1963-06-23 - Book Learnin'
Summary: A series of chance encounters in the Xavier Institute library drive a conversation about teaching and learning in its many forms.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
rogue logan cannonball nancy xavier bobby 

It's early morning in the library, such most students haven't even got to a shower, let alone breakfast. Trust the adults to be more responsible, even if Rogue barely counts as adult and Logan is Logan. He's probably about the age of the US. All said and done, the Bohemian has a few books on the table and Logan has a cigar in a land of paper. That, and a book by Thoreau.

Her mouth in the faint curve of a smile, Rogue touches the brim of that fashionably wide hat. The flowers in her hair give her a slightly herbal scent; the citrus on her skin, another entirely. "I know Jean. Lovely young woman, though we haven't interacted much." The tone softens and warms by degrees. "Thoreau is good to remind us of self-sufficiency, and when your mind can find peace. That's a mighty precious thing, I imagine."

Logan cocks his head as he hears Sam approaching, his nostrils flaring at the country boy's scent. Still no need to announce it. People don't always take kindly to someone recognizing their smell. Rogue smells better, that's for sure.

"Jean's kinda the shy type, I think. She's been through it in her time, I don't think she always trusts herself 'round other folks. An' if I ever find the people what put that fear in her, they won't be feelin' too good," he says.

A lanky teenager, half freckle, half haystack, and about 300 percent bewilderment, wanders into the library. Picture a kid who can take off from Kentucky with nothing but a pair of goggles, a photo brochure, and the psychokinetic rocketpack strapped to his genes and, with a few stops for directions, crashland in the backyard of a particular estate in Westchester, New York. Now factor in that the same kid has managed to get lost between his bed and the kitchen, and you've got a reasonably accurate and complete mental model of Sam Guthrie.

"Hello?" he calls out, staring upward at the imposing stacks, hemmed in by the serious authors with their unfamiliar names. "Ah seem to have misdirected myself." He tiptoes past a particular shelf, and Logan comes into view. "Oh — Mr. Logan," he says, again adding the unwanted honorific as relief breaks across his face. "D'you know where Ah can find the — oh, sorry, ma'am." He spots Rogue and straightens up, dipping his head sheepishly. "Ah didn't mean to interrupt."

The reactions from the Bohemian are out of sync with time in their way, adjustments already unconsciously affecting her posture as she reacts in advance. "Lovely morning out there, isn't it?" The words are out of her mouth a split second after hello comes forth from the teenager. Her gaze lifts and those fiery green eyes glint with a widening smile. "I don't believe we met either. Pleasure to meet you." She laces her hands together, placing them flat atop the stack of books and papers, preparing to place those in her bag since studying is done or right out. Hallelujah. "I'm Rogue. No interruption, else I should have studied in a tree somewhere. Though they are so energetic right now, I haven't the heart to bore them with a book." Probably half teasing, and possibly not, she flicks a look towards the stacks and then back to Logan. Eyebrows arch at 'Mister,' but the humour is largely a gentle, passing breeze.

"I hope the professor can help her on that front. At least here, we are relatively safe. Whatever troubles her, she will not face alone." A maxim absorbed by more than touch, that one. The sunset minidress floats around her when she turns, nudging the chair back under the desk she was recently perching on.

Logan chuckles at Sam, "This is Sam, Guthrie. He's the new stud in the paddock 'round here, just in from Kentucky," he says. "Try not to let yer eyes pop outta yer head too much, kid." He doesn't question the bit about the trees from Rogue - seems a little out there to him, but who is he to judge? He's had a few good conversations with a squirrel or two in his day.

"Yeah, I reckon that's the plan - I just ain't used t'bein' part of a group so much. Especially with nice, respectable folks like you two an' Chuck an' Alex an' the rest."

"Pleased to meet you, Miss Rogue," the teenager intones with the formal politeness of a boy drilled relentlessly in manners by his mother. He nods as Logan starts with an introduction, but his eyes bug out and his cheeks flush bright red at 'stud in the paddock,' and it only gets worse from there. "Ah'm not — that ain't —" His wide blue eyes turn helplessly to Rogue, then Logan, then the window, as though he's seriously considering jumping through it. Then, a lifeline: "Ah'm respectable," he echoes, clinging to Logan's description and straightening up. "Mr. Logan, you shouldn't talk that way in front of a lady."

"Much as I wish it were so, I may not count as respectable. Trying to be such, though I fear I've a long way to go yet." Rogue doesn't take undue pleasure from that blush, but she can hardly help from smiling a little brighter in spite of herself. She does avert those too bright emerald eyes of hers, though, sparing Sam any more consternation with any luck. "I'm sure you are wonderfully so, Mr. Guthrie. Farmwork takes a great deal of discipline and hard effort, which ought to be welcome around here. The teachers like that sort of commitment." The gender divide in the real world, now, that's another story.

She takes that moment to go and find the cracked nib of her ruined pen, kneeling rather than bending right over to pick it up off the floor. "Tricky thing. Have you known Ch… the professor long?" Logan, corrosive influence.

Logan chuckles, "Sorry, kid, I'm way too long in the tooth t'start learnin' manners now. Truth is, men an' woman, ladies an' gents - ain't that different. We're all animals underneath, just animals that walk upright and talk pretty. Some of us prettier than others," he says, nodding towards Rogue.

He shakes his head to her question, "Nah, I met 'im through Jean. He came lookin' to help her and, after she helped me with my, uh, incarceration issue, I helped her track him down. Trackin's a thing I'm good at," he says.

Sam raises himself to his full height — which is pretty impressive, considering his age — and nods with what he hopes is believable seriousness. "That's alright, Ah suppose," he says to Logan, perfectly willing to accept a total evasion if it will move the topic away from his own studly and/or bug-eyed qualities. "As far as Ah can tell, everyone here is real respectful. Worst Ah got was some teasin' in the kitchen yesterday, and truth be told, I brought that on myself. Ah don't know if it's 'cause we're all misfits or what, but everyone has been very kind."

He scrunches his lips to one side, looking back and forth between Logan and Rogue. "Ah don't think I've me this Jean person. It's such a big buildin', Ah ain't seen the half of it yet, and half of that I couldn't get back to if Ah tried."

Talking and looking pretty is a good thing, unless one happens to be the equivalent of a venomous golden statue. Midas had it better, really. At least he could claim the gods punished him. Rogue tosses the pen lightly into the trash, and dusts off her hands, assuring no dirt is left behind. Or stains of ink, for that matter, since the device didn't survive a little rattle. "You're good at tracking? Handy skill to have, though I imagine it gives a disadvantage to…" She trails off at Sam's discomfort and flipping the conversation topic at hand back to Jean. No harm, no foul. "Given we all talk about her a bit, chances may be good to meet her in class. Make friends, and have something to do outside all this homework, sugar." Her nose wrinkles. "I could use a break, but I'm not sure how to go about training. Not today, at least."

Logan sits down on the edge of the table, striking a match and lighting his cigar afresh. "Respectful misfits. Ain't exactly a catchy team name," he grins. "Don't let nobody give you too much guff, Sammy boy. Me included. You can always punch me in the mouth if I tease ya too hard. I c'n take it," he says.

To Rogue, he nods, "One o' my gifts - I can smell real good, better'n any bloodhound," he says. He doesn't elaborate on why Jean's been keeping to herself lately - no need to let her potential classmates know she had a mental breakdown and blew up her own room.

One of the things that Nancy was trying to get used to - the love of smoking here in the States. The scent of tobacco was everywhere, it seemed, and right now, was no exception. Flipping the book she carried in her hand - a book by Betty Freidan, actually, Nancy stops by the front desk - sliding the book across the counter to the librarian with a smile.

"Would you have any other recommendati…" she begins to ask the librarian, when a familiar accent drifts across the library. "I'll be right back instead, if you don't mind," she says with a smile.

Approaching the group, Nancy's eyes drift across those gathered. Logan and Sam were known - probably Rogue too, at least in passing - they might not have had a chance to meet. "Good morning," she says, moving to fold her hands in front of herself. The size of the gauntlets she wore requires her to pull her hands to her sides, at least. "Studying hard?" she asks, although her eyes track towards Rogue. "I'm Nancy - by the way," she says.

"Aww, Ah wouldn't punch you, Mr. Logan," Sam answers with a farmboy grin. For some reason, the prospect of hitting a grown man in the face inspires less awkwardness in the Kentucky native than anything else in this conversation. "Less'n you really did somethin' to deserve it, of course."

As Nancy approaches, the lanky blond boy brightens and waves. "Hey there, Nancy!" he calls, earning a stern finger to the lips from the librarian. More quietly, he answers, "Nah, not studyin' — just got lost. Ah haven't actually been to any classes yet." This admission is directed both to Nancy and Rogue, who also mentioned schoolwork.

Then, with a lopsided grin, he turns to Logan and knowingly adds, "Unless y'all count landscapin'. Had a bit of a refresher on that, all right." He shrugs his shoulders underneath his bomber jacket and continues, "Ah figured it was summer break, so it wasn't a big deal. But if Ah'm supposed to be enlistin' or enrollin' or whatever, y'all just let me know who to talk to."

The tip of Rogue's chin gives a gentle nod of recognition to Logan; anything more she might say there is suppressed. The redhead has been around for over a year here, a little more, though low-key given she maintains a life in the academic world as 'Regular bohemian, university student at large.' The flowers in her hair are a reminder of that carefree nature, though her large sunhat covers up the telltale white streak in her locks that mark her as unnatural. "Morning!" A friendly wave backs that up.

Then she turns slightly to Sam. "What's happened with the poor grass? I keep hearing about it, but no one seems to have the same story twice. I was told it was a winged octopus on fire, and that clearly is not the case." Because really, flaming silliness?

Logan nods at Nancy's arrival, "Noriko," he says by way of acknowledgement. He understands the name change for assimilation purposes but, unless she insist, he's more than happy to use her Japanese name. It reminds him of days past.

"Sammy here crashed into it headfirst yesterday, plowed himself a mighty canal. We could put fill it up with water an' do canoes in it," he says. "And anytime you wanna get better at hittin', Sam, you hit me up and we'll pick a time to go to the gymnasium and lace up some gloves. I'd go bare knuckle, but you ain't got a healin' factor like I do."

Nancy had a more modest dress - she tended to prefer stockings, knee-length dresses, and boots as her point of individuality. Hair generally neat and proper, what helped her stand out was the aforementioned devices on her arms - great, unwieldly gauntlets. "I'm not certain if you punched Mr. Logan, that you would get away with it very well," says Nancy, with a similar note of that wryness.

"He's studied all manner of martial arts from my home country - I suspect that isn't the extent of his physical knowledge, either," she says. It was Rogue that draws her attention next. Logan shares most of the story, but she leans over towards Rogue, and says, "He flew. From Ka… Kentucky. It's really an… interesting form of flight," she says.

The use of her given name - pronounced perfectly - does let Surge incline her head to the man. "Mr. Logan," she acknowledges him more directly. "But to go back to your question, Sam - I do feel you are correct that we are on break, but some people are taking remedial courses," she says. "But I know I am using the opprotunity to catch up on reading."

Biting her lower lip, Rogue casts a look askance towards Logan. Her expression falters between uncertainty and something else, perhaps a bit dark as a shadow flits over her features and vanishes. She twists her fingers together and then comes to some manner of decision. "Is that offer open to anyone, Mr. Logan? Or do you only take specific students for training?" Her voice casts a light tone, but the words are pushed out with the leaden crack of her heart rate slowing, if he can hear it. Under the surface, she doesn't like the topic much.

Otherwise everything is right as rain. "I see. You know, canoeing is a lovely thing. I've never had the chance to row. And reorganization is always a good thing in gardens."

After brightening noticeably through the talk of fighting, Sam's enthusiasm dims when Nancy brings the conversation back to coursework. "Remedial courses are about the only ones Ah ever take," the farm boy admits. "Plus, havin' to drop out when Pa died — they'll have a man livin' on the moon before Ah get caught up."

With a little more eagerness, he steers the topic back to those fights. "Ah used to love wrestlin' with my brothers back home, Mr. Logan, but most folks around here are a little too proper. Ah can't exactly imagine Warren givin' someone a piledriver, y'know? And Ah'd break poor Bobby in half like a twig." Which brings him around to Rogue's request — he does his best not to laugh aloud, but his best isn't all that great. "Wouldn't you be better off doin' a ladies sport, Miss Rogue? Swimmin' maybe? If you want to play with the boys, maybe we could do horse-ridin' or somethin' like that. Ah bet there are some lovely trails for it."

Canoeing, though — Sam blushes. "It's just that Ah ain't so great at landin' yet. Or steerin'. And Ah can only go so slow before the motor stops botherin' to run at all."

Logan smirks, "Well, ya ain't gonna break me, kid, so you can piledrive yer heart out - if you can manage it," he says. "An' Rogue, darlin', I'm more'n happy to show you or Nancy or any other lady 'round these parts how to throw knuckles right alongside the boys. Truth be told, you women might need it more," he says.

He snorts at Sam's description of a 'lady' sport, "Yer on yer own there, pal, but I gotta tell ya, I seen plenty o' women fighters in my time an' more'n a few of 'em'd slit yer throat just fer thinkin' what you just thought. An' I had a few take me to my limit in my day," he says.

A nod of Nancy's head towards Sam. "Well, if you would ever need help studying - if you chose to study - please let me know, and I would be happy to assist," says Nancy. Although something Rogue says draws her attention in the way of the bohemian. Surprise on her features that Rogue asks, and further surprise on her features as Logan affirms what she says, her eyes glancing back towards Logan.

"I think, in these troubled times, it would be… smart to know how to defend yourself, no matter how much you trust those around you. And from us, Rogue - I do not think people would expect it," she says, pursing her lips and considering. "With that said - I wouldn't mind horses, either," she adds.

Sam crosses his arms and shifts his weight back. "Well, Ah ain't hittin' no girls, even if it is just practice or a class. That just ain't right," he insists pigheadedly. "If y'all wanna spar with each other, Ah don't know that it's a very ladylike hobby, but Ah ain't gonna tell anyone what to do with their lives. That's just my opinion, do with it what you will."

He shrugs and relaxes a bit as he continues, "If there are horses around here, Ah'd be happy to take people around on 'em." He smiles over at Nancy, adding, "Maybe as a fair trade for helpin' me catch up with schoolwork. Ah guarantee y'all ain't gonna be as hopeless on horses as I am in a book, though." He glances around at the stacks again, warding them off with a tight frown.

Rogue stays quiet for the moment. She listens to the conversation, and then finally dives in, as it were. Her breath slides out through rounded lips. "Plenty of opportunity for us to practice several sports. I don't pursue only ladylike hobbies, Mr. Sam, because there's plenty of people that would like to slit my pretty little throat or throw me to the moon if they could, because I'm not like them. I look different, I scare them. All of us know how to handle ourselves a little bit, but not enough. Not against men with bullets and fear in their eyes and terror in their hearts."

Nancy looks to Rogue when she says what she does - pursing her lips a touch at what she says.

What Sam says sparks a nod from her, the young mutant glancing back over her shoulder towards the librarian. "I have never been around horses before - but you say you grew up on a farm? You must have had /lots/ of horses there."

"Well, Ah suppose," Sam allows, his mouth pulling upward and to one side as he listens to Rogue's rationale. "Ah mean, don't get me wrong, women should know how to take care of themselves. Most of my sisters could shoot the spurs off a horse thief, and Ah don't know if snakes and foxes fear God, but they sure as heck fear Ma Guthrie." From the look in his eyes, it's pretty clear that the snakes and foxes aren't the only ones. "But boxin'? Wrestlin'?" He leans forward, conspiratorially sharing a scandalous tidbit: "Most of those fellas ain't wearin' much more than their drawers."

He leaves a second of silence for this to sink in, then turns back to Nancy with a nod. "Oh, yeah. We had a whole stable," he confirms. "Mostly work horses, but a couple of ponies, too. Feedin' and cleanin' 'em was one of the first chores Ah helped out with when Ah was little." He glances around the circle and asks, "Are there horses here? Ah didn't even think to look. That's somethin' I could help out with, though, for sure."

On the business of horses, Rogue shakes her head. "I fear I never looked for a stable. Surely there must be something?" They could hide half of New York in here, surely, so what would surprise her more: a stable or a kingdom of mole people? Don't answer that question. She flashes a faint smile and pulls her hat lower over her hair, deflecting attention visibly when there is no such escape for the young woman. "Even if there aren't, you could talk to the professor. He might be willing to accommodate you or find a stable nearby. That sounds very relaxing. Probably a lot like home, isn't it?"

A pause though, as Nancy considers what Sam says. "A lot of women wouldn't be able to outbox, or outwrestle a man, this is true. But we might have advantages in that regard - we don't…" A glance towards Rogue. "I don't need to shoot - I can shoot lightning, or… perhaps, dodge bullets if I have the chance to charge up first. And holding metal things when I am charged is… interesting," she says.

"So perhaps if I knew how to leverage what I do have for the best, well… that would be ideal," she says.

Rogue's last question though, interests Nancy - she looks to Sam for his reaction.

"Ridin' is relaxin'. Takin' care of 'em can be pretty tough work," Sam answers with a wistful chuckle. "But it would be kinda like a little piece of home, you're right. And they would be a great way to explore the grounds. We could even go for group rides, like a summer camp. Give some of you city kids a taste of the outdoors." The more he talks about it, the more enthusiastic Sam seems, blue eyes twinkling and slender hands making animated gestures. "Y'know, Ah think Ah will ask Professor Xavier about it when Ah meet him."

The topic of Nancy's defensive powers earns a low whistle from the boy. "She ain't kidding. Ah saw her put a zap on Mr. Summers that woulda knocked me into the next county," he confirms. "If you got trained up with that, Ah don't think anyone would be dumb enough to mess with you."

"I think you should. It really would help bring some normalcy to these students, and especially those who never got out of the city into the country. Imagine the looks on their faces." Blowing out a breath through her rounded lips, Rogue finally laughs softly. "You know, I rather like the idea of having more animals around. It does something good to be in touch with the natural world. Even if we have no special connection with them, we benefit from trees and grass and actual animals." A nod gives gentle support of the concept as she drifts back over to the table and leans against the edge, using some level of semi-conscious care. All the same, she crosses one foot over the other.

"Knowing what you can do are half the lessons around here. Control is one thing, but application is another, darlings, don't think anyone other way." Green eyes flicker towards Nancy's gauntlets, and she says, "Like that. You got a gift, something that changes the way you go about doing things. New way to think, new way to act. Ah think you definitely gain when you learn to take advantage of those skills, if you can. Wouldn't want to have anyone shocking me or plowing me halfway to the Bronx from here."

A grateful smile on Nancy's lips as Sam acknowledges her ability.

"I just hope that when the time comes, I can be of use to everyone," she says. A beat. "But imagine how amazing your own powers will be once you train them, and control them a little more!" she says, sounding excited about the prospect. But as for the horses, "I would not let you take care of them alone, but I would imagine the Professor would hire a horsekeeper, in that circumstance," she says.

But when Rogue speaks, Nancy gives her her full attention - nodding along with many of the points she makes. "You have a lot of wisdom, Rogue - have you ever thought about teaching a class yourself?" she asks.


"Ah mean…" Sam has gone red again at Nancy's praise. "Thanks. Ah guess the rocket thing is pretty cool. Ah just have to be careful when Ah turn it on." He nods over at Rogue, continuing, "Ah'd sooner hit the dirt myself than knock into a person with my power. Ah could really hurt somebody! At least it's easy to turn off." He glances over at Nancy's gloves. "Ah didn't realize until Ah came here just how lucky that was. If Ah couldn't make it stop whenever Ah wanted, Ah'd probably be on Mars by now."

Looking at Rogue, he agrees with Nancy, "Yeah, Ah bet you would make a good teacher! Is that part of your mutant thing? Like you said, maybe it makes you think a little bit differently." He beams at her.

Aww, the blushing! Stop. It's so adorable, how can anyone resist? Her nose wrinkling up to suppress that desire to grin, Rogue instead runs her fingers through her flower-strewn braid. Or rather over them, but the plait twitches anyways.

Her eyes widen slightly as the suggestion sinks in. "What, teach? Me? Are you having a joke, because I think me teaching sounds like…" The flaming fox tail twitches, the cornflowers strung through it glimmering like shards of amethyst. "I wouldn't even know where to begin. These are just ideas I've had, and maybe a bit more experience than you. Someone like Alex, he should be teaching. He's patient and actually has a power. Me, I'm just cursed and know how to listen better because of it." Her tone spills over the octave, landing out of the standard New York accent into something far more southern, deeper even than the Kentucky farmboy, past Scarlett O'Hara at that. "I don't know even who would listen to me. I'm not much older than you. My powers aren't powers you want. Like I said, they're not so helpful or useful."


"Well. We all have our challenges," says Nancy to Sam, at that. Although what Rogue says - and the way she talks badly about herself, causes Nancy to kinda look towards her. Finally taking a step around the table, and letting her gloved fingers track along the back of one of the chairs, Nancy purses her lips a touch, looking from Rogue to Sam to back again.

"If you do not want to, I wouldn't wish to force you into such a thing, but… I do see that you have wisdom from a different place - perhaps more experience, such as with Mr. Logan," she says.

With an armful of books under his arm, Professor Xavier enters the library intent on putting the reading back. He's in clean up mode after the school year has finished and has just returned from a trip out west. "Hello, everyone," he says with a nod and a smile. "Nice to see this room busy, even in the summer."

Sam's blond eyebrows creep toward the center of his forehead as Rogue's accent migrates southward. Now that is a power he can envy: freely choosing not to sound like a hick in polite company. "Ah'm sorry if Ah was pryin', Miss Rogue. But if your powers are really all that bad, don't other folks have powers they don't like? Maybe they'd like to have a teacher who knew how that was." He shrugs and offers, "Or maybe just a counselor or somethin'. Doesn't have to be all formal."

The farm boy nods politely to Xavier, face free of any signs of recognition. "Hello, sir," he says, declining to mention that he's the only person present who didn't end up in the library by choice. At least he can sympathize with Rogue's desire not to embark upon a scholarly career.

Rogue leans against the table her book bag occupies, careful not to lean too hard, the balance a precarious thing. Not so much for her as for the table, one thing said and done. "I think Mr. Logan's experience outstrips mine about fifty fold, but I'd still like to see what manner of training he has in mind. What he gets up to, too." Her glittering gaze focuses for a moment upon the books and she is moving as Xavier enters, the professor gaining a distinct bow of her head and the habit of sinking into a curtsey being suppressed only at the last moment. Her knees want to bend, for all that she refrains. "Good morning, professor. We were having a good conversation about horses, and such." A glance goes towards Sam; she's set you up, boy, spike the ball.

"There's a difference between having powers you dislike, Mr. Sam, and having an affliction that harms every living soul around you. I imagine you appreciate your soul staying in your body." Her finger trails down the line of the table, and back again. "Nature's got a strange sense of humour, really, giving me little choice about your wishes, because mine would override yours nearly all the time. I suppose teaching would be a possibility if only because I've got plenty of respect for what you can do, and understanding where you have reservations. But it's a flaw in me that seems dangerous. That's just…"

Tapping the fingers of her gloves against the tabletop that they were lingering, Nancy lets her eyes track along Sam's own face. She agrees with Sam, and she expresses that with a couple sharp nods, letting her eyes return to Rogue entirely.

She listens to the other woman carefully, her eyes narrowing. There wasn't much more to say - but she does turn, her eyes lifting to… "Professor, good morning," she says. A smile, bright and wide, touches her face. "There's so much knowledge here - while we are still on summer break, I think I will enjoy reading as much as I can," she says.

"A conversation about horses," The Professor repeats as he has his back turned to shelve the books. "It seemed to me that you were talking philosophically about powers or our place in society. I suppose horses are interesting too." He chuckles a bit before putting his hands in his pockets. For the first time, deep and dark circles are visible under his eyes. He nods to Nancy, "I wish all students felt the same, but I am not sure that's very realistic."

Turning to Rogue and Nancy, Sam's blue eyes widen as his jaw goes slack. "Prof— Professor?" he echoes. Shutting his mouth with a click of teeth, he spins around and stands up straight. "Ah'm sorry, Mr. Xavier."


"…uh, Professor."

Feels insufficient.

"…Sir. Ah didn't recognize you," the farm boy finishes, eyes bright and teeth clenched with embarrassment. After a second, he realizes that the lack of recognition probably goes both ways. "Ah'm Sam Guthrie. From Kentucky? You sent me a letter after the newspaper wrote about me escapin' the collapsed mine with Mr. Haynie. Ah flew up because Ah would like to accept the scholarship you offered, and…" He trails off, wincing. Great move, Guthrie. Why don't you tell him your entire life story.

The question about horses lands on him like a life preserver. "We were just sayin', none of us know whether there are any horses on the grounds. If there are, Ah could help take care of them. And maybe lead group rides. Or camp out in the woods or teach younger kids from the city horseback riding. Sir."

Quieted somewhat by that statement, the redhead glances up to the ceiling and, more notably, the nearest window. Sam had his moment of considering rearranging the architecture. Might she be having second thoughts? Could well be. She reaches back for her book bag and pulls it by the strap closer to her, a second tether to the situation snapped in so few motions. "It seems beneficial to have a few trustworthy animals about to care for and ride, especially as they bring an element of the country to the city," offers Rogue, the words soft and precise. "I imagine for those who feel uncomfortable around us might feel a great deal at ease among horses. Just a thought, at least."

Nancy pauses a handful of moments, examining the professor's face. Pursing her lips briefly, she taps her fingertips against the tabletop, canting her head just a touch to one side. "Are you… alright, Professor? You look, at least, as if you have had a long night," she says.

What Sam was saying does spark a little note of bemusement on her features. But she remains quiet, her eyes on him as he introduces himself to Xavier. It was adorable, in its own way. "I cannot help but third the horse idea," says Nancy. "I think it would be lovely to have something like that to do here on the grounds," she says.

"Horses?" Bobby asks, peeking in through the door. As has been the case since summer started, he's only wearing a pair of gym shorts since he's been spending much of his free time in the sun. As evidenced by the peeling from when he dozed off in the sun a couple days ago. He's got that oily sheen that encourages tanning and was heading back out with a frosty glass of iced tea when he was passing by the doorway. "What about horses?"

"Sam, it is good to finally meet you in the flesh. I trust your journey from Kentucky went well. Although I have never been to that part of the country, I have been told it is quite beautiful. It is excellent that you're coming to join us." As the young man discusses horses, Xavier rocks on his heels just a bit before removing his hands from his pockets and folding them across his front.

"Currently we do not have horses, or much in the way of animals here. I agree that those sorts of things would be absolutely wonderful for the children; my concerns would be the initial cost and ensuring we'd have enough students interested in looking after the animals to ensure their proper care."

He nods to Rogue, "And a good one. Perhaps if Sam, Nancy, and you might be interesting in researching the topic."

"I shall be alright, Nancy, thank you. Unfortunately I have been very fatigued after my trip." He doesn't mention anything about Moira and her finding out about what he'd done years ago. That's been bothering him a great deal too. "Best to just go to sleep earlier, I suppose."

"It would see, Robert, that these students are trying to apply some pressure to get us some horses. What would you say to that?"

Rogue shakes her head at the mention of horses, and says, "I don't know that I have ever ridden one in my life. I could help with the planning, but my knowledge ends about there, or a tail. I know one end from the other." See, Sam, there is your teaching opportunity. She looks at Surge for some kind of additional back up there. "You two could have all summer to devise a proper proposal. And now I sound like my professors, except they like to bang on about how a proper lady is never going to snare a husband if she thinks like that, and if she does, why is she at Columbia?"

In his panicked efforts to justify his presence at the school, Sam completely neglected to address the reasons having horses around would be desirable for the school. He shoots a grateful glance at Rogue for filling that gap. Now if only the whole group can avoid the topics of craters in the lawn and grease fires in the kitchen, maybe that scholarship of his will survive this conversation.

"Yes, sir. Of course. Ah'll look right into that," he says, quick to oblige. Of course, as far as he knows, the place horses come from is mares, and they cost hay, and you house them in an existing barn — but there's no way he's going to admit to any difficulties with the first thing Xavier asks him to do. He values his spot here. "Kentucky is beautiful country, but Ah must say, when Ah heard 'New York,' Ah expected a bunch of skyscrapers," he says, calming down slightly. "Your school is a whole new kind of beautiful Ah ain't never seen before."

"That sounds a bit like homework, Professor," says Nancy. A quick glance to Sam, and a wryness touches her lips. "See, Sam? This is something you could definitely help with - you and I can draft a plan and a budget for getting what we might need for horses on the property," she says.

Although what Rogue says, "…you go to Columbia university?" she asks. Bobby's presence was granted a smile, the young woman lifting one of her gauntleted hands to wave to him.

Horses here at the school? "Can we get dogs too?" Bobby asks. "Some of the kids could really use a cuddle with a dog after we've brought them here." A dog won't reject them even if their parents did. "And having the kids take care of animals would give them something else to think about and help teach them responsibility. We'd need to have stables built for horses but yeah, that would be cool. And dogs we could get right now." In fact, he's ready to go get dressed then drive to the shelter.

Xavier smiles, "Well, it seems like we have our work cut out here for us. As far as dogs, I am open to the idea. I'd worry about our students with allergies, so perhaps we could have some rules to go along with which common areas the dogs could go." There's a chuckle as something occurs to him. "Imagine the students falling over doggy gates. That would certainly be something."

Xavier has always wanted a shih tzu anyways.

"I do pardon, but I must take leave anyone. We can certainly discuss this more. I'm not opposed to the idea, Sam. Perhaps we can expand our science program to include more and more classes on diversified topics, especially if there's an interest."

"As one would have it, I go to Barnard College and Columbia both. Because the one is an affiliate to the other, and when I finally had enough of the attitude at Barnard, they finally permitted me to take the real classes up there." Rogue peeks down at her toes, and then back up again. Those delicious white boots had best not have a spot of dirt on them, not the least because they are so frustrating to clean. Especially in a minidress, just saying the fashion issues are myriad. She slings the strap of her bag over her shoulder and then pats it into place, showing not the least concern about the fact it might weigh the same as a shelf with the textbooks inside. Never show fear and weakness. Any question whose soul she ate this week?

The names of all the colleges fly right over Sam. His family has a lot of interesting qualities, but an Ivy League legacy is not one of them. He continues to smile obligingly until the Professor leaves, then turns to the others with a look of alarm. "Okay, y'all, we gotta figure out where people buy horses in New York. Ma knows the markets in Kentucky just fine, but Ah ain't gonna rocket 'em all up here one by one." He nods at Nancy's plan and agrees, "You just tell me what Ah gotta do and where Ah gotta go, and Ah'm on it."

"I would adore a little pug dog - what sort of dog would you want to get, Bobby?" asks Nancy.

But the young woman's mind was enraptured with the task ahead of herself, drawing up one of her gloved hands to draw her thumb over her lips, her eyes distant. "I think… I'm going to go work on that proposal a bit, Sam, and I will get back with you. This is a wonderful project for the summer," says Nancy.

Distracted sounding, she begins to kinda work her way towards the door again, no doubt to go to her room for paper and materials. "I'll see you all later?" she says, pausing a moment to glance back at the others.

"A big one you can rough house with. One you can lie on top of when you need to get away from people." Bobby answers. "One you can feel safe with. That's the kind of dog scared kids need. But we've got plenty fo room so we can have lots of dogs. And Sam, if you think we can get good horses there, we can always have them brought up here."

"Of course, Nancy," Sam says, lifting a hand in farewell. "You just let me know whatever you need from me." He scratches at his chin thoughtfully once she has left. "Well, we could, Bobby, but we're better off picking up horses from ranches we can visit easily. That way we know what we're buying. If Ah can get a list of places around here, Ah can probably do a rocket tour of 'em in an afternoon or two." He glances around the room. "Ah can take passengers, too, if y'all got your own goggles." He tugs his own weathered pair out of a pocket in his bomber jacket. "Ah only brought the one pair."

"Or we can drive there so a bunch of people can go." Bobby points out with a grin. "I think several might like to go and see the horses." He nods to the others as they take off then look back to Sam. "So, I set up something for you. Want to hit the gym?"


"Set something up?" Sam gives the shorter boy a curious look. "You mean another one of your ice slides?" He involuntarily rubs at his side where the beginnings of a bruise were visible yesterday, but keeps smiling. "Ah suppose so. Ah might not cannonball straight at it this time, though."

He gestures for Bobby to lead the way, and as he follows, comments, "Yeah, drivin' would mean we could get more people there, for sure. Ah was just thinkin' of tryin' to visit as many places as we could, as fast as possible." He hitches up his shoulders and shoves his hands into his hip pockets. "Ah go a lot faster than a car unless Ah'm really makin' an effort."

Bobby shakes his head. "No, nothing ice this time. Something to help you train what I suggested yesterday." He leads the way down a couple hallways till they get to the gym. then walks over to a corner that's been set up with some ropes hanging from the ceiling and attached to a harness. "We don't really need to rush on getting horses. We still need a stable, after all and that's gonna take some time to build."

"Yeah, Ah suppose you're right," Sam admits with an aw-shucks grin. "Maybe Ah'm just not that great at bein' patient." As they enter the gym and head for the corner Bobby has set up, the taller boy squints up at the harness rig. "Let me see… you said somethin' about blastin', flippin' around, and blastin' the other way, right?" His head swivels as he glances at the walls on either side of the improvised aerial harness. "Ah really don't think it's a good idea for me to use my powers in here, less'n you've got some kinda force field up."

"Good memory." Bobby motions to the harness which basically looks like a jock strap with ropes attached to the sides. "Step into that and fasten it tightly. You won't be using your powers here so don't worry about it." The pulleys the ropes are attached to are each off to the sides instead of straight up so the ropes won't get in the way unless Sam swings his arms.


Guthrie gives the harness a long, jaundiced look. "Don't exactly look like it was built for comfort, does it?" he comments rhetorically, glancing at Bobby with a smirk. "Oh, well." He shucks his bomber jacket and drops it off to one side, then jumps up, grabs a hold of the ropes, and lowers his legs into the harness. It's a surprisingly deft move for the gangly, often awkward boy: a reminder that all that time spent outdoors in Kentucky had its advantages.

Once he's in the rig, he starts adjusting straps blindly, trying to figure out just how snug it's supposed to be. After a couple of false starts, one particular adjustment has him staring, then swiveling away from Bobby bashfully. He continues to experiment with the straps, but keeps his back to any prying eyes now.

Bobby waits. And waits a little more. Then walks over. "Here, like this." He doesn't actually touch any of the straps, just point out where they go and how to buckle them.

With a little bit of assistance, Sam is all buckled in and just a little bit pink in the cheeks. Either he's becoming more at ease around his new classmates, or his blusher is just getting worn out. "Okay, sorry," he says. "What do Ah do now?"

Bobby smiles at the reaction because it's adorable. Once Sam's all buckled in, he goes over to where the rope is tied off. "Grab the ropes above your head a bit." Instead of taking the rope, he just touches it and ice begins to form around it, building up into a block which quickly gets heavy enough to lift Sam into the air about six feet.

Sam hops upward, snagging a couple of ropes in a firm grip. He starts to haul himself upward until Bobby's ice counterweight takes over, causing him to rise faster than expected. "Whoa!" he calls out, alarmed for just a second, but a quick glance serves to assure him that this is intentional. Once he is suspended in the air, holding onto the ropes and swinging slightly back and forth, he says, "Okay, this is pretty nifty, Ah admit."

"Don't hold yourself up. Let the harness take your weight. Just steady yourself." Bobby tells him. "Don't swing." In fact, Bobby steps over to grab a foot to kill any motion then moves back again. "Now let go." Since the ropes are attached to Sam at his waist, he should start pivoting around and around as he changes his center of gravity.

Stilled and chastened, Guthrie nods. "Okay," he answers, letting go of the ropes and looking down at the other boy holding him buy the sneaker. "Ah still don't see what this is supposed to—" Bobby releases him and he immediately tips forward, then backward as he over corrects. He manages to still himself, upside down and facing Bobby, his blond hair dangling and his shirt slipping up to reveal his navel. "Eurgh… Ah don't think Ah'm doin' this right," he says through gritted teeth.

Bobby grins at the comment. "That's the point. Now you get to learn to do it right. You fly right? You need to be in control of your body. Which means learning how to move and shift your weight. Here you can do that without using your power which makes it a lot harder. So experiment. Shift your weight around. You want to be parallel to the floor, facing down as if you were flying."

Sam narrows his eyes at Bobby's grin. "You're lovin' this, ain't ya?" he teases, starting to smirk himself. "Alright, then… heurk…!" He bends forward and stretches his hands toward his toes. It's way too much of a weight shift, too quickly, and he flips head over heels, a full rotation and then some. Finishing upside down again, he lets his arms dangle toward the mat and rolls his eyes. "Overkill. Story of my life."

"Sure am." Bobby agrees. But more seriously, he says "Flying's not as easy as some might think it is. Just ask Warren how long it took him to get good at it." Not that he knows that for sure but it's an educated guess. "We all have to learn how to use our powers so don't think it's just you being clumsy about it. Like anything else, it takes practice."

"Well, never let it be said that Sam Guthrie shied from good, honest hard work," the suspended boy says, both answering Bobby's sentiment and psyching himself up for what's probably going to be a long session of trial and error. Taking it easier this time, he draws his hands back to his sides and bends his spine, tilting slowly back up to horizontal, then just past. He backtracks on his motion a little, dipping again, then manages to just maintain a wobbly, level position. "Okay. Ah think I got it. What next?"

"Remember what I said yesterday?" Bobby asks. "You're flying. Cut your power, flip over, use your power again. So flip." he finishes, with another grin.

Sam's mouth thins to a determined line. Using the same gradual adjustments as before, he glides around 180 degrees. Unfortunately, it takes him a couple of seconds — way too slow. "That didn't count," he says, forestalling Bobby's comment with an uplifted finger. Well, more a down-pointed one, since he's facing the ceiling, but it's all relative.

He attempts a quicker motion on the return spin, but overshoots again. Bobby gets a second's view of his flustered, upside-down, ruddy face before he hauls himself back again, this time not going quite far enough and tipping back to his original position rather than completing the reversal.

Finally, he takes a deep breath, closes his eyes to focus, then opens them again and does a neat (if wobbly) one-eighty.

Bobby nods his approval as Sam gets it. "Way to go, Sam. Now do it again." And after that, again. And again. Practice makes perfect after all. And once Sam gets the hang of it, he needs to do it quicker. And Bobby will set him swinging. Poor Sam's going to be using this maneuver in mid air traveling at speed after all. Not that Bobby expects him to master it in one session, of course.

Fortunately for Bobby, Sam has had to master a good few physical skills in his time. This doesn't make him a particularly quick study, but it does mean that he's patient enough not to get frustrated and attentive enough to learn from his failures.

And, by the end of the session, they're both laughing, messing around, and having fun. It might be training, sure, but it's also doing flips on a suspension harness. There's only so seriously you can take it.

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