The Bigger Threat Is Not Hate


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif

Scene Title The Bigger Threat is Not Hate
Synopsis It's actually quite the opposite. He's in over his head.
Date Mar 9, 2011

Redbird Security Solutions, Cardinal's Apartment

He asked her to come to dinner. To meet Harmony, to get to know her a little better. He even warned her that the woman was emotionally volatile. And considering the circumstances, Elisabeth could hardly say no. She even offered to cook — so that they weren't attempting this in a public venue — and at his apartment! Which is sorely lacking in the proper cooking gear. The blonde schlepped over with her own gear packed in a plastic bin and food to cook. Because it keeps her hands busy.

She's still nervous. She's wearing jeans and a soft slate blue long-sleeved pullover, her hair clipped back off her face and out of the way at the nape of her neck. It'll be ready in plenty of time. Liz glances up, those blue eyes skimming the rather spartan apartment for Richard. Well… the red mark on his jaw seems to have faded. Mostly. It was a nice right hook if she does say so herself. One for which she immediately looked shocked, apologized, and retreated into the kitchen to avoid disgracing herself further over. There's currently chicken simmering in a garlic and herb glaze on the stove. Rice is being kept warm in a rice cooker on the counter, and there's vegetables waiting to be gently steamed, another pot on the stove ready to go but the veggies not in it yet.

"I hope she can eat this," Elisabeth murmurs, a faint frown pulling her brows down. And then she laughs softly. "Christ. She's going to hate me on sight or something. I mean… we met, but… " The knock at the door cuts her fretting off at the pass. Too late to worry now.

It was a close decision for Harmony to go out without Nate. He has been trained in pregnancy crisis aversion for the ticking time bomb that is Harmony. They said during the first trimester, emotions are at their peek point of being a little out of control, but geez. Perhaps she is predisposed to being more so than norm due to her original ability. Regardless, she decided to brave going to the dinner by herself once she felt normal enough. Everything was calm so far, no nitro glycerine emotions so far, which after crossing her fingers for a good night, she knocks on the door. It even surprises her that she isn't that nervous too. However, her telepathy isn't really in check like she usually has it. Did I forget to leave the light on at home? Or turn off the stove? Wait, I didn't eat anything earlier. So I didn't even turn it on. Come on, I can't worry about anything, it'll start a chain reaction. I do NOT want that right now.

Of course, Cardinal knows who's on the other side of the door before he opens it. Not just because he's expecting her, but because she's broadcasting through his brain. "Your brain is leaking," he says as he pulls the door open, offering the faintest of smiles back to Harmony and looking a bit stressed himself, dressed in his usual jeans-and-t-shirt combo when he's just lounging around. "C'mon in."

Elisabeth blows out a breath, absently runs her hands down her body to smooth out any … wrinkles. Or something. She comes around the counter trying to hide her own nerves. God, I don't want this to be awkward. He's having a hard enough time. She can't help but grin just a little at the irreverent greeting about Harmony's brain leaking. That's totally Richard for you. And it actually serves to make Liz more at ease. Hell, her lovers all know one another, this isn't that much more awkward. Is it? Well, maybe some. The woman's birthing not just one but three children by Cardinal. So many dangers, so many worries, so many thoughts all meshed into one running commentary that they aren't likely to be sorted out even by the telepath right now.

Yep, she looks a little farther along than she actually is. The reason for that was recently unveiled. "Yeah, there is a lot of leaking going on as of late. Start leaking from places I didn't even know— You know what? That's gross, sorry." she shakes her head and dismisses the rest of her statement with a wave of her hands as she steps through the door. "Um, usually I'd bring a bottle of wine to something like this, but I am a little disallowed to partake in that right now." She didn't get too dressed up, though she is dressed rather sensible and fitting of her figure. She obviously takes a bit of pride in her appearance and isn't intending to be one of those girls that tries to wear about anything. "Oh, don't worry about it being awkward." she assures Liz, "It's an unusual arrangement but I'm sure everything will be okay. I'll do what I can to not flip out or cry or anything and make dinner uncomfortable for anyone."

Once she's inside, Cardinal closes the door; the locks thrown as usual despite there not really being many ways to get up to the apartment without having the ability to make a locked door moot. It's habit, mostly. "I think keeping sober is probably a better idea anyway," he allows, pausing and clearing his throat, "So— anyway. Harm, Liz, you know each other."

Elisabeth flushes lightly and offers Harmony a bit of a smile, a sincere one, as she responds. Manners drilled into her over a lifetime are still in place, though she's feeling less like she has to be on her best behavior and more like herself. "Yeah… briefly." She pauses, looking Harmony over, and then grins a bit. "I'm okay with unusual. I'm more worried about making sure you have what you need to manage," she admits to the pregnant woman. And keeping my ear to the ground to make sure Zeke has no clue you exist. Fucker.

"Yeah, well, some days I miss being able to pop a Zanex to put on the calm." Harmony states. It would be a decent solution to a radiation emitter with an emotional trigger. Hasn't had to worry too much about it as of late, but still. "I'm doing things I said I'd never do." See, she isn't nervous at all. Not externally, though there is a war waging inside of her that has no real rhyme or reason. She slips her jacket from her shoulders and folds it over one arm. "But anyway, yeah.. I have Nate to watch over me, no one has taken a shot at my head so far, and I actually get good sleep. The uh.." she blushes, "The babies actually help with that. I can pick up their minds, and it sounds like warm white noise. It's easy to sleep to."

As the pair talk, Cardinal sort of edges around them into the kitchen to check on the food. Well, they haven't tried to kill each other yet. They may still pick me as a target, though.

Well, there's something else they have in common. "I quit taking the Xanax. Had to go cold turkey last year after I got kidnapped off on a fuckin' top secret mission," she admits quietly. Russia and Antarctica were not good for her anxiety issues, that's for sure. But they were good for detox. "Occasionally should probably take one, but need to stay sharp." Elisabeth smiles a bit, watching the man move through the apartment. "If you want to put the vegetables in to steam, the pot's ready. Just drop the basket in and cover it. Five minutes or so," she tells him. And then quickly, "And don't stir the chicken!" Cuz… God only knows what'll happen.

Her attention's brought back around to Harmony, and Elisabeth walks to her to take the jacket. The flash of emotion across her face is gone before it can be identified really. "Here, let me take it," she murmurs. "Uhm… come, sit. It's just … chicken and rice. Some veggies. I … didn't know what you'd like," she says a little awkwardly. "Were you… on the Xanax when you got pregnant?" she asks, concern in her expression. Side effects run through her head, worry not just for Harmony coming off the meds cold turkey while pregnant — which really could kill the other woman — but also on the fetuses.

Harmony tosses Cardinal a look, Alright, I'm a little irrational right now, but come on Richard. Are you really expecting a cat fight? You're such a guy, Richard, you probably WANT to see it happen. Somewhere, deep down, in the core of your being, you want to see a fight. It's totally apart of your animal nature. Well so much for her staying normal. She does manage to stop herself before she starts down a chain of dominoes of emotions, using Liz as a distraction for that, letting her take her jacket as she moves to find a seat, "Well, currently I'll eat almost anything. But if you give me a minute or two, it might change. It's awful. But I'm sure whatever it is, it'll be fine." she smiles, "Um.." Harmony wrinkles her nose, "No, I stopped having to take them a year ago. It was mostly for my ability.. which I might need to figure out something to either keep me negated when they return, or to keep my emotions in check. I kinda don't wanna slip up and risk it."

You obviously don't know Liz's temper… A wry response to the voice in Cardinal's head, even as he steps over to put the basket in to steam. He can follow simple directions. Honest.

There's a nod to Harmony as Elisabeth lays her jacket across a chair. She has no idea about the telepathic conversation, so she's just working on the one in front of her. "That's good, actually. I mean… you know, what with the side effects that come with Xanax." She shrugs a little. And for just a moment, Elisabeth has a pang. Wish Norton were still here. And then she pauses and says, "If it's a problem, I think we know a negator. At least…. if your other abilities return before you give birth. Don't know that it would be a long-term fix, but at least it would be something during, you know?" She's trying so hard to be helpful. But there's a moment where she catches something and then swallows hard. "Uhm…. " She glances toward the kitchen. "You should… maybe come here."

"Yeah, that actually might be a good course to take." Harmony nods, not having thought about an actual negator. Huh, she has no idea why she didn't even consider that possibility. She can blame it on the changes happening. One of the perks of this little situation called pregnancy. Go out of your head and you can blame it on the babies. "Normally, I have good control, and I myself am immune to radiation with my ability on the cellular level, I'm just not sure if it extends to my babies while they're inside me. I don't really want to take the risk, because.. well triplets already have a lower chance of survival, I don't want to do anything that will lower that chance." It is one of her daily worries. There are so many other too.

She has two telepathic conversations going on at once, but she has learned to separate these things over her time in having telepathy. Oh, um, yeah sure. He might like it. she responds to Liz.

"I'd send you to Harve, but he technically works for the Institute…" The pots and plates clatter as Cardinal does something — probably steaming the vegetables, but who knows really — in the kitchen, "…so I'm not sure how far I can trust him."

Elisabeth nods slightly to Harmony and walks into the kitchen. She pulls the pot of vegetables off the burner to let them finish steaming just in the pot with its lid on, and turns off the chicken as well. Everything will remain warm. Then she tugs him gently into the living room with her, to push him to stand in front of Harmony.

Gently removing her hands from him, there's a subtle set of sounds that begin to permeate the room. It's requiring a delicate manipulation on Elisabeth's part, having never tried this particular kind of maneuvering of sounds. But she's sorting through them carefully until the sounds in the living room are a rhythmic, fast thump-thump and rushing of sound. Far faster than an adult, and many more of them all at once. The sounds of infant heartbeats swell to comfortable volume.

And then Elisabeth very gently wraps the two of them in their own field and steps back to give them what small amount of privacy she can, averting her eyes to the dinner that's waiting to be plated.

Harmony got to hear the sound when she went to the doctor the last time. Even then it was a rather exciting experience. The fact that Liz is able to produce the effects of an ultrasound is an unexpected surprise for Harmony as well. The sounds of the heartbeats are a little erratic as there are three. A cacophony of thumping arranged by Liz's ability, "You should.. hear sometimes when everyone is sleeping. It's almost like they synch and they all have activity together. I think it'd be amazing if their hearts all matched up." Oh.. here it comes, she can feel it in her throat again, that tightness that indicates an emotional surge. Her eyes watering up with those kinds of tears that aren't sad ones. She brings her hand to cover her mouth, and her face begins to tremble. "Oh my god.." she fans herself, "I'm trying not to cry, but.. I can't help it." the last sentence is full of whine, as she tries to fight losing it, but starts to fail.

"Hey, I wasn't doing anything wrong…" A protest from Cardinal, who was, in fact, stirring the chicken. He was only stirring it! It looked like it needed to be stirred, so the heat would be uniformly applied. But he lets himself be dragged, because probably he was doing something wrong, and pushed in front of Harmony. A sidelong look to Liz, quizzical, brow furrowing and then he looks back to Harmony…

…just as that soft, barely-audible thump of heartbeats begins to rise in the air. His eyes widen just a bit, and he steps closer… one hand sliding up to rest gently against her stomach as if to feel it, swallowing briefly, gaze on Harmony's own as he murmurs softly, "That's… god, that's beautiful, Harm…"

She could — and can — sense the sound itself. No one's immune to hearing a heartbeat like that. It was Liz's own request to do it, more for him than Harmony assuredly. Harm will hear it often. The sound, when it caught her attention, made her own heart ache with hurt and rabid jealousy but there are some things are just more important than your own feelings.

Elisabeth keeps her eyes averted from the tableau, sidling around the edge of the counter to go and put rice on plates, chicken and its glaze atop the mound, and vegetables to one side. It's not a fancy meal, it's just food. But it keeps her from having to see what's happening in the living room even as she offers the gift freely to both of them while her hands work.

Whatever else you do…. don't ever think for a moment that he'll abandon you. Or them. Anything you need. Ever. Elisabeth's thought may be laced with hurt, but there is an adamant tone to it.

Harmony couldn't have said it better herself, really. It is a small thing yes, but just hearing the heartbeats holds so much power to bring even the most hardened to their knees. Cardinal being an example of the power of baby life. And if he starts crying, then she knows she'll lose it even more than she does now. Oh cruel, cruel hormones, crashing down all of the years she spent on emotional control. She is trying to regain composure, as Cardinal listens, using tactics to distract her mind from the sobbing decline. "Yeah.." she agrees, "Um.. I- I'm not sure what they'll be yet. Boys, girls, or what ever, I don't know what I'm hoping for actually but.. Um, names." she brings a hand up to wipe the tear from her cheek, taking a sniffle, "There will need to be lots of names to go around so.. feel free to make a list?" She looks to Cardinal and Liz as well. "Nate and I both like the name Bryce, and Lily after my mother. And I know Richard was partial to Victor." See, she can have this under control, "Oh, but I think.. well, I think maybe Richard might want to be in the waiting room instead of the delivery room, if.. well I don't find a negation solution. I've been watching Baby Story and I am not sure I would use my ability on him. Especially with three coming out." She isn't looking forward to the labor pains.

I do truly know that, even if I'll have bouts of emotions I can't explain. And I know he'll do anything to keep them from harm. She assures Liz, which reminds her of somthing, "Oh.. Liz, I was thinking that perhaps, if you wanted that is .. if you would like to be the Godmother?"

"Vincent." It's a quiet correction. Richard owes Shard that much, at least. A breath's drawn in as he straightens, no tears, but there's a hint of a gleam in his eyes as he offers a faint smile, "And we'll… get you a negator, for that, I promise. It'll be too dangerous otherwise. I can— work on some names, definately." A glance from her, over towards Liz, expression hard to read. He's never been good at processing emotional scenes.

Elisabeth's hands in the kitchen go still, the sound of multiple hearts fading out, and she doesn't look up. "I'd…. be honored, Harmony. Thank you." And because she knows Richard well enough and because it's just the way she is, the blonde keeps her own emotions carefully neutralized. She's already popped him one in the mouth today, and that's about as much emotion as she figures can be handled. "Dinner's ready whenever you two are," she says quietly, moving to carry the plates to the table.

Believe me… bouts of emotion that are hard to understand? I think we're both in that boat right now. Maybe… sometime… we can talk a little when he's not about to implode worrying we're going to kill one another, okay? And when I'm … done being… all the things I am over this. Liz's own emotions are not precisely easily clarified these days. The fact that Harmony's being… nice, including her in this conversation, makes her feel sort of churlish and worse on a lot of levels. Which … well, let's face it, it's a bit of a double standard — she'd expect her lovers to either make themselves okay with it or let her know they were done if they couldn't hack it. A thought that makes her stop dead in the middle of balancing two plates on the way to the table. "Well, shit," she murmurs, surprised. And she suddenly laughs. "Well, just …. shit. Go figure." Then she resumes putting the meal on the table.

"Oh, I'm actually starving. You have no idea how much crying all day takes out of you. It's draining." Harmony uses the promise of food to snap out of being emotional. She has difficulty eating as it is, so when she is hungry, she usually has to eat right then or she won't me hungry a second later. "It smells delicious. I have to put up with Nate's cooking normally, and a lot of times he just cooks for nutritional value, and not taste. I want some taste to my food. It won't kill the babies to eat a few fatty foods. I personally want three fatty babies. That means health." she smiles, making her way over to the table. She is probably aware that Richard isn't all that good with the emotional stuff, so she spares him of it for now.

I think that would be a good idea. According to Richard, we live in the same apartment complex, so I don't think it is unlikely that we wouldn't be able to meet outside of Richard. Harmony has always been nice. There was a period where the telepathy made her a little on the cranky side, but she just had to adjust. "Oh.." she brings her brows to knit together, "Richard said something about a ban on Evolved procreation. I.. want to do whatever I can to help prevent that from happening."

As Harmony steps away and back over to the table, Cardinal's hand slides away from her stomach— brushing against her hip in passing, and then he's stepping after her towards the table as well, his head shaking slowly. "If we don't stop Humanis First," he says darkly, "There's a whole lot of things that're going to happen. None of them are good…" He pulls out a chair for her, since, you know, pregnant.

Elisabeth's mood has shifted from nervous and sort of…. well, pissy thought suppressing it to a far lighter one. She chuckles over the revelation that hit her as she was putting food on the table, though she doesn't speak it aloud, and leaves the first plate in front of Harmony and the other at one of the other chairs. Then she heads back to get the last one. Glasses of water and silverware are already on the table. As she comes back in, she glances at Richard then back to Harmony. "You do what you need to do for now — I have a feeling growing three beings is going to be all-consuming for a while. Let us deal with the other parts. For now. Later when I'm waddling, you can be on the commando team, okay?" she comments to Harmony as she sits down. There's amusement in the blue eyes, though they're shadowed by the things they're speaking of.

Harmony laughs, "Oh, be careful. Triplets don't run in my family. Twins even, I don't think there is a single set on either side of my family. If you let him, he'll turn you into the Octomom too." she jokes, "Which would only inflate his head that much more. I have a feeling that Richard is going to be a sickning father. So perfect that it'll be disgusting. And we won't be able to get on him for kid things that happen because face it, you can't be mad at a perfect dad." the blond shakes her head. Well he is in trouble now, because they're talking about him like he isn't there. A mixed blessing perhaps? "But he does sort of insist that they learn to use firearms. I kind of agree, given the stuff Richard is involved in, but I told him, not before the age of 5."

This would be the other thing Richard was worried about. Them getting along too well. As he settles into the table, he observes dryly, "You realize they're probably going to be growing up on the run, right…?" A pause, "Maybe I should send you and them to stay with Brian, even. I don't know…"

Elisabeth smirks slightly and suddenly…. this really sort of becomes like Richard and Felix having a beer with Elisabeth in the room. She and Harmony may or may not ever be friends, but … the awkward just goes away. "I think the age of 5 is reasonable," she sagenods toward Harmony. As crazy as it sounds, this is their life. "Richard…. right now, let's just worry about keeping her way, way under the radar," she murmurs. "If you draw attention to her, Zeke might disappear her." Which is a terrible fear to live with, if you want the truth, but …. it's there. "We don't even know whether she was involved in his timeline, but I have to assume probably not — he had no reason to go walkabout yet, he was too busy doing other things. And she was already dead. Pretty much everything after November 8 is up in the air."

Harmony sighs at hearing that someone would try to make her not there, "This is why I want my ability back. Ugh, this telepathy, it's neat and everything, but there isn't any stopping power to it. I barely know how to use a gun, but I tell you, I miss being able to discharge accelerated particles. Nothing quite says back off than being able to melt someone's face in two seconds." she shakes her head, "Ask Richard what I did to the door at the Library. And that was solid steel." with her fork in her hand, while taking bites between talking, as not to speak with food in her mouth, and still trying to quench her hunger. "I will need to be able to defend myself. All I can do right now is make this mental scream, sorta like smacking someone's brain with a hammer."

"I think it should be back soon," Cardinal says, although it's a hesitant statement; he's not really sure, after all, and Tyler's power doesn't always work exactly the same way. He reaches over for the fork for his food, his head shaking slowly, "And if Ezekiel lays a fucking hand on you…"

And there it is…. in his own ways, Richard is just as protective of theirs as Liz is. Elisabeth smiles faintly, though the worry is definitely present. "Eat," she tells them both. "It's not something we'll work out today anyway." And now that she's not tied up in knots, she's actually hungry as well. So she settles in to eat as well. There'll be time later for other conversations.

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