No Time Like The Present


cardinal2_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title No Time Like The Present
Synopsis Cardinal finds out the fate of the rest of his friends.
Date Jan 3, 2009

USS George Washington

As the turboprop lands on the carrier deck — most assuredly jerking all the occupants forward and backward as the tailhook catches the wire to jerk it to an abrupt stop — Elisabeth Harrison stands with a small group near the door of the control tower. She's not really supposed to be out here, especially not without ear protection — or so some of the guys have harassed her about, until she entirely MUTED the sounds of the deck for them — but word trickled out that the Argentina team, already debriefed en route, would be landing this morning. The tropical sun sparkles on blue water around the carrier for the moment, though there are hints of gray clouds on the horizon. They could be in for some rain later. Right now, though, the USS George Washington looks like a jewel of the US military. The blonde remains where she is as people are unloaded from the plane, grateful to see two people … make that three people because though Claire will not remember Magnes, Elisabeth does and is glad to the kid survived… disembark the aircraft mostly in one piece.

Richard Cardinal looks like hell. The flight jacket he's usually wearing is blackened and burnt across the back, his skin is a reddish burn, and he's squinting past one hand that shields his eyes from the sun with a grimace as he looks over the deck. Frankly, he probably can't see a damn thing.

"This way, sir," one of the crew barks out, leading him along away from the aerial vehicle that he arrived in. He accepts that help, grimacing as he keeps his gaze averted down.

Fucking sun.

There is a moment where Elisabeth nods to each member of the team as they head in through the door of the control tower, offering Magnes and Gillian in particular eye contact and the visible relief that they are all right. A nod and a murmur to each that she'll catch up with them shortly, and the blonde turns her attention to the man being helped across the deck. She walks forward, the wind on the deck whipping her blonde ponytail into a mess, and jerks her chin to the petty officer who's got Cardinal's hand, stepping into the man's place to slide a slender, cool hand into the shadowmorph's. There is an instantaneous drop in volume even as she teases in a very soft voice, "I'd say 'hey sailor, long deployment?' but well…. you're definitely no sailor with that scruff, Nerfherder."

At the touch of slender fingers, Cardinal's gaze cuts up — and he grins broadly, his five o'clock shadow definately more like a beard now, scraggly and untrimmed and tangled with little scraps of peeling skin. "Hey there yourself," he greets, stepping in closer ashe stops there on the deck, brows lifting as he meets her eyes, "You all right?"

The sparkle of pure relief in Elisabeth's expression and the flash of more, a deeper emotion, as she leans forward to rest her forehead against his chin — no PDAs on the deck for them here! — should be answer enough. "You are a hell of a sight for sore eyes, lover. I'm … okay. We didn't have it near as hard as you and the other team did." Their escape was cake in comparison. She pulls back to look up at him, sympathetic at the red skin and the redder — if that's even possible — eyes. "C'mon, let's get you underground. We can talk in the dark, okay?" She squeezes his hand lightly and leads the way into the dark control tower. (Well, dark in comparison to a sunlit deck anyway.)

As she rests her head down against his chin and chest, Cardinal raises an arm to wrap about her shoulders; pulling her in against him fiercely for a moment, eyes closing as he inhales the scent of her hair. It's familiar, and it's all the home he needs right now. "Sounds like a plan," he murmurs, drawing back with a faint, pained smile before moving to step along after her, exhaling a relieved sigh as they enter the darker interior, "God, I hate daylight."

The embrace, as simple as it is, is one she's waited more than a month for. She allows herself just that moment to hold him tightly, a very faint tremor perhaps giving away the rush of tears that she has to quell. By the time she looks up at him, though, she has a smile for him. Once they're inside, she seems to relax a little. Certainly the noise level alters, as if she's dropped the 'mute' button. "I didn't realize you were without glasses. The Navy Exchange will have some for you. I'm pretty sure I even saw some wraparounds. They're pretty common things to lose and break around here, apparently," she comments. As she ushers him through the corridors, following behind the rest of his team, Elisabeth teases with a wry twist of her lips, "You look like you sat too long in a tanning bed. Nice look for you, the skin sloughing off and all." She nods to several naval personnel as the two go past people in the halls. "They've got most of us berthed in the same general area — some kind of extra crew quarters for visiting navy folks or something. Ain't much, but I'm betting it's a billion times better than the hellhole you just came out of."

"This crazy sonuvabitch fired a lightning gun practically right on top of me— you know, I'll tell you later," Cardinal shakes his head tightly as he waves off the story, which even he knows sounds absolutely ridiculous. If someone told him about it, he knows that he wouldn't believe it. As they walk, he snakes an arm around her waist in a familiar manner, his head shaking a little, "A bed's better than dirt, definately." A sidelong glance, "Everyone alright? Abigail?"

It's instinctive to settle in and match her steps to his even as his arm slides around her. They've walked this way often at this point, and Liz lightly rests her head against his shoulder — gently! — for a moment as they do it, but only for that instant. It's not a comfortable way to walk anyway, and it draws a few raised eyebrows and stares as they make their way through the not-wide halls of the ship though Liz seems to not notice them. She glances toward the backs of the team that is being escorted to where they need to be, and she cuts sideways down a different corridor with him with a gentle nudge. It's not like they'll really find anyplace for privacy, but she leads him into what looks like a flight briefing room and closes the door. It'll get them a few minutes alone anyway.

"They sent Abigail home. She's doing all right…. though the Vanguard grabbed her in Russia. Holden…." Liz clenches her jaw. "I'm pretty sure he got ugly pleasure out of beating the shit out of her and breaking her ankle while they were holding her. But we got out, and she and Teo headed stateside with Francois. Though I think he's back now." She frowns slightly. "Pretty much everyone was offered the opportunity to duck out and go home except me and Holden — we're in custody until the culmination of all this. Bravo — Claire's team — was extracted the same day you were. They …. didn't fare well either. Dont' know if you've seen the news about what's goign on in Madagascar, but it's all-out war on the ground there. Not entirely sure what the actual damages done to everyone there were, but …. Claire took a shotgun to the head, Richard. She's also in isolation for a form of malaria they've never seen before, and … from what I gather, she's missing a lot of memories. Recent ones." She grimaces a little, not having to tell the man in front of her how tough the road ahead is going to be for Claire in a lot of ways. "I haven't even been able to talk to her yet. They'll let her out of quarantine tomorrow, though."

As for Cardinal, well, he never gave a damn who looks at him how. The looks of the sailors and crew are ignored as he walks along beside him, nudged along down the hallway without argument and into the briefing room. Sooner or later someone will come fetch them, sooner probably rather than later, but it'll do for now. "Fuckin' Holden," he grunts at the news about him, leaning back against a table, both hands resting there. It's the information about Claire that widens his eyes, worry writ across his features as he leans forward, breathing out, "…shit. Fuck." A lean back, eyes closed, "I got her into this."

Shaking her head, Elisabeth says quietly, "Somehow…. I think that's taking on more responsibility than you actually own, love." She paces the edge of the table restlessly. "Damn, I hate that I can't get ten minutes of your time before shit hits the fan," she grumbles. She shoves and hand into her hair in that telltale motion of agitation, knocking her ponytail askew. With a sigh, she rips out the elastic holding the mane back and proceeds to efficiently yank the mass back up once more, clearly used to the motion at this point. She's also dressed in a manner that would let her, sort of, pass as a member of this crew — blue digital cammie pants, combat boots, a white T-shirt tucked into them. Not like she had a lot of clothes on her when they grabbed her, after all, and in Russia it's winter! "Other than that… "

She pauses. "Uhm… shit, a month's worth of BS. Kershner's got issues with Cat at the moment. Petrelli's … decisions and lack of communication with the carrier has her on edge, and … well, let's just say that I blew my cool at her and outed Cat for communicating with Petrelli off the books." She slants him a glance that says 'don't gimme shit about it'. "I was trying to avert the air strike."

"It went off anyway," Cardinal observes with a disgruntled sound under his throat, "Nearly buried us with half a mountain on top of our heads. I can't really blame the call, honestly, I wouldn't trust Petrelli if I had much choice anyway - given that he's not completely himself anymore." His shoulders sink, still, clearly blaming himself at least partly for Claire, one hand coming up to rub against his face, "Try to keep things cool with Kershner, at least until we get out of here."

"I think she and I are … mostly square." Elisabeth smiles a little. "If she can chalk up my pissiness to being arrested and then going into withdrawal thanks to Vanguard. Coming of the Xanax? Lemme tell you, not my idea of a good time. Not even fucking close. Mostly I think it bugged the shit out of her that we … were in communications and she was out of the loop. Ultimately…. Christ, Richard, you're going to give me the Face for this one. I actually like the damn woman. She's… well, she claims she's been trying to get me some answers on why the hell they came at me like they did." She shrugs. "Not sure the answers really matter anymore, ultimately. I would have liked to have a job to go back to, but eh…. not having to dance around the rules anymore? Going to be a huge plus for you, anyway. I'd have liked the chance to CHOOSE this side of the line instead of being shanghai'd across it when I wasn't looking, but what the fuck? Since I'd have wound up in the same place, does it matter?"

"We'll just be dancing around different rules now, Liz." A wan smile of Cardinal's own, and he pushes himself up to his feet, off from the table with a shake of his head, "And if you don't pick a side, someone'll eventually pick one for you."

"Yeah well…." Elisabeth grins wryly at him. "I'd already picked, I just hadn't jumped. Guess I knew it'd happen sooner or later." She hesitates and reaches out to touch his cheek lightly, her fingertips tracing the beard he's sporting wordlessly. And a faint smile twists her lips again. "C'mon. Let's get you to a bunk before you fall over."

Cardinal's nose wrinkles a bit as she traces her fingers over his beard. "And a razor," he laughs, shoulder bumping to hers companionably before he heads for the door, head shaking, "We should get to debriefing."

"You haven't done enough debriefing yet?" Liz demands with a laugh, ushering him along.

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