Less Than Sterling

June 02, 2017:

On Professor Xavier's behalf Scott Summers meets with Emma Frost in a continued attempt to draw her in to the fold and figure her out.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A twenty minutewalk from Xavier's is the small bar and pool hall known as Harry's Hideaway. It is rustic, cozy and outdoorsy. The inside is plenty of woods, red wrapped benches, stools and the smell of cigarettes. A smell that lasts only because its seeped in to the very finishing of the tavern itself. It's a requirement people smoke outdoors now.

The first sounds one catches to their ears is the song, "I'm Only Human" a smooth musical drone that fits this place, despite many of it's regulars being anything but human.

A *KLAK* is audible as a white que ball bounces off of a racked up set. The balls in turn dash in all directions, colors everywhere across the green table.

Scott had texted Emma telling her they should meet. The bar is relatively quiet tonight, students out right now, most people don't come out this far when there is a cluster of closer ones in town. The locals who do come here are the sort who keep to themselves.

A game of billiards to himself and the tall, dark haired X-Man in the deep red glasses moves from one side of the table to the other, lining up his next shot. A casual black tshirt with a faded American flag on it in all white, jeans and riding boots. Yeah, that 20 minute walk is a 2 minute motorcycle ride. Scott doesn't seem to be bored as he waits. Hes rather good at pool considering his talent for knowing angles and just where to hit things.

How… quaint.

When Emma got the instruction to not dress nicely, the inner prayer to whatever deities might hear and answer began. 'Not a dive bar. Please, not a dive bar. Not a dive bar.'

As she curled her hair and put on her makeup. 'Not a dive bar. Please, not a dive bar. Not a dive bar.'

As she put on the gauzy white collared, sleeveless shirt cinched at the waist and white lace palazzo pants and stiletto heels. 'Not a dive bar. Please, not a dive bar. Not a dive bar.'

And then her driver pulled up in front of the bar and… Emma simply closed her eyes and took a deep breath, before whispering, "Damn it."

Once that moment has passed, she picks up her patent leather clutch and slides out of the car. Even as she's telling herself it could be worse, she's slipping inside the building and cursing the rustic decor.

The smile on her lips is deceptive, even as her blue eyes begin to search out the man who summoned her. She doesn't venture far past the door until she spies him at the pool table. It is then that she acknowledges the bartender looking in her direction and gently waves her hands in the international sign for 'don't mind me' (despite an appearance that says anything but), and begins to move in that direction.

A head turner, Emma Frost is normally that but in a place like this? Quaint and self-absorbed drinkers all start to glance over. One of them even dropping a french fry out of his mouth to land in his soda. His girlfriend across from him reaching over to roughly clamp his mouth shut. They exit. Not on good terms.

Scott looks up as the doors swing open and close behind Emma, a smile is given her direction and he sets his pool stick aside to walk over to meet her part way, one hand extending out, "Miss Frost. Glad you could join me. Would you like a drink?"
The bartender is waiting even though she motioned him off. It's not until she engages with Scott the staring patrons start to look away and return to their own business.

"Mister Summers. A pleasure to see you again, I'm certain." Tucking her purse under her elbow, Emma continues to smile. The curvy blonde glances to the bar and then back again. She then extends her own hand to meet the X-Man's, answering his question with unmitigated sincerity. "I certainly wouldn't want to make you drink alone," she tells him with a theatrical wink, assuming he's offering because he's ready to indulge himself. It's not until most of the eyes have started to look elsewhere, because she can certainly feel the weight of their attention well enough, that she glances around the room again and considers it and its occupants with a little more weight.

"I'll have whatever you're having. Unless that's beer. If you're doing that, then a Sweet Manhattan."

Emma's hand is lightly shaken and released. The woman is given a smiling once over from the mutant, "You stand out here." A statement to the obvious, "Not that I am complaining. Not in the least. Our area is right over here." Beside the billiards table a nook along the wall has two tall high backed chairs and a small circular table between them. A perfect place to sit and knock one anothers knees senseless.

"I just started this game but I can certainly rack it back up if you want to join." A nod towards the Bartender, who gets another of Scott's drinks put together for him, blue curacao, cherry brandy and yellow chartreuse. An interesting drink made specifically for him by Harry and scotty actually couldn't say no, now he gets them for free here. Not that he ever goes without paying.

"I like how you think, Miss Frost. You mind if I call you Emma? You can call me Scott, sound fair? As much as I would like to pretend I have you here all to myself on a date. I don't actually have that luxury. As soon as you're comfortable though we can talk more seriously."

Does she stand out? Scott's observation is met with an airy shrug of Frost's bared shoulders, and a knowing twist of her dusty rose-painted lips. As for the game of pretend, it too is easily brushed past. "Pool is game enough for one evening, I suppose. But, if you change your mind?" Emma's tone teasing as she follows her guide. "As for playing myself? She shakes her head softly as she moves towards the table. Or, more accurately, towards one of the tall chairs so that she can slide up onto it and perch there. "I'm afraid I'm so poor at the game that you'd still just be playing yourself… only at a handicap." Long legs cross as she sets her purse down on the small table, and an arm moves to drape across her lap. "I'll just watch if it's all the same by you."

"Change my mind about?" Scott almost sounds distracted as Emma moves past him, the scent of her perfume maybe. A light tip of his head and he picks up his pool stick again, proceeding to turn and knock two balls in. The bartender is quick, the only waitress on duty putting her cellphone down to walk the drinks over setting them down before each on the table. A bubblegum smack and shes strutting off again back to her spot near the bar.

"Watch away. I don't mind." He says, a small amount of teasing of his own in there. Scott may not even realize it.

"Let me just… finish up real quick and we can talk." One by one in a methodical bit of positioning and firing Scott clears the table until hes got the 8Ball sitting alone in the middle of the green table. Leaving it there. He sets the pool stick down and then slides in to the chair opposite Emma's, half-seated in it and unmindful his legs are as stated earlier, knocking knees with her own.

"Now then… "

He not realize the return teasing. He doesn't note the contact under the table either, perhaps, but Emma does. She doesn't pull away. Instead, she simply stands her proverbial ground, picks up her drink with two hands, appraises it briefly, and then ventures a small sip.

She arches an eyebrow, and then declares her verdict as to its tolerability with a longer draw from the cup.

Once she's had the first bracing measure, the man in front of her will find that he has her full attention as she leans forward and idly runs her finger around the rim of her cup. "Yes. Needed me, I think you said? Very flattering."

"I do. Well, the X-Men do." Cyclops insists, "Professor Charles Xavier insists you are one of the best telepaths in the world. That despite your… less than sterling reputation you belong with us." He doesn't miss a beat. One would almost think he practices his little speeches. A light tip of his lips upwards as she takes a drink, "What do you think of it?" It's almost a challenge as she refuses to move her leg, he, in turn keeps his right where it is. This is what you get when two very strong-willed individuals run out of space.

Scott's own drink is lifted and in a less entertaining manner than her own downs some of it.

Emma downs a larger portion of her cocktail, and all the while her mind begins to work to simply muddy their conversation to other ears. It's a subtle illusion, but it protects their privacy. "It's decent," she says of the drink, playing at words. But there's the matter of the weightier stuff brought for consideration.

She laughs. Emma laughs. Soft and melodic, it's meant to demonstrate a show of her amusement. It rings tinny and hollow in her own ears, and she prays Scott doesn't hear it the way she does.

"Less than sterling? Goodness, I'm fairly certain that there are those among your people who would consider that description tantamount to papal absolution!" Her eyebrows lift, challenging the notion of her belonging. Challenging him. "You already have telepaths. I don't know why the one who got her students killed is the one you'd add to the psychic menagerie."

Scott doesn't share Emma's laugh. His stoic demeanor remaining even as he hits the ice of his drink. The bottom becoming more water than anything tasty.

"There are. You have skeptics and it isn't just about the Hellions." Scott's done research. He always does. One would think hes the sort who actually liked homework. "I am actually one of those who harbors doubts but I listen to the Professor. Even against my best judgement, I usually listen to the Professor."

Scott adjusts so his shoulders are against the back wall, his hand resting over his empty glass and one leg stretching out to give them a little more breathing room. "You make light of it now, I know it isn't for you. As a teacher and a leader, I know how heavy that must weigh on you. I'm about to put myself in a similar scenario. I am about to take on Genosha." Yes, Genosha. The African island country the world last year boycotted because they were exposed for mutant slavery and trafficking.

"So, when I say we need you. It isn't just because we want to add you to a collection. It is because we actually need you."


Well, if Emma's companion was looking for a way to render her silent, it would seem he's found it. Her pale eyes narrow overtly and her once-languid and playful gestures become rigid. And after a long beat, she continues with her voice barely more than a murmur. It's not a declaration that escapes her lips, but a question masquerading as one. "You aren't taking children to that Godforsaken cesspool."

"No. I am taking X-Men to that Godforsaken cesspool to rescue children." Scott says flatly. "The Genoshans need stopped. Not only has their hunting displaced thousands of mutants but they also began on the nuhumans. The UN sits idle. SHIELD sits idle. The Justice League idle. The Avengers idle. So who does that leave? Us. The X-Men. Will you help us?" Scott is now leaning forward, those red sunglasses he is wearing not allowing for eyecontact but she can no doubt feel his intense gaze situated neatly on her own clear eyes. "Join us. Even if its just for this."

Summers's scrutiny doesn't trouble her. French manicured fingernails drum a staccato beat upon the tabletop as Frost considers the proposition. Weighs possible costs and gains, trying to settle on a net result. Eventually, her smile returns. It's paler and far less infectious, particularly as she lets him draw closer with his lean and piercing regard. "Has anyone ever told you, Scott, dear, that you make it very hard to say 'no?' I just hope that conscience of yours isn't contagious. I've worked very hard on the black lacquer that covers my soul, you see, and I'd hate for you to chip the finish."

"Only when they're playing hard to get." Scott says while remaining in that lean just a little longer. With his words the levity loosens up he then withdraws and places his shoulders back in to the wall as they were before. The ghost of a smile forming across his lips. "Don't worry, helping us this /once/ shouldn't make you suddenly develop a conscience. We're not that infectious. At least not without prolonged exposure."

Scott lifts a hand and motions for two more drinks. If shes done entirely, he'll take the extra. "I am going to text you details. They are confidential and I am putting trust in you and faith in the Professor's judgement. Please don't make me regret it. I'd hate for this date to end up a sour one." Scott knows he said date. She may not need a telepathic hunch for that.

The 'D' word teases a sly smile back to Emma's visage. "Regret?" She sips down the rest of her drink, and slides it to the edge of the table for the waitress to collect whenever she comes around again to exchange the glasses, full for empty. "Please. That's a disease to plague lesser men." Another few beats, fingertips padding out a contemplative rhythm before she inquires further. "And, of course, you have a plan in place to minimize public exposure."

Scott wets his lips as she denounces regret in her unique manner. Their empties replaced with new ones. His hand finds one quickly, closing around it to place to his mouth as though he may be parched, "Yes and no. I will have SHIELD assistance, this isn't going to be a deep cover thing, not entirely. We're replacing one of their figureheads with one of our own. A shapeshifter. If I tell you all my plan here you are going to think it's insane and maybe tuck tail." A grin is born around his glass.

Yes… and no.

That's not particularly comforting.

As Scott continues to drink, Emma's head cants to one side as there's a new wariness. Practicality, once more, rears its ugly head and threatens to devour the tiny spark of righteous indignation whole. "I've no desire to have my genetics thrown up for the consideration of Wall Street bigots. Scott, public exposure could ruin me. If you want any hope of financial support in the future, you need my investment portfolio and company's stock to hold steady."

"No public exposure is going to happen. Not to you. Not unless you want in on the footwork that others have more willingly volunteered for. Your help will be in a secondary or even tertiary manner, I'm not going to jeopardize your livelihood or what you have… built for yourself." Scott sets his glass down with a *clink*, "Finances are helpful but not what we're after either. Like I said, the details will be incoming." A look at her again, a daring one maybe but without the eyes its hard to tell, "Besides, what would your colleagues think if they knew you were helping out the X-Men?"

The delicate line of Emma's jaw shifts as it clenches. What would they think? By the telepath's sudden moment of stony silence, it should be safe to assume the answer is likely Nothing good. Her refined features, as the woman looks back at the mutant across from her, are entirely devoid of amusement. She takes her new drink in hand at last, turns it once to consider it, and then takes a large sip.

"As long as we understand each other," she quietly allows.

"Crystal." Scott confirms. For once he isn't the stony one in a room. He has managed to place Emma Frost there a talent hes exhibited in the past with many others. "Maybe you can answer me a question, something I am curious about… " A thoughtful sound, its as though hes trying to figure out how to phrase what comes next,"Why does Professor Xavier think so highly of you, your skills and your potential?"

"Because I am worthy of it," Emma replies back, easily.

Leaning back in over the table, she elaborates with her hand airily floating about emphatically in vague stretches and rolls as she continues to drink. "In my experience, for every mutant ever born, there are typically three primary indicators of future potential. There are the raw abilities granted by our genetics, of course. Then there is the acceptance of those abilities. The willingness to use them. But then, of equal importance, is the willingness to push the limits of both the first two points. Power without acceptance? Practically useless. Power without the ability to refine? Decidedly limited." She shrugs a shoulder and drapes a hand over her clavicle. "I'm a world class telepath who is very fond of survival and very sure of herself. I love my abilities. Do the math."

"It sounds to me you're describing someone dangerous. Morality is usually a factor the Professor also considers as potential. Was he wrong there?" Scott is speaking almost clinical now. He is trying to learn Emma Frost. "What is your ultimate agenda, Emma? If I can be that bold. What do you /wamt/?" A tip of his head to look sidelong past her and he watches the door close as the final person leaves. Harry doesn't close on them though, he only dims the lights as the waitress begins to flip tables and clean surfaces.

Emma rolls her eyes. "Everyone does like to throw that word around, don't they? Dangerous. For heaven's sake, we're all dangerous, aren't we?"

Downing the rest of her glass, the blonde then reaches for her purse and begins to search through it. "If you're so keen to doubt Charles's assessment of it, then I invite you to challenge him about it. I don't owe you any explanations, and it sounds like you're more concerned about his thoughts on the matter than mine." Finally, she pulls out a small black compact and a tube of lipstick. Deftly, she freshens up the color on her lips. "I'd make a quip about buying a drink before letting you get a glimpse in my head, but… you did and I still don't want to, so."

The compact snaps shut and both lip color and mirror are tucked away. "I suppose you'll have to try your luck another day."

"We are very dangerous." Scott agrees. "I don't doubt his assessment, I never do." Not Scott Summers, the perfect boyscout." I am simply curious as to your take on it. I want to see what it is he sees and I lack the powers you and him do. That ability to look deeper so effortlessly." Scott reaches over and gives her glass a flick of his fingertips, letting them *tink* off. "Are we getting comfortable enough to get tender?" Scott taunts her openly. An uptilt of his chin has him trying to look as smug as she presents herself to be. "You're right though, you owe me nothing. " Another flick at her glass and he withdraws his hand. "I will have to try my luck again at getting to know you next time. I'm glad to see I can get under your skin though, even if its just a little. Proves to me you are very much a human as the rest of us and likely /should/ be wary of contracting a conscience."

Comfortable enough to get tender? For that, he just gets a coquettish batting of Emma's eyelashes in reply. As for the last comment, however? That can't stand, even though she is pushing herself to her feet and smoothing the soft folds of her pants. "I'm not human," she quips dryly. "I'm a monster. Really. Truly. Every seventh full moon that falls on a Tuesday, you can see my true self. It's terrible. All Farrah hair and other lamentable fashion choices. I scare small children regularly, then."
Scott takes this as it is time to likewise stand. Actually moving over to draw her chair back for her. Not a far action, they didn't have a lot of room. He even proceeds to be polite by setting that same chair up for the waitress, along with his own. Boyscout. Every merit badge is earned.

"No, maybe, just maybe you're not human." A smile. "Yet at least. I'll accept that challenge though. Will you allow me to walk you to your car at least? "

Harry flicking off a light in the kitchen looks between the island window and waves to them both, "Enjoy your night."

Scott just offers the man a nod. His attention affixed on Emma.

"You d—" Emma stops, considers the boy scout for a moment, and then nods. "Alright." She pulls out a twenty to slip under the pile of cardboard coasters on the table, murmurs a 'thank you' to Harry with a modest wave, and then strides towards the door. As she goes, she pulls out her cellphone and begins quickly typing a text to the driver to make his way back to get her at the door. "My driver's just around the corner, I think."

Scott will escort her out like he offered up and stand beside her, his own bike the only vehicle left besides the waitresses dinged up little Rabbit. "I'll send you some files. Update you a bit more one the plans. I imagine if you feel inclined you can highlight, mark out and strike back to me what you like." For some reason he imagines her markers will be color coded with her sarcasm or possible irritation. Not that they would be but the thought amusingly crosses his mind. Maybe hes thinking too loud.

"If your drive is long the mansion does have guest rooms. You're welcome to come, stay in one, eat breakfast with us in the morning and then I can show you around, a tour." Idle chatter as they wait and he is analyzing her yet again. Hunting for openings in that lovely armor. How easy things must be to be a telepath.

How lovely it must be to… not be a telepath sometimes. If Emma picks up those thoughts, thought a little too loudly and overheard like a gossip's whisper, she makes no outward sign of it. Rather, she simply sends one more message before tucking her phone back in her purse.

"Ah, thank you," the mind witch replies, politely winding up the decline. "But I… prefer a little space, though. My own, less crowded space. You know how it is." Or at least close enough. He knows telepaths well enough, doesn't he? "But I promise to review whatever you send."

As she sees her dark sedan turn the corner a few blocks down from the corner of her eye, she continues. "And thank you. For the drinks. For the invitation."

"Of course." Scott replies while walking over to his bike and drawing on his jacket that was folded up on back. "We'll be in touch. You have my number now, I have yours." He looks down the road to watch the sedan as well. "The invitation is standing. The mansion, the school. Possibly the X-Men. It isn't going to revoke. Not as long as the Professor believes in you. I had a good night, Emma, Miss Frost. " He adds, "You're a different sort of monster than I expected." A grin, that disappears behind a visored helmet being smashed down on it and the man climbs on to his bike, it snarls to life and he starts to walk it backwards so he can pull out.

"The best kinds always are, Mister Summers," Emma says on the topic of her monsterhood, slipping back into the public formalities he seems to prefer. "You were worth the drive, for what it's worth, and I hope of the rest of your evening is equally pleasant."

The driver, a slim man probably fifteen years his passenger's senior, slips out of the car to open the door for her. She smiles at him, as she moves to slip inside. Just before she does, however, she gives the X-Man one last glance and wave. Then she folds inside the back seat of the car, and the door is shut behind her.

Her driver makes no acknowledgment of the motorcycle operator, having long since learned to ignore most of his employer's dealings.

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