Varlane Is Terrible With Secrets


vf_cardinal_icon.gif vf_elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Varlane is Terrible With Secrets
Synopsis Cardinal comes to ask about something odd that Magnes said.
Date December 12, 2011

Liz's Quarters

She doesn't go very many places in this underground tomb that the survivors of the virus call home. The classroom where the piano is, occasionally wandering hallways seeming to be merely learning the lay of the land or sometimes looking for a specific someone that she needs to talk to. Most often it's the common room, as she seems to not like being confined to the smaller areas. But today she's in none of those places, she's actually in her quarters. Sitting on the cot, she's got the battered headphones that Kain gave her over her ears, and she's humming along with whatever music Kain came up with…. apparently it's Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," if the soft singing is anything to go by. Hey… we take what we can get at the end of the world to stave off silence! She's got a pad of notebook paper that was apparently at least half used, and she's drawn rough music staffs all the way down it, jotting notes here and there with a pencil.

It may be that Richard Cardinal was trying to get her attention. He may have even knocked! (He did not knock). The headphones have kept her from hearing it, though, and so he's waiting for her to notice the shadow stretched up the wall in front of her, a fedora-wearing human silhouette leaning against it patiently.

The double-take is worth a Polaroid. Were she not as familiar with that silhouette as with her own, she would have screamed. Maybe he was going for that. But it's simply a swiftly indrawn breath and an instinctive jerk backward before she yanks the headphones off her head. "Holy shit!" she hisses out, not particularly angrily — it's merely an expression of the surprise that has her heart racing in her chest. "Thank you for that heart attack, Richard," she tells him in a dry tone. "Is there something I can do for you? Or did you come merely to loom over my bed to see how I entertain myself?"

"I mean, to be fair, you did invite me to join you in it last time we spoke…" …we spoke… There's a thread of amusement in Richard's voice as it murmurs from the shadows. She was drunk as hell when she said that, after all. Shadowy 'hands' spread to either side in a shrugging motion, "I just thought that maybe we should talk somewhere more private… and without that toxic shit that Izzy calls a drink…" …a drink…

Sitting back against what passes for a pillow propped on the wall, which serves as a headboard, Elisabeth quirks a brow. She clearly remembers that, and there's no blush about it, although makes a small face. "Christ, that shit packs a wallop." She gestures. "Please, if you want to talk, would mind terribly getting corporeal? It…. brings back some really bad memories for me, to talk to you while you loom on the wall." Because she didn't avert her eyes when she said it, the subtle shift of her face to absolutely expressionless for a moment might be visible to him. It's a sharp memory. "What would you like to talk about?"

There's a long moment's pause before Cardinal pushes out from the darkness, a negative of a man before the shadows flow back and away from him. "Sorry," he allows with a crooked half-smile, "It's dangerous being corporeal… habit to keep ephemeral, honestly. No need to worry about the virus." He rakes a hand back through his hair, trying to tame it, "Didn't mean to upset you. Just thought, you know, we should talk when you weren't blitzed out of your mind."

There's a faint smile. Elisabeth says quietly, "In my world, there was a time where you… he was stuck in the shadows. To even attempt to become corporeal would have killed him. After that, he talked the way you do… with that strange sort of echo that comes after you're done talking. I assume yours happened because you've chosen to stay incorporeal all the time." She looks down at her hands. "I'm definitely not blitzed today," she says mildly as she looks back up at him. "What's on your mind?"

"Let me guess, it had something to do with a nuclear weapon," Richard suggests, shoulders resting back against the wall and arms folding over his chest. A pause, and he deadpans, "Varlane is terrible with secrets. Fortunately there wasn't anyone else around but dead people when he was letting things slip. He must've known me pretty well too, as easy as he was talking around me."

Ohboy. Elisabeth sighs heavily and closes her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose without really thinking about it. Dealing with Magnes gives her headache. "Jesus fucking Christ, that kid." Her tone of resignation seems to pretty much sum up her whole opinion of Magnes. "Guess it's a good thing it's not really a secret so much as… useless information here," she comments wryly, looking up at him. "I … don't know that I'd say he knew our Richard well. More like he was… what he did know about him, he wanted to emulate." She pauses and huffs out a laugh. "Richard once called him a starfucker. I guess that technically applies here too, though he's not looking to fuck you." She, perhaps deliberately for that moment, doesn't address the nuclear weapon.

Cardinal deadpans, "He's not my type." He brings one hand up, scratching at the five o'clock shadow scruff of his jaw, "Seemed to think I could do a lot more with the… physical world than I can. I'm guessing that the other me interacted with physical things a lot more than I do. Less of a ghost, eh?"

Tilting her head, Elisabeth considers the question. "I… don't know that I'd say that. I think he figured out a few things while he was stuck. And from what I could tell in that last week we were working, he'd definitely figured out a couple things I wasn't aware he could do." The memory itself eases the tension, bringing a faint smile to her face and softening her expression. She loves the man. "I know for a fact he could hold something and take it into the shadows with him, but by the time we went into the last fight," she tells him as she looks up, "he could be intangible and bring things into the shadows with him. Like …. hover over something and basically absorb it into the darkness with him. And then drop it out again."

"Hm." Cardinal looks down at his hand, flexing his fingers, "Might be something to experiment with. I've noticed that a lot of abilities are like muscles… the more you exercise them in certain ways, the stronger they get in those directions." His hand drops, then, and he looks back to her, "Look. I, uh— it's obvious by this point that you and the kid's story is true. So I just want to make sure me and mine get out of here when the time comes, Harrison."

There's a wariness to her blue eyes now. "Why would you think that would change from when we last spoke?" Elisabeth's tone is calm but curious. "I've already told you — I'm fucking well taking as many people as can possibly go, if this works. This is a dead world."

"Yeah, it is," Cardinal says in serious tones, looking at her steadily through his shades, "I also know the kid is grasping at straws and digging through old physics text-books. We don't know how wide the door's gonna be, how long it's going to last, how many people we'll be able to get through. I'm just being fucking realistic here. So if there's anything you need, any way I can help— let me know. Any word on Childs?"

"Magnes is supposed to be talking to Munin… As far as I know, he doesn't have anything yet, no," Liz tells him quietly. He clearly understands the reality of the situation, and there's not much she can say to it so she doesn't. "Believe me, if there's any way anyone in this place can help, I have no problems asking for it, begging for it, blackmailing for it, or otherwise beating the fuck out of someone for it — though that last one pretty much never goes well." She toys with the pencil in her hand. "The people that I can't save are going to haunt me," she admits softly. "More ghosts." She perhaps didn't mean to say the last to him, but it's hard to remember sometimes that he's not the person she usually tells these things to. He sounds a hell of a lot like him. Especially right now.

Cardinal's brows leap upwards at the mention of Munin. "Maybe she has a soft spot for naive optimists," he sarcastically suggests, rubbing a hand at the side of his neck. "Alright. I talked to Peyton, too, that… ability you mentioned is there, if you need it." That must have been an awkward conversation.

"Mmm," the blonde murmurs. "She does appear to… if only because somehow, some way, Magnes seems to make the oddest connections." She shakes her head. "I think Munin wants out as badly as anyone else… Knowing what I know of her in our world, this… was never what she signed on for, really." She shrugs though. "As if intentions make any difference now."

To the information about Peyton, Elisabeth snickers faintly — because that was almost definitely an awkward conversation. "Okay… does she need to have actually met the other person? Or did the conversation not go into those logistics."

Cardinal gestures vaguely with one hand, in that way he's always had of talking with those hands. "She needs to have seen them, or seen them through someone else's eyes. If we get a location, I can get in range to carry her 'sight' to the facility, and then she can jump from guard to guard until she gets to someone important or useful," he explains, "Kinda like my old man, I guess, just not as limited. Hah."

"Yeeeaaaahhhhh. That was not my idea of a good time," Elisabeth admits. "I fucking hate telepathic abilities. Truly. Learned the golden rule of not shaking anyone's hand here." She's still perturbed about that little shenanigan. Looking up at Cardinal, she asks curiously, "What do you know about him?"

A brow lifts at the question, and Cardinal asks bemusedly, "Who, my old man? Not a lot, I mean, he spent my whole life in some government prison or something. I never met him until he got here." He shrugs, "Been a little awkward."

"I can only imagine," Elisabeth replies sympathetically. "Did he ever tell you when your birthday was?"

Cardinal looks at her sharply at that, brows raising a touch. "Why," he asks, flatly, "Where you goin' with this, Harrison?"

Shaking her head slightly, she admits, "I'm not sure where I'm going with it. And … honestly, I'm not sure it matters. Just… something stuck in my head when I spoke with your father. Like you, my Richard knew nothing about his parents. Not even their names. Until Edward Ray wandered into our lives. Or rather… I should say more appropriately inserted himself there." Pursing her lips she averts her eyes just enough to be looking at his shoulder. Or over it. "But I know when your birthday supposedly was. And yet, your father here…. says he didn't even know your mother was pregnant when he was picked up by the black-baggers." Her blue eyes come back to him. "Seems rather unbelievable, since she supposedly gave birth the same month, if he told you the same birthday as in my world." Her tone is not exactly casual, but she's also not got the demeanor of someone trying to drag him into anything. It's more or less that she's wondering some thoughts out loud and he happens to be the person to whom she's giving them. She shrugs slightly. "It's just niggling at me. And the things that have happened since 2009 in my world have taught both that Richard and me not to ignore the niggles that don't fit."

"Mnm. Yeah," Cardinal admits with a shrug, "I realized the same thing. My old man thinks that Eddie'd faked the birth date, you know, throw off the scent of the government goons after us or something. I guess my mother got snatched up as well, we have no idea what happened to her." He offers a faint smile, "Would've looked into it, but what's it matter? World's dead. None of it really matters anymore."

Elisabeth nods. "Yeah, no…. it doesn't matter so much here. If I ever get home again, though… thought it would be nice to be able to tell the other you what his actual birthday was, that's all." There's a thoughtful expression on her face, but Elisabeth seems to dismiss the conversation. She tilts her head. "I hope that what I told you about your power is helpful. I don't think the other you had yet figured out the whole taking living beings into the shadows with him either — I don't know if he ever even considered it. Or tried it with disastrous results maybe. But I definitely think you can do more than you're giving yourself credit for."

"It's worth exploring," says Cardinal, looking down at his hand with a thoughtful expression, "Anyway." A glance up, "I should leave you to your reading, Harrison. Just wanted to touch base, and all that." A smile crooks to his lips, and he brings a hand up to tip a nonexistent hat, "See you on the flip side." A step back, bleeding away into the darkness.

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