Save Her


bolivar_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title Save Her
Synopsis Raquelle is haunted by the latest series of radio broadcasts dispatched by a frightened and lonely girl. While his fiancee doesn't exactly get it, he does get it, and that proves to be enough.
Date April 22, 2019

NYC Safezone: Cambria-Rodriguez House

There is a challenge to being a shop owner and community organizer, and a father and a survivor and balance that with being a human. Sometimes, the weight he takes on willing weighs heavily on the hairdresser. It is late in the evening, probably night time where Raquelle can be found in what serves as a backyard for their little household. Wearing a comfortable black tshirt and a pair of comfortable sweats, hair toussled and in shades of dark brown and auburn as he is idly scribbling in notebook. He is settled at a rickety patio table, feet bare and his toe nails are glossy dark blue to match his nails.

There's noise when Bolivar comes home from his evening walk and errands, inevitably. Not a lot of barking— his dogs are fastidiously well-trained, you know. But the clattering of short-clipped dog nails, a muttered curse (he is not as well-trained as his dogs are), the jingle of keys. A few mumbled orders for the animals, who then disperse to their proper resting and playing places, as Bolivar engages audibly in his turndown ritual. Removing his shoes (the floor has to be clean for Raquelle's pedicure maintenance), the perennial trenchcoat, the rustling of grocery bags, and then for health's sake, rigidly, always, a cup of water. Beeps and boops as Bolivar takes out his phone to multi-task as he putters in the kitchen. The phone is almost never for talking to other people.

But ten minutes later, and he's out on the patio. Carrying with him a tray. One cup of water, and one cup of tea, sitting side-by side beyond a thing of fruit and home-whipped cream. It's important, you see, that when he brings his fiancee his desserts, it's the kind of dessert that he can lean over and feed his fiancee, because his fiancee is that fuckin' busy, after dinner. "Hey sweetheart," he says. "Don't make me eat this all by myself."

The notebook is filled with random notes, someone has been listning to the shortwave radio broadcasts again and the recordings he has made. Because his nerves need more on them. A roughly sketched map of different areas of the safe alone with various xs in different places.

Raquelle taps the eraser against the notebook, eyes half lidded and he cocks his head to the side at the familar sounds inside, a small smile curving his lips. By the time his fiance exits, he is unfolding his long limbs to stand up and meet him halfway. "Hey Baby." Is the soft greeting as he leans forward and down a bit to greet the other man with a soft kiss. "I was just…" He trails off, staring over at the notebook on the table. Obsessing about a strange young girl he will neber probably meet and cannot save is abit of a mouthful. "Looking over community notes, oh look you made me food come sit how was your day?" He lets all his words flow and rush together as he coughs softly and tucks his pencil behind his ear.

Mm. Bolivar kisses him, but he can tell that his partner's mind is still journeying back from far away. It's journeying back from the notebook, apparently. He chooses to sit down then, on the chair next to Raquelle. He leans over to poke at the propane heater sitting by the rail, make sure that it's blowing enough warmth over them, though Raquelle and his love of short sleeves, beautiful nails, and fitted clothes ever seems to have rendered him generally immune to cold weather. Bolivar in the meantime, of course, was wearing two sweaters under his trenchcoat, wool socks, and still wants to make sure the heat is on high enough. But it's been good practice, no doubt, that he isn't so afraid of the chill against his scars that he locks himself up tight indoors, these days. That life of his before has since sailed.

"What's new?" Bolivar asks, nodding his head at the notepad. He doesn't try to read it, himself. Privacy and such. "The cat thing seemed to go well the other day." UGGGhh cats okay no, Bolivar has his prejudices but he appreciates good work when it's done. Even when cats are involved. "Mrs. Stilinsky down the street said there was a turnout."

Raquelle settles down and tugs his chair closer to Bolivar's, shifting and rolling his shoulders and stretching his legs back out, crossing his ankles. He chuckles softly as the heater comes on, but he does not complain. He just runs a hand over a tattoed arm and sighs softly as he reaches out a finger towards the cream on the fruit. "Mmm, Radio is a pain in the ass. Haunting my dreams and such."

But he has to nod. "I still am not fond of pussy of any kind…but hey. The community loves them and Diana only hates me a little for saying no."

"What's playing on the fuckin' radio?" Bolivar asks. He leans nearer to his husband's chair, glancing over the X's on the notebook just briefly. Then he grasps a strawberry with one hand, dips it in whipped cream, and stuffs it into his own mouth. A rare treat, and one he insists on primarily to make sure that Raquelle gets to practice thinking about something other than survival, rehabilitation. Sometimes, you should take time to enjoy. And Bolivar, while the last likely to practice this in his own life, is willing to do it for his boyfriend. The next piece of creamy fruit is going to go into Raquelle's mouth, airplane style, but not before he has a moment to answer Bolivar's question:

"That's the X's you've been drawing, isn't it?"

"So, there is this girl right…and sometimes she speaks. Talking about her shitty horrible life. How her father smothered her sick brother beacause there wasn't enough of an antidote or something. How she misses her mother and is looking for her mother…" Raquelle trails off, distracted by watching Bolivar consume that strawberry, catching his own bottom lip between his teeth. "Hmm."

He blinks a few times and quickly shakes his head. "So, she talks about…these places in the safe sone she is passing. Like she lives here somewhere and I just. Maybe if I could figure out where…" His lips part to take in the fruity offering as he closes his eyes and shrugs a shoulder.

Bolivar gently, and carefully places the piece of fruit into his lover's mouth, then pauses after to wipe a trace of cream off Raquelle's bottom lip. He thinks about what he just heard. There's this girl. That does sound like a story that's true to the way of things out here. He hasn't been following those broadcasts, although upon reflection, he thinks he's heard people talking about it, unsure of what exactly they're listening to. Murder. "I was hoping that shit was fake," he admits. "Like the— do you remember, back on YouTube. Lonelygirl18? Fifteen?" Bolivar was old even when streaming platforms were young. He was probably born old, and then the burning didn't help. "I'm not trying to dismiss it, I just don't know. Do you have recordings of the recordings?" Curious, suddenly. He goes for a wedge of cantaloupe.

Raquelle reaches out to idly rest a hand on Bolivar's thigh, squeezing gently looking thoughtful. "I was too but this is short band, wave, whatever. You have to be pretty damn deliberate, to broadcast like that. And there was this, tone to her voice. This quality that only comes from pain." He smiles wistfully. "I remember youtube fakers." Nod of his head and then he looks down and back up almost sheepishly. "Yess, I have a recording of some of the latest ones. I mean, I am not a detective but I am so sick of tragedy sneaking up on us."

Thoughtfully, Bolivar nods. He settles his smaller hand over Raquelle's, less gingerly here, in the dark, beside the propane heater than he has been at cake tastings and venue tours. Less like he lucked out, stole something incredible, has to clutch at it, greedily, lest it be taken from him. Here, near their home, Bolivar is considerably more relaxed.

"Not 'fakers,'" he says, even though granted, Bolivar isn't nearly as generous with believing as Raquelle is. "Just performance art. But I take your point." Raquelle knows something of war. They both do. The separation, Eltingville, that's not gone from him yet; that's what had taken Raquelle from him, once before. He will want to listen to those recordings at some point, sooner than later. Curious, even if he's still a touch skeptical too. "What happens when you try to respond to this girl?"

"Performance art." Raquelle repeats with a wrinkle of his nose before leaning closer with a quick of an eyebrow. "Wanna pretend like we are younger than we are and stay up later than we should listening to the radio and pretending to smoke?" He waggles his eyebrows before that question takes him for surprise. He did this for years, sometimes it was his long distance way of sending secret messages to even Bolivar. "You…you think I should?"

There's a beat of hesitation. Between the two of them, Bolivar has always been the more— a lot of things. More selfish, would be the easiest one to say. He prioritizes 'us' over 'them,' more easily than he sees that we are all 'us.' Raquelle has the opposite gift of insight. They rub off on each other, a little; Raquelle hasn't tried yet, and Bolivar, well. He's made enough deductive leaps to recognize that this 'haunting' isn't going to end anytime soon.

"I think you should," he says, finally. "I'll be there with you. We can stay up together. Maybe not tonight, if you have stuff to do tomorrow," and Raquelle is so rarely free of responsibilities, but they also have: wedding shenanigans upcoming. "But we'll make some time for it. Her. Maybe we can get her some help. Or participate in the… auditory experience." Bolivar squeezes Raquelle's hand again, then reaches to abscond with some delicious fruity treats.

Raquelle exhales softly and just shakes his head slowly, lips curve and he finally slips from his chair, unfolding his long limbs and heavy muscles. He just tugs his own chair closer, turning it to face Bolivar. A hand moves to gently cup Bolivar's cheek, a hint of teariness in his eyes and he just gives a small nod. He lets his hand slide futher down to slip back to the nape of his neck before he just leans forward to rest his forehead against Bolivar's.

For somebody who always has something to say, he's just quiet for a few moments before taking a deep breath. "Put this stupid thing they call expressive of what the ell ever…to good use for once, hm?"

"The Suresh Linkage Complex," Bolivar recites, helpfully. Look, sometimes he knows a thing. Especially when that thing was at the root of a civil war, and had caused him grievous bodily harm in the years before that. Somehow, this long path that Bolivar has been through, inextricably connected with his deepest loves and longest hates, has made him a more complex, interesting, and well-educated person. He leans his scarred cheek into Raquelle's hand for a moment, then raises his head when the taller man leans down to forehead-kiss. Raquelle's skin is always so warm and smooth. He is the most beautiful person that Bolivar knows, both inside and out.

"But you and your power have always been useful, babe. Together. You use it for the right reasons, like helping girls that any other old fucker like me would dismiss outta hand." Bolivar's turn to reach up, touch his fiancee's cheek for a moment. Run his brown thumb around the curve of Raquelle's ear. Bolivar closes his eyes for a moment. Squeezes.

Then Bolivar reopens them again. "You should sing her a song," he suggests, with a smile. He straightens. "Music's like your mother tongue. Just a matter of picking which one you mean."

They don't talk about it often. A flashback to a previous conversation, years…so many years ago about Raquelle coming out to the man who is now his fiance. His own reservations he doesn't speak to others about. Except for this smaller man. Who knows why Raquelle tries to hide, and hold back his own emotions so he doesn't accidentally share them with others. Who has curled up and just cried quietly in his lap.

There is a small smile toying at his lips as he sinks to his knees, in front of the other man and nods slowly. Letting his own hand move, to mirror Bolivar's own. "Okay then. A song. Sing a song that matters and can speak louder than words." There is a long pause and a soft chuckle. "What would I do without you?"

Bolivar sniffs, mock arrogance, to hide the melted heart under his scarred visage. "Wither and die," he says gruffly. It's getting colder and colder now, and he thinks if it rains, it will ruin all of Raquelle's lovely notes— send his fiancee into a whole other meltdown. So he touches the other man's elbow with one hand, reaches to pick up the snacks with his other. "Come on.

"I don't know how you're going to save her if you freeze your adorable little Eurasian ass off out here." He looks Raquelle over one last time, studying the younger man's careworn face. With a small smile, he turns back for the sliding doors, pausing only to gesture at the heater with his chin. Inside the house, the dogs are already looking up, their ears tilted toward Raquelle and the promise of his mellifluous voice. Bolivar's right, you know. It's not just the Evolved ability; it's Raquelle.

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