(Backscene 2011) Face To Face With Scott

October 19, 2011: Cal braces Scott in his den to talk things out.

Xavier's Institute, Scott's office>



Mood Music:

It's a couple days after the Professor X invited him to stay. Cal's spent most of that time debating with himself, weighing duty against what he wants. It helps that duty can be found in many places. There's a lot to think about and one of those things brings him to Scott's office at a time he knows the man will be there. *knock* *knock* he raps on the door frame.

Its late in the afternoon on a weekday, a time when Scott is usually going over papers and preparing a lesson plan for his students. When a rap at his door comes, he folds the immaculately organized papers into a manila folder and rises, leaving a half finished cup of tea on the table.

"Hey Calvin." Scott's expression remains unnervingly neutral, an effect brought by the ruby glasses he wears. Stepping aside, he leaves the door open and walks back over to his desk. "Can I get you something? Water, tea…"

"Hey Scott." Cal steps into the office then closes the door behind him. "I thought I'd give you the opportunity to express your concerns and ask your questions." It's a simple offer to get things out into the open.

So… he'd noticed. It's the first thought that comes to Scott's mind and it gives him pause. After a few moments, he looks up from his desk and there are the visible signs of a suppressed sigh. Leaving his cup of tea and the manila folder, he takes a few steps over to his window, which overlooks the rear grounds. Children are playing outside, most of them involved in participating or spectating a game of 'no powers' basketball.

"The X-Men aren't something I take lightly," he starts, quickly chiding himself for the tense tone he can hear in his own voice. He also realizes he's being rude, and so he turns around, speaking as he walks over toward an empty chair, one of those not behind his desk. "I mean, you probably know that from where you come from. But, I have a responsibility here, and I need to make sure I understand where all the cards lie." He sits down, folds his hands, and nods toward the chair opposite him.

"You've never been one to take things lightly." Cal agrees. He's leaning back against the door, watching Scott. "And no matter what the Professor says, and what he's discovered, you need to be reassured on your own. You trust the Professor with your life but the X-Men are yours. Believe me, I understand. That's why I'm here." As Scott takes a seat, Cal walks over to one facing the other and sits as well. "Shoot."

That first remark brings a curl to Scott's lips, the telltale signs of a rueful smirk. It fades slowly, the glasses now concealing whatever it is he's thinking behind ruby lenses. He leans forward, folding his hands, and sets his shielded gaze firmly upon Calvin.

"What bothers me most, is that this world isn't your world. Or the other worlds you've seen. What happens here is based off what -happened- here, and it's already pretty clear to me that's different from the place you came from. I can't just sit here and arbitrarily hand over keys to the car when I don't -know- you. We've never been in the field together. I don't know where your limits are. I don't know what makes you crack, and that poses a danger I'm not comfortable with." The words are spoken frankly and without any regard to how they might affect the man seated across from him.

At least it's not Logan. Scott has a feeling this will at least go better than anything involving that guy.

"No, this isn't my reality. Mine is practically idyllic compared to some I've been in or heard about. Even compared to this one, we had almost no anti-mutant prejudice. The X-Men were as public as the Avengers and just as well regarded. We were regarded almost like royalty." Which no doubt helps explains some of Cal's longing for his home. "I don't expect here to be the same and I'm not asking for the car keys. You'll always be the driver here, Scott. You earned your place. As for the field…" He shrugs. "That only time can remedy."

Scott listens carefully. At first there are no signs that point to his response. However, the tone of his voice suggests, when he speaks again, that Calvin has served to quiet some of his concerns. "The public doesn't even know about us," he answers. "The FBI, homeland, probably even S.H.I.E.L.D. would be on this place in a matter of seconds, and everyone from the Professor down to the custodians would end up behind bars." He shakes his head. "I don't like it, but I can't change it. Right now, our main goal is to keep these students protected. Keep them safe. And we're prepared to go to whatever end is necessary, even though we all hope it never comes to that." Regardless of the words that border on lecturing, Scott has adopted a more conversational tone. His jawline, however, remains tight, as of he were a few moments away from grinding his teeth.

"Secondary to that, though… we try to keep our eyes on the world around us. Professor Xavier wants to see a world where humans and mutants live together. I share those same dreams, but the reality is sometimes… not there."

"The reality is for us to shape." Cal suggests, quirking a brow. "If not us, then who? Who better to provide a good example? Who better can defend themselves? Who else has a better guide down that road? The school's secret and the students need to be protected, of course. That goes without saying. But that's also more of a philosophical question. What will help set your mind at ease, Scott? Don't worry about offending me. Ask what you need to ask. I'll probably answer."

The slightest suggestion of a smile turns the edges of Scott's lips. He's holding back from showing more, but Calvin's words are inspiring. Familiar, even.

A long silence lingers, and the smile fades. "Have you ever killed?" he asks quietly. "What might prompt you to do it?"

That… was not the question he was expecting. Certainly not the first question and he goes utterly still, his expression neutral. As Cal looks at Scott, his gaze goes through him and into the past. "Many, many times." he finally answers softly. "I couldn't even begin to say how many. It was… necessary. Necessary to stay alive and other times, necessary to fix a reality. To fix the multiverse." He blinks and his gaze returns to Scott. "Do you want to know the first time, Scott? It was our first mission. We had no almost no information. It was a world where the humans had imprisoned every person with power. Not just mutants, everyone. They scanned the unborn and aborted fetuses that showed any hint of being born with abilities. Our mission was to 'free the one who would lead you'." It's obviously a direct quote. "'Find your greatest teacher.' Those of us who were X-Men in our realities, we knew immediately who that was."

A grave look comes over Scott's face, though he listens to the recounted tale with lips pressed firmly together. There was a reason he went for that punch; you can learn more about a man when you ask him something so ferociously direct than you do beating around any bush. The answer tells him a few things… that Calvin is loyal, willing to make tough calls, dedicated, but most importantly, honest.

"We try to avoid it here," he explains. "Mankind's greatest fear is that the mutants will rise to power, rape pillage and plunder. They fear a girl who can walk through walls will be a thief, or a man who can't be killed will become an unstoppable killer. The moment we become killers or thieves is the moment we feed that fire." He leans back into his seat. "I can't sit here and tell you that there won't come a time where I myself won't go for a kill shot. But I damn well have better looked for every other option before I pull that trigger. That's just the world we live in, and it's something we can stand by. Can you live with that, for a long as you're with us?"

Cal's just as happy not finishing that story. Killing the Professor is way up there among the worst things that ever happened to him. "I am very tired of killing, Scott. It's sometimes the only way to fix a reality and I hate it." he says simply. "Killing is always the last resort."

There is a brief silence. "Well, you might find you like it here." Scott grins, then reaches across the way to clap Calvin upon the shoulder. "Come on." He stands. "I'll show you the base, get you an access account with the Danger Room, and if you're up for it, we'll bring you on the next official X-Men op."

He most likely knows what the base looks like but Cal just nods, not turning down the offer. There's always some differences. "That sounds fine. Thank you. I've been taking it easy for too long and need to start working out again. I've got some ideas for Danger Room programs I want to add while I'm here."

"Sounds good." Scott turns and walks for the door, but before opening it, he glances back at Calvin. "My team though, I don't think they've been through what you have. We haven't really faced any major threats, not yet anyway, aside from what we've programmed into the Danger Room so far. Go easy on them… they could learn a lot from you."

And so could Scott Summers, but he'll be damned if he'll admit that.

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