Learning to Live Again (Just Might Kill Them Both)
Roleplaying Log: Learning to Live Again (Just Might Kill Them Both)
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Doug tries to be the apologetic gallant for being a mooncalf. That's a good word, mooncalf…

Other Characters Referenced: Aquaman
IC Date: March 21, 2019
IC Location: Xavier's School, Westchester
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 25 Mar 2019 12:39
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Doug has been cooling his heels for awhile. It's starting to eat into him at the edges — even a gilded cage is still a cage, and there are things out there he knows he needs to be doing — but there's no more running off or sneaking around. He's biding his time, proving his trustworthiness.

But for right now, he's outside of Betsy's suite, in the early evening. He knocks on her door, gently. Knock knock knock.

* * *

Betsy has been in and out of the mansion, she has a place in the city to stay when she's working, or handling other details. Such as her lawsuit against registration. But right now, she's curled into the little loveseat in her 'sitting room', with a book and a bottle of water. "Come in!" She calls, violet eyes not yet lifting from the page until she's done, and there's a marker placed in, before it is closed.

The sitting room is done in sensible, neutral gray, the chair and the loveseat both with throw pillows that pop in shades of blue and teal. The coffee table holds an array of books and a fat three wick candle with a soft, sandalwood and musk scent. She will stretch, waiting for Doug to come in and sit down. Because of course she knows who it is.

* * *

Doug is barefoot, in jeans and a t-shirt that's got an advertisement for that old arcade game, 'Dig Dug' on it.

He walks in, and sits down, and then exhales. "Hi." He says. "Listen… I wanted to apologize to you. Sometimes it's easy to…" He thinks, "Forget, that in your head, streams of thought can rise to the surface unbidden. I was trying not to hide anything, and so my stream of consciousness showed… something embarassing." He exhales. "I'm sorry."

* * *

There's a smile for him, as the psychic reaches for her bottle of water. "Hi." She smirks at his shirt, before violet eyes widen. "Apolo —- Douglas." There's an awful lot of British in his name. "You have not a single thing to apologize for. If someone doesn't like it, they can lump it. There was never anything improper between us, and you're only a few years younger than me. We're adults now. Someone gives you guff about it, tell them they can come see me. I'll set them straight."

* * *

Doug gives a faint grin, and he says, "…Still, pretty lady, I want to be on the level with you. Don't… feel pressured. You have to understand, the way I feel, it-" He snaps his fingers, "It doesn't come with any expectations attached. You're not something to be put on a pedestal, or chased after. The only thing that I *ever* wanted was your happiness, y'know?" He scratches behind one ear. "What more can you want, when you care about somebody?"

* * *

"You've been on the level with me, Doug. You didn't hide it from me when they still had that hold on you. You let me in, to help you help yourself. " Betsy states, looking at him. "Do I look like I feel pressured? Have I behaved in some way to make you think I'm uncomfortable?" She lifts her eyebrows. "Well, a little pedestal time now and then is good for the vanity." She can't help the smile that flashes then. "Doug, if I'm to be perfectly honest? You've given me the courage to look harder at other relationships I have with people."

* * *

"Well," Doug admits, "da Vinci would've smashed his easel if he'd set eyes on you." He quirks his mouth and then says, "…Well, no-" Then he nods, once, and says, "…Then I'm glad, Betsy. Don't ever make yourself less than what you really are to make somebody else happy. I think you can be anything, *do* anything. They didn't call you 'The Most Beautiful Woman In Britain' because you were Miss Congeniality."

* * *

She actually flushes when he's complimenting her. Of course, it means more because he means it, completely. "Da Vinci I think was more into men. Just a personal theory. I never studied him much." She shakes her head. "See, but you know these things about me, but that's not all you see when you look at me. I think.. I think Arthur was interested in the outside, and then sort of intrigued by the mutant inside."

* * *

Doug tilts his head, and then says, "And the person?" He asks, his eyebrows raised, meeting Betsy's gaze. "Did Elizabeth Braddock ever enter into it at all?"

* * *

"I'm not sure I did. I mean, to be fair, we didn't get to see each other much. He's a king, and all. Spends a lot of time there. Maybe that's why it doesn't hurt that I'm not seeing him anymore?" Betsy looks faintly puzzled. "I explained to him that I was still putting me back together, and he seemed to understand that. I think that was why I put up with it."

* * *

Doug raises his eyebrows. "…You shouldn't have to put up with anything. A relationship is a meeting of equals, on equal terms. I think he's dating Dazzler? But I think you and Warren would make a good couple. I really like him—I never realized how much he and I have in common. I think it surprised him, too."

* * *

Psylocke laughs, lashes lowering ."When I first came back here, Warren and I had a really nice chat. I didn't know he was seeing someone. A couple more conversations like that, and I might have agreed with you. But to be honest.. I don't know if I would hold any attraction for a man like Warren. Dazzler is lovely, and just as blonde and beautiful as he is. I don't know her all that well." She tips her head. "What about you? Who matches Doug?"

* * *

"Right now my head is such a *mess* that I'm honestly not sure I could give you a real answer." Doug says, "I'm having to do a shark imitation. If I stop swimming, stop finding things to do, the things I have *done* will catch up to me and I'll fall apart, Betts. The things Hydra did — made me do — are having lasting repercussions on my life that are," He exhales, "Quite frankly, pissing me off. My friendship with Kitty is damaged, and I don't know if it'll ever be what it was, and that alone is worthy of some payback."

"…How can I answer a question like that, Betts?" He shrugs, and holds up his hands. "Relationships are a conversathion between two people."

* * *

There's a tilt of her head, and those violet eyes are suddenly nigh-anciet, knowing. "Exactly. How could I give such an answer, either? Arthur was easy. He was handsome, and of two worlds, he understood not always being sure where your head is. It just wasn't enough. I'm still not completely together. I'm not sure I ever will be. But Doug… you have to slow down. Demons will just chase you until you face them. It's not like you're alone. You always can reach me."

* * *

Doug curls his fingers against the arms of his chair. "I don't know if I can survive these demons. I can't stand the people I care about not trusting me, Betsy, and I don't know how to prove that I'm trustworthy to them." He slumps, and then murmurs, "…I just want my life back. I just want to live it. Hydra stole that from me, Betsy, and it hurts." Then he looks up, and his smile is faint, but genuine. "Geez, you're making me blush! …See, that's just it. When you care about somebody, you care about their, ah…" He snaps his fingers, "The sum totality of them. I don't know who Arthur was, but it seems like he was interested in things *about* you, but not the person who's more than the sum of her parts. You should find that person, Betts."

* * *

"Doug, I've been kidnapped, body swapped, brainwashed… if you think I can't face your demons with you, I think I might have to just kick your ass the old fashioned way." It's very dry, very British with tone and accent. "You can get your life again. It just won't be the same one you had. And you can sit, and be mad about it, and cry thinking about your plans that were. Or you can kick Hydra's ass, and then go on thinking about all the new things that can." She will arch a brow. "Arthur is also known as Orin, King of Atlantis. Met him in a bar." She shrugs. "Doug, when you're known as a model, people think that's all there is."

* * *

"…Well, before I can kick Hydra's ass, I need Jean to be okay with me leaving the school. And I'm being a good boy." Then Doug says, "…I have absolutely no doubt you could." Then he wrinkles his nose. "King of Atlantis? I thought that was Namor…" He looks up at Betsy and then for a moment he looks indignant. "I *never* thought that was all there was to you!"

* * *

"We'll work on Jean. If you leave the school with me, that would be acceptable, I assume? Short field trips at first. Shopping, dinner, the boring stuff." She chuckles. "There is more than one kingdom under water. I forget." She shrugs. "I didn't mean you, Doug. But there are a lot of people who think if you're a pretty woman, you'll coast on it. It was even mentioned in a tv show once."

* * *

"I'd carry your bags any day, beautiful." Doug says, wagging his eyebrows. "…I think she's worried about Hydra coming after me. And she's not wrong… I can spot their assassins a mile away, but that won't stop them from sending them." Then Doug snorts. "Anybody who met you would never, ever assume you're just a pretty face, Betsy. That's a notion they'd lose *real* fast."

* * *

There's more laughter, amusement in violet eyes. "Oh no, sometimes I let them think I'm dumb and pretty. If it suits me for some reason or another, I have no problem letting them make their assumptions. Or, sometimes I like to let them make them…and then crush them to bits when I show them I'm not." She smiles. "Hydra can send assassins. You'd be going out with a telepathic ninja. I mean…come on."

* * *

Doug murmurs "I am significantly more dangerous than I let on myself. I think between the two of us we'd be prepared for anything they might try." He tilts his head. "If you can sell Jean on it, then do it, but I won't push. I have a project I want to pitch to her, but I think I need a little more time and opportunity to prove my good behavior before I do." Then he sighs. "Dinner and dancing. I've still got the moves, you know."

* * *

Psylocke smiles at him, adjusting her seat to face him a bit more. "I haven't been dancing in a while. Lots going on, what with registration crap. You do know I'm not registered, right? Refuse." She will finish off her water. "Next time I see Jeannie, I will bring up the idea of some trips off campus. I may not have the Phoenix force, but Jeannie's no ninja."

* * *

Doug taps his fingers together. "I haven't decided yet." He says, "My powers make me a — desirable intelligence asset, and I worry that the things I did for Hydra might lead them to try to force me into a life I don't want to live. I don't want to be a spy. But I don't want to live in the dark, either. Kitty said the same thing. I find the idea… distasteful, but I can see ways I might be able to use it against Captain Marvel, ways I could speak out if I was registered that I can't, if I'm not. So… dunno. I'm not judging or bailing on anyone for not choosing to register."

* * *

Then he scowls. "Sam and his wife… this could ruin his plans to go into politics."

* * *

"They do. Just as mine would be a pretty problem for the government, too. Useful, and still so dangerous." There's a touch of sarcasm there. "This is the way fascism gets going. I can't resign myself to it. I have to fight it." She shrugs, just a bit. "Sam. I haven't seen him since all this started with you. Between this, and Arthur, and trying to help someone else, rallying people against registration… just no time to see everyone."

* * *

Doug shakes his head, and says, "That's life. People are all over the place, but that doesn't mean you stop caring." Then Doug rests his chin in his hand. "How about it, pretty lady? Dinner someplace where the menus aren't in English, and then dancing. You'll where a Givenchy gown, and I bet I can find a tuxedo around here *somewhere*…"

* * *

"I already said I'd talk to Jean. But I don't wear Givenchy. I have an array of other designers don't worry. I won't shame you looking sharp in a tuxedo." She smiles softly, watching him. "Sam understands, I know. We talked about registration before."

* * *

"I want a world where he and his wife can have the big rocket-powered family they're both thinking about having in peace and safety." Doug says, before he reaches out to take Betsy's hand. "That's what I want for him." He gives a squeeze, and then says, "…God, they'd just fall over to make you something special, wouldn't they? You're Betsy freakin' Braddock."

* * *

"That's all I want, too. For Sam and Izzy. Warren and Dazzler." She shrugs. "I just want us to not have to have a mark on us, because of a genetic twist." She blinks. "Who would make something special out of me? I mean, Tony Stark registered. I'm nothing in comparison. "

* * *

"I was *talking* about your designers." Doug says, with a faint grin, before he puts his finger over his mouth. "But they don't know what I know. I think you can do anything, Betsy. I think if you don't like the Registration Act, you'll bring it down around the heads of the pigs who're pushing it. They'll rue the *day* they crossed you."

* * *

She laughs. "Oh, once, maybe. I've not been working so much in the last few months, either. I was on my way to a great comeback. I'm sure there will be stories alluding to drugs, or a secret scandal of some sort. But they can all shove it." She shakes her head. "Doug, you give me too much credit."

* * *

Doug snorts. "I could be your manager. They could tell scandalous stories about you and the uh… guy who takes your calls and books your hotels." Then he tilts his head at Betsy and says, "…Not possible, pretty lady. Just not possible."

* * *

"It is possible." She moves to rise, if just so she can lean down and drop a kiss on top of his head. "So now that you've unnecessarily apologized, we've made dinner and dancing plans, and discussed the current sociopolitical climate for our species, is there anything else before I need to get changed and go check on a friend?"

* * *

Doug closes one eye, and then he says, "…Just stay wonderful." He says. Then he gets up, and says, "I meant what I said, by the way. But I learned a long time ago, that when you love somebody, all that matters is that they be happy. I stand by that, Betsy. The happiness of the people I love means more to me than my own, I think." Then he ducks out the door.

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