Camera Ready
Roleplaying Log: Camera Ready
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Warren and Betsy get a chance to catch up, after the latter's recent return to the States.

Other Characters Referenced: Jean Grey, Rachel Summers, Alison Blaire, Bobby Drake, Dani Moonstar, Sam Guthrie, Isabel Kane
IC Date: December 09, 2018
IC Location: Xavier Institute, Westchester
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Dec 2018 04:40
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Despite the troubles that loom on the horizon for mutantkind in New York State, the Xavier Institute still does its best to be the refuge it always has been… even despite the recent measures it's had to take to send most of its faculty and more vulnerable students out-of-state. Cloistered a few hours distant both from the noise and uproar of New York City, and the political machinations grinding their way through the capital of Albany, at the Institute it is easy to temporarily forget all those external troubles.

Well, for most people. For some people, those troubles follow no matter where you go.

Out behind the Institute proper, the well-tended gardens sit dormant for the winter. It's fairly cold out, and so they sit mostly empty… except for a single figure, who seems indifferent to the temperatures, likely because of the tightly-folded white wings pressed against his back. Warren Worthington, at first blush, looks a little crazy, because he's pacing around with his hands in his pockets talking to himself, but closer inspection would yield an explanation in the form of a hands-free set into which he's speaking.

"…we're going to have to be above-board with everything from now on," he's saying, his speech audible in snatches. "If we get caught with our pants down in March, it'll go much worse. Set it up as an inter vivos trust if that's what you feel is the best way, I just want to make sure the people in San Fran will be set no matter what."

He ends the call. That puts a stop to his pacing, too. It's a moment before he goes back inside, however, his abstracted gaze cast across the grounds in the direction of the distant lake.


She had been rambling throughout the mansion, as has been her habit as of late. She's rattled around, unsettled and unsure of what to do, and while she enjoys downhill skiing, cross country isn't much her thing. Purple hair is long and loose over the thick gray sweater paired with the black fleece lined leggings. She's been in one of the many windowed rooms, and it hadn't taken her long to deduce that Angel was taking a phone call. A heavy one, from his place outdoors and the pacing.

When she sees him stop pacing, staring off towards the lake, she'll move to open a door. "It's a little chilly out here. There's tea on, and hot cocoa in the crockpot. The real thing. Interested?" She'll take up a lean against the doorjamb, watching him. Her insides are a jumble of feelings that she will move to squash. She doesn't know what to think or feel about anyone anymore, so there is no point in not starting clean.


He's got sharper senses than the norm — part and parcel of being half-bird, really — but even he doesn't quite notice Betsy this time up until she speaks. Probably a commentary on his state of mind. There's a slight startle response, a lift of his feathers and a flare of his wings, up until he turns his head and catches sight of her in the doorframe.

"You know what," he says, "that sounds amazing." With that, Warren makes his way up out of the maze of garden paths, heading towards the door.

His wings fold down compact, even though the door's built more than wide enough to accommodate various nonstandard shapes. Force of habit. "I hadn't realized you were back, Betsy," he says, a shade of apology in his voice. "Though I haven't been around myself much lately, either. I've been remiss." A flicker of concern crosses his eyes. "No one would have blamed you to take a little longer to yourself."


"I have to admit I've got a growing fondess for the crockpot cocoa. I've taken to replenishing the little marshmallows to go in it." She smiles, not the model bright smile she can give, but smaller - warmer and more sincere. She will step back out of his way when he comes through the doorway, moving to close it behind him to cut off the cold air wafting in.

Violet eyes look up at him at the apology in his voice. "Well, it isn't exactly like I took out a full page ad in the Journal, so you're forgiven. Things have been busy here, and with all the possible trouble coming… no. No, I couldn't take longer by myself. It was time to stop hiding."

She will let her hand touch his arm for just a moment, a casual touch, before she turns to lead the way to the kitchen. "Bobby told me some of what everyone's been up to, the other day."


Warren can easily tell the difference between smiles — the ones for the crowds, and the ones that are sincere. It's been part of his own life since he can remember, peering through the veils and trying to discern who's being fake with him or not. Part of his own life to wear any number of those veils himself. It disarms him immediately to see that sincerity, especially given he knows Betsy too has lived a spotlight life — has so many masks she could wear, too. His wings slacken a little into a more relaxed state.

"Well, allow me to shamelessly avail myself of the product of your obsession, then," he says, with half an amused smile of his own. "I expect just a copious amount of marshmallows."

Time to stop hiding, she says, and Warren goes briefly silent. The memory of the flash of cameras at the press conference passes behind his eyes. "Time for all of us to stop hiding, I think," he says. "They've forced us all to this." His voice turns a little forcedly light. "Broke my fifteen-year record keeping it a secret. Though my wings are much less cramped, these days."

The brief touch turns his blue eyes to her; he falls into step as she moves off. The mention of Bobby flickers a hint of warmth in his gaze. "Yeah? How did he summarize it?" A pause, and then more seriously, "How is he doing?"


"Oh, as many as you can handle, Mr. Worthington." Betsy will tease with a grin over her shoulder before she turns to head through the doorway into the kitchen. She will head for the mugs, pulling down some sensible ones - lacking slogans. She sets them next to the crockpot, lifting the glass lid to ladle some into each mug. The rich scent of creamy chocolate will waft into the air before she can put the lid back.

She is silent a long moment, as she reaches up into a cupboard for a baggie of mini marshmallows. "He told me you registered. Jean, too." She glances. "He wants me to change my main address from England to here, and go with him to register." There's a frown, as she offers him the bag of little white 'mallows.

"He's troubled. I think his family is giving him grief over this whole thing. He was upset, but as Bobby does, trying to cover it."


"Ever so many. What's the use of an enhanced metabolism if you don't abuse it? I run off sugar. I should have had hummingbird wings," is Warren's rejoinder, as he follows into the kitchen and leans against the island, his arms folded on the smooth polished surface. The posture arches his wings a little, the appendages finally able to stretch and move naturally in tandem with him. Small benefits come with registration; he's lived fifteen years with his wings strapped except on missions. To simply get to exist as he is is a relief of an unexpected order. The cost, though…

His mood turns a little more somber as the topic inevitably turns. Accepting the mug and the bag of marshmallows, as threatened he starts to put just an inordinate amount into the cocoa: though he remains a gentleman, and leaves enough for Betsy too. "Jean is holding out," he says. "Rachel, too. I think most of us staying here in New York are trying to, except those of us with no choice." A pause. "But I did. Held a press conference and everything. The risks to Worthington Industries are too high if I don't. So did Alison; we're going to see if we can't use our public clout to push back."

His eyes turn up to Betsy. "You don't have to, Bets. It might be more useful if you don't. Not that that's my call, it's whatever you decide, but…"

Warren frowns. "I should talk to Bobby. He's always held this stuff in too much."


She will accept the bag back to top her own cocoa, before she will move to hoist herself up to sit on a counter, looking at him. "Bobby sounded pretty sure Jean was going to do it. Hmm." There's a faint line between her brows, as she stirs her cocoa carefully, looking down at lazily spinning marshmallows. "I caught a clip being used, but.. I didn't see it live or anything. I've been limiting my use of electronics, as part of my meditation routine. Trying to.. acclimate everything. Determine what memories of mine are real, and which ones aren't mine, or aren't at all."

She will lift her eyes to meet his. "That's actually what I told Bobby. If Jean did or does register, having me around and unregistered is not the worst thing ever. I know I have dual citizenship, but my main residence is still in England. So by the way the law is written, I needn't register, since I am not fully resident here in this state. We could maybe use me in ways others can't be." She shrugs with a fluid motion of shoulders.

"Bobby was pretty desperate to not talk about it, at least to me. Then again, maybe he was worried, me being a telepath and all. I'm not sure." There's a hint of a smile. "I saw Sam, though, when I was first back. He told me everything he felt I missed. Wants me to come out and have coffee with him and his… roommate. Izzy."


"I have to wonder if Bobby's reading a bit into things because of his own pressures, there," Warren muses, turning his cocoa in his hands. "I get how important family is, but sometimes…" Memory glosses his eyes: the first time he stood up to his father and insisted to withdraw from Exeter in favor of the Institute. "Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand." And yet… Warren knows he's on shaky ground, making that judgment. For all the tension between him and his own father, he was glad he managed to reach some tacit understanding with him before he died.

He shakes his head. "I'll talk to him," he reiterates. "I'm certainly not a telepath, so he'll have no excuse."

His gaze turns thoughtful as Betsy lets slip a little bit of what she's been going through. There's an empathetic look over the rim of his mug as he takes a sip. "I can't imagine what that's like. Sorting through the thoughts and experiences of something in your head that isn't… you." He scrubs a hand over his face. "I could hardly wrap my mind around the whole concept of it, when we got you back. Maybe Jean could help with it." A pause. "It might do her good, too… take her mind off things." Like coming back from the dead.

Her remarks on the tactical advantages of having people exempt from registration draws a nod. "That's what I'm thinking," he says. "You're not domiciled here, you're not obligated. Same story with Rachel. We could use a couple people who aren't bound by the laws, who aren't on the books — okay this is actually amazing." His head tilts, regarding the cocoa. Sometimes the birdlike attention span really comes out strongly in Warren.

He glances back up as Betsy mentions Sam and his… "Roommate," Warren says. "Okay. So we're talking roommate."


"Bobby has always had more going on in his head that he hides behind being the joker." Betsy sounds like that's a statement, and a firm one. Perhaps she does remember that. "Bobby doesn't need an excuse. I have just returned, after all. He may not feel that he can trust me completely, yet." She will lick at melted marshmallow before she takes a sip from her mug so she doesn't end up with a glob on her nose.

Violet eyes gaze in turn over the top of her mug at him, holding the look even as the mug lowers. "Jean and I have never been exactly close. I don't know that I could be at ease enough to let her in to help. It would be.. quite a battle for me to relax that much in someone else's hands." There's a curl of a smile. "But back I am, because I couldn't stay in England, hiding, while you guys had all this going on."

The smile comes out in full, watching him look down into his cocoa, apparently turning the idea over and over in his head that there are people not bound by all of this insanity. "I did see Rachel, the other night. And Moonstar. They seemed well." Before the cops showed up.

"Hmm? Yes, his roommate. She's been out of town a long time. They met in space, she was apparently in the army for the Shi'ar?" The look she gives Warren is innocent and without guile. "I guess he's trying to help her get used to being back?"


"Quick study," Warren smiles, head tilting. "It took me years to notice. But then, women cotton on to these things faster, even before you add in the telepathy. So I've found, anyway. I suppose that's a comment on — what do they call it? Toxic masculinity?" Please don't even try, Warren.

His demeanor grows a little more serious. "He's always been cautious, though. That's for certain. But I think it's important for us all to start trying to trust each other more, if we're going to face what's coming with any kind of solidarity." And there's the Warren everyone knows, Warren who was one of the first of the X-Men, Warren who always tried to be the charismatic force keeping the team going, even if Scott was more of the true leader. Jean was the heart of the team, perhaps still is. Warren? Perhaps it's a conceit due to the way he looks, his thematic, but he likes to try to be the optimism.

To speak of Jean, though… Betsy demurs on the idea of telepathic help from her. Warren regards her thoughtfully. "Fair enough," he says. "I suppose it's different when you're both telepaths." He finishes more of his cocoa. "And you're… not the first person to frame it to me as 'hiding,' but I'd encourage everyone not to think about it that way. We all make our individual choices." He smiles up at her, the expression warm. "But we're glad to have you, just the same."

The guileless look she gives his emphasized 'roommate' draws a laugh, though his humor stops short a little tellingly at the word 'Shi'ar.' His expression tightens a little, though he holds his thoughts to himself. "That's kind of him," he says. "Most people I know who've gone to space certainly need a lot of acclimating when they get back."


"Well, I have brothers. Maybe that helps?" She'll shrug it off. She could have sworn she knew that about Bobby before… and her eyes dart about the kitchen a moment before she focuses her gaze on her cocoa. "Toxic masculinity was not something I really see happening here." The mix of tenses is perhaps intentional.

"For all I've been in front of cameras for quite some time now, I still have a wealth of privacy, and am somewhat partial to being private. That and.. the brainwashing. To let someone, another telepath, even someone I trust, inside.. well, let's work with baby stilettos, shall we?" There's that model perfect smile, the flash and surface polish that lends to her beauty.

"Well, it's Sam. He still keeps trying to call me Miss Betsy. I think sometimes people like you and I, who have grown up in cities with more..cosmopolitan morals, may laugh at the roommate thing. But Sam's a product of his upbringing, and still a gentleman. An optomistic, somewhat romantic of a gentleman, who was trying to convince me that in no time at all, I will feel myself again, and that he looks forward to seeing me be romanced by someone worthy." There's laughter then, her head tipping back. "It's sweet, really, hearing it in his adorable accent. I couldn't laugh, then."


The mix of tenses isn't something Warren misses. He can be oblivious at the best of times, but deliberate word choice is something that has been crucial enough for him to notice, over the course of his life, that he can pick it out when it is important. His brows lift a little in wordless question, though he doesn't press. Especially given her remarks on privacy, a moment later.

"Privacy was the last thing I had left," he says, wistful — but without any particular tone of regret. He has never regretted shielding others with himself. "And I gave it up to registration. I endorse you keeping yours. There is little enough of it that people like us get to keep, after the masses finish taking from us."

That perfect, prepared smile of hers flashes. He gives it a pensive sort of look, recognizing it for what it is: a closed door on the topic. He respects the small barrier, and lets the topic turn.

Safer topics — like the innocence of Sam Guthrie. Warren smiles when Betsy laughs, absently swirling his mug so the remnants of the cocoa blend with the marshmallow. "That is sweet," he says, "and optimistic, and perhaps a little of what we need right now, in such a climate. If nothing else, that might be what keeps us all feeling normal, even if our individual paths take a little more time to get there."


There is sorrow in her eyes as she looks at him. "You still have the privacy inside your own head. From me, at the very least." Betsy promises. "I swear to always knock before I even speak into your head, and never read without permission." There's another smile, before she sips at her cocoa.

"It is. Sweet, optimisitic, and adorable. He's one for believing what he says, and really looking for the good in people." She frowns slightly. "I wish I had that sort of rock solid belief in myself, what I see. I wish … I wish it wasn't just his wishful thinking, sometimes. I'm sure there are times when you've felt a terrible, isolating lonliness." Her voice has drifted off, almost to a whisper.

She will shake herself, chin lifting. "Are you going to stay a while? I could get a fire going in the fireplace, we could find something mindless to watch on television."


The promise lifts his eyes to meet hers, blue on violet. "I appreciate that, Betsy," he says. She doesn't need psionic senses to taste the sincerity off that. There's a pause… and then the seriousness breaks with a quirked half-smile. "It's a mess in there anyway. Not fit for a lady's eyes."

He shakes his head, dismissing his own joke. "I envy it, myself," he says. "I nearly lost that ability early, growing up in the environments I did. I had to struggle to hold onto it, cultivate it back. It's something we have to work on, people like us."

I'm sure there are times when you've felt a terrible, isolating loneliness. "Very often," he says, the lightness of his voice a purposeful choice to counteract the bleakness of the remark. "Many more days than people think, looking at my life from the outside."

He straightens back to a full stand afterwards, nodding in her direction. "I don't have to be back in the city until morning," he replies her inquiry. He reaches out, offering to hand her down from her perch on the counter. "That sounds like a good use of my time until then."

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