Fire and Ice

June 29, 2015:

Emma Frost arrives at the Institute to check on Psylocke and meets with Rachel Summers instead.

Xavier Institute

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Communications and discussion with Elizabeth have continued, off and on, since their encounter at the Club. Then, suddenly, all communication has ceased. Calls and even texts have gone unanswered. Against her better judgement, Emma has decided to investigate. Given Elizabeth's capabilities, harming her would not be easy. But there would be plenty of takers eager to accomplish it nonetheless. Emma has decided the best place to begin is a place she has avoided all of her adult life. It's not an easy decision to make, and yet she makes it.

A long, pristinely white limousine with brilliant chrome trim and a personalized license plate 'FROST006' pulls up to the front gates of the Xavier estate, its silvered windows preventing any sense of those within. When prompted, a man's voice comes from the driver's compartment through a tiny speaker placed in the car door. "I have Ms. Frost here. Requesting admission to the grounds. I've been told to say she was invited by Ms. Braddock."


One of the students had been on-duty at the gate, a little bit of training for his eventual day of becoming a member of the X-Men that involved that virtue of patience. Unfortunately, the poor kid wasn't expecting guests and he didn't know what to do.

The driver's call for admission goes unanswered for several minutes as the boy searches around for someone to help him.

Lucky for the young Xer in training, Rachel had sensed his distress and began to walk him through the process.

"Drive straight through." A nervous young man responds from the speaker near the gate before they begin to open up.

Rachel gives the young man a thumbs up before heading towards the driveway and the main steps leading up to the institute. Reaching out telepathically she tries to gauge if the arrival might be the Frost she thinks it is.


"Of course, Sir." comes the response. Once the gate is retracted, the car rolls smoothly through and up the path to the circle at the front of the main building. Once there, the car idles almost silently, proof of its advanced design - a custom hybrid. The driver's door opens, and a tall, handsome young gentleman in a crisp white chauffeur's uniform emerges, coming out and around the vehicle towards the passenger side rear door.

Rachel's gentle telepathic probe will find another very finely focused and gentle probe emerging from the vehicle, brushing lightly across the grounds, questing for … something. Someone. Finding instead Rachel's mental touch, that same probe halts, and then retreats back inside the vehicle, almost blank telepathic shields erecting to cover its withdrawl.

After about a minute, the chauffeur opens the door, and reaches down to offer a hand to the rather gorgeous white-clad platinum blonde emerging from within, moving with calm grace and dignity, a severity at seeming odds with her youth. She remains there, at the side of the car, as if waiting for something.


Rachel ceases her probing when she encounters Emma's presence, not pushing the Psi-Shields any further; as much as she relished a chance to test her skills against other telepaths, guests were hardly appropriate.

When Emma exits the vehicle Rachel is already waiting on the steps with her hands clasped behind her back and a black sweater dress worn.

She smiles politely at the woman taking a moment to make note of her wardrobe and appearance, it was hard not to recognize someone so well-known.

"Miss Frost, I'm sorry but Elizabeth isn't here right now. I'm not quite sure where she is." She steps forward and extends a hand politely, "Welcome to the Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngers. I'm Rachel Summers, if there's anything I can do for you instead, please let me know."


The cool - there is no other word for the frigidly proper demeanor of the platinum blonde woman - regard is uninflected, as Frost catches sight of the young redhead. She allows herself to be addressed, and she turns to meet the gaze of her driver. He inclines his head, closes the door to the passenger cabin of the car, and then walks around to climb back inside at his driver's station to await further summons.

Only then does the white-clad businesswoman move, walking up the stairs to the porch and inclining her head only slightly towards Rachel. "Ms. … Summers. Yes, I see. Another protege, it would seem." She seems to choose her words with exceeding precision and care. "Elizabeth informed me in person, several days ago, that I would be welcome to visit this facility, at my own choosing." All true, so far as it goes. "I apologize for coming without prior notice." That is a bit of a lie; she knows coming here like this is uncomfortable and unsettling, and she meant it to be so. But she also knows proper social behavior requires she accept the blame for that.

"All communications from Elizabeth have halted. All attempts to reach her have failed." Emma adds. "I have come here to inquire after her." And … something more. Even if she is not quite sure what.


Rachel considers what is being said to her carefully, she had no reason to distrust Emma but even the very actions leading up to the coma had been kept 'covered up' within the X-Men. She would leave it up to Scott, Jean or even McCoy to inform anyone else what was going on if they so wished it now.

"I'm sure she'll be alright." It wasn't a lie in the least. Rachel had the utmost of confidence in Betsy's ability to recover from what had happened.

"In the meantime, I would be happy to show you around and answer any questions you might have. Ms. Grey usually handles that sort of thing but she's a little busy at the moment." She gestures towards the front door, "Ms. Grey or Mr. Summers should be available later on and I'm sure they would love to meet you."


Something about the mention of Ms. Grey seems to send a ruffle through Emma's composure, though she obviously is quite masterful at keeping such things under wraps. She says nothing, merely inclining her head. She pauses, holding herself so preternaturally still for several long moments. "I am here. I suppose it would be churlish of me to depart, simply because Elizabeth is not free to greet me herself." One gets the impression, unspoken as it may be, that part of Emma wishes to do just that. But the woman is polite and proper to the point it hurts.

"Very well, Ms. Summers. If you are to be my guide, please, lead on." Emma offers at last, with a slight incline of her head in acknowledgment. "I will endeavor to be a right and proper guest and visitor." It's not quite arctic, as a reception, but the chill is there undeniably. Yet there is also the impression of great restraint; Emma has a reputation for scathing, biting comebacks and belittling. She has offered none of that, and done so in a way that vaguely implies she's actively holding herself in check, whatever her reasons.


Rachel leads the way inside opening the front door for Emma and standing aside so she can enter first before asking, "So Ms. Frost, what do you already know about The Institute? I'm sure Betsy - Ms. Braddock has told you something so far."

The last set of classes for the day are presently in session and students can be seen in classrooms, learning rather ordinary subjects while groups of students also move through the hallway.

A few of the students are waved to by Rachel and she waves back before looking to Emma.


"I am reasonably well aware of the Institute's function and purpose." Emma responds, as she follows Rachel through the front doors and down the halls of the school, observing students in their classrooms and moving about with a keen incisive eye. She would never dare comment aloud on instructional techniques and student engagement, but that doesn't mean she doesn't notice, or catalog it herself. She would never dare reveal to anyone the longing she once felt to become a teacher. But that knowledge and that longing are still there.

"I know the school was established by Charles Xavier for the purpose of somewhat clandestinely gathering and educating those with abilities. Initially focused on mutants, this has spread to all of those with inborn special talents." Emma explains. "I am also aware that there exist those adults who have transitioned from students in the Secondary program, to become … professional proponents of the ideals of the Institute." Yes, Emma knows a lot. But her connections with the Hellfire Club and others have made that easy, by comparison. That and the fact Charles once approached Emma, hoping to recruit her as a student. And later, as a teacher.


Rachel raises her eyebrows as Emma speaks, not expecting her to have known so much so known; but then again Emma Frost was an extremely intelligent, capable and canny woman who she knew better than to ever underestimate.

Gesturing Emma to follow her towards the library she smiles, "This way Ms. Frost."

~I suppose there is little point in beating around the bush then.~ Rachel transmits telepathically to Emma, ~Have you had a change of heart in becoming part of what we're doing here?~


~A change of heart? No, not exactly that.~ Emma's telepathic response comes through crisp and clear. There is an oddity about it, one Rachel has likely heard about, if not experienced herself. There is a dearth of any emotional content to the telepathic communication, something rarely experienced and exceptionally difficult to maintain. It comes across almost more like words typed across the telepathic 'page' than anything else.

~I discussed this with Elizabeth. It is not easy to explain. And my ability to trust is limited.~ Emma is quite precise in her use of language. But that would be required when she makes her telepathy so devoid of the other elements that are common to such communication. Emma follows Rachel, her expression showing nothing of what would seem to be profound emotional turmoil going on within, if her word choice is to be believed. ~I am not yet sure what changes to attempt, nor have I much faith in my ability to engender those changes.~


~Trust is a powerful thing.~ Rachel replied to Emma as she leads the way into the library, books stacked neatly in shelves as high as the ceiling and as far as the eye could see. The lack of emotion was always a tad unsettling, but it was something she had experienced before; in what seemed like another lifetime.

A book is picked up off the shelf and flipped through by Rachel before she sets it down, ~We don't really know each other well Ms. Frost, but it is clear that you care about Elizabeth at least enough to trust her.~

Rachel pauses now in her steps and turns to watch Emma, searching her face for any sign of emotion, ~In the interest of trust, I'll tell you where she is.~


Emma follows, watching avidly but still without emotion leaking out, in gesture, expression or telepathic contact. She does seem to appreciate the silence and privacy of telepathic conversation over anything aloud, which also would remind Rachel of the Emma she knew, when she knew her.

At mention of her trusting Elizabeth, there is a hint of expression in her features, almost a wince. ~Honesty compels me to explain that I do not know Elizabeth quite so well as that. I merely know her better than any other here. I would not say that I trust her. Only that I trust her more than others because I know her better.~ And how add is it, even - or especially - to Emma that she can say even that about Elizabeth after only two weeks. But it remains true nevertheless. And she refuses to lie. Silence and a lack of emotion is as far as she is willing to go.

~I assume you're going to tell me that the mostly dormant trace of her I felt below is in fact Elizabeth?~ Emma inquires, with a wry twist of her lips. ~It does explain why she has not been responding to my messages. I assume you expect her to recover, but do not yet have an estimate of when that might be? I also assume that you are not exactly at liberty to discuss with me what happened?~ There is a hint of a frigid edge to her telepathy, now, the restraint of emotion now coloring things more, evidence perhaps of an intensity of the emotion that is being scrubbed out, if not identifying what that emotion might be.


Rachel's smile grows a little wider at Emma's admission, it was a start in getting to know one another; opening a doorway between the pair, "~I'm not at liberty to discuss it, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing and I'd rather sate yours and give you answers, than leave you wanting.~"

~There was a psychic battle. A war of the minds, much like the one in this.~ Rachel picks up an adaptation of War of the Worlds off a bookshelf, conveniently placed, ~Elizabeth did her best to fight it and for some reason she was stricken unconscious, comatose almost like the person we were trying to help. I can't tell you that I expect her to recover, because I'm not sure of her condition and what she is experiencing. I hope she does though and I'll do anything I can to help her. Any other aid, I am sure would be appreciated.~


There is a hint of a raised platinum eyebrow at Rachel's admission that she is willing to share information about Elizabeth's condition, despite not being cleared to do so. Though she struggles not to show it, she is especially intrigued by the other woman's admission that she does not wish to leave Emma wanting for information, implying she thinks that would go badly.

Emma's telepathic response after the information is shared continues that exceedingly frigid edge. ~She willingly confronted a much stronger telepathic entity, trusting in her advanced telepathic tactics disciplines to give her a chance where she lacked sufficient power.~ Emma's response implies the kind of detailed knowledge of Elizabeth's capabilities and methods than most anyone would expect, especially given Emma's admitted limited exposure. But it is keenly insightful and accurate.

~I will not demand, though it is my nature to do so. I will request, however, that you inform your leadership of my wish to visit Elizabeth. I give my word my intention is this matter is to levy my full talent and ability to aid in her recovery by any means necessary.~ There is a formality to her telepathic declaration, like an oath sworn upon something of great personal value.


~Betsy is a strong person, I have a lot of respect for her not only as an individual but in her skills. If not for her actions, I'm not sure any of us would be awake right now, I owe her my life more than once and love her like my own family.~ Which meant a lot coming from Rachel.

~I'll make sure of it and see to it that you're allowed access but, she may be in her quarters actually. We could go check if you like?~ Rachel keeps the conversation silent as she heads towards Betsy's room for the library.

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