1964-12-14 - December Morning
Summary: A chill, clear morning spent on the Mansion grounds.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
able rogue 

It's been a long time since Able had ready access to grounds as expansive as these. They're beautiful, even in weather as crisp as New York in December. He spent a great deal of time exploring, including a not-so-wise testing of the thickness of the ice on the lake. Answer? Not so thick, but he got away without being soaked.

He's passed on his usual suit and tie in favor of loose, comfortable sweats and a long sleeved t-shirt. No coat, no hat, no scarf. His only concessions to the cold are a pair of fitted gloves and climbing shoes that are slightly more suitable to the outdoors than a pair of dressers.

He's found himself a sizeable patch of flattish lawn in the midst of what would be a rolling green during summer. Presently, he's using it as a sort of practice ground. Eyes closed, breath carefully controlled, he's performing a set of smooth, precise maneuvers that seem far more like a dance than any martial art.

Gardening in December, say it ain't so! Why would anyone bother? As it happens, the ground is not frozen solid and certain bulbs actually thrive in the cold, though they might be put into the ground a little bit late. Neglect to the grounds is something habitual. People have greater matters to worry about, and it's not as though phlorokinetics are all that common, anyways. She carries a basket over her arm, the three sections of bulbs laid out according to size. A trowel straddles the lip, peeking upwards. As it stands, Scarlett has already been active. Just look at her knees.

Her consolation for the warmer weather, aside from company, is a longer hooded coat that obviously wasn't made for someone as curved as she is. Someone broad of shoulder, yes, but it hangs in all the wrong ways that makes it exceptionally comfy and not at all stylish.

The approach is met with a pause and a smile, though the doctor's eyes remain closed and he doesn't turn around. "Scarlett," he surmises. "It's the perfume. One doesn't often smell oranges in this neck of the woods. Especially so late in December."

As lightly dressed as he is, Able seems comfortable. More than, even. He resumes his practice, though it's hard to imagine how he could harm anyone with motions as slow and carefully controlled as these. "What brings you outdoors on such a lovely afternoon?"

Not hard to track her, really, but then that might be the point. In the world full of monsters and terrors, some people will be bait and nature doesn't do much better than a ginger for that. Especially one carting about jonquils, tulips, and hyacinths.

"Bonjour," she calls out, her French graceful and eloquent, a lyrical standard in golden harmony. "Have you found a way to bury yourself in the season's only quiet? Silence is a rare commodity out here, even so. I thought to prepare for the spring." Always looking forward, that one.

"Guten tag, fraulein." Despite a certain element of grace, some of Able's sweeps and mimed strikes are executed with a force that belies his slim build. Slowly, the dance turns into a fight against an imaginary opponent. One who is apparently skilled enough to keep him on the ropes. All the while, his eyes remain closed and there's a calm, almost serene expression on his face. "I find the chill to be invigorating. Truth be told, it's a bit warm for me in the Mansion. My circulatory system is very efficient, but that also means I heat up rather quickly and thoroughly."

He comes to a halt, apparently conceding to his imagined adversary. "I smell the leftovers of something pulled from the earth while it was still warm… Too aromatic for potatoes or turnips. Something decorative?"

"Vegetables would be too late at this time of year, and I wouldn't chance something squirrels or children dig up. Flowers," Scarlett says. "The majority of the perennials will carry over just fine and the herbs can be transplanted or grown from seed. It is a good lesson in patience for some." She holds no threat unless one fears the humble spade, the petite basket being less than a risk. On the other hand, she doesn't look anywhere near as threatening a monster as she is, and most of the school only knows she's able to fly and kind of strong. Not at all utterly strong. Scarlett chuckles softly.

"Efficient, that is a blessing. Most of them are complaining about no snow or too wet. Them being all of New York. How the telepaths endure, I don't know."

Able finally opens his eyes with a bit of lash-fluttering from having them shut for so long. There's a smile on his face; the tight-lipped one he only shares with friends. Having finished with his exercises, at least for the moment, he reaches down to touch his toes in a near-boneless stretch, then raises himself up and reaches high above his head to loosen his upper body. "Everyone complains. As unfamiliar as I am with human nature, even I know that."

No fear of lash fluttering here; there's nothing by way of coquette about the scion for all things redheaded. "Everyone does, yes, even I complaining about others who complain. Figures, no? But I'm delighted to be out in this." She ventures for the nearest bed, poking at the soil with her toe to determine how pliable it may be for the purpose of burying a few bulbs. Late but not impossible, if they're put in somewhat deep.

And no danger of flirtatious fluttering from Able. He probably wouldn't know how if he tried, but one's eyelashes stick after an hour or so of keeping them closed in the cold.

The doc approaches the turned earth and nudges it with a toe, then squats down to rake his fingers through it. He pushes back his sleeves and glances up. "Seems loose enough," he says. "Shall we plant?"

That could make two of them, though the belle of some uncertain provenance can weave people around her fingertips like an eel slipping around a reef to snatch up some unfortunate fish. Nothing like being the oceanic gift bow, charm and a smile. Going to her knees to dig in the cool soil is easily enough done, just a little force applied to the surface to break open the vault of the earth. Once she has a few holes of appropriate depth dug, she can start popping in the hyacinth bulbs one by one.

"We shall. I want to stagger the rows with the tulips and the jonquils so they will come up in bands of red and yellow in the spring. Something more interesting than a solid row of red and nothing to break it up with, as far as I can tell. Too late to do a more complicated pattern. "

"Complicated and beautiful are two very different things," Able chuckles. "Though they do sometimes come packaged together."

Though the final goal may be somewhat complex, the execution seems simple enough. Moving ahead of his compatriot, he digs holes in the appropriate rows so she can plant behind him. "This will be a nice addition to the grounds. They're lovely, but they lack color."

"They can be, indeed. I have a fondness for patterns, though, and this gives back something to the institute," Scarlett says, her tone soft and warmed by the sun in abundance, even though that orb is hardly shedding enough light nowadays. Heat, though, that's another story.

She occasionally points out where she wants to find her particular clutch of tulips, digging to allow Able the task of filling in the deep, narrow holes behind her. Only appropriate, in a sense, that he can balance out the hard work with a flourish of artistry. "Agreed. Trees and grass on their own are scarcely interesting, most of the time."

Able shrugs one shoulder. "Speak for yourself. Before I came here, I was based out of a clinic in Brooklyn. I'm happy to see some grass and trees."

As they move along, the doctor seems more than ready to keep up with his share of the work. "Still, a bit of color will do us all some good. Everyone needs something beautiful in their life. Took me a long time to realize that. I'm still working on the transition between man and machine."

"I may be spoiled, having access to the two largest greenspaces in New York at my feet." Benefits of having her own place in the Avengers Mansion and the institute, though it's not as though she owns either. "But the trees need something to break up the green here. I admit I have never been a fan of endless green lawns, and I wish I could impose a little more dimension and colour here, that's all. The trees offset by a burst of a rose blossom or the interest of a large stone, though that would merely encourage the most recent terrakinetic to roll that around or lob it through a window a joke."

Laughter shines in her brilliant eyes, the same leaf green intensity of life radiant in them. "We live in a world with so much grey. If we can raise the spirits of our students around us, all the better. Something pretty rarely fails to appeal to the aesthetic of the mind. That may go both ways, man or robot or something between. I confess my experience in machine learning and interpretation on that front is… well, generally limited to science fiction."

"Physically, I'm mostly human. I have enhancements and redundancies, but I was built to be more or less the same as you, albeit a bit more… perky." The doctor smiles at his own small joke. "It's upstairs that I'm different. My brain is artificial, and contains the memories of someone far older than both of us put together. You know, all of this will be beautiful when it grows out."

Jean is the only other person he's been this direct with about his construction and his perspective. He pauses while he digs a few more holes and assists with planting a few bulbs. He purses his lips and sucks in a short breath, then continues. "I think it makes me look at things differently from most people. Despite having those memories, I started off as a thing rather than a man. It took me a while to put everything together as a whole."

Only one way to know about humanity. The dividing line can be argued scientifically, but the void in humanoid form over there tends to be the sort who can define where that line really lies. On the other hand, she's been proven to break the mold time and time again, so perhaps not. Scarlett nods, her smile still lingering though she's brushing off granules of soil and fighting the clay under base deposited on the plains during the glacial retreat. The Hudson River hasn't helped, either, all that silt. "But you still have a personality and independent thoughts. Whatever you began as, you continue to develop in response to your experiences on your own. Therefore is it not safe to say you are fully realized rather than artificial, or grafted in a sense? I know that some would not use those terms, but they work." They're gardening, of course they work.

She seems terribly unbothered by the fact Able is what he is, though there may be reasons buried below the surface. "However you began, you're turning out just fine as far as I can see."

There's a lengthy pause. "Thank you," Able finally replies. "My only basis for comparison is my creator, who is a narcissist and sociopath. One wonders."

There's a crooked smile, then Able stands and brushes his hands off against his pants. Though it's far from common for him, the observations seem to have left him a bit abashed and pink around the cheeks. "I should get back to the infirmary. See if anyone needs my help. You seem to be managing well enough with the flowers."

"One probably does. If it makes you feel any better, nearly all of us constantly wage that battle, comparing ourselves to others, our parents, our peers, and various role models. Try seeing Captain America at close range, then questioning your own life." She sighs, but the sigh is an affectionate one; she knows the blond hero, and that makes all the difference in the world, to a degree. Scarlett pats a bit of the soil in place around the mounds to mark where they have bothered planting.

"Yes, I'm sure there are always needs at this time of year. Viruses and colds are frustrating enough for those of us who are hale, let alone little ones."

Now Able's smile stretches into a small grin. "I'm human enough to be jealous of sighs like that," he quips.

As he stands, he stretches his calves and his lower back with another toe-touch. When he straightens, he favors his friend with a two-fingered touch to his brow. Rather than a military salute, it's an extremely old-fashioned gesture from a gentleman to a lady. "Enjoy your planting."

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