1964-12-18 - Faith in the Red
Summary: Woes of the world are never too great for a friend to bear, especially in the Astral.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
jean-grey rogue 


Start with a room. A confined space never hurts. A space clear of unnecessary impossibilities where the mind may rebel and be drawn outwards, pushed into the infinite expanse of collective human consciousness. In this case, redwood pillars stretch overhead to a height of roughly nine feet. Crossbars sawed off at angles form a pergola, a perfect apparatus for every kind of wild, glorious vine to spiral around in lush viridian foliage. Wisteria in vivid splashes of lilac blossoms hangs down from the inner ceiling, clusters of fat red and purple grapes interspersed as the two vines harmoniously find room to grow instead of vying for all the resources. Vine roses, ancient bourbons one and all, clamber up the outer pillars and add their nodding, heady perfume to the melange.

Scarlett toys with one of the deep pink blossoms that borders on fuchsia, the red star at its heart contrary to the expected gold dusted stamens. It brushes her cheek and she almost playfully runs her thumb up a stem where every thorn is a crystalline memory, a sensation, an emotion. Floating above a pillowed wicker seat is comfortable enough for her, the opposite three forming a neat square around a round wicker table that hosts what would be Ethiopian spiced tea in real life. If the astral is real, the tea is real. If it's not, then theirs is a beverage of combined memory.

The heat is balmy, not hot; the season plugged somewhere around summer's descent into autumn. There could be snow out there and very likely there eis, but she's not concerned.

I know why the caged bird sings. She would say. There would be other things that would allow her to make snarky comments in such a moment such as this. Why learn, when I can force. Why study, when you are already in the know. But nothing will stop that eidetic memory from keeping all of the words to heart and into memory.

Its something that could be considered relaxing. A pair of mom-jeans and a tank top that bruisers would wear. Hair, long as it has gotten since she last cut it (read, probably three years ago), tied up into a bun with a decorative rope that was retrieved from Scarlett's dresser, even with a few bells that dangle here and there to create a tingled noise. For Christmas, of course.

She was no cat.

Bare foot, feet wiggled beneath crossed legs and eyes closed, yet the dim red glow can be seen beneath. Must find a way to get rid of that glow. Makes it all too obvious. Too obvious..

"So I said.." Jean murmurs through her mind, into the astral, careful to keep that control confined. "..I would be their sword if our people were to attempt to attack Ronan. Was that wise?" Tea. She wants it, but -how- to grasp it?

"Is it ever wise to take up defense of the weaker? I think that depends wholly on the individual. You have the strength and the compassion to sustain you." Scarlett rarely takes long to conjure an answer, the lightning quick radiance of her thoughts spinning around the moral compass and finding little difficulty pinning to true north. "Will you come to regret that decision, if that is your question, remains a whole other matter to consider. None of us know the future perfectly, therefore it remains a foolish exercise to ponder. Have you offered to guard the entire earth against a race of aliens? Yes, somewhat personally. On the other hand, I'm an Avenger."

Pale bubbles pop around them, a shimmer wrack of vague irritation dislodged from the floor tiles that bear hints of opalescence in their uneven, polished surface. Disappointment forms the leaden pops all around; too diffuse to belong to Jean's statement. These too rise within the pergola, reaching for the top of her thoughts. Even here, the redhead is a danger to anything living; the curse is a curse, the essence of the void, God's instrument to level the balance.

Her lotus form position is comfortable, and her palms rest atop her knees in classical meditative position. What position the mudra of her fingers and open hands forms is irrelevant, other than beckoning peace. "You did what is right. I should do the same. However, we might wish to avoid irritating an entire interstellar people when unaware of how many of them there are. I haven't laid hands on the subject directly though I have every reason to believe there are far too many to take on alone. Maximus dealt with them once. For that, tread lightly."

"That's the thing. He is -not- weak." Frustration. Frustration causes the walls of this calming building to shake and crack. A window to split, and yet, it seals and forms itself as Jean takes a deep breath, finally opening her eyes to the astral. To her, the ceiling is away. There are stars here. And as she dreams the dream there were things that lingered just beyond the window..

"Huh." She says to herself, then shakes her head.

"I think everyone else is. And that's not to say that I am better. That I am stronger. It's just that.. our time in space. Even though we did not witness the stars with our own eyes.. we have -seen-."

Feet pace on something soft. Almost like she was floating. Thoughts to come near to the tea, then away from it. Was the astral self thirsty? Who knows. Those thoughts send a bit of water through the walls. Water that sparkles.. water that dries up as soon as she shakes her head again.

"But there." She points out. "We have in a sense seen the future. We have seen all angles that pertain to us. Maybe.. sort of. We have seen all outcomes and even the end of the world. So, maybe we have a leg up on this." She peers for a second, then shrugs.

"Truth be told, we are in the plains. I don't trust Maximus. I do not care of Kaleb's connection to him at all."

The cracks in the open ceiling of the pergola allow light through, though that may be starlight. The wisteria drops to land on Scarlett's head, bouncing off her braids and coiling around her to allow the fragrant clusters of flowers to bloom unrestricted elsewhere. The rose refuses to give up its position nestled against her cheek and shoulder, thorny canes flexible as they weave around her left arm up to the shoulder. She tips her head, the coronet o tiny flowers and grape leaves reasserting themselves over gravity after some tightening and cinching of the supporting suckers. All in all, the building adapts very easily.

Rather like a Portuguese man-o-war constricts its prey, but that's neither here nor there. Nothing is innocent in its beauty in nature.

"We agree. Having foresight to prepare for the worst while seeking a peaceful solution counts for something," she says, "and that viewpoint is rare. How many people want to take a fight to the stars, having no concept what that means? War among our own people is already terrifying to consider, given conventional weapons against telekinesis? Telepathy? How do you catch someone who moves faster than sound?" Words she doesn't really expect an answer to illustrate a point no doubt shouted down in the Pentagon, measured in strategies thrown out at the end of the last great war.

"We've seen. You perhaps more than any of us on that terrible journey, but we understand the balance of power better than some." Scarlett raises her hands, fingers curled. The rose lies upon her knuckles, idly kissed. She can only kill it through neglect or violence, like Tolkien's elves. "Kaleb cares very deeply for him. He is a brilliant man, a highly unstable and troubled one concerned by the existence of his people and kingship. Not unlike someone else of my deep former acquaintance." Those green eyes flare with all the supernova heat here that her ephemeral nature conjures, and it's dangerous to stare at her too long. Sometimes it's not Scarlett floating there at all, but gods, monsters, men, Jean herself. "Would you put blind faith in him, it will be a disappointment. Worse, perchance. He is not without value, nor important insights. But you aren't Inhuman, you never will be. He may well have my head if I ever end up welded to that throne."

"You kind of don't." Jean answers honestly. There would have to be some otherworldly weapon that allows someone to accomplish that. Jean's mind couldn't think that far, not now, for images will play upon the walls of the pergola and quite possibly break the entire visage down.

The way that her eyes flare do cause her to stare; and for a moment, just a lingering glimpse, she could see her otherself within. How do they share her? It was dangerous, both of the red-heads knew the cost, to the point that they were almost the same person.

But one has more eloquent speech than the latter. It was honestly amusing!

She quickly tears herself away, turning once again, about-facing and marching once more. Getting a feel of ones limbs here was odd. Her muscles could feel like jelly if she did not move just right.

"No. But are we not close and cut from the same cloth? I don't understand them. But I would like to believe we are born the same way, but wind up wholly different." She sniffs faintly, then shrugs. "You never speak about him. Though often times I can feel it lingering in the heart." She presses a hand against her chest, if she could tear her own heart out, she quite possibly would.

"You would make a wonderful midnight Queen. Even though it seems as if Medusa would not appreciate such. Would a marriage or union like that cause war?" She shrugs, in thought. And that thought allows cherry blossom petals to rain upon her head. Thoughts of her own pretend marriage, beneath the tree that births what rains. This.. irritates her.

Cue rumbling.

"If so. Burn the world, right? You above all others. I'll fight for you the same."

Where to begin, the heart or the head? Neither, Scarlett always goes to the soul, and the soul holds all the secrets he would ever need for lifetimes. Jean alone may truly understand what it means to sit on a pluriform experience so beyond herself.

And make no mistake: the bird has a claim on her, even if that be a borrowed template of Jean herself. Red hair, green eyes; that means something. Deeper, too: the harsh, bright, unmitigated desire to protect life when she is the crone, the aspect of death. The girl stretches her arms over her head, enduring those scratches on her arm. Thorns leave behind knotwork akin to Asgardian make.

"The cost of doing wrong turns my stomach. You know I will stand by you when dealing with people from the stars, and warn when you may stray down the wrong path." Her smile tilts warm, sisterly in affection, while Jean strides upon the earth and looks a bit like she's swimming underwater. "To have such power in your hands… You should rightly be afraid of it, I think you are, more than others endowed with a sliver of the means to change the world." What would she be, with that ember in her breast, corrupting the goodness? No doubt an unholy terror to every flower garden.

So conversation turns, as it always will. Her smile mellows. "I offered, once. He was not ready." A gentle shrug. "The news, of course, hurt, but t'would be an evil to demand an answer I wanted instead of the truth." One must be laconic about those things, even when several of the nearest vines to her turn bleach white and the falling blossoms are starry embers dying out in a winter whisper. Astral realms are not kind for illusions or lies. "Inhumans are not us. You must understand their origins are nothing at all like ours. Our mutations derive due to a common genetic variation, a splintering in our sequence that is consistent throughout us all, isn't it? Charles has said as much. X gene? Mutant. Not so the Inhumans. They were experimented on over twenty-five millennia ago by the Kree, and those experiments did not produce our lines. It produces theirs, and the throwbacks or genetic variation in their people might mirror or mimic ours superficially. They aren't the same, though crossing an X-gene with Inhuman mutations could produce… Anything, really. They've got a lot more going on in their genetics than ours. The coupling could be sterile. It could produce someone who oozes ketchup, and it's certainly not predictable. Though I'm no geneticist of the quality they have in Attilan, the principles are sound." They should be. She has them from the best.

'You know..' The woman says, and as the woman speaks, Jean nearly curls into a ball, her hands upon her head. It was like an amplification of sound, sound that causes Jean's very visage to vibrate and flicker as the bird steps from the shoulders of Jean, same visage. But much older, and fiery. Her hair constantly moves as if she were underwater, though hair made of fire and eyes burning bright. Brilliant white shows hints of fang, and every now and then, the veins within her skin that could be seen through paleness burn as if it were made of lava..

'One could easily say that wrong and right are subjective. I wish we start anew..' She lifts into the air and twirls, trailing fire. '..she wishes we are better. Both could be wrong, both could be right. Are we judge?'

Jean shakes her head, still the visage of vibration, attempting to reign in the trembling movements with a pace. Imagine that. The younger, stepping back and forth as if she were an angry child, marching away the energy, and the other looking as if she were at home.

"I don't know what to call it."
'Maybe fear.'
"It could be reluctance."
'Because of the power. -The- very power you speak of.'
"It.. oddly tastes like chocolate.."

Jean's face scrunches up as she looks towards her older counterpart, whom begins to laugh as if she were an emotional proxy. The laugh itself? It sounds like doves cooing.. it was.. odd.

"I don't get it." Jean finally speaks as the older one hangs back. "You -can- say that we're some sort of scientific experiment too. Though, naturally."
'We have theories.' The woman speaks.
"But she won't let me say them aloud. Something about making me eat my own tongue." And.. she shrugs.

"Honestly though.." Jean finally murmurs, her pace taking her right towards Scarlett's knees, settling down upon the ground in her own as the woman follows suit, not down, but standing behind. Guarding. "..I would have begged for another answer and have been shattered. In my room all day, eating chocolates until I'm a plump thing, in which not all of the telekinesis in the world would lift me up to fly amongst the stars.."

'Isn't she poetic?'

Can she hear the afterchoes in gold? No. Can she anticipate the arguments? Perhaps. After a certain point in life, you learn to adapt to the answers likely to arise, and surmise some of the possible outcomes. Extrapolation is one of Scarlett's hidden skills, a bit more useful than gardening and not nearly as acceptable as baking beautiful rosemarie shortbread that absolutely melts on the tongue. Like she has at home, in fact, though the plate of that won't appear at Jean's until tonight. Wrapped up in a big red bow, no less, and scads of paper.

"I think we are, in a sense. Nature experiments all the time. Perhaps some celestial power decided to make us. I know for a fact the mythology for another people has very strong indications they were the product of an advanced stellar race you invited to parlay with." Her mischievous smile and glittering eyes approve, all the same. "They do not know how much I know for them, for all my sources are slant."

Not her problem to worry about, there. Her fingers curl around her knees and she tips backwards, floating in a rotation that leaves the rose adjusting and more of its thorny canes wrapping around her wrist to center and straighten her in the balance. "I didn't like the answer. No one would. You would eat cookies, I rose as far as I could until breath was lost and fell back into the sea. Cold option, that. I don't recommend it." She smiles. "The other option may be far better."

The woman, for all of her poker face seemingly flickers behind Jean, which has Jean herself looking up. Child to mother, mother to child, for their actions mirror the other. The woman begins to tremble and vibrate, whilst Jean herself stills. It draws out a sigh, a sigh that animates a plume of smoke that blows from her lips into the form of a mustache, then gone.

"There are times when sometimes, I think that I could just walk up and say, 'Love me. Please. Just do it forever.'" Her hand reaches up to point towards her temple, twisting her finger this way and that. "And, while I could live in happy bliss, wiping myself occasionally of the thoughts. I would still be left to wondering. Is this real?" She asks, then falls upon her bottom.

The woman takes an instinctive step back, turning her own back towards the two now, Jean slowly drawing her knees up to curl her arms around them. "Though, I know saying something like that to Gabriel would just.. fall on deaf ears. He does what he wants. And he's gone when he wants. Relationship there?" She shrugs. "It's gone. Just.." She smiles, but doesn't cry. There is no crying in the Astral Plane. But outside.. around the pergola, the universe cries for her.

"I could eat cookies for days. Many a days. I could ignore the world who doesn't care about us and not try to save it. I could admonish Medusa and Maximus for not keeping up with the Midnight King and his promises. I could do a lot. But you know what we'll do? Me. You, and her?" Jean glances up to the fire that nearly links with her own hair. "We'll stay quiet and do our duty. And possibly perish for it." Bitter?

The rain tastes of it.

"I held the promises so long I feel guilty for half of this. They put me up against a tribunal, what am I to say? My defense is sub rosa, the sacrosanct privilege of a king?" Scarlett advances where the woman withdraws. Her retreat is matched by the endless motion of the swirling wind, the endless sky, the daughter of stars holding out her hands but not intending to touch. Even here, especially here, her nature devours everything.

An enormous potential lies hidden in her veins, locked in her genetics, stolen but given freely. She doesn't know how to use much more than a few ounces, enough to make her astral self as concrete and brilliant and real as any. "You took a man who fell from the sky and cared for him. You love him for who he is, what he was, and do not ever for an instant doubt yourself, Jean. He chose his path, and that choice never diminishes what you held to offer. Hard won advice here, considering I asked myself time and again, why was I not enough?" Old rain, old pain, wasn away and make them new again. She sinks down to her knees, that they're more eye to eye. Friends don't stare down on one another

"Love defines itself by its own terms, in the face of all rationality. It slips under your breast sure as any assassin's knife and slays reason, surrendering you to the furious heat or the quiet, pervasive mist. You've felt it, you know. Forget the bad choices others made. You know why life is worth living, darling. You have seen the sliver of green and blue from high up. You hear the vibrations of laughter and wonder in the city when you walk down the street. Love them all recklessly and freely. Embrace everyone, not only one man stupid enough to jet off half-naked, or the one who had everything he wanted and said 'Hmm, I think I better wait' from fear." She grins, abruptly, the ferocity of a small sun exploding. "Go have a drink. Go to a party. Get laid. Listen to bad music, pursue the course, know who stands with you and say hello to a stranger. It all shakes out. I promise. It does."

Her aura here burns as hot as gold, and there's absolutely no mistaking the pure faith crowning her, or the way she turns her face into the rose to suppress a laugh.

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