Full Disclosure

March 23, 2016:

Sting reveals some of his past traumas to Northstar.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

There's some awkward small talk at the table while they eat then Lunair apologizes and needs to take off. "Don't worry about it. I'll get back fine." Quicker than she will too. Peter watches her leave, keeping a light touch on her mind to make sure she isn't immediately attacked or kidnapped on leaving the restaurant.

Dinner is finished, dessert has been waved off, and Jean-Paul is content to have another glass of wine with Peter. "So tell me," Jean-Paul says, after a thoughtful sip. "I see you using your Jedi Mind Trick or whatever on the waitress. How old are you really? I won't report you or anything. Just settle my curiosity."

"I can vote and join the Army." Peter assures Jean-Paul. "That's old enough to drink as far as I'm concerned." Not that he needs rationalizations to do what he wants anyway. "And Jedi are fiction." Cause if he was one, he'd probably be dark and he doesn't like that thought.

"Ah, good," Jean-Paul says as he sets his wine glass down. "I thought you looked old enough, but I had to be sure. I would feel rather disgusted with myself for finding a minor attractive." He lets out a quiet snort that might be as close as a chuckle as he's willing to commit to.

Peter stiffens at that admission and looks away from Jean-Paul. "Well, I'm not." he mutters and finishes his beer. It's coincidence of course that the waitress returns a moment later to make sure everything is all right so that he can get another one.

Jean-Paul laughs more conclusively, and has another sip of wine. "Ah," he murmurs. "I thought I caught a few stray glances from you, my friend. If I was mistaken, you have my sincere apologies." He pauses, then adds, "Though my compliment still stands. And they are rare from me, I assure you."

Peter doesn't answer one way or another. "So why are you here? America, I mean. Are you looking to hook up with other mutants? I can pass along a message for you if you want, get you some contact info maybe."

"I'm sure 'hook up' was exactly the choice of words you wanted, there," Jean-Paul says with another little snort of a chuckle. "I moved to America because I could no longer make a living as a skier, and it is a lot easier to make a living as an author and a commentator in New York." He shrugs his shoulders gently. "It is what it is, there. But no. I am not looking to join any secret societies at the moment, thank you."

Peter's just warm; he's not blushing as he scowls. "Okay, I can see that it might be." New York is huge after all and full of culture. "So what are you writing now?" He already knows about the autobiography but you can only do one of those.

"Columns. Commentary pieces. Blogs, if you want to be mean. Huffington Post, that sort of thing." Jean-Paul seems dismissive of it, like these are beneath him. "Considering a second book, but I think I have burned enough bridges for now." His autobiography was stunningly frank in his thoughts regarding his competitors. "And you? Do you just go around, confusing waitresses? What else do you do with your time?"

"I'm a student." Peter answers. "Working on getting my GED. Almost there too." With the advanced course of study that Jean Grey can provide. "I might help out a secret society now and then too. Not everyone can help themselves so if I can…" He shrugs.

"Good, good. I mean, I am not opposed to secret societies and the like. Sometimes they can be very fun. And helping people, of course, that is always good. I just do my contributions to charity. Like an otherwise normal person, God help me." Jean-Paul shakes his head, like that's somehow beneath him. "You didn't answer me earlier, by the way."

"Anyone can give money. We can do things others can't. Or won't." Peter points out. "You could help a lot of people I bet." It's not chiding just matter of fact. "If you're as fast as you say, we could have used you a while back." And no, he didn't answer.

"I'm faster," Jean-Paul says, with a wry smile — oh, yes, he's extremely proud of that. "But I am not a superhero, since that seems to be what you're implying. Or a commando or whatever. So I see this conversation is now a battle of wills, hmm?"

"I'm not a superhero." Peter says and shrugs then gives Jean-Paul a curious look. "What?" A battle of wills? The waitress returns with his beer and he takes a drink.

"I put forth my notion, which is that you find me attractive, and you refuse to even acknowledge that I said it." Jean-Paul uses the one hand to demonstrate. "You put forth yours, which is that I could do much more to help the world with my abilities, and I will not acknowledge that." The other hand gestures to indicate that, like he's weighing them. "Which of us will crack first, hmm?"

Or Peter can just change the subject. To… Umm. "Fine. Maybe a little." he admits and studies the front window. Looking for drones, of course.

"I win," Jean-Paul says, with relish, and then finishes his glass of wine. Since the bottle was brought earlier, he can just pour himself another. "Either way, it is totally all right to admit that. Perhaps that is my way of helping others, mm? Getting them over their hang-ups."

"Helping them stay alive would be better." Peter says, not looking at the man. He sends Jean-Paul an image of a bunch of children in a cheap barracks type setup that he and the Avengers rescued. "They don't have hangups. They barely have lives."

Jean-Paul frowns at the vision he's sent, and his mood visibly darkens. "So you are upset and wish to guilt me now?" he asks, sternly. "You are old enough to vote, but perhaps still not very mature, is what I am thinking. Tell me. Right now, as I sit here. What do you want me to do? Because the way you play your hand now, it seems like your plan is just trying to make me feel bad about NOT doing whatever it is you would like me to be doing."

"I'm just saying that people like them need help." Peter says and looks over. "It's easy to talk about them without really seeing them or knowing who they are. I'm not trying to make you feel bad." He could probably do that more directly if he wanted to. "I just wanted you to actually know who needs help. I didn't really know either. I'd never been outside the country and was too busy running. But there aren't charities for them. Just us, freeing them from the soldiers using them as slave labor. Now you really know and can make your own decisions."

"Hm." Jean-Paul is quiet for a long moment. "I misjudged you, then." He doesn't actually say 'I'm sorry,' but that's basically what he means.

Peter shrugs. "S'ok. You don't know me. I don't know you. This is all new to me too." he says and takes a large swallow of his beer. "Actually, it's not new to you is it? You were with the Canadian guys."

"Ah, you are looking in my mind a bit too far now," Jean-Paul says. "That is one of the things I do not share with the general public." The vision of the African children brought out Jean-Paul's thoughts of being in Alpha Flight, and he broadcast them too loudly. "But it is true. We do not know each other. Though I am open to fixing that."

"You thought about them when I said it was new to you." Peter tells him. "You're still thinking in French but images are images." He reaches up to rub his head. "Everyone thinks so loudly. He's cheating on his wife with her. Those two are planning the nursery for the baby they just found out they're having. That one there just got a new job."

"Then let's go," Jean-Paul says, decisively. "Somewhere quieter. Waitress? The bill, s'il vous plait." Of course, Jean-Paul is a man of money, so all this is on his credit card, meals, beers, everything. "Interested?"

Peter lifts his beer and finishes it in one long swallow. "Yeah, let's get out of here. Too long around crowds gives me a headache." He doesn't seem to mind at all Jean-Paul picking up the tab.

Some travel follows, and then the location is different: still Manhattan, but this time Jean-Paul's condominium.

The condo is no doubt intensely expensive, despite being a humble two bedroom unit. The view is incredible, though, with a balcony outside, and the interior decor is tastefully modern. Everything is sleek, nothing is too distracting or too busy. Trophies are on shelves in one corner of the living room.

"We are home," Jean-Paul says. "Do you want a drink? Hopefully things are… quieted down for you here."

"Whiskey would be good." Peter answers, looking around the place. "Nice. Yeah, one person is a lot more easy to deal with. And the French makes it like white noise and easier to ignore. It's hard to ignore someone thinking about what he wants to do to the escort he just hired."

"Well, we can do that, too, if you like," Jean-Paul says with a chuckle as he goes to a cabinet and takes out a bottle of Chivas Regal and two glasses. He pours two, and then steps over to hand one to Peter.

"Hire an escort? I don't think so." Peter takes the glass, glancing at the bottle and nodding. "Scotch works too. Good scotch." Since he was using other peoples' money, he never bought the cheap stuff.

"I meant what he planned to do with her," Jean-Paul says. "Or him. Whichever." Jean-Paul shrugs off his jacket and drapes it over a chair. In his dark button-up shirt, it's still obvious — he works out. He moves to sit down on his sofa. "So. This is a bit of deja vu for me. Once, I was a young man who was not particularly sure how to handle what I felt, and someone else had to help me through accepting it. It feels almost surreal on the other side."

Peter walks over to the balcony doors to look out over the city. "I don't…" Don't what? "…want to talk about it." he decides. "I don't need help."

Jean-Paul stays on the couch, looking over his shoulder and having a sip of his scotch. "I disagree," Jean-Paul says. "Though if you don't want to talk about it, we don't have to talk. Come here, Peter."

No way is he doing that. "I've never…" Peter says after a moment. Talking's a better option. Though he could just leave. Probably should. "Who were you talking about?"

"Who? Oh, you mean who mentored me — if you want to call it that?" Northstar shrugs. "Another skier, back in Quebec. No one you know, I'm sure. He realized I was an angsty young man, and that part of that angst was because I was a young man who was interested in other men. And he taught me that there is no shame in it. In fact, he taught me to enjoy it quite a bit. It's a miracle what accepting oneself does for one's ability to get where they want to go in life."

"I don't…" Peter says again and, again, trials off before completing the thought. He downs the scotch and looks over at the bottle which flies into his hand with a smack. Judging by the faint wince, harder than he planned. He fills his glass to the top and walks over tot he nearest table to set the bottle down. "His name was Joey. He was my best friend for years."

Jean-Paul continues to watch Peter. He notes Peter going to the effort of walking over and putting the bottle down, after just summoning it to his hand. "Go on," is all he says. He is supportive, but in his own way. This is not a 'hugging and learning' kind of talk.

Peter returns to his spot by the balcony doors and looks out again. "I didn't…" He stops to take a breath and follows it by more scotch. "I didn't realize… Not until it was too late. Not till they killed him."

"Killed him," Jean-Paul repeats, looking away and down at his knee. "Ah. I see." Jean-Paul draws in a breath, and then looks over at Peter. "No one should have to live through that," he says, showing an uncommonly tender tone of voice, a softening of his usual glare. "You have my sincerest condolences."

Peter just nods and drinks some more. "I wasn't able to kill them." he says after a few moments. "He was too strong and had too much help. One day."

"Well. This makes seducing you quite awkward." Jean-Paul has a sip of his scotch and then sets the glass down. He might be being sarcastic and trying to lighten the mood. But with this guy, who knows?

"Yeah, that's not going to work." Peter says quietly and now he turns to look at Jean-Paul. "Don't try to do that."

Jean-Paul laughs, maybe to himself, and gives Peter a wry smile. "I won't," he says, lifting a hand as if to dismiss the concern. "Still. With circumstances being what they are, killing and all of this, I find I don't have the motivational speech handy that I wanted to be able to give."

Yeah, it's ruined a lot of things for Peter too. He walks over to the couch then sits down next to Jean-Paul, leaning back against his side. Seducing might be off the table but he wouldn't mind behind held right about now. "This is what he looked like." he says and sends a mental image of Joey, one that is not his last view of him but is instead a laughing young man. "He was my first friend in the institution. He was schizophrenic and didn't care that I was a telepath. We escaped together and he stayed with me when I was being hunted."

Jean-Paul leans over and pulls Peter into a loose hug. It's more like an arm resting on the other man's shoulders, but it's probably as close to a hug as Northstar ever gives anyone but his sister. "That lack of judgment is rare to find," he admits. "Likewise friends worth running away with."

"When Harada found me, he told me I had to leave Joey. I needed to be trained and he wasn't one of us." Peter's not talking to Jean-Paul so much as just talking. "I agreed. I couldn't help him and he wasn't getting any better with me. He was hearing voices all the time except when I stole medication for him. They said they'd take good care of him so I agreed. I let them take him away."

Jean-Paul gives Peter's shoulder an idle rub. Not the seductive, intimate kind. The kind that's just there to remind him that he's not alone. "We have all done things that we have regretted," he says, glad that his thoughts are in French at that particular moment. "It is cold comfort, I know. However, you are free now, as I am sure your friend would want you to be. So you owe it to him to make the most of that."

"I am." Peter says. "I couldn't save Joey but I can help others. I can keep them from being used as pawns or killed. I can use my powers to do something besides hurting people." Not that it makes what happened any less his fault.

"I feel that in life, there is a scale," Jean-Paul says. "It takes everything worth thinking about into account. There are the things you have done that have ended badly. There are the things you have done that have made the world a better place, even in a little way. As long as the scale weighs toward the latter, I am able to sleep at night." He keeps his hand on Peter's shoulder. He doesn't move to make the hug any closer — he'll let Peter decide when and if to take the initiative there.

Peter's only response to that is to glance down into his glass. What was full is now half empty. "I haven't been drunk in a very long time." He drinks, he smokes, he takes pills but he doesn't get wasted. "If I do, I won't be able to fly home." Friends don't let friends drink and fly.

"You are sitting on a couch," Jean-Paul says, gesturing downward at the surface they share. "You are welcome to sleep on it. I would offer the bed, but I would be using it also."

"I… wouldn't mind just sleeping if you wouldn't." Given that Peter's never told anyone about Joey before, he doesn't really want to be alone, drunk or not. "Would that be okay?"

"That would be fine. Though if you need someone in the night," Jean-Paul says, picking up his glass and having a drink, just to give it that meaningful pause, "I am big spoon." He looks over with a smirk.

"That would be okay." Peter says and downs half of what's in his glass. Unshielded and more than a little drunk already, he's starting to transmit as well as receive though it's mostly all the emotions he's not letting himself express verbally instead of thoughts. So it's probably good that he'll be passing out sooner than later.

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