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You Hate Me To Say (IC)


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January 2020 

Just after "One by One

 

When Lulu arrived back at her dorm room after the meeting with Orange Squad, she knew Eira was in there - and in a mood. They'd only been sharing the same space for a few days but she knew what the loud music meant when the door was closed; and that Eira would be perfectly content to listen to it for hours at a time unless she was asked to stop. The sound vibrated through her hand as she opened the door, and she was bombarded by a guttural German voice singing a song that had been five years old when she was born, playing at a volume that pushed the limits of Claremont's policies without actually breaking them. 

 

"Du! Du Hast! Du Hast Mich!

 

Eira was standing at her desk-turned-lab-table, violently banging her head and thrashing her limbs, mouthing along to the song. She'd taken off her hoodie and was down to a black halter top that set off sharply against her pale skin, exposing what looked like deep scars over her shoulder blades as she danced. Eira was not by any means what Lulu would have called a competent dancer, but she was certainly aggressive about it. She looked Lulu's way as she came in; but didn't immediately stop. 

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Lulu stepped into the room, quietly set her purse over the back of her desk chair, and then took a seat cross-legged on the middle of her bed, facing Eira. She sat there calmly for a few moments, checking her phone, then switched if off and set it aside. Interacting with Eira was different than interacting with most people; none of her psychic 'tricks' worked on the Nordic exchange student, so she had to fall back on the oldest weapons in her arsenal: charm and compassion.

 

"You want to talk about," she calmly asked, just short of a shout.

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Eira spun and raised her left hand, clenching it into a fist. The music stopped without so much as an echo, and the Swedish teen crossed her arms over her chest as she glared at Lulu. Her pale skin didn't so much as glisten from her recent exertion, and with a disgusted look on her face she reached up to put her blue hair in a tie. "That was what my parents wanted me to hear at Claremont. Of course. Skit också!" she spat, venom burning in her voice. "Are they all like that?

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Lulu looked over her shoulder, in the general direction of the library. 'What, squad meetin's or other students? Mostly we just hang out, go bowlin' or visited curse haunted houses. Ah think that's the first formal metin' we've ever had."  She shrugged and made a face. "Can't say ah liked it very much. As for other students...well, not everyone gets along with everyone else."

 

Then her expression became more thoughtful as she gazed at Eira. "Can ah ask you somethin'? Do you have any brothers or sisters, or are you an only child? Ah's just wonderin'."

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"I have a foster brother; the hero you know as Citizen. When I was uploaded, I spent some time with him before my new body was complete. We still see each other every few months." She smiled thinly, taking a seat on the stool in front of her desk. "If you are talking about biological siblings, my parents had planned for several children." She took her earrings out as she watched Lulu, keeping eye contact as she reached behind her to put them away. "But one daughter dying slowly before their eyes was enough to put them off the notion."

 

She hmmed and said, "Perhaps Mia is oversensitive because her mother was a criminal."  She was cracking her knuckles again, crack crack crack, first on the left hand and then on the right. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Something about that last statement made the telepath's blood boil; to hear her best friend's lifetime of struggle dismissed so out of hand by someone who'd admittedly suffered a great deal, but never had to fight for her parents' affection made the back of her neck go all warm.

 

"Yeah, that may be it," Lulu stated matter-of-factly, as she stared down at her shoes. "So the next question is, why are you so damn hypersensitive?" And then she skewered her roommate with the most hostile yet disinterred blank stare she could manage.

Edited by Heritage
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Eira smiled but it didn't look like a real smile, the artificial muscles of her face contorting into something like a snarl. "You saw what happened. I told them how I felt and they thought I was announcing my superiority over them. Perfect little soldiers of the superheroic cause," she added with a sound like bitterness in her voice. "Why should I not be sensitive, when my mere presence is an affront to them?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lulu's brow furrowed as she crossed her arms tightly across her chest. "Ah saw Mia tryin' to apologize in her own awkward way, and you choosin' to take it as pity. Well guess what? Just because you've got a computer for a brain or whatever don't mean you can't fool yourself or make errors of judgement, or see things colored by your point of view. You're just as human as the rest of us in that department."

 

She stood up and approached the Swedish robo-teen; there was a challenge in her posture, but it wasn't entirely hostile. "And don't you think you're superior to us? You clearly see this school as a waste of your time, because all the knowledge in the universe is already in your head or somethin', right? What could you possibly learn from kids your own biological age?"

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"Do you have-" Eira stopped and seemed to be trying to let the heat out of her voice - if she was, she wasn't doing a very good job. "any idea the number of people who look at a machine intelligence and assume she must be a monster?" She looked up at Lulu with flat blue eyes, the blue so pale it almost vanished against the whites. "And if one is a monster, one can be treated as one, yes? have known since I was small that there are people in this world who would strip my flesh from my bones and take my brain apart and that in most places in this world it would be no more a crime than dismantling a broken computer. So when your friend so confidently predicts that I am a future supervillain..." She looked away. "I have been lucky. But I know that luck can change." She shrugged and said tentatively. "And to answer your question, everyone has their own talents. Adam is stronger than I am, you have mental powers that I lack, etc. Why?

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Lulu took a deep breath to settle herself before she continued. "Ah didn't say you had an easy life; ah can't imagine everythin' you went through growin' up." She shrugged and wrinkled her nose. "Would it help if ah said no one trusts a telepath, either? Or Grue, for that matter; that's what Davyd has on his plate. Ah'm sure there's lots of scientists who'd love to dissect him."

 

The redheaded teen folded her arms and let her head droop a little. "It gets tirin', don't it? Bein' different? Wonderin' what people would think of you if they ever saw the real you?" Then she raised her and looked at Eira, a spark of mischief in her eye. "Ah don't know about you, but sometimes ah get tempted to just go all out, know what ah mean? Just...pick up a car and throw it across the street, scream and yell and watch 'em run for their lives! 'That's right, y'all better run, you hear!'" She chuckled ruefully and shook her head. "But, that kind of stupidity just gets you shot, and proves that they were right; you are dangerous." She stretched out on her bed, hands behind her head and sighed. "Sucks to be us sometimes, huh?"

Edited by Heritage
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"At times," agreed Eira, "though of course we have different lives. My problems are not the same as yours." She cracked the knuckles on her left hand, and added, "I prefer that they know Angelic is a mechanism, perhaps sent by some Divine Watchmaker, and that they think nothing of the pretty blonde girl with the nose ring." She smirked at that, reaching up to stroke the side of her face as she did so. "This isn't even really my face, you know," she added. "This is just an extrapolation of how my DNA would have expressed itself at the age of sixteen, combined with some elements of my mother and father at this age. I helped design the algorithm with Miss Americana when I was thirteen.

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