From The Mouths Of Babes


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Scene Title From the Mouths of Babes
Synopsis Daddy gets an earful about what's been on the mind of a 6-year-old.
Date March 12, 2019

Raytech, Richard's Apartment

With the twins being constant visitors, Richard's apartment is at least set up for small children. And Aurora loves the animals, which makes it her most favoritest place ever! With crayons and coloring pages scattered around her on the floor, she's ignoring the heck out of those things in favor of playing with Richelieu. She comes racing around the corner of the wall near the kitchen drawing the kitten with her with a red laser pointer, laughing maniacally. Until she trips over her own two feet and spills arse over teakettle into his living room, cat pouncing.

The petite little troublemaker lays on the floor with the wind knocked out of her, grinning at the ceiling. And then casts hazel eyes toward the sound of Richard's footsteps as he enters the room too. Oops. He did tell her no running.

The dog is laying on the couch watching Shenanigans with canine interest, but he wasn't involved. This time. She's taken to making them accomplices when Lili and Ricky aren't around.

The mighty hunter has captured the child! A small fuzzy bundle of red proudly stalks along the child’s captive body and starts rubbing her whiskered face against Aurora’s cheek and jaw, claiming her in feline fashion with a tiny little purr rumbling in her.

Richard, for his part, steps out of the bedroom and folds both arms across his chest, looking down to her with an amused look upon his face. “…you alright there, kiddo,” he asks in playful tones, eyebrows lifting, “Looks like maybe you were going a little too fast for your feet.”

Giggling now at the cat in her face, Aurora brings up both hands to fend off the purring bundle so she can sit up and then snuggle it. "My feets gotta learn to keep up," she informs him cheekily. With her little hands petting the kitten, she's quiet for a long minute. It's always how he knows she's about to throw him either a zinger or a list of questions as long as his arm. Or both.

"Mummy says I get to go to school wif Lili and Ricky next week," she broaches the topic. "Daddy… it's kinda far away." They've been there. She loved it. But… there's a certain uneasiness. "Maybe we can wait a little?" She's been ridiculously excited about finally getting to go to school. But now her hazel eyes flicker up at him and she confides reluctantly, "I don't have grown-ups there."

She’s staying on the ground, so Richard joins her there, dropping down to a squat and then easing off his heels to sit with his back to the arm of the couch, one leg stretching out and the other providing a rest for his arm to drape on.

“You have Peyton there,” he notes, “But you don’t know her too well yet, not like your mom and I do, so I can understand that.” A faint smile, and he reaches out to scritch the kitten’s head as well, “You’ll be hiding and running and moving around for so long you probably haven’t been far from your mom, or Cassandra, or someone, huh? It must be scary to think about.”

She drops her eyes to the kitten and unconsciously scoots a little closer to him while she strokes the kitten. "Mummy dieded once," Aurora murmurs. "In the water place. But not really. She had to hide from Mr. Crazypants." That's clearly a Kain-ism, adapted for small ears. She hesitates and says, "An' in robot place, she hadda go 'way fer a while. Aunt Kaylee an' Unca Kain an' Cassie took care of me then."

Hesitantly she looks up at him and she asks rather solemnly, "Do you trust Miss Peyton to keep the robots away?" For just a moment she looks far older than her meager six years, and she's trusting his judgment on this. She's not asking Mummy.

“I do.” Richard brings his hand up to gently ‘boop’ her nose with the tip of his finger, though his tone is serious, “I know that she’d never let anything happen to you, or Ricky, or Lili, or any of the other kids. There shouldn’t be any bad robots in the Safe Zone, either.” He doesn’t tell her that there aren’t. He’s not going to lie to her, and he knows there’s always a possibility of something terrible happening.

“What I do know is that you’ve been really excited about school,” he points out, “And I don’t want you to lose that because you’re worried about some robots or bad people. So how can I make you less worried, little rainbow? What would make you feel safe?”

Aura's little face scrunches up and she makes serious thinking face. And then she gives him a look he might recognize from other small children — the 'hmmmm, how far is too far?' look. "Can you come to school wif me?" She's pretty much expecting that answer to be no, but apparently she has a list. "Can I take Bossum to school wif me? Will they show me hidey hole spaces? Cuz Squeaks said we awways need hidey hole spaces. Can Kaang come to school wif me to bite mean peoples?" She pauses and then asks, "Can Alia make the butterflies zappy so if mean peoples come, we can zap 'em?" And then she perks up, "Unca Kain made radios! Can I have a radio to scream if robots come to the school?"

The answer is ‘not that much’ from the dubious look that he offers back to her, and then he chuckles— he can’t help it. “I can come to school with you the first day, but not every day,” Richard compromises, “And you can bring Blossom, yes— “ Who he’s made sure has gotten cleaned and mended a little, though not too much, “— and I’ll make sure you get shown the hidey hole spaces. No dogs or robot butterflies, but a radio— “ He grins, “I can get you a radio, so if there’s an emergency you can call me right away, okay?”

Slanting him a look from beneath her lashes, Aurora has a resemblance to her mother when she's being intense. "I can call you? Anytime? From school?" She lets Richelieu go and then climbs to her knees to turn and face him. "An' you'll come get me if I call you?" With her hands on her knees, she is intent on his face and because he's taking it seriously, she opens up a little more. "Even if scary stuff happens an' there's robots? Or people's shooting guns at people?" Because these things have happened to her.

“Anytime, if you’re scared and need me,” Richard says firmly, “If I’m too far away, I’ll get someone you know and trust to come get you until I can come back to see you, alright? Especially if there’s robots or people shooting guns.”

He leans in a bit, conspiratorially reminding her, “I have my own robots and people with guns if I have to use them to keep you safe, after all.”

Pursing her lips and thinking it over, Aurora finally lets out a slow breath of relief and then crawls into his lap to sit on his outstretched leg while she talks to him. "Unca Kain teached me to build a radio an' listen real good. So I could know if they were comin'," she tells him. "The water place was kinda neat except for Mr. Crazypants, but I din't like the robot place at all."

She lays her head on his shoulder and goes quiet for long moments. He'd promised they didn't have to go portal jumping no more. But … "Daddy? Mummy an' me an' ev'ybody… we made doorways to get home. What if… what other people make doorways and come here too? Mummy said all the broken stuff here is cuz peoples here were fighting other peoples — peoples wif abil'ties and peoples wifout. But… why are peoples wifout abil'ties always fightin'?" She looks up at him. "I don't even have abil'ties yet, an' in the robot place, they was huntin' peoples wif abil'ties. Are we gonna hafta have more fightin'? Will the radio you give me hear them comin'?"

Apparently she's had a lot going on in her head the past several weeks since arriving in New York. This isn't any more 'home' in her head yet than the Wasteland or the Flood world.

“Oh, sweetie…” Richard’s heart aches for his daughter, and the things that she’s been through, his arms wrapping around her and pulling her in closer. He leans down to kiss the top of her head, breathing out a sigh, “I don’t know why people are always fighting. I guess some people just aren’t happy unless they’re angry about something. It’s people with abilities sometimes, too, and… I wish I could tell you that there won’t be any fighting anymore, but sometimes there will be.”

He leans back a little to look down to her, one hand lifting to brush hair from her face, “I’m working on a way so we know if other people make doorways here. And if there’s real trouble and you’re in danger, yes, I will call you.”

She relaxes back against him, her trust in him clear. "Okay, Daddy." It's simply a fact of her life that there is battle and bloodshed — it doesn't mean she's not scared of them, but she learned rather young to compartmentalize at least a little bit, even as Elisabeth the rest of the adults tried to keep as much of the horror away from her as possible. Aurora's just a strange mix of accepting and wary. "Then Kaang doesn't need to go to school. I'll have a hidey hole that only you and Mummy know, an' I'll hole up an' be safe there til you come," she says blithely. There are shades of Kain in that phrasing as well, but hey… she was taught exactly how not to get caught.

"Daddy, does your voice change when you get all shadows?" Abrupt topic change, cue the attention span of a gnat. She is only six, after all. "Mummy says you turn into all shadows an' that you are still people inside them. An' she don't know what I'm gonna do cuz she does sounds and Nana does sounds an' my bruvver does sounds, but she says that doesn't mean I will. Can I see you talk in shadows the way I see you talk like this?"

The abrupt change of subject has Richard blinking - twice - and then he laughs softly, his head shaking. “It does,” he admits, hiding a wince at the mention of her brother, “Since I’m not talking the same way, really, it’s— well, I don’t really know how I talk and I’ve never really tried to figure it out. Some things just work.”

He ruffles his fingers through her hair, “Get off and I’ll show you. I’ll still be right here, though, little rainbow— I’m not going anywhere really, just changing.”

She doesn't seem emotionally attached to the idea of having a 'brother' in the Wasteland — It was a little weird to meet someone who was Mummy's copy and the boy yelled a lot. So she doesn't mind that he went with Other-Mummy. She likes Ricky much better. "Okay!" Aurora bounces off his lap, using his thigh as a vault-pushing-off spot.

Tilting her head, she watches him, clearly enthralled that she finally gets to see her father's ability at work.

“It’s been awhile,” Richard admits, “I didn’t have my power for a long time, I got it back the same day you got here, actually…”

He draws in a slow breath, hands coming together and then spreading out… the shadows over him seeming to deepen, as if the lamp’s illumination wasn’t falling on him, and then he collapses downwards as if he were merely a trick of the light and that light had been moved.

Darkness swirling over the floor and then forming into the shape of a big smiley face. “Still me, baby girl…” …baby girl…

Startled, Richelieu pads over and sniffs at the floor, circling where Richard was with a soft, alarmed mewl.

Her hands clap together as he starts to spread out in front of her eyes like that, entranced with his ability. "Oooooh…." And then he makes the smiley face and Aurora starts to laugh. But it's when he speaks that she blinks at him and gasps. "Birdy! Daddy… why didn't you say?!" Her hazel eyes are suddenly tearful, and she moves to crouch next to the smiley face on the floor to run her hand just as gently through his shadow form as she stroked Richelieu. "I missed you."

The reaction, the words, would cause his heart to ache if he still had one at the moment - somehow, it still does. The smiley face twists over the floor, turning into the shadow of a bird to match her expectations. “I’m sorry, baby, that wasn’t me… that must have been another me,” he murmurs, “You know how there are other us’s in other worlds, right? Like your Aunt Kaylee.”

The immediate nod is gratifying. "I know 'bout people-copies," she tells him. "Aunt Kaylee at home isn't the same Aunt Kaylee as here. She stayed in the robot world with her Mister Bellamy, but here she din't have Mister Bellamy. Just like in robot world, Other Mummy had a li'l boy instead of me an' my Mummy had me." It's really pretty simple to Aurora. "But bof Aunt Kaylees talk the same color, and bof Mummys talk the same color — even though my Mummy's color changes a little when she's singin'. Just like your color changes when you do shadowbird and when you're reg'lar! Birdy was just always shadowbird when he telled me stories, so I din't know he was you!"

She's so ridiculously matter-of-fact about the insanity that has been her life. Aurora pauses, apparently thinking hard again. And then she says, somewhat shyly, "I always wanted to have a daddy. Birdy said when Mummy got us home, my daddy was waitin' an' missin' me. But sometimes I din't b'lieve him." Obviously she feels bad about doubting it.

The shadows sweep towards her and around her, parting like the red sea about her body and then raising up behind her to congeal into the form of Richard Ray, his arms already sliding about her and pulling her back against his chest.

“I was,” he murmurs, kissing the top of her head, “As soon as I knew you were out there, little rainbow, I wasn’t going to stop at anything to get you and your mommy home to me.”

He hugs her tightly for a moment, “And you won’t have to go anywhere else, now.”

With a content sigh, she curls trustingly into his arms and under his chin. He pinky-promised that when they were in quarantine, and she believes him — pinky promises are important! "I like bof your colors, Daddy," she tells him. "When yer reg'lar, like now, you gots blue and purple mixed together. An' it looks pretty wif Mummy's blue and green. When you make Birdy, you gotta dark purple…" She leans forward so she can turn and look at him very seriously. "An' purple's my very favoritest color."

“I’m glad to hear it,” Richard smiles, leaning down to bump his nose with hers, “Because, as your mommy will tell you, sometimes I just don’t stop talking.” He winks, leaning back, “I love you, Aurora.”

Both little arms come up around his neck and she wrinkles her little nose and giggles as she rubs noses with him. "I love you too, Daddy."

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