When are we gonna talk about this specific scene in Dos Orugitas?
Abuela: "Ive never been able to come back here. This river...is where we were, given our miracle."
Mirabel: "Where...Abuelo Pedro....?:
This entire scene, Dos Orugitas, is so powerful all together, but the RIVER. The river is so important to the context of their family and the theme of generational trauma.
At this point we all know what Abuela's trauma is and how it affected everyone in the family, hence "generational trauma" part of the story.
Abuela Alma, while holding her 3 newborn babies, watched the love of her life be slaughtered right in front of her eyes in that river that night.
At the very beginning of the movie we can see that Abuelo Pedro was standing in the river when he was murdered.
Once again, like we have already seen, Abuela put her own feelings about her trauma aside, and puts on a brave face to comfort Mirabel. But like she says to Mirabel, she had never been able to come back to that river herself, she was only there for Mirabel.
Finding Mirabel sitting at the river, the same place her husband was brutally murdered, must have been very triggering and painful. She was staring at the very spot she watched her husband be murdered.
But here's what's interesting about how the scene continues.
While Dos Orugitas plays, the story of what happened to Abuelo Pedro is shown in detail (at least more detail then when Abuela tells the story at the beginning)
We see Mirabel observing the scene for herself, implying that Abuela is telling the story to Mirabel in great detail, and Mirabel is finally understanding the pain Abuela experienced in that very spot.
Abuela then apologizes saying, "I am so sorry. You never hurt our family Mirabel. We are broken, because of me"
Now, after understanding why Abuela acted the way she did towards everyone, seeing the pain she is still holding on to after all those years, Mirabel looks out and sees:
The scene from Bruno's vision.
At first she didn't know where that scene was, but it was when she looked out into the river that she saw what the vision was showing.
Now in Bruno's vision it was very unclear who Mirabel was meant to hug in order to save the miracle for a long time, and it ended up being Isabela. BUT, Bruno's vision had two different outcomes, one when Casita fell down, and one where Casita didn't. How I'm choosing to interpret this is that, in the outcome where Casita didn't fall Mirabel would have to hug Isabela, which is what the vision ended up choosing to display, but in the outcome where Casita did fall, Mirabel would have to hug someone else, which is why the vision was so confusing for Bruno.
Now Casita obviously fell, which means the only way the miracle would be saved is if Mirabel hugged someone else. And because of that scene in Bruno's vision, Mirabel realized:
It was Abuela she needed to help
This is exactly why I think its a bunch of bs when people claim that Abuela was "forgiven too easily"
Mirabel saw Abuela's silent suffering, she saw how much pain was still in her heart from what happened that night, and how much trauma Abuela experienced. She understood why Abuela acted the way she did, and instead of getting angry, Mirabel sees that she is meant to help Abuela, and in turn, help everyone else.
THIS!!! ^^^^^^^^^ THIS VERY SCENE RIGHT HERE!!! THIS IS SO INSANELY IMPORTANT!!!!
This river was the place where the most traumatic thing that ever happened to any of them occurred. The source of the family's generational trauma took place at this river. And Abuela herself admitted that ever since that night, she had never been able to go back.
Abuela had to cross the river too, to flee from the bandits (or whoever they are)
But after she saw Pedro be murdered, she never stepped foot in that river again.
BUT MIRABEL LED HER INTO THE RIVER, HOLDING HER HANDS, GUIDING HER BACK THROUGH THE RIVER LIKE PEDRO DID.
Mirabel understanding Abuela's trauma, and Abuela finally going back into the river after 50 years, you wanna know what this scene is symbolizing????
THIS RIGHT HERE, IS THE START OF THEIR HEALING FROM THEIR TRAUMA, ESPECIALLY ABUELA
After 50 years, Abuela was not only able to go back to see the river, but go into the river. WITH THE HELP OF MIRABEL.
Together, they walk into the river, finally understanding one another, and they both decide together that their healing starts HERE. The rest of the family can't heal before Abuela can heal, and Mirabel UNDERSTANDS THIS. So what does she do????? SHE HELPS ABUELA HEAL.
This entire scene is so important in understanding the entire movie, but the DAMN RIVER IS WHAT STOOD OUT TO ME.
I didn't get why they had to walk into the river in order for this scene to continue, but then it HIT ME LIKE A BUS.
Casita being rebuilt symbolizes the family healing as a whole, but the river symbolizes Abuela's trauma. Therefore, walking into the river symbolizes addressing and HEALING from that trauma.
God this movie is so beautiful and powerful and important.
Mirabel doesnt have a power she holds the power
Aight, here me out, I have a theory and haven't seen anyone else post it so Imma do it.
Casita knew everything was bad. It saw Abuela trying too hard and ignoring everyone's struggles so it picked this tiny little child to save the family. When Mirabel's door disappears it's not because she gets nothing but because the house is giving her it's magic.
Hear me out:
Mirabel is the only one to understand the house as actual conversation and not just body language.
She's the only one the house actively helps.
-putting the stuff away,
-everytime no one else can save her
She makes Antonio's box and stuffed Jaguar exactly as his powers would soon become.
-she calls him animal boy but that doesn't explain why the jaguar was most important
-South America has many animals yet it's the three on the box Antonio interacts with the most
Casita literally doesn't start falling apart until Mirabel isn't wanted by her family
-her singing about not being okay led straight into the house cracking visibly
She shifts Isabellas power into what it should be simply by interacting with her sister
The family powers happen around her without the family
-the toucan going into Brunos tower with her
-the green of Brunos powers being the firework in Mirabels song and also her glasses (which, side note, remember how Disney uses green for bad and Elsa saw herself bad so she had the green scheme too? Bruno and Mirabel)
-the weather shifting outside Casita and the sun coming out when she embraces Abuela
Also, she doesn't judge any of the powers.
-she doesnt see Bruno as evil
-Isabella suddenly growing strange things and Mirabel just goes with it.
Casita healing because Mirabel learns the fears of her sister.
Casita trembling when Abuela yells at her
Casita falling apart because Mirabel admits they'll never be good enough for Abuela
Casita dragging everyone important to Mirabel out of the house while actively helping her reach the candle before protecting her as it dies
Mirabels dress being covered in butterflies which Bruno's vision says to follow and find
There's probably more, I've only seen it twice so far,
But Also, and the main one:
When Mirabel puts the doorknob in Casita regains it's magic.
Aubelo Pedro's sacrifice fuels the miracle of magic into his wife who manifested the candle.
Abuela was the channel for the magic that's why her shiny door is her holding the candle and why she initiates each child into their powers
The magic left her and entered Mirabel the night her door disappeared and when Mirabel pulled her family back together she channeled the magic back into Casita
Dia de los Muertos Ch. 3
Part 1 Part 2 @aespades @rebecarojas07 @imchaotic-dontmindme
Uuuuggghhh midterms and work are kicking my ass. I'm planning on doing an epilogue after this chapter to wrap everything up. Enjoy!
(Read it on Ao3 if that's easier!)
Marinette was…torn. She couldn’t reconcile the emotions swimming within her. The exhilaration of succeeding in guiding Jason home; the excitement and joy of finally getting the opportunity to hug her best friend; the overwhelming sadness of watching her Abuela sacrifice herself for Jason…and for her. There was just too much to feel.
For several long minutes, she simply sat, staring blankly at her lap as the sounds and smells of the neighboring Dia de Muertoscelebrations carried on in the background. Distantly, she processed Jason coming to sit beside her; she felt the heat rolling off of him and she was grateful for it—somewhere within her, mixed up with all those other feelings, gratitude for Jason’s life being returned to him was a sweet warmth that kept her from falling to pieces entirely.
“You know,” he murmured after another few minutes of silence, “I used to see your Abuela when I was living on the street. She used to scold me for cussing, even though I could hear her laugh every time. And sometimes, she’d have food for me, and for the other street kids too. Especially on Dia de Muertos, and Christmas and Easter. She was always a little different than the other adults. She always knew just a little too much. I don’t think she’d want you to feel guilty, Mari.”
How could he tell?
“I bet she knew what would happen from the first night we met. And she chose to make the trade so you wouldn’t have to.”
She finally turned to look at him but ducked her head at the expression on his face.
“And you knew what would happen to you, didn’t you?” he accused her. But his voice wasn’t angry; it was broken and distraught.
Marinette shook her head.
“I didn’t know,” she hedged. “I thought it might happen, but I hoped it wouldn’t. But I would have made the trade for your life, Jay. You’re my best friend, it would have been worth it.”
He made a sputtered almost-denial and then suddenly changed tactics.
“Don’t you think your Abuela thought it was worth it to trade for you?”
Marinette didn’t answer. By the look in Jason’s eyes, she didn’t have to. The quirk of his lips told her he saw when she’d understood what he meant. It would take time—years, probably—but someday she would come to terms with Abuela’s choice. She could only honor that choice until they met again. Marinette took a deep, cleansing breath and tried to shake off the melancholy that seemed to weigh on her shoulders.
“Okay, so that abomination called a chili dog is probably getting cold. Are you actually going to eat it?”
Jason’s smirk grew as he glanced toward the unsavory, congealed mess she’d bought on her way to set up the ofrenda.
“Hmmm…probably not. But I’m about to eat that entire loaf of bread.”
He reached for the rustic round cobb and easily grabbed it with one hand.
“You will not, that was meant to share!”
He held it high above her head, laughing as she strained—fruitlessly—to reach it, until she lost her balance and crashed into his chest. He caught her easily with the other arm and helped her right herself before giving in apologetically and tearing off a chunk of bread to share. She watched indulgently as he took a bit of his own piece of bread and his eyes closed, seemingly involuntarily.
“Mari,” he swallowed, “this is amazing. The best bread I’ve had in like…three years.”
“Jason. You haven’t had any bread for three years, that’s hardly a fair comparison.”
He gave her a sly glanced and she swatted his shoulder.
“That’s a terrible joke! You should be ashamed of yourself,” she scolded between giggles.
“Oh!” she recalled suddenly, scrambling to open the cooler, “I also brought this.”
She held up the pint of ice cream and Jason’s cheeks flushed, although she couldn’t understand why.
“You remembered,” he uttered, shocked. “I said it what, once? And you remembered my favorite ice cream is Neapolitan.”
“Of course I remembered, Jay! Just like I remember that your favorite color was red, but you thought you might be starting to like blue better, and you like Hugo but you prefer Austen, and your birthday is August 16th, only eight days after mine, but a year earlier. I don’t do things halfway, Jason, including learning about my friends. Just be happy I grew out my more embarrassing tendencies.”
“Oh, believe me, I am more than grateful…that I was dead and didn’t have a schedule for you to memorize! Kidding!” She tweaked his arm. “OW! I’m kidding, Marinette! Seriously, though, of course that kid’s dad was a supervillain. What kind of lunatic isolates his kid with a schedule like that? A supervillain.”
Marinette considered swatting his shoulder again, but instead she sighed and tried to ignore the blush that stole across her cheeks. It really was better that she’d gotten over her infatuation with Adrien. It hadn’t been healthy. She was glad she had someone to laugh with about it now.
“Hey, Mari?” Jason’s voice was suddenly unsure, and he wouldn’t meet her gaze. She waited for him to speak, knowing he was about to share something new he thought might be embarrassing or incriminating.
“I’m sorry,” he said after a moment. “I kept a secret, and you told me yours and I know you would have kept my secret if I’d told you but…I had to keep it for so long, to keep my family safe…I just didn’t know how to tell you.”
She waited in silence, although patience had never been her strong suit. What Jason was about to share was big, she could tell. She would give him as much time as he needed to decide what to say.
“I was…I was Robin,” he finally confessed, voice so small she barely heard him. She gasped quietly and instinctively reached for his hand.
That was how the Joker had killed him. He hadn’t been Jason at the time, he’d been Robin. He’d been trying to save his mother, who’d sold him out to a deranged clown, because he was a hero. It certainly explained the batman flag she’d needed to bring him home. Marinette squeezed his hand and he peeked at her through long, dark eyelashes, cerulean eyes swimming with tears.
“Jason…” He’d told her about leaving Bruce to find his birth mother; that he knew he shouldn’t have gone alone, but he hadn’t wanted to admit he would need help. From anyone. That story made more sense now, knowing he’d been the second Robin.
“Can I… Can I hug you?” she asked. He looked so lost and forlorn; she couldn’t stop herself.
His eyes widened, but he nodded. Letting go of his hand, she wrapped her arms as far as they would reach around his shoulders and held him. After a moment, his arms wound around her and he clutched her to him as he sobbed into her shoulder.
“He just replaced me!” the muffled gasp came from below her ear. “He found Tim and I wasn’t even dead yet and he replaced me! Like I was never there to start with!”
Marinette tried not to flinch as the realization came crashing down on her. Tim Drake, the newest Wayne adoptee…was also the newest Robin. Which meant Bruce Wayne really was Batman, as he’d said in an interview, but no one had believed him. But that wasn’t important. What mattered most was the young man shaking in her arms as he cried for the family he was certain he’d lost. She reached up to run her fingers through his hair in a slow, gentle rhythm.
“Nobody could replace you, Jay,” she whispered. “Bruce just…couldn’t cope with losing you. It’s not like you replaced your older brother, right? Dick was still around when Bruce adopted you. You needed a home and a family, Jay. Tim probably needed the same. You would have been his older brother if the Joker hadn’t…hadn’t…” She hiccupped as her own tears streamed down her face.
Jason lifted his head and stared at her, like he’d never thought of things that way. Judging by the look in his eyes, he hadn’t.
“What do I do, Mari?” he rasped. “I miss them—Bruce and Alfred and Dick. But I’m still so angry at Bruce. I don’t know what to do!”
“I don’t think you have to do anything, Jay. Just…let yourself feel angry and hurt and let yourself miss them. That’s what I’ve been doing with my parents. I haven’t been to see them since Nonna took me te first time I met you. So let yourself grieve. And when you’re ready, you can go home.”
“Would you go with me?” The utter vulnerability of the question caught her completely off guard, but she didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Of course I would! I would never make you do that alone. Unless you wanted to be alone, of course.”
“I don’t think…I’m not sure I’d go back if I had to go alone,” he admitted. “And…I think…if I don’t go tonight, I’ll never go back.”
“If you’re sure, then okay. They’re your family, how do you want to do this?”
Four hours and several rejected plans later, Marinette found herself standing outside the mammoth double doors that were the entry to Wayne Manor. Her stomach trembled with nerves, but it was nothing compared to the quaking she could feel coming from the young man beside her. Jason’s hand was held tightly in her own, though whether it was to comfort him or to keep him from changing his mind and turning tail, she wasn’t sure. He hadn’t been able to bring himself to ring the doorbell, so she’d reached out and done it before he could stop her. Now they were waiting for the apparent butler, one Mister Alfred Pennyworth, to answer the door.
“We should have waited another hour, Alfred’s probably still sleeping,” Jason muttered. “We should go, we can come back at a normal time. This was a bad id—”
Marinette reached up and put a slender finger over his lips to halt his rambling. They were there, she was not going to let him back down when he so obviously wanted to belong to a family again.
“Jay, you sound like me,” she whispered. “Just breathe for a minute, okay? It’s been thirty seconds since I rang the bell, and this place is enormous. And you’re right, Alfred might be sleeping, but I bet he heard the bell and he just has to get here first. It’ll be okay, Jason, you won’t be alone for this. They might be scared and confused but we can help them understand and you can have a family again.”
He closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath as she lowered her hand away from his face. When he opened his eyes again, they were clear and focused, if still a little nervous.
“Thanks, Mari. I mean—thank you for everything. For sticking around the last three years and bringing me back and coming here with me. And for—for being my friend. No I mean it,” he insisted when she started to protest, “I didn’t have a lot of friends before…everything happened. I got in fights all the time and I was so used to only being able to rely on myself that I didn’t really know how to connect with other people. So um…thanks for being there for me.”
Marinette’s eyes pricked with tears and her throat closed with emotion. All she could do was squeeze her friend’s hand before one of the massive doors slowly opened to reveal an older, bald man standing rigidly straight with one arm tucked behind his back. His eyes fell first on Marinette and he opened his mouth to question her, but then he glanced at Jason and all pretense of professional detachment vanished. Steel gray eyes widened, and his arms fell slack at his sides.
“No…it’s not possible. What is the meaning of this?” he demanded, snapping his gaze back to Marinette.
Her instincts screamed at her that this man was dangerous, to proceed with caution. Unfortunately, her mouth had other ideas, and away she went, detailing the events of the last three years in rapid French, and all the while the stoic butler simply stared. By the time she finished, both Jason’s and Alfred’s mouths were gaping, and Alfred couldn’t seem to decide where to look. His gaze flitted between Marinette, Tikki—who had come to rest on her shoulder both for support and as proof of the tale—and Jason, never settling.
“I…see,” he replied after a moment of tense silence. Then he inhaled sharply and stood to one side, sweeping his arm back in welcome. “Please come in, both of you. There are some people who will be overjoyed to see you, and I rather doubt you’d like to reiterate your story several times over.”
The older man’s eyes twinkled as Marinette stepped over the threshold, tugging Jason behind her. Once inside, Jason dropped her hand and stood before the man he’d called his grandfather, staring like he was trying to memorize his face. Without warning, he threw his arms around Alfred’s shoulders, earning a quiet oof from the butler.
“Welcome home, Master Jason.” He murmured as he returned the embrace.
Marinette felt the urge to fade into the shadows as Jason reunited with his family but wasn’t given the chance when a man who looked to be in his early twenties stumbled into the foyer rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Alfred, who’s here? Did Tim forget—” The man’s voice cut off as sharply as his movements.
She watched with tears budding in her eyes as her friend pulled away from the butler and stared at the newcomer. The tears spilled over as he cracked his familiar crooked grin.
It didn’t seem like the pair of brothers would ever separate, until Alfred cleared his throat and suggested they move the welcoming party someplace more comfortable. Marinette remained in the foyer as the Wayne boys began their trek into the manor, unsure if she should follow. Then Jason turned to search for her, reaching a long arm back for her. She scampered forward and put her hand in his, only to find herself tugged close to his side as they wandered toward another room.
An hour later, the sky was beginning to lighten and color with a rare, clear view of the imminent sunrise. Marinette found herself sandwiched between Jason and his older brother, Dick, as they each slumbered against one of her shoulders. Despite Alfred’s suggestions to wait until “Masters Bruce and Timothy” had joined them, she and Jason had given in to Dick’s pleas and told their story again. Marinette tipped her head back to rest against the sofa. At least the Wayne family weren’t strangers to improbability and magic. Dick and Alfred both had taken the story in stride. Now, all that remained was to introduce Jay to the young detective who had figured out the identities of Batman, Robin and Nightwing…and reunite father and son.
Shuffling feet drew her attention, but she didn’t dare disturb the sleeping brothers. She tried to roll her eyes back far enough to see just who had entered the sitting room, as Alfred had put it, but she was unsuccessful. The shuffling stuttered and stopped, and faintly, she heard someone’s breathing hitch. Then the steps became hurried and purposeful, and suddenly a very disheveled, very frantic-looking billionaire stood before her, gaping between the two men asleep on her shoulders. She smiled tentatively and gave him a small wave from somewhere near her hip.
“How?” His voice cracked and her heart broke for him—the father who’d had to bury and grieve for his son only to see him sitting in his home once more.
“Will you believe me if I say magic?” she whispered.
The swift glance and sharp nod told her more than any words ever had. This man dealt with magic on a regular basis and understood how dangerous and volatile it could be. The way tension seemed to pour off of him suggested that he’d rather not deal with magic if he had the choice.
Too bad, Batman. You don’t get a choice today.
He settled on the low table in front of the table and waited in silence for a few moments before Marinette realized he was waiting for an explanation. She considered waking Jason to explain, but decided against it—there was so much for the two of them to unpack, she could take care of this part. So she did. Quietly, haltingly, skipping over the more personal pieces she and Jason had shared, she told her friend’s father the story of how she’d chanced to see Jason’s grave—how she’d thought it’d looked lonely and when she’d taken it upon herself to build him an ofrenda,he’d appeared beside her; how he’d started to return to the land of the living simply by touching her hand, and how she’d promised to bring him home no matter how long it took. By the end, Bruce was very near tears; certainly, they lined his eyes, but he was working hard at not letting them fall.
Until Jason stirred.
Two sets of blue eyes locked, and the tension in the air crackled like electricity. Marinette knew this reunion was meant to be only between father and son, and she was wondering precisely how to escape without disturbing Dick when Bruce stood and pulled Jason into a rough hug. The young man’s shoulders tensed at first but almost immediately relaxed as he melted into his father’s embrace. And then they left the room without a word. Well, that problem was solved. She leaned her head against the back of the couch and shut her eyes. The low crackling of the fire Alfred had built in the fireplace was soothing and before she could try to fight it off, exhausted pulled her under. She woke briefly when a pair of arms lifted and held her under her knees and around her back. Her head rested against a warm, broad chest, and the soothing crackle of flames was replaced with the steady rhythm of a heartbeat as she was carried away from the sofa that had acted as her bed. She missed the trip to wherever she was going, but stirred once more when something soft and warm enveloped her and something pressed against her forehead. Distantly, a low voice, thick with emotion, reached her.
“Thank you, Marinette.”
Abuelitas, Tantrums, and Ropa Vieja
Summary: With Lucia back from Florida and the squad aware of Rebecca and Catalina, Rafael decides it’s time to introduce them over his abuelita’s ropa vieja. Since he’s been able to maneuver his schedule to spend most days working from home, he assumes a trip to Whole Foods will be no problem, but Catalina isn’t used to hearing no from papi.
Pairings: Rafael Barba x OC
First Part-Second Part -Third Part - Fourth Part - Fifth Part
“Mami, I need to tell you something. Do you remember Rebecca?”
Rafael’s hand was squeezing hers. Now that Liv and her squad knew, Rafael was acutely aware word would travel. There was no logical way for news to reach Lucia, but he wanted to introduce Catalina to her, see the three most important women in his life in one room. He was, however, afraid of what she would say and how she would respond. Once she realized she loved Rebecca, pressure to get married would mount, and he was determined for them to take their time. There was also the possibility his mother would react poorly, questioning paternity or Rebecca’s motives. He couldn’t decide which option made him more nervous.
“I did go see her while you were in Florida. And we’re together again. She forgave me. But mami, there’s something else.” His eyes flickered to the ceiling, the corner that would be under his sleeping daughter’s bed. “Mami, when I ignored her? She was pregnant.”
She could hear Lucia holding her breath, and Rebecca leaned to press a gentle kiss to Rafael’s shoulder, hovering there. His voice was less like the confident or penitent Rafael she’d seen; instead, he sounded a lot like Catalina did when she was afraid she’d be in trouble. He’d asked her to sit with him as he called his mom, and he held her hand like an anchor, green eyes fixed ahead.
“Yeah, really. And she’ll be three in August. I moved in with them, not back to my place. Rebecca named her Catalina….Yeah, for abuelita. We want you to come over for dinner. Meet her….Rebecca tried to tell me. It’s not her fault you didn’t know….Mami, she didn’t know how to contact you. Trust me, she’s ecstatic for us to be here. And Cat looks like a Barba. EVerybody says she looks just like me….Yeah. Five is perfect. Becs will be home from school and I’m home with Cat all day….Eres una abuela ahora, mami….Si, yo soy un papa….Te amo. Nos vemos mañana por la tarde.”
He hung up, tongue between his teeth as he texted his mom a selection of pictures and videos. The ones from Christmas eve, New Years Eve, and nights in. Rafael was proudest of one Rebecca had sent him. She’d gotten home, neither Rafael or Catalina noticing her, and when she came to the living room, he was at his writing desk, face serious and Catalina making the same face at her easel beside him. Rebecca’s favorite picture of the father and daughter was from when he’d fallen asleep reading Catalina a bedtime story, curling up in his sleep on the child sized bed with their daughter against his chest. He sent mami that one too.
“Sounds like it went well.”
“I think she’s processing. She hasn’t thought I’ll ever have a partner or a child. But, she’s been playing step grandma to Enrique’s grandkids. I think she’s over the moon to have her own now. He’s in Florida another week or she’d be bringing him.”
“Catalina will be excited.”
“She’s been asking about meeting grandma. I’m making abuelita’s ropa vieja.”
“So I’m not even cooking?” she grinned. “It’ll be a good night.”
“We split it!” he defended, wrapping around her and propping his chin on her shoulder. “Mostly. But not when people come.”
“Exactly. Also, I want to try your abuelita’s ropa vieja.”
“I wish she could have met her namesake.”
“She’d have liked you. Not how I ended up. But she’d have liked you.”
“She’d be proud of you, Rafa.”
“I was supposed to be a judge,” he shrugged. “Mami is disappointed too.”
“She’d happy that you’re happy, baby.”
“I know. But she can still wish I were an ADA or DA. She used to tell me to stick close to Alex too. And call me el juez.”
“She’d have changed her mind if she knew what he’d done. Rafael, she’s watching over you. I know she is.”
“Gracias, mi amor. Vamos a dormir. It’s late.”
The next day, Rafael saw Rebecca off to work, and it occurred to him this would be his first day running errands with Catalina while she was gone. He’d taken her the park and to the sitter or her uncles’ house. Now, as he bundled her up to go buy everything he’d need to cook dinner, he wondered if grocery shopping with a toddler would be as bad as the parents he’d seen in the past with children screaming for whatever had caught their eye. Then again, he hadn’t seen Catalina throw any fits. He had the collapsable bag and Catalina’s hand in his as they started towards the Whole Foods that he was thankful was within walking distance. Each time they left, he watched her like a hawk, but like clockwork, she’d asked him to carry her after a block.
“C’mon, mija,” he smiled softly, settling her into the cart carefully before he made his way to the meat counter. He hated grocery shopping normally. Rebecca had always teased him for how often they ordered food in. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy cooking, he just didn’t have time. Since finding out about Catalina and having the time to cook, he’d gone back to making the recipes he’d learned growing up and figuring out new things Catalina could help make. Grocery shopping remained unbearable, though, and he always ordered them delivered. Today, there wasn’t time, but he found that it was much more bearable as Catalina told him her favorite snacks and chattered away. He gave her Oh yeah?s and Very good, mijas st the right times, even adding the box of frosted cereal to the cart. He did not expect to lock eyes with Jack McCoy across the wine aisle, freezing with his hand on the bottle of red in the cart.
“Rafael,” he greeted, shaking his hand. “I didn’t know you were back.”
“Jack. Yes you did,” he chuckled. “I went up against your ADA.”
“I suppose you did. But not my ADA. I retired.” The older man’s eyes went to Catalina, watching her father and the stranger. “She’s got to be yours.”
“She is,” he said, and Jack could see Rafael’s chest puff out with a pride he’d only ever seen in court. “Mija, this is papi’s friend, Mr. McCoy. Can you introduce yourself?”
“Hi, Mr. McCoy! I’m Cat!”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Cat.” The smile he gave Rafael was knowing. “It looks like leaving the DA’s office was the right move for you. In Whole Foods on a Friday? Defense work? Or stay at home dad?”
“Both. Innocence Project. I meet with clients on Mondays. Other than that I work from home and Cat goes to the sitter or her uncles for court days. I might give it all up to teach, though. I’m doing a class right now.”
“I didn’t know you had somebody, Rafael. She’d have been born after your trial.”
“I didn’t know until December. Her mom tried but I cut everyone off. Showed up to try and win her back. Got a two for one.”
“Fatherhood looks good on you.”
“Thanks, Jack. I’m happy.” Jack clapped a hand on his shoulder as he passed, and Catalina looked up at her father. He smiled, kissing the top of her head. “You know papi loves you?”
“I love you too, papi.”
He gathered the groceries, nerves high as he realized Catalina was getting tired. It struck him that it meant he’d be toting her on his hip and the groceries in the bag on wheels. They stood in the line, and she was reaching for every snack nearby. Each time, he took her hand and kissed her fingers, whispering a no softly. Each time, Catalina got increasingly annoyed, and one of his own expressions, mouth in a straight line and brow furrowed, looked back at him. She grabbed a packaged cookie when his wallet was out, and he sighed, taking it from her hand and anticipating the whimper that escaped her.
Rebecca said he had to work on standing firm and telling Catalina no. It was fine when he had her, but the sitter, Al, and Rebecca were getting to deal with come aparts when she didn’t get her way. He was able to get his card put away before the wail escaped her. Free hand on the handle of the cart, he took her hand and was able to at least get her away from the register before she fell to the floor. Now he saw what Rebecca had warned him about.
“Cat,” he said softly as he squatted beside her. “Come on, mija. Get up. We’ll go home and have lunch.”
“No, mija, you can’t have that. You have to eat lunch first.”
“We can have cookies at home.”
Rafael didn’t like the way his face was heating up as he knelt, able to see the people around him looking. Were they judging him? Did he look like he was as bad at this as he felt right now? His first time not taking her to the park, and she’s screaming? He was also suddenly struck by memories of his own childhood the few times he’d cried. It infuriated him to think his father did anything but accept the red hot embarrassment that was a part of this. Rafael could handle the stares; he could never raise his voice, much less his hand, to her. But, he felt frustration build as he went to lead her out, and Catalina dropped as though her body were lead. A woman stepped past and he sent a tight lipped smile and received an understanding one in return. Dios mio, this must be part of the deal.
“Mija,” he begged, desperation evident in his voice. “Please. We have to go home.” Does fatherhood still look good on me, Jack? God, McCoy could walk by at any moment. He wanted to just pick up Catalina and carry her screaming home, but when he went to, he received a sharp, definitive no. If there were two goals he had for Catalina, they were to know she was in charge of her person and that no one should ever hurt her. Keeping his temper in check was easier than he expected, but now, he recognized the former goal meant dropping to sit on the cold concrete floor of Whole Foods, back against the wall and Catalina laying beside him as he hammered out a text to Rebecca.
What stops a tantrum?
You have to wait it out or put her in the stroller.
I didn’t bring the stroller.
I told you. Always bring the stroller. You okay?
Fuck, she had. Just not this morning.
Can’t triple chocolate chip cookies be lunch?
Did you tell her no?
Yeah. I want to take it back.
She’ll be fine. Tell me what’s happened.
She’s sleepy I think. Wanted snacks in line. I said no every time. Then she picked up the cookies while I was paying. I took them out of her hand and she lost it. I’m sitting on the floor by the wall while she screams. I’m a terrible father.
Within moments, his phone rang, and just the sight of Rebecca’s contact photo calmed him slightly.
“Please tell me I can just say yes.”
“She’s nearing the end of wailing,” she said, and he could hear the chatter of her students in the background. “Hear how the wail dies out instead of ending strong?”
“I don’t want to say no.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, hating the way his voice sounded: whiny and desperate.
“C’mon, papi, you gotta hold out. When it ends? She’ll take a nap and move on.”
“Or I could just buy the cookies. She’s crying. It hurts when she cries. I don’t like it.”
“Trust me, you’ll realize which cries are ‘I didn’t get my way’ and which cries are ‘I’m in emotional danger.’ I know it’s hard, baby.”
“I’m so bad at this. Everyone keeps staring.”
“If they have kids, it’s sympathetic. If they have kids and it’s not sympathetic, they’re dicks. Did you try picking her up?”
“She said no. So we’re sitting here.”
“This too shall pass. Welcome to the reality part of fatherhood.”
“I like being new and always the good guy.”
“When you give her lunch, she’ll forget she didn’t get the cookies. Probably before then.”
“What if we make cookies?”
“Whatever makes you both feel better.”
“Te amo, hermosa. Thank you.”
“Glad to coach you through. I love you. You’re an amazing father, okay? No one is good at tantrums.” He hung up, and when he looked ahead he saw McCoy give him a sympathetic smile. Of course he really would see Rafael on the floor now. He gave a salute and tired grimace. It took another few minutes for Catalina’s crying to stop. She looked at him with tear stained cheeks, and Rafael felt like an asshole.
“Ready to go home, mija?” She nodded, sniffling as she held her arms up. He grunted as he stood from the floor, displeased with the way his knees cracked. Once she was settled on his hip, he pulled the basket behind them as they walked. Catalina looped her arms around his neck and laid her head on his shoulder, and he smiled to himself. So it really was temporary. She was definitely tired now if she wasn’t before. He laid her on the couch when they were home, letting her sleep as he created the sauce for the ropa vieja and put the meat in to cook. It smelled like abuelita’s apartment on the cold nights he’d hidden from his father there, and she’d helped him study and fed him the comforting dish. He could still remember sitting at her table, feet dangling the day she saw the deep purple bruising along his side when he reached to get a dish for her. He hadn’t had to go home for a month.
He was always afraid some part of his father would burst forth. It had been two glorious months of being able to be a father, but he still found himself considering the possibility he’d change into some caricature of the elder Barba. The idea of raising his voice to Catalina was enough to make his stomach churn, and he knew he’d never do anything to hurt her or make her feel like he had.
But surely his father never thought he’d beat his own son? Surely he’d looked at newborn Rafael, small and delicate, and had the same urge he did to protect his child? Whenever the thoughts got bad, every couple of weeks, he’d curl up beside Rebecca and tell her. That was certainly a difference. His father was always rage and disappointment; Rafael couldn’t imagine he’d expressed how he felt to his mother often, especially fear or happiness or sadness. Rebecca thought his desperation to be different was enough proof he wouldn’t end up like him.
When Catalina was awake, the rest of the day went by in a blur. He settled at his desk to grade papers, and halfway through, Catalina climbed in his lap with a notepad, doodling as he marked. That was how Rebecca found them when she got home, pressing a kiss to the top of their heads. It looked like they’d weathered the tantrum just fine. She’d worried about Rafael all day. In the time since they were last together, she’d gotten tougher. He’d gotten more emotional, and she knew this probably brought up a lot he didn’t want to think about, but she was confident now he’d talk to her about it before bed.
“Looks like everyone survived,” she teased gently.
“Yeah. I just sat there until she was ready.”
“It sucks, I know. That’s why you always take the stroller. Maneuver her in.”
“Does this happen a lot?”
“She’s two, Rafael. Testing boundaries. And then papi never says no.”
“Papi said no cookies,” Catalina said seriously.
“Did you get cookies later?”
“Yes,” she admitted with a sheepish smile.
“So when mama or papi says no, it isn’t always so bad?”
“No.” Her admission was reluctant, arms crossed in front of her and face serious. He laughed, closing up the folder.
“Well, papi’s mami will be here soon. She’s your grandma. Abuelita.”
“Abuelita,” Catalina repeated, nodding. Rebecca took advantage of being home to sit with Catalina, who was determined they needed to draw together, as Rafael finished cooking. When his mother arrived, he nearly ran to the door, wrapped in an apron. Lucia had only seen her son on video calls while she’d been in Florida, and she realized when he opened the door that cameras couldn’t relay the way her his shoulders and jaw held less tension and his mouth sat in the slightest smile instead of a straight line. The sight of him in a polo shirt and jeans, with bare feet and an apron messy with the ropa vieja she could smell, was jarring in the best way.
“Mami,” he grinned, wrapping her in a hug. He’d always been her son when they were together, soft and sweet and doting, but he’d never seemed so calm.
“Mijo,” she smiled, leaning back and gripping his forearms. “You look good. And it smells like abuelita’s recipe?”
“Sí. I think I haven’t made it for Rebecca before. And definitely not for Cat.”
“Let me see her.” Lucia was ecstatic, and she could just see the little brunette peaking around the wall. It warmed her heart to see Rafael go and kneel, hushed whispers between them before he picked her up with ease. He’d never been the best with children, but it seemed age, circumstance, and Olivia’s son had done enough to unlock the paternal part of him his mother had always known was hidden. Catalina’s arms were wrapped around her father’s neck, watching Lucia with curiosity.
“Catalina, this is your abuelita.” His voice was gentle as he spoke, and Lucia leaned to look at her. It was like looking at Rafael when he was the same age. Her mouth was different, more like her mother’s, but the curls and eyes were him. The look as she inspected this new guest in their home was all Rafael as well.
“Hi Catalina. It’s very nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, abuelita.” Lucia could see the way the little girl focused on the word.
“I made you your papi’s favorite treat. They’re called pastelitos de guayaba.”
“What are those?”
“It just means guava pastries. Your papi used to eat them all when his abuelita and I made them.”
“I’ll share with him,” Catalina said seriously, wiggling in her father’s arms. He knew well enough to know that meant she was comfortable and let her down. “Gracias, abuelita.”
“Is papi teaching you Spanish?”
“Yeah! I ask him words and stuff. And I can count to ten!”
“Wow! You’re smart like him. Can you introduce me to your mami?”
Rafael put the box of pastelitos in the kitchen, turning the heat just high enough to keep everything warm before going to the living room. He watched Catalina, her abuelita’s hand in hers, march up to Rebecca. His abuelita was here; he could feel her presence. It was there in the patience with which his mother was already doting on Catalina, in the smell of the ropas viejas wafting through the house, in the way Catalina was proudly introducing her mother and grandmother. His abuelita had always been home and safety, even when his mother couldn’t provide the latter, and he had both now. He only wished she could see her namesake in the living room, now walking to introduce Lucia to each stuffed animal. He was incandescently happy for the first time, and Rebecca had finally gotten him to believe that would be enough for abuelita.
When everyone came and sat around the kitchen table, plates piled with beans and rice and beef, the last part of him that felt like it was racing, desperate to prove he could be a good father, stilled. Today had included a tantrum in the market, but he’d weathered it without even raising his voice to Catalina. He was doing work that wouldn’t catapult him to judge, but it made him feel good. He was settled down with Rebecca and a daughter and could finally acknowledge he wasn’t his father. A combination of cherry picked defense work, the Innocence Project, and teaching were allowing him a serenity he hadn’t thought he’d get in his forty-nine years. In August, he’d reach fifty, and he was grateful to realize he’d reach it genuinely happy instead of mistaking success for happiness.
“¿Estás bien mijo?” Lucia had asked while Rebecca was feeding Catalina.
“Sí mamá. Estoy feliz.”
“Puedo ver que lo eres. Cuando te vas a casar con ella?”
“Tan pronto como puedo. Dale tiempo.”
An: I was slipping plain and simple. I truly hope you enjoy this chapter. Please leave your feedback, all is welcome. Sorry for the long wait but another chapter is coming Thursday!!
Disclaimer: DON’T OWN ANYTHING ABOUT ON MY BLOCK, JUST MY CHARACTERS DAISY, JACKIE, AND MADELINE.
You ever get that feeling like your whole world is falling apart and then boom something exciting happens and everything is fine in the moment? If so, well, congratulations you’re human, and you’re not the only one with those feelings. When your world Is falling apart you have this crushing feeling in your chest; like there’s an elephant sitting there just waiting for you to stop breathing. Although it feels like your heart is beating faster and is going to beat out of your chest cavity it’s actually all in your head, that’s called panic. Your heart rate is picking up because of your fear of death. Then all of a sudden, your lungs start expanding like a balloon when someone starts blowing warm air into it. That crushing feeling is finally lifted off your chest and you can take a gulp of fresh air. That. I wanted that. As I'm sitting on my warm chocolate brown recliner couch, I wipe my eyes as I realize that the meeting with Oscar didn’t go as I had planned, or even hoped for. It was so much worse, and to be honest I don’t know how I'm going to face him or the kids for a while. ~THAT MORNING~ I wake before my alarm clock starts going off. Excitedly I get up to start my morning routine; hair up, brush teeth, wash face, moisturizer, pull hair down just so I can put 2 french braids in and dance my way to my closet to pick out a semi-comfortable outfit. Boyfriend jeans, a basic grey V-neck tee and a black and an old black and grey plaid shirt matched with some white vans. Smirking I all but skip to the white nightstand, unplug my phone, grab my necessities and walk to the wooden front door, set the alarm and walk to the car. Nothing is going to wipe this big smile off my face. That is until I walk into the back door of the bakery. “Daisy! Oh, thank god you’re here. I need you to pick up Jackie’s shift, she came down with the flu.” Maddy gagged, “It was real nasty! She facetimed me this morning, her nose was so red and her eyes were so puffy. OH and her voice was basically gone.”
“That’s fine, bu-but um wasn’t she trying to finish some cupcakes for a 8 year old's birthday party?” I asked swallowing hard.
“Yeah, so she finished half of the order, which was 50 cupcakes, but the other half of the order was the 2-tier cake.”
“I-I didn’t know about the cake. When is the deadline?”
“Sunday...but like I said the cupcakes are done!” She quickly adds when I look at her as my jaw hits the floor.
“Maddy! Today is friday, just please tell me she already has the framing of the cake.”
Walking to the fridge she opens the doors with a grand gesture. “She actually does, and she has base coating done.” Breathing a sigh of relief, I put my belongings away, put on my apron, wash my hands, and get started making the fondant for the marvel birthday cake. By the time I get finished covering the cake with the fondant, it was already 12. Short day my ass. Jackie owes me big time.
~4 THAT EVENING~
R- 3:13 pm: Daisy raincheck on tonight's meetup!!
R- 3:17 pm: You know you could at least text me back...
R- 3:19 pm: Okay so I know you got this message; it says it was delivered
M- 3:25 pm: DAISY! The boys, mainly Ruby, wants to reschedule. Call me as soon as you get this!!!
M- 3:40 pm: Why haven’t you called? Are you hurt?
J- 4:01 pm: Just to formally update you woman, we can’t make it to the meetup tonight...
Well for once I'm glad my phone was on silent. Hanging my apron, I clock-out and quickly head out the door putting my phone up to my ear.
“Hey, sorry I had to cover Jackie’s shift at work. I saw y’all couldn’t make it to the meeting tonight but why did you need me to call you?” I ask as soon as Monse picks up.
“You’re fine, yeah something about Ruby needing to move his things into his room with his abuela. But I actually need to talk to you. It’s really important.”
“Talk, I'm driving!”
“I think I might have feelings for Cesar.”
“Um yeah I know, I think we all know at this point.”
“But he’s pressuring me to tell everyone. He I feel like he wants to stake a claim, or something.”
“Are you home? I’m on the way, we’re going to my house to talk.”
“Yes, how far are you?”
“About 10 minutes away, be ready!” I reply hanging up the phone. Arriving I blow the once before she comes running out the front door and quickly jumping into the car.
“I didn’t know you had a record player.” Monse yells through the house.
“It was a gift from grandma, along with all of her old vinyls.” Picking up a Nat King Cole record I turn it over to show her the vintage vinyl.
“She was into Jazz?”
“Stop beating around the bush. What’s going on with you and Cesar?” Glancing at the clock, it’s already after 5.
“So, we’ve been seeing each other since I came back from camp and-”
“Having sex.” I interrupt as I sit down beside her on the couch.
“W-what?” She stutters looking at me with wide eyes.
“Monse, I'm not dumb I know y’all are having sex. Do I approve? Hell no. Do I wish you would have waited? Hell yeah. But hey,” I turn and look her in the eyes. “I’m not disappointed in you Monse. I’m not judging you either because there are worse things you could be doing. But just a 1 question, are you using protection?”
“Yeah...” But she’s looking everywhere but at me.
“We’re only using condoms, but not all the time.”
“What?” I screech.
“Dad has never talked to me about birth control or even sex. I’m not even sure if I should talk to him about it. Wouldn’t that be weird?” Her round cheeks turn slightly red, reminding me of the time mama first told me about sex and I got so embarrassed.
“Well since you already technically know about sex, I'll let you know right now that condoms are good birth control but they aren't 100 percent effective. That’s why sometimes it is best to be on some kind of birth control yourself, not saying you have to though. There’s the pill, IUD, the shot, the patch, implant, ring, sponge, and so many-”
“Okay I get it!” Monse yells cutting me off. “There are many types of birth control, but um this isn’t why I wanted to talk you. I’m afraid if we say something it’ll break up the crew.”
Laughter bubbles up my throat and without warning it tumbles out. I stop when I see Monse grinding her teeth.
“See this is why I was afraid to tell you!”
“I thought you were joking, Monse you’re afraid of what the boys will say. The same two boys who are most likely jerking off to magazines or porn?”
“Eww I totally didn’t need to hear that.” Shuddering she jumps up and starts pacing the living room. “I just don’t want things to change between us.”
“Things are going to change, you’re growing up. Everyone changes Monse, you can't stop that. But if they don’t support you in this decision then screw them. Real friends support you in anything and any situation. From what I understand they love you both, right?”
“Okay then I have no doubt in my mind that those boys will accept you two. Maybe you’re just scared of your feelings for him.” She went to interrupt me but instead her stomach growling cuts her short. “I know you Monse, you’re just scared and nervous, which is normal. But maybe you should give it a try with you and Cesar just to see how things will work out. But for right now let's get some food in you!”
“Good idea.” She says chewing on her nails while walking to the kitchen with me following close behind.
Frozen pizza and tater tots were definitely a win tonight. Not the healthiest but who eats healthy 24/7 anyways.
“So, dad is picking me up. He should be here really soon” She says as we’re watching tv after dinner.
“Oh, when did he get back in town?”
“Yesterday, he said something about the two of you not really talking right now.”
“Yeah just somethings I guess we need to talk about.” I shrug not really caring to have this conversation with her.
“Not really, I just don’t agree with everything he does.” Lights shine through the living room curtain. “Well I guess he’s here, come on I'll walk you to the door.” Heading towards the door she stops to ask me a question.
“Did you use birth control with Spooky?” Laughing I push her towards the door.
“Not at first no, but eventually I started taking the pill, which by the way there’s different kinds of.” Opening the door, I turn to her to give her a hug just to see her face frown with confusion.
“What are you doing here?” Turning around I come face to face with the devil himself.
“Hello to you to.” Oscar announces looking at me the whole time. 30 seconds go by before another car pulls into the driveway.
“Well there's my ride, I'll call you later Daisy, love you!” Monse yells running down the steps in towards dads car.
“Why are you here? It’s not even 8 yet.”
“Thought I'd surprise you; we need to talk.” He walks by me as if I wasn’t blocking his way in.
“Um, excuse me I didn’t invite you in!” I follow him once I close the door. “You can’t just walk into my house uninvited.” Laughing he sits down and leans back stretching his legs and arms.
“Come sit,” he pats the cushion beside him. I choose the other end of the couch. 10 minutes go by before I decide the silence begins to get to me.
“What did you want to talk about?” How awkward.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He locks his jaw in place.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don't play stupid with me.” Playing stupid? No, I'm actually stupid because I have no clue what the hell he’s talking about.
“Honestly have no clue what you’re talking about Oscar.”
“The baby...” It gets eerily quiet. My body runs cold, it feels like my body turns to stone.
“Got nothing to say now huh?” Hanging my head, I lock my fingers together in my lap.
“I did...I-I came to you and told you.” Glancing up at him, I see him look at me with disgust in his eyes.
“You didn’t tell me that you got an abortion.” His voice gets deep and raspy.
“No, who told you that?”
“That’s not important, you were my girl. You come to me about these things not-”
“How was I supposed to do that when you were behind bars? Huh?” My voice gets louder and louder. “I was 15 and scared Oscar. You weren’t here to help.”
“I would've been if you just told me from the beginning.” His neck is turning red from all the straining and yelling he's doing.
“You know that wouldn’t have stopped you from doing what you did!”
“How do you know?” He laughs, but it wasn’t one filled with humor, no, it was filled with sarcasm. “I would’ve done anything for you.”
“You told me to leave and build a life for myself.” I try to change to direction to conversation.
“That doesn’t mean leaving town, and getting an abortion.”
“Stop saying that, I didn’t get an abortion. Why do you keep saying that?”
“Why won’t you tell me what really happened? I want to believe you, but since you won’t tell me what happened I can only believe what other people tell me.” Was his smart ass response.
“Why can’t you just believe what I’m telling you and leave it at that?”
“Because it was my child!” He yelled.
“It was my child too.” I scream back officially breaking down in tears. “I lost the baby…” I manage to say as I’m trying to breathe through my soon to be panic attack.
I guess he didn’t expect that. When you’ve been told one thing for years, a lie, and then hear another thing that might be just as worse as the lie, I guess it would render you silent.
“I was consistently worried about you, me, the baby, what my mom would think, and so stressed out. God I was so stressed, that before I knew it I had lost the baby. I was only 11 weeks along” Wiping my eyes I get up just to slowly pace the floor. “Please…say something.”
“Do you blame me?” Looking up at me, we lock eyes as so stop and face jinx
“No, I never would. The doctor said it happens often.”
“Did you believe them? That it happens often?” He whispered.
“No…it was my fault. I knew I shouldn’t have been that stressed but instead I still decided to take on everyone’s problems and my own.”
“You should’ve told me. You were mine, the baby was mine.” With his head hanging between his broad shoulders he starts running his fingers through his hair. “Had everything planned and written down in there. I was going to behave and get out early. Come home to you and our child. Get a job, buy a home, and have more children. Build a better life for our family. That’s what I wanted.”
“Im so so sorry Oscar!” Closing my eyes as tears run down my cheeks.
“That’s what kept me alive in there. Knowing I had you and our blessing to come home to. Then that all came crashing down when I found out the truth, well what I thought was the truth.” I stayed quite to let him get what he needed off his chest. “I don’t blame you, you shouldn’t have had to worry about me, I put you in that situation. For that I’m truly sorry Daisy.”
“Yo-you don’t owe me an apology.” I know my under eyes had to be an angry red from all the wiping and rubbing.
“I do, because no matter how mad I am I’m still in love with you.” I can’t move, I think I’ve stopped breathing too. “I’ve tried to stop, god I’ve tried. But I know where my heart is and who it belongs to.”
“You don’t mean that, you’re just upset Oscar.” Whimpering I sit down beside him.
“I mean everything I just said. But it’s because I love you that I can’t love you.”
“What? I’m confused. You love me, but you can’t love me?”
“That would put a target on you. Being my girl in the streets would put you and everyone you love in danger. I can’t have that, I would kill everyone for even looking at you the wrong way.” Oscar explains himself.
“I’ve dated you before, I know what it’s like.”
“But things have changed, I’m more powerful than I was before. I won’t put you in danger again, end of story.” He gets up and starts heading for the door. Jumping up I chase after him.
“You can’t just tell me you love me then walk out the door Oscar. That’s not fair. You’ve done this to me before and it left me in pieces last time.” I grab his arm to stop him from walking. “Please just talk to me more before you just close the book on us.”
“Goodnight Daisy, I’ll see you around.” He pulls his arm from my hands and locks the bottom lock before heading out the door. A loud sob comes from somewhere in the room and it’s once I collapse in the chair when I realize that the sound came from me.
As I’m wiping the tears from my face I decided here and now that this won’t be the end of us. He might’ve walked out but I refuse to just give up on him so easily. Then that’s when it hits me. All this time I’ve been running away from my feelings for him. Everything is so clear.
I’m still fucking in love Oscar Diaz.
My phone ringing brings me out my trance. Running to the kitchen I find the phone on the kitchen table and as soon as I seen the name something else comes to realization within these last 5 minutes. Only 2 people knew of me losing the baby. I hit decline just for the person to pick call right back. I have to options, ignore them and turn my phone off or answer them and confront them of their disgrace and lies. I hate confrontation so option number one sounds really nice right now. Too late!
“Why would you lie to Oscar and tell him that I had an abortion?” I spit in the phone.
TAG: @mbaku-babygirl @izraahh1 @shesbriaanayy @aka-eb @yxseminx
... To help you
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
…To help you
[Fandom]:Voltron: Legendary Defender
[Rating]: Gen/ Gen
[Genre]: Family, Hurt/Comfort, centers around Veronica, Marco & Lance
[Warning]: mention of very protective but ultimately supporting siblings
[Word count]: 4.800
Post season 7 – related to this post I made
[Omg help me I’m back on my shit again. After months of having been unable to write I can’t seem to stop. Have fun guys. This is suuuuuuper self-indulgent by the way. Kudos to anyone who makes it to the end.]
[Important PSA after the first comments on Ao3: No bashing the team, be it in the tags or in a reblog. Lance is not a prize to be won by either side]
Once might have counted as nothing more than a fluke. A second time she might play off as a coincidence maybe. By the third time, Veronica had a sinking feeling plaguing her. After the fifth time, she had stopped counting and instead started to consider that this had to be more than a mere “fluke”.
Far be it from her to hold grudges or make hasty decisions, but the more time Veronica spent around team Voltron, the angrier she became almost every instance.
Honestly, the fact that her ire had grown enough to be noticeable even to her family was admirable in itself – there were few people that could pride themselves in having disturbed Veronica’s inner peace so profoundly that she was falling back into bad habits.
“You’re chewing on your pencil.”
She startled, taken aback by Marco’s nonchalance. She cleared her throat and demonstratively put the poor, abused tool down to recline in the uncomfortable chair they had stolen from another room down the hall so that at meals everyone had a chance to sit at the relatively small workbench that served as their table and “office” outside of office.
But the last one only truly concerned Veronica herself.
Marco was idly scrolling through something on a datapad, finger lazily dragging along the surface. Judging by his expression it had to be pictures from before the war had broken out – small glimpses of the past he had managed to take with himself on an even smaller chip he had guarded with his life. It was incredible he had ever thought of taking them with him, much less having stored them there in the first place.
The original chip still hung around his neck, attached to a sturdy necklace and protected by a plastic casing that had seen better days already. A testament to the trials and losses the journey from Cuba had brought with it.
She caught a glimpse of a picture –fairly old, since she caught her nine year old herself in the left-hand corner – and she felt something in her chest tighten as she caught sight of Abuela smiling up from an angle. Such a sweet smile, unsuspecting of all the terrible things that were to come.
There was no way that Marco had not noticed her taking off her glasses to wipe at the corners of her eyes, but he had the grace to not further comment on it.
“I miss her.”
She wished she could have seen her at least one more time. Once the Galra had arrived she had not managed anything more than to text her family in a group chat, telling them to run and hide.
After communications had been cut by the invaders, there had been many nights where Veronica had lain awake, wondering, worrying, sometimes crying in the privacy of her small bathroom.
So, when she had reunited with them months later after the missions in the tunnels, the joy had blinded her to the terrible truth for a few minutes.
Knowing that her family was mostly safe and unharmed was a blessing, but as her parents sat her down and told her in soft whispers that their Abuela had suffered a stroke or heart attack during their crossing, Veronica could not stop herself from thinking that it was unfair.
One more time. What she wouldn’t give to tell her one more time that she loved her.
But it was too late, and as she rationalized (as much as it hurt), she was so much luckier than many of her friends and comrades. Many of them had no more family to return to outside of this building.
The gurgling and hiss of the faucet had Veronica looking up, watching with a small smile as Marco came back with a glass of water she accepted gladly.
Marco shrugged, corner of his mouth twitching upward a little.
He had been the one to try CPR on Abuela when it had happened. Of course he would, seeing how he had been a lifeguard at Varadero beach for a few years now. Still, it had not worked. Veronica hoped that Marco did not guilt himself over it.
Likely sensing she might ask first if he did not intervene, he pointed to her pencil, her gnawing having left clear indents in the smooth plastic: “What’s up with that?”
Veronica took a large gulp of water first, deciding if she should answer honestly.
Her mind was made-up instantly.
“Lance has been considering staying with us.”
Marco blinked at her in clear shock. His flat palm came to slap at his forehead before it started smoothing his hair back.
“Oooooh… so that’s what the whole morning crying was about.”
Veronica nodded. Neither she nor Lance had explained themselves to the rest of their family and so far she had respected that, even if Maria, Luis, Mama and Papa had needled her. They were worried and Veronica understood it all too well, but Lance was the one who needed to decide for himself when to open up about his impending choice. Today though had put a few things into perspective for her and she needed a second opinion for that, and out of all of their other family members, Marco was one of the more discrete ones. He’d know not to blab.
“I personally think he should stay.”
Marco did give her a questioning look at that but waved his hand for her to go on.
“A team should be about respect and trust. And there is nothing against teasing each other or making jokes. Even our MFE fighter pilots tend to do it,” she smiled fondly at that. One might not be able to tell, but those kids were masters of banter in their own right. According to Veronica’s own tally chart Leifsdottir and Kinkade were tied for first place, not by the amount of shots fired but by the accuracy and truthfulness of them. Griffin and Rizavi, even as a united force, stood no chance.
Veronica’s smile vanished though, as she remembered the interactions she had been privy to over the past week, where she had taken over for a communications officer that had fallen ill.
It was probably due to their late night conversation and the endless praise Lance would wax about his teammates, but what Veronica had seen and heard instantly made that cold yet blazing protectiveness resurge.
As she had concluded, team Voltron was indeed made up of wonderful individuals, unique and incredible in their own ways.
When one gave it a bit of thought, having former cadet Keith Kogane work almost seamlessly with a team felt like a fever dream. While Veronica had never personally interacted with the defiant youth back in the day, she had heard complaints from all of the staff forced to deal with him. The calm leader giving instructions over the comms was almost unrecognizable. Captain Shirogane always seemed to swell with quiet pride whenever it was pointed out.
Veronica could understand him all too well – if anyone were to talk that same way about Lance, she would likely not react any differently.
Pidge, or rather Katie Holt, was indeed just as smart as Lance had emphasized. Not that there had been any doubt about it during the briefings and strategy talks leading up to their final stand, the young woman coming up with a multitude of scenarios whenever a new element and detail was added to their plans. Veronica was all too curious about finding out just how she was processing things so quickly even without a computer handy. In regards to snark, she and Rizavi would get along wonderfully.
Hunk was the main reason they had managed to salvage many of their vehicles in the aftermath of the fight. She had yet to taste any of his cooking (which Lance reminded her daily was to die for), but what she could say was that he was a creative engineer. Just the other day, she had listened to him chatter with his friends all the while helping one of their engineering groups restarting an emergency generator for a medical facility. In the end, he and the other engineers had ended up building it from scratch, Hunk throwing in suggestion to get the most out of it. Some of these adjustment sounded downright alien - which they most likely were.
Princess Allura herself was one of the most regal and beautiful women Veronica had ever had the pleasure to meet. Which may be why she was rooting for her brother and, subsequently, liked flustering Lance with comments and remarks regarding Allura’s interest in him. But as much as Allura was a princess, she was also a kind and devoted person, one of the first to rise to coordinate the actions for reconstruction and the last to leave in the evening.
Amazing people in their own rights and yet…
“I do not think staying with team Voltron as it currently is will do Lance a lot of good in the long run.”
She looked at Marco over the rim of her glasses.
Her earnestness must have hit a nerve, since slowly Marco’s surprised expression shifted from disbelief to concern, his brow furrowing and mouth pinched.
“What makes you say that? Lance seems to like them. Can’t be that bad then, can they?”
Veronica let those words settle a little.
No, the members of team Voltron were not bad people, not by a long shot. But just as any other individuals with agency, they had their faults and made mistakes.
Allura, as Veronica had noticed, could be somewhat stubborn if she saw herself in the right.
Hunk could be dismissive of others when under pressure.
Pidge had a tendency to be unrelenting, be it in her very scientific explanations or tasks she had set herself.
Keith seemed to not always think things through entirely, sometimes getting blindsided by details that had not been discussed prior, ultimately tripping him up.
But all of these, in Veronica’s opinion, were excusable.
She needed to take a deep breath, indignation rising inside her like bile. It was not helpful or necessary at the moment. She needed to keep a clear head. Marco’s judgement need not be clouded by her feelings.
“Did you know that when you are in a relationship long enough, you become deaf to certain things being repeatedly said, both parties no longer noticing it even happens?”
Marco gave a cough that soon turned into full-blown laughter.
“Tell me about it. Marta would never shut up about me messing with her nifty system for all of our clothes,” his expression lost a bit of its mirth. Veronica could only guess that he was mentally revisiting the rooms of a house that was probably destroyed like much else on Earth, “After a while, it just became a running gag. Heh, even the kids were getting a laugh out of it.”
He started at her sudden interjection, at the harshness in her voice as she gripped the glass she was still holding with a little more force.
She took another deep breath as Marco slowly came closer, taking with him his chair with protesting screeches from chair legs dragging across the floor.
Once sitting, he leaned forward, crossed arms resting on the table’s surface, face grim.
“What’s going on?”
Veronica raised her left hand, elbow still on the table and started massaging her temple with her thumb. The pain when she pressed just the right spot was distracting enough to calm her.
“I’ve been dealing with communications for a while now, to help with coordinating the reconstruction efforts. Ever since Lance told me about wanting to quit, I might have paid more attention to him and his team, however subconsciously,” her lips twitched but there was nothing funny about all of it, “And this past week, since taking over for officer Anatoly, I’ve been in charge of communicating them their tasks. For that, I’m on the comms constantly and I hear everything that’s going on.”
She took off her glasses, putting them in front of her, wiping at her tired eyes. The screens were doing them little good.
Marco was kind enough to wait, even went to refill her glass and Veronica thanked him for it.
“I cannot tell you how many times Lance has been treated as ‘dumb’ in this one week alone.”
Marco’s stared at her open-mouthed, indignation making his shoulders hunch and his brow furrow so deeply that Veronica was almost afraid the resulting wrinkles would be permanent.
His mouth closed with an audible clack that had both of them wincing, but it did obviously not quell Marco’s anger.
“All of them?” He merely asked, and suddenly Veronica was no longer sure this had been such a good idea.
She put a firm hand on his shoulder, felt him tremor slightly under it.
“Not all of them.”
It still did not seem to appease him.
“What about his commanding officer? Shouldn’t he intervene?”
Veronica resisted the urge to suck in her lips, thinking back to all of the instances where Captain Shirogane had indeed intervened when the team’s discussions went too far off topic for them to still be entirely concentrated on their tasks.
Her heart felt heavy.
When words failed her, she merely shook her head.
“Just as I said: you become deaf at some point.”
The chair went crashing down as Marco surged to his feet, stomping towards the door, and it took all of Veronica’s strength and weight to stop him as she latched onto his wrist with both her hands.
He turned on her sharply, his eyes ablaze with fury and Veronica was so, so glad that she was not at the receiving end of that raw fury.
“This solves nothing,” she reminded him, her voice calm while everything inside her was anything but.
Marco tried to unlatch her, but if he thought her training was for nothing then he was sorely mistaken.
“MY BROTHER DID NOT GO TO WAR TO BE CALLED DUMB!”
His voice boomed through the confined space and Veronica was beyond thankful that right now everyone else was still gone, that luckily it was just them here.
Marco gave another shot at throwing her off, but just as with the first time, Veronica stood her ground, digging the heels of her shoes into the floor.
“I agree with you, I do,” she amended, voice growing louder at the last few words as Marco still resisted, “But antagonizing the people he looks up to and loves is not going to help him!”
Because her brother had told her as much. Shortly after their heart-to-heart, Lance had repeatedly come to her when he could not sleep. As far as Veronica could guess, the impending decision was robbing Lance of sleep. As if recurring nightmares he refused talking about were not already doing a fine job of it. On one of those nights, as Lance had heavily leaned into her side with drooping eyes, he had whispered about the time he had spent hunting coins in a mall’s fountain to get Pidge some retro console from Earth. He had fondly whispered of Keith’s cluelessness about simple cheers, mentioned Hunk and Pidge’s reprogrammed Paladude, a gaming session with Coran and their team leader (and Lance still refused to tell her why he had suddenly been crying at that one), or how Allura had helped him train with a cool sword he had yet to show Veronica.
Lance, undoubtedly, loved his team just as much as he loved them. And Veronica did not doubt that if she asked the team, they would likely call Lance their friend. That did not mean however, that they were properly showing their appreciation.
Veronica would be lying if she said that none of their own family had never called Lance a ‘brat’ or a ‘dumbass’ on occasion. Because Lance, for all of his helpfulness and sweetness, could be a pain to be around. Still, at the end of the end of the day and after every sibling squabble, there never had been any doubt that they loved and supported him.
And as she had observed recently, Lance had very much mellowed out and matured during his stay in space.
Which was why she agreed with Marco’s statement but could not allow her very loyal older brother to hunt down any perceived offenders on Lance’s behalf.
Lance did not need added conflict in his life, and Veronica would not forgive herself if she were to become the source of it.
Marco gave a huff but remained still, face turned to the closed door leading to the hall.
Veronica seized her chance.
“I want Lance to be happy. I promised him that I would respect his decision no matter what. And there might be a chance that Lance does want to go back out there. You’ve noticed as well, right?”
The way Lance would sometimes look out at the night sky, tiny dots of light reflected in his eyes as he gazed out with a longing that was far beyond any of their understanding. It was the core of Lance’s conflict.
He had seen space and its wonders, was enticed by it like those old sailors by the sirens’ calls, but just like the legendary Odysseus, her brother was tired and weary just like most of his friends.
And if Veronica had to guess, there was a good amount of loyalty involved in Lance’s indecisiveness.
Loyalty to his friends.
Loyalty to his duty as a defender of the universe.
Loyalty to their family.
Marco was growing less tense under her touch, allowing Veronica to let go with one hand to cover her eyes.
“If Lance wants to go back out there, I will let him,” her voice dropped to almost a whisper, “but I do not want him to be stuck with people that will inevitably bring him down.”
There was pressure building behind her eyes.
“I don’t want to lose him too.”
Barely a minute ago, she had held onto her brother to stop him from leaving, and the next she found herself enveloped in a bone crushing hug.
They held onto each other for a long time, Marco drawing back first as he gave her an apologetic smile.
“Is there any way to fix this mess?”
Veronica had given it some thought over the past few days. The conclusion she had come to was daunting.
“I think the first thing that needs to be done is addressing the issue. At this point, I’m afraid that Lance will try to rationalize it.”
When they had been younger, Lance tended to do that a lot. He might grow angry if someone treated him unfairly, but in the end he would always find a way to explain it away. Usually the common nominator was Lance himself. In an educational environment, it had sometimes saved Lance’s behind, since he’d end up applying himself more for upcoming tests.
But this was not school, and this was not merely tests they were talking about.
Veronica loathed to think what conclusions her might already have or might come to in the future, should a mission go wrong.
Marco gave a groan next to her, knowing all too well what his sister was referring to.
“What’s more is that Lance is not doing himself any favors. I’m talking about dismissing input that is too complex for him and shutting down attempts to simplify it.”
Because she had heard it herself. Usually it was Pidge, sometimes the Altean advisor that Lance would shut down the moment they went to explain a given topic in depth. At this point, it also no longer mattered whether this behavior was the origin or the result of the team’s perception of Lance.
Marco froze at the voice sounding from the door they had not heard opening, and Veronica felt any hope of formulating a plan of attack fly out of the window.
Marco turning around allowed them to look at Lance who stood in the entrance, head cocked to the side and holding out a generic white plastic bag.
Lance’s eyebrow was drawn up, giving both of them a very questioning look.
His expression was enough to tell them he had undoubtedly heard that last part.
This was not how she wanted this conversation to happen, but if they did not tackle this at once it would only lead to misunderstandings.
Marco was ready to stammer his way through a lie, she could practically hear the gears turning frantically inside his skull, and she decided to intervene at once.
“Actually, yes,” she gestured at the table with a placating smile, faltering a little when she noticed the chair still lying on the ground. That detail did not escape Lance’s notice and he frowned all the harder for it.
This was not going as planned.
Lance needed to be as relaxed as possible. She needed a distraction.
“What do you have there?” She asked, glancing at the plastic bag still dangling from Lance’s wrist. He appeared taken aback by her sudden interest, but a genuine, excited smile spread on his face.
“Oh! Yeah, this is from Hunk. I asked him if he could cook something for you guys, since none of you believe me he’s a good cook.”
He was bouncing over to the area where the plastic plates and cutlery were stored and Veronica watched a little helplessly as Lance set the table for the three of them while Marco quietly put the chair back in its place.
He looked so happy, pouring water into an electric kettle while dumping a few spoonful of a powder substituting coffee into three mugs.
She wanted this to last. She wanted for Lance to smile like this more often, to be happy and not worry about leaving people behind.
Once everything was set for the three of them, Lance saying he hoped the others would come soon, he finally wrangled out an inconspicuous hot pink bowl out of the bag. The moment he removed the lid, Veronica could feel her mouth water.
“Are those...,” Marco started, voice almost an awed whisper.
Lance’s grin was almost reaching his ears: “Yep!”
There was no mistaking it. Veronica would recognize one of her favorites from a mile away.
She knew she was gaping in a very undignified way but…
“How?” she breathed, taking one of the looped pastries between her fingers, inspecting it with wonderment.
“Don’t ask me. I have no idea how Hunk still managed to cook half of the stuff we ate on our trip back and still make it look like Earth food,” his expression momentarily turned into a grimace before easing into something less disgusted, “Sometimes you really don’t wanna know though.“
He shuddered a little while Marco was already biting off half of his buñuelo, slapping the table with the flat of his palm.
“This is so good,” he finally said, looking close to tears.
They laughed good-naturedly as Marco reached for a second, when his first one was still held in his other hand.
It looked and smelled a lot like the pastry they had baked back at home on special occasions. Hunk had even taken care of covering it with thin streaks of dark caramel. It was every bit as soft and tasty as it looked when she took her first bite, and she now understood Marco’s sudden outburst.
It was one of the few pieces of home she’d had in a few years.
“It’s really good,” she said, actually sniffling, making Lance laugh again.
They ate in silence, Lance closing the lid once they each had two (“So there is some for the others!” he had reprimanded Marco), and each taking a sip from their coffee.
Marco had been won over, obvious in how he kept pestering Lance with questions.
“Where did your friend even get all of the ingredients? Do they have a secret stash of cassava here on the base?”
“Once again: don’t ask me, ask Hunk. He can tell you.”
That had Veronica looking up, still cleaning her glasses with the hem of her shirt. Under the automated evening lights, Lance looked a little washed out. Now wonder, his day had been longer than hers, even without actually having spent that much of it outside of the base.
Now or never. She put her glasses back on, turning to Lance fully and garnering his attention at once.
“On that same matter, Lance,” and she almost did not say it, not when this would instantly break this small reprieve from their everyday lives, “you get along with your teammates, don’t you?”
For a few tense seconds it looked like she had broken Lance with her question.
His chuckles were filled with confusion and discomfort.
“What are you talking about? Of course we get along, we’re team Voltron after all.”
She could feel Marco’s nervousness as if it were her own. This was not going to be a nice conversation.
“I’m not merely asking about your cohesiveness as a team, I’m asking about your solidarity as a group of friends.”
Lance was already reclining back into his chair, his eyebrows going up as he stared at her in incomprehension, hands bracing against the edge of the table.
“Veronica, I’m really sorry, but I don’t know what you’re trying to get at.”
She was ready to retort, when Marco beat her to it.
“Are you really okay with your friends calling you dumb?”
She could not believe him. Veronica threw him a glare she hoped would melt his head off but Marco just returned hers without any remorse.
Their attention was drawn back to Lance as he waved his hands around.
“Woah, woah, hold on a tick! What’s this about? And what’s up with you anyway!” He addressed Marco directly, irritation palpable in his voice.
“This is not some kind of joke Lance,” Veronica interjected, giving her younger brother a stern look that threw him off, “You know I’ve been listening to you for a while over your channels, and I admit that I… do not entirely approve of what I’ve heard so far.”
It was more than just “not merely approving” but there was no need to rile Lance up further. If he was any bit as protective of team Voltron as he was of them, there would be no getting through to him by accusing them of anything.
Still, Lance’s eyes moved from her to Marco quickly, obviously not understanding or accepting what was happening right now.
Finally, and sadly, he leaned back with his arms crossed. She wanted to hit Marco for his blunder. This was now going to be harder than ever.
“My relationship with my team is great. What do you even mean by the stuff you heard?”
Band-aid it was then. Quick and painful.
“I am not okay with my brother being repeatedly told and treated as an idiot.”
Hurt flashed across Lance’s face at that but what really caught Veronica’s attention was a flicker of recognition in his eyes. So he was not as unaware as he pretended to be.
He swallowed dryly, hunching in on himself, his eyes shielded by his brown locks with how much he’d lowered his head.
His words were so low she almost did not catch them.
She was ready to explode from tension alone at this point.
“It does, Lance. It matters to me and everyone else!”
She had not meant to shout but this was just too much. Both Lance and Marco jerked in their seats at her outburst. The defiance he had previously shown was quickly bleeding out of Lance, as he made himself even smaller. He suddenly looked like he’d aged at least a decade.
Still, he said nothing, not in his defense nor of his friends. Just sat here with them; a tense silence consuming them all.
Marco was careful in pushing his chair away as he got up. Veronica was unsure what he wanted to do, knowing Marco he might either stay or leave to fight this battle another day.
Relief flooded her when instead of going to the door, Marco circled the table and before Lance could even react, had their brother enveloped in a tight hug. It was a little awkward, Marco having bent down his bulk to embrace Lance while the latter’s arms hovered in the air a little uselessly, blinking back at Veronica in confusion.
Marco was not really a man of words, and Veronica not someone who sprung into action easily. But maybe, with their forces combined, they might be able to get through to him.
“Lance,” she said quietly, her calm voice having her brother glance at her with his still bewildered expression, “I know you really love your friends, but that is no excuse for them to walk all over you when they hurt you. Even if they do it unintentionally.”
He was enraptured by her face, not even caring about the tears undoubtedly clouding his vision.
Time to put her cards on the table.
“I would feel better knowing that, if you go back up there again, you do it with people that respect you and your boundaries.”
There was no more holding back the tears. Lance’s entire face crumbled, one of many small sobs bursting out of him as he kept staring at Veronica pleadingly, his arms at once clinging to Marco so tightly he might leave bruises.
Not that Marco minded, Veronica could see Lance’s jacket straining a little with how tightly he was winding his arms around him.
Veronica settled with smiling at them fondly.
One step at a time while the clock kept on ticking.
A True Man of His Word:
McCree head-canon Chapter 2, Part 3
“Straighten your back kid, use your legs, not your back. Hello?! Are you even listening to me, cabrón? I said straight back! Ass to the grass kid!” Reyes shouted, Jesse gritting his teeth in both frustration and strain as he stood fully on shaky legs, letting out a harsh whoosh of air as he did so. The commander had been a true man of his word when he said he would be personally training him, and Jesse was definitely feeling it.
Reyes worked him until he could barely move at the end of every single day, even after all the training and practice he did with the whole team. Sometimes it would be weights, other times sparring; hand to hand training with a professional, not just street fighting. Then target practice with just about every gun under the sun to see what Jesse was good at-which was most of them-and then there was the running, stealth, positioning, everything that came with this job and then some. Jesse had been working his damn ass off for about a month now, and he couldn’t remember the last time he wasn’t waking up with a groan from sore ribs or other such pains.
But he loved it; loved the training, the daily schedule, the consistency, something to look forward to, something he could get better at each and every day. Jesse had noticed the almost immediate effects of his stay in Blackwatch; he was getting taller by the day, and he no longer looked like a scrawny bean pole, healthier and more muscled now that he had some meat on his bones. They were actually taking care of him here, and Jesse liked the stern discipline Reyes showed, his little acts of kindness spilling through sometimes to show him he cared and giving the cowboy someone to look up to, to rely on. He hadn’t had that since Abuela died.
“There you go! That’s better. Now do ten more just like it and I’ll let you go to dinner.”
“Fuck, ten?!” Jesse hissed under his breath, eyes already hardening in determination as he readjusted his stance.
“You want me to make it twenty?” Reyes threatened, and Jesse narrowed his eyes.
“No sir!” Jesse corrected himself, internally chuckling at the way Reyes straightened and raised his head a bit.
“Right. Now go go, get you ten more Jesse!”
Jesse took a deep breath and sank down into a squat, careful to balance the weight on the bar resting on his shoulders and keep the correct stance. He now knew how Reyes had thighs like he did, and Jesse hoped to god that all this work would pay off for him too. The weight on the bar and the number of reps required continued to increase each time Jesse worked in the gym, and he was surprised at how quickly he was improving, though with Reyes’ training, it was hard not to improve quick.
He had learned the very first day of these little sessions not to complain, talk back, or try a give up, because that would lead to either an inhuman amount of reps added to his workout, or god forbid no boundaries boxing against the commander. Jesse’s chest still ached with the thought of it. He diligently worked through the rest of his training, dropping the bar at his feet with a satisfying slam and a hard exhale when he had completed his last ten squats perfectly.
“Nicely done, Jesse. Now go get showered and make sure you eat something before bed. I’m going to be doing some more distance running with you tomorrow, so you’ll need your energy.” Reyes told him through a little smile, and Jesse grinned, knowing that was the commander’s way of telling him to take care of himself.
“Aye aye, captain.” Jesse teased through a mock salute, Reyes scoffing and fixing it.
“You use your right hand, pendejo. And that’s commander to you. Now get, before your legs stop working.”
Jesse scampered off to the communal showers, his legs indeed quivering and practically begging him to rest. He washed quickly, thankfully not running into anyone since they were all at dinner already, and he changed into some fresh clothes that were finally starting to fit. Jesse then plopped his new black hat atop his head-Reyes, true to his word, getting him one along with a new set of fancy ass revolvers-grinning to himself in the mirror before making his way to the mess hall to ease his stomach’s complaining.
He went through the line with no halts, everyone already sitting and eating, and he liked the drone of conversation that was going on around him as he walked to his usual empty table. Or, what would be empty if not for the little girl sitting there.
Jesse frowned, because she was younger than even him, and he had thought he was the youngest person they kept around here. He tipped his hat at her when she looked up, sitting down in his spot and grinning a bit.
“Well howdy lil’ miss. To what do I owe the pleasure of havin’ a guest at my table?” Jesse asked, setting his chin in his hand and watching as the girl poked at her food shyly. She had a tattoo under one eye, gold beads hanging in her short black hair just under her ears, and a simple cream coloured dress on.
“My mother had to go to a meeting, and I got hungry...This was just an empty table.” She mumbled, jabbing her fork into a chunk of chicken and sticking it in her mouth.
“Hm, I guess we’re both used to sittin’ alone, huh? The name’s Jesse McCree miss, call me Jesse. May I ask what yer name is?” Jesse inquired, holding his hand out and grinning when the girl took it and shook with a small smile.
“Fareeha Amari. Nice to meet you Jesse.”
“Fareeha hm...? Is it alright if I call ya Fairy? Ya look like a lil’ miss who’s just waitin’ fer her day ta fly, just as pretty as a fairy too.” Jesse told her with a wink, and Fareeha giggled, nodding.
“Sure. I like that! Are you new here Jesse? I haven’t seen you around much, and, well...N-normally people don’t...You know...” Fareeha trailed off, poking at her food once more.
“They don’t normally sit alone?” Jesse finished for her, and she nodded a bit shyly, but the cowboy only smiled wider.
“Well, I ain’t exactly sittin’ alone anymore, am I? I got me a lil’ fairy ta keep me company.” He continued, and Fareeha lit up once more at the little name he used.
“Yeah! You’re in Blackwatch right? I guess that’s why I haven’t seen you yet. My mother works in the Overwatch division, but she’s good friends with both the commanders. She went through training with them or something and fought in the Crisis. Now she’s with Overwatch and she’s a captain! I was there for the awards ceremony, and I got to wear a pretty new blue dress and everything! I was really proud of mother, and her medal was cool too, though the new things she got to put on her vest were a little lame. They’re just colourful rectangles, I don’t know why they’re so important, but I made mother promise to tell me one day during our lessons!” Fareeha rambled, obviously the little chatterbox now that she had grown easily accustomed to Jesse.
He smiled and listened intently to her stories, not understanding half of them and the other half getting mixed with a different one before hopping back, but he found himself quickly becoming fond of her. She hadn’t asked anything about him or his past, didn’t judge any of the stories he told her back nor the fashion in which he presented them, and it was like she genuinely liked being in his company just as much as he hers. They laughed easily and conversed even easier, and Jesse wondered how old she was. Couldn’t have been more than thirteen or fourteen, and yet she acted years beyond that.
It was nice, talking with someone civilly and not having them know or care where he was from or what he had done to be brought here in the first place. Jesse was in the middle of a story about a highway chase he had been on, voice dropped low and hands sweeping over the table as he set the scene, Fareeha leaning in with wide eyes, chin resting on her hands as she listened raptly when he heard footsteps approaching from behind him. He stalled his story and looked over his shoulder when Fareeha’s face had gone from completely entranced to a bit disappointed, and he was met with the monstrous form of the giant agent he had met in the med bay on his first day.
“Miss Fareeha, I’m here to take you back! And hello again Agent McCree, it is good to see you!” Reinhardt boomed in his usual joyful tone of voice, and Jesse grinned as Fareeha hopped over to him.
“Reinhardt! Jesse is really good at telling stories, just like you!” The girl chimed excitedly, Reinhardt chuckling fondly as she took his huge hand in her tiny one.
“Is that so? You’ll have to tell me about some of your adventures sometime, Jesse, and ve’ll see if this is true!” The giant offered kindly, and Jesse tipped his hat to both him and Fareeha as he stood.
“I’d be my pleasure, sir. I guess we’ll have ta finish this story some other time, huh?”
“Yeah...Make sure not to forget!” Fareeha replied sadly, though she still smiled toothily at him, Jesse noticing a few that were missing. She was just a doll.
“Alrighty then, I won’t! See ya soon, lil’ Fairy, Reinhardt, sir.” Jesse hummed by ways of goodbye, and he put his and Fareeha’s tray away, watching as the little girl and her escort walked out, talking animatedly to one another.
He followed after them when he had cleaned up, making the turn for his room with a yawn, just noticing how tired he was now that he was almost in his room. Jesse typed in the passcode without thinking, kicking off his boots and tossing his hat onto the dresser before flopping down gracelessly to the bed. The covers had barely reached his chin before he was dozing off, smiling as he realized he had made his first friend here.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say ya got a soft spot fer blondie over there.” Jesse jabbed, and Reyes shot him an unimpressed glare.
“Yeah, I’d say I do too. Now shut your fucking mouth or I’ll let ol’ blondie over there do sparring practice with your ass tomorrow.”
Jesse glanced at Morrison, who was smirking at him, and he almost--almost--started talking back, just to spite them both, then figured he better save himself an ass kicking and shut up.
“Good choice. Now get back to practicing, and if I hear another word out of you, McCree, you’re running laps till you vomit.” Reyes commanded, and Jesse made a face, rolling his eyes but focusing back on the training dummies in front of him.
He had been doing training with his new weapons for a good hour and a half now, apparently waiting for someone important that was going to help him with it. He personally didn’t think he needed any help, but this guy was the best shot they had, or so Morrison and Reyes said. Jesse sighed when he finished shooting perfect holes through the bots’ heads, and he turned to the commanders with that look on his face that never failed to piss them both off.
“‘M bored! Is this guy even comin’ or what?! Imma die before he gets here at this rate!” Jesse complained, Reyes pinching the bridge of his nose and Morrison tilting his head back with a loud sigh of exasperation.
“You gonna make him run?” The blonde commander asked, Reyes mumbling a quick set of curses under his breath.
“He loves running, could do it forever if he wanted to, so I can’t. It was a bad threat...” He mumbled, then straightened to look at Jesse’s smirking features.
“Squats then. We do them until you can’t feel your legs and then some.” He continued, wiping the smug look at the first word uttered, and Jesse groaned.
“Ah-ah no, what did I say? You whine about it, we’ll add push ups to that list.”
“Estúpido puto—“ (Stupid fucking--)
“Yeah yeah! Sir.” Jesse spat, spinning his revolver with a flourish and jamming it into his holster before crossing his arms over his chest and pouting. Reyes sighed heavily, mumbling something about God and patience, and Jesse glared, making faces at the wall while Morrison laughed quietly at his boyfriend’s distress.
“I need more fucking coffee for this shit...” Reyes groaned, and Morrison pat one shoulder consolingly, leaning his chin on the other.
“The break room is always open, you know.”
“Eeeeewwwww grossssss! Old men flirting! Go get a room already!” Jesse called, grinning when the commanders sprang apart, Morrison looking embarrassed and Reyes particularly pissed.
“That’s it, I’ve had enough of your shit today McCree.”
Jesse squealed as the Blackwatch commander suddenly appeared at his side and strangled him in a headlock, the cowboy scrabbling at his huge arms and planting his feet on instinct now. He leaned forward in an attempt to throw Reyes off his back, but he merely got his legs swept out from under him for his efforts.
Just when Jesse thought he might pass out from lack of air, Reyes ruffled his hair until it was properly a mess, releasing him with a little shove. Jesse gasped, running his hands through his hair to try and straighten it again and picked up his hat from the floor from where it had fallen in the scuffle.
“That was better kid, but you gotta center your weight more, it’ll make you unmovable.” Reyes informed him, and Jesse glared, though a small smile was creeping onto his face.
“I’ll make sure ta get that next time Jefe.”
“You had better. I haven’t been teaching you all this for nothing.”
“Teaching him what, Gabriel?” A new, accented voice piped in, gentle and feminine as it was. Jesse looked towards the voice, and he was greeted by a short, Arabic woman with long black hair and smooth, tanned skin. She had a tattoo under one eye, and Jesse blinked, recognizing it but staying quiet until he knew for sure.
“Ah, there you are Ana. What took you so damn long?” Reyes said by ways of greeting, and Ana tisked as she walked over to them.
“You know how those meetings are. They say it will only last an hour, and then they end up rambling for three and a half.”
“See, this is why I’m in charge of Blackwatch. I refuse to put up with that shit, it’s boring, so I don’t.” Reyes hummed, and Morrison scoffed.
“Yeah, because we all know how well you handle politics.”
“Okay, listen, just because I fell asleep that one time doesn’t mean anything! It wasn’t even an important meeting.”
“What about the time you got mad and started cussing out that very important governor from England?” Morrison asked.
“Or the time you left half way through because you said it was all bullshit and we were wasting our time with, I quote, ‘fancy ass liars that want to dress up and look powerful so they think they can boss us around.’” Ana added, and Reyes laughed.
“Okay, you have to admit that I am right about at least half those things.”
The commanders and Ana all chuckled together, and Jesse cleared his throat, successfully gaining their strayed attentions.
“Sorry ta interrupt but, ya wouldn’t happen ta be the one that’s supposed ta teach me how ta use a rifle and some aiming techniques, would ya?”
Ana appraised him with narrowed eyes, Jesse getting the feeling of being judged quite severely before she smiled and honest to god reached out to pat his cheek. Jesse immediately jerked away from it, stepping back a pace and clearing his throat nervously, looking down at the ground in embarrassment at his mistake. He knew she wouldn’t have hurt him, but he was trained to believe a hand at his face would always come with pain.
“Oh my my. That won’t do at all. Where did you say you found him Gabriel?” Ana called, dropping her hand to Jesse’s shoulder instead, a gleam in her eye as she leaned down to look into the cowboy’s brown ones.
“Down in Santa Fe, Deadlock Gorge. He was with the gang of course.”
“Of course...” Ana murmured, then put both her hands on her hips and raised her head.
“Well, from now on young man, you will be spending your afternoons with me and your gun of choice. Gabe, I will make no exceptions, if this boy is not with me at least four times a week I will poison your tea before a briefing.” Ana concluded with finality, and Reyes laughed.
“Alright, as long as it doesn’t interfere with mine and Blackwatch training.”
“Deal. Mister McCree, if you’ll follow me, I have a practice range all set up and a rifle ready to go.”
Ana turned with a little flourish of her long jacket, striding out of the room and leaving Jesse to scamper out after her, tugging at the brim of his hat as he passed the two commanders. Those little slip ups of his were getting better with time, but he would still flinch every once in a while when Reyes would ruffle his hair or one of the agents came to pat his shoulder after practice.
They were beyond embarrassing, and he hated that pitying look in people’s eyes when the realized their mistake and awkwardly walked away, but he hadn’t seen that look in Ana’s eyes. He glanced up at her back as she led them to the practice range, then because he couldn’t stand silences like these, he piped up with a question that had been nagging him.
“Would you happen to have a daughter named Fareeha?”
Ana turned her head to him with a knowing look and a proud smile.
“She has not stopped talking about her new cowboy friend since you introduced yourself. She quite likes the name Fairy, and is always asking me if she can go see ‘Mister Jesse’ again.”
Jesse grinned at that, shoving his hands in his pockets and rolling his shoulders back now that he was a bit more relaxed with the conversation.
“She’s a sweetheart alright. Hope ya don’t mind her talk of a cowboy too much. I was surprised at how mature she was, an’ she talked real highly of ya too, ma’am. Very proud of her momma.” Jesse hummed, and Ana chuckled fondly.
“And her mother is very proud of her. Did you know she already knows how to shoot a pulse rifle and could take any agent on in a hand to hand combat scenario? My Fareeha is quite advanced for her age. All thanks to her mother’s teaching of course. I love her very much.” Ana told him with a little flick of her hair off her shoulder, and Jesse couldn’t help but love the woman already. They both laughed at her display, then reached their destination in what felt like no time at all.
“So, I’ll have you practice with our standard issue pulse rifle first, and then if I’m satisfied with your results, we’ll see where we go from there.” Ana told him, nodding to a pulse rifle sitting in the corner of the room, prepped and ready to go.
Jesse picked it up and hefted its unfamiliar weight, though he quickly got used to it, easily adapting and adjusting to whatever he was given.
“Alrighty then. Let’s give this sucker a go.” Jesse murmured, raising it up and aiming, shifting his stance to accommodate the kick it had. He easily started putting holes through the center targets, Ana humming softly in appreciation.
“Not bad, cowboy. Not bad at all. I have a feeling this training is going to be perfect for you.”
Please to meet you, hope you guessed my name!
Raven Reyes, famous Zero G mechanic and IT genius is on her way to her best friends wedding, when she meets a hitchhiker who needs her help. Raven isn’t going to deny her genius to the good looking guy.
Read on Ao3
“Can you tell me again, why you are driving alone to D.C. instead of carpooling with Octavia and Niylah? Bellamy is kind of freaking out about this.”
“Bellamy is always freaking out, Clarke. I’m a grown woman and a fucking astronaut. I’m well able to drive for 14 hours on my own.” Raven let out an exasperated sigh and dropped her bag in the back of her Porsche 356 that she just refurbished. She was really proud of it.
“I know Rae. But maybe text him or me every now and then, just so he can sleep.” Clarke said through the phone. “On a different note, I’m so happy you are able to come.”
Getting in to the car, Raven hooked up the phone to the hands-free car kit she installed and pulled out of her driveway.
“Like I could ever miss you idiots getting married! I’ve been waiting for this day since sophomore year of college, Clarkey. So have Octavia, Monty, Jasper, Murphy…hell, even Abby.”
At Clarkes laugh Raven had to smile as well. It was about time for them to tie the knot and she couldn’t be happier for her friends.
“Babe, I have to hang up. My mom and Kane just arrived.”
“Have fun and talk to you soon. Oh and Clarke, tell Bellamy to get himself together!”
After hanging up Raven started playing her road trip playlist, which was basically 80s Rock, almost as loud as possible. She had snacks prepared because it wasn’t a proper road trip if you don’t have a massive amount of Reese’s, crunchy chickpeas and some tostones her abuela had made, sealed tight in a plastic container.
Raven had planned to drive the whole way to D.C. with only one night in a Motel/Hotel/whatever. Clarke had invited her to participate in what she called “the glorious Spa Day before the big Day” before going to the rehearsal dinner the same evening.
With the sun on her face and wind in her hair, Raven started singing loudly to her music as she drove onto the highway.
Zeke never believed in Karma or anything similar but looking up to the sky he knew someone up there was having a field day with this. Probably his grandma, who always had something to say about his Harley. He could still hear her voice in his head: Don’t drive on this machine of hell, boy. Please don’t make your Nana unhappy.
Zeke was understanding of her fear, but he would choose speed over most things.
He walked around the front and looked at the black lacquered engine skeptically. For fucks sake, he was a computer genius and not a mechanic. And if he remembered correctly— which he always did, thank you very much— there was no garage in the last two towns he drove through.
It wasn’t until he pulled out his phone to call a tow truck for his bike that Zeke realized there wasn’t even service around here.
With a sigh, he sat down on the floor. What in the name of the lord was he supposed to do now? This really wasn’t what Zeke had planned for his road trip through the US and Canada.
Using the Air Force Carrier intermission program and going on this trip offered a much-needed break for Zeke. He basically worked non-stop for the last 6 years and even his Captain told him to take the sabbatical. Zeke loved the thrill of flying and serving for his country but the last two deployments had taken a toll on his mental health.
Sitting here and brooding wouldn’t help his Harley, so he checked his phone again: still no service. So he started walking. Hitchhiking to the next city with a garage it is then.
Raven loved her car a lot. It was powerful (like her), it was black like a Raven (also like her soul…kidding). And the most important thing: she basically made it from scratch. When she bought the Porsche, it wasn’t more than a shell. It had taken her month to find the original seats, because at least her baby should look authentic. But the engine was a completely different story. The way it screamed when she accelerated and, yeah, it felt like the best thing in the world.
She was about to pull into a motorway station with a Starbucks (she needed caffeine like air, don’t judge) when she saw a guy walking next to the road. Upon hearing her (great) engine, he turned around and held out his hand. Thumb raised.
Taking Krav Maga lessons from her friend Echo might have made it safe enough for her to pull over, but she wasn’t stupid enough to let some stranger into her car in the middle of nowhere.
Without giving it another thought, Raven pulled up to the Starbucks and left her car outside.
“Can I get a tall cortado with a double shot espresso, please,” Raven said with a smile and a generous tip in the jar. From her college days, she knew how shitty Starbucks was about paying their baristas.
Her coffee was hot and delicious, exactly what she needed.
As she headed towards the door, it opened unexpectedly; Raven reacted too slowly and bumped into the incoming body.
With every bit of grace she had left, she was able to at least save her coffee from spilling all over her MIT hoodie. The floor wasn’t as lucky.
“Jesus, I’m sorry, Ma’am,”
“Ma’am, really?” was all Raven answered before looking up. Then she stopped. The guy from beside the road was looking at her apologetically, his hands almost reaching her. Nice hands and nice face.
“Well, my mom didn’t raise an imbecile,” he said, looking down at her, as his smile turned crooked. “Again, I’m sorry. Let me buy you a new one as compensation.”
Raven tipped her head to the side, considering his offer. He seemed nice and her very reliable senses weren’t tingling, but she still took her time to decide.
“Well, because you asked so nicely…” Throwing her ponytail back, she started walking towards the register without looking back.
Amused and intrigued, Zeke followed the brown-eyed woman. He tried not to check her out, but she was undoubtedly beautiful. And kind of scary. A dangerous combination for a thrill-seeking kinda guy like him. Despite having never met her, her voice seemed somehow familiar, but he couldn’t pinpoint where he could have heard her talk before.
“Can I get a grande black coffee, no cream and whatever you want?” With a questioning smile on his lips Zeke turned to the woman next to him. But before she could answer the barista interfered.
“You had the cortado with a double espresso, right?”
The woman only nodded, leaning on the counter while Zeke took out his wallet. “Double shot of espresso in a cortado? That’s a lot of caffeine; I’m impressed.”
But she didn’t say anything, and they waited for their coffees in silence.
He wasn’t really sure what to think of her. The way she looked at him, completely unimpressed by his charms was something he never really experienced. Growing up with three sisters he felt easy around girls and he would lie if he’d never taken advantage of it.
Their drinks came up; turning to the door, Zeke made sure to hold it open for her.
After a few steps he realized they were walking in the direction of the beautiful matte black Porsche he had admired before going into the coffee shop.
“It was really nice of you to buy my coffee,” she said kindly, with a nod towards the car, “but I have to get going.”
Shell-shocked, Zeke could only stare at her as she smiled amusedly, turning her back to him and walking away, before getting his shit together.
“Hey, wait!” Zeke jogged over to where she turned over her shoulder to look at him.
“Do you need anything? I’m kind of in a rush and this little incident back there is really throwing of my time plan.”
Raven was starting to get annoyed. Yes, he was cute and kind of charming, but she was still in a rush. It had been hard enough for her to get the weekend off to go to Bellamy and Clarke’s wedding, but driving was cutting it real close to being on time for the rehearsal dinner.
The guy looked like he ran through a couple different things he wanted to say before he settled on, “You wouldn’t know a good mechanic around here, would you?
Slightly confused, Raven looked at him, fidgeting with his coffee but holding her gaze.
“My Harley broke down a few miles back, then my phone battery died,” he explained, “and I need a ride to the next town to get a tow truck…You look like someone who’d know. With the car and all.”
Now Raven actually had to laugh. “Well the best mechanic is in New Orleans and currently on holiday.”
The guy now sighed, looking disappointed. “That’s just my luck, isn’t it. Well, do you know the second best? By any chance?”
Despite his clear frustration with his situation he tried to smile at Raven; she admired that. A quick run through the mental math told her that she could drive most of the way to DC tonight, and still take a look at his Harley.
“I wouldn’t look so crestfallen just yet.” Raven walked over to the driver’s side of her car and got into the car.
With his brows furrowed like that, he was even more handsome than before; Raven pushed the thought away and pointed to the seat next to her with a smirk.
“I’m the mechanic on holiday and if you’re not getting into the car right away I’m not gonna bother looking at your bike.”
He got in the car.
His eyes were wide as looking at her in bewilderment; Raven’s smirk turned into an amused smile as she held out her hand for him to shake.
Zeke took her hand and was met with a slight spark that send a thrill down his back. Surprised, his eyes shot up to look in her dark brown eyes. Reluctantly, he let go of her hand
Raven… The name made bells ring; he had heard it before and he wasn’t sure when. It wasn’t a common name and it bothered him a bit, not to know.
Then it dawned on him.
“Jesus, are you Raven Reyes? The Raven Reyes? Zero G Mechanic and IT specialist for NASA?”
Raven’s smile faded, and she squinted her eyes at him. Not reacting to his question but instead raising one of eyebrows at him in question.
“Fuck, what a small world,” Zeke shook his head, smiling brightly at her. “I’m Lieutenant Zeke Shaw, USAF. We shared some delightful phone calls regarding the test flights of the shuttle cargo last year.”
Recognition dawned across her face and she tilted her head. “I remember them being not as delightful: your guys weren’t even able to fucking start the damn thing.”
Never in a hundred years Raven would have imagined meeting the cocky bastard she’d had the pleasure of screaming at, after two test pilots almost crashed her shuttle without it even leaving the ground.
“Well, if I remember correctly, your guys didn’t give them proper instructions,” he shot back at her, still smiling.
Rolling her eyes, she started her car and pulled out of the rest stop, retracing her tracks from earlier. “And I screamed at those idiots as well.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you in person, Raven. The programs you coded for those shuttles are amazing.”
Taking a sip from her coffee, Raven tried to hide her smile.
“I am amazing.”
“And so down to earth, too,” he muttered sarcastically.
Her loud laugh seemed to surprise her as much as it did him, and Zeke had never heard a better sound in his life.
While working with her, she had been smart as hell and even more intimidating. He had liked her instantly. It had been hard work to coordinate the test flights while being stationed overseas but Zeke had always been resourceful. The only thing he regretted was not testing the damn shuttles himself.
“Aren’t you supposed to know some basics in mechanics?” Raven asked, pulling him out of his thoughts.
“Well…yes. But a motorcycle engine is different from an airplane engine.” He shrugged unapologetically. He wasn’t the best mechanic and he knew it; he could do far more with a computer and the control systems and his co-pilot was more skilled in fixing the rest. Zeke told her as much.
Raven just huffed. Air Force Lieutenant and not even able to fix his bike. But at the same time, she knew no one could be as great as she was.
“Did you fix this beauty yourself?” Zeke carefully reached out his hand to stroke the cream-colored dashboard of the car. “Or is that something you don’t have time for, working for NASA?”
“It’s calming me down when I get to go home for more than a few hours, so yes. I did. New motor, authentic leather color and a few technical toys here and there.”
“It’s a special car.”
“That she is.” Raven looked at Zeke beside her with a content smile on her lips. She really was proud of what she’d done with the car. It had basically screamed her name when she bought it and now it suited her even more.
They continued driving in a comfortable silence, that had surprised Raven. She had not considered she would feel this relaxed next to a stranger, but then again, he wasn’t really a stranger. Her road trip playlist still blasting over the speakers but on a more humanly volume.
After a few miles, she realized had Zeke started to silently sing to “sympathy for the devil”. For some reason a rush of affection shot through her. It felt really weird, she just met him, but she couldn’t help it.
“You need to go off the highway at the rest stop over there.” Zeke pointed to the next exit, which Raven then took.
She parked her car next to the Harley with raised eyebrows. “I know you said you had a Harley, but if I’m being honest I expected a newer model.”
Zeke just shrugged his shoulders. “It belonged to my father and he loved vintage rides.”
“Good man, your father,” Raven replied while lifting her toolkit out of her trunk.“You’re lucky I bring this with me everywhere I go, otherwise this would’ve been more complicated.”
Zeke casually leaned against the car, watching her take off her hoodie and toss it next to him onto the backseat.
“Can I help you with something?”
He didn’t want to just use her for this and then drive off. It’s not like he’d get a chance to learn from THE Raven Reyes any day, so he knelt next to Raven, who had placed herself in a position where her braced leg was stretched out.
“Hand me my tools when I tell you to and maybe hold the flashlight, will you?” He liked her bossy tone and went to get the flashlight he saw in her trunk.
Raven quickly figured out what was wrong with the bike; she just had to fix the spark plugs and the engine would purr like a cat again. While working on it, she pointed out what was broken and what she had to do fix it, and Zeke who sucked in every bit of information she threw at him.
She hadn’t realized how close his face was to hers until she turned to look at him.
Their eyes met, and Raven felt herself freeze in position, not able to move or look away. His piercing glance made her feel like her blood was about to boil. His breath tingled her lips and she had to fight the urge to lick them.
Zeke wasn’t sure what was happening, but the the way Raven looked back at him had him reeling with expectation and excitement. He had realized how easy she was to talk to back in the car, and her taste in music was immaculate. Without realizing what he was doing, he glanced down at her lips.
Raven suddenly felt as dizzy as a teenager before her first kiss. He carefully leaned in, his eyes never leaving her, checking that this was okay, that she was okay.
Right before his lips touched hers a truck on the motorway blew his horn, startling them both. Raven lost her balance and fell back, stopping the fall with her arms.
Zeke couldn’t help himself; he started to laugh. It came out breathless and a bit ragged. Raven realized then, that she wasn’t the only one affected by their almost kiss. And she couldn’t deny herself the realization, that she would have let him kiss her.
Raven -I’m a grown ass woman who needs no man (or woman for that matter)- Reyes would have let this guy kiss her. What was happening to her?
With a confused smile, she tried standing up, but her leg wouldn’t let her. Damn this. Glancing up, she saw his hand stretched out in front of her, offering to help her up. But hell, if she would let him help her now. He almost kissed her for god’s sake; she could at least spare herself the embarrassment of needing help to get up off the ground.
On her second attempt she made it and immediately started packing her tools.
“Okay, so your bike is good to go now,” she said as evenly as she could manage.
He was watching her now but kept his distance, as if he knew she needed to sort through her thoughts. She snapped the toolbox shut and headed towards her car.
“I’ll see you around, I guess,” Raven tossed over her shoulder as she opened the door. Even as she started the engine and avoided looking at him, she felt Zeke’s eyes on her, and saw his slow nod in her peripheral vision.
“See you around, Reyes,” he muttered to himself, as he watched her drive away.
The incident in the Parking lot with Zeke had rattled Raven more than she liked to admit. And she had panicked, which annoyed her even more. After she had calmed herself down, she called Harper to rant about what had happened. Usually, Raven would’ve called Clarke, but she hesitated— not because Clarke wouldn’t understand, but because Raven didn’t want to bother her right before her wedding with unimportant things. At least, that’s what she told herself.
A few miles after Nashville, Raven yawned three times in 5 minutes and she could no longer deny that she was fucking exhausted. Fortunately, only a bit later a sign for a motel greeted her with its neon lights.
She pulled into the parking lot and went into the foyer of the main building to find the reception. There was a small line before her and Raven tried to hide her yawns from the rest of the guests. As much as she wanted to pretend that she wasn’t, she was still annoyed that she had panicked. Also that he didn’t ask her for her number. Maybe he would have if she hadn’t panicked and sped away? It didn’t matter anyway. She wasn’t going to see him again.
The motel had a room for her and Raven went to take her bags out of her car. As she approached her room, a familiar figure was about to open the door right next to hers. At first, she thought she was imagining things but as his head turned slowly to look at who was coming his way, Raven smiled in spite of herself.
“Are you stalking me, Shaw?”
Zeke just smiled. “I thought you were a ghost back in Louisiana as fast as left. And you can’t stalk a ghost, don’t you think?”
Raven just shrugged. “I was in a rush.”
“Sure, you were.”
Zeke was just standing there looking at her expectantly, but Raven just held his gaze as she had done the whole 2 hours they had spent together that day. Growing impatient with the situation, she walked to her door and started unlocking it.
With her back to him, Zeke didn’t have to hide his smirk. He wanted to kick himself for not asking for her phone number, for not kissing her. But he had reluctantly made peace with himself, that the moment they’ve had was just that: a moment. Zeke would’ve savored it as an experience but now, seeing Raven again so unexpectedly, he thanked fate for bringing him here into this motel.
Right before Raven was able to disappear into her room, he called her name. She turned, expectant, and he took a deep breath and asked, “Have dinner with me?”
Raven just smiled and nodded.
Thank you @the-most-beautiful-broom for being the best beta, support, inspiration and creator of the best moodboards a girl like me could ask for! This would never exist if it wasn’t for you!
One Angry Veronica
So Meg’s pregnancy was the content of the letter than Duncan squirreled away while Veronica was fixating on the notebook they found in Meg’s vent? Duncan knew about the pregnancy when he was dreaming about Meg in “Ahoy, Mateys!” So what is the significance of that? Does that mean he wants to be with Meg and raise their kid together? Does it just mean that he feels guilty about carrying on his life without her?
I would ask Little Dick if he ever actually met Meg, but it’s hardly surprising that he retails details about other people’s personalities considering he seems to be the only human in history that has managed to remain alive without a functioning brain.
So Duncan’s just standing there waiting on Meg to wake up? Like some kind of creep? He’s a weird guy, Duncan.
So Meg has been awake for ten seconds and her parents are already pressuring her into agreeing to give up the baby? I mean, we knew they were horrible, but they can’t even, for one (1) minute, be relieved that their daughter has come out of a coma after months?
Also, mental health issues or not, I’m pretty sure Duncan’s family lawyers would eat the Manning’s family lawyers for lunch. I’m pretty sure accusations of child abuse hold a lot of sway in family court. Accusations like the one Meg was in the process of filing and can now complete since she’s safe in the hospital and can tell any one of the hospital staff that she doesn’t feel safe around her parents and they will contact child services for her.
A jury duty episode? Are they out of ideas already? Can’t they just bring Wallace back?
I hate this trope, in general, and having it show up at this point in this show, just when this season was starting to get on track… I’m almost certainly not going to like this episode. Fair warning, up front.
So this jury room is just a collection of people I recognize. There’s The Todd from Scrubs and Mr. Lawler from That’s So Raven. The knitting Latina is Alba Villanueva from Jane the Virgin. The black lady is Michael Wyatt, Brianna Barksdale from The Wire and Angela Blake from The West Wing.
LOL! I love how clearly pissed off Sheriff Shithead is in this scene. The last thing in the world he wants is Keith getting into every nook and cranny of the department but he also knows that there’s no conceivable way he could say no to him when the biggest case in the history of Neptune is at stake. I like that his passive-aggressive attitude comes with an extra dollop of passive.
So the crime in question happened in early November and the trial is happening in late December? A (less than) two-month turnaround on this case? On what planet does that happen?
What the fuck is this case? A prostitute with a shitty, minimum-wage day job? A pimp who a) voluntarily turned himself in, b) testified, c) incriminating himself, d) on behalf of two rich white boys that he doesn’t know? Also, for a show that dealt with DNA so much in last season’s cases, they sure seemed to forget that whoever beat up Anissa that badly, definitely would have left some skin cells (at minimum) behind… also, there probably would have been damage to their hands. I don’t know who the prosecutor for this case was but they should have been able to chew up and spit out that defense in seconds.
I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with this. This episode is about to stretch out into infinity. I can feel it already.
So Sacks in the toady for Sheriff Shithead? That explains a lot. I’m a little annoyed at myself for not picking up on this before.
“Is the racial stuff affecting your vote?”
“Is it affecting yours?”
Yes! Call this self-important asshole out, Abuela!
Schmidt! Deputy Leo back from obscurity, that’s not suspicious at all! I would be completely and utterly shocked if he ends this episode cleaning out the desk that he’s barely occupied in almost a year.
“Good celebrity porn is scarce these days.” Remember when that was true? In the meantime, he practically confesses why he did it.
So how is Lloyd the reporter going to ask his tabloid associate about the sex tapes without revealing to her that such a thing is available to be purchased?
Veronica and Keith need to hire Abuela to come work for them. Again, who prosecuted this case? That person needs to be working at Starbucks by the end of the episode.
Okay, now correct me if I’m wrong, but this is Inga’s first actual appearance since like episode two or three of season one? She’s been mentioned a lot but hasn’t actually appeared. So they’re dragging back all the obscure guest stars connected to the Sheriff’s Department just to throw me off. Well played, Show! That being said they’ve already specifically mentioned that Inga has all the codes and the keycard maker, too obvious! It’s Leo.
So much for Sheriff Shithead’s crack security.
When the fuck would Veronica have had time to do all of this without Keith’s noticing? Making dinner, sure, but the lights and the fully decorated tree? Come on.
“I’m so impressed you fit a pony in my room!”
Okay, so jury tampering from Thumper and the PCH gang is hardly surprising. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 09ers got in on that action either. But Keith? *sigh*
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve basically quit commenting on the jury scenes. I’m basically just done with them. Veronica is essentially conducting her own private investigation, which is wildly inappropriate and grounds for an immediate mistrial. There’s no good reason that the waitress woman who’s desperate to go back to work or the CEO of whatever wouldn’t report her to the judge so that they could all be dismissed and sent home (or to Bangalore or wherever).
Like I get that it’s meant to pay homage to 12 Angry Men, but the problem they’ve flipped the paradigm. In the movie, the lone holdout juror had to convince the others that reasonable doubt existed by poking holes in the prosecution’s case. Here, Veronica and Abuela have to convince everyone that there is no reasonable doubt which a) is much harder to do, and b) kind of not true, in this case. Guilty or not (and they certainly look guilty at this point), the prosecutor has to prove it in court and that was not done.
I’m probably going ignore this plot for the remainder of the episode.
Oh my God, it’s that “Edge of the Ocean” song! That song was in EVERYTHING for a hot minute there!
So now there’s an entire college in Neptune? A college that is fairly expensive, and from the professor’s implication, relatively prestigious? In an unincorporated township? That’s a suburb of San Diego? Like from a practical standpoint, I understand that there had to be something to keep Veronica in Neptune for there to have been another season, but UC San Diego… it’s right there.
Yeah, that one wasn’t my greatest bit of deduction. They really didn’t do a particularly good job of hiding that one.
Meg’s back and dead in one episode. Jesus! I can only assume that she had some sort of conflicting commitment to something else this season, hence Meg being in a coma and off-screen, only to awaken and film two scenes, probably shot back-to-back, and then die, again off-screen.
Oh, Keith, you’re so old! That’s the Times Square New Year’s Rockin Eve broadcast. You’re sacking out prior to midnight Eastern Time… 9pm Pacific Time. You’re so old!
WALLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any other episode your return might be enough to redeem a show it’s shortcomings, but not this time.
This is, without doubt, the worst episode of this show so far. I hope it remains the worst episode of the show, because if it gets worse… my god, I don’t even want to think about that.