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[personal profile] wonder_city
Homecoming

Of course I knew what had happened.

Jane had tried her best to cut all the mental ties between us, but she and I were well intertwined. She managed to break most of them, and I managed to break more when I realized what was happening.

But I still woke up on the floor of my "office" with Flori worriedly pressing her cold, wet nose to my cheek and neck. As I painfully pushed myself up to a sitting position, I broke, just fucking broke, crumpled back down onto the floor weeping.

"Rennie," Ruth said, kneeling down at arm's length from me. "Rennie, what can I do?"

I dragged myself to her and clung to her, like I did that day she took me out of the hospital, clutching at her black spandex and just wailing. A piece of me had died, had just stopped being, and it was like someone had cut me open and tore my liver out while I was conscious.

I really can't explain more than that.

Ruth held me, and Flori pressed herself against my back, whining, and life went on around me as the Gold Stars presumably took possession of the ship and did whatever the fuck it is superheroes did when they weren't dying in my head.

I could feel them all, despite the weird protective thing the aliens gave me, and was of course tangled up in Ruth's mind, but she had practice with me doing that. She rubbed my back, and rubbed Flori's ears, and generally just tried to get us both calmed down. I think Sekhmet came to talk to her over my head once—I could feel Sekhmet close by, and I knew she was telling Ruth about Jane. Ruth had, I think, figured it out already from things running through my head. She didn't really react, she just kept projecting her stolid facade at me.

Eventually, I did calm down. I don't know how long it took. I just finally subsided into hiccoughs and shudders.

Ruth said, "What do you need, Rennie?"

I took a deep breath and tried to talk like a grownup, but it still came out pathetic. "I want to go home."

"Okay, baby," Ruth said. "Okay, I'm gonna take you home."

They rustled up an air-secure escape pod or something and put me and Flori in it, and Ruth flew us home. Flori snaked out of her restraints to huddle in my arms the whole trip down.

And then we were on Terra Firma.

Ruth cracked open the pod on the lawn of the house under which my bunker resided. I had pulled most of my shit together on the trip down, and the alien artifact around my neck kept the worst of the city's psychic explosion away from me. While Ruth moved the pod back to the Gold Stars compound, I took my dog for a walk in the well-trimmed grass and through the less-maintained back yard. There were trees, and birds, and a breeze, and just me and Flori (and a crowd of minds, held at a slight distance) walking in the twilight.

It had been years since I felt free air. My bunker had never—well, okay, rarely—felt like a prison to me the way the spaceship had. This was… therapeutic.

Ruth came back, carrying my mama, and that made me cry again. I hadn't touched my mother in thirty years, I think, and here I was, able to hug her because of those fucking aliens.

At least one good thing came from it.

At least one.
good.
thing.

"I've gotta go, Rennie," Ruth said. "There's cleanup to do."

"I know," I said around my mother's embrace. "I know. You'll come back, though? Coffee?"

"You know it, baby," Ruth said. She hesitated, and I reached out for her. She kissed me on the cheek and gave me a quick squeeze before she took off.

"That Ruth," Mama said, and Mama was looking so much older than I remembered the last time we'd talked on video phone—ages ago, more than six months, I know. There was grey in her hair now, and I could swear there wasn't before. "That Ruth," she said again, shaking her greying head.

"I know," I said. "Would you like to come down and have something?" I added, inviting my mother into my house for the first time.

"Are you sure it will be all right?" she said, peering into my face worriedly.

"Please, Mama," I said, stroking my dog's head. "I don't want to be alone right now."

"All right," she said, gathering herself up like she was visiting her sister's house. "Just for a bit, then."






Date: 2014-07-09 05:11 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Ruth! Rennie! MOM! Ending with Moms is awesome.

Date: 2014-07-09 12:56 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Functional family is Important. :)

Date: 2014-07-09 05:34 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I loved seeing Jane Liberty's mother, too.

Date: 2014-07-09 05:54 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
There turned out to be an awful lot of Momness in this volume. I'm not sure how that happened.

Date: 2014-07-09 06:02 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Because Moms are AWESOME

(OT but I swear slightly related, did you see this? https://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/operation-catch-and-release-part-1/ Now that is a mama lioness getting back her cub)

Date: 2014-07-10 01:30 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
Renata can breathe in open air and not explode inside, though she might still implode. And while the enemy might still be on the way, humanity is free again.

Light and dark and motion.

Date: 2014-08-11 02:24 am (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
:) Thank you.

(Am going through the eps for another reason, but figured I'd respond to comments as I went.)

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