2007-12-15: You're Doing It Wrong

Starring:

Church_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif

Summary: +roll Willpower+Reckless = Fail. Church has always thrown caution to the wind, and with age it has gotten increasingly more subtle; sometimes it just takes a person to point it out to make him realize an error in judgment.

Date It Happened: December 15th, 2007

You're Doing It Wrong


Brubaker Secondary School - Administration Rooms

Lee is not an idiot, and neither are most of the kids. The teachers, maybe. But not Lee, and not the kids. He enters Church's office when it is clear and closes the door, sitting in a chair opposite him primly and looking at the older man with the unmistakably disappointed look of a civics teacher examining a pupil who has fallen short of expectations. "So, Lawrence." Lee says. "I'd like you to tell me what happened the day Marshall was suspended." He says this in the tone of someone who already knows exactly what happened. Cops have it. Teachers have it. Everyone in authority eventually has it.

Church might have had it, were he expecting the visit. It is far easier to assume everyone else is stupid, because then even ridiculous plans pan out. Lawrence is sitting at the desk filling out some manner of progress form when Lee comes in and seats himself. He looks up at Lee Jones through the top of a pair of reading glasses, dark eyes glinting; his pen pauses on paper and both eyebrows are already drawn together from his other business. "Before or after I caught him using an electrical cord as a club?"

Lee says calmly, "He never touched the cord. Jeremy Blackburg had the cord - he was suspended at the time, of course…Why don't you start from the beginning? Say, when you discussed the idea with Cam."

Unmoving from his gaze over the edge of his glasses, Lawrence's smile grows- though crooked and far less joyfully than it usually does when it smears over his face. This time, it seems more like a grin from a sly critter rather than from Nice Old Church. "Why are you so interested?"
Lee says, "Because I think you let Cam down. I think you failed him. And I want to hear your side of the story." He laces his long fingers together.

"If you think that I let him down, you are mistaken. Even he seems happy with the result." The pen clicks onto the desk, released from his grasp. "We came to the conclusion that there was one other way that we could help each other with this problem, and so we went through with it." He laces his own hands over the desk, staring over at Lee. "It was a set-up." There. That is his side.

Lee says, passion, anger flaring into his voice, "It doesn't matter how he feels about it, Lawrence, think for a second. You let him down because you used him. You're teaching him it's okay to use those less powerful than you to get what you want. That's reprehensible." And he means that word, 'reprehensible', he probably actually knows what it means too. "He's not old enough to make those decisions for himself, and you should never have asked him. If he brought it up you should have said no. We have to protect him and show him how to be a decent person. He's watching us. He's watching you, and he's going to do what he sees to others. His foster father murdered his CPS caseworker, for god's sake, and his foster mother has a hundred different kinds of denial about it. He needs someone to show him how to do good or else god only knows what's going to happen to him."

"I was teaching him the purpose of teamwork, if anything. I was not using him, and he really had every opportunity to deny me. It wasn't my intention to pass on the teachings of manipulation, Jones." Lawrence sounds as if nothing that Lee started with really sank in, nor really made sense to the older man. Either way, he seems undisturbed by it on the outside. On the inside, though, there is that nagging feeling that Lee could be right. Do a little more soul-digging, Jones. "I am protecting him, and I am doing my best to set an example." It is a strange example, but an example.

Lee shakes his head, "A twelve year old boy, targetted by a gang, with no parents of his own, barely a few friends, homeless until just a few months ago, living in a shelter, getting himself to and from school alone, every day, 'had every opportunity to refuse you'? That is a sick idea of choice. Sick." he declares. "You had an obligation to him. I'm very disappointed in how you handled it. And if O'Donnell found out about it, it wouldn't matter who your friends were. You'd be gone. And then we'd be well and truly screwed up in admin here." Oh, this isn't an I-hate-you-forever speech, this is a shape-up-for-the-team speech. He gets to his feet. "You think about it a little, Lawrence."

If he had known Lee long before now, this might come as a little bit too much to take seriously; however, Church did not, and so it seems to ring truer than it might otherwise. The man lifts his linked knuckles to the front of his chin, leaning his head into them and watching Lee with a careful pair of dark eyes. That nagging feeling? Yeah, it's more than nagging at this point. Score points for the Jonester, having successfully overturned the use of Secret Agent Policies in high school. Now there's guilt, yes. Lawrence doesn't need to think about it for long. Or perhaps he has, only three times as fast. "…You're right." Church speaks again hopefully before Lee chooses to scuttle back out the door.

Lee is used to people dismissing him so much that he blinks. "…okay." he says, mollified. "I'm not arguing with the results. And I know you did it for the right reasons." He gives a little back to Church with that, or, depending on how you look at it, unintentionally twists the dagger. "I know you've got his best interests at heart. I wouldn't even try to tell you this stuff otherwise. If you see me getting out of line, trying to pull something I shouldn't…you tell me, all right? I know this is frustrating. But we can beat this thing and beat it the right way."

"I know I had good intentions. But you're right- I think that I am just so used to working with adults-" Lawrence stops himself, rubbing a hand up over the center of a creased forehead. "I have a short fuse with some things, and I think that Marshall just lit it one too many times, so I went with my first idea. I can tell you now that if I were younger, I may have just done it first thing. I can be somewhat reckless, still." Even if it is not the guns-blazing kind. With age it seems to have gotten more subtle, and less likely for Church to actually realize it was a bad idea(hence, now). "Thanks for seeing me about this."

Lee says, sardonically, "Don't sell yourself short, your first idea was framing him, remember?" But it's good-natured. "It's not a problem, Lawrence. Thanks for hearing it." And with that, Lee goes out, strangely reassured - and still ignorant about everything about Church that would explain everything…

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