Pool Side

March 03, 2016:

Ororo and Kitty catch up by the Institute's Pool.

Xavier's Institute - Pool


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Xavier's is a little dull today. Most of the student body is cramming before the last set of exams preceding spring break. This means that the usual din of activity is significantly lessened. There aren't teenagers of all shapes and sizes popping up everywhere, and grown adults of equal variety wrangling them.

This is why Ororo Munroe has selected today as a fine day to sit by the pool and drink with her excellent friend Katherine Pryde. The weather-witch has enforced a warm, sunny space over the outdoor pool, making the immediate environs seem like summer. The mohawked teacher is in a two-piece, and even though she has on sunglasses — and is drinking weak but flavorful mixed drinks — she's got an ear out for snooping students, to scare away with a peal of thunder or maybe a bit of ball lightning.

It's a hard life, being Storm.

If Kitty were not used to Storm's abilities, she would be a little weirded out by her ability to turn a cold March day into a warm summer one. As it is, however, she is in her bikini with some form of fruity drink sitting on the table nearby. A large stack of books sits next to it, as that is what she usually does when she's beside the pool or the beach: reading.

Lockheed has sprawled across the top of her deck chair, snoozing restfully in the warmth like the space lizard that he is. In his sleep he snores and then tumbles off the side, landing on Kitty's head with a distraught trumpet. Laughing, she plucks the purple dragon up and places him safely on the table beside them. "Your own fault for thinking you could sleep balance, Lockheed." Turning to Ororo, she grins. "This was a fantastic idea. I didn't realize how much I missed the sun until just now."

Ororo looks over and laughs, half at Lockheed, half at Kitty's comments. "I was back home recently, in Kenya. It made me long for the sunshine all the more when I returned to New York. I apologize for mixing the drinks as weakly as I did — I did not want to risk losing control of the weather above us." Even to dear friends, Ororo speaks in her stately way. There's no removing it.

Ororo isn't reading, though she does have a book, singular, next to Kitty's stack of them. ("The Argonauts," by Maggie Nelson, for those desperate to know.) She seems more content to just absorb the sunrays and listen to the breeze. "Besides," Ororo comments after a moment, "now you can mystify your friends with where you got your new tan."

"You mean my new sunburns," Kitty smirks at Ororo. Much like her nickname-sake, she stretches slightly, toes flexing and fingers stretching under the welcomed sunlight and warmth. Turning on her side, she grins at Ororo. "How was Kenya? We haven't gotten a chance to catch up much." As for the weak drinks, she waves her hand in dismissal. "I certainly don't mind. Better to enjoy the day without being drunk in the afternoon. Pleasantly buzzed is a good way to go about it." She grins.

Ororo stays laid on her back, perhaps because she's already had to use her powers to chase off a student or two. She looks over and tilts up her sunglasses, laughing softly. "Tt. New sunburns? More like your… new slightly darker freckles." She grins.

"Ah, good, I am glad you have not taken too much after Logan." Ororo smirks, and then reaches over to pick up her drink. "Kenya was… mmm. A homecoming. For that, I am grateful and glad. Still, the reason that brought me there was a threat to children. It still angers me. I would like very much to conclusively get to the bottom of who was behind it. Working with the new group Captain America has assembled will hopefully help with that."

The comparison to Logan is met with a smirk. "I don't have his ability to heal hangovers or livers." It's why she assumes he drinks like he does and smokes so many cigars. "Had he a different mutation, he'd certainly drink less." Lockheed, now on the table mutters a bit and then curls up around Kitty's large stack of books. They're slowly gathering the heat of the day and are almost like warming stones.

Tilting up her chin, Kitty snorts. "Freckles are no laughing matter." Though, she's grinning when she says that. It fades when Ororo speaks of her time in Kenya. "I'm sorry. I'm glad you're able to help, though. The X-Men should do more internationally…but we're already stretched a little thin."

Ororo has a sip of her drink, then sets it back down and nods. "It is why I elected to volunteer my time to both groups, Kitten — with Captain America, I can focus on such missions, while here, I can focus on educating and training the future generations of mutantkind."

Ororo stands up, glancing around to see if any more pesky students are watching. Satisfied with the pair's level of privacy, she steps over to kneel next to Kitty, so that she can give Lockheed a few pets and gentle scritches. She does not fear the space dragon as some do. "What about you, Kitten? I have been so busy, I have been making an effort to reconnect with my friends and family, to discover what is happening with them."

Lockheed is not a cat, but he clearly gives a sleepy appreciation to being skritched by Ororo. The question is met with a shrug. "Quite a lot of soul searching. Recovering. It's been a few stressful months. I've been trying to find my place since coming back. I enjoy teaching here, but I wonder if that's enough. I love being a part of the X-Men and helping other mutants. There's just times when I wonder if I'm doing enough with what I have."

Ororo is careful not to get too handsy with Lockheed, or to use too much of her fingernails. She's been around the dragon a fair amount — there's some level of understanding of how to make him happy. Still, Kitty's plight distracts her from that of a snoozing dragon. Ororo regards Kitty carefully with her cerulean cat's-eyes. She's not judgmental. It's more like a mother regarding her child, in its own ineffable way.

"How do you mean, Kitten?" Ororo drops carefully from her kneel to sit on the ground next to Kitty's deck chair. "What do you feel you are not doing?" She's clearly shifting into Mutant Den Mother mode, which might be a bit odd considering the not even ten year age difference between them, but… it's Ororo's way. And some people find it comforting.

"Oh, much the same as I've wondered since coming back here from Japan." Kitty sighs and crosses her arms, pushing her sunglasses back up her nose to cover her eyes better. "I just feel as if maybe I'm not leading enough? Helping enough? There's so many things happening all over the world. And the most I've done to help it lately is to ensure that my class has a grasp of C++." With a shrug of her shoulders, she picks up a book and just rests it on her legs. "I love it here, but I'm also slightly frustrated. I always feel like I should be doing more."

Ororo reaches out to put her hand delicately on Kitty's arm. She is going into Full X-Mom Mode. Her face is a frown, but a frown of sympathy. "As much as I would like it to be different, no one woman can be everywhere at once," Ororo says. "Otherwise I would be just that." She smiles, softly, her fingers giving Kitty's forearm the gentlest of rubs.

"I can speak to Captain America, if you like. If you would like to join his group, I would be welcome to have another friend on the team. I cannot imagine he would have a sane reason to exclude you. You phase, you are a ninja, a computer genius… I was worshipped as a goddess, Kitten, and you make me feel like I have accomplished little in comparison."

At the hand on Kitty's shoulder, she looks over her sunglasses at her dear friend. "I know, 'Ro," she sighs. "I know I'm just complaining. I have no right to do so. I have a home here, and friends, and a mission. It's just been a little like drifting for the past week or so. Maybe more." At the suggestion, she smiles and shrugs her shoulder. "Maybe. I'm not sure I'd fit on such a large team. You flatter me. You do so much more than I have done. You can literally turn a cloudy day into a sunny one." She grins.

"I can do this," Ororo says, gesturing at the sky with a smile. "But I still rely on you for help with my smartphone." The smile spreads wider. "Come here, Kitten. Hug me. I am not judging you, and you are not just complaining. You must listen to your feelings. It was a similar feeling that guided me across Africa, to my mother's tribe, and another one still that led me to accept the invitation of Charles Xavier. If I can help you in any way, you must let me know. There is no use in staying in one place if it makes your heart and mind feel stagnant. Life is a journey, yes? Part of that is actually journeying." Ororo keeps her arms open, ready for a hug if Kitty so chooses to take one.

"Smartphone any twelve year old can help you with," Kitty smirks. At the imploring at a hug, she hesitates only a moment before sitting up and reaching her arms out to be hugged. It's always nice to be hugged and she enjoys Ororo's as she knows it comes from a place of caring and sisterly affection. "I'm judging myself." It's something she does quite harshly at times. "I'm glad you followed your feelings to find us. Otherwise I might never have met you." As for helping her, she smiles and shrugs her shoulders. "It's not about staying here. I love this place. Xavier's has been more home to me than anywhere else. I just, I worry that we're stagnating here on our own. We need to start looking up and bigger."

Ororo's hugs do indeed come from such a place. They also feel slightly different now that a hug from Ororo doesn't mean a faceful of super-full white hair hanging around her shoulders. The mohawk changes everything! Ororo sits back down next to Kitty, and nods to her. "I implore you to put your tremendous mind to this problem, then. Come up with a plan. Present it to Jean. I will back you up every step of the way. After all, kittens, leaders often do not simply wait for their turn to lead."

Kitty pulls back after a good long hug. It's something she's needed. Though she's an adult, every person needs to feel comforted and protected at times. With a tremendous and grateful sigh, she smiles at Ororo. "Thanks, 'Ro." She means it. "I always feel better after talking with you." As for her thoughts and trying to think about leading, she nods a few times. "Maybe I will. Though, I don't think I'm really X-Men leader material. They've got Jean and Scott and Betsy for that."

Ororo taps her chin thoughtfully, and looks over Kitty once again, like a jeweler inspecting a diamond. She lets her eyes turn, too, to glance at Lockheed, just because one must always be mindful when one has their back turned to a space dragon. "I said nothing about leading the X-Men, Kitten." Ororo lets that thought settle for a moment. "There is more to the Institute — and to mutantkind."

Kitty raises an eyebrow at that. "What else could I lead here?" she asks Ororo, genuinely surprised and curious. She's merely a teacher. Charles is the head of the Institute and the others are head of their various teams. "I'm not interested with competing with either the Institute or the X-Men," she warns Ororo, though she's sure that's not what she means. "What are you saying?"

Kitty's comments about competing make Ororo shake her head slightly. "I am saying that if you feel that we could be doing more, you should find what that something is, and lead the way towards it. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination, Kitty." 'Kitty,' not 'Kitten.' Ororo switches between the two meaningfully. "Perhaps a technological innovation. Perhaps a program of outreach, or a network of communication… there are so many more ways that the X-Men or the Institute could affect the world. Ways that I could not even conceive of, let alone execute… but ways that you, with your diligence and your cleverness, would find before anyone else." Ororo gives a proud smile. "The answers, I suspect, are inside of you, Kitty. Meditate and draw them out."

"Perhaps," Kitty responds with a smile. "It seems as if that's something that will need to be thought about. Though, I think you would also think of ways the Institute and the X-Men could work that I would never even think of, either." It's not a one way street, after all.

After a deep breath, she smiles and looks up at the sky, created warm and forgiving by Ororo. "I'm just glad to have a nice sunny day to be by the poolside with my friend, even though it's supposed to be a cold March day."

"I am glad, as well," Ororo says, reaching over to squeeze Kitty's hand before she stands up and walks back to her deck chair. "My door is always open, Kitten. I know you know this… but I want to say it, regardless." Ororo stretches and settles, again checking for snooping students before tilting her sunglasses back down. "We must live life with our eyes open — both to see problems and fix them, and to see blessings and cherish them."

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