Near Critical Mass


cardinal_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif

Scene Title Near Critical Mass
Synopsis Richard Cardinal comes home to his children and their mother. He has bad news. Almost explosive news.
Date November 20, 2011

Cabin in the Adirondacks

It's been weeks since Richard Cardinal went on a mission that he wasn't sure anyone would return from. Weeks have passed, and this far away from the action… there's been no word.

There might be worries that the worst has come to pass.

One morning, though, a car comes rolling up outside the cabin and parks outside. It's a Mazda that — more than likely — Richard stole from a parking lot somewhere, since it's not a car that she's ever seen before. The door's pushed open and he emerges, straightening to his full height and pushing the door closed before heading for the front door. He's dressed in a pair of worn jeans and a sweatshirt he'd gotten from a Goodwill, still looking pale and tired, sunglasses missing to reveal the dark circles beneath his eyes, lips still healing from where they'd split bloodied in the cold up north.

He looks like hell. But he's alive.

It's not really getting any better from that perspective, from the sound of things. His ears are met with the sound of infant squealing in some sort of fuss. Baby crying is a thing of the norm round here, but probably not what Richard wanted to come back to. Harmony as likely checked the windows once she saw the car run up. If it were someone she got a bad vibe from, they might be in danger of catching a bullet or maybe a particle beam to the chest. Not chances will be taken there, unless someone contacted ahead. But on the inside, Harmony is pacing the cabin doing damage control as she holds and bounces Lily gently against her, who is the source of the crying. The atmosphere is tense, and Harmony is doing well as she can to control her stress right now.

Not about to just burst in, of course, Richard steps up onto the porch with a creak of steps and then brings one hand up to rap on the door twice. His hand falls, and he clears his throat before calling, "It's me."

The door is answered one handed and very briskly yanked open by the blonde, with the crying girl on the other shoulder. Oddly enough, Ricky is not disturbed or joining in on the fit. This is his usual thing, "I saw from window." Harmony sighs, "Hey… sorry I didn't really get a proper welcome back. I've been on diffuse mode all day. She's colic and has been on and off for a week now. I can't really figure out what she wants or is wrong and it's been mega-frustrating. You… look like hell." she frowns at him, "You should get a shower."

Cardinal steps inside, glancing back warily before closing the door behind him and sliding the bolt back into place. He turns back… and listens to the recitation of Harmony's troubles. So real, so normal. "Yeah," he agrees tiredly, staring at her for a moment before stepping forward to reach out, "Give her here for a minute, lemme try."

That's what parenthood has been for Harmony. It's been very normal. She can't even think of the last time she's even fired off an offensive power beam at anyone. Not to say she's out of practice, her deep interest in leaning the quantum physics of wavelengths and such has kept her abreast without forcing her to use them in an attack. It's just been her, doing the mom thing. "Oh please do…" Harmony pleads with a sense of relief in her voice. Richard is just the hero she has been searching for for this. "I'm sure she will calm right down now that you are here to take her." Happily, she holds out the fussy girl, who is like a beet right about now, causing her ruckus. "You're probably hungry, there is stuff food in the fridge from earlier. Just has to be reheated."

As she's offered out, Cardinal reaches out to accept Lili and pull her in, resting her on his shoulder and patting her back gently to reassure her, or burp her, or— well, it just seems like the thing to do. He closes his eyes, leaning down to kiss the side of the baby's head, silent for a long few moments. Instead of answering the words about food or dinner, or hunger, he instead says quietly and without looking up from his daughter, "Liz is dead."

Richard's upset kinda outweighs Lily's problems, and other than that, there is actual contact with daddy. But it's like— whoa… she can maybe sense of feel that coming off of him, and it chokes off her crying. Like she's confused as to why she is even crying in light of that, and baby settles down. Harmony sighs at that little sliver of peace, and the fact she didn't have to flip circles to get it herself. "Unbelievable…" she shakes her head. But what is unbelievable is what Richard actually says to her. Harm ventured to the kitchen to complete a thought she had about getting the food she spoke about, and she gets as far as opening the fridge, before freezing. This right there, takes a little bit to sink in through her blonde head. It has to gilter in through all of the denial. She just stands with the door open. Couple seconds later, she closes it, silently. Still thinking on this, "What?…" she finally says in her denial.

Maybe she just wanted her father! Unlikely, but Cardinal lets himself think so when she stops crying once he's holding her; gently bouncing her there, cradling her tenderly in his arms, a softer side of the man that few ever get to see. He doesn't open his eyes as she asks that, drawing in a slow and unsteady breath before explaining quietly, "Ezekiel, he… did something to Varlane. He started pulling in all the gravity, turning into a black hole. The floor gave way under me, I dropped down…" He swallows once, hard, "They tell me that she leapt right into it to stop it. Guess it worked, too."

Nothing came out, though. Nothing comes out of a black hole.

"No…" Harmony says with conviction of denial, shaking her head, and refusing to believe a word of it, "Richard. No. That's not— That's crazy! Why would she leap into a black hole, that's just— No! A black hole just eats up any matter entering the event horizon is added to the mass. So I mean— if you shoot bullets at a black hole, you just make a slightly more massive, slightly more dangerous black hole. Detonate a nuclear bomb inside the event horizon, and you only make the black hole more massive. Swap those bullets in for lasers and black holes don't care. Within the event horizon, energy and matter are one, and those very same black holes can convert that energy into mass. So all your projectiles and energy weapons inevitably just make it more dangerous. So a body jumping into a black hole wouldn't have any further effect other than make it bigger. Richard, you are joking right? Because— because that's NOT funny!" Harmony starts the long string of jargon and rambling which means that she is starting to get very emotional. She starts to go from rationality, to panic to anger that he might be pulling a prank. Turning around to eye him, "Richard… no. No! You just can't come in and—- NO!" her denial is not working.

"It wasn't… I mean, it was but it wasn't. Varlane was making it, so I guess she figured if she took him out…" Richard grimaces, and he lifts his head— meeting her eyes (Less pupil, more iris than usual, and no sunglasses? Odd, for him…) and saying in pained tones, "Don't you think I wish I wasn't saying this, Harm? I…" He swallows, looking back down at his daughter, "I wish I wasn't."

This is not Harmony under normal conditions. Richard probably went through his own emotional rollorcoaster, and maybe he didn't think Harmony would take it so hard, but she's gone full dramatic right now, which has not happened in a long while. She starts to shed light, beginning at her cheeks and then around her whole body, "No…" she refuses, "No no no! Richard, no!" she's gone into the panic portions, because she knows that WAY worse emotions are coming that she is not sure she can deal with, this— looks like it's getting super dangerous super fast. She HAS to calm down or— well…

Shit. Richard's eyes widen as he realizes what's happening, and then he quickly lunges over to lay Lily down in her crib before stepping over to where Harmony's standing near the fridge — reaching out into light that he'd shy from once upon a time to pull her into an embrace, "Easy. Easy, Harm, just… relax, just breathe. Okay. Just focus, control…"

Harmony is tense. And not that isn't just light, she's hot! She's not so hot that it will cause burning just yet but it's uncomfortable. She does not struggle, but more breaks down in his arms. She was trying to hold it back and hold it together but she cannot dam up the grief that washes over her and she breaks down into sobbing tears. Her pain is translating externally, and explosion is probably growing towards imminent. For her to get to this degree of meltdown, it HAS to be severe. Liz's loss is a very very big deal. "I can't— I can't make it— I never felt this— this helpless and— and— this much PAIN! How can she— not Liz!" Squeezing her blue eyes closed very tightly, Harmony tries to close the floodgates. But she doesn't want to go on? Or she just wants to escape the pain. But… this isn't just her she needs to worry on. Richard; her children are at stake. So she has to find the spirit of strength somewhere, "I'm…trying."

It isn't the worst that Richard Cardinal's felt lately. It's uncomfortably hot but he doesn't let her go; wrapping his arms tightly around her and pulling her against him, one hand brushing down her hair and neck to cradle her head against his shoulder. "I know," he whispers, a heavy lump in his throat and tears wetting his cheeks again, "I know, Harm. Just… think of Ricky, of Lili. Me. Come on. I know it hurts but you can control this, just breathe, Harm…"

Her holding it back and trying to fight how she is feeling is causing her malfunction. She is trying to control something that should not be repressed, and in doing so, her cells are starting to overproduce into dangerous territories. But Richard can feel her going somewhat limp in his arms, her tears hot and dropping onto his shoulder. This news is the straw that destroyed the camel, at the back. And Richard just totally broke her in two. Motherhood, being on the run, and then Liz' demise are just more than she can maintain. "Not…Liz…" she sobs and the blond starts to lose stiffness very quickly. The light is quick to die down as the oxygen to her brain gets lesser, and the stress make her pass out in what is probably something that her body actually needs. This is so much to process.

"Shh. Shh, just rest…" As the light begins to fade, Richard exhales a relieved sigh; shifting to support her weight as she slumps against him, and then he's shifting to pick her up, gathering the blonde up into his arms and carrying her (with a slight limp) towards the bedroom. She can rest while he takes care of the kids for now.

He didn't really need that shower anyway, right?

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