First Cuts


alia_icon.gif aura_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif emily_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title First Cuts
Synopsis Alia gets dragged for a haircut… and the first meeting of Elisabeth and Emily.
Date March

Raquelle's Salon

Alia is doing much better, in the sense of wounds healing. Alia is doing much worse, in sense of both physical appearance and apparently taking time for herself. Which is likely part of what prompted the technopath into getting talked into going for a walk with Aurora and Elizabeth. Alia has no idea where they are going, or what, exactly, she’s getting into.

It's cold this afternoon but bright and sunny. Dressed in warm fleece-lined black leggings, sparkly sneakers that her Daddy found for her somewhere, and a heavy lavender hoodie over top of a white long-sleeved sweatshirt with unicorns on it that Lili had outgrown, Aurora is skipping along on the sidewalk with her hand in her mother's. "Mummy, 'lia can talk to the butterflies!" The little girl is positively fascinated by this, because right now the robotic butterflies that float around Raytech are the only digital beings that she actually likes.

Elisabeth grins at the tiny pixie of a child and glances at Alia. "Interesting," she replies, her arm bouncing with the skipping child's movements. "Maybe you and Alia should be together when she talks to all the robots. Then you won't have to worry about them."

Aura's expression darkens. "No." She's adamant. Even with Richard, the little girl refuses to stay in the room when the little vacuum bots run through, anything bigger than that sends the child scrambling under furniture.

Alia smiles a little. “…I talk to them, make sure they stay out of way?” Alia offers as helpfully as she can, though she sounds a little sad. She can tell something _bad_ happened involving a robot somewhere in the little one’s story. “… But if you change mind… I have idea or two.” Alia grins, impishly, at whatever thought she has in mind. She then shakes her head, and sighs. “So, where we going again?” The technopath asks curiously.

There’s only, after all, so much she can do to make things better, but she’s certainly going to try… and is certainly not about to force anyone to stay on uncomfy topics longer then she has to.

"No, the butterflies don't have to stay away," Aurora tells Alia as she slows to a walk finally. Her hazel eyes are solemn. "Only the shocky shooty ones."

Elisabeth grimaces and squeezes Aura's hand. "None of the ones in Daddy's building are shocky shooty ones, Aurora. Daddy promised." A glance at Alia gives away subtle turbulence in the blue eyes. She murmurs, her words kept from small people with large ears, "She's had firsthand experience with hiding from the Hunterbots and drones in Zeke's world." It's the first time she's offered that kind of information about where she and Aurora have been all this time, but Alia is one of the few people who knows that Elisabeth was not on this world. And those few words explain a great deal about Aurora's fears.

The blonde then swings her hand lightly. "I promised Raquelle to bring this little one
to meet him. And I figured dragging you along for a bit of pampering seemed like the thing to do, that's all." Elisabeth grins wickedly at Alia. "He'll be heartbroken that you didn't come sooner!" Because Raquelle is a legend… especially among Richard's people.

Alia’s facial expression over these details are a bit complicated. There’s understanding, a lot of it, and sadness. “Promise, no shooty shocky bots active in the building.” She words -that- carefully, remembering full well what’s in storage in the loading and warehouse area, thank you Warren…

“Long as I’m there, nothing to fear from them.” She grins impishly a brief moment. “Though occasional fun to make RIchard jump with sudden sounds.” Alia still does have occasional prankster moments.

“… Heard the name. Haven’t spent time with him. I … wasn’t in the bunker” Now there’s a detail that might have been missed. “… Stayed near telecom during… things.” Alia again looks distant. And then mutters to herself. “… but even then, never quite enough.”

"Oh!" Somewhere along the way, that detail escaped Liz. and she grins as they reach Raquelle's spa. "Well, get ready for the best haircut of your life," she says with a grin. Then she pulls the door open and ushers them inside, "Raquelle, I bring you people to make even more gorgeous!"

It's not a busy day at Raquelle’s Salon and Day Spa, in fact Raquelle is busy organizing and checking the expiration dates on various bottles of nail polish. Wearing a dark purple and black plaid button down over a fitted black tank top, fitted black jeans, and black docs with purple lacing. He looks up from where he’s idly tapping a glittery black nail against the glass of a bottle and his eyebrows shoot up.

As he pushes himself to his feet and approaches the day he spreads his arms. “Is that my Goldenlocked world trave-” Then he hesitates for a moment to look past Elisabeth to see what she’s brought him.

Alia’s brown hair is… servicably maintained, and that’s being polite. The woman in question is wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, the sweatshirt decorated with a logo on the shoulders of one ‘Shin-ra electric company. Add a pacman scarf with a red bishop embroidered on the end, and some boots, and you have the older of the spares Liz has dragged along. The somewhat quiet technopath offers a nod to Raquelle along with a smile.

And Alia will more than happily let either Liz or Aura do introductions. Both are likely far better at it then she!

The little girl in their company has a tight hold on Liz's hand. She's a tiny little thing, easily mistaken for younger than her actual age, with sandy blonde-brown hair and hazel eyes that clearly came from her father, though the lashes she blinks over them are dark, like Liz's coloring tends to be despite her blonde hair. Black leggings and lavender hoodie, and she stares at Raquelle. "We match!! But you're waspberry!" she exclaims, startled.

Of all the things that might have been predicted to come out of the child's mouth, that was probably not on the list.

Elisabeth blinks for barely a second and then says, "Raq, this is Alia… she's is a good friend and one of Richard's computer gurus. Keeps the man actually functional on his tech." She grins. "And this… is Aurora." The child waves, her eyes still wide on Raquelle.

The hairdresser flashes a grin to Alia, looking her over and nodding slowly. “Aren't you lovely…welcome…” However, Raquelle takes a moment to look down right when his fruitiness is declared by such wise words and the tall man’s lips part and eyebrows raise a fraction.

“Have you been in my closet little one?” He hears nothing else, really he just kneels down and presses a hand to his chest. “And you are an adorable little Grapeling aren't you?” He offers a hand. “I have heard about sooo much about you Princess.”

Alia grins widely at Raquelle’s reaction to Aurora. Yes, she likes this, she likes this a lot. She chuckles a bit. “The mouth of children…” She whispers, trying to fight the urge to outright laugh. “Thanks.” She offers finally in return to the welcoming. Alia is, it seems, a person of few words. Not gruff or mean about it, just comfortable with saying the bare minimum.

There's a brief hesitation, but then Aurora grins and reaches out a little shyly to shake the hand. "Purple's my favoritest color too!" she tells Raquelle. "My Grampa put sparkly purple curtains on my bed!" Where Jared Harrison managed to find purple mesh with glitter in it is anyone's guess. "Mummy said you gots the bestest place to come for hair."

Elisabeth casts a grin at Alia. "She means what color he's talking. But… I'm not sure that's what color I would have expected, but then, most people's colors surprise me, I guess." She shrugs easily, as if what she just said makes any sense at all. For Aurora, it's just the way the world is.

That little hand gets a tiny squeeze before Raquelle bends his head low enough to kiss the back of her hand. “Your bed? Well ask him if he can get me some too…I bet they keep all the good dreams inside and all the bad dreams cannot handle how fabulous and fancy those curtains .” And unless she resists, she is getting swept up in Raquelle’s arms and perched on a hip in a fluid and practiced motion. “And did your mommy say that? Well, I do a pretty good job at hair…”

He flashes a smile to Alia, studying her thoughtfully before nodding towards the shampoo bowl “We will get you washed, and trimmed, keep that I am the smartest person in the room so ain't nobody got time for that thing going…just with a bit of style.” Then to Elisabeth and then Aurora and then back to Elisabeth. “I have sparkly glittery ribbons and barrettes, if you help me in the shop today, we can put some in your hair, how about that?”

Alia smiles, and blushes. “Not smartest. Just, word troubles.” She offers, as she moves towards the shampoo bowl, trusting his expertise on the matter. Besides, it lets her hide a few of the giggles that the adorable Aurora is inspiring.

And far be it from her to argue that she lacks style.

Aurora is entranced by someone whose favorite colors are clearly the same as hers — after all, look and the fantabulous purple and black motif in the spa! Settling herself comfortably on Raquelle's hip, she looks like that's a place she's always been and it is her right to be there, lording it over Raquelle's clients. "I love glittery barrettes," the pixie enthuses. "Are they purple and silver too?? I could do bluish-purple like Daddy talks, too," she tells Raquelle solemnly — as if just in case there is no purple, he needs to know blue would be okay too. She doesn't want him to feel bad. She pats his cheek so nicely. "I can help lots! I brush Mummy's hair sometimes, after she brushes mine. An' Cassie's too!"

Elisabeth pulls in her lips, trying not to laugh at how quickly the child has taken to Raquelle. Most people do, after all. "Should I bring everyone coffee from Miss Eleanor's?" she offers, her grin more than a little amused.

“Hmm, hot water for tea for me and here…” Raquelle makes his way towards a cabinet and opens it, selecting a brown bottle and then returning back to Elisabeth. “This is for her as well, if you don’t mind doing a pick up and a delivery all in one. Call it a gift cuz god knows she won’t accept a barter from me.”

He kisses Aurora’s cheek after his own cheek pat and just smiles softly as he bustles about. “Oooh, your daddy and I had many talks about bluish things when we used to live together…” He drawls softly before setting a booster seat on a styling chair and settling her into it. Returning with a large basket of miscellaneous ribbons, barrettes and such in sparkly and bright colors, some rubber bands as well and then a smaller second basket. “Alright, pick all the good ones out here while I go deal with Miss Pac-Man over there.” He winks and then approaches Alia with a small bow.

“So, you help keep Pretty Ricky from pushing the wrong buttons?”

Okay, that did it. Alia can't help it, she laughs, a purely happy sound. “Fix it after he pushes it. Voice activated too.” She's still grinning as she sets the scarf to one side.

“Pretty Ricky?” she inquires curiously, almost impishly. There's a story there. That and she might be considering calling the nicknamed that, just to see his reaction.

Ooooooh! Sparkly hair things! Aurora is thoroughly distracted and enthralled. Elisabeth takes the bottle from Raquelle and smiles at the explanation that Eleanor won't take a barter. "I'll make sure she knows it's a gift," she assures Raquelle. She hesitates for a long moment, glancing at Aurora. The little girl seems fine here and she glances at Raq briefly. There's a moment where she waffles about leaving the little girl, and then she subtly squares her shoulders. "Aura, I'll bring you hot chocolate. Don't go anywhere."

It's hard as hell to walk out that door and pretend that it's all perfectly fine. She has no issues having Aurora out of her sight when she's home but this is a public place, and even though she trusts Raquelle to guard her child with his life… it's hard.

Aurora looks up and a wary kind of caution enters her hazel eyes. "Okay, Mummy." The child doesn't move from the chair, seems to go back to her sorting, but there's a sense to her that she's more watchful than before.

The hairdresser is retrieving the items he needs, lining them up and retrieving a smock to drape around Alia, and what not as he looks up for a moment to watch the interplay between Aurora and Elisabeth. He does not comment though, he just pats the back of the shampoo chair to gesture for Alia to sit so he can drape the dark purple smock around her.

“Pretty Ricky, Rick and Messy, Calling you a Rick but in my head is the thing that rhymes with it, Ricky Ricardo, Little Richard, Richard the Silent Farter..” Raquelle starts listing the various nicknames he has for his old friend. “The list goes on and on…and on baby. I had a lot of time for creativity. But he’s good people and while once upon long ago, I was a ho and would’ve had him on my list of top 20 people to call daddy…I’m a reformed man. So. While I wouldn’t call him daddy, I would indeed bet anything that he’s an awesome daddy. Isn’t that right Princess?” He calls over to Aurora.

The interplay is not lost on Alia either, even as she sits herself down. Still, the technopath grins, lightly at the nickname list. “Yes, good people.” She half-mutters on agreement. “Good to see him smile again.”

Alia tries to let herself relax but, well, the watchful kiddo has her senses at least watching the area when her eyes can't. Or as much as they can.

The little pixie looks up toward Raquelle with a brilliant grin. "I gots the best daddy," she agrees. "He used to be a birdy in the shadows an' tell me stories. Well, the other daddy, I mean. But I din't know that it was even daddy 'til we gots here." Aura's enthusiasm is unfeigned. "An' now, I can sit in his lap an' he has dinner wif us an' he tucks me in at bedtime an' sometimes I go to his house for burreakfast if he don't sleep in our house. An' he has a dog an' a cat too! But he telled me I can't take Kaang to school." She's obviously disappointed. "I can take Bossum, though. Unca Felix tol' me take real good care of Bossum, an' I got him safe all the way from home to here! Mummy says he's gonna be very proud! He's gonna come visit me soon."

Washing hair by now is like muscle memory as Raquelle rubbing and rinsing suds through Alia’s hair, fingers massaging her scalp when he gets to the use of conditioner. He is listening and making the appropriate ‘oo’ and ‘oh?’ And ‘mmmhm’ sounds as Aurora speaks.

“My fiancé and my girls have some pets too. My fiancé I think might love dogs alllmost more than he loves me but he’s very good at training and talking to them.”

He shares this with a soft laugh, eyes narrowing slightly as he hears an almost familiar name and then he just nods slowly. “Well you and your mommy and daddy will have to come have dinner with me and my girls one day. I have 2 girls. They used to be little like you but now…they are giants.” A look back to Alia as he runs his fingers through her hair and drapes a towel over it to tousle it slightly, movements gentle as can be.

The door chimes softly shortly after Elisabeth's exit, a thin blonde standing in the doorway in her place. Emily Epstein is already inside before she notices Raquelle's current guests, brow lifting above her sharp blue eyes as she quietly adjusts her intended plans. Nonetheless, she forces a wan smile, attempting sincerity for his sake more than her own.

"Hey there," she greets, her eyes drifting off to the smaller child, figuring she probably belongs to the woman getting a rinse rather than it possibly being the 'Baby D' she's heard so much about. "Just wanted to stop by and say hi, get on your schedule for … soon." Not today, soon, apparently. It looked like he was busy.

Alia holds still as her hair gets tousled. She relaxed a bit during all this, only to tense up at the voice, looking over at Emily before checking over towards Aura again… seemingly content that all is well for the moment, she just smiles and shrugs. “No pets. Less you count the vacuums and the walkies.” She ponders something a moment, as an idea comes to mind to pitch past Liz later. For the time being, she’ll settle for a calm if somewhat wary expression and temperament as she enjoys the bit of unusual pampering for her

The petite sandy blonde in the booster seat in one of Raquelle's hair-cutting chairs looks up immediately at the jingle at the doorway and her whole face lights up. "Embly!" The basket of sparkly hair doodads drops to the floor as she scrambles off the seat and throws her arms around Emily's legs. "You don't gots crustches no more!" She's so excited for the teen.

When she backs away, she's yammering about a mile a minute. "Bossum an' me din't think you would be here! But Other-Squeaks said there would be Lighthouse, an' there is! Primal!" Aurora is practically dancing. "You gots Lance an' Squeaks an' you, an' nobody's alone!"

Gently leading Alia over towards the styling chair, Raquelle steps away for a moment to secure a leather hair cutting belt around his waist, so he has access to his cutting shears. He’s testing the lengths of locks of hair even as Emily comes in and he flashes a smile. However he’s beaten to the hugs by Aurora and he fakes a pout before winking and gesturing for her to come closer.

Apparently she and Aurora know each other, so no introductions are needed there and he lets Aurora have her moment of greeting as he starts working on cutting off dead ends and working over Alia’s hair, not cutting anything significant, but trimming and making it neater.

'Embly' blinks at the sound of her 'name', taking a step back toward the door as she's surged at by someone much smaller than herself. As far as she's concerned, the child is akin to a yipping small dog, one that similarly affixes itself to her thigh. Her arms come away from her sides, eyes widening. "What the hell?" she breathes out as barely a whisper.

She does not know this child who very clearly knows her. She immediately identified and called her out on a difference some of the people closest to her had not been bold enough to address directly.

So, evidently, the girl did know her. Somehow. But something was slightly off. Like Lighthouse off.

"No, I don't have crutches anymore," is the first thing Emily says, because if she doesn't encourage the proper grammar through echoing it back correctly, it'll bother her. She looks down to the excited little girl for only a moment before shifting her bewildered look toward Raquelle instead. Because what the fuck? She silently cries out for help as she processes, all too quickly and uncomfortably, just under what circumstances she and the little girl have met previously. Unfortunately for little Aurora, this Emily is not soft-spoken and all-smiles-for-children — and she's currently a bit overwhelmed by the girl.

"'qelle, what in the—" Emily starts to edge to the side, attempting to create distance again between her and Aurora that doesn't involve leaving. She must feel oddly about it in some way, as her eyes fall back to the excited little girl with a furrowed brow. Either that, or it's the girl who's best suited to answer for herself. "I'm not of the Lighthouse." Clearly, this point needed stressed. "Where the hell did you come from?"

And Alia sighs as she ends up smiling apologetically to Raquelle, before springing back out of the seat to walk over to the little one, whom she is so obviously not a blood relation to that it likely hurts. “Nothing wrong with the Lighthouse.” She offers neutrally, “Aura, you okay?” She offers towards the Pixie. She looks towards Emily… and then there’s a slight _grin_ on Alia’s face.

“Small world. I guess I am some asshole again.” Alia offers in a quiet tone. She knows little ears are likely to hear it anyway but hey, at least she -tried-, but some jokes just won’t keep past the first face to face meeting.

Aurora looks back and forth between the taller women and her hazel eyes are wide. "You said bad words," she points out to Alia. And she looks up to Emily with a cheerful little-girl grin. "I comed from daddy's building. Mummy went outside, an' Auncle Raquelle gonna make my hair pretty!" Cuz that's what Squeaks called Raquelle.

Just about then, Elisabeth comes into the shop, the bell on the door tinkling as she brings a cardboard tray of coffee cups in with her. Aurora seems perfectly content with Emily's response — she's used to gruff Embly. "I'm glad your legs work better here than th' other place!" Cuz it has to be easier, right?

She skips back to the hair-chair-booster and clambers upward into it, leaving Elisabeth looking between Emily, whose expression looks…. Possibly bad… and Alia, who seems to be trying to smooth the waters, and Raquelle, whose hands are still in the air because Alia got out of the chair like that.

"…. What did I miss?"

There is an art to trimming and measuring and making things balanced and such and Raquelle…is alas, a tortured artist but several things happen at once. Emily is looking freaked out, his chair is now empty, and Elisabeth is coming in with coffee…

It’s a reflex really as the scissors in Raquelle’s hands are quickly clacked closed and spun around by the loop as he slides it back into his belt and he holds up his hands slightly. “Emily.” Oh no, its her naaaaame. Yes, he knows names. It's a serious situation so he uses a name. And he lets his gift wrap around the words, dripping with the sprinkling of calm emotion. “Come have a seat, I’ve got some cookies in the back. Sometimes children can see ghosts in our faces, if they don’t scream it means they were good ghosts.”

He gestures towards the couches, and he looks towards Alia and Elisabeth and then back to Aurora and then he takes a deep breath. And speaking of bad words he spells out. “F.u.c.k.i.n.g. Timelines.” He shakes his head and then points at Alia. “You gonna go out of here lookin’ like a troll fell asleep in the middle of cutting your hair. Come sit. We’re all friends here.”

Then to Aurora. “Can you pick out some nice sparkles for miss Amazon Sprite’s hair too? You can be matching.”

Raquelle's presence is always reassuring to Emily, but he has a lot to contend with right now. If she were a part of the Lighthouse, wherever and whatever this other reality the little girl met her in was, it implies to Emily it's one she lost her parents in. It's set her on edge, dragging her to an exceedingly dark place. The sound of her name does merit a turn of her head, and possibly more, were it not for the physical manifestation of 'Some Asshole' grinning at her and pulling her attention back. Sharp eyes narrow just slightly at the woman before it clicks.

"Small fucking world," Emily mutters in return, at least keeping her voice low as Aurora skips away. A child who knew her from an alternate world, Raytech's IT Person, and now…

If it weren't for all the adjacent clues, Emily never would have recognized Elisabeth as quickly as she does. Her look blanks as the faint memory of the not-dead woman's image is brought to the forefront of her mind to compare. She's still for a long moment, something broken by a single surprised utterance:


Even then, the shift from searching to perplexed recognition is all that's visible from the surface. She turns slightly to face Elisabeth, sharp eyes looking her over with a single flick of her gaze.

Alia sits back down after Liz’s arrival and when she seemingly has things in hand… though she’s currently kicking herself for not bringing her backpack with its few little surprises in it with her, and remains slightly… tense compared to what she was just moments before. It seems the technopath has some protective instincts after all, picking an awkward time for them to crop up though…

Oh God, Elisabeth sighs inwardly. 'Fucking timelines' about says it all. Blue eyes on Emily are a little wary and she moves around the younger woman to set the coffee down. If shit's about to go down in Raquelle's storefront, it's gonna be fugly. "Me," she offers slowly, as if not wanting to startle Emily. She clearly has no idea who the girl is and her eyes flicker to both Raquelle and Alia, a simple nod letting them know she appreciates the looking out for her Little.

"I'm afraid you have me at a bit of a disadvantage," she observes quietly as her gaze comes immediately back to Emily. Fucking timelines come into play again when Aurora pipes up with, "Mummy, she's Other-Squeakses sister! In the robot place." Because the little girl is nothing if not helpful! "Her name's Embly. She used have crustches in the robot place, but she's all better here!"

The casual acceptance of crutches or not, other worlds, and just general shenanigans is just Aurora. Her world hasn't had a passing resemblance to what most would call 'normal' the past couple years, but it's normal to her!

The hairdresser is quiet for a moment, looking between each person and all this ‘you’ and ‘me’ and Aurora is setting everyone straight but Raquelle can practically feel the unexplicamated tension in the room so he just eyes Alia in his chair and leans forward. “Unless somebody swings or falls, please don’t get up again unless you want your hair to accidentally end up lookin’ like Richie Ricardo’s left testicle…baby. And don’t nobody want to see that.”

He makes sure Alia is sitting still before he starts trimming again, working quickly as he can now. And he speaks up softy. “Princess Wonder Woman…” He levels a look at Emily. “Remember, sometimes time messes with the best of us, but also gives us the chance to start anew. Sometimes we see ghosts but that ghost is not always someone you know.”

Again, Raquelle's soft voice draws Emily's attention away and blunts the edges of her frustration, but something in what he says also hardens a core feeling she holds. She doesn't know what to do with it except go swinging with it.

"You never should have come back."

Not physically.

"He mourned you. He's dead now, and he spent years holding vigil for you. For what, for nothing? Devon died, thinking that…"

Emily bristles, shaking her head as her voice catches. Her jaw sets and she shakes her head again, gaze shifting in apology to Raquelle.

But for him only.

Not for her.

Alia manages to grimace at the hairdresser’s comment. Then wince -again- at Emily’s comment. She doesn’t get up, but Raq can tell that even with the artificial calming applied, that she’s a boiling pot right now. A very seething boiling pot of anxiety, combined with a lot of other emotions. A deep breath is taken and Alia watches, biting her lip.

It's like being slapped in the face. Elisabeth stiffens, though it's the only indicator of her flinch. The absolute conviction in the teen's tone of voice is enough that for a moment, Elisabeth's own beliefs are shaken. Her blue eyes blink slowly at Emily and it takes her a moment to modulate her voice so that she doesn't rattle the teen's brain in her skull.

"You must be Emily." Jared told her about the girl Devon was trying so hard to get close to. She knows little… but enough to know that Emily's got her own problems and that Devon screwed up in the ways young men often do. "My son," that word is laced with a pain that is deep enough to bring a person to their knees if they could but feel it roll off her, "cared about you. You clearly haven't been involved in his life long enough to know the basic rule, however." There's one beat. Just one, so that her message comes through loud and clear. "No body, no death."

Elisabeth's voice is tight and she's automatically shifting to keep Emily's focus on her in case the young woman throws a power assault. She doesn't know what Raquelle is doing, has no idea there's already an ability in play, but she can't honestly be much calmer than she is — there's no flush of fury, no rage. She's ice cold at this moment, a sniper in the Zone.

Aurora looks between her mother and Embly, visibly alarmed at the situation. She scrambles off her chair and inches around back behind Raquelle and Alia, scrunching down into the kneehole beneath the station by the chair Alia is sitting in where Raquelle's legs hide her somewhat from what might be, in her experience, a serious problem.

It only takes a few more snips and flips with a comb for Raquelle to finish up and he is just listening and watching both women carefully.

It isn't until Aurora comes a hiding that Raquelle finally speaks, sucking his teeth and exhaling softly.

He leans down to offer his arms to Aurora to pick her up if she allows and then once she is safe in his arms he will straighten up. His voice his steely calm, a gentle caress despite the actual bite of his vocabulary. “If Time Cop over there hadn't come back, this little Angel would have never met her daddy. Are you saying the pain of actually losing a loved one who is only here again by a miracle…is worth a child not having the chance to have two parents who love her? We all thought this ice cold stubborn as s.h.i.t piece of time travelling a.s.s was dead. I have a g.o.d.a.m.n wall and book full of the names of people I cry over. But when I die, if god spits me back out of the a.s.s.h.o.l.e of a vortex or whatever and I end up back again because he knows the world would suffer from split ends and 80s print sweater vests without me? I mean…I would like to think my daughters and you all would be thankful I am back to help bless the lives of whoever I can now. Not treat me like I am a piece of something on a shoe because I am not the one they'd have preferred to see.”

Then he huffs and hefts the angel in his arms. “I am going to get some ice cream from the back with Princess Grapeling. You all work this out now. There is so much alpha female estrogen in the air right now I think I just got a period…Jaysus…”

Then to Aurora. “I have rainbow sprinkles too…” and off he starts to go, trying to lead the child out of the drama zone.

The distressed teenager has a great deal of respect for the proprietor of the salon, enough that she holds her tongue, holds off on doing anything rash. She's forced to see things from the other side in a way that makes her uncomfortable, but no less angry at Liz. And after what the woman said, she now feels justified. Still, she waits until Raquelle has escorted the child away before…

Emily's hand stings after it connects with the side of Elisabeth's face. She slapped her loud enough the sound speaks for itself:

'How dare you.'

Her eyes narrow sharply, and she turns to go. She's got nothing to say that's productive or non-violent, and would not dream of making this any worse than she already has. Emily told Raquelle when she entered she'd probably schedule for another day, and in a way, she's keeping that word.

The bell on the door jangles violently as she pulls it open to leave.

Alia sighs, and, getting up from where she was sitting, looks about to find a clean towel. Which she runs in cold water, wrings out, then walks over and applies, gently, to Liz’s abused face. Alia’s mouth opens once or twice as if to say something, then just shuts in frustration as she’s an emotional tangle right now, which never does her ability to process thoughts into words favors. Thus it takes more than a few moments before she finally sighs, and shrugs with the non-occupied arm. “… Would have missed you, even if she doesn’t.” She states, and hugs Liz.

The resounding slap could have been dodged. Elisabeth didn't. She stood there and let the teen slap her, because the anguish over Devon's death — and the rage at the futility of his grief — speaks to her in ways Emily will never understand. She couldn't have changed a goddamn thing, but this girl hasn't earned the right to such information. Instead she simply waits until Emily is gone.

The handprint on her face is rosy red. Elisabeth's hand comes up and she gingerly pivots her jaw back and forth. "Well, she's got a decent right arm," she observes mildly. Taking the towel from Alia, she presses it to her face, leaning into the hug lightly. Moving slowly, she lowers herself into one of the chairs and shoves her grief deep. "It's okay, Alia. She's…." A rueful smile quirks the corner of her mouth that is not swelling up. "I'm not really even mad at her. Dad said he thought her feelings for Dev ran pretty deep… that she just didn't know what to do with them. I'm… glad someone with the capacity to feel so deeply loved him in his life. Even if it was still confusing and might not have turned into anything, I'm grateful that he had that experience. That it wasn't all just… War and combat and loss." Of all the people left behind when she was sucked into a black hole, Devon was hers in a way none of the others were. She had spent a year as a fugitive with the boy, and they'd adopted each other. That he died right before she came home was a blow she is still reeling from… but she refuses to fully believe it. They didn't bring home his body. She can't believe it yet.

Aurora, in the back with Raquelle, can be heard but her words to the stylist aren't clear in the front room as she asks him solemnly, "Does she really wish me and Mummy never comed home to Daddy an' Grampa?" She thought Embly was her friend.

The slap heard around the shop, Raquelle’s head tilts to the side once he’s in the back room which is just a small lounge area with fridge and shelves and a small couch and little table and sets Aurora down carefully as he rummages around the fridge so he can compose himself.

It's the question though, from the small child that makes him turn around with a small packaged ice cream sandwich, which he offer to her as he kneels down and looks into his eyes. “Emily has been hurt a lot in life, so mostly she’s very sad right now about many things. Sometimes people come here to me to forget a little bit about their sadness and bad feelings but sometimes, like today…my magic just isn’t strong enough.” He leans forward to give the little girl a hug and then pulls back. “Ever had a crying fit and your head gets all mixed up and then afterwards you feel bad about how snotty you were acting a bit? Well grown ups get that too. Her head got all mixed up and she said some mean things because she’s sad.” A hand lifts to cup her cheek. “Best we can do when people live in sadness and icky feelings is keep being happy and let our own happy dust sprinkle on them whenever we can. A little bit of happiness can brighten someone’s day, or create a memory in their mind that when they are /really/ sad they can think about it and smile a bit.”

He nods solemnly. “Remember that. Also, if people say mean things to you…you tell them you are going to tell Raquelle and create your own little happy thought/memory when their faces go funny.” He winks.

Alia considers Liz, her expression showing the combination of knowing there's more to it, and accepting the temporary shoving it aside. Instead she looks off to one side, thoughtfully, though for the time being she keeps those thoughts to herself.

Instead, she just lets Liz hold the towel, and sits down in the next seat over, before finally voicing a thought, “Alpha female?” And then she breaks out into full giggles at some mental image.

Aurora's hazel eyes on Raquelle's are intent. And intense. She is taking in what he says with particular gravity — his words are important. Her compassionate little heart hurts when Auncle Raq says Emily's hurting, and she wraps her arms around his neck to bury her little face in his shoulder. Her instinctive acceptance of Raquelle as a safe harbor would make Liz cry with relief. Nodding when he asks about her head getting mixed up, Aura looks up at him when he pulls back and stage-whispers to him — because it's not something Mummy needs to know even though she hears everything — "Embly needed a hug, but she din't want one right then. She wanted to be mad an' say mean things. But it's okay. When she feels better, she'll be nice again. I don' want her to be sad, so when I see her next time, I'll give her a hug then." Because that will fix everything. Hugs always do.

The little girl tips her head and asks, "Why do their faces turn funny if I tell on them?" She hasn't seen that phenomenon before. She's never had an Auncle Raquelle before!

Elisabeth glances up at Alia and simply laughs. "Alpha female," she agrees. There's still a sadness clinging to her. Emily's pain at losing Devon is one Liz can't ease or even help — the young woman is prickly as hell. The audiokinetic hopes that the girl will find solace somewhere. But for now, Alia's humor lights her mood. "I guess it's as accurate a description as any," she adds thoughtfully. "Red King and Queen, alpha pair?" She shrugs. "Or so it used to go. Dunno if it still works that way, but it's starting to seem like it does." So it makes sense to her that Raquelle would refer to her that way.

Raquelle smiles softly and squeezes Aurora again in a small hug. “I think she might like that…”

But it is that question that makes him quirk and eyebrow and laugh softly as he pretends to look from one side to the other and he leans in and says. “Because they will worry about getting a silly haircut for being naughty.”

Then he straightens up and offers his hand down to Aurora now that he has passed her the ice cream sandwich. “Now remember, you're a princess and you are /fierce/. Lets go be fabulous.” He winks and prepares to stride back out with the little cutie. There is hair to be done.

Alia’s reply to Liz’s assertion is to point to the bishop charm she’s still wearing. A subtle joke perhaps on the technopath’s part. Still, she carefully checks to make sure Liz is okay and not going to be, you know, stupidly over bruised, or otherwise managed to damage something like an eye. Which means she’s gently peeking under the drenched but not dripping towel when the pair return.

While resisting an urge to giggle and smile. It’s been a hell of a long time since she’s been complemented, one way or another, this many times in one day.

It's not something Elisabeth noted… or realized the significance of. Not until this very moment. Her blue eyes, startled, come back up to meet Alia's gaze and she says softly, "Thank you. For not giving up on me." The subtle sheen of tears is quickly quelled as the sounds of Raquelle and Aurora returning get louder. The mark on her face is still pink, but the whole side of her face is now pink thanks to the ice, so the welted handprint is no longer nearly as obvious. And Aura's a little busy with Auncle Raquelle.

With her mouth full of ice cream sandwich, her free hand holding tight to Raquelle's, the little girl now seems quite content to be in the company of the stylist. "I am fierce," she echoes cheerfully.

Liz shoots Raquelle a small smile. The little girl has no idea how fierce she truly is — that she's been through so much and retains that childish perspective is a miracle, as far as her mother is concerned. "Fierce, huh? So do fierce princesses get braids or sparkly pigtails?"

Aurora grins cheekily and sticks her pert little nose in the air. "Braids and sparkles, Mummy. You can't be fabulous wifout sparkles in your braids."

Eye glance over to Elisabeth, taking in the pink at her cheek and his eyes narrow slightly, a flicker of something unreadable in his eyes before he swings Aurora’s little arm with a soft smile. Raquelle just throws his head back and laughs softly at the comment from Aurora. “You better preach sugar, you better preach.”

With practiced ease, careful not to smudge his make-up or disturb her ice cream consumption, Raquelle lifts and places Aurora back in her booster seat. Kneeling down to collect the basket of sparklies within reach.

He points to Alia and then Elisabeth. “You, let me finish getting you styled.” To Alia. “Settle down in a seat, I'll get you a gentle facial started.” He winks to Elisabeth and then turns back to Aurora. “And braids with sparkles…”

By the time he’s finished, Alia’s short and functional style will be stylishly arranged…Elisabeth will have a lavender facial prepped for her while Aurora will be sporting a elegant and stylish French braid pig tails, with sparkly ribbon woven into the braids and tiny sparkly barrettes at the ends. All in a day’s work.

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