Nobody Said We Couldn't Remind You


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif elle_icon.gif

Scene Title Nobody Said We Couldn't Remind You
Synopsis After their recent encounter with the Haitian, Cardinal and Elle return to Redbird to discuss recent developments with Liz.
Date September 30, 2010

Redbird Security

There's a sharp, professional feel to the main lobby of the building. The carpet is a deep maroon underfoot, the walls an off-white cream that doesn't glare too brightly beneath the recessed lighting in the ceiling. Half a dozen chairs upholstered in a sandy light brown sit against one wall beneath a painting, a print of a Thomas Brill that shows the ruins of Midtown covered in vines and greenery as seen from the rooftop of the Deveaux building. The receptionist's station takes up almost an entire wall on the right side of the lobby, guarding the hallway that leads back into the building's offices. Behind and above the desk, the logo for Redbird Security Solutions hangs on the wall in glossy black.

The central hall continues the same carpet and wall colors to a number of doors. There are four offices, a restroom done in shades of blue and pale sand tones, and a comfortable employee lounge with attached kitchenette. An open doorway in the main lobby reveals a flight of upward stairs, and there's a locked door at he end of the central hall that guards the basement steps.

There's not much that's said on the way back from the warehouse, since Cardinal's assuming that she needs to recover from the shock that she's just suffered; promises to explain everything when they got to the safety of the office given, and they even stopped off at an Arby's drive through to get some dinner.

So it's with a small container of curly fries in hand that Richard walks through the lobby, heading for the office with a slow shake of his head. "Hey Jo," he pauses, calling to the receptionist, "Is Liz in?"

He was correct; Elle curled up in the front seat of the car. All that she needed to do was lean the chair back, and she closed her eyes and fell into a light sleep, only stirring to mumble her sandwich choice (and a chocolate milkshake) before passing back out. She was better off for it, and is feeling much better as she walks in after Cardinal, her eyes raising to the ceiling briefly, before back to Richard's back as she slurps at her milkshake.

Jo is offered a faint smile, the woman's brains still a bit on the fuzzy side after the Haitian made her forget the Institute. Otherwise, the electric blonde is happy to just stay right on Richard's heels.

Joanna looks up and grins that cheerful grin. "Yes, Mr. Cardinal, she just got in about 20 minutes ago. She's waiting in your office." She gathers up her things. "I'm heading out for the day, sir. See you tomorrow." She'll lock up behind her - the people in this building keep ridiculous hours.

Back in Richard's office, Elisabeth is finishing the last of a carton of Thai takeout that she picked up on her way in with a pair of chopsticks. She glances up as the door opens, and naked relief floods her features for just a moment. "One of these days," she comments as she sets the carton down with the chopsticks in it on his desk, "you're gonna learn to leave me messages about what's up. Here's hoping it's before I brain you with the butt end of a pistol," she observes drily. "How'd it go?" Her blue eyes skim past to Elle questioningly.

"It's not like I was in any danger. Simon's forbidden him from actually doing anything to me… oh, I think I finally figured out what happened at Hamilton Heights a few months back, by the way," admits Cardinal as he walks into the office, leaning over to brush a kiss to her forehead before stepping around her to his chair, "Harper's teleporter brings a whole sphere of matter with him…"

A sprawl back into the chair, and then he leans forward, reaching to spin a combination lock on one of the drawers, clicking it into place. "It… went about as well as could be expected."

Elle peeks around Cardinal to peer at Liz for a moment, slurping at her milkshake thoughtfully. She remembers her. That's good. She knows that she somehow thinks that Liz is even more worthy of trust than Cardinal, so she offers a faint smile to the woman. Then, she moves over to a seat, settling down and pulling out her sandwich. "I have a lot of fuzzy spots in my brain, and I remember thinking 'I hope you're happy' in Cardinal's general direction before things went black. Now."

She points the wrapped up sandwich to Cardinal for a moment, before beginning to unwrap it. "You got some explaining to do, because I am seriously baffled as to what the fuck is going on, why I'm not with the Company any more, why I remember killing Bryan Buckley and watching my father's expression when I betrayed him for something I don't even remember. I just know that I'm working with you guys or something, to stop something or other blah blah, what the hell is going on?" She takes a bite of her sandwich while she waits for the answer.
"Uh-huh," Elisabeth says, sliding her sneakers off Cardinal's desk, her head tipping up for that kiss on her head. "I don't care what Simon's forbidden, nothing's written in stone, love." And then she raises her brows on the teleporter thing, though she says nothing to that. Her blue eyes instead move to Elle and she watches her, gesturing for the other woman to have a seat. There's concern in her gaze as Elle sits and rants a bit.

"Oh good…. pretty much what we expected to be missing," Elisabeth sighs heavily. "Okay… so the short-short version is that Bright Future you came back from is entirely derailed and the Company went down the shitter. So you signed on with the Institute. At this moment, your father believes you to be dead."

"The long version…" Cardinal pulls open the drawer and starts to go through a file folder, drawing out some papers and setting them carefully on the desk's surface. The picture of Elle's mother is laid atop the notes that she'd written of her own memory, and he hesitates a moment before pushing the drawer closed.

The notes dealing with Warren Ray are left locked in the drawer. It's for her own good.

"You betrayed the Company," he says bluntly, looking over the desk to Elle with a serious expression, "You sided with the Commonwealth Institute, because you thought they were offering something different. They weren't. You killed Buckley and ensured that your father was captured and taken into Institute custody. He'll probably be trotted out in public eventually for a major trial when they're ready to set fire to the Company's corpse once and for all."

Blue eyes stare almost passively between Cardinal and Liz for a long moment. She's been rebooted, in a way, to a time when she was just a little bit better at keeping that emotionless mask on her features. However, she nods slowly, her eyes turning down toward the desk and the papers he's set there, her brows raising, a frown on her face. "I…that's why I remember Daddy, and Bryan Buckley…why…why would I do that?"

Then, her attention is on the picture of her mother, and after setting her milkshake down, she reaches out and snatches that picture of the middle-aged blonde who Elle takes so much of her appearance from, staring at it with a peculiar expression on her face and a slightly furrowed brow. "Who…who is this?" She turns her eyes back up to the pair, frowning.

Why would she betray her father? Elisabeth sighs quietly. "You would do it because you were pissed, Elle," she says gently, instinctively layering the subsonics into her voice to soothe the tiny blonde. "You had finally decided that nothing he'd ever done was actually for your good. That he was a monster. And that he was the reason your mother was killed." She stands up, moving to touch the electrokinetic's shoulder. "And you thought that turning him in to the Institute would mean he'd pay. Only it turned out the Institute was no better. They're doing the same sorts of things." She pauses. "That's your mother." It's a bombshell, but there's no easier way to drop it.

"We had you write down… what you thought was important." Cardinal's gloved fingers push against the edge of the other papers, pushing them to the other side of the desk, "So you can review that as you want - the deal we made for your freedom, so you wouldn't be hunted, was to erase your memories from when you were with the Institute… but nobody said we couldn't remind you afterwards."

The sandwich is dropped to the ground, completely forgotten in the moment. Elle instead stares at that picture with wide eyes. Then, she suddenly lunches forward, grabbing hold of the papers that contain her written statments with the hand that was once holding her forgotten meal. It doesn't take her long to read through the information to get to what she wants to find— the information about her mother.

There's a long silence as she reads through it, still clutching the picture. Then, Elizabeth and Cardinal get to see exactly the reaction Harper got to see when he revealed the circumstances of his mother's death, and what happened afterwards.

The attempt Liz makes to soothe her does little to help her reaction. "He…Arthur Petrelli…they killed my mom…and my dad had all of my memories of her removed…" She whispers this more to herself than anyone else, a confirmation of what she's just read.

The little blonde then suddenly lets out a sharp cry, shoving the information away from herself and sitting back in the chair, pulling her knees up to her chest and hiding her face. "FUCK." She clenches at her jeans, shuddering with a combination of suppressed rage and horror at this 'new revelation'.

Well, hey… it's a plus that she didn't get electrocuted. Elisabeth remains where she is, giving Elle space. The girl is still highly volatile. "I'm sorry, Elle," she says quietly.

Hiss she reads, Cardinal plucks a curly fry from the container sitting beside him and he takes a bite of it - crunching down on the crisp, seasoned potato spiral. As she starts to whisper to herself, he tenses up for a moment, setting the fries to one side, just in time to avoid the scattering of papers that might have knocked it over.

"I'm sorry too," he says in quiet tones, "I… wish that we could tell you that it wasn't true, but it is."

Elle remains quiet for a while, breathing and doing her best not to freak out around these people. It's not their fault, after all…they're the ones who made sure she was safe. So she remains silent, hugging at her knees.

Finally, though, she relaxes, uncurling from around herself. She glances toward the pair with reddened eyes, before reaching out to pick up the paperwork again, and begins reading through it further, her lips moving along with the words she wrote only a little while ago. Not another word comes from her as she does this, though slowly the color is draining from her face and her expression is becoming more intense.

Finally, she finishes reading, settling back and raising her eyes to Cardinal and Liz with a small frown. "Okay…so…what now?" She sounds numb.

Elisabeth glances at Cardinal and then back. "Now…. you're free. Before you had the classified information taken, you wanted to help us take down the Institute. If that still holds true, then we'll work with you. If you don't… then we're not going to hold you here."

"Do you remember Lola…?" There's an uncertain note to Cardinal's voice, since he's not sure if she will or not, "She's a cajun girl - currently in the hospital - I set you up to stay in the apartment with her, although if you'd rather other arrangements, you can."

His hands spread a bit to either side, "It's your life, Elle. For the first time, maybe."

Elle is silent as she considers her options, her head tilted to one side. "Well…unless you two managed to forge my handwriting perfectly, then this is all legit." She taps the papers once before, as an afterthought, she takes them and slips them into her purse, offering a look to the two that dares them to stop her for a brief moment.

"If everything is true in what I just read…then yes, I do still want to work for you. I remember…that you guys are safe. Our first conversation has blurry parts. Institute mentions, I guess. I remember that you two can be trusted. I remember Lola, though I don't remember how we met, just that I know her, and I had something in common with her…I can't remember what."

She glances down at her stomach, a thoughtful look on her face.

Now there's a terrifying thought. Elle and Lola with something in common. God help us all. Elisabeth nods slowly. "The fact that you still believe us to be trustworthy helps," she admits quietly. "We'll get you set up in the safehouse again, and I think you should take a few days to acclimate." She pauses. "For what it's worth to you… somewhere along the way, in those notes, I assume…. you're goign to find that while you hadn't forgiven your father, you were coming to some amount of peace with what happened. If that becomes the case…. talk to me. You'd asked me to let him know that you were alive — discreetly. But I wanted to wait until you got past this part of it before I talked to Richard about doing it."

"You can talk to her about it," Cardinal suggests, taking in a slow breath and then exhaling it as he slumps back in his chair, one hand raising up to finger-comb his hair back away from his brow. "You were — regretting what you'd done," he admits, affirming Elisabeth's own words. "My suggestion's - pretty much what she said, to take a few days to just get used to things, digest all of…" A wave of his hand towards the papers, "…that."

Elle's eyes turn up toward Liz first, brows raising slightly. "I— I need to think about that…" She turns her eyes back down to the paper. "God, I thought him electrocuting me was bad…" She shakes her head slowly, closing her eyes as she shakes off that thought. Then, she turns to peer at Cardinal, nodding slowly.

"One last thing." She murmurs, raising to her feet. For a second, it looks like she's going to undress, undoing the belt that holds up the slightly loose jeans. But then, all she does is pull the waist of her pants down, and her shirt up an inch or so, to reveal a fresh tattoo, only a few days old, of a gear gracing the crease of her right hip. It seems to have unintelligable words engraved in it. "I noticed this when I was in the bathroom. Can't read it normally…" She peers down at the tattoo. "But in the mirror, it says 'Warren Ray'. Who is that, and why did I put his name in my skin?"

For a long moment, Elisabeth doesn't move. Doesn't even breathe. She whispers something under her breath that sounds… distinctly vulgar. And she looks at Cardinal. Because you know what? NOT. DEALING. WITH. THIS. PART.

Oh. Of course. Cardinal brings one hand upwards, rubbing against the side of his face as she states what the tattoo is. "You were… assigned as the babysitter for one of the Institute's pet psychos. Warren Ray… Mortimer Jack… whatever the hell he's calling himself these days." There's a pause, "You may or may not've slept with him, but, ah, I think you did. You also told me at least twice that you and Odessa were going to murder him. He's a dangerous sonuvabitch. His body count's pretty high."

Elle stares at Cardinal. At first, her face is just slack, shocked as he says the name Mortimer Jack. Then, slowly, her face tightens, screwing up into a look of pure and utter disgust. "The crazy fucker who blew up Primatech Bronx?! I zapped him a few months ago, and then…" She blinks. "…It's fuzzy." She shakes her head. "I slept with him?!" She shakes her head, pulling up her pants and fastening her belt.

"I don't know what the fuck the Institute did to me, but just for that…for making me…ohhh, that's so GROSS. Sign me up, fuck the Institute, burn them down, etcetera." Elle cringes. "Oh god, I have his name on me."

"OH good," Elisabeth mutters and shakes her head. "You know…. I never thought I'd see the day I was defending Mortimer fucking Jack. But to put it bluntly? The Institute didn't make you sleep with him. I know that for a fact." The rest of what she knows? She'll keep to herself, though. "However, keep that attitude. We like it."

"The man did have his own cult," Cardinal admits in dry tones, "I imagine that spending large amounts of time with him probably isn't entirely… mentally healthy, to be fair." He shakes his head tightly, "Maybe you saw something in him I never had. I don't suggest trying to re-ignite that particular relationship, though."

The look of disgust gets even more…disgusted, at Liz's words. "…They must have done something. I wouldn't…ewww, god, no. I would not sleep with that crazy…man…thing." She shakes her head, shuddering. "I don't plan on it. I mean…you must be right. He must have used that cult hoodoo-voodoo with me." She shakes her head, slowly easing into her chair.

She then recalls she has a milkshake, and begins to slurp at it. "I'll take some time, looking over this stuff…but while I don't remember much about the past few months, I remember that you two are probably the last people who I can really trust right now, and that I want to help you guys. And…I know that you stuck your necks out for me." She fidgets. "Thank you."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "You're welcome." And manages to refrain from giving her standard 'if you hurt my people, I'll kill you where you stand' lecture. "I'll see you in a couple days, Elle. I need to talk to Richard about something else. Make sure you get to the apartment before curfew, okay?" And she'll wait for Elle to head out before speaking again.

"Hey…" Cardinal leans back, offering her a wry smile, "…we wouldn't be the good guys otherwise, right? It's the least we can do… and if you need any help getting used to things after - well - what happened, just let us know."

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