Priorities
Roleplaying Log: Priorities
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Emma and Emery catch up after Emma's return from Alaska. He continues to try to play the part of Jimminy Cricket.

Other Characters Referenced: Danny Rand
IC Date: July 26, 2019
IC Location: Emma Frost's Penthouse - NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 13 Aug 2019 17:08
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

He’d gotten her home in the morning hours of the 24th. Everything between Alaska and home was a blur, and she really doesn’t remember much of it.

There was the trip to Westchester, some sort of once-over, and then the drive to New York City.

She doesn’t know how she got into bed, but she did and she really hasn’t done more than sleep since. Not well, but bad sleep is better than what she’s gotten for the past month and a half. She took a shower somewhere in the middle, although the timing of that is lost in the blur, too. Emery was here, but she has no idea if he still is or if he’s gone. She could check, but she doesn’t.

Emma Frost could have certainly done with her brain making fewer visits to the downstairs neighbors, her slumbering thoughts accidentally mingling with other thoughts all over the building as they stretch out in earnest for the first time in months. But, at the most, the neighbors might later attribute her intrusion as her being just a very singular and remarkable woman who is the sort to leave an impression… Even if they haven’t seen her since the beginning of May.

And also if she wasn’t occasionally, maybe, possibly mind-zapping one or two of them awake by accident.

When she emerges this afternoon from her den-like bedroom, cracking open the French doors from the master bedroom and resting her unmanicured hand upon one, the world still feels upside down. Feels like it’s on the other side of a gossamer curtain. …No, that’s not right. It’s gossamer sheers, filtering sunlight.

The world still feels wrong, despite the realization.

Still, a beat before she finds the light of the living room, her aching mind reaches out for anyone in her space and—before she can be seen—wraps herself up in the illusion that all is fine. All is as it should be. She weaves for herself all of the self-care that has been lacking in the past three months that makes her the very vision of health and vitality. Curled and dyed hair. A light application of cosmetics. Heeled bedroom slippers and one of her slinky robes.


There is one person that is in the space. Dressed simply in a pair of dark jeans, a light grey Henley and his usual black apron, hair pulled back in a man bun. Emery is carefully lowering a tray with a simple bowl of honest to god porridge, brown sugar and butter…fresh berries. A couple pieces of warm blueberry muffins, a full tea set, and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Everything is arranged carefully.

He looks up from where he is returning to the kitchen, which is somehow still looking barely touched, and makes a detour to the doorway of Emma’s bedroom, bowing his head politely and offering an arm.


The advantage of the thick, ivory carpet is that it means every footstep falls into the same silent hush. Bare feet. Heeled feet. It would make no difference. She needn’t extend the lie to encompass the sound of her footfalls, although she could if she wanted. She could hide it the same way she hides the shortcomings in her appearance.

The smell of food, of tea, set out just so. The look of things kept, just so. So little out of place. Someone paid to be here, but who did so much more than his contract requires and who knows more than she ever intended to let him know. It’s a careful blend that Emery has brewed, more expertly balanced than the dark he’s steeped for her teapot (which is an expert blend, indeed): just enough within her control and just enough care outside of her control to be the kind of comfort that is actually comforting.

If anything can be.

She looks to Emery’s arm and her infamous pride surges visibly to the fore, if subtly. She nearly sends him away, and he’ll see perhaps the prickle and start of it before she hesitantly sets her arm upon his. She can hide the feel of her clothes and the toll of three months of neglect—and she does—with her continued psychic illusion, but she doesn’t bother trying to hide the weight of her reliance as she makes use of her super butler’s generous, wordless gesture.

She trusts to set against it a little weight. And then just a little more.

Finally, she breaks the silence. “I could do this myself, you know. It’s… just the offer was there. It would be terribly rude to just let it hang there, ignored.”

Emma Frost, eminently thoughtful.

…and also a liar.


“Of course ye could, Milady, but do an old man a favor and let me pretend to be needed for a wee bit.” Emery provides whatever support she needs, leading her towards the couch with a soft tsking. “Ye got all dolled up too, least I can do is treat ye like the queen you are. Here you go, have a seat. There we go.” He adjusts slightly to guide her to a seated position before pulling away.

There isn’t much to say as he shakes out a linen napkin to offer her with a quirk of an eyebrow.


“Thank you.”

Emery dances a delicate line with precision, and the truth hangs between the paces of it. In close proximity, Emma knows to let go of him as soon as she can at the sofa—transferring her weight to lean on the sofa’s arm instead—so he doesn’t have as ample an opportunity to catch the discrepancy between the smooth descent that she offers to him in the continued illusion and the actual one that is a far less polished thing.

In her seat, she tries to sit back but immediately laments the attempt. Sitting up as primly straight as ever, she wordlessly opens a hand to take the napkin that he unfolds for her.

This isn’t the first time that she’s woken like this, weak and dependent, but it is the first time that she’s needed to navigate the dynamic with Emery. It’s the first time that she’s needed to confront the reality that he knows that she is vulnerable. It’s a chasm between supposition and confirmation, but here they are on the other side of it in a brave new world. All she knows how to do is to keep that frosty exterior well in place.

“I assume I didn’t lose my company while I was indisposed?”

Business is safe ground, she hopes.


“Aye, you have amazing people who all got gift certificates and a small bonus gift for their discretion over the last month or so, working for you. Tasha deserves a vacation, luv.” Emery responds, kneeling down to pour the tea and start fixing it to Emma’s specifications.

He takes a deep breath before continuing. “And you were not indisposed Milady, you were kidnapped and held hostage and teased up like a lab experiment. You were put through the ringer and are still sitting here looking like a million dollars, even without doin whatever it is you are doin to make me think I am seeing you in a different light.”

He shrugs. “You have lost too much weight, so I have made ye a hearty breakfast still fit for a queen yet gentle. Alright?”


Emma doesn’t really know what to say to what her butler has to offer her. An admission of the scale that Emery is asking of her is anathema to the children of Winston Frost, and her mind stays on keeping her breath even and slow.

It would be easier in some ways to drop the illusion, to let him see for himself the toll that three months can take. Easier in some ways. More difficult than she has ability to fathom in others. Her gaze stops its wandering over her surroundings, and shifts up to consider him. She simultaneously hates and craves the care he offers her, but in the end all she knows how to do is deflect.

“Only a million?” she asks of him with a chuckle. “Last I checked my portfolio, I was worth at least six.”

“But you’re right. I’m afraid the meals over my vacation weren’t quite up to your caliber, Mister Papsworth. Alas, you’ve spoiled me irreparably in that regard, but I survived.” Whatever sustenance was offered—enough to keep them alive and little more—was certainly not up to the world class fare that Emery prepares. He’s a man who can make honest-to-God porridge seem appetizing. Still, a pang of guilt rings in her tone somewhere at the last. Children died. She lived. Again. A poisonous and corrosive seed of knowledge, sown in her heart. “Although, I suppose I won’t have to hear from my trainer about cutting the carbs for a while. Silver linings everywhere I look.”

She takes a moment to consider the peaceful preparation of her tea, to hold her hands out and take it. Of all the things he offers her, could offer her, that is the one that she presently wants most.

“Once I’m settled back in the office,” she promises him quietly, “I’ll see what I can do about Miss Beaumont’s vacation.”


The teacup is passed over carefully, but his fingers linger long enough for him to make that brief connection of taking even for a moment any pain or discomfort before he realizes what he is doing and pulls his hands away. Emery nods slowly. “I tink she will appreciate that, luv,”

He bites his bottom lip and then exhales softly. “I am over 500 years old. Ye know this right? I have gotten really good at listening to people bitch and moan or just get tings off their chest. So I need ye to tell me three things, How do you feel. What do you need. And then, what if you could have anything, do you want?”

He offers a hand.

—-

When his fingers brush, Emery will be the poor subject of Emma’s still-raging headache, bone-deep ache, and still-complaining muscles. There are still countless healing bruises and punctures beneath the flawless psychic veneer she erects. But it’s better than it was in the hellhole. Better by miles.

She feels that pulse of relief, however, and she raises an eyebrow. But before she can protest about being adult enough to carry her own pain, the only penance she can think to give herself at present, he pulls away.

He knows better. He knows her well enough. There are only a handful of people who can say they do.

“I feel angry. I need men dead and a salon appointment, although not necessarily in that order. And I don’t think there are enough hours left in the day,” it’s still morning, isn’t it?, “to adequately inventory all of the things that I want.”

Her lips turn to a wry smile as she lets out an exhale that serves as a half-hearted attempt at an amused chuckle. The energy isn’t there for a laugh, but the humor is genuine. She doesn’t take his hand just yet, but she gives it a considering look before turning her eyes back up to meet his with a theatrical narrowing. “Are you a djinn, Mister Papsworth? Are you trying to corner me into a bad deal?”


There is a small pause as Emery keeps his hands extended. “I have worked with Miss Tasha and your appointments are scheduled for whenever you feel up to them.” He assures her. “The men that perpetrated this crime, they will be dealt with. Perhaps we can arrange somethin’ to help the families of those children.”

Then he has to laughs softly. “Hardly, Milady. Close, but apparently we are just messengers or some shite like that.” He winks and sighs softly. “I am glad that you are here to have murderous thoughts and make your list of items. Remember, I am here at your service. Hm?”


Emma considers the hands that are offered to her. She takes a sip, savoring it with a deep inhalation as she listens. Then, delicately, she leans forward to reach beside Emery and set her teacup and saucer upon the low table.

Her hands, warmer now for the bracing of tea, reach out to gingerly set themselves in his.

“Come work for me full-time, Emery,” she says, her voice sweet. “I need people I can trust. Trust to know things. Trust to keep that knowledge safe and discreet. Trust to not switch sides when they find an advantage to press. Trust to keep an eye on the greater perspective.”

She smiles and her one eyebrow arches with amusement. “I’ll see the increase in your pay and benefits more than make it worth your while.”


There is a slow quirk of an eyebrow as he grasps Emma’s hands gently, his own a tad calloused from swordplay and manual labor but his nails are always well manicured. The Irishman snorts softly at the tone of used and bows his head as he concentrates on reaching out with his gift again to wrap around the pain or discomfort and temporarily channel it into himself.

No flinching, or gritting his teeth just the faint pulse of a vein in his temple as he considers what is being asked. “Oh Milady, you’d have to purchase me contract from Rand. I mean Master Danny is travelin’ abroad these days and hasn’t that much of a need of me but my contract is with the Rand company.”

He takes a deep breath. “Ye gave me an awful fright, Milady. I promised ye a bloody good game a chess so ye can’t make this whole getting kidnapped thing a regular occurance, alright?”


For what is likely the first time in their relationship, Emma allows Emery to use his ability. It’s nearly euphoric, to be free of the nagging pain, and her eyes close to savor the feel of it.

“I made a mistake,” she confesses quietly. “I held back.”

She exhales again, low, as she explains quietly as though someone might overhear. “I knew better, but I didn’t want to catch up an innocent bystander in the rush. Or the girl they had. A momentary lapse towards mercy. A mistake that I’ve no intention of repeating.”

The blonde doesn’t know how she can suddenly feel so tired all over again, but it’s rather all she can do to not melt under it and instead keep her illusion steady. It wouldn’t do, after all, to further subject her image to further decay.

“I’ve quite learned my lesson, Mister Papsworth.”

It’s a bad teacher that can’t be taught. But she also has a long history of bad luck, and she’d be remiss to forget it. She’d like to promise that such things won’t happen again. She knows better than to make such a promise.

“Still. I’ll have Miss Beaumont talk to Rand. Surely, they’ve no desire to throw money away maintaining a butler that their little troublemaker isn’t even utilizing.”


“S’not a mistake, Milady.” Emery corrects softly. “Mercy is never a mistake, but teh universe or powers that be make sure that any Grace we show comes with a price. We learn what the cost is, and upon being given a second chance we approach it a wee bit differently.”

He makes a soft ‘shhh’ sound. “C’mon, Milady, just relax for a bit okay?” He maintains that connection, taking deep even breaths and he gives a small shake of his head. “One of me brothers, he had gifts like you. Afterall, Gabriel is teh angel that kinda oversees the whole messages and psychic shite.” He finally shares a bit of his own past. “He used to keep us all connected in our minds when we were on our missions. It took quite a toll on him to make the world hear and see what he needed and wanted them to. So, he’d come and climb into me bedroll, to rest his head against me ch-chest…” He grits his jaw, a glimmer of a tear might be in his eyes but he keeps them shut. “So I could give him a bit of relief and he could sleep. After all, I couldn’t sleep, but I could make sure he could.”


Shrewd, pale eyes open at that hitch in Emery’s voice, Emma’s lips pursing downwards into a pensive, downward arch.

“My father used to tell us that mercy is always a mistake.” And Shaw continued the lessons where her father left off, nurturing the very worst in her. The thought causes her nose to crinkles the faintest bit. “I suppose that’s why I’m not very good at it.”

Her head tilts, and tresses fall over her shoulders as she cants her head a degree to the side. “And your Gabriel. Where’d he end up after all was said and done?”


“I never knew me father, and me mum was a nun who wouldn’t ever let me call her mother. The Church was big on grace but would’ve shown her no mercy had she claimed me. Even though people knew.” Emery explains carefully as he gently rubs the back of Emma’s hands with his thumb. There is a soft chuckle. “Mercy is only a mistake if you dun actually mean it.”

But it is that second question that makes him look up for a moment and then he lowers his eyes. “Sometimes not showing mercy can result in greater loss than if you do.” Then he swallows and gives a quick shake of his head. “I’m the last of us.” That’s all he’s going to say about that.


That’s all he’s going to say, and Emma doesn’t press further. Instead, there’s just a quiet hum that is the closest approximation to voicing sympathy that Emery will find. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t the stirring of it in her heart, mind, but it doesn’t dirty the air between them with weakness. He’ll have all he needs of it in her gaze when he looks up to meet her eyes. It’s not pity he’ll find there, but rather a kindred knowledge of loss.

But then he looks down, and the moment is shattered. The woman closes her eyes again at the tender touch against her hands, heaving a deep and slow breath.

“Thank you,” she says quietly, letting her form finally settle against the back of her sofa and her head find a place along its rolled top edge. “For coming after me.”


Emery just bows his head politely, resting his forehead against the hands before pulling back after turning each hand to kiss the back of each gently and then starting to get to his feet. “Always, Milady. For as long as I am in your service.” He winks and then idly rolls his shoulders.

“Now, let’s get ready for making sure the world knows how feckin’ badarsed you really are, Milady. Rest up for a few days then step out in style, hm?”


The telepath, to her credit, maintains her comforting illusions still. Even as Emery kisses her hands, and then rises to his feet. Even as she gently draws her hands back.

And then—as he so often does—he displays that little bit of telepathy so very much his own.

“Yes,” she agrees with a chuckle. “I think that will do splendidly.”

It’s been too long as it is, and investments will begin to lose value. A company neglected. Her connections, neglected. And then there is the matter of the Hellfire Club and the demands that she left unanswered…

A dread better left for another day, when she is more prepared to take on the armor for it. For now, she takes up the cup of tea once more and braces with it instead. She sips and treasures it, and then her eyebrows lift with dark amusement.

“But, I do think that means that it’s to the salon first.”

Because, as always, there are priorities.

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