2019-04-24 - Thoughts and Dreams


Hod finds Jean at the library.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Apr 24 03:21:19 2019
Location: Columbia University

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For the first week or so, Jean tried to stay at Xavier's. It's safe there. It's close to Shadowcrest and Zee. And it's tightly controlled, so anyone who shows up is likely to already know her and unlikely to decide she needs to be turned into a skin suit. But eventually, she had to come back to class. It's almost graduation. She has important things to finish. Which is why she's in one of the private study rooms at the library, with a stack of books and magazines at her side as she works on a term paper.

The door to the room opens and Hod slips in, his cane lightly tapping out the edges of the frame and then the area directly in front of him, "Did you know this place has an /extensive/ network of old steam tunnels beneath it's foundations? I mean, it's not Parisian catacombs but damn. They were industrious here back in the day." he taps about until finding a chair and flops into it with a sigh. There's a couple of smudges of dirt on his usually clean white shirt, and a cobweb is currently stuck to the chest of his vest, he seems blissfully unaware of all of it. "How ya been kiddo? Anyone try to murder you yet?"

Jean looks up as the door opens, brow arching when Hod comes inside. "Hey, nice to see you too. You look…" She pauses, lips pursing as she tries to come up with the right word. "Well, you're also alive, so that's great." At his question, she pushes a hand through her hair, letting out a heavy breath. "No. No one has tried to murder me. Although two of my kids came back from the future, so that was exciting. Except for the part where it basically shut Scott down. But hey, Scott's sort of girlfriend apparently didn't know that I'd told him how I felt, and yet she's still - supposedly - possibly interested in helping get rid of this stupid brand, so there's that too."

Hod sighs, "Yeah well, I'm good at hiding. Survival skill you pick up after you've been hunted a few dozen hundred times." then he pauses, sitting up a little, "Huh. Shut him down because they were his kids too, or because they were someone elses kids? And we talking future future, or like alternate future multilayered temporal distortion kids?" Then he sits up all the way, "Okay. I feel like uh… I feel like you buried the lead there. Your future potential baby daddy's current lady accessory is gonna try to help remove your Oathbreaker mark?" he melts back down into his chair, "Kid, I don't want this to sound mean but fuck your life is more complicated then mine, and trust me, /thats/ saying something."

"Yep." Jean closes a few of the books, propping her chin up in one hand. "But yeah, that's a pretty accurate summary. And I don't know the exact circumstances of how their futures relate to the timeline, and honestly I'm not even sure if they're from the same future, but…yeah. Mine and Scott's. Which sort of…Yeah." She lets out a heavy breath, shaking her head. "Anyhow. Zee thinks she might have a solution for the brand. And miraculously, despite finding out about the whole me and Scott thing, she seems to be willing to help."

Hod is silent for awhile, then nods, "It won't work on me, or Sif, but if it can help you or Kate I'm willing to help however I can. I dragged you two into this fully expecting to just get killed suddenly and painfully, not heap stress upon you until you die of a to young coronary."

"Why wouldn't it work on you two?" Jean asks, leaning back in her chair. "Hypothetically speaking, because I honestly don't have the first idea what it's going to involve anyhow." She pauses, grimacing. "Probably some really awkward ritual involving telling a lot of uncomfortable truths. Joke's on you, magic, I've been living with people's uncomfortable thoughts for half of my life."

Hod sighs a bit, "So it's complicated, like crazy complicated involving the mastery and control of energies your people havn't begun to understand yet. You call them magic, so do we honestly, but it's a good bit of sci-" he waves a hand in the air, "Doesn't matter. Here's what's important, while Sif and I /look/ like you, we're not human. I mean that literally, we are not even the same species, not even a tiny bit. Pretty sure I have more organs in different places doing more and different things then yours. Part of that difference is what makes us what we are, that little extra umph, and the other pantheons have a uh… similar sort of energy. Like I said, complicated. But we've made agreements, ancient pacts from time before time, there are some bitchin' benefits to being Aesir, I mean I'm over three millenia old and look at this face-" he gives her a good profile shot, running a hand down his bearded cheek, "doesn't look a day over twelve hundred. But those extras come with strings. You mortals have always been slippery about that sort of thing, shrugging off things that are supposed to last forever."

"I've heard it theorized that it's your strength, gives you a fighting chance against the gods, your ever changing behavior, your ever changing sense of /self/ makes it almost impossible to imprint a thing upon your soul permanantly without your permission. Sure, there are exceptions, but it's /really/ rare compared to how many people get cursed or ensorcelled for 'all time' and then slip it off a year or a decade later. I-we-are not like that. If a god places a mark, /especially/ one that's part of the Old Tennants on another god, then not only has it been preagreed upon to happen should said Tennants be broken, but it's also more permanant." he stops and takes a deep breath, his brows scrunching up, "That make any sense or did I just ramble on for no reason?"

"I mean, I got the part where you're old," Jean smirks, letting out a heavy breath afterwards. "Yeah, I get the gist of it. Hard to make things permanent when you're putting them on something ephemeral. Like humans. Hard to time things so they last the same way." She shifts, taking a few notes from her papers. "If you're not human, why do you look human? That's just pure curiosity, by the way," she notes.

Hod's teeth flash white in a grin, "Who says I look human?" he asks curiously, "We were here first. Why do you look Aesir?" he asks, returning the question, "I mean your species is hardly a hundred millenia old, stop copying me." his grin becomes a smirk, "Actually, that's a good question and there is an answer for it, but honestly I was to busy dodging my older brother's attempt to shatter my ribs with a giant fuck off hammer growing up to worry about the like /super/ ancient history stuff. Dad would know, but I'm not asking him because he's a living omnipotent pustule of ego and anal retention in equal parts. If I had to guess? We likely subconsciously take on a shape less threatening to your people. Midgard and Asgard have been intrinsically linked for eons. I don't know how, or why, but I'd bet if you looked back far enough you'd find a first contact moment and ten seconds before that was a thing, one of us didn't look like we look now. Honestly not sure which. Some of the Elders were the sorts of dicks who'd changes a species shape to be more pleasing to them, and might have had the juice to do it. Couldn't say. And really unsetteling to ponder."

"Huh." Jean ponders that for a moment, nodding to herself. "Makes sense, I guess." She looks up then, smile quirking. "Of course, then you get evolution. And then you end up with mutants. Reading your minds and throwing things around with theirs, and blowing things up out of their eyeballs, and…" Shrugging, she spins her pencil idly between her fingers. "All right. Anyhow. What about you? Any progress on all of this? Like, who would set us and Loki up? And why?"

Hod leans over the table, takes a deep breath, and blows at Jean, showering her with a sudden short lived blizzard of snow flakes before sitting back in his seat, "You call it evolution, but we've manipulated energies unseen to the human eye since our inception. Why would, assuming you were our creations, we not give you the ability to eventually grow into similar gifts? After all, the greatest responcibility of every parent isn't to love their child, it's to prepare them for life without said parent. First job designed to put itself out of work. You're new to all this, but I have a brother that can do things to reality that shouldn't happen, another so nice that /literally/ everyone loves him, including the fucking seasons, another who farts thunderstorms, Sif can … I think she does a thing with the harvests or something? She never really told us and wasn't big on talking about it when we asked. That's when she got punchy. All I know is that what you call evolution, on a large enough time line, looks an awful lot like hyperintelligent design." he grins a bit, "You should right a paper about that, drop bits like that into your collegiate biology course, I'm sure it'll go over /great/" snicker.

Then she's talking about the actual real problems and not the shit that's fun to just chat about and his short lived distraction comes crashing down, forcing him to stop being snarky Hod and be serious Hod again. He doesn't like that guy as much, experient has taught him that guy doesn't get or keep friends, "Sort of. I have an idea on where I can get the information I would need, it's guarenteed, it's accurate, it's perfect. Only it's unbelievably stupid, certainly suicidal, and the price to accomplish it even if we survive I'm pretty sure would leave more marks upon my sould, at the very least, then it can bare. I'm not sure I'd be the same afterward." deep breath, "But my older brother, who is in no way trust worthy unless his own ass is on the line, and it is currently, has an idea. He's a lot of thing, liar, manipulator, charming dinner guest, bit of a sadist, really funny with a bit of improve," he grins a bit at an old memory, "but most of all he's clever. Cleverer then I, by leagues. I'm going to play out his idea, see if it's true. If not, all else fails, we can throw my well being on the spit and see what cooks off."

"Hey, I bet if I tell the professor I got it from an actual Asgardian who was around when there were dinosaurs, I can get extra credit for it." Jean brushes the snowflakes off of her paper, smile wry. "Seen that trick before. Glad to see it's come a little bit easier to you, though."

She watches him as he lists his options and the consequences, brow quirking at the end. "You know, it seems like all of your ideas always end with someone dead. I mean, usually you, and you're upfront about it being possible for others, but dying is definitely on the table. Can't hurt to try something where maybe it's not."

Hod sighs and reaches up and lets his fingers dance in the air a bit, it's measureably cooler in the room, "You shoulda seen me in my prime kid. I could have shown you something…" there's a bone deep longing there, and she can feel a need for something leeching out of him he's hard pressed to contain. "But that's tomorrows worry. Right now I'm down to parlor tricks and above average skill in stabbing people. It'll have to do."

He sets his cane to the side and spins it with his forefinger resting atop the ball, letting it sort of reverse 'basketball on the finger' kinda thing, likely gonna worry a hole in the carpet. "I don't know what sort of fairy tales they tell you about Asgard, but warm and fuzzy and uptopian it is not. Nothing costs money nor is it free, if you catch my drift. My knowledge, what meger magic I possess, is all Vanir or Aesir in origin, and all of that comes with a price tag. Since we're dealing with stuff that sets pantheons on one another, the cost will be at least partially commiserate to the value of the knowledge. It's not always the case, sometimes you get to trick a guy, or cheat them, but it's rare. For wisdom he plucked out his own eye and cast it into one of the wells at the roots of Yggdrasill, for the knowledge of magic untold he hung himself from the with a rope about the neck and spitted himself upon his own spear and hung there for nine days and nights so he could truely understand the runes." Hod's cheeks puff out, "I don't know any ways that are just… 'I asked Bob The God Of Stuff and he just gave me this awesome thing. Said I owe him dinner at TGIFridays, but I think it's worth it'."

"Well, good thing for you your friends are humans, huh?" Jean tucks one leg beneath herself, flicking a finger and neatly stacking the books without moving another muscle. Not that Hod can appreciate anything more than the flutter of pages. "We do things for each other because it's the right thing to do. Or because we're friends. Or because we're curious. Sometimes because we want to test ourselves. There are a lot more reasons than just a price."

Hod shakes his head, "I don't think you could survive the hanging or the spear frankly." he says dryly. "Yeah, I know." he responds, "That's why I stopped being mad about my exile about two thousand fourhundred and blah blah blah-six months after I came here." he leans on her table suddenly, elbows proping on it and he seems a little excited, "I /love/ you people." he says a bit fervently, "I mean, don't get me wrong, you have a /lot/ of assholes in your midsts, but whatever you do, you're /never ever ever/ boring. Dear old Da dropped me in the heart of the Peloponisian war when he booted my from the house, I moped about miserable for awhile. Being blind in ancient Greece was bad enough, but doing that while broke, nameless, stripped of your once awesome physical might, and now fitting a feeling to words like 'hunger' that used to be quaint, is all something next level. You think I'm a little cynical /now/? Shoulda seen me in the bad ol' days. Met a man, he uh… he opened my world a great deal. My first friend ever, who wasn't my twin and sorta /had/ to like me. Free will, chose to like me anyway." he beams, "I love you guys because you're /nothing/ like the Family. You're better, in your own ways."

Jean's smile quirks when Hod starts to go on about humans. "Now look at that. Something he likes. And it's even people. You might just get past being a crusty old man yet, old man winter." She rubs the heel of her hand at her brow, looking over all the books. "Funny enough, I agree with you," she admits. "I've had everyone else's voices in my head - to one degree or another - since I was ten years old. And yet I always find something new there. Something interesting. It's why I'm studying psychology. If I'm going to be inside people's heads all the time - or they're going to be in mine - then I want to at least start to understand them."

Hod makes a face and shakes his head, "I like a /lot/ of stuff. If you remember, I'm very fond of various liquors and wines, I'm also fond of sailing. Stupid for a blind guy I know, but I have a boat and I 'take it out' so to speak, when I want to get away from it all. I like gardens and bakeries and coffee shops, mostly because it's a little bit harder to smell all the people in those locations. I like sculpture, the real kind, you can touch and feel. To be fair, I also like solitude and cold temperatures and dark places. Prolly a duh moment. But I like poetry and a well told story too. Problem isn't that I don't like people kid, it's that they don't like me. I'm cold, literally, and I'm told the shadows cling to me a little to much, casting me in sinister light. Got set on fire a lot back in the day to chants of 'witch' and the like. Drown a couple times too. Those sucked. Dragged behind a horse once. I don't dislike people, I distrust them. Most of them are, Aesir included, are ambulatory jerkwaffles. It's the ones that are that make the time here worth while. So far I like you. Don't blow it." grin.

"Psychology seems a waste of time for you, people will teach you everything you need to know in time, in fact, more then anyone they'll teach you, whether you want them to or not. Why not study a subject you're not already over qualified for? Like uh… sculpture or something? You said you can move shit with your brain, why not make beautiful expressions of your soul that way instead of trying to parse out the souls of others?"

Jean is quiet for a long moment at the question, looking into herself and facing some things she usually keeps very much to herself. Maybe it's Hod's relationship to the hidden that brings it out. Or maybe he's just someone that she hasn't known her whole life, who might actually have a clue about the larger world.

"Because I'm afraid of what's in mine," she finally answers, catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth as soon as she says it.


Hod doesn't stare at her so much, because you know, he can't, but his face is turned in her direction and as always it's a few degrees from being spot on. But he grows still, quiet, as he considers this spoken statement, giving it the time he feels it needs to really work itself out in his head. "Me too." he says simply long after the silence has become awkward. "Me too kid." He doesn't offer her any words of wisdom about how not to feel that way, or that she shouldn't feel that way cause she's a special song bird, or try to tell her other people have it worse or even nod in agreement that she's broken. He just empathizes sincerely.

"It's a lot easier to fix other people." Jean lets out a breath, grimacing, as she breaks the silence. "I mean. Maybe not easier to actually do, because god do some people make it hard, but, you know what I mean." She leans forward again then, setting her elbows on the table and clasping her hands together. "So. Gonna hopefully get this mark taken off of me and Kate. Maybe learn enough about it to get us a lead. Maybe get somewhere getting you and Sif taken care of. And hunt down the jerks who set us up so that they can enjoy it themselves, if anyone leaves them alive long enough for it."

When did it get so dim in here? He's a bit of a roiling fog of emotions, faint through his walls, but still loud enough for her to hear. The loudest of course being layers of guilt and fear crashing against the shores of his will. He sits up a bit more when she does and the shadows recede a little, as if they had responded to his mood intentionally, like a puppy seeking to give it's master a good face licking when they're clearly sad.

"Getting you two clean is first order of business, then it's finding who did this. Then it's crushing their naughty bits until they admit what they did, then it's killing them, then the marks and other stuff will solve itself. If we can find the actual perpetrators, then the Oathbreaker mark no longer applies to me and Sif, even if he wanted to maintain it on us, Thoth couldn't in good faith do so. There would be repercussions. So. Scrub you two gals clean with a soul loofa, then go find some frame job con artists, mild torture, murder, then get my own soapy soul shower. I like this plan."

"We can probably work on a couple of those middle steps, but yeah," Jean smiles ruefully. "In the meantime though, unless you want to help write this term paper, I need to get back to work. So I can graduate and then get back to making more awkward and uncomfortable decisions, because apparently that's what my life is now."

Hod snorts, "Unless it's history, I'm prolly no help. I can't read or write, except braile and some runes, but those aren't exactly the same thing and I'm still a bit sketchy on the braile on occasion." he pushes himself to his feet, "And history? Shit didn't happen the way they'll want you to say it did, not most of the time anyway. For instance," he heads for the door, pulling it open and pausing in the doorway, "he prolly thinks the dinosaurs are all dead. Silly git. You're one of the fossils still alive in their time." he offers a bit of a Groucho style eyebrow waggle, one of the few expressions he can do while still wearing glasses, and then slips the door closed quietly behind him.

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