1963-09-13 - If You Wanna Be Happy
Summary: There is no Scarlett, only Zuul Louis.
Related: Pain, Without Love
Theme Song: None
darwin jean rogue 

Note: Louis is not played by Louis, but doppelgangered by Rogue. Yes, it's IC.

Armando had been keeping quiet and to himself at the Mansion the past few weeks- but was happy to give Jean a ride to Columbia when she asked. Into the ever improving supercharged Cord 812 they pair did go and onward to Columbia University. Armando didn't ask why Jean needed to go there- he was just happy to spend some time with a friend. It didn't take overlong to arrive at Columbia, Armando stepping out of his car and applying hat to his bald head. He steps over and opens Jean's door in proper gentlemanly fashion.

"So, why did you need to come here to Columbia, exactly? Are you looking towards matriculating here?" Armando wonders of his fellow mutant- carrying a quiet smile. "They do have an excellent library and some of the best teachers around. Honestly, I'm not even sure there are all that many women who attend here," he says as an afterthought.


"Actually no. I need help."

Jean had just returned home from the hospital. At least there she was able to get some sort of sleep. But she was still a mess as soon as she was released, but yet with a shower and a quick change of clothes, she was on the road again this time with Darwin in tow. As he opens the door like a gentleman, Jean gestures towards the back seat of the car, indicating that her wheelchair was needed. "Though I really wouldn't mind checking out the curriculum so I could attend eventually. I'm not sure if the Professor has teachers that offer up the classes that I want." She grips her legs, shuffling them out of the car first, then places a hand upon the rim to shuffle herself forward.

"But, we're here to see Scarlett. To catch up at least. And I miss her."


Late summer scars Columbia's grounds in softening greens and drooping plants. Heat scorching the trees burnishes their crowns a touch prematurely, and no relief happens to be in sight. Landscapers by the bushel fight a war to keep the beautiful main lawn in front of Columbia's hall worthy of the many photoshoots bound to happen there. Another class of lawyers, journalists, and entitled patricians must have its showpiece image, after all.

Men largely dominate the campus sprawling over several city blocks, bisected by narrow roads and alleyways, though women do make a larger dent now than they did before. It's still very much a masculine world, though, right down to the robust columns and broad stone shoulders the buildings present. Plenty of young people cluster around benches or sit in the shade, waiting for one course to begin or another to end. Timetables follow a rigid process much like the subway, and encouraged by dinging bells and glaring clocks, they hasten people upon their way. Loitering is perfectly permissible unless subject to the rule of the clock.

Oddly enough, a line of students emerge like chicks from one set of doors, gabbling and cheeping excitedly about an assignment freeing them to the streets. In their wake, professors saunter importantly or harried as hens to their next post, though one such absent-minded fellow isn't quite so much in a rush.

"—he's going to take us to the Met tomorrow!"
"Do you think I can take him to lunch?"

"He's a professor!"
"And Daddy's a congressman. Why else are we here, if not this?"
"Mary! This isn't some kind of… of marriage market!" The two girls edge along the sidewalk, hastening off in the sun to their next route. And so the legend of a certain archaeology professor grows.


Armando nods, going to get the wheelchair from the back seat. He unfolds it, and offers to help Jean into the chair with a quiet smile. "Fair enough." he says- not forcing his help on Jean. She can take it if she wants it- he's used to living with women who can't walk well, after all. "After this, we can go for lunch if you're up for it." he says. Once Jean has set herself in her wheelchair they'd be off- Armando pushing and Jean guiding.


"Haven't you thought about going to school elsewhere too?" For a moment, she seemed a little bit guilty at the prospect of leaving everyone behind, but she knew that if she did? She'd return for the better of them all. She does accept his help, taking his hand and carefully guiding herself into her metal/leather seat, fixing the way she sits so that the wounds upon her legs won't become so aggravated while being in stasis.

With Darwin wheeling, it was such a relief! Her arms were getting strong while everything else was lacking.

"I wouldn't mind a slice of pizza.." She says thoughtfully, following that little spark of Scarlett she could feel through the ether of minds. Jean points here and there, even stopping for a moment to let a throng of people pass, then delves further into the building with her companion in tow..


Students everywhere are strewn about in abandon, their disrepute giving the upright posture of the professors and 'real' adults an even stronger sensibility. His hands cuffed behind his back, the dark-haired man considers the architecture and teeming masses of youthful intellectuals under frosty auspices. A slight smile hints at a tinge of deviousness, a weight of knowledge pricking him like an amusing thorn. The archaeology professor adopts a somewhat slow pace, but a purposeful one, enlivened by the thrill of contemplation. He nods as he goes, absently acknowledging a few students here and there, and then the pair with a wheelchair and red hair come into view. He doesn't even trip, hardly adjusting course. The twisted veins of magic around him assure some degree of talent, and the mind?

That there is one, at all, suggests a deviation from the last time Jean met Louis King. Though past that, a simple probe or read does not distinguish who lies under it. Scarlett's thoughts are a shattered minefield engulfed in crystalline defenses formed by the Esscher style warping of every imprisoned consequence of touch, and penetrating them to read her is devilishly hard. Doubly, in this sense, because she is so assiduously not herself.

"Good day," he says to them, as politely as he has anyone else, that refined Cambridge accent suggesting a private joke between himself and the world. And oh, how there is…


"Oh, hello Professor King!" Armando begins, as he looks towards Louis- someone he's met a few times, "That's Professor King. Professor King, this is Jean Grey." Armando offers by way of introduction. "A pleasure to see you again. How's the archeology business going?"


"As ever, stunning and full of thrilling developments." Notice he didn't say recent. Professor King's English accent is probably in part why half the female student body in his classes shows up. "Taking up the mantle of student here?" He pauses in his amble towards the archaeology offices, or very possibly some dusty corner sparsely populated by students to wolf down a helping of Gibbon, or devouring Churchill's /A History of the English-speaking Peoples/. Possibly Runciman thrown in there for a little light reading between marking paperwork and daydreaming about invasions of foreign realms.

He lends a brief look of concern to the woman in the wheelchair, then back up. "That's quite new. I do hope you are both well."


"Despite the fact I'd be able to set the curve in every class I took, I somehow doubt the fine people of Columbia want someone like me in their university." Armando says, pausing a moment. "After all, I'm black." he says after a beat- a bit of humor- albeit a touch dark. "Anyways, I've found my way into the job market and am doing quite well for myself without the degree. I've read half of Columbia's library already, and maybe I'll get to the other half some day if I find some time."


The silence from Jean was noticeable. Granted, she had met Louis King before now, possibly in some addled dream or was it real. She couldn't decide. The red glasses that she's gotten from the man sat upon the mantle of her dresser, often times worn and giggled at.. but there was just.. silence. Does Darwin see this? Does anyone else see this?

It was like madness, that was for sure.

"Anyone would be lucky to have you Armando." Jean finally speaks up, a little smile drawn upon her face. But her eyes do not remove from the Professor, not in the slightest. "I'm well, present station given." She gestures at the chair that Armando pushes, but she doesn't linger too long. "Eventually I'd like the chance to attend, but right now, I'm looking for Scarlett."


"Far from me to speak poorly of my colleagues." 'Louis' holds up his hand and brushes off a speck of dust from his sleeve, the sly curve of a grin barely there and gone if Armando were to look hard enough, or Jean were quick. "Institutions back home are somewhat more welcoming. Merit matters more than appearances." The dry, seared amusement carries in every reply, measured to deliver the optimum barb in defiance of what he said moments before. "What occupation have you taken by storm now?" This news is well enough taken, a vaguely approving nod following. He is for an instant distracted, largely by checking the clock to be sure an hour hasn't slipped by unseen and forced his attendance elsewhere.

"Scarlett?" The name echoes in their little group, and he gives a mild shake of his head. "She was absent at the seminar the last day. But with so many students, it's easy to overlook one or another. Did you try the library?" Everything in the end leads to the library. Even that has its slight air of mischief, though the statements are perfectly reasonable.


"I work for Worthington Industries." Armando answers. He smiles towards Jean, "Thanks, Jeanie." he offers her quietly. When the pair begin to speak regarding Scarlett he just gets quiet- no need to interrupt. He is here to help Jean find Scarlett, after all- and this is her chosen task. "Not yet." he offers, in regards to the library. "We could swing by there though." he looks quietly to Jean, "You think she's over there?"


Jean's brows furrow ever so slightly as she watches 'Professor King', her hands lowering calmly within her lap, fingers pressing against the knuckle ever so fine as her shoulders take in a slight little hump. "No. I came straight here…" One eye squints, the other soon follows, along with a hand that lifts and raises to lightly position her fingers along the outside of her ear and temple included.

"I don't think she's over there.. Armando.." She says quietly, clear look of suspicion written all over her features. "I think she's here.."


The professor can only allow the pair their time to puzzle through whatever they might be seeking, or whomever, as the case may be. The crooked lift of a smile follows the announcement. "Mr. Worthington's company, isn't it? I do hope you reach great heights there. He's quite the social high-flyer. Competent, if the stories are true." His hands cuff back behind him, and the dark-haired chap nods in passing to another member of the faculty probably amused to see poor Professor King pinned down by yet more students, and one so very clearly out of the ordinary. That'll be fare around the pint glass or coffee table, in hours to come, if they aren't already prone to bemoaning the state of young minds today. "I do regret, miss, but I don't quite catch your drift." That's the most he can provide without venturing into purely obligatory territory, and that won't happen in the middle of a bustling campus fit with some of New York's brightest students. Even if the two standing right there constitute a vast mental weight of their own. "Best, then."


Confusion: Thy name is Armando.

The grey-skinned mutant blinks those pale, white eyes a few times as he looks down to Jean. "Where here?" he asks her, "I mean, I don't see a flame of red hair anywhere." he notes, with a wave of his hand. Truly, confused- he looks over to Louis with a quiet, if apologetic smile. "Oh, Mister Worthington is an excellent man. I work quite closely with him in my duties- I help both marketing and R&D to get on the same page as it applies to their duties and report back to Mister Worthington regarding the two departments. He figured it'd be better to have a neutral party looking into either department instead of taking someone in either department." Armando explains, "It's not even a full time job, to be honest. Two, three days a week for meetings and another for reports. It gives me ample time to follow my interests and tutor at a local school."


The slight lean that Jean takes in her chair is one that masks her pain. Hands clutch upon the armrest to push her upright to readjust her hips and setting. But she was at an awkward lean, one meant for a purpose. To bring the most irritation and pain bubbling forth as possible.

'Smart girl..' The inner-bird teases..

Still, there was a slight no nonsense look upon Jean's face, even as the hint of red creeps along her slightly freckled cheeks. Her eyes slowly creep and crawl with that inner redness, even as Louis and Armando exchange words of business and otherwise. "Oh.. It's nothing.." She says quietly, not bothering to clear the scratch to her voice. That tiny squeak. "I.." She sniffs.. her lips pursing tight to bite back the words but.. there was no helping it. ".. I just need.." A-hurg.. a half cry that touches the ears of a girl who stumbles past with her books, who manages an 'aww' as quiet as ever, then on her way.

"..I miss.." She sniffs loudly..

'And the aware goes to..' The mind-bird murmurs..

"I just miss her so bad!" Jean blurts out, into tears that fall like water. "Ever since I've been stuck in this wheelchair.. she.." There was a lot of sniffing, a lot of fanning at her face.. "..she's ignoring me and.. I don't know why! What.. what did I do to her? Did I make her mad? Is she angry with me? Is she ashaaammed?"


And this is why no one likes Jean Grey.


Everyone in Asgard knows their younger prince is a complete jerk. Everyone. It goes with the territory and the mischievous grin. They all hold a certain degree of loathing and respect, surely, for the relative ruin and despair he induces in the world at large.

Look at that, it's /time for lunch/. The professor adopts that stiff British upper lip they are so famed for in the face of womanly tears and, look at that, he has a handkerchief. An honest to God handkerchief, white, pressed, no monogram to speak of. It smells fine enough, a whisper of tobacco to it. This is offered to Jean, and he replies with dutiful degrees of dry recognition, "I'm sure it is nothing of the sort. I shall bear this message if we happen to cross paths that you seek her company."

A nod acts as salute to the unfortunate gatekeeper and he trots off to his next course, lunch being a foregone loss. Professor King, affected by tears? Not. One. Bit. What an arse!


And there goes the waterworks- Armando blinking quietly as Jean begins to cry. He looks up to Louis. Then down at Jean. Louis. Jean. Louis again, back to Jean. "I think I've missed something here." he says simply as he comes around, kneels in front of Jean and looks her in the eyes. "Jeanie, it's okay. I'm sure Scarlett is just busy." he assures his friend. "I don't think she's avoiding you- just busy. It's hard for a woman in a college like this, she'll have to work so much harder than any of the men just to get noticed." he offers, "I'm sure it's not personal." he states.

"I'm sorry, Professor King." Armando offers up to Louis. "Jean's been through a lot recently, and I guess she needs a woman friend to decompress with." Forward thinking as Armando is, he still figures this is some kind of 'Woman Problem' best approached by other women. "Let's go to the diner across the street." he suggests towards Jean, before looking back. "Professor King, if you happen to see Scarlett around could you point her in our direction?" he asks quietly with a smile as he stands and just puts a hand on Jean's shoulder. "Don't worry, its my treat." And off to the Diner they go.

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