1964-04-02 - Lunch At the Institute
Summary: Ninette seeks out the Institute for information and instead finds pleasant company.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
beast aolani michael ninette julie 

Standing in the foyer of the Xavier Mansion, Hank McCoy (better known as The Beast) stood finely dressed in a nice white dress shirt, black and blue checkered tie, black pants, leering firmly over his reading glasses at a young lady around 10-12 years old. She looks like she's gotten in trouble, judging from her meek posture. Or perhaps Beast induces that feeling in everyone. "And what have we learned, Ms. Crammert?"

"Not to use my powers to shoot spitballs at Julian Belleck…" she says with a sigh. Sounds like she's heard this lecture before.

"And why?"

"Because it trivializes our gifts…"

"And that in turn?"

"Trivializes us…"

"Yes, Ms. Crammert. You are dismissed." As the girl starts to try and shuffle past him, he places an oversized blue hand on her shoulder, stopping her. "…that being said… that was a fine shot. I hope to see you put that aim to use in the archery ranges." He gave a cheeky grin and sent her on her way with a bit more of a spring in her step. Reaching into his pocket, Beast pulled out a sterling chrome pocket watch, checking the time and clearing his throat. He was expecting someone for lunch… hopefully, she would be along soon enough.

Having contacted the school before, it had been some time before a more formal meeting could be arranged. This did not dissuade or discourage the lone representative of the Kensington Group, who is walking up the path towards the door of the school. She tries to be as professional as possible, but she can't help but stop and take in the sight of the grounds and the building itself. It's familiar and homey to her, and it brings a smile to her face.

Satchel slung over her shoulder containing various files and paperwork, she reaches up to the door knocker and gives it three quick raps, hoping things will go smoothly.

Ninette lingers outside the manor, studying the building uncertainly. When a woman comes up the walk, Ninette steps aside to let her past. The petite blonde doesn't seem eager to follow through with knocking on the door, but when the stranger does, she steps closer, at the very least out of curiosity. She clutches an old photo in one hand, holding it to her chest.

It didn't take too much searching to find out somewhere that might know something more. How to phrase that he doesn't even have the first clue about but, like old habits, training truly dies hard. Never know what can be picked up just by not saying much and listening a lot.

Michael does wonder though. It's not like back then. Just, even he can tell that something about him is out of place, even for a world of people with powers. You don't wake up after a lifetime of being told you're blank and suddenly can do something else. It doesn't fit.

If it's just the lady and her way… when she draws that card on the river for you then takes you winnings the hole in your pocket then… fair dos. If it's something that could cause harm to himself or, worse, others then he's got to know.

Maybe they do, don't or something else… still, since Lannie's here and he's just one of her staff, a valet, it'll be easier to be seen and not expected to speak. Falling in step, a few behind her, he remembers to keep himself all cut glass and servant class as befits his role.

Beast reviewed his own files in his personal folder in his large hand. Homework to grade… cirriculum questions… notes regarding new students… X-Men activity and potential recruits to reach out to. It becomes highly engrossing to his mind that when the knocks at the door come, he startles slightly. Thankfully, the foyer was largely devoid of bodies moving through. Most folks were currently at lunch. Closing his notebook and straightening his posture and tie, Beast took a quick breath before walking to the doors and opening up one side, smiling out over those completely unnecessary reading glasses. "Ah, Ms. Kensington! A treasure to meet you, my dear!"

His eyes shift over the young blonde and the scruffy gentleman with her. A curious entourage, if he ever saw one. But, he had no room to judge. He merely made a note to add two more guest specials to the lunch order. Beast stepped back and opened the door wider for the guests to enter. "Please, please! Come in! Thank you for meeting with me today. I apologize for Prof. Xavier's limited schedule. A few… unexpected details have come up. But, that is what the vice principal is for, is it not?" Allowing everyone to step inside, Beast closed the door and walked ahead, waving to the foyer.

"Welcome to Professor Xavier's Intitute for Gifted Children!"

"You flatter me, mister McCoy. I'm more of a hanger-on than a treasure," Aolani replies. She politely curtseys. "Aolani Kensington of the Kensington Group." She gestures to Michael. "This is my associate, I'll do him the courtesy of letting him introduce himself." She chuckles a little. "Thank your your time, I'm certain it's quite valuable, and I'll try to spend it as wisely as possible."

Ninette hangs back, but when the door opens, she takes a few steps closer. The sight of Hank causes her to pause, but then she lifts her head, squares her shoulders, and approaches, heels clicking on the walkway. She inclines her head to Aolani, and she assesses Michael and Beast with a cool gaze. "I need to ask you something," she says to the trio with a thick French accent.

With a smile slight enough to stay in the background along with the rest of him Michael gives a formal nod to the host and says, with an accent which is as effortlessly English as it is often unused and unfamiliar to its owner, "Michael. Michael Cross. Pleasure to meet you sir."

With a small gesture and hoping he remembers to keep his assumed surname as long as it's needed and necessary he says, "Certainly. May I suggest whatever you may require that you do so inside? Please, ma'am, after you." to the other lady present, assuming Lannie, his lady and master, is used to following the formal routine of having a servant on staff and the lead-follow that's involved. Of course she does! Why wouldn't she?

"The honor is mine, I assure you. Your mother's research was the basis of my senior thesis. If you're even half the genius she was, you'll be shaking the foundations of whatever field you settle on… though I've no doubt you'll do her proud and seek greater heights." Hank smiled with a polite nod, leading the way through the ornate halls of the manor to the school dining room. "A pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Cross! I've had the staff working on a duck lunch today. Always been fond of water fowl. Especially with a hint of oregano and basil, seered to a light golden crisp…" Feeling his mouth water, Hank smiled and shook his head. Those animal instincts.

"Anyways! Xavier was a tad light on the details of your visit, but I certainly hope to be a good source of answers." At the French accent, Beast's ears prick up a little, turning his head as he walk and smiling. "<Certainly, my dear. Would it be easier to speak in French? I speak it fluently, if you need translations.>" he said, his French quite impeccable.

Ao's a little surprised that there's someone behind, but she turns to the side and takes a step back to let Ninette approach Hank more freely. "Yes, miss?" she asks Ninette, putting her attention on the other woman for the moment. No, Hank, your compliments did not go unnoticed - she'll get to that research shortly.

Ninette steps forward, crossing the threshold into the manor proper. She takes a long look around, ever assessing, calculating. She's the kind of person who makes a note of every exit, every person in the area and where they are. "<Please. It's easier.>" She extends the photo to the… the Beast and says, "<I was wondering if anyone here has seen this woman.>" The photo is of a woman whose resemblance to Ninette is unmistakable. Blonde, beautiful, with blue eyes instead of Ninette's green. "<She would be older,>" she says. Her French carries a Parisian accent, and her voice is cool. Polite, but cool. She glances to Aolani and Michael, taking in the former's appearance with a sweeping gaze.

And that's the beautiful thing about it. Staying a little in step behind the others means he's just buttling along. His complete lack of understanding anything en francais, any uncertainty of any kind in fact, are swept away in the formal form of his features. Knowing his place, hanging back and taking in the little he can without breaking posture or poise.

Had he understood he, sadly, could not have helped in any case. Although, it's certainly a fancy place and, from the minte amount of detail he's gleamed, there's, at least, two experts in a field that he needs to know more about so, for now, he's happy to speak little and let events take their course before the first course.

Beast took the photo a moment and studied it, taking in details before grimacing slightly. "<My sincerest apologies, my dear…?>" he asked, holding out for a name before shaking his head. "<I'm afraid I have not had the pleasure… however… we DO have a way of finding her, I believe. I will be sure to send this word along to my contacts in the city.>" He smiled a knowing grin as he did. "<And as for finding her… permit me a chance to speak with the Professor. He's… quite adept at finding people. In the meantime, if you have the opportunity, we would love for your company at lunch. I do not place much stock in providence, but a happy coincidence is never far around here.>"

Taking note of Mike's assessment of the place, Beast smirked and continued to lead the way through the halls. "The Professor is an avid architect in his spare time. A number of adjustments to the mansion were made on his specification. I am personally fond of the musical lounge. Permits me a chance to practice my violin in my periods of relaxation." Beast nodded at Aolani. "So, Ms. Kensington, what brings you to our hallowed halls?"

Aolani shakes her head to Ninette. "I'm sorry, I haven't seen her. I'll look for her, however, and I can contact you if I see her, with the appropriate phone number or address," she offers with a polite and understanding smile.

She looks back to Hank. "I wanted to see what this institute is all about, and to discuss the possibility of collaboration in a solution too the poor living conditions of the denizens of Mutant Town."

Ninette's brow knits, though she doesn't look terribly surprised. Her furrowed brow smooths and she manages a small smile as she takes the photo back. She switches to her accented English. "Thank you anyway." She tucks the photo into her clutch purse, and at the invite to lunch, she pauses, but then nods and says, "Of course, thank you." She offers her daintily gloved hand to each of them in turn, even the buttling one. "Ninette Laurent. It's good to meet you." When she does actually smile, it's a dazzler. She follows along, heels clicking on the floor.

Julie arrives from Westchester County.

"A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Laurent. I do hope we'll be seeing more of you around here. We're always looking for a few good hands." Beast replied, nodding. He made a mental note to ask Profesor X about the Cerebro device, and if it could be used to aid Ninette in her search. It should be.

"Ah, yes, the subject of… Mutant Town." Beast seemed to falter slightly at that topic. Indeed, not a glorious subject for anyone to talk about. "I admire your willingness to help, Ms. Kensington. They could certainly use some aid in that part of the city. I have… I suppose I must confess, a few notions have crossed my mind regarding improving the standards of living there. I would be all to happy to share my own research, if it would assist." He smiled slightly less than before as he eyed Aolani. "But! That can come in a moment. If information on the Institute is what you need, I am the man… or perhaps, the Beast for the job!" He chuckled, listing off a few key details of the establishment as he could recall. Student numbers, basic facilities, the outreach and recruitment process.

Julie is just pulling up to the mansion, there's a rumble of her Nomad's V-8 a short while before she comes to the door, herself, glancing around the place. It's been a while since she paid a visit.

Aolani gets out her paperwork and takes notes. "This … is remarkably similar to what I had intended to start on my own. I had no idea such a facility existed, save perhaps as a rumor," she explains to Beast. "I suppose I'll save myself the effort if I can be of assistance instead of competition. I'm going to take the more … sensitive material, as it were, inside. We can discuss that in private. I believe the young lady's missing persons is more important than research material at the moment." With that, Aolani slips inside to get said papers ready.

Ninette incline her head to Aolani as she leaves, and she turns her attention back to Hank. She studies his features, bolder and bolder from her initial caution. "I don't, ah, have…" Powers? A blatant lie. She hesitates. Arrogance and the simple human need for contact bicker in the back of her mind. "I don't know that my hands would be of any use, Monsieur." At the sound of the engine outside, she turns to look.

The car, if parked where visible, is a cameo-locket colored '56 Nomad, clearly somewhat hot-rodded by the way it sits raked forward on chrome dish rims. The girl that gets out is attired about like one might expect goes with that scene, a style not much changed as yet in favor of the incoming fashion… it's a few moments before she's seen on in, after asking after the Professor. Hank's blue and furry appearance seems to catch Dizzy by surprise for a moment, but she gives a little wave, and says in a Brooklyn-Italian accent, "Ah, hi, there. Hope it's not a bad time to drop in, there."

Beast nodded and saw Aolani off with Michael in tow, smiling before turning back to Ninette. "You need not have powers to lend a hand here, Ms. Laurent. The Institute seeks to instill equality in our younger minds. They are no better than those without gifts. Nor are those without gifts above them. But I would certainly understand your hesitation to be surrounded by so many… micheivious students." Oh yes, they can be a handful at times. Even to those with powers.

The car engine outside did not escape Beast's sensitive ears. "Sounds as if we have another visitor. Excellent! So many hopeful faces today~" he exclaimed. Not a moment too late, Julie was shown inside by another member of the staff, directing her down the hall towards Beast and Ninette. The blue brute smiled and bowed his head politely. "A pleasure to have you join us! Please, come! We were just about to enjoy lunch! I am Hank McCoy, vice principal of the Insititue for Gifted Children. An honor to have you with us! Please, this way."

Leading the way into the modestly sized dining hall, Beast motioned to the place, showing it off. It looked like a ball room converted for eating, with a number of round tables in cloth and utensils on top of each. Students formed groups around each, discussing their day as Beast motioned to an empty one. "I will inform Cookie to keep Ms. Kensington's and Mr. Cross' meals warm. And see two more brought out for the pair of you. I hope you don't mind roast duck and creamed potato soup."

Julie smiles a bit and offers a hand. "Oh, pleased to meet you, teach. Miss," she greets Ninette, and introduces, "Julie Bottero, …everyone calls me Dizzy, just about, though. I'd told the Professor I'd drop by again soon, but I got a bit sidetracked." She does have a glance around. "I guess Lani found her way here, then? I was gonna bring her around sooner or later, actually."

Ninette tilts her head curiously at the newcomer. Her accent is thick, and her puzzlement clear as she says, "Ah, hello, Dizzy?" Italian-Brooklyn, it's not easy to decipher, but she tries. She offers Julie a little wave with a gloved hand, then says to Hank, "But they're different. How can one truly understand the other?" She offers a thin smile, then "Is there a way to get rid of them? The powers?" Hastily, she adds, "If someone wants to. I don't think anyone should be forced." As they enter the dining hall, she continues to look around, gauging exits, getting a mental map, and judging the aesthetic.

"Ah! Any relation to the Bottero automotive family in East Village? I have heard nothing, but good things about their skill with mechanics!" Beast said, smiling as he took a seat. "My focus was always geared more towards electrical, but I've had a passing fascination with mechanical wonders." As the others took their seats, a pair of waiters brought out their meals. Three bowls of potato soup, and the roasted duck would be finished in a moment. "Ah! Delectable!"

As Ninette asked about differences, Beast simply grinned as he tucked in his napkin. "That is what we at the Institute hope to find out, Ms. Laurent. It will not be easy, and will take some effort on both sides, to be certain. But even if a noble goal is unattainable, is that any less a reason to strive for it?" He query about getting rid of their powers made him pause mid dip into his soup bowl, tilting his head at her. "…in theory, I suppose. I confess, my current… physique is the result of my delving into biochemistry in college. I actually managed to find a way to isolate and tinker with my own mutant genes! I wasn't always blue, you know… so yes, I believe if there is a way to enhance one's mutant genes, there may be a way to supress it. I've got something of a line of work on it in my office. Tell me, Ms. Laurent, are you interested in biochemistry and biophysics?"

Julie hrms, and joins the two, and smiles a bit. "Yeah, that's us. Bensonhurst, Jersey, and Uncle Angelo's in California, too." She also seems surprised there's waiters of some sort, and says, "Interesting school, I never had a duck before," she smirks, looking between the two about the talk of messing with mutant genes.

Ninette sits, and her table manners are impeccable, as is her posture. "I've a passing interest in suppression," she says with a small smile, "but I'm also interested in acceptance." She tilts her head, causing the glossy waves of her hair to cascade over her shoulder. She's nothing if not well put together. "So you brought about your own transformation?" Her attention shifts to Julie to offer her a somewhat apologetic smile. "Forgive me, I don't mean to capitalize Monsieur's time."

"As I was telling Ms. Laurent, we accept any hands we can get. We have a few volunteers, but Professor Xavier has his regular staff as well. Paid quite well, I can attest." Beast should be able to to confirm that - he's on it too, after all! "I will have to see if we could use a hand in the motor pool. The Professor is always in search of good talent to call on."

Taking a few sips of his soup, Beast savored the flavor a bit before dabbing his mouth. "Exquisite." he commented, before tuning to Ninette. "No, I am always happy to encourage a young mind to great aspirations. My mutation was initially benign, but certainly noticable. Enlarged hands and feet, greater physical strength, increased mental capacity. But following my experiments, I unlocked more beastial enhancements. But, I certainly do not see why the process could not be reversed. Though I would need some volunteers, both mutant and otherwise. My experiments were specific to myself, so to ensure a proper execution of my hypotheses-"

Beast stopped his ramblings as the roast duck was brought out. A small portion of the bird for each guest. "Ah! Excellent! My apologies. My studies are something of a personal pride, so I tend to ramble on them a bit."

Julie pauses to sample the soup, with, well, her best table-manners, really, and nods to Ninette. "Ah, it sounds like you're talking about important things. I can have a look over the stable, though, I been working on a certain angel's collection here and there, bit of custom work on the seats and all, mostly. Kinda rather not be an experiment, though, just maybe stop my stuff from going haywire once in a while like it can." She pauses to compliment the soup. "If some of the kids want to learn a few trade skills like that, I been teaching some in Mutant town, smart kids, just kinda don't fit in in regular school."

Ninette eats like she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Dainty, poised. She knows which utensil to use with which dish. "I would want to know the risks," Ninette says, "and to consider if it's what I really want. The idea of it is fascinating, I have to admit. Giving people choices. It is a sad lottery, is it not? What happens to you when the change comes?" She looks to Julie, her brows lifting. "Mutant town?"

"Ah yes, the ugly scar of this city with regards to human-mutate relations." Beast said, taking his knife and fork and cutting into his duck delicately, taking a bite. "Effectively a slums. Not quite as bad as Hell's Kitchen… but certainly not one the city pays much attention to. Sad, truthfully. It is my hope that by collaborating with Ms. Kensington, we can come up with a program to rectify that."

Beast took another bite, looking up and savoring the taste before grunting a bit. "But, that is what we are here for. To attempt to mend human-mutate relations and improve the lives of mutants everywhere. To teach the next generation that there is no grand difference between one or the other. We hope that by instilling this notion at a young age, we can put things on the mend going forward." He smiled at Julie, nodding. "Your lessons would be most welcome, Ms. Bottero. I know for a fact a few of the young minds here have been itching to get their fingers dirty. I'll discuss with Xavier and see about arranging a schedule and work space for you on the grounds. He'll be glad to have one more asset to the Institute." Beast made a note to keep Julie in mind for future… projects.

As Beast more of his duck, punctured with the odd sip of soup, another staff member came up and whispered something almost impossibly low in Beast's ear. He turned and perked up. "Are you certain? Hrm… most curious…" Removing his napkin, Beast stood up from the table. "My sincerest apologies, ladies. It seems something moderatly urgent has surfaced. Nothing to worry over, please enjoy while I am gone. I will return in a few moments." Dabbing his lips dry, Beast grabbed his notebook and strode with purpose towards the door.

Julie nods, to Ninette. "Neighborhood in town, it's got a lot of mutants and their families, a lot of those that it really shows or whatnot, and those that stayed around anyway. Since some of the shipyards shut down after the war it'd emptied out some. But people stick together there, really, ain't so bad, but it's hard to get Con Ed or police or doctors and stuff in there sometimes." She nods to Beast. "That'd be great. I kinda wanted to see if this boy Iggy and a couple others might get in here. Didn't want to make any promises." She glances over to Ninette and tilts her head a little, sampling the duck a bit tentatively at first. "So, …I guess you don't like what you got in the, err, lotto, Miss Laurent?"

Ninette watches Beast leave, studying him carefully. Then she turns her attention to Julie, listening intently. Mutant town. The upscale-looking woman offers a polite smile but very little understanding. Maybe it's the accent. Maybe it's the class difference. The smile fades as she says, "No, it wouldn't have been my first choice. People don't understand, and sometimes when the powers lash out on their own, people get hurt."

Julie hrms, and nods. "Guess I can understand that. Scary that way. It don't happen too often anymore, but I kinda gotta watch out about some things." She considers. "But I think if it went away, it'd be …kinda confusing, I guess. Got used to seeing the world a certain way, I guess, it'd be like going deaf or something." For her part, Dizzy's certainly distinctly-blue collar. It even shows in her hands somewhat despite some attempts otherwise.

Ninette definitely fits into the dainty flower set. She doesn't look like she's ever seen a day's hard work in her life. "I was alone when it came upon me," she says between nibbles of duck, which seems to meet with her approval as she utters a quiet 'mmm.' She then asks, "What can you do? Is it rude to ask? I'm not sure I should even be here, let alone what to say."

Julie hehs, "You know, I'm not sure, …hadn't really met any others till just lately, but in a place like this, I don't mind. I usually have to keep it on the QT." She takes out of her pocket a shiny clutch bearing, two metal rings with ball-bearings between. She gives it a little glance and with a 'vrrr' sound the inside ring and ball-bearings start spinning of their own accord, going faster and faster until she can just balance it on one finger. "I can control rotational motion, if you ever heard of such a thing. Comes in pretty handy in my line of work, really." She pauses and says, "Teach there seems to think you're all right here, though, I dunno. Could be just the place."

Ninette blinks a few times. This 'QT' seems to confuse her. Her English has gotten so much better over the past year! But still, she struggles. Her eyes widen when she sees the display, and she sits up a little taller. "Oh, my goodness, that is fantastic." She shrugs delicately and presses her lips thin to try, without much success, to hide a smile. "Yes, he doesn't know me," she says with a wave of her hand. "For all he knows, I am a villain, not a hero."

Julie hrms, there. "Well, I guess that's up to you, really. Might not be the best idea to try no villainy here, though, you never know what someone might be able to do." She winks. "Besides, there's enough bad guys out there, I don't know what they got for job openings."

Ninette says with a wry twist of her lips, "I do not try villainy. Sometimes it's just not possible to be the better person." She sets down her fork and takes up her wine glass, studying it before she says, "The food here is quite good. Hard to find in America. I could become heroic for the wine alone." She tells Julie, "I sing for a living, my villainy would only be preemptive self-defense."

Julie smirks. "Pretty fancy for a school, I gotta say, wonder what the occasion is. I know a few real good Italian places if you like that, though. I bet the singing's really something, though. I have a bit of fun with that once in a while, nothing serious, mind you. "

"Oh, but that's lovely," Ninette says. "Singing, music. It's the only light in the world sometimes, so we must keep it alive." She swirls the wine in her glass, takes in the bouquet of it. Then she sips. It meets with her approval, and she gives it a small nod. "Music and fine wine," she says. "I know very little about this place. I thought they might have seen my mother. I think she came here once., but she's been gone for a long time. At least I've found the school if not her."

Julie ahs. "I thought I heard teach there mention you was looking for someone, but vino, singing, that's Italian, too. I don't suppose it's anyone I might have met? It's not like there's that many, but the Professor probably knows if it's so."

Ninette peers at Julie. That accent takes awhile for her to wrap her head around, to suss out from context what the Brooklynite might mean. "I do not think so," she says, "but why not…" She takes the photo from her clutch purse and offers it over. It's an older photo, and the woman in it bears a striking resemblance to Ninette. "She would be older," she says. Unfortunately, almost no one has seen this woman in a long, long time. Ninette doesn't look terribly hopeful that Julie has. "The vice principal said something about being able to find her."

Julie nods. "I wouldn't be too surprised. That Professor, well, he kinda found me somehow. After Sacramento, it seemed like it was time to get out of California for a while: guess he was looking for people like us who might be fleeing the place. And I kinda wanted to make the President's funeral. Anyway, I don't know how he does it, but I bet maybe he could find her."

"I hope so. She's been missing all my life. Everyone thinks she's dead." She glances to the photo before carefully placing it back in her purse. "I think she's dead," she admits. "But I want to know what happened to her. How she died." She smiles wanly. Call it closure on childhood sentiment."

Julie ahs. "Hrm, well, that might make what the Professor does not work so well, I figure, but I suppose someone might have noticed her. You tried City Hall or anything like that? Maybe there's some kind of trail if she had visas or something."

Ninette says, "Since I'm here, it's worth pursuing, but I think you're right." She nods then and says, "No one has seen her. There's no record of her being in the city, but that only means she had no papers." She takes up her wine glass again, watching Julie as she takes another delicate drink. "I lost her trail of visas in Berlin. The trail has been cold for years until someone told me she might have come to the school." She admits, "It's not an all-consuming task. I don't expect to find anything more than I suspect: that she's gone. But I'm in New York and the school is here, so…" She shakes her head, then asks, "But what about you? You have lived here a long time?"

Julie nods. "Most of my life, really. Spent a couple years at my Uncle's shop in California, seemed best to finish school elsewhere, …with my thing this crazy teacher of mine kinda thought I was a witch or something," she winks. "And you should see the scene out there, it's where it's at if you like hopping up cars."

Ninette tilts her head curiously. "California. Hollywood. I thought about going there, but I don't do well in warm climes. New York is more to my liking." She smiles thinly, and there's a hard glint in her eyes. "Lesser minds assume the worst, do they not? That you are a witch. That you must be punished or stopped."

Julie says, "Takes some getting used to, I guess, but you can run em all year, and the beach people are fun. You miss the snow and stuff eventually, though, …not to mention the old neighborhood." She says, "As for that old nun, well, " She twirls her finger by her head, with an Italian phrase clearly meaning 'gone crazy in the head.' "She went around the bend some point years ago, they say."

Ninette laughs softly when Julie makes the 'crazy' gesture. "To believe in witches, I think you'd have to be crazy. Or enlightened. Either way, not the safest of people to be around." She considers, then wrinkles her nose and says, "It's not even an interesting power. That I hide? Just ice."

Julie laughs a little. "Well, you could be real popular at beach parties with that, I guess. I figure it's all what you do with what you got, though. She taps the side of her head and says, "Kind of have to use your head, with what I do, it's not like I can just walk up like a superhero and start knocking down doors or swinging off buildings or flying around like a saberjet or something."

"I couldn't imagine that. Flying around, saving lives, fighting. I don't know how to fight." She waves a hand vaguely. Silly hero stuff, hmph. She pauses, then admits, "I've hurt people before. It's not my preference, but if I had to again, I wouldn't hesitate. It's easy. Too easy." She starts to say more, but then she seems to realize just how open she has been. How much more open she's thinking of being. She cuts herself off, dabbing her lips with a napkin. "In any case. It has been a pleasure to meet you. I should probably return home before my set tonight."

Julie nods, there, then, "Well, you too, and I hope I'll be seeing you around. I'm sure you can figure out some, well, interesting stuff, you know. A lot of us, well, we're just getting by and all that. But things happen. They say this Professor can help with controlling things, so you don't have to worry about trying to get rid of what you can do and all."

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