Title: Somebody Else's Problem
Boreas - November 21, 2011 05:27 AM (GMT)
Nick was dealing with Futurebug. That was fine. Rick would be there, too, and Sable, and maybe if something strange happened Luke would gain superpowers. Maybe that was what Daniel was in their time to do. Or maybe an alien spacecraft was going to crash into the hospital. That would be kind of awesome, Boreas felt. But he was gonna hang out in Taryn's room because she was healing, and he needed to tell the doctors that they were doing a great job because he was Boreas. Part of being Boreas was doing whatever Nick told him to do. He hadn't quite figured that part out yet, but at the moment it was okay by him.
It occurred to him to feel really, really sorry for CAPE-Care medical staff sometimes. At the moment they were contending with Taryn Thoreau, Seraph (retired), currently out cold due to someone else's wounds. Most hospitals, even well-organized hospitals, wouldn't know how to deal with injuries getting transferred. That kind of thing didn't happen.
But here was CAPE-Care, giving the girl a brand new room because they couldn't put her in Nick's bed. And they didn't even know who she was yet!
Which is why the first thing Boreas did upon entering the room Taryn was assigned to was to pull her wallet out of her purse and take out her CAPE ID card. "It's okay, I'm a hero," Boreas told one of the nurses, flashing his hero smile and then offering the man the card. He didn't look like he wanted it. Oh, because he was wearing sterile gloves. That made sense. Boreas put it down on a table and grinned.
There was a much more awkward smile for the room's other occupant, besides Boreas and Taryn and the medics.
"You're Deborah Temin, right?" Boreas asked. "Nick's...oma?" He almost said "amo".
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 05:34 AM (GMT)
Deborah watched Boreas silently as he pranced about, commandeering all available air and space for the very important mission of filling it with himself. For all that her daughter insisted that there was more going on with him than the fact that he was a needy flashy pain in the ass, all Deborah saw was him making a spectacle of himself.
She wondered briefly how he could possibly stand himself, or if he could. She supposed it was possible he couldn't. It would explain all the noise.
She gave him a brief nod, barely more than an upward jerk of her head. Still, he'd asked her a direct question and correctly assessed her job title and relation to Nicki, and that deserved acknowledgement. "Taryn was my TA," she added.
Would he sit? Or would he stand around, or possibly burst out into the hall in search of people who hadn't paid attention to him yet?
Boreas - November 21, 2011 05:38 AM (GMT)
Boreas's awkward smile gave way to a wry grin. "You're kidding," he said. "Small world. Did you know she was a superhero, or is this all new to you? Or, was a superhero, I guess - she retired after...well, you know." She probably did.
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 05:46 AM (GMT)
Deborah shrugged once with her right shoulder only at the question of whether she'd known Taryn was a superhero. She hadn't, though she didn't look so different in a mask. One of the many side-effects of a lot of deranged Canadians torturing her on television.
She felt a little bad for Boreas on that count. He didn't have to be much of a good kid for that to get to him in a really terrible way, and by all reports he was a good kid. Dumb and irritating, but good.
"Retirement," Deb retorted. "Looks easier said than done."
Exhibit A: Unconscious Taryn Thoreau with new clean white bandages exactly where Veronica Temin had had them.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 05:56 AM (GMT)
"We won't know," he said. "This isn't Taryn being a superhero, this is Taryn being Taryn. Besides, healing from this is a piece of cake to her." He shrugged. "I'm glad she was here for Nick. The two of them have had their spats, of course, but nothing bad enough that they won't try to keep each other safe."
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 06:04 AM (GMT)
Deb frowned and sighed through her nose, taking off her glasses to rub them clean with the edge of her shirt. They weren't even actually dirty; she just appreciated them more than people who hadn't grown old in a world without them.
What she didn't appreciate was the dramatic and insane lengths people in her daughter's life had to go to in order to demonstrate friendship. What happened to baking together? Gardening. Helping each other move. Anything.
"Yeah," she said. "I'm aware."
Deborah might still be a little piqued about the mission to Canada thing.
It was Nick's life, though, and she didn't really have the right to come in and veto. The best she could do was passive-aggressively imply that she was extremely displeased with the whole affair.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 06:21 AM (GMT)
"Yeah," Boreas said. Uncomfortable time again. He looked over at Taryn and then back at Deb, and then back at Taryn.
"Thank you for...the donations. I don't want you to think you're obligated to keep them up, but...I mean...they help. I never could figure out how to do this crap and a day job."
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 06:31 AM (GMT)
Deb waved her glasses in Boreas' general direction in a vague and dismissive sort of way. As much as she hated Nick's superhero friends in principle, in practice they were all nice enough people who did a passable job of keeping Nick out of trouble.
That is, when they weren't dragging her directly into it.
Still, they were the friends that Nick had. Whatever Deborah thought of them, they'd been good for her daughter in the short term. With the limited information available to them, it was the best she could fairly expect them to do. If they fell short otherwise... well. They didn't know.
"I figure... we keep you in food and weapons," Deb said, "...then maybe next time you shoot someone before they shoot her."
None of that, of course, meant that she had to be gentle about it. Rick had said that it hadn't been a big deal, but it was the principle of the damned thing.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 06:58 AM (GMT)
Boreas chuckled. "Challenge accepted. It's a fair cop. Next time I will make sure other people get shot before they shoot Nick. And maybe we'll work out ahead of time what's supposed to happen if a firefight starts. You know...if there's a next time, which I hope there's not."
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 07:10 AM (GMT)
Deborah answered very slowly and carefully, not wanting her daughter's flamboyant manchild of a friend to mistake her meaning for even half a moment.
"There had better not."
It was only at this point that she put her glasses back on, giving him a steady gaze over the top of them to verify that Boreas was comprehending her. Nick was the one who had befriended all of these strange and excitable people, but it had been at her mother's urging and over Deborah's objections.
It had been only too obvious to her that Veronica's friends would endanger her at worst and expose her to too much attention and scrutiny at best... which amounted to the same thing in the end.
"Because if I lose her because of her friendship with you," Deb added calmly. "You'd better not come back either or I will beat your hide until it's as black as mine, and if Richard Starr is half a man, he will take over where I leave off."
Boreas - November 21, 2011 07:24 AM (GMT)
"Your daughter is my best friend in the world," Boreas said. He leaned against the wall and folded his arms. "You and Rick would have to wait in line to kick my ass after I kick my ass."
"Which I'm doing." He paused.
"In my head."
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 07:35 AM (GMT)
The older--much, much older--woman stared at Boreas fixedly, her expression carefully blank as she evaluated the sincerity of his statement. The sentiment was good, though she wondered if he knew why she'd targeted him with that particular threat. After all, she had no intention of hassling Taryn even though strictly speaking she was the most direct cause of the trouble. Taryn had really done no worse than Nick herself had done once.
No, Boreas was some kind of professional hero team leader, at least from what she'd heard. That meant that he got to be the one parents expected to hold responsible if something terrible ever happened to their kid. It was not a job that Deborah envied, but then... she didn't share his insatiable lust for attention. Perhaps to Boreas the Wind-Wielder it was worth that risk.
She gave him a very small nod before turning to look at her daughter's other friend, the unconscious one. It was a statement of approval, after a fashion, though she saw no reason to make it clear whether she approved of his esteem for her daughter or of whatever self-flagellation was going on in his head right now.
Deborah was Nick's parent. She was allowed to appreciate both of those things without feeling like a terrible person.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 07:46 AM (GMT)
Boreas was silent as he tamped down the urge to remind Deborah that he was really very hard to hit, even for someone like Rick who was really very good at hitting people. The silence dragged on for a minute or two, which was probably quite comfortable (or even too short) for Deb but was utterly intolerable for Cameron.
"It's English, right? That you teach?"
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 07:47 AM (GMT)
Deb looked over at him and raised both eyebrows as if to say, And?
She didn't correct him, though, which in the language of Deb Temin meant that he didn't require it.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 07:52 AM (GMT)
"I, uhh. Was gonna ask what you were teaching right now. Maybe drag you into a Shakespeare authorship debate. I'm kind of an...Oxfordian." His mouth hung slightly open for a moment and then shut with an embarrassed click.
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 08:00 AM (GMT)
Deb's eyebrows lowered once he began to elaborate on why he'd asked about her students' current coursework. He was trying, wasn't he. One corner of her mouth slowly, so slowly that it would have been possible to miss it for the first couple of seconds, lifted into a small curve of amusement.
"Obedience to authority," she said, the smile vanishing as soon as she spoke again. "1984, Ender's Game, and The Truman Show."
Sure, it somewhat sabotaged the other teachers' occasional efforts to be the unchallenged monarchs of their own classrooms, but if they couldn't defend their authority then maybe they didn't deserve it. Anyway, the students always liked it. Gave them something to chew on over the summer and throw in their parents' faces.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 08:06 AM (GMT)
"Okay, you are officially the coolest English teacher ever. Ender's Game and The Truman Show? What year do you teach?"
Boreas was now very, very jealous of Deb's students. He'd had to read the Ender books and watch The Truman Show on his own, and 1984 had been taught to him in a bland and uninspired fashion. Very jealous, indeed.
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 08:16 AM (GMT)
"Junior," Deb said.
She would have liked to corrupt her students a little earlier, but freshman English courses were all about explaining the concept of a paragraph and Deborah just couldn't be bothered. She had no idea what junior high school was for if the students weren't going to come out of it with that kind of basic literacy.
She'd leave the kid stuff to people like Taryn.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 08:38 AM (GMT)
"Good age for it," he noted. "Heads out of asses, but they haven't tuned you out. I happen to know Nick isn't a fan of Card's, though, for that whole 'being a crazy Mormon' deal."
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 08:54 AM (GMT)
"Mel taught her that."
Deborah grinned, the sudden expression faintly wolfish for all its pleasant contrast from her usual stoicism. She flicked a glance to Taryn to make sure that the sweet child with her simple morality wasn't listening.
"National Organization for Marriage doesn't get a cent from my classroom copies."
Of course most of them had been fairly and honorably purchased second-hand and if anyone asked, that's where they'd all come from. Deborah was old and bitter and damn well did as she pleased. If Card had a problem with Deborah's wife, he could hang or die alone in poverty for all she cared.
Actually, she cared a great deal. It wouldn't have been at all accurate to claim indifference as to how much misery that brainwashed old fanatic was experiencing because of his own inordinate obedience to authority.
He was his own object lesson. Deborah liked using his writing to train some small portion of the new generation to make more compassionate decisions than Card had chosen to dedicate his life to. It damn well served him right.
And anyway, Wal-Mart didn't prosecute for shoplifting offenses under twenty-five dollars. Served them right, too.
Deborah's wife was such a bad influence on her.
Boreas - November 21, 2011 08:43 PM (GMT)
Boreas laughed. "Excellent. It's a shame he's such a good writer. Have you read the later books in the series? Not the weird post-earth ones, the ones where Bean and Petra shack up. Great writing, creepy assumption of procreation as the principle drive for super-geniuses."
Tahirah - November 21, 2011 08:56 PM (GMT)
"Sounds like a Mormon. The worthier you are, the harder you'll be working to spawn."
Sure, Deborah was a parent herself, but she'd adopted a child like a reasonable person. Sure, the whole homosexuality thing was a factor, but these days they wouldn't have needed to be limited by that if they hadn't wanted to be.
Also adopting Veronica had sort of been her job. A good one, but an obligation nonetheless.
Boreas - November 22, 2011 03:36 AM (GMT)
Boreas laughed. "What do you call a heretical Jewish P.E. who threatens everything fundamentalist Christians stand for with his bizarre and unnatural superpowers?"
Tahirah - November 22, 2011 05:02 AM (GMT)
Deb could have said, irritating neighbor child or even friend of the family, but both of those would make it explicit that she more or less liked him (at least as an individual, if not as a concept), and frankly she didn't approve of saying such things. Either he could figure it out, or he was dense enough that she didn't like him after all. Anybody worth liking would get her gist, and anybody who wasn't could be easily enough replaced with someone better.
Threatening everything fundamentalist Christians stood for with bizarre and unnatural superpowers was a good start. Who knew, maybe someday he'd graduate up into Tahirah's league and really ruin their day.
Boreas - November 22, 2011 05:38 AM (GMT)
"Ohcomeon. You're supposed to say 'I don't know, what?' and then I say 'Jesus'. It's basic joke structure."
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 05:45 AM (GMT)
Taryn's eyes opened slowly. She blinked and looked around the room for a second, careful not to move her body at all.
"Ca...Boreas." She said softly. "How's Nick?"
Boreas - November 22, 2011 05:46 AM (GMT)
Boreas got up from his wall and walked over to Taryn. "She's fine, thanks to you," he said softly. "How are you feeling?"
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 05:50 AM (GMT)
She shrugged her shoulders, then grimaced. She looked at Deb and wondered why she was there. She wondered why Nick wasn't there. Or Rick.
Then, another thought occurred to her. "Can you call Rin and tell her I won't be home tonight?"
Boreas - November 22, 2011 05:52 AM (GMT)
"Sure thing," Boreas said, whipping out his Droid. "I still have the number from when you called me from it." That had been a day of mixed character. On the one hand, hot sex. On the other hand, funeral. On a third hand (or perhaps a foot), insane pre-funeral duel with the very woman he was calling on the phone.
He pressed a few buttons and put the phone to his ear.
Tahirah - November 22, 2011 05:55 AM (GMT)
There she is, Deb thought, once Taryn had stirred. "That's my cue." Boreas was handling it, though. That was good. She really didn't have the patience to bother Taryn's boyfriends in addition to Nick's. If she could leave him to his own devices without him acting a goddamn fool, she'd just go ahead and do that.
Deb pushed her palms against her knees, gave the two kids an appraising look, and levered herself up to stand.
Boreas was on the phone, so she spoke quietly. "Staff lounge down the hall. Send the boy if you need something," she added, jerking her head in the Wind-Wielder's direction to indicate that he was the boy in question.
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 05:57 AM (GMT)
Taryn nodded to Deb. She opened her mouth to say something, but decided against it and shut her mouth and just nodded again. She looked over at Boreas and smiled quietly. He was here and that was enough.
Tahirah - November 22, 2011 06:00 AM (GMT)
Deb raised an eyebrow at Taryn's evident self-censoring, but didn't press. Deborah knew her divinely-appointed purpose, or at least thought she did, and it had nothing to do with forcing conversation out of people who didn't want to give any.
They'd be fine. Taryn had that look. Deb knew that look.
Without a farewell wave, Deb walked past Boreas and out into the hall. No sense saying goodbye; she figured she'd see them both again before the evening was out. If not... eh.
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 06:02 AM (GMT)
After exactly six rings, the standard voicemail greeting answered Boreas's call.
Boreas - November 22, 2011 06:05 AM (GMT)
"Voicemail," Boreas said. He waited for the end of the message.
"Hi, it's Boreas. Taryn asked me to call and tell you that she's in the hospital because she performed an emergency heal. Nothing major, not for Taryn, but I'm gonna stick around CAPE-Care for most of the evening anyway. If you need to reach me, my number is five five five, four two three, eight eight oh eight."
He hung up.
"Do you need anything?" he asked Taryn.
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 06:07 AM (GMT)
She shook her head and held out her hand, wanting to take his for comfort.
"I just don't know what all happened and why." She frowned.
Boreas - November 22, 2011 06:09 AM (GMT)
Boreas took her hand and squeezed. "I don't think Nick would want me blabbing about it. Short version is that she landed herself here by not taking her medicine. They probably won't let her out for a couple days."
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 04:39 PM (GMT)
Taryn bit her lip, then decided to just ask him. "Did someone at least give her a disapproving look?"
Boreas - November 22, 2011 04:52 PM (GMT)
"I think so," Boreas said. "When you're feeling well enough to be on your feet, you can give her one yourself just to make sure."
He bent over and kissed her lips. "I'm glad you could be there for her," he murmured. "It just sucks that it means that you're gonna be out of it for a bit."
Taryn Thoreau - November 22, 2011 04:56 PM (GMT)
She shrugged. "I'll be fine by morning."
Boreas - November 22, 2011 06:07 PM (GMT)
"I heard you met our new buddy from the future. Is he legit?"