1963-07-31 - Elemental, My Dear
Summary: Crystal does a little housecleaning, and Storm awakens.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
crystal storm 

Crystal has had a few…trying days. The people she cares about are struggling, she got into a fight with some giants who actually managed to hurt her, and the giants are apparently threatening to come back if they don't get what they want. So to decompress, she's decided to work on a project she's been thinking the institute could use for a bit.

Being a school, the Institute has a rather large population of teenage girls and boys. Both of whom come with their own very particular scents. Most of them are not pleasant.

So at the moment, the windows in the Institute have been thrown open. Crystal sits primly in a chair on the second-story hallway above the foyer, ankles crossed beneath her and hands folded in her lap. Her eyes are closed, but around her, the air flows through the hallways, charged with ions. Little by little, the smell of teenagers is being cleared out the open windows, replaced with something much more fresh.


She was a goddess two weeks ago, but now she is a woman, and she finds herself somewhat lost. She slept like she was dead for almost two weeks, dreaming of the world. Of the man who picks tomatoes in California. Of the woman giving birth in Prague. A thousand things she knew while she slept, and she knew only one thing about these things: they were true. And that they were meaningless to her.

But something stirs, and awakens her. She can feel the air moving, feel the ions and channels. She knows natural weather, she can feel it like she can feel her own skin — and this air moves not of nature's volition, but of someone elses.

And, for once, not hers.

Ororo slips out of the bed she was placed in, and though clothes are set beside, clothes that approximately fit her, she doesn't give them a second thought. She moves with an easy, almost feline grace: and she is utterly silent. Some of that is natural, but most of it is trained. She slips out of the room, the cascade of her long white curls of her hair capturing the wind, flickering about within the currents of wind; its quite a contrast to her dark skin.

When she sees Crystal, she tilts her head to the side slightly; for the briefest moment her eyes blink and are pure white, and then another blink and they are her dark blue eyes again. Gently she exerts her own will to try to still the currents: with exquisite precision she attempts to apply precisely the exact amount of force to every single current at once to simply bring stillness.


Crystal doesn't hear Storm's approach, but she can feel it. Her awareness rests in each of those tiny air currents, giving her a sense of what moves through the space with them. This is a school, though, and it's not unusual that someone might be moving through the hallways.

What is unusual, though, is the way that the air currents suddenly go still, severed neatly from her control. Curious, she opens her eyes, twisting in her chair until she catches sight of the other woman.

Despite the nudity, a smile quirks. "You must be the weather goddess. I'm Crystal. It's good to see you awake."


"That was a mistake." Ororo's voice is serious, even grave. "The sorceress at first thought I was a lost priestess, but when the storm came and I sent it away…" She shrugs her shoulder, lifting her arms up to cross over her chest. Well. Under her chest, so to speak. "She taught me to become the storm, to become pure and embrace… the earth and sky. I am Storm."

But after a moment's hesitation, "Or… Ororo, before." That's a lot of or's at once. "When I was a lost woman looking for her people in Africa, I was Ororo. The mindspeaker named me Munroe? It rings vaguely true, from the faintest memory, so perhaps it is." Whatever force of will she brought against the wind is lifted shortly after: it was a test of some sort, perhaps.


"Well. Choose one, and that's what we'll call you," Crystal smiles easily, standing up from the chair and pushing it back toward the wall, out of the way.

"Was the…" She waves a hand around in much the same motion as the air currents. "Did that disturb you? I forgot there was anyone else in the building who might pick up on anything other than the fact that it smelled like fresh air. I needed a bit of embracing the simplicity of the elements myself after the last few days."


"I don't know." Ororo's voice is soft, a hint of emotion registering: and the tingle of uncertain unease in that moment causes a subtle reverberation in the air to just spread out from her and go far and wide. It doesn't really manifest as anything more then a slight brush of the air, but to Crystal it likely would be noticed.

Firming her resolve, Storm shakes her head more firmly, "No, it did not disturb me. It was welcome. I was dreaming of… everything." Another faint quiver of unease in her voice, and again the weather responds subtly even to such a small emotional slip. This time, humidity rises perhaps a percent across the whole of the grounds. Nothing anyone else would even notice.

"So perhaps you woke me, but I welcome wakefulness. Thank you. Are you a… mutant, too?" She frowns slightly, uncertain about this usage of the term, though this frown doesn't lead to any response to the environment. "Another… weather goddess?" Her deep blue eyes watch Crystal keenly, and though her speech is a little hesitant, as if out of practice in English, her eyes are sharp and alert.


"Something like that," Crystal replies, smile crooked. "My powers are elemental. Individually, I can control each to a much higher degree. Combining them is a bit more difficult. I heard what you did in Kenya. I couldn't possibly juggle all of the elements to create something that large. Not without setting off something catastrophic."

Glancing down the hall each way, she clears her throat. "We should get you some clothes, though. Not that there's anything wrong with you, but there are rather a lot of teenage boys here who aren't from a culture that's comfortable with nudity." Her smile quirks, humored. "For that matter, there are a lot of not teenage boys who'd end up flustered."


Ororo purses her lips a moment, thoughtfully as she considers the Kenya event. She lifts one hand as the other drops to rest at her hip, running it through her hair, closing her eyes a moment. "I see the … wholeness. The wholeness of everything, the connectedness of everything. But most of that, I do not understand. In Kansas, a boy just stepped on a flower." She shrugs slowly, opening her eyes to regard Crystal a moment, and her eyes are pure white and slightly luminiescent.

"To call a hurricane: the wind, the pressure, the moisture, the temperature gradiants and how they are in conflict, which provides the energy to the cyclone… there are so many different properties that must dance in precise sequence and in a precise pattern, over such a great space. I very nearly set off something catastrophic, Crystal. And I very nearly died to undo that. Usually… I can not so readily draw such power. That was… unusual. I was attempting to commune with the earth." She glances down at herself then, frowning slightly.

"Oh. Of course." And with that she turns and heads towards her room, "I think I saw some clothes set out. I will have to return to Kenya to gather up my things at some point."


"No wonder you have such control over such interconnected events, then," Crystal nods to Ororo, falling in beside her as she heads down the hall. "Your understanding is in the connection more than the particulars?"

There's genuine interest in her voice, in the way she tries to understand it. More than that, she doesn't seem to be talking down to the other woman. It's the tone of someone consulting a fellow professional.


As Ororo walks along she's thoughtful for a moment. She seems comfortable in silence, wishing to find and express her thoughts instead of just answering off hand. "I feel the system as a whole: I can conceive of the flows of air, and the moisture content, and the atmospheric heat and how it interacts with the ground. But seeing the elements individually is a little more difficult: naturally, I conceive of the storm as a whole."

Turning into her room, she glances at Crystal a moment, then heads over to where clothes were laid. A simple black dress and appropriate undergarments. "Weather… if I were to try to understand weather by first understanding the component parts… I could not master it. The system, though. Instead of seeing the pieces that make it up, I look down upon it from on high and see how all its parts interconnect and merge. Yes. As those points interact, connect, there touch and move."

And, she proceeds to get dressed casually.


Crystal nods, smile faint. "I'm the opposite, really. Erik has this metallic sphere that he's been tinkering with. And I can tell when he's added a new element. I can feel the essential difference in its composition. But to build an entire weather system?" She shakes her head. "If I were to even make it rain, it wouldn't be true rain. Just pulling the water from the air in a pattern that happens to resemble rain."

As the other woman dresses, she takes a seat on the chair in one corner of the room, just as casual. "I…understand, to a degree, what it is to come to this world from one where you are something very different. If there's anything you need help with, anything that can make it easier for you, I'd be happy to help."


Ororo glances over at Crystal as she shifts into her dress, expression openly curious, "I have no power over… land. Metal. Though I can feel certain properties related to the weather system… I can't quantify it, except…" She's uncertain, her brow furrowing. She lifts a hand up to grab a lock of her white hair and twist it around a dark finger, thoughtful.

"There's this sense of connection that goes beyond mere weather that is there, that the sorceress was helping me explore. She said it was the god my father, Ngai." Storm frowns, and this is with real displeasure: above clouds gather and darken. "She said I had to gather up all of my power and let go, submit to the earth, so that my father would come to the world. Submission… is not normally how I use my power. But I felt something. The… connectedness to everything. Not weather. Everything. It felt like a flower blossoming before the sun."

And she looks to Crystal for a long, thoughtful moment, "I… do not know where I belong. Or who I should be. I was five years old and alone and homeless in the streets of Cairo, surviving by stealing a date from a vendor and running so fast he could not catch me though he cried: thief, thief. I was a young woman who did not understand the world but when a man tried to take liberties, lightning killed him. Then I was a goddess to a people who loved me and an avenger for those people against the british."

"I do not even know where to begin to understand where I belong in this world."


"I might be able to help with that. With the earth part," Crystal clarifies. "But with understanding where you belong as well. You're not alone in feeling out of place. Everyone here has felt it. Some do more than others. Some have come to terms with it, while others are still searching."

She hesitates, drawing a breath and glancing away. "I…am also out of place here. Where I came from, I was a princess. But my family and I were cast out, exiled. We have no place here. Not while we can hope to ever return home. And our status at home means nothing here."


Sitting on the edge of the bed, Ororo lets her hands rest upon her lap; an easy pose, one that is relaxed and strong at once. "I would welcome any assistance you could provide, though I fear reaching to the earth again. The sorceress was adament that awakening the earth meant submission, and… letting go." She shakes her head slowly, "My power must be contained or every fear is a tornado and every anger a thunderstorm."

On … out of placeness, she purses her lips, regarding Crystal with curiosity and intensity in her gaze. "Do you want to return home?" she asks, seemingly genuinely interested, and she offers with it a slight smile, her first. "I have only one memory of home, … Waffles. Waffles with syrup and bananas. That was home." She inclines her head, "I would do anything to hold onto that memory. You are a power. If you have a home to return to, why do you not claim it? Do you need help?"

Ororo lifts a graceful hand and with an imperious gesture of a lady who spent years thinking she a goddess, declares: "I will help you if you have need. For awakening me and doing so in kindness." Her words are very soft.


"I did want to return home." Crystal is quiet, though her brows furrow in a small frown. "I want my family to return to their place. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back myself. I thought I was just going to stay here, a place to be until we could find my sister. But then…"

She trails off, looking from the doorway down the hall. "I've grown very fond of the people here. I'm not sure I'd want to leave them behind." Still, a smile curves as she looks back to the other woman. "I pity the army that would stand against the two of us. All things great and small indeed."


"You have one foot in two worlds." observes Ororo, lifting a hand up to trail through her white hair and tuck it behind an ear, "You have ties, roots. On the one hand a sister, a family wronged. On the other, you take cause with people not unlike you who are lone wanderers in the world, these gods— mutants. Sooner or later, I think, you will have to choose one over the other."

But, Storm shakes her head slowly, her voice as soft and yet firm as ever, "But you are not at that point now." She smiles again, "Good. Can you fly?" she inquires, "Flight has always been the most natural expression of power for me. The winds are an extension of my will such that I need barely think of them if my purpose is to take to the sky. I have never flown with another."


"I can, yes," Crystal nods, glancing out toward the window. "It's been a very long time since I flew with someone else, though. I suspect there might be something of a learning curve in terms of the two of us not interfering with each other on the air currents," she laughs. "Warren has wings, of course. And Erik uses a somewhat more complicated method. You…don't want to fly with Sam."

That smile quirks again, deeper, as she tries not to laugh. "Sam is…basically rocket propelled, he's still working on control. But if you choose to stay here, or even to visit, there are many people who could fly with you. Just, from experience, you have to be careful about what you're doing with the air if you're not the only one using it."


All these names! Ororo doesn't really recognize any of them, but she files them away for further consideration. "Then we will practice together. It would not suit us to be rivals." she declares in a soft voice, but one that doesn't quite realize still that her will is simply something declared. "I can not… stay here. I must find my way in this world. But I will not be a stranger. I can not understand my place in this world without understanding what I am. Who I am. Where I am. Why I am."

With a long breath, Ororo rubs at her face softly, and asks, curiously, "Where you come from, was it known you would have power? I…" She hesitates, and shrugs. "I was a thief. Eight years old and I could leap onto buildings. My den, my … crew, my team, those other theives who were my people … didn't know. They only knew I brought in higher scores then any other. I belonged with them."


"For me, it was," Crystal nods. "For most of our people, it was…an opportunity to be earned. An opportunity only, though. A chance to find power, but with no promise as to what that power might be." Standing up, she reaches a hand for the other woman's shoulder. "Before our people are given that opportunity, they must know themselves. We believe that mastery of the self should be obtained before mastery of any power. So I understand."

With a small smile, she steps back again, glancing down the hallway. "Whatever you decide, though, so long as you don't compromise the safety of this place, I know that you'll be welcome here. For now, though, I do believe we just got a waffle iron. Perhaps you can show me how it's meant to work."


"Strange." Ororo's voice is firm yet soft, "I had power that came, and I learned … suppression … then I learned mastery. And never did I know myself." She sighs softly, flicking a lock of white hair away from her face as she does so. "Perhaps it is better that your people prepare those with power for having power. Perhaps my parents would have, but … they did survive."

Storm nods her head slowly, rising from the bed and walking over towards the window that leads to the balcony "I will not injure or endanger the people here. Your people stopped the folly of my pride: and the people who loved me that I protected and fought for did not falter because of that. For their lives, I recognize a debt that I must repay."


"It's a debt that I hope we never have to call in, Ororo," Crystal says with quiet warmth, stepping to the doorway and pausing at the threshold. "The kitchen is downstairs and to the right," she offers with a small smile. "Whenever you're ready, I'll be figuring out that waffle maker. After that, if you're interested, I wouldn't mind a hand with airing the place out. Perhaps I might learn a thing or two." With those words, she slips out into the hall, shooing away a curious student in the process.


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