|trustissues.mp3 (yeowang) wrote in armadas,|
@ 2015-02-26 21:48:00
|Entry tags:||!log, ship: lenniver, universe: powers|
Lennon was not a particularly bad person, by her definition. She didn’t go to the trouble of wishing ill on most people. Sure, there were a few - she was only fucking human. For instance, she had thought a couple bad thoughts about the person in front of her at the grocery because they took so damn long. She had imagined flipping off the salesperson who had followed her closely last week when she went shopping, pointing out when she picked an item up in the wrong size.
But that didn’t mean she was a bad person. She just wasn’t particularly good either, which gave people the impression of a sour and angry heart.
Really, she was just into self-preservation. The world was a hard place when you didn’t have it on your side and Lennon’s resources were dwindling. Her landlord had started to come and lurk around her door, a sure sign he had noticed she had started paying rent later and later each month. Waitressing was not lucrative, and she wouldn’t start getting bartending shifts and those tips until next month when the current girl left to go get married and fucked or whatever. Lennon hadn’t paid attention to her much, only enough so she could talk shit to Rose, always admonishing her for talking too loud. Maybe Lennon was a little bad.
As it happened, she had to pay rent on Friday; she didn’t have the money. So she decided to take a bit of a chance. She’d waited until it was dark and then crawled out the window of her first-floor room, down the alley to the near-by market. It was closed, which was what she wanted. She didn’t want to mess around with the neighborhood ahjumma. She was as wide-shouldered as an American football linebacker. Even though Lennon had certain advantages, not enough of them were physical and she lacked the nerve to deal with a face-to-face encounter.
Instead, she made her way to the back where she found the back entrance. It was locked, so she decided to try something she’d seen in a movie once - using a hairpin as a lockpick.
Feet shuffled. It was getting chilly in the late night hours -- the temperature dropping sharply to signify autumn. Oliver could almost see his breath as he huffed hot air onto his hands, rubbed them together for warmth before stuffing them into his pockets. The walk home from the Victory Heroics training center was long at this time of night -- the buses were cut off and he lived several districts away. But he took his time. There was no one waiting for him anyway.
His body let off a faint glow -- a side-effect of his lifelong power. When he was a kid, he stuck out like a sore thumb, glowing like a bulb from head to toe. The first thing he learned was how to dial it down. He could never turn it off completely, but these days, he managed to escape immediate notice even on a dark street at night. Control was always the first step. From there, Oliver became more than a simple glowworm.
Heliokinesis is what they called it. Truthfully speaking, Oliver couldn’t even spell the word. But if it meant that he could be a hero, then he was happy. He trained hard. Spent long hours working himself to his limits for years. And now he was staring down the last two months of civilian life before he would finally --
Call it acquired observation skills. But Oliver learned to recognize suspicious-looking people at a glance. He had turned into a tiny alley -- a shortcut that he sometimes took -- to find a girl, struggling with a locked back entrance to a convenience store after hours. He puffed out his chest slightly, putting on his most impressive hero scowl. But he practically bounded up to her, his glow brightening with each step in his excitement. “Excuse me, miss -- ” he started when he caught a glimpse of her face, his mouth going slightly slack. She was pretty. He stared vacantly for a second before snapping back to attention. “ -- I think the store is closed,” he finished rather lamely.
Lennon could hear the footsteps. Fuck. Someone had seen her; now someone was going to come and call her out, or stop her, or whatever - thinking they were being helpful to society or doing a good job. When, really, it was quite the opposite. They were sending a poor girl to the streets. But did anybody ever ask to hear her side of the story? No, of course not. It would be her luck to be caught. She wasn’t going to take that much money, she justified to herself in her head. She hadn’t committed a crime yet. Was she guilty of anything? Was there a law against playing around with doorknobs? Not that she knew of and she probably had as much legal knowledge as the next civilian. So she was in the clear.
She kept working on the doorknob, only looking up to glance when she felt heat at her side or imagined light or something - just to look in the face of a long-limbed, gangly kid staring at her. Kid was an unfair word, really - he wasn’t really a ‘kid’ but there was something about him that didn’t suggest he was an adult either, even though he was probably only a year or two younger than her. There was a loss of conviction in his words that made her look up, again, and she straightened up, folding her arms across her chest.
“Yeah, you think?” she asked, immediately going for a casual tone, as if they were friends running into one another on the street. “I hadn’t noticed. I thought they just turned the lights off for fun.” And then she turned again, sticking the hairpin back into the keyhole.
“Hey! You shouldn’t do that!” he reached out to pull her hand away from the doorknob. “Breaking in is really bad,” he didn’t sound the least bit intimidating -- he’d work on that later. “The owners of this convenience store could be good, honest, hard-working people!” He stiffened his lip, strengthened his jaw to show his resolve, but it looked more like a pout. He gently tried to pull this -- mystery girl away from the door. “I can’t let you do this.”
He touched her and so Lennon turned and let him gently guide her away, eyebrows raised. He was trying, she’d give him that. But trying wasn’t going to be enough, not when she had already made up her mind, and she was going to get irritated if he kept trying to stop her. She didn’t need a do-gooder stranger intervening any more than he already had.
She pulled her hand out of his grasp. “I wasn’t looking for your permission,” she told him. Did it matter to her what kind of people the owners were? No, of course not. She didn’t know them. Their lives would briefly intersect this once and then they wouldn’t come back together again. The quicker she could do this, the quicker they could separate: two lines moving past one another, never to meet again. Ideally, she and this boy would be the same. “I don’t really care about what the owners are like. I’m never going to meet them or talk to them. Plenty of kids go here. They’ll be fine; they won’t miss anything.” Of course, she couldn’t be sure of that - but she didn’t want to stop and think too much about it either. She contemplated a side window. Would it be easier to just break in that way?
“How do you know that they’re not struggling to get by? Just because you’ll never meet them doesn’t make it okay!” With a firm grip still around her wrist, Oliver was pulling, leading the girl by the hand out of the alley toward the open sidewalk. She seemed like a normal civilian. He didn’t feel the need to resort to using his powers. “Why are you trying to break into a place like that anyway? You could get into trouble.” In all honesty, he should’ve reported her. Called the police. It was a civilian matter -- the police could handle it. But he didn’t. He didn’t want to get this girl arrested, not if he could convince her to stop himself before she did any real damage.
Openly irritated by now, Lennon yanked her hand away again. That cool she tried to maintain seemed to dissipate now that he’d made it clear he’d keep intervening, at least for tonight. She probably wasn’t going to be breaking into any convenience stores then. The fact she could have been in and out by now - in her mind - and that she’d been kept from doing so by some nosy do-gooder agitated her out of that pretense of being above annoyance, laughing at the expense of others and being unflappable. But almost immediately, this stranger had pulled her right out of that, practically led her by the hand.
“Are you fucking kidding? Come on. I’ve got my reasons, but they’re not your business. Why don’t you just head on home? You still have time to walk away. You really don’t want to mess around with me.”
“I’m not going home,” he pouted again. He let her pull her hand away, but didn’t let her out of his sight. He remembered something his trainer would say -- ‘a hero doesn’t walk away.’ If Oliver was going to be a hero, he couldn’t walk away when he saw bad things being done. He studied her features carefully. She was quite pretty -- but he couldn’t help but think that she’d just be prettier if she smiled. “What reason do you have for taking something that doesn’t belong to you?” he asked.
She let out an agitated huff of air through her nose. It came out hard, like a bull snorting before it entered the ring for a fight. This guy was obviously not going to let go. He seemed stubbornly fixated and unwilling to let their encounter end. She eyed him. He had the skinny leanness of someone weak, like a stick she could snap in half. She wondered if she could. He was practically a vertical line.
Lennon sighed, again, having seemingly come to a conclusion. “Because I don’t have it,” she answered simply. Her posture had relaxed. Now she was leaning against the wall, her leg kicked up, arms folded across her chest. “Why take anything? Because I want it, and I don’t have it.”
Oliver scratched his head. He kicked an invisible pebble. He stuck his hands in his pockets. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. He felt a little guilty. He cleared his throat gently. “How about we go to get yogurt and shrimp crackers at the corner store instead? I know a place that’s open?” He tried to smile reassuringly. “Come on, I have snack money.”
She paused, then pushed off the wall with the heel of her foot. “Snack money,” she repeated. Her mouth was moving up, as if she had heard a funny joke. Maybe she had. “Yeah, okay,” she conceded. “Let’s go for yogurt and shrimp crackers. And beer.” She tacked on the last part for herself; she couldn’t even tell if he was old enough to drink. But knowing her rent money was still up in the air, she felt like drinking and using someone’s money was always preferable.
Oliver’s eyes became two rainbows as he grinned. His chest puffed out, proud of himself. He didn’t really have money for beer, but that didn’t particularly matter at that moment. He had deterred someone from committing a crime! “Okay, and beer!” he laughed. He stuck his hand out for her to shake. “By the way, I’m Oliver! You can call me Oliver, or Sol.”
She looked at his hand. She didn’t take it. “Oliver ‘or Sol’?” she asked, arching an eyebrow. “What, you have a cover name?”
Oliver grinned again. He wasn’t really supposed to talk about his debut, especially not with strangers, so he attempted to be mysterious. “Yeah, sort of,” he answered vaguely. “What is your name?” His hand still lingered, outstretched between them.
She didn’t look at it, but she bit the corner of her mouth. The side of it rose in the beginnings of a grin. It was hard not to laugh at him. He seemed pretty harmless. Kind of goofy. He reminded her of someone else she knew, a catgirl from her old neighborhood that Lennon had been fond of. “Luna,” she answered. It was a joke, sort of, but she presented it seriously. “That’s what you can call me.”
“Okay,” he said. He waited a few more seconds for her to take his hand before dropping it stupidly to his side, empty. “Luna,” he repeated. “That’s a pretty name!” He smiled again happily, missing the joke completely. His mouth became small, sheepish, as a hand went to the back of his head, scratching at his scalp. “I think that it suits you.”
There was something she didn’t like about him. Maybe it was that soft undertone to his voice - was that actual sincerity? - and how it made her hesitate, just a second, before responding. She felt like a stray cat cornered to be pet by some well-meaning stranger. She tried not to snarl at him. But she was still standing there, engaged, when she could have easily walked away. She couldn’t explain it to herself.
“You don’t know me,” she pointed out, “so you can’t know if it suits me or not.” She was fishing in her pocket for something now; she produced a lighter and a carton of cigarettes, which she offered to Oliver. She wasn’t calling him Sol for shit.
“Oh…” he trailed off slightly at her clipped and guarded comment. “I only meant that it was a pretty name and you’re a pretty girl, so...” He was vaguely worried that he had said something wrong. He refused the cigarettes with a raised hand, shuffled his feet quietly. “We should still go for those snacks and beer. I know a corner store that’s open -- it’s back a few blocks this way.” He pointed his feet south, back toward the vicinity of the VH building.
Lennon arched a brow, watching this - well, kid - in front of her. She took a cigarette out for herself and placed it in her mouth. Grinning just a bit, she sucked in a breath and let it out. “Are you trying to hit on me,” she asked, though it was more of a flat statement. She didn’t seem bothered by it. If anything, she seemed amused. It was kind of funny, in a way. Still, there was nothing aggressive about what he said and she would have taken it just as a compliment, but it would have been less interesting. For her, at least.
His eyebrows crept up onto his forehead at her question. Then, Oliver laughed, unabashed -- eyes crinkled into little rainbows, mouth wide. Not at her. Not in a mean way. He laughed because -- well, he was Oliver. He simply exuded a kind of lightness most of the time. His hands waved back and forth vigorously in denial, “No, I promise! Friendly offer! Snacks and beer between hungry people.”
Was she insulted? Not really. Surprised? Maybe. She looked over at this kid, ‘Oliver’, and let her mouth thin into a line.
“Fine,” she said, “but you’re paying.”