January 11, 2016

In Which Yvanette's Difference Is Denied

August 15, 1197

"Are you insane?" The only thing that prevented Yvanette from stepping backward in shock at her sister's explanation was the thought that she might have to lunge forward and physically restrain her. She had trouble enough understanding Aspen at the best of times--how could anyone with the option to not use their self-harming powers insist on using them so often?--and she hadn't known what to expect when their father had marched Aspen to campus and told Yvanette that her sister would be spending the weekend with her. Something about 'getting an idea of the place', he'd muttered--though Yvanette had suspected that was for her housemates' benefit.

She may not have understood Aspen, but she apparently knew both her sister and her father well enough that she'd been right. "Uncle Searle doesn't just have a cold or a cut on his arm, you know; he's dying!"

"I know! And he's only twenty-nine! And he has two children and a third on the way!" Aspen's fists balled, as if she were two years old again and throwing a tantrum over her far-too-early bedtime. Her face, however, wore worry rather than childhood stubbornness. Yvanette got that--but Aspen had to learn to worry about herself. "If there's the slightest chance I can help him, aren't I morally obligated to try?"

"Not when his illness would transfer directly to you, you idiot!" And more often than not, whatever ailment she took on manifested more strongly in her! Not that Aspen ever seemed to care until after the fact--if even then. "You're fifteen. You haven't even had a life yet--and unlike me, your abilities don't have to get in the way of you having one."

"Oh, so making a conscious choice not to help people even when I can constitutes a life? Sorry for caring about people!"

"It's not about not caring about people! It's about caring about yourself. Don't you have any regard for your own health? Father wouldn't have dragged you here out of harm's way if you hadn't been about to essentially kill yourself!"

"Well, why do I have this ability if I'm not supposed to use it? Maybe that's my purpose. Maybe I'm supposed to die so someone else can live."

Stunned, Yvanette swayed backward, as if her eyes gained weight upon widening. Surely that wasn't how her sister felt. Surely that sort of dreary fatalism wasn't the natural conclusion of a healthy young girl. "Don't say that. Never say that."

"Why not?" Aspen cocked her head to the side. She wasn't defiant, wasn't rhetorical. She may as well have been stating the time of day. "You're clearly convinced that your entire life is dictated by your powers. Why should mine be different?"



Van said...

Bah. Mondays. :(

Ann said...

Wow! Just... wow!
I really, really hope that won't be the case. For either of them. Nor for their siblings.
Though in a way I get Aspen's view. I guess there really isn't anything worse than helplessness, especially when you feel you should be able to help.

Winter said...

Ooh, wake up call for Yvanette! Her powers are more disruptive, but she has surrendered her life to them so far. She can turn things around yet, though, and I can think of several people (one in particular) who would be happy to help.

Aspen is the image of her father in more ways than one now. Original Aspen sacrificed her existence to bring happiness to Rona. But then, she didn't really have anyone or anything else in her life. This Aspen's life is full people who care about her. Maybe she needs to run into Tavrin; he knew when to draw the line, awful as it was. Or perhaps someone can explain to her how she could do a lot of good for a long time, rather than destroy herself. Until then, I get the feeling Aspen won't be going many places without someone to keep an eye on her. Good for Ashe for getting her away from the situation with Searle.

Van said...

Ann: If it helps, Darry's life is minimally affected. If he doesn't want to put up with asshole trees, all he has to do is avoid the forest.

Aspen isn't the sort who's content to sit idly by and just let things happen--and for the most part, that's a good thing. Unfortunately, she has a reckless disregard for her own well-being that makes for a dangerous combination with this particular power.

Winter: Yvanette wasn't expecting Aspen to pull out that last comment! The way Yvanette sees it, Aspen has always had a large degree of choice in the matter of her powers, but where Yvanette seems resigned to her random bad luck, Aspen seems to assign it to some higher purpose. It's not entirely impossible that some of that fatalism came from watching Yvanette struggle. :S

Aspen... yeah. She has a ton of self-sacrificial tendencies without much self-regard to balance it out, and she's not going to live long if she doesn't learn to put herself a little higher on her list of priorities. Plus, there will inevitably be a circumstance in which she can only provide temporary relief, and the cost to her own health just wouldn't be worth it. :S

Suffice to say that Aspen won't be visiting Uncle Searle without a plethora of concerned adults surrounding her.