Saving Liberty


abby_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif devi_icon.gif mack_icon.gif peter_icon.gif zuleyka_icon.gif

Scene Title Saving Liberty
Synopsis Cardinal calls a meeting to discuss militant action to stop White's plans. Once things are drawing to a close, an unexpected visitor makes his appearance… and tears are the result.
Date Oct 18, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

"Norman White's going to destroy the Statue of Liberty."

It's with those words that Cardinal states the reason he's called whoever's currently in the building to the Rose Reading Room where he usually holds large discussions; not that there's a lot of people to be called. For all the influence he may have, and information he possesses, actual manpower and resources is still something Cardinal's lacking in. Perhaps, in time, that'll change.

A few maps of Liberty Island are spread out on one of the tables, and he smooths his hand along it, noting dryly, "Shard's little 'I'll defeat him through the power of refugee hospitals' plan is a total and complete fuckin' failure, Shard's missing anyway, so I'm going back to the original plan of making him die a whole lot."

From somewhere somewhat, mostly unseen, Abigail's emerged from the infirmary and the finishing touches to said infirmary and watching, listening. Likely not what Cardinal is hoping she'd hear, though he's warned her before about what his group is, their goals. She's been his moral compass on quite a few phonecalls. So from a doorway, not trying to stay super hidden, but not trying to be apparently, the now platinum blonde waits.

Mack may or may not be the guy you want to bank your organization on. Okay, he really isn't. But he brings experience to the table, and… well, himself. Being there has to count for something. Of course, he's resting with one ass cheek on the table, twirling a cigarette along the fingers of his right hand like the kind of guy you'd hire as 'muscle' would twirl a knife. Sunglasses guard his eyes, even indoors, as they survey the maps so nicely laid out before him.
"Yeah, that sounds a little more proactive to me. But this motherfucker stays out of sight like the late Michael Jackson after a lawsuit. Unless somebody else has had more luck in tracking his ass down?"

Zuleyka is on hand, albeit without her little yapdog, for once. "Nope," she says, as she comes in. She's dressed plainly, but not at all raggedly. All the better to blend in, no matter where she goes.

"No, but our clairvoyant's seen him and his people looking at maps of the island…" Cardinal's finger thumps like a gavel upon the paper spread out before him, lips curving in a tight smile that doesn't reach his eyes, "…which means they're planning on making landfall there. The Statue's visible for miles, if they were just going to affect it from a distance, they wouldn't need the maps. Which means we can intercept him, if we can find out when it's going down."

A rough snort, "I don't think I need to tell you what sort of bloodbath'd start if Evolved destroyed the fucking Statue of goddamn Liberty."

"Why would they be looking at maps of Liberty Island. It's a tourist attraction. It's closed, I mean, it just opened up for a week and then it was closed back down for repairs and the like" Abigail manages to pipe in from her observation spot. "What would be the point of it?"

"Yeah, that'd be bad. But lets think about a couple things first off. Is it possible there's an alternative goal on the island?" Mack slides his ass off the table so that he can lean on it, still looking down at the maps but not in such a lazy fashion. "Something feels a little fuckin' off, here. Unless you're thinking that dude got a sweet taste in his mouth from the Plaza and is getting a flair for the dramatic."
"The symbolism would be pretty heavy," Zuzu points out, as she looks for a place to sit.

Fashionably late. Even when the call a meeting to save the world. That's style for ya.

Devi's peeling off her full face helmet even as the broad base of a boot is pushing open the door ahead of her. It's fall, but an array of riding leathers has helped her to brave the motorcycle ride to the mainland. Beside, it was for Cardinal. Hubba hubba.

"Chaos," she interjects, as if she arrival wasn't so rudely belated. She tucks the full face protective gear under the crook of her arm, unzipping her jacket enough to reveal the starting lines of tattoos encircling her throat. Her dark eyes catch Abby first before sliding over the small gathering. "A little retaliation is all he needs to turn one act into war, dollface." She gives a shrug and thunks her helmet down on the edge of the map.

At the interruption from the side door, Cardinal winces slightly— looking over to Abigail with a faint smile, jerking his head to invite her in. "What Zu said, and Devi… good to see you, hot stuff…" He straightens from the table, "…I have the guy's psychiatric records in the file room. He spent most of his life in a rubber room; paranoid schizophrenia. He truly believes he's been chosen by God, and this was before he'd mastered his powers. We're talking about a guy who kidnapped a news crew to televise him destroying a major building. He wants people scared. He wants people to think he's a god."

One hand curls into a fist by his side, "So I say we show him he's not."

"I can't be casting stones about being chosen by god" Richard knows that. To this day, Abigail still believes that she herself was gods special snowflake with what she could do. Used to do. Despite the invitation in, she sticks to where she is. "But I can't see why. The statue of liberty was a gift from france, it's.. What connotation does it have with people who are gifted?"

"Its importance is to America. If an Evolved brings it down, its all the ammo the anti-Evo fucks need to come gunning for us with both balls out and the throttle down." Mack makes what can only be described as a 'tck' from the side of his mouth before slipping that smoke between his lips; don't worry, cancerphobes, he doesn't light it. "But if what you're saying is true, he's not going to be subtle, and the island isn't very big. Some trees and outbuildings; just the kinda thing to set an ambush in."

With that, he steps back from the table to open up more room for anyone who wants to take a gander at it. "I just can't help thinking it wouldn't be easier to take 'em out before they make the island, though. Unless the bastard learned to fly or got himself a teleporter in his little clique."

"Because it's a sign of acceptance. Of liberty, justice, and equality for ALL people. Of America itself," Zu says. "For an Evolved to destroy Lady Liberty is for it to seem as if the Evolved have opted out of the American contract. That they really do think they area master race, or bullshit like that." Her tone is bizarrely earnest, especially for her.

Devi glances down to the tense display of Cardinal's fist. She flashes a grin and reaches out most casually to give his bottom a quick pinch, only then slumping down into a seat. It's probably the most serious she's taken anything. Well, outside her new, personal, fucking Evo revelation. She laces her fingers together and stretches her hands away from her, bending back the digits to issue a few cracks and pops before reapplying her carefree smile.

Abby's question has earned the girl a impatient glare from the biker diva. The tattooed femme, however, waits for the others to fill in with a rather fine explanation before she sets her dark sights back on Cardinal. "He's got a point," she says, jutting a thumb towards Mack. "Too much can go wrong if we aim to meet them out on the 'blast site'. There's gotta be a way to hunt the fucker down before, no?"

The answer's supplied, and eloquently, by Zu and Mack both. Cardinal just shakes his head slowly, "It //is/ America, in the eyes of many. If it fell, it'd be… a massacre. When Pearl Harbor was hit, when the Towers fell— those started wars. If the Statue fell, it'd be— no Evolved would ever be seen as anything other than an enemy of America for years to…" Then his ass is pinched, and he slants a smirk over towards Devi, "Hey."

A lean back against the wall, and he admits, "The problem is, wherever he's camping out— he's got a fuckin' legion of innocents around him, idiots who've bought into his dogma. If we attack him there it'll be a slaughter, and he might just escape, and hit the Statue while we're busy dealing with that. No, we're gonna have to meet him at the statue's feet."

She's starting to feel sorry she asked. The look from Devi sealing that deal. The look shuts the blonde up and keeps her planted where she is and opting to listen, instead of asking questions.

"Sometimes stupidity is lethal." Mack doesn't state this in a loud fashion. He's not trying to keep anyone from hearing, but he's also clearly conceding on the subject. "Okay. So we meet him on the island. I haven't been looking in that direction, so I don't know what security is like out there. But if we can take possession of it beforehand; Sun Tzu tells us to get there first. Mold the battleground to our liking; I need to talk to your dealer, bro. You let me know what kinda operation you wanna run here, I'll draw you up a plan."

"The battle of Liberty Island. I can't -wait-." Zuzu, god help her, doesn't seem to be joking.

"Sounds like a fuck fest," Devi grumbles on her signature husky tones. She does, however, look aside enough to share an agreeable, dangerous smile with Zuzu. She seems to share the girl's opinion. With a little effort to dig into her pocket, finding her a palm-sized, silver flask to take a sip from, she grins up at Cardinal. "Let's get this bastard."

"No, it was a good question, Abigail. Never hurts to remember why we're doing this and say it outloud… alright, I'll see if I can take control of the island beforehand," Cardinal frowns, his brow furrowing in thought as he looks down to the map, fingers splaying out over the paper, "It's… possible that I may be able to steer Homeland Security into giving us access. Depending on if I can get the cowboy to agree to let us handle the situation. I've been trying to get in contact with the old man to arrange for a weapons buy, but he's been busy lately— hopefully I can get a hold of him soon, or else we'll have to go through another contact…"

A tight smile curves to his lips, a hint of the feral to it, "I'm eager to show this bastard what we're able to do. There's a few more people we'll have— " A look back to Mack, "— Elisabeth, of course, and probably some of Shard's people. Hopefully Andrew'll come, and I'm sure I can get Lola up somewhere high with a sniper rifle. She can't miss. Plus, she brings her own gun."

"Old man, you mean Flint?" She can help him with that. "I can track down flint and get him to come find you if you like" Helps that the eternal virgin has Flint for a bed partner now and then. Lola though. There's a frown from Abigail at that name.

Mack narrows his eyes at the turn of conversation; of course, because of the sunglasses the only indication of any of this is the tightening of the skin around his eyes. "Alright. We can set something up as soon as we know what access we'll have and what our arsenal looks like. But this is the real fuckin' thing. Its time to get this training going for real, but then, that's on me." With that, Mack steps further away from the table and pulls off his hoodie, dropping it on a chair before placing himself in it. Somehow, the wifebeater and tattoo's don't scream 'trainer'.
Zuleyka thumbs up. "I like Harrison," she says. As if all that were needed were for her to sign off on it.

None of the dropped names ring any bells for the biker chick. Still, she appears to make no objections. Help is help. Cardinal's judgment is sound. And, besides, it's an opportunity to make more contacts.

So, Devi falls quiet with an aura of ambiguity, only popping a penciled brow when Mack chimes in, turning to watch the man strip. The result is a tilted, half-smirk on violet-painted lips.

"I'd appreciate it," Cardinal flashes over a smile in Abigail's direction, "We're going to need gear… I'll have Xiulan turn another few briefcases of fives into twenties and get it all laundered. Get 'im together with Mack here, actually, if you can— he can handle the logistics there."

"I'll see if I can dig him up" She won't place any hopes on it, but she'll try. She has to try. "I'll be in the infirmary, swing by later, before I go. Nice to meet you all" There's a wave offered ot them before the skirted and cardigan'd woman turns back to the exit.

Distant at first, the sounds of approaching footfalls echo with hollow quality off of the marble floor of the reading room. As the sound draws closer, it is the black silhouette in the doorway of the great hall that first announces an uninvited guest's presence. Slimming black defines the shape, an inky suit with matching pressed shirt beneath, tie of a less matte shade standing out with its silken finish. It may well be the only suit that Peter Petrelli owns — borrowed from the Ferrymen months ago — but given his current predicament black suits him well.

Lingering solely due to the blonde woman standing in his way, it's the dawning recognition of the form of Abigail Beauchamp standing in front of him that elicits a responce from Peter. "Good evening, Abigail." Delivered with all the silken certainty of a man that isn't quite Peter Petrelli. "Don't let me hold you up…" comes the quiet response as he steps aside, giving her plenty of space to pass by. After all, his fleeting memories of her are dangerous ones. The uninvited guest doesn't move far from where he came in, just looks fleetingly around the room, waiting for whoever is ostentibly in charge to start acting like it, pale blue eyes movig from one unfamiliar face to another.

"I hope I'm not interrupting."

Mack gives Abigail a merry little wave as she departs. "How handy… I need to get a hold of her anyway. Turns out, when I heal- yeah, the ink doesn't." But the words are only just out of his mouth when Peter makes his entrance. There is something about the way he enters that apparently doesn't sit quite right with Gabriel, and given that he is not in charge he stays seated. Sure, he raises his right foot and sets it on the chair next to him, sliding his hand under his pant leg there, but that's all just details, really. The important thing is he doesn't say anything else.

When she speaks, it is a broad Long Island squawk. Parochial school may have taken the girl out of the borough, but it doesn't take the borough out of the girl. "And who da hella you?" Zu demands, getting up. "You look like Peta Pakah's evil twin." It's like watching a bantam hen confront a fox.

Devi follows Mack's example. She keeps her trap shut. But, actions speak volumes. The dark haired, biker diva pops a blade from her pocket and flicks the folded weapon open. With a quick grin, and her attention trained on the new arrival, she begins cleaning the imaginary dirt from beneath her ebon-panted fingernails.

The sound of footsteps echoing off of marble brings Cardinal's head up, expecting perhaps to see Harrison, or even Jessica— but the person that steps into the doorway of the Rose Room is not someone who was on that list. He straightens slowly from his lean over the maps of Liberty Island liberated from the map room, moving very carefully as he does so, hazel eyes narrowing behind the sunglasses that he's wearing even here, indoors and at night.

"Peter." He's never seen the man, but his portrait hangs in the recently-christened Hall of Prophecies, painted with eyes blue as the summer skies - or as the sea that swallows all into its depths without pity. "Or would you rather the other name?" His voice is steady, yet questioning in a cautious sort of way. The manner in which he greets the intruder in that which a man would speak to a hound that they weren't quite certain wasn't rabid. One hand stretches out, palm down, as if to ease the worries of the others - or at least keep them from opening fire immediately.

Killing him hadn't worked in all the centuries previous to this one, after all.

"His name is Peter" Abigail answers at the same time as Cardinal, no wariness that he shows her returned. "Be nice Richard. You don't understand what it's like carrying it in you" Abigails leaving aborted by the arrival of petermir. She lingers, if only to hear what the man is wanting, what he's hear for.

"You need to stop by the bar Peter" This spoken loud enough for him to hear only.

A quiet look is given to the blonde at his side, one brow raised in quiet uncertainty. He may not know what bar she's even talking of, but asking would make him seem ignorant, and he'd much rather seem like a know-it-all instead. There's an inclination of his head, that brief nod also serving as a reminder that he needs to ask Eileen and Sylar about what she's talking about and prays they know.

A blue-eyed stare is afforded towards Zuleyka afterwards, one dark brow raised as Peter begins to move out from the doorway as Abby lingers in his place, gloved hands folded behind his back as he takes a slow and thoughtful approach through the greta hall. In the dim lightning of this makeshift theater of war, Peter's countenance looks notable cadaverous in appearance. High cheekbones seem more sunken with the angle of lighting, the jagged scar that cuts from brow to cheek across the middle of his face at a vicious angle seems deeper, more cruelly cut than in more favorable lighting, yet the shadow afforded by the illumination here does little to understate the fair color of his eyes as they drift from person to person.

"Peter's fine," he offers in confirmation to Abby's comment on his way down the aisle, "and you must be Richard. You've earned a reputation on Staten Island, and it turns out that it's deserved." A look is given towards Devi's knife, squinting at it as if he isn't quite sure what to even make of the blade. There's a turn of those eyes back up to Cardinal again, dark brows furrowed. "If I'm interrupting," eyes divert back over his shoulder to the doorway Abigail disappeared through, "I can always come back later." When you're alone, says the unstated subtext unsettlingly.

"I invited myself in, the door was open."

"Turns out bear traps are open when they're set. Doesn't mean its a bright fuckin' idea to step in 'em." Looking entirely less cadaverous, one can almost imagine Mack's unblinking stare following Peter's meandering entrance and monologue. Except, it would be imagining, because nobody can even see his eyes to figure out whether they blink or not. The muscles and tendons in his right wrist tighten, the dancing tattoo that colors that portion of his flesh giving away that his hand is holding something.

"His name -is- Peter?" For some reason, this bemuses Zuleyka to no end. But CArdinal seems to know who this guy is, and isn't going in guns blazing. So she subsides.

Devi rolls back her shoulders, easing some of her well-disguised tensions as she watches Cardinal's careful approach. She rustles up enough 'etiquette' to offer a 'polite' wave - witch includes the knife wedged between her thumb and palm. A quick grin and she falls back to her silent observations for the moment.

"We're just planning to save the world. Help yourself to a chair," Cardinal offers magnaminously, voice carrying easily with the acoustics of the room to carry them; the black tarps that've replaced a few of the windows rustling with the wind behind them enough that a bit of tape gives way, sending a low, eerie whistle through the hall.

"Everyone, this would be Peter Petrelli," he explains casually to the others without looking away, "The brother of the President of the United States, the man who destroyed Midtown, and— well, we'll leave the rest of what you are out of things for now."

He lifts his chin in a bit of a nod, "So what can I do for you, Peter? Gillian tells me that you're eager to talk to me."

No peter, she's not disppeared, Abigail's lingering. Curiosity did kill the cat didn't you know. Be-skirted and be-cardigan'ed, she takes a seat up near the door while breaking out her cellphone to make the call she promised to Cardinal. She's not expecting an answer from the other end, but she can leave a voicemail at least.

There's a winced smile at that comment from Cardinal, blue eyes narrowing. "Don't believe the hype, next you know he'll be saying that I can fly and chew gum at the same time." He tries to play it off, because obviously everyone knows Sylar did that whole Midtown thing— clearly. There's an awkward angle of his shoulders, icy stare leveled towards Cardinal with a smile of reluctant delivery of some sort of arbitrary man points for that jab.

"I wouldn't believe everything you hear," his eyes track back to Cardinal. "Maybe I came to the wrong meeting, I heard this was the place where men with plans cooperate to stave off impending apocalyptic events. I was eager to talk to you," was, "but now I'm not so sure you're a man with secrets, or just a man that likes hearing the sound of his own voice."

Gloved fingers tense, a dry swallow is given, and Peter's level stare crosses the room one more time to look from one stranger to another, hairs on the back of his neck standing up.

Before, Mack's hand had stiffened. Now its his entire being; from his body right on down to whatever spiritual sort of entity occupies that hairy colored on flesh bag. Several breaths separate that tension forming from when he stands, however, and when he does he has to release whatever it was that was being held under cover of jeans.

The path he chooses to take brings him within a few steps of both Cardinal and Peter. There he pauses and pulls the sunglasses off his face. He can't stop himself from wincing, just a little, as he lets Petrelli's visage absorb through those odd, milked over emerald eyes. "Not many men around, to be honest bro." In this light, the faint grid on his face is clearly visible- though in all honesty, it does look much better than it once did.

And with that, his glasses are stuck back on his face. "I have some business to tend to; I'm sure you don't need me around for this." Hey, he didn't even swear once that last sentence!

The girl bristles at that. The rest of the statement might've been Charlie Brown babble, so far as she's concerned. "Midtown Man?" Zuleyka demands. "HE'S the Midtown Man?" She's already scrabbling around for her pistol, which she doesn't have. So much for Richard's attempt at calm.

"Smoooooth," Devi comments with heavy dose of sarcasm. It takes small effort to fold up her knife and push to her feet. Suddenly, Mr. Mystery Peter is a whole lot less interesting - even for a woman with moral's as low as Devi's. She steps up to Cradinal's side, rest her chin on his shoulder and peering at Peter from the corner of her dark gaze. "Stop by," she offers to Cardinal before sneering at the Man in Black and making a beeline for the door.

"Zu." It's a sharp word, and Richard moves; stepping over to where the girl's started reaching for a weapon that's not on her at the moment, his hand finding her shoulder in a sudden, warm weight of pressure, his voice lower, "You can't kill him. Nobody can. And it wasn't— as I understand— entirely his fault… alright. Devi, Mack, thanks for coming, you know how we're proceeding. Get shit ready to take this sonuvabitch down."

Hazel eyes hard as the marble of the library flicker up over the upper edge of his shades as he looks to Peter with a steady gaze. "Both of you have a history of disaster and tragedy, Peter. Why should we believe you'd be willing to help avert disaster?" Both? "Start talking."

no one can. That brings a muffled laugh from Abigail as Zu starts going for her gun and Cardinal's stopping him. Wrong, oh so wrong. You can. You can kill something with regards to the ability. She saw it, she felt it. She breathed it in after she'd killed it.

A tense smile comes from Peter as blue eyes level on Mack, then drift towards the tattooed woman making her way out. There's a brush of tongue across teeth, and Peter's eyes settle back on Cardinal after he's effectively cleared the room of associates save for the young woman with the nails on a chalkboard accent. "Well," gloved hands wring together and Peter raises his brows, taking a step back and to the side of the aisle as Mack breezes past, "I think it would be fair enough to say we can't be certain what my motivations might be." He offers a nervous smile at that, folding his hands behind his back again, brows creased and eyes darting back and forth between Zuleyka and Cardinal, then over his shoulder to Devi's retreating form, trying to keep the bees-nest of movement in his peripheral at the very least.

"I actualy think I found out everything I needed to know in one short visit. You're very efficient." A dry swallow comes next, and Peter sidesteps towards one of the tables, "I won't trouble your, ah, security again with my intrusions." Looking to where Abby stands in the doorway, Peter seems surprised to find her lingering. "Besides, miss Beauchamp extended an invitation to me that would be rude to not take her up on." He sidles towards the door, nervous eyes settled on Cardinal again. Something about who seems more welcoming and who doesn't feels particularly confusing at this very moment. "Good luck to you with your, ah, work."
Zuleyka's shoulder is iron under Cardinal's hand, but she doesn't lunge at Peter. Only barely, however, little face miserable.
You have been applauded.
Devi has disconnected.

"Why don't you tell me about Stepnogorsk first, Peter?"

The question's soft, but oh how well it carries in the room. Cardinal's attention is fixed upon the man that's just turning to go, his hand resting still on Zuleyka's shoulder with his own gloved fingers pressed in firmly against muscle and tendon as tense as steel cable. "Gillian wanted me to give you the benefit of the doubt. So let's try that. Tell me what you came here for."

"I killed him once zuzu, don't worry" Contrary to what Cardinal is telling the other woman. "I Blue eyes tear away from richard and Zu, towards peter. "Abigail. Call me Abigail. I think you and I are far beyond last names these days don't you?" Even though they have never even formally met save for being stared at across tables. Stenogorsk though, Richards asking, inquiring and Abigail waits to see if Peter's inclined to answer.

There's a look on Peter's face, fleeting recognition at the Russian name, but just only that — fleeting. His eyes narrow, head turns to the side, and another step back is taken. It's like some strange turn of the phrase two steps forward and one step back, drawn out across Peter's countenance. "No," he finally responds to Cardinal, "No I think we've said enough tonight. You should be fine on your own, I'm not what you'd call trustworthy anyway." There's a bitterness there, bristling from that introduction as he turns partly towards the blonde, though still regarding Cardinal out of his periphery. "It's best this way. You seem to be ahead of the game as it is."

Finally, he turns his back to Cardinal and Zuleyka, making his way across the hall towards the doorway where the blonde has waited. "Abigail," he says with a raise of brows and an incline of his head, "it looks like I'm free after all. You… said something about a bar?" One confused brow raises slowly; tension in his back from the truth of her statement ot Zuleyka. Nothing good can come of this.

That fleeting glimpse of recognition is enough for Cardinal, the faintest of smiles twitching. It's a triumph, for him, however small and personal, a vindiction of beliefs that nearly everyone shot down when they were voiced, from Gabriel to Edward Ray. "That's because I play to win, Peter," he says in quiet tones, "As you like, though. I'll get what I need to know one way or another."

Abigail's heart breaks a little at Zuzu and her tears. More tears than there had been when the young woman had been informed that she was the one who shot Abigail. There's a purse of Abby's lips for the reson that Cardinal is the one who put those tears there. "let me get my bag, meet you outside, I'll drive there. I'm parked outside the ruins. I'll call you later Richard" If only to assure the man that she's still very much alive. Wouldn't surprise her if she has a shadow show up later though.

Abigail gestures to the door she was in before heading out. "I'll bring you some stuff tomorrow Zu" Bake stuff, lots of stuff, comfort food for the younger woman.

"Normally I'd offer a lady escort a hand or arm," blue eyes assess Abby at that comment, but Peter just feigns a smile, "I think tonight we needn't worry about that formality." One last, fleeting look is offered to Cardinal over his shoulder, and the cross expression on Peter's scarred face is torn between uncertainty and distrust, until he looks away and passes thorugh the doorway ahead of Abby with a silent nod of his head, footsteps sounding just as hollow leaving, as they did arriving. Maybe just a little more so.

Zuleyka doesn't run away crying. But she does stand there, fists clenched, and sniffle like she just came back from a playground fight.

The pair depart, Cardinal's gaze trailing after them… and once they're gone from his view, his hand slides down Zuleyka's shoulder and arm, and his other arm reaches around her as well. It's an awkward hug that he offers, but then, he's not very good at this sort of thing. But the pain— that, he knows.

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