2/10 Issue: Hitfire Club

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2/10 Issue: Hitfire Club

Post by Slarti » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:56 am

Timelined whenever ye see fit. (Thur, May 11, 2023)

Monet: Monet nodded her thanks to the bartender as he set her martini in front of her and she turned to face the room at large, waiting for the redhead to walk through the door. Why Sebastian suffered children like her to join, she would never understand. Monet picked up her martini and sipped delicately while she scanned the surface thoughts of those around her for anything dangerous.

Jean: This place was... nice. Expensive looking enough to make her a little uncomfortable as Jean looked around the red and black space. It kind of looked like the Hellfire Club. What she remembered of it, anyway. That was probably pretty appropriate, after all. Running a hand over her hair to ensure the wind hadn't destroyed it, Jean searched for the other telepath in the room as the maitre'd bustled up to his podium.

Monet: Ah. And there was a shield she was familiar with. Monet tapped lightly on it and turned her body toward the door. She gave the maitre'd a mental suggestion to seat the two ladies now and she slid from her stool as she saw him ready himself to leave his podium.

Jean: Jean's head swiveled toward the bar, spotting Monet immediately. She looked very... Monetish. The snotty telepathic teacher had always kind of freaked her out, and here they were.

Monet: Monet sighed inwardly at the obvious fashion faux pas being made by her former student, but gave her a slight smile as she walked up. "Bonjour." She turned to follow the maitre'd who immediately pulled out her chair for her. As she got situated, he came around and placed her napkin in her lap while an attendant came over to do the same for Jean. "Merci."

Jean: "Thank you," she said quietly, sticking to English as she set her tiny purse in her lap and smoothed her short, bright skirt, crossing her ankles beneath the table. Real cloth, and it looked like if she spilled so much as a drop of water on it there would be stains, she noted.

Jean: Jean kept her shields up, in part to hide her nervousness from Monet, and from Jamie back in Boston. Once they were alone, she smiled a little. "Thank you for meeting me, Ms. St. Croix."

Monet: Monet gave her a tiny tilt of the head in acknowledgment. "Please, call me Monet. You are no longer my student." Wine was brought to the table and Monet inspected the bottle, gave a nod, and the waiter set it out to breathe. "Tell me, Jean, why exactly it is you did want to meet."

Jean: "Monet," she amended with another smile, watching the waiter with the wine. "I've been talking to Jess recently, and Sebastian, about the Hellfire Club."

Monet: "Ah, yes. So he mentioned. And you think that I will be able to help you gain a foothold into the world of the elite, ruling class? Why is it that you are interested in the first place, enfant?"

Jean: Jean's brow ticked up. "It was his suggestion, as I'm sure you know."

Monet: "But you would not be here if you were not interested. If you had no curiosity about this, you would have waved off his suggestion and gone about your life, ignorantly thinking you were better than us." She sipped her martini and peered over the rim at Jean. "Oui?"

Jean: "Why would I think I'm better than you? You just said you're the elite, ruling class." Jean tilted her head, her hand clutching her purse under the table. Yep, this woman was still confounding.

Monet: "Because anyone who would turn down an opportunity such as this would likely do so under the mistaken impression that they are better. And if you would pay attention to my words, you would know that I suggested that you do not since you are indeed here. So speak up, femme. Why are you here? What questions do you have?"

Jean: "Okay, so we're done with the word games? Cool. Good to know." Jean barely stifled her eye roll. Although, Jamie totally thought they were better than this Hellfire Club. Well. Maybe he was. "The only interest I have in the ruling class is the ability to protect the people I love."

Jean: "So, can you help me with that? Also, I remember all the people from the school that joined up over the years. It's not that elite."

Monet: "The majority of them had the funds to buy their way in or were already grandfathered in through their families. Or, like Jason Wyngarde, ingratiated themselves to someone in the inner circle until they were gifted a spot." Monet watched Jean silently for a moment with an appraising eye. "We do protect our own. But all protection does come at a cost. The question is, darling, are you willing to pay it?"

Jean: Jean remembered Jason Wyngarde, alright. "Are you asking me to sell my soul?" she smirked.

Monet: "Non. Nothing so base as that. But there is always someone who will expect something in return. I cannot say what it will be or whom it will be doing the asking, but there is always a price. It could be as simple as being on someone's arm for a night as a piece of eye candy, or as complicated as a month's long foray into their private play room."

Jean: She didn't even try to stifle her laughter. "Well, that won't happen. I'm in a committed relationship." Jean twisted her ring on her finger. "I know it's not a whorehouse. I'm close to Jess, you know. And Beth and Brian Braddock."

Monet: "Indeed it isn't. But there are those who enjoy their play time." She arched one eyebrow as she noted the colors shifting in Jean's aura. "Oui, I am aware you have a fondness for Jessica. We shall not beat around the bush there: I do not. I tolerate her. You would do best to remember that from this point forward."

Jean: Jean gave her a mild blink. "Noted." She wondered about that eyebrow and checked her shielding. "I'm not interested in those kinds of games."

Monet: "Neither am I, I assure you. Those kind of games are for the simpletons and men who need their egos stroked." Monet set her martini aside and waved the waiter over to pour the wine. "What are you requiring protection from? Has something happened recently that I need to be made aware of?"

Jean: "I'm a member of the new X-Men, so my face is about to be very public. Again. I have family, upstate, and my partner in Boston." Jean thanked the waiter and picked up her glass, taking a sniff. Yup, smelled expensive. "I don't want that to endanger them," she said, deciding that was a good starting point.

Monet: "Oui, that much I am aware of. I was not entirely thrilled with the President's decision, I must say. But, that is neither here nor there at the moment." Monet nodded when the waiter asked if he should bring out her pre-selected hors d'oeuvres.

Monet: "At the moment, you need to decide if being a member of the Hellfire Club will be a benefit to your team. Because I can assure you that some of them will not react favorably. The very name insinuates something evil, which is, in my understanding, in complete juxtaposition to what the new X-Men are promoting."

Jean: She cocked her head. "Beth Braddock, remember? I think everyone on the team is already familiar, since they're all from the school."

Monet: "Oui, I do not forget anything, chere." Monet waved her hand in a dismissive gesture. "Familiar, oui. Elizabeth comes from a long line of members, you do not. It is an entirely different animal."

Jean: "Is being cryptic in the job description for your inner circle thing?" Jean decided to take a sip of her wine. "True. A Phoenix." She watched Monet from the corner of her eye.

Monet: "It is in our nature to be so, oui." Phoenix? That made Monet smirk and she picked up her own wine. "Have you been able to control it since it fled your cousin's crushed body and entered yours?"

Jean: "Fun." Jean returned the smirk. "Yes."

Monet: Monet silently toasted Jean with her glass and took a sip. This would be a short dinner if that was all she wanted to know. Which worked out fine for Monet, really. Any relative of Rachel Grey was a thorn in her side.

Jean: Jean totally wasn't gonna 'splain the Phoenix to Monet, so she was happy to let it go. "So. I'm kind of less concerned with my own safety, and more for my family's. That is my interest in the Hellfire Club. Sebastian said there was even a degree of protection from other members."

Monet: "Indeed. We look after our own and dispose of problems when they arise." The waiter set the hor d'oeuvres down and Monet carefully selected her caviar topped egg. "Do you currently have any problems you need to be taken care of, or is this really all a preventative measure?"

Jean: "Possibly." Although, everything had been quiet. Jean still didn't trust... well, anything. Thanks, Jamie. She ran her tongue over her teeth and took an egg for herself. Um. Ew. After a moment of considering the pros and cons, she sighed. "Viper."

Monet: "Viper," Monet repeated the name through clenched teeth, letting it drip with venom. "Viper is a problem for everyone, except apparently, Jessica. Which makes Jessica also a problem, non?"

Jean: She didn't bother to hide her distress. "Yeah, so I'm told. Jess has told me that she has an agreement with Viper not to mess with anyone from the school, but..."

Monet: "I believe Jessica believes that because she is naive. You do not appear to be as naive, though, Jean. Are you?"

Jean: "She helped blow up the school." Jean swallowed, covering her discomfort with another, larger sip of wine. "She worked with the scientist the cannibals had..."

Monet: "Oui, I am aware. She decimated my fiance. And if it were not for Sebastian, I would not be here either." Monet set her hands in her lap and gave Jean a very direct look. "That woman is involved in many things. None of them good. How can I help you with her? Or is it simply a matter of putting space between you? Because if that is the case, my dear, you are better off away from the Club."

Jean: "We have may recently come back on her radar, and I'm not as worried about her as Dr. Rott, the nut who worked for the cannibals." Jean picked at the fish eggs on her plate.

Monet: "Yes, I have heard about him. Thankfully, Sebastian never fell to his experiments, but I am aware of what happened to Jonathan Storm and your old flame James Madrox." Her head tilted slightly, "Or is he why you are worried about Rott? Are the two of you reunited?"

Jean: Jean hated herself a little for feeling her face heat up. "We are." She licked her lips, debating how much to say. But... she was here for help, after all. "He's a private investigator now. A real one. He's kept tabs on Rott's location, but he lost him and was trailing Viper to see if he could find him again..."

Monet: "I see." Monet picked her wine back up and took a small sip while she thought in silence. "Is he certain that the reason he lost him is not because he is already dead? Viper does not like loose ends, after all."

Jean: "I'm not sure, but I don't think so." Jess had told her Viper didn't know Rott's whereabouts, but she didn't know what to believe. "I can't take a chance. If Viper wanted to send Rott his way, just to stop Jamie from snooping on her - I won't lose him again." Jean swallowed, dropping her fork with a small clink and reaching for her wine to clear the tightness of her throat.

Monet: Monet set her glass down and gave Jean a few moments of silence to compose herself. "Oui. Je sais." She closed her eyes and took a slow breath of her own as she thought about Jason and Sebastian. Jason was lost to her, but Sebastian was not. When she opened her eyes again, she met Jean's. "I have been investigating into Viper on my own. I will send my informant new orders on what they specifically should be looking for."

Jean: Jean blinked. "...thank you." She knew she wasn't hiding her shock, and didn't care. "Why are you investigating her? Because of... Jason Wyngarde?"

"You are welcome." Monet arched an eyebrow, only a little surprised that Jean would ask so directly. "Partly, oui. She also frequents Sebastian's home and as I do not trust her, I make it a point to know if she is involving him or his daughter in anything potentially harmful." The waiter came up to clear the hor d'oeuvres and said the entrees would be out shortly.

Jean: Nodding, she frowned in thought. "Jamie says she'd recognize him, so I did some recon once for him. It was in a cafe and I don't think she even saw me. She's got something weird in her head." Jean waved a hand at her own in illustration. "A block. I couldn't snoop."

Monet: "Oui, I'm aware of that as well. Which is why I have a physical spy. I have implanted them into her life and they report back to me." She frowned when she recalled the block. "I do wonder if there is some way to overpower it or short-circuit it somehow. A few strong telepaths together, maybe?"

Jean: "It's handy to be rich," she observed, taking a sip of her wine. "I thought about trying to crack it, but I was supposed to be subtle." Jean smirked to herself at Jamie's reaction to her definition of subtle.

Monet: "Well, if you ever get the itch to try again, ring me first and we can go together. Maybe involving Elizabeth might be a smart move as well. I would say Sebastian, too, but he really shouldn't be able to call himself a telepath."

Jean: Jean snickered a little. Holy shit, Monet almost made a joke. It was kind of amazing! "I don't want to provoke her, unless I know it's not going to bite me - or Jamie - in the ass." Shit. Swearing in the fancy restaurant. Oops. She covered by glancing around and smoothing down her hair and skirt.

Monet: "Oh, merde. You are so innocent." Monet rolled her eyes at Jean's nervous behavior. "No one will say anything to you. They know better. So long as you are not screaming it at the top of your lungs, they prefer to keep their paychecks intact."

Jean: "Well, I know... but I was trying not to- never mind." Jean frowned and sipped her wine. "It's not like I grew up a hoodrat - my parents are professors - but this is above their pay grade."

Monet: "I know. I did extensive research into all of my students. I like to know everything there is available to know and then some." Monet smirked at Jean, "Do you not also wish to know everything about people you are forced to surround yourself with?"

Jean: "...soooo, you had files on all of us? Sounds like Jamie, actually." Jean smirked to herself. "Back then? No, I didn't, but now... yeah, I can see how it's a good idea."

Monet: Monet frowned, insulted at the comparison, but kept her mouth shut about it. "It is always a good idea to be aware of everything you can. Even here in this restaurant, have you taken the time to scan the surface thoughts of everyone in the building? You should have. You are never safe."

Jean: "I scanned for you, which you know, but I don't always check everyone." Jean frowned. "It's... rude. I try not to be, now. Unless I have to be."

Monet: "Non, you're not probing. Merely, surveying. Like what a normal person does with the eyes. You use your talents to determine threats. You don't linger or poke or pry."

Jean: "I suppose I sort of do that without trying." Jean glanced around again.
Yesterday 8:19 PM Monet: "You need to be aware of the fact that you're doing it. If you're truly worried about threats, that is. Otherwise, please, continue as you were." The waiter placed salads in front of them as their starter and bowed before backing away again.

Jean: Jean found the backing away and bowing more disconcerting than the emotions she sensed from the people around them. "They'd have to be telepaths themselves to know I'd be here..." Jean cocked her head at Monet.

Monet: "Non, enfant." She really was such a child. "All they need is the right person placed in the right position at the right moment. Beyond that, you also have every day threats that need to be either avoided or dealt with."

Jean: Monet's tone was annoying her, but she swallowed it back with another sip of wine and started on her salad. "I've dealt with muggers before. Regular humans. Guys who... think they can take what they want."

Monet: "Haven't we all at this point? Non, I do not mean those types of ingrates. Although, it is always a smart idea to keep a watchful eye and mind out for them as well." Monet took a bite of her salad and chewed while she thought how best to approach the matter. "You and James are very close, oui? Your relationship is serious, I mean."

Jean: That was a turn. Jean finished her bite of greens and nodded. "Yes," she said warily.

Monet: "And he is not able to ascertain the types of threats that we can, oui?"

Jean: "No, not in the same way," she said, thinking about this. "Unless it's through our link." Jean focused for a moment, feeling his presence in her mind. Back in Boston, he was concentrating on something involving a drug dealer. He was also humming a song in his head.

Monet: Monet tilted her head when Jean's colors shifted and merged with James'. Interesting. "So then it is up to you to be able to do that for him. That includes protecting yourself."

Jean: Jean looked across at Monet watching her. Creepy. "Okay, then other than checking people's surface thoughts, what else do you suggest? That is why I'm here, after all. This club and its protections."

Monet: "Obviously you need a few lessons in 'what is mean' and 'what is precaution,' so I suggest we start meeting once a week. We can meet in Boston, if you prefer, or here in New York, it makes no difference to me. Thursday evenings, eight p.m."

Jean: "...what are these lessons?" Jean set down her fork and straightened her rings, including her not-engagement ring. "I'm not my cousin."

Monet: Monet gave Jean a very flat look at the mention of Rachel. "Please. I'm eating. Before, when she was brought up, I was not. I do not wish to vomit after eating caviar." She set her fork down as well and waved for the waiter to come clear their salads. He did so quickly and disappeared toward the kitchen. "They will grow you as a telepath, a woman, and a protector. You want that, non?"

Jean: Jean made a face at the caviar barf. "I do, of course." Monet thought she was an idiot, she knew that much. "Again, why are you helping me?"

Monet: "Because I know what it is to lose someone because I wasn't paying enough attention."

Jean: She swallowed and twisted her hands together beneath the table, her gaze stuck on the centerpiece. "Thanks..." Unless this was just another manipulation from a different angle. Her inner voice sounded suspiciously like Jamie.

Monet: "Do not thank me. I do not wish this to be thought of as charity. You will do work around the club on occasion to make me feel as though I have not done something kind. And to keep my reputation in tact. D'accord?"

Jean: Aha, there it was. "What kind of work is that?" She looked up, brow raising.

Monet: "It could be anything, really. But mostly, to keep up appearances, things such as maybe an hour of filing here and there. Or making sure my office's bar cart and decanters are never empty. That sort of thing. And, of course, this will be on other days than Thursday. But you may pick the days and times. No fewer than three hours per week."

Jean: "...am I your intern?" She'd totally done that in college, and it sucked. Also, New York. "The club here? Or Boston?"

Monet: "If that is a title you wish to have, you would need to put in no less than five hours per week. Though, I prefer ten, I do know you own a business and that takes managing." Monet shrugged one elegant shoulder as the waiter brought their entrees. "Either. Or both. It does not matter to me so long as you get the hours in to keep up appearances that I do not do things for free."

Jean: "I don't need a title. And yes, I do own a business, in a new industry that a lot of law enforcement still doesn't trust, so I'm not doing anything illegal." Part of her couldn't believe she was considering this. To say Jamie wouldn't like it was the understatement of ...forever.

Monet: "I have no qualms with that, however the longer you are involved with the club, the harder it will be to avoid it. We do not trip any alarms, though, as we know how to fly below radar and have enough money to grease the palms of Croesus." She arched an eyebrow in question, "D'accord?"

Jean: "I need some time to think about it." Jean looked down at the plate, not remotely hungry.

Monet: "Alright." Monet picked up her silver, pausing before she started her meal. She watched Jean again, closely, monitoring the color changes in her aura. "It is not me who you should be worried about. I say exactly what I intend and do not have any hidden agendas. I do not believe they are helpful to anyone. But your hesitation is understandable."

Jean: Licking her lips, she considered how much to say. "Because of the situation with the cannibals, Jamie's not a fan of the Hellfire Club. So I need to talk to him."

Monet: "That is also understandable. Do let him know that the inner circle member who helped fund the incident was dealt with." Monet gave Jean a very direct look, conveying her meaning with that one glance.

Jean: "He's done some work for Sebastian sometimes, so he knows." Jean knew what that look meant alright and she had no real qualms about it.

Monet: "Oui, I am aware. Sebastian had him tailing my informant before they were my informant." Monet took a small bite of her salmon and set her utensils down. "If he has any questions or reservations about how you wish to proceed, merely point him in my direction."

Jean: Jean looked up and narrowed her eyes. "Daken works for you?"

Monet: Both of Monet's eyebrows went up, amused at this turn of emotions. "You know him. Bien. Oui, he is freelance. I put up with his insufferable behavior because Viper enjoys him."

Jean: "...Viper enjoys him." What. The. Fuck. "Yeah, I know him, because he used his pheromone bullshit on me and my assistant."

Monet: Monet's amusement turned into anger, but she could not say she was surprised. "Is that what James was confronting him about in my club? I had wondered. Sebastian bade me leave them be, so I did." Her mouth pressed into a thin line, "Daken will be kept on a shorter leash from now on. My apologies to you and your assistant. You will both be compensated for that horrific breach of trust."

Jean: "Yeah, Jamie went after him and he broke his bones." Jean had bits and pieces of the encounter from Jamie's retelling and flashes of his memories, but it was enough to piss her off. She sat up straighter, surprised at the genuine anger radiating from Monet. "Thank you. That's not necessary. I just want him away from me and my assistant and Jamie."

Jean: She sighed. "He works for Viper, too? Ugh, of course he does."

Monet: "He is a wild card, to be sure. I will take measures to make sure he is never around the three of you again. Though, James may have scared him off of that regardless. Daken does not like being able to be found."

Jean: "Good. Jamie is good at finding people. Which is part of what worries me about the creepy cannibal doctor." Handy transition to the other reason she was here. Jean cleared her throat. "I think he's a threat that needs to be dealt with," she returned Monet's look from earlier. "For Jamie, for me... for our future."

Monet: "D'accord. I have no issue with this. He is an abomination of a man." She gave Jean a very direct look, "But are you able to deal with the consequences of that? Mentally and physically."

Jean: She swallowed, pushing the food around on the plate. "I'll have to be."

Monet: "Oui. If you want what I know you're implying, oui. But there are other ways to deal with the threat that will not risk your moral compass."

Jean: "Such as? Daken?" She could guess what his job was after all, with his powerset.

Monet: "Non. Captivity." Monet did not want to give Jean too many details because those details could do exactly the opposite of what she was intending with that suggestion.

Jean: "Well, that didn't work before. SHIELD had him and Viper got him out to help blow up the school." Jean made a slight face at herself, remembering her vegetable had died in that attack.

Monet: Monet laughed at Jean's ignorance and looked at her with amused eyes. "SHIELD is not the Hellfire Club. SHIELD has rules that we do not."

Jean: "...you keep prisoners?" Okay, maybe Jamie was onto something with the murdery cult thing. "Wouldn't it just be easier to kill them?"

Monet: "We don't normally, non. Extraordinary times and people, however, sometimes lead to extraordinary measures." She shrugged one shoulder, "Easier? Oui. But it also lets them off nearly scot-free."

Jean: "I'm not interested in payback." She considered that. "Well. Part of me definitely is, but most of me just wants to never have to think about him again. He killed Jamie, over and over, for fun. If he could catch him, and had the resources, he'd do it again."

Monet: "So you would rather he not be punished for the rest of his miserable existence?"

Jean: Jean looked down, unconsciously twisting her ring again. "No. I don't want to have to worry that he might take my future husband away from me and torture him. I don't want to have to wonder if our future kids are safe from him."

Monet: Monet shrugged, "Alright. I will locate him and it will be done."

Jean: "...just like that?" Jean could only blink, not bothering to hide her shock.

Monet: "Well, it is indeed easier said than done. But it will be done." Monet took a sip of her wine and glanced around to make sure the waiter was out of earshot. "I am slightly disappointed that you don't wish the man to be tortured, though."

Jean: "If he was right in front of me, I might feel differently." Jean took a drink herself, a larger one than Monet had.

Monet: "Well, when we find him, would you like for me to invite you and James to see him? Let the two of you chop a few bits off first?"

Jean: Jean just stared at Monet for a long moment. In her darker thoughts, she'd considered incinerating Rott alive for what he'd done, but... no. "No, thank you?"

Monet: "Suit yourself. I'll call you when it's done then, shall I? Or would you like me to leave you out of knowing that, as well?"

Jean: "I would definitely want to know if he's found..." This was so bizarre, like ordering an appliance instead of requesting a hit. "What... would I have to do in return for this?"

Monet: "Nothing. He's a horrific creature and doesn't deserve to be here." Monet smirked, "Unless you need me to give you a task so you feel less guilty."

Jean: Frowning, she took a slow bite of the salmon and considered this. After she finished, she looked up at Monet. "I suppose that depends on what you'd ask me to do."

Monet: "I have no idea at the moment, but I am sure I, or Sebastian, could think of something suitable. Neither of us would have any reservations with just eliminating the threat without payment. Sebastian was captured, as well, if you recall." Monet waved her hand in a gesture of dismissal at that train of thought, getting back on track, "If you need something for your guilt, we can work that out later. Otherwise, no payment of any form is necessary."

Jean: Jean winced, although it wasn't from Monet's response. Jamie wasn't going to like any of this.

Monet: "You seem unsure about this entire process. You have had doubts since you first set foot in the door. What are they?"

Jean: Another sip of wine and a deep breath later, she answered. "I already said... Jamie has strong opinions about the Hellfire Club and anything to do with it."

Monet: "So the reservations you have are not your own, but his? If he were not in the picture or completely on board, you would have no problem with any of this?"

Jean: "I wouldn't be here at all if we hadn't found each other again," she said quietly, covering her feelings with another bite. "I've been living with humans since I left the school, and I mostly hide my powers. You know what happened to me with Trask, but I never had a reason to think he'd try to find me."

Monet: "Then if he were completely on board with this plan, you would be as well, oui?"

Jean: "Yeah." Jean shifted a little, crossing her ankles the other way.

Monet: "Then I believe we are finished for tonight with the business side of things. Shall we start next Thursday with your lessons?"

Jean: "I... will still need to talk to him." This woman was confusing, and still more than a little scary.

Monet: "Fine. A week from next Thursday. Is that a sufficient amount of time?"

Jean: "Yes, thank you." Maybe. Who knew?

Monet: "Of course. As I said previously, if any questions arise that you think I have the answer to in order to sway his opinion, simply give me a ring." She gestured at the food in front of them, "If you have no more business or club related questions, I suggest we finish our meal as companions and part ways until then."

Jean: "Okay." Jean licked her lips and tried to laugh. "I was sort of expecting you to suggest I mindwipe him..."

Monet: Monet didn't bother to hide her shock and she stared at Jean for a long moment before finally finding the right words. "What would possess you to think such a thing?"

Jean: Oh. Well, shit. Jean could sense the surprise as well as see it. "Um..." She swallowed, remembering her fiance. She hadn't meant like that! "Just... to compel him to agree it was a good idea?"

Monet: Monet's face slipped back to a careful blank, save for the one arched eyebrow. "I do not now, nor have I ever, believed that compelling a lover with your powers is a good idea. You should be on equal footing with your partner, if no one else. To mindwipe, or to compel, is a grievous breach of trust."

Jean: "Well," she said, trying to hide her own relief, and chagrin. "We can agree on that." Jean knew what it felt like to keep a secret until it destroyed everything.

Monet: "Rest assured, Jean, I am not as evil as people tend to make me out to be." She let her face relax and picked up her wine, "I can be, but I am generally not."

Jean: Jean nodded. "I didn't mean to offend." She attempted a smile and took another small bite for something to do.

Monet: "Merci." The corner of her mouth twitched up to show she was over it already and raised her glass for a toast, "To being evil only when necessity demands."

Jean: Swallowing, she raised her own glass to toast. "It was less nerve-wracking when it was just, like, petty evil..." Jean gave her a crooked smile.

Monet: "Petty evil is just plain fun," Monet retorted with a smirk.

Jean: Jean grinned and took a sip. "Very true."

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