Parks and Parenting

Summary:
June 22 2014: Amara, Fenris and Inara all meet in the park, and muse on mutants and hyena-girls.

M-Town Park

A pale shadow of a much more famous park in NYC, the M-Town park is typically quite and safe during the day and less so after dark.


Characters

NPCs

  • Crocuta - The Hyena Girl

Mood Music:
[*]


Inara Bahrami has given up today on trying to teach the little hyena girl how to be a little more civilized. Meal time is a very messy affair still, and trying to convince the little girl, whom she has named Corcuta, that daily bathing is something that people do has not gone well. So, Inara is taking a break, having taken Crocuta to the park just outside her home. Inara is surprisingly not surrounded by animals for a change. It seems that the wild child is just a little too daunting for them to risk the warmth of being near the animal whisperer.

*

Fenris had been in Gotham today and hadn’t felt like taking the bus back. The park is often where he makes his entrance and exit when he decides to use more expedient methods of travel. It’s not nearly so populated as Central Park during the day and he often goes unnoticed or at least unnoticed by anyone who will say anything. So it’s something of a surprise when he appears in a flash of light.

“Ah. Inara.” He smiles and then sees the little wild child and running about. “And ward. Hello.”

*

There was a demonstration in M-Town today for mutant rights, and Amara made the trip back into the city to keep an eye on it. Just in case. Now that it's gone off without a hitch, though, the young woman is taking a bit of a walk through the area, burning a little more time before she heads back o the Institute. When she catches sight of Inara and the girl from the other night, she starts in that direction, stopping a short way away with a small smile. "Hello there."

*

Inara Bahrami turns when a second voice says hello. She sees Amara and nods her head politely with a smile.

"Hello again. Did you come to check on Crocuta?" She gestures over to the girl who is on the edge of the duckpond now, making noises and wild gestures at the goose that has decided that discretion is the better part of valor and is getting far away from the girl.

*

“Crocuta. As in the genus for the spotted Hyena. Well, nearly. Seems appropriate. My apologies for the light show, I had been visiting Gotham and did not wish to take the bus back."”

*

"I've started to teach her some words, but she doesn't seem to like anything over two syllables. I'm Nara and she calls herself Cora." Inara smiles over at Fenris and nods. "Genus and species. The hyena is one of the few monospecific animals in the… sorry, I'm doing it again."

*

Amara dips her chin to Fenris, offering a small smile. "Amara," she introduces herself as she comes closer. "And no, I was actually just in the area to see the demonstration earlier today. I thought I'd take a walk, and here you are." She watches the girl for a few moments, smile quirking briefly.

"She's certainly…feral, isn't she?"

*

Inara Bahrami nods her head to Amara. "Feral is a very apt description. She doesn't remember her parents. She's been living as a beast or that spirit form she takes for as long as she can remember. And she is constantly asking me *why* she needs to act like a human. Sadly, I'm the worst person to ask that question to."

*

"Yes, rather. I suspect she was raised in the presence of animals if not actually by them. As Inara mentioned, she knows no English and does not seem to have any socialization beyond what might be provided by an animal."

He grins over to the tour guide on the bench. "You need not apologize, Inara."

His gaze tracks the little girl over the park as she runs to and fro chasing squirrels. "She shall need a great deal of help."

*

"Those are terrible questions in general," Amara agrees with a brief, genuine smile. "But there are some who can answer them better than others. I am not always one of them." She pushes a hand through her hair, still watching the girl. "Are you all right with all of it?"

*

Wolfson moves to stand near the two women, breaking his almost unnatural stillness.

"Demonstration…? Ah you mean the Mutant Right's protest. There've been several of those in recent months now, as I recall. Do you attend them often?"

He glances down to Inara and then over to Amara knowing he'll hear if the girl has any… problems. It's not likely here, at least during the daylight. The better sort of M-Town resident will look out for lost children.

*

Inara Bahrami looks over at the little girl terrorizing the wild life. She will apologize to them all later. She smiles though, a fondness for the girl evident.

"I'm all right. I'm not saying no to your school idea, but I would like have her able to at least eat a meal without it being all over the room by the end of it before I take her there to meet you're professor." She gestures to the bench she sits on, a book in her lap.

"And yes, they are hard questions. I may be human by birth, but I'm far more animal myself."

*

"No, I wouldn't pressure you for it," Amara assures Inara with a shake of her head.

"There are so many things to learn for someone who hasn't been in society. Better that she learn the basic parts where she can be more comfortable, from someone who really understands her. But you should know, in case you ever come across anything that you can't handle."

At Fenris question, she shrugs slightly. "I'm not convinced of the utility of demonstrations, honestly. But they serve a purpose."

*

"People are unique animals in that. They must feel that they can be heard. The utility of the demonstrations is as a pressure valve. It releases tension. To a point, at any rate."

Philosophical god-wolf is philosophical. "I'd tend to agree that with Inara is a good place for the girl right now. Even if others could speak to her she has a… calming quality to beasts and things like beasts. I'm a little surprised, actually that more have not gathered 'round. They often do."

He watches Corcuta nearly catch a pigeon. "Then again, perhaps I should not be."

*

Inara Bahrami says, “The demonstrations serve the same purpose as those for race in the 60's or the pride parades in the 90's. They bring awareness to the masses, making things more acceptable. They are the first step to being accepted. I have every faith in the fact that mutants will be accepted in time. Not by everyone. Racism and homophobia are still in evidence, but not as much as they used to be." She arches a brow as Jeremiah voices the opposite thoughts as her own.

She's about to say more when she too notices that Crocuta nearly catches a pigeon. "At least animals tend to have a short memory."”

*

"I suppose," Amara agrees with the others, dipping her chin slightly. "Still, I worry sometimes that they will be…more detriment than benefit. So much of this fight is centered on appearances, and the rallies can sometimes get a little much. And, too, they can become targets." Her smile fades at that.

"That is why I attend them. People should be able to hold rallies, demonstrations, and protests in safety."

*

"Safe from whom though, one must wonder." Safe from the authorities? From mutant haters? From themselves? All equally possible. Fenris glances again down at Inara and then back up.

"So tell us, if you do not mind, about this school. What is it they teach there?"

He's leaning on the bench now, one hand almost right next to Inara's shoulder.

*

Inara Bahrami ponders this and nods. "Well, the situation does tend to get worse before it gets better, but demonstrations such as this have worked repeatedly in the past. The Suffragettes for instance."

Inara shuffles close to Mr. Wolfson's hand, making more room for Amara to sit with her. "Yes, I would like more information on this school. I would also like to see it for myself before I would leave her with you. I know I have no right to be so protective of her, but… I have always felt protective over the animals."

*

"Everything," Amara answers Fenris with a small smile, moving to join the pair at the bench. "It functions as any regular, boarding school might. All of the usual subjects are taught. But there are also special…considerations made for the needs of students with particular abilities. Parents have always been encouraged to visit the school before enrolling their children, of course."

She looks toward the girl, smile quirking. "The situation here may be unique, but the general principle should still apply."

*

Fenris nods slowly. It would not be the first school in the history of the world to offer a place to the unusual and gifted. Most such institutions, however, operate on behalf of someone else and are recruiting grounds as much as anything else.

"May I ask, then, for whom you operate?"

To another this might seem distrusting. In fact, it's possible it does to Amara, though Fenris is merely probing for information in the same methodical way that he hunts.

*

Inara Bahrami chuckles as she is referred to as Crocuta's parent. She looks over at the girl and her smile of affection quickly turns into an epic face palm as the girl seems to have found an interesting smell and is rolling in it. "That's linen. From Iran. My maman bozorg sent me that." She sighs heavily, seeming to resign herself to a very intense laundry session tonight.

Inara lets Fen's question pull her away from something that she can't stop now anyway. "Mr. Wolfson has a very good point. What is your school getting out of teaching these children?"

*

"We operate for mutants," Amara answers Fenris first, offering a small smile that attempts to be reassuring though it doesn't seem like it's an attitude she often takes.

"For the idea that eventually mutants and the rest of humanity will be able to live together peacefully. And that is what we get out of running the school. A place where it is safe for mutants to learn. To grow up. To come to terms with who and what they are."

*

Fenris nods slowly. "Mmmmm. I see. That's noble." It's said neither with effusive praise nor with cynical sarcasm. Merely an observation.

"And you ask of your graduates then that they further that cause when they go out into the world? Which would seem to be in their interests anyway, since the present tension can end only in one of two ways."

It's not hard to follow his logic. The relationship between mankind and mutantkind can end only in friendship, or genocide.

*

“So, you are hoping by teaching children that they can live together peacefully with regular humans, that it might become a reality? But, doesn't it seem a bit like segregation to you? Would the movements for racial equality or sexual preference gotten where they are today if they purposefully separated themselves from the masses?”

*

Amara tilts her head slightly at Fenris' question, giving the man a long look. "Nothing is asked of students save that they try to live by the ideals the school teaches," she answers him evenly. "My class…" She trails off, then shakes her head.

"Many are actively discouraged from, as you put it, furthering the cause. Some choose to on their own."

Inara's question gets a certain amount of consideration. "You are not wrong. It isn't the answer. It is an option."

*

Wolfson is quiet for a few minutes as he considers all this. "With another I might be somewhat suspicious of that answer, Amara, but I scent no lie from you. I hope your fellows are as noble and even handed as you are though. The bond between teach and student is considered sacred in some places and with good reason. Short of real parents, there is no one with more influence in the life of another."

*

Inara Bahrami looks up at Fenris as he says he scents no lie off of Amara. "Thank you. I can't feel anything off of humans." She smiles to Amara. She's not asking too many details about the school, not wanting to jeapordize anything. "Crocuta is a good child, just wild. She is smart. She just needs time. I don't know if she will ever be not wild though. It's in her very core."

*

Amara arches a brow slightly at Fenris' words, though she doesn't question them. "I came to the school myself when I was sixteen," she explains. "My powers had come on me rather…traumatically. I had very little control over them. And to make matters more complicated," she adds with a wry smile, "I am not from a standard place. I grew up in Nova Roma. This world, my powers. It was a great deal to adjust to. The school helped me through that. Me, and my classmates."

*

"Good. Then it sounds like perhaps you and Inara may truly be of help to one another. And to Crocuta."

He smiles at the name and a bit more at the fact that Inara had named the child within hours of recovering her.

"Her abilities seem likewise fairly potent. Even now to my sight she throws of mystical signatures. That will complicate matters since means it is not simply her mutant nature with which she must come to grips." That last bit addressed to both women.

*

“Nova Roma? I've heard of it. I would love to visit it someday. I've thought of maybe taking Crocuta to Africa. Maybe taking her to where hyenas are native would be good for her."

She brushes a stray strand of her black hair out of her face. "Tell you what. Let me get her to the point where she's at least able to eat, bath and use the bathroom like a human being and we will come by your school."

She looks over to Fenris. "She's magic? Not surprising. What with the ghost form she took. And that hyenas were often attributed with magic in African folk lore."

*

"There was one such in my class as well," Amara smiles faintly to Fenris. "We managed all right. Eventually."

She nods to Inara, agreeing. "You are, of course, under no obligations to us. And I didn't wish to pressure you. Each person is unique, and has unique needs. Unique solutions. Her place may not be with us. But I wanted you to know that it was an option."

Glancing back to Fenris, she grows thoughtful. "Unique," she echoes.

*

Most people are, though Fenris is in a way that few know of… and no one on this Earth does, at present.

"She is that, yes. Unique. I think though, that she has ended up in exactly the place she needs to be, with people who understand her needs and are devoted to her care."

He clearly means both Inara and Amara there, since he has decided that her intentions are good, even if nothing has yet been decided on how to proceed.

"Yes… another jest of Fate perhaps, but a happier one than usual."

*

"I just am not too terribly sure that I am the right place for her either. I resigned myself to never being a parent. And while I am loving this oppertunity, I want what's best for her."

Inara looks over at the girl who has actually caught herself a pigeon and is eating it, raw and feathered. Inara sighs softly. "So much work to do. Perhaps we can work together. I will have to see what I can do to make my care for her official, but if this is a school of yours, then she will still need a legal guardian."

*

Amara winces when she sees the pigeon eating. "That's, ah. Yes, you may want to work on the eating habits," she agrees, taking a deep breath as she looks away. "The school has procedures in place for those situations," she assures.

"Unfortunately, there are…many parents who have a difficult time coming to terms with their children's abilities. More than once, they have been all too happy to have the student simply out of their house."

*

"In times past they simply burnt them at the stake, so that is at least something of an improvement. Is there anyone in your school who can work magic? There are precautions to be taken if she goes there, both to prevent her from becoming frightened and ghosting out and to prevent anything that becomes interested in her from getting in. Children are often targets for forces of magic. They're minds are easy to mold."

*

Inara Bahrami shakes her head as Amara mentions other parents.

"Human animals can be downright barbaric." She looks over to Fenris, resting a hand on his.

"Mr. Wolfson, Amara here is barely more than a student herself from there. Perhaps these are questions we should leave for one of the school's teachers? You will come with me to the school when we take Crocuta there, won't you?"

*

"I know," Amara says quietly to Fenris' mention of children being targets. "My classmate was able to provide such protections for herself, but if Cora were to come to the school, we would certainly speak to someone who knows about such things to make certain she would be safe." She smiles faintly at Inara's words, ducking her chin.

"I am admittedly not accustomed to playing ambassador for the school. But it is for a good cause."

*

"Of course I'll come, Inara." Jeremiah smiles down at the Persian woman. "It would be my pleasure and it's quite possible I may be of some assistance."

Slight understatement, that. He's got twenty five hundred years of experience to put behind his words and an immortals lifetime of magical study. He may not have the raw magical talent of people like the Sorcerer Supreme, but he can at least make very good suggestions.

*

Inara Bahrami says, “You make a lovely ambassador. You are answering our questions honestly. Which is good. Animals don't lie. Even when the answer is not what you want to hear. Humans tend to tell only half truths about almost everything. It's why I don't feel comfortable around them, even though I am human myself. So, your bluntness is appreciated."

She then looks over at the girl again, the look of a mother that knows her child is a handful. Crocuta, or Cora as she calls herself, has decided that now that she has eaten, a nap is in order. She lays on the grass, her face and fingers still bloody, sleeping in the sun.

"I should get her home. If anyone else sees her like that, they are liable to panic.”

*

"That seems a likely reaction, yes," Amara agrees in regard to the girl, though a faint smile touches on corner of her lips as she shakes her head. "The professor has always challenged us to embrace the best parts of humanity, and to forgive the worst. Sometimes, that is easier said than done. But we always try."

*

"That is a lot of forgiving to do, if you don't mind my saying so." Fenris chuckles.

"However you seem to do well enough. I shall accompany you if you don't mind Miss Bahrami. It occurs to me that perhaps there are some precautions to be taken in your house as well."

The tall, lean man offers Amara a handshake. "It was good to formally meet you, Miss Amara. I look forward to seeing you again."

*

Inara Bahrami stands up from the park bench. "It sounds to me like this Professor of yours might be the sort of human I wish we could all be. I look forward to meeting him. It's rare I meet a human I like. Mr. Wolfson here and now yourself are the first ones I've met in a very long time since I became an adult." She offers a hand to Amara. "It was good to see you again, and this talk was very enlightening. And yes, Mr. Wolfson, you may join me. But I think calling my place a house is giving it an illusion of grandeur."

*

Amara shakes each of their hands, her grip light. "It has been a pleasure, both of you," she agrees with a dip of her chin. "And I wish you both luck with the girl, whichever path you choose to take. I think she will be well-protected."


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