Midnight Movies

September 26, 2017:

Illyana and Rachel find they have a few things in common, such as desiring to watch movies in the middle of the night, rather than sleeping.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The Xavier Institute never truly sleeps. There's always urgent research to be done in the labs, or missions to be planned in the war room, or even just an insomniac raiding the kitchen. But the early hours of the morning are when the old house gets closest, so that's the time she chooses.

A shadow passes through the mansion, moving with silent purpose as it descends the stairs on soft, slippered feet. The door to one of the smaller sitting rooms eases noiselessly open and a blonde head looks in, checking that the room is empty, before the rest of her slides inside. Closing the door softly behind her, Illyana Rasputina smiles in satisfaction and wards the room with a flick of her fingers. It's a minor spell, but it should hide any sounds from within the room, and give her a little warning if anyone approaches.

Wriggling her feet out of her slippers, she leaves her fluffy killer rabbit footwear by the couch she's already chosen as her throne for the evening and pads barefoot to the television, sinking down to sit cross-legged before it. Shifting the pile of discs from under her arm to the floor before her, Illyana pushes up the sleeves of her almost comically oversized shirt and begins to sort through her viewing choices for the night.

Pausing with a disc in one hand and the other reaching towards the player, Illyana tilts her head to one side as she feels something brush against her wards. A muted, almost furtive presence. She half turns, looking over her shoulder as she remains sitting, her eyes fixing on the door.

The presence behind the door is none other than one Rachel Summers. Tonight is a case of bad dreams. Sleep is a necessity, but when the mind continues to loop one bad memory after another, as is the case ever so often with Rachel, then the only solution is to catch up on all the pop culture she's never experienced. Now, granted, Rachel has been here for several years and has adapted fairly nicely, but there are many, many television shows, movies, and documentaries that she hasn't seen. Having to pick information out of minds for something as mundane as a quote, or actor, or scene isn't nearly as much fun as getting to watch that for yourself.

Pop culture. What would the world do without it?

So a raid on the kitchen was necessary, large water bottle tucked under one arm, microwave popcorn bag clutched in her right hand, a warm blanket folded over her other arm, and a disc held in her left hand. Tonight's choice of movies 'Big Trouble in Little China'. Rachel has been told it is an absolute necessity to watch, though the premise sounded just a little weird.

Attempting to navigate the door handle has lead Rachel to appear almost furtive in her approach, gently, almost secretively maneuvering the knob. Finally, the knob turns and Rachel edges the door open with a shove of her shoulder, taking a glance inside to note - she's not alone.

With a quirk of her mouth to one side, Rachel simply draws on in, casting a glance at the discarded feral bunny slippers, then towards Illyana. "Bad dreams as well?" For her part, Rachel's dressed in a long comfortable cashmere sweater that reaches far down to her knees. A pair of thick, woolly socks are on her feet as she draws into the room, asking just as quickly as the first question. "Mind if I join you?"

Illyana's caught between curiosity at who else would be up and about at this hour, and annoyance that her private movie-viewing time may be about to be disrupted by an unwelcome interloper. She almost calls a stepping disc and ports out, but curiosity wins this round. Without looking away from the door, she slides the disc she's holding back into its case and puts it to one side, her eyes narrowing on the door knob as it slowly begins to turn.

By now the suspense is killing her, and she's tempted to call up a portal to let her peek into the corridor outside the door - if that wouldn't give away her presence completely.

Finally, the door gives up its secrets, and Illyana's look of annoyance at being disturbed fades away as she recognises Rachel despite the semi-darkness of the room. A smile of impish amusement plucks at Illyana's lips, but she answers Rachel's question before she lets the redhead in on the joke. "Haven't been to sleep yet." Illyana answers, without quite giving all the answer, and shakes her head. "Come in. But I'm going to steal your popcorn." She tells Rachel in a rare moment of total honesty.

Shifting around in place to face Rachel, Illyana draws up one knee and loops her arms around it. "Nice outfit. You weren't that dressed down when you were hungover." The smile is still there, and Illyana regards Rachel thoughtfully for a moment, then it widens. "I've stolen your spot for late night movies too, right?"

A quirk of her brows at the impish expression Illyana is giving to Rachel, before the red head simply quietly moves over to one of the over stuffed chairs and settles in. Her legs are curled up under the sweater, blanket placed neatly over her lap to hang down and cover her lower torso. The bag of popcorn flits upwards and is soon placed on a small side table between Illyana and Rachel, while the water bottle is placed next to the popcorn as well.

Gazing down at the over sized, warm and comfortable sweater, Rachel's expression turns amused as well, as her own gaze flickers towards Illyana. "Right back atcha." Her hand gestures Illyana's own outfit. "Late night comfort is of utmost importance."

Settling back into the chair, both hands on her knees, Rachel lets out a quiet 'heh' sound. "Yup." Really there isn't anything else to say, Illyana nailed it in one question, and revealed that she, too, has had the same inclinations from time to time.

"What were you going to watch?" Reaching over, Rachel offers Illyana the disc she had planned. "I've been told this is a cult classic that is essential to watch, though the premise seems a little weird."

Illyana hasn't yet moved from her position on the floor in front of the big TV, and simply watches Rachel as she gets comfortable. She may still be getting used to sharing her stolen space with someone else, but that doesn't stop a quiet snort when Rachel returns her 'compliment'. She stretches out her arms - mostly getting her shirt cuffs back past her wrists - and inspects her shirt critically. "I was going to claim to be properly dressed." She remarks, then flicks blue eyes up to meet Ray's green. "But even I can't say that with a straight face."

Pushing her sleeves up to her elbows (again), Illyana hesitates fractionally when Ray asks her about her viewing choices, and covers the pause by taking the offered disc. The cover seems to catch her interest, and she flips the box over to skim over the back. "A little weird, said the time traveler to the demon sorceress." Illyana points out sardonically, but she's looking at the box again. Tapping it lightly against her knee, Illyana shrugs as if she's bowing to the inevitable, but there's a little hint of what might be anticipation in her eyes. "You win." Illyana declares, and spins around to insert the disc in the player.

While it spins up, Illyana tosses the remotes to Rachel and finds a chair on the other side of the redhead's popcorn, curling her legs under herself and tucking her bare feet under the cushions. Once she's sufficiently comfortable, Illyana glances covertly over at Rachel, then wrinkles her nose in disgust with herself.

With a light thump, a disc case arrives in Rachel's lap, the title showing as The Princess Bride. "In my defence." Illyana says, in the tone of someone steeling themselves for mockery. "It's supposed to have a very large rat."

Preparing the television and the player for the movie, when the remotes come Rachel's way, the red-head's catching them one by one with her telekinesis and then going to work on getting things ready.

Finally, the opening screen pops up for the movie, and Rachel sets it on pause for the moment as she's distracted by a disc arriving in her lap.

The player remote is set down as Rachel plucks up the disc with a great deal of curiosity. (After all, what could Illyana be wanting to watch in the middle of the night when no one else is around..???) The title raises Rachel's eyebrows upwards, as does Illyana's tone. Mockery, however, does not come from Rachel, instead she shifts a bit in the chair so she can turn to face the blonde sorceress. "You haven't seen this yet?" The question is a bit of surprise, as Rachel states next. "Kitty hasn't forced you to sit down and watch this!? Inconceivable!" Knowing the word is probably going to be lost on Illyana - the case is opened up with a flick of Rachel's nail, and within no-time, Rachel's movie is switched out for Illyana's. "I would love to watch this again." Rachel states as a means to an explanation. "Without Kitty quoting it from beginning to end." She continues, as well, as cute as Kitty can be, Rachel does enjoy her silence in watching a movie!

Soon The Princess Bride starts up, and Rachel shifts back around to face the screen.

"So do you do this often? Watch movies in the middle of the night?" Rachel inquires innocently enough.

Illyana makes sure that by the time Rachel's looked at disc she delivered, her face has been schooled into a forbidding scowl that discourages questions. Illyana's found it a useful expression in the past, but the Russian is discovering that it's effectiveness on time and dimensionally displaced members of the Summers clan is irritatingly limited. Illyana's lips twist into a wry smile and she shakes her head in the negative. "One I missed." Illyana replies simply, then looks blank when Rachel starts quoting. "So we're watching that one. I can tell it's pointless to argue." Illyana says in a sour tone, as discs go floating back and forth from the player on the wings of Rachel's telekinesis. "And now you're just showing off." Illyana adds sardonically, and grabs a handful of Ray's popcorn as a spot of petty revenge.

It's a little difficult to keep a smirk hidden when you're stuffing your face with popcorn, so Illyana's almost certainly not as miffed as she's making out, but appearances are important.

Illyana keeps picking at Rachel's popcorn as the movie gets underway, although she's taking the odd puff here and there rather than the oversized handful she took before. She seems content and relaxed, curled up in her chair, until Rachel asks her question, and then she goes oddly still. "Yes." Illyana says at length, looking at the screen, the light from it dancing over her features. Another moment and she shifts in her chair, turning around to face Rachel, one side of her face in shadow now. "I don't keep normal hours." Illyana explains, her tone a mixture of reluctance and resolve. "I sleep when I need to. In Limbo, a lot of the time." She makes a quiet, rueful noise. "Which isn't even that good for me. Bad dreams can be a little too real there." It's taken her a while, but she's finally answered Rachel's first question. That occurs to Illyana too, and she gives a quiet snort and a shake of her head. "So I'd come back to visit, and…" Illyana raises a hand to indicate the darkened mansion. "I'd be the only one awake." She seems to relax a little, maybe the ghost of a smile touching her lips, though it's hard to tell in the half light. "I've missed a lot, so I… catch up." She shrugs, and adds, "I hate missing the joke, too." There's a flash of teeth in the dimness, which may be Illyana forgiving Ray for quoting things she doesn't know.

"What's your excuse?" Illyana asks, her voice quieter, and the tone softer than the words suggest.

"When you got it.." Comes Rachel's initial response to her showing off her telekinesis, even so, she takes a small handful of popcorn and plops the amount in her lap, getting grease on her blanket, but not really caring all that much. A few kernels are plopped in her mouth as the movie begins, though Rachel's attention is not so much on the screen as it is turning to listen to Illyana actually - open up. Just a little. Rachel isn't one to take advantage of such a thing, because she knows just how difficult it is -to- open up, but she does appreciate Illyana's candor at this moment.

Another bite of popcorn and a drink of water later, and Rachel's left with pondering how best to answer Illyana's question. "PTSD, bad dreams, and spending many years of my life without pop culture. Sentinels don't tend to enjoy the arts, go figure." The last is given with a sardonic, half amused tone, as Rachel's not afraid to make a joke at her own (and her past, future?'s sake.)

"Kitty and Meggan has helped a lot with catching me up on some things, but there are times when I just don't want someone quoting the movie from beginning to end, or even if they're being good, their thoughts echoing out what's going to happen next." Rachel shifts her weight just a bit in the chair, shuffling the blanket about again before getting another handful of popcorn and quick swig of water.

"And missing the joke or doing terrible (and not cheating) at one of those trivia games - is not fun." Rachel ruefully admits.

This is uncertain ground for Illyana, and she's not sure she likes it. Which is odd, because usually she's sure she hates it. Sharing is not something she does. Admitting flaws and weaknesses? She doesn't do that either. What's worse, this time she doesn't have an excuse to take Ray on a trip through Limbo if she doesn't like where the conversation ends up…

Not, if she's completely honest with herself, that she'd ever seriously considered trying to steal Ray's memories and blame it on the alcohol.

And yet, she's still doing it. She's tired, but that's not all of it. Nate's insistence that the world's wrong, that she's wrong, that might have something to do with it. How would he know? How much has he seen, that she doesn't remember? Maybe it's as simple as Illyana wanting someone to know who she is.

Illyana's somehow not surprised, anymore, when Rachel answers honestly, and offers a dark smile in response. "No time for human needs, I bet?" Illyana asks, then shivers as if she's cold, her eyes looking into the past. "Belasco was still too human, sometimes. The original version of Faust was his idea of bedtime reading." She comes back to herself, glancing at the TV as if to remind herself of where she is.

Illyana shifts gears as Rachel makes her own complaints, a sneaky smile creeping across her lips. "Did I just hear you say that not being able to read my mind was a good thing?" Illyana's amused, as only one who's enjoyed confounding so many telepaths can be. "And why do you think I only play games I'm going to win? I don't get to cheat." She doesn't sound like she minds terribly much, either.

"What a terribly delightful bedtime story." Offer's Rachel's droll tone, and she could play the 'one up on how bad my child hood was' game, like saying something along the lines of 'at least you got a bedtime story, for bedtime I got a grenade and re-upped my will', but really - that's not Rachel's way. It isn't a competition, they've both lived through hell - but it is a point that may needs to be expressed. Lived that is. Survived. And here they are, sneaking out of their rooms at night to watch a movie, without anyone knowing so they don't have to explain the why.

"Yes, in a round about way, it is nice that all I get from you is static. It isn't that I pry, but sometimes thoughts are just there - on the surface, and I can't always turn them off." Which is the honest truth of any telepath, no matter how much they might say they aren't invading your privacy, they are. They just are really good at hiding the truth. Thus, Rachel grabs another bite of popcorn and settles in for a bit to watch the show.

The Princess Bride is one of those movies that you can sit at, laugh, enjoy, and just be engrossed in it from beginning to end. As it plays out, Rachel remains quiet, she's getting to basically watch the movie on her own, as though she was watching it for the first time - without interruptions or random quotes. She can appreciate the desire to quote it - if one wasn't watching it for the first time, at least.

It's still dark outside when Peter Falk ends the movie on a famous quote, 'As you wish'. As the credits begin to roll, popcorn all gone, water all gone, does Rachel shift a bit and turn her attention back to Illyana, asking curiously. "So?"

Sneaking out of their rooms - two grown women who don't need to justify what they're doing at any hour of the day or night, and they're sneaking. They might have survived their own personal hells, but maybe they're not so free of them as they like to pretend.

Illyana lapses into silence when Rachel does by unspoken agreement, although a devious smile flits across Illyana's lips when Rachel talks about reading her mind. At one level, it's smug reassurance that whatever she chooses to share, she ultimately sets the limits, even for nosy telepaths. At another level, it gives her ideas…

Those thoughts fade from her mind, at least for the time being, as she becomes increasingly engrossed in the film. Illyana watches it with a certain intensity, as if she's committing every line to memory, and she's quiet too. Her reactions to what she's watching are muted, but they do exist. A smirk when she finally gets Rachel's joke, a snort when she sees the rodents of unusual size that she used to justify having picked the film in the first place.

As it ends, Illyana stretches her arms above her head in the manner of someone who's sat in one place for just a little too long, then ferrets around in the tub for more popcorn. When she can't find any she frowns and tips the whole thing towards herself, before making a noise of mild displeasure and putting it back down again. Her eyes flicker across to Rachel when she asks her single-word question, and Illyana regards the redhead cagily, as if her answer might condemn her.

"I might actually invite you next time." She offers, before committing herself. "I liked it."

"Sometimes… it doesn't matter that it's not real. That there aren't really any happy endings. It's enough to imagine there are." As if feeling she's said a bit too much, Illyana's sardonic expression returns. "But I'm never watching Labyrinth with you. Don't even ask."

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