Apologies & Plans

April 23, 2016:

Jean finally reaches out to Nate.

Salem Center

Characters

NPCs: Diner people.

Mentions: Scott Summers, Betsy Braddock, Emma Frost

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Diner, Salem Center, Two Hours

The sun was setting over the horizon at the proposed time of meet. Jean was already there, picking out a corner booth in the back, the orders for two burgers and curly fries put in, with of course, the Houses special seasoning to give it a bite without the heat. Drinks were ordered as well, but one was put off until the young man arrived at the place of meeting. As well as the food. The patties and all the fixings already, the waitress and cook were just waiting on the signal to go ahead.

Much of the place was busy as diners would go, a couple in the corner, staring at their phones and showing each other posts and laughing. Two brothers hanging out and discussing what was going on with their lives; one, a student at Xavier's, the other alumni. Both mutants of the secretive kind, one is practically an inhuman calculator who manifests his thoughts like projections through his eyes by way of numerical figures and the other a techno-brat who has control over said computers. It's only imagined what their parents were like.

Then you have Jean herself. Who.. well, was just Jean. The story was told time and time again but really, she considered herself nothing really special. The watch upon her wrist was stared at, then the clock, then a shrug of her shoulders and a gesture towards the waitstaff and cook. Food was set to frying.. sodas were poured..


It is not without some reluctance Nate agreed to meet Jean. A couple years ago he wouldn't, but he was a far angrier person back then. It is not as he is all sunny right now, but he has matured some, and the Age of Apocalypse is some distance away.

He is late. But well, he is usually late in his social compromises; his mental management of time is a weird thing that follows no logic. When he arrives, he takes a brief glance to the room, which he knows pretty well from the year or so Rose and him lived in Salem Center, and then flops down on his seat at the table. "Hello, how is it going?" He asks tensely.


Good thing that Nate was late. The food was steaming hot, fresh on the table moments before he finally sat down. Drinks were ice cold, fizz still fuzzing along the top of the glasses. Jean already had hers in hand, sipping through the straw, her eyes nearly crossed as she looks into the liquid. She stops once Nate sits down, herself sitting up straight as she gives a light shrug of her shoulders.

"It's going."

And she just gets right down to it. "I pretty much asked you here to apologize for the way things went. I've already spoken to Emma about it and she seems fine, now that the air was cleared. There are no problems from Elizabeth's end, however. I suppose the rest are alright with this arrangement."


The food distracts him momentarily. But when Jean speaks, Nate looks up, blinks and narrows his eyes at the redhead. "I talked to Emma a couple weeks ago," which really, has little to do with anything. Or does it? "But I have not seen Betsy in months. I am not sure what you mean. What arrangement? And what are you apologizing about exactly?"


Jean rubs her face just a little, tossing her head left and right as she picks up her burger to take a bite. She was silent, of course, watching Nate with a level of detachment but inwardly thinks. "I'm not going to spell it out Nathaniel." She gestures around, and when she does, bits of her burger in her hand which was not held together, splats upon the plate. She looks bothered by this, then puts it down to focus upon the fries. "Just take the apology."


"Hell, no," grumbles Nate, leaning back and away from the food. "I hate this kind of game. You can't be vague about things that affect me and my friends like this. You interrupted our meeting with Ripclaw to tell us to choose between helping him or remain in the school. An apology doesn't make up for it."


"So you do know what I mean." Jean looked amused, just for a moment. Her finger presses to the table. "So what would make up for it Nate? Me to prostrate myself right here and now? Want me to get on my hands and knees and share and shed tears about how deeply sorry I am and how I'd do anything to fix it?" Her lips purse tensely. "You want me to promise you the world and four mutants to work it? Take back everything I've said in that moment as if I did not mean it? Because I did. And it didn't come out the way that I wanted it to. Scott's the proper mouthpiece in this regard and to be quite honest? He agreed with this and Rose's idea. I never did. I'm only cleaning up what Xavier told me to and I'm standing by it."

Her shoulders shrugs faintly. "So take the apology or don't. It was a mess up and my poor choice of words."


"No, dramatics wouldn't help," but an apology between bites of a burger is not great either. "Oh… Xavier…" yeah, he can believe it all came from Xavier. But he remembers Jean being as involved as Scott in the decision. Unless there was telepathic chatter with Scott behind Nate's psychic back, which is perfectly possible.

For a few seconds he stands there, frowning, thinking. "Right. How are you going to fix it? You I mean Scott and you."


She shakes her head slightly. "Right now? There's nothing -to- fix. As it stands, a good majority of the people that's affiliated with you, as well as you personally don't really exist. While it could be a good thing, it could also be a bad thing. I'm working with a trusted lawyer who I do have hired on for the school to come up with identities for you all to play on. Just.. at least in the case of your deaths and if it does happen, those responsible could be accountable." Her thinking was odd.

"Rachel, you, Rose. Maybe Laura. The entire outfit needs different identities. I've been planning that one for a while." She rubs the back of her neck slightly. "And the Professor, he just.. really doesn't get behind the killing thing. But he did make one thing clear. He's always going to be there. An ear of sorts I suppose. So you're not banned from the house outright just.." She shakes her head, trying to pick out the words. "..don't conduct business in the two municipalities unless -ABSOLUTELY- necessary. But as for Scott?" She shrugs her shoulders. "I'm removing myself from it all. He started this. He can see it through, just as he will the Gold Team and the Blue team. I'll be taking care of the babies at home for now. Graduation is happening across the board. I'll be busy."


Nate hrms. He will have to tell Lunair, she definitely should return. The statement Scott is taking over team leadership comes to no surprise, it is logical. "So Emma and Betsy are staying and sneaking out to go into… killing sprees with us?" There is a smirk there. Killing sprees is absolutely not how they wanted Team Black to be, but it is what Xavier saw.

"A legal identity doesn't seem much of an advantage right now, but I am not really hiding anyway. Nor I do not expect anyone able to kill me would be dragged into a normal court of law without city-wide destruction being involved. Those details do not worry me much, Jean, because mutants and super-humans are not treated like human beings by the authorities here. Oh, on paper they are, but it is all bullshit. The second it comes to test we find Purifiers being ignored by the SRD and Scott and Rachel being sent to super-prisons where telepathy doesn't work, despite on paper not being that kind of tech out there. And I think this is the main problem this particular version of the U.S. has right now." Pause. "And now I think about it, that is the main reason X-Force is necessary. I have to wonder if that is why Nick Fury pushed for it."


"You'll thank me for those identities. There's going to be a time when you'll actually need them." Jean remarks. "But yes. That's all we can do. Live, eat, sleep there. Take your business elsewhere."

But Jean watches him, her jaw tensing as he begins to explain the need for X-Force, her head tilting to the side as she draws in a slight breath. "Do you always think that death is the answer to problems that aren't readily accessible? Especially when there's only so much the law itself could do?"


"Nope. I am actually pretty happy there is a real legal system that mostly works, with jails and a reinsertion mechanisms, and that I don't have to kill muggers to stop them," which was how it was done in Nate's lawless world. "The legal system seems to fail in some cases, though. Like for crimes against mutants. Or for powerful companies and government agencies. Then is when I think we should ignore the law and deliver justice directly. Even then death might not be the only solution, I am not that bloodthirsty. Actually, I think maybe tossing some of those people to Fury might be a good alternative."


Jean raises her brow at that, picking up her fries to finish at least a few of them off. She even has a little sip of her soda, which was soon drained of all of it's contents, and set aside. "Possibly." She states cooly, reaching over to grasp her purse and to tug gently into her lap, the seat pushed back as she offers up a little bit of a smile. "Though. I wouldn't mind a little comparison and a lesson, perhaps." She shrugs her shoulders idly.

"I'm aware of the existences of other worlds, thanks to you.. Cable, and Rachel." Yeah, she knows. All of them are related in some odd way. That was something she kept to herself, mostly. Cable's true origins and who he really was. "Perhaps Sunday. We could slowly go through it all. Maybe there is something there worth learning to apply to the teams as of late. Imparting wisdom, so to speak."


Nate finally succumbs to the temptation, picks up and munches one of the fries. "Sure. Maybe," he comments at her offer. "My world was pretty bad. So bad that it nothing but radioactive dust. Rachel might still be salvageable if the Sentinels are defeated, dunno. Cable, I think, has been moving around often for decades. All are much worse than here, but I have seen better than here, too."


"I take those 'sures' as a yes." She totally ignores the maybe. As she digs through her purse, she pulls out a couple of bills and lays them on the table, even sliding forward a hundred dollar bill for Nate to take. Maybe he could buy food for where ever he was staying now, or maybe a new pair of shoes. Give to the homeless man outside, which ever. It didn't matter.

"So. Sunday it is." She states, drawing from her chair, reaching out to lightly place a hand upon his shoulder. "Three o'clock." And, that was pretty much that. She makes way towards the door, stopping to turn towards the customers with a slight smile.

And Nate, he could feel it. That psychic pull. "When my partner leaves, -WE- were never here." And with that, she's gone.

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