An Old New Friend

July 02, 2015:

Back scene. Cal and Emma run into each other in the mansion not long after she arrives with Betsy.

Xavier's

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [* None.]


Fade In…

Rather drained after another long psychic surgery session with Elizabeth, helping the asian Brit slowly re-develop her psionic talents, the white-clad platinum blonde figure of Emma Frost makes her way down the stairs of the mansion. Of course, Emma never allows herself to look anything less than her best, but the perceptive would notice that she doesn't quite move with the pep and verve she did on the way in. And there's the fact that her telepathic 'footprint' is a bit subdued by comparison. Not weak; weakness is not tolerated. But less brassily indomitable. As she reaches the end of the stairs, she does not proceed to the front door, but instead turns and starts down the hallway towards the kitchen and the dining room. Time to refuel, perhaps?

Cal is in the kitchen playing 'what's in the fridge that wasn't here the last five times he looked?'. He's just in one of those moods where he can't figure out what he wants to eat and keeps going back to look. Finally, he settles on a pint of ice cream and a drawer opens on its own followed by a spoon floating over to him.

Emma pauses in the kitchen, catching sight of Calvin as he is preparing to go with ice cream. She moves towards the counter, gathering things up to start a pot of water for tea, proving that she does actually know where things are here. And Calvin would know she didn't just try to take that knowledge from his mind. But she says nothing to him until the water is on the stove, and her phone is in her hand, tapping out a message.

"I'm sure you see this as some kind of fulfilled prophecy." Emma comments wryly, without quite the ice-cold bitter attitude she's quite capable of pulling out. It's more a sharp quip, the sort of barb acquaintances might share - if they were Frosts.

Calvin Rankin smiles as he turns, lifting a hand to take the spoon. "I'd heard you were here helping Betsy. But no, there's too many variables to count on any similarities. I'm just glad you've not decided to work against us. Thank you for helping, by the way. We appreciate it and there aren't many who could do a better job."

Knowing Emma, she would likely have said there were virtually none who could do a better job, but she has never lacked for projected confidence. Internal can be, or at least once was, a different story. "For what it is worth, you are welcome. Elizabeth needs this. So I will do all I can." Clearly, the two of them made some kind of impression on one another. Maybe it's the prissy prim and proper stuck up quotient they share? Neither woman has explained much, and Emma doesn't seem inclined to break that pattern.

Once the water finally reaches a boil, Emma pulls the kettle off the stove, and pours the water out over a hand-wrapped bag of tea leaves, withdraw from a small case in her purse. She obviously does not trust the Mansion to have what she wants or needs. Or whatever.

"Elizabeth will be a while yet recovering. But our sessions are improving." Emma opines, filling him in while she prepares her tea, holding cup over saucer as she blows across its surface briefly.

A few moments later, a white-clad young gentleman comes walking into the kitchen carrying a large satchel, which he carries into the dining room as he starts laying out a meal, apparently pre-prepared and brought along to the mansion for specifically this purpose.

"If you dip that into a bowl, 'Cal', you would be welcome to join me." Emma offers, sipping at her tea and watching him for a few moments, before she starts towards the doorway into the dining room. As soon as her driver is done, he gathers up the satchel and departs, clearly heading back to the car, where he has been waiting all of this time for that text message.

Glancing down at the pint of Ben and Jerry's, Cal shrugs and goes to get a bowl into which he dumps the ice cream. "Careful about bringing your people in. It's not unusual for powers to be used freely and we wouldn't want them getting any ideas about the place." Even if, especially if, Emma's going to remove them. She always was pragmatic.

"I did check the area before I texted him." Emma offers, smiling wryly for a moment as she walks towards the table, taking her seat. "And I assure you, he will not remember anyone's faces he has seen here, save mine. As far as he knows, this is a special consultant's home, helping me to set up a new business venture." Emma is very pragmatic. And damned careful. Her employees are not given a chance to expose her secrets, and she has apparently decided those here come under that heading. Whatever her reasons for that conclusion.

Emma daintily and properly works her way through her meal, pausing properly for conversation shared.

"So. What have you been up to?" Emma inquires, almost as if she were a normal person having a conversation and catching up with someone she hasn't seen in months. Right. Emma. Normal. Anyone buying that?

He's not even going to bother. Some losing battles are just not worth the effort of fighting. "Oh, a bit of this, a bit of that." Cal answers. "Some stuff with the Justice League: Avengers. The usual, really. It never ends. How did you meet, Betsy?"

The platinum blonde shows no reaction at all when Calvin mentions the Justice League, but he can be sure she filed that information away for later use. She takes her time, finishing her most recent bite of her meal, chewing slowly, before she puts down her knife and fork, dabbing her lips lightly with a linen napkin lifted from her lap and then returned there.

"Elizabeth came to a private Club function, and we met there." Emma answers. She doesn't say what Club; she rather assumes Calvin will already know, given how many versions of her he is apparently familiar with. "When I noticed her telepathy, we had a bit of a discussion. Came to a bit of an understanding." Isn't that all just so nicely vague?

"We found ourselves to have some few things in common, and continued our association." Emma continues, still being so Emma about her answer. "When she missed several appointments, I came to check on her, and found her in that poor condition. I have endeavored to help her get back into shape." And that's it. As if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Eating his ice cream as he listens, Cal nods at the summary. "Still, we're in your debt for that. We take care of our own and those who help us are not forgotten. However you've come here, it's nice to see you. I hope you'll look around, get to know people, consider your options."

Emma offers a moment of a wryly amused smile. "I always consider my options, 'Cal.'" she responds, even allowing that moment of humor to color the tone of her voice, if only slightly. Emma is definitely into subtlety and minimalism. "I expect she may be as much as a month getting back to 'fighting trim', but she is determined and capable, and so am I. She will get there." And Emma will accept thanks. If nothing else, it offers an opportunity for indebtedness later on. Favors beget favors, as it were.

"She'll get whatever help she requires, of course." Cal says. "Just let us know what she needs. We can set up a retraining schedule once she's feelig up to it and slowly get her back into form." So. Enough about Betsy. He considers Emma herself for a moment then smiles. "It's been a while since our first meeting. I never had the chance to give you a call to set up a second one. You're welcome to ask whatever questions you have."

"I'm not sure I would even know what questions to ask, 'Cal'." Emma answers, honestly. "Obviously, in some of these … alternate realities? … you have seen, I was an ally, or even a member, here." She can still see the telepathically-shared image of herself in a wheelchair. She has no intention of being a replacement Xavier, thank you very much. Bald is absolutely not her look. "I assume that you have also seen some where I most definitely was not." Something about that causes Emma to shiver a bit. But as always, she doesn't expose her weakness or discuss it. "So, I suppose the question would be: why do you care?" Hey. Maybe she's genuinely curious. She's not used to people caring. It's an alien concept in her life.

"In some, yes. You were a member." Cal agrees. "And yes, in some, you were not. Why do I care? Depends on what exactly you mean. For obvious reasons, I don't exactly care about you personally. By which I mean, I don't know you and I don't assume you're similar to anyone I have known and liked. We're not friends and while we could be, that's not the case at the moment. I do though care about you as a mutant. And I do care about you as a potential ally. And I care about you joining the team because I believe fully in the Professor and his vision and have seen what happens when that vision does not come to pass. We're stronger together. And just as important, we're happier together. We can be ourselves fully and freely and not need to hide. You would benefit by being with us as much as we would benefit by having you with us. Win-win."

Emma says nothing about her vision. She wouldn't. Elizabeth has promised she told no one about it, and in spite of herself Emma believes the Brit on this. But what she has seen - been shown - rings with Calvin's words. She's no idealist. She can't afford to be. But she wants those things, far more than she wants anything like the alternatives. What makes her most accepting, though, is that Calvin is 'honest.' He doesn't try to appeal to her feelings, or pine away for some version of Emma he knew. Instead, he just puts it in terms of enlightened self-interest. And that's what makes Emma's world go 'round. "We shall see how that works out." Emma offers, promising nothing.

"Nevertheless, thank you kindly for the company, Cal. I am sure I will see you again, upon another visit." Emma offers, as she pushes back her chair slightly. Her driver appears and starts gathering up everything remaining from Emma's meal, putting everything back in the satchel. She doesn't even wipe down the table, he does it all. The one useful thing she does is carry the kettle back into the kitchen, empty it out, and put it back where she found it, along with rinsing out her cup and saucer and putting them into the dishwasher. She reappears at the doorway to the dining room long enough to offer, "I am afraid, however, that my other obligations still remain. So, I should be going." And then she's gone.

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