"I figured it was about time for me to get a new /look./"
Tall panes of glass keep this large indoor garden warm year round. Tended to by the school's groundskeeper, the conservatory is lush with plant life, a carefully cultivated paradise within Xavier's walls. The room serves as a classroom as well; in the center of the garden a ring of seats forms a small circle, a favorite locale for some teachers to hold court.
Lunchtime finds the Conservatory bright, sunny, and quiet. Noises from people chatting or playing in the gardens outside are muted; at the moment it's just the occasional quiet click of chopsticks interspersed with a soft scratching of pencil against paper. Tucked on a bench under some citrus trees, Jax is brightly colourful enough to be part of the scenery; black and green and silver and purple vertically striped pants, a short-sleeved green button down, vividly multicolored peacock-hued hair. He has a Tupperware full of some kind of basily vegetable and tempeh concoction, and a sketchpad in his lap. The developing sketch, only just beginning, has an enormous humanoid figure munching the head off a much smaller one.
Matt is making his slow way down a path leading from inside, swiping at his phone with one hand, carrying a slim silver thermos on the other. Though he's smartly dressed today-- white dress shirt with thin green stripes, subtly duochrome green and silver vest, gray linen slacks--and his hair still much too short to muss, he looks rather pale and gaunt side, with deep shadows under his eyes. He looks up from his phone and looks around, suddenly keen. Amidst the greenery it take a him a few seconds to locate Jax "Salut," this with a warm smile as tucks his phone away and approaches. "May I disturb your lunch--and your art?” He peers at the sketch in progress. "Though I suppose the latter is also lunch, and somewhat pre-disturbed, at least for one of them."
There's a subtle ripple around Jax, as Matt approaches, a faint shift in light as his makeup touches itself up. "My art long since /been/ disturbed." His tone is brightly cheerful -- as is his smile; he looks up to give Matt a searching look that lasts a few beats too long. "You want?" He waggles the container of food in offering. "Hive cooked it. Got enough basil t'make you forget summer's ending."
Matt eases himself down to sit beside Jax. "You look splendid," somehow doesn't sound like a platitude from him, gentle and sincere. He hesitates a moment, looking at the food, but then accepts it and offers Jax his thermos. "Second flush Darjeeling, lightened and sweetened to my taste, I'm afraid." He plucks up a small piece of tempeh with a sliver of green pepper, chews for longer than seems altogether necessary for swallowing, studying Jax's sketch. "It does taste ever so delightfully of summer, I must confess I have been looking forward to the fall...even more than usual."
A light blush dusts itself across Jax's cheeks. He accepts the tea, popping the cap to take a long gulp. "Lookin' forward? Don't tell me you're eager to get to gradin' papers, cuz /I'm/ already planning a healthy round of procrastinating and I won't have you of all people making me feel guilty about it."
"I had grand designs, back in July, of getting all my fall term prep done before Labor Day weekend, but..." Matt's smile is only a touch sheepish. "Well, I got /most/ of it done before Labor Day, which is a record for me, though that's not exactly a high bar." He corners a chunk of eggplant, but doesn't pick it up. "I want to do better by my students, and you ought not to feel guilty about /that/, being a far better teacher than I on every axis imaginable." Then, as he mops up a bit of sauce with the eggplant, "I /have/ missed you so."
"/Every/ axis is a bit of exaggeration." Jax's blush is deepening. He nibbles on the edge of the thermos before taking another sip. "Your students mostly all adore your classes an' that ain't nothing." He closes the thermos, pops it open again, closes it, pops it open again. "'pologies, yeah, I been a bit indisposed."
Matt works his way through the eggplant and passes Jax's lunch back to him. "They mostly adore my classes because I'm a /pushover,/" he points out, the corner of his mouth twitching up. "I'm not faulting you. Or me, even though I wish that I'd had the energy to be a better friend these last few months."
Jax's smile is a little wry. He takes the Tupperware, pushing his food around without eating it. "You," he says lightly, "been a bit indisposed."
"I don't dispute that. I wish I'd had the energy for a /lot/ of things." Matt's brows gather slightly, then relax as he takes his thermos back and drinks deep. "But despite all appearances, I /am/ on the mend now!" His smile is bright, if a touch nervous. He knocks on the seat of the bench lightly. "Come over tonight, s'il te plait. Luci misses you, too."
Jax plucks delicately at his food, picking out single grains of rice to nibble on slowly. "That's good. That's -- that's real good. The dyin' thing was gettin'..." His nose wrinkles. "Kinda passe." His eye drops down to the food, and he swipes a bit of broccoli this time, rubbing it through the sauce in circles. "I kinda got seven million things need catchin' up on," he demurs apologetically.
"I figured it was about time for me to get a new /look./" Matt nods, subsiding just a fraction. "Of course." He pauses a beat, smiling wanly. "Next Monday, perhaps?"
"I think the fuzz is working for you, anyway." Jax lifts a hand, fingertips skimming lightly over the top of Matt's head. His teeth wiggle at his lip ring as he closes his tupperware, one shoulder lifting. "I don't know. Maybe. Things have been kind of hectic. I'm sure Steve will be there, anyway," he says, brighter.
"It certainly is low-maintenance. But, the fuzz is only a phase, and not one that has very positive associations for me." Matt closes his eyes for a moment, leaning into Jax's touch. "Steve /is/ wonderful like you, and I love you both dearly, but he is not /you/. And this is not why I asked you over, but I /am/ concerned about you." He peels one hand away from the thermos and lays it on Jax's shoulder. "If you just don't have the energy or time for socializing, I understand and would like to help find ways to work around that. I've some experience in those areas, first- and second-hand, respectively." His hand drops. "But /whatever/ it is, I--still want to be a part of your life. It doesn't have to look one particular way."
Jax's brow creases. Just briefly. He shakes his head, hand dropping as he stands. "I mean, you're here, ain't you? An' I'm here. I don't think it'd be easy t'stop being part of my life." His smile is quick, small. "I gotta get ready for class. S'good to see you again."
Matt looks up as Jax stands. "I'm certain you would make time if you wanted to see us, and I'm /almost/ certain you do..." He trails off and shakes his head, staring down at his thermos. "Just. /Luci/ isn't here. And he needs you more than he will say, or probably even know. I'm not saying this to mean that you must come over--next week, or ever. That was merely something I would /like/. But I beg you, talk to him?" Very quietly. "He--has a tendency to draw his own conclusions when you don't."
"I talk to Luci," Jax says, slightly defensively. His cheeks flush redder, and he bows his head, scuffing fingers through his shaggy hair. "An' of course I want to see you, things have jus' been --" A small crease of brow. "Anyway t'ain't like you don't have plenty of --" But his head shakes, this, too, unfinished. "I gotta go." More quietly mumbled, as he turns to hasten away.