2010-01-22: Accepting


Ben_icon.jpg JeanPaul_icon.jpg

Summary: Ben returns to the mansion, memories in tact.

Date: January 22, 2010


Rating: R

Xavier Mansion - Atrium

The Atrium is large room with four corridors leading off in diagonal directions to the classrooms and dorms. A large window looks over the front courtyard. The Atrium has also been turned into a social area for students and teachers, with chairs, tables and a television set. Since its a main area of passing, it is encouraged that people keep things to a respectful volume.

The area is quiet this evening and Jean-Paul is setting at one of the tables, sipping coffee and reading a book. Not even his! He's dressed casually, in black slacks, loafers and black v-neck t-shirt under a sky blue light sweater, also with a v-neck that he knows makes his eyes look even more blue. It's vain, sure, but why not? His expression is faintly amused and he occasionally snorts or snickers as he reads.

It's been a little while, but now that everything is settling itself in Ben's mind, he's fought his way out of New York. Literally. Not only that, but he's found his way up to the mansion again. He's dressed in much less than before. A tank-top. Comfy jeans, which are both stained right now, and swords strapped across his back. He doesn't bother with the old headpiece anymore. He's been sneaking his way through the mansion, at least until he gets here. He stops, breathing lightly. But as of yet, he doesn't say anything.

Jean-Paul smirks and shakes his head. He closes the book and regards the cover: 'Its Not Easy Being Green: An Unauthorized Biography of She-Hulk' with a mixture of amusement and disbelief. He salutes it with his coffee cup. "I applaud your bravery, fellow author. And I hope living in the Savage Land suits you. Because that's where you'll have to hide!" He takes a sip and then looks around, passing over Ben once before his attention snaps back. The smirk becomes a smile and he stands, looking delighted. "Ben!"

"I doubt she'll ever have to hide. She's a rather successful lawyer." Ben says with a soft smirk as he adjusts his shoulders. "Just got here. Was hoping I'd find you. So I could thank you." He says with a bit of a cough. "Uhm… yeah." He scratches the back of his head as he moves towards Jean-Paul.

Jean-Paul grins and says, "I was thinking of the muckraker who wrote it. She's /still/ the Hulk's cousin." He meets Ben halfway and gives Ben a light and quick hug. "I'm thrilled to see you, mon ami." He steps back, smiling faintly and then arches an eyebrow, "How are you feeling? I wanted to give you some space but I was getting worried."

"I'm… alright. Or I will be, eventually. The demons out there made it easier to accept who I was… am." Ben says with a half-chuckle as he considers. "It gave me time to let that side of my mind fly and focus on rejoining everything. I'm alright enough for now, though. I'm just worried. I… I ended up with memories of what happened inside. I hope you're not in danger." He says, softly.

Jean-Paul rolls his eyes and says, "From Spiral and her ilk? I've felt more threatened when I didn't get my dry cleaning back on time." He shakes his head. "I'm not worried and you shouldn't be either. Come, sit, regale me with tales of how you've been swashbuckling with those infernal hooligans." He gestures towards his table.

"You'd be surprised…" Ben says with a half a grin before he winces. "I shouldn't sit. I'm a mess. I have demon… stuff… all over me." He wrinkles his nose slightly. "And I wouldn't want to damage the Professor's things." Of course, he's been gone since before the Professor left. "As for tales, not much to tell. Slice. Jump. Slice. Jump. they're not very creative."

Jean-Paul wrinkles his nose and says, "You need to shower and get fresh things. Hm. We have a somewhat disturbed student locked up in the Danger Room, so the staff facilities would probably be a bad idea, but there is the student locker room. Or you can use my shower. I replaced those plebian water sprinklers that Xavier had installed with something a little more suitable." He gives Ben a critical look and says, "And we can find you something to wear while I set some of these freeloading urchins to doing laundry for you." He's kidding. More or less. Maybe. The grin probably gives him away.

"I'll admit. A shower would definitely be amazing." Ben says with a firm nod. "Though I haven't a clue about decent clothing that may be had around here." He doesn't remember that there actually IS an X-Costume in his size stored here. After all, anyone that's ever worn an X has one. THough… it's the icky blue/yellow/completely unfashionable ones. "Mainly, I just needed a quiet place to rest for a bit. It's… hard to sleep in the city when you have battle-nerves."

Jean-Paul nods and says, "I'm sure we have guest suites. It's Xavier's school. We're all always dropping by. And if those are full, we'll figure something out. And clothing isn't a problem." He grins at that. "You have your choice of X-Men yellow and blue…." His shiver of horror at that is entirely too theatrical to be real. "…Or gray in school athletic gear." A critical look. "Neither really suit your coloring, but alas, shopping is a bit difficult at the moment." He stands and grins, "So! Student showers or do you to come look at my etchings?" He waggles his eyebrows salaciously at that.

After a couple of seconds of confusion, Ben chuckles a bit. "Oh, I see. Trying to lure me into your quarters for something not-so-on-the-up-and-up." He says with a mock nod. "I understand. But is that something Ben would do, or Gaveedra would do, or Benjamin would do?" He asks, pontificating as he goes. "Gaveedra was tied specifically to one person and one person only. Benjamin… ah hell. I don't care." He says with a grin. "Etchings? What do you etch?"

Jean-Paul gives Ben a concerned look and says, "Have you decided which of them is more 'you' yet? If any?" He leads Ben towards his room and adds, "And nothing, it's a …um… naughty invitation from the Victorian era. Men would invite people into their private chambers, offering to show them nude lithographs and such." He shrugs, smiles faintly and says, "Perhaps under the circumstances, I shouldn't make jokes like that." He doesn't say that it might have amused the 'old' Ben he knew briefly because he's not sure. And he's certainly not sure about this new amalgam. "And as I said before, it seems to me that you get to choose who you want to be." With that he opens the door to his room and gestures Ben inside. "Go ahead and shower. I'll find you some temporary clothing. And give you some privacy."

"They're all me." Ben says with the simplest answer he can. Two from the past that created the one of the now. I don't discount the history she gave me, but I know it's simply a superimposing of the previous lives combined and redetermined." He says, considering it. "Ooooh, you don't really have etchings? Darn." He says with a bit of mock-disappointment. "I had no idea what it would be… I was looking forward to art."

Jean-Paul laughs and says, "Well, you can always look up dirty pictures on the Internet. I believe that's what it was designed for. Also, I think it will make Cyclops do that adorable thing where he clenches his jaw so hard that he gets a nervous tic. Always amusing." He takes very large and fluffy and obvious non-standard Xavier issue towels from his closet and hands them to Ben. "Use these. The things they gave us … pah! I wouldn't use them to dry a dog. Not even a dog I didn't like. Maybe not even Logan."

Tick… tick… Logan is Wolverine. "OH!" Ben says, unable to resist a smile at that one. "This time… I get it." He says, accepting the towels with a grin of thanks before working his way showerwards. Though, he never fully shuts the door. One never knows when they'll need an escape route.

Jean-Paul sets about rummaging through the closet until he finds a set of Xavier's sweat pants and a t-shirt, both still wrapped in their bags from the shelves, obviously never used. "The man can spend a fortune making a room that will let you fight Mole Man on the Moon but he won't hire a sports designer? Oh, Professor!" He sighs faintly and then looks at the clothing and then back to the bathroom door, left slightly ajar. Hm. A delicate situation. And one best solved at hyperspeed. He taps into the atomic motion of his molecules and /moves/, bluringly fast to duck halfway into the bathroom and deposit the clothing on the sink, hopefully in and out quickly enough that Ben doesn't feel he's being spied upon. And he even resists the urge to sneak a peak.

Ben's not singing or anything, but he is taking his time, enjoying the hot water. "Considering some of the other things around here, it's definitely a vast improvement over what I remember." He says, through the running water and loud enough to be heard from the other side of the door. "I hope you don't really mind me jumping into your private space for a bit."

Jean-Paul seats himself on the small couch along one wall and stretches out a bit. He laughs at that last comment and says, "You're not imposing. I wouldn't have offered if I didn't want you to take me up on it." He also raises his voice to be heard. "I can't believe you waited so long to come out here where you can get some rest. More or less. These little monsters run around looking for trouble at all hours."

Wrapping a towel around his waist, he opens the door while continuing to dry his hair. That'll… take a while. "The little monsters here AND out there prevent sleep regardless." He says with a bit of a sigh. "But that's why the school's here. Gaveedra never understood it. Benjamin never saw it. But… I get it now." He says softly as he shakes his hair out, letting it hang loosely for now.

Jean-Paul's breath catches subtly as Ben comes out wearing just a towel and he gives that faint smile again. He says, "I didn't get it myself until recently. But if we are going to survive and thrive as a group, we need this place. And one day, more like it." He shrugs and says, "And besides, I keep telling people things like that and I have to live up to my words."

Bending forward and then flipping his hair back, Ben makes sure it's all hanging back over his shoulders and not interfering with his vision as he turns away to put on the sweat pants. They'll fit at least. Better than nothing. "It's a good thing. Too bad there was never any chance of such a thing for me in my younger years. Not that it truly matters anymore."

Jean-Paul watches Ben and shakes his head in amusement as the young man seems completely unaware of his charms. He looks over his room to avoid ogling as Ben changes into the sweats and says, "Well, I would have probably just run away from such a regimented environment. And I think we both turned out as well as anyone could reasonably expect. At least we're not out wearing capes and threatening world domination or some such nonsense."

Hearing the capes comment, Ben can't resist. He puts on a fake accent. "No capes! Do you remember Thunderhead? Tall, storm powers? Nice man, good with kids. November 15th of '58! All was well, another day saved, when his cape snagged on a missile fin. Stratogale! April 23rd, '57! Cape caught in a jet turbine! Metaman: express elevator! Dynaguy: snag on takeoff! Splashdown: sucked into a vortex! No capes!!" He grins, impishly, wondering if the quote was caught. He has a memory for things like that.

Jean-Paul arches his eyebrows and laughs, surprised. "I thought I was the only one who watched all the movies about superheroes!" He says, "But how many times have /you/ seen it to be able to quote it like that?" He stands and says, "Now, when is the last time you've eaten, mon ami? We have a delightful kitchen here. Even if, for some reason, unknown to man, one of the students has been stealing my kelp wraps." He sounds genuinely puzzled at that.

"I watch everything. That's how I learned Spanish." Ben says with a grin. He shrugs slightly. "I haven't thought about it. My body is exceptionally refined. I can go for days without stopping. And, I can deal with greatly decreased food levels." He says with a nod as he moves over to consider. "Maybe they're thinking the kelp wraps are nori?" He asks, offering the potential.

Jean-Paul smirks and says sardonically, "C'est vrai. /Exceptionally/ refined. And Spanish? Useful! As for the wraps, I have no idea. They are clearly marked as…" He pauses a moment and vanity gets the best of him, "…health care treatments. They clear the sinuses and such." He can't help but give himself a mental eye-roll at that, but even the most confident of men suck in their guts on occasion. "So, was that a yes or would you prefer we just find you a place to stretch out for the evening?"

"I… would prefer to remain near someone that actually enjoys my company." Ben says with a firm nod. "Regardless of what that may involve." There. That's his explanation. He grins a bit, lopsidedly. "If you don't mind, anyway."

Jean-Paul smiles and shakes his head. "I don't mind at all. Well, let's not brave our little monsters, then, eh?" He turns to his closet, taking down a bottle of wine from a small stash of alcohol on the upper shelf, a corkscrew and a couple of glasses. "It's from California, but don't hold that against it. Quite a decent little wine. And good for sharing with company." The room has the bed and a love seat as well as a couple of comfortable chairs with the latter being grouped around a small table to make an intimate conversational space. "Sit, bed, couch, chairs or floor. Your choice." He doesn't seem unhappy with the arrangements at all.

Shrugging, Ben moves to stretch out across the bed as he waits. "Fortunately for me, I don't know the difference." Hey, at least he's honest about that. "No wines have been in me. Just… coffee. And other things. But none of that." He chuckles, looking up towards Jean-Paul with a smile. He's not shy, at least. Much better than the older one.

Jean-Paul uncorks the wine deftly and sets it aside for a few minutes to breathe. He gives Ben an 'Oh really?' smirk and says, "Ah. Hm. So, I am wondering how frank to be with you, my friend." He sits down on the edge of the bed and his expression is a mixture of serious and faintly amused. "You present me with a social situation that I have not encountered. And believe me, I've long assumed I'd encountered everything. Occasionally in twins."

"The best way to be frank is to change your name." Ben says with a sagacious nod before coughing slightly and chuckling. "You can just speak. I'm extremely hard to offend. Well, I don't THINK I'm easy to offend. Apparently part of me was…" He says, considering it before shrugging.

Jean-Paul rolls his eyes and says, "You need to watch /newer/ shows with more modern jokes." He pauses delicately and says, "Alright. I think it's fairly obvious that I find you interesting. But the question is, are you …you enough… for me to pursue such a thing, even if you were open to it. Which I think 'Ben' was. The new composite you, I'm not quite sure. And I'm not sure if you're integrated enough for such a thing yet." He shrugs and says, "I value you too much as a teammate and a friend to do you harm."

"Even after reintegrating myself… I seem to still think like I have been since the change first happened. Gaveedra was only interested in Windsong and no other. However, I don't have that limitation. For him it was genetic. After my bodies were recombined into Benjamin Russell's, I find myself much more able to follow normal… sense of self. I suppose that's the way to phrase it." Ben says, considering. He's speaking slowly as he looks at th ground, trying to make sure his mind and body are working together on this. "Despite the confusions… I still have the same processes. Does… that explain enough?"

Jean-Paul nods and smiles. "It explains enough. So then, for the foreseeable future, I will ply you with wine and my amazing wit and the fact that I'm absolutely stunning in just about anything and we will see what happens. You can tell me when or if you want more than a charming friend." He turns to pour the wine into tumblers, rather than wine glasses and hands one to Ben. "Sips, mon ami. Nobody but Americans and Italians gulp their wine and they do it for entirely different reasons." He stretches out on the bed facing his guest and takes a sip himself. "Ah. So, other than demonic infestation, what does it feel like to be back in the game?"

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