ArchivedLogs:Advisor No. 2

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Advisor No. 2

So, Cyclops and She-Hulk walk into a garage...

Dramatis Personae

Scott, Jennifer

2013-04-18


Scott and Jennifer meet up, and it doesn't take long for Jennifer to be trapped by Scott's benevolent plot.

Location

Garage in Xavier's School


The tell-tale crinkle of a ratcheting wrench fills the otherwise fairly empty Xavier garage. Lots of stuff in here, normally for class purposes, since that is the purpose of the facilty at large. Scott Summers has taken over many of the various vocational classes involving engine maintenance, car tune-up, and machine shop work, so he's in here more often than not. Right now, Scott is lightly doused in grease in a sleeveless wife-beater probably more suited to Logan than to the relentless perfectionist. He is working underneath a Ducati Streetfighter 848, and it is his baby.

And for a while, nothing but those sweet sounds of tinkering fill the garage. Then come easily missed steps, the soles of running shoes lightly being placed on the concrete ground. A whistle pierces through the orchestra of the mechanical tools.

Jennifer stands behind the motorbike and its owner, dressed as casually as ever - tight pale jeans, a fittingly tight top with a shabby black leather jacket that barely reaches her waist. "That your baby, or one of the students'?" Perhaps the voice carries a distant sense of familiarity, or perhaps it does not. Those expectant green-eyes observe Summers, waiting on him to grant her his attention. She knows better than anyone that in bonding moments such as this one, a person can't be expected to easily part with the target of their affections.

Crrrank. Crrrrank. Crrank. Wipe. Buff. Shine. With all of the obsessive methodicality anyone might come to expect, Scott places his wrench back into a nearby toolbox before he says anything. He sits up, reaches for a rag, then wipes off his face and hands, still unspoken. Finally, he pulls himself to his feet so he can stand up straight and look at Jennifer in the eyes with that instructable visor that he has taken to wearing, over the Oakleys, now. "She's mine. I picked her up last year. I don't let the students touch anything but the junk Harleys, the Taurus and the Vespa scooter. Can I help you, Ms. Walters?" He's pleasant enough, not brusque. But he has always been a little stony.

Hard as she might to contain her laughter, Jennifer loses the struggle when the scooter is mentioned. The laughter that escapes her watch is sweet and light-hearted; this side of her the students are unfortunately yet to witness. She shakes her head in faux disbelief, eyeing Scott as if he were some sort of ghost. "One thing I never understood about you, Scott, is how you can have such a good sense of humour but be completely immune to it yourself."

With that, Jenny steps closer to regard the Ducati bike closer, although a fair distance is maintained as a show of respect. A hand does not reach out, either; only her gaze traverses the alluring curves of the bike's wiry frame. After she sizes the two-wheeled creature up, her gaze lifts up to regard Scott again. The devious redhead cracks a wide mischievous grin. "Bet mine's bigger."

Scott cracks a tiny bit of a smile and looks down at the concrete floor, putting his hand on the back of his neck to squeeze the muscles he's been craning for the past hour or so. Jennifer had a way of 'getting' him that others might not - most people would assume the Vespa belonged to the school or something, but Jennifer immediately got that he owned it. "It's practical," he says quietly, his tone suffused with humor.

Summers paces around the Ducati - a black affair, all adventure-bike faire. It's not strictly well-polished right now, as it has languished for months in captivity here. No turtle-wax yet. He was getting to it. With a fainter smile, and his sort of persistent humility, he suggests: "It's really more how you use it, isn't it?"

"So men say."

Unlike Scott, Jennifer is thoroughly amused. Low brow humour always was and still is her forte. Still, the reason for her presence is rarely limited to just that. "Listen, I have a couple of favours to ask, but before I jump to the chase, I feel like we have at least a little bit of catching up to do." The Ducati is eyed once again. This time, the gaze is almost challenging. If eyes could wear gloves, they would be off, now. "When do you think she'll be ready?" Regarding Scott again, the woman explains her scheme: "We should cut through city streets. The fact last time it was a draw is embarrassing for the both of us."

"Ready? Now. I could get on it and drive out the door at this very second. I'm just doing a little tweaking here or there to get the last little 'oomph' that I need out of it," Scott says, his lips screwing over to the side as he critically regards the bike. His brows tighten a little, and he folds his arms over his broad chest. "To be honest, this weekend is when I'd take her out, that's the schedule I had laid out. But I just don't feel right taking a weekend for myself with everything that's been going on. I'm spending more time watching twitter updates about the proposed legislations out now than I am playing around in here." He sniffs, and gives Jennifer a look. "I never read twitter," he says, a little uneasily.

Both hands are raised defensively. "Hey, your secret's safe with me!" After another cursory glance sent to the bike in question, Jennifer nods in decisive acknowledgement. "So, weekend. Be there or be square, as the kids say." No they don't. "Anyway--"

"Teaching here is much harder than I remember." Her mood takes a /bit/ of a dive. "Teleporting spiders, sugar-high wall-climbers, cuss-happy rebels." Distancing herself form the Streetfighter 848, Jennifer sighs and eyes the various tools the shelves have on display, likely in use by the students. "I actually had to /spray/ one of them. With a water pistol." The notion is far more ridiculous to her now than when she aimed the thing at Shelby. As if to check up on reality, Jen looks over to Summers to see his reaction.

The sort of quiet pall that hangs over Scott only ever seems to be augmented by his lack of a 'tell' thanks to the visor. Seconds linger.

"Like a dog?"

A very slow nod accepts Scott's comparison. With a drawl, she echoes the words spoken. "Like... a dog, yes." That said, comparison the student - however unruly - to a canine does render Jennifer momentarily uncomfortable. "I told her I'd spray her every time she'd swear, but-- I don't know."

A dismissive wag indicates Jennifer wants to move past that fast. "Look, the same student cheated on her homework. My hunch is that Charles would probably have her redo the damn course, but I am guessing that's not going to fix shit and she's going to try his patience until she's out with the morlocks or something. I want to try and fix things." Rolling her eyes, she murmurs, "Like I /always/ do."

"Think I could get Danger Room privilege?"

Scott takes a deep breath and sighs, working through all of his conflicting feelings hearing all that in a moment's time. That's just how he is. It's all internal. He looks out the window to the garage door, chewing on his thoughts. His hand squeezes his arm and then he just puts his hands on his hips, a very grounded position. "I don't see why not. It sounds like you could really use an avenue to blow off steam, anyway. The Danger Room is the perfect place to do it in. Look - I know I've been pretty hands-off lately. Do you want any help with this? It's always easier with backup."

For some, perhaps, Scott's answer may be predictable. Not for Jennifer. Ever so impatiently she eyes Cyclops, anxiously chewing on her lower lip - a habit that sneaks past her internal censors despite her mother's discipline. Upon getting the answer, her face lights up; less like a Christmas tree and more like the blinding white of a nuclear blast. And yet at the same time, she dares to downplay her reaction. "Hrnmh", she clears her throat. "Thanks, Scott. God knows I need to vent without the risk of breaking half the equipment here in the school."

Oh, right, Shelby and Ivan. Raising a hand and pointing an index finger at Summers, she adds urgently, "And I might have an idea how to teach the student - and the other student that /helped/ her cheat - the value of our /human/ abilities, teamwork most of all. I still have to talk to Xavier about all this, but hopefully we'll see eye to eye." The offer of help is accepted, although that much was as plain as day. "I'll definitely need your help setting stuff up, yeah. Or did you forget the time when you tried to teach me how to use a smartphone?"

Scott cringes a little - no, a lottle. "I have not forgotten," he muses nostalgically for iPhones past. He shakes his head, and runs his hand through his hair again. "It sounds to me, like - and mind, this is just a preliminary assessment based off reading their class notes - they could all use a heaping helping of /self-control/. You're the perfect person to teach them that. You're a good ceiling for them."

The compliment strokes Jennifer's ego that even the might of She-Hulk is dwarfed by. Still, she laughs it off; a snort dismisses it. Knowing better than to verbally deny it with false humility, Jennifer accepts the kind words. "Yeah, I imagine that's one of the reasons Xavier wanted me to teach. I assume my unorthodox methods was another, but I can't help but think sometimes if I don't take things too far, y'know? I still can't always tell the difference between-- Well, the difference between my temper and /her/ temper." Jennifer often separates She-Hulk as a different person altogether; she is more than sane enough to know that's not the case, but it's partly what helped her control it. "I want to push the students, but they're so... /fragile/."

"They're a lot stronger than you or I realize," Scott suggests in mild disagreement. Now he's sounding like Charles, a sort of infectuous advocacy that Scott still hasn't really been able to absorb as strictly 'his', even if he's very adult about it. "Anyone who has ever had to grow up mutant has had to survive a world where people don't even want them. They're tender, they wear their hearts on their sleeve - sure. But they are strong."

"...they just find it easier to get what they want on their own, rather than playing by the rules. What have the rules ever got them out there?" Scott adds, stretching his arms behind his back a little.

The tone that Jennifer equips is one of friendly mockery. "Yes, Xavier", she agrees with a playfully monotonous voice. The fact it's not outright mockery already tells Scott the bolt of confidence has been notched tighter. Jennifer agrees with the notion; after all, she was the exact same growing up, except her missteps broke walls and bones.

"Before you go /all-out/ Charles on me, there is the matter of /another/ favour." Quickly surveying the kingdom of Cyclopia, Jennifer ponders aloud, "My boyfriend is /very/ high-maintenance. But I don't know a second thing about him. I know how to tuck him in at night and how to pamper him spoiled, but I just don't know what to do when he's down in the dumps." That is, perhaps, close to the eeriest level of personification one has bestowed upon their beloved vehicle. "Second generation Suzuki Hayabusa. I really need someone to teach me mechanics. Think you could? I promise to drive you less crazy than the time you tried to explain how touch screens work."

Scott Summers, out of necessity, has learned it is always best to take teasing and weird things, said or done, in stride. Anthropomorphizing a motorcycle to that degree is actually only a 4 out of 10 for him. "I knew what it was when you first took it out and raced me on it, Jennifer," he says, really more stalling for time as he thinks about his answer. He purses his lips, and folds his arms across his chest again, this time business-like. Finally: "Your sales pitch is terrible. You're lucky I like machines."

Planting both hands on her waist, Jennifer seems determined to retaliate against a quip with one of her own. "That's because I'm a lawyer, not a saleswoman. Tomorrow sound good? Do you want me to be here with the other students or come after classes?" It almost seems like a pass, but-- Actually, with Jennifer, you can never be sure what the hell is going on in her head.

"Whenever you want. I promised Rogue the same thing, and she's probably going to do it on class time, odds are. Class is a more reliable time to come out here, but you're going to be working around the students and playing catch-up with them." Scott sort of meanders through his answer which is not quite this, not quite that. He gives Jennifer a second look, his visor flashing a little via reflection. "Jax is one of mine, and he's been advising Shelby, Daiki and Ivan. I'm reasonably sure the cheating episode is what prompted the administration decision to back him off them. The kids are going to feel betrayed if Charles follows through," he says, clearly going somewhere, but the destination is unclear. He's probably just trying to coax something out of Walters.

Perhaps the greatest weakness of the redhead is how easily she is played. The mere mention of Jackson being suspended and put off advisor duties. A look of surprise and fury mingle on her pretty face. "Wait, what? What the /fuck/? Jackson's out?" It's hard to tell how much interaction she has had with Jackson when she first joined the school, but apparently she feels this development is unjust. It doesn't even matter to her how far-reaching the decision is - whether he is banned from his position as an advisor or whether he's out of the school for good. 'Back him off' can mean a lot of things!

Turning on her heels, she hastily rushes towards the exit like a furious storm, foolishly not inquiring for clarification.

"Jennifer, stop," Cyke says as softly as possible, quickly hustling after her as she starts to thunder out. He reaches forward and puts his hand on Jennifer's shoulder, as worrisome as such a notion should really /be/. Scott is just one of those sorts of people who is fearless when it counts. "I told you that for a reason. Listen to me. This is not something that is set in stone, in my opinion. Are you hearing me?"

Scott is among the few people who populate the list who both dare and are actually allowed to stop Jennifer by touch. Unfortunately, the list that can lessen her temper is much smaller, seeing as Jennifer is the only one on it. Briskly turning around to face Cyclops, she angrily burrows her hands into the undersized pockets of her jeans. "It's definitely not set in stone if I have a say about it!" A streak of sense sneaks through. "Is he fired? Is he out of the school for good? It's Jackson-- Isn't he sunniness incarnate?" Standing still, it would appear she is listening, if sullenly.

"No, no, no," Scott says, failing to emote properly for this level of emotional anxiety - he's still more like a middler-manager than someone who is strictly trying to connect with Jennifer and share the same space (even if he's trying). He looks at her straight on in the eyes, for what that's worth. "He's not fired. He is not out of the school. He isn't anything except being encouraged to take care of his own situation. His kids are in trouble, and the advisees he's got, as you've observed, are trouble. The idea was that it's as much for him as it is for the kids." Scott finally takes his hand off Jennifer in the doorway, and leans against the wall, taking a deep breath. "It's not a decision I agree with because Jackson believes he can help these kids. I think he can, too. But in my opinion, he's got to be the sun that feeds them and you've got to be the rain that grows them. Understand?"

The look Jennifer gives to Scott is one he may remember on the spot. In fact, it's the same gaze others might know as the prelude to the appearance of the green-skinned amazon. Except now is fortunately one of the rare instances when that is not the case. The fury on her face decays at a snail's pace, and by the time Scott finishes his query, she looks more annoyed than mad.

"I could really go for that Danger Room right about now."

Deep breaths are taken. "So, he continues helping those kids by proxy, but I become their formal advisor? Of Daiki? Of Shelby? Of Ivan?" Oh, sure, she wants to help the kids. But this particular group have a very particular background, especially the last two mentioned. The more she thinks on the concept, the less she seems disgruntled, even if Jackson's predicament still visibly upsets her. Still, give Jennifer enough time and patience, avoid big red buttons, and you're golden.

"Did I understand right?"

Scott had an amazing poker face, probably one of the best in the business. Still, a bead of sweat ran down his brow after he'd watched Jennifer work through her anger, a visible sign of fear, if only JUST that. "If that's the way it happens, then yes. But even if he keeps that formal advisor position, I want you to keep doing what you're doing. You're like advisor number two, or co-advisor. This is not an official job description I'm talking about here, we aren't talking about the school. But they need a wall to bounce off of. Jax is one of my dearest students but I just don't think he can be that for them." He swallows, and puts his hands on his hips.

Closing her eyes, Jennifer parts with a heavy burdensome sigh. She may have control over her other form, but She-Hulk is best avoided nonetheless.

Green eyes flick open. "Fine." She knows when to admit she reacted wrongly to something, but one will be foolish to expect her to always take it in stride. "But the kids aren't going to be happy about that. Ivan is probably already wetting his bed from nightmares about me and Shelby probably has a dart board with my picture on it. You know I'll try my best to change that, but at the end of the day, it's on /them/."

"I really need to talk to Jackson about that. I want to get close to them, I do, but I can't find the door and I feel like I'm clumsily climbing through a window instead." Okay, so metaphors aren't her strong suit. "Hngh. Okay. Consider the mechanics classes paid for in full. Any other surprises I should know about, Scott?"

Scott gives her an even look. To be honest, he was sort of a schemer - that last bit was what he was hoping she'd say. He just wanted to put Jackson and Jennifer in the same room to brainstorm, but he wanted it to be on their own initiative. None of this is really in his face or in his attitude, though. Nothing except a tiny, little, genuine smile. "No, we're pretty much on the level, Jennifer. Bring a rag to clean off with next time if you're on your way out."

The even look is naturally misinterpreted. "God, I thought you were going to hit me with another one", she sighs in utmost relief. "Save a Vespa for me tomorrow", she murmurs with a tiny bit of a grudge in her voice, although a growing smirk defuses it. Shaking her head in mild disbelief, the redhead walks out.