2007-08-20: DF: The Shepherd's Heir

Starring:

DFElena_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif

Summary: After speaking with Trina, Eric, Gene, and Ali, Elena takes Eric to visit her father to try and convince him to run. She already knows the outcome before stepping inside his office.

Dark Future Date: August 20th, 2009

The Shepherd's Heir


Lancaster Towers, Somewhere in New York

"Mr. Gomez?"

His secretary, Anna Weir, buzzes in through the comm in his posh office in Lancaster Electronics. It was early in the evening. What the hell was she still doing here? It was so dangerous these days to leave right at dark. But there was a lot of work to do, and Mr. Gomez always treated her well.

"Ms. Payne is here to see you again. You said you were expecting her?"

"Show her in," Ramon growls into the comm. After all this time, he has at least figured out his massively buttoned phone. He is drinking…water. He promised Elena he'd program himself, and he did. He can't figure out how to ignore the shakes and nausea though, nor the sweats, of hard withdrawal, so he looks kind of crappy, but just the same.

Rose Payne is a redhead, tall and slim and dressed in a business suit. Her beauty mark is carefully covered up, and she's wearing large, Jackie O glasses that swallowed half her face. It was amazing how a wig, heels, and makeup can do to transform your appearance. She nods to Ms. Weir as she enters Ramon's office with a smooth stride, opening the door and closes it behind her. She leans against the wood and closes her eyes for a moment.

She reaches up, and removes her dark glasses from her face.

"Papa," she says softly, walking over to her father's desk. But she doesn't sit. "They got Nathan. They….left Jack's leg behind. We were compromised." She wastes no time.

There's this long moment where Ramon's face just goes blank. He goes still, as if another piece of his world just got removed. "Jack's dead," he says, as if he's trying to process it, as if he isn't sure that's what he just heard and he's trying to make it fit into all the rest of this terror. This horror.

"We're trying to figure out who did this," Elena says softly. Her face is carefully schooled to look like the picture of serene calm, even though she hardly is. But she's the commander now. Now, showing any sort of weakness was unacceptable. She has to keep moving. Jack would've wanted it that way. She turns to walk to the bar, and hesitates…but she takes a bottled water instead. She twists the cap open. "Papa….I'm giving this a shot. But I want you to take Eric's offer. If I say so, he'll work on bringing you underground. Get away from here. I don't know if Logan is back in control or not but if he is, you've proven yourself to be a threat to him. I don't ….I don't want to lose my father. On top of everything else."

Ramon's head snaps up and he narrows his eyes. "You want me to run away like a little bitch while my /daughter/ stays and endangers herself, running the Saints? I don't fucking think so, Elena Gomez." He crosses his arms, his eyes narrowing.

"I didn't think you would but I wanted to give it a shot." Elena says, moving over to take a seat in front of her father's desk. "But the moment you want to, please let Eric know. He can get you out of here in an hour." She folds her hands on her lap. It was amazing, how she could think straight when all she wanted to do was…not be here anymore. "I already broke it to Trina and the rest. ….or the rest sans Prime and Candy anyway. I'll let them know. I shut up the carcass house. No one's allowed to go there. They know where it is. It's of no use to us anymore."

"Elena." Ramon says, staring hard at his daughter. His voice is rough. "Just…stop it." He holds out his arms to her. "Nobody's here. I don't need any damned orders and I know you got it all under control, so just…just…" He grimaces. "Just come here, chiquita."

She hesitates, Elena knows what's coming and part of her wants to stay in the damned chair and not approach anyone at all. Finally, she stands up slowly and walks over to where her father is. Her hand drops, to rest gently on his shoulder. But she doesn't say anything. Her face manages to be calm, hell, it's almost serene. But it was the expression she wore when she interred her mother, and later her siblings, into the Earth while everyone else grieved openly.

And then she steps in the circle, and rests her cheek on the shoulder she just touched. But she doesn't cry.

Ramon wraps his arms around her and rubs a hand over her back. *You think if you start you'll never stop, don't you. And then you won't be able to do what you have to do.* He pulls her into his lap like she's four again, because…right now that's what he's seeing. He's seeing his little girl in pain, and he can't just go get a bandaid.

She doesn't say anything, her fingers curling loosely over the back of her father's expensive suit. Gucci. There was a time in her life where the only clothes Elena laid out for him in the morning was his RTS uniform and made sure he had his packed lunch. Those days were long past. But she closes her eyes at the mental thought. Her father. Her anchor. He who knew her the best in the world, and no matter how many men or women loved or obsessed over her in this life, it didn't change the fact that no one knew her like he did when it came to being who she was. He was her sire. One half of the genetic strains that brought her into this world. With that much material of his grafted into her body, there was no one else who could take that spot away from him. She just nods, once. She doesn't say anything except. ~…I haven't been…this scared in so long, Papa. Not even when I realized Eric wanted to marry me.~

*You are the most courageous person I know,* Ramon replies gravely. *But sometimes its okay to let the burden down for awhile. You can take it up in the morning. Its not going to go away, chiquita. You'll be strong for all those people because that's who you are, but right now…let it rest awhile.*

~I know…it's just I've been this way so long I don't know how else to be. I can only do this with you, but that's only because you know me so well.~ Elena closes her eyes. She could feel, at least, one bit of moisture leaving a grayer dot on his suit. She doesn't cry yet, not too much, but she could feel tears behind her eyelids. ~I don't know if I can do this. But I will because I have to.~

*You can.* Ramon can't really lie mind to mind. Maybe that's why he reverts to it when its important. *You can, Elena. And you will. You led that group more than Jack anyway, from what I saw. He made sure you had the confidence to do it, but you were the brains. I loved the man, but don't delude yourself.*

~I more meant….how am I going to do this without him? I'm not blind, Papa. He set himself up as the Shepherd to protect me. HS would concentrate on cutting off the head of the snake, because most days it's the only thing that might stop us.~ Elena exhales a breath, and gives her own father a squeeze. ~But you're right. You're right about me being able to. I won't let it be any other way. I'm a Gomez. I'm your blood. Besides if I caved in now, abuela'll show up and level some government building to prove a point.~

*Well. HS cut off the head of the snake. But the Saints won't stop until the last member falls. Recruit some new ones. Keep it going. Turn it into a phenomena if you have to. Be the breath of hope. Make it about more than you.* Ramon advises quietly. *Hope can never be about one person only. We're all too fragile.*

~I don't know…~ Elena closes her eyes again. ~Two years ago I might've. I had…I don't know. A gift of being able to inspire. I don't know if I still have it. I have so many difficult decisions to make that I have to make because of the job Jack left me with. I love my Saints more than anything, but I will be doing things they won't like. How can I be an inspiration when I'm also their boss?~

*Delegate. Let Ali do it. She's capable.* Ramon says simply. *Even without her power. Stop trying to be everything for everyone at every time. You have a team. You have a team for a reason, and it is not so you can have more hands to shoot with. If you just needed more hands you could hire mercenary soldiers. Instead you have a /team/.*

~……bad start huh? Micromanaging?~ Elena says. She can't help the quirk of a faint smile on the edges of her mouth. She buries her face further on her father's shoulder and she exhales quietly. ~Was this how you dealt with Mama before you had me?~ she asks simply. It's been a while since she talked about Catalina, but the question just comes out. She's not really thinking anymore. Ramon told her to let go for a bit, so like a good girl, still, she listens to her father.

Ramon is silent for a long time, thinking back. *Yes,* he says at last. *Only she threw stuff more often. I remember one day having it out with her for wearing herself out. She wanted to have dinner on the table by six, go to work, do PTA, teach Sunday school, do church choir, /and fucking volunteer/ around four children. Insane. Then she wondered why she was tired and sick. I started out like this, anyway. In the end I ended up shouting and then I just ended up pulling the Man card. Basically ordering her to drop some activities. I think that house has a dent in that wall to this day where she put that silver platter through it, but then she felt guilty and we really talked it out, and she ended up pulling back on some shit. In return, I had to give up about 18 real foods and go for some sprouts cause she used the opportunity to get on me about my heart.*

She closes her eyes, calling up the memory of her mother and holding it there for a while. Like precious pictures stored away in a black box, stuck in an attic never to be seen again unless something reminds her that it's there. But Ramon's description makes her smile, and her tears dry up. She didn't cry much to begin with, in the end, it was just good to be held….and as painful as it sounds, she can't trust anyone else to do it right, these days, than her old man. She could be developing a complex, God knows there's enough fucked up shit going on around her, but her father was a safe haven. He always was. ~So she cheats. Sounds familiar.~ Like mother, like daughter. She wondered for a while who she took after more. Between Catalina and Ramon, maybe she was equal parts. She pulls away gently and looks up at him. ~Are you going to be okay, Papa? Be honest.~

Ramon is silent for a long time. *Depends, I guess, on how you define okay,* he says, honestly. *I don't know, chiquita. I'm okay right now, that's going to have to be enough for today. Things can change so fast.* He does choke up though, and a single tear slides down his cheek. *I'm glad they got that crazy wedding. That crazy ass wedding before he bit it.*

Her cool hand comes up to wipe Ramon's cheek with her thumb. Her own tears had stopped - hell he didn't even see them, though there's little splotches on his shoulder. Just a few drops. ~Me, too,~ Elena projects. ~And I know. I guess in the end that's all I could ask. You're his friend too, Papa. Everybody feels…his loss. But I promise you, I will get him back. One way or another. Dead or alive. If dead, he….he can't be buried here. Not on this tainted earth.~

*Men shouldn't cry in front of their daughters,* Ramon thinks gruffly. He expels a breath and closes his eye, hugging her close. *I won't leave. But tell me what I need to do to help.* He leans his head back against his chair. *Other than probably at least get out of this building before HS comes for me.*

~Unless they've got a trained sniper on you right now, I'd like to see them try. You'd turn the entire building into a day care center of squalling babies,~ is Elena's thought, and while it's dry, and flat, she knows what her father is capable of. Desiree's disappearance had turned him into a rageful beast who can tear whole city blocks full of people asunder with a thought. But when he hugs her, she sighs, and rubs her hand up and down his back. ~I know. But you needn't hide from me. I also need you to check in regularly. And to stay with us for the time being. We're digging info. I'd like you to be there if things come up.~

*Okay,* Ramon says. He was staying at Eric's place with everyone else anyway. *I don't know what to do about Manuel and Portia. Though they seem to be doing their own thing anyway. I can't keep track of it all anymore.*

~They're safer away from us for now. Manny will protect her,~ Elena says. Manny was a Gomez. He had the same blood running through her and Ramon's veins. She has to trust her little brother to be able to protect himself and his stepsister when necessary.

Ramon nods his head. He sighs and says, *Go get some sleep, Elena. You need it. You're going to need it. This is an order from your father. Go to bed. And don't throw anything at me. Everything in here is expensive.*

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