2011-03-11: Under The Blossoms



Date: March 11, 2011


A little while after arriving, the two retreat to see the cherry blossoms, and talk about world events.

"Under the Blossoms"

West Potomac Park - Washington, DC

12:36 pm

The earlier rift has indeed been left behind. A change of venue helped, and this one in particular: the blossoms are far from their height, but still easy enough to spot, enough to hint at the season soon to come. Physical baggage also left behind for the time being, one of George's hands is occupied with a brown paper sandwich bag, the other with one of Alexandra's. "There's a good spot up ahead, you can see clear out to the phallic symbol." The trademark shape of the Monument is silhouetted against a clear blue sky, shade just beginning to edge back into view across its face as the sun begins its downward journey.

Alexandra's reaction to the phallic symbol is a tight-lipped little snort and giggle. "Yeah…if that's not a symbol of America to the rest of the world, I don't know what is. It's like 'hey look, look at us!'" Being a woman, Alexandra definitely made George wait in the hotel while she changed out of what she traveled in for something more comfortable to walking around DC, electing to go with some jeans and boots that still want to cling onto winter, even if the light hooded sweatshirt wants to move on to spring.

Still in the generic jacket and tie in which he arrived at the station - no, nothing else happened in that hotel room - George shakes his head, holding back a laugh. "Especially back in the banana republic era. 'Don't mind us, we're just planting the seeds of democracy.'" Another joke he wouldn't risk making if there were any nosy journalists around, but they tend to hover around the Capitol proper, and anyway lunch hours aren't as rich a gold mine as dinner when it comes to sound bites. "So how's New York been? I've got a thing at NYU next week but the rest is still up in the air. Anything worth blocking off a specific day for?" As opposed to just finding some personal time whenever they can.

"How big a fan are you of TPS reports? You know, like in that movie? Well, those aren't exactly what I'm doing, but close enough. They're really putting all those extra letters on the end of my card to the test, lately. So, the only day I'm blocking off is the one where I fork over the stack of reports I'm working on. Four, four separate sets of reports." She strolls along, talking the whole while. "Finally did manage to get all of my IDs and paperwork switched over to a New York abode, so, next Election, I'll actually be able to vote, nice and proper!"

George nods. "Well, that's good. Now I just have to come up with three good reasons why you shouldn't vote for Dennis," he deadpans, "and I'm pretty sure 'he's kind of a jackass' only counts once." And maybe not even once— the guy wasn't really a bad candidate, other than being chipper and fond of catch phrases. Few people seriously questioned whether he'd take another crack at the office next time around. "Anyway, is this a sign that you need a new gig, or is it getting that bad all over? I know a lot of people are suddenly all jumpy about disaster-proofing lately."

"These are the types of reports that have been in the works for…well, almost a year. Long about the time things turned to shit in the Gulf, and there was that moratorium, until more checks could be done. This is not because of anything that's just happened, I mean to say." While the reports are still trickling in, there's no way around it. Being up late last night, there's no doubt that Alex missed out on the breaking news, well into this morning the whole way down on the train.

Which makes sense. George's staff doesn't let him miss out on anything that big, so he can have at least a basic opinion ready to offer if anyone asks; she's much more of a specialist. Which saddles him with being the first bearer of bad news: "Japan got hit with a major earthquake late last night. Like 'top ten biggest ever' major. Tsunami damage in northern Honshu— made it all the way out to California, too, hit a couple coastal cities." He isn't sure about exact numbers, but this is right around her area of expertise; she'll be able to fill in much of the detail on her own.

When he talks about it, Alex stops. She doesn't say anything for a long minute that's just filled in by the sounds of tourists also just missing the bloom, where the sun shines down here. The trees here were a gift from Japan - strangely fitting, the way time and place line up like this. "It's…I heard, yes. But it's like…have you ever had deja vu, but not with having done something before, but with having feeling something? Or…phantom limb?" When she asks, those questions come out sounding a little more pleadingly than she might have intended.

The handhold has turned more into an armhold now, and she's looking up into his face. "I didn't, I couldn't feel it. But, it's almost like I knew. I don't know how. But…I heard 8.9, or 9. Big. Very, very big. Terrifying."

George pauses, then turns toward Alexandra, taking a step closer. "The thing is, with your ability? Maybe you could feel it. If it's only when they're that big, then it's not like you'd have a chance to practice." Even as he continues to run on at the mouth, he's drawing her closer, offering support in lieu of the true understanding he hasn't got.

"It's not that easy, or that cohesive. Knowing when someone's stomping around on the same hunk of concrete or plodding through the dirt just a few feet away is one thing. But…one of the most powerful earthquakes in history, two plates away? If that's the case…" Once more, she pauses. "When I was in California, you sort of got used to them. Lots of little ones. It's a different seismic thing there. The plates grind, they slide. This one is one driving itself under the other."

There's a moment where she pulls away and just holds her hands out in front of her. "I don't even want to know," she says, first looking at her palms, then back to George. I don't want to worry. If I can do what I can do now…what happens in the future? What if I lose control?" She leaves off the 'again' part of that, relating back to a moderate and unusal tremor that struck Greenwich Village some time ago.

The details pass him by - again, she's a specialist - but as Alexandra withdraws, George sighs and sits down on the grass, motioning for her to join him there. "One thing you can do is stay close to someone who understands. They can't be there all the time, but if they are, then they can help you through it." Somehow? By knocking her out, if nothing else? But, again, he has to come up with something.

There are probably few people anywhere with a good answer to this question. Not that that makes him feel any better.

At the very least, she does follow him down into the grass. She doesn't show any hesitation to lying right back in the grass and staring up at the sky. "I wonder how many others out there who can do what I can. I know there's many people out there who can do similarly extraordinary things, but I've only met one who can do exactly what I can do. But that was such a long time ago anymore, and he was…peculiar."

"Same here. I've met at least a dozen over the years, I think… Nobody with the same thing as me, though. Doesn't mean it isn't out there somewhere." George contents himself with sitting; the pants are easy to wash later, the jacket not so much. "So what was peculiar about this guy— did he think he was a 'freak' or something?"

It takes her a while to recall many of the details. "It was at Battery Park, some time ago. Maybe two weeks after my first time in New York's parks after dark - which resulted in my taking a glancing bullet on the arm. He was…broody, I guess? Heavy coat, staring out at the Statue. His name was…oh lordy, what was it…" she sighs, looking back to the sky.

"Peter, that's it. He was the one that who 'recruited' me - for lack of a better word - to help with that train rescue. It was almost like me being around him, there, did something to trigger it. He seemed surprised, from what I can recall, when he caused a little tremor."

Peter. There's a name that used to be familiar, a few years back. "I knew of a Peter, sort of. Nathan's brother. They always seemed pretty distant… but Nathan ended up working against that operation, too. Wonder if it's the same guy? Does this sort of thing run in families?" And if it does, then has Michelle been a ticking time bomb all these years?

"I wish I could say…but to the best of my knowledge, neither of my parents are special. And I don't have any siblings to compare notes. But this Peter…he did seem to have a lot of inside info on the government. He was the first one to give me a warning about the men in black masks and what have you. So…maybe it is the same guy." Alex sits up then, propped back on her elbows. "But you know, if Nathan was working against that operation, he sure has a funny way of thanking the people that helped." That being a nice long stay in the one-star (at best!) protocol hotel.

This is good, George thinks to himself. Keep her mind off the other stuff. "Well," he says out loud, "he was trying to bring it down from the inside— it ended up not working out, but it was worth a shot. But it would've meant he had to play along with some things in order to get anywhere with it. Anyway, if you do run into him again someday, let me know? Just out of curiosity."

"I will, for sure. But you know what? I just wish the damn blossoms were actually blooming. Maybe they're going to wait until all the souls in Japan are accounted for, and the country starts to get back in order…" She leaves off the bit saying how these trees are genetic descendents of the original trees given as a gift almost a century ago.

"I just hope there was enough of a warning before the tsunami, and that the help comes quickly." For the moment, she contents herself with a lip tremble, a little watery eye, and rolling herself over a bit to lean against George and just enjoy the day which teases of spring.

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