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 An island in the flood, Feb 17th 3:45PM | Closed
Wiccan
 Posted: Jan 1 2018, 03:58 AM
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So it had been a pretty wild week for Billy.

He could nearly see the very moment that everything kind of went wild in his life, on valentines day he'd been attacked by ninja's and that started this whole weird week. He'd freaked out at his twin because it had been Tommy's fault he was attacked at all, sought refuge in the company of the one person that he felt could take him away from what had happened. Okay so he also ended up accidentally uploading all of his memories into Auri's brain but he'd felt adrift, and he really did not want to have another situation pop up that would risk his life without having the chance to kiss the cajun boy. Then he was pretty sure that he not only freaked out his mentor but accidentally came out to him via text message.

All of that was even before Liv had barged into his room completely a mess because the guy that Billy thought she had been dating kissed her. It had made him realize that maybe he didn't actually know the friends that he was closest to all that well, he supposed all he could really do was just hang in there. He offered to buy Shanes coffee today, it was not the best peace offering, but he understood that his mentor was worried. He was probably right to be concerned, but Billy kind of just wanted a few days to get his own thoughts and feelings together before actually talking things out with Shane.

Billy was precisely on time for their afternoon coffee meeting, walking in the door to the grindstone cafe right as the time changed. "Hey, have you been waiting long?" He asked the older man as he removed his sunglasses to expose what was left of the bruising on his face. His black eye was getting better, some of the bruises around his temple had already faded, and overall he looked less like he'd lost a fight and more like he'd just been in one. There was no denying that they probably had a lot to talk about, but for right now Billy was just interested in Slate's coffee order. "Come on let's order, don't forget this time it's on me."

One weird thing was that even though they once more found themselves in front of the very cute blonde barista, Billy didn't seem as odd this time around. "Know what you're getting?" Looking at the menu he wondered if he should get something different today, "Has your week felt like it was three years long too? Because I super could use a vacation, there is really not enough coffee in the world to handle this week." Crap he was nervous, even though they had agreed that they could talk to each other about things Billy was worried about it all.
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Slate
 Posted: Jan 5 2018, 01:11 PM
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It was hard to believe that it had been nearly two weeks since he had met Billy at the Grindstone Cafe upon learning that he was to mentor the boy, but Shane found himself looking forward to the little reunion. A lot had happened from that first meeting until that day, and to say that things had been somewhat tumultuous would have been a bit of an understatement. Starting with the very night after he had spoken to Billy the first time he had experienced a shocking change in his own mutation –one that he had silently wondered about even prior to that, but had not really wanted to explore.

And that was only the beginning. Things had been rather up and down for him, culminating in him making some rather stupid decisions, finally reuniting with a resurrected friend and receiving some much needed and well deserved admonishment, and stumbling upon a mystery that he probably shouldn't have been involved in. That wasn't to say that things were terrible. He'd made a new friend, Sam had returned to the mansion and the team, and parts of his own life seemed to finally be finding some stability.

Then there was Billy. Shane still wasn't thrilled at the fact that the boy had kept secret his being ambushed by ninja of the Hand or that he and his apparent boyfriend Auri had ditched school entirely the next day (not attending classes he understood, but leaving entirely hadn't sat right with him) but he was willing to look past them. After all, Billy had told him eventually. The mentor to mentee relationship was new to both of them, and there was bound to be an adjustment period, but Shane planned to fully assure Billy that he could reach out to him about anything. Billy's promise to keep discussion of the power experiment with Julian Keller under wraps was also good incentive for Shane to keep his misgivings about the boy's reluctance to open up to himself.

One matter of discussion would be the team assignments for the New Mutants. Shane wanted to pick Billy's brain about some of the other students on the Beta Squad.

As the boy entered the cafe promptly at their agreed meeting time Shane shot him a nod. “No,” he replied to Billy's inquiry, giving the boy's eye and facial bruising a cursory examination, “I basically just got here.” Not wanting to draw too much attention to his mentee's wounds, Shane simply followed Billy to the counter to allow the boy to order for the both of them.

“Yeah,” he replied, noting that Billy wasn't flustered around the blond barista as he had been two weeks prior. It was telling. Like some kind of an awkward weight that had been resting on Billy's shoulders had been removed now that he and Auri were apparently an item. Shane had moments where he had wondered about Billy's sexuality –most notably at the Winter Carnival due to Tommy's peculiar behavior– but had flatly refused to call any attention to such suspicions. A person's sexuality was their own business, and it would be up to them whether or not they wanted to reveal or express it. “I'll just have a hot chocolate today.” And as Billy went about perusing the menu, Shane said, “Yeah, it has. Feels like we've both been through some kind of hell. I'm looking forward to being able to just talk about a boring, normal week sometime.”

Like that would ever happen.

Once the two had received their orders, Shane led them to the same table they had occupied on their first visit. After shrugging off his jacket and draping it over the back of his chair, Shane sat and gave his mentee another smile. “I know things have sucked, so instead of me just asking you to spill all of what's been happening to you on the table I'll fill you in on a little bit of what's been happening to me.” Allowing Billy to hear some of his own problems and mistakes, he felt, was probably better than just expecting the kid to open up about everything he was going through. It needed to go both ways. “That photo you saw... the one that Julian sent you. I know I said we should never mention it again, but I feel like you deserve an explanation. Your mentor is an idiot.” Okay, so that wasn't an explanation, but it wasn't a lie either. Following a brief chuckle he continued, “The night after we first met here I learned something about my mutation that I'd never known before. I can apparently be broken apart and pull myself back together. Found out by losing a hand. So after some time thinking on it I wanted to learn more –figure out what I could and couldn't do. So, being the idiot I am I got in touch with one person I knew would help me without really protesting –Julian Keller. He um... completely destroyed me. Blew me to pieces.”

“Yeah, I did a dumb.”

Shane hoped that his revelation was enough to make Billy realize that any mistakes he might have made weren't necessarily the worst.


Wiccan
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Wiccan
 Posted: Jan 10 2018, 02:59 AM
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It was good that Shane had not been waiting long, but what was bad was the fact that his mentor looked at his face like he was trying to find something. Billy regretted the fact that he didn't think to hide the last of his bruising with an illusion, it would have been easy to create the look of a blemish-free face, but the lie would really just be too much work. "Hot chocolate does sound good," But oh man had the toasted coconut that he'd had the other day with Auri was so good he almost wanted to just order that one right away. Instead of coffee (the pretty blonde barista informed him that they were indeed out of the coffee he wanted), he ordered the two hot chocolates, "I can't really remember the last time I had a boring or normal week." He went to mutant high, so there was always something going on, most times it even involved at least the potential for bodily injury.

Once they were seated, Shane was speaking before Billy even had a chance to have a sip of his hot chocolate. There were apparently lots of things that were on Shane's mind, namely the idea that he needed to explain why he'd been legless and pinned to the ceiling of the Danger Room.

"Is this the part where I agree or tell you that you aren't actually an idiot?" He flashed Shane a smile but otherwise shut up to listen in on the story. Shane had by his own admission gotten into some sort of situation where he lost a hand, then after magically managing to not die of blood loss and (Billy was filling in the blanks about things that Shane did not explicitly say) managing to put himself back together... He decided to actually test his ability to be broken apart, to add insult to injury instead of his mentor testing things properly he'd gone to an extraordinarily strong teenager asking for the kid to pretty much blow him to pieces. At the end of the day what Shane did with his own body was his business, what Billy though really exceptionally stupid was that he'd gotten Julian involved. Julian was one of the few people at Xavier's that Billy just instantly liked, their mutual friends and the fact that Julian had readily stepped in to save him from killer scarabs only added to that. Because he actually liked Julian, he was actually pretty upset by the idea that if Shane had the telekinetic break him apart and he had not been able to reform himself the blame would have fallen straight onto Julian's shoulders.

Shane was supposed to be the adult in this situation, supposed to protect his students, and honestly, he could have done the same test by himself with a bit of explosives and not needed anyone else to be there. "Yeah you did a dumb." He agreed easily, "But you don't need me to tell you what you already know, no lectures here I promise." Billy's smile was honest, but as he looked down into his hot chocolate, he realized that he didn't really know what to say to Shane. Obviously, there was meant to be some sort of sharing, but he didn't even know where to start. "I don't think I did anything that bad, other then the ninjas and ditching classes there had not really been much going on for me."

There were other things, but really none of them that he was liberty to talk about with Shane. Liv had come to his room the other night freaked out because John had kissed her, but that was not his story to tell. That was between him and Liv (and also Tommy who happened to be there), "I think Tommy might be upset at me again." He offered up seemingly randomly, "I think he gets upset sometimes, or jealous if I don't tell him things." So far he outright refused to tell Tommy pretty much anything about Auri or what happened between himself and the handsome Cajun, mostly just because Billy didn't like the way his twin teased. Tommy sure thought that he was subtle, but it was glaringly obvious to his more sensitive brother. "It's probably because he tells me everything -even things I don't want to hear- and I am a much more private person, but I dunno I guess he will get over it." Billy shrugged but let the topic drop, the most obvious advice would probably just for him to open up a bit more to Tommy. Maybe if he told Tommy just why he was so intensely private about things his twin would lay off.

Slate
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Slate
 Posted: Jan 10 2018, 07:18 AM
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"I just wanted to be honest with you about it," Shane said with a light shrug. "It was a stupid thing to do and I figured you'd rather hear the admission and the reason from me personally rather than second-hand." Even several days later he was still reeling a bit from the gravity of his mistake. Had the experiment failed Billy would have been yet another who would have to cope with the fact that he'd lost a mentor for no damn good reason. But that was in the past and it wouldn't happen again.

Sipping lightly at his still too-hot chocolate, Shane watched silently as Billy seemed to consider what to say, and then listened as he expressed something somewhat out of left field. Tommy struck Shane as someone who could flit from mood to mood in a matter of seconds, which kind of made sense for someone who lived at an unimaginably faster pace than most people. Even when taking that into consideration, Shane's brow knit tightly as he addressed Billy's concern, "You shouldn't have to tell him everything. Whether or not you tell him anything is your choice to make." But shutting the speedster out completely would likely only serve to create an actual rift between the two siblings. That wouldn't do. "But maybe you could start by telling him that there are some things you just don't like discussing. Don't cut him off completely, of course, because I'm pretty sure he'll be driven mad, but you have a right to a bit of privacy too. Guess what I'm saying is that compromise is key. I wouldn't expect him to just get over it without you at least discussing the situation though. That's probably not fair to him either." There really wasn't any correct answer here. Billy could either heed his advice or he could ignore it, and Tommy would either understand or he wouldn't.

"Oh, and there were a few things I wanted to discuss," he said after blowing futilely on the surface of his beverage in an attempt to cool it just enough to enjoy without scalding his mouth. "The first is power training. I'd kind of like to work with you in the DR to get a start on some of that. See where you stand and what you'd like to accomplish." Learning what Billy's goals were in relation to his limitations might give them a good way to gauge just how much work they'd need to do. Shane had made some interesting assumptions about Billy's abilities and was curious to know what Billy's actual and assumed limitations were.

"Then there are the team assignments, he continued on with a smile. While he was still apprehensive about the group he'd been assigned, there were at least a few he knew somewhat well and felt that they'd be able to work together as an actual team. "I was glad to see you on the list for the Betas. What do you think of the others on the team? I was kind of thinking that we could start out with some kind of group activity soon to kind of get to know each other better and see how we all mesh. What do you think? You got any ideas?" Any input that Billy had was welcome.

"And finally," he said, reaching a subject he wasn't necessarily sure that Billy was ready to discuss openly. "I want to say that I'm happy for you. I mean, you and Auri. We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to, but I just wanted to say that." Sending a text was often different from speaking in person when touchy subjects were involved. Hiding behind a phone gave one a chance to avoid seeing a person's reaction or hear their inflection. Shane would understand if Billy didn't want to talk about it, but that wouldn't prevent him from throwing in his own piece, "It was only a few days ago that I finally came out of the closet to someone at the school. Just… never really felt like it, I guess. Kinda felt like the right time." Having come out to Bobby had been something he hadn't quite expected to do at the time, but it had somehow felt right and he was honestly happier that he had done it.

"But yeah, we can skip that part of the conversation if you want. Up to you."


Wiccan
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Wiccan
 Posted: Jan 14 2018, 03:09 AM
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While it was nice that Shane was trying, to be honest with him, it was really unneeded. Billy was happier to hear it from Shane instead of someone else, but the damage was already done, and Shane understood that he'd made a foolish decision that put people at risk. If his mentor had been foolishly trying to assure him that he'd done nothing wrong, then the illusionist would have felt differently about the entire situation, but as it was, Shane seemed to be beating himself up badly about it. No need for Billy to pile on. Instead, he felt like it was his job to be the supportive mentee.

He felt pretty confident that there was no real reason for him to worry about the teacher, "Well now you know, next time you should just get a second opinion before you try something you are curious about. It's good to test your powers, but they can get you into a ton of trouble." That was one thing that Billy could say from experience, he'd let his own powers get him into trouble, and ultimately that's what led him to Xavier's. He did wonder if Shane knew any of that though.

Talking about Tommy was actually not as hard as he assumed, it was just sort of a touchy subject. "I mean I guess?" Shane really did have a good idea, a compromise was good, but Billy worried that if he told his twin there were things he was uncomfortable talking about, then he'd have to explain why he didn't want to talk about them. He didn't want to talk about who he was into with Tommy because he didn't want to have to admit to his twin that he was gay. His twin teased him badly enough as it was without needing more ammunition. "I guess it's just weird too, I mean I didn't even know Tommy until we were assigned to be roommates. I tried to explain that the reason why I don't tell people I'm adopted is because I look like my parents, but I just hate those stupid questions. I hate to sound so ugly about it, but I really want to punch the next person who asks me 'how come your mother didn't want you and gave you up for adoption?' because that is pretty much the worst."

All in all, it was just a weird situation, but he guessed that maybe he could tell Tommy some things. Because he'd been talking to Liv very openly about Auri while Tommy was in the room that cat was out of the bag, maybe he could just tell his twin how he felt about the assassin, and that would be enough. He didn't know if he was ready to tell Tommy precisely why he was so secretive about his sexuality at the school, but it did feel wrong to hide how he felt about Auri from anyone, especially his twin. Good thing Shane had several topics that he wanted to go over, his words ended up being a great distraction from Billy's own issues. Shane wanted to start power training, which seemed pretty par for the course based on what the other mentors did with their students but it seemed like a wrong time to really worry about what Billy could and couldn't do.

"I don't really know how to feel about the Beta team." He paused to have a sip of his hot chocolate, buying himself a bit of time to really think about what he was going to say, "I honestly don't feel comfortable being on a team with only one person that I know. Laura is the only one that I'd consider one of my people, and really I don't want to be a negative Nancy, but I got split up from mostly everyone who I'd trust enough to watch my back. My powers don't work against everything, and that means that there are times when I'm kind of useless." He shrugged, completely aware of the fact that he was pretty worthless in a fight at times, but at least he felt like that was something he was aware of so he didn't charge out blindly. "As glad that I am to be on your team, if it wasn't for Laura I'd switch teams. I don't want random people having to babysit." While Billy understood that against most foes he was really just limited by his imagination, he also tried to be very realistic, he was worthless in a fight.

Billy's jaw tightened as Shane brought up Auri, thankfully it had started with an 'I'm happy for you.' instead of anything else. He was not ready to talk about the gorgeous boy he liked, instantly shutting down as his mentor brought up the one thing that he'd wanted to keep to himself. The other day when he'd been talking to Shane via text he'd let it slip that he was on a date, one that he should have told Auri they were on but too late to go back on that one. Keeping his eyes on his cup, he wondered how he could change the subject when Shane did the one thing that he was not expecting.

Shane said that he'd come out of the closet to someone.

It was not something that Billy had ever discussed before, not with anyone from Xavier's, but for the entire time that he'd been at the school there had been this lingering worry that he'd be the one gay kid. At his old school, he'd been the only openly gay student, enduring all sorts of harassment because of it, "Wait, you cant just drop that kind of bomb on me and then suggest that we skip that part of the convo." Okay so Shane might have been giving Billy an out, allowing him to gloss over anything that he didn't want to discuss. Except right now all Billy could think of was the fact that his mentor had just discussed being gay (in a very roundabout way) and now they were both sitting there with one mostly exposed secret between them. "I have so many questions." So many that he was nearly vibrating as he tried to figure out the right thing to ask or to say, he did not want to be rude to Shane but he also didn't want to end up not asking.

"Why did you wait so long to come out?"

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Slate
 Posted: Jan 15 2018, 01:25 PM
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Shane understood Billy's desire to not reveal absolutely everything about himself to just anyone –and especially to someone like Tommy. They might have discovered that they were twin brothers but they were almost nothing alike in personality. Tommy seemed the type to take some random fact about a person and figuratively run it into the ground or hold it over their heads. If Billy wanted to keep some things to himself then he should be allowed to without having to explain himself. Shane nodded as Billy explained his thoughts on the matter, and his expression darkened just a bit when his mentee revealed his distaste for questions regarding his adoption and his real mother. “Well that sounds like a pretty shitty thing for someone to say to begin with, so I'd completely stand behind you punchin' the crap out of someone if they ask that question.” It might have been the last thing Billy had expected to hear out of the man who was supposed to guide him, but everyone had their limits. Anyone who asked a question like that deserved to leave the scene with a bloody lip. “I mean, as much as I'm even allowed to condone such a thing from my mentee.” He probably shouldn't, but.... “Two wrongs don't make a right and all that –which I totally believe– but yeah, if someone asks that again I want you to clock them good. Then I expect to hear all about it later.”

Tasting his hot chocolate once more to see if it had sufficiently cooled, Shane listened with a small amount of disappointment as Billy seemed willing to write off the Beta team almost immediately. The people in the group were a mixed bag, sure, but that didn't make them completely awful. Shane felt like Billy's desire to be grouped up with more friends might have been missing the point. “I'm not sure switchin' teams is even an option,” he said, pondering the idea momentarily. It was something he hadn't looked into, but he'd almost be willing to actively veto it if he could. To him, Beta was in an interesting position. Theirs was perhaps the strangest of the three teams, meaning that they probably had more to overcome to fully shine, but that just meant that when they did it'd be that much more impressive. “But I want you to think about somethin' before you write most of them off as people you wouldn't trust to have your back.” Leaning back in his chair, Shane crossed his arms, his expression becoming a bit more serious before he spoke. “You don't always get to pick your teammates. Sometimes you're grouped with people you genuinely dislike, but if you let that drive you apart you're gonna fail –period.” It was true. A dysfunctional team was a team that failed in the best case, and got injured or killed in the worst cases. “Not sure if you know much about Scott when he was an adult, but he was the leader–” the leader of whom should have been obvious, and Shane didn't feel the need to spell it out “–but I could barely stand the guy. Hell, I had never asked to work with Logan either, and while I'm pretty sure we don't see eye to eye on much I absolutely trust him to have my back, because whatever differences we might have we're still on the same team and we've learned how to work together. I don't know about you, but I'd rather work together to take down a threat rather than letting it destroy us because we're too busy bitching about how the rest of the team is icky.” Quirking an eyebrow and raising one corner of his mouth, he added, “So please just give it a real shot first.”

Shane knew better than to tease the revelation of his own sexuality with an offer to change the subject without Billy pouncing on it. While the kid might not have been quite ready to come out of the closet, he had (at least to Shane, if nothing else). Knowing for certain that Billy was gay changed little. He cared about the kid's well-being just the same as before and still wanted to see him grow up to become the man he was sure he'd become. But the question of why he himself had waited so long wasn't quite so easy to answer. “I honestly don't know,” he said with a simple but not quite dismissive shrug. “Part of me ultimately kinda felt like it wasn't really necessary to just 'come out.' By the time I was college age I had already known for a good while, and I had never really told anyone at Xavier's because... I dunno.” He didn't really have a good reason for not sharing that part of himself before, but he was slowly working to fix that. If he was going to be more open and to try to make more real and lasting friendships then he should probably just fully out himself and be done with it. At least then there wouldn't be any unanswered questions in that regard. “I'm trying to change all that. I didn't feel like it was somethin' I needed to hide because, you know,school full of mutants, but I just never really felt like telling anyone.”

“That being said, I didn't really fear any sort of backlash either. If you experience any –assuming people find out– then I'd like you to let me know so I can knock their heads backwards. With words. Scathing, destructive words.”



Wiccan
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Wiccan
 Posted: Jan 19 2018, 02:14 AM
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Billy could only shrug as Shane sort of gave his blessing on freaking out on someone who asked inappropriate questions about his adoption. It was good that Shane supported his decisions, but the truth was that he was pretty used to it, probably not something he should get into with most people. It was just not really worth his time or energy, so he just kept the info to himself rather than risk the irritation. Shane's insistence that he clock the next person who asked him something like that had Billy laugh brightly, he probably never would because he was not a physically aggressive person but he still did think about it.

It was really not that Billy wanted to trade teams, he at least had Laura on his team, and he did have the bonus that his own mentor was their leader. Dark doe eyes watched Shane as he leaned back, not that Billy was great at reading people, but Shane was kind of transparent at the moment. "You don't get it." Billy said so plainly, he watched the older man for a moment, "It's not about me not liking them, it's about the fact that I have to put my life in the hands of my teammates. You can use your power defensively, right? I am super useless all the time because my powers don't work against stuff. My powers only work on people, so that means when some magic possessed squid tries to eat me I'm completely dependent on someone saving me like I'm a princess." It was hard not to be bitter about it, but Billy had enough time that he understood the limits of his powers.

"It's not about picking the people I'm with, it's just really uncomfortable to have to depend on people like that. I'm an illusionist, so my powers work great on people but if its something else I just cant-" It was frustrating, to say the least. "In Egypt, there were these beetles, and I was stuck playing the part of the human flashlight because my powers didn't do anything to the beetles. If it hadn't been for Julian, I would have been eaten by magic Egyptian scarab beetles... I want to get to know my team, and I want to learn to trust them, but my issue is that other than Laura I don't know any of them, I trust Laura to look out for me because we are friends. Without that what am I going to do? Ask who gets babysitting the illusionist duties this week?" He scowled as he turned his face away, irritated that Shane didn't seem to get his initial point. Billy didn't know if he'd ever make anyone understand what he meant, he just hated feeling helpless, and the one thing that made it better was having someone he could depend on to stick close to. At the museum, he'd been dragged under the water, and he was so sure that he was just going to die a dark, cold death as he drowned, but Auri had gone after him and freed him from the beast. There were warm feelings towards Auri because of it, but more then that was the bitter feeling of helplessness.

Good thing that the conversation had moved along towards Shane's own coming out, "I get that, lots of people just don't bother coming out until they end up wanting to be with someone." It might have made things easier on Billy when he came to the school if he'd known one of his teachers was gay, it might not have made him feel so alone. "You still don't have to tell anyone, just as long as you don't lie to people. It would be messed up if you were dating some guy and lied and said you had a girlfriend, but I don't think you need to tell people something you'd rather keep to yourself." Billy of all people had to believe that, had to be willing to offer Shane the same discretion that he needed.

"Getting backlash wouldn't be anything new," Billy shrugged but stayed quiet for several long seconds, it was easier to just stare down into his drink then it was to actually explain himself. "No one that I've talked to seems to understand that I was not really that worried about being beaten up. I got a black eye and a nasty bruise on my chest, trust me I've had way worse from teenaged boys at least this time it was a change because it was ninjas. No big really, Billy Kaplan got beat up again, and the crowds are not surprised in the least." He hated that he was so negative about it, but he just shrugged his shoulders. To him it didn't seem important anymore, it was just a part of his life because teenagers were harsh, they'd find something to pick on about someone.

The only issue that Billy found himself with now was the fact that he really liked Auri, and he didn't want to hide that fact from people. Except he didn't know how to bring it up, he liked the Cajun boy, and he understood that despite his best efforts he was pretty obvious with the whole thing. Billy just sort of thought that if he let things slip like he had with Shane that maybe it didn't have to be a big production, maybe he wouldn't have people giving him that face that Tommy did, that look almost like a betrayal because he'd kept something so seemingly important from them. "I decided not to tell anyone when I came to Xavier's, I just didn't want to be the only one again. So the only person that I ever told was Liv, and that's only really because we are super close and I didn't want her to think that I was snuggling up to her because I was trying to get into her pants. She gets a lot of attention from boys, I didn't want her to think I was just another guy thinking with his junk."

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 Posted: Jan 20 2018, 01:41 PM
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Shane wasn't thrilled with Billy's view of himself and of his power, but with the kid being as plainly frustrated as he was the geokinetic wasn't going to speak up immediately. Finding just the right way to phrase things was important –something he'd learned a lot lately. Coming out and just saying that Billy was wrong wasn't going to do him any favors, even if Shane did kind of think that he was overreacting. So he had to be “rescued” a few times –that happened to almost everyone.

As the subject of their sexuality became the focus of the conversation, Shane used the time that Billy was speaking to both enjoy his beverage and consider his words carefully.

“Oh, no, I wouldn't lie about it,” he said, shaking his head slightly when Billy brought up that no one needed to know as long as it didn't involve outright lying, “especially if I met someone I really like. Coverin' them up would be a pretty crappy thing to do.”

The boy's venturing into the subject of backlash and being targeted with physical violence further enforced Shane's idea that Billy needed some help. No one should simply take being clobbered as being a typical part of life. That gave him two important subjects to discuss, and as Billy finished telling of how he had revealed his sexuality to Liv due to their closeness (among other reasons), Shane already had a decent idea of what he was going to say. Whether or not Billy accepted his assessments remained to be seen however.

But there was one very important thing that needed to be said: “Let's back up a little bit. We kinda moved on in the conversation, but I've heard two things from you that I can't just let go –so just hear me out, okay? The first is that you shouldn't have to just accept being beaten up as being an everyday part of life. I'm no psychologist but I'm pretty sure that's not healthy.”

Setting his cup down and leaning forward, resting his elbows on the table, Shane regarded Billy with a look of concern. “As for your powers,” he said, shaking his head again, “there's nothin' wrong with depending on others when it's necessary. I get that it might seem embarrassing, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses.” While he hadn't gone to Egypt when others had gone, Shane had been briefed on bits of the incident. Billy seemed to downplay his role, but Shane had another view of it. “You said you were a human flashlight in Egypt because your powers didn't work on the magical stuff there. Did you guys have a good source of light otherwise? If you didn't then you probably did everyone some good. Just because you couldn't actively fight off what was there doesn't mean you were useless.” That probably wasn't the best he could come up with, and the boy had still needed to be rescued by Julian but it couldn't be helped. Sometimes a person's powers just didn't work for certain situations.

“And yeah, as you noted before I can use my power defensively,” he added thoughtfully. “But I've got a couple of crippling weaknesses myself. If I'm not touchin' the ground my geokinesis is absolutely useless –can't do a thing with it. I have to be in contact with mineral in order for it to work. Also, my rock form requires me to have a rock to touch, or I can't do it either. That's why I have stones inside my uniform.” Sure, they weren't quite as severe of drawbacks as Billy's power simply not working against certain things, but he thought that if the kid knew that he too had limitations it might help him to put things into a bit of perspective. Maybe not, but it was worth a try. “So let's just say that if I'm caught unaware and a telekinetic grabs me or if someone strong just picks me up off the ground, I'm basically helpless myself. That's why I kinda hate airplanes.”

Sitting back again, Shane crossed his arms and said, “I mean, it may not be quite the same as what you're concerned about, but I'm not really sure what to tell you there. You ever consider hand-to-hand combat or even weapon training? Might be a good backup for when you can't use your power. Might also help you to defend yourself if someone's trying to beat you up –I'd much rather you be able to fight back than to just have to take it. Hell, I'd teach you myself if that's what it takes.”

He would if it was necessary.



Wiccan
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Wiccan
 Posted: Jan 27 2018, 03:12 AM
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Billy did kind of wish that Shane had addressed his powers right away, he was sitting there explaining just why exactly he struggled so much with his own abilities and with his team yet his mentor was just sitting there letting him have the floor without really saying anything. He was listening which was great, but Billy kind of expected more of an argument. Everyone always argued, even if it was just to tell him that he didn't know his own powers well enough. Sure he didn't have any formal training, but that didn't mean that he didn't try his powers just as often as he could, stretching them to the limits as he tried to see what he could manage. At home, with his younger brothers, they'd known that the illusions were not real, so it was harder to trick them, but Billy had pushed himself to craft the best illusions that would fool even the sharp-eyed twins.

Instead, Shane focused on Billy's other issue.

"You really don't seem the type to hide someone like that, I was just making a point." He knew that's not what Shane was saying, but he wanted to make sure that it didn't sound like he was accusing the man of doing anything horrible. "Wait back up where?" One moment he'd been talking about what his life was like and the next thing Shane wanted to back it up, had he missed an integral part of this conversation?

Oh. Shane, of course, didn't like the fact that Billy made peace with his life, he didn't accept being beaten up, but he just understood that he'd always have-

Frowning he paused his quickly derailing train of thought and decided to just tell his mentor what he'd been thinking a second ago, "No Shane, it's not that I accept that I'm going to get beaten up. I just accept that for me to live my most genuine life, there are things about me that people will instantly hate. I got by when I was just one of the only Jewish kids, I got some weird looks when I nerded out over stuff, but that's just my personality. What they couldn't get over was the fact that I decided to be queer while the guy I'd been seeing said he'd just been messing around, it was even worse when it came out that I was a mutant. Sure coming out as a mutant was a much bigger spectacle but it was weird that I was being harassed for things that were so much more common than being a mutant, at least I still had friends at my old school when I was just a gay Jewish nerd."

Billy understood that he'd just pretty much verbally assaulted the teacher with a whole mess of words that were kind of strung together correctly, but he'd said more than he really wanted to. Shifting he put his hands under his legs to keep himself from fidgeting, he just couldn't help himself because he'd said too much and he was sure that someone like Shane would pick out the things that Billy didn't want to talk about. He sat quietly as Shane continued on, discussing that his powers while seemingly useless did at least help a bit. He was pretty much the bard in every party, he could make noise and maybe have a buff or three, but mostly he was stuck in the back casting light and hoping that it actually did some good. He appreciated that his mentor was trying so hard to point out the good in it all, but it didn't help make him feel any better. It was just hard when all he could think about was that if he were alone, he'd have been dead, he was okay when he had a role to play, but being entirely at someone else's mercy was unsettling.

He was just so frustrated, because while he appreciated that Shane could be honest about his own weaknesses, he didn't seem to truly get the real issue. "Look. Honestly, I really appreciate that you are trying to get where I'm coming from, but you just don't." He at least gave credit where it was due, "You have weaknesses that you can completely prepare for. While being up in the air might disconnect you from your geokinesis, you said all you need is a rock to touch to be able to transform. You literally put stones inside of your uniform for that very reason, you've prepared yourself. You can put a bunch of rocks in your pockets, or keep something spare on you, I mean you could attach a bit of some really durable stone into the inside of everything you own so that you've always got something useful touching you at all times as a just in case." Reaching out suddenly he tapped Shane's chest, right where the necklace he usually had on laid, he didn't know if Shane was wearing it now, but it was a pretty common sight. "You can prepare yourself to make sure that you always have a fighting edge and you aren't left completely defenseless... I cant do that and it's terrifying to just be so defenseless."

Really that was what it boiled down to, he was at the mercy of his own powers. Sure he could do amazing and terrifying things with the extraordinary gifts that he'd been given, the other night they had worked in his favor. When he'd been accosted by ninja he managed to buy him and Tommy a bit of time to escape by mimicking police sirens. It had been enough to hold the ninja at bay while he tended to Tommy and then he'd created a smoke cloud around them so that anyone trying to attack them would be hindered. He'd pretty much saved their butts once Tommy had been hit with that pepper powder.

After his weird little outburst, Billy found himself just sitting there quietly, once more looking into his cup of hot chocolate. "My mom is a psychologist, and she suggested I take self-defense courses, I'd feel empowered or something if I knew how to defend myself. It's just not that, I guess its more that I didn't want to be a violent person." Billy understood that he was a person with kind of a big personality, he could be completely extra and sometimes could be just as spoiled as the princesses that he compared himself to. "Auri offered to teach me hand to hand, I think I'm going to take him up on it."

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 Posted: Jan 29 2018, 10:24 AM
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He was still new to this whole mentoring thing, and he understood that there would be times where he would miss the mark when it came to giving advice or properly reading into a situation involving his mentee, but Shane had a very hard time with what Billy was telling him. It wasn't that he didn't understand it, but that he truly wished that he didn't have to. The fact that he did get that there were several parts that made Billy who he was that were likely to come under some kind of scrutiny or even be met with hostility was actually kind of sad.

Having had the luxury of spending most of his young adult life at Xavier's, Shane hadn't been forced to deal with such discrimination quite as often or as blatantly as someone like Billy. So in a way he understood, but he really didn't get it. There wasn't much he could really say to counter what his mentee said, nor would he try because it wouldn't be right to do so. Besides, making the kid more upset wasn't his goal.

Just like he clearly didn't get where Billy was coming from when he lamented the apparent uselessness of his powers. Shane could prepare for the eventuality of being stuck in the air by carrying a stone like the one he often wore around his neck, the ones he tended to carry in his pockets, and the ones in his uniform. Billy didn't have such luxuries, and had to rely on his opponents being able to be tricked by illusions. It was a powerful skill with nearly limitless possibilities, but it still had to be able to work.

Hence Shane's suggestion that the kid learn to fight.

Following the torrent of words from his mentee, Shane found himself mentally sifting through it all in an attempt to formulate an appropriate response. But Billy certainly hadn't made things easy. In fact, Shane was almost totally at a loss. His attempts to relate had fallen flat, and trying to lift the kid up had done nothing at all. That didn't mean he was going to give up however, because that would make him perhaps one of the world's worst mentors.

No. He'd simply have to try a slightly different approach.

“If you want to learn from Auri,” he said with a shrug, “then do it. I'd rather you learn from someone than from no one.” Auri seemed like a good choice all in all, especially considering certain recent developments. Billy might be more likely to try harder in an attempt to impress the other boy, which might ultimately help him. “But let me tell you now that being able to defend yourself and others doesn't make you a violent person. It can help you stop actually violent people.” Then he cracked a smile. “The princess isn't always the one in distress, you know –some can be pretty bad ass bitches. So whether or not you want or need it, you have my support.”

That might do well and good to address the physical self defense issues, but there were still the matter of the boy's apparently somewhat fickle powers. While some mutants experienced changes and evolution in their own abilities it would be reckless to assume that Billy's would simply change to make his illusions something that would be more universally effective. Shane couldn't really help him with that, but he might be able to help him to more finely tune what he could do while also helping and encouraging him to think outside of the box a little bit. If he was correct in his thinking then even the most nonsensical illusion could be highly effective if it was used properly. “I know that your powers only work on things with minds that can be tricked,” he said thoughtfully, his arms still crossed as his back rested against the back of the chair, “but do they only work if you do something that seems 'logical?' Because something 'real' might be pretty effective sometimes, but when you need something more then maybe something 'unreal' could do the trick. Something unconventional, I mean.” The more he spoke the more the idea was beginning to feel like little more than a random tangent that likely didn't make much sense to the illusionist. “Okay... just so that I can maybe make sense here, I'm wondering if you've ever considered using your powers in a way that might legitimately terrify someone. I mean it might be pretty effective against someone if they suddenly find themselves seemingly trapped in a pitch black sightless, soundless void that only happens to be about the size of an old phone booth –probably stop someone from tryin' to hurt you.”

“I guess what I really mean to say is that if you want any kind of training I'm willing to help you... even if I don't have a great understanding of how yours work.”


Wiccan
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Wiccan
 Posted: Feb 10 2018, 08:06 PM
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Honestly, Billy didn't think that Shane was a lousy mentor.

All he really wanted was to just make the older man understand where he was coming from because he knew that there were things that the man would never understand. Not truly because he didn't live inside of Billy's mind, he didn't understand his feelings. Even Auri who'd been able to see his entire history due to a touch was not able to really understand because even if he saw the events, he didn't experience it, while not trying to be dramatic Billy just wanted someone to get it.

He would have never wished his experiences on someone else, but he hoped that he'd find someone who understood what it was like to go through some of the things that he had. Or what he really wanted was someone to just accept that they didn't have a clue about what it was like for him and just be okay with that, he just hated when people told him stupid things about his powers or about his own experiences. Billy Kaplan was a biased creature, and he understood that, but his outburst didn't provoke more of an argument, and for that, he was actually happy. It seemed like it was more than the fact that Shane was letting him have his moment to speak, in his heart of hearts Billy kind of felt like Shane finally understood the point. Sure Shane and Billy might have been really similar when they compared themselves, but they'd gone through life in wildly different ways. One huge difference was that Shane had been a student at Xavier's during his awkward teenage years, so he'd had the support he'd needed.

"I think I do," He agreed quietly as Shane supported the idea, a smile coming to his face, "So are you telling me that I should just channel my inner Beyonce and become the baddest bitch? Because I feel like we all know I'm a basic bitch." He wrinkled his nose as he tried to keep from laughing outright, Billy understood that he was pretty basic, he loved pumpkin spice lattes and truthfully if he could wear ugg boots with booty shorts in the winter he probably would. Thankfully the illusionist understood that there were things no one needed to see and his pale thighs were on that list.

Reaching out for his drink, Billy regarded his mentor as he began to speak about his illusions. "Unconventional?" His brows knit as he tried to follow the nonsense that spewed out of the geokenetic, he opened his mouth for a second before closing it again. He reminded himself that his powers were weird, they wouldn't make sense to the average person and sometimes he didn't understand them himself. "Thanks for the offer," His appreciation was genuine even if he figured he might never take Shane up on the offer, "So I think I kind of get your question? My abilities don't have to be used in a way that is plausible they just have to be used in a way that seems real, so hitting someone with a bolt of lightning when its a dreary, cloudy night works. Trapping someone in a random box wouldn't work, but having the earth around them come up and swallow them whole would because it would seem real. You can do something like that with your powers cant you?"

Was it weird that Billy kind of wanted to watch Shane bury someone so he could mimic it with an illusion later?

"It's harder to trick someone who knows that its an illusion, so if you walked into a room and you were suddenly in space you'd know something was wrong. If you walked into a room and there was a sudden explosion that sucked you out into the void of space, it would be more real, and your mind would accept it better I guess. Not plausible that you'd walk one room from the next and suddenly be a million miles from home, but real enough that it would trick your brain." Running a finger around the rim of his cup he paused for a moment, "Have you never actually seen the illusions?"

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Slate
 Posted: Feb 15 2018, 03:11 PM
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Even if Billy would rather learn from Auri than from him, Shane was happy that the kid was willing to cast off his preconceived notions that learning to fight would make him a violent person. Shane knew how to fight and he wasn't particularly prone to spontaneous pugilism under most circumstances. There was a time and a place for everything, and once Billy learned that he would probably get over his misgivings. The geokinetic did have to smirk when Billy likened his ideal baddest bitch to Beyonce however. “If you want to go with Beyonce that's fine. Princess Jasmine could be pretty awesome, and even Princess Peach joined in the fight with Mario sometimes –she could even float under her own power. I just didn't want you thinking you were stuck in some kinda specific role to play or something like that, because you're not. I'm convinced that you've got more fire in you than you let on.” Sometimes the meekest ones had the most, but sometimes they didn't.

Sipping at his beverage Shane resumed listening as Billy cleared up some misconceptions regarding his abilities. With illusions it was sometimes hard to know what could or couldn't be done. The Danger Room, after all, could project all sorts of things that weren't real but could be remarkably convincing.
“Oh, I see,” he said when Billy explained that a lightning bolt on a dreary day would be logical enough to convince a person's brain into thinking that they were really struck by one. So the deep darkness box might fail because there was nothing to make it seem at all plausible. “So it has to be something that would kind of make sense to someone in a way. The spontaneous enclosure of pure darkness wouldn't make sense on its own without being led into by something that would make it make sense.” He hoped he had the right of it. Some mutations were just peculiar enough that he had a hard time wrapping his head around how they might or might not work.

Allowing Billy to continue, Shane began to build upon what he was being told with ideas of his own. What he was hearing was there there were probably small, subtle ways to use such powers that could easily turn the tide of a fight in Billy's favor if his opponent could be affected and didn't already know about the illusions beforehand. Even still, small logical illusions might fool someone in the know.

“So let's say you learned to fight,” he said thoughtfully, leaning back and raising a palm once Billy had finished, keeping the boy's questions in mind. He would answer, but his current train of thought demanded to be heard aloud first. “Would tricking someone into seeing a false move work? Like telegraphing a fake move while you do something they aren't expecting? Right hook when you're really going for a gut punch or something like that?” For a moment or two he thought on the matter further, his eyes shifting a bit and squinting as he did. “If that would work then it could probably be taken further too. Speedsters exist, so it probably wouldn't be outside of the realm of possibility to make it look and feel like you're throwing a pretty rapid punches when you're really only throwing a few. Might disorient someone and wear them down faster. Or hell, you may even be able to give the illusion that you yourself have super speed if you can project yourself elsewhere and make it appear that you moved there in the blink of an eye. Might tear their attention away from where you really are, even if it's brief. Maybe make yourself appear invisible to add to the illusion.”

“But anyway, yeah, I can open up the ground. Can also make it swallow someone or something without actually opening it by sort of loosening the molecular bonds of the minerals that make it up. Basically makes really thin quicksand.” In fact, Shane was becoming increasingly convinced that Billy might be able to mimic a lot of what a real geokinetic could do. At least falsely. Changing his appearance to that of a large rock golem might work to intimidate someone who fell for it, or even ripping apart the terrain to slow someone's pursuit.

“But now that you mention it I don't think I've really seen any of what you can do. That's kinda why I'm just tossing darts here and hoping I'm hitting somewhere in the general vicinity of the board. Guess that's kinda why I'd like to work with you. Maybe learn what I can and see what we might be able to come up with sometime. You can probably do some pretty awesome stuff even if it has to be grounded in something like realism.” Shane's desire to work with Billy in the Danger Room was growing by the second, and he could hardly contain his excitement about it. “When we both have time I really want to see what you can do. I'm pretty convinced that you might even be able to trick people into thinking you're a full blown geokinetic if you tried hard enough. Or hell, just about anything else.”


Wiccan
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