1963-08-01 - Into The Woods
Summary: Sam and Jean start off their little camping trip.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None' — please, don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
cannonball jean 

Sam eventually got over his embarrassment, and by the time Jean made her way out to meet him for their departure, their camping supplies were stowed in a pair of sturdy camper backpacks. Sam's is considerably bigger and heavier, as befits his larger frame, but he hasn't entirely stinted on Jean's, either. By the time she arrives, he's leaning against the gazebo, sipping from the canteen that he can stow conveniently on one side of his pack. he's dressed in a sleeveless Xavier Institute shirt, sturdy khaki shorts, and — though his budget protested at the strain — a pair of honest-to-goodness hiking boots.

He waves to the redhead as she approaches, calling out, "Hey there, Jean! Got your pack all ready for ya. Ready to go?"


Shower and a nap. It was one of those things that were needed to get the day going right or to start it over. Granted, the morning was a little bit of hell, but the cool water helped sort her out something fierce. But, there was no time to dawdle. She had her own things to wear, which was just a tank top, a nice pair of shorts that cut off mid-thigh, and a pair of loose shoes that were definitely not for hiking. Call it a first timers blues. Her hair was still wet with the scent of vanilla, but it was tied up into a high ponytail, and the glasses rested upon her nose so that she could look over them as if she were a disciplinarian. Though, chances are, she'd be taking them off before long.

"Ready as I'll ever be!" She offers up, bending down to try to snatch up her pack with a lift.. a hurrg.. and a second lift to throw it over her back and hitch up with a buck of her hips. "Are we cheating or are we walking?"
Sam leans forward off of his post, then circles Jean to take hold of her pack and help her lift it on. It's trickier to get these things on than it is to wear them; a little help is pretty standard. As he goes to get his own pack, that will become obvious: experienced camper though he might be, it's an awkward process.

"Aw, it ain't too far into the forest," he says, waving toward the treeline as he answers her question. "A nice little hike will be just the thing to get the blood goin'." He flashes her a lopsided grin, winks, and says, "Then again, if you use your powers to lighten your pack a little bit, Ah sure won't know or tell."

Once they're both situated, he heads off across the grassy field that borders the forest. Since they're not on a path yet, it's easy to walk side by side. After only a minute or so, they leave the tended gardens, and the way is dotted with patches of wildflowers and weeds, the grass ankle high. Sam takes a deep breath, looks up at the sky, and asks Jean, "So, you been campin' before? Ah know you ain't been able recently… but maybe when you were a kid?"

"Well, I wouldn't mind it but.." They were going to walk. That would at least give her a little bit time to apologize. She doesn't yet however, making sure her pack fits just right after he adjusted it for her, thumbing the loops so that she could take on an easy gait as they begin to walk. Just as he says it, the very idea of using her TK to lift the pack was used almost immediately, and she rightly felt the pressure ease from her shoulders.

"Never.." Jean says confidently. "I mean, there was talks about it. And we camped out in our back yard for a few hours after night. But.. I can barely remember those. I think those moments are few and far in between." She looks up towards him now, then out towards the woods, her lips licked briefly as she tucks them inward, "Sam? Uh.. sorry about this morning. I really, really wasn't myself."

Hoo-boy, she wasn't. "But.. I mean it was fun to see everyone all in one space like that. People really, really like to gather in the morning."
Sam's freckled cheeks go pretty pink just at the memory. He looks away, puffing his cheeks out and then releasing the pent-up air slowly. "Yeah, well, uh… Ah'm sorry, too," he finally answers, casting his eyes downward for a moment, then giving her an anxious glance. "Ah'm glad you still came with, honestly. Ah was a little worried you might be uncomfortable about it, after… all that," he admits.

Time to change the subject! "As for campin', don't you worry. Most of it's easy, once you know what to do. You ain't gotta have a lot of experience to have a lot of fun," he says brightly (and quickly). "Ah saw a creek that lets out into the lake a ways off; Ah'm thinkin' we can either stay by it, or maybe find a branch of it we can follow up into those hills." He points off into the distance, where the land rises into a gentle younger cousin of the more distant Adirondacks.

After a second to collect his thoughts — during which they're already approaching the first trees of the forest — he fixes his blue eyes on her and continues, "You're okay, ain't ya? Ah don't really know how your" — he pauses, then points at his temple — "how it works, but when you say you weren't yourself, there wasn't anything wrong, was there?" He knows she's been having it rough lately, and he wants to help, but like he says, he really doesn't understand quite how it works.

"I.. promised, didn't I? I mean.. I know I promised I'd come .. well I didn't promise but I said I would. I want to try to keep my word. And.. I really want to be here."

But as he switches the subject, it was welcome. She was bounding next to him so much that her ponytail swayed with each step she took. She was pippy! All pep! And a grand smile was across her face as she gives a nod. "I honestly think that we should stay by some water. I did read some that if you boil the water before you drink it, it'll turn out right. I think. And that sometimes the rocks and moss actually clean the water, so we could probably just drink it outright. And for fishing. So like.. we can nap or something and wait for something to bite the worms.." She wasn't sure she had any of that right, she was just babbling now. "Plus if it gets hot, we can swim some. I .. don't think we have soap though for baths.."

She frowns a little, then shrugs. "Maybe if we're out here long enough we could do all of it. I mean, move up the hill some. I've never really been back this far." Once they approach the treelines, she gives a faint nod, then takes those few steps to move ahead of him. "Yeah.. I mean.. I'm okay personally. But someone wasn't."

She lifts a hand to place it over her heart. "It was just a little bit. But.. I felt relaxed. Then I felt.. longing. You know? Like.. someone wants something. I don't know if they're afraid but.. I don't know. "I also felt love. And .. other stuff. But, yeah. I'm fine. I just didn't know where the real -me- was for a bit."

It's a good thing Jean has moved a little bit ahead. As soon as Sam hears her mention tapping into someone's longings, he nearly does a spit take. As it is, he manages to play it off with a sudden cough. "Oh. Oh… my. That must be… difficult," he answers. Blushing? You bet your ass he is.

"If we take a couple of days, we can sure explore the creek bed," he says, once again moving to a new subject with a quickness. "And you're right, havin' water handy is a great way to lighten the load we gotta carry around. Ah'd still boil it unless we find an underground spring, since we, uh… might want to avoid any… embarrassin' problems." As ever, Sam's verbal grace is commendable. He laughs and adds, "We'll need a nice long sit to catch any fish, but that'll be nice, too." He gives a shifty look, as though the trees might judge, then admits: "When Ah was on my little break, Ah just caught 'em by blastin' hard into the water. Stuns 'em pretty good. Sometimes knocks 'em clear out of the water, too."

He follows her into the trees, and as they continue, the landscape around them comes alive. The noise of birds is ever-present, and the wind that only ruffled grass before now makes trunks creak and leaves rustle. "Sure is pretty out here," Sam comments. (Again, he's practically a poet.)

"It is. I'm slowly getting the hang of it. I mean, everyone's been so helpful. There's a lot of sadness around us but a lot of love too. I wish you could feel that. Like.. everyones love all at once. It's kind of like.. a high." Hopefully, that'd explain it. Thankfully she didn't look back; she possibly would have tapped into his own feelings to see what he was blushing at. She would have kept it a secret, yes. But she would have felt like she purposely violated him. And that wouldn't sit well with her.

"I think we should. Honestly, we have stuff to go back to but nothing all the same. School doesn't start for us for like another few months, and we can just fly back home if we're needed." She points out. But.. she stops, bending down to pick up a smooth rock, remaining crouched there for a second as she smooths her fingers along the surface. It was pretty neat. She's never seen anything made to perfection like this before. "Cool." And then she's up again.

She does grin at the usage of his powers, taking that little step aside to allow him to go first. "If all else fails? We can just do that. Have you blast and then we'll cook it right and proper."

Plans were already being made in her head as she stops to admire the scenery, Sam's words ring true.. it was quiet. Silent in the way that nature could be. And the way the sun shines through the copse of trees was breathtaking. "It really is.." She murmurs quietly, so much that she stops moving for a time, just looking towards the sky. "I really am glad I came.."

Wearing a lopsided grin, Sam watches Jean as she finds beauty in something as simple as a river stone. He's taking it easy, but during her pause he catches up. "We can skip that off the lake later," he tells her, "or you can keep it as a worry stone." His brows inch together: this might be another of his bumpkin practices no one up here has heard of. "It's a smooth little rock you rub when you're feeling upset, to calm you down," he explains. Then his anxiety veers in the other direction — could he come off as condescending? "But you've probably heard all about 'em," he finishes quickly.

When she invites him to pass, he does so with a flashed smile, hands on the shoulder straps of his pack. "Ain't exactly the Eagle scout way to stun a bunch of fish senseless just to get one to eat," he says with a laugh. "Guess Ah ain't such a great Eagle scout. Ah could run the rest back to the mansion and put 'em on ice for later, so at least it wouldn't be wasteful."

Once in front, he picks a winding path with a gentle slope, feet sure over the uneven ground. Periodically, he turns to make sure she's keeping up; he doesn't want his long strides leaving her behind. After some time in the lead, he hears the gentle sound of running water and follows it. He becomes focused enough on that that he doesn't notice she has stopped until the next time he turns to check her progress, at which point he returns to her side.

"Ah sure am glad you're here, too," he says softly, looking at her with a helpless sort of smile. "You're…" he starts, then stops himself.

"I haven't.." She murmurs quietly. That brings thoughts to those pearls, her hand instinctively raising to her bare neck to rub against it briefly, glancing back towards the mansion which is sight unseen for now. But she felt safe. There was no fear here. Only the stillness of the nature without the added thoughts, feelings, and troubles. It was great.

She could barely hear him as she thinks, keeping her head down, following. Only stopping every once in a while to take a breath, her hands waving every now and then to catch her balance. Even though she was getting a little bit worn from the walking, she kept on. Pushed through the burn in her legs and the pain within the soles of her feet just so that they could get to their personal clearing. She was determined.

But.. still the sky. She took the time to watch as the suns rays occasionally shows themselves through the dance of leaves, a phantom grin lingering upon her face as she twists her hand this way and that. Though the shadow of Sam looms over head and she looks up towards him, wide eyed, which slowly lessens as she waits for him to finish his sentence..

"I'm.. what?" Mind-reader! Use your gifts! But.. she didn't. She did reach out to grap his forearm, giving a gentle squeeze. "Are you alright, Sam?"

At Jean's touch, Sam's voice catches in his throat, pinking his cheeks. He's never been so simultaneously happy and afraid. There's never going to be a better moment, with the two of them alone and surrounded by such beauty. All the same, he doesn't want to continue, terrified of how she might react. He could tell her it's not important. He could make something up — probably something dumb. A little bit of awkwardness, quickly forgotten as they continue.

But it's like he told her: it's when fear takes over that bad things happen. He can't very well give her that advice and then run from the things that scare him. It just wouldn't be right.

"You're beautiful," he admits, giving in to a full-on flush. Once released, the truth leaves him as giddy as a rocket-ride through the clouds. "You're just beautiful, Jean Grey." He actually laughs, then, just from the vertiginous joy of saying it. He casts his gaze downward, smiling, and says, "Ah hope you don't think that's too forward of me."

Aww.. he was blushing. Maybe this was apart of one of those accidents he talked about. She almost wanted to reach out to jab his stomach, let him know that everything would be alright if he needed to go make a 'mess' of himself. The water was up ahead and they were practically adults. Well, she had five years on him but still.

His words? They hit her like a ton of bricks. Her own cheeks flare up with a little hint of red, her hand snatching away from his arm because.. oh.. what?!

"I.. da.. I thia.." She stammers slightly, possibly picking up on his awkwardness .. well previous awkwardness. Or was it her own? "Tha..thank you, Sam.. I .. no. No. Not.. not at all.. it.. wow.." Joy. Did she feel it? Possibly! But she also felt the increasing need to move away and continue to walk towards the stream.

"We-should-keep-going-because-it's-going-to-get-dark-and-maybe-there-are-bears-hahaha-bears!" Jean's voice went up several octaves this day. And it was awesome.

"Ah ain't scared of bears," Sam says, still blushing, still grinning, and for the moment, genuinely convinced that he could punch out a grizzly. Facing down his fears will do that to a boy.

Sure, it's not quite the response he hoped for, but the response he hoped for was basically a foggy amalgamation of half-glimpses of his mother's romance novel covers. It's miles away from the response he dreaded, which is what's really important. "We can keep goin' if you want," he says gently, his hands going back to his shoulder straps. Then, feeling invincible: "Ah would very much like to kiss you first, though." His eyes widen ever so slightly once that's out there. Some sane, altogether more Sam-like part of his brain that refused to ride on the high of the moment is absolutely aghast that he just said that. But that part isn't in charge: Sam is flying ahead on this trajectory like his newly-found namesake. Who knows where he'll crash-land this time.

So close.. so close.. so close out of ear shot but she had to stop. She.. heard him. Oh she definitely heard him. Her fingers clench against the straps as she turns around, still red-faced and still wanting to keep walking. So much, that she could imagine herself squirming in place. The dance that most people would do to use the bathroom that was stalled up was imprinted in her brain along with a few jumps but..

..she didn't do that. Not at all.

"..ah.." She starts, unable to find the words for that moment, shifting just a touch in place as she looks down. She would like that very much indeed.. the moment was right for it, right? "H.. have you ever?" She asks, taking a step forward. "You.. you know. Kissed a girl.."

"Well, Ah —" Sam is about half a syllable into a brusque defense of his manhood, when he suddenly realizes it's not worthy of the moment. He ducks his head, releases a breathy laugh, and answers truthfully, "Just a couple of times. In tenth grade." He takes a couple of slow steps toward her. "It wasn't a thing like this, though." His pace doesn't have to be fast to close the distance; his long stride does most of the work. Still, he hangs back, giving her a breath of space — a chance to refuse him if she decides to. "Have you ever been kissed?" he asks gently, reversing the question on her.

It seems as though they kept the same pace, though her stride was smaller than his, she stops when he does, dipping her head just enough to try to catch his eyes. "What makes this so different?" She murmurs quietly, her thumbs finally releasing the straps that rest upon her shoulders, both of them now reaching out to grasp his forearms as she leans up upon the tips of her toes while crossing the distance that would put them close enough for that said kiss.

"Sort of?" She murmurs quietly. "Like.. I got a kiss on the head a lot.." Her fingers creep up his arms, not grasping but feeling, resting upon his shoulders to tug him down just enough if he'd allow it. "..but nothing like this." And then.. she just goes for it. Her eyes closing briefly to not capture the moment but to feel it, wanting to meet his height at an even keel that allows for her TK to push at the soles of her feet to lift her into the air. It was a soft one, the kiss. A quick press and lean as her fingers awkwardly squeeze his shoulders, the brief joining of lips feather-light yet something to be remembered.

She pulls away with a little slide to the left, her arms finally snug around his neck as she remains cheek to cheek with him, just floating.

Sam's hands go to Jean's cheek and waist, and he is just starting to lean forward to make contact when she takes him by surprise, closing the gap with an unprecedented use of her abilities. He doesn't notice that's what she has done — not for a long few seconds, at least. Warmth blooms in his chest; his lips are dry against hers, his skin hot to the touch. For a moment, he doesn't even move. Then, with the slightest tilt of his head, he presses toward her at a closer angle, heart fluttering in his chest at this first hint of exploration.

Then, they have parted. One of his hands slides back through her hair to cup the nape of her neck; the other circles her waist, and he breathes with her, chest to chest. Only then does he realize, and she'll feel his features shift into that characteristic grin, arms squeezing just slightly. "Jean? Don't be scared, but… you're flyin'."

It was surprising, she didn't know what to expect on this outing, certainly not this. But being wrapped up in his arms was something of a safety to her. Even embracing him just as she was, her eyes were already closing and her chin was lowering to press her lips against his shoulder almost possessively. At least until she felt him shift, her eyes opening to stare towards the ground, realizing in that moment that his hug wasn't bore down with the need to keep her upright.

It was an even hug. She didn't feel any strain at all against him. "Whaaaat.." She quietly says, but she doesn't move. She doesn't do anything but hold him still. "I'm.. not afraid." She manages to grin then. "You're here."
Sam's arms squeeze Jean and he inhales deeply, eyes going moist. "That's just about the sweetest thing Ah've ever heard, and no mistake," he says softly into her ear.

He holds her tightly for a second, then reluctantly loosens his grip, and finally releases her, taking a cautious step back. As he does so, he slides one hand along her arm until he's holding her hand in his own. He's ready at a moment's notice to dart forward and catch her if, at any point, she seems likely to fall — but otherwise, he'll simply look on with wonderment.

"You're amazin'," he says with sudden, fierce pride. "It's like there's nothing you can't do."

"I mean it.." Jean says honestly. He's helped her more than words can say. Just by caring, like everyone else.. but pointing out the obvious that she should have seen long ago. As he slowly releases her, she gasps slightly, her body immediately trembling as her arm slowly draws outwards, fingers gripping into the air as well as his hand as she brings the free one down to rub slightly against her shorts.

"I.. I.." She stammers out, blushing hard.. her body bending at a slight odd angle as she collapses just a touch yet ending upon her feet with a bend of her knees and back up. And she laughs, truly a joyous sound, snatching her hand away from his to clap and spin, her arms thrust out towards the air. "WOO!"

Jean's a woo girl now.

Sam does dart forward, worried about Jean's footing, but that turns out to be unnecessary. He gives a whoop of his own, then grins and shakes his head, watching her celebrate with his hands on his hips. "With a little time to practice, you'll be puttin' me to shame," he tells her approvingly. "All dancin' on air like you don't weigh a thing." His grin goes teasing as he adds, "Before too long, Ah think you're gonna have to take me flyin'."

Jean just.. shakes her head. "You almost make me not want to learn now.." She finally turns around to face him, her hand reaching out to take his into hers, tugging him as she walks backwards along the beaten path. "I think.." Jean starts, glancing up towards the trees. "We'll tell no one that I flew, that way.. when we go flying again, you'll have to hold me."

She turns then, practically skipping and dragging him right along with her. "I'll steer. Like your co-pilot. We'll be fearsome!"

Sam chases after her, his loping strides measured to keep her in reach without overtaking her. "We do make a great team," he agrees, blue eyes twinkling. "Ah'd like to see anyone try to stop me from holdin' you anytime you want, in the sky, on the ground, or anywhere else." He laughs and adds, "But if'n you want it secret, a secret it will be. If it ever comes out, just imagine how surprised everyone'll be."

He's in the middle of more laughter when his eyes go wide and he grips her hand much more tightly. Lost in each other, they've covered more ground than expected, and Jean's backward skipping has brought her right to the edge of the running water they heard earlier. "The creek, Jean! Don't fall in!"

"Cannonball and Jean!" She cries out. This was shaping up to nearly be the best day ever! If.. she were to ever tell it. Which she will, just not now. Because they were camping! "But do you really mean it? You'll hold me even though I can fly?" She grins at that, her cheeks deepening in their redness, her eyes nearly misty but she blinks it away in lieu of fun. No tears, absolutely none while camping.

Though, his startled cry has her stopping, her eyes widening as she lurches forward into his arms again, pushing him forward and away from the creek so that she could avoid premature wetness. "Oh.. oh god!" Her face soon turns, burying within his chest. "Okay.. okay.." She murmurs quietly. "May.. well.. at least we're here?"

To answer her question, Sam catches Jean as she teeters away from the running water, laughing and running one hand through her hair. Still dry! "Of course Ah'll hold you," he says, doing so. "Every chance Ah get." He leans forward to kiss the top of her head, flushing with excitement at this casual moment that was so recently forbidden. He runs one hand down to rub between her shoulder blades. "Now… let's get the tents set up, and then Ah'll get to catchin' us some supper."

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