Not an Unexpected Reaction


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif

Scene Title Not an Unexpected Reaction
Synopsis A meeting with Cardinal and Elisabeth leads to Graeme learning things. (And to Cardinal having a new hole in the wall of his office.)
Date February 23, 2011

Redbird Security: Cardinal's Office

Graeme's getting … minorly impatient. The man's dressed simply, dressed in thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, with a blue cabled sweater that is darker than his jeans, clothing more suitable for hard work than for some sort of meeting. And it's an hour of time that he could have spent working, helping in the efforts at where the Dome is. Patience has never been Graeme's strong suit, and the entire hour, the man hasn't managed to sit still for more than a minute or two at a time. He taps at his phone, looking around, one foot tapping the ground.

When the door opens, the blonde walking through it dressed in business clothes. A pair of sleek chocolate brown slacks and blazer with a champagne-colored blouse, brown heels. She nods to the guard, smiles at Jo — who greets her with a smile in return. "Ms. Harrison. Mr. Cardinal said to come back as soon as you get here." Then she flicks her eyes to Graeme as well.

Elisabeth already knows what's going on and she nods slightly. "Thanks, Jo." Turning to look at Graeme, Liz's blue eyes have a cool edge to them. "Graeme. I believe you and I have the same appointment. Would you like to come with me, please?" She gestures for him to follow her.

"Liz?" There's a tone of confusion in Graeme's voice, and he gets up. There's also relief in his voice, though. He shoves his phone into his pocket, with a heavy sigh. When he's standing, he takes the few steps it takes him to join Elisabeth, falling into step one step behind her. Other than that, he's silent.

Elisabeth walks him down the hall to the door marked "R. Cardinal" and taps twice then merely opens it and walks in, holding the door open for Graeme to join her inside the office. Even as she closes it — and seals the three of them inside a silence field so Jo doesn't hear any potential shouting — she's speaking.

"Graeme Cormac, Richard Cardinal. Richard, Graeme. I believe the two of you have …. crossed paths, albeit unexpectedly. And I'm sorry, Graeme." Elisabeth gestures Graeme to a chair if he wants it. "As soon as you showed me the images, I knew what had happened. Unfortunately, I didn't know your connection to the situation. And frankly… I wish you weren't involved."

"I know who Mister Cormac is," Cardinal replies calmly, leaning back in the large black chair behind the desk, gloved hands folding over his chest. He's dressed in his suit, pinstripe, the tie untied and hanging somewhat loose around his neck. A fedora's perched on the edge of the table, and he sizes up the other man through dark shades, "What can I do for you, Mister Cormac?"

As if it wasn't obvious.

Graeme doesn't sit. Not yet. He's on edge, tense, a mood that's edging on his already lack of impulse control. So when he does speak, it's in a fairly quiet tone, overall, barely level. Liz will recognise it as the same overall tone from after he'd first met his sister. "You could explain, Mister Cardinal." There's a pause. "And you know what I'm asking you to explain."

Graeme looks over at Liz, biting down on his lower lip. "Liz, what the hell is going on?" It's an honest, unguarded question.

"We are under martial law, Mister Cormac," Cardinal states in even tones, not taking his gaze off of Graeme, "And your sister is part of a ''terrorist cell'' that specializes in killing women and children in order to push their agenda." A beat, "I'm sure you're familiar with them. Humanis First?"

Graeme bites down on his lower lip, and just turns away from Cardinal. He turns away from Elisabeth, too, and there's a brief moment of silence. The sound that comes next is muffled, bitten back, wordless and animal; and Graeme punches the wall. Several times. Two leave dents, one cracks the drywall to the point of leaving a small hole, and then he's leaning his forehead on the wall, shoulders shaking slightly. "Yes. No. Hells…" It's almost acknowledgment, though. It fits so well, her reactions, everything.

Elisabeth knew that would go over poorly — but on some levels, she also determined by staying silent long enough for Cardinal to respond that he needed to hear it. Bluntly. Ripping the band-aid off, so to speak. That Graeme's reaction is both impulsive and a bit violent? Not a shock — knowing his ability as she does and knowing the fact that he's already had a full day to stew over the situation, there was an extremely low probability that he was going to stay calm. That said, she is out of the way of his flying fist. But her tone is both sharp and demands immediate obedience — Graeme will definitely recognize that tone. She too was a teacher, and now she keeps a squad of sometimes unruly Evos under control.

"That one is free. You lift that fist again, Graeme Cormac, and I'll put you on the floor here and now." Elisabeth gentles her tone. "Now. Sit."

It certainly wasn't an unexpected reaction, although Cardinal still sighs; a hand lifting to rub against the side of his face as the other man's fist beats into the wall. "At least he doesn't have a destructive ability," he murmurs against his palm, "Thank you, Liz. I don't want to have to get a contractor in here…" His hand drops down to rest on the arm of his chair, asking, "Are you done, Mister Cormac?"

Graeme's bitten down so hard on his lower lip now that it's bleeding a bit, a copper tang in his mouth. He's still pretty much mute from shock, but he takes the command, and sits down on the chair that was pointed out to him earlier, head in his hands. "Oh god, hell. Liz… oh god…"

"I'm sorry that you saw what you saw. I'm sorry that you had to hear from us about what your sister has been involved in." Elisabeth grimaces, moving to perch on the corner of Cardinal's desk. "You already knew she was not in the most legal line of work," she says quietly. "In this town when you're running guns right now, Humanis First is going to be one of the bigger clients." She sighs. "She wasn't hurt. She was threatened, you were threatened, yes. But ultimately, she gave over some of the most important information we could have ever hoped to get hold of in building a case."

"She wasn't hurt because she's just an idiot who got involved over her head… way, way over her head," Cardinal exhales a sigh of breath, his eyes closing for a moment, "Unfortunately, the fact that you're here suggests that you gave her the information she needed to figure out who took her. Which is a serious problem. The obfuscation was for her own safety."

Graeme's still working on processing this, that his sister is part of … he looks up, watches Elisabeth, watches Cardinal. "Oh god…" he nods, mutely, again. "She asked, and …" He shakes his head a little, not meeting either of the others' eyes. "Shit." The last statement is with grim-faced certainty.

"Yeah. Shit," Elisabeth agrees quietly. "If she goes back to Humanis First and tells them what she knows…. " She sighs heavily. "Graeme, I know that you're angry, but this is so much bigger than any of that. What she knows? It's beyond dangerous. She can name names — on both sides now. And if she makes a target of Cardinal, it makes a target of Redbird as a whole. Which means they'll come and set bombs off. If we're lucky," she says grimly. "If we're not, they'll come traipsing in here and try to take anyone in the building and possibly you and her into their own perverted custody to torture anyone they think will give them information. This is not a joke. It's in the best interests of the people she knows to make sure that anyone Keira told is dead."

"It also," Cardinal points out with a slow shake of his head, "Puts her in danger. Before, if she decided to go to them on this, they may have tried to set up a sting - waited to see who contacted her. Now? They'll just put a bullet in her head, since she has answers for her." He fixes the other man with a steady look, "You may want to make sure that she keeps her mouth shut."

Graeme is nearly mute, silent, trying to reign in the anger. "Liz, yeah. I know." Instead, his fist comes down on Cardinal's desk, hard enough to shake and upset anything that might be on it. His temper isn't particularly under control, not yet. A moment later, and Graeme's nodding. "I can try. I don't know how much she'll listen to me. But I can try. I can call her."

Cardinal grimaces — reaching over to adjust the laptop where it was shaken by the impact of the man's fist. "Have you ever considered anger management classes, Mister Cormac?" A dry observation, "Give her a call. See if you can… persuade her to keep quiet. I tried before this to just— talk to her, but she's always been kind of a crazy bitch. Didn't go well."

Elisabeth hesitates. She's not entirely sure how far to push Graeme, clearly. But she sighs at the fist on the desk. In an aside, she murmurs to Cardinal, "It's sorta like dealing with Felix." When she looks back to the other man, the blonde says, "When you call her… If you don't think she's going to keep her mouth shut, Graeme…." She bites her lip. "We need to know. We can't have them killing her to keep her silent."

Graeme looks at Liz, and shakes his head. "I heard that, you know." There's a slight bit of good-natured humour in his voice. "I'm going to take being compared to Felix as a compliment." He pauses, and his hand, which was still in a fist, relaxes some. A little.

"Yeah, I've been kind of getting the crazy bitch impression, Mister Cardinal." Graeme sighs, and looks back at Elisabeth. "I know. I … I think I should be able to get her to keep her mouth shut. I sure as hell hope so."

"I suppose it didn't help that I sort of dumped her a few years back," Cardinal says, perhaps surprisingly, rubbing against the nape of his neck for a moment before waving a hand vaguely, "So do I, Mister Cormac. So do I. I've going way out on a limb not to have to put her behind bars or worse, here."

Now she can't help but laugh. "Well….. you know, I guess there's something to be said for a man who can objectively admit that his sister's a crazy bitch," Elisabeth retorts. And then she shoots a look over her shoulder at Cardinal and rolls her eyes. "What is it with you and crazy women?" she asks, tongue firmly in cheek. Izzy, anyone? Now Keira. Arguably Liz herself could potentially fit that label….

Graeme's hands clench into fists again, and for a minute, he's silent. He's trying very hard not to lose his temper again. "Right. You… dated… my half-sister." The words are not particularly easy to say. Graeme shakes his head, and his hands fold into his lap. He turns to Liz. "I ran into Felix at the bowling alley two nights ago," he adds. "And uh." Then Graeme turns a faint shade of red.

"And apparently you have a crush on my associate," is the dry observation from Cardinal, "It was years ago. Shall we move on?" One hand lifts, thrusting a finger at Elisabeth, "Glass houses. Stones."

Elisabeth gives Cardinal the most Innocent. Face. Ever. And she opts not to retort to Graeme, Yeah, well, you're blushing cuz something happened between you and my lover! This is neither the time nor place for such comments. Instead, she merely bites her tongue with a mischievous smile at both men.

"Yeah," Graeme says, biting his lower lip again. And this time, he notices that he's bitten it hard enough it's bleeding, with a bit of a grimace. "I'll try and call her. But how do I…"

Graeme's shoulder's slump a little, and he brings his face to rest in his hands. He doesn't know how to even approach his sister, at the moment, let alone anything else, and then what little control Graeme'd been maintaining over his emotions is let go. But it's not anger, this time, just quiet, wracking sobs.

"I don't know." Cardinal's admission is quiet… and then the other man is crying. Oh, jeeze. He rubs a hand against the bridge of his nose, looking hopefully at Elisabeth. Help he is being emotional.

Elisabeth slips off the edge of the desk now and does what comes naturally to her — she wraps her arms around the young man sitting in the chair, holding him tightly. Glancing toward the man behind the desk, she sighs softly. It's not like it was unexpected at all. Liz was just hoping it would hold off until she walked him out. If Richard ever wondered how it came about that she might have slipped and pushed his hair off his head with Ziadie watching? This. This is the answer. See?? Den Mother to Evo terrorists, for God's sake!

There's no protest when Elisabeth puts her arm around him. It takes a little while, and the crying subsides. Somewhat. There's a wordless sound, quiet, from him, distress that's pushed away, pushed back. Graeme rubs his forehead with his hands, a little, and he straightens out. This time, he doesn't bite down on his lower lip. "I don't know how I'm supposed to … I will, I just … shit." He leans against Elisabeth a little bit. This is way hard on him.

Elisabeth rubs his back, and she says quietly, "She's not going to trust anything that comes from Richard, considering the circumstances. Nor is she likely to trust anything that comes from me — I'm a stranger. Unfortunately, it's entirely on you. Don't threaten her. Just … I get the impression that her main concern was you. Making sure you were kept out of it and not hurt. Point out that not keeping her mouth shut at this point will likely get you killed. If you're lucky." She's not kidding on this — his life is in jeopardy. Smoothing a gentle hand over his head as if to push his hair back, she murmurs, "I'm so sorry, Graeme. More than I can possibly say. But you're in it now. And the only thing you can really do at this point is keep a low profile. If her associates figure out that you're her brother…. you're both likely dead. Both of you need to be very careful."

There's another glance at Cardinal and Elisabeth offers quietly, "If you need help… I guess you know where to look now." Because she'll be damned if she'll leave the kid — and that's how she thinks of him right now, an innocent in the mess — out in the cold.

Cardinal clears his throat a little, shifting to sit up uncomfortably. "Well, then, ah— I really have some, uh, business," he says quickly, picking up some papers and shuffling them around, "To handle, here…"

Graeme nods, quietly. He reaches up, to rub his face with one hand. "I'll call her," he says. "Hopefully, she'll listen." That's pretty much what it lays out to, and Graeme hugs Elisabeth, very, very briefly, then straightens, and looks to Cardinal. "So uh … thank you for meeting with me," he says. There's a bit of a grin. "I'm … sorry about the hole in your wall."

Indeed. The hole in his wall. Elisabeth moves back to give Graeme room, clearly intending on walking out with him. "I'll give you a call later," she says to Cardinal. Probably to update him. "C'mon, Graeme, I'll walk with you. I have to get back to the unit anyway."

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