The Hungry Bassline
Roleplaying Log: The Hungry Bassline
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

A guest in the house Xavier built has a solid conversation over eggs, bacon, and some smooth guitar.

Other Characters Referenced: Rachel Grey-Summers, Warren Worthington, Carol Danvers, Atli & Toothbender, A Certain Bass Guitar
IC Date: February 26, 2019
IC Location: Xavier Institute, Westchester, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Feb 2019 05:50
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

And then out of nowhere, Rachel Summers arrived on the grounds in TK-flight with a passenger in tow: Sloane Albright, otherwise known to the Institute as an agent of SHIELD.

Whatever happened after that, she has absolutely no idea: With some telepathic assistance, she spent nearly fourteen hours straight having what was probably the most restful sleep she ever had in her life, followed by a visit to the infirmary to get checked up on her injuries and given the brief tour before being taken to the dining hall and eating somewhere around 1/4th her body mass.

And god she was hungry. (Rachel might have been helping the healing process along the way.)

Somewhere along the way, she was separated from the punk firebirb, too, and whereas one would get lost in the halls of the institute, all that training drilled into her head gave her a pretty good mental map of the places that she had actually seen, leading her to head back to the one place where she felt like she could spend some time clearing her head:

The music room.

Dressed in a snug white jersey-style t-shirt with big and bold '99' on the front and back but for no recognizable sport or team, sweatpants that look like they came from the gift shop with the big X-branding on one leg, and wearing a heavy hoodie, Sloane rolls her right wrist — feeling amazingly better, and not like her hand isn't on fire.

But good god does she *make* some fire.

The sound of a sick-as-hell four-string bass guitar echoes from the music room somewhere in the ambiguous hours after-classes hours of the evening, dancing through some of the best and most iconic bass lines of modern music. It's not /quite/ a concert, but gosh she's putting on a bit of a show — and for all of her reputation, /this/ is what she knows best. This is what she's done since she was old enough to hold the weight of a guitar, and what she did as one of the primary fixtures of The Shakedown's open mic night.

And she is god damn /good/.

—-

A year ago Meggan would have been thrilled to pieces to meet a real Agent of SHIELD without pretense or a diplomatic reception. (She has met agents of SHIELD three times, at diplomatic receptions. SHIELD does, in fact, work in the UK on occasion, and as the semi-former-ex girlfriend of — well; that's not who she REALLY is, so this aside must trail off, as so many do.)

Now she is a little less enthusiastic, not least because SHIELD wants to register people, and unlike firearms or automobiles this seems to have a lot more to do with one's individual likelihood of going to a camp than usual. Meggan doesn't want to go to a camp, unless, of course, it is a holiday camp.

But that affects how she thinks of an agent of SHIELD, and like many people, Sloane Albright contains multitudes. She might have seen Meggan in the distance, or tasted her presence by reflection from Rachel, but she had not interfered. When Meggan heard a live guitar begin echoing down the hallways of this half-emptied-out school, she moved, of course, in that direction.

And when the performance reaches a lull - a delay - perhaps not a crescendo or a conclusion, given the nature of a spiritual performance like this - Sloane discovers that she is being watched raptly.

Meggan is wearing a gray T-shirt that is doing her a lot of favors and a pair of comfortably cut yoga pants, no shoes. She is crouching down about a yard and a half from Sloane, resting comfortably on the balls of her feet. Looking up at her with rapt observation, her chin resting in her cupped hands.

Green and blue scales are dusted over her cheeks, sweeping backwards. Her ears have tilted down and sprouted several gentle fin-rays.

If Sloane doesn't do anything about this Meggan seems to be happy to keep doing this.

—-

She's had audiences before; the bar, recitals, concerts while she was in college — she doesn't even notice when folks stop at the door or peek inside, or in the case of Meggan, almost prancing right in to watch the performance as the electric bass rumbles out song after song. Sure, you can play a bass with a pick, but this is more an exercise for her fingers and wrist, plucking strings with precision and confidence.

Some songs pick up on speed, but never go too fast. She leaves more recognizable bass lines and starts exploring some more mellow music — and this goes on and on and on. It helps take her mind off things and, really, it makes her feel happy. You can tell from the way her eyes close and her head lulls on it's own.

Finally, she tapers off the notes and looks up, rolling her wrist around inside tightly-wound (and fairly fresh) bandages. "Oh— hey, Meggan. It's been awhile."

She squints, if only just a little, flexing her hand in and out of a fist. "No offense, but you look different."

—-

"Oh, god, did I do it again," Meggan huffs, as the scales slide back into her skin with little twinkles. Her ears lift and lose their bones as she rises upwards with a bit of a shy smile, saying as she does, "It has been. You look lovely, Sloane."

Then comes…

THE HUG.

It is tight, warm, and caring. It is also brief, which may be a slight relief given the amount of force behind it. As she lets go Meggan reaches her hands up to clasp Sloane's shoulders for a moment, then let go.

"D'you want some eggs?" she offers. "I've gotten them quite down to a science. If you're in the groove though, by all means; I hope you don't mind that I was listening."

—-

Gosh, if only Sloane knew how to do /that/ trick, watching Meggan with her own turn with rapt fascination. Shifting the bass guitar across her lap, she stands up— slowly— from her seat and sets it aside, clicking off the amp and setting down the pick hidden between her fingers on top. "Thanks. I—"

HUG. "Oomf—"

"— side —"

Sloane does hug back, and Meggan releases her, but it's hard to be upset with that ball of warmth even if a scale-backed hand shifts to her side. "Sorry — still a little tender. It's all right if you wanted to watch, I just needed to stretch my hand a bit," the meta-fish replies, holding up her bandaged hand. "It's healing up faster than I thought. I don't really get … /entirely/…. how it works, but Rachel was working on me while I was sleeping."

Her other hand lifts. "I will also never turn down free food."

Tucking her hands into the pockets of the hoodie, she slips bare feet into flip-flops (sandals? in winter?!), letting the familiar and comfortable feeling of college roll all over her. "I didn't realize how well-stocked the school was. That guitar's a wicked axe."

—-

Meggan gives good hug, but she relents. "No, it's fine," she says, "It's absolutely fine! Honestly what I wanted to do is make things easier for you, I've heard you've had an absolute beast of a time."

Meggan may not have read any reports - even if they were made.

"I know, right?" Meggan says, nodding towards it. "I suppose a lot of it is the whole school thing and I understand Warren's written a check to replace all of the things that really need replacing. That particular guitar, I think, though, I think that's someone's — but they left it so just set it down when you're done…"

She laughs then. Her hands come up to clasp at Sloane's own wounded one - but without force. "Did she! She's amazing, isn't she? I can see you've got wounds, but were they fresh? God, I feel awful just saying that. Here," and the double clasp turns into a single, hand-holdsies promiscuous and brazen as she leads Sloane out.

"Bring the guitar if you want," she adds.

"So tell me what brought you all the way out here while I plan out your omelet," Meggan continues cheerfully. "I expect you'll want a whole kilo of bacon with it if I read you right. Is that right? You seem like you're hungry. I just get that /feeling/."

—-

"Yeah, it's been … rough," she says, rubbing at the back of her neck. "I haven't slept so well in a long time. I got hurt, like … They're — well, it's been a couple of weeks now, but one of them was pretty bad, so it dragged my entire body down. And then I've been a bit of a hot mess since then so it just snowballed really fast."

She considers — for a moment— but dragging along an amp and guitar would be a pain. Instead, she chooses an acoustic to drag along, glancing around to see if anyone would object in this action— or her snagging a pick to bring along the way.

Shifting the guitar from one hand to the other before rolling her shoulder, shifting the weight of the hoodie, Sloane sighs. "I'm in a bad spot. I dunno what I'm gonna do now. My job's … y'know. Meta-reg, and all that, I ended up getting pulled in a lot of different directions, got hurt because of it."

Sharp canines flash for a moment while she grins, big and bright. "Yeah, to be honest, I've been /really/ hungry since I woke up. Like, all the time. It's like when you get sick and then when you start feeling better you wanna eat /everything/."

"Anyway, um… I didn't know what to do, and I was in a bad place, so… I got in touch with Rach. We had a talk with Tony Stark, and then she brought me back up here," Sloane concludes, cheeks a little red. "I'm just trying to keep my head down and not get anyone wound up that I'm here."

—-

Nobody objects. Sloane may have the feeling of Doop giving her the thumbs up. But then again she might not. Doop is his own beast. Many have tried to study the Doop. Few have succeeded.

As they make their way downstairs, Meggan listens. She doesn't listen so much to the words, not least because she has the impression of someone playing down their woes, a courageous minor note in the symphony of Sloane, but also because the details tend to just flow through her mind.

Many stay, though.

As she reaches the kitchen space, Meggan puts her hands on Sloane's shoulders and scoots her to the center island. The goal: To set her down on a stool.

"Should we be?" Meggan asks.

"I mean, you may not exactly have one of the secret action cards or anything, but you've helped many of us out immensely. If Warren or anything comes downstairs I'm going to stand up for you, you know. Do you often feel like you're a trouble to people?"

As she says this Meggan gathers her implements of destruction. A mysterious metal can of Tim Horton's coffee that was in the fridge. A pack of eggs. A pack of bacon. A stick of butter. A few shoots of green onion. As she begins to crack eggs and chop onion, Meggan continues, "I've had the same feeling. I don't know how true it is in any one particular case, of course. But I do know that — well, think about it, how often do you think 'oh, that…'"

Meggan pauses, and paps her chin with the tip of a knife. (yaaaah) (but no cut.) "I don't know a good example," she says. "But if you're getting hurt, standing up for what you believe in, then I don't think you're being a burden at all, if you're acting halfway sensible - and I am quite sure," chop chop chop, "that you are."

"Do you want the bacon mixed in with the egg?"

—-

Meggan does not just suggest she sits, she is /placed/ on a stool. Her eyes are a little wide and confused as she's manhandled to her seat, but rolls with it. No arguing with the cheerful shapeshifter that seems to know what she's thinking and feeling! Then again — the inhuman never really asked what her powers /were/…

Sloane props the guitar up against the side of the island, crossing her arms on the counter and leaning forward a bit. "No. I mean, maybe? I don't know. I'm proud of what I've done in Mutant Town, but I don't know how much of that's gonna count for, going forward, especially with SHIELD being all for registration."

Fidgeting with the collar of the ill-fitted hoodie, pulling it up over her shoulder, her head tilts. And… Meggan gives pretty good advice. "I guess… that's true."

Bacon? "Ah— yeah, please. If it's not too much trouble." Her hand lifts slightly. "Though I'll pass on the coffee, thank you. Hasn't tasted right to me since I scaled up," she says, sticking out her tongue and pointing at it.

"Anyway, I already had to deal with Mister Worthington once and he wasn't too appreciative of me and my friend crashing into the pool in the dead-ass middle of winter. I can't imagine how he's gonna react toooo… this."

Somewhere along the way, the guitar ends up in Sloane's hands again, using the pick this time to pluck strings and let herself get lost in thought.

"Officially, I'm on sick leave, but I'm pretty sure they know I want to leave-leave."

—-

Meggan nods in understanding, gets out the BIG skillet, and plops it down. She then begins to break down the entire pack of bacon - which had already been opened, to be fair, but even so, that's nine strips of bacon - fat bacon, thick cut - laid out on the black metal. She turns on the burner.

It obliges, of course. The wonder of money. Meggan shifts the pan a little and then shuffles over to start breaking eggs into a metal bowl.

"When you say, THIS," Meggan says, as she keeps on crackin', "what do you mean?" She looks up to Sloane then and smiles again. "I mean it's like I'm tuning in in the middle of the show, you know, I'm not sure what you mean. That you want to quit being in SHIELD? That Warren dislikes you personally? I could see being a little anxious you might have something in your luggage, but Rachel brought you here;"

Having crack crack cracked the egg into the bowl, Meggan grips a spatula and begins to M-I-X the crack(ed eggs). "So I'm certain you're fine."

Meggan is quiet for a few moments. The bacon doesn't quite fry yet but the scent of it begins to rise.

"It's hard, leaving, isn't it? Even just considering it's awful."

—-

"Shit — I'm sorry," Sloane says, rubbing her head. "I don't — actually know yet what Rachel has told anyone, and I'm just used to like … people /knowing/? Just because it's hard to keep secrets in a place like SHIELD, you know?"

The ginger continues to aimlessly play the guitar, plucking strings while trying to organize her thoughts. She stops, just long enough to hook an arm over the instrument and sigh. "Rachel invited me to come here awhile back. I'm really thinking about taking her up on it— like, staying— but the last time I met Mister Worthington I kind of … crashed into the pool with my Asgardian friend and her goat, and we got a lot of people spooked, and he wasn't exactly happy about it."

But golly she got to hear the Epic of Dazzler that night.

"I'm not exactly a costumed, masked hero-type, y'know? Like, it doesn't take much to go Google me and get some kind of opinion about the 'Fish Girl of SHIELD.' Especially now." A few string plucks. "I preferred the 'Water Dragon' thing personally," she adds under her breath.

It's hard, isn't it. "Yeah," she replies, at first frowning… but then, at least, looking a little more resolute. "I'm gonna figure it out, though. Especially now that I feel like, wayyy the hell better."

"The food smells god damn amazing already, by the way."

—-

The bacon begins to sizzle. The meat must Sizzle. If it is not yet Delicious, sizzle it more. It MUST SIZZLE. So said Martha Washington.

"I'm not sure what you're talking about now," Meggan says about the first part. "I'm sorry if I'm being thick… I usually don't gossip a lot with Rachel and I know she's busy a great deal of the time…" She then nods along with the statement, and offers, "I could call him right now if you want."

Meggan smiles. "We're friends!"

She starts to flip the bacon. "I never thought of myself as one exactly either, yet here we are, aren't we," she answers Sloane lightly, before frowning a little more. "Wait - oh! Oh my god that's you, isn't it. I saw that bit on the news when I was watching TV but it was like a distant shot so I just thought it was a water cannon person, but I suppose that's you TOO isn't it!" Meggan's eyes practically sparkle. "Ah!"

"But you didn't want to be on TV, did you," she muses. Somehow there is sorrow in the thought. "If it helps it was one of those, you know how they find bits from YouTube and so on, right?"

"Thank you very much," Meggan concludes as she finishes flipping the bacon. "Do you like it very crisp? Otherwise grab that plate over there and scoot it forwards and I'll load you up." There were several plates set out already because everything has to be PAINFULLY PRECIOUS when Meggan is around and NOT OTHERWISE GAINFULLY OCCUPIED.

"… was the goat alright?"

—-

"No, it's okay, Meggan, it's my fault. You spend two years working for an agency and you expect people to just, I don't know, get what you're gonna say before you say it. That's gotta be really annoying, now that I'm thinkin' about it," Sloane says with a squint.

Call Warren in? "I— appreciate it, but that's okay for now. Thanks, though."

"Yeah," she continues, in regards to the video. "And Captain Danvers didn't even ask me, she just put me in there. One thing led to another," she starts to say— then stops, and lifts her hand from the guitar's body as she remembers again about half-speak. "I mean, like. I got attacked because of that video. And then there's a whole mess /before/ that, of other stuff I really can't talk about."

Setting the guitar back down, Sloane reaches over to snag the plate, then set it down near Meggan. "Thanks."

"The goat? … Oh! Yeah. No, that thing's like an Asgardian war-goat." Her eyes drift down for a moment, looking very pensive. "It ate my TV remote once."

—-

Meggan begins to pull out the bits of bacon, of which Sloane gets /six/ slices - she reserves two for herself, presumably, and one for an additional purpose, even as Sloane explains further. "Oh no - I understand, you get into the, the groove of things -"

Meggan is hoisting the pan up to pour off the bacon grease into that can, when Captain Danvers comes up.

Meggan's hand stops. (Sloane may notice that Meggan has not been using a pot holder but does not seem bothered. Close examination would reveal that the palm and fingers of her hand have grown thick if pale calluses, which do not seem to be present at other points. Mutans mutantis, indeed.)

"I'm glad about the goat," Meggan says, "but step back a notch."

"This Captain Danvers put you on the telly without asking you," Meggan said. "And someone attacked you. And that was AFTER a lot of other things."

Meggan looks up. Her face is complete stone. (Metaphorical stone. As in, there is no legible expression.) "And you were hurt very badly. Is that right?"

—-

The hand held up gives her a good look at the calluses. She squints, of course, but then her mind flicks back to not long ago when Meggan was sporting scales and fins while listening to her play music.

'Cool,' she thinks to herself.

"The Brotherhood," she clarifies with a frown. "That's how it looks, anyway. Red and gray outfits, yeah?"

Her gaze drops to the plate, chomping quickly on a piece of bacon. "I'll spare you the details, but … yeah, pretty much. I woke up a few days later in the hospital."

Sloane looks up, not quite sure how to read or react to Meggan's expression. "I'm okay now, though. I promise."

—-

Meggan breathes in.

Meggan breathes out.

"I'm very glad to hear that, Sloane," she says, "but when you put it this way - I'm cooking you breakfast here, so I hope you'll let me finish - I think, when I hear this, I think —"

"I think you probably ought to leave. If anything you should have left before it got to this, though, I suppose, my own experience isn't quite the same." Meggan then pours out the egg into the pan, which immediately begins scrambling, even as she gazes at it intensely.

"Unless she's apologized to you, of course, and even then."

Meggan sprinkles green onions with the calm fury of someone who isn't entirely sure WHY they're so piqued. "Even then," she says.

Looking up, she says, "Oh, did you want cheese? Can you grab it out of the fridge if you do, middle shelf. There's the Mexican sort and just Cheddar, too, that's the orange one."

—-

'I think you probably ought to leave.'

Sloane's expression falls a bit, and she does absolutely let Meggan finish — perhaps ending up inside her own head for a minute, that godawful place where all of her worst thoughts start stirring up into a big mess. 'Even then,' she says.

Oh, cheese. "What? Oh— yeah, sure," she says, easing her weight off the stool with less difficulty and more stiffness. Pacing over to the fridge, large as it goddamn is, she opens it up and scans around, shifting a few packages around before coming back with the Mexican mix.

Falling into line next to Meggan, she sets down the cheese with a thoughtful look on her face.

Finally, she speaks: "Yeah. … I might just."

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