One Of Those Rare Moments


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title One of Those Rare Moments
Synopsis Some information exchanged, but not exactly what was expected.
Date Feb 9, 2011

Redbird Security Solutions, Basement Firing Range

There's almost nothing she can do out on the streets right now. Elisabeth's job is far more about coordinating, organizing, and glad-handing. Christ, she hates that part. Desperation has driven her entirely off the grid into Redbird's basement, her phone turned off (an excuse given to the techs for needing two hours off the grid entirely) and her pistol getting a workout. The reports are muffled behind the soundproof — and bulletproof — glass shielding.

In the middle of the range, the blonde has no ear protection on, only the safety glasses, and her feet are spread in a steady stance. The last two rounds go out of her pistol, a mean black piece of art, and then she picks up the semi-automatic rifle that's lying on the shelf in front of her and starts plinking away at the target with that as well. No point in wasting a target that's not entirely blasted full of holes, right?

Her aim is damn good. The heart is shredded, the head about the same, and several non-lethal regions aren't doing so hot either. She's been at this for an hour or more, according to the young woman at the desk.

At some point, she'll notice the head of the company leaning against the transparent door to the firing range; arms folded over his chest, Richard Cardinal's just watching her practice. She's far better with a gun than he is; comparatively, it's like watching an artist at work. He doesn't interrupt her, though, letting her get out her frustration until he's noticed.

It doesn't take as long as it might. The sense of being watched makes Elisabeth prickle. She rarely disregards that sense anymore, still mildly agoraphobic outside as she is. Glancing over her shoulder, she notes the who and finishes the shots in her clip with the sounds of gunfire still just as muffled as when he stepped in. That she didn't mute them altogether is simply a matter of not wanting the absolute silence. "Hey there," she greets, setting the weapon down on the shelf in front of her before turning and removing the yellow glasses. "Just get back?"

As the gun's set down, Cardinal pushes open the door to slip in. "Yeah. I had some meetings to handle," he admits, fingers splaying over the smooth of the glass door and pushing it closed behind him. He reaches up to press the button to bring the paper target along towards the front with a soft buzz. Taking it down, he regards it, then turns it towards her with a brow's raise, "…rough day?"

Elisabeth wrinkles her nose at him, laying the glasses down next to the weapons and stepping sideways enough to let him into her cube to retrieve the target. "No. Just … frustrated. A buncha people yakking and bitching and hemming and hawing about what to do, how to do it, who should do it, and contingencies upon contingencies instead of doing it…. just grates," she admits, reaching up to rub her forehead. And then she shrugs a little. "I can't go home and cook. So I come here and shoot," she adds ruefully.

Cardinal surrenders the target for her, offering wryly, "A trophy. You could put someone's name on the top if you like." He shakes his head a little, admitting, "Yeah, well. When something happens that there's no plan for, people start planning for things rather than acting on it." There's a pause, "Do we— know who took out that boat yet?"

"Not a fucking clue," Elisabeth replies, taking the target. "I can't ask the questions I want to ask of it — as in whether it was a targeted hit on your guys without drawing still more attention to our connections." As she looks at it, her smile holds a bitter twist. "I'm not sure where on the list I'd start," she admits with regard to putting a name on the target. When she looks up at him, she starts to say something and then aborts it. "You holding up?"

"I'm just fine," Cardinal replies with a shake of his head, "I'm more worried about you right now." A gesture of one hand towards her, "I passed our compass on to Daphne; sent her out to Alaska to pinpoint the facility there. That machine has got to fucking go."

Both her eyebrows go up. "About me?" Elisabeth asks, surprised. "What the hell for? I'm doing my job. It's a pain in the ass," she admits. "But you never promised me a rose garden, love." She smiles.

"I could." Cardinal's smile fades a hint, glancing down the lane, "I haven't gotten a chance to check on my gardens in months. They're probably all dead, by now… except for the one at the library. I've made time to make sure that one stays alive."

Elisabeth chuckles and she moves finally, reaching out to put a hand on his chest near his shoulder. "I'm glad," she says quietly, without elaborating on why. When she looks up, there's a tilt of her head and her examination of his face is puzzled. "What am I doing now that has you worried?"

Cardinal's hand lifts, sliding over her fingers. He regards her for a moment, head tilting slightly. "Looking for a short cut," he says simply, "You're tense, frustrated… wanting to act, to react, not wait. The investigation, the dome… Ezekiel… there's a lot on you lately."

Ah. Her expression clears. "Yeah. Well, there are no short cuts," Elisabeth replies. "Time and events move at their own pace, and hurrying things along is just a way to make mistakes." She smiles faintly. "Whether I want to act or react, there is no action I can take right now that will in any way benefit the plans. And I refuse to act or react — if I can help it — in a way that's going to blow our plans out of the water. So yes… I'm frustrated."

She pauses a moment and laughs quietly. "It's more obvious lately, I guess. I used to hide it behind dragging you off into a corner."

"You're still a cop at heart," Cardinal points out with a slow shake of his head, "Cops aren't good with… waiting, really. Never met a cop that didn't hate stakeouts, even, and even that's something you're doing."

"Well," Elisabeth retorts on an amused note, "did you expect me to change?"

"No." Cardinal steps in, one hand lifting to slide into her hair and pull her in until his brow touches hers, chuckling softly, "Just try and relax. Not everything is the end of the world. We just need to be patient."

Now she does laugh. "Helena used to call me Chicken Little. I am forever worrying," Elisabeth admits, tipping her head up to rest against his. "It's my grandmother's fault," she dismisses. She draws in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, closing her eyes and simply soaking in the quiet moment. They find them — they're just rare. "Patience is not my strong suit," she admits in a soft murmur. "But I'm working on it."

"Now there's a name that I haven't heard in awhile," Cardinal's eyes close a bit, "I wonder where the windbag's gone lately. She could come in useful, if only for marketing purposes." So to speak.

"I don't know," Elisabeth admits. "She dropped off the radar. Probably a good thing for her," she murmurs. "She deserves time to deal with her father and stuff." There's a long pause and she draws back a bit. Only to see him better, not far enough to dislodge his hand from her hair or remove hers from where she can feel his heartbeat. "Actually, speaking of names not heard in a long while…. what do we know about this Deveaux Group? You told me that it came out of your trip to the past, but…. do we really know what they're doing?"

"No." Cardinal leans back against the wall of the little firing cubical booth, one hand coming up to rub against the side of his neck. "As far as I know, it's headed up by three women - Dalton, Zimmerman, and Alice Shaw. Presumably they're trying to help out— they haven't made formal contact with us yet, but Niklaus made it sound like they would eventually."

"Mmmm," Elisabeth replies in a murmur, leaning against the wall across from him. "Interesting. I ran into a guy in the lobby of the Dorchester the other night, just … kind of randomly. Turns out he's an Evo of some stripe — doesn't sleep much. And he had a card that he'd been slipped… from the Deveaux group." She purses her lips. "I told him to contact them."

"Really?" Cardinal's brows raise a little, "Donovan was sent to us by the Deveaux Group as well…" He pauses, "I think I may need to initiate contact a little sooner than they had planned."

She hadn't known that. "I thought Kershner sent him to you." Elisabeth considers and then nibbles her lip. "I have to wonder how much your conversation with Deveaux changed things," she admits. And then she goes quiet, her head resting against the wall there.

Cardinal shakes his head ever so slightly. "Butterflies… no way of knowing how much he read from my head," he admits, tapping the side of his skull, "I'll go talk to Niklaus soon, see what he says."

Elisabeth nods slightly and when her eyes turn back to him, she says impulsively, "I've watched you go from … a devil-may-care thief to a man determined to save the world from the worst kinds of disasters. Even from himself. I want you to know … how proud I am of you." She pushes off the wall, perhaps embarrassed at the outburst. She averts her eyes and picks up the pistol she'd been using to pop the slide from it and begin its disassembly. "Whatever you thought when I was trying to talk to you the other day… " She shrugs. "I don't doubt you. I worry… I've worried for a long time now… that I'm going to advise you wrong or steer you wrong or… something. And you're right. Ezekiel plays on that weakness. I let him get to me, and I shouldn't have."

Cardinal's head ducks a bit at the statement that she's proud of him, shaking ever so slightly. "I'm just… doing the same thing I did back in the orphanage, Liz. Doing what I can." A glance back up, then, and he snorts a little, "I told you. Talking to him's just going to get you… wondering."

"Yeah, well…." Elisabeth smiles faintly, keeping her eyes on the gun as she expertly breaks it down into component pieces and moves to do the same with the rifle's clip. "I wonder things anyway. I wonder a lot of things."

I wonder… how things went so bad that he had no contact with his kid, because I can't fathom taking your child from you. I wonder why his son has a name that I would never bestow on your child. I wonder what it was that he did that I was apparently so determined to stop that I may have died trying.

"I've wondered a great many things over the past two years, including why I'm still alive when I shouldn't be. Why you're still alive against all those same odds." She pauses, setting both hands on the shelf and looking over her shoulder at him. "I have to believe there's meaning to it… or we fight for nothing." Elisabeth looks at him. "But I have a tendency not to be able to articulate my thoughts well, so…. " She smiles a bit. "I'll try to bite my tongue from here out on any wonderings, okay? You don't need to hear them."

"I always figured if we had a son, you'd want to name him Conrad," Cardinal admits, quietly; perhaps he's put some thought into this himself. He shakes his head ever so slightly, stepping over to slide his hands along her arms. "It's how I work, Liz. I figure out what someone's least sure about… and I pick at it. I dig at it until they're doubting themselves, and they look to me. He works the same way."

Now she does blink. Elisabeth looks positively stunned by that tidbit. "I don't think that I ever got far enough into thinking it could actually happen to consider a name," she admits, leaning back into him and resting her forehead on his jaw. Her arms cross in front of herself, her hands over his. That's a lot to process.

"You are definitely a manipulative jerk some days," Elisabeth agrees mildly. She shrugs a bit. "For what it's worth, he's not going to convince me to change sides." She looks up at him. "All he did was convince me that you're right — that whatever happened to him, whether in his own future or during the time jump or reanimation or whatever, has driven him mad."

"So you've been so obsessive over your alternate self's son with Ezekiel," Cardinal says in somewhat dry tones, "That you haven't given any real thought to ours?" A lean in, and he brushes a kiss against her temple, "Nice, love. Real nice."

Elisabeth laughs. "No… I've been obsessive over what the hell went wrong between us," she admits, turning now in his hands to face him again. "Over what happened that we would split that way, that I would do things that I know would just…. gut you." She reaches up and touches his cheek with a faint smile. "And I don't like to tell you things like that, or to let you know I even think about the possibility of us actually getting that far cuz I'm afraid you'll go walkabout again, maybe. You're the love-'em-and-leave-'em type, remember?" she teases.

Cardinal's chin dips in a nod against her, and he looks down to her with a wry expression. "I don't have anything against having kids," he says quietly, "I'd love some."

Elisabeth laughs. "I think we already established that part," she retorts. "But I think you should name our son," she adds, her amusement not masking sincerity. "Because I wouldn't call him Conrad either. He was a good man who deserves to be remembered, but assuming we get that far…. our son will probably have my last name. You should choose his first." She stands on her toes and kisses him softly, not pointing out that he said some! That might make her run for the hills, who knows??

"And now that you have wrapped my brain entirely in knots, lover, either kiss me stupid so it stops whirling or go back to work," Elisabeth grins.

"Six of one," Cardinal replies with a quiet chuckle, leaning in to kiss her lips softly, "Half dozen've another…" A brush of nose to nose, and he draws back with a grin, "Go back to killing paper, babe."

Elisabeth laughs softly and pulls him back down for rather more of the 'six of one' option! No Claire to walk in and be all eeeeew about it! "You're an evil, evil tease," she murmurs, swatting him on the behind as she goes back to the weapons.

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