cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Kickback
Synopsis Liz stops in to talk about some matters - professional and personal.
Date November 18, 2009

New York Public Library - Lower Levels

As she makes her way through the darkened upper floors of the library toward the stairwell that will take her down to the lower levels, Elisabeth peeks into the room that had the string array re-creation as she moves. She has her cell phone to her ear. "Yeah, Nash. I followed up on the kid's name, but there's nothing. The lady living in the apartment just moved in about two weeks ago and she hasn't seen anything unusual. She said the place was trashed when she moved in, though — the landlord says the previous tenant matches the description we have, but all the information on the lease is clearly false. Damn asshole's a slumlord who doesn't give a shit about accurate information - he gets paid in cash up front or you're out. …. Uh-huh, I've got one more lead to follow up on, and then I'm heading home. See you in the morning unless we're called out tonight." There's a pause and she smirks. "Nah, can't meet you at Lucy's tonight, sorry. Hot date." She grins and hangs up on her partner as she gets to the bottom of the steps. "Jerk's starting to grow on me," she grumbles mildly, and then calls, "Richard?"

That call is answered with the sudden rattling crack-crack-crack of a three round burst. It's probably a good thing that she hung up when she did. Cardinal's visible at the edge of the darkened hallway that's been converted into a shooting gallery, an M16 in his hands and a his headset keeping him from actually hearing her at the moment.

Shortly after that burst, he drops back a step, swearing and rolling his shoulder, "Fuck! Kickback, kickback… god damn it."

The burst brings Liz's attention toward the hall that has been made over into a firing range, and it's far enough from the stairs that at least her hearing is in no danger initially. She was careful about helping get that range set fully up! She waits until he starts cussing, and then she steps out where he can see her. The headset's enough to keep her from letting him hear her anyway. She waits until she's sure he's aware of her and takes his headset off to say mildly, "The best way to absorb the kickback is to roll with it. Brace it against your body and use your whole body to absorb it." She tips her head. "Want some help?"

It takes a moment for him to notice her, and then turns with a wry smile the rest of the way. As she pulls the headset off, Cardinal exhales a chuckle, "Yeah, yeah, you've told me. I'm just not used to this automatic shit, used to relaxing a little after the first shot." He reaches out to slide a hand up her arm in greeting, brows lifting, "Sure, if you've got time. What've you been up to, anyway?"

As she tucks her phone back into her pocket, Elisabeth moves into the casual touch and leans up to kiss his jaw. "Relaxing is actually the right thing to do, you just have to do it the right way," she tells him with a smile. "Don't anticipate the shot so much. One more set, and I'll fill you in." She nudges him to turn back around and watches as he puts the rifle back to his shoulder. Her hands smooth down the backs of his shoulders. "Relax here and here. Like you're slow dancing." Her hands skim down to adjust where his hips are in relation to his shoulders, tugging so that he's lined up with his whole body facing the same way. "Widen your stance," she says as she kicks lightly at the back of his heel, "and think of it…. like punching someone. The gun's not an extension of your arm in this case, it's an extension of your whole body." Then she steps back and lets him make the next two rounds of shots.

"So I just have to imagine that John Logan's in front of me, right." A turn back to the targets, and Cardinal brings the rifle up once more; he doesn't bother with the headset, assuming that she'll dampen the sound as usual. He sights down the barrel, jaw tightening as he takes careful aim, then squeezes off another two tight bursts, shoulder pushed back against her hands from the impact of the rifle's butt.

Elisabeth watches, using her hands to brace him and correct mid-shot while he does it, and then nods slightly. "Better," she tells him. "Use the recoil the same way you would with a handgun. Breathe between shots to level back off. It's faster with the burst fire, but you can still do it." There's a light brush of her hand across his back and then she steps back to look up at him. "Gillian's in Homeland's hands," she says baldly. "I thought you should hear it from me."

"Alright," Cardinal murmurs, shifting the weight of the rifle in his arms— and then he stops, and twists around, eyes widening suddenly, "What? What fo— did they hit Phoenix, or something?"

Elisabeth shakes her head and says quietly, "She got swept up in a Refrain raid, from what I can find." Her blue eyes are apologetic. "There was nothing I could do, I wasn't even involved. She was already gone by the time I got to work and found out."

Cardinal's rifle drops down to his side, his lips twitching in a grimace. "Jesus Christ, she got herself caught up in that… fuckin' poison bullshit? Fuck, fuck, fuck…" The safety's flicked on, and he tosses the rifle to a table, walking across the room back and forth in anxious pacing, "Any idea what they're doing with her?"

Elisabeth watches him move around, sympathy in her expression. She's no fool — his reaction is telling. "DHS had her out of NYPD's cell in less than 12 hours. There's no way to know what they'll do — whether she'll wind up in Moab or somewhere else. There's always the possibility they'll offer her something she wants and try to recruit her. They've done that before too. I have zero information on whether Gillian was there because she was taking the stuff or what." She sighs heavily. "I do have concerns that it means the library's compromised again, though, Richard. They've got telepaths that mindrape whoever."

"I doubt they've managed to rebuild Moab by now— I mean, it's possible, but I don't think there was much left of it," Cardinal points out, grimacing, "And yeah, I know, that's my worry too. We need someone's who's in DHS… fuck. Parkman's been out of touch for just about forever, I doubt the Cowboy would help us…"

"Getting someone into DHS is unlikely, at best. Even if Parkman weren't incommunicado — as far as I know, even Kay hasn't talked to him, and she's supposedly marrying the guy — I doubt he'd help us. But I could be wrong." Elisabeth grimaces and says quietly, "And to top off the bad news today…. Abby's going to Russia. With Cat and Teo. According to Tamara, they are expected. And it has something to do with the nukes."

"What?" Cardinal stops his pacing, looking over with a bemused furrowing of his brow, "Well, if Tamara— shit. Maybe I should go talk to her." He rubs at the side of his face, "Maybe we can talk to the Cowboy, maybe he'd— no, I guess he's still pissed off over the whole Teodoro situation."

Elisabeth snorts softly. "Pissed? I'd say that's the understatement of the new millenium, honestly. He still won't answer my calls. If I text him something work-related, he might get back with me, but yeah…. he's still pissed." Shoving her hands into the pockets of her woolen jacket, she studies him. "Talking to Tamara's sort of like…. talking to the wind. You might get an answer, you might not. If you're meant to talk to her or you need to talk to her, she'll find you," she says finally. There's a long pause and she looks away. "I'm sorry," she murmurs.

Cardinal lifts one shoulder in a bit of a shrug, noting, "I can find her, if I need to. Just… Christ." He looks over with a grimace, "We need to find out what's happening with Gillian, and if she's being interrogated…"

Looking back at him, Elisabeth just…. nods. "I let Cat know as well. But frankly? I can't even find out where DHS took her, much less what's happening to her. If you have other ideas on that front, I'm willing to listen. But …. ultimately, babe?" She doesn't say the words aloud, but her tone holds little hope.

"I know, I know." Cardinal takes a deep breath, then exhales it, looking over, "Do you know if Peyton's ever met Gillian? If she has, we could possibly get some idea of what's going on with her."

"No, I don't," Elisabeth admits. "We can try to put a call into her. I've been steering well clear of everyone but Cat lately — my friendship with her is obvious and on the record, but I don't want to expose Helena or anyone to the possibility of my being tailed." She grimaces a little. "Hell, I probably shouldn't even be here; I should call you on the phone and just not come. But I can't. There's too much going on and we need everyone up to speed on the firearms." She bites her lip and admits, "And I still don't really feel… safe anywhere else." Whether it's the place or the person, she leaves out. Especially now that Lazarro's inspected her home without her permission, it makes her leery to be there alone. "Lazarro's weird, by the way. And possibly dirty. He got John Logan off the other night. The same night Gilly got picked up."

"Oh really…" A narrowing of Cardinal's eyes as he steps along over to her, reaching out to loop his arms about her middle and pull her closer, "…well, that's no fuckin' surprise. Could be in Linderman's pocket, or maybe he's just generically corrupt, who knows."
Elisabeth leans into him, resting her head on his shoulder and sliding one arm around his waist with a faint smile. "Could be. Can't imagine he's actually in any way interested in me," she replies with a grin. Because that's just crazy talk. "I asked him what IA wanted with Logan and he basically said he couldn't just come out and tell me that until I let him buy me a drink." She shrugs. "I took him to Lucy's in case he tried anything stupid. Figured the girls wouldn't let him make off with me or something stupid, right?" She looks up at him and rolls her eyes theatrically. "But he still didn't tell me anything."

Cardinal crooks a brow upwards. "Figures," he allows in dry tones, his head shaking a little, "I might have to look into the sonuvabitch, see what I can dig up, if he's getting that problematic…"

There's a shrug and Elisabeth replies, "I don't know if I want you involved. He's already seen you. Whatever he knows of me, I guess we'll have to let it play out. He seems to have zero interest in turning me in, though. Can't decide if that's good or bad, if you want the truth. If he's in Linderman's pocket, it probably means I'm fucked eight ways from Sunday."

"Not so much," admits Cardinal with a slight shake of his head, "I have some contacts in the Group, still, and he can't make any real overt moves against us all— I'm pretty sure Phoenix still has some evidence they're sittin' on."

Elisabeth raises a brow, resting her head back on his shoulder and leaning into the warm curve of him. "I'll take your word for it. If they have shit on Linderman, I never knew about it." She considers and then asks, perhaps apropos of nothing, "Is there anyone else in the library right now?" She hasn't stretched her hearing to determine for herself, figuring he'll know for sure.

Cardinal's hands slide up and down the small of her back slowly as she nestles in against him, murmuring, "I thought I remembered hearing something once… anyway." A kiss to er neck, then he leans back a bit, "Mm, I think Zu's probably rummaging around the ruins somewhere, Claire's probably out with Magnes…"
There's a faint frown at that, though she chuckles as that kiss to her neck happens, nuzzling him lightly with her nose as he does it. "Actually, she's not. She called me to check up on him. He's gone walkabout. I need you to do something for me." She looks up at him when he pulls back, and she says bluntly, "I semi-freaked on my partner… I outright freaked on my father. And if the lights were to go off in here right now, I'd be useless to you. I need you to cut the lights and help me get over it."

"Maybe he won't come back," he mutters under his breath, and then leans back; his brow furrowing a little at that, "Cut the lights? Uh, I don't think that'd help you any, Liz…"

Elisabeth smiles faintly. "Actually, according to my therapist, the only way to help me get through the fear is to make me sit through it as calmly as possible as often as possible until there are no more scary associations." She shrugs a little and looks up to meet his gaze. "You've been the one constant since I woke up, Richard. You're the only person who could get near me, who could touch me at first. I think you may be the only way I walk through the dark too. Just…. " She pauses and nibbles her lip. "When you do it, talk to me, okay? So I know where you are. So I have something to focus on. And don't… don't get right into my face." She blanches a little. "He used to… " She trails off. "Just…. please?"

Cardinal watches her for a moment… and he nods just a little, murmuring, "So you just want me to not touch you, just stay away over near the light switch, or…?"

There's a quick grin. "Well, I don't know," Liz replies, injecting as much levity and cheekiness as she can into the retort. "If you come over here and touch me in the dark, there are all kinds of memories that might wipe away the fear, yeah?"

At that, Cardinal smirks a little. "Well, we could just go to your bedroom and turn off the lights for that, lover…"

That makes her laugh. "We could do that too!" Elisabeth winks at him. "I didn't say it had to be here and now. Just that it needed to be done."

"That might not be a bad idea," he admits, tilting his head, "So I'd be right there for you…"

Elisabeth shrugs and murmurs, "Wow, now who's overthinking it?" She's mostly facetious. "I'm game for the apartment too. The point is a for-certain safe environment and someone I feel safe being in the dark with. Those were the two elements that she said would help correct the reaction." She grimaces a little. "I can't promise I'm ever going to entirely get over the uneasiness, Richard. But I can't afford to freak out when the lights go out. I'm either going to get myself or someone else killed that way if I freeze."

"Alright." Cardinal tips his head down to rest his brow to yours, eyes closing, "We'll get together at your place soon, then, and… give it a try, see what we can do."

Forehead to forehead, her own eyes closed as his arm cradles her, Elisabeth stands with him wordlessly. If anyone else chanced across them now, it might alter any number of perceptions of their relationship. Reluctantly, she draws back from him eventually and smiles. "Let's get you back on the practice range."

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