"Fire's not /all/ bad. Just depends on where it is, huh?"
<WES> Harry's Hideaway - Salem Center
A cozy nook of a bar, Harry's has been run by the same grizzled proprietor for decades. The fare they serve is plain and typical bar food, but solid and well-prepared, and what the alcohol lacks in variety it makes up for in quality. Close proximity and long-developed relationships with the staff at Xavier's means they turn a blind eye to the mutants who frequent the bar.
It might be the weekend but it hasn't been the most /restful/ of Saturdays for many of the staff at Xavier's. With the Times profile on the school and the subsequent horde of reporters and hecklers that showed up, many of the teachers with either defensive or /diplomatic/ aptitude have been tapped to help manage the throng.
Thankfully, the day has passed without /violent/ incident -- though there's been a whooole lot of questioning, harassing, yelling, badgering, requests for interviews, demands to know What Is Really Going On Inside There, pleas for /assistance/ from parents showing up at the end of their ropes.
A whole awful lot.
As it wears on deep into night, though, the crowds have thinned. No doubt they'll be back in force tomorrow but, for a while at least, there is a respite. A respite in which /some/ of the teachers are getting away from the campus -- there's plenty of questioning that they've had to field /there/, too, from nervous or worried students (or ones who really want to get out and flaunt for the cameras, give interviews, show off) -- to have some downtime.
Jax is adding a vibrant splash of colour to the pub. Vivid from his brightly peacock-hued mop of hair to his bright pink tee ('I'm one of the bravest girls alive', it reads) to his lime green and black mesh UFO capris to the bright tattoos wreathing his skin, he'd probably attract a good deal of notice if this bar weren't so used to the Xavier's teachers dropping in.
Just at the moment, he is carting a large tray back from the bar to a corner booth. It's laden with several people's drink orders as well as a few side snacks -- he seems kind of proud of himself as he manages to get it to the table without spilling! And set it down to slide back into his seat. Pick up his own glass (it's full of hard cider) to lift it in a salute. "-- To nothing being on /fire/. For one day, at least."
Matt looks fairly recently out of a shower, his short brown hair damp and spikey, his face smoothly shaven. He wears a black t-shirt, Coyote from Gunnerkrigg Court dancing across the front, faded jean shorts, and gray athletic sandals. "Thank you," he pipes as Jax arrives with drinks and snacks, reaching for his Blue Moon and raising it as well. "Hear, hear!" His smile is weary but warm. "To not being on fire!"
It's been a long day for all involved. Many teachers and faculty have played their part but a select few had multiple parts to play. Besides talking with the students, Ororo was also given the honor of being one of the few trusted to speak with a select few reporters ("Our concern is with the safety of our students" -- "This school functions much the same as more traditional schools, with curriculum tailored especially for our students needs"). She also kept a defensive role (a few of the more troublesome reporters disappeared early citing water damage to their equipment). It's no wonder that Ororo, who isn't usually one for going out drinking with friends, has decided to kick back and relax, taking the time to simultaneously distract her mind from the ensuing chaos and celebrate a relatively successful day. She claims her own cider from the tray as Jax delivers it and lifts it. "One day at a time," she adds to his toast.
While his morning was a relaxing one, the majority of Rictor's day centered on dealing with the crowds at the front gate. Those reporters and cameramen, those curious neighbors and 'concerned' citizens. Those people with Something to Say. It might not have been the Saturday he had hoped for, but he handled the duty as best he could and was honestly happy to help control the chaos.
Nevertheless, it drained the man, and the invitation to let loose a bit after the particularly stressful day was accepted straightaway. He finds his strong IPA among the other glasses and lifts it along with the rest. "Cheers, everyone. To moving forward."
Jax has spent a good deal more of his day dealing with the rowdiest of the /hecklers/ than with the actual reporters -- probably both strategic on the part of the administration (given his recent criminal conviction he is probably not the /best/ PR at the moment) and well up his alley after all the time spent working as a guard at the Mendel Clinic. A lot more talking than action, really. Though the kind of weary look on his face suggests that action /may/ have been a less /emotionally/ draining option than a day spent in conversation with angry-fearful-hateful throngs.
He takes a looong swig of his cider, leaning back in the bench, one leg bouncing restlessly up and down beneath the table. "Moving forward," he agrees with a quick lopsided smile. "Jus' hope that the future brings --"
But here be breaks off, a faint crease forming between his brows. Another pull taken from his drink. "No fire," is what he finishes. Just a little wry.
Being new to the faculty, Matt's share of the day's difficult visitors has been somewhat lighter. Even so, his positive disposition and diplomatic acumen have enough renown in the administration that they sent him to talk some of the hecklers down. He takes a long pull of his beer. "Well, fire's not /all/ bad. Just depends on where it is, huh?"
Ororo leans back and takes a sip of her cider, enjoying the other's comments on the day's events. "Mmm, some of us end up having to put out that fire eventually," she adds, smiling softly. "I'd like to offer my congratulations to all of you. Today was not an easy day and the following won't be much easier but everyone, new and old, handled the pressure well." Her glance lingers on Matt for a moment as she says this, offering him a warm smile and nod. Welcome to the club.
"And how it's managed," Rictor adds, bringing his own glass to his lips to take a long drink from it. He licks away a bit of foam from his upper lip, sets the glass down on a coaster in front of him, and leans into the booth's plush backing. While Ororo speaks, he finds himself scanning the bar, half expecting some more undesired attention to wander their way. So, while the beer and the company is certainly soothing, there's still a knot of stress buried somewhere in Rictor. "Agreed," he says, attention once again focused on his peers. "We make a good team."
The corner of Jax's mouth hooks slightly upward, his single eye flicking sideways towards Matt. He leans forward to pluck an onion ring from one of the baskets of Greasy Bar Food that he brought with their drinks. "I had a lot of cookies," he offers lightly. "That always helps with pressure." There's a touch of amusement in his smile, here. "Helped lighten up some'a the folks outside, too. Though -- /some/ just assumed they were like. /Evil/ cookies? Maybe I'd contaminated them with /mutant/ cooties? Or straight-up poison, I guess."
"We did good work, yeah, but I think it'd get a little old after a while," Matt admits, smiling sheepishly over the edge of his frosty glass. "I'm sure they will give up before we do though. I mean..." His eyebrows arch exaggeratedly. "...c'mon, those cookies were /really/ good. Alas for the ones who thought they were poison. More for the rest of us!"
The mention of cookies gets a light chuckle out of Ororo. "Such a shame, your desserts are always fantastic." She picks a fried cheese curd out of the selection of Greasy Bar Food, popping it in her mouth and munching on it thoughtfully. "You have to wonder though. If they distrust us enough to avoid food items, why on earth would they insist on speaking with us? They won't believe anything we say so why does it matter?" As Matt speaks, she does nod slightly. "Frustrating, I would say. But all news, even stories about our kind, is always fleeting. They'll be on to the next big story before you know it and the world will forget us."
For Rictor's part, he stays mostly quiet, unsure of what he really thinks about things like how long it's going to take for the tide to recede. The one thing he does know is that those cookies were damn good, which takes time to acknowledge. "Yes, cookies. About those. You are still offering them tomorrow, right? Pressure management and all." He throws out a wink and lifts his glass again to tend to his beer.
"When the Clinic opened up it felt like we was under /siege/ for the first couple weeks an' then -- the news died down an' most everyone forgot. Still get protesters fair regular but just the diehard sign-wavers, ain't crazy-bad like at first." Jax laughs at the talk of his cookies, quiet but warm; it comes in time with a faint brightening of his ink, the tattoos on his arms glowing softly. "'pologies, they all ran out," he says to Rictor with an expression of mock regret. Though follows soon after with: "Tomorrow s'gonna be cupcakes instead. I'm thinkin' maybe hazelnut stuffed with mocha mousse. Y'know. For pressure management."
"You never know when some of these people might start listening, though," Matt says, shrugging. "Whether the ones at the gate or the ones watching the news at home. I'm not expecting a groundswell of good will, but if we can win over a few...it's a start. And honest, how are they going to be able to resist hazelnut mocha mousse cupcakes?"
"A surprising amount of progress has occurred historically by winning over the few." Ororo lifts her drink up to take another sip, glancing over towards Jax. "I wouldn't complain if you dropped some cupcakes in my office. Particularly if they were the calming or relaxing variety. The last thing this school needs is a spontaneous tornado or hurricane."
While it's a bummer about the cookies, the cupcakes more than make up for it, evident from the smile on Rictor's face. "I'm looking forward to that bit of positivity, too," he tells Matt with a smile. "Even if it has to move through a lot of bad to get to us." He thinks a moment and looks around at his colleagues, then raises his glass to them. "Okay, once more. To tomorrow. Whatever it may bring."