2020-03-10 - Patriarchy-Free Zone


Lydia and Gwen sit on a rooftop and chat about superpowers and feminism

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Mar 10 07:55:04 2020
Location: A Manhattan Rooftop

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One thing that Manhattan has a lot of is rooftops. Lydia likes to perch on moderately tall ones to do some writing because being able to see the skyline and the people below is a constant source of inspiration to her. She's perched on the edge of the roof, feet dangling over the edge, writing in a Moleskine journal sitting in her lap, occasionally pausing when she needs to thinking about what she's going to put down next.

She's dressed warmly against the chill spring air with a light jacket, and a knit cap trying to contain her unruly black hair. Her soft, phosphorescent glow makes her stand out should anybody look up, but this being Manhattan, nobody really does.

Gwen likes rooftops as well, as it turns out; she never much liked them about a year ago, but now that she's got all sorts of neat tricks like webshooters and perfect balance, they're a great place to keep an eye on the streets below. Manhattan might be a bit far from her usual territory, but honestly, who's keeping track? And so, the Spider-Woman is out and about, generally looking for trouble (And so far today, not finding it.)

A long swing brings her low towards the street, eventually carrying her back upwards with some serious momentum, until she releases the webline at just the right moment to let her inertia carry her the rest of the way; she sails through the air, until she lands on the side of the building below Lydia.

"Hi!" she calls out cheerfully, starting to crawl upwards. "Saw you from a ways off, wasn't sure if you were someone who might need help. …I guess you've got everything under control, but I had to check!"

Lydia is so absorbed in her writing that she doesn't notice Gwen at first, causing her to jump and nearly lose her pen at the greeting. She fumbles at it a bit, but in the end, saves it from plummeting to it's death.

"Oh! Hi! Spider Woman!" she manages to say between gasps of breath. "I didn't see you land!Good to see you again." She nods at the web-slinger's concern, "Yeah, I can fly if I wanted to, so I'd be okay even if I fell off. Thank you for the thought, though!"

She scootches over, putting away the pen and journal into a messenger bag that she uses to keep all her writing things in, and gives Spider Woman a bit of space so she can join her up here. "What brings you out tonight? Caught any thugs?"

The Spider-Woman jumps the last couple of feet, which is likely a pulse-pounding moment to watch for anyone who isn't her, and lands in the space that Lydia just cleared for her, mirroring the other girl's position with her legs dangling over the edge. "Nah, not tonight," she replies. "No bad boys. No bad girls, either, it's been quiet wherever I happen to be, which is weird but I'll take it." She shrugs her shouldders lightly. "I've mostly just been… getting some peaceful exercise tonight."

She pauses, tapping her fingertips against each other. "I have saved a couple of people who were jumping, in the past," she adds, more quietly. "Both of them said they just needed someone to care. Or at least, to feel like someone cared. Honestly, that felt better than beating up bad guys."

"Quiet is good," Lydia says, idly swinging a leg. "Relatively speaking. I don't do patrols, but I do sit up here a lot at night, and I get to see a lot of what happens down there." She gestures a hand towards the flashing red//blue of a police car off in the distance. "Usually the police handle it, but I'll jump in if it's something I can get to before they can or if it's something they can't handle."

She looks out into the night, the wind tousling her hair. "It *has* been a slow night tonight, though," she murmurs. She looks back over to the other woman when she explains helping a pair of jumpers and shakes her head in wonder. "I don't think I could have done that," she admits. "I don't know if I could talk anybody down. I'm not a superhero like you."

Gwen shakes her head slowly. "I only talked one of them down," she admits. "The other one I had to jump after, and I caught him at about floor eight. …He started at floor thirty." She shrugs her shoulders. "By the time I caught him, he was terrified, I had to sit with him until an ambulance arrived. It was time very well spent, but… it wasn't at all easy."

The Spider pauses, and snorts audibly. "I dunno if I'm all I'm cracked up to be, sometimes. I spend most of my time worrying about getting it right." She smirks under her mask, and turns to gaze sideways at Lydia. "But I do know for certain, if you step in when the police aren't going to get there in time, then you're a superhero too. …I learned that lesson from my Dad, and his only 'superpower' is a commitment to doing the right thing."

Lydia blushes when she's told that she's a superhero, brushing aside some hair that had fallen in front of her face from the wind. "I don't know," she says, popping her knit cap off her head to readjust her hair. "I'm just a college student who writes fanfic for a a living. I don't go out looking. I just help when I can."

She looks out over the city, musing, "I think that's more on the 'Good Samaritan' level than the 'superhero' level." She chuckles, looking back to Spider-Woman, "Though I've had my own share of weird super fights. I was in the park one day, and a bunch of giant robot pests started attacking people. Me and Spider-Man…" she chuckles and shakes her head, "I still can't believe that I fought alongside him. Me and Spider-Man was up against a giant fire breathing mechanical toad."

Lydia laughs lightly, kicking her feet out. "It's something that if you did in a story you'd be laughed at. But this is New York, and it wouldn't be New York City without these kinds of things happening regularly."

"That's awesome," Gwen pronounces. "I wish I'd been there to see that. And yeah, all this stuff I never would'a believed, some of it not even living here in New York, except that all of a sudden one day I could stick to walls, know ahead of time when something was gonna hit me, and benchpress a Toyota." She shrugs her backpack off her shoulders as she's talking, pulling it around in front of herself to unzip and root around inside of it.

"First day was rough. Literally thought I was gonna die. …But then there was Spider-Man, and I remember him telling me one thing really important; just because you've got superpowers, you're not obligated to be a hero. That's a choice you make, and nobody can fault you if you don't want to do it, or don't feel up to it. There are other ways to make the world better besides punching out bad people…. like writing awesome fanfic."

She finally finds what she's looking for in the bag; a couple bottles of Coka Cola. "Soda?" she inquires, offering one to Lydia.

Lydia chuckles as Spider-Woman recounts her first day. "For me, my powers just kind of turned on in the middle of my fifteenth birthday. Just… one moment I'm blowing out the candles to my birthday cake, and the next I'm glowing green."

She takes the offered soda with a "Thank you," and looks about to open it, but hesitates. She looks at the bottle suspiciously, "Um… maybe I'll wait a little bit for it to fizz down a bit since you've just been slinging around."

She holds the bottle up at around head height and lets go of it, letting it sit suspended in the ever present green mist that surrounds her. "Anyway, yeah. Boom! Green and glowy. Freaked everybody out. Especially my mother." She makes a show of rolling her eyes. "We spent a small fortune visiting every quack on the east coast trying to find a cure." She shakes her head, "But, you know. There isn't a cure for being a mutant. Just like there isn't a cure for being a red head."

"No cure for being awesome, either," Gwen points out. "And, the fact that you can fly is awesome. I can get around, but there's a limit to where webslinging will get you. I absolutely dread the day there's terrorists on a helicopter or something and the only dork nearby is me."

The Spider holds up her own coke, right about to open it, before she humms and gives her own an equally suspicious eye. "…Yeah, maybe another thirty seconds," she agrees. "I've wound up with my suit in all sorts of conditions — blood, bullet holes, crispy — but so far I've avoided soda stains, and I'd like to keep it that way." She cants her head sideways once again, watching Lydia's bottle hover in the air for a long moment. "Were they okay with it, in the end? Your parents? …I'm always here for you if you ever need to talk about anything."

Lydia leans back on her hands, pondering the question. "My dad seems to have been on board early on, but when it comes to family matters I'm always mother's little princess." She lets out an exasperated sigh, "I don't think she's still okay with it, per se. I think she just finally figured out that she doesn't have much choice in the matter."

"Being a mutant will always be the little bit of rebellion I can have when it comes to her," she chuckles. "A little something I know that infuriates her that she can't do anything about." She looks over at Spider-Woman with a twinkle in her eye. "Well, that and the fact that I'm a raging lesbian. I'm probably going to hell relishing that she'll always be upset that I can't get married to some nice Jewish doctor and pop out grandbabies for her like she wanted me to."

"Parents can be like that," Gwen agrees. "They get it in their head what their child is going to be, and then it's the end of the world when that doesn't happen." She sighs softly, "I haven't… worked up the courage to tell my Dad that I'm one of the Spiders. He's a cop, and he frowns on vigilantes pretty hard." She hmmms softly. "Actually, 'frown' is a pretty weak term for it, but anyway. I feel bad keeping a secret from him, but I dunno how to… tell him. So I probably just won't, and I'll just hope he never has to find out because I got killed or something."

Gwen twists the cap on her coke, and it makes a soft, satisfying 'fpppsssssss' sound. "Well, I guess that's safe now," she cheerfully observes, and pulls her mask up as high as her nose so she can put the bottle to her lips.

"You tell me you're not a superhero, then you tell me you're a lesbian? Woman, you are literally fighting the patriarchy just by being yourself. I admire you for that."

Lydia laughs, plucking the coke bottle from her mist, using it to unscrew the bottle by the time the bottle gets to her hand. "I'm just not ashamed of who I am, that's all," she explains. "Being a mutant never bothered me, really. I never wanted to be cured of it or anything. Some people really freak out over it but, I dunno. When it happened it surprised me at first but after about an hour I was like…." she mellows out the tone of her voice to surfer dude levels, "Cool."

She takes a swig of her Coke and looks over to Spider-Woman her tone getting serious. "You've got to tell him eventually. Him finding out because what you're doing killed you is the worst possible way to find out."

She sighs, and lower her eyes. "Sorry. I shouldn't butt in on your business but I know a thing about hiding something from your parents. It took me a while to come out to my parents because I knew how badly my mom would react." She pauses her thoughts to take another sip of Coke. "Before I came out to her I realized something. Coming out to her will cause a tear in our relationship, true. But the sooner I cam out, the sooner we can work on mending that tear."

She twists the bottle resting in her lap, watching it because she doesn't want to look up. "If… if she had found out after I had died," she says softly, "The tear would still be there, but it would *always* be there. Forever. And I don't think I could live with myself hiding it from her when I thought of that."

Gwen sighs audibly. "I know," she mumbles. "It's just… hard. He's a single parent, and I'm an only child. And he's always supported me in everything I've ever wanted to do, no matter what it might've been, and I just… I just don't want to disappoint him, 'cause I know how many sacrifices he's made for me."

The Spider goes quiet for a minute; long enough to drink a third of her coke, over a few successive gulps. "Well. They say you should never meet your heroes, 'cause they'll always disappoint. I hope I'm not there yet, but trust me, there's a human being under this fancy-pants getup and I'm as wonky as everyone else, I promise."

She watches Lydia unscrew the top off her soda with a raised eyebrow. "I'm gonna say again that that's cool," she points out. "But… there's just one thing that bothers me a little bit. Just… I don't think it's you being who you are that caused a tear in your relationship with your Mom, it was what society taught her to think about people who aren't cisgender heterosexual. And that's not your problem. …Or at least it shouldn't be." She sighs softly. "I can punch as many bad guys as I want, but sometimes it honestly feels like I can't do a darn thing to fix the real problems. It's… frustrating."

Lydia is silent there with Spider-Girl, sipping her own drink too. She feels a little bad about bringing the woman down like that. She laughs, however, at the bit about heroes. "I think I'd be disappointed if they *did* turn out the way I imagined them. People are more interesting when they're just wonky humans."

She laughs again at Spider-Woman's wonder of her power. "Oh you haven't seen anything yet." She holds out a hand, face down, and the green mist coalesces into the solid shape of a tarantula, which walks across the back of her hand. "Hey, there little buddy!" she says to it, and it turns her way. "Go say Hi to Spider-Woman!" It scuttles around on it's legs until it's facing her and then waves a leg in greeting.

"Yeah," Lydia says agreeing with Spider-Woman's last sentiment. "You can't kick patriarchy in the shins." She shrugs, "People come 'round eventually. The more people come 'round the more the paradigm shifts away from it." Her eyes are on the glowing green tarantula that she's making walk across her hands like a real tarantula would. "Sometimes change is gradual and you have to take it one…." The tarantula hops off her hand, swinging from a nearly invisible thread "Person…." it's still swinging there but Lydia's words are starting to sound strained "At a time." And like that, the tarantula disappears with a *POP* and Lydia lets out a sigh as her mists settle back around her.

Gwen resists the urge to try to pet the little green spider, but the urge is palpably obvious. She watches, rapt, as it wanders around on Lydia's hand and waves a little leg at her. "There was a time when I was terrified of spiders," she admits. "I mean, it shocked the daylights out of me when I got bitten by one. I guess it'd seem pretty silly to still be afraid of them now."

She watches the green tarantula until it disappears. "Having superpowers is pretty awesome," she adds, giving a single nod of the head. "I'm glad we both got pretty cool ones, yeah? Not just like, being able to change our hair color at will or always remember where we left our keys." She pauses, and ahems, "Though, there have been times I've wished for the latter."

She takes a long swig from her coke, and leans forwards, resting her elbows on her knees — a position that might be extremely precarious for anyone who can't either stick to walls, or fly. "Well, I hereby declare this rooftop a patriarchy-free zone. We shall not shave our armpits, we shall wear pants — or skirts with pockets — and we shall talk loudly, be bossy, and talk over any man who tries to mansplain to us." She shrugs, "Not that there's any guys up here anyway."

Lydia shrugs. "There are some things I could do without with this one. It'd be nice to be able to turn it off once in a while." She doesn't sound like not being able to bothers her a great deal, though. "I've never gotten the whole afraid of spiders thing, though." she muses. "I mean, sure a couple of them are really venomous, but for the most part they're pretty chill and happy to eat mosquitos and flies and such." She turns to Spider-Woman and grins, "Now *centipedes.* Those things are freaky."

Her grin turns into a laugh at the patriarchy-free rooftop. She spreads her legs exaggeratedly wide and sets her hands on her knees. "I'm taking up as much space as I want! I'm *woman*spreading!" She holds up a middle finger to the city around them. "Fuck the man!"

Gwen spffts, almost spewing coke out over the city streets beneath as Lydia flips off the city. "…Okay," she gasps, "That was awesome." She drains the last of her coke before anything bad can happen, before flicking a glob of webbing onto the bottle to weight it, and tosses it into the air; those with good enough eyesight will see it sail down to street level, right into a recycle bin beside a garbage can.

"I can't turn mine off either," she admits. "Which generally is fine, except that I have to make sure not to randomly stick to a wall or accidentally hurt someone. So there's that. It's a bit like suddenly the world has gone from being made of wood and bricks and concrete to, like, cereal boxes.

"Well," she muses. "I think break time is over. I'm certain someone is being mugged somewhere, and I'd better go do something about it. Otherwise I ain't much of a Spider." She pauses, and leans closer as she tugs her mask down. "And I agree with you about centipedes. Could you imagine 'Centipede-Woman'? That'd be awful."

Lydia shudders at the mere thought. "Now that you've said it, that's going to end up being your arch nemsis," she warns. "Better go get them muggers," she says encouragingly. "And thanks for the coke! If you ever see a spooky glowing green girl up on the ledge of a building, it's probably me, so feel free to drop in anytime. I liked talking to you." She watches as Spider-Woman zips out into the night, as she pulls her journal back out of the messenger bag, the conversation with a superhero sparked an idea that she just has to get down on paper before she loses the thought.

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