2009-10-13: Sander Hawkins

Starring: Charlotte and Micah


Date: October 13, 2009


Charlotte finds Sander Hawkins (aka Micah Sanders) at a group home, pretending to be something he's not: unextraordinary. She convinces him to go to Germany with her.

"Sander Hawkins"

A Group Home in Queens

It's a chilly day in Queen's. Micah Sanders aka 'Sander Hawkins' sits on the stoop of the back yard of his group home, laptop on his lap. Yes, this is where Micah disappeared to, although not under the name Micah. They'd be expecting that. He's managed to get lost in the system, except this time it's been completely on purpose.

He's grown a lot in the last few months at the group home, so much that his clothes are a bit on the short side. Not that he couldn't get new ones if he wanted.

It doesn't look like he's working on the laptop in front of him, yet with closed eyes, he actually is. With a few deep breaths, he focuses. "Work," he hisses.

"Micah," The voice that speaks his name is a soft one, a little tired, but none the less familiar. It's the voice of the woman who showed up at Micah's home over a year ago, saying that his mother was alive. It's the voice that brought his mother back to him. It's the voice that came week after week after week with goodies, treats, food, company and news about his mother before she got her memories back.

But it's a voice he's not heard in over 18 months.

And yet there she stands, just in front of him and to the side a few steps. She's wearing jeans, a wrap sweater, and sneakers. None of her usual clunky jewlery, and her hair is a bit messy. But she looks…happy and relieved and concerned. That's one thing about Charlotte - she wears all her emotions out there for the world to see, unashamed. "Oh Micah, you're so big…what a heart breaker you're turning out to be."

Eyes are popped open at the sound of his name, but Micah doesn't look up immediately. He's spent time and energy getting lost. As lost as he can manage. He is only thirteen after all. After several beats, he moves the laptop to the side and looks quizzically at Charlotte. "Name's Sander." He bites his bottom lip. He's never been a good liar. In fact, it's incredible he's kept up this facade as long as he has.

He blushes involuntarily at the comment about what a heart breaker he's becoming, but he tightens his jaw to try to avoid smiling. And then quickly he glances around to see if anyone has heard him referred to as Micah. Realizing that no one has heard his real name, he sighs, and smiles involuntarily. The first smile he's exposed in some time.

In a slow, smooth motion, Charlotte settles down beside Micah, grinning a bit with dimples peeking out of her cheese. "Sander. As if that face wouldn't get all the ladies, that name certainly will." She says, leaning over and smelling his hair as if he were her own, kissing the top of his head. Just being around him makes her so sad, but so happy too, she could cry…

"Please tell me you're alright," she says, almost pleading as she looks down at him again, looking over him for injuries or anything like.

Charlotte's maternal action causes goosebumps to form on Micah's skin and for a moment, his eyes well up with faint tears, but the teen swallows them back with a sniff, and he inches away from her. "I'm … I'm fine." It's not particularly descriptive. "Better than some." He purses his lips together and then forces a weak smile.

"It's very… normal here." And then he adds, "And so am I." For Micah being normal is virtually foreign. He's trying to blend and be as average as possible. Average in his actions. Average in his knowledge. Average.

She has her arm around him too now. Forget about ever being safe again from overprotection, Micah. That part of your life is over again. "How do you like being normal?" She asks, leaning down to peer at his face and listen to him speak. She's so overjoyed that he's alright. I'll make sure nothing bad happens to him, Niki, she promises silently to the woman who invaded her dream earlier. "Is it everything you ever hoped it would be?"

He sideglances Charlotte and then stares forward. "It's." The words are chosen carefully. Trust isn't something that comes easily these days. "Quiet." He frowns slightly and then adds, "You need to be careful." And then he adds for good measure, "I need to be careful." He frowns as he drums his fingers on the cement of the stoop.

Charlotte chuckles. "Spoken like a true grown man. You're a bit late for that though, I was kindly tasered the other night. I'm fine, but…there are people seeking out those with abilities. Both…both Niki and D.L….." She trails off, biting on her lower lip. "I'm afraid they'll come looking for you."

She looks around, making sure no one's yet come to see them. So far, they are still alone. "Are you happy here, Micah?"

Staring out at the lawn Micah, doesn't change his gaze, "I'm on the list." He tightens his jaw before turning to look at Charlotte, "So are you." He purses his lips together again before crossing his arms over his chest. He adds simply, "Sander Hawkins isn't. He isn't a person of interest. He's unextraordinary in virtually every way. He gets C's on seventh grade math instead of doing calculus in middle school. His parents died long ago and has been bounced from one home to the next. No one is interested in Sander." He looks intently at Charlotte. "I made him that way so I can be their legacy."

While she listens, Charlotte tightens her arm around Micah, in case he's cold or something. Yes, that's it. Keep the child warm. That's why she's hugging him. "But are you happy here, getting C's? Are you…okay? You shouldn't have to be afraid to show how extraordianry you are." She closes her eyes, sighing sadly and kissing his hair agian. She'll stop doing that eventually, but for right now…"You know all you have to do is say the word and I can take you away from here."

"Y-you don't understand," Micah states as those same goosebumps line his arms. "There's a list. If they find me I can't help everyone else. I need to help everyone else." He stands to his feet, struggling out of the hug. Throwing his arms into the air, he exasperates, "They would want me to. I have to do what they would want!" And then he adds in a whisper, "I have to." With a sniff he tilts his head at Charlotte, "So it's not really about happiness right now… it's about… necessity."

Charlotte watches him, her face softening with each word. As he finshes, the woman slowly pushes to her feet and wraps her arms around him again if he'll let her, hugging him close to her chest and rocking him a bit. "I know," she whispers softly, tilting her face down so he can hear her voice as she speaks. "Micah listen to me, I'm moving people. There's a safehouse in Germany for people like us. There's no computer trail, no list…just a handful of people who need to hide there."

He almost relaxes in the hug, until he takes a step back. "B-but I need access to computers," Micah sputters. "I-I can't help without them. The train… The guards… I can't… I need… they already have lots of people. There will be more." He purses his lips and then throws his arms up once again animatedly, "We can't just hide. It's only going to get worse. I know it'll only get worse! And what about those who've already been taken?!" And then tilting his head a moment of concern comes over him, "Is-is Cam there? In Germany, I mean-" And then he adds, "—he emailed me, but I-I left Micah behind."

"Heyheyhey," Charlotte says, reaching up to cup Micah's face and stare him down - nicely with her doe-brown eyes of course - to try and get him to relax. "I can get you comptuers. Whatever you need, you can have there." She smiles a bit more, relaxing a bit and releasing him. "Cam is not there yet. But he will be soon. I wanted to find you first, I've been so worried. But I saw Cam, three days ago. He's fine."

"I knew they hadn't taken him. I'd known if they had—" Micah says as he relaxes a bit again. He arches an eyebrow at Charlotte, as he runs a hand through his curly hair, "I might need to stay closer. I need to help. Mom and Dad would've wanted me to help." Maybe. At the very least they would've stayed to help. Or one of them would've. "I've read the files. Wynn's bad news for us. They think we're terrorists." He looks down at the ground.

Charlotte smiles. "They'd be so proud of you. You're so brave. I understand your wanting to be near. I could bring you back and forth all the time if you like I just…" she sighs, looking around. "I don't know how comfortable I'd feel leaving you in a place like this. I go out of my way to protect children in locations like this all over the world - it isn't right that you shouldn't be one of them."

"It's not so bad here," Micah states as he gazes at the very full house. "Busy though. Maybe too busy sometimes." He bites his bottom lip, "I've stayed under the radar here. It's let me… help people." Or a person. One person still counts though, right? "If I agree to go with you, you have to promise to take me back and forth…"

Charlotte nods. "I would, of course. Whatever you ever, ever need from me, all you have to do is whisper it and it's yours, alright? Going places or…new computers. Anything at all." She smiles at him again, a sad smile. The first meeting is always the hardest.

"I can get my own computers, I just need to be allowed to use them," Micah knows he's capable of procuring what he needs, and he can justify it because he's helping people. As long as there's a good reason, it's ethically right, isn't it? "Okay. I'll come with you." And then he adds, "Just remember what you promised. I need to finish what I started. I can't leave everyone hanging. I promised to help someone. I promised." And a promise means a lot. "BUT you need to remember you're not my mom." And then he adds with a sigh, "She's gone. So is Dad. AND we don't talk about them again. Ever." Unless Micah brings it up. They're his parents, he can talk about them as much as he wants.

"No, Micah, I'm not your mom. But she was my very close friend and I'm going to do everything I can to protect you. If this is the last time we get to talk about them…." She reaches into her pocket, revealing a pearl and peridot necklace charm on a string of hemp. Boys wear hemp necklaces, right? It's all 'surfer dude' and shit. "While I was away, I bought this for your mother. When I first met her, I took her to a beach. She called it paradise, and picked up a shell as a reminder. I…imagine it might be a bit girly for your tastes. You never have to wear it, I won't be surprised if you don't. But I…I have to give it to someone, and the one most deserving of it, and my apologies, is you."

The teen fights the tears welling in his eyes. Not talking about them is the only thing that's kept him together these last few months. He sniffs as he reaches out for the necklace. He's given up everything he had of them by becoming someone else. He bites his bottom lip as he stares at the pearl. That was his mom. A pearl. Virtually nothing put under pressure to become something beautiful. He swallows hard, covers his mouth with the back of his hand to hold back his emotion, and just nods. Choking back the tears, he whispers, "I just wanted to be a family." He blinks back the burning tingle of tears, but one escapes and rolls down his tanned face.

Charlotte reaches out with a single arm to hug him again if he wants it. "You were a family once. You still are. When people ask you about you, you'll be able to tell them about your strong mother and your brave father and how they loved you so much and did everything they could for you. That's exactly what a family is, Micah. It's love and bending over backwards for each other. And your family did that in spades, sweetie. Niki and D.L. are still your family. Granted, you had some rocky times, but I promise you - every family does. Just remember the good times. The stories, and the laughter, and the happiness. That's what's important."

Several more tears escape Micah's eyes as Charlotte hugs him. Quickly, he uses his sleeve to dry his eyes so as not to get Charlotte wet from his tears. With another sniffle, he steps out of the embrace, picks up his laptop, and closes his eyes. "I'm ready to go," he says simply, eyes still closed.

Charlotte lets him go easily. "Do you need anything from your room?" she asks, looking over him once more with concern. She doesn't want him to leave anything behind. There will be problems, when a child goes missing. Maybe they'll think he escaped, or something. Honeslty it isn't the biggest problem she has right now. Just keeping hims afe, that's all that matters.

"No. I'll get new clothes. These ones don't fit," Micah observes. "Don't think Mom would want me wearing them anymore, anyways. Sander didn't know better. I do." He closes his eyes again, and then opens them to touch his pocket, "I have my phone." He takes it out of his pocket and his lips curl involuntarily upwards. Returning it to his pocket, eyes are closed again, "I'm ready for real."

Charlotte nods, reaching out to take Micah's hand. "Say goodbye to Sander, then," she urges the boy gently, and in a moment everything is fizzling away, until the area is queit and calm save for a light breeze. It's like they were never even there…

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