Old Blue Eyes

Lavender Heights Community College 
outfit = this plus a big gray cardigan

Robin was having a hard time not laughing aloud at the novelty of being back on a college campus. She hadn't realized how old she had gotten, that she could march down the sidewalk with a massive purse slung over her arm and feel that she was surrounded completely by babies. Babies! So much untended hair and sweatpants, more than she could take in at once. It was endearing and hilarious.

She asked one such adult child for directions to a xenobiology department and was directed, loosely, to one of the few buildings on the campus. From there, she used her phone to find a room number and set off, arriving at the door of Professor François at 9:10 on a Friday. She dug around in her purse for a moment to find a Kleenex to swipe at the perpetual shine across her nose and forehead, then tapped on the door. "Professor?"


Her office was perpetually freezing. Oriane loved the warmth of summer, being able to wear such beautiful dresses and skirts on these days, but buildings with scientific and electronic equipment had a way of needing to overcompensate. And so, she donned a little blue fuzzy sweater over her dress, cozied into it.

Today was a good day. Today was a day she was supposedly to meet with someone with abilities. Not particularly showy ones, but she claimed to at least have control over her eye color. Oriane had prepared some questions that she simply could not wait to ask.

The woman who approached her door and said her name was met with a smile. "Yes, come in, you are...?" she asked, because one could never be too sure.

Robin smiled back, unnecessarily delighted to see the professor was a woman her size. She held out a warm hand. "Robin, nice to meet you."

Take a seat, or...? Shuttle immediately into an MRI machine? Actually, a community college probably wouldn't have one of those. Probably?

"Ahh, Madame Robin!" she answered with a slight Frenchness to her pronunciation, eyes widened. "Yes, yes, come, let me—"

She rose, going to close the door so they might have some privacy, and then she held her hand out genially.

"Welcome welcome, I am Dr. François, or Oriane, whichever you prefer. How lovely to meet you. You are the one who your eyes colors change, yes?" Oriane asked in a rhetorical flurry, though she knew the answer to that because she'd been looking forward to this meeting all morning.

Robin continued to smile as the woman bustled, pulling her sweater sleeves down and having a look around the office. "Yup, that's me!"

Well, no handshake then. Oriane took her hand back and folded it with her other one as she returned to her seat.

Yes, that was her, and like most of today's youth she would need to be led in conversation. She hummed and looked over the preliminary survey, tapping the edge of her fingertip to the description of her abilities, before looking up at her.

"C'est bon. Can you display this ability for me?"

Robin realized she had missed a handshake just as Oriane pulled back; whoops. She followed the professor in sitting, leaning down to set her purse between her feet and swinging her braids over her shoulder as she straightened up. "Sure thing," she confirmed, and felt a slight flush as she looked for a moment into the woman's eyes and decided it was going to be too weird to do it while making eye contact.

She rubbed her hands together and then wedged them underneath her legs, staring at the corner of the desk and concentrating. Unbeknownst to both of them, a negation bubble swelled and grew through the confines of the office, and visibly, Robin's eyes lightened rapidly into a pale sky blue.

Once she was pretty sure she had the thing in place, she looked back at Oriane. "Are they blue?"

Oriane watched closely as the woman settled in to do as she requested. She appeared to have no film in her eyes, no advanced color changing contact lenses were doing the tricks.

They quite simply bled to blue right before her eyes.

"Incredible," she scribbled it into her notebook, especially how the woman could simply do it on command. "And how long have you had this ability?"

Robin broke into a grin as she got confirmation, holding that nebulous concentration for a moment before letting it go and letting her eyes return to dark. She leaned forward, as if she could read the woman's notes from her vantage.

"I caught it happening when I was 16," she said firmly, having double-checked the year before she completed her survey. "I know it's not anything like turning into a cat or a vampire, but I've wondered if it was anything related."

She had a deep bank of questions, of course. Had Oriane met anyone else like her? Had she met the dreaded shifters, the vampires? But with this peripheral trick, she tried to ready herself to be enthusiastically shown the door.

Sixteen. She hummed, scribbling that down, and moved on to the next questions that would naturally follow.

"Well, let's take it one step at a time. Does this trait run in your family, and if so, who displays it?"

She crossed her legs and adjusted her dress, drawn in to take as much information on this as she could.

Regretfully, she leaned back in the chair, still more or less sitting on her hands. "It was nothing that came up. I don't think I could ask and not seem crazy."

Interesting. Oriane would have done differently, but she wasn't the patient. Or... interviewee.

"To the best of your ability, can you remember anything different happening around the time of this starting? Moving somewhere, meeting someone new, any kind of standout incident, or perhaps even just trying some new food or drink?"

She smiled, a little dubiously. "I mean, I was sixteen, so I'm sure I was trying new things. Dealing with drama." She then took a moment to think back, looking for something that had happened beforehand that might have triggered a change.

...Nothing. "Nothing stands out, sorry. I'm not even sure if it was happening before and I never noticed."

That was inconclusive. She might have to pry more in the future

"If at any point you can recall something different, it would be an enormous help. I'd like to know if coming across an ability like this is something hereditary, or if it is gained through contact with another."

That said, she leaned back in her chair.

"What do you feel when you use this? Anything, be it physical or mental, or somewhere in between or something else entirely."

She nodded once at the first comment, because of course. At the second she felt a little relief, because here there was something tangible. "Yeah, it's kind of like...did you ever try to learn to wiggle your ears when you were a kid, or lift up one eyebrow? It feels like focusing on a muscle but I don't know where it is, or exactly what it feels like to flex it." She grinned sheepishly. "It took a lot of trial and error to do the eye thing, but it still feels pretty...pretty hard to pin down."

She paused and took a breath. "If I try to hold it for more than five or ten minutes, I get a headache and I lose some feeling in my hands and feet. I've never pushed it past that since I don't want to break anything permanently."

She'd nod to the comparison, and listen leaning towards the girl, enjoying the insight.

"Very interesting. And have you ever noticed any effect on others when you've done this?"

She shook her head in answer, nose wrinkling.

Hmmm. Not much to go on, but she would remain positive. Clasping her hands together, she gave a nod.

"Alright then! This concludes the interview. I have access to the college's clinic on Fridays from 2 to 5 pm, and would like if possible to have you come in next week for the physical. Is this an appointment you would be able to make?"

Hmmm. Barring a staff emergency, that should be doable. "I think I could make that work. How long should it take?" She nudged her purse out from under the chair, giving the professor a look that suggested a Real Question was coming.

"Perhaps an hour, most likely less. It will be a standard physical and blood draw, and you will receive your first stipend for your contribution."

To science, and understanding, and so much more. Oriane smiled.

She could not wait to test this woman's blood.

She nodded sharply and stood. "Sounds great!" Hey, she'd made the cut! Her purse swung around to her shoulder, and she wavered for a second at the chair, unable to stop a small conspiratorial smile from growing.

"Have you met anyone else?"

She was ready for that to be all until the question came. If she remembered correctly, this was the same individual who questioned her privacy practices with the study. Oriane's smile took on a professional, reserved note.

"I have, but I am not at liberty to discuss case details."

She had not, but she still would not even if she had.

Well — duh. Of course. Robin's smile looked defeated, her right hand twisting at the wrist and balling up. "Of course. Cool. Well, I'll see you Friday, Professor, thanks for meeting me." Her smile brightened as she brought up a hand (in need of lotion) for an overdue handshake.

Oriane shook her hand, noting the dryness of her skin, and offered her a parting goodbye.

She wrote that detail down, too.

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