stefanie_bean: (Hurley and Claire)
[personal profile] stefanie_bean
Chapter 37: Walmart After Dark
Pairings: Hurley/Claire, Kate/Sawyer
Characters: Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, Benjamin Linus, Desmond Hume, Claire Littleton, Kate Austen, James "Sawyer" Ford, Rose Nadler, Bernard Nadler, Carole Littleton, Aaron Littleton, Background & Cameo Characters, Original Non-Human Characters
Rating: M
Length: 4692 words
Status: Complete
Notes: Fantasy and supernatural elements. Think American Gods on the Island.

Summary: Hurley is now Protector of the Island, while Claire, Kate, and Sawyer head back to our world. But when it comes to love, the Island has ways to get you where you need to be.


Chapter 37: Walmart After Dark

Fifteen hours earlier

Fading afternoon sunlight fell over Sawyer's shoulder and lit up the Yukon Denali's dashboard as Interstate 15 rolled beneath the wheels, leaving the desert city of Barstow, California behind them. Kate sat in the passenger seat, staring out at the coarse beige landscape dotted with olive-green fuzz.

Sawyer had never piloted an airplane, but driving the Denali probably felt just like that. No wonder Sir Hugo had this thing for big, expensive cars. You could barely feel the road underneath the Denali's wheels. Instead, it soared along, effortless, the faint throb of the engine like the chanting of a mantra.

Damn, if he wasn't glad to get shut of LA. An open sky blue as a china plate welcomed him to a thousand miles of desert and mountains, and the feeling of freedom shocked him, because it had been so long since he'd felt anything like that.

Kate hadn't even put up a fight when he offered to take the wheel for the first leg of LA to Flagstaff. That had surprised Sawyer, but he guessed it shouldn't have. Kate wasn't herself these days. He glanced over to where she sat fiddling with the CD player. The strains of some jazzy woman at the piano emerged, her husky voice crooning about being “bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.”

"Remind me again, Sawyer, why we're taking the southern route."

"'Cause this tank ain't equipped with a snow plow, Shortcake. You drive through the Rockies this time of year, you can get snowed in somewhere. And we're on a schedule."

Kate sighed and settled back into the copious arms of the Yukon's passenger seat. The odometer ticked forward in time with the dashboard clock as they moved across the desert-scape. After another thirty miles she said, “That's not the only reason, is it?”

Sawyer didn't look away from the road. They'd already agreed to continue due east on I-40, rather than detouring north on I-15 to Vegas. “That stone's best left unturned, Kate.”

“Sawyer, she's your kid.”

“And she's gonna be set up for life.” Damn right, he thought. Dan Norton had put together a trust, an iron-clad one. After buying the Mustang, Sawyer had put near everything of his Oceanic 815 award into it. The settlement had sat for three years while the Oceanic lawyers fought over the death declarations of everyone on-board, the balance doing nothing but compounding. Now, thanks to the investment genius of Norton's finance whiz kids, the principal had doubled in that time.

Sure, he'd skim a little of the interest now and then for beer and typewriter ribbons, gas and insurance on the Mustang. But the principal, that was for Clementine.

Kate was worse than a dog worrying a bone, though. “Money's not the same as having a dad.”

No point in arguing with her. “I 'spose it's not. Though I didn't think you were particularly anxious to visit with Cassidy, either, seein' as she's blocked your calls.”

Kate looked away, embarrassed, and stared out the passenger window. “She didn't approve of me going on this trip with you. She thought I should have risked flying.”

When Sawyer didn't say anything, Kate added, “She's always been jealous. I didn't even tell you what she said when she found out we were all living in the same house together.”

This was starting to get uncomfortable, so Sawyer fiddled with the CD player. “Ain't we got anything that don't sound like the damn cocktail hour at the Blue Note?”

Kate grabbed a CD at random. “We were friends, as long as she thought you ditched me.”

“Ditched me?”

“On the helicopter, when we were all heading to the freighter. When Claire was gone, and we had Aaron.”

“I didn't ditch you, sweetheart. We had to drop two hundred pounds or we were all gonna wind up in the drink. Sun was light as a feather, she wouldn't have made no difference. You had the baby. Let's be honest, everybody wanted Hugo to bail. He made up four of Sun, or two of the men. But I saw Hugo's face when he looked at that water. He wouldna survived.”

Kate pressed her face into the glass, and Sawyer could barely hear her. “I know.”

“The day before we got on that chopper, I told John Locke that if he hurt one curly hair on Hugo's head, I'd kill him. I wasn't about to make a liar of myself.”

She turned towards him, and laid a cool hand on his. “It was a very brave thing to do.”

Now Sawyer flushed, for a different reason. “T'weren't nothin'. Hugo would of done it for me. Besides, I thought I could go back and look some more for Claire.” He gave a small, humorless laugh. “Turned out that was a pipe dream.” He took her hand in his, and it was very cold. “Too much AC for you, Short-stack?”

“I'm fine.”

“Heaven Can Wait” boomed out over the Dynasound Full-Surround speakers.

Sawyer gave a chuckle. “Didn't figure you for a Meatloaf fan.”

“It was Jack's. I picked it up when we went back to my house.”

“Jack, fan of Wagnerian rock. Well, I never.”

“I could put Diana Krall back on.”

“Nah, this'll at least keep me awake.”

At least she gave him a half-smile. Better yet, she held onto his hand all the way till the exit for Needles, California.

Deirdre Hannegan's words, via Kate, hung in Sawyer's mind: Don't break the speed limit. Don't use Kate's credit card or phone. Don't attract attention. Well, when they crossed that state line into Arizona, all bets were off anyway.

Sawyer pointed to the Needles exit. “Time to fill up.”

Kate leaned over to peer at the dash, and he caught the heady scent of her hair, warm and fresh. “We've still got more than half a tank.”

“Rule of the desert, sweetheart. Whenever you can, you get a drink, take a piss, fill your tank.” He looked over at her briefly, serious. “Sure, we're on the interstate, we got our phones, and there's a lotta white knights of the road about. But you saw that stretch of the Mojave we came through. Nothin' but sagebrush and sand up ahead for a long ways, and we're not takin' any chances.”

At the truck stop the Denali drank, thirsty. Sawyer and Kate got their hamburgers and fries to go, and as they headed for the Yukon, Sawyer leaned in close to Kate, almost whispering into her ear. “Last chance before the point of no return. Ten miles down the road, we cross that river, and we're committed. You sure about this?”

Kate's expression could have melted steel. “It's my mother.”

Sawyer sighed as they pulled back onto the highway. He knew something about Kate's long conflict with Diane Janssen, formerly Diane Austen, but he bet he hadn't heard the half of it. Sam Austen, at retirement one of the highest-decorated NCOs in the US Army, had raised a cuckoo in his nest. He'd come back from two tours of 'Nam in '73, all full of piss and vinegar, and married the barely-eighteen Diane. Problem was, though, Diane wasn't done with her high-school boyfriend, a black leather jacket-wearing greaser named Wayne.

Sam did one too many tours-of-duty overseas, and while he was off being a hero in South Korea, rescuing some UN pussies nabbed by the Norcs, his loving wife was making the sausage sandwich with good old Wayne.

Sam returned to the states halfway through Diane's pregnancy, and no one said a word about how the months didn't add up to nine. It wasn't till after another tour with Operation Desert Storm in 1991 that Sam found his wife and eighth-grader daughter moved off the family farm, and living with Wayne on a small ranch between Ames and Des Moines.

New town, new school: Kate had lost all her friends in the move. Bitter, smart as a whip, she threw herself into classwork and working her stepfather's horses. Sam's marriage to Diane might have been over, but he tried to salvage what he could of his relationship with Kate. He switched to doing recruitment in Des Moines, while Kate spent her summers and hunting-season weekends in his cabin, or flew with him to Texas to hunt feral hogs.

Still, as the Yukon approached the Colorado River bridge, Sawyer's stomach clenched a bit anyway. The river passed beneath them, smaller and muddier than he would have imagined. The “Arizona State Line” sign had an air of finality about it. Well, like Granny Tidwell liked to say, you might as well get hung for a sheep as a lamb.

Sawyer and Kate rolled on towards Flagstaff, where cedars thrust their way up through the pale hard-pan desert soil, and Meatloaf's “Two Out of Three Ain't Bad” boomed on the stereo.

* * * * * * * *


The moon had long since risen when they stopped at a fake-adobe motel on the east side of Albuquerque. In the circle driveway, a sputtering floodlight illuminated a concrete saguaro cactus taller than Sawyer. Its olive-green paint had mostly chipped off, leaving patches of grey like leprosy.

Sawyer wasn't impressed, but the place looked like it took cash. “Leftovers from when this used to be the Mother Road.”

“What?”

“The old Route 66, Freckles.”

Kate must have been exhausted, as she didn't even protest when he grabbed her bag as well as his. They'd driven thirteen hours, and her drawn expression looked how Sawyer felt.

Trucks of various sizes sat in the midnight silence of the parking lot, and for an instant Sawyer worried that the motel might not have any rooms for them.

The dark-skinned man behind the counter wasn't quite up to Hugo standards of roundness, but he beamed a similar smile to Sawyer and Kate as they staggered into the tiny lobby. In a niche in the wall behind him sat a small, squat-bellied statue of Ganesha, with a red candle burning nearby.

Good thing Granny Tidwell didn't live to see that. She'd of stomped right out of here and slept in the car.

“You're in luck. We have one room left, two double beds. No smoking.” The hotel clerk's voice had a musical lilt, and he seemed remarkably cheerful for it being middle of the night.

Sawyer braced for a despairing look or even an argument from Kate. Instead, she just shrugged. The smiling clerk was glad to take cash in advance, but Sawyer's heart sank a little as the man jotted down the Yukon's license plate number. Well, he was too damned tired to worry about that now.

Although the room was a square stucco box, it was clean and smelled of lemon oil. Sawyer kicked his boots off, then flopped down on the bed, which rollicked underneath him with the ghost of a car's motion. When Kate went to the bathroom he stripped to his boxers, then crawled in between the crisp sheets. He was dead asleep before Kate even came out.

The next morning, Sawyer woke up to the crunch of gravel right outside the motel-room window. A few children's voices chirped like little birds; the school-bus door whooshed open, then closed, and more gravel sprayed as the bus took off.

Kids live here? he thought, as he sank back into sleep.

When he woke again, the vinyl blinds could barely hold back the white sunlight, even though the room was still a little chilly from the desert night.

In the bathroom, Kate was throwing up.

* * * * * * * *


All through that day, as Kate drove through the scrub of the Texas Panhandle to the welcome green of Oklahoma, she could feel Sawyer's eyes on her. He didn't say anything about her morning retching, and that made her nervous enough to say at one point, “Truck stop food doesn't agree with me, I guess.”

He just shrugged and replied, “Not too much organic, low-fat vegetarian cuisine out here in Flyover Country.”

This made her laugh. Long ago on the Island, she'd told him that she was a vegetarian and wouldn't eat boar. Of course, when Locke passed out thick, fat-laden slices, she gobbled it down along with everyone else.

After dinner at a Country Roadside Inn outside Stillwater, Oklahoma, where Kate actually managed to score a salad that had something in it besides limp iceberg lettuce and pale, starchy tomato, Sawyer got up to excuse himself. She watched him as he spoke with the middle-aged woman at the cash register, and when the woman glanced over at Kate more than once, Kate knew that they were talking about her.

Sawyer came back to the table, and pushed two metal tins of lozenges across the table towards Kate. “Peppermint or lemon, Freckles. Your choice.”

“What are these for?”

“I told her you were havin' trouble keepin' your food down. Roadside indigestion. That's what she recommended.”

So that's how he's going to play this game. For an instant she thought about handing the lozenges right back to Sawyer. Instead, she opened the peppermint one, and put a small white pastille under her tongue.

He must have marked the pleasure which crossed her face, because he said, “Sometimes home remedies are the best, Shortcake.”

* * * * * * * *


Sawyer insisted on taking the wheel as they drove through the Kansas night. The faint lights of Emporia had just fallen behind when Kate's phone rang, and her heart flip-flopped with anxiety.

“I thought you left that in California,” Sawyer said.

Another few rings, like death knells. “Why would I do that? The hospice has my number.”

“Well, for cryin' out loud, answer it.”

“But Deirdre said...”

Ring, ring.

“To hell with what Deirdre said. Get it 'fore it goes to goddamn voice mail.”

Unknown number. Well, that's no surprise. She braced herself, ready for anything. “Hello?”

“Kate? That you?”

She was glad she was already sitting down and not driving, because a wave of vertigo went over her as all the tension released itself at once. “Hurley?”

“Sorry I didn't get to see you guys off.”

“You're in LA, right? Is everything OK?”

“Things are awesome. Listen, I'm real sorry about your mom.”

“Yeah, thanks.” The silence stretched out for one or two more seconds than she would have liked. “How's Aaron?”

“He's great. Claire and I took him for a long hike today, all up and down Topanga Canyon. I had to carry him on the way back. Claire's giving him a bath now, and after he goes down, Claire and me are gonna watch Return of the Jedi. I figured the Jabba stuff and the Sarlaac pit might scare him, so—”

“Hey, Hugo,” Sawyer called out.

Kate held the phone up, so that Sawyer could hear.

Hugo's voice came through, tinny and a little fuzzy. “Hey, yourself, Sawyer. Oh, wait a minute. Aaron just got out of the tub, and he wants to say hi.”

Kate could see Aaron clearly in her mind's eye, wrapped in a towel, hair tousled and sticking up like a miniature punk rock star, probably clutching a dripping plastic toy boat or animal. She could almost smell the non-perfumed shampoo and the fresh pajamas air-dried in the hot California sun. He seemed almost close enough to touch, yet faraway, too, as if on the other side of the planet.

“Mummy, it's me!”

“Hi, Goober.”

“Mummy Kate, I caught bugs today!”

“What kind of bugs, sweetie?”

“Some brown ones, then some grey ones. The kind that roll into balls. Then Mummy Claire made me let them go. And I saw a spider in a web. Hurley said not to touch it, though.”

“That's right.”

“When are you coming home, Mummy Kate?”

“In a few days. You be good for Mummy Claire and Grandma Carole, OK?”

“Mummy Claire says we're camping out in her cabin tonight. And tomorrow we're going swimming at Aunt Carmen's. I like her pool. It's like the jungle, with all the plants. Uncle David hides behind them and pretends to be a tiger.” He gave a little roar, and Kate could hear laughter in the background.

“Bye, sweetie. See you when I get back.”

Hugo came back to the phone, and he must have walked away from everyone, because the background noises faded. “Kate, listen. Everything's gonna be all right.”

The good feeling fled, replaced by a stab of bitterness. “Except for the part where my mother's dying.”

Hugo drew in a long breath. “Everybody dies, Kate.”

“Can you do something about it? Can you fix it?”

A few beats of silence. “Sorry. No.”

She could feel Sawyer's eyes on her. “Sawyer, pay attention to the road.” Back to Hugo, she said, “Can't, or won't?”

“It's kinda hard to explain. It's just that... it's her time.”

Her time. Fate. Destiny. Kate covered her face with her free hand.

“It's not easy, I know.”

“No, it isn't.”

“Kate, please trust me on this.”

She could almost see his round face creased with an earnest expression, shoulders hunched forward, his big body shifting a little bit to the right, then left, as he paced with the phone to his ear. He had never been her lover and never would be, yet the intimacy struck her with a gale force, almost too much to bear. She could sense the feeling pouring off of him, despite the miles. It made it easy to say, “I'll try.”

“Hey, can I talk to Sawyer?”

“Sure, Hurley. Thanks for calling. Here he is.” She handed the phone to Sawyer.

Hugo seemed to talk to Sawyer for a while. In between, Sawyer murmured, “Um, hm,” a few times, interspersed with a few repetitions of, “You got it, Hugo,” and finally, “Of course I'll look after her.”

That last part made Kate prickle for an instant. She pulled on the lap part of her seat-belt, uncomfortable, but that wasn't what pinched her lower belly. It was her jeans, or rather, Carole's, which weren't all that much more generously-sized than her old ones, and were less fashionable to boot.

She'd squirmed around a few times, trying to get comfortable, before noticing that Sawyer had rung off, and was holding out the phone to her.

“What's the matter, Freckles? Got ants in your pants?”

It was too tight a fit to slide the phone down into her jeans pocket, so she stowed it in her backpack. “There's got to be a Walmart right outside of KC. I want to stop.”

* * * * * * * *


The vast parking lot of the ultimate big-box store was studded with trucks, and surprisingly busy for ten o'clock at night. Kate tried to swallow the sinking feeling which had come over her ever since she'd heard Sawyer tell Hugo that he'd “look after” her.

I don't need looking-after. I'm not some lost kitten that showed up at the back porch one too many times. Well, that wasn't exactly true. Jeans, that's all she was here for. Just jeans. Inside, she knew that wasn't true, either.

A cadaverous-looking man in his seventies greeted them as they entered. His crooked smile revealed several dark gaps where teeth used to be. Irrationally, Kate thought of Wayne, if he would have lived to that age. She turned to Sawyer, dismissal on her face. “They've got books here. An auto section, if we need anything for the Yukon. Sporting goods.”

A hint of nervousness tinged his grin. “I get it, Freckles. Go find the man-things and report back later, when you're done.”

“That's it, Sawyer. Exactly.”

Before heading for the pharmacy section, she looked over her shoulder twice, to make sure he wasn't dogging her. Four brands of pregnancy tests sat on the shelf, none of which were the same brand as the remaining unopened test which rested in its very own zippered pouch in her back-pack.

Still alert, Kate headed to ladies' wear. She rifled through racks of jeans, searching for a size 8 instead of her regular 6. In the dressing room, she set aside one pair after another. If they fit in the waist, they were too baggy in the butt and thighs. Finally, she settled on one style with a lot of stretch, then grabbed a pair of fleece-lined leggings.

In case of snow, she told herself, but in reality because of comfort. What's next, black stretch pants?

Panic seized her in a hard grip. If she didn't do this now, she never would. She handed her garments to the sleepy, bored fitting-room clerk. “Could you watch these for a minute? I'm going to find the rest room.”

Once inside, Kate locked herself in the handicapped stall, hoping no one would come in who genuinely needed it. With the acrid smell of floor cleaner stinging her nose, she sat on the stool and unwrapped the pregnancy test with trembling hands, almost dropping it on the floor.

Get ahold of yourself. That little speech didn't work, so slowly, with multiple deep breaths in between, she began to count to five. When she reached “four,” she had calmed down enough to wet the test stick in mid-stream. She could have taken out her phone and used it as a stop-watch, but it wasn't necessary.

Leaning her head against the cold tile wall, she closed her eyes. A minute wasn't that long, anyway. Sixty, seventy heartbeats. She held the test stick in her lap, not looking at it.

Someone came into the rest-room, used the stall, then went to the sink to wash up. That had to have taken more than a minute, so Kate steeled herself and looked down at the test stick.

Two bright pink lines showed in the little oval window. Before she could help herself, a gasp flew out of her mouth, followed by an “Oh, my God.”

“Honey, you OK in there?” The voice was flat, Midwestern.

Kate couldn't speak at first. Nothing came out of her mouth but a dry gurgle. As she tried to get up, the pregnancy test flew out of her hand, bounced off the floor, and skidded outside the stall, just out of reach.

“Oh, shit,” Kate said to herself.

“You in trouble? Need some help?” the woman said.

“I'm fine,” Kate managed to choke out as she pulled up her jeans. The stall door banged on the wall with a loud crack as she flung the door open, a little too hard.

By the sinks stood a heavy-set woman in a navy-blue polo shirt and khaki pants, a store employee, obviously.

Kate picked up the pregnancy test and blurted out in a defensive rush, “I didn't buy this here... you don't even carry this brand... I brought it in myself.”

The woman finished drying her hands, and gave Kate a long look of sympathy. “Honey, I'm not gonna bust you for shoplifting.” She glanced down at the test, its positive result plain as day. “I've been where you are. He's twenty years old now, in the Army.”

The woman's tone was so warm that tears stung Kate's eyes. “It's just that—”

“You don't have a clue what you're gonna do. Am I right?”

Kate just nodded.

In the same gentle voice, the woman said, “How far along?”

Kate had to count on mental fingers. “Three months, about.”

The woman let out a long whistle. “Whew, you waited a long time to pee on the stick. What about the daddy?”

Before Kate could answer, someone thumped on the outer door of the women's room, hard. When there was no answer, more thumps followed, along with Sawyer's anxious bellow, “Kate, you in there?”

“Out in a minute.”

The woman looked Kate up and down, carefully. “So, that the daddy?”

“Oh God, no. He's a friend. The father...” Kate's voice trailed off, because she didn't trust herself to speak.

“What, honey, he run out on you?”

“I guess you could say that. He's dead.”

The woman nodded, as if she'd heard this before. “Happened to my cousin. Her man was in Iraq. She found out she was expecting two weeks 'fore he was due to come home. One week later, an IED blows up his Humvee with him in it.”

“It was something like that.” Because there had been a war on the Island, and Jack had been on the front lines of it. Only there would never be any medals for him, no military funeral, no rifle salute. Before the woman could satisfy her curiosity, ask what branch he'd been in, where he'd died, Kate jammed the pregnancy test into her pocket. “Thanks. I'll be OK, really,” she said as she scooted out of the rest-room.

As they left the store, Sawyer grumbled, “What the hell do you women do in there?”

* * * * * * * *


They'd driven all the way through Kansas City before Kate remembered that she hadn't bought her jeans and leggings. She decided not to bring it up, though, when Sawyer swerved a few times. Not enough to be dangerous, but enough to convince Kate that they needed a break.

At the rest-stop they bought cans of soda and bags of chips, then reclined the Yukon's front seats all the way back and nestled down into them.

“Good idea, Freckles,” Sawyer said. “We can catch a few hours of shut-eye, then be in Des Moines by early morning.” He unwrapped a thermal blanket from its package, and tucked it around her.

She closed her eyes, but sleep wouldn't come. The pregnancy test was still in her pocket, jabbing into her. What the hell, better now than later. She pulled it out, and tried to keep her voice from shaking as she spoke. “Sawyer? There's something I have to show you.”

He must have been almost asleep, because he shook himself under his jacket, like a dog flinging off water. “Whatcha got, Freckles?”

“Turn on the dome light.”

He peered at the stick for a few seconds, as if he didn't know what he was looking at. “Two lines... that's good, right?”

A Missouri State Highway patrol vehicle pulled around the bend at the rest-stop, then cruised through the parking lot. Kate switched off the dome light in a flash and crouched down into her seat, as if trying not to be seen. The officer shone a light back and forth across the rest stop parking lot, but not at the Yukon.

Now Kate could breathe again. Two lines, the summing up of one whole night, the night before the Ajira 316 flight from Los Angeles to Guam. Jack hadn't been expecting her to show up in his apartment, probably hadn't even remembered that he'd given her a key.

She hadn't worried about birth control. She never did, because nothing had ever happened. That night, though, something felt different. She had opened herself to him in ways she never had before, had never felt desire so reckless. He had buried his face in her neck, between her breasts, in her groin, drawing in great sobbing breaths as if he wanted to literally inhale her into himself.

It had to have happened that night. The only living remnants of Jack Shephard were two lines on a test strip, and the unknown being inside her, growing, re-packaging her, softening her and blurring all her lines into a new form.

She wondered if her child would have his eyes, her freckles.

Meanwhile, Sawyer was still waiting for an answer, his face full of grave compassion.

“I'll be due around late August, early September. So, yeah, two lines is really good.”

She expected him to say "Son of a bitch," but he didn't. Instead, he took her hand in his warm, rough one, and gave it a squeeze. "Really wish the Doc were here to get the news, Freckles."

"Me, too."

After awhile they fell asleep, hands still linked together, and didn't open their eyes until a cold blue dawn dusted the trees around them, bringing with it the faint scent of approaching snow.

(continued)


(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-12 01:18 am (UTC)
desdemonaspace: (Default)
From: [personal profile] desdemonaspace
Lovely. So Kate knows that Hugo is capable of extending someone's life, but can't (or won't) in this case? He's got uncanny insight. He probably knows when it's a person's time.

Nice that Sawyer isn't rushing Kate. I like how he took the news, but I suspect he knew even before she showed him the stick. I could see them with a blended family, and it'd be nice if Sawyer unbent enough to see his daughter. He's got really low self-esteem, doesn't he?

The thing I like best about your fic is the potential for healing.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-12 04:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefanie-bean.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for reading!

Yes, I'm pretty much assuming that during the duration of this story, there's been a fair amount of information-sharing "off-camera." For instance, Kate knows what happened to Richard; that Jacob had the ability to do that. (Whether it was a good idea or not is another thing entirely.)

One of the greatest difficulties of being protector isn't so much in knowing how to use one's powers, as knowing when to *not* use them.

Again, thanks so much.

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