|Speaking Out of School|
|What: Remy and the Cuckoos get a chance to compare notes, share fear, swap ideas, and make a plan.|
Now that he considers himself completely healed, Remy has taken to amping up his workouts considerably. Especially over the last couple of days. Rather than train with weights or other conventional equipment, he's strung an intricate network of steel cables in one area of the largest room. Each cable is very taut and extends from floor to ceiling at a seemingly random angle. Some are close together, some far apart, and others are woven together entirely. It's as if Picasso decided to build a jungle gym.
Remy is stripped to waist and barefoot, wearing only a pair of cloth pants that tie at the waist and ankles as he vaults through the narrow gaps between the cables. His improvised obstacle is a little on the dangerous side. He's already got a raw, bright-red mark on his shoulder from a poorly-timed jump. It didn't deter him, though. He continues to swoop through and around the metal web, sometimes grabbing onto a strand as using it to speed his momentum, sometimes catching another to slow it. A rhythm develops after just a few minutes. Soon he's dancing as much as he's exercising.
The girls have been subdued for days. Their work in the Balkans left them exhausted and run-down. They've managed not to get sick--germs don't survive well in organic diamond--but they've spent a good deal of time sleeping both at their home with Remy and in their little apartment deep in Gotham's seedy underbelly. Today held a half-hearted attempt at shopping that's left them mostly irritated at everything.
They haven't missed that Emma is developing a school. Or that Remy went to see her. They've steadfastly refused to pry deeper. |"She isn't us,"| Sophie reminds the others as they make their way back to Remy's place. |"We don't have to be like her."|
Esme shakes her head. |"And if we want to be?"| She doesn't like Metropolis any more than the others but she is envious of all Emma's power and wealth.
Phoebe opens the door into the safehouse for them. |"We don't,"| she says with unusual firmness. |"We might like some things about her but we don't want to be her and you know it. The others agree with me. We can learn from her. We can't stop being ourselves."|
Sophie takes off her shoes as she steps in the door, dangling them from one finger. |"I'd just like to be able to shop without wondering what she'd think of everything."| She looks askance at Esme. |"And you're not helping."|
"We're home," Sophie announces, forging inward with some of their purchases, including pastries.
For a moment, Remy looks an awful lot like Spider-Man. He's at the apex of his construction, perched where several of the cables meet like the spokes on a misshaped wheel. Crouched down, arms dangling between his knees, he leans forward to see what sorts of treats the girls have brought.
A quick hopskip takes him down to floor-level, where he snags up a towel and rubs it through his damp hair. Leaving it dangling around his neck, he comes closer and glances at each of the girls in turn. "Hey," he greets them. "Glad you're home. Did you bring goodies? I'm starving."
"You look much better today. We brought you food, yes. We can tell you're starving." Sophie breezes by and brushes a kiss near Remy's cheek. "Pastries and some actual food. Sandwiches."
"You're going to make us fat," Esme complains. She dumps a pair of shoes out on a table and then sits down--on the table top, feet on a chair--to try them on. "You need to eat more."
"I'll make coffee," Phoebe offers. She leaves her bags in a chair and follows Sophie to the kitchen. Always, one needs coffee. Of course.
Remy breaks a corner off a danish and nibbles on it as he winds his way into the kitchen. Sophie's smooch is met with a small smile and an affectionate pat on the rump. "Sophie get fat, maybe," he teases. "She eat too much junk food and not enough gumbo."
A older-brother chuckle slips out of him as he leans forward and rests his elbows on the kitchen counter. It doesn't last long, though. An uncharacteristically serious expression crosses his face. "Ladies, I think we should have a family meeting. I know I just get back last night, but I sleep on things and I think about things. We need to chat, mimis."
"Remy!" Sophie flicks at his nose for teasing her, but she sobers up as soon as he mentions a family meeting. Phoebe looks dreadfully solemn. Esme tosses her hair back as she straightens from fastening the new shoes. "About what?" She gives Remy a challenging look with an arched eyebrow.
"About my lil' trip," Remy replies. He wrinkles his nose and breaks off another piece of danish, but he doesn't start in on it right away. "You know I met Emma. She seem like a nice lady. We talk about lots of stuff. Her school. Her plans. You. She proud of you, I think. All five of you."
The girls, surprisingly enough, don't have anything to say about that. Remy knows them well enough--and they know him well enough--that they don't try to hide when the gestalt takes over. Phoebe returns to making coffee, Esme takes off her shoes and puts them back in the box with a little moue of disdain.
"What did you decide?" Sophie unpacks sandwiches onto a plate which she then takes to the table. "Did she offer you a job?" They would expect Emma to do so. "You're very useful."
Remy takes a bite of pastry, but his heart isn't in it as much as it was a few seconds ago. The rest of his little piece is set aside, at least for the moment. "She did," he affirms. "And something to believe in. I think dat's what makes me want to say yes. S'not like I need de money. What do you think about all dis? Dis school for special people she want to make?"
Sophie shrugs, looking rather uncomfortable, especially given that the usually impassive gestalt is in play. "It's naive in some ways, mercenary in others," she says at last. "We don't do well with organizations and agendas. They may start out with good intentions, good by some standards, but they rarely continue that way. We want to like the idea." She shrugs again.
Their mind touch Remy's with what they're having trouble putting into words. How close a school could come to the educational protocols 'program' like the one they knew, at least in their minds. That the school would provide a constant, rich gene pool for artificial or natural selection and reproduction. How claustrophobic they feel at the idea of uniforms and seats in rows and being singled out for development because of gifts or powers.
Remy's immediate response is to wrap his arms around Sophie, and to share his thoughts freely. His troubled childhood, haunted and hunted and teased for his devilish eyes. The name 'Le Diable Blanc,' one that's stuck with him through his entire life. These are the roots that have sprouted into a fierce desire to protect those who are different, and to teach them the lessons he's learned through difficult experiences. Though he's not a family man by traditional means, the love he feels for the girls is like a warm blanket wrapped around all four of them. Something safe and happy that can be clutched to as needed.
Next comes his thoughts on the school itself, and his place there. First there's fear. What does he have to offer a group of talented young minds? He knows nothing about conventional schooling. And he has worries of his own, mostly about Ms. Frost's motives. Still, there's that potent desire to guard and to guide. Perhaps, with the right people there to teach and protect the students, a school for the gifted can be a safe place. A haven for those who would otherwise live in fear, often alone, sometimes homeless and hungry. For those who might otherwise live the life that Remy lived.
He gives Sophie a final squeeze and lets her go. "You know what I mean?" he says. "I want to like it, too."
"We know." Sophie nods solemnly, then looks at the others. "It's hard not to be afraid. Because she is like us and we are afraid of ourselves. We know what we are. It's not a judgment on her. Just... us." She exhales slowly as Phoebe and Esme set the table behind her.
"In a good world, even a little bit good, it is a good idea. And regardless, she would be lucky for you to be there. So would the children." There's a little envy in the way Sophie says that word, as the girls know they are no longer children, even if they have their moments of childishness. "If it will make you happy, it is a thing you should do. You teach us well."
"I'd be a lot happier if you came with me," Remy admits quietly. Though his mind is joined with theirs, he still looks away. "You de only family I got, and I just got you. I don't wanna leave you. Not even Laura." He manages a small smile. "We do good, don't we? We look after each other, we have fun. I don't wanna move to some fancy city and lose dat."
The very idea makes the girls anxious but the idea of Remy moving away and leaving them is far worse. "We'll come with you." Sophie frowns even as she says it. "Of course we will." She shakes off the frown and gives Remy a hug. Moments later, she's joined by her sisters. "We'll learn how to be there." They might not go to school, but they aren't going to let Remy out of their sight for long.
The normally tough and bristly Cajun folds the triplets into his arms, clinging to all three of them. "I'm scared, too, but I'd like dat," he says. "I really would. Meeting you has made me realize I can do more dan just run around, steal stuff I don't need, and get drunk too early in de afternoon. I wanna do more dan dat. Dis could be my chance. If it's not, we come home. No harm done."
"Okay. But we stay together." That's Phoebe, who stands on her toes to kiss Remy's cheek. "And maybe we go to one class," Esme says reluctantly. "But only yours."
"Deal," Remy agrees, grinning widely and giving them each an affectionate ruffle or a smooch on the forehead. "Well. I dunno about you, but I got my appetite back. Let's do lunch."