34 Candles

Participants:

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Scene Title 34 Candles
Synopsis Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear {static} Hapy birthday to you!
Date April 8, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office


It’s Friday, and it’s two whole days before Odessa’s birthday, but Raytech’s secretary doesn’t work on Sunday. It’s early in the morning, before most of the other employees arrive when Dr. Desjardins arrives with a small pink bakery box in hand. “Hey, Sera.” Even though she glanced around first to see if anyone else was around and saw no one, even though she reached out with her ability and felt no one, she still sticks to the use of the woman’s chosen alias.

“I know I’m early, but…” Des sets the box down on the receptionist’s desk and opens it up. There are two maple iced cinnamon rolls side by side, each on a small paper plate and with a candle stuck into their middle. She takes the plated pastries out and sets one in front of Sera and one in front of herself before fishing out a lighter and lighting both candles.

“Make a wish, huh?” Odessa smiles, nervous that Kara might be about to tell her to fuck off, but continues. “I never had anybody… Never knew when I was born. Not for years. So, I think it’s important not to know you aren’t alone today.

“Happy birthday.”


Odessa, Texas

April 8, 1984


The evening sun hangs low on the horizon, cast across the rooftops of ranch style houses and sparse trees. Inside, soft music plays and a few yellow-shaded lamps shed a warm light amid the fiery glow coming from outside. The house is welcoming and inviting, with its wood paneling walls, thick carpet, and color television tuned in to the Nightly News.

Past the living room, where only scraps of pink subst light touch the far wall, a happy couple sits around a small dining room table. The kitchen around them is bright and cheerful, with vibrant red and yellow Le Creuset kitchenware. He, Colin Price, has just settled down with a sheet cake with maple sugar frosting and neon pink candles. They're all aflame, tiny flickers of fire dancing in the air.

Happy birthday to you,” Colin begins crooning with a too amused smile, mouth twisted into a smirk he's struggling to hide. The woman beside him, Rianna, presses a hand to his whole face and tries to gently shove him out of the chair.

Colin,” Rianna complains in a high-pitched whine, “no! No singing, there's a moratorium on singing! You are not allowed!” She's laughing as she says this, and Colin can't help but join her. They regard one-another in silence for a moment, and then lean in for a tender kiss.

Colin threads a hand through her hair. “Love you, Ri.” She smiles, an honest and uncomplicated smile, and reaches up to scratch gently at his beard. Colin sets a hand on her swollen stomach, feeling a little kick there.

She returns the kiss, lit by candlelight and the pink glow of the setting sun.

——

Present Day


Sera has sat frozen in her chair for the last few minutes. Motionlessly and soundlessly crying, her pale blue eyes are transfixed on the donuts. The only suggestion that she hasn't fully dissociated is a slow furrowing of her brows.

It's made worse when she reaches out and takes one of the donuts, smiling like nothing had happened at all in spite of her puffy eyes and tear-wet cheeks. “That's so thoughtful,” Sera offers with a hitch of her voice at the end.

“I’m sorry. I know it’s… It was kind of…” Des sighs. “I shouldn’t have sprung this on you, but I was afraid you’d… say no.” A wave of tears of her own threatens, but she manages to keep it at bay for now. “I’m not good at this stuff. I’m not good with people. That’s… not something they taught me to be. Nobody cared if I knew social norms. But I like maple and you like maple, so…”

She leans down and blows out the candle on her own birthday pastry.

“You’re still here, for now. Looks like I got my wish.”


Odessa, Texas

1984


“So,” Colin smiles and looks at the candles burning on the cake. “You and Michelle going to blow those out or what?” Rianna raises her brows at that, slowly shaking her head.

“Her name,” Rianna raises one finger, “is Kara, and that's final.” The smile that flits across her lips is a challenging one. “I'm giving birth to Supergirl and there's nothing you can say about that otherwise.”

Laughing, Colin reaches out into the air with one hand and draws a chef’s knife from across the room to his waiting hand. “I'm going to have competition?” He asks with a broad grin.

Rianna rolls her eyes, pressing a finger to his nose. “Superman doesn't have telekinesis. You're like…” her nose wrinkles, “Not Superman?” Both laugh together, and with flushed cheeks and a bright smile Rianna leans down and blows out her candles.


Present Day


“No it's—” Sera exhales a shuddering breath, reaching up to wipe tears away from her eyes. “It's good. It's fine. I'm fine.” Sera looks both confused and flustered, scrubbing at her eyes and smudging her makeup and not much caring.

“I'm just— a softie is all. I don't even know why I'm crying.” Bubbling up with nervous laughter, Sera looks up to Odessa with a bittersweet smile. “It's perfect.

“I think that’s a good thing to be,” Des insists as she starts to peel apart her cinnamon roll. She has this habit of deconstructing her food before she eats it, and this is no exception. The candle is pulled from the middle and set aside in the plate before she tears a piece off and pops it into her mouth.

“Can… Can I ask when your Kara was born? I mean, I know the year, but.” Des fidgets, shifting from foot to foot nervously for a moment before reminding herself to hold still and keep calm. There’s no push on time just yet - in the literal sense. She doesn’t feel any approach, but that’s not always reliable either…

Right. Calm.


Odessa, Texas

1984


The last rays of sunlight dip down behind the horizon, and the light of day has passed. Now lit only by the interior house lights, none of which are on in the kitchen, Rianna and Colin share a moment of peaceful quiet beside one another.

“Should I cut the cake… or…” Colin’s smile is felt against Rianna’s cheek with the scrub of his whiskers. Rianna bubbles with laughter again and shakes her head slowly. Before she can say another word, there's a knock at the front door. Rianna and Colin both offer a side-eyed look to one-another, and Colin sets down the chef’s knife and slowly gets up from his seat.

Through the kitchen and across the living room, Colin makes his way to the front door and opens it a crack. “Hello?” In the dark of night stands a broadly build man in a crisp suit for his size, brown beard cut into a goatee, dark-framed glasses and a fedora. Colin’s eyes dip down to the carnation in his lapel.

“Hello Mr. Price,” the stranger says with a genial fondness. “Might I have a moment of your time?”

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Present Day


“April 8th,” Sera says with absolute certainty as she slides over her paper plate. She looks at the candle, nervously, and just pinches it out with two calloused fingers. She plucks the candle lit, then, and sets it aside before picking up the pastry in one hand.

“I suppose it was fate,” Sera admits, about the days lining up as they did. “If you believe in that sort of thing,” and she's starting too, all things considered. Taking a bite of the pastry, Sera closes her eyes and makes a soft noise, smile as bittersweet as it was the first moment she saw them.

“I may not know anything about… who I am, or what any of this means, but…” Des shrugs. She cares, of course, but the answers can wait for today. Today, she just wants to celebrate her new friend’s birthday. “I’m glad to know some things are consistent, I guess.”

There must be something about that day. Like November 8. She’ll look into it. Later.

“I’m glad you like it. This is my favorite treat.” It’s above and beyond even the simple raised donuts she likes so well.

Smiling faintly, Sera looks at her half-finished cinnamon roll, then looks over to Odessa. For a time she's quiet, eyes unfocused and distant. “Have you ever…” her brows furrow, “felt like you've forgotten something important?” Her eyes settle back down on the pastry, distant again, until she shakes her head and laughs it all away with a smile.


Odessa, Texas

1984


Slowly walking across the sidewalk, a man with dark-rimmed glasses and a fedora reaches a black car parked on the side of the road. He leans down as the window slowly slides down to match. The man sitting in the passenger seat takes a slow drag off of a cigarette, head tilting to the side as he regards the man with the carnation.

“It's all done.” The man with the carnation says softly, holding up a penny between two fingers before carefully stowing it inside his jacket. The man in the car nods, exhaling a mouthful of smoke. His head starts to bob in a slow series of nods, and he flicks the cigarette out the window, past the man with the carnation, then opens the door and steps out onto the grass.

Good.” He exhales the word with the last bit of cigarette smoke wafting over his teeth. “Take the car and circle the block. I'll be done by the time you get back. I’ll be gone too.”

Anxiously, the man with the carnation nods and watches the taller, leaner gentleman with a jagged smile. “And… tell Arthur thanks.”

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Samson Gray’s eyes narrow slowly. “I've always wanted telekinesis.”


Present Day


“Well, like my mother used to say: if you forgot it, it probably wasn't important!” Sera takes another bite of her cinnamon roll, then another, finishing it and licking her fingers clean as though she were a fussy cat.

“‘Spose that means it’s what my mother always says, too.” Des smirks, able to see the humor in their strange situation. “But yes, all the time.” Her smile doesn’t fade, even if it isn’t quite reaching her eyes anymore. Her hand stretches out casually toward the door. Nothing appears to change, but they can both feel the ripple in the air from the use of Odessa’s power.

“She’ll find you, Kara. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I always wanted to find my mother. And I hope I get to meet her.” Maybe that’s weird, especially given what she knows about her other self - which is admittedly not much, except for the fact that she might be legitimately awful - but she might be the only other person who can understand and give her answers.

“All I’ve told the boss is that I had another vision. I didn’t bring you into it. As far as he’s concerned, you have no idea who Rianna Price is. Worst case scenario, he suspects you’re another victim of the Company’s memory wipes.” A thought occurs to her then that furrows her brow. “Is there a Colin Price where you’re from?”


Odessa, Texas

1984


A lone light flickers, casting dancing shadows from where it rests tipped over on the floor.

Outside broken windows, the world is dark and quiet. Wind whistles through broken glass, mingles with the sound of sparks from a television with its picture tube shattered, leaking smoke out of its mangled facade. Thick brown carpeting is matted down, dark and wet in places where blood has drizzled across the shag and soaked down to the floorboards.

A wet, squelching sound accompanies the pop of bone; a crack and a wet snap.

The air is crisp, cool, stinks of blood.

Visible through the kitchen doorway, the grisly display of blood in the living room is not all there is to see in the dim light. Shadows play on the wall, cast by another unseen light source. A hunched figure with shoulders rolled is bent down over a twitching silhouette. With each motion of his shoulders and arms, there is another gruesome crack and pop, another wet gurgle of dying breath.

On the wall opposite of the kitchen door, a single bloody handprint says as much as the warnings on old sea charts once did.

Here be Dragons.


Present Day


“Yeah,” Sera answers, her head tilted to the side and one brow raised. “When I was little, my biological parents died in a fire. Our whole house collapsed, I was… I was trapped under the burning rubble. Smoke, fire, I— I was gonna die.” Fair brows creased together, Sera looks at her now empty plate and plucks at the crumbs.

“Colin saved me. He pulled me out from the wreckage with his ability,” there's a fondness to Sera’s voice there, a smiling certainty and admiration. Perhaps also a child’s first crush. “Colin carried me out of the fire, saved my life. I… I lost track of him after that. I looked him up years later, when I was an adult. Saw he'd been married,” blue eyes look off into the distance, “heard he'd died.”

“I’m sorry.”

It doesn’t make any sense, does it? How can Colin Price have been her father in this timeline, but a ghost of Kara’s past in the other timeline? Odessa is still the same person, isn’t she? Somehow?

Always, always, always more questions. “So he was telekinetic in your time as well. I wish I could have seen what he was like with it.”

“I can barely remember it,” Sera says wistfully.


Odessa, Texas

1984


A body lays spread out across the floor of the living room. Whoever it is might have still been alive, judging from the kicking and twitching of his legs and socked feet, or it could have something to do with the man wrist-deep inside of his head. The scene is stomach turning, there is a bloody screwdriver a foot away from a man with graying, curly hair in a flannel shirt and jeans, hunched over a man's corpse.

The top of the man's head has been smashed open, presumably by the screwdriver, pried apart like a coconut. Bloodied hands are presently in the process of extracting a brain from within the man's head, calloused fingers slicked a too bright, too red color. The sound of snapping now sounds more like a celery stalk being twisted.


Present Day


“Strong, but… gentle.” Sera’s eyes close, brows furrow, and her head slowly shakes from side to side. “He was… a good man.” As her eyes open, Sera notices she's crying again, but seems surprised by it this time. Outright confused. As she dries her eyes, she looks over to Odessa with a wan smile.

“I… I think I need some air,” is Sera’s way of saying space. Perhaps it was too much, too soon. Perhaps something else. She isn't upset, just pressed upon by the weight of the past.

“I shouldn’t have asked so many questions. I’m sorry, I get carried away. I promise next time we go out, no questions about this kind of stuff. Just the boring stuff, like favorite colors and music.” Des waves her hand and resumes time around them again, now that their conversation is drawing to a close and she’s no longer worried about someone walking in on them.

“I’ll watch the desk for you, okay? Take as much time as you need. I’m in no hurry today.” She reaches out and squeezes her shoulder with the hand that hasn’t been picking at the sticky maple and cinnamon pastry. “Let me know if you want to go out on Sunday, okay? I think my — friends want to take me somewhere quiet. They’d be happy to have another friend along.”

Looking to the hand at her shoulder, Sera offers a warm and genuinely touched smile. “I… I wouldn't want to impose,” she says in a hushed voice, scrubbing one hand at her eyes. Her nose is red from crying now, face flushed. As she reaches up to lay one hand on Odessa’s at her shoulder there is a crackle-snap and a sudden green spark.


????


She jolts up from sleep with a gasp of shock, nearly knocking over the bendy desk lamp as she does. Drawing in a sharp breath, the blonde woman looks around and brushes her hands over the old, yellowed papers sitting on the console in front of her.

“Oh heck, oh heck.” Fingers search across old dusty pencils, a chipped coffee mug that reads Innovating For The Common Good across it. She finds her keys a moment later, letting out a nervous flutter of laughter. Though that laughter subsides considerably when she notices the sparks of green light coming off of one of her hands.

“Oh double heck.” Swiveling in her chair, the blonde wheels across the floor through the dark, metal-walled communications room until she reaches a better lit console that has power. Streaks of rust run down the wall at riveted seams and the stink of saltwater files the air.

Reaching for a microphone, she slides it closer to herself and clicks the call button. “Hey, uh. Hey, Don?”

«Yeah?» A man’s voice crackles over the speakers in the console.

She leans in, closer, brushing blonde hair from her brow. “Don, I just had another dream. You're not even gonna believe this one!”

«You did? That's— that's good news. I'll be right down.»

She starts to reach for the button again, but Don thinks of something else to say.

«Oh and, Destiny?»

“Yeah Don?” Her eyes widen.

«Lets keep this between us.»

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