Bang Bang


odessa4_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Bang Bang
Synopsis Odessa reaches out to Richard to ask not for his approval, but at least for his presence on one of the most important days of her life.
Date May 19, 2021

Subject: Meeting Request
Date: May 17, 2021, 9:27 AM

Mr. Ray,

Could we meet in your office privately on Wednesday at end of shift? That’s around 6pm for me. I need to discuss a personal matter. It won’t affect my work performance, but I will require some time off relating to it, so I wanted to talk it through with you first.

Thank you for your time,
Ourania Pride

I was five and he was six
We rode on horses made of sticks
He wore black and I wore white
He would always win the fight

Subject: Re: Meeting Request
Date: May 17, 2021, 12:41 PM

Of course, 👩‍⚕️ 🏳️‍🌈. I’m always willing to 🗣️ if you need it.🙂


This emoji thing has gotten out of hand. Richard Ray must be stopped.

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office
Richard’s Office

6:12 PM
May 19, 2021

It’s a bit past quitting time, but it isn’t unusual for Dr. Pride to be one of the last to leave the department. When the department is running usual hours at any rate. Raytech hasn’t been for a month now, but she’s stuck to as much normalization of her schedule as she can, for the sake of her own sanity. She can’t be Gatter, sleeping at his desk surrounded by boxes of cold take-out and notes scrawled everywhere. She’s still insisted on her two days off as well, citing that it gives those working on Project: Rusalka time to discuss it while she isn’t there.

Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down

“Sorry, Mr. Ray,” the blonde scientist lifts her voice to raise her apologies as she’s stepping in from the hall. “You know how these project deadlines can be.” As soon as the door’s shut behind her, the warm smile and the absentminded air associated with Dr. Pride is slipped out of. Just as easily as she removes the trench coat she wore up from her locker, folding it over her purse to rest on a chair.

It isn’t until she’s sure the windows are blocked out that Odessa sighs and offers her real greeting. “Hey…” She’s anxious. No matter the color of her hair, the shape of her glasses, or the face she wears, Richard recognizes the look on her. “So, I, uhm…”

Of course, Richard is often around the office after working hours; the disadvantage of executive life is that sometimes you don’t have as much time as you’d like to yourself. Meetings such as this, for instance, fill his waking hours.

Well, maybe not quite like this.

Tie’s loosened and suit jacket’s opened, but he’s otherwise still dressed for work as he stands and walks around the desk, a wry smile curving his lips. “I quite understand,” he allows, waiting for her to close the door and change personas as she does.

Then he’s lifting an eyebrow, regarding her worriedly, “…uh oh. I know that look, Des.”

“Yeah,” Odessa says shakily. “I bet you do.” She glances around nervously. Anywhere but at Richard. “I’ve just had a lot to think about since we started on our projects. Since I started looking into things. Since I’ve started… feeling like I’m hitting my head against the wall.” For want of anything better to do with her hands, she brings them up to tug at the elastic and free her hair from its ponytail. One hand slides the coiled ring around her wrist and the other shakes out her hair.

Her head angles down and away, but her eyes come up briefly and land on Richard for just a second before darting away again. “I’m getting married.” He knew that already, though. So why is she— “In two weeks.” Odessa forces her gaze to come up again, but she never gets closer than the level of the man’s shoulder. “I want you to be there.”

Seasons came and changed the time
When I grew up, I called him mine
He would always laugh and say
"Remember when we used to play?"

The unsteady tone of voice, the fiddling with things, the way her eyes aren't staying in one place for long… all signs that whatever this conversation is about, it's certainly nothing good. The anxiety infects Richard as well, leaving him shifting on his feet a bit and folding both arms across his chest for lack of anything better to do with them. Fingertips shift unsteadily against a bicep as he waits for her to come around to the subject. Which she finally does.

He blinks, twice. One hand lifts up to bring the shades down, to look at her over their frame.

"To Ace?" he blurts out, disbelief coloring his voice.

Her gaze swivels to him properly then. “To Harry,” Odessa corrects and confirms all at once. If they’re going to have this conversation, then they’ll have this conversation, but she’s going to give them both every opportunity to back out of it and pretend that particular elephant isn’t in the room.

There’s a complicated mix of emotions that cycles through Richard at this verification of her intentions; anger and disbelief at first, a splash of envy, frustration. The shades are slipped off, and he brings his hand up, rubbing between his eyes.

“So you’re that serious about him,” he says slowly and quietly, “So this is the guy you’re going to marry and try for the happy-ever-after with? This guy?”

The set of her jaw, the way her eyes pointedly shift to look off to one side, and how her lips purse all give Richard enough warning to know that she’s reading him. She’s equally frustrated. Frustrated that he questions her this way. That he judges her for the choice she’s making. That she’s made.

Yes,” she confirms again. “This guy. The one who loves me. Who asked me to marry him at Christmas. Who I asked to get serious about marrying me after you told us—” Odessa clenches her fists and lets out a breath through her nose that flares her nostrils. “The world is fucking ending, Richard. Ever after isn’t very long at all, is it?”

"The guy who'll land you back in jail as soon as the feds decide to get serious about d'Sarthe," Richard points out, his free hand gesturing vaguely with the shades in his hand, "Yes. That guy. Alright, just wanted to make sure we were on the same page here."

He draws in a slow breath, then exhales it, and he nods once, then twice. "It's not," he says finally, quietly, "Not for people like us, I guess. Alright."

The hand that was rubbing against his eyes comes up as if to forestall any response, "You're an adult, Des. You make your own decisions, and I don't have any right to say otherwise. If he makes you happy, that's what matters." He means it. Even if there's a whole lot of doubt there too.

She doesn’t mention that he’s the reason she landed in Rikers in the first place. It doesn’t matter, does it? If she hadn’t turned herself in the way she planned anyway, someone eventually would have spotted her. Maybe Richard would have done it himself, for her own good. She forgave Ace for his role in it. Forgave him for nearly making the choice to kill her, the way she would have done in his shoes.

“Nice people don’t want people like me,” Odessa insists in a soft voice. “Aman entirely cut me out of his life after what happened with the penny. And he was right to. I’m messy.” She closes her eyes, like trying to shut out that pain. “I’m messy, Richard,” she echoes. “I…” Her pace slows, choosing her words carefully, picking through them with intent. “I went home after that particular mess and told him about what happened. I told him what I’m afraid is going to happen to me. I told him I was afraid I would destroy everything, and I…”

Odessa’s face contorts in that miserable expression that always heralds tears, but she keeps them at bay for once. “I begged him to kill me.” The statement ends in the swing of uptalk, making it sound like a question. “And he wouldn’t do it. Instead, held me and let me cry and promised me we’d face it together.” She shakes her head, that misery giving over to confusion. “He didn’t leave, and that’s just about as messy as I could get without actually pulling a weapon on someone.” She makes eye contact with Richard again, helpless and begging for him to understand it.

“If that’s not love, what is?”

Bang bang, I shot you down
Bang bang, you hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, I used to shoot you down


A sigh exhaled as Richard steps closer, one hand lifting to brush a bit of hair back from her brow. His own expression - and emotions - pained, guilty, grieving for what she's been through. He shakes his head a little, saying quietly, "Love is messy. People are messy. Anyone who says or thinks otherwise is deceiving themselves."

"Look, he— you've said over and over that he loves you," he says, meeting her eyes with worry clear in them, "If you say you love him, truly, I'll believe you and support you in this. But why were you looking for Aman, for someone else, why were you hiding here and lying to him if he's really what you wanted? Just tell me that you’re not— settling."

The surface of Odessa’s turbulent waters still and become placid when Richard reaches out to touch her. “Yes,” she whispers, like she’s afraid if she speaks too loudly, it will disturb this tranquility of this moment in time they’re sharing. What she’d give to trap them in a snow globe where they could just have this and the world could wait for them to give and get what they need.

“I love him.” The confirmation comes quietly. “I do. And I’ve loved you. And I’ve loved Aman. And if he’d loved me enough to fight for me, we’d be having a very different conversation right now. All of these things are true, and I’m going to marry Harry, because I love him and want to spend my life — whatever’s left of it — with him. I’ve been spending my life with him for months.” Her eyes close, and she smiles fondly, if somewhat bittersweet.

“Not just living down the hall. Not tucked away in some safehouse to be doted on when it’s convenient. Not a surrogate for someone’s wife. Not an easy conquest. Not a doll. Not a charity case. Not a curiosity.” The knot that had been growing between her brows eases in an instant, her eyes open again. Only then does her voice build to a level of a murmur, warm in spite of the grief she feels that is not her own. “Harry loves me for me. In spite of me, in a lot of ways.”

But he asked her a two-part question, and Odessa owes Richard an answer to it, rather than to be her typically evasive self. For this, she can be open. She can use her full voice. The blonde shrugs her shoulders ruefully, a little smile playing on her lips. The very image of it reads you know me~ “I’m always looking for my next exit strategy, Richard. My whole life is a series of falling into situations that are either terrible, or unsustainable. What we had? It was…” Her throat suddenly gets too tight for words, tears welling up in her eyes again.

Music played and people sang
Just for me the church bells rang

“I know.” Richard interrupts before she tries to speak again, shaking his head with his eyes closed; a flicker of pain, of regret, of love still-lingering. His fingertips brush the curve of her cheek, and his hand falls.

“I couldn’t give you what you wanted.”

He opens his eyes once more, watching her a moment before asking gently, “Have you told him everything, then? Because if you’re going to marry him– he’s going to need to know it all, you realize that. You can’t make it work otherwise. All the– history, all the messiness. The conspiracies, the weirdness.”

He raises both eyebrows a little, “So have you read him in on all of that?”

Odessa leans into the touch and reaches up a moment too late to catch his hand. It feels like an allegory for their entire relationship. The right moments, just out of sync. He forgets the moment, moves them along, and she just breathes.

“Yeah. The Company, the Vanguard, the Institute, Humanis and the war… He knows about all of that. The time travel bullshit, that I have the memories of four other versions of me living in my head… He knows about my fears that the world’s going to end, even if I haven’t come right out and said–” Odessa dismisses the rest of that sentence with a quick headshake. “And he obviously knows that I’m concerned about possession. He was brought up religious and speaks of them with the same reverence he’d use to reference his god, but he’s not about to go worship. I… take it as a sign he’s taking the situation seriously.”

But Odessa can’t just let it alone. Can’t stop picking at this scab that she reopens every time the skin beneath’s just about healed. “Look, I… What you said a minute ago there, about not giving me what I wanted.” Blue eyes glance away while she takes two steadying breaths, her tongue darting past her lips to wet them. “I try to tell myself sometimes that it wasn’t… I don’t know.”

Her eyes come back to him, and they stay on his now. “But it was great, Richard. I loved you, and you gave me the closest thing to normal I’d ever had, but I didn’t know how to trust it. I hated it. I resented it. I felt so suffocated by it. Not by you, or anything you did… You just wanted me to stay safe, stay free, and stay alive.

Another exhale sees her deflate. “And I wanted more of you than you had to give.” A bit like someone’s loosened the strings on their marionette, Odessa’s eyes close again, head drooping so her chin rests against her chest. It doesn’t last. “So, no, Richard. You didn’t give me what I wanted.” Her brows knit expressively over the melancholy sea of those blue eyes.

“You gave me what I needed.”

Richard nods slightly - a hint of surprise, maybe, that she trusts the man that much - but then she continues on, and his expression pinches slightly. A scab, indeed, that she just can’t stop peeling away. She isn’t the only one who feels the sting when she does.

I loved you. The past tense of it is an ache in his heart, another reminder of that loss.

“I still want you to be safe, to be free…” A breath drawn in, and he looks back to meet her gaze before asking the question he really meant to ask, as much as it hurts to do so, “Does he give you what you need, Des?”

Now he's gone, I don't know why
And 'til this day, sometimes I cry
He didn't even say goodbye
He didn't take the time to lie

She feels the twinge in him, but isn’t sure where to attribute it. What misstep did she make that she needs to apologize for or smooth over. Her face turns away instead in acknowledgement that she did hurt him with something she said, and she’s sorry for it.

Looking back to him when he asks his question, she knows that the hesitation will tell him what he suspects, in spite of what she believes. “Yes,” she confirms, “and I’m trying to decide how best to articulate it to you.”

After another moment of consideration, Odessa takes a deep breath that signals her intent to speak. “From the very beginning, his concern was that I be able to remain free. Even when he was just kind enough to give me a roof over my head and a couch to sleep on.” She shrugs her shoulders. “He wants me to feel safe and be safe. He wants us to be together for many years to come. When he says that, I even believe him. There’s no doubt he loves me. Me, and not some fiction that I’ve built.”

Odessa starts to reach for Richard, then stops. He isn’t hers to have or hold now, or possibly ever. “He gives me all the things you gave to me.” At the most base level in some ways, perhaps. More in others. “The difference is he has the advantage of me being on parole, rather than hiding and fearing for my life every day, and he loves no one else.”

Ace Callahan also delights in nearly every dark thing Odessa Price ever was or ever will be. …Those that he cares to think about and acknowledge, at any rate. Odessa’s guilt is lessened by his lack of reproach and challenge to do and be better than her old ways and when they resurface. That, too, is an advantage he holds.

“I’ll always love you,” Odessa admits easily. “And I’ll always wonder what it could have been like to build a life with you properly. I’ll always wonder the same about Aman, too. What we could have had if I’d been what he found a worthy war to wage.” There’s no sorrow when she shakes her head this time. Apology, maybe, but not sorrow. “Still, I’ll never regret setting out to make a life with Harry.”

Richard starts to speak, stops, brings a hand up to rub two fingers between his eyes. “Okay,” he says quietly, accepting her words, “Okay.” He can’t deny her feelings, or her preferences. He’s never tried to, just tried to guide them.

Just wanted her to be safe, alive, free. Happy.

He turns away from her, walking over to the blacked-out window and staring at the opaque glass in silence for the length of a few heartbeats. One hand lifts to rest against it, the black marks on the skin coiling down over the back of his hand.

“I’ll be there,” he says finally, “But if I ever find out he’s laid hands on you again, Des, there won’t even be a body.”

Odessa watches the display, knowing what it is. She wants to do something to assuage him, say something to make it better. There isn’t anything that can be said or done, however. Instead, she steps closer, making a show of her lack of fear for this side of him, while keeping a distance that respects the power he wields, and how difficult it must be to control when his emotions swell like this.

“I appreciate the support.”

She doesn’t just mean his attendance at her wedding.

“Just remember that I also know how to take a man apart efficiently.” There’s no smirk, evil or otherwise, just a small smile that he can see reflected to him even in the darkened glass. “I won’t let him hurt me in any way I consider meaningful. But I get to define what’s too much, too far, too egregious to stand.” Odessa shrugs, the smile still there. “I’m a pro at taking pains, so I know how and where to draw the line.”


Richard looks back over his shoulder with a rueful expression, one eyebrow arching up sharply towards his hairline. “I think where it comes to the question of ‘are you being abused’, you are literally the worst person about drawing the line,” he points out, somewhat deadpan.

Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down

The smile falls immediately, her eyes narrowing as she adopts an unimpressed expression. “I know where I want the line drawn,” she insists. “I resent having someone make that choice for me. I am tired of having choices being taken from and made for me.” Over the course of that explanation, sorrow creeps into her, bone deep. Odessa hangs her head, eyes nearly lidded.

A heavy sigh escapes Richard, and he leans forward, forehead thunking solidly into the ‘glass’ of the window and his eyes closing. Frustration coils within him like nausea, spiked with flickers of anger - though not towards her.

“Fine,” he says finally, “Live your life, make your own choices. The fact that we have to argue where the line of abuse actually is makes me super confident about all of this, as a side note.”

After a moment, he adds, “But if you’re going to mention being on parole as a benefit, you should maybe talk to him about a new line of work.”

The emotion winds its way around her and makes her feel sick with guilt. It doesn’t matter who he’s directing it at, she still feels it. She can see the physical manifestation of it anyway and finds it hard not to personalize it. “You’ve only seen him at his very worst, I promise.” For a given definition of worst. Different parameters would yield different results.

After having her eye stabbed out and being forced to break her own fingers – just as a non-exhaustive list of quick examples – Odessa’s view is definitely skewed. A slap in the face in the heat of the moment doesn’t even rate to her. Ultimately, the argument isn’t a productive one.

“If he hurts me… You’ll know.”

Even if she tells Kaylee first.

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