2011-09-27: Hard Hearts


Connor_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpgRobin_icon.jpg

Summary: Robin finds herself stuck between Theo and Connor engaged in a match of stubborn hearts.

Date: Monday, September 26, 2011. 11:43pm

Log Title: Hard Hearts

Rating: R (Language)

Xavier's Mansion - Gym

This big room with wooden floors is build with powered students in mind; the entire room is power proof. Blast the walls all you like, they are not breaking. The gym can either be one large room and it also has dividers to make it two smaller gyms. This large Gym has basketball nets, equipment to set up equipment badminton, volleyball, hockey, soccer, gymnastics, fencing, and everyone's favorite, dodge ball.

As Theo hits the floor again from a cushioned blow of the elbow across the chest, Connor comes over and administers the 'kill shot'. After that he helps the younger student up, and says, "You're still acting like you can out-think the situation, Theo… you've got to move in your instinct instead. Fighting doesn't allow you to think very often… so it's important to use the training. Now… next time, instead of trying to anticipate me, just react. You'll see that all those parry-counters we've been doing are suddenly useful." Once the Theo is up, Connor goes back to standing in a relaxed stance, wearing a collared shirt, black slacks, black tie, and boots under them. All in all it strikes quite an odd contrast.

Theo lets out a moderate sigh. "Yeah, or maybe I should just learn to think faster. Must be nice to be Chloe in a fight," he comments. He takes Connor's hand to get back up, and shakes off the last hit. He's wearing a pair of navy blue sweatpants and a plain white T-shirt, very different from Connor's outfit. "It's instinctive to me to calculate my surroundings. It's hard to break out of that."

Robin enters the gym, unaware of what's going inside, wearing some workout clothes that include a pair of black sweatpants and a white sweater with thin fabric. Her hair being cropped rather short now into a pixie cut serves to make the girl a bit more androgynous than usual. She looks between Theo and Connor as she enters the gym, a basketball underneath her arm, and says, "I hope I'm not interrupting anything?"

Whatever Connor was about to say in interrupted momentarily by Robin's entrance, and he replies, "No… we're just doing a last set." And then turning back to Theo, he pats him on the shoulder and says, "Don't be… Chloe compensates for her lack of patience and instinct in a fight with her speed. I asked my uncle how to fight a speedster, and he told me it's all leverage. Now… this time, just let your body move." And returning to position, he begins with a moderate speed punch from a padded glove.

"All right," the technopath answers. As Connor's punch comes in, Theo reaches up and bats the offending fist upward, and does his best to react instinctively. Instinct? Hit back! His deflection of the punch is followed by a palm strike toward the collared collarbone of Connor, aimed at a high point on the body to upset the center of gravity more than to cause actual damage.

Robin watches as Theo moves to strike Connor and after listening to the explanation she nods with a blank expression, her puppet appearing next to her with an even more blank expression to mimic the motion. "That's cool, I guess you're teaching him how to fight, huh? I haven't really pursued any lessons myself."

Instead of attempting to parry the blow, he turns his body to blunt it, and then swings the padded elbow up from the punch to strike at the chin or neck of his opponent, smiling as he watches for Theo's responses. Unlike most training classes, he actually moves at full speed, not pulling that, but letting the specially designed pads cushion it from damage, "Actually, Robin… The school asked me to sub once a week for basic self-defense."

The close quarters that Theo finds himself in makes it difficult to dodge the punch, but he tries all the same. His instinct is to get back, and so he almost limbos back out of the punch and steps back to catch himself, "Whoop," not the most graceful of transitions, but he stays up. He immediately stomps forward for a calf strike to both attack and regain his balance, and tries to follow it with a downward punch at the abdomen on Connor. "Hi — Robin —" he manages to eek out in between the moves.

Robin bounces the basketball from one hand to the other a couple of times as she watches the boys fighting it out. "Oh, really? Huh, maybe I should sign up, though I'm not sure I'd be so happy with the bruising." She waves her free hand as Theo greets her, and says, a bit awkwardly, "Hey."

Connor shifts back a step from the shin-kick but his slapping parry catches on Theo's elbow, and the blow hits his gut, and he ends up stepping back a few times as he nods once to Theo, "See? You got it…" Coughing a couple more times before he straightens and looks to Robin, saying with a shake of the head, "This is different from what I'd teach to that class. Theo needed a crash course in what to do if someone does what they did before." Looking back at Theo, and then says, "Do some cooldowns." And begins to take off the fighting pads.

Theo grins a little with actual success of the maneuver. "Yeah, but you'd still cream me in a real fight," he comments. Proto rushes up to Theo after Connor tells him to stretch out, and plants himself next to the technopath. Theo puts his toe up on the side of the robot. Super advanced hardware's practical use? About the same as a curb right now. "Yeah, but the crash course has been for what, almost a year now," he comments. "Of course, with Walters defending the douchebags, they might get another shot at it. If I had followed my instinct the first time, there wouldn't be a trial for them right now."

Robin tilts her head at that and says, "Who is Walters defending? I must be out of the loop again." Blank scratches her head lightly while Robin speaks, and the girl approaches one of the basketball hoops to take a shot, her puppet standing behind it to get the ball once it either falls through or completely missed. The latter is more true. "What do you teach in the self-defense class, then?"

Connor rolls his neck a few times, and then checks his belly before going to where his water is and takes a long drink. After that he looks over his shoulder at the pair, and shrugs once, "The guys who attacked Theo last year are on trial, and are being defended by Rashmi's boss. Which is a great idea. She won't try and throw the case, but she will also ensure justice is done, Theo… it's not a bad thing. Justice is fair… which sucks, because all things being equal, they should go to jail… but this is America. It's kinda like how we're taught here to fight to disarm, disable, and knock out… not kill. That's a step you can't come back from. I know."

"I don't want justice for them, I want revenge against them. So it's not a good thing. All things being equal, I should've pulled the trigger when I had the chance, and saved the tax payers some money. Karma and all that good hippy stuff would have been happy, right? They would have gotten what was coming to them." Theo switches legs, and begins to stretch out the other Achilles tendon. "One thing that the attack on Mutant Town drove home for me: Any time you are in a fight, there's the possibility that someone is going to die. Don't get in the fight unless you are willing to do what it takes to make sure it's not you." The subject of the trial has him quickly riled.

"Oh, I see. Umm, yeah, I guess I can understand both sides, though I guess the reason for the whole justice process is really because of the emotional reactions that come from it," says Robin, Blank passing the basketball back to her. "But being the victim of a crime is… pretty terrible… and I understand that I'd want revenge, too."

Finishing off his water, Connor packs it back away and then calmly walks over to Theo, and grabs him by the back of the neck. Yanking him back, the other arm wraps around in a sleeper hold. The other man says harshly in his ear, "If you become so focused on the problem, and if you just keep hitting it, and hitting it… you're never going to see the other problem coming up behind you, Theo. I get you're angry… and you're justified… but what's coming to them? Mutant Town… Ahab… Africa." Each one coming out with a bit more harshness, "Theo… I've killed. Even in self-defense. And I spend every NIGHT wondering if I could have done it better. If I could have done it without killing. Because killing is easy. Right now. The right pressure, a twist. You're done. It's -THAT- easy. But nothing easy is ever right." And with that, he lets go of the other young man, and says softly, "All right?"

There is a crackle behind Connor after he's finished talking. Electrical. Where was Proto during this? Robin might've seen that while Connor was talking to Theo, the small robot instantly moved to a defensive position behind Connor, and the taser is out, pointing at the graduate. Apparently Theo has contingency for such attacks, but the small robot seems frozen in position, held by Theo from finishing the move. Theo doesn't move in the hold, "Yeah, that's cute," he says, rubbing his neck when he's released, and Proto puts the taser back to a stand down position. "Except you forget that I've killed, too. And you're right, it is easy. It's efficient, too. It's effective. But you make a better fighter than philosopher, Connor. I live in a real world, and the real world doesn't afford moral high roads. We are the stupidest race I can imagine. We killed both Jesus and Socrates for heresy. Doing what is 'right'," he holds his fingers in quotations, "doesn't get a person anywhere." the dark-haired teen adjusts his shirt decidedly. "Am I right?" he asks Robin.

Robin seems to freeze at the question directed towards her, and she furrows her brows just slightly and bites her lip lightly, "Um, why are you asking me? I'm not the authority. I mean, unfortunately, yeah, I can't disagree. Life seems to favour those who are terrible…" She brushes her hand through her hair and glances towards Connor for a moment before looking back at the hoop.

"In the middle of World War Two… several high ranking members of the Third Reich came together, and discussed how to solve the problem of the Jewish population of Germany. In the most efficient, expedient manner possible. Your line of thinking leads to things like gas chambers, internment camps… Sentinels." And shaking his head, he moves away carefully, seeming to have some awareness of Proto's position despite his eyes on Robin, and then Theo. Connor finally adds, "Mutants aren't any better. There are those who think killing off all Humanity is the right thing to do. Life doesn't favor the terrible… because the easy answer doesn't lead to any growth. It just leads to destruction. And you want to know what? I learned that FROM Magneto. Because he's walked the path you want to… and he's seen the results. Before you really consider what your course is, talk to him."

"There isn't growth anyway," Theo responds. "Connor, I know you like to think people are inherently good, or something like that, but lets face it, we've had wars and horrid things being done for horrid reasons for as long as history can record. It never changes, and it's never going to. It will always be like this. I'm not saying we should kill all the humans, but they will try to kill us unless," Theo holds his finger up. "Unless they feel that it is in their best interest to have us around. Which is why my proposal to Stark Industries will work. It only takes one corporation to start an idea, and then it'll spread like cancer because it makes money. Just use greed to get mutants better respect, better pay, and of course, eventually, what Magneto couldn't do with all of his raging against humanity, I can accomplish without ever lifting a finger. Mutant supremacy will happen, and it'll be handed to us instead of demanded by us."
"Who knows if it'll be fast enough to happen in our lifetime, but we'll find out. I don't pretend to be some moral compass, I'm just trying to survive in the meantime," the technopath says, slightly exhausted at the thought. "I'm starting to lose track of the times that someone has tried to kill me since I was discovered to be a mutant."

"Well, I mean, I think you've gotta strike a fine balance of terribleness to get ahead in life. Terrible enough that nobody really realizes your terrible or thinks you're all that bad, but not so terrible that you're murdering a bunch of Jews in plain sight," says Robin, tilting her head slightly, "It seems to work for those who get ahead in life, anyways…" She takes another shot at the hoop. She's not very good at this basketball thing. Given Blank's unfortunate positioning behind the hoop, this may be due to a complete lack of depth perception.

Connor looks at Theo for a long moment, and then shakes his head, "Then today's your last lesson. We had a deal going into this. I teach you what I know, and in return you think about your actions and the repercussions of it. You had a noble idea, but two words corrupt it into something ignoble. Mutant Supremacy. That world doesn't have a place for people like me. My powers are gone Theo. I have to drive up here. I'm on the other side now… a normal. A flatscan. A nameless face in the crowd who deserves nothing because of that lack of something you have." There's a sardonic grin on his face as he turns and then starts walking over to Robin, and says to her, as if the previous topic never happened, "Don't throw at the hoop… you want to sorta… arch it to the hoop. Drop it in instead."

The chews his lip. "I didn't mean it the way Magneto means it, so don't lump me in with that geezer with the blinders on," he defends, "And I didn't say that humans should be nameless faces in a crowd that deserved nothing, my whole family was human." He also didn't know that Connor had lost his powers, and is trying to backpedal. "But it is what will happen, Connor, eventually. I have thought about my actions and the repercussions. The repercussions are that there won't be as many people trying to kill the mutants, the side effect is that there will be more mutants in economic positions of power. I'm not talking about domination of the planet, I'm talking about the ability to have a voice that will be heard, because money talks." He pauses. "I'm sorry about your powers," he adds with a weak outstretching of his hand, in a much less forceful tone.

"Well, I'm not entirely sure how far it is away," says Robin, getting the ball passed back at her from her puppet in response to Connor. "It's sometimes hard to figure out how small things have to be. Or I guess I can bob my head back and forth to judge it?" She does just that, which looks a bit silly, but she follows Connor's advice, going for the arch. She still throws it short.

Watching Robin's motioning carefully, Connor moves behind, coaxing her to take another shot, "Umm… does Blank have any better depth perception than you? Maybe he… it… should shoot." Taking a breath before he adds, "Theo? No offense… but they did that one already? It's called the Hellfire Club? Of which Ms. Frost is a part of? I don't think they'll take too kindly to you giving them competition. But good luck to you." Not mentioning the powers thing, but there's a tension around him that just seems to be building a barrier between the two. He then tries to have Robin turn herself a bit to take the shot again, "I think it's also you don't know the distance. You're ten feet and a couple inches from the basket, give or take… so you want to shoot from this angle…" Holding her arms up to the proper shooting set, "It's all math and physics if you know what you're doing, promise."

"I'm not talking about a stupid club, you shortsighted knucklehead," Theo retorts in his true-to-form insulting of his adversary's intelligence. The teen from Virginia is now rather annoyed by Connor's disconnect from the conversation. Unfortunately, he also doesn't have much basketball advice to give to Robin. "I'm talking about a cultural economic shift on the way people perceive the value of mutants and their role in the American economy. I'm talking about a real change, not some attempt to force change upon humans, but a change that they will enact themselves. By emphasizing the abilities of mutants as skills in various working environment to increase effectiveness in the workplace and reduce costs to maximize profits."
He throws his hands up in the air. "Forget it, fine, I'll find somebody else to teach me if you're gonna just be a pig-headed self-righteous ass." He storms to the edge of the gym to grab his clothing bag. "And last time I checked, you've killed a lot more people than I have, so you don't have any room to talk to me about the morality of killing. Whatever the reason, those people are still dead, and I'd like to see you explain to their families why they should give a damn about the reason you killed them." Yes, he just went there.

"Well, Blank is way better at this than I am. Which doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to throw a ball. Though I've always been a bit terrible at sports," replies Robin, getting the ball back. "I'm practicing at being better at things without Blank's assistance, though. I can kind of move independently of her when she's under my control, and I want to learn to do that better. But I think I have to better myself first. I mean, imagine if I was a surgeon and I had her as a very trustworthy assistant!" She takes the shot at Connor's suggested angle and the ball bounces up on the edge and seems to teeter for a few moments before falling in. She looks towards Theo and just raises her eyebrows in surprise at his last statement. "Kind of harsh…"

The awkward silence in the gym couldn't be worse… but there's no flare or shift of his eyes, there's none of that spark from him, or any powerful effects. Not even a pop of teleport. So yes… without power. Connor looks to Robin and says to her softly, "Look at how they mark the floor for different games. These can be used to judge your distance to the hoop. It's a matter of practice… everyone sucks at first." Inhaling once, and licking his lips he then adds, without looking at Theo, "You're right. I have. And I have to live with that. It's so easy to turn a friend into a monster with just words, isn't it? Now… I'm going to ask you to leave and not come back until you apologize. I've had to learn a lot of patience in my life, and I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt… because I want to think of all of this as a misunderstanding. But I really…" Picking up the basketball from Robin, "… want to punch the smug out of you right now. Walk." He shoots… and then misses.

Walking over to where it bounces, Connor picks it back up, moving the entire time with a deceptively predatorial calm.

"Yeah, I guess it is easy, you did it to me, and now I do it back." After all, nobody likes to be told they are like the Third Reich. Proto seems to have taken a particular note of Connor, perceiving a threat as well. The small robot scampers toward its master. Theo was indeed about to leave, but the command to leave stops him, and instead, he folds his arms in defiance, quietly watching Robin and Connor. No apology.

"Ummm, wow, this is pretty awkward," says Robin, glancing between Connor and Theo, holding her hands out in a request for Connor to pass the ball back to her. "I mean, I hope I wasn't somehow a catalyst for all this? Sorry, ummm, oops." She bites her lip lightly and shrugs.

Connor passes the ball back as requested, looking at Robin and smiling thinly, "No… not your fault, I swear. The self-defense class happens on Tuesday afternoons… you can learn basic falling techniques, blocks, counters… the kind of things you'd need if you're grabbed, or other situations." His voice coming a bit mechanically. Proto stands there in defiance, and he turns his back, but he looks towards his bag for a moment, flicking around for other things, subtly assessing the room.

"Sorry, Robin," Theo apologizes to his classmate. "I don't want to ruin your practice. I'm going to go now, I just needed Connor to understand that he doesn't have any authority over him except that which I grant him," he refers to his now former teacher as if he wasn't in the room. His tone is measured and cool, not unlike a certain headmistress whom he despises. With that he turns on his heels, and begins out of the gym, Proto's camera staying focused on Connor as the technopath departs, just in case.

"Umm, no problem, I guess," says Robin, bouncing the ball on the floor a few times and then nodding at Connor, "Tuesday afternoons? I think I'd be available and I wouldn't mind doing something like that. I mean, Blank's superstrong and stuff, but not super good at fighting, and self-defense would probably be good to know, just for having it's sake…"

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