Hair of the Dog
Roleplaying Log: Hair of the Dog
IC Details

Sometimes the solution to what ails you is more of what ails you; which applies both to Warren and Alison's monster hangovers, and to Meggan's problems with empathic overload.

Other Characters Referenced: Jean Grey, Rachel Summers, Scott Summers, Kitty Pryde, Peter Quill, Betsy Braddock, Brian Braddock
IC Date: February 04, 2019
IC Location: Xavier Institute, Westchester
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 04 Feb 2019 06:33
Rating & Warnings: Warning for Nicolas Cage.
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots


"A kingdom of isolation," says Meggan Puceanu as she emerges from the walk-in refrigerator - now rather absurd, given that they are not feeding a small school, but still installed nonetheless. Gazing out on the tasteful if slightly battered kitchen, she says as she taps her chest with her whisk, "And it looks like I'm the queen."

Under her arm is two one-dozen eggs, fresh no doubt from the backside of hens in the tri-state area. She is wearing a well-used grubby T-shirt that's probably had three owners before her to the point of being vaguely diaphanous, and yoga pants, which are hers.

"The wind is howling, like the swirling storm outside," Meggan says as she passes the window where a thermal sticker reveals it is 43 degrees F outside. Slightly cloudy.

Bowls come out and small plates too. "Be the good girl you always have to be; conceal, don't feel, don't let them know -"

An egg is cracked. "Well now they knoooowwwww~~!"

LATER, as cheese is grated into the bowl, now containing three eggs and a chopped green onion, "It's funny how some distance, makes everything seems small~ And the fears that once controlled me, can't get to me at all. It's time to see what I can do," whisk whisk, "to test the limits and break through -"

"No right no wrong no rules for me," a slight clatter of a 10-inch pan, "I'm freeeeeeeee—-"

SOON, SEVERAL VERSES USED AS TIMER LATER: "Let it go, let it go! That perfect girl is gone!" And that is when Meggan snaps her wrist and flips over the omelet. "Here I stand, in the light of day…! Let the storm rage on -"

Twist, flop. Meggan informs the omelet quietly, "The cold never bothered me anyway."

The toast pops up.

Meggan's head pops up a moment later, eyes widening. She bites her lip as she looks upwards, towards the front entrance. Did she wake them?? Anxiously, the toast is buttered, as she awaits judgment.

Fortunately for Meggan Puceanu's sense of guilt, it is not her rousing rendition of Frozen that wakens Warren this fine Sunday morning. It is the splitting headache that accompanies an intense "well Worthington, you're not twenty anymore, are you?" hangover.

Last night was a very late night of obligatory drinking with a bunch of potential investors and partners, concerning the foundation. It is best not asked how he and Alison actually wound up back at the Institute afterwards; one would hope the answer involved 'being driven back safely by a designated driver,' but the reality may be slightly closer to "drunken flying."

No one died, so it's all okay.

Whenever he got indoors, Warren became unconscious. Only the sun slanting directly across his face, hours later, roused him. Somehow, despite everything, he rolls out of bed looking about how most people do after several hours of careful touch-up work. It may be his secondary mutation. It is definitely why all he really has to do is assemble some semblance of a decent outfit before he heads downstairs… and is immediately attracted towards the kitchen.

"Nice rendition," says Warren, appearing in the doorway. "May I use that compliment as currency to pay for a portion of that? I may die soon, otherwise." He honestly doesn't look it; no matter the circumstance, Warren looks like a fashion plate. The only thing really off about him right now is the fact that the buttons on his shirt are all one space off.

Alison Blaire thought she knew the dance: she launched her career with parties just as this, navigating endless drinks with producers and label monguls, and towing that careful line of letting old, old, embarrassingly old men feel like they were twenty-five again, while never letting herself lose control. For never really being an actress, she was a studied hat at pretending to be drunk.

Lawyers and financiers, however, are another story. A worse story. A cirrhotic story. Which involved her valiantly wresting the car keys off Warren to, a moment later, accidentally drop them down a stormdrain somewhere in Lower Manhattan, and for them to just "it's fine, we'll fly home," and end up, rather forgetfully, somewhere ten years ago when home was literally the grounds of the Institute.

Alison gets to know said grounds rather intimately, at that, when Warren drunkenly crashes them into some snowlogged tree, wherein she spends the next five minutes laughing her guts out.

The Institute's front doors open and close sometime around 2 a.m., and though there are no more dumb high schoolers in board, one may well question that, by the way Alison giggles the entire way in, interrupting herself with adamant "SHHH shhhh" and "shhhhh," clinging onto Warren and declaring not-so-stealthily, "Shhhhh you'll wake Scot…ch Sunners. He'll be sooooo mad. Wearing his sleeping-in sunglasses —" Drunk Alison sure thinks she's a goddamn riot, because she laughs at that one for the next thirty seconds.

There's also a, "Warren let's do it right here all night long, right on — what is that couch, that's not a couch. IT'S CALLED A POUF? WHAT! Fffhahaha —"

Who knows what even happened. After the shutting of one bedroom door, the sound was gone, and probably both overpartied thirty-year-olds passed out.

And awakened to this.

Alison distantly pulls a pillow over her head and weakly moans. No, no Frozen. Not more Frozen. They almost convinced her to sign onto that movie. Almost made her sing that. Frozen brings pain.

Some minutes later, the dead have arisen, and the ex-Dazzler stands at the kitchen like a reanimate zombie, her blouse pleated, wearing stolen XAVIER sweatpants, and not yet noticing there's bits of twigs and white down feathers in her blond hair. "Water," she pleads.

Meggan makes herself not say 'Mr. Worthington' because she is working on it. "Oh gosh oh golly oh wow," she says in a small voice, and then, "Absolutely! I mean I can't guarantee but -" It is pushed towards him.

She smiles, then. Tension breaks. Her empathic feeling whiskers (metaphorical, in this case) are telling her he's… it's a peculiar feeling, but it doesn't take a lot of thinking to associate it with a hangover. "Here, have a fork - d'you want anything with it? The toast?"

There are, after all, many egg's remaining.

After this comes her old friend, who looks a sight. Meggan looks towards Alison with an expression of nigh-angelic gentility. "Of course," she says.


Meggan slides it towards Alison. Softly, she says, "I didn't see either of you. Seems like it was a good evening though, wasn't it?" She grins, straightening up from her end of the countertop. "I think you both need another bit to take it off, don't you!"

Meggan knows this from long experience.

That constitutes 'baggage' but NEVER MIND.

It is telling, in a way, that asking a compromised Warren to fly home ends with him tangled in a snowy tree on the Institute grounds. He could have flown to his family's ancestral estates, or to the lovely apartment crowning Fifth Avenue, but here he came instead, to the place where his upbringing arguably truly began. Where he met his first real friends —

"Scott's just mad because he's no fun." His first real friends, and Scott Summers. No, he likes Scott too, secretly.

Nothing will be said about the condition of the pouf.

Cut to NOW. It probably helps the brief awkward tension when Warren rewards Meggan's gift of eggs, toast, and finally a fork with a dazzling smile. The smile is distinctly at odds with the empathic impressions coming off him, which flash like blinking red semaphores of pain and regret. "You're an angel," he says, his wings resuscitating slightly from where they had been dragging a bit in his wake.

Claiming a spot at the kitchen island (easier on his wings), he glances up as Alison makes her entry. "We got in rather late," he explains to Meggan. "A good evening in terms of securing some backing — we've got some promises for public endorsements — but perhaps not so good an evening in terms of reminders of my own advancing age." Alas for Warren, washed up at thirty. "I should have warned you how lawyers drink, Alison. Nothing else abates their misery but alcohol."

His eyes trade back and forth as the girls interact. "I forgot you know each other," Warren observes, twirling his fork.

He still has not noticed his shirt situation. It may take a while.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," is Alison Blaire's feeble, whimpering mantra as Meggan hands her that glass of water. She empties half of it in initial blitzkrieg against her dehydration, and then just presses the cold glass to her forehead in desperate relief to nurse the headache away.

Her half-focused eyes turn on Warren, sharing around the edges the evidence of their rowdy last night — but looking as carelessly beautiful as ever. Not a single hair out of place. She frowns at him, because he's literally the worst right now, and life isn't fair.

"Lawyers… pickled their black hearts…" she groans instead, voice bleary, staggering a couple steps and dragging out a chair to find a place to sit. She keeps her glass firmly planted against her aching temple. Still, Alison has not yet noticed she's wearing half of Westchester in her blonde hair.

Perhaps tellingly, she does not make any enterprising sounds toward wanting breakfast of her own. Alison is not certain what she could promise the world if an egg came too close to her face.

Instead, she glances up, eyebrows raised a little — not so hungover she doesn't miss Warren's last remark. Her blue eyes slip towards Meggan, and past the headache, memory crosses her lenses. "Excalibur was a good time, every time," she says to that, some warmth breaking through her voice. "Especially if Buzzkill Brian wasn't there."

A beat of silence. Alison realizes her hungover grousing a moment too late, with a cringing look to Meggan. "—No offence."

"Oh you're too kind," Meggan says to Warren, though she says this just as the sun peeks in through the window and makes all that blonde hair on top of her elfin head glow faintly. She turns around, winces, and then moves over to lower the blinds, in deference to the hungover.

"Oh that sounds wonderful!" she says about the backers, and then she looks back to Dazzler - no, to Alison. She laughs - maybe a little forced, but only a little. "Well, the good times can keep going here. I was going to make an omelet until I got it right, and I think I did well on the first try, but -! You're going to get a sour stomach if you don't eat ANYthing."

"So how do you want your egg?" Meggan says. With dire portent she says, "Not hard-boiled, I know."


But that will never come up again.

Meggan loops round and opens the refrigerator to withdraw several things. "You know," she continues, "It's funny but I'm not sure just what it is all these lawyers do. Do they drink to deal with the high stakes of the profession or is it more a thing where you start drinking and THEN you get into law?" She also opens the freezer to get out the vodka, bringing the entire kit over next to the official X-Men blender (it has a sticker on it) small class (it was the small one).

"So you were BOTH drinking with the lawyers," Meggan adds. She also says, "Tell me when you're ready for it, I know the noise is awful when things are like this."

"Nothing is too kind for a young lady making me breakfast," is Warren's opinion on the matter, as he applies himself to said breakfast. " — Thank you, darling." This, for Meggan's mindful lowering of the blinds.

He seems unaware of Alison's baleful stare at him and his unaccountable powers of artful dishabille. He was born with the ability to walk through a mudslide and come out the other end still looking like roses, and he has never been particularly aware of his difference from the average human population in this regard. What he does notice is her refusal to eat, which has him angling a rather severe stare at her over his shoulder. "You will feel much worse if you don't soak it up with something," he says, with the weight of long experience, though he finally notices the down and sticks caught in her hair, and his severity dissolves into a laugh that is somehow both merciless and sympathetic.

"You need a good currying, honey. I've got a comb if you don't." Is he implying he's… carrying one on his person, right now?

As for Meggan's adventure in creating the perfect omelet? "This one seems fine by me," he says, as he cuts said omelet up with the side of his fork. "I will help you hold Alison down for hers, if we must."

Her ruminations on lawyers draws another laugh, which — by the wince that follows — he swiftly regrets. He mashes his fingertips into his temple a few moments. "I'm never quite sure what most lawyers do either, other than cause a lot of trouble you then need them to fix. That seems to me like a chicken-and-egg question, however; I've met my share of lawyers who were either one or the other."

The mention of BUZZKILL BRIAN draws his gaze back to Alison with some curiosity, though — sensing some History here he does not know — he has the wisdom not to speak. Instead his eyes follow Meggan as she busies about, though his wings puff up a little in alarm as the blender comes out. "May as well get it over with right now," he says, visibly bracing.

*bzzz!! bzzzz!!!*

"That's all," Meggan promises. "How strong do you want them?"

"Ah, hair of the dog," says Warren, cottoning on instantly to the purpose of the assorted items. "Make it strong."

"You are my favourite person right now," Alison says to Meggan, as she heroically closes the blinds. "Seriously. Favourite. Forever."

Nevermind that Alison is half-way made of light, really, and could stare directly at a burning sun for a lifetime without damage to her eyes. She's so hungover that the ambiance off a lite-brite sounds painful.

And Meggan's status as New Forever Favourite makes her grimace all the worse, realizing her loosened tongue a moment too late — and that comment on the absent Brian Braddock. Smooth move, Blaire. It's not that she's wrong (she isn't,) but bad form to insult the boyfriend? ex-boyfriend? please be ex-boyfriend? while sweet, innocent, involved Meggan is standing right there.

Alison doesn't miss that bit of strain in Meggan's smile. But as she lets it go, the ex-singer is glad to follow — not without catching Warren's glance. Alison returns it in a brief, between-beat look of equal promise and askance.

Concealed in just one glance:

- Warren, seriously, the guy is a grade A asshole, I'll tell you all about it later, and you will pledge to join me in disliking him forever.
- He was shitty to Meggan and he's the also the worst.
- Will explain later.

Instead, aloud, she cringes around the corners at the mention of omelettes and related egg-like substances, and goes a little green at mention of anything hard-boiled. "I- it's OK," Alison abstains feebly. "I'll pass. I already drank today's calorie limit. I can have some celery later."

It is hard not being able to shapeshift, and/or angelically metabolize, any extra weight away.

Warren asides to Alison about her hair. Her expression twists with confusion, she reaches back, paws along its disarray, and pulls out… a totally-innocent, inconspicuous white feather. Her face goes red, she paws a little more at the mess, then miserably seems to give up entirely.

She braces against the appearance of the blender then — "It's fine. I'll take care of it."

BZZ BZZ—- gone. Alison does as promised, even if the ability is against her will. Her field drinks the sound in, absorbed, stored for as long as she needs it.

"Lawyers mostly work and criticize," she answers, voice a little dry, though doesn't expound past that aside. "I don't think I got a chance to ask you straight, yet, Meggan," continues Alison, instead. "Was it registration that brought you and Rachel over here?"

The buzzing becomes a token little thing, probably leakage from the top. After this Meggan opens the bottle of ice cold vodka and after eyeballing it, pours in…

The entire thing.

To be fair to Meggan the bottle was over half empty, a properly pessimistic drink. She smiles to Alison and says softly, "I know," with a properly gauzy look that turns into a playful grin, and then she says, "I just know you lay them all out differently. It's been very educational to learn about government and everything here, I had hardly any idea…"

"At least have a little toast," Meggan urges Alison. Then Alison asks a question.

"Well," Meggan says, "for me, I wanted a change of scenery. I'm taking a break from a relationship too and I was so terribly lucky that I knew you'd take me in over here. I know we've cross trained and everything in the past, Warren, but I'm really excited to be doing this for real. I mean not that Europe isn't real, but if I had a pound for every time I had to pretend to be someone else so that we could bust them when they tried to -"

Meggan sighs. She then pours out the drinks. Three glasses. "Rachel's here because of how Jean came back from the dead and they split the Phoenix."

"That's a bit bald," she continues, musingly. "But I mean you know how it is, you have your MOTIVE, the WHY you did something, and then what you actually did." She looks up at Warren and Alison both as if to say with her face: Does that make sense?

"And speaking of doing," Meggan says, "I've been wanting to ask you something about that, actually. But! Eat first. Here, Alison, d'you want more water? Or some of the ground pepper in your drink?"

Warren raises his brows as Alison conveys him a wealth of information via a single glance. His returned glance contains a similar payload of information: oh is that why Betsy acted fit to be tied that one time? Tell me everything later.

The expression transmutes rather seamlessly into a smirk when she discovers a feather in her hair, goes red, and then gives up on her disarray entirely.

He can't tease her long, however, because her natural absorption field takes care of the blender sound and thereby saves his splitting headache from worsening. "Bless," he says, even as he watches Meggan pour 'all the rest of the vodka into the blender.' He is probably addressing both Alison and Meggan with that, at this rate.

The conversation swerves a little more serious, as Alison inquires as to what brought Excalibur permanently to American shores. Neither does he miss all that goes unsaid after Alison's remark about 'lawyers.' He looks thoughtful, or as much as he can when 'thinking' itself hurts right now. 'Taking a break from a relationship' gets him glancing over at Alison again, another of those wordless exchanges transpiring. Brian Braddock? Brian Braddock. "I know what you mean," he says, tactfully, attention returning to Meggan, with regard to her excitement. "It's been good having everyone together to take this on. I suppose there's tactical merit to being spread out, but it always made me feel we were a bit… scattered."

Mention of Jean and the Phoenix immediately changes Warren's presence in Meggan's empathic senses. It's visible outwardly in the way his wings pull in and the feathers sleek down, of course, but the pang of old grief, fresh bemusement, and continual wariness of this whole — Phoenix thing is even more explicit than the visual cue.

"Pass that over," is how he opts to deal with all that, reaching towards one of the drinks. "What did you want to ask?"

With growing horror, Alison's eyes follow the slow emptying of that entire vodka bottle into the blender. Her stomach turns.

She'll never drink again. Never, ever, ever again. She learned her lesson, promise.

Sipping ruefully at her water, girding in silent suffering for the punishment destined to come, in the meantime, she answers Warren's look. Alison tips her head a bit to one side. Got it in one.

Attention back to Meggan, she does answer the proposal of toast with an uncertain half-frown. Carbs, warns old instincts. It's hard to break very particular routines, and while some celebrities embrace the on/off cycles of staying camera ready, Alison knew better. Well, she slipped once — once — and gained some weight thanks to Roman's spoiling. He'd make sure to remind her about it, every opportunity he good, with that not-angry-just-disappointed look he'd get, before ushering her out for another Italian dinner. Thankfully, a month of straight, debilitating stress shed those pounds.

Still, it's hard to say no to Meggan. "A slice," Alison concedes. "Half a slice."

She listens on, going a little purposefully quiet when Meggan admits to her ended relationship. Thank god, some part of her says internally. God knows she doesn't know the particulars of what Brian and Meggan shared, but of what little she glimpsed: he didn't deserve her, and she's better off.

Alison was always a little hypocritically touchy about her friends' would-be paramours, ready to give men the third degree — while falling, herself, to similar types.

She catches Warren's look. Returns, in a glance: he's a chauvinistic bag of dicks.

Of course, her question receives a due answer — an honest one — even if it quiets Alison down, reminded of Jean Grey's death. "That makes sense," she says to that, and it sounds as lame aloud as it does in her head. Sharing Phoenixes — she's still uncertain what a phoenix really even is — is so far beyond her. It feels like one of those things that narrows all her life down to a fishbowl's glimpse of existence, brief, simple. "Either way, it's been nice to see you both. I'd missed you while on the road. Kitty, too. Though I hear on the grapevine that she's had an odd road trip or two the last while. In strange company."

Alison hasn't met Peter Quill. She cannot judge. Yet.

"S-sure, pepper, why not," she bleats of the Hair of the Dog, with another stricken look at the concoction, far less eager than Warren to take a glass. Her eyes follow his expediency, and its relation to Jean, as she gives him her own long, considering, concerned look.

However, Meggan wonders a question of her own. Alison's eyebrows lift in polite gesture to please, ask.

Meggan gives off the emotional equivalent of a wordless pat as she pours out a glass and slides it to Warren. "You're sure?" she says towards Alison then even as she fills out a glass for her own. After this, she beams, and as she pivots round to pop toast in the toaster, she says, "Oh the pepper really makes it. It's going to be a bit different than what you might be used to."

No celery for one. Or rather, the celery was blended in.

As she pulls down the lever, Meggan turns back round. "I've just been thinking," Meggan says. "About how I can pitch in a bit more. You're all tremendously kind but a lot of what's going on is above me, and when I've gone out to try and get in and stop things like those aspiring race riots, I always get tightened up… it's like… I mean for me it's like the sun in the window must have been, you know? It really gets to me."

"So," Meggan says, hands on the countertop as she leans slightly forwards, "I want /mission advice/. Or else some help in toughening up. I want to be able to see a bunch of upset people and not fall all to pieces like an overcooked spaghetti."

She also pours a quarter-glass for Alison and grinds out a little pepper on top before sliding it forwards.

"But that's just me," she continues. "No rush! -" Her eyes flick for a moment as she processes the earlier remark about currying, looks at Alison's hair, looks at Warren's hair, and it is possible to see the exact moment when she Figures Something Out (Maybe).

She also downs a quarter of her own drink in a single nip.

Warren eyes Alison's hesitation about the toast with the sharp-eyed askance of a hawk. He probably knows at least a little of what is going on here; he's been around celebrity and model women enough to know about the obsession — no, the necessity — of staying camera ready. There's a version of that for men, too, though certainly not as stringent for a man like Warren, who never really needed to earn his living by his looks.

His stare relents a little when she finally concedes to a slice, though when she insists on half a slice — "A slice," he corrects, in a tone that considers the matter quite closed.

Finishing his own plate as if to demonstrate for Alison what she's supposed to be doing, Warren slides over the Bloody Mary with the practiced air of someone who has lived a Very Exciting Youth, and who knows all the steps of the dance quite well even if he clearly can't quite dance them as fast as he did when he was a fresh twenty. He at least nurses the drink instead of tossing it back like Meggan does, slowly easing off the agonizing withdrawal with — well — a measured titration of even more alcohol. Men.

"There's been a lot of people back around I haven't had the chance to catch up with yet, who I have been meaning to catch up with," he says. "Kitty is one. Not least because of the 'strange company.'" Peter Quill is going to get so judged. Eventually.

Warren's attention turns as Meggan starts to consider how she can help more — how she can 'toughen up,' so to speak, so she doesn't fall apart on-mission. He considers, fingers tapping along the side of his glass — and this is about when he finally notices his shirt. With a matter-of-fact air he unbuttons it right there at the counter. Of course he's not wearing anything else underneath.

"I'd usually suggest more sessions in the Danger Room for anyone who wants to tighten up field performance," he says, as he rebuttons his shirt, this time not askew, "but I'm not certain that the constructs in there will help — exactly — with hardening you against empathic overload." He lifts his head with a thoughtful look, regarding Meggan. "I think? I'm not fully sure how your empathy registers." He considers. "Perhaps more exposure to civilian settings where feelings are running high? Before we start ramping it up to dropping you into stressful combat situations."

He gives Alison a thoughtful look. "There's no shortage, especially in New York, of situations and places where people get extremely upset over relatively little." The subway is certainly one, though Warren doesn't think about it because it's uncertain whether he remembers the subway exists half the time.

Alison feels Warren's stare on her. Hard not to, with that unblinking, raptor-like intensity he's got within his arsenal. Between Meggan's gentle insistence, and his watchful eyes, she's good cop-bad cop'd down into cooperative compliance.

A slice, Warren corrects, rather imperiously, and Alison exhales at that, but doesn't argue. She just makes a silent vow to double her cardio program tonight — or, as soon as her head stops pounding.

For now, she accepts the peppery Bloody Mary from Meggan, answering it with a grateful smile, before staring down — thoroughly unprepared — into its contents. The smell of vodka is hell on her hangover, but Hair of the Dog is due punishment for her many sins. Like drinking as if she were an eighteen-year-old with a fake ID again.

Alison tilts it back and takes a swig, closing her eyes as it makes war on her upset stomach — and forcibly numbs some of that nausea down. She exhales, opens her eyes again, catches — Meggan's transparent glances at her hair. At Warren's wings.

Alison colours a bit, but says nothing. No regret, just simple shyness. Odd thing for a celebrity.

But she remains quiet as Meggan speaks — namely, asks advice of two seasoned teammates. Though Alison's doubts think her anything but a seasoned X-Man — she was too flip-flop with the civilian life and career — she gives it an ear.

"It's a hard thing to conquer," she answers, with a gentle look on Warren. She agrees wordlessly with his suggestions. "Even to us who don't feel emotions save our own. For me, dealing with critcism, personal attacks — came with my lifestyle, before even being on this team. You give it a time and a place, and you have to make yourself let it go. Even if, well, your ability can't — you need to figure out if you can will yourself through it, or find —"

She searches for the word. "Safehouses, inside you, to retreat.

"Truth in that," she says to Warren's assessment of New York, with a bit of a grimace. Her eyes lance back to Meggan. "What about focusing on someone you trust, when you're in that kind of situation? There's a lot of relaxation techniques out there, as well — but I might be offering useless suggestions without — like Warren said. Better insight into your ability."

Meggan nods along with Warren as he suggests


"I really ought to use that, we just had the gym in the basement," Meggan muses. "Wonderful times there, but I know it's not quite the same…"

She takes a deep breath and lets it out. Places where feelings are running high, she thinks, even as her attention turns back to Alison. Meggan takes another swig off her drink, which she seems to be treating, successfully, as tomato juice, as she purses her lips. "That's the problem really… I don't know how to just block it out. A safehouse… hm…"

She taps her lower lip. Maybe Rachel can help, Meggan thinks. Something to consider. But then she tells Alison, "That's the thing though, isn't it? I mean I do lean on Rachel and she's glad to do it but I don't want to just be a big weight for her. Someone she has to worry about when she's already got all of this going on."

Meggan takes another sip off the drink. "It is a little hard to describe," she allows. "But I have to be able to do it on my own or else I'm not going to be much good to you, am I? Since, I mean," and then there are a few sparkles and Meggan's face is exactly like that of Jimmy Kimmel, "THIS is what I bring to the table." The face shifts to that of Nicholas Cage. "Mostly this, anyway," she says, looking to Alison directly and then making 'that face'.

It is not the first time Meggan has done this one.

She lets her own face come back, which it does, with a slight rebound into something vaguely smooth-featured and mannequinesqe for a moment along the way. "I guess there isn't a legal way to do these kinds of impressions, is there? Like to help things out."

Meggan looks at the countertop. "Well," she says, before


"Oh, your toast!" Meggan turns to get it out and to butter it, adding approximately eighty calories and probably dooming Alison to become stout.

"Oh, now I've thought of it," Meggan continues as she passes it over on yet another plate (she is going to fill the entire dishwasher at this rate), "body double! Of course I'm not invincible either, so that does limit it a bit."

"I usually just followed everyone else around," Meggan says, with an air of conclusion or explanation. "So forgive me if I'm rambling."

"The simulations are very realistic," Warren says, in a distinct understatement. "It might be enough, honestly. Worth a go."

But he leans forward a little with fascination as Meggan demonstrates 'what she brings to the table.' "That's no small thing, Meggan," says Warren Worthington, the guy who pretty much mostly brings 'billions of dollars' to the table. His mutation is barely even an afterthought much of the time, something which has occasionally troubled him in ways he does not freely share. 'Should have named me Chase Bank instead of Angel,' he might have said once to the Professor in a moment of frustration, who kindly but rather firmly talked him down. "There's plenty of instances where someone who can look like anything she needs to would be useful."

A pause. "I can think of some missions where it would have been helpful to get us past obstacles. It might not have been strictly legal, but… what was going on was even less legal." Moving goalposts, a necessary skill for a corporate man.

He falls silent, nursing his own drink, similarly making no comment on that brief revelatory moment Meggan may or may not be experiencing as she looks between them. He just slowly drains his glass as Alison gives a more gentle, emotion-based set of advice to their younger teammate. She's… much better at this than him. Not for the first time, he wishes for the Professor back, too, who always seemed to understand everyone's powers and how to coach them through them.

"We can always start with sessions in the Danger Room," he says. "Start with you managing the influx from your own teammates in a stressful situation. There's certainly enough scenarios that are highly stressful, and they're all Scott's horrific creations."

Alison's spirit dies, little by little, the more Meggan applies butter to that toast.

Her fingers tighten against her glass, and her lips pull with would-be missives of 'oh, oh, that's — enough, oh…' though she holds it in, because it's not polite to bark orders at a Meggan kindly preparing you hangover breakfast — and because Warren might start staring again.

This is what she gets for drinking. To the treadmill, Alison Blaire.

"Good old Danger Room," she remarks instead, with bleak humour. Ten years ago, Alison was not a fan. Ten years later, probably still not. "Good to hear it hasn't changed. Has Scott finally added that program that punishes you with Maximoffs if you fail to fold your socks right?"

She sips again at her Bloody Mary; Meggan was right, the pepper really makes it. The alcohol, in its usual, backhanded way, does its job to unravel the knot in her stomach, and gradually, she leans back into her chair, some tension ghosting away—

And then the Nic Cage comes out. Oh, it's not the first time, not to Alison and her Excalibur missions — but it gets her as badly now as it did then. She sputters and coughs, almost chokes on her Bloody Mary, and curls in as her body quakes with barely-repressed giggles. "Meggan, goddamnit," she begs, "you can't just Cage me! I'm hungover! Where's your pity!"

Scott would probably be as appalled as a 80s Party Movie Dean. EXCALIBUR HOOOOUSE!

Wiping a stray tear away, with an askance look at Warren — this was my life in London — she goes quiet to his offered advice, something close to tender on her face. She helps how she can.

"We're here to lean on each other, Meggan," Alison makes sure to add. "No one's weight's ever felt among a team. But I get wanting to feel like you're on your own feet. How about this: in addition to what training happens here, I'm taking you with me to yoga. Rachel's invited, too. I know it's basic white girl, and isn't going to offer an answer to your question. But it'll be a launch point to try to guide to toward what can. We can try tai chi, meditation — whatever calls to you. They're all about balance, spritual responsibility, self-exploration. Helped me at times."

Meggan nods along. Sneaking, she thinks. Like that other woman they've referred to in files. I wonder if I'll ever meet her, Meggan wonders, though the thought does not reach her lips. "If you've got a sign up sheet I'll put my name in immediately." The drink finishes off.

Is she…affected? Other than the Caging? "There isn't any pity here," Meggan informs Alison. "Into the wicker man." She grins again - and then she steps round the kitchen island, approaching Alison at nine o clock and going for a hug. Warren is spared, thus far, but she says, "Thank you both so much! This is lovely to just talk about sometimes. It's so much less TENSE here! Nobody's suffering nearly as hard. Kind of a Dunkirk spirit, eh?"

Evacuating desperately in the face of fascism??

"Do either of you want some bacon?"

Meggan has never cooked bacon before.



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