Nothing Surprises Me

January 04, 2018:

Nathaniel Richards meets one Rachel Summers. Whom he knew, but doesn't knows. Time travel strikes again.

Downtown New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Rachel Grey (no, really)

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Ah. New York City. The city that never sleeps, where you can find almost anything you want, and a lot more things you definitely don't want. For Rachel Summers, time traveling mutant from another, alternate, dimension, she's taken this afternoon to go shopping. This time, not for nice clothing, or to replenish her wardrobe, no, this time she's out furniture shopping. When the Demon Bear destroyed the mansion, it absolutely shattered every bit of furniture in her room, as well. Thus, Rachel's just now emerging from one of the many furniture stores that are about. Oh sure, it's IKEA, but they're the easiest to put together, and the cheapest to find just exactly what Rachel desires from a dresser, desk, bed and so on.

She's had the items delivered to the mansion, and is happily pondering just who she can get to help her put it all /together/. Perhaps her brother, Nate, is good with putting … patiently. The idea just suddenly sends Rachel into a slight chuckle, her long steps moving down the sidewalks, as she laughs at seemingly nothing at all but her thoughts.

*

It is IKEA. You won't find IKEA in the Avenger's mansion (almost, almost ever). Nathaniel does not go into IKEA because buying furniture is such a primitive concept.

(Unless it is historically significant furniture, then he wants it all).

He went out the mansion for a business meeting. One he can't dodge or run in VR. Painful but necessary. He went, delivered his speech, and left as soon as could. The weather is still foul and he has yet to hear from Witchdoctor. He was about to duck in an alleyway to armor up when he spots the redhead.

The redhead he knew was missing since the Omega Shift.

And this redhead is not the same, she is years older, but a quick genetic scan say she is the same. Which only makes sense for a reality shifting that was differential, not partitional. He almost smacks himself at realizing. And by now he has been staring a telepath for several seconds without mental shields, so yeah. "Good afternoon, Rachel Grey?" He greets.

*

When the mansion gets destroyed at least twice a year, Rachel has found getting cheap furniture is definitely the way to go. Thus, so completely bemused with the idea that Rachel (much less her brother) might have the patience to put together these items she bought, the red-head is initially unaware of any attention she might be getting. People move down the sidewalks, cars whip past, taxi-cabs recklessly zoom about - and Rachel's about to flag one down, when her gaze flickers towards the individual who's thoughts ring out about /her/. Well, not really her, but another her entirely?

Rachel's steps slow and her hand lowers as her gaze levels upon the individual. The smile of before fades into a single line, as suspicion and a guarded tone is offered. "Nope. You've got the wrong girl." She begins, head tilting slightly to one side as she sizes up the young man. Does she know him? No. He looks sort of familiar, though it could be simply from the newspapers. And Rachel isn't incorrect in her initial statement. She's never gone by Rachel Grey, ever. In fact, she's a bit closer to her father, than her mother, though not by much. And that's mostly due to Rachel keeping her distance from both, so they don't form a bad impression of her. Ever.

Yet, all that is dismissed as Rachel takes a few steps forward. "Names Rachel Summers, though I don't believe we've ever met."

*

Nathaniel nods in mild agreement, "never met in this timeline, I suppose. But we are both foreigners to this continuum, so I do hope I am not surprising you by… knowing you. To a point." He smiles briefly, clearly amused.

"Nathaniel Richards," he introduces himself. He has a faint accent, hard to place. "A pleasure to meet you for the first time. May I invite you to coffee, Ms. Summers. Or perhaps dinner if you are hungry. I am always curious and eager to talk to other time travelers."

*

The suspicion slowly fades from Rachel's expression, "At this point, really, nothing surprises me, Mr. Richards." Still attempting to place Nathaniel, Rachel's head inclines. "Why not both, there's a little shop not far from here, and I could use something warm to eat and drink after being out in this cold." Her hands instinctively pull the leather jacket about her form tighter about her. Damn unnatural cold, after all.

A few steps are taken in the general direction of the coffee shop, it isn't anything special - not your fancy restaurant, nor is it a hole in the wall. Just one of the many tourist destinations one can find here.

As she moves, Rachel's stuffing her hands into the pockets of her jacket, asking. "You look familiar, and not in the 'I know you personally' kind of way. Have you been in the news?"

*

The young man nods, opening the door of the coffee shop for Rachel. "I am one of the Avengers. Most of us do not have those so-called secret identities. I have been in the news a few times, although not recently."

It has been a while since the Avengers acted openly in America as a team. Which actually it is good news for most people. "I go as Iron Guard lately," he adds, letting Rachel pick up the table she wants. "How about you? Have you been in this timeline for long?"

*

Again a slight incline of her head is offered as the door is opened for her, and Rachel steps on through with a polite. "Thank you." A few seconds waiting, and a small table is opened, menus given, and the initial drinks delivered. Rachel doesn't say much during this point, other than a few random, "Hot tea with lemon and honey." Style of conversation to the wait staff.

A brief glance over the menu and Rachel's already decided what she wants to eat, thus the folded item is placed in front of her. The question is met with a raised eyebrow, and slightly wry twist of her lips. "Yes, several years actually. Or, well, given the oddity of timelines, and everything that's happened - it's difficult to give an exact, well defined answer to that. I believe myself to have been here for many years, though it's only been about half a year that I've returned to the states. I'd been abroad for several years prior."

The answer isn't too revealing, Rachel's time with Excalibur is public knowledge, after all. "The Avengers. I see. Are you from the future? Alternate dimensions? Or rather not talk about it?" Rachel's grin is fairly present as she takes a sip of tea afterwards.

*

"The 30th Century," replies Nathaniel. He requested a latte from the waitress, as well as the menu to peruse dinner, if the conversation goes on for a time. "I was here seven years ago, if briefly. No, no problem about talking about all this. I am fairly open about my origins unless I expect not to be believed." Which really, it ends up being most of the time outside super-hero circles. "I was dragged to Ancient Egypt for two years, and returned to modern times early in 2016. I met a 'Rachel Grey' later that year, but a reality shift event altered the timeline past May. She vanished. I remember alone because I am shielded from this kind of reality warping."

*

"And here I thought I was one of a kind." Rachel muses, fingers wrapped about her hot tea mug, taking a sip ever so often as Nathaniel speaks. Her tone is bemused, at best, slightly sarcastic at worse. Though she does offer a fairly seriously, "I'm not sure what is worse, knowing or not knowing. For me, and I assume almost everyone else, everything that you see around you, it just is. I think I prefer it that way, to anything else. My life has transpired to this point, and I'm the person I am because of it." Her hand gestures to one side as she speaks. Drawing silent a moment to put her order of chicken strips and french fries in with the wait staff, before continuing.

"And really? I'm quite shocked, why I figure everyone would easily digest the fact you're from thousands of years into the future." Rachel's emerald eyes sparkle with another bemused and sarcastic tone. "Why here, just dumb luck, or was it intended to come to this time?"

*

Nathaniel smiles when Rachel comments about the incredulity of those silly humans. And yet. "Now, now, Ms. Summers. It is not fair assuming time is fully lineal and the past immutable and then poke fun to those who prefer to believe time travel is completely impossible, hmm?"

She knows better. But what logic has to do with anything?

"Why I am here is a rather complicate story. I rather not to talk about it much. Yes, I was trying to come here. But now I cannot leave, which was unforeseen. Nevertheless I am satisfied. I like this place and this time, and I have the chance to change the timeline for the better, preventing certain events that will make the next two hundred years a Dark Age for Earth."

*

With a laugh that even results in a chuckle, Rachel leans back in her chair, a wry expression of delight on her features. "And yet, they believe that a man can fly, and monsters exist around them, but time travel?" One corner of her mouth twists upwards higher than the other as the smirk she offers is given.

It fades into once again a fairly serious expression as Nathaniel lists his desire to not speak of reasons why he's here, just that he's here. Rachel's emerald eyes flash with amusement, as she offers a dry. "Ah, but there's the trick of time travel. The world that you know, all the dark parts that transpired, by being here, perhaps all of that still transpires in the world that you know - by being here, you've just created an alternate point, an alternate dimension with which you live your life, and nothing, absolutely nothing you've done here, will mean a damn in your own timeline and place. All you've managed to do is create another road off of the main highway, and you're traveling down that alternate route, instead of on the one you know." Rachel does have a bit of experience in that, though once again, she's come to terms with her past, and the knowledge that while she can fight for a better future for the people -here-, her own timeline is still screwed.

*

Nathaniel shakes his head, "I would not call that a trick. Or that changing societal trends is both important and difficult. Did you come here to the present from the last days of the Sentinel Uprising?" The scars/tattoos in her face are revealing enough. He also remembers his conversations with a younger Rachel.

"For instance, the Sentinels are merely a symptom of a deeper problem," he states. Pausing a minute because the tea and the coffee have arrived. "It was part of a concerted effort by power blocks that already exists to gain control of the whole planet. And this conflict is still going to happen even if mutants become accepted by mainstream humankind."

*

A slightly raised eyebrow is offered, though Rachel simply sits quiet and listens. A shake of her head is given, "I disagree." She begins, hands folded together forming a steeple in front of her chest. "In the fact - things do not have to happen as they're destined to play out. The conflict between mutant and Sentinel doesn't have to occur. My timeline never has to come into play here, ever. In fact, the events that initially transpired with Mastermold have already muted that from occurring, or playing out as it did."

Her hands lower into her lap, as Rachel keeps her gaze leveled onto Nathaniel. "And if it does, if things start down a path, by knowing the full consequences, I know I and my family, can make a difference for the better. But what I meant is, even if everything happens for the better, and people begin to embrace each other in peaceful coexistence, my timeline will always remain the same. There is nothing that I can do here, to stop that. I can fight for a better future for those around me, and teach them to exist peacefully, but the timeline that I knew, where I grew up, that place will never be changed."

The seriousness of Rachel's expression fades again into another bemused smile. "Do you get into such serious conversations with all time travelers, Mr. Richards, or am I just lucky?"

*

Nathaniel chuckles pleasantly. "I should apologize. Ms. Summers. I do often go into very serious conversations with other time travelers fairly quickly. There are more than you think currently in northeast America." Also, he was trying not to flirt with Rachel. Maybe he should have.

"We can talk about other subjects if you wish. Almost any matter is going to be more fun than the near future." He admits with a lopsided smile.

*

"I'm not the best expert on anything time related. I just know what I've experienced, and I'm happy to be a chatty Kitty and express it." Rachel states in a good natured enough tone, taking a sip of her tea, before continuing. "Though I am slightly surprised there are more time travelers about than I might realize." This does cause a slight furrowing of Rachel's brows together at the thought. "I suppose I should not be surprised by this, however, given the world that we live in and everything that has transpired up until now."

When lunch is served, Rachel quiets a bit, digging into her meal to savor the chicken and fries. It's not glorious by any means, but when you've had gruel (or nothing) for more than half your life, something as simple as chicken strips is met with delight.

"So tell me about the Avengers." Rachel inquires, "What goals do you have, what is your purpose? I've only read bits and pieces about them, so I'm curious."

*

"This is an Age of Heroes. The Age of Marvels," proclaims Nathaniel, looking somewhat happy. "So full of possibilities. Of course time travelers will come here. To explore, to investigate, but most often drawn in by the synchronicity waves." He grins, "I am not just speaking metaphorically, I could show you the mathematics behind the statements."

Food comes, so he pauses to get started with dinner. But since she asked. "The Avengers are a nearly unavoidable constant, existent in 97% of all timelines. I do hope they are the fulcrum that will shift the society inertia and prevent the Dark Age. But we can talk about the future some other time. What do you want to know about them, us?"

*

"And you'd probably end up with a glassy-eyed gaze as you mention anything to do with math." Rachel offers with a quiet chortle. "The Avengers are that persistent that they're in nearly a hundred percent of all realities is something to consider. Do you believe in peaceful co-existence, for one?" A very pointed question, which Rachel just throws out there.

And dinner continues - or at least lunch, talking about the Avengers, about time and different realities, Sentinels, mutants and of course some about the X-Men, at least what Rachel felt comfortable in expressing. (And what could be found using the internet, at least.) The quick drink and food turned into a couple hours of simple chatter and conversation. With a cheerful enough, "Thank you for the conversation and meal." Rachel left the small coffee shop fascinated about time travelers, and chance encounters.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License