HoM: Perchance to Dream

April 05, 2018:

Nate attempts to 'wake up' his family and gets more than he bargained for. Madelyn Pryor ran by Polaris

HoM: NYC

Characters

NPCs: Madelyne Pryor

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It has been less than a day since Nate completely destroyed Illyana's hapy-fun life in the 'fake reality' they are living. The young man took his time to cross the world and return to New York. He did some telepathic research along the way, trying to find people he knows and mostly failing.

Too much has changed. He is not sure where it started, either. He certainly can't thrust anything the history books say.

He needs advice and ideas. Parents are supposedly good at those, right? He remembers having parents, which is weird. He also remembers, more clearly, not having parents. Which fills him with anger and sadness.

Which brings him to the Scott Summers' townhouse in the suburbia of New York. A place he remembers quite well. Countless weekends. Vacations. A few birthday parties. All WRONG.

He stays at the door for several minutes before gathering the resolve to ring the bell.

*

Madelyn Grey, had gotten a phone call from her son and as a result had driven up to her Ex-husband's house. Concern of a hover-craft mother written on her expression as she waited, legs crossed in a chair. She sipped at a coffee she'd shown up with (having come a good twenty minutes early). She'd had time to wait. She had occupied herself more or less via her phone since then, making casual conversation with Scott when he'd had time.

Of course, as the bell rang, even before it had rung, she'd been up and out of her seat. Red hair flying behind her as she moved.

"Nate, honey? Are you alright?"

*

Scott's presence at home in this reality is limited, this is a home that has always been empty for him, divided often and filled only when family existed inside of it's walls. Emma away on a trip of her own leaves Summers in the usually quiet house, a room upstairs stripped down, walls strung up with plastic and paint being sprayed out, the noise of it making it hard to hear but the doorbell ring, thats an audible chime that pierces through, allows for him to pull the mask down and listen, slowly setting things down as he shouts, "Be right there!"

*

Nate does not look alright. Obviously he has not slept much in the past week. Also, he is wearing a grey and black uniform-like outfit unlikely to anything he has worn before. Although for Scott it might be vaguely familiar.

*

His eyes narrow at seeing Madelyne. "Mom," he greets laconically. "I'm fine," he adds, stepping into Scott's house. Looking around warily. "Going to sound crazy, but it is most of the rest of the world which is wrong. You better sit down. I asked Jean to join us, too."

*

Jean rarely visited the home of her older sister, and her former brother-in law but when she got a text from Nate about some kind of problem she had taken the time to leave SHIELD Headquarters where she served as the US Air Forces Liaison. Stepping up behind her when the door opens, she slips in behind him and asks, "What's wrong Nate? It's not the drugs again is it?"

*

Maddie was immediately on guard it seemed as soon as her eyes fell upon Nate, her son. His appearance had her clutching the door more firmly with her hand, her eyes going wide as she stepped aside and he walked further in. A mental brush, followed. In a family of telepaths it was really more of a mental hug and question. Something Maddie had always done when Nate was unwell or upset. (Particularly teenaged Nate, right?)

Her gaze followed to her younger sister and she reached out with both hands to scoup Jean into a hug. "Oh my God, Jean. What are you.. how did you get time off? Nate? What's going on? Why are you dressed like that baby?"

*

Scott long legged strides it on down the stairs. The multiple collection of voices has his brows rising up, no glasses on his head or face, no just a pair of clear protective glasses with a smudge of red paint off to one corner.

"Hello?" A question tipped in there despite knowing who they all belong to. Rather off to see them at his place.

*

Nate smile at seeing Jean freezes when she mentions drugs. What the hell? Oh… that incident three years ago with acid. "Actually, I wish it was…" he sighs. "Scott," he nods to the older mutant. Not a son-dad hello.

He paces, waiting for the others to sit down or settle. "I have been… well, it is complicated. Basically a group of powerful mutants in Genosha did a really shocking discovery a few days ago. We are still trying to figure out what happened, and why, but this… the whole world, has been changed, altered somehow. Quite frankly, it is just better if I show you."

*

Jean returned her sister's hug, a serious expression on her face as she looked between those gathered after hearing Nate's words, "The whole world has been changed sweetie? Oh dear. I should contact the Director I think and we'll get this all fixed up." There was a faint hint of patronization in her voice as she spoke and she was already pulling out her phone, but she wasn't dialing SHIELD; she was about to dial for a hospital. It had to be the Acid again.

*

Maddie sent a glance Scott's way, frowning at the paint on the corner of his glasses, but otherwise not commenting on it as she embraced her sister and stepped back. "Scott, that's why I'm here, Nathaniel called us." Yes, she used his full name, oh she was definitely beyond worried. She'd stopped using her pet names.

As Nate continued though and she sat down carefully once more, she froze. Her eyes widened and she blinked repeatedly at her 'son'.

"Honey, apologize to your father right this instant. I know I raised you better than to call your father by his first name."

*

Scott is slowing to a complete stop, the wrist wrap going up one arm itches, it has since his golfing accident. It is never fun to get rammed by a drunken club member after all. Fortunately it was just a sprain but it sure as hell hurt like more.

"Thats a new one." A smile is given to Maddie as he listens to the exchange, "Don't worry about it. I'm sure he is exercising his rebellion years." Only half entertained by the conversation as he opens up a corner cabinet, pulling out an amber bottle.

*

"No kidding," grumbles Nate. Mostly to Scott's comment. "But you got it right. It sounds crazy, so it is best if I just show it to you and you can short it out yourselves. Mind-link with me, please," he lowers his mental defenses, and the first 'wrong' thing Jean can notice is he is MUCH stronger than last time she saw him. He seems close match for her own (and Maddie's) raw power, which is startling considering his age.

Scott probably would notice Nate's mental presence also 'feels' strange, older.

*

"Pour me one, Scott." Jean asked of the handsome man, checking him out subtly before she hesitated on pressing the send button and instead accepted Nate's invitation to mindlink, waiting to see exactly what the boy wanted to show them…

*

Never one to refuse a pretty smile even if it's a sister-in-law that decanter is tipped an she is topped off. Scott's headshakes at the mind-link talk, hes aware of his family's penchant for telepathy. Usually a passenger in such cases on more than one instance, often really, Emma to Maddie as far as he can recall.

"If you don't say when it hits the rim." A wink and hes exhaling, "Very well, lets, do this and figure out whats going on so we can move on and I can catch the game. It's due in about… uh 30."

*

A dream within a dream, it wasn't hard to split off sections of her mind to handle the necessary distractions. Which it was. Nate linked to her mind, or the part she was willing to share.. and Jean and Scott certainly thought they linked to his and in a way they were . A misdirection though, followed. Illusions filled in as buffers to block what Jean and Scott saw of Nate, and Nate in turn saw and felt the same.

Fake minds. Replicas and illusions of Scott and Jean and herself linked to Nate. And a forgery of Nate for Scott and Jean.

The fake Nate, proceeded to talk of a world opposite of their own. The world he had truly come from, add a few details with an edged of intensity that would make it sound as if Nate were not entirely stable.. And she let their minds wander over a splash of details thrown hectically all over. That world read like a nightmare and she threw them head first into this supposed "truth" Nate wanted to share.

Nate though, was met with sceptism and disbelief, patience and quiet hesitancy in his mindscape.

*

Opening his mind was, of course, a mistake. Giving Madelyne a way into his mind and memories. But Nate is not sure who Madelyne actually is. Jean had an older sister, after all. Nate never met her, was her name Sarah? Maybe she is Madelyne in this different world.

There was a vague sense of wrongness around the older redhead. But she was/is his own mother. Nate is struggling against the 'truths' of the old reality. Dream-like memories of years growing up with his mother. Through the bad years of the war, and then the good years of the House of Magnus rule.

But he also remembers Scott and Jean. Cyclops and Phoenix. Those are the memories he is sharing. Which Madelyne is trying to block so they don't reach the real Scott and Jean.

The Astral Plane. The illusion wavers. Yet Nate finds only skepticism from the three older mutants. Pietro, Dani, Illyana and even Owen Mercer (Agent of SHIELD!) woke up almost instantly. "What happened? Can't you see?" He asks, alarmed.

*

Scott is resistant at first. The mindlink up and pull of it has him gritting his teeth and trying to firmly root down in to 'reality'. He has an impressive will, a stubborn streak a mile long and tons of discipline but he is also no telepath, his psychic defenses are largely not even his own, they're building blocks and makeshift wardings tethered in place by people like Charles, his first love Jean and to some extent Emma Frost. Which, shockingly should be more considering their relation here but they're not, thats an illusion, that is fabricated. No, his largest mental protections lie in self and Jean…
"What the hell is happening?"

*

The rush of memories that come flooding back into Jean's mind is like a tsunami that breaks through everything in its path. The levies are burst, and her mind is flooded as her fake memories are destroyed and the old return to her like the renewing warmth of the morning sun. She should have felt more shock at such a life-altering disaster of the mind, but instead she was awash with relief. She had always felt something was off about this world.

In the most cheerful manner possible given the circumstances, she remarked, "Here we go again."

*

In Nate's mind link, Maddie stood, concerned and ever hopeful with that warm, welcoming, over protective mental blanket she always seemed to project into Nate's mind. «Oh honey, it's okay. What are you trying to show us? Maybe if you think really hard. I know you've been distracted lately. We're all here for you.» Comfort and warmth were projected like a blast from Maddie, while the fakes continued to simply.. be confused. Making 'helpful' suggestions that weren't entirely helpful in the least.

Fake Scott said much the same as real Scott, there, and it wasn't a stretch for Maddie to project that back to Nate.

No, the problem remained with Jean Grey. Maddie's focus narrowed, and she tried to cut her clone from the fabric of the mind link abruptly. A war on two fronts was never easy.

*

Nate stares, paling visibly when his revelations have absolutely no effect on his close family. "Look, I think your real name is Sarah," he insists. No memories of Sarah Grey-Bailey to offer, however. "You are not my mother. My mother… well, genetically speaking, was Jean. I can show you where I grew up, and Horseman Sinister." And those are memories only Madelyne receives now, but they are probably terribly familiar for the cloned redhead. Sinister's creations, both of them.

But Scott is not seeing that, what he sees is… "Apocalypse! You know, the ruler of Northern Africa. He took over the world, killed most humans. There were nuclear bombs! This is all a crazy illusion. We live in a wasteland and only Magneto's X-men still fight back!" Ranting from a wild-eyed Nate.

*

Scott's scowl has him glaring red on red at Nate then the others. "I'm not a fan of this whole telepathic battleground, you know better Nate. Maddie, your son needs reigned in." He reaches down to his left, no his right… no his left… "Where is my phone, I need to call… Emma… " He pauses and looks up, "Apocalypse… Jean, the breeding pens."
"Logan took my eye." Scott almost snarls that out, "The Brood, my father." A headshake and Scott looks from Madelyne to Jean and back, "Wh… quit now!" He glares. His own mind feeling like it's going 'sideways' starting to assist not the fabrication of the House of M but that of the Age of Apocalypse, even his hair is getting longer and hes closing one eye. Yeah. Quite the hop from being a classy richguy with the perfect blonde wife, gorgeous ex wife and rebellious teen, a world ruled by Apocalypse vs a world ruled by Magneto perhaps.

*

All around Jean a storm was raging as memories and reality itself seemed to collide, House of M and the Age of Apocalypse colliding as she remained the eye firmly rooted in reality, "Madelyne, you're as fake as this reality."

She focused her psychic energy on attacking Madelyne, gathering it up around her and expunging it in a psychic assault with the force of a hurricane, and the love she had for her friends, and teammates supporting it.

"Scott. Nate. You need to wake up, you need to see through the illusions. Search your hearts."

*

The strain of projecting the illusion and keeping everyone in a happy dream, and then splitting her mind multiple ways, trying to obsecure, and keep everything separate started to wear on Maddie. Enough that the mindscape splintered with one too many pressure points on it. The projections from Nate about Sinister had the redhead mentally flinching backwards. And combined with her losing Scott's focus for too long, with Jean's mental blast.. It burst with a scream dragged from her throat.

The mindscape shattered from Maddie's end, and the mental feat of it all knocked her back into the 'real' world of the House of M reality. She was left sitting on the couch, breathing hard as she clamped down hard on the illusion of that world.

She could reset it. She could reset them. Point them back to the beginning. But it was so much harder when they were actively fighting against her. The strain of the multitude of people rejecting the happy dream was becoming an issue. She had to do something..

"Sleep." She pushed everything she could back at the three. "Sleep."

*

Nate flinches as the disbelief on Jean, Madelyne and Scott faces makes him despair and then…

Reality cracks like a mirror.

He falls down on the floor of Scott's HoM living room with a grunt. Flashes of Jean's psychic attack reaching his own mind. He breaks the connection HARD. Raising mind-shields.

And just in time, as Madelyne sleep command hits a second later, crashing hard against his mental defenses. "No," he murmurs, standing up slowly. "Who the hell are… I remember now! You are the woman from Genosha. You tried to kill me!"

Technically she *succeeded* at killing him. Nate got better later.

*

As Madelyne is nailed by Jean's psychic assault the wavering 'quasi-illusory' manifestions of 'Scott' from HoM/AoA bleed off, dust off him like paint being torn away by air blaster just shorn free to fade in to smoke and drift free leaving Scott as Scott from his own reality staggering back to rake fingers through his hair, gripping his head. R"Wake up… sleep… " Both commands. The latter being dropped more heavily, telepathic demand behind it. One of Cyclops hands rise up and lashes out, clawing at the air before slapping to the ground.
"Unnf, Jean… Maddie… " A tear of red laces out from his eyes, rips across the ground and then upwards, a dividing line between the two, hes not shooting at either, just 'out' the optic beam maybe not even real, a defensive gesture as he scrambles for his own psyche's footing. Nate won't be struck by it either, its not shot at anyone.

*

Jean had not been focussed on defending herself from Madelyne, the rest of her attention focussed on trying to awaken Scott and Nate. Her conflict was quickly brought to an end as she fell asleep, but perhaps the goal had succeeded.

*

Maddie rose from her chair, breathing hard as she held a hand out to direct the full force of her sleep command on Jean, before she was sure that the woman had well and truly dropped. Of course, then Scott was blasting eyebeams and she jumped, eyes wide as she tried to catch herself and realized that the eyebeam was not meant to actually rip her apart.

She cleared her throat at Nate's accusations, lofting a red eyebrow upwards. "Well, are you happy now, Nate? You're so very stubborn. You had to go and poke and prod and keep pushing," Anger at that seethed in her features, in the curl of her fists.

"Do you realize what you've gone and done? Upsetting everyone from their happy lives like this? Did you even think about what you were doing? That maybe they don't want to remember those things?" She crossed her arms, managing to look imperiously at Nate.

*

Nate glares at Madelyne, his left eye flaring with light. Jean falling unconscious does nothing to help his mood, and he pulls the sleeping woman close to him telekinetically, shielding her when Scott blows up a hole in his own house with his optic blasts.

"Yeah? Happy lives with Magneto in control? I think no," replies the young man, "what is what you did? And why?"

Surprising Nate is not charging already. Well, he is giving Jean a minute to wake up. It is called stalling strategy. Be proud, Scott, maybe he was listening after all. At least sometimes.

*

Scott's optic wave ceases as Nate latches on to his genetic donor/kinda mother Beating the X-Men' leader from making any sort of attempt in the process. It isn't like it was necessary, there is no way he would have hit any of them.
It is an onset, a sudden pour of sensory overload from the real world, the mind of Cyclops becomes his own again and he feels himself being 'thrown' free of the illusions hold, a snap back to 'self'.

"Okay… " He exhales, for the first time since being in this mindtrap he finally sounds like Scott should.

*

Maddie smiled at Nate, but it wasn't that warm smile from before. It had sharpened into something different. There was a 'blink' of the world and Jean was no longer in Nate's arms. She was… not even in the apartment. As was gone the marks of Scott's eyeblast. The space was back to being perfect. "Magneto isn't in control darling, he's just playing at being King. You have to understand, I made everyone's dreams come true to the fullest extent as they could. Without harming other's dreams of course." She busied herself with smoothing the front of her dress, which had somehow become the perfect replica of a '50s housewife.

Creepy.

"Jean wanted to be free of responsibility and cares. She wanted to be respected for something beyond her powers. I gave her that. Of course then Scott wanted Jean, but he also wanted Emma. So I gave him the mixture of the two and called it good. You Nate, what you wanted was a bit too complicated for everyone's minds to be wrapped around. So, well, adjustments had to be made. I thought, perhaps you could handle that. A happy family life, not too happy. You've never been good at that, happiness. Always destroying it for yourself. I knew I had to keep an eye on you.." She winked and walked around the living room as she were doing chores.

*

Yes. Creepy.

"And Magneto wanted to be the king of the world," points out Nate clenching his jaw. And crush the 'sapiens' crushed under his boot. Did Nate want that happy (but not *too* happy) life? Oh yes. He did. Or rather, he does. All that telepathy and he actually had no idea of what he had missed. 'Normal' is not overrated.

"Screw that. I don't want a lie… Jean!" Gone! Not, not gone, he still feels her nearby. How can Madelyne manipulate his senses like that without him noticing a telepathic intrusion? Something is still not adding up. "You are still lying," he accuses.

*

Scott is aware he has come up in the dialogue between Maddie, the woman from Genosha who looked so remarkably like Jean, a woman of vast psychic powers just like Jean and speaking so familiar, as if she knows so much about them. The fact he is not being spoken to has him able to sort the conversation, allow awareness to filter in and his frown deepens as the pieces begin to sort together, bit by bit.

"We're not where we should be." He says flatly. Then stares at Madelyne, as if he's inspecting her. "Wrong about my want. Maybe you're not… " Not able to finish his own words Scott disappears like Jean has. Visually fading into nothingness. Maybe obscured, banished or 'awake' somewhere else.

*

Maddie sighed, shaking her head as Scott started on about logic and wants. She tsked and he too vanished from the room. Finally the red head stopped her pacing to turn her gaze upon Nate, she smiled indulgently. "Honey, I'm being completely honest. Honesty is by far easier to use after all than flat out lies. People like the happy little lives I've made for them. And you've gone and caused them pain." She shook her head, a grate put upon sigh followed.

"Oh well, I suppose it was bound to happen. What with the others getting antsy. You're all so violent and can't handle sitting still, even when everything is given to you. You all do so love your misery." She offered a faint, twistedly sad looking smile. Another 'blink' or blip, and she stood there before Nate, closer, invading his personal space.

"I can't have you ruin this for others, it makes things so messy. So. Enjoy, your nightmares instead." She whispered.

And everything went black.

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