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Chance Encounter

Posted on Sat Sep 9th, 2023 @ 12:33 by Rebecca McMillen & Shane Gooseman

Chapter: All Hallow's Eve
Location: Rebecca's Classroom (Art)
Timeline: Afternoon, Friday, 5th of November, 1992
2045 words - 4.1 OF Standard Post Measure

Rebecca took a walk along her designated classroom. Wide windows, plenty of light, and easels set up for painting. Today's subject matter was a bowl of fake fruit that Rebecca had found at a thrift store, though she had to be careful what she chose as a subject as one of her students couldn't see the color red. Cat-Like reflexes, sure, but it came with cat-like vision. She's guessing the abnormality hit with puberty and the emergence of their power, since they recall being able to perceive Red at some point in their recent past. Rebecca's solution was simply to label all the paints with a label sticker of what color it was.

A simple solution, but efficient. She walked along the room, admiring each painting as she saw it. The students here were adept at using their imagination, and making a mess. Once the class ended, she invited the students to keep their paintings. Some did, others didn't. It pained her to see imagination and effort abandoned, but she also understood that for some... wall space was a premium.

Cleaning up the paints and setting things up for her next class the following day, Rebecca spied a figure walking along the hall outside her class, a figure she hadn't seen before. Investigation mode active, the blonde poked her head out of her class to catch the gentleman's attention. Too old to be a student, but that shouldn't be a factor. Never too old to learn something new.

"Oh, hello there." she greeted cheerfully. "Just seeing an unfamiliar face, and taking the moment to introduce." she had a cheerfulness about her. Being here, being safe, made her comfortable... and hence made her cheerful. A feeling she had trouble holding in sometimes.

Shane had been getting lost in the institute. Looking around with no real goal other than to get a feel for his new place of work. He felt lucky and privileged to be working in these halls of learning and he felt that a new chapter of his life had just opened up in his life. For the first time in a long time. He stroked his beard thoughtfully as he took in the ambience around him. It would take a little getting used to. It was certainly different from his last place of work. But it was a lot better than the bed and breakfast he had been staying in.

Shane was deep in thought and was pulled from his revere by a friendly voice. "Well hi there" he said with his thick Texan accent holding out his hand for a friendly hand shake and a smile . Names Shane Goosemam Ma'am."

She took his hand to give a friendly shake in greet. There was no great strength, no cosmic fire. Just a handshake. "Rebecca. Rebecca McMillen. Welcome to the institute." she offered, and let the feeling of welcome linger for the moment before she took her hand back. "So, lost for your next class, or lost for your next lecture?" she asked with a smile, "Trust me, I had that same look on my face the first few days I was here. A good mix of 'this place is beautiful' and 'I'm never going to find my way around'."

Rebecca had a secret to navigating the facility, but they called them secrets for a reason.

"Trust me, after a few days you'll know the layout like the back of your hand."

"Well thank you ma'am" said Shane with another Texan smile. "Not lost for a lecture yet Ma'am, but i am the new phys ed coach" He looked about the walls around him "Hell of a place you got here. I hope i will be able to find my way around soon."

"P.E. eh? I'm sure I have a doctor's note to get out of class somewhere." the age old excuse to get out of running or track or climbing or, mot dreaded of all..... dodgeball. "Oh you'll get it in no time. Just be aware, not everyone's tricks work for everyone else. My suggestion for you would be landmarks. Turn right at the chipped wall, or take the stairs after the wall shield." she offered a few mock-up examples.

"That accent.... you're American?" asked the blonde with the distinctive London accent. The only way she could be MORE English was if she were currently drinking tea while watching Taskmaster during the conversation.

"No i'm Texan Ma'am" responded Shane with a wink and a friendly chuckle. He stroked his bear thoughtfully "Land marks sounds like a great idea. Thank you. Nothing like some old school orientation to keep the mind keen. He looked around the art class, and its many works of art and the different colour pallets with various different labels. "Are you a student or a teacher here ma'am?"

His response amused her, though she expected it. "I'm a teacher. Art and, well, I want to say Art History but mostly just art. Gives the students a chance to express themselves through paint and canvas. Also, I guess, it gives them something to take their mind off of the world around them." she paused for a moment, "And please, just Rebecca. Everytime you call me Ma'am I think I see a grey hair." she teased.

"P.E. might really help the kids out. Give them an outlet for all that .... I don't know, do PEOPLE get the zoomies?" she asked with a smirk. "I mean, y.. you know what I mean."

"Urmmmm.." said Shane in his Texan accent as he tugged on his beard trying to comprehend what had been said to him. "Sorry Ma'am...I mean Rebecca. I apologise I don't know what the zoomies is? Is that a UK thing?" He stroked his beard thoughtfully "Or some sort of hipe term that the kids are using these days that just makes me feel a lot older?" He smiled with a twinkle in his eye.

She shook her head with a snicker, "No no no, not just a 'UK' thing. Sheesh, it's more of a Cat thing. Though, I don't like cats. But anyway, zoomies, yeah that's when they have a ton of energy and just start running around the place like a loon." she explained, even going so far as to use her hands to demonstrate the sudden burst of speed, and the 'running around like a loon' part. "I figure that cats have had zoomies as long as forever, so unless you pre-date cats..." she now playfully mocked, playing along with is own self-jab.

Shane chuckled "nah i have never been one for cats. Now Otters they make amazing pets and are very cute. But these kids" he gestured around the building a bit to emphasise the point "I bet they are full of pent up energy, uncertainty, worry and excitement about being here add to that a dash of hormones and learning their powers, it becomes a potent mix. What we need is a physical education curriculum that teaches them about being in a team and learning about working cohesively together. Whilst building stamina and physical fitness for a challenging future that I'm sure they are going to have. What kind of team games does the academy run?"

That question caught her a little off guard. "Well... there's.." she paused, and thought about the answer, or at least AN answer. "There's football, but not Texas football." she offered, "And, well if the kids want to play something else we have the means in the gym for some indoor sports. I'm not a very sports person, so I couldn't honestly tell you." she admitted with a shake of her head. "Some running, some climbing, that's my routine. I, well, I don't do violent activities."

"Fragile. Not an activist."

"Fair" said Shane, more to himself whilst he stroked his beard again. He felt like he had a bit of work on his hands. At least he had a gym to work with. "Well soccer is it. hmmmmm. That could work. Though i struggle to understand the game myself. At least the offside rule, could never get it. Well we have a Gym. That's something. That's a good start. It's probably worth teaching these kids some self defence. Though i thought maybe the Academy may be doing that anyway. What with the current political climate towards mutants and all."

"So it's the same in America, then?" she asked, but already knew the answer. Rhetorical to a point. Though, switching to a topic she could follow, "Well, it's a fun sport. Don't get to play it much but, I'm sure you'll pick it up in no time. Just don't pick it up with your hands." She snickered at, what she felt was, the height of sports humor.

"I'm finished for the day so I can show you the Gym if you want? At least, show you the way to get there." and with that, Rebecca took the lead. That's when the second clue that things were not what they seemed presented itself. Rebecca was teaching at an institution for 'giften youngsters', as the American education system would put it. That meant she either WAS one, or was qualified to TEACH them.

The thin, lithe mouse-like tail swishing behind her as she walked told the story of which one she was. Or at least, answered one very big elephant-in-the-room question.

Shane smiled as he saw the tail swishing back and forth behind Rebecca "Cool tail. I bet it is great for balance" he observed. This was something he was going to have to get used to. It had been many, many years since he had worked with other mutants. He wondered if all the teachers were mutants. It would make sense he guessed. Shane just hoped to himself that things worked out better than the last time he had worked with mutants. "Thank you. That is very kind to show me to the Gym" he added politely after temporarily drifting into his own thoughts.

She gave a start, almost as though she had actually forgotten about it. "Oh, ummm.." a pause as she gathered it up, "It's useful, but a pain. Covering up to go in public is easy, except for this. It always wants to just be free and out there, waving." she let the thin piece of her free, and it slid out of her palm to resume a gentle sway sway behind her. "Powers. Because I don't like calling what it is I can do a 'Gift' or a 'Talent'. Gifts are generally good things, given out of love or admiration. Talents, well... Pets do talents. I'm sorry, I'm spoiling the mood." she shook her head and resumed the tour.

As they arrived at the gym, her mood had brightened, "Oh no worries, rather a minute of helping over an hour of you walking past my classroom window good and lost." she smiled.

"Thank you" he said with a smile and poking his head in through the door to have a quick look around. The room was dark, So his yellow eyes began to change colour. His pupil, sclera and iris all changed to various shades of green so he could perceive the darkness in the infrared. When he looked back towards Rebecca he eyes rapidly changed back to their natural colour "Have you ever considered taking up fencing. I bet with the tail you would be great at it?"

If she noticed the eyes, she didn't mention it. How rude would THAT be...

"Fencing? Me? I.. no I'd be rubbish at it." she paused, "You really think so?"

"Yeah with tail like that, with balance it could give you back and forth you could give Reepicheep a run for his money"

Right, a fencing field mouse. She gave a soft smile, "Alright, I'll think it over, no promises." she pointed out, then gave a nod, "Well, if you're sorted, I'll get back to my class. We good?" she wanted to make sure he was alright rather then completely lost before she left.

Shane nodded. "Thank you. I think we are. Take care" responded Shane wondering if perhaps he had inadvertently insulted the Art Teacher by referring to her as a swashbuckling fencer from an old children's story


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