Dangerous Dinner Dates

March 10, 2016:

Betsy takes Laura and Rachel out for a trip into the real world. Rose, Nate and alcohol are involved.

Mutant Town

A gastropub on the edge of Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jean Grey, Scott Summers, and Emma Frost

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Despite the isolation and training the Institute residents endure, the goal of Xavier's dream is not a segregated society, but an integrated one. Where mutants move freely through humanity. For non-student residents there are no restrictions on travel time or curfews to be worried about, and in fact the culture at the Institute encourages X-people to go out frequently, to socialize and mingle.

Which is why in a case of the blind leading the blind, Betsy has brought Laura and Rachel to one of the gastropubs on the edge of Mutant Town for some socialization. Safe harbor for mutants to eat without interference, but cozying up to other districts in the city to allow a mishmash of mutants and humans, and their families room to cross pollinate.

Fingering the stem of her martini, Betsy throws back the remains with a quick gulp and sets the glass aside where the waitress can get to it when she comes around. "School is optional," she says, continuing the conversation, "but we strongly recommend it. Finishing your equivalencies is functionally mandatory in the Americas now, and frankly with the college accreditations we have, there's no reason not to pursue an advanced degree," she explains to the others. "It's a piece of insurance against leaving the Institute or retiring from our … second life to pursue some other ambition."

While X-23 came along to this after school trip, as it were, it doesn't seem she's participating too much into it. In fact, her gaze is roving around the room, as she looks at the mix of mutants and humans that are settled within. Every once in awhile a faint frown will tick her mouth downward as she watches a person or group for a minute or two longer than necessary. Eventually Laura's gaze will fall back upon Betsy, as the other woman speaks.

Again that frown will cause the slim assassins lips to turn downward into a very slight frown as she considers the other woman's words. Ambition? Laura isn't quite sure she knows what other ambitions she might have and as such, her vivid green eyes will turn towards Rachel now. Perhaps the red-head has something more to add than she.

For her part Rachel's a little surprised to be back out in the world so soon after being welcomed home, but there are a few important differences. First, she's not alone, and second, the world looks very different when you're not hiding from it. With very few exceptions, Rachel's been keeping clear of businesses and people since she arrived, and walking openly into a place like this is something of a new experience.

As a result, for the first few minutes after they arrived, Rachel was almost as quiet as Laura, but as time passed - and the small group was apparently treated just like everyone else - she relaxed, and is now leaning forward, her elbows resting comfortably on the table, taking occasional drinks from a bottle of Coke as she listens to Betsy speak. She's still dressed in what's been donated to her, today a pair of black jeans and a slightly scruffy jacket, but shopping is probably an advanced class.

Rachel's eyes are slightly glassy as she listens to Betsy speak so easily about the opportunities on offer. It's another adjustment that she needs to make. Rachel glances to one side, at Laura, and seeing no help there looks back towards Betsy and shrugs with a slight smile. "School. OK." She says, then adds, "I have absolutely no idea where to start."

Mutant Town has become a haunt. The very vision and dream of co-existance and peace happens here, but not always as planned. Some things just do not mix in melting pots well and Mutant Town is the vision of alot more then the peace and prosperity of such.

From a rooftop edge, Rose never stopped truly hunting. It is who she is and what she does. The Morlocks, the Purifiers, Cyberdata, her own redemtion. All through the scope of her Winchester sniper rifle. Recent events in Mutant Town and a successful hunt left her with no choice but to keep herself out of CQB.

So tell me, why when she sees Rachel the weapon rises after a zoomed in view (to be sure), and is packed into her bag, stowed and her descent is made. Betsy was with her, and though that did not make much better, Betsy knew both Rose and Rachel apparently, so it helped ease things down…. A smidge.

X on the other hand is as much a wild card as Rose herself, so when Rose approaches the table, it is not quietly or in stealth for any of their comforts. It's called: Rose style.

"Vodka, rocks. Bottle, and light on the rocks, it waters the truth down." Pause. And whatever the special is…" Because food chases liquor… In the clear or some sort of rhyme like that.

A nod and she is grabbing a chair, more close to Betsy and adjacent to Rachel, as there' likely some cloying air lingering between there.

Understatement of the year award.

Betsy makes a small gesture in the center of the table as Rose approaches. It's a two-purpose expression— greeting to Rose and gesturing quietly that Rachel and Laura can relax. All the while, her eyes are on Rose with an expression that might seem haughty, those familiar with her would recognize as relaxed and neutral.

Then Rose orders a bottle of vodka, and the corner of Betsy's mouth turns up. Just a little.

"Hullo Rose," she greets the white-haired woman. "I wasn't expecting to see you out here today. Kind of you to join us."

"It seems you're up to speed regarding our new friend Rachel," she observes. "And this is Laura," she explains, turning her hand to gesture towards X-23.
Her smile blooms again, as if struck by something funny. "You two play nice."

And then it's back to the conversation. "Rose, I was telling Rachel about college. The first step is your equivalencies. Arithmatic, civics, literature, reading. It's a base for furthur learning," she clarifies. "Then you can start secondary studies— Jean has a doctorate in genetics. Emma has advanced expertise in business and administration. I think Kurt is certified as a theologian in Europe, though I can't quite recall off hand," she admits, touching her tongue to her upper lip and frowning. "But there are diverse options for expanding your horizons."

"Placement tests." Comes Laura's monotone voice when Rachel reveals she has /no/ idea where to start. While it may not be the correct answers, it's the only one Laura actually knows. Afterall, that's how she started out in Xavier's school. Placement tests. That weren't too terribly hard, if you were to ask her.

It's easy for X-23 to pick up on Rose, especially when she's not being too stealthy about it. It also doesn't hurt that Besty alerts the two to Rose's approach. Either way, there's not any noticable tensing from Laura as her eyes track the white-haired woman's movements to their table. The order of vodka is simply ignored, as Laura says aside to Besty and Rachel than Rose, "We have met before."

Laura will keep her attention and sharp gaze upon Rose, even as the other woman settles next to Besty. It's only after a moment of thought and a faint frown, that the slim killer states, "Why did you burn down the bungalow?" Perhaps not the wisest thing to bring up at this particular time, but X-23 is still working on that whole social interaction thing and how to do it right. Currently, she's not doing it right, but she's unaware of that. For Laura a question needed to be asked and she asked it.

Rachel doesn't have the benefit of Laura's enhanced senses, but she was once a predator too, herself. She picks up that someone's moving toward their table and eases back in her chair, tipping back her Coke bottle to down the last of it and cover a stealthy glance in that direction. Rose. The bottle stays where it is a second too long after the contents have been emptied, but then Rachel is very casually replacing it on the table. "Placement tests. Right." Rachel answers Laura, but her attention is clearly elsewhere. Betsy's gesture catches her eye, and Rachel gives an almost imperceptible nod.

After what Scott and others have said, she hardly expects the other woman to start shooting again, but the relaxed ease that had seeped into her body is seeping right back out again.

As Betsy handles the introductions with an impressive degree of understatement, Rachel nods again, this time more openly. "Something like that." Rachel agrees, sitting back in her chair and turning it slightly so that she's facing a little more towards Rose. Rachel's eyes flicker to Betsy as she reels off a list of the X-Men's academic accomplishments, but any comment she might have made is driven out of her mind when Laura asks that question.

Betsy's /look/ is known enough, and when Rose claims her seat it is without flourish. In fact it is stiff and careful, seating her a bit sideways because some parts of ass kicking leave a cheek tender. That and over the top of her shirt the top of reddened incision and a staple can peek forth, the leather jacket tugged at the neck and brought closer. Predator to predator, the signs are evident, no need to -wear- the billboard.

A skip of mismatched gaze trails from Betsy to X and Rachel, a rapid blink and an exhale has her biding time enough for her vodka to arrive and the glass with light ice set before her.

Pour, chug. Repeat.

"It all depends on what they want to provide mutant and meta kind with when they're all /growed/ up." The one word said as such puposefully, but not to demean anyone's intellect, just to show her own interest in that spiel. "Schooling was something my…parentage decided was necessary - to a point. After that… You get it." Probably not, but she is not elaborating her history right now.

"But Betsy is right and in the end it is up to you." Her hand goes for the glass after a refill, but freezes at X's query. A drum of fingers on the table and the glass is grabbed and shot back for her full drink quickly.

"For several reasons. First one is a lesson I was schooled in since I was a child. Don't get attached or comfortable. The rest are my own." But then from the glass and bottle her eyes skip over the trio as she slowly rocks back.

"Question should be: Why did I try to shoot you?" And now she watches Rachel, only broken by the arrival of the house special. A huge porterhouse, sided in a potato and vegetable medely, as well as a salad.

Betsy snakes the bottle and uptilts it into her martini glass while Rose is giving the redheaded Summers scion the sideeye. She sets it back in the middle of the table at least, and nods at the waitress when the suggestion of a refill is floated.

"Maybe a second bottle," Betsy adds as an afterthought, as the woman steps away.

She eases her shoulders back against the seat and holds her martini negligently to one side, watching the conversation playing out. It's hard to tell what her thoughts on the matter are— her expression vague and her thoughts muted. Eyes flicker from Laura to Rachel to Rose, alert and weighing each in assessment as they approach a particularly prickly topic.

While X-23 waited for her answer she couldn't help but take stock in the apparent injuries the white-haired woman has. It may not be completely seen, but X-23's senses tell her a different story about the other woman's health. That faint frown of X-23's blossoms into more of an actual expression now, instead of a ghostly impression. While she could ask what happened X-23 avoids that pitfall for now, as she considers Rose's answer.

A singular nod is given to the white-haired assassin as she says. "I understand." Which she does, X-23 knew very little comfort in her formiable years and it shows with how she reacts to things and how she keeps her room. Only the esstentials are there, no personal touches just for her.

When Rose's attention shifts to Rachel, Laura will ease back from her rather alert position. Now the dark-haired young woman will turn her gaze to Betsy first, before turning her bright green eyes to Rachel now. Idly, X-23's nostrils will flare as she takes in the various scents around their particular table.

Rachel's not blind to Rose's physical condition either, and while she's not stupid enough to consider Rose harmless it adds a little more weight to Betsy's earlier instruction to relax around the white-haired woman. Despite herself, she's slightly impressed by how casually Rose is able to chat about education with Betsy.

Besides, she's curious as hell about why Rose burned her place down, too. Particularly since she hadn't got much out of Nate about it, after assuring herself he hadn't been amongst the ashes. When the answer comes, Rachel snorts quietly. "So do I." She finds herself saying, "But it doesn't work forever." Or at least, she couldn't keep it up. Not quite the same thing.

Rachel replies with a slight shake of her head when Rose turns the conversation to her, but her eyes don't leave the other woman. There's actually the hint of a smirk at the edge of her lips, but it's not exactly amusement that's in her eyes. "No, the question should be why haven't you tried again?" Rachel shifts a bit in her seat, arms crossing, head tilting slightly as she studies Rose right back. "I know why you tried to shoot me." She shrugs. "From what I've heard it was a pretty reasonable thing to do." The smirk becomes more pronounced. "But don't get any ideas. I had a bitch of a headache after last time, and I don't want that again."

Rose's eyes snap towards Betsy when her hand touches down on the bottle of vodka. Hey! Rose /needs/ that! Like a hole in the head. But let's breech that later. The order of the second bottle has that moment fading fast, a lift of glass and tilt towards Betsy in salute.

To X's senses. If she wanders several blocks over an entire block and cars will be painted with the scents and colors of why and how, another involved and then both gone. Mutant Town is peaceful in comparison to the wars wrought by 'Purifiers', but people are still going missing. From children to teens, and the who is a whole new entity, but not restricted to here. Here though, the people know of and trust Rose enough to talk, especially when partying.

X-23's response has Rose tilting hr head her way. "I figured you would." And when Rachel echoes it that salute of glass also goes to them, with a refill on the agenda. Rachel's return question gets a return smile from Rose then, one that does not fade as the glass is refilled and the salad is gestured out for any who want it. It was a waste of precious stomach space!

"Betsy has some knowledge on what I do, how much else she has been privvy too," A shrug. Rose proposed X-Black to Jean for a reason. She wanted to help, but she was by no means a /safe/ face for Xavier's or mutant and meta kind. She was not truly safe at all. Which lead to stretched absences and questioning.

But with some self doubt comes more determination to end it.

"The other you, was a right bitch. Stop me if you've heard this one." The final sentence sarcasm, as the time as passed from headaches and bullets she is sure Rachel has been filled in. A wave of filled glass and she downs it, taking a few pills with it. "What current events have been going on here, in our world," And apparently Nate has spoken with Rose as well. "Is a vying for supremacy. Not equality, despite what the good Institute desires. Do not get me wrong, that'd be nice, but when someone feels threatened it is not reality. People take, create, or -force- supers into things they do not desire, and there are groups that are looking for your and Scott's pretty faces to bring you into their folds for their purposes." A pause as she spins the glass on the table and if Betsy did -not- know. Well…

"Your faces came up on lists I search to do jobs for." Assassin, mercenary, whatever. Rose was for hire on certain levels, but enough so she only took the jobs she felt in the end… Were for the /good/. Skewed right?

"I thought you were the bitch and being where I am from… I figured her better dead then in their hands."

"She was insane, Rose," Betsy corrects, her tone mild but her eyes flashing hard, once, as she automatically comes to her friend's defense. "Broken inside, and the monster in her brain took over." She throws her vodka back, her only reaction a clearing of her throat, and pours another for herself, then tops off Rose's glass, just to be sure.

"But she was… one of my dearest friends. I missed the signs. Jean missed them— Charles too," she concedes. "We all did. It wasn't until it was too late that we realized what we signs we missed."

"But, Rachel doesn't have any of those," she points out, tilting her glass towards the redhead.

She exhales and rests her elbow on the table, propping her chin up on her hand, and staring blankly at a point behind Rose's shoulder. "We've all been a bitch at some point or another," she points out, the effects of several shots finally loosening the prodigious stick up her ass a bit. "You and I more than most," she reminds Rose. For once, Rose's criminal contacts working firmly in her favor— the abrupt disappearance of the notorious Lady Mandarin and the sudden return of the leggy ninja at the table across from her, within sparse weeks of one another? Hardly coincidence.

Betsy pours a drink for Rachel and Laura, then holds her glass out in a toast. "To being bitches," she offers, allowing a wry smile to curl at the corner of her mouth. "We may not be the best people, but we're not the worst."

"Once or twice." Rachel replies, equally sarcastic, but there's no bite in her words. How could there be? Someone wearing her face actually did do everything that's been laid at her door. "And I have my moments." She adds, a bit more quietly. Arguing with Nate against her own best interests probably qualifies at least, but the moment of introspection costs Rachel her chance to expand on that.

Because Betsy is speaking for the 'other' her, and despite the trouble she's in because of that other version of herself, Rachel's grateful to the other telepath for defending her. It gives her hope that she'll turn out to be worth defending, too, if it ever comes to it.

It doesn't make it any easier to hear how another 'her' went insane though. And even after Betsy's looked inside her head - she's still left wondering if that's what waits for her.

She was going to say something flippant in answer to Betsy's toast, but instead hesitates and then shrugs. "I'll try not to screw up in a new and interesting way, I guess." She takes the glass offered by Betsy and raises it with a half-smile. "And anyone who tells us otherwise had better run?" She suggests, and drinks.

Setting the glass back down on the table, Rachel looks into it for a moment or two, then looks up at Rose. "These groups. They want Scott?" Rachel looks darkly amused. "Good luck. He wouldn't bend. But me?" Rachel keeps her eyes on Rose. "If they ever get their claws into me? Don't miss. And don't let Nate stop you."

When Betsy speaks, Rose listens and remains in some silence, even during the toast. Drinking it down to that, and another…

"But I am not from here either, nor was I close with the prior Rachel. I met her," A single finger rises. "Once." Now utensils are being picked up and the steak is being cut into, nice and medium rare, not having to do too much chewing between. "And seeing as where I am from, what I have done, and who I have worked for before. My stance was to kill her or watch her get /pushed/ over that end again and ruin everything Xavier's has worked for and kill a lot of people in the process. Possibly people I do know, and do care for."

A wave of fork and she points her knife down to the steak. "Only you would find a place serving this, here." Rose states to Betsy with a small smirk before she cuts off a piece and offers it to the woman to try. Cuz face it, in Mutant Town, most of the steak is heartily beaten and tenderized levels of schnauzer.

"This brings me to Scott. He -is- the same person and he is not exempt. He needs warned, and with a little help from some of my new friends, I think we can help eachother in a hunting party."

A pause and a napkin wipes at her lips, taking a moment to stop her drinking and food binder to breathe, and make sure it still didn't hurt. "Though I do not think Ripclaw or Nate would like to be referred to as bitches, we'd have a good thing going. Picks of the litter and all." A smirk to Betsy and she looks towards the other two. From X, to Rachel.

"For my mistake in your identity, and your headache. I apologize." If this was the other Rachel, those words made it crystal clear. This would -not- be happening. But when Rachel speaks, Rose smiles, it is not one of joy, or happiness, it's one that goes with her response to Rachel.

"It was my job not to, and what they even conditioned me for in part. Nate would have to kill me to stop me, and I'd have to be more broken then this to miss. I promise."

Betsy's eyebrows go up and she plucks the steak from Rose's fork, deftly popping it behind her plum-colored lips. "Carbs, darling, always aware of carbs," Betsy reminds Rose, eyes dancing subtly. Om nom om. "And while Nate and Rip would object, I think Emma wouldn't find it remotely incorrect."

She listens quietly to the exchange between Rachel and Rose, and after Rachel's grim request and Rose's admonition, Betsy clears her throat pointedly.

"Inasmuch as I am willing to sit around literally all day debating the merits of assassinations and mutual obliteration pacts, this is— ostensibly— a way for Rachel and Laura to appreciate some of the finer things in life. We might eventually even work up to a nightclub or disco," Betsy says, with a faint glimmer of amusement at her own suggestion. "But simple socializing seemed like a good first step."

Rachel's lips draw back from her teeth, her smirk becoming a grin that's as dark as the smile of Rose's that it answers, and she nods. "Good enough." She got the answer that she wanted. Leaning forward a bit in her chair, Rachel's about to pick up on Rose's point about Scott - and more than likely sign up to her proposed hunting party - when Betsy stops her in her tracks with nothing more than a well-bred little cough. Rachel twists around, the word 'but…' already heading toward her lips, but against Betsy's tone and the look in her eyes, it doesn't quite make it.

Rachel frowns, slightly, then realises with a bit of a start that she'd almost forgotten where they were. She glances around, then sits back in her chair, one hand coming to run through her hair a bit self-consciously. "I think I need more practice." Rachel says after a moment, although her eyes flicker to Rose once more, quickly. Whatever the other woman has planned, if she's needed, she wants to know. But that's not something she can say, or think, here. So she looks toward Betsy again, a rueful smile touching her features. "Asking someone to kill me if I go off the rails is easy." She admits frankly. "The rest of this is going to take some work." She frowns again. "Nightclub?" She asks. She knows what one is, of course. She glances back at Laura, then raises her brows as if to indicate herself. "Seriously?"

Rose can operate like a normal person, really! The words hang, the offer made. All Rose has to do is set a few different things in motion and the rest will fall into place. Maybe not neatly, and likely with bloodshed, but that's life. One side of it at least.

The call to the other side is one that get's Rose looking from X and Rachel back to Betsy. "My dancing days are on hold until staples come out. But I can definitely get on board with being an anti-socialite."

Bottle one was finished and bottle two is being used to fill everyones glasses again in a rounded sweep of a sloppy bar tender. A stiff motion and back to business and pleasure! "First off though, clothes for both and… A bit of a disguise for Red Junior here. I can list off places, but the level of safe varies."

The look between them all is one of question, especially when Rachel asks about the seriousness of it all. "Umm. One thing she does little of, is joke." Thumbing to Betsy with a smirk. Smart. Ass.

"And in my line of work, it's what I do to unwind. You both need to find a way to find enjoyment despite the shitshow life can be. Seriously."

"I wanted to build up to the clothes shopping," Betsy admits with another flickering smile. Expressions are clearly contagious as the girls finally unwind a little. "I know some good places in the city but I thought dropping Rachel— or Laura, for that matter— into the middle of the tri-cities wouldn't be the best of ideas."

From the seat the four women occupy, they can see all the comings and goings from the front door of the gastropub, and the vibrant street life of the recovering Mutanttown area. Betsy's eyes follow a family walking across the street, and she wiggles her glass at Rose before the bottle wanders too far out of reach.

"I never joke about society or fashion, Rose," Betsy huffs, affecting a vastly insincere tone of snobbery. "I practically have fashion down to a science. We could invite Emma, but that's a somewhat more intense experience, even by my standards," Betsy admits. "There's not as much fun in finding sales when your friend can just walk in and use a no-limit credit card on a whim."

And just like that, it's all settled, and the conversation has shifted to clothes and dancing? Rachel's head doesn't quite spin, but it's a bit more of an effort for her to switch gears. She reaches out at takes her glass as soon as it's been refilled. She has a feeling she's going to need it.

"Disguise I can handle." Rachel states confidently, as she swirls the clear liquid around in her glass, and just for a second or two, as far as Laura and Rose - and depending how much she's shielding, possibly Betsy as well - are concerned, a blue-eyed blonde is occupying Rachel's chair. She looks vaguely like a younger version of Emma Frost, but that's probably just coincidence. She drops the telepathic illusion almost immediately, any desire she had to show off quickly sated. "It's not completely effective against Laura." Who tracked her by her heartbeat, last time. She shrugs. There aren't many Lauras out there. "Clothes are a different problem." Rachel offers, shooting Betsy a look when she suggests she was working up to that. Rachel has to admit she has a point.

Rose lifts both hands, fingers splayed in a 'not touching it' hand gesture when Betsy mentions her itinerary. "I just saw myself on in and seized the moment. This is your little shin dig when it comes to the outings true purpose. I was just…" A wave of glass laden hand outside and towards rooftops..

"You know…" Sip. No they don't. Maybe. The bottle is lifted and Betsy gets her refill, though it is left nicely in the middle of the table as Rose rocks forward and commences cutting more into the steak. No carbs here, save the crutons on the nicely arranged caesar salad Rose has neglected for the large slab of (real) cow (as far as she can taste) on the table.

"Yes, but there are those that look like fashion disasters, and even I can find a joke in that one." This coming from a girl who dresses in whatever as long as it bears a harder and heavier edge and can conceal her weapons.

When Rachel shifts her image, Rose glances up, nods and goes back to slicing through meat and taking small bites. "Could work, depends." The mention of Laura gets a gesture to the smaller assassin. "And there's other ways to see through that." It also takes Rose some time to transition, or slow down. Bull and china shops sometimes with direction and goal. Unless it's a crystal unicorn. Keepers and priorities?

Though with clothes being a different problem, Rose slowly looks back and and slows mid chew. Yep, now she's lost.

After the chat with the man called Nick Fury (which except for the eye-patch didn't look like any Nick Fury Nate had heard about) Nate finally went back to the Academy. And promptly fell asleep twenty four hours. And of course he missed Rachel.

So for once he looks refreshed, neat, and is not hunting for coffee. Yet. In fact, he is hunting for Rachel, and when finally finds her, she is pretty surprised to see the assembly of deadly women. Deadly -hot- women. Well, maybe it is his lucky day. "Hey, ladies," he greets. "Nice to see you all having fun, do you have a place for me at the table?"

One of Betsy's eyebrows upticks in mild surprise at Rachel's excellent camoflague. "That's rather impressive," she congratulates Rachel. "Well done."

"It would be my pleasure," Betsy assures Rachel, another suggestion of a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. "I'd bring you and Laura both to some very excellent upscale boutiques, and it would be my treat. I was in SHIELD custody for three weeks after they found me— all I had to wear was a government-issued jogging suit. There is strong merit in dressing for success," Betsy adds, flipping her hair over her shoulder.

She spots Nate well ahead of his entrance, and lifts her hand to accompany a psychic hail to the mutant. "Hullo Nate. Fancy meeting you here. Please join us," Betsy invites, gesturing at a tall chair nearby. There's just enough room for Nate to get wedged into the conversation, and from Betsy's relatively effusive greeting (and the empty bottle of vodka next to the one being demolished), it's a good guess that the girls have been hitting the sauce.

Rachel's so practiced at hiding her true face that it doesn't even show when she sleeps. Picking a different face to show the world isn't that much more of a challenge, but she still finds that she appreciate Betsy's compliment, all the same.

And she's entirely unsuprised to discover her brief change of appearance does nothing to phase Rose.

Betsy gets a surprised and grateful look when she offers to solve Rachel's clothes problem. "I've been enjoying 'clean'." Rachel says, deadpan, giving her jacket a bit of a tug for emphasis. "But I'm sure there's more to it than that." Rachel flashes a quick grin, before a familiar presence distracts her.

Rachel turns in her chair, and Nate gets an actual smile and an actual wave. Shifting her chair a bit to ensure that Nate has room to slot in, Rachel retrieves her glass. "Before you ask, Nate." She says, conversationally, "Rose and I have already agreed when she can shoot me and she's promised not to miss." Rachel takes a drink. "So there's nothing to worry about."

Either she's teasing him or the drink's starting to have an effect on her, too.

Rose is chewing and staring at what is left on the plate like it is her enemy, now. That and thoughts while listening to the exchange around them. "I don't do upscale, it all is just as hard to clean or fix." And lets face it, if she ripped, got a bullet hole in, or blood on, anything that cost over twenty bucks and was not her suit, she'd be pissed. Well maybe, depends on how the night panned out. Some things are worth it.

"But.." And that's where the conversaion stops. Nate's arrival gets a glance from Rose and then a look towards Rachel when she speaks up. A slow, stiff and swaying rise has Rose offering the rest of her plate to them and drops a few bills on the table to cover her cost and both the bottles.

"I'll leave you all to finish the details. What I came to settle is settled, ride's on its way." And in fact a rather large van pulls up in front of the restaurant and the side door slides open with a grinding clatter, A thin bespectacled young man peers out, as well as a smaller…being (C.C.) that gets palmed back and cut off mid..

"..Yo! I demand a rematch bi—-"

A small smirk and a peer back to them and she gathers up her duffel and heads for the door. "PVP calls."

Nate eyes Rachel. Is she old enough to drink? Wait. Why the hell does he care about it now? He tilts his head at Rose when she leaves, "have fun, and see you later, beautiful." Maybe? He is still in shaky ground there, he suspects. "Well. Hmm… good news about the shooting, uh? I have more news for you, but…" glance at Laura. "Maybe for later. We can talk when you are back to Xavier's."

Betsy wiggles her fingers at Rose when the white-haired woman departs, resting her elbows on the table and folding her fingers across her forearms. She flashes another quick smile at Rache. "Yes, quite a bit more," she assures the redhead. "You sound just like Jean. It took me ages to get her around to dressing like a woman," Betsy murmurs. "It was ghastly." Her eyes roll expressively upwards and she takes a sip of her vodka. "Fortunately for you, I am an expert at all things retail. We'll get you togged out properly," she assures the woman.

"Anything new to report, Nate?" she asks, transferring her attentions to the other Summers scion. "Why are you out and about on this end of town, anyway?"

First Rose looks at her, and then Nate looks at her. Rachel had wanted to show that the issue between Rose and herself was buried, however imperfectly - she's oddly put in mind of a shallow grave for an inconvenient body - and that Nate didn't have anything to worry about.

Clearly, her sense of humour needs more than a little work.

"Yes. Good news." She tells Nate firmly, not risking any more levity.
"More news?" She asks curiously, and shoots him an impatient look when he refuses to say any more.

Crossing her legs comfortably, Rachel takes another sip of her drink as Betsy compares her to Jean - then has to swallow it quickly when she adds the punchline. It was that of have it come out of her nose, which would have been truly undignified. "You did that on purpose." She tells Betsy with a mock glare, but she's trying not to laugh. Actually laugh. "I promise not to be as much work." Rachel adds, before glancing back to Nate. Maybe Betsy can get his news out of him.

"Yeah, good news and bad news both, I guess," replies Nate. Then turns to Betsy, "I came looking for Ray. But actually I do have to catchup with folks here. I missed my show last Friday. I am going to get yelled at again." Oops. He seems not to care too much, though, as he jumps to his feet with a good deal of energy. Also, he steals the bottle. For the trip. "Catch you tonight. Don't kill anyone, ladies. Well, unless they really, really got it coming. Laters."

Betsy's eyes crinkle affectionately at Rachel, and she reaches over to squeeze her forearm reassuringly, her grip cool and reassuring. Her lips curl into a short but sincere smile, clearly enjoying Rachel's suppressed amusement. "You're built more like Scott, more up and down than hourglass. It makes it much more difficult to look frumpy in casual clothing."

She looks at Nate and nods agreement. "Of course, Nate," she says, snatching at the bottle with ninja-fast hands before it gets entirely out of reach. "Be safe, and we'll see you at the Institute soon."

'Frumpy' hadn't been a concern until right this moment, and Rachel feels oddly guilty that, considering how much better her life has already become, and how many more important things she should be thinking about, she's actually realised that how she looks is important to her. "Which is a polite way of saying I could look even worse right now." Rachel suggests, eyes gleaming with a bit of quiet mischief. She tilts her head to one side, as if she's considering that, then shrugs. "I'll take it." She says, then looks quickly around as Nate starts to take his leave. He gets a fond glare for being mysterious. "I'll talk to you later." She assures him, laughing when Betsy steals back the bottle. Rachel jerks her head in the direction Nate's departing, drawing up one knee to link her arms around. "Does he actually have news, or did he just want the bottle?"

"Markedly. I might even have a picture," Betsy tells Rachel, in a conspiratorial tone. She taps on the screen of her sPhone, unlocking it, and scrolls through some images. Sure enough, there's Jean Grey around 19 years old, wearing Uggs, somehow unflattering wool tights, and a sweater big enough to swim in. The purple haired girl next to her vaguely resembles Betsy— same 'look', but she's flashing a brilliant thousand-watt smile and posturing for the camera, in a short haute dress and curvy black 4" heels no college girl should be able to afford.

"She does better now," Betsy explains, holding the image out for Rachel. "But there are still days I have to march her back into her room to dress like a lady."

Rachel scoots around the table to look at the phone over Betsy's shoulder, trying not to grin. She's not twelve, she tries to remind herself, before realising that she doesn't care. Getting a good look at the picture, Rachel makes a quiet noise that suggests she's trying not to laugh. "She looks comfortable?" Rachel offers, feeling the needs to defend Jean - even though she's yet to meet the woman.

Of course, Rachel recognises Betsy. It would be impossible not to. Rachel spends almost as much time studying the outfit Betsy has on in the picture as they do looking into Jean's eyes, frozen in the past. "I'm making a late start." Rachel says, once she can tear her eyes away. "You'll have some work to do." She sounds like she's looking forward to it.

Betsy intakes air through her nose in a huff. "Jean said the -same- thing," she assures Rachel, quite primly. "But fashion knows no comfort. That said, never go shoe shopping without me. Contrary to what certain people think, heels don't have to hurt your feet if you actually get them properly fitted."

Catching the faint hitch in her tone, Betsy glances around, then a bit impulsively— if awkwardly— turns sideways and hugs Rachel's shoulders. Apparently, after six or seven shots, Betsy becomes a hugger. "It will be fun," she assures the redhead, flashing a megawatt grin at her that the picture didn't do justice. It's gone in a heartbeat, but it's there, and real. "You've had some hard times. Now you get to enjoy life a little. And nothing says success and confidence like how we dress," she says, as if repeating a mantra.

Rachel looks sideways at Betsy. "I won't. I need you to pay." Rachel says, a slight current of self-conscious embarrassment in her tone. It's uncomfortably true. But then Betsy's hugging her, and it's promptly forgotten, mainly because Rachel made a very quiet yelp of surprise that's slightly more embarrassing. It doesn't stop her returning the hug. "OK, OK, I believe you!" Rachel says, still grinning, and once she's untangled herself from the hug leans her elbows on the table and buries her hands in her hair to hold her head up while she stares at her empty glass. "How many of these have I had?" She asks, before dismissing the question and raising her eyes to meet Betsy's again. "School. Clothes. OK." She says. "But I need to do something useful, too." The crooked smile might owe something to the alcohol. "Is that something else you can help me with?"

"At least one too few," Betsy assures Rachel, topping their glasses off. The rigid ninja is giving way to a slightly less-prim Brit, and she props her elbows on the table and rests her chin on the backs of her knuckles, looking at Rachel.

"There's always work to be done," Betsy acknowledges. There's a faint shimmering in the air around them as she erects a psionic barrier around their table. It's nothing terribly potent, but it serves well to stop lip readers and eavesdroppers. "People need protecting and there's plenty of danger to go around. There's no denying you are a wonderfully useful asset in the field," she says, eyes brightening. It's an odd compliment, but high praise from the likes of the purple-haired kunoichi.

"We'll find ways for you to contribute in that vein if you want, but I meant what I said— if all you want is a life of quiet contemplation, we'll leave to a loft room filled with books and soft classical music. Maybe send up some strapping young fellow to you once a year on your birthday," she suggests, rolling her lips back to bite back a smile.

Rachel drops one hand to lie flat on the table, shifts the other one to cup her chin, and considers the state of her empty glass. "You're right." She decides, as Betsy tops it up. Picking up her glass, Rachel takes a sip, then cocks her head as she feels Betsy use her powers to isolate them from the rest of the patrons.

The compliment makes Rachel stare at Betsy for a second, before she shakes it off and takes another sip of her drink to belatedly cover her reaction. "I guess you've seen what I can do out here…" She raises a finger to tap one of her temples. "And in here. I can be useful. I want to be useful. And that's about the only way I KNOW how to be useful." She smiles. "Just point me in the right direction." There's a little flicker of something as she says that, but it's fleeting and gone almost immediately.

"Right now, that sounds great. But pretty soon I'd only be enjoying that one day a year." There's a quick grin, but again, a little flicker of something dark in her eyes, but the memories can't reach her here. "I think I'd be begging you to let me out in under a week. No." Rachel shakes her head. "I know I have to be careful, but I don't want to hide forever."

Betsy twitches a bit at the temple-tap. "If there'd been any other way," she murmurs, taking a healthy gulp of her fresh pour. "Charles said the side effects may vary. I've been craving Tang for some reason. Is that yours?" She wrinkles her nose and sips some more vodka, and idly runs her fingertip through Rose's abandoned plate of steak, sopping up some delicious meaty juices and transferring them to her tongue.

"Mm. Anyway. We shan't lock you away, dear, I promise," Betsy assures Rachel. "And don't be too quick to put aside thoughts of school. No one said that this is a lifetime occupation," she points out. "With an education, your options are far more diverse."

Rachel catches Betsy's twitch. "I know." She says quietly, the booze not robbing her of clarity on this one point at least. "I hated it and I know you did, too." She hesitates, obviously uncertain, but she decides she has to say it anyway. "But I'm glad there wasn't another way. All of this, the world, the people, it was like…" Rachel fumbles for the right words. "…it was like I was looking at reflections in a distorted mirror. None of it was real. Not until you said 'welcome home'." Rachel smiles, sad and happy at the same time. "Now it's real."

Rachel doesn't hold on to the serious moment, just shakes her head and lets the conversation turn to lighter matters again. "Tang? Not me." Rachel's brows draw together in thought, and she picks up her vodka glass, studies it, then shifts her gaze to Betsy. "I'm blaming this on you. Thanks." She says, and takes another sip.

"I'm not. I want that too. I'm selfish like that." She says the words lightly, but her eyes go serious again afterwards. "But I was… sort of an X-Man, where I came from. For what that was worth by then. I can't just study, while you keep me safe."

"If you start getting an urge to run off with mysterious SHIELD agents, that's probably me, too," Betsy says wryly. "My last three dates were all 'scouts', as your mum said— Flash, Jessica, Steve," she says, counting on her fingers a bit blearily. "She says it's a pattern forming. I try not to think about it too much."

She rolls her head to the side, pressing her cheek against her palm and letting one propped-up elbow slide to the tabletop. "I know what you're capable of, Rae," Betsy assures the redhead. "I know you're a fighter and you're more than capable. It's not about … it's not about keeping you safe," she says, struggling a bit for the words. "Scott, Jean— myself— we want you to be happy. Before, you— she," Betsy amends, "was so focused on fighting and surviving, there wasn't any time to focus on living. I don't know if that was the problem, or a symptom, but … I want you to find some solace in things here. God forfend, even enjoy yourself. You've earned some respite."

"You have a James Bond complex?" Rachel suggests, a faintly devilish glint in her eye as she says it. "No dates for me." Rachel adds, "My life is FAR too complicated. Laura and Rose are the most normal people I've spoken to who weren't either another time traveler, related to me or…" She waves a hand vaguely at Betsy. "Part of some sort of honorary extended family… thing." Rachel looks at the vodka, accusingly, and then downs the rest of it.

"Betsy…" Rachel says, softly. "I'm a mess. You know that. I barely managed to stop running, and I'm not sure I know how to stop fighting. I'm going to try, though. At least for a while. Because right now, I am happy. I'm probably going to have a hell of a headache in the morning, but I'm happy."

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