Retail Therapy

January 02, 2019:

Rachel finds Illyana moping over breakfast. Shopping cures everything.

Kitchen - Xavier's Institute

Characters

NPCs: Various shoppers

Mentions: X-Man, Cyclops

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Morning has come to Xavier's School. In fact it came a little while ago, but one of the old mansion's inhabitants hasn't made it past the kitchen, or indeed breakfast. Illyana Rasputin, the Demon Queen of Limbo, is not the carefully put together picture of slightly Goth blonde perfection that she usually aims for this morning. And she knows it.

She's sitting on a stool at the counter, an elbow resting next to her cereal bowl, a hand propping up her head, hair falling a bit messily to one side - although mercifully not getting in the milk - as she eats a bowl of muesli with almost glacial slowness. Whatever she started with in her bowl, it could now best be described as 'sludge'. Mechanically, she takes another spoonful, chews on autopilot even though it's hardly necessary with the consistency of the cereal, then swallows. Her head rolls slightly to one side, blue eyes narrowing a bit as she looks out of the window, then returns her gaze to the depths of the cereal bowl, pushing the contents around a bit with her spoon.

Her outfit reflects her general malaise. She's wearing a black tank top, with the words 'I DON'T DO MORNINGS' written on the front in white, a pair of black leggings, and on her feet, hooked over a rung of the stool, are a pair of black flats.


From the hallway leading towards the kitchen, a loud rustle of plastic bags can be heard. Rustle. Thump. Rustle. Thump. THUD. The last is a loud crunch of a garbage bag (or two, or three) being slammed down onto the hardwood floor - followed by the door to the kitchen opening upwards and Rachel Summers sauntering on in. Where the blonde is unkempt, the red-head is in perfect style, right down to a pair of skinny jeans, Ugg boots, and dark blue cardigan sweater. Green gems do a sweep over the blonde seated at the table, and pause there for but a single moment.

One brow idly arches itself upwards before a dry and bemused voice echoes outwards. "Oh good, you're ready." And Rachel's tone doesn't even pause, though there is a choked back laugh as she says that. "Lets go shopping. I have cleaned out three bags worth of old clothes I want to donate, and in the process, procure the same amount back into my closet."

As she's talking, Rachel's steps draw towards the fridge, parting it open to bury her head into it before coming back out with a container of orange juice. She pauses a moment in contemplation, then instead of drinking from the container, does pour herself a glass and return the jug into the fridge.

The glass is placed onto the table, before Rachel settles into a chair, waiting on Illyana's response.


The first sounds of approaching garbage go unnoticed by Illyana - or, at least, they aren't sufficiently interesting to rouse Illyana from her lethargic stupor. The sludge is stirred a couple more times in a desultory fashion as the rustling and thumping goes on beyond the door, but the final CRUNCH does manage to pierce the veil of weary indifference that she's wrapped around herself like a blanket. There's the quiet 'ting!' of a spoon being dropped into a cereal bowl as Illyana leans her head back and rolls it around her shoulders to loosen it up - only to pause in mid-roll as the door opens and Rachel enters, at ninety degrees from the vertical from Illyana's point of view.

Blue eyes would normally look her up and down, but this time they go left to right for the same effect, before Illyana stops looking like she's just suffered a traumatic neck injury and returns her head to an even keel. "I hate you already and I haven't even finished breakfast yet." She says, darkly, but there's a faint gleam of light in her eyes that wasn't there before. She heard the laughter in Ray's voice, and she's ignoring it. Just like Rachel is ignoring the warning message written on Illyana's top. Following Rachel with her eyes, the frown that's beginning to form between Illyana's brows is smoothed out as soon as the magic word is spoken. "Shopping?" She says, as if she's tasting the word, and finding it more to her liking than whatever she was just eating.

When Rachel takes up position across from her, Illyana gives her a long look. Then a smile flits across her lips. "Shopping sounds great. I'm in. Just let me change." Unhooking her feet from the stool, Illyana slips down, dumps her bowl in the sink, and is halfway out the door before her head reappears. "Don't go without me." She says, warningly, and vanishes.


Quietly sipping on her glass of juice, Rachel's expression remains fairly neutral, with a slight quirk of her lips into a smirk ever so often. When the word 'shopping' finally hits, the enthusiasm given is enough to offer an internal nod. Retail therapy. Better than talking to any shrink. Soon as Illyana is out the door and demands that Rachel not go without her, the red-head inclines her head. "Don't trip on the bags out there, I'll be in the garage."

And then Illyana is out the door, and Rachel's rising upwards, collecting her own empty glass to pass by the smooth, metal almost mirror like fridge. Rachel's gaze flickers upon her reflection there but a moment - a reflection that is her, but not her. A vision of someone older, wrinkled, but with those same scars that run across her face. Rachel's head shakes once, blinking a few times to clear her vision, then chalks the entire thing up to a fanciful imagination.

A few minutes later (with the dishes in the dish washer), Rachel's putting the bags of clothes into the trunk of her car, waiting for when Illyana is ready to go.


Illyana doesn't dignify Rachel's warning with a reply. And she's definitely never going to admit that her last warning to the redhead, delivered while she was walking out of the kitchen and not looking where she was going, almost delivered her face-first into the garbage. At least the adrenaline rush brought on by unexpected evasive action helps blow away the last of the cobwebs clouding Illyana's mind, and there's a small but genuine smile on her face as she makes her way - hurriedly - up the stairs and back to her room.

Dark thoughts about having allowed a demon invasion and worries over the security of her rule over Limbo, they can't be dismissed so easily, but they're crammed into the back of mind as she finds something to wear that suggests she still has an ounce of self-image. At least she showered this morning.

There's no stepping disc involved in Illyana's arrival at Rachel's car, but there might as well have been. When the boot lid closes, there she is, decked out in a winter coat over a thick sweater in alternating grey and black stripes, a short, tight black denim skirt, thick, opaque tights and sturdy, black leather boots. "Want me to drive?" She asks, so very innocently.


Pulling on a pair of driver's gloves, Rachel pauses at the question. Does Illyana even have her driver's license? As the last glove is fastened into place, the keys are plucked from Rachel's pockets and dropped into Illyana's hands. "Be my guest." Rachel is one of the premier telekinetics on the planet, potential reckless driving is not something that scares her.

Settling into the driver's seat, Rachel reclines the chair just so, cupping her hands behind her neck, the red-head lets out a quiet sigh. "We should stop by the Mission on the way into town, drop these off. There are a few items that people can reasonably use, and lots they can sell in their store."

A smirk, and Rachel's falling into an easy chat, regardless of how the 'road trip' ends up in Illyana's hands. "I still need to get Nate his gift. And dad. Where ever he may be. I got them both the same thing this year. Stress men. Squeezable squishy blobs in the shape of a robot man that are designed to relieve stress. By the way, did you like your 'I'm with stupid' t-shirt?"


Illyana is quite the contrast to how she looked in the kitchen. Her blue eyes are clear and bright, she's not only properly dressed but her hair looks like it's been cut and styled by a laser beam, and she's wearing an open, honest and utterly fake expression on her lying face. She knows Rachel can't read her mind unless she lets her. She knows her poker face is good. But she doesn't for a moment think that she's going to get those car keys. She can't keep the look of surprise off her face when they arrive in her hands.

She looks down at them, then back up at Rachel, having the nerve to look suspicious of the redhead as she does so. "Great!" She says, as if none of that just happened. Opening the driver's door, she drops into the seat and, in a display that's bound to engender confidence in anyone watching, pauses with her hands in mid-air, keys still dangling, as she gives the dashboard and controls a quick visual once-over. "You navigate, I'll drive." Illyana says, a bit distractedly, in answer to Rachel's suggestion, but then her hands drop, the key goes into the ignition and the car is started. The engine probably hides a very quiet sigh of relief from the sorceress.

Getting the car on the road is a bit tentative for someone with Illyana's reputation, but it's the care of someone remembering something they did a long time ago, and by the time they've reached busier roads Illyana's driving style can best be described as 'robust'.

Illyana doesn't look at Rachel as she talks, but there's a tightening of the skin beside her eyes that hints at a wince when presents are mentioned. "Not enough arrows." She says. She encounters a LOT of stupid people. "And I hope Nate's is life size." After a moment, she adds, "I'm going to let you pick your own gift. I don't think surprise presents from me is what anyone is asking for, lately."


Rachel can tell /certain/ things, and even if Illyana's mind is closed, Ray knows enough of the blonde to figure out this is the first time Illyana's driven in awhile. Thankfully Rachel's car is an automatic, though honestly - once Illyana gets into the swing of things, Rachel didn't have to worry about anything in the first place.

"I knew I should have gotten the one that read, 'Just bugger off'. But I was afraid it wouldn't get here in time, it was coming from the UK." That is said with a laugh, as Rachel sits up a bit, casting a glance at Illyana, then the road ahead. "The ah, life size model looked a little too dodgy, so I didn't get it." Rachel's lips twist into a wry expression. "Anyway, you don't need to get me anything, Illyana. But if you -did- surprise me with a gift, I'd like them to be spiked heels with straps, and shaded in a dark crimson red." Shoes. Shoes are always a good gift for the red-head.

Soon the Mission comes into view, with Rachel's directions at least (and the use of her cell phone navigator). After the bags are dropped off, and a few of the more — leather — items are plucked up and viewed with a skeptical eye by the Mission folks, Rachel avoids reading thoughts, she doesn't have to in this case. What The Fuck is a good enough expression.

A few minutes later, and a shopping center proudly show casing a number of clothing stores is found, "Here's good, they have a lot of beginning of the New Year sales going on."


Illyana still doesn't look around, but this time it's clearly a grin that pulls at the corner of her mouth. "Now that would be useful. Get it for my birthday." As if she tells anyone when that is. It's a source of unending irritation to her that Piotr won't keep that particular secret for her. Although she's not sure even he will be shopping for her after… recent events.

Rachel rescues her before her mind wanders back down a dark road that leads to the past, and she snorts. "Nate's very secure in who he is, it'd be fine." She tries to say it in an offhand tone, but she's just as clearly trying not to laugh. "Plus he's oblivious, so it works as a gift for him and us." Illyana might be serving her own twisted version of penance, but not ALL of the evil has been beaten out of her, by a long way.

As for Rachel's request? "Then it wouldn't be a surprise." Finally, Rachel gets a glance, because Illyana approves of her taste. "And I'd better get that other t-shirt." Bargaining with gifts isn't how it's supposed to work, but the same goes for many things where Illyana's concerned.

As Rachel drops off her donations, Illyana slouches by the door, watching proceedings. She only pushes off the wall as Rachel passes, and observes, "Ungrateful and no taste. What a combination." Definitely still evil.

Finally, though, Rachel's Good Deed is done, and the real work can begin. "We need at least as much as you just gave away, right?" She asks Rachel. "Then we'd better start here." She starts walking toward a shop that's caught her eye. The sort of shop that sells clothes that would go with a certain pair of dark, crimson red heels.


Ah. Retail Therapy and picking on siblings. These are very important ways of dealing with any and all woes in the world. Who needs shrinks when you have best friends to go shopping with? Seriously?? "As amusing as it'd be, I'll stick to the tiny stress ball toy." As soon as the car stops in a spot, Rachel's climbing out of the car and complaining about the weather all in one. "Must it be so damn cold?"

Grabbing her jacket from the back set, Rachel's yanking on the black leather jacket and stuffing her gloved fingers into its pockets as she darts towards the location Illyana is heading towards. "Now this. This looks like fun."
Inside there are several, several people, the word 'sale' just seems to cause people to come out of the word work even if it isn't time to buy gifts. Rachel … could do something about it, but she's going to be good today. Even so, the first person that comes up to them and starts rifling through the same bit of clothing that Rachel and Illyana are looking through, turns around with a sudden thought and heads out mumbling about needing to 'get home and have some tea'.

The smug look on Rachel's face shows she had absolutely nothing to do with that. Pulling out a dress that is - probably a size too small for Illyana, but is made of velvet crushed cloth, shaded in a hue of dark blue, and has a skirt that would barely make it to mid-thigh range, and Rachel's offering it to the blonde. "This is you, and we need to find some place to wear it, but here. Try this one."


Illyana, despite having deigned to put on a winter coat today, still continues to show no sign that the cold bothers her… although she doesn't slow down to make it easier for Rachel to catch up. "By the abyss, I hope so." Illyana says, under her breath. "If a rift swallows everything in my size, or the Genoshans attack, I will not be happy." But as if Illyana's crossing some magical threshold, her abruptly dark mood lifts as soon as she steps into the shop, and looks around herself with a predator's eye.

Some things are deadly serious, after all.

Rachel gets a knowing look when someone tries to crowd them, and then simply decides not to. "If you're my probation officer today." Illyana drawls, unable to quite let go of the idea that someone, somewhere in the X-Men isn't keeping her on some kind of leash, "You're a very bad influence. Keep doing it." She flashes a grin, about to dive back into the racks, but Rachel has struck first.

Illyana looks at the dress with a carefully neutral expression, mirrored in her voice when she says, "Ray. You do know that if I wear anything that's not black, or grey, or very occasionally red, I'll lose my dominion over Limbo and age a thousand years in a second, right?" She isn't - can't be - remotely serious, but she holds Rachel's gaze for a long, long moment before flashing her a grin and plucking the dress from her hands.

"Looks like I was right about everything in my size falling into a rift!" She says, over her shoulder. "If there are Genoshans in the changing rooms…!" Whatever she had planned in that eventuality remains unknown as she vanishes into those changing rooms, reappearing just a couple of minutes later in the dress - the dark blue, very… close fitting… dress, not having aged a thousand years. Maybe it's because she's still wearing the opaque black tights and her boots, which might not match the intended look. "Well?" Illyana asks, and gives a very slow, very deliberate, twirl.


With a very dry offering as Illyana heads into the dressing room, Rachel states, "You will not age a thousand years by wearing a different hue. However. If you /do/ come out Rip Van Winkled, I'll happily travel back through time and stop you from going in there." If anyone gives either of them a strange look by Rachel stating this, they just remain quiet and continue going about their own business.

As far as being a bad influence? Well, Rachel offers a very innocent expression that isn't innocent at all, and in fact has a devilish glint to her green eyes.
While Illyana is in the dressing room - hopefully sans bad-guys, Rachel has procured a black dress with dark crimson piping. The dress has thin spaghetti straps across the shoulders, and the piping outlines her chest, and mid-section before falling straight down the front in parallel. She's currently standing in front of a mirror, idly twisting to and fro as she gazes at the tight fitting dress on her.

As Illyana emerges, Rachel's head inclines. "I'm so good. That looks amazing. Now we just need to find some fancy shindig to wear these to. Something with lots of dancing, single men, and alcohol."


Illyana completes her rotation, idly brushing a hand down the short, slightly flared skirt of the dress, which was continuing on without her. Even though she asked Rachel for a review, she remains looking down at herself a bit longer. It's not her colour… although it's dark enough that she's surprised to find she's not taking against it on instinct. It's not her style, either. No denim, no leather, no armour… no threat. Not the face she shows the world, in any way. She's not sure what to make of that. She's uneasy… and far, far too stubborn to take it off.

Illyana's head jerks upwards when Ray speaks ever so smugly. She'd been lost in her thoughts, but now she takes a good look at the dramatic dress Rachel is wearing and folds her arms, cocking her head to one side. "Oh now I get it. You need a wing-woman, right? Someone to hold your bag while you go hunting?" She sounds professional disgusted, and doesn't mean a word of it.

There's a firm shake of her head at Rachel's suggestion about What Happens Next, however. "No. First, we need to buy more clothes. Then, we need to buy shoes." She's even been ticking these items off on her fingers as she said them. "And only then… do we find some fancy shindig with lots of dancing, single men, and alcohol to wear these to." She smiles, with a hint of feral anticipation. "Come on. We're not nearly done yet." And with that, she spins around and heads for the changing rooms again.

This is definitely better than moping over breakfast.


"Oh yes. Much more clothes shopping, and new shoes, and maybe a new jacket, my closet can actually close now. That must be fixed." Rachel starts, gazing at the dress she's wearing, before disappearing into the dressing rooms, returning a bit later with the gown draped over her arm. "Hn. /That/ thought never occurred to me, mostly because the idea that you could be a wing-woman to anyone is so far fetched it's laughable. I was thinking more partner in crime, and hey - since when have you had anything that makes you look that feminine? A little change doesn't end the world, Yana. It just makes people do a double take, and a double take is -exactly- what you want."

With a grin, the ever so confident Rachel pays for the dresses then marches on towards the next shop. The day is most assuredly only begun, there are places to eat, and many shops to cover before darkness sets. At the end of it, Rachel's car is barely able to contain all the packages, and her closet once again gains its status as 'over flowing', but the day has been very. Very. Successfull.

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