Old Dogs, Old Tricks


lynette_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif rafael_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Dogs, Old Tricks
Synopsis Mateo comes home to a new face, but an old problem.
Date April 18, 2018

The Benchmark Center: The Ruiz Apartment

Things have been busy at the Benchmark. The top floor more than usual. But this morning, things seem calm. Lynette isn't downstairs working, though. Instead, she's sitting on their couch, a mug of coffee in hand. Her feet are curled up on the couch next to her as she rests against the arm.

Not unusual.

What is unusual is that there is a young boy sitting on the couch as well. He's taken up the other corner, mimicking Lynette's position right down to the mug in hand. His has milk, but it's a close approximation. The both of them have a book in hand, although the boy's is upsidedown, and his attention flicks to Lynette every few minutes.

While Lynette has not been downstairs, Mateo had. With the plans to set up an intercom system and cameras in the worlds, he had been checking the electric lines and making sure that their set up could handle that must constant use. Some could be battery operated, most would need to be wired. And while he can't work for hire yet, offically, he could do freelance unpaid work that an electrician could verify for the city afterward if there is doubt they are up to code.

He's dressed in his blue flannel, his hair a little ruffled when he finally makes his way back to their living area— cause he'd rolled out of bed fairly early. An early bird, he happens to be.

But when he steps inside, with his mouth opened as if he had been about to say something, his eyes fall on a little boy who—

Looks as if he's trying to mimic Lynette.

Children were not completely unknown in the Benchmark, but it still struck him as unexpected. "Who's this?" he asks suddenly, sounding both curious and surprised all at once.

The door opens and both Lynette and the boy look that way, although only the former smiles when she sees who it is. "«We have a visitor,»" she says, in Spanish. That gesture makes the boy ease back into the sofa, although he still keeps an eye on Mateo. "«Rafael, this is Mateo. Mateo, Rafael.»" Which really doesn't explain who he is, even though it is an answer to the question.

Lynette takes a drink from her coffee before setting the mug down and the book. She gets up, proving that she hasn't done much of anything really, since she's still wearing what she fell asleep in. Plus a robe. She comes over to greet him with a kiss, arms sliding around him. "«How's my wiring? Still good?»" She keeps to the Spanish, probably so Rafael doesn't think they're talking about him in secret.

The fact that she's speaking Spanish tells him one very important thing right away. This kid isn't from here most likely. Not that the Safe Zone doesn't have a strong ethnic mix— it does— but the fact that it's Spanish and the little boy looks like those children he'd used to play for at the other Benchmark…

Did her father send someone up from Mexico? A family? Or…

"«The wiring is good. It should be able to handle the strain. You were right to make sure you had extra breakers.»" That had partially been because of the two of them. The ebb and flow of electricity between the two of them could put strain on the system. Having multiple breakers kept any potential damage limited.

"«Hello, Rafael. Enjoying the milk?»" He asks as he moves to Lynette's side and sits down so to get to a closer level for the boy. Without kneeling down or something.

"«I guess I picked something up,»" Lynette says with a crooked smile. From him, she means. When he sits, she moves closer even though she looks beyond him to the boy.

"«Yes,»" he says, sounding unsure if he should actually speak. He looks between them, tense for a moment. But it passes after a handful of beats. "«It's from a goat.»"

This revelation makes Lynette chuckle, although the sound his muffled against Mateo's shoulder. It's not untrue, but it's amusing all the same, apparently.

Goat milk— yeah that seems about right. The other milk mostly had to get shipped into the Safe Zone from far away, and it often didn't get there in time to be something someone could drink. It was why most people resorted to dried milk, like the old days. It could be used in cooking as well, but didn't require refidgeration. Just water to reconstitute it. It didn't taste the same, though. Not in the least.

"«You picked a few things up,»" Mateo responds, not showing that he might even mean him and this young kid who he doesn't know yet. He looks toward Lynette curiously, before keeping with the Spanish even though part of him wants to switch. "«Looks a little young to be here on his own.»" That would be a round about way of asking if his family were here with him.

That question— the serious one— makes Lynette look up at Mateo, then over at Rafael again. "«Do you think you can sleep now?»" It's a genuine question, to which he could answer either way. But as it shakes out, he agrees to try. So after some shuffling, Rafael ends up laying down on the couch while Lynette brings Mateo into the hallway.

"Carlos found a girl— she'd gotten displaced from here to Mexico. Her power gone haywire. He brought her to Dad, Dad sent her here. She picked up a stray along the way. She didn't want to leave him behind." And Jeremy Rowan has difficulty saying no. At least to some people.

Mateo waits as the young boy lays down, but follows close by as Lynette pulls him into the hall to explain what he's already figuring is a difficult situation. But he hadn't quite expected what he hears, either. "Carlos," he starts, surprised to hear the name of the man who saved his life when he'd been lost in the desert. Who had brought him to the first safehouse, intigrated him into helping the Ferry. The man he considered to have saved his life, on many ways.

Yeah— he liked Carlos. He trusted Carlos. "That sounds like him— still helping people." The war might be over, but some people never changed…

However. She didn't want to leave a kid behind. And apparently neither did her grandpa. "Was he homeless? Alone? An orphan?" They had those in Mexico too, after all. "Is…" he pauses, then tilts his head and looks back at his wife with a quirk to his eyebrow. He doesn't even need to say what's coming to mind.

"Carlos— " Lynette cuts herself off with a sigh. "The girl, Eimi? She's a teleporter. Carlos said that some gang tried to abduct her. And him. And they found him there, kinda roughed up. They were using his power to help take people." Lynette looks out toward the boy, her hands moving to her hips. But then she looks back to Mateo and his eyebrow gets him a light smack on the arm. "No, no it isn't like that," she says on a sigh. "But I don't know what to do with him. I could send him to Brian and Samara, but they don't know Spanish. I wonder if Gillian knows Spanish."

Eimi. Why does that name seem familiar? Mateo tries to think back on it, on teleporter young ladies that may have been mentioned at some point, but he can't quite place it. But he feels like he should remember something, all the same. Not the kind of memory that makes his the soft sound of tires running over rain covered blacktop change, though. No it still sounds like that for the moment.

"The Cartels were using him?" he gathers from what he's heard, remembering the attacks on the Benchmark. None of them had ever involved other Evolved, but that didn't mean they did not eventually get their hands on some who they could use. And it did not surprise him at all that someone would use children. Or any Evolved they could get their hands on, for that matter. "He can stay here. The top floor had been intended as a Safe House, after all— but maybe we can involve your friends who work in the government, see if we can get the boy refugee status." If he'd been used by the cartels for his status, it would make for a good argument to make him a refugee.

"It seems so." Lynette looks back to Mateo, her head tilting as she regards him for a long moment. "I'll ask Nicole for help. If anyone can manage it, she can. Then we can see about finding him a more permanent solution. Instead of a dormroom in a rehab center." Her hands move to her hips and she looks down at bare feet, foot tipping onto its edge and back a few times.

"He's a bit skittish. I think adults make him nervous." The reasons why that might be bring a frown to her face. She can imagine. "Maybe one of the counselors can help with that."

"Other kids might help too. But I don't think a lot of them know Spanish." Mateo twists to glance in the direction of where the boy had laid down, a worried expression on his face. "Kaylee has kids." He's heard her talk about them more than once, even seen pictures, cause he asked and showed some interest in her children, cause he had learned from his time with guests at the Benchmark that many who had families loved to show pictures of their babies and grandbabies.

Dead or alive, even.

"Silvia would also be good for that, since— she actually can talk to him." He almost recommends that children's library, but he recalls how much it had pained her to visit it once. "But Nic sounds like a good plan."

"It's going to be a challenge for him." Lynette seems torn on it all, really, as she looks over at the boy. Her arms fold next and she leans back against the wall. "She does," she says to the mention of Kaylee. When she looks back to Mateo, there's an impish look on her face. "Think she'd notice another? We might be able to just slip him in with the others. You've always had this many children, Kaylee."

She might joke, but she doesn't unfold herself. Or even relax. "If she wants to. We'll ask her." A glance goes down the hall toward their daughter's door. "Maybe I'll visit her office. Nicole's." Not Silvia's. Obviously.

"I think she'd notice, yeah," Mateo responds with a laugh, even as he can't help but reach toward her and pull her closer so that he can give her a quick kiss on the lips. Mostly because she looked suddenly adorable with that impish little look on her face. Or because she's folded in on herself, because she seems unable to relax. And he thinks a kiss will do it.

Or at least help along on the long road to relaxation.

"Do you want me to come with you, to Nicole's?"

Lynette looks over at him at his laugh, her smile peeking out at a corner of her lips. Drawing her closer is easy and the kiss is returned warmly. Her arms only unfold in favor of taking hold of the front of his shirt instead. His question has her looking over at him with her head tilted.

"No," she says, first, although she's quick to add, "I mean— yes, of course, I always want you to come with me. And Nicole would love to see you. I just meant… seeing Nicole over all this is the easy part."

"Yeah, that is the easy part," Mateo responds, though it doesn't sound like he's figured out what the hard part would be other than— well— explaining things to the kid. "Has he mentioned where he came from? Anything like that?" Is he old enough to even realize if he had been being used for his ability? It is a difficult situation all around.

"Anything I can do to make that easier? I can talk to him. See if he'll tell me things he won't tell beautiful blonde women." Cause for one, he might relate better with a dashing handsome man who at least looks somewhat like those he'd grown up around.

"Nothing. Dad filled me in on what he knew, but Rafael hasn't wanted to say much of anything at all." Lynette gives him a sideways look at his compliment, but leans in closer to press a kiss to the corner of his lips. "Are you saying," she says when she leans back again, "that I'm difficult to confide in?" The question comes in a teasing tone, with a smile to match.

She glances back toward the couch, though, her expression turning thoughtful. "You're welcome to try. I'm not sure what he thinks about his situation, except that he seems alright being here. Maybe he was moved around a lot? I don't know." She sighs, a deep sound. Regretful.

"What's going to happen to him?"

"The beauty can be a little intimidating sometimes," Mateo teases right back while he grins, leaning into the kiss a little. While she looks toward the couch, his eyes follow and stay there for a while as she regrets what could have been the poor boy's life. And if he'd been used since the moment he manifested—

Sometimes Mateo wonders what would have happened to Silvia if other people had found her once she manifested. Her sand form could slip into almost anywhere. They could have used her to unlock doors, to break into buildings. But it had been him that found her. Carlos and the others who had taken her in.

"I can try. It will depend on if we can get him refugee status. Which might require us to prove the situation he'd been living in."

"I'm not sure we can. Only Eimi's testimony and his own." Lynette's grip on Mateo's shirt tightens, worst case scenarios running through her head. Familiar worst case scenarios. "We can't send him back there," she notes, "whatever happens. I'll try to contact the people left over in Canada, see what we can arrange." Even though this is definitely something she can do, the thought makes her frown.

"Just like the old days," she says in a whisper.

He can see her forcing unpleasant thoughts away before she looks back to him again. "First things first, though, right?" A beat passes before she adds, "You were never intimidated by me in the slightest."

"I wouldn't say never. There was a time or two when I couldn't help but wonder how someone like you could want to be with someone like me," Mateo responds with a gint to his voice as he grins at her, complete with raised eyebrow. Though that, by definition, might be less intimidation and more self-worth issues on his part. He'd done a very good job hiding that most the time. Except for the occassional self-deprecating joke.

He didn't bother with it anymore. She had seen through it all anyway, he was sure.

This whole thing did sound like something she'd gone through many a time, though. That she'd helped young SLC-Es escape from exploitation. "The more things change, right?" he adds, glancing back toward the boy again. He doesn't finish the saying, though, but he doesn't have to.

"That's funny," Lynette says, her voice too soft to sell anyone that she actually thinks this is funny, "I wonder that about you all the time." And it seems that hasn't changed even with the more recent revelations about him. It probably never will. "I guess I'm just lucky."

She looks out at the kid— who has not been successful in falling asleep, so is just curled up at the end of the couch. "I never was very good with the kids," she notes, then she looks back to Mateo. "Go talk to him. I'll call Nicole." She gives him a little pat, even, in that direction, a grin flashing his way before she heads for the bedroom. Without him this time, unfortunately.

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