Parental Permission

September 10, 2018:

Rachel and Scott have an overdue catch-up session about recent X-Men events and family drama. I mean, if they are a family. Kind of. It's not weird, is it? Ugh, it's weird.

Salem Center

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jean Grey, Tony Stark, Pietro Maximoff, Wanda Maximoff, Lorna, Sage, Emma Frost

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Asphalt and Battery…
Outdoor sports park and center.

Basketball court, tennis court, a track, driving range, mini-golf and batting cages. The machine whir and chunk as another ball launches out at Scott Summers takes his attention, the piece of shaped and treated wood in his hand CRAKS the white orb knocking it against the nets. A twitch of his jaw and he looks down, past ruby shades at his feet and the dirt under his feet before hes swinging again, hitting another, another then missing.

A string of quietly whispered profanities escape the mutant and hes placing the baseball bat across his shoulders, stretching left and right as he looks up past the nets towards the clouded morning sky.


It's a good time to look up. There's superheroes around.

Rachel Summers comes descending from the sky with a deceptive amount of serenity. Telekinetic flight is smooth and easy, at least when you're trained — and she is now. That panicked eighteen year old from a genocide dimension has spent the last six years becoming something more like a normal woman, and four of them as a mostly-beloved public superhero.

Not that it's all been easy. That time spent in the Mojoverse changed her somehow. She's never fully explained. It certainly fixed her malnutrition issues.

Rachel alights upon the ground near the batting cage, taking the last few steps forward to finish off her momentum and approach a bit more slowly. She reaches forward to lean onto the wire fencing, lacing her fingers through. Freedom from need has allowed her to develop an eccentric taste in fashion, which today expresses itself in a red leather miniskirt and a black lace top with heeled ankle boots and a few bits of gold jewelry for spice.

"Hey," she says, sounding reserved despite her mildly flamboyant entrance. "Catch you at a bad time?"


Scott's squint beyond the ruby quartz shades, an often lethal thing is absolutely harmless. Especially when the silhouette outline of the hovering female is sighted, his first thought - Jean, hes just wired that way but immediately recognition is there. Close but entirely different on so many ranges.

The simple tee shirt, sports pants and tennis shoes makes Summer's look like he absolutely belongs here, he doesn't. He, like her is a mutant. The duplicity of their very existence says they will likely never belong but one can dream, can hope.

Dipping out of the batting cage the tall man steps to the same side of the chainlink as Rachel, ignoring the gap mouthed look of the old man and what appears to be a son or grandson, they host a similar frame, awed glassy gaze at Ray and a posture. That just says 'family'. It is hard to tell if they're seeing a hero, a mutant menace or just the unusually attractive X-gene blessed telepath. Maybe all of the above.

"Not at all. I've been wanting to catch you anyways." Along with so many others, Scott offers a weak smile, one that doesn't match his mood despite the attempt. The baseball bat left behind as he motions the man and kid on in, they were in queue after all.

Toweling his forehead and neck off with a towel hanging off his gym bag he begins to walk past her, towards the track and some benches. Its obvious hes expecting her to follow along.


Rachel is used to being stared at. She's had thoughts about what it means to be open with her powers in the States as compared to the U.K., but ultimately she doesn't want to hide them. Besides, Salem's had more opportunity to get used to things than other parts of the country.

Rachel turns to face Scott as he leaves the cage, dropping one of her arms from the fencing as she does. She matches his smile, weak for weak. It's not strange to mistake her for Jean. She clearly takes after her mother more, but there's a few hints, like her height and subtle angularity — and that smile — that speak to her claims of parentage.

"I guess everyone is busy," she says, following Scott as bidden. "With so many people at the school," there's a hint of weight in that word that suggests she's not only talking about the school, "it must take a lot of administration."


Upon reaching the bench Scott like any proper man with some height doesn't walk around it he William Riker/Jonathan Frake's it and sits on the backrest portion, one foot up on the seat were his gym bag is deposited.

The track out far enough they have privacy to speak, not many runners on it today, most of them at the far end.

"Busy is good. It means nothing is blowing up, turning inside out or being warped in to a prehistoric nightmare." Scott says with a tilt at the neck, side-eye'n Rachel.

"The past month I've been letting your moth… hrm, Jean take the brunt of it. So, I can't complain. At least right now."
A thoughtful sound escapes him and he takes the initiative."Last week, on mission- you did good. Better than I expected and I was impressed."

"Probably not something you hear enough or have heard so… yeah." It's taking him some effort to not fall towards awkward in the pause after his own words.


Rachel is enough paces behind Scott that she has time to watch him pull the casual backrest sit maneuver. Her expression softens. When she gets to the bench, her last step takes her floating through the air to deposit her sitting on the backrest also. She rests both her feet on the bench seat itself because even with heels she can't quite match the height.

Scott side-eyes her. Rachel presses her lips thin and glances back. No comment on prehistoric nightmares. She returns her gaze to her boots and the ground beyond them. A tension leaves her shoulders as Scott brings up the mission.

"Thanks," she says, quiet. "It… means a lot to hear that. I keep thinking about everything that went wrong, what I should have done differently. It's… frustrating when I can't control everything."

Rachel glances away. Her hands tighten on the bench backrest.

"That's something else I wanted to talk to you about, though." A passing silence. Rachel exhales and tries again. "Is it weird when I call you dad?"


"A lot of things we should and could have done differently. That'll be the situation every single time and you're never going to have absolute control. No matter how hard you try." Scott does grin at that, her frustrations. She sounds like him. "We just have to adapt and have belief in our convictions… as tricky as that is at times. There are reasons I harp on everyone about training… constantly." Which he does. Hes horrible with sending timer notices with little memos attached.

She can tell, however, hes not just talking to her but also to an extent himelf in the encouragement but he lets that topic fall aside at the new question.

"It is different and I've been called much worse." The elder Summers jokes, "But no, I wouldn't say weird just new. Not bad, though, just… new."

He shifts- sliding his shoe off the bench finally to step around and unzip his bag drawing out a water bottle. Uncapping and taking a long drink while pretending the joggers out circling the track are remotely interesting.


Something about Scott's response to her frustrations makes her squeeze her eyes shut. It's like… it's like…

The memories whirl in her head. Picking out the right one could take her all day. But it teeters there, on the tip of her tongue, almost about to fall one way or the other…

Memos. That's right. The first time she wore an X-Men training suit. How old was she? Twelve? Thirteen?

"I don't know whether or not I should keep trying," she admits, relaxing her face and opening her eyes again. "I know you're not them, but…"

Rachel struggles in a quiet moment to find the right words. They, unlike the shard of memory, escape her.

"…I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I should. I don't think Jean likes to hear it."


Scott stops watching the running couple to look at Rachel again. The water bottle capped and set down in the bag again.

"Humans and the Brotherhood may want to believe we're not humans, but we are. It is our very nature to want and need connection, family is the one of those, one of the most important. If you want to call us mom and dad, do it, I won't stop you and you know Jean won't. You're one of us, you're a Summers, a Grey, an X-Men, and our daughter this world or another, it's all connected if you want to buy in to the Professor's more indulgent speeches." A hand reaches over and he gives Ray a brief squeeze upon her shoulder.

"Just… uh, don't scowl at me. It's eerie, you look too much like my mother when you do that."

Fingers leave her and return to his side as quickly as they were placed, "Anyways… Stark, how is he?" To a darker subject. Business and duty are hard for Scott Summers to keep his mind off of. It's also something hes more comfortable with, less awkward, his own parents only touched the beginning portion of his life. It makes it a curve for him as well at times, that damage done obviously. Psychologists have fun with those sort of things and how it shapes an adult…


Rachel isn't looking back at Scott this time. He's able to study her to his heart's contentment. He probably knows by now that Rachel isn't the type to go randomly probing her surroundings with her powers unless something has her agitated, so all she's got are two eyes pointed right at the ground.

Scott's hand on her shoulder. Rachel doesn't look up immediately. Not until he makes a crack about his mother, which draws out the first note of a laugh from her. The redhead looks up, smile faint and eyes just on the verge of shimmering.

That's as much a show of appreciation that the two of them have time for, because Scott is on to Stark and Rachel is clearing her throat.

"I think he'll be fine," she says. "I made contact with him in the deeper parts of his mind. He's intact, just in a kind of induced coma while his body deals with the trauma. It was the attack combined with — well, you know how he made an antigen from the Extremis data? He injected himself with it. He's got friends tending to him that know science and magic better than I do."

Rachel straightens up her posture from the feels-slump that she had been in, tossing her hair to get it back into place.

"I did want to catch you up on a few other things. I'm going to try tracking down the Brotherhood to give them proof of Stark's innocence." Rachel raises her hands in preemptive defense. "I'll leave a psi-tether with Jean so she knows if I get into trouble. I think proving to the Brotherhood that they were manipulated may make them act a bit more cautiously in the future."


"Good." Scott says in regards to Tony Stark's status. "His death would be a lot worse on us over just him being attacked." Callous sounding and not intending to sound unsympathetic to Tony's plight as it comes across, it is just how he is.

"You, alone? No. Not even with Jean backing you, not without a solid plan. An exit strategy and immediate ready and capable support."

"They're out for blood, they want big statements and any dead X-Men looks like a good martyr for the cause. No one is going alone in any engagement with them. If you're intent on this, lure them somewhere or arrange a meeting on neutral grounds."

"If anyone would be ideal for this it is Lorna." Scott's mind is whirring through options. That frown he earlier warned about etched across his brow.


"I already planned it all out," says Rachel, leaning forward. Though she mostly keeps it under control, her voice continues to rise in volume as she speaks. The passion had to be hiding somewhere.

"The twins are in hiding right now, but I can track them to anywhere in the multiverse. They'll get nervous if it's more than just me. I already know what kind of defenses Scarlet Witch put on herself and Quicksilver. I just have to load myself on contingency effects, leave a tether with Jean, and have Nathan bodyslide me out the moment I'm in danger."

Rachel hesitates, perhaps realizing how loud she's gotten. She glances away, embarrassed, then taps the side of her head. "Don't worry. I muted us earlier."


"And if that falls apart?" Scott questions, "You going to them is a bad idea. Not one I'll stand behind." He straightens up and folds his arms over his chest, knuckles tucking against biceps and forearms.

"Have you already spoken with Jean about this? I can't imagine this is something shes signed off on. Risk is too high, too many unknown variables. Why don't you find them, we come up with a plan from there and if it comes down to just you going in, fine, we'll do our best but we're having more than just Nathan's bodyslide waiting and I'm not sure where you're less likely to throw them off than their own sister." Though, there's a trust factor in there as well he has to consider where Polaris is concerned. Yet…

"I don't know. I need convinced… "


"Not yet," Rachel grudgingly admits on the topic of Jean. She scrunches up her nose in frustration. This must be one of those 'can't control everything' situations for her.

"One person isn't threatening," she says. "Two, even if it's Lorna… I don't know. I'll talk to her and Jean and see."

Rachel cycles another breath, in and out. The act seems practiced.

"The twins could have killed me at the tower. I was completely defenseless. They didn't. I think there's something there."

The redhead reaches up to rub at her face. This seems to signal a change in topic, because when she speaks again her tone is more neutral. "I was meaning to ask. What's up with Frost teaching at the school? Except I hear she withdrew. And there was this woman with a serious love of black in the hangar who said she worked for you. Some kind of covert ops type?"


"Still a risk. Not one we need to lean in to without certainty our bases are covered and we're ready to hit hard if things go sideways. They had us last time, just about all of us, that is not going to happen again." Scott's not about to budge on this one, especially in hearing Jean isn't fully on board yet.

"I'll be finding that out. Last I was heard she is joining us, next thing I know she is pulling out. She has been a work in progress… I can't say I am surprised but I am curious to find out her reasons."

"Sage. She showed herself? Might be important and she doesn't work for me. She works for the Professor." Some edge creeps in to his voice on that, again, that's one play he didn't condone.

"Timing of all of this… I suppose its warranted. Might be time the X-Men visit the Hellfire Club. We may yet find some unlikely… allies."


Rachel nods in mute acceptance of Scott's verdict. She can't go against his judgment here, especially being aware of her own tendency to take risks.

"Huh," says Rachel. She is briefly lost in bemused thought, but catches up quickly enough. "What's her deal? Sage, I mean. She spoke all serious about how she walks shadowed paths not meant for X-Men and all that."

Rachel rolls her eyes away, looking off into the distance. "I don't know about the Hellfire Club. I kinda… asked Stark to get me an invite. He was going to take me to a party, but since he's indisposed apparently I'm emphatically uninvited. Frost found me herself to bitch me out for that one. Didn't sound like she was in the mood for X-shenanigans."


Scott's jaw sets as he considers, "Sage is… a clandestine operation, infiltration and data extraction. One of the Professor's earlier… experiments. I think even he regrets his actions there but felt it was one of those time and need things, a lapse in the ethics and integrity we've tried to uphold." Like himself once condoning an X-Force or /X-Black/.

"A byproduct of darker times." A former hound like her knows such things. Though, looking at the past two years world shift Scott's finding it hard to define the past as darker times, things are beginning to blur again…

"Stark is a member? No surprise. Guys got his fingers in all the honey jars… uh… in eve-" An exhale from Scott, phrasing, just awkward again.

"Sounds like Emma. I think I am going to make a call and grab a bite, you can join me but it is going to be quick."


"Experiment," Rachel repeats, both her tone and expression chilled. She doesn't offer any further commentary on the idea of darker times.

"He's just got the average BDSM level membership like all the other rich people," says Rachel, gamely waving off Scott's awkwardness. "No Inner Circle stuff."

Rachel moves as if to stand, but instead of stepping down off the bench she floats to the ground. Her heels click neatly.

"Thanks, but it'd probably be better if I skipped. I didn't get the impression that Frost wants to see me anytime soon. I don't know if the Inner Circle here is the one that remembers me… um, introducing myself, but if they are, I'm not sure they want to see me either."

Rachel takes a few meandering steps, not really getting herself anywhere but at least hinting that she's about to leave. "One more thing. I was thinking about starting up another team."

Leaving the small stuff for last.


Scott pauses mid step and looks over his shoulder at 'another team' because past splinter teams worked so well… "Yeah? That's something to put a pin in and talk about later. Maybe once we get a handle on everything going down right now. Need all the hands on we can get…"

"It was, nice." He tips his chin, "Talking and such. We'll have to do it again."


"Yeah," says Rachel, summoning up another smile. She raises her hand to wave as Scott goes, and then watches him go in silence.

It is only after he's gone from sight that Rachel exhales and stares up into the sky. Now she has to go ask mom for permission.

This is probably payback for skipping a few crucial years of parenting due to the apocalypse.

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