Surprise Herpes


brian_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif delia_icon.gif

Scene Title Surprise Herpes
Synopsis Delia asks Brian for a favor, to meet the shadow monster in real life. He brings a version of his own.
Date January 15, 2011

Dorchester Towers — Russo's Apartment

"Because.." His voice sounds a little exasparated. "The rest of the dish is soft. Like chewy and flavorful, and brilliant. Water chestnuts makes this unexpected crunch in there. Like surprise herpes. Because the sauce makes it look like the rest of it… The water chestnuts, not herpes. And you think you're going to have a wonderfful piece of beef or maybe a mushroom and then CRUNCH. Whole day ruined."

Brian is leading Cardinal down the hallway towards Russo's apartment. The two (or just brian really) are discussing why water chestnuts are the devil's gift to Chinese food. Which they happen to be eating. Holding a carton of Mongolian Beef, a pair of chopsticks guides a piece of meat to his mouth. Nearing the door. He holds the carton while digging into his pocket for the key. "Fuck. I put the key on the wrong body this morning." Not many people have that problem.

An aggravated sigh is given. As the telepathic command is sent out for everyone to check their pockets. And all over New York people that look like Brian are digging furiously through their pockets. A screwed up face is given as Brian then tries his jacket pocket.. "Oh." A sheepish smile grows as the key is retrieved. Going to unlock the door, he motions with his head. "Remember don't say anything about how she looks like she should be on one of those Africa commercials.. With like the flies on the face."

The entire recitation of this has been suffered in silence by Richard Cardinal, who's walked along down the hallway at an unhurried pace beside Brian, hands tucked into the pockets of the leather flight jacket he's wearing. As he looks for his keys, the man instead checks out the hallway, looking around… and then he pauses, frowning at the door. Why is this door familiar? Oh yes. Because he's crept through it a few times.

"…what the fuck is she doing at Brad Russo's apartment," he asks, directing a sharp look to Brian.


"I gave her body to Brad Russo.. Because remember how I was looking for her brother? Found him~. It's Brad. He's on tv. So try to behave. God damn, can't take you anywhere without you being a creepy grumpy fag." Winters murmurs, over at him, features flashing irritation for no reason at all. Swinging the door open, he pauses.

"How do you know this is—" His eyes widen. "Holy fuck I knew you were a gay." He just stands there in faux-shock. Shaking his head with a 'mm mm mm' in a disappointed manner. "You could have just told me, Dickie. I mean. He's breathtaking. I don't look down on your taste in men but.. All the ten dollar hookers in Chinatown are going to be heartbroken." While pressing his back to the door, his chopsticks dip back into his carfton as he motions his head for him to go into the apartment. "Hello? Dee-bag? You here?" It's one of the nicknames he's started calling her.

At the string of jokes tossed in his direction, Richard just rolls his eyes behind the sunglasses that he's wearing. "You do realize he's engaged to Linderman's right hand woman, right?" Probably not. Brian neglects to remember details like that from time to time. Like what people are connected to what, where he left his keys, or his sexuality.

A sigh, and he's following Brian inside.

With Brian and a guest here to take over, Rosa quickly vacates the premises. She's already late for her own errands. A look that shoots daggers in the direction of the duplicator is given, rather than the smile and wave he's so used to from the surly housekeeper but at least she's gone. Leaving the two of them alone~ at last.

Sort of.

There's a noise.

It could be the very same noise that put the matronly Hispanic lady out of sorts in the first place. It can't be called singing and it's coming from the bedroom. Sick cats, maybe, adorable sick cats. Either that or Delia has discovered the Glee application on her iPad. It was a present from her brother. "I'm a loser baby~ So why don't you kill me~" The neighbors might actually be begging for the chance.

"«Tell your family hi. Sorry for—»" Brian's lips clap shut. "Bitch gave me a dirty look." He grumps, the spanish flowing out fluidly but stopped short when Winters realizes Rosa's being a cock. His eyebrows arch slightly at Cardinal's statement. "Oh.. Yeah. I knew that." He didn't. But he remembers her vaguely. Through a memory curtain, darkly. "So what man? I'm tight with Linderman. You're the asshole." He smirks a little as he makes his way down the hallway.

His head tilts some at the noise. And without knocking.. Brian decides to burst in. Because he's excited! "In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey! With butane in my veins I was cut out to the junkie with the plastic eyeballs… Bla bla!" Brian spits out in his best rap voice. Which is just great. The chinese carton flails around dramatically as he spits his rhymes, giving Delia a large smile over his rap.

It's times like this that Cardinal really misses Fulk. They got along better than he and Winters. He exhales a sigh, one hand rubbing of the side of his neck and his other hand reaching to close - and properly lock - the door behind him before he follows the duplicator towards Delia's room.

The redhead actually jolts with fright when Brian bursts in, shrieking at the top of her lungs (which comes through in harmonies and autotuned from the earphones). The playback on this one is going to be hilarious…. someday… when they're old and sitting in rocking chairs in the old folks home and Brian goes Hey Delibeli remember that time when I rapped with you? Until then…

"BRIAN!!" The angry shout means that her lungs are at least getting the exercise they need. Bonus. "You— You— " A frustrated noise preempts whatever thoughts she was trying to communicate to her babysitter. Carefully turning off the app, she slides her iPad to the other side of the bed and pulls the little plugs from her ears. "Ruin my song.. going to get over thousand."

"Ruined." Brian corrects as he walks over to the bed. Tipping his chin up expectantly. "Say it. Ruined." As her babysitter he also assigned himself the position of being her talking teacher. "I got you a surprise but I'm not going to show you until you say it." But Cardinal has probably already walked in, and ruined his surprise. Digging another bite with his chopsticks, there's a grimace. Water chestnut.

Giving a light shrug, he glances over his shoulder. "And here comes Dickie." Brian says brightly. "Richard Cardnal. Guy who let you drop in his place for like a month." Winters introduces.

"She knows who I am, Brian," Richard points out with a slight shake of his head as he steps into the room, reaching to close the door, although at least he doesn't lock it. That would probably be kind of ominous. Stepping along over to the bed's edge, he crooks both brows up a little, looking her over before pointing out, "You know, I know some society chicks who'd kill for your diet plan."

"Ruined-uh," Delia repeats after Brian, giving him a wrinkle of her nose as she's chastised. When the obviously younger version of Cardinal that she remembers walks through the door, he's issued an open mouthed stare and her entire head follows his path, like a kitten watching a laser pointer. "Pants explode…" she breathes out in greeting.

"I— diet?" She looks down at herself and blinks a few times to stop the sting of tears, her face turning red and hot from shame. Her fingers curl around the top of her blanket and she pulls it up enough to hide everything below the shoulders. "I— I am ugly. No one wants ugly."

"That was much better." Brian smiles, taking a few steps back for Cardinal to move in and be boring. His eyes sink on the other man's back for a moment after the little shake of his head. Don't think Brian didn't see— Oh beef. Taking another piece of beef, and then an onion. One brow arches at pants explode, but he shrugs it off. Chinese~

The last statement has him putting down his carton. "You're beautiful Delibeli, shut the fuck up about this ugly business." He growls. "Ginger ale?" He offers in a dramatically more chipper voice as he nears the door, ready to go to the kitchen.

"It's nothing a few of those 'Double Downs' from KFC can't solve," Cardinal replies with a rough snort of breath at her assertion that she's ugly, reaching out to try and ruffle her hair. Gently. "Hush. I've been dead before, and trust me, I looked a hell of a lot worse'n you, girly."

"No.. water?" Delia emits from Brian gives the offer. She can't afford too many sweets, especially since she's not exercising as much as she used to. Slowly, the blanket is lowered as Richard's hand reaches out to ruffle her hair, an action that results in a wince and cringe from the young woman. Head ruffles are the bane of people with thick spiral curls, especially ones that can't fix their own hair. So the little nest that's fluffed up is left there.

"Y-you're not…" Her head twitches as Delia tries to search for the right word to say to Cardinal, mentally reviewing each one before deciding on.. "old?" Her eyebrows come together and she leans forward to gaze up at him, giving him a closer inspection. "Your eyes— not cloudy. You're Richard Cardinal?"

Heading away from the apartment, he goes to the kitchen. Brian returns not too long affter he had left with a cup of water, hesitating near the wall he presses his shoulder against the wall just listening quiet.

As she winces, Cardinal brings his hand away, letting it fall down to rest at his side; his shades tugged off his face so she can see his eyes and features more clearly, he looks down at her with the edge of a frown traced to his expression. "Yeah," he says quietly, "Not… the other one. I'm the one that's supposed to be here."

"Oh! I…" Letting loose a soft breath, the young woman looks down at the blanket her thin legs are tucked under and studies the pattern for a long while before continuing. "Old Richard Cardinal, has file on Brian. Wanted to ask why— He was studying." Sheepishly, her eyes lift to meet the shadowman's and she gives him something of a little smile.

"Sorry for my mistake," her mistake in asking for the wrong Richard Cardinal. Who knew there were two. "Sometimes people in dreams, they look different. Sometimes, I am very small, sometimes, I am much bigger. And unicorns and swords… and chess." He looked much different then too. Older.

"Does he?" Cardinal slants a look back towards the bedroom's door, his lips pursing in a tight frown, "It can't be for anything good. You can't… trust him. The other Cardinal. He's the power behind the Institute, and nothing he wants is good at all. He's letting the future burn, pushing it along, just so it stays along the lines of what he knows…"

Back to her, he says quietly, "Just… don't trust him."

Leaning against the door, Brian's eyes narrow with the two glasses of water. His lips purse. File? Old Rich Cardinal. He. Wetting his lips he pauses. Maybe this conversation on him and his file will continue. Maybe not. Winters lets his head rest against the wall as he listens quietly.

"He said I am going to die…" the young woman stares down at the thin hands clinging tightly to the blanket. "Want to listen… Don't want to die." There's an audible gulp that comes from Delia before she closes her eyes and hangs her head low. A defeated posture takes over her entire being, a countenance that belongs to someone that's resigned themselves to a fate they don't want.

There's a small sniffle that comes from the young woman and she tilts backward to lay against the pillows. She doesn't look up at Cardinal, nor does she look toward the door. Instead, her gaze is pointed at the covered windows. The ones that never let in the sunlight for fear someone might see her.

"He says a lot of things," Cardinal says, and his voice is cold as he says it, one hand curling into a fist by his side, "You shouldn't listen to him. He's a bastard and a liar… and he's forgotten what he used to do for a living. Because if he hadn't, he would've killed me by now."

A sigh whispers past his lips, and he sinks down to a crouch beside the bed, both arms folding on its edge. "Don't… believe anything he said, Delia. He'll tell you anything he can to make you follow him."

"Don't want to die… Said I will die…" Her broken English is almost comically tragic. Everything about the young redhead is right now. Slowly, she turns to meet Cardinal's eyes, not having to strain to look up at him helps immensely. "Showed me the future, a future. Not spoiled." With people.

"He asked me to stay, said Dad will die." She furrows her eyebrows and looks over to her other side to reach for her iPad. Slowly she begins to type in everything she can't form. Rather than showing it to him, she reads it out loud. Her typing is oddly more grammatically correct than her speaking. "He said my dad's ideals are going to kill him. You said that he's in charge of the Institute. Why does he want to kill my dad?"

"There's only one future that he's trying to create," Cardinal grimaces, "And it's not an unspoiled one… he's trying to make sure we have the barbed wire, the guns turned inward… to push us through the dark in the hope there's some light on the other side, instead of trying to keep the torch burning. He's… lost hope. He's broken."

As she types on the iPad and then reads it aloud, he looks to the screen and then back to her, his brow furrowing a little. "Ryans? Because he's… still loyal to the ideals of the Company. And he just saw the Company as something in his way."

Turning to Cardinal, Delia studies him for a very long time, her eyes flickering over every detail on his face, memorizing every weary line. "He kills people in his way." The observation is repetetive, simply a different way of stating exactly what Richard has already said. "Why did he want me to stay?"

Perhaps she's relying on a link between the two men, or the younger version's own insight into the way the older one works. "Will he kill me now? Because I left?"

"I don't know." It's a quiet admission, Cardinal's eyes closing, "He might just… try and have you taken by force. He can't risk the possible danger of me getting my hands on you. Your power could be… very dangerous to him, actually."

He glances back to the door, then back to her, saying quietly, "You have a hell of a lot of people who're going to do their damndest to make sure that doesn't happen, though, Delia."

Narrowing her eyes a little, Delia's eyebrows furrow deeply and her lips form into a thin line. "Why are— Why— " She stutters and pauses, obviously having more than a little trouble forming the words. It's mostly evident by the huff of frustration in her breath before she closes her eyes and takes a calming breath in and letting it out slowly.

"Why am I dangerous if— If you get hands on me?" That probably sounded a lot better in her head.

As she tries to stutter the words out, Cardinal is patient; giving her all the time in the world to get them straight in her head and on her tongue. Once she asks the question, he pauses to choose his own words carefully. "There's… a man," he says softly, "A man that he's keeping in a medicated coma. He can't afford to kill him, but can't let him talk to anyone else - can't let him be free at all."

"U-used to talk to people in comas," The redhead says softly, mimicking Cardinal's own tone, perhaps the subject of the conversation isn't meant to be heard by the replicator. "Was how I practiced when I f-found out.." Her voice drops off, the bitterness in her voice unmistakable. She doesn't finish the rest of her thought simply because the shadowman will know what she means.

"Telepath? Can't… speak to him?" Her own ability, something she's never fully explored, is thought of as something inferior. "Kaylee, Mister Parkman?"

"No." Cardinal shakes his head slowly as the obvious question comes out, "His mind… his thoughts… are too complex. I don't think anyone without his ability could properly read his mind. His dreams, though — his subconscious — would be as human as anyone's. A dreamwalker could make contact with him where Kaylee or Matt couldn't."

Furrowing her eyebrows, Delia seems in deep concentration for a long while. She seems to be weighing her options and conscience on the matter. Her blue eyes dart to the shaded window and she presses her lips into a thin line, the edges turning down into something of a little frown.

Finally, she turns to Cardinal and nods once. "Where do I go to see him?" It seems she's made up her mind. "Can't— Can't go now, anchor with Nick. Would find him but not…" Again her voice drifts off and she looks down at herself.

"Shh, shh…" A soft whisper of sound, Cardinal's hand raising and lowering slightly as if to keep her from going off running. Not that she seemed likely to. "…there's no hurry, Delia. You're in a bad state now, you've got to rest and recover. I'm not going to risk you in this state."

"How long?" She asks quietly, "Could take years.. for me." There's a small whine in her voice as her eyes search Richard's face. Finally she breaks her gaze, blinking rapidly and turning her head away. "Might never get better." With all of the progress she's already made, her frustration is clear. Simple tasks that she used to be able to do seem like mountanous obstacles. "So tired of… this. Want to go back. Hate it here."

"Don't be ridiculous," Cardinal replies with a brief snort of breath, "It wasn't so long ago that you were in a fucking coma yourself, you know. Compared to being an immobile corpse… you're making great strides here."

Delia's head turns only enough to allow Cardinal a view of her profile. Her eyes slide to meet his eyes as her eyebrows hood her stare to begin a scowl. "Stride not enough. Tired of people telling me…" There's a frustrated grunt as the words refuse to form and she shakes her head. "Marbles, puzzles. Can't even read." Lifting her arm, she points toward a half empty gift basket with a few bodice rippers in it. "Nick brought books…" She pauses there to let out an exasperated huff. "I can't turn pages without ripping." The stack of books near it that seem to encur regular use are of the cardboard variety. The kind bought for preschoolers. "Useless."

There's silence for a few moments after she speaks, Cardinal's gaze sweeping over to the books that she points out… and he grimaces ever so slightly. "I know how you feel," he says quietly. After a moment, he adds, "I'm sure you think that's just a… platitude or something, but I do. Did anyone ever tell you about what happened last year in Antarctica? I know Rebel released… satellite photos of the event."

Shaking her head, Delia actually uses her voice again to confirm what her body language is already saying. "No, I— " She quiets again and chews on her bottom lip for a few seconds before daring another look at Richard. "Did not like— freaks." Freaks, something she turned out to be. Not voluntarily, had she the option to turn back time? She might follow in the footsteps of her father and sister instead of seething in her bitter hatred of the evolved. "Did not— listen to Rebel." Not until it was too late. Not until she had to in order to save her father's skin.

At the word 'freaks' there's a faint curl of Cardinal's lips up at one corner. "Ah. Well…" His gaze cuts away, "…long story short, some terrorists had taken over a facility down there. Dug a big hole, they'd lowered a stolen nuclear weapon into it. They were going to crack the ice shelf apart, flood the world. New York would've just been a colony of people living on rooftops with water access. Tens of millions would've died."

"Sorry, I— " Shaking her head, she lifts one shoulder in a slight shrug of apology. It's not exactly everything she wants to say. That's just too difficult right now. Later.

When Cardinal explains what happened, a spark seems to light in her and she leans forward a little more interested. "Oh… Beach? Th-thirty fourth street?" The short question is in response to a dream she shared with his other version, the dream of the peaceful and unspoiled New York. "You stopped it?"

"The Beaches of Thirty-Fourth Street…" A faint smile touches Cardinal's lips, and he nods a little, "…yeah, she saw it. We stopped it. We…" He brings one hand up, rubbing against the side of his face as he says quietly, "Sometimes I wonder if we should have, but… I couldn't let all those people die. But yes. We stopped it. It killed me."

"Killed? But.." Delia's eyes roam the expanse of the man crouched beside her and she pats the edge fo th bed, inviting him to take a seat. The conversation has her interested enough not to feign drowsiness, somethinghappens all too often on its own anyway, and actually try to lift herself to a more comfortable position. She partly succeeds. "You are not dead. You are… here? Z-zombie?"

There's silence for a few moments before Cardinal pushes himself up straighter; moving to slide a hip onto the bed's edge, he looks across the room. "I absorbed an entire nuclear bomb," he says quietly, "And it exploded. It's… hard to explain what happened, exactly. It ripped me apart. If I ever returned to physical form, I would've been… dead already. Just a pile of burnt pieces. I spent a couple of months just — drifting as a shadow. Like a ghost. I couldn't touch anything."

There's an awestricken expression on the young woman's face as she stares up at Cardinal. Open mouthed, gaping, wide blue eyes that remain unblinking for the duration of his little story and even for some time afterward. "Like.. me." Not even close, he died saving the world, she just got lost. Still there's one parallel, two months spent drifting. "How— How did you?"

"It took a healer…" Cardinal hesitates, then lifts his his hand to bite the tip of one gloved finger, pulling the glove off to reveal his hand - most of it covered in black, a shape that almost looks as if someone's hand had left a permanent mark on his skin. "…and an augmentor working in concert, and the healer was nearly unconscious when we were done. They needed to carry him away."

Delia raises her eyebrows, as though silently asking permission before taking Cardinal's one in both of her own. She inspects it, turning it over a few times and tracing a thin finger along the outer edge of the black. "Like… a shadow on you?" She's not completely familiar with the man's ability, aside from being able to explode out of others pants and the shade on the water in her dream. "Does it hurt?"

"Nah." Cardinal turns his hand over, letting her examine it freely in her own hands, "It's a permanent mark, but it's not painful… it's just like a scar, you know? A reminder of what happened…" A faint, tired smile, "…so I know how it goes, Delia. I really do. My… lover, Elisabeth. Humanis blew a hole in her head. She took a long time to recover from that, even with a healer's help. It's hard. But it does get better. You just have to be strong."

The name of the woman, Elisabeth, Delia freezes and her grip tightens a little. "Angel…" she breathes softly and closes her eyes. Her head lowers in shame and she looks away, finally letting loose the prisoner hand that had captured her interest. "Supposed to help Angel… I didn't. I was selfish." Taking a few deep cleansing breaths, she folds her hands on her lap and licks her lips to moisten them slightly. "Want to know more to stay alive. Forgot Angel and what I was supposed to do."

"You were supposed to get back to your body," Cardinal states firmly to that, his fingers squeezing against hers briefly before he draws his hand back, "That's all. You had a lot of people worried about you, you know, Delia…" A faint, tired smile, "I'm sorry I didn't recognize you, when you were in my dream. I knew you after I woke up."

"Red king," is the quiet reply. Turning her hand over, she curls her fingers, eying it as though she expects to see something there. "Forgot what you told me…" she admits sheepishly, her cheeks turning a shade paler before she lays back against her pillows. Red hair splays across the expanse of one, falling tendril by tendril until all of the curls have succommed to gravity's pull. "First time I went with the Bogeyman. When I saw what he did…"

"Don't spread that name around." A wink from Richard, and he shakes his head slowly from side to side, "Don't. Just relax… take it easy. I do want your help, Delia, but I'm not going to risk your health to get it. That's the difference between me and him…"

"Want to go back…" Delia's response to the request of relaxing and taking it easy is made with a rather heartbreaking plea. Tiredly, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath in, letting it out in a long sigh. "Want to go back and stay, don't like being so heavy. So … useless." Her head droops a little and she shifts under the blanket, trying to get a little more comfortable the lacking the strength to maneuver her own body properly.

"Want to go back to Nick." The last words are nothing but a tired sigh from her lips before she actually drifts off. The water she'd requested is long forgotten, something that will be waiting for her when she wakes again. Possibly alone, possibly with her brother, Rosa, or Brian watching over her. There's always someone, she's never left completely in peace.

As she drifts off, Cardinal watches her for a moment… reaching out to brush his fingers over her brow, grazing a few locks of hair away from her face. "Sleep well, dreamer," he says quietly, pushing off the bed's edge and walking back to the door, his glove tugged back on as he does so.

"Brian? She's asleep…"

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