2011 09 28 A Blast From The Past

Log Title:
A Blast From The Past

Emma Frost, Angelica Jones

IC Date:
September, 25th, 2011

Manhattan Mall, NYC

Brief log summary::
Angelica is out for some Sunday afternoon shopping, when suddenly she receives a text message from the Emma Frost — her once mentor turned most hated person in the world.


There is no TS in this log::

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New York, New York, wonderful town that it is, on a Sunday afternoon. Possibly the last place one would expect to find Emma Frost, or at least the last time of day, or week. But here she finds herself, in the wake of some unexpected details at her corporate headquarters… and just leading into her very much expected real reason for being in the Big Apple today. Cyberiad and her favorite GPS have not let her down… a certain former student is in the area. As are a more than small number of other people, none of whom either of them likely know. Presently, she pauses on a street corner in a commercial district, along a long line of malls, stores, and strip malls. Prime shopping territory… the perfect place to accost the typical American teenage mutant girl; in her natural habitat.
"Not far now, Angelica…" she muses, a hint of a smile of triumph on her lips. Yet her eyes don't /quite/ share in the celebration. Something lurks there that might be more at home in a private moping session.

Sunday afternoon proves to be the perfect time to go to New York City and take in the more impressive sights, and better options for lesuire time that it offers over her home city in New Jersey. Angelica relishes every weekend she has, free of school, free of chores around the house, she can just go out and have some fun. It just so happens that Emma has picked the perfect spot, as Angelica comes out of a subway station and with her purse slung off her shoulder heads towards Manhatten Mall, looking to update her wardrobe.
Naturally, the very last person Angelica expects to happen about is Emma Frost, it has been quite sometime since she last saw the woman, and even then as can be expected, they did not part on amicable terms. It is doubtful Angelica will ever find it in her to forgive Emma Frost, if anything, just thinking of the woman puts Angelica's penchant for peaceful resolutions to a test. It's the one thought that leaves her fury unchecked. But for now she has yet to spot her former mentor, and she looks quite carefree as she heads into the mall, checking a few messages on her cellphone as she goes about her way.

Emma, on the other hand, has already caught sight of Angelica; the moment she stepped out of the subway station, in fact. That smirk grows just the tiniest measure as she opens her own high-end cellular phone and enters a text message…
And a text pops up on Angelica's phone, from an unfamiliar user;

icequeen: Look behind you?

Angelica was just about to put her phone back in her purse when she receives a new text message, thinking it may be a reply from one of her school friends, she looks at it briefly before suddenly stopping dead in her tracks. She gives the message a more prolonged look, and then hesitantly start turning around, squinting her eyes as she tries to look for someone familiar. If she does catch a glimpse of Emma Frost, she'll start to back away slowly into the mall, keeping her eyes trained on the woman.

Emma doesn't bother to hide her presence from Angelica. Instead, she stands only fifteen feet away, unmoving. The smirk fades some as she slips her phone back into her purse. *Now, now, Angelica… why so nervous? What could I possibly do to you in front of all these potentially mutant-fearing witnesses?* the ice-eyed telepath says, without ever saying a word anyone but Angelica can hear. *I only want to talk,* she continues, starting to step closer.

Angelica shakes her head at Emma's telepathic voice in her head, something she hasn't heard in a while, and though she used to love and find comfort in that voice, now she feels disgust, fear and mostly anger at that penetrating sound. She looks directly at Emma, and answers by thinking «stay away, I don't want to talk to you, what reason could we possibly have to talk?» knowing Emma will no doubt hear her. She turns to walk inside the mall, only peeking for a moment over her shoulder, checking if Emma is still following her.

Yup, still there. Getting closer, even. *A very good question, Angelica… and you'll hardly find the answer to it by running and hiding,* Emma replies. *But I'll give you a little part of that reason to ponder; I owe you an apology. I doubt you ever thought you'd hear me say /that/.*

Once Emma brings up the issue of running and hiding, Angelica's retreat into the mall slows down, and eventually she turns to face the approaching Emma, «I am not a scared little girl anymore, Emma, I don't need to run and hide from anyone. I just don't want to hurt you, and that's the only thing you're making me want to do…» at least the girl is being honest, as she looks at Emma with a rather challenging gaze from her green eyes. «Apology? I'm not stupid Emma…how can you even think I'd forgive you just like that?»

*Honestly? I don't. Not now, maybe not ever. But the words need to be said, and since you're trying to avoid me at the moment, it seems I must be the one to take the first step forward,* is Emma's reply. *Which I suppose is only right, given that the mistakes were mostly mine. And thus the blame is as well.*

Crossing her arms and wearing a rather skeptical look on her visage, Angelica finally stops withdrawing and turns to look directly at Emma, «very well then, speak.» Sounds like Angelica isn't expecting to accept any apologies Emma will make, but at least the girl is willing to listen. «I made no mistakes Emma. For what you and Manuel did to me, destroying the Hellions facilities wasn't enough…I'm just not a killer, even though you tried to force me to become one!»

*I did. In this life, those who are unprepared to kill in defense of their lives and those of their loved ones had best be prepared to die. But you are right, at the heart of it… I went further yet. I groomed you for a /life/ of killing, and a very short one.* Emma pauses and looks the younger woman in the eyes, regret glimmering in the depths of her eyes. *And the means by which I did so were worse yet. The term you would likely use would be 'unforgiveable'. And you would be right, again.*

*Unforgiveable… as I said. Assassins seldom live long, Angelica. And you would have been used against the most dangerous targets of all. The math is brief and brutal,* Emma replies, her eyes squeezing shut against the same emotion that causes her right fist to clench. *And needless. You deserved better, especially from your headmistress and teacher. If I had treated you as a person first and a power second, we might never have needed to have this conversation… I failed you, Angelica, in every possible way. It was my responsibility to help you grow, and instead I nearly destroyed you.*

It seems as though it never occured to Angelica before that she was to be expendable, she was always made to revere her own abilities, so didn't imagine the White Queen meant to send her against foes she may not have had much of a chance against. This only seems to make her hatred of Emma deeper, «you meant for me to serve you as well I could until I died? Expecting me to die!? You're a worse and more evil woman than I thought, Ms. Frost!» Shaking, Angelica looks to experience quite an emotional turmoil, not sure what to do, but the presence of other people is stopping her from unleashing her powers on Emma in anger, but she is definitely enraged. Glowering in silence at Emma as she keeps on talking, Angelica hisses audibly this time, which may confuse some people, "maybe if you allowed me to actually hang with the others, instead of keeping me away, making them think I was too stuck up for them…maybe if I was more than just a weapon…Randal was a good man! The only true friend I ever had!" It seems the girl is starting to lose it as Emma might feel the area getting a bit uncomfortably hot, although at least there's nothing of the sort of a visible flame anywhere for the time being, leaving people to think the air conditioning is malfunctioning.

*Angelica, be careful! You're starting to overheat this area! Please, calm down… it may surprise you to know this, but I don't want anyone to learn what you are! Especially not /this/ way!* Emma returns, some alarm in her tone. Some of her icy demeanor is gone now, at least in her mind, her shoulders slumping outwardly as the fiery-haired girl lambasts her. *You're right to hate me, Angelica… perfectly right. That had been the original plan for you. And Randal… though I questioned his judgement once, I see now that he was right to want to protect you, in ways I should have myself. Would that I had seen it then… that I had listened to him. So much might have been avoided.* She shakes her head sadly. *In the end, I didn't want you to die, Angelica… I never got to tell you that. Not that I blame you a bit anymore for reacting as you did.*

Just hearing Emma talking to hear in the tone, reminiscent of how she used to reprimand her sends shivers down Angelica's spine, as she stumbles back and shakes her head, struggling to control herself, and the temperature does start to feel a bit nicer with her effort. «You're making me do this, Emma, I can't have this conversation…I'm very, very angry with you…and you expected me to die too!» Leveling her gaze with Emma's, which means she does have to look up at the tall woman, Angelica looks furious, but at least for now has managed to return to the telepathic mode of conversation, «Randal, Butter Rum, the kids at the Academy, the Hellions, my dad, there's so many things I hate you for, Emma, really…I just can't forgive you. If anything, be thankful I'm not like you wanted me to be, I could do a lot worse than what I did, but I'm not. So please, don't tempt me to do more!»

*Angelica, please hear me out. There's more…* Emma says, softly. *My methods and my motivations at the time were my most terrible mistake, but I may not have been entirely wrong to keep you separated from the Hellions. I don't know how you will take this, but Empath is dead…* Emma looks up to meet Angelica's eyes. *And he was killed by a fellow Hellion, for something very like what he once did to you. The story is a long one, but those are the critical facts of the matter. And the blame is mine, because I failed him as a teacher and as a headmistress… just as I failed you. I'm sorry, Angelica… I've owed you that apology and so much more for many years longer than you ever deserved to wait for them. I fully understand why you can't forgive me. I cannot even forgive myself.*

«Manuel is…dead!?» Angelica is stunned by the news, and it shows as she suddenly grows pale, no doubt feeling guilty for all the time she wished death on Empath herself, if not fantasizing on how she's burning him for all he has done to her. Of course the White Queen could be lying, she has done just that many times before to Angelica, but the girl is too gullible to openly consider the option, she's just stunned. «w-what happened? How did he die?» Tears start rolling down her eyes, and that was a boy she absolutely hated. «W-who killed him?»

*He was killed by Amara… Magma,* Emma replies, her tone gentle. *They had been vacationing together after the end of the last term; he had manipulated her into believing she loved him. There was some trouble along the way, however, and he attempted to sacrifice her life to save his. This after telling her so many times that he loved her… she was understandably unwilling to go along with his plans, and she accidentally killed him when her anger-fueled powers backlashed on him as well as their captors.*
She steps carefully closer to Angelica, making no move to make contact yet. *She came and told me of the matter herself, when she could have let things lie without any consequence to herself. Such integrity…*

Angelica remains stunned, pale faced, and absolutely at a loss, with tears rolling down her cheeks. «I guess I could have done the same just as easily if it wasn't for you…» Angelica is quite bitter, able to see herself in Magma's place, and quite pleased that it wasn't her. Still, no matter how hateful Manuel was, to know that someone you shared classes with is dead is quite a stark revelation.

Emma lays her hands gently on Angelica's shoulders, ready to move them if the girl starts to react in anger or fear. *Perhaps once… no longer. Perhaps you have your moments, sometimes, but I know you would not have harmed Manuel if you could have avoided it at all.*

Angelica allows Emma to put her hands on her shoulders, and despite herself, leans her head into Emma's own shoulder as she keeps crying, «even if he was evil, even if he was a total jerk, I would never kill him for it! I'd try to reach him, try to help him get better, learn why he is wrong…I'm sure Magma didn't mean to kill him either…why did it happen? Why was he such a jerk…?»

Emma gathers Angelica into a gentle, loose hug, letting her cry into her shoulder. *Some of it was simply who he was, but he wasn't beyond saving… not if he had had a skilled and compassionate teacher who could have shown him the wages of selfishness and hatred, and the rewards of helping others instead of hurting them. But he had me instead…*
She tightens her hug. *That's why I came to find you… I've owed you that apology for so long, but I was always too proud to deign to give it to you. But no longer. For the first time in years I've taken a good, long look in the mirror, and all I can see is a fraud… a woman who called herself a teacher, who nearly destroyed you, and led one of her best students down a road that killed him!* Her mindvoice begins to crack, her icy control inwardly melting away. *This isn't why I became a teacher, Angelica… but it's who I am, and I don't know how I got here. And I don't know if it's too late to turn away… before I betray another child who looked to me to save her! Before I kill another one of my students!* Inwardly, she screams in anguish and grief. Such is the measure of her control that the only physical sign of her anguish is a faint trembling in her arms as she hugs Angelica… and the single tear that runs down the edge of her nose.

Angelica is not accustomed to such emotional input from Emma Frost, and she really doesn't know whether this is a ploy to make peace and regain her trust, vs. genuine emotion and that she should be mindful of making peace over keeping grudges. Then again, the pain caused her had its share of scares, and those tend to remain. «I guess the death of Empath is probably hard on you as well, so, I take it I was the only one meant to die? Is that why I was kept away from the others? So they won't be in pain when I die?» Angelica is an emotional wreck at the moment, but she keeps her wits about her and did not forget all past manipulation just for Emma's apparent willingness to make peace.

*I deserved that… I honestly don't know if any of them would have been saddened by your death, Angelica, but that wasn't the reason for it. I told you that you were too dangerous to be near them in their training sessions, but that was only partly true. It was to foster dependency… a belief that only I could help you to control your powers adequately. All part of the lie… a lie I cannot help but be relieved that you saw through at last.* Emma falls silent for a moment. *It is one of the greatest ironies of the whole plan that the one who was intended to be expendable should become my favorite… my star pupil. If I had been any kind of teacher, I would have hated myself for what I put you through. But I could not help but be proud of you, accomplishing so much under such terrible pressure…* She falls silent again, almost clutching the girl against her. *My shining star… how could I ever have let you die? While I could not go back on the plan, I meant to save you, however I could. In the end, my intentions didn't matter… you discovered my deceptions, and you paid me back for them. At least you were alive, and free. There was a time I hated you for what you did… but even then, I was proud of you.*

«I know Roulette and Empath would probably laugh,» Angelica seems quite serious about it too as she finally eases down her crying and lifts her head from Emma's shoulder, looking up at her quite awkwardly, still not sure what to do. If anything she wants to hurt Emma, but she can't bring herself to do that. «Well that worked, for a while you were the person I cared about the most in the world, no matter what Randal said, and he was right all along.» Angelica has mixed feelings hearing Emma say she somehow was proud of her for what she did, was it because she finally unleashed her power? Or is it because she saw through the lie and broke free from her gilded prison in the academy. «Is that why you named me Firestar? I still kept the name, and the costume…I guess part of me wishes things would have gone different then they did.»

*Catseye would have been saddened. I think she liked you, even if she wasn't allowed to have much to do with you,* Emma muses. *She always did see the best in others.* For a long moment she falls silent again. *It is part of it… no matter how sad you were, you never gave in to despair. You only tried harder to please your instructors, and me, and in time you succeeded, time and time again, until you were my star pupil, at least when it came to your powers. Once I thought your resolve blind and naive… but recently I've begun to think about it in a different light.* Though she tries to lock away her reasoning, lest she reveal too much, a little leaks through anyway; a memory of a report card consisting of a chain of B's, a ray of hope at pleasing her difficult father, making him keep his promise to her if she raised her grades to B's… and then despair and helpless rage as he only sneered that B's were not A's, and that a Frost should do better.

«I agree, Catseye is a good girl, I often thought about helping her escape from the Academy, but she really loves you…maybe even more than I used to, have you been lying to her as well?» Angelica has to ask, feeling for the naive girl who is so full of optimism and niceness, at least compared to some of the other lovable personalities on the Hellions. Holding out her palm to Emma, Angelica shows her the 'M' noted by her grandmother, the very sign that Emma told Angelica about that convinced her to want to go with her, «my Nana didn't lie, Ms. Frost, I really am special. That's what kept me going…» she does blink at the sudden reflection on a memory from Emma's past, and looks confused, not quite knowing what to make of it. «Was that you?» She asks as if to reaffirm what she already suspects.

*Sometimes I wonder who I /haven't/ lied to, Angelica… Catseye simply loves me in spite of who I am, I'm sure. I don't deserve her…* Emma cuts off that train of thought as she gets a look at that familiar 'M'. *I was wrong to cause you such pain… my definition was certainly a mixed blessing for you, wasn't it? Your Nana was right after all. Now I know where you get your unending spunk, and…*
Angelica's question causes an instant halt in the conversation, and for once Emma's control slips outwardly. Behind her scholarly glasses, her blue eyes widen, and she gasps, nearly inaudibly. Once more her psychic control is dashed, and she can't squelch a horrified *No!* that leaks through…

«Well…at least you can admit to it,» Angelica looks at a junction where she isn't even sure how to take Emma anymore, she is most certainly harboring anger for the woman, but now she's seeing a side she didn't expect to see and the fact they're in a very public place helps her be attentive for now. Angelica does smile at the good words about her grandma, thinking fondly of the woman who made her early life more bearable «she was the best, most wonderful, good woman I ever known. I miss my Nana.»
Once Emma seems to lose control, Angelica sees something she has never seen before, and instinctively she reaches to hold Emma by the shoulders, looking at her eyes curiously, "Ms. Frost? Are you okay?" She asks very audibly, a bit concerned, wondering if someone is manipulating Emma to make her go and apologize to Angelica.

A moment passes before Emma even responds to the question, and even then she only stares at Angelica blankly, the fear still in her eyes. "I…" she whispers, struggling to regain control, and with a decision. In the end, for no reason she can ever name, she opts for honesty. "I'll be fine…" she whispers, with a faint smile that only partly reaches her eyes. "Thank you."
*It was me,* her thoughts add, softly once more, and perhaps a bit timidly. *You reminded me so much of myself at your age… for a time I almost hated you for being so naive and trusting, as I was then, for opening yourself up to being hurt so easily… like a moth dancing about a light, beating itself against the cover, seeking its warmth. At least your light was warm… your Nana's love and care, your father's love. Mine was only phosphorescence on stone…*

"Emma…?" Angelica is quite shocked to find Emma for once looking like she doesn't have full control of herself. Most especially the fear in her eyes is odd, even when Angelica was lead to believe the Black Queen attempted to assassinate Emma, she never saw a fear this genuine in Emma's eyes. Realizing she's feeling concern for Emma makes Angelica feel sick, as she tries to cling to her hate of Emma, and at the moment her good natured self is preventing her from doing so.
Angelica takes a step back and looks at Emma in a new manner for a moment, hearing from Emma that she reminded her of herself in her youth gives Angelica a frightening image of herself as the White Queen, herself hurting others recklessly, and all as a result of being hurt while she was young. It makes her think perhaps Emma has been more calculating in her treatment than she first thought, perhaps she was molding her after her image all along. And yet she still can't help but feel a little bit sorry for the woman who was once her mentor. «I'm sorry you had to suffer like you did, Emma, and I'm sorry your father wasn't as nice as mine…and I'm sorry you didn't have a Nana like mine, I wish I could make it better but I know I can't…I'm still hurting.»

*I've never spoken to anyone about that… Winston has been dead for years, but sometimes I still feel like I will always be living in his shadow… never good enough. Perhaps it's fitting that you were the one to discover it,* Emma replies, still a bit timidly, but regaining a hint of her old confidence. *Perhaps there is a way you can help me. Please, Angelica… please promise me that you won't be like me. You can't imagine what an empty feeling it is, to be so alone even amidst what should be success. You are the better person, even if you can't see it yet. Pain only brings out the best in you… your Nana saw that in you, and I know she believed in you because she knew how strong you were.*

«Well, Ms. Frost, if I've learned anything in my life is that nobody can tell you that you're not good enough, or that you're too ugly, or clumsy or that you're good for nothing at all. You're special because you're you, so…your father, Winston, is wrong to think you're not good enough,» of course as can be anticipated, Angelica continues with a harsher toned «you were certainly good enough to fool me, trick me, manipulate me, and almost make an assassin out of me when hurting people is the very last thing I want to do. You're more than good enough, you just…should probably use your abilities and talents for better ends.» True, when Angelica talks, sometimes it's easy to forgot she's just 17, the girl certainly been through a lot in her young age, and has taken a lot from her experiences, learning and growing wiser, if somewhat forlorn at the same time. As classmates in her new, regular and very normal high school has found, Angelica isn't easy to befriend. «Ms. Frost, I'm probably going to hate myself for offering this, but if it would help you to just spend some real time together and talk sometime, with actual words, I would be willing to listen…maybe it would help ease your pain. I promise I will not share with anyone, and if there is some way I can help you feel better, I can do that. What I can't promise is to forgive you. I should probably go now,» Angelica murmurs in discomfort, turning her back on Emma as she walks towards the mall «apparently you already have my cell phone number, so you know how to reach me if you want to accept my offer, of course you could also just penetrate my thoughts if you like…but know this, if you betray my trust one more time, I will burn everything dear to you outside of your students. I can't get hurt again…I don't know if I'll be able to come out of it intact once more. I was lucky to have the distraction of the New Warriors, otherwise I may have wound up hurting someone.»

Emma starts as Angelica gives it to her straight. At least the offer seems to steady her. *I… I would like that. Just having someone to talk to, another perspective… that alone would be of great help.* Angelica's threat, however, halts her train of thought right there. For a long moment she remains silent before finally answering. *I know you could do it. I don't have your strength, so I can only do my best to earn your trust again. I'm sure it won't be easy. But I'll try… take care, Angelica. And don't ever underestimate yourself again.* She moves to depart, and for once her mind isn't on some plan or scheme. Only how to stick by her promise.

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