Morning in the Cathedral Gardens


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Scene Title Morning in the Cathedral Gardens
Synopsis Grace and Minea take three Ferry kids out for a day at the Cathedral. While they rampage through the gardens, the group happens upon Colby, Ariel, and Doyle as well. Kids, adoption, and cathedral tours are discussed.
Date July 14, 2009

Outside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Summer is one of the best seasons for the gardens around St. John's Cathedral, when everything is in verdant leaf. There aren't as many flowers as there were in spring, but there are some; the rose garden in particular features everything from white through red to orange and gold. Most of the shrubbery looks like it's been recently trimmed into shape; the lines are crisp and clean. The sculptures — from the grand Peace Statue and its fountain to smaller works of art tucked in nooks, crannies, and around corners — have baked dry under the influence of morning sunlight, now dappled by alternating splotches of sun and tree-cast shade.

The relative quiet of the gardens is broken by the pounding of small feet on concrete, the laughter of three children racing headlong down a garden path. Sheets of crayon-smeared paper crinkle and snap as they dodge around bushes and one another, the inscriptions and patterns that were being copied left somewhere far behind. One of the three has a handful of streamers knotted around her wrist, paper ribbons looking more than a little tattered.

Grace follows behind them at a much more sedate pace, a brown paper bag held idly in one hand. Her expression is distantly tolerant; children are not her forte, really, though she has nothing against them. Fortunately, she just has to keep them from managing to hurt themselves — or anyone else. It could be worse; blue eyes flick sidelong to Minea. She could be doing this alone.

How, exactly, does one walk into a church — even one with a counseling center — and explain that you're being hunted by the government and a secretive conspiracy at the same time due to your abilities, and are wondering if maybe they could help a little? It seemed like such a simple concept at first, but every step past the threshold of the Cathedral's property line made it seem less so… which is why Eric Doyle's just touring the gardens instead.

Deep down, he's always been something of a coward when he's not the one holding the strings. This time, seizing them won't get him what he needs, either.

The out-of-shape puppeteer is wearing a Yankees ball cap, and a button-down white shirt over a black tee, the sleeves of the latter rolled up due to the temperature of summer that's beating down upon him. At the laughter of children, he pauses beside a tree, turning a bit to watch them racing past as a faint but honest smile curves to his lips, watching them in a brief and unguarded moment of wistfulness. There was a time he made children laugh like that. A time long ago.

It's a change of pace from safehouse walls. Minea doesn't chase after the children, carrying a backpack filled with juice and snacks, changes of clothes, there's even a stuffed lion tucked under her arm. This is a far cry from what the former Company agent normally carries. She's made a concession with the children today. All guns were left at home. The call to the Village and the asking of her assistance was a surprise and so here she is. Tattoos covered up, hat on and helping corral some kids while they get a break from being the children of … well Minea doesn't really know. "Thanks for getting me out of there. I'm getting stir crazy. They're not even having me make stuff. You think they'd be having me make stuff. Josephine! Careful!" She calls out to one of the kids as they careen off a piece of stone. Doyle so far isn't seen, or at least not recognized. Yet.

It was rare that either of them could pull away from work at such an early hour, but since their 'decision', it was obvious both loving parties were making the effort to create more time for one another. Colby stands at the edge of a path, rocking forward and back on the balls of her booted feet as she watches over those gathered through the tint of her dark glasses. Her braided hair falls down along a simple, fitted black tee and the beltline of her whitewashed, denim jeans as she waits for her wife where they had already agreed to meet. Was there a better place to enjoy a peaceful afternoon, afterall?

She doesn't feel like she's in a hurry, but Ariel is running just a little bit late to meet her wife at the Cathedral. She, however, cannot move forward once she stands in front of it wearing a pastel yellow dress, skirt blowing in the breeze, with a light green trim dancing around her feet which are adorn with white flats. Ariel pauses to take in the majestic beauty of the structure.

Only someone brushing past her would wake her from her reverie as she moves to the path to meet up with Colby, tapping her lightly on the shoulder and leaning close to kiss her on the cheek. "Sorry I'm late. Session ran a little longer than expected." She doesn't elaborate more than that. She rarely ever does. "Were you waiting long?"

Grace chuckles softly at Minea's remarks. "Easy mark," she replies, in that characteristic broken, harsh voice; her lips tug sideways in a sardonic, faintly teasing smile. "Someone else might've said no, and there's no way I was about to do this alone."

Josephine completely ignores Minea's warning; the seven-year-old brown-haired girl is an old hand at picking out meaningful instructions from all the things adults spout at kids, and that wasn't one. She and her six-year-old brother charge around a corner and — oh, hey, who're you? There's suddenly two women where the kids were going. "Hey, you're not supposed to stand in the middle of the road! You'll get run over. By a train! Or something like that," Josephine declares.

The third girl, dark-haired, perhaps six years old, shyly hangs back, picking at the paper streamers on her wrist. She's closer to Doyle than the other two, though with her attention focused on the other kids and their obstacles the girl may not have noticed this detail.

Seeing that they've stopped and there's other people around, Grace's eyes narrow slightly. She's still watching.

The children are observed by Doyle with a slight, amused smile at their antics — ignoring adults, spouting out seven-year old wisdom at others, the usual behavior of children who haven't yet fallen into the soul-crushing jaws of modern society. "Kids," he chuckles softly under his breath, one hand raising to rub against the stubble'd curve of his meaty jaw and neck, letting it fall a bit to wriggle his fingers in a wave at the nearer girl with a smile flickering to her. He doesn't linger with such a greeting or try to lure her over, though — he's many things, but never a predator of children.

The pair that're escorting them are looked over to then, his smile settled onto his expression in a moment's ease of his nervousness, offering over jovially if a bit awkwardly, "Never listen, do they? God bless 'em. Heh."

"Kids," Minea offers up in a smile. A smile that quickly freezes on her face. Natural-looking to those in the garden with the exception of possibly Ariel. It's her job to read social cues, yes? Minea leans in to murmur something to Grace, not heard by any other but the woman at her side. She knows that man. She's never met him, but she knows him nonetheless and as her brown eyes flicker towards the children and the others, her senses are on alert.

"Someone Company is looking for. Eric Doyle. Can control people like puppets. I don't know which one is this one, there's two of them. One from the group that came back from the future and then, the current one from present day."

Even those dark shades couldn't hide the radiance of Colby's tan features when the kiss at her cheek startles her stony features into a bright smile. "Hello, lovely," she offers sweetly, turning enough to loop an arm gently around Ariel's waist. "No need to apologize, I haven't been here long, mi amor." The scuffle of feet has Colby's attention turning down to the munchkins educating her on the purpose of the walkway.

"Oh! Silly us," Colby offers as she begins to crouch down, pulling up her glasses to let the shades perch atop her head. "Good thing you were looking out for us." She flashes the kids a quick wink before straightening up and taking Ariel's hand, chuckling as she watches her wife even while she makes to step off the path in case some out-of-control locomotive might come blazing through.

Oh! Kids. Ariel smiles as she leans over and looks around. "Trains, you say?" she lets her lover take her hand as she addresses the children. "I don't see any train tracks." she smiles. "But.." she looks both ways, as if seeing who might be listening. "I've heard that a buffalo stampede once came around that corner." she gives a shifty-eyed look, then stands and winks to Colby. "They are so cute." she whispers to her wife, stepping off the path at Colby's lead. "How's your day going so far?" she asks reaching over with her free hand and letting it reach in the underside of Colby's elbow, happy to let herself be led around.

The boy's face crinkles at Ariel's reply. "There aren't any buffalo in New York!" he disagrees — but then they've moved, and the 'train' is free to pass. "Thanks!" Josephine calls, as the pair continue on their way. Another statue distracts them, a small granite gargoyle with an inscription in Gothic-style text. "Hey, what about that one?" "Okay!" Crinkle, crunch, ponder. "But — I already used this paper." "So go get another piece, silly!" "Okay!"

The boy charges back down the path, past Colby and Ariel, beelining for Grace, half-unrolled piece of wax-rubbed paper upheld much as a banner might be.

The dark-haired girl looks obliquely at Doyle, then decides to offer a hesitant smile in return. Now she's the nervous one, spinning and bolting back towards Minea, streamers a tail of pastel colors dancing in her wake. Grasping fingers demand the return of the lion secured beneath the former agent's arm. Gimme, gimme.

Grace glances to Minea, nods once, then looks back at Doyle. Her subtle smile becomes a little more apparent, if still crooked. "Never," she agrees dryly. "One reason I don't have any, myself." Brown paper rustles as she sets down and opens the bag, extracting a fresh roll of white paper for the boy. "Should I keep that one for you?" Grace asks, nodding towards the one he holds.

Yet unaware of the fact that he's been 'made' by the former agent, Doyle can't help but grin, even if briefly, as the shy little girl goes scampering off in a ripple of rustling paper and colour to try and retrieve her stuffed toy from the woman that's bearing it. "Me either," he admits, a little wistfully as he watches the other boy fetching some more of that wax paper to make rubbings on. A shake of his head, and he pulls himself back up to his full height, heavy shoulders rolling forward in a bit of a stretch before he gives the cathedral's nearest door a bit of an uncertain look.

"but I need the lion! Who will protect me!" Minea leans down, keeping the lion firmly under her arm to let the girl tug at it till finally she relents, just enough that a good tug sends the girl tumbling back with her prize and a grin that she managed to wrestle it from an adult. So stroooong. Doyle is watched out of the corner of her eye as she relinquishes crayons for rubbings and Grace doles out more paper. "Sorry about them. Nice day, sun seems to recharge their batteries." Minea offers up to the obviously-in-love pair and to Doyle. "If they get to be too much, let us know."

"Buffalo?" Colby offers, lofting a brow incredulously at her wife, teasing her companion with a little squeeze of her hand. Still, she lifts her palms, cupping the one hand in the crook of her elbow while placing a chaste kiss to the knuckle of the other. She looks aside as one of the children's guardians addresses the group as a whole. "Oh. No need to apologize. Kids'll be kids, yeah?" She looks back to her wife, then. "It was work," she says with a smile that dismisses the conversation, expresses the weight of the day's work, and maintains the peace of the mood all at once. "Some days all I can think about is us quitting our jobs and darting off to some paradise. You know?" The undercover sighs, adding in a soft chuckle before turning to watch the bustling rug-rats with an expression she seems to reserve for kids and her wife alone.

A light blush comes to her cheeks when Colby kisses her hand, and yet Ariel continues the conversation as if it were an everyday occurance, which.. it is. Her own thoughts go back to the electrokinetic that she saw earlier today who clearly didn't have full control over his ability. He was far too nervous though she was able to calm him enough to get through the session, something she was grateful for. This, however, doesn't get expressed to her lover as Colby dismisses her day as well. Doesn't seem like much shop talk gets spoken about in the Martinez household. She leans up against her wife and gives her arm a gentle hug. "You mean we aren't in paradise already?" she teases.

"But he's mine!" It's not a serious complaint on the part of the dark-haired girl, and once she's pried the lion free, she hugs him to her chest. Minea's given a quick smile; now that the girl has her faithful protector back, she can watch Doyle.

The boy blazes past Colby and Ariel yet again to rejoin his sister at the statue. She's already working on a rubbing, humming off-key to herself. He flops down in the dirt beside her and plasters his sheet of paper up on another side.

Grace chuckles under her breath; closes the bag again and straightens. Noticing Doyle's glance towards the cathedral, the woman regards him curiously. "You been on a tour of the cathedral yet?" Option number one…

"Oh, no, I don't— don't mind kids at all, really," Eric flashes a quick, reassuring smile over to Minea that manages not to look too anxious, his head shaking in emphasis to his words, one large hand raising palm open, "They're, they're just fine. Just fine."

The question from the other woman gets a look over, a pause before he admits, "No. I mean, I was thinking about it. The Cathedral, you know, maybe taking the tour. All've that."

"You should give him a tour Grace. I'm sure I can wrangle the kids and keep them occupied." They can't be any worse than facing off with Adam Monroe on a public street.

Or karaoke with Len. Minea keeps an eye on the two rubbers, coming to stand near the lone girl and her lion. "Thinking of some of your own?" This directed to Ariel and Colby. They have the look of a couple together and for the long haul.

Colby narrows her gaze playfully at her wife. "What was I thinking," she says with a growing smile, dipping in to steal a quick, innocent kiss from her wife's lips. Even as she pulls back, lifting a free hand to catch a strange of Ariel's coppery-red hair between her fingers, a soft buzzing sounds from her pocket. She winces and flips open the phone, frowning at whatever is presented across the screen. "Got a hook, love," she leans in to top all the loviness off with an apologetic little kiss to the tip of Ariel's nose.

She looks back to Minea then, offering a quick nod. "That we are. A girl!" Apparently that whole subject still tickles her. "So, keep an eye on here, eh?" She says teasingly, nudging her chin towards Ariel. "Got that? You can't take these ones home," she jests with a last squeeze of the redhead's hand before slipping away. "Stay. Enjoy the day. I'll call you before I head home, hun. Adios." She'd wait only long enough for a reply before keeping her hurry to a stiff pace appropriate for the church atmosphere and slipping out.

The kiss is returned, as she gives a small pout at her wife having to leave. The counselor gives a cute mutter under her breath. "So much for an afternoon together." She turns to Minea as Colby rushes off to whatever is going on. "You'd think I'd be used to it by now. It's what I get for marrying a cop." She shakes her head, red tassles of hair fluttering lightly. She turns in the direction that Colby has left, watching her disappear before turning back with a wistful sigh. "A girl. At least it's what we've decided is best." she acknowledges to Minea before extending her hand. "Ariel Martinez," she introduces.

Grace looks sidelong at Minea, one dark brow rising. "I volunteer, sometimes. I'm not staff; I don't do tours," she informs the woman. There's a sardonic twist to her lips as she returns her attention to Doyle. "They hold tours all the time; nothing too elaborate about it. Couple nice sights. 'Bout the only person I can point you at— " Except not; she knows practically everyone here. "— is Stephen; he's the volunteer coordinator, really, but he'll know when the next tour is scheduled, or how to fit you in one if it's already going."

"Heh. Volunteering always gets you more than you expected," Eric observes with a short little chortle at the interaction between Grace and Minea, chin lifting again to look at Grace as she speaks. A smile flickers briefly to his lips, and he answers easily, "Well, I'll have to look him up, then." He pauses a moment, before saying as if unused to saying it, "Ah. Thanks."

Minea's mistake, maybe not. But she takes the chastising in hand. "Not a Docent. Understood." There's a dip of her head to the retreating Colby before offers her own hand to Ariel. "Minea Stanson. We'e watching over some kids for some friends. Are you pregnant now or adopting?" Not that Ariel looked pregnant.

Ariel's handshake is firm, though somewhat dainty as it's released and she tilts her head curiously, just now tuning in to the other conversation that's going on. She does blush a little at the mention of her being pregnant, shaking her head. "Oh, no. Nothing like that. We're being considered for adoption. And it is nice to meet you, Minea." She nods a greeting to both Grace and Eric, "Maybe I should take the tour sometime, if I can catch a few moments in between crimes to drag Colby along." She smiles.

Grace flicks a hand to one side, dismissing the gratitude. "Least I can do," she replies. "Odds are he's downstairs helping set up the kitchen for tomorrow. They're used to people wandering by; no one'll look twice at you."

"Well, I wish you luck on that. I'm sure you'll make good parents." Minea smiles, but moments later is looking down to the young girl and her lion tugging on her sleeve and pointing to the other two who were bickering over who got to rub the next section first. "And seems like I have to go, pleasure to meet you." And then she's off. "Hey now you two. Josephine went first this last time, so now it's his turn."

Eric's head bobs slightly to Ariel in return greeting, before with a slight, wry smile to Grace he allows, "Still, thanks…" A clearing of his throat, and he gestures in a point of both hands to the side, "Well, I'll go see if I can find him. Thanks. Great kids, whoever's they are." A turn, and the big man walks off, trying to straighten his shoulders again. Well, that wasn't that bad. Maybe he'll see something taking the tour that'll give him a clue where to look!

Watching as the group starts to depart, Ariel gives the two children one more wishful glance as she can imagine a child in her own arms, or holding hands walking through a museum or the grocery store. She smiles, nodding to the three before bringing her arms up and hugging herself as she turns to leave. It was going to be their afternoon, but now it's her afternoon. Perhaps she'll go back to the office and prepare for tomorrow's sessions. She slips out.

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