(2014-06-19) The Weight of Misery and Memory
The Weight of Misery and Memory
Summary: Following the restoration of Linda Danvers' memories, Emma goes on a bit of a private bender. Laurel eventually shows up to check on her.
Date: 2014-06-19
Related: Various
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

The message left on Laurel's remote voicemail system was garbled, mumbled and confusing to say the least. The number of origin was Emma Frost's private cellphone. It sounded mostly like Emma's voice. But what was actually said is a lot harder to make out. Something about 'bad day', what sounded like an apology for bothering Laurel, and something about 'memories best left buried'. And some crazy bit about a kid in a bowtie?

The message was left several hours ago. No additional messages, or texts, have arrived since then. And Emma's cellphone rings off directly to voice mail, a sure sign it has been turned off, whatever the reasons.

Inside Emma's office at the school, the woman in white sits, quiet and alone in the dim, barely-lit darkness. The door to her office is locked, but the large bay window is not. Emma sits in her desk chair, head back, staring sightlessly at the ceiling. Two empty wine bottles sit on the edge of the desk, and an empty crystal glass sits nearby. A picture of a middle-aged man sits on the desk, butchered by repeated stabbings with a variety of implements. And the platinum blonde gives off an air of being disheveled. Of course, that's only in comparison to EMma's usual sartorial elegance and perfection. She's still pretty well put together in most other peoples' estimations.

For the last twenty-four hours, Laurel has been on the moon, showing a group of scholars on Roman and Greek studies around her home. A guided tour. While the moon has zeta beam access (and JL comm coverage) it isn't much for standard cellphone reception. Thus, she only just received the message. After ensuring that the scholars are safe and on their way home, Laurel rushed to Xavier's so quickly her armor's still glowing from the heat as she lunarkinetically pushes open Emma's window.

"Emma?" Laurel says, stepping down. Her armor hisses as it cools down. "Emma, are you alright?"

Bleary-eyed, Emma sits up, eyes sweeping to the still-glowing form of Moon Maiden in her office - but thankfully not yet standing on her carpeting. Not that she'd care about replacing it, but carpet fire smoke is awful. "I — I am not hurt." Emma answers, honestly. "Not physically." But there is a raw edge to her voice that is - frankly - /never/ in Emma's voice. The closest Laurel could perhaps connect that to would be the one time they came closest to discussing her past. The rest of the evidence is pretty clear. "Are — are you alright?"

"I hit some speed records coming here." Laurel admits. "Give me a moment." The Moon Maiden zips out and splashes down into the pool, sending plumes of steam rising up over the mansion. When she returns, she's drenched but she's also safe, if warm, to touch. "I'm sorry for not coming sooner. I was on the moon for a full day. I only just got your message."

Laurel steps forward, dripping onto the carpet. Her eyes dip down to the bottles of wine. The picture. "What happened?"

When questioned, Emma frowns momentarily, then smooths out her features. "A profound and protracted negative reaction." she explains, obtusely. Dismissively, she waves at the picture, and the wine bottles. "You are familiar with the situation with Supergirl, who is attending the school." It is stated as fact, not a question. "She has - had - no memories of a few months prior to her first events as Supergirl. But with the increasing stresses related to all of this, fragments had begun to surface, torturing her psyche. Faced with profound self-doubt, fearing that she had in fact murdered those your colleagues found, she came to me begging for help, pleading for me to help her reconstruct her memories."

"I've read the reports." Laurel says. She has an hour a day set aside for League business now. Catching up with reports. Writing them. Helping out with her share of any paperwork. She walks over and settles down on the desk, leaning her backside against it. She reaches over and gently touches Emma's cheek. "Was it as bad as all that?" She asks, her concern right now for her lover and not the Girl of Steel.

Emma catches herself leaning her head into the touch on her cheek, so she keeps it to a minimum. Still, she does change the attitude of her head a bit. "It was far from pleasant, I assure you. But that alone was not the problem." Emma explains to Laurel what she saw while helping, guiding, and protecting Linda Danvers through her memories, shattering most of the barriers on them and setting her free with the knowledge that she in fact refused to kill those people, and was herself murdered for that refusal.

"However, after we pushed through her memory of the transformation - a rather jumbled mess - we discovered one further memory still locked away. When we attempted to break that barrier and look through that final memory, a figment appeared. I do not know what it represents. A boy, perhaps eleven or so, dressed suitable for the nineteen-forties, not the twenty-first century. Complete with a bowtie, no less. It made a gesture indicating silence, and waved its hand. And then …" Emma sighs.

"We were ejected from Supergirl's mind. We instead appeared within my own memories. Memories that I do not visit often, if ever, and which I have never shared with anyone." Emma lowers her gaze. "Reliving those memories was very traumatic. And being laid bare … to one of my students. That was far worse." Naturally, that would be what bothers Emma most.

Naturally. Laurel considers what Emma has said. The process of traveling through Supergirl's mind from memory to memory. Then the boy in the bowtie and the visit into Emma's mind. There's that very brief flare of jealousy that Supergirl got to see a part of Emma that Laurel never has. May never see. She forces it down. It is petty and not fitting for the situation.

"Well, let's focus on the problem at hand, shall we?" Laurel knows Emma. She knows what Emma needs is a task. A way to focus on this and not on remembering the horror.

"This figment. Did it represent a faction of Supergirl's mind? A block placed there, perhaps, by this cult leader? Or is this an outside entity? If it is the first, there's not much you can do until she's ready. If it is the second, my guess is as she explores this she'll learn to unlock it herself. If it is the third… well, that's a concern."

"I don't know." Emma answers, honestly. She has considered the same trichotomy herself, without results. "I do not believe it to be an aspect of her own mind. It is possible, but I do not believe it so. Her mind is not that strong, nor disciplined enough to eject /me/, certainly not without my being aware of it."

Emma leans into Laurel's touch, now, as she closes her eyes to mull over the other two possibilities again. The alcohol is largely burnt off, now, so she's thinking more clearly than she had been. "I cannot speak to either the first or the third with any accuracy. But my impression … my impression of this figment was not the same as my impression of the man, Buzz. He was an entity bent upon corruption and poison of the soul. The figment … it felt pure. Pure in a way I have never known."

"Then maybe someone is watching out for her." Laurel says. She leans down and kisses the top of Emma's head. "I'm sorry you had to relive such a horrible memory. But who you are now isn't who you were then." She motions towards the picture. "And he can't hurt you now unless you let him." She reaches for both of Emma's hands, holding them in both of her's. "You are Emma Frost, CEO of Frost Industries. Headmistress of Xavier's Institute. White Queen of the Hellfire Club. And the very special somepony of the Maiden of the Moon."

"Perhaps so. I do not know. Nor do I know why such a figure would have cast us out, or into my memories." Emma answers, honestly. Still, she accepts the comfort Laurel tries her best to offer. "I'm not actually CEO, you know." she gently corrects Laurel, smiling up at her girlfriend. "'Very special somepony', is it? A rather interesting new title I seem to have accumulated when I wasn't looking." She chuckles. She has more than enough young women in her school to know what 'somepony' refers to, without needing clarification. Darned telepath.

"Kara and I both have very busy lives." Laurel says, refering to Power Woman. She doesn't stop stroking Emma's hair, fingers combing through those gorgeous, conditioned strands. "So we record things we both like and get together every few weeks to binge watch. Usually when one of us are on League monitor duty. We both like My Little Pony, I admit. So, yes. Very special somepony."

As if Emma was not already aware of Laurel's jealousy of these events with Supergirl, she feels her own pang of that at the thought of such carefully arranged quality time for Laurel and Power Woman. It is childish and petty, and she knows it. But it is still there. "Very well, then. Very special somepony it is. But I will not be wearing hoof-heels or a tail." Because of course Emma would be keenly aware of 'ponyplay'. And not in the cute, eight-year-old-girl variety, either.

Finished with the gentle interlude of humor, and grateful for the ease in emotional tensions it created, Emma gets back on point. "Laurel, let's move over to the sofa." she murmurs, and gets up from her spot in her chair, moving away not only from her chair and desk, but from the mental and emotional stagnation both currently represent. She settles on the sofa and gathers Laurel close to her there.

"I think you know all too well," Emma begins. "that I never intended to reveal to anyone the memories that have now been exposed, let alone to show them to … one of my students." How can they ever respect her, knowing of her weakness and vulnerability? "But now that the scabs on those old wounds have been torn open, I don't want to continue to hide those things from you. If there was ever anyone who deserved to see that part of me, it is you." Emma frowns. This time, the urge is strong enough not even her inborn sense of not allowing such an expression to linger for fear of frown lines can wipe it away. "It will be very painful. For both of us. I must warn you, I will be unable to blunt the emotional impact. You will feel it all, just as I did. Just as I do." It is, such as it is, Laurel's one chance to back out.

Laurel knows how lucky she was. She was raised by a loving mother and father. She could have been locked away in a government facility. She could have been an experiment. Her own alien autopsy. But the fates aligned that she was found by the right man and the government made decisions in her best interest instead of their own. But Laurel knows, not every child has those advantages. Even those born on Earth.

Laurel sits down with Emma and cuddles into her lover. She listens to the words and the intent. She closes her eyes and she thinks. This is a big decision. They haven't even been together a full half of a year yet. Does she want to be the person Emma confides in? The person who is closer to her than anyone else?

"I'm hesitating." Laurel speaks the truth. Emma deserves no less. "Not because I don't care for you. I do. But because this means we're serious. Very serious. And I haven't been sure that's something you've wanted."

Unable to help herself, Emma shrugs her shoulders in response to that. "Nor, Laurel, am I sure about that. Except that there is no one else on this Earth I would ever trust this to. Already, what we are to each other is more than I have ever had, with anyone. I don't know what it will become." She sighs. "I cannot promise this opportunity will ever come again. Right now, I am raw. Right now, it is already done. I am already exposed, laid bare. Ready, and willing, to share this with you. Only you can decide if you will accept it."

Proof Emma isn't trying to manipulate Laurel: she never says 'Only you can decide if you will accept me."

Laurel nibbles on her lower lip. Torn. So obviously torn. "I feel like I'm taking advantage of you at your emotional low." She admits. "I feel like I'm getting into bed with you when you're hurting over breaking up with your ex." She take both of Emma's hands into her own. "And so, I'm going to turn you down. Not because I don't want to share this. I do. But because I care so much for you and because I want this to be your decision to be made from a moment of strength and not a moment of raw weakness. I can wait."

The blonde is surprised. Shocked, even. She does not argue the point, though. She simply nods. "Very well, Laurel. But I need you to understand … that isn't really who I am. Certainly never been who I have been. I may /never/ be in a place willing to share this again. Already, you are jealous that Supergirl has experienced this and you have not. How much more will you resent that when I am fully myself again, and you never get this?" She sighs softly. "I don't want to drive you away, Laurel. But I have to be honest with you about who I am. Who I have always been." Emma certainly doesn't seem drunk. But she is being more emotional than she has ever been.

"Oh, sweetie." Laurel leans in and she kisses Emma. "I can live with that. I'll deal with my own feelings. Okay? I hope, someday, you choose to share but not because of this." She leans her forehead against Emma's. "I respect you so much. And that comes with or without knowing the hidden things you don't want to share. I already know they were painful. I don't need to know more. I just need to know you care for me and that you are dedicated to making this world a better place despite your hardships."

Emma returns the kiss, and merely shrugs. "Alright. I had to ask." She offers that, and nothing more, as she rests against Laurel. A part of her can't believe she was 'weak' enough to have called Laurel while she was still saw raw and upset from the memories faced and the feelings unleashed. But what's done is done. In spite of herself, it feels better to have Laurel here. For now, she will not question further. She will simply accept what is, even when it makes almost no sense to her prior experience in life.

"How soon do you need to leave?" Emma queries. Obviously, Laurel is busy, to have waited this long and then rushed to get here as she did.

"Unless I get a call from the League? I'm here until tomorrow morning." Laurel promises as she sighs happily. Sometimes, the most wonderful thing in the world is just cuddling with someone you care for. And who cares for you. "So, what we're going to do is this. We're going to go up to your room and take a nap. Then you and I are going out a very early breakfast. Then we're going to watch the sunrise together. You, Emma Frost, deserve some romantic attention and I and insisting."

"Very well, Laurel. You insist, and I shall not resist you." Emma offers, with a wry, tiny smile barely hinted on her lips. "I find I would welcome your company." Usually but not always true, it seems more true tonight than it perhaps has ever been. And so they go.

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