Loose Lips

January 17, 2016:

Wolverine calls Psylocke in to interrogate Grant, only to house an unwelcome house-guest.

Ramshackle Shithouse

Characters

NPCs: Grant

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Gyroscope - Boards of Canada


Fade In…

EARLIER

Betsy gets an SMS with a couple pictures of a man in disheveled robes with an angled red crucifix cutting across what can be seen of his chest and shoulders. The robes are white— ish; even though the pictures only capture about the upper half of him, he plainly looks as if he's been dragged through a pig sty or locked in an outhouse which was then tipped over.

Afterwards, she receives: 'Got a guy here who's interested in having a nice, long talk about faith. Really wants some person to come pick his brains and hear what he's got to say,' followed by an address.

NOW

If Betsy were to follow(or, really, search for) the address, she'd quickly find that it's situated one of the several stretches of Brooklyn that's gone largely untouched by the aggressive change surrounding it. It's a neighborhood with a lot of what one might call 'charm' and 'local flavor' as one drove through at max speeds with the windows rolled up, the signs of a community that's learned to take care of its own because nobody else will bother. There are residences dotting the streets where apartments don't tower, most of which are aging but roughly intact due to the intensive care of long-term tenants.

Of course, because Logan apparently checked the 'ramshackle shithole' box on Zillow, he is holed up in a crumbling, graffiti-scarred eyesore of a building instead of one of those houses. His apartment is on the third floor(of four). The lighting in lobby and the third floor hallway both is dim to the point of near uselessness, especially considering the lack of any windows outside of the individual units. Dirt and worse are caked into the floor grout; the walls are missing ragged peels of paint.

When Betsy gets close enough to the door to knock, it'll open before she gets the chance to and reveal that his own unit is somewhat more habitable, at least, if still spartan: there's a sofa bed, a card table with a few folding chairs, an old TV set up on the floor across from the sofa, a fridge, and little else. Oh, also, a man - the same one from the pictures - sitting on one of the chairs with his hands cuffed behind his back.

"Make yourself at home," he then grunts.

-

Betsy takes the Aston to the area, and immediately starts regretting it. Even a relatively unspoiled car would look out of place in the neighborhood, and the luxury vehicle positively screams ostentatious wealth in the lower income area.

Fortunately, Betsy's got clever roommates. So she parks the car and steps out, peering around from behind her designer shades. Instantly, waves of nauseating psychic energy start roiling off of her. A stalwart mind would have little trouble ignoring the compulsion, but it effectively forces most of the thugs and n'er-do-wells from recollecting her appearance.

For good measure, though, she puts the convertible's hood up and locks the doors with a *beepbeep* from her fob.

She walks into the room and moves her oversized shades to her forehead, hair pulled back in a high ponytail, and gives the room a flat examination. "Logan," she greets the fellow, civilly. "Love what you've done with the place, darling. Is this our man?" she says, turning her hard eyes onto the captive. Even dressed like a stray fashion model, there's a bit of a knife's edge to her look, and she walks towards him with a coldly calculating expression.

-

While shutting the door, Logan replies, "In the flesh, but—"

"'And through his policy also,'," the middle-aged captive hatefully spits after momentarily meeting Betsy's gaze then fleeing from it, "'he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.'"

"— he's been like this for the last day or two, give or take. Ain't been around him all that much, to tell you the truth; better for both of us." Logan keeps his eyes away from Betsy and the Purifier alike as he makes himself murmur that last bit and heads fridge-wards. "Tough bastard, all things considered," he tersely admits. A bottle of cheap beer goes flying towards Betsy a moment later.

"The mutie's found another friend," the captive speaks up, glaring sidelong towards Betsy as the beer flies, "has he?" He follows this by spitting on the ground.

The fridge rattles as Logan slams it shut. He doesn't emerge just yet.

-

Betsy accepts the beer and tosses it back at Logan. "No scotch? Don't cheap out on me, Logan," she says in a warning tone. "I don't need the carb load."

She turns to examine the hate-spewing professant with a critical eye, then picks up a chair and drags it over to him. She sets it up just a few feet away and settles into the seat, crossing her legs smoothly at the knee and interlacing her fingers in her lap.

"Don't spit at me," she says, bluntly. "I know you're thinking it'll be clever or defiant, but in truth you'll just irritate me. Then instead of torturing you for information, I'll start doing it for fun. The difference being that in the first scenario, providing me with useful information ends the interrogation. The second scenario I posit continues until I get bored." She gives him a steady stare. "I don't bore easily," she assures him, in witheringly honest tones.

-

"Drank all the scotch," comes from the kitchen. Which is maybe three feet from where Betsy and Friend are, divided by little more than a sudden lack of carpet.

This allows Logan to respond in a low-voiced growl after catching the bottle, but it (probably?!) doesn't have anything to do with the request.

More than anything, the captive - Grant - is afraid. He was afraid the moment Psylocke came in. He's been afraid for the past week, hustled through sewers and back alleys from disastrous rally to abandoned store to rathole apartment at the behest of a violent abomination with knives in his hands and a blowtorch tucked away somewhere. For some ungodly reason that he's tried not to consider too deeply.

He was a firefighter before he first heard the wisdom of God, and this interminable stretch of living each day without even a hint of what the next might bring has worn him down to the point where petty defiance is all he has left. He says none of this, not that the woman called Psylocke needs him to; instead, he murmurs,

"I am not dismayed, for my God strengthens me and holds me in the right hand of his righteousness," while keeping his eyes squarely off of her. "Your mongrel friend's spent the last week with me: what do you think I have to tell you that I haven't already told him?"

"Start with 'The Bishop'," Logan suggests over the sound of him digging through cabinets.

Grant visibly clenches.

-

Betsy flicks a stray bit of dust from her leggings, the particles invisble to most eyes. "Because Logan's job is killing people, not interrogating them," Betsy explains, her voice eerily calm. "There's a difference, you know. Logan's weapons are his blades. Too sharp to do real pain, and too quick. If he sneezed while cutting you, say, here," she says, drawing a finger along the inside of the man's thigh, "he might sever your femoral artery. You'd bleed out in thirty seconds."

Betsy sits back against the chair, looking every inch more a disciplinary teacher than a professional assassin. "My methods are a bit more subtle, and markedly more uncomfortable. I could just rip into your brain and tear the information I want out of it, but that carries a high chance of making you a vegetable— not to mention it's very dirty work. I've some interesting psychohallucinogenic drugs at my disposal, but the same risk— you'll spend your endless days, uncontrollably voiding your bowels in between moments of dull lucidity when you recollect there was once more to the world than crayons and night nurses."

"There's torture, too, which is a personal favorite— a bit less reliable, admittedly, but I do get bored with nothing to do, and it's a perishable skill. I used to start with fingernails, but they're making marvelous strides with waterboarding. It's like being drowned alive a dozen times a day, except death doesn't come."

"Do any of those hold any particular appeal?" she inquires of the man, almost sweetly. "Or shall we just start with The Bishop?"

-

Grant hears Betsy in one ear, conjuring thoughts of silver blades kissing his thigh and painting the ground red. Red stains melt into the long shadows streaming through the last window he'll ever get to gaze through once he's left drooling and helpless somewhere where nobody will ever find him— and then he's sputtering, drowning, bleeding, dying—

In the other ear, there's just the steady clanging of glass and metal as Logan… searches… for something. For someone. For her, perhaps—

Grant's heart threatens to escape his chest as he strains to find anywhere for his darting eyes to go but her.

"I-I—"

He swallows, hard.

"He is— he is beyond the grasp— of unbelievers—"

Sweat beads.

He begins to recite a phone number, haltingly.

-

NEARLY A WEEK AGO:

"Actually.. you're in charge. I'm going to see what he's up to."

Clothes were soon thrown out of her closet as Jean picks up something that she hasn't worn in weeks. A pair of jeans that look torn to shit, which were slid on with the surprise that they actually fit. Socks that came up to her calves which were thick enough to ward off the winters chill and leg warmers to top. Her tank top, a typical wife beater was thrown on and an oversized hoodie was tossed on that obviously wasn't hers. Her hair, was shaken out briefly as she searches around the room for a pair of beat up sneakers.

"What's going on?" She could hear the disdain in Scott's voice.
"I'm going to find Logan."
"But.."
"Your class starts in an hour right? I'll be back after. Graded papers are on the nightstand."

TWO DAYS AGO:

"Alpha! You ol' girl I heard you went rogue! Glad to see you're back in the.."

The fist that comes to the mans stomach was shockingly swift, her fingers grasping his shoulders to tug him in as his head rears back to clock her dead upon the bridge of her nose. It dazes her a bit, just enough for him to get the upper hand, a grasp of her shoulder that swings her into the darkness of the alleyway which soon ends with the sounds of a roaring scream.. a flash of a light.. a few thuds and broken glass.

The man slowly crawl upon the ground as those beat up sneakers trail behind, foot landing upon his back and with a nudge to his side, he rolls over. A paper is produced, a drawing of a scruffy looking man with a high class demeanor of someone who probably ate too much bad food and was looking for a fight.

"I suppose I shouldn't have punched you." Jean admits, her hand drawing up to wipe at her broken nose. "Guess I deserved that. Being grounded isn't getting me anywhere any time soon and it's making me a bit slow on the uptake."

The man scoots away, crooked elbows upon the wet concrete as he shakes his head. "You bitch! You fucking bitch! They're going to hear about this! And then you.."

"Tsk." It was the one sound heard from Jean as she shakes her head, this was getting nowhere. "You're going to tell me where you've seen him." Her eyes flash red for the briefest of moments, or.. at least -he- saw that. "And I won't take no for an answer."

NOW:

The ramshackle shithole was stood in front of, cold hands tucked deep into her hoodie as she takes the few steps back to lean against the Aston, one foot crossed over the other as her eyes close, the gesture alone brought a little tear from her eye, the dual bruise beneath both not letting up, its peak not reached which would soon fade to purple and hints of faded red. She smelled of outdoors and red hair was greasy to the point of alarm, something unlike Jean but it fits with the territory that she soon invades just like the minds she reached out to that remain within the 'abandoned' house.

Logan.

The only notice that she was there was given, the boost from the car enough to rock it gently as she starts for the door.

Open the door. It was compelling words, no less. Whether he choose to act on it or not was his business, but she was going to enter whether she was greeted at the door or not.

-

Betsy gets the phone number written down in the moments before Jean arrives, looking around alertly at nothing at all. "Bugger," she swears. She jabs a finger at the man, warningly. "Shut your howling screamer for a tic until I get this sorted."

She sits back in her chair in a high huff, visibly scowling, and folds her arms across her chest. "You might as well let her in, Logan, but I'm not talking to her," Betsy says, loudly enough to be heard on the other side of the front door.

-

"How the fuck—"

Logan snaps up to his full five feet and three inches when his mind is touched and twists towards Betsy while hissing at her.

Jean showing up unannounced at his door is certainly a situation that's crossed his mind a time or two, but most of the other details were— different, in his head. Even with Betsy's insistence, he hesitates— but, since he knows full and well that Jean really can just let herself in if she so chooses, he doesn't have a lot of choice, here.

A mostly empty bottle of cheap but strong bourbon is flicked towards Betsy as he makes his way towards the door, muttering, "The fuck does 'I'm not talking to her' even mean?" under his breath. "Try to do things the right way…"

He tapers off on grumbling just before opening the door a sliver and stepping away.

Grant, incidentally, is still capable of reading the room and picking up on the fact that things have suddenly gotten weird and tense between these murdering, torturing hellspawn.

He compliantly shuts the fuck up and lowers his head, keeping his jaw clenched as part of a vague mask of defiance.

-

I don't care if you're not ta-..

The door is opened, "..ing to me or not but you should have called me as soon as he made contact. You know I was looking for him." She didn't snatch the door open, nor slam it shut. Everything was done with an air of calm and practiced ease. She does take the time to lock it, jiggling it for effects sake, before lifting her eyes around the room, one hand drawing away the hood from her head with a slight exasperated sigh that was heard throughout the room.

"What the heck, guys?" Is all that was said, those few footfalls into the room have her stumbling just a touch. It wasn't a pretty sight, no. But a lot better than she had seen, it was nearly spartan in the sense that it looked lived in, and carelessly trashed. Thankfully, there were no critters that would make her mind change to take the meeting outdoors.

"What's going on? What are you two doing? And who is /he/?" She gestures towards Grant, defiant in his ways, and notices belatedly that he's.. cuffed?

-

Betsy catches the bottle without looking. She doesn't even /turn/— she just holds her hand out and the bourbon lands there like it was a no-look pass on the basketball court.

"It means I'm not talking to her because I'll get stonkingly cross and slap her," Betsy says, focusing all of her irritation through her amethyst eyes and onto poor Grant. "And yes, I know you're right there," she snaps over her shoulder, before taking a heavy swig of the bourbon.

"We're interrogating this blighter," Betsy explains, flicking her fingernails distatefully at Grant. "Thus far, he's been quite helpful. So, quite like the colossal /mess/ you left me with at the Institute, this is a situation I've well in hand," she tells Jean, fumingly irate and clearly given a vector upon which to vent her spleen. "And there's no need for you to step in, because you'll get over cross and end up burning his brain from the inside out in a moment of pique."

-

Logan doesn't answer immediately because he's busy dialing and wandering back to the kitchen. Looking at a phone screen is a great excuse to not look at a person.

"'Deacon' Grant Mitchell, middle management shithead of the Purifiers," he says over the dial tone ringing out loud. "A couple people went with me to a little recruitment rally he was puttin' on over in Bludhaven. Thought we were bein' sneaky, but it turned out he was a little sneakier— weren'tcha, Grant?"

Grant doesn't answer because he's pretty sure that he actually died at some point over the past week and accidentally woke up in the circle of Hell that's an MTV reality series about what happens when hellspawn stop being polite and start getting real.

"Someone's working on figurin' out how that happened," Logan continues as he looks from Grant back to the ringing phone, "and I've been working with this guy in the meantime." He slowly exhales, lifts his eyes to Betsy and eventually brings his gaze towards Jean. "You shouldn't be here," he lowly adds. Admonishes, really.

"The MercuTel number you've dialed is not in service at this time…"

Logan's eyebrows rise a little as he announces, "Burner," over the operator. His eyes return to Grant; Grant's eyes, in turn, are about as big as they can get.

"It— " His eyes dart between the three mutants as he tries to swallow back the feer creeping into his voice. "— worked— just fine— last week— he has many numbers, I—" He tries to swallow again but can't, quite.

"I know you ladies have got a lot to talk about," Logan grunts while continuing to stare down Grant, "but I'm bettin' one of you'd do a better job of joggin' his memory than me."

Grant spits out another phone number right after that, because he doesn't want any part of any vegetative states or brain burning.

Logan dials and a moment later, it begins to ring.

"Your call, but loose lips," the feral mutant adds.

-

Jean would have looked hurt if the surface of her skin didn't show the hurt already. Elizabeth was obviously mad about being put in charge but who better than Elizabeth? She certainly couldn't ask Hank to take lead, he was currently missing, she couldn't very well ask Remy, he was doing his own thing and the Professor possibly would have pitched a fit at any reason as to why she decidedly had taken off on her own. Therapy hadn't been a success, it seems.

"The only reason I'm going to step in, is to stop you. Do you think so lowly of me that I'd lose control at that slightest hint of anger.."

A soft rumble rolls through the house, shaking the bottles on the floor to clink them against one another as the television hitches slightly to the left.

"..and ruin this poor fool's brain?"

She expects Logan and Elizabeth not to be phased by this. This little show was for Grant's benefit. For him to know that the three of them were not to the trifed with, separate or together. Even to put all of their personal business on display as it were, Jean watches Logan for the slightest of moments, taking steps into his direction for he clearly avoided her gaze, her hand reaching out for a moment and drawing back down again, his warning and slight scold has a near helpless look crossing her features which soon turned even. "Why?"

Was he handling her? Effectively putting her right into the kids corner to hide her from such gruesome act? She was far beyond protecting now and she visibly projects that feeling that she has something to prove. "You think I can't handle this? Interrogation.. torture?" Her bottom lip trembles, all for show really, her head whipping to stare down towards Grant as she takes those slightly stomped steps like a petulant child who was just told they were too chicken shit to enter into the haunted house. "Why.. I'll show you both.."

Her hand reaches out to grasp the jaw of the man, pinching his cheeks to the point that his lips pucker, forcing his gaze up into her own as her hair slowly begins to lift as if electricity was the current running theme of the day. It was all for show.. really. Just for show. She had to remind herself of that.. and to not imprint herself onto the mans brain and prove Elizabeth /right/.

-

Betsy eyes Jean warily. She is genuinely irritated with Jean, but this situation is also dangerously, nearly unbalanced— Jean's hardly in a good state of mind, and this fellow represents a powerful psychic hold on her. Still, the first rule of interrogations is that you never undermine your allies in the room, no matter your personal feelings on the matter.

"Jean, don't," Betsy says, abruptly. "He's willing to cooperate. Turning his brain to sludge is almost not necessary," she says, her tones marginally more reasonable. "I know you've strong reasons to dislike him, but… be reasonable. I think he's willing to cooperate. Yes?" she asks Grant.

-

Logan can't help but fix his attention on Jean when the unit trembles, but he seems to just be— watching her, curious more than concerned.

Grant, of course, sits straight up in his seat as the breath rushes from his lungs.

Logan soon returns his eyes to 'literally anywhere but Jean', at which point he's hit with a simple but no less disarming question that he doesn't immediately answer, leaving her room to press him further.

"You shouldn't have to," is the best he can come up with, offered in a pained growl— and by that point, she's stalking towards Grant.

Logan, too, is well-versed in the art of interrogation, which is why - despite hairs stuck at attention all over - he doesn't take more than a step after her before gripping his empty fist near his belly and holding himself back.

For now, anyway.

Betsy's already trying to edge her back, so Logan keeps his mouth shut.

"If only— if only so I'll have the pleasure of" Grant sputters while writhing against Jean's grisp. "I-i-it's 's like— like I told the animal— our cause— is righteou—"

"Ayoooooo," a young, audibly fried man drawls through Logan's phone. "Who dis?"

Logan holds his breath and shoots Grant an incredulous look.

"Who is it?!" a young woman calls from the background, barely rising above the sounds of a busy street. "Izzit— 's not Fong Gardens, is it?? Hey, hey, tell 'em DUCK SAUCE! Fuckin', ALL OF THE DUCK SAUCE!"

"No— how— we're at a" Beat. " how the hell're they gonna" Beat. " yo— this— this isn't Fong Gardens, right? 'cause this is some Illuminati shit if so, and—"

By the time Logan hangs up, a puddle has begun to form under Grant, who spent the exchange growing increasingly pale.

Straining, he starts to give out another number as another growl sounds in Logan's throat.

-

"Willing to cooperate is one thing." Jean murmurs haughtily. "Having no choice is another.."

Jean had her reasons. Various parts of the Purifiers drilled mechanisms into her head and nearly made her kill her own friends. Emma was ready to blow her brains out. She snapped Kurt's arm in two and beat him until he was unrecognizable. Aspect was treated the same, and a bit worse as she dropped a building upon him and some unknown woman with wings. They even invaded her childhood home in Annadale on Hudson. Tainted her glass of wine. Took her from her home and kept her in a drug induced haze as they fed her images of murder. Mutants committing murder. Giving her a child that she did not know that she was said to kill in a rage. And -convinced- her that her end would come after she annihilates the unclean Mutant Town and rebuilt it anew..

Oh. She had reasons. Strong reasons.

"Did it ever occur to you that I want to?" She pulls her gaze away from Logan, hearing the number sputter from the mans mouth, finally dropping the charade with a slight smack of her hand against her thigh. This made no sense. This wasn't her, Jean who walks around with black eyes and a slightly swollen nose. It almost makes her sniff hard, though the pain would be a little too much, something she wasn't used to.

"We need to let him go."

-

Betsy grabs Jean by the front of her shirt. "Are you /insane/?" she hisses, staring at Jean's face. "This isn't a loose end you leave around! He's a source of information— he's had access to their command structure. Possibly their leadership. You want to let him go?!" she asks, ignoring both the men entirely.

-

"He isn't goin' anywhere," Logan sharply states, staring past Psylocke with eyes devoid of the wistful twinkle that usually comes when they're set on Jean, "'till I'm done with him."

Logan's reasons for not wanting Jean to be involved may not have been entirely rooted in shame and/or altruism.

Betsy's more heated response prompts him to stalk after and seize the upper arm of the kunoichi in a grip just firm enough to communicate a request to stand down.

"You wanna wipe him and dump him after that, be my guest, but Betsy's right: he's an asset." Following a beat spent glancing towards the man who's trying to look strong while sitting in his own piss, he mutters, "Maybe not the best asset, but he's what we've got right now."

With that, Logan starts dialing again while tacking on, "He's got another appearance comin' up over in Arlington, somethin' big," in a lowered voice. "Might just be a cog, but they're still gonna wonder why they gotta replace him if it comes to it. I'm thinkin' it's better for us if he makes it. Gives his speech. Maybe gets a chance ta schmooze with some'a the higher ups, on account'a him bravely surviving his ordeal at the hands'a God's little mistakes."

He holds the phone up to his ear to listen for the dial tone while shifting his gaze between Betsy and Jean to gauge their thoughts on his narrative.

-

The grasp to the front of her shirt has her nearly lifting from her toes. Betsy was the stronger, more imposing one of their friendship and more likely to make Jean back down. But this time, she doesn't. For as Logan steps up and speaks his piece, Jean draws her gaze towards the angry man with a slight hint of a nod. Really, that's what she was going for, and possibly what she /should/ have finished with. But there were a lot of things that Jean should have done, and old habits were something that were too hard to break.

"We wipe him and let him carry on like normal. We keep close to the shadows, watch and wait." That look was pointedly given towards Logan. She knows he was the more active sort, which would possibly cause a little upset with her advice. "Then when he meets with whomever he meets with we could either gleam whatever we could without being noticed or take them. Which ever.."

Her fingers lift finally, slowly, attempting to pry the kuonichi's fingers from her beat up hoodie. "And don't say that I can't come. Cause I'm going to come." She wasn't going to say the way that she could be stopped, she was sure Elizabeth was already thinking of shoving a psi-blade into the back of her head already.

-

Betsy snaps her eyes around to Logan when he grabs her, and there's a flash in those amethyst orbs that promises violence. Immediate, explosive violence— but then it settles when it becomes clear Logan's not actually trying to manhandle her.

She turns back to Jean, and glances at her hand twisting the shirt front into knots. She releases her own fingers and steps back from Jean, looking this way and that, frustration growing on her features.

With a shout of rage she whirls on the chained, horrified man, slamming a psionic blade through his forehead and into his brain. His eyes cross, then roll around independently, and he slobbers uncontrollably and starts gibbering a bit. Betsy steps back and kicks him full in the chest, knocking the chair over with the fellow tied to it.

"He'll live," she snarls, before stomping away a few paces to fume silently.

-

"I— "

Logan squints at Jean, momentarily surprised.

"— was thinkin' we send someone in a Deacon Asshole costume in his place, but that works too."

Grant, who has heard just enough of this discussion to be nervous finally loses the last of his resolve and stammers, "You're INSANE— you can't— whatever you're thinking, you can't—"

Betsy interrupts his pleas with the focused totality of her psychic potential and puts him on his back, drawing Logan's incredulity towards her instead.

Before he can speak, his eyebrows shoot up, he jerks the phone from his head, and:

"— ram Wolfe," sounds from the speaker in a gruff, masculine voice. "Speak. Quickly." He sounds deeply displeased with being on the phone at all. "Begin with how you got this number."

Logan, at least, doesn't answer; he just tries not to scowl directly at Jean or Betsy when the voice on the other end sets his hackles on edge.

"Hm," the voice utters after a couple more beats, contemptuous and curious all at once.

*CLICK!*

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License