Giving Up's For Other People

July 14, 2015:

Kate Bishop and shares opinions and burgers with Cyclops, who remains in JL:A custody.

Hall of Justice - Metropolis

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

*

It's all shift work these days. Work until you can't any longer, then hit the sack, then pick up the next place. Kate's beginning to miss the days of just patrolling to look for someone to kick in the face. Or when she could just talk to people because talking to people is interesting, and not because there are ruffled feathers to be smoothed or people to schmooze.

It's past dinner time when Kate arrives, but she shows up with a paper bag holding burgers and fries from the best place in Metropolis, stripped down to the underarmor she usually wears under her uniform. "Hi," she announces as she comes inside. "You're probably going to think it's a little bit of a dick move, but this may literally be the only place where I can eat in peace. And I brought enough to share. Mind if I join you for a little bit?"

*

When the door opens, Cyclops is looking up at it with raised eyebrows, a soft pencil hovering over one of those sudoku books. Mention of food has him setting the book aside and leaning forward in his chair, nostrils flexing.

"Burgers?" he asks. "Sure you're not a telepath?"

With that, a grin forms. "Actually, I'm glad you're here, without everyone else. Too much noise, people trying to… do something, or make something happen, when things are happening right around them but they're too distractedby their B.S. to see it." A pause. "'Cept for Trent. Man's as steady as they come."

*

"Probably not," Kate laughs, setting the bag on the table and starting to unpack the black cardboard boxes. "Though I've been spending a lot of time training with Fenris to keep them out. Boundary issues, you could say. You want the bacon and bleu cheese, or the classic american?" she offers, popping open the lids. "There's also truffle fries, and sweet potato fries, but you're gonna have to share both of those, because lord do I need some fried starch right now." She's also got a couple plastic bottles of Coke, setting them on the table as she balls up the bag and sits down.

"Trent's…interesting. I've run into him a few times. Man's got a lot of secrets. But he's still alive, so he must be doing something right. Though I get the feeling it's going to catch up to him one of these days."

*

"Classic american," Scott requests. "Thanks." While listening, he leans over to snatch up his sandwich, eyeing it for a moment before taking the first bite. Too bad he's got to wear those glasses; behind them, his eyes close, it's just that delicious.

"It all catches up with us eventually," he agrees with irony. "None of us - the X-Men - are new to secrets. Which is staying the obvious, but it runs a hell of a lot deeper than people might think." He pauses, glancing up toward Kate. "Your views on registration, Sentinels. Have you felt that way for a long time?" Granted, these were new developments, but the heart behind such a stance doesn't form overnight.

*

"A while, yeah," Kate nods as she starts to dig into her own burger, sighing contentedly once she has something on her stomach. "I mean, for a while, it wasn't a huge thing. I got by. I was lucky," she adds, looking back over her burger. "I had the luxury of choosing. Sort of." She doesn't continue down that path long, though. "And I already had some skills. And I got lucky enough to run into Clint."

Absently, she shakes out a napkin, draping it over one leg before taking another bite. "But about…nine months to a year or so ago, I started running into more people like us. Younger. One…We got to be good friends. Because he needed a good friend. Which was when I started to realize what people were really facing."

*

Another bite taken, and Scott is forced to keep himself from 'mmmmm'ing out loud. "You register a man for owning a firearm, not for being a man," he echoes. "But, what happens when that man is a weapon? I get where they're coming from."

And he really does. He's not sure what the JL:A has on him, but it's not uncommon knowledge that there's a very good reason he's always wearing red glasses. "Problem is, you're not registering a choice. On a purely humanistic level, this whole idea is akin to…" He gestures about, burger in hand. "Forcing someone to register because they're gay, or born Asian. Hell, Caucasian for that matter."

*

"Right," Kate agrees. "I mean, on the practical front, I get it. On the organizational front, I get it. If people are going to go out and fight crime, whatever sort of crime it is, then they need training. They need support. They need some structure for what they're doing. Of course, the system also needs to flex a little bit, too," she grimaces. "It's not currently designed for that."

She takes another bite, then sets the burger down to start digging in on the fries. "If people choose to fight crime, then, well. I'm not one hundred percent against registering that. Although I think it's a ridiculous slippery slope, too. Where do you draw the line on how much crime-fighting you have to do to register? What if you're not registered but you interfere in a bank robbery? Are you liable? Messy."

Waving a hand, she moves on. "Back to the point. Making people register for something they can't control is bullshit, and they know it. Which is why the fear mongering. Even the race parts of the census are optional. It's a giant yellow star, and everyone knows it's wrong. It's just a question of whether or not they're more afraid than they are…human."

*

"Training, structure, support," Scott agrees. "Even law. It's law that protects a man from being charged with murder when he's defending his property, his family. These are good things. But yeah, messy is one way to describe it."

Scott takes another bite of his burger, then motions. "You know, this is a damn tasty burger." Still, conversation never works well on a full stomach, so he sets it down as well, only to crack open the bottle of soda.

Bottle in hand, Scott leans forward to rest his arms upon his knees. "You have to look at things from all angles, though. Metahumans. Mutants. You walk out the front door as a good ol' homo sapien and see some of the stuff people can do, it is scary. People are afraid, and that's not only understandable, it's fair. But." He gestures toward that massive reference book he's been going through. "Politics are messy. Everyone knows today's system is ruled not by a majority, or by votes, it's rules by money. I'm not a betting man, Bishop, but I'd go for broke on this one - there's profit somewhere behind Traverstein and her plans, and I would not be surprised if the Sentinel Program is where that money trail leads. Think of what the Iraq war did for oil investors. This ain't conspiracy, it's fact, written out in mutual funds and tax records. This branding of my daughter as a terrorist? Unleashing military assets on U.S. soil? What if this is all just an effort at getting the people used to this kind of thing on the night news?"

*

"Right?" Kate sighs regarding the burger, going back to her own. "Nothing like a good burger." She listens as she eats, though, pausing with a faint grimace.

"Your daughter sort of is a terrorist. I mean. I'm not saying string her up, and I'm not saying I agree with Traverstein, but she's pretty terrorist-y." Another bite, as she chooses her words. "She goes running around in people's heads without permission. She sets up her own missions on foreign soil at the cost of lives and property. And we could equate all of that to military actions, except she's doing it on her own orders, on her own initiative, and-"

Again she pauses, setting down her burger this time. "Look, I don't know your daughter. I don't know her life. I don't know who she is. But what we saw last night? She's acting out of as much fear and anger as Traverstein is. And that's the problem. That's what gives Traverstein traction."

*

There is a long sigh, and a heaviness that comes over him. Scott nods his head once or twice, listening rather than stepping up to defend Rachel straight away.

"Not… entirely on her own orders, Kate. I sanctioned the operation. The particulars, well, I trusted her with them, and that was a mistake. She's not a U.S. citizen - hell, I don't even know if she has a social security number. But that's why I came with her. It was a bad call. The wrong one. On both of us."

He doesn't have the heart to really tell Kate what Rachel showed him, but… he saw his best friends die. It changes a man, especially when one has an understanding of how real telepathy, especially on that scale, can be.

"She needs to learn that if she's going to exist in our world, she needs to play by our rules, cause where she came from? The only rule was survival."

*

"Yeah, I get a lot of that," Kate murmurs, rubbing a hand at her brow. "Believe me, the time and space travelers guide to present earth culture and not being a dick is on the to do list." She reaches for her coke, cracking it open carefully before taking a sip.

"But it's also why we need to organize. Coordinate. Every single one of these things that's fueled this registration and Sentinel fire has come from a lack of communication and organization. Orleans? Unclear chain of command. Partly in the JL:A, but also in terms of how they were meant to interface with the Secret Service. What their role was supposed to be."

She puts the cap back onto her coke before going back to the fries. "As far as the government was concerned, you carried out an unsanctioned operation on foreign soil. You can't do that. We can't do that." A beat. "Or at leastyou can't get caught doing it."

*

There are no disagreements from Cyclops. "I would see the X-Men - not just Red Team - working alongside the JL:A, out there in the open. But too many of my colleagues won't sign up for that, and they have good reason." There is a long moment where it seems as if he wants to explain more, as if Kate deserves to understand to a deeper level, but… he stops there.

The last remark earns a rueful smirk. "Well. If you don't get caught, it never happened." He lifts the coke as if proposing a toast, then takes a sugary swig.

*

"Hey, the big guns are intimidating. Or so I'm told," Kate replies with a raise of her own bottle and a matching smirk. "I think there's a lot to be learned all around. Being a hero doesn't have to be about having super powers. Having powers doesn't have to make a person a hero. And that's where registration goes all kinds of wrong." Back to the burger, though she's taken a healthy chunk out of it so far.

"I chose. Too many people don't get to. And everyone knows making people register is being a damned nazi," she snorts, shaking her head. "It's, like, the least defensible position ever."

*

"Sounds like you ought to be having a conversation with Traverstein." The sarcasm is thick there; Scott is well aware such roads are a dead end.

"Listen." Setting the soda aside, the X-Man leans forward again, fixing Kate with a most serious look. "The only way this goes down in our favor is to expose the bullshit. We all smell it, but we can't see it. What I do know is? Shit rolls downhill. All you gotta do is push it in the right direction. If Steve gets me outta this pickle… you in?"

*

"You know, I would, except I've got this odd feeling she doesn't want to talk to me," Kate snorts softly. "Which makes sense, I guess. I'm not government, I'm not mutant, I'm not alien, I'm not meta. I'm a twenty-two year-old girl - a pretty one, with both money and friends - who happens to be good at archery. I don't make good television for her goals, that's for sure."

At the question, she looks up, quirking a brow. "I'm in for pulling back the covers. I'm not in for blowing things up and getting people dead. There has to be a line. And I know we can't all be on one side of it. But some of us have to."

*

With a smirk, Scott gestures forgiveness. Anything rude or snarky is set aside. He'd much rather drill Traverstein to her Tomorrow Party-sucking face.

"X-Men have a no-kill policy, Kate, and we try damn hard to avoid explosions. This thing will need finesse, discretion. It's good to know I have people to count on outside of my ranks."

A pause, then a grimace. "Full disclosure… you'd have to stomach Gambit being around."

*

Kate Bishop smirks, gathering up the leftovers, though she leaves half the fries behind. "Please. Have you met Clint? I can handle him," she winks. "Though you might want to give a refresher course on the no killing thing. Sometimes it feels like every time I turn around, someone has an exception to the rule." Stacking up boxes, she stands up. "Stay strong," she urges with a small smile. "Giving up's for other people."

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