Red Dragon Inn
Dreamweaver's Lair => From the Dragon's Mouth => Crash and Burn => Topic started by: Lucy Rogers on January 25, 2013, 09:57:09 AM
Lucy couldn't remember the last time she had felt so nervous just waiting for her sister to show up. It was a blessed relief that the portal to and from Rhy'Din was in such a handy location for her, between the apartment she shared with Steve - her husband, she thought with a secret smile - and S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters where she was currently stationed. It was only a little more out of the way for Liv on the other side, but since Johnny's sister had gone into labor that morning, it worked out well for all involved today. Lucy just hoped her news wasn't going to overshadow the main event - she had two things to tell her twin, neither of which she could be confident of predicting Liv's reaction to.
She'd lived in Brooklyn long enough now to have made herself at home at one of the more local cafes, near to Prospect Park, and this was where she had chosen to meet her sister. Her directions had been pretty clear, and besides, if Liv got lost, all she had to do was call Johnny and panic at him for a couple of minutes before he took a few minutes out of pacing with Reed to rescue her. Lucy sat at her usual table, inside the window looking out, tapping her fingers against the little stack of files she had finally been given access to from S.H.I.E.L.D. records. There was another copy of those same files in a brown paper envelope in her bag, but whether those went back to S.H.I.E.L.D. or were put into the post depended entirely upon Liv.
When the younger Broderick came into view, Lucy laughed aloud. Liv had never been a fan of cold weather, and without Johnny on hand to chase away the chill, she was as muffled up as it was possible to be without becoming nothing more than a perambulatory mass of warm layers with a little pink nose and streaming eyes peeking out from the the middle near the top. She waved to catch Liv's attention, and a few moments later, the twins were engaged in the process of excavating Liv from her coat, hat, gloves, and scarf in order to hug one another warmly.
"God, Livvie, anyone would think you were living in an ice age," Lucy laughed as they sat back down, glad when the owner of the cafe was quick to come over with the teapot and an extra cup.
"It's all right for you, you like winter," Liv complained mildly, wrapped her hands around the fresh cup of tea to warm them properly. She shuddered, shaking off the last of the chills as the sisters exchanged information - the little details of their lives from the last time they had been together, which had been Lucy's wedding to Steve, and a progress report from Johnny on the labor going on in another borough.
"Anyway, I'm glad you wanted to meet up," Liv said finally. "I sort of have a bit of news I didn't want to tell you over the phone, although I don't think it will be much of a surprise. Everyone else seemed to know it was going to happen before I did."
Lucy grinned. "He finally got 'round to it and asked you, did he?" she asked cheerfully, laughing at the groan that rose from Liv. "Seriously, I didn't know he was actually planning to do it. Let me see the ring!"
As Lucy exclaimed happily over the emerald and diamond now decorating her little sister's ring finger, Liv giggled and relayed all the details of the proposal - both of them - and her own brave little public declaration on New Year's Eve. Lucy was delighted with the first, and utterly floored by the last. She never would have thought her shy twin would have it in her to get up on a stage and sing, much less in a crowded nightclub. Evidently Johnny was having the best kind of influence on Liv, and hopefully she was having the same effect on him.
"So have you set a date yet?" she asked curiously, excited about the prospect of another wedding. And relieved, too ... Liv was finally making a family away from her, one she could call her own entirely. Perhaps she didn't need to be quite so worried about one half of her own news now.
Liv shook her head with a soft smile. "No, not yet," she giggled quietly. "Unlike some people, we're actually doing this the proper way. Johnny's got some idea about getting money together so we can buy a house of our own, rather than being reliant on me keeping my job for our living arrangements, and well, we want everyone to be able to come, so that means waiting until Reed and Sue are used to having the baby around, and setting a date that means you and Steve, and Ben and Wanda, and everyone, will be able to get time off for."
"Sweetie, with you in charge, this wedding is going to be epic," Lucy informed her little sister. A small hope had risen as Liv spoke, a hope based entirely around a positive reaction to that niggling other news she had to convey. Family was a big word for them these days. Maybe there was room for it to be bigger, but she wasn't going to make that decision. That one was for Liv.
"So long as it goes smoothly, I don't care how big or small it is," Liv laughed, her eyes scanning the menu in front of her hopefully. Lucy grinned, subsiding for a moment to order for them both - she knew her sister's tastes, and besides, it was always fun to watch Liv do her goldfish impression when she was ridden roughshod over. "I mean, look at yours. It was all last minutes, and Tony Stark showed up!"
To her surprise, Lucy didn't laugh at this. If anything, her sister's expression became guarded behind her half-hearted smile, one hand falling onto the little stack of files as though she'd reminded Lucy of something. Liv frowned in concern, leaning forward. "Lucy, are you all right?"
There was a pause as Lucy considered how to begin. Liv had given her the perfect opening; she just had to make sure she didn't send her sister into shock with what she had to tell.
"Liv ... You know S.H.I.E.L.D. is big, bad, top-secret, right?" she asked, waiting for her sister to nod before moving on. "Well, they're the reason you couldn't find anything on our birth parents when you went looking. I know it sounds crazy, and I didn't believe it at first either, but ... I know who our parents were. I've got the proof right here." Her fingers tapped the files gently. "I know it's taken me a long time to get around to telling you, but I wanted to be sure. I know it hurts you to think about it, and I didn't want to tell you something that would hurt, just for the sake of telling you."
Liv had gone very still, her soft eyes darkening with the pain that always came when either of them mentioned the parents that had abandoned them as infants. That pain had been a huge influence on her life, keeping her shy, small, as out of the spotlight as she could get, assuming that she wasn't worth wasting love on. But she had Johnny now, and slowly, he was teaching her that she was worth loving. She wished he was here right now.
"Do you know ... why they left us?" she ventured in a shaken voice, barely able to glance up as their food was brought over to them, two steaming bowls of soup, with plates of salad to sharpen the taste. "There must have been a good reason, right? If S.H.I.E.L.D. are involved?"
Lucy shook her head sadly. "It's not a good enough reason," she told her sister, gentle but honest. She wasn't going to lie to Liv about this. "It was adultery, pride, and religious conviction."
She drew in a slow breath, and began to carefully unfold the tale she had learned. Of the illicit affair between Howard Stark and Elizabeth Carter; of the wife who had discovered the affair and forced Stark to cut all ties to protect the interests of his son; of the birth that had killed their mother; of the aunt who had been so disgusted with the circumstances of their birth that she had had them left at the church. Of the covert surveillance kept over them by S.H.I.E.L.D. throughout their lives; of the steps Howard Stark had begun to take, to make a place for them in his family life; of the tragedy that had kept them from having that family. And finally, of the brother who didn't yet know he was a big brother, and the great-aunt in England who knew of them, but nothing of their circumstances.
When she was done, she sat quietly, one finger pushing the stack of files over to Liv. "It's all in there," she told her sister gently. "They did paternity tests on us when we were babies, to be certain they had the right kids. I, um ... I haven't let Steve tell Tony any of this yet. It's your decision, Liv. If you say no, then he'll never know."
Liv had no idea what to say. She trusted Lucy above all others, above even Johnny, but this was so much to take in. She knew her sister wouldn't have breathed a word if she'd thought the telling would do more harm than good, if she'd had even a shadow of doubt as to the truth of what she was saying. But to find out the real tragedy of their origins ... it was so much worse than anything she had imagined. She had thought their parents had simply not wanted them; it was somehow more painful to realise that their mother had died giving birth to them, that their father had made the best of a bad situation and had been trying to make amends, only to have that hope crash with him in a faulty plane when they were four years old. She felt her heart lurch with sympathy for the boy their brother had been, left all alone by that loss. At least she and Lucy had always had each other. Tony had had no one.
It took a long time for her to speak, her hand very slowly laying palm flat over the files that now resided beside her. "How will you tell him, if you do?" she asked very softly.
Lucy bit her lip, bending to pull the envelope from her bag. "A copy of all those files are in here," she explained to her sister. "If you decide you're okay with him knowing about us, if you want to have a go at having a big brother, I'll send this to him by courier. And I'll ask Steve to go talk to him. After that, it'll be his decision whether he wants to know us."
"But if he doesn't," Liv mused worriedly, "won't that make things very awkward for you and Steve? I mean, Iron Man is a big part of whatever it is Steve does that you're not allowed to tell me about."
"We'll deal with it, if that's what happens," Lucy told her firmly. "Livvie, this has been hanging over you all your life. Knowing the truth doesn't change that. And I'm not going to tell you my opinion, because I know you'll go along with what I think, regardless of your own feelings. I say this is your decision. Take all the time you need."
"I don't need time." Liv's small jaw had set in a determined line as she spoke. "Family's important, Lucy. Even if he doesn't want to know us, he deserves to know that he's not alone. He's got family. And we don't want his money or his fame or anything like that." She paused, looking down at the envelope for a long moment. "Send it."
Lucy nodded, putting the envelope back into her bag, and a small smile touched her lips. "I'm proud of you for saying that, you know," she told her little sister affectionately. "It's not what I first thought when I found out about all this. But I've come around to the same way of thinking. He has a right, just like we do."
As they came to that mutual agreement, it seemed as though a weight had been lifted from the conversation, and the twins relaxed, settling finally to their meal with an exchange of words that was infinitely familial and unassuming. They knew each other too well to dwell on what had just passed between them. Lucy knew Liv would talk it over with Johnny when she had a chance, and she would confide in Steve herself. For now, there were other things to discuss. As their plates were taken away, she flashed Liv a sweeter smile than usual.
"Actually, I have another bit of news, too," she confessed, feeling the nerves rise up as her hands settled almost protectively against her flat stomach. "But it's, it's definitely good news this time. I hope. I mean, I hope you'll think it's good news."
Liv sat back, one brow arching as she considered her sister, amused by the sight of cool, confident Lucy coming very close to babbling nervously. It was her turn to make a guess. "You're pregnant, aren't you?"
Lucy's jaw dropped. "How did you know that?"
Liv actually smirked. "Sore boobs and low level nausea all day," she informed her sister. "And I know I'm not pregnant, so it had to be you." Her smirk turned to a warm smile, skillfully disguising the jolt of heartache that had come with having her suspicions confirmed. Lucy was married; Lucy was expecting a baby. Lucy wasn't hers anymore. She was Steve's. And though she was happy for her sister, though she had Johnny and would be married to him soon enough, it didn't take away from the fact that slowly but surely the twins were pulling away from each other.
"And you don't mind?" Lucy asked, faint suspicion touching her expression as she studied her sister. There was something off about that smile, but she couldn't quite place it.
"Why would I mind?" Liv declared laughingly, setting her own feelings aside in favor of assuaging her sister's fears. "It's wonderful news, Lucy. Steve's super sperm broke the siege!"
Hearing this from her usually quiet, well-behaved sister, Lucy dissolved into belly-shaking laughter, deeply relieved by Liv's reaction, not just to her pregnancy but to the understanding of their origins, too. It wasn't that she didn't feel the distance between them widening, but Lucy had come to the understanding that it was inevitable sooner than her sister, accepting it more easily with Steve's help. But one thing was absolutely sure; whether they were together or apart, whether their lives were filled with other things or not, whether they welcomed a brother or left him be, Lucy and Liv would always have each other, regardless of what tried to push between them. And no amount of Stark honesty would change that.