Sister Advice

December 13, 2017:

Nate goes to Rachel for advice and help she can't really offer (but she tries). Illyana is pokes in and she is merciless, and she definitely has a skull tattoo somewhere! Alex makes a cameo. All while decorating the Christmas Tree.

Xavier School Rec Room


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Lorna, Marcos, Rose


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

In the last weeks Nate has been in Genosha most of the time, but he returns to America via Limbo portal every couple days. Not quite to report, at most he grabs some food before flying to New York. He owes more than a few reports to Cyclops, but he also feels he has not done anything particularly important. Lorna is dealing with Magneto and she is finding out interesting stuff in a daily basis.

Nate is just hunting down Sentinels and trying to protect the innocent Genoshans, mutates or humans. The first group attacked by the 'patriotic' faction that wants things to return to what they were before the coup. The second group? Just the bulk of the population trying to survive or leave the country in the middle of a vicious civil war.

But he also has some personal problems.

Which brings him to now. He has a couple hours and he is looking for his 'sister'. He has barely talked to her since she helped him to get back to life. Bad brother. He owes her a cake, a dozen cakes, and his life.

The recreation room of the mansion is currently being transformed into the pinnacle of Christmas spirit. The two culprits who are doing this are Rachel and Illyana. It was Rachel's idea, she wanted a really nice, old fashioned highly decorated mansion. Things have been rough for everyone, and some Christmas spirit might do the mansion nice. Well, that and Rachel has little desire right now to finish her room. The paint has dried, the carpet is in, but there is still so much more to build and do, that the red-head has declared, enough. I'm decorating instead.

To add to that spirit, Rachel is decked out in perhaps one of the most ugly Christmas sweaters imaginable. Bright red, with an enormous Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the front (complete with a bulb that blinks for its nose.)

The room has garland, and lights, and mistletoe and festive bits - even a menorah for Kitty. Currently, Rachel is hovering a few feet off the ground, trying to put the last bits of lights on an enormous (fake) tree that is situated right in the middle of the room itself. Her gaze flickers down towards Illyana as the red-head tries her best to untangle the mess. "How. How did this get so tangled in just the few seconds it took to remove it from the box?"

Not only is Illyana willingly participating in decorating the recreation room for Christmas, she's even dressed accordingly. And not in her usual take on a Christmas sweater, all monochrome and sporting rams' skulls and occult symbols. Oh no.

She's not even wearing black.

Instead, if anything Illyana's Christmas outfit ups the ante on Rachel's. She's wearing a dark green sweater dress that reaches to about mid-thigh and which bears the message, in white, 'I'm on the naughty list? Again?' together with a curling scroll design with a big, bold 'X' right across it. In a particularly eye-watering combination, she's wearing a pair of thick, dark red leggings with the dress.

Her shoes, a simple pair of flats, are at least black. But really, who is this blonde and what has she done with Illyana?

Said blonde has currently made her outfit just that bit more garish with a thick strand of gold tinsel thrown over her shoulder while she roots around in a dusty cardboard box of decorations for yet more. She looks up when Rachel calls down to her. "Must be one of your talents." She suggests with a smirk.

My eyes! The goggles, they do nothing!

That is Nate's usual reaction to Christmas decorations. Can we have Halloween back, please? Just this year. Not garish decorations, no singing, no commercials everywhere, no people trying to be cheerful when they actually are not feeling it.

He has no goggles, for fucks sake.

And Illyana is also here. Which is… okay. Illyana is pretty much his best friend nowadays. "Ladies," he greets, peering at the sweaters and smirking. "I was looking for you, Ray, I need… an older sister, I guess." Yes, that is very weird too. "Illy, couldn't we hide a few skulls among all that cheer? I know you want to." Assuming the blonde is Illyana and not Mystique shapeshifted or something worse.

So completely and utterly consumed with the task of undoing the lights that Rachel doesn't even pick up Nate's psychic impression when he enters. No, the red-head is twisting the wires one way, then the other, then around, then around the other way and finally with a self-satisfied. "Ah ha!" Does the tangle give up its ghost, and the lights jingle on the way down, before being telekinetically lifted upwards and gently placed about the tree.

Lowering herself down, Rachel's caught slightly off-guard by the arrival of Nate, and even more so - the suggestion that he needs an older sister? "You guess?" Offers Rachel, her grin slightly crooked, even as she draws towards Nate and proceeds to drag the younger brother into a light embrace before stepping back. "That." She states. "Is because I haven't had the chance since - Genosha."

Gesturing towards the sofa, Rachel's then serious again, her head tilting to one side, eyebrow arching with the gesture. "What's up, Nate? How can I help?"

Whatever Illyana was digging for in the box, it's apparently not as interesting as watching a former host of the Phoenix Force locked in a life or death battle with a tangled string of fairy lights. Illyana's apparently forgotten the tinsel as she cranes her head back to watch Rachel's struggles, and the redhead's exclamation of triumph draws the snort of someone who's trying not to laugh from the blonde.

"Should I applaud now, or are you going to tangle it up again getting it ON the tree?" She says it in an innocent tone that doesn't match the grin that she's now wearing. When Nate makes his presence known and suggests some skull-related accessories, Illyana lazily turns her head towards him and asks sweetly, "Volunteering?"

She steps aside when hugging commences, because you just can't be too careful, and when Rachel questions why Nate needs a big sister, she puts in helpfully, "If this is going to be a conversation about girls, or something you should really be asking Scott, let me know so I can be somewhere else." Seems like it IS the real Illyana, despite the Christmas outfit.

Nate returns the hug, managing a weak smile, and then flops down on the couch. "Illy needs a hug too," he points out to Rachel. Because.

But no, he didn't came here to make Illyana freak out. Fun as it can be. He sighs and looks at the redhead again. "I… hmm… I read somewhere you got your memories scrambled really badly a few years ago. Now I am pretty much in the same situation. I remember just enough to know I have forgotten so much. Friends, even worlds I was, I stumble sometimes with pieces of my past that make no sense anymore. Although that could be the Omega Shift. How did you cope, Ray? Did you… ever manage to recover the lost memories?"

At the 'Illyana needs a hug too', Rachel lets out a laugh, before shaking her head. "Not here to torture Illy, I'm here to torture you, little brother." Besides, Rachel's already put on the show for Illyana - having untangled lights with a flair and just prior, "Yes you should applaud!" But - that was all then, this is now.

As Nate flops onto the sofa and brings up points that Rachel finds - less than thrilling to remember, the red-head's expression of teasing and delight fades entirely. Her expression dwindles to a line, then a scowl, as Rachel settles onto the edge of the sofa Nate's on. Her gaze flickering once towards Illyana, then back to Nate.

"I coped by doing what I always do." Rachel admits, her tone flat. "I fought. I continue to help where I could and how I could, until finally I just realized that everything I'd lost by the Phoenix, every memory that it had stolen, they didn't matter."

Rachel's hands drop to her knees, as she swivels slightly on the sofa to gaze at Nate. "What mattered wasn't remembering everything that I was, or had happened, but what mattered, to me, was going forward, striving to go on. I realized that what I had lost, didn't matter as much as who I was. I am Rachel Summers, and I finally knew who that person was."

Rachel's hand gestures towards the scars on her face, "I stopped trying to be someone else, disguising that, and embraced the future - in the hopes that every little bit that I do, will make it a better place. It took me years to finally accept that."

Just because Nate's not in the Christmas spirit is no reason not to celebrate Rachel's victory. So Illyana dutifully raises her hands and offers a quiet little golf-clap for Ray's benefit. If she'd known the redhead was going to defend her from hugs she might have made it a little less ironic. "Don't forget you brought it on yourself, too." She tells Nate.

No sympathy for those who threaten hugs from Illyana. She folds her arms pointedly, finally rediscovering her tinsel accessory, and spends the next few seconds untangling herself from it and dropping it back in the decoration box. Once that's done, she takes one look at Rachel and Nate sharing the sofa and decides it's safe enough to perch herself on the arm nearest Ray, leaving her feet dangling.

Illyana doesn't butt in, at least to begin with, even though she's been through this with Nate right after the Omega Shift. Nate, and Doctor Strange both. She made her choice, but Nate didn't get one.

"Someone who can defeat Christmas lights in a little under ten minutes." Illyana couldn't help but put that in, after Rachel says she finally knows who she is. "Sorry." She adds, surprising herself a little.

"Nate." She says, serious now. She's pretty sure she's neither wanted nor needed in this conversation, but she interjects anyway. "You can't go back to what was. Even if you remember it perfectly. Trust me, I know." And hasn't a recent conversation with Scott made THAT clear? "New memories, Nate. Listen to Ray."

And she shoots the redhead a 'don't get used to it' look, because it's expected.

Nate grunts, "I have already rebuilt my life twice in five years," whinewhinewhine. "And I am always myself," pause, "I -think-." He looks at Illy. "Right?" Maybe he is not! How could he verify? Blergh. "Well, I am not the only one with a major memory problem. Rose called me the other day. It was… hmm?" Of course Ray doesn't really know Rose, and Illy? Hell if he knows anymore. "I am very happy she is alive, nevertheless. But she could barely remember anything of the last four of five years. Something happened to her between Genosha and, well, last week."

And listening to Illyana.. Rachel actually could hug the blonde right now, though it would do more harm than good, so Rachel just offers an incline of her head to the blonde sorceress. An expression of appreciation and a smile is, also, offered to Illyana, before Rachel's attention returns to Nate. No - Rachel, or rather this Rachel, has no memory of a Rose, she'll have to corner Illyana on this afterwards.

"At least you know who you are, Nate." Rachel states, "There are no real words that I can offer, no immediate 'fix all' that can help when coping with memories stolen, gone, or missing. You can dwell on it, you can worry about it, or you can pick yourself back up, and move forward."

With a slight quirk of her mouth, Rachel offers another idea, "Or I can muck about in your head and see if I can find those lost memories, but really. What's the point? Is rebuilding your life one more time anything new? Are so many of those lost moments so very important that you're unable to move on?"

Illyana appends a smirk to the mock-warning look she shot to Rachel, when she gets that nod. What are friends for, if not to help with your time and dimensionally displaced sort-of brother, who's a magnet for more trouble than either of them? Possibly both of them, combined, for that matter.

Illyana switches her gaze to Nate as he suffers an identity crisis. "You're still you." Illyana says in a tone of cast iron certainty. "I don't know anyone else who gets beaten up as much, so you must be." Her eyes narrow a bit when Rose is mentioned, and her dangling feet stop the slow swing they'd been doing. She leans forward a bit, and drops the irony from her voice. "Nate. I like Rose, but whatever's happened to her, don't go to war with the world before thinking. Again. I mean it." There's a flicker of eyes towards Rachel. It's half 'don't ask' and 'I'll tell you later'.

Her warning delivered, Illyana lets Rachel talk, only speaking again when Rachel's made her offer. "Or she could make you forget all the things you know about me that I don't remember telling you." Illyana suggests, then shrugs. "Just an idea."

Damnit Rachel. You should know some amazing telepathic meditation technique to recover lost memories. Nate gives the redhead a displeased look. Still, she offered to go into his head and see if he can find some lost memories. Definitely he would let her go where he wouldn't let Xavier, or even Jean.

"I think they are important, and I miss them," comments the young man. "I will survive without them, sure. It is not going to stop me from doing what needs to be done." Which maybe includes going to war with the whole world, thankyouverymuch. "I am still going to worry about them for a while. Moving on and all."

Oh, Illy thinks he knows her secrets. He glances up and smirks. Well, maybe he does. But he is not sure what are 'her secrets' and what he can say openly anymore. Thank you Phoenix Force. "Fair enough," he adds. "I trust you, Illy. I still trust you. So maybe I remember enough."

No, sorry, Rachel doesn't have some miraculous meditation technique that is utilized when memories are lost, stolen, or missing. If she did, probably the world would be burning right now when Rachel was one with the Phoenix. Maybe - that's a good reason why Phoenix did what it did! Still, Rachel can sympathize with the fact Nate is stressed over the loss of his memories. She just wishes she had a fix all, cure all answer.

Maybe she does. "Life. Stinks. For an X-Man it's worse, for a Summers, it's even worse." Rachel shakes her head. "I'm happy to listen, I'm happy to help in ways I might be able to, but sadly; I don't have the answer that you're seeking." You could try hanging upside down Askani-Son style, but Rachel doubts that'll do much more than give you a headache.

"I am sorry I wasn't able to help, though Nate." Rachel states, rising upwards, to turn on the blinking bulb of her Rudolph sweater. "As I said, though, I'll always be here for you, just try not to go up in a blazing inferno. I can only resurrect you so many times."

Illyana didn't expect Nate to listen to her advice/warning, and she doesn't need to be a telepath to tell that he didn't. In fact, she wouldn't be at all surprised if it made him more likely to pick a ridiculous fight, just because he can. Oh well.

Saying 'I told you so' works as a consolation prize when you're Illyana, anyway.

Nate's declaration of trust in her makes the blonde demoness snort, and there's a slightly bitter edge to the sound. "Or maybe you don't remember anything, Nate, and I'm safe." She fires an impish grin at him and slips down from the arm of the sofa as Ray stands up, and offers her own warning to Nate. "And funerals are so much less fun than breaking you out of the medlab, Nate."

Wandering back towards her box of decorations, she glances back at him. "So are you going to 'move on' and hang tinsel, or just sit there?"

But the blazing inferno was a good way to go.

No, it really wasn't. Properly spectacular, true, but way too painful. Of course if he had really honestly died for good it wouldn't have hurt so much. So there is that.

Illyana's snort makes him smile. He expected that, too. "You are safe," he confirms.

"I am staying here. I have just been informed life stinks, who would have thunk?" States the young man. "I think I am sitting here. I am not going to be an accomplice to the whole," he points to the colorful fake tree. "Seriously. I'll try to hang out for the family and team meetings, but most of the Christmas' stuff leaves me cold."

With a shake of her head, Rachel plants a hand on Nate's shoulder, squeezing gently before letting go. "I'm glad you're okay, little brother. How boring life would be without my family, even the Scrooges." Stepping towards the door, Rachel begins to head on out. "I'm going to grab the last few boxes of decorations for the new tree. I think there are still some left in the attic. If you're still about, and refuse to participate in the festival decorations, at least make us some hot cocoa, or… hmm … maybe some spiced egg nog." Her grin is there a moment, before the red-head steps on out the door and scurries up the stairs.

As if on cue, Alex wanders in from the hall right about at 'Life Stinks'. He's recovered enough from the most recent hangover to have moved his sunglasses up to the top of his head, and looks to be two or three days overdue on shaving. He's made a pretty hard left from nervously eager to lethargically moping over the past 24 hours. "Uh-oh. I thought this was one of the happier rooms."

He sidesteps the departing Rachel without comment. Family can lurch past one another without there needing to be a whole thing, after all. The motion does draw eyes in his direction, though, so he smiles tightly and gives a quick wave, "People."

Why does people keep asking Nate to prepare foodstuffs? Maybe they like to see kitchens destroyed. Maybe memory problems? It is a plague. "I guess I can try," he decides, standing up. "Or at least bring in a few beers, or coffee. Hey… Alex." Another person he barely remembers. "You want cocoa, Illy? I'll be back in a few minutes."

Illyana turns to face Nate, crossing her arms to cover up the words on the front of her Christmassy sweater dress, tilts her head to one side, and shoots him a mock-glower. "So you're going to sit there and make me do all the work?" Illyana manages to get in, before Rachel does the family thing with Nate and then takes her leave.

Since this really will leave Illyana doing all the work, she's about to direct a more serious glower in Nate's direction when he does the healthy thing and decides to contribute after all. "I see how it is, you'll help if Rachel asks you." Illyana says, under her breath - but just pitched loud enough for Nate to hear - before adding more loudly, "Sure." To the offer of cocoa.

And then she's left alone with Alex. "Hi." She says after studying him for a moment or two. "Are you on the sit and mope team with Nate, or…?"

The resemblance to his older sibling ranges starts subtle, but it's hard to miss once seen. Like a Summers optical illusion. The spontaneous grin and more relaxed bearing is very anti-Scott, but the voice is almost identical: "You know, right now I would LOVE to be on team sit and mope, but I just can't seem to keep it up for long. Too active. Maybe move and mope?"

The woman before him is someone he's certainly seen before, likely once or twice across a crowded room, but, "I'm either still extremely hungover and forgotten, or we haven't officially met. Alex Summers." He extends a hand.

Illyana is not often slow on the uptake. She'd noticed the resemblance. Honestly, living in a house with so many Summers and Greys, whether native to this reality or not, it's more of an event when she meets someone who doesn't remind her of someone she's already met.

The suggestion of move and mope makes her lips curve slightly, but the smile doesn't quite reach her ice blue eyes quite yet. They're still watchful and appraising.

"Scott's brother." She says, decisively, when Alex introduces himself, and she looks down at the extended hand for a moment before reaching out to shake it. It's not a dead fish handshake, but she's clearly not the most tactile person. "Illyana Rasputina." She tells him, and an impish light appears in her eyes for just a moment before she lets go of his hand, picks up a box of decorations, and shoves it at him. "Here. Move and mope with these."

Cocoa is easier than eggnog, so that is what Nate prepared (without burning down the kitchen). He comes back after a few minutes with a carafe full of steaming cocoa and a tray with mugs. "Okay, I do like most of the Christmas drinks and foods," he admits, here trying to be positive-ish. "Did Rachel get lost in the attic?" He adds, offering Illyana the first mug.

Accepting the Box of Many Things, Alex peers into it, "Sure, why not. Scotty already sent me after a tree." He is in fact the reason why this year's tree has mysterious scorch marks. To be fair, it wasn't blasted down for that purpose, so much as the repurposing of an inadvertently-blasted section of woods.

"I haven't done a real … You know, Hallmark channel style holiday celebration sort of thing in yeaaars." He continues to peruse the box, looking for some obvious starting point. "Ray ran away." He quips as Nate inquires, pausing a beat to add, "I think."

With the box of decorations handed off, Nate then appears as if on cue. Illyana takes the cocoa from him, wrapping her hands around the mug and blowing the steam off the surface of the hot liquid within. "You've changed your mind on the way back from the kitchen. I'd never have guessed." Illyana smirks, giving Nate a hard time is one of her self-appointed duties.

At the idea of a Hallmark Christmas, Illyana shakes her head. "Nate wanted more skulls, so enjoy it while it lasts." She tells Alex, before moving back to the chair arm she occupied earlier and perching on it again.

From there, she chips in about Rachel's disappearance. "Did you see how long it took her to untangle the lights? She'll be hours finding the rest of the decorations. Maybe days."

Nodding after giving the impression of a bit of thought on the matter, Alex offers, "Skulls are OK, I guess. A bit too on the mark for my tastes." He moves about the room, putting out the occasional decorative knickknack with little eye for any particular theme guiding his 'choices'.

"My favorites are the jokes or acts of inappropriateness that are -just- off enough that it's possible nobody will notice. Even better if the person who notices has a sort of internal struggle about whether or not they should ask." Philosophy of Trolling Humor, by Alex Summers. "I have WAY too much free time," He explains.

"I just prefer Halloween to Christmas," protests Nate. Like Illyana doesn't, too. "Don't let it fool you, uncle Alex. Illyana wears skulls all the time, today she is on disguised. But I am pretty sure she even has skull tattoos somewhere."

The second mug is for Alex, and then Nate returns to the couch because cocoa is fine, but Christmas trees clearly are not. "Lost a sister to light strings, woe is me," he adds. But he has his mug, so he will get over it soon.

Illyana takes a sip from her cocoa, listening to Alex with every impression of polite interest. If she smiles when he gives his personal take on skulls, it's mostly hidden by the mug. Of course, Nate just has to spoil her fun. She pulls a face at him when he blows her disguise, then adds sniffily, "You'll NEVER find out." When the possibility of skull tattoos is mentioned.

"You like inappropriate jokes that make people uncomfortable." Illyana says, with an expression that suggests that's something she can work with. "Are you sure you're related to Scott? The Scott of THIS reality?" She asks, too politely.

Nate gets a glance. "If she's not back by the time I've finished this I'll go and look for her." She reassures Nate, lifting her mug for emphasis.

"Yep, very sure. There's an ingrained Older Brother Lecture brewing in my mind as we speak. So on that note, who's got the interesting and vaguely inappropriate gossip?" As Summers Boys go, Alex usually seems to have a smaller stick in his butt than his older brother. More knickknacks. He looks at a reindeer, which bears a striking resemblance to another he just placed toward the other side of the room. Huh, must be a set or something. Nope. Distributed Reindeer System in progress.

"Otherwise I'm going to start venting about my super ex-girlfriend and none of us wants that." Maybe joking about it helps. Worth a shot, right? "I mean, she's setting off actual rainbow light shows around new dude." He eyeballs another Decorative Thing. Is that … what, a frog with a Santa Hat? Sure, that bad boy goes RIIIGHT there, "It's kind of horrifying."

"I already know your secrets, remember?" Deadpans Nate. Maaaaaaaybe not all secrets, but it is funny if Illyana thinks he knows such things. Oh, good to know he is not the only Summers with girlfriend problems. Misery loves company. Lorna and Marcos are kind of 'cute', though. He gets the vague impression Lorna would be far less friendly without Marcos around.

"Dreadful," he agrees. Here trying to be a supportive guy.

Illyana's eyebrows head toward her bangs in a look of manufactured disbelief when Alex insists he's Scott's brother. She seems ready to tease him about that, but the mention of inappropriate gossip gives her pause. Her eyes narrow a fraction. She'd enjoy this game, normally, but her conversation with Scott is a bit too recent. A bit too raw.

Nate's own brand of inappropriate humour covers for her sudden silence, and she snorts dismissively. "Not that one. Not ANY version of me." She tells him, not as annoyed as she's making out.

As Alex talks about girlfriends who make rainbows, Illyana's eyebrows just keep getting higher. "You're in love with a girl's cartoon character?" She asks, and glances at Nate. "This must be your department." She tells him. Because relationship advice is so not her.

She drains the rest of her mug. "I'll find Rachel for you." She tells Nate. "See you around." She says to Alex, with a little wave, and vanishes into a circle of light.

"Luckily, Captain Responsible has been keeping me busy collecting Christmas trees, getting prepared to teach high school kids, and continuing to concentrate on not blowing up the house." Scott gave himSELF the Captain Responsible moniker, and Alex intends to ride it into the ground as long as possible. His 'Captain Blasto' suggestion for himself did not take off. "Y'know. The important stuff."

"Most of my secrets are available from my own open bitching." Alex grins at Nate. Well, yeah. MOST. He waves a hand at Illyana, then blinks a few times at her method of disappearance. "That's handy. Didn't even get to protest -active- love. More a nostalgic residual thing. My current headache to last night's Harry's run, as it were." He puts the decorations box down on the nearest sitting surface, "And that is enough of THAT." Constant supervision is required.

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