"Or is this like...a powers thing?"
<XAV> Lake - Xs Grounds
Bright, bright, bright; the lake glitters wide and expansive here, stretching off into the distance. Sunlight, moonlight, starlight, it catches them all. Lapping at the rocky shore, its deep waters are frigid in winter and cool even in summer. A stone pier stretches out a ways into the water, wide and smooth, though often icy in winter.
The water teems with life nevertheless, home to myriad species of fish that provide for ample fishing or just lazy watching on a slow summer day, for those who want to take a boat from the boathouse out to the center of the lake, or perhaps lounge on the pier and try their luck.
It's bright and early. Back at the mansion, probably, the morning chaos hasn't yet ramped into full swing; a quieter thrum of insomniacs or actual morning people finishing homework or class prep, getting their breakfast, going through their morning ablutions. Beating the later tumultuous panic-rush as the later risers hustle to finish getting ready for their days before first bell.
Out here by the lake it is crisp and cool, a pleasant spring that will likely be balmy later but right now is chill and made moreso by the ripples of breeze coming off the water. The sound of heavy crunching footsteps over gravel is loud in the relative stillness; a large and very muscular black and white pitbull is racing along the rocky lakeshore, accompanied by a much skinnier beanpole of a teenager of indeterminate gender, dressed in black jogging pants with a white stripe up the sides, white running shoes, a lightweight zip-up athletic jacket in black and green.
"-- Oh squirrel," K.C. is informing the dog of this, slowing her pace and pausing to take a drink from a flattish water bottle strapped to her hand. The dog skids to an almost cartoonish halt in a spray of gravel, looking one way and then the other around the lakeshore before K.C. points out a small gray squirrel seated off near the treeline. The pitbull's ears flap in the wind as she bolts, with a good deal more enthusiasm than prowess, after the squirrel.
Moving through the outside wearing a pink swimsuit that hugs to her as a one-piece. She'd consider wearing bikinis, but she's a little self-concious as she doesn't quite fill out the top. Not like some girls she's seen here. Moving through the sunlight the newly arrived late-addition to the school arrived a little too late for this semmester, so is really just settling in to prepare for the next one. This does give her a little more free time.
The vertically challgned dark-blondie gets out to the lake and considers the water. Is it dirty? No, not really. She puts down a pink towel, and slips out of pink and yellow flipflops. Dipping a toe in slowly, how's the water? Doesn't seem so bad...she should have brought a toy boat or something.
Coming out of the woods, surprisingly quiet for the speed at which she's moving, Kelawini is also out for a morning jog. Her long hair is wound up into a bun at the back of her head and she wears a pink athletic top with a drift of plumeria blossoms across the front, black tights, red-and-white cross trainers, and a red track jacket tied around her waist. She starts when the dog tears in her direction, skidding to a stop, but relaxes when it becomes obvious she is not the objective. She looks back in the direction of the dog's path and sees the other two students, lapsing back into a much more leisurely jog toward them. "Howzit?" seems generally directed, with a cavalier lift of her chin. "Cute dog, one of yours?" Then, studying Aeryune's toe-dipping with very obvious skepticism, "That was freezing cold when I checked earlier. Is that an OK temperature for swimming around here?"
K.C. rolls a shoulder, watching Suga Mama scramble forlornly at the base of a tree as the squirrel escapes her very laggard attempts to chomp it. The dog's tail wags eagerly; she looks back over a shoulder as if K.C. might help retrive the squirrel from the brances. Barks up at it, hopeful. The squirrel does not launch itself into her waiting maw. "Suga Mama," K.C. informs Kelawini. "Kind of her own dog. Also mine." She scuffs a hand over her short-shorn fuzz of hair. Looks over Kelawini thoughtfully. "Māhoe. Are you --" Whatever she was going to ask Kelawini breaks off, though; she pivots on a heel to follow the other girl's look towards the lake. Peers with similar skepticism toward Aeryune in her swimsuit. "Nuts?" is where the sentence ends in a flat monotone, brows hiking up with obvious perplexion. She unzips one side of the small holder that straps her bottle to her hand, swipes at the phone briefly before Google Assistant's pleasant voice pipes up from the phone: "It's 58 degrees and clear in Salem Center."
Aeryune takes toe out of water "It's too cold!" She looks like she wants to cry for just a moment. Slipping back into the slippers. She starts to wander towards the students so they can have a proper conversation. "Well, I thought I heard somewhere that water actually stays warmer than the temperature outside..though that might have been the opposite."
She looks to Kelawini first "Oh my, you're pretty! I love your hair, and your skintone is so nice. I don't really tan, I more burn."
Then her attention moves to K.C. "And hello to you too. The dog's not bitey is it? It seems like it really wants to bite that squirrel.."
"Māhoe," Kelawini corrects, somewhat reflexively, though she looks pleased. "You've met my sister, then?" The look she levels Aeryune is sympathetic. "I'm with you, it sucks. Thing is water like to hold whatever temperature it's been. So, after a long, cold spring?" She makes a soft click against the inside of her cheek. "Gonna be a while before it's nice to go in." She blinks at the complement, but at a delay says brightly, "Thanks! My tutus always complain I'm pasty but uh. Guess that's relative. Wouldn't worry about the dog, though--Sugar Mama?" She glances at K.C. for confirmation. "I'm guessing most dogs probably want to bite squirrels if they get the chance? Does she ever catch any?"
"Māhoe," K.C. repeats, giving a small shake of her head. "No. Not met Nanami yet." She shivers sympathetically as Aeryune moves away from the water. Her fingers twitch at her side, flicking restlessly at the air beside her. "Too cold. I thought maybe just. In Wisconsin they like to freeze. -- It's cold all spring. Cold all summer, really." Her brows pinch slightly inward. "But not so bad when the air is hot."
Her eyes widen when Aeryune addresses Kelawini, at first. She glances to Kelawini's arm, then Aeryune's. Her head bows. She zips her phone back into its case; her arm folds loosely across her chest, hugging the water bottle at her side. Her eyes drift back to the dog, who is busying herself sniffing at the base of the trees, now. "Suga Mama friendly. Very friendly." Her snort is dismissive. Head shaking once. Clipped. "Likes to think she's fierce. Never caught one single squirrel. Accidentally got a vole once. Freaked out. No idea what to do with it."
Aeryune laughs, holding her arm out to try to go next to Kelawini "No way! See, look at my skin compared to yours, I'm more of the pasty one!" She looks between the two curiously "Mahoe.." she tries it out, her decidedly Irish accent somewhat mangling the syllables for sure.
"Well in Wisconsin it's usually cold, just in summer it's not. We go to pools and things then, otherwise in winter we go to hotels that have pools. You just kind of get used to it." She tilts her head as she looks at K.C. "Nanami? I met her, she helped me move in yesterday. She's nice, pretty sporty. Had a cute water bottle. Oh! I'm Aeryune, that's Air-ree-yune. People keep asking me how to say it, so I just tell people. I didn't realize you could bring pets. Though..I don't have a pet to bring, I could've gotten one. Like a kitten or something."
Kelawini's eyes skip aside to K.C., faintly suspicious. "Wisconsin, huh? Are you from there from there? Cuz you sound...I dunno. British?" She shrugs helplessly. "Probably a good thing she hasn't caught any. We don't have squirrels back home, but they're...kinda like mongoose, right? All teeth n' beef if they get cornered?" She stiffens slightly when Aeryune compares their arms, though she doesn't back away. "I think probably..." She trails off, gives a quick shake of her head. "Yeah, you're uh, definitely the pasty one here." Her eyes dart to K.C. again, uncertain, but she rallies quickly enough. "Māhoe," she repeats again, "but that's our family name. I'm Kelawini." She unties the jacket from her waist and shrugs it on. "If you like pools there's one in the basement that's plenty warm. I hate the chlorine, but it beats hypothermia."
"Aeryune Aoife Mallory," the deep monotone of K.C.'s flat Jersey voice does nothing graceful to this name. Her fingers flick again, her weight rocking from heel to toe and back. "Aoife. Irish." Her arm tightens around her chest when Aeryune holds her arm out to Kelawini; the look she shoots Kelawini is wide-eyed. Lips twisting to the side. She zips her own jacket the last inch or so closed. Aloud she just puffs a sharp breath between her teeth. "No squirrels? For real no squirrels? How?" Her head is shaking, slightly. "K.C. That's me."
Aeryune nods "Yup! I'm from Wisconsin. Well I was raised there, I was born in Ireland though. I have Irish parents." She mmns. "In Wisconsin we have black squirrels too. They can be pretty nasty to the other squirrels. Pretty color though. Quite a few outside in the more rural farming areas."
She retracts her arm, slinging the towel over her shoulder so she can rest her hands behind her back in one another. "I heard there was a pool! Kind of like how someone said there as an elevator after we were already going up the stairs with all my stuff."
She looks curiously to K.C. "Yes, that's my name, though how did you know the whole name? Are you a teacher, or a teacher's assistant, or in the admissions office?"
"I never saw any squirrels." Kelawini frowns, hesitant. Her phone comes alive in the pocket of her jacket without her touching it, and K.C. can read the outgoing query 'are there squirrels in hawai'i?' as well as the top answer Google almost instantly returns 'No, there are no squirrels in Hawaii, except for ones you will find at the zoo.' "But yeah, for real no squirrels--no one bothered bringing any, I guess? The mongoose would probably eat them." She tilts her head. "Whether they're gray or black." Her next search is 'are black squirrels meaner than gray squirrels?', but the results are a lot more mixed. Her gaze follows Aeryune's, less curious than apprehensive, at the question. Then adds her own speculation, "Or is this like...a powers thing?"
"Big pool. Heated. Better than the lake." The furrow of K.C.'s brow is not going away, though it doesn't really seem directed at anyone in particular. Kind of tipped up toward the sky now. "Teacher?" Her toe digs down into the gravel. "... how old do you think I am?" She clicks her tongue, quiet at first but then harder when Suga Mama doesn't initially pay attention. The dog trots back to her side; she drops a hand to run the backs of her knuckles slowly against one soft ear. Her other is still tapping quick and jittery at her side.
Kelawini's phone, meanwhile, has just gotten a new email. It's from one K.C. Love, a Xavier's address, a PDF attached with an abstract of a study: "Behavior of Black and Gray Morphs of Sciurus carolinensis in an Urban Environment." The body of the email reads: "sharpen your google-fu."
"Small school," she says aloud. "I learn things quick. Learn people quick."
Aeryune looks to Kelawini, then back to K.C. "Oh! So your power is you can tell what people's names are? Oh, I see. I see." She rests her hands on her hips. "Mine is I make people feel refreshed. Not like because of my sparkling personality, but physically. Maybe it's not the most useful ability, but..well. You don't get to choose what you get. If you could though, would would you? I think I'd choose the ability to fly. To be able to whoosh around in the sky sounds fun, and also you could really save on ridesharing fees."
Kelawini's eyes go wide as she opens the email, then snap to K.C., her mouth falling open. She shuts it again quickly. Replies to the email at once with, "you're like me?! but, better at it obviously :call_me:" It takes her rather longer to skim through the study attached, somewhat distracted now, though she rouses herself somewhat at Aeryune's question. Her lips press together in a thin, unhappy line. "I dunno. Pretty sure no matter what I pick there'd be some terrible hidden gotcha. Huh!" This last comment may be hard to interpret until she follows it up with, "Apparently black squirrels aren't any more aggressive than gray ones. According to scientists, anyway. They all look like weird mutant mongoose to me."
"I can tell what people's names are," K.C. repeats, head bobbing along. "Energizer-bunny power. Solid. Helpful." Her fingers wiggle at her side. She rocks up onto her toes, settles back down. An email goes back to Kelawini right away: "a little like you, maybe. had some practice. you'll get practice. what's :call_me:."
Her fingers trail down to scratch at the back of the dog's ears. "Dunno. We don't choose." Her dark eyes flick out towards the water, studying it intently. "Almost graduating. Been here years. Don't think I've met anyone with a power I'd want."
Aeryune is oblivious to the phonery-internetgation going on. "Oh, well I don't know how you'd hone that power but your pretty good at it!" She looks at Kelawini "So you know how to tell what people's names are too?" She looks confused "Hey...is there something I'm missing? Are you two mind-melded or something like on Star Trek?"
"No?" Kelawini's brows arch. "I don't even remember yours and you just told us. I do...stuff. With techology. I'm not good at it, though." From her email, the next response comes slightly slower: "shaka, it can mean different things but i meant thank you." Her eyes narrow slightly at Aeryune, brows furrowed with confusion. "Uh..." Her next google query is 'star trek mind meld', and after a rapid survey of the top result she shakes her head, though her brows do not unknit. "No, and...why would you think that?"
"Aeryune, that's Air-ree-yune," K.C. tells Kelawini, in a carefully passable if not entirely exact echo of Aeryune's earlier instruction. "Hone any power. Through practice."
Her emailed reply comes quick, just: "huh neat. til. :pray_tone5:" On her own phone there are now a series of searches coming up. 'shaka emoji' 'shaka hawai'i' 'shaka meaning'. She turns aside from her examination of the lake, dark eyes fixing on Aeryune with the same exact deep scrunch of brow she has been wearing through the majority of this conversation. "Star Trek isn't real." Like most of the rest of her words, there's not much inflection here to cue the others into any particular intent behind this statement.
"Shower time. Stay warm." Her fingers snap to the dog; Suga Mama pads obediently at her heel as she starts to jog back towards the mansion.
Aeryune huhs. "Well..I don't know, I thought maybe you two were interconnected by I dont know..brainwaves on..a theta..sphere..with dyson...cubes. Or something. I don't know, it sounds sciencey. I'm not very great with grades or anything."
She waves to K.C. "Okay! Enjoy your showertime! The warm water just melts the stress of the day way!"
"Air-ree-yune. Got it." Kelawini blinks slowly. "I'm gonna be honest, I have no idea what you're talking about and I'm not sure if it's your accent or just cuz I've never seen Star Trek." Her smile returns, bright and bemused. "I mean, it's like 8am, but I guess the stress piles up fast these days." Frown. "I should go shower, too. Welcome to Xavier's, Aeryune. I'm sure I'll see you around!" She takes off up the hill after K.C.