No X-Man

December 21, 2017:

Scott and Emma come to an agreement about a few things, the fate of an untried Genoshan war criminal hanging in the balance. Or at least, it seems they do.

Emma Frost's Penthouse


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Ororo Munro, Jean Grey, Betsy Braddock

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It’s every bit what one would expect of where Miss Emma Frost would choose to call home.

When Scott gets the request for a visit in her home, he gets an address in the heart of the Upper West Side. An extravagant contemporary building, complete with valet parking in the underground garage and a doorman providing ample security.

Don’t give your name, she’d texted. Just tell him you’re expected.

Because she’d already handled the necessary eviscerations to be certain that a name wasn’t needed.

A man in a sharp uniform delivers Summers to the right penthouse elevators and keys the code that will let him up to the hall where there is only one choice: to the abode on the left or the right. Frost’s number - carved in brass upon the wall directly opposite the elevator - points to a door on the right with an elaborate Christmas wreath on it, all live spruce and holly, dried berries and roses.

How very festive.

It is also a door that is cracked, just barely, open.

Scott always has a sense of formality when he's pitched up against Emma Frost. The woman's regal and coy demeanor always causing pause in his own austere approach to almost everything.

The eldest Summers is surprisingly festive right now in a red almost too snug sweater with white Santa and stocking designs on it. It is as though the man is trying to overcompensate for a bleak and depressive past couple months. Militant in his approach to the Holiday spirit he has been driving the X-Men and Gifted School's faculty rather insane or so he assumes.

A silent regarding observation is given to the Christmas wreath before the crack of the door is noticed.

"Miss Frost? Emma?" No name was given to the man in the uniform. The elevator a likewise quiet ride and now that broken with carriage of his voice through the penthouse' outer halls.
Not exactly a knock and more of a push the door is pressed. "Hello?" A third attempt.
Underneath one arm is a wrapped up box. Blue wrapping with a simple white glossy bow. The least he could do for her assistance in Genosha and continued support.

“Come in!” Called across the cavernous expanse of her condo, Emma is presently surveying a pair of bottles at the dry bar to the far side the gourmet kitchen that… only her butler ever really uses.

All white carpet and white walls, harsh contemporary angles with spacious cathedral ceilings and palatial light fixtures, white furniture with modern lines and plush faux fur blankets and throw pillows, and a fireplace set for the occasion. Beyond a wall of glass, a patio has been decked out for the holidays under a thin blanket of snow with lights, but inside there are just touches here and there. A tree lavishly adorned. A candle centerpiece here and there. The mantle dressed in a festive scarf and lights. The table in the dining area set aside in the open floor plan set as though a family of six were about to set down with all of the necessary crystal and china in place.

The glass doors leading off to another room are closed, the room beyond its surrounding glass wall dark. Another, smaller door - to the study, for those curious - closed off.

All of it feeling sanitized and Martha Stewart perfect. …pre-prison Martha. The perfect host with no one ever to visit or touch it.

The blonde is dressed as immaculately as ever, feet in dangerously high stiletto heeled boots and herself in a batwinged dress with a scandalously high hem that leaves most of her slender arms bare depending on the arrangement of them and shapely thighs to view. Curls all arranged. Makeup just as perfectly applied.

“You prefer the red, right? I’m remembering that properly? I have a chianti and a bordeaux.” Pale eyes look in his direction with a smile. “Don’t make me drink by myself.” A pause, and then more: “Or should I skip straight to the whiskey? The bourbon?” Anything but the beer. Please, not the beer.

Invitation accepted Scott's looking the white room over, its bright reds on reds to him but in the many years dealing with his handicap he's learned to differentiate to an extent. Enough he can appreciate the subtle nuances. The deep Santa red and white of his sweater, black slacks and needle tipped dress shoes a definite contrast in the cloud pale penthouse.

That invitation for entry accepted and Scott is curiously looking the room over and getting a better taste of Emma's style in general more or less what he is expecting.

"Expecting more company?" Scott inquires at the table. At this rate without calling her out somewhere he is prone to thinking she is constantly busy entertaining someone of high status.
That room beyond where in the glass gets dark does get a brief look. The man's not one for skipping over details.

It's not a look in the eyes that can be seen beyond those glossy crimson shades but a quirk of his lips that shows obvious appreciation at Emma's attire or the flash of leg. The beam of her smile only causing Scott to chuckle as though he’s been caught with his hand in a cookie jar.

"Ahh… " A faux clearing of his throat and he carries on quickly, "I'll have some of the bordeaux as much as bourbon sounds appealing right now I still have to drive back." That wrapped box is extended in one hand.

"Merry Christmas."

“Oh, no,” Emma says of the table, waving a manicured hand at it with an easy dismissal as she works on uncorking the bottle of wine and pouring a couple of generous measures. “That’s just…” A thing. A thing that she doesn’t really want to think about, if the subtle roll of her eyes is to be believed. “It’s been that way since the end of November.”

But… there’s a gift. And it actually catches Emma by surprise. Her chin tucks as she sways in his direction with the two wine glasses in tow.

“Why, Scott,” she murmurs, stretching out the one glass in his direction, dangling from her fingertips, “I… am speechless,” she decides to allow, not immediately taking what is offered back again to her. “And empty-handed. I wasn’t aware that we were on exchanging terms. You’ll need forgive me.”

"A thing? Not just some fixture?" Scott pobes but not too far. Letting that hang before he is extending a hand for the glass and taking hold between fingers.

"It is only a gift. I don't expect anything in return and its likely not something you'll be putting out on display." The brunette manages a grin this time around, a dimple appearing on one cheek.

"So this is you?" A motion of a little less than a tilt of his chin, "The wreath almost had me expecting Christmas music and you in an apron baking cookies. Then… I remembered who.exactly it was I came to meet." No serious subject broached just yet. Overdue of course but for the moment casual is on the side of appealing.

“It’s not who I am, but I don’t really do Christmas,” Emma offers quietly as she sets her wine glass aside to finally take the package as reverentially as though it contained a Faberge egg. “It’s all a dog and pony show. I’ll leave the country in a few days for somewhere, come back, and it will all be gone again. Packed up by the help. I’m sure there’s a CD somewhere if you need music.”

Tugging at the package to open it, she stops partway to look at Scott as much in the eyes as is actually possible with a more sincere twist of lips. Not the one that catches wayward glances and spins them into gold. Not the one that shows that deep, penetrating awareness that is so oft uncomfortable with a telepath. It’s very nearly warm. “But this was very sweet. Thank you.

And then she goes to finish opening the gift and and set eyes on what’s inside.

"It is an idea and some hope." And they know full well how X-Men are about ideals and reaching for the horizon.

A mug. A porcelain one that was clearly made by a child or Scott Summers is a horrible craftsman. It's a snowman thats on the side of too lumpy and slumped. At least it’s smile is wide and jovial.

"One of our very gifted younger students." Not at all impressive aesthetically nor expensive. Simple cheap ceramics glossed and having been formed by tiny mutant-human hands.

“No apron?” Scott insists with a passing tease.

“Good wine.” He manages. The glass tipped up and towards her.

“Trust me,” Emma offers conspiratorially as her lips tug unevenly with a dark amusement. “Nothing good ever comes out of me donning an apron.”

The comment about the wine is entirely lost as the box comes apart, and she extracts its contents. It’s confusion at first as she feels its uneven surface, and then when it’s brought to light Emma’s smile, for the breadth of a breath’s lifespan, catches.

And then, as sure as hellfire, her veneer slams back into place with all of the glaze that the ugly little present is a simple lump of baked earth. She smiles politely as she sets it beside her wine glass, and then agrees with him with the best bland affectation she can muster: “Very gifted.” She’s a woman who reveres her ability to lie, but sometimes it isn’t perfect.

She pretends it is. Pretends the lapse never happened.

The woman in white takes the wine with her as she begins stepping in the direction of the couch and armchairs gathered around her fireplace. She wants to slip out of her heels, and curl up in a corner of the couch.

“Please convey my sincere gratitude, hm?”

Scott doesn't at all appear phased at her reaction to the gift. The smile laid across his features grows to show the whites of teeth. If anything the man is amused.

While Emma is moving to the couch he is pouring himself more wine. Watching the swirl of one shade.

"No offense will be taken if you hide it in a cabinet somewhere unseen. The thought that count they say, yeah?”

The man moves with her but at a polite enough distance until she is at the couch. He positions himself the opposite side of the couch to give her room and plant where he can overlook the whole room, not that he has not already glossed it over several times enough to get a layout mapped.

"No. I don't imagine so." Scott agrees about the apron. He never pegged her for the baking or cooking sort. Servants, right? Why bother. Seated now he manages to cross his ankle over his knee. He looks comfortable at least and warm.

“The thought is absolutely what counts,” says the telepath, with no irony but rather a great appreciation for the full dark depth of that statement as she curls her legs under herself.

For all of Cyclops’ evaluating—the bedroom beyond a glass wall, the study, the artistic angles every which way as walls come together in odd lines—Emma keeps tabs in a very different way. She knows where he is by the feel of his mind. Her neighbor down the hall. The neighbors below. She knows because of the way she reins herself in, and walls them out. Feels the tension between the two.

All that evaluating, and they both look like this is a simple and casual conversation.

“So. Shall we get down to business? We’re a little overdue.”

Scott's a forever game of weighing, angles, measurements and counters. What if and how much to apply before stress breaks something is busy in his mind. It's not easy to pick up on his telepathic wavelength of noises due to years of training as an X-Man, but it's also something that just slips and a psi of Emma's calibre has a heavier pressure than most and even then, its a subtle thing no doubt. She is top tier.

"We are and yes, we might as well. There is a lot that hasn't been addressed. I know you're worried about still holding Reneau and this Brotherhood issue." Straight to it on the two most pressing. The other stress you're likely feeling right now is 'where does he get all of these magnificent sweaters?”

The sweater is pretty awful, no lie. But a woman can tastefully ignore it.

Emma has so far done an admirable job of that.

And then he flat out draws attention to it. The look Emma levels in his direction—the perfect feign of disdain—is one of paramount disapproval. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but… Since you brought up? You look… patently ridiculous in that. They shouldn’t make sweaters like that in grown men’s sizes.”

There. She said it. And she sips proudly from her wine glass afterwards. She does not care. Really. Look at all of this not-caring going on.

“But particularly since the world rather thinks Reneau dead,” Frost continues, getting back to the point, “yes, that’s an issue. She’s safe. I visit to make certain it stays that way. But if there’s nothing else we require of her, then I will very much need to find a way to be rid of her. This is not something that I can sustain indefinitely. My resources are vast, but I’ve very little desire to become a professional bigot-keeper.”

Scott dips his chin down to stare at the sweater. The wine glass is set aside and he pinches fingers down from each hand to tug it out as if to display the emblems and symbols on it more clearly, "You think so? It's one of my better ones and I figured if I looked incredibly tacky over here you'd throw me out sooner.” Underneath the woolen ugly sweater is a simple tank top of grey.

Not really. He dressed in 'going out' attire even if its a very ugly holiday sweater. At least his slacks and shoes are quite nice.

"You won't be keeping her much longer. I'm going to deposit her back in Genosha in the next two weeks. Damage is done, cabinets are dead or joined factions… she'll have some support but not enough to matter in any direction. I won’t ask the other thoughts that come to mind in regards to Reneau. There are levels I should not stoop, despite my doubts.”

Propping an arm up on the back ridge of the couch in order to languidly rest her head upon it, Emma sips unhurriedly from her portion of the bottle and then rests her other arm across her lap. “I can offer them up so you don’t have to ask?” she offers helpfully.

Her head then tilts the other direction as she continues, her one arm sliding down the back to join the other.

“Really, though, what sort of time frame are we looking at? As much fun as it would be to add ‘international criminal’ to my wikipedia article, I’d really rather just set this behind us.” A pause, and then she challenges the plan put forth already. “I think you are underestimating just how neutered she is, however.”

“You would be so kind?” Scott says dryly at the helpful offer. He's watching her in that red haze of movement, the languid way she is moving around reminds him of a predator between snacks. He might be frowning now without honestly realizing it.

“Anytime now. I checked and she has no immediate family, no real loved ones, it’s almost sad honestly if I didn’t know what she was capable of and is already guilt of I would feel some pity.” A recline back of his own opposite her on the couch and his chin lifts up, his strong neck looking suddenly longer as light plays on his cheekbones under the glossy ruby lenses.

“What do you mean how neutered she is?”

“You intend to… release her into the wild?”

Emma shrugs those slender shoulders of hers, leaning in. Skeptical. “Into some monitored captivity? All it takes is one presented opportunity to get her voice outside of Genosha, and you could have a large problem on your hands. Are you really so certain that you have that country on lock-down?”

“That country is far from lockdown.” Scott states, “I have no desire to reroute there right now because of the state we left it in. Magento’s presence is the linchpin. This keeps us free to remain at a distance, observe and steer clear while we handle the homefront.” A tap of two fingers on his knee, “Your charity event, those mutants, that machine… that is the X-Men’s focus now. This is why we’re here and not there.”

A turn of his head and Scott is wetting his lips thoughtfully, drawing it out like its helping him think. His tone has changed and he has caught it. “I’m not adverse to neutering her and I think you might have misunderstood my question. She is in your hands right now because I was prepared for such a circumstance. It goes against everything we stand for and I am aware of this, I have been dreading this but for the sake of the many over the few and my own soul…"

Scott shrugs a bunch of strong shoulders and that wine that was in the glass vanishes down his throat.

“I’m lacking some counsel. No one lately has been aware of what I’ve been staging… you might be that singular person.”

There is a moment of truth. “I’ve stripped this woman of everything all because …. Freedom? Equal Rights? Greater Good? Hubris? I don’t know. I do my best not to think about it and I focus on this… “ He tugs on that red sweater again. “I’m wearing a smile and playing pretend for them.”

“So if you have some divine wisdom for me by all means. Enlighten me, Emma.”

Leaning in just a tiny bit more, the blonde stares up into Scott’s eyes as though there weren’t the reflection of quartz between them. “Just turn your back, Scott,” she murmurs softly. “Turn your back, and I’ll take care of it. That’s what you needed me for, isn’t it?”

Her lips turn a strange curve, inscrutable. “Turn your gaze somewhere else and you know I can handle it. After all, I don’t have a soul to worry about, now do I?”

There’s a pause, and then a soft whisper escapes those crimson red lips. “She won’t be able to hurt anyone else’s children. Just turn your back.

Scott is looking at Emma no backwards movement or leaning away from her as she draws nearer, this close she can almost see the red that over-colors the natural oaken rich browns. If not for his gift shed see those and not that blood red energy glare. “Turn my back isn’t an option… and I’m struggling more with what this is I’m asking you to carry as a burden. It’s a lot to ask of anyone and you say these things but are you capable? Just more guilt.”

A heavy exhale from Scott and his hand actually reaches over and rests on top of Emma’s. “Am I making the right call?” is he even asking the right person in this. Emma Frost is not Jean Grey or Charles Xavier. She isn’t even Ororo Munro, Hank or Betsy…

No, she isn’t any of those revered pillars of the X-Family. She isn’t even one of the lesser rails.

Emma Frost is, by reputation, the creature forged by pragmatism. Her hand lifts, tentative and so careful, to brush at his jaw. “What other option do you have? I have a couple, but I’m not certain you’d like any of them, darling.”

Her brow knits; sincerity paints her voice. “I won’t allow her the opportunity to inflame the debate here. If it gets out that mutants unseated a president… A government that didn’t suit us… This goes south for all of us. We have to make a decision that gets our kind out of the crosshairs.”

She moves to pull back, to reclaim her distance. “I can’t tell you whether or not that call is the right one. But I can say that I think that it’s the best one, out of what spectacularly horrible ones there are. And you don’t have to know anything, other than you gave the problem to me to solve. You’re a good man. A good leader. And there’s no reason to think that changes because you moved to protect your kind out of necessity.”

There’s a pause, and then a shrug. “I might not have to kill her. Maybe.”

"She is a war criminal." Scott says firmly. To herself and to him but some part of his mind tells him he’s not allowed to make that call despite his words. A lot of conflict beyond that barrier the man upholds and right now shes getting through some of those splits and cracks, "Little options left in this I was prepared for this before and shouldn't be second guessing now. I'm honestly unsure why I am… Killing her is not what I could try to make it appear we've saved her… That we found her. No."

A spark in that final one.

Freshly shaved and smooth Scott's aftershave is pleasant and winter oriented. He did say he was going for the 'hopeful and pretend. No lie. The man commits when he sets to it.
"No. I'll leave this to you. I'm putting a lot of trust in this alliance we have going." She knows this. Scott knows she knows he is just affirming it all.

A shift in to the couch as she draws away and one of his hands lifts up to push fingers against his chin. Studying her curiously. Focused on her face and expressions.


It’s not suspicion that paints the word, although it could certainly seem that way to the casual observer.

Emma pulls close her precious and near-empty glass of bordeaux with a protectiveness, as though it were a sorceress’s scrying pool, capable of giving answers beyond what is in front of them.

“Why bother trusting me? You have your beloved Jean Grey. Your stalwart X-Men, tried and true.” Her smile turns wry. “I think you enjoy this particular part: you give the villain just enough rope to hang herself, all the while telling everyone that you gave her a coveted shot at redemption. You get what you want, but then you still have the high ground? Is that what this is?”

She sips from her wine glass, considering it. “At least you already know that I’ll know if you lie. It saves me all the extra expounding upon the point.”

Her eyes narrow as she looks back up, although there’s a seductress’s aire to it. “What do you actually want me to do, Scott?” She chuckles as she drags her finger across her clavicle. “I can play whatever part you want.”

“They’re not you.” Scott says with the approach of a blunt instrument. “I don’t know you like I do them and you’re more dispensable in this and willing.” He is frowning as he confesses, like it pains him to be this open about his view of her, “You’re no X-Man and there's something about you that is… less pure, less salvageable.”

It doesn’t take an empath to know Scott is not enjoying the delivery of his words as he has grown quite attached to Emma, enough so he has sought her out and now finds himself confinding in her. Trusting her and scary enough wanting to. This is a poor attempt at him explaining he finds her to be just as suitably broken as he is in these regards. Apparently he holds his team in high regards. Protective might very well be an understatement.

“You think I’d say anything about this arrangement? Maybe some day with the right timing.” When impact is overshadowed or something else can detour. “I lost the high ground a long time ago, Emma.”

“I just have to strive to keep going up that hill and right now I’m still burying skeletons.” Piles of them. The intentional set of her eyes, that feminine appeal she produces not at all lost on him. “I want you… “ He pauses, words eluding him, “… “

One fist clenches and beyond those shades he is losing a battle of control with his eyes as they travel after her finger’s path. “I want you on my side and in my corner when it comes down to it. I’ve been making calls that are unlike me, selfish, fragmented, and I think you’re the one who can help me the most.”

She can hear his thoughts, the spiral of them at her loaded question as they flock through his mind. What do you want me to do Scott? I can play whatever part you want.

She’s dispensable. Because, of course, she is.

Emma smiles still. Of all the things, she continues smiling on, her red painted lips seemingly unchanged by the confession that escapes Scott’s own.

“I’m very well acquainted with selfishness, it’s true,” she says.

Allowing the words to sit on the air for a moment, she shrugs after. And then she makes her promise to him, but not before she’s lifted herself back onto her bare feet and leaned in towards his ear to murmur. “I’ll take care of it. Reneau won’t be a problem. Now, go home. This skeleton is mine to bury.”

The acceptance she expresses sinks in on Scott. A weight removes itself from his shoulders but her shrug has him remaining poised, staring at her with that intent overtly focused red stare.
With the lean and murmur he’s still transfixed forward… but then a hand ascends, closes over her own and draws her forward. Close enough that smear of her whisper ear and cheek finds his mouth in a slow kiss. Lips partial open against her ruby paint, he speaks; “It’s our skeleton.”

Words and fingers released the X-Man stands from the couch and levels his gaze upon the White Queen.

As Emma finds herself in that kiss, she doesn’t fight it. Despite everything, there’s a momentary surprised widening of her eyes. But then those pale, crystalline eyes close as the woman yields to it—delicate and inviting and smelling of jasmine and Damascus rose from her Dior perfume—and her long-fingered hand curls softly around his. But then it passes, and she lets that happen without protest, too. As she finds her hand released, as he stands and pulls himself taller than herself, she reaches up to stroke his cheek.

“No, my dear Mister Summers,” she protests at last. “All mine.” That cool hand, warmer by a scant degree than it was just prior to his encapsulation of it, moves to tap his nose with a finger. “You’re not quite as replaceable.” Another airy and half-formed escapes her throat, the tune of it not quite amused. But not… not, either. It is something other.

“The world needs you to be the hero for another day. Now, go home. You have your little family that needs you, hm?”

“I’ll need a driver.” Scott says quietly. The taste of her lips still there and lingering. Emma’s laugh exuded has one of his fingers joined by another to caress along the slender column of her throat, tracing down to that earlier teased clavicle.

“By those very standards as you’re helping me you’ve been enlisted by the world as well..”
The nose tap inspires him to tip-teeter backwards out of personal space zone they’ve been orbiting around this eve.

“We’ll be in touch, I hope. And as for Reneau… this is our last conversation about her. I’ll leave it to you. I trust you with this.”

“… but if you do need to talk about it you know how to reach me.”

The man prepares to turn away but not before looking to inspect the ceiling. A helpless shrug escaping him, “No mistletoe. I’ll blame you if this ever comes up in conversation.” A genuine smile. A light dip of the head and Scott Summers departs.

“Merry Christmas, Miss Frost.”

“I’ll just lie and say there was,” Emma retorts with a dismissive laugh, an arm curling around herself as her wine-bearing hand gestures airly in emphasis of her easy cadence. “Or, better yet, just not say anything about it all. We… can let it be our last conversation about that, too, if you like. Make a decision about that in the morning after some sleep. And the world can decide whether it really likes the idea of the services I provide.”

Because people sometimes make very large mistakes when dealing with beautiful, dispensable, replaceable women. Less pure women. Less salvageable women. And what is a world, but a vast expanse filled with people? Fallible people. Recognizing this is helpful more often than not, particularly with regards to managing expectations.

“Merry Christmas, Mister Summers,” she continues, her voice soft and uncharacteristically warm. Then, leaning in, she repeats: “Now, shoo.” To emphasize her point, she waves her hand towards the door. But then she pauses, and an flaxen eyebrow pricks upwards. “Unless you were serious about the driver…?”

A few glasses of wine and driving? Scott is serious about the driver - Captain Responsible at the helm and all.

Emma is flashed one of those short lived Summers patented smiles. It is very unlikely any of their conversations tonight are to remain dead in the water.

“I am, but I’ll wait outside for your driver.” That penthouse door being closed behind the X-Man.

Wait he does, and the smiles they are gone. The forward stare towards the horizon again taking over and Scott Summers mulls his own words over, his choices and the plans he still has yet to enact.

“You’re an idiot, Slim.” The man whispers in to the cold winds.

She waits long moments once the penthouse door is shut, and then Emma Frost lets her smile dissipate and her flawless veneer evaporates to something a little more bothered and irritated. She closes her eyes and takes a slow, shuddering breath and then lets it go.

Alright. Next steps. First, the car to get Scott Summers the hell out of her building, and then to figure out what precisely to do with her Genoshan timebomb. The telepath was entirely earnest; she has options. Possible contingencies.

And she has no intention of sharing any of them with Scott Summers.

But first, Alex, her driver. Scott will have to wait twenty minutes as the young man comes through the city, but the car will eventually come.

In the meantime, Frost goes to carefully collect that lumpy bit of baked earth and scoop it into her hands. Her fingers trace over it, each flaw and imperfection, and her brow knits.

“Sentimentality doesn’t suit you,” she tells herself sharply, even as she begins to cross the room and through the white door of her study. It doesn’t suit, but she can give herself a moment in her solitude to acknowledge its uncomfortable churning and twisting in her gut. In her throat.

And then she’ll put that misshapen affront to art on her expansive mahogany desk and let that surge of feeling go, too.

Because she is Emma Frost. And that means something.

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