2011-05-24: Comfort And Security


Emma_icon.jpg Shane_icon.jpg

Summary: Shane is given a few things to help with her unique difficulties.

Date: May 24, 2011

Log Title: Comfort and Security

Rating: G

Xavier mansion — Emma Frost's Office

Miss Frost's office is not as white as one would expect, however it does present an overall theme in the room. Using a classic den/office style structure from the building, the hardwood floor has been mostly covered from entry to desk with a white carpet that has been decorative bordered in an ivy-pattern, with the center having a delicately done floral arrangement. Two plush white leather chairs sit slightly staggered and angled facing a white marble topped desk of dark-stained oak, the Xavier Academy logo in front emblazoned in a polished steel. Atop the desk is materials for physical writing as well as a dual-monitor computer system that seems keyboardless, instead having a single mouse-like interface device. To the right are a pair of striated white marble book-cases filled from top to bottom, in the center of the pair a marble fireplace that burns sedately despite the time or season.

The left wall has a series of file cabinets sitting next to another computer desk, this one with a standard keyboard and mouse with the academy logo floating sedately on the screen. Next to those is a table where mail seems to be laid out next to a carafe of what is either coffee or tea, and a small pile of cookies, which seems to vary day by day. Behind the carafe is a small containers for sugar, fresh cream, and honey.

Behind the desk is a bank of windows facing northwards, running practically from wall to wall, bordered on both sides by silver-embroidered sheer silk cloth, so even when drawn you can make out details outside, and so long as day is present, line pours in to give the room a sense of warmth. For the times when more light is required, it comes from the vaulted office ceiling from a tasteful-looking light and fan combination. Just behind the desk and on the right side is a second door with a hand-print scanner.

With the end of the year fast approaching, several matters of business seem to be settling themselves so that the student body can enjoy it's summer more easily. Then Emma left an email for Shane to stop by her office, it was specifically coached at the girl's convenience, and also noted that it was not anything to do with the Kick incident of a month past. On the edge of Emma's desk is oddly enough a garment box, a faded one complete with an old Macy's logo on it and a torn corner to one side. Quite out of place in the immaculate office suite she had designed for herself. And instead of being busy at work, Emma seems to be looking outside, and making a few notes on changes in the gardening and shrubbery for next year.

'Stop by my office,' the note said. 'At your convenience.' Nevermind that there was very little she was doing, anyway. No projects to fill her time, no shopping trips to look forward to, just the occasional refresh of a web page to see if the latest chapter of a story is up, make an attempt at feeling like doing her homework, fall into the mountain of stuffed animals on her bed, try to find that feeling again without the want that came with it, fail, maybe sleep. It's not convenient, could never be. Because whatever reassurances she's given, Shane has been called up to the Principal's ofice, and that means she's failed at avoiding notice. Whatever it could be about if not the Kick incident, an unknown that her mind has worked furiously to solve. But with no way out of the meeting other than simple silence that would only force Ms. Frost to seek her out, here she stands on the other side of the door, gathering enough nerve to knock, twice, quietly, and wait.

Emma clicks the command to cause the door to open on it's own, before any knock is needed, and says from inside, "Miss Morgenstern… come in, please." And for once her voice sounds… pleasant. None of the usual undertone of rich condescencion that one comes to expect from her when talking to her. If anything, she sounds more amused… which could be worse. Coming around from behind her desk, the two chairs that are normally facing the main desk have been turned to face each other, and as she sweeps past, she picks up the box and makes her way to seat herself, "Pick up a snack from the tray if you like first, but please… come in and sit."

And the door opens by itself. Even, or perhaps especially, in a school full of people who can do things nobody else can, that little detail manages to be especially unnerving, and it shows in the rapid flicking of dark-ringed eyes over the room and its furnishings, ratty slip-ons shuffling as she makes her slow, tentative way in. Far from the eye-grabbing costumery of her initial life at Xavier's, the plain black tee and just-slightly-too-big jeans are almost aggressively normal, unremarkable enough to hold notice for very long, which seems to be exactly as she wants it, now; this is a girl who would make herself invisible all the time, if she had the ability. Shaking her head at the offer of snacks, she slips into the offered seat, shoulders hunched, eyes on the floor, trying not to kick her foot against the carpet. "….You wanted to see me?"

There's a soft inhale from the woman as she takes several moments to observe the young woman before her, and then the slightly amused smile on Emma's face turns flat, and her tone goes a bit more somber as she says, "I was hoping you would come see me, Miss Morgenstern. And thank you for coming. I have some things for you, and I wished to know if you still required them." Picking up the box, she motions it forwards towards Shane, leaving it on the edge of the coffee table between the pair, "This is the first part… the second, if you accept, is behind the desk. Before you consider the implications… one of the things this school is supposed to provide is the comfort as well as the safety of the student body. And while we have failed at both for you so far this year… I am hoping this will go part way on the first step to rectifying the comfort part." Nudging the box again, "Go on… nothing inside will bite, I promise."

Shane's eyebrows draw down, eyes rising to the box. There's a moment's pause, before she leans over, dragging the scuffed-looking package onto her lap, her habitual distrust warring with surprise, blunting the edge of her paranoia… if only for a moment. Not completely, however, for instead of simply opening it up, she lifts the side closest to her to peer within… just in case any cameras happen to be recording the event for posterity, which is nearly a given here. But she does open it, and does look inside, at least… a little victory.

Inside the box is… underwear?! Opening the edge you see the lines of what looks like a bra inside, one that is a utilitarian white color, with some crinkle paper around it, and then a pair of other boxes somewhere towards the back end of it. Opening it further would reveal that it is holding women's intimates! Emma watches closely as you do this, tilting her head slightly some some of her ashe blonde forelocks obscure one eye.

Of all the things one could possibly expect… to be given a box of underwear is so far off the list that it managed to thoroughly blindside the frail little student, and there's a long silence, filled with a hundred mental variations of WTF, before any one of them can get past the traffic jam and be voiced. "…Um… okay…. why…?"

"These are made from the sheerest Unstable Molecule cloth that can be produced easily… combined with a little bit of micro-circuitry, they will conform to your body's bio-electric Aura. This means that when you detonate, they will be inside your blast shroud. That safe zone that keeps you from being harmed by it." And moving the ahem… underthings… aside, Emma shows there are even several sets of ankle-high socks as well to protect the feet, "Scott wears glasses made from a special crystal to keep from blasting everyone he looks at. Another former student of ours requires energy siphoning gauntlets to keep from randomly electrocuting things. We have adapted what we can as often as we can to give you all some sense of normality." The boxes at the foot of it remain unopened at the moment.

Emma adds after with an almost amused grin, "The micro-mesh circuits are actually based on the suit design of a former Avenger you might have seen once or twice. She calls herself Firestar."

Shane absorbs the explanation without comment, picking up one of the socks, rubbing it between her fingers. "…So wait… These'll keep me from being naked when I blow up?" She falls silent at this, then looks up, more puzzled than suspicious. "…Thought this stuff was stupidly expensive just normally."

Emma nods somberly, "It can be, but we must keep a large stock on hand… every student receives a uniform made for practice with it, and sometimes it is required for other things. These actually should have been made for you after your initial powers demonstration… but with everything happening, it slipped between the cracks. Something I should not allow to happen again." The two small boxes are taken out and placed before you, "A new player, and headphones. These also have the same micro-ciruit system installed in them. So long as they are close to the skin, and not too many layers of clothing are in the way… they should also not be affected. And if they are, they are made from material designed that they should withstand it… so long as it's not too often."

If the underthings were an unexpected token, the headphones, by the sound of her surface thoughts, are a gift beyond price, and for a moment Shane simply sits staring in awed wonder. But she comes from a world where nothing is freely given, and everything has a price tag attached. One can practically *hear* the questions rising in the back of her head, multiple variations on a single, simple theme; when the other shoe drops, it's going to be a killer. "….Just like that?"

Emma's brows go up as if the question was unexpected, and then her lips purse a moment as she sits back, and one leg crosses atop the other, "Yes. Like that. Replacement of your broken device because of actions I personally had a hand in… that is my own portion, but the underthings? You need normalcy, Shane… do not think I have not noticed. You have a brilliant, lovely, artistic mind, but your chosen venue is anathema in the face of your powers. The Shane that I have seen and respected is the Shane that should be allowed to flourish here if she chooses, Miss Morgenstern. Now… one last thing." And standing up, she moves around the desk and brings out a pair of… boots. Big, buckly, clubstompers with inch high heels and fronts, "Forge spent the last week designing these for you… and according to what I have seen you wear, the design I hope matches your tastes."

Clothes she can wear, a player she won't destroy, and now… boots. Big, stompy, *wonderful* boots that… seem entirely out of place among the other wonders literally falling into her lap. "O-kay," she says after a long moment. "…What're they for?"

Placing the boots down in front of Shane, Emma seats herself again in the previous, almost Sharon Stone-esque position, save for her fingers steepling together as she replies, "Inside the heels and toes of the boots are an emergency energy shunt. Forge has designed these so that if you are in a situation where detonation is too dangerous, then you may press a pair of buttons with your large toes inside… and the boots will absorb your blast energies downwards." Pointing down at the heels, "Each heel holds a single battery that will take the energy and store it safely. He was even kind enough to make it USB compatible… so I believe if you wanted, you could recharge your player using it… or hook it with adaptors to any one of a hundred useful things…"

Shane sets the boxes aside, leaning over to pick up one of the boots, turning it over on her lap. Her mask is gone, now, and the emotions warring inside her are writ large upon her face; hope, anger, joy, confusion, and underneath it all, a hot, simmering resentment. "…So what you're saying," she says, slowly, "all this time… I could've put on a pair of boots and not had anything to worry about?"

Sitting forwards, Emma replies, "No… it is not as simple as… 'all this time'." Looking the girl up and down, "I know you feel as if I've been holding out… or you have suspicions of the reasons for this… however…" There is a pause, and she stands up to walk over to the counter where she pours herself a goblet of water, "The Danger Room analyses powers, and gives us the ability to study them, to improve on means of helping people function normally. A considerable amount of data needed to be gathered on what kind of energy you emit, how it emits from you, and how it is generated was required first. There are no easy fixes to any problem. And even this…" Turning to face you, "These are a one-time use. Once full, the batteries would explode if filled again. And we do not have any replacements built yet. I expect them any day now, but I cannot put a single student's project further up the queue than necessary school maintenence."

Shane subsides throughout the explanation, inspecting the tread of the boot in her lap, nodding slowly to herself, comfortable with the harsh reality Emma lays out; nothing's ever easy, nothing's a magic all-purpose fix, and there are more genuinely important things to deal with anyway. "…Makes sense," she says after a moment, without a trace of rancor in her voice. By way of apology, she kicks off her ratty Goodwill shoe, tugging the boot wider and slipping her foot in, pulling up her jeans along the way. Each buckle fastened, bottom-most first, then higher, until the entire thing is cinced tight around her feet. The foot is lifted, wiggled this way and that to get used to the construction, and a sharp spike of panic as her toe bumps against the switch Emma had described. "…Doesn't do anything if I'm not about to blow, right?"

Emma sips from her goblet and replies, "No, the studs you feel are energy sensors… think of them like a diabetic's blood test… but instead of glucose, this checks for energy build. If it's to a noted critical point, the shunt activates." Making her way back over, and sitting again, "When I sleep, I have to wear a specialized piece of hardware I have disguised as an eye cover. Because there is not ever an off-switch for my own abilities, Miss Morgenstern. I always hear the background. Consciously, I can tune it out, but there are times when it is too much, especially with so many young and vibrant minds around, and the stress and drama they generate on their own. Even then, there are mental commands or communication signals that can override it." Running her finger along the edge of the glass a moment, she pauses, and adds softly, "There is not a single person here who does not need something, or someone to help them regain balance."

A smaller flush of guilt runs over Shane's cheeks, not enough to suppress the deeper envy, triggered by the word 'regain.' "…Look," she says after a long, uncomfortable silence, "…Not your fault I'm like this. This is me. Before… just… tryin' something else out. Didn't work. Happens." But she does take up the other boot, repeating the trying-on ritual. "Can't fix everything."

Emma nods in agreement, "No… we cannot. The best example is our headmaster… Scott Summers. Do you know he has brown eyes? But you'll never see them. He can never remove his glasses or visor… because opening his eyes would destroy whatever he looks upon." Leaning in close though, she adds, "We cannot fix everything. That does not mean we cannot try anything and everything though to fix as much as we can, for as long as we can. Now… I believe you'll want to try on your new things… if they do not fit properly, let me know, and we can go to have you remeasured."

Among her few virtues, the ability to know a dismissal when she hears one. Nodding slowly, she rises to her feet… rather oddly, using the sheer weight of the boots as a fulcrum, instead of a more typical way, but it's a move that brings the briefest of smiles to her face. "Dunno if I said…. probably not," she mutters, gathering up the other boxes. "But… … …Thanks. Seriously."

Emma gives a soft smile in reply, "You are welcome, Miss Morgenstern." nothing more said, just a sip of her glass as she stands and moves to the door, holding it for the girl since her arms are full of new things.
Shane nods a short thanks for the door, inching past the blonde and into the hallway. Pausing to shift her armload a bit, she clomps down the hallway, her ratty old shoes forgotten beneath the chair she'd sat in. For once, it would seem, her headspace is a little less gloomy than usual… if only by inches.

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