May 29, 2015:

Betsy Braddock finally returns to the mansion. First stop? Jean Grey's office.

Jean's Office


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Betsy had been nervous about returning to the X-mansion. Not because it wasn't familiar (it was), or because her friends were there. Even the notion of Charles rooting around in her brain in an attempt to help undo the damage done by The Hand's ritual wasn't intimidating her so much.

No, what had Betsy sitting outside Jean's office, fretting over a twist of a hair scrunchie, is facing Jean Grey. She'd seen a few people since her incident, so it was certain that Scott had called back to let the Mansion residents know what'd happened to the woman known as Psylocke. But the reality of that was fast approaching as she sat in her room trying to work up the courage to go knock on Jean's door, to go face her oldest, best friend, and find out if this new gestalt consciousness still had enough shreds of Eliabeth Braddock in it- or if Kwannon's influence would cost her one of the cornerstones of her life, as a person and a mutant.

She glances at the clock on the wall. She's been sitting there for almost three hours, long fingers rolling the scrunchie around over and over. The remains of three snapped ones sit at her bare feet, broken by her stressed fidgeting. No avoidance here, no ma'am.

In the three hours that Betsy sat there, one would assume that students of varying ages, gifts, and degrees would filter in and out the door. Even faculty manages to avoid that singular room; for there were looks of hesitation as they reach for the door, and soon they would step back and take on a new path or even think twice with the need to return another day.

It was a simple trick, really. In other words, if a telepath of their calibur does not want to be bothered? They simply won't.

But there was a reason for the dismissal of the few that would seek to use Jean's counsel, she knew that Betsy remained outside of that door and sat, and waited, and sat. Jean did not push, she did not tempt or try to call her inside, she just let her be long enough to approach and yet? She didn't. Fine. Push it is.

But this was a normal pushing, no laying of the hands, no tickling of the frontal lobe or prying through the parietal lobe; it was a standing from the desk and a stalk towards the door, the handle grasped, turned and tugged, open just a crack and then fully just to make sure her old friend was still there.

And there she was.

The door was soon released from her grip but not after she tugs it to set it to swing, one shoulder pressed to the doorframe, foot kicked up with toe down, hands soon slipping within the pockets of her jeans as she allows herself a moment to adjust. The face was new.

"One question." Jean starts, her tone almost as critical as her gaze. "It's been three hours. Have you even went to the bathroom yet?"

At times? Jean was a jackass.

Betsy looks up at Jean with a stricken expression, for once being the one getting snuck up on. "What. Yes. No. What?" She jiggles one foot and launches to her feet smoothly. She and Jean had been of a height, once upon a time, but this new body is just an inch shy of six feet, barefoot, and she's wearing the same kind of heels Elizabeth favored when she was quite a bit shorter. Wearing a cami top and jeans, she's dressed in something quite a bit more form-fitting than she used to wear, too.

Awkwardly, Betsy smooths her hands on her butt, then clasps them, then fidgets and forces them to go still. She'd always prided herself on a properly stoic British expression, and she seems to have added the Asian prediliction for being inscrutable. Jean, of course, would see right through that, to the roiling panic tamped just below the surface of her iron self control. "Hi- hi. Hey. Can, uh, can I come in?" she says, gesturing with long fingers at the doorway before folding her hands across her stomach.

If Jean allowed herself to feel a since of.. no. She felt a hint of self consciousness when Betsy first stood, that hint of insecurity laying beneath the skin, her own skin drawing a slightly pinkish hue, just borderline of a blush that would burn her cheeks. For once they were on an even keel.. now? Betsy had her inch by inch.. and you know what?

That was alright with her.

She did take a step back from all of this, taking everything at face value, her lips pressing into a thin line as she slowly rolls off the hinges of the door, her hands still remaining within her pockets as she gives a head nod to allow Betsy to enter.

"Close the door behind you." Did she remember how to do that without using her hands? "Lock it for me as well?"

She still.. in some ways felt like Betsy. Right down to the small ticks within her eyes and the way she stood upright. Even the small stutter and the manner of shoe, but not the apparel. That was different.

Betsy walks in, and sensing Jean's silent question, closes and locks the door behind her. It's clumsily done, but she manages it. Precision telekinesis had never been a strength of hers. Ripping the door off the hinges would have been a bit easier.

Betsy saunts in a few paces, trying to force some composure, and stops a couple paces away from Jean, searching the other woman's face. "How've you been?" she says, trying to restablish some control over her nerves. A day ago, she'd stabbed a man through the brain without blinking. Confronting Jean Grey and her opinion of her transformation has the tall psychic more rattled than she'd care to admit. Now she dodges with some small talk, looking at Jean with both her regularly keen human senses and her telepathic gifts as if hungrily trying to determine the redhead's thoughts.

Jean makes a bit of room for the taller woman to enter, remaining within the middle of the office, hands still tucked within her jeans, sports coat sinched in between her hip and wrist. The white shirt? Something one of the college students made for her; it wasn't bedazzled with glitter, just sort of reversal dyed with some obscure LOTR script and a quote in elvish. Something about the moon, there was no time to search the brain to remember.

Heeled boot lightly taps against the ground as her lips purse; she wasn't sizing up the woman, but thinking of the question put to her. There was so much to say. But how much time did they have? This.. wasn't about her. But.. god..

It was sudden, the lunge. The way her hands snatched from her jeans which causes the flaps of her little sports coat to fly, the steps forward to cross the distance boldly into personal space, arms stretched out and soon, tucked beneath the arms of Betsy to bring the woman into the tightest.. much needed hug that she could have give her.

Gestures have emotion, this one was packed full of them, so much that Jean almost didn't want to let go.

The question was answered simply. "Goodness, old friend.. I missed you so much!"

Her eyes widen and almost reflexively, her hands come up to protect her midsection- and then she recognizes a hug for what it is. She stands, stunned, as if this is the first time she's been hugged in a year. Perhaps it has been.

With a cry, Betsy wraps her arms around Jean's shoulders and squeezes her girlfriend tightly. She's also a helluva lot stronger than she used to be. A little sob escapes her lips. "Oh, Jean, I didn't- I thought no one would ever recognize me- and you wouldn't want to be f-f-f-riends," she says, shoulder shaking as, in the security of Jean's arms and the office, she breaks down and lets out a week of pent up sorrow and confusion and anger, all suppressed under those glacially composed features and her stiff British upper lip. "I missed you, too!" she admits, relishing the simple joy of a reassuring touch from a friend, the simply joy of human contact.

It was the cry that startled her, it shouldn't have. There was that emptiness that she felt that mimicked that cry; one that she's been needing to do and allowing herself to do in small spurts of helplessness that she feels. And despair. "No.. no no…" Jean tries to soothe, but her efforts may have borne fruit but she found herself in tears as well.

It was gut wrenching to hear, to see, to feel the sorrow of breaking down, but it was done in unison so that each of them would realize that neither of them were alone. Not anymore. It was all so juvenille, their insecurities, but it all rang so true.

"I'm so sorry I wasn't there for you, I'm so.. so sorry.." Perhaps Jean could have saved her, they all could have. They could have spared Betsy this fate of.. being another person.

It took her a moment to finally let her go, Jean's face a mess of ruined mascara and flustered cheeks, her hands drawing away so that she could sniffle loud and wipe away at her eyes. She was a mess, but she was glad, overjoyed. And sad all at once. "I.. what ha.. where..? Why?" And still? She cried. Three hours she held it together and now she was a maelstrom of emotion. "I'm so sorry Bets.. I'm so sorry.. I failed you.."

Betsy shakes her head, waving off all of Jean's objections and concerns and self recrimination, giving Jean's hands a firm squeeze, holding her friend's fingers between their stomachs reassuringly for a moment as Jean starts her turn to stammer and speak.

Betsy moves away to grab a giant fistful of wet wipes from under Jean's desk. She hands half to the other woman. Betsy suddenly laughs, the sound still a bit hoary and choked, and starts wiping briskly at Jean's face. "Hold still, darling, you look like a raccoon," she says. She sputters and it turns into a giggling titter, knowing that her light eyeshadow is probably leaving smokey rivulets down her cheekbones as well.

"I'll tell you all about it," she promises Jean. "But not right now. We can get in our pyjamas and steal some booze from Logan's cabinet and eat Ben and Jerry's until two in the morning and watch trashy movies, and I'll tell you all about it," she promises the other woman. "I want to know how you've been. I want to know what I've been missing- what everyone's been up to."

Even though the objections were waived, there was still that feeling lingering. She wanted to fix this, she almost had an obsession.. but it seemed almost as if Betsy, after the little duo crying session, she seemed to be well in her own skin.

The drawing away from her has Jean watching, hands still dabbing and wiping, at least until the mothering was passed on to Betsy and her face was wiped and dabbed. "Oh gosh.." Jean murmurs, keeping her face still as the rest of the napkins were soon taken to wipe at her hands, a little laugh drawing out as she wasn't used to this sort of feeling; being taken care of.

Does Jean bother messing with Betsy's face? Nope.. but she does draw up a finger to motion around her eyes, then draw her attention to the set of chairs. This was going to be a lot.. yet condensed..

Jean sits with a heavy sigh, even though there was joy at Betsy returning.. there were still the issues at hand. "How I've been.. is.. something that I don't wish to talk about at the moment.. as for what you've missed.."


"There is this drug out there called the Smooth. Takes mutants powers away for a limited time, allowing them a sense of freedom, yet it doesn't enable them to act with rationale. The drawback is horrid, and deadly to those and themselves around them. Powers become unbalanced and uncontrolled and withdrawl can cause cardiac arrest."

"Been to the negative zone. I breathed fire."

"Been to Africa, something is quite literally evaporating Lake Victoria. I'm leaving again soon as I'm able, as well as with Ororo and Hank. Warren is back. From where? I do not know. And Logan.." She wonders about this a bit. "He's in and out."

"But there is a division growing within us, Betsy. Perhaps.. maybe.. just maybe you can help me fix it.."

Betsy listens with rapt attention, sitting across from Jean. After her minor meltdown, she starts to reassemble her poise, sitting a bit more properly upright, one ankle tucked demurely behind the other even in the casual jeans. She reaches behind her for a little makeup compact in her back pocket, taking the wet wipe and with a few quick swipes, eliminating the streaks on her face. The mirror clicks open and a familiar expression appears on Betsy's features, the professional model in her critiquing her cosmetics. She touches up her foundation and eyeshadow and flicks a light touch from her mascara brush on her eyelids. She'd never been someone who needed much makeup, so that hasn't changed- though the dark cherry stain on her lips and the heavier eyeshadow are a different look.

The compact snaps shut and goes into her pocket again, and she folds her hands primly on her knee, nodding as Jean wraps up her summary of recent events. "Whatever is needed, Jean," she promises the woman, affection tempering the glacial composure of her stark features. "I'm eager to get back into the thick of it. Every time I train or work out or even get into a fight, I feel like I'm a bit more in control of myself. If the X-men need me… well, this has always been my second family." A snile tugs at the corners of her eyes. "I'll do anything to help out."

It was amazing watching the woman at work; everything was applied and done so flawlessly, that there were often times a pause in conversation to twist her own features into something unrecognizable. Cripes.

"You're really pretty." Random.

But back to the matter at hand, Jean shifts a bit within her seat, her own face remaining neutral, business like. She was sure that even here? With the children? They could benefit from everything that Betsy had to offer. "Then stay with us."

She leans forward a little bit, her own hand reaching out to grasp Betsy's, giving a squeeze and a hold, not bothering to release because it was comfortable. "Grab whatever you brought with you or just.. go buy it. But stay here with us. And never leave us unless you have to again." She smiles a little, "I'll train with you if you want. Be with you every step of the way. If you want this." It was then that she lets go, but breathes out a sigh.

"I suppose we should talk about Sco..—" There was a pause, and then a smirk. "Nah." She waves her hand dismissively. "We're good."

"Thank you, darling," Betsy says distractedly to Jean's compliment, in that tone of hers that really means 'I know'. Betsy's not terribly pretentious, though she is certainly a woman who's very aware of her assets and talents. But, her smile, however minute, is very sincere and grateful nonetheless, more for the sentiment than the precise words. She welcomes Jean's hand with her own long fingers, and though her skin is more callused and dextrous than before, there is still a familiar pulse-squeeze to the way she grips Jean's hand.

"And, no, God no, let's not discuss your awful, terrible taste in men," Betsy says, eyes glimmering with a wicked bit of humor. "Or mine. But, I will say- and we shall say no more of it- that you are my dearest friend, and I love you terribly, and I shall always endeavour to put aside my prattling bitchiness before I interfere with your happiness." She reaches up and pats Jean's cheek with a fond expression shining out from her eyes. Jean alone might pick up on the little tics and cues that always made Betsy, Betsy, the ways she expressed emotion that have nothing to do with being a psychic and everything to do with a more profound sort of magic.

The light pat to her cheek was leaned against, even drawn up with another hand to press her palm against her skin even further. But then it was released in favor of a terrible laugh, one that draws her hands away into a slight clap to express. God, she's missed this.

"And I feel the same for you, you know that, right?" Of course she does, the question was rather silly. "But, in a way, we do need to discuss what he's doing and how. Or perhaps he needs to discuss it with you. He's in the know, and in the thick of it better. But there is still a need for you everywhere."

Jean shifts back, her eyes glancing towards the table, one leg drawn over the other as she relaxes with a little sigh. "And I know you, Elizabeth Braddock. You're not going to want to join X-Red, you're more of the Blue sort." Was Jean making plans? Yes. "But first.. I know in my heart that there is nothing at all wrong with you. Because I know your soul and you're you, no matter what skin you're in. But see the Professor. I have a feeling your prescense was missed by him as well."

After all, she couldn't avoid it.

"Aside from being a bloated cow," Betsy exhales with a sigh, squirming a bit under Jean's soulful and heart-melting reassurances. She looks away, dabbing a tear from her cheek before it can fall, then forces a calm to her face and looks at her frend. "I gained forty pounds." She holds her arms out to the side and gives Jean a frustrated look. Betsy's new identity might be fueling her insecurity about her appearance a /bit/. Instead of just modelling dresses, now she could probably model fitness apparel.

"None of my dresses fit and all of my shoes are too small. Which, I suppose- lucky for you," she sniffs, dropping her arms, "because you'll fit them all, and we're going to do some /serious/ shopping this weekend- god, I need shoes and dresses, and nighties, and I'm /out/ of underwear," she says, flipping down her fingers.

She clears her throat, glancing away, and suppresses a bit of fidgeting. "Sorry. I … ah. I'm still a bit apprehensive about seeing the rest of the team," she admits quietly. "People don't recognize me, and they look at me like I'm mad when I tell them what happened. Even our teammates act like I'm just some nutter impersonating Elizabeth Braddock."

Women, amirite?

Jean had the mean and will to resist the urge to grab at her own flab. She was getting a little loose around the waist, where skin wasn't pinchable it can now be pulled an.. wait..

"I think it's the muscle mass and height, Betsy.. you didn't gain you just.." Ah, how does one say it. "..changed?" She tried, at least, even looking unsure of the comment as Betsy continues..

And continues.. though the thought of getting her old wardrobe is nearly, nearly making her squirm. Jean winces and draws her head back, her hands lifting and nearly batting away at the air as she draws herself to a stand, her nose wrinkling, head immediately shaking..

"Oh god Bets.. no no no no.. oh no no no.." Out of underwear? Is she.. "Are you.." She even gestures. At the crotchal area..

But she does understand.. leaving Betsy to her own comfort level for now, drawing her way around the desk to settle down upon her office chair, a look that almost seems too official, but yet not. "Don't worry about them. They usually come along with time. Think about it, Bets. We're mutants. We're the epitome of bizzare, and weird, and strange. I've died twice. TWICE, and look where I sit?" She gestures around. "Though, I could be a figment of your imagination." She grins, and winks.

"But, they need to know your soul, to see it. To remember it. Without assistance. And it would be wise to allow yourself to be open to it." She smiles. "Change.. is time. Time.. is change. Along with some other messes that come with it. Either way, Bets. I got your back."

"I'm not /out/ out, just… you know." Betsy makes a face. "All I have are ugly bloomers. Nothing I'd be caught dead in."

She smiles at Jean, though, a bit amused by the woman's discomfiture, but more touched by her kind words.

"Thanks, Jean," Betsy says, her tone quiet and filled with warm gratitude. "It… it means a lot to me to hear that." She takes a breath and exhales, blowing the last of her worried insecurity out into the ether. "So. I, uh, suppose you've got things to do," she says. "Rude of me to just drop in during the middle of a school day. When could we… ahh, do you want to do drinks, or a bad movie night, or…?" Betsy says, throwing a companionable invitation out with a bit of trepidation.

Even worse, Jean had to go there and imagine Betsy in a pair of granny panties.. which was soon passed on to the poor woman through telepathic imagery. She covers her mouth and laughs, sitting up within her chair, then lets out a slight inhale after her brief chuckle.

"I do have papers to grade, yes." She points out, even with a finger. Then, her hands lightly press against the desk to push her chair back as she stands. "But I've waited for you for three hours, you're not getting away from me that easily."

Which means yes. Drinks. Movie night. Whatever Betsy wanted, Jean will do.

"Let's go."

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