Here I am, meet me as before: comfort food
It should've been simple. A quiet night with one of her best friends. (Ineffective) alcoholic slushies, food, and some hot tub time with Nat. Though her mood wasn't all that great to begin with, it plummeted as soon as Nat's unexpected guest showed up, and Nora did her best to remove herself from the situation so as to avoid an (even more) awkward conversation with Sam. Enter: a much needed trip to Molly's for some quality cousin time and some brooding. She kicked off her shoes once she was inside and looked over at Molly with a brown paper bag in hand. "I come bearing ice cream!"
"All hail ice cream Queen Nora," Molly teased just a little bit as she welcomed Nora to her house, the kitchen in clear view of the front door. Truly, her place was becoming a little cozy abode for friends and family these days to just take a breather for themselves. Not that she minded; she hadn't had that sort of luxury growing up, and the crazier things got these days, the more that it seemed people needed this, herself included in that.
Lily was thankfully asleep for now, her rocker placed in the living room, still in her own line of sight, and Gryffin was out with a friend. This was probably one of the few days she didn't feel so tired anymore, juggling things, and if she were being completely honest, she was worried about Nora, too. Seeing her was assuaging some fears she had.
She kicked her shoes and nudged them aside, wobbling for a moment before regaining her balance. She offered her cousin a small smile. "Ice cream is a meal, right? Because if so, this is my second meal of the day."
"Second?!" Molly's eyebrows raised, coming to pull Nora into a brief hug. "I'm going to have to give you something a little more substantial and then ice cream, then. How's hotdogs and burgers sound?" A good break from some of the PostMates meals she'd been having, if not out and out hamburger helper.
She returned the hug and resisted the urge to cling for a split second too long. Anything beyond that and she might've been a goner. "Breakfast was a sundae, so...I mean, could go for a cheeseburger," Nora shrugged. She didn't want to say much else, if only because she didn't trust herself to without losing her composure.
Molly squints at her, cocking her head. Oh boy. This wasn't good — even for someone with Kryptonian biology who could eat just about anything. "...having that kind of a day, huh?"
She let out a small sigh and nodded, trying to act calm and collected despite where her head was really at, where she felt like everything she touched would suddenly catch on fire. "Day. Month. Year...s?"
Yeah. really not good.
Molly resolved to do her best, beckoning Nora to follow her. "You wanna talk about it while I make burgers? I've even got some of the magic wine if you want it." She shrugs with the offer -- Nora probably could use something to take the edge off. (Even if Molly would be a bit envious that she couldn't have some just yet.)
She shuffled her way into the kitchen, picking up one of the spare rattles Lily had tossed to the floor, placing it on the counter. A click of her powers turned the automatic rocker on from across the room.
She followed Molly into the kitchen and began to remove the goods from the Bi-Rite Creamery bag: Peach Cobbler, Ricanelas, Mint Chip, and Birthday Cake. She carefully stashed the pints away in the freezer, so as not to knock anything over.
Nora perked ever so slightly at the mention of the magical wine. "Wine, right. I'll help myself." Once that was done, she moved out of the way and rooted around the cabinets to grab a wine glass and the magical wine. Deciding that it was better not to make eye contact, she continued her search and mumbled. "We broke up."
Molly waves her fingers, so the stove turns on and the meat floats out of the fridge, one at a time. They gently hit the counter despite the clear shock that makes it's way on her face.
And then. Just. "When? What the hell for?"
After finding what she needed, she easily uncorked the bottle and poured herself a glass of wine before taking a seat at the table, the wine bottle in one hand and the glass in another. "Like...end of April? His mom was in the ICU shortly after my birthday. He didn't tell me, I didn't know." She held the glass to her lips. "She's in hospice and he seems like...like he's scared and doesn't know what to do, so…" she trailed off. "I haven't really been doing well with any of it."
Molly pulls out a pan and she attempts to school her face into something a little more neutral but just ends up making distressed, almost cartoonish expression of surprise on her face, her eyebrows about leaping up.
"Oh my-- that's a lot take on. I'm not... totally surprised you haven't been doing well either." She puts the pan on the oven, and with her own spark, it turns on. Blue flames lick at the bottom of the pan as she comes to sit by Nora at the table. "I mean--not that you said so. Is he still talking or did he--" She doesn't want to say cut you off.
But she's sure Nora gets it.
She took a long, slow sip from her glass, fighting the urge to drain the whole thing in one sitting and instead downs about a third of its contents without effort. "It's...i don't really know? I mean, no, not really. He apologized for being distant, like he wants to be talking, or thinks we should be, but he's just...not. He said he thought we needed a 'break' while he deals with this, and I have a hard time blaming him for that, because...I mean, it's his mom, you know?"
As Nora talks, Molly has the meat unwrap itself, the meat kept neatly together. She keeps her eyes on Nora, though. Contemplatively, she considers what Nora says for a moment.
The break thing is not sitting well with Molly for a multitude of reasons. Her own issues, Maddy's distrust and sometimes outright distrust of men. Molly tries to keep it down and be impartial, taking time to choose her words. "That makes sense, needing a break. He's not going through anything easy." She chews her lip a little more, the meat breaking into four neat patties behind her. But that doesn't-- I don't get him shutting you out like this."
Nora set her glass onto the table and slowly turned it in its place, watching the wine swirl within the glass itself as she spoke. If she talked about it too much, then she risked crying, but Molly needed to know what was going on in her life and why she had been so quiet as of late. "I don't, either. But I guess it's what he needs right now."
Molly let's a little of her cool slip, huffing. "How? He's close with her. You knew her. Why not-- I don't know reach out to someone who can help? Someone who cares about him?" Wisely, she cuts off more of the annoyed words that she understands aren't necessarily coming from her, but from Maddy.
The meat settles, sizzling on the skillet. Her hand reaches for Nora's. "It's not fair to you."
Nora tucked one leg underneath herself as she readjusted her positioning in the chair to be more comfortable while also being able to make eye contact with her cousin. "He seemed...I don't know, overwhelmed? Which I get, but…" she trailed off, furrowing her brow. She had gone over their conversation for seemingly a million times in her head. "I can't make sense of it, either. But what else can I really do, you know?"
She just wasn't good at being reassuring. Molly's powers tugged out the spices for the food with precision while the rest of her mind occupied itself with how to best help Nora. She wanted to comfort her in the way she'd always wanted to be, growing up, reaching out to friends-- but the most she could think of weren't things that could actively help Nora short of trying to pull the answer from his head.
"Nothing, if he's acting like this," So she tried to employ the little things she'd gleaned over the years in this situation, saying, "I dunno-- I'm not good with guys-- maybe he thought he was sparing you pain, to do this?"
There wasn't much that anyone could say to reassure her. Being in the thick of it for several weeks had prevented her from saying anything to Mol sooner; part of her had hoped that the news would make its way to her through Nat or another mutual friend. "I don't know. Maybe? He said he didn't want this. But that he felt like we needed it, because his plate is so full right now. So...yeah, I don't know," she repeated. "I guess I just need time."
An annoyed huff left Molly at that. That he didn't want it. But he needed it. The temptation to lash out at Parker welled up, the flames on the stove rushing up in response.
A deep breath brought her calm back, and the flames dulled just enough. "Then give him all the time he needs. If he wants to come back and talk like an adult -- he'll come back to you." She squeezed Nora's hand, "But right now, if he doesn't have time for you, then you find something better to do than deal with him."
All things that she had thought or had been told already. The guilt of waiting so long to tell Molly started to gnaw at her. Wasn't that part of the problem? Shutting people out rather than asking them for help when it was needed? She lowered her head as if to acknowledge Mol's advice.
"What the hell is a break anyway," she muttered as she brought the wine glass back to her lips. "You don't just put people on hold." She easily drained half of its contents in one go and then frowned, looking at no one and nothing in particular before murmuring to herself.
"I thought this was going to be it. I can't believe I actually —" she trailed off and left out a heavy sigh once again, in part to force her to focus on her own breathing for a few moments so that she wouldn't lose her composure.
Nora's stray thoughts hit Molly as she stood up, listening to Nora. She needed to physically do something, to take more time to think. People had already advised her, talked to her about this in the ways Molly had already. There was nothing new in her words-- and Nora clearly needed something better, more concrete.
She flipped over the burgers with a spatula, letting the silence stretch out. Maddy shifted in their shared mind-- and she's the one who speaks up: "You can't believe that you had a future with him? That you loved him that deeply?"
She stayed quiet for a moment, trying to figure out how to finish that sentence in a way that didn't seem so...whiny. Or self-indulgent. Or selfish. All the things that she felt so strongly these days whether it was justified or not.
Nora took a deep breath. "I can't believe I thought I might have a normal life after all of this. That we could. Kara, I mean. It's...just. It's not in the cards and I don't know why I even tried."
A frown creased her face at Nora's words, feeling her emotions more than hearing what she said at first.
She wants to be a little gentle with her, but Madelyne, now in full control from Molly, turned to raise her eyebrows at her. "You thought that he could give that to you? Being normal? How could he give that to you? How can anyone?" She shakes her head. placing her hand on her hip, considering her a little more fully.
"No, it's not that." She sighed, frustrated at her inability to verbalize her feelings. "It seems like everyone else keeps finding happiness in love. Or what they think is love. And I think that, between me and Kara and our histories...what's the point?" Her brow still furrowed, she picked up her wine glass again and finished it off in one fell swoop. "I can't pin my happiness on a single person. I know that. I've known that. And I feel like I blinked, and it happened anyway, and then it was gone, just like that. So." She stared at the makeshift label on the bottle, bracing herself for one tired lecture or another.
Kara, Nora-- neither receive a tired lecture.
What happens instead is that the flame turns down on the stove. And Maddy, and Molly both come back around to take her hand, away from the wine bottle There's a moment where there's a battle between them over who wants to speak. It's Madelyne who emerges, her facial expression softer than Molly's own.
"And you feel like you can't move further. That no one else is going to ever make you feel like that. You know you shouldn't feel this way, and everyone else can't give you the tools to fix things." She nods. "It all feels pointless."
She could feel the hot tears welling up in her eyes as they threatened to spill over for the nth time that week. Hell, that day. "Yeah," she whispered. "What's the point?"
She squeezed Molly's hand. Or Madelyne's — it was hard to tell sometimes. "And...I ran into someone earlier this week. He recognized me from the hospital. Thinks I treated him a few years ago, read him a few books, that whole thing. And I had no recollection of him, because of the whole Boston thing, and he knows me from here. So it feels especially pointless, all of this. What's the point when everything you work for can get changed up on a whim like that?"
This isn't the time to make it about herself, to share her memories now, because Madelyne has no easy solution. She squeezes Nora's-- Kara's hands in her own, and allows her to cry, allows her to talk.
She reaches for the easiest thought she can. "When you first showed up in Boston, when you first started to live with each other, what did you do to comfort yourself? What was the difference between then and now, in what made this world pointless, and home? For you, Nora, what helped you live with Kara? What kept you both steady?"
Her instincts told her to curl up into a ball and cry, hiding herself from the world like she had done so many times before, but she couldn't exactly do that at Molly's kitchen table. "I don't know," she sniffled. "Stayed busy. Tried to remember the fun side of having powers. But—" Her brow furrowed again. "It was different. I didn't know about all the fighting and everything we would all be up against, you know?" She heaved a heavy sigh. "And...we hadn't lost so many people yet."
Maddy finds herself pulling her cousin to her, in an awkward half hug as she talked, rubbing her shoulder. The talk of losses stirred up her own emotions, her own memories.
She wants to give Nora something to go on. A comfort, a good word, or an easy fix.
None of them are fair, none of them are permanent.
So she does the best she can, listening to her in the kitchen.
And that was it. Her grief wasn't just about the unexpected loss of one person in her life. Several other friends had moved out of the city, wanting to get away from the hazards that had been released upon the Bay Area. And who could blame them? There were others still that hadn't appeared in San Francisco with the rest of them, and it didn't seem like there had been a rhyme or reason for any of it. It had all been piling up for a while now, and finally, finally something else had happened to get on Nora's last nerve.
She hugged her cousin tightly but not too tightly — she didn't want to hurt her, after all. "I don't know how to move forward other than to just...go through all of this, you know? And it sucks."
Instinctively, she leaned her head against Nora's own, letting her speak, keeping her own thoughts and memories to herself. As useful as they were for her, they weren't going to be for Nora now. Right now, she needed to talk.
Maddy nods, rubbing her shoulders. "It does. It-- it won't ever really change, that it's going to suck for you-- and going through it might be the only thing you have. It's the only way any of us seem to get through it all. But you're not alone, okay? Even if no one else is-- I'm here. Even if you feel silly coming to me or you just want something to eat-- I'm here."