Trevor waited in his seat, going over his notes. Not much had changed in them from the previous visit with Mahina. Mr Bubbles reported some odd behavior from her part of Hawaii but nothing too dangerous. No more alien sightings or the like. While it was possible that such an event could've happened and be properly hidden, Trevor suspected Bubbles would've found a way to notice anyway.
He saw he had given Mahina homework. 'Make a blender. Lilo & Stitch in hula contest, Mahina excludes self.' He would check with her on these things. Mahina did a good job reminding Trevor of her completed homework whenever it involved something technical. She was less eager when it involved talking to other people.
His other notes were more personal things. Bits of Mahina's day to day life picked up from what she was saying.
From all reports, she could've looked like a normal seven year old. Normal in her situation, anyway. She played with her peers, though not often. This was more likely related to Mahina being an introvert than anything troubling. She dealt with emotions in a very intense way, reminding Trevor of the Vulcans from Star Trek. Funny enough Mahina dealt with emotions the same way too: pretending they didn't exist. Most of the things she did were in service to another person, sharing their burdens without being asked- not verbally, Mahina seemed to take any sign of struggle as someone asking her for help.
Trevor made a note to himself to call Mr Jookiba. There were some things he had to tell the larger alien in regards to Mahina's mental health, and what it would mean to keep her living there. In order to keep any issues from arising, Mr Jookiba would need to know what was expected of him for keeping Mahina happy and healthy.
That still meant Trevor had to talk to Mahina first. Knowing her current headspace would give Trevor somewhere to start with Mr Jookiba.
Someone knocked on his door. "Come in, Mahina."
The door to his office opened. Mahina skipped in, notebook in one hand and a water bottle in the other. A pen was stuck in her hair, no doubt 'borrowed' from his waiting area. "Hi Dr Hunter." She took her usual spot, splaying out the notebook. She filled her empty hand with the pen from her hair.
"Hi Mahina." He glanced at the door as it closed, spotting Mr Jookiba outside sitting boredly in a chair. Trevor might've seen Pleakley there too- the door had closed too much for that perspective.
Trevor put his attention back on his patient. The seven year old was happily working on an equation. One she'd been working on awhile, by the look of it.
"I wanna know. How did the hula thing go? For Lilo and Stitch?" Trevor asked. "Did you end up helping?"
"Oh, Lilo dropped out." Mahina explained. She sat herself down on the couch. She pulled out her notebook and pencils, going to work. Whatever was already working in her head wouldn't wait for simple pleasantries. "Stitch almost died, but Lilo didn't know it for a while. I tried to tell her. Lilo was just really focused on the hula- she needed to prove she was like her mom."
"Wow." Trevor glanced down to his notebook. Indeed, he had a note that Mahina brushed off her own issues in favor of how others were reacting. Most of the time it seemed like if her ohana had no peace, Mahina had no peace. Trevor didn't want to accidentally give her a complex about helping others. He needed to remind her to focus on her own issues, that they mattered too. "How did you feel about it?"
Mahina shifted, shrugging while scribbling another equation. "It was...I mean it happened. He's fine now though. Pops, Pleakley, and I were working on a thing that would cure him. There was some error, but I was able to fix it. Stitch was fine, healthier than ever after."
"That's good. But I didn't ask about Stitch." Trevor reminded her. Mahina smiled, the corners of her mouth tight. "I asked about you."
"I was fine." Mahina replied. "Everything was handled. It's all good, I'm all good."
Trevor nodded, holding back on writing a note just yet. "Okay. How was everyone else? Were they taking things okay?"
"It wasn't a big deal."
"Yet Lilo cancelled her hula to see Stitch get better." Trevor commented.
"I mean, it was a big deal but it's not a big deal." Mahina explained.
"Was it like...a big deal for everyone else but not you?" Trevor asked.
"Yeah." Mahina answered. "It was fine."
Trevor was beginning to think Mahina had a different definition for that word. "When people around us get hurt, it's okay to be scared."
Mahina scribbled with the pen. She didn't look up from it.
"Even if it seems scary. It's okay if you're scared when someone you care about is in trouble."
"I wasn't scared. Everything was gonna be fine." Mahina grumbled.
Trevor nodded. "And you're right, it was all fine."
Mahine shifted in her spot.
"Wasn't it scary in the middle, before you knew?"
Mahina kept on writing.
Trevor paused a moment. He glanced down at his notes, adding a small blurb. "I get it, that you don't want to talk about it. There's this concern that I'm not listening, right? Or that I won't take it seriously, like I'm not listening to what you're saying?"
The little girl said nothing.
"Because then people do this thing, where they're pretending to listen." Trevor explained.
Mahina was scribbling on the paper. She was quite frantic with it.
"When instead it's just in one ear and out the other." Trevor put down his pencil. "You know?"
She blinked, looking up at him. "...yes." Then immediately she went back to scribbling.
Trevor pursed his lips. Yeah this wasn't going anywhere. A quick check of his watch showed he had another fifty minutes with her.
After the session, Mahina walked out into the waiting room. She sat with Pleakley to work silently. Mr Jookiba came in with boisterousness- eager steps that almost made Trevor feel bad.
"Your daughter is a very smart girl." Trevor began after Mr Jookiba sat down. "A genius- brightest of her generation, I'll say."
Mr Jookiba preened. "Yes. Mahina has shown a great deal of brains, despite being human."
'He's an alien, Trevor, remember he's just an alien.' "Even with all this intelligence, there are still some things where I see Mahina struggling."
His preen fell back, shifting to concern. "What? What is wrong- what do we fix?"
"It's not as easy as fixing a broken wire or faulty code." Trevor reminded Mr Jookiba. "This is an emotional issue." Trevor could see in his four eyes how the alien started to step back from the conversation. Neither father nor daughter were good with emotions, it seems. "Mahina struggles in handling her own problems. She internalizes so much that she can't articulate her own problems- how she's feeling, what's going on with her, or anything that involves focusing on her emotions. They overwhelm her."
"Mahina does not get overwhelmed!" Jookiba argued. "She is a strong earth girl!"
"That she is. One of the strongest I've seen, given the circumstances." Trevor praised. "But she can't stop helping to take time for herself."
Mr Jookiba blinked his fours eyes, confused. Trevor thought about a different approach through this issue.
"She explained an incident where Stitch was sick?" Trevor asked.
Mr Jookiba nodded. "Yes. Very...sick."
"He almost died, by her words." Trevor explained. "Yet whenever she explained it, it was always how others reacted and how nobody noticed the issues except for her. Yet Mahina didn't share her concerns with others, because she isn't used to expressing herself in a healthy way."
"She did share concerns with me! We helped save Stitch."
"Did she share her worry over Stitch's life?" Trevor asked. "How her friend was dying, or show any distress over it? She's a child, children are emotional in times of death in the family. As her father, you must have seen something."
"She-!" Mr Jookiba started off loud and energized, like the example was right on the tip of his tongue. He stalled. "She-" He was less energized, waiting for that memory to pop up in his mind. "She helped Pleakley."
Trevor nodded. "And you, I imagine." Mr Jookiba silently nodded. "But did anyone talk to her?"
Mr Jookiba shook his head.
Trevor leaned forward in his seat. "Mr Jookiba, I can see how much you love your daughter, even though she's from another planet. You need to understand that these issues are small right now, but they could become bigger as Mahina grows older. I recommend getting her a journal. It's a healthy outlet for her to let out her emotions."
"Then I read it to understand?" Mr Jookiba asked.
Trevor had a flashback to many, many arguments between his sister and their parents about them reading her diary, or telling them that Trevor had read her diary. "NO!" Jookiba tilted her head in confusion. "It's an invasion of her privacy. That's bad."
"So you understand, Mr Jookiba, that you can't read her diary?" Trevor prompted.
"Yes." Mr Jookiba answered, though it didn't feel as sincere as it could've been.
"Ever." Trevor went on.
"Because if you breach her privacy, she will never trust you again." Trevor warned.
Mr Jookiba opened his mouth to confirm. Trevor's words hitting before he did. "She won't?" Trevor shook his head. "Okay. No reading little girl's diary."
Trevor smiled, relieved. "Good. I'll see you next time."
They were walking back to the house. Or that had been the plan before Jumba took then to a store. Not just any store, a girly girl store clearly made for pre-teen girls. To Mahina's confusion and Pleakley's delight. Immediately on entering the shop, Pleakley wandered off in search of makeup and accessories. Jumba and Mahina were offset by all the bright girl colors.
Mahina was silent though as she followed Jumba around the shop. She considered the reasons they must be here, concluding that Jumba just wanted to give Pleakley a reward for coming along. Mahina hadn't really enjoyed sitting by Pleakley after her session, cause all Pleakley wanted to do was talk more. That wasn't a thing Mahina could handle after therapy, and Pleakley should get used to that.
Okay yeah so maybe getting Pleakley something nice was a good repayment plan. If the discomfort in Mahina's chest could go away by getting them so gaudy makeup and cheap jewelry, then she could stand it.
Jumba picked up a book. Mahina could hardly tell it was a book, the cover was so brightly pink and rainbow sequins. Mahina bet that Pleakley would like it. She must've made a face, cause Jumba put the book down.
"What do you think?" Jumba asked.
She hummed. "Well I don't think Pleakley even likes notebooks."
"No, no. Not for Pleakley." Jumba replied. "For you. What do you think?"
Mahina eyed the sparkly book. "But I already have a notebook."
"This is not for science." Jumba explained.
"But you said it was for me." Mahina replied, confused.
"Yes. But not for science."
That didn't help any, it only made Mahina more confused. "...I do math in the other one too?"
"It is for feelings." Jumba explained. "You write down your feelings there."
Mahina eyed the book differently now. She reeled back from it, like it was on fire. "Why?"
Jumba seemed to struggle with an answer for that. "It's a thing humans do, yes? An activity you would enjoy?"
"No." Mahina answered. "I'm a private person, I don't want my thoughts on paper where anyone could read it!"
"Well Dr Hunter says you do it, so you do it." Jumba explained.
Mahina dropped her jaw, trying again and again to pick it up. "Can-"
"Did he even-"
"He said you do it, so you do it." Jumba insisted.
Mahina tried to form an argument. She considered her last two hours. She thought she was less stressed, that things were easier. Dr Hunter had a different idea, which hadn't been what she wanted. The idea of writing down her feelings wasn't great...she knew what she was feeling, why write them down? What benefit would that give?
Then again, she could see the look on Jumba's face. She saw the tension in his shoulders. Many would have problems seeing expression in such a non-human face. There was a year of practice for Mahina. His words showed her things too. Jumba was worried. He usually only got worried for the same reasons Nani did.
The odd letter from social services, the stray argument between her and Lilo, Nani was constantly worried about losing her sister. They at least had familial understanding, Jumba had no such connection to Mahina. One sister raising another, constantly arguing and getting on each others nerves. An alien and a Reality Walking human, somehow always avoiding argument by focusing on mutual interest. A beautiful display, Mahina thought, of nature versus nurture.
Mahina saw that feeling clashing in Jumba again. Though he and Mahina worked well together as a family unit, Jumba occasionally got worried about if he was raising her right. If she was really well taken care of by him, and his own failings as a father.
She only had a few houses before Jumba. A small handful of father figures. Jumba was the best out of all of them. If he felt inadequate, Mahina wanted to work extra hard to make him feel better. Jumba deserved to know he was being a good dad.
She looked at the journal again.
It wasn't even a choice.
"Could I get a journal with a lock on it?" Mahina offered.
"And another thing- wait you said yes?" Jumba asked.
Mahina nodded. "Can we find a journal with a lock? Or- or maybe we could get a normal one, and you can help me put a lock on it? That would make me feel better."
Jumba gave her a wide relieved smile. His shoulders relaxing out in relief. "Yes. Yes okay, we could do that. I can make electronic lock that is voice and thumb activated!"
Mahina smiled back at him. The very idea of having a journal was offsetting, she would do it for her pops.
AN: Here we are! Just a fic that's basically Mahina trying to get therapy and that...sorta working? Special thanks to everyone that has read this segment this far! I was hesitant to write Morgan/Mahina's story as I thought nobody would really like a L&S fic. But you guys proved me wrong! Thank you.
My usual writing style is to upload the sequel immediately after a story but...I have 15 of those out right now? Maybe Mahina! The Fanfiction will come out around Christmas. For now I'm gonna focus on other stories I have to write.