2019-04-17 - The Best of Strangers


Rahne and Doug meet again, for the first time. Sometimes in life you have to get to know people all over again.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Apr 17 00:23:00 2019
Location: Mutant Town Makerspace

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Theme Song



Though the initial waves of interest have gone out, the Mutant Town Makerspace is very much a work in progress. For instance, at the moment, Doug is currently sifting through donations from the community, including a giant rubbermaid container full of… legos. He has it sitting open in front of him, and he's scratching his head, as he studies a piece of paper.

"Well I mean I guess… we could?" He says to himself. "It'd be a shame to get rid of them. I think there's a whole Death Star in here."

Rahne has no real reason to be here, but she was in Mutant Town anyway, and she heard that Doug and Illyana could often be found around this Makerspace place. So heck, why not? She makes her way down the street and pokes her head in the door for a moment, giving a good sniff before she steps inside. She's in her fully human form, a denim jacket over a grey tee-shirt emblazoned with a picture of Iron Man's mask, blue jeans, long hair drawn back into a red ponytail. She wanders around for a minute or two until she happens across Doug and his bin of Legos. And here she stops, considering him before asking. "Legos, Doug? Ye built this place to play with Legos?"

Doug looks up. He's dressed in skinny jeans and purple chucks, and he has a black t-shirt on that says 'Clever Disguise' in white leters. He blinks and then looks around. The place smells of age and brick and new electrical wiring, and cleaning supplies and a little bit of good old-fashioned sweat. Someone's been hard at work in here.

"Well of course. Wouldn't you?" Then he sets the paper aside. "Heyyyyyyyyy. Look who it is. Why didn't you TELL me you were back in town?!"

"No," Rahne replies. She would not spend money to play with Legos. They are easily played with in one's time off, and really cheap if you go to any Salvation Army Store or Goodwill. But Rahne Sinclair isn't Doug Ramsey.

"We weren't precisely close when I was at Xavier's," she observes. "An' besides, I dinna have yer number. Or yer email. But I heard ye were livin' here from Piotr. With Illyana. Och, Doug, ye do like tae live dangerous, don't ye?"

Doug quirks his mouth and says "…Does it show?" He throws the paper up. "Community donations, Rahne. Community donations and I get to sort the things we can use from the things we can't. Some of it's obvious… like the bag full of gently-used underwear somebody left on the front step. Other things, like these legos… well, the twelve year-old in me just won't let me part with them easily."

Then Doug tilts his head. "Aha. People are *gossiping*, I see." He does a brief study of Rahne, taking in her body language, nuance of speech, her emotions. "Yes, Illyana has moved in with me."

"Let me see: ye got the demon queen livin' with ye, an' her brother could crush ye by leanin' too close. An' he's VERRA protective o' his little sister. Yes, Doug, it's verra obvious ye like tae live dangerous." And then something happens, and suddenly she shifts into her halfbreed form — her hair shortens a bit, and the tie falls from her ponytail to the floor. She grows an inch, maybe two. The hem of her shirt frees itself from the waist of her jeans and exposes an inch or so of fuzzy belly. "Stop tha'."

Doug blinks once. "…Stop what?" He asks, raising an eyebrow. He grabs the top to the rubbermaid bin, and puts it on the legos. "I'll deal with Colossus. I'm pretty sure I can do some neurolinguistic programming on him and make him think he's a chicken if I snap my fingers? Also, Illyana and I are… well—" He glances at Rahne sidelong. "How much have you heard, and who's the leak?"

Rahne stares at Doug for a long moment. "I can smell ye tryin' tae read me. I've been smelling people's emotions fer much longer than ye've been able to read body language, if tha's what ye're doin'. An' I don't like it any more than ye'd like Jean pawin' through yer head, Doug. So stop." Her hackles are up, the fur on the back of her neck literally pushing up and away from her flesh. "An' that you'd even THINK of doin' tha' tae Piotr…" She slowly backs away from Doug. "What the hell happened t' ye?"

"Well I can't *stop*, just focus less on it." Doug admits, somewhat sheepishly. "I was trying to get a read on you, yes. It's been a *long* time since we've seen each other, and I seem to be off to an awkward start as it is." Then he tilts his head at Rahne and says, "…Rahne. That was a *joke*." He looks somewhat embarassed. "I can't actually do that to people! At least… I don't think I can. And I wouldn't even if I could." He shakes his head, and bends at the knees to lift the rubbermaid tote, so he can put it away. "I think these are a 'keep'.

"It weren't a funny one," the wolfgirl replies, not much mollified. She pronounces 'weren't' with two syllables. "I'm nae hard t' read. I wear m' heart on m' sleeve. Always have. Only defense I had before was that I dinna talk tae anybody." She remains at a distance, clearly wary.

Doug sighs, and puts up the legos. "And me, still as much of a dope as I ever was." He brushes his hands off. "Look… I'm sorry. It wasn't funny. Turns out comedy's a language I have yet to completely master. But I DO appreciate you coming here to visit me, a lot." He runs his fingers through his hair, and says, "You start wondering where people've got to, how they're doing…" Then he shakes his head, with a sigh. "Let me start again. Hi, Rahne! How're things in Scotland?"

Rahne huffs out a breath through her nostrils, yellow eyes fixed on him from where she stands. "Fine," she says after a moment, her hackles smoothing. Mostly. "Hello, Doug. Scotland's fine, thank ye fer askin'. M' mum's well an' Reverend Craig's probably going to die before me if I dun do anything too stupid. An' yerself?"

Doug returns to sitting on that table, and he lets his legs swing. "Well, I just scared the blazes out of an old acquaintance when I didn't want to, so I'm a little depressed! Other than that, dear diary, things are going well. I'm working as an Analyst for SHIELD, and I'm helping organize this Makerspace for Mutant Town since I own this building and only turned the office floor of the old warehouse into my apartment. Illyana and I ARE living together, but we're not actually dating." He scratches the back of his neck. "…We cuddle. It's nice. I'm enjoying it."

Rahne slowly lets the fur sink back into herself, body shrinking back down that inch or so, hair elongating in back. She bends to pick up her lost hair tie, but tucks it into a pocket rather than retying her hair. "It's always so staticky when I shift back t' human form," she notes. "Best t' wait 'til I can brush it out again." She tucks her shirt back into her jeans in turn, purses her lips. "I'm nae sure that Piotr is aware ye're not datin', though I think he may be tryin' t' deny t' himself that ye are, which yer not, an tha' might cause problems goin' forward. Jus' so yer aware."

Doug murmurs, "I wouldn't call it dating… we may have kissed? I'm not sure what to do about it - Illyana has her issues, I have my issues, and the best advice so far was from Kitty when she more or less said to go for it. This is NOT an area in which I have a lot of expertise, and Illyana is what I'd have called 'Nintendo Hard' in my punnier days at the best of times. But…" He shrugs his shoulders, "Ok. I have a 'thing', Rahne. Thoughts?" He raises his eyebrows, and gives the redhead a bemused look.

"Ye've seen her far more recently than I have," Rahne observes, settling herself into a chair a little closer to Doug. "Ye have a thing. Even given 'Yana's got the affect o' a stone, yer powers ought t' tell ye somethin' abou' how she feels. 'Go fer it' is all well an' good, 'til somebody gets hurt — an t' be clear, the somebodies in this case are you an' 'Yana."

Doug rests his chin in his hand, and he says, "…Yeah. That's the problem with emotions. It's like doing the samba through a *minefield*. I'm not afraid for myself, more that I'll screw it up for her and hurt her, when she tries so hard every day. And I think she's afraid she'll expose me to something she doesn't want to. And yet, here we are." he glances up at Rahne and says, "Sam's good, by the way. I think he wants to get into law enforcement, I'm dropping good words into a few ears at SHIELD. I think he'd be happy to see you, if he hasn't yet."

"I've been busy settlin' in back at the school," Rahne says, her expression somewhat distant as she considers what Doug's saying. "I'll catch up wi' him sooner or later, I'm sure." She leans forward, her elbows settling on her knees, eyes, now green again, fixing on Doug's once more. "Doug, I was terrified o' Illyana when we were all in school t'gether. I was terrified o' a lot o' things. Scared or not, though, ye've got a woman who has dealt with more shit in her life than ye an' I ever will. So. First. Can ye handle that shit? Can ye handle how much she's been through, an' how much she's got goin' on inside as a result? An' second, can ye handle if she doesnae want what ye want?"

Doug gives Rahne an even look. "…Putting aside any notion of romance and thinking about it pragmatically? I don't know if I can handle it, no. How could I give a definite answer to that when our lives have already spanned so many breathtaking, terrifying things? But I do know that she deserves someone who's willing to take her as she is… demons and all." Then he tilts his head, and says "That's what love *is*, isn't it? You care, and it doesn't matter what form it takes, because it's not *conditional*. I mean—we've kissed. But it's new ground, especially for her. She may decide it's not what she's wants… and I'm okay with that."

Rahne sighs heavily. "Doug, ye're an Imagine Dragons song," she says drily, if ruefully. "All ye can do is put yerself out there and be prepared to accept rejection if it's comin'. Tha' is part o' love too, I think."

Doug looks momentarily puzzled. "…Which one. It's not 'Radioactive' is it?" He asks, all genuine curiosity.

"I was goin' for 'Demons'," Rahne replies, the corner of her mouth turning upward.

"Well, I'll take that as a statement of due caution." Doug says, before he lets out a sigh. "But she's worth it. How long are you planning to stick around? I'd love to see you around here as a regular." Then he gives Rahne a derpy smile. "If we weren't as close as I remember with my rose-colored glasses… I'd really like to change that.

Rahne chuckles softly, shrugs a little. "I'll be aroun', up at the school if not here in the city. After all, Doug, I'm an X-Man." She pauses. "X-Wolf. Seems a little more appropriate, I think." She rises from her chair and stretches. "An' I need t' be gettin' back, I'm afraid, but I'm sure we'll catch up more soon."

Doug gives Rahne a look, and then he says, "…You know, you didn't like it when I got a read on you before, but I have picked this up. You always had a shape about you, a fierceness… a bigness of character, but it was like you shrunk inward from the outline of who you really were." He hops off the table. "You're not doing that anymore. 'Bye, Rahne."

Rahne tilts her head slightly — not questioning, but acknowledging. "I learned I din't need t' hide what I was, an' Reverend Craig can go screw himself," she says with another shrug. "Better t' be me than a cringin' little mouse. Ye have a good day, Doug. See ye soon." She heads for the exit again, waving behind her.

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