Logs:Mother Knows Best

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Mother Knows Best
Dramatis Personae

Elie, Gaétan


"{What sort of mother am I if I didn't put my children first?}"


<PRO> Elie's Office - Lassiter Research Facility - Ohio

This isn't a large office, but it's generous compared to the ones most researchers get (best not to go down the rabbit hole of comparing with the administrators, though). Two windows let in ample light, one offering a decent view of the grounds and the rolling hills beyond the distant fence line. The door is usually open, which contributes to the atmosphere of unexpected comfort and welcome in this space. There are low bookshelves under the windows, the tops of which also house flourishing potted plants, a Keurig machine, a glass electric kettle, and an elegant tea service in white porcelain edged with delicate green vines.

On the desk a vintage green banker's lamp, a hand-woven basket of fidget toys, and a crystal bowl of High Value Candies all manage to harmonize with the state-of-the-art computer workstation in a way that feels at once homey and professional. The desk itself is arranged perpendicular to the small but plush sofa, such that the user can turn in her office chair and face her visitors over the squat tea table. It's less overtly adversarial than the traditional across-the-desk seating arrangement, but also positions her to quite literally look down on them. Surely that's just incidental, though, and the sofa is nice.

"{If I had any thought they would take you from me, I'd have never let you out of my sight.}" Sitting primly at one end of the couch, the mother of the day is dressed in a three-quarter sleeve mint shirtwaist dress with white chalk stripes, a wide fabric belt in rose, sheer hose, and white linen pumps. She wears pink lipstick and a touch of rose eye shadow, with just enough highlighting and contouring to soften the lines of her years without making any effort to disguise or erase them. Her hair is done up in a neat but casual braid bun, and her perfume is a subtle halo of sweetness and spice.

There's a veritable feast laid out on the tea table: delicate crêpes stuffed with fruit, scrumptious soft-scrambled eggs, maple glazed rashers, and tarte au sucre. The tea is splendid, of course, and given that Elie's guest today is an incarcerated minor, there probably isn't supposed to be alcohol involved, but she's adding a split of Moët & Chandon to the carafe of orange juice all the same. It's Mother's Day, after all.

"{The facility's administrator was fired that very day, which was as it should be, but the timing of it -- well. He's left quite a mess, throwing children in there with the criminals!}" She's a study in righteous fury barely contained, and she discards the empty bottle with perhaps just a touch more force than necessary, but her eyes gentle when they return to her son. "{Such a fright you must have had, my dear. I hope they're not treating you or your schoolmates too badly down there.}"

Gaétan is not sitting, primly or otherwise. The yellowish almost-faded bruising splotched across one eye is probably only assisting his mother's Righteous Fury, and he's a little stiffer in his slow and curious perambulation of the office than he might otherwise be. He picks up a small cube of magnetic fidget balls, crushing and re-molding them in his hand as he stops to peer out the window. "{Fired? I guess they're pretty mad, huh? What's going to happen next, I mean -- do you have any idea how they're going to sort this out? They can't just keep us there, right? Who handles this kind of thing?}" His eyes are a little wider when he turns back towards his mother. "{Jail is jail, mom, I mean -- people are pretty scared, you know?}"

Elie pours two mimosas, though she does not yet drink. "{Oh yes, the government are incensed, and I think they're still sorting out what to do about it.}" She decants the tea, as well, adding sugar and milk to both cups, falling into the soothing rhythm of that ritual for just a moment before looking back up. "{The thing of it is, your schoolmates, however well-meaning, have committed terrorism, and someone up the chain has decided you and Spencer must have been party to it.}" She tsks, shaking her head. "{It's absurd, of course, and I'm working on them, but these things take time, and 'terrorism' is a particularly powerful word in this Godforsaken country. I might have been able to get you a hearing elsewhere, but -- they know, darling. That you're a mutant.}"

"{Being a mutant isn't a crime, is it?}" Gaétan's head drops against the window, briefly, staring out it for a long moment before he pulls himself away. He drags himself back to the couch, sitting gingerly down but taking the mimosa much less gingerly. "{Isn't there anyone here who gets that? People here want to help mutants, right? Someone has to get what a mess this all is, be as mad as you.}" His fingers fidget slow with the base of the champagne flute as his shoulders hunch. His eyes, wider, look over towards Elie. "{At the very least know how to make things a little less horrible for us all in there, you know?}" Here, leaning back, a little wry now: "{I mean, you should see the book selection they have. You would die immediately if you had to spend the day reading James Patterson and that's before we get to dessert or --}" His dry amusement falters, for just a moment. He hides it behind a sip of champagne, fingers tighter around the glass.

"{Not a crime. But it is a near thing, no?}" Some of the confidence has fled Elie's voice, and she sounds, if only for a moment, haunted. Only for a moment. "{The genetic politics in this country are dreadful, but most of the people here know we are more than just risks to be managed away. I had to work hard for the liberties I have now, but I was able to because they care about our well-being.}" She picks up her own glass and sips. "{You can, too, I'm sure of it. I will be with you every step of the way, and I'll do my utmost for the other children, also. At least some better reading material, to start.}" She reaches out and so, so gently touches her cool fingertips to the fading bruise on her son's cheek. "{So much security they have, and still this happens! If not for the constant threat of outside attack -- real attack, not your misguided friends -- this place would look very different.}" She gives a soft sigh. "{Ah, but there's nothing for it now. We'll manage somehow, we always do.}"

"{It is. It makes it pretty terrifying for my friends down there, you know? They've only heard the stories from the news and -- we don't have any idea how you go from all that down there to --}" Gaétan gestures with the flute to the comfortable office. His breathing is only unsteady for one small inhale, at that gentle touch. "{This just all seems so surreal. You just came back and I just wanted to catch up with you and next thing --}"

He takes a longer drink from his glass, a slower breath. The sidelong glance he flicks up to his mother has managed to reclaim a touch of humour to it. "Please, I was a white boy going to school in Jamaica, these are not the first fights I've been in." His smile is just a little too wan to properly back this bravado, but his tone is light enough. "{You always manage, anyway. I'm really trying. Might be easier if --}" He shakes his head and sets his glass aside to look over the laden table. "{I'm sorry, it's your day and I'm making this about my stupid problems.}"

"{Oh, my sweet darling!}" Elie's voice doesn't break, but it drops to a breathy near-whisper. "{I ought never to have brought you here, but whyever did those children think to attack this place? Still, security should have recognized they were children. That poor boy...}" She drinks deep and lays a hand on her chest as she sets her glass down. "{It took me years of patience and networking, but you'll have me to guide and protect you, and I think we can leverage the importance of your power. Doctor Allred is absolutely brilliant, and she thinks it might be the key to the great mystery of what makes us mutants!}"

She leans in a little closer, the hush in her voice now born of excitement tightly reined in with caution. "{You could save countless lives. You could save your brother's, after all, if God forbid his cancer should recur. But of course you're frightened, that's only natural.}" She smooths down an errant tuft of his hair. "{Now, don't talk nonsense. I made all this for fear you weren't eating well enough down there. Whatever you need, I'll do everything in my power to get it. What sort of mother am I if I didn't put my children first?}"

"{They thought -- I don't know what they thought. Just doesn't seem right to be locked here forever for a stupid mistake.}" Gaétan picks up his tea, now, cradling it close in both hands. "{A lot of kids are having a really tough time, we could use some first aid stuff. I don't know, money on my commissary for when we can't get meals --}" His smile slips a little wry. "{Guess sneaking in a drink would be too much to ask, huh?}" He takes a deep drink from his tea, and his brow furrows. "{-- did you say Allred? Is that --}" He looks up at Elie, and there's a slowly growing worry writing itself behind his eyes. "{Mom, what I do isn't -- it's not good or -- what if I gave Matt his cancer, what if -- I've been trying so hard already to make sure he never gets it again but what I do is -- dangerous.}"

"{Never you worry, I will take care of it,}" Elie says sweetly, with no hint of irony or reluctance. "{Oh! Have you met Lily Allred already?}" There's a subtle shift in her alertness, a hitch in her steady gaze. "{You didn't give him cancer -- you were too young, and if you'd manifested so early, why would it have been just him? But if you think it's dangerous, you can help the researchers take the appropriate precautions in testing.}" She smiles softly. "{We'll figure this out together, my dear. If this research breaks new ground, that's power in itself, and I will teach you how to use it.}"

"{No, I haven't met her. Sorry, just knew a guy back home -- I'm sure there's a lot of Allreds.}" Gaétan's eyes have dropped to his tea, and he nods slowly at his mother's words. He sets his tea down now, slowly picking up a plate to start serving food -- kind of tentative, probably not as much as he should be taking for an actual meal. "{I don't even know what precautions anyone should take. I don't want to hurt anyone. But if you're...}" He bites down at his lip, eyes fixed on his smattering of food. "{-- do you think we could do this more often? I mean. It's just. Been a relief to get out of there. Even if it's just for a little while. Talk to you. See something that's not cell walls and people who want to beat me into jello.}"

Something eases in the set of Elie's (not tense!) shoulders when her son starts at least making overtures towards eating. "{They've been working with mutations since before you were even born. If none of the experts here know to deal safely with yours, they've many others all across the country they can consult.}" She's loading up a plate of her own, her appetite undimmed by any of their discussion. "{I'll certainly be able to see you any time you have testing scheduled, but outside of those...}" She gives a thoughtful hum. "{Well. I'm sure we can figure something out. I'll take every opportunity I can to get you out of that awful place, even if it's just extra procedure time. But let me know if anyone really has it out for you, and never you worry it's going to come back on you.}" Even the hard edge in her voice here is casual. "{Mother has her ways.}"