2008-02-18: As You Do Unto The Least Of Them


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Summary: You don't take someone's life without consequence. And, while the consequences when Erin gets home may be more dire? For now - there's just responsibility, truth, and Dumb Cat.

February 18, 2008

As You Do Unto the Least of Them

Ali and Erin's apartment, Uptown:

Who'dathought the hipster DJ actually lived /uptown?/ Woah. Nine floors up in a spacious three-bedroom overlooking Central Park. There's even coordinated furniture and art on the walls.

And two cats, who, as Ali scrapes a key in the lock and gets it open for the pair, yowl their absolute abject need for food RIGHT NOW YOU MEAN PERSON YOU.

There was a cab ride involved, Ali staying oddly quiet - as she's spoken (rarely) on the way here, her voice has been increasingly hoarse.

She does say, as she holds the door - ".. you can stay. As long as you want. We'll figure something out, right?"

Jamie had stopped crying by the time they got the burger, though she's still been a bit mopey. Especially since Ali's been so quiet. The bad mood seems to vanish once she's in the door, as she says delightedly, "You got cats!" She moves to try to pet one of them, eager but at the same time very gentle. She's used to dealing with animals. She looks back up to Ali again more seriously, though, "Can I stay here for now? Sierra said I could stay at her place too, but… dunno where I wanna stay yet."

One calico, one grey - the grey's a little skittsh. The calico? Oh, LOVINGS OH YES PETPET.. shameless cuddleslut, that one. Ali grins, and pushes he door shut. "Yup. That's Dumb Cat, by the way - the other one's Pixel." Her voice isn't getting better. Chewed gravel, ayup.

"This is sort of more my roomate's place than mine - and she's sorta grumpy. She's gonna grouse a lot - so for a couple of days we'll have to sort of sort that out, you know?" It's oddly apologetic - "But we'll figure it out. And you can stay as long as you want - my bedroom's the little one in the back. It's yours as long as you're here. I kinda hope you'll stick around for a while - I don't wanna see you end up sleepin' in the park. I did that once - it's not fun."

Jamie nods and says, "Park's too cold this time of year. Dumpsters are better. Just gotta plug your nose. 'Course, I can sleep in public pools too, and nobody'll see me." She giggles a little, but then more serious, she says, "Wanna stay here a while, yeah." Then she comments, "Your voice sounds funny."

"I broke it." Ali shrugs, then - "It'll get better." She coughs once, heading for the kitchen. "You want something to drink? I think we have Coke, if nothing else." She pauses, goes to say something, apparently changes mid-idea to something a little safer. "The TV remote's on the coffee table - and I've got books all over in the room. I think we need to go shopping, though, you and me." She winces. "I shoulda thought about stopping and getting your stuff."

Jamie nods quickly to the offer, "Yes please!" She isn't all that perceptive of a kid, at least when it comes to reading adults. So she misses the subject change completely. "Yeah, that'd be great! And it's ok. Didn't really have anything that wasn't stolen anyway." She's taken off her coat, though doesn't go for the TV. In the time it takes Ali to go into the fridge to get the coke and look back out, Jamie has taken to balancing on the back of the couch, in a handstand.

And Ali just stares - "Uh.." And there's sudden worry, sure. "What.. don't.." But what do you /say/. You blink. You stare. And you go.. "Uh. Ice?" And you pour. that's what you do.

"So." You know that tone adults get when they're trying to do the 'birds and bees' conversation? Even with Ali's currently ruined voice, she still manages it. "You. Uh." And that's as far as she gets.

Jamie tucks into a roll and tips forward, managing to land on the couch cushions with no problem. She blinks up to Ali again and says, "Now even your words are sounding funny. Dunno what ya're saying."

Ali sighs - and shrugs. She carries glasses over. "I have to tell you something, and I don't even have the first clue where to start. But - you kinda have a right to know - " She offers one, leaning on the back of the couch. "And I'm sort of scared you're going to be pissed at me." When all else fails, apparently, tell the truth.

Jamie takes the glass with a smile, perhaps a slightly less bright smile than normal but a smile nonetheless, "Thanks." She takes a drink of the coke, and comments, "Joe never let me drink coke. Said I always had too much energy anyway." She blinks again at Ali's explanation and says, "It's ok. Just don't lie to me, like Joe, please?"

"I won't." Ali sips at her own - then tries out, "Joe told you the truth 'cause I told him to." There, it's out. "He didn't get pissed.. because I told him not to. And he's.. probably not going to come after you because I told him you weren't really a threat." She tries out a lopsided, awkward smile.

Jamie blinks at all that, and says softly, "Wow. Are you some big secret boss or something, that he hasta do what ya said?" She doesn't quite understand, obviously.

"Nope, kiddo. I'm like you." Ali looks down at her glass. "You turn into water. I can make people.. listen." She takes a breath. "I don't like doing it, but I did it to Joe. I won't do it to you, I promise."

Jamie's eyes widen and she says softly, "Wow. No wonder ya believed me 'bout my turning into water! But even other people with powers don't usually." Then to the last promise she holds out a hand, "Pinky swear it?"

Ali very gravely pinky-swears. "I promise." She grins. "But.. can you not tell anybody?" She gets more serious. "You know how Joe was sort of using what you can do? There's only a couple of people who know what I can do 'cause, honestly, I don't want them to.. well. Sort of end up doing the same thing." And with that, she reaches out to tousel the kid's hair.

"And I'm not as brave as you are. So it's easier to just not have people know, right? You might not want to tell people about you, either - I won't."

Jamie nods quickly and says, "I won't tell nobody about you, swear it!" Then she bites her lip and says, "I dunno. That's what everybody keeps saying, but I like people knowing about it. Hate secrets."

"I don't like 'em much either." Ali takes a moment, then - tries, "Joe didn't see /you/, kiddo. He saw what you could do for him, you know? He didn't see a girl who smiles and laughs and likes some stuff and doesn't like other stuff and - he didn't see /Jamie./ He saw 'girl who can do something useful'." She climbs over the couch, lacking utterly in grace, to settle in and look over at Jamie.

"There's a lot of people out there who are like that. Most people probably wouldn't believe you, you know? Some will believe you and wanna use you in some way or another. There's at least one group of really bad people out there who lock people like you and me away and.. I don't know what else." She offers a rather wry, if sad, smile. "So sometimes it's best just not to tell people. That way it's harder for the bad ones to find you."

Jamie bites her lip and nods a bit. "But if he hadn't, I wouldn't've ever learned to change back to normal in clothes. He had me practice that *forever*. And if I hadn't told you, you wouldn't've made Joe tell me the truth. And nobody can keep me locked up. If air can get in and out, so can water."

"If I told you to stay, kiddo - you would. No matter how much you didn't want to." Ali offers her hand, sighing. "And no, I'd never do that. But you don't have to have walls and keys to lock people up. That part I know." The Dj sets her glass aside, on the floor. "I'm not saying don't tell anybody? Just.. be really, really careful. Okay?"

Jamie blinks, "But ya said…" Then she nods as she figures it out, "Oh. Might be other people who can do what you can, huh?" She bites her lip and then says, "I'll try."

Ali nods, then - serious stuff over with. It comes with a relieved sort of sigh. "Good." She grins, then - "I have to go to work tonight - god. That's gonna suck. What time's your bedtime .. and if I have to go, are you gonna be alright here on your own? I'll make sure you've got a key."

Jamie blinks, and then says, "Oh, ok." She nods quickly, "I'll be ok by myself! And I don't got a bedtime. Always had to be home by ten. Sometimes for a job, or sometimes… well, he said it's so he didn't worry. But he let me stay up as long as I wanted."

"Okay. Tonight - " Ali raises a finger - but with a rather warm smile - "But we'll talk tomorrow. I gotta work eleven to six - if you're still up, I'll say hi at midnight. Just turn on the radio, right?" And, oddly enough, the woman offers a hug.

"You're gonna be alright, kiddo - I promise."

Jamie smiles again and says, "Ok." Then she leans over to take the offered hug, holding on for a few moments. "Thanks. And I'll listen for sure, promise!"

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