Separation of State

March 08, 2016:

Scott and Jean discuss X-Force

Jean's Office

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Nate Grey, Rachel Summers, Betsy Braddock, Nick Fury

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Scott Summers let Jean sleep in a bit today, doing some of the paperwork that he'd left behind on his sojourn away. She'd told him that she'd had a meeting, but they'd agreed to talk about the details later - they had to have havens away from the work and those havens, at least at the end of the day, were one another. They could pretend to be normal and have nice, quiet time together, reading and watching TV or cooking dinner or whatever.

After she's been up for a while, though, he heads over to her office. He knows he doesn't need to knock - she can feel him coming from a mile away. Hell, they could just talk at different levels of the house, mind to mind. But he liked being in her presence, liked looking at her face in the flesh - "You ready for that talk now?" he says. "I'm going to program a danger room scenario for Blue team workouts in a little bit. Well, I'm going to do my best, and then probably let you go in and fix my mistakes."


One hand was held up as soon as he enters into the room, her head nodding and bobbing as she holds her desk phone against her ear. "I understand, Ms. Laurie. So you want me to pull /all/ of the kids from their classes?" Jean shakes her head a little, then rubs her forehead. "Well, I understand that but.." Jean looks a little tense, gesturing Scott in as she leans forward in preparation to hang up the phone. "Okay. So five hours from now? Good. Good. I'll make sure that they're ready and packed. Okay Ms. Laurie. Okay. Okaaaaaaaaaaaay. Okay. Bye!"

Jean quickly hangs up the phone as she stands from her desk, a little exasperated look upon her face as she gestures towards the chair. "Yes. Yes. I'm ready. And I'm going to ask you to put everything on hold for now. Okay?" She settles down again, groaning and grunting just a touch. "Did you eat your breakfast? I left it by the bed."


Scott Summers raises an eyebrow, "If you say so," he says. He moves to grab a chair himself, across the desk from her and settles in. He didn't like that she was groaning just sitting down - she needed more time out of the field, but he also knew that she wouldn't slow down any more than he would in the same situation. Birds of a feather.

"So, the meeting. How did it go? Who ended up going with you?"


"I say so." She playfully quips back, a little grin lighting her cheeks as she pulls her glasses off to set them aside.

"It went rather well. Elizabeth had her own terms in regards to X-Force and Nate had the terms of clearing Rachel. But, that's neither here nor there. He wants them to work with SHIELD. Off the books. Totally secret and quiet and I'm nearly kindly to the idea." She leans back in her chair now, fingers steepling, knee brought up to lay across the other.

"But this was, at the end of the day, agreed upon by you to go this route. What would you do?"

And there was the answer as to who went with her.


Scott Summers had been thinking a lot about it, knowing this sort of thing would be coming down the pike. He steeples his fingers, "I think it's an opportunity. Which involves, by definition, both risk and reward. The risk is to the school - to the kids here, to the faculty who just want to be left alone to live ordinary lives, with guidance on how to control and manage their powers, not dress up in costumes and go out to fight. The reward? Earning ourselves protection and favor from a powerful government agency and access to intelligence about the people out to get us."

"Two years ago, I'd have said it wasn't worth it. That the school's mission should be primary. But after all we've been through? I think we can balance that risk. The key is to put the right personnel into X-force to be both effective and secure."


"About that.." Jean starts, looking uneasy. "I've been doing some thinking."

"Having them here at the school is too great of a risk. You're right. I don't see this as us ousting them but there needs to be a clear line of separation. Xavier really doesn't care for this idea of X-Force, let alone myself I.." She shakes her head just a little. "I.. just can't get behind it. But.. it's something we have to deal with because they've already been operational for the last half of last year." She leans forward, rubbing a little bit upon her chin.

"But you're right about the protection. Right about everything, really." She looks off into space, her hand nearly rubbing a red bruise upon her cheek as she spaces out.


Scott Summers sighs and shakes his head, "Rarely have I ever been right about everything. I understand it leaving a bad taste in your mouth and the Professor's - violence shouldn't be our first answer and isn't the mission of the school. But we also have…violent people who work with us. People that, much as you and I may moralize, have no compunctions and no interest in changing their attitude about it. I would rather at least they be directed in a productive way than spend our time tilting at windmills trying to change them, only to have them alienated and walk away. That's what's happened with Rose, after all, and, as many conflicts as I had with her, I felt more secure knowing what she was up to than having her out in the world as a rogue element."

Scott does like his control - he likes knowing the players, knowing the rules, being able to strategize. Taking tools out of his hands, even tools he sometimes found distasteful, was anathemic to him.

"I appreciate where Nate's heart is regarding Rachel, but, even if we do get her record expunged, we can't erase the memories of the people who saw us put on trial. Exonerated or not, there will always be those who see us as enemies and outlaws. It's something I have to wear and, unfortunately, something Rachel will, too, even though she didn't even do it herself. That's not fair, but when has life for us ever been fair?"


"There were a few things you've been right about. No one's just ever had the nerve to tell you this because you'd just simply get a big head." Her fingers lift to twirl around in a circle, creating an invisible halo over his head. "Rose was a problem, her own problem. She gets in her own way and doesn't allow herself room to change. And when she tried, she met it kicking and screaming. But goddamn that girl will not give up." She was insistent on it. "There will be change with that girl come hell or high water and we're not going to be the ones to usher it in. Once she finds her purpose, she'll be fine. She just didn't fit with us. Right now."

She sighs a little, the nods. "What you all don't seem to realize is that she doesn't have a record, Scott. You and her, presidential pardons. It was if it never really happened at all. I have the paperwork in my drawer to prove it. However.." She purses her lips. "None of this is fair. Nothing in life is. No matter how hard we work for it. Yes. But in Rachel's case? What Nate was asking for? It cannot happen. The stipulation was that she be on the team itself and he'd see what he could do. But X-Force is not a place she needs to be right now, especially all that has happened with.. the other her."


Scott Summers reaches over and grabs a candy out of a little bowl on Jean's desk, popping one into his mouth. Mmmmmmm, tootsie roll. After he chews and swallows, he answers. 'I agree. I know he wants her with him so he can watch out for her, but she's not as experienced as him and she needs more of a chance to develop and adjust to her new life. Throwing her into the fire of covert operations, even beyond the issues of her identity, just isn't ideal. I intended to keep her with me on Blue team - which I need to reorganize in general. There, I can monitor her overall development and we can keep her close to home for the kind of therapy we were talking about with Emma and Betsy the other day."

"Even beyond that, she and Nate have very similar powersets - they're redundant on the same squad. From a tactical standpoint, you want a diversity of powers at your disposal."


"Sometimes.. a person needs to learn to leave the nest or stay out of it to make their own way." Jean reaches forward, snagging a tootsie roll herself, unwrapping it and popping it into her mouth. "It is your decision though." She didn't want to touch the Rachel issue, but in truth, she was afraid to. She felt that she had failed her those months back, to protect her.. and now a new and fresh, young Rachel was there for Jean to properly fuck up a second time.

She felt horrible just thinking about it. And afraid.

But she pushes that thought aside as she nods her head faintly. "Only because they're our 'children'." She makes the quotation marks. "Unless you want to take Nathaniel into the blue team, a separation is in order and adjustment period is to be made." She smiles just a little, then tilts her head.

"I'm going to call the Professor. Perhaps get a loan to acquisition X-Force a building. I mean it when I say true separation, they'll not be in the school any longer and they'll reside at a black site of my choosing." She rubs her cheek. "I'll pick everything out before hand. Before I break the news. They are not going to like this one bit."


Scott Summers sighs, "They rarely do - we are a rambunctious and motley lot by nature and most do not take well to being told what to do. Which is ironic, given that they want to form a military style strike team. I strongly doubt Nick Fury will be much interested in asking their opinions on things," he says.

"And I agree, a separation from the school is good, both for plausible deniability and to emphasize the seriousness of what they're taking on. It's not a lark or a game - if they're dealing with life or death, they can't be going to hang out in the cafeteria or playing softball games on the back forty," he sighs. "That sounds harsh, but sometimes we have to be. I have your back. If you need my help dealing with pushback or any particular team member, I'll be there."


"I think they would. In regards to Mr. Fury. It seemed.. well, maybe I'm looking at this entire thing with rose colored glasses but if he's willing to adhere to terms and stipulations I think they'd be a willing sort. Honestly?" She smiles a little. "I can see why you sort of liked him. He's got this weird charm about him and truthfulness that you can just get behind and appreciate." She draws from her chair, her finger lacing along the bowl of tootsie rolls to drag with a loud sound through his words. She stops as she stands beside him, hitching up a hip so that she could sit upon her table, a piece of candy taken and unwrapped.

"I think if I say that I don't need your help you're going to find a way -to- help. Which I don't mind." She leans forward, her fingers pressing against his chin to lightly nudge his lips apart, just so she could deposit the candy within. "You could deal with Nathaniel while I deal with the girls."


Scott Summers takes the candy and chews it, kissing the tips of her fingers before he answers. "Fury's got his own charm. I'm sure he has his agenda, but he's always been straight in his dealings with me. I don't distrust him so much as I distrust the system in which he operates. It's just inherently secretive and prone to corruption. But it's also necessary."

"If you told me to keep out of it, I would. You're the leader now, not me, even if I can't help but backseat drive on occasion. And I'd be happy to deal with Nathan. I'm sure he won't be entirely pleased, but hopefully I can make him see reason. And just because X-force won't be housed here doesn't mean he can't see her. You're all telepaths, for god's sake, just psi-tweet each other or whatever."


Jean draws her fingers along his lips as he chews, pulling her hand back to rest slightly upon the desk, the sideways lean looks almost uncomfortable but it helps stretch the back where necessary. "Necessary to a fault. But.. in a way he is a politician, so charm is due there in that regard."

She hops off the desk then, then offers a shrug of her shoulders. "Honestly, Scott? I don't know what the hell I'm doing half of the time, I'm flying at the seat of my pants here. Maybe just talk to Nate and see where he's at and dissuade him from even thinking about Rachel having to join him. I'll pull Betsy aside and let her talk it out. But at the end of the day, I'm kind of wanting and hoping that they accept their offer. But even if they don't? Lines need to be drawn."


Scott Summers nods, "I think they will, too. But yeah, we need to keep a sort of separation of church in state or, in this case, family and X-men. Believe me - I'd always rather have you at my side. I'd like to have Alex around, too. But we have to let each other be our own people and do what's right for us at any given time. And, if we're going to work together, we have to be open to the needs of the other people on the team - and the guidance of the people who run it. And you do pretty damn good at it, even if you don't always see it. It's a thankless job, I know, but you're kinder and more tolerant than I was in the job."


"Yes." Jean nods whole heartedly, then stands from the desk. She was already making her way towards the door, yanking and tugging it open. That meant that their conversation was effectively over. At least on the secret subjects at hand. "And you were also hardly around. Between Primal Force, the Smooth, and half of everything else that went on, you were busy." She bunches her lips briefly, then shrugs. "And it's starting to look like you'll be busy again." She tilts her head towards the door, but steps out first.

"C'mon. Instead of training with Blue today, you train with me. I feel like I'm forty. That chair is going to be the death of me."


Scott Summers considers, "I might get busy, but I'm never too busy for you," he says, getting up and moving to follow her. "My focus is here. I understand that I've allowed myself to get distracted before - I think I was just trying to…control too much. It's a bad habit. One that I'm trying to be more mindful of," he says.

He places a hand at the small of her back, offering support where it hurts, while their psychic rapport lets her feel the warmth of his emotional support for her. "Training together sounds good. Although I almost feel sorry for the simulations - they never last long against the two of us together."


"Don't worry. Everything will be alright." Jean closes and locks the door as they move down the hall, looking up towards him with a little smile. "And we'll be careful with her. This time around."

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