It is starting to get cool at night up here in the northeast. Scott adjusts his jacket around him as he walks up the path from the garage area. He walks quickly as he looks about him. He hopes he is heading in the right direction as he has not been here all that often.
Ororo has flown Ryan to the Massachusett's school, and landed just outside the grounds. Trusting that she'll be granted her usual guest access, she goes ahead and buzzes the gate, and after a few moments, is allowed entry to the school. She leads Ryan onto the grounds, knowing that he doesn't really want to be here, but she's hoping that he'll be not too upset with her, but this will eventually be more good than bad, and will ..hopefully help Hope. She takes it easy, enjoying the cool night air, and naturally, enjoying the company of her boyfriend at her side. She's been pretty quiet, letting him do all the communicating if he wishes so far. She's had a lot on her mind since she left the mansion earlier in the week.
Ryan's pretty much in a relatively piss poor mood in general. Not really wanting to go back to that school, and sure as hell not wanting to deal with Emma again, he's been sullenly quiet most of the flight out. Too serious of expression and attitude. This is business, not pleasure. And he's still having to take the rap for something he didn't do, and it pisses him off. But he will try to help this girl as asked...as he said he would. Just doesn't have to like it right?
Hope sits with he shawl wrapped around her, legs crossed at the ankles just outside the quad in Emma's rose garden. The blossoms are fading fast from the vine as the crisp autumn air begins to chill the countryside. The trees have already begun thier yearly change from lush green to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. She wishes she'd brought her easle out with her. The setting sun seems to ignite the trees in it's red cast. She waits patiently though as Emma has asked her to and takes in the sights and sounds and smells that abound in the evening time.
Naturally. Because tonight will likely put Hope's mettle to the test. The Queen finally arrives within a moment's time, to take a seat next to her Goddaughter. An arm is slid gently around the girl's shoulders.
Walking up the path, Scott sees Ororo and the reluctant Ryan. He has not spoken with her since she has left the Mansion, but that does not mean he has not planned for this meeting eventually. The man generally has a plan. As the paths meet in the quad, Scott favors Ororo and Ryan with a small smile. "Ororo. Ryan. Good to see you again. What brings you two out?" His tone is friendly but formal.
"We are here to offer our help to one of Ms. Frost's students," Ororo says quietly, offering her friend a small smile. Ororo also has secondary reasonings for being here, but they can wait, because as always, students come first, regardless of what school they belong to. She squeezes Ryan's shoulder lightly, offering a small measure of support to her rather unwilling associate with this endeavor, but, as fate would have it, Ryan needs to be here.
"We're leaf peeping..." Ryan retorts with dry sarcasm..."Of course..." That was mostly quiet though, as Ororo'd spoken more seriously. But as Ororo squeezes Ryan's shoulder, he draws in a deep breath and smiles slightly crookedly, "What's up, man? You and Emma going out now?" Yeah, Ryan dares. Of course, he's out of earshot of the harridan.
Hope looks over to Emma from her musings at the sunset and smiles, leaning into the woman's embrace and resting her head on her shoulder. Well, it seems Ms. Frosty isn't so frosty at all. At least, Hope's never seen her as such. To her she's been such a pillar of strength and support and so loving. Her innocent smile and eyes are raised to Emma and she comments. "I was just thinking tha I should have brought my paints out here. It's so lovely. The crimsons and burnt siennas. " No, she doesn't question the Queen or what they are doing. After all, God-Mother knows best, right? Well, let's hope so.
The Queen nods silently to Hope, her mind is all ready working to subtly give her goddaughter the support and courage that may be required for what may be the final step. Emma feels the many-presences closing in, but remains silent on the ordeal. She can only pray she has done the Right Thing in this instance.
"We are friends, Ryan." Scott turns his gaze from the young man back to Ororo. "Well, it is good to see you, Ororo. Hope it will not be the last time." He turns to look up the path towards the rose garden and begins to take a few steps in that direction as he has spotted Hope and Emma. He pauses as he waits for Ororo and Ryan to walk with him if they like.
"Of course it is not the last time, Scott," Ororo says with a chuckle, though she knows that it will take a lot for her to be back under Xavier's roof again. "Might I ask what brings you here?" She asks of the Xman, and continues on her way towards the Quad with the others. No sense in delaying the inevitable, though she does turn to Ryan, "You know what happened last time you made jokes like that, Ryan. You know it's a touchy subject, so please, for me, leave it alone?" She slips her arm around the waist of her boyfriend and gives him a squeeze. She knows how hard this is for him to do, and while she is sorry to have to do it, it will ultimately help.
"It's not like she's right here or anything..." Ryan grumbles almost like a kid, and actually...yeah...he kicks a rock on the way following even more sullenly than he was before. Yeah, he's not showing utmost maturity right now. But then, he'd not even be here at all if there weren't someone in need of help, even if he's not the one that should be blamed for her ailments whatever they are. "I'll leave it alone. Hell, I'd leave this whole fucking place alone, but I'm not so let's just fucking do this and get the hell out."
Hope doesn't realize the glow that she's getting is coming from Emma. At least not in that way. She's still fairly unaware of the Queen's talents. She just knows that being near her makes her feel better, and stronger and more confident. There hasn't yet been a chance to tell Emma all about her NYC trip but Emma's sure to have heard bits and pieces from the employees and patrons of the Hellfire Club. particularly the shabbily dressed youth that Hope brought to the Dining Hall. But other than that most of the remarks were on the girl's silent politeness. Seeing movement through the leaves of the rose bushes and catching whisps of voices she looks back to Emma again. "Are you expecting company Aunt Emma?"
"Yes, in fact." Emma rises from her place, and turns to extend her hand toward Hope. "Come with me."
"I came up here to see Emma," Scott says simply. He walks along side the pair as he puts his hands in his jacket's pockets. "She is becoming a good friend." He pauses like he wants to say more, but remains quiet instead. The scent of the rose garden is becoming stronger as they approach and his attention is drawn more in that direction.
Ororo nods at Scott, smiling as she walks, "I'm glad, Scott, friends are very good to have." Ororo drags Ryan along with herself, not minding his words, harsh as they might be. She finally comes into view of the others gathered in the quad, spotting Emma and Hope, and as such, begins leading Ryan their way, with Scott in tow behind them. She thinks that the worst part of this will be the initial meeting between the two. After that, things should go better.. she hopes.
"Yeah, friends...see how long that lasts..." Ryan's disgruntled sentiments have yet to be lightened at all. And he's more muttering than speaking to the group. Mostly watching his surroundings, he looks like he'd rather be anywhere but here. Even with Ororo at his side. Glancing at her shapely form now and then at least is a bit of pleasure in the mouth of madness.
As he spots Emma though, his scowl shivers away to a blank empty expression...and the girl at her side is noted too. Walking with a bit more poise than he'd been, he empties his care into that zone of unfeeling. Like he would facing any enemy.
Hope tilts her head quizically and then nods, taking Emma's hand and rising with her. She follows the Queen as they stroll, not knowing that her deepest fear lies ahead, waiting for her. Oh boy. She stays beside Emma, glancing over at her from time to time but not speaking. She likes the way the sun reflects it's red rays off her hair and makes it slightly pink in tone. The idle thought of straightening out her own hair to emulate her idol passes through her mind.
It's only a short stroll forward to meet this grave beast of a phobia. Emma stops halfway between the distance to Ororo and company. She turns to face her goddaughter, and gaze into the girl's eyes. "I want you to know I am here for you, Hope. I always will be. Tonight, dear, is what may be the final step to help you recover."
Scott nods to Ororo's comment. "It is." He sees Emma turning to address the young girl as they approach. He has seen her before, but does not really know her. He holds up his walking for just a sec until Emma has finished talking and then continues forward.
"Ms. Frost, good to see you this evening," Ororo says politely, and then addresses Hope with a smile, "Hope, good to see you also." She steps forwards with Ryan, but is careful enough to keep them at a short distance from Emma and her god daughter. Can't have the girl freaking out, can we? She looks to Ryan, knowing still that he doesn't want to be here, and is glad that he's come this far without getting too pissy. Even though he's somewhat pissy as it is. She gives him another squeeze as they finally close with their intended location for the night.
In the dying light of the setting sun, Ryan's hair looks that much redder and still glows very subtly...luminous. The golden eyes are hidden mostly behind the John Lennon styled sunglasses with their blue lenses, so the glow that shines behind them ends up seen as green if examined overly. Empty expression, almost empty minded as he clears his head of caring about anything right about now...he watches the two women approach and as they approach the two women. Ororo's greeting is glanced to, and he looks to Hope. So that's the girl, huh? He's seen her like...maybe once in passing. Nope, not much in the way of anything to go on there. The beast of phobia pauses at Ororo's squeeze of shoulder...as they tend to do - wary...but so far, so good. No mind invasion yet. No evil eye given from Emma. No pointy zappy finger. And he breaks the relative peace of atmosphere with a "Yo, Emma. I'm here. Now what?" So much for subtlety in introduction. Might as well as run to Hope and yelled BOO. Trying to keep it casual. Trying to keep it civil. Sorta.
Hope looks with confusion to Emma as she whispers to her "What do you mean no matter wha..." But her words are cut off as her throat constricts. Her eyes have fallen upon the trio and her hand in Emma's tightens and she pulls back, stepping in behind Emma somewhat with large eyes. Ryan may not remember her but she remembers him well. Too well. That voice, that hair. That mocking sarcastic tone. It all sends shivers through the girl and she stays behind Emma, shaking slightly and chewwing her fingernail as her heart pounds in her chest.
Leave it to Ryan to open his mouth. The Queen appears less than amused with Ryan's way of handling things, but she's not to the point of being unpleasant. Just the typical annoyed frown. Her hand returns a gentle squeeze, while her mind works to prevent a panic attack reaction in Hope. She'll play safety net and support, it's up to Hope to do the rest.
Scott can see there is tension immediately between Ryan's appearance and Emma's young charge. He takes a few steps forward, but slightly off to the side so that he is between Ryan and Hope but not directly in front of either of them. He takes a few steps more towards Emma's side as he watches what obviously is a delicate situation despite Ryan's normal caviler attitude. He remains quiet but does look up to Emma with one eyebrow raised in a silent question.
As Emma is Hope's safety net, Ororo is more of Ryan's... handler. This is supposed to be theraputic for Hope, harmed by mastermind, just as Ryan was. Perhaps with this, there can be a little healing for both of them. But, she knows Ryan also, and thinks that his hard head won't really heal too much from this, but perhaps Hope will begin to fear him less, which is basically Ororo's goal tonight. She keeps her arm around Ryan, holding him there, sort of.
"A'ight, here's the deal. All I know is that Mastermind fucked with you with an illusion of me. Like I did something to you when it wasn't me. I don't know what the hell he did to you, but it wasn't me." Ryan starts out, looking at Hope somewhat seriously and is damnedably blunt. Almost subtly defensive. Just in case those not in the know might think he really did something when it wasn't him. He reaches up to his face, and pulls the sunglasses free, and begins to fold the arms and hands them to Ororo as he suddenly sits down crosslegged on the ground, looking with his golden eyes that now shine in the dying light very like golden coins...the red flecks floating in them swirling just a bit faster than normal to reveal some measure of personal agitation for those that might know what to look for. He frowns a bit, "Girl, I was fucked with too. While he was using my face to run around and scare girls, I was chained to a damn wall and starved for well over a week while the bastard screwed around in my head and made me think myself, my friends, and my family were tortured and killed in front of me. I just want you to know for some perspective here, babe. I didn't do it. I was too busy getting my eyes poked out, a'ight?" He says it like it didn't really mean much though...almost as if he's talking about the matter happening to someone else. Probably because he's pushed his emotions and memories back so far now, that he really doesn't feel the harshness like he should.
Hope's eyes flitter from face to face nervously. She recognizes the woman with the white hair from her visit with Emma earlier. Scott looks vaguely familiar too but she doesn't know him that well, there is a slight resemblance to Alex. It's the jawline. Her ever attentive and alert eyes catch that much before they flicker back down, over Emma's shoulder to the now sitting Ryan. There's pure fear in those eyes. Something he should be all too familiar with. His words don't register in her mind. She has no idea who or what this mastermind is. Oops...looks like someone forgot to clue the bumpkin in. She stays mostly hidden behind Emma fighting the strong urge to run and hide, her other hand leaving Emma's to rub at her wrist, unconscious of the action. There's no words to express how she feels but the mental images of the memories of that day is easy for Emma to see and read.
Ever watch a storm roll in over the horizon? Emma's visage darkens with each careless profanity. She asked for a favor, not a wrecking ball. The Queen continues to hold Hope's hand, both physically and mentally.
Scott looks down at the now seated Ryan. "Ryan, she is terrified," He watches Hope hiding behind Emma and feels sympathy for her. Not that it shows on the surface. "Please conduct yourself with that in mind." He speaks softly but with a firmness in his tone. Not that he thinks Ryan will listen to him as they have not worked together on too many occasions. He takes a few steps back towards Ryan so that as he speaks he is probably the only one that hears. "Your normal flippant attitude will not help anyone in this case."
Ororo remains silent, for now, though this might call for some assistance from a third party. She doesn't squeeze Ryan again, though she is watching Hope for signs of absolute terror. Ororo knows of what happened all too well, and has had to nurse Ryan back to mental .. somewhat health after his incidents with Mastermind. She looks to Scott, noting his words silently, but isn't sure that Ryan will pay them any heed tonight.
Watching Hope's reaction, Ryan reaches up and rubs at his eyes as if they hurt. Tightening his jaw briefly at Scott's comment, he draws a breath...to keep himself patient...and then relaxes himself a bit mentally. As if he didn't fucking already know that she was terrified. He's having to chill himself out so he Doesn't tell Scott where he can stick his opinions...yeah, he does some of that meditation stuff Logan taught him. And lowering his hand after, he looks to Emma almost with calm slackened face..."She's not getting it. She's too damn scared of me to even listen. What do you want now? How about you share a bit of what /really/ happened to /me/ with her?" There's a hint of bitterness in his voice then, his first hint of emotion. "Then maybe she'll get clued in that I'm /not/ the badguy here." Then he speaks more quickly to stop her from saying anything, "And don't /even/ look at /me/ like that Emma. I'm only here to help her out but I'm not a psychologist. Do you really want me to give her my advice? To suck it up and move on? I live with what happens, so can she." He raises a hand almost dismissively to Emma's attitude that's showing..."And don't worry about her hearing all this...she's not even listening to me anyway." He gestures tiredly pointing to Hope...very non-offensively...and speaks more quietly, "Just look at her eyes. Like a damn deer caught in headlights."
Ryan's pretty accurate in that. She does indeed look like a deer in headlights but he's wrong if he thinks she isn't listening. She can't help but to listen. She has to make sure she's ready to run at the slightest change. He won't get her this time. Oh no...she won't let him. She knows nothing of this superhero stuff or about the super villians. She doesn't face the threats or get prepared for things like this. She's just a girl. So hey...why doesn't someone explain Mastermind to her, huh? ;) As far as she knows she's looking at the man who tried to hurt her and then acted like she was crazy, denying it all. Finally finding her voice she nearly shouts though it comes out as a tight, harsh whisper "I d..don't believe you. You...you tricked the metal man into thinking I...I...w..was crazy." There's a sniffle and she hides more behind Emma, seeming to shrink into herself as she adds "A..and I won't k...k...kiss you or...or...s...suck anything!" Hrm...welllll that was odd but perhaps it give Ryan a sense of what Mastermind did with his image while he was having fun.
Scott knew that Ryan would not listen to him although that does not stop him from reacting to the young man. The anger in his voice is apparent although it is kept at a low volume "Stop acting like a damn child, Ryan." Scott's glasses glow for the briefest of seconds. "How about you just sit there with your mouth shut for once and let the woman at least get used to seeing you? Seeing you in a non-threatening way." He quickly gets his anger back under control and takes a few steps away from the group with his back to them as he lets his head roll back and his gaze to move upward to the stars. He puts his hands on his hips as he paces for a few moments.
Ororo can't help but flash a small glare at Scott for his harsh words. Maybe its cause Ryan's her boyfriend, or maybe it's because Mastermind messed with Ryan in ways similar to Hope, though also differing in some as well. Ryan's still recovering as well, and this is just as hard for him. "Scott, please..." she says quietly, looking back to Ryan, though she does say quietly to Hope also, "No one is here to hurt you or make you do anything, Hope, I shall make sure of that." With those words spoken, she falls silent again and watches Ryan. She is surprised though, that Emma's never filled Hope in on what happened to her, something that might have helped Ryan greatly this night.
Ryan sloooowly turns to look to Hope, her stuttering voice sounding pretty pathetic to his ears, and worse...what she says. It's like she hit him. What did Mastermind do to her? Did he ...no, can't really think about that. Too much imagery flashes up in his mind and he tightens his own fists. Losing that battle against his own demons. Oh Christ. And his breathing quickens just a bit, and he shakes his head almost disbelievingly...barely hearing Scott, but then he turns his eyes to him...pupils shrinking to pinpoints...the red swirling around in his eyes that much faster, though only noticed if up close. Just looks like the sunset is casting them to more orange. What the hell is this? No. No, he's not going to sit here and get abused. He's had enough of that. And he rises abruptly and just starts walking away...a shiver rippling through him. Mouth dry, he feels nauseous...hands clamming up. Sweat pricking out at his scalp. A familiar feeling he usually wakes up screaming or fucking pathetically crying to at night. Ororo's probably the only one that's seen he's still having to fight that hell. And now he's the one getting blamed for...that? A slight sway in his step away, and he turns around and looks to the group and shakes his head..."Nope. Not going to deal with this." that said so quietly, then Ryan just snaps, screaming at Emma, "YOU FUCKING FIX HER, I CAN'T" And he takes to the air melodramatically perhaps...but he can't stay here. Can't deal with this. Feels like he's going to puke.
Hope's eye dart to Ororo as she speaks and though the woman's lovely aristocratic voice is soothing, it doesn't seem to allay any fears. What if he has them all fooled? He's done it before. It could happen again. As Ryan stands Hope steps back and drops Emma's hand, ready for flight herself though she stops as she sees him walking away. At the sudden outburst though a small strangled scream is heard from the younger blonde and she begins a hasty retreat, not really hearing his words.
As all other parties, save for her and Scott have fled from the area, Ororo looks to Scott, shaking her head a little. "I know that it's not your fault, Scott, but Ryan has likewise been through a lot, and perhaps it wasn't the right thing for you to have said, but that is all past now, nothing can be done about it." She reaches out and gives her friend's shoulder a squeeze, "How have things been during the last two days?" She wants to know what's going on in the mansion, a niggling feeling of still wanting to be there, that is slowly fading.
Gathering himself together, Scott looks at Ororo and nods. "I am sure he has been through a lot, Ororo. So have we all." He shakes his head and then brings his attention back to Ororo. "As for how things have been, the Professor had another lapse into comatose. We were all suprised, but that did not even compare to when Lilandra showed up and whisked him away. To cure him, she said."
"I'm certain that the time away will do him good, Scott. It is something that was well overdue for him." Ororo's not even going to get into the problems she was having with the Professor, and his attempted termination of her with the Xmen for missing a meeting she wasn't told about. Shaking her head a little, she continues, "And how are things with you, Scott?" She moves to stand next to him, talking quietly in the night air.
Scott puts his hands in his jacket pockets as he shrugs once. "With me? Same as always, Ororo. Training and more of it. Looks like I have inherited the school for the time being though." He takes a deep inhale of the rapidly cooling air around him. He lets it out slowly. "One of the reasons I was trying to get away from there tonight. Find an oasis away if only for a short time."
Having just run the school for the past three or four months, Ororo knows exactly where he's coming from, "I understand, yes, I understand," she says with a shake of her head. Ororo is enjoying her newfound freedom, though she is still wanting to make sure her students are ok, more than anything, "Did Lilandra say when she'd bring him back?"
"Not a word about it. Seemed set and determined to not bring him back until she was satisfied with his progress." Scott shrugs again. "Whatever that means." He puts a small smile back on his face as he focuses on Ororo. "And you? How have you been?"
Ororo shrugs, "I am glad in some ways that I am on my own, though I doubt I shall be for long. I have a few plans for things in the near future." She looks to the sky, where Ryan had departed, "I would say that I am, overall, quite well, thankyou, Scott." She is, afterall, doing quite well, and has enjoyed the last two days off quite thoroughly. She smiles then, a far warmer smile than has been shown so far this evening. "I hope that things continue the way that they have been going, ut all good things do come to an end, as they say."
Scott nods, "Another thing we have all learned on occasion although the end is still a good way off." He follows Ororo's gaze skyward. He smiles as he looks back. "It still amazes me when I see the two of you together. The hothead and the reserved goddess. Guess as long as it works."
"When he isn't being forced to face his demons, Scott, he is quite calm. More calm than most, I would say. His incidents with Mastermind really hurt him." She watches Ryan's departing form still, even though it's little more than a speck. "He is very good for me, and I like to think that I am good for him also," she says as an inkling of emotion shows on her face. Ryan's her weakspot, quite clearly, but she does try her best to remain the reserved goddess for right now.
"Suppose it could not hurt to wear a heart on the sleeve on occasion. I also know what Mastermind is capable of as I have been encountering him since I was younger than he is now although he has really developed," Scott pauses as he looks for the right word through a tightened expression on his face, "a nasty streak." He pauses again before continuing. "I am glad you have found someone that is good for you. You deserve it." He turns his gaze upward trying to pick out the speck that is Ryan.
"I shall not be happy until that one is in the grave," Ororo says, rather firmly about Mastermind. A statement quite out of character for her normally, but she cannot forgive the man for what he has done to her close friends and near family. She all but gave Wolverine her blessing to kill the man, and she wouldn't bat an eyelid to stop him from butchering him. "Mastermind deserves nothing less, and will get no mercy from me." As her anger forms with the commentary about Mastermind, she can't, as usual, control her mastery of the weather, and storm clouds begin to form out of nowhere over the academy.
Glancing upward at the clouds, Scott shrugs. "Time will tell on that one. Despite what Mastermind has done to the X-Men over the years and what he has made me see even recently, I cannot bring myself to wish him dead." He shakes his head as he brings his gaze down from the clouds even as there is a faint popping sound on the wind.
Ororo nods slightly, though in the last couple of days, she's never felt as clear headed. "Scott, you are right, time will tell. Now, I am certain that you wish to continue on your business, and I shall try to find Ryan and make sure that he's alright." She gives him a squeeze, then steps in for a hug, and after releasing him, she moves away and slowly begins to take to the air.
Scott returns the quick hug. "I hope he is alright. Have a good night, Ororo." He raises a hand in farewell as Ororo lifts up into the air.
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