For The Both Of Us


bf_lynette_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon2.gif

Scene Title For The Both Of Us
Synopsis Returning from Mexico together, Ruiz tells Lynette a little bit about his life in another world.
Date July 15, 2013

A Diner

A truck was not going to cut it.

With Ofelia taking a plane back to the states, Lynette took it upon herself to exchange Ruiz’s truck for a sleek SUV with lots of room for all the baby stuff. It was needed. They started out early in the morning, early enough that they have to stop for breakfast.

The little mom’n’pop diner is busy this morning, but they were able to find the trio a table in the back corner. Manuel gets a lot of attention, a lot of smiles and little toys, and their order came quicker than most other tables. Benefits of an adorable child.

Lynette has not let go of Mateo’s hand since they left the car. It makes eating difficult, but she doesn’t mind.

It doesn't seem like Ruiz minds his hand being held while they try to eat, because he makes no move to reclaim it, even if he's the one who is stuck eating with his off-hand. It just makes eating a little slow, with the occasional mistake that reminds them both of trying to feed the young baby who leaves the kitchen a war zone.

A forkful of food falls off onto the table and leaves him looking at it. "Can't really blame that one on you, can we?" Putting down his fork, he wipes the mess up with a napkin that gets put aside, before he looks down at where their hands connect. What they had felt so unique.

What they had felt new and familiar all at the same time. It had the excitement of something unlike anything that he'd ever felt with anyone before, but the comfort of past experiences. All at once.

Pulling her hand up to his lips, he kissed her fingers, his beard brushing against her skin.

"You can," Lynette says, her smile small and a little shy despite, well, everything, "if you could live with yourself." It's a tease, but just a gentle one. She's trying them out, trying happiness out for the first time in a year and a half, seeing if she likes the fit.

What she knows she likes the fit of is him next to her. And it's crazy, she knows. Her mind can imagine all the things people will say when they see them. All the comments. But she trusts her instincts, they have always led her right. Just now, they're screaming about a second chance at life. Not just being someone's mother— although she loves that part of her life, certainly— but being Lynette again.

His kiss was different, but it sends a familiar shiver through her and pulls a familiar sigh from her lips.

She had never felt any particular ties to Mexico before, no more than anywhere else, but now she would always love it. It would always be tied up with warmth and luck and second chances. And new love. That, too.

Of all those who had made it with them through the portal on the roof, he couldn't imagine any of them teasing him too much about this. Even if he's doing exactly what those who found them and helped them and gave them new identities had told them not to do.

Not to integrate themselves into their lives here, dead or otherwise. Which is exactly what it felt like he was doing.

The one who would have given him the hardest time never survived to see the gate open.

"I haven't told you about Steve, yet," he suddenly says, looking at the baby again after a moment. "I haven't been able to find anything about her here— and I looked." He had found something on Rickham, after all he had ran for president, but that had not been the best thing to find. Maybe she had been arrested with him, just not as high profile.

"She was kind of your— my Lynette's— best friend. You had complimentary abilities. I won't be able to introduce you two, though— which is good I guess." It wasn't good at all, despite his words. She could see that in his eyes. "You'd learn her terrible nickname for me." Which he actually just tells her anyway, sticking the fork into a chopped up tomato slice and holding it up. "She called me Tomato."

Lynette leans over against him, just a momentary show of affection before she straightens up and turns her attention back to her plate. The baby seems to be having a great time at breakfast. The high chair's little table is already smeared with food, as is Manuel's face. Some of it has actually made it to his mouth, and Lynette would call that a success.

Her head tilts when he mentions Steve, explains their connection. It's clear that name isn't familiar here. Maybe this is one of the paths where Steve doesn't exist. Or they never met. "She was an electrokinetic, too?" She doesn't smile, because she knows what it means that he can't introduce them. "Tomato?" Her tone carries some amusement, though. "That is terrible. And adorable." He might imagine that no one here had such a nickname for her husband. Not that she ever heard, in any case. "So she was funny," she notes, prompting him on a little, "what else?"

"She was a good person," Ruiz responds after a moment, perhaps leaving out specific details, of course, but covering his basic perception of her. "She married us." Their marriage hadn't been exactly official, as no marriages in a post-apocalyptic world could really be, but it had been enough for them, enough for all of them. "And if she hadn't been married herself i feel like she'd always been holding out on the possibility of a threesome with both of us." Whether that's a joke or not, he's still grinning as if it had been.

If she hadn't been married, if they hadn't been so in love with each other, maybe it might have happened. But it hadn't. And he certainly didn't think her husband would have been the type to agree to a full foursome.

But that topic of smiles and jokes had been needed before he could add a more serious, "And yes, she could absorb and channeled electricity. She absorbed you while you were dying and carried you back to me. So we could say goodbye." So she could die in his arms, so he could see her one last time.

While he talks, Lynette watches him. Listens. He could be reading out the phone book and she would still be hanging on every word.

The notion of a possible threesome makes Lynette laugh, a hand moving to cover her mouth. "Well," she says, a bit surprised, but mostly amused, "was she cute?" The question comes with a smirk. It's a joke, although not because it would never happen, but because she knows why it didn't. "That's sweet, though, her best friend marrying you. We had a courthouse wedding. But threw a party later. The open bar helped people forgive me for basically eloping."

When the topic turns serious again, Lynette tilts her head. All of a sudden she has a lot to process and seems to need a moment to sort it all out. "What do you mean, she absorbed me?" She starts with an easy topic. She glances over to Manuel before she goes on, taking a moment to make sure he has something to drink, then turns back to Mateo. "He— made sure we could say goodbye, too." No one was around to carry him, though. He got home the hard way.

From the way he grinned and nodded, yes, Steve had been cute. If he hadn't been so very wrapped up in the woman he married, he might have considered it. Since his wife hadn't taken the hints that her and Steve might have been intimate the wrong way, it had led him to be able to tell her about the man that this Lynette had named her son after. His hope. His hope for love, to be a better person, to not be a weapon.

Picking up a napkin and taking a small break, he reached across and rubbed it against the boy's mouth for a moment. Not that any napkins could get rid of some of the messes he made, he just wanted to touch him and felt like he needed an excuse.

That other thems had both done everything in their power to say goodbye to the one they loved did not surprise him. The nodded sadly, watching her as he leaned a little so that his leg bumped hers. Just to let her know that he was there, let him know that she was there. But the other topic—

That did surprise him. "She could turn into lightning and travel through the wires, recharge the batteries, too. So she turned into lightning so that Steve could carry her home from the fight. Are you not able to do that?"

Lynette's gaze follows his hand over to the baby, her expression warm. It's true the napkin can't get everything, but it helped. His little fingers grab onto Mateo's hand, bringing a mess with them, but a smile, too. Lynette looks back to Mateo when his leg bumps hers and she smiles gently, if sadly.

"Oh," she says when he describes his Lynette's take on their shared ability, "no, I can't. I mostly absorb and store. I can charge batteries, it's a little delicate, though." It was second nature to his Lynette. "I can create it, too. Lightning, thunder. I actually have to every so often or it sort of gets a mind of its own. But I haven't ever become it." And she hasn't had a reason to try for more. Especially not lately.

"I guess abilities differ based on necessity," Ruiz responds quietly, distracted by the small fingers on his own and forgetting what he'd planed to do entirely. That the boy had taken to him so quickly had been surprising— that he had taken to the boy so quickly might have been as well. But just looking at him both swelled and broke his heart a little all at the same time. It was hard to explain, but he wouldn't take it back if he had the option.

If he ever saw Eve again, he would hug her. Even if he didn't, he would make sure to repay her in some way for letting him have this, for keeping him from falling into himself.

He couldn't eat anymore, though. With her holding one hand and tiny fingers holding onto the other one. And he didn't really mind at all, either. Not enough to reclaim either of them. In fact he mutters a soft, "«Why'd you have to go and get our nose,»" while he looks at the little boys face. By our, of course, he meant him. And him.

"«Because it's the most handsome nose there is,»" Lynette replies, her smile brightening as she looks between them. She can't imagine anyone thinking differently about either his or Manuel's nose, really. Her hold on him tightens, a soft squeeze. "Do you want to hold him? You can, if you'd like to. He's just playing now." Making a mess, having a good time that someone else will have to clean up later. Usually Lynette. If she minds, it's impossible to tell.

It's likely that Eve would end up with hugs from all of them, if she ever made her way to the Cedar House. Because this feels like a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime. Because she feels so lucky. Lucky enough to shove down the part of her that worries it'll fall apart somehow, that she's setting herself up for a fall.

Instead, she looks over at her son, as she often does when she needs something to steady her. "The mess will grow on you eventually," she says dryly, "literally, maybe."

"«The baby version is pretty cute,»" Ruiz had to admit, keeping his hand next to the boy's fingers because he had no desire to pull away even if the way he said that sounded like he wanted to bop that baby version of his own nose. "«Just don't get my hair, it's a nightmare sometimes,»" he tries to warn the kid, though she probably would have a dissenting opinion on that as well. Even if the curls could be a bit unruly, especially when he just wakes up. But he imagined she found it hilarious while he would sometimes just give up at taming them and let nature take it's course.

Much like he did right now, with curls going whatever way they wanted to.

At her question, he hesitates again, looks at her as if he's questioning whether she's sure, but then nodding instead of actually speaking his hesitation or worry. He did want to hold the baby, and doing so seated was probably safer than doing so standing. So now was a good time for practice. "What do you think, buddy? Mind getting in my lap for a minute instead of your mom's?"

Lynette's gaze trails up to that hair, her smile more appreciative. It's true that she has a different opinion, but instead of voicing it, her fingers slide through it, her hand settling at the back of his neck as his curls find a new way to land. Leaning in, she presses a kiss to his temple. She knows Manuel would be lucky to get Mateo's hair, whatever he thinks.

She also laughs lightly when he addresses the baby, amusement following her as she gets up. Removing Manuel from all the straps and clips keeping him safely in his chair is a skill she doesn't expect Mateo to know how to do just yet. So she picks him up, plucking some stray food out of his hair as she moves to pass him to Mateo.

For his part, Manuel doesn't seem to mind being on a different lap. Lynette isn't far, anyway, sliding back into her seat next to them. She takes the opportunity to actually clean off his face and hands, though. Something she usually has to juggle on her own.

Somehow, the baby is both lighter and heavier than Ruiz had thought he'd be. He follows the wordless instructions on how to hold him, his eyebrows pushing together for a long moment as he holds on, as the boy squirms and plays even as his hands and face are being cleaned. The way he smells, under all the smells of food, hits him even more than it had when he leaned over him almost afraid to touch him.

Biting down on his lower lip, he holds the boy closer until his head is dangerously close to that nose. Because he's breathing in the smell of him for a moment. It's different— His casual way of talking to the baby seems to be dropped, as his eyes close and he seems to be fighting back some very different emotions all at once. Joy. Happiness. Love. Envy. Grief. Regret. Many emotions all at once, and he leans back with a shaky breath and an attempt to cover that up.

While he tries to handle all that emotion, Lynette rubs her hand along his arm. She understands, because she felt similar when she had him. She loved him instantly, she was happy to have him, but wrapped up in sorrow for the man he would never know. For him being born to a broken woman. For the future she dreamed of for a few precious days before it was ripped away from her. She had felt churned up inside for the better part of the child's life.

Here, now, there's only sympathy and understanding.

"It's alright, Javi," she says, "I know it's a lot." Her free hand moves to brush Manuel's cheek, though, giving him a smile. He was her bright spot in a dark time. The baby doesn't know there's so much turmoil around him, though, and he chatters at them, sounds that would become words later. His hands clap together, the movement sending him a little off balance.

"I know he's not mine… but he— " He could have been? He should have been? In a way he was his, he knew that too, but it still felt like he should clarify that he knew this baby had been her husbands and not… him. As the boy claps, Ruiz's hands steady him, to keep him from falling, holding him in place gently, but with strength. He also hadn't expected the baby to be so strong, he had to admit, to be able to push and pull any which way the way he did.

"I guess I should have figured you couldn't turn into lightning the moment I saw him. 'nette thought that that's why we could never…" He trails off, not sure he needs to finish. They hadn't exactly been trying, so much as so wrapped up in each other that they didn't care whether it happened or not. He had been afraid of it as a possibility the longer they were in the Hub, but by then he knew what Lynette had thought.

That turning into electricity had made that impossible. That she would never be a mother even when she might have finally wanted to be one. "I had thought, if we made it here, to another world, that we could actually start a family. Adopt, maybe." Maybe one of the kids from the Hub, since he'd wanted to take them as well.

Most of them had made it, but without her, he hadn't even considered it again.

Lynette pauses to give his arm a squeeze while he talks. Her expression falls a bit, but she nods. Sympathy for her other self, for him, for their lost future, too. “It isn’t easy, to have the future they helped create but didn’t survive to see.” Her Ruiz didn’t know about Manuel, his Lynette died before she knew whether or not they made it to another world. “Living through it without them.”

She looks up to him, eyes wet but holding tears back. “I know I’m not her. And you’re not him. And that it would be so easy to… put you in his place. I won’t put that on you, I promise. I’m sorry if this is all too much.” Her. Manuel. All of it. “I can’t… not love you.” Maybe for that especially.

Of all the things to apologize for.

"I love you, too," Ruiz says without even a breath of hesitation. He knew he would fall in love with her all over again even before they spoke. "And you too, kid." And he loved this little bundle of the two of them the moment he saw him, too. Sometimes, when he laid there, he could feel like he was the boy's father, but he knew he wasn't all at the same time. "I even kind of love him."

By him he meant her husband. Her original Javi. The one who had been born and raised in this world, who grew up and one day met her. Who left a piece of himself behind, whether he knew it or not. Which was odd, because he actually had a hard time loving himself sometimes, or seeing the things that she saw in him.

But he could love another him. For existing. For loving her as he knew he did. "And he would have been proud of you. Of him. He would have given anything to have this." He didn't know what all the differences between the two of them were, but he could not believe he would feel differently about this little person who happened to be both of them.

"It's not too much," he adds, despite the fact his voice is tense and there's tears in the corners of his eye.

There was a time, not all that long ago, when love would have sent Lynette running in the other direction. But here, his words bring out a warm smile and the glint of a tear sliding down her cheek. The rest follow when he adds Manuel in, too. So, she's wiping at her face by the time he mentions her husband.

And she laughs, just lightly. "He was easy to love."

Of course, so is the man sitting next to her.

She shakes her head when he goes on, not because she doesn't believe him, but because what he says is what she wants to be true. Her hand runs through her hair while she tries not to have a breakdown in the middle of the restaurant. "I wish he could have seen him," she says, voice breaking. She ends up crying into her hands as quietly as she can manage. Ruiz ends up having to hold both of them, because she leans over against him, tucking herself into the crook of his neck.

As she tucks herself into the crook of his neck, Ruiz closes his eyes a little, holding onto the squirming child in his arms as well as the woman who in need of comfort. "I wish he had too," he admits quietly. He would have watched them both from afar with envy, but he would have been happy for him, the other him. He would have been happy for all three of them.

But that wasn't how life went here. Life took a more tragic turn. And maybe it was wrong of him to step into the place vacated by his other self. Maybe he should never.

But at the same time, he thought maybe, just maybe, he could love them both enough for the two of them. For himself. For the one who had died. And he wants to believe that that is what his Lynette would have wanted too. It's what he would have wanted for her, had the situation been reversed.

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