Ice Cream Is Never Just Ice Cream

February 21, 2018:

Illyana and Rachel discuss the infamous trip to Limbo.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Scott Summers, Piotr Rasputin


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's time for 'difficult discussions'. These are uncomfortable or otherwise difficult conversations that you're dreading, not looking forward to, but should really bring up anyway. Rachel has put this particular one off for …several weeks. Good grief, has it really been several weeks now? During this time Rachel has had many opportunities to think about what she wants to say, how she wants to approach things. She could just ignore it all, and chalk it up to 'digested information'. Buuuuut, as tempted as that might be, it wouldn't be a very good friend if she didn't at least -try- to be more comforting about things. Rachel's just not the best when it comes to not being selfish.

So, Rachel has climbed the stairs to the mansion, stood before the door, squared her shoulders and is now knocking. Loudly. Upon the wood. "Hey, Yana, you up for an ice cream run?" After all, it's probably best to do these sort of conversations in a public setting. You can't kill each other too badly in a public setting, the X-Men frown on that sort of thing.

While Illyana has a room in the mansion (complete with a sign on the door that says 'BEWARE OF THE DEMONS'), it's rare to find her in residence. Mostly the room is just a placeholder, a reminder that she's part of the team, and a reliably empty space to use when arriving via portal from Limbo. Today, for a wonder, she's actually there to hear Rachel knock.

Sitting cross-legged on her bed, a leather-bound book in her lap that she's studying intently, Illyana looks up with a frown when the loud knocking disturbs her concentration. She's momentarily tempted to just let a portal swallow her up, but from the interruption to her ward on the door, she knows that the person knocking is Rachel. And when the redhead's muffled voice offers ice cream, well, sneaking off via portal without a word would just be rude. Snapping the book closed and putting it to one side, Illyana unfolds herself and gets off the bed, pausing to shove her feet into her shoes before crossing to the door and opening it.

Something about what she sees on Rachel's face seems to give her pause, and her blue eyes narrow slightly. "Why do I have a feeling this isn't just about ice cream?" She asks, warily, but then shrugs. "You know what? I don't care. I'm weak and easily bribed. Ice cream it is. Just give me a minute to change." She's not quite the height of fashion right now, dressed in an oversized black hoodie and leggings.

With an arched eyebrow, Rachel's response to Illyana's comment is to simply state, "Because I never do anything normal, I'm a Summers. It's in our contract." Which is about as honest as well as vague as Rachel is going to be. The non-existent poker face manages to finally come into place, and swoosh, like a mask, Rachel's expression of trepidation she had when she knocked, now fades into a neutral tone of complete disinterest. Dammit all. Rachel didn't even realize she'd been giving away anything. She's always been so careful!

As for Rachel, a pair of loose fitting blue jeans held at her waist with a belt, sneakers, and an old t-shirt are her clothing of the day. The t-shirt appears to have been stolen from a former room-mate, or clothing pile, as it has an old 'Atari' symbol long since faded on the front.

With a wave of her hand, Rachel's impatience on getting things going takes hold, and Illyana will suddenly find herself in a pair of jeans, stylish rips along the thighs, and the hoodie transformed into a less over sized, and more ready for adventure sweatshirt of black, naturally. Black. Rachel's even gone so far as to make an Anarchy symbol across the front. The red-head's grin is a bit cheeky. "Will that do? And more - trip through Limbo to the parlor or would you prefer I drive there, game either way."

Don't feel bad, Ray. Illyana's a naturally suspicious type. Anyone offering her free ice cream is going to have their motives questioned. But that anxious look you were wearing didn't help. Illyana allows a satisfied smirk to take up residence when Rachel as good as admits that she has an ulterior motive, and a quiet snort and shake of her head accompany the delayed arrival of Rachel's poker face.

Far too late for that, Ray.

Illyana's comfortable assumption that she's in complete control of this situation vanishes when Rachel decides not to give her time to change and does it for her. It's unexpected, and for a moment Illyana stiffens, something flickering in her eyes. Then she deliberately looks down at herself, and then back up at Rachel. One hand plucks at the symbol emblazoned on her new sweatshirt. "Are you saying I don't play by the rules, Ray?" She grins, suddenly, all suggestion that Rachel might have crossed a line dispelled. "Just don't tell Scott."

As if he didn't know already.

Illyana slides past Rachel and pulls the door to her room closed behind her. "It'll do, and you can drive. Everyone uses me as a taxi service, I'm making it your turn."

And Rachel completely ignores any discomfort Illyana might feel about her clothing switcharoo. For Rachel, it's her ability, her power, and sometimes her impatient right to do so. It also keeps some people on their toes, thinking about other things than what Rachel wants them to think about, and so - yeah, there is a little give and take with the situation. One believes themselves in control - and the other turning everything upside down to prove nothing is set in stone. Then again, isn't that how Rachel and Illyana's friendship has developed?

"Oh come on, not everyone is fooled by the halo of gold around your head, Illy, dad least among them." And with a bob of her head, Rachel begins to head on down the stairs. "I thought as much, sometimes it's more fun being taxi'd, than being the taxi."

For the most part, Rachel keeps the radio tuned into a local rock station and loud, thumping out a modern beat of songs along the way to the ice cream parlor situated close to Harry's. The trip is fairly quick, even with Rachel's beat up old vehicle she calls 'hers'.

Finally, the red-head arrives at the destination and both are swiftly seated, their choice of dessert in front of them, and the reality of the situation dawning on Rachel that - she really should come clean. "So, first off, before you get up in the air, your brother and I - we had our date. It was awkward as hell. I felt like I was dating a brother, or an uncle, or some family member. The spark of teasing and flirtation just sort of faded into a sensation of 'this isn't going to work'. We're still friends, hell, I consider him a good friend, but more like a brother than anything that might resemble more." Rachel's spoon hovers over the ice-cream bowl a moment. She had hoped, well, she had hopes that maybe some day, someone would take the place of Scrapper, but Piotr was just not it.

A shake of her head later, and a large bite of chocolate ice-cream is scooped into her mouth and swallowed. Her emerald eyes lift upwards, gazing at Illyana with intensity. "Which brings me to the next bit, which I'm sure you know, and knew, you couldn't get out of forever… That was quite the visit in Limbo. With dad. I think we should talk about it."

Illyana hadn't encountered Rachel's car before - consequences of using portals to Limbo for most of her travel requirements - and it got a dubious look when Rachel led her out to it. "I guess we're not going far." Was Illyana's comment before she got in, just to be a brat and because Rachel probably didn't expect anything less from her.

Illyana slouched herself comfortably in the passenger seat for the short journey, but didn't make any more snide comments. Being driven while listening to not-terrible music… there are far worse things. She might even have been enjoying herself.

Now, Illyana is seated across from Rachel, although the concoction in front of her makes it hard to get an unobscured view of the redhead. Housed in a remarkably tall glass is enough ice cream, chocolate sauce, and marshmallows to probably make Illyana ill, and the establishment have provided her with an exceptionally long spoon to make sure none of it goes to waste.

Eyeing the redhead's hesitation, Illyana decides that she's not going to wait until the other woman gets her thoughts in order, and commences taking delicate scoops from the summit of the ice-cream mountain before her. She continues to do so as Rachel unburdens herself over her non-relationship with Illyana's brother.

"Is that all you have to say for yourself?" Illyana asks, fixing Rachel with a stern look before taking another nibble of ice cream. "When my brother's heart is broken, and he's driving himself to distraction in his studio to numb the pain?" Illyana flips her wrist to level the spoon at Rachel. "'Still friends'?" Illyana says, the words heavy with disgust, and lets that hang in the air for a second or two.

It's so much fun being the one person who the telepaths can't read.

"I'm lying, of course." She finally says. "But I am disappointed with you both. I hardly got the chance to tease either of you, and I was so looking forward to it." Illyana sighs, theatrically, and takes another spoonful of ice cream. For a few moments it seems like she might not address the rest of what Rachel said at all, but finally she bows to the inevitable.

"What's to talk about? Scott needed to see what Limbo really is, so I showed him." Illyana pulls a face, and mutters, "It'd be nice if some other people got the message, too."

Initially, Rachel does have to pause at Illyana's words. If the blonde wanted to 'get' Rachel, that was it. The red-head is slightly taken back by Illyana's words, because really she had absolutely no idea Piotr would react in such a way. Even his thoughts were.. wait… And the expression of shocked dismay written over Rachel's face is swiftly replaced with one of annoyance. Her nose wrinkles upwards, and her face contorts, finally she even goes so far as to get a bit mad, emerald eyes sparking - then again. THIS IS ILLYANA. Would Rachel really expect less from the sorceress?

With a roll of her eyes, Rachel's annoyance fades into a snort, "Got me." She offers with a wry expression. "I'm a complete love uhm and leave uhm kind of girl, allowing them to just continue wallowing in their own sorrows of 'what if'…" Which isn't that far off, it's just that Rachel doesn't notice sometimes, but mostly doesn't give a damn. "We also figured, lets tease Illyana with the opportunity and anticipation to give us a bad time, but fail to deliver. It's a plot. We worked it out months ago."

With a quiet chortle, Rachel delves into her own ice cream, waiting for Illyana to do her best diversion, and it only leaves Rachel to lift her eyes up and stare directly into Illyana's blue gems. Green to blue. Eye to eye. "If that's what you really want, Illyana, then I wont bring it up again. End of story, done. We can enjoy the ice cream, and talk about something else." Rachel's gaze doesn't leave Illyana as she speaks, watching the blonde with an intensity that desires telepathy, but unfortunately can't be used with the demon sorceress.

Illyana watches the rapid play of emotions across Rachel's face without letting her expression alter even a fraction. Shocked dismay is good, but the anger that kindles in Rachel's eyes is the jackpot. Some might say that baiting a former Phoenix host is unhealthy, and they'd be right. But Illyana's always had a twisted sense of humour.

When Rachel tries to turn the tables on Illyana, the demoness chuckles quietly to herself and shakes her head. "You, I might believe that of." Illyana tells her, jabbing the spoon in her direction again. It's really a marvelous pointing device, she's finding. "But my brother? He's too honest, too open, and couldn't tell a convincing lie to save his life." Illyana sniffs, pretending that she disapproves of his virtues. "Sometimes I wonder if we're really related at all."

What finally succeeds in turning the tables on Illyana is Rachel deciding not to do so. Cold blue eyes hold green for a long moment after Rachel offers that escape route, and this time the irritation is all on Illyana's side. Finally she mutters something that's probably uncomplimentary in a language that sounds particularly suited to such things. "If I really want to be a coward about it you'll let me. And I'm sure you won't look expectantly at me while not asking me about it again in future." Illyana's lip curls. The look of stubborn displeasure would fit a six year old Illyana being made to eat her vegetables perfectly. "Fine." She says, throwing up her hands in a gesture of defeat. "What do you want to know?"

And Illyana is right in that, Rachel would just let it go, and never bring it up again as promised. She wouldn't even offer the expression of dreadful disappointment. She'd just accept it and move on. It's what Rachel does. It's what she'd want everyone to do for her, so why on earth would she be otherwise to another? STILL. If Rachel has managed to some how guilt-trip Illyana into speaking, well, it's a good thing. Then again, Rachel isn't so foolish as to believe Illyana can be guilt tripped into doing ANYTHING she doesn't want to.

So really, Rachel is back and square one, but that's just how things have been, hasn't it? Taking a few spoonfuls of her own chocolate delight, Rachel takes in a breath and lets it out slowly. "Why'd you tell Scott, or show Scott so much. I can understand wanting him to realize just what Limbo is, and what Limbo can do, but that was a lot. What's your motive behind that, Illyana?"

Scott doesn't even know all of Rachel's secrets, in fact, the only person that DOES is Illyana. Rachel never told even Kitty as much as she's told Illyana about her life. No one knows. Just Illyana.

Illyana pokes at her ice cream, which is beginning to melt, with her spoon, but doesn't eat any more while she waits for the inquisition to begin. Even though Rachel seems to need some ice cream of her own and a deep breath to steel herself enough to even ask the first question.

When that question finally comes, Illyana doesn't answer right away, tilting her head to one side and making no secret that she's turning the question over in her head before she draws breath to answer. The fingers of her hand that's not busy with her spoon tap against the tabletop, then flick in a complicated pattern. A minor spell of concealment, enough to let them talk freely without having to guard their words.

"Who says I need a motive beyond being open and honest with my team leader?" Illyana offers as an opening gambit, but she's smirking even as she says it, and shakes her head. "Scott is thinking of using my realm as a… safe haven." Illyana can't even say those words without her lips twisting around them. "I can see the appeal, for him. A backdoor whenever he needs it, that he can lock behind him. Somewhere to fall back to where he controls the ground, and any fight will be on his terms. What's not to like if you're Scott? I had to show him that his safe haven wasn't as safe as he thought."

Illyana takes another spoonful of ice cream, as if she considers that she's earned it by answering a question. "That's not what you should be asking, anyway." Illyana tells Rachel. "You should be asking: Why didn't I just say no, and why did I drag you into it." She smiles, and pops another scoop of ice cream in her mouth.

Just the idea alone of using Limbo, a realm full of demons, as a 'safe haven', is something that still mystifies Rachel. What freaking rational is Scott thinking here! The place, it holds within it something that scares Rachel, if she's honest. Her empathy is strong enough to know when something is off, and it doesn't take much to know that if forced to live in that environment for so long, what is off will /rub/ off. Rachel doesn't blame Illyana, nor does she blame the X-Men that failed Illyana for falling. Places do that to you. Environments. The world. It corrupts you. It changes you. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes you become such a different person, no one would recognize what you'd become. The darkness consumes you, and even when you feel as though you've finally beaten back all the monsters in your head, they rear their heads again, time and again.

So yeah, Rachel sits quietly, eating her chocolate ice-cream and dissects everything in her head, and heart. "I'm glad you brought me along, and yes. I'm a little jealous that it was with Scott that you revealed what you did." Rachel admits openly, before her eyes lift upwards, mouth contoured into a scowl. "But that isn't so much a point I need to know. You did what you did, and I hope Dad got the point about Limbo. The thing that bugs me the most, though, why. Why do you keep things like they are. You are the ruler. The Empress. The Queen. The sorceress supreme of Limbo. Why don't you change things more to suit you. You. Why keep all that pain around?" Even as she asks it, Rachel knows the answer. It's why she stayed in her Hound costume for so long before changing it. It's why she hid her scars. And with that realization, Rachel's gaze lowers again.

Jealous? Rachel really wanted to see the corpses of Logan and Piotr and the death of Kurt at the hands of a transformed Kitty alone with Illyana in Limbo? A darkly amused part of Illyana wants to put it to Rachel in just those terms to watch her reaction, but the greater part of her recognises the self-destructive impulse for what it is. So she says nothing, and goes back to eating her ice cream.

This time, when Rachel offers an escape route from the questions that Illyana herself posed, the demoness takes it. She wasn't relishing the prospect of explaining to Rachel that she used her. That she bet on Rachel having a more sympathetic reaction to what Illyana revealed than Scott. That she was insurance against Scott deciding to cut his losses with Illyana there and then.

That she wanted Rachel to know the truth and not turn away from her she doesn't admit even to herself.

Compared to that, the old hurts that Rachel brings up are nothing. "Maybe Limbo suits me more than you think. Limbo reflects its master. It'll always return to its true nature." Still, that wasn't the question Rachel was really asking. "What you saw? What I showed you? I need it. As long as it's there, and as long as I feel… something… when I see it? Then I know there's some of me left."

Illyana pushes back from the table, bracing her arms against it as if she's stretching tension out of herself, then shrugs. "You asked."

It just never really occurred to Rachel that she would be used to buffer Scott. Perhaps, in some way or manner, it really should have occurred to her. It should have, and maybe it is a good thing that Rachel let Illyana off the hook for that, because knowing you're being used is NEVER A GOOD THING. So, for Illyana and Rachel's friendship, it IS a good thing to have kept that quiet. Thus, Rachel is given only when Illyana offers, and in this situation, she isn't sure exactly what to say.

Rachel's mouth twists into a scowl, the corners of her lips turned down. Her gaze levels onto Illyana again, before lowering to the remaining bits of chocolate syrup at the bottom of the bowl. Her spoon clinks against the glass, as Rachel settles back in her chair. "So the pain keeps you feeling, knowing that you're still - - what, human?" Rachel's voice doesn't hold any emotion to it, stating things as she might state the sky is blue.

"Fair enough." She finally answers, as Rachel's gaze flickers around, noting that she doesn't need to erase any minds, they're all empty and uncaring. A trick Illyana's done..? Well, Rachel wouldn't have minded making certain, herself. Her moral compass moves to the call of a different direction than North at times.

"What completely messed up lives we've lived, Illyana. However are we both still sane? Actually, don't answer that." Rachel's humor is dry and completely truthful, even as she rises upwards, grabbing her bomber jacket to fit it about her shoulders as she does so. "Lets go to Harry's, I feel like a lot of shots and maybe some dancing, with someone outrageously good looking."

"Or near enough." Illyana remarks, her tone a little sardonic, the honesty - if that's what it really was - from before slipping out of view behind the mask that Illyana customarily shows the world. "Let me know if I should work on it some more." The lack of concern is back in her voice, and in her eyes. She remains almost fixed in place, though, outstretched arms braced against the table, until Rachel decides to let the subject go.

Even then she waits until Rachel starts looking around for minds to selectively wipe before she relaxes. Knowing that Rachel won't find any, Illyana flicks her fingers once more, the minor spell unraveling.

"I perfectly sane." Illyana replies primly. "It's everyone else I'm worried about." Taking her cue from the redhead, Illyana gets to her feet. "That sounds like a terrible idea." Illyana tells her, voice full of manufactured disapproval. "Count me in."

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