|Welcome home, Amanda|
|What: Amanda meets Scott at the Manor and offers her services to the team.|
Scott Summers sits deeply in a leather chair within the lounge. A hand is brought up to his lip in consideration, with his elbow propped on the armrest. One leg of his charcoal pants is pulled over the other, and on his top he wears a black turtleneck sweater. His gaze is never quite clear given the ruby quartz glasses he wears over his eyes, but he seems to be intently watching the news-some sort of foreign entanglement between two nations in the Middle East. The names change, but the interest remains the same.
Amanda, visiting the mansion after a long time away, follows the old familiar corridors with nostalgic ease. An easy smile is on her lips, as her fingers trail the wainscotting. Her light steps take her into the lounge, where she sees the X-Men's field captain studying the latest Middle East crise-du-jour. She pauses in the doorway, leaning against it, glancing at the screen. As a lull in the immediate analysis appears, she speaks. "Hey, you," she says lightly, calling to the red-glassed mutant. "Long time no see."
Scott's head turns slightly and after a moment of contemplation his eyebrows come together in an arch. "Amanda? I haven't seen you in years." A slow smile comes across his face as he pulls himself quickly from the grasp of the chair and moves over to greet her, giving her a quick hug. "Oh my goodness. How long has it been? It's great to see you."
Amanda returns the embrace warmly. "Too long," she replies with a smile. "It's great to see you, too." She steps back after a moment, casting an eye back to the screen and gives a dry chuckle. "I see some things don't change, at least." Her smile returns to him. "How've you been? How's the team?"
Scott motions to one of the seats, "You staying a while? I can grab you something to drink, if you want." His face falters a bit when she asks about the team. "Don't ask. Things have been rather difficult lately." He reaches up and presses upon one of the wooden panels, revealing a refrigerator behind. The door comes open with a soft pop and he grabs himself a bottle of water.
"Water's fine," Amanda tells him, as he reaches for his own bottle. Her smile fades slightly and she nods. "Yeah. Got that impression from Kurt. We were at Harry's the other day." She pads further into the room, moving toward the bar to follow him, more for the convenience of it.
Scott gives her a forced smile that doesn't last very long and takes a seat after handing her a bottle for herself. "Yeah, I've caught through the grapevine that he's been pretty shaken up about things lately. I wish he had come to me, but he sent an interlocuter instead. He should know me well enough by now to know I don't deal with message runners." Scott scratches his face by where his jaw and ear meet as an idea comes to him, "Don't tell me that's why you came back." This time his chuckle is genuine. "Seriously though, how have you been?"
"Well, you know Kurt." Amanda says, not apologetic as much as understanding. "He's not so good with the whole confession thing, if you're not a priest." And, some things are best kept in family, though she doesn't add that. "But, no. I didn't actually know he was having difficulties until he told me on Sunday." Well after the fact, since he was bamfing around her like a puppy jumping up for treats. Taking the water and lifting the bottle in a gesture of thanks, she moves to one of the armchairs and settles in it, drawing her feet up to tuck beneath her in a comfortable fashion. "As for me, I've been okay. Just decided I was tired of chasing imps across the European skyways and figured I'd come back and see what America had to offer." She's never truly shaken her childhood wanderlust. Probably why she's a flight attendant. Free travel... that doesn't include teleporting. "Seriously, though... If there's anything I can do to help, I'd be more than happy. I'm expecting to be Stateside for the foreseeable future, now."
Scott takes a seat after she does and takes a similar pose as he had when she came in, but this time with the bottle sitting upright on his leg, braced by his other hand. He listens to her discuss Kurt and stays silent for a long moment, leaving a lot unsaid about the topics both of Kurt and what's been going on with the team lately. Where does one even start?
"It'd be great to have you back. I mean if it's something you'd be interested in joining up with. I know Kurt would be pleased. So would I, frankly."
The bottle Amanda holds makes a cracking sound as she twists the cap and sets it aside, taking a swallow or two as she considers his words. She knows Kurt would be over the moon if she came back and settled down -- at least for a while -- back here. But, she wouldn't make that decision based on pleasing him. She'll make it based on what she feels is right.
Eventually, however, she nods. "Honestly, Scott, if you guys need me, I'm here. In a heartbeat. Seriously." That's her nature. Loyal nearly to a fault.
"So, you're just putting the ball in my court? Amanda, you know that's not the wisest of moves--I'm pretty biased towards the extra help, you know that." Scott sighs and leans forward a bit, "We could definitely use you. That's the honest truth. We could use all the help we can get." He sighs and looks away for a moment before continuing, "Things have been bad. Really bad. I'm not sure how much Kurt told you..." His voice trails.
Amanda laughs lightly. "Scott, you always did fret too much." It's a response to his first words. She wouldn't have offered, otherwise. As he leans forward, however, his sigh sobers her sufficiently that her momentary mirth fades and her mein matches his -- though perhaps a trifle less heavily. "He didn't tell me much," she confesses. "But he did say you were up to your eyeballs in Sentinels not so long ago," like any Mutant, that concerns her, "and that's in addition to the usual radical mutant terrorism running rampant in the city."
Scott sighs deeply and stays silent for a long time. Eventually he breaks it with a swig of water, feeling that Amanda has a right to know what she's signing up for. She has a right to know what's happened.
"You know me well enough to know that I'm going to give it to you straight, Amanda. A few weeks ago, we became embroiled in a rescue mission in the nation of Mureybet. Essentially a Berkley professor was kidnapped in Paris and brought to the middle east as part of an undreground mutant force that their government was using to hold down their people."
Another sigh. Another swig.
"So we went in to rescue the guy. We succeeded, but the village we were staying housed in with our contacts on the inside was destroyed, our contact was killed. We decided to fight with the rebels, and by the end--you may have read the news--Munqid, their leader, was dead. That was us. That was our call. My call." He takes another drink. "And that's just the start."
Amanda nods seriously to that. "I've seen a few articles like that in the last few months," she notes. She doesn't sound too surprised. Her face shows some empathy for him, however. "I don't envy you those decisions. But, I do know you Scott. You don't make calls like that lightly. You do the best you can with what you've got. We all do. That's all any of us can do."
"Yeah," Scott says, not sure if he believes it himself. "A week later we thought it might be fun if we went on a vacation. Staff, some students. A whole group of us. That's when we were attacked. Students died. In trying to track down the culprit some of the X-men got captured--I was suspended at the time. I believe one of the things Kurt is upset about is that I brought students with on the rescue mission. I didn't feel I had a choice. There was almost no one left."
Amanda inhales a slow breath to that. No. Kurt wouldn't like that at all. She exhales equally slowly. "Yeah, that's not fun," she agrees. "And, yeah. Kurt wouldn't like that." A beat. "I love Kurt dearly, you know that. But, I'm also a little more practical than he is about such things. I don't want to ever see students put at risk -- or lost; I can't imagine how you cope with that -- but, Scott... was there another choice?"
If not, then even Kurt can be brought around. If so, well, then, maybe there's an argument here.
"If there was, don't you think I would have taken it?" Scott inquires grimly. "I did what I had to. I'm not proud of it, not proud of any of it, but if the circumstances were the same, I'd do it again. Most of the students here are the same age I was when I began going on missions. It's not something I take lightly, or would ever recommend in a non-emergency situation, but I did what I felt had to be done."
Amanda nods simply to that. She does know him well enough to know he'd have found another way if he could. And, she knows how young the first class was when they started fighting -- even if she wasn't among them. To be fair, she was about the same age when she started messing with powerful mystical forces, too. "I hate to say it, Scott, but this world isn't getting any easier for mutants. Not that I've seen. I don't want these kids put at risk, either. But, we both know they're a lot closer to the frontlines than any one likes to admit -- especially Kurt. We do what we have to do. And it sucks sometimes." A beat. "Saturday, I spent most of my afternoon and evening hypnotizing humans into thinking the demonic attack that took out the baggage claim was nothing more than a terrorist bomb hoax... because that was the safer choice." She hates doing that, hates playing with freewill like that.
"Sometimes the ends do justify the means. If the situation is severe enough," Scott says with a nod. It's clear he's not talking about her situation or his, but both. "In any event, we'd love to have you back. If you want to stay here, there's plenty of room. Either way, I'm sure we still have your old costume around here somewhere. If not, we can make a new one."
Amanda's brows rise at that. "Wow. You kept that old thing?" She laughs. "Maybe it's time to make a new one." Not that she'll change the style at all -- unless the one they have hanging in storage for her is that I-Dream-of-Jeannie knock-off. In which case, hell, yes, she'll be making a new one. One more in line with the red, silver, and blue illusion she typically sports. Or maybe something in X-Man black, just to be different. "I do have a flat in the city," she admits, "but, I'll always take a room here. Are any of your current students mystically inclined?"
Scott nods, "Well, I'll let the Professor know and he can have a room made up for you. As far as what you wear, that's up to you." Scott almost winces at the words, fearing how that must have sounded out loud. He shakes his head, "Well Illyana's here and there, though she's not a student. I don't believe any of the students have magic based powers, no."
Amanda chuckles softly at his poor phrasing. "I'll keep that in mind," she says, a twinkle in her eye and a teasing tone in her voice. She knows he's well taken with Jean and isn't interested in him, anyway. So, there's no worry on that front. It's just good natured ribbing. As for the students, she doesn't count Illyana among them, either, and wouldn't presume with her, in any case. So, instead she just nods. "Figured I'd ask. I figured, if I'm not expected at the airport for anything, I'm happy to help out if someone needs some pointers." But, since that's a moot point, she lets the matter drop. Instead she sucks back a little more water and takes a moment to really look at the beleaguered team leader. "It'll get better, Scott," she tells him. "I don't know how or when, but it will." That's the one thing she and Kurt do share: a hardy optimism.
Scott nods, "I'm sure you could peek in on the Young X-men and see if they need help in training. Other than that, we're always looking for subs because of everyone's busy lives...and our night jobs." He sighs and nods, "I know it'll get better. It's just been a rough few weeks is all."
Again, Amanda smiles, warmth in her eyes -- as always, for a friend. "Perhaps I'll do that, then," she suggests. She'll just have to see how schedules pan out. She rises, now. "Keep me posted, Scott," she tells him -- not that she thinks he wouldn't. "You need anything, you call. I'll make sure I'm around." And, if she's not, she's just a teleport away. So, it's the next best thing. Her smile stays light. "I should probably go find Kurt. He promised to introduce me around to some of the new faces. Wouldn't want to keep him waiting." If only because the sooner she meets them, the sooner the real fun and games (a.k.a. helping them defend themselves in the merry prank war her foster brother is prone to waging) can begin.
"Sounds good, Amanda," Scott responds. "It was good to see you. Welcome home. And tell Kurt hello from me, please."
"Will do," the blond relies, heading toward the door, now. "Catch you later." With that, she's out the door and back off down the corridor, leaving him to his news programs once more.