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20 April 2007 @ 11:42 am
Lucy and Marlowe: In Passing.  
Who: Lucy Montgomery and Christopher Marlowe.
When: First block today.
Where: In the hallway outside Lucy's chemistry class.
What: An encounter.
Rated: G.

Chemistry is, without question, kicking Lucy's ass. The month in Prince Edward Island has put her remarkably behind-- she is an average student anyhow and one that hates homework with a passion, but smart. Smart enough for Chemistry. Which is kicking her ass.

She is sprawled out in the hallway with her books all around her, outside the classroom; the lesson was far beyond her. She'd asked to be excused to study, and now she's curled up against the wall, one knee to her chest, book propped on her knee. Her pencil is tapping an irregular, nervous rhythm against her notebook when she is not winding up her hair and taking it down again. And all through it, she is muttering.

"I'm a failure, I'm a failure, Jesus Christ I'm such a failure..."

Marlowe is headed to the library, books under one arm. His school schedule is pretty relaxed, now that he's, technically, graduated early. Most of the classes he shows up in are just for fun, because really he has nothing else to do. There are only so many times a person can go grab tea at the Round Table or go work themselves dead at the ice arena before it starts to get a little dull. His head is down and he's whistling softly to himself, smiling faintly at nothing in particular. He rounds a corner and glances up out of habit, then stops. He pivots on the balls of his feet, prepared to turn around and bolt back the way he'd come, then pivots again. Lucy.

He hasn't really seen her since they'd both come back. Not really. He's glimpsed her in the halls, but there's always something between them. A crowd of people. A history. He drums the fingers of his free hand against his thigh, then takes a deep, quiet breath and heads in her direction. Up to her if she says anything.

She lets her head fall back, cracking it lightly on the brick wall once, twice, three times, and then she sighs. "Shit," she says, opening her eyes-- and then she grows very still. Marlowe. It's the first time, she thinks, she's seen his face. Always his shoulders or the back of his head in a crowd. But not now.

It's possible she's stopped breathing for a moment, but then she remembers how again, and before she knows she's said it, she says hello. It comes out too breathy, almost a non-word-- hi-- and she closes her mouth right afterward, glancing toward the classroom.

He's slowed to a standstill without quite meaning to. He smiles again, this time at something in particular, and dips his head, tipping his face down. He rubs the back of his neck, then looks at her without lifting his face, almost shyly. "Hi." It's whispered back, barely audible.

It's like a touch. Lucy turns her face downward, staring at his shoes. "Hi." She said that already. What comes next? She can't remember. She really can't remember. Oh, God, she can't remember. She puts her fingers to her mouth, a brief frown crossing her brow, and then says softly, "You-- I--"

Marlowe presses his lips together grimly and nods, smile fading. "Right. Of course. Sorry." He shakes his head and squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, then turns away from her. The first few steps are slow, then he lifts his head, adjusts the books, and keeps going.

how are you. Too little, too late. Not enough. Lucy watches him leave, watches his broad shoulders beneath his shirt. They're not familiar. They are familiar. He is so quiet. Accepting. A stitch pulls in her chest, a flame licks up from somewhere inside her , and she looks down to her book. After a moment, she looks up again and watches him go, until she hears the door at the end of the hall fall closed behind him.

"Jesus Christ," she says to her chemistry book, dropping her head into her hand. "I am such a failure."