2010-05-07: She Wasn't There, Technically



Date: May 7, 2010


Aaron goes to Gillian Harper to seek help with controlling his ability. He ends up getting more work than he was hoping for.

"She Wasn't There, Technically"

NYU Library

The time for denial is sadly over. Aaron tried to deny it all as much as he could, rationalizing away any and everything that happened to him in January, but enough is enough. As Sydney said, he needs to stop hiding. He needs to stand up and do something about it because — and he already knew it — Tom Wilkes has no problem with collateral damage. His first attempt on Aaron's life proves that without a doubt.

Of course, gaining control over something as strange as his gift…. where does a person even start? The only control he's seemed to manage is tied to music, and he doesn't think that is in any way remotely useful if he were to face off against Tom on any day the bastard happens to show his face again. Sydney doesn't know enough about her own ability and could only give him the advice to relax and concentrate. There's only one person Aaron knows has a gift and seems to be more than capable of using it. Which is why he's here at the University.

Last he was here, he apologized, profusely for being a jackass and accusing Gillian of being a stalker. Clearly, she meant him no harm. That was Tom's job. Of course, the more his gift came up, the further and further away he went until he disappeared altogether. Denial. It's a terrible thing.

And here he is, back again. This time, there will be no denial. He needs help, and help he believes only one person can give him. He steps into the library, nervous. He was still a bit of an ass to Gillian last time, even if he did apologize for calling her a stalker. Calling her crazy wasn't the smartest of things to do, but it was easier for him to accept than that he had some sort of super power. In some ways, it still is easier. But sometimes easy isn't right.

While so much in the world is changing for so many people, the library seems to have remained mostly the same. New books, new periodicals, new students, but the same basic location. The summer semester has started, so there's a lot fewer people around than during the peek fall or spring semesters, leaving a lot less people walking by the desks, and a lot more time for certain other things…

Like sketching out a comic book.

The scripts are still coming in, though they're less detailed these days, and this time it basically looks like a city street, with two people standing on it, looking up at the sky, with the sun overhead, blocking their eyes with their hands, but still looking up.

Leaning over her drawing, she doesn't look up from it as she sketches carefully, taking each line and making it count, nor does she look up until he gets really close.

And get really close he does. It's easy to get near a person to try and speak more than it is to actually say something. A pencil falls over. There's a rattle of something nearby, though what it is would be anyone's guess. Aaron tries to reign in his power, trying to avoid making a scene if at all possible. It's bad enough he made a scene he was there the first time and very narrowly avoided making a scene the last time.

"Is this the help desk?" he asks, trying to be smooth. And failing. Embarrassment written all over his face, it's clear he's nervous. The occasional glance over his shoulder really doesn't help much either. If anyone looks crazy, it's definitely not Gillian. It's Aaron Michaels.

For someone in a wheelchair, Gillian looks rather healthy, really. The street view comic gets closed up and pushed aside and out of the way, and she looks up at him with raised eyebrows. "No, this is one of the reference desks. But I guess all of them are technically help desks, in a way." Just offering different kinds of help. Looking past him to make sure no one who needs Library help is actually walking up, she asks, "So I'm guessing you need help of some kind?"

When she looks back at him, she adds a comment, "You look pretty crappy."

"I'll take that as a compliment," Aaron says. A few items on Gillian's desk move slightly. Spin around a bit, turn over. Like someone who can't sit still, picking things up and handling them, setting them back down before grabbing the next one. Nervous, disorganized behaviour. Only there are no hands doing the picking up, and when Aaron notices it's happening, he issues a hushed, "Stop that." He takes a deep breath and nods. The items stop moving, one thunking against the desk from where it was suspending an inch from the surface.

He keeps his voice low. "Help, yes, help is a plan. That is actually very … minor." Compared to his bedroom after a nightmare. "I can't control it, and it's driving me batty and costing money replacing breakable things."

Gillian peers down at it trying to move, and then looks up at him with a raised eyebrow. "I see you're figuring out that we're not all that different, huh?" But don't make her stuff fly away. "Take a few deep breaths, so you don't end up tossing me out of my chair, please." And she doesn't want to even attempt wheeling around with him if he's sending things flying everywhere. Her voice is kept down a few levels.

"Guess you believe in this stuff now…" Of course he would, when it's happening to him. "I don't know how to help you control what you're doing, cause I have something different, but accepting it might help. I know I just thought I was having vivid dreams at first."

"Kind of hard to ignore something that redecorates your bedroom every night, yeah." A stapler tumbles off the desk when Gillian says she doesn't know how to help him control what he's doing. He takes her advice and takes a few deep breaths. Generally, he doesn't move heavy things, so he's hoping neither Gillian nor her chair get bumped or moved around. He leans forward over the counter. "I've … managed to play the piano with it, but that's it. It just … doesn't seem to listen to me any other time."

"I think it's different for everyone," Gillian says, putting a hand under her chin as she leans over the counter a bit more, and then pointing with the other one. To the stapler. "Pick it back up at least. Maybe you should go outside into the quad and I'll be there in a few minutes. Less stuff to throw around out there." And by being there, she likely doesn't mean leaving her job. "Maybe you need to play music with it more, get the hang of using it for that so it's less likely to do anything else."

"Oh, God." He smacks his forehead and then reacquires the stapler. "I'm sorry, I'm a klutz." He sets the stapler back on the desk, where it falls over onto its side. He straightens it. "I, I think you're right. I'll be outside." At least he doesn't run out, however much he'd like to, his face burning red. He'll be pacing by the time she gets comes out.

There's no footsteps to mark her sudden appearance, and in fact one moment she's just there, standing at her normal height, in normal clothes, without the wheelchair. "I love having an easy job where I can sit around and daydream the whole time." Cause that's what this really is— a walking daydream. Gillian tilts her head, like a curious bird, and dimples at him a bit. "Don't be embarrassed. Everyone's got their own thing. You're no where near as crazy as one of my friends. He's barely aware of what's going on in the present half the time."

Aaron startles at the sudden appearance. He's really quite jumpy. Someone drops their books. He straightens his collar and leads Gillian away from where people are. On a University campus, it's not terribly easy. "I knew of a couple of folks like that," he says of the friend Gillian just mentioned. "They were potheads, though." When he finally finds an OK spot, he leans against a wall. "Yeah, my thing has damaged my apartment more than once and exposed me to my therapist— though thankfully, she's … also special. She didn't have much advice to offer me, either."

"Like I said, every power is different," Gillian says quietly, watching the books that fall down. It would be harder to find a free space if it wasn't summer. The wall is better than a lot of places, especially since it's getting close to class time. Campus is always more sparse when a majority of people there are supposed to be in class…

"You'll have to find your own way. How does it feel when you use it to play piano?"

It is hard to describe. How does he feel when he uses it to play? "Feels like I'm playing the piano. I don't really know how else to describe it. It feels … normal. Except that I can essentially play a duet all on my lonesome." Aaron shrugs, "Not that that's terribly useful except in a private setting…."

"And what else is on your mind when it starts to rearrange your room without your permission?" Gillian asks, trying to figure out how it works. "It's probably your emotions throwing off whatever is around you, and music calms you and you're used to it more than anything else, so it makes it easier to do…" But that's just a theory, from the sound of her voice as she moves to fakelean against the wall next to him. It's just cosmetic. Her hair doesn't move in the breeze, her clothing doesn't scrutch up where she leans back.

"That would be my dreams, which are never quite pleasant," Aaron says, as nonchalantly as possible. Hopefully, it should be obvious what his dreams likely contain, because he doesn't much care to go into them. Again. "I suppose that … makes sense. I mean, these are all kind of tied to our emotions?"

"I think so, at least," Gillian says, raising a leg up as if to look down at it, and she does, an awkward stance, if it were real, but it's practically a projection. "My ability came when they first stuck me in a wheelchair. I knew I wasn't stuck there all the time, but I wanted to be able to still walk. I hated being stuck— I felt like I would never get out of… anything, really. I'd be stuck here my whole life. So yeah, I think my ability definitely came because of my emotions and desires, and is tied to it too."

Instant awkwardness. Aaron has no idea how to even touch that information and so he just fidgets instead. It's hard for him to ask questions about that sort of thing. Is it too personal? It's a good thing there's not much around him, aside from the stray piece of litter. Whether or not his ability moves the litter or the breeze does is debatable. "I think … I think mine came before Tom … ruined my apartment. I guess I kinda ruined it too, but he started it."

"Well, sounds like Tom did more than ruin your apartment, too," Gillian says, perhaps drawing on outside knowledge for this statement. She does happen to have a friend who writes scripts of the future that she turns into comic books… "Ever thought of trying meditation? Your therapist you mentioned probably knows more about that than I do, but you can probably do that, to help find a way to settle your emotions and control it better."

Aaron is in the middle of rubbing his eyes when the suggestion is brought up. He raises his free arm to the sky. "Now that is a suggestion I can use." He taps his head against the wall, "I just have to hope she knows how to teach meditation or else find someone who does who won't freak out if things start falling off shelves…." The fact that he fears breaking things can't possibly help.

"There's a bunch of books in the library on it," Gillian suggests, looking off into space for a moment, as if she's actually doing something else at the same time. Part of her even seems to fade out of sight, as if a glitch in a holograph, until she looks back at him. "Yeah, there's a bunch. I can check out a few under my name and let you use them."

"I … think I still have my alumni card. I could check them out myself. No need to get you in trouble if they come back … abused— defaced?" What do they call a book that's undergone telekinetic interference? "I'll make sure to not leave them anywhere near my bedroom," Aaron says. At least he can afford to replace them should something go really wrong.

"Well, if it happens under my name I can write off the charges," Gillian says with a shrug, knowing all the loopholes. "It's actually cheaper to replace the book yourself than to pay the fines. I can just say it fell off the bookshelf when I was putting it up and, oh no, I was in wheelchair, what are they going to do about it." There's that dimpled smile again, a little mischievous this time.

"Why doesn't that surprise me…. Library's gotta make money some how, I guess, right?" Aaron shrugs, "OK. Sign me up. Gotta do something about this. I can't live without an alarm clock forever. I've actually taken to making sure it's just me and a mattress. Don't even have a bed frame in my room anymore. It's getting uncomfortable." He goes on rambling. "Should be in a padded room…." And he doesn't mean that because he thinks he's crazy, either.

Suddenly he'll feel a light smack on the back of his head, and see her hand pass the rest of the way through. Gillian only mimicked solidifying for a brief moment. "You don't belong in a padded room, you dork. Just be careful and you'll be fine. Once you figure out your ability it may well be the best thing that ever happened to you."

"Hey!" No, Aaron didn't know she could do that. "I didn't mean I'm crazy or anything, but I have had … concerns." He makes sure his reaction to her smacking his head didn't draw any eyes. The man really seems paranoid. "Best thing or not, I have to figure out how to control it before it becomes the end of me." Yes, he's concerned he'll drop a bookshelf onto himself or something. Stranger things have happened.

"I'll get someone to pull them off the shelves and bring them down," Gillian says, beginning to move in front of him to face him. "Come back to the counter in about twenty minutes to pick them up. Just try to stay calm until then, okay?" With that dimpled question, she vanishes. As if she were never there.

Which she wasn't. Technically.

And she vanishes. Aaron grumbles to himself, looking around to make sure nobody was watching. "Stay calm. Easy for you to say. You're not likely to drop a bookshelf on yourself if you get nervous."

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