It Is Never Over


cardinal3_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title It Is Never Over
Synopsis Sometimes those conversations at 2am let slip things that would never have been said in the light of day. Dreams that are destined to remain just that because there is always another battle to fight.
Date Feb 12, 2010

Elisabeth's Apartment, Dorchester Towers

Elisabeth is limping slightly when she lets herself into the apartment in the wee hours. The nightlight in the entryway is the only light to be seen in the apartment, but it's enough. The blonde drops her keys on the front table and her duffel right next to it. She locks the myriad deadbolts and then walks into the living room to drop onto the couch with a groan, one hand coming up to rest over her forehead and eyes. She might not move from this spot for the rest of the night… maybe.

"Long day?" Day? A whispered echo of Richard's voice as the shadow spills over her like a blanket; a tattered, knotted blanket that shifts lazily in pattern like a rippling hide, curling over her arm and torso.

"Oh!" Elisabeth jerks a little at the sound of the voice and uncovers her eyes…. to find the shadow draping across her. "Richard," she whispers softly. She reaches up with her other hand as if to stroke the fragile-looking intangible blanket. "Long week," she admits softly, struggling to keep her emotions in check. The sight of him still has the power to bring her to tears. "How are you feeling, love?"

"I don't feel at all…" At all… A quiet whisper that escapes him despite his better judgement, those tattered shadows playing over her fingers at the contact, sliding free again to cover her after they move along. "…I was out to see Zarek, last night."

She relaxes back into the cushions, watching darkness deeper than the shadows of the room play across her body with no tangible sensation. "How did that go?" Liz's tone is a mere whisper as well.

"It could have gone better… he's been having nightmares, probably from all the damn drugs and alcohol… he wants proof that I can get him out from under Linderman, proof we can carry out this plan…" Plan… The shadow continues to lazily play over her as he speaks, moving and twitching in response to how firmly his voice can be heard, "…we're going to need to lay down some solid groundwork and subvert a few more people."

Elisabeth goes very still. "Zarek's having nightmares? Fuck," she murmurs. "It may not be simply drugs. There's a …." She pauses. "There's an Evo they're calling the Nightmare Man. Hokuto and Cat and Abby and a bunch of others are… basically he's some kind of dream manipulator who feeds on fear. He was the cause of the 35 last year." Her words are soft, the tone bitter. "Hokuto's gathering people to fight the guy in the dream space. If Kain's used Refrain, he'd be more susceptible, too. I'll see if Abby can make contact with him or something, to try to help him in the dream space. The way to beat the guy apparently has to do with… creating an avatar in your mind, fight back."

Her blue eyes continue to follow his shadowed movements, a faint smile quirking the corner of her lips in spite of the stress and sadness. "I didn't know what your plan actually was, but had I realized he'd react so strongly to news of your death, I'd have gone in person to reassure him. How were you planning to use him in all this?"

"Refrain… I don't see that he would have, he's SLC-negative. A dream manipulator…" A concerned stir of the shadow's voice, "…I wish them the best of luck. Keep me informed."

After a moment, he admits, "We can't destroy the Linderman Group. It'd be a disaster. We need Zarek to take the reins after Linderman falls." Falls…

"Hmmmm…" Elisabeth purses her lips. "Well, Cat's theory is that the guy is getting stronger, attacking normal people. And addiction of any kind or drug use… those would tend to make someone probably more susceptible, I'd imagine." She goes quiet. "So… what's Zarek's situation? Is he actually buying up land out there on Staten or what? I saw the real estate stuff in the files. I had Gillian digging to see if purchases had been made or statutes on the books about whether or when properties out there might be available for purchse. I expect that wouldn't be until after they send FRONTLINE or whoever in to retake the place, but still…."

"No. We need Lockhart for that." That. "I heard the radio interview while I was moving up through Jersey… she mentioned selling public, ruined land to corporate interests in order to fix them up. In Arthur's future, once Zarek took over the Group, he promptly purchased the entire damn island and then invited FRONTLINE to move in and clean it up." The shadow coils about her lazily, "Which would essentially put us in complete control of Staten."

"Well…. shit," Elisabeth says softly. "Seriously? You dont' think she's seriously overplaying her hand in the mudslinging contest here? I mean, it's kind of obvious who the anonymous tipster is when only two of the three candidates get shit on."

"It's obvious that she won in Arthur's timeline, although how… I don't know. Mudslinging's quite effective these days, though, the public eats it up. Her in office is a good thing, though, believe it or not— aside from the property deal, it puts more obvious pressure on the Evolved, and should stir up some public sympathy…" -pathy… Richard is silent a moment, drawing himself back together, "…who do we have in the Ferrymen these days? I need Colette Nichols, I think."

Elisabeth considers. "Honestly, I have no idea. I haven't seen hide or hair of Colette since I offered to take up where Con left off training her and she turned me down. And I don't usually have much to do with the Ferrymen except to send people their way." She goes quiet. "And considering I'm the reason a bunch of their operators and clients got killed…. not sure I should have much to do with them." She will until the end of time wish that Teo had not given her the Beach Street location. The guilt still eats her.

"I'll have to go talk to one of them, then…" A twist of shadow curls over her hand, "…and shush. That wasn't your fault, lover." Lover…

"Not my fault doesn't mean no guilt attached," Elisabeth replies with a soft smile as the shadows curl around her. "I can put the word out. You said you don't want people to know you're alive much less back in town, so we need to limit your contacts as much as possible." Her fingertips trail through the insubstantial darkness, once more absently stroking as if he can feel it. "I can get word to them that I need to talk to Colette. Is there anyone else you want to talk to while I'm at it?"

"I need Colette, so I can get an angle on her sister… I need to get Claire back in contact with Rebel, we need to get the evidence to use against Linderman, if he'll surrender it… mnm, I wish we had a technopath to look into Kain's finances, and Linderman's as well," the shadow grouses, "I can barely send email."

"Well, now, lover…. there I can help you." Elisabeth smiles slightly. "Rebel left us a laptop. It's got information on it, and I assume they will be keeping tabs on what we need through it. In addition… Rebel sent us a technopath. Someone on the run from Adam. So… Zarek's and Linderman's finances can be gotten hold of." She pauses. "Oh… Christ, I forgot to tell you. Rebel located Wireless — she's comatose in a Ferry safehouse."

"Oh? Well…. shit, so long as she's alive…" Alive… A coiling of Cardinal over her arm, the dismembered shadows considering for a few moments, "…we may need to get her in, there's probably files that aren't on the net. We're going to need Nicole. Damn. I really do need to find Colette."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "I'll put the word out, love. I promise." She pauses and asks, "Does it need to be tonight?" Her tone makes clear that she will go if he wants it done right now. But in truth, she looks wiped out, like a few hours of sleep would do her a world of good. "She's alive, but… we don't know if she's going to recover. I'll get Alia working on at least Zarek's finances. What am I looking for?"

A snort from the shadow, "…you need your sleep, lover. And… he had a lot of debt notices, they were probably ones he was supposed to be looking into, but we should check just to be sure. Just get her on every Linderman account that we can find, track the money flowing into the mayoral campaign, everywhere. Follow the money."

"I'm glad you can see me…" Elisabeth's hand strokes along the insubstantial tendrils, toying gently with them, unable to stop herself from some semblance of touching him. Even if he can't feel it and she can't feel it, it's the intent that matters to her. "Wish I could see you," she whispers softly. There's a long silence, and then she says quietly, "Your funeral was a year, almost to the day, from the collapse of the ConEd plant. I came home from the wake… and I sat here looking at pictures that you took of skylines and places I will never see. And I realized I didn't have a single picture or anything except your things to remember you by. I had your marker put next to my mother's. My father was… shocked doesn't quite cover it." She continues to let her fingertips wander the expanse of shadow that lays over her, as if she can hug it to her like a blanket.

"I sat here that night… and I cried because I had nothing left of you. When I was held by Humanis…. I'd been grateful that the pregnancy test came up negative. But the night I buried you? I was sorrier than words will ever convey." A shimmer of tears. "For what it's worth to you, Richard… if we ever manage to actually take that trip to Tahiti and get away? If we're not too old for such things… I'd really like to do that with you. Doesn't have to be all … crazy getting married and shit. Neither of us will ever be the white-picket-fence types, and I wouldn't want us to be."

As she speaks, Cardinal remains silent; growing more coherent as he does so, the tattered scraps of shadow pulling together into a darksome blanket that drapes over her without being felt, her fingertips caressing something she can never truly touch, just imagine she's touching, tendrils of shade coiling about her hand now and again as if he were trying to touch her in return, desperately. There's no sensation, no human warmth, not even an eerie cold. Just nothing.

"I'm sorry…" Sorry… "I didn't… realize, Liz, I… pregnancy test? I don't, you never…" He trails off, silent for a moment before echoing softly, "I'm sorry. If we ever do get through this, I'd… love to go to Tahiti with you." You.

"It was a non-issue," Elisabeth replies with a faint smile. "If it'd been positive, it wouldn't have mattered. I got picked up just after that and …. it wouldn't have been positive when they were done with me anyway." Her tone is matter-of-fact about it. "Besides… what the hell would we do with a kid?" she asks, almost bitterly. "But if we ever make it to Tahiti, and we actually are done with all this and… so many other things have to go right to make it work out… you gotta get all corporeal again and shit. But… I'd really like to have a child." In another place, in another future, it was someone else's by accident. "Yours." She shrugs. "So there you have the end result of my insanity after you died," she quips lightly, her grin actually amused though she avoids looking at the shadow for a minute, instead looking at her fingers as they play through the shreds of his body. "A kid. Gotta by my biological clock ticking at me or something. Cuz I'm not exactly Mommy material with all that we've got on the table and the lifestyle we both live." Considering the warning she was just given in the park, it could be worse than she even thinks.

She throws her free arm over her head, her hand absently playing with her hair, and changes the subject. "Was Kain Zarek in the future a man worth backing now?" she wonders aloud.

"We're going to need resources if we want to make this work, Liz, and the Group has all the resources we could ever need… he's alone right now, desperate, and we can make him into whoever we want if we can pick him up off the ground," Richard replies, falling quiet for a long moment before adding more softly, "I wouldn't mind that happy ending either." Either…

There's a soft huff of laughter from Elisabeth. "You're the one who told me there were no happy endings." The hand toying with the intangible strands of his person continue their soft stroking — she knows it's not really touching him, but the gesture soothes her. "Maybe someday. When we're done. Since we've both already done the dead thing, I figure maybe God owes us just a little. But we gotta get there first." She shrugs. "It's not something I'm pining away for. Just… let's call it the light at the end of the tunnel. The thing I'd like to work toward. And you know? If it works out? That's great. If we get dead along the way — again — well… whatever. Better to misbehave in Hell together, right?" She grins at him.

"I'll see what I can dig up to help him get up off the ground. My dad's starting to do some serious looking into Evo law and things like that, but he's also a damn solid real estate attorney. So we'll see if we can scrape Zarek off the sidewalk and clean him up a bit, and we'll see what we can do about turning Kain Zarek into …. well, let's not go hog-wild here and call him a model citizen, but … " Elisabeth sounds mostly amused.

"Zarek's the easy part. The hard part…" A coil of darkness about her arm, slithering down it and up and over her fingers like black lace.

"The hard part is getting the chair we're going to put him in. Because before we can start… we need to take down Linderman." Linderman…

A faint grin crosses Elisabeth's features. "That, lover, will be my absolute pleasure," she murmurs as blue eyes drift closed against her will, as if she can't keep them open any longer. "Stay with me?" she whispers sleepily. "Just for a little while?" She won't keep him from doing whatever he needs to do, but the comfort of knowing he's here helps her sleep. The hand that continues to touch him — or the shadow of him — stops moving, and she struggles only long enough to hear the reassurance he offers before she finally allows herself to drift off.

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