1965-10-12 - Out Foxing
Summary: Dani looks for things. Sage looks for Dani. Fox poop is found. Plans are laid.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
sage danielle 


A few people at the Institute know of Dani's weekly visit, even when she doesn't make herself overtly known to the others. Once a week, roughly the same time of day each time, she swings by Westchester and carefully walks the perimeter of the old estate. Some weeks, she does it before venturing over to the mansion. Other times, she does her thing, then heads home. All she's told people is: 'It's important.' and 'Don't worry about it.' Why exactly anyone would worry about a former student skulking through the upstate woods with a vicious-looking spear and a concentrating scowl… Okay, there may be /some/ questions worth probing.


"Well, you aren't going to find anything in that direction." Among her many gifts - Sage can detect mutants. And Ms. Valentine isn't shy about using this gift in order to call out students who are trying to hide, or in this case - a sometime-instructor skulking about. "Unless, of course, you're looking for something I can't see through telepathy." …When did she come outside anyhow?


Danielle is a talented hunter. She ought to be hard to sneak upon. And yet.. When Sage speaks, Dani pivots into a defensive crouch, bracing her spear with both hands. After a silent beat, she straightens. Relaxes. "I'm actually hoping to /not/ find anything, honestly," she not-quite-explains. "But what I'm hoping to not find may be invisible to telepathy. I think. Either way, no sign of anything unusual so far." That clears everything up, right?


Sage isn't exactly a hunter. Nor has she trained in sneakery. She does, however, step lightly. Just a natural thing. Something she did hone a little as a high-powered CEO's assistant. She always had to be at his side. "Assuming you are excluding any one of the students present today." Because 'unusual' can mean a lot of things! "But it has been a ordinary, if quiet day. It's good to see you again, Ms. Moonstar."


"Likewise, Ms. Valentine," Dani grunts more amiably. "No, nothing to do with the students. Just… making sure. 'Ordinary' is an underrated quality in these parts." She crouches again to inspect… something, gently brushing her fingers through some leaves. "Fox. Probably a den down the slope over yonder." As she straightens again, she slaps her hand against her jeans and casts another glance towards the other woman. "Winter's not far off, so there might be a better chance to see some local wildlife soon. If any of the kids are interested, I could be arm-twisted into a nature walk now and again."


Sage considers for a moment. "Obviously I'm not the person to give permission, but I think that would be a good idea. The students enjoyed your weekend walks during the summer." To the point where many students were sad to see the walks come to an end. She quirks an eyebrow, craning her neck as she tries to determine what it is that has tipped Dani off to the fox's presence. "I've not noticed a fox," she admits.


Danielle uses the butt of her spear to indicate a few dark lumps under fallen leaves. "Scat's one of the more reliable indicators. Lasts longer than footprints, easier to spot than bits of fur on twigs. I'd say this is about.. oh.. four to six weeks old now. And there aren't many other signs of disturbance, like a hunt or a fight. So her den has to be reasonably close." Again she nods towards the slightly rockier slope further down the way, well beyond the edges of the property. "There are plenty of nooks and crannies and hidey-holes over there."


Sage ahs and nods. She hunches down to get a good look, then nods again. "I've seen such scat a few times. I never really considered what it would be." More curiosity leads to more learning, and while she's never going to turn down the idea of learning something new… she's got a very full plate right now. "What would the fox be hunting out here? Rabbits, squirrels?"


"Rabbits, sure. Mice, squirrels.. Just about any of the usual rodent types in the area would be a tasty snack. Could be birds or small snakes or even some of the local plants." Dani may be a part-time freelance teacher, but she does seem to enjoy sharing her knowledge. Particularly the outdoorsy-stuff. She hunkers down as well, leaning on her spear a bit. "Late in the year like this, a lot of foxes will start shifting to a mostly fruit-based diet. Gives them plenty of sugar to sustain them through the winter, when protein is harder to find."


"I had no idea," Tessa admits. Which is a rare sentence right there. "But if I'm to be honest, I hadn't ever considered zoology as a line of study. I was too consumed by other sciences and by business as I was growing up." Something else to put on the list, then!


Danielle chuckles and straightens up again. "I don't know much zoology myself, but I know tracking and hunting. Which, I guess, is where zoology started off, hm?" She falls quiet for a moment, listening to a single bird chirping with gusto high up in a tree somewhere. "Anyway, as I understand it, the big problem with zoology? There are too damn many different animals to learn about. I can rattle on and on about any number of horses, but there are still some breeds I simply don't know. I suspect our fox friend is a basic red fox, but they behave a bit differently from gray foxes. Rabbits and hares are *almost* different enough to be like dogs and wolves. And that's not even touching reptiles or birds or fish, or some of those freaky things down in Australia. So you could learn the fundamentals easily enough, but you'd never be able to learn everything about every animal."


If anyone could, Sage could. But she doesn't voice that. Bragging isn't her thing. She nods, though. "I suspect that's why there is the possibility of specializing," she says. "The same goes for… any number of studies, really." She oul name a few offhand. On the other hand, she also has advanced degrees in more than one subject… "But I think the students would be thrilled to see a fox."


Danielle nods, muses quietly for a minute, then, "Fair enough. I'll run it past the usual hurdles, make sure Amanda is cool with it, all that. But everyone should get to know a little bit more of the natural world. At least in my opinion."


There's that mention of 'Amanda' again. She mentioned the woman last time, too. Sage nods firmly. "A little respect for nature is going to do the students a world of good, I'd say. At the very least they would learn not to be afraid of it just because it's the outdoors."


"Exactly my thinking, Ms. Valentine," Danielle agrees with a grin. "And you'd be welcome to join such walks. As.. a chaperone?" Her tone of voice hints that Sage might appreciate a way to tag along and learn, while still maintaining her mysterious aura of All Consuming Knowledge in front of the students.


While letting Dani do the explaining and the answering of questions, of course! Sage nods. "That would work. I usually don't have weekend plans, so I haven't much of a need to leave the school grounds." Which means she can do this, and let the other instructors do what they'd like without worry of maintaining official teacher-ness over the weekend.


Danielle grins, and seals the deal with a nod. "I'll let you know when I get it worked out. In the meantime, I think I've done my sweep out here, so I can head back to the house, then to home."


"I'll talk to the other instructors. You're still resiing at the circus? Perhaps I'll come by and discuss what their thoughts are," Tessa offers.


Danielle nods again, "The Circus. Just ask for me at the work entrance. They'll know where to find me."


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