The Cure For What Ails You


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title The Cure For What Ails You
Synopsis Drinking, Fucking, and Fighting of course
Date Dec 2, 2010

Basement, Redbird Security Solutions

She's down in the basement, finally off the phone to her office. Hiding from her office, if the truth be told. Normally she'd be in the firing range working off her stress… but right now she's simply sitting at the desk that Richard put in down here, beneath which resides God only knows what secrets in a box in the concrete, with her face buried in her arms. She could be asleep, although that's not the best way to snooze.

After checking in on the comatose form of Delia upstairs to make sure she was still alive - although the lights are on and nobody's home - Cardinal makes his way back downstairs, his boots echoing briefly in the stairwell until he makes his appearance. At the sight of Elisabeth face down on the desk, he walks along over slowly, stopping behind her to ask quietly, "You awake?"

Picking her head up from the cradle of her arms, Elisabeth puts on her best face for him. "I'm awake. Just resting a moment." She moves to stand up. "I'm sorry to have had to pull you in like that. I know you wanted out for a while. Something about the girl's tweaking me — beyond the obvious — and frankly I just don't have the time to follow up on the precog angles myself." There's an apologetic, regretful tone to her voice as she faces him. A voice that's at least a lot less rough than it was the last time they spoke. "I would have preferred to give you as much time as you needed."

"I don't trust her myself, but as the man said… keep your enemies close," Cardinal says with a slow shake of his head, leaning his hip on the desk's edge and folding both arms over his chest as he offers her a tired smile, "Better to keep her around and keep an eye on her, find out who she really is and what she wants. I asked Peyton to contact any ex-Company folk we know to try and confirm…" One hand comes up, rubbing at his face, "So what're you working on right now?"

"This moment?" Elisabeth quips with a small smile. "Not a damn thing. Hiding." She nibbles her lip. "Cat suggested giving Delia Refrain to try to pull her out, but I'd rather Aric took a shot at helping her find her way back. Or asking someone close to her, like Jaiden or perhaps her father, to attempt the Refrain thing to draw her in. Much as I really hate utilizing that shit." She shoves a hand through her hair, shrugging slightly. There's a long pause and she says quietly, "Things are … off… between us. I don't like it much, and I'm not sure exactly what's causing it." She shifts her weight. "We both pretty much suck at relationship shit, but… is there anything I can say or do to… address the problem? Or do you just need space?"

"If we could get Matt awake, he might be able to figure something out… he's the most powerful telepath that I know of," says Cardinal with a slow shake of his head, glancing over to the door, "Maybe if we could get Aric to him." There's silence, then, at her words, his gaze unwavering from the door. Then his head drops forward, his eyes closing as he says quietly, "I'm… you know me, Liz. I don't… do well being tied down and restrained. I don't do well with 'You can't do that'. And you and me was— is— you know."

Elisabeth shrugs and nods. "Do what you need to," she tells him quietly. "I'd rather watch you walk away now than hit a point that you walk away from your kid." It's something she never thought was even possible no matter how bad things went for them personally. Her smile is faint. "I should have known when you didn't freak out when I asked that it would hit you later. It's okay." She takes a couple steps away from him shoving her hands in her pockets. "I wasn't looking to tie you down or tell you not to do anything — if I did that, I apologize."

"What?" Cardinal's head turns her way, furrowed lines carving themselves across his brow, "This has nothing to do with having a kid, Liz, it…" He grimaces, pushing away from the desk's edge, "…it was when you started following me around sniping at every woman that I was talking to, all but carrying a sign over my head saying 'taken' even if I wasn't even flirting with them."

That shocks her, and Elisabeth turns to look at him with it clear in her expression. "Well, shit," she drawls. "When'd I turn into that?" she wonders aloud, confused at her own behavior. "Can't blame you for doing a runner. I'd have bolted too." She shakes her head. "Sorry doesn't quite cover that bullshit, does it?" she says on a bit of a shake of her head. "You should have said something. I'd like to think the stupidity and hypocrisy of that would have been evident to start with, but …. who knows. I've been a little fucked up in the head lately." She looks away from him, her jaw clenching.

"Don't you remember when you met Harmony? You walked in, looked at us, and said out loud that I wasn't allowed to sleep with her before you even found out what her name was," Cardinal reminds her with a grimace, "I overreacted, maybe, but… I was already in a pretty bad fucking place myself. Still am." He reaches over, hand sliding to her shoulder as he says quietly, "Last month fucked us all up a lot."

Harmony? She never even caught the woman's name, frankly. Didn't care. "Oh lord… " Elisabeth rolls her eyes and turns her blue eyes back to him, her hand coming up out of her pocket to rest atop the one on her shoulder. "I am sorry." Looking up at him, she says softly, "I knew that I was supposed to die. Your hyperactive reaction to the helmet situation pretty much gave it away." He'd been so upset about Peyton's understanding of that situation, though, that she simply left it alone. "I would have preferred hearing it from you, though — that my name was on that goddamn list of Edward's."

"I didn't think that it mattered." Cardinal's lips purse in a grimace, head shaking tightly, "It shouldn't've. Edward… current-day Edward… even warned me against fulfilling that list. And the names on there, I'd have to be fucking insane to go through with it. I didn't see any reason to make you worry."

"Well…. it's important now. Knowing what's going on with you is going to be the only way I survive now," Elisabeth says quietly. "In a future that doesn't happen this time — in a future where apparently guilt eats you alive and turns you into that man running the Institute — Cardinal killed me. Then he had Darren Stevens resurrect me and never told me the truth about what happened. And then either he did something so horrible that I took his son away from him or he walked away from his kid so as to …. I don't know. Do something that I didn't agree with maybe? Because I've been informed that in that future we had a son… one who that man up there had little contact with. And that is a future we're not going to live, Richard." Her tone is firm.

"Their whole goal is to keep Cardinal's timeline as close as possible to what he's already lived. Well… I've been told by Broome that they just want to keep me alive. That me living doesn't change the future much. And yet later he pointed out to me that my position now puts me in a very powerful, very visible position. One that in the other Cardinal's timeline I could not have inhabited because I was dead. So now we're in a position, to my mind, to thwart them." Elisabeth pauses. "And doing that means… possibly making things worse. So you and I gotta be on the same page."

"That'll never be me, Liz," Cardinal says with a faint smile, "Whatever happened to him, whatever changed him… it's not me, and it never will be." He leans back, then, one hand rubbing to the side of his neck as he admits, "I went up to Cambridge, visitied Doctor Mallett. The Institute's already all over him. He's building a machine… a machine that can communicate with the past. That's got to be the other me's plan. Set up a station and you can start sending messages back to yourself to fix all your goddamn mistakes. It'll be like throwing the fucking timeline into a meat grinder."

Elisabeth eyes him. "You know….. this whole playing with the timeline shit is seriously getting on my nerves. I'm not even sure I want to know what sent the other you insane. I just want to fucking know that you are not heading down that road. Will you please promise me that much?"

"I just told you that I wasn't," Carinal says quietly, looking over to the firing range, "It's an easy fix… too easy. Too fucking dangerous. It's the same goddamn thing that Broome was warning against, only ten times worse. If we change the future, yeah, we don't know what's on the other side. If we change the past we could be blowing ourselves up. And we'd never know until it happened."

"Edward got my letter. He left me a package with Mallett. I've got orders not to open it without Kaylee there, though, so I'm waiting for Monica to pick her up."

She studies him and nods slightly. "No… you said you wouldn't do what he did — not that you weren't on a path to a different kind of insane," Elisabeth retorts. Although mostly tongue-in-cheek. "Giving Edward that letter in the past seems like the beginning of a very slippery slope. So…. let me know what he left you this time, and let's see if we can figure out how to …." She shakes her head. "Christ. What a mess. That you is maybe trying to complete the list, this you is trying to stop it. I'm starting to think we live in a fuckin' comic book."

She finally moves now, stepping closer to him to reach up and wrap her arms around his shoulders tightly. "Next time I'm acting like a jackass, will you please tell me that I'm acting like a jackass?" Elisabeth asks softly. "I pretty much suck as bad as you do at most of this, in case you didn't notice," she adds drily. "So sometimes I need a kick in the shorts."

"I can't make that promise," Cardinal points out with a roll of his eyes, "We're pretty fucking crazy to be doing any of this anyway, y'know?"

Then she's reaching her arms around his shoulders, and his own drape loosely over hers as he smiles faintly down to her, "Yeah, well… from where I was standing, it was looking like you were planning the whole white picket fence thing."

There's a snort. "Haven't you heard, lover? I'm the new fuckin' Sarah Connor or something." Elisabeth's tone is dry as a desert — the analogy is far too close to truth from what she can gather to really be as amusing as it could be. She pulls away to look up at him, her tone soft but candid. "I never asked you for a picket fence. I never asked you for anything but what we have. I figured out a long time ago that what most people consider 'happily ever after' just wasn't going to fit my lifestyle. And quite frankly — whatever you thought I was doing when I was poking fun at you, it wasn't intended as a 'keep off the grass' warning. Elle is the only person I've ever asked you not to put me in a position to share a man with." She makes a face, sticking out her tongue. "I asked you to share a kid with me for one reason: It's the one good thing that seems to be a repeating factor in the futures that I know about — that somewhere in there it'll happen. And if that's the case, Richard… "

Elisabeth shrugs a little. "If I get to choose, then I'd rather have your child. As unconventional as we are, as much as neither of us is the house/kids/white picket fence types, as much fighting as we do …. I love you. I asked because it was something I want for myself — not to tie you to me but because when one of us dies again," as crazy as that ought to sound there's simply a wistful note, "there's something left of us. Maybe the best parts of both of us. Someone who'll remember how damn hard we tried. We deserve that much, don't you think?" Yeah… she's a girl. Sue her.

"You kind've demanded that I stay faithful for at least two months, as I recall," Cardinal points out, his tone a little wry as he analyses his own psychology, head shaking just a bit, "That's the point that my gut told me to start running. At least I didn't run too far, though, eh?"

He leans down, brushing a kiss to her forehead and saying quietly, "I do want kids. If you didn't realize yet that I love kids, then you haven't been paying attention. And for the record, you are such a romantic. Jesus."

Elisabeth laughs outright. "Well, I'm rescinding the request," she informs him. "Don't know what the hell I was thinking anyway." Well…. she sort of does. When everything is spinning out of control, it's human nature to want to find something you get to control. And in doing that, she managed to damage the one part of her life that has just flat worked. She's relieved that they seem to be finding their footing again. The accusation makes her chuckle. "I kind of figured you sorted that out last year."

Cardinal's lips twitch into a bit of a smirk then. "Yeah. Under that tough hard-ass exterior of yours, you're made've fucking bubble gum and flowers, lover," he points out, leaning down to rest his brow against hers, asking quietly, "How's work going, anyway?"

Her chuckle is amused. "What gave it away? The silky thongs? The lacy bras? The whole Han Solo thing?" Elisabeth closes her eyes as he rests against her like that, finally, finally feeling some of the tension slipping away. "It's going. I don't know how Kershner found time to take a leak some days. They've got me on the fucking phone with every-damn-body and their brother to talk about shit that I'm just like 'do you have a fucking clue how to actually run your organization you idiot?' but I can't say that. And uhm…. well, apparently I've got some political clout. Which is… bizarre. I hate politics."

"Get used to it. Peyton was even interviewed on television a couple weeks ago," observes Cardinal dryly, "Although…" He pauses, that pause that he has when a thought occurs, "…hm. Maybe we can play their game."

She pulls back a little, blue eyes wary now. "In what way?" Liz asks. Not like that's not what she's been working on doing for a couple weeks now.

"Politics." Cardinal flashes a quick smile as he leans back, "They got here by picking a candidate and backing him all the way to the White House. It's a long game, but maybe we can play it too. We have a candidate, after all."

Elisabeth blinks. "What?" she asks, looking confused. "We do? Who?" He's always six steps sideways of her — Good Christ.

Cardinal raises a bow slightly. "You met him once before," he points out, grinning, "Marcus Donovan."

"Donovan?" Elisabeth echoes stupidly. "I'm not certain he would withstand the scrutiny. Just because he was the underdog doesn't mean he's actually a good candidate." She pauses, though, her mind considering the possibilities. "What makes you think he is?" she asks thoughtfully.

"Scrutiny? The man's an honest-to-god hero, all but killed himself trying to save people after Peter went off," Cardinal points out with a shake of his head, "Sure, he's a pro-evolved candidate… his policies are things we can support. He'd make a good center around which to start working. We have the DHS, we have the CIA, we have FRONTLINE… we can throw most of the law enforcement in the city behind him, and we've got the perfect dirty tricks bureau for political campaigning."

Elisabeth tilts her head, considering his words carefully. "Would he want to do it, though?" she wonders aloud. "It would mean some pretty subtle and careful manipulation of things to make it happen." She pauses and grimaces. "And now we sound just like His Assness." Sucking in a deep breath, Elisabeth shoves a hand through her hair, distracted by the possibilities here. "I'm game to work this angle with you." She grins just a little. "I don't have a clue if it's an angle they're going to see coming, but …. somehow I have a feeling not." She hesitates. "You want to put out feelers or you want me to?"

"You felt him out once before," Cardinal says with a slight nod, "See if you can get a meeting with him. Just… express that you're not happy with the way things are going, see what his opinions are, see if he has plans to try for a political career again. If he's actually interested, we might be able to pave the way for him." A twitch of his lips, "We may have to do some things he doesn't know about, of course. Plausible deniability."

"Mmm-hmm," Elisabeth retorts on a sigh. Her smile is faint. Here we go again. "Sure. I'll put the word out that I'd like to talk to him." She pauses and then grins at him. "And I'll see what I can do about getting a visit with Parkman too. Depends on what his bodyguards have been told, but it can't hurt to ask. If I can get in to see him, Aric may not be able to help, though — the whole telepaths creating interference for one another or something. You got any other ideas on how to get into the head of one of the most powerful telepaths ever?" she asks.

"Not a one." Cardinal leans down to brush a kiss to her lips, then, moving to step back and away, "Let's see what we can do with Aric for now… I think I've piled quite enough work on you for one day, though." He smirks, "So much for a vacation."

"Ffft," Elisabeth retorts after returning the soft kiss tenderly. "Hey, I tried to give you a vacation. But if you're gonna waltz in here, for Christ's sake, after I've told 'em all to leave you alone, then you deserve to get mugged." She grins slightly. "Besides, didn't you just have an intangible vacation for like months?" she ribs.

"It's not a vacation if I can't get drunk, laid, or get in a fight," Cardinal replies with a snort as he heads for the door, "I'll let you what we find in that box that Edward sent me."

There's a roll of blue eyes and a snicker of laughter from Elisabeth. "Well, I hope you spent the last weeks drinking, fucking, and fighting," she retorts. "You'll feel better if you did! And keep doing!" she calls after him, amused.

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