Roleplaying Log: Warm
IC Details

A chance meeting between Carol Danvers and Jean Grey shows there is much more to the two women than meets the eye. Stars and Flame.

Other Characters Referenced: angel merrow moonstar
IC Date: April 14, 2019
IC Location: Quincy, MA
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 02 May 2019 03:55
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

No matter how America legislates, mutants continue. They're born, most have normal childhoods, then in adolescence they very often develop significantly more than acne and extra hair. New York may be a set back for mutant rights but there are other states in the union and their people need hope and guidance.
They still need Xavier's School.
Though in these times families are resorting to progressively more extreme methods of hiding their children. The prospect of future DPS raids nationally had many deeply worried. The deployment of Sentinels have everyone terrified.

One of the many such families had been in touch with Xavier's School for the past several months. The Loughlin family in Quincy, Massachusetts eldest son Tyler had started 'seeing' things. At first he visited an array of optometrists, neurologists and even psychologists. In the end the symptoms concluded he somehow gained the ability to see a broader range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Possibly the entire range and his brain had the capability of interpreting the images. Literally, he could see broadcast television and cell phone signals wherever he went. The only plausible explanation? Mutation.

At first the family thought about keeping it relatively secret but the boy's eyes had black sclera with glowing purple irises. Recent events put the parents in a panic, begging the Xavier School to talk to them as soon as they could.

Their home is a nice waterfront three story house. Apparently a family of some means in the upper reaches of middle class. On the outskirts of town in the nicer section by the yacht club.
The Xavier Institute is functionally off-limits to Jean Grey. This isn't a matter of policy: all alumni are welcome to return to campus at any time, especially ones who've died for its underlying mission; any psychic and/or genetic fidelity scans administered as part of the reintroduction process are not to be taken personally, of course. There aren't any walls or other barriers keeping her out, either: she still comes by on occasion to visit the friends and family who live there, even if she tries not to stay too long.

There's just the little matter of what the DPS might have to say about an unregistered mutant being given asylum by an institution that has spent months carefully pruning any signs of noncompliance from itself.

Like the fidelity scans, the best she can do is hope that the Institute's residents don't take her efforts at maintaining security too personally. Pitching in when prospective students need a friendly face to tell them about the benefits of packing up and moving across the country to Xavier's minor-friendly San Francisco campus helps, probably.

Pitching in's brought her to Quincy.

(Technically, a bus took her to the first stop outside of New York city limits, then telekinetic flight brought her to Quincy. The pitching in fueled both, though.)

Between the nearest park she could spot from above and the Loughlin residence, Jean's taking the scenic route to her appointment with time to spare. The last hints of flame died down before she even made it out of the park; telekinetic currents subtly ripple over her purple sweater, send minute flutters through blue jean cuffs, and keep red tresses bobbing in spite of nature. The effect tends to be more pronounced when she's in costume, but it also tends to be intentional; right now, it's the psionic equivalent of a stuttering foot or wringing hand. Pitching in probably helps; she has also been short on opportunities to do so as Jean Grey, Former Xavier's Student/Dead Person rather than Phoenix, Vigilante Superheroine Who Isn't From England.

Besides admiring Spring growth, the walk gives her time to skim - gently, always gently - minds that may be touched by a different flavor of mutant anxiety than the immediate, visceral breed running rampant in New York, just to give herself a little reminder of why she puts herself through separating herself from home, convincing young mutants to uproot from /their/ homes and enter the sheltering embrace of Xavier's, the ever present danger of a few dozen tons of genophobic steel descending on her, and everything else that ultimately came with her Institute diploma.

The sidewalks and greenery glisten with fresh rain. The cool air is filled with the crisp scent of the bay. Spring is struggling to get its footing this year, it seems nature itself is reflecting the times.
The lovely home seems pleasant enough in an upscale vaguely Victorian-era kind of way. Of course, the Loughlin home is no match for Xavier's Westchester Mansion but holds a family of five with comfort to spare.
The first to greet Jean is a pair of children playing catch with a softball out on the front lawn. Likely Tyler's sister with her school friend getting in some practice while the weather cooperates with the intermittent showers.

Their minds are only troubled by the usual stresses of middle school and competing in the local team. The minds inside of the home however? Far from untroubled.

Tyler himself seems to be in his room and his fear and uncertainty is palpable, only matched by those of his parents who seem to be arguing in the kitchen. Loudly enough that Jean's own ears can faintly hear sounds from deep within the home. That volume is nothing compared to the psychic turmoil between them. An old story, a home being slowly torn apart by a child's mutation. It always seems to go hand and hand with families that seem so well-to-do and successful on the outside.

However, apart from the expected there's.. Something else. An odd sensation that borders upon a psychic signal except.. Decidedly not. Faint and yet.. Whatever it is, it is not coming from the house.

Carol Danvers stands on the pier not far from the yacht club. Wearing her old leather flight jacket over a simple white sweatshirt beneath. Blue jeans and a Red Sox cap complete the image of just another Bostonian taking in the sea air on a Sunday afternoon. Roughly a dozen others are similarly availing themselves of the brief window of good weather. Going out on walks with dogs or taking jogs. A few are feeding the seagulls on the mudflats beyond the piers.
Carol couldn't stand to be in the apartment for too long, no matter what Chewie thinks. After awhile she just needed to get out and do something. Sitting around never suited Carol well at all. She figured just walking the Quincy shore before picking up food for the household on the way back was a decent way to spend the afternoon.

As much as some are looking down to the waters.. Carol continues to look up to the clouds. She misses flying more than anything but.. On a busy weekend? She's supposed to be laying low and staying out of the spotlight. Maybe at night she'll go for a flight over the atlantic but for now? She just keeps her feet on the ground.

The sound of the cawing seagulls catch her attention for a moment. Except.. No. That isn't a seagull. It doesn't sound right it's.. It sounds deeper. Longer. A more keening pitch. It's also coming from.. Behind her?
Slowly Carol's attention turns towards a small suburb of wealthy homes not far away. Steel blue eyes squinting at the noise that.. No one else around her seems to be able to hear. She begins to walk..

The human ear can detect frequencies between roughly 20Hz and 20k Hz. Dogs, 60 Hz and 45 kHz; some species of whale edge edge towards 160 kHz, and there are bats that can manage up to 200 kHz. Whatever Carol's hearing cuts through a range beyond what even the most sensitive set of Earthborn ears could hope to detect, a hypersignal too wet with cosmic distortion for man-made sensors to readily bear. Warbling well outside of the five senses, it's a song locked into a slow and steady fall; at this very moment, there's an aggressive, agitated quality to the way it swirls through existence, constantly shifting through its impossible frequency range with warm, resonant spikes.

And at /this/ one, the one where Carol progresses from squinting to walking, that ephemeral song strikes an ambiguous chord.

Emerald eyes flick towards— nothing; a yacht club.

/Jean/ certainly doesn't hear the endless, reverberant keening Carol does, after all; she just gets beads of sweat on the back of her neck as her temperature creeps a couple degrees north. Just a yacht club—

Just a yacht club—

Just a yacht club, and a smoky susurration telling her that she has more than enough time to spare before her appointment.

Jean curves into a detour while another, invisible set of eyes scan the pieces of Creation still available to them while fleshbound.

It's only a matter of time before Carol's treated to another piece of sensory information too rich for natural perception: the distinct sensation of being seen— watched— by an intelligence that's at once older than the oldest star and a few years short of a full decade.

A few tongues of fire flicker from the ends of Jean's hair as she briskly moves— approaches, unknowingly.

Danvers continues to walk from the yacht club, following the lonely Quincy street that outlines the bay's edge against the upper suburban row of homes. Her hands remain in her jacket pockets with a determined gaze as she follows this.. sound.
It isn't a sound, not really. At least she doesn't think so. She vaguely knows what this is as she's had these kinds of feelings before but it's been some years at this point since her last 'episode'.

The frightening truth for Carol is.. She doesn't know what she is. Not really. For some bizarre reason after her accident she shares certain physical traits of the Kree along with her own human ancestry but that is the least of it. However, a Kree/Human hybrid does nothing to explain her extraordinary amount of power. There have been Kree that walked on Earth and they did not gain powers like hers in the same manner that Kryptonians have when standing on Earth soil. She is unique and why she has such abilities.. No one in SHIELD sciences has been able to come close to an answer. Her energy generation and physical sovereignty are incredible enough but another of her abilities sees dramatically less play. A serendipitous extra sensory perception. The only thing she's been able to confirm about it after all these years is that it is not psychic. Not in the manner of telepaths or the sort, a few SHIELD telepaths have been able to confirm that. It's a perception that seems bound to a different layer of reality, one that very rarely crosses this material plane. A 'cosmic awareness' if one will.

For the most part, whenever she tuned into something on such a level it was brief and rarely encountered. Unexplained. The sort of sensation one has on a boat when something truly massive swims beneath, unseen.

Curiosity drives her now, following this attunement as she begins to approach a house and.. Another pedestrian. One with shockingly red hair that.. Carol stops in mid-step. Did she see a small candle's measure of flame in her hair or was that the sun briefly peeking through the clouds?

Sun, or Sun-Eater?

Jean's vision is set just right for Carol to rapidly dominate it as she approaches the yacht club. She doesn't stop when the other woman does; curiosity drives her, too, but 'her' is complicated. There are days when Jean doesn't know what she is, either.

Who she is.

She was definitely the one who thought to fire off, "I'm sorry, but I need to check on something first, just to be safe," after— something— pulled her attention from the children, with their ball, on the lawn, mere yards from traffic—

The plaintively murmured, "Please be careful," as her screaming, dying childhood friend flashed through her memory before she about faced and walked away: definitely a product of Jean.

Jean just sees a tall woman walking wherever she's walking. Thanks to— whatever's— tugging at her, she's too preoccupied for casual skimming; there's nothing psychic about it, anyway, so why spare the energy?

It's— — what is it? It's faint, still, but gaining in sharpness and clarity by the moment…

Part of Jean keeps flicking her gaze across the world, straining to keep a bead on the part of Carol that demands her notice. Whatever it is, it's less an extraneous power source - she can't help but notice that Carol has p l e n t y of energy all her own, the way that a hawk can't help but notice twitching limbs and fur bounding past the edge of its vision mid-flight - than it is a quality of Carol herself. Something unique— sublime


When Jean finally does stop, it's when this piece of her sets her focus firmly on Carol, complete with the bright resonance of recognition in the 'sound' thrumming through their corner of reality. It happens abruptly, mid-stride; she plants her lead foot firmly without losing balance, but it makes for weird positioning. It also leaves her in front of Carol with a mere few feet to spare.

Even then - with her wide set stance, with fresh licks of fire beginning to roll past the ends of her hair and flicker out - the woman squarely in her vision is just a pedestrian.

Just a tall, blonde pedestrian.

After a beat spent— staring— at this stranger, she murmurs, "Sorry, I— " Another beat as curiosity stretches her consciousness to the point of just barely brushing the surface of Carol's, only to sharply retract when caution kicks in.

"— am probably in your way…" she softly utters, still staring instead of moving.

For Carol, there isn't much question what could be the origin of this strange 'signal'. She's long since stopped in front of the Yacht Club, her eyes locked onto this woman who seems.. Confused. Perhaps even more confused than she herself is. She cannot precisely say why she knows this woman is the source but she knows it. Or if not this woman then something.. Something superimposed over her, inside of her, through her, beyond her.. There is no Earthly frame of direction for it.
If the 'what' is simple, the 'why' is anything but.

A name starts to ring a bell in her mind. The woman's face points at a name in files she poured over not too long ago. She had been doing some digging through SHIELD's files on Xavier's finest and oldest students not too long ago. The incident with the Brotherhood and her own recent encounters with Warren had prompted the homework. The X-Men originally had five members and the iconic red hair gives her away.

"Jean Grey." Carol states evenly, not budging from the woman's path. Dismissing the apology as keeps her hands in her pockets, looking outwardly relaxed.

Fear. Why does Carol feel fear? Even when an entire Helicarrier was crashing down on her in flames she didn't have a moment of fear. Death does not scare Carol Danvers. But something.. Her mind's eye is forcing a sense of.. Being on edge. A primal fight or flight reflex triggered as her primate brain tries to make sense of this input. A feeling of .. A predator. Somehow this woman.. Or something about her.. Is a predator. But not in any way man was meant to understand.

But why? She's supposed to be a mutant, though the details of her past SHIELD had never fully parsed. Carol has been in the presence of many mutants in the past and not one has ever triggered this sensation.

Even if she feels this unknowable terror, Carol is its master. She does not bend to any force. She keeps her voice pleasant. Calm. There are other pedestrians here walking by.. Only a few beginning to notice there's something truly fiery about this new red-head. They brisky take steps away.
"Pretty far from Westchester. Did Warren send you?" She ventures, dropping the name to ply for a hint of purpose here. There is one possibility she can think of for an X-Man being here and.. It could be a smart move from Worthington if this is what she think it is..

Another brush, after Jean's name is spoken.


— disaster—

— flames—

'What' remains a mystery. For a split-second, she glimpses a field of starlit space blended seamlessly into Carol's being; all this tells her is that she's in the middle of a weird moment, and that weird moment seems to revolve around someone who seems to know her by name, if nothing else. 'Why', on the other hand…

Take away the hat.
Add the couple extra imaginary inches that come with being a strongly built woman in costume.
Paint blistering coronas around those hands.
Turn up the fear, the memory of fire…

'Why' she finds herself here, in front of her feels simpler: why not here? Why not now?

Why not, when elsewhere - later - would've probably led to more fire, more disaster?

"Captain Marvel."

(The 'Fucking' is implied.)

"I— "

Her eyes are wide. Her voice has fallen into a stiff, wary register; her stance is drawn in and her posture straightened without delay.

"— I— "

They keep widening, vibrating incredulously across the other woman's features.

Pale fingers clench at her sides as she breathes in deeply.

Another apology? A surr

"I saw the files, Captain," hisses from her lips as emerald eyes sharply narrow. "All of them."

She takes a small step closer, then leans closer still.

"All of them. Then I saw the news, and…"

Her fists tremble for a moment as she trails off.

"I'd, you know," she quietly continues, "I'd wonder about you being this far from your beat, but it's not that surprising."

She slowly exhales while dropping her gaze to the sidewalk. Once her lungs are empty, it's back to those steel blues; at least she rocks back onto the soles of her feet, by then.

She lowly tacks on, "And we don't really have a small talk kind of relationship, anyway," then pushes her hands open and pulls her arms up into a tight fold across her chest. Her tongue rolls around the insides of her mouth for a moment. "I saw them…"

Again, her eyes shift from Carol's. It's subtler this time; contrite, almost.

"… days before Quicksilver released them to the public."

Back to Carol after a brisk exhale through her nose.

"When did you see them?"

Fire isn't so much rolling or flickering off the ends of Jean's hair by this point as it's spreading, clinging, from root to tip.

This red woman does not possess the demeanor of perfect control. Flames catch and play like highlights, reaching higher towards her roots like burning fuses. Those flames attract Carol's attention. Inwardly she knows she should be even more alert and careful in this moment but those flames seem.. Right. Not good but correct. A predator of flame.
What does that even mean?

Carol reaches up to push her Red Sox bill higher, giving Jean a better view of her famous face. Unlike the secretive X-Men whom SHIELD only has photos of from very unorthodox directions, Carol's face rivals that of Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Superman in notoriety. Magazines, news reports and interviews galore over the past few years and rarely with as much furor as the past few months when she chose to be the pro-registration metahuman spokeswoman.

As Jean's fury begins to reflect in her face and her searching words, Carol blinks. Danver's initial suspicion is proven completely wrong. It becomes clear that Jean wasn't looking for her at all and this was a chance encounter.
But if that's the case, why was Jean calling to her like this? Isn't she? Does she know? Blue eyes narrow in visible confusion as she absorbs the woman's increasing vocal volume.

At first Carol is unable to connect the dots. Completely puzzled what Jean is going on about, her thoughts so completely mired in more recent events at Mutant Town and the punishment she's been facing for that unfortunate series of events.

Only when the name 'Quicksilver' is invoked does a spark of recognition alight in Carol's eyes. A dawning of realization that very quickly takes on a heat of its own. Her pensive expression hardening, a surge of outrage growing but she does not raise her tone. Keeping her own emotions in check, no need to set this clearly potent mutant off. Especially with so many onlookers not far away beginning to watch this exchange with curiosity.

"Do Not.." Her voice lingering on those words for emphasis, "Take the words of murdering terrorists for truth. I don't know what you saw but I'm telling you right now none of what he said was true. That is not what SHIELD does. That man will make up anything to justify his agenda."

For what it might be worth, to a listening telepath it's clear that Carol is telling a truth. Her truth. That sentence is from the bottom of her heart. No recollection of seeing any kind of paperwork or even hearing the word 'Terrigen' flutters to her-

-'Another failure. Just like the others.' The teacher mutters, gesturing to the floating blue crystal structure joining a half dozen others in the viewing screen, 'And so ended our experiment on planet Sol-III. Any questi-'

In the blink of the mind's eye its gone. A memory flittering past the surface of Carol's thoughts. Blue-skinned students in a room not unlike an instruction hall.

"Now. How about you calm down and we go take a walk?" Carol nudges her head in the direction down the street. Her face betraying no hint that she acknowledged the weird, alien thought occurred at all.

Jean's control is imperfect.

Jean's control is what stands between her and the thing inside of (above, beside, around, clutching, possessing) her, the difference between a woman burning with rage and fire incarnate.

Control lets her be mad instead of curious: that thing — that fire, that song, that hunting hawk — sees something strange and faintly familiar, instead of a potential patsy.

Jean might've anticipated this meeting, but she definitely wasn't looking for it. There was a spell where she just wanted to hit Carol right after the news broke, because beneath the mission of protection and unity, that's just how Xavier's works: peace with a closed fist for anyone who'd threaten it. It was mercifully brief, though, followed by a much longer stretch of just wanting to yell at the face of Registration. As her outburst might suggest, this period is still ongoing, if less vulgar and more pointed, by now. It was all hypothetical, though; what she'd do if— when— they happened to cross paths, almost certainly as Phoenix and Captain Marvel. She would've been happy to let it simmer on the back burner of her psyche forever, but here they are; Jean Grey and Carol Danvers, without so much as a Sentinel or an X-Man to break the tension.

Just onlookers beginning to watch them—

— beginning to find literally anything but them more worthy of their attention as magenta sparks flare around Jean's eyes.

"I'm having them looked at," she snaps in response. "I— "

Jean is listening. There's— a fraction of a reason she came in that hot, on that subject beyond sheer outrage.

Her arms tighten as her eyes sharply fall from Carol's.

"I don't know what SHIELD does, Carol. For all I know, you don't know what SHIELD does either— or you do!" Her hands pop out and up to punctuate her frustration.

"I know that I can't exactly take your"

'Another failure…'

"… word…"

"Why do you know that?" is her lowly voiced response to the invitation, furrowed brows and bemused squint practically screaming that she saw all of that weird, alien thought.

Carol turns a forty five degree angle from Jean, a suggestion to start walking down the street. Her instincts tell her that she needs to put some distance between the two of them and bystanders. From what she knows, it hasn't been in the X-Men's nature to throw the first punch. However, these are interesting times. Out of everyone within the Xavier File in SHIELD, Jean is among the ones they know the least. Warren Worthington has a public file a mile long but some of those cloistered in the Westchester Mansion? Phantoms. Ghosts. So far away from the public light they might as well be the Batmen of Gotham.
But what Carol is learning of Jean in the past minute is not reassuring. Even as those flames grow brighter that sound.. That keening is only getting louder. Carol tilts her head sharply, squinting as something seems to disturb her.

Stars. A Well of Stars. That's what Carol is.. Deep down. Enough to drown a hunger in.. Perhaps..

"I know it because I have.." Well, 'had' but Carol doesn't see fit to update her status for X-Men reckoning, "..High level clearance. I report to the Director. Not a damn thing goes on in SHIELD that either I, or someone I know, doesn't know about. You don't trust me? .. Fine. I get that. But at least give me a little more credit than a coward that strikes down a building full of pencil pushers and government workers."

Eventually, Jean stops staring - waiting - and starts walking.

"You believe that," she briskly murmurs now that there's another, weirder question in the air. "You do; I know you do. But you could— Carol, I could think of at least five different ways you could both be telling me the absolute, heart-deep truth right now, and be, or have been a part of whatever's responsible for— that— if it turns out that it's real. You're a spy; you probably could too, right?"

She starts to say something else, then her teeth find her bottom lip instead. Somewhere in an earlier stage of hypothesizing, 'something else' would've come out indignant and venomous. Instead, after a lot of time - including precisely three seconds spent with her eyes glued to Carol - the agent on leave gets:

"I'm going to give you both what you're due," in a quiet voice. "He could've gotten those files from anywhere, or anyone; they could be fake, even, but they've never been 'fake an enormous research document' types. Knocking over buildings and killing people, definitely more their speed. You…"

A well of stars. A woman with a piece of the cosmos threaded with her being. A precious curiosity worth preserving. A feast ripe for the taking?

Maybe Jean really has to think about how Carol compares to the Brotherhood, and that's why she trails off into more bemused staring. It's probably that, and not the fleeting glimpses of stars swimming beneath Carol's skin bleeding over from Jean's other (~)half.

After a couple seconds of this, she gives her head a quick toss, pinches the bridge of her nose, then gently massages it.

"I don't— trust— you — it looked like you shot that girl to kill, first thing — but I distrust SHIELD more than I do you, right now. Whatever's responsible for what's in those files, if they aren't bullshit… it has to be addressed."

She spends a moment after this admission massaging in silence. Her jaw clenches.

«You saw it, didn't you?» quietly but firmly reverberates between Carol's ears.
«Because, gotta tell you, if you didn't… I've got some pretty serious doubts about your ability to be sure about what you do or don't actually know.»

"I work with spies. I'm no spy." Carol retorts evenly. Her posture still tilted to suggest movement, the urgency of moving away from this place and the gawking innocent bystanders growing by the moment. A good number of the people here are locals who're perfectly familiar with their most famous town resident, beginning to look miffed that their local girl is getting a talking to from an out-of-towner.

As Jean offers the reason for the mistrust and the mental comparisons to the Brotherhood, Carol reverses course and takes a hard step towards the red woman. Thumbing under her chin she raises her voice, not a shout but nearing, "I saw Neutron! That girl had a mutant power to look like anyone! Video and camera didn't pick it up! You are damned right I shoot to kill if I ever cross paths with those terrorist bastards who murdered my people!"
She lets that notion linger a moment before addressing the matter of those 'files'. With a grunt she reseats her jacket on her shoulders, muttering, "Look. It isn't SHIELD you should worry about right now, it's Bell deploying those damned war machines on innocent people.." Deciding to reach for a topic they can both agree on.

Carol considers her words, beginning to pick up that train of thought before the train is halted at the station. Those words haunt her, heard but not heard. A series of thoughts and words springing up amongst her own in her mind. Telepathy.

The stillness continues for several moments. Carol's eyes suddenly turning this way and that, looking around for something..

«They're probably listening.» Carol tries to conjure the words without speaking them, making her mind's voice as loud as she can, «We shouldn't talk here for long. Listen carefully. I tried to give Warren a hint but this works better.»

Carol's steel eyes meet Jean's own, intensity returning, «I'm going to free Eliza Marshall and I need the X-Men to take care of her when she's out.»

"So just a couple of ways, then," Jean fires right back.

Until Carol moves towards her, she's walking; walking means making more rolls on the random encounter table, which means more bystanders who need warding away from the spectacle.

The longer it goes, the harder it is to steer minds en masse towards finding other things to care about, because they're in the middle of a nice neighborhood, and some strange woman with fire in her hair is yelling at Captain Marvel. A more forceful suggestion might do the trick; it'd also make having a conversation with Carol much more complicated than it already is.

So: listening bystanders.

Smoke almost jets from Jean's nostrils after Carol approaches and yells at her. Burning emeralds fly wide open for a moment before shrinking into bright slashes as her lips twist together. Her spine stiffens, muscles tense; the air between them briefly, visibly shudders.

"An eye for an— !" Jean's arms freeze a foot or so from having popped free of their tight cross; her eyes flick towards a man and woman staring at them from across the street, then back to Carol.

After that, she listens with a clenched jaw.


Thanks to the mode of communication, nothing further is needed to express her lack of faith in this premise; it drips from both syllables and splatters on the other woman's consciousness.

"You've been through a lot, Carol," she pushes out, not only aloud, but loudly, "and I'm sorry for coming at you like— well, like this." Loud enough for anyone who might be listening, easily. "We're supposed to be friends! Even if we don't see each other so much, these days; I want what's best for you, even if I'm not the best at expressing it." She's looking squarely at Carol, but all of it's for them.

Her hands fall and she resumes walking, briskly.

«Nobody is listening here,» she pointedly thinks.


«… are they?»

Her pace slows; supernatural senses spiral outwards, searching—

«I'm pretty sure that nobody's listening, and— that could be arranged, but a detail or two might help

After another, longer pause, the texture of her thoughts softens:

«That wasn't your first time seeing — remembering? — something that you can't explain, was it? You're handling it way too well for that.»

One more beat, this time followed by a small injection of dry amusement and a tiny, taut smile:

«I mean, if so, kudos; you're probably in the top 90th for people with loosely explicable stuff in their psyches, there.»

Even as her otherworldly awareness is telling her with less subtlety than she is familiar to be extremely cautious with this woman, Carol stands her ground before the flame. However, her attention is divided as she begins to notice a couple of the onlookers.. Walking away with disinterest? They seem to notice the pair but at irregular intervals pairs of singletons seem to wander off to see something else.

And then comes Jean's comment about being old friends. Carol may not be a spy but she tends to catch on quickly. Her posture becomes less offensive, attempting to approach a casual stance as she begins walking in-step with her. "I have been through a lot.." She mutters gruffly.

It turns out that Jean Grey isn't just a telepath but a powerful psychic on top of whatever else seems to be tickling her cosmic fancy. She knows of a few individuals who can convey thought messages. Catching a few images in someone's head and offering gentle hypnotic suggestions. But not all at the same time.

To say Carol is extremely wary is an understatement. While some might say Magneto is the most dangerous and powerful mutant alive, Danvers knows better. The most insidious mutant is likely one that rules in the shadows of the mind. Who's to say that Jean Grey can't simply walk into Congress as an unnamed aid and walk out with the Registration Act repealed in five minutes?

However, as Jean asks an odd question, Carol seems genuinely confused. Eyes scrunching but not looking towards her as hands return to her jacket pockets, «What do you mean? I've seen mutants before..» Figuring she either means Jean's abilities or perhaps Eliza's trickery. Unaware of what.. Odd thoughts occasionally slither in the depths of Carol's mind. Like other lives composited in the depths of her subconscious.. Somehow.
Back to an earlier point, Carol thinks, «Listen. Do not underestimate SHIELD and their surveillance. That's all you're getting out of me on that. Just know I'm one of their biggest assets and I doubt they're leaving me unattended. It's what I would do if I was making the call.»

She then moves on.
«Eliza is almost well enough to be moved to the Raft. When she is I'm going to smuggle her out of the states and into Toronto General under the name Suzie Dobson. I gave Warren a general heads up but go make sure he has people there for her. Canada has a long-standing tradition of keeping terrorist-wannabes from US extradition. They still haven't forgiven us for Guantanamo.»

«What— >

Did Carol really not—

«— um— »

— what the hell is—

«— yeah— »

Jean squints her way through the rest, with pursed lips and forehead creases.

«It'd, uh, make sense for SHIELD to have telepathic agents, sure.» Caution drags the volume of her thoughts down as she tries to brush her question aside and give Carol's point its due simultaneously.

«What was she doing that day? Has anyone tried to talk to her? Did she say anything about why she— looked the way she looked?» Jean starts to comb her fingers through her hair— and the fire still woven with it—

All this talking, when she could wrench whatever answers she needed from the depths of that star sea. It wouldn't be quick, or easy; maybe not even painless, but so what? They'll find another pretty face to put on their abomination of a law—

Jean forces her eyes straight ahead and jerks both arms down across her belly. A heavy breath leaves her lungs.

«We'll be there,» she promises. The thought's 'toneless', devoid of anything but the bare minimum needed for communication.

She takes a slow breath in and lets it out; the flames gradually recede back to bare flickers from the ends.

«You're trying to fight them like— like them, Carol.» Feeling bleeds back in. Caution, of course, but concern, too; Carol's the pretty face of the enemy, but she's still willing to do the right thing by someone wounded by its consequences. «The Brotherhood— you're fighting to protect people's lives, and you've already lost some— I get that. But gunning to kill some of them, because they've killed some of you…? That's what they do; where's it gotten us, so far?»

And then, she moves on.

«It's been— years since the last time I saw a Sentinel; they've had a few iterations by now, right?» She chews her lip for a hesitant moment before hazarding: «How much do you know about them? If they're being deployed for real, then the X-Men are going to need as much data as we can get to make sure nobody dies before people come to their senses.»

«If everything works out, you'll have plenty of time to ask her yourself.» Carol directs as she keeps her eyes focused on the path before her. For all the world looking like she's just out for a silent walk with an old friend she happens to be upset with. Danvers has no real idea the turmoil within Jean's thoughts, though the source of her anger is obvious to all.
Carol, however, seems far more in the dark to her condition than Jean is to hers. Outwardly its obvious Danver's mind is not.. Completely together. Inwardly, it's like a bone that healed wrong. Occasionally giving discomfort but by and large having no idea how its supposed to be arranged. An eye cannot look in upon itself.

Danvers steals a side-glance to the red woman briefly as she critiques her, «If you're looking for a peaceful solution with terrorists you are talking to the wrong woman.» Carol's eyes return straight ahead with some intensity, «I've spent a decade of my life helping the Military hunt down insurgents and terrorists in theatres of war. I've sworn to destroy enemies foreign and domestic. Al-Qaida. The Brotherhood-»

'-The Skrull threat must be eliminated wherever it is found!' The Kree Captain barks to the assembled unit in his Star Force uniform. Stabbing a finger at the floating hologram of a dozen known operatives working in the planet, 'We cannot leave this planet as a breeding ground for their terror! Either we find these terrorists or we call in the Accusers and make sure-'

«-, different names. Same evil. As far as I'm concerned when the Brotherhood hit the Triskelion the gloves are off. If they crawl out of their holes with their hands up, I'll consider not putting them in the dirt. Until then.. Game on.»

On the topic of Sentinels, Carol just shakes her head. .. Pausing as she catches herself in the gesture. Realizing that might look.. Awkward if anyone is watching. «I don't have any intel on the Sentinels. I'm going to do everything I can to get them off the field. It.. probably won't be enough but I'll look for options.»

«Don't you— »

"— nnh— !"

Jean slows, weaves, and braces a hand against her temple when she's made privy to another secret thought. After lowering her hand, she squints incredulously towards Carol for a moment, then puts her eyes back on the sidewalk with a headshake.

«You— you have cells, Carol…» is all the reply she gives to the other woman's razor-edged determination, and it's 'quiet'.

What happened to this woman…?

«We should think about staying in touch. Eliza; the Sentinels; whatever's responsible for that file the Brotherhood wants to smear SHIELD with…»

"Gosh, it's hard to believe, but we just— — still— have so much in common, don't we?"

Is she okay?
(So many stars— ! And in such a compact package!)

"I know we're kinda at odds, right now," she continues to murmur, "but it'd be for the best, in the long run… don't you think? Maybe if we talked a little more, we wouldn't be like this…"

«I can get you full copies of the— — files, if you need them. For analysis; if they didn't come from SHIELD, they came from somewhere, and I'm guessing that SHIELD's got plenty of resources for tracking down people capable of dreaming up tools of genocide.»

She forces a small smile Carol's way, because it'd be weird not to smile at an old friend she wants to trade olive branches with. "Just think about it, alright?"

«I… absolutely could've been less aggressive, to start with,» is redolent with contrition.

"My inbox is open!" One hand twitches towards Carol's, but it's back against her stomach in short order. The smile gets a brief, awkward twist.

«There's a little too much at stake for us to be at each other's throats; I don't want to see anyone else die over this.»

Carol's eyes are there to meet Jeans as the woman squints to her. Her expression is still hardened but a lifted eyebrow suggests some kind of concern, "You alright?" She vocalizes, knowing that some kind of audible conversation.. Especially in reference to visible discomfort.. Would make sense here.
Maybe that strange burning keening that Carol can hear is much louder in this woman's head? Part of being psychically sensitive? It makes sense, if the burning presence is emanating from inside of her. Perhaps she doesn't have as much control over it as she wants to let on..
..An extremely troubling prospect.

«We've gotten pretty good at picking apart organizations one cell at a time.» Carol offers but does not elaborate. This woman is part of an organization that's under heavy watch by SHIELD and she isn't about to go into any kind of depth of strategy. Though, to be sure there is much outreach to the X-Men from SHIELD. Moonstar, Carter and .. Albright have been liaisons with the mutant support group. The X-Men have done good work in the past..

..But that is the past. And now with mutant issues burning hotter than ever before, push is coming to shove and it's hard to know precisely where they will jump. If there is an unfortunate truth that America learned in the Middle East is that today's ally can quickly become tomorrow's dictator or terrorist.

"Yeah. It's good to catch up." Carol murmurs with taciturn grace. No, a Spy she is not. There is much here that gives her unease but she's at least playing along. Even though..

«Ngh it's getting louder.» Carol thinks hard enough to be telepathically audible. Rubbing the bridge of her nose but in less visible distress than her flame-haired friend, «Moonstar can get ahold of me if you have information. .. And Merrow too.» Unwilling to add the latter name but the situation forces it, «Listen. I was serious about making Registration work -for- Mutants and metas, like myself. I still am. But at this point there isn't much I can do. The Mutant Town ? Event cost me a lot of my pull. The person you need to talk to is Agent Coulson. If anyone can help you stop Bell and undermine Trasks' overengineered good squad it's him.»

"..Yeah. I'll keep that in mind.." Carol again vocally responds. Perhaps a little late to sound perfectly natural as .. her thoughts continue to distract her.

Jean doesn't offer a verbal response to SHIELD's capabilities vis a vis terror cells; just a flash of dull brick walls, a simple cot, and a reinforced door. A different kind of cell entirely.

The keening's getting louder— loud enough for the woman who lives with its source to hear it spike through the white noise crackle of fire and life. A living buffet of stars divided against herself, ignorant of her place in both the cosmos and the tiny, human dramas spinning around her…?

Jean seems simultaneously more interested and less focused on Carol - or anything else - as the Major restates her pitch. Emerald eyes burn clean through the other woman as Jean lets it wash over her consciousness. A slow, steady, rightward tilt of her head sends a few vivid waves fluttering skywards.

«Listen. I was serious about making Registration work»

Jean's hand is incredibly warm. It lacks the clinging heat of exertion; the wet swelter of anxiety; even the blistering of a close brush with fire, in favor of something deeper. Hers is the warmth of a mother's palm checking for fever; it's what blossoms in the belly when reconnecting with loved ones after a long break; it's meant to sink deep and radiate, suffusing without consuming.

«-for- Mutants and metas,»

Jean's hand is incredibly warm and stretching towards Carol's cheek, intent on settling firmly then turning the other woman's face squarely towards hers. Her irises almost seem to melt, losing definition around the edges while creeping inwards 'til there are no pupils left; this doesn't get in the way of their glow.

She is definitely looking at Carol now.

Her hair—

— it'd just— it was only seconds ago that it'd faded down to gentle flickers, so why is there a bonfire rippling out from Jean's scalp, now…?

"'Carol Danvers…'" she coos. Each syllable is uttered deliberately and with the utmost consideration, savored like a four course meal.

"Your conviction shines like a binary star in the void." The corner of her mouth quirks, at once sad and intrigued. "How much more of yourself are you willing to risk for your cause without understanding what's at stake…?"

Jean is even less of a spy than Carol is, if this flagrant disregard for her cobbled together cover is anything to go off of. Then again…

… is Jean even here, right now?

Danvers understands they should act familiar, following Jean's lead to make this psychic masquerade even easier for her to pull off as most of the pedestrians and passerbys have completely moved on to their business at the yacht club in the distance or going about their early evening.

However, palming the side of her face is being way too familiar.

Carol's knee jerk reaction would normally be to brush the hand aside as gently as she could so as to not break the woman's wrist. When one has the physical might that Danvers has, it is all too easy to break bone if one moves too quickly.
Grey's eyes give Carol pause.
Danvers only registers heat intellectually. She can feel extremes of temperature but they do not harm or ever become uncomfortable as they can for mortals. Stars haven't a care about burning. But the touch on her cheek registers a warmth that Carol feels on more levels than just the physical. Thermal dynamics cannot correctly describe the flames inside this woman, sending a sharper warning through Carol's nascent cosmic awareness.
For a short while now her senses have suggested that she should consider knowing fear with that burning call so close. As Carol's steel eyes widen, she realizes that fear now. A spike of disquiet felt so rarely by one who has long felt nearly invincible.
".. We're done here.." Carol states with a firmness of one forcing mettle to harden, a hand rising to brush Jean's palm away with her knuckles slowly. This discomfort is too much, the warning sensations have risen to levels that threaten fight or flight. In acquiescence to those extremes, she settles for a firm retreat, stepping back and away from Jean Grey. «Remember what I said. Tell your people about Suzie? I'll get her out soon.»

"We are," the red woman agrees as a smile forms. It's still muted: lingering curiosity's written everywhere across her expression instead of just singing in the strange air they share. The sadness is there, too; beyond both lies a gleam amidst the emerald fires of her eyes, an edge hidden in red lips, primal instinct straining against mortal clutches.

Carol - or a part of Carol - might recognize it as hunger.

Her hand's brushed aside; it does a smooth turn and twist a split-second after contact, seeking a grip on Carol's wrist.

"There are other places," falls from her lips, cut with high frequency resonance—

— keening—

"Other moments for us to share— "

The gleam's beginning to intensify, but Carol is Carol. All it takes is a twist, a tug, a nudge, a pull to dislodge that insistent hand, at which point burning irises lock into stasis and red locks fall, bouncing and tumbling down the other woman's back and shoulders.

Jean Grey recoils, outstretched hand jerking back to be gripped by the other as those eyes grow wide.

"Y— yeah— "

At least Carol isn't the only one disquieted; an echo of Jean's lingers in the wake of that clipped, shaken thought.

«I will,» comes after a beat. She breathes in deeply, and the, «I promise,» that follows is steadier.

«But I…»

She hesitates. This is— probably not the time to push for another meeting, no matter how many alien memories Carol might have lurking in her brain.
(no matter how many stars burn beneath her skin—)

«I'll talk to Agent Coulson,» she 'quietly' promises.

Did she read ahead before things got weird…? She doesn't plan on sticking around long enough to say, because there's— still— a child who needs Xavier's, and that child's house is directly, mercifully opposite Carol. As her arms coil around her stomach, she does a sharp pivot and moves away as quickly as she can manage without breaking into a run.

There is a moment where disquiet almost escalates. When Jean.. is it Jean?.. Seems reluctant to let Carol's wrist go, there is a tension there. The look in those iris-less eyes, the burning halo of flame. The -hunger- in that look. Some might take it a different way, a kind of simmering come-hither expression. For the neophyte cosmic entity Danvers there is no confusing it with a mere human desire.

Carol's primal urge is to strike. The only way to deal with a predator on the attack is a hard and fast strike before flight. She needs to-

-The red woman's own shock is so abrupt, Danvers mimics the expression. Taking a step back and away from her with a sharp inhale of surprise.
The awkward but sane thoughts are received and Carol responds with a quick nod of her head. Perhaps a physical response she should have mentalized instead to maintain their cover but she isn't thinking clearly. She just wants.. away.
Away from her.

As Jean quickly moves back towards the house, Carol moves in the exact opposite direction. Not towards any location in particular as long as it's along the X-man's opposite vector. Fighting the urge to jog.. No, the urge to fly away as fast as she can.. Carol gains a good amount of distance as she can feel a tension leave her shoulders finally. Only then does she realize how fast her heart is pounding. The keening cries dying down in her head as her hand moves to her blonde tresses.
".. What the hell was that.." Carol whispers to herself. Hand moving away not far from where Jean touched her. Skin still feeling.. Warm.

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