2007-02-25: The Science Of Embarassment


Elena_icon.gif Eric_icon.gif

Summary: Elena comes over to Eric's apartment after classes to get some scientific first impressions on his abilities and how they work….and promptly ends up in a variety of extremely awkward positions. But willpower prevails. For Science.

Date It Happened: February 25th, 2007

The Science of Embarassment

Eric Walker's Apartment, Greenwich Village, NYC

"Thanks for humoring me with this," Elena tells Eric, closing the door behind her as she moves over to the living room. She sets her things aside….there are several books she's carrying. Activating Evolution, by Dr. Suresh, and Light Magic: Physics and the Visual Arts. She also has a laptop with her, and her backpack. She also looks like she just came out of Dance Corps, because she's clad in the NYU Dance Corps hoodie, as well as a pair of black, form-fitting yoga pants and a bold-red tank top. She sets the things she's carrying on the low coffee table in the middle of the living room, and moves over to the windows.

Her hands come up, moving to shut the drapes - probably because she doesn't want to risk anyone peeking in Eric's apartment. She'll also turn on all the available lights in the place, and she looks terribly serious about what she's doing. Taking a step back, she gives the space a critical eye, and she cracks her knuckles absently, shaking them out and rolling her head back.

Looking at Eric, she smiles faintly. "You ready?"

"Ready if you are," Eric replies slowly. He sits slightly nervously on the sofa, eyes tracking her as she moves around the apartment. "…I mean…I've never really messed or trained with any of this you know…" He replies, rubbing the back of his neck.

He's dressed much in the way of many casual males, blue jeans, dark red t-shirt, and socks. No shoes, not in his apartment. He likes to be a little bit comfortable. As she cracks her knuckles though he glances up and nods.

"Let's get this over with," He says with a half smile. "…and hopefully it won't be too painful for either of us."

"I hope so too," Elena murmurs, pushing the coffee table aside and firing up her laptop. She pulls up an Excel sheet, and also a spare word document with a list and subheadings. There's a brief profile on Eric on top, except he isn't mentioned by name. If Eric peers over, it looks like the teenager actually gave him a code name. Eric's Code Name in this case is Kage Jin, taking on the Japanese words for "Shadow" and "Man." Does Elena know Japanese? Not really, but she does have a lab partner who speaks it.

She takes a seat on the carpet, crossing her legs and gesturing for Eric to do the same. "Well I don't know how well I'm going to train you," she says simply. "I just want to gain a better understanding of your abilities so I can show you how you can refine them…or maybe help you learn about them. See what you can do with them." She pauses. "But really my main concern is…..if there's a limit to your powers and how it would affect your body if you reach that limit. For example, Papa….when he's in a crowded room, he gets….I guess the closest term I can think of is 'overloaded.' He gets overloaded because of his Telepathy. So I want to do this just in case there IS a point where you get overloaded, that way…you know. You can take care of yourself."

She looks a little awkward saying it, but she does give him a small smile. "I mean…I'm going to do this for Papa too. I just…don't want the same thing that happened to him to happen to you."

Oh Eric does look, and blink at the 'Codename'. "…Kage Jin, sounds like some weird superhero…" He mutters slightly looking slightly embarrassed, slightly sheepish. He's not complaining, but all this is just…weird to him it is.

"He gets overloaded?" He didn't know that could actually happen. That’s…different, so as he settles back down in his seat the young man tries to take all this seriously. "Well…I think you're right, finding out just what the limit of all this is…that’s what is important." He pauses though as a slightly odd thought strikes him, then shakes his head as he doesn’t voice it.

At the smile though, he just nods slightly towards her. "…well…thanks…" He finally said. "I mean for worrying…well…for helping me and all that. I know you're busy and worried too…"

"Well in case someone stole my laptop I didn't want them to think I was talking about you. Plus hopefully if anyone looks at this, they'll think it's some sort of ….role-playing sheet or something. Kind of like those Dungeon and Dragon games my brothers used to play," Elena says, raking her fingers through her hair. She gestures for him to sit down across her, and once he does, she looks at her laptop, and turns her attention to him again.

"And yeah, he gets overloaded. Too many people thinking at the same time. He doesn't know how to keep them out when he wants to, so he gets flooded, and bam. He goes down. I just want to make sure you don't have the same tendency. Y 5rou might not since you…you know. You don't have telepathy. But I worry about it because Dr. Suresh's book has a theory that all this is coming from the brain."

She looks away. "Well…it's the least I can do. I know me and Papa kind of put you out. Even if you say we really didn't. I guess I'm just trying to make it up." Silence falls over her then, and then she looks over, smiling at him. "So let's get started. I've been reading the physics of light books lately and you're right the first time, I think. You do manage to be able to control photons…or rather control the degree of light they emit, or suppress them completely. Why don't you start small?"

She gestures to the room. "I turned on about five lights. I want to test how your control is triggered….if it's line of sight or what. So…while you're sitting here, I want to see if you can block out the light directly above us."

"Like I said before, you more than made it up when you cook," Eric says with a laugh. "I mean…anything that’s not a TV dinner is pure bliss. it's even better when it's you…" Pause. Blink. "…er…because you can cook real well." He follows up with quickly. Shaking his head though, he tries to get his thoughts in the right place to do all of this.

"That’s what I thought, I mean I read about it even if I didn't work at it," Eric says easily enough before he nods slightly as she makes her request. He hrmmms slightly before closing his eyes. Nothing happens for a long moment, a look of concentration on his face. However, after that moment, the light directly above the pair of them slowly winks out.

"I'll take that as a compliment," Elena says with a laugh, inclining her head at him and grinning. "I've been cooking for as long as I can remember. I actually wanted to become a professional chef at one point. But….that's not gonna pay the bills." She looks a little absent as she focuses on a nearby wall, before she shakes her head and nods. "Alright, let's get started."

When Eric sits there, she waits for something to happen…and sees the light above them wink out. "Okay…so it's not completely line of sight. In fact I don't think it is at all." She starts typing this in her laptop near her. "Hold it while you can - I want to see how long your control holds with something small. Do you think about anything in particular when you do this?" she asks, looking up at him as he keeps his eyes closed.

She is struck by how at peace he seems, even when he's concentrating. She didn't know him very well, but he was always calm. Composed. Even when he's exerting himself mentally, if this was coming from the brain, it hardly shows on his face. ….and when she realizes she's staring, she tears her eyes away to start typing more of her findings on the laptop.

"No…" Eric's voice is quiet, slow, calm all at once. "…it's not really, I can almost feel the different photons, how they are reacting and all that." He replies, sounding slightly surprised at this. "I don't really think about anything at all, I just…feel. Act. it's like I just intuitively know how to gently push the things to turn them on and off." One bead of sweat rolls down the side of his face as he keeps his eyes closed and meditating.

He can hold it for a good amount of time, but it does stress him a bit. Elena watches him and types up a few more of her observations. "Alright, let go of this one. We'll look at range this time. There's a light on in the kitchen….at the farthest corner of the room. It's not much but I don't have a big space and I'd rather we do this in smaller spaces first we can control and people can't see. You think you can block that one out?" It's right behind Eric. If he can feel the photons, she wants to know just how far he can feel them. She pulls out a bandanna from her hoodie pocket, and reaches out to dab his sweating face gently. She doesn't even think about it - she just does it.

He gives a long sigh and shakes his head, eyes opening as he rubs his face with one hand. "…it's…harder if I don't have line of sight." He admits. "Though I think I'm understanding how to to it." He adds after a moment with a smile towards her. He hrmms a moment before he closes his eyes again, trying to feel for that light, that area. He's concentrating very hard now it seems, but that concentration comes to an end as she wipes his face, blinking slightly and opening his eyes. "…thanks." He murmurs.

"Ah….sorry," she murmurs, having closed the distance between them for her to do so. "I didn't mean to break your concentration, I should've given you more warning," Elena confesses awkwardly, sitting back on her heels and removing the bandanna from his face. "Okay, try now. Also after this….I need to get your vitals. I don't have an EKG monitor but I can still check you over for the more obvious physical signs at the very least." She gives him an encouraging smile. "I'll wait." She types into her laptop - more difficulty without line of sight. She suppose it makes sense….a lot of one's perception of light and dark has plenty to do with sight. She's already formulating a theory, but she needs more tests.

"it's…alright," Eric says slightly, eyes dropping and sliding away from her. He looks slightly awkward as well. "Really it is…" He blinks though at the other comment. "Er…alright…" He almost seem slightly embarrassed about that. She'll…check him out? No no. Professional sense only! Got it. He shakes his head though, and goes right back to reaching towards that light in the kitchen, trying to find it.
Annnnnnnnnd…out it winks, though it takes quite a bit longer.

"Okay so it's not line of sight," Elena says. "…..I think actually you just need a little more practice. I think if we can find your mental trigger you can do this easily - once we refine your control there we can go on using a bigger space, and even gradient exercises too. Like see how dark you can make a room that's already dark. Your abilities might actually depend on how much light is in a room….but that's just a theory right now. Other tests can prove me wrong." She looks over at Eric. "Do you think of anything when you try to block light out?" she asks. "Do you imagine it or….?" She's trying to figure out how Eric is triggering his abilities currently.

"No…not really…er, I don't think about much," Eric says slowly. "I just feel the way it is set, almost like a switch, then turn it so it is the opposite way. Just like flicking a switch, that’s about all I can do right now." He pauses again before leaning back slightly in his sofa and nodding slightly. "…so you’re planning on using me as a guinea pig?" He asks then teasingly.

"I guess we can work on different thoughts too, see if there's one that helps you with further targets," Elena says, marking that on her laptop. She looks over at him when she teases, and she laughs, taking the good grace to blush, a rose tint moving over tanned skin, and she shakes her head. "I know it sounds bad but I already told you why I was doing this," she tells him, opening her first aid kit and pulling out her stethoscope and a blood pressure reader. She walks over and takes a seat near him. "Alright….I'm guessing you've been to a doctor before so I don't have to explain what these are, right?" she says, grinning back wickedly.

She puts the stethoscope to her ears, and reaches out to rest the diaphragm on his chest. "Just…breathe in slowly," she says, her eyes on the instrument and leaning over.

"…alright, different thoughts…" Eric could picture Elena bent over a stove and see what that got him. Most likely that would get him a red face and some very interesting dreams. However, that’s neither here or there. "I know I know you told me, I was just teasing though." He says with a smile then towards her before he smirks slightly. "Sure…I know exactly what that is…it's cold, that’s what it is." The young man replies with just as wicked a smile back towards her.

However he just blinks as she starts to climb towards him to get said vitals. He blushes ever so slightly before he coughs lightly. "Sorry…" Then breathes in, and out. And in.


"…want me to take off my shirt for this?" He says, trying to be rather teasing…but…almost failing flat.

Thankfully, her FATHER was the mind reader, not her. Though if she knew what he was thinking, she would half expect Ramon flying through the balcony windows superman style to jack-knife Eric in the face for thinking that. He's getting off light!

"Sorry," Elena says with a sheepish smile, when he says it's cold. So she turns the diaphragm to her lips and blows onto it. "There, now it won't be cold. Happy, you big baby?" she goads back. She reaches over, trying not to look at him - because this? Was awwwwwwwwwwwwwwkward. Save for Calculus study group, and the lake house incident, and that night on the roof, she didn't really know him that well.

…and then, he says what she does. "Yes," she says absently. Because it WOULD be easier, and when she's done this before volunteering, that was the modus operandi…

…until she realizes what she just said and she looks up, eyes wide. "I mean NO!" she exclaims. "I mean, you don't HAVE to, I can hear it just fine! Just…just…don't move." Oh god. How red was her face? She didn't even want to KNOW.

Truth be told, Eric is half expecting it as well. He even opens his eyes to look around for Ramon, just in case the man might be flying though the window to smash him through the other window. Eric flying away with little x.x eyes and disappearing off into the distance going 'Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

"Er…um…yes, quite happy now," He murmurs. He's trying not to look at her at all. it's just as awkward for him. Having someone this good looking half crawling on him just to test his vital signs. I mean usually he doesn’t ever get this close to a girl except for on a date…and he hasn't had all that many of those.

At the comment of 'yes' though he just blinks, and he opens his mouth the closes it a few times, like a fish. Er. He was just joking. Slowly his own face gets red and he glances anywhere but towards her.

"I…er…well…alright, I won't move," Oh god, oh god, WHY did he say that?!

"…your heart rate’s a little elevated," Elena murmurs, a forceful attempt to focus in the task at hand made and oblivious to the fact that her doing this? Was probably NOT a good idea if she wants un-contaminated results. She slides the diaphragm down lower, closing her eyes and concentrating on the sound of his heartbeat. "Your breathing's a little up…" she murmurs. "But not too bad. I think this might be more of a mental strain than an actual physical one."

A cool hand reaches up, resting on his forehead. "Your forehead's warm - if I didn't know any better I'd say you had a slight fever. But if these abilities are brain based…." She pauses. "With enough heat you might actually nosebleed if you strain yourself too hard but that's just a guess. Hopefully we'll never have to confirm that."

She drops the stethoscope, and her hand reach forward to rest on the side of his neck. "I'm just taking your pulse," she murmurs, trying to focus her eyes -on- his forehead and not his face.

"…well…yeah," Eric replies as he raises his eyes away from the woman. "…must be the stress…" He adds after a moment. Nope. Just the stress, that’s all it is. The mental stress. Yeah. That’s it. He shifts slightly then, trying to ease his breathing. He's almost entirely forgotten about trying to darken that light, instead trying to keep his thoughts to himself. "…er…yeah, that would make sense, that it's a mental straining…" He agrees, still looking up.

At the touch on his forehead though he blinks and his eyes snap towards her again. "No no, nothing like that…" He says with an ever so small laugh. "…I mean no nosebleeds, I haven’t had them any other time I've used my abilities." He babbles slightly before he blinks.

When she drops the scope though, and her hand comes to touch the side of his neck his eyes look left and right and he just tries not to cough or anything. "…right…taking my pulse, got it." He says as he tries his best to focus on her arm and not her face. A mantra repeats in his head.


"Well good. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that." Elena removes her hands from him and steps away. She returns it to her kit, and brings out a small penlight. "I need to check your eyes too. I mean, your powers are line of sight right now, unless you focus really hard - I just want to see what other effects straining like that has on your body. And like I said, most of our perception of light depends on sight, so if that's the case I want to see if they're dilated or anything like that. Okay?"

She takes the penlight and steps over…and pauses. She groans inwardly. "Um…I'm sorry… " she mutters, but she pushes his legs apart, and then? She gets on the couch with him, her knees on the cushions, but both knees are flanking one of his thighs in a half-straddle. No body part is touching, really, she's making a marked effort for this to be as UN-embarrassing as it gets. She's trying here! Don't look at her like that!

"If it makes you feel any better? Give it a couple of weeks…or a month…or so and we'll be laughing about this," she says, the embarrassment on her face -not- going away. Damn it. She was going to be a doctor. She's bound to have cute patients. She can't blush every time she asks them to do something that required her touching them! But she can't help it. "Now tilt your head up. Eyes on me. Don't look at the light." A gentle hand comes up to touch his face lightly, and her thumb softly pulling down one eyelid.

"I…er…alright, that sounds reasonable," Eric replies. He's already backed up as far as he can on the couch. No where else to go. ACK! ACK! HELP! However he just nods once towards her and then tries to keep himself still enough so she can get a good reading from her eyes.

Of course. Then. Look what happens. She goes and crawls on him. He blinks, the 'fever' becoming more pronounced as her gets a little bit more red. He just…freezes really. He can't move. He's trying to make this stay professional. Trying and failing really. However at least he IS trying.

"Yeah…I'm sure we'll be laughing about this," He agrees, right after Ramon kills him very dead with a single glare. However that is not now, and now he just tries to follow orders. Eyes on her. Yes. He can do that. Embarrassed as he is, the power totally forgotten, he finds it easy enough to keep his eyes on her face.

In a moment he's going to fall right over, but right now he'll stay still.

Well. That was….embarassing didn't even describe it. Elena leans heavily against the door to her bedroom upon walking in. Ugh! She'll NEVER make it as a doctor! If this was just a teenaged thing, she hopes she grows out of it. Thank goodness her father was working late that night, otherwise he might give her the eye, and quite possibly defenestrate Eric from his own balcony. She'll have to make sure she's asleep -before- he comes in from work. After unpacking her laptop on her cramped desk, she boots it up, and sits on her chair to clean up her notes.

She pauses, eyeing the data in her screen. After everything that's happened she just can't leave something like this in the hard drive…

She pulls open her drawer, and yanks out a packet of rewritable mini-discs. She sets one in the CD-ROM drive of her laptop, clicks it shut, and proceeds to burn the data she collected into it. After making sure the Kage Jin file is saved on the disc, and that it opens up just fine, she deletes her notes from the hard drive. Okay. That's done. Now where to hide the disc?

She eyes her mp3 player, sitting on top of her copy of Activating Evolution. After leaving her room for a bit, she comes back with her father's tool kit, and opens it up to retrieve the screwdriver. She unscrews the back of her mp3 player, sticks the mini-disc in a small, protective paper packet, and presses it on the exposed, insulated circuitry. She screws the back-plate back on her mp3 player tightly, and gives it an experimental shake. Hearing nothing, she nods to herself.

"That ought to do for now," she murmurs.

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