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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:46 am

He listens to her, nodding when he feels it appropriate. There’s a lot there, but he guesses that’s to do with her personal experiences with the speakers. This is a language of twists, turns, and strange rules that it doesn’t even seem to follow sometimes. Yet still, there’s so much there that she’s given him, so much to unpack. She knows more than she probably thinks she knows.

“It’s a very powerful language.” He starts. “True speakers of it are so rare, as one of the strange… quirks of the language is that one cannot learn to speak it. It’s a given language, gifted to the speaker by the many who hold it. You can, however, learn to understand it.” Long fingers drum against the coffee cup as he considers his words.

“It’s immense, that’s the best I can describe it. Immense and entirely instinctual. It’s why it differs from person to person, why Tobias and his mother may sound different when communicating the same idea. The voice of the person matters with this language. Words are communicated through what they feel they have the closet connection with; Tobias is sturdy, grew up in the mountains. He might have resonated more with the steady nature of the mountains more than his mother, and thus why it comes out heavier, earthier.”

He leans back in his chair, sips at the coffee he has in his hand and watches her with his keen blue eyes. He watches the fading blush on her cheeks with some amusement. Boy had obviously sung her some sweet nothings in the rumbling language, he had heard him basically declare his love for the girl that day in the cafeteria. She didn’t quite know yet but love in that language took on a whole extra layer. A gift of earth and sky, promises like that became etched in the very fiber of the world.


He could still catch echoes of his words that day whenever he walked by the still ruined building.


But, that could come later. He’d let her find that on her own, he thinks.


“It’s a very emotion heavy language. Context, connotation, and the emotion behind the sentence matters just as much as the dialogue itself.” He says instead. “If enough is poured into it, you can generally understand the meaning, but not the words. It’s useful, but not for your purposes. What you want are those very tricky words, and that comes down to hearing.”

Now this aspect, this was the thorniest to explain. He was glad she had at least picked up on something with Tobias. Kid just noticed the voices, he probably couldn’t ignore them in the same way Lazarus or his mother could. Bright eyes regard Noelle across the desk, pinning her in his gaze.

“You’ve picked up on probably the most important aspect, which makes my job easier.” He pauses. He lets himself sit, lets himself listen. There’s a long moment before he begins again. “I said earlier that this language is given by the ones who hold it. The speakers do not hold it, and they cannot give it. I have a feeling that you wouldn’t be here if Mr. Tobias had his way.” Another pause. “Only the voices inherent in the language can impart the ability to speak it.” His voice is wry when he next speaks, a bit of humor creeping in. “Tobias hears voices. That’s what he’s listening to.”

He makes a sweeping motion with his hand. “The voice is the voice of all things. It’s the voice of the earth, the grass, forests, nature, everything. A million different voices all coalescing into one. To be totally honest, Ms. Scott, it’s disorienting the first time you hear it and for a long while after. But, it’s the backbone of this language, what makes the whole thing go. Understand the voice, you’ll understand your boy and a whole lot more.”

Whole lot more indeed. It’s whispering in his ear now, telling him little things that concern them, little nothings that don’t really matter to him. What does, however, are the sudden hushed whispers of decay, decomposition, carrion, vulture, scavenger. A thousand whispers and growing louder about the rot the walks over them, past them and towards the history building. ‘Your crow,’ One breaks above the rest, words a flutter of wings and harsh squawks. He nods to no one in return before returning his focus to Noelle.


“You’re in a very good position, Ms. Scott. A direct connection to multiple speakers is invaluable.” He stresses the last word.

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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:05 pm
Noelle sat, her eyes unblinking and unmoving as Dr. McKay explained everything to her. Well, not everything. But it was a great introduction. And it made certain things snap and connect in her brain; the rarity of 'true speakers', why and how it differs from individual speakers, how she somehow understood what he had said in the dining hall, and also, most importantly, the origin distracted gaze that occasionally crossed Tobi's face.

Yet, she started to feel a little guilty. She honestly was in these lessons to help Tobi, to have someone that could understand him without extra effort on his part. Would Tobi really not want her to be here, to learn? Something crept up to her, her fingers starting to buzz and tingle again. She tenses, eyes still glued to the professor, but holds her breath, putting all of her energy to her hands, to the tips of her fingers, until the prickling of energy dwindles and disappears. She breathes out, slowly and softly, not wanting to draw attention to her own lack of control. 

McKay continues. The voices? No, one voice. Of all things, according to the man in front of her. Noelle heard the warning, the disorientation that came with it. But, also according to this man, it would help her understand Tobi. And while the promised "more" intrigued her, she pushed her own curiosity aside. What matters was understand for Tobi's sake. Whatever other knowledge she gained didn't matter. Which also made her feel strange- a better strange than before, but a strange nonetheless. 

He said she was in good position. Noelle wasn't sure that she felt like she was in a good position. Since she had arrived, she had been filled with more confusion and bafflement than ever in her life. Everything used to be so black and white and in neat little boxes that didn't touch. Now, everything had overflowed and touched and melded together into a mess that she had no idea how to control.

Still. This was her only opportunity to at least make sense of one thing. Something to help the man she loved.

"Thank you, Dr. McKay."

She lets it hang for a little while, her doe-like eyes gazing into the sharp ice-blue. She took a moment to become acutely aware of her sense of self- her finger tips were wet inside her gloves, as were the tips of her toes now in her thick knitted socks. Her heartbeat was back to being steady, constant pound in her chest. She felt the air fill her lungs and exit in a constant stream. "So. How do we start? What do I need to do to understand the voice?"
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:58 pm
He nods as she thanks him. It was hardly an introduction, he was just dipping her toes in the proverbial water. This was a language of immense complexity, deep like the oceans and dark as their depths. There was so much for her to learn, so much to experience. There were things he could teach her and others that she had to just feel out for herself. He didn’t doubt that she had the will, but from what he had seen, she was a little… tense. That would hardly do. The language came easier to non-speakers who were more open to the world around them, more relaxed.

“Now?” he asks. He stands from his chair slowly and moves to grab a long, impeccably cut charcoal grey coat from where it had been slung over his chair. “Now we walk.” He waits for her to gather her things and follow him to the door, where he turns and locks it. The ancient journal he leaves sitting on the desk. The office won’t be unoccupied for long.

“Normally,” he says as they walk through the history building’s hall towards the large wooden front doors. “With any other language, we would spend the entirety of the session in my office. However, this language demands a different approach.” His pace is easy, yet confident as he strides to the doors. He’s well aware that these are his floors, and this is his building. He’s a king here, keeping a watchful eye on those under him. Lithe hands push open one of the double doors, and he holds it open for Noelle to step through into the saturated sun of late afternoon.

It’s a gorgeous day outside. The history building is tucked against multiple old growth oaks. The stone steps of the entrance slope down into the paved sidewalks. These desperately need to be repaved, but the flower beds that line them more than make up for it, in Lazarus’s opinion. The flowers are always so well kept; dark evergreen bushes that caught the snow in the chill winter are bracketed in the front with seasonal annuals that added color and vibrancy to the outdoors. Lazarus secretly loved these late autumn days and the slight bite of chill they’d bring. It made his suits more comfortable, gave him an excuse to wear his favorite coat, to drink hot spiced drinks, allowed him to wear the scarves his husband had tried to make him that one year he had tried to learn how to knit. They were terrible things, uneven and full of missed stitches, but they were warm and made with him in mind.


Crow,” the voices cried in his ear, loud and insistent.


Speak of the man…


There he is, sitting a little ways away on one of the benches not covered in the shade of some ancient tree. His dark hair is tied up in a large mess at the back of his head, barely a bun. He has the habit of sticking tools and pens in the thick mass of hair; Lazarus can see from here the bright metal glint of some small pen pinned at the top. Dark jeans that fit just right cover his legs while his torso is covered in a dark pink soft cotton t shirt. There’s a matching platinum ring hidden underneath the neckline there. Sam had insisted on a chain due to his job.

His husband had always been more focused on comfort rather than fit, but Lazarus had always done his best to find clothes that did both. The black leather jacket he’s wearing had been a gift so many years ago, the thing felt like butter now and fit like a dream. It’s pulled across large shoulders and dark skin as he sits on the bench with his large arms slung over the top. Silver studded shoes hang lazy in the air from legs crossed casually at the knee. A pair of round, rose tinted glasses is perched low on his nose and even from here, Lazarus knows Sam has caught sight of him. There’s a paper bag next to him on the bench with -oh bless him- another cup of coffee.

“I’ll be just a minute.” He tells Noelle.

Feet carry him across the pavement towards the man. Sam looks up at him even as the voices sing his names, the ones they christened him long, long ago: Crow, Rot, Decay. There’s a smudge of dark grease swiped across one of his cheeks. So the man went home to change, but not long enough to shower. Animal.

“Take out tonight, too tired to cook.” The man’s easy low tones greet him as soon as he’s close enough. Lazarus just hums.

“Which one?” he asks. He’s close enough now to reach out towards the grease and wipe at it with the pad of his thumb. It comes off with a fight, but it comes off. Sam leans into the touch with just a minute swing of his head as Lazarus lets the touch linger a touch longer than needed.

“Indian. One on the corner. Said you wanted to try it last time we passed by.” He looks up at Lazarus behind the glasses, pink tinting casting rose colored shadows across his face. A fond smile plays at his lips. “Don’t tell me you forgot.”

“Maybe.” Lazarus replies with the barest hint of an answering grin. “I’m getting old, haven’t you heard?” His hand tangles with the other man’s when he offers it and passes off his keys in the same motion. “Let yourself in, I’ll be back in a bit.” With that he leans forward, his husband’s hand pulling him the rest of the way. Their lips meet as they have millions of times before, in nearly every age. Yet, he still feels that flutter in his chest, still feels his heart miss a beat. They break after a long moment with Sam grinning sly and affectionate, and Lazarus answering with a soft smile of his own.

He plucks the coffee cup with his name written on it from the carrier before he leaves the man. “The journal’s on the desk, put it back once you get in.” he calls back as he walks towards Noelle. Sam nods, tugging the paper bags up with him as he stands.


‘So that’s the girl, huh?’ He thinks as he looks back towards his husband and Noelle.


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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:37 pm
Noelle followed Dr. McKay out of the building like the dutiful student she was. Gloved fingers grip the strap of her messenger bag, knuckles white under the worn fabric. She watched the few students and professors still in the building part like the red sea as they passed. They exit out the door and Noelle finds herself quickening her pace to catch up with the man, despite her longer legs. This man walked with purpose, with grace. Something she hoped to possess one day.

It’s cool and brisk, the November air biting her nose and ears. She reaches in her pocket for her hat, sliding it on. Noelle truly loved autumn- it was her favorite season, contained her favorite foods and colors and childhood memories. But winter was approaching and everyone was feeling it. The path they walked contained few others, the leaves now in piles at the base of the thick tree trunks that lined the pavement. She walked, looking around, taking in as much as she could. The air, the trees, their branches, the kaleidoscope of leaves, the flowers poking between the cracks. But Dr. McKay stops, causing Noelle to screech to a halt. Should have been paying more attention, as her new professor met the gaze of a man sitting on a nearby bench. Dark hair pulled up, reminding Noelle of her mother when she was working on a project. Dark skin, the color of mocha, stained with grease. Literal rose tinted glasses.

Noelle tried connecting the dots, tried to figure out who this man was as Dr. McKay excused himself. At the same time, she notices the ring around his neck and the lingering touch on his cheek. Noelle’s own heart squeezed in an empathetic response. She knew who this man was. The same man who drew the little hearts on the coffee cup back in the office, the one that had cooked the meal when she was last there. The tender spot in her heart swam in pleasant feelings as she watched them interact, her face softening, a slow and gentle smile reaching her lips.

She couldn’t help it. With how old Dr. McKay had to have been, the fact that he had someone, someone he had loved for a long time evidenced by the tender looks and, now, kisses, gave her so much hope that it made her brain feel warm and fuzzy. It was something that tugged at her own heartstrings, something she desperately wanted but that she hadn’t seen with her own parents in so long. She found herself imaging a similar situation, far into the future, Tobi doing something similar for her. And she to him. Late nights at work, a simple gesture. It was everything.

Coffee is grabbed, takeout is picked up, and they go on separate ways. Not before Dr. McKay calls after him. Noelle quickly looks away, not wanting to seem like she had been eavesdropping on her new mentor. But, by doing so, she meets the gaze of the large man with the tinted glasses. Wide brown eyes softened at the meeting, the warmest introduction she had ever given. But she breaks the eye contact quickly, looking back at the man in the well-tailored suit and coat. She starts to follow his stride, and, after an appropriate amount of time. “Your husband.”

It isn’t a question or a know-it-all fact she was toting for extra credit. Noelle had just seen the love, the rings, the weight to their everyday affection. It was pretty obvious. And her voice is soft, her smile still present. Her fingers untense. This moment humanized the white haired man, had made him a little less imposing. She still kept him on a pedestal, but he wasn’t the judgemental god behind the desk. He was human. And had the cutest relationship with his partner.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:05 pm
Lazarus walks forward along the path, slowly easing into a more relaxed pace. He wants her to slow down, to see the world around her. To really hear the world around her. It has so much to say and so much to offer: little songs, little nothings, little thoughts all falling heady into one static thrum. The grass sings sonnets to the Rot that walks towards and into the history building while the oldest tree on the quad sings soft lullabies to the young man that decided to take a nap in its branches. The warm sun is at odd with the chill in the air as the two of them walk farther across the quiet campus with only the quiet flutter of birds and the occasional soft crunch of a dead leaf under their feet to keep them company.

After a long moment, he hears the girl next to him speak. His husband indeed, he thinks with a warmth in his eyes. Sam’s probably let himself in by now and put the book away. Is probably setting out the takeout and settling himself in the armchair in the corner to wait for Lazarus to come back. There would be some article on his tablet he would be reading, maybe an email sent to a coworker or employee about something in the shop. He’d make himself at home in Lazarus’s space, just as he had done hundreds of times before.

“Assistant actually.” He deadpans in response. His eyes flick to hers and the soft smile there. There’s a short pause as he reconsiders and looks back towards their path. The answer that follows this time is quieter, yet much more true. “Yes. That’s Sam.”

He lets the topic lapse with the name. Now’s not the time for stories about his life. Noelle wanted his time, so she’s going to get it. They walk a little farther on towards a more wooded area of campus, something a little farther out of the way. A small pond glistens in the afternoon sun, little ripples kicked up by the easy breeze. A few turtles sit sentinel like on the edges only to move quickly under the surface of the water when they approach. Trees now bracket both sides of the path, and the bright warm light of the sun is filtered through their branches into disjointed pools on the earthen walkway.


“Now,” he begins again. “All you have to do is listen.”

He’s not expecting her to get it on the first try. Hell, he’s not expecting her to get it on the tenth or even the twentieth try. What matters now is getting started, getting her to unwind just a little bit in the environment. Noelle seems to be wound so tight with a confidence hidden under layers and layers of insecurities. To really hear, she needs to let herself be led more by instinct and feeling rather than what she excelled at: logic.


He lets himself just enjoy the space as they walk along the edges of the water, remembering time after time that he and Sam had walked along this edge.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:01 pm
Sam.

It was a suitable name. Sturdy. Strong. Much like the man in question. Noelle found herself imagining and wondering what their home life is like. How old Sam was. How long these two had been together. It had to have been a while- she drew that conclusion not only because of the affection that they shared, but also the weighted history between the two. Was he a mutant? She continued her musings in silence as they walked down an unfamiliar path. Tree branches began to thicken and cross overhead, a cathedral for her lessons with the illustrious professor. A pond came into view, and she found herself with a small sense of longing for her home and it’s rocky beaches and even rockier waves.

Walking and thinking was something she was used to. Back home, she would prowl the streets of her neighborhood and walk to small, quiet places. Maybe she would read, maybe she would write- Noelle always kept a novel and a notebook on hand for such occasions. But she also used those quiet havens as where her thought had clarity. Insecurities came to light, origins of problems were found, ideas were formed as the constant hush of the tide lulled her body’s rhythm to something constant. These places included a small cliff by the nearby lighthouse, a lofty tree in her backyard, the large bush at her park. Her favorite place was a small cave on the coast, looking across the reach to the even rockier islands that were hit with stronger waves, stronger storms. When she was really young, she kept small trinkets there- books of course, but also a jar of sea glass, a collection of driftwood. Things that had no reason to be collected, but it was. As Noelle got older, she let these things go- high tides would have swept everything away, as it did with all things. Still, as an adult, Noelle often found herself perched on a rock, looking out to those small islands on the horizon.

The pond, rippling in the twilight, was enough to pull her back home, if only for a moment. The ripples etched across the crystalline top, imperfections on the smoothness, it reminded her a little of those rough swells that would crest and crash at her feet. The warm sun hitting her face while her nose stiffened with cold. But McKay snapped her back to the place at hand.

Listen.

At first, she was confused. Noelle felt like that was all that she did. Listen and observe. Take and process. It was something that had been so ingrained into her by her father, something she had never tried to go against. When she processed things, it was so easy to put those facts and figures into boxes, using those boxes to create inferences, which then went into other boxes. It was easier to do that, to gather as much information. To bring light to mysteries. Listen and observe. Facts and Figures. Take and process.

Listen.

Noelle frowned and began to do her standard processing. She first looks at the eye line, allowing the sounds to enter and sweep into her brain. Noelle heard the birds flit between those bare branches, singing short songs. She heard the wind whistle between them, into this space, pulling at the water ever so softly. She heard the swish of the cattails on the edge of the pond, rubbing together, hissing in the evening air. The soft scrape of leaves that were picked up and swirled against the pathway. She watched the movements that fell with these things- the ripples, the birds taking wing, the sway of the brush. Her eyes moved to the sky, white wisps of clouds passing the now fading blue as the everything was saturated in golden light. Stillness enveloped her for a long minute, as she tensed again, trying so hard to hear evidence to the voices, to the one voice. Noelle felt her ears burn, as she became hyper-aware of her ears, of her hearing. As it was the first time, she took it literally. Trying to physically hear those sweet whispers.

Listen.

After many minutes of stillness, tenseness, and silence, she allows her fingers to relax again. Her toes to uncurl in her shoes, her shoulders to hang limply. Slowly, she pulled herself into the calmness of the rough rocky coast. She still carried a rigid nervousness, but less than before. When she felt like it was time, she turned and looked at McKay, silently.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:13 am
Mckay lets himself simply enjoy the space around him. He remembers warmer days spent here where he would take a pile of papers to read and just get out of his office for a few hours. He’d spend the time in the fleeting company of birds and the under the staunch sentinel watch of the trees that crisscrossed above them. Evening would fall and Sam would find him, some sort of food or coffee in tow. From there, it would be a toss-up as to what would happen: Sam would either settle heavy on the ground next to him and read through his own papers with Lazarus tucked into his side, or he’d be in a mood to distract. Large hands would wander, lips would find his own, and Lazarus would end up with his back on the grass with Sam’s hands bracketing him on either side, his own wound in his husband’s long hair, his papers long forgotten.


Thank god no one really knew about this small outcropping.


His feet take him to the edge of water. He looks out at the glassy surface of the lake, at the warmth reflected off it. The wind works through his hair and ruffles it just slightly. The same breeze pulls a soft sigh from the canopy above him; the trees still cling to their late autumn leaves like thieves unwilling to part with their treasure. Still, some break loose with the wind and flutter through the space in a haze of crinkly confetti. Ripples disturb the surface of the pond as some touch down so gently on the water’s surface and float back and forth, to and fro, never straying from the small circle of space they landed in.


After a long moment, he turns to observe his student. Her dark eyes meet his, blue as the water he stands against. There’s less of a tension there, and more of an ease in this environment. Good. That’s what he had wanted for this first lesson. To just let her get a feel of this one space, this small quiet space; it’s the equivalent of training wheels, and she’s still wobbling.


But. It’s something. When she looks towards him, backlit against the fading sun and the bright water, he nods. “And what did you hear?” he asks as he picks his way back over rocks and reeds. One of the smaller rocks he disturbs falls into the water with a soft ‘plunck’. The resulting ripples cascade out to disturb the fallen leaves and set them softly bobbing in the water once more.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:38 am
Noelle blinks once when he asks. And thinks it over, going through the snapshot that she had just filed away in her mind. The birds, the swish, the scrape. Then, she takes a deep breath and opens her mouth, soft words pouring out.

“I hear the birds. How they’ve perched on a thin branch. And suddenly take wing against the soft breeze. Which hits the reeds. They swish and sway, rippling the water gently. I hear the leaves and how they are gently rattled out of their branches, onto the pathway. They scrape quietly against the gravel. And the wind itself. It whistles through the bare branches.”

It’s simplistic, she knew that. Her eyes follow the rock that slipped and it’s soft descent into the water, plunking in the most satisfying way to her ears. Then her eyes track the lazy movement of the brightly colored leaves that had fallen and skimmed the top of the water, until the ripples reached them. And they started to sink, slowly, capsized by the minuscule wave. Noelle’s eyes track this, as she stands, unmoving. Her mind, for once, is silent of thoughts and worries, if only for a moment.

But things slowly came back. The ink. Her mom. Tobi. His birthday. Classes. Her father. She sighs, folding her arms across her chest, as she stayed fixed on those leaves until they were completely submerged. She looked back at her new professor, waiting for guidance. For something to help her guide her thoughts or brush them away. "I'm sorry, I know I'm not good at this..."
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:09 pm
“It’s a start.” He finally says. It is. Nothing wrong with a first try, as long as there is one. He looks at her with eyes older than his face, the light blue of them vibrant in the dark space. It’s an assessing look, yes, but there’s no disappointment there. Only cool blue and the thoughts behind them. She had been describing the physical, the tangible around her, and a lot of it. But, for a moment, she was there where he wanted her to be. Not thinking about day to day worries, not thinking of the physical. Just enjoying the space.

Polished shoes pick their way through the litter of leaves. It’s curious, he thinks. How stress makes it harder for those trying to hear but causes the language to suffocate those who speak it out a sense of… of what? Protectiveness maybe? Like a parent clutching to their worried child? Or a scared child clinging to a trusted guardian, afraid to lose them once more? He shrugs the thoughts away; it’s a puzzle for another time.

“It’s a fine start.” He says again as they start to make their way back, leaving the water and crisscrossed canopy of leaves behind. His eyes glance sideways at her as they walk. “No one in the world is ‘good at this’.” His hands don’t make the air quotes, but they’re there in his voice. “No one besides you, I, and a handful of other people even know this language exists. You’re in uncharted territory, Miss Scott.” There’s a pause then as he looks out over the cracked concrete path.

“It’s the nature of my classes to fail, it’s how they’re designed. Success makes one complacent, builds assumptions. Failure makes the learning stick, makes my graduate students question everything they write. A few choice failures here and there, a few harder assignments mixed in with what seems like breezier tasks keeps them diligent. They check and recheck their sources, their facts, until they hold up to my scrutiny. Hard to argue with someone who was there.” He nods, more to himself.


“Failure isn’t the end. What you’re trying to do is difficult, Miss Scott, you will fail some days at the task at hand.” He looks over at her again. “But every failure is just another stepping stone towards the end goal. I don’t want to hear apologies for not immediately getting something that even I don’t fully understand. Are we clear?”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:57 pm
Noelle mulled over his words, her feet hitting the pavement softly, delicately.

She didn't like a failure. She feared it. Resented it. Failure meant disappointment. In herself and in others. It was so much easier for her to just work hard, keep her nose on the ground and do everything and anything to be successful rather than admitting that failure was natural. Because it wasn't. Not to her at least. It was instilled in her ever since she was a young child: failure was unacceptable. If you're going to do it, do it right. And other cliches that her father, as good-naturedly as he could, had focused her life with. And when he left, it was still her compass. She withdrew on it- if she quietly did her work, did it right, no one would bother her.

Now, that being said, Noelle wasn't used to getting what she wanted. She wasn't entitled. She just worked incredibly hard. Everything she received, Noelle had worked to get, clawing, grasping, fighting. Even in her own quiet way.

This was why when everything had come crashing down at Homecoming, at Family Day, in the dining hall, Noelle blamed herself. Because she was sloppy. She was messy. She wasn't careful. And everyone had paid the price for that. It was a failure. She had been failing a lot recently.

But after listening to McKay, she began to realize the good things that came out of those experiences. How close she became with Tobi, hoe their families had bonded, how Jake forged the three of them into a small group. The realizations of her power and the consequences of that. Being able to see some people for their true colors and convince others to take the plight of the mutants on campus at least a little more seriously. So, with this thought, she spoke.

"If I'm completely honest, Dr. Mckay, I am not one that is used to failure. I actively try to avoid it whenever I can... But, if failure is what is going to help me learn and get the most out of this? Then I am going to do my best to not become discouraged. And to push past it."

She's silent for a moment, breathing in the crisp air, listening to the soft twittering of birds, the crunch of leaves underfoot. She debates how much she wants to tell this man, how much she trusted him. Noelle decides that, if she wanted to excel in these lessons, she needed to. So, she spoke again, quieter now. "It's just another thing that's new for me, sir. Failing. Consistently. But it's something that keeps happening. I just... I'm trying so hard to keep it all together. Everything."

Her fingers and toes tingle, and she began to feel the now familiar feeling of wetness in her socks, the inside of her gloves sticky. Her eyes flick away from his, fixing on her hands, willing it to stop. It takes many seconds.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:14 pm
The man next to her hums. They’re getting closer to the history building now, he knows. Cracks in the pavement become more familiar to him, as do the evergreen hedges that start to line the path they walk. His shoes kick up a crunchy leaf as he walks along only to snap down on it a moment later.

It had taken him a long time to truly feel... comfortable with himself, with every aspect of himself. Humans just weren’t given long enough, he thinks as he takes a sideways glance at the girl next to him. She’s what, barely twenty? A length of years that barely registered to him anymore, a small drop in an unfathomably large ocean. He had his own share of failures, failures that could fill book after book, tome after tome. But.

He had learned. He had grown with the time he had been both blessed and cursed with. He’d done his best and those failures had helped to shape the present he was in. One where he had a husband waiting for him in an office filled with relics from friends past. One where he could go home at the end of the day with a lingering sense of peace. One where he was happy.

“Failure is just another facet of life, Miss Scott. It’s something that will always happen, whether we want it to or not. The best we can do is learn from it and adapt, better prepare ourselves for the next one.” He looks towards the nearing history building. It looms large in their view, brick walls holding a massive repository of knowledge behind its doors. Knowledge and experience hidden in books, in artifacts, and in the people who call this building their home day in and day out. Its walls have seen an almost equal share of disappointments and triumphs, tears of both joy and frustration.

He leads her up the stairs and through the doors once more. “Failures never define you. It’s how you push through them, what you do with them that does.” He says as they walk through the wide, cavernous main hallway towards his office. Walls covered in glass display cases displaying research and awards pass them as they go. They range in nearly every historical subject from ancient burial sites to the homogeneous figures in multiple mythologies to a project examining women’s role in World War two. Each of them he had overseen. All of them had netted numerous awards and landed his students positions that they had only dreamed of.


All of them he had ripped apart at one point or another.


The multiple mythologies one still brought a smile to his face though. He hadn’t exactly known how to explain that one of the consistencies that that student had mentioned was, in fact, Sam. He’d told her eventually over coffee, but she’d kept it in anyway, said that it added an interesting data point and insisted on an interview. She and Sam had gotten on fantastic in the end, and he kept the board with her project up long after she had graduated just for the ancient images she had been able to dig up in her research.

They reach the door to his office. “It’s the nature of things to fall apart. Entropy comes for us all, but we chose whether or not to let it consume us.” He stands there in front of his door as he lets the voices around him fade and disappear. He doesn’t need them to tell him who waits behind the door as he turns the handle and pushes it open. Sam is sitting there in the old armchair, his glasses pushed down further on his nose as he reads from the tablet in his hands. As the door opens wider, he looks up towards the two there, green eyes quietly assessing behind the rose-tinted shades. Twin bags of takeout sit on the floor next to him; they fill the room with the scent of savory spices and velvety meat. The leather journal that had been open on the desk is now gone, presumably stuffed back away into the bottom drawer of the sturdy wooden desk.


“Next week then, Miss Scott, unless you choose to come in earlier.” He nods at her in the doorway. Behind him, Sam sits and observes the interaction quietly. “You know my office hours.”
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:09 pm
Noelle continued to stare at her fingers, using about sixty percent of her focus on getting that ink back into her fingertips. The other forty percent was in her ears, focusing on the words of her new mentor and professor. They were weighted with history unparalleled by any other person she had met. And she valued that. So she listened.

The idea of failure being essential to life almost made her feel queasy. The idea of failure still scared her, but as she continued to really take in what the man said, her view slowly began to shift. They walked back to the history building, her bag digging into her shoulder, leaves brushing themselves against her feet as she climbed the stone steps back into the brick building. As the door opens, the heat hits her face, making her cheeks buzz, her nose expanding in warmth. She wiggles it, bringing back feeling, but stops suddenly as a certain phrase hits her.

Failures never define you. It’s how you push through them, what you do with them that does.

What had she done with her recent failures? Had she done noble things with them, turning them into something positive?

Only time would tell.

After a while, her hands stopped buzzing, only leaving the sticky afterthought of what was once there. She would need to wash them back at her dorm. The thought of sitting at her desk and working on Tobi’s present after Tamara left for her late night partying, her cat curled up in her lap and soft music playing brought a pleasant feeling to her gut that expanded to her essence. She started to notice that the tense weight she carried in shoulders were gone- she was standing a little more relaxed, her head forward. Strange.

They reach the door to his office. The smells of whatever was in that bag that Mckay’s husband had been holding hits her nose, making her mouth water. She peeked in, seeing if the darker man was there. Eyes meet for a moment, and she blushes, looking back at her teacher. “Of course, Dr. McKay. I think I will stop by tomorrow if that is alright with you. Thank you.”

She turns to leave, but stops midstep, looking between the white-haired man with the intense gaze, and the softer man behind him in the room. She took a chance and opened her mouth again “And sir, I do believe that most things are made to fall apart. Not everything can last forever, and I understand that completely. But I do believe that a few things are built to outlast the storms and the wear and tear of life. That somethings do, in fact, stay together and stay constant. And these are the things we must rely on when the others break. When the failures creep up.”

She throws one more glance at Sam, her lips turning into a slight grin. Really a ghost of one. Seeing an adult relationship that was healthy and alive and long lasting was something she didn’t realize that she needed. The only relationship she had been able to look at in detail in that capacity was her own parents and that had been a failed love and marriage. This was what she needed. To give her a push of… something.

“Thank you again for everything, Dr. McKay. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Noelle finally finishes her turn and makes her way out of the building, head held high, tugging her hat over her ears.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

on Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:51 am
“Perfectly alright.” He nods in response. “I’ll see you then.”

He watches her turn to leave the way that they had come in, under the open ceiling of the main hallway and past those storied walls. His eyes track her as she starts, then stops to turn back towards him. She meets his light blue stare before flicking her eyes to the man he knows is behind him. The look is considering and thoughtful, like she has something to say but is considering whether to say it. Feet stay planted where they are patiently, and the door remains open as he waits.


And then she speaks.


It’s a thinly veiled reference to the two of them, but it brings a hint of a smile to his face nonetheless. She can’t know how old Sam is, how long they’ve been together, and yet… Lazarus turns to the man behind him in the armchair watching the both of them with quiet amusement. There’s something wry in his sensitive eyes as he looks over at the two of them, something knowing. Those same eyes flick between the two of them in a barely-there language of looks that they’ve perfected over the course of their years together.

He rolls his eyes at Sam and turns to face the girl in front of him. “Or you could marry your entropy when it comes for you, I suppose that works just as well.” He says with a resigned sigh. There’s a small snort of laughter from the office that he ignores. When he looks at her next, his eyes are a bit warmer, a bit less assessing.

“There’s always a constant.” He agrees. Long fingers absently reach for his wedding ring and subtly fiddle with the platinum band there. “And it will always find you.”

“You just have to recognize it.” Sam’s powerful, low voice finishes from across the room. The man in front of her nods as Sam carefully sets the tablet to the side and stands. “Took a couple centuries, but he found it.”

“Please, if you would have said something, we could have been…” Lazarus crosses his arms as Sam grabs the take out bags and begins to pull out the contents. He pauses, reconsidering his words as he looks up at the girl in front of him.

“Could have been what, dear?” Sam calls innocently over the rustle of paper and the soft pop of plastic lids. His deft fingers open each of the containers and set them out on the clean wooden desk. Savory smells fill the office and filter out into the massive hallway. The comment goes ignored just as the earlier laughter had as Lazarus addresses Noelle once more.

“Tomorrow then. I’ll be expecting you.” He says as she turns back around. Sharp eyes track her progress down the hall for a long moment before he retreats back into the quiet space of his office. The door closes behind him with a soft click and snap of metal on metal. The sound is a finality, a bookend to a lesson, but hardly a final end. She has so much to learn, he thinks as he crosses the room towards the dinner laid out on the desk. So very much, but the start?

It's a good start.
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Re: Professor McKay's Office, Highmauve History Department

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