|What: Sam finally makes it back to the Institute, meets up with Piotr, then Scott--Sam's relieved to find he's still welcome there.|
Mid-afternoon on a Saturday during the summer is a quiet time usually. Many students are home visiting. Those who aren't, might not have classes to begin with and certainly not on a Saturday. It's after lunch and before dinner which means Piotr is not being annoyed by anyone. Wearing sneakers and gym shorts, he's sitting on a stool in front of a canvas and painting.
Sam’s got a death grip on the wheel of Pa’s old truck as he makes himself drive up to the gates. With every inch he gets closer to the point of no return. Of course, if he doesn’t keep going, he might keep seeing Doug and scaring innocent New Yorkers and that won’t do. He nudges the gas and pulls up to the gate.
It takes a moment of negotiation with the security system—and Sam imagines that he can feel someone’s mind on his, but that’s probably just his guilty conscience—but the Institute remembers who he is. It welcomes him in, the gates pull back, Sam lets the truck roll forward. The Institute is spread out in front of him, pretty as always, and Sam goes slow to take it all in.
Piotr watches the truck drive in and dips his brush in the turpentine before cleaning it off and setting it down. As the pickup just stays there, he stands up and walks over to it. "You are in need of something?" Since the gate let him in, he's either been recognized or expected. Given that Sam was 16 and didn't drive the last time Piotr saw him, he's not recognizing the former student.
Sam recognizes Piotr, though. The change in him hasn't been so great. He pushes up his sunglasses and gives Piotr a grin. "Probably a kick in the backside for taking so long to get back here. Good to see you again, Piotr."
It still takes a moment for Piotr to recognize the boy who left so long ago. "Samuel? Samuel Guthrie? I did not recognize you. You have gotten taller." And much more handsome. "Welcome back. But I must ask, what brings you here?" Wayward sons usually return because there's trouble of some sort.
"Finished puttin' the new roof on the house. Finished up some college online. Turned twenty-one. Then Ma kicked me out so I'd live a little. She knows I wasn't gonna leave her again if she didn't." Sam leans one arm out the window and looks around. "Thought I'd see if I could help out around here, if there was still a place for me. If not, well, I'll find something to do."
"Of course there is. If you want there to be. Drive up to the garage and I will meet you inside once I gather my things." Piotr motions to the canvas and painting supplies. "Do you wish the cafeteria or someplace more quiet to start?"
"Wait then." Piotr agrees and returns to where he was sitting to gather everything up. He puts them in the back then slides into the passenger seat. "We can go to my suite." he decides. "Anywhere else and we are likely to be interupted by students. Have you notified the Professor that you were returning?"
"He knows. Ma got in touch with him, and I think he knows already. He probably knew when I chickened out yesterday and drove past the gate." Sam flushes with embarrassment. He drives around to the garage and the old truck grumbles as he takes the last turn. "Almost there," Sam says fondly, patting the dashboard. "Wasn't sure this ol' girl was gonna make it, but she did."
Sam's pickup is just pulling up to the garage. Piotr's in the passenger seat with his art supplies in the back. Seems he was getting some sun and doing some painting this fine mid afternoon. "If you are hungry, we can get you something to eat first."
In the garage, Scott Summers is busy adding some sort of fixtures to the interior of his motorcycle. As the car pulls up, his eyebrows raise, "Sam?"
Sam's got the good grace to look really sheepish. "Hey, Scott." He stops the faded blue truck just outside the garage and turns off the engine. "You doin' okay these days?"
Piotr gets out of the truck, giving Scott a nod of greeting as well as a quick smile. He watches the reunion between the two.
"I've been good, mostly. Family's good." Sam swings out of the truck so he can shake Scott's hand. "Ma got tired of my face, though, kicked me back here."
"We have a room Sam can use, do we not Scott?" Piotr asks. Going to the back of the pickup, he reaches in to grab the t-shirt and put it on. "He has expressed an interest in making this more than a visit which is something you and the Professor will need to discuss with him."
"She did," Scott says with a grin growing across his face. "Hell, we just got done being sick of it. You're welcome to stay here as much or as long as you want." He nods to Piotr. "What do you have in mind, Sam?"
"Just put me to work, that's all. I need to be busy. You want to put me through my paces, I'm ready. Or I could just get to work on the landscaping if you'd prefer." Sam shrugs. "It's not that I don't care, it's that I picked up and left... I don't expect to come back to the same place, you know?"
"You'll need to be evaluated, of course." Piotr points out. "Have you kept up with your training or at least maintained what you were taught? I would guess you have not really had the chance to improve on it." Sam's power isn't exactly subtle.
"Whoa...Sam. Settle down man," Scott holds his hands up towards the mutant, "You're back among family, man. I'm sure the professor will find something for you to be able to do." Scott chuckles at Piotr, "Don't worry, if there's any flab under there, we'll be able to work it off him."
"I've been fightin' fires, diggin' ditches, and puttin' up a new roof for Ma." Sam tugs his T-shirt up to show the very sculpted evidence. "Flab ain't the problem. I'm just outta practice hitting folks. Mostly."
Well, when someone invites Piotr to look, how can he politely refuse? "Good. We can get you back to speed quickly enough if you work at it." And Sam was not one to shirk. "It is good he is back, Scott. Now I am not going to be as available as I would like."
"Absolutely," Scott nods to Piotr. "We need all the help we can get. The stakes have been raised lately." He grins a bit at Sam, "If you're trying to get me to punch you, you'll have to wait until we get in the gym." Scott gets serious. "Welcome back, Sam. We're happy to have you. Don't feel guilty about leaving. As the professor would say, everyone follows their own path."
"Thanks. I just..." Sam leans against the truck. "It was a little much when I was a kid but it really is good to be back. We do get the news in Cumberland Country, I saw things were getting serious. I want to help. And, I want to catch up on everything I missed best I can." The longer he's here, the more Sam's convinced that he just freaked out some poor guy in Bryant Park, he didn't see someone who'd been dead five years.
Piotr glances at Scott a moment before nodding to Sam. "Da, things might be getting difficult. Which has reminded me, Scott. We should talk further about eventual publicity. That can wait however as Sam needs to get settled after a long drive."
"Publicity?" Scott asks as he looks over. "Sounds like a question for the Professor, not for me." He turns back to Sam, "Hey man, why don't you get something to eat and I'll get your room ready."
"Thanks." Sam hauls an old duffel bag out of the back of the truck and slings it over his shoulder. "My own room, that'll be a treat. Lookin' forward to not stepping on dinosaurs and dinky cars in the middle of the night."
The Professor, yes." Piotr agrees. "But also you as I respect your opinion." He too collects his things out of the back of the pickup. "Welcome back, Sam. It is nice seeing you again. Come find me if you need anything."
Scott nods and gives Piotr a slap on the back, "Sounds good, Raz. Let me know when you'd like to talk." Scott throws an arm around Sam and squeezes him quick before letting him go without a noogie. "We missed ya, guy."
"I missed y'all too, when I wasn't drowning under nine kids." Sam laughs and slaps Scott on the back. "Between home and the fire house, this place is gonna be nearly peaceful. I'll get my stuff put away and clean up, then I'll get to work."