Keeping Watch

July 08 2014: Sometimes keeping a friend company and keeping an eye on them are the same thing

Xavier's Institute Music Room

Good acoustics and seating for a dozen or so people, the music room is a good place to gather and just to practice.



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Mood Music:
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Nancy wakes up after the night before, certain it must have all been a dream. Her bed was magically transported to the living room of a friend she has only seen a handful of times and then she went to sleep. Weird dream. She is in the music room, practicing. Just scales today. Over and over. Technically perfect, but with no passion whatsoever.


Bobby has a nice, clear voice and it can be heard coming down the hall as he approaches.

<Tonight I watched in silence as strangers passed me by.
And I strained to see if there was something hidden in their eyes.
But they all looked back at me as if to say 'life just goes on.'
The old familiar story told in different ways.
Make the most of your own journey from the cradle to the grave.
And dream your dreams tomorrow because today life just goes on.

Bobby had a short day at work. Sometimes there's only so much lab work that you can do before you just have to wait for the results, which is where they're at right now. So he's back at the Institute with the guitar that he leaves here in his dorm room. He comes through the doorway and sees Nancy, giving her a smile that doesn't quite erase the concern in his eyes.

"Hi Nancy. Practicing again?"


Nancy nods her head to Bobby as he asks her his question. "Yes. Everyday, twice a day. At least an hour each time," she answers.

She continues practicing her scales, going quickly to give herself a challenge on clarity. "You're here from work early. You usually aren't here till after dinner."


Bobby listens to her play as he sits down nearby and unzips the soft case that contains his Fender. She's good. It's textbook, really, the clarity and precision she commands. Unfortunately it sounds like a textbook. No passion. No life. Just bow on string. He sits his axe on his knee and plucks softly as he tunes. He's good enough that he can do it by ear and get it pretty close to perfect.

"Well it does sound like it's paying off." Which isn't a lie. She sounds good. Just not particularly lively.


Nancy stops playing for a moment and looks at Bobby, a thoughtful look on her face. "Bobby, I had a dream last night where Illyana and my friend Jericho were saying I was acting strangely. Do you think I'm strange?" Straight and to the point. No pussy-footing around. Well, that's about normal for Nan. She says what's on her mind.


Bobby shakes his head. "Do I think you're strange? No, Nan, I don't. Do I think you've been acting a bit off?" He sighs as he begins to pick at the beginnings of Gran Vals.

"Yeah, I mean I think you've been… sorta subdued. I've tried not to say too much about it but it's kinda like you've been on autopilot. I thought maybe you might just be having a hard time with something."


Nancy listens, sitting quietly as she absorbs the information. She nods her head slowly. "I see." She picks up her bow again and joins Bobby in his tune. "I have been more… thoughtful than usual. Thinking about what is going on in my life that isn't here in this building. I want to see my mother again, but it's dangerous."


Bobby smiles a little as she joins him. The tune isn't a very long one, but he loops it, improvising a little around it.

"Is she safe?" He asks.

He knows that there was trouble with Hydra and that she had to leave suddenly and that someone else… the name Jericho sounds familiar… was watching on her behalf.

"I mean, has there been a lot to think about, about what's going on out there?" He motions with his head. "Or are you just… pensive?"


Nancy stops again. Listless is a good word for her. She just doesn't seem to want to *do* anything of her own accord, mostly following her daily routine out of habit.

"Mum is safe. Jericho took her somewhere after the explosion at my apartment in Queens. It was on the news." She frowns. "Partisan was upset about my coming here. She wanted me to take the fight to Hydra, but I turned turtle. That made her mad."


"Partisan? Parti!" Bobby snaps his fingers. "I know that name, she's been in the news." He nods, putting it together now. The legendary fighter had trained her. Groomed her as some kind of protégé, but Nancy's got a different… outlook. Different personality. She doesn't like the killing and to a lesser extent the fighting in general. A lot of things slide into place.

"Is she still mad at you? It sounded when I talked to you before like you really cared about her?"


Nancy O'Neal nods her head slowly. "Yes, Partisan is who I call Parti. I don't tend to call her by her full name because she's an international terrorist. It makes people a little wary of me."

She ponders the thought of if Partisan is still mad at her. "We haven't really talked since I came here. She's upset that I want to live a normal life when I can be so much more. I'm wasting my potential." Nancy smiles then, though there isn't any real joy in it.

"I am getting better with my power though. I can almost get it so that you could touch me."


That smile is almost painful to see. Almost. Still nice to see her smile. Bobby nods slowly.

"Right. I've read about what she's done in the papers. Well… what they say she's done. I guess if she took you in and trained you she can't be as bad as all that. I'm glad to hear your practice with your power is going so well, though."

Well, or maybe she's just not as simple as all that. People are complex, as Bobby well knows.

Then his brain engages, a little tardy but there you go. "Wait, wait. Did you say there was an explosion at your house?" Explosion are not normal things, nope, not one bit. "Holy Crow, Nancy, is everything alright?!"


Nancy puts the bow to the strings again. IN the state she is in, she's actually much better at the cello, technically speaking. The notes are all crisp and clean. But to an untrained ear, it would be fabulous. But to a fellow musician, it's just lacking. She nods her head, still playing as Bobby explodes.

"Yes, my mother got out fine, as did Jericho and his friend. My stuff is pretty much a write off, but I brought everything of any value with me, so it's all good." She doesn't seem the least bit worried about the fact that there was a fire in her old home big enough to be news worthy.


It's worth pointing out that all she knows for sure about Jeri and his friend is that they got out alive. Not that Bobby knows that. Watching Nan's sedate attitude about the whole thing only makes him more worried. The girl he'd met before he figured would be crawling up the walls at this point. Her mom? Her place burned down?

"And… um…" This is weird. "How, exactly do you feel about that?"


Nancy pauses to look at Bobby as he questions her. "I told you. All the important stuff I took with me. Everything else can be replaced. My mother and her files under the bed were both taken to safety." She goes back to practicing her scales, as if the conversation is over.


That's not what Bobby meant, but it does answer his question nicely. When she goes back to practicing he starts to pluck and strum a bit, managing to, rather amazingly, improvise a melody around C-D-E-F-G-A-B. It's not easy but… hey, he can do it.

"So you're not in the least upset that someone tried to hurt your Mom?" That seems like a reasonable assumption to make. Gas main explosions are good movie plots but almost never real things.


Shaking her head, Nancy never stops practicing. "They weren't trying to hurt her. They were trying to hurt me. If they killed her, it would bring me out of hiding. Strategically speaking, it's a smart move." Nancy's phone goes off an alarm and she stops to pick it up.

"Time for physical training. Coming?"


Bobby's sigh is internal. It's a little frightening how automatic she is in her routine like this. But… he's not particularly got anything else to do. And he still does enjoy her company.

"Sure. Let's go, then." He pauses a moment to pick up his case and put his guitar away. Then stands up, waiting for her to pack up her cello.

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