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Panicked and LOLed

Myra made doubly and triply certain that every window in her apartment had been locked, shades drawn, and that the door was bolted shut. Having arrived back in her apartment in the Old Tiger's world from the Nexus, she was nearly in tears as she'd run to the nearest mirror and taken stock of her foolishness.

LOLed twice in under a month, and her first two at that. It was one thing to accept a kiss (or give one, but she was trying not to focus on that either) for freedom from being stuck to the floor, but it was another entirely to find yourself reversed in age nearly ten years. She was in the middle of a mission, had no idea how long the effects would last, and was supposed to continue working with the dealers she'd managed to infiltrate, in a few hours.

She could call in, tell the one she was 'dating' that she was sick, but even her voice had changed. The laboriously schooled, perfect New York accent had also regressed to the time before she'd become an agent, her American words tainted with a Shanghai lilt. True, she had been well-spoken, and her parents had given her the ability to speak with as little an accent as possible, but having heard little English apart from what they spoke, she had started out with the handicap, and it had take some intense submersion in the Bureau to clear up her language.

All she could think about though, was the horror of either, or both, of her superiors finding out what she'd done. Their PINpoint coordinates for her room took them into her living room. She was currently brewing tea, as she sat in the bedroom with the door cracked only far enough to keep an eye on the apartment and listen for the whistling of the pot, praying the Old Tiger didn't decide to give her some last minute instructions. She wouldn't dare set foot outside the apartment until this wore off.

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evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
As fate would have it, The Old Tiger is taking a break from skulking about the other city tonight. After a talk with the Marpa Tulku he's been encouraged to take better care of himself, at least in preparation for the fight. Truth be told he's feeling the strain, but a night in is a hard restriction for him to take. He's restless, and it feels far too early to even try sleeping.

Myra's PINpoint beeps softly with an unexpected message.

Activities for the night?

What he wants is a social call, but he's unwilling to make that clear, so he takes the tack of inquiring about her work schedule instead.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
Myra's form is sitting curled up, holding a pillow on the bed. On the opposite corner of the bed is the PINpoint, and when it beeps, she feels a sinking feeling. It's hardly likely anyone else is going to be contacting her, she really hasn't heard from anyone apart from the Old Tiger in quite some time. Tentatively, she crawls over and reads the message.

She bites her lip, the message feels ambiguous, but she still has a pit in her stomach as she types in her reply.

Canceled.
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 05:42 am (UTC)
Surely she cannot expect such an answer to be easily accepted. Were it possible to convey raised eyebrows via text, he would be doing so now.

Why.

That is clearly not a question nearly so much as it is a demand.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
That single word is almost as terrifying as staring down The Shadow when he's displeased. There's a notable delay until she at last comes up with an answer. She's dug her own grave with her first reply.

Complications. There's another pause before it's followed up. The Nexus kind. She can hear the tea kettle starting to heat up, but she's not about to leave the perceived safety of her bedroom.
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
The delay itself irritates him, and he is on the verge of honing in on her PINpoint when she replies. She may sense the faintest ruffling of the mental shields, but it does not feel like some foreign invasion or attack. His first priority is to make certain she's safe. De-aging has had no effect on his shields, however, so there's little for him to detect there.

Where are you?
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
She's definitely in his own world, if his focus can tell him that much. It's barely perceptible, but she can sense him slightly, and tries to stifle the desire to will him away. It's less distressing to her her young voice speaking Chinese, and so she utters a few desperate oaths as she replies back.

The kettle is whistling in the kitchen.

I'll be fine. I'm staying out of the Nexus.

It's a very obvious go away, without being quiet so blunt. The only place she could hide, is her apartment.
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:08 am (UTC)
That she's in the same dimension is something he knows without even checking, as the distance across dimensions when he travels is always a wearying tug at the back of his mind. Reaching her now is much easier.

What she's given him is not a direct answer, and all of this has made him far too suspicious to obey that unspoken wish. Within seconds of her reply, he is there, dropped neatly into her living room and scowling. He is dressed down, in dark clothing, but not a suit. That much indicates he hasn't been out working too recently, nor was he about to.

His presence sweeps through the apartment like a storm wind, then lightens and dissipates. He does not call out, but moves to the kitchen, and removes the kettle from the stove. He's quite aware she's hiding in the bedroom. He just may be enough of a gentleman not to intrude.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
Myra feels that wash of his presence in the apartment and quickly scurries over to the door, pressing it closed as she hears the kettle's whistle die off. There's a lock on the door, but she doesn't bother to set it as she leans against the door. She's just too embarrassed to face him, but not so completely rude, as to pretend that a lock will keep him out if he is so determined to speak to her.

She feels a small tug of guilt, taking advantage of his politeness to her, but it quickly dissipates. She keeps silent, feeling the lilt in her voice might be the cue to give away her situation.
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
Perhaps the recent meeting with the Tulku has encouraged him in schooling his temper. In the kitchen he takes a few slow, rattling breaths, listening to the soft click of the door shut down the hall. Such childish behavior seems wholly unlike her. Unaware of how accurate that assessment is, he is envisioning all manner of strange LOLs. It seems possible that she is in a truly unfit state to be seen by him. He has no desire to crash in on her only to find she is nude, or somehow equally indecent.

The Shadow pours tea into two cups, takes another slow breath, and makes his way up the hall. His footsteps tend to be nearly silent by default, so it may come as a surprise when there's a quiet knock on the door. "I assume you wanted tea, or you wouldn't have put the kettle on." The tone is mild and calm, and it is not deceptively so. For the moment worry has severely blunted his initial irritation.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC)
Whether he can tell exactly what she's mumbling quietly under her breath or not hardly matters. She's giving a few prayers, begging for the strength to endure whatever reaction he has. She's not particularly aware that while she's certainly physically regressed, that her behavior seems to have done some of the same.

The door clicks softly, and while Myra has always been significantly shorter than The Shadow, she appears to have lost a little more height, hardly more than an inch, but to her, every inch counts. The door is cracked open only partially, and a nervous, young face of a girl who couldn't be more than 18 peers out. Being so small usually made people assume she was much younger than even that.

The crack in the door is too small to accept the tea cup, but she looks painfully tentative about even looking out at him this much.
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC)
He has the presence of mind not to drop the teacups, but only just. The masklike face makes only a mild flicker of expression, but his gaze makes a brief and frantic search of her face. The features are right, if somewhat younger than he's accustomed to. That short inspection makes him quite sure that it's her, as if the presence of his own mental shielding was not enough.

The Shadow blinks, gives a wheezing sigh, and extends one cup towards the narrow crack of the door. "I'm not coming in there, so you might as well come out. The cup's hot."

The situation is positively absurd, but he's trying to accept it with grace.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC)
She gives a resigned sigh, and opens the door enough to come into the room, stepping before him. Thankfully, the difference in height is hardly enough to make any of the updated clothing seem baggy. She has the updated fashion to thank for that, at least.

"I'm sorry." Compared to the last time they talked, her accent is thick, even in those two very small words. She keeps her head down, unwilling to meet his eyes as she takes the cup he's offered out to her.
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
The Nexus is a tricky place, and someday it just may be his turn. He is acutely aware of this possibility, but he's not about to admit to it. Instead he turns without a word and goes back to the living room, clearly expecting her to follow. He settles in a chair, and regards her over the rim of his own cup. "...That's almost tempting. I wouldn't mind shaving off a few years." He's not serious, but his perverse sense of humour sometimes strikes at unexpected moments.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
She is following him, but stops when he comments. There is a moment of what looks like teenage rebelliousness as she appears angry for a moment, and then she catches herself. She settles into a chair across from him, letting her tea cool a little.

"Well, there's a LOL with your name on it, if you want it that bad."
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:53 am (UTC)
"Mmm. How did it happen, did you see anyone else struck with it, and do you have any idea how long it will last?" There is a hint of weariness to his tone, and perhaps some mild annoyance that she hasn't been forthcoming with that basic information on her own.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
She sips her tea, a small blush working its way to her face.

"It was an easel. Like, a painter's setup. I saw a couple people's paintings that seemed to be...floating around, but that was after the LOL happened." She's making an effort to school the accent, but the vocal chords struggle with the sounds at times. "No one seemed to be younger, that I could tell."
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC)
He can tell that she's trying to stifle the accent, and that strikes him as a very curious feature. "What happened yesterday?"
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:05 am (UTC)
"Huh?" She looks confused. "You mean, here? Or in the Nexus?"
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
"To you. Personally. What happened? How old are you? You clearly remember me, but I want to be sure your memory hasn't regressed in any other way. Your accent certainly has, and your behavior." The look he gives her is brief, but very pointed. "Those are psychological aspects, not physiological ones."
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
Myra looks away sheepishly when he mentions her behavior, and then fights it, looking back at him, but it's certainly an effort.

"I remember yesterday, and all the way back as far as I can. I sound like I did before I went into the Bureau though. That puts the results of the LOL anywhere from 16 to 19 years old, from what I can tell." And doesn't she look pleased at that fact...
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:21 am (UTC)
"You look... the younger end of that." He sighs and frowns slightly into his tea. "LOLs are usually temporary, or so I'm told." He's only had personal experience with the one, and like Myra he has no desire to bring it to mind now.

The Shadow shifts in his seat, fidgets with his ring, and gives a few rattling coughs. He truly doesn't know what to do with her in the meantime, but he's not ready to admit that. His mind whirls away at options, and dismisses each one nearly as soon as it occurs to him.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:31 am (UTC)
"I always looked younger when I was this age." She pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes for a moment. "I hope this doesn't last for long." She gave a frustrated sigh, and then as a thought strikes her, it turns into a brief, amused snort. "If there was any idea how long it lasted, I'd offer to do a marathon mission. I don't feel like reverting back into my actual age in front of a couple of drug dealers though."
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:38 am (UTC)
"No. Absolutely not. I'm not getting you new identification either. The paperwork takes too long. You'll just... have to restrict your activities to the Nexus for a few days." He swallows the last of his tea and mimics the gesture of pinching the bridge of his nose, although it's possible she's picked up the habit from him. To lose his currently most valuable agent just when he's stretched far too thin across dimensions and psychic efforts is not what he needed. She was taking some of the burden for him in his own world, and now he has abruptly lost that crutch.
myra_reldon
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:44 am (UTC)
"I wasn't serious." She looks back up at him, and realizes how much this does in fact, cripple his efforts. "Chief, really, I'm sorry. This is the last thing that needs to happen right now." She looked like a scolded child. "I promise I'll keep my nose out of the Nexus until all this stuff with Khan is over."

Did I just ground myself from the Nexus?
evillurks
Jan. 15th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
He has had her to rely upon for stealthy reconnoitering as well, although there's been less of that than her work flirting with the drug dealers directly. While she is still technically capable of that work, there is something in his mind that shies away from sending someone so young, whether it's an LOL or not.

He's very tired, but when her tone shifts to that of desperate apology he straightens and makes an a show of looking more in command than he currently feels. "I'm not putting you under house arrest. The Nexus might be just the place for you, for now. I'd rather have you go there to stretch your legs than risk being seen here by someone sharp enough to notice the similarity to Helen Menz."
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