And Life Can Go To Hell

May 05, 2019:

Lorna is having a bad day in a bad week and a bad month. So Nate is Nate and there is a magnetic blast coming.

Library at the mansion, and also the staircase.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Xavier, Loki

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The library is not a place where one would expect to find Nate Grey. And in truth books do not draw him much. But it is quieter than the rec-room and usually fairly empty. Students go to the computer labs to study and for most books are obsolete.

But Xavier has a huge library, and he is certainly not going to throw away his books. So the room stays. And Nate comes here with his decks of cards to practice stage magic. Which is what he is doing right now. He has gotten quite good with the years and barely relies on telekinesis for handling the cards nowadays.


Lorna had wanted nothing to do with the Mansion for the better part of the past few months. At least not since she'd been shot and recovered. Nothing had improved, nothing had gotten better… And for the green haired woman, her mental state was crashing. Hard. Marcos had left her it seemed. And she had responsibilities and duties to the people that lived in the rented rooms of her building.

More steel and metal had been added, a constant, paranoid constant in Lorna's days was to continuously check in on security herself and then loop through Mutant Town proper. The tension that remained settled in her brain was all that was keeping her upright and somewhat functional. Still, she'd thought today, she might be able handle clearing out her old room once more at the Mansion. But she'd found something of Marcos' and she'd fled in a flurry of foot steps, slamming doors and rushing to hide away from everyone and anyone… Which is why she sped into the library, shut the door behind her and sank down to the ground with a muffled sound at the back of her throat and buried her face into her hands.


And it is so a dark cloud of depression just hits Nate's empathic senses. Typical Xavier's. So many teenagers… but he still turns to look and does a double take at seeing Lorna. "Hey, lady," he greets, tilting his head and looking worried. "You don't look great. What is going on? Want to talk?"

The cards are picked up with a sweep of his hands, turned around and vanished in one of the utility belt pouches. See? They are useful after all.


Lorna pushed herself up abruptly at Nate's gentle words, and bumped into the wooden door with a grunt. Her teeth jarred hard against each other and she muttered under her breath as she cursed and crossed her arms over her chest. "No… No." Her voice croaked and she struggled to try to event out of voice and failed as it crumbled in brittle, hoarse whisper.

"I'm fine. Just.. just needed.. I just need some air." She continued briefly as she made to reach for the door knob to try to avoid meeting Nate's gaze or the kindness offered there.


“Not library air, I guess,” replies the young man, standing up. “And more like some drink than some air, I am sure,” he adds with a faint smirk. “I would offer a raid to Xavier’s cabinet, but the old man is around this week, so maybe Harry’s? I am waiting for Ray, so I have time to kill.”


A frown twisted the green haired woman's features and she scowled, the door knob completely twisting around her fingers as her powers flared and faded abruptly and she muttered darkly under her breath at the sudden rise and fall of her powers. As if she of all people couldn't be bothered to control herself around a freaking door knob. She shook her head, and glanced back at Nate. "Just leave me alone. Okay? I only swung through here to.. to clean out the room upstairs.." She swallowed hard and the turned her focus back to the door knob as she reshaped it to what it was supposed to be.

"I can't get drunk."


"Well, you need something," points out Nate, walking closer. "To stop whatever is going through your head. Which is causing you so much distress I think you are going to cause a headache on whole telepathic collective. And that is impressive considering they are used to deal with the high-school crowds."

So he opens the door for her, "if not a drink, then a burger and some distraction. I had never seen you like this, Lorna. But you have been… I don't know, perhaps slowing down since you returned from Genosha."


A sharp look followed and the magnkinetic swept out of the room as soon as Nate had opened it. She didn't stop or wait for him, didn't even pause in her movements. She was irate that he'd asked if she was okay. Angered that he cared enough to ask if she was okay and that… that he was bothering. The anger was the only thing that she could be bothered to latch onto for the moment, but even that faded into another sinking pool of yawning depression.

"See this is why I don't come around here anymore. What's the point Nate? Seriously. It's the same as always. Nothing new." She grimaced, and shook her head.


"There is coffee and good company," replies Nate as if that was the real question. No? "Or you want to know why the X-Men still keep trying when it looks we take two steps backward for each one forward?" He shrugs, follows her.

"I suppose everyone has a reason," he decides. "Some are just genuinely optimistic. Others are modestly optimistic and are looking for an opening. There are those who have no other place to go." He shrugs. "Me? I think Xavier deserves my help. But I also run my own fight, my own live, with my own rules."


Lorna whirled on him, her expression pinched with her eyebrows drawn into a sharp furrow and her lips pursed into a thin, bloodless line. "Just stop it! Okay? I can't deal with .. with this-" She waved at Nate's entire figure, as if to demonstrate how infuriating the young man was for joking, or talking, or caring. Her teeth clicked together as she struggled to inhale a breath and not just screech.

"I saw a mutant die and I couldn't do shit to help. I was a coward because if I fight back against humans and hurt them.. kill them.. cyborg enhanced or not I'll end up in jail. I might die. If I die, then who will take care of those in my building? Who will watch Mutant Town? Who's going to stop these things from murdering us in our own homes? We have no future. None of us do. Change the world? Stop a robot take over? Who the hell are we kidding Nate?!" Her voice rose in pitch and volume as she scowled at him.

"We don't have a fucking hope."


Nate frowns, listening to the words and more importantly, listening to the mood. "Hey, you are not alone. You go to jail for taking out one of those cyborgs? Xavier will be on them with lawyers in a second, and I will watch over Mutant Town for you. And if you are not out the next morning I will pull you out, okay?"

He sighs. "Look, yeah… the Sentinels are hitting us pretty bad, but we have some leads to strike back. And you know… it is not us alone. There are many others that will fight to stop them. We can't…" he lowers his gaze. After all he was doing card tricks instead of looking for the Sentinels. On the other hand a few years of obsessive trying to be everywhere have taught him even he need to stop sometimes, if only to catch his breath. And that "we can't save everybody. But maybe we can learn from what we did."


Lorna scowled, "You know as well as I do, that the second I get arrested… IF they take me alive, who ever is behind those things is going to try to take another shot at me Nate. They tried to kill me in my own apartment. They'd jump at the chance again. If I die that's it for some of those people in Mutant Town. Some of them don't, or won't trust the X-men." She ground out.

She paced, her fingers twitching before she crossed her arms and leaned back hard against the wall opposite of him in the hall way.

"We can't even protect our own, how the hell can we protect anyone?" She whispered, her voice cracked and brittle again as she swung from anger to depression between one breath and the next.


"A battle every day," replies Nate, looking very serious now. "We protect those we can, and avenge those we couldn't protect. Lorna, it is not a fight we can win, but it is not a fight we can lose either. Fact is I doubt we will ever see a world that is good enough for me to stop fighting. And I feel guilty for every life I failed to save. But stopping? That would be -far- worse."

He tries to slip a hand around the woman's shoulder, pulling her off the wall. "So when you feel like shit, focus in those you have helped, those you have already saved. You made a difference once. You can do it again. Who killed that mutant? You found a cyborg and it is still out there? Lets go get him."


A shudder rolled through her frame, down her spine and through her lungs. She inhaled a shaky breath that seemed to catch all the air inside her and squeeze it out in short gasps as she struggled to control the overwhelming want and need to scream and destroy something to release the tension that clawed up her throat. It was that or cry.. and she hated crying..

"I can't even raise my own daughter Nate! And Marcos left me over it. I can't change the world for her. I can't make the world a place for her to grow up in and it was my fault that I drew attention to her in the first place. I did this. Me. I ruined it all. Just like I was a coward at fighting back to save that mutant in the park. I could've done something, anything more than I did. I failed. Every time I try to save people I make things worse." She gritted through her teeth.

Even as he tried to pull her from the wall, she slouched, she twisted away from him, struggling to breath and keep the panic that hurled up her throat.

It was a mixture of previous month's stress, and anxiety. Fears and failures. All mixed in with the potent magnetics that swayed her emotions and brain from polarity to polarity.


So Marcos is gone. That was not expected, and it does certainly anger Nate more than a bit. "He is an idiot," he growls, still trying to lead Lorna out of the old building. "As for your kid, if you want her, we can go pick her. I will support your decision always."

Although given her mental state, it might be better to wait a few days. "As for the rest… damn. I shouldn't be the one to talk about getting angry due to past failings. Actually getting angry is not always bad. More than once it has helped me to try harder next time."


Perhaps the simple grumble and insult toward Marcos was enough to ease some of the tension from the green haired woman's shoulders. The anger sparked in Nate's gaze was an echo of her own, without the aching depression though. She sighed, falling silent as he led her away from the wall and likely away from the students and anyone else that might overhear her rants. Outside as she'd wanted more or less.

She went.

"I can't raise her.. the world isn't.. they'd try to kill her." She whispered, "I'd never forgive myself if I did that… let it happen.. if I was that selfish." She continued, her voice in a hushed whisper. "I can't even protect her… I'm .. I'm useless."


"Yes, I know, no easy solution," and Nate can't give relationship advice well. His own love life is, to put it mildly, complicated. "They might, they could. Look Lorna. Everyone can die. Anytime. Tomorrow aliens can attack the Earth again and this conflict between humans and mutants would be small potatoes. Or Doctor Doom might unrelease an army of invincible magical robots. Or your dad might come up with another 'perfect' plan to take over the world, and oops, he will kill half the world."

He shakes his head, "you have the right to be a little selfish, and also to be a little hopeful. In the five years or so I have been hanging around Xavier's none of the kids has been killed despite a couple serious incidents. This place is fairly safe. On the other hand in this country regular humans get killed all the time in traffic accidents and stupid gunfights. Far, far more often than in terrorist strikes."


For every step forward, there were at least two steps back. Particularly in conversations with Nate. For all that the telepath could sense her emotions, he wasn't the best at advice or cheering up someone in such a pit of despair like Lorna was. She was suffering, that much was clear, but how much of it was due to the magnetically aligned fields in her brain or her circumstances? She certainly didn't know.

There were no easy solutions or answers.

Her lips twisted and Lorna's lips twisted. "It never ends, people just keep killing each other and I'm so .. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of it Nate. I… I'm scared and I'm angry. I'm .. I can't function." Her voice shook and her hands curled up into fists.

"And I am.. I feel… so.. so much. I just.." She struggled with words, her emotions thick and clogging her throat.

"This is why I don't come here. This is why I'm done. I can't do this. Talk.. this.. any of it. I'm done. Just leave me alone."


"But life never ends," insists Nate, "all the bad, and all the good, keeps coming, and doesn't wait until you are ready." No, Nate is not good at cheering up people. His usual tactic is to keep going stubbornly no matter how bad things get. And in truth he knows nothing about Lorna physiological condition.

He knows about bad days and depression, he is a Summers.

"That is another thing. Lean on your friends, don't go on alone," because even with Marcos gone, she still has friends. "In fact, avoid being alone. It makes the mind go in circles and it gets worse."


"I don't care! Life can go to hell. I'm done with this.." She suddenly ripped herself away from the conversation, anger powering her foot steps as she strode with sharp movements down the hall of the library led out to, and toward the stair well. She didn't care that she might scare a few of the student. She didn't care about how her stomping around might be perceived. She wanted to avoid this discussion. It hurt. Like everything else.

Conversations like this made her feel sick, like her head was spinning and wouldn't stop. They peeled back the stop-gap bandages she'd mentally made to get through each day and made her face the yawning pit of her depression. She hated it. And lashed out at anyone that brought it up. This wasn't the first time Nate had tried to help her in such a way when she was nearing rock bottom. It likely wouldn't be the last. But each time it felt worse and worse, like she was drowning and couldn't get out of the water.

"I want to be alone."


Uh, yeah. Stop the world because I want to get out for a while.

Nate has been there. And he -actually- has done -that-. But it didn't help.

"No. You need something to hang on," he retorts, following the green-haired young woman. "Focus. There is much to do, and you can do far more than most people. The world is broken, this is not something you didn't know already." He reaches for her shoulder, trying to make her spin back at look at him. He is okay with getting a magnetic blast to the face, sometimes being a friend is taking a punch. "You are not going to feel better by doing nothing, and you know it!"


Nate knew what he was getting into with a very angry, unstable magnkinetic. The expected magnetic blast came, full force and completely uncontrolled as he reached for her shoulder to spin her around. The green haired woman released a pent up sounding screech and the whole of area shuddered with the sudden pop of the electromagnetic fields all around the two. But thanks to Nate being prepared.. and well, the target of her anger.. the rest of the Mansion escaped the damage.

The fact that she'd just unleashed a rabid blast of anger and raw power at Nate had Lorna jolted out of her own misery with just how out of hand things had become. She stood, shaking from the after effects and breathing heavily as she came to a halt.

She swallowed down heaving gulps of air, and shook her head. "No. No. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Don't.. please.. Nate don't say that. Please." She breathed, pressing her hands against her features and struggling to calm down. She sank to the floor, her head in her hands.


Prepared? Kinda. The blast staggers him even through his telekinetic shields, and it certainly shocks him badly. "Oww," he stumbles back.

Screams of agony from nearby teens hint some cellphones failed to survive the blast.

"Should have insisted in the danger room, I guess," he offers, trying to grin at the woman. "That is another thing that helps me when I am feeling like shit," adrenaline rush and physical exhaustion do help overcome depression. But he is not diagnosing Lorna well.

"Listen, tomorrow morning," he wheezes, "we are going to find that cyborg you saw killing a mutant. And get some justice done. I can hide you from being seen. You take care of the cameras."


Lorna looked up from her position on the edge of the last step of the stairwell. Her palms pressed against the sides of her temples. She stared at Nate, looking sick for having unleashed magnetic torrents on him and she shook her head slowly. "I shouldn't have done that. I'm unstable. I'm.." She grimaced, "I'm sorry." She exhaled a trembling breath, green eyes settling on Nate and as her fingers combed through her hair.

"I just.. what you said.." She closed her eyes again. "It was just like this guy that showed up on my roof top. I'm just sick of people trying to use me for who I am."


"I know how that goes, too," as people did try to use him for this or another thing when he was younger. Some even succeeded. Because he was young and stupid. Well. Younger and more stupid. He also runs a hand through his hair, because it is standing up, which is a level of scruffy beyond his usual.

"Use you. Seeking your help. Whatever. I learned to listen and then make my own decisions. And filter the noise, the flattery, the crazy." He sights. "You know. I think the Professor tried to tell me this, with his own words, years ago. Did I listen? No. But don't be like me."


Lorna had calmed down the fizzing anger, had escaped some, the panic that had lanced through her chest eased as the topic shifted away from her feelings and what was wrong. To safer topics like how people were assholes and how they needed to plot revenge on cyborgs in ways that deeply went against traditional X-men codes and values. It was something stable, something comfortable and the more Nate spoke, matching words with experiences that tension eased more.

"Well, apparently Loki wants to use me as some sort of mutant liberation front." Her eyes rolled, and she scoffed. "I said sure, because frankly, it's strange that someone not actually from this planet is poking around mutant affairs. And I was worried if I said, he might try something.." She muttered.


"Loki? I hate that weasel," grumbles Nate. And not good that Loki is messing with Lorna. Perhaps it is why she is feeling like this? More Illyana's field of experience than his own, though. It will be mentioned next time he can find the blonde.

"That is something else to worry, too. I think Xavier should hear of it," suggests Nate. Last time he met Loki things didn't go very well for the telepath. But he guesses most everyone that has met Loki can say the same.


Lorna hadn't had a particularly bad experience, but having run into Thor on Genosha, she had grown wary of anyone that was not from Earth poking their head into clearly 'Earth' issues. Mutants and Humans and those issues were so entwined into her life and her family, that to consider there were large swaths of the universe that didn't care was… another issue entirely.

She shook her head, rising to her feet again. "I'll see what he's getting at, he's clearly up to something…" She muttered and waved her hand toward Nate.

"Either way I don't care."


"Okay, fine," a mildly amused glance is directed to the 'I don't care'. Because it is obvious she does care. "Lets go, I will take you to Mutant Town, I want to talk with a few folks there. Tomorrow we will go hunting. We will fix the world, Lorna. A little piece every day."

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