Chamber Music For A Summer Evening

Summary:
June 29, 2014: Whenever people are practicing music they tend to draw crowds.

Xavier's Institute - Upperclass Dorms - Music Practice Room

This room comfortably holds up to twelve people, if no more than five of them is wielding a musical instrument. It's got very good acoustics, and chairs for a small audience.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
Eleanor Rigby (guitar. No clean cello covers found.)
Blackbird
Counting Stars (cello and violin) or Counting Stars (fingerpick guitar)
When Will My Life Begin (Rapunzel)
Damn You Pachelbel - the rant.
Scarborough Fair (two arrangements in minor key)
Thank you for letting me be myself


Having promised Jacky a chance to practice together, that is exactly what the pair are doing. The music room, with it's excellent acoustics is filled with the lovely strains of Beatles melodies.

~

Practice together. For Nancy that might be easily said, for Jacky, it's more grueling. He's been practicing for the last two weeks without any diamond boost so his callouses could grow so his fingers won't bleed while playing inside her suppression field - so he's not bleeding. Keeping up while sight-reading a new Beatles song, not quite so much. But hey, he did learn a few busking tricks once upon a time, and one of those is how to drop the complexity by leaving out a grace note when things get rough, and throwing a few more in.

~

Amara has been busily preparing for the trip to Nova Roma, which has kept her from settling in too much at the school. It seems like she's always heading back to the city for one reason or another. But as more things are settled, she finds herself with more free time. Something she deals poorly with. And so, she's been wandering the halls in search of something interesting. Jacky and Nancy's music meets the requirement, as she pauses by the door to listen.

~

Cal was passing by when he heard the music. Given his enhanced hearing, passing by in this case was down the hall and down the stairs. It's easy to tell live music from canned so when he hears it, it sparks his curiousity and he makes his way toward the source. He nods a greeting to Amara who's already there then pauses to look into the room.

~

Having had his immunization shots taken care of by Jean, Doug is on his way to the laundry room, ready to get a new batch of clothes in the washer and dryer so that he can prepare. Slowing down as the music plays, Doug greets the others.

"Hi, guys. What're they playing?"

~

Nancy chuckles as Jacky sits in her field of nothingness. She tried to tell him that when she's playing, it shrinks down to half, but he still insists on sitting close. The music is better that way anyway, the two able to feed on each other. Nancy smiles at Jacky, nodding appreciatively to his skill. As people start to come into the room, Nancy turns to look their way, continuing to play her cello as it's the easiest way to keep her field as small as she can. On her wrist is something that looks sort of like a watch.

~

Of course you have to sit close, otherwise it can sound weird. Sometimes that's useful, but, it's easier to synchronize breathing, which is oddly important to this. The song is "Eleanor Rigby" … or it was. They're just at the end. Jacky puts his six-string down for a moment to stretch his fingers.

"Hey, I told you we should put out a hat, we're collecting an audience," he says, then takes a draw on a bottle of some generic brown soda.

~

"Ave, Cal," Amara murmurs as the man approaches, a small smile curving and deepening when Doug comes over.

"I'm not familiar with the tune," she answers her friend, shaking her head slightly.

"But it sounds nice, doesn't it? Oddly haunting."

She shifts a bit, making more room at the door, and waves when Jacky notes the audience.

~

"You're not familiar with the Beatles?" Cal asks, glancing at Amara. "I'd ask what cave you were hiding in but…"

They all know that. As the music comes to a close, he smiles at the two musicians.

"Very good."

~

"I've got to load the Beatles onto an iPod for you, Amara. At least it'll occupy you during the flight."

Lowering the laundry basket, Doug takes the chance to applaud.

~

Even though the song has come to an end, Nancy continues to play. The music keeps her calm and keeps her field in check, and while she has been working on pulling back her power intentionally, doing it with music just works better because she doesn't need to concentrate.

"You know, I've never actually put out a hat before. I just like to play and if people like to listen then it's all copacetic."

Nancy nods her head politely to the growing audience.

"Thanks. It's nice to have people to practice with here."

The melody Nancy plays is more Beatles. Blackbird, for those familiar with the piece.

~

Jacky picks up his twelve-string from the stand next to him and clamps a capo on the fretboard, quietly checking the pitch, then starts back-filling when Nancy hits the end of a measure. He fills in the usual bass line and begins throwing in added notes to accent the melody line that Nancy's playing on the cello.

"I've been told there are other people here who play," he says. "But so far I've missed them, with prep classes and work."

~

"Ah, this one I know," Amara chuckles at Cal and Doug's reactions.

"Someone started singing it one of the first times we used the jet, so I looked it up when we came back. And I'm sure there will be plenty to occupy us on the flight, Doug," she adds. "We seem to be collecting quite a delegation."

~

"Say, what technology level is Nova Roma?" Cal asks curiously, the mention of an iPod leading him to wonder.

"Have they progressed at all since the days of the Roman Empire? Electricity?"

iPods seems highly unlikely.

~

"If you want to play Skipbo or something, I can bring the cards," Doug re-jibes, as he picks up the laundry basket.

"I'm guessing we're just going to fly the blackbird in and… oh." Pause. "We have to walk in, do we?"

Nancy is now just using the music as a focus for keeping her power suppressed. She arches a brow. "Who is staying here? Anyone? Or is this a school field trip and we all get to go? Cause Doug was saying something about me not going cause of the whole Hydra thing. Which I get, but it still sucks."

~

Jacky grins at Doug's apparent discomfiture at walking into Nova Roma. But not so much at Nancy's frustration for not getting to go.

Before the song ends, he murmurs, "Lady Greensleeves?"

~

"Not in the directions the rest of the world has, no," Amara shakes her head to Cal.

"We make very efficient use of geothermal energy, but otherwise, most of our technology is Incan or Roman. You might be surprised to find how advanced Roman technology is, though. For the purposes of a small civilization such as ours, we are capable of maintaining appropriate sources of food and water, sanitation, and even heating and cooling our homes through architecture and geothermal arrangements. In the last few years, we've begun setting up a few more modern things. There are a few telephones. And we've been looking into solar energy. But the truth is, we've had everything we've needed for millennia. What is there to be gained from electricity and television?"

At Nancy's question, she quirks a brow at Doug.

"I'm not certain what Hydra has to do with it. We've been isolated for thousands of years, I would imagine Nova Roma is one of the safest possible places."

~

"It seems unlikely Hydra will find you in Nova Roma," Cal tells Nancy.

"So if you'd like to go, I don't really see a reason why not. It's not anything official and we certainly can't take the entire school. That would be an invasion."

He considers what Amara says and nods.

"They had plumbing, I know. Believe me, if they didn't, I wouldn't be going."

~

"Hydra hasn't got anything to do with it. Just that we're not teleporting in," Doug responds. "Might as well get your shots."

~

With a nod to Jacky, Nancy's bow weaves along the strings to the well known piece that was supposedly written by King Henry VIII.

"Call me paranoid, but I would hate for those terrorist jerks to try invading Amara's home because of me. That would suck more then sugar free lollipops."

She listens to Doug's reasoning and nods again with a smile.

"But since they think I'm in Europe, it should be safe enough to go without teleportation. Sweet! I get to go to Nova Roma. I bet I rock a toga like nobody's business"

~

Jacky simply says, "I've got to stay because I've got this 'job' thing that wants me to be there when they pay me."

He swaps off the capo, and begins playing once Nancy finishes the introit. And singing commences, in a low tenor.

"Alas my loue, ye do me wrong, to cast me off discurteously: And I haue loued you so long Delighting in your companie.
Greensleeues was all my ioy, Greensleeues was my delight: Greensleeues was my heart of gold, And who but Ladie Greensleeues."

(Note, "loue" is pronounced almost the same as "love" and "ioy" is "joy" and the sleeues are almost the same as sleeves. The miracle of phonetic drift.)

~

"Baths, as well," Amara grins at Cal.

"I think you'll enjoy that. And Nova Roma is well protected, Nancy," she assures the other girl, shaking her head.

"Limited entry points, and the location isn't widely known. We also have legions. And gladiators. And we're sort of arriving with a plane full of combat-trained mutants and Wonder Woman, so honestly, it seems like attacking Nova Roma would be a terrible idea for them."

~

"Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that to people. Wonder Woman is joining us," Cal informs everyone.

"And it should be fine, Nancy. They're almost as unlikely to pick up our jet as they are the teleportation. We won't be using an airport."

If the X-Men can keep the Blackbird hidden from the entire US government and FAA, Hydra should be no problem.

~

"Yeah. We'll have plenty of time to sort all this out," Doug replies. "I do have laundry to do, though."

Nodding towards the others, Doug heads off.

~

Is that 'Greensleeves' he's hearing? The music actually caught Hank by surprise as strains of it reached his sensitive ears. Grabbing a book and a bag that he intended on delivering to another, he actually went to follow the music. As he comes upon it and sees others are congregated, he hangs out a bit to listen before he moves over to Cal. The bag and book are held out to him.

"I'd been meaning to get this to you."

There might be a bit of mirth in those golden eyes.

~

"Wait! Did you say we're going with Wonder Woman? That is so… " Nancy pauses as she realizes she is being perhaps a little too keen.

"That'll be alright."

She continues to play, smiling to Jacky as he sings.

"Ah, the benefits to having suddenly quit my job. No need to worry about going to work."

Seeing Beast walk in gets a smile, but her fingers are busy with her cello so that is the only clue she gives to noticing his presence.

~

Someone's whistling 'Scarborough Fair' as they approach. That someone turns out to be the young man who visited the Institute a few days before, Bobby Drake. He's got a guitar case slung on his shoulders and what looks like a lab coat folded up under his arm.

"Parsley, sage, rosemary and- oh! People."

He waves and approaches.

"Wasn't expecting to run into such a gathering."

~

"Henry the Eighth was an emo whiner," Jacky says. "This goes on for nineteen or twenty verses, getting more and more desperate," and then he plunges into the next verse,

"I hauf been readie at your hand, to grant what efar you would crave.
I hauf both way-ged life and land, your louv and good will for to hafe.
"

He looks up as Bobby comes in with Scarborough Faire and loses where he was, and cracks up laughing.

~

"Right?" Amara grins at Nancy's question.

"I know. I'm trying not to think about it too hard, or else things start to get…unstable."

She waves to Doug as he heads for laundry, adding a nod as Hank and Bobby arrive.

"Ave, Hank, Bobby," she greets the pair, looking toward the books as they're handed over.

~

Cal nods a greeting to Hank then eyes the book and bag.

"Let me guess. The Rosetta Stone for Latin?" he asks as he takes them.

"Regardless, Amara has agreed to let me take the language from her mind. I'm sure you know languages evolve and her usage will be current instead of a frozen textbook version only used by scientists and other geeks."

"Bobby," he greets as the young man arrives.

~

"Ave, Amara," Hank offers easily and grins as Cal guesses exactly what's in the bag.

"And a Latin-to-English dictionary. While I know you're getting it from someone else's head, that's cheating and you know it. Latin is used by other scholars as well…" his grin fades into a little 'harumph' as he thinks he might have been insulted.

A nod is given to Nancy and he seems about to ask Jacky something but Bobby's appearance pulls his attention.

"Mr. Drake! When did you return?"

It's getting weird seeing the kids he taught coming back and they're no longer snotty teens.

~

With a smirk, Nancy looks over to Amara.

"What can I say? Wonder Woman kicks ass. It's that whole girl power thing."

The switching from Greensleeves to Scarborough Fair causes her to go into a string of improvised melodies that weaves the two tunes into a new whole.

"So, no TV or electricity. What about my cello? I mean, it's not technology, but I don't wanna bring a cane toad into Australia, if you know what I mean."

~

Bobby chuckles at the Latin greeting.

"Heya Amara, Cal, Jacky, Nancy."

He nods to each of the people he met on his first visit in turn, with a smile, then Hank catches his attention.

"Doctor McCoy?"

He breaks into a wide grin and offers his hand.

"Wow, great to see you again. I actually just got into town a couple weeks ago. Stopped by here a few days back looking at, you know, educational opportunities and ways to help out."

He looks the blue, furry man up and down.

"You're looking well."

"So… what's goin' on? Hope I didn't interrupt anything."

~

Jacky cracks up again, but manages to control himself.

"Nah, you just came in singing the one song that I can't shut out when I'm trying to play Greensleeves," he says. "It's hard to remember all the Tudor-emo with the Folk-emo, and Paul Simon trumps anyway."

He looks uver to Nancy. "What do you use to practice when you don't have room for your giant box of strings?"

~

"I doubt your cello would cause any serious harm to society," Amara assures Nancy, amused.

"But it would probably be best to leave it behind, all the same. It seems a somewhat delicate thing, and unnecessary danger from traveling an unworthy risk."

As Hank and Cal discuss Latin, there's still a faint flicker of trepidation across her features; she just doesn't like the idea of people in her head.

"Language evolution or no, more people should learn Latin. It's such a sensible language."

~

Cal just grins at Hank and then both book and bag disappear in a blink.

"Thank you. I'll donate them to the school library. Everything we do is cheating, Hank, if you choose to look at it that way. You didn't practice almost 24/7 since you were three years old to be an Olympic quality gymnast," he points out.

"Which is probably why it's the root language for so many of today's more modern ones." he adds to Amara.

~

Nancy sticks her tongue out at Jacky.

"It's not that big. I've seen people bigger then me and my cello put together sitting on the subway. And I usually practice at school or outside. My mom hated my music, so I never played at home."

Amara's comments cause Nancy to stop playing, her field of influence growing to it's normal size for a moment before she remembers and slows her breathing down on purpose. She kisses the cello, nuzzling the neck.

"Sorry baby. No travelling to far off places for you."

She can't help but laugh then, trying to keep her steady breathing.

"I barely know English and you want me to learn Latin?"

~

Beast takes the offered hand and gives it a good, solid shake, "Thank you, as are you, sir. What sort of educational opportunities are you looking at?"

He glances over to Nancy briefly before he looks to Cal, "Are you bringing her with you?"

Amara's comment causes Hank to turn her way and give a nod, "I agree. It's the root of so many modern languages and it's something more people should know."

Cal's comment gets a sigh.

"Not everything. I actually studied what I know and I can do more than acrobatics, thank you very much. I am also fairly certain that everyone here," he gestures to all those gathered, "can do more than what their powers are. Also, most of us have had to practice in order to control and hone our abilities. So. Not cheating for most of us."

~

Bobby folds his arms for a moment watching the conversation, a bit lost, then shrugs. People are playing music and that is something he understands. Off comes the soft case from his shoulder and out comes the six string fender. He waits for a moment before starting to follow along in little plucking harmony. He's not great or anything like that, but he's good enough to keep up.

~

"It'd be good to learn," Jacky says. "Too bad nobody speaks Indo-European any more. Now there's a real dead language."

He starts noodling around on the twelve-string, not actually playing any one song, just free-associating, and notices Bobby brought his guitar. So he starts playing again on his twelve-string, 'Counting Stars' since it's pretty, but not that challenging to play or follow.

~

"Well, I wouldn't make you do anything," Amara assures Nancy with a laugh. "But we speak Latin in Nova Roma. I speak it, of course. Cal and Doug will both be able to speak it. So we've just been considering proportions of speakers and translators to those who don't."

~

"And you think it doesn't take training and practice to learn a language from someone's mind?" Cal asks.

"Being a skilled telepath takes years to get good at. It doesn't spring fully grown from your head all of a sudden. Between yours, Bobby's, Scott's, Warren's and Jean's powers, it was definitely the hardest power to learn to control and use effectively."

~

"I'm just saying, Cal…you presumed," Hank points out.

"I don't want to get into an argument with you about this, but I'll just maintain that I disagree with you. Or rather, I don't think you're quite seeing the whole picture."

He's doing his best to stay calm as this is not the place to be flying off of any handle.

He glances at Nancy, "Maybe Cal will let you borrow his Rosetta stone software or the dictionary? Since he no longer needs it."

~

Nancy smiles as Bobby starts to join in. She starts to play as Jacky does, taking the melody with the mournful strains of her cello.

"You don't think I should go, Hank? Don't want to see me in a toga?"

She smirks softly and winks at him as she teases.

"I guess I'll see if I can't learn some then. Don't suppose you have Latin on Duolingo, do you? Or… you know, I always learn better with a teacher. You could teach me a little Latin, Hank. So I'm not a total newb?"

~

Bobby leans back against the wall and props a foot up as he plays, working between Jacky's melody and Nancy's lower strings. He hasn't had a chance to get a read on the social dynamics here and if the amused grin playing on his face is any indication, he's quite curious about them now, particularly as they apply to his old instructor.

~

Jacky would totally be broadcasting a subtle 'peace' vibe if he weren't sitting next to the OFF switch. (Hi, Nancy!)

Not that it would likely help because both Cal and Hank would be aware of the outside origin of the feeling. Which is probably a good reason to be unplugged.

He smirks at Nancy's teasing about the toga though. Women didn't wear togas. They wore, whatchacallit, peplos or chiton, with a stola over the top if they were married. Togas were for men only, and citizens at that.

See, this is how useful studying history will be, right? Knowing important things like this. Because it'll be totally useful in Nova Roma where he's not going.

~

Amara arches a brow at Nancy's request, looking between the other girl and Hank with a flicker of a smile.

"We all struggle with our powers in our own ways, of course," she says without looking directly at Hank or Calvin.

"Actually, I was thinking I should spend a little more time in the danger room myself, while I'm here. There are so few opportunities outside of the institute where it's appropriate to turn into molten rock."

~

"Well, that's nothing new," Cal tells Hank with a grin. "The number of things we've disagreed about are legion."

They approach things from a very different perspective.

"And of course you can use it, Nancy. Let us know whatever system you prefer and we'll get it for you."

He nods agreement with what Amara says.

"If you're looking to stretch yourself, I have several programs created that will give you a challenge."

~

"I don't know much about the purpose of this trip, to be honest, except to explain to Nova Roma that mutants exist. I think you should be exposed to new cultures, but the choosing of those who go on this trip was not mine."

Hank removes his spectacles and dusts them off on his shirt before replacing them,

"I know Latin, yes. Cal is, or was, holding a Rosetta Stone program for the language. I'm not sure I would trust Duolingo."

A glance is given to the others, "When are you leaving? And we can certainly find areas for you to practice here, Amara. It's what we do."

Beast grins right back at Cal, "I don't see that changing, but as long as we respect that we have different opinions, I think we'll be just fine."

~

Nancy watches Hank, waiting for his response. She sighs and shakes her head. She keeps playing, letting the music keep her relaxed.

"All I know is they've been talking about a trip to Amara's home. It seemed to me like it was a case of whoever wanted to go could go. And frankly, getting out of this mansion and doing something different sounds like fun. I just saw it as a chance to do something and not have to worry about those Hydra folks. I'll stay. It's not a big deal either way."

She stops playing then, letting her field just all hang out, as it were.

"What's a danger room?"

~

"Danger room?"

Bobby's experience at the school was mostly limited to ways to not kill people, rather than ways to do this. He had… some practice molding ice mentally at Hanks insistence, before he left, but no combat programs.

"Oh right, training area for hazardous powers. So you folks are headed back to Amara's old digs then?"

He asks with a slightly Spanish flare to the chord he just played. Odd that the two would have such different opinions on their home after slightly similar experiences there.

~

Jacky grins again at the Danger Room question. He's pretty much driving this particular song into the ground, though, following the advice of a truly great guitar player; he has to actually concentrate for that purpose.

"I'm staying," he says again. "Got to feed the animals and stuff. Day job, yo."

Of course, he's been requisitioned in the past, and might be again, but this one doesn't seem that urgent.

~

"Primarily, I'm traveling home to speak with my father and the Senate about establishing ourselves with the outside world," Amara explains to Hank.

"Though it's turned into something of a field trip," she admits, amused. "Which I don't mind, of course. Everyone here has been like family to me since I left. It would be an honor to share my home with others as well."

"The danger room is a training area," she adds to the other questions. "An opportunity to use our powers under pressure. And, for those of us with less…Well. The danger room is a safe place for me to work on mine without opening a volcano."

~

"You're coming with us," Cal tells Nancy, putting a halt to the back and forth and sighing.

"The only qualification is if Amara says someone can, since this is really her show and her home."

He looks over at Nancy and nods at what Bobby and Amara say.

"What they said. But given your powers, you won't have much need to use it on your own. Whether or not you will need to use it at all will depend on what you want to do here once you've gained control."

~

"There's nothing wrong with a field trip," Hank offers, quieting as he doesn't go into whether or not anyone should be going. It's not his show.

"I wish you luck, Amara…but I agree with your mission. It's getting harder and harder to stay hidden and they could benefit by being more familiar with the outside world."

Granted, it also puts them into a little more danger, but it's for them to weigh the benefits with the concerns.

He continues to listen to the music, but steps back once Nancy's field begins to reach him. He's not quite ready to be going back and forth right now.

~

Nancy thumbs up over to Cal.

"Okay, I'll get my shots and figure out what to pack. And I've been working on my meditation so I'm able to keep my field down when I work at it. Not for long, but when I need to."

She leans back in her chair, listening to Bobby and Jacky play.

~

Bobby winces at the mention of Hydra. That's right. She'd told him about that mess a few nights ago when he stopped by. Sounded downright ugly.

"Well, it'll be quiet with you folks gone. Try not to get into too much trouble."

That last said with a grin to Hank, that was the last thing the good Doctor said to him when he left three years ago. Honestly though… probably still good advice for him.

~

"You got anything special you want to play?" Jacky asks.

His fingers are getting a little crampy just being plain old human flesh and working so hard, so he stops to shake them and loosen the hand up a bit, and to switch back to his six-string.

~

"Harder to stay hidden, yes," Amara agrees with Hank.

"And the outside world is more and more determined to seek out the resources they've yet to find. Speaking of, Hank, I was just thinking the other day of how useful our knowledge of the medical applications of plants in the Amazon could be. If you'd like to come and speak with some of our healers, I'm sure it would be interesting. And you could continue Nancy's Latin lessons with practical applications," she adds innocently. She's helpful like that.

"Have you decided how long you're going to stay, Bobby?"

~

"Yes, why don't you come with us, Hank," Cal suggests, though he's fairly certain what answer he'll get.

"Do you good to get away too. When's the last time you had a vacation? All work and no play and all that."

~

Nancy looks over to Amara and smirks, reaching down to her cello case to pick up a lolly. She winks over at the other woman, saluting her with her lolly before popping it in her mouth.

"If you come along, I promise to be in full meditation mode, just so you stay blue and furry."

She holds up her right hand to her shoulder, three fingers up.

"Scouts honor."

~

Beast grins as Bobby quotes him, "And have you heeded that advice?"

At Amara's suggestion, his eyebrows shoot up.

"I really don't think that I'm the best person to bring along on a diplomatic mission. I'm really not the right person to be in front of folks when you say that 'Mutants are ok'. Really. I'm well aware of this and I'm not hurt by it."

He's had a few years to get used to it. He looks to Cal.

"I don't really need a vacation and everyone here already thinks I'm a 'very dull boy'."

~

Bobby starts to play another easy one, 'When Will My Life Begin' no lyrics, just guitar. Yes it's a Disney song.

"More or less Doctor. Er, I try anyway. And I think for the time being, anyway, to answer your question Amara. I'd certainly like to take a few classes here when they start again and find a way to help out. Even if not though, I'd certainly still love to drop by… if, you know, that's okay."

Jacky doesn't actually know this one, but he picks up the harmony and even manages to recognize when the key and signature change is going to happen. Thank the little gremlins of music that Disney is predictable about how they write their tunes, at least, on the more generic songs.

"Oh, not everyone, I'm sure," Amara grins at Hank.

"And as I said, I'm not going there to tell them that mutants are okay. They're already more or less on that page. Sort of. We've old-fashioned beliefs, powers tend to be seen as gifts or callings from the gods, which oddly enough can make us more accepting of them than people here, who want to define everything with science. My father's main opponents in the senate were the faction that wanted to make a mutant queen."

She tilts her head at the change in song, looking to the players with a small smile.

~

Yes, Hank. And that's why.

But it's the answer Cal expected and he just shakes his head. Some things don't change no matter what reality he's in.

"If you're serious about helping out, Bobby, I'm certain you'd make a good addition to the team. Should I talk to Scott about it?"

~

Beast glances at Cal as that was the reason he gave him earlier for the trip.

"Ah. Well, good then. It's something…maybe not the 'mutant queen' thing since I'm not entirely certain we should be glorified and deified for our abilities. Just accepted."

And he's still working on that himself. Canting his head at the music, he doesn't seem to place the song before noting to Bobby, "I'm sure your help would be appreciated."

Then, to Nancy, he asks, "Do you want me to continue work on the power-dampener or do you want to see if you can control it without?"

~

Nancy perks up as a Disney song starts. She sits back up and starts to join in. Yes, she likes Disney tunes. And fuzzy bunny slippers. And lollipops. So, she's a terrible goth, really.

"I'm hoping this whole thing is over before September. A little too much to hope for, I know, but I want to get back to Juilliard and my mother. And Hank, you are the perfect person to show them that mutants are okay. You show how the outside appearance is nothing. You are kind, smart, thoughtful. And if you don't want to be furry around them, you could just hang around me. I'll keep you close by holding your hand. It'll be like a date!"

She smiles at Hank, knowing what his answer will be, but it's fun to tease him.

"Well, I can get it down to half now on my own, just by getting in touch with how I feel when I'm playing my music. If I can't do better then that by the end of summer, I'll wear the dampener. Or if you need me going somewhere where I really should have it on. Deal?"

~

Bobby nods, picking about a C-G-F progression as the song ends and he waits to see if Jacky will strike up a new one.

"I'm quite serious. Er…," he gives Hank a sheepish, slightly knowing smile.

"Well, about that, anyway. Pretty sure I'd have been in a bad way if you guys hadn't been waiting for me at that day at the Sheriff's station so if I can help you guys out, I will. If you wouldn't mind talking to Scott…"

He pauses, wondering if he knows that name… maybe… not… His thoughts are quickly redirected by Amara's commentary though. A place where people actually look up to mutants? Sounds nice. Then Nancy's talking about holding Hank's hand and being on a 'date'. He doesn't actually snicker at his old teacher… but it's close.

~

Jacky is just glad his flashy power can be turned off. The ESP, not so easily, but he can just pretend to be a flakey hippie dude, it's worked in the past before he got to the school. In fact, it's why he talks about "vibes."

When the song finishes, Jacky thinks for a moment before he starts the ur-Rock-Song. Pachelbel's Canon in D. The eight notes that are found in almost every popular rock song.

~

Amara ducks her chin to hide a smile at Nancy's suggestion of holding hands.

"Well, whatever you're comfortable with, Hank," she says easily, stepping the rest of the way into the music room to continue to listen to the others.

"Bobby, maybe some time we could practice together," she suggests.

"I imagine the opposite actions of our powers would make for an interesting exercise."

~

"I'll do that then."

Cal never gave Scott a full list of his reality's X-Men once he realized there were quite a few missing here. So he never mentioned Bobby. That's going to change. And soon enough perhaps, Bobby will learn about the X-Men.

~

Beast holds up his hands, "We are not discussing my personal life here or now."

That's all he's going to say about that. His lips begin to curl in a snarl, but he hitches his shoulders.

"I appreciate the invitation, but I don't think that I will able to attend. I'm sure it will be a successful and educational trip."

He then looks to Bobby.

"The summer's an exception, but once the kids are back, remember that you're a role model here."

If he stays, of course.

There's a shake of his head, "I'll leave you all to your planning. I need some fresh air."

~

As Jacky breaks out into Pachelbel's Canon in D, Nancy gives him a glare like he is the anti-christ. She grits her teeth with a smirk, playing the same 8 quarter notes over and over.

"47 times. I know. I counted."

She looks over to Hank, her face serious.

"Hank, I was just teasing. I… I'm sorry."

~

Bobby nods, following the rather easy progression, letting Jacky set the tempo and playing about him, then switching for the baseline chords whenever Jacky starts to improvise.

"Role Model. Yeaaaaaaaaah. Well… could be worse. I could be an inspiration."

He smiles and looks over to the rest of the group.

"I see some things don't change. Poor Doc. He did teach me a bunch though."

He sighs and shakes his head to Nancy. "He'll cool off. He was like that three years ago too. Don't worry."

Cal gets a nod and a smile. "I'm gonna assume you know how to get ahold of me if you need me but if you need my cell just let me know."

~

Jacky isn't actually as bad as that guy in the video. He's just counting the measures, because he has to play other parts of the melody as well as the eight-note foundation. So he's hoping Bobby picks it up and rides with it, and sort of hopes he hasn't ruined all the other songs.

"Sorry," he says to Nancy. "You could play the viola part, it's more fun?"

Still, when Bobby picks it up, he grins and starts to play more loosely.

~

Amara knows better than to try to stop Hank when he leaves, settling for a polite dip of her chin before she drops into one of the chairs in the room.

"So, Cal," she says, reaching for a change of subject. "If you're able to pick up any powers, why did you choose the ones you did?"

~

"Or just avoid the younger students," Cal puts in.

"Not like you're going to be teaching them, especially if you start taking some classes. You'll be in the college dorm. Just don't break anything." He studiously ignores the little spat going on. Hank and Nancy can work out their own sexual tension.

"Later, Hank."

~

Nancy isnt one to get embarrassed, so the fact that she is just focussing on the music couldn't possibly be that. Nope.

"I've been thinking about what you and I talked about, Cal. Maybe sometime, we can talk again. More in depth like."

~

Bobby rolls his shoulder and stays with the baseline a bit more, getting ever so slightly spanish with it… to the extent one can with eight notes.

"Are the rest of you also on the 'team'?"

He had only been vaguely aware that it existed before and as previously mentioned, at the time he'd just wanted to put the whole mess behind him. He's got a little more perspective now.

~

"I'm a trainee, might or might not be long-term. I'd like to be eventually," Jacky says, on iteration 35 of the same eight notes, with some usually-fiddle-tune being picked out on the B and E strings. He can see the end of the tunnel!

~

"I haven't been recently," Amara shakes her head to Bobby's question.

"Though before I went to NYU, my classmates and I had a tendency to sneak out," she admits with a wry smile. "We were young enough to think that we could solve all of our own problems. I've been considering lately whether or not it is something I wish to do in the future, though. If I am entirely honest, I do miss it."

~

The others answering means Cal doesn't have to.

"You have the potential to be excellent," he assures Bobby.

"The only question is, whether or not it's something you want to do. It's rewarding but difficult. But it's also not an all or nothing thing. So give it some thought."

~

Nancy keeps playing the same eight notes as well. She's not really as mad as she pretends. Those eight notes are the basis of so many melodies, modern and older. As a classically trained cellist, Pacabel's Canon is a staple. People like it, so orchestras play it.

"I've been on one mission as an observer, but I don't know how useful I would actually be. Other then sitting in the back with the bad guys to keep them from doing anything dumb."

~

Bobby nods at that sentiment.

"As a guy who's primary ability is to make things cold I sort of wonder the same thing, but I'm willing to try anyway, and yeah, Amara if you'd care to get some joint practice in, it would certainly at least be interesting."

Aaaand that's the Canon. He's always kind of wondered about that. Did they maybe get artillery to play this way back when?

~

"Which you did with panache and aplomb," Jacky says to Nancy.

"Note to self, mark off two improve-your-vocabulary words for today. Oops, outside voice."

The song comes to its inevitable end, thank the patience of the cellist who he thought was taking a break… Anyway.

~

Amara looks speculatively to Cal when he speaks of Bobby's potential, though she doesn't ask about it. Yet.

"We'll give it a go, then," she nods to Bobby with a swift smile. "And Nancy, not every talent is suited to combat. Which is for the best, really. Our talents should have higher callings. More important uses."

~

"If you had combat training and a taser, I'd have ported those guys right to you," Cal assures Nancy.

"Especially if you learn how to shape it so someone could be standing next to you but remain unaffected while those ahead of you were."

As Bobby expresses some doubt — another difference between realities — Cal considers him a moment then stands up.

"Watch. Amara, pardon the demonstration."

Dropping Scott's power, he mimics Bobby's. It's like an old pair of jeans he hasn't worn in years. As soon as he wills it, a sheet of ice covers him, moving as he moves.

"Amara, think fast."

That's the warning she gets as he fires five (blunted) ice shards at her. As soon as they're airborn, he creates an iceramp to take him around the room (making it even more cramped) and then freezes Bobby's ankles to each other in a set of leg manacles.

~

Bobby nods in agreement with Amara.

"Heck, Nancy, the thing I've used it the most for to date is keeping superconductors cold. Not exactly headline work, but probably the most useful thing I've ever done with it. Well, that or using it to conjure snow cones. Could go either way, really."

No sooner are the words out of his mouth than…

"Uh… so what exactly do you need me for again?"

It's a half serious question but asked with a chuckle and a smile.

"Not that I don't want to help, mind."

The leg manacles are cool, he has to admit (ice pun not intended). They're… really damn hard to move in and to be honest, not something that had ever occurred to him before. He'll have to remember that the next time someone tries to mug him. Hey, he lives in New York. It'll probably happen at some point.

~

Annnnnd… this has Jacky wondering whether Cal's run into an analogue of Jack of Diamonds before, because if he's that much better than Bobby at using Bobby's power because he knew someone elsewhere that was good with it, maybe he knows something… meh. If he wants to tell he'll tell. Maybe there's good reasons.

"Careful with the freeze, please," Jacky says, moving his guitars out of the "splash zone". Sure, Nancy's aura will keep it from being formed inside, but it doesn't make the ice go away that forms outside.

~

Nancy O'Neal smiles over to Amara.

"Like helping kids control their powers. Which is kinda cool, but I need to work on my own control."

She tilts her head to one side.

"Actually, I do have combat training. Not a lot, but I was the apprentice to the Partisan before I came to Doug to hide me. I didn't think being with a known freedom fighter, or terrorist if you prefer, was going to be a smart thing."

~

Despite her protestations of a lack of practice, Amara reacts quickly to Cal's warning. In the blink of an eye, she's gone from pretty blonde to a being of flame and magma, firing a spray of molten darts to meet the shards of ice. They're going to be in so much trouble for making a soggy mess of the practice room. As Cal starts up the ramp, she aims another blast just behind him…to cut off the ramp.

"You're going to get us into so much trouble, Cal," she laughs.

~

When the ramp is shattered, Cal takes a tumble but stops in midair as he levitates and sets himself upright.

"One, safety in numbers," he answers.

"Two, I can't be everywhere or mimic everyone. Three, you'll be better and stronger at it. I could go on but those are the three big ones."

All of the ice shards blink out before they can melt as he gives the room a quick look to spot them.

"No, getting into trouble is his job." He's grinning at Bobby.

~

Bobby blinks.

"You sure we've never met?" he says with a laugh.

"Okay, okay, point taken, I could probably learn to do a few things with it. Some practice probably do me good."

He looks over speculatively at Nancy, still strumming nothing in particular on his guitar.

"Some practical skills wouldn't hurt either I guess. Nancy here probably isn't the only way to get caught without your abilities… well, sure gives me a bit of a to-do list this summer."

He stretches and launches into a minor key variation on Scaraborough Fair.

"Changing the subject a bit, when are you guys leaving? Well and by 'you' I mean Cal, Nancy and Amara."

He grins at Jacky.

"You might be stuck with me for a bit. Sorry."

~

"As long as I'm not stuck with ice-manacles I'm cool with that," Jacky says, listening for a few measures before picking up his twelve-string and the harmony line.

He's perhaps surprisingly mellow about the horseplay/pop-powers-quiz, but then, he lived for two years in the Kiddie Wing with a bunch of other people who were learning … the kid with the mucus power was probably the worst test of patience.

~

Nancy looks a the ice around the music room and nods her head.

"Okay, that's just damned impressive. Bobby, you can do all that? I'll stop teasing you about making ice for my ice tea. And Amara, you are just… wow."

~

Amara walks carefully around the area where any of the ice was, making sure it's all dry before powering back down to her usual state.

"Next weekend," she answers Bobby, running her fingers through her hair to restore something resembling order.

"Cal's right, though. Teamwork is everything. Alone, we're powerful. But together? Together we can accomplish anything. It's what's always set us apart from our enemies."

She flashes a brief smile toward Nancy, shaking her head.

"Practice."

~

Sitting back down, Cal lets the coating of ice disappear. Bobby can handle his own manacles.

"Actually, I have met you before. You've just never met me. In the reality I came from, we knew each other very well. Obviously, things are a bit different here. But when I say you have the potential to be a great X-Man, I'm speaking from experience."

~

Bobby shakes his head.

"Cal can do that. I can't. Clearly he's had more practice than I have. But I think his point is that maybe I'm not just a refrigerator."

He gives Nancy a wink.

"Though I'm still happy to be. Geeze, it's not like it's really hard for me to cool off a drink."

<Tell her to knit me a cambric shirt. Parsley, sage, rosmary and thyme. Without a thread or needle work. Then she'll be a true love of mine.>

"I… fair enough, Cal. And yeah Amara, practice is sounding like a good idea. Next weekend it is."

He pauses again to switch to a harmony and let Jacky take up the melody.

"Nah, I don't do that kind of thing for fun. Never met anyone who was into it."

That last part (in reference to manacles) is clearly a joke.

~

"Clearly you were never a foster kid," Jacky says. "Manacles, the stocks, being forced to watch Caillou…"

He picks up the melody line fine, but he's not as in-practice with this one as with some others, and he misses a note or two. Apparently this is his 'bane song.'

~

Nancy stops again, leaning back and closing her eyes. She takes a deep breath.

"If you ain't never met anyone into manacles, Bobby, then you been not hanging around the right places."

She smirks to herself and chuckles. She nods to Amara.

Yep. Practice every day. Still practicing the combat training that my trainer had me doing. Cause you know what they say about Carnegie Hall."

~

"That has to be…difficult to deal with," Amara says to Cal's explanation, shaking her head.

"Seeing people, things, events you've seen before or heard about. Knowing that some of the parts are the same, but some of them are going to be different."

She hesitates a moment, then shakes her head again.

"Even being outside of it, the temptation to ask who I might have been or what I might have done is strong, and yet I know it's likely for the best I never know."

~

"It was," Cal agrees quietly and gives a small shrug.

"I got used to it after a while. This is actually one of the closer realities to my home so it wasn't too bad. I couldn't tell much about some of you younger people anyway. I haven't been home in a very long time so don't know some of you. And the years things happen aren't always the same."

Which explains how he knew Bobby.

~

Bobby chuckles, not above teasing back.

"Oh manacles is easy. Manacles and frostbite? That's a much rarer combination of 'likes' y'know?"

The song and tune changes back to melodic but rather formless plucking.

"I'm not sure it really matters all that much Amara. Sure he knew someone who looked like you and had your name and powers, but when you get down to it, you're a different person, right? So no matter who the Amara he knew was, doesn't change who you are… or will be for that matter."

~

And that explains why Cal probably never knew Jacky (and that's just as well; Jacky's unusual among his isotopes as not-a-crook.) Fingers are sore again, so Jacky sets down the guitar and checks to see if his drink is still cold. It is, barely, so he drains the bottle. It would be traditional to belch, but with Amara present, he doesn't know if it would be offensive, so he doesn't.

~

Nan opens one eye and smirks over to Bobby as he continues the teasing conversation. She starts to put her cello away, going slowly so she doesn't break her concentration, which would make her field go to it's full size. She notices that it's getting a little easier, this sort of half stage is becoming more and more the norm for her.

"Well, I don't know what your friends were like in your reality, but I know for me, the people here are pretty awesome. I ain't felt this comfortable and relaxed in… ever."

~

"Perhaps," Amara shrugs to Bobby.

"It's certainly an interesting thought experiment of nature versus nurture, or what we become based on the things that happen to us."

She settles back into a chair, tucking her feet up beneath herself as she gets comfortable.

"Though if I'm entirely honest, the whole idea of alternate timelines and universes makes my head hurt just a little bit."

~

"It makes everyone's head hurt," Cal agrees as he stands up.

"And I've met people I've known who were complete opposite. They were still obviously the same person but their beliefs and actions were diametrically different. So I don't pretend to know you," he tells Bobby. "But I've known a version of you. And that version kicked ass. Hard. So I know you've got it in you. And on that note, there's a certain Newsie who I'm meeting for a late dinner. Have fun, kids."

BLINK

~

"Then don't think about it Amara," Bobby laughs. "That's how I solve a lot of problems. Multiverses. Organic Chemistry. Fruitcake…"

He grins and stops playing, leaning his guitar against a nearby shelf that is not sopping wet from the recent Song of Fire and Ice. He seems himself content to lean on the wall and watch with a grin. Other universes by damned, he'd like some friends in this one and these seem like decent people.

~

Jacky regrets not having learned enough music. Because right now he'd be doing Steve Lawrence (not Sammy Davis Jr) doing *I've Got To Be Me* … but instead he's just wishing he knew the lyrics past the opening line. Ah well.

"It's probably easier to just be yourself. Oh, oh!"

He starts playing, "I wanna thank you, for lettin' me, bee my self, again… ooh ooh ooh…" and that's enough of that.

~

Nancy O'Neal stands up and stretches.

"Okay, we have been practicing for a long time, bestie. I say it's bikini time and get a swim in before bed."

~

"Did he say Newsie?" Amara asks as Cal blinks away, looking between the others.

"I am not sure I understand what he means by that."

She shakes her head, leaning back with a comfortable smile.

"I'm usually fairly good at not thinking about it," she assures Bobby, though she chuckles at Jacky's choice of song.

"Every now and then, though, it comes up. Oddly."

Nancy's suggestion is met with another laugh as she stands.

"I think that sounds like an excellent plan, Nancy," she agrees.

~

Bobby isn't really dressed for this. And he's yet to move into the school proper, most of his stuff is back at the apartment he's got near his work. Buuuuut he's never let that stop him before. "Mind if I tag along?" The guitar goes back into the softcase now and the folded up lab coat gets chucked at a chair.

~

Hoisting up her cello case, Nancy smiles.

"Okay, so I guess I'll see you folks at the pool in a bit then. And this time Jacky gets to come swimming rather than coming up with excuses like he's going commando. Which, for the record is never an excuse. Ever."

~

"Yeah, well, it wouldn't matter if you didn't turn me back to flesh and blood," Jacky says. And wonders how that even WORKS since he doesn't change when he's unconscious. Nancy, your power is weird. WEIRD.

"Be right there."

He takes his guitars and the stands and moves out of Nancy's range, frowns for a second, and vanishes. Teleportation IS useful.

~

Nancy O'Neal smirks, that playful grin of hers coming back.

"I really don't see how being naked around me is a bad thing, but hey, your funeral."

She sadly has to walk up to her own room herself, getting changed and then coming back down to the pool. Ah, the pool. Nancy loves this pool. She has a small fear that Cal and Scott and the other X-men are gonna kick her out someday so wants to get as much time in this pool as she can.

Cannonball!


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