It was the Salesmen

January 26, 2018:

Nate goes to see Emma and finds her office thrashed after Pietro and Wanda's visit. An interesting conversation follows.

Emma's not-so-fancy-anymore office in New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Magneto

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Lately Nate is spending most of the time in an infamous island in the Indian Ocean, so his visits to New York have been scarce. He is not keeping in touch in his friends and allies outside the X-Men. Never a good thing as he is one of those who think the X-Men live in fairyland, too detached from reality.

Reality is New York is still going through a damn cold winter. Small wonder Lorna likes tropical Genosha so much. Folks in Mutant Town needed help. And Nate is even more penniless than usual because he has not done a magic show in like two months.

He is sure Spiderman never has this kind of problem! (Yep, reality cracks a little when the idea goes through his head).

Now he is checking one of the few rich mutants he knows and finding out the windows of her office are cracked badly, and inside it looks pretty bad. What the hell? « Emma? » he projects. Not that if Emma is in the building has not felt him coming already.


The windows of the office are badly cracked, veins of damage creeping across the glass and threatening to do more still should the weather take another turn. Inside, there is the churning ball of frustration and anger that is the powerful mind of one Emma Frost.

In a rare instance, he'll find her mind open in all of the ways that it's typically not when he's seen her and she's expected him. Her emotions bleed into the psychic air about her, dark and full of venom.

And then, she feels him.

She feels Nate coming, and he'll feel her retreat as she tamps down all feeling away from the places that he can see it. By the time he's close enough, he'll recognize the smooth mirror-like reflection where her thoughts should be.

« Mister Grey. I was not expecting you. »


Nate doesn't advertise it, but his powers do include a weak empathic sense. Usually he gets zip from Emma. This time it is… bad. She is definitely not alright.

« I am bad at keeping schedules and giving prior warning. You know me. But it keeps me alive » he projects back, flying close to the window and looking at the woman through cracked glass. « y'know? I can fix the glass, it is easy to manipulate, almost like a fluid. »

He actually phases through the glass to come into the office. And as he does he spreads his telekinesis through the cracked and broken panels, melding them together. Molecular-level telekinesis, not the kind of thing even strong alpha class telekinetics can do. The windows look like new now.

"I have been in Genosha again most of the last six weeks," he explains. "What happened here?"


"Salesmen," Emma replies aloud. And Nate will have his work cut out from him. Emma's cavernous office is nearly all glass, every exterior surface. And all of it carries the same spider-vein damage that renders it fragile and susceptible to further trauma.
She could stop him working, but it serves a purpose. Instead, she watches him in her Armani skirt suit with a frigid frown, her arms crossing defensively.

The table is cut in half, there's a tea stain on the pristine white carpet: the marks of the murder of one quiet and unsuspecting afternoon. The room is in a shambles.

"Very insistent salesmen. They weren't accustomed to hearing 'no', I suppose."

Without fully uncrossing those arms, she lifts one fist to rest her chin on it where she stands. "And, naturally, no crew in the city is crazy enough to attempt repairs on the top floors of a tower until the storm has passed."


"Salesmen," Nate smiles faintly, although with little good mood. He studies Emma's for a few seconds, looking for injuries. "What were they selling?" He asks without much interest. It feels Emma doesn't want to talk about it. He kneels to pick a half a cup of tea. Literally half a cup. And even the fragment is badly cracked. For a second his eyes narrow and he attempts a psychometric reading. But nothing happens.

Psychometrics. It very rarely works when he is merely curious.


There is no injury that's visible on Emma Frost's form, aside from the possibility of her pride. The blonde watches as her guest picks up the cup, shattered and sharp edges, and there's a snort and a dark growl. What were they selling? "An improbable future."

She glances towards the door, still hanging half off of its hinges, and there's a brief moment where she narrows her eyes suspiciously. It's fleeting, however, and the telepath turns to face the young man once more.

The cup doesn't give Nate much, but there is… There is something. A flash of something, blink and he'll miss it. A more prominent if sudden fear as the cup drops from someone's hand to break despite the rug. One perhaps some time after the other. It's mixed up, and unclear.

"Not terribly interesting," the mind witch concludes.


Nate stands with a grunt. "No a future of your liking, I suppose. Look I… this was just going to be a social visit. It has been a few months and I don't see you at the school anymore. I am spending too much time there myself."

He frowns, leaning against the half-broken door. Well, not so social now. "I want to help you, y'know? Because I remember another Emma. Before the Omega Event. I am not going to say we were close friends, and she was… I think she was even more aloof than you. Quite guilt-ridden, I think. But she did some very good things for mutants and for this city." A pause. "It never happened. My memories no longer match with history. But I do -remember- you, she, was in responsible of the downfall of New York's SRD and the defeat of the Purifiers a few years ago."


"You are correct, Mister Grey. That was another person. Another person who is not me. Whatever that person did, whoever she was, is gone. A ghost with no power here." Emma's head tilts to one side as her arm weaves back into its subconscious signal intense self-protection.

"Cling to the memory if you like, but it would likely be unwise to attempt ascribing any value associated with it to me." She takes a few steps towards him, her pale eyes scouring his gaze for something. There is nothing in her own expression to betray whether or not she finds what she's looking for.

"But my manners are lacking today. My apologies. I have yet to express my relief in seeing you whole. I am glad for you."


Unwise, indeed.

No, Nate clings to his remaining memories with unwise devotion. As if he really believed the essence of the people he knew remains unchanged. It makes him strange at times. It puts him Outside.

His own eyes meet Emma’s, and there is a flicker or anger. How casually she disregards his recollections. But on the other hand, he might be talking of what she doesn’t want to know. There is no etiquette written for cases of alternate pasts or futures.

And Emma feels upset. So Nate relents, and offers a brief smile when she expresses relief, even if she might be only polite. "Put myself back together. With a little help from my sister and a good deal of mad luck."


The business woman seems mollified with the change in the conversation, as it swings well clear of her, her activities, and the state of her unmoored conscience. She lets it drift towards Nate and his home-brewed miracle.

It's less complicated. Less personal.

It is, in that way, very much what she prefers. And Emma is a creature that prefers to have her preference.

"Impressive," she tells him, meaning it if the note that rings in the word is to be believed. "Well, it's good, then. I know that no other body ever feels quite as comfortable as one's own.


Nate hmms. "Funny that," he comments, "this body of mine comes with plenty raw power, but at a cost, in pain and confusion. The pilot's mind was clear and sharp. Mine comes with an alien virus and the dreams and nightmares of a hundred million humans." He taps his scarred temple. "All here."

Which he has grown used to. But he lived (or died) without them for a few days and it was heaven.

"So we can talk about death, resurrection and body swapping, but not about what is really troubling you," he offers.


Emma considers that thought for a moment, pale gaze lifting towards the newly repaired glass ceiling in exaggerated consideration. Her lips pull downwards, and long fingers taps in sequence along her upper arms. When they resettle on Nate, there's a new smile, albeit small and fragile.

"Essentially, yes. I rather find that death, resurrection, and body swapping tend to be much less personal." But, with eyes narrowing as she regards the other psychic, she does at last relent a tiny bit. "The two mutants from the gala were here. They said some nasty things, they destroyed some of my things, and then they ran away. End of story."


Nate smiles when Emma admits her conversation preferences. Those are NOT personal enough? But the smile goes away when she tells him what really happened. "For fucks sake," he murmurs. "Wanda and Pietro were here? I… really should try to talk some sense on them. I know - knew them."

Like he 'knew' Emma. Bah. He starts pacing. Studying the damages in the room. Much of it he could try to fix with telekinesis, but some of it is too complex - he would likely make a larger mess. "Yeah. They are lashing out against little people that are pretty much irrelevant, and giving ammo to the really dangerous racists. And Wanda is one of the most powerful mutants in the world. She could so much more. Damnit." He looks at Emma gain. "But what did they want from you? I mean, you are also a mutant. Why did they thrash your office?"


Emma listens as Nate processes, watches as he paces. She's seen the damage. She's no need or desire to study its extensiveness. Rather, she simply goes to where her assistant has set out a plastic carafe from downstairs and a few ceramic coffee mugs. It's paper sugar packets in a container to sweeten the dark brew, and it's plastic tubs of creamer on a paper plate.

The arrangement is so banal she could puke.

As Nate brings up that same train of thought that irritated her before, the blonde pricks an eyebrow upwards and tries to focus most of that frustration in the direction of the coffee she's preparing for herself so Nate can't see it. "I, apparently, am too complacent. Do with it as you will."

There's a pause, and then a superficial smirk. "They essentially called me spoiled, too, but I suppose - that one - I'll just plead guilty as charged. I rather like being spoiled."


"Hell, no," replies Nate with a chuckle. "I know you are made of steel under that soft, spa princess facade." Then again she does cultivate the image. But Emma came to Genosha and did some very risky things. For little gain, it seemed.

"I gotta say I thought Pietro was smarter than this," but then again, "no, I am stupid. I don't know Pietro anymore. Freaking reality shifts." He lost so many friends. And some who call him friend he can't remember. Crazytown.

"I guess the X-Men better catch them before the D.E.O. does," he concludes.


Nate's confession that he doesn't know Pietro earns the man an approving nod. There you go, boy-o. Now you're catching on. And the accusation of steel earns a cluck of her tongue. "You've been talking to the competitors, hm?"

There's an upwards prick of Emma's flaxen eyebrow after that, as she pulls up the coffee cup in her hands and takes a tentative sip. "As for the two troublemakers, I am for whatever gets them under control before they decide to get… chatty," she tells him plainly, head stooping over the warm brew. "The very last thing I want or need right now is someone speaking outside of school."


"All the more reason to prevent the government from catching them," replies Nate. Last time the D.E.O. got hold of someone with powers like Wanda? It was Alfie O'Meagan. The guy that caused the Omega Shift.

"You know those two are Magneto's children?" Asks-comments Nate. He doesn't know they have already been in Genosha. In fact he has no idea if they are working with Magneto or on their own. Something he definitely should investigate. "Not sure if Magneto knows. But when he finds out, he will get involved, I am sure."


The arched eyebrow holds its place as Emma receives the newest bits of information. And her frown deepens. "I was not aware, no," the woman allows quietly, although the brewing storm of her features does seem to indicate that she has some feeling on the matter despite the quiet surface of her psyche. "Although, I suppose I should have guessed. The young man bears some striking resemblance to his father."


Nate nods, "yes, he does," and he never told Pietro when they were friends to spare him the grief. Dumb move, he guesses. Now they are not friends… and yet maybe he -should- try to befriend him because the man he knows Pietro could be.

He sighs. Maybe he is being stupid.

'You are being stupid, Nate' lectures imaginary mini-Illyana from his left shoulder. 'Don't give up your friend' yells imaginary mini-Xavier from his right shoulder.

Yeah, thanks, imaginary advisors.

"Genosha is a mess," murmurs Nate, ceasing the pace by the fixed windows. "I gotta get back there tomorrow. I actually came here to see if you could send some help to Mutant Town. The bad weather has caused some serious damages and many families are freezing."


Genosha is a mess, he says, and Emma lets the observation pass without further comment from her. But when the request is made of her, the blonde hums a note softly. And then her eyes close as she shakes her head a little - a mark of acquiescence. "Fine," she allows with a small sigh. It's not really so much to ask, and "Yes, I suppose I can see what I can do. Filter something through a charity or two. Do you have an organization you prefer? A specific breakdown you need addressed?"


Nate turns to give Emma a genuine smile. "Yes, of course I have a list," not of charities, but of social groups in Mutant Town that are willing to brave the foul weather to do some work. They are not Damage Control, but of them have useful powers and they are trusted by the locals. Emma might still need to fuel the founding through charities if she wants to remain anonymous and keep her terrible reputation intact.

But it looks like Nate knows pretty much everybody in Mutant Town. He has been living there for years.

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