We Aren't Friends

June 29, 2017:

Regan and Nate stumble into each other near Mutant Town. Parlay happens. Or something.

Mall near Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Ravager

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Saturday evening approaches and the lure of shopping therapy begins. Regan has taken a car from one city to the next. After having drained Gotham for this season's fashions, Regan is following the tactics of age-old hunter-gatherers and is seeking fertile ground: New York City. One Uber driver and a few twenty dollar bills later, and Regan is back in her home turf.
Regan steps out of the BMW wearing a shredded pair of blue jeans, slashed front and back until the black, calf-height boots she wears. A baggy, white shirt dangles over one bared shoulder, sleeves long enough to roll against the bag she's carrying. Hair down and straightened, she walks from the curb down the row, passing a coffee shop, on her way to the streetside boutiques.


Of course at the coffee shop lurks one Nate Grey. Mutant Town is close enough, and he is a coffee-addict. Dressed in black cargo pants and a non-descript grey T-shirt, they young man looks fairly normal. Sunglasses over his eyes, because Summer is here. His long auburn hair is gone, reduced to an almost military style buzzcut. Still, it would be hard for Regan to miss him. It is hard for anyone with any telepathic talent to miss Nate, as he glows too brightly to most psychic senses.
He has not seen Regan himself. Or rather, he has not identified Regan as anyone beyond a ‘pretty blonde’. He was not at his most attentive last time they saw each other. Blame Rose.


With already a coffee cup, a to-go affair with the telltale green straw and mildly whorish mermaid on the side, Regan is on point to pass the patio of the coffee house. A telepath, herself, she's grazing over the surface thoughts of those she passes, much like browsing a storefront as she saunters down the iron gate. Nate, however, is someone she's seen before, so when she catches wind of his presence, eyes catching sight of him, she looks his way, though she doesn't approach. Not a smile, not a wave, but a notice? Of course.


And that is enough. Nate is ever wary and doubly so nowadays. The young man was heading out when he feels Regan's eyes on him. Glances back, and this time his own telepathy brushes over her mind. Just a brief psychic glance, but loaded with vast power. He stops, blue-green eyes widening first, then narrowing.
To kill or not to kill? No, that was not much of a question. But if Regan felt something akin to the proverbial 'someone is walking on her grave', that was just good instincts.
Instead he raises his coffee mug in mild greeting, while doing a serious, wider psychic scanning for possible threats. « Fancy meeting you here, blondie. » He sends into her mind telepathically. « Do you have a name beside 'that mouthy girl'? »


One, slender, blonde brow creeps up and over the wide rim of her designer DC sunglasses. Regan's met many a psychic before. She's known some of the most powerful, and the brush out is something she's had plenty of experience with. Enough that, when it happens, she drags the edge of her lip to one side in a smirk and quietly shakes her head.
« We aren't friends. » Regan offers in closing, before she draws her mental shielding down into place and severs contact with Nathan Grey. When she does it, she lifts her elbow and twitters her fingers over her shoulder in the direction of the coffee house…then clak-clak-claks her heels on up to the front of a fashionista's paradise, slowing to glance at the storefront, then continues one. She pulls her cell phone from her bag, and her thumb begins to move.


No, they are not friends. In fact they don’t even know each other at all. Nate was just curious, and still is. He responds the smirk with his own, but remains in place. His eyes follow Regan as she moves aside, making no effort to push any thought past her mind-shielding.
Cellphone? Now, that is a good idea. He also has a cell, and he pulls it out to take a picture of Regan. Maybe the X-Men databases will have something of her. He did some minimal effort to identify Rose’s ‘friends’ shortly after their brief meeting. A couple were famous super-criminals (or rather, reported super-criminals). But the rest, well, he mostly forgot about them when Rose decided to return. Maybe she will introduce them to him some day.
For now, he has this picture.


After firing off a message, Regan drops the phone back into her bag and knocks on the door to one of the boutiques. After a few seconds, a shopkeeper opens the doors and Nate is greeted with the girliest of girly shopping moments. Loud greetings and extended arms in hugs and air-kisses to cheeks, and Regan is soon thereafter arm-hooked and tugged into the boutique. The bell above the door chimes as it swings closed, and the storefront muffles with the sound of jibber-jabbering as Regan, the blonde Wyngarde sister, prepares to ditch her boots and try dresses on.


Tsk. She looks just like a blonde co-ed having fun shopping. Nate should really leave her well alone. Most days, he would. But he is curious and has some time to kill, and soon he won’t be in America for a few weeks.
Besides, Nate has no shame.
So he pockets the cell back and slides forward, peering into the shop briefly before opening the door and stepping inside.


The bell above the door chimes on Nate's entry. Circular platforms of expensive boots are near the door, followed by racks of clothing and felt-lined displays of intimate wear. Dresses on stands give way to a changing booth in the corner, one in which Regan is slipping into when both herself and the other blonde, the store's clerk, look his way.
"I'll be with you right in a minute, sir! I've just gotta get her settled in." The clerk calls out.
"It's okay, Eva. I know him. He's a persistent one, aren't you?" Regan replies, directing her words to Nate as she closes the curtain and begins to peel off her boots.
"I'm not going to stop what I'm doing for you, but you've got something on your mind, dontcha, punkin?" Regan calls through the curtain as boots, then socks, stack in view beneath.


Sunglasses are pocketed and the shop given a studious glance. Although probably not the kind of appreciative glance the clerks would like. “Yep. Persistent,” confirms Nate, turning to offer Regan a friendly smirk. “You know…” he leans towards her, conspiratory-like. “Bolivar Trask is in Genosha, but General Ross is not. Good soldier. I am a fan.”
Yes, he was paying attention to Regan’s words last time. It was not a good moment to start discussing about the best replacement for Waller. Seriously. It is not now either, but whatever. “Lots in my mind, but mostly… I am just curious right now.”


The clerk returns, draping some dresses on a hook beside the curtain. On the other side, slender arms lift high and the white shirt comes away. Regan's arm sneaks out through the curtain, grabs the dresses, and sneaks them into the changing booth as if they'd been snared by a lizard's tongue. SHLUPP. Clothes eating.
"Genosha Genosha Genosha," Regan replies, amused. "You know, if I were one of those Tomi Lahren sluts that sits and watches the news all day so that when I sit at the table with a bunch of blowhard assholes, I'd probably watch the news more, but that stuff is on everywhere these days, innit?" Regan snickers amidst the sound of a zipper. Jeans fall, are plucked up, and the trying on begins.
"Personally?" Regan pauses mid-thought. "All of those Westpoint types are assholes. CEOs with tanks." A beat. "So you got something you wanna ask me, Skywalker, or by curious were you wanting to take the booth next door and get your Noxeema on?"


“You think, how many Westpoint types have you met?” Rhetorical question. He is not going to spend any energy defending ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross career. “Nah, I am going to remain just here for a bit if you don’t mind. I did ask you for your name, though.”
Which he didn’t offer, now he thinks about it. Protocol, not his thing. He can sometimes notice, though. “I am Nate, by the way. Nathaniel Grey. Nice to metcha,” curtain and all.


"It's not so hard to meet them. There's a campaign going every other year. Five hundred a plate will get you into a tasty Congressman ass-kissing session." Regan slips the dress over the top of her head, shuffles about as she gets it into place, then pulls open the curtain. She steps out past Nate towards a platform and a tri-sectional mirror in a slip of a black dress that rests high on her thighs, a dress shirt turned into a dress, really.
She goes about turning, cocking her hip, checking to make sure it's laying how she wants.
"Oh, I know who you are, Nate. We've met before at a thing." Regan winks his way, flashing him a grin. "But if you don't mind me asking, do you really think I'd believe you're just passingly curious after that whole Grr-Smash-Raar? And since you're not trying to get in the booth and fuck me," Regan turns back to the mirror. "Call me Ivanka, for now. She has chipmunk face. I'd wear the name better than her."


Nate can’t see Ross in that kind of campaign party. But again, not the issue. “Uh huh. No, you don’t know who I am.” Points out Nate. “I am just ‘passing curious’. The smashing business is mostly over. Rose returned America on her own free well, focused and resolute, just like I like her the most.”
“Ivanka. For fucks shake.” He shakes his head, smirking again. “I will know tomorrow, y’know? And that only because I don’t want to be obnoxious and find out right now.”


"I knooooooow, but telling isn't fun and spares you the hard work." Regan tilts a knee, bending a little bit with a laugh and a brush-down of the front skirt. To a trained eye, the predatory look she gives herself means one thing: The tag's about to get cut off of the dress. "But don't Google Ivanka. Spoiler? I'm not actually Ivanka Trump."
Regan turns and brow-waggles to the man on her way back to the booth. There, she offers a hip to the store clerk, who cuts the tag away and slinks back to the front counter.
"Oh, I do know who you are, Nate Grey. I mean, not personally. I don't know what you like to eat for breakfast and whether or not you snore." Ssssshhhlp. The curtain closes and the dress is slipped over the edge of the booth. "But for passing curious, you make a lot of noise for the girl. You're talking about how you like her the most, focused and resolute, you say? Honey," Regan tsks and reaches for another dress, a purple and black one with an jagged hemline. "I may not know you, but I've had to put up with the side drama. So…" Regan starts to slip the dress over her shoulders. "…enough with the foreplay. What are you digging at, Nate G?"


Nate hrms, as if admitting something. Because he has to admit something. “It is not fucking you in the booth,” he remarks, “I don’t usually go for spa princesses,” but there is something, yes. Something has been nagging him in the back of his head since he saw her from the coffee shop. No, it was even before.
“That weak-ass illusion you attempted,” he starts. Pause. Ah, to the hell with it! He is going to run the picture through the X-Men server right now, not tomorrow. “You remind me of something I can’t quite… place. Right.” How was it done?… IR link to the X-Men communicator, open secure tunnel to the Xcom darknet server. Taptaptaptap. C’mon, c’mon. Doug and Kitty put so much security it takes a while. Now the face recognition program. “Maybe I will just…” beat. “Wyngarde.”
From the other side of the curtain Regan can’t see him go pale.
‘They have Lady Mastermind’ had said Rose. No, Nate is not a good detective; he had all the clues and still needed IT to be spelled by a computer.


"I'm almost six feet tall and blonde. I'd pass for Ivanka; she's a spa princess, too." Regan muses back to the curtain while she pieces together her dress. "Or, give or take, every other girl at fashion week that wasn't hired because she looks like an underfed boy. The work I put into these abs and the little bit of milk I actually DO have to drink to fill out in the right places? Oh, no, I'm fashion week," Regan jabbers at herself in the mirror, giving herself a wink. "But I'm not Kate 'Armagards ten calories' Moss."
SWISH
The curtain opens and Regan comes out wearing her white top from earlier and a purple and black, brocade-patterned skirt. She narrows her eyes beneath the hang of blonde hair, smiling quietly at Nate when she namedrops Wyngarde, and saunters past him for the mirror.
"Nathan, you know as well as I do," Regan turns around, first checking the way the skirt contains her rump. "Illusions and telepathy aren't for telepaths, they're for the non telepaths. It all looks like magic to them. Because what, if anything to the uninitiated, are we but sorcerors with knives coming out of our knuckles and bright, blue fur?" Regan turns around again, straightening the skirt.
"So why are you so interested in who I am, Nate?" Regan grins to her reflection. "Since we're so busy not answering each other's questions, I'll accept vague as an answer."


Nate gives Regan a long, silent look. He is not looking at her abs or those places she fills so nicely. He is trying to see someone else in her. “Jason. Jason would have never gone for that ‘haha, now there are twelve of me. I am an illusionist almost as great as the fucking Mirror Master’. Maybe you weren’t even trying.”
The again, Regan has very little reason to try to do anything efficient or smart in that situation, did she?
Nate sighs. Lots more in that cellphone. Looks like Regan is a bad, bad girl. Some reading for later, he turns off the cell. “I knew Jason Wyngarde. I fought at his side for years. He taught me many things. I was two yards from him when an assassin incinerated up with a plasma flamer. He died trying to help me, and all I could do to avenger him was frying the assassin brain.” He grimaces at Regan. “That was the hellhole world where I was born, of course, not this nice and shiny America.”


Regan's worshipping of herself stalls at the mention of Jason Wyngarde. Her blue eyes focus on a single spot in the mirror, just off of Nate's shoulder and his reflection. Eyes dull and manicured fingertips are left splaying on the flat front of the skirt. Ahem. A recently threaded eyebrow twitches, then settles back into place.
"Jason Wyngarde had a public self and a private self, Nathan. What he would and would have never gone for was his own problem, his own shortcomings, and you're not qualified to truly know what those were." Regan replies, slowly, then goes back to her ministrations. Once again, the tag is snipped free, and taken back to the counter.
"But you're from some hellhole world, then, aren't you?" Regan grins brightly. "Well, let me tell you about the Jason Wyngarde that I knew." And loved? Skipping over it, Regan jaunts back towards her booth. "Divvying up targets through mirror mastering is child's play and works in a pinch, but he wasn't the hero you knew him to be. Here, he was a visionary, a genius, and would have frowned so, so deeply at a three hundred mile per hour lover's spat over the Atlantic."
SWISH
"The Jason Wyngarde you knew doesn't exist, not here, nor to me." Regan's voice curls into a warm, devious tone. "And you, clever boy, are trying to get a rise out of me." Her laugh is bright. "The hatred is strong in you, Young Skywalker."


“Hmm, no. Probably not the same man,” admits Nate, staring at Regan evenly. But maybe, maybe, they were, deep down. That is something they will never know now. “I spent almost four years with him, almost every day. He had many scars, and as many stories to tell with his illusions. He never mentioned a daughter, though. Maybe you were never born in my world. Or perhaps it was something he wouldn’t want to tell a kid.”
He looks away and snorts. “Getting a rise out of you? Why would I do that? I don’t know you. I don’t have reasons to hate you.” Not that he doesn’t have plenty hatred to spare, just… not for Jason. “Got something right. He would have smacked me upside down for acting without at least three backup plans. Now I think about it, he did that a few times.”


"Then what is your angle, Nate?" Regan speaks up as the skirt is flopped over. Through under the curtain, slender ankles can be seen as jeans drop into place and are stepped in. "Idle curiosity? Do you want to swap Facebook entries and become besties? Or did you see the illusions and think: Hey, that reminds me of Jason Wyngarde from some other place, some other time?" Regan asks, poking her head out through the curtain and shoving it open with her head while she buttons her jeans.
"But let me be very clear to you," Regan grins, a braggart. "Had your Jason Wyngarde had a daughter, you would have known about it. I was his favorite, and always will be, and he taught me up to the point where he couldn't anymore, but don't think for a second that you're not in the presence of the one. Me? I'm Ivanka, of course, I know a lot about the man, but the man I knew had a daughter who he couldn't teach past a certain point and she needed to learn where he couldn't take her." Regan grabs her bag and steps out, pulling a few hundred dollar bills from her purse.
"So if this bout of curiosity you have is somehow connected to Rose," Regan turns her back to Nate, sauntering to the counter. "Two things. One?" Beat. "Don't assume that Jason Wyngarde was the best." Another beat. "And two, don't hover around me like an X-creepazoid while I pick out underwear. It's time for you to shoo."


Nate blinks slowly at the outburst, and then smirks a bit. “You never know, Regan,” he shrugs, not unsympathetic. “Some folks are slow to talk about what they really love, or what they loved and lost. And almost everyone was dead or dying in my world.”
Connected to Rose, what? Oh… fathers! Maybe Regan has also issues there. It is a large club and many are invited. The rest? “I guess it was the illusions, yes. I think it has been in the back of my mind for a while. As for the rest: No. Maybe. Hell if I know. Your pick.” He freely admits this. He is not a planner (obviously). But he doesn’t go out of the way to ‘get a rise’ out of people he barely knows. “Being friends seems somewhat unlikely. But we’ll see. You take care and watch your back.”
Not terribly interested in seeing her picking underwear, nope. He was near Mutant Town for business, too. Then again absolutely no one will be surprised if Nate Grey is 20 minutes late.


"Things break. People die." Regan replies over her shoulder. Sympathy for the dead isn't her strongpoint. In a world that breaks quite often, due to magic and the weirdo gods that keep visiting the planet. She says this as if throwing away her Starbucks cup, which she does. The green-strawed cup drops into a trash can. "And friends?" Regan laughs a little. "Honey, people like me don't have friends. We travel from place to place and pick up the best things we can along the way. People are rented, not owned. Like Budget Rent-A-Car." Regan points out in her turn for a table of lacy underbunnies.
"Stay out of trouble, Nate." Regan smiles softly at the purple lace before her. "No one is exempt from the temporary rule."


No friends. That gives Nate's pause. He glances back. Liar.
Stay out of trouble, she says. That one makes him laugh. "Things break. People die. Control is an illusion. We still want all of it, hmm? Better to go for it and maybe lose it than never know how it is." He should apply that to himself too. But of course he won't. "Have fun, Lady Mastermind." Now, he is gone for good. Even seeing him takes some telepathic effort.

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