ArchivedLogs:Change the World
|Change the World|
<XS> Art Room - FL2
Smells of paints and chalks and turpentine mingle freely in this room, well-used, well-stocked. Natural light flows in, plentiful through the large windows. The long counter-like tables are speckled with spots of color, and half finished projects often stand on easels or propped in corners. The many cupboards lining the walls are crammed full of art supplies.
During the week Jackson's schedule around school tends to be reasonably predictable early in the day; arrive early enough for a swim before classes. Teach classes. By lunch his classes for the day are over, though, and then it's anyone's guess what he might be up to; tending the stables, training with the X-Men, rushing off to make his /college/ courses.
Or today, apparently just /dawdling/, lingering in the art room with a pile of drawing assignments in front of him and his laptop alongside. He's studying a sketch, well /enough/ drawn to identify it as the school's playground though past that there's no particular skill to it, perspective off, lines crude, shading virtually nonexistant. His metallic purple fingernails drum lightly against the keys of his laptop, not really typing, just kind of /pondering/. The rest of him is colourful as ever; purple-blue-green hair, blue eyepatch with silver dragonfly, sparkly purple Doc Martens with green tights and black skirt, rainbow striped hoodie. The drawing /shifts/ as he looks at it, small adjustments to its lining and shading though a moment later it snaps back to how it was.
Kelly's flowry form shadows the door a moment before he dares let his head peek in. "Jax?" he asks softly, smiling when he notices that the man was indeed in the room still. His usual outfit of a modified T-Shirt and a pair of jeans has been supplemented with a nice hoodie, though he's had to roll the sleeves way up to keep his vines from shredding them like too many others in his closet. He has a sketch book in one hand, and smudge marks all over his hands and face. "Do you... can I talk a bit?"
"Mmm?" Jax's expression is faintly distracted as he looks up, but it blossoms into a warm smile a moment later. He shuffles the sketches back into a folder, tapping at his mousepad to minimize a window. "Kelly, hey, c'mon in. I mean sure." He gestures to the open stools nearby. "How y'doin', what's goin' on?"
"S'ok, I guess. Though... I need to stop gettin' in spots that you gotta keep getin' me out'ta." Kelly says lightly as he paces on inside on bare feet, nearly silent as a mouse. He doesn't offer the drawing forward, but he does explain it as: "Something for class." He says dismissively, making it clear that homework wasn't the reason for the bother. "Per-spec-tives?" he says, hoping he got the term right. "I saw that... you were in the news this morning." And as his tone shifts it's obvious that /this/ is the topic he's here for.
"Heh. S'aright, I don't think that's /your/ fault s'much as this has been an exceptionally chaotic month." Jackson shrugs, tone casual. His eye flicks in a brief glance towards the sketchbook. "Oh, good. Look forward t'seein' it." He shuts the lid of his laptop, hand lifting to scuff fingers through his hand briefly. His nose crinkles up, though his smile doesn't lose its warmth. He hops down off his stool, moving towards the sink area where next to drying paint brushes there's a water heater, a basket of teas, a few mugs. "D'you -- tea? I don't think I ever got enough caffeine in me. An' yeah, I was. Been -- /kinda/ a chaotic month. This whole zombie business -- everyone's got questions."
"Well, hearn' everything about it, you were kinda 'mazing and all." Kelly says with only a slight giggle there, impressed and approval thick in his words. His teacher the super hero. Huzah. "I hope you don't mind if I had some questions, too, though? But... not really about the zombies." The question of tea gets a tilt of his head. "Sweet?" he hoped, "None of the stuff taste right since I got up north. Not that I've had much of a chance to really ask for any."
A deep blush flushes Jax's cheek with red, his head shaking quickly. "I weren't nothin' special. The media just really loves a -- story." His nose crinkles up as he prepares a pair of tea balls, then considers Kelly with a crooked grin. "Oh, gosh, I /know/, right? I want sweet tea proper, I gotta make my /own/. Though in this weather by now I don't know if I'm much for iced. -- If y'like, I can start leavin' a pitcher in the fridge. Usually do in /summer/." He fills two mugs with hot water, pulling his phone from his sweatshirt pocket to glance at the time and then set it beside the mugs. "Sure, honey-honey, y'can ask me anything. Worst I'll do is say I can't answer."
"Was worried you'd had /too many/ already, s'all." Kelly said and nodded thankfully to Jackson's offer to have some proper southern sweet tea stocked again. "Well, a whole lot of the kids here... seems like they kinda owe bein' here to you. 'Cluding Shane." He begins to explain. "I... I knew things were bad but... learn'n 'bout what they went through, its, its really scary stuff." But since he mentioned his room mate, Kelly is quick to ask separately: "How's Shane doin', though? Haven't seen him in a bit." The concern in his voice mild, but honest.
"Don't think I never have too many, really, most'a the time the problem is gettin' me to shut /up/, I could nearabout talk anyone's ear off." Jax braces his palms back against the counter, leg swinging to absently bump the heel of one boot against the toe of his other. "Yeeeah, Shane ain't always so on top of the whole /attendance/ thing." His blush deepens further. "Think he ain't much lovin' all the publicity, reporters swarmin' the apartment, but out here he's away from it at least." His teeth drag against his lip ring, slowly wiggling at it. "It's real scary stuff," he acknowledges, more quietly. "But it weren't just me. I've had a whole team of real incredible folks doin' real incredible things an' they've saved -- a lotta lives. Includin' mine."
Kelly's hand moves to his arm as he listens. "Don't wanna get Shane in trouble or nuthin'. Just worried is all. Your son's kinda... been a bit of a life saver here for me, to be honest." He helps to defend his room mate a little there, and then turns back to the question at hand. "Is it really the government doin' it?" He asks, and squeezes his arm harder as a trained tick. "I mean, I've had 'nuff reasons not to like the military and all, but... gosh, it's hard to think that we'd do that to ourselves."
"Has he?" Jackson sounds pleasantly surprised at that, looking Kelly over thoughtfully. "I mean, underneath all the prickle he's got an enormous heart. Jus' ain't everyone takes the time to --" He shakes his head, gaze dropping briefly as his fingers scuff through his hair again. He turns aside to remove the tea from the mugs, sweetening both heavily and offering one to Kelly. His brow wrinkles in mild curiosity as he looks at Kelly's fingers tightening on his arm. "Does that -- help with -- something?"
He draws in a slow breath after this, and then nods, once. "Yes. Don't know if weapons is the /only/ thing to come outta this project, but weaponizing us is definitely a large thrust'a what they're doing. There's a government organization dedicated /entirely/ to fighting mutants, and they've also seemed to get involved -- stole a few of my friends to deliver them to the labs. Used the results of the research t'augment their soldiers. I expect they've got their fair share'a outside contractors same as other ventures do, but it's the military that's staffing the places and the government runnin' 'em. Even had a couple'a folks we broke out who /was/ ex-soldiers. Got shunted off t'the labs 'stead'a discharged when it was found out they was mutants." He glances to Kelly's arm again with an apologetic wince. "Apologies. It's kinda a lot t'hear, but I expect it'll be pretty well all over the news for a while."
"And if you, uhm... broke people out, and stuff... doesn't that make you all, ya know... 'Terrorists', too?" Kelly wonders, though mostly in a curious tone of technicalities. "Not that I wouldn't have wanted to do the same, if I knew 'bout it before, that is." The look down at his arm and his hand just flies off it quickly, as if he were a kid with his han caught in the jar. "Oh, s'just that I uhm... broke my arm once." Yeah... riiiight. "Kinda still think it hurts sometimes, even though I know it don't."
"It's... you don' thave to apologize, sir. I mean, I've heard a lot of the other kids stories by now. And, it just makes me so angry to think about it, like I just want to... break something." As he explains this, his own fist clenches in on itself, and swells for just a few seconds with green shoots as it grows and relaxes. "Its like... what's the point? I mean, if they're just goin' to do that to us, what's the point on tryin' to learn to be normal and stuff."
"Oh, probably, yeah." There's a quiet note of laughter in Jax's voice at the mention of terrorists. "I mean the whole point of terrorism is tryin' to -- incite terror so we sorta failed at that since we been doin' it quiet as possible. But I'm fair sure the /government/ says otherwise. An' with media eyes on things now it'll be a mite more difficult --" He shrugs, and looks to Kelly's arm again. "Y'didn't hafta stop, it weren't like you was -- I was just curious. Everyone's got their own things that help them --" Another shrug of one shoulder.
He picks up his own mug of tea, tapping the rim of the mug against his lips but not sipping the steaming-hot liquid yet. "I know that feel. Knowin' the sorta things they do to folks in there -- really kinda gets your blood up." His crooked smile returns at Kelly's last question, a little self-conscious as he gestures to himself, ink and piercings and skirt and all. "I ain't never really saw much point in tryin' to be normal /anyway/, I think I failed all those classes. An' maybe I'm just /ornery/ because the more they try an' beat on us, the more I /want/ to have a good life just to /spite/ them. Like all this terrible they do to us -- they want to break us and they /can't/. Not if we don't let 'em." He takes a small sip of tea, leaning back against the counter. "Anyway, though, I don't never try an' learn to be normal. Normal looks the other way while all this goes on. 'round here, I hope to try an' help everyone be /better/'n normal. Start to do just that little bit more to /change/ the world out there."
"So there really are more of 'em out there? Besides the once you guys already found?" Kelly asks next, this becoming a bit more urgent in his brain as he takes stock of the situation. "Well, you, and Shane, and some of the others makes not normal kinda seem cool." He switches to the lighter subject. "Bein' as brave as you guys is kinda hard. I mean, you just sorta... /are/, and stuff. Everyone wants to change the world, I think. /I/ want to change the world. A bunch. But its... kinda tough to actually do it, though. To be able to stand up and do what needs 'ta be done."
"Yes, s'far as we can tell. We don't know how many. Got some friends still missin', though." Jax's expression stays neutral through this, though his fingers tighten harder around his cup. His head shakes with a faint renewal of his blush, a lighter laugh. "Ain't sure I'm all that brave. Just -- seen too much t'go back an' ignore it. I didn't never want to change the world. I mean, not like this. Maybe -- make paintings folks'd be moved by for years t'come but not -- y'know. Terrorism. But the world kinda -- is what it is." He gives Kelly a quick small smile. "What do you want to do? I mean, there's so very many different ways to make an impact an' most of 'em ain't flashy or news-y but still change lives. You want to change the world -- what kinda things do you want to help with?"
"You know, I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a long time." Kelly says, taking a sip of his own cup now and smiling. The tone on it in the past tense firmly. "But, uhm... things kinda changed awhile back. Not..." he holds up a hand to flick one of his flowers on his brow. "not this, before this. Started noticin' that most doctors didn't really help people, and that the ones who did were... so I thought I'd be..." and then he blushes BRIGHT red, and then... sortta... green?! "No, its silly, forget it." He tries to dismiss looking at the floor.
"S'funny to say, because, well, me an' some'a the other folks from the labs we -- ain't really had the /best/ of experience with folks in the medical industry. But I have known some /real/ amazin' doctors. The folks out at the Mendel Clinic, they get death threats every day jus' for openin' up a place to help us. Dr. Toure who helped make the zombie cure, he been there helpin' out free'a charge with the people we bring outta the labs. Sometimes hard t'find 'em, but good doctors is out there." Jackson takes another slow sip of tea, watching Kelly's blush with a small crinkle of his nose. "Thought you'd be what, hon?"
"President." Kelly says simply, and with a bit of a squeak in his voice as each of his round cheeks tint darker and darker green now. "Or, ya know, Mayor or Congressman, or you know, someone who could stand up, say 'this aint right' and actually change it so that it was right again. But... yeah. I thought 'You know, if I could actually /be/ the president, I could help make it illegal to be a jerk like they've been." But every word that comes out of his mouth loses more and more of the energy behind it. "I guess you've probably had almost as much trouble with politicians as you had doctors, though."
Jackson takes another drink of his tea at this answer, slower and longer. "Oh," he says lightly when he finally lowers it, "yeah, s'been /more/'n our share'a bad politicians too, I mean, some'a them had to be the ones t'sign /off/ on these labs t'begin with. An' our last mayor down in New York pretty much made it illegal t'openly /be/ a mutant, or nearabout. But, see, jus' like with the doctors -- it's the fact so many of 'em are bad that /means/ we need good folks to step up to the jobs. I mean, that or tear the whole government down an' start again." He actually sounds remarkably hopeful about this latter prospect too. "But changin' the system from inside, that's a good thing to do too. I mean, if the /good/ folks just say, well, there's so many bad people there I shouldn't bother then s'only the bad ones who're gonna keep havin' the jobs."
"But I guess we don't get to pick what we are, after all, though..." Kelly says as he waves around the room. "You're a teacher and a..." He stops using the 'T' word and smiles wide to rephrase it "Resistance Fighter." He decides, with... a touch of a French accent tacked on to the phrase to give it respect and distinction. "And... I'm thinkin' the odds are pretty long on me winnin' any national elections now that I'm a 'Floral-American.'" He holds a long though and asks: "But you don't regret it, do ya? I mean, what you're doing now? You wouldn't give it up to be a world famous artist, would ya?"
Jackson quirks a small grin at that rephrasing. "What, you don't think I chose to be a teacher? I love it here. This place's been like home for me an' if I can give somethin' back to that, help out more kids like they helped me -- We don't always get to choose what /happens/ to us, no, but we sure do get to choose what to do with it. And I --" He sucks in a slow breath through his teeth, looking up to consider the ceiling for a moment. "I wouldn't give up none of it. Not even the labs, if they hadn't took me I might never have /learned/. I wouldn't have my kids, I wouldn't have my family, there'd be a whole lotta folks still getting tortured in 'em who're out today. So no -- I wouldn't give it up, but." His grin curls wider. "I'm /still/ gonna be a world famous artist. Even if I gotta be one from jail. Lotsa free time in there, anyhow." He sounds more amused than worried at this prospect.
"An' I wouldn't be so sure. It'll be harder, /that's/ definitely certain an' I'd be lyin' if I said otherwise. Lots and lots of things in life are gonna be harder. But that don't mean impossible. Jus' means you gotta be that much more committed and --" He gestures with his teacup around the schoolroom they stand in. "-- an' means you collect yourself a good family who'll have your /back/ through alla it. I wouldn't never accomplish /nothin'/ without all the folks who help me. Who I help when they need it. An' look, last election cycle? Luke Cage only went down by a /hair/ an' he's -- I mean he's a /good/ guy but the way the media spins it, he's a violent ex-con who's one'a the most dangerous freaks out there. If he can get that far, means it ain't hopeless, the public accepting a mutant candidate. Just got some /work/ to do for it."
"Well, once you're all famous, but before you're TOOO famous for us little people." Kelly says as he finishes up his tea and sets it back down. "You can help me with my campaign posters." And as he gathers up his drawing again, he snorts a laugh. "Well, one thing's for sure, if the environmentalist loby doesn't support me, they're total hypocrites."
This last earns a laugh from Jackson, easy and warm. "Oh gosh. I got my share'a hippie friends wrapped up in eco-activism, I'll be sure t'poke at 'em on your behalf. He brings his tea back over to the counter he'd been sitting at, opening his laptop back up. "An' you still got some years t'decide what you want to do with -- I mean, heck, you can change your mind and try somethin' new at /any/ point in life, so --" He shrugs a shoulder, setting his tea down as he slides back onto his stool. "Just means we got some years t'get the world ready for you."