The Price Paid


odessa_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title The Price Paid
Synopsis …was steep.
Date January 14, 2019

Secure Facility, Kansas City, MO

Knock, knock-knock.

Richard’s knuckles rap on the door to the room Odessa’s been assigned, standing outside it in his casual civilian garb — there’re no businesspeople to impress here — and ignoring the guard standing outside said room, since the woman in question is in custody so to speak.

As he waits for an answer he shifts a bit uncertainly, glancing down the hallway. A part of him wonders if she’ll even want to see him, after everything his work had cost her.

As he approaches the door, Richard can hear soft sobbing. With Evie in an appointment, Odessa has stayed within the confines of her room and taken the opportunity to let down her brave façade. The sound of the knock sees her crying subside. Wiping her face with her hands, she gets up from the bed. It's too soon for Evie to be back, she thinks, so it's not a shock to find someone else standing there.

That it's Richard is only somewhat unexpected. "Hey," she breathes out, opening the door wider and stepping aside to let him in. She scrubs the heel of her palm over her face one more time to banish the last few stray tears.

“Hey,” Richard says softly, looking at her for a moment before stepping into the room; reaching to close the door behind them, he turns back once it’s securely shut. “I…”

He bites his lower lip, chewing it for a moment before drawing in a breath, “I’m sorry, Des. I… there’s not— there aren’t words for how fucking sorry I am.”

Odessa makes a quiet hushing sound as she draws Richard in to an embrace. “I know. You’re a good man, Richard. There’s no way you wouldn’t be sorry about what happened. It wasn’t your fault.” There was no way they could have known how disastrously the jump would go. She’d heard from Elisabeth about their past experiences and it was nothing like what they experienced at Sunspot.

“We got them back. That’s what we set out to do.” They brought home the travelers. That doesn’t mean the sacrifice was worthy or unworthy. It happened, and nobody can take it back. Her best chance to save them all unraveled from her very core and disappeared into the fissure in time and space. “Don’t blame yourself.”

Unwilling to make that first move, as she reaches for him, Richard steps in close to welcome that embrace, wrapping his arms around her, fingers brushing over blonde hair— he’ll have to get used to that. “Yeah, well, too late,” he murmurs, tilting his brow down to rest against hers, “I do anyway. If I’d known the price, I— would’ve found another way.”

Would he? Even he’s not sure if he’d make the sacrifice again, knowing what it was.

“I know,” Odessa whispers again, rubbing her hands over his back. “You would never have asked them to make that connection. But… we all knew there were risks when we came into this. We all knew we had to try.” It doesn’t make it feel any less senseless, but it helps to know that no one came in fully blind.

Except maybe those poor SESA technicians. The Redbird soldiers had little chance to defend against what hit them, too. There’s plenty of heartache to go around.

“Maybe you would have tried something different, and maybe the same thing would have happened. Some things… I don’t know. Some things seem preordained sometimes.” Maybe it gives Odessa a measure of comfort to think that there was nothing she could have done to save her family. Or maybe that’s just part of the denial process.

“I’ve made a career out of stopping the preordained,” Richard observes, his lips pursing slightly, “Although sometimes I wonder, especially lately… anyway.” A grimace, head shaking as he casts off thoughts and worries for the moment. He’s not here to talk about his suspicions about things.

His fingers slide along her neck and shoulder, gathering a lock of her hair and bringing it up; gaze sliding from it to her face, a faint smile as he notes, “You always hated dying your hair anyway, didn’t you?”

Odessa cracks a grin in spite of herself. “I sure as fuck did.” There’s no use in dwelling on the things they can’t change now. Maybe someday an opportunity will present itself to right their past, but this experience has taught here that there is only now. There’s no truly fixing things once they’ve gone wrong.

“I still don’t… I don’t understand what happened. I rewound back to that moment. I should be dead. I felt myself dying.” Odessa shakes her head, her humor having faded. “I suppose my mother saved me.” She grows solemn at that, reaching up to grasp one of Richard’s hands.

“She must have,” Richard admits, fingers clasping hers, bringing her hand up to his lips and kissing her knuckles, “And I owe her for that… wherever she is.” He’s not going to assume she’s dead.

Stranger things have happened. Especially to someone with that ability.

“I saw her there with you on the floor, for a second anyway, things were— crazy. I didn’t even know she was on-site, but I suppose for her it doesn’t matter.”

“No… I suppose it didn’t.” Odessa’s eyes go unfocused as she loses herself to her thoughts for a long moment. Those last moments with Mara are burned into her mind. She squeezes her eyes shut and a tear rolls down one cheek, but she’s back with him in the now again when she opens her eyes.

“I thought it would be… easy to just…” She shakes her head and sniffles softly. “I miss you.” Again, she shakes her head. “Have you met Aurora? She was just itty bitty when I saw her last. It must be a shock.”

Her hand’s released, Richard’s fingers instead brushing to her cheek; thumb catching it and wiping it away. “I miss you too,” he murmurs lowly, hesitating then as if uncertain what to say. Then she changes the subject, and she can see his eyes light up.

“I have,” he admits, “She’s— a wonder of a kid. So strong.”

There’s mixed emotions about the pride on Richard’s face. She’s glad for it, of course, because fathers are supposed to be proud of their children. But it also causes her heart to sink, because it tethers him even more closely to Elisabeth. Rather, it’s a tether that she feels pulls him away from her.

Still, Odessa smiles and nods her head. “That’s great. Really great.” She wipes at her face even in the wake of him doing so. “She’s a sweetheart.”

“Who was that girl that ran to you,” Richard asks, having not deciphered Evie’s identity yet; head cocking a little, brow furrowing, “You seemed to know each other.” Obviously.

His hand brushes her cheek again, gently, his gaze settling on hers with guilt and worry hard to hide.

She’s sure the answer to his question is only about to make the guilt worse. “That’s… That’s Evie. My niece.” The daughter of the other Mateo and Lynette from the opposite end of the portal. “I’ve seen her in my dreams.” Which is to say they’d not met before that moment. Not really. But in any world, she’s that little girl’s Tia Dessa.

“Manuel is her brother. The little boy Eileen took.” Now he she’s met, though she doesn’t expect him to remember her after all these years.

“Oh.” Richard’s expression falls further, indeed, and he gives his head a slight shake, “I… that poor girl, and— wait, who?” His brow knits as he straightens, “Eileen took children? That’s— I don’t think I’ve heard of this before?”

“So I’m not the last to know something for a change,” Odessa quips somewhat mirthlessly. “The Eileen from Lynette’s world took their oldest child. Or… Kazimir did. I didn’t know until recently.” Or she’d have been bargaining for the boy’s return instead of playing messenger for the resurging Vanguard.

“I imagine he’s with his grandfather. Evie will be too, once we’re out of here.” It’s plain that she wishes her situation would be different so she could stay with those kids. “They’re all I have left…”

“Christ,” Richard mutters, a hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose, “What the fuck is with her…” Then he trails off, hand dropping to cover her hand, giving it a squeeze as he looks seriously down to her.

“No they’re not,” he says quietly but firmly, “They’re not.”

“I just mean… Of my family.” Even though she knows what Richard is getting at. She doesn’t quite wave him off, but she nods her head in acquiescence. “I know I’m not alone. Even if it feels like it.” There’s a large hole in her life, after all. It’s hard not to let it consume her.

“Eileen lost the person who mattered most to her in this world. I think the two of us can relate to that better than we’d like to admit to anybody else.” He’s seen what a different version of him did. Hell, this version of him has moved heaven and earth in the name of love. When it twists into revenge… Well, that’s more Odessa’s territory. “The important thing is that he’s safe. But… that’s not the end of it, either. Eileen also took Magnes’ daughter. You might want to make sure he doesn’t burn down New Jersey trying to find her.”

“Oh, Jesus.” Richard closes his eyes, drawing in a slow breath and then exhaling it, “Okay. Okay, we’ll… we’ll deal with that down the line, that’s something we’re going to need to deal with. Okay.” He tips his head forward, brow resting on hers, “And wherever you are, I’ll try and make sure you can see those kids at least occasionally. Okay?”

“Okay,” Odessa parrots back. “Look, I trust you. And look at me, I’m showing faith in the system. Whatever happens now, happens. It’ll turn out.” She doesn’t say it will turn out okay, but one way or another, it will turn out.

“I suppose this means I’ll finally have a proper identity and not some secret identity bullshit from the Institute…” Odessa tips her head to one side, blonde hair spilling over her shoulder. “I’m thinking about adding my mother’s maiden name to honor her.”

“I think she’d like that,” Richard admits, canting his head a little to one side, a single brow lifting, “Which one, though…?” A pause, “Luis? I think Jean-Martin would have liked that, too, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh, I suspect Jean-Martin would tell me I have no right to that name,” Odessa posits without sorrow. “No. Rianna Price’s maiden name…

“…was Mas.”

Blink. Blink. “Really? Huh…” Richard tilts his head, “I never realized you two were— well. I suppose that makes sense, you both did always get in the most damn trouble together.”

“I didn’t either. Not until…” Odessa waves a hand in the air around her head. “Must’ve been the coronal activity. The aurora? Something about the link to my other selves. Destiny has memories of Rianna that I… don’t. Some of them filtered through.” She smiles faintly at that. “I remember my father’s smile and the lullabyes my mother would sing. They’re like vague, distant memories, but…”

But it’s something. Something she didn’t have before.

“I think I’ll just wear it like a second middle name. I’ll still be Odessa Price, but… I’ll know. And now you know too.” She only wishes she’d had the chance to tell Eve. That’s a connection they could have explored together. “It does make sense, doesn’t it?”

“It really does. You both always had the best talent at getting into trouble…” Richard can’t help a bit of a chuckle, shaking his head, “Odessa Mas Price. I like it. And hey…” He brushes a hand down her shoulder, brows lifting, “If the time comes that you need to, like, Witness Protection Program back into society there’s a last name waiting for you to use.”

“That’s something.”

Odessa leans in and brushes her lips over his in a flutter of a kiss. “I love you, Richard Ray. No matter what happens.”

A soft kiss is returned, Richard’s smile softer in its wake. “And I love you too,” he murmurs, “Odessa… Desjardins-Knutson-Lang-Mas-Angier-Luis-Price.”

She probably smacks him for that one immediately thereafter, but the sentiment is still there.

“You forgot Saint-Jacques and Lynwood.”

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