1963-07-20 - Picked last for the welcoming committee
Summary: Dani Moonstar arrives at the Xavier Institute, to be welcomed by an ill-mannered fake sailor and a red-clad bohemian.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
cannonball psyche rogue 

A cab rolls slowly up the road towards Xavier's Mansion before it finally stops well before the Mansion. The cabbie, an elderly gentlemen, turns to look at the young woman in the back seat.

"You're sure?" He asks in a wheezing voice from one too many cigarettes, "It's still a good half a mile down the road." The dark-haired young woman will look towards the road for a long moment before she nods, "I'm certain." Upon hearing that the cabbie will say, "Okay. That'll be -" And before he can even get the fair out, Dani is already digging into a pocket for a few bills to cover the price of the ride, as well as tip. It's the last of her money, but … Hopefully she won't need a return ride to the City. Once the money exchanges hands, the dark-haired teenager will grab her duffel and open the door, "Thanks." She says automatically, as she slams the car door closed with a final sounding thump. "I got it from here."

Then Dani waits. She waits for the cabbie to do a slow u-turn and begin traveling back down the road before she turns her attention towards the road that leads to the Mansion. While she feels both fear and uncertainty with coming here, her expression stays grim and stoic. Shouldering her bag with quick efficient movements, the young woman puts one foot before the other and starts the trek down the road towards the large gate.

It's going to be a long walk for Dani, mentally not physically, as she walks what feels like her Green Mile.


As the cab disappears into the distance, it passes a lanky blond teenager wearing a full-on sailor's outfit. They're miles and miles from the coast, of course, but there are certain details of the outfit that belong to a romanticized version of the seaman's life rather than reality. On close inspection, the name "Herman's Hideaway" embroidered in script on the left breast of the shirt gives away that it's a novelty outfit, from some sort of nautically-themed business.

The teenager's hands are stuffed into the outfit's hip pockets, his head tilted forward in a sullen slump. He kicks up dust beside the road, and judging from the brownish tint around his flared cuffs, he has been doing so for a while. "Ah'd be home already if blastin' weren't so danged loud," he mutters, obviously to himself but loudly enough to be overheard. The fair-skinned boy doesn't seem to have noticed Dani close by, wrapped up as he is in his own teenage brooding, but he is (coincidentally?) headed in the same direction she is.


The day before, a precocious student made it snow outside to the delight of anyone legal age to drink beer, and probably a few who weren't. That patch on the back lawn may be receiving some tending from one of the few plant empaths in the school, and one person who has no business dealing directly with the living unless they are non-sentient. Tending the grass to grow is the business of a young blond boy, probably around twelve, and when it comes to manual labour, there's a young woman in a minidress on her knees smoothing out soil over the frostbitten bed. A wheelbarrow full of fresh loam luxuriates a few feet past her, though most of its contents have already been dumped over the withered, shivering plants to warm their roots while someone who can actually do something about restoring the vegetation to healthy growth works. Work, however, is the name of the game back here.

Work or studying, as it happens. Where students partake of their classes outside while the weather is fine, or pretend to read their books and jot into their exercise books, the balmy morning not quite reaching the apex of its heat is too much a temptation to goof off and have fun. A few probably throw bolts of energy, varied in its nature, in a game of tag with burn potential rather than just the stinging humiliation of losing. Rogue isn't paying attention to them under her sunhat, the broad brim too fashionable to be anything straw, and worthy of a hick.

It so happens a girl running from the front yard to the back comes chirping about a car, which, yes, she possibly saw a mile off. Or she's a visionary. Or maybe a cloud of dust is really easy to spot. As the only quasi adult around, the redhead makes a compelling target and she dusts off her hands, rising to her feet. It won't be long before she buries a trowel to stick out of the garden bedding. Then with a knock of her heels, Dorothy style, she goes off at a good pace for the front. Normally this might take a while, given the size of the estate, but sometimes using the secret passage with the candlestick is a good way for Miss Scarlett to get to the front of the house.

But Cannonball did it in the stables with the rope, so it's clear.


While Dani is quite focused on her own inner turmoil and angst at this time, the fact that the area is so secluded and quiet helps for her to realize she's not quite alone out here.

Those sullen words and that scuff of a foot is heard by the Cheyenne and so, the girl will look all around herself, even turning in a short circle, to see who is out here with her. When her brown eyes fall upon the tall young man in his rather fashionable sailor suit Dani can't help the silent stare on her part. Finally though, the seeming absurdity of seeing a sailor out here causes Dani to shake off some of her moodiness, as she calls out. "Hey. You lost? I'm pretty sure the water is that away." And she'll even go so far as to point towards the general direction of the City. Also to note, her back is now turned towards the Mansion proper, as she waits to see what the sailor has to say for himself.


"Oh! Um. Hi there," Sam says, whipping off his ridiculous sailor's cap and attempting, via a complicated posture of arm-crossing and hip tilting, to hide the fact that he is dressed up like a swabby on a Navy ship. (Need it be said? He fails spectacularly to do any such thing.) "Or, Ah mean…" He glances down at Dani's fringed boots, then up at her face again, and lifts one hand stiffly, palm out. "How," he intones, solemnly drawing out the single syllable.

He's… bless his racist little heart, he's trying to be polite. Years of cowboy movies and basically no contact with anyone outside his tiny Appalachian community have left him with the impression that this is how one greets Native Americans. If either Dani or Rogue doesn't do something to nip this in the bud, he's liable to ask for a puff of her peace pipe.

"Thank you kindly, miss, but Ah'm not actually a sailor," he explains, going completely red in the face. "It's a — y'see, Ah work at a restaurant up in Salem Center." He thumbs over his shoulder, stumbling over his words. "Ain't normally anyone else walkin' up this way." After a stammering second, he reverses the question on her: "Are you lost? Ain't much up here…"


What has the sailor to say for himself this time? No opportunity yet to comment on the matter yet graces Miss Scarlett, as she still has to make her way through the front lawn and down the street. The teenaged student who summoned her stays put, peering down the impressive drive, hand over her brow. On her part, the bohemian student has to adjust her pace a little to keep the jaunty hat from flying off her braided hair and requiring a pause to force it back down. No doubt bobby pins or hat pins are being added to her mental shopping list. Still, missing someone wearing a blood orange dress can be rather difficult to do, especially as she is apparently wandering out from a field fo a rhapsodic dream to be imagined by a Persian youth with blistering love for white jumpsuits.

Her long gait will, in the end, serve her fairly well in hearing the fallout of country boy meeting Native American, and that may be about the only thing keeping her from lobbing a rock at the back of Sam's head. She has an angel on her shoulder pulling to her better nature in front of strangers, and that is the angel of manners. Not to be sparred with, to be sure. Dani will have more than enough time to get a word in edgewise because no one is breaking the sound barrier, and nothing quite like receiving a friendly wave of the hand from another girl. Maybe she's signalling to get off the road away from Sailor Bob there, but likely not.


While Dani has seen a lot of racism and sexism in her young life, that doesn't seem to help her when Sam turns that very un-politically correct greeting towards her. In fact, it takes Dani a hot second to react to his very terrible greeting, thanks to a combination of surprise and disbelief warring within her. Finally, thankfully, that surprise turns quickly into heated anger.

Storm clouds now seem to threaten Dani's expression, as she automatically raises her free hand upward and balls it into a tight fist.

"How? HOW?" She says, voice rising in anger, "Are you nuts? Do you really think that's how we greet each other?"

The rest of his words and questions are simply ignored now, as Dani starts stalking towards the tall and lanky young man. "Maybe you'd like to toss in squaw there as well, fella, cause it's not like I haven't heard /that/ one before." Her words are quite acidic and while Sam might not be the brightest bulb, it might start to dawn on him that he's stepped into a steaming pile of poo somewhere along this conversation.

As for Rogue, while she's not easily missed with, Dani's ire is completely focused on Sam at this time - so, there is no greeting to the other woman at this time.


Foundering on the shoals of his own ineptitude, Sailor Sam hails the approaching adult with a frantic S.O.S. wave. "Miss Rogue? Miss Rogue! Ah think this girl oughta speak with you," he calls out, backpedaling away from Dani with a note of desperation in his voice. Unspoken: she oughta not speak with Sam, whose is even more acutely aware of his own tendency to put his foot in his mouth than the hapless people around him are.

That said, the threat of an imminent butt-whoopin' has a way of focusing the mind. Not, alas, on balance: moving backward in a hurry with his arms over his head, Sam doesn't notice the largish pebble behind him until his heel has already hit it. He totters, then topples, landing on his backside in a cloud of disturbed topsoil. He just had to be wearing white, didn't he? Holding one arm up over his head and cringing away from Dani, Guthrie whimpers, "Yes! Yes, Ah thought that's how ya —" In a rare moment of self-awareness, he realizes that he's still digging and changes tacks. "Ah'm sorry, miss! Ah didn't mean no offense!"


The young woman's rage is a palpable thing, a bubble that smacks the prepared across the face. With a wordless shift of stance, the redhead tucks her hands into her pockets and comes out with a pair of white gloves. Not gardening gloves, the sort that button prettily over the wrist, and feature elegant embroidery up the knuckles. She tugs these over with a practiced ease she rather might not explain, though they end up settled in place. A thin band of flesh visible above her billowing sleeves and the fine material below is taken up by Indian metal bracelets, anyways.

"I again wonder, Mr. Guthrie, if you were taught to think before you speak," Rogue murmurs under her breath, barely audible to the poor Appalachian kid unprepared for what he stepped into. As it should happen, somehow the Bohemian vision of embroidered bits, Indian bracelets, chic boots, and a huge hat knows more about how to avoid stepping in it. Go figure. She speaks up easily enough, the southern lilt to her voice not especially strong but there. "Forgive the fellow here, I think he believes that's considered a joke where he's from. A tasteless one." A line appears between her brows, the urge not to add a little vinegar to the honey flattened out with a little ease. "I'm Scarlett. Unless I miss my guess, you were looking for Professor Charles Xavier?" Those intensely green eyes of hers flicker and she looks back over her shoulder towards the school. "You reached the right place if you are. I would suggest he carry your bags for you, but seeing as how you started off on the wrong foot, probably not the wisest course. Darlin'," this is to Sam, "regardless of what you think is right, treat all women you meet like a lady. Preferably your mother, accord them that sort of respect, and then let them decide if it's not to their liking. You might end up called a gentleman that way."

Or not punched through a wall, either way. "I need to be on my way to an appointment at Columbia, but if you both head into the school, I'll be back or get Alex to give a tour."


While others might reach out to try and help the wobbly Sam from falling, or ask if he was alright after he landed hard, Dani does neither of these things. Instead she'll just loom over the lanky young man (probably the only time she effectively can) as she focuses those glowering brown eyes upon his not so immaculately white suited form.

Thankfully, for Sam, Rogue's words garner her attention and the dark-haired teenager will shift her gaze from boy to woman, as she listens to what Rogue as to say. The mention of Charles Xavier immediately causes Dani to nod, as she says, "Yes. My grandfather sent me here to meet him." And there's only the slightest hesitency when she says grandfather, "I've a letter." She adds, though she doesn't necessarily reach for said letter, which is tucked into her duffel bag. As for Rogue's offer that Sam carry her bags, Dani will automatically grip the strap tighter. "No thanks. I can manage."

And while more could have easily been said the other woman neatly makes her exit, thanks to that meeting of hers; which now leaves Sam and Dani alone. Again, Dani's brown eyes will turn back to the fallen boy. A frown will now tug her lips downward, as she says sharply to the downed young man, "You should listen to what she has to say. She's right, you know."


"Ah thought Ah was treatin' her like a lady!" Sam protests, his voice a meek thing. Even he can recognize that his position, flat on his ass in the dirt, suggests that Hollywood's parade of fictionalized Indian princesses have perhaps led him astray on the particulars of protocol. He watches Rogue depart with a glint of panic, then turns back to Dani, eyebrows tilted to a little anxious peak. "Ah ain't never contradicted bein' told Ah made a mess of things before, and Ah ain't about to start, Miss," he tells her timidly.

The newcomer doesn't seem to immediately threaten physical harm, so he clambers clumsily back to his feet. A few disconsolate pats to his sides confirm that the outfit's done for, so he doesn't bother with any more attempts to dust himself off. He extends a hand slightly, as if to offer her a hand with her bag, but that point has been addressed. Scratching behind his ear, he offers instead, "Ah can, uh, show you to the school, at least?"


His words cause Dani's eyes to narrow dangerously, but in the end, he does attempt to smooth things out. Or, at the very least, he admits that he can and is wrong. That's enough to cause Dani's expression to ease ever so slightly and her balled up fist to drop back to her side. "That's good that you know you're a blockhead. I'm sure that makes it easier when you're apologizing." While that frown still nags at her expression a little, the young woman will accept his offer to show her to the school.

"Sure. Let's go." And with those words of hers said, Dani will pivot upon her booted heel and turn back toward sthe direction of the School. She's not necssarily waiting for Sam to lead, as her confident strides take her further down the road.

It's only when she realizes that she's once more on her way to a School for 'gifted' people that she'll turn and give a look to the tall young man. "What's the School like?" An innocent enough question, but beneath that simple sounding question is yet another question not asked.


Sam slouches, looking miserable. "Y'don't have to rub it in," he says glumly. "It's not like Ah try to stick my foot in it all the time." She's already turning away, though, so he doesn't really have time to pout. Fortunately, the tall boy's strides are long enough to keep up without too much trouble.

"It's basically the fanciest place Ah've ever been," he says, his enthusiasm dampened by his terrible first impression. "We all got our own rooms 'n everythin'. There's a lake and a gym and a kitchen practically the size of my old house. Not everybody's a mutant, but most are. The guy who runs the place, the Professor? He's real nice. And patient."

There's an ever so slight emphasis on this last word. Patience is, for probably obvious reasons, a trait Sam has come to value in the people he surrounds himself with.


He should feel miserable, but, Dani does know a thing or two about sticking her foot in her mouth. She's done it a time or two herself, though purposefully typically, not accidentally. She's definitely not one to shy away from speaking what she perceives as the truth.

While her eyes stay straight ahead of her, she does watch the young man from the corner of her eyes, when he easily catches up with her. It's only when he says 'mutant', that her strides will slow and her gaze will finally turn back towards him.

"Mutant." She says, testing out that word, since she's rarely said it outloud to herself. "Are you one?" She asks bluntly, even as she makes a slight face at the over-emphasized patience.

That sounds just like her Grandfather. Always trying to each her patience and she still has yet to figure it all out. That stray thought causes her expression to dip towards sadness for a split-second, but only for that brief moment, before her expression turns back to something more neutral. "I'm Danielle Moonstar, by the way." She finally adds, offering her name now.


"Aw, shoot, as if my manners ain't been bad enough as it is," Sam moans, slouching even further. "Sam Guthrie. And yeah, Ah'm a mutant." He's still mopey, but he doesn't seem at all reluctant to admit to his genetic status, which might be taken as a promising sign about the environment at the school. "My powers ain't so easy to use in public — they kinda make a ruckus. But if you want, once we get to campus, it oughta be private enough."

There's a little lane leading into the school, which Sam turns down now. There isn't much security, or at least nothing evident: just a picturesque upstate manor with an unusual number of young people scattered across the grounds.

"Ah just came here a few weeks ago, myself, so Ah know how it is to be the new kid," Sam ventures. He's at least trying to find common ground with her — let's see how long this promising streak lasts. "Ain't never met no red Indians back in Kentucky, so Ah hope you ain't too mad about that little mix-up."

Well. That answers that question.


"A ruckus, huh?" She asks in a more rhetorical manner than true question, as she looks him up and down, trying to figure out just what sort of powers would cause a ruckus. As to that offer of showing her his powers? She'll give a faint nod, as she says, "Sure, I suppose that would be okay." Though there's a slowness to her words, as she considers whether he'll ask to see her own. That's enough to cause a frown to start to form on her lips again, even as she too turns down the little lane.

It's only when they're finally here at the school, that Dani will finally get her first true look at the grandeur of the Mansion. While she may not be as hick as Sam, she's definitely more used to smaller homes and hovels, and as such, it's enough to cause her eyes to widen slightly. Thankfully, that expression doesn't last long as the children playing along the grounds capture her attention now. Seeing them so at ease allows Dani to smile ever so slightly -

- Until that is, Sam once more opens his mouth and /speaks/ more than just polite words. While his new kid schtick might have worked with Dani, that last bit about meeting a red Indian causes the dark-haired woman's head to whip around again. "Pal." She says, voice going stern again, "Listen real /close/, I am Cheyenne, not a red Indian and it would do you good to remember /that/." Her steps have paused now, so she can turn fully towards Sam, "Let me give you a little tip - if you ever are confused, or uncertain, about what to call me I'd recommend just going with my name. It'll be safer for you in the long run."


Sam's hands pull inward, forming a little defensive barrier in front of his chest as he backs away from the once again angry girl. (At least he doesn't trip this time.) "Okay, okay!" he blurts out, bewildered by her reaction but accustomed enough to stepping on cultural landmines to accept the explosion as his due. "Shy-enn," he echoes, testing out the unfamiliar word. "But, uh, just Danielle probably works."

After a long pause, he does add, "Ah have met another Danielle once." He offers her a big, slightly manic grin, obviously hoping that this dumb joke will defuse the tension. All the same, he doesn't drop his protective hands quite yet.


That stern look stays focused on Sam for a few more heartbeats until finally, the Cheyenne just shakes her head, mostly at that last line of his. "Sam -" She begins, voice still sounding aggravated, "- You really are something. That's all I can say." By the end of that sentence of hers, her voice has mellowed a bit, as she tries to be a bit more understanding about their cultural differences. Sighing, Dani will nod her head towards the Mansion, asking as she does, "Can you show me where I can offload my duffel? I wouldn't mind a chance to catch my breath and get cleaned up before any meetings with this Professor of yours."

And just to make sure he understands, she'll even begin walking again towards the school. "And something to eat too. Well, something other than beef jerky and water." She adds, that last bit about beef jerky murmured more than actually said out loud.


"Ah heard a lot worse from people since Ah came up north, so Ah'll take really somethin', in a heartbeat," Sam answers, accepting Dani's mellowing with palpable relief. "Ah can show you where the dorms are, upstairs. You can pretty much pick whichever one you want, long as no one's in it already," he continues, bounding up the front steps to hold the door open for her. He does go a little hesitant, and a little pink, when he adds, "Probably wouldn't be proper for me to actually show you around the ladies' rooms, though. Ah'll just, uh, point you in the right direction, if that's alright."

The mention of a snack gets a much more enthusiastic response. "Aw, you're gonna love the kitchen. Might still be some of the mac 'n cheese Ah made for lunch left over, if you're lucky."


His now pink face and rather hesitant respond earns a bit of humor from the young woman, as she flashes him a half a grin. "/Proper/?" She says, emphasizing that particular word, "I suppose it isn't. Just point me in that direction and I'm sure I can figure it out all by myself." While Sam bounds up the steps, Dani's movements are much more restrained, as she too walks up said steps and towards the front doors. When he holds the door open for her, she'll offer a quick dip of her head in thanks, before she's making her way inside.

Again, her eyes widen ever so slightly at the grande scale of things, but thankfully, Sam is there to reel her back to Earth. "Mac and cheese? That sounds good. I wouldn't mind some of that." The strap of her duffel bag will be shifted on her shoulder a bit, as she continues, "Okay, point me in the right direction so I can get cleaned up. Then you can show me where the kitchen is. I'd rather not get lost on my way to food."


"Girl after my own heart," Sam agrees, an avid eater himself. He pauses at the base of a grand stairwell to offer her directions. "Well, to get to the ladies' dorms, go on upstairs and make a left," he starts, pointing. "The whole top floor of that wing is y'all's." He lets out a soft chuckle and says in a conspiratorial aside, "Ah know, Ah know, who ever heard of a house with wings? But that's what they call it, and Ah ain't about to argue."

He turns to Dani and shrugs, continuing, "All the rooms got their own bathroom, so pick one, and it'll have a shower for ya. When you're done, the cafeteria's down this hallway" — he points past the stairs — "and on the right. Can't miss it. They got cooks workin' here to make sandwiches 'n such over the summer, but they don't much mind if you cook your own meals so long as you stay out from underfoot."

The tall teen glances downward, then back at Dani, and says a little awkwardly, "Anyway, Ah ain't anyone's first pick for the welcomin' committee, but Ah do hope you settle in okay. Don't take anythin' Ah said too personal. Ah don't mean anythin' by it." He seems genuinely contrite, even if he obviously hasn't yet connected the dots between what he said and the way she reacted.


With a house this large Dani isn't too surprised when Sam speaks of wings. She will, however, commit his directions to memory and with an ease of movement, the dark-haired girl is already moving towards the staircare.

It's only with his last words that she'll pause upon the fourth step up. Turning slightly, the Cheyenne will give Sam a steady look once more, perhaps weighing those words of his inside herself. Finally, she'll give a shrug to the young man, as she says, "I suppose I'll accept your apology. You just have to promise to think before you speak going forward." With that said, she'll offer a wave, before she's turning and trotting up the steps.

"Try not to eat all the mac n cheese while I'm freshening up."

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