2013-02-06: A Horse And A Pegasus



Summary: Dani Moonstar takes an interest in Nick's horse; Orion then Nicholas himself.

Date: February 6, 2013

Log Title: A Horse And A Pegasus

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Stables

The smell of horse and hay immediately hit the sense for anyone who step in here. There are empty stalls for students with horses, and school owned horses for those who wish to ride. Tackle, saddles (English and Western), helmets, and grooming supplies are found neatly tucked away in a supply closet.

It's afternoon and after all classes are done, and from the stables comes the whickering sound of a happy horse. Out in the paddock area just outside of the stables proper Orion is out and just freshly sprayed down. A woman with a sort of muddy reddish brown skin is there, dressed in a brown leather vest that hugs her upper body like a second skin, and leaves her arms bare, save for the beaded wristband on one side, and the leather-band watch on the other. Jeans and riding boots round out the rest of the look, along with her long blue-black hair that is wrapped in a pair of red wraps up front. Orion looks calm and content, occasionally shifting back and forth while staying behind and to one side in the safe zone, she works on a small spot of irritation inside the frog of that hoof.

Nicholas heads from the dorms to the stables to do what he does every afternoon, spend time with Orion. He's dressed in just a pair of jeans, long sleeved shirt with his brown duster, that Shane made him, over his clothes. He has to do a double take before he notices someone tending Orion, -his horse-. Nick jogs over to Dani and Orion with a look of worry on his face. "What do you think you're doing?!"

Looking up over her shoulder a moment, Danielle Moonstar gives a confident smile and moves back from the stallion who gives a nicker of greeting towards his human, and the woman wipes at her hands a moment before saying, "Getting a piece of something out of his hoof. I noticed he was favoring one of his legs when I was settling Brightwind for the evening, and I thought I might take care of it, in case you didn't know it was there. Sorry for stepping on toes, but this big lug took longer than most horses to come over to my side of things. I think we've been talking for more than a week now." All stated as if it was the most natural thing in the world as Orion wanders over to Nick and then noses against him a moment.

Nicholas just stands there staring at Dani for a bit in sort of a shocked manor. Orion coming over and nuzzling against him snaps him out of it. "Must have been something in his stable I didn't notice, but I clean it and groom Orion at least once a day." He furrows his brow trying to think back if he screwed something up. "Sorry I panicked, Orion's not always great with others, I didn't want him hurting you. He's friendly enough if you're feeding him but anything else he's usually ornery." He pets the neck of the Chestnut Quarter horse affectionately, then something seems to dawn on him. "What do you mean talking? Like Horse Whisperer type stuff?"

Motioning around the stables a moment, "I went to this school when it was just a mansion and Flock of Seagulls was a band, and not a regular thing at the cove." Dani says as she then strides forwards and puts out one hand, "Danielle Moonstar… but most of the time it's just Dani. I have to say… he's a beautiful beast, prime condition. Practically show quality if it wasn't for the -little- attitude problem." Waiting a moment before she adds on, "And no… I can hear their emotions, and communicate back. Animals most of the time don't really have the kind of deep thoughts we all have, but it can be a real relief some days to have such an uncomplicated view on life."

"That must be cool, being able to have that understanding of animals. Mostly Bodie taught me the best ways to read their body language, or horses that is. My Dad used to call him Horse Whisperer, the only other person Orion would let ride him." Nicholas says resting his head against Orion, continuing to pet him. "Orion and I used to compete a lot back home in shows. I think it's the pets are like their owner thing, though Orion's not a pet but it's the same kind of adage. Both of us have that stubborn and moody streak. Isn't that right Orion?" He says giving his horse a quick kiss on the neck. "I didn't realize there were any other riders here. Though if Orion trusted you enough to clean his hooves, he's gotta trust you enough."

The lack of response to the handshake is noticed but smoothly just turns into hands on her hips, "Brightwind's… not… your typical horse. She's an Asgardian Pegasus. And before you try and wrap your head around that one, believe me… hang out in these halls long enough you get to see the kinds of things you thought were just the realm of Saturday morning cartoons." Walking towards the doors to the stable, she whistles, and out comes a white thoroughbred… with WINGS. She approaches and nuzzles at her own rider, and blinks a few times at Orion before snorting his way, and that causes Dani to smack her on the neck, "Hey now."

Orion takes a few steps back from the pegasus while Nicholas just stares. And stares. He can't find any words to say at the moment and has to consciously shut his mouth to stop from gaping. "Asgardian. Pegasus. I'm guessing there's a story behind how you got a flying horse, and how they're real?" She did say Saturday Morning Cartoons. "Uh…I'm Nicholas by the way, Nicholas Gerhardt, or just Nick." He can't take his eyes off of the Pegasus.

Dani sighs once, and closes her eyes as she leans in, and presses her head against the Pegasus' forehead, "Maybe someday if you're skilled enough I might ask her if she'd let you ride her… but it's her choice. In a few ways… I wouldn't be here if not for Brightwind. Back home, despite the fact that we had trucks, I always preferred to ride when I could." Coming up from the moment of sharing, she doesn't even do much more than nod, and the winged steed turns and clops slowly back into the stables, taking the far stall, even turning and closing the door with her teeth, "So Nick… are you liking Xavier's so far? I miss Charles… the Professor, and founder. It doesn't feel right around here without his touch."

"No worries, I have Orion. He's my trusty steed." Nicholas says proudly. "Brightwind is magnificent though. So you met the guy the school is named after?" Calling a pegasus anything less than magnificent almost seems an insult. "Yeah, I don't mind Xavier's. It's just…" He shakes his head. "Nevermind, really the school's been fine. I've made some good friends. It's just lonely."

"It's just…" Letting the word hang there nice and pregnant before Dani tilts her head, "Not just met… Learned from. There was the X-men, then a second class of them, and then there was us. X-Babies, New Mutants… eventually most of us became X-Force. Sam being one of them." That part just makes her whistle and smile a bit, "But after a certain point you have to make a choice of whether or not you want to keep up the fight on the battle lines, or if you want to pull back a bit and take stock of things." Turning away from you, she goes over to where the hose is, and starts to wash off her hands, "And no, I'm not here because Ms… " Emphasizing the last part into an annoying buzz, "… Frost planted me. You can look me up on the school directory if you want… I'm there. But I'm not here for the job. This is where I spend most of my off-time too."

"Like I said, it's just lonely." Nicholas says not able to meet Dani's gaze. "I didn't realize there were so many before us. I haven't thought about my future when it comes fighting or not." He confesses. Nick just has trouble thinking about his future. "Everyone here has their own problems so it's not like I can really talk to anyone. They don't want to deal with other people's issues. Or it's, let me know what I can do to help. Hell if I know what some blind teenager can do to help." He mutters. "I don't know how to word it without sounding like some self absorbed jerk."

Once her hands are cleaned, Dani comes back your way, and puts one still slightly wet hand on your shoulder, "Nothing wrong with selfish. Everyone deserves to be, and everyone needs to be. If not, we'd be spending all our time pleasing everyone and never get anything done." Then that same hand comes up, the clammy skin slightly cool as she touches your cheek, "Look, I'm off the clock… and you don't seem to want someone else prying. But same time…" She taps the side of her head, "I can feel the aggravation and everything else around you." There's another pause, "So instead of good intentions making a mess of things, how about we saddle up your little brother here, and we let you both take your time. And if you both are allright with it… I'll walk along."

Nicholas flinches when Dani touches his face and pulls back slightly. "Sorry, kind of a reflex. I mean have you watched the news at all in the last month?" He figures most of the older Xavier's staff/alumni probably have. "Just, dealing with everything, it's too much." He takes a deep breath and nods. "Yeah…yeah, just give me a few minutes and I can get him all ready for a ride. You sure you just want to walk along? If you're not going to be riding too there's always inside since it's a bit cold out here."

"Yes, and my first response was to ask why you hadn't been brought to myself or Kurt, Nick… and all I got was that we had better things to do, and it would sort itself in time." The note of disgust left plainly in her tone, "Typical White Queen… she has her favorites, and sometimes forgets she lets it show." Dani replies, and her response to the cold is to go over to one side and pick up a black leather jacket, pulling it over her shoulders and settling it without zipping, she adds, "I'm good with walking. If I took Brightwind out, she'd want to fly… and that makes things a little uneven for trying to have a conversation. But again… only if you're good with it."

Nicholas blinks and is taken back by Dani's words then the anger starts to build. "I swear if I had some place else to go…I might just go." He mutters leading Orion into the stables so he can start putting on Orion's bit and bridle, saddle blanket and saddle. "I'm so glad to know that this places has it's students best interests at heart." At least he isn't letting his anger get in the way of putting on Orion's bridle and saddle.

From behind, Dani says softly, "I know how that feels. I know how that felt when I lost my parents… and I never even got to say goodbye. When the Hellfire Club killed my grandfather because they wanted me for my powers." There's a catch in her voice as she sighs deeply and seems to pause a moment before asking, "I know how a lot of it feels, and I can't help but feeling what everyone else is. I'm sorry… it's not my place to intrude. I'd like to help if you'd let me… but you have to be the one to make that choice. I don't want you to think I have an agenda… that I came here looking for anything. I didn't. But it's obvious to anyone with half a heart that you're hurting, and the truth is?" Another pause, "I can't make you trust any of us at this point. We can't replace your parents… but we can be a family… if you'll let us."

Nicholas stops putting on Orion's saddle and tenses up, freezing. He doesn't turn around, just stays quiet for several long seconds, his hands resting on Orion's back. "I'm sorry you lost your parents. I…kind of got to say goodbye but not really." He turns around and looks at Dani, the weight of the pain he feels obvious on his face. "It's not about trust. I trust most people in this school, even though it got attacked and before that I was abducted cause I'm a mutant, I don't blame the school. I know they try to protect us, which is why I don't want to really leave the school grounds. It's…." He finally turns around and looks at Dani. "I miss them so much. It's so hard. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier if I died back in North Dakota or a few months ago."

A couple more steps forwards are taken by Danielle Moonstar and she gives a soft, but sad smile, "And some days you think maybe it's enough to just pretend you can get by for a day. Even if you're the one off to one side when the day's over crying your eyes alone where you don't think anyone sees… some days you think that's all it takes." Gulping once, she puts her hands wide, as if offering a hug, "And you're always asking yourself… day in and day out… Why me. Why not me."

Nicholas gives one slight nod, swallowing back tears. "All the time." He whispers turning to step forward, not refusing the hug. "I feel like people think there's a switch, and once a few months have passed you can hit the switch and no longer feel sad. It's not that easy, it isn't. I watched my parents die, Bodie died to protect me. A year later I get tortured for a month, why does everyone thing I can handle this on my own?"

Those hands slowly wrap around the young man's frame, and Dani helps Nick's head to her shoulder, "I don't know, Nick… I really don't. Any answer I could give is an excuse… because I know where you are." Closing her own eyes, she uses her own native talent to bring Orion over, encouraging him to nose the back of Nick's head, mussing his hair slightly, "You don't have to do anything right now. All you need to know is that… there's a family here, if you want it. They're not perfect, but no family ever is. And they might not be the family you want… but sometimes… they can be the family you need."

Nicholas returns the hug, almost clinging to Dani as he starts to cry. "It's not so much family as having someone to talk to." He says between sniffs. "My Dad, he always knew when I needed to talk, he didn't push it, he would just take me for a horse back ride and wait for me to talk. It always worked. Or Bodie, Bodie was like my older brother, I don't even have him anymore. Or my Mom. Here, I have friends who are like family but not like them. Noone's like them and they're who I want more than anything. How did you manage?"

A hand touches Orion's nose before he starts to nibble on Nick's hair, as Dani gives Orion a brief smile before saying in reply, "I had to learn to cope early because of my powers. See… another facet of my abilities is I can manifest other people's emotions and memories. Good and bad. So I had to keep my pain from others, because otherwise… poof. Nightmares made real." Teeth are clenched for a moment, "But what really did help was having the Professor, having my friends. Knowing there was still people there for me, people with good intentions." There's another pause and she then says softly, "I could… show you… but only if you want. Only if you're ready."

Nicholas continues to cry, at least receiving some comfort from Orion and Dani. "I can't do this anymore Dani. Everyday it gets so hard, I can't sleep at night because of the nightmares and it's getting worse. I'm having these…flash backs when I'm awake now too. I have friends, good friends, but they don't know how to help. They've got so many problems of their own and they don't really understand. Sometimes I feel like they think, problems are problems. Everyone's got them, so we're all equal in our misery so that makes it better somehow. But it doesn't."

"Then every day? We can come out here… and we can ride. And when you want to talk… you will. Doesn't have to be every day, but at least it's something." Dani says with a near-whisper, "I'm not your father, and I won't pretend to be. But sometimes a little something from home helps." She smiles a bit, "There was this rival school run by Ms. Frost… called her kids the Hellions. She had this guy, John. He was an Apache, I was Cheyenne… so our tribes probably never got along… but no one else knew what it was like growing up on a reservation. How it was a world apart from what everyone really knew. We bonded over it, and suddenly, I didn't feel like the world I knew was so far away anymore." Her hand rubs up and down the young man's back, and then she draws back to look into his tear-stained eyes, "Orion's getting impatient."

Nicholas sniffs and wipes his eyes. "Sometimes it feels that way, being from the middle of nowhere in North Dakota, that my world is far away from what everyone else knows." He turns back around, still sniffing a bit, and finishes putting the Western style saddle on Orion. "I know it's different than a reservation but it's still much different than here." He pulls out a piece of squishy carrot from his pocket and feeds it to Orion before getting on his back. "Thank you."

Dani gives a brief smile, "You're quite welcome. Now… I know this nice horsetrail that goes out of the grounds and leads into a little clearing about a half-mile from the comm tower. I don't think too many here know about it. What do you say we walk Orion there and back before he starts getting surly at me for stealing you." To which the stallion gives an irritated whuffle, and just turns his head to stare up at his rider for a moment, as if to say 'She has a point'.

Without another word, but with a slight smile, Nicholas puts his foot in the stirrup and swings up onto the horse. "Lead the way, if I'm leading it we'll be in Canada by night fall some how." He urges Orion on and starts to walk out of the stable. "I'm happy I still have Orion. He's more than just a horse, you probably understand that."

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