Awkward Visitations
Roleplaying Log: Awkward Visitations
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Dani visits the newly awoken Doug Ramsey. It's not an easy visit.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: February 05, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 06 Feb 2019 04:40
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

…At least the Archer is a NICE hotel, and if Doug is a prisoner, Bobby sprang for a suite.

But he took away Doug's phone and disabled the phone in the suite. Both eminently sensible moves Doug agreed with. And the security guards Bobby hired are eminently friendly and see to his every need.

…He's going NUTS in here. There's a half-eaten lunch on the table, and a stack of paperback novels, and a drawing pad with some quick scribbly sketches on it. The TV is on, and the news is going but it's on mute, and instead there's music playing from SOMEWHERE… Fitz and the Tantrums' "Spark" is playing on max volume, and Doug has grabbed the doorframe between the bathroom and the rest of the suite and he's doing pull-ups, his bare back to the rest of the room.


There are certain things people expect in text messages.

Emojis.

Memes.

Funny cat gifs.

But notification that a friend, once thought dead, is truly alive? Not so much.

But that's where Danielle Moonstar is. It's what brings her out to the specific hotel where Douglas Ramsey aka Cypher aka Discord, can be found out. It's what brings her out with something like hope and dread. Hope that her friend is truly here. Dread that something will once again take him away.

Dread that it'll be her fault again.

And while all these feelings roll through Dani, her expression stays neutral as she walks down the hallway and nods to the guards on the outside. Having been expected the door is opened to allow her entrance into the hotel room.

She steps in with very little fanfare and as she enters the very plush prison her dark brown eyes search out for a familiar figure, a familiar face. Or, in this case, a familiar back.

For the first few seconds she says nothing, her expression tightly controlled, as she watches Doug exercise.


A moment later, Doug drops to the floor. "…Hey." he says, before he walks over to where a stack of clothes are folded in an open wardrobe, and he pulls out a green t-shirt on it. He pulls it on, briefly showing the nasty scar below his ribcage on his back and along his side where he was shot — then he turns.

The shirt has a turtle on it and it says 'I LIKE TURTLES'.

And he just looks kind of hopeless, like he's not sure exactly what he should be saying here.


His greeting brings forth a twitch of her eyebrows, a slight shift to her expression that briefly shows her -

Incredulousness of this whole situation.

Yes, she may walk with Death and know how that doesn't always hold, but for this - it's worse when it's family.

Still, she knows she's expected to speak so Moonstar puts forth her own greeting. It's a rusty sort of thing, his name, as she speaks it, "Doug."

There's a note of silence again as the Cheyenne woman retreats inwardly for a moment. Trying to reconcile the fact that Doug is alive and the awkwardness that she can't quite get past, thanks to all the insane things she'd like to blurt out. Like 'I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD' and 'WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED'.

But instead, she manages, "How's it going?"


Doug pauses. He puts his finger over his mouth.

"Hydra's going to blow up the city using my plan. I'm one stray thought away from a nervous breakdown at any point. They want to put pretty much everyone I know on a list. Bobby took away my cell phone, and he was right to do it, but he took away my PHONE—"

He quirks his mouth. "But at least you're happy to see me, Chief. That helps."


Moonstar watches the blonde young man and listens to what he has to say. The surreality of it all is there at the edges of her awareness, but at the first mention of Hydra, the Cheyenne woman refocuses.

It brings her out of her head and very much back in the moment. It likewise pulls a look of anger from her, "Hydra." She begins, though she doesn't get much beyond that, not when Doug reveals the loss of his phone and how much the deprivation affects him. Almost it brings a twitch of amusement to her mouth, but it doesn't quite make to her expression.

His last statement pulls her away from the door, though not necessarily closer to Doug. She's careful and wary, like one is with the uncertainty of a wild animal. "Of course I am." She says stridently, her voice gaining an edge as she continues, "We thought you were dead, Doug. We're - I'm glad you're not."

There are more things to say, but for now she waits to say them as she keeps her attention on him.


Doug gives Dani a flat look. "This reunion isn't going well, is it. Sam's *riddled* with guilt every time he looks at me. Bobby's suspicion is written all over his face. And you? You're rocking the suspicion and the guilt." He crosses his arms.

"This *sucks*, Dani. It *sucks* and I'm *mad* and I'm *scared* and I'm searching everything you're telling me for how I can PROVE it's me… really me." He uncrosses his arms.

"And I can't find it."


The mention of how well the reunion is going brings a flash of that aforementioned guilt to Moonstar's features. It's enough to cause the black-haired woman to drop her gaze, but only for a moment. After that moment of soul-eating guilt, the woman brings her eyes back up the blonde.

"It does suck." She agrees, a hint of sardonic humor coloring her voice. "It really does." But that small flash of amusement helps loosen something within Dani's chest, so that it allows her to ask.

"Tell me what happened, Doug. Fill in the pieces we're missing. I think that's the only way for all of us to get past this and figure out next steps."

"Then we can go back to blowing up the city."


Doug drops to the ground, and starts doing one-handed pushups. "I don't suppose you'd sit on my back, would you?" He asks, before he thinks about it.

"My memories of when Hydra first found me aren't… good, they're patchy, really spotty, but they bought me off of someone four years ago. Before that, there's just a big nothing after the day I died. I'm missing three years." He huffs out a breath, and then says, "I've been running intelligence ops for Hydra in various places for the past four years. Europe, Russia, Asia. More strategy than field ops… interrogations." His mouth tightens.

"I helped orchestrate the deaths of a lot of people. But there's nothing I can do about that now. As bad as SHIELD thinks it is, Dani? It's *worse*. Hydra agents are present in every level of society, across the world. Business, governments, law enforcement, the military—" He looks up. "And it's all so decentralized, even what I know is barely scratching the surface. But I *can* tell you there are even some low-level Hydra agents stuck on SHIELD like barnacles. You're a person of interest, and they've already decided that any serious attempt at subverting SHIELD would involve killing you, since they've decided you can't be bribed or blackmailed."

"But Fury might want to take a good hard look at some of his low-level operatives, and the civillian contractors who work with you."


Pushups. One handed at that. It brings an almost far away look to her eyes, perhaps reminiscing on days past, when things like that weren't always easiest for the New Mutants.

Especially in the beginning. Were any of them really fit? Not really.

But with that initial question of his she doesn't answer out right, though her lack of movement towards him is likely silent answer enough.

Then Doug speaks of that day so many years ago, and Moonstar's mouth thins to a flat line of pain and guilt. She doesn't interrupt however, she just listens and while what he says is alarming, yes, Dani doesn't seem overtly surprised. Or perhaps she's hiding it, but really she isn't surprised by his information.

She knows some what of he speaks of.

"What you did while under their conditioning isn't your fault." Which is truth, "I have it on good authority that they've almost perfected the arts of brain washing."

She considers her next words carefully before she speaks them, "I think we should get a telepath here. They can help you piece together everything." And make sure there's no hidden switches or code words that might set him off, though that stays left unspoken.


"Betsy already triggered the resurgence of… me. Since then, I've been using self-hypnotism to undo the rest of what Doctor Faustus did to me." Doug says, "It's a combination of the mental defense techniques the Professor taught us and some basic interogation techniques I picked up in Hydra."

He stops, and then drops into a sit. "It makes sense that you all want to make sure there's no hidden land mines in my psyche, D —" He says, "But it blows goats. You're all *afraid* of me, and it's just killing me."

He sits, on the floor, and looks somewhat lost.


There's a lessening of tension on Dani's part at the mention of Betsy helping pull Doug's psyche back together. Along with that is a mental note to speak with the British telepath sometime soon on what exactly happened.

For now, however, Moonstar looks upon her lost friend, sitting on the floor. It's enough that she settles down upon the floor too, though still with some space between the two. "Well, can you blame us?" She says, her tone rising in something of forced amusement, "You left us and then when you came back you've all of a sudden become Double-0-7. We all have to adjust -" Implying that he likewise has to as well, "- and that takes time. Something we all hate, sure, but something we're all bound to, Dougie." Unconsciously she uses that nickname of his.

She pauses then, for a tick of a clock, a beat of her heart, before she says, "I'm glad you've returned to us."

And she's sorry. Sorry she failed him on that particular mission that was a catalyst to so much for the team.


Doug narrows his eyes. "Cut that crap out right now, Dani." He says, out of nowhere. "I mean it." He looks a little bit mad. "*Stop it*. Both you *and* Sam need to cut that <censored> out *right now*."


His response definitely isn't something that she was necessarily expecting. It brings something close to surprise to her features and then anger as well.

She's always had a temper and during especially emotional times it tends to flare. Much like it is now. Only she isn't eighteen anymore, she's older, more mature. Her time in SHIELD has helped her in many ways and in one of those managing her initial kneejerk gut reaction. Especially with anger. Especially when that anger is tied so closely to guilt.

But that doesn't stop it from briefly flaring to life in her eyes, which knocks out all her wariness of her friend, "Don't tell me what to do, Doug. You don't know -"

But he does, doesn't he? He's the one who died after all and that causes her to snap her mouth shut. She breathes hard for a moment, an exhalation to re-center herself.

When she has a better handle on her emotion she refocuses on Doug. Here she tries to find humor once again. "Pretty sure our conversations are just going to be awkward for awhile."


Doug gives Dani a sheepish side-eye. "She was gonna die." He says. "I could *see* it. It was one single… statement that said 'it's her or you' and I chose me. It was my *choice* Dani. *My* decision, not yours or Sam's, and I'd do it again. And I really wish both of you could get the hell over it because I love you both like *crazy* — and it really hurts me that looking at me causes both of YOU so much… hurt."

Then he lets his head drop.

"Less talking, then. More hugging, Chief, because I could really use one."


"Your choice or not, Doug, doesn't make it any easier to accept."

"It's something we've all had to learn to live with. It's not easy. Seeing you now, here, alive, doesn't instantly absolve us of the guilt we feel."

Those admissions take a lot from Moonstar and she falls silent again.

But that silence or rather inaction doesn't last long. Not when Doug drops his head and states that last bit. It hits home hard and the Cheyenne woman rises up and steps over to Doug. She stands there looking at his bowed head and then she crouches down and pulls Douglas Ramsey into a hug.

It's a tight thing, something that's both 'my god I'm glad you're back' and 'I can't believe you're really here'.


Doug doesn't say anything, but after a moment, he kind of *leans*.

"I want my life back." He says, muffled into Dani's shoulder. "But I can't have it back. It's *gone* and this is what's left. I *ruined everything*!"


She should start at the beginning of what he says, but she doesn't. She addresses his very last words. "No, you haven't ruined anything." Comes her harsh rebuttal, "It wasn't you. It was Hydra."

"And we'll make them pay, Doug. We'll make sure whatever the Hell they're planning doesn't go as planned, and we'll make sure you can settle your score with them too."

"They won't get away with this." And here, Moonstar leans back so she can look at Doug's face, "I promise you that. They will pay for what they've done to you."


Doug sucks in a breath, and then says, "I don't want revenge." He decides. "Well, I mean, I *do*, but that's not REALLY what I want."

"Seven years of growing and changing, and I missed it. Seven years of birthdays, seven years of Christmasses. Wasn't there for the times when you guys fell in love, or out of love, or when you laughed, or when you cried, or when any you needed a friend—" He shakes his head, and gets up and then walks to the mini-bar and takes out a diet coke, which he pops open and takes a slug off of.

"That's why I'm angry… because I lost all of you. And—I'm not going to be a child about it, I know it's not about all living in the school together or being on the same team, but…" He frowns. "My parents moved away. It's probably for the best. Hi mom, hi dad, I'm a Mutie and I'm also not dead! Surprise!"

He exhales. "…If I live through this, I have to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. And I'm trying really hard not to think about that, Dani, because it scares the *crapola* out of me—"


When Doug stands to get a can of soda, Dani likewise rises back to her feet.

And while his earlier words may have shocked her out of the buckets of guilt that she often feels about Doug, that doesn't stop her from wincing when he brings up everything he's missed.

"In some ways we've all been there, Doug." Granted not to his extreme, of course, "When we've realized we can't go back to a time that was easier, that we can no longer go 'home'."

Not in the sense that he means, at least.

"It is scary, but no matter how scary it feels Doug you have friends. Family. You have us." Even if the majority of them still have to wrap their brain around all of this. "New Muties stick together."

"We can help you figure things out. You don't have to go it alone."


"Yeah, I know." Doug says. "That doesn't make this any less difficult. I can't live on Sam's couch or in hotel suites Bobby's paying for—"

Then he looks around. "Actually… wait. Could I? Because this would be pretty sweet *if I could go outside*!" Then he sticks his tongue out at Dani and blows a raspberry. 'Pbbbbbbbfffft'


His epiphany about mooching off of Sam and Bobby prompts a soft snort from Dani. That raspberry does too.

"Pretty sure Bobby can put you anywhere you want for a good long while." Comes her response, her voice dry with wry humor, but then she sobers a bit. "Once we get things squared away, I'll see about getting you some time outside, though we have to be careful."

"Hydra lost an agent, I've a feeling they won't be too happy about that." And there's no way Doug is ending up back *there*, "So, we'll need to be careful and discreet until we've settled the score with them." Because even if Doug doesn't necessarily want revenge, Dani sure does.


"They're not going to worry about wasting resources having me assassinated." Doug says. "The projections for Operation Serpent's Voices is between ten and twelve million casualties." Doug says, "And more in the ensuing riots and social upheavals Hydra plans to implement."

"I helped design that bomb, Dani, and I designed it so that it's almost impossible to disarm. I've outsmarted myself." Doug takes another pull of his diet coke, and then stares at the can. "As for their tech surveillance, that's easy to fool. Speaking of, do you have a knife on you?" He says, before he gets a little bottle of vodka out of the minibar, and then he reaches down to pull up his pantleg. "Help me dig their tracking chip out of my thigh."

He says this REALLY matter-of-factly


The casualty total causes Dani to inhale sharply, but like any good SHIELD agent she asks the questions that need asking.

"Tell me about the bomb and everything you know about the Operation? Even the smallest fact might be something we can use."

His question about whether she has a knife on her or not, causes a single eyebrow to rise upward. "Of course I do."

And she goes so far to drop her hand at her waist, where her grandfather's hunting knife sits. Only she doesn't yet pull it free from its sheath, "Doug." She says in her own matter-of-fact voice, "You've been here in this hotel room with a tracking device? Please tell me you disabled it some way? If not, I'm calling Bobby up and telling him to find you another safe house. I don't care that you don't think they'll expend the resources to have you killed."

By this point she steps forward, the knife now in her hand.


"Are you kidding, I had this thing spoofed before I went to see Bobby. They think I've been moving from safehouse to safehouse. Right now, they think I'm in Newark. But — among its various tools, Hydra uses a sophisticated computer system controlled by Arnim Zola to track its solo operatives, as sort of an all-in."

Then he pauses, suddenly. "…I could use this to track Viper and the Silver Samurai when they come to New York."

He puts his hands behind his head, and points to a small white scar in a straight line in the meat of his thigh. "Right there. Cut into the muscle just a little bit and you'll be able to lever it out. Then you just have to help me stitch it up."


"Tracking is good. When it's in our favor." Mutters the Cheyenne, even as she steps close to Doug again. "Hand me the vodka." She adds, and when the alcohol is handed to her, she cracks the bottle open.

She could wish to drink some of it just this moment, but she doesn't. Instead she washes down her knife to sterilize it best she can. Then that alcohol is splashed on the scar.

"I feel the urge to say something like 'you always take me on the best sort of dates', Dougie, but it doesn't quite fit."

But hopefully he gets the reference as she takes a moment to consider the scar upon his thigh.

"I can help you stitch it up too." She agrees, even as she considers with, "Let's do this on three -"

"1. 2. 3."

The countdown is relatively quick and true to her word and once three is hit, she does as suggested. She cuts as shallowly as she can, trying to make this particular procedure quick and only as painful for as long as needed to pop the tracker out.


There's a bit of blood, and the chip is dug out easily enough — a little bloody black square of plastic and circuitry. Doug soaks the rest of the vodka on a towel, and puts it over the cut, wincing a little bit, before he says, "There it is." He says. "Now I'm starting to get an idea."

Then he grins at Dani, "Needle and thread are on the table."


The chip is given a look and while she could crush it, she doesn't. Instead she puts it on the nearby table and then proceeds to locate that thread and needle.

While sewing was never her favorite thing to do, stitching up wounds isn't something she's new at. There are many times an agent has to self-treat in the field .

"Tell me your insane idea." She says with well practiced ease and a small dose of deja vu, "And we'll see just how crazy it is."

And whether he explains, or just gives an overview, Dani will listen even as she places neat stitches to close the small wound the 'surgery' created.

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