Cutscene: For the Best

July 27, 2018:

Lorna gives up her daughter to adoption in Genosha… It goes as well as could be expected.


NPCs: Unuscione

Mentions: Eclipse


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It was dark when Lorna woke and slipped out of the X-mansion. She had waited until Marcos had fallen asleep and snagged a pre-packed backpack, Aurora dozing silently in a sling. Out through a window and into the humid, Summer night air.

Their arguments had cemented Lorna’s beliefs that Marcos would never be able to make the ‘right' decision regarding their daughter’s safety. That he’d never be able to make the hard choices. And he would never forgive her for doing what she thought was right either.

The time passed quickly and slowly at the same time as Lorna traveled her way to Genosha once more. Her thoughts would not, however, leave her alone as she stared down at her daughter. The baby girl that she had nearly lost a dozen times over via external threats…

And here she was, making to leave her with strangers to be raised on the hopes that anonymity would protect Aurora as it had her.

Lorna was shaken from her thoughts, the same as hundreds of others she’d already had, as she unloaded from the docks with other mutants coming through Carrion Cove. It was raining, and she did her best to shield Aurora from the wet and the damp. Just another huddled figure in the masses moving through the mostly rebuilt city.

The safe-house she went to was the same she’d been to before when she’d visited her father. Unuscione was there this time, one of the few Acolytes beyond Frenzy or Scanner that Lorna had developed a kind of relationship during her time in Genosha previously. And one of those that Magneto trusted implicitly. Who practically worshipped the ground he walked on. Or floated..

Rather than her usual Acolyte garb, she’d dressed up in a smart pant-suit, black, and white. Files were in her arms as she walked Lorna to a hover-car and started to cover the details of the setup.

“Mike and Samantha Rollins, they’ve been married for five years. No kids. Mike worked as an engineer for the last ten years. She as an RN. They’re both mutants, young, and clean background checks. He has electrokinesis. Nothing beyond gamma on his power ratings, but he should be able to handle anything Aurora’s powers develop into.” The papers flitted by Lorna’s gaze, half read and half registered.

“Samantha has a minor ability to temporarily shut down pain receptors, in herself or others. As well as a slight elasticity. Through this, she’s mostly immune to low levels of electrical shock. We checked.” Unuscione was talking, but Lorna only half-remembered it as she rocked Aurora back and forth. Her gaze locked onto her daughter as she tried to memorize every aspect of the baby in her arms.

“They’ve moved here in the last three months, we’ve checked their home..”

Lorna broke off, lifting her gaze to the Acolyte opposite of her. “Where’s my father? He said he would be here.” She shifted forward on the seat as the hovercar slowed and parked.

“He will be, something just came up.” Of course. Something. Something else was always more important to him than her. Then being there when she needed him to be. It was the story of her life.

Lorna heaved a sigh, pursing her lips as she glanced through the window of the hover vehicle. No longer the only one on the repaired streets. Dyed brows furrowed and she returned her gaze to the Acolyte again. “Why do they want to adopt a mutant baby?” She asked the first question the magnokinetic had been able to voice.

“Mrs. Rollins is unable to have children, a drawback from her mutant abilities. They were unable to adopt in the States due to her physical appearance being outwardly mutant.” The woman’s brown eyes settled on Lorna before she moved to pull something out from her pocket and settling it on Lorna’s wrist.

Lorna blinked, and Unuscione sat back, typing away on a tablet. “It’s a temporary image inducer. Won’t work if you use your powers. Right now it’s just a prototype. Be careful with it. Anyway, we’re here. We’re meeting the Rollin’s representative, papers need to be signed..”

The Acolyte, loyal unto death to Magneto and his line, paused to look at Lorna and turned the tablet off. “You don’t have to do this, if you don’t want to, Polaris.”

Lorna swallowed, looking down at her daughter, who had awoken and was gurgling in her arms. A shift and the usually green haired mutant shook her head slowly. “No. This is the right thing to do. It's for the best.” She whispered and nodded to the car door.

Unuscione stepped out of the hovercraft and led the youngest child of Magneto into the building. “This is the neutral house on the edge of Carrion Cove. The cover story is that you’re a human, with a mutant child that you cannot care for. Humans aren’t welcome in Hammer Bay, so that is why we’re meeting here. All of the details have already been typed up with your requests.”

“This is merely a… formality. The paperwork doesn’t really matter, but it will leave a trail if anyone tries to do background research on her.”

Dodging raindrops with an umbrella, the two women were able to get into the house quickly. Thunder rumbled above and lightning flickered between clouds. They stepped into a side entrance, and down a hall. The building’s details only vague outlines to Lorna as she was led into a small room with a simple table and handful of chairs.

In one chair was another woman, red-haired and green-skinned with thick inky veins scrawling over her features. They sat, and the conversation drifted back and forth. Every now and then, Lorna was told to sign with her assumed name or to initial.

“My client does not waive her rights to visitation in the future. Should Mr. and Mrs. Rollins divorce, it will be reported. If there are any medical concerns, in regards to family history, we will be notified as well and will share information as needed.”

Another signature.

“..the child will be raised in Genosha, and if your clients have any intent to leave..”

“..the child will be fully vaccinated as is pertinent and seen by Genosha’s medical staff..”

“..Your clients agree to see to her education in all matters, mutant or scholarly..”

“..Any real or perceived threats to the child’s safety will be immediately reported for any reason..”

“..for being one of the first adoptions in Genosha legally recognized by the new government, you will receive a stipend of at least one thousand dollars annually per month until the child reaches the age of eighteen. At which time..”

“As this is an open adoption, your clients have promised to disclose the nature of the child’s parentage as well as the circumstances when she is of age to understand…”

“And you agree that upon reaching the age of maturity, the child will receive this sealed folder. Detailing the circumstances of this adoption. As well as the signed letter from my client…”

The whole of the conversation, the long time that was spent reviewing details and safeguards and legal jargon had left Lorna rocking Aurora back and forth carefully. Her gaze fixed. She hadn’t said a word, as she tried and failed to swallow the rising panic that sealed her throat and stole her breath.

But the last part had Lorna lifting her head, pulling something from her pocket and setting it on the table. “Wait… I wanted to add this.” She settled the contents of her hand down carefully. A small locket, made of metal, heart-shaped and solid. The front was covered with tiny hair-like intricate designs. The words ‘I love you’ in gently curving cursive. The back was carved with just as intricate workings, but with Aurora’s ‘birth’ date, and below it Lorna’s initials. Her real initials. Not just the fake name on the paperwork.

Inside was no picture. Only a tiny piece of green hair locked into the metal and pressed in with glass on one side. Black on the other. Tiny scraps of DNA to give a child that would otherwise have no links to her parents.

It was plain by any measure of precious gems or metals.. But the workings were done so finely, it could only have been made by hand. And in Lorna’s case, a mutant hand. She had spent hours designing it. Pouring every thought, every hope, fear, and scrap of love that she could into it. Lorna had made two. One for herself… And one for her daughter.

She hoped it would be enough. Enough to prove to her daughter that she was loved. Not abandoned. Not forsaken and unwanted. Not to ever think that someone didn’t care about her..

Not like Lorna’s childhood. Not like Lorna’s revelations that had hit the day she’d been old enough to confront the Danes.

The two women at the table paused, looking at the image cloaked Lorna to the locket and back. The Rollin’s representative smiled and nodded, not skipping a beat. “Of course, Miss.” She leaned over and scribbled something in the margin. “Sign and initial here.”

Time was short after that.

A few more pages of legalese that made little sense to Lorna, and they were on the last page. There, one side of the paperwork had already been signed by the Rollins. Leaving space for Lorna’s signature opposite.

“Just sign here..” The pen was turned to Lorna and she swallowed hard as she reached out to take it and slowly, for the last time. Signed her name to give her baby away.

It broke her heart, as she clutched Aurora tightly to her and set the pen down. She kissed the squirming baby’s forehead, closing her eyes as she inhaled deeply, trying to memorize everything she could about her daughter one last time.

“Well, that’s it. Dawn Anna Rollins..” The other woman looked at the Acolyte in disguise and Lorna as someone other than she truly was. Sympathy bled into her eyes. “I’ll wait in the other room.” She said quietly.

The door was soft as it clicked behind the Rollin’s representative and Unuscione turned her focus to Lorna. She gave the child of Magneto as much time as she wanted. To hold and kiss and muster what strength she could.

Then slowly she held out her arms and Lorna shifted her wiggling daughter over to waiting arms one last time. Her fingers traced the last softness of her daughter’s cheek, her vision clouded with dampness that made it hard to see more than blur of brown eyes and blue hair. “I’ll be just a minute.” The Acolyte murmured as she got up and swept out of the room, carrying Aurora.. no .. Dawn away from her sight.

It was then, alone that Lorna felt the panic pull at her. Felt the crackle of power at her fingertips as her dinner heaved in her stomach and her throat tightened. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think.

Painted fingernails scraped against the skin of her face as she tried to fight back the cry that bubbled up from her throat in vain. The image inducer’s projected woman crackled and shattered as the electronic device was wiped clean under the weight of Lorna’s weakening control. The lights overhead flickered.

Even worse was the feeling in her magnetic senses. Lorna could feel every step that took her daughter further and further away. Could feel her tiny electro-static presence fade further and further out of the bounds of her magnetic range.

It made everything so much worse.

A whimper and the chair slammed back suddenly.. and there was no longer a table in front of the magnokinetic as she was standing, breathing hard. Her whole figure shuddered as she stood there, lights sparking above as the building groaned. Unuscione was there, somehow her Acolyte uniform back in place as she furiously spoke into her comms.

“Polaris, you have to calm down. Please. Breath. It’s okay. It’s okay. She’s safe. It’s fine—” The woman was trying. Trying to calm Lorna down and it wasn’t working. The green haired mutant was falling deeper and deeper into her panic attack, curling up on the floor. She wasn’t weeping, there were no tears.. Rather it was simple gulping in air. Her face was hot. Her skin prickled and she couldn’t breathe.

It felt like a lifetime before suddenly there was silence. There was the edge of chaos and then suddenly.. Blessed silence. A coldness that sliced through Lorna, as an otherwise unforgiving hand clamped down on her shoulder. Her senses no longer able to strain themselves to dangerous levels as she tried to follow Aurora’s path. Instead, they were taken up by the magnetic force of her father. Nearer than magnetic North. The opposite of her own polarity.

Magneto had finally arrived. He had promised to be there in case this happened. Lorna had warned him in her previous demands. Perhaps he had been there, waiting, perhaps it had been a ploy.. Perhaps.. Paranoia of the recent weeks rebounded against the confines of her skull.

This was the best option. The right thing to do. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Breathe. In. Out. In..

A sigh and Lorna felt her figure sag backward against the iron like frame behind her. “Come, Lorna. Enough.” The voice was the same as it always had been to her. Slightly gentled, commanding and yet the steel in it never repelled her. How could it? There was fog in her mind. One that made it hard to think. Hard to process.. She had to get back home.

"Later. You'll rest here before you leave."

And she said that out loud? Perhaps she had. She was staggering, her steps feeling tangled and worn out. The panic attack had run through, and her powers had twisted it further than she'd dealt with before. She felt wrung out. Hollowed out. As if there was nothing left inside her to scoop out.

Exhaustion won.. eventually, as panic departed. Her eyes slipped closed, and before they’d even made it to the Spire.. she was asleep. Leaning against the seat, her face pillowed against the red armored figure of her father.

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