2007-07-14: Her Own Power


Elena_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif Manuel_icon.gif

Summary: Thanks to Peter's visit to his room, Manny is released early from the hospital. Elena asks her father permission to move out, and Ramon requests his children to accompany him to Catalina's grave.

Date It Happened: July 14, 2007

Her Own Power

The Gomez Apartment, Queens, New York

The apartment is being Packed. Ramon has been working on it in surprisingly methodical fashion. He's thrown up twice, but not out of any physical ailment. He has to nap a lot and sometimes he gets disoriented, but other than that, and his healing stitches, he is physically fine.

He's also been readying for Manuel's trip home. He's ordered Manny's favorite foods. He can't cook them, and Elena's with Manny, so he orders them. He's set the table very nicely.

Manny recovered faster than his supposed week stay, thanks to Peter stopping by and healing him close to the rest of the way. Elena opens the cab door for her brother, and starts helping him up the stairs. It's slow going, but with good news and a celebration on the way, she's feeling a little chipper. But….she's also dreading something she has to bring up to her father. Something he might not like, especially with what happened. And something Manny probably wouldn't like either. But that can be put on hold for later.

How the hell do you tell your father you want to stay in the city so you can help save it as payback for everything else the people here did for her?

Just like that maybe?

"(Come on, Manny, one more…..there)" She unlocks the door and opens it. "(We're home! Look who's here and walking!)" she calls out cheerfully.

Manuel groans a little bit, wincing as he walks but up and walking at least. He looks around the apartment with a little smirk, noticing the boxes and shaking his head a little bit. Ramon certainly didn't waste any time.

Manny can't help but smile, though, having to ask his father--once he spots Ramon, of course--"(So, had pizza delivered, huh Papa?)" He laughs quietly, pushing himself off Elena's support, right against the door frame and tucking his hands into his pockets.

Ramon nods and gives Manuel and Elena tight hugs. "The others are on their way." He would have had Abuela bring Luis and Nita over too. Much as he's dreading Abuela's reaction to his face. He is speaking, now, fully in Spanish. "I am, today, the most blessed of men." It is a rare thing for him to get expressive, but over the past few days, well. Give him a week or two to nearly get over losing his eldest kids. Then he might go back to being taciturn and grouchy.

She hugs her father back tightly, and pecks his cheek. "You were badass, Papa. At least that's what Jack's been telling me. He's started calling you Sarge," Elena says, giving Ramon a smile. But she smells FOOD. FOOD FOOD FOOD. She's so hungry. But when she sees the boxes around the apartment…. "…..wow. Jaden really came through quick, huh?" she asks rhetorically, taking a seat at the dinner table and picking up a fork. "What did you order in?" she asks, sniffing. God. She's HUNGRY.

Manuel winces as his father actually hugs him, muttering, "Papa…" When he's released, Manny breathes out a sigh and shakes his head. He laughs a little bit, curling his smile upward just a little bit, "(Be nice to see them again. Abuela spent a lotta time with me, I guess…she certainly seemed to know the whole hospital, but…)"

Manny laughs at his sister's reaction, reaching over to hug around Elena's shoulders, "(You always plan on stealin' my food, Ella?)" He winks playfully, laughing lightly and nudging himself back to a vertical stance, immediately taking a seat at his usual place. He's curious…but for once, the Gomez home has peace. Plus…if Abuela shows up, he'll find out the answers to any questions he may have.

It's pizza cause that's what Manny likes. From a bird cage on one of the boxes, this parrot pipes up, "Sarge the man! Sarge the man! RAWK!" Ramon shoots the bird an odd glance and says, "I can live with being Sarge. He came through. The price was I adopted a bird. He was just like oh whatever, here's your job, your position is Elena's dad. I think I might gently suggest to someone more…focused…that I can help him not get cheated if his computers are okay. Because if there was ever a man who is ripe for getting cheated, it is that one." He expels a long breath. He toys with his Dr. Pepper. /Toys/ with it.

Her arms curl around Manny's when he hugs her around the shoulders. "(Would I do that?)" Elena teases in Spanish, winking back at herb rother. And she starts checking out what sort of pizza Ramon brought in. He even remembered her favorite, and her mouth waters at the Hawaiian pizza with extra cheese. When she looks at Ramon, she smiles. "He gets an unfair rap sometimes," she tells her father. "Jaden's honestly a really good guy, and he's….you know. He's smarter than people think. Trust me, I've seen it. He just gets caught up with his hobbies sometimes is all." She eyes the parrot. "….uh. What are we naming it?"

Oh god. A parrot.

Dezi would probably love him though. She seems to like colorful things.

"So where is this house he got us anyway? Upstate?" Because that's where all the houses are.

Manuel rolls his eyes, smirking, "(No, of COURSE not.)" Grinning, Manny actually seems in a good mood, despite the rather visible pain just about every time he shifts positions. He reaches over and flips through the pizzas, grabbing the meat lovers pizza…then thinking and getting up, wincing just a little as he makes his way over to the fridge to grab the salsa, "(Anyone need anything?)"

"I'm good," Ramon rumbles. He seems loathe to disturb the good mood, and finally puts it aside. He can say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done, later. To see his son actually smiling, in a good mood…no. He won't taint that in a million years. "He's got a name. I was informed the parrot's name is Pauly Shore."

"……………are you serious?" Elena eyes the parrot. It squawks at her stare, and she sighs. "….why the hell would Jaden get a parrot?" she wonders out loud. Still, she can't help but laugh though, and takes a slice of pizza while they wait for the others to join them. She looks over at Manny. "I'll have a Diet Pepsi, Manny," she says. And yes, Manny's in a good mood….which makes her all the more reluctant to talk to her father about something. But she's eyeing the boxes with a bit of trepidation, toying with the utensils on the table.

Manuel pauses, salsa in one hand and a Pepsi in the other. Choking back laughter, Manny looks over at Elena before asking his father, "Diga otra vez, papa? Pauly Shore?" He shakes his head and grins, grabbing the diet equivilant of his drink for his sister. Heading back over to the table, Manny decides not to wait for the rest of the family. Setting the drinks on the table and the salsa in the middle, Manny pops open the box of his pizza, smirking, "(Mm…meat lovers with jalapenos.)" He grins a little bit, taking a bite of the pizza and leaning back in his chair, obviously content.

"You're SO weird," Elena says in Spanish, ribbing her brother and laughing, as she picks up her pizza and gnaws on it. After a pause, she looks over at Papa. "…Papa I was wondering….if I could talk to you about something," she says, looking hesitant, eyeing the parrot on the side. "About the move." She pauses, and is derailed by a thought, looking up to look at him. "Did you tell Dezi about this by the way?" she wonders. She wonders if the Russo/Maddox side of their motley crew knows that they have a house now.

"First rule about parrots. Don't talk about parrots." Ramon deadpans. "Jaden said. The man could drown Luis in pop culture." He looks up as Elena speaks, and he shakes his head. "She knows its in the works, not that it's happened. She's talking to her kids. What news do you have for me, chiquita?"

Manuel quirks an eyebrow upward as the conversation suddenly turns serious, looking over at his sister curiously. Manny goes quiet, the smile on his face fading just a little bit. He's still fairly content, but Elena having news about the move makes Manny … intrigued.

She glances down at her plate. "I don't want to be a downer," Elena says. "I don't but….given we're moving so fast I was wondering that… I mean, I study late hours, I work crazy hours, and…with everything that's happened we're still nowhere closer to…you know. Figuring out what's going to happen in New York. I think the only good way I can think of to make up for what the group did for me is to help them figure out what's going to happen. With school and work being here, and commuting hours at a time…and I don't -have- a car and I can't drive, and you both have places to be yourselves, I was thinking maybe I ought to get a place of my own in the city. I've been doing pretty well at work. Jaden pays me generously, but for convenience's sake I think I should at the very least keep a room or something here in case I'm out late working or studying."

Ramon sighs and puts down the pizza he'd been contentedly munching on. Then he says, "Elena, I've known for a long time that you'd grown up and you were ready to be out on your own. Don't think I didn't notice you maneuvering Dezi in here to make sure we'd be taken care of before you did, much as I appreciate it." Left to his own devices, Ramon would eat raw hamburger meat over the sink, and sort of toss fruit at the children thinking it might help. "You've come into your own power and your own strength." He shakes his head. "I won't try to hold onto you if this is what you want and need. I'd like to think you'll call on your old man if you discover some way he can help with things, and you know I'll be around as well given I now work at EvoSoft too. But if you want this, then—let me help you find a place where you won't get cheated and won't get raped."

Mid-bite, Manny freezes. Do WHAT now? Did he just hear his sister right? His eyes turn over to his sister, an eyebrow quirked again, "Que? (You're STAYING!?)" Okay…Ramon took it better than Manny. That was probably expected. That said, Manny doesn't really react beyond that. His shoulders slump, and he's obviously not /happy/ about it by any stretch of the imagination…but he knows his sister. He's been in too many arguments with her over the years, even if it was over the last piece of pizza. If Elena's set on something, it usually happens.

Should Ramon be listening, Manny's thoughts betray him with just a simple word: Great…

"…." Truth be told, Elena was bracing for a tirade in Spanish, or worse, GOOGLY EYES from her father wondering why she wants to leave him. That's certainly NOT the case. "…actually I maneuvered Dezi here because I was attempting to play cupid," she admits sheepishly. AND LOOK. IT WORKED. "I just….didn't know she had kids. But you guys seemed to get along and she did look really concerned about your safety that one time at the Secret Lair, so…." It was hard to resist. She wanted her father to be happy. She wanted him to be able to love again and live vicariously off of her father's romance. She was just way too busy these days to indulge in those sorts of girlish fancies. But she does smile at her father. "I just mean…you know. A place I can treat as a dorm room here. And….I've already had an offer. When I first mentioned it to a friend when the space was getting small. Heidi offered to put me up for a while. She really wants some female companionship to boot, while I looked for a place."

Manuel takes it his father had indeed heard him, his eyes closing momentarily. Silent on the topic to this point, Manny's head time to mull over what he thinks. He knows what his impulse says…but what his impulse says and what he really thinks aren't always the same. So Manny actually has to stop and think. Yes…he's actually not going bull-headed into this. Shock and awe.

When the younger Gomez child finally speaks, it's…pretty straight to the point, and uncharacteristically unprotective, "If it's what you think's best, Ella…" Manny switching languages probably shows enough how serious the topic is to him. But that he isn't tripping over his feet to argue with his sister about it…yeah, it's important. And it has to be thought about. Carefully.

"…..Manny…" Elena knows her brother well enough to see the look on his face. And what her father says, she nods. "Right," she says. "Much like a dorm room. I'll still spend most of my spare time at home, but when school starts….the labs tend to keep me up late." She looks at her father, stunned. "You mean you're….really going to let me move out? I mean it's not like I don't have connections….and I'll need help moving so you guys know -exactly- where I am…and…and…I'll call every day to make sure you both know I'm okay…" All the promises go tumbling out now. Truth be told she doesn't WANT to be away from her family, but circumstances are anchoring her further in the city.

Ramon leans forward and ruffles his little girl's hair, sighing. "I love you, Elena. I love you both." He pushes some strands back from her face, and he says gruffly, "It's time to let go." He looks down a moment, then looks up. "But the minute you need me, I'm there. Like that." He snaps his fingers. "You're always going to be my little girl. Always."

"I love you too, Papa," Elena murmurs, standing up from her chair so she can reach over and hug her father around the neck, smooching his cheek over his scar. Jack was right, 'Sarge' looked even more badass now. These days no one would ever want to meet Ramon in a dark alley. She glances over at Manny, and she still looks a little apprehensive. Despite appearance, she cared about what he thought. She didn't want him to think she was leaving him. She should catch him for a talk later.

It's not the moment for stoicism. It's not the moment for Manny's typical expressionless argument. And Manny knows Elena can read him like an open book, so there's no need for Manny to say anything further. He's not happy about the notion, even if it is something akin to a hotel room in the city rather than a permanent move out. Doesn't matter, in Manny's mind. All due respect to his father, the stabilizing force in the Gomez family— let alone for Manny himself— is leaving. And it's obviously taking its toll on Manny's mind. But he stays quiet. He has nothing to add; his opinion of the issue noted, Manny finishes the piece of pizza in front of him. A million thoughts run through Manny's head. Some related to the issue, some slightly hypothetical, and still others still confused about some situations recently.

As Manuel's mood is already ruined, Ramon hugs Elena back and murmurs, "I wantneedfor the family to come with me to Catalina's grave. She's been avenged. She should be told. And…I have something to give her." He looks at both children, his one dark eye grave.

"…..you do?" Elena asks, taking a seat back down and taking a slice of pizza. "….and you know I'd always visit Mama," she says softly. She went to Catalina's grave every Christmas, Easter, and her birthday, as well as the anniversary of her death. She often went alone, because she cried every time and was too embarassed for even her own family to see her so weak. But she acquiesces to her father's request no question, and she looks over at Manny again.

Uncharacteristic seems to be the word of the day for Manny. At the mention of his mother being avenged, Manny's eyes close again, the teen making a quick gesture of a cross on his forehead, sternum, and both collar bones. His eyes open, his head turning to look toward the ceiling briefly before lowering back, looking across the table at his father and sister, only replying, "Si, Papa."

His eyes tell the story. His mind's reeling, his focus…well, at the risk of repetition, unfocused. When it boils down to it, there's a lot going on in Manny's life. More than he cares to remind people of. More than he cares to think about. And it's all coming to the surface.

Ramon puts a hand on Manuel's shoulder and squeezes. For a moment he finds himself wishing Manny were still little, and he could scoop the kid up in his arms and hug him. But those days are long past. So he gives a manly squeeze instead. His boy's growing up too. He doesn't look bad ass right now, just old. But he decides not to surprise his children at the grave. He pulls out a twisted bit of gold metal. It was melted right onto his hand. It had to be cut off. "Some part of me will always, always be with her," he says quietly. "When I bury this with her, it is not going to be me forgetting her. It's going to me giving her that part and making sure it's close."

"Is that…?" Elena wonders, and then she realizes it's her father's wedding ring. She glances at his hand, and then at the molten ring. "….I think Mama would be okay with that," she says softly after a pause, chewing on her bottom lip. But he was right - he had been carrying this for so long that now that he has finally avenged her, he can carry the good things away, and leave the bad, what he had to do in order to get to this point. Part of her is somewhat sad, the wedding ring was the thing that anchored Ramon and saw him through his entire quest to begin with. And now it was time to cast off again. Part of her was relieved, and her heart of hearts told her that her mother would probably want it this way.

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