Going Crazy Is Cowardly

April 28, 2016:

Rachel and Nate meet over coffee and discuss recent happenings.

X-Men Base - Kitchen


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Laura Kinney, Andy Hart, Nadia Mercer, Emma Frost


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It was barely dawning when Nate arrived the Xavier's complex. Too early for the cafeteria at the school to be open, so that left only the kitchen at the mansion. Maybe he would find Scott there, but no luck.

He is also pretty sure Xavier is not around, which is okay since he feels like yelling at the old man. And most folks should be sleeping, which means their minds are somewhat hidden to him. Sleeping minds often have a different psychic signature than awake ones. Well, he has a few hours to kill and no hurry, and as usual he starts with coffee.

There's nothing Rachel would like more than a lie-in, but it's rare that she's allowed that luxury. Bad dreams wake her up long before she'd need an alarm most mornings, and this morning is no different. The only thing that's unusual is that this time she wasn't hunting mutants through a ruined New York, with Sentinels towering above her. This time, the nightmares were more personal. Laura, taking Kimura's hand and then turning on Rachel herself. Nate's body. Emma, at one point, looking at Rachel with cold eyes, her voice in Rachel's mind, « You failed them. How very like… you. »

After that last little twist, Rachel didn't feel much like going back to sleep.
Bleary eyed, her mental shields clamped down tight, Rachel appears in the doorway of the kitchen and reaches up to muss her already very tousled hair as she sees Nate already there. "Coffee." Rachel says, coming into the room. "I definitely need coffee. Must be a family thing. Morning, Nate."

Nightmares and insomnia must be a family thing. "I thought I had 'heard' you wake up, hello," replies the young man. It looks he has been at the kitchen for a few minutes, but the coffee pot is still steaming. He also made a sandwich, but it is perhaps better not to investigate what he used for it. "So, how is this place treating you? Are you still getting crap from McCoy or anyone else?"

Rachel only moves when it becomes abundantly clear that Nate is not going to pour her coffee for her, no matter how mournfully she looks at the pot. Finding a mug - and checking whether it's been used already - Rachel pours her own coffee and then boosts herself up to sit on the counter with it, legs dangling. "It's good." Rachel says, then wrinkles her nose a bit. "I mean, it gets to me a bit. Hiding in the basement. Getting shot at every time I poke my nose outside. But it could be a lot worse." Something dark flickers in her eyes. "I lived a lot worse." She looks away, then blows on her coffee to cool it down while she collects her thoughts. "Scott and Jean are here. Betsy, and the others. You gave me all this when you brought me here. And I haven't spoken to Henry. I don't know if I should thank him for being honest or apologise for coming back." She's smirking. "But it's really good. Even if not being useful is driving me crazy."

Rachel takes a sip of her coffee, the sleepy haze clearing from her eyes as she studies Nate. "How about you? You need to know, this conversation is going to end with me asking you who those crazy people I met the other day are, what you're doing with them, and why the hell you let that nut-job Andy talk to you like that. So…." Rachel takes another sip of her coffee, and makes a vague gesture with her free hand for Nate to speak.

"Yeah? I think it is about time you start shooting back," replies Nate. No, he has not moved much from his chair by the table. He made coffee for two, didn't he? Actually he made coffee for five, but he is not planning to leave that pot half-full. "And don't let anyone walk over you here or out there," he adds.
The mention of 'nut-job' Andy gives him some pause, though. "I thought Andy was getting better," he admits. "Doctor Corben removed his brainbox, that's the device Cyberdata uses to control the mutant cyborgs. But apparently it is not enough. He is still talks like a psycho-killed from a cheap movie. I am vaguely amazed Emma didn't fry his brain for being so rude, talk about making the worst possible impression." He sighs, "I like Ripclaw, I think he would have been a great X-Man. But Andy probably should be in a nuthouse, and Nadia… she is okay, but it is as if she just doesn't care."

There are some things Rachel could say to Nate, about shooting back, about other things that have happened lately. Things that she'd intended to talk to him about. But since the meeting she stumbled upon, she figures he has enough on his plate. Possibly too much. She's worried about him, so she just shrugs and lets him talk.

"Nate. He threatened to gut you. I was THIS close…" Rachel holds up her thumb and forefinger, barely apart, "…to blasting him into next week. Maybe Nadia would have found THAT useful." She sounds angry, as if remembering the incident has called back to what she felt when she saw Andy move against Nate. Rachel hears the edge in her own voice, makes herself calm down. "You keep getting hurt." She tells him, forcing a smile. "I worry." She shakes her head. "Just make sure they know you're on their side. Or we're on their side, since I seem to be involved." Rachel winces. "Emma's right. I just can't help myself."

Nate has to smile, or at least smirk, when he hears the worry in Rachel's voice. "I can handle him, he wasn't even armed. As for getting hurt… that comes with the job. I could hide in a basement, but then I couldn't get half the things I do done. And that is not living either, Ray. If I did that I wouldn't have found Laura, or you. I rather to take the risk, and if it kills me - when it kills me, I will have lived a good life."

"You SHOULD be able to handle him, but you keep getting shot, stabbed and beaten up." Rachel replies tartly, but she IS worried, and Nate's smirk isn't reassuring her. Rachel groans and tilts her head back, looking up at the ceiling, when Nate turns the conversation back to her, and her choices. "If it kills you, Nate, I'm going to be really pissed off with you." She tells him, still studying the ceiling, then finally drops her eyes back to meet his, though she grimaces and takes another drink of her coffee before she speaks again. "I can't just do what I want to do, Nate. You know that. It'll just get the people around me hurt." Rachel finishes off her coffee and dumps her mug in the sink. "And you know that's not the worst of it, either. I can't trust myself not to make the same mistakes all over again. It's why I went to Emma and asked her to put me to work." Rachel shrugs. "I can't do nothing, but if I can't trust the decisions I make, what am I supposed to do?"

"I don't get beaten up," points out Nate, frowning. "I might get injured sometimes, but if I lost my fights I wouldn't be alive." He looks at the redhead with some annoyance, "as for you… well, you got to pull it together. You aren't crazy and you aren't made of glass either. Emma is a… hmm, I think she means well, and she is clever as hell, but she is a control freak like ten times worse than Scott. If you let her guide you, she will. Happily. And then never let you go. And you got to find your own path, Ray."

Rachel arches an eyebrow in answer to Nate's annoyance. He shouldn't GET injured, as far as she's concerned, but she lets it go, because it's too early in the morning for a real argument and she's seeing her own stubbornness reflected in his eyes. Yet more evidence that they really are siblings, alternate realities notwithstanding.

"I'm not crazy?" Rachel asks with a smirk. "When I sleep, I have nightmares about things I remember that haven't happened yet. When I wake up, I hear about things that everyone remembers me doing that I never did. I probably SHOULD be crazy, and I think I've got it together pretty well, under the circumstances." It's her time to sound annoyed and defensive. "I know where my own path leads, Nate. I read about it in the news, and it didn't help anyone. Not even the other me." Rachel slides down from the counter and pours herself more coffee, taking a drink and pulling a face at the lukewarm temperature. "I'm not going to be used, Nate. But I'm not going to let myself make her mistakes either."

Nate looks at Rachel and blinks slowly. Yes, it is bad that when she says that Nate thinks 'it is only Wednesday'. "Well, maybe," pause, then changes his mind. "No, we can do it so we can deal with it. Humans didn't know how to deal with flight a couple centuries ago and look at them now. Time travel, super-powers, alternate dimensions. They sound like madness, but they will become normal concepts in a few generations, so we are just the first explorers, Ray. And going crazy is not allowed, it sounds cowardly, hmm?" He grins.

Rachel looks into her coffee mug, decides she's not going to drink any more of the lukewarm brew, and dumps it in the sink. "You tell me, Nate." She tells him while she washes her mug out and replaces it in the cupboard. "I don't feel like I'm crazy, but I'm pretty sure the last 'me' didn't think she was, either." Rachel leans against the counter, folding her arms. "And yet everyone tells me she went insane. You'd better not let that happen to me."

"For the record, she wasn't insane," points out Nate, his mug is empty, so he pours in more coffee from the pot, then stands up to heat it up through microwave oven. "Ruthless and obsessed, maybe. Or maybe she came from the future with an agenda she felt she needed to push at any cost. I don't know. Maybe we will get to ask her, some day. Regardless, if you don't like what she did, you get to pick another path. What you can't do is, well, do nothing. You got powers and you got training, and you know what is coming."

Rachel smirks, but looks oddly grateful. "I think you're in the minority on that one, Nate, but it's nice to know someone thinks that." Of course, then he carries on about some of her predecessor's more questionable traits, and the smirk vanishes, as Rachel moves to get out of Nate's way. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope not. One of us is living the other's life, and I don't want to be the cheap imitation." Rachel sighs. "I do know what's coming, and I'd do anything to stop it. Which is the problem. That's just what she did. And not liking what she did? She was a killer." Rachel's arms tighten around her body. "She already told you all my secrets, Nate. You know I've killed. When I had to, when they made me do it. I don't know what drove her to do it by choice. What would make… me… make that choice." Rachel shakes her head. "I don't want to do nothing. I want to help the people that matter to me. I hope I've already started, with Laura…" Rachel catches herself. "Never mind. You have enough to worry about with Nadia. And Andy." Rachel says the last name in a disgruntled tone. She really didn't like that threat he made to Nate. She scrubs a hand through her hair. "Before I do anything, though, I need to get up properly." She glances toward the door, then back at Nate. "If you're gone before I get back, at least let me know how to find you, without crashing your secret meetings this time?"

"Hmm, I am a killer, too," notes Nate. Coffee is hot, now… sugar. There. "It is not as if killing is the issue. It is… why and who, I guess. Most times problems can be solved without killing, but sometimes they really can't." He looks back at Rachel, hesitating.

"Ray. I wish you could be away of all this. I don't know all your secrets, but I know you deserve better than, well, a life fighting and getting crap from hate groups, and getting blamed for someone else's deeds. But I also know you need to go out and do something. And it will help with the nightmares." It works for him. Sometimes. Coffee helps too. "I will be around, I wanted to talk with Laura. Is she okay? I got the hunch she was going to do something dangerous or stupid the other day. That is why I asked you to keep an eye on her… well, talk to you later."

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