5469/Legs Miserables

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Legs Miserables
Date of Scene: 06 March 2021
Location: Training Gym
Synopsis: It's leg day for Jean, Scott, and Xi'an. Also included: devious kitten-based plans, literature, and Scott taking all the fun out of pornography.
Cast of Characters: Xi'An Coy Manh, Scott Summers, Jean Grey

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Another glorious day in the X-MEN. Today's topic: EXERCISE.

It is, naturally, vital and essential to the development and maintenance of the body. However powerful your genetic abilities, they must rest on a robust framework to be maximally effective. Also, it's good for you, and it makes sure you'll be comfortable in the uniform.

Xi'an Coy Manh emerges onto the exercise floor with four double-sided pages of workout plan tucked into clear plastic and threaded together with a strand of purple ribbon, a thin white towel thrown over her shoulder and a boring, if flattering blue singlet (suitable for everything, including jumping in the pool) on her body. She looks mildly frazzled; lips pursed in a faint RBF, eyes slightly ringed.

Reaching the open square for stretching and similar activities, Shan plops down the guide, plops down her water bottle, and then plops down her backside, shoving the covered foot of her leg out of the way. "Alright, what did the computer spit out..."

She rises up into a more regular crouch, then leans forwards, then slides even further forwards while keeping thighs and calves at a 90-degree angle to each other. As she goes, she mutters, "Oh right," and then calls out, "Hey, computer! Is the music working again, or is it just the CD deck?"

Scott Summers has posed:
What the actual fuck is a CD?

scott has a very structured and regimental exercise program that he works daily. It alternates different muscle groups, moves focus from cardio to rep training, and never lets his body get comfortable or complacent. It's how he stays in phenomenal shape. Because make no mistake, he absolutely is. For all of his anal retentive personality, his body is a machine.

Built on formality and strengthened by intent.

Coming into the Gymnasium with ruby quartz visor, sweat pants, and a t-shirt, he has a two gallon water jug dangling from the hook of his index finger, and a towel draped around his neck. Hair slicked back out of his face so he easily spies the other occupant with her binder and bundles of computer generated routines.

Like her, he finds a place to begin stretches. Loosening up all the muscles except those of his face. UNLIKE her, he has a companion: A tiny little grey/black tabby kitten padding along a single step behind him. The precious little counterpart does not go into a stretching routine, but does bat at Scott's shoelaces while he does. Then runs around in a circle like a loon chasing literally nothing. Maybe his tail? Maybe a ghost... maybe he's on cocaine.

Jean Grey has posed:
Between Xi'an's printed plan and the fact that Scott no doubt has his own ridiculous regimen memorized, Jean is the outlier, the relative layabout, the filthy casual of fitness! Having one of the most powerful minds on the planet may be something of a justification for this... or at least, a self-rationalization. The fact remains that her life outside her day job is one where physical fitness is absolutely paramount. Perhaps even moreso for her, and those she now spares the space with, those whose lack of super-powered physiques mean they must work all that much harder to shrink that weak spot.

So Jean also has her schedule. It's probably not accidental it criss-crosses with Scott's, although he no doubt spends more time here than she does. Xi'an is a less regular sighting, but causes Jean to smile as she comes in after them both.

And since this is the fancy, sci-fi portion of the building, the Computer beeps back: "REQUEST SONG, PLAYLIST, OR GENRE." The AI can handle the music! Or maybe they just plugged it in to Spotify.

In either event, she arrives in her workout gear, snug leggings, sneakers, and a black sports bra, with her hair back in a ponytail. "Oh, Xi'an, good to catch you, I'd been meaning to ask you- how are you liking working in the library full time? I-"

And then she spots something unexpected, in all of this. "Scott, WHO IS THAT?!" She hasn't seen the cat yet!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The CD -- an ancient technology... integrated perhaps by those who originally built this studied place! These ancient people, the Boomers, left many proofs of their works and some hold them responsible for the GREAT CATACLYSM which has reshaped the course of all future history.

As she inchworms herself into a full Melting Heart posture, Shan has little room to do more than turn her head at approaching footsteps. "Good day," she says, intending perhaps to say no more -- the Zone is an important place to be -- except that her eyes rest, sideways, on the little gray ball of fluff that has joined Scott.

Shan's eyes close, open again. Cat still there. A quick repetition of this process; cat still there. Should I say something? I don't want to interrupt him if he's in the zone, but, she thinks, I have to think of the cat's safety as well as his own - they could both be hurt. But then again, if it isn't a hallucinatory manifestation, I can surely prevent --

"Arcade High, shuffle by genre," Shan then calls towards the computer. After this she moves towards a downward dog, raising up her hips -- which means she is able to spot the incoming Jean, if upside down. She smiles, and is about to answer when Jean pops the bubble of tension and she is able to turn her head and say, "Ah!! What a cute one."

Jean gets a private mental message: 'Thank God, I didn't want to be the first one to bring it up.'

Scott Summers has posed:
In the midst of his stretches, Scott spies Jean's entry while half bent with his hands wrapped around his left ankle. A tight smile in greeting, while Scruffles bats at a loose strand of his hair that dare dangle dangerously close to his position on the mats. The small beast is not a talker, persay, but he does make chirp sounds when bouncing around in circles and attacking loose hanging articles.

More so when acknowledged!

Because he is a cat and the world revolves around him... clearly.

"His name is Scruffles." Scott introduces his tiny little partner, who hops backwards onto his hind-legs in full preparation for attack! The target of which, happens to be Karma in this particular instant. Bounding across the gap to leap, all four paws in the air, upon her foot.

HOW DARE that appendage be visible!

And move.

"I am going to train him to be cute on command." Scott explains in a deadpan voice that belays in notion that he's not serious. "Psychological warfare."

And the humorous bit is, if anyone COULD train a cat? It's definitely Scott.

Jean Grey has posed:
'It's news to me! I didn't know he got a cat.' There's no inherent attempt at subterfuge, in communicating mentally, even if that might be part of the outcome. It's simply a common habit among telepaths, and particularly with those shes worked with or helped train. Apart from the verbal, some basic feelings bleed through as well: mostly the overwhelming presence of an emotional state best described as 'squee!' which Jean masks at least a little in her outward appearance, as well as just a touch of suspicion. What Scott plot is this?!

"Scruffles? That's adorable. He's adorable," Jean declares, smile beaming. She follows after the exploring kitty just a short ways, up to the point where he's found some entertainment with Xi'an's foot. Then she glances back at the logic offered for the reason, raising her eyebrows in a very familiar, unconvinced look. "Uh huh. So when did you get him? And what- what really prompted this? I honestly didn't see you as a cat person." She could imagine him with a dog. Maybe a German Shepherd or Malinois. They'd fit the stereotype.

While pondering this, she walks around Xi'an to set up another mat nearby. "Mind if I join?" She doesn't have a carefully plotted out routine, so she can just steal someone else's! A bit of yoga seems like a good way to start.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
"Scruffles! What a charming little fellow," Shan says as she smiles at the kitten, who bounds forwards and approaches her, leaping with furious enthusiasm onto her prosthetic foot, presently covered in some rubber so she doesn't rip holes in the track. This is probably *really* pleasant material to dig your tiny sharp kitten claws into.

"I have complex feelings about this cat now," Karma states. She raises herself upwards further, the conflicting needs of 'a yoga posture' and 'keeping an eye on the fricking cat' (to say nothing of the deeper, spiritual need to look at a cute widdle baby!!) putting struggle in even this relatively simple set of postures... especially since it's keeping her head tilted downward.

"Is he a rescue? I don't know if it counts as a rescue if you just found him, of course," she continues, before turning her head towards Jean. "Not at all. This has a lot of hips stuff if that is a thing, but you are welcome to share the wealth." She is momentarily stymied by how to move the posture list but, after some Meaningful Glancing, trusts that Jean will get hold of it.

"Next is the leg machines," she adds.

Scott Summers has posed:
If there were any way to better accentuate Scott's point regarding a trained Cute Machine, one need look no further than the two women's reaction to the tiny little ball of adorbs. Now purring wildly and kneading upon Karma's prosthetic foot. It's impossible to be angry! He does not know what he is done... Nope, pur, kneading, pur, rub against the foot. Then he's off! Not enough attention paid!

The debt of attention must be dealt with!

"Kitty found him behind one of the resteraunts in town. She brought him back to the Mansion and the cat came to me, crawled up my leg, and determined that it would act as my counterpart in all future engagements." It could be that he's making a joke, there is a ghost of a grin, but it quickly disappears when he leans over to grab his other ankle.

For what it's worth, Scruffle bounces around in a circle and runs straight at Jean full clip! POUNCE! HEY-YA! he says in true Kung Fu movie fashion. Only it sounds like CHIRP MOW!

"I'm not a cat person. Nor a dog person. I am, however, a Scruffles person." He didn't chose the Scruff life, the Scruff life chose him.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Oh, so is it leg day?" Or general lower-half day, as Xi'an highlights first the general hips zone and then the future destination of the leg machines. But 'leg day' is easier to say and a bit of a cultural meme, so there you go.

Jean apparently accepts this. Or, readily enough, she could just do some other exercises later. For now, it's an activity she can turn vaguely social and communal, which may be the aim as much as anything, giving her an excuse to line up alongside the other woman and get to chitchat while they both evaluate Scott's intentions. Naturally, the position of the posture cheat-sheet that Xi'an is using doesn't pose a problem. Jean sets out her mat, gets down onto one knee on it, reaching out a couple of fingers for the pounce-y kitty, while the sheet, apparently of its own volition, slides along toward a spot between and just in front of the two mats, where they should both be able to see it.

This casual use of her powers for minor tasks is probably no shock to anyone who's ever seen Jean in the kitchen. Someone compared the scene with her in the kitchen at Thanksgiving with The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

However, one can imagine it's quite something for the kitten to see!

"Hah, Kitty found the kitten?" The simple wordplay potential is enough to further amuse Jean, who is now working to maneuver herself into a matching pose beside Xi'an. But her smile softens from amusement to fondness as Scott explains being chosen by the animal, and the unique bond that this in turn has created. "Well, I can see why. It's really sweet, though, for you to take care of the little guy." Psychological warfare, indeed!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The textured rubber grinds yieldingly against the soft and infinitely flexible flesh of - CAT; the original mutant. Well, in a sense, anyway. After some of this, Scruffles escapes to seek more and better attention. That cat continues to cultivate complex emotions in the heart of Karma, even as she leans to the side in a warrior pose. "Basically," she states, about leg day.

"To answer your earlier question, I'm loving the library. It's a lot more filing work than I thought, but it's not hard, just takes a while... I can't believe I was genuinely excited about a book order. I hope this doesn't mean I'm terminally lame," Shan continues as she twists the other way round, now looking towards Scott.

"Did Kitty name him? Or did the name simply come to you?" she asks Scott, some sweat on her forehead now. After asking the question she leans towards Scott with her arms held above her head. This gives her an opportunity to look upwards dramatically; the real power of yoga, its facilitation of dramatic posing.

Scott Summers has posed:
Is it within Scott to use his attachment to a kitten to win his way into Jean's heart? Absolutely. That is well within his wheelhouse and very well may play heavily into his decision making, but he'll never admit to it! And he learned long ago not to even humor such notions mentally for long, else Jean might accidentally pluck them right out of his head. He slips up, but clamps down on it with a grin. There is a genuine fondness for the little ball of fuzz, but it is a symbiotic relationship. Both of them are getting something out of it!

In Scott's case, it humanizes him.

Bending down, he works his palms forward to straighten out into an elevated plank position, lowering down to halfway between the floor and full extension of his arms where he holds. Head cant so he's looking forward at Scruffles sniffing at, first Jean's fingers, then at the book sliding across the floor by no apparent method! This collection of exercises have now become a target... tiny kitty booty down low, wiggling back and forth before he leaps upon the pages and goes at it like a wild beast! Rick James on Charlie Murphy's couch, right now.

"He came preequipped with a name. It is not what I would have chosen. I have considered renaming him to something more fitting.. Like Jareth. A character from Labrynth, but given that I did not chose him, I do not feel it is my place to alter his identity in that way." He has to be joking!! He's not guys, he's really not.

Scott follows no diagram to determine his next motions, whatever path he follows was predetermined like Scruffles name, but still carefully crafted for maximum effect. Working out the finer, wasted effort, details of exercise to get the absolute most out of his time as he can.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Did Kitty-" That wasn't even telepathy, even if it was a shared braincell.

But in retrospect it's no surprise bothw ould have such a thought: that Scott would choose 'Scruffles' is most definitely a little out of character in the degree of whimsy involved. But Scruffles himself makes up in this department, whimsical enough for the both of them. Truly, there is nothing about a juvenile feline, all at awe with the world while simultaneously planning to hunt and kill everything in it, that does not provoke such wonderous feelings!

For instance: chasing around a little laminated workout book like it was the deadliest of prey! When Jean sees this reaction, she keeps the game going for a moment or two, scooting the little booklet back and forth a little to provide entertainment for the beast- although this may challenge their reading of the poses, somewhat.

In the meantime, leaving her mind this segmented task, Jean attempts to focus on the physical, on the WORK. It's what she's here for, in theory, not to gush and play with a fuzzball. Though if she can manage to both at the same time, all the better. In immitation both of Xi'an and as much as she can see of the book that isn't covered by fluffy paws, raising her arms above her head as well, arching and stretching her torso.

Maybe they have methods of psy-ops at their disposal, too.

And to go with this, dry discussion of library science: "I saw the last order," she comments, not surprising as such a thing eventually becomes part of a budget that she ultimately oversees. "I'm glad to see you making an effort to expand our choice of authors a bit, to reflect the study body itself."

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The workout book and its associated ribbon tie flutter and rustle into a tormenting space. Scruffles may be allured, even entranced, by this dynamic motion, with its thousand tiny sounds and sparkling reflections from the bright lights filling this gym. For Shan it is a sign that maybe she's not going to try to do the advanced ones today.

Especially since - "Egh," she says as a brutal hind legged strike rakes through the lower third of that sheet. She breathes out, on some level relieved, but also knowing that this is only deferring things into the future. You can't run away from your own body - or at least, not readily.

"Hehe," she half-laughs about cat names while twisting backwards. "That's a good policy... I bet the cats learn their own names. I had a couple who kept coming up to the window when I was little... They were pretty happy but I just called them Mr. Orange and Mr. Black. Even after Mr. Black had kittens..." There's a subtle pop of the spine, followed by a breath of relief!

As she rises upwards into a more neutral pose, Shan's eyes half-lid while facing Jean. "Yeah... it's not a bad collection, given the size of stuff here... obviously specialized so, don't mess with success... but I thought, you know, have some more authors who aren't either a hundred years dead OR writing stuff for the supermarket rack... Other than Dean Koontz, obviously, but -"

"Oh! Yeah, this one's funny," Shan continues. "Julio did some kind of... magic stuff, from eating some kind of thing in Hawaii, and one of our history textbooks is alive now. I put it in a display case, but do we need to do anything special if we have like... other magical books somewhere? Or if we get them?" She spreads her hands slightly as if to show a lack of relevant certification modules on the topic. This is also putting her other, non-prosthetic foot out in cat pounce range.

Scott Summers has posed:
Magical textbooks, however, are directly out of Scott's wheelhouse.

He's not glossing over at their mention, but between Jean doing her stretching and sudden shift to academia, it's understandable that he might be more focused on the mats directly beneath him. On the one hand, he is very well read in the subject of history, specifically military history, and on the other he doesn't want to be seen looking like a bug eyed creeper swayed by the feminine attempt at psy ops.

It is successful, for that reason.

Like Scruffles.

Who skitters and strikes at torn pages of the manual once he finally gets his paws, front locked in, back kicking rapidly. Completely engulfed in the absolutely destruction of that book! The cheek of it, doing movements without guidance and tempting his wrath!

Scott pops up from his position and blows out a slow, steady breath. Looking back over his shoulder at the makeshift track lines that run along the exterior wall. One knee comes up, gripped in his hands for a few seconds, followed by the other, then he starts off at a steady jog.

Jean Grey has posed:
"He did what? And it- Hrm." Magic is always a bit of a stumper, and Jean has to think on this one.

"Mostly... that stuff is sort of out of our wheelhouse," she begins, tentatively, as if working through the topic even as she discusses it. "Even if we do have some people familiar with it." There are pauses not just for thought, but for breathing, as one must, particularly during exercise and extra-particularly in yoga. "I wouldn't know what the best practices are for storage, and we don't really have any special equipment for it." There's also the occasional groan or grunt of effort. "You'd probably want to ask Illyana first, if we ever end up with anything like that. Make sure there's no overt danger. If so, probably better to loan those out. We have friends to contact."

Eventually she straightens up as well, just as Scott is now moving off to the exterior for his laps. She does a little twist-in-place that isn't particularly yoga-like but seems to address some particular ache or kink in the muscles, while looking down at the mess of the book, which may stymie their proper form just a wee bit. "Sorry, that's my fault, I knew he'd love to chase it around but-" '-Forgot what might happen when he caught it!' she finishes the thought, in thought.

"You wanna hit the machines now?" Still doing those kind of idle stretches in place, her gaze idly follows Scott on his orbit around them. "I usually go out to jog, if you ever want to join me on those? Though it can be rough in the winters here."

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Scott straightens upwards just as Scruffles makes his vicious continued attack. "I thought about asking her, but it's kind of a weird thing to just begin, and I'm not certain she'll have useful plans," Shan answers Jean even as she rises up fully to her feet. Then she says, even as she gazes on Scruffles' savage brutality, "No, it's fine, it's just a print out, but as for YOU --"

Her eyes narrow with effort and a faint violet ionization gleams around her head -- and then around the head of Scruffles, who responds by falling adorably onto his side with enough force to roll onto his back. He claws the air with slow, wondrous ease for a moment before rolling the rest of the way and laying on his fuzzy tummy.

He pushes himself around in a slow loop. At the one hundred and eighty degree mark his head lifts upwards, and those eyes - they aren't moving like a cat's eyes. The pupils dilate as they gaze upwards towards Jean, and Shan covers her mouth with one of her actual hands. Scruffles rises up unsteadily then and begins marching - a distinct kitten march, left feet / right feet, tail swaying in time - over towards the leg machines.

Shan breathes out. Scruffles, now a good few yards away, is released from her fell mutant grip. She sweeps up the semi-intact workout guide, carefully. "Oh, sure. I really ought to. It just feels weird, to..." Jog? Run? After reclaiming her water, she says, gazing towards Jean, "Though, more straight forward, this one we can't ask Illyana-- I don't know who, but I have someone dropping a note every couple of days asking when we're going to replace the de Sade books. And..."

"That might be a big 'if', or maybe a big oof," she continues, en route to the LEGSEREALM. NOW she looks after Scott: "Do you jog in here or outside? Or is it a weather thing?"

Scott Summers has posed:
It's during one of his revolutions that brings him closer to the pair of Jean and Shan when the latter asks her questions, "Outside mostly, but the weather has complicated matters recently. I went for a twelve mile hike through the woods yesterday." Jogging in place, "And I intend to do so again Monday, but I can't stop cardio just because it's snowing." He can also change the atmospheric temperature in the gym so that it simulates mid summer heat, which improves his sweat.

"Sometimes I use the danger room." He admits, then takes off at a sprint. One mile jog, one mile sprint, that's his tactic.

Building up to full sprint for two miles. He's got a ways to go though.

Scruffles, however, is in a trance. Temporarily, anyways. Marching around like Catstofo, ready to bring to the America Tetris from mother land! Once freed, he looks around confusedly, meows at his own tail, and immediately forgets it all happened in favor of attacking this appendage waving about like a snake!


Jean Grey has posed:
"... that still manages to be adorable, although in a slightly creepy way," remarks Jean, watching as the briefly possessed Scruffles does his little kitty march away. And it all ends well, with further, self-governed adorableness resumed no sooner than he regains his senses. Can there be any doubts that it's going to grow up to be a rather special animal, surrounded by these people?

For all of that, Xi'an is still given a faint, embarassed smile when she finally retrieves her book of exercise sheets. Apologetic, even as they move on to the next step in their exercise saga. The machines, at least, require no complex diagrams for reference. And the computer is more than capable on keeping records of all the details of their use rather than requiring anyone to keep their own logs. This is demonstrated as Jean goes ahead and settles into one of the machines, the somewhat complicated-looking extension seat, with its padded bars and then selection of weights for resistance contained in a tower beside the seat.

She taps button on a panel that is part of that tower, and it blinks with information on her prior use. Reps, sets, weights, as well as some of her own biometrics. Very fancy.

"I'm the same, mostly," she agrees as Scott chimes in with his particulars about jogging. Except she probably doesn't do the distances he does. "As long as it's not heavy snow, I'll usually go out. And I also like to do some longer hikes and stuff, either leading small student groups, or just sometimes with a couple of the teachers. Not as efficient as Slim here," she adds, even as Scott by necessity starts to fade as he circles past them. "But we have such nice scenery here around the mansion. The whole Hudson valley at our disposal, really."

Re: the more exotic portion of their collection, once she's seated and settled: "... Wait so are they bothering you replace them because of the content, or because they're in bad condition from overuse?" The answer will be very telling about the student reader-base!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan's eyes turn towards Scott's - well, she can't really meet his gaze, but she can look AT his eyes, or where they presumably are. "Good point," she says, "we can't expect everything to happen in pleasant weather, can we?"

Then away he goes again! "Wow, he really could do this all day," Shan says with some wonder, before reaching down to scoop up Scruffles rather than see him condemned to a cruel fate in which he bites a mysterious object and feels pain, forever. She also wants to feel how soft the precious kitty fur is. Initial results: /extremely/.

She sets Scruffles down on one of the benches next to the mega-weight racks in their squat, specially-reinforced holders and moves to the leg machine sitting, aptly enough, catty-corner to Jean's chosen chariot of sweat: placed perfectly for conversation, if you care for it. She starts putting in a program from notes that are about ninety percent intact, the machine making soft sounds of acknowledgement for each step.

As she climbs in, Shan breathes out. "Ohboy. These are actually pretty informed notes, to the point where I was wondering if it was faculty. There were a couple of requests for books that actually have been lost as far as I know, and I don't really THINK it's my job to go try to march up and down Metropolitan France after old manuscripts, right? Not without some reason."

"BUT," she continues, "we did have a catalogue entry for 120 Days but there hasn't been actual COPIES of it since I got here - I suspect someone 'lost' it - and the only copies of Justine and Juliette are in French... Juliette is pretty beat up, though. I think someone dropped it in the mud."

Scott Summers has posed:
While the Scott's away, Scruffles will... pur cuddle against Shan. At least until he is set down on the bench. Like every kitten, he has an unlimited battery of energy for exactly twenty minutes and is then useless... looking around all sleepy eyes at the pair, gingerly licking his paw to run forward over his ears and whiskers, and finally laying down with his tiny little chin on his tiny little paws.

Big yawn.

Big mood.

Scott, however, returns on his lapping and is breathing heavier, though not hard. He's got cardio, but he does this almost religiously. Slowing to a stop near the work out machines, he grabs the towel from his belongings and wipes it down the center of his face as he approaches. "I thought we closed the library after this newest class stopped showing up?"

That's actually a joke. Working out increases cortisol, increases dopamine, increases mood. He's a better person after a run, at least until coming down off that natural high anyways.

"Anything I can do to assist?"

With that out of the way, he goes back to stretching. Warming his muscles down rather than letting them just go cold turkey. That's how lactic acid builds up in the joints and causes pain later.

Truly, he's got this down to a science.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Oh, Scott's a machine. Believe me."

Said at a distance beyond the subject's hearing, unless he's grown himself some Logan-ears, this might be taken as a sly comment. Or it might just be advice for her would-be fellow jogger, that the two of them not judge themselves by the performance of such a singleminded devotee as Scott Summers!

Gossip aside, Jean by now is properly positioned, with the bar against her shins. It's a challenging exercise, compared to say your squat press, as the motion is not one that the human body normally carries out, at least not under significant resistance. She actually gives it one try, before tapping a button on the side to bring the seat a bit further forward, so she can better wrap her arms around the other bar and brace her chest against it, focusing alllll the effort on just her legs.

She feels the burn soon enough!

"Shan, ultimately, oof," breathe in, out. "Ultimately it's-" Grunt. "It's your call on these." She takes another deep one and does a few more before trying to speak again, not wanting to stymie herself too much by fouling her breathing with conversation. "Of course you can just buy recent printings. In fact, if anything looks like it might be an antique we'd want to preserve, which there could be, left over from Xaviers' family collection, you can order a replacement and move those to one of the lounges or- there's a spot, I'll have to show you." THE SECRET ROOM.

She does another few, and then finally addresses the more delicate part of that whole discussion. "We don't censor what the students are exposed to, if it's got intellectual value. I think, given his revolutionary context, he's pretty well justified to include." Then she leans in for one more set, straining more visibly now-

-and halts in the middle when Scott reappears with a joke, of all things. She's breathing hard, so laughing is actually kind of painfully disruptive, and she stops, leaning forward on the upper bar. "They're not-" Wheeeeeze. "-they're not ALL that bad. Shan's survey stirred some interest, it sounds like."

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan stretches all the way forwards, gritting her teeth and then pausing. Supporting most of her equivalent bodyweight without engaging the prosthetic - letting it down in a graduated way, pushing back up... flexions upon sub-flexions! "Yeah -ngh - it's interesting, stuff, and, everything, but a lot of it is also, you know - porn!" There is a psychic squirt of annoyance and embarrassment that she did a big push on the explosive syllable of that one, but after a deep breath, she picks back up. During another round of this slow motion high-weight monocycle activity, Scott arrives.

With a JOKE; the greatest of treasures "Oh, no; once I finish banning everyone, though, I'm moving my bed in there and redecorating," says Shan to Scott as she shifts into another exercise, this one engaging both legs. The machine makes peculiar noises; the plate she's pushing has tilted subtly. She huffs as she lets the weight back down one more time...

Then to Scott she says, "Actually--! if you have a favorite book or author and you can recommend it... I thought that'd be fun, have the greatest books of the X-Men, right?" She smiles again, a little more widely.

Then she leans back far enough to let her hair spill for a moment and begins pushing outwards with a slow and steady motion. "Do you want to know a - fun thing about Scruffles though -? I think he can see your eyes through the glasses! Have cats always liked you?"

As she grips down, she asides to Jean, "I think a hidden book room would actually get a lot of people interested. Even if we just put regular books in it to go with the... yeah."

Scott Summers has posed:
Scott stands with his hands on his hips once he's caught his breath, which doesn't take him long. The sweat runs in slow trails down his temple and he's got the obvious damp stains on his white shirt, but doesn't look strained for it. Smirking, still, at the explosiviness with which Karma delivers the word porn. "For educational purposes, I'm sure." He muses dryly.

It actually brings up a fairly good point, glancing to Jean for a second. He decides against voicing it immediately, but there's a look there as if he does have something that he'd like to speak with her about at some point.

Looking back to Shan afterwards, "No.. at least not that I've noticed. I've been at Xavier's mansion since I was a young boy and before that I was in a terrible place where animals were used more as experiments than pets." Mr. Sinisters foster homes LLC. No wonder he's so well adjusted, right?

Nor does it take long for him to come up with a book, "Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Required reading at Westpoint. It has some of the best explanations and studies on the burdon of command with a analytical breakdown of military command structure. I've got a copy, if one doesn't exist already."

Another staple, "Sun Tzu's Art of War. I'm sure there's already a copy. I know there use to be. The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Mussashi."

Jean Grey has posed:
"They've got all the porn they want on their phones," Jean points out exhaustedly, although it is probable that the exhaustion in her tone is of a physical sort and not exasperation with Xi'an or some grandiose overeaction to the availability of adult content in the modern world. "I mean, I feel weird having to- worrying about what they're doing, you know? It's part of my job but a lot of it seems a little silly or pointless to get worked up over... or a little hypocritical. It's not like we don't know what it's like to be that age, when we're not that far from it."

There's a paradox there, to be sure. The word 'Headmistress' conjures to mind a particular catalogue of imagery, prim and strict matronly figures ruling over elite schools with tight-fisted control. And to a telepath, this imagery can be quite literal and vivid. A older cariacture of Jean, her hair up in a matronly 'do. And at the same time, absolutely none of that really applies to her.

"Anyway. It's always going to be a little bit of personal judgment, on things like that. We don't need to stock grocery checkout-aisle romances, but if there's some value and meaning to the work, if the smut lures them in, what's the harm?" By now, she's caught her breath a little, leaning forward on that padded bar. And this means she can properly grin over the 'boldness' of that final thought.

After which, she lets herself sit back a little, relaxing more, her breathing coming down. She listens, showing a brief curiousity at whatever that meaningfull glance from Scott, but not probing further in the moment. Instead, she grins over his selection of favorites. It is a little predictable. "Is it good? The sci-fi one. I've only seen the movie." Is this genuine or some intentional mockery?! Then she turns thoughtful. "Do I have to pick? That's always hard. IF I wanted to be impressive, I'd mention Proust or something." And it might not even be a lie, though it does come off as rather... trying too hard. That Jean perfectionism. But she thinks a moment, and looks at Xi'an more directly. "Have you read 'The Blazing World'? It's actually rather... you."

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Karma's jaw tightens as she pulls a face she has made often in this glorious institution: The face of endurance of disgust... at herself. ("Scruffles, you respect literature, right?" she asks the cat, but without psionic compulsion, the cat does nothing useful.)

She takes a deep breath and lets it out. "Huh. Well... see if it's the case with other cats, maybe. It was kind of a - glow? It looked really neat, and I wonder if a laser pointer looks the same way..."

After this he makes suggestions. Shan listens along, nodding as she goes, working through about six more reps of the exercise before saying, as her eyes turn upwards towards the ceiling, "We do have at least two copies of Starship Troopers, I know Heinlein's in demand... I'm actually not sure about Tzu. Musashi does, but I think it was a beater... we can get a good academic copy with annotations and stuff."

More pushes, this time with some forceful breathing. Looking towards Jean as she does, and leaning her headback, Shan contemplates. "Yeah - just, like... well I'll be - honest - some of this stuff is probably - only appealing BECAUSE - it's forbidden - so, do you participate or... what??" At 14 reps, the machine makes a chime, and Shan slumps backwards, the weights disengaging.

"Ff - sure - top three, maybe?" She also pushes herself up on her elbows as her eyebrows lift. "... Really? I don't think I ever heard of - it - isn't it a really old one? Like, sixteen hundreds?"

Scott Summers has posed:
"I've never had a particular aversion to adult material, in and of itself." Scott points out with a shrug of indifference. He's not nearly as strict about things as people might imagine or rumor him to be. The things for which he is passionate, he is passionate, everything else... so long as it serves some purpose? He's even played a video game. Jean's seen it. Mortal Kombat was his shit. "I do worry that the over indulgence of such topics in modern media have led to a break down in the importance of safety.. which isn't really the fault of children, so much the individuals who should be teaching them alongside this abundance of sexuality." His hands remain on his hips, this is an academic conversation. He hasn't even said donger or vin-jango once.

"And as you said, Jean. If it gets them in the library, what does it matter? It's a ... generational thing, I guess? Our generation, at least out there-" Pointing, vaguely that wayish, "-has taken a view of sex as just another thing. Casualized it. Which... I'm no sociologist, but I think it has definitely deterioriated the integrity of social relationships and the idea of courtship to no small margin. From a purely observational standpoint, however, it's rather quite facinating. The corrilation between the ready availablity of risque material and the trivalization of sexual expression and identity."

He's never been a conservative. That's important to note. These things just don't matter to him. Never have.

Interesting to talk about though.

Without saying donger or vin-jango.

"Huh.. yes. Better than the movies, I mean. The films were entertaining, of course, but they fell short of the concept of the book by a large margin. Glorified the act of fighting, rather than intent of it... and completely missed the mark where it pretains to command and leadership. I think my favorite part of the movie, however, was the earlier segments between Johnny and Rasczak in the History and moral Philosophy class."

With his attention turning to Karma, Scott draws his wrist across his chin with the towel partially wrapped in his fist, "I've got a copy of both with many, many personal annotations I've made over the years. I'll donate them to the library. I already use them as borrowable resources for my leadership courses for seniors. Though there's fewer and fewer that seem as eager as there use to be." Which does bother him, but what's he going to do, right? Can only lead the horses to water. He tries, though.

Scruffles yawns again and stretches his paws straight out lazily, claws extending towards Karma. Then he rolls on his side and lays his head back down... so obviously Winnie the Pooh is his jam.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Oh! I'd forgotten that the titles were the same. No, I didn't mean that one- though I suppose it's not totally out of the ballpark, as it's kind of a forerunner science fiction work, before modern science had even taken hold? And with a female author no less." Jean rambles a little at first, then explains: "There's a newer one. Siri Hustvedt is the author." Does she even pronounce it right? "I guess it's an homage as Cavendish gets a shout-out. But it's this very psychological-" Aha, now we know how she got snared in. "-mmm, story, about this woman, an artist, who essentially takes over the identities of several men to get recognition? But it... well, there's a lot more to it than that."

The broad sketches, at least, might make the appeal that Jean would envision apparent.

The rest of the conversation just draws a sigh. Well, no, not all of it. Here, it is decidedly Scott who draws a sigh, as he takes the topic of pornographic abundance and makes it sound so very terribly bleak and dry.

She looks at him appealingly. "C'mon, don't you think there's any part of it that's, I don't know, freeing? I remember, you used to like all of the pictures I'd post..." There is the less advertised to the student body yet still very true fact that before Jean went off to do her advanced schooling, and before getting a job as a teacher and now lofty HEADMISTRESS, her first 'job,' brief though it was, happened to be in modeling. The related account has long since been set private and locked off. But there was a time when she was posting that stuff!

Well, not THAT that stuff. But still, she has taken part in said expression of certain more liberated identity!

The general decline in student scholarly interest she can only meet with a bit of a shrug, now pushing up the padded bar so she can get out of the machine. "Technology is definitely changing how we teach. I don't think there's any getting around that. I think now it's so much easier to get at the surface level, so most are going to do that. But those who are really interested, they'll still enjoy the deeper dives into the material, you know?"

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Scott's words make Shan think, to the point of putting one hand over her chin and decidedly not getting off the machine and getting sweat all over the cushioning unneccessarily.

"It seems as though this has opened possibilities which were hard to explore," she muses to his words. "The dirty old men of the past were able to reach them, and some of these things, of course, are not unusual at all, simply less frequent. Perhaps we just don't know how to handle things like ubiquitious sexual content yet," Shan continues as she arches her back and slides further upwards, head tilted to the side and lips pursed slightly.

"And it comes down in large part to availability because everyone has their phone and even before then, you could buy, what, magazines? So then you're getting back towards future shock, of course... and in the mean time, what do you do? The big advantage of culture is that it's there for you when you're weak; it's a source of strength, mentally..." Karma trails off for a moment here, that same 'I'm vaguely disgusted at myself' look crossing her face, before her attention flicks back towards Jean. Jean... /and books/.

"That sounds wonderful, I'm going to grab it. I'm flattered you thought of me..." She breathes out, then, and raises herself upwards with a clasping of hands on her robot knee. There are a few moments where she listens to the teasing, perhaps out of voyeurism. (I watch a lot of these things, don't I, she reflects.)

But, the topic moves back towards EDUCATION. "So you could get them interested with something like de Sade or whatever, and use that to go into ethics or something," Shan says to Jean. "Then you can just kind of go off and look at the stuff he's referencing and touching on. I mean," she concludes with that same 'ugh I messed up' grimace again, "rhetorically touching on." She gets up to retrieve a water bottle and dare the touching of the forbidden kitten tummy.

Scott Summers has posed:
Scott doesn't even realize that he's done this thing, turned such an amazing topic as sex into something distinctly clinical and unappealing... at least not until Jean points it out in such a fundamentally Jean way and leaves him just a touch unsure how to approach without sounding like a teenaged boy.. Instead he looks down, raising a brow slightly as if in consideration, a typical Scott move. He's not retreating from the conversation, so much as analysing it. Breaking it down and looking at every single side of the puzzle until he's ready to solve it.

When he speaks, it's with a deep breath, which to anyone who knows him means whatever he's about to say is, get this, long winded:

"I think the advancement we've made as a society towards acceptance of previously aberrant topics is one of the fundamental positives of the generation into which we were born. That any two individuals can express, without judgement, their love for one another is mind blowing to me on a deep level that is difficult to truly explain without getting marginally emotional." He takes another breath and continues. "I also feel that at the center of this revolution of ideas is belief that sex as a casual, but not personality defining, concept has opened doors to a whole slew of possibilities that might have forever burdened and individual experiencing these thoughts in, even, the generation just before ours... I'll point you to examples in common pop culture, if you need references.. check appendage The Hangover or The Departed where inflmatory moniker were thrown around almost indiscriminately. A state which, today, is absolutely unimaginable anywhere but on the internet."

"Or Black Desert Online." Because it's fucking true.

"I often feel like my clinical assessment of a topic makes it sound as if I disagree with it on some level, and sometimes that's true, but I've rarely ever felt the need to beat around the topic if it's something I'm not in agreement. I stand by Xavier's vision. I stand by it where it pretains to mutants and humans, sexuality identity and every specific there in because I don't draw the line at the door to the mansion. Different doesn't mean abnormal. It means different."

He turns to face Jean, "And I still like those pictures. You're a beautiful woman, that's never not been true, but there are plenty of beautiful women whom I would be less interested in seeing them from. Not because they are not beautiful... they still are.. but my interest in what you posted was less about what you were posting, and more about that they were you." He points, "And that's my point."

"I don't view sex as casual. Some do, and that's perfectly okay, but to me it's more than that.. I was just expressing that in the only way I know how. With a great deal more words than I needed to. That with everything, the over abundance of pornography included, you have to take the good with the bad." Using his hands like moving segments on a board.

"And act acordingly when we're responsible for raising children. Which we are. If children are taught properly, they can view whatever they want because they've got information an education to back up the stimulation that media is presenting to them."

Jean Grey has posed:
"Yeah, exactly." Jean's agreement is with Xi'an's premise of using a more risque, even lurid entry point into a more complicated subject. "Or. Maybe show your students the movie. It's kind of old, so probably a lot of them haven't seen it, let alone read the book. You get them in with the sex and violence," and this could refer EQUALLY to either the revolutionary-era author-sadist OR to the fascist critique-slash brainless action sci fi movie, "and then you have them do a deeper dive into the rest." Pause. "And the movie has alien bugs getting exploded. And boobs, I think." She flashes a grin from one to the other. "You bait the hook, then you reel them in. And some will say it's stupid or get bored at the non-explodey stuff, but the ones who don't, you've narrowed it down to the ones who have an interest for that subject. No one is gonna like everything."

For all she ruthlessly seems to self-criticize on her capacity to do this Headmistress-y thing, Jean's clearly given the educational work some serious thought.

By now she's disengaged from the machine, and stands fully, reaching for her towel from where she hung it on one of the many mysterious protrusions of the device. She makes a point of looking Scott head on. Maybe she even rolls her eyes at the full DEEP BREATH in preparation for lengthy-speech, but doesn't reach out to stop him because... sometimes Scott gotta Scott.

"I know," she says simply, when he's done. "I'd never doubt any of that, not for an instant. That you weren't here to fight for all of that, for everyone who's a little different." It may be simplistic to say it, but she does, because even if it's so fundamental it should be obvious, it's worth repeating that they, personally, have stayed with Xavier and now taken on the mantle of his mission as their own precisely because they believe it. She reaches to touch his arm, as he says it.

After which, she adds: "And I know sometimes you're kind of a square. But if we're going to be the adults around here," a scary state of affairs that happens to represent reality, "we need a dose of that, to supply some boundaries and help put the chaos in context. It's just, uh, so very -you-, to say something like that when you're standing in front of a pair of sweaty ladies in spandex talking about porn."

This final statement is accompanied with a rather cheeky wink, before Jean reaches for a convenient if not previously mentioned little armband holster. Phone! She takes it out, quickly flips it around, spends a moment framing herself, then presumably snaps a picture. This leads to her bringing the phone back in front of her where she tap-tap-taps for a few moments.

After which, Scott's phone, wherever it is, buzzes a notification.

Jean puts it back in the holster. "Alright, think I'm gonna run a little, get the cardio. You up for it?" She's asking Shan. Scott shall be left to ponder all of this!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan listens to Jean first, before half covering her mouth at the idea of showing a movie in particular to a class as if Jean has just suggested they turn the mansion into a strip club. This is probably telling to the astute detective. "I should recommend that to someone... I don't think I want to teach myself, though. It seems like high pressure, but I admire everyone who does -"

Sitting up, she claps her hands together. "And Scott, Cyclops, please! Don't be ashamed of any of this. You are a very intelligent man and if it was not for you I would probably be dead today, as would a hell of a lot of us if you will forgive me swearing. I mean ultimately we have more in common than most, do we not?" She makes a little swirl in the air. "So! Think of this as training in case one of the underclassmen is confused. I know you would steer them righteously."

Now she stands up, running fingers through her hair to sweep out where it had gotten kind of sticky. She seemed to be about to say something in parallel with Jean -- but then she ends up bending over and covering her mouth with one hand with a sound best expressed as a snort of half-suppressed laughter, and afterwards, she says, "I had -- just been THINKing -- you seemed like you would WANT a hug but -- hah! Wow! Yeah, I was thinking I was in the worst possible state to do it, because I am all sweaty and gross and everything besides!"

Jean raises a question. Shan looks to her, then glances over at her workout plan which is now half bedding, then back to Jean. "Absolutely. If I collapse in agony, please throw my body in the shallow end of the pool."

Her hands clasp together lightly and she tells Scott, "I will pick up that annotated copy if you would like - oh, would you like us to scan it? We have the new scanner, it's great. Though I think my heart rate's going down, send me a thought if you get the chance, I should be able to hear it and if not ask Jean, okay I'll see you--!"

And then comes the jogging. (Some time later, when least expected, Scruffles will press his little kitty snout against Cyclops' glasses. This is the worst possible person to do that to -- and under feline law, that *guarantees* it.)