I'm a Mutant
Roleplaying Log: I'm a Mutant
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Billy Kaplan, who "doesn't know what he's doing," searches for some answers at the Xavier Institute.

Other Characters Referenced: Jean Grey, Rachel Summers, Tony Stark, Tommy Shepherd, Kate Bishop, Maximoff Twins
IC Date: April 22, 2019
IC Location: Xavier Institute, Westchester
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 28 Apr 2019 21:50
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Billy Kaplan is very good at not being found when he doesn't want to be.

"don't follow don't follow don't follow"

Magic - or something eerily like it - is good for that much, at least.

It has been some weeks now since the Triskelion was destroyed; since Billy came to a decision about what he needed to do. Everything after that has been a slow and demanding process of working up the nerve to make good on that decision, one he hasn't told Tony, or Kate — or even Tommy.

He tells himself they're better off not knowing, but it's ultimately just one of many reasons the young man found himself waffling. An indecision that plagued him, at the very least, until Captain America's official announcement on behalf of the Avengers. One of his greatest idols, speaking on the behalf of a team he always wanted to be part of, and now that he is, he… …

A day later, Billy dons an inconspicuous black shirt, jeans, and red hoodie, places his cerulean hex to ensure that nothing can properly monitor him (he hopes), and murmurs himself a handful of miles outside of —

XAVIER INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER LEARNING
NOW

Billy Kaplan stands just outside the gates leading into the prestigious and famous mansion — school — mansion school, chewing the inside of his cheek with anxiety. He's largely just staring.

He's been doing this for a solid ten minutes straight now.

As with all bold decisions in Billy's life, he spends almost the entirety of his way here, and the entirety of that time staring, with a mix of apprehension and awe. For one thing, he might be making the biggest mistake of his life, ever, and that's really saying something. On the other hand —

ohmygodit'stxavier'sinstitutethex-menareherehethinksitlooksjustlikethosepicturesongoogleimagesearch

Slowly, Billy draws in a breath. He closes his eyes, and tries to steel his nerves and keep the goosebumps down to a minimum by muttering "get a grip, Kaplan" under his breath.

It doesn't work, of course, because his hexes function off belief.

And eventually — eventually — he reaches out, and—

"Err. Is — is there a doorbell? Or some kind of… intercom…?"

Shh. This is his first time at a big secret-ish superhero mansion. Don't judge.

"H-hello? Is anyone there…? Urgh. Maybe this was a bad idea—"


The very famous mansion in question does not seem about to make Billy Kaplan's decision to come out here any easier. For one thing, the front gates are in fact very imposing, and very imposingly locked, and there is no doorbell. There's an intercom of sorts, or what one would assume to be an intercom, but it doesn't seem very responsive. Perhaps they just use it when they're actually expecting people to drive up.

Is anyone home?? Or do they maybe just vet everyone with psychic mind powers from miles off? Has Billy already been preemptively rejected?

The ten minutes pass. Then another few. The secret superhero mansion(?) sits placidly, looking disappointingly innocuous and idyllic. The lawn really is impressively manicured.

The cheery sun beaming down on Billy suddenly dims for half a moment, as of something passing by overhead. A shadow crosses him and flickers off across that well-kept lawn, and upon the perfect cut of the grass the shape of it can easily be discerned. It's winged, and it seems pretty big.

The shadow dips a wing, circles, and starts to get bigger as its owner swings suddenly down from his position several hundred feet in the sky, angling steadily towards Billy Kaplan. It's hard to see clearly at first with the glare from the spring sun, but as it gets closer, it becomes evident it is not a giant bird but some kind of — winged person.

A very familiar winged person, actually, to anyone who follows the news.

Quizzical, Warren Worthington swings to a halt in the air not too close to Billy (on the same side of the gate as him, at least). His backwatering wings, as he beats slowly down to a landing, kick up a respectable cloud of dust, which reveals the reason he doesn't land right next to Kaplan. His wings don't fold in immediately, either, staying half-open and feather-spread in a readiness to take flight again.

Despite him clearly having been flying for some time in rather windy and humid conditions, he looks absolutely great, without a blond hair out of place. It must be a facet of his mutation.

"I'd ask if you were lost," quoth Warren dryly, "but generally lost people do not stand outside the gate for ten minutes. May we help you?"


This was a mistake.

It's a tiny voice in the back of his head, at first, resolved(ish) as Billy Kaplan is to have actually made the trek out here. But with every passing minute of silence, it gets louder and louder, and the doubts caught in its orbit more and more numerous.

Maybe there's no one here.

Maybe they don't know him and don't know if they can trust him.

… Maybe they /do/ know him and that is exactly why they're not answering—

A sigh spills from the young Avenger's lips. Brown eyes squeezing shut, the hood of his outfit ruffles in a thick buffet of winds as he turns on one sneakered heel.

"Yeah, okay. You're an idiot, Billy Kaplan. This WAS a mista-" he begins to verbalize the mantra in his head — and then a shadow briefly blots the sunlight overhead.

"…?"

And brown eyes flitter open again…

… just in time to see a winged figure immediately recognizable to Billy by silhouette alone. He's that much of a nerd. And also, well —

Warren Worthington has a pretty distinctive silhouette. So. Shut up.

Wings beat out a landing; the gusts of wind, even from further away, peel back Billy's hood with the whip of red fabric to leave a wide-eyed, dumbstruck teenager just sort of… staring at Warren. Just staring. His mouth might be a bit agape. It's a little awkward.

After the better part of a year of being an actual superhero on an actual superhero team you'd think he'd have gotten used to this by now —

"Y-you're Angel!"

— but of course he hasn't.

"I mean. You're THE Angel. Not AN angel. Like, your codename. It's Angel. But — err — you know that. I — I'm not trying to imply you didn't, I was just-"

You're an idiot, Billy Kaplan.

And this is where, wisely, Wiccan chooses to just shut up and look away, rubbing the back of his head. Distantly, he wonders how Warren's hair looks so put together, considering he's positive his is all mussed up now and he was only vaguely struck by a dramatic wingbeat. Such scientific (nerdy) ponderings are shelved, though. For the moment.

Another sigh. Billy looks much more abashed, but also much more conflicted, when he dares to look at Angel (THE Angel, not-) again.

"… I'm hoping you can. I'm… Billy Kaplan. I'm with the…" he doesn't care if you're with the avengers billy "… doesn't matter." He sucks in a deep breath.

"I'm a mutant. And I don't know what I'm doing."


Warren seems highly accustomed to being stared at, at the least, and so does not seem either surprised or judgmental about Billy Kaplan's trademarked Moment of Awkwardness. In fact, mostly he 1) just seems amused 2) actually preens and tilts his head to let his hair drape to an even more fetching angle. It does not look conscious: more like an instinct and/or deeply habituated reflex.

"Last I checked, yes," is his easy response to being correctly identified as 'Angel, but not AN angel, THE Angel, like a codename.' "I am. And you would not believe how nice it can be to be addressed as such, openly." A gracious smile makes to smooth away all the awkwardness, and invites Billy to feel at ease with a gentle redirection away from the verbal stumbling. With the deftness of a trained socialite, Warren steers the conversation around like a ship, minimizing attention to Billy's awkwardness by turning it around into a compliment. "I'm still getting used to it, myself, of course, but it's rather gratifying in a way to be known as who I was for so long. All the secrecy was — a bit wearing."

His wings flick and finally fold at his back, as if to physically punctuate the statement.

He drops into silence as Billy starts to introduce himself, though he does interject just once: "…The Avengers," Warren fills in gracefully. "I know. Tony had mentioned…" picking up a few young pet projects, "…rostering a few younger members on the team." For some reason, though, now that he's much closer, he's looking at Billy a little closely. Almost as if he could swear he recognizes something…

…nah.

But Billy cuts to the heart of why he is here: he is a mutant, he doesn't know what he's doing, and he hopes he can get some help here. "…Ah," Warren says. "Well, you have come to the correct place. Despite everything, this is still a place of learning and always will be." He steps towards the gate and touches the keypad under the intercom; it appears to register his biometrics in some way, as the gates open. "Come in and tell me in more detail. What you do; how you found out."

The gates seem to shut of their own accord behind them. Maybe they're on a timer. Maybe they're advanced alien technology. "Tony didn't mention anything about this," Warren says. Despite the familiar way he speaks of Tony — like old friends — he adds after a moment, "Not that he is obligated to tell me everything, mind." He cocks a blue eye at Billy sidelong, the gesture remarkably birdlike. "Does he know?"


Gratitude is what briefly paints Billy's expression as Warren ever-so-subtly directs the conversation away from his social gaffes. That's a sort of deftness in dialogue he can really, in his head, only dream of having. It makes him briefly and internally wonder if he'll ever have that kind of confidence in, well, anything

All the secrecy was — a bit wearing.
— but the wonder doesn't last overlong.

"… Yeah," he murmurs, rubbing at the sleeve of his forearm with his right hand. "It must have been."

Eventually, hands find their way into the pockets of his hoodie; surprise briefly writs large on his expression, lips parting to begin a, "You know-?" as Warren correctly identifies him — but the casual mention of Tony draws an additional complication to things that shutters Billy up swiftly. "Oh," he manages, before he lapses into silence.

A silence that lasts until at least he notices Warren kind of — peering at him.

"Is there something on my face-?"

A mystery that may endure for some time; soon enough, the young man is following in Warren's wake, finishing wiping at his face with his sleeve with only a modest amount of nervous worry. His eyes widen with wonder at the opening — and then closing — gates. Really, after Stark Tower, he's seen his fair share of crazy technology by now — but it never really stops being a marvel to him.

Eventually, though, Warren's words cut through Billy's stolen attention. Brown eyes shutter in a blink as he looks back to the winged mutant. "Eh? Oh — right. Sorry," he gets out, trying to collect his thoughts before they are once more derailed by invocation the Name of Stark.

Does he know?

Billy's trek stops for a moment. He goes through all the reasons this is probably a bad idea in his head, adding on 'Tony Stark is probably rowing buddies with Warren Worthington and this is inevitably going to get back to him during a row session' onto the list. He chews the inside of his cheek. Does he know?

"… He doesn't," Billy finally states, plainly after that hesitation. He looks back towards Warren with a small frown. "No one knows, and I haven't told anyone. I think that's for the best right now. You know? I'm registered, and with the Avengers, and now that they've made their stance clear… I didn't want Tony or anyone else to deal with another headache on top of everything else." It's feasible.

"… and this is something I just wanted to do on my own."

But there's always other motives.


There is no mistaking the utter confidence with which Warren Worthington holds himself. It is the kind of planet-anchoring, gravitational self-assurance that is more than enough both to carry Warren himself through life, and everyone else who happens to fall into his orbit along the way. It's not really surprising, if one thinks about it, given his status and upbringing. It took eighteen years before he even was told 'No' in a way that he couldn't just overpower and brush off.

So he is more than capable of deftly handling even Billy Kaplan, social gaffes and all.

He does pause briefly to Billy's wistful remark. It must have been. His head tilts back a little, his eyes turning up to the sky, before he offers quietly, "It is nice to not have to bind them down anymore." If the context weren't obvious enough, the faint shuffle of his wings would hint well enough.

His ingrained courtesy refuses to allow a visitor to continue standing outside in the dust, however; especially one he has already identified as having been seen out-and-about with Tony and the Avengers crew. Not to mention the disastrous scuffle with the Brotherhood on the steps of that court. He mentions the connection, perhaps digging for a bit more information on what brought Billy out here precisely, but Billy's sudden clamming-up when Tony gets mentioned draws Warren's sharp eye. The winged mutant is briefly silent as he processes the new information. He'd assumed Billy was perhaps here with someone's blessing, but it doesn't seem so.

He reminds Warren of — of Bobby, actually. Bobby, young and unsure and eternally hiding the truth of himself from the world. But he also reminds Warren of —

"Ah," Warren snaps out of his reverie at Billy's uncertain remark. "No. My apologies. I am told I have a more direct stare than most, and sometimes I forget myself." Warren smiles the slip away, and finally lets poor Billy Kaplan in properly, leading him across the grounds in silence a few moments before he gently prompts the younger man.

Billy's hesitation is noted. Warren doesn't interrupt it; nor does he interrupt through Billy's halting honesty afterwards. His golden head lowers a little, blue eyes shadowing under his lashes as he listens. "Well, just as Tony isn't obligated to tell me everything," Warren says eventually, his gaze lifting to meet Billy's, "I'm not obligated to tell him everything. In fact, I make a point not to tell him everything, for all of our safety — I have known the man a while, after all." A wry smile. "At any rate, of all people, we here perfectly understand… not telling people anything, until we personally are ready to tell them. Whatever you say here will be held in confidence." If there are other motives, of course, those will be dealt with in their time.

But he stops walking, notably, before they reach the actual mansion. Perhaps a small precaution before he gets an idea what Billy's powers are like. "I take it you found out when you were registered. They told you they sourced from an X-Gene? Your abilities?" There is a pause afterwards for Billy to elucidate. "Where did you think they originated from prior to that?"


The institute. The X-Mansion. Some things are remarkable in person no matter how obsessively you've researched them online.

And when it comes to superheroes, Billy Kaplan is very obsessive enthusiastic.

All this to say Billy's just kind of gawking a bit as they make their way towards the entrance of that esteemed place of learning. Even before he knew this was where the X-Men resided, it was prestigious; Charles Xavier, a great man. Now, it's… a little overwhelming, in that 'Billy has about a thousand questions and is clearly barely containing them like a whistling teapot' kind of way.

But contain them he does, in a rare moment of self-restraint in his fanboyish compulsions, because there are other, more important thins to be discussed — somehow. Brown eyes focus on the big doors just before them instead of meeting Warren's gaze, for the moment; it gives him something to both concentrate on and distract himself with as he attempts to gather his thoughts. He had an idea of how this would go, in his head. A speech prepared, even. It was a pretty good one.

But now that he's here, it all just sort of falls to pieces, speech and all, until he's just left —

"Ah. … Thanks, Mister Worthington." — grasping at straws.

It's surprise, and then relief, that dominates Billy's tone and his expression when Warren offers that confidence; it's then that he finally looks Warren's way, the half-hint of a meager yet still wry smile like a half-hearted echo of Warren's own touching the corners of his lips. "He is exactly how I pictured him," he admits of Tony. A second passes.

"… which isn't to say I'm not grateful or anything, I'm honored he let me join the Avengers, Iron Man was number six of my top ten—"

no billy you've said too much

"… anyway, I just… appreciate the confidence."

They stop. Brown eyes blink once — but understanding, at least, filters through when Warren speaks once more. Oh, right. He had nearly forgotten, in the worry over Tony and the Avengers. The young mutant reaches behind him, rubbing at the back of his neck as he speaks.

"They did," he begins, slowly, searching for words after the ones he's memorized fall apart. "Until then I wasn't really sure what it was. I was still in high school when it happened. Someone was…" He pauses and hesitates, trying to find the best way to put it. "… giving me problems because of the kinds of people I like. A lot of problems. Every day. And when I finally stood up for myself…"

He gestures, vaguely. He imagines — or hopes — Warren can fill in the blanks.

"… I always wanted to be a superhero, so it was like a dream come true for me, but… I didn't really know what it was. It's not easy to explain. That's… part of why I'm here. You know? But when I say things, they just… happen." It's more complicated than that, of course, but Billy works within both his limited understanding and his attempt to simplify what is already exceedingly convoluted, even for him. A smile touches his lips, lopsided and apologetic. His hands lift. "Like…"

Blue crackles between his fingers. His eyes glow a faint shade of cerulean. And as the words "change change change change" spill from his lips, his clothes start to glow too. Shifting and changing like he was in his own magical transformation sequence.

By the time it fades, a red hoodie and t-shirt have been replaced with a half-black, half-white button up shirt, and jeans have been replaced with khakis, and sneakers with a dressier pair of black shoes. Billy rubs at his forearm mildly.

"I read a lot about, you know, Doctor Strange, and Doctor Fate, and all of them, and I just thought maybe it was magic, but…"

It never really sat right.


Warren occasionally watches Billy, when Billy is too busy taking in the Institute to look at him. His eyes don't miss much, and they don't miss the enthusiastic awe, nor the overflow of barely-repressed questions, nor the scrambling to try to put together thoughts which have all-too-quickly fallen apart on contact with 'the actual situation.'

"Call me Warren," says the owner of that name, with an accompanying warm smile. Somehow he manages to pull off a smile that looks photoshopped for a magazine cover completely on the fly. "'Mister Worthington' is strictly for business. I'm not near as old as Stark yet. Or Wayne, God forbid." They're practically old men now, settled down with kids and everything. "Though it is quite true that there is not much difference between how Tony presents and how Tony is." The fact that there are deeper currents to Stark is a confidence that does not need to be betrayed.

To speak of that — Billy expresses his gratitude for the confidence, even if Stark was his six of his top ten — top ten somethings. Warren can guess, judging by the way his smile gains an edge and turns into a grin. "I shall be in utmost despair if I was not at least number three or up," Warren expresses expectantly.

"…just kidding."

He drops back into a listening silence as Billy starts to explain further, however. His expression remains neutral, but the understanding shadowed in his blue eyes indicates well enough that he gets the gist of what Billy is trying to imply. Perhaps his understanding is because he's known people who have gone through the same; perhaps it is because his very nature of being a painfully-visible mutant is similar enough that the experience is broadly comparable.

That calm receptivity does not break even when Billy demonstrates the powers he has that he doesn't quite yet comprehend. By this point, assuredly, Warren has looked over any number of younger mutants as they struggled to use and control a variety of odd powers — not to mention seen a lot of weird shit while flying around with the X-Men. But there is a brief uncertain flicker to his gaze when Billy says that he just 'says things and they happen,' and accordingly… talks his clothes into changing. His feathers lift a little like the hackles of a dog, half in curiosity and half in that eerie feeling like he's seen something like this before. Somewhere.

"It does look like magic," he admits. "But I only say that because the broad majority of mutant abilities I have seen don't rely on incantation. It's not impossible, however, especially in the early phases where there's a certain… block to controlling the powers, which requires an outside aid to overcome." His own best friend is example enough of that. Warren looks briefly pensive. "But what you describe is fairly consistent with the manifestation pattern for mutants. Most manifest in their teenage years, under stress. These came to me at sixteen." His white wings open slightly, a vague look of reminisce on his features. "I wanted to be a hero myself — or to use what I had to benefit people, at the very least."

He looks a little rueful. "It wasn't always my 'powers' through which I wound up making that happen. Nonetheless, here was where I came to train them, and we certainly have the facilities and aggregate expertise as resources for anyone who wishes to safely explore their powers in a contained environment."

Warren's blue eyes turn more directly to Billy. "Have you spoken to Doctor Strange about this? There are people here who, I am sure, would also be capable of telling whether what you do is, hm, sorcerous or not. You may have met a few already, in fact." His expression turns wry. "I noted your presence at that incident with the Brotherhood."


I shall be in utmost despair if I was not at least number three or up.

Billy Kaplan freezes up like a deer in headlights.

"… Well, it's n—"

…just kidding.

"Oh! Hahaha."

And so they are both potentially saved from an awkward conversation (??).

"It's — not a bad number. Nevermind."

… Mostly.

Instead of continuing down a path that will surely lead to his social ruin by way of endless embarrassment and probably a healthy dollop of guilt too, Billy instead just refocuses on the conversation — and task — at hand. The cerulean ebb to his eyes lingers for a few handful of seconds longer than the rest after his clothes have finished their magical makeover, gradually bleeding away back into their much more normal browns as he speaks.

"There are some things I don't have to talk to do anymore. Controlling electrical currents, and flying, they both — they both just kinda come instinctively to me now," he admits, trying his best not to let his mind linger on that look he thought he saw in Warren, or the heft of those feathers, or even his own growing uncertainty about where his powers came from. Warren isn't the only one who's had brushes with something unsettlingly familiar.

"There was a while I didn't… it was just easier, to pretend like controlling electricity was what I could do, you know? After a while, it just became second nature. The rest is…" Billy looks down at himself, at his clothes, with a growing frown of thought. His sentence trails in favor of just listening to Warren for a while — in some ways, some of it is information he knows; obsessive about research as he is, Billy spent a lot of time after finding out what he is, finding out about what he is. His knowledge on homo superior is now as vast as the tomes of the internet.

But more than that… he feels a little less like he's alone, listening to Warren speak, and that's enough to let a tentative smile touch at his lips. A small mote of relief filters through, at the prospect that they might be able to help him. "It must not have been easy," Billy notes, after a while. "And there's so many other people in a similar situation who have had a much worse time of things than me. But — I want to help, too. And I don't think I can do that without knowing what I am, or…"

Sentence trailing, expression growing pensive once more, Billy ultimately turns his gaze up towards Warren as that last question comes. He blinks once, before shaking his head. "No — not yet, anyway. I don't even know him, or how I'd approach him, or… or anything, really.' A second passes. 'The incident with the Brotherhood.' Billy briefly grows pale. And then he puts together what, exactly, Warren means.

"Oh! The Phoenix and — the other Phoenix!" Well. It's accurate. "They're both amazing! Did you know that Rachel Summers once-" don't gush billy especially not with what happened earlier "Err. I mean — yes. They're the reason I had the idea to come here in the first place. I've…"

He hesitates. Considers. His gaze drifts, ground-wards.

"… I was at the Triskelion. You know, when it… and I tried my best, but I think I ended up just making things worse, because I couldn't… because I just don't know enough. How my powers work, what they can do… sometimes I feel like they just fail for no reason, and sometimes I'm…"

terrified at what I can do

"… I just don't think I can keep using inexperience as an excuse anymore."


Apparently, as sociable as Warren Worthington can be, he also has a playful streak in him. But he lets poor Billy off the hook before he has to potentially explain either that Warren doesn't happen to be on any of his lists, OR that the list he just described his boss as being on isn't actually a complimentary list.

Not before Billy gives him that total deer-in-headlights look, though.

Anyway, Warren gets a bit of comeuppance of his own when Billy demonstrates his abilities, and starts to describe them. His smiling shades a bit mask-like in its politeness when Billy remarks that flying just 'comes instinctively to him' now and no longer requires any particular incantations. Perhaps it's a bit of a minor peeve for the otherwise equanimous Angel.

Too well-bred to remark on it or let on, he lets it pass and talks about other things instead, things which Billy no doubt already knows. It's not always about the transfer of new knowledge, however, and simply about feeling that this sort of thing is normal — that there is a known system in place for it, and that one is not alone in facing such changes within oneself.

"Leaving aside my personal feelings on registration, the terrible execution of the whole idea, the malignant motives which drive most of its proponents," Warren finally says, "there is one important point to be taken from it: some of us do manifest with dangerous or difficult powers, often without the knowledge to understand what they are and what they can do. It's to everyone's benefit that they be learned and practiced in a safe environment. Then we may use our gifts to help others."

He regards Billy neutrally. "Inexperience turns dangerous very quickly." He lifts his wings slightly. "Even with something so simple as these, it is dangerous. Under pressure — and there is enough of it, these days — you need to know exactly what you can and cannot do."

A wry smile. "A crowded city like New York isn't always the best training ground for that sort of thing."

He folds his wings. "I will give you the access to come and go, here," he says, accordingly. "No need to stand outside the gate. Our level of operation here is not quite what it was before the passage of registration, but we still have all our resources, and other students about your age who are studying here. Above all, this place is a refuge: it's how it began, and how we intend to see it continue." Warren pauses, studying Billy with his head tilted slightly like a bird. "If you do want to help in more involved ways, there are other facilities to which we might introduce you, which would be useful."

That call isn't solely up to him, however, which leads the topic rather seamlessly into Billy's effusiveness about the Phoenix and — the Phoenix. Warren smiles a little indulgently. "Most likely I do," he says, of whether he knows that RACHEL SUMMERS ONCE DID XYZ. "She's not very low-profile a character. Well, I will see if I can connect you with either Phoenix, or both. You should speak with Jean, at the least. Telepathy has quite a lot of useful applications for the study and refinement of someone's powers."


That's right. Instinctively.

Don't get mad. Billy is a peacock. He's gotta spread his wings and fly.

"Mm." For as confident as he may or may not be in his ability to fly, however, the sound that escapes the young Mister Kaplan's lips as Warren speaks next is more pensive, more apprehensive. In some ways, Billy wishes he had never registered, in a way at least vaguely similar to the reasons why someone might not want to go to a medical check up. But at least he can be thankful for one thing that's come out of all of it:

Opportunity, to learn.

Which has its own wealth of reasons to make him anxious; but for now, at least, he manages a sardonic kind of half-smile as Warren looks his way. 'A crowded city like New York isn't always the best training ground for that sort of thing.' "Tell me about it," he begins — before brown eyes cast askance, and teeth sink mildly into the right corner of his lip. "… sometimes I feel like I end up causing more problems than I solve. I don't want to feel that way anymore. At least… I at least want to say it's not completely out of my hands."

Part of him is expecting to be turned away, if only because of the team he's part of, and the potential complications therein. He's prepared for that possibility (resigned to it, really) — so when it turns out to be entirely the opposite, Billy Kaplan's response is a slow blink, and an incredibly eloquent, "What? Really?"

Five seconds pass afterwards. He follows up with, "… Really?" Give him a second here.

"Err — th-thank you! I appreciate it. I'm very grateful and I… wow. Wow." There it is. The X-Men. The X-Men. Willing to help him. It's like the Avengers, but the X-Men! Without even thinking about it (he's thought about it), Billy blurts a very grateful, "I'm willing to help — however you need. I want to help, I mean. However I can." A second passes. His brows furrow inward as his situation sinks in. "Just… carefully, I guess. With registration and everything…"

He doesn't want to end up being a burden. A complication.

Regardless, gratitude is what dominates Billy's expression when he looks Warren's way. He almost thanks the man again, before he realizes he's already said it like three or four times by now. Instead, as Warren speaks about telepathy and the Phoenixes, Billy is fortunately too enthused over the possibility of getting his brain scanned by a member of the X-Men and the potential to have his questions answered by the X-Men to feel the trepidation he might normally feel. This is good. This is a good thing.

"Right. Jean Grey. I'll — I'll talk to her. Definitely."

He isn't sure what will come of this. He's hopeful — and nervous — about a lot of -potential- possibilities.

But at least for now he feels good, seizing some modicum of control over his life.

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