From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Hercules, Jack, Matt, Shane


"Some people commune with acorns."


<XS> Forest

Quiet and shady, the trees rise all around here high and thick. In stillness, woodland creatures make appearances, though sudden noises scare them back into the cover. Dappled sunlight filters down between the thick foliage, and the ground underfoot is heavily overgrown, though here and there paths have been worn, by deer or years of students wandering familiar trails.

The forest is quiet in the cold gloom of morning, with only the cries and calls of various birds. And once in a while, the rhythmic heavy tread of someone running. Clad in sturdy running shoes and Xavier's sweatshirt and trackpants. His hood is up against the dampness and the drips that fall from the trees above, his shoulders already wet. A steady puff of warm breath leaves a trail of vapour rising up behind him as he goes.

Somewhere in the not-too-distance, there's a sudden flutter of wings. A warning cry of a bird, sharp and brief. A distress cry, sharper, keener. A rustle, a snap. Then quiet again.

Jack's been out on a little run too. Work out pants, a black hoodie, and no person inside, he's quiet as he runs. He tends to be quiet in general anyway. He perks up slightly when he sees someone up ahead, letting out a little hum when he gets an idea who it might be by size alone. Before he can even think of a greeting, the noise makes him slow. Jack hums faintly, slowing to a stop and looking around to see if he can figure out which direction the noises came from.

Matt is *not* running, but sitting cross-legged on a fallen tree in a small clearing at the confluence of several trails. He wears a green zippered sweatshirt, khaki convertable pants, and brown hiking boots. Eyes closed, breathing even, he looks...peaceful. A large acorn rests in the hollow of his cupped hands.

The large teen slows to a halt after hearing the second, louder, more insistent keening and then sudden quiet. Hercules moves behind a tree, and peers in the direction he things the noise came from. He spends a few moments to stretch his legs, and then steps away from the tree. "Odd.", he says to himself. The large teen begins to run once more, but halts again after a few moments, peering at the man sitting cross-legged at the point where several trails cross. The acorn in the man's hands is pondered.

Rustlerustlerustle. The birds are still quiet. Then everything else is quiet, too. For a while.

Eventually a small figure makes its way out of the trees and into the clearing. Shane -- looks peaceful too, in his own way. Kind of meditative, as he methodically strips the feathers from a very large wild turkey held limp and dead in one hand and tucks them into a satchel strapped across his chest. Save for the satchel, he's mostly only wearing -- a significant coating of dirt and blood, some leaves stuck to knees and bare webbed feet. His nostrils flare, eyes darting from one person to the next to the next as he rocks to a halt. Huffs out a steamy breath.

Moving after Herc just to watch his back in case they run into something dangerous, Jack stops when they enter the clearing too. He blinks a few times at the sight of Matt before stepping forward and giving a little nod of greeting to Herc. "Hey," he says, peering curiously in Matt's direction. He definitely didn't look like the source of the noise. And then Shane appears. Jack arches a brow at the sight of the turkey, having not known there were wild ones out in the woods. He looks Shane over a moment later and ends up blinking again. "Well, that explains what the noise was..." he murmurs, rubbing the back of his neck.

Matt opens his eyes and flashes a friendly smile at Hercules. "Good morning!" He tips his head back to glance up at the sky slowly growing paler beyond the leafy canopy. "Lovely weather for a run, no?" There's no hint of sarcasm in his voice. "And good morning to you two, as well," he adds when Shane and Jack enter from different trails. Standing up (on the log), he hurls the acorn out into the woods. It flies a decent distance before hitting a tree and falling to the leaf litter with a soft rustle. Then he hops down to the ground, brushing his hands off. "Now I feel kind of lazy, sitting here like a bump on a log while the rest of you are so industrious."

Hercules eyes the blue figure that appears out of the woods. Dirt and blood and not much else. Grinning, Hercules pulls a thermos from a fannypack hidden by the end of his sweatshirt. "Nice catch.", the tall teen says, offering up the thermos to the sharky one. "Water?" Hercules looks over his shoulder at Jack, "Hey, didn't see you out there. You out for a run too?" And then Matt opens his eyes and the teen takes a step back. "Oh, you're actually awake. Uh, good morning. Name's Hercules. And yes, it's excellent weather for a run."

"You were being industrious." Some of the feathers Shane drops onto the ground, though others he continues to add to the outer pocket of his bag. "Communing with your --" His brows hitch up when Matt hurls his acorn into the woods. "Well, now you've gone and hurt its feelings." The large bird in his hand swings heavily as he waves Hercules's offer away, taking a half-step backwards. "I'm good. Got my own. Y'all do some fucking early-ass exercise around here. I thought high school was for sleeping."

"Were you trying to catch a squirrel or something?" Jack asks after Matt throws the acorn. Hercules' 'didn't see you' comment gets Jack's hood tilting and him giving the larger figure the flattest look an invisible guy can. "Yeah. I usually come out here for a run," he replies, hands stuffing in his pockets. He shrugs a bit, looking at Shane with an unseen smile. "Only in certain boring classes," he jokes.

"I wasn't *completely* awake, either," Matt admits. "I haven't caught any squirrels /yet/, which is probably lucky, since I'd be bleeding profusely if I tried to do it with my bare hands." His grin is broad and bright. "But no, I was actually just..." He nods in Shane's direction. " could call it communing with the acorn. I wasn't *insulting* it," addressing Shane specifically now, "I was returning it to the earth. And giving it a taste of flight."

Hercules nods to Shane, taking a large gulp of water and offering the thermos to Jack and Matt. "Water?" He glances at Jack and shakes his head, "Oh come on, you know what I meant, I didn't see your hoodie running around." Looking back to Shane, he raises an eyebrow slightly, "I assume most of the blood is not yours?" Glancing back to Matt, Hercules chuckles. "And now some poor squirrel is missing his lunch."

Shane's teeth flash bright at Jack. "Oh my god have you had Ms. Deeb for any math yet? I mean, if you get her like, one-on-one after class she can explain shit like a boss but holy /fuck/ does she just goddamn /drone/. I swear I just dropped /right/ the hell to sleep." His head shakes. He leans back against a tree, foot tucking back to rest a heel against its base. His eyes tick back in the direction the acorn had flown. Then look over at Matt. "What would /you/ call it?" He sounds genuinely curious. The hairless ridge of his brow raises higher when Hercules answers Jack, teeth baring more. Bird un-feathered, now, his claws slice into it -- first below the wing joints, then at the base of the tail. His eyes drop down to his work. "Shit, yeah, Jack, don't be so damn uppity. Not like you hear that same damn line as a shitty-ass joke seventeen times a day, huh?" His tongue swipes up against his mouth. Thoughtful. "Not mine -- this time."

"Better phrasing, man...better phrasing..." Jack trails off in reply to Herc. "No thanks," he says, waving an empty sleeve in reply to the offer of water. Attention returns to Shane and Jack chuckles. "Yeah...she's just...walking and talking knock-out drugs," he chuckles, not much energy or mirth in it though. "Why would an acorn need to fly?" he asks. He offers an unseen smile at Shane's comment, nodding towards him. "I would hope that's not your pretty worrisome if we had battle birds in the woods."

"See, this is why I break out into song randomly in class." Matt leans back against the log, planting his hands on the trunk where the bark has been worn smooth with use. "{To the will of the people, and the health of progress!}" His singing voice is a solid, high tenor, and his French carries a heavy southern Quebecois accent. "Keeps the students awake." He tilts his head, mouth twisting to one side. "Words mean things, whether we intend them so or not. No one is immune to it, we do best to acknowledge our slip-ups and learn from them." He nods, stares off into the woods. "I call it meditating. Boring, I know... The acorn doesn't need to fly, but it longs for the sky all the same, no? In time, maybe." The crooked grin returns. "If it doesn't become a squirrel's lunch first."

Hercules nods to Jack, "Sorry, Jack, it was unintentional. It is a rather common phrase, in my defense. I'll let you have one free, 'How's the weather up there?' joke as compensation, deal?" Glancing to Shane, he nods with a bright grin. "And now I know just how much blood one of those things has. Is that the only catch so far? And uh, tell me you tucked your clothes somewhere, and that you have not lost them in battle with a wild turkey. Losing them in battle is the better story though." At Matt's sudden outburst of singing, Hercules looks to the man, appreciating the solid voice. He nods to Matt, "As I said, it's a common phrase, it just slipped out." The tall teen glances back to Jack, "Honest, I wasn't trying to make a joke out of it.

"We /do/ have battle birds in the woods -- sometimes," Shane confides to Jack. He slips a knife out of the satchel, cutting the feet off the turkey next. "At least, Horus has a pretty awesome war helmet." The feet go into his bag as well. He settles down on the ground at the base of the tree to start cutting the head off. "So far? Uh -- this is all the breakfast I need, man. At least for a couple hours. My clothes are by the lake." His smile twitches up crookedly at Hercules's appreciation of Matt's singing, and his head shakes. "His brother's spoiled me for that." His brow rumples, though, after this. "Kinda regret you weren't teaching that class when I was there. Be interested to hear your take on the subject. Get -- a little annoyed when the people teaching the classes --" He trails off with a frown. Then shrugs. "Meditating's not boring. Sometimes your head needs the space." The rest of the conversation doesn't exactly go /past/ him. He watches it with a small tip of his head. A very faint blink. Then returns to his work.

"Wait...wha?" Jack asks Shane. "Like...actual birds attacking people or...?" he asks, looking up at the trees as if expecting one to swoop down. He shakes it off though. "Horus has a lot of hats from what I heard," he remarks, remembering his brief meeting with Horus awhile back. He waves of Hercules' offer though. "Don't worry about it...just watch out in the future," he says. THe sudden musical gets Jack blinking and he ends up clapping a little when it ends. "Shane's right...meditation's not boring. Just never seen it include acorns though," he shrugs, leaning against a tree.

"Horus isn't generally into attacking people, but if there are *other* battle birds out here, I can't speak to their proclivities." Matt shrugs, not looking *particularly* worried. "Yeah, my singing is *strictly* amateur." He gives a little bow all the same. "It does get people's attention though! You know..." He props his elbow on one knee and sets his chin in the palm of his hand, eyeing Shane. "...that you are always welcome to sit in on my class if you have the inclination and the time. I'm guessing you don't mean French Lit." To Jack, he nods. "You can meditate with all kinds of objects and activities. Some do it while working out. Some do it with candles. Some do it while fighting. And some people commune with acorns."

Hercules nods slowly to Jack. "I will do better.", the tall teen says quietly. He glances at the other two, discussing meditation and music, and offers a small wave. "I'll uh... head off, yeah? Got a few more kilometers to do, and then I have to see if I can catch up to M... her. See you three later, yeah?" Hercules grins and turn, walking slowly towards the path he was originally on.

"Catch up to who?" Shane tips his head, sniffing absently at the air, but just lifts his chin to Hercules. "And nah, not French lit. I mean, maybe French lit, I don't know? I don't know much about French lit to be honest, is it more than just a bunch of old dead white guys cuz I gotta be honest that thought bores the shit out of me." He tucks the knife back in his bag, sharp claws slicing a longer slit at the base of the turkey's tail so that he can reach in with one hand to tug out a handful of innards. "I think," he adds with a small -- kind of wry, oddly a little tired -- grin to Jack, "everyone around here wears a lot of hats."

Jack is curious about who Herc is planning to catch up to as well but Shane beats him to it. "See ya later," he offers Herc's way. Looking back to Matt, Jack offers an unseen smile. "Amateur but still great," he offers. He goes quiet at the talk about class and French Lit, glancing at Shane work a moment before focusing on the ground. He nudges a fallen stick before looking back up at the others. "I go more for hoods than hats myself," he jokes lightly, tugging his hood. "But yeah...lots of hats."

"Have fun, Hercules!" Matt gives a cheerful wave. "I'll see you around." He snickers at Shane's question. "It's contemporary literature, so even the white guys are mostly still alive. My reading list includes Francophone writers of many genders and colors, but that doesn't guarantee their works will interest you. Still welcome to drop in if you like. Is there a book club here? If there isn't, I should start one." His smile broadens, though he ducks his head a little, too. "Aw, thanks, Jack. That was me switching out my witch hat for my singing hat...and now I should go and put on my teacher hat." He straightens up, stretching. "Enjoy your breakfast," to Shane, then, to Jack, "and enjoy your run!" Then he's wandering back down a trail toward the school grounds.

Hercules takes another couple of steps before stopping. He looks back to Shane and grins. "Marinov.", he says. He nods to Jack, "Yeah, we should still go to Evolve, yeah?" His eyes widen a little, "Oh yeah, Shane, your dad makes great cookies. But uhm... think he could do ... bacon cookies? Or like, steak? Just a thought, yeah?" The tall teen waves to Matt then, "I look forward to Les Miserables." Hercules turns once more and begins to run off, back towards the mansion.

Shane's gills flutter, a small ripple of silent laughter. He digs a gizzard out from the pile of innards he has just excavated, chomping down on it. "Steak. Bacon cookies. Doubt it. S'vegan. Does make a pretty kickass maple-bacon donut, but the bacon's shiitake mushrooms." Shrug. "In lieu of steak I'm sure he'll be happy to talk to you about animal liberation, though. Not quite as filling -- well, not for your /stomach/." CHOMP. The rest of the gizzard disappears into his mouth. He waggles a bloody hand at Matt. "Pretty sure there's a book club. You'd probably give them better material. And a better soundtrack. See-ya." That's to the people with actual /schedules/ to attend to. Well -- /he/ probably has a schedule to attend to, as well. Just. A college one. /He's/ got time. To sit. And chomp.

"Have a good day, Professor," Jack offers Matt's way. He just ends up looking back down when Herc mentions Marinov, hood nodding. "Later today," he confirms, offering to show Herc to the cafe. He lingers as the others head off, leaning against the tree still. "I should probably start heading back too," he says, not in much of a hurry even as he pushes off the tree and stretches.