Is It Real?


lynette_icon.gif sera2_icon.gif

Scene Title Is it Real?
Synopsis Lynette asks a very specific question of Sera. She gets a very {click} answer.
Date June 12

Raytech Industries

Several weeks have passed since the last time Lynette saw Sera. Although, it hasn't been too long since she was here last. Her eyes drift to the spot on the floor where she can still picture Des keeping Mateo alive. Blood pooling, flashlights highlighting the worst of it, security scrambling.

Whoever cleans the floors here probably deserves a bonus.

But, she isn't here to remark on the state of the lobby, only to see the woman who acts as gatekeeper to the rest of the building. To that end, she pivots in the direction of the reception desk. In her hands, she holds a pink box stamped with the logo for Rings of Juniper. It's her new favorite bakery, since her old favorite bakery is in Mexico. Hard to get them to deliver this far. The box is still taped shut, so whatever she's brought is pretty fresh. The smell also confirms this fact.

The soft sound of keys clicking away greets Lynette in the lobby, emanating from the front desk where Raytech’s ostensible secretary sits patiently typing away. Lynette’s presence is met with a brief flick of blue eyes and one hand raised with a single finger up in the air, hold please, and the other hand still typing. She only lowers that finger to slap down on en enter key, and then folds her hands in front of herself. “Aggressive email sent,” Sera remarks in needless explanation of her actions.

Then, as Sera’s attention squares on the box in Lynette’s hands, she leans forward just a bit more with a hunch of her shoulders and a tilt of her chin up so as to nose at the air. “Mnn,” rumbles in the back of her throat, and she regards Lynette down the line of her nose thoughtfully. “Are those for Mr. Ray?” Eyes up from the box to Lynette. “He’s not in right now, vacation.” Arguably not as much, but that’s what’s on his calendar.

Lynette doesn't mind waiting, a hip resting against the desk. The explanation gets a wry chuckle; she always prefers aggressive emails to passive ones herself. When the need arises.

"Actually," she says when Sera's attention turns to the box, "they're for you. I didn't know what you liked, so I got a little of everything." She sets the box down, a finger sliding it a bit toward Sera's side of the desk. "I can promise they're all delicious. I was hoping to bribe you," she adds with a crooked smile. She can be honest about her ulterior motives. "For a moment of your time and indulgence for some odd questions." Still, though, there's a question in her words, in the way her eyebrows lift. There's room for Sera to decline, especially seeing as Lynette doesn't launch into the list of questions she has in mind.

A bubble of laughter slips up from Sera, brows raising and a smile spreading across her face. “Don’t tell security,” she begins, lifting open the lid of the box and raising one inquisitive eyebrow. “But I am highly susceptible to bribes…” Chin up and eyes angled down, Sera regards the boxed donuts down the bridge of her nose, lips pursed and thoughtful as though this choice is important.

Flicking pale eyes up to Lynette, Sera stares wordlessly for a moment, then looks back down to the donuts, then back up to Lynette. “No, but seriously, don’t tell security.” Lynette might have to be more direct with her line of questioning, Sera seems exceptionally flighty today.

"They won't hear about it from me," Lynette says, her smile tilting crooked. Luther will have to work that one out on his own.

"I wondered if you might talk to me about Des' party. Mateo was saying he might have seen something strange and, well. In my experience, the strangest answer tends to be the right one, not the simplest." Lynette softens her smile, if only to make sure Sera knows this isn't accusation, just curiosity. "Do you see them, too? The other… possibilities." The word is careful, because she doesn't want to drop parallel universes on the uninitiated. Not without some prep work, at least.

The twinge of Sera’s brows at the question is subtle, but the repeat twitch after isn't. Slowly, Lynette sees Sera’s demeanor and posture melt. Her high shoulders slack, smile drags down to a more neutral expression, and she does something with her eyes that changes the way her stare lands, making it feel like something between a glare and an inspection. But then, as fast as that facade fell, it's back.

“Um,” Sera awkwardly laughs and threads a lock of blonde hair behind one ear. “That's— ” Sera’s brows raise and lower, “I see the possibilities of you and Mr. Ruiz having a herd of little happy kids!” There's a cheerful, bright smile with the exclamation. “I'm just going out on a limb here, but I think motherhood will look great on you. Like, mother of a swarm of a bunch of tiny Mateos!”

The switch is fast enough that Lynette might miss it on a normal day, but today she's looking for things that are out of the ordinary, so that brief expression gets a twitch of her own at a corner of her lips.

"That is a very thin limb you're going out on," she says in wry humor, "I'm a bit old to start having kids now." Which is a different answer than she would have given a few years ago. "Maybe in another life." She sighs somewhat dramatically, looking off toward the doors. Wistful. Perhaps. But when she looks back to Sera, her gaze is sharper than that. Because the remark wasn't wistful, it was pointed. "Plus, I'm very fond of my figure," she says, her tone easier there, "I hear kids really do a number on you."

Sera huffs a breath and blows an errant lock of blonde hair from her face. “Depends on how many you have,” she admits with a wrinkle of her nose and a secret little ssh gesture with one hand. Quietly, she reaches over to the box from the bakery with an inspecting finger, curling it under the cardboard and lifting it up while maintaining eye contact with Lynette in the way a wary raccoon might when being offered a meal by a human. As Sera’s eyes flick to inspect inside of the box, one of her brows raise slowly and she returns her attention to Lynette.

“You do your homework,” Sera affirms as that brow lowers. “Okay,” she delicately presses the lid shut, sealing her offering for later consumption. “So, what are you getting at here? Mr. Ray’s schedule book? Doctor Sheridan’s notes? Barney’s… uh…” Sera flicks a look to the side, focusing on a point far off. “What— ever— it is that Barney’s do?” Those flitting eyes alight back to Sera, one hand still on the lid of the bakery box. “Guns?

"And how good your personal trainer is, afterwards," Lynette says, her tone wry. But there is a look over Sera, because she didn't miss the subtext. She just doesn't draw attention to it. But when Sera starts to guess at why she might be here, Lynette can't help an incredulous laugh.

"No no, nothing like that," she says, hopefully quickly enough to cut off any more guesses. "It isn't about Raytech at all. It's about you. And Mateo. And… the other Mateos. I know there are some people connected to their other selves, across all those possibilities we didn't reach. And I know that Mateo is one of them. I suspect you are, too." She folds her arms on the desk, glancing around to make sure no one has gotten close enough to hear all this. Except Sera, of course. "He told me about seeing us, a different us, at Des' birthday. Thing is, one of the versions of him is lost in the timelines somewhere. I wondered if you might be able to help us help him."

She gives Sera a helpless look, like she can't help but sound this crazy. There might be some sheepishness about her, but not enough to stop her from asking.

Brows furrowing together, Sera looks up at the security camera pointed at her desk, then back down to the fellow blonde. In lieu of an answer, Sera slides the top of the box open with both hands while making lingering eye contact with Lynette. Then, pointedly, she diverts her eyes from Lynette’s gaze down into the box as she opens it.

Inside is a single shrink wrapped DVD copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, instead of the bakery confections that Lynette knows was in there. Performatively, Sera raises a brow and makes eye contact with Lynette again, closes the lid and opens it again and the contents are normal. She doesn't look away this time as she reaches in and procures herself is of the fresh donuts, bringing it up to her mouth and taking a slow, ponderously chewed bite.

“Cun yuh kuph uh sekrut?” Sera asks with her mouth entirely full of donut, crumbs everywhere.

Lynette doesn't have to follow her gaze to realize she's looking up at the camera. In fact, she resists doing so because there's no better way to draw attention to a moment than having everyone stare at the security camera. Instead, she folds her arms on the desk and watches the box instead. When the lid opens and there's a movie in there, she also resists sudden movements or big gestures of surprise. Instead it's kept to her face. Eye widen, eyebrows lift and she looks up to Sera, obviously impressed. She's seen abilities do a lot of things, but that's new. Impressed and curious— not unlike Alice herself.

"I'm pretty good at keeping secrets, yes," she replies with a crooked smile. It's the Cookie Monster-esque technique. It very nearly gets her to laugh.

The Nite Owl Diner

Red Hook

5:15 pm

Sliding a fork through the innards of her slice of cherry pie, Sera lets out an amused laugh and shakes her head. “Okay, but you have to tell me… what did you do with the five hundred and fifty dollars?” Both brows raise, and Sera leans forward at the table, looking across the booth to Lynette who has her hands nearby to a mug of tea and a piece of buttered toast remaining of what looks like… mostly eaten scrambled eggs.

“And, I'm sorry,” Sera continues, her smile lighting up her face. “This was a television show where you'd get into a taxi, and they'd ask you trivia? You're not making this up?” Sera seems to be as incredulous to this story as Lynette suddenly is about her surroundings.

There's a sense of vertigo, of confusion. There's a dream-like non-linearity to this all, and yet it makes sense. Lynette can't put her finger on it, but it seems logical that they came here for dinner and… Sera’s brow raises, and she lifts the mask of this plausibility just enough to let Lynette see the hem of reality’s skirt, and that something is amiss.

Lynette certainly looks confused as Sera speaks, but it's only partly because of the question. Mostly it's because she can't remember leaving RayTech or coming here or anyone ordering pie. She glances down to her own plate and looks surprised all over again. She rarely eats breakfast. Certainly not at dinnertime. But here she is.

Her first response to all this… is to drink the tea.

"Oh," she says, once Sera clarifies things for her. One thing, at least. "I bought shoes. Christian Louboutins. They were black heels covered in spikes. I got a great deal on them." She follows her words with a rueful sigh. "Those shoes are probably blown to pieces. I hadn't thought about that. If Heller was still around, I would kick him." Not just for the shoes, obviously. Only mostly. "I only wish I was making it up. Do you know how hard it was to get a cab in New York? They didn't even drive toward where I wanted to go, they just drove and dumped me out on a random corner. Awful." Lynette stabs her fork into the last of her eggs. For a moment, it seems like maybe she was just in the mood to stab something, but she eats it a beat later.

One of Sera’s brows kicks up, and she looks down to her cherry pie after taking a bite. “I was never a good student of science,” is a weird response to what Lynette said, but when isn’t a conversation with Sera weird. “Didn’t graduate high school, didn’t get a GED. I got by with a minimum wage job, and then volunteered for some medical experiments when I was younger,” her head tilts to the side, brows furrowed slightly and stare drifting out the window beside them. She stares out to the street, to the fleetingly few number of passing cars and abundance of pedestrian traffic.

“I don’t understand quantum mechanics, is what I’m getting at.” Sera’s blue eyes settle back over on Lynette. “But that’s what I’m told I do. Mateo is a good person,” she segues to without explanation, “Des’ cares about him, more than anyone else I’ve ever seen. It’s… heartening, to see her have family. Someone to be a moral compass.” Sera looks away at that, briefly conspiring with her pie in thoughtful silence before continuing. “I don’t really know how I do what I do. I was learning, studying, practicing. But it’s complicated — to do and more to explain.”

Cutting a piece of pie crust with the side of her fork, Sera looks back up to Lynette. “I don’t normally let people see things as they are. Let people see behind the curtain, so to speak. But for family,” she admits with a raise of her brows, “I’m willing to make exceptions. So, to long-belatedly answer your question…” and to tie her meandering thread of conversation together, “I don’t see the other possibilities at all. I make them.”

"Medical experiments? To do with your ability?" Lynette frowns at this; in her experience, those sorts of experiments were not pleasant or kind in any fashion.

But she doesn't pry further than that, as she knows she wouldn't necessarily appreciate someone digging into the same for her. So, she goes quiet and listens, trying to wrap her mind around it herself. "I'm not too great at it, either, I have to admit," she says with a crooked smile. she's much better with the practical applications of SLC abilities. "So what Mateo saw, this vision of another him and another me. That wasn't you connected to another timeline, that was something you… created for him?"

Obviously, she's doing her best to understand, but it is a bit like the blind leading the blind. Or the blonde leading the blonde, as it were.

“If you can’t tell the difference, does it matter?” Sera asks with a raise of one brow, before putting that cut off piece of pie crust in her mouth. It's possible she realizes the answer isn't a satisfying one, but at the same time it's possible she doesn't much care. But as Sera goes back for the last piece of pie, she stops and looks up to Lynette with momentary thoughtfulness devoid of her usual flighty demeanor.

With a pinch of her brows, she considers the woman across from her for the first time. Then looks back down to her plate. “This is real,” Sera explains, “Point A when we were at Raytech was real. Point C, here.” She scrapes the tip of her fork across the plate to show the through-line to her thought. “But point B?” Sera shrugs, then looks up to Lynette. “That's never mattered for me. The W’s never come up. Who, what, where, why, and how.”

With a tilt of her head to the side, Sera impales the last piece of pie on the end of her fork. “Not that I know how any of that works. It just does.” Those blue eyes wander out to the street again. “When I was with Mateo, dancing, I thought to myself that I wanted him to be as happy as I was in that moment. Feeling free, feeling…” she breathes in through her nose and then exhales the breath as a sigh. “I don't know.”

“I wanted him to see what he wanted to see,” Sera finally settles on as she slides that last piece of pie into her mouth, continuing to talk with her mouth full. “If that makes it real or unreal, I don't rightly know.”

In their periphery the waitress comes over, setting down the table’s check with a politely stated, “No rush, take care of that whenever you're ready.”

Sera eyes the bill, then Lynette. “The bill’s real.”

"That question," Lynette says with a chuckle, "has many different answers." Philosophical conundrums are much more up her alley, but she won't make Sera listen to her pick over it. She doesn't subject very many people to it at all, except Mateo. And he has to endure it; he married her.

Something in what Sera says makes that amusement linger a bit longer, and she seems to be talking to herself when she adds, "What is Point A without Point B?" It's an old question, reframed for the moment. But Sera isn't meant to answer it or even understand it, because she goes on a moment later. "It matters. If it's real or not. Not in the grand scheme of things, but to me. To him. That idea that we always meet, we've been tossing that idea back and forth for some time. The other part, that we always lose each other? We've been back and forth on that, too. Or I have. If it was an attempt to make him happy, well, it was a sweet thought. And I am grateful that you cared to try." Perhaps because of Odessa, but still. It was a kind thought.

Her disappointment stems from the loss of a potential ally in the attempt to save the other otter, as he is sometimes called. But. It doesn't last long, because a thought occurs to her. She lifts her head and blinks in Sera's direction. But the thought is left unspoken, seeing as the waitress comes by. It really isn't the sort of discussion that she need to overhear. She probably overhears enough craziness in her job.

"And you're sticking me with it?" Lynette asks, her smile teasing. "Even after I brought you donuts. I'm hurt."

But she isn't, not really. And even if Sera wasn't sticking her with it, Lynette pulls out enough cash to cover it. And a tip, too. Who knows what the waitress even remembers of them being here.

Sera shrugs both at the mention of point B mattering and sticking Lynette with the bill. She sets her fork down on her plate with a soft clink of metal on ceramic, then watches as Lynette counts out cash and leaves a tip. In that consideration, Sera recalls a point, perhaps a salient one, perhaps not.

“The one thing you can be sure of,” Sera begins to say with a fond smile, “is that nothing in life is ever certain.”

Benchmark Center

Red Hook

10:14 pm

The sound of a car door shutting behind Lynette rouses her from a moment of forgetful cloudiness. Over her shoulder, she can see an old faux-wood panel sided station wagon sputtering off away from the curb, and she's fairly certain Sera was driving. It's only then that Lynette notices she's had a change of clothes from casual to out. Nicer shoes, a good dress, and—

— she has the remainder of a rubber stamp on her hand. It has the image of a cartoon woman with a pitchfork and horns sitting on a heart and says, “little darlings” in a circle around it. She feels as though she's had a drink or two, but the remainder of the night is a foggy haze of pleasant relaxation and stress-free entertainment.

But stranded on the curb outside of Benchmark, Lynette Ruiz can't help but feel something else too.


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