Legion of Lawndale Heroes Minis –
'A Quintessential Attitude'
(Note: This fic takes place during LLH Chapter13.1.)
"Just someone... please. Not the whole town; just save someone..."
-Donna Noble to The Doctor; from Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii
"I'm glad that you could come, Quinn."
Quinn Morgendorffer, wearing what she laughingly referred to as 'her old uniform'- a pair of stylish denims and a pink baby-T that showed plenty of midriff – smiled a smile that didn't fool Dr. Karen Prince for a moment. "All of the children respond very well to you. I'm glad that your Legion takes this seriously, and not just a publicity stunt."
"I didn't think it would be right to have cameras always sticking in their faces," Quinn said, following Dr. Prince through the near-empty halls of the Cedars of Lawndale/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Hospice Wing – a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to improving the quailty of life for terminal young patients in their final months or weeks of life. "The kids – they've been through so much already, and I really like reading stories to them."
"Well, I called you tonight for a reason," the slender, matronly doctor in her forties said, pushing dark bangs from her eyes as they headed to an elevator. "Jonathan Barrasso – the little boy who always has to be upfront when you come in to read to them?"
"Jonny?" Quinn smiled as she thought of the eleven-year-old boy with the shaggy mop of blond hair, huge brown eyes that seemed to light up with life whenever she walked into the room – if things were different, I'd probably know to expect a visit from him when he turns eighteen! – and then, her smile disappeared. "Is it time-?"
"He doesn't have much time left, Quinn," the doctor told her. "His parents had to fly back to Tampa for his grandmother's funeral, and on the way to the airport to fly back here, they were in an accident. They'll be all right,"she added quickly, seeking to dampen the spear of shock that seemed to punch straight through Quinn – she actually cares about the kids and gets to know about them, that's how she gets to know their families, too – "but they won't be getting out for several days... and Jonathan's condition has worsened."
The doctor gave Quinn a direct look. "I asked you to come and read to him... because I wanted his last night to be a happy one."
Quinn remembered – somewhat – when the doctor explained to her the condition that Jonathon had: Zagat's hypoimmunosuppressive disorder, an ultra-rare genetic disorder that, as the doctor said, acted as if Nature took the worst parts of AIDS, compressed it down to a period of months (in some horrible cases, weeks) and only hit kids before puberty with it. It first appeared as a bad case of the flu – the kid would appear to get better – and then, the disease acted like AIDS at lightspeed, tearing apart the child's immune system to the point that even the most minor of things could cause death due to opportunistic infections, or the child's body simply breaking down because it was never strong enough to fight that sort of battle...
She took a breath and then walked into the room; inside, a young boy lay in bed, looking out the window with a longing expression on his face. "So, what are you looking at, Jonny?"
The slow, dignified way the child turned his head towards her voice and tried to smile at her made Quinn want to cry. "Hi, Quinn. I was looking at the Tower – you can see it from all over Lawndale. That's what the nurses and the other kids say."
"You know, there's an observation deck on the fifteenth floor," she said, moving a chair close to the bed and siting down. "You can see all of the city, and when it's clear, a good twenty or so miles away. You can see Baltimore – and would you like to know a secret? If you go up on the roof, you can see the Capital and the Washington Monument!"
"You can see that far away?"
"I've already told you; as soon as you pick yourself up and get better, you can come visit at Legion Tower anytime you want!" Quinn poured a bit of herself as she was before the Legion into talking with the little boy; being charming and disarming, a littlle flirtatious, was the medicine that rendered all men, young and old, giddier than ponies and forgetting all their troubles as she talked to them. "There's a huge garden inside, with fruits that anyone can eat, and there's a huge pool, too!"
The boy's expression perked up. "Will your friends come swimming with us, too? What about your sister and her friend Jane– the one who comes into the hospital every week for arts and crafts? Will they come swimming with us?"
Aren't you the one who's hitting for the fence? Wanting to see as many of us in our bathing suits as you can... kid, you're smoother than most of the high school and college boys that keep trying to sweet-talk me out of my clothes!
"Tell you what – you get better, and I'll give you a complete look at the place, including a dip in the pool with my friends. Oh, except for Tiffany. She won't be back until Thanksgiving – she's going to school in the Midwest."
"What kind of school?"
"Oh... it's a – it's a special school."
"I know a boy who lives down the street - he goes to one of those schools," Jonny said, reaching for the bed controls; Quinn retrieved the device, and Jonny adjusted the bed so that he was almost sitting up. "He has to ride in a little bus that comes just before our bus does – the one for me and my sister. Maybe she'll get better and not have to go to that school anymore."
"Oh, no, you don't," she said, keeping Jonny from turning the TV on. "It's almost eight, and somebody told me that you were told by your mom and dad that your bedtime wasn't supposed to change, right? Well, I was here visiting a friend of mine, and I thought that I'd stop by and read you something for bedtime... maybe something from your books?"
"The Flying Moor – read me a 'Flying Moor' story!" Jonny almost squealed; if he'd had the energy, he'd have been bouncing around in bed as Quinn picked up a large, hardbacked book from his toy- and book-cluttered nightstand."Read it to me 'radio-style', Quinn – do all of the 'dramatic voices!"
Smiling as she shook her head, Quinn flipped the book open to page147 almost by instinct – he does like this particular story - and began to read. "It is the 17th Century, and bloodthirsty pirates operate with impunity throughout the Carribean! The brave sailors of Her Majesty's Royal Navy, led by the gallant Admiral Charles Blacksmith, fight the good fight , but are outmatched because of an unholy treaty that has brought the largest of the groups together! "
She paused for dramatic effect; Jonny was already mesmerized by the sound of her voice. "Only one man can stop their evil plans - the Flying Moor!"
"COOL!" The boy spoke, his voice just a touch stronger as Quinn continued on.
"By day, he is Samuel James - a free Negro, breeder of plants and birds, stargazer, and musician. When the need arises, he puts upon his finger the Ring for the Defense of Mankind - giving him control of the seven known elements, drapes himself in the Cloak of Justice, which hides him from all things man or beast and allows him to travel where he will through darkness itself, and takes in hand the Blade of Vindication - which can 'cleave through all things made from Heaven to Earth except for living flesh and renders harmless all creatures, living or undead, with just a single touch!'"
Jonny's smile warmed Quinn; she continued to read. "Thus armed, the Flying Moor battles against the forces of Dark Atlantis, led by Lord Patrick Braxton - the Golden Sword, Jasper McHenries - the son of Southern slaving aristocracy, and the savagely beautiful Carribean native woman known simply as the War Queen! He fights with the assistance of the fiery Father MacLeod, the gentle reader of crystals known as Chi Ling, and Dr. Pierre – surgeon!"
"...As the Gray Ghost distracted Professor Menace and the War Queen, Soul Power and Sparky used their electrical powers to sink all of the Dark Atlantis ships equipped with future weapons before they could be used against Admiral Blacksmith's fleet," Quinn read. "The only ship left was the War Galleon, heading out to sea at a speed no other ship could ever match – but the night skies turned into day when the giant ship exploded, torn apart as Soul Power and Sparky combined their electrical powers to send a gigantic bolt of lightning through the air, sending the Golden Sword's personal ship to the bottom of the Caribbean, and dashing Dark Atlantis' hopes for conquering the world!"
"That's cool," Jonny said, his eyes flickering as he tried to stay awake. "I really wish that there were superheroes..."
"A little," the boy said; Quinn sat the book aside. That must be cool, fighting bad guys and saving people..."
Quinn sat back for a moment and looked at the boy's face, then leaned forward. "Jonny – can you keep a secret?"
"I won't tell anybody anything you say, Quinn."
The carrot-haired teen smiled at the boy; his eyes widened and sleep disappeared from his face as Quinn held her left hand up, and let a slow, crackling tendril of electricity rise up from her ring finger and snake between her fingers before circling her hand and wrist, then slowly moving into the air over her hand and expanding out to form words of blue-white electricity: 'Hi, Jonny.'
"Whoa. You've got the same powers as Soul Power and Sparky!"
Quinn nodded. "Pretty much – but I can't fly like they can."
"Have you tried to?"
The little boy actually smiled at the look on Quinn's face, which all but shouted oh God – this kid's smarter than I thought!
Just because I read comic books and science fiction doesn't mean that I don't think about stuff in real life – or about girls...
"No – no, I never thought of that."
"Sparky flies with a ball of electricity that works on the planet's gravity, and Soul Power can ride on electrical wires as fast as lightning – in another comic book I read, it said that lightning was a third the speed of light, so he can go really fast. Maybe you can, too."
He's not freaked out at all about this, either, Quinn said, using her power to make a number of intricate shapes in the air to amuse him – and then noticing that he was starting to fall asleep again. With all of the comic books he reads, he's used to this kind of thing. I don't believe this.
Quinn readjusted the covers around the sleeping boy, and then stood. "Goodbye, Jonny."
She leaned forward to give him a gentle kiss on the lips, and then brushed his hair from his face before leaving.
Several moments passed Jonny's eyelids flickered and then opened as a bright, flickering light filled the room. "Quinn, is that – oh, wow..."
The boy was wide awake as his eyes fixated on the figure in his room – a female figure in flowing, pure-white robes, with masses of scarlet hair pouring over her shoulders and a set of shining white wings protruding from them... and holding a sword that was sheathed in pure fire.
"Am I dead?" the boy asked. "Are you going to take me to Heaven?"
"You're not ready for that yet, Jonathan," the angel (what else could she be, he reasoned) said, her voice seeming to come from everywhere in the room except her lips. "What you told your friend – was that the truth? You promise to keep her secret?"
The boy's face was solemn." I believe you, Jonathan."
Eyes wider that anyone would have believed, Jonny watched the angel approach his bed and before he could say anything, the angel reached out to stroke his forehead, and then lowered her head to kiss him. "You be a good boy, Jonathan," the female angel said, her voice holding a strange reverberation that seemed to sap the will to stay awake out of him. "Remember your promise to Quinn – and sleep tight."
Five minutes later, Julia Carlyle (wearing the guardian angel outfit she had worn for Halloween last year) stood on the roof of Cedars of Lawndale and watched as Quinn sped back towards Legion Tower in a borrowed Legion vehicle. "Who would have guessed – the little fashion princess actually has a heart."
She smiled as she thought of Jonny – and the surprise that everyone would have when he awakened tomorrow morning. He's a nice kid – and he deserves a chance at life. With my power curing him, he'll get a chance to grow up and live... and to torment Quinn, her sister and all of the others when he comes over to Legion Tower for a swim. That will be fun to watch.
With a single flexing of her wings, Julia shot skyward faster than the eye could follow – and then, disappeared in the direction of Legion Tower.