Breakfast Club

March 12, 2016:

Scott has an early morning talk with Rachel, while making some breakfast.

Xavier's Institute

Various locations in the X-mansion, primarily the kitchen.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Nate Grey, Jean Grey, Betsy Braddock


Mood Music: [*\# ]

Fade In…

Scott Summers comes downstairs early by most standards, although he's already been up for nearly two hours himself. He's conditioned himself to get by on about six hours of sleep on average a night - it felt like a luxury and he often had only three or four, when he was busy. He was being indulgent, enjoying being home again and being able to spend time with Jean. But there was always business.

He's given Rachel plenty of space since she came back to the mansion. He doesn't want her to feel as though he's breathing down her neck or constantly on watch. He told her he trusted her and he does. That doesn't mean he thinks the rest of the world can be trusted with her.

He comes to seek her out this morning, knocking carefully, although he can hear her moving so he knows she's up. "Rise and shine, kiddo. Want some breakfast?"

Rachel's awake, and has been for a while. Sheer exhaustion gave her a couple of nights' unbroken sleep when she first arrived at the Institute, the results of a drinking with Betsy another, but she's now back to broken sleep and occasional nightmares. She doesn't make Scott wait long before opening the door, and despite her hair looking a bit spiky and damp from the shower, she probably still looks a lot better than she did when he brought her back here.

She's dressed in the red hoodie and black leggings that she's seemed to live in since she's been at the Institute. The promised shopping trip with Betsy cannot come quickly enough.

"Morning Scott." She says with a smile, but there's a distracted look in her eyes. "Sounds good. Give me a second." It doesn't take much more than that for her to locate her sneakers and slip them on - it's not like she has many personal effects to hide them - and rejoin him in the corridor.

Scott Summers is dressed fairly casually himself, in a sweatshirt and jeans. He did his morning workout and run, grabbed a shower and then came on down. His hair is tousled and still a bit damp, his eyes hidden behind the ruby-quartz of his glasses. He leads her into the kitchen, gesturing for her to take a seat at the table.

"I can't promise anything fancy. Jean's a much better cook than me, but I can handle eggs and bacon and toast," he says. "Or you can just have some cereal, if you like. I think we have some bran flakes and some sort of horrifying sugar-chocolate-marshmallow concoction in there somewhere," he says, nodding to the cabinets.

He butters his pan and cracks some eggs, starting to cook, "So, how have you been settling in?"

Rachel's eyes track toward the indicated cabinets but she doesn't make any move in that direction, the idea of the sugar-chocolate-whatever concoction drawing a grimace from her. "Sounds horrible. Eggs, bacon and toast would be great." She says it with feeling, still not quite used to the idea that she can eat like this every day, and pretty much whenever she wants to.

Locating an area that she hopes won't be in Scott's way as he cooks, Rachel leans against the counter and buries her hands in the pockets of her hoodie, watching him work for a bit before answering his question. "It's been easier than I thought it would be." She admits, although she hasn't crossed paths with Henry yet. "Betsy's helped me. Nate and Laura, too." Rachel smiles at her memory of the other morning. "And Lunair made burgers for me when I was hung over." She shakes her head. "It feels weird. It shouldn't feel weird, should it?"

Scott Summers gets the bacon out, adding a second pan and laying down strips as he shakes his head, "It feels how it feels. Change doesn't always come easily. If it did, we wouldn't need X-men in the first place," he says, grabbing a fork and working to scramble the eggs in the pan. "I'm glad people have been helping you out. In theory, we're all here to help each other."

He considers, "I know you're still adjusting, but I'm starting to put together my own squad. I think we're still debating color attachments - I don't know why we have to do that, but it seems to be the general consensus. I just think of them as my X-men. I'd like you to be one of them," he says.

Rachel takes a deep breath. She'd been trying to figure out how to broach one particular subject, and instead Scott gets there first. She should probably be relieved - she can't, and doesn't try, to hide the genuine smile that curves her lips when he tells her that he wants her on his squad - but there's still that look of disquiet in her eyes.

"I'd like that." She says the words carefully, but because she wants to say yes, not because she wants to say no. "But it's not really that simple, is it? Nate told me about the Black team." Rachel pauses, still not really having had time to process what she feels about that. "And he told me about Nick Fury's deal. They work for him, I work for them, I'm no longer a threat to…" She takes a hand out of her pocket and waves at her surroundings. "…all of this."

Rachel goes quiet, looking away from Scott. "I should do it. I know I should. But I don't know if I can."

Scott Summers shakes his head, "I admittedly was not there, but I don't recall your participation in the Black team being a condition of anything. Nate asked that you be expunged from government records, I believe, but you already don't have a record - your other self was Presidentially pardoned, as was I. But we can't make them all forget, unfortunately - we were on the news for quite a while there, and made quite an impact, even if we were eventually cleared," he sighs.

He turns the bacon and adds some shredded cheese and seasoning to the eggs. "But you are free to make your own choices. I would like to have you on my team so that I can help guide you and because…the things Black will get into will be violent, intense and dangerous. For all your capability, I think you've had enough of that in your life. Not to say we won't see our share of action, but not in the same terms. We're going to be heroes, they're going to be soldiers. I don't think you would be very happy being a soldier," he says.

Rachel doesn't look back at Scott quite yet, although she's listening to his words. Her eyes are fixed on the opposite wall. "Nate told me that if I did this, the US Government would leave me alone. From the way he said it, I don't think any pardon means much to them." Her tone's grim. "I know what happens when the Government takes too much of an interest in this place. It ends with tanks on the lawn, and we lose." She's not staring at the wall, she's staring into her past, and possibly the X-Men's future. "Maybe this deal makes that less likely. I don't know."

Rachel tries to shake herself free of the memories, running a hand back through her hair and not really improving the look of it much. Finally her head turns toward Scott again. "You're right." She answers him, honestly. "There's something else, too. Something Betsy told me. She told me the other me never stopped fighting. She wants - I want - more than that. Is that selfish?"

Scott Summers sighs and shakes his head, "I'm not sure where Nate's getting that, because…that isn't at all what Jean gave me to understand. We're giving Fury the opportunity to work with us, not vice versa. It's a partnership, not some sort of shady deal," he sighs. "We were negotiating a deal with Fury….hell, it's been years in the making. It has nothing to do with you. The goverment was interested in us before you came along and we would be doing the same thing whether you were here or not," he says.

"That isn't to say you're unimportant. You're very important. But I think you do need guidance to help you reach that potential. You need the guidance of people like Betsy and Emma and Jean and the Professor. You need a chance to grow and test yourself without being in mortal danger all the time. You need to be a student. You need to be here. And X-Black will not be here - a school is no base of operations for a covert operations team."

Rachel wasn't exactly in tip-top condition when Nate was explaining X-Men Black and the SHIELD deal to her. She knows she didn't react as well as she could have, and she knows why. She just doesn't like to admit to the fear, so instead she listens to Scott, and starts to understand. "I was an extra condition that Nate threw in, then." That makes some sense to her, and she winces. "He's still trying to look out for me. I just…" Panicked? Rachel shies away from admitting that to herself. "I need to stop making his life difficult." She says, instead, and lets out a breath, some of her tension leaving with it.

A wry smile creeps on to Rachel's face as she considers Scott's words. "Guidance is a polite way to tell me I'm a mess." Rachel shakes her head quickly, to take any possible sting out of the words, still smiling. She knows her sense of humour is questionable at best. "It's OK, I know I'm a… I know I need guidance. You're right." Rachel raises a hand to rub at the back of her neck. "I want to be useful, though. I want to be on a team, not just a student." She shrugs, and the look in her eyes becomes clear and determined. "How do we start?"

Scott Summers sighs softly, "Nate makes his own life difficult, but he does it with a good heart. He wants to have you close so he can look out for you and he has a hard time trusting others to do it. That's due to his background, which, in its own way, is likely as tumultuous as yours," he says. "Both of you are very connected and I want you to have that bond. But, at the same time, X-Black just isn't an ideal place for you. He's had years to adjust to this world. I want to give you the same chance," he says.

"You're not a mess. You've just got learning to do. You're hardly alone in that," he says with a wry smile. "I was a lost, lonely orphan when I came here. I'd lost control of my powers, endangered countless lives. Professor Xavier taught me how to harness my abilities - and he taught me how to teach others. That's where we start. It'll be probably a little boring at first - we're going to measure you, test you, explore you. You'll likely have people poking around in your head a little bit, which I know isn't always pleasant. Sometimes I'll push you too far - tell me when I do. Sometimes I won't push you hard enough - but that's why I don't teach alone."

He plates the eggs and bacon, pushing down the bread in the toaster as he gets out the butter and jam. "And it's okay to be afraid. Just don't hide it or try to pretend you aren't. Being brave isn't about not being afraid - it's about being afraid and still doing what you have to do, because it's the right thing. Strawberry, grape, or just butter?"

Rachel keeps quiet while Scott talks about Nate. He was one of the first people that she met after arriving here, the first to take her side, and he's still looking out for her now. She's more than grateful, and she'd like nothing more than to start balancing the scales.

But Scott's right. She's not ready. She just wishes it didn't feel quite so much like she was betraying Nate.

She looks up with a quiet little snort of dissent and a crooked smile. Of course she's a mess. She's just not going to argue the point with the man that she can't help but think of as her father, is all. "Betsy's already been in there." Rachel says, her tone carefully neutral. It wasn't a pleasant experience, but it was necessary. "I can handle boring. Boring would be OK." Rachel says, making an effort to lighten her tone again. Besides, the food is nearly done, and she'd forgotten how hungry she was.

"Strawberry. Please." Rachel makes the choice at random, and with a couple of seconds delay. She's not touching the subject of fear. She's OK with Scott knowing she's a mess, but she never wants him to think she's afraid.

Scott Summers nods, setting the strawberry jam in front of her as he makes his own plate. He doesn't blame Nate in the least - he's just thinking with his heart instead of his head. Rather ironic for a boy with such a powerful mind. His intentions are good, but that doesn't mean he can see things from every angle. Angles have always been one of Scott's specialties.

"If you're okay with boring, have I got some slides of my trip to Alaska to show you," he says in a teasing tone. He moves to sit down. "Sounds to me like you're ready to get to work. That's good. Because work it will be. But it will be worth it, I can promise that," he says. "Now, let's do some protein loading and then we'll head down to start working on some basic tactical measurements," he says.

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