Together At Last


azami_icon.gif lou_icon.gif miguel_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title Together At Last
Synopsis In Detroit, the Cambria family are finally reunited. Lou guides Azami, Miguel, and Raquelle to the hospital Azami will be treated at.
Date July 1, 2019

Detroit Metro Airport

Detroit, Michigan, USA

10:23 am

Forsaking the mundane act of waiting somewhere normal, a dark vehicle sits parked directly on the tarmac, waiting adjacent to a landing gate. A smartly-dressed security guard waits in the shade cast by terminal's presence against the midmorning sun, their arms folded as they wait for a particular plane to taxi down the lanes. According to the schedule, it should be any minute now.

There's few passengers aboard, but the plane holds precious cargo.

The vehicle the security woman leans against is freshly cleaned, inside and out, playing host to another special passenger, another person far from home.

Around the corner of the building, a small jet noses its way into view. Its sides are free from the markings of any usual airlines, stickered only with only the required FAA markings. If its apparent plainness weren't an indicator it might be one they were waiting for, its path leading closer to the gate with the Raytech-branded vehicle just might. Even the ground crew standing by is aware of the anticipation — this meeting long in the making, and some of the story that goes with it.

Lou Marconi, the lone representative of RayTech security out of the New York Safe Zone, leans back against the matte black SUV marked with RayTech's logo, borrowed from the company's Detroit HQ. Utilizing the quiet time and clear signals, she unfolds her arms to draw out a phone and send a couple of texts away. Almost time.

From behind dark sunglasses, she sends the occasional glance up while she waits for the tiny silhouette of a jet plane to appear somewhere in the skies. When it appears her posture straightens and she looks to the crew. No need to tell them to look alive; their headsets ensure they're aware of the incoming aircraft long before Lou spots it. What she does do is rap a knuckle on the tinted glass of the SUV window, alerting the passengers from what they might be doing within.

So once the plane taxis into the awaiting terminal, they're wholly ready. The wheelchair ramp awaits its guest of honor to be hand delivered, per white glove service guidelines.

Nerves are at a level where Raquelle is speaking in Spanish on the phone to the other half of his heart, still far away. Logistics of getting just him and his father here is one thing…and after careful discussion (read: a lot of cussing and foot massages) it was decided that Bolivar and the girls would come later, either right before Raquelle is cleared for the transplant or during recovery.

He is settled in one of those cars, dressed comfortably yet still stylishly for this trip. He wears a fitted pair of dark jeans, black docs with silver laces, a silvery tank under a dark purple blazer and his dark almost auburn hair tousled stylishly with lighter highlights. He idly taps a glossy purple nail against a hard surface.

“I know mi amor, but we are fine. I promise. Just waiting now. Hug the girls and give them kisses for me. Tell BJ that if she can only use my mascara if she runs out of her own and that its not my fault that she puts it on too thickly. Remind Dee that putting her shit under the bed does not count as cleaning.” He is tearing up a bit as he sighs and mmhm and murmurs soft I love yous in that same melodic language.

When the phone call ends he just looks to the man beside him and huffs out a soft sigh. “I prepared 4 wigs for her, and they are in their cases, do you think its enough Papa? I also remembered to bring some fresh slippers and that lotion she likes.” And just like that, he feels 5 or 6 again hoping his mother will like her Mother's Day gift.

Sitting beside Raquelle, Miguel Cambria is a picture of conflicting emotions. His right hand is unknowingly balled into a fist, trembling. He watches the plane making its approach across the tarmac. He belatedly smiles to Raquelle and looks side-long at him. “She's going to be happy to see you, mi pequeño gigante. Everything else will come however it does.” It's easy for him to say, but much harder for him to believe it.

In opposition to the stiffness of his clenched fist, Miguel’s right knee won't stop jittering. He looks out the side window away from the plane, half expecting immigration or police to come tearing in with sirens blaring. He'd worried — dreamed — about so many worst-case scenarios. “We should get out right? Or is it too soon? Or— ” Miguel Cambria is also a picture of anxiety.

In comparison, Azami Cambria's quiet objections over the delicate first-class treatment she's receiving makes it look like she is a paragon of steady, iron nerve. After she's seated and escorted out into the heat, down the winding tracks of the ramp, she stubbornly gestures again that she's okay to make the last few steps of this trip on her own. Repeatedly on the way in to land, she's made the argument she's full of medication to boost her immune system, and that she's appropriately shielded between the gloves and the face mask she wears.

She wants to greet her husband and son with open arms, and on her own two feet.

The moment she sees them, the corners of her eyes crinkle with the widest smile, the paper face mask tugged from the grin she wears. A colorful bandana is worn over her hair, delicately obscuring where coverage has weakened. When Azami clasps her hands together before her, Miguel can see she's thinner than even when he last saw her.

"«Look at you,»" she says as she sees Raquelle, voice filled with pride. "You look just as good as you sounded."

Lingering as the quiet sentinel off to the side, Lou doesn't insert her presence, but she's there closest to the group. Her only movement, a turn of her gaze to give the Cambrias their moment and nod to the waiting other staff. They'll wait as long she needs. As long as it's safe.

But, she does send off a text meant for a man waiting to hear about the reunion on the other side of world.

Raquelle reaches over to grab Miguel’s hand, squeezing it gently and leaning in to kiss the side of Miguel’s head as he speaks softly in Spanish. “She put up with your weird feet, night farts and years apart Papa, and never divorced you. And you have really weird feet Papa, really weird.” He winks. “It will be fine.” Even with all his nerves, doing his best to reassure those around him.

When they exit the vehicle he is holding a bouquet of paper flowers, made by the girls because they were worried about real flowers and when he sees his mother he just takes off running/lunging, smoothly dropping to his knees in front of her to be closer to eye level as he opens his arms to gently hug the woman. With tears in his eyes, he just swallows a sob and takes a deep breath and just hugs.

He had a split second to take in her appearance, and every missing pound and the gloves and mask is like a punch to his gut.

Miguel feels it too, that gut punch. On seeing Azami he immediately regrets everything he'd done, on coming to the US, on whipping up Raquelle into a frenzy to get her here. He'd extended his work visa twice through Yamagato and they'd said no to a third extension in advance. But now, presented with his wife, he worries he's made a huge mistake.

It's that guilt that holds Miguel back. Standing with the car door shielding one side of him, he looks to the Raytech security and then down to the wedding ring that feels so heavy on his hand today. Swallowing down doubt, Miguel makes the slow walk across the tarmac from the car to Azami and Raquelle.

Anata ga kita.1 Miguel says in a hushed tone, shoulders hunching forward and hands clasped behind his back. “Gomennasai,”2 he quickly adds with a dip of his head in deference unlike him.

Miguel stays about a meter from her, as if he's afraid to get any closer. Drugs suppressing his ability be damned.

Seeing her son so emotional to see her makes it hard for Azami to maintain her own composure. Her arms wrap around him gently in return. A quick breath precedes a soft but firm, "I'm fine, I'm fine," which is as much encouragement for her to keep it together as it is for him. She pulls away to look at him with another hidden smile, her eyes shining. Her hand lifts, almost cupping his cheek but she pulls back at the last moment. The gloves, for one, but she's sure neither of them need anything else to potentially make them cry. Then she's off, trying to cheer them both with distractions.

"Koko made kite kureta. Kuukou made! Bikkuri desu yo.3 Talk about first-class treatment. I didn't expect to see you until the hospital, but then they told me." At least it was a pleasant surprise. She looks past him and sees Miguel on approach, the light in her eyes shifting.

They'd spoken, but even then, she wasn't sure he'd be able to make the arrangements to be here today. He had his work … and his guilt. The latter manifesting is a lance of pain across her expression, hardening it. "An'ta,"4 she says soft enough almost an entire note of sound is lost. "Atama wo agete."5 Her brow knits together sternly, and if nothing else, she's grateful for the chance to be able to tell him this to his face. "Shiranakatta yo. Shiru houhou ga nakatta."6

She tries to reach for his language, but comes up short. A mind can only juggle so many tongues at once. Azami stresses, "You didn't know," forcefully as much as kindly. She waves a hand for him to close the distance, insistent. She keeps it outstretched to take his in hers when he comes closer. If there's any negativity she harbors about what's happened, it's buried deep at the moment. "You are my husband. You didn't come all this way just to sit five feet away from me."

She turns back to Raquelle for a moment, nodding at him. "We should keep moving, shouldn't we?" Trying to be conscientious of others' time and efforts and her own health, finally.

Lou continues to pointedly not watch the family interaction, given the moment of intimacy being as private as it is even on the tarmac. There's no rush, not from her. The verbal signal from Azami's side note twists the focus back to the family. A nod to one of the other crewmembers has them bringing over a number of hard-sided luggage cases and tamper-evident taped boxes to load onto the SUV.

"You want to help her in, and we'll get going," says Lou to Raquelle with a short gesture back to the car. The assumptions made of where they're all going to be seated (herself, the driver's seat), the woman begins with a shift of weight to one foot, but then thinks the better of it, taking off the sunglasses and turning back to Azami to add a note in.

"Welcome to the United States, Mrs. Cambria."

Sure it's a little rough on the edges. A little bit like an afterthought, and out of place within the flow of the conversation happening in Japanese.

It takes this long for Miguel to accept that what Azami says is in fact the reality of the situation. This long for him to take a few steps closer to her and take her frail hand. The moment he does his eyes well up with tears, his jaw trembles and face reddens. Blinking back his tears doesn't work and, while silent, they tumble down his cheeks and off his chin.

In spite of himself, Miguel is smiling as best as he can. He is trying to steady himself against the rock that is Azami’s unflappable demeanor, and it's only now that Miguel truly understands just how much he's missed her since they were separated for her protection. Looking to Raquelle, Miguel wipes at his eyes with one hand and smiles just a little brighter. He did it, Miguel realizes. My son really did it.

Neither Miguel nor Raquelle notice the old man in the distance on the tarmac. The same phantom that haunted the Cambria home weeks ago. He's only there for a brief instant, but not even Walter Renautas would intrude on this moment in time. There would be others. There will be a better opportunity to deliver bad news.

Lou sees the old man though. Just for a moment, like a shadow in the corner of her eye. There one moment, gone the next.

There are too many emotions, and for people that know him well would understand why he doesn’t speak or even dare to make a sound as he hugs his mother as delicately as possible and pulls back when it is appropriate. That creeping fear about his ability, the self conscious twitch of trying to figure out if he’s using it or not. If he’s leaking his own emotions. He does smile though, ducking his head almost sheepishly, before pushing himself back up to his full height. Raquelle isn’t quite a mess, but he is teary eyed but damnit he wore his waterproof mascara just for this reason. He swallows hard though, taking a deep breath.

Then that conversation between his parents almost makes him lose it again. “I told him he was being a dumbass.” Is his Amen to Azami’s sentimental words to her husband. “Okay, I didn’t call him a dumbass but I suggested it.” He glances towards Lou and then back to Azami and slips Miguel a pack of tissues. He didn’t have the talk yet, he didn’t have the heart to tell Miguel about his memories and such. Not before such an important event.

As he turns to position himself to walk behind his parents, trying not to break down over the fact that for /most of his life he has never spent much time with BOTH parents in the same place/. There are so many emotional pin pricks in this reunion. “Yep, I’m so glad I didn’t get my ex boyfriend’s name from when I was 19 tattooed on my ass like I originally was. Do you know how awkward it would be when my ass is hanging out of a hospital gown after the procedure stuff to have to answer ‘Who’s Gregory’? Jaysus…” Okay, he didn’t get it because Azami put up with alot of his tattoos but that one was the first she threatened to remove herself when he was sleeping and went into the detail that scared him into believing she probably could. Gregory was an Asshole.

The chatter from Raquelle makes Azami laugh, because she's glad he's at a point in his life where he can admit that would have been a dumbass mistake. It also rings with a little of I told you so.

"It would have made for an interesting conversation topic with your husband, for sure," she teases. His mother figures they had to have tied the knot by now, or she's pressing them to.

Azami's hand barely leaves Miguel's, holding on firmly for every moment she can. Her thumb brushes over his knuckles before she lets go to climb into the vehicle, and she steals a look back at him, waiting for him to sit beside her. The paper flower bouquet is settled into her lap, and she adjusts the folds of them with a softening of her gaze. After she's settled in, she looks up to acknowledge Lou's greeting finally. "Thank you." she says graciously. The wear of the travel is starting to show, and she sounds tired.

She realizes it and her gaze goes to her boy, batting her free hand in Raquelle's direction. "Tell me about the girls," she urges him.

The shadow of the old man out on the tarmac turns Lou's eye, but not the rest of her. Despite invisible hackles prickling, she nonetheless brings no attention to that vision briefly seen in the distant, wobbling, rising heatwaves. But there may be some low-voiced muttering of an old hoodoo ward she'd heard somewhere in her childhood (an equivalent 'not today, Satan'), and quicker movements to get the Cambrias back into the specially cleaned armored vehicle and off to the hospital.

The drive route has no pitstops along the way. Less chances for the boogeyman to catch up, perhaps. But it’s long enough to give Azami a chance to look out the windows and see what’s become of post-war America and the rebuilding of a metropolitan center in Detroit.

It leaves Miguel wondering things as well. Wondering whether bringing a dying woman to a dying nation out of the sentimentality of love was the right choice. But then he is reminded of himself, reminded of her. That the city and the country outside are blurred shapes, while she is always in focus. The small distance between he and Azami is bridged by their hands. His atop hers, tattoos on both of their wrists visible in this configuration. The kanji 愛 for love on Miguel’s wrist and 秋, autumn, on Azami’s wrist; Raquelle’s birth-season.

“We’re going to make this work,” Miguel says, first to her reflection in the window and then more clearly as he turns to look into Azami’s eyes. Right now he isn't sure how, but with his family reunited for the first time in too many years he can't help but feel optimistic.

Then, turning to Raquelle there's a look in Miguel’s eyes that says he's been holding in a question in the way other people hold in a breath; with difficulty. “On your ass?” His tone is flat, playfully so. “Please don't decide to dedicate your love to either of us with a tattoo.”

The subtle reminder about making an honest man of Bolivar is not missed. They have been together for so long, and Raquelle just coughs softly. “Eh, I have a tattoo for my baby already. His is more impressive. There are handcuffs.” He waggles his eyebrows before his hand flutters up to idly straighten Azami’s scarf.

He watches his parents with something of a suspended disbelief, softened by relief as he glances towards Lou and bows his head in quiet appreciation before starting in on giving updates about Diana’s music and BJ’s debate and their height and their PMS and plenty of gushing about the girls as they drive.

Then he just returns Miguel’s look with a quirk of an eyebrow as he slips on a pair of shades and smirks gently. “Too late, but don’t worry. I carry the memory of you both fondly in my heart.” This is Raquelle, so he’s quiet for a moment before he continues. “Gregory was magical in a completely different way.” He laughs and shakes his head before tsking softly. “…man was a goddamn prodigy…” He ducks his head out of swatting range.

Seeing the well-ingrained reaction take flight even in the small space of the car is enough to make Azami chuckle, so all she does is let it happen. Too much more would require energy she doesn't have to spare at the moment, as well. Perhaps not calling attention to the man Raquelle can't seem to forget will help him put him out of mind for now. So she adjusts the bouquet in her lap, making sure it is settled, and looks to Miguel's hand atop hers. Her look turns opaque as she reaches with her other hand to touch the metal bracelet, the shackle bearing the name of the ability that ultimately brought them all here.

It was one hell of a silver lining.

She lets go of it to lean her head on Raquelle's shoulder, able to spare only a glance for the passing scenery before she closes her eyes. It lets her better mask the nausea that's settling in after all the excitement, all the moving. An animated, light-hearted sigh escapes her. "Tsukareta." is the single phrase that comes with it.

What a day, is the meaning she conveys.

She's tired, the words actually say.

At least now she can rest surrounded by the comforts of family. And in a special kind of hope only they can provide.

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