2009-12-30: Weighty Issues


Dallas_icon.jpg July_icon.jpg Topher_icon.jpg

Summary: Workouts and a disagreement about work ethics leads to harsh words and violence.

Date: December 30, 2009

Weighty Issues

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.

Dallas is doing what he always does when he's bored. Or annoyed. Or frustrated. Or just has more energy than he knows what to do with. Namely something physical. The gym next door has the sound of a few people playing basketball but the gym is deserted in mid-day except for the new student. He's flat on his back at the back of the room, doing leg presses on a machine designed for that. Dressed in a gray t-shirt and black basketball shorts that comes down almost to his knees when he's standing up, as well as athletic shoes, he looks comfortable, almost meditative, lost in the comforting rhythm and ritual of the workout.

July steps into the weight room. Not to lift weights, of course, but maybe ot use the bicycle a bit, at least until noticing there's someone else in the room. she smiles, recognizing Dallas, and moves to sit down next to him on the bench pressing machine next to him, "Hey there." she offers, smiling.

Dallas looks up at July and smiles. "Hey!" He keeps up the reps, working his way through the set. "Good to see somebody else on the squad getting in shape. I was beginning to worry that we're all slackers or something."

July grins softly at that, "Hey, I don't need to 'keep in shape'." she says, winking to you as she flexes her muscles, and uses some of her powers to grow her arms to make them look like she has the arms of a professional bodybuilder, and then relaxes her powers again and her arms return to normal. "See?" she grins.

Dallas gives July a dubious look as he finishes the set and just rests there, his knees bent but the weight lowered. His forehead is beaded with sweat because he's been pushing himself rather than just doing a maintenance workout. "Are you sure you can't improve by working out?" The idea that somebody can't seems almost morally offensive to him. Rolling up to his feet smoothly, Dallas starts a set of stretches bending low and touching either toe with opposite hands, getting ready for his next station. "I mean, yea, Rubber Maid and all, but still…."

July smiles, "I can't, really." she says softly, and shakes her head, "Bench pressing, lifting weights, don't do much for me. Granted, I'm much stronger than the average girl, pretty strong, too, but I'm no She-Hulk." she says, nodding.

Dallas grunts and shakes his head as he stops stretching and looks back to July. "That's cool. But weird." He goes to the next station, taking a firm grip on the chin-up bar and lifting his feet from the ground, bending his knees until all his weight rests on the strength of his arms and shoulders. He starts the set and his reply comes in staccato bursts on the ease-down from each chin-up. "But it …probably… saves time. … And makes less …sweat."

July smiles, watching you work out, "Well, my strength goes in how hard I can make my liquidly self." she shrugs lightly, "But, truthfully, the 'strength' of my abilities isn't physical strength at all, but flexibility and reflexes." she nods.

Dallas gives July a thoughtful look as he continues the chin-ups. He says, "Are we talking …like Jackie Chan…. or Spider-Man?" The words continue to come staccato on the ease-downs from the lifts. Dallas is dressed in black shorts and gray Xavier's t-shirt and is at the chin-up bar, working through a set while July is nearby watching, sitting on a weight bench. Other than those two, the weight room is empty though the sounds of activity come from the gymnasium next door.

July hmms softly, rubbing her chin as she thinks of that. "Kind of a wee bit of both… with Mr. Fantastic powers." she grins. Well, doesn't THAT explain everything? "But, like I said, physical strength isn't my strength." she says, "It's my versatility."

Topher's headache has improved significantly since he got to the Institute so he is in a very good mood, he is heading to the weight room to keep his physical strength up, he doesn't like relying on his powers to much, he is wearing black skinny jeans, black sneakers, a red shirt with a blue microphone note across the front, he has his earphones in playing loudly enough, you can just make out the words if your in the room with him. As he enters the weight room he spots July and Dallas, "Oh, hello, do you mind if i come in?", he says pulling out his earphones.

Dallas pauses, hanging in place and gives Topher a nods, though his eyebrows arch at the street clothes. "Hey. It's a free country. And a free gym." He lowers his feet to the floor and lets go, shrugging his shoulders at the burn and heading towards a bench press station. He looks back to July, "That's cool. I still think we need to get the squad together and get a jump on everybody else in working together. The way to win is working harder than everybody else." He sounds as though he's quoting somebody on that last statement.

July nods to Dallas, "Sure, yeah. The squad has a tradition of doing a get-together session before school starting, so everyone gets to know each other ahead of time." she nods, before looking at Topher. "Hey there, Topher. Come in, make yourself at home." she grins softly at the guy.

Topher grins, "Thanks, nice to see you guys again", Topher walks to the back of the room, pulls off his shirt and begins throwing punches at a punching bag, while singing under his breath, "Please won't you go back out, I'm fast asleep, Can't deal with this no more, On your way out please do, Turn off the light, And close the door too".

Dallas adjusts the weight, starting to stop at a prudent hundred pounds or so, something he can sustain for several sets. But people are watching. He settles on a hundred and twenty and settles onto the bench, getting a firm grip before he starts lifting. His voice is carefully diplomatic as he says, "You guys really don't, um, take your sports seriously here do you?" He tries not to sound judgmental as he says that but a little disapproval creeps in. Topher's work on the heavy bag gets a look before he puts his head down and gets back into his own workout, lifting the bar with a grunt and starting the first set of ten repetitions. "I mean, it's cool and stuff to be relaxed but doesn't anybody here care about winning?"

July chuckles softly, "You really have no idea what goes inside the Danger Room, do you?" she asks, smiling to Dallas as she could notice the disapproval on the guy's voice. "Wait for your first day in the Danger Room, and you'll understand. We /do/ take our sports seriously here, man. But not everyone here is a sports fan." she shrugs.

Topher eyes go black and his punches become harder as he concentrates telekinetic energy on his fists, "Not everything is what it seems Dallas, even the most relaxed people can have a competitive streak", he continues singing under his breath, "Don't come back and pretend to tell me, The night you've had with your made up stories, I was there but you didn't see me, There you were and the floor was empty, You and him getting more than friendly, Just a kiss but I can see you meant it".

Dallas keeps up the steady rhythm of lift and controlled descent. He's sweating now and trying to pretend he's not straining a bit. "It isn't about being a fan. It's about /wanting/ it. I know the danger room is different than a football field but I just don't see anybody here who is …fired up. It's a competition between squads, right? Don't you care that somebody might do better?" He pauses between sets, breath puffing out a little a little as Topher speaks and says, "I don't know, man … everybody is so …touchy-feely and relaxed here. It's like a school full of stoners or something." He seems to regret saying that immediately and winces. "Sorry, I don't mean that." He settles back on the bench and starts the next set, using the effort as an excuse for the flush creeping up his neck and cheeks and to hide his chagrined expression.

July frowns softly at Dallas' words. "Or maybe you're too uppity for this school?" she asks, not sounding very amused by the conversation and crossing her arms. "Not everyone makes their lives around sports, y'know?" she says, before standing up from her seat. "And the Danger Room thing isn't too much about COMPETITION as it is about TEAMWORK." she then points to the nearby window. "When you're out there, what counts against a villain isn't your competition with a different team. It's your teamwork ability with the rest of your team." she shakes her head.

Topher stops using the punching bag and walks over to Dallas, "A little competition is good for you, however its not too good to get caught up in it, also relaxing isn't as easy as it looks."

Dallas continues to lift and says, "Or maybe I just don't want to be a loser. And do you think those supervillains are going to play nice until we learn to step up our game out there? In the real-world people get killed if somebody in tights decides to step in and /isn't/ up to the job. Competition makes us better as a /team/. And I don't think somebody who is a snob about sports needs to lecture anybody about teamwork." He pauses to look up at Topher as the telepath approaches him, tensing up a little and says, "So … what? You're saying that being a slacker is harder than actually working to win?"

July sighs and shakes her head, "Yes, because it's more important to capture a villain before the other team captures it, right? It's not about teamwork, it's about getting to the villain first." she shakes her head as she walks away from Dallas, frowning now. "And, like you said, if we don't care about physical fitness and winning always, we're losers? Well, welcome to the team of losers, then. Competition is nice, but if you care only about that, it's not any better than not caring at all about it." she says, as she walks to the other side of the room, her back turned to Dallas.

Topher frowns at Dallas, "So relaxing makes me a slacker?, do you know how fucking hard it is to relax with everyone being in your head?, but trust me, in any form of competition i will best you, because i know how to have fun, and understand competition isn't everything."

Dallas grumbles, "It won't be a team of losers when I'm done with it. And it's not like you'd understand anyway. You're a girl." Apparently the argument has overwhelmed his good sense if he decided to go there. Topher's words cause him to sit up and give the other teenager a disbelieving look. "That's crap. You can't even go to the mall. In front of a crowd or in the field with screaming, scared people, you're going to be a liability. And you couldn't beat me at /anything/ on your best day." Yea, that's unreasonable teenage hormones speaking more than likely, combined with the pressure of a new school and things that Dallas won't even admit to himself, much less admit are putting him on edge.

July frowns at Dallas, then downright fumes! at being called 'just a girl'. She stretches her arms longer to wrap around Dallas to bind him, hopefully, her hands resting on the guy's shirt collar and she lifts him to her, to eye level. "Listen here, Dallas. Our team isn't about 'you'. Our team did, and DOES well without you. And you keep that attitude, and our team will keep doing well WITHOUT you." She says, frowning "And if you call me 'just a girl' again, I swear I'll show you what ti takes to be a girl. Stop being a stupid jock. Prejudice? From MUTANTS? Get real!" and then she releases him.

When July lets go of Dallas, he doesn't land back on his seat, he stays floating where he is, several pieces of gym equipment in the room begin shaking, Topher's eye have gone black and he is practically shaking with anger, he focuses everything he has on opening Dallas' mind, he puts a hand to his head as searing pain kicks in, his noes begins bleeding and he falls to his knees releasing Dallas, "At least I'm comfortable with who i am Dallas, all this 'touching' is confusing you is it?, you might be the captain of the football team or whatever you did back home in Illinois, but here your not all that, you are the same as everybody else, and trust me I can beat you at a lot of things!".

Dallas lets out a surprised yelp as he's yanked up off the bench and he instinctively calls his shadow to him. The darkness flows up and around him, leaving him like a blacked out image of a young man except for the eyes, which blaze with a corona of light around black centers. Eyes like eclipses, now narrowed with anger as he starts to say something. When Topher's telekinesis holds him up he stops and at the young psychic's words, he yells, "Stay out of my head, you freak!" As soon as his feet touch the ground, he stumbles a bit, suddenly back under his own weight and then lunges at Topher in a fear and humiliation-fueled rage. He aims a broad haymaker punch at the other young man, forgetting that when he's merged with his shadow, he is strong enough to throw trucks and shatter steel.

July felt guilt and regret as soon as she releases Dallas, feeling ashamed of herself at giving in to anger so easily. But then Topher takes in where she stopped, and her eyes go wide, "Topher! No!!" she calls out, but it's too late, damage's done. Dallas is released, and rushes to Topher to strike at him. "Damn, damn!!" she stretches her arm longer, in an attempt to wrap it around Dallas' punching arm, to stop him from actually punching, "Stop!! Dallas, stop, man! And Topher, stop, too!" she says, trying to stop the shadow man.

Topher barely has time to react as Dallas aims the punch at him, due to it being his first successful attempt at mind reading he is very drained, so he is unable to telekinetically push him away, he is however able to weaken the punch, he manages to also knock Dallas off balance, so he takes a weakened but very solid punch to the shoulder.

Dallas's eyes flare again as July restrains him and the punch feels as though it's sinking through thick oil rather than air from the combination of her strength and Topher's telekinesis. After that initial white-hot rage he realizes what he's doing and his shadow flees, powering him down again. Dallas takes a deep breath, chest heaving and heart beating a mile a minute as he looks back to July and says, "Get off. I'm done." He looks back at Topher and his voice goes low and quiet and utterly serious, his expression still frightened and humiliated. "If you /ever/ go into my mind again, I'll kill you." He seems entirely serious, in the heat of the moment. And then back at July. "Let me go so I can get the hell out of here."

July quickly lets go of Dallas' arm once the shadows leave and the guy seems to have calmed a bit, "Dallas… I'm sorry." the girl says, sounding downcast. "I… I didn't mean to snap like I did." she looks down a bit, rubbing the back of her head, before looking back up at Dallas. She gives Topher a glance, before looking at Dallas again. She'll have to talk to Topher, but now's not the time.

Topher sighs and pulls himself up off the floor with his good arm, "No, you stay here, I'll go, you were here first", he walks over towards the door picking up his shirt on his way, he mutters not sure if he wants Dallas to here him or not, "sorry", be fore falling to his knees again.

Dallas gives July a flatly unfriendly look, tinged with shame and that deep embarrassment and mortification of having Topher root around in his brain. He just says, "Whatever. I'm gone." And with that, he walks out, not quite running.

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