2012-04-25: Cat In A Haystack


Cale_icon.jpg Nicholas_icon.jpg Taylor_icon.jpg

Summary: Cale and Taylor express an interesting in learning to ride horses from Nick, once Nick leaves, more personal conversation ensues.

Date: April 25, 2012

Log Title: Cat In A Haystack

Rating: PG-13

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.

Now, Cale is not what you would call a 'country' type, not by a long shot, so it's a bit odd that the young mutant finds himself in the stables. Sure, he enjoyed the outdoors (in safe, moderate amounts) back in Colorado, but he's never even ridden a horse! Still, he seems to be taking to them relatively well. From somewhere, he has procured a carrot and is currently calmly feeding it to a palamino that he seems to have taken a liking to. He pets the mare on the mane while she munches on the carrot. His usually calm, quiet personality seems to fit the stables quite well, though it could be perhaps that the animals there are well trained and not easily spooked. They'd almost have to be, to exist in a place like Xavier's.

Slowing down his horse from a canter as he enters the stables is Nicholas on the back of his horse Orion. He looks every bit the country boy from North Dakota that he is. Dressed in a button down flannel shirt, jeans, and riding boots he dismounts from the horse and pets him a few times. "Sorry it's not the same as home Orion, I miss doing the course just as much as you." He says pulling out a sugar lump and giving it to his beloved companion. Tying Orion to a post in the stable he turns to get the grooming brushes and spots Cale. "It seems we have more in common than I thought. You're a horse person too?"

There is a bit of a startled feline sound from a pile of hay off to the side, and Taylor, wearing a pair of slacks and a t-shirt with the lyrics to the 'Soft Kitty' song from Big Bang Theory on it and a picture of a sleepy kitty. The felinoid stretches and seems rather disoriented, looking about with a bit of a baffled expression, "Did I fall asleep?"

Cale startles rather easily, but not quite enough to scare the horse. "No, I um. I don't know. I noticed they were out here. They're very pretty. So I thought I would bring them something to eat," he pats the mare on the nose gently, before turning away, "Aaactually, I've never ridden a horse before. I lived in the city, so there weren't really a ton of them around." Cale turns to Taylor with a surprised look on his face, "Wow, how long have you been there? I've been here for at least a half an hour and I didn't even notice you… I guess you must've."

"Oh." Nicholas says to Cale, picking up a bucket of horse grooming supplies and heading back over to Orion to start brushing out the dirt in his coat. "Just be careful with giving them too many treats and stuff, a lot of times stuff like apples, carrots and sugar cubes are usually used for treats, like you would a dog." He isn't chastising or anything, just mainly explaining since he grew up around horses. "Hey there Taylor, you probably did, you're usually finding odd places to drift off."

Taylor blinks a few times and rubs their eyes lightly and then gets up from the sleeping place, "Oh, man, I probably have straw in my hair. I don't know what I was thinking. Is it late? I can't really answer how long I've been here unless I know." The teen shrugs lightly and then says, "I was just here to look at the horses again."

"Well, I mean, it's kinda… afternoon…" Cale digs around in one of his pockets, pulling out his phone and looking at it. "Yeah. So. A while. I guess," he murmurs, continuing to pat the horse on the nose. It pokes at him to see if he has more carrots. Alas! The boy does not have more carrots. It's too bad! "You ate them all!" he laughs as the animal pokes at him nosily, snuffling. Eventually, the horse seems to lose interest in Cale.

"It's dinner time Taylor." Nicholas says with a faint smile to his face as he shakes his head while doting on Orion. He has a very gentle touch with the horse and it seems like Orion is quite affectionate towards Nick back, occasionally nudging him with his muzzle or chewing on his shirt. "Well if you ever want to learn anything about horses, let me know. I used to teach horseback riding and other lessons back home on the stable." There's a sort of dead tone to his voice as he speaks, making it seem like there is no passion behind what he's talking about.

"Dinner time?!" says Taylor, eyes widening, "Oh shoot, I'm going to be in trouble again, aren't I? Unless by dinner you mean 'lunch', in which case, I'm right on schedule…" The felinoid headtilts lightly and then says, "I'd still like to try and learn to ride a bit, I mean, I have no experience myself."

"Really? Do you… do you think you could teach me to ride?" Cale fiddles with his ponytail nervously, "I'd like that a lot. Lessons were too much of a hassle at home 'cause of cost and needing to drive outside Denver, so, I never really got to. But I always thought it looked like fun." The chameleon boy glances towards Taylor, "No, I, er, he means dinner. Did you sleep all day? I do that sometimes. Especially if it's sunny."

Moving around to the other side, Nicholas continues to use the hard brush to loose up all the dirt that's in Orion's coat. "It'd be no problem. Well, the teaching isn't the hard part, the hard part is the lack of area here to teach. They have horses here but the don't really have a riding ring or anything. I started teaching kids to ride horses a few years back, my parents owned a stable so I grew up around them. I don't think I could live not being surrounded by them." He says, pausing to rest his head on Orion's and give the stallion a quick kiss on the nose. "Just talk to the teachers Taylor, if you have a good enough excuse they usually let you make it up. Happens to me sometimes when I find I just can't really do anything when I wake up." He finishes with the hard brush and the switches over to a different one to brush out Orion. "I miss competing in horse shows."

"I don't think, 'there was some hay in a nice sunbeam so I slept for seven hours' is a very good excuse…" says Taylor, says the felinoid student, "But I guess I'll talk to them. Maybe I can make it up tonight or something…" The teen shrugs and then leans against one of the beams.

"Oh…" Cale seems a bit disappointed at that, plopping himself down on a bale of straw that's pushed up against one of the walls. It serves as a nice (if someone itchy) makeshift bench. "Well, how big does a ring need to be? Maybe we could make one…" he trails off. That seems like a lot of physical work though. Perhaps not exactly his forte.

Nicholas shakes his head at Cale. "I doubt the school would want me tearing up that much of their land. And I didn't say I couldn't, just that it'd be a little harder without a ring. Also I'd want to turn it into a dressage ring but that's pretty much impossible." He says trying not to think about how much he wants to be home right now. "Well you can always explain to them it's cause of your powers Taylor. I don't know."

"It probably is my powers. I'd never have done that before," says Taylor, sighing softly, "The whole nocturnal thing is kind of a hassle…" The teen then glances towards Nicholas and then nods, "I dunno. I imagine they have the money for those kinds of things here…"

"Well… then it's not really your fault, is it? It's kinda like how I'm real sensitive to cold temperatures since I manifested," Cale nods, then looks back and forth between Taylor and Nicholas, "Oh, well, that'd be cool anyway. I mean, whichever way."

Nicholas shrugs at Taylor. "Honestly, it doesn't really matter. Not like I can compete anymore." He says putting the last brush back using his telekinesis, his eyes glowing blue as his hand guides the brush, and he telekinetically pulls a stool over to him so he can start cleaning Orion's hoofs with a pick. "I'll figure out something, especially since it's getting nicer out."

"Nah, I guess not… though I should control my, um, urges," says Taylor, looking down towards the floor and then shrugging, "And yeah, I guess it would be hard to compete in things, what with… the mutant stuff… I'm kind of worried about a lot of that stuff lately."

"They won't let you compete 'cause you're a mutant?" Cale seems perturbed by this. It's not something he'd really given much thought. "That's pretty lame… I mean… you can just not use your powers…" he trails off, knowing that the honor system isn't exactly trusted in competitions, at least. He rests his chin in his hands.

Nicholas rolls his eyes and shakes his head. "Man, why does everyone think it's the stupid mutant thing. I've had my powers since I was thirteen and I still competed then. No, it's because I don't want my name out there." He says with anger in his voice. "If someone finds out who am I and that I'm wanted for murder, I'm probably dead so competing is out of the question and besides, it wouldn't be the same without them there."

Taylor's ears fold back and the student looks away, "Sorry, I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions, I just know that I would never be able to compete in anything 'cause I'd probably get shot before having the pleasure of being disqualified." The teen shrugs and says, "Sorry for jumping to conclusions."

"But I mean… obviously you didn't do it… Or else you wouldn't be /here…/" Cale frowns. "I guess it's harder to clear your name than all that though." He picks a piece of straw out of the bale, twirling it between his fingers. "I know you said before, but I didn't think you were actually wanted. That's pretty horrible." The teen glances over at Taylor, "I… well, I don't think you would… But, you're right…"

Nicholas gives Cale one of those looks that could kill as his jaw tightens. "After the Purifiers murdered my parents and I ended up getting away, they pinned their murder on me, and because Bodie helped me get away, they killed him too." He has to stop what he's doing in fear of hurting Orion because he can feel himself losing his temper. "You might be able to Taylor using your image generator. Also I'm sure there are some doll clothes competitions you can enter online without ever really having to show what you look like." He offers as a solution going back to cleaning out the dirt and muck that's gotten into Orion's hooves.

Taylor nods and looks towards the ground at Nicholas's suggestion, "Yeah, that'd probably work. I'd have to look something like that up." The teen gives a small shrug and then says, "It disgusts me what happened there with all that… I wish I could do something to at least help you clear your name, 'cause you've been through enough…"

Cale gives a sidelong glance at the ground, and then back up at Nick, "I… oh…" he says somewhat awkwardly. He doesn't really have any words of wisdom to share - he does feel a seething anger rising within him - much like when he would get bullied at school. However, he's not one for spouting off empty threads that he doesn't have the ability to make good on. He changes the subject, "Can I help?" he gestures towards Nick.

Nicholas shakes his head. "No, I just finished up and feet are one of the more sensitive parts of a horse." He says leading Orion into the stable and putting him up for the night. The chestnut stallion gets a hug and a kiss on the muzzle from Nick. "Don't worry about it Taylor, I don't want you to get killed cause of me, I don't need anyone else dying cause of it." He says shoving his hands in his pockets. "I'm going to go grab a shower and then find some dinner. Maybe Ahmed will be up for cooking something. I'll see you both later." He says wandering off towards the school, surprisingly in the right direction.

Taylor nods slowly at Nicholas and then says, "Okay, seeya later…" The feline glances aside and then starts brushing straw out of their hair, mumbling, "I pick the worst spots to take naps sometimes…"

"Yeah, that doesn't seem that comfortable! Though, I guess with the fur, you don't really feel the itchiness of the hay… still… that seems like a good way to pick up some kinda…" Cale trails off, realizing that he probably should not infer that Tay could get fleas. That wouldn't be one of those things that're good.

"No, it's actually really comfortable, I dunno, I don't get itchy cause of the hay, and it's kind of soft, but it gets into my hair and my fur," says Taylor, shrugging lightly, "Even though I don't like having fur, I like keeping it clean…"

"I can understand that…" Cale rubs one of his arms, curling his fingertips inwards as if to hide them nervously. "I don't really like my body either, but treating it nicely… having it how I want it, makes me feel at least a little bit better about it," he scuffs a foot against the ground, then freezes as his heart skips a beat at what he just said. He stares at Taylor for a moment awkwardly.

"You don't like your body?" says Taylor, headtilting slightly, "I dunno why you wouldn't. You're cute, at least." The felinoid shrugs and rubs their arm lightly and says, "Why not?"

Cale just kind of stares at the ground, frozen there for a moment, heart thumping in his ears. "I um. I don't. I just don't! Okay? It's complicated. It's… I mean it's not a mutant thing. But." Cale chokes on his words, his speech coming out kind of stunted and choppy. His uncurled hand unconsciously rubs his right arm, fingers climbing up it as he gradually folds his arms into a somewhat defensive posture. His cheeks flush red, "I'm cute?" he squeaks, blinking.

"It's fine, I'm not judging you or anything if you don't like your body, but I really don't know why," says Taylor, raising both hands a bit defensively as well, "And yeah, you are. I mean, like I said before, a pretty boy, but I think that's a fine look."

"I dunno," Cale shrugs, rising to his feet, "I don't know. It's stupid. I mean," he turns away from Taylor, ponytail swishing behind as he leans on the stall of the mare from earlier, who, upon seeing him, comes to the front of the stall and begins nuzzling his shoulder and licking his face, eager to find more treats. He pets her on the nose again. "Did you ever feel like, I don't know, maybe you were meant to be born as someone else, but you just happened to end up who you are? Physically? And like, it's not SO bad. There are starving kids in Africa, right? Or people working in sweatshops, or slavery, or war… but like. It still sucks. But there's not really like, a lot, that you can do about it?" The boy drums his fingers against the metal gate of the stall, producing a ringing noise. "But maybe you're not even sure that you're right. Maybe you ought to just toughen up and deal with it."

Taylor blinks a few times at Cale and says, "I dunno, I guess… you're probably asking the wrong person, you know? I'm kind of a freak, always have been, so… yeah, I've kind of felt that way?" The feline student sighs and says, "But I guess I don't know what you mean by that. How would you even wants to be different, physically?"

Cale scratches his head, blowing a lock of hair out of his eyes idly as he continues to give the horse nose-pets. "I don't know," he shakes his head, though that seems to be code for 'you are going to have to drag it out of me' which, to their credit, Taylor seems somewhat intent on doing. "I mean, my sister is awesome. You know? Sometimes, well, a lot of the time, I wish I could be like her. Nobody bullies her for being pretty. She's not expected to be tough, but she is! If I were like her, I could do things that I wanted. I could be normal. Feel normal. Wear whatever clothes I wanted to wear without getting beat up. 'n my best friend wouldn't have blown me off to go hang out with some stupid girl." He glances down at the hay idly, suddenly finding it very interesting.

"I guess. I mean, you said physically though. Do you… want to be physically like your sister?" says Taylor, head tilting slightly with some curiosity, "I mean, I dunno, it doesn't bother me if that's true, but it's kind of unusual? Unless I'm misunderstanding…" The teen frowns and then shrugs, "I mean, who am I to judge? I don't even /know/ how I want to be…"

Cale tugs on one of his earlobes, "I mean that I want to be a girl, okay?" I don't really like being a boy. Everyone expects things out of me that I don't want to do. I like being pretty. I like cute things. I like girl clothes." He rubs at his earlobe, resting his elbows on the gate. Tay probably can't see his face, but Cale can feel it burning red and his voice is wavering. His skin is taking on the color of the wood and grey steel of the stable building. "I mean I'm not totally unhappy being a guy I guess. I like guy stuff too, just, not sports and such for the most part. So, it's okay. It's not like I'm going to kill myself. Well, I mean, I've thought about it before but. But it's like there is a whole piece of me that I just have to stuff in a box. And it's not allowed to come out. But it leaks anyway. It's a leaky box." He glances over at Taylor, "You don't know what you want to be? I guess that's… kinda similar…"

Taylor shrugs and says, "It's fine if you want to be a girl. Doesn't bother me any… I mean, physically, I'm nothing at all. I'm an intersex person, and I dunno, I don't know what I want and I really just don't want to choose…" The teen headscratches and glances off, "So like I said, who am I to judge? But I dunno. Do you wear girl stuff? Do you /have/ girl stuff?"

"Er, sorta… I used to like… borrow my sister's clothes. Her old ones. So she wouldn't notice. We're kinda close to the same size I guess." Cale murmurs, "I didn't bring any with me, of course, I mean. And. I'm probably going to have a room mate. So I can't even do that. I don't think anybody else but you knows." There's a certain look in his eye that pleads 'don't tell anybody.' "Like I said, I'm not like, even totally sure that I would wanna be a girl ALL the time, anyway… but… at least some of the time…" He raises an eyebrow when the term 'intersex' comes up. "You mean you're like… both?"

Taylor puts up their hands defensively and says, "It's fine, I can lend you stuff okay, too…" The felinoid shrugs and then says, "And not both. Both is… no, not like both, more like neither. Neither seems closer. Just somewhere in between, okay? It's weird. And I won't tell anyone. So long as /you/ don't. I like controlling the information flow…"

Cale blinks, looking up, "I, I can?" he says, voice rising a little bit. He smiles widely, "You're awesome! I won't tell anybody. I promise. I know how to keep a secret. I wonder, I mean. There are certain things. Do you think you could help- Well, no, you have fur…" Cale scratches his cheek a little. "Someday, I think I would like to be my other self in public. You know, instead of just hiding in my room. But, I don't think I'm near there yet. Anyway!" the boy rubs the back of his neck, "You're the best. You are THE best. Amy would like you, I bet. When she gets here, you can meet her!" Without warning, he hugs the ocelot tightly. A purely friendly hug though. Then, before Tay can object, he bounces off back towards the dorms, humming to himself.

Taylor seems, as usually is the case, rather surprised by being hugged. The felinoid blinks a few times and then says, "Okay, I'd like to meet her, she sounds okay…" The teen watches as Cale heads off and then shrugs lightly, looking back at the pile of hay and flopping back into it. Maybe a couple more minutes…

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