Categories > Movies > Monsters, Inc. > Homecoming


by Light-Rises 1 review

Late night talks, leftovers, and a new promise that isn't meant to be broken...

Category: Monsters, Inc. - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Characters: Randall Boggs - Published: 2005-06-02 - Updated: 2005-06-02 - 3115 words


Author's Note: As the title suggests, this new chapter is mostly talk. 'Tis a short-ish one, and none of the original characters from the film make an appearance here (the only time in this story that'll happen), but it's necessary. Author OCs need some love, too.

/Any/who...onward with the next chappie!

Disclaimer: Again, I own everything here except a certain monster that's only spoken of. Who is owned by Disney/PIXAR. Which means I don't own 'im. So there. nod

Time: This segment takes place later on the night of Friday, April 11, 2003.


Chapter 2 - Deliberations

"...So, exactly when were you guys planning on telling me about our little 'visitor'?"

The other two Vegas were settled at the kitchen table as Mrs. Vega approached them with this question. Her spirits weren't any better from earlier; it'd taken a half-hour to persuade curious neighbors that all the commotion was simply over a Darby/cat problem. And just now, she'd escorted an animal control officer out the door with the dead possum bagged and ready to be disposed of. At least father and daughter could take comfort in that she hadn't, too, asked for the guy's services regarding a certain, intelligent lizard-creature running loose in the neighborhood.

At least, not yet.

Mr. Vega sighed at his wife's question, rubbing one temple with his fingertips. He'd exchanged his soaked clothes for a white bathrobe and had used a towel -- now damp and discarded on the table -- to dry his hair. "I was kinda hoping never," he replied honestly, his tone gentle. "I guess I'd figured this whole thing would just blow over -- that he'd be mine and Dev's cool secret for awhile and that'd be the end of it."

Mrs. Vega pursed her lips. "'He'?"

"Of course." Mr. Vega turned to her with a wry smile. "What? You think someone who talks like that is a girl? I don't think so."

Devon started to giggle but was stopped by a look from her mother. Taking a breath, the woman continued.

"Fine. If the situation were different, I wouldn't expect any less from you two. But for pity's sake, Seth -- that thing was /dangerous/. You could've gotten yourself killed! And what about Devon? She's only a girl, and who knows what might've happened to her with that beast creeping around."

Mr. Vega furrowed his brows, looking at the table. "Listen to me," he said, voice even. "The only reason he attacked me -- did anything at all -- was because he felt threatened. I pulled the knife and he acted out of self-defense, so if there's anyone to blame it's me for jumping the gun in thinking he was a danger to us in the first place." He paused, then clenching his fists on the table he looked at his wife. "I take full responsibility for what happened out there," he stated. "So there's no way I'm letting you pin it on him."

Mrs. Vega frowned. "I wasn't saying what happened was i -- his fault," she said. "Just that you were loco for treating his hanging around the neighborhood like a field trip. If you knew he was dangerous before tonight -- "

"But I didn't and he's not/," said Mr. Vega, sounding exasperated. "Sure, maybe I got the impression of his being no dummy, but I honestly didn't think he was a big deal 'til I saw those chompers and his size." He suddenly sighed. "And /that's where I goofed -- big time."

Devon watched as understanding seemed to dawn on her mother. Sitting next to him, Mrs. Vega clasped her hands and gave him a tender look. "Please tell me, and be honest," she said. "Even if you had an idea of his not being dangerous, could you've reacted differently to seeing those things?"

After a moment, Mr. Vega shook his head sadly. "No, I don't think so," he admitted. "I guess in the back of my head, I knew I couldn't take any chances...especially with Devon there. But it still kills me that I did all those things to him. Even if I didn't know any better, I just can't shake the feeling that what I did was...was..."

"Wrong?" Devon filled in.

He looked to his daughter, his gaze touched with marvel as he nodded. "Yeah. Like I should've known from the start the guy had sense."

Silence overcame them. Each Vega was lost in his or her own thoughts, their imaginations and fears agitated. At length, Mrs. Vega grimaced and brought a hand to her chin.

"We shouldn't be alone on this," she said. "Someone else needs to be brought in -- this cross-species stuff isn't our area, we all know that. So we can't just let him go -- "

"Oh, yes we can," Mr. Vega interjected. "We can't and we're not bringing the authorities into this. He's not bothering anyone, Vick -- he's just scraping by, keeping to the shadows -- /laying low/. If he doesn't want the limelight, then who are we to intrude on his secrecy?"

"And what about wacko scientists?" Devon added. "You've seen all those sci-fi movies and TV shows; there are guys out there who'd kill to get a hold of something like him. And too many of 'em wouldn't think twice about slicing him open to figure out what makes him so smart." She gulped, realizing how tense her muscles had become, then settled back in her chair. She shuddered a little with both nerves and at the idea she'd brought up.

Mrs. Vega held her hands out. "But what else are we supposed to do?" she said helplessly. "Just because that thing isn't dangerous doesn't mean he won't cause trouble again, like tonight. The people who wouldn't KNOW any better, Seth..." With a sigh, she covered her face with her hands, letting strands of raven black hair fall in front before she looked up again. "I'm sorry, but it's not our place to leave 'well enough' alone here," she said decisively. Her eyes suddenly grew soft. "Besides...there just has to be someone out there, some enlightened scientist or activist or something who'll protect him..."

Mr. Vega stood up. "It's no good!" he growled. "That's not how the world works, Vick, and there's no way on God's green earth I'm letting you go through with this!"

His wife narrowed her eyes and stood up alongside him, not about to be dominated. Devon had never seen such a determined air about her mother before. Actually, today ALONE she was learning a lot about her for the first time.

"But we -- !" Mrs. Vega started.

Mr. Vega brought a finger to her lips. "Hold on a sec," he told her quietly, his eyes shut as he thought a moment. He then moved to a drawer adjacent to the kitchen sink, opening it and making clinking and clattering noises as he pushed aside utensils and other objects. He soon came up with what he was looking for and returned to the table grasping a small filet knife. Holding an index finger out, he grazed the blade against its tip just enough to make a dot of blood peep through. The two ladies gawked at him as if he'd just gone off his rocker, exchanging glances that seemed mutually hopeful of there being a method to his madness.

His face straight, Mr. Vega showed them the punctured fingertip as an illustration. "Look: if I nick my finger while nailing in a board out front, and I bleed green instead of red, what's gonna be the reaction of the next guy who sees me? Can you really see him thinking, 'Gee, this is weird, but he isn't bothering anybody, so I'll just leave 'im alone'? I can't; folks are afraid of what they don't understand, and they can't understand someone with green blood because it doesn't /fit/." His eyes suddenly grew wide with urgency. "Don't you see? That guy would point me out and say, 'Oh my Lord, he's -- '" Mr. Vega stopped, as if choking on the next words. His throat worked a moment before he could say the rest, in a much softer voice. "'He's different.'"

He sagged into his chair, his eyes sad and faraway all over again. Slowly, Mrs. Vega placed her hands on his shoulders, bending so that her face was next to his. She blinked at him with a compassionate, knowing look.

"Brune?" she asked.

He took a moment in nodding. "Yeah," he whispered back. He allowed her nose to nuzzle against his cheek, closing his eyes at the gentle touch.

Devon had swallowed hard at the mention of Brune. Oh, yes, the name was familiar to her: she'd heard the stories of the thickset, cruel-mouthed student who started shooting those dark looks at her father once the whole Bronx lot was out of high school. From all Mr. Vega could ever tell, he had gained Brune's attention for being unusually quiet and withdrawn from the normal crowd at school, and then had garnered his cold hatred for showing too much of an influence from Irish blood under the obvious Latino heritage. Though a fierce, stubborn loner by habit, Brune could call together a gang in a pinch, and had done just so to corner the young Mr. Vega and his best friend Jax in an alley one night. His lackeys had taken turns thrashing and beating the two senseless...or at least trying to, since Seth and Jax were hardly ready to take this lying down. The whole scene was supposed to be to Brune's enjoyment, and it was only when he'd realized the fun might be spoiled that he gathered the nerve to step in on the action himself. But, oh, one couldn't be too cautious...which was why he came up behind the strongest of the two -- Seth -- with a knife, locking the guy's neck to his chest with a forearm and then sliding the blade across his throat in a quick, uncommitted stroke before dashing off with everyone else (or at least those left standing) at the on-coming blare of police sirens. Perhaps it was only because the cut was made in haste that her father lived. Even so, Mr. Vega had always said the worst part wasn't the pain, but rather the pure loathing he caught a glimpse of before sinking into unconsciousness...of those intense green eyes glaring back...

Then it dawned on her.

"The eyes! " she blurted. Her parents' baffled expressions prompted Devon to elaborate. "Dad, that funny look you gave the creature when he had you on your back, and why you went after him -- I get it now! His eyes reminded you of Brune's!"

The couple exchanged glances, then drawing a hand to his chin, Mr. Vega marveled at his daughter a second time. "You just about touched it, there," he said, his bittersweet smile brief. "When he was still in the shed -- still an animal, far as I could tell -- I wasn't thinking much beyond shooing 'im away from the house, or attacking if necessary. But when I was held down and looked up at those eyes, something in me just.../snapped/." He started rubbing the back of his neck. "I guess what ended up happening was that I started giving him what I've been meaning to give Brune all these years."

"So it's when he started talking that you changed your mind?" Mrs. Vega asked.

Her husband shook his head. "Not so much that he talked as what he said/," he replied, sighing. "He'd asked who the 'real' coward was between us two, and hearing that just about made my blood freeze. The chokehold, the way I'd called him a 'worm' -- for me, a guy who already had the upper hand, it was just too much..." He looked up, shame flooding his eyes. "And I realized /I was the one like Brune. Not him."

Devon crossed her arms on the table and laid her head on top. Her mind wrestled with the idea of her father turning into -- even if just for a few moments -- the one person he'd always tried to avoid becoming. But her mother's expression was still kind, and her new smile sympathetic.

"Seth," she began, "you need to stop kicking yourself for what happened out there. What's done is done; now we've got to live out the aftermath as best we can -- knowing better, I'd hope." Gently, she brought a hand under Mr. Vega's chin and turned his face to hers. "Sometimes, good people make bad mistakes," she said. "And those mistakes alone don't make you a Brune. So be sorry about it, and then let it go."

He averted his eyes for a few seconds, then gave her a short, playful snort. "You can be a real cornball, y'know that?" he said, half-chuckling.

Mrs. Vega grinned. "Yeah. But that doesn't mean all that stuff isn't true, does it?"

He let out a laugh -- a genuine one. "You've got me there," he answered. After a moment, he looked up at her with a little smile. "So...does all this 'letting go' business mean you're gonna keep this quiet after all?"

Her cheerful expression fell, and worry lined her otherwise smooth forehead. "I...I just don't know," she stammered doubtfully, shaking her head. Her eyes locked back into his. "Are you sure this is the best thing to do? To just let him go?"

Mr. Vega gave her a determined look. "I know it is," he replied, standing up. "He's been through a lot, Vick. There's no point in giving him more grief and adding another scar to the others."

Devon started at the word "others". "Wait a minute," she interrupted, addressing her father. "You mean he didn't just have the one scar on his head?"

Mr. Vega shook his head. "Oh no. There were others -- only faded. The one you saw stood out because it was newer, from only a few months ago maybe, though you shouldn't quote me on that. The others" -- he traced a couple lines on his neck and several longer ones along his left side -- "are at least years old, far as I can tell. But they're pretty conspicuous close-up."

Devon's eyes widened. Years? Years spent around people without getting caught? Or somewhere else altogether? Whatever the case, this guy's history sounded tons more interesting than anything the reliably dull Edgewood could offer -- especially to someone who'd never felt welcome around the place, anyway.

Mrs. Vega let out a resigned sigh. "So there's no changing your mind, huh?" she asked her husband.

"No." Gingerly, he took her hands into his. "Please.../please/ trust me on this."

She looked into his pleading eyes, then to the scar on his neck. She ran her fingers along it, thoughtfully, before turning to him again. "All right," she said, giving him a gentle kiss on the lips. "I trust your judgment."

The two stood holding each other for several more moments before breaking off. All that was left was one last, obvious question.

"So what now?" Devon asked.

Mr. Vega's determined look returned. "Nothing," he said, addressing them both. "We tell no one about him -- not even Alex and Morgan -- and we'll stick with the story Mom came up with for what took place tonight. If this lizard guy's as smart as we think he is, and bent on not getting caught, he'll hightail it out of here as soon as possible. As far as everyone else is concerned, though, none of this ever happened. Understood?"

They nodded, then Mrs. Vega was struck with an inspired look. She moved to the refrigerator and peered in, scrounging through its contents.

"Er, Mom...what're you doing?" Devon said, puzzled.

The woman popped up from behind the open fridge door, holding a plastic container. "Well, you saw how the poor thing was all skin-and-bones, and we've got leftovers..." She trailed off as she dipped back inside, then with a smaller container stacked on top of the first, she kicked the door shut as she briskly approached the kitchen counter. "I mean, it can't do any harm to give him something for the road."

Mr. Vega observed her doubtfully. "I dunno..."

She stopped preparing the food. "I know, Seth," she said, turning to him. "But it won't feel right if I don't, not after how close I came to causing him a heap of trouble." She looked at him imploringly. "Please. I owe him this."

Reluctant but pleased nonetheless, he nodded. "I'll allow it. But we can't risk any more contact afterwards."

Something cold settled in Devon's stomach. No more contact? She rose and rushed to her father.

"Dad, aren't we gonna, well, at least introduce ourselves or something?"

Mr. Vega sighed, his gaze sad with understanding. "I know what you're thinking," he told her, "but we can't do it, Sweets. It'd be wrong of us to take the chance of keeping 'im here too long and letting someone else find out about him." He caressed her cheek. "It's more for his sake than ours. You can understand that, right?"

Devon looked down, biting her lip hard enough to draw blood...because she didn't understand. What about something BIG happening around here? About something actually going RIGHT for once? He...he couldn't just let this go! All this intelligent lizard-creature business meant something to him too, right? So then why was he giving up on it? Maybe...maybe he just wasn't trying hard enough.

So she told him so.

"But there's gotta be a way! We just have to think -- "

"Dev, no/," he enforced. "We've done enough to mess with /his life....So we'd be better off just going back to our own."

His voice lost its sternness as he finished, and she saw a glimmer of resigned sorrow as he turned away to help Mrs. Vega with the food. Devon felt a brief pang of shame, and then of anger as she felt the best thing that had ever happened to them both -- and maybe even to her mother, too -- slip out of their grasps. Risks always got in the way...that is, if something else hadn't done so first.

Life just isn't fair.

Suddenly, that defiance from earlier rose up in her again. Telling her, like the last time, that she had a choice.

Well, then I say it's only unfair if I make it out that way. Even as she thought it, she was trying to stifle the old, familiar fear that wanted to keep her safe and realistic, from doing anything outside her comfort zone. But the defiance was just strong enough to edge out in the end.

I won't let this go/, she decided. /Not if I can help it.

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