The Wall Came Tumbling Down
Roleplaying Log: The Wall Came Tumbling Down
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Psylocke brings Lorna Dane, Possible Mutant to meet her teammate Phoenix in a secluded section of Adirondack Park. Together, the two psychics help Lorna confront deeply buried trauma and more.

Other Characters Referenced: Magneto, Charles Xavier
IC Date: February 13, 2019
IC Location: Adirondack Park, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 21 Feb 2019 17:43
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The snow was deep in the shade of the trees that covered the park. Ice had still frozen over the waterways in thick swaths of white and blue. The barren trees were peppered through with frozen globs of ice and the pine trees had just freed themselves of the fresh powdery dry snow that had lingered after the sun had warmed them over the past week since the last snow. It was afternoon, and the sun was still up and bright in the clear sky above without a cloud on the horizon.

It was cold, not as cold as it had been, but still cold. It was Winter in the north after all. Lorna stepped out from the car that she'd ridden up in with Betsy and tugged on her gloves more firmly as she stifled a shiver. "So… you told me why we're all the way out here in the middle of no-where but did it have to be outside?" She huffed, her breath visible in the cloud of air that trailed from her lips as her feet crunched on the gravel of the parking lot that had been iced over and salted and sanded repeatedly over the course of the winter. The park was open to those crazy out-doorsy types, snow mobiles, fisher men and cross country skiiers the most likely candidates.

-

Psylocke is dressed warmly, tightening her wool coat around herself as she slips out of the car. "In case your powers do something like set walls on fire, or could bring down a roof, a wall.. it certainly seems safer to be outdoors, don't you agree?"

She will tug her long purple braid out from under her collar to lay against the deep gray wool, before gloved hands slide into her pockets. Violet eyes will watch Lorna for a long moment, offering a soft smile in an attempt to be reassuring and encouraging. "It was something that was thought about, I promise. I'd prefer to be inside by a fire with a hot toddy and a hot man, myself."

-

Given a little advance word of Lorna's predicament, it was easy to make preparations.

Winter visitors teem amidst snow-laden peaks and trees, but they can't be everywhere. There are plenty of places without them— including a tree-ringed clearing tucked maybe ten minutes from the car. The tree-ringed clearing Betsy feels a gentle, warm tug towards the moment she and Lorna's feet hit the ground.

It's— well, it's winter; it's cold, more than cold enough to make a body wonder why the hell they're bothering with it; enough for grousing and uncertainty to visibly waft through the air. Not everywhere, though, not quite: if the two women are willing to brave roughly ten minutes of freezing and hiking, they'll be rewarded with warmth stretching just past a ring of trees, hinting a wintertime oasis of heat on the other side.

And it's lonely out here, even with all the people— all the way out here in the middle of nowhere, in the shadow of a mountain range, with one other soul for company.

This, too, can be managed with the right plan:

"This should be far enough," the X-Men's Phoenix says, filling the clearing with a warm soprano just as readily as she fills it with heat, courtesy of the flames curling off of her costume-clad body. She's hovering a few feet above the ground in lotus posture, already oriented towards Betsy and Lorna— or just Betsy, if the two somehow wound up separated; the psychic connection makes it easy. Either way, there's a big smile.

"But it's hard to say, really. We'll have to take it slow, find out together, and hope for the best! Hopefully, we don't all end up on the news. Or dead."

The smile widens; a shimmering gold glove extends towards Lorna.

"My name's Phoenix. I understand you have a problem you'd like some help with…?"

-

Lorna followed Betsy through the trees and snow covered pathways, keeping care to not get lost, after all the other woman was her ride home. Even as she stamped her feet to keep them warm as they crossed frozen stretches of fallen logs and snow drifts. She shivered, despite her thick winter coat and hat. Her nose was red and runny by the time their hike slowed to its end. Where of course, was the oddity of warmth in the air. Conversation, even the grumbling kind, broke off in surprise. Dark lined eyebrows hitched upward as Lorna felt the change in the air as well as spotted the woman floating above the ground. She sniffled, casting a side long look at Betsy before her focus returned to 'Phoenix'. Which, she thought, was rather fitting indeed.

"Uhh.. you really think its possible I have some kind of power like that?" She drawled, taking the extended hand and intending to shake it.

"Erm.. problem? I mean.. Betsy seems pretty certain that I have powers. And I'm less certain. I have green hair that washes out dye like no tomorrow.. and that's been about it. She said it might be all in my head.. and look, I'm bipolar and all, but really.." She exhaled a breath, looking unconvinced.

"Powers well beyond the scope people have told me is 'all just in my head'." She drawled.

-

"Phoenix likes to show off a bit." Betsy says, voice warm with amusement. "She's not the only one that can do that… well, other than the flame shit. I can't do that other than in illusion." There's a quick grin at the redhead.

"As for like Phoenix?? Most people don't have powers quite like it." Though to be a smartass, Betsy's feet will leave the ground as the Brit arranges herself into a mirror lotus position, floating in the air. "You have powers. A little trust here, ladies. Phoenix knows I have precog powers, no matter how often as I myself try to discredit them a fair deal. Trust me, Lorna. You've got something inside you. Something amazing. We just need to set it free. I think the bi-polar may actually be a symptom of it being suppressed so long. "

-

"Lack of certainty is a pretty big problem in our world, Lorna."

Phoenix grip is firm and strong without crushing. She wraps her other hand around Lorna's while green eyes lock firmly to the other woman's.

The other mutant's.

"The hair is— it's a possible tell, but without the right testing… you'd be surprised. Alien biomatter, leftover terror chemicals, experimental mutagens— all kinds of things end up in water and food supplies, just, at random, and next thing you know…"

Green eyes shift towards green hair.

"Mesothelioma and Skrull Cow disease: the cornerstones of any good class action-hunting lawyer," she jokes with a twinkle. "Plus: you could just have Atlantean, or Inhuman, or a dozen other flavors of exotic additives in your family history, and if it's diluted enough… … or maybe one of your parents were a little too close to some act of super-slash-science crime, and they had a brush with weird radiation, or fungus, or— you see what I'm saying?"

After releasing Lorna, she folds her hands loosely in her lap and softens the smile into something a little more nakedly sympathetic. Her brow's furrowed a little as she searches the other woman's features to get some sense of how this is hitting her without cheating.

"Or, of course, you could be a mutant," she deliberately continues once her eyes are on Lorna's again. "And you could have powers like mine, or like— "

A beat passes as she becomes very, very aware of the fact that she's in costume and Betsy isn't.

"— Betsy's. Or unlike anything either of us have ever seen, something terrible and catastrophic— something wonderful, something that could change the world. Or you could have the power to never need to buy green hair dye." She rolls a shoulder, then offers both hands out; one for Lorna, one for Betsy.

"Hopefully, by the time today's over, you won't this problem anymore… even if I can't promise you that it won't lead to others. My smartass," another, stronger burst of warmth touches the other floating woman's psyche, "friend over there is psychic too, and— it's— complicated, but the lay version is: if you are a mutant, then between she and I… we can probably narrow down whatever it is in your brain that's holding you back from expressing it and address it. The main problem there, besides all the obvious, collateral damage-y ones, is: if there is something your brain holding your powers back… I'm not going to speculate that it's there for a good reason, but there is a reason."

If Lorna's hands have found hers by this point, she'll squeeze them; if not, she'll take the initiative of reaching for one of the green-haired woman's shoulders.

"So we'd have to confront it, good or bad. Only if you're ready for it, though— only if you want to. We— could— just force a manifestation, if we really wanted to, but it's— that's not our call to make; it's yours."

-

A rough exhale followed as Lorna glanced at Betsy and her lips pursed together briefly. A thin white line of pressure that demonstrated just how nervous she really was in regards to seeking out her mind and discovering if the purple haired woman's words were correct or not. "No one else that's bipolar has ever told me that it means you get powers.." She teased, but her voice was soft, weak even as she let her hand fall away from shaking Phoenix'. She glanced around the clearing folding her arms over her chest as she shifted her weight upon the ground, her toes cold despite the thick socks she wore and heavy boots.

Green eyes flickered back toward the matching color in the red head's gaze and she swallowed a thick lump that formed in the back of her throat. "Well, can't say anyone else in my family pictures ever had green hair.. I'm the first. And I can't exactly ask my parents because they died in a plane crash when I was little.." She had been the only one to survive and her daughter's own inherited sea-foam green locks betrayed that something had been passed along genetically speaking. It galled her, to not know, it worried her to. People had called her a mutie, and a freak since she was a child. 'Normal' people didn't have green hair and the Registration laws made it hazy on whether or not legally she'd be on the hook. X-gene or no.

Powers or no. She wasn't sure what it might all entail.

Either way she seemed tense, as was obvious in the line of her shoulders and the stiffness of her jaw. Particularly as Jean brought up several important points. If there was something in her head blocking some would be powers.. then why was it there? How did it come to be there? There were more and more questions that seemed to prod at the possibility that maybe Betsy was right.. and if she was… what did that mean for Lorna?

It was slow going, but eventually Lorna did clasp the offered hand again that Jean held out to her, her weight shifting her feet again in an anxious way to the back of her heels and forward. "I would prefer to just confirm first whether or not what Betsy said is true. Is it all in my head or not? Am I mentally suppressing powers or something. Not that I think that's possible, but stranger things and what not.." She offered weakly, the dry humor her voice had been in failing slightly. "Either way, I'm done with guessing games and uhm… I'd like to know before we go about forcing… anything. Please."

-

Psylocke will move to take Lorna's other hand. "There are ways to put blocks in a mind to suppress a power, Lorna. I've had a lot of … power growth, shall we say, in the last few years. Sometimes being afraid of having powers or too strong a power can keep you from reaching the full height of those powers. I've done things in the last six months I wouldn't have thought I could possibly do six years ago."

Betsy will shrug her shoulders, looking at Jean. "As Phoenix sais, we can look, at least. Then.. you can decide from there. But if you do have powers.. wouldn't you rather know? Learn to be ready when your little girl grows up?"

-

"Certain powers - especially psychic or sensory ones - can manifest in ways that lead a person to think that they're experiencing symptoms of a range of mental illnesses," Phoenix gently allows, "and false diagnoses based on these manifestations are a sad fact of dealing with doctors who may or may not have a fully developed understanding of meta-healthcare…"

Fiery brows knit and furrow as she continues; her pace can't help but progressively quicken.

"… but, yes, yeah, otherwise, yes: there's still a lot we don't know about the brain, and the X-Gene, but the odds of latent or semi-latent X-Gene actively causing a specific, diagnosable psychological disorder are kinda low."

She takes a breath while flicking her eyes down.

"When I was a girl," she quietly, deliberately continues after letting it out and smoothing the frown away, "when my powers first manifested… my mind almost collapsed. I could hear all these voices, feel all these feelings… and they weren't mine, but they wouldn't go away."

Warmth extends from her fingertips, permeating the other two women. The clearing…

"I retreated into myself and I wouldn't come out for anything… until Charles Xavier came and found me."

And placed blocks in her mind, hiding the full breadth of her power from her until he felt she was ready to 'discover' it. She leaves that part out, but there's a palpable echo of regret while she gently weaves pieces of she and Betsy's consciousnesses into Lorna's. The clearing's heat intensfies…

In a distant whisper, she utters, "He helped me learn how to cope," instead, "so I could live."

The clearing's heat intensifies until it's rippling and shimmering around them—

"Close your eyes…" Phoenix softly instructs Lorna. «Can you handle navigation once we're in all the way in?» she wonders of Betsy. «I'm keeping a quiver full of warm fuzzies for just in case, so my attention's gonna be a little split…»

— until they aren't in a clearing at all.

"… and remember your favorite class from school."

They're in a classroom imported directly from Lorna's brain. Lorna's seated wherever she might remember herself gravitating— or being assigned, if the teacher was more organized. Phoenix is posted in front, leaning back against a desk and dressed in something plucked directly from the appropriate teacher's closet— or, at least, Lorna's best approximation of it. Betsy's avatar is wherever she chooses, since she is both a formidable telepath in her own right and lacking the sympathetic tie to this 'place' that prefigured Lorna's position.

Two words are circled on the board behind Phoenix:

'LORNA'S POWERS????'

"We'll take this gently," she assures, playing a marker between her fingers and over her knuckles. Where did it come from? Was she holding it a second ago?

Does it matter?

"Alright?"

-

It was clear from Lorna's expression, much less her thoughts, that she thought her mental illness of 'bipolar disordered' was simply just that. Something inherited? Sure, but hardly anything super natural or powers based. How could it? She'd suffered with it since she'd been diagnosed as a child in her Aunt's home. Still, she didn't argue or try to disagree verbally this time, her mental illness wasn't up for debate. It wasn't why they were there.

Her green eyed gaze tracked Phoenix's movements, following the woman as she moved and leaning her head forward as the redhead's voice dropped as she spoke of her own mental block and why she had one.. her own experiences. It made her chest tight, sympathy for the other woman's plight stole her breath and made her lips twist in a faint grimace. She'd known, mildly, what it was like to retreat into one's self after a fashion.

A glance was spared toward Betsy briefly, before she closed her eyes and her focus floundered and she was suddenly not in the wintery clearing warmed by mutant powers at all.. But in a classroom. But there wasn't a favorite classroom for the young woman. Not a single one in all her memories, simply ones that were more tolerable than the rest. She'd dropped out of high school, been teased and bullied since she was a child.. School had never been her refuge. It had been a torment. She sat in the back, her back crammed against the corner of the room, and dressed in what she had worn back in her Foster Home days. High school clothes of black, ripped jeans and T-shirt of some band. She wore a multitude of safety pins, thick steel toed boots and an over abundance of cheap metal jewelry she'd stolen from the mall. Her hair a brilliant green and shorn short to complete the mental look to match the classroom setting.

A look of surprise escaped Lorna as she jumped up from the desk, looking around wildly at the otherwise run down and plain looking room.

A low whistle escaped her, and she shook her head, moving toward the redhead at the front of the room. "Holy shit." She reached up to rake her fingers through her hair with a raised eyebrow.

"Okay.. so… what now? Do I have to do anything or something? I mean.. my head isn't exactly ah.. what I'd imagine as comfortable? We're still out in the clearing too, right?"

-

« She trusts me more, she just met you. It might be better if I steer. She has to trust us a lot to do this. Thank you, Jean. I just.. I know she's got a power inside her wanting to break free. » Betsy /knows/ this, even if she doesn't always trust her precog or psychic powers. They can be so hard to trust, even more than her telepathy or telekinetic powers.

She has quiet empathy for Jean, she knows what it is to have powers that you didn't know you had, or did you? The body swapping had broken some of her into tiny bits, even as it expanded her power immensely. It had all changed her, she's nowhere near the same young girl who colored her hair purple - the teenaged girl with the bright purple hair cut to her shoulders, but her eyes… they're blue, here in this classroom. Her eyes were not always violet, after all.

It a very Betsy style, she's in a short black miniskirt and a gray sweater that looks ready to slide off her shoulder. She'll move to lean against a desk, smiling at Lorna. "Just relax. I've seen worse. And yes, physically we're are in the clearing, but no one would stand a chance to get close enough with me and Phoenix around. You're safe."

She will look at the redhead, her head tilting.

-

"Sorry," says Phoenix with a sympathetic quirk of the lips. "Convenient metaphor; symbols are powerful up here. Let's… try…"

Did Lorna blink, or was it the classroom?

"… this…"

Either way, since Phoenix was plugged into the green-haired woman's memories of school, her chilly feelings about it are plain; her preferred alternatives, then, are just a few steps removed, which is probably why they're in Lorna's old public library, now. Still with the desk and the whiteboard, because the latter's no less convenient of a symbol and the former makes for good leaning.

"Betsy's going to take point on isolating the block in your psyche," she says with a brisk nod towards the British woman. "What we need for you to do is just… try to relax, trust us. Don't be afraid to let us in, even if we might see something embarassing, or sad, or painful— especially then. We won't go any deeper than you let us, but in order for this to work… you'll have to let us in, if that makes sense. Think about what your maybe-mutancy's meant to you in your life; did you ever experiment, try to force a power manifestation? Were you ever tested…? Those kinds of thoughts'll - possibly, anyway - give Betsy something to latch onto, while she hunts."

At first glance, the library's intricately detailed, ripped wholecloth from Lorna's memories down to the posters and notices hanging on the walls. Thanks to her complicated history with it, Phoenix has spent what time she's had with her telepathy honing it to an intensely fine edge; she may not necessarily be able to harness the full breadth of her powers with the ease of a more experienced telepath like Betsy, but they're terrifically precise.

«I'll run support,» she assures. Coincidentally, she is beside the whiteboard, now, marker at the ready. There's an earpiece in her ear and its twin's stuck in Betsy's. «Just keep me posted.»

At second glance, there are some holes. The aisles' labeling is sparse at best, and most of the book covers are blank; so are the pages.

'FAVORITE FOODS' one of a handful of aisles is labeled; 'HAPPY MEMORIES'; 'DAWN'. The books themselves get more granular, of course. Individual memories; feelings; opinions…

Unlike the library Lorna used to hide out in when she was a teenager, she's the only one who can stock the shelves. They aren't all the way in Lorna's psyche, just yet; this is just a pretty veneer over the surface. Traveling any deeper - exploring the stacks and rooting out the block in Lorna's mind - will be up to Betsy's careful handling and the green-haired woman's willingness to trust them.

-

Lorna missed the conversations going on between Jean and Betsy, how could she possibly know them? It might be her mind, but they were two very powerful telepaths. She instead was curiously looking around, trying to make sense of her surroundings before in a blink.. they were changed. A library. The public library in the rural town she'd been passed along to in her Foster care years. It had been a comfort. No matter where she was, there was the library. The only place people didn't expect to find the green haired trouble maker. She'd skip school.. only to read something that interested her on her own. Her grades failed not because she couldn't do the work, but rather.. because she didn't want to be in the school building at all.

The sudden change of setting had her boggling, blinking around in wonder as she stepped curiously toward the stacks and noted the different subject, the titles blank on the spines of various books as she picked at one and flipped it open to blank pages.

It was with half an ear she listened to Betsy and Phoenix. "Right… safe enough inside my head. No problem." She offered as she shut the empty book and put it back. She glanced toward Betsy, arching a brow and settling her hands on her hips as the red head told the other woman to take point. She wasn't sure what she was supposed to do… but think about possible mutations? About pain and would be manifestations? That she could do.

Her eyes closed within her mind as she focused. The first thoughts crashed over her came up to her daughter. Dawn. Seafoam green hair that she'd inherited from her. Dawn who'd been born that way. Lorna herself remembered the pregnancy, remembered being confined to bed rest. Her adoptive mother had been adamant she do nothing. Stress could make her lose the baby. She'd had oddly tenuous health problems throughout her pregnancy, and for the delivery? She'd been heavily sedated. Only after… when she woke up after, did she see her daughter. Her beautiful, lovely, perfect little girl…

Back, further back. The Mutant Rights Protest she'd attended.. where somehow a bunch of anti-mutant protestors had fallen over the side of the free-way… some of them had died… She'd been arrested. But the judge had known someone with bipolar disorder.. she'd been locked in a mental hospital briefly. A month. Two.. A strange phone call and she'd been released. No one had told her why….

Another year, further back.. Another arrest for getting into fights outside of school…. being apologized to by the Chief of police from the middle of nowhere.. Her arguments with her adoptive-then-foster mother. How did a substitute teacher manage to get her out of jail?

…dropping out of high school, being bullied for being a foster kid, for being bipolar… for having green hair. Kids throwing gum at her and pencils, grabbing her hair or trying to cut it off..

When she was younger still, trying to get away without dying her hair black or brown… throwing herself into trouble or dangerous situations in hopes that something might happen… only for nothing to happen… Nothing… nothing…

Watching TV as mutants broadcasted and fought on national television… calls for rights and action…

A birthday gift on her 13th birthday. A red metal 'M' in a tiny box on her door step. 'To Lorna'….

Memories blurred together. The death of her aunt and uncle… back and back… until they grew fuzzy with childhood. Little child Lorna screaming as she fought her aunt as the older woman tried to dye her green hair with toxic smelling black dye… the dye washing out the next bath time with the smallest amount of shampoo…

-

Psylocke will just nod to Jean, blue eyes having shifted to the violet Lorna knows better. She will not rush towards the green haired woman, even as Lorna lets herself go back in her memories. Betsy has to push her emotions away, so she doesn't feel for the green haired mutant. Betsy had hated school, been bored there, and then her powers had made crowds very uncomfortable for a while.

There's something about the red metal M that Betsy will highlight for Jean, something niggling in the back of her head, where her precog feelings usually reside. She will move towards the shelves, looking as the memories title some books, likely filling the previously blank pages. « Her thirteenth birthday - think it means…something? » Betsy is not willing to overstep or overanalyze, one mental hand marking that memory like a page in a book.

"Your parents died, that's why you went with your aunt and uncle then?" She says softly. There's something pulling on her, but what?

-

'PROTEST'
'HOSPITAL'
'FOSTER MOM'
'BULLIES'
'13'
'AUNT/UNCLE'

A web of ideas branches from those first two words at the heart of the board and Phoenix is still writing. Betsy explores, Betsy reads, and Phoenix writes; there's no pause for communication or parsing beyond what Betsy herself needs.

«Small town, right? Girl with something that made her stand out a little? Rumors about her illness…? Kids are cruel, Betsy, and in weird ways…»

She circles the red 'M' she's got sketched out on the board a few more times, catches herself with a lingering glance at it, then briskly shakes her head and turns her eyes to Lorna.

«Thirteen's a pretty common age for first manifestations, though, right?»

"What do you remember about your aunt and uncle?" she gently wonders. "How did they…? Trauma's a common trigger for repressed memories, right? X-Gene-derived abilities tend to have mental triggers; obviously, these two things aren't the same, but there's crossover. If— well, if something happened, somehow, that tied your earliest memories of your abilities - whatever they might be - to something tragic— something you feel, on some level, like you could've protected them from, maybe…"

She lets this thought trail for a moment. Here in the astral library, she can't easily hide the dismay that crosses her features as she considers the other, darker possibilities than the one she's presenting as an example.

"Childhood manifestations aren't as common as adolescent ones, but they can happen, and when they do… they're usually extreme, and difficult to control."

-

A grimace twisted Lorna's mental projection, her lips pursed into a thin line as she lost herself deeper in memories and struggled with the hazy distance of years. Betsy's direction.. her parents.. She shook her head. "They died when I was little… very little. I don't remember them. It was a plane crash… They didn't survive…" But what about her? She didn't know… there were no official records for her to comb through… Nothing for her to hold onto. Not even a photograph… Her voice was soft, hushed. The only memory that trickled in was a haunting lullaby. The words lost to a humming melody. She didn't know it, but the melody was Yiddish. Forgotten and old and lost to her memories, and time.

Her eyebrows wrinkled as she found herself humming the tune under her breath, only to break off as Phoenix interrupted to ask after her aunt and uncle. She frowned, "Aunt Dane was related to my dad. They raised me until there was a car crash… I wasn't there. I had a babysitter… and a drunk driver hit them." It wasn't her aunt and uncle. For all that they'd been hyper protective over her. Had forced her to hide her hair color with a protective zeal that was obsessive. They'd wanted her safe. They'd wanted her to pass under the radar.

With their passing the last link she'd had to her mother and father that she knew of at least.

Any attempts though for her to drag up memories from before them? It failed. She couldn't. She was too young, too small… It slipped from her grasp and should Betsy look?

It was like a steel wall. The memories weren't just faded from age, well over twenty years ago now.. but there it was. A block. Well before the Aunt and Uncle… before childhood, into her earliest memories. They stopped. There was the block. As sure as if it had been a balant wall, there all along.

The end of the road in this search was frankly, far, far earlier than anyone could've anticipated.

-

Psylocke reaches out in the astral library for Lorna's hand, violet eyes full of sorrow and kindness. "I lost my parents, too." Of course, she'd had her brothers, at least.

She's taking slow, deep, even breaths. « I may need some extra power here, Jean. She's got it blocked, and I think.. I think she was that YOUNG, and someone tampered. I can try to get through, but I need to truly focus completely. So that leaves you to keep an eye on her and our actual surroundings. And we may need someone like Meggan to come truly help and comfort her, after.»

"Lorna, I need you to just trust me. I'm going to dive deeper. There's… there's something here." Betsy's niggling precog warnings are damn near klaxons blaring silently in the back of her head, kept away from anyone else with careful precision.

She will try to feel out the wall, this metal mental block. She will consider her options: Over, under, or through.

-

Phoenix was working backwards through gross sources of tragedy. The bullies, the protest, the hospital— all of them were possibilities, but nothing on the order of dead loved ones. Psylocke's prompt gets them right to the heart of things in short order, however; Phoenix's more methodical approach might detour things a little, but the story of Auntie Dane, Uncle Somebody, and the Very Bad, No Good Driver is softly scored by that haunting melody rendered in tender, feminine humming.

Before them, there's nothing, really.

Just a wall of locks and chains and steel shutters drawn across one of the aisles.

«We have to ask, Betsy,» she reminds while drawing a big steel wall between the center of the idea web and the 'MOM/DAD' branch, «but if she's willing… I have her.»

She's standing right in front of Lorna, now, fixed on the other woman's eyes.

"Lorna," Phoenix gently adds, reaching out to grasp her shoulders, "there's a good chance that whatever's holding your powers back… it happened when you were real small. We're going to try and go in carefully— crack it open, just to get a peek, so we know what we're dealing with, like we talked about."

«And if there's anyone who can slip in there without making too big of a scene, it's definitely you,» she adds.

-

A note of frustration crept over Lorna as she opened her eyes in her mind, back at the library, no longer lost to the scramble of memories as Phoenix approached and spoke to her. Green eyes met green, and she blinked, distracted as she dragged her focus away from Betsy and back to the redheaded woman before her, to the whiteboard briefly, and back. "What does she mean that there's something there?" Her eyebrows furrowed. "I thought a… a 'mental block' like she said before was, I dunno, me holding myself back because I was afraid or something. Like a kid afraid to jump into a pool cause last time he chipped a tooth or something stupid." She muttered, her voice hesitant. Worried.

Her arms crossed as she tried to step back as gentle hands reached out to grasp at her shoulders in comfort.

"I don't get it." Her gaze whipped back toward Betsy, down the aisle that was darkened in shadow and ended in a metal wall. Locked and chained. High and seemingly without end. It towered over the mental landscape now that it had been effectively, found at the end of Lorna's earliest memories. It was strong, old, and well placed. An expert hand had made it. Not even a sound or an inkling, not a whisper of powers escaped it.

There was no clear way to get in. Not without knocking it down entirely. The block had been created with a purpose. And only force seemed to be the key to the answers they sought. Memories had been altered. Erased. And with them.. whatever had happened to Lorna when she was but a toddler.

-

Psylocke will look at Phoenix, arching one eyebrow. Then those violet eyes, even brighter than in real life, turned to look at Lorna. "The wall is blocking you off. It was put here, it's not something natural in a mind, Lorna. I think… remember what Phoenix told you, about having blocks put in her head to protect her? I think this means you had something similar done, to protect you from your powers running wild when you were far too young to understand or control them." Betsy does tend to cut right to the point, and not sugar coat things when they're important.

"I want to try and sneak in, first, but I need to know you're okay with me doing whatever we need to do, to free you of this. It might not be a big power, but..someone cut off your own memories from you. Can you trust me enough to let me try?"

-

"It's deeper than that, Lorna," Phoenix gently murmurs.

Burning wings unfurl from the redhead's back, curl forward, and seek to loosely fold around Lorna. The clearing's warm; the astral library, moreso. But Betsy's about to breach a piece of this woman's psyche that was sealed off purposefully, opening the door to childhood memories none of them can do much more than speculate on; what radiates from Phoenix is more than heat, more than warmth.

It's the laughter of a blessed, innocent soul;

a comfortable moment etched out of isolation and fear;

the softly humming safety of a haunting melody.

Whether it'll be enough or not remains to be seen.

"Whatever's cutting you off from your powers - your memories, the earliest ones - it was done intentionally; that's what Betsy's saying. Someone - something - went in and rearranged pieces of you to do this, then cut them off from you— but. As long as your trust us— as long as you're ready— "

«I have her,» she promises. «Focus as needed.»

"— we can get through and get to the bottom of it."

-

Lorna's eyebrows furrowed sharply as Betsy spoke of the block in her mind being far more than she'd really considered possible. About the why behind the block's existence. The fact that it was bleeding into territory of what Phoenix had said happened to her sent a chill of anxiety down the green haired woman's spine. It tightened the breath in her chest, and her gaze turned wide eyed upon the physical manifestation of the aisle of books that led to the steel-looking block.

The burning wings that unfurled, and curled around her, warming her from within and out, grabbed and held Lorna's focus and attention completely and utterly. She closed her eyes, breathing sharply as she struggled to make a decision that one way or another.. would impact her life and the lives of those around her that she loved the most. She had powers, she had memories of them behind a mental block that… that someone had purposefully put into her head when she was little. That fact twisted like a gurgling of anger, hot and acidic in her. Someone had gone into her mind and changed it when she was far too young to make choices for herself. How would she have reacted if someone tried that with Dawn, her own daughter?

When she opened her eyes to meet the redhead's gaze it was filled with emotions. Was she scared? Completely and utterly.. But she had to know. Why? Why would someone do that? What was behind that manifestation of her mind's mental block? It would drive her to the end of her rope if she didn't know.

"Do it. Whatever you have to do. I want to know. I have to do. I've spent too much of my life not knowing. Just.. just do it. Betsy."

-

There's a slow exhale, before Betsy will take a deep breath in. Violet eyes will look to Jean, before back to Lorna. She will just nod, knowing Jean will brace and cushion the other woman.

She turns towards that big wall, clenching and unclenching her hands. The little physical fidgeting happens in the astral library as well as in the clearing, a little physicality helping to focus the mentality. She will reach out, feeling along the mental block of wall, looking for a crack, a chink in it somewhere to try and pry in delicately. But that didn't seem like a possibility, and the Brit will look back at Jean, just a flicker of expression to let Jean know delicacy was not the way through, this time. Summoning up the telepathic equivalet of her hardest telekinetic blow, she will swing at that wall like she's got a bomb.

-

"I know," Phoenix whispers as anger churns and chews at Lorna's insides. Typically, she avoids prying without permission; Betsy's taking point on the 'actually digging through Lorna's memories' part of this session for a reason. This close, though…?

Jean's stomach burns with Lorna's in sympathy. In memory.

The only difference is that she probably could've made the call, had she been asked.

"Me too," comes as a scintillating tear rolls down her cheek. Her hands shift so she can try to loop her arms around Lorna while the wings fold further inwards to wrap around them.

"But you'll know, soon, and we'll be here for you when you do."

Despite all this, of course, she won't be able to stop the tangle of erased, altered, and blocked off memories collapsed into the broad form of a wall from rattling and shuddering accordingly when struck, but at least she can try to keep Lorna's mind off of any ruckus before the blocks come down and things get potentially dicey.

«Who would do this to a child and just… leave her this way, Betsy?»

-

The mental block didn't budge to the easy pokes and prods. It had been meant to last. It had been built to stand and keep her powers locked away until the original creator of it came to remove the blocks set there. Simple stress couldn't break it, which was why Lorna had never once in her life experienced so much as a whisper of her powers. Not through all the times she'd nearly lost her life. When something horrible had happened to her and she'd needed something, anything.. it had all been beyond her reach.

Then came Betsy's full force and the mental block rumbled, and suddenly collapsed inwards. The sound of screams filled the mental space. Metal twisting and ripping. A thunderous clap like an explosion and the crashing sound of something large and fast.

Then came the words. Voices.

"I'm sorry I couldn't keep you satisfied!"

"You know what? I wish you'd push me out, so I didn't have to listen to this!"

"STOP FIGHTING!" Came the little voice.

"Hello child, I was drawn here by the magnetic pulse you unleashed…" A dark figure. Tall. Cloaked.

"Will you shut up that little brat of yours?!"

"You're not ready for the life that I could give you, little one…" A head helmet, ringed in purple. White hair and icy blue eyes over her.

Fire.

"Mommy!"

"Lorna! Just be quiet and go back to— "

"Oh my god!"

The memories played back in an explosive rerun, tangled and scrambled. Unable to make sense. Electric green energy bloomed all around and suddenly there was no more plane. The crashing noises, had been a plane. One that Lorna had been on as a toddler, no longer than three.

"You need a 'normal' environment."

A hand on her cheek.

Her mother's green eyes wide in fear as she screamed.

Then came the powers. Despite the warmth and the comfort that Jean sank around Lorna, the powers came with a rush as everything escaped in a single instant. Memories were tricky things and her powers had been tied up in them. Soon enough, Lorna's screams followed as the impact of everything swirled through her. Her head thrown back even as her hands gripped at Phoenix for support. Tears stung her eyes both in her mindscape as in the real world.

In the real world? The results were explosive.

Nothing can be bottled up for long without explosive results. Much less magnetism. Even in the woods, the concussive force of Lorna's powers suddenly hitting her was violent and sudden., Instantaneous. Around the three, trees were suddenly knocked back in an explosion of electromagnetism. Rocks and dirt blasted away in a circle that made the whole area look like it had been hit by a meteorite. And the cars in the parking lot? All of them were shoved back likewise. A ten minute walk hadn't been enough to completely spare them moving a half dozen feet sideways.

-

If Betsy had known, she would have put up a telekinetic shield.. though she had to put most of her power behind the push against that wall - it wouldn't have been enough. So much rampaging through her head, leaving the British psychic shaken. The red M, that man's face.. Violet eyes will find Lorna and Phoenix, shaken in a way she wasn't often ruffled at all. There's some deep breaths, as Betsy will start to wrap up her mind, leaving just the lightest, smallest link to Jean. Omega level telepath and part of the Phoenix force don't need to be wide open to get things communicated.

-

Betsy took point and they've moved on from brainstorming. Phoenix gets an echo of the cacophony that follows when the wall tumbles down, but most of her attention is on Lorna. An echo's enough to know a cacophony for what it is, so holding Lorna tight to make certain that the woman experiencing the full din of her hidden childhood knows that she isn't alone - that Phoenix won't let her fly apart as memories explode from the deepest depths of her consciousness - gets most of her attention.

Most of it.

«Don't stop— I won't let her crumble! I won't let anything else crumble— !»

X-Gene derived abilities tend to have mental triggers. Cerebro was built to take advantage of this principle, to sharpen a psychic's will to a fine enough point to lock in on those narrow slices of the mutant psyche. It's much more complicated than that, of course; there are X-Gene talents with no discernable triggers to speak of, psychic or otherwise, but Cerebro's comprehensive extrasensory perception array can find them just fine. But Cerebro's tangent, of course; this isn't about Cerebro at all, is it?

It's about trees frozen at perilous angles, rocks and dirt floating amidst them, cars trapped mid-twist; three women hovering above a blast crater, two in lotus posture, every iota of it wreathed in brilliant magenta.

It's about arms that squeeze much more powerfully than they have any obvious right to and a will that refuses to let go— of Lorna, her aftermath, anything.

(Most of it.)

It isn't about a library anymore: following a brief spell of crumbling to suit the chaos of wall-breaking, it just vanished out of existence once the magnetic tempest began, leaving her astral avatar embracing Lorna's in a burning void.

"L— Lorna," Phoenix gasps, panting frantically as her eyes flutter open in the clearing. Sweat beads her forehead; a drop of blood's running from her nostril. "Lorna, you're— are you— are you OKAY?!" she presses a few seconds after the storm settles, wrapping both hands around Lorna's one and squeezing tight.

Slowly but surely, cars slide back into their spaces; dirt and rocks settle to the ground; trees tilt back into upright positions. Nothing's quite like it was before, but that's the way of things sometimes, isn't it?

"You— you can open your eyes, now," she distantly continues. "I think… I think we've solved one problem…"

«She's… going to need help…»

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