A meeting in the gardens, a discussion about summers and about powers
From indoor gardens to outdoor, though without the protective greenhouse glass the back gardens do not last all year round. Still, the gardens out here are well-tended and well-worth spending time in, as well. The paths wending through the beds of flowers and herbs and vegetables spread out through the school's back grounds, tended by students as a credit class. Benches offer seating and a small pond is home to koi and turtles, as well as a few frogs. At the far back edges of the garden, a droning buzzing marks a few stacked white boxes as beehives.
Ororo makes for a figure in flowing cream cotton and now-dirty jeans as she kneels, heedless of the mud, on the edge of the pond. Her sleeves are rolled up, and her hands have long since disappeared beneath the depths. Every so often, she gently extracts some kind of root or stem, inspects it with glittering eyes and thoughtfully pursed lips, then either puts it back or pulls it out.
The koi are somewhat nonplussed by this intrusion, and have retreated deeper into the water, but a turtle looks on blithely from his sunning rock and the frogs chorus as gaily as ever.
Elli's enterence through the garden is a determined one, striding towards the benches neer the koi pond. Her determined path fades a little bit as her eyes fall onto Ororo, one side of her lips twitching once. The small stick in her hand, about the length of her forearm and as thin as a quarter is wide, Elli reaches up and bumps it against her shoulder, thoughtfully. Her pace doesn't slow down to nothing, but it does diminish as she steps up towards the pond. "Hello, Professor." Elli says, voice a little bit gruff. She taps the stick on the other side of her shoulder. "How are you doing?" she asks, plopping down onto the stone seat and giving Ororo a thin little smile.
Ororo's smile is slow, serene, and sufficiently palpable that it is somehow present even before she looks back over her shoulder to meet the greeter with her friendly electric blue eyes. Welcome simply radiates off of her in waves. "Elli," she murmurs, her low, rich tones transforming two syllables into a great deal of gentle affection -- the same that she gives most all the students freely. "I am glad to see you well."
Her mane of white hair falls over her shoulder with the motion, and is rapidly dangling precariously close to the surface of the pond. She shakes it out, waves tumbling backwards in the nick of time, then rocks back on her heels, a bit further away from the danger zone. "I am doing very well." She chins at the pile of oozing weeds rather than wasting words by way of explanation, instead inquiring, "Have you had a pleasant summer?"
Elli peers into the pond for a moment, eyes brightly blazing briefly down into the surface of the water. "Wasn't a bad summer." She says, after a moment of consideration. "But most of my friends are around here, these days. Spent a lot of time visiting them," she says, smile brightening for a moment. "Distance isn't much of a problem, ya know? As much as it makes my parents uncomfortable to talk about."
This last admission comes with a shrug of her shoulders, and Elli looks up to the older woman's face. "How about you, Professor? What did you do this summer?" A pause, and she gives a somewhat shy smile, fleeting, on her face. "I don't even know if you live around here. I just kind of think of you guys as just living here." she says, glancing around. "Where do you go in the summer?"
Ororo follows Elli's gaze towards the pond, and gently taps its surface, fondly. Then she rises, smoothly, no creaks in /these/ knees just yet. "I am glad you worked out a solution," she replies, as to traveling about, simply and honestly. It's always good for the kids to be able to see each other, whenever possible and reasonable.
She tilts her head to one side, reassuring Eili's shy smile with an unselfconsciously warm one of her own, when she's asked about her own summer. "The Mansion is my home," she acknowledges with wry good humor. "But I spent this summer afield. National parks, forests, mountains. It was... beautiful, and somewhat sad."
Her gaze becomes distant for a moment as she regards her memories, but then she blinks, shakes her head, and returns to the present with a chuckle. "But regardless of that -- what sports are you planning to go out for this year?"
"Sad?" Elli asks, looking up with a confused expression at Ororo. "Why is it sad? And -- if it was sad, why'd you do it all summer?" The teenager glances back down into the pond, reaching with a finger to gently stir the surface of the water and send ripples across the crisp surface.
"Oh, I'm not sure yet. Depends on whose running which ones. Probably dabble in a few, here and there. Not sure how much time I'm going to have, yet. Still trying to finalize my schedule." A brief pause, and Elli shrugs her shoulders, reaching across her chest with one arm and toying with one of the straps on her shoulder.
"Ah, I am sorry to be oblique. It is the climate change, mostly... it is hard to see the world falling so far out of balance, for such petty reasons as greed and convenience." Ororo explains this steadily enough, wholly comfortable in the face of teenage awkwardness -- and curiosity. She nods, and adds, firmly, "And while it can be sad to deal with difficult things, it is better to do what you can, instead of standing by and lamenting what you cannot. At least, if you are me. I do not do well waiting and moping." Her grin is dazzling against her dark complexion.
She wipes the worst of the mud off of her hands and onto a nearby patch of grass. "Would you like to talk about your classes?" she offers, settling herself onto a nice clean rock as though she has all of time. "Or something else, perhaps?"
"Oh. Global warming." Elli gives the older woman a long look then glances back down to her feet, boots tapping together once, twice. "I don't know f there's much to talk about, really. Just waiting to talk to my advisor about the final class selection." She lets the stick fall down from where she has been resting it on the jacket on her shoulder down to the dirt beneath her, tracing idle patterns in the surface of the dirt. "I don't do well waiting either." she says, after a few moments, glancing back up at Ororo.
Silence falls for only a few moments before Elli speaks up. "How do you handle it when your powers don't do what you intend them to? I mean... nothing serious. But it's frustrating when they don't do what I /want/." A note of exasperation flashes bright in her voice.
Ororo doesn't so much as blink; she accepts the question, and its implications, without judgement and with compassion. "It is a problem that we all face," she observes with quiet empathy, though not the pointless nonanswer that is pity. She crosses her legs neatly from her perch on the rock, getting comfortable.
"The first step is to decide what it is that you truly seek," she proceeds. "If you seek to control your feelings when things do not go the way you wish them to, that has little to do with your powers in particular, and much to do with how to approach life, in general. Since, after all," and she smiles slightly, "There are many things in the world further out of control than your powers. In the end, the /only/ thing you control is yourself." She spreads a hand, splaying her fingers. "On the other hand, if you are asking me how to control your powers more thoroughly... my answer is cautiously the same -- self-mastery is usually the path to control -- but there may be more to investigate, to understand about the 'why' of your gates going awry. With understanding, too, can come a lessening of anger, so perhaps both goals would be worthy ones for you. What do you think?"
Elli huffs, crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't mind when I don't end up where I don't expect." she says, after a few moments of TEEN SULK. She taps the stick against the ground a few times before she continues, frown knitting her forehead. "I just don't like when they just... do something when I'm not expecting. I just hate when I end up vanishing somewhere without even /meaning/ to." She shakes her head and stands up, rapidly, from the seat. She growls, a sound from the back of her throat. "I've gotten better at controlling it - a lot, better. It only happened once, this summer, and it was just a town over, but... I mean, come /on/." Elli tosses her hands up in the air, then lofts the stick into the bushes, jamming her hands into her jacket pockets.
"It will never go away," Ororo notes quietly. "Exploring your powers is a lifelong journey, and so is controlling them. In the end, the only limit to what you can do is the limit you decide upon. I truly believe there is nothing stopping you from training every day for twenty years and becoming the ultimate master of gate powers -- and even then you will not be in absolute control, and sometimes, unexpected things will arise."
She looks up at the teenager now towering over her; the growling doesn't seem to bother her any more than the huffing or puffing. "I prefer it that way... we live in a world of endless wonder. We are, ourselves, endless wonders. Expect the unexpected, and you will never be surprised."
It seems to occur to her that she's being a little archaic, because she abruptly grins again. "And relax! No one expects you to be perfect at control. You are perfect as you are... growing, learning, discovering. As long as you do your best to improve, beating yourself up over mistakes is wasted energy, no?"
"Yeah, I guess." Elli frowns at the ground, glaring at it as if it was personally insulting. She glances up from the ground and gives Ororo a little shrug and smile, before going back to glowering at the ground. "I know. I know I can'thelp it, but... doesn't make it any less annoying when you have to call your parents collect to come pick you up from the police station because someone thinks that you broke into their house. Again." The teenager cracks out her knuckles and looks upwards at the sky for a moment. "But, I've been getting better." Another pause, and Elli glances around, brief redness touching at her cheeks. "Do you mind if I just sit here, for a while?" she asks, gesturing to an area right next to the pond.
Ororo nods her understanding, as Eili expresses her frustration at the consequences of things going wrong. "I know," she agrees softly but wholeheartedly -- such trials /are/ annoying at best, and sometimes considerably more complicated with the police around -- and simply leaves it at that.
Her smile widens, and gentles, at the question. "I would like that very much," she invites, stretching her arms out behind her and simply tranquilly enjoying the sun, the pond, the breeze, and the company.