Nancy's Rubber Arm

December 30, 2016:

Betsy Braddock checks in on Nancy O'Neal to see how she is doing after having been away for awhile and gets Nancy thinking that the life at the X Mansion might be fun again.

The streets of M-Town and a cafe along there

A cold night in late December, along the area of New York known as M-town for the large number of mutants that have made it their home.


NPCs: Coffee Barista

Mentions: Cyclops Iceman


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

As far-flung as some of the X-ers have become following the various team restructurings, Xavier never really lets anyone drift too far away. People move on, find new lives, but the family— the core team— always makes sure to let folks know that they're not forgotten.

So, Betsy Braddock— who stays in an apartment in New York half the week— has made a special call on Nancy O'neal, to check up on her health and well-being. Mutant town is a home away from home for many mutants, and for their friends, allies, and extended families. So it's here that Betsy offeres to meet Nancy, putting the two of them out for a walk in the cool late winter air— Betsy wearing a thick, wool London Fog peacoat in navy, collar turned up against the yoke of a woven camel-colored tunic. Grey leggings and knee-high leather boots with a fur ruff and a sharp stiletto heel all look like they're right off a winter fashion runway, and so immaculate she can't have worn them once. A slender silk choker the color of platinum sits around her throat.

"Have you considered looking for full-time work?" Betsy inquires of Nancy, walking along with hands in her pockets. "I know how important your music is to you but unless you attend a conservatory or the like, you'll have a hard time developing into a full time professional."


When Nancy got the call from Betsy, she was a little surprised. After all, she had been off planet for nearly 2 years and only just came back. Likely one of the mutants at the school had a way of knowing she was back. Not that she minds. Getting in contact with the X-ers is kind of nice. They remind Nancy that her powers can be useful.

Nancy walks along, holding her cup of tea in both hands and blowing on it to cool it enough to sip at it. She's been back to wearing all black, perhaps a symptom of her break-up with Bobby, since it was shen she was with him that Nancy started wearing colors and stopped dying her hair. "I have to admit that now that I'm back, I'm focussing on my music again. It's not like I need it for the money though. The Nest is doing fine. Got Starfire if I need a place to stay or am desperate for food. But music…." She closes her eyes, inhaling at her tea and smiling. "Did you know they don't have music on Alpha Horada Prime? I think I blew their minds up there."


"One worries," Betsy says, acknowleding Nancy's capability without revoking her statement. "It's important to try and have some kind of independence. Not because we shouldn't rely on friends if we need them— but so that we are individually empowered." The leggy model brushes a stray wisp of hair that's attempting to escape her flawless coiffure. One might be tempted to see if perfect hair and makeup is one of Betsy's superpowers, because she looks ready for a photoshoot on the street.

"I did not know they lacked music. What did you play for them? Chopin? Some modern rock? There's a shiny tenner in it for you if you played some Dropkick Murphys," Betsy says, eyes twinkling in a suggestion of a smile as they reach the cafe, and she opens the door for Nancy to precede her.


Walking side by side in the chill night air, Nancy sips slowly at her tea as she considers being independent. "One worries, huh? Wouldn't happen to be some purple haired psychic who can't get in my head, would it?" she teases Betsy. She never got to know her that well when she was around before, but what she had known she had liked. "I suppose I could do the job thing. Get my own place. I know they don't really need me at the Nest anymore. Sorta left them in the lurch when I decided to planet hop. But they‘ve done good without me. I just don’t know if I'm ready to really nine to five it. Just playing in places like Central Park and stuff to make enough for my next meal."

She finishes her tea just as the pair arrive at the cafe. Nancy has to laugh, the irony of going in for a cup when finishing a cup amuing her. "I stuck with Vivaldi mostly while travelling. He was a very mathematically precise composer, so for a lot of alien races, his music appeals on that level as well. I never played the Murphys, but I did play some ACDC on one planet."


"Vivaldi's good, but I have to confess I'm very fond of those brothers— friends? The duo who do the classical cellos. Two Cellos, that's their name, yes?" Betsy follows Nancy in— just because Nance has a drink doesn't mean Betsy doesn't want one! A tiny Coach wallet, a women's one in coyote brown, appears in her hand and she passes a credit card to the barista. "Green tea, two lemons, honey. And my friend's, too," she says.

"I'm not trying to give you undue criticism, Nancy. But it doesn't take a telepath or a mind reader to plan for contingencies. If you are serious about making music your career, I'd like to help you. Busking isn't a lifetime career plan."


Nodding her head, Nancy smiles softly. "I remember them. They were just getting popular before I left. Kinda cute. If you like that sorta guy, that is." She shrugs, clearly not the sort that likes that sort of guy in particular. She throws her paper cup in the garbage and lifts a chin in greeting to the barista. "Orange Pekoe, one lemon, three honey. No…. make it four." Yes, she still has her infamous sweet tooth.

With a heavy sigh, the goth shakes her head. "But that's just it, Betsy. I used to want to be a famous cellist. Hell, it was all I wanted. All I could think about is getting out of Queens and three square meals a day. And all because of the music. Like it was saving me. Then the whole situation with the Nest happened and I was the one doing the saving. And I realized that while I love my music, I wasn't wanting to succeed at it for the right reasons. Now… I help out at the Nest as I can, help here if people need a rest from their powers, I just … you guys taught me that helping others feels almost as good as my music. Okay, I'll never see Carnegie, but now I play because the music needs to come out. I play because to not play would hurt me. And I actually think I like it better that way."

As she picks up her tea cup, Nancy tips her head down to look up at Betsy along her brows. "But what about you? What have you been doing since I've been gone? C'mon. Dish! I've been off planet for nearly two years. Does Scott still have that stick up his ass?"


"It's turned sideways. He's even more insufferable, if you can imagine such a thing." Betsy accepts her tea and sits, waiting for it to steep, and once Nancy is across from her, gives the question a moment's ponderation as she crosses her legs under the table. Sapphires sparkle at her earlobes, catching the light.

"Aside from teaching— to be franky, very little," Betsy admits. "The Institute takes up most of my time. The rest is spent either here in the city or a rare trip into the country for our extracurriculars." Code for opeartions. "Life's been… a little dull, really. Aside from training students, I don't do terribly much anymore. I'm sorry if you were hoping for me to be the source of juicy gossip."


Nancy can't help but shake her head and roll her eyes with a sigh. "Is that even possible? I mean, that guy has got some serious control issues." She sits down with Betsy and can't help but notice how attractive Betsy Braddock is. She would have to be blind not to notice. She brushes a stray green strand of hair over an ear and stirs at her tea to get the honey dissolved fully from the bottom.

"Teaching…. You know, I kinda miss the mansion. All the people. The kids who just wanted to be close for a chance to not have to control themselves for a little while." Nancy is being evasive, clearly wanting to say something but not actually saying it. "And the trips to the country…. well, I only ever got to go the one time."


If Betsy is aware of the silent flattery, it doesn't show— but then again, she /is/ rather on the vain side. It's almost expected. "There's always a place for you there, Nancy," Betsy murmurs, examining Nancy's shifting glance with a penetrating look. Mind reader or not, she's a shrewd reader of human emotions.

"Nancy… you know, there is an application for your talents at Westchester," Betsy says, stirring her tea slowly, making a point of being politely diffident. "We have some children coming into extraordinary talents with little control over them. Some do, literally, just need a break from their abilities, even if for a short while. Others need a controlled environment in the event their talents run away from them."

"I know you're no longer affiliated with X-red officially, but the Mansion's doors are always open. I'd be happy to drive you up there, and bring you back to the city anytime."


With a smile, Nancy lowers her head. She never was a good one at hiding her feelings. Heart on her sleeve type, and with anger not being her main emotion anymore, that sleeve isn't so scary. "I could always drive up. Maybe … spend the weekends there?" she asks with an upward lilt to the question. "For the kids, of course," she quickly says, not wanting Betsy to think that she wants to hang out in musty, dusty Xavier's Institute for her own benefit.

"And… while I'm there, I could see if any of them have some desire for music. Maybe get them working towards Juilliard."


Betsy lives and breathes by her cell phone, so it's a compliment to Nancy that only now does she dig into her pocket for her phone and turn it on. Her finger flickers over the screen and she turns it around for Nancy to examine.

"Julliard has many programs to help students from disenfranchised backgrounds. Particularly ones with strong musical aptitude. Some of them might have never handled an instrument before. If you can coach some of them and get them on the right path— well, Juilliard is an ambitious goal, but why bother going halfway, right?"


Nancy nods her head smiling. "I never touched an instrument till I was in grade 8. I was lucky. Got accepted into Julliard on my first try out. So, I know its possible. If they want it bad enough. If the music pulls them hard enough." She lifts a shoulder as she smirks. "'Sides, I could put in a good word or two for those that show potential." Yes, Nancy was one of those students that the conservatory helped. "Sorta like paying it forward. In a way."


Betsy mutes her phone and tucks it away again, brushing back her hair so it drapes /just so/ from one shoulder and coils around her ear without tucking behind it. "An alumni recommendation carries a lot of weight," Betsy agrees, sipping her tea. "And you know what Juilliard wants and prefers in a candidate— you can help prepare them for exams and auditions."

"Come back to Westchester this weekend. We'll take my Aston up, and you can save on gas. A few hot meals, a warm bed in the guest wing, and then I'll bring you back on Monday so you can get back to busking. Is that agreeable?"


Nancy tries not to stare as Betsy goes about being perfect. Long hair that falls like silk. The graceful movements of her arms like those of a dancer. Nancy closes her eyes and sips at her tea, thanking her lucky stars that Betsy isn't some nerdy scientist type as well. She stirs at her tea, finally opening her eyes to talk to the other woman. "I have enough knowledge of other instruments that I can help outside of my field of expertise as well. Julliard is big on us being all well rounded, musically speaking."

With a nod of her head, Nancy sighs with resignation, as if Betsy had to really talk her into agreeing. "Alright. It would be nice to train in the Danger Room again. I've been painfully rusty."

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