Up In Harlem



Scene Title Up in Harlem
Synopsis A reunion of brothers and and those thought long lost begins to build an even bigger family.
Date October 11, 2013

East Harlem, New York City

Nestled on the border of East Harlem, an apartment building with brownstone style facade stands decorated with flags of the cultural melting pot of people and their pride in their respective countries. The red, white and blues come in all sorts from United States to Puerto Rico to Cuba to Dominican Republic and so on. Intermingling in the air, hot spiced food odors and the bold bachata and hip hop music. Here, artistic murals splash across the brick with multiple languages and artists' hands shifting the landscape in a reminder of homes away from home. Here, the bustling people seem to do so at a different speed than their neighboring boroughs. The feeling is lively, vibrant, an adventure for the senses.

Here is where one Morris Morrison is said be renting a tiny studio apartment meant for one but occupied with two.

It took time for Ruiz to find the home of Morris Morrison. But at least it was a name he could easily remember. He could not recall what name Elisabeth or Magnes might have decided to go by, but maybe they knew, maybe they could make contact eventually. But here they all are, outside the brownstone style facade poking at the call box.

“It’s me, brother,” Ruiz says into the box, using the term of endearment instead of a name so that he would know, in a way, that he’s sorry he vanished for so long without contact.

Once buzzed in, they got up to the studio apartment door and he, once again, knocked first, though he imagines the man is already near the door with having to buzz them up in the first place.

Lynette is with Ruiz for this endeavor, holding his hand as he gets them buzzed in and all the way up to the door. This is a process, reconnecting with the people he meant to leave behind, and she's made a point to be next to him as often as she can.

Manuel is at home, since she didn't want to overwhelm everyone they meet right away. Of course, she has only some idea of the other her's relationship with Ruiz's friends, but she has been warned that it might get… emotional.

She's ready for it.

She hopes.

Tagging along behind is Des. This is a meeting she’s feeling less assured about, but she isn’t letting that deter her. If she’s going to be here, she’s going to need allies.

No. That’s not fair. Thinking of everyone in terms of allies and foes is an old habit that she finds tough to break, but it’s one she should. Any opportunity to make a friend is a good one, regardless of how badly Des feels she needs them in this place. But she’s braced for a poor reception, having been not quite willing to trust that there’s a world where she isn’t considered… what she’s considered back home.

There's still a closed door that greets the trio though and the sound of muffled voices behind it, “I'm trying to air out babe!” Tone insistent and that can only be Isabelle. Inside the studio apartment there's a fan on for Shaw’s benefit more than hers. Hair tied back and pinned up away from her neck, the woman is eyeing the stove as she drinks from something that totally isn't a flask at all.

She's only dressed in an apron and she's waving a spatula around though it's very clean as if it hasn't been used to help Shaw cook anything. “I don't see why you're so— aren't you brothers!? Y’all got the same things!” Non blood brothers or not, okay.

Clearly unbothered by the fact that they have visitors, Isa makes sure at least that her nipples are covered by the straps of the apron. “We don't have enough food!” Chin strokes, “But I do have a new batch of my moonshine.”

God help them.

"Because! I have to— ow," fires back Shaw, voice and some thudding barely muffled by a wall too thin.

There's no hiding in a space as small as the studio apartment of Morris Morrison and Isa Parker. A straight shot look over the pyrokinetic's (nearly bare) shoulders immediately reveals the long and narrow layout that's barely a bedroom's width wide overall. They can peek at the refrigerator door poking out from behind a screening wall, directly opposite the "kitchen" that's really just a sink with an oven and microwave combination. A small, tripod-legged table serves as an dining and seating corner.

The hardwood veneer flooring transitions abruptly to a dark grey linoleum indicating that portion of the apartment is the living space. There, a loveseat two cushion couch squeezed against the wall separated only by a single bed stand is the available seating. The biggest piece of furniture is the queen-sized bed that dominates the farthest wall, and abuts the apartment's window from which one can overlook the street. Or, whoever from the street can look into, if the sheet that serves as a curtain isn't drawn shut.

The front door gets a light knock as Shaw emerges from the small bathroom. He has to squeeze around the doors that don't exactly swing open widely. But when he does so, he too is dressed in a kitchen apron and thankfully, a pair of cargo shorts. And only that.

But never mind all that exposed skin right now, because suddenly there is Ruiz at his front door. Shaw's eyes widen further as there's basically two ghosts standing beside his 'brother'. The young man's breath catches and he blinks rapidly. First in surprise, then with the wellspring of joyful, overwhelmed tears. Ghosts or not, he's awestruck by seeing familiar faces before him. Shaw just about launches himself towards Ruiz, only not quite successful for it because the doorway is that small, and he catches Izzy in the movement forward.

It's okay. He'll try to grab them all in a tight group hug.

Ruiz is not exactly surprised to hear Isa behind the door as well. It actually makes him smile, knowing what this means. His brother had not been alone. He had had someone who he knew loved him by his side. They had stayed together. It meant he was smiling when the door opened, even as he saw the tears and got drawn into a hug with the entire group.

The emotion that Shaw was able to show is more than he had. Part of him had wanted to cry when he saw both of them. He had cried when he first brought himself to follow and watch Lynette. And not just because she had been crying at the same time.

He’d wanted to cry again when he’d seen her in Mexico. Just as he wanted to when he saw Odessa in that bar.

“No moonshine for us, thank you, Izzy,” he speaks simply. “We can order something in, though.” This is New York. Unlike back home in the house of cedar and pine, there are takeout places close enough the food won’t be cold when it arrives.

“It’s so good to see you two again.” They have a lot of catching up to do.

That’s for sure.

When the door opens, Lynette blinks in surprise.

"Shahid?" Of all the people that could have been waiting on the other side, this was probably the least expected. It takes her a moment to remind herself that this is not the man she knows— the fact that he comes in for a group hug helps. She returns it, even if it is a touch awkward. There's a look behind him, into the apartment.

Lynette's urge to put Ruiz's friends up in better housing gets a little worse with every one of them she meets.

"There's a great Thai place in this neighborhood," she comments, because there's some kind of amazing takeout no matter where you go in this town. And she would appreciate Thai more than moonshine, it's true.

“Moonshine?” Des is uninitiated. Someone might have to talk her out of accepting that hospitality. Or not, depending upon how mischievous they’re feeling. At any rate, she’s pulled in for a group hug she isn’t entirely prepared for. “Oh!” While she’s stiff at first, she eventually returns the affection, understanding what it can mean to another person, even if she isn’t the woman they think she is.

“Hello,” she says quietly, absently smoothing out a wrinkle in her yellow floral sundress. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Holy fuck me! Lynette!” Isa gasps and is pushed forward Shaw to embrace the group, “Odessa! Bitch you owe me. I know you cheated on that last game of charades.” Who the hell knows what she's talking about! The blonde time manipulator is grinned at despite the poke, all in good fun. “Oh come on Ruiz, it's a new batch!” Wandering back inside the pyrokinetic seems intent on keeping her back to the group, suppressing a sniffle so she can go to grab the bottle from a cabinet as well as some glasses.

“Odessa doesn't get a choice!”

Finally turning her eye to reveal eyes glittering with tears and a wide grin, “We were all separated and now look what you fuckers have gone and done.”

Morris Morrison aka Shaw aka the man originally known as Shahid Khan is momentarily busy with hugging seemingly random visitors and crying in his doorway for a good quarter of a minute before he lets them go long enough to take in the fact that they really do exist and it's not all a fever dream induced by Izzy's moonshine.

That doesn't stop him from being surprised, or momentarily speechless, at the sight of the three.

Lynette calling him by his actual name breaks the verbal ice. "You know me," he marvels. "You found her," Shaw says with a turn to Ruiz. "You came back," he levels to Des with a welcome smile.

And speaking of welcomes, he realizes they're all still standing in the cramped doorway, and startles out of his reverie as Izzy moves past him into the studio's tiny kitchenette. "Come! Come in, please." He squeezes himself against the wall, ushering them into the apartment. He pokes his head outside of the door, a habitual check of their hallway, before he shuts and locks it.

They're all bid to sit in any chair or couch or bed available as far as seating goes. Shaw himself fits a spot at the foot of the bed to perch, somewhere where he can see all of them. Fingers spider over to the shelf holding a monitor-sized television where his phone sits, fiddling with the screen so they can call the local Thai place. "Pad Thai at my pad," utters the man amusedly.

The take out place is going to be surprised to get such a big order for a tiny apartment. Or, they'll just assume everyone there's high. Either way.

Why Isa gotta be so stubborn about the moonshine. Ruiz had drank it down in the Hub, sure, but the situation had been different. But he does nod. He’ll partake a little. “I suppose I have to see if it’s any better here than it was back home,” he gives in, before looking over at Lynette with a surprised raise of his brow. She knew Shahid. And from the way she used his name from more than the floor commercials he’d heard about and seen a few times.

“We found each other,” he does correct, because technically he had found her as soon as they arrived. He’d seen her a few times, even, until he couldn’t find her anymore. “Though technically Eve found me and sent me to find her if you want all the technicals. This world’s Eve.” Obviously. Their world’s Eve had been murdered by a sniper, one that had died in the very same mission that he had ended up losing Lynette to.

She’d dreamed of him, saved him from himself, and then proceeded to point him at the one person who would continue to save him. The one person who could keep him from losing himself. “And — Odessa’s a long story we can go over over Thai food.”

"He worked on the house," Lynette says, of Shahid's double. It's a simple explanation, since that house needed a lot of work. And she's well to-do enough to be seen to by the boss. She doesn't seem to know Isa, though, but she still greets her with a warm smile and a hug. Lynette's even good at pretending she's dressed normally through this whole endeavor.

At the notion that they found each other, and Eve's intervention, she looks over at Ruiz, expression softer. What's obvious to the pair is that this Lynette has no issue with people seeing her with emotions, which their Lynette was mostly against. Unless it was anger, she was pretty okay with anger. But this version is softer. Of course, this world is softer.

"Dinner's on me," she says before she looks over to Isa to add, "show me to the phone." The words come with a smile, her tone playful, but also clearly not going to let anyone protest that particular decision.

“I—” Cheated at charades? Yeah, that does sound like something she would probably have done. But how does one cheat without breaking the rules entirely? Des might ask later. For now, she’ll accept that she’s meant to be bewildered by the recognition and, well, Isa being Isa.

She switches tracks and broadens her smile some. “Sure, I’ll have some too.” If she’s going to have to explain her situation, she might like some alcohol to do it. A lot of it, honestly.

“A woman after my own heart.” Grinning over at Lynette as Isa walks her over to the phone to allow her to dial, “Girl you look banging in every universe.” How strange is that statement? They are all.. so different. “I mean I'm sure of it. Brenda wasn't so convinced. I had drank a whole bottle of my moonshine so jury's out on if my recollection is solid. Ain't that a bitch.”

The pyro grins over at Odessa as she grabs cups and leans over a keg to dispense with the moonshine. Passing each person a cup besides.. Lynette who gets an eye from the brunette the woman comes over to stand near Shaw. “So.. what's the fucking story? We have food coming and shit ton of moonshine. Let's party.”

"It's better here," Shaw comments, though he seems to be referring to Isa's moonshine by context. The man still has a dream-like glaze to his gaze, though, a happiness at the reunion of faces as if they're all back from a very long trip. Because, it has been quite a long one.

When Lynette mentions his double having met and worked with her, he arches his brows up in surprise, blinking wide eyes. It doesn't stop the happy, if shy, smile that quirks at the man's mouth corners as he ducks his head. "I hope he did a good job," Shaw utters softly, "or I could fix what's broken if you want." The offer thus stands open.

Being that the only phones in the living space are the mobile phones Shaw and Isa possess, Shaw surrenders his phone into Lynette's hands as she requests for the phone. He won't even ask for it back until she's really done with it. Practically everybody who would call him is here. Or those that would need him for business know how to reach him.

"I like stories. Maybe we can all tell one. That's fair," Shaw says with a glance to the keg and taking a cup of moonshine into his hands. He scoots over in his perch to give Izzy a space, if tight, beside him. Eyes fall upon Des, since Ruiz mentions hers was long, but it's not with any intended pressure for her to be the first.

Once the food arrives, the moonshine broken out, the exchange of stories and laughter and crying carries on until they've finally had enough for the day. And as the farewells are spoken, there's a hanging promise that the party will be continued later on… soon.

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