The Life Graced Me


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title The Life Graced Me
Synopsis Those moments in the dark are the ones that carry you through.
Date Mar 16, 2011

Redbird Security Solutions, Cardinal's Apartment

Jo hasn't seen him. She's on her way home for the night. And she didn't see anyone else go in or out! So Elisabeth feels fairly confident in letting herself in this time. If she went in and interrupted something, she'd be kinda mortified. She closes the door quietly behind her, uncertain whether he's awake or asleep, and enhances sounds to attempt to determine whether she should simply quietly let herself back out again.

The audiokinetic's hearing picks up his breathing from the bedroom; shallow and steady. Asleep, then, more than likely. And he is, Cardinal's form sprawled half-covered by tangled sheets, one leg half off the mattress as he slumbers.

She checks the coffee pot and gets it started before slipping out of her shoes and jacket and padding barefoot through the apartment. Elisabeth stops in the doorway of the darkened bedroom, leaning against the jamb to look at him. When he sleeps, he looks so …. young. She supposes maybe they all do, when their cares and worries slip away. Slipping gently into the bed behind him, she snugs herself against his back and wraps her arms around him to cradle him into the curve of her.

Of course, Cardinal's always been a light sleeper. You have to be, in his line of work. As she slips into the bed, he jerks awake— tense— and then he eases back against her as the familiarity sets in, one hand lifting to slide over her arm with a quiet murmur, "Hey."

"Hey," Elisabeth murmurs in greeting. She kisses the back of his shoulder and sighs deeply, relaxing into his sleep-warm form, letting the scent of him take the tension of the day away.

"What's up?" Cardinal stretches just a little in a slow motion against her, then sinks back in a comfortable lean, eyes closing again, "Just get off work…?"

Elisabeth smiles against his back. "Yeah," she admits softly. "Wanted to talk to you, had the time… missed you." Her hand lightly strokes his chest while she cuddles him, simply enjoying the closeness. "Thought I might take the chance on catching you like this," she murmurs quietly.

Cardinal's fingers skim across the back of her hand, then lace between hers and squeeze lightly. "Well, you did," he murmurs, "Lucky I wasn't sleeping with my hand on my gun tonight, though, lover."

There's a soft laugh, not exactly amused. "I actually assumed you were which is why I climbed in behind you," Elisabeth retorts softly. "Besides…. I guess if you shot me… it would just have been meant to happen." The quip perhaps falls a bit flat. She twines her fingers through his and kisses his shoulder again.

There's silence for a moment there, before Cardinal says quietly, "…low blow, there, lover." He grazes his hand along over her hand and up her wrist, then down again, roving vaguely over her skin, "How was work?"

"I'm sorry," Elisabeth replies instantly. "It wasn't… I didn't mean it to be." She's contrite — it hadn't been meant as a slam, more just… dark humor. "Some days I just… " She trails off. "Never mind. I'm sorry," she whispers and hugs him from behind. "It was work. Just… same old, same old… we're back on a routine finally. Mostly." She pauses. "Evan Langford called me this morning, so I went up there."

"The game theory guy?" Cardinal tips his head a little to look back over one shoulder, brow furrowing slightly, "What'd he have to say? Anything useful?"

Elisabeth squeezes his hand gently. "Yeah, actually… I'm going to pick him up tomorrow for the meeting. His data…. identified most of the things we would have expected if it was actually going to be of use, and a few places that may be of interest. I saw… a hostile corporate takeover in the list. I didn't look closely, but it may be Linderman's organization…. not sure… so I told him to bring the data. He'll get a slew more data points at the meeting and be able to share what he's already gleaned. It's a place to start, at least," she murmurs.

"Hopefully it isn't us," Cardinal murmurs quietly, thoughtfully, "We're technically a corporation, after all. Or Warren's company… mm. even the Institute."

"Yeah… well, he's going to back his data up on a hard drive, and I think he said he's bringing the laptop he was working on with him for the meeting tomorrow." Elisabeth admits, "I didn't look too closely because I figured I'd have time when we had it in our hands. Plus…. " She grins a little. "I'm not a dumb woman, I'll have you know, but … seriously, it gives me the biggest headache in the world to deal with the timeline shit. It's bad."

"Yeah." Cardinal closes his eyes, his head resting down against the pillow, "Speaking of… timeline shit. I had a dream the other night. One of— one of those dreams, I think, because there's no way my subconscious came up with this shit."

"Oh?" Elisabeth free hand, tucked against his back up until now, creeps up to slide under his neck so she can hold onto him. "How bad?" she asks quietly. Because… the two she knows about thus far are bad enough.

"It was… pretty bad." Cardinal's cheek rubs down against her fingers, a sigh of breath stirring over the side of the pillow, "I was in charge of the Institute. Or, I guess… Ezekiel was. Claire was there, in armor, although it wasn't any armor that I've seen before. Warren was, too. And a bunch've… red-shirts."

Red-shirts? Elisabeth's brows pull together and then she smirks faintly. "Now there's something I never knew about you," she murmurs. "A Trekkie, of all things." She kisses the back of his head, whispering softly, "What happened?"

"I'm guessing we were in the arcology," Cardinal murmurs, eyes closed and lips pursing slightly as he tries to recall it, "I've never actually seen it. The power'd gone out… it was coming back on. ALIA - all caps, the artificial version - was coming online. She was… shit." A silent pause. "She was reporting ICBM strikes. Sixteen of them."

Elisabeth's body goes tense against his back. "Oh …. Oh God," she whispers, burying her face against his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Richard." That he had to see that.

"We didn't know if they were nuclear or not," Cardinal murmurs, his fingers squeezing firmly against hers, "I was sending Claire and Harmony topside to check the radiation levels. The entire communication grid was down. Then Jolene woke me up, I guess she walked down the hall and heard me in my sleep."

Blowing out a soft breath, Elisabeth thinks about this. "There's no…. real way to place that in the timeline of dreams that we know about, is there?" she wonders. "The one I had… would have to have been 7 or 8 years, the one that Ryans mentioned was a good 15 years or something. Those two seemed to fit together, at least. But… this one doesn't sound like there were too many markers," she murmurs, pressing his fingers gently. Her body curls a little more protectively around his. "This all seems so … random."

"Yeah." There's silence for a few moments, and then Cardinal admits, "I have no idea… when. It was before Warren went completely nuts, apparently. I mean, more nuts than usual. Mm. Jolene. She's a mimic, you know."

Elisabeth blinks and frowns. "What?" Now she moves to slip her arm under his neck backward, propping up on that elbow to look over his shoulder at him. The arm over top of him, though, still keeps him snugged gently against her. "I thought she was… " She frowns. "A telepath? Actually, I'm not sure what I thought she was," she admits. "What kind of mimic? Like Monica's ability to mimic powers, or … like a shapeshifter mimic?"

"No, no…" Cardinal turns a bit to roll onto his back, shifting a few times until he's there, one arm sliding under the arm that she's leaning on as he looks up to her with a shake of his head, "…think Peter. Although I think she can only mimic the abilities of people she's in the room with."

Settling down against him once again, this time face to face with her head propped up on that elbow next to his head, Elisabeth frowns a little. "Wow…. " She seems at a loss. "What's her deal, anyway? She hasn't been around Redbird lately. I thought you'd decided not to hire her."

"She has." Cardinal's head rests back against the pillow as he looks up to her with a thoughtful expression, "She's been working sorting mail and shit while I tried to figure out why she's here."

Elisabeth nods a bit. "Mail room, huh? The age-old 'stick 'em somewhere til you figure out what to do with 'em' trick. So…. what is it that you've come up with so far?" she asks with a rueful smile.

Cardinal brings one hand up to scratch against the side of his neck, admitting, "She won't tell me who she works for. She claims they've got a… similar mission. Won't tell me much else, though, or the details."

"Oh Lord," she murmurs. "Just what we need… more factions in the mix." Elisabeth sighs softly, glancing away from him. She seems to be considering. And then simply looks at him, bringing the hands they've still got twined together sitting on his chest up to her lips to kiss his fingers. "I love you," she says softly, impulsively. The faint smile that quirks the corners of her mouth gives her a bit of an abashed expression as she says it, as if she wasn't expecting those to be the words that popped out.

The edges of a smile crook up at the corner of Richard's lips, and he grazes his thumb across the curve of her mouth as she kisses it. "I love you too," he murmurs softly, "I'll let you know if I find out anything more…"

Elisabeth lingers with him and then settles to lay her head on his shoulder. "I know," she says softly. She's quiet for a few moments, listening to the reassuringly steady beat of his heart. "I made coffee for you… if you want to get up." There's a hint of invitation to the tone, though it's not necessarily intended as a carnal one. She seems content to simply lay here with him for a while.

Cardinal's lips brush against her hair lightly. "Yeah," he says quietly, "Just gimme a few minutes."

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