2012-02-11: Behind Closed Doors


Connor_icon.jpg Quenton_icon.jpg

Summary: A much different Connor and an oddly different Quenton meet to discuss some things in common.

Date: Feburary 11, 2012

Log Title: Behind Closed Doors

Rating: PG-13 (Violence inferred)

NYC - Four Arms Apartments (Connor's Room)

This 12 by 12 room is the biggest one in the apartment but somehow one of the most spare in decor and design. The floor is predominantly an old-world walnut hardwood that gleams with an ever so faint red in the deep brown, which is accented by the forest-green wallpaper on the walls that looks to be done in a forest-style motif, with the ceiling being a light, sky blue, giving the entire thing and outdoors as indoors feeling.

Eschewing a regular bed, the occupant has set up an upper-bunk dormitory wood-framed single bed that is stained to match the floor, the mattress just above six feet off the ground, and leaving just enough room beneath for a moderately sized computer/study desk with a filing cabinet on each side. Along the side of the inside of the bunk is a power strip that has been firmly mounted in place, and all the cables coming off of it are neatly tied and marked per 'item'. Like the docking station with keyboard and mouse, and the speaker set on the desk proper. The bedding is done in an almost military fashion, looking neat and trim with a dark green wool blanket. Along the wall where the room hallway is, there is a single armoire/closet affair also in the same dark wood as the others, everything inside neat and tidy, with even elevated room for shoes.

Two tall bookshelves are along the wall perpendicular to the door with neatly stacked with books of all topics, everything up and alphabetized by topic and author, and carefully arranged knick-knacks that all seem military-themed. All of that does however leave the opposite corner from the bed and books open to contain a drum kit, and a stand for a bass guitar, both which look used but servicable. The outside wall of the apartment, where light streams into the room from two windows sitting over the instruments has an LED television mounted on it, and a small entertainment stand under it with an Xbox 360 and a Blu-Ray player, which has next to the bedframe a thin but tall shelf holding a collection of games and Blu-Ray DVDs.

The only decoration in the whole place is a wide picture that sits on the wall, a mountain landscape with a lake in the foreground that has a mountain lion lounging on a cliff outcropping over it, and a bear and cub fishing off to the other side. Under it is a small plaque that says 'Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska'.

The car ride down from Xavier's was a fairly quiet affair, but the borrowed car from the Xavier garage at least has comfortable seating, and Connor seems to be a rather safe and competent driver. Quite a far cry from the near-boy who originally came to the school you'd met before. Arriving at a garage in Mutant Town, he leads you a few blocks through the area that is like china town, but for people who won't fit in any place else, and walks you down towards an aging brownstone in an odd configuration, as if someone had built around it a couple times. Up to the third floor, he unlocks the door to a well-kept but obviously student apartment, second-hand and older things neatly everywhere. He moves to put his jacket up, and ends up having to re-hang it six times before saying, "Well… here we are. I promise… just a little further… and I also promise nothing funny or offensive. Thanks for coming, by the way."

Wearing synthetic clothing so that he doesn't destroy anything, this generation's angriest mutant has to wait for Connor to open his door before he can get out, which might cause some irritation for the both of them (maybe not for Connor). Still, he follows, hands in his jacket pockets, which is mostly inconspicious, save for the purple X at the breast, and once he's inside he spares a glance about. "Tidy," he mentions uselessly.

Connor settles his keys in a spot that seems to be pre-marked for such, and then motions for you to follow, "We get by. Rashmi tries to make sure we don't spend too much on anything." Going around a short hallway, he takes you to a door at the end of it, and opens it up for you. Inside is a room that looks more like it's a picture from a catalogue, and not where someone actually lives. It's disturbingly neat, not even a pair of shoes out of place in there. It's everything someone would assume a room would be if you'd never really had one before, "This is my room… well… it's where I sleep anyways. Listen… something that never got made clear the first time we met. I have compulsive disorder. It's not full-blown OCD, but it's… well… not having things orderly causes me stress, stress causes other things. But instead of scratching my face… I clean. I clean past the point things need to clean, or I exercise so hard I'll exhaust myself."

"Rashmi? You live with her?" Quenton furrows his brow, but doesn't linger on why he knows her, just glancing about now. He opts to keeps his shoes on, but floats just a few inches off the ground so that he won't dirty anything. Connor's comment about scratching his face causes Quenton's hand to lift to his own, the brutal scratches he left before faded into nothingness, leaving not even a car. "Oh. Right. Yeah. That must blow." Realizing that that was a little blunt, he half mumbles a "sorry." Worry for his parents is making him nicer.

Moving to the exact center of the room, Connor turns around to face you once more, crossing his arms over his chest once and says, "Your scratching… it's one of the things in therapy I learned could happen with some people like me. Those who's compulsions were harder on them. One of the things that is the hardest, is admitting there is a problem. That's why I wanted you to come on your own. So you wouldn't feel exposed. I'm not going to tell anyone anything I hear here… and you'd be surprised what I've been through. The person I am… well… I don't like him much, but I try and live with him the best I can."

"It's different then a compulsion, alright? At least, the hand at my face is different then a compulsion. Trust me," Quenton murmurs, hands in his pockets right now. "I don't have any weird mental issues that basic psychology can explain, I don't. My mental issues, at least the reason I scratch my face, is part of my mutation, not some disorder," he grunts. "If that's what you brought me here for, you're just wasting your time, man." He shifts slightly, still hovering an inch off the ground.

Connor gives a brief smile, "Why don't you tell me what the difference is?" And then he moves over to pull his chair out, and shifts it several times before it's properly seated in a spot. Then he sits down and seems to wait…

"The difference is I do what I do to stop me from doing something else. You do what you do because something isn't right, and you feel the need to correct it. I need to let out steam. It's half the reason I'm a prick to people. It's the reason I scratch my face. I'm fighting an urge." Quenton clears his throat. "A very strong urge. A very dangerous urge." He wets his lips now.

"It's like you have voices in your head yelling at you to do things, telling you how things are wrong, dredging up mistakes and throwing them back in your face all the time right? Until you do something to make them go away… those urges." Connor replies softly, looking down at his hands a moment, and then slowly uncurls them from fists, "It doesn't sound so different to me. But anger, shame, all those emotions have something inside of us they come from. Some place we don't always want to admit to. Mine comes from hiding in my problems… letting them become me, because I was told for most of my childhood that I was my problem. That people expected me to be the one who either ended up committing suicide, or taking a pistol and shooting up a cafeteria." There's no bitterness in his tone as he talks, but a sense of resignation at the stigma.

"No. They're not telling me ow things are wrong, and they're not throwing my mistakes in my face. The exact opposite. They're not even voices. It's simple. It's like having to take a piss, or getting a boner, or being hungry." Quenton chews on the inside of his cheek. "I can't make you understand." Which makes the rage creep up on him, but it's batted away by chewing on the inside of his cheek a little too hard. Wetting his lips now, Quenton curls his own hands into fists. "It's like everything is multiplied. I wanna eat something, I want to eat every single bit of it. I want to kiss Shane, and it multiplies. I wanna do more then kiss her. I want to…" He glances at the wall, steam, actual steam, rising from his shoulders. "And if someone makes me angry, or annoyed, or hurt, I want to -kill- them. And I don't mean that lighthearted kill or that I'm going to kill you screech that girls do if you read their diary or some bullshit. I want to murder them. I picture some brutal, creative way to kill them. Like when I met you I wanted to drive my thumbs in your eyes and pull your skull apart."

Connor snorts out a chuckle, "You might be stronger, but I think I'm the better fighter… it's often times more about leverage than it is power… but that's not a taunt or a threat…" He then nods, "Fine… so your power makes everything stronger for you, every feeling." Another pause, "I could sit here all day and compare your problems to other people I've met and heard of, but I think you don't want to hear that. I think you want help, but you don't know the first thing about how to find it… and I don't think you trust the people who want to give it to you. Which I get. I mean… when I was there, one of the people they let teach had possessed a friend of our's and almost killed another. Not exactly a glowing review."

"And then, naturally, people say that. All the time. Everyone has fucking something to prove. I didn't say I could rip your fucking skull apart, I said that's what I wanted to do," Quenton growls, steam rising from his shoulders, and then abrubtly his hand snaps up and his fingers dig into his cheek again, tearing into the flesh too easily, despite the boy's supposed super resilience. "I don't need help. I found ways to stop the urges, the rage. I just need to let out a little, calm down some. Meditating, things like that, I've already tried. It just makes me more pent up."

Standing up from his chair, he takes a couple steps towards Quenton, and then pauses there, within reach now, "No… I think you need to acknowledge where the anger comes from." One hand slowly comes up and a fist thumps against his heart, "Again… I'm not going to tell you what to do… but… just my opinion… you need someone outside of you to help. Someone you can trust because you don't feel like you can trust yourself. I know I did." And then the sad smile returns, "If it would make it easier on you, we can move up to the roof. I don't want you to feel penned in here."

"The anger is part of my mutation. It translates my emotions into energy so that if I ever trigger the rage, which I don't know how, all I know is how to prevent it, I can get stronger." He shakes his head now, backing away from Connor as he approaches, well, more like hovering away. "Trust me, I'm not penned in here. We can move if you want, though. It'd probably be easier on your walls if I did want to get away," he admits." Quenton shoots his red eyed gaze about…

Connor gives a nod, and then moves past towards the door, and out into the main room, walking slowly towards the front door, "Have you ever considered that if it works for anger, it works for other emotions too? Anger just happens to be the fastest way for it to find a power source." Opening the door, and then turning to head up the stairs, but then coming back to take his jacket and his keys once more, double-checking them once before returning to his course, even having closed the door and opening it once more.

NYC - Four Arms Apartments (Roof)

The roof looks out over the city the best it can. Since it's only a few stories high and is one of the shorter buildings in the area the view isn't that great. There's an old pigeon coop up here that's long since been used and other than the door, that's the only other thing up here. There's a small railing around the edge that's just one bar with a few posts, nothing to really prevent anyone from going over the edge. Over all those it's a nice quiet spot to go and relax.

"We have checked the other emotions, yeah. It only works for sadness, otherwise. Translates it into anger. I don't know why." He glances about a while, before just lifting into the air, and then lying back, hands moving behind his head, as if resting on a wind current. "It's like… I'm part animal. But unlike Taylor or feral mutants, it's on the inside, and more in my head."

Looking off towards the New York skyline, Connor replies, "The few times Mister Logan was at the school, he mentioned something like that. Even showed us using the Danger Room times when it had overtaken him. Like his mind shut off and he went completely off instinct. It was frightening, but at the same time, you couldn't look away." Shaking his head again, he adds another single shoulder shrug and adds, "Well… I made my offer. You can do what you like. Mutant Town is pretty open, and there's a bus that goes back to the school from here every Sunday afternoon. I didn't bring you out to pressure you, or make you feel like this is some kind of trap or deal."

"That's what it felt like when I first…" Quenton trails off. "The blue furry dude claims it's part of my adrenal gland, mutated by my X-Gene to pull me into some a rage. Going berserk. Compared it to a Logan, actually," he admits. "Luckily, I'm able to fight mine back, but it takes a lot of willpower, and it wants to go off all the time. It's not like a rare occurence."

Connor looks back for a moment, "They claim a lot of things… it takes them a while to really figure out how each person's power really works. Until they've got it nailed down, you're going to hear all sorts of interesting ideas." Walking to the edge of the roof, he goes up on the lip and looks over for a moment, and then hops back off as he turns to face you again, "So… do me the service of at least telling me… if you didn't think I could help, why come?"

"I did think you could help, and you have," Quenton mutters, flipping backwards and onto his feet atop the roof, now, rolling his shoulders a moment. "You made me think of new ways to fight it back, and you gave me a greater appreciation for other people's problems. Whether this changes the way I do things or not, well, we'll see. But it's definitely changed why." He rolls his tongue in his cheek. "Sometimes emotional pain can be worst then physical pain. There's some kids I have to be careful of what I say to them."

Connor's hands go behind his back, as he walks along the edge of the roof for a moment, as if something is daring him to do something else, and then he comes back towards you, seeming to not be fit to stand still for the time being, "Thanks. I didn't even know if I could. Didn't mean I couldn't try." Nodding once to you in acknowledgement, he continues on, "I know that one a lot more than people would think. It's worse when you're aware of what people think of you to some degree. Like you're special, or you have to be hands-off. Is there anyone in particular you're having a problem with?"

"Sometimes the point of why I'm pissy is to make them hate me so they're willing to hurt me if I ever go berserk on them, or to push them away and make them afraid of me so they'll leave me alone or run away." Quenton gives a bit of a sigh. "But sometimes I push too hard. I'm good at hurting people. Physically or emotionally. I can usually find out what makes them tick right off. Some sort of asshole psychology, maybe. But it brings them to tears, or hurting themself and others. So I gotta be careful."
"But… the only way to feel safe around others is to control the situation… so you make sure you know where they stand from the get-go?" Connor asks, walking back over as he watches your responses, and then stops a couple feet away, "Not to be critical, but pushing buttons is not the best way to do things. Talking works… but not always. Sometimes… you end up just having to hit something." The voice comes from a sad and almost hard note of experience.

"While I get you're trying to protect the others' feelings, I'm not going to throw away what's worked over the last year because of one hangup." Quenton just lifts his shoulders lazily, leaping into the air and side flipping, sailing over Connor's head and using his levitation to land perfectly. "I'll be more careful on who I'm using it on."

Connor arches a brow at the display, "You love the freedom, don't you." Motioning to you floating there like you are, "Hey, I avoided people, and hid in my own problems when I was first there. I've got no right to judge. People call me unsociable at the school… that I'm too serious. But I've got a right to be. Too much as happened for me to really… well…" And he motions it off as he walks around your floating form, "So how fast can you go?"

"Flying's the power I have complete control over. I can only go about fifteen, twenty miles per hour," Quenton murmurs, shrugging his shoulders. "Some are a lot faster, but I'm fine with what I got. It might seem slow, but diving is still a rush."

Offering another nod, Connor begins walking back again, giving you a bit more space, "I try not to miss my powers, but I know how you feel about the rush. I had complete freedom of movement… I could go anywhere. Even home was just a thought and some concentration away. But…" Hands begin curling up and start rubbing against his jeans front, "I did it to myself… like an idiot I didn't see there was a better way. This isn't a lesson I'm trying to teach you. I'm just saying…" And he pauses before looking back at you, "I suppose I'm trying to say if you need some place to go when the school is too much, give me a call. I wouldn't call us friends… but I'd at least say here you won't get patronized, and you'd be given the space you need."

"Why? Why are you offering me this?" wonders Quenton now, conflicted as he watches Connor, crossing his arms over his chest. "All I've ever been to you is a prick. All I'll ever be to you, maybe, is a prick." He releases a breath. "But you're being so… fucking nice. It's… making it hard to dislike you."

"Because…" Connor replies once more, "We both got bad first impressions of each other." Motioning to you, and then to himself as he shrugs once, "I don't WANT anything from you Quenton. Yes, you were a prick. But in the last half hour, you've been considerate, you've been friendly, and you've even had a little bit of fun around me." Then he taps around in his pockets for a moment, and comes up with a packet of peppermints, popping two and letting them sit in the corners of his mouth, "It used to be there was a process in place where everyone got a mentor. Maybe that's what I'm going for. Someone who understands enough to listen, and knows enough to be able to give advice when you need it."

"Okay. I can probably dig that. Probably, keep that part in mind," grunts Quenton, while he scratches just above his lips now, glancing down at his shoes and tapping one against the ground, as if testing the stability of the apartment building. Satisfied, he looks up at the older young man. "Any other people get this benefit. Other then Heather?" The last sentence is spoken wryly.

That little comment actually gets a scowl and a slight flush around the ears as Connor replies, "Heather and I are… something. More than friends, but not quite dating… if you really must know." He looks like he wants to say more, but then stops, and gives a slightly more genuine smile than before, "So… going to pick on me about my love life, when you're the one dating the girl who can finger-flick you through a wall?" Letting the counter-jab hang out there, he shakes his head, "Not yet.. but I've tried. Some of the others I've… been less than successful with."

"She's been telling more people then I thought," Quenton grumbles, but there's no anger behind that statement. "It's kind of odd how strong but fragile she is, Shane." Steam rises from his shoulders, but there's no fist clenching, no vein throbbing. Just a thoughtful expression on his face.

Connor taps the side of his head, "Nope… I'm on back-up for security staff… that whole combat instructor thing?" The grin still remaining as he then moves over and sits down on a spot he cleans with a tissue before ending up there, "She doesn't like hurting people… I've been trying to show her methods to get out of things without using her powers, or really hurting anyone. She's pretty hard-line about that. She doesn't seem to like much, but she's got a strong will."

"Ah, right," Quenton murmurs, rubbing the side of his face a moment, before he crosses his arms over his chest. "Yeah. We don't have that in common, her and I. She's a good person though." At risk of sounding cliche; "She's too good for me." He lifts a hand to his heart briefly, intaking a deep breath.

Connor reaches up to almost touch you as he stands, but then stops, and wavering a couple inches from you, his hand falls away, "Don't ever tell yourself that. Because if you do, you're going to sabotage everything. I'm serious. I lost friends because of that… I never would have asked Heather to prom if I'd believed it. Whatever she sees in you, she thinks it's worth it. And THAT is the thing you should keep in your heart."

"It's true. I've killed people. I want to kill again. She's hurt people, but she wants to not do that again, herself," Quenton murmurs. He shakes his head. "Her and I are partly in the same situation you and Heather are in. We can't bring our relationship any further. Probably never." He rubs the side of his face. "She might want more someday, more that I can't give her."
"You mean… more that you can't give her right now." Connor replies just as softly, staying close, "Every day I look down at the park from here, and every day I remember the massacre that nearly happened. It was a rally, mutants coming together… and then a group of people who treated hunting and killing mutants like a game attacked. Planned and coordinated." His eyes go back to the place he means, walking forwards a bit, and then looks over his shoulder at you, "I don't know how many of them I hurt, or killed… but self-defense doesn't mean that I felt like they deserved it. I made them shoot each other, I pulled grenade pins on vests…" A frown comes on his face, "Heather knows about all that… she knows the monster I became to fight her own mother… and she still accepts me for it. Because she knows that despite all the wrong and the hurt, that I'm still a good person inside."

"More than I can give her probably ever. As my powers develop, I seem to be in less control of them," Quenton explains. He resists the urge to tell Connor how good of a job that was, how creative the murder of those people were. "I think another difference between you and me is you shown yourself a monster that hid a good person. I'm a person who's reasonably not uh… evil. But I hide a monster."

Connor doesn't press, but he shakes his head as if he disagrees before saying, "As powers develop, so does other facets of them, and our ability to control them. I think you've got a lot of willpower, and you've done well by it so far… but this is the kind of thing the school was made for… just… keep an open mind with your powers, allright? You might end up being surprised by the results."

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