Mopey Mutant

June 09, 2016:

Roberto comes across a lethargic Rahne and tries to find out what's got her down.

X-Red Manhattan Hub - New York City

Accessible primarily by a dedicated express elevator, the two-floor
headquarters of the X-Men Red Team combines the amenities of an ultramodern
office with the homey, communal quality of a college dormitory. A small,
well-appointed waiting room gives way to a grand, two-story central hub.
There, the team can meet for briefings at a ring-shaped conference table
with built-in computer consoles and a central holographic display. There are
also smaller tables, couches, and armchairs scattered through the room, easy
to reposition for meals, close conversations, or movie nights. One entire
wall of the hub is lined with windows, offering a view toward Central Park.

The other walls of the hub are split into two levels, with the upper
accessible by a U-shaped walkway and two grand staircases. Above the waiting
room, one can find a bullpen with dedicated work stations, offering the
latest software for a whole host of productive tasks. A patio balcony off to
one side offers a taste of the outdoors, as well as a small landing pad for
fliers or one-person vehicles. The X-Men also have a private underground
motor pool, kept separate from the garage for the rest of the building's
occupants.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Middle of the day, really closer to the lunch hour, yet someone at the X-Red building has not changed out of her sleepwear yet. In fact, Wolfsbane still looks half-asleep as she labors over a bowl of cereal in the kitchen area, somewhat hunched over atop a barstool. Hair's wild, a forest green robe worn over the nightshirt as she mumbles something incoherent under her breath in between spoonfuls of corn flakes. Yawn, and a big one.


The living spaces in the DCI X-Red office are on a level overlooking the central hub where daily business is attended to, and the communal dining area is open air, so tired or not, Rahne is going to be treated to the noise of several dozen people negotiating contracts, discussing clients, or just chatting around the water cooler.

Just as she crunches into a mouthful of cereal, the man who shares the building's name jogs up a staircase onto her level, then stops and stares. Energetic and lively in an immaculate blue suit, Roberto da Costa couldn't present a more complete contrast to the groggy Scot.

"Rahne?" he asks, his voice tinted by childhood in the southern hemisphere and no small amount of disbelief. "I know you weren't out late partying." He knows that partly because it's not her style, but also because, with his damnably bottomless well of wakefulness, he would have been there to see her if she had been out late.


The chatter has been little more than a sort of incessant drone of background noise, though it's hard to completely ignore in spite of the general fog hovering figuratively over the wolfen woman, who has not made any effort to hide it here. Why bother? The bland meal is handled with a lackluster display of energy and effort, showing Rahne isn't all that into it. Not hard to imagine her enjoying a different kind of meal, but this is the way it is right now.

She does glance over toward the man looking all professional in his perfect suit, and she mostly hides another yawn thanks to a hand covering her mouth. "'lo, 'Berto," Wolfsbane more or less drawls. Her, a party animal? Surely not! "I've ha' trouble sleeping well lately," is the only piece of information forthcoming so far.


A couple of staffers have paused on the staircase behind Roberto, trying to peer around him to see what has brought him up short. He turns back to them, singles out his personal assistant, and says, "Simon, can you take get the WayneTech call started without me? I should be along shortly."

The young man adjusts his horn-rims and his expectations for the afternoon. Being called upon to spearhead a meeting with such a high-profile client is quite an opportunity. "Sure thing, Mr. da Costa," he answers, almost too quickly.

Sunspot smirks at Simon's eagerness and waits for the group to pass him by, then walks over to the breakfast bar and leans on it across from Rahne. "Is something wrong?" he asks her. "You're not having nightmares…?" As teens, Rahne's difficulty adjusting to life in the States certainly caused her some long nights, but Roberto had assumed that was in the past at this point.


Wolfsbane remains quiet while the exchange takes place between boss and subordinate, probing at the partially-finished bowl of now soggy cereal with her spoon. Then, she glances toward Roberto again, a weary look on her fuzzy face.

"Sometimes," she admits with a slow rolling of her shoulders. "Everyone has bad dreams, aye? I mean, it happens." It comes off like she's reluctant to go into much detail, but he isn't going away that easily. "Lady Moira's been a wee bit sick an' I know I shouldna worry because she's told me it's nothing, but I canna help it. I've just missed her more lately an' a phone call or video thing's no' th' same."

That doesn't seem to be all, though. She adds, "More than tha', it's just..how do ye deal with stress? All th' bad things tha' keep going on, I mean." Watching the people shuffling around in the background, something she's suddenly more attentive of, brings her to add hastily, "We dinna have tae talk right noo. Ye've go' business tae handle."


"I can take a short break to check in on a friend," Roberto replies. He's casual about it, but there's a force underlying his words. Being CEO means getting certain perks, and this is one he is especially insistent on. "I didn't know Dr. MacTaggert was ill," he says. Of course he knows Rahne's guardian and has since he was a teenager. "I'm sure if it were anything serious, more of us would have been told. But I'm not surprised you're worried — I would be worried if it were my mother, too. That's natural."

He glances upward, thinking, then flashes a grin and continues, "As for how I deal with stress? I make a very big deal about it, and rant dramatically about how impossible the situation is. Then I roll my sleeves up and work on whatever aspect of the problem I can reach." He shrugs, adding, "Futebol and weightlifting help a lot, too. Let me know any time you're interested in some one-on-one."


Though Rahne was not born to Moira, the relationship they share is as close to mother/daughter as can be without them being related by blood. There's always been something strong between the two. So, that may explain some of the mutant's discomfort, unnecessary or not. "I just..I worry because I care so much," Wolfsbane says, frowning as she does, even after flashing Roberto a brief smile at talk of taking a break for the reason mentioned.

She nods to the part of more knowing if it was truly a concern, which leaves her to add, "Tha's why I feel silly about it in a way, but it's really just one more thing on top o' all th' rest. I'm no' sure I'll ever get..used tae th' lengths some people will go just tae hurt others. I'm sure ye've seen all th' news about Steel City, an' tha's just th' latest thing."

It's the bit about ranting dramatically that finally makes her sniff in mild amusement, leading to her saying, "If there's one thing ye can do, it's tha'." Clearing her throat, she speculates, "I wonder if there's anything we can do tae help. A' least tha' would make me feel like I'm doing something useful."


"We've been in contact with the Gotham authorities," Roberto says, getting a bit more serious. "For the moment, it seems everyone is having to stay away from Steel City for fear they won't return. Once that situation's resolved, we'll be some of the first people to get in there and look for survivors. I'll be sure to mark you down for that detail. I know I certainly get restless sitting on my hands sometimes."

He pauses, smiles, and adds, "Which just leads to more dramatic ranting, and nobody wants that."

He purses his lips and thinks for a second, then asks, "Would you like to visit Moira? I can pretty easily get Illyana to set you up with a portal. Just give us a call when you want to come back. Simon can take care of the personal leave forms."


"Good," Wolfsbane murmurs as far as the Steel City plans go, along with the mention of expecting to assist with whatever comes later. At least the thought of that leads to her sitting up somewhat straighter instead of exhibiting poor posture on the stool. Talk of more ranting even coaxes another sniff out of her.

It's the prospect of making that trip across the 'pond' that results in a little more brightening up. Sure, an Illyana portal is almost always there as a simple option, but it's not one she normally considers. Limbo, you know. "I..think tha' would be good for both o' us." Perhaps more Rahne than Moira, but still. "It'd be nice tae surprise her an' see th' look on her face."


"Certo. I'll make it happen, then," Roberto says with a smile. He offered the portal idea specifically because he knows Rahne wouldn't; he used to be just as squeamish about Limbo as she is. Then again, what's the point of having a whole team if you can't take advantage of each other's powers every so often? And a quick leap through a portal to Scotland is a very different prospect than an extended layover in Limbo itself. "Say hello to Dr. MacTaggert for me when you see her."

That settled, the Brazilian turns and puts a kettle on, the water coming to a boil lightning-fast. (There is, it turns out, such thing as an expensive kettle, and there are advantages to owning one.) He sets to work making his friend a cup of tea as an additional pick-me-up; a light injection of energy will likely have her feeling more herself.

"Also, once you get back from Scotland, there's a project of mine that might be able to use your tracking skills. A little bit more on the superhero side than the business side of things." He shrugs and passes a steaming mug across the counter toward her. "Another thing that helps me when I'm stressed out is having something to work on. Maybe it'll work for you, too."


Wolfsbane mumbles a "Thank ye" when told things will be set up for her little 'trip.' Usually she just closes her eyes during portal hops anyway, so why should this be any different? "An' I will. I'm sure she'll be interested tae know whit we're all up tae over here. I can already think o' muh first run in th' open fields in a long time…" she trails off, daydreaming until the sound of the whistling water brings her back to the here and now.

Rubbing an ear and the back of her head, Rahne sniffs in the direction of the tea before bringing it closer once it's placed nearby. "I've never been much for th' business side, ye know," she explains. "An' if there's something I can do tha' makes me feel useful, I like tha'."


With a quick, lopsided grin, Roberto says, "It's settled, then. I'll fill you in on the details when you get back." He glances over at the digital clock mounted on the opposite wall, then huffs quietly. "Unfortunately, I think I'd better get to that call. Simon will do a great job, but if I don't at least put in an appearance, they might take it as a slight." He stuffs his hands into his hip pockets and gives Rahne an apologetic shrug. "It was good catching up with you, though. Be sure to let me know if there's anything else I can do for you, certo? Don't be sad in silence."


Nodding quickly, Rahne is giving the tea a few moments to cool to a more comfortable temperature for sipping. "Aye, I understand. I should probably start waking up more an' figure oot whit I want tae bring wi' me." Is she already considering more than just dropping by Muir Island for just a couple hours? "An'..thank ye. Sometimes it's hard tae talk tae others about these things, but I think it helped a wee bit." Once she's able to get back into the swing of things and feel more productive, chances are more will follow.

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