2010-09-24: Confidential


Heather_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo comes to apologize for things he said in the past (See Emotions), and both end up revealing truths previously hidden about themselves.

Date: Friday, September 24, 2010. 8:15pm

Log Title: Confidential

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Art Room

The Art Room has pictures of classic artists and small sculptures of famous pieces of art around the room. Any art supply you need may be found in this room, a large variety of paints, charcoals, markers, pencils, clays, canvases, easels, paper, and much more are accessible for the students. A large kelm is in one of the far corners of the room as well. On one side of the art room are a few sewing machines with a large variety of fabrics and sewing supplies for the students as well.

The digital watch on Heather's wrist marks the time as being evening, approximately 8:15 PM. Heather is unaware of this fact, however, more concentrated on the project in front of her. She's been getting better at painting, or at least technically better. The images that she has already created, sitting next to her, are strange and impossible to interpret as any kind of realism. The one she is working on is a picture of stew mixed together with bacon and eggs in a featureless white room. Thin threads of colour, mostly purple, seem to be prominent in the image as well, but they hardly seem attached to anything. Heather's tape recorder rests around her neck, where it usually does when it's not in use.

It's been a few weeks since Theo got in a grump match with Heather, but it's been eating at him since then. He knows he was a jerk without cause, but he hates being wrong. Even more than that, he hates admitting he was wrong. Still, he can't stop thinking about it. So now, at this 8:15pm evening, he has decided to find Heather. Connecting with the cameras in the school, it didn't take long for him to locate her, and so he can be found walking down the hall outside of the art room. He reaches the doorway, and pokes his head inside.
After spotting Heather, he comes in quietly, not sure how to announce his presence, and finds himself trying to understand the painting that he sees Heather working on. He never had much of an eye for art.

Heather's brush strokes are quick as anything else she does. It's like watching a painting being done in slow motion. Right now, she is just adding a couple of the threads and then making some texture on the wall, making them look soft. At the shift in lighting from Theo's presence, though, she turns around. She picks up her tape recorder and plays, "Hello."

"Hey," Theo says. He looks as out of place as a frog in a jewelry store here. "So, I was hoping to talk to you," he says. It's clear that he's uncomfortable. Being in an environment so unnatural to him doesn't help, but every word seems like a labor as he speaks.

Heather raises her eyebrows slightly, "I can't think of many things that you would want to talk to me about. Strategic gameplay? Temporal mechanics? I expect there are no other areas where you would consider me an equal." She spins back around on her chair, placing the recorder on the table set to record.

"How about being a human being?" Theo answers. He is aware that the recorder is recording, but he doesn't seem to care. "A couple weeks ago, I was in a bad mood, and I was a real prick," he says. Now that he's started to say wwhat he came to say, he seems to loosen a little. "The stuff I said…it was mean, and I just wanted to hurt somebody, and you were closest."

As Theo finishes speaking, Heather picks up her recorder and does a quick playback for herself before looking towards Theo. "Mean? It was mostly technically accurate, upon thought. My communication skills are terrible. And I do think I am special," plays the recorder. She glances back at her painting. Deciding it's complete, she watches as Theo formulates a response.

"Yeah," Theo answers, "But that's not the point. The point is I talked down to you like you were less important than me. You're not, and I treated you like an enemy, when you hadn't done anything to me." He walks up closer, rather than talk from the other side of the room. "Don't try to trivialize it, I was an ass."

"Well, I did think you were a condescending jerk about it," plays Heather on the tape recorder, "I'm not trying to trivialize it. Not exactly. You upset me, but that told me something about myself more than it told me about you. There is meaning embedded in the exchange we had, and I need to find it." As the recorder plays, she crosses her feet under the stool. "But without it, I would have received none of the meaning. Do you know what I mean?"

Theo cocks one eyebrow. It doesn't look like it. "The meaning is that I shouldn't project my anger on people who haven't done me any wrong," he says. "What about yourself do you think it told you?" he asks.

"I… I'm not sure. I think it's that sometimes, I get too involved and attached. It shouldn't matter, no matter what you say, I should listen to the message, not the medium," says Heather. Given how detached she already is, whether it's from other people or from reality itself, it's a strange lesson to take away.

"I don't think that's what it means," Theo answers. "I think that you should listen to the medium, because sometimes the message is bullshit. I was talking bullshit. You don't need to detach yourself, your relationships with other people are important. If you don't have those, what's the rest of life worth anyway? What about your family, are you going to detach from them too? And from us?"

"My family. Cheryl Brown, codename: Upgrade. Daniel Brown, codename: Mindbender. Otherwise, single child." If her parents' names are googled, or if one has enough knowledge of super-trivia, those are infamous St. Louis based supervillains, captured around the time that Heather was institutionalized. "And from 'us'? Who is 'us'? It's so difficult. I don't understand other people, I don't understand all the messages they represent. It's like I look out there, and there are nothing but problems that I don't yet have the tools to solve."

"So screw solving it!" Theo shoots back. "Who cares if you solve everything? Just enjoy being a teenager. Just enjoy being around people. I don't understand any of the people here. Scott's a goody two-shoes, Kael's gay, Chloe's so perfect it hurts, and you talk like everything is some riddle to solve. But you know what, you're all I got, so I have to just take what I have." Boy, if Rashmi could hear him now.

Clutching the recorder to her chest lightly after listening to Theo in her own way, she brings the device up to her mouth and then plays, "People themselves are hard to understand. Complex. I wish I could, because I know how much that would reveal to me. I… want to be a teenager, Theo, but I'm thirty five years old. Fifteen of those years, including my teenage years, spent in the White Prison. That ship has sailed and sank. I do get attached. Sometimes I wish I didn't, though."

Theo grows quiet, as if he is about to say something he really doesn't want to. "I'm sick of this." He throws up his hands and paces back toward the door. He doesn't walk out, though. He closes it. He reaches out with his power and turns off every device he can find in the room that can listen, including Heather's recorder. "Your recorder is off, so pay attention," he states. "I'm not saying this into anything that can record me." He drags a chair back to where Heather is sitting, and sits down straddling it backward. "And don't ever repeat this to anyone, under any circumstances. Do you understand?"
"Siunstand," says Heather, in a quick, high pitched chirp, though she seems to be concentrating very heavily on Theo's mouth. She puts her hands on the stool she's on and stares, blinking infrequently (for her, anyhow). "Ghed."

Theo gives a peculiar look for a moment, before he realizes that it's her altered speed that's causing the problem. "I hear this from too many people," he says, trying to speak clearly. "How they hate their family, or they want to forget about the people they care about, and I hate it. You know why? Because I loved my family. I got pissed off at them, and sometimes I didn't appreciate them the way I should have, but I'll never get to feel any of that again, because they're dead. It hurts like hell. But I'll take it. I'll take the pain, because it's all I have left of them." The boy raises an accusatory finger to point at Heather. "Don't ever say that you wish you didn't get attached. Be glad you have someone to be attached to, because you never know when that opportunity will be gone." He doesn't blink, and stairs straight back into Heather's eyes. He's as serious as a heart attack.

Heather listens to Theo, concentrating hard to get the message, even though it is that awful sickly green that she hates so much. She frowns slightly and gestures at Theo, and then at herself, shaking her head. "Iunastnbt." She gestures towards her recorder, and is careful to speak very slowly, giving large pauses between each word. "My. I. Spik?"

Theo glances at the recorder, and nods. He's said the only confidential thing he intends to tonight. Then again, he hadn't planned on saying that when he came in.

Heather nods her head once and picks up the recorder again, reiterating what she said before. "I understand, I understand why you would hate that. But I have a story, too. Since I was born, my parents kept me in the Madhouse. Everything changed there, but I still had many friends who came to visit. I loved them, I was attached, but eventually… my parents would forget some friends, and they would vanish like wisps, or they would take away friends as punishment, becoming flames and smoke. But the friends were never real. I knew that, I learned that. They were parts of my mind." When the recorder starts, she pulls the page she had up off of her work space and begins working on a new image, quickly drawing lines, strange things, odd looking people, a hand extended from the viewer into the painting.

"I wish I could be that person who is glad to get attached, but I worry sometimes. No. I feel, all the time, and I can't help the feeling… that I am still there, and they are still in my mind. And eventually… people I grow attached to will disappear, whisps of smoke." The painting continues, the lines giving the impression of the scenette the tape recorder gives, though it's still void of colour.

Theo frowns. Such a concept of a parent is very alien to him. "I didn't know," he says after a moment. "You make a little more sense now," he admits. "But you aren't there anymore, and I'm not in my parents home anymore. "Nobody here is disappearing into smoke." He considers the statement. "At least, not until the next time some psycho attacks the school. Just— Just don't lose what you could have because you're afraid that you could lose it."

Heather looks over at Theo for a few moments before playing a new message, and continuing her painting, adding the odd colours of the world and characters, and the omnipresent colourful threads remain in the drawing, but this time instead of the isolated purple, there are yellows, bright greens, reds as well as the royal purple that seems to always appear in Heather's images. "I cherish all of my memories. Even my friends who didn't exist, my feelings for them did, but I no longer became attached to them as people. They were elements in my life that were present, that I enjoyed, and I was glad to enjoy. And now, even though I think people are smoke and mirrors… I am attached to my memories of them, even if I'm not attached to their eternity. I cherish the talk we had before, because it brought me this one, and I cherish that I see you at all. Do you understand what I am saying?"

Theo nods. "I understand," he says. "Maybe one day you'll get past this, and maybe I will, too." He stands back up from his chair, and puts it back to where he belongs. "I'm glad we had this talk too. Though I can't say I share your enthusiasm for the last one. If I do that again, I hope you'll tell me to stop being an ass."

"I told you that you were being a jerk." Of course, she was speaking backwards at the time, due to someone interfering with her communications. She puts the finishing touches on this new piece and says, "My wake cycle is ending. I have to sleep for an hour." She waves her hand once and says, "I'll clean up when I wake up. See you later." And with that, she zips away.

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