"People will be people, I suppose. The same as ever."
<XAV> Back Patio - Xs Grounds
This patio is expertly laid out for relaxing singly or in groups. The section nearest the back door is a more or less conventional veranda, the mansion's eaves--supported by elegant white wooden columns joined with matching railings--extending out to shelter the long porch swings, rocking chairs, and a chess table from the elements. Down the stairs or the ramp from this is a fan-shaped expanse of slate flagstones populated by clusters of deck chairs and picnic tables, always changing in number and arrangement, and stone planter boxes bursting with seasonal flowers and ornamentals. The centerpiece is an elegant pavilion with a hot tub open for use year-round, even if the transition in and out may prove chilly in snowy weather.
It's been a pleasant day but growing cool as evening sets in. The mansion is warm and welcoming, dinner underway and the rich smells of dal makhani and spiced green beans spill out from the kitchen. Dawson is eschewing the boisterous dining room; he's retreated to the patio with his bowl, where he's taken up a seat in a bench swing, head bowed over his food briefly. He tucks in hungrily once he looks back up.
He's dressed comfortably -- black quick-dry cargo pants, a grey v-neck tee; he's shed the readily identifiable standard black X-marked jacket that is a hallmark of the kind-of-an-open-secret team here, folding it neatly in half and draping it over the back of the swing he is in. In short sleeves, it leaves the extremely inhuman tentacle-like prosthesis he wears for a right arm today clearly visible; segmented and ending in a sharp claw-like pincer, the bionic arm isn't the friendliest looking thing. Its current paint job (a tessellation of unfurling green leaves with tiny ladybugs peeking out from under some of them) perhaps helps to offset this somewhat, though.
Oisín wanders out onto the patio as well. He has a bowl in one hand, but his attention is focused on the journal open in his other hand. Its thick cover is plain, and its pages are glossy and slick. A fork is tucked behind Oisín's ear, as he makes his way to the nearest swing. He clearly isn't paying attention to anything other than his book. He looks up briefly as he sits down, nodding at Dawson, before taking his seat and falling back in. He sets the bowl next to him, and it's quickly forgotten in favor of the academic journal.
Oisín is dressed casually as well; overalls over a plain white, short-sleeved button-down, with his favorite hiking boots. There's a pen tucked in the front pocket of the overalls along with a small notebook, and after a moment he reaches for it, marking something on the page of the journal before opening the notebook and settling it and the journal on his knees. He's completely lost in his own little world as he makes notes on the article.
Matt makes his slow way outside, looking frazzled and exhausted and without any dinner of his own, though he has a mug in hand. He's wearing a pale green dress shirt, deeper forest green scrollwork tie, silver satin vest, and charcoal jacket with matching trousers, carrying a black attache case. As he has been since returning to work in person these last two weeks, he looks pale and rather unwell, his hair a short lusterless scruff recently grown out. He reroutes when he sees Dawson and sinks into a nearby rocking chair. "How was training?" he asks brightly. His vivid green eyes dart over to Oisín. "Oh! Mr. Diaz--isn't it?"
Dawson has been in the process of losing his attention to emails when Matt addresses him; he glances up with a smile that comes a half-beat delayed. "I'm getting rusty," he answers lightly. "You gonna want a ride home? I'm heading out after I eat." He looks over to Oisín, first studying the man's journal before the man himself. "The curry's great," he offers, "but it's better when it's hot."
Oisín looks up after a moment. "Hm? What?" His voice is smooth and light as he finally sets aside both his journal and notebook. He hadn't noticed Matt coming onto the patio, so he nods in greeting as he looks up. His glasses had slipped down his nose when he looked down, making him look much younger than his nearly fifty years. He picks up his curry bowl, searching around for his fork, having clearly forgotten its resting place behind his ears.
"You," Matt's tone is rather too flat for this to sound like a question, "rusty. Mm, I might need to wedge myself into your next session if you want me to believe that. I would appreciate a ride, though. I'm kind of beat." He smile remains, easy and friendly, when he finally catches Oisín's attention. "I do apologize for interrupting your reading. I just wanted to welcome you in person. If you're looking for the fork it's uh..." He gestures with a gracefully upturned hand at the utensil behind his co-worker's ear. "...up there."
"Goodness knows when that will be, these days. Some things, you just need to take on faith." Dawson tucks a leg up underneath himself, the claw end of his arm clicking against his bowl as it latches onto the base, steadies the curry while he adjusts his seating. His smile curls brighter when Oisín looks up; the flap of his hand toward his own head is much less elegant than Matt's. "Hey. Just saying hi. You started at kind of a -- chaotic time, I feel like normally I would have introduced myself ages ago. I'm --" He has only a slight stutter of hesitation before continuing on easily enough, "Dawson. I don't actually teach here, I just fake it sometimes."
Oisín smiles. "Oisín Diaz. Professor of botany and horticulture. It's a pleasure." His body language is warm and open as he greets Dawson. A bit of an accent curls its way around his words, softening and rounding them. "And a pleasure to meet you as well," he says in Matt's direction. "Thank you, by the way, for both the welcome and the help." Oisín sheepishly picks the fork from behind his ear, cheeks warming slightly, before finally digging into his food.
"Honestly, the way my schedule's been, I might have to take it on faith even if you were training every day." Matt sighs and takes a sip of his tea. To Oisín he inclines his head, "Wonderful to meet you officially. I am the ever-elusive Matt Tessier." He splays the fingers of his free hand across his chest. "I actually do teach here, but that isn't mutually exclusive with faking it. They mostly keep me around because I'm good at helping students not burn the school down--and for my scintillating humor." His smile curls wider, just a touch mischievous. "It's about thyme we had a proper horticulturalist here."
"He's not that elusive. Just set out a chessboard, brew up a cup of tea -- it's like baiting a Matt trap." Dawson's eyes widen, and he sits up straighter in the swing, setting his food back in his lap. "Oh, botany! That's lovely. Around here you're certainly working with a good --" He waves his hand out towards the expansive gardens beyond the patio. "Canvas? Can I say canvas if it's plants?" His grimace at Matt's pun is overly exaggerated; probably not greatly sincere given his pained mutter of: "You're unbeleafable."
"Nice to meet you properly, Mr Tessier," Oisín says, grinning. "And I think canvas works quite well. These grounds really are absolutely stunning! And the gardens..." He trails off with a dreamy sigh, a look of utter contentment on his face. "Well, I can't say I'm not enamored. It's really wonderful. I haven't had this much free access to gardens or grounds since I was in college. And really, I'm rooting for this semester to be a good one."
"That is sage advice generally, though I might be harder to find come the break." Matt's smile turns a touch rueful. "I'll still be around, just--wiltier. Oh, and please do call me Matt." He recovers his good cheer quickly. "Mr. Tessier is my brother, who you'll likely meet sooner rather than later. You might hit it off--he's quite the avid gardner, himself, though no professional." He takes another long pull of his tea, subsiding into his chair and finally rocking it, just a bit. "I'm glad you are enjoying the grounds, and I'm sure this summer will prove a fruitful term."
"It really is something around here, isn't it? The first time I saw the grounds, I --" Dawson shakes his head, his own expression a little distant. "Wait, should I have been calling him Mr. Tessier all this time? -- It's hard not to hit it off with his brother," he cautions Oisín, "he's sort of professionally charming." He stirs at his own curry, remembering now to take another bite. "Sorry, the food hasn't kicked in yet. I am too hypoglycemic to think of another pun but sincerely, I really do hope this next term is a little easier for you both. I feel like everyone kind of deserves a smooth one, you know?" His brows crease as he darts a sidelong glance to Matt. "As smooth as it can be, anyway."
He nods. "I understand. Call me Oisín, please, then. And don't worry, I think I'm already becoming rather frond of this place." Setting aside the humor, he continued. "I'm settling in quite well, and everyone has been very welcoming. It's a lovely change of pace from my last school. " Dawson's own hunger reminded Oisín of his own; he began digging in with more gusto. He was actually rather hungry, now that he thought about it. "I hope to meet your brother soon, Matt. It's been such a busy time, recently, that I haven't had the chance to meet quite a few people who seem to be rather important around here." His expression was light, but pensive.
Matt's eyes glimmer with fierce amusement at Dawson's description of his brother. "He is, no? But, come to think of it, I may in fact be called 'Mr. Tessier' as often as he, if not more--certainly you needn't, in any case." His smile disappears for a moment behind his mug. "I do hope you can find a bit of peas after exams, at least, and have a chance to catch up." His smile goes a little softer here. "I cannot agree more, my friend."
"What was your school like before this? I barely remember what normal high schools are like, honestly." This time, Dawson's grimace is more genuine. He sucks inward at his cheeks, chewing briefly on their insides. "I've been here way too long, haven't I?" He scrapes the last of his curry from his bowl. The swing rocks erratically as he pulls himself out of it. "Whatever anyone tells you, the most important person you need to meet around here is Jax Holland. The most heavenly cookies you will ever come across, that man will hook you up. A genuine life-saver in the more difficult weeks."
Oisín ponders the question for a moment. "Rather the same, I think. There are still children, getting up to things they shouldn't, and teachers who indulge, and long-suffering administration. It's all really very similar, but the public schools lack all the nice facilities. I taught at a private college prep school, so I had good labs to share with the students, but I have taught at places far less fortunate." He shrugs. "People will be people, I suppose. The same as ever." Finishing the last of his own curry, he nods. "And yes, I shall have to find this Jax. Cookies sound wonderful right now."
"This place has its flaws," Matt admits, "but--like you said--so will any school, in all likelihood. I do think some of the difficulties here are unique, but really, Dawson could probably tell better than I, being an alumnus. Jax, too." He looks down into his teacup. "Alumni have a tendency to orbit Xavier's, if they ever leave at all. I think it's good for this place to get some cross-pollination in teaching experience from elsewhere." He drains his tea and hums quietly, reaching up to pull himself out of the chair by way of Dawson's arm. "I doubt if he's still on campus at the moment, but he may have left treats in the teacher's lounge. If not, I suspect he'll find you himself sooner than later." His smile returns warm and bright. "Good evening to you, Oisín, and we'll seed you around!"