2019-05-19 - O Brother What Art Thou


Scott discusses his long-lost brother with Jean and Zee.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun May 19 04:40:03 2019
Location: Eight Ball

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Zatanna Zatara would be a pretty bad girlfriend if she couldn't tell something was eating at Scott. Sure, she and the Summers boy had a weird speedbump in their relationship in the form of the adult time-traveling children of Scott, or people claiming to be same, suddenly interjecting themselves into everyone's lives. But after a lot of drinking alone and screaming into her pillow, Zatanna has resolved to do the healthy, normal thing and be supportive and accepting, even if it fucking kills her.

In any case, what's a good way to get Scott's mind off of things? Well, the answer to that one is simple, true believer: geometry problems. And so Zatanna can have fun too, those geometry problems take the form of the pool tables at the Eight Ball in Mutant Town. She had to be vouched for to get in. That was new.

Zee also made sure to invite Jean along, again as a show of 'look, I'm being cool, can't you see how COOL I'm being about ALL OF THIS WEIRD STUFF GOING ON' and also just because she figured Jean was due for a check-in after that unbranding ceremony a while back.

Right now, Zatanna herself is in a short black dress, black fishnets, heels, choker, and so on. 'Sexy casual.' She's also at the bar, putting in the drink order, leaving the other two to their own devices for a moment.

Jean has been busy. The whole battle of the gods thing is part of it, sure. But today was graduation day. She now officially has her bachelor's degree. And no more classes, at least for the next year or so. And even then, only if she decides to pursue further schooling. So she's due for a little bit of celebration.

She's in her usual jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt, casual as ever, especially after dressing up for graduation itself. Standing by the pool table, she gives Scott a look along with a gentle mental nudge. « Your head's a mess, » she observes. « What's up? »

Scott, of course, had recently had another family based bombshell dropped on him, as well. As if people claiming to be future/alternate timeline/dimension children/clones with dubious connections to Sinister wasn't enough, Betsy had come to him with the revelation that someone professing to be his brother, Alex Summers, had randomly shown up to the mansion on the back of a motorcycle, seeking him out.

But, right now, Scott was doing his absolute best to NOT think about that. Anything but that, in fact.

He's dressed in casual attire, but his game has stepped up a bit from his typical flannels or plaids. A denim jacket with the sleeves rolled up just under his elbows, along with a snug fitting black t-shirt, bearing a devil logo for Black Sabbath in red across the chest. Jeans and a pair of black and white Vans round out the look. It seems he's taken to trying to at least look like he belongs hanging out with Zee, even if not exactly on her level.

«It's nothing.»

A flash of a blonde haired kid playing catch.

«So, what's it feel like having your freedom back? No more school. At least for awhile. I'm really proud of you for graduating.»

Scott is leaning against a wall, eyeing the pool table in front of him from behind his ruby lenses. He's got a pool cue in hand, though his arms fold defensively across his chest, thus hugging the stick against him. His focus seems to be on the arrangement of multi colored, striped and solid balls on the table. Zee is smart. Give him trick shots, geometry and trigonometry to work with and it's a relief.

Zee might be smart, but she's also a minor celebrity, for her sins. Hopefully, Scott and Jean didn't need their drinks immediately, because over at the bar, Zatanna can be spotted talking to a fan with purple skin and hair like jellyfish tendrils. Flatter Zatanna, and she'll soak it up like a sponge, so the fan gets extra attention, an offer to pose for a selfie with them, and so on. It delays Scott and Jean getting their drinks but it does give them a BIT longer to talk.



« It feels like I'm not so distracted I can't tell that you're unsettled. » There's a smirk in the words as Jean glances back toward the bar, looking both amused and grateful to see the fan there.

She plays back the image for herself, piecing together what she knows from years of friendship. « You know, sometimes thing's aren't awful harbingers of doom. But if you were to tell someone else about those actual harbingers of doom, then they might be able to help watch your back. In theory. »

As a couple vacates their table, Jean steps forward to claim it for their own party, racking up the balls.

"What's taking so long?" Scott asks out loud, frustration laced through his deep voice, like strychnine. His attention lifts from the table, casting his gaze across the bar to where Zee is posing with the fan. That, at least, brings a faint ghost of a smile to play across his features. Still, he shakes his head and mutters, "It's nice that she's so good with the people, but man, I'm needing that beer."

As Jean speaks to him in his mind, Scott's mind feels even more closed off. Not shutting her out. Just like the lights have dimmed considerably. Or like dark storm clouds have rolled in, choking out the sunlight and casting everything in the waning light of dusk.

«It's really nothing to be worried about. Someone claiming to be my brother showed up at the mansion. I have Betsy looking in to it. She's "dating" him. Or, at least, making the overtures of doing so. She thinks he's clear.»

Scott circles the table, having decided on a shot, and leaning over the table to do so. "7 in the corner pocket."

He takes his shot, banking the cue ball off of the side, where it clacks against the 11, which in turn, clips the 7 as it rolls by, sending it crawling in to the called pocket.

«It's just that with everything else… Rachel and Nate… It seems like it's just too convenient. Too soon. Too sudden. Too…»

Okay! Fan dealt with. Drinks in hand. Zatanna returns to find Scott already hard at work, and so Jean gets her drink first. Knowing these three, the order is probably a study in contrasts: a beer for Scott, something sweeter for Jean, and a strong cocktail for Zee. The three points of the triangle, represented.

"Woo!" Zee says as the 7-ball goes right where it's meant to. She takes the opportunity to hand Scott his beer. It's still cold! Just… wet, from being left on the bartop for a few minutes there.

"Sorry, I ran into a fan over there. Ever since that Hulu thing, I'm getting recognized more and more. I mean, I'm not complaining, it's just weird." Zee has a sip of her cocktail. It's a martini, the famous elixir of quietude. "It's kind of why I didn't want to go to where my magician friends drink? Like, my stage magician friends. Usually when we're all there it's just a bunch of catty gossip about who just went to rehab and who just went to, like, super extreme Thailand rehab, but it'd have been all gladhanding and backpatting and stuff and, you know, no. I don't need people talking behind my back while I'm right there, you know? And, Jesus, never mind my MAGICIAN magician friends. No offense, but I don't think you two are gonna be ready for that bar crawl quite yet. There's this whole political dimension to it of like, etiquette and speaking in riddles and all of this crap and, yeah, I'm happy to just be hanging out here, with you two, instead of all that." Scott receives a kiss on the cheek once Zee is done rambling. "Isn't that sweet? I prefer you guys to my friends who I mostly hate sometimes."

"Thanks," Jean takes her drink from Zee, some concoction that involves sprite and grape vodka, of all things. But the bartender knows it, so apparently no one's called her on it yet. "What exactly is involved in extreme Thailand rehab?" she quirks a brow as she takes a sip, waiting for the sea of words that's likely to follow that before continuing her side conversation with Scott.

« Too good to be true? » she finishes his thought, though there's some challenge in it. « You know, Scott, sometimes good things happen to good people. And despite your fears, or maybe because of it, you're a good person. What's the worst that could come of it? »

With his drink now in hand, Scott just leans his rear against the ledge of the table, letting his gaze turn on to Zee as she waxes on about her friends, and what the world of backbiting magicians, real and fake, is like. He cannot help but to think back to that old movie Mean Girls, and the scenes where the main character likens the lunch room to the jungles. Lifting the cold, condensation-covered bottle to his lips, he draws from it deeply, until she's taken a moment for a breath, and leans in for that kiss. And instead of answering with an affirmation of how sweet that is, Scott just remains silent until after Jean inquires about Thai Rehab.

"… So, apparently my long lost brother, who I haven't seen or heard from since we were separated in different orphanages as children, showed up at our school looking for me. One of our colleagues met him and informed me about it. She's "dating" him, at the moment to try to discern if there's anything amiss. Jean thinks I shouldn't worry about it. That I should just accept it at face value."

He takes another drink of his beer, nearly clearing a good quarter of the bottle at once.

"I think it's… suspect. At best. Especially with everything else going on."

"I think super extreme Thailand rehab is just getting your insurance company to cough up like twenty-eight thousand bucks to be placed in a hard labor camp, but I'm only going off what I've heard," Zatanna notes to Jean, sounding… not SERIOUS, but also not like she's making stuff up for a laugh.

Zatanna has another sip of her drink while she listens to Scott's new development. The corners of her eyes tense a bit, like she's envisioning the Summers Family org chart in her mind. When he finishes, she says: "I didn't know you had a brother… or that he was 'long-lost.'" She glances to Jean for a moment, then her gaze settles back on Scott. "So… does this make you happy? Sad? Suspicious? I know you told me a little about that weird dude from when you were a kid, and how you thought he might be involved with…"

Jean can probably feel Zatana's brain grow spikes for exactly two syllables: "…those two, but… what? I mean, I'm just trying to figure out, you know, the context here. Because if I had someone who'd been lost from my life for a long time suddenly reappear like a magic trick, well… I DO magic tricks, and I'd probably still WANT to believe."

Jean gestures to Zee as if to say I told you so, but she doesn't actually say it. Instead, she takes another sip of her drink. "I'm not saying you shouldn't question it, Scott. Just that…Just that you shouldn't automatically shut it out without giving it a chance. Betsy's not exactly a lightweight in the psychic department. If she says he's clean, I'd be inclined to believe her."

"My parents were killed in a plane crash when I was young. My mother strapped a parachute to me, pushed my brother Alex into my arms, and told me to take care of him before pushing us out of the plane," Scott replies to Zee's confusion about the story of his brother. Yep. That's a memory that deserves another drink. For a moment, Jean might just hear the deafening, shrill whine of a failing jet engine. Feel the sharp pang of fear on Scott's psyche. Fear and pain, like a ball of black, viscous oil that's cold enough to sear the skin with frostbite. The smell of burning electronics. The feeling of a mother's embrace tainted by the way she trembles and then… a sensation of freefalling and sheer, utter hopelessness. "After that, we were pulled apart. He was sent to some orphanage on the west coast or something. I was in Colorado. The person who… had guardianship over me made certain that it was next to impossible for us to find one another. Or at least for me to find anything on him."

He looks at Jean for just a moment, and gives a shrug of one shoulder. Of course she's right. They both are. He wants to believe it. Absolutely, he wants to believe it. He doesn't want to just shoot it down.

"Betsy's no lightweight, but she also doesn't know… she doesn't know me. So she wouldn't… necessarily know what to look for. And if this person was… sent… he might not even know what he's doing, himself. But mostly it's just the timing. Right now, of all times. Strange children showing up, claiming to be mi—Ours."

He gestures to Jean with his bottle, before sighing. Another swig, and the empty is set down on the pool table beside him. Hard. "And now this… this miracle happens. An honest to God miracle. It's like some force is just… Trying to assemble a bunch of Summerses in one place or something? Like we're all just being assembled now, but why?"

He lowers his head, and pinches the bridge of his nose. Quietly, he mutters, "Next, someone is going to show up claiming to be my father, and that he didn't actually die in the plane crash, but was abducted by aliens…"

"Well, that's… a lot to unpack," Zatanna says, setting her martini down on the edge of the pool table. She takes in a breath, then adds: "But I'm gonna give it a shot." A look over at Jean, as if to say 'catch me if I fall, here.'

"First, did you… TELL Betsy what to look for? I mean, I can do the whole 'let's talk with our thoughts' thing," which might be the first time Zatanna has let THAT slip, "but I don't know what it's like for someone who doesn't use a spell to do it. I mean, Jean, is it like, ethical? For her to go looking through to find, you know, what Alex's favorite baseball player was when he was four, or… whatever? I mean, I guess I don't really care about ethical here, is it POSSIBLE? Because if that's something that can be done, I mean, I hope you can trust the process there."

Zatanna seems to pointedly avoid discussing the two Summers-Grey heirs any further, or at least, swerves around Scott bringing them up. Jean can likely feel that swerve like Zee's brain was doing it on the Autobahn. "Here's the thing, though. Like, maybe this won't make you feel better, maybe it will, but I can only tell you what I know. And I don't believe in coincidences. Like, I know how coincidences work, and they're frankly just kind of a thing we tell ourselves so we don't get devoured by the bigger patterns layered over us."

Zatanna is speaking in generalities, like this is something she picked up from a pop counselor of some kind, but the way she says it seems to imply that there's a serious concern there. "So, no, I don't believe in conspiracies. But I do believe in miracles. The impossible can be made possible, Scott. And sometimes it's MADE, yes, by someone's active doing, but sometimes it's… Look, if the universe dropped Alex in your lap for a reason, it's got to be one of two things, right?" Zatanna glances at Jean again, and then uses her fingers to count. "Option one: He's an alien, or a clone, or a pod person, or a Manchurian Candidate, and someone sent him to you to make your life harder. Option two: He's your brother, and the universe sent him to you because you need him right now."

"It's not ethical to do it on your own, but it's not unethical to do it with permission." Jean pauses, smile quirking. "Basically, you should treat having telepathy kind of like having a penis. Sure, you can use it if everyone's good with it. But you shouldn't stick your brain dick in someone else without their permission."

Chances are, that is not how the Professor explained it to her, but that's what you get when she goes to college in the city.

"Scott," she says, setting a hand to his shoulder. "Get out of your own way. For once in your life. Just…let something good happen, okay? I hate to bail on you guys, but I actually need to check in on the community center. I'll be back later if you're still around, though." She gives his shoulder a squeeze, then steps away for a quick, one-armed hug for Zee. "Take care, guys," she says, then heads outside.

Scott starts to open up his mouth to speak before Jean cuts in.



Scott's mouth snaps shut and his head recoils on his neck as he looks at the redhead as if she had just spoken in tongues. This look remains plastered on his features as Jean speaks to him directly, urging him to loosen up before excusing herself. Only once she's walking away does Scott seem to shake it off.

"That was colorful."

He clears his throat, keeping his gaze transfixed on Jean as she makes her exit, until she's completely out of site. Then, he looks back to Zatanna as he slowly rises from his half-seat against the table, and strides over to her. One arm loosely encircles her waist to draw her in close. He lowers his forehead, touching it against her temple as he breathes in deep, and releases a slow sigh through his nose.

"Thank you. You're right. You're both right. I just… Things don't go so well for me, you know? And right now…"

Lifting his brow from her temple, he peers over her shoulder at nothing at all, as a scowl creases his forehead and crinkles his nose. "I've got you. I've got Jean. I don't deserve either of you two. You're both so amazing, and you keep me… grounded. Call me on my crap, build me up where I should be. And then… the kids thing. It's stressful, but at the same time… It's cool to think that somewhere out there, that there's a place where we did that…"

Scott shrugs.

"Now, Alex… It's just… I'm not this blessed. I don't know what to do with it, Zee. I can barely wrap my head around how I lucked into meeting you, alone."

Zatanna comes in for a hug. If Scott is still holding the pool cue, the pool cue gets hugged too. Zee at least has the maneuvering skills to avoid putting an eye out (hers, or his). "Well, like I said, there's no coincidences. If it happens, it happens for a reason. What the reason is, maybe it's right there in front of our eyes, or maybe we'll never grasp it. Sometimes you just gotta lean in to the mystery."

Zee gives a squeeze. She's not as strong as any given X-Man would be, probably. Then again, she doesn't have the Xavier Institute's weight room in her house. "And, y'know? If he is a faker, or whatever, I'll be right there to help you kick his ass all the way around the dark side of the moon. So you got backup, Scott, remember. The kids, too." It's a good thing Jean left, because the thought of kicking the kids' asses is especially appealing to Zee.

"C'mon. You wanna play pool, or you wanna get out of here and have more monologues at each other?" Zatanna grins, releasing the hug. "I'm cool with either one. I'm just saying, if we head back to my place, I'm extremely good at saying a lot while wearing very little."

As Zee speaks, offering her backup, Scott does feel some… not much… but some of the tension bleed from him. It's enough to bring a smile to his face, at the very least. It's comforting for him to know that she's willing to accept all the weirdness that comes with the X-Men, and with him, in particular. Any sane woman would have turned tail and ran as far away from him as possible by this point, he's certain. Hell, most would have from the very first date when he proclaimed himself a mutant. But Zee seems to be sticking around for the long haul.

But that comes it its own guilt, doesn't it? As the raven haired beauty releases the hug, Scott takes a step back as his smile fades. She deserves more. She really does. She deserves his undivided loyalty. Not some wishy washy weakling sitting on a fence with one leg on either side. But the woman who had just walked out the door was not an easy one to give up. He's too selfish.

"I am…" he starts, pausing for a moment to nod his head, and set the pool cue aside, leaning it against the table. "extremely good at listening to someone say a lot if they're wearing very little, so I think our skill sets merge there nicely. We should really explore that a bit more."

Too selfish.

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