1963-08-11 - Seventeen
Summary: Jean meets Louis King by the minutes of 17.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
louis jean 

Seventeen. Tonight there are seventeen spirits fluttering around the edges of the school, beings of some sort of mystical power, connected to the ley lines that converge in the city of Manhattan. To the general crowd of city denizens there is nothing to perceive for the most part. There is perhaps, at the most, a feeling of unease or comfort when a mortal passes the threshold from one point of dominion to another. Yet it's here in this abandoned park in a part of the city that people travel through rather than to, that they've coalesced.

To someone with an enhanced sense for the arcane, they are clear. They are creatures that are ethereal, at times here or there, but occupying with some sense of ownership the area. Some have long and storied pasts, aged spirits of individuals who had existed time ago. Others are but natural outgrowths of the psyche of the planet, manifestations of natural forces.

Yet they are all here tonight, seventeen of them moving about their eternal routine and untroubled by the being in their midst, so masked is his power and his presence. Even to the mortals who pass by he is just a fellow sitting on the old rusty swing set amongst the ruined park benches and seats, in the middle of the scraggly grass and what passes for trees.

Curiously there's little sound form within, save for the faint creak of the swing's chain now and then as the man sitting in it shifts his weight.


At 7:17 she finished reading her favorite book. Soon to be favorite, it was growing to be number one in her all time favorites that she's read at the institute.
At 8:17, Jean was finished dressing for bed. Her hair was brushed through seventeen times through each section, then once more all over seventeen times to be sure.
At 9:17 the lights were soon out. And her eyes were closed. She was slowly entering into the REM necessary for a deep sleep.
But at 11:17pm, Jean woke up with a start and a need for fresh air.

While one did not wear a jogging suit (as they probably weren't invented then), she did don herself in a pair of gym shorts, sneakers and tank. Hair trussed up into a ponytail and glasses on. She runs. She runs those few little miles, her mind wandering.. following and feeling. The feelings carrying her.. diverging into a certain space and time where there was no ill intent or where she shouldn't be. Or should. Maybe.. it was all questionable lately. It possibly wasn't .. her.

With a stop and a bend, her hands pressed upon her knees as she lets out a few huffs of her breath, her green eyes canting towards the squeak of the chain, her lips pursing into a frown as she draws herself to a stand. Was it her imagination? Because nothing was there. (Mind, you mean)


It's a curious sensation she may have for that run down playground. There's that slight feeling of unease which might come along from the neighborhood itself, and the discomfort from the general grasp of entropy upon this part of the world. Yet there's also the underlying current of something 'other' that comes from the evening's convergence of otherworldly presences that she may well be entirely unaware of save for the subtle feeling at the corner of one's eye.

But he, she can tell, is something out of place. She would not be the first telepath that had realized she was looking upon an anomaly. The bravest of them accosted him, demanded once that he explain himself as if he had some right to this knowledge. Another played off at curiousity, approaching and finding out what could be gained. What will her reaction be in such a setting? With the hint of the unreal around, and that very clear presence of a man with hair that reaches over his collar in a dark suit with his back to the gate.


With a slight shrug of her shoulders, Jean lifts up, arms dressed above her head like a pretzel, fingers touching the opposing shoulder as she leans from side to side. There were a few hollow pops, one that would make the eyes roll, but her eyes remain pressed to the man.. the strange man.. possibly another effigy of her imagination.

"Odd night, right?" As she usually would, the firebird within her head was a difficult being. Maybe this effigy would perhaps be a little bit nicer to her and respond in kind. "Like.. maybe it's the night itself, but the feeling.."

Yes, there were times when she's talked to the Phoenix openly, even if no one else could see it. But they could -feel- it. Right at that very edge.


Turning to the side, the swing creaks again faintly as he shifts to look at her. The rusty chains holding up the rubber seat clank and cross over slowly as he lightly taps the toes of his leather shoes upon the ground to turn him lazily. When he's facing her he cocks an eyebrow, a smile lighting the corners of his mouth though his eyes have no mirror of it. Instead he looks at her with curiousity, his hands resting upon those chains.

Looking like some over-sized child in a rather nicely tailored suit, the man considers Jean. "It's a lovely night." He turns his head to the side as if looking at the grounds anew, then back to her. "Yet you see me. How curious."

The corners of his mouth droop slightly, not in a frown but as if to signal introspection or contempmlation, accentuated when he murmurs, "Hm."

"What draws you forth, girl of flame? That you would set foot here and dare the unknown with barely a second thought."


Oh! He smiled. This causes Jean to turn on her own blinders, it was rare that the thing would actually smile towards her. Usually it would keep a facade of stoicism and dry tones, but this one smiled. "In a sense.." She murmurs quietly, finally dropping her arms to her side, her shoulders nearly curling forward as she approaches the effigy with a hint of casualness.

"Why wouldn't I see you?" She asks, then finally takes a step aside to settle upon the swing not too far from the man. Her feet push against the ground, her own swing creaking idly. What -did- draw her forth? Was it the many minds that she couldn't see in attendance? Or the fact that there was a flame that went unlit within the darkness. She really couldn't tell.

"I don't know." She answers honestly. Wow, such a conversationalist she was. "Maybe I'm out to try something new?"


The smile remains as he lifts his toes up and the swing slowly spins back around, faster and faster into a swirl until he stops it once it reaches the full release of tension, halting it with the toes of his shoes. But he seems rather unperturbed and at ease as he looks towards her. "Oh I am an individual who often blends with the crowd."

Then again to look at him, those eyes, and the smile it might be hard to believe that anyone could misplace him amongst a mass of other individuals. Yet that is his answer and he cocks his head to the side as he looks up at the young redhead, "There have been any number of individuals who have walked on past, yet you step forwards to speak." He lifts a finger to scratch at the stubble on his jawline, looking on her with such calm that it might add to the subtle feeling of unease in the area.

"There are many tales that begin with that concept. The young ingenue set loose in the world, seeking answers to her curiousity."


Jean regards him with a strange look upon her face; perhaps it was the fact that she tries to read him. Or tries to see if there were a little hint of familiarity there. Was he akin to that fire bird? Or was this another entity all together.. She blows a little breath from pursed lips, her gaze relaxing as she slowly begins to swing in so much that the tip of her own toes drag upon the ground.

"Is that a bad thing?" She asks, genuinely curious. "If you'd rather be alone, I can go.." She offers, but didn't move a muscle.

"Oh.. not just for girls." She points out. "Have you ever read The Hobbit?" Her brows shoot up, as she tries her best to explain. "Even though he was asked to accompany the dwarves on their journey, and was really reluctant to even -try-. He did. And he did well. Though I suppose it was the clear opposite.." She frowns. "I'm sorry, I'm not too good with adult conversations sometimes. I don't really have that much interactions outside of my home."


As for him he swings not at all, though they creak with the faint shift of weight. Louis rests his hands in his lap, fingers interlaced as he looks across the playground. "Not necessarily," He answers her as he looks upwards, but then gestures with a hand to the side, "Your presence is not entirely displeasing." His smile shifts towards a smirk as he looks away.

"I have read the book, even met the author once in Oxfordshire. Lovely fellow, though this was after the war…" Louis lifts a fingertip again as he lightly touches the line of his nose, then the underlying curve of his eyes, as if trying to recall exactly which face he was wearing right now.

A look is given to her, "Are you not an adult?" He lifts his eyebrows as he asks, "Are not then all your conversations adult conversations?" He dismisses the thought with another wave of his hand, though this time the opposite.


"Well thank you for that!" Jean sounded cheery. Too cheery enough that it makes her laugh just a touch. "Sorry.. I'm not mocking you or anything but.. I sounded weird." Her hands release the chains, though she still keeps a touch against them as her fingers join within her lap. Her eyes remain downward, even as she listens to him speak. She couldn't tell if he were fibbing about the meeting of the man.. but she would like to hear more of it.

"What was he like?" She finally asks, looking to him. "I imagine he looks like Gandalf."

True story. That.

Though his question brings up a little bit of pain or truth. For she looks out into the expanse, her swinging slowing as she plants her feet flat upon the ground to trip up her glide. "I am.. twenty four years old.." She says quietly. "I suppose all of my conversations are adult conversations, but sometimes.. people treat me as if I'm not." Her head lowers again, thumbs toying with the other. "..Like.. sometimes, I know that I shouldn't see the things I see or feel the things I do, but I do. And people want to shield me from that. Keep me in a box with a bow, give me a pencil and a sheet of paper to draw them pictures like a good little girl.."

'Yet, if they only knew.' (The bird finally speaks.)

"It's alright though, I guess it's other peoples overprotective nature. I'm sorry, I'm ranting."


The tall man's smile is gentle as his memories drift back to him. Who was he then? And where was he? But Tolkien, the man he recalls and his voice changes slightly, his accent still British, clearly from the sceptred isle… yet older and more formal now as he speaks. "He was dignified, a man in tweed in the gentleman's club. His dinner was venison, prepared with a rich dark sauce though I did not ask of it."

Rising to his feet, the swing rocks back as he slips away from its grasp. He looks to the side, Louis' green eyes glimmering with the hint of somethig otherworldly that others would not see, perhaps a hint or a glimmer of some sort of psionic activity that would register to one such as her. "He was smoking, though not the halfling's weed." His lip twitches slightly, "He asked me over, heard of my time in the war. Wished to thank me, apologized to me. He was generously humble, about his writing and his manner."

But then Louis looks back towards her, "Yet not Gandalf, though his voice… yes perhaps."

Those words hang there for a time, even as his abandoned swing creaks and squeaks as it swings back and forth now without a passenger. He steps past them as he turns to look at her directly. "If there are those who treat you ill, why do you tolerate their presence or their prominence in your existence?"


Hearing him speak of her most treasured author has stars within her eyes. She watches him as if he were the greatest storyteller in the world, the swinging soon drawing to a close as she leans a shoulder upon the chains with a cheek pressed in. "Reaaaally?" She draws out, riveted. "I think it was probably gravy!" Says the girl who was learning how to cook. "But I do know that they mix other things into the gravy to make it taste like.. not gravy. Like.. bourbon. There's bourbon sauces out there." She admits, though her eye does twitch at something unseen. Yet she was quiet after, the smile only growing when she guessed right at him at least being -partially- Gandalf.

That was a really, really big deal.

As he stands, she remains seated, her nerves jumping with the slight intent to stand, but she didn't want to seem too threatening. "Th.. it's not ill treatment. They treat me well. And they're nice. I think they're just worried or care.."

'Or afraid. You can say that outloud. (The bird speaks.)


"Ah, young lady." Louis stretches his arms out and seems to draw in the feeling of the world around him. The spirits turn in his direction, sending a faint ripple through the atmosphere around them, causing a light flurry of old leaves that had been left over from the last Autumn. Though it most likely is just a swirl of wind that has them kicked up in a small circle of motion even as it causes his long hair to flutter, a tendril slipping between his eyes.

"What face am I wearing today? What is my advice I should give you? What measure of regard should you give these words?" The trickster shakes his head, "I could tell you that they are all hindrances, that they all hold you back from what is yours, that they are naught save hurdles that you must vault past if you wish to seek what is truly yours and your right."

His pale features are illuminated faintly by his smile as he hops upon the edge of a rusty merry-go-round that threatens any child who would risk it with a rousing round of tetanus. "I could tell you to hold those noble souls close to you, to embrace the feelings of love and endearment that are given to you, that with their help you will come into your own and lead you to a fulfilling life.

The small carousel carries him around slowly with the momentum he gave it upon leaping on it. He turns to face her, arms spread out like some sort of ringmaster and this was but a terrible edged and ragged circus. "But all of that matters little, my errant ingenue. If you do not have control and knowledge. Of yourself."


It was then that Jean stood up, the rippling within the ethers managing to catch her attention and bring her to a rise. Her green eyes scan the area, there were so many ill and strange things about that she couldn't pinpoint whether this was a dream. Was she still sleeping? Or did her mind happen to capture something else and hang on? Did she slip sideways yet again? However -that- was working..

His 'poetry' has her eyes shifting towards him, looking up with a crane of her neck, then down towards the ruined carosel. Yes. This has to be a dream. One of the 'firebird's' machinations. She just couldn't believe that something like him existed..

"I.. I do have control.." She takes a slight step back, right into the chains that she had just left, another step to the side as she pushes the swing's chains out of her way. "I.. know stuff.. you.." Her lips snap shut, her jaw tensing with a few bites, her cheeks reddening just a touch as she turns away from the phantom-like effigy. "You're not real, why am I even arguing with you.."


Those last few words cause him to stop though the merry go roudn continues to whir slowly, though his body weight causes it to slow a touch, until at the last rotation he hops off and seems to rub at his chin thoughtfully. "Well, to think of it, is anyone real?"

He then fans his fingers out as if to silently say, 'yet who cares'. He steps towards her, "But let us accept the possibility or even the probability that one or the other of us does exist." He slides his hands into his long coat's pockets as he looks towards the skyline where the sun disappeared behind only an hour or so ago. "What aspect of your sub-conscious must I represent? What particle of your mind is manifesting in such a way to beg you to listen to it? And in such a terribly debonair and clever way?"

He turns back to face her and opens his hand in her direction. "And then consider, what horrible advice am I, yourself, your brain, offering you? To get your shit together. How is that a harmful manifestation of your Id, Ego, or Superego?"

His hands fan open to the sides again as if he was giving up any hope at winning such an argument as he adds, "Then, perhaps if you have other voices, consider that if they are not telling you to improve yourself and gain control? Then really, do they have your best wishes at heart?"


She would have protested; but she stops to think. There was a low grumble that surfaces from her throat as she boosts herself from the chains she keeps herself in, her arms wrapped about herself as she slowly begins to pace. Never mind the phantom of a man upon the carousel, she turns herself inward.

She didn't hear that voice then, no matter how much she poked and prodded, how she tried to force it out, but there was nothing, only an empty silence.

"I know I exist." She says firmly. "But I can't hear a thing from you." Her hand lifts to tap at her temple. "There's nothing there. Not even an opening or idle thought or memory. I can't feel anything.. when I focus on you. No emotions.. nothing."

That in itself was a connundrum. She never knew that anyone could shield themselves from her. She always just figured that it was just a figment of her broken mind.

That figment that burns the skies..

"I can't tell you that.." She murmurs quietly, finally drawing her eyes towards him, not in a defiant way, but a little bit fearful. That was gone within a moment, turning her back to him once again as she lets those questions linger. She didn't have an answer. The very movement of her told him of this. "It's .. not harmful.." She says quietly. Admitting that fact.


"Well, being you, I already know if it's harmful or not." Louis steps away as he walks back towards the swing set, hopping up to plant his foot in the seat of one of those swings, causing the chains to rock and protest with squeaks and creaks as he reaches for them. He slowly rocks back and forth then turns to the side, the chains wrapping around each other once.

"Or I would, if I was you." The casually amused Asgardian looks across the way to her and says quietly, "Peace, ingenue. Such strained thoughts you must have to question your perceptions, and then to come upon one who enjoys altering those of those around him." A small shake of his head is given as he continues to swing back and forth.

Only a few moments later then he drops off the swingset and gestures to her with a smile and a curve of one hand, "I may offer you no echo, nor insight that would be ill-gained, yet I nearly think I am as real as you are. And, to be fair, I daresay moreso. My name is Louis. Louis King, I have ill cared for those of your ilk filtering through my thoughts. It is so presumptuous of you… and yet you feel it is acceptable for who can perceive you doing so? Others of your club? Other Ubermenschen? Tcha."


Jean smirks, then finally dissolves into a little chuckle as she shakes her head. It was her turn to move towards the ruined carousel, her hand reaching out to still the rickety steel with a grasp of her hand, spin and turn it with a push, then watch as it angles itself into a three-sixty degree turn. Full circle. It would seem as if she had forgotten him, for turning yet again to view the park in its entirety.. she finally murmurs..

"I usually would offer anyone a peek." She says quietly of her mind. "Though I don't know you. And I'm afraid of what would happen to you if I show you."

She finally moves away from the childrens toy, back towards her perch upon the swings. He's up.. then he's down again, and so is she, planting her ass right upon the leathered seat to rock slowly again.

"Well, Mr. King. It's nice to meet you." Jean says officially. "I know it's a bit rude to do that. And I'm sorry. Poke through your head, I mean. Or try to at least.." Her brows furrow slightly. "I don't.. think it's acceptable. Sometimes I cannot help it. Other times I try to do it on purpose, especially if I'm alone with another person." She gestures towards him. "Just to at least feel safe and know that no undue harm would come to me."

She begins to rock slowly, then murmurs quietly. "I don't know what Ubermeeshee is.." But she shrugs. "Would you find it acceptable to alter the perceptions and realities of me without asking permission then, Mr. King?"


Dropping off the swing, Louis looks across the way to her and he smiles casually. "Welcome to most of humanity. So few people have checks and balances to assure them that the world is safe, and that their friends actually like them, or aren't trying to use them." He does not seem rather… tolerant of telepaths, curious… considering he is one. At times.

He takes a breath, however, and looks to her. "Young ingenue, I have no idea who you are, nor do you figure into my plans at the least. You came upon me, and for a moment it was a lovely gift. But no…" He rests his hands in his pockets and looks at her levelly, "I hold no ill will towards you, nor do I wish you harm."

There's a pause, then Louis adds lightly, "And if I were to alter your perceptions in some manner. There would be a reason for that action." Then something seems to occur to him and he asks, "Yet how would you wish to perceive things? How would you alter your reality if you could?"


"Do you think with these in place that the world would actually be safe?" It was a question for the ages, really. "To just be able to read intent naturally. And to avoid those who'd seek to do you harm the right way without possible loss of life. Or.. immediately, maybe.."

She rubs her cheek faintly, then slowly begins to rock back and forth. Though, she had forgotten to introduce herself, and with a confident rise and a wipe of her hands against her middle, she strikes out a hand in the best way possible. "I'm Jean Grey." Though, her hand nearly falters.. "..but.. I'm starting to think that it's not pleasant anymore. Me finding you." Naive as she was, she actually believes he means no ill intent. And if her hand was taken, she'd give him a light shake then draws her hand away.

"If you could…" She smiles faintly. "..I'd try to alter it so that I could see everything in rose colored glasses.." She grins a little. "..everything would be beautiful then."


"Ah, Ms. Grey." Louis seems to look at her anew and when she extends her hand he looks at it for a moment, and then gives it a gentle squeeze with his own…

And it's only then that she'll get a glimpse of the being before her. That contact, the physical, the first brief burst of reality and perception between them will let her know that no he is not her figment. Perhaps in some ways she is his. In his mind's eye he is a creature of here, and of elsewhere, of different realities and this one. He rests his other hand over hers and says quietly. "You are in danger, girl. Not from me… yet if you do not become who you were meant to be… then so much will be lost."

At that he withdraws his hands from hers and leaves in her grip the faint feeling of wire and glass, as if a child had hand-crafted a pair of spectacles from two bottles of cherry soda and some copper wiring. Just a pair of small glasses that, should she wear them, will give her the answer to her request.


There it was. Flesh and blood. There was often a wonder if she could actually reach out and touch the firebirds hand. To grasp it's flaming limb, and to actually be torn asunder by the union it would cause. Or it would be like this. Nothing cosmic or untoward happening as she curls her fingers around his, for he could possibly see that she was holding her breath and waiting for a psychic feedback that would never come.

"Oh.." She says quietly. His gentle words touching her ears as she looks up towards him with the tiniest hint of wonder; owlish as they were but so telling. So very telling. For once he withdraws from her, she didn't notice it at first. But her hand instinctively curls around his gift that he left with a look downward into her palm. They were plain. Wire. Though the lenses themselves were actually rose colored. In which it makes her laugh. "This is silly.."

But not so silly as for her to consider it. Her eyes close as she grips the glasses by the ears, slipping them onto her and her eyes slowly opening…

..and what she expects is rolling hills of green and sun, animated clouds within the skies as the birds that fly above were vibrant in color and in a chorus of song that brings life to the area. The park itself? Built anew. Bright and shiny, with children of all walks of life twirling and chasing each other, their hearts full of laughter. There may even be a small dog and its mate, both of them cuddled together and nuzzled as their owners hold hands and walk along with kisses upon their brows and cheeks..

It would have been beautiful, if that's what she really saw.

But what she really sees, makes her laugh. And laugh hard.


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