On That Starry, Starry Night
A field of yellow flowers.
A hill looking over said field of flowers.
Nami sits up suddenly, realizing that this is the place she'd visited in her imagination/dream, or whatever. She'd met Selene in this place, hypothetically. She turns her head to her right.
Cali smiles back at her big sister. "Nami?"
"Are mommy and daddy sleeping?"
Nami looks where her younger sister is looking and smiles. She covers her hand to keep from laughing loudly. "I think so, Cal."
Mac is definitely asleep, on his back, one hand by his side and the other on top of Stella's. His face is content and happy, and considering he's wearing a t-shirt and jeans, he's pretty darn relaxed. Even his shoes have been kicked off for maximum relaxation.
Stella is asleep, also on her back, on top of Mac's front. Her arms are crossed lazily over her torso, smaller hands both under Mac's larger one. Her chest rises and falls slowly and rhythmically. She's smiling. She's wearing a sleeveless white v-neck and black capri pants, also for her personal comfort needs. Her flip-flops are...long gone somewhere.
"I think all the grownups are sleeping." Cali declares smartly.
Nami sits up and notices her sister has a point; everyone is laying frightfully still in the fading sunlight. She hopes for a minute they all have sun screen on-Global Warming has made the sun strong enough to kill us all!-but smiles.
They'd all decided to have a big family/lab-family barbeque a little outside of the city for a day of fun. Every one of their friends had been invited, including Ray, Nami's in-training partner. Sid and the guys were manning-in a literal sense-the barbeque while the girls either set up the other food items or ran and frolicked with Cali and Nami.
Now, though, they'd all slowed down to lay on the grass and appreciate things. And by "appreciate", it's meant that they're actually all having wee catnaps.
Flack and Angell are up a tree, since they were trying to get their frisbee down, but eventually just gave up and apparently went to sleep.
Lindsay and Danny, the newly engaged, are in the back of their truck, sleeping on a blanket. They seem to like sleeping on carpeted hard surfaces that aren't meant for sleeping on.
Nami sees where Adam is sprawled out down the hill, seemingly have just plopped where he dropped. He's a funny one, he is.
Hawkes and Christine are leaning on each other under another tree with smiles on their faces. His arm is around her shoulder and her head is tucked between his head and shoulder securely. It also seems she's taken his glasses off and is keeping them from him.
Talia is sleeping on the grass with her sisters lined up beside her, coincidentally in order of youngest to oldest and at the same time shortest to tallest. Talia is perfectly still, Amanda has two limbs looking slightly displaced and is snoring, Elena is on her left side, also very still, and Daniella is laying in a star position.
Sid, Nami and Cali's grandpa, is...nowhere to be scene, but they just assume he's gone to his creepy place. He's most likely wandered back to his truck for something.
Ray hasn't strayed far from Nami since he arrived, and she finds that he rarely lets her out of his sight unless it's necessary anyway. She finds it odd, slightly creepy at times, but overall endearing. Now, he's halfway between unrestful sleep and jumping up to be try and be Superman. He's leaning closer to sleep, though, which is good, because the guy never rests!
Nami sits up and realizes there should be someone else here.
Aiden Burn. Her would-be-Aunt Aiden. She'd been killed years ago and it was a harsh blow to the team. Lindsay had never met her, but Danny had loved Aiden as his very best friend, and she respects that.
Nami lies back down and takes in a deep breath. The stars will be out soon. They've slept the whole afternoon, it would seem, and soon they'd eat their supper and then be stargazing with desert. Dusk is starting to fall, making the sun watery and red. It casts a few shadows on the hills.
"Nami, I'm hungry." Exclaims the four year old beside her.
"Okay, let's wake mommy and daddy up first." Nami says as she stands and then picks Cali up. She sets her on her hip, hands on her small back, and starts toward their parents.
Nami's smile falls right into the grass and is replaced by a gaping 'o' shape on her lips.
"Mac...mm....love you, baby..."
Nami mouths "Oh. My. God." to herself and tries to decide whether or not to wake them up or just save Cali's virgin ears now!
Stella jolts awake from her rather graphic dream and flips off Mac in the process. She turns over and stares at her girls. "Nami? Cali? What's wrong?"
"Nothing, mom, but I must say; it sounds like you were having a great dream." Nami smirks cheekily.
Stella's jaw drops as she realizes what the content of her dream would be rated and that she must've been talking in her sleep. She cringes, torn between feeling mortified or irritated. "Nami."
"What was your dream about, mommy? Cali asks innocently.
"Ice cream." Stella answers quickly, blurting the first thing that comes to her mind. "Never you mind, now what do you girls need?"
"Cali's hungry, and, it's getting past her bedtime." Says Nami.
"Alright. Let's wake everybody up and get this show on the road!"
The food is enough to get everyone up, and once they've had a few bites they're fully awake. After everything hot has been eaten except for the ice cream, which is now soup, they get out the cake; Strawberry shortcake, layered with light cream and sweet strawberry spread.
"This is so good!" Nami says airily, licking her lips.
"Well, thank you, Nami. I'm glad you think so." Sid says in a very gentlemanly fashion, swallowing a bite of his own piece.
"Yeah, it's really good." Ray also says, sitting beside Nami, who's still enjoying her last bite thoroughly. While a chorus of agreement sweeps over the table Ray looks at Nami. "Enjoying it?"
She nods, her tongue sticking out of her mouth ever so slightly. "I've never had this stuff before."
That's right, Ray thinks. She's not like us...
He can't understand her.
In training, she's a serious, intense, witty, and slightly-trigger-happy girl. She has her mother's ability to kick everyone's ass and move Christmas if she wants to. She's almost as serious and workaholic as her father, and even takes on his facial expressions and tone on the job. Times like now, though, she's completely relaxed and happy. She loves spending time with her family and friends, and, dare he say it, she looks really cute with them.
He knows her mother, Stella, was an orphan for all her life. She'd lived between St. Basil's and foster homes.
Nami is the same, except that she got out a little sooner.
He's glad, too. That life must've been hard, and the little things always surprise him; like how she's never had Strawberry Shortcake. Living a life on New York streets can't be easy, and while he doesn't know the whole story, he knows some people would and have killed to see her dead. He's not one of them; he'd kill to see her alive.
He'd never tell her that, though. God, that would be...awkward.
"Hm?" Ray shakes his head, making his short hair go with it. He'd gotten the same haircut as Don Flack, which Nami laughed about at first, but then complimented, so he kept it.
"You're staring." Nami states bluntly. She turns to look behind her and then back to him. "What?"
"Oh, nothing!" He says nervously, realizing he must've been watching her for a considerable amount of time. His cheeks heat a little.
"Nami and Ray-Ray, sittin' in a tree! K-I-S-S-"
"Cali!" Nami scolds, though her cheeks are tinged pink. "Ray-Ray and I are partners, remember? Like Mom and Da-okay, that's not really the best example right now, but you get what I mean." She sighs. "And what about that boy, Jacob? The one who pulls your hair and tries to take Chilly at snack time?"
"He's mean, though! Ray's nice and gives me piggyback rides!"
"If a boy's mean to you, Calla-Lily, he probably liiiiiiiiiiiikes you." Nami teases shamelessly.
"Who is this Jacob-boy, Cali?" Stella asks from beside her, frowning, having never heard of him. She does notice, though, how her daughter's face flames at the mention of him. In anger or in embarrassment isn't discernable, but she's not even five years old yet.
"I don't wanna talk about him." Cali says in a defiant tone.
"Mom, you know that boy that was pulling her hair in the sandbox and stole her cookies? He's the little kid with blond hair brown eyes."
"Oh, him!" Stella points with realization. "I think one little Jacob has a crush on our little Cal-bell."
"Nooooooo!" Cali cries as her mother puts her arms around her and kisses her curly head. "I don't like him! He's a meany and he takes Chilly, and mom's special cookies, and-"
"Alright, slow down, Cali." Nami says with tilted eyebrows, concerned her sister will explode.
They laugh at her juvenile word for the boy, and how damn cute it sounds. Nami clears her throat and smiles. "Okay, Cali, we won't talk about the icky boy anymore."
"As a matter of fact..." The all turn to Mac, who'd been silent through the whole conversation. He looks as though he's going to light somebody on fire and then bash their head in with the closest thing he can find, which in this case would be...Sid. "Neither of you need to be talking about boys like that."
"Mac." Stella says in a slightly chiding tone, but smiles sweetly and pecks his lips.
"Aw!" Lindsay bursts, not being able to contain it any longer. She'd remained silent for the boy-conversation, but this is just too cute.
"What?" Asks Stella.
"Nothing, Stell, it's just..." Lindsay looks down sheepishly and shrugs one shoulder. "You're all so cute together."
Stella and Mac look at each other and then down at where their left hands are linked. Their wedding rings are clinking together, and looking back up, they beam. "We-"
"You really are, and it's about time. Mac, Stella's liked you for, like, ever!" Jess puts in loudly.
Stella's floored by the blatancy and simply looks down as her face heats slightly.
"Don't' blush, Stell, Mac's liked you forever too."
"Jess, honey, maybe this isn't what we should be continuing the conversation with." Flack whispers into her ear beside her.
"Now are we going to have to set up Nami and Ray?" Asks Talia. She can't hep but laugh as both of their faces become the same vibrant red as a tomato. "Oh, how cute."
"Tali..." Nami mutters darkly as a warning while her face is still flushed.
"No one is setting up anyone." Mac says loudly and with a resolute finger in the air. "Especially not my daughters."
"Don't worry, sir, I'd never make a move on Nami, or anything." Ray says quickly, holding up his hands in defense.
"Are saying there's something wrong with her?" Stella asks with a joking tone, just to give the boy a hard time.
"What-no! There's nothing wrong with her-she's perfect!"
"Watch what you say, Raymond." Says Mac.
"I...argh! I just can't win with you Taylors!" He cries, leaning back too far in his chair and falling over onto the grass. After rolling backwards a few times he sighs. "I can never win with any of you!"
"Oh, we're just giving you a hard time, Ray." Stella says comfortingly. "Don't mind Mac."
"Oh, I can't wait until I have a little girl I can be overprotective with." Danny muses, shaking his head.
"Whoa, there, Cowboy!" Lindsay blushes.
"What? You want a boy?" He teases, earning a light arm punch.
"Look!" Cali points towards the dark sky filled with stars.
"Hello, Cassiopeia." Nami smiles. "C'mon Cal! Let's go look!"
"Kay!" Cali chirps, automatically reaching her arms out to be picked up and then looping them around her sister's neck.
"See, Cali? Those are constellations. They make pictures in the sky, and they're Greek, like you." Says Nami.
"Quarter Greek, quarter Italian, half Cajun."
"You mean Caucasian?"
"Then, that's right." Nami cooed, nuzzling the little girl's face with her nose. "You're so smart, Calla Lily!"
"Thank you." Cali says politely, impressing her sister further. "Always say please and thank you."
"That's my girl! High five!"
Ray shuffles his feet a little and looks toward Nami and Cali, debating internally whether or not he should join them or let them have their sister moment. He's not usually so...nervous around her, but seeing her outside of work is different. A chance for them to become closer as friends, rather than just people who work together. Friends. That's all.
"Nami, I'm seepy." Cali says into her shoulder.
"Oh, Cali-babe." Nami strokes the little girl's curls and rests her head against Cali's smaller one.
"Okay, honey." Nami whispers as she sits on the grass and adjusts her baby sister in her arms. "Sh, sh, sh..."
Starry, starry night
Paint your pallet blue and grey
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Nami sings the song to Cali like she has before so many times. Her voice is quiet and gentle, soothing to the snoozing little girl.
"You're a natural, sweetie."
Nami stops singing and hums so she can hear her mother, who sits beside her and kisses Cali on the cheek.
"As a mother. Do you want to have kids someday?"
Nami just continues to hum and nods with a smile.
"Your daddy might not like that, but the key word is someday." Stella muses, thinking over again how overprotective Mac acts, but how it doesn't fit with his usually sensible self.
"I met her, here."
Stella turns to see Nami's face serious and solemn. "Who?"
Stella ignores the way Nami says CELL-e-nay, rather than Cell-EE-nah. She frowns and tilts her head. "As in my mother."
"Yes. I think I was dreaming, but it was so strange. I was on this hill, looking over this field," Nami says, pointing to each; halfway up the hill and half way down, where the flowers are still swaying. "Selene appeared, out of nowhere, and we started talking. She said that she wished she could've been with you, but that she would just have to settle on protecting you and your happiness from now on. She said that she couldn't let your family be torn apart before I woke in the hospital. She told me that she was glad she could meet me, as her granddaughter, and not to worry. I told her I wouldn't but I really didn't know why."
Stella remains silent for all of this, having a little trouble taking in what her daughter is telling her.
"She loved you, and she wanted you to be happy." Nami finishes, looking straight ahead with a wistful face and slightly squinted eyes. "As your mother, she only wanted you to be happy."
"And as your mother, I only want you to be happy."
Nami looks at her mother with slightly raised eyebrows, as if asking her to elaborate.
"At Saint Basil's I always dreamed of escaping and starting a new and better life for myself. I imagined a prince charming would take me away from it all. We'd get married and have a family, and promise we'd never leave each other. I was a hopeless romantic, still am, really, and I just wanted someone to love me more than anything or anyone." Stella explains, taking on the same slightly strained expression Nami had. "Now, I have all that, and I've never been happier."
"I understand." Nami says deeply.
"So, Selene; do I look like her?" Stella asks with a small smile.
Nami smiles as well, and looks at her with starry eyes. "You look exactly like her; regal and beautiful, but kind. When I saw her, she looked to be about in her mid-twenties. I've seen a picture of you when you were about twenty five, and you like identical. Carbon copies."
Stella's smile grows, thinking about the connection she has with her mother, even if Nami's dream really was just a dream and nothing more.
"I saw Amaryllis there too. I couldn't speak to her, but she was smiling." Nami says with little hesitation. They have all dealt with the guilt they once felt about all the lives lost in the incident, and have come to terms with them. Stella felt particularly guilty about Amaryllis' death.
"Thank you, Nami." Stella kisses her daughter's temple and looks up to see the stars shining brightly. Looking back, Nami is dozing off. She kisses her one last time and gets up to join her husband just a few feet away. Sitting down, he wraps his arms around her instinctively. "Nami said that she saw my mother when she was in the hospital."
Mac stays silent.
"No, I mean, she thinks she had a dream with her in it." He nods, encouraging her to continue. "She wasn't sure if it was a dream, or a subconscious thing, or what, but she's sure that my mother, Selene, was there. Amaryllis as well."
"Yeah. She told me that she'd said that...she'd loved me." Stella says with a faint smile and tears threatening to escape.
"Stella." Mac touches his forehead to hers and closes his eyes. "I'm happy for you."
"I know." She says simply, smiling at the contact. Breaking away she looks at him. "What about Nami's mother?"
"You're her mother." Mac says firmly.
"Mac." Stella says just as sternly. "She's going to want to know about her biological mother eventually."
"I don't think she is. I found some information on her biological mother, Akane, in Greece and asked her if she wanted to know."
Stella nodded, holding her breath.
"She said, no. She said that you're her mother, and nothing else matters." Mac says with a warm tone. "And she's right."
"I know." Stella whispers, kissing his lips and looking up.
"Aren't they cute?" Danny whispers to Lindsay jovially.
"Danny." Lindsay shakes her head and smiles at her fiancee.
"I'm glad we're all here today to do this."
She nods seriously, knowing he's not just talking about the date on everyone's calendar. When he'd proposed to her he'd said that the last time he thought he would lose her it had almost killed him, and that he didn't want to go through life without her by his side. "I'm sorry I worried you."
"I'm just glad you're here, Montana." He says lovingly, planting a kiss on her sandy blond hair. "Moo."
"Moo." She smiles widely.
"Hey, Jess, I-" Flack blinks, seeing his girlfriend asleep on the grass. He was about to ask her about marriage and if she thought it was right for them, but now his doubts are gone. Evven if only because she's not awake to hear them. "Never mind."
"Savashmemanem..." She garbles in her sleep. "Don...love you..."
"I love you too, Angell-babe." He kisses her rich chocolate hair and lies down with her, taking her hand in his.
Sid, Hawkes, Christine and Adam had left just after everyone finished their meals, having desperately needed to get back to the lab. They'd asked how the detectives had all managed to get the day off, but Stella had simply said that she'd called some friends, so they left it at that. Not only that, but Christine literally lived there, and Hawkes wanted to make sure she was back and rested.
Talia and her sisters have all fallen asleep, and she's pretty close to sleep herself. She's stayed awake solely because she doesn't like to fall asleep until she's certain her sisters are all safe and have all been asleep for at least ten minutes. Finding the circumstances acceptable, she closes her eyes, the last image she sees being the North Star.
Nami lies down with Cali safely in her arms and blinks slowly to relieve the ache in her eyes. She doesn't want to fall asleep just yet, but as her eyelids drift closed she relaxes a little.
Starry, Starry night
The sun illuminates the yellows flowers, making them glow with a warm gold that's reminiscent to the morning light.
Nami stands on the hill again, waiting to see someone.
"I see you've come back."
Nami turns to see Selene standing there like before. "Yes."
"I am glad to see you, but why are you here, dear?" Selene asks in a soothing voice.
"I told my mother I met you here. She seemed happy."
"But I'm not sure what happens now. I'm not even sure how I got here again." Nami says, gesturing with her arms.
"I'm not sure either, dear, but I do know that I told you not to worry. You said you wouldn't." Selene says with a humorous smile.
"Oh, I beg your pardon." Nami sits before her, tucking her legs underneath her and laying her hands on her knees. "I just...I feel lost. I don't know what's going to happen, but..."
"You're worrying again, Nami. You shouldn't concern yourself with these things. You should be enjoying yourself with your family. Now go, sweetheart, and tell your mother, again, that I love her."
Nami's eyes snap open in an instant and her heart starts to slow down again. Looking to her right, Ray looks concerned. "Ray?"
"Are you alright? You just woke up all of a sudden." He says quietly, being mindful of Cali. "What? Was it a dream?"
Morning fields of amber grain
"Yeah, kind of, I guess." Nami frowns to herself but remembers what her grandmother said to her. She releases the tension she didn't know she'd had in her expression and smiles at Ray. "Thanks, for being here."
"Oh, sure." He says quickly, looking down shyly, like Adam Ross does sometimes."Are-are you okay?"
Nami looks at him, then at Cali and the rest of their family. "Yeah, I am. Just thinking about some things."
"Yeah." Ray's brain dares him to scootch a little closer to her, and she doesn't seem to mind or even take notice. He takes a deep breath and does what he never thought he'd do with a girl; talk about feelings and the future. His mother passed away when he was only a year old and his father had let him come to New York City to join the NYPD on his own, mostly because he'd never been all that caring about Ray. "You know, we've only been partners for about a month or two, but I think we're becoming good friends already. I do want to get to know you better, and be good partners and friends like your parents-just without the married with kids part. I..."
Nami is asleep, facing him, Cali still safe in her protective arms, and smiling.
He blinks. Well, so much for having a serious and awkward talk about their relationship. He tries not to, but thinks she looks so cute when she's asleep he smiles. Her black bangs are mussed and hanging around her eyes and it's then he realizes she really is not like them.
"Mm...dumpling...mango juice...favorite..." She licks her lips.
He smiles affectionately and brushes her cheek before closing his own eyes and drifting off to dreamland. He pays no mind to the fact that her father is probably glaring at the back of his head this second, or that he's not supposed to like his partner like this. Doesn't care. All he cares about is...her. Of coarse he wishes he knew how she feels, but she's out like a light!
They all slept soundly, under the stars, finding peace of mind in their constant light, perhaps.
Something in the starry night has always been a sign of hope, even for ages past. Something seems to guide the souls of the good people to a place where they can be at peace.
On that starry, starry night