Not the Same

June 07, 2015:

Betsy and Kitty catch up.

Xavier's Institute


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

While there isn't a 'teacher's lounge' per se, there are rooms that the faculty has quietly and passively taken as their private space. Students aren't forbidden from entering, but their lingering presence isn't encouraged, either. It's a place where teachers can relax outside the purview of their student's relentless criticism, who are always eager to find a flaw in their godlike heroes. Kids are kids, mutant or not.

Betsy is sitting in the lounge with a tablet on her knee, the television going in the background on a YouTube news loop. Ever since she returned, she'd spent hours at a time catching up on the last year or so of news items, any chance she got. Despite the dwindling hour on a Sunday, no less, she is dressed to the nines- dark slacks, a fitted red camisole, and patent leather red round-toe shoes, a $200 pedicure wiggling from the end of the soles. She glances frequently at the phone in her hand, texting with her free fingers between glancing at the TV display and shopping on her tablet. She has a diet soda at her elbow, fizzing with ice, but a keen nose would probably pick up the pungent scent of rum in it.

Kitty is not quite so dressed up. She tends to wear nice skirts and jeans if she's not actively dressing for a certain occasion. The young teacher is rarely at Xavier's any more when she's not teaching classes. It's been a strange couple of weeks and while she tries to give her students as much free time as she can, well, there's not all that much of it to be had.

Stepping into the unofficial teacher lounge, her eyes scan the room briefly to find the lounging Betsy. Continuing forward, she pulls out a chair at the table and drops into it, putting a salad and a bottled iced tea in front of her. "Hey," she nods at the woman. "So, how's it going?" The question can easily be taken as both the usual sense as well as the 'catching up on a whole year' one.

"It's going well, Kitty, thank you," Betsy says calmly, watching the YouTube channel with an attentive expression. It goes on for another thirty seconds until the loop ends and she pauses the stream from her tablet. Only then does she get up- towering in her heels- and walks to the table, pulling out a chair and settling into it. She swings her legs out to the side and crosses them at the knee, tucking one ankle behind the other, and sets her phone and tablet aside. "And how are you?" she asks Kitty rather directly, once she's comfortably settled and composed on the side of the table opposite.

"Oh, I'm good," Kitty replies automatically. It's the standard reply ingrained in just about everyone to give when asked the question of how anyone is. It really gives no indication of the truth of the matter. As Betsy moves from lounging to sitting opposite her, she gives a smile. Pulling open the plastic container holding her salad, she scoops up the accompanying plastic fork and spears some lettuce. "Teaching, running about. You know what it's like here." It's really a polite conversational topic. "Do you think you'll be staying?"

"I think so," Betsy says after pursing her lips for an introspective moment. She tosses her purple hair back over her shoulder with an artful, thoughtless flip. Realizing she'd forgotten her soda, she cranes her neck, eyes narrowing, and brings it winging over in a telekinetic grip. Delicately she plucks it from the air and sips through the straw, looking back at Kitty. "Have you been continuing your own studies?" she asks the younger woman. "As important as being a teacher is, we do have to look to self-development. Or else we stagnate and become apes of history," she says in those erudite British tonals.

It's weird for Kitty. She knows Betsy, but the woman in front of her is not at all familiar. However, as best as she can, she keeps the conversation going. A hand gestures with a fork filled with salad. "Yeah. I mean, I guess you could call them studies. Though, it's not exactly book learning." She grins. "I was attacked by an ape in Midtown once. It was incredibly intelligent. Psychic, too. If I could be one of those apes of history, that would be pretty good."

Betsy picks up her cell phone, glancing at an incoming text message. The face on the screen is of a slender, pretty blonde woman. Her long nails dance over the touchscreen and she fires back a reply, before turning amethyst eyes back to Kitty. "That was a /terrible/ pun," Betsy declares, flatly.

"I believe I read that you're still teaching Computer Science, yes? How many students do you think you'll have again next semester?" she inquires, stirring her drink with the straw and taking a quick swallow, throat bobbing with the motion.

A naturally curious person, Kitty's eyes immediately are drawn to the screen. She doesn't recognize the blonde woman, but even she realizes it's a bit rude to ask who she is. Instead, she'll raise an eyebrow sticks with the conversation. "What was it?"

What she's teaching is certainly no secret and she nods her head and grins. "Yeah. I'm honestly not sure. What with all the attacking of the school, attendance may be down far more next year. That'll mean even less kids interested in learning basic coding skills." With a grin, she adds, "I hope that means I won't get fired."

"…I said we might 'become apes of history'. And then you referred to a literal ape. Not a…" Betsy flickers her fingers through the air. "Nevermind. I doubt, though, that Charles would simply /fire/ you because of a lack of new enrolees. Most of our students are here on some form of scholarship or another," she reminds Kitty, apparently taking her statement seriously. "In the worst of events, you might see a pay reduction. You'd still get to live here, of course. Charles would never turn a mutant out on the street."

Kitty beams at Betsy. Perhaps the other woman forgot how flippant the phasing mutant can be. "I'm just teasing, Betsy," she adds, just in case she doesn't know. "Oh, I know he wouldn't. He'd probably just change my title to something crazy like 'student liaison.' But, if I don't teach here, I'm not sure I'd want to live here much longer than it would take me to find a new place. It'd be kind of creepy, I think. And, well, I know Berto's been offering me an IT position at his company for awhile. So, at least I've got a fall back."

She grins. "Do you think you'll start teaching here? Seems like a bunch of us always just keep coming back."

"I'm planning on teaching dance again," Betsy says with a short nod, glancing at her cell phone when it *bbzrts* again. She picks it up and fires off another text message, setting her phone on her tablet. The screen activates, showing her shopping cart, filled with shoes and dresses. "Possibly self-defense for the women. Logan's an excellent fighter but his skills tend towards overwhelming aggression and strength. I might have a more helpful method," she says in a cool tone. She shifts in her seat, uncrossing and recrossing her legs artfully. "Who is 'Berto'?" Betsy asks, a curious timber entering her dulcet tones.

"Oh, that'll be nice. We don't have nearly enough of the arts represented here." Not that she's really helping, what with teaching computer sciences. Kitty grins again, seeing the shopping cart. She's doing her best to not comment again, despite clearly getting an eyeful of what she's doing. Though, her attention is dragged up by the mention of Logan and his fighting methods. "I don't know, he can adapt. He taught me, after all, and I'm not about to overwhelm anyone. Except maybe some children. And I've been told that's looked down upon." She pauses, quickly adding, "Not that you shouldn't, of course. It's always good to offer different styles of fighting."

Betsy taps her fingers on a pair of shoes that cost as much as a car payment, moving them into her cart. Something a /bit/ atavistic works on her amethyst eyes. Apparently, Psylocke hasn't lost her taste for or sense of fashion.

When Kitty starts defending Logan's combat style, Betsy looks at her with a flat and unreadable expression, one eyebrow upticking very slightly until Kitty ameliorates her words with the encouragement to continue coaching.

"Yes, quite," Betsy murmurs, finally looking away from Kitty and reaching for her soda again. She takes another quick sip, exhaling fizzy carbon dioxide. "I'm still getting acclimated, of course. I think Charles is going to want to wait at least until next semester to reinstate me. Probably a wise choice."

Kitty tends to be defensive in respect to her friends, especially when she thinks a slight may be happening. Not to mention, a knock on Logan's teaching is a knock on her fighting and she's also pretty defensive on that subject.

Letting the discussion slide on toward other subjects, she nods as to whether it is or is not a wise choice to reinstate Betsy until another semester. "I guess. I mean, is there something to really worry about?" She doesn't really know much about the circumstances as to what happened to Betsy that made her return looking entirely different, but she does know the other woman doesn't really want to talk about it.

Betsy lifts a muscular shoulder in a shrug, eyes flickering away in a momentary betrayal of unease. "Not really," she hedges. "But Charles wants to err on the side of an abundance of caution. I can't say that I blame him for it. There are other factors, of course." Betsy purses her dark cherry lips. "A bit of unease with my presence. It's one thing for Charles and Jean and even Scott to back me up, but… faces are faces. Even as mutants we're used to looking skin-deep for identity."

Kitty frowns, certainly sensing Betsy's unease. If not through body language, than through the fact that this is a hard topic to discuss. Putting down the fork into her half finished salad tray, she reaches out and opens her bottle of iced tea. The top makes a tinny pop as she does so. It gives her something for her hands to do that doesn't involve stuffing her face with food. "I don't know. I mean, that's kind of the thing with this place, I thought. It's a safety for people who don't feel safe. I've had it pretty easy - my mutation's all phasing. Hank, though, has to deal with blue fur. That's just as much skin-deep as coming back looking like someone else. As long as Charles, Jean and Scott back you up, the others'll come around." She's always been the optimist in thinking things like that. And since Betsy hasn't done anything to her that warrants distrust, well, she has no qualms about saying so.

Betsy nods, the haughty expression somewhere between pompously arrogant and regal. That, apparently, hasn't changed either. "It's not that I'm different. It's that I'm different from /who I was/," she clarifies for Kitty. The young woman has a right to know- despite her age, she's been a member of the 'core team' since she was a much younger girl. And she is a teacher, and a friend. "In some ways, I'm not Elizabeth anymore. And I wear that on my sleeve and I show it in my face. It's upsetting to people because while I remind them of Elizabeth in many disturbing ways, the fact remains /I am not her/. And that tends to breed some worry- and distrust."

The information of that certainly hasn't exactly sunk in for Kitty. From what she could tell, it was a strange superficial change. Strange things happen in their world and that idea isn't exactly out of the picture. She's seen other worlds, demons and who knows what else that just didn't register. To know that the woman in front of her isn't exactly Betsy any more is a strange and immediately hard thing to imagine.

Sure that she's not exactly understanding her, she asks, curiously, "If you're not Betsy, then who are you?"

"I /am/ Betsy. I'm not /Elizabeth/," Psylocke says, her tone trying to emphasize the differences. "I have a lifetime of memories- experiences- that belonged to someone who was not Elizabeth Braddock. Passions. Hates. Hungers. All the things that make us people… but I have two complete, disparate sets of them. Betsy is who I am, now- the result of that merging."

She exhales, blowing away her mounting tension with a short surge of breath, and looks at her tablet again. Dancing fingers betray her irritation with the situation as she flicks another item into the virtual shopping cart. "It's not an ideal situation, but it is what it is."

Kitty's a smart woman, she can code things and handle herself in dangerous fights. This, though, will take a bit of time to get used to. "Ah. Okay." Though, really, it doesn't sound like she really knows what else to say about the entire situation. It's a strange thing, to be sure. "Well. Still." Still what? She's not sure.

As Betsy goes back to shopping, Kitty frowns and picks up her fork again. "Yeah, I can imagine it not really being at all ideal." Understatement. "But, uh, at least you're here."

"As opposed to dead. Or insane. Or any one of a variety of other fates that seem to afflict us." Betsy sets her jaw and looks out the window, body twisted into artful relief for a moment. She still looks like a supermodel- just an Asian one. THAT hasn't changed, either. Though the six inches of extra height sure aren't hurting.

She touches her brow and slams back her soda and rum. "I'm sorry, Kitty. I'm feeling a bit maudlin for some reason. I'm shopping for new shoes, everything I own is four sizes too small, now. What do you think- the Ferragamos or the Louboutins in purple?" she says, turning the tablet around so Kitty can pick. Betsy's tone is a bit stiff and awkward, but bless her for at least trying to go through the motions of being social.

For her own part, Kitty really isn't doing the best job of helping Betsy acclimatize, either. She's trying, but it's a difficult situation for everyone involved. The younger woman just is a bit out of her element. "No, I'm sorry, I know I'm not making this any easier."

There is a bit of a relief at being able to help pick out shoes. Even though she knows only the barest bits about fashion - she never really kept up with labels or trends - it's something to do. She leans forward and studies two shoes. "Bright side," if there is a bright side, "at least you get to pick out an entirely new wardrobe." Hopefully that is something, at least. "And, well, I think I'd go with those ones." She points at the Louboutins.

Betsy taps on the shoes, moving them to the cart. "Good. Now I need to find a dress to coordinate with these," she says, moving her fingers on the tablet screen to bring up evening gowns. "Yes, that /has/ been the one nice part. It's not every day a girl gets to replace her entire wardrobe of clothing. Jean /fainted/ when I gave her my old shoes," she murmurs, eyes flickering upwards in a deprecating roll. "You'd think the woman had never worn a pair of Lanvins before."

Kitty laughs. "It's possible she never has. I certainly haven't." Seeing the evening gowns, her eyebrows raise. She also doesn't have one of those. The last nice dress she bought for herself was for the Xavier's Institute version of prom. And while it may still fit, she doubts she'd want to wear it again in public. Leaning back, the woman starts back in on her salad and takes a swig of her iced tea. "I'm not even quite sure I know what those are," she grins.

"They're heels, Kitty," Betsy says a bit primly. "High end. Not quite as much as from a custom cobbler, but not far behind. I had a pair of Lanvins that were a gorgeous shade of glittering quicksilver." She exhales fondly, a show of actual emotion from the ice queen.

"Well. I suppose I should be on my way," she says, collecting her phone and tablet. "I'm glad we talked, Kitty. It was… nice to catch up. I'll see you around I suppose," Betsy says, brushing her purple hair back from her face and attempting a gamin smile.

"I mean, I gathered they were shoes," Kitty smirks at Betsy. "Too bad they weren't flats. I know someone who's positively gaga for silver. Especially quicksilver." Though, honestly, she's not positive he wouldn't still go gaga for heels. But, super fast running in heels might be hard.

Seeing Betsy gather her things, the phasing mutant nods. "Of course. It was good to talk with you, too, Betsy. I'm sorry. About everything." Her non-fork holding hand this time waves about when she says everything. It encapsulates a lot, but then again, perhaps that's what's necessary. A lot has changed and deserves some sympathy. "I'm sure I'll see you around. Maybe you can teach me what Logan wasn't able to sometime." The smirk is back, an open invitation to show that things haven't changed too much, she hopes.

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