|What: Wanting to see her old home for closure, Rogue runs into her mother and Erik before ever making it to her destination. Needless to say, there's a lot of guilt and hurt feelings to go around.|
Even saviors of the future of the Homo Superior race need to eat once in a while. And when it comes to simple pleasures, it's difficult to beat a favored cafe and a small plate of delicious treats. Of course, Mystique's wonderful company in any venue, no matter her face. Erik has always treated her as the same person, regardless of the face she wears- as often to entice him as surprise him.
"I do worry about you during these lengthy departures," Magneto assures his companion. He wears a sensible London Fog peacoat, his thick white hair hidden under a grey, plaid-marked beret. He waves a hand, forestalling inevitable complaints. "I know- I know. You are perfectly capable of protecting yourself. Call it an old man's whim," he says, his lips curling in a wry smile. He pats her hand, then reaches for another delicate bite of the pastry on the table. "I have so few I can trust. And the newcomers... they are younger and younger, ever day." He exhales heavily and takes a lingering sip of his decaffeinated coffee.
Mystique's already been working on gathering info for her upcoming trip. Several, really. It's going to require a lot of flying from one coast to the other and back, though she can rack up some serious frequent flier miles with one of her personas. Being out in public means wearing a different face, though she sticks with a formal business look. It's a form which is seeing more use these days, that of a Chinese woman with long, straight black hair done up in a tidy bun with a pair of ornate chopsticks. The cosmetic touches are, of course, flawless.
"I've been on far riskier assignments," she assures their leader, regardless. "Idle politics, a few heartstrings to pluck, and I'll be home in time for dinner. As for our most recent recruits, they have the necessary guidance and support from longer-standing members, yes? Give them time and direction, they will make us proud."
No good can come out of her returning to this part of the city, Rogue knows, but a need for closure brings her here, not far from where the Brotherhood has made their headquarters. The place she used to call home. Every attempt to conceal her identity has been made, of course, with her hair tucked into a trendy ballcap, the bill of which has been tugged low to hide as much of her face as possible and a comically large pair of glasses to cover her eyes. She's even gone without wearing her gloves although that fact might not be as readily noticeable due to her having her hands tucked in under her arms for the protection of people she might happen to bump against.
The very cafe Mystique and Magneto are currently at is walked past, their presence not even noticed. But while she doesn't see them they just might very well notice her, the young woman still managing to stick out despite her attempt at hiding who she is.
"You look so peculiar when you dress like them," Magneto says with a relaxed, low laugh. He brushes his knuckles against Mystique's cheek affectionately. "And with such odd colored eyes. I often forget how accustomed I am to your face." He gives her cheek a gentle pat and reaches for his coffee. Weathered brows hang heavy over blue eyes, still sharp and alert to their surroundings. Just as he sips, steam wafting before his face, he spots a familiar form. Her distinctive stride, as much as anything, marks her as clearly as the white streak in her hair would.
"Oh, how now? The prodigal child returns." His eyes flicker from Mystique's face to Rogue, chin lifting in the woman's direction. "Anna Marie, have you come looking for me?" he says, voice lifting. His puts the rheumy vibrato of an old man into his voice, and his features take on the creased warmth of a pleased grandfather. In this guise, dressed as he is, he seems as harmless as any old man hailing a family member. "Or just... stopping by the old family home?"
"I only do so because I must. Once the world is ours, I will never do so again." Mystique accepts that affectionate touch, her expression locked into one of idle amusement. She doesn't enjoy the hiding, hasn't for a very long time. But, it becomes a necessary evil. She has to be careful on which of her profiles gathers how much unwanted attention.
The prodigal child..? An instant later she turns about to follow Magneto's gaze, her own expression momentarily conflicted. Part of her wants to smile at the presence of her daughter coming to join them. Part of her realizes that something isn't right, it's easy enough to see. "Something troubles you, child," she says without question. "Join us, and voice your concerns." In large part it's an offer, though it's also a bit controlling by nature. Maybe a bit more than usual right now, just because something doesn't appear to be right. Raven doesn't like being out of control in any situation.
That is precisely what Rogue /didn't/ want. And while being noticed by Magneto and her 'mother' both is bad enough on its own, the fact that she's technically on their turf as they do leaves her cold. Scared, even. The idea of continuing on is mulled over for several seconds but that'd be dangerous; Erik and Mystique both not people who like being disobeyed, it'd be as foolish to raise their ire as coming here was.
Pausing, she turns slowly, reaching up to pull the glasses off of her face, her eyes held in a squint as she adjusts to the differing level of brightness. "Hello, Erik. Mother." Magneto's watched warily for signs that he might be angry with her before the same careful glance is brought upon the shifter he's in the company of. "Ah didn't come to cause trouble for anyone," she adds once she is sure that she'll be allowed to speak further. "Ah just need to see... things. One last time."
"It breaks my heart, child," Erik says softly. "To hear my name and your mother's spoken with such... anger." He sighs, heavily, and nods. "But you would be angry. You would be." And indeed, he does look hurt, and disappointed. "Please, though. Let us at least be civil here, in public. Won't you join us?" His eyebrows raised, the plaintive note in his voice- it's a look of sadness that's almost impossible to dismiss. He makes a casual gesture, and the chair nearest Anna slides out, a scraping of iron on pavement. "I know you don't wish to see your mother and I... but you are always welcome to join us." He makes the gesture again, this time, an invitation for her to seat herself at the table.
One could always hope... Hope for change, change for the better. A reuniting of any piece of Mystique's former life with the life that she now has with the Brotherhood. Rogue isn't here to return to them. Just how this affects the metamorph is incredibly difficult to tell, she's had a lot of practice keeping such feelings held inside where they would be forever safe from the outside. "'Things.' After all that we have done for you, you would have walked right past us?" As far as rejection goes, that's pretty deep. Unfortunately, that tends to be the way of things in her life. "Your presence among us is missed, dear Rogue. We wish you would return, things are going to get worse out there. For all of us. We cannot protect you if you go into hiding again."
Rogue has already beaten herself up over having gone the way she did, leaving after her date with Remy without so much as a goodbye to the people who became family to her. It stopped hurting, or so she had thought, but here she is, feeling guilt-ridden all over again. "Ah ain't angry with you," she announces abruptly, sounding very much like she is but the surge of emotion is quick to ebb, leaving her deflated. Defeated. Slouching into the chair Erik offers to her, her gaze falls to her lap, chin dipping slightly. "Ah had to leave," she grunts, that drawled out in response to Mystique chiding her, "but Ah didn't mean to hurt ya." A quick glance is given to them both as she watches, curious. "Ah can't... won't come back. Ah got somethings Ah need to take care of on mah... well, no. Not on mah own." She does have Remy to cover her back and help her when it's needed although she refuses to give them his name, that being a piece of information she won't risk letting fall into their hands.
"Raven." Erik gives her a meaningful look and rests a hand on hers, a gesture for calm restraint. "Please, Anna," he murmurs, lowering his voice to include only the three of them. "Let us not dip into unpleasant acrimony," he says, to both of them. "...it is wonderful to see you again, dear child. You look... well." A smile crosses his lips. "I hope wherever you are living, they are feeding and sheltering you well. Your room in the home is just as you left it." He taps his fingers against the handle of his mug, looking into the neat little cup of espresso. "Anna... before you leave. May I ask... was it something we did? Your mother and I? I... I just don't understand why you felt like leaving us. I... have always thought of you as my own. It breaks our heart to see you leave."
Not all things in life can be controlled, willed into following the path that Mystique would wish it to. Many things, certainly, though when it comes to matters of other people, her family in particular... Yes, she's abrasive and direct. It's practically all she knows how to be when things start to slip between her fingers. In this, it's a good thing that Magneto is there to help keep her in check. It takes enough of her effort to handle the emotions and her stoic demeanor. The food, the drink, it's all forgotten. Her attention is fully upon her daughter, wanting to hear her response to this last question as much as Erik does. Possibly more. This time, all she can think to add in is "It will never be the same without you."
"Ah got a nice enough place, don't ya worry, Erik. It ain't The Plaza but it's home." Rogue manages a bit of a smile but it's small and she just can not get it to stick, the twitchy gesture fleeting, swiftly becoming a frown when she is made to think about the reason behind her departure. It is never easy to talk about under circumstances that might be considered 'normal' and is made all the more difficult thanks to just how strange the situation is. "Ah jus' stopped seein' things the way y'all do, Ah guess," Rogue tries to explain. "Ah still believe that we all should be treated fairly, don't ya worry. Ah just... Ah just couldn't keep watchin' people gettin' hurt." Leaning over, she braves giving Mysti a hug, it as quick as her earlier grin was as she doesn't know how it'll be received. "Ah will miss you, Mother. Ah'm sure we'll see each other a lot, though. So no gettin' all sad on me."
"Anna, please," Erik pleads, hands spreading. He gives her a look as wounded as any elderly man could give his child. "We do this for you. For all of us," he adds. "And what I am forced to do, I find as distasteful as any of our kind would. I find this entire affair repulsive," he declares. "But you see what they are doing to us? Already, it begins. The erstwhile Senator would see us tagged and catalogued, with identity codes burned into our flesh to mark us. It is but a small step from registration to forcing us to parade about with badged collars around our necks. And... from there," he adds, voice dropping to an ominous rumble, "we are barely better than animals, as Governor Sometimes would see us- locked away, in cages, to languish and die so he can feel better about his lingering gasp as the last human in a bygone era of evolution."
Despite all, Raven isn't going to turn down this hug. With the way things have been going, with the way things have already gone with her son, it's one of those moments where she's ready to take whatever she can get. Remaining on neutral terms is a far cry better than actively becoming opponents, and waaay deep inside she is, of course, worried for Rogue's safety. Her daughter may turn down such help or protection, but that doesn't mean she won't still get it now and then. No, she won't get all sad and mopey. Not in front of any other soul. As savored as the moment is between the two, it quickly comes to an end. And Magneto's choice of topic quickly shifts gears. "What he says is true. We will not stand for any other bringing harm to you, Rogue."
Erik's point is valid. Life for mutants will take a very dark turn if the government types get their way. Rogue won't even try to pretend that it'll be otherwise. She might still be fairly young but she stopped being naive years ago thanks to her own experiences with being a mutant. But even though she can see eye-to-eye with him and Mystique and the others like them... "Ah jus' can't do it anymore. Ah can't stomach it. Not when Pietro calls humans 'monkeys' and tries to hurt 'em. It makes us no better than any of those who want to try and put our names onna computer and assign us numbers." Shifting in her seat, she looks her mother in the eye, now, her own starting to mist over. "It don't have to be like that," she intones with great sadness. "Y'all say we're better then 'em? We need to act like it, Mother. Don't give into the hate they bring out in you. There are other ways to make y'all's opinions known." Forgetting where they are, people are probably listening and watching as Rogue speaks, her passion on the subject causing her voice to rise and fall in volume despite her desire to keep quite.
"This is a war, darling child," Magneto tells her, his voice plaintive and yet, as ironclad in authority as a man speaking gospel truth. He fixes compelling, intense blue eyes on the slender woman seated next to him. "I wish it could be otherwise. But it is not. Dear Pietro is angry, and not unjustifiably. He realizes that he is- as we all are- the natural evolution in the course of the Homonid family." He takes a slow sip of his espresso. "It is not hate, Anna, but the necessity of survival that impels us. And memories... long memories... of the abuses homo sapiens have inflicted upon us. Your mother and I both bear the scars and marks of that on our flesh, as well you know," he points out to her.
How does one comfort a mutant that you cannot make direct contact with? Mystique lays a gentle hand upon Rogue's shoulder, watching her. Reading her. That reaction, the emotions that the younger one shows... This isn't something spoken just to be said, nor is it merely being repeated from someone else. There's conviction in those words. Rogue really stands by what she says. To that end, she has been lost. "We are not the ones that chose to start this battle, child. We are being singled out, targeted by a world which fears and hates us. All we are doing is standing up for ourselves. If we do not, no one will."
Rogue knows about Mystique's and Erik's past, more than enough for her to know the hell they've been put through by the kind of people they seek to stand up against. As that's brought up by Erik she feels a sharp pang of sadness which is replaced by a surge of anger, a welling of ire that shocks her. "Y'all can stand up to 'em but don't feed their fears. Don't act like the monsters we're accused of being. Y'all wanna fight? Then fight 'em. But do it smart. Sign petitions. Get y'all's voices heard. But don't cave in..." Noticing a young man looking at her causes Rogue to go quiet suddenly, her face now flushed red.
"Anna, please," Magneto remonstrates her, tone gentle and yet chiding. "This is not a parliamentary debate in the Senate. We are at war for our very /lives/. How do we game a system that's stacked against us? Do we portray ourselves as 'humans', with no powers? Do we proclaim ourselves as master of the human system and demand their support?" He smiles, a bit wryly, and gently pats her clothed forearm. "You are so lovely and naive, dear child. We are not part of this culture. We are not part of this civilization. We are the next step of evolution- not some distracted or unhappy voting block for a politician to appease. We threaten humans, and everything they've achieved. We can protest, and posture, and appeal for votes and invoke parliamentary procedure. But you know," he says, leaning forward, his voice dropping to a rumble full of years of wisdom and the confidence of age. "you know as well as I that that sort of influence is only an illusion."
Raven can't help it, when that young man takes notice and causes Rogue to get embarrassed she quickly makes eye contact with the other. No words are spoken. None are needed. The look in her eyes just dares the guy to say anything, to do anything other than look away and forget the exchange ever happened. Being so passionate about something is a force to be encouraged, such a force had helped to create the Brotherhood. Rogue may be misguided in Mystique's mind, but her willpower remains strong. It's a start. "History has proven countless times that change can occur without being accepted. Even if it was said on paper that we are -all- equal, how many do you think will abide by such?" Her counter-point is concluded with a slow exhale, she can tell that they aren't going to win the younger mutant back today. Not here, not now. "Rogue... If you ever require anything, you know where you can find us. If you change your mind, we will be here for you. All of us."
Rogue's listening even if she's not looking at either of her elders, whatever she might have as a reaction hidden when her ballcap falls off into her lap, allowing her hair to fall free and cover her face. There's an urge to argue with Magneto about his opinion of her but while the desire to do so is there she lacks the energy to do so, Rogue entirely too emotionally drained to do more than merely shrug in response. When she does manage to speak again it's to them both, her chin finally raising enough so she can look at them in the face. "Ah'm sure we'll run into each other often," she says while trying to put joy into her words but it falls flat and the near-promise is droned. Flat. Rising to her feet, she tucks her hands in against her body, arms yet again held to her sides, defensive in appearance. "Ah should get back home, Ah suppose," she adds. "Y'all take care of each other for me, a'ight?"
Magneto exhales, disappointment written across his face. "I've failed you again, dear child. I am so sorry," he says, in a low murmur. He looks at her and a smile flickers briefly across his careworn face. "I hardly need tell you how much more worried I am for your safety than mine, Anna. Be wary. Promise me that at least, you will be careful. It... it is good to see you. I- we," he says, squeezing Mystique's hand, "will /always/ be there for you if you need us." He nods towards the mansion, one more unassuming building in a neighborhood of such homes. "And we will always have a room for you in our home, when you're ready. If you are ready."