Title: Going Through The Motions [c]
Jean Grey - May 24, 2011 02:16 AM (GMT)
Jean hadn't sat down for more than five minutes since she got up that morning. Keeping busy helped her keep from doing something she knew she shouldn't. Which was using Cerebro. Only the Professor had, but she had been trained. She knew how it worked and as long as she was careful, she was sure she could handle it. In her mind, there wasn't really much of a choice. The Professor literally disappeared into thing air. Not a trick he actually had in his repertoire. Unfortunately, she had been outvoted. It didn't mean that her mind didn't wander to it from time to time.
Today, she had been lucky. If you wanted to call it that. She had more than enough paperwork to keep her busy. To keep her mind from wandering to the subbasements. Closing the last of the freshmen files she tucked her hair behind her ear and took them back to the filing cabinet. Her hair was left down most of the time, thick unruly waves falling past her shoulders and over her pale rust colored blouse. The air outside was nicely crisped and spoke of frosts coming and it had put her in the mood of autumn leaves. So she'd dressed for the season, and wore flats simply because she knew she'd be on her feet all day.
Once she got the files back where they belonged she bit at her lower lip and pulled the sophomore files. "This is going to take all week." she muttered to herself.
Cyclops - May 24, 2011 02:55 AM (GMT)
Despite popular belief, Scott Summers did have feelings and of all the people in the world who knew that best had to be Jean Grey and Charles Xavier. They had known him since his boyhood and the Professor in particular had shaped the man that Scott had become today. So it was not out of uncaring that Scott had opted not to use Cerebro to find Charles after the man's sudden disappearance, but because Scott believed that Charles would not want them risking another life in order to do so. And despite Jean's claims to the contrary, Scott knew there was a risk in her using the machine.
Of course, he could rationalize his reasonings all day long, he was good at that, but there was also that little voice inside of him that knew he was also scared at the prospect of losing Jean and that part of him could never agree to a course of action that might endanger the redhead's life, even at the cost of another beloved figure. That wasn't to say that he wasn't using every other resource that he could think of to try and find the professor. He'd just gotten off the phone with Moira, a scientist and old friend of Charles's. She hadn't seen or heard from him either, but promised to use her own resources to aid in the search.
The slightest twitch at the corner of Scott's mouth spoke of his frustration at another dead end as he then got up, pausing to stretch, his muscles tight from tension. Then he headed down to the kitchen which was, for the moment, devoid of teenagers. Making two cups of coffee, one for himself which was black with just a small scoop of sugar and the other prepared in the way he knew she took it, Scott then proceeded up to Xavier's office, where he figured he'd find Jean, and he was right. She probably knew about his presence even before he arrived, but he let out a small throat clear anyway, since his hands were too full to knock.
"This ought to help with the long night," he offered, extending the handle side of the mug. His voice, while it might still come off as even toned to most people, held a softness reserved only for his oldest and dearest friend.
Jean Grey - May 24, 2011 03:38 AM (GMT)
The paperwork was really, nothing more than busy work really. Certainly it needed to be done but it wasn't something that held your interest. Nothing that you could really care to do. It was a chore. One she'd seen the Professor do without a hint of the mind numbing, bleary eyed frustration she found herself feeling over it. Little things to remind her that she could try, but there was no taking his place. It was a common thought that she would catch as a stray during the day. From students, other teachers. Jean kept it in mind so that when the Professor returned, and yes it was when not if, she could tell him. Let him know that it wasn't just her life that he had changed forever.
Closing the last drawer she gathered the files into her arms and turned to lay them in piles by last name. She turned before he got to the door. The question in her mind dropped as soon as she saw him. To the casual observer Scott really only had one look, his facial expression always seeming neutral. Jean knew better. She knew him better. That subtle softness he had when he was carrying too much on his own shoulders. The small tilt to his mouth when he was blaming himself for imagined inadequacies.
So she reached for the mug with a grateful smile and leaned back against the desk. Sipping at it she let out a sigh. She was sure. Letting it warm her hands she raised her eyes to his. She always knew when she had his eye contact. "Nothing then?"
They were running out of leads. Not that there had been any to begin with, but if they continued hitting dead ends she wasn't sure how they'd stop Logan or Marie from up and leaving. Of course they weren't the only ones itching to do something, they were just the ones most vocal about hitting the road. Telling them how fruitless it would be to just wander about aimlessly hoping for a lead amounted to telling Jean that Cerebro was a bad idea. They all knew it, they just felt the driving need to do something. To feel productive somehow.
Cyclops - May 24, 2011 01:36 PM (GMT)
Scott took a sip from the warmth inside of his own mug as a way of giving himself a moment's pause before answering. He wished he had good news to give her, but nor was he one to sugar coat or hide the truth. He met her eyes from behind his ruby-colored shades. "Moira will be helping us search, but there's been no contact with her either." He was sure that the news would only strengthen Jean's resolve about using Cerebro just as each passing moment made Logan more eager to run often half-cocked. He'd just have make sure that his own resolve was stronger. "There's an answer out there somewhere and we're not going to give up until we find it."
The tall, slender man took a step closer to the desk, setting his cup of coffee down for the moment so that his hand was free to touch her arm in a reassuring manner. "Keeping the school running, the students reassured is just as important." It may feel like they were doing 'nothing', but it was far from that, by remaining a team they were keeping the school going.
He picked up one of the files idly, glancing over the information inside. At one time there had been only a handful of students, but since they were kids, so many more had come out of the woodworks. Now the school seemed to have new enrollments just about every week. Seeing the stack of files only reminded Scott just how much more work there was to be done and how much this world still needed Charles Xavier.
Jean Grey - May 24, 2011 03:06 PM (GMT)
Jean kept the mug in her hands, as if needing to leech the heat from it. She knew the answer the moment he stepped into the room, the moment she saw his face. The fact that Scott felt the need to take a moment only reminded her that he was just as worried, and lost. She closed her eyes for just a moment. Moira had no idea where he was, so Jean was sure they had just put her on alert to worry as well. Charles and Moira were close, they had a history that Jean was only barely aware of. Her eyes opened as Scott brushed her arm and she shifted her mug to one hand so she could cover his hand with her own. That brief bit of public affection spoke volumes. Scott was not one for public displays.
"My worry is how we'll find the answers, and how late." She patted his hand then let go, not wanting to push his comfort level even farther when emotions were already high. She was too aware of how high they were running through the school. It was the difference between the usual white noise she filtered out every day and a higher more insistent frequency that hammered at her day and night.
With a sigh she turned to the desk and set her mug down. Raising her hand she rubbed at her temple. "I'd never let this school down if I could help it Scott. You know that. It's done too much for us, the Professor has done too much for us. There are more and more students every month. More and more people that need this place. No matter what we find out, we aren't letting this place close." She had her own worries about what she could handle alone. How long she could keep this place going but she knew she wasn't the only one feeling that way so hopefully, together they could keep things moving.
Trying for a change of subject, since wallowing on what they couldn't do right now wasn't helping she smiled and moved around the desk again. "Have you eaten yet today? Classes begin again soon and you won't have time for long lunches by the looks of it. We are, at capacity at this point."
Cyclops - May 24, 2011 03:37 PM (GMT)
"Food? What's that?" Did Scott just make a joke? The upward tug of his mouth verified that yes, he actually had. But it was kind of true too. With everything that had been going on lately, meals became an afterthought as coffee became an increasingly steady staple. And not just for him, but for all those worried over the sudden disappearance of their beloved mentor. He closed the folder, laying it back in it's place on the desk before turning back to Jean.
"How about you let me take you out for lunch? We've all been cooped behind these walls for the last week. Maybe we can think better if we just let our minds decompress for a few minutes." He'd moved for the door, holding it open with one hand while offering her to exit first, in a gallant manner. It was always hard for Scott to relax, or at least in how others perceived relaxation, but he didn't need to be a telepath to see how stressed the redhead was and a good leader knows when it's time to pull back. And a good boyfriend knows when his girl could do with a little bit of pampering.
"Still love that kung-pao chicken from The Imperial Garden?"
Jean Grey - May 24, 2011 04:17 PM (GMT)
Jean's lips quivered into a smile and she raised a brow. Scott with his guard down? Even a little? A rare glimpse of sun behind a cloudy day. She had been just as bad about meals. Finding her stomach had even given up on reminding her about food. She made sure the kids ate, and once in a while might pick at something while she made the rounds but stopping to actually sit and eat? Oh no, if she had time to relax, then she had time to do something else. There was no relaxing until things were back the way they were meant to be.
Jean hesitated. Glancing to the door that he was now holding open and the files on the desk. Was it fair to take time away when there was work to be done? There was always work to be done and Jean had this little voice in her head that constantly reminded her that she was behind. She was always behind. Never sure she was doing as much as she should, or could. Never as capable as the others.
Setting down her mug she almost groaned. "Oh now that's unfair, Mr. Summers. You know my weakness." With what equated almost to a sigh she shook her head and headed out through the opened door to some fresh air outside. Fresh air, now it had been awhile since she'd been out at all! "Throw in some spring rolls and you've got me weak in the knees."
Cyclops - May 25, 2011 03:39 AM (GMT)
Allowing Jean to exit through the doorway first, Scott pulled the office door shut after them. The light scent of that shampoo she used had long since been etched into Scott's senses and it was one of those things that could evoke a good feeling, no matter how bad things were; like a fond memory from childhood and as she passed him, the scent filled his nose. If he were any other man, he might have taken her in his arms and taken her worries away with a kiss, but alas, he was only Scott Summers and not prone to such flights of impulse.
Outside, he walked with Jean to the garage, opening the door with a beep from his key chain. They'd take a drive down to Salem Center. It wasn't far, and they wouldn't be gone long, but enough, just enough, he hoped, that Jean would be able to smile. A real smile, the kind that made /him/ weak. As they drove through the tree-lined streets of Westchester County Scott's mind, with thoughts of his missing mentor still lingering near the surface, began to wander back to the days when he'd first seen these now familiar houses and rolling hills.
"Remember taking the trip into town the day I got my license? I was the only student the Professor trusted with the school car." It wasn't bragging, it was just true. With his natural affinity for spatial awareness, things like driving and piloting came almost effortlessly, as was the responsibility.
Jean Grey - May 25, 2011 07:07 PM (GMT)
She actually blinked in the sun when they stepped out. Oh yes, it had been a long time since she'd taken the time to just go outside. Too long. Leaning her head back she closed her eyes and just breathed a moment. She loved the smells of the grounds. Fresh grass, the flowers she could catch on the breeze. Ororo loved the gardens and always took excellent care of them.
She offered Scott a smile as they headed to the garage and she slipped into the passenger seat easily. It was just another habit, they knew if they were going out, Scott was driving. It wasn't from any fear of female driving, and it wasn't so much chivalry. It was that machines, were his forte. Scott knew the vehicles on the grounds from nuts and bolts to engine. To a casual observe you would almost think it was another mutant power of his to be able to tell a car or engine by just the sound. She knew that if she found Scott working diligently on a car, a bike or the jet, he was working out emotions as well. He was the type to need the solitary time to work through things on his own and she respected that.
She smiled to herself. Oh she remembered that day. She remembered it as if the emotions were fresh. He was so excited, but hiding it and the Professor was more nervous than he let on. "Of course, and I've never seen the guys go so red faced as when you were allowed to just waltz out with the keys. You know the Professor always trusted you, but that day, I think he was just as nervous as you were."
Jean sighed and looked around at the scenery as they passed it. "I feel guilty sometimes. My parents house was just, never home. The school was. Is. I can't imagine my life without it." Or without the Professor but she wouldn't voice that right now. Not when she knew full well Scott felt the same.
Cyclops - May 26, 2011 03:39 PM (GMT)
Scott wasn't, by nature, a competitive man. The things that he did, the choices he made were not done out of the desire to have himself come out on top, but rather, because they needed to be done. But, thinking back to that day, when he'd walked out those front doors, keys in hand, the envy of the other boys, well, he couldn't help the way it had made him feel; like he'd finally won one. Growing up, Scott wasn't exactly popular. Tall and gangly with his affinity toward mathematics dialed him much closer to nerd than jock, but he surely felt like the king of the hill that day.
And Jean was right. like that one, every other good memory Scott could vividly recall was during his time at school. It was far more than just an old house or a place of learning, it was warmth and that, they all knew, was because of Charles Xavier. "I don't think any of us could," he agreed with her sentiment, even the unspoken part. "The school was where I found my family," he admitted in a moment of shared sentiment, even going as far as to release one hand from the wheel to search out hers. And when he could feel the warm, soft touch of her skin, her own slender fingers falling into place between his own, he felt confident enough to reassure her that, "The Professor is going to come home. I won't let anything tear us apart, because we need each other." his lips quirked, "Even Logan...but don't tell him I said that."
Jean Grey - May 26, 2011 04:27 PM (GMT)
Jean felt his fingers catch hers and she let her wrist relax, palm to palm and fingers entwined. Turning she smiled. Perhaps it was just because Scott wasn't one to dole out physical affection readily and certainly not publicly that it meant more. Each touch was very much real, and thought out. There was true meaning behind it all, otherwise he would not have bothered. She gave his hand a small squeeze.
She understood, the Professor, the team, the students. They were all her family. She just knew that it also meant so much more to Scott. After all, most of them had come to the school from their own homes. Their own families. In the beginning anyway. Scott was a rarity at the time. None of them had known right off Scott's situation. The Professor respected his need for privacy and while not all the students might have felt the same, Scott could be very tight lipped.
Jean had never needed him to tell her. She saw it in the tightness around his mouth. The slight bow to his head and shoulders. The way he took to everything, so serious, so determined. He was never going to settle for second best. Not out of a need to be the best, but to prove himself. At first to the Professor then to himself. It had taken years for him to feel he deserved to be there. It had been amazing to watch. The slightly stooped tall and lanky youth who absorbed every lesson and spent hours pouring over books, to the strong jawed straight backed young man that took charge of situations as well as his fellow students.
She sighed and let her head hit his shoulder for just a moment. "You know you're secret is safe with me. And I have faith in you, I just, worry." she added softly.
Cyclops - May 27, 2011 02:28 AM (GMT)
And that tightness that sometimes made it look as if his jaw was drawn that it might literally snap returned to Scott's face. For most people it is their eyes that are the windows to the soul, however, in Scott's particular case, his eyes were hidden. The ruby-red shades were like blinds upon those windows, which helped in keeping his stoic, calm leader appearance, but also had a way of naturally alienating others. For Scott it had just become another aspect of the man he was, a man who cared but from a distance.
He knew Jean as well as she knew him and of course she worried. And he knew that she wanted to do something, he'd known from the first look of alarm on her face when they realized the Professor had disappeared that there would be talk to using the machine to find him. That was why he'd nipped that idea in the bud from the start. All the things that he loved most about the red-head; her passion, her compassion and her inner fire were also all the things that frightened him about her. His gut told him to protect her even from herself because as heroic as attacking a problem head on, guns blazing seemed from a distance, the reality was that passion was dangerous.
Making matters worse was always Wolverine, who pretty much embodied that irrational danger. He didn't seem to realize, or care, that when he acted reckless it made those around him want to emulate it. Rogue for one, and Jean too, he thought. He had a damn pull on her too. At least so far, Scott had managed to keep his firm grip on the reins of his team so that they all continue to act as one, working together in a way that would keep them all safe. He had to keep it.
"I know." he replied softly. What else could he say? There was no use is telling someone not to worry, they always would. What he needed was a plan. A solid plan to find Charles was the only real way to ensure no one got hurt. With his mind churning, he pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant and the care rumbled as he put it into park and then went silent. As their hands pulled apart again, Scott's lingered for a moment, lifting to brush a lock of fiery hair from Jean's cheek in a private moment of saying how much he cared about her without having to say a word before he pushed a smile back onto his face. "Let's eat."
((ooc: If you want to keep going with this thread, feel free to post, but I feel like this might make a good ending point too. Whatever you want to do is fine with me. :) ))