2010-09-28: How To Earn Trust


Connor_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg

Summary: Connor and Theo discover that they have different opinions on what earns their trust.

Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2010. 10:30pm

Log Title: How to Earn Trust

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Weight Room

All the weight machines are powered by hydraulics, you set the weight you want and your bench-pressing that many pounds, or even tons in some super strong students' cases. Punching bags, stair machines, bicycles, treadmills, weights, and anything found in your standard gym can be found here.

With the late hour of the evening, not many people are down in a place like this. Walking through the door once more is Connor, his gym bag over his shoulder and dressed down to a sleeveless top and track pants. Settling down by one of the nautilus machines, he begins to adjust the weight on it before sitting down and reaching into his bag. Turning on some music in there, the sound of electronica begins to pulse out, sounding like some kind of remix of video game music filling the nearby air.

Theo isn't the most frequent visitor to the weight room, and when he comes, he tries to make it late so that no one will see him. He doesn't bring a gym bag. As he walks into the room, he realizes that there's someone else inside. Connor. He hesitates, uncertain if he wants to continue to the weights. He has more meat than he did when he first arrived, but the tank top shows that he still has a rather wiry build. His clothes are all mostly new. He had bought new clothes just before getting grounded, so the sneakers are still shiny and white, the tank top and gym shorts have a fresh look to them as well. He hangs near the entrance of the room, as if he's still contemplating whether he'll work out after all.

Connor goes through an easy rep-set on the nautilus, pushing just past a hundred pounds on the arms as he moves fast through it, and sits up. It's only then that he notices you. Given his slightly older age than most of the students here, he's developed out into an athletic frame or has kept it up rather nicely. Tilting his head a bit, there's a neutral look there as he turns off the player and says, "If you're gonna stare, people will get the wrong idea, you know. So you coming in or not?"

Now that he's been seen, he might as well enter. Theo nods. "How's it going?" he asks. "I didn't expect anybody to be here." He sits down at a set of machine weights, and starts to adjust the settings. He grabs the bar, and pulls down behind his neck with both hands. It might be a little obvious to those who work out frequently: He's pulling more than his normal rep. He is able to accomplish it, but whether he can make it for ten reps…remains to be seen.

Connor pushes up from his spot and walks over towards Theo, stopping in front of him and looking down at the weight distribution, "Okay, first off? You don't have to show off in front of me. This looks like you're trying to do power-reps, and not smoother reps… which is a bad way to start off. You're not even warmed up." Putting his hands on the machine to stop you from working, he waits for a response, the fingerless gloves on his hands creaking a little bit with their slightly worn leather.

The look on Theo's face is anything but welcoming to the advice. "Okay," he says, not arguing. "I don't know much about this, so I just kinda come to try to get more in shape." He stops the reps, and lets go of the bar again. The look on his face seems a little sheepish more than anything.

Connor narrows his eyes a moment, and almost says something before he stops. Going to the weights, he drops it down to half the weight listed there, and comes back, "First things first… Rotate machines and reps. Don't ever do the same things twice, or get into any kind of pattern. The body gets used to things, and you can even lose muscle tone that way." Moving over to sit on one of the benches for pressing, and claps his hands together, "Second… balance your weight workouts with cardio. The bikes, or the step-master. Keeps the fat off, and helps with the heartrate." He then stops and says, "I work out a lot… it helps me. Body reflects the mind… it's easier to treat the upstairs problems with me if I'm healthy in the first place."

"Okay," Theo says again. "So, how much do I do the cardio?" he asks. "Is there something I should do first?" He hesitates to put his hands back on the bar. He really doesn't have a clue what he's doing, which probably is why he's been sneaking in here for a couple of months, and has very little to show for it.

Connor points over to a sit-stand device over in the corner, "Warm-up first. I usually do my warm-ups in my room before coming down, or on the way… The directions on what to do are on the device. Stretching gets the muscles going and makes it easier to do more, and recover more easily. Another thing… did you bring water with you?" His tone doesn't sound like he lecturing, but there is still a certain sense of neutrality to it.

Keeping in the rhythm, Theo once again answers, "Okay." He gets up and walks over to the device. He looks at it like it's an alien, and reads the instructions. "No," he says. "I usually just get a drink when I'm done from the water fountain over there." He indicates to the water fountain. Not the best way to take in water, but hey, it's better than nothing. "How do you know all this stuff, anyway?"

Connor leans against the wall, closing his eyes and taking a breath, he replies, "Get a water bottle and keep it with you… that way you can hydrate as you work… as for me…" He shakes his head, "I've been doing martial arts since I was about five… maybe six years old. When I got into junior high, I hated the outdoors, especially with my… condition… but my parents were adamant I had to do a school sport. To stay well-rounded. So I ended up on the tennis team. Only place that seemed clean enough not to set off an episode." Sighing once, he opens his eyes, and looks to the machines, "The gym teacher trained us all how to work out and keep in shape. Between him and my uncle, I was pretty much always in good shape. It's part of the reason why I could keep my condition down under the radar after I got out of therapy."

"You mean your mutant stuff?" he asks. Theo never had asked Connor much about his powers, but then, he never asked anybody about their powers. His tone seems a little tense still, as if he feels the fool being in the room at all. He starts to use the device he'd been shown to stretch, he at least seems able to do that effectively.

Connor shakes his head, and gives the other young man a rather flat look, "I have compulsive disorder. I'm not just a neat freak, workout junkie, and tend to get obsessive about things because I'm a workaholic. It's not quite Aspergers, and it's not quite OCD. My powers made it worse… because in order to be comfortable in any place, really comfortable I have to know where everything is. Not just know… but really KNOW." Shrugging once more as he goes back over to where his bag is and pulls out a water bottle, cracking it and taking a sip from it, "Why are you acting like I'm going to judge you, anyways…"

"I'm not," Theo protests, though his usual bold demeanor seems to be in check far more than usual. "It's just…I feel weird. That's why I come in here late at night. Most of the school knows more about this stuff than I do. I can relate to the OCD. Have you ever seen my room?" It's really a monument to the term OCD.

Connor stops for a moment and his jaw sets, "When's the last time you cleaned the entire kitchen here just because you brought your dishes in and someone left a couple in the sink? When did you walk into your room, and your roommate's misplaced sock makes you turn over and redo every spot in your own room, or felt like you had to leave a room because there's one dirty spot, and you can't stop STARING at it when you should be paying attention to your schoolwork?" There's an undertone of anger to him there, but it seems to be held somewhat in check, "People joke about OCD all the time… but being on this side of the fence it kinda sucks. And…" He stops finally, "I shouldn't be taking any of it out on you."

Theo shrugs. "My OCD is limited to my room. But you can ask Jaidee. I won't let him even leave a pen turned the wrong way on his desk." He really does get it, though it's obvious his OCD tendencies aren't nearly as strong as Connor's. He finishes the stretching, and crosses his arms. "Somebody been pissing on you about it lately or something?"

"Well…" He starts off, "You DID snub me… you never said word one to me after I offered to help you bone up on martial arts. I would have included a good workout regimen with it too. But it seemed like either you didn't want it… or didn't care, but you also didn't say." Moving off towards one of the machines Connor starts to stretch out again, having stood around too long and lost it already, "There's just a few things going on, and I'm not happy with all of them. So sometimes I come down here or into the gym and I work out."

The rebuke catches Theo rather off guard. "Huh?" he asks. "I told you I wanted to," he says. "I just haven't really seen you much. I was working for Tony over the summer and working on Hank's special assignments. I wasn't blowing you off. I just never knew when you wanted to meet. I thought you forgot about it and got involved with other stuff."
"Sorry your life sucks," he adds. "We all have shit to shovel, though." He doesn't ask Connor to reveal what's bothering him, though. "We all need a place to blow off steam."

Connor moves back to a leg machine, and starts setting up the weight system for it, looking up and over towards the other young man before saying, "I want to say something to you… but I don't think you'll take it as intended. So… if I do… will you listen and not snap to a judgement?" Settling down in the seat, he presses in the lever to release the weight so he can begin leg presses, pushing one-fifty easily as he breathes in as the weights push down, and exhales as he pushes back up.

The technopath wrinkles the left side of his face at the question. "Hard to say when you haven't said it yet," he answers. "But go ahead." He lets out a breath through his mouth loosely, already prepared for the worst. He finds his way to the pull-up bar, and jumps to grab it. He strains with all of his might, trying to make the first pull-up. He makes it. He lowers himself back down sloppily, and pulls for the second one, which he almost makes, but can't quite clear his chin over the bar.

Connor exhales hard once, and pushes the weights fully up, locking it before pointing to another machine, "Use the arm curls… it's easier than the pull-ups, and you can get more out of it. To be honest…" He pauses and considers you for a long time, and then says as he starts up another set of reps on the machine, "Most of the time when I see you, you're walking around with a huge chip on your shoulder… but at the same time you almost expect people to like you. Whatever it is that's going on, you're not making friends by being like that, at least that I can see. Because seriously… in this conversation you've learned a lot about me, and all I know is you don't like your roommate messing with your sense of order in your room. I left the door open for you a while ago, and I got nothing. So… I guess I'm saying that trust's a two way road… you can't go around expecting people to trust you when you don't trust them enough to get to know them at all.
"…Only reason I feel like I have a right to say any of that is because I was doing the same shit."

Theo arches his brow. "I don't got a chip on my shoulder," he protests. "I get along with plenty of people. I just don't get all touchy feely about people. I don't mess with your private stuff. You didn't see me asking all the details about what is going on with you that sucks," he gives the example. "I left it alone. I respected your space. We're both guys, we don't gotta go start therapy sessions to trust each other. You're supposed to get all sensitive with girls, not with other guys." He gives a nod, as if that's just how things are, and walks over to the curling weights. He tests a few of them, and picks one out that he seems to be able to manage fairly well.

Connor continues on the leg press for a bit longer, then moves to some kind of torture device that does weighted crunches, forcing his body to curl in and stretch out. Stopping for a moment to get a drink of water after a set of ten, he continues on, "Then we were raised in different worlds. See… my 'private' stuff might affect things around me. Either the condition, or something else going on… if I'm not completely focused or there… I'm not giving my best. Training or otherwise. Communication." Leaving the word out there as he gets another set of ten done, increases the weight, then done five more. Moving to another machine, he begins working on another exercise, moving with a sense of method and purpose, "How're you supposed to trust me if you don't know I'm there for you."

Theo knits his brow as he does a set of the curls. "Um, you trust people by just doing stuff together. Work on a car, play a video game if you're into that. Go grab food to eat." He changes to the other arm. "If I got something personal goin' on, then I deal with it. So it might affect the stuff around you. Just suck it up and get over it." He lets out a breath to help with his curls, and then stops. "See, I trust you if I know you're there for me, I know you're there for me if you're…you know, there."

"Fair enough", Connor replies as he continues down the way for the next few minutes, always keeping water close by and drinking liberally while working from machine to machine, until he's got a good sweat worked up. Then he goes over to one of the mats and begins to stretch a second time, cooling off. After that long pause, and a refill and downing of his water bottle, he then says, "You've got what my dad would call a blue collar outlook on life… not a bad thing, but like I said… we grew up different. Something to keep in mind when dealing with others. We don't always put things in the same frame of reference. Anyways… I'm gonna head to the gym and do some laps, the head off to bed." And with that he pulls his bag close, and starts to change shoes, undoing the exact knots, and then spending the better part of a minute getting the laces to almost match again.

"Okay," Theo says. It is his word of the day, apparently. He seems content to have the understanding that they think differently. "And I really would like to learn the martial arts stuff from you. Especially after almost getting beaten to death in Brooklyn a few weeks ago by those anti-mutant bigots." He smirks. "I'd rather not have the fight be so close next time, you know?"
Connor gets up and begins walking towards the door, "Can you commit two hours a day three days a week? Basically the time you're working out in here? Because at minimum that's what it'll need. Even then it's at least going to be sometime after new years before we'd even get past the basics." Stopping, he holds up one finger, "This is on top of the regular gym stuff you do at the school, whatever physical studies you've got, AND your Danger Room and JRXTC stuff. Bad day, good day, shitty day you show up. If it's just a sniffle, you show up. You'd better be in the infirmary or so sick you can't get out of bed to tell me you can't show up. Ditch on me once without a good excuse and we're through. Deal?"

Connor's tone and inflection make the little speech sound close to something he's probably been promised to or had listened to several times himself, a kind of rote that only comes with repetition.

Theo considers it a few moments. "Wow, three days a week?" he echoes. "Well, I'm ahead on most of my classes," he says. "And I'm grounded until New Years." He seems to be checking his schedule mentally. "Do you think we can do it at this time?" he asks. "Cuz, I think that's the only time that I can be sure I won't have other stuff happening."

Connor nods once and then gives a slightly lopsided grin, "Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights then. Friday nights I'm not here… I go home and see my parents. We'll get together about ten and work to midnight, maybe one in the morning depending on what we're doing… and I'm not going to lie to you… you're probably going to hate me before the end of it. I'll teach you the way I was taught. Better a bruise today for a broken bone tomorrow, or a hospital stay the day after." And with that he opens the weight room door and heads off.

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