15455/Dream Bunker Makeover

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Dream Bunker Makeover
Date of Scene: 11 August 2023
Location: Huntington, Suffolk County
Synopsis: X-Force Renovation: Bunker Edition
Cast of Characters: Archangel, Psylocke

Archangel has posed:
Arriving at the Bunker, the exterior looks, well, as much a mess as it did before, if not considerably more so. There were even rusted nails, sharp objects, the kinds of things you wouldn't want to accidentally step over. Some of the spider webs had been cleared, unintentionally, but it looked like someone had gone over it, and tried to make it look even more junky and dilapidated than before.

Thing is, there was one definite sign of activity. Music was coming from the open entrance in the floor. Some kind of 80's song by the sound of it. It rang out, "I will protect you. Nothing can hurt you. No storm clouds gathering terrify."

Descending down, the interior looks, well, nothing like it did before. It was like descending from a spooky old abandoned barn, and going into an Ikea store.

It was brightly lit. The song continued to play. "I am a mountain. Surrounded by your love. You are a mountain that dreams are made of."

The ceilings were a light grey and smooth. The walls were a slightly darker shade of grey and smooth. Drywall had been hung and painted. The door frames were white. There was baseboard around the floors. The floors were grey laminate. There was little to no furniture to speak of, no pictures hanging on the walls. But there were power outlets, light switches... and was that a central vacuum outlet? They all had a silver trim to the face plates.

"We fight for love. We fight for love. Fight for love." continued to play coming from one of the rooms.

And in that room, there was one Warren Kenneth Worthington, shirtless, but wings folded into his back, wearing blue jeans, a black belt, silver buckle, and blue sneakers.

He was currently up a ladder, drill in hand, tightening a kitchen cabinet door. The kitchen had marble countertops, stainless steel appliances. How the hell did he get a fridge down here? Or a stove? Or a dishwasher? And oh yes, his phone was on the island, with a portable speaker next to it, which was playing the music.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy Braddock looks very much like someone who doesn't belong in the midst of a home renovation... or a base renovation, as it were. Between her two inch heels, bare legs, her flowery summer dress and hat over her elaborately coiffed hair, one could be forgiven for thinking she's just stepped off the catwalk.

She's carrying a small basket and she carefully picks through the rooms in progress, violet eyes bright and approving.

Perhaps, over the noise of the music -- maybe in a drop beat moment of the song -- he'll hear her behind him, exhaling as she gazes at him -- shirtless, his wings, everything -- her expression in that moment telling. While she's spent the last month downplaying it, there's no doubt to look at her that Betsy Braddock still has love for man in front of her; her expression softens for a moment, her mouth parts slightly, before she takes in a breath and the moment passes swiftly as her eyes drop away.

Her heels tap lightly as she moves to the island to set the basket down, reaching for his phone to pause the music so she doesn't startle him.

"I've been wondering where you've been," Betsy says, and however careful she's being about her expression now, some of that warmth just leaks into her voice, "But I see you've been busy and highly productive." Her smile is light, as she turns her head up towards him. "Can I coax you down for some lunch and champagne?" She doesn't need to offer that she didn't make the lunch. For people like them, it's just assumed she had someone else take care of it.
Archangel has posed:
If the exhale had been caught, it wasn't immediately visible. He wasn't really focusing on the music. More, it was to keep him company, provide something other than silence and the sounds of his own actions, as he worked on this renovation project. The drill working the screws would make sounds too, which might have muffled her exhales. There were a few more cabinet doors that had to be put up, all ones requiring a ladder.

They were neatly lined against the counters, and get this, there was a white towel separating them from the edge of the countertop, just in case. He didn't want to damage anything. There was still a lot of plastic too on the fridge, the stove, and the dishwasher. He would remove them last.

Though the tap of the heels was far easier to hear. It echoed. There was also a slight creak to walking on the floor, as the underlay and laminate flooring, business grade, was still settling. That would disappear in time.

Pausing on the phone required a password. Previously, it had been set as her birthday, and it worked still.

Setting the drill down after she turned off the music and began to speak, he left it on a shelf, and climbed down, reaching for a towel, which he rubbed against himself, as he had worked up a sweat. "A bit of a late birthday present, but I, despite my many gifts, am still but one man."

Honestly, the amount he had done, he probably had taken time off from Worthington Industries, and basically lived down here. There were a few bookcases in brown cardboard that still needed to be assembled. There were a few others elsewhere. But the ceilings, floors, and walls were done. The rest was cabinetry, bookcases, beds, and other similar equipment.

"Sure, kitchen or dining room?"
Psylocke has posed:
Violet eyes track him as he descends from the ladder, Betsy smiling. There's no attempt to hide the way she watches as he towels himself off, though her reaction to it is well guarded. The smile brightens as he mentions her birthday, though what he says makes her pause. "I thought you were going to have Logan help?" Well, in truth she suggested it, but he never agreed to it -- it seems Betsy merely assumed.

At his question about where to eat, she hesitates a moment. "It's so gloomy in here still. Do you want to sit outside in the sun?" she invites.

In hindsight, creating a base in a bunker might not be the best thing for mental health, even if it is the safest. Betsy does like her creature comforts, but she enjoys the open spaces and a good gentle breeze, too. And it's very possible she's concerned about just how much time Warren's been spending down here.


"Don't need to wash up on my account. I won't complain," Betsy adds with a smile, as she hooks her arm through the basket again.
Archangel has posed:
Most people wouldn't be able to read Betsy's body language. She is very good at maintaining her composure, concealing her thoughts and intentions. But Warren, he was like family. He knew her well enough to see through it. They were alone, and yet still she tried to maintain the distance. If that helped her, he wasn't going to call it out. He accepted it for what it was. Wiping his hands of any dust, debris, with a towel, he explained, "I trusted you with my secret," his meaning was clear. Logan was a friend, but he didn't want to let him know. Warren had a reputation to maintain.

"Gloomy?" He was a little surprised by that, sterile perhaps, but gloomy? The lights were bright, the walls reflected it, making it feel warmer. But it definitely needed some art, paintings, and color. He wanted to leave that up to her. This was her baby. He was just along for the ride. That was why everything had been made neutral. White and grey would go with any combination she went for. It was timeless.

"If you like, though the bugs might get us." He had tried his utmost not to disrupt the nature, the overgrown grass, and the animals, so that anyone who did approach would think it was just a long abandoned farm.

"You sure? The showers work." Yes, there were showers. No wonder he was so concerned about letting people know how handy he could be when he wanted to.
Psylocke has posed:
It's something in the way Warren is looking at her that seems to change Betsy's mind in a heartbeat. Her smile is easy. "All right. Clean up. I'll find somewhere down here to set up."

With that, she takes the basket and walks across the room. The dining area, while brightly enough lit once she flicks on the lights, lacks personality. It's undoubtedly what she means by gloom -- like Warren, she grew up surrounded by artwork, old and storied items of history, a wealth and richness of culture.

Maybe, though, this place shouldn't have it, for a number of reasons.

She takes her time, setting things up. The sheet serves as an excellent tablecloth, and she sets out the various tupperware packages. There is, of course, napkins, though the food is deliberately fingerfood -- neatly cut sandwiches, small pies, and sliced fruit -- easily handled. Betsy wasn't joking about the champagne, either -- it's a French one of course, and she fills a pair of champagne glasses, settling down.

Betsy could wait it out by looking at the phone, but she's too well raised to do that. She merely waits, expression a little troubled now she's not being viewed. That'll disappear whenever she hears Warren return.
Archangel has posed:
Surprised at her change of mind, Warren quickly covered that behind a polite smile, almost a bewildered grin. He presses his lips together in thought, then shrugs, "as you wish," he said, quoting the Princess Bride.

He would leave his stuff in progress, as it wasn't likely to be disturbed, and everything was secure. He headed down, knowing the layout intimately by now, so he went to the living quarters, which still lacked beds, but there were bathrooms with walk in showers, and one of them had everything he would need to get himself ready. He wasn't living down here or anything.

So, a quick shower, brushing his teeth, doing his hair, and changing into different clothes, and he would return, wearing a form fitting light olive green t-shirt, white shorts, and white sneakers. He also had some sunglasses, though they were up in his hair.

He was quick, but it still took more time for him to shower and change than for her to lay out the table. Possibly sneaking up on her, he would slip his hands on her shoulders from behind, and whisper, "thanks for this, Betts," and then move around to sit opposite her.
Psylocke has posed:
Can one ever truly sneak up on a psychic, if they themselves aren't?

It's might be a thing he's done a hundred times, over the period they've known each other, and not one single time before has Warren ever caught Betsy Braddock off guard.

Until now.

A sharp inhale of breath suggests her startled reaction as his hands land on her shoulder -- though the noise is not in objection, as much as it is clear her thoughts are elsewhere. She plays it off in the most Betsy way she knows how: leaning into old habits. "Toast us, will you, Warren?" she invites, nothing betrayed in her voice or her now-controlled expression as she reaches for her glass and nods to his.
Archangel has posed:
Warren is lighter than he should be. The man weighs only 150 pounds soaking wet, and to look at him, he should be 180, perhaps even edging close to 200. Somehow, his bones were almost weightless, with a honeycomb pattern to provide strength despite its lack of weight. And there was something about his skin, which felt normal, but was also somehow lighter. There were probably other adaptations.

Even so, a 150 pound person wasn't inherently sneaky. The fact that he had managed to startle Betsy was as surprising to him as it was to her.

The sharp inhalation was met with a warm squeeze of one hand on her shoulder, hoping to come across as comforting, and no more was said of her nervousness.

Instead, after taking his seat, and the glass on offer, he lifted it, and thought for a moment. She might have read that he considered 'hear my soul speak. Of the very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly at your service.' which was a quote by William Shakespeare. He thought about 'and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.' which was a quote by the Beatles.

Another one that ran through his mind, causing a muted grin, was 'may the work of our nights never fear the light of our days', but in the end, he defaulted to, "may we get all of our wishes but one, so that we always have something to strive for."
Psylocke has posed:
There are both advantages and disadvantages to knowing someone so well. While the comforting squeeze is appreciated, it also makes things, in a way, worse, the tension only apparent because Warren knows Betsy so well.

Her expression gives none of it away, though the longer he waits the toast the less easy said expression seems to be.

"Warren," Betsy says, once he finally settles on one, with a soft laugh. "That's both depressing and motivating." Still, she drinks to it, savoring the light, bubbly liquid with visible pleasure. "I have spoke to Illyana, and she's on board. And... I've secured us an ally who is going to help supply us with equipment, cutting edge technology." A beat. "This is... this is real. We're going to do it. We /can/ do it."
Archangel has posed:
He simultaneously understood her, and was confused by her. On the one hand, things that he thought would have one reaction, seemed to be having different ones. And the more she tried to hide her feelings, the more he began to question, whether he was misreading things, reading them right, or worst of all, she genuinely didn't know, and thus, trying to read a confused person was only ever going to result in confusion for himself.

"I've always been a half motivated, rather than a half depressed, sort." He then drinks down the bubbly, nodding his head in approval at the taste. As she explained how things have unfurled, he had to add, "I certainly hope so. I'd hate to think I've been building this place on a whim." Then, more seriously, he extended a hand, intending to take hers if it's acceptable, "I knew you would. I have complete faith in you. Besides, when have you ever failed to achieve a goal you set?"
Psylocke has posed:
It's certain that Betsy's aware of Warren's confusion. She might not even need touch his thoughts to be aware of it. It could be part of why she lets him claim her hand -- why she squeezes his fingers once he does. Why she smiles at him with that ghost of a memory of better times past.

"Well," Betsy admits, "I didn't exactly succeed at the not dying part." She can joke about it -- now, years removed from it, even if it was traumatic for all of them at the time. She reaches for one of the neatly cut sandwiches with her other hand -- cucumber and cheese, bites and chews slowly, without apparent enjoyment.

"You know how much this means to me. How much it could mean to everyone, affect everyone. This could be the end of the world." It's strange, that she says that. He's already agreed to help her, so why bring that up? "I- I wonder, would you forgive me anything, Warren? Is there a line I might cross that would change the way you look at me?"

Betsy doesn't look at him, not at first, at that question. But she doesn't need to. Her mind reaches out to touch his, lightly.
Archangel has posed:
His hands were rougher than the last time she touched them. All the work he had done of late had built up a few calluses. They would fade in time. He also wasn't used to this kind of work, and certainly not this amount. He usually had such soft skin, as if he had never done a hard day's work in his life. Which... was kind of true. Other than exercising at the gym, training in the Danger Room, or being Angel, he didn't generally engage in rigorous physical activity.

"Oh, you're a mutant, we all get at least one." He joined in the joke, even if it had hurt him at the time. "In fact, take mine, I'm not planning on using it."

With that, he would reach for some of the charcuterie, taking a salted meat, some cheese, and grapes. He seemed to enjoy them more than she appeared to enjoy the cucumber and cheese sandwich.

Having chewed and swallowed his food, he again spoke. It was as simple as it was direct. "Yes," a pause to avoid confusion, "and no." He wanted to make sure that he would forgive her anything, and that there is no line she could cross that would change his feelings for her.

And when her mind reached out for his own, she would find that in this, there was no difference between spoken word and thought.
Psylocke has posed:
"Don't," Betsy says, paling a little at the idea of Warren dying. If nothing else is telling of how she still feels -- that /is/. He's joking, she knows. But he's also not. "Don't you dare think of sacrificing yourself for me, Warren Kenneth Worthington." At least she doesn't add /the third/, but clearly this has her rattled.

Something's definitely going on.

"I want to believe you," Betsy says. Oh, she does. Very much so. But there's something tense, almost fearful in the way she regards him. No, that's not quite right. It's melancholy. Her hand, still twined in his, lifts, pulling it to position his hand against her cheek, eyes closing.

"I really do not deserve you," she murmurs, more to herself than him.
Archangel has posed:
Inclining his head, as if expecting her to explain, but none comes, at least not immediately. He holds his gaze, sapphire blue eyes affixed to her violet pools. Her hand, being removed, does not dissuade him from his gaze. Nor does her pulling it in to caress her cheek. He only lets up when he sees her eyes close. "No, you don't," he jokes, "but now you're stuck with me." He was hoping to relieve some of the tension, even if they both knew how each other felt.
Psylocke has posed:
For a while, there's just silence. Not even the hum of appliances, just quiet. And then Betsy finally speaks.

"On my birthday, I met with Nathaniel Essex." Sinister. She knows, now, and knew then -- because she pulled the reports, because she asked -- of Sinister's reputation inside the X-Men. What he's done to other mutants like Scott... and Warren.

"We talked. I asked him to help us. To work with us. And he's agreed."

She's done this knowing all of that. Knowing how Sinister drugged Warren and captured him -- admittedly to help free him from mind control -- but it was Sinister. He wasn't the man he is now. If the term 'man' can be applied to him.

And after all that, Betsy's still seeking Warren forgiveness. Because she believes it necessary. Because, too, she believes Warren -- hopes he means it -- when he says he'd forgive her anything. But she's prepared to even burn that trust on the fires of necessity for this vision that drives and consumes her: and now he knows it, too.
Archangel has posed:
Had it been En Sabah Nur, Apocalypse, Warren might have reacted differently. He doesn't know. He couldn't and wouldn't, until it happened. This was one step removed. With her still in his mind, she could feel a cold chill, the kind of thing that people would describe as their hairs standing on end.

He was quiet. But not just out in the real world. But in the astral plane too. It was as if he was frozen in time. And then, he blinked.

He may have missed some of that. He thought, processing what she had said. However, his hand never left her cheek. He never stopped caressing. He just held it there, like the rest of him. And when he seemed to come out of it, his hand moved, not really squeezing, just a twitch.

His head nodded. "I will never forget what that man did to me. In time, perhaps, perhaps I may forgive him. But you and I, no forgiveness is offered, nor required. I trust you." A pause, "with my heart, body, and soul."
Psylocke has posed:
The chill of his mind -- that is not unanticipated by Betsy. But she expects more to follow. She expects anger, emotion. If it were her, she would be furious. She would feel betrayed.

But he's barely moved, and it takes all the breath from her. If nothing else, it highlights that they are very different people on the inside.

"Warren," Betsy murmurs, her eyes flicking up to his. So much in that simple utterance of his name. Gratitude and incredulousness. Fear, too, of just how deep that trust runs... and how much she needs it. She doesn't even realize she's shivering until her hand slips from his.

"I don't deserve you. I never have. Especially now." But the purple-haired telepath knows he's telling the truth. There's no lying -- even to oneself -- to a telepath.
Archangel has posed:
Warren was, fundamentally, a good person. He was a calm person. He was warm. It was in his nature. He had been nurtured to be cold, aloof, to separate himself from those who were, in most respects, beneath him. And yet, he believed in Xavier's dream. He had been a hero, even as a teenager, before coming to Salem Center. He alone among the original five X-Men, had already forged an identity, costume, and performed heroic deeds.

He didn't hold grudges. Apocalypse was different. That man had taken from him something that he may never entirely get back. He could be moody. He could be depressed. He was still suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He likely always would. But when it came to Betsy, no, there was no harshness, no anger, no fear, only love and acceptance.

Sensing her shivering after she withdrew her hands, he stood up, moving around the table. He offered a hand, intending to help her up, so that he could pull her into a warm embrace. "It's such a beautiful day." He assumed. He hadn't seen it in some hours. "And the mansion's not far," his mansion, not the Xavier Mansion. "Let's take a drive?"
Psylocke has posed:
It's almost too much, in a way, for Betsy. That boundless love and forgiveness, unceasing. Even after everything she does, all the choices she's made, and will make.

She knows without certainty she doesn't deserve it.

But neither can she turn from it. He is the sun, the pivot to which she always turns. To which she'll always be a better, brighter version of herself, even if she may not herself recognize it. It's why she lets him draw her upwards, why she leans into his warmth, familiar and welcomed. Why her hand curves and pulls at the material of the t-shirt as if to pull herself closer into him, her head tucked underneath his chin, simply basking in the simple thing he always offers her.

His true self.

"Yes," Betsy murmurs, finally stirring, accepting his suggestion even if she doesn't quite meet his gaze. "Let's."