Definitely Not A Hero


linus_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Definitely Not A Hero
Synopsis Ygraine and Linus bump into one another looking for Quinn. They talk registration and about Linus' ability.
Date August 31, 2010

Gun Hill - Roof

Situated atop the Gun Hill apartment building, five stories above street level, the rooftop of the tenement building overlooks the Bronx's gritty urban landscape. A single stair access leads out onto the smooth concrete rooftop surrounded by a three foot high red brick wall with a masoned top. Ventillation pipes and a chimney that connects to the singular fireplace down in the basement rises up from the concrete rooftop, though the chimney's old brick is crumbling and weathered.

A pair of old sun-bleached folding lawn chairs are situated out on the roof along with a plastic cooler, while white sacks of loam and soil are set next to large lengths of scrap wood, a box of nails and a few carpentry tools; a project in the works.

Another meltingly-hot day is roasting tourists and residents alike, but at least one long-term foreign visitor has sought shelter from the sun within the comparative cool of Gun Hill's walls. Her back resting against the fourth-storey door of apartment 403, Ygraine is sitting cross-legged upon the floor, a sketch-pad open before her, and an array of photographs and pencil-drawn sketches laid out atop a couple of large, sturdy envelopes. Bent forward with her forearms resting on her knees, she frowns pensively down at the array of images, a pencil twiddling to and fro between the fingers of her right hand.

In contrast to her apparently artistic considerations, she's clad in lycra cycling shorts and a very supportive halter top, though the latter leaves bare much of the brilliantly-coloured tattoo covering her back.

Bounding up the stairwell of the apartment complex, feet flying over every other step, is Linus. When he hits the fourth floor, his hand catches the banister of the railing and he swings out into the hallway, coming to an abrupt stop when he sees somebody in the hallway that might catch him acting like a kid. He adjusts the messenger bag slung over one shoulder and starts to walk at a more normal pace down the hall.

Clad in a snug fitting blue t-shirt with the original Star Trek series communicator logo on the left breast and a pair of brown khaki shorts, he comes to a halt again when he realizes the person is sitting in front of Quinn's door. He also notices the outfit, turning away to face the much less appealing wall. "Uh. Hi. Are you waiting for Robyn?"

One brow arched when Linus swung into view - his arrival announced some time before by the pounding feet in the stairwell - and the other lifts when he speaks. A chuckle, and Ygraine ducks her head, though she continues to peer up at the stranger. "Yes, I am. I just called by on the off-chance", she says, her voice distinctly marked with the tones of an educated Briton. "I hope that she's not missing an appointment with you for something?"

Linus clears his throat, turning more towards the Briton but continuing to not look directly at her. "Oh, um.. no. I was just stopping by. We're supposed to be working on some things together, and I was in the area.." He trails off, habitually adjusting the strap of his bag again. "I'm Linus, by the way." He braves to look at the lycra-clad woman to extend a hand politely, crouching down on his knees to do so. Being tall sucks sometimes.

The cyclist cracks a grin, reaching up to accept and shake Linus's hand, her grip quite firm. "Ygraine", she says warmly. "I believe that Robyn's mentioned you. You're the professional game-tester, if I'm thinking of the right person….?"

As she talks, she sets about deftly stacking up the photographs into one heap and the sketches into another - all of them seeming to be images, of one sort or another, of statues, many looking to be the kind of angels found at some cemeteries or churches.

Having crouched down, Linus gets a pretty good look at the photos, albeit they are upside down from his perspective. His own handshake is actually pretty light in grip, but he doesn't shy away from the strength of hers. "That's my day job, yeah. By night though, I'm Batman." He pulls his bag off, lifting the strap over his head and settling into the wall to the right of Quinn's door. "I'm guessing by your outfit that you're a cyclist of some kind.. or just have an odd fascination with lycra."

Ygraine lets out an amused laugh at that, though she busies herself with carefully tucking away first the photos and then the sketches into the two envelopes. "Both, I suppose", she says, quirking a wry smile up at Linus, before unfolding smoothly into a standing position - bringing herself nearly to the same height as the man, thanks to her markedly superior posture. "I'm a courier, now, and I used to be a competitive cyclist. But Batman, huh? This city's masked vigilante fancies himself a white knight rather than a dark one, from the footage I've seen…. Are you setting yourself up as a rival to him?"

Linus makes an "oh" face at Ygraine's answer about the lycra, one hand lifting to scratch an eyebrow with his thumb as a way to look away. "That's cool. I never learned how to ride a bike. I fell down the first time I tried and just gave up." He stuffs his hands into his pockets, then laughs. "Oh, I was just joking. I'm not the hero type. No, no, not at all." He shakes his head. "I don't want to be anybody's rival, either. I'm just Linus." His hands come out of his pockets and spread out in front of him as he speaks in a more dramatic voice-over type voice. "Linus Agron. Gamer. Nerd. All around nice guy. Definitely not a hero."

Ygraine laughs again, turning her dragon-decorated back on Linus for a few moments as she crouches down to carefully slip the envelops into her backpack, freeing her hands once again. Straightening up, she shrugs to him, toned muscles shifting under pale skin.

"Having a handle on who you are sounds far more sensible to me than dressing up and leaving calling cards as challenges to the cops", she assures him, a slight smile lifting the corners of her mouth. "And an all-around nice guy sounds like a better contribution to society than a vigilante. Niceness, I can definitely approve of."

Linus definitely turns his head to take a look at the tattoo splayed across Ygraine's back, whistling at it. "Wow. That's some really impressive stuff there. I'm not even really into tattoos, and I think that's awesome." He smiles, giving her a nod. "Yeah, not really the calling-card type of guy.." A hand comes up to scratch the back of his head. "Unless it was a nice one, I guess. Maybe like a gift basket, or something. Some nice fruits, maybe some bath salts."

Ygraine blushes a touch, but grins as she dips into a curtsey. "Why, thank you. I'm delighted with it, myself, I admit. And I could put you in touch with the artist if you like. She's astonishingly gifted…."

Glancing to the closed door of 403, she then looks back to Linus. "I like the sound of a caped crusader who leaves fruit as his calling card. Do you want to hang around and wait for her?" A thumb is jerked towards the door. "If so, there are chairs on the roof. It might be a bit more comfortable than lurking here."

Linus waves his hands frantically, shaking his head at the same time. "Oh, no thanks. Tattoos are really not for me." He bends down to pick his bag back up, slinging it over his shoulder. "The roof?" He looks confused for a moment, but then shrugs and nods. "Yeah, sure. The sun is really nice today anyway." He begins to walk towards the stairwell, but then stops and half-turns around. "Um, why don't you lead the way?"

Ygraine bends over to pick up her own pack, holding it in her hand as she better settles the items within. Moving past Linus, she shoots him an amused look. "Wanting a look at the tattoos again, or something else?", she asks, before starting up the remaining flights of stairs to the roof.

Turning a deep, deep shade of red in the cheeks, Linus trips over his own feet before catching himself on the wall. He steadies himself, then heads up the stairs after Ygraine. "What? No! I just told you I'm a nice guy, didn't I? I just wasn't sure where the roof access was exactly, and figured you did since it was your idea." He half frowns, brow knitting some. "You were just teasing, weren't you?" He slaps his forehead. "Robyn still has a hell of a lot to teach me about girls."

Ygraine's merry laugh echoes down the stairwell as she bounces up the flight in front of Linus. "If I objected to people looking, I wouldn't dress like this in public", she assures him - in a tone much more quiet than her laughter. "And Robyn's very keen for me to show off the tattoo. I think that she's possibly even more pleased with it than I am."

It is Linus' ears' turn to go red as Ygraine's laugh echoes around him. Shaking his head, Linus continues up the stairs. He's pretty quick as well, but doesn't go at too good a clip as he doesn't want to knock into Ygraine. "Yeah, well - still. I'm not like that." He's quiet most of the rest of the way up the stairs, careful to keep his eyes away from the bouncing body in front of them and focus on the stairs or the walls. When the roof gets closer, he finally speaks again. "So, how do you know Robyn?"

Ygraine comes to a halt, holding open the door to the roof. "How do I know her? Hmmmm. Given your responses thus far, I admit that I'm tempted to give a mischievous answer to that", she admits, winking at Linus. "But… hrmm. I actually met her up here, first. We were both looking for someone else, and bumped into each other here. Got talking, and… things gradually followed from there. Et voila. The grand roof-garden of Gun Hill. What do you think?"

"Looking for people on a roof? That's pretty strange." Linus ascends to the roof after Ygraine, settling himself on the concrete surface of the roof. "Huh. I guess this roof actually sees traffic, though. So maybe not that strange." He slings his bag off his shoulder again as he heads towards the lawn chairs, setting it down next to one. His gaze lifts to the sky, his eyes closing as he spreads out his arms, lifting himself onto the tips of his toes to inch closer to the sun like a plant reaching for its warmth.

Having paused just inside the door to slip a pair of wrap-around shades into place, Ygraine rather curiously watches Linus's behaviour, before she belatedly remembers to put two and two together. "Ahhhh. I think that Robyn definitely did mention you to me", she says quietly, padding over to claim the other chair for herself, folding onto it and crossing her legs. "And yeah - there's been at least one party held up here. The hope is that it'll be able to be developed as a proper garden - a little patch of greenery that people can enjoy. Grow veg and so on, I think."

Linus snaps back into the reality of being on the roof with another person, pulling his face away from the sky as he falls back onto his feet completely. He turns around to face Ygraine, running a hand through his hair. "Uh, what exactly do you mean when you say that? What exactly did she tell you about me?" He clearly looks a little nervous, but he sinks into one of the lawn chairs, his attention drawn to the garden as it is brought up. "Yeah.. seems nice." It's clear by the tone of his voice that his answer is more generic response than actual interest in the garden, his mind seemingly elsewhere.

Ygraine apologetically raises a hand, then leans forward a touch, again resting her arms on her knees. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. But if you want people not to know, then you could probably do with learning not to look so twitchily nervous", she murmurs. "I'm… trying to help Robyn a bit with the study and development of her more unusual talents. I'm not exactly an expert at it - I'm not sure that there really is anyone in the world who could honestly claim to be - but I might be what passes for an older and wiser head in such things, where she's concerned."

Linus closes his eyes, just listening for the time being. When Ygraine is finished, he shakes his head. "You don't have to apologize. And I don't think anybody would consider me to be hiding something because I'm nervous. I'm always awkward like that." He smirks at his own self deprecation, but continues. "So.. you're one of the people helping her out? She said she might know some people who could help me out, too."

Ygraine looks rather sheepishly guilty. "I didn't mean to blunder into it… but, well. I'm quite good at repeatedly introducing my feet to my mouth, it seems. But yes - I know a little about such things, and I've been having a small amount of success in helping Robyn to develop some more skill with her own talents. You… I've honestly got no idea if I could help, but I'd be willing to give it a go if you wanted me to."

"Yeah. That would be great. Any way I could make sure I don't accidentally blow anything up would be awesome." He mutters, opening his eyes to sit up and face Ygraine more directly. "Don't worry, my own feet have pretty good relationship with my mouth too." He wrings his hands together, letting out a sigh. "If you could help me, I'll of course pay you back. Anything you'd need, any help you could use. I may not look like much, but I'm pretty smart."

Ygraine shakes her head, chuckling. "I'm not exactly after payment", she says gently. "But thank you. There might well be things you can do at some point… but I don't want you to think that you're signing a contract in blood or anything. I'll try to help, and I'd like you to be grateful for anything I do manage to do for you - but I'm not charging fees or demanding payment."

Linus shakes his head. "I'm not saying you are. I'm just a scratch my back, I scratch yours kind of guy." A pause. "Wait, that doesn't sound right.." He looks down, rubbing his head a minute before forming a sentence in mind. "What I mean to say is, I don't like people to spend their time helping me and then I never do anything for them." He smiles sheepishly. "I can promise I'll certainly be grateful."

Ygraine allows herself another chuckle. "If you feel obliged because it's in your nature, then I'm not going to argue. I just don't want to seem to be holding undescribed 'favours' over your head as indefinite debts of unknown nature…."

"That's settled, then." He leans back into the chair again, laying his arms across the arm rests and looking up into the sky, listening to the sound of the city around him. "Do you know anything about dodging registration? Robyn was talking about it, but didn't give me any details."

Ygraine takes a deep breath, then sighs and shrugs slowly. "A little. Not much. For some time, it looked like I'd dodge that simply by being a foreigner - for a very long time, the insularity of the US meant that every single pronouncement was solely about "US citizens". Us foreigners fell through the net by default. But they finally got around to closing that loophole."

Linus nods briefly, one foot tapping against the concrete of the rooftop. "I don't want to get registered if I can help it. Robyn was talking about how people with powerful abilities who register, sometimes bad things happen to them. She also thinks my ability might qualify as powerful, and.. well, I'm scared. I don't want to be manipulated or used. I just want be me." He looks over, head tilting as he does. "Does that make sense?"

"I thought about hacking into their records and just adding myself as a non-Evolved, but.. there are so many different records being kept, and the paper trail.. I'd be caught eventually, and probably thrown in jail." Linus' head leans back the other way, letting out a sigh. "And I'd rather register than go to jail, that's for damn sure." He climbs out of the lawn chair, taking out his phone and looking at the time.

Cocking her head, Ygraine rather worriedly eyes Linus. "Hopefully, we can find a way to avoid that", she says quietly. "Are you in a hurry to be somewhere? Don't feel that you need to stick around on my behalf, if there's somewhere you need to be…."

Linus looks confused a moment, but then shakes his head. "Oh, no. I was just checking the time. I don't wear a watch." He doesn't really catch the worried expression, leaning down to grab his bottle of Sobe Green Tea out of his bag for a drink. "If I wasn't here, I'd just be home playing video games or reading comics or something. Besides, I'm waiting for Robyn."

Ygraine quirks a wry smile, cocking her head as she studies him sidelong. "Isn't playing games your job? And… what is it that you're waiting to see her about, if it's not too rude to ask. You said something about a common project that you were working on with her?"

"Yes and no, but it is more work than you'd think. I play unreleased games to look for bugs and errors and things, and write them down in a log when they come up. So it's not really the same as just kicking back and playing on your free time." He shakes his head at the second question. "No, it's okay. I was actually stopping by to see if she wanted to work on our abilities. I couldn't exactly tell you that at the time."

Ygraine cracks a swift grin. "Rather like editing a text isn't quite the same as reading it for pleasure. You're looking for rather different things when you're searching for what doesn't work rather than focusing upon what //does…. But yes. I can certainly see why you didn't want to announce that to the world. Would it be too… rude or risky to ask what it is that you actually do?"

Linus is silent for a few moments, just standing there in thought as he looks at the few clouds in the sky as the lazily drift across. Eventually though, he turns back around to face Ygraine. "I don't really know what I can do, exactly. I know I feel better when I get sun exposure, and I know I shoot blasts of solar energy out of my hands capable of melting through concrete at the very least. I can also give a really warm, relaxing massage." He smirks at the last bit, thrown in mostly as a joke. "But I have suspicions that I can do more."

Ygraine cracks a grin, but nods pensively, frowning a little. "Hmmmm. So - you're a capacitor of sorts. And you possibly depend on the energy you take in, to some extent, for your well-being. I wonder if you could survive without eating? Not that it's something to push too hard, of course. Do you feel unwell in the dark or under artifical light?"

Linus nods, crossing his arms over his chest for lack of anything else to do with them. "Depends on the light. If it's actually ultra violet light, I'm okay. But if I spend too long in the dark, or under a light source that isn't ultra violet for a long time.. eventually I do start to feel a little bad. Like you said, it isn't something I like to experiment with. This winter was terrible, though. Couldn't get out much. Felt sluggish through most of it."

"Mmmm", Ygraine observes insightfully, before nodding thoughtfully once more. "Do you find that spending time in direct sunlight makes you forget about eating, or stops you needing to sleep, or the like? Or just that it makes you feel a bit better?"

"You mean like some sort of photosynthesis? No, I still get hungry. I suppose that could be in my head, though.." He starts to pace around a bit, his gaze mostly on the ground. "I've never really talked about this with someone. I mean, I've told a few people.. and they know I can shoot blasts and all, but I've never really sat down and tried to figure it out with somebody."

Ygraine quirks a swift little smile, shrugging slightly. "I'm an analyst. It's a right pain in the arse at times, and I'm often told I think too much, but for this sort of thing… it can be really useful. When no one really knows what's going on or what's possible, what better start is there than trying to figure out at least something about what's happening? It can provide insights into what's possible. The first thing I did with Robyn was try a few experiments. See if I could both get her to think about her talent, and find out something about what its limits and potential might be."

Linus stops pacing for a moment to look over, giving Ygraine a nod. "I trust you. If you've helped Robyn at all, then I trust you to help me. Not that I expect you to help me figure it all out, it is my own body and my own ability after all.. but I do trust that you can help me some." He resumes his pacing. "So where should we start?"

"Let's start with the invisible stuff - just talk, first", Ygraine suggests. "Especially since you say that it can be dangerous. What brings on manifestations of your power? Anger? Excessive exposure to the sun? Fatigue? Illness? An adrenaline rush?"

Linus looks up, thinking as he walks back and forth in front of his lawn chair. "Well.. I can control it somewhat. Fire weak blasts, make my hands all warm like a tanning bed or even cooler but still pretty warming. When I was angry the other day, the blast was a lot more intense.. and it went off accidentally in a bar once, but I was surprised and scared at the same time." He unfolds his arms to rub his eyes. "I don't really know."

Ygraine winces at news of the bar blast. "That doesn't sound good. Which bar was it, out of curiosity? And… are you aware of consciously holding anything back, at the moment? Now that you're in direct sunlight?"

"It was real small. Exploded a bottle. After that.. everything went crazy, and I just got the hell out of there." He stands still a moment, thinking hard. "No.. no, I don't think it's a matter of holding it in. I think I have to force it out, actually."

"That's good", Ygraine assures him. "Suggests that you're not at any significant risk of, say, letting out bursts in your sleep, or if you get tired or distracted. If it takes some… impetus to manifest, then you should find it less of a problem. Though… could you say what triggered it? Have surprises caused anything similar in the past?"

Linus shakes his head back and forth, his hands finding his hips. "No, no! I don't know." He stands for a minute just breathing, eyes closed. "I'm sorry. No.. I don't know. That's the only time it ever went off like that. I normally have it under control. It's just.. when I got angry, it got so much bigger than I was used too. I don't know if was because anger has some way of powering it, or if I was just pumping adrenaline to a level where I did it naturally, and I can always make one that big."

"It's all right", Ygraine quietly assures him. "I'm not expecting you to have answers to anywhere near everything I ask. Part of the point of this is to get you thinking about things, so that you're more likely to notice quite what changes, and how it does so, and what might trigger things - whether they're visible to other people, or just something that you feel yourself."

Relaxing, Linus nods his head. "Right, right." He begins to walk back and forth again, this time his hands in his back pockets. Eventually he picks up his bottle, taking another drink and recapping it. This time he hangs onto the bottle. "We don't have to do this now, you know. Why don't we wait for Robyn and we can all sit down and do it together, or we can schedule something for another time?"

Ygraine smiles gently. "Certainly, if you like. And it'll give you a chance to think about more about whether you can feel things changing, if nothing else. I'll gladly help out, if you can catch me to do so."

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