Once Upon A Time


cardinal_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif warren_icon.gif valerie_icon.gif

Scene Title Once Upon A Time…
Synopsis The Ray family - sans their patriarch - for the first time all find themselves in the same place at the same time.
Date October 12th, 2011

Warren Ray's 'Factory'

Once upon a time, Edward Ray abandoned a woman pregnant with his child.

Once upon a time, Edward Ray left his wife and his small child and never looked back.

Once upon a time, Edward Ray left his only acknowledged child to die in a nuclear blast.

Once upon a time, Edward Ray made a promise to watch over his friends’ only son when they died.

If one tallied up the long list of tragedies that one man has left in his wake, the stories of the children who should have been his responsibility would feature prominently. They have survived these stories, each in their own way.

And tonight, with the world poised on the brink, they all come together for the first time.

It’s not until the elevator is moving downward that Richard Cardinal steps out of the shadows, slumping back against the wall and tilting his head back to look upwards; he’s dressed in his usual casual clothes, jeans, that battered old Chicago Air bomber jacket that’s showing more than a few bullet wounds and scuff marks these days, a simple sweatshirt beneath it.

“This feels weird,” he mutters at the ceiling, “This feels so weird, maybe I shouldn’t… ah, fuck it, I’m already almost there.” A glance down at the six pack of Angry Orchard he stole hanging from his hand, “Maybe I should’ve brought a side dish or something. I could still go back—”

Ding! The elevator doors open, and it’s too late for him to duck out on a reunion with what would’ve been his adoptive siblings in another world. A better one.

“We are not telling Joseph about this,” Kaylee cautiously murmurs to her sister as the doors start to slide open in front of them. As they slide open, her arms tighten a little around the Tupperware container that she holds for dear like against her chest. Dressed simply in a thick sweater and jeans. She has her ever present brown jacket on to ward off the cold. One hand releases the container to snag the edge of her maroon scarf and loosen it; pulling a few strands of long blonde hair away from the corner of her mouth.

It doesn’t take long for blue eyes to spy the familiar form of Cardinal, which has a smile spreading across her face. There might be some relief that it is him standing there and not someone else. It’s been awhile since she’s seen him, since they both run very different circles. “You are a hard man to find when you do not want to be found, Richard.” She quips at him as she steps out of the elevator and waits for Valerie to step off, hand blocking the door from shutting.

"We're not telling Joseph what?" Valerie responds with a grin on her lips as she looks up at her big sister. Much older due to time travel (for the both of them). The way she said it shows that she meant it as a joke. They weren't doing anything so what would they tell him! Except, well. She's not entirely sure why Joseph would protest. They were just seeing their family.

The smaller blonde wears a beanie on her head and a thick coat, as well as carries a bag with something. Perhaps one of the side dishes, or candy or cookies. She also has something stuffed into one of her big fuzzy pockets. A paper bag, too small to hold much in the way of foodstuffs.

"Cardinal! Is Warren here already?" How unpredictable if the boys would arrived first. The sisters had been punctual, hadn't they? She checks her watch to make sure, but she's not sure it's entirely on time.

"I don't think he leaves, actually," Cardinal admits, his tone rather wry as he glances down the hallway, "This is his… er, building? Factory? Whatever he calls it. Hopefully he's remembered to shower, he gets a little involved with his projects sometimes and forgets the little things."

Still, it's better than how the man used to be.

There's something almost unsure to the smile he offers the two women, especially the younger of the two, his head tipping in a bit of a nod, "Thanks for— I mean, thanks for coming, both of you. I know things are about to get really… dangerous for a lot of people soon, I just wanted to, I mean…"

One hand lifts, scrubbing at the nape of his neck, "So, uh— Warren should be this way." Turn, march! Down the hallway!

Catching her lower lip in her teeth, Kaylee follows a touch reluctantly — even hesitates before doing so. Both arms go back to holding the Tupperware close, defensive much? Out of all of her new family, Warren is the only one that makes her nervous, still. Despite reassurances, she still remembers when he was of two minds, though the memory is faded. You do not forget that level of crazy easily. It will take some getting used too.

“Of course,” Kaylee offers, forcing a relaxed smile to grace her lips; however, her eyes speak of stress and worry. She even has dark circles from those sleepless nights. The word ‘dangerous’, gets a slight grimace. “We wouldn’t have missed this.” We – as in her and Valerie. She angles a smile down at the younger of the two women. Who knew when — if — the next time they could do this.

Nervous? Not the youngest of the Ray siblings, semi-adopted or otherwise. Valerie looks excited at being out and about again, and not needing to project herself there to do it. It'd been a long time since she got to stretch her legs, and it shows in paleness of her skin and the slowness to her step as she follows. Every movement hurts a little, but she's the last one to complain about it. And she's used to it. She's had little pains her whole life.

"Oh definitely not. I would have made Kaylee get me within range and projected myself if I had to, but then I couldn't enjoy the food." Or the beer? "I'm glad to see all of us together in one place finally." She opens her mouth as if to say something else, but chooses to keep that bit underwraps. Her siblings don't seem to share the affection she does for their father, she's noticed.

But she likes to think Dad would have liked seeing them all together.

Richard Cardinal is correct in his assumption of Warren's rather, well, obsessive state. He rarely leaves, except perhaps to see one Elle Bishop, or called away to clean another mess he made in a past life, or someone's machinations. But tonight he's cleared a large workspace, about the size of a living room, and laid out a long wooden table with a dark blue cloth spread out over it. It's a roughly appropriate size for all of them to sit at, with mismatched office chairs rolled up to the table.

He's went out somewhere and got some catering earlier, mostly some southern food, since it seemed like traditional family food. Mashed potatoes, fried chicken, corn on the cob, biscuits, things like that.

He sits at the far end of the table, wearing a dark blue blazer that matches the table, with a silk golden button up shirt under it. He's reading an old Zoobooks magazine, squinting his eyes in boredom. When they enter, he starts to talk, "Long nose monkeys look a lot like handsome old men. You don't notice until you look into their eyes. They'd sit by the fire, smoking a pipe, and when it's time to have a serious discussion, they'll lower their tiny glasses down, and go, 'We need to talk'."

"Yeah…" Cardinal glances back over his shoulder to the youngest of them, his lips twitching up at one corner, "…me too, Val. Me too."

And then, they're in… the dining room? Well, it's close enough, one suppose, and there's actually food on it that isn't from a fast food joint. Which is better than the shadowman usually manages, if one's being honest.

He's just about to speak when Warren does, and those words give him pause — and then he just laughs, head shaking as he walks along over towards the table. "You know, the lowering of the tiny glasses, the 'we need to talk'? It's actually a lot more intimidating than you'd think," he notes, setting the six back down on the table, "Look. We're all in one place, and nobody's shooting at us."

"It's an Octobermas Miracle."

The interaction between the two men — her brothers— succeeds in teasing out a real smile from the taller blonde woman. Maybe even a contained huff of laughter can be barely heard. Monkeys with tiny glasses. Really? Though instinct has Kaylee tucking her chin down and hiding the real smile in the loops of her scarf; but, she will not able to hide it from her eyes.

“Having someone say ‘We need to talk’…. Rarely means anything good.” She gives both guys a knowing look, brows twitch up in a ‘know what I mean’ look. She has used that phrase many times herself.

Distance is finally closed to the table and the container is set down gentler than needs be, though it looks rather bland in comparison to the fare spread out on the table. Kaylee’s ability is always in play, never shutting off; so, as she pulls the lid off the sugar cookies she baked, she listens to the mental murmurs of the three minds. Not the words, mind you – just the sound, tone, and cadence. Each being as unique as a fingerprint; she studies them. As long as she has her ability, she will always know her siblings – adopted or otherwise — in a crowd.

“It is nice to have a moment — with— family to – to not worry about tomorrow,” Kaylee admits, though she knows so little about that. No doubt, that is all that has been on her mind as of late.
When Valerie spots the food her eyes widen and she immediately hurries (well as fast as she can shuffle at least) over to a table to look closer at it. Actual catering! The Ferry doesn't get to do much in the way of big nice looking meals, but they try. She can't help but beam at her big brother who managed all this for them. She looks around at her siblings with a grin. "Dad used to do that— the wire glasses thing. Not the… 'we have to talk.'" She even does a mockery of his voice when she says it.

Maybe joking about dad isn't the best, but she still can't help but smile. She may have been lied to all her life, but she still loves her dad and thinks he's the only reason she's even alive. As far as she's concerned, her dad knew she would end up here and now.

"I brought berries," she adds, putting down one of the bags that she brought. "They're fresh!" Where she picked them, she won't say. Kendall had helped her get them, likely.

She doesn't add the other bag to the food supply, instead holding onto it. It's far too small for much in the way of food.

"I'm more relaxed than I should be, I always am." Warren states as he allows them to collectively choose their spots. He doesn't seem to care particularly much where anyone sits. "It's difficult to think about what things 'usually' are, what I would 'usually' do. Things like life experiences… they're strange to me."

He turns a page in his Zoobook, looking thoughtful. "When I think back, my mind is a mix of four different sets of memories and experiences, all stitched and folded together, with others cut out. Sometimes I wonder about some of the ones left there, and then I wonder why some others were taken out." He raises his bronze-looking clockwork arm, opening and closing its fingers. "I can remember losing my arm, I talked too much and a grenade exploded. But I can't remember what I was thinking when it happened."

He turns another page. "When I think about who I am now, I feel as if I was born from nothing, like a psychological Frankenstein. The one thing that makes me know that I -am- me, that I've always been a person, that I wasn't just born yesterday, are my feelings for Elle Bishop. Those feelings are like this eternal light in an endless sea of chaos…"

"Make yourself at home." He raises his head from his book and smiles. "I removed anything dangerous, nothing will kill you if you touch it, except pulling that ceiling fan chain." He points up to the chain hanging down from the ceiling fan, above the table. "That will definitely kill you. Don't touch that."

"Oh, I know. Who do you think I was talking about?" A wry look from Cardinal to Valerie's joke, his lips twitching in a faint smile, "I think I gave him a migraine sometimes trying to figure out what my next move would be, even with his ability…"

As he drops down to sit at the table, he leans forward, resting one arm on the table's edge as he listens to Warren for a moment. Then he gives his head a shake, "Does it matter, Warren? What happened. The past, as they say, is prologue - but…"

A deep breath, a glance down the table, then back, "The future is what matters. I mean, I'm not exactly blood to any of you, but… you're the closest damn thing I've got to a family."

That was harder to say than it should've been.
Eyes travel up to the aforementioned chain, brows lifting slightly as she considers that chain. “Why would you ever –” She doesn’t finish that thought, instead, moving to sit across from Cardinal, giving him a look.

“Blood is only ever a thing, Richard,” Kaylee offers after a moment of thought, her gaze thoughtful and not really looking at anyone. “Yes, it ties some of us here, but it is only a thing,” For a telepath, that kind of look could be telling and make people nervous. In this case, however, her thoughts are turned inward. “That is something I learned the hard way. I had a family in 1890… and I did not share a drop of blood with any of them.” She refocuses on him, before giving her other siblings a glance.

“It is going to take time… our father denied us this.” Sorry Valerie, it’s the truth and Kaylee is still a little bitter about it, though she does give her sister an apologetic glance. She seems, for a moment, like there is so much more she wants to say, but she stops herself. “Adopted, blood or not…. You are my family.” There is a firm resolution there, looking across the table to Cardinal.

"Why is there a death chain in his dining room?" Valerie asks very softly, but mostly to herself. It seems like an advisable question. But while Kaylee is bitter, and the young blonde can kind of understand it, she still can't help but disagree. She'd be dead a dozen times over if not for her father. She thinks her father is responsible for her meeting her brothers and sister in the first place.

He'd sent her to New York City saying she'd meet her sister, and even if it took time travel, it did happen.

It just took a long time.

"Speaking of family, I have something for all of you!" she says excitedly, opening up the small bag. She'd asked Kaylee to pick up a few supplies not too long ago, though she'd not said what they were for. She slow walks toward Warren and takes his hand, putting something inside it, before moving over to do the same thing to Kaylee and then Cardinal.

Each of them finds themselves holding a handmade bracelet of twisted and braided colored leather strips. Warren's has alternating silver and blue. Kaylee's yellow and white and Cardinal's black and red.

"I made one for myself too." What she holds up is dark green and light green. "It's so we're always together even when we're not."
"Don't ask too many questions," Cardinal quips, his tone dry, to Valerie's inquiry regarding the death chain.

It's really best not to, when dealing with Warren.

Then there's something being put into his hand, and he looks down, twisting the bracelet of leather around his fingers; expression softening as he looks back up to Valerie. Then back down to the bracelet. "Thank you. This… actually means a lot," he admits, a faint but genuine smile as he looks back up again, "Something to hold onto. Thanks, Val."

Delicate fingers trail over the bracelet, feeling the texture that the knots and braids create. “This is what you wouldn’t let me see?” Kaylee asks with a touch of amusement, sending her an affectionate glance. “These are wonderful, Val.” Amazing how a simple act, can wipe out a bitter mood. Her little sister will not be able to move on to the next person, without giving the telepath a quick half hug.

The bracelet is looped around and settled into place around her thin wrist, a soft smile touching her lips and maybe a sense of pride. Twisting her wrist, to look at the clasp, she catches sight of the long scar on her right arm where it peeks out from under her sleeve. Her smile fades at a thought, fingers barely touching the faded scar. She doesn’t normally notice it.

The arms is lowered, hands folding in her lap. With a lightened tone, “We should eat before it gets cold.”

Warren accepts the bracelet, immediately sliding it on as his eyes gloss over with chrome, which reflects the color of the bracelet as he stares at it. "That's what I expect from my little sister. I'll teach you how to sneak a bomb into the design of a bracelet some time. It's a useful skill to have." He smiles at her, his eyes quickly shifting back to normal.

Then, staring up at the chain as the others get ready to eat, he considers it. "Anywhere can be broken into, if someone's determined enough. But there's one universal fact about every human being on Earth: They all try to turn the light on at some point. So, if they pull that chain, they get a massive electric shock. Anyone who can break into this facility is probably very dangerous, and I can't risk the government getting more of my technology."

"I'd rather sneak a tracking device than a bomb, silly!" Valerie says, obviously disturbed at the idea of blowing up her family. What kind of silly idea would that be. "I made one for dad, too, but…" she trails off as she says that, not pulling that one out. She knows good and well that it's unlikely that she'll ever be able to give it to him. Or that anyone else will, either. She doesn't even bother to pull his out.

But his is different. Kaylee would know she asked for one piece of metal wire to go with the leather. Instead of leather, his was a piece of twisted wire. Like those glasses of his.

"But yeah, that was it. I wanted it to be a surprise and if one sibling knows then it won't be much of a surprise." She slips hers on, holds it up and nods. She'd been careful to make them adjustable. "I do wish I could have met you all earlier. But I'm glad I met you at all."

Thanks to Kaylee. And Hiro. And time travel.

"Let's ease up on the demolitions a bit there, Warren," Cardinal offers in wry tones, reaching out to pull a bottle of beer from the six-pack he'd brought and leaning back a bit, twisting off the cap. "I'm… glad I met you too."

"Maybe he planned for us all to meet, one of these days," he admits, "Maybe in all of his scheming and manipulating, there was— at least a thought for us. To bring us together. I want to hope there was."

"So." He brings the beer up in a salute that shows the bracelet now wrapped around his wrist, a faint smile curving to his lips, "For what it's worth — to family. Ours, fucked up as it is."

Once upon a time, those four abandoned children found each other.

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