//And then a reply spam happened and oooh! look! I’m caught up! *out* I don’t think I’ve missed anyone, but my activity page might have lied to me and skipped your post when it arrived. Also, yes, I know I probably say it too much, but I apologize for all the delays. I’d like to say it will get better, but I can make no such promise at the very least until I’m done with my year abroad. What I want the most right now is lounging somewhere with cable tv and doing nothing/sleeping for at least a month (okay, maybe not ‘what I want the most’, but close).
As always, message me if you need anything/want to plot or thread
though seeing how little I’m actually posting replies, you’re definitely down on the deal :D.
And with this, sleeps sounds nice.
There is this slim moment in which Emma Frost is undeniably Emma - without the coldness, the overanalyzing, the detached demeanor. This fades away more quickly than the blink of an eye, and her gaze hardens on Kevin - On the student who betrayed her, who should be dead, and who she had ordered to take out. “It is nothing I haven’t heard before, darling. Be more original next time.”
Kevin looks at his hands, pretending to check for dirt but giving off a non-plussed air.
"They couldn’t keep me in. One touch and the doors just opened. Your security was better but the Cuckoos invited me a while ago and that shapeshifter is really easy to convince to let me in."
"Then be certain Benjamin shall learn an overdue lesson on not trusting strangers." She pauses then, frowning lightly. "The girls invited you? Why? You never stroke me as particularly close when you were still attending Xavier’s."
For a brief moment her red eyes chose to focus elsewhere. The ground, the poorly decorated walls, the ceiling tiles, anything that could hold her interest for more than a minute. The conversation felt more awkward than it should and she hated that. She hated not knowing what to say, what emotion to evoke, what p’s and q’s needed minding. She used to be a much more social creature than this. No, social wasn’t always the right word. Mouthy was far better suited. Mouthy, (falsely) arrogant, loud, obnoxious at times. It all translated to a loose mess one could almost justify calling social. If anything it was just her means of survival. So instead of words, she chose a sigh before resigning to a conversation she wasn’t sure what to make of. “Trust me, his selection isn’t that great.”
Her tone was almost familiar then.
But she grew silent once again as Emma said something that almost sounded like words of encouragement to her former student; if one had never heard Emma speak that is. Emma never spoke without intention and her intentions were usually masked until just the right moment. Something Jubilee had picked up on at an early age. She was usually a good judge of character. Her glass was almost empty already. The downside of choosing whiskey, they never serve it in a large glass, and the realization of this caused a frown to form on her pale features. “The future sounds great then.” Sarcasm had become her trademark defense when she needed to put up walls.
"An’ we both know this, but what’s got me curious is why?" She let the word hang for a moment. "Why are you coming to me about this now? Is it because I’ve made a point of staying neutral about the whole thing?"
The remark got Emma to smirk – A semi-amused smirk, one that she allowed on her lips in a process that was as conscious as it was unconscious. This was not necessarily a friendly conversation – And Emma could not recall when she ever had a conversation with Jubilee that she would automatically define as friendly since her former student became a vampire. It took more thinking to pinpoint exactly the nature of things when one half of the conversation was an undead. Even more, when the other half considered herself in a precarious situation and when knowing exactly what she wanted took more analysis than usual. It had been much easier during their Massachusetts Academy days. Not just conversing – Everything else as well. At the time, Emma had not fully grasped it – Especially not when Adrianne’s shadow came looming in the distance – but it had been easier, and happiness had been a notion that somewhat had mattered.
So this was friendly. Or, since it wasn’t – not really -, at least pretending it was could be easy. “Shame. Though I frankly do not know what I expected from a short and hairy man.” Better taste in liquor – Though this obviously only applied to beers, and Emma would not be caught drinking such a thing when she could have better.
This was her past and her present, though, and the future was much more uncertain – She had come to term with the idea that, had she not made it back to the past with the current X-Men team, it likely meant she’d been either already dead in their future or of unknown whereabouts. Neither sounded like delightful perspectives, but she could work with both. She had not seen it. Jubilee had seen her future self – Worst, she’d seen an older Shogo, which probably hardly helped when it came to coming to term with things, as much as it proved he was still living and healthy. “It sounds brilliant.” She confirmed, her smirk increasing ever so lightly in contrast with the gravity of the situation.
“It is partly about the neutrality.” If Emma was completely honest, had Jubilee not declared herself neutral, this conversation would never have happened in the first place. The neutrality seemed like a prerequisite, but it was hardly the only point Emma had taken into account. “Partly because there is a world between realisation and action. We cannot afford to solely be a revolutionary movement.” And perhaps Scott did not realize this, taken in his task of leader and in training students that felt more like recruits in a secret program than actual students – perhaps he did -, but Emma knew better. “We are stagnating. Your neutrality and choice position could be useful, if only to learn more and have access to more.”
"Erm, Professor Frost, can I ask you something?"
"You can always ask, dear, though it hardly means the answer would always suits you."
"Most of them were just irritating and didn’t last long. Perhaps your school could do with some, though donations aren’t my style."
"And I highly doubt we would accept charity either way. Your art will have to find some other public.”
"Jus’ sayin’. Ya name ‘nd ya tone is frost."
"How original. Perhaps, darling, would you even go as far as to say I am Frost.”
She’s right and he knows it, only people that ever helped and saw past his mutation in his eyes were Emma and Scott.
"For what exactly? To be kicked out of your school again ‘cause you and Summers can’t handle a death touch. You were right, you don’t have favourites."
“To learn to live with yourself would be a decent start, since doing so on your own proves unfruitful, and then perhaps to fix this very selective memory of yours that seems to have forgotten all I did for you.”
"I just…I don’t know anymore. I feel like the world is closing in around me and all I can do is watch. I need time, to think. To plan. To breathe."
"I can’t make a decision if I can’t think clearly. You’re right, I have people depending on me and I can’t let them down. I’ve risked everything to be where I am right now which is why I can’t lose. I can’t leave this up to chance. I need to plan and plan well.”
“Fine. Let us assume I am somehow agreeing with all the points you make and their undeniable consequences. What, then, would be preventing you from thinking clearly? Surely, a little spiritual retreat might not change anything.”
After what had been said had been said, it was unavoidable for Jean’s mind to continue to regress back to former memories of other quarrels the two telepaths had previously experienced before the current reunion. Years perhaps had passed and the situations at hand changed and varied drastically in some ways, but stayed the same in others and regardless of that events and individuals could in some capacity remain separate although intertwining consciously and unconscoiously with one another to affect both the events themselves and the people involved such as them.
Emma had changed. Jean wouldn’t admit it out loud in such a blunt way either. Clearly the fellow X-Men believed that all that Jean was directing towards her was out of ill-intention or to force her into following her own line of beliefs. However tempting the second option was, since wasn’t that one of the underlying motivational factors of debates after all, it was untrue. An understanding is more what she had hoped to achieve although she knew that it fully wouldn’t ever be given. It was impossible and neither of them had changed stances or were swayed to hold up one side or certain details of arguments for what they were at the present and the personal meaning that had a hold on each of them. It happened with everyone. Certain things would become more priortized than others, a plan B would have to ensue, while the main task was being worked on something else would slip into the conscious of someone and then become a primary secondary concern among a long list of them that they couldn’t help but grant some careful concern and attention to. Team divisions, loyalties reset, alliances drifted apart and newly made, moves, reminders of the past, a small preview of what may lie ahead in the future were bound to shift ideas and thoughts. It may not have changed the core of who that person was with their all-encompassing personality and fundamental ideals, but no two days were alike. One could only learn from mistakes and do what best they could the next time a situation came into view.
"Home isn’t necessarily a physical confirmation, Emma," Jean muttered although still loud enough to be heard as the other woman continued to speak. To her a home was more than fences or gates or what shone and caught a glimpse to the human eye. The woman’s mention of "family values" was already getting the inner-workings of Jean’s mind prepared for a further explanation on the matter before Emma stated something that she had to agree with and knew all to well that would be true. Yet another argument would commence and again and again the circle of misunderstandings, opposing train-of-thoughts, and more would be upon them. Still, that couldn’t sway her from at least thinking in her mind, Home is where the heart is. No matter how cheesy the statement sounds or how it may also sound like too little thought has been placed behind it. And Emma you have a heart. You hide it so well that at times I envy your ability to do so in certain ways that you have done so. But you do and not only I and others have noticed it. What you have done for your own team and students is testiment to that and I hope for a second that no matter where your thoughts lies after you have demonstrated it, that you realize it hasn’t gone unnoticed and that’s what makes you at the end among so many other things a true member of the X-Men.
"You’re right. It’s proven more often than not with us that people have tried to take away whatever was generally considered a home to us at certain times, whether that may be the places we grew up in, the land we were born in, or other places of comfort such as the place we work or even attend like a school. Even our schools," Jean stated more cooly careful not to let emotion take her as the reminders of the massacre committed against the Grey family years prior flooded her mind and her other senses. Although not earthly present, some bonds remained unbroken, and in her safe haven of the White Hot Room she was not ignorant of what had transpired and the reasons behind why it was believed by others a thing that must be done no matter how fiercely she disagreed and now with her earthly sense of feelings again wished with her all her might that she could have been there, even if it meant in her dark state, to put a stop to them from doing so no matter what it took. The White Phoenix of the Crown in her holding place couldn’t do much then as she still was coming together and not enough to make her presence known in other ways such as she later had in moon dust or projected images that could easily be considered visions. The force kept her at bay and now bound to earth again, even if she spoke of it little, her heart very much suffered. Parting her lips, she added, "Still that doesn’t change what we feel within. Feelings are feelings whether we fight to keep them away or let them control us in ways we never even initially imagined they could."
Ears perking at what Emma said next, Jean’s head raised and she squinted her eyes in curiosity although personally knowing it was in part a defense mechanism in order to shield the notion that the further the thought she’d give towards the family she had lost through a genocidal attack tears of strength that could be seen as weakness were better left not shown in such a heated moment. She wouldn’t allow for their memories and lives to be attached to such a talk of seemingly personal attacks. To her, they were innocent and a delicate topic that would always remain so and handled with much carefulness.
"I don’t think little of you," Jean began once she felt comfortable in maintaining a steady sound of her voice again. "You know your teammates, some of them shared with myself, and each relationship is in itself unique. It would be terrible of me to try to intervine in what you know or don’t know about each other because there is simply no right to say so when one doesn’t even know about it all themselves or isn’t the other person. Besides, a lot can be discovered through personal moments and happenings. However, there are general things that can be said about certain people that are known to everyone that can be told without seeming to be negative or far from the truth with how obvious they are such as I just did in terms of Logan with his tendencies that he himself will vouch for saying that he priortizes certain things over others now when more of the weight of various responsibilities are on him."
The redhead didn’t allow herself to dwell further on the topic even if Emma attempted to lure more out of her. Her closeness to Logan and viceversa would always be something that individuals like Emma could attempt to sway their opinions on without knowing the entire truth of their relationship and the reality of what both Jean and Logan felt about one another and what they had gone through. It was one less topic to presently be misconstrude for the nature of what it was.
"The look on your face as you say that my defense in general of him would appear to be due to you romanticizing a thought or notion that may be the furthest thing from the truth. He was brought up and so he was discussed. Would you prefer me to speak some praise towards Scott, Charles, Hank, Bobby, Kitty, or anyone else? I could do so with any and even you. Just as I can speak of where I disagree with them on issues no matter being my friends. As I said before, I’m not concretely on one side of this former unified team’s divide. I have my opinions on everything and I know right from wrongs and where I even have to take actions because of such things. I’ve debated greatly with those I care about more than you’d like to think, but we ultimately never treated it as a negative. More like a conversation and a learning experience for if we didn’t have our own opinions and ideas, would certain things ever be done or inspire the events and work that would then occur? Communication is a main part of what teamwork is all about."
Hearing that Emma had taken note of her looking at her watch, Jean was fast to state her reasoning without mere hesitation as it simply was a matter of truth and commitments.
"No, not late. Although I should get going shortly. It was not a gesture of rudeness or annoyance if that’s what you think. I’m helping out with today’s training and will be needed soon enough to prepare for the students who are currently busy with their other classes. Days ago I made a promise to be there today and that’s one I intend to keep."
Setting her hand back down at her side, Jean fought of her facial need to smirk at Emma’s comments over possibilities. It was ironic to her how she clearly thought Jean was presenting some sense of ego and need to be analyzed so thoroughily when Emma herself was asking that to be done to herself and speaking of the challenges it may present. She didn’t need to prove anything to her. Her own thoughts, ideas, and opinions were her own and already expressed. She didn’t need to impress anyone for her own self-satisfaction. She got quite enough in knowing that she was staying true to herself and she believed in what she believed to be right.
"I know the English language as well as you do and I don’t need belittling and dissection over everything that I say or do. And yes, unity is important and so important that hope is brought about in the idea of wishing and wanting unity. I feel it very much is, but if you see it different than that is you," she addressed prior to Emma’s then apparant warning. A voice in her mind almost rang out too quickly, Speak for yourself, but what her audible voice actually said was, “I’m aware. Everyone should. No exceptions. As for hope being a PR stint, it’s something I don’t believe as well. Hope was there even among the solitude of individuals who once walked this earth and at moments where personally they may not have been affected by other influences but their own creations, ideas, desires, and goals. And no. I haven’t forgotten the past and the details that make it up. Gratefulness is not something I’m looking for, but I wonder, although you may not believe it, whether it is something that for peace of mind you may unconsciously need. It would then beg the need to ask you that very same question you are wondering of me although not necessarily directly and that is that with our history, do you not remember all the details to that as well?”
Home. Home had never been the cold, empty mansion Emma used to return to every nights during her teenager years – Not all her teenage years, she recalled, but the memory of even colder walls and sickly, imagined fingers lingering on her shoulders was quickly chased from her mind as if anything the Evolutionnaries had brought back was merely a pack of lies -. It had never been a place, had never been a time, or a season and perhaps – perhaps – it had been the freezing wind across Back Bay, the fall leaves dancing on the path she always took when horse riding and hushed secrets between a confused teenager and her much older, much cooler brother, but home had not felt like this in a long, long while. It had felt like the bitter aftertaste of death, grief, rotten pieces trying to mend themselves together and create something new – like pushing daisies. It was a school bus full of children that were her responsibility, burning; the crumbling walls of Genosha; the imprint of a phoenix on a grave; an island sinking swallowed in the sea as she’d rained fire on the world; muted laughter that would never be heard again. Why did everything always end up burning? Better question yet, when had she exactly started to get used to this idea, to not feel revolt swell within her at the mere idea of her incompetence and of fire? Was it when she crashed down herself, ghost hands still lingering on her throat as a constant reminder not only of her mistakes, but of how it all always ended – It did not hurt anymore -? And part of Emma could only feel that if this were to be her home, then she had gotten the worst hand of the deal – again – or had somehow been cheated by a false taste of happiness that went away all too quickly. They had been on the brinks of extinction and yet selfishly and in all her fabulousness, Emma was almost certain she had been happy – Happy to have something to build, something to defend, to create and mend, fix, repair and protect. Something. Like with the Hellions. Like with Generation X. The winds of the San Fransisco Bay were not quite like the ones raging on Boston, but it had worked. She had made it work, against even her best expectations of herself. It was over, now, and if there was one thing Emma was certain of, it was that home was not a former Weapon X facility transformed into a school, no matter how strong and important the symbolism was, or how much she actually lived there. This was a necessity, not a home – And if she’d had to guess, Emma would have assumed the students felt the same way.
“Home is something you want and can come back to.” It was not necessarily a counter argument – Perhaps home was not a place, just as the winds of Back Bay were far away, tucked somewhere in Emma’s mind that she could not reach. One thing, however, was certain. There was no home, now. It had burned away. The only way to move was forward. Forward was a vague concept.
No point in clinging to names on graves that could very well have disappeared. Perhaps she still did, anyway. If there ever was one thing Emma Grace Frost was stellar at, it was unhealthy management of guilt, regardless of what she told other people.
“If you are feeling neither like one or the other, then what is left of it? What if left of home?” If it is not a place, then it is a trick, Emma thought – perhaps louder than she intended. It did not matter if Jean heard this. She’d already seen so much of what she should have never seen, so much of what Emma did not allow anyone to get close to, that catching this one stray thought was not necessarily something Emma would hate her for. The former White Queen already had a long list of things that could qualify for that and privacy became a fleeting notion when one was still trying to mend one’s own psychic powers. Except it shouldn’t be fleeting, of course, and the fact was bothersome and frustrating. It took her mind of off home, in all the complexity of the term, for a split second.
Because home was a trick, a pleasant illusion that was always shifting and turning and clinging to other people as if they were the anchors Emma had never wanted – never allowed herself to want. She did not need people – Not when taking humanity’s stupidity into account -, yet she had found herself so intertwined with some of them it sometimes felt confusing, just like how she missed being in the familiarity of Scott’s mind as if to distance herself from her own in order to better assess it, to better face herself.
Still there were some stray things lingering within her mind – home is where the heart is. The notion felt foreign in her mind and left a sour taste on her tongue as if to warn her that this idea was not hers to have. It had to be Jean’s, then – an idle thought passing by, perhaps not quite meant to find its way inside Emma’s brain - and so the blonde forced herself to try and block out anything else that may not have been hers. At the end of the day, her individuality was perhaps one of her strongest weapons.
Still. Where was her heart? She had not cared to know since she had been broken out of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody – Not really. She had faced the facts, for sure – Because Emma Frost was far from being a coward, and she’d have been damned if she had not worked through the more tangible part of her thoughts and emotions -, but in the interest of moving forward there would probably always be things that lingered. She could live with this – It did not necessarily mean she would face it. Especially not in front of Jean. And if the redhead was any good at reading facial expressions, then the cold and distant expression that grew even more distant would only superficially hide that there were many things locked away.
“Tell me, then, since you so obviously seem so certain of yourself – Where is home?” The tone was mocking, unkind – perfectly completing the question in itself. “And please stray away from clichés such as ‘home is where the heart is’.” Her smirk gleamed of fleeting satisfaction – something she could hold on to, an easy distraction. “And as a matter of fact, I believe it does change our feelings, darling, in a very fundamental way. Rage, frustration and guilt, for instance, would undeniably and pathetically come and clog people’s judgment of those who dared harm their home. Nothing ever remains pure.” This was why she loved white – More than the simple compliment of the much cooler older brother, white was irony. It was sharp, and cool, and Emma’s very own private joke that no one ever seemed to get – Another irony. Black, on the other hand – Black was a warning, a constant reminder not to trust the wolf that disguised as a sheep. There was no more honest color than the absence of color.
The fact she was perhaps speaking about herself was a delightful, cruel joke she could appreciate.
“Well then, think much or enough of me if this is what you want to tell yourself. It makes no difference to me whatsoever. At the very least, we agree on the matter of teammates. Still, appealing to common knowledge is a tricky endeavor – Particularly as it assumes your interlocutor is at the very least common. I tried hard enough to distance myself from this abhorrent notion, so you will have to humor me if I have reservations about Logan. His priorities may be in a certain order, but the world is an uncertain place.”
And Emma knew Logan – She knew him enough to know that though they had never quite been friends and despite the fact he sometimes brought back undesirable side-effects if he ever went off on his own, she had always been certain he was somehow reliable in his whole unreliability. Still, it was not him Emma was trying to be unfair to, but the redhead in front of her. And so she grinned at Jean’s next words.
“Perfect, then. Humor me. In the interest of this conversation, where do you stand, if it is not one way or the other and since you are so certain to know right from wrong?” Not that there were not a plethora of possibilities. The world was not black and white, nor right or wrong. People were always interested, often foolish, and this made for more complexity than any Manichean concept. And Jean knew this – of course she knew this. It was probably the first harsh truth being a telepath brought into the light, a knowledge people with psychic powers would have to live with. As much as one could block the thoughts out or respect private boundaries, this knowledge was not something one could either escape or hide from. It was there, latent even in dreams, and had been at times one of the only things that had proven Emma she was not insane. Interests. Power. A language she had always understood, given her first-class upbringing. “Rude is not necessarily a term I would associate with you, no. Inconsiderate, perhaps, but not rude and certainly not because you looked at the time. I have higher standards, darling. I also had a better watch.” It had sunk with Utopia. Afterwards, getting a new and expensive watch had not been a priority. It became laughable how much of her life was now a far cry from everything she ever aspired to be while Jean’s – Jean’s wasn’t. It had never been. And Emma knew better than to think the distaste in her mouth that threatened to lessen her scintillating, fake smirk was jealousy or regrets – It was what reality felt like. She had had a better watch – And better clothes, too, but the blonde would not bring that up yet. “Keep your promises Jean, and I will keep mines.” The promise to move on, to care for her students – regardless of who they were. Most of the time. -, promise to be an X-Men and the many more she must have taken at one point or another of her life and that now seemed to stand tall and overshadowing everything else. Still, there was no need to be particularly honorable to keep a promise, only to hold onto it tight enough. This I can do, she thought – And perhaps this was only a half-truth, but not a lie.
“No exception.” She confirmed, her tone light and borderline mocking while in fact in agreement with the redhead. The former White Queen was fully aware of ghosts – Hers, but also other people’s, and how destructive those could be if they ever came to light. Nothing was ever pure – And again, falling back on this notion.
“Unity is brought by necessity, by a common cause. One could argue then that wanting unity, then, is more about motives and determination than hopes. Hope is a blind shot, a creation, it is everything and anything you might want to it be and, therefore, indefinitely ends up being nothing at all.”
Her conversational tone changed, then, as her face froze in an expression that conveyed coldness but not distance, her eyes far less detached and amused that they had been mere instants ago, but focusing on Jean like a predator carefully eying its opponent to determine its strength. “I remember.” The mumble was clear and crisp. She had not forgotten how many times her mind had been burning. If she remembered this, she could as easily remember everything else. She remembered Jean helped. “And you should know me better than this, Jean dear –“ There was nothing endearing in the nickname. “- I care not for gratefulness, especially not yours.” After everything that had happened, gratefulness was not something she expected or wanted from Jean – Or anyone else, for what it mattered. It had never been about gratefulness. Glory, on the other hand – Glory and power and strength… These were notions Emma could still comprehend, regardless of how much she still related – or did not relate – to them.