Wait, you have a brother?

January 26, 2016:

Caitlin's brother Alex (yes, she has a brother), drops a bombshell on her.

New York, near Tribeca

Characters

NPCs: None

Mentions: Deathstroke, Carol Danvers

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The commute to the BB is usually boring because commuting through New York is almost always boring, unless one takes a train, then it's equal parts boring and terrifying. Today it's boring. For Caitlin, walking towards the BB is starting to have that movie montage feel of just another day going to the office because frankly, the BB looks exactly like every other sky scraper in town, despite what's inside. "Hey there sis." comes the familiar voice of Peabody, "How's tricks?" Relations between them are somewhat… strained. But not overly so. It's hard to hate your adopted brother after all, no matter /what/ he does for a living. Like being a reputed arms dealer.

"Peanut!" Caitlin hits Peabody with about as much subtlety as a freight train, picking him up off the ground in a rib-cracking bearhug. "Ohmygod when did you get into town?" She holds him at arm's length, his toes barely scraping the concrete. "Oh- right. Sorry!" She sets Peabody down and gives him another quick hug. "What are you doing here?" she asks, absently brushing some hair back from her face. Caitlin looks… different. Even for Caitlin. For one, she's wearing jeans and a nice jacket, and actual girl shoes instead of just ratty sneakers. And she's taken to brushing her hair. "I haven't seen you in weeks and you just like, ambush me?" Her eyes narrow suspiciously. "Wait, you aren't in trouble again, are you?" she asks, her tone growing flat. "This isn't a 'if you don't hear from me in three weeks, make some phone calls and delete my browser history' visit, is it?"

Peabody oafs and puts up with the hugging with good grace, though he does pause to smooth his rumpled suit once she's done, and readjust his shoulder rig as well, cause she was all smooshing the gun into his ribs and ow. He rolls his eyes a bit at the pet name. "You know I keep a penthouse here," he says, jerking a thumb vaguely in one direction. "Tribeca? And seriously Red, have you ever known me to need anyone to delete my browser history?" he asks with a wink, "Come on, lets get some coffee and stuff."

"Yeah but you're always on the seedy side of town," Caitlin rebuts, punching his shoulder. "Okay. Coffee!" She fishes for her cell phone and dials a number. "Hi, Sue? I have a family thing— yeah, I'm gonna be a little late for work. Is that okay? Great. Thanks!" She hangs up and slings her phone into her purse (my god, she's carrying a purse), and looks at Peabody. "So, um, what's up?" she asks Peabody, uneasily. "Not that I don't like seeing you but this is kinda unexpected. Is everything all right?"

Peabody blinks, "It's TRIBECA! I'm like a half a block from DiNiro. Christ, you got all kindsa judgey when you moved into your posh digs didn't ya?" Arms dealer doesn't mean poor, in fact quite the opposite. Peabody is /loaded/. Never flashy though, just well kept. "Funny story, no it's not." he reaches out and plucks her phone up from inside her purse and lifts it with two fingers as if he were afraid the phone might bite him. He places something that looks like a buisness card on the phone's screan for a moment and then there's a puff of smoke and an acrid smell. He then nonchalantly tosses it into traffic, "It's gonna be a rough chat, we should have it entirely alone. Come on, I know a place." he lifts a hand and a nondescript SUV pulls up next to them on the side of the street and it's back door opens without prompting.

"I- godDAMNIT!" Caitlin screeches. It's one of maybe a handful of times she's ever sworn in front of him. "Alexander Peabody, you jerk! That— those phones are expensive! That's a Hero-class sPhone! Do you know what the wait time is on those? You owe me a new one!"

She climbs into the back of the SUV in a fine huff, slamming the door hard enough to put some stress on the reinforced joins and interior, and folds her arms angrily across her chest. She scowls at Alexander. "I had a bunch of pictures on there I hadn't backed up, too," she says, looking to be in a fine irritable mood now. "Fine. What do you want?"

Peabody shakes his head and climbs in after her, "Still too trusting." he says flatly, "It has built in back doors for You Know Who to track your whereabouts and listen in on your conversations. What have I told you about that crap? Huh?" he asks, eyeing her, "You only trust family that much and not even them half the time." he climbs in after her and pulls out a phone from the arm rest, it's simple, nondescript, could be any phone ever, uttely ordinary looking, "This one on the other hand is encrypted all to hell and back and no one can get into it but you." he says, handing it to her, "You're welcome." then he holds up the business card like device, "And this holds all of your old phone's storage, soon as it finishes sifting through the files for any trojans or weak points, it will load all the safe information back onto the new phone." he quirks a brow at her, "I'm always looking out for you sis, even when you refuse to." he tosses her the card thing too, "When it beeps just hold it to the phone, transfer will be automatic and one time."

He leans back in his seat and turns his head to look out the window, letting the silence grow for a long moment, "Do you remember our- my, Dad?" he asks. To be fair Wintergreen's been dead for a long while, so the question isn't insane, but it is a bit out of the blue. They're not big on 'history' in the Wintergreen family.

"Uh, it's a StarkPhone? I'm pretty sure the first time someone got outed by one of those, Tony Stark would be a smear on the pavement. When your clientele can bench press schoolbusses you probably don't live long by giving their secrets away. I had to wait months to get one of those. And does this play Angry Birds, or is that locked out for my security?"

Caitlin eyes the ugly, blaise phone and jams it into her purse, running her red hair through her hands hard enough to tug on it. She grows quiet and a bit uneasy.

"Of course I do," she says, a bit uneasily. "I mean, I know it wasn't long, but… I mean after my daddy died, you and him were all I had."

Peabody eyes her, "You assume the person doing the spying isn't Stark himself." he points out flatly, and his expression is dark and hard. Alex is almost always the fun loving big brother, he encouraged her to get into trouble, he played with her despite their age differences, cared for her, always made sure she was taken care of, but there's a side to him few get to see. A dangerous side and a deadly side. His time in the Army, the time he doesnt' talk about, left it's mark on him, and she knows roughly what he does for a living. As good a man as he is, there's a hardness in him like steel and it only comes out when it needs to. It's usually how you know Shit is getting Real.

Her words make the shadows on his dark face grow darker and he looks out the window one more time, "dammit." he whispers softly, a stillness setteling over him, another sign of agitation. Most people fidget when they become ancxious, Peabody stop fidgeting. "Pull over here." he says, tapping the window, and the SUV slows and changes lanes, nesseling up against a curb. He motions for her to get out and exits his own side of the car before walking around towards a building. A wave of his hand sends the SUV away. The building looks for all the world like an ordinary brownstone home, likely housing some family of 2.5 kids complete with goldfish and latest home and gardens throw pillows. He stops at the door and pretends to open it with a key, but really he's holding still while a barely visible lazer dances over his features, mapping them. There's a click and he walks inside, motioning her to follow him, "Close the door, Red."

"Alex, I really hate it when you get all gloomy like that," Caitlin says, uneasily. Superhuman or not, old habits die hard. "Are you feeling all right? I feel like every time I see you, we're gonna get into a fight again and I'm gonna tell you to maybe consider therapy again, and then you're gonna make me cry. I don't like prying into your, y'know, stuff but this whole men-in-suits armored SUV pickup thing is kinda freaking me out!"

She follows him up the steps and goes inside the building, shutting the door firmly behind her until she hears some kind of confirming 'click', and hugs her stomach uneasily. "Why couldn't we talk at my place? Or get actual coffee instead of going… where are we, anyway?" she asks, trying to peer out the blacked-out windows and surprised to realize they offer no real exterior view."

Peabody keeps walking through the living room, which does in face look exactly like a Home and Guardens sort of house, even has that lived in feel, couple of kids toys on the rug, an empty coffee mug resting on the morning paper, but as right as it looks it still feels dead. The air is wrong. Stale maybe. "Because events have forced my hand sis. Come on, before He finds us and decides I'm over stepping my place." the word 'he' comes with a capital H she can hear in the word. He leads he down some stairs into a basement that also looks ordinary, one that's a laundry room and a half assed middle class 'white guy' gym. He steps over to the washer and dryer and turns the knobs this way and that until there's another click sound and they slide apart silently on a well oiled mechanism, revealing stairs that go deeper still. Alex leads the way down these as well, the lighting down here is good, but kinda creepy, slightly flicking flourecent tube bulbs. Two stories down there's a big room, concrete on all sides, a door on either side of it. It's not huge, but it's not cramped either, like a good sized bedroom in a house might be. It holds a table and some chairs, it's into one of these that Peabody finally flops, his hands reaching up to rub at his face, "Okay, so this is about as secure a location as I know of in the city."

"Peanut, you've officially crossed into serious creeper territory," Caitlin says, flatly. "I'm creeped out and if I ever find some distant aunt of yours, I'm telling on you and telling her to grab you by the ear. Because this is creepy. Why the heck do you have a -panic room-?" she demands. "So you sell some stolen Glocks now and then, I mean I'm not wild about it but I mean, c'mon, you're acting like… SHIELD is after you."

There's a beat and she grabs Alex's shoulder with concern. It's a (relatively) gentle motion, but Caitlin's unavoidably strong. "…Alex, is SHIELD after you? Are you in real trouble? Oh my god do I know too much already?!"

Peabody snorts at her words, "SHIELD?" he says with a grin, "They tried to recruit me and I laughed in their faces, sis. Didn't laugh so much when Fury made the offer in person. That guy scares me." he looks like he might say more but doesn't, changes gears instead, "SHIELD wouldn't dare come after me, for starters it's not worth their while, cost to much for to little return, and the risk is to great. I have… allies." he tilts his head then waves it all away, "You're distracting me, this is worse then SHIELD." he points to a chair, "Sit. This shit is hard enough without you asking questions." he rubs his face again, the dark chocolate color of his skin blending in with the shadows when the lightbulbs flicker for just a moment to long. "Okay, so the room and what not isn't important, needless to say I have a dozen holes like this in a dozen or more cities, don't worry about it." he clears his throat again, "Tell me what you remember about Dad."
Caitlin flops her hands in the air but sits onto the chair, which groans protest at her weight. "I don't know! Not a lot," she says with a resigned sigh, folding her arms across her chest. "I mean how often did we see each other? A couple times in Iowa? That trip I took here in ninth grade?" she says. She smiles despite her foul temper. "We both got grounded for taking apart that old Camaro they'd been talking about restoring."

The smile fades and she shifts, uneasily. "I don't know, Alex it was… I mean, you know, it's kind of a blur after my daddy passed," she tells him, visibly uncomfortable. "I kind of vaguely remember Uncle William talking to me on the phone a few times, but right after he moved me in with you guys, he went on that trip, and then.. you know, after he passed, I mean…" She squirms uncomfortably, a heel drumming on the concrete with a rat-tat-tat. "I don't remember a lot. He was nice but stern. I just remember him picking me up from Des Moines and flying me here, mostly, and then Thanksgiving that year? Remember, because I tried to make the turkey and I burned it?" she asks Alex. "Oh, and Christmas! He got me those Legos."

She twists her fingers fitfully. "Honestly though it was only just that last year when I was in school, and then at his funeral…"

Peabody lets out a slow breath, "So… yeah." he takes a long deep breath, holds it, then sits up and squares his shoulders like a man going into battle, "You've been my charge for nearly a decade." he says softly, "My Father became yours almost ten years ago, those memories you have they're real, and yeah, Dad could be stern, all that British stiff upper lip stuff, but he was warm and kind and…" his voice fades away, "He was a great man Cait, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to tell you how great, not really. But he raised you for ten years, but things were hard with you, really hard. You were…" he chews his lips and then stiffens again, looking like a man walking into battle more then talking, "there was some trauma there, some memories that weren't allowing you to heal, to move on. So Dad called in some favors, talked to some people. He traded about six years of his life with you, our life with you, for a single year, helped heal over some of the wounds you carried. Your memories are… mixed. They're mostly true!" he's quick to add, holding his hands out, "Just… out of order, misplaced, disjointed so that you could have as close to a growing up as any ordinary kid could." he rubs his face yet again, "Man I'm fucking this all up."

Caitlin stares blankly Peabody, then covers her lips, eyes creasing in concern. "Alex, look, I… I have some friends," she says. "Good friends. They're really good at helping people with … stuff," she says, her tone as soft as someone speaking to a rabid dog or screaming toddler. "I mean, I know, I get it- you get really stressed, and sometimes there's just an easy solution in a bottle to help you relax. It's okay! I don't judge you," she assures him, placing her palm on her sternum, her face awash in concern. "I'm here for you, though, and I think you're really, really confused right now."

Peabody shakes his head, "Your friends are blind fools and idiots." he says, his words bitter and bitten off. That doesn't sound much like Alex at all, and when he looks up she can see the steel in him more then the kindness, "Do you know where your friends were when we were neck deep in terrorists? They were here, using all their power to explore the universe or earn the money to buy another Bentley. I love you sis, but I swear to god, you have a way of finding the most self righteous friends in the world." he slashes his hand through the air quickly, "Strike that, that's an argument for another time, I'm using it as an excuse." he stares off to the side, looking past her, likely looking at something she can see at all, and he whispers to himself like a mantra, "There are no excuses. It's all on you. Everything is your responcibility." he lets out a breath, "Family comes first."

When he looks at her again he's no longer all anger and confusion and angst, he's weariness and resignation instead, "Your Dad, the Alex I was named for? He died ten years ago on a mission in Africa, on a black operation so fucking dark they don't even have initials for the departments that over saw the projects. A man, my adopted father and someone I'm not sure you remember at all, saved you from the wreckage, brought you home. He…" there's a heavy sigh, "he's also a great man, but there is so little light in him that he protects what is there with a ferociousness… You father was one of his only friends, and he /begged/ this man to see to it you would be okay, that you'd be happy. And so he gave you to my Dad to raise, and my Dad, when he passed, gave you to me. Everything is my responcibility." another mantra quote, "We did the best we could, but whatever you saw where they found you, it left you… broken Caitie. Really bad. Dad did his best, but…" his words fade away again. "So they gave you a few more years with your own father, blended the memories so that the things Dad did for you, you imagined as having been done with Alex. It helped you heal, gave you a shot."

Caitlin just shakes her head at Alex slowly, jaw gradually slacking. "I… Alex, you sound like buckets of crazy," she tells him, fingers flipping upwards. "You know that, right? Are you hearing yourself? Unless you've got another floppapotamus redhead sister also named Caitlin, in which case I'm really hurt you haven't introduced us."

She laughs, but the sound is forced and it fades quickly when Alex doesn't relent. "My dad? Alex Fairchild? He sold concrete in Iowa," Caitlin reminds Peabody. "I grew up in De Soto, Iowa, located one point two miles from Des Moines' city center. Daddy owned Fairchild Concrete Fabrication, and had contracts in the tri-state area. Gross sales were fifty thousand cubic yards of gravel and mixed aggregate a year and thirty thousand tones of poured concrete per annum. He was born on the third of March, 1965 in Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow hospital in Wisconsin. I went to Jefferson Elementary until 2005 and then Melbourne junior high until 2007, and then after I was diagnosed with acute nonspecific allergeic reactions, I was homeschooled until five years ago, when daddy died and I moved to New York to finish high school, here," she says, reciting the entire bit as if it were memorized or read from a placard.

Peabody nods his head as she talks and finishes the last two sentences with her verbatim as she says them, including inflection and tone, "I know." he says, eyeing her, "Alexander Thomas Fairchild was a US Army Ranger, and a Green Beret of no small skill or renown. After a falling out with a general over the accusations involving infidelity with said General's wife, before your mother just so you know, he moved to darker black operations. He was from Iowa, a farm boy, but left that life as fast as he could when he turned 18 and signed up. Your Dad was a legitimate hero Cait, the real deal, knees deep in the mud and the shit a badass born and bred. I only ever met him twice, both times when I was a boy when Dad had a cookout like thing at his place and all kinds of scary people showed up. Your Father was a working man but he's never poured concrete in his life and he never stepped foot back in Iowa once he left there. All that stuff you just said? That was set up, on purpose, to give you a more stable history." he reaches into his coat and pulls out a slightly rumpled (thanks Cait-hug) roll of papers and tosses them on the table for her. They're hastily stapled together and look as if they've been folded and refolded a couple of times. A whole bunch of it is redacted, blacked out to hell and back, leaving just about nothing of value on them conserning what was done, but Alex's name shows up a few times, along with words like 'the' 'a' 'it' 'an', etc. Oh yeah. And they have the Army seal on them. And some other seals that have been blacked out too. Because that's a thing that apparently happens.

"No, he was a … mechanic, he was in the motor pool in Gulf Storm…"

Caitlin's eyes bug out and then narrow to dark slits at Alex, confusion warring on her features. "I.. but…" she tugs the papers towards her with numb fingers, looking at dates and times. "…this is impossible," she says weakly. "I remember… I remember all of the times we spent together. He taught me how to ride a bike, I remember… we … because I was riding it, and he was cheering at me," she says, her tone confused and weak. "And then he dropped me off at school my first day, every year. And he showed me how to shoot out back with a bb gun, I got… all the tin cans, and he was so proud…"

She slumps, and despite her sheer size and build, she looks forlorned… tiny.

Peabody nods his head, "And some of that is real," he admits, he's not sure how much of it or when or why, Peabody wasn't in the same loop that Wintergreen Sr. and Slade were, there were meetings he wasn't a part of and even he only knows /most/ of the truth. "And some of it is half real, some of it was my Father, was Dad, teaching you, raising you, but you wouldn't … so they just put Alex's face over Dad's in your head, it helped you cover the loss." he leans back and sighs heavily, "God there is just /no/ way this is going to go okay." he says, rubbing at his eyes, "I really wish you'd just become an accounant or something."

"No. This is… no. This is insane, Alex, you're insane, this is impossible," Caitlin says. She picks up the papers and slaps them on the low table, getting up out of her chair and knocking it clumsily over. She looks haggard and confused, eyes darting around wildly, and a bit of sweat appears on her brow. She fumbles for the phone he gave her with clumsy fingers and drops it accidentally, but doesn't try to pick it up, and starts towards the door. "This is impossible, you're crazy, none of this is possible," she says, tugging on the door handle and finding it locked. She tugs again, more firmly. "Alex, open this door right now, I wanna go home."

Peabody lets out a breath, "Sis, I really need you to buckle down." he says, watching her begin her freak out, "Hey!" his voice raises, which is something he's /never/ done before, "Listen to me." the one shout used to get her attention and that was it, "There are things I need to teach you and I don't know how much time we have together so if you could pack up all this anxiety you're dealing with so I can finish and then freak out later, that would be super."

Caitlin's about a microsecond from punching through the door when Peabody shouts at her. Maybe it's the real urgency in his voice— perhaps it's the choice of words. 'Listen to me' echoes in the back of her mind and her arm drops, numb. She turns half towards Alex, eyes vacant and shining with unshed tears. Some girls can cry and it looks pretty but Caitlin's not one of them. She just looks flushed and a little puffy. "Alex y-you're scaring me," she sniffles, on the edge of bawling. "And I'm really scared and you're not making any sense. I just wa-wa-wanna go home," she says, rubbing the heel of her hand into her eyes and making it look much worse as her mascara runs and smears.

Peabody stares at his adopted sister for a long moment and tries to unravel the problem, ignoring the ache in his chest and the thickness at the back of his throat. Emotion clouds judgement, impairs thinking. Be cool, calm. What would Dad do? Well, Dad would hug her and then he'd take her back home to Kenya where they'd pretend all of this was nothing until eventually Cait lost her mind from curiosity or bordum or doing something stupid and tehn he'd be forced to face the issue he hadn't wanted to to begin with. What would Slade do? He'd… be cruel. Not sadistic, not mean, not unfair, just cruel, like a tornado or a hurricane is cruel. He'd tell her the dispassionate truth where no comfort can be found, only pain and suffering and he'd show it to her because in the end that might be what he has to do anyway.

"I'm trying to figure out the right thing to do here Red, I really am." the dark skinned man says softly into the room, "I'm a man of two fathers, like you, and I'm not sure which one's advice I should follow. I think they both lead the same place, but one is gentle and one is not. I don't know which would suit you best…" he bites his lip for a moment and stares at her, "So I need you to tell me. What do you want Caitie? Comfort and to go home, or do you want to know things, things that will forever change your life and will offer you nothing but pain?"

Caitlin sniffles and rubs at her eyes again, then grabs at the front of Alex's jacket to steal his neatly folded handkerchief, which isn't really intended for such use and probably cost as much as a nice meal out. "Gimme," she hiccoughs, rubbing at her face. She blows her nose into it then, a bit spitefully, tucks it back into the front of his suit jacket. So there!

"What am I s'posed to do, Alex?" she says, her voice thick and overwrought. She shrugs fitfully, her shoulders not quite in sync. "I can't just… I can't just go home and pretend you didn't just drag me to a safehouse and start blabbing crazytalk at me." She runs her fingers through her hair in a familiar gesture of frustration, and ends up dislodging her hairband. She scowls at herself and tugs it away from her red mane, and wraps it twice around her wrist for safekeeping, her hair floofing unfashionably in a few directions. "God I hate you sometimes," she says, though she sounds like she doesn't mean it. She puts her shoulders to the door and slumps down onto the ground, landing on her butt. She folds her arms and rests her forehead on them, hugging her knees.

It takes her a few minutes to comport herself, and she finally speaks in muffled tones. "How much of it is real? Is any of it real? Was Alexander Fairchild even my real father?"

Peabody shrugs, "I don't know all the details, honestly I was just a kid too, remember? But here's the basics. Your Dad loved you, he spent what time with you he could while he served his country. Then he died. And another man, who loved your father like a brother took you in and he raised you with his son, in his own home, and to see to it that you could heal, that you could grow without all the scars, he gave up your memories of him and gave them to a dead man." he says all of this calmly and carefully, "All of that is real, it doesn't matter which face you see being kind to you Red, they both cared for you a great deal. You got twice the dad's anyone else usually gets and both were good men."

Caitlin lets loose a hiccoughing sob, crying as quietly as she can. "But… why?" she asks, finally, looking up with blearily and red-rimmed eyes. Moisture trails down her high cheekbones. "Why all the… lies and the fake memories? And how? I don't remember any- any of this," she says, sniffling. She grips her hair in her hands, fingers digging into the red locks and propping her elbows on her knees. "Even if this is true how is all this possible? You can't just… can't just give someone fake memories. Can you?"

Peabody sighs, "I don't know the details, just… you were traumatized when you came to us. Badly. I don't know the exact story, but I imagine you were there when your father died, perhaps you saw him die, I don't know. Whatever it was, it was the sort of thing a girl shouldn't see. It broke you. So… they took it away. Replaced it with better things, legoes and christmases and that Halloween where I went as the only black Luke Skywalker ever and you did ginger headed Leia buns on your head. Dad called you Cina-Bun for months afterward." he grins, "And yes, there are people who can. You work in the Baxter Building and bunk with the JLA, come on sis, you're not that stupid."

"Well, yeah, but they're… you know, that's like… big hero stuff," she says, smiling a bit at the recollection and wiping her nose on her sleeve. "I didn't start heroing until the lab accident, remember? I was just… I mean, I was nobody. Even if daddy was a secret army ranger, why would anyone spend any time trying to put memories in my head? I was just a skinny little dweeb with asthma until I was nineteen. I… I mean, right?" she asks Alex, looking at him fearfully. "How far back are my memories real? Was my last year of school real? College? I mean I've got pictures of me on Facebook from 2012, so that's got to be… y'know… real," she says, weakly.

Peabody sighs for what feels like the hundreth time, "I." he says slowly, "Don't." and punctuates the words, "Know." he stands and rolls stiffness from his shoulders, "I was a kid Caitie, what do you want me to tell you? One day I had no sister, then I had one, she was white and redheaded and that was weird, but whatever. She was also a terror, screaming and violent and angry all the time, and then she went away for a couple weeks and she came back normal, like a normal girl. Problem solved. I wasn't allowed to tell you things about when you'd gotten there or how long you'd been there, but other then that, it was better for everyone, mostly for you. I got older I was told a little more, but not much. Then Dad died and-" he shrugs, "So I figure all the memories are real, or real-ish. Barely altered versions of what really happened, maybe turning my Dad into your Dad in your head at different moments, covering up whatever it was you saw you were better off not seeing, I can't tell you because I don't know."

"Okay. I … god, Alex, I don't even know where to begin," she sniffles, rubbing her nose again. "I … is there anything else?" she asks. A hand seeks out his unconsciously, fingers squeezing, looking for some kind of familial reassurance. "Anything about my daddy, or where I came from? Was I… I need to know if he's my real dad," she says softly, trying to hold back tears. "And I need to know why he— why our dads— did this to me. Maybe I'm still crazy," she says, fretting her lower lip. "They… they can't exactly chuck me in the loonie bin if I have some kind of attack or something, you know."

Peabody takes her hand and offers a calloused squeeze of his own, "I know the man that saved you, to him family is…" he shrugs, "everything. If you knew him, if you understood the weight that word carries… Alex Fairchild asked him to save his daughter, and this man /always/ keeps his word. So he saved you. I imagine you must be Alex's daughter," Peabody decides clone talk is just a bridge to far, and even then, to be fair, that would still make Alex her 'real' dad… right? Sure it would. "You know Dad is dead, your's passed even before I met you, I can't tell you anymore and-" he shakes his head firmly, "Trust me on this Red, if on nothing else trust me on this, you do /not/ want to ask questions like these of the only man left who has the answers. You're not ready." shit, who the hell would be??

"W-wait, what?" Caitlin looks up at Alex. "I thought you were talking about Uncle William. Someone else… who? Someone did this? Who was it?" she says, her tone growing harder. "Alex, I have to know what's happening here. Either I'm insane, or you are, but there's something not right here. If you honestly mean everything you just told me, then you better stop leaving bits and pieces out," she warns Alex, her fingers tightening a bit unconsciously. "What's his name?"

Peabody shouldn't have said that. Dammit. His jaw clenches, "The man who saved you from … whatever it was. The one who brought you to my Dad, to us, he's the only one with the answers Red. Don't do this though, don't go to him, not like this. You need time, process what you can, work it out, I can set up a meeting once you've calmed down, when you're in control." he then twists his hand free of hers before she can get to squeezey. Sue him, he's grown up with people stronger then, he ain't stupid.

Caitlin's eyes narrow and she grabs the front of Alex's shirt, pulling him close. Her face is the same as ever, of course, but it's sometimes easy to forget that the mousy asthmatic who couldn't run a block once, can now bench press a bus without much effort. "I want some answers, Alex," she says, her voice going from hoarsely emotional to hoarsely angered. "Damnit, you can't just … just drop all this on me and then say 'oh, sorry, your princess is in another castle'."

She gets to her feet effortlessly, bringing Alex up to a standing position with her. "I'm gonna go home and cry my brains out," she says, her tone threatening. "And then I'm gonna drink. I don't even -like- drinking, but I think this is a good thing for getting drunk over. And I can ask Kara to make sure I don't go on a bender and punch a building over."

She brings him a little closer, eyes narrowing. "You better make with the answers, Alex," she says, fairly snarling. This is an entirely new side of Caitlin, and worryingly unpredictable. "Or I'll jam your head up your butt and roll you around like a bowling ball."

Peabody is calm through all of this, as she flexes and postures, and then he reaches up and with a quick bluring motion brings his hands up to her wrists and twists outward. Strength is great, so is super strength, but physics remains a thing and he spent his youth training with superhumans. Twisting her wrists upward and out at the thumbs he forces her fingers open and gives a little push, something high and to the side, the sort meant to shift someone's balance more then topple them over. A stumbling push, not a shoving to the ground push, "You're my sister and I love you Caitie, you know that. I have protected you from things you never even knew were looking for you. I have more hours of bled sweat and tears into training then you've even considered attempting. I have trained with metahuman military squards, I have trained with SEALs, with Delta Force, I have walked in the darkness and the shit and been shot, stabbed, burned, electrocuted. I've kept the secrets of governments and fathers and sisters and dangerous men from countless curious people who are far deadlier then you." He steps up to her, advancing without fear, "And you think you can /threaten/ me into telling you things?" he asks, his tone both insulted and scoffing.

"You," he says, poking her once in a shoulder, "don't scare me Caitie… but what this could do to you does. You might be bullet proof but that doesn't mean you're invincible. I need you to process this stuff, and I don't mean sit down with a tub of B and J's and cry lots, I mean the stuff that comes after the crying and after the anger. I need you not to talk about it with anyone, to keep it inside, to /think/ about it. Take some time, ride out the emotion, but when that's passed, wehn you can breath again and you're not," he pulls out a handkerchief and dabs at her cheeks, "dribbling make up down your face, you call me. You talk to me again. But I'm warning you, this guy…" he shakes his head, "there are dangerous men and then there are men those guys are afraid of. He's the later. So think on it, and do it carefully."

Caitlin doesn't budge. But she seems to be willing to let him push away from her. Hey eyes grow downcast and she looks away from Alex, his words visibly hammering her psyche. She nods, sniffling. Then she hugs him. And it doesn't matter how much judo-fu a person has, Caitlin's a determined hugger, and she picks Alexander up into a fiercely affectionate squeeze that leaves him wanting for contact with the floor.

She sets him down finally. "Alex, you absolutely -suck- at giving girls advice," she tells him, rubbing at her eyes once more and smiling blearily. "And I'm no good at threatening people, so the nice thing to do would have been to just pretend to be scared a little. I don't think that's too much to ask."

She lets him blot at her eyes and then brushes his hand gently away. "I'm not some Delta-SEAL, I'm just… I'm just me," she says with an awwkard shrug. "Maybe you can shove all this crap into a corner and deal but I gotta manage it my own way. And that means I need to sit down and cry about it for a bit, because I can't think about it without crying a little. Okay?" She smiles weakly, then adjusts her light coat, hugging her stomach. "I think I need to take a walk and go home. Can you please open the door?" she asks politely.

Peabody accepts the hug and returns it as best he can with mostly pinned arms, leaning his head down to nudge her cheeck with his own, "Sorry, wasn't ever taught how to be scared." he says honestly, "Just the other thing." he grins warmly and with unspoken appology, "I know Red, I know." he reaches up to patpat her cheek once more, "But trust me just a little bit longer. Please don't tell anyone, this is dangerous and I'm not used to walking on ground this shakey. I'm going to poke around a little bit, see what else I can dig up, there's a thing going on right now that might lead me to some answers but I have to be /so/ careful here. If I can't find anything and you finish crying and punching yourself out and feel like you can talk calmly, you call me. We'll meet up, discuss this again. But please, /please/ believe me." he makes sure she's looking him in the eye when he talks, "This guy… he's not a bad man, but he's more dangerous then you can imagine. Like… like Batman without all the hugs and warm fuzzies. So…" he just stops and sighs again, "now I'm rambling, repeating myself." he kisses her on the forehead, "Fine, lets get out of here. Wanna pick up some coffee or something on the way? I /did/ promise you one after all, and all the creepy shit aside it has been a bit since we chatted about more normal stuff, like you working for the smartest man on the planet and fighting superpowered meglomaniacs or whatever."

Caitlin nods at Alexander, but avoids the prolonged eye contact, eyes still red-rimmed. "I… thanks, Alex, but I really do wanna just go home," she tells him, sniffling and smiling weakly. "I won't do anything until you get a hold of me," she promises him. "I don't even know where to begin. But I'm not gonna wait forever, okay? You gotta keep me in the loop. And…" she shakes her head. "I have to at least talk to Carol about it. No— don't," she holds a hand up, looking away, anticipating his disagreement.

"I'm not debating this with you. She's the first person I met since my freshman year who didn't treat me like a joke or a sideshow. She used to do special operations stuff in the Air Force, too, and she's basically the biggest badass in the world. I can't deal with this alone, Alex," she says, her lips twisting into an apologetic moue. "I can't lie to Carol anyway, and she'd know within five seconds that something's wrong with me. I need my friends, Alex," she tells him, her tone shifting to 'wheedling sister'. Effective in getting out of trouble and getting the last cookie, too. "I need /you/ to trust /me/ here. I'm not exactly as frail as I used to be, you know."

Peabody is quiet for a moment, "Carol Danvers," he says, knowing exactly who she's talking about. Either he's /really/ connected, or he's been keeping close tabs on his sister just like he said he was, "He won't hurt you, not physically, he won't hurt me. There are promises in place to stop that. I don't know what he'd do to Danvers if she tried any of her macho hero shit with him," his turn to stop her with a motion of his hand, "and yes, he's more then capable of hurting her. I told you, this is next level Caitie. We're protected, I'm not sure anyone else we bring into this will be… but…" he's quiet for a long moment, "there's a chance that I'm askign to much. If you can trust me this much then I'll trust you to tell someone else. One. One someone else. Agreed?" he asks, holding up a pinkie finger. Shit just got real. Pinkie swears.

Caitlin eyes the pinky, then smiles bright at Alex and hooks her finger into his. "Swearsies," she assures him. She playfully tightens her finger around his, just enough to make him dance a little. "Okay. Just Carol. And I'll talk to you before we do anything. Thanks Peanut." She leans forward and kisses his cheek with sisterly affection, hugs him again, and then waits for the door to open before moving up the steps with easy, fast steps that bely the heavy thump of her shoes on the sturdy concrete. She hugs him once more at the front door and slips out, waving off the SUV and walking briskly back towards the League's headquarters, head slightly bowed in thought.

Peabody smirks as she squeezes his finger and shakes his hand once she's let it go, then they're up and out and she's on her way and he stands there watching her go. He moves over to the SUV and, once she's out of sight, he climbs into the backseat. The divider between front and back rolls down and Slade looks at his adopted son in the reflection of the rearview mirror, "And?" he asks flatly before pulling the SUV into traffic smoothly, "She… took it well enough." Peabody answers, "We didn't need to tell her yet, she didn't nee-" Slade makes a noise in the back of his throat and Peabody silences instantly, his eyes tightening slightly, "The aliens are here, Stormwatch's old secrets are being dragged into the light, SHIELD is poking around, the DEO is poking around, it's a matter of time before word reaches Lance, Cash, Clay, a half dozen others who survived. One of them will talk, someone will drop my name, assuming Waller or Lynch don't do it themselves, and when they drop my name…" Peabody's quiet for a long time before he realizes Slade wants him to finish the sentence, "Then they'll drop my name. My name leads to her name. Her name leads to deeper background checks. Deeper background checks lead to questions." he says softly, following the logical path. "You know," he shoots the blue eyed man in the driver's seat a baleful look, "there are times I loathe how good you are at seeing what's going to happen, at keeping ahead of the curve." Slade doesn't answer for a long moment, "It's best this come from you, from family. Better then if she was getting grilled in some DEO hole deep underground somewhere." they drive another two blocks before Slade speaks again, "I loathe it too." he mutters, one of the very rare moments of near weakness he's ever shown Peabody. "But…" and together without even a hint of irony they say, "Family comes first."

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