A Fresh Approach

July 19, 2015:

Rose goes to DIC and find out some news, while giving her own advice - good or bad.

Headquarters: X-Men Red Team - New York City (Da Costa International)

Accessible primarily by a dedicated express elevator, the two-floor
headquarters of the X-Men Red Team combines the amenities of an ultramodern
office with the homey, communal quality of a college dormitory. A small,
well-appointed waiting room gives way to a grand, two-story central hub.
There, the team can meet for briefings at a ring-shaped conference table
with built-in computer consoles and a central holographic display. There are
also smaller tables, couches, and armchairs scattered through the room, easy
to reposition for meals, close conversations, or movie nights. One entire
wall of the hub is lined with windows, offering a view toward Central Park.

The other walls of the hub are split into two levels, with the upper
accessible by a U-shaped walkway and two grand staircases. Above the waiting
room, one can find a bullpen with dedicated work stations, offering the
latest software for a whole host of productive tasks. A patio balcony off to
one side offers a taste of the outdoors, as well as a small landing pad for
fliers or one-person vehicles. Living quarters line both floors:
full-fledged apartments offering balcony views and a decent level of
privacy. The X-Men also have a private underground motor pool, kept separate
from the garage for the rest of the building's occupants.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Tomahawk rolls up in front of DCI, not a silent entry, and in fact one that has her paralell parking in someone's spot, but she did not really seem to mind as she rocks back on the motorcycles seat and drops coins to pay the parking fee, dismounting to land heavy soled boots upon the sidewalk. X's and O's of lacework and belts wind a path to mid calf, exposed skin until the hanging threads of cut off shorts and the slapping sway of leather belt and buckle from the hem of leather jacket. Sliding it from her shoulders, it serves no purpose now that she is off the bike then to suffocate her in this heat and humidity, leaving that thing strapped tank revealed, white and hanging at midriff with writing across the black backdrop in pink scrawl. 'I am not a Bitch, you're just a Pussy'. Nice use of nouns, capitalize on those looks that the mismatch gazed woman bypasses with an ignoring look to enter the building.

A swipe of identity and the lights do not go green, in fact, she has to wait for admission and this has her standing in the lobby twisting a braided strand of white between fingers with impatience until she is finally cleared to go up. "Jesus, now what? That video get out?" Muttering it under her breath as the elevator dings and the doors let her out.

Roberto da Costa stands, waiting for Rose's arrival after he gets the call to ask for clearance. He hates that it has to be this way, but hopefully it's only a temporary measure. After the falling out with Bobby and Brinley, he's not sure who's going to stay, who's going to go, and who's going to try to take assets, materials, and resources that belong to him and DCI. He has to protect his interests, after all.

When the elevator dings to herald the arrival of his guest, Roberto is nothing, however, but smiles and warmth. His face, boyish and handsome under the masculine facade of the short trimmed beard he's affected, practically lights up the room. His smile dimples his cheeks, and makes chocolate brown pools gleam and glisten from between his tangled lashes.

"Rose. Good to see you. Come on in." He says, his accent muted to be almost unnoticeable. He steps forward towards her, the soles of his patent leather loafers clacking on the floor. One arm extends, his hand outstretched to offer to her for a shake.

"I'm taking it you're here to discuss CADMUS?"

Stepping over the threshold Rose tossed the braid back and over her shoulder to join the long mane of white that cascades down between shoulder blades, only parts held up by 'rowed plaits to aid in keep it off her face during the ride. Rose, apparently is clueless to any fall out, the room is empty in comparison but a familiar and yet strange face approaches her and memories flood her mind. Memories not from this world and this place, but they forged -her- here and now and the smile afforded to her upon his gestures is returned and his handshake accepted, though a bit tentatively as she is not the one typically 'down to /business/'.

Not this kind of business of clean windows and glistening surfaces and his … Dayum white teeth, smile.

His inquiry though has a pale brow rising, followed by a slow blink. One eye is that pale chill of blue, the other a milky white bionic creation. "What of them?" Her words seem slow, cooling, wary and somewhere behind teeth there is a rage, but not at Berto.

There's history.

"Oh. I thought… Yesterday, I had spoken with Jea-Doctor Grey about you, briefly. Some things that my… now previous team, have been working on, led back to CADMUS. Doctor Grey informed me that you had dealings with them." He says, his smile fading just a bit to become something more soft, more warm. The smile of an intimate friend, and not just someone trying to discuss business. His handshake is firm, three swift pumps and a retreat. Confidence is found in that shake, and none of the posturing by trying to show strength. Just respect.

"However, if you're not here to discuss that, then that's all okay, as well. I'm more than happy to change subjects. Business…" He says, turning and walking deeper into the former HQ, nearing the large round table. "…it's dour. I'd much rather be able to enjoy myself, certo? So what is it that brings you to me, today?"

The shake withdrawn has her finally coming further within behind Berto, the jacket swinging down off her shoulder to drape over the back of a chair while ass claims a seat upon the arm of it, rocking back to assess him. That friendliness and familiarity is still met with a caution, the guards evidently in place.

"Did Doctor Grey also tell you I have a mean right hook?" Lower lip pushes out and in a puff of an exhale a whisp of white is blown back and out of her visual to clear that look upon Berto.

"I was here to see everyone that was a part of a …./former/ team? Was it the video?" As she inquires that the eye flares to life, the dead milky hue casting a glow. "Search videos, X-Men, last 24 hours." Though even in hearing that Rose's placid demeanor does not shift, nor her repose upon the chair.

"CADMUS and I have a very deep and bad history. One you have helped me from more then once, apparently. First time just was not here. So, discuss was to just hang out and honestly enjoy company. It's what i do between bar crawls and midnight joyrides."

He can't suppress the chuckle that comes when she speaks of her right hook. His face lowers, brows rise, and he pinches the bridge of his nose, rubbing there between his closed eyes. Finally, he lifts his gaze to her, and runs both of his hands through the thick, unruly mane of dark hair that tops his head. "She did not, but trust me, I've had enough mean right hooks over the last couple of days to last me for awhile. Next time I'm in need of one, I'll be sure to give you a call."

His eyes settle on hers, dark and smoldering, but unhidden. There's no subterfuge or subtlety in his stare. His smile fades, and he gives a shrug of one shoulder under the dark wool blazer that he's donned over his shirt and tie combo. He lifts one leg and settles his own backside down on the round table, just beside her. His hands curl about the ledge of it, fingertips drumming momentarily on the bottom surface.

"For the moment, we're experiencing a bit of… turbulence. Some elements of the team have… grown accustomed to calling the shots. They felt that, upon my return, I didn't have the right to be let in on the team's operations, or be given the respect of being the guy who paid the bills. They felt that I was being too demanding. So they chose to leave. In the wake of that, coupled with what little they did share with me about their present and future operations, I felt that the team, as it stands, needs restructuring to bring it back in line with it's original purpose." He speaks the business lingo like it comes naturally, every word flowing from his lips like molten honey. Continuing, he adds, "I want a team that is focused on achieving Xavier's dream by working and merging with the public. Not always just doing black ops stuff. I want a team that doesn't hold secrets from one another. Where everyone respects each other, and no one or two people are calling the shots. Something more like a fire squad, where the person with the expertise needed for a mission is the one who's in charge of the operation. Or where every member has their say in the plans and execution of a mission."

But he shakes his head and moves on, letting his shoulders hunch up just the slightest bit as he stares ahead, looking away from her for the first time. "We don't have to discuss what your history with CADMUS is, right now. I understand things like that can be… difficult. Nor do we need to discuss how I might have helped you. I'm not looking for credit or thanks. It's the right thing to do. And you came to enjoy yourself. I can only apologize that the others aren't here for you to talk to. That's my failing."

Rose does not break that look, in fact, it is one she is not used to getting. Most do not hold eye contact with her, nor offer her such a friendly demeanor on forst contact. And for good reason, she is not a very easy person to remotely get even close to.

One foot is planted on the floor, boot grinding into the flooring with a moan, the other appendage slung over the arm while her back is the only alignment that falls correctly despite the twist of torso to keep him in visual regard while she scans the web for recent videos defaming the X-Men:Red…

"Stop." A single word spoken not to Berto but to the search and play of virals. None of what she had helped Red stop with Taskmaster. berto was explaining enough and when he looks away her own disconcerting gaze remains steadily upon him, unwavering in thought as the light in one eye dims.

"If you knew my history this would not be anything you would include me into, even in words. But only due to one factor." A single digit rises in emphasis.

"I am only the one they call when the gloves need to come off. I am -not- who you want to preach to your choir." Though in saying as much Rose does not remove herself from the seat, instead that slightly narrowed gaze remains on Berto and a finger prods into his bent knee, index then held off of him and aloft.

"But I am that person they call, and that calls you and those former members…-allies- for a reason." The one word chosen carefully. Allies. Or friends?? Would Rose admit as much, ever?

"I am here for /you/ as much as them," She taps just beside that milky white eye. "This team was never a fit for me due to that foundation you laid and how they stood behind it… This surprises me." A hand sweeps along her face and finally she stands.

“Where's your hidden alcohol caddy thingy? Shit, Berto."

When she starts speaking, Roberto looks up. Again, he makes steady and unwavering eye contact. If her cold stare, and that milky eye puts him ill at ease, he's obviously a man of supreme acting skills. He seems as calm as a Hindi cow. He even lets that easy smile start flirting at the edge of Cupid's Bow lips once more, though it's faint.

"There's a place for you wherever you wish, Rose. You are whatever you choose to be. Your life is your own to make of it as you will." He says quietly, giving a single nod of his head that sends raven curls bobbing over his thick, dark brows. "I'd say that's the point of what we've done to help you. Ensuring you get to make your own future."

He raises his hands to either side of his head and releases a soft huff of air that might have been a chuckle, and adds, "Not that I'm trying to give you a hard sell on anything. I just wanted to make the point that you can change who you are and be who you want, regardless of who that person is. So please don't gut punch me or look at me like Death."

Her question, though, elicits more of a response. He slides his fingers along the underside of the table, and a soft click is heard as he depresses a button. A drawer slides out between them, containing a bottle of rum, and a bottle of tequila laying side by side and divided by a couple of tumblers.

"Do you really think that I'd not have stashes everywhere?"

Finger tips trail over the bottles. Touching down upon each lid and like a game of hop scotch, digits decide, glancing to Berto as she picks up the bottle of tequila. "I took you for more of a vintage wine guy, but this will do, hm?" A small quirk of a smile at one corner of her lips, though it does nothing but to narrow that already offset gaze. Flipping the tumblers she pours a couple fingerfuls in each and slides one in front of him.

"I am who I am, Berto. CADMUS did not make the decision for me. Stormwatch sought to by placing bombs along my spine." In saying that much she takes a small sip and spins the glass on a tilt to coat the sides with that light colored liquid, watching it now instead of him.

"I will change for no one. -That- is who I am. But the other part," Now she looks up at him and a small smile returns, disconcerting perhaps if it was not touched by that small huff of a laugh. "The X-Men helped me where a company that once said it would help me, and full of friends in one place, sought to destroy me here, or make me kneel if I did not /move./"

Now that drink is downed and refilled. "Oh, my manners." Tinking her glass off his this time she waits for him. "I never understood the divide, perhaps now I do, but this I do not get. You all helped me, your funding and you, helped me again. I do what I do on my terms and keep their hands clean so your original mission can be successful."

Pausing Rose downs that second glass and sets the glass down on the table to settle 'round and 'round before it comes to a clattering halt on its base. "The stash does not surprise me, Berto." Rose's smile slowly fades though, her eye contact does not. "The falling apart does. All good things. Hmm?" A deep breath in heaves her chest in that sigh as she refills her glass.

"I will back you from the shadows still, but I cannot do what you and they did."

"The vintage wine is upstairs in the penthouse." He says with a helpless shrug and impush grin. He adds, "Down here, I often feel the need for something with a bit more bite."

He watches as she makes her decision, nodding his head in silent approval. The rum is dark and spiced, and sweet. Not exactly what he was in the mood for at the moment. The tequila, on the other hand…

"I assure you, Rose, that that… more than anything else I have heard this week, makes me happy. I think it is fantastic that you are who you are and don't want to change for anyone. It's a trait we share, and one I hope to always possess." He takes up the tumbler that she slides beside him, cradling it between his palms and slowly rolling it back and forth. He still watches her, his attention undivided. He's listening, not just hearing. He's not just waiting for his own chance to speak again. His expression changes with her words. His smile fades and becomes a thin lipped frown when she talks of the betrayal of her past. His eyes drift downward, and the pain in them is pure and sympathetic, not pitying.

"Cheers." He says, when she clicks glasses with him. His own is lifted, and the contents poured entirely into his mouth to be swallowed in one sizeable gulp. He grits his teeth and sighs with the burn of it rushing down his throat, but just a bit of tension bleeds from him. His shoulders lower, and his back isn't quite as stiff and straight as it was before.

"The falling apart surprises me and you, both. I come back from handling business to help us… and it just feels like…" He shrugs, and genuinely looks confused, waving his empty tumbler about for a moment, before setting it down on the table. "I feel like people just thought that they were going to usurp it all from me. The funniest part about it all? I was going to turn the team entirely over to them. Led them be the operations and field leaders. I'm content to be the guy who just puts up the capital and presents the public face. I only asked that they not treat me as a child, or.. .worse. Treat me like a mushroom… kept in the dark and fed shit."

Reaching over, he takes up the bottle and refills his tumbler, exceeding the two finger mark by a large margin. His gaze rises back to hers, and he holds the bottle over her glass, his hiked eyebrows asking the question.

"Different worlds.." Rose states when he has reaction to her perdicament and states his own. Listening to him she does not do as he does. She cannot sit while hearing, listening, coorelating. She paces and stares and everything and nothing, the focus on his words while she makes a circle around the table.

Every empty chair passed her hand touches along the top of the backrest of. One… Two… Three… The whisper of fabric and skin until she reaches the final upon silent footfalls of boots, and is back before him as well as the glasses.

Sliding to a seat now she is upon the table with the drinks between them, uplifting her glass and holding it upon the base in a balancing clutch of all fingers save the index that is cocked out towards him. "Did you tell them that? Those words. Exactly? Because they are what I also like to hear and why I do not even pretend to feed shit. Know me. Know me and accept me or let me walk my path." Nodding she accepts the refill and drinks it back with the swift toss back of snow capped crown, settling more into that seat on the table with a shimmy scoot that leaves her legs dangling freely over the edge.

Spinning the glass in her hand then resting it upon bare knee she looks back at him, a few strands of that platinum cascading in a flow over bare shoulder. "I refuse to feed you shit. In saying as much I think this is a big mistake. I will tell them the same when I see them. Now is not the time to do this, we need you. We need Red, and we need that open mission." Pausing her tongue traces over her canines as that small foreboding smile returns. "Without it I will have less to protect, and security for DCI won't keep me /busy/ enough. Idle hands an all." A rise of palms when glass is balanced between knees and then palms slap back down on flesh in the show of words.

Roberto follows her traversal of the headquarters with eyes the color of French puce. There's barely even a flutter of those dark, sooty lashes as he focuses his attention on her. It's a strangely comforting thing, watching this pale haired girl stalk about the table like a predatory cat.

When she finally settles back down, and picks up her glass, he tips the neck of the bottle to fill it for her. The bottle is placed between them, but also far enough behind them so as not to create an artificial barrier. It's subtle, body language denoting that he's open to her, and not trying to have anything between them.

"I tried and failed," He confesses, a sigh soon escaping from his lips. Only a glance away, a quick scan across the room as he lifts his tumbler to draw deep from it, clearing half of it's contents and swallowing them. When his attention comes back to her, he continues, "I tried to explain to them… That for them, the only thing riding on the line is their reputation. But for me, it's everything. My entire world. It's my company. My name. My wealth. It's everything that I've worked so hard to build. It's not just me, but it's also my entire family. I tried to tell them that I was willing to take the risks, but in order to do that, I had to know how I was risking and what it was for. They had no interest in listening. They could not even respond to anything I said to them, because for them, there was only one goal. Cut me out and assume control of the team entirely. They didn't even acknowledge a single point I made. They only said that I can't dictate to them, when my entire argument was based upon how Brinley was dictating to me."

He shrugs his shoulders, the soft swish of wool on itself cutting the silence between his words. "Brinley obviously feels that she is the one who should control everything. She wasted no time in all but dismissing me, within fifteen minutes of my arrival. I tried to let it go, but she continued to talk at me and down at me, instead of ever talking to me. And I have a temper, certainly. I do not do well when people are disrespectful or condescending. She is both of those things, in spades. At least, towards me. The thing is, I have no idea why on earth she is like that. I have never done anything to warrant such behavior. I barely even know her."

Again, he sips from his glass, not quite finishing it, but coming close. Another contented sigh and he says, "I'm not going to stop doing things. And I'm certain that they'll be doing their own thing with the team that they seem to cherish having an iron grip over. But if they can't trust me to let me know what they're doing, I can't trust them with my entire world as I had been doing. It's that simple. And after the treatment I have received from Brinley? I doubt that I'll ever be able to have any respect for her again. I certainly can't entertain the thought of allowing her to work for or with me in any capacity. She has proven that she is incapable of giving me the regard that any human being deserves."

Rose is drinking the tequila with a fondness a desert dweller on the dry season would adore water, once the glass in emptied again and she leans back, the cup laden hand falling upon the table lightly to let it spin and rest once more, fingertips this time silence it and bring it to final rest abruptly, tapping over the thin lip. His words were of more importance, and during this meeting she was not present, but it may have been good she was not, she is not one that gets interpreted well, and she finds it shocking he has yet to take offense to her words or abrupt presence.

"Brinley has been kind to me as well, you all have." A slow exhale and her lean-to upon the table does not unfold, she is relaxing into it, though her own mismatched gaze of a keen edge and a blind digital tech find him, searching him and tuning in on every tone, every expression, every subtle gesture…

"I do not know what it is to be in your position, Berto. I never will. My reputation precedes me by a father that strikes awe and terror," Though the look on her face does not show she admonishes such a thing. "And I have one that lays beneath sealed files and is whispered instead of yelled along the same avenues. I won't change it. You." As she states that her other hand spans that distance and index finger rests upon his chest in indication. "You protect your family, your resources, and your livelihood."

Her hand falls and she looks away. "Do you know they speak of registration? Anyone with gifts must stand in line and be known, be controlled? Berto…" His name is spoken with a firm indication of the direness of her words.

"In another place I was molded to be a handler for such cases. You, twice now, have helped me after such things that I have done. these were your friends," A whispered tone. "Mine too. I cannot speak for Brinley nor your feelings, but sometimes we have to look at the world too."

Fingertips now descend along the sleek side of the glass to slide it towards that bottle and *tink* off its side. "My father would despise me sitting amongst them, or here at all. But sometimes we have to all make sacrifices." Looking back upon him she tilts her head, a swift up down assessing his posture once more before landing on his face. "My point now. Be you. Don't take the shit, anyone's shit. Ever. But fuck all, Berto. These were your friends too, family? Sleep on it. Hell, I'll even take you to my favorite strip to just forget about it and have a fresh approach. It's what i do best."

In saying that she finally pushes forward, sliding from the table to land upon the floor and commenc that stalking pace towards her jacket. When she picks it up the flash of the holsters beneath is evident as well as the weapons within. "Anyway. Ever been on a Tomahawk? Bitches love them." A small smirk and wink to him as she slides her coat back on.

Berto's not one to get easily offended. He has very specific buttons that can be pressed, but Rose doesn't even come close to touching them. In truth, he's really finding himself quite fond of this exchange. It's nice to be able to vent, and speak freely without someone constantly undermining or passive aggressively attacking every word you say. Having a fresh take on things doesn't hurt, either.

That being said, he still has to retort, "They were my friends. Or, well, Bobby was my friend. Brinley, not so much. But even as it stands, I simply cannot work with them. They cannot see past their own self-aggrandizement in their perceived leadership of the team, to let me have a part of it. It's that simple. I can't trust them, because they won't trust me. They want to have an iron grip on the team, and I pose too much of a threat to that. The decision I made was to benefit everyone."

He slides off the table, and rolls his shoulders, tugging at the ends of his suit blazer to straighten out any wrinkles his seated posture had given it. "By removing myself from the team, and my corporation, they're free to pursue whatever illegal and unethical actions that they want to take. They're looking at breaking into places, stealing data, and storming a potential government facility. But they're unwilling to work with me to try to protect my company's image in doing that. They want to operate like a black ops team, and that is not the team that I had formed. Our goals are entirely different."

"I'm giving them the freedom to fight the fight they want." He now finishes his glass of tequila, and with a sigh, settles the crystal tumbler back onto the table, his fingers remaining steepled over it. "I'm not going to stop working towards ending this registration nonsense. I'm not going to stop trying to end these meta-scanners. I just can't do that with those two. I'll let everyone else decide where they want to fall, but those two have made it clear that I am not a part of their big picture, because I won't just smile and take the shit they want to feed me and ask for more. Now what's this about a Tomahawk?"

Instantly, all the seriousness drains from him, and that grin begins to bubble up to the surface of his olive hued countenance. "I don't need no concept bikes for the bitches to love me, you know. I'm Brazilian."

The jacket slides onto her with ease, the end jerked to rest the belted hem-line at the tops of hips where inches below the torn off shorts remain, the studded black belt keeping them in place and melding the distance with similar fabrics alone. Reaching back she pulls her hair from its caught position beneath, slapping it along the spanse of leather.

For a moment Rose is intent on his words, her shoulders even seem to slump a bit at his affirmation and her hand comes to smooth over her face, but as fingers slide down across the contours of facade her eyes flick towards him and the seriousness is gone. She will not push, as she would not appreciate it in kind, instead she will insist…

Booted footfalls now thud lightly as her aloofness closes the gap between them, the finger that poked him once before in the plexus now pokes just at the top of that tie-topped shirt, coiling around the silk fabric to slide upward and undo the knot. "That tie won't do you any favors in proving it."

A click of her tongue and the smile goes devious. "Tans don't do some girls in. You gotta have moves and a high tolerance for alcohol." Turning on heel his tie falls lamely back upon his chest with a thud, partially undone and slip-knotted free of his neck until she desisted and headed for the elevator.

"I'll keep count and make sure you keep it safe. Coming?" Rose inquires as she leans against the elevator door upon propped hand, her other hitting the button to go down.

As Rose closes the distance between them, there's a shift in Roberto's posture, subtle, but sure. His shoulders lift and square under the stiff lines of the suit jacket. His chest expands just slightly, and his chin rises. When her hand comes to the knot at his throat, he lowers those mocha hued orbs to watch it, while she loosens and frees it's tyranical grip. The edge of his soft lips tilts upwards in a lopsided and puckish grin, "You'd be surprised at how many girls can get won over by this tie. Every girl's crazy about a sharp dressed man."

He does, however, pull it free, rolling it around his knuckles and pocketing it into the waist level pocket of his jacket. Which is then unbuttoned and tossed haphazardly over the edge of the table. As he turns to look back at her, there's a fire in his eyes that's fierce, but filled with mirthful glee. "Moves and a high tolerance for alcohol? Didn't I just tell you that I'm Brazilian? That's in my blood, cocota."

A beat passes, and he adds, even as he follows after her with the soft clacking of thousand dollar shoes. "Besides, there isn't a need to keep count if I only have eyes for one, certo?"

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