2010-07-05: Ironing Out Issues


James_icon.jpg Connor_icon.jpg

Summary: James recruits Connor for is plot, Connor needs more than the typical spiel.

Date: July 5, 2010

Log Title Ironing Out Issues

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - James and Lucas's Room

James and Lucas' room is at first glance, a typical boys' dorm room. There are small piles of clothes throughout the room in various stages of "clean." The left side of the room is Lucas', and the unmade bed sheets are in disarray, mingled around two science textbooks and a J.D. Salinger novel. The bookcase at the foot of the bed is mostly empty, except for a family portrait of Lucas' family taken when he was only ten years old and a complete collection of Salinger's work, including nine different printings of "The Catcher in the Rye." Leaning against the wall in the corner near the door is a kayak oar with a well-used life jacket hanging on it. James' side is somewhat more bare, but just as disorganized. On his desk are various books on engines, electronics, and other subjects of personal interest. The hyena's belongings seems somewhat more used than Lucas' items and a show signs of much harder use. Even his furniture looks beaten, as if it might have been tossed out the window a few times.

It all started with a phone call and a plea, "Connor, I need your help. Can you come to my room?" And yes, he did say 'his' room; James' room; an open invitation to a restricted area that’s guarded by a bouncer who seems to hate everyone. Rumor has it, the last kid to get past the door is still being hidden in the ceiling. But as amazing as the offer may be, the room looks less so. BDUs are thrown everywhere, taking up every available space on the hyena's side. On the desk: an iron, a ironing board, and several cans of starch. And in the middle of it all: one disheveled hyena.

With a small wrapped box in his hand with Lucas' name on a card, Connor makes his way to the door, and knocks politely. As an afterthought, he slips the box into one of his shirt pockets to protect it and keep it out of view as he wipes his hands on his jeans, and then says from the other side of the door, "I'm here James… everything allright?"

"Yeaaaaa," James calls back in a pitiful tone, the creature inside reflecting something much more sinister and unseen. The door opens, the hyena peeks over Connor to check the hallway, and then ushers his friend inside. "As stupid as it sounds, I need your help." He waves a hand at all the clothing, some new, some old…some with suspicious iron-shaped burn patches. "I was trying to make a good impression for Scott…and I killed more clothing than you’d believe. I'm starting to think I shouldn't be allowed anywhere near things that need plugged in." His ears go back, toe claw poking at the carpet, "Do you know how to work one of these 'things?'"

The expression that passes over Connor's face goes from 'This is a joke.' Then into 'This is a joke, right?', and is immediately followed by his eyes darting around in a nearly spastic fashion, working like a scanner as all the details are taken in. Finally he says, "Yeah, I do… here… first off…" He just immediately launches into grabbing, FOLDING, and organizing the clothes into two piles… which he points to and says "Dead" And the other "Workable". As he continues on this, "Okay, the key to Ironing is moisture. You're steam-cleaning the cloth to work wrinkles out. Which means you need to fill the iron's resevoir, and make sure that the area you're working on has a little bit to it. Never more than a single spritz, otherwise it could wrinkle up again when you're done. Also… don't press like you did here. It's not a matter of pressure, the iron has all the weight it needs."

James eyes widen a little as he steps back, making an impressed sounding noise for the other boy's benefit. He watches the 'dead' pile grow, sighing the whole time, "See…some of those were new too. I think I should have called you in first." Taking in the instructions he nods and hmmms, as he puts up his best 'I'm listening to you' front. "Okay…I think I screwed up on the water. But what happened here?" He pulls up a set that looks as if it were doused in Starch then thrown in a microwave. "This looks wrong."

Connor can't help but chuckle a little bit, and then gives a shrug, "You tossed it on dry, and used too much. Starch clings and works when you use it lightly over a just-damp shirt. If you're using the washing machines here, you want to use a lower heat there… and a lower heat here…" Picking up the iron and tapping it, "High heat causes a faster reaction… which isn't what you want, it's moderate, even heat to press the starch into the fabric." Stopping himself and then wincing, "Okay… wrong way to do this… I got talking again… Here." And taking up one of the shirts, he then gets the iron and checks it for water, "Got a bottle of water around here somewhere?"

James nods and pulls out a couple from a stash in his desk before handing one over, "Yep!" He watches Connor with a smile, ready for more learning. Meanwhile, he keeps his ploy up. For Lucas, it was about power; Jinx, control over her own destiny. If he's got Connor pegged right, it'll be about peer acceptance and belonging. "I really appreciate the help. I just wish I hadn't killed 5 good pair to make one good one."

Connor takes the bottle and fills the resevoir full on the iron, before he takes up one of the shirts, "Thanks." And then begins to spray down the entire shirt, getting it slightly moist. From there he takes a can of spray starch, and just dusts it lightly over one sleeve, "See… go area by area instead… work it smoothly. You know… I never pegged you for caring about stuff like this. For me… it's just the nature of dealing with my OCD. Getting everything ordered in my room helps me stay ordered in my head. If you needed this done, you could have asked… I'd have been happy to do it for you." The smile a bit sad as he demonstrates the technique, the sigh-hiss of the iron as he passes it over, and then holds up the flat sleeve, "T-shirts are easy. Sleeves then the main shirt. And you don't have to do both sides. Just work the back of the shirt.

James nods, "I hate not being able to do things for myself. But, I called you as soon as I started burning holes through my clothes." He node over to one of the fatalities; one that looks like all the rest, "That was my favorite too." With that said, the hyena leans in close, watching Connor work, looking as if he's honestly trying to pick up a trade. "To be honest, normally I don't care. But I had a meeting with Scott last night and wanted to look like I was capable of dressing myself for once. It's not the last meeting, so…I want to be ready." There's a glance over at Connor, a grin, and a narrowing of eyes, "I'm forming a team."

Connor finishes the shirt in the space of a minute, and then holds it up, and folds it with all the skill of a department store employee, putting it on the bed, before he turns to look at James, shutting off the iron for a moment, "So you wanted to make a good impression on the Headmaster… but with your reputation, it makes it kind of rough, doesn't it." The idea of a team makes him tilt his head a bit, "Cool… so what's the point of it? Are we talking sports, or something else? Team means a lot of things. Maybe a little more specific around here, but hey… it warrants a bit of clarification. Your turn. Like you saw."

James steps right up and does as asked. Taking the iron from Connor, his eyes go right to the pants, "Exactly. I needed to make an impression. The type that wouldn't require stitches and detention." He sets some BDU pants on the board and gets to it, his handiwork as to be expected from someone who burned his clothing. But, it's obvious he's been listening, "Training team. The park incident got me thinking. The school needs some 'inbetweeners' that the staff can trust to do the light work—like get kids to safety if someone attacks the school." The hyena nods to the pants, "So far so good?"

Connor nods as he watches, but his eyes continue to flick around the disorganized space, and he slips his hands into his pockets to keep from immediately beginning to neaten up either side. However, with the hyena's back turned, he takes the present out of his pocket and leaves it on top of Lucas' bed… then shakes his head and takes it back, slipping it away, "Looks good. Okay… so you're looking at making a team kinda like… fire wardens for company buildings, or crossing guards and the like at schools. Responsibility to a degree. Sounds cool… also doesn't sound all that much like you. I take it you're not going to lead it, even if it's your idea?"

James missed the almost-gifting, his back still turned to Connor. "That's it in a nut shell," he admits, "On paper it looks like nothing serious. And I can't imagine Scott allowing me to lead even if I suggested it. No, I'm gunning for student lead…Kenta and 'maybe' Julian will lead the team itself. But, I 'do' get to decide who is on it. At last until we get organized." He looks over towards Connor, "How do you feel about being part of it?"

Connor looks down and away for a moment as he says softly, "I guess it depends on who's on it… I mean… I'll work with you. You asked me once to be ready to trust and listen to you, and I said I would. But I'm not on the best terms with some of the others." Glancing back up again, he shifts and then stands up off the bed, "Can I ask why? Not the why me… I know why… it's only logical… but why did you think we need this? You're…" And he pauses for a long moment before saying, "James… I blame myself for what happened. And I've been working hard to try and make sure it doesn't happen again…" The edge of worry creeping into his voice, "If it hadn't been for me, you could have dodged that harpoon from Ahab."

James arches an eyeridge and walks over to Connor. He goes to place his big paws on the boy's shoulders, his gaze adjusting to meet the teleporters', "Connor, look at me." He even goes as far as to try to put a finger under the boy's chin, "Listen, it's in the past. Alright? I'm moving on—not because I 'need' to, but because I choose to. I can be mad…but fact of the matter is that I was in a very dark, unhappy place before the park. I'm not saying that getting speared was the best thing to happen, but it opened up some new perspective for me. And a new avenue to possibilities. You say you're learning not to do it again, I say I'm learning to be something better….lets do it together. You, me, the team. We’ll need you. I 'trust' you—most of the time." He grins.
With an actual blush forming on him, he does meet those eyes for a moment, but then he pulls back, almost tripping and falling onto Lucas' bed, "Okay, okay…" Seeming a bit, unnerved by the sudden closeness and the touching from the hyena. Hands into his pockets and balled into tight fists, he gives a nod, but does so while looking down and away, "You just… you never forgave me.. that's all… I guess… I thought you were mad at me, or hurt… I should've known better." Looking back up once more, the smile's a bit lopsided as he replies, "Okay… sure. I still can't tell when you're messing with me… but hey… if I can't catch it, then it's my fault for not being as cunning as you, right?"

James steps back, sly smiles creeps over his face, "Well, I won't fault you for being taken in my my charm. I get the best of everyone." He winks before leaning against the desk, steering clear of the iron. "And that's my fault. And I'm sorry for not telling you sooner. But, if you tell anyone else I apologized, I'll…toss your bed in the lake." His hand waves dismissively and nods over to the bed, "Can you do me 'one' favor, though? Lucas is acting odd about this whole team thing. If you see or hear anything odd, can you let me know?" He sighs and rolls his eyes, "You know him. He won't ever say what's bothering him. Which reminds me…it's you, Lucas, Jinx, Robyn, and me. But, that may change after we get the okay."

Connor immediately rolls his eyes, "That's because Lucas will assume something bad will happen and we'll all end up suffering, and once more he'll go off in a corner and sigh while playing his guitar… you just need to give him something about it he can't help but be excited over. It's not that hard… you ARE his best friend after all." But with that, he gives a little twitch of the head to one side, "All your friends in one place? Not a bad way to spend my senior year. And it'll be a good enough reason to keep Robyn out of the art room, he's pushing himself too hard. But you might want to add one more to your list. Heather. Weird as she is? She has superspeed, and she's a planner and thinker… it'll give you an element you're missing. Plus… it'll give her more people to connect to. She needs it. She's a lot like everyone else you've picked." With that however he motions to the door, "I need to grab a bite and back to the books. Just think on it, will you?"

There's still a bit of tension in his shoulders as he adds almost as an afterthought, "If something comes up… I'll say. Not that we talk as much as we used to…" Looking down and away afterwords, Connor turns towards the door.

James listens to the advice and offers another wave of his hand, "Sure. I'm always willing to listen to your suggestions. It's what friends are for." And Connor's offer to add another lamb to the slaughter is more helpful than the teleporter may realize. Looking over the clothes, James offers a final, "Thanks," the smile never leaving his lips. At least until after the door has closed and no one is around to see it turn into something much less friendly.

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