1963-09-08 - Freedom and Order
Summary: Crystal catches Moira returning late from just escaping a protest. Societal discussion ensues.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
crystal moira 


It's the middle of the evening by now, well past dinner, which Moira did not make tonight. That isn't actually rare, considering the school year is now fully started and she has more than a few late nights getting settled in with her new classes on campus. But it's even later than usual that the new car — with specific assistance pedals in it that let her drive the clutch even with her bad leg, pulls up the driveway. She doesn't bother parking in the garage tonight, but pulls straight around to the front door so she's not got all that much farther to walk.

Moira is particularly slow tonight, limping sorely on her crutch as she makes her way from car towards the front of the mansion. A long scrap and rather vicious gash runs down the side of her face, from her temple, and from the way she's moving there is bruising other places. She keeps her eyes down, a quiet, almost fearful anger just broiling beneath the surface as she makes her way into the mansion. She's heading for the upper floor bathroom as quickly as her hip will allow, not wishing to worry any student but also not looking all that great herself.

*

Since the missing students - and her sister - were recovered, Crystal has been stretched a little bit thin. She's still keeping up with her duties at the school, but time that might have been spent searching for her sister is now being spent on her recovery. That, and she disappears for long periods of time, no doubt to discuss just what the recovery of her sister means for her.

As Moira steps inside, Crystal herself is just returning from another long family negotiation, scrubbing a hand over her face as she moves down the hallway. The other woman's appearance gives her pause. "Miss MacTaggert?" she asks softly, brows furrowing. "You look…rather like I feel." She doesn't ask if she needs assistance - she's simply there in a heartbeat, offering a tacit hand to her elbow.

*

Well, if *someone* had to catch her in the quiet trek to the bathroom, at least it wasn't one of the full time students. Crystal was carrying the weight of the world already, Moira hated to add to it, but it wasn't the same guilt of scaring a child. She half winces as she's caught, a bruised, tired smile given in the woman's direction as she pauses enough to actually accept the help against her elbow. "…There were…protesters on campus. They don't appreciate my program of study." Moira admits with a quiet, tired sigh, taking the stairs gently, one at a time. Everything hurts.

"They finally found the location of my office. In truth…I'm surprised it took them this long." But the fact that it happened at all still makes her ache, the heartbroken tone clear behind her voice. "I just need to…to clean up, before one of the younger ones see."

*

"You were attacked by students?" Crystal asks, horrified. "That's…" Shaking her head, she helps the other woman toward the bathroom. "Honestly, there are times when I can't understand- All right. Well. We'll get you taken care of enough to walk the halls, at least."

For a relatively small woman, she offers surprisingly steady support, showing no signs of strain no matter how much weight she takes. "You teach genetics, don't you?"

*

"Yes…specifically with a concentration in mutations. It's a new field of study — academically, at least. Pioneered by Charles and I, to be honest. This is one of the first years there are full classes of study to take concentrating in it on the post-graduate level. Apparently… some people have issues with that. Students, possibly, or rabble rousers just trying to cause trouble among the students." Moira admits as she walks, her voice as quietly tired as Crystal's. The constant struggle is getting to them all.

But, she walks on. She does trust that steady hand at her side, leaning against Crystal just a bit more to keep weight off the left side of her body. They threw things at a *disabled* woman, that is somewhat horrific on top of everything, but she's taking it with grace. Just ten more feet and they are in the large shared bathroom on the upper floor.

*

Crystal snorts softly at the idea of students having issues. "Where I come from," she says softly, "There is no higher calling than a geneticist. But. Where I come from, such demonstrations and rebellion are also unheard of. Which…" She pauses to push the door open, then offers support once more. "If I am honest, such freedom is a complicated issue. And one I suspect we're soon going to have to face regardless."

*

"One we are facing already." Moira affirms gently. She takes the last few limping steps over to the toilet, closing the seat so she can sit atop of it and just get off of her feet. She settles in with a sigh there, everything hurting now that the adrenaline as worn off. She sets her crutch aside and turns her body enough she can reach the sink. She begins running the water, "There…should be a first aid kit in that cabinet, could you had it to me?" She's in fine enough condition to patch herself up, that seems to be her plan.

"…We cannot restrict people's freedom to speak, to protest…To stand up for themselves. But the fear makes it walk such a line that the smallest thing makes it spill into violence. This is what we have to, somehow, stop…"

*

"You live in a large nation," Crystal muses as she retrieves the first aid kit, setting it on the sink to open it up. "With so much land, so many people, it would be impossible to give everyone their place, to keep tight control of what everyone does. And, in truth, it seems the people here would not stand for it either way."

She tucks her hair behind her ear, leaning back against the sink to watch the process. "And such freedom…has its benefits." There's a flicker of something across her features there, a slight frown that lines her brow.

*

"…What are you thinking?" Moira asks gently, able to see that flicker behind Crystal's eyes, but not entirely understand it yet. She's distant friends with the woman, but she cannot say that she knows her intimately well to perfectly read her facial expressions. So, Moira does what she often does well — asks and listens. She keeps her gaze half on Crystal, while the other half of her attention goes to getting out the peroxide and grabbing a guaze pad to douse in it. The sharp scent of alcohol fills the room as she wets it down and then, very carefully, begins cleaning out the gash at her temple and other cuts on her face and then arms.

*

Crystal takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Nothing. Really." But it's the sort of 'nothing' that means exactly the opposite, and after only the briefest pause, she continues. "I'm incredibly happy to have my sister back. We've been looking for her for years, and it's a relief to find her alive and…almost well. But it means that my family is ready to move forward again, and that means certain responsibilities and-" Cutting herself off, she turns away to retrieve a trash can. "And I've found I rather enjoy the freedom I've had here."

*

It only takes a few moments for the implications Crystal is discussing to set in. Moira's eyes widen a bit, suddenly looking up to the younger woman and staring a heartbeat or two. "…Don't tell me they are going to make you come home and have…a husband…or babies…or something like that? You…You are your own woman. And you are still so young. That's… You… You must have your own life. Can you not have that?" Moira seems genuinely shocked at the thought, but then she is from this world. She's accustomed to such freedoms.

*

"They might." Crystal sets the trash can down next to Moira, going back to leaning against the sink. "And while I may not want to, there are other things to consider. Responsibilities. Duties. What it could mean to people other than myself. More the husband than the babies, really," she adds, looking back with a flicker of a smile. "We're actually rather…restrictive when it comes to children."

*

"…restrictive. What do you mean? And… that's still no way to have a life. You…you should… you *are* a good example to your people. Be an example of such freedoms." Moira sighs, already realizing how easy that is to say and probably not do. "…I realize it is probably far more difficult than that. But… we'll always stand on your side, you know that?" Moira offers gently. This is the point she'd normally reach out to squeeze the woman's arm, but she's got a handful of bloody gauze, so she just gives a gentle gaze before going back to cleaning off the last few bits of injuries. Then for a butterfly bandage…

*

"Mmmm. We're very careful about genetics," Crystal explains. "Which is why the geneticists are so well-respected. As unpopular as the idea may be here and now, we run very much on the idea that the individual should do what is best for the whole. Which includes strengthening the gene pool and avoiding potential problems. Which also comes from isolation, of course," she adds matter-of-factly.

*

"…Ah." Moira responds quietly, understanding all too well, whether she likes it or not. She just frowns and sighs, taking a silent moment to carefully stetch that bandage across her brow, joining edges of skin so the bleeding may mostly stop and the scarring won't be so bad. She finishes that and then grabs another for the worst slice up her arm, but most of the bleeding has stopped. It'll just be bruising and soreness in the morning. "…I…cannot say what is best for you or your people, Crystal. But know that whatever decision YOU make… We will always be behind you. I will stand with you. No matter what. And you have family here."

*

"I appreciate that," Crystal says softly, smile faint. "I suspect I'm going to be having some very long and very serious conversations with my family in the coming weeks. But you can all be certain that I will be fighting to stay here, as much as I'm able to."

*

"Good." Moira states firmly. She then tosses all the bandages and gauze, finishing a quick wash of her hands. She ends the first aid process with two asprin before she stands and leans over for a brief, gentle hug, pressing a little squeeze at the end of it before she draws away. "And…as you are going through that, if you need someone to talk to…I'm here. Except for tonight. Tonight.. I'm going to crawl into bed and forget what being awake is because that's the only way this sore is going to stop."

*

"Well, I am glad to hear you say that." Crystal returns the hug, leaning back at the last with a rueful smile. "Especially the last part, because I would have hated to end this by yelling at you to go to bed. Let me help you get back to your room," she says, taking the other woman's arm again. "And if you need help in the morning, then call on down the hall and I'll be glad to help."

*

"Thank you…I just might do that." Moira admits softly, the hurt setting in deep now. She leans against Crystal the rest of the way down the hall, but quietly crawls into bed without incident otherwise. At least she wasn't worrying the students, that was the biggest concern.

*

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