Between Point B and Point X
Roleplaying Log: Between Point B and Point X
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Tensions arise and ideologies clash when Mystique recruits Rogue into a low-key mission.

Other Characters Referenced: Pietro Maximoff, Jean Grey, Piotr Rasputin, Nightcrawler
IC Date: May 07, 2019
IC Location: New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 08 May 2019 02:07
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

As with most hunts, it starts with a target. A face and a voice taken from a video leaked onto the internet a month ago involving Senator Kelly of all people. Kelly is certainly on The List but Mystique had her sights set on another face in the crowd. A man who turned out to be Thomas Dirkin, someone with way more money than sense considering all of the financial contributions he had been making to Kelly of late.

With a face and a name comes information. Addresses, phone numbers, family details, quite a lot of data to get into some nasty business. In this case knowledge is the key to get what she's after. It involved some stake-outs. Ghosting his wife. Learning schedules. All of that fun spy stuff.

Now that it's time to make a move she's reached out to Rogue. Her special talents should be most beneficial tonight.

As for Mrs. Dirkin? She's currently out of the picture. Captured and detained somewhere else, just in case some 'extra motivation' become necessary. Until then Mystique has taken over her identity and claimed her fancy dark red SUV. With this vehicle she will be able to drive right through the automatic gates and straight into the garage, completely uncontested. Thomas won't have a clue.

The form of Mrs. Dirkin glances in the rearview mirror, having told Rogue to sit in the back for the time being. It's easier to duck out of sight if required. "Once we get inside wait for me to hold him steady. Then, do whatever you need to do. We're looking for bank accounts, passwords, phone numbers, anything which will connect us with his finances and allies. As long as you get what we're after I do not care what becomes of him." Just in case Rogue pushes a little -too- far.

* * *

Rogue looks uneasy.

She's just dressed in jeans and a green button-up shirt for this, with gloves disappearing under the cuffs. She looks uneasy, because she left the Brotherhood behind, but not her Mother, and she's not sure which angle she's working here. Uneasy because she knows the X-men would disapprove. Uneasy because she does care what happens to this guy, in that she doesn't want him dead, but could kill him.

Uneasy.

But then, she's looked that way since this plan was spun to her, and she is here all the same. She inhales deeply and exhales, then smiles as if she hasn't a care in the world. "You got it, Momma."

Control. Moonstar says she can control her gifts. But Moonstar said she could control her gifts if she'd reach out to Jean, and while Jean would probably spend hours more helping her, she's not sure she feels right about demanding that much time and energy. But some of it's just gotta be focus, right?

In, out, get some illicit info, don't kill him, don't give Momma cause to use the leverage. She's not here as a terrorist. She's here as a…a…morality check! Yes. That's why she's here.

* * *

Of course..Rogue's concern has not gone unnoticed. It has, in turn, given Mystique some cause for concern. Her last talk with Pietro remains fresh in her mind. The Speedster doubted Rogue's commitment, was ready to write her off as a loss. Raven had assured him that she would bring her daughter back around.

Now that they're both here on their way to what -should- be an incredibly simple mission, she's not so sure that Rogue will continue to be a team player. Not for the team that matters, anyway. That in itself is problematic but what troubles her more is the thought of losing her daughter. Pushing Rogue away.

She's already lost her son. She cannot afford to lose the only family she has left. But the job still has to be completed and there's only one clear path to that end.

"We're doing a good deed tonight, Anna. Instead of funding more fear and hate toward us his money will help to protect other mutants. Those who have lost their homes and had their lives ruined because of Registration. Because of the DPS. Because of -Sentinels.- We are only acting out of necessity."

Sure enough, they can drive right through the gates and into the garage. The SUV is shut off as the garage door falls closed.

This would be so much easier if she could take off the kid gloves when handling Rogue… Whatever happened to that strong, confident child she used to know?

A quick glance back to Rogue brings a smile to Mrs. Dirkin's borrowed face. Even through the mask of another the love is still there and it holds strong. Without a word she's in motion, heading into the home.

* * *

Rogue hesitates, but nods. Once. Then again. Focusing on rebuilding homes and protecting people helps. "Yeah. They need the help," she agrees. Some of the tension leaves her back and her shoulders. She exhales sharply, and smiles back at Momma. "I've got this Momma, it's fine." How many people, weighed against this one man? It's the kind of moral calculus she never bothered to engage in before. But she tries to run the equation again now. The equation works…as long as the rich scumbag doesn't die. It mostly works if he slips into a coma…

Mostly.

She slips in after her mother with shopping bags. She looks like nothing so much as a bubble-headed buddy who might have gone shopping with Mrs. Dirkin. She wears a bright smile, eyes sparkling as if she's fresh from the excitement of finding just the perfect…ridiculous $190 shirt.

* * *

"Thomas, are you there?"

"In the living room, honey!"

Mystique leads the way into the other room, finding their mark sitting on the sofa with the TV on but muted. His attention is more turned to a laptop, though his focus quickly shifts as his 'wife' steps into the room. "Heeey, there's my morning Gloria. Hey, about that upcoming trip for your brother's wedding, I had a few ideas in mind."

'Gloria' comes up behind the couch and leans over the back, looming over Thomas as her hands find his shoulders.

It isn't the apparent affection which alerts him that something might be amiss. It's the sounds of Rogue trailing in from behind. Thomas quickly looks confused. "Hey..is someone else here?"

"Just a friend of mine," she promises as her hands draw inward, coiling around beneath his chin as though giving him a hug from behind.

A very aggressive hug, as it turns out.

Gloria hides those muscles well, suddenly catching Thomas in a stranglehold and pulling back and up enough that he's more pinned back to the couch rather than sitting upon it. The laptop falls to the floor, a picture of some tropical climate filling the screen from some fancy hotel's website. In short order his face begins to turn pink then red, his hands uselessly trying to grab onto the metamorph's arms.

"A very …-special-… friend," she corrects as her smile turns dark. Then she looks up to Rogue with an eerily pleasant sounding "If you would begin."

* * *

Rogue gives Thomas a smile and pulls off a glove slowly. And for a moment, she's as she was. All teasing seduction and amusement. "Don't wriggle, sugar, it'll hurt less," she coos. She's right down in his face, damn near in kissing distance, though what she does is lay a hand on his cheek instead.

Control. Take the information, not the life. With no real idea on how to do it, she just tries to focus on what she wants. Pulling the memories while taking almost none of the strength. The lifeforce. Surely she can adjust it like that. She's seen it work all kinds of ways, her strange gift.

* * *

Whether due to fear, outrage, or some reaction to Rogue's ability, Thomas does try to cry out at the touch. Rogue's training of late helps keep the encounter more focused and less life-drainy, plus the guy's more of a simple minded creature. He's used to living in relative safety, higher up on the social podium thanks to the money he's in possession of.

He also isn't the stereotypical 'grr argh all mutant scum must perish!' sort of individual. Rather, he's a bit more delusional in that he's bought into Kelly's hype. He's come to believe that by throwing money at Kelly that the problem would be magically taken care of in 'some appropriate manner' so that he might live his life with permanent blinders on knowing that he had helped to make the country a better place through his contributions.

In truth he's much too simple-minded to worry about the politics or the social ramifications or matters involving the DPS. Registration seemed like a lateral move, it didn't actually stop or prevent any of this nonsense from happening. He truly got along by choosing to distance himself from it all as much as possible. If ignorance is bliss then Thomas has been freaking euphoric.

Digging past the wedding plans (set to be in southern California,) past the anticipation of dinner being made for him by Gloria, past the typical co-worker bullshittery at the office, the golf trips, the purchase of a new car, pushing deeper through so much bland and hollow -stuff- clogging up his mind…

Then come the numbers.

Ol' Thomas here may be an ignorant fool, but he's also loaded.

* * *

Rogue has a skeptical look on her face by the time she's done digging through all that. She doesn't know whether to pity him or hold him in contempt, and the conflict shows on her face. X-man or Brotherhood, both impulses at war. So at the end, she just focuses on the numbers. All of his ridiculousness will be in her head for longer than she'd like, but even thirty seconds is longer.

Fortunately, what she takes is crystal clear once she has it. She gently pat-pats his face and says, "There, sweetie. That wasn't so bad, now was it?"

She takes a swaying step back and pulls on her glove again, nodding to Mystique. She has it. She adds, "And if you don't say nothin' about nothin', we won't have no reason to ever bother you 'gain. But if you start flappin' your lips, I'm afraid the next visit you get won't be so nice. You'll keep quiet though, won't you, sugar?"

* * *

With the contact broken Thomas tries to pull himself away from Rogue that much further, choking out a "What..did..you..do?!" A lot of the fight has already been pulled from the man however, thus Mystique lets him go.

Not that she's about to let him go -far.-

"Sorry dearest. It just wasn't working out between us. All of that money and you still couldn't buy yourself a clue."

"Gloria, I— I don't understand— !"

Rogue's comment about keeping quiet brings a narrow-eyed look from Gloria. Truth is, she -had- been planning on burying this man and his wife. A yet to take place call to the Senator to officially withdraw any and all support would mean that the Dirkins will no longer serve a purpose in Kelly's campaign. No one would miss them if they simply ..disappeared.

And they were -absolutely- going to disappear.

Herein lies the problem. What would push Rogue away faster than anything else? Senseless murder of 'innocents' ranks pretty highly on that list. To leave them alone means that Thomas would have to remain under surveillance. That's more work for the Brotherhood. No one wants to be on babysitting duty.

Even though the mutants have won here, in Raven's mind they have also lost.

"Go take that trip to California," Gloria suggests. "And don't come back. There is nothing left for you here."

* * *

"And maybe stay out of politics. It's nasty and you're not even interested," Rogue drawls.

But she's no longer looking at Thomas. She's looking at her mother, beaming the most brilliant smile. It seems to say: See? We can get what we need the nice way. She already knows it's not Mystique's preference. But it lets her live with the night's activities. It may be a naive smile, but it's also a very grateful one, shining out of her face like this man's life was exactly the thing she wanted for Christmas.

She looks back at Thomas, lifting her eyebrows. To her mind, even the belief is as good as the real thing. She also knows how the Brotherhood works.

He asked what she did. And so she smiles, leans forward again, beeps his nose with a now-gloved hand, and says, "Don't you worry your pretty lil' head about what I did. It didn't hurt you none. You just worry about what I know. What I can see. I'll know if you don't go to California. I'll know if you stick your nose where it don't belong no more. Hell, honey, I'll know if you're even a little mean to someone, and that wouldn't make me happy. It wouldn't make me happy at all. Just go play like a good boy."

* * *

It's one of those rare and cherished moments in life where the act of beeping someone on the nose is met with a yelp of surprise and a flurry of motion which leaves a person falling backwards over the armrest of their couch. Thomas's leg takes out a table lamp…and the phone…and the table…before he's trying to get back to his feet.

Mystique remains in character with narrowed eyes and hands folded together, now focusing her glare upon her 'husband.' Rogue may have thrown her a curveball but she had already considered that the evening's plans might go somewhat awry thanks to her less committed child. So long as she remains Gloria and doesn't do anything so out of the ordinary like threatening him with a gun then he might well believe that his wife really doesn't want him around anymore.

Raven will play the same game with the actual Gloria later on. It should allow for a clean and seamless separation which will keep the two from talking about what happened.

And YES…maybe nobody needs to die… How could anyone have this talk with their kid? Murder is difficult to justify to the uninitiated!

Thomas isn't -quite- ready to surrender his old life, jabbing a finger at Rogue and demanding "You need to leave. -Right now!- Get out of my house!"

"It isn't your house anymore, Tom," Gloria insists. "Be glad that I haven't also taken your precious Mercedes away. Pack up your miserable life and go. I won't tell you again."

She glances back to Rogue and dips her chin slightly in a 'we're done here' gesture then starts to march out to the tune of heels clacking across the floor. Mystique will be keeping that dark red SUV, too.

* * *

Now all Thomas has to do is bluster instead of pull out a gun of his own. Rogue hopes he's not that stupid. But there was nothing of a gun in his head. She stays alert. She puts herself between him and Mystique. If he lunges for them, she's ready. If not, well, good.

She hopes there's something of her readiness in her manner. Something that warns him off trying anything in one last desperate stand for the glories (no pun intended) of $500 bottles of Scotch and whatever else it is he thinks is actually important.

* * *

Left in their wake is one very torn and conflicted man who had way more money than sense, and now has very little of both. He'll have some time to clear out before Mystique comes back for him and takes away the option altogether.

Once back to the still warm SUV the metamorph climbs in behind the wheel and closes the door but there's no motion to start the engine. For the moment she looks down to the darkened display behind the wheel and releases a silent breath.

"Your sympathy for these creatures is concerning," she flatly tells Rogue. It almost seems to pain her to say these words.

The engine turns over then she's pulling back out of the garage to turn around and leave the property.

"You do realize that we cannot keep doing this." Leaving people alive. "Your commitment to our cause has recently been brought to question. I have not lost my faith in you, but others have. You know what I wish for you, Rogue, but soon you are going to have to make your decision and stand by it."

Though in the meantime she passes a pen and pad of paper over to Rogue so she can start getting those numbers out of her head.

"Loose ends do us more harm than good. Time will tell what shall come of our actions here."

Or lack thereof.

* * *

The smile slides off Rogue's face, and something sparks in those emerald eyes. A rare flash of temper. It snap, crackles, and sizzles into her voice, which gains a hint of volume.

"And soaking the world in blood closes off every avenue for peace. Christ, Momma! There are plenty of humans who don't mean us no harm. He was one of 'em. He barely understands the issues. There's plenty of humans who are actively campaignin' for us. But the more blood we shed, the more allies we lose. So what's left after that? Genocide? Then we become as evil and as dangerous as they say we all are."

Now in the front seat of the scarlet SUV, she flings pen and paper down between them. As if sheer vehemence could convince Mystique.

* * *

It's happening again. Mystique can feel it like sand slipping between her fingers. The choices made tonight go well beyond the Dirkins, further still than the Brotherhood itself. These two pathetic flatscans have placed her family upon a razor's edge and for that she will never forgive them.

Because of COURSE she would blame them for what's happening here.

When Rogue explodes the urge to respond in kind is great. She could stand on the brakes. Raise her voice, cause a scene. She's got a way about her which could terrify military leaders if she felt so inclined. But any of that would only serve to close a door which she may never get open again.

For the moment…Raven simply drives. It takes her a while to find her words.

"So it's true, then. You didn't leave out of concern for harming us. You were concerned that our actions would harm you. Anna, I want you to understand something perfectly clear. If you do not agree with their views then I am not going to insist that you remain with them. But I am -not- losing you because of it."

When Gloria looks back to Rogue it's with solid yellow eyes, peeling away a piece of the mask while they're driving upon darkened roads outside of the city.

"I will not stop loving you for choosing your own path." It may feel like a knife twisting into her heart but she relents, sighing faintly while returning forward. "They will not be harmed."

Physically, anyway. Emotionally the Dirkins are already pretty fucked.

* * *

Rogue comes down off the ceiling. More or less. She scowls out the window. "You say it like it's either or. Black or white. Either concern for my sanity or concern for the people I care about. Agreement or disagreement. There ain't just two ways to do anything. There's middle ways, and if people can't see 'em, it's up to us to make 'em. Stuff is more than just one thing or another, Momma. It is and always will be. Lord have mercy, but I sure enough am getting sick and tired of it. And it ain't even shades of grey. The world is made of colors. If we'd hit a different target, I might have killed him myself. But…"

She sighs and downshifts further. All of Rogue's true emotions are summer storms, springing up, sweeping across the landscape in a roar and then fading just as quickly as they arrives. "I appreciate you doing it my way, anyway, even if it does piss you off. And make you question my motives and my commitment and every other dadgum thing."

Is she sulking? Maybe. A little.

* * *

"I don't think you understand what I am saying, Rogue. The Brotherhood requires commitment. Dedication. The Twins have seen to that. The X-Men are probably no different in this regard, following their own core values. They may not understand, but I do."

Mystique had been alive -decades- before either of these teams had been conceptualized. Her timeline goes back far enough that there hadn't been enough mutants to stand on opposite ends of the yard, where there wasn't so much a society of them as there had been random individuals all separated from one another. Curious anomalies at best, left to fend for themselves.

She..has seen..it all. It should surprise her none to have a daughter who has learned these values for herself.

"I have always cared for you. Sanity and happiness, alike. Any lack of flexibility comes from their views more than my own. You may find it difficult to survive somewhere in the middle but you need not do so alone. I will always be there for you."

Just like she'll still be there for the Brotherhood, but now she knows not to waste her time trying to bring Rogue back to them. Still, as an asset and as a daughter, Anna is incredibly valuable. Now Raven understands such value needs to be shielded and protected more than she would have preferred.

* * *

Now she relaxes all the way, tears in her eyes. "Sorry I yelled, Mamma," she says, instantly shame faced. She throws her arms (carefully) around Mystique for a hug, making sure nothing but fabric touches. "I did misunderstand you. You really are one of the only people who I can rely on. Who understands me."

She makes no comment about how she's faring with the X-Men. It's…probably complicated. But then she just said she's embracing the complexity of it all.

She gives a wry smile. "I went leapin' in before I looked like a blind goose fool. Just…it seems like all anyone wants to know sometimes is if I've got the ideology right. Not everyone. Not you. Not…one other. One or two others. But most."

* * *

Mystique's sense of relief is almost tangible when Rogue seems to come back around. One arm departs from the wheel to find its way around the younger mutant with a warmed expression upon that borrowed face. She has her gentle side, for the right mutants. In this moment she aims to be reassuring.

"The others may not be so understanding but they lack the connection that we share."

Besides, what's one more balancing act? It may be awkward but between the two factions she will always have a good idea of where Rogue is in the grand scheme of things. Somewhere between point B and point X. It won't be easy for either of them but she'll figure out a way to make it work.

…Wait.

"Others?" There's curiosity and a touch of possessiveness in that single spoken word.

* * *

"Nobody like you, Mamma. No family."

Rogue hears the possessiveness loud and clear.

"Jean's just been real kind. Piotr too. Couple others, here and there."

Voice gives away a lot. Jean has earned herself something akin to love. It's not filial love, nor is it romantic. Indeed, Rogue isn't much of a romantic and hasn't been since she tore Cody down all by accident. But it's something akin to love all the same. Bordering on agape, perhaps. If anyone can really be as selfless as agape love might require.

Piotr? Viewed as a big kind lunk, by the slight shifts in her tone, someone who amuses her.

But there's wariness as she hastens to reassure, uncertain what can of worms she's opened by allowing Mystique that peek into her current world.

* * *

It's par for the course when dealing with someone as protective as Raven. Having the names of these other two is important to her, both as a means of determining if they're worthy of such a connection to Rogue and so that she will know who to hunt down should they ever betray her daughter.

What doesn't follow is any form of retaliation. Though there is a somewhat bitter feeling within her upon hearing that both of these people are members of the other team. Trying to pull Rogue away from them will only end in heartache, however. Perhaps what would help is to have more positive influences within the Brotherhood.

Yes…such a thing may be difficult to find there. All the more reason for Mystique to be a mother first and a freedom fighter second.

Rogue is given another look and smile while reaching over to idly brush away a lock of the southern belle's hair. "I'm glad that you have found some strong allies over there. Has Jean been helping you?"

It's more of a formality to ask such a question by now. Raven already knows the answer. Still, she'd rather hear it straight from Anna.

* * *

"She has, Mamma," Rogue says, relishing in that tiny bit of not-dangerous contact. She doesn't expand upon what she's done to help or how beyond what she already told Raven at their last meeting. "A lot, I promise."

As for Brotherhood connections, well…there's always Tabitha. Rogue and Tabitha were close for a long time.

But Rogue is all smiles again, beaming as there's no repercussions, no sharp words, nothing but interest. Every bit of sunshine from Raven produces sunshine from Rogue. Every harsh word produces either fire or rain. But any attention at all produces something, and strongly. In some ways she's not much different than the kid who ran away from home at 16. For all that she's an adult now.

* * *

It can be a harsh reality sometimes, but that could be true for most of life beyond trying to be a parent. Maybe..if Mystique treated Kurt in such a fashion then he might one day come around, as well? Certainly not to the Brotherhood, but to at least have a connection where currently there is none?

Of course, first he'd actually need to be told they're related. The poor guy never did figure it out on his own.

Raven nods gently as her hand falls away from Rogue's hair down to her arm, then finally back to the wheel. "She's a powerful mutant. I trust that she is using her abilities responsibly."

There is still one more piece of unfinished business, however. Raven still doesn't have her precious numbers. She resists the temptation to stretch out her own arm and retrieve the paper and pen, instead offering "It is a bit of a drive but I know where we can grab a late dinner. In the meantime would you mind writing down the information you were able to glean from Thomas for me?"

Patience, Raven. Patience and kid gloves.

* * *

"Oh! Right." The younger of the two falls back to her own seat, scooping up the pen and paper once more.

Rogue had forgotten that she had barely begun the task at hand. She jots them down rapidly, in a flowing hand. Perfect memory, when memories are stolen. Ironically, her own memories aren't always so clear. But everyone else's get to be crystal clear, at least when they're fresh.

She mutters something about hoping she doesn't develop some inane fascination with Vera Bradley and Jimmy Choos. But that's just a tiny gripe, hardly worth even any emotional energy on her own part.

"There you go," she says. "I hope it helps, Momma."

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