Worth The Headache


cash_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Worth The Headache
Synopsis While still living up in Canada with most of the Lighthouse Kids, Lance recieves some personal training in how to use his ability from someone who knows him a little too well.
Date June 1, 2016


There's two small radios sitting on the ground, a decent distance apart. One plays a rock station, the other a hip hop station. They don't mix well together. The Lighthouse Initiative had trained this young man a lot in the past, but a statue of woman showed up every so often, and today she's told him that she intended to teach him something new.

Every day, Lance grows into the man that she had married, but Cash can't tell him that. Even with all the strange things going on in the world, she doesn't want to burden him, but she can't leave him be, either.

"You can extend your ability outside of touch, negating sound waves, not allowing them to pass through the field. It doesn't just surround your body and anything you touch. I can surround the air itself. Picture it as a dome, or a bubble. Made of sound, not glass."

The dark haired woman does not stand in her statue form today, hair longer than it had been when they first met, much darker. She'd always been an old soul, of sorts, but something about her had changed over the years that she's been a fixture who showed up randomly. She's grown even older, but her smile is more and more common. Even if the sadness shows in her eyes.

She's shown up now and then, over the years, and Lance has learned not to bring her up. For some reason, the adults get really weird and sketchy about the topic of Cash, so he just doesn't mention her anymore. They clearly don't think she's dangerous, and he's learned to just accept her as another part of his particularly unusual life.

So when she showed up saying she wanted to teach him something, he was up for it. As she explains what, though, he gives her a dubious look. "Are you.. I mean, are you sure? I've always just, you know— " A shrug of one shoulder, and he looks back at the radios, his lips pursing in a frown, "Just around me, like an aura. I'll try, though."

"It is an aura, of sorts. But you can expand it." Cash never explains how she knows things, she just seems to say them. "It's like… second skin, almost. That feels vibrations in the air. It might work better if you close your eyes." She steps back, moving to stand next to the furthest of the two radios.

"Just try. There is no harm if you don't succeed." Sometimes she wishes she knew how Colette had done it, all those years, training those with abilities in how to use them. She knew the other woman would probably be better at it, but she also knew…

Well, she knew exactly how he had explained his ability to her for most of her life. How it felt to him. "Put your aura up and try to expand it, and keep expanding it. I will tell you when I can no longer hear the first radio."

Lance takes a deep breath, and he nods. "Okay," he says, only she can't hear it anymore, since he's just activated his power. Not a sound escapes him as he shifts his stance uncomfortably, brow furrowing as he looks across the broken pavement of the old parking lot to the radios and their discordant rhythms. Not sure what to do with his hands, he claps them soundlessly together, rubs them together, and (unnecessarily) pushes them outwards for a gesture to go along with the focus.

The lines on his forehead deepen in strain as he feels that field he generates expanding in the direction that he's reaching in, spreading out from him a few inches at first. A foot or two. He can't see it, and neither can she, but he can feel it. A deep breath again, exhaled ragged, sweat starting to bead on his forehead as he pushes harder… and after maybe two minutes, the first radio slips behind the field, cutting off the sound of hip-hop from Cash's point of view.

One thing Cash has in abundance, is patience. She doesn't make a sound as he concentrates, allowing allowing the music to be the only real annoyance. She hadn't turned the radios up too loud, that hadn't been the point. She just needed a marker to go off of, to show how far he could expand. When the sound disappears, she nods. "Open your eyes, Lance," she calls out, before she starts to make a sign at him. It's a simple sign, not quite ASL, not quite something else. It's a group of hand signals she'd taught him.

Talk to me like this, her hands say.

"Now I want you to picture what you feel now— Your aura. Try to feel both sides of it— the inside and the outside. Do you feel the difference?"

Oh, right, vision. Lance's eyes pop open at the call, and he sees her hands immediately— it's an instinct now, used to the hand-language that all of the kids at the Lighthouse now use. He nods once, straightening up a bit although there's still clear tension in his stance. It's like stretching a muscle he didn't realize he had before, and holding it in position.

Acknowledged, he signs, then screws up his face a bit in concentration.

He starts to reach out with his hands before realizing that's not what she meant - instinct, really. The tip of his tongue briefly moistens his lips, and he hesitantly signs back, « I think so. Different… pressure? » Signs are limited, sometimes.

Cash had been grateful when the kids learned it— even if she taught him some new ones. She had more intimate knowledge of it than any of the children that had come back— She hadn't helped make it as much as the older former Lighthouse Kids, but she'd lived with it almost her whole life, lived and used it— most the kids only got a secondary identification with it.

Maybe one day he'll figure out where it came from, but for now… It's just a fun way to communicate with only a few select people. Lighthouse Cant, as the kids had called it once.

"Good." She says out loud, even as she signs the same words in repeat. He can still hear her, even if she can't hear him. "I can no longer hear you or that radio. Take that feeling, and try to make both sides feel like that, make the pressure the same." Her steel blue eyes stay on his, catching his hand movements in the background. "Try to make it the same." She keeps signing as she speaks.

The young man purses his lips together a bit, brow furrowing in concentration as he tries to feel out how to do that. It's tricky, controlling something that's both part of you and not, using unseen 'muscles' that have never been flexed before.

Okay, he signs back, grimacing a little as he focuses, hands spreading out a bit, and then he blinks— head jerking up in startlement. As he loses his concentration, the entire field collapses and she can hear him again. "I couldn't hear the other radio!" He sounds shocked.

While Cash is mostly stoic, quiet, when he exclaims in shock, she suddenly has a bright smile on her face. Part of her wants to rush over and hug him, but instead she tries to compose herself, bending down and turning off the closest radio as a distraction. It allows her to catch her breath, and once again have a more controlled expression, even if she’s still actually smiling. It’s just much smaller.

“You can make your silence go both ways.” She had known he could, though never explained how she knew he could. But she sounds both pleased and proud— and something else that’s difficult to place. She often didn’t sound emotional. But she did right then. When she straightens she steps closer, “We’ll have to test to see how far you can expand that— silence field— and try and see how long you can hold it. Has Brian taught you any forms of meditation?”

"That's primal," Lance exclaims with a broad grin - he's been picking up the slang that she and Adel occasionally drop - as he looks to the radios, then to her in excitement, bouncing on his heels. His head is pounding from the effort, but it was well worth it.

The fact that Cash is actually smiling just makes him grin all the more, adding fuel to that feeling of real accomplishment. He brings a hand up, rubbing against the side of his head, "Uh, not really? I don't know if he even can meditate, I mean he's always got like a dozen brains working at once."

“I suppose that would be a distraction,” Cash had to admit, having not really thought about it that way. Brian had always just been Brian, no matter how many of them there were in the world. “I can teach you some simple tai chi, at least. But if Noa ever visits, you can probably learn a lot more from her.” But she’s sure that Noa is often busy doing… whatever it is that her mom has her doing.

Cash would have spent more time with her mom, herself— if it wouldn’t also have meant she would be constantly around a younger version of her. She’d found that too difficult, so instead… she latched on to a younger version of the man who had been her husband in a life he would never live. Perhaps she’s doom to difficult, either way. Stepping over to the other radio, she turns that one off as well. “But even simple Tai Chi can help focus your emotions, help your concentration. I cheat cause when I’m stone, most things are blocked out. But you can block out sound, which is the one thing I can not.”

In stone form, the only thing she has is sound, technically. Sound waves, vibrations, the same thing, in the end. No sense of touch, no sight, no taste, no smell. Just the tiny vibrations all around.

Lance rubs a thumb over his temple, grimacing a bit as the headache throbs inside his skull. It'll get easier over time, like a muscle slowly strengthening. "Tai chi…?"

He lifts a curious eyebrow, "Is that like, kung fu? Brian's taught me some of that!" Then he grins, "Yeah, I guess I can. Man, that'll help when Hailey's snoring…"

“That would be one use,” Cash responds, continuing that hint of a smile, which for her still was a rarity. From the way he keeps touching his head, though, she rathes that he’s Amassed some side effects from this training session. “You should rest. I don’t think teaching you any Tai Chi would be a good idea today— but with Brian having taught you some kung fu, it should not be difficult for you to pick up.”

It would take time to get the finer things down, the relaxing methods, the near meditation, but at least he’d probably have balance and physical strength for certain things. “I’ll come back tomorrow and we can work on your concentration. And hopefully avoid a second headache.”

Of course, it isn't technically Kung Fu that Lance has been learning, but it's the easiest way for the kids to explain self-defense training. Also it feels cooler to say you know 'Kung Fu'. At Lance's age, feeling cool is everything.

And he's feeling pretty cool right now.

"I'll meet you here," he grins through the headache, pausing before noting, "You know, you could come back with me, join us for dinner and everything. It's not like Brian doesn't know you…" He may not be aware of all her visits, on the other hand.

Brian and Samara know her, even some of the other children do, but Cash still shakes her head at the offer, that partial smile fading until she has her usual ‘stony’ face back on. “I have other obligations, I am afraid.” She’s lying, but he doesn’t need to know that. She just doesn’t feel comfortable in that kind of social setting. Not something she could explain without telling him things she’d rather he never find out.

Because she’s seen what knowledge of a future that will never happen had done to certain people. She was content with being someone who would help him grow into a man, into someone who could have even small pieces of the man he’d been in her past. Like pieces of a ghost, left to a boy, of a man he could have been.

“I will see you here again, tomorrow,” she adds with a tone of finality before she picks up one radio, then the second, and walks away into the forest. She’ll wait until she’s out of sight before she turns into stone, even if part of her wants to do it even as she walks away. If only cause then it would have stopped the tears that want to form before they ever did.

"…alright." Lance isn't stupid; he knows there's something going on, but he doesn't have the context or knowledge to know what it is. He rubs at the back of his neck as he watches her go, smile fading to a slight frown.

Whatever's bothering his enigmatic mentor, he can't help her with - not today - so he just turns back away to head home, fingers rubbing between his eyes.

There's a slight bounce in his step, though. He accomplished something new, and impressed Cash. That's worth the headache.

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