2009-10-16: Stay or Go



Date: October 16, 2009


Charlotte presents Ndugu with a choice.

"Stay or Go"

Orphanage, Germany

The sound of a few children skittering around the orphanage building in Germany is one that anyone staying there will really have to get used to, and quickly. Charlotte has been sleeping in orphanages for over a year now, and for her, the noise is almost nonexistant. For her, it is quiet with a nice breeze - silent save for a relaxing sound, a sound that is ever-present and always comforting.

But things have to be done. Charlotte hasn't spoken to Ndugu for a few days - having moved him to Germany to help care for some of teh children with little time for explination. But the time has come. He is, after all, her partner in this crazy crime. He needs to know what's coming, and what's happening. Ascending to one of the four little attic rooms - one of which belongs to her - Charlotte knocks on the door to Ndugu's room. She's dressed casually, in a skirt and a few layered tank tops with a jacket. Socks, thick wool ones, keep her toes warm and a large, loose beaded necklace hangs from her throat. Knock knock!

Ndugu doesn’t speak a great deal at the best of times, so going days without talking is far from unusual for him. When the knock on his door comes, he stands up and moves to it – opening it wide and looking at the teleporter. He’s been exercising judging by the look of his clothes and rather than asking her what is going on, he simply tilts his head to one side.

Charlotte and Ndugu have spent the better part of two years working together. Charlotte's comfort level with the man is higher than with most people she's known in her life, even if he doesn't talk very much. So when he opens the door, even if he might be nasty and sweaty, the small girl leaps up, hugging him tight and not letting to for a moment or two. Comfort. Security.

"I'm so sorry," she says, words that are becoming more familiar to her lips than any other. She hates that. "I've been so busy….so much has happened…." She chuckles, shaking her head. So much explaining!

"So…" Charlotte starts as she releases him from the hug. She looks nervous, apologetic, her facial expression basically spelling out 'oops'. "I know I've been gone. I sort of got kidnapped. Only for a few minutes!" She's quick to add that before he gets mad or demanding or all manly protection. "I got away but…I got someone else taken. It's…the U.S. Goverment." As if Pinehearst wasn't bad enough. They're back in one of these situations agian. "That's why I brought you here. I need help…I'm bringing some people here to hide. I know this isnt' waht you do, this isn't…your thing. But I need your help, Ndugu. Niki's dead." That was just thrown in there. "Her son is one of the children we're hiding here now." That should express how very important this whole thing is.

Ndugu frowns visibly at the news, fists balling a little at his sides – a situation. This is not the kind of situation he enjoys being in. Governments. He hates governments and he’s made no effort to conceal this over the past couple of years. He zips his jacket up, his expression expectant once again.

Charlotte knows the man well enough to know to keep talking, that he's taking it all in, and his actions will speak louder than his non-spoken words. "You can say no. I'll help you keep moving, like we've been moving. But I abandoned these people once, when I left with you. I can't do it again. They're good people, and I can help them. And I know…" she moves over, sitting on the edge of his bed with her hands between her knees. "…I just, I understnad why you wouldn't want to be involved."

"Do you remember," Ndugu says, his voice low and without any emotional nuance, "When I agreed to come with you? You are the one who freed the children in Africa and my promise was to come with you. I shall keep my promise."

Charlotte shakes her head. "This isn't like that, Ndugu, not anymore. Pinehearst is dead and gone, Arthur is dead and gone. All that is over with, behind us. You don't have to follow me out of some sense of gratitude anymore. This is your life, I want you to do with it whatever you want. I don't want you to feel attached to me - I'd only feel worse bringing you into danger."

"I have killed many people," the man suddenly reveals, his facial features showing a twinge of regret for the first time, "The ethnic cleansing. I was following orders but I no longer fool myself into believing that I am an innocent man. There are things I will not forgive myself for and to that end I must make amends. I have nowhere that I can go now. Except with you."

No hatred touches Charlotte's features, instead just sympathy as she stands and puts her arms around her much, much taller friend, and kisses his cheek, rocking her cheek against his shoulder. "Ndugu, you can always come with me wherever I go. But that doesn't mean you have to put yourself in danger because I am." Rather foolishly, too, at that. She steps back a bit, looking up at him with a hopeful, dimpled smile that reaches her doe-brown eyes. "I can move you anywhere, where would you like to stay?"

"I will stay with you, Charlotte," Ndugu answers, shaking his head, "And I will hear no more on the matter. These are dangers that I am willing to face. This is my penance." He actually returns the hug a little for a change, resting a hand in the middle of her back.

Charlotte smiles up fondly at the man. "Thank you," she says, earnestly. "I feel a lot safer knowing you'll be here. Especially for the children." In the off-chance something ever reaches the confines of their little haven, she knows Ndugu can help get the children out. "And don't be afraid to talk to them, the children. They're very friendly, most are Evolved and learning their way. They don't bite - except for that little blonde Russian girl. She's…well she's a biter, so watch your fingers."

Ndugu lapses back into silence, nodding his head to Charlotte and looking out towards the staircase which, of course, leads to the children. He remains quiet, turning his attention back to the teleporter.

Charlotte steps back, nodding once more to him. She doesn't want to keep him from his workout, or his private time. "Ndugu, please remember that no matter your past, you are a good man. The best I've ever known."

"I hope I will be worthy of your opinion of me one day, Charlotte," comes Ndugu's reply, shoulders rolling once again before he bows his head slightly to her.

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