2007-05-26: To Thine Own Self Be True

Starring:

Ramon_icon.gif Manuel_icon.gif Desiree_icon.gif

Guest Starring: Mary Jones

Summary: The puppet in Desiree's visions comes to visit the Gomez residence to do ill will. Ramon and Manny prevent the vision from coming true, and gets the extra benefit of bringing back a woman that has been missing for several years.

Date It Happened: May 26, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True


The Gomez Apartment, Queens, New York

All seems quiet in the western front. Only not really. As traffic passes, across the street there is a stranger walking towards the store across the street. Tousled, sandy hair, and a round face, the woman is rather forgettable, with glasses, and dressed in a button-down shirt and a pair of slacks.

Ramon is out on the street under the RTS van. The damn van is his responsibility, and when something goes wrong it comes out of his paycheck. Thus he often prefers to try to fix it himself when things go wrong. Realizing he needs a part, the man pushes out from under the thing, glowering in every general direction. Nevermind that he's right out on the street. It may be a bad place to fix the thing, but he's not got another.

Inside the Gomez residence is Desiree Russo, doing something she doesn't often do: nothing. She didn't start out that way! Oblivious to the world, she's laying on the couch with her neck in somewhat of an awkward position, her chin almost touching her collar. She's wrapped in a long, satin-sheen dressing gown in a deep shad of purple and her hair is tied back messily. A book lies open, face-down, on her chest and has been ignored in favour of sleeping for at least ten minutes now. Evidently, it wasn't very good.

The woman who had just entered the store earlier comes back out on the street, carrying a newspaper tucked under her arm. Pulling the hood over her head, she starts off across the street, towards the Gomez's apartment building. Sneakers crunch on the cement as she goes up the stairs, and opens the main door. She heads inside, and turns her head to check the mailboxes lined up on the side of the foyer. Finding what she wants, she turns, to climb up the stairs. She doesn't seem to be in any hurry.

Ramon watches the woman enter the building and something tickles at the back of his mind. He stands there, wrench in hand, trying to figure out what it might be. It takes a moment's hesitation before he's going to head up to his own apartment: following, as it happens, but a flight behind because of the hesitation. He's paranoid enough that he just doesn't ignore the bad feeling, but not so paranoid that he decides a mind invasion or a 'listen in' would yet be appropriate.

Desiree squirms, tucking her hands under her head as she roll over onto her side on the couch. Her book falls on the floor. That's about it. Nothing to see here, folks!

The woman keeps moving up, towards the fifth floor where the Gomez Apartment is. Desiree seems to have changed the course of her own future considering she's been avoiding carrying oranges -home- since the vision. So the path of the prophecy shifts. As Ramon moves towards the building just as Manny pulls up and talks to him, his mind invasion will slide into the hooded woman's brain successfully….just as the newspaper is deposited in a trash can and the gleaming silver of a Colt .45 revolver comes up to light in the hallway.

"Shit, it's a puppet," Ramon says in Spanish back to Manny. "Come on! She's after Desiree!" He drops the wrench and goes thundering up the stairs, yelling back an instruction to his son that might prove annoying, given the son's gifts: "Don't hurt her!" He's not entirely sure what he'll do when he gets up there, but he's booking it. He is also going to attempt to reach Dezi. *Dezi, sweetheart, do not answer the door. Hide.*

Manuel's hands come out of his pockets just as quick as Ramon speaks to him, a scowl passing over his lips. Following his father just as quickly, the younger male takes off towards the house. He knows WHY he sholdn't, but he's sorely tempted to disobey his father's command just as he's tempted to with…well…most things, unfortunately.

"Mmh." Desiree's eyes flutter open with some effort; she's drowsy and her lids are undeniably heavy. As soon as she comes to her senses, however, she /really/ comes to her senses, shooting upwards. She gives the empty apartment around her a wary, confused eye. Did she just—? Did she hear Ramon? Was she dreaming? She sits there in limbo, entirely unsure.

The hooded woman stops in front of the Gomez's door, even as Ramon and Manny start to run up the stairs for an intercept. She wasn't under orders to shoot right away. But she does knock on the door and waits. The gun is cocked, and she takes a step back from the door, waiting for it to open. She seems unaware of what's going on in the floors below her. All she knows are her orders.

In Spanish, Ramon tells Manny, "I'm relying on you to protect me." He comes up behind the woman and takes a deep breath. Now he's trying to reach into the mind of the hooded woman. He tries to insert it at just the right moment, like skips that stop a record player and send the needle skidding. He hears 'dark curly haired woman' and he inserts, *No*. He hears Gomez Apartment and he inserts, *You don't want to.* He hears 'kill', and tries to insert, *This isn't you.* And at Neutralize all other threats he tries, *You're stronger and better than this.* It's Manny's job to keep him from getting shot. See son! He trusts you!

Whether his father knows it or not, Manny's…not exactly unarmed himself. Which looks bad, considering he was supposedly coming home from school and…now has to find a use for the gun tucked into the back waistband of his pants. Casually, the younger Gomez male sets his hand on it, slowly pulling it out and just…staring for now, uncharacteristically silent as he watches the woman…

Desiree is like one of those artistic productions where everyone freezes on stage and pretends to be a statue. She hears footsteps. She doesn't move. Someone knocks on the door. She doesn't move. Somehow, she quells her urge to look out the peephole into the hallway, because that would mean whoever's there might hear her and know she's there. Or, she could have just dreamt Ramon's voice and is sitting here like an idiot while Elena is waiting because she forgot her keys. But wait! Ramon was outside working on the van, she remembers. She breaks her stillness, however, creeping off slowly the couch and … yep, that's all she's got so far.

Someone's messing with her programming. The hooded woman pauses, frozen in her tracks as Ramon's mind invades her own. There's a bit of static, shaking her head now and then as she clutches at her temple. What the hell? What was going on? The program tries to resist, but it fails at the onslaught, staggering backwards. The gun arm swings upwards, pointing at the door, and then at Ramon, and then at Manny. She doesn't seem to know what to do now, her hand shaking just a bit. "N…n….wh…" Hey, she actually tries to talk, her grip on the gun shaking even more. She doesn't know what to do. She doesn't know what to DO! Finally, she just pulls the trigger, but she's swinging the gun around so much that…the bullet just slams into one of the ugly flourescent lights on the hall, a shower of sparks sent spraying over them. And then? She turns to try and run.

Ramon had a heart attack two months ago. He's not chasing a healthy woman. "Manny!" He cries. "Stop her, but /don't hurt her/!" He has to reiterate that again. Now Dezi will probably hear him shouting. "And then bring her back here!" He, though, will chase with his mind: if Manny can't catch her he wants to try to find details that will lead them back to the killer pulling her strings. So he goes diving into her subconscious while standing there, his arms and legs spread across his own apartment door like he's a soccer goalie.

Just as soon as the gun's pointed at him, Manny's arm swings up and points his own gun at the woman. For a moment, even Manny freezes…he's faced death before on a few occasions, but the gun blast freezes the young man in his steps for a second. When it hits the light, though, Manny's eyes open and the gun is levelled at the woman. That she's running only makes Manny's job fun, in his eyes…and while he figures he COULD slow her down easier, he wants to know what's behind all this.

The young man takes off running behind the woman, never letting his eyes leave her path…she WILL answer for what she was even going to do, let alone what might have happened had his father not known where she was going.

A gunshot! Desiree is immediately rushing toward the door - because that's so smart, go /toward/ the sounds of violence, Dezi, good job - to try to glimpse what she can. She can't see much through the door, but when she hears all that activity, she opens it a crack. It fights against the chain lock, but she doesn't remove it. She stays inside, where it's safe, where she has a lesser chance of making her vision come true. "Ramon?! What's goin' on?! Is it happenin'? The woman? With the gun?"

As Ramon dives into her mind, he'll see a flash. White halls. White walls. A single room that looks like a cell, only not, and the back of someone dressed in a nondescript pair of patient whites. The back of the skull in front of him is bald, and he looks heavy on the shoulders.

Meanwhile, the woman takes off running. She's scared now. She's still holding the gun, but she doesn't seem to find the heart to use it. Getting to the stairs, she starts running down it. Manny has about a few flights of stairs for him to be able to catch up before she gets to the front door.
"Madre de Dios!" Ramon tells Dezi, his eyes going wide. "This isn't hiding! Hiding involves you…you…hiding!" He tries to make sense of the vision he's seeing, but now the woman is out of range. It's up to Manuel now to see if they can help her, and to see if they can get anything good out of her. But Dezi is okay. Ramon keeps standing there like a goalie. If the Alchemist sent a back-up puppet, he wants to be prepared.

A few flights to run? Nono, that implies that Manny's giving the woman a fighting chance. Manny, in all his impulsive, hot-tempered happiness, starts leaping down the stairs, no concern of whether he hits the wall, twists his ankle, falls down the atrium instead of the stairs…nah, screw it. So long as he catches her.

As if to warn the woman of what's going to happen if she keeps running, Manny stops for just long enough to fire two shots at her, both aimed at the ankles should either hit. That's it, though, and Manny's back on his feet, taking off after the woman, screaming, "Fuckin' /puta/, get your ass back here!"

"I'm behind a locked door! If that's not hidin' I don't know what is!" Desiree shouts - more like hisses, as she's trying to whisper, but doesn't exactly succeed in getting the volume level down. She cranes her neck this way and that, trying to see down the hall. "Did I hear Manny? What in the hell— why are you standin' like that, you look like you're about to deliver yourself a baby in the hallway!"

BANG. BANG. The bullet ricochets harmlessly off the corner and smashes into the banister of the stairs. And while Manny doesn't hit the ankle, he does hit the woman's thigh from behind. The puppet goes down in a heap, sprawling on the third-floor landing and clutching at her leg. There is a scream of pain - more like a howl than anything, confused and even a little bit frightened. Blood pools on the gray-white floor, and the woman starts crawling for the stairs.

"Fuck," Ramon says, hearing that scream. He charges down the stairs now. At least in this neighborhood nobody calls cops. He's already ripping off his shirt. "Manuel I said not to hurt her," he growls, even as he runs. "Dezi get…some Hydrogen Peroxide or Tussin or something!" If she's screaming she's not dead. He's winging it now.

First off, the use of his full name…second, that his father's annoyed that he stopped her…something about the whole situation snaps Manny's whole…limited self-restraint thing, turning to his father and just smirking, "She's stopped, ain't she?" For now, Manny steps over to the woman, putting a hand over the bullet wound for a couple of reasons—yeah, it might slow the bleeding, but Manny's more worried about hurting the woman just a little bit more, cursing the woman under his breath in Spanish.
All channels have been gagged.

Desiree ducks down in an exaggerated wince after the bullets go off. With wide, horrified eyes, she watches Ramon run down the hallway. After just a moment's hesitations, she rushes into the bedroom she's been using to fetch something from her own belongings: not hydrogen peroxide or… Tussin. No, an honest-to-goodness-and-then-some first aid kit. Then? She runs back to the door, slams every single lock open, and hurries down the hall in the direction of the others. In her bare feet, it should be noted. "Oh, mercy."

The fog seems to have been lifted from the woman's eyes. As Manny comes in to stop the bleeding on her leg, she looks up at him horrified. And then? The other two good Samaritans come in. "Y…y….you shot me…" she says weakly, and she looks at the gun in her hands, and she shoves it away from her, looking somewhat panicked. "Th…that's not my gun." So she DOES have a gun, this just wasn't hers. "What….what am I doing here…? Who are you people?"

Ramon kneels beside the woman's head. He strokes back her hair and murmurs, "It is your gun and it isn't. What is the last thing you remember?" He glowers daggers at his son. "I meant tackle her. Grab her. Not shoot her. Call your sister so she can get this poor woman out of pain." He suddenly remembers Dezi is As Good As A Doctor or something. "Can you dig the bullet out of her foot?" he asks her.

Manny tucks his gun into the back of his waistband again, smirking a little bit, "She was ahead of me; I had to catch up." The entire thing spoken in Spanish, as Manny pretty consistantly prefers to speak with his father in. At his command, though, Manny shrugs and releases the woman's wound, letting it bleed again and pulling a phone from his pocket.

Desiree doesn't look like much of a paramedic in her silky robe and bare feet and messy hair, but when she falls to her knees at the downed woman's feet with her first aid kit in hand, she gets straight to business, already sliding on a pair of protective gloves. "It hit her in the thigh," she says, then promptly shoots a /look/ to Manny. "You /shot/ her?! Help me get 'er turned over, onto her stomach," she says, trying to do just that. "Hey, hey, it's gonna be alright. I think you were jus' comin' to maybe to somethin' bad but it weren't your fault. Just don't talk," This is where Dezi gives Ramon a /look/, too, before focusing on the puppet woman. "Take nice deep breaths, okay? I'ma paramedic." Kind of. But she doesn't add that part.

Ramon gets a distinct look of 'what the hell did *I* do? Women. Hrumph.'

"I….I don't remember much," the woman says weakly, even as she's turned over on her stomach so Desiree can see the bullet lodged in her thigh. At least it's the thigh, and the fleshy part besides. The bullet is lodged in the muscles there, and far away from the femoral artery which could spell a world of trouble. "Just….just….I remember opening a door in the place I worked. With my husband. And then….I don't know how long ago that was." She pauses. "….I need to clean my glasses…"

Now that she's down…Ramon keeps a hand on her head. He has this idea that physical contact will make all this easier. Now he's going to go for a much longer delve attempt. Elena says he can find the things that she does not remember. And…if he can get deep enough in her subconscious, he wants to try something. Before he does, he pauses long enough to murmur, "What's your name?"

Folding his arms for the moment, Manny just leans against the door frame. The first floor is too close to public for what went down, but Manny couldn't risk letting the woman get out to the crowd. He'da been screwed if she would have managed it. He taps his foot impatiently for a second, trying to figure out how to explain to Elena that the first thing she's going to see when she comes home is a woman shot in the thigh, Ramon and Desiree tending to her, and Manny with the metaphorical and literal smoking gun. Finally, Manny dials his sister's number, clicking his tongue for just a second.

Desiree doesn't do anything resembling trying to delve the bullet out; that should be done in a hospital. What she does do, however, is try to staunch the bleeding by cutting away part of her pants, wiping away blood and holding gauze to the wound. "You've been controlled by some… man who… well, it's complicated," she tells the woman. "Don't worry 'bout that now. You jus' hold tight 'til we get you more help." Wait. On that note, "Is anyone callin' 911?"

As Manny tries….odd. Elena's voicemail comes on. Why the hell is her phone off?

"…Mary…" the woman says softly. "Mary Jones…." She closes her eyes, and she seems unaware that Ramon is trying to probe into her mind. "And…I…I was?" She'd stare at Desiree if she could, but she's kind of face-down right now as she's being tended to. "Excuse me but…what's the date…?"

This might be the time to realize that god knows HOW MUCH TIME has passed while this woman was under the Alchemist's control. It could be months. Maybe even -years-.

When Ramon probes her mind, he'll find a flash of images - the woman holding onto twins, the woman in a conference… there are also images of her in some sort of office building that seems to have some sort of manufacturing facility attached to it. Images of her husband, a face that Ramon would remember. And then, back in that same room. White halls. White walls, and the back of the bald man's head peering out from the woman's subconscious. And then it starts jumping around…into a kitchen, sitting down with her husband and staring at nothing while the same head and heavy shoulders moves around the kitchen.

At least he feeds them.

This is when Ramon would realize that whoever the man was, he was keeping the Jones couple as pets.

Ramon shoves down his own furious response, not wanting to damage her mind. If he can send thoughts like conversation…if he can delve into the subconscious…can he plant subconscious commands or shields so strong that the Alchemist cannot break them? But if he does the wrong thing, can he damage her mind forever? The Alchemist will surely come for her again, maybe with the other pet. He's got to call Nima. He's got to protect this woman. Sweat bubbles out of his temples and takes a stroll down his craggy cheeks. In the end, he realizes he might never get another chance to ensure this woman is never enslaved again. He chooses the counter-command as carefully as he can, and tries to plant it there in her mind. *To thine own self be true.* He can't imagine it will do much harm if this fails, after all.

Voicemail. Awesome. Manny hangs up his phone and shoves it into his pocket, looking around for a second before pushing his way out of the apartment building and onto the street. Subtle, Manny…really. He looks around, obviously hoping to find his sister—while he may disobey his father … a lot, Manny's got some respect for honor, and while he'd be content to let the woman bleed out, Ramon has something more in mind. And Manny respects it, so he goes about his chore of finding Elena.

Desiree is unaware of what's going on in the woman's mind, all the things Ramon is seeing. "Alright, Mary. You're okay now, you're safe." She looks around at the boys. "We gotta get her to a hospital. It messed the femoral artery, but it looks like the bullet's still in there and it's gotta be taken out."

The older Gomez sibling is nowhere in sight, but she did leave a note in the refrigerator. Something about going to Beth Israel to visit Cass and Peter. Wait. What the hell are Cass and Peter doing in the hospital?

Ramon manages to implant the message in Mary's mind, and she looks unaware of it, given it was seeded deep into her unconscious should the puppetmaster try again. "Th…thank you…" she whimpers towards Desiree. Her leg really hurts, but at least she's not too bad off. "I….where is my husband…?" As if these people have answers. They seemed to be the only ones who know what's going on.

"We'll find him, I promise," Ramon tells the woman. "Alright," he tells them. "Here's the story. She was hit in a drive-by. We don't know who hit her. End of story. Ma'am, you are in danger. I'm going to need to guard you, so I need to be your…brother-in-law, okay? So they let me in." The puppetmaster could choose to get rid of the useless pet too. Ramon needs to think like this. "Manny, you guard Dezi. Dezi, you need to call Nima or Lee Jones. They need to know we've found their missing mother."

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