2007-05-02: Like Father Like Son

Starring:

Manuel_icon.gif Elena_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif

Summary: Manny and Ramon discuss personal matters between the two of them. Elena arrives with a plant to test Manny's ability on something NOT human.

Date It Happened: May 2, 2008

Like Father, Like Son


Queens, NY - Living Room - Gomez Apt.

Manuel was taken to his bed. And tucked in. And after Ramon got Elena calmed down, he just did what he used to do when Manuel was a kid. He took a stool, thumped it down in a corner of the room, and sat there watching over him. The lights are off, and everyone else is in bed, but Manny got himself an early nap courtesy of his sister. This does well to hide the lines of tired worry in Papa's face. He's just a looming shadow sitting like a stone in the darkness, but a reasonably familiar one.

It's a while before Manny wakes up…tired in the first place, the Elena-induced nap lasts a good 4 or so hours. When he does start to stir awake, though, his first thought is something along the lines of 'What the fuck happened to me?' He looks around, finding himself…oddly, in his own room, in bed. The tired gaze of the teenager, though, misses his father sitting in the corner. The first time over, anyway.

"From what I heard," Ramon says, in Spanish as he always does when he's at home, "You used the special power you kept a secret from us to run that boy Armando out of our house in defense of your sister — " He actually sounds proud, faintly, which is something that hasn't been in his tone for awhile, "and she used the special power she kept a secret from you to knock you out because she panicked when she saw someone's face melting off. And then I came home and put you to bed." He sounds like special powers are something he just takes right in stride.

There's a laugh as, somehow, his father knows what he's thinking. 'Arma…oh, shit…' Sighing a little bit, Manny pushes himself out of bed, glancing from his father to his own self, taking not of the blood stains on the clothes he has on. His own preference for Spanish coming up, Manny replies, "He had it coming…" 'And if he so much as touches her again…' Manny shakes his head, leaning back against the wall, "So I fell asleep 'cause of Ella?"

"He did have it coming," Ramon agreed, his voice growling out as it normally does. Low rumbles. "I'm not mad about Armando. But we've got to talk. And we've got to talk about a lot of things. Are you hungry? Elena fixed some food, I can probably get it to you without blowing up the microwave."

/Had he not shown up…/ Nah, no use thinking about it now. Stuffing his hands into his pants pockets, Manny can't help but laugh at his father's last statement, "I'll get some in a while, Papa." The mention of a talk, though, draws a roll to Manny's eyes. These never ended well, "Talk? About what?"

Ramon doesn't say anything right away. He is choosing his words carefully, and trying to ensure he holds onto his temper. "Manuel," he says, "so far you're the third in your family to have abilities. And since these things started coming to light, I've discovered a whole lot of dangers about them. Now you could blow me off about them — you've blown me off about everything else. But there's another course of action you could take." A pause. "I'm hunting Catalina's killer."

The original purpose of the talk does, indeed, have Manny looking like he's about to blow his father off about it again. Those last four words, though, light the metaphorical fire in Manuel's eyes. /I'm hunting Catalina's killer./ It's all he had to hear. His eyes on his father, Manny responds with only, "Where do I start?"

"We have to keep our powers secret. There's a group called the Company that hunts people like us." Ramon says. "There is a psychopath with multiple powers who kills people like us to take our powers. We haven't even seen the government's take on all this crap yet. If people don't know what you can do, they can't add more problems to your life. They are distractions to the hunt, si?"

A sigh…it's his only response at first. Nodding to his father, "Si, Papa. You think this…Company had something to do with it?" There's a venom in Manny's voice that can only come from something he actually cares about. "Or are they just in the way?"

"Just in the way. Though they let him get loose." Ramon says. "The next thing is you're going to have to quit — doing all this stuff you're doing. Drag races and drugs and parties — we can't hunt like that." No sooner does he deliver an instruction does he switch over to more information. "Our quarry, Manuel, our quarry has a power too. He speaks. And people do as he says. They are hypnotized. Their thoughts begin running like runaway trains on the same circular track, saying only his instructions. They are helpless. I will get you ear plugs."

For a second, Manny has to stop and think. /Hypnotized? Really?/ Then…a thought, "…That little puta that held Ella up in the mall, you mean!?" Manny swallows the lump that's been forming in his throat since his father started talking, actually looking to be taking everything in for once. He can't s eem to hold still, try as he might…his weight shifts from one leg to the other, arms go from in his pockets to folded across his chest…something's always moving.

Ramon doesn't seem to mind. "Si. And that is how he killed your mother as well. And about five other women too. He's a serial killer." A pause. "I should have been treating you, all along, like a man. Even though you weren't so old when it happened, it made you grow up right away. I didn't see it. But you are a man." He nods once in the darkness. "Even when you don't make a man's choices."

Although he hears his father's words, Manny stops listening at 'Si.' His already wounded right fist balls up, every muscle in his arm tensing as his father explains the details. His lip twitches, his eyes stare through…whatever he's actually seeing. And then…well…and then, Manny's temper gets the better of him, the wounded-knuckled fist driving into the wall. Frankly, Manny wouldn't be surprised if there's a dent in the wall; he's managed to reopen the hole in his knuckle for the third time today…Turning back to his father, the enraged younger Gomez just says, "Where? Where do I start?" /So help me, if I find him…/

"We'll hunt together. My telepathy and your — melting things." He's not entirely sure what Manny does. "His trail is still here at our door. I know he's still watching us." He pauses and lets Manny simmer down just a moment. "How good is your control?" is his next grave question.

A few deep breaths…it's a few seconds before Manny mellows, his fist reopening to reveal the slightly bloody wound. And, yeah, the blood mark on the wall. /Clean it later,/ he thinks idly. Turning to his father, he shrugs, "It just happens…Sometimes, I know I'm doing it…other times…" He shrugs some, deciding against referencing the one particular incident that might have him on the police's most wanted list…

Ramon is less than fussed about the hole in the wall, though at any other time it would have had him shouting, ranting, raving that Manny was irresponsible and out of control. But he's been doing a lot of thinking about Manny. "Your sister, she runs tests," he says. "She helped me discover some things about what I can do, that I wouldn't have thought of to try. There's also a woman named Cass Aldric. She's a scientist who is a friend of Elena's. She, too, is discovering some things. Before we can hunt we have to know you can call on this when you need it and want it — and soothe it away when you don't. I know you couldn't live with yourself, if you hurt the wrong person. We're after only one."

Manuel just nods, swallowing again. /So, Ella can help…good./ Settling back against the wall again, there's a little breath before Manny replies, "If that's what it takes, Papa, so be it…I'll go talk to Ella's friend." Frankly, he'd just as soon be quick on the hunt. But if his father would prefer to ensure he knows what he's doing, then in this case, it's something Manny takes to heart.

"Every night," Ramon says quietly, "When I come home, I do a mental sweep. If I catch something I'll page your cell phone immediately. It may be his favorite puppet — he has one — another puppet — or him. I'll let you know when I call. We handle puppets different, especially his favorite one. The favorite one is the missing father of a woman I owe. Mostly because I broke into her place with a gun going after this bastard, and she didn't prosecute me or even tell the police."

Manny just nods a little bit, listening to his father…until the notion of Ramon breaking into someone's home with a gun comes into his mind, which draws a slight chuckle from the teenager. He shakes his head a little bit, slyly smiling, "I'll go find Ella and her friend…get some answers about what this is anyway…"

Elena has arrived.

Now Ramon has quit lecturing and delivering instructions. He says, "I'm sorry I shipped you off to Mamacita's with the younger children. I shouldn't have done that." He's in a different sort of mood from normal tonight, that's for sure. "I — " Here's where words and stuff fails him and his hands rise and fall hopelessly. There's a lot Manny would hear if he were the telepath, but Ramon can't seem to vocalize all that's in his head. Well. He can to Elena, but she's a woman. They do that. He's trying to talk mano-a-mano to his son, and that's different.

This time, Manny just answers with a silent nod. He doesn't know what to say himself, let alone what his father's thinking. And, frankly, all that's going through Manny's mind is thoughts of finding this hypno-dude and getting a little old-fashioned payback. Biblical variety.

So this silence just sort of stretches. Ramon stands up, like he's just going to leave it at that. But he has another thought. "Dezi, who is staying here, she is fighting this fight too. She has saved my life twice, so I owe her." He figures that's the simple explanation. Machismo and owing people go pretty much hand and hand.

This is met with another silent nod. The entire house, he's pretty sure, is aware of his opinion of the entire situation. Arms folded across his chest, Manny takes a moment to stare at the hole he put in his wall…and, somewhere in the back of his mind, that area that you wonder why it even pops up, he's curious just how much damage he's actually done to the house…

The door opens up, and Elena steps inside. "I'm home!" she calls out, closing the door behind her. She is carrying, of all things, a small, very cheap potted plant. Talking with Jack had been a godsend, simply because another burst of inspiration hit her while she was breaking in plans on kidnapping Ma— er. Taking Manny out for a drive. She heads towards Manny's room, to check on her brother….and stops when she sees her father standing there, and both Gomez boys looking serious.

And Ramon, typically, doesn't address the issue. He says, "Hello, chiquita. What's with the plant?" Very gravely, as if the plant were quite important, and as if Manny and Ramon were not having stoic silent guy moments in Manny's bedroom. Even though he told Elena most of what he planned. Elena reminds him of Catalina enough to get to be the sounding board sometimes.

Turning from the hole in the wall, arms folded across his chest with the (again) busted up knuckle on top, Manny just nods a little bit. Unlike Ramon, he's less able to hide the whole 'yeah, I haven't said a word in about 5 minutes' thing, just offering the nod to Elena, "Ella."

"Hi Papa." He gets a kiss on the cheek. "Manny." Elena gives him a smile. She walks over inside the room and sets the plant down on Luis's desk. She turns around to look at her younger brother. "I was talking to a friend of mine today and talking to him gave me a thought." She looks at Ramon. "Papa, did you tell him about….you know. Us?" she asks, sliding her hands in her pockets.

In response, Ramon gives a grave nod, the skin around his eyes crinkling. The lines in his face have deepened a little bit more, and he slides his hands into his pockets. "He has agreed to accept your help. Yours, Cass'." This is a reminder that he himself hasn't done a thing to work on his own abilities for quite some time, but he dismisses it, certain he's probably figured out the extent of what they can do.

It takes a minute, but Manny paces around his bed, padding out to meet his sister. Somewhat uncharacteristically, even after the display against Armando, Manny meets his sister with a hug. It's one arm, hugging the elder Gomez sibling around her shoulders, but it's a hug none the less. He doesn't totally know what to say, though, so he lets his family talk.

She hugs Manny back, and she pulls away, Elena smiling over at Manny despite the EVIL PLANS she has for him. She takes a step back and gestures to the plant. "I was talking to a friend of mine today," she begins. "And….I got to thinking. This thing we all have is genetic. If Papa has it, and I have it, and now Manny has it, and probably has had it for a while, chances are Luis and 'Nita probably will be later." She looks at Ramon. "Or they might not. I'm starting to think Mama is either like us, Papa, or some kind of carrier. From what I managed to study and research, this thing that gives us powers is recessive. Meaning things have to 'line up' with us before we can have these abilities."

She tries to keep this in layman's terms. So she starts pacing around the room.

"I also think all our abilities as a family are similar, but related. And not only that, there seems to be a kind of linear progression." What the hell? INSPIRATION gave her this? Just who the hell had she been talking to? "Our powers are mental-based, starting with Papa. Papa can affect human beings. But nothing else. And then I came, and I can affect humans -and- animals….in short, anything with a brain. If we follow the pattern….Manny has the potential, maybe, to affect -anything- living. So I decided to try and test that, see if the theory's correct."

She points to the potted plant. "Hence….the plant. If it works….this would be the safest way to get you started, Manny."

That makes a touch of fear enter Ramon's eyes that no amount of stoicism can hope to disguise. "If your theory is correct," he says roughly, "Nita is going to be…" Well. Dangerous. Scary. His power is pretty mild — he thinks. He's given no thought to what it could really and truly do to fuck people up. He went after a gun, for God's sake, not a power based solution, and even now he's relying on Manuel to be the muscle he cannot be. Elena can cause pain but that wasn't entirely scary. What Manny can do? Yeah. And as he extraploates down…"What they can effect, and also the strength of what can be affected…"

Manny, on the other hand, doesn't exactly follow Elena's line of thinking. Not because he isn't listening, but laymen's terms for science go over Manny's head. The notion of the plant, though, makes sense to him. Shrugging a little bit, he looks from his father to his sister, "So, what? I try and destroy the plant?"

"Yeah," Elena tells Ramon softly. "We might need abuela to keep a close eye on her for the time being, see if anything strange happens. It could be she escaped….you know. This. But I don't know that for sure. Mama didn't show….anything I could remember growing up. I think if there had been anything, you would've been able to notice? Or …." She pauses. It could've been so subtle even Ramon didn't pick it up. Which means whatever Catalina had, she was in -full- control of it. Which might explain why things seemed to be progressing linearly with the family. To Manny, she nods. "Yeah," she says. "Give it a try, see if you can affect it."

Ramon watches the plant closely for all of three minutes before he reconsiders. Then? The man takes a healthy, respectful step back. One doesn't stick his face next to a thermonuclear device to see if it is going to go off, and given what he's heard of Manny's powers he's not about to stick his face next to this plant. He doesn't even bother to cover this up in a macho fashion. There's no fear in his eyes of Manny, but damnit, he's got a pretty good face for an older gent and he doesn't want it screwed up.

Manny? Focused? Yeah, that's what it looks like, at least. The youngest of the Gomez family in the room steps toward the plant, shrugging a little bit and just staring, directly, at it. It's a couple minutes, Manny in particular spending it silently…but, slowly, the stems of the plant start to open up, the entire thing slumping at its very base.

"…….oh. Shit." Elena stares at the plant. This didn't make any sense…in her little world anyway. It had just been a theory. A logical theory, but it was a pretty long shot sort of theory. She didn't think she would actually be -right-. She can't help but feel her heart sink, realizing that her brother -does- have the potential to destroy living things with the power of his mind. But with the dark cloud comes a silver lining…..he can be tested safely. She can feel bad about animals, but plants? Plants are free game. She looks half apprehensive, half relieved.

Ramon is now silent and stoic. But there's…an odd smile playing about his features. And why is he smiling? He's probably considering what that sort of thing would do to the Alchemist's body. He starts his habitual sweep. He does it obsessively even when he doesn't get home at first, a wounded man picking at the wound to see if it still hurts as much as a vigilant guardian of the home.

Manuel's focus changed, from just the plant to an image—that of Armando, earlier in the day; how he'd watched his former friend bleed, how he'd been the cause of it. And that…well, that triggers something all-together different in Manny. The plant's moisture seems to leak from it, the color of the plant changing from a lush green to the dead yellow-brown, like grass. Water drips to the table and the pot, the plant laying, totally dead at this point.

She isn't the mindreader, so Elena has absolutely no idea why Ramon is smiling….and it looks odd. And a little scary. Was he actually proud that Manny could do this? She had mixed feelings about it - but he was her brother. And so she looks over to Manny yet again. She pauses, and walks over to examine the plant closely. "….I don't suppose you can reverse it?" she asks, looking over at Manny. If he can't….Manny was more dangerous than she thought.

Ramon reaches out to snag a bit of dead plant from the table, staying clear of the pot. He crumbles it between his fingers and watches the dust fall. "I want to know how much further he can destroy it," he says, a bit casually, "When you're done, Elena."

First, Manny tries to reverse the effect. Exactly what he did a moment ago, but backwards; imagining the plant back in its full bloom, lush and green rather than the dead being that exists before him, but it does nothing. He looks up to his sister, shaking his head side to side. It's then that he takes his father's words…focusing his entire mind on just destroying the plant. It's a bit of time again, but in that time, the leaves start to wither and shrink, the roots unrooting. When Manny's finished, the once lush, blooming plant is nothing more than a withered, shrunken, brittle few leaves.

"……" Elena walks over to the plant. She touches a single leaf….and the entire thing crumbles to dust into the pot. "….Jesus, Manny," she murmurs. Of course she has a hard time thinking of God here when she just saw Death complete its work on the plant. So it wasn't just the power to take life, on any living object, that Manny has….it was, literally, the power to degrade something that once breathed into nothing. "How long have you known abotu this?"

Ramon now tilts his head at Manuel for a long, long time. He opens his mouth, his eyes crinkling in very parental fashion. The fashion that they get when he knows there's something that he doesn't know yet, and should know, and is about to find out. Only this time — he fails to pursue it. He closes his mouth again.

A shrug. It's all Manny offers. No words, no gaze, just a shrug. He stares down at the plant for a while, contemplating what it is he just did…he knew he COULD; he'd never seen anything die like htat before, though. When he finally speaks, Manny explains, "It's…been years, Ella." He stops and thinks, finally raising his head to look at his sister, "You remember Pedro, down the street?" He doesn't wait for an answer…either way, Elena probably wants to know what he has to do with anything, "One day, he snags his hand…some nail stickin' out of a wall, somethin'. Next thing we know, he's bleedin' like Armando, passes out…" Is that…remorse in the eyes of the teen?

"Kid went into a coma. Two weeks, he was asleep…never could figure out why. I noticed it happened more often…I finally figured out what it was after about a year, I guess."

"I see…" Elena says softly, and she reaches out to touch Manny's shoulder gently. "You didn't know, it's okay. At least you know that now, right?" Though she is taken up with another worry. What she just saw…without the power to reverse it, it looks pretty damned permanent. However it's only permanent when it takes full effect….what happens if he's stopped -while- he's causing something to deteriorate? Something to think about later. She walks over to pick up the potted plant. "I'll start on dinner," she tells the two Gomez men. And then, she heads for the kitchen.

Elena, Ramon notices with a flash of insight, starts on dinner whenever she is upset. Hmm. So this time he doesn't stop it. He looks at his son and says, his voice roughened with the weird compassion he gets rather than censure: "Kid ever come out?" He keeps his voice low, pitching it so that only Manuel can hear.

Manuel nods to his father, his voice low so he doesn't distress Elena anymore. "Si. Two weeks, he's asleep…they can't figure out why. A couple blood, what do you call 'em…trans-whatever the hell they are later, he's back up, kickin' a ball with me." He shrugs a little bit, glancing back at his sister as she heads into the kitchen. Deciding to make the topic lighter, Manny calls to his sister, "What's tonight, Ella?"

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