Title: Post Secondary Education
Taryn Thoreau - September 28, 2011 11:09 PM (GMT)
Taryn breathed in deeply as she walked through the hall of Deborah's school. It had been a while since she had been here, but the school was mostly the same. The projects hanging up in the hallways were slightly different, but covered the same topics. Though, now they had new snuck-in pop culture references.
She was drawing looks from the few students that were still wandering the hall, going to this or that club. She understood why. Taryn had abandoned hiding her tattoos. There was an odd level of pride in them now, where before she had been afraid of letting them be seen. She felt like they were one of the most prominent connections she had to her father and she couldn't make herself hide them anymore. So in her tight green tank top and pink skirt, she was a bit of a sight to see.
Plus she was hot as fuck.
She stopped at Deb's door. She stood there for a moment before crossing the threshold and then walking over to her desk where she had headphones in and was grading papers.
"Uh. Hello?" She said, and put a hand onto her desk.
Tahirah - September 28, 2011 11:19 PM (GMT)
Deborah Temin didn't use a red pen. Red pens were for teachers who wanted to scare their students with old-fashioned crap like angry little correction marks. Deb's pen was purple, because she didn't need any help from office supplies.
She saw motion in the corner of her eye and looked up over her glasses to see Taryn Thoreau, otherwise known as her daughter's friend Seraph who'd gotten kidnapped a couple weeks ago and sending Nick off with Boreas and her little boyfriend to set things right.
Good to see her up and about, though. She hadn't been gone as long as Nick had, but Deborah knew well that these things were never easy. Taryn could have been gone for an hour and it wouldn't have made things okay.
"Taryn," she said, nodding and pulling her earbuds out. "What's up?"
Taryn Thoreau - September 28, 2011 11:22 PM (GMT)
"Are you busy? I wanted to talk." She said and shuffled her weight from one foot to the other. She had somehow forgotten how uncomfortable Deborah Temin could make her. She pitied people who weren't paradigms of humanity and morality. They must be close to exploding in her presence.
Tahirah - September 28, 2011 11:29 PM (GMT)
Deborah was indeed busy, but not so busy that she couldn't sit here while her former TA talked to her. She could only imagine it had something to do with Black Thursday, and that meant it would be pretty tough to refuse Taryn a few minutes of her time.
She gestured toward a chair pushed against the wall next to the classroom's door, waiting there for a guest to need it. "Sit."
Taryn Thoreau - September 28, 2011 11:31 PM (GMT)
Taryn was glad that she was going to sit in the chair. She was going to help the chair fulfill it's purpose. Things needed purpose and needed to fulfill them. She sat down and pressed her hands down into her lap.
"I guess Nick told you who I am?"
Tahirah - September 28, 2011 11:43 PM (GMT)
"No," Deborah replied, capping her pen and putting it back in the mug on her desk where she kept the office supplies her students hadn't nicked yet.
She leaned back and rested her feet on the ridge under her desk behind its front panel. "She better not out people."
Did Taryn know how much trouble Nicki would get in with her parents if she ran around outing people? Did she? She probably didn't, but it would be a great terrible scary lot of trouble.
Taryn Thoreau - September 28, 2011 11:46 PM (GMT)
"Oh." Well that didn't make things any easier. But she guessed that it was good that Nick didn't out people. "I'm Seraph." She shrugged like that wasn't a thing but it was clearly a thing. It was the whole reason she was there.
Tahirah - September 28, 2011 11:59 PM (GMT)
"That's fine," Deb replied.
She wasn't sure what else there was to say. Taryn was a superhero? That was fine. Taryn liked guys? Weird, but fine. Deb wasn't sure how thrilled she was about these traits in her own daughter, but they were certainly objectively... fine. There wasn't anything wrong with them, especially if it was just someone else's kid.
"Thanks for telling me."
It was good to thank people for trusting her with this information. It may not seem like a big deal on her end, but it was still an extension of trust.
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 12:07 AM (GMT)
"It's nothing." She sighed heavily. She was squeezing her fingers absently as she talked.
"I don't know if I want to keep being her. I just...I feel like...I'm failing at it. And I...never thought I'd be doing it for forever anyway. I was always planning to quit when I had children. But people are telling me not to quit." She bit her lip.
"What should I do?"
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 12:18 AM (GMT)
"Whatever you want," Deb replied.
She didn't know everything or even very much about what Taryn had been through, but frankly Deborah wasn't terribly surprised that it had put her off the whole superhero business. It was the kind of thing Deb had explained to her own daughter her whole life. It seemed beautiful and liberating and valuable until somebody started playing for real stakes, and then it was just frightening and ugly and the best thing to hope for then was simply to survive and get through it.
It was a hard lesson to learn. Deborah had tried to teach it to Nick well enough to keep her away from all of that, but it hadn't worked. She wondered if Taryn had expected it.
"If it changes, then change."
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 12:25 AM (GMT)
"But...what if I let everyone down?" She looked up at her pleadingly. "What if they don't like me anymore." That wasn't even a question, regardless of how it was phrased. She was terrified of that.
"I just...I don't...I don't see a good answer. I'm...dating Boreas. And I'm afraid that even if he stays with me if I do this, that we'll drift apart. So much of our common ground was heroing."
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 12:47 AM (GMT)
Deborah waved one hand dismissively, brushing away something in the conversational air that she didn't want there.
This was going to call for a lot of words, by Deborah's standards. She took a deep breath, bracing herself for the effort. Taryn could probably tell just by looking that Deborah was actually going to address her properly.
"Boreas needs to let you deal. If he can't handle that, he doesn't deserve you anyway. But I think your friends will surprise you."
Deb gripped one fist with her other hand, cracking her knuckles. "You, Boreas, Rick..." She could have sighed. "You're the best friends Nick has got, near as I can tell." Deb... actually didn't sound terribly pleased about this, but she so seldom sounded pleased about anything. "And she can't be a superhero."
Both because she can't do it and because she just can't, Deborah thought.
"So you won't lose them over that. They're your friends and they love you. Nick wouldn't've been there and they wouldn't have let her go if they didn't."
There. THERE. There, she was done. That was enough ancient wise woman advice for the next year, or so Deborah dearly hoped.
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 12:51 AM (GMT)
Taryn took all that in. She nodded her head and paused for a long moment before answering.
"I...feel like it's different. Nick...can't be a hero. I just won't. I really just don't know...if they can live with that."
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 01:02 AM (GMT)
"Yes, she can," Deb dissented. "If she wants to hunt people down like animals and murder them. She just won't, and she's right."
She sighed and leaned forward, resting her elbows on her desk. People had so many problems, and they never ever changed. To them every crisis was new, and all the more frightening for it.
"There are different kinds of can't."
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 01:06 AM (GMT)
Taryn shrugged. She didn't know what to say. She wanted a hug but you don't hug Deborah Temin. You might burst into flames or something.
"People say that if your friends don't accept you then they're not your friends. But...I don't...have anyone else. If they leave...I'll be alone and I...I don't want to be alone."
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 01:26 AM (GMT)
"They won't," Deborah said, assuming she was merely being firmly reassuring but unaware that Taryn could tell just by sitting there that she really did believe it.
Deb wondered how much she should say here. Taryn was being pretty obstinate in her fear that if she didn't live up to her friends' superhero accomplishments they wouldn't like her anymore, and the older woman really did not think she had the patience to sit and tease through all the layers of rationalization that had to be going on in there. Everybody wanted to be accepted and some people would do damn near anything for it; there was no long, slow reasoning process that was both gentle and effective here.
"I told her from the start she didn't belong with you lot. Veronica ever tell you that?" Deborah raised her eyebrows, her expression inquiring. "She can't live the kinds of lives that superheroes live, and I didn't want her around it. But..."
She leaned back again. "My wife thought she needed other PEs, and my wife was right. You kids have been good for her, even though you go out and she doesn't. It seems to work. You. will. be. fine."
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 01:38 AM (GMT)
She was probably right. Taryn nodded to signify this. She breathed in and then out.
"I'm glad Nick hangs out with us. She is a good friend." Taryn wondered if Deb thought she was grading her parenting.
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 01:52 AM (GMT)
"Good," Deborah said flatly. She grinned quickly, though, in a brief flash of mirth. "But if you tell Melissa that she's going to lord it over me for the next two years."
Melissa might be a little smug about how well Nick's little social experiment had been going. Might. Neither of them were overly pleased that Nick had gone out to try and face down the people terrorizing the city, but her friends had brought her home safe and hopefully she'd learned her lesson. Missions were no place for her.
"She doesn't belong on missions, though. Maybe if you're not going either, it'll keep her from doing it."
Couldn't end well. If Nicki went out and started making a name for herself...
...it could ruin everything.
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 02:02 AM (GMT)
"I don't think I'm much of a role model for Nick." She frowned. "She didn't like me very much. But we talked and I think things are better now."
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 02:07 AM (GMT)
"She liked you," Deb said. "She just wasn't sure you thought very much of her."
Deborah was great at gentleness and feeling-sparing.
"But I'm glad things are better. We haven't really talked since."
Since. It almost certainly didn't need to be said.
"Mel sees her at work, but--" Deborah waved it off. No sense discussing it. Taryn had enough on her plate. "I'm glad you kids are still tight. You seem like you take care of each other."
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 02:09 AM (GMT)
Taryn nodded. "We try to."
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 02:13 AM (GMT)
Deb cracked the knuckles of her other hand. Bad habit of hers, always had been.
"Because I've been around the block a few times, and that's the one thing people never stop needing." She crossed her arms, tilted her head, and regarded Taryn. "Feeling any better?"
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 02:17 AM (GMT)
She nodded again. "Yes. Thank you. I'm sorry to bother you, though." She frowned. Deb had just been the only person she could think of who wasn't strongly tied to either idea.
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 02:21 AM (GMT)
"You didn't." Deb waved her off again, and recrossed her arms. "Got my number?"
Back to normal, to terse and taciturn Deborah Temin normal.
Taryn Thoreau - September 29, 2011 02:27 AM (GMT)
She shook her head. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone, assuming that meant Deb was going to share it with her.
Tahirah - September 29, 2011 02:32 AM (GMT)
This assumption was correct!
"Five five five. Four two three. Ten-eighty-five."
Taryn Thoreau - September 30, 2011 01:20 AM (GMT)
Taryn keyed it into her phone and then quickly took a picture of Deb to go with it. Taryn was mildly obsessive about having pictures for her contacts.
"Thank you." She said and stood up. She stepped towards Deb, almost hugging her out of instinct. But she caught herself and extended a hand for a hand shake of FRIENDSHIP
Tahirah - September 30, 2011 01:23 AM (GMT)
"Chrissakes," Deb said, standing. She took Taryn's hand and used it to pull her in for a hug. "You be good, kid."
Taryn Thoreau - September 30, 2011 01:32 AM (GMT)
There was this strange, hug-like pressure enveloping Taryn. She let out a small "Eep", and wasn't quite sure what was happening, but she was pretty sure that it was on par with the first testing of a nuclear bomb and Taryn was that cabin on the test site.
Fortunately for her, she was, in many ways, unlike a cabin. She disappeared in a flash of light, probably escaping whatever fire and radiation monstrosity that was about to occur in the suburban highschool.
Tahirah - September 30, 2011 01:35 AM (GMT)
Deborah looked down at her hands and then at the empty space where there'd been a Taryn. Her first thought, unhelpfully, was, Did she take all her stuff with her when she did that?
She totally had.
Well, that was a hell of a neat trick. Deb was hard-pressed to rule on whether it was better than hers, which was really saying something.
"Be good, kid," she said to the empty air. Then she sat back down and put her headphones back in. She and Mos Def needed to handle a stack of take-home tests before Melissa finished making dinner, because they weren't going to grade themselves.