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The Verb to Walk

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The verb “to walk” covers a wealth of visual clues. No one really just walks through their day. They ramble, stride, pace, scurry, saunter, march, tread, stroll, hike, slip or even sneak from one place to another. All manner of communication takes place in the body language that is walking.

Jean Grey had learned this language partly from her observations as a MD and mostly from her relationship with a strategic genius. Scott said it was simple self-defense when living in a house with forty-odd teenagers.

Not that the teenagers were odd, the number of- okay, some of the teenagers- never mind.

Scott said it helped him stay one step ahead of the kids when he could tell how they felt, or whether they were up to something, just by how they walked down a hallway or into a room.

“It also tells you a lot about their personal history,” he told her one night as they were getting ready for bed. “A kid who was physically abused will have a different body language from a kid who was emotionally and verbally abused but not hit. They may both flinch when someone yells at them but there will be differences in the rest of their body language. Two kids with the same type of abuse in their backgrounds will show a lot of similarities even if one of them withdraws while the other gets aggressive.”

“How do you figure this stuff out?” she asked in amusement. “I think I’d have noticed if you’d set up a hunter’s blind in the front hallway.”

“Nah, I carry my own with me,” he said, as he tapped on a ruby lens. “Helps with the overall impression of omniscience,” he grinned.

“Jubilee thinks you have eyes in the back of your head,” Jean laughed, “and St. John thinks the Professor and I rat them out to you.”

“They’d think I was a telepath if they didn’t already know there are only two in the house.”

“Bobby knows it’s body language but he’s not telling anyone.”

“Bobby was here when I learned it. All of you- Bobby and Warren and Hank and you and the Professor- all had safe and reasonably happy North American childhoods. At least your early childhoods. I came off the streets but I can’t read my own body language well. It wasn’t until the Professor brought Ro home from Cairo that I realized there really is such a thing as body language and I didn’t really start learning it until the kids started arriving. Bobby was my rat snitch in those days. He’s not bad at reading people himself and how did this turn into a late night discussion when there are more interesting things to do?”

“Such as?”

“Oh, playing with these, for instance,” and he buried his face between Jean’s breasts and hummed happily.

“Those?” she teased. “Those aren’t so interesting.”

“You don’t think so because you carry them around with you all day and you’re used to them. I only get to play with them at night, so I’m very interested.”

“So, if you could play with them all day, they’d stop being so interesting?”

Scott looked up at her with an expression of intense consideration. “I don’t *think* so. Maybe after a week of 24hr access they *might* get a little familiar. The only way to know for sure is to try it and see.”

“A week off so you can play with my bosom?”

“Oh, at least a week. You tell the Professor and I’ll get started.”

Jean laughed in delight as Scott started enthusiastically rubbing his nose into her cleavage. He decided he liked the way they were bouncing and spidered his fingers up her ribcage to keep her giggling.

They’d progressed nicely into Comp. Anat. when there was a knock at the door. Scott left off licking Jean’s left nipple to reproachfully ask, “You didn’t tell the Professor, did you?”

“It’s Ilyana.” Jean was sympathetic, she’d been enjoying herself too. “She’s crying.”

“Ro?” Scott asked hopefully, even as he got up and started dressing.

“She had a bad dream,” Jean said, meaning Ilyana of course, not Ro.

Ilyana was the youngest girl at the school. Not the youngest child but the youngest girl. To Scott’s relief she was too young to have an aggressive crush on him but she was plenty old enough to understand that Scott was the school’s Mr. Fix-it.

Medical questions and distinctly feminine issues were taken to Jean. Ro got the philosophical type questions and the “are we allowed?” inquiries but she’d never lost the exotic “I belong otherwhere” aura and none of the kids would follow her up to her aerie. The incident with Marie aside, Logan was still too new to be considered accessible.

The Professor was “not to be bothered,” being essentially held in awe by all of the students except Bobby. Although, even when there’d been just the five of them and the Professor, Scott had still been Bobby’s first choice for protection and comfort.

As a teenager Scott hadn’t even tried to keep count of the number of times he’d woke to find the very young Bobby standing beside his bed, his face wet with tears and a ratty teddy bear clutched to his chest. Nor had he tracked how many times his homework or strategy game had been interrupted by Bobby flinging himself against Scott, sometimes pursued by an irate Warren or Hank or even Jean, sometimes pursued only by invisible terrors. That Bobby had been alone the first time his powers had manifested had not lessened the trauma. Scott had started wearing the Professor’s old cardigan so he could continue his game while Bobby buried himself between the sweater and Scott’s back and waited out the boogeyman’s stalking.

Scott didn’t know if Bobby had taught the newer students that he was the go to man but go to him they did. Be it broken plumbing, a spider in the library or monsters under the bed they went to Scott to have it fixed, removed or chased away. Tonight, by the time he got Ilyana to the kitchen he had four more kids trailing behind him and he felt a little like a mother duck.

Scott had never in his life made hot chocolate for fewer than six and considered himself very fortunate to be one of those people who only needed four hours of sleep a night.

He also considered himself to be unfortunate to be one of those people who wouldn’t have the heart to wake his girlfriend when he finally got back to bed and found her sleeping like a baby. Instead he just sighed, nestled down to use her very interesting breasts as a pillow and hoped for morning nooky.