Sick Sad World


cardinal3_icon.gif jessica_icon.gif

Scene Title Sick Sad World
Synopsis Cardinal welcomes Jessica back into the fold.
Date April 28, 2010

Niki's Home

Grooming in the morning can be difficult when your reflection is only partway you, instead of wholly you. The blonde woman stands in front of her bathroom mirror, tilting the fold out sides to the left and right of the main piece so she can stop wrestling with her inner teenager.

"I'm telling you, crimping is going to come back."

"It's not happening." Niki feels a bit like she has the proverbial angel on one shoulder and devil on the other, the way Gina and Jessica are reflecting back at her from either side.

"Oh!" Gina's pouting ceases as she perks up. "I answered your phone last night while you were asleep."

Niki turns her head slowly from where she's applying mascara. "Is that why I feel like I haven't slept?" Her lips purse, but she offers not further admonishment. "What was the message?"

"Some guy named Dick says he's coming over this morning." Gina twirls a strand of hair around her finger. "Like at eight or something. You wake up ridiculously early, so you've got plenty of time."

On the other side of the folded mirror, Jessica's nostrils flare and she reaches out as though she could reach from her side of the mirror, past Niki between them, and out to Gina to strangle her to death. "Eight is ridiculously early to you. That's five minutes!"

Niki doesn't even bother to cap the mascara, leaving it and the applicator perched on the white porcelain of the bathroom sink before sweeping out of the room, leaving her robe on the floor and her slippers behind in a staggered interval. Strippers usually take their time getting out of their clothes. Not this time.

Once dressed in a black thermal top and equally dark cargo pants, Niki gathers up the discarded clothes to shove into the closet and close it up as if there had been no mess moments previous. She then moves to the kitchen, settling down on the lone accessible chair at the table (as the other two are wedged between it and the mirrored corners of the room) to pull on a pair of black lace-up boots.

After a glance up into one of the mirrors, the pace of the lacing and tying suddenly picks up, Jessica somehow having a better muscle memory for the action than Niki. A glance to her watch shows thirty seconds to spare.

Twenty nine.

Twenty eight.

"Am I early?" Early…? A whispering voice stirs through the air; recognizable from memory, perhaps, although it's not as steady and even as it once was, rising and lowering as if moving further away and then returning. A shadow ripples up the wall behind her, visible in the mirrors, the edges tattered and drifting in scraps that flutter in an unfelt breeze.

Of course, he was about ten minutes early. But she doesn't need to know that.

Jessica looks up, tracks the shadow with her eyes. On the other side of the mirror, Niki is doing the same. Having a distaste for all things serious, Gina has opted to disappear, much to the other two's delight.

"Right on time," Jessica murmurs. "How can I be of service?" She leans back in her chair, draping a long limb across the back as a confident smirk slides across her face.

"I believe you asked to talk to me, Jessica…" A smirk, a confident lean, Cardinal can easily identify the personality he's become the most familiar with. Niki he's only dealt with for brief moments here and there. Gina, never. He's not even aware of the third fracture's existence.

"It's been awhile. You ready to get back into the game?" The game…? The shadows twist in a lazy ripple along the wall, shifting in steady, constant amorphism, "Linderman's tower is just about ready to go down in flames, I think."

"That's exactly it. I'm wanting to get back on your little chess board, so I need to know what piece I'm playing." Jessica tilts her head to one side, sweeping a gaze along the shadow and its indeterminate edges. "You look good for a dead man."

"You should see how long I have to spend in makeup every morning," replies Cardinal in whispering tones, dry as dust, "Thanks for the compliment. It's surprising how much death takes out of you…" Death…

"You know Kain Zarek?"

The roll of her eyes is answer enough, but she gives it voice anyway. "Yes, I'm familiar with Zarek," Jessica confirms. "Do you need me to kill him? He's bound to fall down a flight of stairs and make it happen all on his own, but I can speed that process along…" Her brows hike upward in askance. She's definitely behind on the plan.

"Actually…" A shaking, whispering chuckle from the shadow, "…I need you to do quite the opposite. Kain's on board with us now, Jessica, and I think he's a little worried that you're going to twist his head off and use him like a tube of toothpaste." Squeezy ball…

Jessica seems to consider this for a moment before nodding her head with a grin. "It's a valid concern," she admits. An unapologetic shrug. "I can make an exception this once, as long as he doesn't try anything stupid."

"Just try not to break him too badly," Richard allows in dry tones, "If he's that scared of you, it'll be useful in keeping him in line… making sure he doesn't have any second thoughts." Second thoughts…

"I agree." Jessica finds it difficult to hold the gaze of a shadow, and so she lets her gaze wander elsewhere about the kitchen. Anywhere but the mirror, that is. "So other than intimidating Zarek, what can I do for the cause?"

"As the plan comes together… I'm sure I'll have a trigger or two for you to pull," Cardinal observes with a whispering little chuckle, "If I have my way, it'll eventually be on Danny-boy himself… and I'm sure that'll make you a very happy woman." Woman…

"If everything comes together, we'll be free of that corrupt bastard, and with the Group at our disposal."

That definitely widens the grin on Jessica's lips. It even gives the reflection if Niki in the mirror a hardened look, the kind of satisfaction so grim it can't even draw a smile.

"How do you intend to use the Group anyway?" Jessica drawls languidly, tipping her head back so she can follow a crack in the ceiling as if she really doesn't care about the answer one way or another.

"The firebirds have it all wrong… they're never going to manage to change the world by making some noise and releasing some YouTube videos…" Cardinal explains in a quiet whisper, "…they're doing good, but they're never going to manage to change things on the larger level. They're shooting bees in their yard while they hive just makes more. If we had the resources, we could play this game on the whole new level. If we don't stop them now, Jessica, they'll have us all in camps…" In camps…

Another sentiment Jessica obviously is in agreement with, though she doesn't say as much. "So we take over the Group and use its influence to manipulate the system?" Quiet contemplation gives way to a wolfish grin directed at the shadow in her kitchen. "I like it."

"Exactly…" A pleased note to Cardinal's voice as she understands so swiftly, "…we can't keep fighting the symptoms. We need to go directly to the cause. The Group put Petrelli in his chair, and it still has influence." Influence…

"Playing the system is how the system got put into place in the first place," Jessica reasons calmly. "This seems a reasonable solution." She stands up and crosses the kitchen, flicking a switch on the coffee pot which brings it to life and the scent of brewing fills the air after only a few moments. "What do you need from me specifically until we're ready to take over?"

"There's not much we can do right now, not with this damn storm still burying us in snow…" Cardinal grows a little frustrated, a whispered hiss in the darkness, "…I may have something soon, but nothing right now. Travel's pretty damn hard right now, and our best weapon is mobility…"

Jessica sneers at the mention of the weather. "Tell me about it," she mutters. "I'll be on-call then, hm?" Her lips twist into a wry smile. She doesn't like not having a concrete plan, but she accepts the situation for what it is.

"I wish I had something more at the moment," Cardinal whispers irritably, "This storm has thrown off all my plans, unfortunatly, not to mention my current lack of… hands." A body…

Jessica leans back against the counter after procuring a mug for her coffee. "Yeah, about that. What do you intend to do anyway? I mean, you could make a killing in Halloween, but the rest of the year? I'm betting that's a huge inconvenience."

Cardinal's tattered shroud whispers along the wall, curling up the side of the counter in a trail of ripped edges, admitting in a whisper, "I'm working on it. There's some… plans in the works. Hopefully one of them will work." Hopefully…

"Just so long as you don't try some whole possession thing with me," Jessica warns, "we're square." She shifts the pot out from under the stream of dark liquid, swapping it for her mug. There's a quiet sizzle as the minute spillage bubbles away to nothing against the warming plate.

"Why does everyone say that? Just because I look like a ghost doesn't mean I really am one, you know…" A dry whisper, touched with humor from Cardinal, "…besides, I think it's already crowded enough in there. The only risk you'd have of me being in you is if I had my body back, and frankly, you terrify me too much to try and get you into bed."

Jessica's grin widens, careful not to steal a look at the shadow until after she's set her coffee mug down and set the pot back into place and is no longer in danger of burning herself. "Me? Terrifying? Don't be such a puss, Richard. It could be a thrill for the both of us," she teases. Ignores the dirty look she's getting from the other side of the mirror.

"Talk to me when I have something resembling a genetic code," replies Cardinal in dry tones, "Assuming we all survive the shit-storm to come… things are bad, Jessica…" Bad… "Worse than most people realize. There's some serious shit coming down the line."

"We've made it this far." A sip of coffee, a shrug of shoulders. The teasing is abandoned just as swiftly as it came. "What's a few more near-end-of-the-worlds?"

"True enough…" An amused murmur from the shadowmorph, "…I suppose this is what I do for a living."

"Sick, sad world," the woman murmurs with a rueful shake of her head. "But a hell of a business to be in." She raises her mug the barest bit. Cheers.

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