You Were Missed


cardinal_icon.gif elle_icon.gif

Scene Title You Were Missed
Synopsis An extremely distressed Elle Bishop makes her way to the Library to find Richard Cardinal…
Date December 06, 2010

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

It's rather cold out, today. The air is cold and crisp, with little clouds of steam rising from one's breath. Despite the state of the weather, Elle Bishop is looking rather under-dressed, really. She wears a pair of jeans, her spare leg brace over those, and a quarter-sleeve shirt with the sleeves wrinkled up like most do when they're warm. Her cast is gone, as are the stitches that held her wounds together last time they met; seems Elle has made a nice recovery from her wounds received on the night before the Eighth.

It looks like she should be cold, hurriedly making her way up the stairs to the library with a large messenger bag, stuffed to the brim with clothes, slung over her shoulder. Her cane has been a great help, and the fact that the cold doesn't bother her any more, to the point where she can't wear a coat without being uncomfortable, makes her leg hurt less, and has expedited her hurried trip into the ruins.

The formerly electric turned radioactive blonde wears a large frown on her face. "God, please be here, Richard…"

The great lions, an iconic feature of the library, stand to either side of those stairs as she hurries by - one mostly intact if damaged and blackened, the other a crumbled char that barely resembles what it once was. Old police tape flutters in the wind at the entrance, never removed, a legacy of the government's raid on those who once used this building as a base of operations.

As she walks through the doors, there's a whisper stirring in the shadows, a familiar echoing voice. "…Elle. You should be at Redbird."

Elle barely pays attention to those lions, focused as she is on getting in there and finding Cardinal. She's just about to walk further in, when that whispers hits her ears. She halts in her tracks, pausing and glancing around, before blue eyes turn toward the shadows. She doesn't smile like she might have a few days ago, before all of this shit happened. Instead, she just grimaces.

"Shouldn't you be at Redbird? You've been gone for a month." She frowns, moving to lean against a column and rub at her knee. It hurts after that hurried trip to midtown. "Don't come close to me. I might be— we need to talk." She frowns. "I had to get away from Redbird, otherwise…"

"Yes… I have. I have…" A whispered echo, the silhouette of a man crawling up along the wall, "…and I already got a few panicked messages, I was just heading over there. Over there…"

There's a moment's pause, and Cardinal asks, "Otherwise what?"

Elle watches the man's shadow crawling up the wall, still frowning. "Yeah, well, while you've been gone, we've had the Institute attack Redbird." She's getting a little warmer now, tugging at the collar of her shirt a bit, before frowning down at it. Try to keep calm, or you're going to be giving Richard a strip show that he probably won't want.

"Tyler Case is alive, Richard. I'm sure you have heard of him. Fucker who can swap and manipulate people's abilities. He and that stupid Institute teleporter invaded Redbird. Harmony and Aric and I were there, and they fucking teleported in. Tyler zapped us…and now I Aric's got my electricity, Harmony's got Aric's telepathy, and I have…well, Harmony's radioactivity thingie." She frowns.

She leans her head back against the column, frowning. "I don't know if I'm radioactive to you or what, but Harmony says I am, and that I could go boom at the slightest provocation." Suddenly, the blonde looks a little frightened. "I don't want to cause another Midtown explosion…"

"I know who Tyler Case is," replies Cardinal, somewhat sharply, "He's a friend of mine… a friend…"

"But that wasn't Tyler. Well, it… was. But it wasn't. It's a complicated situation," the silhouette murmurs, "That was the head of the Institute. Broome's superior. I'll explain when we're all together…"

A pause. "You might be. Just… keep calm. I know that's not easy for you, but what would've caused problems before when you had a freak-out is a hell of a lot worse now, so you need to get a hold of that ability pronto. We might need to try and wrangle you a supply of negation drugs."

The little blonde is getting a little warmer with each word that Cardinal speaks, her frown growing. "A friend? But he's— what the hell is going on, Cardinal? Why the hell is Tyler Case alive, and why is he the head of the Institute?! How is…and why did he attack us? Tell me now, I can't go back to Redbird. I could irradiate all of you and give you cancer, or if I get mad, then Battery Park City could turn into another ground zero!" She slaps a hand on the marble, tugging at the collar of her shirt once more.

"I— I'm trying to. I really am. I…Harmony told me to smoke some pot, and I have some by prescription, that Dr. Sheridan gave me when I was still at the Institute. I haven't tried it yet…I never smoked pot before." She frowns. "I— I think I'm going to go to ground zero and try to practice there. At least there, I can't hurt anyone."

A frown. "Know where I can get a Geiger counter? Maybe if I go where there's nobody around, I can figure out how to turn off the radioactivity."

"There's at least three back at Redbird," is the shadows whispered response, "I've got a whole stack of the damn things in here… they were cheap as hell after Midtown. Everybody wanted one. You can use one of those to check yourself out. But yes, you need to relax… because you're high strung enough that you can be really dangerous like that… dangerous…"

"The good news is, it should be temporary. Most of his power-switches revert after a few weeks… or months…"

"Oh, good. Could I have one? It would help a lot." The heat goes down oh-so-briefly when she hears that it is temporary…then, she hears the 'months' part, and she gets…well, pretty upset. Months without seeing Dax, or anyone, all by herself in the irradiated zone with nobody to keep her company. As a result, Elle's body temperature suddenly spikes. At first, it just smells like freshly ironed clothes. Then, Elle begins to smoke, quite literally. Tendrils of smoke begin to raise off of her clothes.

The little blonde curses, made more upset by the fact that she's about to ruin more clothes. Cardinal's presence is forgotten. Instead, Elle lets out a stream of curses and suddenly dances away, snapping the brace off of her knee and promptly…stripping. Her shirt is thrown away from her, and she ends up falling over trying to get out of her jeans, but she's…stripping.

"Motherfuck this ability! I hate this!" Tears are streaming down her cheeks, and indeed turning into steam on them. "What the fuck did I do to deserve this shit?!" And now, it is apparently emotional breakdown time, the girl letting out a sob, even as her bra is thrown off. The undies aren't attended to on time; when she goes to remove those, they promptly flake away, baked to a crisp.

"I get hurt, I get maimed, I get crippled, I get cheated on by fucking Warren Ray when I'm just starting to fucking like him again, and now this shit…I just met a nice guy, and now I can't even see him because I could give him cancer!" She's sobbing, naked, on the floor, angry at herself and her situation.

Little arcs of electromagnetic energy crackle over the blonde's skin, even as she does her best to keep herself covered.

Whoa. Hello there, Elle Bishop.

It's probably a good thing that Richard's expression is inscrutable, what with him having no face at the moment, as she starts to strip down… and as steam begins to rise from her cheeks, and from the rest of her. The living shadow edges just a little further away in case she starts to glow or anything.

"Just… keep calm, Elle," the darkness reassures, "It'll be alright… okay? Just… calm down… calm down…"

Elle curls up into herself, hugging her knees tight as she cries into them, steaming in the insulated air of the library. She's not glowing. In fact, at her most upset, it seems that all that happens is those little shocks that snap and pop over her form. Quite the show, really. It's probably a good idea that Cardinal's face isn't visible.

"Going to be okay? I can't even wear clothes right now, because if I get the slightest bit upset, they burn." She points at the charred pile of burnt underwear. "I'm going to have to sit in the middle of that fucking crater, naked, all by myself, for months, because if I don't, I could kill everybody." She wipes at her eyes…not that they need to be wiped off, the tears evaporating off of her cheeks before they become a problem.

Then, she's crying again. "Why weren't you there?! Why didn't you come back? Why'd you just abandon me? You're like the only person there who likes me…" She cries into her knees, hugging them to herself. It's just about the only way to stay decent. "I missed you…"

There have been times that Richard Cardinal has wondered just how he could become the bitter, ruthless bastard that his alternate future self is. How he could have been beaten down so badly that he turned into such a merciless asshole.

Then there are days like this, where on top of the guilt and burden he's already bearing, people
shovel more shit on top of him and he understands all too well. Maybe Ezekiel never got to take a vacation either.

"Because there's only so much I can give before I break, Elle… only so much…" A frustrated hiss from the darkness, before it twists away, "I'll go get a Geiger counter and some clothes. Calm your ass down so you don't incinerate them when you put them down… down…"

"I missed talking to you." She frowns over to that shadow, wiping at her cheeks again. "I didn't want anything from you, except for just…being my friend." She shakes her head, turning to stare at the ground as her tears evaporate into steam. She manages to tone it down enough, for now, that she's not crackling with electromagnetic energy, at least…but she's still radiating heat, not unlike an oven.

Then again, if she knew about the guilt and burden he's already bearing, she probably wouldn't be as upset as she is. Right now, all she knows is that he disappeared. Left. Gone, without a word. "I was worried about you. I thought you'd died, Richard, or something worse. Then, I was just worried about you after you sent the message through Liz. I missed you. You're the only person who doesn't treat me like I'm stupid, or crazy, or scary. Sometimes, it feels like you're the only person who treats me like a person."

The little blonde sniffles, pushing those emotions of hers down below the surface. That helps the heat, a little. "I have clothes…"

"It was something worse," replies Cardinal's shadowy, ethereal voice in bitter tones, "But it was something that could only be helped by giving me some fucking time alone to deal with… to deal with…"

Then the shadows slither away from the wall, vanishing down one of the hallways, presumably to fetch a Geiger counter.

The radioactive blonde raises her head, peering over at the shadows with a frown as they slip down a hall. Then, Elle offers a soft sigh, turning her eyes back to the ground. "I'm sorry…I didn't know." She closes her eyes.

Then, with Richard gone for the time being, Elle closes her eyes, wiggling her toes against the floor she sits nude upon. She tests herself, moving and crawling over to her pants. One hand pokes out, taking hold of her clothes. When the smell of ironed clothing enters her nostrils, she pulls away, frowning and hugging her knees once more.

Then, she's closing her eyes, taking deep breaths. What was it that Harmony said? "I am an island. Fear is the littler death. Anger is bad too…god, how the fuck does that go?" She sighs, and rests her forehead against her knees. "I need to calm down…" And with that, she falls quiet, trying to breath and clear her mind.

"There's one in front of you… in front of you…"

A few minutes later, the whisper insinuates itself into her hearing and meditation, and there is, in fact - a small store-bought Geiger counter sitting still in the box in front of her. It's not incredibly sensitive, but it'll do. The shadow is somewhere, one presumes. It's difficult to tell sometimes.

Elle opens her eyes, raising her head. She's considerably cooler now, not burning up like she was. She's still running a bit too hot, but…for the most part, she's calmed herself down, and now it's a matter of lowering her body temperatures to acceptable levels for clothing. She glances around for Cardinal, frowning for a moment, before opening up the Geiger counter with no small amount of. After taking a moment to figure it out, she hesitates, glancing about for Cardinal again.

When she doesn't spot him, she frowns, and turns her eyes back down to the Geiger counter. And then, with no small amount of trepidation, she reaches down and turns it on, wincing as she does so.

And nothing happens. One blue eye peeks open, brows raising, and Elle picks it up, shaking it. "Is it on? Does it need batteries? Why isn't it going nuts right now?" She blinks a few times. Yes, it's on, judging by the little light on it.

"I would presume that's because you're not currently spitting out radiation," Cardinal's voice comes from the lobby's shadows, a bit dry even for his usual tenebrous tones, "It isn't as if you've been bathing in uranium. So long as you can not use your power you shouldn't be emitting radioactivity."

Elle stares at the Geiger counter for a moment. Then, she smiles faintly, letting out a breath she was obviously holding in. "Good. At least there's that." She reaches out, testing the clothing again. No smell of ironed clothes. With a faint sigh, she slips on her outfit once more, sans panties (those are laying in a pile of burnt cloth on the floor).

Then, once dressed in her clothes once more, which are considerably less wrinkled, Elle turns towards the shadows as she slips the Geiger counter into her pocket. "I— I'm sorry, if I seemed…callous, back there. This…all of this is just stressing me out. I'll try not to take it out on you again." She frowns toward the shadows, before turning back to her bag, making sure it's nicely packed.

"I don't know if I should go back to Redbird, though. Not— not until I can handle this better, you know? I don't…the last thing I want to do is do any harm to Redbird, or you, or anyone there." She frowns down at her bag.

A sigh whispers through the darkness, and Cardinal points out, "Well, we can't just dump you in Ground Zero and leave you there, and you still need to talk to us about what happened, so, get your ass back to Redbird. Just… try and relax, for fuck's sake. I know that you had problems with anger management before, but it's really important now."

"Wouldn't it be better to dump me there? I couldn't hurt anyone there. Harmony— she says I could be like another nuclear bomb. Another November 8th, 2006." She sighs softly, turning to frown at Cardinal. "But…I'll try. I'm really trying. I— I think I might still go to Ground Zero and practice there. Later. Not like it'll hurt me, anyhow." She glances down at her hands, frowning.

"Can— can I see your face?"

"Given that we're trying to fix Ground Zero, I'd want you to be careful about that…" The shadows ripple up the wall, and Cardinal steps out from them, pushing himself back into three dimensions with a frown twisting across his features. He sweeps his hands to either side, brows raising over his shades, "There. Now, can we go? It sounded pretty fucking serious, whatever happened, and I'd like to get back there before everyone gets bored and leaves."

Elle frowns, and turns, gathering her bag over her shoulder. She suddenly approaches Cardinal, smiling faintly as she raises a hand to press it against his cheek. Her skin is almost irresistibly warm, especially in the faint chill of the library. "S'good to see you again. You were missed." Then, despite the sense of dread she has about going back to Redbird, she slips away from Richard, making her way toward the door without worrying about a coat.

"What is that line, by the way? That 'I am an Island, Fear is the Little Death' quote? I need to learn it. It really helped when Harmony said it." This is said even as she's slipping out the door.

Hopefully, Richard won't have the stubble on that side of his face spontaneously fall out later.

A faint smile is forced to his lips at the touch, and he shakes his head ever so slightly. "Thanks…" One shoulder rolls in a shrug, then, and he melts away once more into darkness — slithering like a shadowy serpent towards the doors, his voice a murmur, "No idea. You'll have to ask her."

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