2011-08-17: Undo The Straps


Heather_icon.jpg Connor_icon.jpg

Summary: Connor pays Heather a visit in her own mind.

Date: August 17, 2011.

Log Title: Undo the Straps

Rating: PG.

Heather's Mind

Whispers saying nothing but gibberish seem to repeat themselves in the darkness, colours swirling as the do, and twisting purple pathways that seem to be opened up rise up and down to seeming infinity. On a platform suspended in this strange place, sits Heather Brown, though not quite. She seems younger, and is wearing all white so much that she appears to be glowing. The arms of the straightjacket are wrapped up to her back. Her legs are crossed and she almost seems to be in meditation, eyes flicking occasionally to the voices, sometimes hearing them well enough to understand what they're saying. "What's the pattern?" "Can you break it?" "Shh shh shh shh."

About thirty feet in front of Heather… subjectively… an airlock door appears. Large, steel, looming… an exact six foot circumference who's unlocking wheel seems to somehow swirl inwards. There's a hissing boom that comes from the far side of it, as blue-green light begins to spill from the other side, and a ringing creaking sound as that massive thing begins to swing open slowly… casting more and more light around the young woman.

The girl stares at this new light, inhaling sharply and squinting at this disturbance in her darkness. She squints and turns her face away, but the rest of the surroundings seem not to move, while the voices becomes more aggressive. "It is taking us!" "Do not pay it mind you can sleep you need to sleep." "PAY ATTENTION PAY ATTENTION BE VIGILANT BE VIGILANT." Her eyes widen, and she rises to her feet to stare curiously at what's happening.

"SHUT. THE HELL. UP.", comes a voice like an echo that slams into not just the sensation of sound, but the echoing feeling that one could only know as a psychic influence. The door finally slides open all the way… and in an almost disappointing climax only a single figure steps out. It continues to swing, and seems to just fold in on itself, and the light being cast is from the single form of a familiar face… one who is slightly eclipsed by a pair of eyes glowing hi-beams. Looking around, the blinks make the light pulse and brighten before the voice continues on, "And I thought your mom was annoying for what she did to me… hey Heather. Are you allright?"

Heather struggles against her bonds at the yell that comes from the young man, crouching down slightly, "Do not speak to them like that, they are the colours I see in the edge of my sight. This is my sanctuary, they are my companions." She looks around and struggles against the bonds once more, "Welcome, Connor… I am working still. I don't know if I'm alright. Help me with the straps?" The voices do not stop, but quiet down now that Connor has arrived, only whisps of colours making it clear that they're really there.

The figure approaches… and it appears to be in the buff. At least, it seems that way, but there's somehow a blurred feeling when looking any other place but the face. He actually has stubble… hair is a bit haggard, as if he had spent a long time someplace without personal hygiene. Kneeling down next to you, Connor replies in that weird echoey voice of his, "This probably sounds really strange of me to say? But I can't take off what isn't there. Not only that… but I can't remove what you've put in place. It would be damaging. But I can help you help yourself. I've got the power now. Your mom's fault… she might have thought tagging me with a power up was a smart idea… but she didn't realize what she was getting herself into. It… is… allright that I talk about kicking your parent's butts, isn't it?"

"I just need help with the straps," says Heather, struggling lightly against the bonds, the environment changing to what looks like a dimly lit asylum room, all the damage a young speedster in a straightjacket could do is already done to the floors and walls. "You can talk about that, they put me here. And I needed help with the straps to eat or scratch, but nobody wanted to help." She glances around at this new environment and says, "Robyn's here. I can't see him. But Robyn's here, I heard it, on the edge of my vision." One of the voices repeats somewhat louder, 'Robyn's here' a few times before fading back into the background. "My mother thought she could control you, she controls things, she's in control of everything but you never see her. Are you okay, Connor? I would hug you but I need help with the straps."

Connor crosses his arms over his chest, and slowly, clothing fades into existence around him, something familiar and draping his frame with something a bit more in line with what you remember, "Heather… I can't. This is your mind. I'm just the visitor. And no… I'm… how best to describe it…" He actually then paces behind you and looks down at the bonds holding you, "I'm coming back. I'm finally depowered enough that I'm not everywhere at once. That's where I was. Everyplace… and no place. Trapped and tortured… trying to make order out of pure chaos. And I couldn't. Talk about the ultimate Aversion therapy." Kneeling down, the light casts from his head to the rest of the room.

"Can you find the patterns?" whispers one of the voices, and Heather seems to repeat, "You can't make order of pure chaos but can you make patterns?" She tries to lift her arms over her head but is not any kind of escape artist and continues, "I hope that you will be okay, you need to be okay. I will be okay if you will be okay?" She looks at the wall with the door on it and stares at it, "Why did you come to this place? Why would anyone come here?"

"Heather… let me make sense of this… I was everyplace. Not everywhere. Everywhen too. When you can touch it all at once, someone like you stands out like a beacon. So I borrowed a me born with psychic gifts… he's a Phoenix Host in that reality, so it wasn't a problem to ask for permission." Connor replies as he then shrugs as he stands up, and moves around to face you, saying, "Whatever you do… don't look in my eyes. I'm pretty sure it will drive you sane." But then his hand reaches up to touch Heather's cheek and it feels as real as anything, "Patterns are easy to find. Easier to make. It's just a nudge. Touch something once one way, another in another… and eventually, it behaves as if it was intended to do what you wanted in the first place. I almost made life once. I stopped myself… I'm not ready to be a parent. Or a god."

"You only need a replicator. A first replicator. You don't even need to love it if you don't want to," says Heather, tilting her head slightly at Connor, and not looking him in the eyes, just feeling the stroke of his hand against her cheek. "And you've seen the patterns? That's what I need to find. I need to undo these damnable straps first, though." She starts walking towards the door and it opens up before her. "Do you understand what my mother understands now? You have been everything, so you must." She steps through and finds herself on the Xavier's Quad. The voices don't stop here either. "Tell him something!" "When is everywhen?" "What is the best thing?" But Heather seems to ignore them for the time being, not even looking at their invisible sources.

Connor begins chuckling and then sighs once, "Oh man…" taking a look around so that he can follow along into the quad and takes a look around, before waving his hand… and there's a hundred conversations at once, phantom bodies passing by, books being held, all manner of words passing, and then they are gone again, "Everywhen is now, but you just missed it… but it'll be back soon. God, who would have thought Mel Brooks could have gotten temporal logic right in a comic routine." Snapping his fingers so the eponymous scene appears right there on a beaten up old television out of nowhere, "And yes… you DO need to undo them. But you have to undeerstand them first. Why are they your straps? I can't give you what I came to give you until you answer that one."

"Because they are a challenge, Connor…" says Heather, furrowing her brows at that, "They do not come off easily. If they came off easily, they would be off. And… and… if they were not a challenge, why would I wear them?" She pauses and looks around the quad and says, "I took them off to come here, but I still wore them. They were all I had, constraints are all I had. I /need/ them."

"Y'know… the downfall of omniscience is getting too easily fed up with what people see when it's right in front of them… ugh… I can't WAIT to get back to normal." And with another wave of his hand, all the figures vanish, replaced by a small circle of people, all standing around Heather. Himself, Rashmi, Theo, Chloe at the pole points. Connor then motions back at you, "I'm gonna be mean now Heather. I don't like to, but I've seen where this conversation goes, and I can't win a logic fight with you. Logic can always answer any question, because that's it's nature. To answer. Doesn't mean for a moment, it's right." Motioning to the four, they all say at once, "Why are you hiding your heart from us, Heather?"

The Rashmi says, "I've always been there to understand you, to support you… always to be the kind of friend you needed. But you've always put us at a distance. Why? We're not the ones who hurt you."

The Theo say, shaking his head, "I'm a self-absorbed, arrogant jerk… I know… you know… they know it. But they all still give me a chance. And so do you in your own way. Do yourself the same. What… can't I have a moment of wisdom?"

The Chloe leans in to almost peck you cheek and stops, "You try and get me to take you out into the real world. What do you think you are, Heather… a cockapoo? A labradoodle? Come on. I'm the LAST person who should be showing anyone how to live in the real world… and we BOTH know it. So why go to all that trouble to reach out, if you don't really want the help?"

Finally, the Connor speaks up, "We get each other. I'm a mess of bad wiring, and so are you… we both deal, but we both get it too. So what's the deal? Why is it always at arm's reach? I even took you out on a date… bought you a dress… I did everything a boyfriend is supposed to do. But you acted like it was some kind of exercise. That hurt."

Heather looks around quickly at the four points in the circle, looking to them all in turn and she shakes her head, "You don't understand, I don't mean to be the person who I am! I'm not good at being a person!" She turns on her heel to look pleadingly at each person, and addresses them all in turn in the order they spoke to her.

"I want friends who will support me, but I can't express it, every time I want to bring someone close, I am paralyzed. What if this is another game, and someone close to me fades back into the nothing, I don't want that again…" She struggles lightly against her bonds again and shakes her head, turning to Theo.

"I want to give myself a chance, but I fail at every turn. I fail and fail and fail and only point towards success, I want to be a person… and I hope hope hope hope hope hope that you are people too, real people," says Heather, furrowing her brow. "Because I want to need you to be…"

One more turn, to Chloe, "I want your help! But I don't know what to ask for. The world is so scary and strange that I'm not sure where to begin. I don't know what to do with it. I /need/ your help. I need help. I… I… can't make sense of it without help."

And finally, she turns to Connor, taking a couple of steps towards him, "I need you. You were wonderful to me, but how does a girl act? Should I act like me or should I act like a person who I want to be?" She bites at her shoulder a few times to try and shift the suit, interrupting herself, "It was never an exercise with you, that's not- I was scared. Not of you, of me, of what I should do. Am I your girlfriend? Can I be? I need you." At this point she is crying, but has stopped struggling against her jacket and looks towards the ground. "I want to need you to be real."

The four vanish and you're only left with the presence of the young man with the glowing eyes, "There's something you need to understand Heather… something that I can't make you understand, no matter how much I show you. This?" And suddenly the quad isn't there, and you're standing on a page of a book, a thick piece of paper. A hand goes to your shoulder, and Connor continues, "Most people just take reality for granted. They don't respect it. It's like breathing. It just happens… until it stops. That's what your dad does. Did. Will do. He takes away the right and makes it his privelege. So… One more time. Why do you need to straightjacket?"

"Because it is a reality to cling to, to avoid real reality…" says Heather, still looking down, now at the sheet of paper. "If I never let it be real, it will hurt less if the ones I love disappear…" The voices in the background continue to speak, unintelligeably. "And I need to undo the straps. If I'm ever going to be able to hug you like a proper person."

Connor just smiles, and says softly, "What good is it going to do you if I take it off for you?" And an almost comically large pen appears, like a staff, and he writes the word CHAIR on the ground, and suddenly there's a chair, and he sits down on it, leaning that fountain pen staff over the back, crooks one leg over the other, and then motions at you, "C'mon Heather… I can't DO this for you. You think I don't want to? But what right do I have? How does that make me anything different from your parens?"

"You're going to make me think of chairs though," says Heather, maybe a little disapprovingly, and she changes the environment back to the place that they started, her sanctuary as she called it, leaving the chair in place. "You need that where it is!" "Shh shh shh shh" "It is all up to you." She looks at the voices again and looks up, repeating, "Shh shh," and then down again. "I know you can't do it for me. I need to do it for me… I want to need it to all be real." She inhales deeply and begins to carefully pull at the straps, not struggling this time, but seeming with care.

Connor reaches to the very edge of 'reality' and turns the page… back to the blank whiteness and the chair once more, and he sits back down, wiping at the spot once, and then again before finally sitting, "No." Is his reply, eyes blazing blankly, and then, "Do it yourself." Reaching back, he takes the pen, and writes the word 'OTTOMAN' on the ground at his feet, putting his feet up on it afterwards.

"I don't want brain furniture, what a clutter, what a clutter," mumbles Heather, once again giving Connor a disapproving look at that. She shakes her head and turns her back to Connor, once again pulling at the straps, the ties on the back seeming to slip undone. She hesitates for a moment, though, when it seems like she's just about pulled everything free.

Connor actually laughs, "There's nothing here, Heather… it's just words." And should she look over her shoulder, he's sitting on the ground, his butt on the CHAIR, and his feet on the OTTOMAN.

Heather looks over her shoulder and says, "I'm still thinking about these things! I haven't sat on a CHAIR in days weeks months years. I could fall asleep on one, my feet resting on an OTTOMAN… I could fall asleep for a long long time…" She looks back forwards and says, not looking at Connor, "You don't need to undo my straps, I'm almost there, but… can you tell me it will be okay?"

Connor reiterates the denial, but this time it's a bit more soft, "No… and it's for the best. No one knows if it will be okay. That's the beauty of it. Life's all about risk." Sitting up out of the CHAIR, and standing once more, he walks over to the area to one side, and writes down the word EXIT… and another door appears there, leaving him to lean on it as he watches you, "I wouldn't be me if I just reassured you. This is really a conversation for Rashmi. She's a lot better at this than I ever was. It's not what she says, but how she says it. But more than anyone, she seems to get that if you don't fall down, you can't stand up."

"Connor? Are you going again?" says Heather, looking down at the EXIT. She closes her eyes and her arms pull out of the sleeves, and she raises the back of her wrist to wipe her eyes and walks towards her friend, "You can't go, you can't go right yet…"

Shaking his head, Connor just continues to lean on the pen, eyes casting eerie shadows around the blankness of the space, "No… I haven't given you your present yet. This is for you anyways… not me. I can leave whenever I want. Because I was already here, and I already left." But as he speaks, he rubs at his forehead and one eye, "You're doing fine by the way."

"A present?" says Heather, tilting her head slightly as she continues to approach Connor, and she starts using her newly freed arms to tug at the jacket. Once she's close enough she puts her arms around him in a great big hug.

Connor accepts the hug, letting the arms enfold him as he leans his head in and kisses Heather on the forehead, "You know… losing all this cool knowledge is gonna suck for me… I mean… there's so much I could tell you. So much I want to. But… I also see what happens when I do, and the results. The pattern. Inevitably… it's like they say in Wargames. The best way to win is not to play at all."

Heather looks down and then nods slowly at that, "It's a saying that rings true to me. Unfortunately, I have had very adamant recruiters." She looks up at Connor and is sure not to look him in the eyes, but she still looks at his face. "Can you tell me if we will have another date with your knowledge? This time I will not treat it like an exercise. I will let it be real."

"When this is done… I'm gonna need you. What your mom did to me isn't like others. I was changed… made to be something for a purpose that I can't explain to anyone." And this time his hand comes up so he can brush some of her hair back, as the other hand holds up what looks like a diary, "But yes. We'll have another date. But you'll have to have the courage to ask yourself. Before someone else does. Now… would you like your reward?"

"The courage to ask myself! Is asking now just not appropriate?" balks Heather, putting her hands on her hips. She relaxes again and then nods at Connor slowly, "My mother understands what she did to you. Be careful with her… But I think I would like my reward, yes. What is it?"

Connor chuckles once more, "Now now… no trying to date the near-omnipotent." Winking once and causing a shadow to pass over you for a moment, then brighten once more. The book has a Phoenix on the cover, and is pressed into your hands, "This book is power… anything you write in this book will be what others see when the come here. This is your father's weakness… his arrogance to assume that he always has control. This will let you see behind the set dressing, and back out into reality."

"Well, I will ask when you stop the omnipotence. It only makes sense. You are a huge hassle when you are such a know it all," says Heather in reply to the first bit, but she looks down towards the book to examine it, looking at the cover and opening it so that she can see the pages. "Thank you, Connor. I really appreciate this. I will use this in the best way that I can conceive."

Connor rolls the glowing orbs of infinite light that are taking the place of his eyes, "Yeah yeah… I won't even get to keep it long enough to win an argument with Rashmi. I also like the confidence… it's rough being me… but the same could be said of any of us." Another hug comes, and he motions for the exit door, "You have to go now… your father's coming to check in on you, and if he finds this construct, he'll suspect. Keep the book close… he'll just assume it's another trick of yours to fight him."

Heather returns the hug and she nods at Connor, "It will be with me. He cannot see my sanctuary, and he will think I'm just playing more mind games. It is my world to think in. You take care of yourself, Connor, and thank you again." She opens the door that was created and steps through it.

The door closes, and what the girl does not see is the pages beginning to burn away as from behind Connor the form of the Phoenix appears, and Connor just grumbles out, "Yeah yeah… don't get your M'krann in a bunch… I'm gonna be so glad when we can both forget this." And as the fiery wings engulf him, he is gone from your mind, and you're left standing there, still in the straightjacket, but now undone, free to remove it when you choose.

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