Black Ops Hangover

March 11, 2016:

Rachel has a hangover. Lunair tries to cure it with breakfast. Nate makes it worse by revealing X-Men Black, and inviting Rachel to join.

Xavier Institute

The Xavier Institute kitchen.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Scott Summers


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Mid-morning has Nate coming up to the old mansion from the underground complex. Nothing like a Danger Room session to clear the head after a night of insomnia. He still has his hair wet from the shower, and he probably needs a shave. But food comes first, and he heads for the kitchen. Besides, he can sense Rachel there. "Hey Ray, don't tell me you just woke up?"

Rachel's familiar with nights of insomnia, or worse, nights that are just flashes of wakefulness between nightmares. She just never thought she'd MISS them. Because while she slept like a dead thing last night, that peaceful oblivion came with a nasty price as soon as she opened her eyes.

Telepaths and headaches do not mix.

Once she'd realised that as much as she might wish otherwise she wasn't actually going to die, Rachel made the effort to get up. So far she's washed, dressed - if you can call a red hoodie and black leggings 'dressed', and made her way to the kitchen. Where she can be found with a tall glass of water, trying to decide if she feels lucky enough to attempt breakfast.

She winces and turns around when Nate calls loudly to her. "Define 'woke up'." She replies, morosely, and takes a sip of her water.

In-between classes. That's where Laura is. She's simply walking down a hallway when a familiar scent tickles her nose. Her head will turn now in the general direction that Nate and Rachel's scents go. It's easy enough to figure out where they're at, the kitchen, and as such Laura heads that way.

Eventually, after some weaving between student bodies, Laura arrives in the kitchen. Her green eyes will flick first to Rachel and then Nate, as she offers her own brand of greeting. "Rachel. Nate." Then there's a slight flare of nostrils as Laura automatically scents the area around themselves.

Gothic lolita. Lunair gets HER fashion from the internet! And Tokyo sometimes. Perhaps. She is an odd duck. And she's not really on campus a lot, due to her retiring nature and feeling annoyed by near weekly drone dartings. So everything is looking up, really. She has what looks like a cake carrying case in her arms, and a set of pastel food dyes. She's humming along and then there's people. She blinks owlishly. "Hi! Wow. You need a burger and a hug. Maybe some tylenol," She offers helpfully to Rachel. "I can cook if you want." Suddenly, people!

She seems a bit surprised. "Hi!"

Nate and Rachel would have no trouble detecting the presence of a certain psychic kunoichi on approach to the kitchen. Subtle though Betsy's presence is, she is making no effort to conceal her presence. The scent of jasmine precedes her as well, for keen noses, but the telltale click of stilettos could only mean Betsy or Emma Frost is rounding the corner.

Perfectly coiffed, smartly dressed, Betsy does not look like someone who was a main contributor to killing two bottles of vodka at the pub the night prior. "Good morning," she greets the room, moving to the fridge. Like Rachel, she's in tights, but has donned a pillowy fashion-forward poncho top to go with it. "Fighting a hangover?" she guesses of Rachel. Betsy sets about turning on the stove and pulling food items from the refridgerator to cook a late morning meal.

"Define… oooh, I see." Nate stands behind Rachel and grins, patting her shoulder. "Your first hangover? Congratulations. Luna! Tylenol, yes. No, wait… that could affect her telepathics. We'll fix this with coffee." He grins to Betsy, "your fault, I think. And hello, Laura. No hungover for Laura, this is why a healing factor is the best mutant power."

Rachel sees the very moment when Nate figures it out, and she's wincing even before his grin is fully formed. She already knows he takes his self-appointed responsibilities as her 'older brother' seriously, and she has a horrible premonition that includes making her suffer for her mistakes. "Thanks." She replies, submitting to having her shoulder patted, then blinking a bit as Lunair appears. A second blink assures her that the uniquely dressed woman really is there. And speaking to her. "Um? Yes? No? Maybe?" She tries, unsure which answers went with the list Lunair offered, and settles on a "Hi." Of her own. As Laura, too, arrives, it's a bit disconcerting how quickly the kitchen is filling up. At least Laura is naturally quiet, and the dark haired assassin gets a wave of Rachel's free hand.

And then there's Betsy. Who Rachel didn't sense coming because she doesn't feel like trying to sense anything beyond the end of her own nose right at the moment. Rachel tracks the purple haired ninja as she gracefully crosses the kitchen, and after a pause, replies, "I hate you." There's a grin attached to the words, though, despite Rachel's headache. "Morning, Betsy…." And then Nate says the magic words. "Coffee. God. Yes. Coffee."

When Lunair arrives, X-23 can't help but automatically turn to give the other woman an assessing look. Especially the container she's carrying. Her attention only shifts when the scent and the sounds of Betsy are heard. Green eyes will flick towards the doorway at just about the same time Besty enters and when she does, Laura will add. "Besty." To this round of greetings.

With one last look at Lunair, who's new to her, Laura will step further into the small kitchen. While she doesn't necessarily go for anything to eat, she will at least hover near Nate and Ray for the moment.

"You are ill?" Asks Laura to Rachel, in her typical monotone voice, as she picks up on some of what the group is talking about.

Lunair seems to struggle with showing emotion properly, giving her a flat affect. Poor Rachel. There's a sympthetic look. "Are you allowed to have tylenol?" She asks. "I don't know about brain powers…" She admits. She sets down her cake, and sticks the food dyes into a spot in the cabine. "There is cake, and I can cook something nice and stuff. From my experience, hamburgers seem popular for hangovers. The grease, carbs and meats make you feel better I guess. Anyone else want one then?" And then, there's a Betsy. "Hiya!"

She seems curious about Laura, and settles quiet. "… must have been quite a night." She is at a loss.

"Dehydrated," Betsy supplies to Laura's question. "She had too much alcohol last night. The colloquialsim is hung over." She sets about scrambling some eggs, taking less than a minute to do so, and transfers the cooked eggs to a bowl. "I'd stay and commiserate, but regrettably I have to cover literature class. Adieu, I'll return presently." And just like that, Betsy sweeps back out!

"Lunair, this is my alternate dimension sister Rachel Summers, and the quiet Brunette is Laura." Nate makes the introductions while he gets the coffee machine running. "Ray, I got drunk the first night I went clubbing with Rose. It was fun. But never do it in the middle of New York 'cause your mental shields will quickly become paper walls." The evil combo of telepathy and drunkenness are the main reason Nate is a moderate drinker. And that he avoids most drugs that are not painkillers.

"Yes." Rachel just manages to reply to Laura, before Betsy chips in with her much more accurate (and damning) description of her condition, before sweeping back out again with as much grace as she displayed on the way in. Rachel watches the empty doorway for a few seconds after Betsy departs, before very carefully shaking her head. "That's so unfair." She says under her breath.

Rachel knocks back the rest of her glass of water and manages to turn her attention back to the others sharing the kitchen with her. "Tylenol?" She asks, blankly. "I have no idea but right now I'll try anything." Her stomach turns over at the mention of food and Rachel swallows, before deciding that it's kill or cure time. "Grease, carbs and meats sound great right now." She's very grateful that Nate is handling the introductions. "Thanks Lunair." She manages to put in, while she trails after Nate toward the coffee machine. Coffee first. "Got it. Don't go drinking with Rose." She willfully misinterprets his story, a smirk showing that her sense of humour isn't quite dead.

At the introduction, X-23 will return her gaze back to Lunair, sizing her up once more. Thankfully though, Laura will eventually offer a single nod to Lunair, as the slim assassin says in answer to Lunair's own question., "No. I do not recognize you." It's pretty apparent that Lunair isn't the only one bad at emoting emotions or being just plain quirky.

At the mention of Rose by both Nate and Rachel, Laura will immediately swing her gaze to Nate. "We saw Rose yesterday. She had injuries." And while others would likely not have passed that bit of information to Nate like that, Laura does.

And while she could have said so much more, Laura doesn't. Instead there's a faint tilt to her head as she adds at the very end, "I must leave. It is time for class.". And with that, Laura easily heads for the door, leaving much like her mentor did.

Lunair was created as a super terrorist. They fight crime!? But either way, Lunair seems curious about Laura and tilts her head. "Nice to meet you, miss Laura." She smiles. "Is Rose okay?" She looks genuinely worried. "And oh. Don't be late." Wave to Laura.

"Must be literature day," She remarks. A shrug and hamburger meat, some spices and a bowl are pulled out. A frying pan already rests on the stove, so there's some oil set into the pan. "Sure. Did you want one, too, Nate? How are you?" She asks. Lunair is socially inept, but she has a far more puppylike personality when not dropping thermobaric weapons on people or slapping them in the head with antipersonnel mines. "And nice to meet you, Rachel." She does fish her tylenol out of her bag. "Hmm. Spicy or medium burgers? Usually I just use garlic powder in them," She explains.

"Oh, that too," agrees Nate. "Don't try to outdrink a woman that received one of those super-soldier serums, at least. Maybe Laura could do it." For a moment, he considers how could he set Laura up to see it. But Laura is already departing for more classes. Damn. Lunair's offer about food brings him back to reality. "Different Rachel. She just got here from her world. And when have you seen me say no to free food? Your coffee, Ray," it is a large mug, and steaming. Nate leaves milk and sugar within Rachel's reach, too.

"She's welcome to try, I won't be." Rachel says, with feeling.

"You too, Lunair." Rachel replies, her tone a bit faint. Conversation is making the hammer behind her eyes hit just that little bit harder. The Tylenol is taken with a slightly pained smile of thanks, and Rachel shoots Nate a questioning look, shaking the packet a bit. From her expression, unless he categorically tells her that taking the pills will make the top of her head come off, she's going to give them a try.

Rachel doesn't even touch the subject of her being new in town. Lunair doesn't seem to have an axe to grind with her over what her predecessor got up to, and Rachel is thankful for small mercies this morning. And then Nate offers coffee. "You may just have saved my life." She tells him. Moving to find a seat to slump into, Rachel rests the mug on the table, cupping the steaming mug in both hands and breathing in the aroma. Until it cools enough to take a sip Rachel's just going to stare into its depths in the hope of a cure.

Lunair smiles, and nods. She mixes the meat with a couple of spices, shaping burger patties and putting them into the warmed up pan. There's sizzling. "Fair." And the nearby deep fryer is loaded up with fries, oil and turned on. Plenty of carbs, grease and love here. She lets the frying go on, pouring spices over fries. Rosemary and olive oil, yup! Hands are duly washed. Lunair is just cheery.

"And oh, yeah. I am so jealous of the super-soldier serum," She admits. "But mine let me live and activated my powers. I can't complain," Even if she's squishy as all hell. "Um, could you get the buns, Nate?" Hey, she likes letting other people help. "Or at least cut some cheese off the block." She does not do mere slices! Lunair burgers are for the ages! Or something. "I am glad you're okay," She offers to Rachel. Sadly, the only cures for hangovers are TLC and time. And Lunair doesn't have an axe to grind with the Rachel in the slightest. Strangely, Lunair just /accepts/ people and things as they are. It's a very in the now existence. "At least you had fun, yeah? Rose is great."

Nate usually has fun. He is easily amused. And Rose is great, even though she shot Rachel. But that has been fixed. Mostly. He is also faintly surprised Lunair asks him to help in the kitchen. Nate cooking usually ends up in tears, and destroyed kitchens. "I'll get the cheese," it is unlikely he can do much harm cutting cheese, right?

Sizzling. Even SIZZLING is enough to make Rachel wince a bit more, and wish a bit harder for the Tylenol to kick in. She's not paying all that much attention to to conversation going on around her and largely over her head. She's not being rude, just… ow. "OK is relative." Rachel says, looking up from her coffee with a wan smile. Blowing onto her coffee, Rachel risks a sip. Hot, but drinkable. She takes another, closing her eyes for a few seconds, then forces them open again, half-turning in her chair so that she can rest an arm over the back and see the other two. "She's something, all right." Rachel says, but there's amusement and not venom in her tone. She shoots Lunair a curious glance when Nate busies himself with the cheese. "He didn't sound confident." She remarks.

"I believe in you," Lunair nods at Nate. "Just cut the slices as thick as you want on your burger. Most cheese slices outside of delis are horribly processed," She notes. Lunair DO care. She flips the burgers. It seems the less handling, the better on meat. Fries are shaken in their fryer, and lettuce and tomatoes are coming out to be rinsed. Buns! "If you want more stuff, you have to tell me." Yes. "Cooking is mostly about experience and reading directions." Sagenod.

"I started pasta fires wen I started. But then I got it," She pauses. "Where are the plates again? And how is your time here?" She asks Rachel
Nate gets the cheese and a knife, and considers telekinetic slicing. What could possibly go wrong. "Oh, I wanted to tell you something important, Ray. Let me know when your headache can handle it." Fortunately for the kitchen he decides against using telekinesis, since he is still recovering from (losing) a fight with a reality-rending artifact called the Zodiac Key. (Which explains why he had to sleep a whole day the other night. Today he is back to his insomniac self). "Unless Betsy told you already about Nick Fury."

Rachel sits and sips her coffee, slowly starting to feel like something approximating a human being, as the other two work on preparing food that she's going to eat. She doesn't feel even slightly guilty that she's not helping. In her current condition, she's pretty sure she'd be a hindrance at best. She does manage to notice that Lunair's talking to her, and starts to answer, hesitates, and then smiles. "It's great, now. Bit rocky at first." She says. Time to stop dwelling on the bad stuff for a while!

She takes another swig of her cooling coffee and cranes her neck around to look at Nate, instictively checking out his slicing first, before looking up at him. "OK." She says, deciding her headache hasn't dissipated enough to press him for details… until he drops a little extra detail that she can't ignore. "…you did that on purpose." She says. "What is it?"

"That's good. Spring is going to be nice this year," She smiles a little. "And he totally does. He's King Mysterious Cliffhaner," Lunair even manages a bit of teasing! After a bit, she lifts the fry basket, letting the excess oil fall back and away. It'll take a minute for them to cool and drain, so she lets it be. "How many hamburgers do you guys want?" She asks. There's currently 4 in the pan.

Lettuce? Tomatoes? Totes rinsed. "And if you have questions or need any shopping, we're totally here for you. And you got that cheese, Nate. You can do it." She believes!

"All of them and with everything," which is Nate response to food. Wait, he will have to share some with Rachel. But he is sure she will also want them with everything. He has cut all the cheese, too. Too many slices, probably.

"Well. It is a long story. A while ago Mutant Town was almost under siege, you see. The Purifiers where trying to destroy it, and human authorities were not doing much. The agency in charge of super-humans, the SRD, was corrupt. On top of that, well… Sentinels, rumors of mutant killers and other pretty crappy stuff," explains Nate. Not that things are much better now, but at least the Purifiers seem to have retreated and the SRD was disbanded.

"So… fourth X-team was formed. We had old Gold and Blue, which were the standard teams based here. We had public Red. A black ops team, X-Black was formed in secret. To strike back against enemies that seemed beyond the law."

Rachel opens her mouth to reply, and Nate beats her to it. She frowns and switches her gaze to Nate, "Hey! Two of those are mine!" She tells him, although she's in no condition to actually fight him for them. Remembering her manners a bit belatedly, she offers a hurried, "Thanks Lunair." Wouldn't do to offend the cook, after all.

When Nate begins with 'it's a long story', Rachel looks down into her mug of coffee, grimaces, and drinks the rest of it down. She has a feeling she's going to need more. Not wanting to interrupt Nate, she gestures to her empty mug, then at the kettle, and goes to get herself a refill, glancing back at Nate every few seconds to show that's she's listening. She really is, but she needs more coffee if she's going to be expected to give what he's saying the consideration it deserves.

"Wait, what?" Rachel stiffens a bit, and nearly over-fills her mug. "Sentinels?" She says. The word is spoken low and venomous, and her body's straightened up from its previously slouched position. A bit of adrenaline started to flow at that word, and she's tense.

It's doing her headache no good at all, and she winces at the increased pain in her head, but she keeps listening.

And then Nate pulls the floor out from under her and she actually sways before she can catch herself against the worktop behind her. "Nate…" She says, her tone an odd mix of warning and almost… pleading? "If you're about to tell me that everything SHE did was for this… X-Black…" Rachel cuts off.

Lunair nods. She is helpfully building Rachel's burger for her. Ketchup, mustard are set out before them. "Okay. Things are done. Please, help yourself." The fries are in a bowl to be scooped out, and she'll give the lion's share to poor Ray. Nate's got a burg with everything. Then one for Ray. Spare is split up. "Here, you can both have the extra. But Miss Ray gets the extra fries because she's unwell." That's the rules!

"And yeah, Sentinels. They're seriously bad news," A sot sigh. For her part? She will be quiet for a moment. "You're welcome and it's fine." She settles quiet a moment. "She acted independently, if you are speaking of who I think you are. Most of us had no idea. I didn't," Lunair frowns.

"I know about the Sentinels." Rachel's voice is quiet and certain. She's not really in any condition to deal with this, but she doesn't have any choice. Pushing her freshly filled mug of coffee to one side, Rachel boosts herself up to sit on top of the counter, hands braced either side of her. Knuckles slightly white. Betsy. Of course. What she saw in the other woman's mind. But Nate, too? Rose is not a surprise. "She had an agenda, and didn't tell you. You had an agenda, and didn't tell her. What's the difference, Nate? Is it just because she got caught?" Rachel shakes her head. Ow. The pain reminds her of her headache. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Poor Rachel. Lunair sets a plate with 1.5 burgers and the lion's share of the fries before her. "Here you go. Don't take all this on an empty stomach and throbbing head. Get plenty of water, too. A big part of hangovers is dehydration." Nate's plate is set before him. Burger with everything and its .5 companion. Fries! She settles in, pouring herself a soda. "Want a cup of water?" She asks Ray.

"And I don't know," Lunair admits. "We worked quietly to deal with some pretty bad stuff. I don't think I am very heroic," She adds. She WAS created as a super terrorist, after all. "But this is not my story or exposition." And with that? She stuffs a fry in her mouth. See? Can't talk.

"I don't have an agenda, I know nothing about the future here," replies Nate. He frowns. "Maybe this should wait a little… oh well. Anyway, we weren't as clever and quiet as clever as we thought and SHIELD learned about X-Black, or deduced we exist. Fury came to us. Apparently SHIELD is under pressure by other agencies and can't operate as well as they should, so he wants X-Black to help him and in exchange he will help us. I told him what I wanted was to make sure the US government left you alone. He said he could help in that regard, but that he would only if you joined the team."

He picks a fry. Bites. Hot. Wince. "Fury has a good rep, maybe we could trust him. I don't know. What do you think?"

Despite having been present for the entire cooking process, Rachel had completely forgotten about the food. It's not a slight against Lunair's cooking prowess, it's simply that Sentinels and black ops X-Men teams have completely driven all other thoughts out of her mind. When the plate of food arrives in front of her, there's a bit of a delay before Rachel registers its arrival, and then she begins to eat automatically. The first bite is chewed and swallowed, but the second… Rachel's chewing slows down as the taste of the food penetrates the whirlwind of thoughts chasing themselves around the inside of her head. She looks at the burger, notes that two big bites have been taken out of it, then swallows. "This is really good." She tells Lunair, her tone a little surprised and a little distracted, but still honest. "Yes, please." She replies, still sounding a bit distant. She's aware there's coffee somewhere too, but it doesn't seem important right now.

Not when Nate is talking, and telling her that SHIELD - and by extension, whatever they say, the Government - are already taking an interest in the X-Men. That can't end well. From her perspective, it already hasn't ended well. But they're offering… Rachel starts eating again, mechanically, for something to do with her hands, and to give her a few desparately needed moments to just think. "He wants me to work for the government." Rachel says flatly. "And if I do, I'm free? And no one else gets hurt because of me?" Rachel puts down her burger, only about half eaten. "Betsy knows about this?" She asks, but he already told her as much. Rachel tries to draw in a calming breath, but it's ragged. "I can't answer you, Nate. Betsy told me… the other me. She never stopped fighting. She didn't know if that's why she did… I want it fixed, Nate, but not if I lose myself doing it." Rachel shakes her head. "I can't make that decision. I can't trust myself to make it."

Lunair smiles, getting a few ice cubes and pouring water from a brita pitcher. "Thanks. I'm glad you like it. Here, stay hydrated! Hydration headaches suuuuuuuck," She offers helpfully. "Also, I wouldn't make any decisions while being hung over, personally. Take time, sleep on it, maybe."

That is, dehydration headaches suck!

Nate shakes his head, "SHIELD works for the United Nations, not the US. Right now there seems to be some problems between SHIELD and the DEO, which is the new agency to deal with superhumans, including mutants. I want to know more," which is another good reason to stay in touch with SHIELD. A few more chips and consumed, and then he attacks the burgers with delight. "You don't have to decide yet, Ray. Hell, maybe Betsy and Scott decide it is a bad idea and won't let X-Black get involved with SHIELD. But if they do, you have a choice. And whatever you decide, I will support you."

The half-eaten burger rests on the table in front of Rachel. Her hands are buried in her hair, supporting her head, which is pounding, her thoughts in turmoil. She doesn't have to decide now, he says. She feels like she's on the edge of a precipice and she doesn't know if it's better to step back or jump in. "I need some time, Nate." She tells him. And she needs to talk to Betsy. Soon.

Lunair sets the water in front of Rachel. "Then rest and take some time," Nod. "I am gonna finish lunch, then I should get to finishing fusing my plants." Beam. "Be well."

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