1964-06-23 - You'll Catch Cold
Summary: Vesper saves Clark Kent from pneumonia, while revealing her own. Also, the pair get a visit from someone in Clark's past. Or future.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
clark vesper 

NYU glistens under a fine layer of moisture. Rain spills over the city from the heavy clouds gathered in grey potato lumps. Not many undergrads are on campus, their exams done and summer beckoning them elsewhere. Grad students and researchers never get a day off though. The campus has the kind of restlessness that muggy, wet days in the summer bring. Pedestrians trudge under umbrellas through Washington Square Park. Vesper sits on a bench facing the park not far from the registrar's center, far away from her lab haunt. An umbrella jammed between her and the bench keeps her from being too wet. She hastily eats a bagel, absent cream cheese. A pile of journals and magazines poke out of a cloth bag beside her, and she hasn't bothered to adjust the big Greta Garbo sunglasses she wears.

Clark Kent is a new student here at NYU. Despite it being summer, he's taking three classes before his freshman year in order to try and graduate early. He's been offered a full ride on academic scholarship that includes room and board and wants to take full advantage of it. The farm needs help, you see, and the family could use a bit of his income. That's probably why he has two jobs, which don't count the harvest in the fall. The good news is that with his particular skill set handling large amounts of work is not huge problem.

But he does not appear to be skilled at all.

Rather than a proper umbrella, Clark is holding a copy of the Washington Square News over his head. He's just got his first article published. Is it ironic it's now getting soaked? It does little to protect his drenched hair or brown coat as he shuffles along with a scrunched face, still far from his dorm room.

The Gallic brunette eats in small, polite nibbles rather than wolfing down half a bready circle. At that rate, she will finish about the time of the Nixon administration. Not a dainty crumb falls outside the paper napkin she uses to catch them all. She has the advantage of people watching from an ideal spot, suitable for someone condemned to watch life from the sidelines. Delicate constitution and all. Old habits are hard to break even if her extended network is doing a good job shattering every ideal, virtue, thought, and assumption she made about life.

No matter. The shift of movement across the green lawns brings those doe-brown eyes up. At first she tenses. Trouble is a strange consort nowadays. But then the calamity of a soaked newspaper! Woe! The bagel goes napkin wrapped into her bag. The straps are fit over her arm, and she grabs the umbrella.

Clark is far faster on his feet than Vesper in flats. But she brings black nylon salvation by lifting up the rain shade and calling, "Monsieur, here! Do not become wet."

Their paths are set to collide at a hasty jaunt on her part, but not running. Parisian women only run when storming the Bastille or sales are on at Chanel.

Once he realizes she's talking to him, Clark skips over to meet her halfway or maybe a little more than halfway. As he slips under the umbrella he smiles at her. This close she can tell he's completely soaked through. Still, he seems genial enough, with a big dopey smile despite the water giving him a slight chill. "Thanks a lot," he says as a piece of the newspaper tears away from being saturated with water. It's becoming a bit of a mess. It's a metaphor.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your lunch." The way that she's dressed seems to take Clark aback. Everyone dresses so fancy here. Everyone except for Clark that is.

It takes approximately four seconds for the average person to identify Vesper as French from the time she speaks up. The accent cannot be overlooked even though her English rings with British schooling. She therefore has an advantage in fashion, striped Breton shirt and capri pants the picture of sophistication. She can also stand on tiptoe to raise the umbrella high.

"Oh non, think nothing of that. Lunch can wait. You have been… Trempe; ah, sodden?" Insistence is kind. Her sunglasses slip down her nose, and she pushes them back up a bit awkwardly. The bag is heavy and bites into her shoulder. With an elbow she settles it back. "Have you been outside long or was this a taxi in a puddle? Where are my manners?"

A faint pink tinge touches her pale cheeks. She's fair, fairer than fair in a way. "I am Vesper. So you do not think some stranger bothers you for no reason. I saw how wet you were, and that poor newspaper is no shelter at all."

Clark smiles at her catching her accent, "Are you new to New York too?" He looks to the bag digging into her shoulder and tilts his head. "If you want, I'd be happy to carry that for you." There's a shake of his head, "For a little bit here. I have a summer English class on the other side of campus." He lets out a nervous laugh, "I forgot to bring an umbrella to college. I guess that was pretty dumb."

Vesper hands over the umbrella without a fight. The difference in their shoulders alone makes it reasonable he should hold it. "I cannot make you carry my books too, monsieur. That would be unfair, and make you late wherever you go. But thank you, it was kind." She speaks with certain deliberation that comes in polishing off every sound, hinting to that extra moment needed to express herself. "In the arts faculty building?" She points across the green. "It would be that way, if so. Or the lecture halls back this way sometimes have the classes. I am new too. It's never a problem to be caught unprepared." A light shrug dismisses any idea he is stupid. Apparently she won't countenance that, the scientist behind the smile refusing to accept less than empirical evidence. "Who knew New York rained so much? You are new to the city or just about here?"

"You could," he says about the books. "I mean, I grew up on a farm. I'm used to carrying a lot heavier things. I insist. It's the least I could do considering you saved me from a monsoon. Besides, I'm done with classes for the day, so being late is no worry for me." His dark eyebrows raise as he begins walking along with her. "New to the city. I come from Kansas, actually. I had never been to New York before my parents dropped me off. What about you? Quebec? France?"

She nods, and her chin dips over the colourful scarf wrapped around her neck in gauzy film. Vesper tucks her hair behind her ear, though it's already smoothly drawn back into a ponytail. The last of the argument slips away and she brings both hands up to pull down the bag, offering it by the handles to Clark. The contents are more about volume than one thick book. Printed journals of a decided scientific flavour are stuck in with manila folders carrying notes and reviews. "Thank you for doing this. You need not. And you are?" Might as well get the name.

Aside from being the world's easiest mugging target, she straightens her shoulders a bit. "Kansas, that is in the middle of the country, oui? I am from just outside Paris. Your country I have seen very little of, except for New York City. Everyone tells me I must go to the shore or the forest. So much to see."

"Oh, sorry. Right, Clark. My name is Clark Kent. It's good to meet you. You saved me today," he responds with a sheepish smile. The young man puts the bag over his large shoulder and walks towards the dorms along with the French woman. "Middle of the country, middle of nowhere," he says with a bit of a chuckle. "Most of the travelling we did as a family was the tourist stuff. Word to the wise, if someone tries to get you to go see Mount Rushmore, it's a trap. You can't get close to it and there's nothing nearby." Clark came to NYU because it was the best journalism school he could get into. That it was in a cosmopolitan center was an extra advantage.

An encouraging smile doesn't mock or squash the oversight. "Clark." She repeats it, testing her pronunciation. Vesper nods, once she has it. "That's a very good name. Clark Kent, it sounds distinguished." And there goes down a little jot in the book of her life that she rescued he who may be destined to rescue to many more.

But right now, she's laughing. "A trap to see Mount Rushmore? I will remember your advice, it sounds very isolated." Her lips turn up further. "It's good you saw things with your family. Maybe you can show them everything in New York when you find special spots. The ride out to the Statue of Lady Liberty is /very/ wet. You will want a coat, if the weather is not perfect."

"Well, a boat would probably help with that," Clark says with a grin. "My parents are talking about coming here for Christmas this year, depending on how the harvest goes. Knowing my dad he'll just want to visit the restaurants." He tilts his head at her, "Why are you in America? Did you come for school?"

A nod answers his statement. Vesper guides him along the sidewalk to the cluster of classical buildings with their imposing facades, proof of the beating heart of student life. The law school is an impressive block off their left. "I wanted a different opportunity. You see, the university here has a good reputation for science and for ladies to study. Some schools do not want women in the field." The mere wrinkle of her nose is about as close as she comes to allowing an opinion to manifest, for that would be rude and never, never must Vesper be anything less than a lady. Except when she isn't, but there is no madman trying to break her grip on reality around right now. "I needed a new horizon. Maybe not so different for you?"

"I think you're right. Where I come from, the horizon is as far as you can see. And the space between is filled by corn," Clark says with a smile. "Do you like it here? New York, I mean. The school is good, but I haven't really seen the city. I've heard some great things about Paris."

For a moment, her steps pause. Necessary for Vesper to fish out her handkerchief, a delicate square of white fringed in forget-me-nots, a soft blue of the gentlest morning. She raises the handkerchief to her mouth, and stifles the coughing that's totally unproductive. Her lungs will always suffer for the pollution in the air. Even being close to the green doesn't make a difference. Shoulders tremble as she keeps the cloth to her mouth, head turned away. One doesn't become a geneticist without knowing about viral transmission. When the spell is passed, she can speak.

A little hoarse, but not terrible. "New York is too big for me to know so well. I try hard not to be lost. Important to know good places for food, though. The bagels and cheesecake and pizza, all famous! I want to try to find an Italian restaurant one day soon. Central Park is very dangerous."

"Are you alright?" Clark says, resting a worried hand upon her shoulder as he looks over her with a concerned look. He winces a bit, wondering if she should be out in such weather. Either way, it's not his place to say. But then, as she talks about Central Park and it being dangerous, he can't help but take interest. "Dangerous? What do you mean?" Clark is the type of person who runs towards danger.

Her eyes shift to his hand on her slim shoulder and up his arm. Some might freeze up under a touch or angrily shrug it off. Again, Vesper is French, and unusual for them even so. Her gaze rises like the dawn over the rims of her sunglasses, matching that concern with an old, weathered chestnut smile. "I have been sick a long time. But thank you." Such is the truth of a weakness going deeper than a common cold. "Central Park has thieves, oui? Someone stole kittens and he put them in trees. There were also people with no thoughts. Their minds, you see, are damaged. They hurt people and cannot be helped. There is nothing inside left."

Clark removes his hand immediately, not having wanted to upset her. He didn't realize he overstepped until after. Still, in a terrible invasion of privacy, he looks at her through her back. It's just a peak, really, but he's worried that it could be some form of cancer. Using his x-ray vision he scopes, but doesn't seem to find anything particularly immediate. A moment later, he's back. "That sounds terrible," he replies. He's probably speaking about Central Park.

No overstepping. She pats his hand as it withdraws, a soundless confirmation. Americans tend to be weird about touchy feely; her culture is definitely far more comfortable with itself than the English! "It is fine. A kind heart matters more, and you are not, I think, a cruel person." The smile slips away into its recesses at the corners of her mouth, but she's not someone who frowns at the world very much yet.

The curse of her is deep. Her lungs have unusual levels of fluid for an average person, on par with the early stages of pneumonia or bronchitis. No tumours or masses. Enflamed airways, the flagship carrier of Attilan, are her curse much as holding an elevated toxin load thanks to damn leaded gas. That old saying some people are too good for this world? Applies here, in a biological sense. "It's terrible, oui. Pray the doctors find a cure." She doesn't have much hope on that part, but there is still some. "But you are very wet. Let me buy you a cup of coffee, if you drink it. Maybe tea?"

"Coffee would be great," Clark says with a grin, momentarily forgetting that he should never allow a woman to pay for anything. His mother would be mortified. "There's a coffee shop in the basement of my dorm. If you wouldn't mind waiting for a bit, I should probably change." He looks at her sadly, "Whatever is going on with you, I hope you feel better."

With a nod, Vesper gestures at the rows and rows of buildings. "Lead the way. I do not want you to catch ill." Something she knows about personally. But her humour is good, spirits high, and pace smart in keeping up. "It has always been my trouble. But see, I can spend a fine day outside with good company. It is not always so bad. Look to the good things, not the things you cannot do."

Clark chuckles with a bit of regret in his eyes. "I guess that's a good way of looking at life, right?" He opens the door for her and gets buzzed in through the locked door and the pair walk into the long quiet hallway that looks more like a hotel than a home for late teenagers. He lives pretty close to the door.

He unlocks the door and leaves it open as he sets her bag down and eyes around the room. Where to put wet clothing?

His room is ridiculously immaculate. It looks as though things have never been out of order. There's not a speck of dust anywhere.

"I have opportunity here. Friends. Work. I like to think it may be much worse among those with nothing. It inspires me to find cures," Vesper says. Her smile is again light but responding to that core of regret, launching a tiny attack on it. She follows after Clark. Her shoes squeak on the floor until she can find a mat to wipe them off on, and follows still.

As he enters the dorm, she glances about. "I can wait outside so you do not get in trouble. I do not know guests are okay." Might as well be very much polite. On the other hand, such a fascinatingly clean place is familiar for the brunette. Her lab is often as spotless. It makes her smile even more. "There, no catching cold. I would feel badly that you were caught out and then I kept you outside to talk." Oh, how little they both know.

"Sure, alright. I'll be right out." Before the door is even closing, Clark is taking off the shirt and getting changed into a simple white t-shirt and jeans. He's replaced his boots with sneakers and he's ready far more quickly than one might anticipate. Things happen quickly out on the farm, or whatever.

"Ready?" Clark says as the door opens and his hair and body are now completely dry. The trip down to the coffee shop is mercifully in doors and within a few moments they're ordering their coffee.

Lara's flying slowly over the city. It's not like she has any place to go, or anything better to do, unless and until she finds some kind of clue on how to get herself back where/when she actually belongs — and that's unlikely in the extreme. In any case, she's only flying a few stories up in the air, so she's visible to people on the ground, and from windows in taller buildings.
Passing over the area of the university, she stops and hovers, pausing to reflect on how different the place looks, compared to what she knew from 'before'… and how the same it looks, at the same time. This, of course, makes her very visible to people on the campus, below… even at the coffee shop, of course. Being as she's -flying-, she draws some attention — most of it filled with the same bias that is aimed at superpowered beings such at herself, and some of that filled with the fear and mistrust that is typically aimed at mutants.

Vesper carries her book bag. The bagel is hopeless squashed against the manila folders and journals, but it's a small price to pay. She also folds up her umbrella and slides it into the nylon wrapper to keep any of the excess rain from dripping all over the paper. Organised, this means everything is ready to go when Clark steps out. She pushes her sunglasses up over her hair rather than wear them inside. She's French, not some weird beatnik.

"How lucky. A cafe in the building. It would be very nice to have one closer. We have only these pots that make very questionable water." A joke, as she uses to lighten the mood. She isn't looking outside at first, too worried about the menu.

Clark chuckles at her joke. Above and beyond Vespera, he spies something extraordinary. "Wow, would you look at that?" he says quietly to her, surprised. Only recently he found out that he could fly. But not at that speed.

Lara, now hovering, turns in the air as she looks over the campus. Spotting a fountain she actually finds familiar, she slowly floats herself down to it, to stand in front of it… only to find that the statue that is the fountain's centerpiece isn't of the person she remembered it being. She sighs and turns around to sit on the edge of the fountain, lifting a hand to rub at her temple. "How could I've expected that to be the same, when nothing else is? … idiot…", she says, in all but a whisper, to herself — although someone with highly advanced hearing might well have been able to overheard it.

"Look at what now?" Vesper leaves off deciphering what passes for coffee. Her gaze follows Clark's. It takes a moment for her to identify the unique disturbance, and that being lost for a moment behind a fountain. Without her sunglasses blocking the way, the widening eyes and surprise are written more clearly. "Goodness. I do not see that happen. Have you ever seen such?" She sounds more startled than anything else.

The words strike Clark's ear and he tilts his head. This definitely seems odd. "Not often. Come on," Clark says as he scoots out of the chair and makes his way towards the door. Once he pushes it open, he very quickly becomes just as drenched as he was before. But the landing Lara has him interested enough to make the mistake of being without an umbrella. Again.

It doesn't seem to him, standing there in a drenched white shirt, that he's essentially a gawker. He doesn't mean to hurt the flier's feelings or make them feel separate. In truth that's how he's felt for some time. But, when you started flying a week ago, such things become incredibly peculiar to you.

Lara's been ignoring the rain the whole time, of course. Her hair's pulled straight down because of it, she she doesn't really seem to mind being wet. She stands, then, and her feet come up off the ground as she's, evidently, about to lift back up into the sky — then she spots Clark stepping out of the cafe. Her eyes widen… and she simply stares at the man for a moment, before realizing he's staring at her, too. Her pulse suddenly racing, she freezes in place for several seconds, wondering what to do. Finally, she makes the effort to compose herself, her surprised look falling away as she puts on a poker face, hands going to her hips. "Can I help you, sir?", she calls over to where Clark's standing out in the rain.

The umbrella in the pocket of Vesper%<u2019>s bag is easily pulled out. She unpeels the wrapper and stabs the metal latch with her thumb. Stepping outside allows the umbrella to open without taking out an eye or breaking something. It opens in a black flower over her head and she walks through the open air after Clark. Man's going to need to be sheltered once the proper cotton saturation rate has been achieved. Ladies everywhere be praising the rain, right?

A bit of shelter is offered. She is much slimmer and smaller than the man, or probably Lara in many ways. The floating woman is someone unfamiliar. But the brunette doesn't stare. She nods politely instead. Sister Marie Jeanne will probably be approving from somewhere on high.

"Sorry," Clark says as he realizes how awkward he must look right now. "I guess I didn't mean to stare. I'm not from around here. I've never seen someone fly before." He looks back towards Vesper in gratitude as she shelters him before he looks back towards Lara. He doesn't even say anything, just looks.

Lara opens her mouth to reply, but closes it after a moment on whatever she was about to voice. Her poker face cracks for a moment, too, showing evident surprise in her eyes before she's able to put on the 'mask', once again. "You've gotten yourself soaked by the rain, on my account. My apologies for having distracted you from your studies", she says. "I'll be going, now", she adds, starting to rise slowly upwards.

Vesper is definitively French. That includes encountering flying people, once the initial surprise passes. "Bon voyage," she says. An elegant wave accompanies the departure of the woman headed into the sky. "Marvelous. We have seen something unique today. Though you need a bowl of soup and a cup of coffee at this rate."

Clark doesn't respond to Lara, just watches her and gets an odd feeling in the pit of his stomach. Perhaps that's what it's like when you see someone who shares half your DNA. "What? Oh, right." Clark chuckles and nods, "I think I probably do."

Lara floats silently upward, eyes down on Clark, until she's a few stories up… then she lays flat as she accelerates forward through the air, one arm extended ahead of her and one leg bent slightly, so that the knee juts out. Soon, she's out of sight… for normal folks, anyway.

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