2007-07-17: Trapped In A Cliche


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Lee finds out Cass is in on the plan that involves his father. He is most displeased. And slightly sardonic.

July 17th, 2007:

Trapped in a Cliche

Bat Country Labs, Brooklyn

Lee hangs around the place near his insensible father's bed occasionally making bitter comments like, "If you made these lights blue it could be day for night." and "Why not a spunky kid who inexplicably has access to the top secret labs? That could help things." These comments nonetheless amuse him, if the smirk is any indication. It covers the worry.

However long Lee has been here, the door to the lab has been closed. Locked, even. It does that automatically as soon as the door is closed. Maybe it's always like that, however, finally, the door opens and Cass, her Clark Kent glasses pushed up onto the top of her head holding her hair back like a headband, appears. She's not wearing any sort of traditional lab coat - she's planning on getting the closest thing to a mad scientist one soon. But, she rubs her tired eyes from looking through microscopes and papers and makes her way to check on Mr. Jones. When she sees Lee by the bed, she stops, unsure if she should leave him be with his father or if they should talk.

Lee doesn't help her make a decision. He doesn't like it here, he hates it, hates everything about it, hates that he is here, hates his father being here, hates that he can do nothing about it, hates waiting for the other shoe to drop, so he just looks at her. Finally he says, "In on it, I see."

"In on what?" Somehow, Cass has managed to miss any drama having to do with the Jones children and is generally confused by his question. "Giving your dad a place to stay? I guess so." Luckily, she doesn't know how much Lee hates Bat Country, because it's quickly starting to become a second - third including Enlightenment - home to her. And not just because of all the time she's been and plans to spend here. "He's been doing better since he arrived."

Lee says, "Yeah, he's dancing on the fucking ceiling." darkly. "So are you working with these morons voluntarily or do they have one of /your/ relatives stashed in a locked facility somewhere?"

The ferociousness of the reply with which she's met takes Cass aback slightly. In fact, her head tosses back just enough for her glasses to tumble over her forehead and perch on a weird angle on her nose. At the moment, she doesn't move to rearrange them, however. "What morons are you talking about? Jaden? He's not actually a moron, he's a good guy. And he's not exactly /working/ with me." Caught by surprise by this whole encounter, it's hard for her to figure out what exactly he's angry about. Other than his father being in bad shape. "Well, when I first saw him, he was barely alive. So, believe me, this is a lot better than before. I…you have a problem with him being here?"

Lee says, bitterly, "I guess I don't have a choice, do I? In a regular hospital the police are going to show up and cuff him to the bed, or he'll walk out as soon as he can walk, the way Mom did, so I guess I have to put on my very best smile and say 'gosh thanks for hiding my dad from the police' and wait for Ramon, or whatever other refugee from a Steven Seagal vehicle happens to come along, to start delivering the blackmail demands."

Frowning, Cass' eyes flicker over to Mr. Jones before turning back to Lee. "You have a choice. If you don't want him to be here, we can figure something else out. I mean…he's your father, he's not my prisoner." As she normally does when she's upset or involved in an argument, the bookstore owner crosses her arms in front of her and finally fixes her glasses to perch properly there. The woman doesn't even normally wear glasses, but she seems to be taking to them naturally. "No one's about to blackmail you. Not Ramon and not Steven Seagal. This place is here to help people, not to swindle them out of money. You want your father out of here, I can give you everything you need so he can stay at home."

Lee is aware enough that he picks up her uncomfortableness, and throttles it back a little. Still, he's narcissistic enough to say, "Doesn't really change things, does it. He's still one phone call away from jail. Someone's going to come asking for something, although money wouldn't be quite trite /enough/ for this gang." He shrugs, getting still quieter, "Plus, he may have tried to burn the place down once. I'm doubting he'd be real thrilled to wake up there."

There's not much she can say to that, arguing or otherwise. It's true, the man would probably be sent to jail for what he attempted to do. And did do. "No one is going to call and send your father to jail. I'm not about to let that happen." Lee can say whatever he wants about Cass, friends will always come first to her. "No one is about to ask anything of you that you. Especially anything you don't want to do." She sighs. "I wish you'd have met Ramon and Elena under different circumstances. Really, they are /good/ people." Very good. The kind she'd trust with her life, and has. "And that wasn't /him/ doing that stuff."

Lee says, "They're /awful/, Cass. I wish you could see that. Everything about how they've gone about this - everything from the day Elena and her ski masked pals dumped a dying dog on your floor - has been astonishingly, amazingly wrong on every possible level. The world isn't a TV show…Christ, I wouldn't even saddle TV with this kind of plot." Lee, naturally, would have done much better. "Now they've fucked it up beyond all repair and just because they have some…/connection/ to the paranormal, they've been able to drag you into it." Well, he seems to be a believer now, that's a change, though he clearly doesn't consider it a /positive/ thing.

Cass likes Lee and he has extra immunity to her temper due to being Nima's twin brother, but she can't help but look stern at his evaluation of what she's been through lately. "I didn't like what they did with their rescue mission," she tells him honestly. "You know me. I hate violence." And blood, especially when the two are mixed together. "Of course I know this isn't some sort of TV show. But they're /not/ awful. I can't even say that I wished I never knew any of this stuff was out there because I know that's not at all true. I know everything hasn't been handled perfectly, but, like you said, this isn't a TV show. Nothing's planned out in advance for the most part. I don't know what to tell you, Lee." At moments lik these she /does/ wish she had a power. Just so she could do demonstrations for the disbelievers. Or semi-believers as the case may be.

Lee lowers his voice, "Cass, what if Ramon came over with a gun to the Secret Lair not to stop my father from burning the place down, but to kill him afterwards, or if he flinched from destroying the place he loved more than anyone or anything else? What if the reason he's organizing people to go after this obviously-fake-name John Carter isn't for revenge but because he has to be silenced? Even what he /claims/ he wants is bad enough. Blood revenge for the murder of his wife? That is fucking unstable and crazy, even if it /weren't/ a 1983 revenge movie cliche, eyepatch and all. And that's if you believe him, which I have no reason to. None. And I doubt you do either. Just because someone knows a secret you do doesn't mean they're telling you the truth." Lee is definitely in the 'believer' category now…well…maybe 'definitely' is a bit strong, but it's looking likely…

While Cass understands that Lee is lowering his voice for both dramatic effect, since they're the only ones here, as well as to show that he's conveying something like a secret. "/Now/ who's talking like a 1983 revenge movie?" she points out to Lee for his theory. "That's the problem. Ramon would /never/ do that." Maybe if she didn't know Ramon, hadn't talked with him and /heard/ his side of the story before anything happened, then maybe she could believe that Lee's conclusion had some sort of merit. "I /do/ have a reason to believe the Gomezes, Lee. Elena saved my life. And if you had /talked/ to them before any of this actually started. You wouldn't be able to think that this was some plot. They even went through the police and the district attorney. It's not because we share the same secret that I trust Ramon and Elena. It goes a lot deeper than that." She studies her friend for a moment. "Look, I get you don't believe what I do, but there's more to it than us being the crazy people you think we are for it."

Lee says, "It's not that, not anymore, I believe there are people out there with weird abilities, and yeah, maybe there's a serial killer who can control minds out there. Why not?" he adds sardonically, like that would be just right in line with everything else he's experienced. "If a case falls through the cracks with the police, there are a lot of choices, but on the 'reasonable, non-fucking-crazy' list of options, you will not find, 'become a gun-toting vigilante.'" He shakes his head, subsiding. "I'm glad she saved your life - that does make the whole thing slightly less than a /complete/ disaster." he admits. "And like I say. I don't have a choice about what's happening, so why complain. I'll just watch until the next 'twist' comes along."

There's a distinct raise in eyebrow when Lee admits that he believes the same thing that they do. Now that's something Cass never thought she'd hear. "What made you change your mind about it?" She'll ignore the sardonic and sarcastic tone from him, that's just Lee. If she took everything he said to heart, they would never have made it past their first meeting. "He's /not/, though. Oh, I don't know. Lots of things have been turned around lately." What she /will/ get adamant about is his resigned attitude. "Oh, /please/, Lee. Don't give me any crap about not having a choice about anything. You're the most opinionated man I know. Of course you have a choice."

Lee says, "I should have seen it coming once I saw the eyepatch." with a smile that would be a sneer if it were less unhappy. He shrugs: "I got proof they exist from someone. I can't really tell you more, but if you think about how dreadfully trite a reveal like that is you can probably narrow it down to a list of three or four. You know…" He lowers his voice again, but this time it's not to keep others from hearing. "My whole childhood I felt abandoned because I thought my parents loved fictional people with strange powers more than me. Then…I get over it. I grow out of thinking that. I move on. Still hate comic books, but hey, there are better books in town. And now I find out it's /real/. And my parents /were/ involved in it. And Christ. I just want to break something with a golf club."

"Oh, is he sporting the eyepatch now?" Cass hasn't even managed to see him for that. She's already making him one of her own with a bit of a pirate-y flair, but that's the sort of thing that's lost on Lee. "You're talking to a woman who owns an occult bookstore." While it doesn't go as deep as Lee's entire life, it's at least a start of some understanding. "It's weird, isn't it? That feeling that the impossible really /is/ possible? Wondering what else we've been proving to ourselves is false is actually true." Finally, her arms drop from being wrapped around herself and she just kind of stuffs them into her pockets. "It's okay, I understand that this is one of things you can't just talk to other people about. But, you can let that person know that I'm trying to help people like them here. Give them a place to test what they can do. That's what this place is actually for, though it is kind of handy as a safehouse." Pause. "And that goes for you, too. If you want to learn more about this or see more of it in action, the door's always open. You know the code."

Lee says, "They've got a pretty good handle on it. A lot better than me." He shakes his head. "It's more than weird. It's…disappointing. Soul-suckingly /Literal/. Like Moby Dick was just a story about a whale. What good is a myth to me /now/?" It really has offended him. He's not just being a jerk.

"For you, then," Cass gives him a weak smile. Just in case he wants a place to come to terms with it all. "Wait, there was /meaning/ behind Moby Dick?" she teases him gently before quickly moving onto the topic at hand. "There's still myth and poetry and in betweens. I mean, just because /some/ people can actually fly and come back to life and heal and do all the things in myth doesn't mean that everyone can. I kind of find it comforting. To know that anything actually /is/ possible. It's not just one of those things you stitch into a pillow."

Lee says, "It pisses me off. Just so you know why I'm in such a foul mood about it." He smirks. "I have to come here. My father's here. But that brings us back to where we were before. Let's just say if I…oh /god/." he moans, putting his hand to his forehead. "I probably am going to get some kind of powers too." he complains. "The guy who hates something /always/ ends up being a part of it, it's the most cliche twist in history." He looks just miserable at the prospect. "And I bet the serial killer is going to go after the /kids/ of the women next, and they'll have increased likelihood of developing these abilities, and we'll think he's dead, but he's not, and we'll think he's dead again, but he won't be, and we'll get all the way through that and still nobody will have figured out how the hell the mysterious company was planning to actually make dime one on the deal."

"I can see that," Cass says with no hint of sarcasm or derision. It's hard to miss his feelings on the matter. "Well, I meant after he gets better and can go home. Or something." Nothing is permanent and his father won't have to stay in Bat Country for the rest of his life. His revelation, though, makes her smile and almost laugh at the very idea. "Oh, come on, Lee. This isn't some cliche movie. You're as normal as I am. At least as far as we know." She gives him a mystical wiggle of her fingers just to tease him a little further. The rest of his rant makes her eyebrows raise and she blinks. She lets her arms drop again. "And, well, uh, okay, maybe we /are/ in a cliche movie. Some of that /has/ already happened. I think you may be screwed on that front, then. Better watch out. You may start setting things on fire with your mind."

Lee looks at Cass reproachfully. "An /eyepatch/, Cass. Cliche debate now over." he says calmly. "When he's better…well, I hope I'm here for it. He might just walk out of here like mom walked out of the real hospital. Past that I don't even know what to think."

"Hey, I'm sewing him one with a skull and crossbones. I think there reaches a point where you are so cliche that it becomes non-cliche again." Cass sighs. "Plus, the man lost an eye trying to help his daughter." Which, in her mind, gives him some coverage. "So, looks like you /are/ going to start spouting fire sometime soon. I'm keeping my important files away from you." It's almost impossible to keep Cass completely serious for too long. It's just not in her nature. There's a frown. "We'll find her, too. But, I don't think he's about to just walk out. Not for awhile. Just…I guess keep an open mind, like you're doing. Sort of. We'll figure it all out somehow."

Lee snorts derisively, but at what is hard to tell. "I don't trust any of these people, or this place. But like I said before. There isn't any other choice. They've got me over a barrel. If you're helping them voluntarily, great. I wasn't extended that luxury." he says. "I'm going to get some food, then I'll be back…school is starting soon…I don't know how Nima and I are going to manage here when I have to go back there, but we'll think of something. Looks like I'll be seeing you."

There's a distinct frown that replaces Cass' semi-good nature at Lee's response. "I know you don't. But…I hope you can still trust me," she says softly. It's sort of implied that he may not due to his distrust of the labs that she's been trying to open. Trust has never really been an issue for her with the Jones' but now it seems like it may be. "You're still my friend and if either of you need anything, all you have to do is ask. There's a good deli a couple of blocks south of here, if you're in the mood for a sandwich."

Lee says, "Thanks." He doesn't go into whether he trusts Cass or not, maybe he doesn't know, or doesn't want to see. "Later." And out he goes.

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