1965-05-09 - So You Started Practicing
Summary: Lorraine practices welding and chats with Sage.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
sage lorraine-reilly 

Close…sooo close…
The hissing of melting metal, the crackle of heat, and the smell of hot steel wafts from the machine shop to the right side of the mansion. The odd part is that there is no smoke coming from the chimney, which is natural is a furnace is stoked. The forge is also quiet. But the sounds of hot metalwork can be heard easily from within…

Predictably, Tessa has a long day. She always does. Teaching a few classes, tutoring on the side, and then grading still. It's a good thing her mind works the way it does, because that at least cuts down on some of the time it would take. But eventually, as promised, the blue-haired telepath has made her way to the machine shop. "Lorraine?"

Not Lorraine. Lorraine would be using the acetalyne torch, or the forge with the tools.
Instead, it is FireHawk…and she is creating something. It is crude, fashioned with lengths of steel rebar. It looks like a person, but there are stick-figure elements. Too many straight lines. To her left is a jumble of twisted and warped lengths of rebar, bent into uselessness, melted into brittle weakness, or just slagged into thick lumps.
FireHawk is holding one length of rebar, the metal glowing hot, as she bends it slowly to make the outline of a head and neck. She presses the end against another bar, then fires thin jets of superheated plasma to weld the two things together…

Sage could argue that the same names still apply. Still, no point in causing arguments. Inside, Tessa resorts to watching silently. Welding is, of course, dangerous if distracted. She should have figured that Lorraine would be working on her powers within the machine shop. They'd spoken of it recently after all.

FireHawk steps back, her arms held up as if trying to hold it together with her mind alone. Slowly…a little more…
She stops, watching, hoping the welds hold. A cautious smile spreads over her golden face.
Then the right leg caves in as the weight breaks the brittle weld.
The rebar man falls on its side, the right leg shoved upward into the torso. FireHawk gazes at her sculpture and says with a sigh, "Well…FATRAT."

"You're too hard on yourself." In classic Tessa style, she waits after a bit of silence before speaking. Maybe she secretly like startling people. "I'm very glad you're practicing, however."

Firehawk JUMPS into the air, whirling around, the flames flaring around her limbs before settling again. "How do you DO that??" she blurts out. She descends to the floor again, sighing. "That was my fifth one. I ALMOST had it."

Sage arches an eyebrow. "Part cat, clearly." Really, she has no idea. Maybe she just has a knack. As Firehawk descends, Sage kneels, examining the sculpture. "May I ask a potentially stupid question?"

Firehawk smirks. "My father once told me the only stupid questions are the ones you choose not to ask so as to appear stupid. Ask away."

Sage gestures at the sculpture. "If this is anything like the others, why did you move on to new ones? Could you not have tried again?"

FireHawk sighed. "I melted them too much. They wouldn't hold together if I re-used them. Something about…them being loose as opposed to the new ones being firm. I can't explain it. It's like I can see the bonds between the molecules, and they're all stretched out, like old rubber bands."

That, at least, is something Tessa can understand. She nods. "So once again, practice makes perfect." She puts a hand on Firehawk's shoulder, patting gently. "I keep saying you are too hard on yourself."

FireHawk's shoulders slump. "I can't help it. That ship could have sank if I wasn't lucky. Luck runs out…so I have to be GOOD, not just lucky." She looks to Tessa. "The next time I mess up…someone could get hurt, or worse. All this power and I barely know how to use it."

Sage nods. "I understand. But you need to encourage yourself, rather than discourage yourself because you fail right away. Nobody is born perfect, Lorraine."

Firehawk smiles slightly. "You're right. The only way to get good at something is to start out being terrible at it, and focus on being a little less terrible every time." She giggles softly. "I think that's my father again. Daddy's Little Fusion-Reactor Girl."

Sage doesn't quite smile, but there's something about her non-expression that brightens. "Exactly. And if your father taught you that, then he is a wise man." Tessa had to learn the same way with telepathy. A little less terrible every day.

FireHawk sighs. "This must be unreal for my father. With all the pressure he has to deal with as a U.S. Senator, now he has a daughter that flies, shoots plasma out of her arms and likes to fight bad guys. I don't know how he does it. I think he's the stronger one."

"Have you tried talking to him, asking him how he does it?" she wonders. "I would hazard a guess and say he thinks he has to put on a brave face for his public - and his daughter."

She shakes her head. "He says, 'You worry about yourself, my girl. Don't worry about me. You got enough on your plate as it is.'" She rolls her eyes. "My father and his Brave Face. I think he got it in the war and never turned it in with the rest of his uniforms."

"A lot of people learned that sort of 'face' in the war, I imagine." She saw a lot of that style of face in England. From former soldiers, from civilians, and others. Tessa shrugs right back at Firehawk. "Not enough time to do everything I must and then worry about myself, I'm afraid."

FireHawk nods. "Do what we can with what we've got. Doesn't matter if you're a mutant or a non-mutant, the same is true. Besides…we've got each other." She smiles thoughtfully. "You saved my life, Tessa. You saved my MIND. You're the reason I'm here and not chained up in some cooling tower."

"I only did what was right," Tessa says firmly. "But I am glad your life and mind were saved." Doubly glad others were there to help her through it. Teamwork is important.

She smiles and nods. "Well, I'd better call it a night. It's late, and I'm not immune to getting tired." She pauses. "I wonder if I will. Become immune to exhaustion. I'm seeing the world in very weird ways, Tessa. It's taking me a little while to sort it out. Maybe I'll show you my journal. It may seem like idle musings or something seen while on wacky tobaccy, but I swear no drugs are involved."

Tessa steps to the side to give Lorraine the room to maneuver out. She'll follow and walk the woman to the school. "You know I'm always available to talk about anything." And hey, if wacky tobaccy is involved, she's not going to judge. No lectures here! "After you, I insist."

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