Transparency

June 03, 2015:

Jean shares the details of her conversation with Rose, Betsy, and Lunair with Scott.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Sweaty and be-spandexed, Cyclops emerges from the Danger Room with a towel in hand. Through the door, an apocalyptic scene is steadily dissolving into silver paneling. He removes the hood from his head, letting it flop down against his back, so that he might towel off his neck.

Given the workout he's just put himself through, his muscles look particularly fine beneath clingy blue, but the stench that comes from him is pungent, to say the least.

Unlike Scott, Jean herself was fresh from a shower, though no spandex was worn, only a pair of boxer shorts and a tank top, wet hair that hangs down along shoulders that draw a bit of sheen upon her skin. She looked clearly troubled, the past two days.. mark them, two days have been riddled with incidents, talks of death and killing, and one done right before her very eyes. Was she shell-shocked? Not yet, but she was getting to that point.

She had designs to do laps inside of the danger room, to run all of her problems away since it 'seemed' as if it weren't safe to go outside. It was clear. She was being watched. Watched by a damn near immortal killer who'd kill more if she touched him. What a fucked up thing to say to a person.

The door to the Danger Room console was opened and entered, stopping as soon as she sees him, her shoulders slumping just a little as she puts on a brave face and a smile that he knows is all too false. "I've been looking for you. Enjoy your workout?"

"I always enjoy my workouts." Scott is half distracted, but he quickly snaps back to reality, observing Jean. Body language says a lot.

"You could have just, you know." He taps his temple indicatively, in an effort to lighten the mood. He would offer a hug, but sweat-soaked spandex isn't exactly one's idea of a nice, warm, inviting place. "What is it?"

Jean tosses her head a little, it was a silly question to ask. But it was just an ice breaker for the dark and the ugly. One that she was about to lay on his shoulders to get off of hers. Fair trade, really. She does laugh a little, but it was half hearted, her steps drawing her closer so that she could pull him into a hug herself. She accepted him really; from the rose quarts glasses down to the funky pits. He even had a weird shape to his toes, but she loved every bit.

"Rose." She mutters, still holding on for dear life. "She asked me.. or is asking us to allow her to do what she was meant to do, to protect everything that we stand for. And the students." To kill is what she meant, she didn't dare say. But the most recent event? It had her picking chest matter from her hair. "I think Elizabeth is on board.." The hug grew just a little too tight for comfort, and remained. Was there fear there?

Words alone wouldn't have been enough to make the suggestion that Jean's actions translate. The embrace may have started out as warm, but it very quickly becomes need, and then fear. Scott understands these things, and it makes the hallway seem… suddenly quite lonely.

"Hold on. What?" He pulls away, only to find it difficult to unravel himself from her. "Wait. Jean." He wriggles a shoulder down, then slips out of her embrace only to grab her hand with both of his. "Come on."

He nearly drags her toward the nearest room, one of many small sitting areas lining the utilitarian hallways. Once inside, he closes the door and turns to face her, frowning. "What the hell is going on?" he asks, sternly. "If I wasn't mistaken, that sounded like a mundane recruitment speech. We all do what is necessary to protect what we stand for."

The drawback from the embrace was almost met with a feeling of rejection, but the clasping of her hand and leading her off was soon replaced with something of nervousness. It was an idea, of course. One that she didn't get behind but said that she would pass on the message to leave it there. She follows of course, almost reluctant to do so, yet knowing the need for privacy. There was no sense in warding the small room they were in, the headquarters have been vacant as of late.

"God, a lot is going on Scott." She wanted to snap, but she couldn't. "Mundane was the best I can give. You know what she is, you know what she can do. She wants to take it that further step. To kill." Jean made it seem bad, and to them? It was. "Scott.. they're of the mind that sometimes, this is necessary. Taking lives for the greater good.." She cringes a little. "Even Betsy said so herself.. and.." She draws her arms around herself, then takes a step back to fall into the small couch with a bounce. "..last night.. I finally.. finally understood and realized what they've meant."

Scott folds his arms when she opens up, listening. Behind the visor, a shadow crosses his face. There was a lot to digest, to be sure, but he finds himself remaining patient, until she says the last bit.

The man's eyebrows rise from their fallen position, and he strides over toward the couch. The towel is removed from his neck and flung onto the backrest of a nearby chair before he sits down and turns to look at Jean.

"Explain."

Explain. That would be a doozy. But at this moment, she felt so small.

"In the park last night. I was met by someone who knew my name. But this person? I thought he was dead. That Angel had killed him back in Africa. But he wasn't. He's been following me for days Scott. He warned me that if I laid a hand on him, he would k.." She tenses her jaw, there wasn't anger there. But.. helplessness. And she hated it. "..He said he would kill whomever, whatever. And to demonstrate, he killed a cop directly in front of me and I couldn't.." She wanted to puke but she didn't. Mostly because it felt like it was her fault.

"And he warned me to keep everyone out of Africa. Didn't say who he worked for.. but.. all I got was his name from his mind, but the rest.." She draws her hands from around herself, shaking them out briefly. "Creed. All I got was Creed." And to her? He needed to die. But she couldn't and wouldn't outright say it.

The story draws a grimace from Scott. The name was unfamiliar to him, but he understands the suggestion. "So, you're saying that we solid kill Creed in order to prevent him from killing more. One cop, more cops, innocent people. Because if we try a different way, he may turn and kill another."

At this point, he leans forward, resting his arms upon his knees. "And this is morally better than… locking him up? Frying his brain? Injecting him with smooth and sticking him in a padded room? Using your telepathic powers to change his mindset into that of a six year old girl?"

Perhaps she may understand where he's going, perhaps not.

"Because what happens when his mind is restored. When he breaks the addiction. When he busts out of prison."

LOG NOTE: that we should kill, not solid kill.

Jean furiously shakes her head, "No. No. I'm not saying that we should kill this Creed person." In a way, she was. "But this is what 'they' mean to say. To sacrifice one to protect them all. To.. I don't know Scott. I deeply understand their position and.." She was flustered, to say the least.

But then he goes on, her lips pursing tightly as he leans forward, scooting next to him to reach out and lay a hand upon the middle of his back. Maybe she did know what he was getting at, but she.. for some reason felt like the answer was clear. If someone like Creed escapes all of that? "I.. suppose we will regret we've ever made a move against someone like that."

"Or that we didn't have the balls to make the killing stroke when it was in our grasp?"

Scott sits back up, shaking his head. "Quite frankly, Jean, I'm not much concerned with the aspect of death. We have a rule, but it's been broken before. And for good reason. What I'm concerned with…" He sighs. "Is the idea of sanctioning such actions. Beyond that it's a significant change in our mission statement. It has implications that go so far beyond everything we've done here."

That bit stung a little. But she didn't hold it against him.

"I know that. Time and time again people fall because of us." She draws away from him now, leaning back against the couch, her hands upon her bare thighs as she idly begins to rub. "As I am interpreting as best as I could.. I don't think they want anyone to know that this is going on. That.. they're out there doing what they do for them." She grimaces a little, her eyes remaining upon him, finally reaching out to grasp his forearm to attempt to turn him into her direction.

"I told them that this is all on you. For you to decide. While I don't agree with this method at the end of the day. You have my full support, as do they." She knows they mean well.

"Eventually," Scott explains, willingly turning toward Jean, "people will find out. What then? What happens when the ball of yarn becomes unraveled? Do we - do they kill to cover it up? We're already a vigilante team, with no government oversight or backing. Between you and me, I think the only reason Director Fury hasn't shut us down, is because we helped save the world from a nuclear holocaust."

He worries his lip for a moment, before reaching out to rest a comforting hand on her thigh. "I'm sorry you had to see that police officer die. What was his name?"

Jean could only shake her head and shrug her shoulders. "Perhaps we do what all clandestine agencies do and disadvow." She lets out a false chuckle, her head shaking it off briefly. But government backing? Yeah.. that.. "Director Fury.." She grumps a little, shifting just a touch, her hand lifting to allow his to touch her thigh, her own covering with a single grasp.

"Officer Michael Williams.." She murmurs out, her free hand drawing up to rub at her eyes just enough for her to blink the fog away. "I've never seen anything like that up close.." Heart ripped.. "..and he.. ate some.." She shudders, then leans forward to rest her upper body across his thighs.

A free hand rests itself upon Jean's shoulders, letting her know that she's welcome to seek whatever comfort she might.

"Rose comes from an organization that is government sponsored, and is willing to kill. Elizabeth…" He shakes his head, for that one is complicated. "I'm not sure she is yet in the frame of mind to make such a decision. I will speak with them… but, in the off chance that this is something I choose to support - and that's a big if - then it's going to be transparent to someone. If not us, if not the public, then… someone."

One arm snakes beneath his thigh as she uses it for head-support, her gaze gone to the door as she brings her knees in to curl. If he didn't smell as horrible, he'd be the best pillow a woman could ask for.

"I know." She admits, allowing her grasp to slack as she rolls just enough upon her back to look up and a little behind those ruby glasses, granted that he does not look down and ruin her view. "There are two.. two parts to Betsy that you'd have to try to suss out, Scott. She is the same woman you knew.. yes. But something much deeper lies in her bones now." She doesn't sway him from talking with her, but.. he needed to be warned just a little.

"You hesitated."

Sadly, Scott does look down to spoil her view. He frowns a bit, not sure if she's worried about his hesitation in regards to Betsy, or in regards to… that other thing.

"I want Fury to know what's going on," he admits, quietly hoping she was worried about the latter. "I want him to know about this unspoken project. And I want him to sign off on its legitimacy."

Because he doesn't want this new team, should it be formed, to run into interference with SHIELD. And because he wants something to fall back upon if it all goes to shit.

Jean wasn't focusing upon their past relationships, though.. that's a topic that possibly may or may not need discussing. "I had a feeling you were going to mention him." She states, where her mention of his hesitation was. "I didn't know we were operating under full transparency of SHIELD." She wasn't upset, she genuinely didn't know. And she kept herself.. partially away from them to be sure.

"Accountability.. is that what you're aiming for, Scott?" It was brilliant, this is what she'd say behind closed doors and link alone. To involve SHIELD? It would solidify a working partnership and brace for the ousting that it may or would have caused..

"'We', as it were, are not," Scott answers. "I, however, am. Jean, they've known about us for a while. They know about the institute. They don't know where our headquarters are, but it wouldn't take much for the hammer to drop. Thing is, if we go Black Ops like this, and we don't keep that on the up and up? The hammer will drop, and that's a pile of crap that we don't need; we can't afford."

A pause. "I'm not sure that it's accountability I'm looking for. In a way, maybe. But, more like… transparency and trust."

As she looks up towards him, her head tilts just a little. There was an insufferable look that paces her face, until she turns away, allowing him to see the slight pale of her cheek. She knew Scott was right about this, but in a way? She didn't trust it. She had her resignations just like anyone else..

"Do you think that the transparency and trust goes both ways, Slim? Or are you talking about the man himself." She sighs, this all was crazy, and it just might work. Maybe. "I can't believe it all.. everything comes down to this."

"Well, there's only one way to find out," Scott answers. "Frankly, Jean? If it's gonna go down that way… wouldn't you rather know now, before they have Sentinels on their side?"

He looks down to her, lips pressed into a flat line.

Jean gives a slow exhale with his words, her arm withdrawing from his thigh as she slowly sits up from the pillow she made of his lap. Her legs remain parted, feet planted firmly upon the ground, her hands lifting to shift and sift through her hair. That.. was it.

"Do it." She was in. All or nothing.

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