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Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:43 am
Monday, November 10th, 2008

7:30 pm


It’s the end of a cold November day outside the building’s walls.

The sun’s slowly shifting through saturated shades in the sky as it transitions from day to night. Trees are slowly burning away their colors and leaving them in bright ashes on the grassy grounds. The debris is slowly piling up outside his window, but McKay finds he doesn’t mind. He’s never minded the changing of seasons or the gradual decay of the world around him. Makes way for new growth, he thinks as he looks out at the leaves accumulating in the bushes just outside his window. One wrinkled leaf falls from somewhere above, whether that be from a tree or just the roof, Lazarus doesn’t know. It lands soft on a mushroom that’s grown through the compost in the well-maintained garden beds underneath the window.

His eyes go soft at the sight. The first time the groundskeepers had torn up the mushrooms that tended to pop up near his window, he had torn them a new one with sharp words in damn near every language he knew. Now, the little shrooms were left alone out of fear of the professor who found them romantic. Roses would never be found on his desk; rather, tiny fungi in even tinier vases could be seen nestled in between books and picture frames on his desk frAom time to time. Like today.

A tiny white mushroom, mycena epiterygia, sits in a small handmade ceramic vase in between two picture frames on the thick wooden desk taking up a large chunk of office space. The rest of the decent sized room is either taken up by the window looking out or packed bookshelves. Books are stacked neatly into the shelves in a specific and very particular order, save for one shelf that’s just filled with those same tiny ceramic vases (though without the mushrooms). A plush armchair that’s been redone in a different fabric about seven different times has been shoved in the corner between two of the bookshelves.

There’s good memories there. Lazarus and Sam had smuggled it out of a mansion right before the stock market crash of the 1930’s during a particularly wild party. An almost obscene amount of alcohol had been involved before, during, and after the heist, though everyone else attending had been just as far gone and way too sauced to notice. The two had stuffed the chair into their car (a Duesenberg Model J that Lazarus still drove to this day) and driven back to their apartment at the time with Sam clinging to the side of the car, wind whipping through his hair, laughing and shouting obscenities every time Lazarus took a turn too hard.

The Tiffany lamp on the end table next to the chair had been a gift from their mutual friend Clara Driscoll, one of her earlier works and handmade just for him after she had learned of his relationship with Sam. The woman had crafted one of her daffodil shades but tucked tiny stained-glass mushrooms between the stems as her own little nod to his husband. A little more than a hundred years later, it now casts the room in a soft colorful glow the further the sun sinks in the sky.

---------------------------------------------------------------

It’s been a late night, Lazarus McKay knows. It’s been a series of late nights recently. Ever since the incident late October in the cafeteria, he’s been swamped with calls and emails asking for comments and interviews, some just asking his thoughts on the matter. He ignores them all with practiced ease. As a prominent mutant in a position of power within the school, he was a juicy target for journalists and reporters begging for a word, a comment, just a scrap of thought to quote in article after article. He just deletes their emails, ignores their calls, and in the case of one very determined young reporter, hadn’t answered the door.

His fork stabs at the last of the meal his husband had dropped off earlier as his eyes roam absently over the latest thesis draft of one of his graduate students. Butternut squash ravioli really was one of his favorites, he thinks as his pen slices thick red slashes across the paper’s surface. Especially with the sage butter sauce. Simply divine, he thinks about the leftovers in the Tupperware container. Revise, he writes in elegant capitals on top of the paper and sets it aside on top of the stack of other papers. Each of them is drenched in red and dripping with handwritten corrections and suggestions.

With that paper, he decides he’s done for the night. Long, elegant fingers shuffle the papers into a neat order before setting them aside on the side of his desk. He rises from his chair and eases into a long stretch. Sat too long, he thinks. Maybe he could persuade Sam to work out the kinks in his shoulders tonight. A long sigh escapes him at the thought. God, those hands, he hums in pleasant thought as he picks up the suit jacket hanging off the edge of desk chair.

He’s about to slide the jacket on when he hears a knock on his door. Strange. Most of his regular students don’t bother him this late. The suit jacket is set down and he makes his way across the room. The barest hint of the map of patterns covering his skin is visible on his neck and at the edges of his shirt cuffs as he opens his office door. Eyes blink once at the figure in the doorway from behind silver glasses.

It’s that tall freshman girl from that night, the cafeteria. She’s standing in the threshold of his office door with her hand raised like she was going to knock again, but it falls quickly once she catches his stare. Her eyes lock with his, and the gaze there is determined; she’s going to get her way one way or the other. McKay has no idea what this could be about or why he’s the target of her intense focus.


“Ms. Scott.” He nods his head in greeting. “What can I do for you this late?”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:46 pm
After the debacle in the dining hall, Noelle quickly and to her own shock realized that the illustrious and pristine man that had helped Kilgrowltih in taking control of the situation was Dr. McKay. the man was one of the most qualified and influential professors at the university. Possibly in the world. She heard that he was a notoriously hard professor, that his grading was harsh and he only accepted the best. She knew that he was a genius when it came to linguistics. That studied languages with ease and used an interesting model for his famed language class.

She also knew he was a mutant.

And that he understood Tobi.

Noelle didn't mind that Tobi had been speaking in that strange tongue. But she wanted to learn it, to understand it. Not to speak, but to understand. Her anxious thoughts churned around- what if, years down the road, he was hurt and trying to tell her something important and she couldn't understand? What if he needed something life saving, and she misunderstood and ended up giving him the wrong thing? It was driving her crazy. 

Also, Noelle couldn't help but be frustrated that she couldn't understand. She had spent most of her life gathering information, forcing herself to make sense of it. If she didn't, she researched and read and became an expert in anything and everything that would help. And while this skill had been helpful in getting her ahead with schoolwork, it made her incredibly irked when she tried everything and couldn't understand anything. 

So, without thinking, she marched over to Dr. McKay's office and knocked on his door. She had just gotten done with work, wearing a cardigan and a black, pleated skirt, her glasses and hair settled in a meticulous fashion. She locked eyes with him and is suddenly feeling the slightest bit unstable. An uncommon sense of familiarity washed over her that she couldn't place. Seeing him this close and with a clear mind, he had the uncanny appearance of... She couldn't place her finger on it. Her brain worked at a breakneck pace, trying to figure it out. Gathering information is his office. She separated the information into two categories.

Non-important facts she would use later: The mushrooms, the tiny vases, the picture frames, the bookshelves.

Important facts that would sharpen the image: The... tiffany? lamp, the old armchair, the neat stacks of books. Books from different eras, some ancient-looking, some modern.

He asks her a question, and she had half a mind to just mumble an apology and slink away. But she came here on a mission, damn it. She wasn't going to back down now.

"Hello, Dr. McKay. May I come in? I promise not to take up too much of your time."
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:14 pm
He considers it. It’s getting late and he has half a mind to just say no and head back home to where his husband and his cats were waiting. He can practically taste the coffee from their vintage coffee maker Sam had fixed a thousand different times, feel the blanket wrapped around him as he curled up with his latest book.

But, he’s always been a touch more curious than anything else, and right now this girl presents a perfect little puzzle and break in his day to day monotony. He moves to the side of his door after a long, considering moment and makes a small sweeping gesture towards the warmly lit office.


“Come on in.”


She follows his invitation easily. He tracks her as she looks around his room, the evidence of his age stacked in each shelf, hidden in each crevice. A lot of the books in this room are first editions that he had purchased or been gifted at the time of their publication. A great majority of those have been signed personally. A much smaller number have personal messages written in them, though he keeps those treasured volumes behind his desk.They’re all pristine and in impeccable shape.

He enters the room after her, motions towards a worn wooden chair sitting in front of his desk. He’s not even sure what year it was from, just knows that it’s pretty damn old. So many students had sat there, each with their own stories, their own troubles. He had seen hundreds of them. Some of them had left in tears, others celebratory. He had seen every type of student, every variation of a life story played out in front of his eyes. He sizes her up as he takes his own seat on the other side of the desk, wonders how her life is distinguished from the others that have come before her.

Old but bright blue eyes meet Noelle’s own in the colorful light cast by the lamp on the other side of the room. Surrounded by the mountains of paper around him with the backdrop of absolutely priceless editions of books behind him, he feels much like a judgmental god in his own environment.

“Now, what is it you needed?”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:30 pm
Noelle's heartbeat goes out of control when she sees the books. First editions upon first editions of novels, biographies, poems, everything. In multiple different languages. Her heart soars as she sees some of her favorites. But she keeps her face stoic and solid- she needed to appeal to this man and not get over emotional. Especially over his books. Even though she wanted to get a pair of cloth gloves and gently turn the pages, seeing what was inside...

He leads her to the chair, which was elegant but ancient. Much like the things in the office. Hm. Her brain churns the information, connecting the dots on her mental APB board. She felt the answer on her tongue as she stared into the bright blue eyes. They were intense, unforgettable. Where did she see them before?

He asks his question, and she finds herself sitting up straight and speaking clearly, keeping her eyes on him "First of all. I want to thank you for your assistance at the dining hall and the aftermath."

Noelle pauses, thinking how to bring up her next question. Hm. Finally, she decides the best way with the man in front of her was to be direct. "I want to be able to understand Tobias when he speaks in that natural world language. And I anticipate it to be a challenge. But, I want you to know that I am an incredibly hard working. I am focused and driven and have a knack for learning things quickly and thoroughly. I have also mastered most of the Western Languages, am currently learning Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanse. I have a vast understanding of ancient languages as well: both Classical and Vulgar Latin, Ancient Greek, Middle English, Aramaic, among others."

It doesn't come off as braggy or gloating; she was stating facts. She looked at Dr. McKay, right in the eyes. Waiting for his reply.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:21 pm
Lazarus watches as she gazes in awe at his collection. Her eyes land soft on some of his favorites, on some from his favorite authors and friends. Maybe she’s someone who appreciates literature in the same way that he does. It’s a connection to the past, to worlds and stories that he’s experienced, hasn’t experienced, or will never experience. He wonders absently how blown her mind would be if he were to show her some of the rarer copies.


He merely nods in response to her thanks, a soft and barely-there inclination of his head.

If that’s all she came to see him about, he’s going to be disappointed. Thanks are unneeded for that night when the press were aiming to tear the poor kids apart for what they had done. Reality was, they’d been pushed to the edge by those very same people. Those same people whose opinions changed with the wind, came in and out like the tide. He had been more than happy to shepherd the kids away from that bloodbath and keep them sheltered ever since.

She continues and oh, that’s much more interesting. He’d been surprised she had picked up of the cues with how far out of it she had been. The boy, Tobi, he thinks. Interesting file, more interesting language He had heard stories of his mother from family day; that woman seemed a study in and of herself. It had been a long while since he had heard the language spoken so easily by someone so young. Though what Noelle's calling it sounds a little clunky.

He raises one eyebrow and narrows his eyes in an appraising glare. So many of his graduate students have wilted under this look, turned tail with papers in their hand and metaphorical tails between their legs out his door.

“And why then, do you want to learn?” It’s not a yes, but it’s also not a no. “If you’re looking to just add to your frankly exhaustive list, then I’d have to refuse.” This too, isn’t a no, though it certainly sounds like one. Her list of languages truly is exhaustive, though not in a bad sense. In all honesty, he’s a bit impressed. Could use someone like that in his own research.

None of these thoughts show on his face. His eyes trace her movements with an unshakable patience. He’s looking for her reason, her real reason.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:42 pm
Noelle doesn't back down from the glare, in fact, she uses it to boost herself even more. If Dr. McKay found her interesting, found her case enthralling, she might have a chance. When he speaks, she listens and replies without skipping a beat.

"Of course not. It's not to add to my list. I want to learn because of Tobi. We're-" She breaks off, immediately regretting it. But she couldn't help having trouble defining her relationship than Tobi. He was more than just a boyfriend and the word "lover" made her ill. So, she settles on what she had said to Tobi himself "We're partners. And, lately, he's having trouble sorting between the two. And we both know ASL, but I just want to... understand him. So that, if there is trouble, I can help him without either of us needing to translate and re-translate."

The words towards the end are tinged with the bite of emotion. Noelle closes her mouth, her eyes glued to the man across from her. And while her back stays straight and her eyes stay steady, her long fingers begin to rub the arm of her cardigan.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:15 am
“Partners, hmm?”

Mckay’s quietly amused. The girl seems to have needed a moment to think things through, A talk with the boy in question to sort that out was probably a bit overdue. He hums in thought, not a bad sign. His mind is thinking the possibility over, one pro pitted against another con. There’s a reason why he’s never offered this language in one of his classes. But.

It’s a decent reason, and she looks like she means it. The words towards the end there end up a bit shaky and a little wobbly, but he just chalks that up to emotion rather than nerves. These two, he thinks with a shake of his head. If anyone needs help, it’s these two. He knows they’re more likely than anyone else to be thrown into dangerous situations, as the incident in the cafeteria had proven.

He sighs and leans back in his chair. He’s closer now to his prized first editions. Arms cross in front of his chest and the shirt sleeves roll up just a bit to expose that thick patterning. He has a feeling that she’ll just bother him until he caves. He can feel himself slowly unwinding though, open to the possibility and curious about this girl.

“It’s a powerful language.” He finally says after a long pause. “Difficult to learn.” He cautions after another.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:28 am
"I understand that. It's why I came to you."

Her eyes bore into him for a moment more, before the... first editions? Honest to God, first editions of classic literature? She felt her eyes widen, slowly and subtly. She could read some of the titles: The Great Gatsby, Emma, Ulysses, and so many others. Noelle couldn't help but stare for a moment, wondering where this man had found these. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in books just lay behind the man. She wanted to so bad to look through them, study them, compare them to the versions she had read.

Focus.

Noelle's eyes flick back to Dr. McKay "Tobi and I keep finding ourselves in trouble. And I am not going to be thrust into a situation where I have to make a call and I can not understand what he is trying to say."

Then, her eyes flick to the wedding band on the man's finger. They linger, then she stares back at him again. Silently. Patiently.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:26 am
McKay regards her for a moment more in quiet appraisal. The blue of his eyes burns brighter in the fading dark of the silent office. There’s a wealth of years that churns electric behind those eyes; they work through possibilities and scenarios, the advantages and disadvantages of giving this young woman the keys to an almost unfathomable language. It had taken him years of study and a couple fortuitous accidents to learn, and no previous experience prepares the person for the strange intricacies of that equally strange language.

He could teach it, of course. Whether she could learn, well…

Her eyes flick around the room as she considers the office. She looks like she’s trying to figure something out. Eyes roam over his knickknacks before settling hard on the collection behind him. Brown eyes go wide and Lazarus feels a small curl of satisfaction curl in his chest. So she knows what they are then. So many of his grad students couldn’t appreciate to value of a good first edition. He loved them, but they were history majors, not lit majors. They liked the age of the book and the history of it, not the stories inside.

“I should say so.” He agrees. His arms are still crossed over his chest. “They’re still cleaning up the last mess.”

‘I’m still cleaning it up,’ goes unsaid. He’s just a little bitter about what the administration left him with.


Her eyes land on his wedding band though, and those feelings smooth over into thoughts of his husband. Sam was probably at home right now, curled up in front of the tv with that stupid cat of his. He’d be paging through the channels before settling on the news or something similar, just looking for noise while he read through some online articles. Once Lazarus walked through the door though, he’d change it quick to the History channel and some marathon of Ancient Aliens, pointing out to him all the things aliens had done. Things that he knew they had both been there for, that they had seen the people doing it. Lazarus hated it.

Hated that terrible man, he thinks with absolutely no bite to it. Hated the way Sam would fold him into his space after a long day, hated the way he’d tell him about nothing and anything until his voice put the other to sleep, hated the way Sam would smile just for him, save his favorite leftovers for him, leave him tiny gifts that he thought were neat (His newest fascination was a ceramics shop in town that sold tiny, handmade vases). Hated the way the other would grab him when a song from their mutual pasts would come on their old radio and Sam would pull him into something soft and sweet and slow. There’d be a look in his eyes just for him, an outward manifestation of something that still burned between the two of them after hundreds, thousands of years.

He couldn’t live without that man. His partner.

If this girl in front of him feels even a fraction of the same way he does for his own partner, well, hell. His fingers start to just barely fiddle with the platinum band on his ring finger before he leans forward to rest his elbows on the solid wooden desk. His eyes lock with hers, dangerously serious.

“I’ll teach you.” He says. “But,” he holds up a finger. “If I think you aren’t taking this seriously, I’m cutting you loose.” The mountains of paper around him, the discarded red pens, and his reputation on campus lend serious weight to the threat. He’s ruthless in academia, and she’s in his class now. One slender fingered hand comes out to shake hers and make the agreement official.

“Agreed?”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:23 pm
Noelle kept her gaze steady and direct, the bright blue eyes burning into her essence. but she had nothing to hide, so she let it. Still... those eyes. They were so familiar. How? She brushed it aside as he spoke once more, about how they were still in the aftermath of that evening. She still received phone calls about interviews, about giving a statement to the press. Which were all met with a click and a glare. She didn't want this hollow and shallow fame. In fact, Noelle was ashamed of the fact that Trevor was arrested and she had helped destroy a building. But it made her sick how people looked at her and Tobi; half hero, half freak. And while she knew that the man in front of her took care of most of the ill will, she still felt it seep through everyday life.

The man across from her seemed lost in thought for a moment, so Noelle took one of her own, looking around again. The furniture was ancient. That office was perfectly preserved with things from eons past. She wondered....

His voice brought her back to the present. Noelle's heart leaped at the words, her eyes glittering ever so slightly "Dr. McKay, with all due respect, I take most things seriously. This is no exception. Thank you. I agree." 

She reached her hand out and shook his hand. Her brain fizzled as the eyes met.

Then, everything clicked. The impossibly old furniture, the beautiful, ornate lamp, the books. She understood who he was. Why she recognized him. The ancient knowledge behind the eyes. A small glimmer of recognition her eyes, her lips falling to a small, smile. But, Noelle didn't say anything. Much like Agnes and the Spirit of Shenandoah and Winter and her sexuality, Noelle wasn't going to just outright say it. It wasn't her business that Dr. McKay was one of the oldest beings on this earth.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:27 pm
“We shall see.”

He shakes her hand once before standing behind his desk in front of the bookshelves. He believes her, strangely enough. Believes that she’s going to be taking this seriously. Whether that reason is her own drive and professionalism or stems from love, he’s not sure. But the important thing is that its there.

He turns as he rises. She’s been so interested in the books behind him this entire time, he might as well give her a small taste. His finger trail along the spines of the old novels, each in the same condition as when he acquired them. If they were to go up on auction, they’d make him a very, very rich man. However, what’s inside is worth so much more to him than money. Signatures, notes from friends, and small remnants of former lives are inked on the pages there. He’s feeling oddly sentimental tonight as he pulls out the first edition copy of the Great Gatsby, one of about a handful in the world with the original dust jacket still intact.

FItzgerald had given it to him one night in the afterglow of a drunken 20's party. They had all still been riding high on post WWI feelings and the decadence of the era, and Fitzgerald had wanted him and Sam to have a copy before they hit the shelves. He'd signed it with some well wishes for Lazarus, left a tiny dot of champagne in the corner of the front page. Fourteen years later, Sam and Lazarus had left it behind in the bookshelves of their New York apartment when they joined the war effort. It was as close to a holy relic that the two of them had.

He turns back around with the book in one hand. His other clears a space on the desk. The Tupperware container full of what was his dinner is pushed to the side, as are the papers and pens he had been grading earlier.

“My one and only kindness.” He says as he sets the book down on the desk. “Enjoy it.”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:03 pm
Noelle was just about to stand, preparing to leave, until she was the illustrious professor turned his back to his seminal collection. She sat back, waiting patiently. Noelle didn't take the comment her made personally- she was used to people underestimating her abilities with research and absorption. 

When Dr. McKay turned, her jaw dropped. She couldn't help it, as her gaze rested on the book in his hand. The dust jacket had a royal blue cover and spine, with an off-white back. When he clears a space and places it down, Noelle looked at it as if it were the Holy Grail. Her fingers are trembling ever so slightly, as she brings them to the cover. She doesn't even touch it, her hands hovering. Noelle looks up at the man, her gaze wide-eyed and amazed. 

While Noelle obviously was able to draw from her own personal well of power, history was a much easier way to gain it. Something about the energy that passed as each year marched on gave the print a power that was like no other. Even normal people could take this power, use these words, be inspired by them to create or destroy. But Noelle could feel the energy hum off of the page. The people who held and read it gave it more essence, more history.

Noelle had multiple copies of the Great Gatsby. She actually had collected many copies of each book that she had. Different editions, variant covers and dust jackets, publishers. The combinations were endless. But this. The original, first edition of the book that defined and changed American Literature forever.

Her hands tremble, and she almost opens the book, but she becomes acutely aware of how much she is sweating. Her hands retreat "Sir. I can't possibly... This book... Sir, I just. I can't."

But she can't help but stare at the book, biting her lower lip. She never had seen a real first edition. She couldn't afford them. She didn't have access. And with it so close, she could feel the power rippling over it. She couldn't help but be flustered. How did this man know her kryptonite?
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:18 pm

There’s a certain satisfaction is the older man’s eyes as he watches Noelle lose her mind over the book he’s set in front of her. He’ll seldom admit it, but he’s proud of his collection. It’s been so long since he’s found a kindred spirit to share them with. Maybe that’s why he’s agreed to teach her. He’s sensed something in her that resonates with his own core, a deep similarity that grinds to the thick of who they both were.

“It’s hardly going to bite.” He chides lightly as his long fingers slide underneath the cover and open the book to its front page. There, written in Fitzgerald’s own handwriting, is a quick message to Lazarus, his signature, and the tiny drop of champagne still staining the page. It’s a remnant of the night and a remnant of the man who had written the words. Fitzgerald had spent that night pointing out and laughing over the typo on the back cover where his name had been accidentally lower-cased and be fixed by hand.

The book is a relic of the night and a snapshot of the era. It holds in its pages a slice of Lazarus’s life, a time of parties and decadence and late nights spent with good friends and even better alcohol. That book at in his shelves as he and Sam lived their lives, when Sam had decided to join the war effort, and when Lazarus had decided to enlist in the air force and follow him overseas. It had been there for their arguments, their make ups, and their move down the coast towards Highmauve. Displayed on the desk for the girl to touch, this rare book is even rarer for it’s connection to them and their personal history.

His head nods in reassurance to Noelle. He’s quietly amused by her reaction. Something to tell Sam about when he gets home, that’s for sure.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:51 pm
She felt faint.

The handwritten scrawl. The signature. The personalized message. The drop. 

Noelle wished she could will handwritten words to life. The power and majesty behind this writing, this handwritten note- it was important and meaningful for the man across from her. Her own spindly fingers carefully began to trace the swoops and dips, her mouth moving to the words. She adjusts her glasses, reading the message over and over and over until she has it memorized. Dr. McKay had given her this small window into the past, his past. And now that he had opened this, she was unafraid to make her next comment. She had to know.

"Did... Did he give this to you? Personally?" Slowly, Noelle began to page through the novel, her eyes quickly flicking back and forth, speed reading the best way she knew how. A couple of moments, she paused to enjoy the differences this edition had to offer. Her fingers brushed the publisher's name; Charles Scribner's Sons. The pages thrummed with the familiar energy, but this was stronger, so much stronger than she had ever felt. She kept reading, turning page after page, so delicately. So fondly. She turned to page 60 and smiled to herself when she was that the word "echolalia" was now, originally, "chattered". Noelle kept turning and turning, until she realized, in a moment of self-awareness, that Dr. McKay was sitting in front of her. And he probably wanted to get home.

"Sir. I am so incredibly honored that you shared this with me. But I have one more question if that is alright?" Noelle was almost breathless with the amount of adrenaline that pumped through her veins currently. She met the older man's eyes, electricity coursing through her own.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:46 am
Lazarus looks over at her and nods. “Nineteen twenty-five, at a party. He had a copy saved for us.”

Sharp girl, if she noticed his age. It wasn’t a common thing people knew; most just knew he was a mutant and just left it at that. A few of his colleges had started to notice that even as years went by, he never seemed to age. Only Kilgrowlith and a few others knew the real truth. Others because they had put the pieces together like Noelle had, Kilgrowlith because he had very politely asked. That man was just too pleasant, McKay thinks quietly.

His eyes track her movements as she flips through the book, stopping on pages he knows have inconsistencies. Another point for her in his book, she knew the material and wasn’t just charmed by the age and value. He packs his things slowly to give her an opportunity to browse the book. The papers on his desk he stacks once more in a neat order and sets them off to the side. The fork had had been using is packed into the diagonal of the Tupperware container, the lid is slipped on, and the whole thing slides easily into the leather messenger bag he uses to tote materials from home and school. His tailored suit jacket slides easily over his shoulders.

He’s looking for his keys when he hears her speak again. He nods at the thanks, but the potential question has him curious.

“Depends on the question.” He says as he rifles through his desk drawers. Finally, there in the back of the second drawer are his keys. The little Pusheen keychain Sam had got him had gotten stuck behind one of the baskets he used to hold his pens. He stands and tucks the keys into his pocket in one smooth motion.

His eyes catch the younger woman’s, encouraging her to continue.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:02 am
"Did he... You know, Fitzgerald... When the book didn't sell well until his death. Did he really think that this book would be forgotten? I've read that he was disappointed in the sales and thought that it deserved so much more recognition. And now, it's a staple... no, a cornerstone in American Literature."

It was a question about history, yes, but it was something Noelle found herself thinking about at night. Would everything she wrote fall into obscurity? She felt like it most of the days. Nothing she wrote would ever even compare to the great works of the past. But, if Scott Fitzgerald had doubt in his opus, what did that mean for her? These were fears that echoed in her head before she fell asleep. The notes on her report cards that said that Noelle was great at retaining information and that she should continue her studies in math, science, even history. How she was great at those things, but her written word was clunky and unoriginal. She remembered her high school English teachers, how they had always overlooked her. How everyone had. How small it made her feel.

She blinks, and her eyes track the small, fat cat keychain on the keys. Something in her chest warmed- Pusheen the cat was something she was aware of. She had actually gotten her sister a little stuffed animal last year from Christmas of the little beast. Joy slept with it most nights. It made her incredibly homesick and appreciative.

After a moment, Noelle stands as well, about to follow the professor out. She knew she needed to ask when they would first meet for a lesson, but she had to listen to his answer. It was incredibly important to her.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:01 am

McKay takes a moment to think over the question. Bright blue eyes bore into her own as he mulls over the question and the reasoning behind it. Noelle was an English major, that much he knew. He liked to keep tabs on all the students in the program and track their progress. There was a feeling in him that this went a little deeper than his long dead friend. His hand reaches out to take the book from her.
He holds it in his hands in the soft light of the Tiffany lamp in the corner. It drenches the room in dim, colorful light and casts gentle shadows across his face.

“Fitzgerald,” he begins. “He was better than he knew. So much better than he knew.” A slow motion tucks the book back into the space where it belongs. He lingers there for a moment, his finger trailing along the edge of the spine.

“I’m afforded a unique position in this world, Ms. Scott. I’ve been a part of so many lives, seen the same struggles in each of them. It’s not a unique feeling, inadequacy. Fitzgerald felt it, so many other’s felt it, feel it, will feel it. It’s unfortunate such lives are so short.” His finger traces to the bottom of the spine before he turns back around to face the young woman in front of him.

“They never get to see the true ramifications of their works, never see the branching cause and effect of their actions. I have the exclusive ‘gift’ of seeing all of that unfold in real time and let me tell you, no author worth anything ever dies without making a difference in someone’s life. Fitzgerald changed literature with less than fifty years to his name.”

He picks up his messenger bag then and heads to the door. He can hear Noelle follow him out. Her steps echo soft in the wooden office, then on the floor outside as Mckay locks the door behind him.

“We do things not because we like to, not for any fame or fortune, but because we must. You couldn’t stop writing same as I can’t stop teaching. Fitzgerald wanted to be remembered, but more than that, more than anything else, he needed to write.” McKay steps away from the door. The leather messenger bag hits his side in an easy rhythm.

“I always thought he was something great.” He murmurs low in the silent space of the hallway.


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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:33 am
Noelle very carefully hands over the book, her long fingers keeping a light grasp and brush over Mckay's. She hangs on every word, processing. One day, she would ask him about his past life, his memories, his old friends. How many other authors did he know? If the books behind his desk were like the one she just pawed through, it must have been many.

She watched as he picked up a messenger bag, not unlike her own and followed him out the door. She keeps listening, tilting her head thoughtfully. He was right. She felt the need to write, not the need to prove those teachers wrong. Noelle needed to write so she could express herself, so she could pass down ideas and thoughts forever. And if Dr. McKay felt the same way about teaching, as she did about writing, she was in for a treat.

Still, Dr. McKay's life sounded something between bliss and despair. All of these people that he had grown close to... He stayed. They didn't. And that strangely stuck Noelle. Before she started school, she could have seen herself live that solitary life. Sure, her family would wither and die, but Noelle didn't have anyone else she really cared about. But now... with Tobi. She couldn't imagine life without him. And Jake. And even Winter.

She met the man's eyes, her own filled with curiosity and spark "Thank you. I appreciate it."

Noelle raised her hand again for a shake. She was ready to get started with him. And while she knew this might be the most challenge subject for her to tackle, she was ready to rise to meet it. "Thank you again, Dr. McKay. You will not regret your choice."
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:43 pm
The front doors of the history building loom large in front of the two of them as they stop. They’re thick, heavy wooden doors weighted with the knowledge they keep contained. Through the large windows bracketing the door, the sky outside is dark as stars shine bright above. A few cars are still sitting in the parking lot this late, one of them being Mckay’s very sensible hybrid. He doesn’t trust college students around his Duesenberg.

Bright blue eyes pin Noelle in their gaze. He shifts his shoulders to move the messenger bag further up his shoulder and extends his hand to meet hers. His grip is firm and sure, with the confidence of hundreds of years of life behind it.

“I certainly hope not.” He says.

He breaks the handshake and slips the hand into his pants pocket. When it comes back out, he’s holding a business card in his hand. It’s one printed by the university with his name and title on the front and all his information on the back. He holds it out to Noelle.

“Email me your schedule tonight. I’ll get back to you tomorrow with a meeting time for your first lesson.”

When she takes the card in her own hands, he turns to leave out the doors. They part easily as he pushes them open, and he steps into the dark night. He pulls his phone out as he walks to send a quick text to Sam apologizing for the delay.

‘But,’ he continues to write after the first text sends. ‘I have a story for you.’

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Across town, a phone buzzes soft on an aged, wooden end table. The screen flares bright in the warm, quiet space of the living room around it. They had never really switched over to modern fluorescent bulbs, Lazarus had always found the bright white of the newer bulbs too cold and too blinding. He was inclined to agree.

One thing they hadn’t agreed on was the need for the tv in front of him. He had bought it some years ago; at the time it had been one of the best options on the market with a beautiful, large screen and a gorgeous picture. He had been fascinated by television ever since it had first come about, had spent so much time in front of stores just looking in at the strange boxes and moving pictures. Lazarus had not, and had claimed that the large television had been too ‘excessive’.

‘Excessive like those parties in the twenties?’ he had asked. ‘Excessive like every book ever?’ he had continued with a pointed look at the shelves that dominated their home, each filled fit to bursting with books of every shape and size. Some were piled in stack next to the shelves, others on top of tables and end tables. He disnt even go into Lazarus's office anymore. The only space not taken up with books was the massive writing desk pushed against one wall where he kept his computer. ‘Excessive like tailored suits or fine wines or…’

He had gotten his tv.

Right now, he’s curled up on the couch they had picked up at the height of the Baroque movement. The thing had been a pain in the ass to move each time they did, but worth it for how comfortable it was. Getting it up stairs in their New York apartment though? He winces at the thought. He lounged now against the arm of it on a colorfully patterned pillow he had picked up on his last trip into town. A blanket covered his lap and Bean, his favorite cat, sat curled in the space between his two legs. The tv in front of him was rolling through some Modern Marvels re-runs; unfortunately, there had been no Ancient Aliens on tonight.

He hears the phone buzz and reaches out one large, dark hand behind him to grab at it. Probably Lazarus. He’d been working so late recently, the man needed to slow down. One finger opens the text, and sharp green eyes read over the words. He smiles.

‘Finally’ he texts back. ‘Getting slow in your old age.’

At the second text though, he pauses. “A story, huh?” he murmurs low in the quiet space. It took quite a bit to get his husband excited after so many years. The last time he had come home with a story, a building on his campus had been destroyed. He certainly hoped it wasn’t another something like that.

‘I’ll put some coffee on.’ He types back. The cat is scooted off as he rises to pad over to the kitchen in bare feet and the sweatpants Laz had gotten him last Christmas. He gets to the vintage coffee maker, prays that it works as he stuffs some grounds inside, and sets out two mugs as the machine pops and fizzles.

From there, Samuel Mckay waits.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:20 pm
Noelle watches as the prolific man walks away, immensely satisfied. She could not have believed how smoothly that went. She rather liked Dr. McKay- she felt strangely drawn to him and his story. Well, stories. Even the simple statement of a party in the roaring 20s had her so intrigued. Noelle could have sat and listened to him for hours. Or read those books. Or just sit in that office. She breathed a sigh of relief, looking at the card.

As soon as she got back to her dorm, she was going to email him. She wanted to start right away and gather as much information that she could. She was ready put her nose to the grindstone and work so hard to learn. Her fingers itched with excitement.

Well.

Excitement and something else. She looked down and paled. Her fourth and fifth finger were black and wet. Ink. She tried to wipe it off on her skirt, but it just welled up again and again.  Biting her lip, she stared at her fingers, intently, her brow furrowing. Her face turns red, but eventually, the ink recedes back into her skin, leaving her finger as clean as it was when she arrived. Still, drips of black matter stained the pavement, and she stares at it, eyes wide, holding her fingers to her chest. What is this? Noelle never had issues with Ink before. Sure, it pooled and combined at her feet when she read, but she always had control over it. And she only used her abilities when she wanted to. She had control.

Control.

She chewed her lip some more, before turning heel, and heading back to her dorm room. She didn't want to think about it.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:21 pm
Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

5:00 PM

Noelle stands outside the office, bouncing on the balls of her feet ever so slightly. She was incredibly excited and incredibly nervous. As soon as she got back to her dorm on Monday, she typed out a grammatically correct and prompt email with her schedules, her flexibility, and her gratitude for the opportunity. And when she received the response, Noelle nearly fell out of her desk chair. This was completely surreal- Dr. Lazarus McKay was going to give her private language lessons.

She knew of his standards. She had heard of his famous language class that he taught occasionally. And the results. It made her optimistic and hopeful that, maybe, just maybe, she would be able to understand Tobi. She hadn't told him about the lessons- Noelle figured it would be a big surprise if he accidentally spoke aloud with that ancient tongue (as he had done a couple times since their return), and she could understand what he was saying. It would just make thing easier. And she wanted to do anything to help.

Meanwhile, they hadn't really addressed her own problem. Her fingers, and now her toes, have been leaking ink on and off since they returned. She found that, if she focused hard enough, she could get it to recede back into her skin. But she had no idea where it came from, what it did, and why it was appearing now. Well, that last one wasn't entirely true. It had started staining after she summoned that jungle- when she put her very essence to it. But it wasn't getting better. It actually just kept coming back. Which is why she began to wear a pair of worn, winter gloves whenever she went out. Luckily, with the rising cold, it wasn't out of place. They even went well with her mother’s old charcoal peacoat, which she wore now with a knitted black cap. She also made sure to wear a nice black skirt, clean and rip-free tights, and her patent-leather flats. And, of course, her lepidolite necklace hung against her chest for good luck.  

Her hand gently touches the door and taps on it softly. And she waits. Patiently, fingers squeezing the leather strap of her messenger bag. She had plenty to think about. anyways. Her mother had been asking about Thanksgiving break and her plans. And Tobi's birthday was the next day- Jake had been pestering her about gift and food ideas, offering his apartment as a hang-out spot. Noelle also had to get Tobi's present in order. She was beginning to realize that she took after her mother, in that she didn't know when to stop in terms of gift giving. So far, she had knitted two more sweaters, a scarf, and a hat since the care package, as well as searching every thrift store with Jake for whatever they could find. Noelle didn't have a lot of money, even with her two jobs, but she wanted to treat him. 

Her mind forced itself back to the focus on the grain of the wooden door.  Any moment now.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:38 am
Not much has changed in the first-floor office since her last visit two days ago. With the afternoon sun streaming into the room instead of the fading saturated colors of twilight, however, the office feels a little more open and a little bit more welcoming. It bathes the room in soft, bright light and seems to dispel a little of the sneaking sense of power and mystery that usually surrounds this man and his space.

Dr. Lazarus Mckay waits for his next appointment at his desk. He thumbs through a recent proposal from a graduate student. He’s relaxed and leaned back in the desk chair he had stolen/traded from a professor down the hall he didn’t particularly care for. It’s a much nicer chair than that man deserves and is put to much better use in his own office. Legs clad in well-tailored pants are stretched out in front of him and crossed at the knee. His suit jacket fits flawlessly over a light blue collared shirt and the tie. Just the slightest hint of inked pattern in visible whenever he moves his head or hands.

Like now, as his fingers twitch towards the coffee that Sam had brought earlier in the day. He had written Lazarus’s name on the side in his elegant script, followed by a few scribbled hearts. It’s ridiculous, Lazarus thinks as he takes a slow sip. The coffee’s nearly gone now, but it doesn’t have to last much longer. She should be here…

Ah. Now.

He rises from his desk. ‘Punctual,’ he thinks to himself as he crosses the room. If he were an honest man, he’d admit that he wasn’t keen on teaching his students the more… arcane languages, for lack of a better term. Words held a power to them and certain languages communicated that power more than others. This was one of those such languages; near impossible to learn, impossible to speak except for those who just can. There’s a strange system in place there that he’s never been privy to. He’s tried asking, tried getting an explanation from his teachers and the voices inherent in the language, but they had never given an answer back. Hundreds of years later, and he still was no closer to speaking it. Everythign he knows about the language is shoved into one thick, leather-bound journal he keeps in a locked drawer in his desk.

The door opens to his new student standing in the doorway. He offers a nod to her and gestures for her to enter. She’s dressed quite a bit darker than their first encounter, but who’s he to judge someone’s choice of clothing?

“Miss Scott. Come on in.”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:27 pm
Her hand had been raised to knock once more, but as she heard the click of the door opening, she quickly lowered her gloved hand, her face rushing beet red. Dr. McKay greets her, and she wills the color in her cheeks to fade. No use getting flustered or showing weakness. She needed to prove herself to this man. Which was not an easy task.

"Thank you."

Noelle slowly enters, taking off her hat and placing it neatly in her coat pocket. She takes notice to the light hitting the room, how it warmed it up to something much more manageable and understandable. Darkness and shadow had been something all too familiar for her lately- the light was a welcome change. Her eyes linger again on the books, the lovely first editions that she spied a couple days ago. Her fingers itched to touch the ancient spines, feather the pages. A small smile plays on her lips, which grows a smidge when she spies the coffee cup with her new mentor's name etched in elegant scrawl and hearts. Cute.

She began to wonder about Dr. McKay's personal life. It was something that always baffled her- thinking and speculating the lives of teachers outside of school. And McKay's life had to have been expansive- but he had a person. Which made her wonder: Who were they? What would the partner of Dr. McKay be like?

Noelle lets the thoughts swim in her mind as she sits down, straight as a line, in the chair across from his desk. She takes out her bag, sliding out a small, moleskin notebook and a ballpoint pen. She opens to a fresh page, the pen resting on the page gently.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:26 pm
He follows in after her, closing the door behind them. He watches her have sweep across the room once more before she settles in the same chair that she had occupied two days earlier. A notebook and pen is quickly drawn from her bag, and though he metal gives her points for prepardness, he wanted a dismissive hand as he sits on the other side of the desk.

"No need for that, at least not right now." He says before pulling out his keys. Metal jingles as he flips through them. He eventually settles in a small nondescript key, nothing too special looking. One one would really guess what it locked away.

He leans down and with a soft click, opens the drawer. A moment later, he sets a large, leather bound tome of a journal on the desk. The cover is plain, and there are loose papers sticking out between some of the pages.

"This is all I know about that language." He says as he nudges it towards her. "Hundreds of years of study, and that's it in front of you." He makes a motion with his hand, encouraging her to open it. " This will be your textbook, though it does not leave this office. You will come here to study, understood?"

He takes a sip of the coffee as she inspects the book. There's a moment where he just lets her thumb through it, all the pages of his own handwriting, his own notes in margins, later pages where Sam had added passages, notes, and sketches.

"Now," he starts after a bit. Fingers curl around his coffee as he leans forward, bright eyes catching hers. "I need you to tell me what you know."
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:18 am
Noelle quickly slid her notebook and pen back into her bag when instructed, silently slapping herself for being presumptuous. She honestly had no idea what these "lessons" were going to entail, but she thought a pen and paper would be a basic need. Apparently, she thought wrong. She sat up, watching as he flips through his keys and reaches down in his drawer. Whatever was in there was important, and she was going to get to see it. Something that was packed away while this man's precious first editions laid out for everyone to see. Noelle immediately perked up as he pulls out an ancient, leather journal.

She could feel ancient wisdom ripple off, and her eyes go wide, her face flushed. How old was it? And was it still in progress? Her eyes don't move as Dr. McKay continues to speak, and it suddenly hits her. He had been working on this for centuries. Wars had been won, diseases cured, nations had risen and fallen, and Dr. Lazaurs McKay had worked on this compendium of knowledge of an obscure language. And two things suddenly came to her realization.

One, this book was the only recorded knowledge of this language. And it spanned centuries. He had spent his time collecting all of this information.

That being said, as thick as the journal was, this was all of the knowledge that Dr. McKay had collected and possibly the only study of this language. And that was that. There wasn't any other information. She had scorged the internet and every database that she could. Nothing. This was it.

He asks her a question, which snaps Noelle back to the present "Yes, sir. Understood."

With a gloved hand, she carefully opened the cover and began to look through the pages upon pages of handwritten notes and sketches and words and information. Some made sense, somewhere incoherent at the time. Her hands trembled as she carefully, with precision, turned each page. She was slow, savoring each and every morsel of information. Noelle's gloves actually helped in this situation- she feared if she had been bare handed, that the oils and sweat from her skin would mark and ruin these ancient passages.

He asks her another question and she sits back up, in thought. She knew plenty, but not much about the subject at hand. So she took a moment to go through her memories, to collect her own data. Then, she began, slowly "I will admit, I don't know much. I know that Tobi can speak it, as can his mother. His father seems to understand it. I know that, sometimes, he has a hard time knowing when he was made the switch from English to it. I know that it's quite naturalistic. I also know that Tobi didn't speak it until what happened at the dining hall. And that it has a lot of power behind it."

A small smile plays on her lips, color rising to her cheeks, but she doesn't break eye contact "I know that I can't personally understand it most of the time, but there are a few things that I can get the... uh.. the emotion behind."

Noelle pauses for a moment, her face still red. She takes a moment to get herself together and then, goes through her thoughts again. "I have inferred that it is primarily oral language, not written. My mother pointed out that it can have patterns to other types of speech. It also might have some emotion-based behind it too? Tobi has to focus to speak English sometimes when he is in high-stress situations, but when he is relaxed, it comes back easier. I also have inferred that some of the sounds are unique to each person. Tobi and his mother are very similar but they have different... tendencies? Preferences? I'm not sure how to describe it. I guess they say similar things in different ways? Like, Tobi's sounds have a much more grounded vibe- earthier, sturdier? His mother, I think she sounds more breezy."

Noelle blushes again "But I'm not sure... I could just be looking at it too hard." 

She sits back in silence , trying to get her last thought together, staring at the leather-bound journal. She chews her lip only for a moment before her eyes meet the steady gaze "I've also seen that Tobi.. he almost goes into another place now. It isn't like when he would drop into the world him before. I mean, he still does that. But other times it's almost like.... like he is listening to something. But I'm not sure... I'll be honest, I haven't asked him about it."

Her gloved hands drop to her lap, as she stares back, silently. Part of her felt like this knowledge, most of which was based on conclusions she drew herself, was completely inadequate. Or downright incorrect. But he had asked a question, and like any good student, she did her best.
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