2007-05-05: Once More, With Meaning


Elena_icon.gif Desiree_icon.gif

Summary: Desiree remains wide-awake after seeing visions of her own death. Elena makes her breakfast. More of Desiree's life is revealed, and later Desiree tries looking into the future again. She sees what could be a potentially deadly duel between Elena and someone highly unlikely.

Date It Happened: May 5, 2007

Once More, With Meaning

The Gomez Apartment, Queens, New York

Regardless of any other goings-on in the Gomez residence, Desiree is in her fortress of solitude. She has not emerged, even once, since the night before. Of course, her fortress is less of a fortress and more of a little girl's bedroom, peppered with some of her own belongings. It's not as immaculately neat and tidy as she tries to keep the house she's a guest in. The suitcase she brought with her is on the floor, clothes spilling out every which way, her shoes akimbo beside it, and a few drawers around the room are half-opened. What looks like a guitar case leans against one wall of Juanita's room. Only a bedside lamp is on.

There have been telltale sounds of movement in there; she must be awake, at least. In fact, Desiree is sitting on the floor, wedged between the girl-sized bed and the nightstand. She's wearing the same summery blue dress with white dots that she had on last night. Her arms loll between her knees. She has a small black wallet in her hands, unfurled, and it's this she stares down at.

She hasn't emerged since the night before. Part of her hated this course of events already, but Desiree wanted to learn, and part of her is trying to justify, and rather desperately, that if she hadn't done this they wouldn't have KNOWN about the….whatever the hell it is that Desiree saw. Whatever she did see spooked her, and shook the normally unflappable woman to the core. Elena pauses at the door, carrying a tray of breakfast. She made an omelette - the simple kind, just a smattering of vegetables and some homemade salsa spread on top, with a few slices of bacon, and orange juice.

"Dezi?" she asks softly, balancing the tray in one hand and knocking on the door. "Can I come in? I brought you something to eat….you haven't eaten in over eight hours." And that wasn't healthy. But she waits, of course. She doesn't just barge in there.

Had it been any earlier, the usually hospitable woman may have turned Elena away and scurried back into her borrowed room. But with time comes perspective, even when you're running on next-to-no sleep. It wasn't Elena's fault! "C'mon in, 'Lena," comes Desiree's voice, mildly cracked and tired, but there's a hint of her warmth. She even has a scarce smile for the Gomez girl when the door inevitably opens, almost sheepish.

The door opens, and Elena closes the door with her hip. Walking over to the psychic sitting on the floor, she joins her there, setting the tray down slowly and pushing it towards the girl gently. It was like trying to feed a puppy that was just newly adopted from the shelter, except this was more serious. "How are you feeling?" she asks softly. Her face is gently serious, and more than just a little worried. Desiree wasn't feeling like herself, whatever she saw, it was terrible. Part of her feels guilty. No, more than just a little bit of her. "….Dezi I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to push you like that," she continues.

"Don't think I slept more'n two winks the whole night." Part of her is still haunted. Her tired eyes, darkened both by smeared make-up and the shadows underneath, make that certain. Still, the woman smiles at Elena again. "Ooh, that looks good," Desiree says of the breakfast, but she doesn't touch it yet. She's still gripping onto the wallet. "It ain't your fault, 'Lena," she tells the girl, quietly insistent. "You had a good idea with what you did, however you did it I dunno. Wasn' your fault that whatever it is in this world shows me pictures decided to show me… that. I'm sorry I ran off like I scared lil' rabbit. I didn't mean to scare you."

She glances down at the tray, and then she speaks up quietly. "I had a discussion with Peter about that before, actually. That I probably wouldn't be able to handle it if I had the power to see the future. I was afraid that…well. What if all you see is bad stuff, right?" Elena looks over at Desiree, and she rubs the back of her neck. "I heard about….remember the guy we mentioned to you before? The one who could paint the future? He……had problems un-focusing without help too. I just….modified the method a touch, with my abilities." She lifts her hand. "I can do a lot of things with it…including make a person unfocused. I can keep someone who's badly injured alive too, and I can wake someone up from a deep sleep. I can also hurt people if I have to." She looks over at Desiree. "You needn't be sorry for anything. If it was scary…I'd have lost my head too."

Desiree's head leans to one side, toward the bedside table; her exhausted eyes manage to widen as Elena describes what she can do. "That's amazing, 'Lena. You can do a lotta good with somethin' like that," she says, sincere. "But it's got its darker sides too, if it can do damage. Mine, well, it's damage to myself 'less I get this mind of mine under control." The Southerner gives a self-deprecating roll of her eyes, but it's short-lived. She looks down at the unfolded wallet, on the verge of speaking again - the verge lasts a few moments as she stares down pensively, moving a thumb across something that's slipped inside. A photograph. "These are my kids," she says instead, turning the picture toward Elena. They're about eight years old in it, a girl and boy side-by-side with a remarkable similarity to each other. "They're in France. Of all places! I called 'em, middle of the night. I'll pay the long distance bill."

"Dezi don't worry about it," Elena says. "Papa will gladly pay it, I promise." She looks over at the pictures - and she can't help but smile. "Are they twins? You said they were about eight. They're 'Nita's age, my little sister." In fact, Nita JUST turned eight last month. "She likes chocolate, and cooking shows." She thumbs the pictures absently, and she grins just a touch. "They look like you, around the face," she says, squinting more closely at them, before returning the wallet to them. "….I know. I don't like the idea of using my powers all the time to help you with your own either. You should be able to do it yourself, and you will, with time. I don't want you to damage yourself or anything like that…." She pauses. "….why are they in France?" she asks. "Does their dad live there?"

"Your dad's got enough to pay. Don't you worry about it," Desiree insists, pointing at Elena with her pinky finger around the wallet. "They're a bit older than Nita now," she explains with an obviously fond smile. It's notably sad, though. Reflective. After all, they're all the way in France, and she's here, trying to cope the possibility that she might die if no one stops her vision from coming true. "Naw. They're doin' one of them student exchanges. They're real brave. I wouldna been up for somethin' like that when I was their age, but they got each other. They'll be comin' back soon." And what that means for Desiree's whereabouts is up in the air. She lays the wallet with the picture up on the bed beside her and reaches for the plate of breakfast, twining the fork into her fingers. She cuts into the omelette, moving it around distractedly. Her accented voice quiets. "It was me in the pictures, 'Lena. I know I didn't wanna see anymore people die, I said it, but dyin' ain't exactly the solution I meant."

"I'm glad," Elena says with a small smile. "You probably really miss them, huh?" Ramon missed Luis and Nita too, and they were just in Albany with her grandmother. She doesn't know what Desiree saw - she wasn't a telepath. If her father had been there, he would've picked it up. But he had left when her vision occured. She leans back, resting the curve of her rear on her heels and watches as Desiree finally decides to partake in breakfast. At what she says, she falls silent - Elena's face drains of color. "Wha….wh….what do you mean it was you?" she says weakly, staring at Desiree. And when she goes into more detail, into the fact that she dies in it, she is staring at Desiree, pale. "But….no. -No-. I mean, you just started living with us, it's….no. -No-!" She refuses. She REFUSES! Panic rises in her throat. What if she did this? What if making Desiree live with them shifted her path towards this eventual end?

For someone who sees the future, who sees all of these interconnections that ought to have some higher meaning, Desiree doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about things like fate. "Hey," she says in a soothing tone toward the young woman, her dark eyebrows slowly shooting upward. She slides her plate onto the bedside table and bends her legs underneath her, kneeling so that she can reach out for Elena's shoulder. She squeezes, firm and full of comfort. "Hey. We've stopped 'em before. We'll stop 'em again. They're jus' pictures." But since she stayed up all night thinking about what she saw, watching it over and over again in her head… does even this eternal optimist really believe herself this time? Dezi is tentative to add her next words; her brow furrows several times over, her gaze shifting away from Elena and her grip tightening. "Started in the hall… bringin' in some bags. Next thing I know…"

So it happens here. In their apartment building. In their -home-. Attacking their houseguest. When Desiree reaches out to touch her shoulder and squeeze, Elena looks over at Desiree when she says, and rather optimistically for someone who just saw her own death, that they were going to stop it and that it was 'just pictures,' she nods, her face grim and determined. "My mother was killed in our own house," she says, her whisper sharp and the edge of it fierce. "I'm not going to let it happen again." Now that she knows how. Now she has the means. Now she can do something. She was an adult now, she wasn't a helpless schoolgirl anymore. When Desiree shifts her gaze away from her, she pulls the hand from her shoulder away, to cradle it in both of hers and squeezing reassuringly. "And then…?" Details. The devil was in the details.

"Oh darlin'," Desiree's face melts instantly into a painfully sincere visage of sympathy when Elena says that her mom was killed in their own home. She clamps her other hand over hers. Glancing down, she sighs raggedly and clenches her eyes shut. She ha no trouble remembering the details. It's saying them outloud that's the problem. "She had a … has a … she's gonna have a gun," Dezi explains reluctantly, forcing herself to get it all out. It's not as cathartic as she hoped it would be, as it turns out. "At the end of the hall - you know, where the stairway comes up when you're comin' toward the apartment? It was a woman. I guess I don't see her, 'cause… it's too late."

"…..a woman…?" Elena furrows her brows. That was interesting. "When Papa said the Alchemist had a favorite puppet, he said….he said it was a man. Did he switch?" She pauses. "….probably after that night in the comic book store…" Desiree had been with her father then. If Desiree had seen the puppet from before, of course the man wouldn't be using the same one. She'll have to tell her father. He'll flip his shit and get another gun. She squeezes Desiree's hand tighter. "So she comes up the stairs…?" She narrows her eyes. "Good. I'll put a tripwire on it." Old fashioned Goonies-styled trap. Only…well, she remembers that she doesn't know -when- this was going to happen, and she would probably just cause a poor tenant a pretty bad accident. "Do you remember if it was night or day…?"

Desiree nods, barely a bob of her head. "It… I dunno, time all looks the same in them halls," she says apologetically. A shoulder shifts back and forth, unnerved, and she holds onto Elena's hand. "I don't think a tripwire's such a good idea," she admonishes with a hint of a good-natured smile breaking through. "Bound to break your neighbour's neck soon as stop a killer. There's no way a' knowin' yet if it's even related to this Alchemist character, I mean, maybe it's somethin' else, maybe it's random, maybe I piss someone off at the grocery store pickin' up oranges."

"Maybe…." It could just be random. Elena's tense shoulders relax a touch. But not much. Desiree is right of course - it could be anybody. But it fits the pattern. Always someone nondescript, with a gun. "Do you….did you manage to see what she looked like?" she asks, looking over at Desiree. "I know it was pretty quick. But do you remember something about her? Anything? How old she could've been…..hair color?" Guns looked all the same, but if there was anything else, she could have Manny try and look around now and then, or Papa could always do one of his mental sweeps. If someone had an intent to kill, he would pick it up. But the question is still when. WHEN. "….maybe I should do the groceries for a couple of months…"

"It was jus' for a second - it weren't real clear, but she had kinda sandy hair, no one you'd really recognize in a crowd unless you knew 'em, you know? Oh, she had glasses." Desiree, once she's explained as much as she can, shakes her head. Her dark hair is a mess, by this point, and the mass of curls sways with the adamant shake. "How d'we know you jus' wouldn't take my place an' it'd be you on the floor? No, there's gotta be another way. I don't want anythin' to happen to you that was meant for me. I don't think I could live with that."

….that was true. And that would be bad. She's already got everyone else worried about her. Elena pauses. "…you're right. I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking." When someone she cares about was on the line, the young woman tended to throw all caution to the wind. It was a failing she would need to try and fix…eventually. She looks at the older woman, and lifts her hand so she could push the curls from her face, and offer her the use of a spare scrunchie from her pocket. She pauses, and she furrows her brows. "The only way I know is to spring the trap and that's risky enough as is." She looks over at Dezi and smiles. "Provided you didn't get shot in the head, I say we get you some sort of vest or something."

"You got a good heart." Desiree smiles softly and takes the scrunchie, hauling her arms back to twist it around her hair. "A vest. Like a bulletproof vest? The kind the cops wear? That's real attractive," she tries to joke. "Well. Whatever it takes. … I jus', I … I really don't wanna die. Not for a while yet." Frowning, she adds, "If I could draw worth scratch, I would try to put her face down. Or maybe… maybe I'll get another set of pictures."

"Maybe… and yeah. A vest. They make them streamlined now. My boss…he -gets- these kevlar things that they could shape into a lot of things. I don't know where he gets this stuff really, but he's rich so I suppose he's got connections." She pauses, and she grins. "Though I dunno if they make bulletproof bras as of yet." Thinking about how one would look like was hilarious. Shields you from Desert Eagle slugs AND lifts and separates. She shoves the thought back into the dark closet where it came from. "I don't want you to die either. Between you and me…I've gotten a lil' attached to you," she quips, with a wink to Desiree. "….and yeah. I'll help. We'll find more details. Whenever you're ready to try again, just let me know." Because she isn't sure if Desiree wants to try again, not so soon. She needs to desensitize herself from what she saw.

"I got kinda fond of you, too. All of ya. I bet Manny thinks I'm crazy though, or some kinda devil, after last night. I can't never tell what that boy's thinkin'." Desiree pushes herself to her feet, sweeping her hands down the skirt of her dress, smoothing it out. "Tell ya what." She swipes the plate of breakfast up, brandishing it. "I'ma get this fine breakfast in me, then… then I guess we can try again. I'ma be honest though, I dunno if I can do it, try again. But I'll try."

"No one knows what Manny's thinking really," Elena says, and she pauses. She decides not to tell Desiree of the boy's devastating powers. Not yet anyway. She gets on her feet, and she gives Desiree a small smile. "No rush, Dezi. You're a guest here, you're not a lab experiment. While you get some breakfast in you, I'll give my boss a call, see if we can't get you a kevlar….thing. Just in case." She'll do what she can with the information presented to her. She pat-pats the older woman's back gently, and she takes a step towards the door. "Seriously, there's no rush at all. Take your time, okay? Good time for me to take a shower too."


Elena's omelette was delicious. She had to heat it up, but really, it didn't matter. It's the salsa. You can't beat the salsa. Desiree is standing in front of the sink, having eaten; tasty though breakfast was, it's roiling in her stomach a little. She's a bundle of nerves, but she's keeping it together. While Elena showers, she's still in the same clothes and doesn't appear to have any immediate plans to change that.

She sits down at the kitchen table, realizes that's the exact same spot she was in the night before, and abruptly stands up. No. Somewhere else. … She just leans against the counter. Yeah.

Elena steps out of the bathroom, freshly showered, and her hair pulled up on her head. It's damp, not dried yet, but she doesn't care. She's wearing a comfortable pair of jeans, and a simple, fitted tank top. Padding to the kitchen with her fluffy, Donkey-from-Shrek slippers, she smiles at Desiree, and sets the Magic Eye book back down on the table. She takes a seat across from the psychic.

Thankfully it's quiet. Ramon had left for work. Manny was off god-knows-where. And Elena had finals, she had to study later today. But she's spending her morning with Desiree, making sure she was okay from the other night. She pauses, and lets Desiree pick the picture this time.

"I think….you can try if you remembered how you felt the other night when I was using my abilities on you," she says softly. "The way you were looking at the picture, and the way you were thinking…or….weren't thinking."

"I like your slippers." It's not the first time Desiree has seen them, but she points them out anyway. "S'cute." She steps toward the table to claim the Magic Eye book, simply laying a palm over the cover at first. "I'll try. I'm feelin' a little less than relaxed at the time being, sugar, but let's give it a shot. Your breakfast was delicious, by the way." She closes her eyes, heaves a sigh that's meant to be steadying, but is shaky instead, and flips through the book. Squinting, she stops at a page made up of tiny pyramids and other Egyptian symbology that's supposed to coalesce into a Sphinx.

"Thanks….I'm a huge geek when it comes to movies," the young woman says, grinning cheekily at Desiree. When she tells her she's not as relaxed as yesterday, she nods determinedly. "Take your time," Elena says softly, folding her arms on the table. She crosses her fingers underneath the fold, however, watching Desiree intently. She's not using her powers this time.

The pyramids stare back at Desiree. No sign of the Sphinx anywhere. However, pretty soon, the gold and blue imagery melts away, spooling right into the middle, and then fading out into the edges. She would find herself staring at the dark. There is a chain chording off the rest of the area she is seeing - so vivid she could almost smell the briney-dank waters of the waterfront. There are large, metal structures around her. The kind used by shipping frigates to transport heavy objects.

The light is a little strange. If Desiree 'looks up' or 'zooms out', she'll find a full moon overhead, with a bit of red-orange tinge. A blood moon in the sky.

She'll see familiar figures squaring off in a vacant patch between two large, metallic objects. Manny was glowering at something in front of him, saying something in Spanish that Desiree might not comprehend. Across the way….was his own sister, looking just as determined, saying something back to him. Whatever is happening, it looks tense.

Finally, both Gomez siblings lurch forwards, Elena throwing out one hand, Manny mimicking the gesture with the other. His head snaps back, the boy staggering backwards. Bits of red fly from Elena, who staggers to the side so hard her shoulder crashes into metal.

It was a battle. Brother vs. Sister. Evolved vs. Evolved. And it looks serious.

But why? Manny -loved- his sister.

Before Desiree could see more of the duel, the vision fades off suddenly, swirling back into the image. And….oh hey. She could see the Sphinx now!

There are no unusual white eyes for Desiree this time, though her vision goes glassy and distant as she stares at the page. As soon as the vision fades, she pushes the book away - not so forcefully as the last time, but nonetheless with surprise. Immediately, she snaps her gaze to Elena, blinking in surprise, confusion. "Do you get along with your brother Manny?"

"….eh?" Elena says, blinking at Desiree. She rubs the back of her neck. "….well. Manny can be really difficult to deal with. He never listens to anything I say, but….he cares about me. He'll protect me as fiercely as Papa would. Why?" she asks, standing up from the chair and moving to the fridge, pulling out a pitcher of orange juice and a couple of glasses. Fresh squeezed, which she likes every morning. "He likes to appear that he doesn't care about anything. You have to know him really well to see beyond that."

"Weeeell," Desiree begins tentatively, going to so far as to wince slightly at Elena. "Y'all are gonna get in a fight. And it looked pretty bad, far as I could tell. He's gonna hurt you, 'Lena, and it looked like you were goin' at him too." The notion makes the woman uneasy, thinking about her kids; she can't imagine a conflict getting that… out of hand. "Down by some water. Wharfs maybe."

"A fight? Me and…." Elena gets a strange look on her face. "You mean….we get in an actual physical fight?" she says. Only way she could define it getting 'out of hand' these days. And as far as SHE knows, Manny doesn't have a gun. Hell he doesn't -need- one. She frowns for a little bit. And then she hands Desiree a glass of orange juice. "Here…" she murmurs. "When Papa finishes a session with me, I give him a glass of orange juice. It helps him calm down and relax after, maybe it will for you too…" She takes her own, and she ponders. "…I can handle Manny," she tells Desiree. "Don't worry about it, Dezi. He can get really hot tempered, and it's not like I don't have ways to neutralize him." She pauses, hesitating. Should she tell her? But….Desiree was scared enough. Instead, she looks up at the older woman. "How did it go this time?" she asks, trying to get the older woman's impressions. "Easier? Any headaches?"

"Yeah, a actual 'n' physical one." Desiree takes the orange juice, shaking her head; no headaches. She fixes Elena with a look that borders, very closely, on being scolding. "It /ain't/ nothin'. I mean it. There saw blood. If we hafta sit you two down to work out your issues so that it don't come to that, I'll personally be the referee person." She takes a sip of orange juice.

"….but…" Elena looks confused. "Manny and I have our disagreements but it's never gotten to that point." She looks at Desiree. Wow, the woman is actually serious - so serious she almost looks like she could ground her! She gives her a small smile. "…if it makes you feel any better, I'll talk to Manny, see if I made him mad lately for something? At least something like that we can prevent easily, right?" She takes a sip of her orange juice. She tries not to look too disturbed, looking out the window. "Blood, huh…" she murmurs.

"Yeah." Another sip of orange juice. Desiree leans against the counter near Elena and pats the girl's arm. "Jus' be careful. I'll avoid hallways and oranges, you try to get outta goin' with your brother to any waterfronts in the middle of the night. Deal?"

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