|Stray Cat, Cuckoos, and Cajun|
|What: At the girls' apartment in Gotham, Remy recovers enough to find out who attacked him (and wins Laura over with his coffee).|
Remy isn't sure exactly how much time has passed since he arrived at the girls' apartment. It feels like a lot. He's spent most of it sleeping with one blonde body or another cuddled against him. He has a few memories of waking up and someone spooning food into him, then drifting off again. At some point, he was transferred from the couch to the bed.
That's where he's sprawled out now, having somehow managed to find a position that doesn't put too much strain on his battered body. He's hugging a pillow with one arm and has the other flung far out to the side. Le snooze.
Even with the Cuckoos' assurances about Remy, and the fact that he's injured and out cold, the new presence makes Laura nervous. Too much of an unknown. Can't help it. She's spent a large majority of the time just... watching him with the uneasy sort of nervousness a formerly stray cat shows towards someone new in the house. Not least because He Is On The Bed. And she's finally gotten used to sleeping there instead of... wherever else. Right this second, she's perched crosslegged on a dresser, splitting her attention between her laptop and making sure Remy does not go without his share of wary scowling. It is an important job, you know.
The girls have cheated a little. The price of feeling no pain is the price of feeling very, very sleepy until the body actually isn't feeling the pain. It took them forever to work it out and get the balance right but they're terribly proud of themselves.
Life adjusts to having Remy in the middle of things, they always manage to adjust. They've cleaned and mended his coat, made sure he has clothes, and cooked a good many things. They also bought an ice cream maker. |”Look, Laura,”| Phoebe says, bringing over a bowl. |”Ice cream.”| High in fat, protein, and sugar. And tasty.
Sophie is cleaning the kitchen and putting ice cream away in the freezer. |”I bought steak,”| she reminds Laura. They know this isn't easy on her and are giving her space--as well as other safety like good food--until she's satisfied Remy isn't going to hurt any of them.
Esme is curled up next to Remy, reading a book and sharing it with the others. Laura is welcome to listen in. For Remy, it's just the quiet rise and fall of a background story mingled with the rest of the constant hum of other minds turned down soft enough to let him sleep.
With a snort and a jerk, Remy wakes from his fitful slumber. His arms clutch instinctively, both around the pillow and around Esme. Deep breath. Some of the redness had faded from his face, and his cuts are freshly bandaged. The most profound change comes when he blinks his eyes open. Blink. Blinkblink.
"I can see," he whispers, quietly pleased. It's foggy, but his vision is returning. He cranes his neck to rub his eyes against his shoulder. When he blinks them open again he sees...
...Laura. Scowling at him. They haven't been properly introduced, so her appearance, her choice of perch, they all take him by surprise. It shows. "Uhhh. Bonjour, ladies," he greets them.
It's the way that he starts awake that has Laura eyeing him so uncertainly. She doesn't like that sort of thing at all. But she does, however, like ice cream, which manages to momentarily tear her eyes off Remy and onto the bowl Phoebe's offering, which she takes. "Anya had me try some," she notes informatively. "It's really good," she adds, promptly scarfing at it and watching Remy over the top of her laptop and the bowl simultaneously. Mentioning Anya reminds her that she wanted to share what she learned on that visit. But Laura throwing a girly sleepover is not really in the cards with Remy present. Not even close. After a bit of thought in response to his greeting, she gives him a non-commital "Hi."
|"We can see that!"| Literally, they can see Remy's vision returned through their bond with him. Esme hugs him and kisses his cheek as though he just did something brilliant, echoing the mental embrace from the gestalt.
"Do you want to sit up?" Esme discards her book and sits up to help arrange the pillows.
"Are you hungry?" Phoebe comes over to help.
|"Easy now."| That's both Sophie and the gestalt speaking--she's the only one who shares its voice that way. |"Give the man some room."| She comes over to put some chocolate syrup on Laura's ice cream. All three girls are dressed for home--pajama pants and hoodies, just like any ordinary college-aged girls. Gestalt aside, it's all so normal and simple, down to the broody girl on the dresser.
Remy squints, as if his eyes still pain them. They do, and it's hard to focus on anything more than a few feet away. He releases his pillow, but he continues to lean against Esme. The girls have been a comforting, supportive presence. Literally and figuratively. He winces only once as he struggles into a sitting position, glancing gratefully at Esme partway through the process. "You must be Laura. I'm Remy. Nice to meet you."
He looks a little careworn, but he smiles affectionately at all the attention from the girls. "Some water would be nice," he admits. "And maybe we make some coffee in a lil' bit." Brief moment of panic. "Is dere coffee here?"
Laura spends a bit of time considering Remy's introduction, her spoon in her mouth with the handle kind of hanging out to one side. She is also not sure how she feels, exactly, about all the... affection. Though she's also not sure why, either. Sort it out later. She pulls the spoon from her mouth and returns it to the bowl between her and the keyboard. "So I heard. Yeah, I'm Laura, I suppose." Even on her best days, she sort of struggles with that one. There's a few little clicks as she works the trackpad on the laptop.
The girls actually seem satisfied by this and everything moves on, giving Laura her space.
"Of course we have coffee," Sophie chides. "Just tell us how you want it made." She comes over and trades places with Esme. "May I?" she asks, reaching to put her hand on Remy's cheek. It's easier to know how the blocks are if they have contact. The gestalt might be able to tone them down a little. Less comfort for Remy but also less sleepiness.
Remy's relief is visible. "Black, like my soul," he jokes. As always, he shows complete trust, closing his eyes and baring his still-bandaged cheek for Sophie. At the same time, he reaches out to ruffle the blonde's hair playfully.
When he opens his eyes again, they find their way back to Laura. "You like coffee? I could show you a neat trick if you have some condensed milk. S'de way de Vietnamese make it. Saw it on YouTube."
It's an olive branch, and not a particularly subtle one. Remy's eyebrows lift inquisitively and there's a small smile on his face.
Subtle Olive branches do not really work on Laura. She tends to blatantly miss them, as while a quite smart girl, she is not very well-socialized. Even with Remy's brick-through-a-window offering, Laura peers at him until she gets a gentle prodding from the other girls. Coffee really doesn't do much of anything for her and doesn't taste as nice as it smells, but she nods anyway once she understands the intent and decides it'll make her little family happier. "Okay," she agrees, closing the laptop and unfolding herself off the dresser. Now that she's in motion, she moves not unlike a hunting cat-- smooth, deliberate, graceful. And dangerous, of course, but.
Yes, the gestalt is happy with that development. |"Thank you."|
"We do," Phoebe says. "For making pies." She goes bouncing off to find it.
Sophie is satisfied with her adjustments and laughs as she puts her hair back in place, then curls up to take Esme's spot for now. "We haven't found that person, by the way. But we did find some images of something similar for you to see," she says, putting her head on Remy's shoulder.
Remy gives Sophie a hug and a kiss on her forehead. "Don't worry, p'tit. I get de feelin' dat he find me sooner or later."
Then, still moving a bit gingerly, he hoists himself upright, slithers off the bed, and takes to his feet. He wobbles for his first few seconds, but he maintains his balance and grows steadier as he goes.
The apartment is small. Not far between the bed and the kitchen. Making himself at home, the Cajun rummages around until he comes up with the hardware and software he'll need to improvise this operation. "You want some, too?" he asks the girls as he puts water on to boil.
Laura... well, the best description for her demeanor is that she prowls along after Phoebe and hitches up at the kitchen table to re-deploy the laptop. This is where food is Meant To Be Done. "The snake guy, right?" she asks... well, Sofie, but all three of them of course. She's gotten used to being able to carry conversations around between the three of them.
"Yes, please." Esme isn't quite hovering, she's just... worrying. Okay, and hovering.
"We're afraid that if he can change shape that his thoughts may change enough that we can't find him until we know his mind," Sophie says. She hops up to sit on the far end of the counter. Once Phoebe hands the milk over, she goes to sit with Laura and look over her shoulder--not that it's necessary, but it's fun.
Rather than heading for the coffeepot, Remy has picked out a large carafe, a small wire strainer, and a coffee filter. A very generous dollop of the condensed milk is added to the bottom of the carafe. Then, while the water boils, he pours a few tablespoons of coffee into the paper filter, which is in turn tucked into the strainer and hung over the carafe.
When the water's nice and hot, he pours it little by little over the coffee grounds, giving it time to steep and strain. "De snake guy," he confirms. "If he didn't do dis to me, I never would've believed it myself. Craziest thing I ever see. He do more den just change shape. He disappear. He shoot green energy at me." Remy wiggles his fingertips dramatically.
Laura frowns, but not because of Phoebe-- she quite likes proximity on the Sisters' part. Largely because she considers them... well, her sisters, and she doesn't really have a lot of that sort of thing. "His name might be Trinidad Reyes," she announces absently, like she's reading off the weather tomorrow.
"Laura's a good hunter," Phoebe says proudly, resting her head where she can see the screen. "I didn't even know the internet was so old."
"What did you find?" Sophie snags the hood of Esme's shirt and reels her in for a hug, where she sulks quietly and keeps an eye on Remy... in case he falls apart or something.
As the coffee mixes drop by drop with the condensed milk, a magical thing starts to happen. The heat from the coffee caramelizes some of the sugars in the condensed milk. There's a faint scent of caramel in the air.
Smiling, Remy pours on another dose of hot water. His smile is stifled and replaced with a thoughtful frown. "Trinidad Reyes. Dis sound familiar, but I can't put my finger on it. Freelancer, maybe?"
Laura shrugs a shoulder. Like she'd know. Her old support staff could have found out in minutes, but she wouldn't trade the kitchen for an army of researchers in a lab, thanks. She smiles at Phoebe, because honestly who doesn't like praise? "Not sure, Sofie," she muses, and pokes at her trackpad some more. "Old bulletin board, I guess. Found it in archives. Claims he's a Priest of... Nehebakau?" she sounds it out uncertainly. Egyption is not one of her languages. "Says he's supposed to be able to turn into a snake with two heads and can't die. An Incarnation of the God of the Lifeforce of the Universe." One does not need to look to tell she is rolling her eyes like a pro-level teenager.
|”The name is helpful,”| the gestalt says. Sophie lets Esme go to sniff curiously at the coffee and 'help' by sliding her arm around Remy's waist and leaning on him ever so slightly. Sophie crosses her legs lotus-style and sits there like a statue for a long moment, looking pensive. |”We will look for the name in the world.”| |”It may take a long time.”| |”But we will know.”|
Sophie turns to look at Remy and her eyes are so blue it's as though something is lighting them from behind. The gestalt is full of her quiet anger, the kind that is patient and waits for as long as it must. "We will know," she says quite calmly.
"Dat sound like de guy," Remy confirms, nodding grimly. When the last of the water has drained through, he gives the improvised filter basket a little shakes, then sets it aside in the sink. A long spoon is his next weapon, which his uses to whirl up the hot coffee and the melting condensed milk. As soon as the mixture has blended and taken on a lightly-creamed look, he pours it into five cups. He looks up into Sophie's eyes as he pours the final cup, his anger mirroring hers. "Don't worry. I be ready for him next time, p'tit."
"You're taking me next time," Laura muses quietly as she samples her drink with an appreciative noise. It is possible Remy has won her over with sweet caramel. The musing is not a question, and not really a demand so much as a fact of life. Of them, she is the best at the kill. And clearly they need better than their last encounter.