Let's Talk

Summary:
January 31, 2015: Nate tells a tale while Jean cooks and listens.

Xavier's Institute

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It was the day after the news was broken to Jean that somewhere out there, another version of her has a daughter who was here in this world. It was news to blow anyones mind, really. News that was almost life changing, especially if she lets it. She was ruled by emotion and nearly took that step towards that direction but was concerned or leery about the implications. What if they were to happen and they wouldn't get Rachel? What if they had a boy, what if.. what if.. what if..

But there were lingering questions, and as the final class let out for the day and it turned to night, the final telepathic sweep was issued along the manse and the compound, voices picked up and listened to, yet immediately ignored to keep private conversations private and private dealings the same.

The voices slammed themselves out of her head, for she was only searching for once, a beck and a call for Nate Grey was tossed out into the ethers, which would lead him to the foyer and into the kitchen where dinner was being prepared for two. Wine and dine to get answers, plus.. when was the last time someone had a home cooked meal? It would be complete with veg, a little bit of starch, some carbs, and a sort of tea that she learned to make in India.

Pizza counts as home cooked meal, yes? Because Nate tends to destroy anything else he tries to cook in a normal kitchen (he can cook on a campfire, or so he claims - there is no proof). No, Rose is not much better.

After two days of cafeteria food, he can't resist the invitation, even if he expects some awkward questions. The young man even looks somewhat better than yesterday. He managed to sleep some hours last night. Or rather, he finally collapsed for a few hours of dreamless sleep, which is how he prefers the sleep.

She wasn't as done as she'd hoped. The bits of beef she had cooking in the crock wasn't as nearly as done, but perhaps that could finally settle into it's pre-determined state after or during the chat. She's got enough for three, though more on the side for Rose and Nate if they wanted it, a little bit for her since her appetite has waned since she returned.

The veg was in the middle of being chopped up with a quick hand as she releases, allowing her mind to do the work as she turns to add a little bit seasoning to the crock. The water was shut on in a similar matter, she made moving around the kitchen with her gifts seem all too easy, which doesn't stop as she turns around, sensing him near.

"Nathaniel?"

"Call me Nate," replies the young man, stepping into kitchen. "Good evening, are you alright?" She looked pretty upset the day before. Scott wasn't looking very happy either. He looks around the prepared food and his stomach grumbles. Did he skip lunch? He knew he was forgetting something. Everything. Except the coffee. "This looks delicious. Is Scott joining us?"

"Nate it is then!" She states, turning her back to him to lift the veg from the steamer, placing it into a large bowl to salt, garlic, and pepper them so lightly that the flavoring was just right. "I'm fine. Yesterday.. everything happened all at once and I was unsure of how to take it all." She smiles a little then, turning to place the bowl upon the counter top, then takes the freshly chopped vegetables to add it to the mix that was already there. A nice mix of crunch and soft is what she's attempting to provide, complete with a little garnish leaflets on the side. "Don't touch that. I'm not done."

"Scott's not joining us, I think he's training." In fact, she hadn't thought to check on Scott today, she was focused with work and organizing little events for the children that she didn't have the time to see how he was doing. She was sure he was fine.

"I.." She stops moving around the kitchen, her fingers lifting to wiggle into the air as two mugs slowly float from their place upon the counter top. It was fresh chai, the condements that he wishes to add would be found all along the kitchen, all he'd need to do was just look.

Once the cups were set down in front of the both of them, she finds the words to continue. "I.. just have more questions is all. Not about the mutant hunter.. or about Rose.. but about you."
Damn. But… hungry. Grump. Also, Jean wants to talk about him? Shocking. He sighs. "I know… er, you better sit down. Or maybe we better wait until the food is done. A lot of what I am going to tell you is not going to be pleasant. Although I hope it is only because some other worlds are pretty depressing, and it means the X-Men here are doing a good job. Well, the X-Men and the other heroes and even the politicians here. This America seems pretty nice, full of happy people, even with shady governments organizations and crap like the SRD."

Jean shakes her head completely. "I can't sit down. I'm cooking." The last words were said with a little bit of a laugh, with a scoop of a few bits of veg into a small bowl so that he could sate himself with. She does grow quiet now, this was serious. She really wasn't sure that she wanted to know, but to know him meant knowing more about Rachel, she didn't want to be rude and ask right out.

"This world has it's ups and downs, Nate. Though to hear you say that this is better than the next? It's.. comforting. Not all is truly lost, even though we feel it is."

With a last check to the beef in the crock, she finally sits down upon the stool to nurse her chai.

"Start from the beginning.. tell me everything." Or.. what he could.
Well, there was the Big Bang. No, maybe not that beginning. "Alright. It started with Apocalypse, maybe five thousand years before I was born. He was not called Apocalypse back then, of course. He was just an Egyptian boy that was born different. He was the first mutant. If you are lucky, he died centuries ago in this Earth. In my world he was… well, he maybe went mad at some point. Or maybe he was always an asshole."

He flops down in a chair, leaning on the table. "Well, I don't know what he did before, but at some point in the fifties or sixties, Apocalypse decided there were enough mutants around to exterminate humankind and conquer the world, with himself as god-king and the most powerful mutants, the alphas, as his lieutenants. So he started recruiting, began a world war and used nuclear weapons without hesitation. Unsurprisingly not all mutants agreed to become minions of this lunatic. But Apocalypse managed to polarize the world, and humans came to view all mutants as enemies. Even the X-Men, who fought for peaceful coexistence. In my world it was Magneto who founded a mutant school, and then led the X-Men against Apocalypse. By the time I was a teenager, the world was devastated. Large areas were radioactive wastelands. Humankind was reduced to a few hundred millions, most of them resisting in Eurasia. Mutant loses were also staggering, and Apocalypse relied on clone cyborg soldiers as foot troops. The Infinites. The humans had built giant mutant-hunting robots to bolster their decimated armies."

It wasn't like Jean to comment during a story, but her undivided attention was given to the man. As much as it was. She really didn't stop him from talking as she stood up to check the beef, scooping it out of the pot and onto plates so that he could start eating, though.. with the way he spoke of where he was from? It.. made her uncomfortable. And glad that she didn't have to suffer though it. Much.

The death of millions, humans being hurt and retaliating, it sounded nightmarish, even though the things that she's done, she's dreamed of doing and may do.. haunt her every night.

"And you stood by the X-Men in those battles? That's how you.. you knew that we would be the right people for you and Rose to turn to?"
Nate shakes his head, but then amends, "yes… after a fashion. Even then the X-Men were a beacon of hope for the oppressed and those who wanted peace. But Magneto's X-Men ultimately failed. My world burned in a final nuclear holocaust." He falls silent for a minute.

"But I am getting ahead. I was born in the lab of one of Apocalypse horsemen, a man called Sinister. He had his own ambitions and had decided Apocalypse needed to die. So he used his position and scientific knowledge to look for powerful mutants and create a super-mutant able to destroy the apparently immortal, all-powerful Apocalypse. He… made me. I spent fourteen years in a growing chamber in Sinister labs. Until I was freed."

"Oh.." Jean murmurs quietly. A fork was pushed forward as she glances down. "Nothing was left? No one? How did you escape?"

Her hand lifts to lightly trace along her brow as she listens. She.. really wasn't hungry anymore. This man's life was wrapped up in more tragedy than she can even shake a stick at.

On top of hearing that he was grown in a lab? That almost broke her heart.. and her head. But stranger things were happen, but to see one of those tests fully grown, speaking, smiling and even with a companion? If Hank knew of him he would want to study, just out of curiosity.

He was grown in a lab.. but from what? "When.. you were freed.." She shifts a little, a touch uncomfortable. "..did you ever think to look for the parts of where you came from? Your would be parents? Family?"
"Ironically, Scott Summers freed me," continues Nate. "Prelate Cyclops, one of Sinister minions, and my father genetically, although he didn't know." He closes his eyes and projects an image of a one-eyed, scarred Scott into Jean's mind. "Cyclops had developed a conscience and was letting some prisoners escape. So he freed me and I ended up joining one of the X-Men rebel cells, one lead by a mutant called Forge. He became like… my father, he taught me to survive and fight, and kept me hidden from Apocalypse, who had been trying to kill all telepaths from the beginning." He sighs, "eventually Sinister came from me. He killed Forge. I killed him, and then I went to help Magneto against Apocalypse. But it was too late, even as the X-Men assaulted the fortress of Apocalypse, and Cyclops led a rebellion from the slave pens, the final nuclear exchange between the human nations of Eurasia and the mutant nation was taking place. I escaped through a strange alien crystal that I took from Apocalypse, a device which took me to another Earth."

What. The. Hell. Scott's got kids running all over the place in this timeline. But she had to think smartly about this, the fact that he took the name Grey could mean something of a sentimentality or dedication to Scott or something else. But the news? It had her pressing a hand to her cheek as her elbow leans hard upon the counter top.

She didn't dare interrupt him, but it all made sense really. Scott was one of the first names that Nate asked for. Right now though? She was glad, so glad she was sitting.

"Scott.. is your father. You have the last name Grey. Does.. that mean the woman in your timeline was .. me?" Breathe, Jean. "The new Earth that you escaped to. Is that where you met Rose? Or is that something later on down the line?"

And of course, if she /was/ his mother in that timeline, genetically? Compared to now.. and.. okay, this was way out of her paygrade and league. Still. Like a curious woman and potential.. mother.. displaced.. maybe.. what the heck? She was going to ask.

"Is Rose your girlfriend?" She was cute after all.

Nate nods. "Yes, you were the other genetic donor. Er… unknowing donor, of course. Sinister wasn't asking. Jean Grey in my world was one of Magneto's X-Men, one of the best." He smiles sadly. "I met her briefly, Scott too. I wish I had more time."

Is the food ready? Nate never loses his appetite; it comes from too many years of eating scraps among the ruins of American cities. "After the crystal yanked me out of my doomed Earth, I got to a world very much like this one. Xavier had founded the X-Men. Magneto was a racist bastard. Scott and Jean were X-Men, although they were in a shaky relationship. I met Rachel, we were very alike. In powers, in our crappy background… and our loses. In Rachel's world mutants lost the war with humans very badly. She had it pretty raw." A brief pause. "And I met Rose. Yes, she is my girlfriend. She is amazing. we started dating over a year ago. I thought I had lost her… I was shocked to find her here."

Hokay. That's two. Count it, two. But it was done by force. This one was a lot more different than the other. But, hearing that she was one of the best? It didn't fluff her ego, it just made her sad because of the way he smiled. It looked as if he wished that there was more time. "I'm sorry, Nate."

The food was ready of course, the plates were already made and set in front of him, forks off to the side, tea near the upper right hand side of the plate which has possibly cooled by now. No sugar nor milk, or honey was added, however, he would have to do that on his own.

The topic of Rachel comes up though, and.. along with him, there was a little budding affection even though she's heard of her by name. And then there was Nate. She didn't know if she should hug him, but she kept that urge down enough to focus on the conversation at hand.

"I'm sorry.." She says again, breaking out into a laugh with a shake of her head, one hand gone to her chest as she absolutely gushes over him. "Really sorry, but I'm starting to see the resemblance. You look more like Scott.. and.." She pauses a beat. "..I know that's an odd thing to say, that you're not ours, ours.. but.. I can't help it. This is simply amazing. And I just wish that you didn't have to go through all of that. I wish you were here with us from the beginning, but to know so much pain and loss. You're resilient. Just like your.. would be.. sort of.."

Mind fuck, anyone?

"..father.." She breathes it out now, bringing it in a touch. But now? It was all about Nate and Rose. She loves a good love story. So of course! More information was needed. "How did you two meet? Was it, love at first sight? Tell me the good things. Let's focus on that."

"We are related in a weird way, I guess," at least a genetic testing would say they are very closely related. Nate shrugs, smiling faintly. "But… really. I am here because a sadistic bastard wanted a living weapon to kill another sadistic bastard. I was even programmed to die quickly. I just barely dodged that bullet. I have been crazy lucky sometimes," Summers-level unlucky most of the time.

"Rose? Oh… well. I had formed this little team with a few friends. We were a bunch of misfits with a rather bleak outlook of life," he explains. "One of us was a Kryptonian clone on the run. Rose was a mercenary tasked to hunt him down, but she had some serious misgivings and… at the end she let him go. So he invited her to join us. Her old bosses wouldn't have taken well her decission." He smiles remembering how that went. "Strays, we were picking strays. Rose was only one. Maybe because we were like them. She didn't fit, after the first talk she basically ran away. I chased her, because well… I thought she was too hot to let her go. I was right, of course. We talked, and became friends. She stayed in the team and eventually we began dating occasionally. It took a while for us to admit there was something between us. We aren't normal kids. I came from hell, she had a weird childhood too, and a father that… well. Those are her secrets, I better shut up."

"It is weird. And then there's Rachel.." She admits, she was still getting used to the fact that she and Scott shared children, even if it wasn't in the same universes? It does speak to /something/. Something that made her look at everything in the same light. "That's the Summer's side of the luck." She admits, she leaves her own story covered and veiled.

But listening to their story? It was almost like any other, two wayward souls finding each other, it brought her appetite back but she still picked and pushed her veggies along the plate to mingle in with the meat. And.. he didn't tell her secrets! It was an awe worthy moment, but she didn't sink that low to chide and conjole. The rest of their story, she was adamant at seeing played out. It was obvious they shared a connection and Jean wished that for herself some day.

"Tell me. Even when and if they're human, when have you ever met a normal kid?"

Now, she turned the conversation around, she wanted to know more about.. the other one. Rachel. She saw in Scott's mind how they reacted towards each other, their first meeting, it was sweet. "How did you meet Rachel? Does she know about you and where you come from?" A pause. "What is she like?"

Nate nods. Then there is Rachel. He begins eating, wolfing down food, really. He shrugs at her statement about kids. Swallows and replies. "Yeah, everyone is different. Just some folks are weirder than the average weird, I guess. I think I am a little out there in the deep end even for a part-time X-Men. And Rachel… hell, the Rachel I knew might be different than the one that is here. I hope not. She was awesome. Quickly become my best friend. Strong, brave, fiery and… haunted, I guess. But she didn't let her past drag her down."

From the way you are now, and I'd like to think that I'm a decent judge of character. You've got a good head on your shoulders." Watching him eat made her hungry, and soon she joins in, though keeping her wolfing down on the full course meal a little bit neater and tidier.

She smiles though, hearing how highly he speaks of Rachel, it warmed her to the idea of the girl that loved Scott as if he were her real father, here.

The girl sounded like a true gem. "Nate. When you're done here, take some down to Rose? I'm sure she'd appreciate not having cafeteria food. I know our cooks aren't the best, but they're trying to follow the nutrition guidelines that were set by the government." Her nose wrinkles a little.
"The cafeteria food is fine. But yours is better," replies Nate with a grin. Definitely saving some for Rose. No comments about having a good head on his shoulders. That is not something he hears often!

"So, may I know the X-Men story here?" He asks. "The… basic stuff. Not big secrets or anything. But how long have you been around. Was Xavier the founder? Do you have contacts with the US or the UN. Those things."

She took that as a compliment, really. While she wasn't the best cook around, she knew her way around with a spoon in hand and a pot to work with.

"Basic stuff. Possibly like your Xavier, he funded the school with his own money as a means to allow children who have abilities to live in peace amongst their peers. Possibly like your previos Xavier." She nods her head a little. "Me and you.. Scott were among the first students he's helped and inducted into the X-Men. But, one simple thing had to happen before that came into play." Now, this was important. "We had to graduate high school first." She giggles at that, leaning back a little in her chair.

"Xavier was the founder. Yes. Contacts, possibly. I'm not too sure on the reach that we have, as of late, I've been far removed from the loop due to.." Well, needing to get away, to get her head straight. But she was back now.

"But, I believe we're reaching some of the hard ones that can't be reached. I've even heard that Magneto was in the building and he was not attacked." Now that was a shocker, even for her.

Nate frowns at the mention of Magneto. He has seen that old man at his best and his worse. Maybe it is something in the middle here? The Wikipedia entry put him at about Darth Vader level in evilness. Hmph.

More food should improve his mood. Yes. "I'm completely out of the loop, obviously. Worse, I keep assuming things that are completely different. It is like the worst case of deja vu ever. This is the 3rd Earth I have spent over a month, but actually I learned to move through parallel Earths a while ago. They are like an infinite spiral of planets… hmm, sometimes I wonder if that is why Rachel also shifted worlds. We might even be the same person, just from alternate worlds, y'know? More so considering there is also others like…" he catches up and closes his mouth. "Er… forget it. I blabber."

Jean completely deadpans as she listens to Nate speak. It was bizzare, to say it best. "I.. don't think that you're Rachel.." What..

"I think you're blabbering because you need to get some rest. And I have a .. date or.. meeting thing with Logan. That guy Scott spoke about." Why she told him that, she had no clue. But it was whatever. "But listen. I think you should at least tell Scott about.. your connection to him. The other him. Not.. current.."

Yeah, this was a bit much. "Nate. Pack some food for Rose and chew twenty times before you swallow." Something her mother always said. When she was four. Christ!

She hesitates in leaving, taking a step and looking back.. then taking another step and glancing back again, her lips parting to speak, even a hand lifting until.. she just stalks off.
"I know who Logan is," Nate smirks knowingly. Damn, maybe he should discourage Jean telling her some horror story about Weapon X. Push her towards Scott to make sure Rachel (or himself!) will happen in the future… naaaah. Scott should do the hard work.

Chew twenty times, da fuck? She must be kidding. But yeah. Pack food for Rose. If she didn't remind him, Nate would have devoured everything. "Thanks, yeah. Rose will appreciate it." Maybe! "See you soon."


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