parts 11 and 12
Kendra balanced on the bar, her weight supported by one hand as the other stretched out to the side. She did smile as she remembered a very similar scene in a movie, with a young man taking lessons from a very wise and small old teacher on how to become a Jedi. While she did not have the Force or the same range of abilities that the characters in the movies had been able to make use of, the balance was equally important. As was maintaining an awareness of her surroundings. And it wasn’t as if the movie had even been made yet, if it ever would be in this world.
Deciding that she’d held the position long enough, she let herself swing around the bar, twisting at the top before swinging again. It was wonderful to have such equipment to practice with, though she wouldn’t have minded if the weights could go a bit higher. Charles and Erik had talked for hours about what would be needed for the school. Instructors for the various academic subjects, one or two nurses and perhaps a doctor. Cleaning and cooking staff. Someone who could alter clothing if they found a mutant who didn’t fit normal things, someone of unusual size, or perhaps with a tail. Legal permits and codes to follow for housing and education. It had been quite enough to make her head spin.
She had focused more on the physical educational needs of the still hypothetical students. Unless they had some very convincing physical reason not to, Kendra wanted everybody to be taught a certain level of self defense, of running and falling safely, of how to climb and swim. Naturally, some students would be more interested in sports or track events than others, and she intended to encourage that, especially for the girls. The possibility also needed to be considered of how to teach some of the abilities these students would have. Charles could teach any telepaths, or people with similar gifts. But what if they had other abilities, nothing like what Charles or Erik could do? Something like, oh, throwing fireballs or sending themself from one place to another in the blink of an eye? Or changing from a human to a bird?
“Kendra?” Charles spoke from the doorway.
“Yes, Charles?” Kendra let go of the bar, flipping twice in the air before she landed on her feet. “I was thinking about the physical lessons you will need to give the students of your school. They will need to learn some about defense as well as just keeping active. And it might be very good to have a target range, perhaps outside.”
“You made that look so easy…” Charles shook his head.
Shrugging, Kendra walked towards him. “Have you and Erik made much progress with your plans?”
“A good amount,” Charles smiled. “But we still need the various permits, and of course, we need students.”
“Have you looked for some in the area? You mentioned that the device you were working on would amplify your ability to locate mutants. That must mean you have the ability on your own. Perhaps there are some in the area that you could contact, or even some who could help you,” Kendra shook her head, feeling her braids slide over her shoulders. “You might also wish to start looking for open minded teachers. If you are planning to change the world, you may not have time to teach mathematics, history, and literature.”
“A good point,” Charles admitted, his cheeks turning pink. “I thought I might start looking after lunch.”
“Is it time for lunch already?” Kendra blinked, glancing over at Charles, who seemed unwilling to look directly at her. “Is something wrong?”
“You… ah… you might want to put on a bit more clothing before lunch,” he went from pink to a definite red.
Kendra blinked, and then smirked as she realized what was wrong. Charles liked what he saw. He liked a good deal more than he felt appropriate. “You go on to the kitchen, and I will be there shortly. We can talk about your school plans then.”
Charles stammered and retreated.
Kendra couldn’t stop smiling as she changed into something looser. The way he’d reacted left her feeling oddly powerful, in a way completely different than a good fight or lifting heavy weights. She felt powerful, and desirable. Not that she had much of an idea what to do about that feeling, but she rather enjoyed feeling attractive.
“It seems that Charles is not so confident about everything,” Kendra smiled at the world. She could live with that. And it might be interesting to see what happened next.
End part 11.
Lunch was amusing, if only because Charles kept blushing when he looked at her. Erik joined them, and they discussed the plans for the school. Charles intended to start with converting part of the mansion, until he had enough students to justify a new building. The assorted paperwork for permits was in motion, and he mentioned trying to plan a curriculum.
“Have you started looking for more mutants?” Kendra asked, sipping at her lemonaide.
“Yes, and I’ve found a few. One is a nurse, though I’m not sure what sort of abilities she has, and I think it might help if I offer to provide an education for her children. They’re too young to know if they’ll be mutants, but…” Charles shrugged, and sighed.
“Your theory was that mutants are born different,” Kendra began, thinking of the biology lessons and the discussion of genetics from her own schooling. Had genes been discovered yet? She couldn’t quite remember. “If it is a difference, then shouldn’t it be something that could be passes to a mutant’s children? At least as much as the chance of someone having their mother’s eyes or their father’s nose.”
“A good point,” Erik commented. “I think we need to do a bit more research into what gives a mutant their abilities, but that is a separate matter from founding a school.”
“I’ve found a few young people with differences. There’s a boy who seems to have some sort of ability with fire. There was a woman, I think some sort of shape changer, but she vanished. A man, I would guess some sort of feral mutation to explain the claws. A boy who seems to be able to talk to dogs. A child who can read other people’s dreams. A teacher who appears to be able to watch the students behind her as easily as the ones in front of her. A girl who seems to be able to breathe underwater…” Charles shook his head. “Some of them seem to have abilities of little use, but you are right, if humans and mutants should live together in peace, we need to talk to those with impressive abilities and those whose gifts are smaller.”
“It might also give you a chance to practice your explanations,” Kendra observed. “Will you go with me for a patrol again tonight?”
“Again? You don’t… injuries? Shock? Differences between this world and the one you’re used to?” Charles had paled.
“I was not injured, and you seemed to have a greater shock than I did,” Kendra smiled at him. “As for the differences between that vampire and the ones I am used to, I must learn more about them. I can not do that without further contact with the vampires. You don’t have vampires here at the mansion, so I must go looking for them. I should be safe enough, though company would be welcome.”
“Well, you are still learning about the differences between your own world and this one,” Charles began, his words slipping out. “It would be terribly rude of me to let you wander about New York without someone who at least knows the streets. Not to slight your abilities to defend yourself, but there is a large difference between fending off a mugger and locating a particular building.”
“Just skip to the part where you say ‘yes Kendra, I will go with you hunting vampires’ and be done with it, Charles,” Erik smirked. “I’ll continue going over the academic arrangements.”
“I did intend to go, as Kendra does need someone to help her find her way around,” Charles was turning pink, and he looked away from Kendra as he spoke. “And I need to give myself a bit of time away from the plans before I start thinking in blueprints and lists.”
“And that’s it?” Erik leaned back in his chair, glancing at Kendra and then staring at Charles.
“Should there be anything else?” Charles was staring fixedly at the doorway.
Kendra sighed, certain that Erik was teasing Charles. She also had the frustrating idea that Buffy would have followed the entire thing and understood the teasing. “Perhaps we can leave earlier and I can get an idea what sections of town may be used as lairs for vampires or demons?”
“I suppose that makes sense,” Charles shivered, adding, “Demons and vampires… your life sounds like it should be a horror movie.”
Kendra arched her eyebrow, commenting “People rarely die when they make movies. My life is far more dangerous.”
Both of them nodded, the teasing mood banished by her solemn words. Despite knowing that she had missed part of the joke, Kendra regretted spoiling the mood.
End part 12.