Shadows Come Home To Roost


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Shadows Come Home To Roost
Synopsis Liz lets Jaiden know that a certain shadow has reappeared — and wonders if the man is related to a cockroach. Or maybe just a bad penny.
Date October 9, 2011

Skinny Brickfront

In the past week, Jaiden has seen more of the Lizzie he first knew then he’s seen in months. The news that the Ferry had decided to throw an all-out attack at the Institute — at the FUTURE that we’ve all learned is coming — reinvigorated the blonde in ways that might surprise people who don’t know her well. For those who’ve been around her any length of time, the lack of a direction was what was eating away at her — the sense of helplessness, of no way to fight back. The despair had begun to settle deeply, and it was worrisome. But having something to do has driven that despair mostly away. She’s still quiet and many times lost in her own thoughts, a sadness lingering around her. But she has a purpose now, and with that purpose comes the sharp leader that he has known.

When he gets back from the rounds she sent him on to check on people, Elisabeth is waiting for him. It’s early in the morning, curfew has barely broken. Not that any of them really observe the damn thing anyway. There’s coffee as he comes into the quiet kitchen area, and the blonde shoots him a welcoming smile. Still… there’s something a little bit off about her welcome. Perhaps as if she’s not certain of her reception with him.

The military, around the world, has a saying - hurry up and wait. Anticipation is often times the thing that gnaws at people most and honestly, the past few months have been a lot of that. You can only do basic patrols, go out and fix cars on the corner for a handshake and a few bucks, or repair things so many times before the boredom becomes as oppressive as a wet blanket on a hot summer’s day. So when Liz starts showing more life than she’s shown in months due to the news that there’s going to be an attack? That they’re going to /do/ something instead of just sitting there and waiting, their edges dulling? That’s the spark that lights up the whole bonfire.

His mission done, Jaiden returns to the safe house using a circuitous route, never taking the same street, doubling back on himself just to be sure that he’s not being followed. THere’s never anything wrong with being careful, and that instinct has saved him more times than he cares to remember. Mounting the stairs one at a time, his heavy steel-toed boots thudding softly on the stairs, he pushes the door open to the apartment and enters, closing it quietly behind him, following the smell of brewing coffee to the kitchenette.

“Mornin’ Liz.” HIs voice is soft - there are others asleep, and honestly, with sleep being a rare commodity in battle, he wants people to get as much as they can. He lowers himself into one of the scavenged chairs, pulling off his beanie and stuffing it into a pocket of his jacket. “Finished checking up on everyone. Things are going okay, as far as they know. They’re all itching for something to happen and news that something is going to happen - vague as that is - is enough for them.” He looks to you with that Jaiden smile of his, reaching for the coffee cup that’s sitting on the counter, steaming, made just like he likes it.

Taking a sip, Jaiden gives a bit of an informational dump. “Checked on a couple of my stashes in the city, like you asked. One’s been broken into and is empty - the one on the river- so that’s gone. Thankfully, the other isn’t. So we’re not out of it yet. The rest of them…” He gives a shrug. “Still responding to pings, so we’ve got some places to go if we get compromised here.” This is followed by a sip of coffee and a blown-out breath. “Anyway…how’re you doing?”

“I’m actually doing pretty well,” Elisabeth replies with a smile. Her hands around her coffee cup are steady and there’s no sense that she’s humming this morning, at least. “Alia came by with a report yesterday, and although it looks like one of the plans to frame Humanis for some things have fallen through, we’ve got some other thoughts right now. The attacks, of course, are going to shift our focus and priorities.”

She pauses a long moment, and then she tells him, “And we may have a whole new ace in the hole. Or not.” With a roll of her eyes, Liz’s smile is rueful. “Hiro Nakamura is a pain in my ass. He turns up at the most inopportune moments.” She meets his gaze. “In this instance, though… he brought Richard back. He arrived a couple nights ago.”

The initial declarations are taken with slight nods, the man filing away that shared information wherever it’s necessary to be hidden for use later. Framing Humanis First was one of the smaller gambits they had - not like Humanis First didn’t deserve it, of course - but it was one of the things that, if it worked, would have helped and if it didn’t, they’d be in the same place they were before. No worse off. The attacks are the priority. Jaiden nods and turns his attention to you as you share Hiro’s involvement and the passenger that was yanked back from the brink of wherever he had been stranded.

Honestly, it was like ripping a bandaid off.

Jaiden’s initial reaction is muted. Subtle. He almost doesn’t react at all, lifting his cup to take a long, measured sip of coffee before setting the cup down on the table, adjusting its position with a fingertip on the handle, twisting it slightly for easier pick up next time. His head swivels to look at you, a slight nod and a wry smile appearing. “That man is impossible to get rid of. Send him to the depths of the marianas trench, bury him in a volcano, and he returns a few months later without a scratch.” this is followed by a chuckle before he moves back to seriousness.

“How are you holding up with him coming back?”

Elisabeth watches him, her blue eyes… a little wary. She can’t help the flash of a grin about how Cardinal keeps turning up. “I wonder sometimes if he’s a cockroach,” she confesses, tongue in cheek. “I mean… they survive even nukes, right?” But she gets a little more serious and says quietly, “I don’t think it’s my reaction that I’m worried about.” The admission is hard. “Having him back makes me feel… relief. And it makes me worry about you.” Because Felix has already been through this kind of thing once. “I know that you went into this with your eyes wide open, Jai… but I also know that it might change things. That somehow I’ll hurt you just by being who and what I am.” Same reaction as always — she’ll take care of everyone else first.

“Nah, too well-spoken to be a cockroach. I knew a few of them in New Delhi - they could survive anything, but ask them for a favor at your own peril.” Jaiden says softly, toying with his mug on the table, the ceramic making a soft sound as it slides against the scuffed linoleum top. “But this isn’t about the cockroaches I used to pal around with - it’s about Cardinal showing back up out of the time stream.”

He scoots the chair back slightly, bending to rest his elbows on his knees, his fingers linked together as he thinks. “I’ll admit, it’s…a lot to process. I mean…” He looks up at you. “I appreciate you telling me that he’s back. I appreciate you trusting me enough to just do it. It’s the smart thing to do, after all. I’m not the jealous sort, but me randomly discovering things is much worse than being told outright.” He sighs softly, the corner of his mouth turning down a little as he straightens. “I got used to having you to myself these past few months. One of the bright spots in a rather dark time of my life. I’m not going to lie - it’ll take some adjustment. It might change everything. It might change nothing, him coming back into your life. It’s just…. hell, Lizzie, you don’t deserve this. You’ve lost Cardinal, what, twice now, and both times he’s come back a few months later? It’s not fair to you. At all. And that’s the part that hurts to see.”

He rubs both hands over his face and leans back in his chair, feet apart, hands on his knees, his head back, looking at the stained ceiling of the safe house. “I just don’t want you to get hurt again, Lizzie. God knows you’ve been hurt enough in the past.”

Both her brows shoot upward, and Elisabeth is forced to smile. “I guess the trick is… life isn’t fair either which way it happens, is it? He dies, I watch it happen. That wasn’t fair. I was mad at him for a long time. Furious at the unfairness of it. This time… our son from a future that is never going to happen tried to kill him.” She shrugs just a little. “That’s… not really unfair, I guess. It’s… karma biting all of us in the ass, maybe, for having the hubris to assume that we knew what the fuck we were doing when the last time travelers from the future came back.”

Pulling in a slow sigh, Liz just shrugs. “I’m going to get hurt. Hell, we might all die in what’s coming up. Or… maybe both of you die in this and I’m left behind to bury you both. How is any of that fair?” she asks him gently. “Because don’t think for a single second that burying you would be something I just walked away from and said ‘oh well, I’ll miss him.’”

“Yeah. That’s a bitch, innit?” Slipping back into Australian Vernacular - Jaiden’s tired. He reaches out to take your hand in his, giving it a gentle squeeze, just needing the contact. “I never plan for that - it’s the one thing that, if it happens, really doesn’t matter to me in the giant scheme of things. That’s not to say I want to die, or I count on it. I know if I get buried it’ll leave a hole in a lot of people that will take ages to fill. So I do everything I can to avoid that little period in the final chapter of my life.” He goes quiet for a second. “I don’t like seeing anyone hurt. My friends. My family. My loves. I don’t want to be the cause of pain for anyone. I know it’s going to happen eventually, but I keep doing dangerous things.”

He looks to you again, fixing you with those somber eyes of his that have looked into yours countless nights.

“Thing is….we fight for what we believe. We fight for what’s needed. We fight because, if we don’t, who will? We fight because if we don’t, others might not be able to. We’re going to Alaska to save the world.” He gives a soft, rueful chuckle. “We’re asked to do so much, and we’re asked again and again. We’re Heroes, Lizzie. It’s what we’re here to do.” He stands, giving your hands another squeeze, giving you a smile. “Life ain’t fair. Let’s give it a kick in the teeth and make it bend to our desires for once.”

Her fingers hold his hand tightly. He’s been one of the constants of her life for the past months, and it hurts her heart to know she’s thrown him a curve ball. She knows him well enough to know he’ll need a little space.

“Heroes, schmeroes. I just want all my people to come home safe,” Elisabeth tells him. “I don’t want to bury any more people that I love.” There is a sadness to her blue eyes as she looks at him, but a firmness too. She squeezes his hand and stands up, leaning in to kiss him softly. “Take whatever time you need,” she murmurs. “I’ll be here.”

“You know me - creature of habit. I’ll be back once I’ve sorted everything out. You may not see me for a couple of days, but when you do, you’ll know that everything’s going to be situated properly.” Jaiden leans in to give her a tight hug, lifting the blonde off her feet, his nose buried in the curve of her neck, his arms clamped tightly around her in a squeeze that, reluctantly, is let go after a few moments. He places her gently down on to her feet and brushes a hand over her cheek. “You ain’t going to bury me, Lizzie. Not until I’m 90.”

That hug is returned almost desperately. Elisabeth was clearly stressing the telling of him, because now that he’s holding her, the subtle tremor is evident. But even as he holds her, it eases to nearly imperceptible. When she’s back on her own two feet, she smiles up at him. “Okay.” Because that’s all she can say to show her faith. “I’ll see you in a day or two, then.”

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