zz20yr--Sholeh: On Bed
Sholeh Zeela a Zahar 3girls_1core
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Arms Hotel, Sunday Night
They'd started talking during brunch and then kind of...didn't stop. It was more than just twenty years of history to catch up on; they'd always been able to just fall into a conversation and keep it going. For two fairly quiet people, they'd never suffered for topics to talk about.

Brunch had turned into dinner, right at the hotel because it had been closer than most of the other restaurants (and after the radio report about the creepy guy at Luke's, they'd agreed to skip it). Then, since they were already there, Evan decided to rent the girls a hotel room for the night. Unlike him, he argued, they weren't shapeshifters and therefore couldn't just make themselves comfortable wherever they ended up. Sholeh had tried to argue, but Zeela had played the, "I am still kind of recovering from a stab wound" card and Sholeh had gotten overruled.

Dessert was promised via room service, because it made no sense to order a room and not get some (thank you, Zhahar, for that logic) and Sholeh tried not to be nervous about inviting Evan into what would essentially be her bedroom for the night. They had spent a lot of time in and out of one another's dorm rooms over the years of high school having conversations just like these. There was nothing to be nervous about, right?

[For one please, and modded with permission.]

genesishero

2013-06-17 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)

If Evan had any say in the matter, there wouldn't be anything to be nervous about. If he was making her nervous, he was clearly doing something horribly wrong.

That was how it worked, wasn't it? He was even making a point to give her some space, standing awkwardly for a bit before pulling up a chair, leaving Sholeh the bed to sit on if she so chose.

"The room looks about as comfortable as I think I remember these rooms being," he offered, glancing around. "I mean, I've spent a few nights here over the years, so I can't see why it would be any different, but... you know."

Right, so, apparently he was now stepping into the slightly rambly portion of the evening. Good to know.

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 01:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Perhaps Evan had forgotten that Sholeh was generally a nervous person. She had gotten a lot better about it over the years, even become something of a daredevil under the right circumstances, but the past few weeks had been a major setback in that area.

She wasn't going to tell him how close she'd come to wasting away on that trip. That was for...another time, when they'd had more time together first.

She sat on the bed, hoping she didn't look as awkward as she felt and looked around. "You know, I think this is the first time I've ever slept here? Glad to hear it comes with a recommendation. Do you visit Fandom often?"

genesishero

2013-06-17 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)

"Not unless there's an event that invites former students," Evan replied, lifting a shoulder slightly. "I teach, back at the Jean Grey School. And do a lot of running around with the X-Men. There's not usually much time edgewise to come around, but they give me time off for things like homecoming and reunions."

Which was to say, they clearly wanted him to get some closure with the girl who had broken his heart twenty years ago, and were letting him go because if they didn't, he was going to drive them all insane.

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, how was that working for them, huh?

"You teach?" Trust Sholeh's attention to be caught by that, rather than the heroing business. "What do you teach? How long have you been teaching there?"

Sholeh had...not much of her own gossip to share, unless Evan wanted to hear the excruciating story of getting kicked out of the university.

That had hurt. So very much.

genesishero

2013-06-17 02:13 am (UTC) (Link)

"I've been teaching for a few years," Evan replied with a little smile. "Literature. Of course, teaching there is kind of like teaching here. So long as you can convince the headmaster and headmistress that you're capable of putting knowledge into the brains of kids who would rather be off getting into trouble, they'll hire you."

Actually, that smile looked pretty fond. He used to be one of those kids. But he'd always enjoyed his classes, here and at the Jean Grey School.

"The kids there are all pretty great. A lot of them need extra reassuring that they're doing okay... Most of them are just coming into their powers and they have all the problems that come with that to deal with... but they're good kids."

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)

"Literature?"

Just talk dirty to her some more, Evan, why don't you? By the Mother...!

"Anything good you're teaching lately? What books? Oooh, there are another two decades of books to catch up with!"

genesishero

2013-06-17 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)

"They've been a good two decades for books, too," Evan replied with a little grin. "But right now I'm teaching the students one that's slightly older. John Wyndham's Re-Birth. Do you know that one? About a..." He made a bit of a face at the word-choice he was about to use. "... post-apocalyptic world, and a group of kids who are born different from everyone else. It seemed like a fitting one to give out to a class full of mutant teens."

Oh, they could talk books for forever.

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)

"I wonder if I can get a position like that here," Sholeh said thoughtfully. "I mean, I don't have much more education than I did when I left--" and, oh, how shamefaced she looked, admitting that! "--but there are always books to talk about. Or philosophy classes like Mr. Wiggin's."

She peeked up at him from under her lashes. "Do you enjoy teaching?"

Dumb question, yes. But she liked the look on his face when he talked about it.

genesishero

2013-06-17 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)

What, the big stupid smile?

"I think you'd be more than qualified to teach here," Evan offered, "if I'm at all qualified to teach back in Westchester. And... I think you should try. It's an amazing feeling, talking to the students about something you're passionate about, and hearing them give you their opinions, ask their questions... I go out and fight criminals on almost a daily basis, but it's not half as satisfying as teaching has been."

Which had surprised him, when he first realized it. He'd dreamed so long of being a hero, and then he had achieved it, and it wasn't half as fulfilling as reading an essay and seeing that a student who had previously been struggling was actually giving intelligent, thoughtful commentary on something that even his classmates had been struggling with.

Edited at 2013-06-17 02:47 am (UTC)

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)

That would be the one. It was the same one that he used to wear when they were younger, and he'd talk about being a real hero.

...And sometimes, when he'd looked at her.

"Maybe I will," Sholeh said softly, looking down at her hands. "Mother knows I have to do something. And I always liked school from the learning end...Though making sure I got through my first class without getting so nervous I fainted or something ridiculous, that might be the real challenge."

genesishero

2013-06-17 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)

"You know... it's easier than you'd think," Evan offered. "My first class... I was nervous, too. But once I started talking, actually sharing this passion with the group... I mean, I was talking about books. It was easy."

A beat.

"It wasn't quite the same, but sometimes I imagined that the person I was discussing those books with was you. They way we used to, for hours."

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)

"Those were some of my favorite times," Sholeh said softly. "We'd just curl up on your bed and talk about books or read together...You'd have your arms wrapped around me like three, maybe four times with Ozzy napping at our feet. I can't tell you how much I've missed those quiet, lazy days. I always felt so safe. So warm."

So loved.

The wistful smile she wore could, perhaps, be read as an invitation? At least, if Evan were to take it as one. After all, there was this bed here, much bigger than the one they used to share.

"How is Ozzy these days? I mean--is he--?" It had been twenty years, after all.

genesishero

2013-06-17 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)

"He lived a full, happy seventeen years," Evan shared, choosing to interpret that smile as exactly that, and tentatively making his way over to sit on the edge of the bed. "Which is long for corgis and huskies, and he made a lot of the kids at the Jean Grey School happy, too. I think he had more friends than anyone else there."

It had only been a handful of years since Ozzy had gone, but a few years was still enough to dull the ache some. Evan spoke about his pup with a sort of warm fondness. And, well, Ozzy had been in the bouncy castle yesterday morning, a welcome surprise and a dead giveaway that things around here were a little odd this weekend.

... More odd than the pink unicorn bouncy house would suggest.

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)

"I'm glad," Sholeh said, leaning into Evan's bulk. If asked, she would insist that physics was to blame. Evan made an impressive dip in the mattress and Sholeh had never been much more than slender at the best of times. "He was a good boy and deserved to be loved and pampered. I wish I'd been there to say goodbye."

genesishero

2013-06-17 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Evan lifted an arm and slid it around her shoulder, almost on reflex. It had been a while since she had leaned against him like this, obviously, but once upon a time, he remembered, they would be hard-pressed to come up with a different way to sit together.

"I'm sorry you weren't," he admitted. "But what's done is done. He was happy, and he wasn't alone, that's what matters."

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)

"I feel like I should get up and get that book you loaned me," she said, snuggling a little closer. If she'd thought about it, she wouldn't have let herself, but it felt like they were sliding into old roles that still somehow fit. "So I can start reading it aloud for us."

Of course, she was surrounded by considerably more muscle than she ever had been in high school. And there were some distinct tummy flutters occurring because of it. Huh. Who'd've guessed?

"I still can't get over how much you've changed--and how much you really haven't."

genesishero

2013-06-17 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Evan let the book comment slide for a moment, just choosing to smile warmly and squeeze her shoulder a little when she said it. She was back. They had plenty of time for books.

"Twenty years can make a lot of difference," he noted. "I have to admit I'm a little curious about what you think is different and what isn't."

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sholeh glanced at the hand on her shoulder, then looked back up at him, eyebrow raised. "I'm pretty sure you're not stretching to do that now, like you used to when we were younger," she said, a teasing lilt in her voice. "But more than that...you seem firmer, somehow. More you. You're comfortable with who you are. In your own skin."

She dropped her eyes. "More than I think I am, right now."

genesishero

2013-06-17 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

That got a soft frown out of Evan, and then he was wrapping his other arm around her a couple of times.

"It's been twenty years since the carpet was pulled out from under my feet and everything I thought I knew about home and family and me turned out to be a lie," he shared, carefully. "That's two decades to pick up all of the pieces, Sholeh. To decide who it is I want to be the first time I ever really had that choice, and then to do everything I can to become that person. You're doing a hell of a lot better than I was two days after I had everything ripped away from me."

3girls_1core

2013-06-17 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sholeh brushed her hair from her eyes and settled in a little closer to him. He just seemed to radiate comfort, and his sheer side made her feel protected and safe. "All I've ever wanted was to learn, do good, and help Tryadnea. And I did that and still it wasn't good enough."

And, then is a very tiny voice, "What if that's just me? What if I'm not good enough?"

genesishero

2013-06-17 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

"You're good enough," Evan said, firmly, looking down at her and putting a hand under her chin, gently nudging her face upward so that he could look her in the eye. "You're more than good enough, and you always have been. If they can't see that, Sholeh, that isn't your shortcoming and it's not your loss. It's theirs. Anybody who cares as much as you do can't possibly be 'not good enough.'"

3girls_1core

2013-06-18 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)

"Then why are you the only person who can see that?" Sholeh asked, looking up at him with tear-bright eyes. "Are you sure you're right? You haven't seen me in twenty years. What if you're the wrong one?"

genesishero

2013-06-18 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)

"Maybe I see because I've actually taken the time to look." He wasn't looking away now, after all, ice-blue eyes practically piercing as he gazed into hers. "You've changed, but there are still shades of the person I fell in love with there, plain as day. Those pieces of you alone are more than enough. I can't imagine anything you might do that would lessen the value of that."

It would take a lot of work, Sholeh. A lot.

"For every thing you can name about yourself that you don't like, that they don't like, I can find another two, things that I've seen since just last night, that are worth loving all over again."

3girls_1core

2013-06-18 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)

"You like it when I'm proud and snippy?" Sholeh asked, dredging up a smile. Her eyes locked with his and she could feel her breathing quicken, just a bit. "I never thought you like contrary girls."

genesishero

2013-06-18 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)

"It keeps me on my toes," Evan replied with a bit of a sideways grin. "I always did like when you got a little proud. I felt proud of you, whenever you put your chin up and your foot down."

It hadn't been a frequent thing, maybe. But it was enough that Evan had noticed, at least.

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