1964-12-08 - Breakfast for Two
Summary: And how they both like toads in holes.
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able rogue 


After last night's excitement at the UN, Able had a difficult time sleeping, so he came back to his new room at the Mansion and got intimate with a bottle of schnapps. It's something he'd be saving for a special occasion. Alien visitors in a government facility qualify as special in his opinion.

Now it's painfully early in the morning and he's hovering over the stove. One burner has a pot of simmering water atop it, another has a pan heating that he's just dropped a pat of butter into. He's new here, but he also managed to locate a toaster and a coffee mill without too much difficulty.

This is one of the rare occasions that he can be found wearing something other than a suit or a lab coat. It's pajamas for him; a pair of unbleached linen pants that tie at the waist, a sleeveless black shirt, and bare feet. Unable to sleep any longer, he slipped downstairs to make the most of the morning.

Excitement. Is that what they call it now? The redhead who witnessed so much of this at ground zero… she does not shake her head. She does not cry or hide in the forest. Whatever happens, Scarlett has her routine and the mindful binge on skydancing over New York might not be the smartest with jets probably patrolling and people scanning the skies for spaceships that destroy communications satellites. Because they would be the sort to do that.

She yawns into her sleeve as she steps inside. Landing in Westchester isn't too strange, doubly so because she amounts to one of the hidden defenses of the Institute. Sure, Charles can blow their minds apart, but she can soar at supersonic speeds in the event anything wants to show up and upset a bunch of mutant children and quasi-adults. It's been a long day, either way. She does not deploy any brilliantly sunny greeting upon finding anyone else here, though she might consider curling up under a table until coming back to her senses long enough to make toast. Toast seems right, along with a banana or something suitable. "Good morning."

The coffee mill is loaded and the doctor grinds away as the new arrival shows up. Though he's generally a solitary person, a smile tugs at one corner of his mouth when someone else steps into the room. Despite the noise, ears made keen by a lifetime of running and fighting perk up at the sound of another set of feet well before he hears one of the resident gingers speak. "Hey," he greets without looking up. He recognizes the voice. "You're in luck. I have no idea how to cook breakfast for one."

Seems true enough. There's enough coffee for at least three people, several slices of bread from a freshly baked loaf, and he's got four eggs on the counter that look like a medium-size wind could send them rolling away. "I take my coffee black. If you want cream and sugar, you'll have to track it down yourself. And another cup." Rather than a percolator, the grounds are dumped into a fine sieve that's set over his own mug. Then, little by little, Able starts adding the hot water and letting it strain through.

Four eggs, a baked loaf of bread. Add toad in a hole, or something ridiculously charming, and Scarlett might just expire of contentment right there on the spot. The resident ginger has a few sprigs of pine in her hair, wrapped so her braids will not end up sticky. Flowers in December can be hard to come by, and showy amaryllis feels wrong for a moment like this. "Mm, probably wisest for me to make a cuppa." Her gaze scours the countertop for her to find the teapot and a kettle, since putting that on the burner will get some hot water going for tea. Tea is an essential necessity. She will not survive without proper caffination. Please someone think of the children. "Do you want me to chop anything up, or do you have what you are looking for? I can find cheese if we need it."

She can cook, yes, and don't ask her how she learned. It came along with the body when she showed up one day.

Able tilts his head to one side and pours in another dose of water, nearly putting him up to a full cup. "If it was just me, I'd do over easy and toast, but for a lady I can improvise. No cheese and no chopping required."

Rather than a knife or a biscuit cutter, he presses down with his fingertip and draws a neat circle in each slice to remove the center. "My father called them 'one-eyed jacks,' though I'm told that's more of an American term."

The bread is laid down in the buttered pan, then an egg is cracked into the holes. A homey, yeasty smell quickly fills the surrounding area as things start to sizzle up. While breakfast is cooking, he glances over and smiles again. He picks up his coffee, blows steam from across the top of the mug, then takes a tentative sip. "Mm. Nothing beats making it the old-fashioned way. I understand the appeal of tea, but nothing compares to a good cup of coffee."

"This particular lady learned not to alter the menu when someone else cooks, but I can offer some assistance. Washing up might not be my favourite option, though I am happy to do that too, as you prevent me from contending with the stove and the cupboards." The faint traces of orange, bright and mouthwatering, chase after her in a citrus cloud imparted by the neroli perfume dabbed at her throat and wrists.

"One-eyed Jacks? What a charming name. Is that a definite Americanism?" The accent she carries is decidedly Anglo of some direction, though it's not New York. Provenance by way of a little island, removed by a few centuries, is accurate. She hunts for a knife and a chopping board; tomatoes might be an odd choice but peppers are out of season and not common in the marketplace, anyways. "French pressed coffee is delightful, though I am trying to maintain a happy balance. The truth is, the caffeine won't do much for me at this point. A twenty thousand foot plunge should have woken me up."

Though jacks (or toads) are traditionally only cooked on one side, Able flips these ones to give them a brief toast on both. Uncommon choice, but personal preferences are at a chef's discretion. He does add a touch of salt and pepper before the flip. While the second side cooks, he rustles up a pair of plates, then dumps out two slices for each of them. "I'm told it's American, but I wouldn't know. I'm German to a fault. There you are, fraulein," he offers, pushing a plate in her direction.

None of the aromas in the room are lost on the doctor. His senses are far from superhuman, but they are extremely keen. He coughs delicately into his fist and then takes another sip, clearly an affectation on both parts. "Sounds like you had a busy night."

"Danke." Scarlett isn't fluent at all in German but she knows a few basic elements here and there. She has her own business to attend to, notably ensuring the kettle bubbles away happily and she is prepared with the necessities: mug, cream, sugar. Yes, she's a heathen who needs to consider those adulterations because they are the best kind, all and all. Besides, her ringed fingers wouldn't imply that cheating on anyone with a bit of half-and-half is in the cards.

A plunk of a teabag into the cup doesn't fit her typical preferences. She use loose tea but fighting with a mesh cylinder or a ball simply isn't worth the effort when she runs on the dregs of a day. Which she does, no way around that, no escaping the grey grim of life right now.

So, one teacup, one toad in the hole. She carries them both to the table, following like a duck after Able. The bright spark of summertime chases her, for all her hair favours the next season. "I thoroughly wonder if I should hibernate this winter."

"Bitte schon." Once they reach the table, the coffee is set aside, then Able picks up his egg-in-toast and takes a bite. It requires a bit of finesse to keep from making a mess, but he's fried the eggs just firm enough to make it possible. New bread, freshly churned butter, eggs from a local farm. It's a simple breakfast, but peerless ingredients are hard to screw up.

The addition of tomatoes isn't lost on him, either. "I should've fried these, too," he comments. "But still. Hard to go wrong with tomatoes at breakfast. The Brits taught me that. To-MAH-toes," he quips. "Though." he pauses for a chuckle. "Now I'm wishing I'd thought to slice some oranges. You don't smell like you plan on hibernating."

Ah, the please and thanks in any language are music to her ears, etiquette soaring in quiet satisfaction for the truths profoundly offered. Yes; joy exists in the world when someone is polite. She uses fork and knife to trim the toast a little more, creating a star with the egg in the centre, her amusement purely that of loving symmetry and balance. The rest will be devoured in kind, the chickens thanked, the wheat nodded to, the cook toasted by her mug. "Thank you. This is delightful and I cannot think when I had a proper fry up in the last few weeks." She sprinkles a few tomatoes along the margins of her plate, not enough to outline said star, but it warrants a ghostly little smile to flitter across her face and evaporate into the pale dawn.

"Oranges would be a lovely addition. We finish up with this and I can prepare them. They are coming into season too, though you may forgive me if I daydream of the Valencias; alas, Portugal and Spain are a far cry from here." And not exactly friendly. She thumbs the edge of the plate, laughing. "Tomatoes at breakfast are a good addition. Colour, you see."

"If you get them from a good greenhouse, tomatoes always taste like summer. I imagine that's the only way the Brits get their hands on then." Chuckling at his own joke, Able takes another bite. "I'm glad you're enjoying tjos. I don't sleep much and I'm used to living alone. I can't remember the last time someone else was awake for breakfast."

Now he finally picks up a fork, but he uses it for a quick salute before he slices himself off another tidbit. Once it's down the hatch, he pushes his plate away a tiny bit and returns his attention to his coffee. "Tell me something. How long have you been here? I'm a new arrival, but this seems like a fairly inviting place so far. I'm used to feeling like an outsider, but here things seem… less complex."

"Some things truly do taste like summer: strawberries, tomatoes. The fruits of the forest, bursting to life upon the tongue. They beckon to remember good times, and preserve a memory of sunshine and warmth when the weather grows short in the dying hours of day." Her smile carries out, distracted, before she goes after the egg with that fork and breaks the spell cast upon them. Ah, for sleep. The haunted shadows beneath her eyes might attribute themselves to a slight absence of sleep, rest elusive. If she even needs it.

"How long? Three years, roughly. The school welcomes nearly any child, given the professor's vision. The adults have a more complex relationship, but it truly does boil down to the simplest statement; do well, and be among others of like mind to improve your own understanding."

"Jean invited me," the doctor admits. "I'm both young and old, depending on which angle you look at it from, but she's the first friend I ever made. I'm grateful."

There's a long pause, which he uses to clear his throat. "However you look at it, I've been alone for a long time. It's nice to be a part of a community. Taking care of sprained ankles and runny noses takes on a new meaning when people want you around for who you are, not just what you can do."

Another pause, another 'ahemhem' that's far from necessary. "As far as understanding, I'm a physician by trade, but I'm a researcher by nature. I'm unique, so I'm always trying to understand more about myself and the world around me. If you know anyone who has questions, I'd be happy to help them look for answers."

"Jean would be my best friend," Scarlett answers, tugging on one of her braids for emphasis. "We soulless redheads must stick together, so it goes, but she has a heart of gold and a kindness rarely found anywhere, much less in a person older than four. Or, I suppose, one's own children, though I am never really certain on that. How did you come to meet her?"

An opportunity for him to talk; she is glad to listen to Able, for all that she is a chatterbox at times. Her moods shift, and frequently, bubbling through a spectrum of a fully realized, mature adult. "Loneliness is a burden, one I think all of us understand. There is something hard in being apart, separate from others through conscious intent or no direct action at all. Certainly not an easy proposition, and why I support the efforts to build a community. Even when we arrive at breakfast so very rarely. I tend to be up before the sun rises; such is necessary for me. This may not be the first, though I am used to eating a bagel or an apple on the fly. If you have questions, indeed, I am willing to help where I can."

"Technically, I'm four. Just barely. I was built rather than born. Germany. Sometime in '60, though it's hard to be sure of the exact date." There's a wisp of a smile on Able's face. "But I wouldn't say I'm as kind as her. Social niceties are something I practice as an affectation, not a thing that comes naturally."

He tears off a piece of toast from his remaining jack and chews it slowly, more to give himself time to think than for any remaining hunger. "We met in the Columbia library," he elaborates after he swallows. "I was studying the differences between my skeletal structure and those of the average person when she came to share my table and my copy of Gray's. She's a fascinating young woman. You both are. And I'm fairly certain you both have souls, though I'm not so sure about myself."

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