"Desperate times lead to many things falling to the wayside."
<XS> Headmaster's Office - B1
Quietly elegant, the headmaster's office is as old-fashioned as the headmaster himself. The large wooden desk is the centerpiece of the room, the guest's chair a high-backed dark wood one. The walls are painted in rich dark colours, a sole impressionist painting hanging on the wall. The hardwood floors are polished, the floor kept carefully neat and tidy, the room perpetually immaculately organized.
Jax doesn't have an appointment, really, here to drop a couple students back at the school and not strictly for meeting purposes. Not that this means his visit is a /surprise/; no doubt the Professor has known of his intentions to visit since he arrived in the mansion some while before. His mental state is politely reserved as he approaches the Headmaster's office, thoughts kept to himself insofar as he is able. Readily /identifiable/ -- in his typical fashion the landscape of his mind is far too /bright/ for most people's tastes, painfully vivid, his mind interpreting the world in spectrum most people cannot even see. But for all this its current shape is clouded over with long practice. A little tense. A little weighed-down. But, lately, who isn't?
Outside the door he pauses. Lifts a hand. Knocks, three times.
Professor Xavier is behind his desk, buried in a lesson plan, two or three large text books sitting open around him. He runs his finger along a line of text as he types with his right hand, adding a few notes to a future date. He exhales as he sense the nearing mind and the intentions there in, drawing himself up a little straighter in his seat and pressing save on the document. He is in the middle of placing bookmarks in the open pages of his books and closing them when Jax knocks on the door. "Come in," he calls, pulling the books onto his lap and wheeling them over to a credenza to get them out of the way.
He is wearing a darker gray wool suit, one perfectly tailored not only to his form, but to the fact that he sits all day. Underneath, he has a green argyle sweater with white and kelly green breaking up the forest shade. He pulls himself back behind the desk a moment later and turns off his computer screen to save from distractions. "Hello, Jackson. How may I help you today?"
Jax is less put together, though somewhat more formal than he often is during the week, a neat purplish button-down paired with dark slacks. He has a pair of cupcakes in his hands -- Earl Grey! with delicately lavender-flavoured frosting -- and he sets one down on the desk to offer Xavier. "Afternoon, Professor. I wanted to come talk about Shane." His voice is calm and even, not really belying the very faint tweak of self-consciousness that crosses his thoughts at this opening -- an all-toooooo-familiar one that he'd /sort/ of hoped he'd gotten past needing to ever do again once his son had graduated.
Professor Xavier's face brightens at the presented cupcake, all the weariness that comes with study dissipating at the sight. He nods his appreciation, drawing the pastry closer as he starts to loosen the paper around it. "Certainly. I was curious who might approach me first about his suspension. Taylor Allen actually broached the topic first." His fingers flatten the liner before he pulls his hands back to fold them. "Unfortunately, I have been lax in extending an invitation to him to discuss the matter. I regret that and will have to apologize."
Jax moves to take the seat across the desk, hands plucking at the liner of his own cupcake as he settles down into it. A small smile tugs at his lips at the mention of Taylor. He swipes a fingertip through the cupcake icing, giving his head a small shake. "I'm kind of worried we been lax about a lot, lately. I know everything's been swamped to the --" His tones slips a little wry as he continues, "... to the gills lately but." A pause, as he licks icing from his fingertip and drops his hand back to curl around the cupcake.
"It was wrong to suspend him. I ain't here saying that as his dad. As his teammate, s'co-worker. You wouldn't'a done it to me, or Scott, or Tian-shin. An' you shouldn't'a done it to him."
"I agree that we have been too lax. Desperate times lead to many things falling to the wayside, and now that times are not so desperate, it has proven difficult to collect everything that has been neglected and address them properly." Charles Xavier exhales, letting his attention fall briefly to the cupcake once more. He reaches out and tears a small hunk of cake away from one side, moving it upward to collect a little more frosting than pulled away with the initial tear, then places the morsel in his mouth. He chews thoughtfully as his gaze returns to Jax.
"The manner in which I handle the transition between student and adult --- has become an apparent problem to me. Initially, I believe I pressed too hard to mature my students and to send them out into the world to do the work that our team - the X-Men - are known for. It was needed at the time as there was no one else to do the work. As the years went on, it was easier to award the luxury of continued childhood onto our students. I... feel as though this is forced upon some of our older students and alumni to the point where it has become a problem of a different variety." He pauses and collects his thoughts once more.
"Yes. I treated Shane as though he was still a student. The manner in which he secreted Mr. Allen away after he was clearly disciplined for previous behavior demonstrated a disregard for the school and quite frankly for me, that I reacted to." Xavier considers, his hands folding together once more as he mulls it over. "At the same time, he did not behave as one of the teachers would have. "You, Scott, Jean -- even Kyinha come to me when you disagree with a decision that I have made and we discuss it. He chose to react as well and I find it difficult to simply brush that behavior aside."
Finally, he adds, "However, I do not wholly blame him for that. I believe that the students that we house at this time find me... unapproachable and distant as an authority figure and that is something only I can hold myself responsible for."
"The situation was -- complicated, though. What Taylor was going through --" Jax's teeth press down against his lower lip; he draws in a breath, pauses, carefully fights down the sting of grief that threatens to rise in /him/. He tips his hand upward, voice calm as he meets Xavier's gaze. "You may see it as disrespecting the school when /he/ sees it as /respecting/ his advisee. /We/ were failing Taylor. He was in pain -- /is/ in pain -- and the school was doin' nothin' to respect that and look after /his/ needs. Yes, there was a punishment in place. But /as/ Taylor's advisor, Shane should have some discretion in deciding what /he/ needed and acting on that. /I've/ taken my students out before even when technically school rules say it wasn't allowed -- when it's past curfew, when they're on lockdown, /even/ when they're grounded, an' I ain't been /suspended/ over it."
Jax's hand falls back to his lap. "Which ain't to say I think Shane gone about it the right way. He could've come to talk to you first, brought it up with administration if he had a problem. But the times /I/ made mistakes, you come and talk to me about them. And he ain't gonna have a chance to learn if he just gets punished instead of /helped/ t'make better choices next time. It's only gonna make him feel like he ain't a part of the team -- cuz he ain't bein' treated with the support the rest of us are."
Professor Xavier listens quietly as Jax begins his response, watching him quietly and only looking away to make certain he isn't making a mess of his cupcake as he separates another piece from the greater whole. He eats in silence, nodding when a point is made and leaving a little more emptiness when Jax finishes. "I agree with a great deal of what you have said. What do you suggest is the best way to remedy this situation?"
Jax picks up his own cupcake again, nibbling at it. Small bites. There's no hesitation in his answer after Xavier's question: "Put him back on the team. No jumpin' through any hoops or provin' that he's gotta earn it. An' then /talk/ to him. About /better/ ways to handle situations like this. About better ways to support /Taylor/. About better ways to support /him/ as an advisor. Taylor is /suicidal/. That's a hard judgment call to /make/ the right decisions about. Not because Shane is a /kid/. Because he's a person. How can anyone know what to do there? Much less someone as --"
Jax's jaw tightens, Daiki's smiling face surfacing in his mind in a sudden hard swell of (warmth) (guilt) (grief). He pushes this back down with a sharp shake of his head. "-- close to the situation as Shane is. I'm real sure you of all people know it ain't /never/ easy figuring out how to support someone going through -- real hard times. We all screw it up an' make the wrong calls sometimes. I've had a lot of folks helpin' me learn how to be a better teacher over the years. He's been an advisor for alla -- four months? He's gonna need that, too."
"Understood," Professor Xavier replies, nodding deeply in response to Jax's suggestions. "Very well. When you see him next - as I am sure you will see him first, please tell him that he is back on the team and that I need to.... I would like to speak with him." He leaves his cupcake half unfinished and studies his other former student.
Jax exhales, a quick breath, somewhat relieved. His smile is quick, too, bright and warm. "Thank you, Professor. I'll let him know." He picks up his cupcake, polishing the rest of it off in two quick bites and licking icing from his fingers before he stands. He plucks up his empty cupcake wrapper from the desk, folding it into his palm. "'ppreciate your time. I know I kinda -- jus' barging in. Was important, though."
"It is very important. We are in the middle of a time of rebuilding - after all that we have been through and rebuilding our trust in one another is paramount." The professor backs up a little from the desk when Jax stands, mimicking the movement if not the change in stature. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention." He pauses and then adds, "How are you?"
Jax hesitates on the verge of pushing his chair back in towards the desk. His fingers linger on the back of the chair, tapping briefly against it. "Oh -- I." Reflexive pleasantries stall on his lips, die there. "... ain't been so great. Been a stressful time, lately. Dealin' as well as I ever do, I guess."
Professor Xavier nods slowly at the response. "I appreciate that it isn't easy to admit that. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do." He smiles warmly before adding, "Ah, please, don't let me keep you any longer."
Jax tips his head in a nod, his smile a little bit crooked. "S'more cupcakes in the Lounge. If y'get a hankering." A wide silver-trimmed black Stetson appears on his head, long enough for him to tip it to the older man. "Thank y'again, sir." The hat vanishes as he turns to head out.