site location, just that he was targeting a holding facility."

Elisabeth facepalms. "Oh just fuckin' wonderous," she groans with a sigh. "Six degrees of separation my ass." She looks up at him and can't help the chuckle that erupts from her as she studies his face. "You look tired, Richard. You doing all right?" It seems to be more than just his usual red eyes from the light.

Cardinal's head cocks a bit to one side, "Hm? You know this joker…?" He hesitates, then crooks a faint smile, "I'm fine. Just… trying to juggle too many things that people don't want to bother keeping me informed on. Doing a lot've legwork. A lot've worrying. If I don't pull off this current thing I'm working on just right, well— " A grimace, "— could get bad."

Elisabeth tilts her head and offers softly, "How about you fill me in? And then wherever I can, I'll fill in the blanks?" In all honesty, he probably deserves far more than anyone's been telling the man.

"I don't know if I can…" A sigh, as Cardinal leans back in the chair with a faint creak, the shades swept off and his fingers rubbing against his eyes, "…if Phoenix gets involved, or the wrong person says something to the wrong person, I'm probably a dead man real fast."

There's a slow nod, and Elisabeth says, "Well…. the same could be said of anything I tell you, too. But I trust you to know when to keep your trap shut, Richard." She studies him. "And it sounds to me like you've definitely got some info I could use. So how's about I trade you for it… and tell you that I know your friend Mort has an ATF agent hot on his ass. He's already hauled in certain people to question them about their contacts with him. Like one…. Adam Monroe." She pauses and considers. "Is Adam the one wanting to make a run on the Company site?"

At that mention, Cardinal sits up a bit more sharply — looking at Elizabeth with a startled expression at her words. "Jesus Christ; you picked up Monroe? Tell me he's not still in lock-up…"

Elisabeth moves to lean forward on her knees, her elbows placed there to prop her up. "Quid pro quo first…. tell me what you know about Adam Monroe's hard-on for the Company and whether or not he might be someone who could actually help in the ultimate taking down of the damn place? Because I've been told that we're actually looking to move on both the Company and a place called Pinehearst."

Cardinal shakes his head tightly. "I hope he's not," he murmurs, leaning back forward again, resting his weight on the table as he gives Elisabeth a serious look, "He's… got a serious hard-on for the Company, Liz. I'd say he's fuckin' obsessed. He doesn't give a shit about the Evolved, though, this is personal for him." A pause, "He's ex-Vanguard. Ethan's with him. Huruma. Others. He's gathering his own strike force, and it's a fuckin' scary one."

"Oh Jesus fuckin' Christ," Elisabeth murmurs. "No, he's not still in custody. Don't ask me what exactly went on, but …. the ATF guy hauled him in on some kind of fucked up thing and we had to let him walk." She nibbles at her lip. "Christ, Richard… I don't even know whether to tell you to duck and cover on this or what. What's Fedor think of all this?"

"Fedor…" Cardinal's nose wrinkles in a brief grimace, "…Fedor wants to take Monroe down, but I don't think that's a good idea. He's… usable. He could come in handy for taking the Company down, and if we stand against him we'll lose our chance to guide him along the way and keep him from doing anything too fucked up. Like resurrecting Kazimir's plan or something."

Elisabeth considers the possibilities that Adam's useful, and then nods. "All right. It sounds like we're all somewhat working at cross-purposes here, and frankly? I'd like to run some of this by Teo and them too. I'm personally of a mind to agree with Fedor, honestly. But then again… we've got fuckin' people back from the future who are telling us that there's something WORSE coming if the Company gets taken down, so… I don't even know what the fuck to do. This is all so far over my pay grade." She runs a hand through her hair. "Can I tell Teo what you've told me so far?"

"I'd rather you didn't," Cardinal says, lips pursing in a slight grimace, "Laudani - Phoenix, in general - seems to have a 'guns blazin' mentality that isn't going to work here, at least unless you're hoping to kill a whole lot of people. Focus on these time travellers. Let me keep an eye on Monroe's operation."

Elisabeth considers that proposal and says quietly, "All right…. how about this, then? Check in with me regularly? Let me know what's up on that front? Cuz I don't want people dying, but I get this impression that if Monroe and our travelers clash, it'll be … on the level of epic. You know?"

"It could prove interesting," Cardinal affirms, nodding ever so slightly, "I'll check in when I can. I haven't managed to get in touch with the Nakamuras, so— " A grimace, "— this could get messy."

Elisabeth asks quietly, "What do you need with the Nakamuras?" She's watching him with a faint frown.
"I thought you'd have figured that out," Cardinal smiles tiredly back to Elisabeth, his gaze serious, "They're Monroe's first target."

Yeah, she figured it out, but she wanted to hear him say it. "Well, suffice to say that I think they've already been warned," Elisabeth says. "If they haven't, I'll make sure that's rectified quickly."

"I just have to play this carefully," says Cardinal with a slight purse of his lips, brow furrowing, "If they figure out I'm the one who warned them… well."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Actually, you didn't. We warned him days ago."

Cardinal notes, dryly, "Yes, but the information came through me."

Raising her eyebrows, Elisabeth grins. "Well, I didn't know that." She shrugs. "Not that I think that I'm the only person you keep up with. But ultimately…. blame it on a precog or something. Or just leave it completely alone — look blank and absolutely clueless. You gotta be good at that by now."

"They have an empath," replies Richard with a slight shake of his head, lips pursing in a tight line, "Hopefully I can fool her when I have to, but… god." He rubs against his face, "I swear, half the time I feel like I'm just trying to talk people out of stupid courses of action."

Liz smirks. "Not sure if I envy you or pity you," she replies. "Helena once told me I was entirely too pessimistic about our chances, but I'm kind of in the 'prepare for the worst, hope for the best' mindset. But I do always feel like I'm playing devil's advocate lately. Trying to head off people doing things based on leaps in logic that I just don't follow."

"I have my own agenda," shrugs Cardinal, resting his chin in his hands and closing his eyes, "I just hope I live long enough to try and pull it off."

"Some days, I think I'd like to know your agenda. Other days… seems to me that you walk an even thinner line than I do among the groups you frequent," Elisabeth comments softly.

"Someone has to keep an eye on them," Cardinal replies, a wry smile tugging slightly up at one corner of his lips as he regards Elisabeth, "I don't think you can win this fight. I don't think they can, either. But just maybe, if we can keep everyone from each other's throats, we all can together."

There's a moment of surprise, and Elisabeth laughs softly. "Who know you'd be the optimist out of the two of us?" she asks with a grin that borders on affectionate. "I knew there was a reason I liked you." In spite of all that's happened, well…. he's proven himself pretty trustworthy in her eyes.

"I'm not an optimist," Cardinal replies defensively, snorting at her words and leaning back a bit, "I'm just arrogant enough to think that I might be able to pull it off."

"Uh-huh," Elisabeth snorts back. "Arrogant, I'll give you," she adds. "Can I get you a drink or something? You seriously look wiped… you're welcome to use my place as a haven to crash if you need it, Richard."

"I don't want to risk you getting made, Liz," Cardinal says with a tight shake of his head, "You already had that problem once… honestly, I shouldn't even be physical in here right now."

Elisabeth grimaces, looking down at her hands. "Getting made last time was my own fucking fault," she tells him quietly. "I was hurting and I needed a friend, and I didn't trust my gut." She shrugs. "You're too careful to get me made… I brought my problems to you when I needed someone to help." She looks up at him. "I've already trusted you with my life, so why the hell wouldn't I trust you with my place?"

Cardinal smiles ever so slightly, his lips crooking up at one corner as he regards her tiredly but warmly — and then he shakes his head, murmuring, "You're too good to me, Liz. You're going to regret that, one've these days."

Tilting her head, Liz asks candidly, "Why? You gonna fuck me blind and then turn around and blackmail me?"

"Nah," Cardinal banters easily, "I've got a -lot- better things to blackmail you with."

Raising her eyebrows, Liz asks with a grin, "Oh really?"

"Mmhm. I mean, if I wanted to fuck you," Cardinal notes with a slight twitch of his lips, "I'd be all 'take your clothes off, bitch' but, you know, if I was blackmailing you I'd just have to bring up all the terrorist activity. And then you'd call my bluff since anyone I tried to tell would promptly arrest me, instead."

Elisabeth laughs outright at him. "Well, you've got the last part right. Though you better not ever use the word 'bitch' at me in the midst of telling me to get my clothes off… cuz seriously, that's grounds for castration," she chuckles. "So since neither of those options appear to be imminent, I'm thinking it's perfectly okay for you to use my place to crash if you need a haven sometimes. You know where everything is by now, I'm sure, you nosy bugger."

"My place is pretty safe," Richard says with a shake of his head, reluctantly admitting, "Though… maybe sometime, if I need to. Thanks." A smirk, then, "Why, Harrison, are you calling me a spy?"

Elisabeth merely rolls her eyes and gets up, taking her wine glass with her. "Spare bed's all yours," she tells him, slanting him a wicked grin. "Although if you're feeling lonely, you're welcome to share my blankets too. Whatever." She swallows the last of her wine and heads for the kitchen. "You hungry? Don't have much laid in at the moment, but you're welcome to whatever I can dig up. Think I've got cold cuts and a half a pizza."

Cardinal scratches at the side of his jawline, musing, "I think I could go for some cold cuts. I've been eating the shit they have on Staten, and chinese food lately, and that's… pretty fuckin' much it. My diet sucks."

Glancing toward him, Liz looks disgusted. "Lord, you keep eating like that, you're gonna seriously get fat. I have salad stuff too — want it on the side or on the sandwich?" She starts pulling out food — she's in her element feeding people.

"I work out regularly, you know," replies Cardinal with a roll of his eyes, "I'm not going to get fat, not when I have to keep up with all the shit I need to keep up with. So what've you been up to, anyway, outside've business?"

Elisabeth shrugs easily. "Chasing down crooks, wife beaters, and kids playing vigilante," she tells him as she builds his sandwich. "Studying for my shield… got it last week. Woo!" She grins in his direction. "Dodging Homeland on a regular basis, burying Homeland agents, dealing with interagency bullshit. Same old, same old."

Cardinal exhales a low chuckle of breath to that. "Well, congratulations on the shield," he allows with some amusement threaded through his tone, wholly aware of the irony of a criminal saying that. Curiously, he notes, "Homeland still being a pain?"

Elisabeth shrugs a little. "Less so now that Marks is dead — at least less so as a particular pain in my ass. Though I doubt that will last long. And thanks," she says. The sandwiches are easily put together — turkey and roast beef, both piled high with lettuce and tomato as well. She must think he's starving to death out there, bringing the plate into the living room along with a beer. She sets both down on the coffee table.

Cardinal's brows leap up at the sight of the meal, and he leans back a bit. "Jesus, woman," he nearly sputters, "What do I look like, Dagwood? I'm not starving, you know…"

Having the grace to look embarrassed, Liz heads back toward the kitchen again to put stuff away. "Aw, quit it," she murmurs, a faint blush across her cheekbones. "Just eat, willya?"

A shake of his head, and Cardinal reaches down to gather up the roast beef sandwich first; taking a big bite, chewing, swallowing as he leans back, "Mm. Now that's a fuckin' good sandwich, Liz."

Elisabeth shrugs. "It's just a sandwich," she comments. "Not like I made you a good veal marsala or anything." She grins toward him, putting things away quickly. "Keep being nice to me, maybe someday you'll get that lucky. Grandmama's veal marsala is to die for."

Cardinal's tongue clicks to the roof of his mouth sharply. "Now you're just torturing me," he accuses her, "You're a terrible woman, Elisabeth Harrison, I hope you realize that."

"Eh… gotta get my kicks somehow, Richard," Liz quips back with a smile. She refills her wine glass and brings it back in, settling into a corner of the couch. "Doing anything fun lately, or too busy juggling for your life?"

"Juggling." Another bite of sandwich is taken, and Cardinal finally relaxes a bit, shifting to settle in at his side of the couch, legs stretching out before him. He looks over with a wry, weary smile, one shoulder lifting in a bit of a shrug and fingers splaying through the air, "Haven't had the time for 'fun'. Too stressed to even try, most of the time."

Elisabeth nods slightly, sipping her wine. "Yeah…. I pretty much know the feeling. Been hiding in my day job lately, kind of… dodging the crap that came down after Moab, and trying to restrain the urge to go upstairs and shoot asshole in the face when I'm home." She grins a bit. "But my marksmanship at the range is getting better — I keep picturing his face."

Cardinal exhales a low chuckle at that, bringing the sandwich up for another bite. Once he's swallowed, he notes amusedly, "Well, if you ever get tired of Laudani's bunch, I'm sure I could find a job for you, Liz."

Slanting him an amused glance, Elisabeth seems to be waiting for the punch line. "Yeah? Personal chef or something?"

"Well," Cardinal admits, regarding the food in his hands, "That too. Although then I would get fat, woman."

Elisabeth smirks. "Well, that makes me feel like a true Italian woman," she chuckles. "Grandmama'd be proud."

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