Bubbles and Sunshine

March 17, 2016:

Jean checks up on Hank with dinner and juice!

Dr. McCoy's Lab

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: David Alleyne, Betsy Braddock, Rachel Summers, Scott Summers and Charles Xavier

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's not like he was a social butterfly before, but Dr. McCoy would occasionally join staff and students at meals to socialize, but since his return, he's pretty much kept to himself when he's not in class. Any attempts at trying to regain some sort of social schedule has been a disaster so it's just easier for him to just stay out of people's way when he doesn't have a job to do. So, while meals are being had and students are studying or relaxing after a long day of school, Hank is back in his office, alone.

Today's events really didn't entice him to go out and try to be social again.

Instead, he's seated on his couch, a tablet before him on the coffee table and a guitar in his lap. Clawed fingers work well as guitar pics as he tries to teach himself how to play.

He's got a couple of chords down, but he's still quite new…he's only been at this for a day or so.


Even though most of the students are afforded a decent meal, Jean usually rises to the occasion and makes her own. It was rare that she had time to herself to do what she wanted, and these times were now. Checking in on people really is what she does best. So, with two plates full of food carried on a tray, the door to Hank's office mysteriously (no it's not mysterious) opens, and the redhead enters.

With a close of the door with a slight swing of her foot, she proceeds forward, neverminding personal space but -minding- where she walks. "I got steaks. Rib eye, with red potatoes and a side of asparagus. And juice." Cherry juice, to be exact. Since there was no fixings for pie, that was the best she could do. She stands outside his quarters, leaning on the wall, the tray slightly jiggling as she tries to keep it steady. "Granted, I should ask before I enter but.. may I?"


Beast pauses in his lesson when he catches scent of the steak. He doesn't mean for his stomach to rumble, but it does…and because of that reaction, he reaches out with a foot to turn off the lesson on the tablet. "Of course you can come in, Jean. I'm flattered that you brought me dinner, but you didn't really need to." He probably would have gotten something when everyone went to sleep. Maybe. Or maybe he would have had a protein bar for dinner.

"There's nothing to really interrupt, so you're always welcome to come in." Others, maybe not so much. "To what do I owe this visit?"

The guitar is set back in its case and tucked back in a corner as if it's not really there.


Jean smiles and quickly enters, setting the tray of food down upon the table, careful not to mess anything up nor spill the juice upon the surface of the tray. "I don't know." She murmurs, then kneels down upon the floor to begin to assemble the plates, forks and knives.

"Though, it almost seems like I've just interrupted something intimate." She tilts her chin towards the guitar. "Teaching yourself to play?"


Beast returns to the couch and kneels on the floor at the table even as Jean does. He'll even reach out to help some if she'll let him. "Thank you then, that's very nice of you." And it's a nicer dinner than he was planning.

When she mentions the moment, he shrugs, "It wasn't really. Just…trying to focus on other things, I guess. Something different. So, yes…trying to. I might not be any good, but I won't know until I get the basics down, right?"


Jean does accept the help, both of their hands move in tandem at setting the table. Once the tray was free and clear of all items, she removes it from the surface to put it to the side. "Eh. I try to be nice most times. Though I fail at it all of the others." She smiles just a little, green eyes studying him just a touch. "Right." With her plate tugged in front of her, her knife and fork taken up as she begins to cut the pieces, looking up to mentally unscrew the top of the steak sauce to leave it loose enough for them to use whenever.

"Looking for something else to center yourself with other than work, it seems." She glances down slightly, then lifts her shoulders in a slight shrug. "I'm sorry." Is all she could really say, she hasn't been there, not even for a lot of the people that come and go within the walls. It was nearly just too much. "For everything."


"Apparently, so do I," Hank offers with a chuckle. He waits for Jean to start eating before he starts in on the meal as well. When she apologizes though, he pauses and looks from her to his meal and back again. "Wait. Is this my 'last meal' or something? Because if I'm going to be let go, I'd rather know straight off the bat…"


Just when Jean was about to take a bite of her steak, she drops it right back upon the plate and tries not to break out into a fit of laughter. "What?!" She shakes her head a little, raising up upon her knees to shuffle her way around the table to join him at his side. "Jesus christ, no Hank." She settles down again, tugging her plate close, one elbow thrusting out to nudge him if he doesn't move to gain a bit of distance from her.

"I mean technically this could be your last meal for the night but goodness no. Don't send your mind to such a dark place."


Beast does scoot over to make room for Jean, but he doesn't go back to eating immediately. "Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it was though," he finally offers, taking a piece of steak on his fork. "Apparently now I have to lie to all the kids and have no heart. So. I'm not entirely certain where that leaves me as far as employment in a school with children when I'm trying to teach truth."


Her face scrunches up a little as she reaches for her fork. She doesn't eat right away, but she holds the piece of meat there which is swung idly left and right in between her fingers. "Who said you had to lie?" She asks, finally taking a bite of the meat, then forgoing it all with a settle against the couch, one arm resting upon the cushion. "I will admit, that I often do find myself lying to the children, but usually about my outward appearance."

She wrinkles her nose. "Broken noses and black eyes don't go over well with some of the younger ones. But I can also tell that there is far more than just you telling the truths to children that has you worried about your butt being in a sling. Talk to me."


Beast is quiet and still for a moment before he just shakes his head, "Nevermind. It doesn't matter. It'll happen eventually…because I'll just say the wrong thing to the wrong person and that will be the end of that." He stabs at the meat and takes a bite, using the chewing to refocus and try and calm his nerves again.

It's his fault…he brought it up.

"I'm not worried about my butt. I'm worried about what we're teaching these kids and what we're teaching people we're supposed to be trusting. Doesn't matter though. I know where I stand."


Jean raises her brows, then carefully reaches forward to pluck the fork out of his hand. There were microwaves present, so she wasn't ashamed to nuke a perfectly good meal just to make sure she's eaten. "Nobody is perfect. Not Charles, and certainly not you." She states carefully.

"You say you're not. But you are. Your first words before that were that you were going to say the wrong thing to the wrong person and it'll be the end. And even though your focus is the children primarily and what they think, it always ends with you." She reaches out for her glass, then takes a sip.

"Tell me."


"Well, it shouldn't. This school isn't about me," Hank looks at the hand that was holding the fork before he looks over to Jean. "It's nothing, Jean. You don't ned to get involved. Believe me, it's better if you don't because you don't want to be stuck taking sides. -I- don't want you having to take sides." Especially because he thinks he knows which side she'll be on.


"No. This conversation is about you." Jean states correctly.

"And it's obviously something. It's always one thing or another that has you holed up in here by your lonesome when you really don't need to be. Regardless of what you say or do, there are people that stand beside you, even if they aren't always present." She smiles a little, then sets her drink down. "Besides, you really don't get to decide what a person can or can't do. So try me."


"I don't need to be, but where else am I go to? I don't want to be a third wheel in someone's conversation and at this point, I think most of the Staff is uninterested in my company…" to be polite. Hank looks at the food on his plate before he picks up an asparagus spear with his hands. He doesn't need no stinkin' fork!

"There aren't people here who will stand by me, Jean. The tides have shifted and we're supposed to hug and coddle and lie to the kids instead of teach them how to survive in the world. How to become confident, capable members of society. Nope, we have to hide them from the world, ashamed of who they are and what they can do even though we preach at them to be proud. And now, apparently, I can't say anything to anyone for fear that they might take something I say the wrong way…as if I can control how someone thinks."

He takes a piece of the steak he cut off and pops it in his mouth, "That's not one of my many skills."


"My office, for starters." She states. "Try coming to me for once instead of me coming to you."

She purses her lips just a little, her head shaking. "That's because there is discord in the world and everyone is at their.. lowest, so to speak. There are so many things going on all at once and most of them attempt to be martyrs when it shouldn't be necessary. Everyone's attempting to shoulder the burdens of another and often times they cannot see." She shakes her head. "That's how it is with many of us sadly however, you've always been the constant. People grow. People you can't control. You yourself? You can control that." She takes one of her own spears with his fork, chewing thoughtfully.

"My ideals are this." She states, for once outloud. "Children first and foremost are to learn. The usual lessons that are suited for the school and given the choice on -if- they want to excel at other things aside from containing and controlling their powers." She chuckles just slightly. "Take David for example. I'm sure the other professors put him through the motions but he refuses to fight or even bring harm to another person and will exhaust -anything- to not do so." She shrugs her shoulders.

"I believe in teaching and giving them a choice. And living their life to the fullest. But, their protection from themselves and the world is first and foremost."


"So that they can go back out into the world and think that they can run things? Because they know nothing about it all?" Hank quickly counters, "Because that's what Rachel did. And now there's a new Rachel and I've had my ass handed to me because I didn't hug her and throw a party for her return. Because I didn't know she was a different one and I asked, plainly and simply, how she was going to fix the mess she made? And when I found out that she -was- different, I merely warned her what the previous Rachel did and now apparently I've scarred her for life. Even though I didn't. But it's how someone percieved it, they went to Scott, and he believes them over me."

Hank finishes his rant then and scowls at his plate. "So why do I bother? Why does it matter what I say to these kids? Why does it matter if I leave my office? No one wants me around, Jean. I'm not stupid. Because I don't gush over everyone all the time. I'm not a good little yes-man. And since I can't speak, why should I bother at all?"

He frowns then, "Good for David for holding to his convictions. I'm sure someone will trick him into fighting before too long because they don't like that he isn't doing what they want."


"Isn't that how we all turned out?" Her case was different. She destroyed an entire world and still suffers for it. "But no. Not so they could go back out into the world to control. So that they could make wise choices with the cards that they were dealt. You have to remember, -old- Rachel didn't have us in her life to teach her these things. And.. new Rachel.." She hesitates to say this. She hasn't even seen nor bothered to go near the newest incarnation of Rachel. She's only heard things from the grapevine and kept her distance for a good reason. She was still hurt.

"Emotions were high. I was part of that discussion when Scott heard the news. They were upset, yes. But in cases like those.. everyone has a right to their emotions. It's just up to them to get past it. Scott.. is a different animal all together. He's procedure. But when family is involved, he's protective. Though we have this.. odd case with her being our daughter it all falls by the wayside. The important things."

"And we need you." Plain and simple. "We never expect you to be the yes-man. We expect you to err on the side of logic and probability where as we rely on our emotions far too much." Maybe it wasn't so simple. "So bother. Persistence. You know what Charles would say." But she shakes her head just a little. "Don't sell David short. Don't sell yourself short. But also don't let me tell you how to truly be."


"Charles wouldn't say anything," Hank points out. "And you all don't need me. The students don't need me. The -school- doesn't need me. You have people who could teach what I do and they're even on some sort of team. They're role models." He shakes his head, "I'm tired of being the bad guy at this school, Jean. I'm tired of being always wrong because I don't agree with those who have been put in charge." He continues to pick at the meal, "I get the family thing. Really, I do. At least, I can imagine what it must be like. But for Scott to chew me out in front of students…that's not what friends do."

There's another pause before he asks, "So do you believe whomever it was who said I drove Rachel away?"


"Charles would. Though, he's back in Ibiza now doing his own battle."

"And you forget, there are teachers out there in our employ that can teach as well as I can and probably even better. But you're here for your own unique skillsets and your unique way of thinking. What someone else can do may mimic yours but.. who was the one to outfit the danger room after.. well, we broke it."

She tries, tries with all her might to keep a straight face. Even though that entire thing was a doozy it was fixed right up by the man who sits there. She breaks out into a fit of giggles, her hand lifting to cover her mouth as she gives a shake of her head. "That was such a shitshow Hank. But you made it better. Without you, we'd be tearing up the lawn."

Her eyes glitter with a hint of mirth, though it nearly falls short at the mention of Scott and Rachel again. "Honestly? No." Deadpan.

"Semantics and all aside, you're the Senior Member here as well and possibly the only acting one there. Your word is bond and yet, I have this feeling that like with Rose, she possibly left to not cause any upset." She smiles a little. "Martyrdom where it isn't needed." She nudges him briefly. "You love this place. You wouldn't be upset if you didn't. You love us. You would have walked at the first sign of ire. And you love being blue.." She reaches over to ruffle his hair.

"So, I propose this. Thursday nights. Late at night. You, me, Netflix and we watch some horrible movie that we can swear and throw popcorn at."


"I'm here because I begged Charles to help me and he gave me this as a refuge. I'm the one who made it a cage." He picks at the food some more, "I'm sure others could have fixed it. Kitty's good at that sort of thing, as are David and Doug. Maybe it wouldn't be the same fix, but it would work." He doesn't seem convinced by her words and her giggles just bring a sigh. "You'd have figured something out, I'm sure. Someone would have."

Hank does look back over to her when she says she doesn't believe that he kicked Rachel out. "Thanks," is offered quietly before he reaches to take a drink of the juice.

"That's just a title, Jean. It means absolutely nothing. You and Scott are in charge, and after that, Betsy and…someone else. My word doesn't mean anything." Golden eyes look at the food left on his plate before he looks back to Jean, "Honestly? I'm staying because I have nowhere else to go. I can't leave and fade into society like most others can. It's either hide here or hide in the Hall of Justice and I guess I'd choose the Devil I know."

At the offer of the Netflix night, he shakes his head, "I don't think Scott would like that. You two don't get to spend enough time together as it is…me taking time from that wouldn't be good for your relationship."


"You always downplay everything to make yourself seem something you're not. When in truth, what we -do- know about Danger, no one else could have fixed her and make her work like new unless you had a hand in it." She does shift up a little, then shrugs her shoulders. "Me and Scott aren't in charge, as a matter of fact." She didn't want to say it, but it was there.

"I am, and as much as I don't like to be, I'm stuck here. As much as I'd like to run away, shuck all responsibility to someone else permanently, it just isn't in the cards." She smiles a little sadly. "But it hurts to hear how little you value yourself and that could at least be the reason why people push you away. Scott and I.. we'll find our time when we can but we're our own people. While our relationship is an important thing to us, we've made it quite the habit to put everyone else before that as much as it hurts." She draws in a breath, then shakes her head, drawing herself to a stand. "So, Thursday. I'll have a horror movie on deck. We might as well start our ritual out with a bang, right?"


"Which makes my position all that more tenuous then," Hank points out. "You and Scott sort of like me. Aside from Charles…no one else does, so whomever is in charge will probably just boot me if I don't compliment their shoes enough." He jumps to conclusions, of course. Hank merely shrugs at the mention of Danger, "It's nice that you say that," but he still doesn't believe it.

"People push me away because I don't get close, Jean. It's as simple as that. I've been doing that trick since I was a kid. You get close to someone and they'll just hurt you, so why not cut out the ability to get hurt in the first place? I've been hurt enough and even though I stay to myself, I keep on getting hurt. So why should I put myself into the line of fire?"

She isn't going to take 'no' for an answer about the movie, is she? "Very well. If you have nothing better to do, we'll watch the movie." But he's not going to hold his breath that she'll be free.

Looking up as she stands, he considers the plate before him, "Thanks for bringing the dinner. That was very sweet of you."


"No, it's solidified. I doubt I'll be going anywhere, and if I do go anywhere it would be to the great beyond. Though, how fast that happens.." She shrugs just a little as she bends to take her plate and her juice. She doesn't say much else really as she rounds the table to head towards the door, only stopping once she hits the threshold, her lips twisting in a little quirk as she turns to look towards him over her shoulder.

"You should put yourself in the line of fire because it's worth it. And I love you. Simple as that." She perks up with a little hop in her step, her ponytail swinging as she bounds out of the room. "I'll get everything set up, it's going to be awesome!" Throwback to the days when everything was carefree, and possibly when Jean and Hank were first introduced. Bubbles and sunshine, really. "See you Thursday!"

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