2009-10-22: Opposing Views


Charlotte_V4icon.png Lee_V4icon.png

Date: October 22, 2009


Lee and Charlotte have very similar goals, with very different reasons.

"Opposing Views"

Lee's Love Shack

Lee has been working his skinny white elitist humanities degree butt off the last few weeks. With the impending kidnapping of his students, himself, a couple of ex-girlfriends he still cares about, and probably, as far as he knows, one million other people with superpowers, and lacking the support of the wealthy, the powerful or the subtle, he and his Boho pals - unemployed actors, self-absorbed performance artists, stoned drummers and call-center Internet superstars - have been executing disinformation campaigns. Spreading rumors about people with odd abilities at ridiculous places like carnivals and country western bars, then Youtubing everyone that shows up out of place. Add in two jobs separated by a 45 minute train ride, and it's no wonder Lee's exhausted. He's on the phone, leaning heavy on the counter. "That's just it, we don't know who they are. We have to just keep an eye out. It's not that hard, we're talking about the government here. It probably doesn't even matter their names or anything. Just the fact that they're trying to keep it secret makes them vulnerable." he explains patiently for the ten thousandth time. "Yeah. All right, I'll see you around."

Charlotte's entrance, like always, is silent. She'd actually expected Lee to be at school, or busy, or out. He's a grown men, they leave their apartments, right? Apparently not, because he's the first thing she hears as she teleports in, just outside the kitchen with a bag of crepes from a french shop between her hands, a note stapled to the plastic offering her thanks for the use of his aloe vera and bathroom. Yes, it literally says both, but it's unsigned. Just in case. Wearing khakis, a denim jacket and a scarf, Charlotte steps quietly into the kitchen, reaching out to touch the man's shoulder in a gentle attempt to not startle him. "Lee?"

Lee jerks a little bit. "Oh…hey…Charlotte. How the hell did you get in here?" He looks confusedly across the room at the door. "Oh hey, is that from Mademoiselle Mimi's? Awesome!" he says enthusedly. "How are you, how are things going?" He wouldn't be at either school at this hour, the only place he'd be is out, and for whatever reason that doesn't seem to appeal to him at the moment.

Charlotte smirks a bit, shaking her head. "You…really haven't figured it out yet?" She shakes her head again, surprised, but decides not to push it. "No, not Mimi's….it's from a different place. Rue de Artisan." In truth, he's probably never heard of the place, unless he's been to Paris. But that's really not the point. "It's just…a little thank you gift for being so nice to me when I came in the other day." She moves past him, setting the bag on the counter and slowly removing the contents. Five in all. "There's chocoalte and banana, chocolate and strawberry, wild berry, cheery and cheese." They're still piping hot. "Lee…" she says slowly, turning to glance at him over her shoulder while she unpacks. "What were you talking about on teh phone? You aren't doing something…dangerous, are you?"

Lee says, "Figured what out? Oh!" He slaps his forehead. "It's obvious! You walk through walls." He sighs. "Of course you walk through walls." he adds rather morosely, as if that just about figured. "Rue d'Artisan, hmm, I've never been there. Should check it out sometime…it smells great. Oh that? No, that's just an insurance policy. One of many. It won't prevent them from coming after me or the kids, but it will guarantee that if it does happen it'll approximate sticking your hand in a blender while it's still running." he concludes with satisfaction.

Charlotte just nods slowly. She'll just let that go for now. "Right," she shakes her head, moving to set the crepes in his fridge if he'll allow. He's a man, men can't do such things by themselves. "Alright," she murmers, nodding as he talks about the insurance policies. "As long as you aren't doing anything that could stick yourself too far out into danger. Remember, whatever you do, that your kids need you."

Lee ughs, "What they need is adults that will look out for them. I'm just a teacher, I can't be with them every second of the day. It's ridiculous, you know, beyond ridiculous. Oh, uh, sure, right in there is fine." He doesn't have a lot of fresh food in there. A lot of takeout boxes, some leftovers, some bag lunches marked with the days of the week, in French ironically. "How is your thing going? You said you were going to get started with something? Did you find out anything more about this train?"

Charlotte makes a note of what's in the man's fridge, bending over to load it up with crepes before she stands, shaking her head and sweeping a dark curl back behind her ear. "Nothing more than what I saw, but there are a few people who are working to try and bring some of the missing back home. Hopefully I'll be useful to them." Gently, she lets the fridge door swing closed, turning once more to look at the owner of the apartment. "I know it may seem hard, Lee, but what you're doing now is amazing, life-changing for these children. I know they appreciate all the work you do for them."

Lee says, "I hope so. The rest of the bums at the Company couldn't teach them to flip a burger. What if they decided to do it for a competitor?" The sarcastic flourish clearly brings Lee satisfaction, he smiles at the thought of it. "So yeah, try to be sure that no more of the kids end up at the Passaic school than really have to? I'd really hate to see them go from a cell made of bars to one made of credit card debt."

"I have a place," she explains, turning and resting her rear lightly against the counter. "In Germany, I've moved a few students there already. I think we're up to 7 students now with another scehduled to travel there any day now. It's…where I'll move your kids if the need becomes despearate." She offers him a hopeful smile. "See? Another failsafe. And I think you underestimate how much good you're doing for your kids, Lee. They're in an environment with someone who cares about what happens to them, and they're learning to use their abilities. Thsoe are huge impacts for them. You really do sell yourself short."

Lee says, forthrightly, "The best thing they can learn to do with their abilities is how to never use them ever, more or less forget they have them and get on with their lives. I'm not teaching them anything about those abilities, not now, not ever." He nods approvingly of her plan, though. "Good, sounds good. If they have to stay for some time, do you have living space? Teacher? Activities?"

Charlotte frowns, and blushes too. "Not exactly. We're working on it, but right now it's mostly for hiding. We're teaching them as much as we can, personally, but…." She pushes off the counter, looking concerned. "Lee, you can't…ask these children to stifle their abilities. Their abilities are very important parts of who they are. My own ability…it changed my life in millions of ways for the better. It's how I'm able to help now as much as I am."

Lee says, brusquely, "Frankly, I doubt it. The whole thing is just a giant wheel-spinning waste of time. Oh, I'm sure you're grateful for being able to walk through walls now and again, and there've been times I've been grateful someone had some ability, blah blah blah, but in the larger scheme of things…there are things called doors, and windows in an emergency. Windows also have the advantage that you can look through them. The whole history of humankind is on my side on this one, Charlotte. I'm not going to teach the kids otherwise." He nods at her description. "Well, if it's a temporary thing, that's fine, but if it's going to be more than a month or so, they're going to really start falling behind. I'll see what I can find out about tutors and so on in Germany, who to contact."

Charlotte's blush becomes profuse. "Lee, it's more than that, you have to understand. My ability is the only reason I've been able to move all the children I have, or to find people who have been lost. It's more than just being able to move between place and place it's…a freedom I didn't have before. You didn't know me back then, you didn't know what I was like or what I was willing to do or…had done," her blush becomes a bit higher, as if some memory is drawing it out. "And you could be teaching these children that the abilities they have can help them do remarkable things, good things. Teaching them to be ashamed is only going to make them bitter. Not teaching them control is only going to cause them to lash out uncontrollably, and possibly hurt someone. I know you aren't a bad person, I know you don't want that."

Lee replies, "Who said anything about being ashamed? It's not relevant one way or another. If anyone is trying to keep them ashamed it's the government and Company who are telling them that they have to keep it secret or not only will they be punished forever, but that they'll be responsible for the world falling into chaos and turmoil!" He throws his hands in the air, exhaustion momentarily forgotten, "Can you believe the chutzpah of that? 'It's okay that you have this trait, kiddo, and we'll teach you to use it but you must never ever under any circumstances tell anyone we don't approve of about it or the world will die and it will be your fault.' Ugh!" He shakes his head disgustedly.

"No, Charlotte, I understand perfectly. You were in a bad situation and you got out of it. But neither of those things are unique to these abilities. People get into and out of bad situations all the time. Besides, what the hell do I really know about these abilities that I could teach them anyway? What does anyone know? The only thing I've heard people theorize is that it might be evolution, but there's all kinds of problems with that knuckleheaded theory, so pretty much anything anyone's teaching them about it is probably completely wrong, and not likely to improve until both the government and the Company have failed and people get a good close look at what's really happening.."

Charlotte, passionate about the argument, pushes away from counter to step a bit closer to him. "It wasn't a bad situation, Lee. It was my life. It was the only life I'd ever known." She shakes her head, lifting a hand, really having very little desire to get into the particulars of her past - particularly when they are so negative. "You teach them the theories. You teach them not to be ashamed, even if they do have to keep it a secret. You give them what you can. But teach them to excersize them, with caution. There's so much good that can come of these things. I'm living proof of that." Her doe-brown eyes plead up at him.

Lee is equally passionate, and completely unmoved, "It's my life too. My parents spent every day for eighteen years experimenting on me and my sister, trying to give us those abilities, and when they failed? They decided we were worthless. Flat worthless. They lied to us, fed us chemicals, our Monopoly set still has those psychic symbol cards in them, you know, my sister and I still play it that way, we never knew until we went to someone else's house that there were dice involved. They took out this little red six sided die and we looked at her and said 'where are the Zener cards?' Now I'm right in the middle of the world they tried and failed to get me into and there's no way, absolutely no way I'm going to let anyone else get put through that. The only way this is going to work if there is not any need for secrecy. The only way this will work is if it's no more special than being able to touch your nose with your tongue, and a little less special than being good at algebra. I appreciate how you feel, but you are just plain wrong. It's not your ability that got you out of the situation, because you could have just turned around and walked right back through the wall right back into it. And a lot of people do just that. They get a bit of freedom from the only life they've ever known, they get scared and they rush right back in. You can't tell me that doesn't happen." he insists.

Charlotte shakes her head. "Being locked down, having the option of leaving, even if they never do, that's freedom. Knowing there's always somewhere else to go, someone else to be. Your parents….they sound like they were wrong," She certainly won't condemn the people without ever meeting them. And if she did, she probably still wouldn't condemn them. "But this situation is not your situation. You can take your bad experience with your abilities and learn from it - turn it into something good. That's how you fix things, that's how you make things better. You take something bad and make it good. Just because your parents mistreated your gifts doesn't mean that your gifts were wrong. Nuclear power has the potential to level a city just as much as it does to power a hospital, right?" She really is checking with him, she's not entirely sure. She's not very smart, if you recall. "It's all a matter of how you use it, and why. Sure, the Company could use these opportunities to make something bad of your students' abilities. But you can counter that - you can…you can make something just as good!" She offers him a soft, dimpled smile and a slight tilt of her head. "And Lee…you know you're far from worthless, abilities or no. You're unimaginably intelligent - I can't imagine ever knowing as much as you do. You're passionate, you're handsome, you're caring." Just in case he needed a pep-talk. She sensed he did, and she's jsut the sort to jump all over that.

Lee says, "My ego tends to need more punctures than boosts, but thank you." He is grateful, despite the quip. "You know I really admire you. I just don't see things that way. I'm not going to teach them what I don't think is true. The important thing about these kids is not that they have powers. It's that they're kids. They need to know how to diagram a sentence much more than they need to know how to set things on fire with their mind." And he doesn't seem sarcastic, either.

Charlotte shakes her head, though she does flush when he mentions admiring her. "I agree that they need to know that as well. I wish I did, or that I had such attentive teachers. But it's not so much that they need to know how to set things on fire with their minds, but rather not to. I'm just saying that's going to be a huge aspect in their lives, so advocating them to forget that they have abilities is going to ruin every diaphram and sentance for them later on." Yes, she really did just mess that up that bad, but she looks so earnest.

Lee doesn't laugh at her mistake - he never does that with students, or former students, and really, recently, only with the wealthy and powerful. "I'm don't mean they should literally forget it. I just mean they shouldn't concern themselves with it. It's not important." He leans back on the counter and folds his arms like a punctuation mark. "Or, at least, it won't be once the jerkoffs that are currently pushing everyone around fall on their faces."

"No one's been pushing me around for months, and it's still important to me." She offers him a small, trusting smile, and holds out her hand, palm up, like a debutante about to walk down the stairs who is in need of an escort. "Here, I'll show you. You'll see why it's so important." How could you not trust those dimples?

Lee says, with that half charming grin. "Sure, but I won't. I'm just gonna tell you that right now." He takes her hand.

The last thing he'll see is Charlotte's face. His vision will begin to blot, as though particles of black are slowly invading his line of sight until there's nothing but black. His breath is caught, and he won't be able to feel his fingers or toes, arms or legs, for a brief moment. But it passes in the space of a breath, and soon there is light. It's invading, it's pericing, it's yellow and gold and white and bright and right in his face. Feeling comes back. A warm wind whipping through his hair. Charlotte's small fingers curled around his. And findally - sight.

Pyramids at Giza, Egypt

"Walking through walls isn't exactly what I do," comes a voice from beside him. There stands Charlotte, her hand still in his. They're standing on an ancient stone wall, and everything is yellow. The sands, the sky, the sun as it seems to just be rising over the horizon. As he turns, Lee will see that beyond Charlotte stand three pyramids. The smallest is to the right, the median is just before them, and the largest is off to the distance in the left. The sun burns and peers over them, light bouncing off the stone that makes them up. The rising orb over the pyramids at Giza is a sight that is considered - or was considered - one of the wonders of the ancient world, and at this view, it's not hard to see why.

Charlotte's scarf, jacket, and loose chestnut hair flutter freely about her, and she's smiling without reserve, without shame and without smarm. She's perfectly open and honest in her delight at their sudden location. "Isn't it beautiful?"

Lee is stunned. "It is." He shades his eyes, stares out across at it. He puts his hands in his coat pockets, green eyes trying to take it all in. "It's amazing."
"Now imagine what your students could do with all the knowledge you're going to give them coupled with something like this." She smiles, feeling her point has been made.

"Come on," she urges, offering her hand to him once more. "I'll take you back. Your crepes are probably starting to get cold, and you could probably do with some sleep. It won't be long before that sun catches up to New York."

Lee looks back at her, not chastened in the least, grinning crookedly, "I told you I wouldn't change my mind. Thanks, though…it was gorgeous." He takes her hand again.

"I'll keep trying," she says, chuckling softly as the two begin to fade away. A desert wind sweeps over the wall, and grains of sand whirlwind among the bits of dust that the pair become, and it's as though they were never there in the first place. Somewhere, a camel howls, waiting for his day of carrying tourists around and spitting in their faces. Workers and historians are rising for another day. But Charlotte and Lee were there, even if they never know.

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