1963-12-19 - Snow Falling on Cedars
Summary: Jean-Philippe and Elizabeth enjoy a quiet morning in the snow before encountering Jean and Logan.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
fantomex psylocke jean logan 

Upstate New York may not be known for its warm winters, but today it's experiencing something of a nice day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and there are only a few scant clouds, to break up the colour. There is still snow on the ground of course, save for the areas that it has been cleared, such as the patio, barbecue, gazebo, and a few other paths.

It is morning, most of the students are either still sleeping, or a few in early morning class. But one man is already outside, enjoying the day. Fantomex is wearing a white keigoi, which consists of a uwagi, which has been folded and is tied with a black belt. The wappen around the emblem of his Bujinkan school denotes that he is a 15th Dan, or as high as one can go in that discipline.

It is Fantomex. The mask was dead give away. But in that outfit, in this weather, he really does blend into the background. The patches and the belt separate him from the blanket of snow behind him. His tabi are also black. He is currently doing his morning exercises, silently, and with great precision.

Psylocke literally steps out of the shadow of a tree. She emerged like she'd walked out of a doorway that wasn't even there. Her purple hair blew out in the wind behind her as she walked softly toward the edge of the water near the school's central rear yard. She did not visibly seem to notice anyone else within the vicinity as she was wearing her black wool coat with large buttons sealing it over her body. She closed her eyes as she stepped out into the sunlight and let the cool lovely day warm her spirit, even if was a bit chilling to her skin. She walked slowly and casually about the property, the morning was her favourite time of day.

"Vous ne pouviez pas rester loin," came a voice from behind Psylocke. Fantomex had just said that she could not stay away. "Good morning, Psylocke. You're looking as lovely as ever." He continued going through his routine while talking to her. He was close to finishing anyway. By the pattern of the snow, he had done quite a few moves, most that Psylocke could recognise by the imprint left behind. He must be quite agile to perform them. Either that, or he saw someone else had been training and quickly took a position to try and fake it. "How was the book?" He asked, remembering that she had taken one before disappearing from the library.

Psylocke stopped walking when she heard his voice and she turned around to face him and stare at him. She peered at the snow where he'd been and then back at him. "The book was wonderful." She said in her strange accent. "How many people have you disturbed by approaching them in your mask?" She asked in-return, an otherwise blank expression on her face as she stood there with her hands stuffed into her longcoat's pockets.

"I don't know, perhaps the answer lies in the question, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" He liked her, that was obvious. But given that she came out here, after he was, he wasn't following her this time. "Do I still disturb you? What would it take for that not to be the case? Is it a price I can afford to pay?" He smiled at her through the mask. And finished his routine by leaping up into the air, getting some distance, more than any ordinary human could manage, especially in the snow. As he rose, he was lost for a moment in the sun. But when he landed, he did so with his mask pulled up, over his nose, and a rose between his teeth. Where did he get a rose, especially in this weather, and where had he hidden it? Was it just so that he could impress her? Could he have planned it? So many questions. And was she even interested in any of them?

Psylocke, for her part, turned away from him when he leapt up into the air and she didn't witness the rest of his manoeuvre as she wasn't really interested in him trying to impress her. She merely started walking again. "Yes, you still disturb me." She replied to him in-short, her rude Asian nature coming out very clearly in that body language and how she said those words.

Jean-Philippe was having something of a tough time on this one. And yet, strangely, the more she was cold to him, the more he found he liked her. Letting go of the rose from his teeth, he tossed it into the snow, so that it stood up, as if that single, solitary rose had survived winter, and spouted out of the ground. Catching up to her, he pulled his mask to reveal his chin, lips, and part of his nose. "May I walk with you? It's such a beautiful day. How can I befriend you, and not disturb you? What would you have me, Lady Elizabeth?"

Psylocke's eyes blinked and she visibly sighed outwardly. "Sir." She replied to him. "I do not want friends." She looked over at him, her purple eyes upon his face. "It is not a personal slight against you. You seem quite friendly, aside from your weird and creepy mask fetish. It is one hundred percent, me." She tried to explain herself. "I have a direction to go in my life, and it requires one hundred percent focus and dedication. Friends are a distraction." She paused then and glanced ahead of them. "That and I do not believe friendship is what you are after. Friendship is just the first step toward romance that you're desiring. Perhaps I look a way that appeals to your mind and you seek to pursue me because of that. Perhaps you just enjoy pursuing all women as it feels like some sort of sense of achievement. I do not know. But the end result and answer is simple. No."

"It breaks my heart to hear that you do not want friends, but what are friends, really? Is it so bad to have someone who genuinely cares for you, wishes you well, and will do whatever they can to further your goals?" He continues to walk with her even though it's fairly clear that his presence is not wanted. "I consider the mask to be more of a precaution than a fetish. It gives me no sense of satisfacation to wear it, to conceal my visage. But, I do not want harm to come to you, this school, or the people here. Were I remove it, that would be a distinct possibility. I'm sorry that you like to live so dangerously, but I don't wish to jeopardise so many innocents." It's probably true, he'd definitely enjoy something more than friendship, though that's all he's after right now. If for no other reason than she seems like the kind of person who could use one, especially one who won't allow her to become a recluse. "Psylocke, while you are certainly a beautiful woman, do you really believe that men and women can't be friends without it developing into a romance? And I am no womaniser. I would prove that to you, if I could…" And really, the only way he would feel safe to remove his mask, is probably somewhere incredibly remote, in a cave, with lead lining, and all kinds of other material lining, really deep inside the earth, like a bomb shelter, and then, maybe, briefly.

Psylocke continued to walk at a casual pace, stepping onto a rocky pathway that was covered over by a thin layer of ice and snow. "Talk about anything but me, please." She told him. "I do not mind you talking at me, but please… do not make me the subject. Find a different subject. Anything to take my mind… off… of me." She glanced over at him to see his reaction to this. But it was her true feelings she did not want to talk about her or her beliefs, or how they were flawed or misguided.

For someone who didn't want to talk about herself, she did make herself the centre of the conversation. "I would be delighted. "When I woke up this morning, I decided to pay a visit to something called Crystal Falls. It really is spectacular in winter. At some point, the falls froze in place, creating a crystalline shape, for which I presume they earned their name, but as the water further up melts, it pours over the frozen part, and when it interacts with the light, well, you really have to see it for yourself." As they walk, he doesn't seem to be bothered by the snow. His tabi seem to be made of gortex or some other water resistant material. "I've been thinking about getting cosmetic eyebrows. Mine are weaker than I would like," and nearly always covered by the mask, "what do you think? Could I benefit from it? If I do, they are supposed to last for up to three years before they'll need a touch up."

"That sounds lovely." Betsy replied to the man as she approached a wooden park-style bench setup near the lake and she moved to lower herself down to sit upon it. "Do not have any cosmetic surgeries. Allow your body to age as it sees fit to age. Focus solely upon eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, the rest is nature taking its natural course. If you tamper with that natural course, you shall pay the consequences. And those consequences tend to be dire." She glanced at him. "In the case of what you speak, you would likely end up looking… stupid."

"I'd love to take you there, sometime." He saw it this morning, but he'd be ready to see it again with her. "I've also read that there is something called Golden Ears, nearby. It's supposed to offer an amazing view of Salem Centre and beyond. Do you like to hike?" He sat beside her on the wooden park-style bench. As he did, he idly played with his toes. "I love wearing tabi. They are the most comfortable shoes I own, the way they separate my toes." Shrugging his shoulders at the cosmetic surgery aspect, "in any event, I don't rightly know whether I could have a procedure like that. I heal… very well." It was his way of saying he had a healing factor. "But I do try to keep fit, eat well. I've really been trying to cut back my sugar intake. French food is so high in it, and I have to burn a lot of calories to keep trim." He grinned when she said he'd look stupid, "oh, that's never been a problem. I often make a fool of myself. I do things I shouldn't, go places I shouldn't, and say things that I shouldn't. But, that said, I'm not so bad, once you get to know me."

Psylocke didn't respond to the first bit about the sight-seeing locales. She stared off toward the water almost like she wasn't even there mentally anymore. But she glanced back at him eventually and nodded her head a single time. "It is good that you take care of yourself. Stop doing foolish things though. 'Being a Fool' is a choice." She said at him with a somewhat stern expression on her face. "Collect yourself. Be… calculated. Do not be dumb silly man."

He liked this. It was peaceful. He could hear her heart beat. He could feel her breath. She had a lovely scent. It relaxed him, especially after his morning hike and follow up workout. "So, was it foolish when I stole the Preom Diamond from the head of the Chinese Triad in Kingston, sold it, used the proceeds to buy a Yacht, which I sailed to Tobago, and gave the rest to Sister Ashley's School for Wayward Children?" Was he making a joke, or was that his weekend? Tough to say. "Do you think they would have taken a cheque instead of cash?" He saw the way the sun was lighting the snow, making it glitter, "this is nice."

Psylocke listened to this string of events that may or may not be real, she could check with her telepathy but she did not want to. "You are weird." She told him flatly and bluntly before looking back to the lake. "Why would you do all that? Just for 'fun'?" She asked him. She herself was a thrill seeker, but she tended to lean more toward the extreme sports rather than just thievery and everything that went along with it. "I do not think Professor Xavier will want you here if you plan to cause that kind of criminal element to flourish within his bastion of impressionable young mutants."

The telepathy wouldn't work with his mask on, but if he ever removed it, she could certainly check. Or she could remove it from him and check that way. "I spent my youth underground. I like seeing the world, the real world. One where I can see, hear, feel, and touch." And with that, he brushed his hand against her arm. Not her hand, he was deliberate in not doing that. But he still wanted to make some contact. He didn't linger too long either. "I doubt I'll ever be considered a good influence on any youngster, but I can do some good in this world. And if I can have fun while doing it, all the better. But I do not plan to cause any trouble while here. Except to bother the occasional British-Japanese part time model, telepathic, purple haired ninja lady. But on the bright side, I doubt there are many of them. There can't be more than one or two in all the personal ads in the country."

Psylocke glanced at the man as he said these things. "I am uncomfortable with how much you have learned about me." She tells him then in a flat and even tone. "Please stop… 'studying me'." She looked back at the lake then from where they sat on a bench along the walking trail. "I am not 'advertising' myself in dating columns. Nor will I ever. When the time comes for me to claim a man, I will claim said man. But that time is not today, nor is it any day soon. I will declare when that day arrives, and I will have my fun there-after. In the mean time… take your mask off." She ordered him yet again, because well, she still hated talking to someone hiding behind a mask.

Jean-Philippe sat next to Elizabeth on the bench near the lake. He wore his white keigoi, black belt, and black tabi. His mask was pulled up over his nose, but his forehead was still covered by the mask. He rose a hand in apology. "I can't help it. I was trained to be observant. But I will do my utmost best to forget what I have learnt, if it will please you." He spoke with a French accent. It was fake, as fake as his name, but he enjoyed it all the same.

"I sincerely doubt that you would ever have to advertise, and besides, I thought you wanted to talk about something other than yourself? Here we were, talking about my ill-gotten gains, my indiscretions, my interest in the outdoors, and you had to go and turn it around to be about you? Well, I'm happy to talk about you if that's what you want, but I'm getting mixed signals here. And as for the mask," he sighed, breathing out. It made him feel so uncomfortable to even lift it up this much. To reveal more, well, it was difficult. But alas, this woman had given him one of the few reasons even he could think of, that would make him consider such a thing. And besides, he had done it for her before. Would it really be so bad to do it again?

"I do not take orders, but I choose to take that as a request. And, if it will bring you some joy, then it is well worth the risk." He resigned himself, and he pulled the mask up even further. Thankfully, it was designed in such a way as to remain tight while around only the back, top, and sides of his head. He rolled the mask up to his forehead, revealing his eyebrows, his eyes, nose, mouth, lips, and chin.

Psylocke sighed from her position on the bench beside the lake and she looked over at the man when he revealed his face from under the mask. "At least with it up you look more like a normal person, rather than a… special forces snow warrior… guy." She was lack on words in the moment because this man frustrated her. "You talk too much. It is making my thoughts jumble together." She said then in her strange accent as she leaned back in her spot on the bench then stuffed her gloved hands into her black wool coat. "I do not redirect the conversation 'back to me'. I do not want to talk about me. You did it." She bantered with Fantomex.

But when Jean could be heard, Psylocke turned her purple eyes in the other woman's direction, the wind casting her long dark purple hair back behind her. "There is another woman. She looks pretty, like a fire. Go. Flirt with her." She ordered Fantomex in her typical blunt and rude'ish way.

Fantomex didn't take the bait. "Give me at least a little credit. If all that mattered to me was how someone looks on the outside, there are ways." He kept the mask up, still protecting his thoughts, but far less securely. It would be so easy for the mask to come off right now. It scared him. It was more than just a security blanket. It was part of his identity. And, the risk was genuine. There were people out to get him.

"Now, where were we?" Yeah, he wasn't going anywhere. "Oh, right, there's a trail, northeast of here, that leads to a network of caverns. It's quite beautiful, the way the stalactites reflect the colour through a shaft in the ceiling. But if you manage to navigate through the network, you will emerge in a lush, tropical garden." He had to be making this up. "There's an active geyser underneath that keeps it heated, even in winter. Somehow, nature seems to have found a way. And the pool is excellent. It feels like slipping into a hot tub after a long day's work." Yeah, as if he ever did an honest day's work in his entire life.

"I noticed it while parachuting in, tracked it back. I don't believe any of the students have discovered it. I probably wouldn't, if I hadn't known about my objective. From there, it was a simple matter of finding an appropriate access." And of course, it was all said in a faux French accent.

Logan walks along the back acreage a bit; his fleece-lined bomber jacket zipped up, the thick fluff wrapped around the back of his neck. His hair is jammed down beneath a thick black stocking cap, a cheroot at the corner of his mouth as he puffs away.

He squints his eyes as he gets sight of Fantomex, though, looking at the man from a distance - if it qualifies as a man. "I ain't sure who that fella is, but I get the feelin' he ain't one o' Santa's elves."

There was a squint of her eyes as Psylocke focuses in her direction, her hand lifting from the oddly made kafkan to offer up a bit of a wave towards the woman. She dares not breach the personal barrier of where they sit, but the faint conversations were easily played by piggy backing upon the voices that carry. A glimmer here, a glimpse there… oddly enough not from those two minds in the vicinity. There were others that she picked up from… possibly from the looming Wolverine that is not too far behind her… or the idle and belated squirrel that scurries past. While she was no nature girl, she was using her abilities effectively.

There was a shift in motion as she leans against the tree, glancing towards the empty space behind her, a little smirk drawn upon her features as she allows her voice to carry as she speaks out.

"He is not wrong." Jean calls out. "The caverns were made safe after it was vacated by the Westchester Giant." True story.

Logan's well timed arrival has her huffing out a bit of breath, which fogs out into the evening air. Surely she should dress better than she currently is, hell. Logan looks like a sight who was arm. "New arrival." She says to Logan quietly. "He's safe." Which is far as she could get with Charles before he left.

Psylocke listened to this and she shook her head. "No. No creepy caves." She said in her strange accent that was a mixture of British royalty and Japanese heritage. She stood up from the bench and motioned toward Jean when she heard the woman's response. "See? She is educated in the ways of this wondrous place you describe. She would be an ideal mate for you, Mask Man." She told Fanto before she then saw Logan out of the corner of her violet eyes. "HIm too!" She motioned to him. "He looks like a man from a cigarette advertisement. I bet he would have many great stories for you to chatter-box over!" She huffed. "But not me. I am a lone person. A quiet person. I do not have… words, for this!" She looked flustered by all of this conversation, more talking than she was used to.

"No caves? So much for my spelunking gear." Jean-Philippe stood when Psylocke stood. It was old school manners, something that fewer and fewer men were acquainted with, but he was. "I'm not interested in her, although I imagine she is very nice. I'm not interested in you. You've made your intentions clear. So, for the time being, I am not interested in anyone." He said it with such sincereity and thoughtfulness, there was just something about his voice, but he was most definitely not mocking her. If anything, his tone of voice came off as more along the lines of admiration.

"And smoking is a nasty habit. Yes, I know, I like the French, but I can't stand cigarettes. It's bad for the lungs." Even though he could smoke ten packs a day, every day, and his lunges would be as healthy as a newborn baby. "Besides, do you really think that I hang out with people who own bomber jackets?" Yeah, he was insulting Wolverine within earshot, but he didn't care. In fact, he enjoyed it. "I prefer loners. They're usually the most stimulating… conversationalists. Besides, quiet is good, like when we were staring at the lake. And, I shall lend you my dictionary. What language would you prefer?"

Fantomex was an acquired taste, one that few wished to acquire, and fewer still actually succeeded. As the pair of new arrivals approached, he nodded his head, "good morning. How was breakfast? The croissants were particularly excellent today, but I still don't trust this coffee. We need to get a higher calibre of bean."

Hey! The caves weren't creepy anymore! They were actually wonderful. Jean herself wanted to travel through them, but what was the point of doing all of that alone? With that said, her being a potential mate for the man in white allows one red brow to arch, her head immediately shaken, both hands drawn up in surrender. "Sorry. I'm… taken?" Was that the right word? "I have a boyfriend." Yes, now -that- was the right word. "Speaking of, have you seen him? This tall…" Obviously taller than her. "… short dark hair? Striking blue eyes… sort of broody yet curious?" She glances to the both of them, but… nothing? Maybe? There was hope in her gaze, though it falls somewhat flat. "Nevermind."

With Fantomex actually turning in her direction, her hands immediately gesture towards his face. She wasn't sure if she was meant to see him without, but even still, she took great pains to recognise someone's comforts or discomforts. If he were wearing it, it would be on, yes? She saw no food in his hand, no baskets in the area in which they sat. No drinks, either. But Psylocke seemed a little bothered. "I… I… don't eat much…" It was evident by her cheeks and how skinny she had gotten, and with a roll back and away from the tree at Logan's departure, she shrugs her shoulders a little helplessly. "I don't drink coffee either… uh… did I interrupt something?"

Psylocke slowly started shaking her head after they spoke in-turn. "I am sorry, miss." She said to Jean. "I meant no offense. I am simply… unsure of how to interact with someone who's lips flap so much." She said, eyeing Fantomex then. "He talks like a rabbit hops. Often, and randomly. I am, unused to such things." She talks about him as though he weren't right there beside her. She openly eyed him now. "I should go." She said. "I simply am here, waiting to try to gain some assistance. But I can tell that this place is overbooked with people searching for such a thing. I should not have come here." She started to turn then and make her way back toward the school. She had rented a car today, it was parked in the front drive near the garage.

Jean-Philippe noted how Jean seemed to react to his discomfort, and he offered her a quick smile and a whispered 'thank you' when she was looking. He really did like it. It made him feel better about being so exposed. But that was soon replaced by a smile. Psylocke had made her uncomfortable with the talk about mating. "No, we were just talking. I did most of it." And at Psylocke's coldness, he decides to leave it at that. He reaches up, wanting to roll the mask down. He looks at the purple haired woman. "Please, don't go. If you really want it, I will leave." He could be quiet. He even liked it from time to time. He was trying so hard, and getting so little. And yet, that just made him want to try harder. He moved around to look her in the eye as she started to turn. "Elizabeth, I can be quiet, and still. Please, allow me to show you today?"

Jean wasn't offended. In fact, she was highly amused. There was a certain thing that people need almost every day; laughter, sometimes sunshine, alone time, a little bit of happiness. Hey, even a bit of moonlight and cold air. It seemed that Jean was getting her fix in waves that she couldn't even begin to express. "I wasn't offended. I promise." It was hard, to be, really. The poor girl couldn't offend her way out of a paper bag, let alone tell a decent joke! But there she was, grinning, taking a slight step back as Psylocke makes to depart and Fantomex comes to her… reluctant aid?

Now Jean was thinking. Almost narrating inside of her head. What -would- she call that? Did Psylocke need aid? Or did she need peace..?

Her head shakes as she shrugs her shoulders. "Or perhaps you both can stay." She says quietly. "Or perhaps, you both have already found what you were -not- searching for, but what you need." Her hands shove into her pockets, her cheeks rosy red, feeling as if she were being stung by a million needles. It was cold. "Or perhaps you both can leave the mansion together and help the people outside these walls who need it." It was an option! "I hear Central Park is due for a cleanup. Some people in Harlem may need warm clothes and blankets." She was turning then, prattling off suggestions, some that she was going to take of her own.

"I hear Hell's Kitchen is a right mess. But… it was all just a suggestion. You know, doing something for someone else instead of yourselves. I hear it's wonderful!" She looked chipper, but then she walks along. "If not, the Professor should return in a day's time, try sticking around until then?"

She was already walking along the path, possibly to warm up by a fire, or take a nap to start her search anew. Who knows?

Betsy paused then when Fanto asked her not go. She huffed out an exhale. She knew that part of her was being rude, but the other parts were dealing with severe discomfort due to social awkwardness. It was largely to blame on the Kwannon side of her persona, the other half was the only reason she was able to somewhat deal with this social interaction at all.

"I just…" She looks between the two of them. "I don't know how to do 'this'." She said, seeming confused. "This… 'talking about things' that do not mean anything." She groaned softly. "That is not what I mean. Clearly this means something… but, it's… it's exhausting my spirit. All these words. Talk talk talk. More more words." She lifted her right hand up and she placed it to her forehead which started to glow a bright pink behind her gloved hand. She was trying to calm herself with a psychic trick that Jean might clearly now realize this woman was a telepath who had the power to turn the telepathy on and off.

Jean-Philippe listened to Jean. She had a lot of great suggestions, and he nodded his head with each and every one. He made eye contact. He smiled at her. And when she was done, he offered, "I can only speak for myself, but those seem like some excellent suggestions. I will take you up on some of them," and he glances to Psylocke, "at an appropriate time." He's very interested in doing his part to help out. Mostly because he's still trying to convince himself to be heroic. It's very much against his nature. But he recognises that it should and could be a part of him.

Sensing Psylocke's discomfort, he tries a new tactic. He points to his chest with his index finger, then puts that finger to his lips, suggesting that he won't be talking. He smiles at her, making eye contact. And he gestures with his hand, as if to say would you like to go this way. He was fine talking with body language only, perhaps sparingly adding words.

He then did something that surprised him. He pointed to her with his left index finger, himself with his right index finger, and then brought the fingers together, meaning that they were together, somewhere. He even mimed them walking with his fingers. Separating his hands, he brought a finger to his mask, then dramatically opened his palm, as if to say it would disappear. He was prepared to try it, for her. Say what you will about him, the man was nothing if not persistent.

Psylocke watched Jean walk away then and she nodded to the woman. She then looked back to the man pantomiming things at her and she narrowed her eyes at him. "Stop that." She said. "That is more annoying than talking to me." She exhaled her frustration and shook her head side to side. "I can go see these strange caverns with you. But not today. Today I need to prepare for work tomorrow. It is a new job, new people in a new place. I have to be ready for it. Plan of attack, you see." She glanced at him again and then stepped toward the shadows of the trees. "Just… stop being, strange." She said before she walked into the shadows of the trees and entirely vanished from sight.

When Psylocke asks him to stop communicating through body language and gestures, he does. He nods his head up and down, looking her over. "Thank you, Elizabeth." He's going to call that a date, even if it's her humouring him, and probably just as friends. "Oh, I understand completely." He explained how much he likes to prepare last night. And he's been doing his best not to prepare any further for her, as she wanted him to learn through well, he wasn't sure how she wanted to converse. In fact, she probably didn't want to at all, but he was trying his hardest to get to know her. "As you wish," he adds to her final request, and watches her walk towards the trees. With her disappearing into the shadows, he claps his hands together, "all right, time for brunch." And he heads into the mansion to get a bite to eat. He worked up quite an appetite with his morning hike, and exercises, and then the battle of wits with Psylocke, Jean, and the short, hairy fellow.

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