Coming Out


azami_icon.gif miguel_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title Coming Out
Synopsis Raquelle has to have a hard conversation with his parents to share some information he learned about them.
Date September 2, 2019

Cambria Family Residence, NY Safe Zone

It is one of those early afternoons where the girls are out visiting a friend and Bolivar is being the other half the provider team that makes up their joint Fatherhood. Raquelle learned how to do amazingly creative things with rice due to having a mother who had to feed his ever growing ass for years through puberty but has allowed her free range during her healing access to the kitchen with no questions.

(The girls did complain about the fact that they no longer have a microwave in the house…seriously, Raquelle threw it out)

The house also has been rearranged slightly to make easier paths for walking and such, more cleaning done to keep the space as accommodating to Azami’s needs as possible. But today…this afternoon…Raquelle can be found wearing a pair of fitted black jeans and band t-shirt advertising some glam rock band, feet bare with his shiny purple toenails matching his finger nails as he’s setting out tea on the coffee table with a soft exhale. Today…he has the talk with his parents.

The tea being set out draws Azami's attention up from the tablet in her lap, eyes flitting her son's direction with a tinge of interest. A moment later, she's put together enough context clues to figure out this isn't just a gesture for afternoon tea. He has something he means to say to them both. She runs her hand along the side of it to click the screen off, the text of the book she was reading winking off like an old television screen. (She programmed the screen to do that in the settings. She thought it was charming.)

"What is it, Raquelle?" she asks, leaning an elbow onto the armrest of the couch. Her brow arches up under her bangs— bangs afforded to her by the bob-bearing wig her son had brushed for her earlier in the day. Azami wears a thoughtful expression while she tries to divine what's on his mind.

Miguel’s presence is the kind that comes after a comma, existing beyond a moment of pause. He exists in the threshold of the room, at first lingering on the periphery of the conversation. He has been a parenthetical part of the household since Azami arrived, still dressed in his work clothes from this morning’s shift on a Yamagato construction site.

The metal bangle of his Class-3 registration no longer burdens Miguel’s wrist, fully-executed asylum papers stripped him of any need of it. He still can feel the weight, though.

Lo que sea que necesites,” Miguel says in a soft-spoken voice as he comes more fully into the room, after the comma of Azami’s words had settled fully. “I'm listening.” He is, though he is also tired. Emotionally, physically. It isn't for lack of support. Miguel Cambria is his own worst enemy at times.

The hairdresser just settles down on the floor next to the coffee machine, looking up at his parents settled on the couch. It's a familiar position, probably not planned just away to better arrange his long limbs. One knee bent, arm draped over it, the other folded and tucked in half an indian position to leave a hand free for his emphatic gesticulations. Raquelle looks between the two people who brought him into the world and years of regret and such flood his consciousness as he remembers every issue with drugs, boys, and rebellion that colored his childhood and teenage years as he exhales softly.

There is no cigarette though for him to quickly light up and take a drag off of, no, he has tea and a manilla folder resting on the ground near his foot. He flips it open and then back closed with a finger tip and huffs out a breath. “So, there are special people with gifts who have the ability to erase memories. Which is I think a horrible cheat and not really evolution as much as it is making revisionist history so much easier.”

He worries his bottom lip. “And I think that maybe something like this happened to you both in the 80s. I think you got to keep all the happy memories but with nothing related to Papa’s ability to pop popcorn without a microwave. Because it isn’t new and there are records to show that…”

He trails off. “Once upon a time, one or both of you knew already.”

For a long moment, Azami Cambria is still. When she moves finally, it's only to utter "Raquelle." in an admonishing tone of voice. The one that implies you shouldn't say such things, like he'd said something particularly graphic in front of polite company. A worry line creases her forehead. She turns to look at her husband for just a moment before looking back to her son. "Raquelle," she insists again, more agitated despite the fact he's said nothing else. She's just had that much more time to hold onto it.

"That can't be." she states simply.

She holds out her hand for the evidence, the action calm and smooth despite the broiling anxiety behind it. "You can't just forget something like that."

Miguel’s chest is tight with that possibility. He’d heard about things of that nature on the news. What happened in America and the trials that followed were international spectacles and the human rights violations sprawling out from beneath the curtain of justice were horrifying glimpses into the full length and breadth of the situation of which Miguel could only hazard a guess. It was something to think about as distant, not impacting his life directly, only in so much as it pertained to the safety of his son and grandchildren.

It’s only then that Miguel steps further into the room, once the shock of Raquelle’s assertion has truly hit home. He comes up beside Azami, tentatively resting a hand intended to be reassuring on her shoulder, but it seems to be more reassuring to Miguel than anyone else.

Miguel doesn’t contradict Raquelle, but when he looks up at his son there’s a challenging expression in his eyes. It says so much, but his protectiveness over Azami is clear. You better not be wrong is painted across his face. But what Miguel asks is less direct. “How… how did you find out about this?”

A well groomed eyebrow raises slightly at the look that he gets from Miguel and his own jaw sets, almost a mirror image of his father’s as he sucks his teeth and hands the evidence he has over to Azami. “Apparently you can. I’m not sure if its permanent or if its a true erasure but definitely blocked or something.” Raquelle takes a deep breath as he continues carefully. “And apparently you, Papa, helped do something regarding taking down some type of a fucking dragon so of course there are records about your Once Upon a Time exploits.”

His hand reaches for a cigarette, but comes back empty due to there not being one tucked behind his ear. “How? How did I find out? Because apparently my super power is being so goddamn likeable that I make friends and those friends know stuff and here we are.”

He takes a deep breath. “So apparently, maybe the wipe happened somewhere in the mid-80s, um so that’s where this is the gap. I don’t know. I just. I don’t want to be that type of family that has secrets and shit ya know? We never really have. At least I didn’t think we did. I mean. Okay. I didn’t ever really talk about what I could do but I never didn’t…” He slows down and takes another deep breath.

Azami looks up, folder open and papers still in the process of being shuffled. It's going to take some time to look over it all and understand what in their past had been hidden from them. In the meantime, there was the present. And she has to reconcile her own alarm with the knowledge Raquelle was only trying to do what he thought was best; what he thought was right.

It's exactly what she'd raised him to do, no matter how tough the going got.

She takes in a breath to steady herself. Miguel's presence helps with that— and even though it's Raquelle delivering the distressing news, his does too. At least they can face this knowledge together, as a family.

"Mijo, maybe— maybe you start over," Azami suggests, still suing for calm of her own. "You're saying your father— fought a dragon?" Her brow arches. Surely that's a metaphor for something? It sounds out there. She's having trouble, and holding the papers helps, but it's all still a little overwhelming.

Metaphorical mythical creatures aside, it’s the existential dread of forgetting that has Miguel’s attention. “I remember the Eighties as well as anyone else who lived through them, y’know?” Which leaves some room for fuzzy memories of kitchen floors and grimy bathrooms. “I think I’d remember if I sucker punched Godzilla and I sure as shit would remember if I had a months-long blackout.”

Miguel looks down at his hands, though. The doubt was in his voice before he even finished his sentence. Sucking in a sharp breath, he shakes his head and closes his eyes, then looks up and over to Azami. Doubt turns to apology, and apology turns to guilt. “Do… do your friends,” he slowly looks up to Raquelle, “do they know why? If— if this happened. If someone made me f— forget,” it pains him to even suggest, “why? Why— ”

And then, guilt turns to anger.

“Why would someone do this to your mother and I?” Miguel snaps, not at Raquelle, but in the heat of the moment it’s hard to tell otherwise.

“This is not about memory. You can’t remember something that has been erased or blocked or whateverthefuck.” Raquelle continues carefully after snorting at the comment about sucker punching Godzilla. “So it's not that you forgot. That either of you forgot anything. It was taken from you.”

He keeps his eyes lowered as he idly fidgets with the hem of his shirt and looks up in time to meet Miguel’s gaze and then he looks away, back down, over to his mother and finally back down to the floor as he tries again to start over. “So apparently you helped to take down an extremely powerful evolved thing called the Dragon or something like that. Godzilla like danger, you weren’t wrong. Threat to the whole world.” He looks between his parents. “You were a hero Papa. But I think mom already knew that when she married you.”

He clears his throat. “Um, anyways. There was this ‘Great Redaction’ at the Company you worked for in the Mid-80s.” He lets that timing sink in for both Azami and Miguel. “Because you didn’t even remember your ability, the files say you probably chose um, to have all memories related to everything erased or they fired you.”

The differentiation Raquelle makes between forgetting and having your memory taken is a gentle kindness that somehow makes the news easier to bear. It was nothing they did wrong. Rather, someone else. Azami is grateful for that, and she turns to look at Miguel meaningfully in the hopes of grounding him in case the words alone didn't do that.

It doesn't make what her son says next any less shocking. Saving the world? "あの会社?" Azami asks with a touch of bitterness. Because what other Company could he be referring to, with a statement like that?

With visible frustration, she starts to shuffle the files again, skimming without really reading. In realizing she's not actually being productive, she closes her eyes in a silent bid for herself to be more patient with this, to open her mind to it. This whole hero business. She takes in a deep breath and exhales away the frustration with it.

So her husband was a superhero.

"The least they could let someone do is remember they did something so great. What was it those people did— address 'threats' they saw in the Evolved? What 'threat' was so great, that even afterward…?" Azami looks up at Raquelle first, like he might have the answer. Then to Miguel, like he might.

Despite the obvious.

“I just…” Miguel looks down at his hands, eyes unfocused and expression wrought with guilt and confusion, “how can you just… take something like that away from someone. If— if I was some sort of… hero, why doesn’t the world— why’d they let everyone hate us?” Miguel’s voice cracks when he says us, as if he isn’t accustomed to the idea of grouping himself with his son in that genetic imperative. “Why… why would anyone…”

Miguel doesn’t have the answers to that, but neither does Raquelle. That alone inspires Miguel’s next question. “So this— these people. The ones who told you all this, your friends?” He assumes, partly right. “Is… is there anyone who could, I mean, if years of my life aren’t real… I’d want to know what’s what. What’d they take, what was made up, I…” Slowly, Miguel turns to Azami and the glistening sheen in his eyes speaks wordless fears.

What if they never truly fell in love? What if it’s all someone’s fiction?

“Fuck if I know.” Raquelle answers multiple questions with an oh so helpful shrug, raising his hands in the air before just covering his face with his hands, and taking a deep breath. Ever since he read the file, he had so many questions himself. So many worries, so many fears, so many doubts…

But there is something that makes him look up quickly at Miguel when he uses the word ‘us’, as his father’s voice cracks there is a flicker of something he’s not that familiar with. It manifests looking up through his lashes with a hint of a smile, shoulders hunching. For years he had that bitterness at his core about his father physically usually being so far away. Not knowing who to talk to or who to relate to when he own abilities began to manifest.

His jaw sets in the classic Cambria line, tensing as he processes the new emotion that bubbles underneath all the uncertainty. It is an anger creeping towards barely contained rage as he really processes what has been taken from his family in watching his parents react. “Papa. Think about it. I think you were already with Haha when all this happened. If you look at the timing, that means…that was one thing they couldn’t change or take from you. Who you loved.”

After a moment he clears his throat. “I just thought, you both should know what was done, so we can focus our anger or sadness in the right direction and as a family forget shit like guilt or regret and focus on drawing closer.”

He untucks his legs and draws himself up to his ridiculous height, shifting closer before he drops back to his knees and offers a hand to each parent.

Azami meets Miguel's gaze as he trails off. What his words leave unsaid, she sees instead in his eyes and her own start to widen. "Cariño," she insists softly, in a much more pleading way. After everything they had been through this year alone, to have yet another thing threaten to drive a stake between them…

Raquelle's words are a salve that smother that despair before it can settle in. Tears gleam in her eyes as she looks back to her son with relief, and with pride. His reasoning gave hope that their foundations would remain solid, and his determination gives them direction where things otherwise would remain uncertain. She accepts his hand with a thin one of her own, squeezing fondly.

She looks up to her husband, waiting to see if the words bolster a similar effect on him. "Do we need to know any more than this?" Azami asks. They already had enough to make peace with in these revelations alone. To learn more about what they lost could take even more from them in the process of finding.

He knows, though— or she hopes he still does— that she will stand with him either way.

Miguel wonders the same as he leans some weight against Azami’s shoulder, returning the squeeze of his hand with a careful gentleness. Seeing Azami like this, recovering, fills Miguel with a sense of comfort he hasn’t felt in so long. It is a strange juxtaposition against the backdrop of something so sinister as his memories being wallpaper over the paint of his past. But something lingers at the back of Miguel’s mind, the obvious unanswered question in all of this. The why.

“What do we do now?” Is Miguel’s partner to Azami’s question and answer as well. He isn’t sure if they need to know more, if their family is safe or still at risk, or who this phantom offering disturbances to their lives was. Miguel trusts Raquelle to know what to do next, because he is no longer just their boy. Raquelle is a war veteran, Raquelle is a hero.

Heroes always know what to do next, right?

There is a moment where Raquelle’s brow furrows and there is a flicker of confusion as he hears the questions from both his parents. Then it dawns on him. Holy Crap, he is an adult. He takes a deep breath and shakes his head slowly as he starts to unfold his limbs and get to his feet. “We keep on living. We keep on winning. We stay close as a family and…I will do what I can to see if there is more information I need to know.”

There is a long pause before he nods slowly. “We’ll be okay.” He offers a small smile, flicker of hope in his eyes as he looks between his parents.

Azami lets out a note of consensus, with that last thought if nothing else. She worried at what else they might find if they kept picking at this scab, but she felt confident together they would be stronger than anything that might happen. Where simple comforts failed to console, their hardened determination would find them answers.

"We will," she assures them both. "We've been through plenty, the three of us. Tough as diamonds, we are. Don't you worry too much about this, all right?" Her mouth pulls into a faint smile. "It's… going to take a while to come to terms with this, but I'm glad you didn't keep it from us, Raquelle."

She's already taking some solace from the news, though. Stepping back from it… if someone had redacted their memories, it even more strongly reinforced her belief that Miguel had no way to know his ability would affect her how it had. These Company people, though; they did. And it was more comforting than she thought it would be to be able to blame someone or something that she did not love. And she would not forgive them their cruelty how she's forgiven Miguel.

That was a conversation for later, though, one for them to have alone.

"For now, the girls will be home soon. Best not to wear faces that make them worry, too." Azami suggests.

Miguel, still holding Azami’s hand, nods in agreement to her even though his stare looks to pierce a thousand yards past them all. It's much belatedly that Miguel agrees with a half-throated, “Yeah, the girls come first.” He blinks away the distant look in his eyes, looking first to Raquelle, then Azami.

“Family comes first.”

Thirty-Five Years Earlier…



The sky is a black canopy stretched across an infinite firmament. Jewels of stars glitter overhead against a cloudless sky, as empty as all of heaven and as cold as the early spring air. Bundled up against the cold in a black and red flannel blanket, Miguel Cambria keeps his back square against the concrete slab behind him. Overhead, tall metal pylons loom high, supporting a massive satellite dish angled in the direction of the city lights of far off Manhattan. His breath is visible in puffed clouds wisping from his mouth, the same as the woman cradled in his arms.

“Do you ever wonder if the stars are lonely?” The brunette in his arms asks, resting her head back against his chest. Miguel laughs softly, but he'd never given the stars much thought. Not even as a child.

“No, conejito,” Miguel says into her hair, “maybe? I don't know.” He shifts his head, looking past the dark bangs hiding her face, just barely catching a glimpse of the tip of her nose as she turns her head to regard the horizon. “Why do you ask things like this?” Miguel wonders. She was infuriating sometimes.

She laughs too, enjoying being infuriating. But then, turning in his arms she shifts her small frame so as to look Miguel square in the eyes. Hers looked dark at night, not their usual bright luster. “Because, I feel like the stars,” she explains. “I was up in the dark, a point of light, all alone. Until Mr. Charles found me. Until you found me.”

Miguel swallows audibly, blinking and looking away from her as he scrubs his thumb across one eye to wipe it dry. “I've only ever been alone,” she continues. “Until suddenly I had you.”

She reaches up, taking one cold hand and placing it on the side of Miguel’s face. “We’re family, aren't we?” Miguel, struggling to maintain his composure nods and wraps his arms around her narrow shoulders so the blanket will keep her warm.

“Better than blood,” Miguel says softly, “I'll always protect you. From anyone.” His promise under the start night sky earns an earnest smile from the younger woman, who leans against his chest and rests her head on his shoulder. Feeling safe, there, in the embrace.

“And you'll never forget me?” She asks, her voice small against his shoulder.

“Never, Cindy.”



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