1964-07-27 - Through Innocence, Wisdom
Summary: There are no innocents, but there are some willing to tell Jean and Scarlett the truth.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
rogue jean-grey logan 


You find him sitting on the steps of Logan's cabin. He's a young boy in his early teens, probably about thirteen or so. His clothes have seen much better days - a ragged sweatshirt with holes in it, too hot for the season. Jeans a size or two smaller than he should be wearing, frayed and stained around the cuffs. Literal bowling shoes.

But most people will notice his skin first. Magenta, mauva, puce, salmon, whatever color you wanna call it, it isn't one found normally in nature. His head is bald and covered with strange, bulbous expansions, incongruent and asymmetrical. His eyes are overlarge in his head, the pools limpid and wide.

He has a cigar in his hand, rolling it between his fingers. A cheap one, the kind you get out of the jar on the counter at a liquor store. Most anyone who's spent much time here has smelled it before.

Whelp, the day itself was uneventful. No students showed up to her office, which meant.. well.. whatever.

In the end, should she have cared? There were many a time when the thought of actually packing up and leaving the institute was better, for if she were to truly force her hand, many visions that were had out in space would come to pass. She would become -the- villain. The one that the X-Men, no. The world could not contain.

But it was a quiet walk with a good friend is what was needed. Scarlett and Jean in hand, the latter not fuming but in quiet thought. Quiet contemplative thought.. mostly because..

"There's someone here who shouldn't be."

With the abundance of extracurricular excitement, Scarlett only lingers about the Institute for Jean. Team Redhead represents, at least after a proper nap and learning how to fling flechettes at targets as long as she has her own set of techno-organic wings. Hers do not want to commit murder, as much as Warren's do. By the time they vanish into the ether, she's probably impaled nineteen envelopes and failed in her attempts to pick up a coffee cup. Hopefully it wasn't Xavier's favourite.

"I thought I saw someone out there," she says, absently peeling the thick rind from an orange. The acidic sweetness of the juice provides some much needed relief from the echoing recollections of blood and death trailing in the wake of a borrowed sip of someone's soul. Her gaze marks the rolling landscape, the pink tinted person with a cigar, the cabin, back to the cigar. "Please tell me I have not taken to seeing things. We've a visitor, don't we? Perhaps one more polite than recent ones. Let's go say hello?"

The boy's thoughts are unlike anything Jean has encountered before and, in their own way, indecipherable. There are no words there, no conventional thoughts. He glances up as the women approach and smiles weakly, his face a bit flat and inhuman, his nose barely there, mostly just slits in his too-pink face.

As they approach, there's a shimmer of light just above his head, suddenly, flickering and blinking into existence. An image forms, of two hands holding one another, one feminine and adult, one pink and much like the boy's own. They seem to be clasped together.

Jean at least is decent enough to keep a clear distance of Scarlett, her hands tucked into the pockets of her pants, the back of them, not the sides, her elbows protruding yet one tucked in that is on the side of her friend to avoid being shredded to smithereens. Perhaps the best way to study what had happened to Warren was to look at her.. but.. now this was pressing.

Some little guy was visiting. "You aren't seeing things. I heard him.. or.. saw him. It's strange." Jean says to her. "Not like.. words but.. ideas? I don't know."

But as they nearer to the cabin, she does see him.. and that shimmer, the shimmer which immediately draws her on guard in the physical sense and not the psionic.

"Three minutes." She tells the two. She's gotten short in her old life.

Pink hand and white flickering into being are definitely no trick of the eyes. "Hello," Scarlett says, the gentle tone of voice modulated so as not to hold too much enthusiasm for the teen in his shredded clothes. "Looking for your parents?" Her eyes lock to the image and then travel down to the young man again. If the child relies on psychic imagery to draw impressions, pity him; she's a French battlefield after trench warfare, muck and bombs and tomb like labyrinths to navigate for any glimpse of colour in her no-man's land.

"Three minutes?" The query follows after a momentary pause, and she glances over to Jean for confirmation. "All right. These won't last long, naturally, given the circumstances." She's lucky to have held on this long to her razor blade appendages, and they'll vanish any moment now.

The boy shakes his head at the question, appearing confused and unsure of himself. He holds out the cigar, like an offering, the pleasant tobacco sent roiling off of it.

Another image forms, the light reforming above him until they redissolve into a familiar image, of a blunt-faced, hairy mutant of some familiarity - Logan. Unfortunately, his face seems to be covered in blood, his eyes closed and screwed up in agony.

The boy winces, but gestures the cigar towards the image, making the connection.

It was probably due to lack of patience, where the immediate thought would be to grab the boy by the shoulders to give him a good shake and a scream in his face. Much like one would do to Marla Singer for the intrusion, but she holds fast and demonstrates that at least -she-, of all people, could be a listening ear.

So let Rogue do the questioning, and while Jean observes, she takes a closer look at his features, another step taken closer with a clear frown written across her lips. "You're here about Logan..?" She glances to Rogue, then carefully reaches for the cigar, depending on her friend just in case she were to get snatched away.

…did the boy come here to give Logan a smoke?! Go.. figure..

Too much pain and misery of late have trickled through Scarlett's mind. She puts a hand over her mouth, fair skin bleached of its full shade. Her shoulders twitch reflexively, and her widening eyes remain fixed on Logan's face. "Point taken." Sorrow rather than bubbling rage leaks out from the barely mended scars of the soul. "Jean?" A loaded question in a name, but seeing no apparent attack, time to resort to gentle inquiries.

"Logan is our friend. You have seen him? Is he somewhere you could take us?" Might as well go straight to the point, as far as it goes. She drops down to a crouch, so as not to tower over someone sitting or standing. Her height is considerable. "We've been worried about him. He went somewhere and we tried to find him. If you've seen him, or know where he is, that would make her very happy."

A gesture to Jean followed up by a smile beckons with friendly warmth, rather than overbearing weight. "I'm Scarlett. It's good to meet you."

The boy isn't entirely comforted, if only because of the strangeness of the whole situation, of the women themselves, of the place he is. He's never been in a place like this, never been so far. He feels very lost, even though he knows where he is.

He nods to Scarlett's words and greeting and the image above ehim shifts again, now depicting Logan, but a healthier Logan, wearing a stocking cap. It's from a strange perspective, first person, from a lowered height. Logan's grinning and reaching into his jacket, offering money and a cigar, a familiar looking cigar.

Jean may not be exactly able to read the boy's mind, not the way she can a normal one, but it's easy for her to recognize a memory when she sees one. Judging from Logan's jacket and appearance, this memory appears to be from last winter.

It was a careful pluck of the cigar from the boys fingers, her own curling around them for a time, which was soon offered up to Scarlett so that she could figure her deductions upon it instead of she. Jean was no detective, but she was learning, and perhaps the quickest way to actually delve into the mind of the woman who's housed Gods and take a hard lesson from there.

Allow her to ask the questions, and allow Jean to prod. Her eyes squint and narrow, attempting to open one linking connection with Jean herself as the catalyst. Perhaps those thoughts would be filtered easier, and sent to Scarlett to easily interpret. Maybe.. it was going to be difficult.

"Ooh.. you've met him.." Yes, she remembers. Perhaps it was when Logan was courting that older lady. Miss May.

Someone please tell Scarlett about the courtship later. It sounds unconscionable and adorable at the same time. In the moment, though, the bohemian kneeling on the ground nods to the boy. "You met him before? He gave you something?" Logan's dimensions are coming together in her mind, filling out grey spaces in a life less known. Scarlett clasps her hands together, silent for a few moments. "He's always got those cigars, doesn't he? What a good present. Did you do something for him when he gave you the cigar?"

Admittedly it's impossible for her not to think in visual terms when the visions themselves form to explain things, and she spends half as much time looking to Jean and measuring their mutual reactions to fill in the gaps. Date a silent person for a time and picking up on body language becomes second nature.

"Do you need something too? We could make a trade. Something if you can show us more."

The boy shakes his head, waving away any offer of remuneration. He looks back and forth between the two women and sighs. His own inabilities, his difficulties, frustrate him normally and, in this moment, he is truly frustrated. For a moment, the image above his head flickkers into a thundercloud, rain and lightning falling on his head before he sinks to his knees.

He holds up his hands, asking for patience and starts to concentrate. The images don't move, but they change. With Jean's psychic contact, she can draw the connections between them, enabling her to grasp what he's trying to say, even if the images are sometimes unsteady or unclear.

The story seems simple. Logan befriended the boy, finding him on the streets of Mutant Town. The boy seemed to be homeless. Logan would bring him gifts - cigars, sausages, new gloves, little things.

And then another figure enters the narrative. Deformed and hooded, his face scarred, beady eyed, with stringy white hair. The images Cerebro managed to snatch included images of the same creature. He was the one who tortured Logan, perhaps even now.

The images of what he did to the boy are hard to watch. They're from his perspective, but there's blood. Laughter. And Jean can feel the ghostly psychic flickers of remembered agony.

Sometimes the narrative is all a person needs to start extrapolating data afforded. Scarlett's frown registers the deeper at the boy's reactions. She can keep turning the combinations hoping something clicks, but this is a process in progress, and his reactions earn an outpouring of compassion and mutual frustration. She goes silent when the images begin shifting.

Right up until they stop. Torture lives on in her head, among the wages of sin committed by others. Certain images leave the acidic kiss of the orange mixed with bitter ashes on her tongue. "So Logan meets the young man here. Over time that leads to captain evil entering their lives, and snatching him up somehow. For the same purpose. Have you ever determined what he wants them for, Jean?" Clinical detachment isn't as deep as it seems, an enforced distance that claws out some space where she can analyze and breathe instead of be overwhelmed by it all. Breathing in a slow cycle forms a functional barrier, for now. "That's what I cannot understand, how it links the two of them, because clearly the hooded one has a motive to target them both. Being mutants is a given, though still. Why? I doubt highly cigars much factor into the process."

Gallows humour for the soul-thief is never a good sign. A shudder courses along the liquid portions of her body and drops into the Abyss.

The boy's narrative isn't entirely cogent. Some of the gaps are definitely not filled in. But there are more details. Mutants, a lot of them, all strange. Anyone who saw the scene at Logan's cabin, the scene on the night he disappeared, might recognize a few by the parts left behind.

The scarred man seems to be leading them, speaking to them. The boy is among them, one of them, but Jean can feel his fear towards the man with the scars. He is not a good man. He hurt the boy…

Artie. The boy's name is Artie.

There's another boy there, too, a green-skinned boy, deformed like Artie, but different. He is sitting on a stool, next to Logan, the etortured Logan, Logan in the cage. Logan in pain.

The scarred man.

Masque. His name is Masque.

Masque brings in a sallow-skinned, skinny boy. Not much older than Artie. Ragged, wide-eyed, afraid. The green skinned boy leaves.

Logan's eyes open.

There is blood. Very much blood. And Masque smiles.

Coherency doesn't need entirely to count. Scarlett might put together the pieces from the visions displayed in detail. "He took you somewhere, didn't he? Is he keeping the rest of you? How did you get away?"

Cogent questions might be hard to come by when the shadows in her psyche are starting to raise their voices in that old pandemonium wail, the chatter forever at the back of her skull coalescing into a shattered parade of knowledge she'd rather not have. How. Who. What she could inflict on the very same man.

Monsters wear pretty faces, sometimes. It's the homely ones you can trust in.

"We want to help them, you, and Logan. How did you come here?" The question may be a repeat but she's dealing with a cloud of prospects, shoved away at arm's length.

The how did you get here question seems to be answered in a straightforward fashion, with an image of a Greyhound bus. The kid definitely got some strange looks.

He flashes repeatedly on a few images. The subway, a tunnel, a door within the tunnel. Repeated, over and over again.

He may not have all of the answers you want, may not even understand all the questions. But the end of that series of image is always the same. Logan in chains.

He's offering to be your guide.

Still, the ever presence of the firebird lingered. Jean provided a connection between the young man and Scarlett, translating his images, thoughts.. suggestions of happenings into things that did form a story. Words..

..it was actually a lovely thing. The way her mind translate these images into something close to water color.. deep underneath a rippling wave of beauty..

..and the darker images themselves.. turn into something like sadness

The redheaded bohemian already signed on the moment he showed up; she just may not have openly admitted it then. She holds out her gloved hand to the boy and nods. "I will protect you as I can. We will come and see, I think. Logan's freedom is important, but your safety is too. This may be very dangerous and we do not wish to see you hurt. You could stay somewhere safe." She won't jump over Charles' head, but no doubt they might share a similar opinion on what to do about a castoff child.

I'm so sorry. That will never be sufficient for what those of obvious differences encounter. But the path to doing the right thing often starts that way. She glances to Jean, assuring all is well there, and then cups her palm around her knee, rising. Scarlett's braids cease to sway and ripple a few seconds later. "I'd like to try, darling, if you're willing to go. We have spent so long. Who is that abominable fiend torturing them?"

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