Chapter 14- Chats During Lunch
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Chapter 14- Chats During Lunch

Citadel – 2nd Floor Instruction Hall 203- Oct,- 22 2008 (Noon)

Anne Marie Hopewell- (Rogue)

Anna growled, while her sister sighed.

"I have explained it to you three times already… by this point, it would have been easier if I just did your homework for you already." Arlette complained when she looked up again over the book and the loose pages that were her math homework. Then her sister added. "How have you not absorbée (absorbed) some math skills from all the people you’ve touché (touched)?”

“I don’t know, maybe I am allergic to math or something?” Anna guessed, after letting out  another growl. As her mind failed to see the logic in the answer her sister gave her.

“If you do the work for her, I will have to flag you both for cheating.”

The feminine voice of the building warned them. Anna looked up near a green holo-image that severed like a clock and point of reference when speaking to the resident building. “Citadel couldn't you just overlook it, just this one time?" Anna asked the green image.

"The young master was clear. You all must have a basic understanding and schooling, and your mother agreed to use the Magi curriculum. So no, I cannot overlook this… On the bright side, you do not need to be perfect in your answers, just passing."

Anna released a sigh. Just before her sister tapped the problem that she was stuck on again. The power leech sat up, and swapped to a fresh page of paper, before trying again and starting over again on the problem before her, but they both she and Arlette stopped when the Citadel made a now familiar chiming sound.

“The Free period is now over, the next period is… lunch. Remember that relaxation is also part of the learning process."

Anna quickly gathered up her completed pages then those that she had failed, it bothered her that the failed pile was bigger than the completed. While she did, she noticed that Arlette was touching up her makeup again. Despite having her face healed, her sister still liked to look pretty whenever she was about to be around the other members of the Brotherhood.

After placing her completed pages in the book, as a type of bookmark, she turned to leave, but stopped when she noticed that Rahne was still napping in the row of seats behind her. So she moved over to wake her, on her way there, she tapped the earbud in her right ear.

“The collar is on; you have no stored powers at this time.”

Hearing the report, she confidently reached out and shook the smaller girl's shoulder. The warm and smooth skin she felt made Anna smile as she said to the other girl. "Rahne class is over. Come on, it’s time to eat, girl.”

“Mmm? Sorry, but history always makes me sleepy." The short ginger muttered as she pulled her face out of her textbook.

“Maybe you should have worked on it with Kurt over there. That blue fool still has his nose in the book.” Anna suggested.

Their brother actually seemed to respond to hearing his name and looked around the room. "What?" He muttered and then blinked twice, when he noticed the green holo-clock was missing he asked. “Is class over?”

“Oui (Yes) brother, it is déjeuner (lunch)," Arlette answered him, as she put away her pocket mirror and lipstick.

Rahne yawned before asking their brother. “How does all that text not put you to sleep?”

“Oh, it is hard to get through, I will agree.” Their teleporting sibling agreed while gathering his own things. “But I also think it’s about how we look at the text. You see, I like seeing where some of the things we do have changed over the years.”

“Like what?” Anna asked him while she waited.

Kurt smiled as he answered, "Like handshakes." Once all four of them were ready they all moved towards the room's exit, and he continued to explain. "I asked my mother why we shook hands, and she told me it was a dominance thing. I'm telling I am stronger than you are kind of thing."

"Sounds like Mama Raven," Anna admitted as they neared the doors.

“But it wasn’t. Before the Dwarves of Nidavellir came to our world, we humans shook each other's forearms, not our hands. It was the Dwarves that showed us to shake hands, and we all just forgot about it." Kurt stated.

“I vaguely recall that in the reading.” Arlette agreed.

“So?” Rahne asked clearly confused.

Kurt held up his history book and pointed at it as he explained. "So my mother was wrong, handshakes weren't about one man putting down another, they were a way that the dwarven merchants could tell if a person was trustworthy or not, but without offending them by asking. You see the dwarves respected hard workers, so a person with smooth hands was seen as untrustworthy or at least as lazy.'

"This was why the mages and the dwarves didn't get along at first, because the magi use their magic or robots to do all the manual labor, and thus their hands were smooth. But then when one of their merchant caravans stayed within a magi settlement, the dwarves were stunned to learn that the magi worked all day, afternoon, and night to complete their order when they asked them to rush it.'

“So it never was about a man putting other people down, it was about us humans copying someone else’s practice and not learning the why of it.”

While the three girls stared at him, her brother blinked and smiled. Then Anna reached up and rustled his hair a bit, as she made a mess of his already messy hair, she muttered. “Way to see through lines of the text to get that, fuzzball.”

Kurt tried to defend himself, but she was stronger than when they lived in their old house. She wondered if it was because she used her powers more frequently. Either way, he failed to stop her and lost his grip on his books in the process.

Then the sight of midnight black hair with red tips caught Anna's eye, and she told the others. "Y'all go on ahead of me to lunch. I got a thing to ask our resident disciple." Then she jogged down the hall after the older teen.

As she turned a corner, she saw the back of Wanda, so Anna was about to call out to her. But instead, since the floors were so quiet, she instead dropped her book and just ran at the mage's disciple. The power leech quickly drew up on the other woman, and once she was close enough she leaped into a hugging embrace, spooking the other mutant.

“What the...?” Wanda asked in surprise, her body shielded by her powers.

Anna felt the usual tingle from her body passively absorbing the energy of the field as it tried to repel her, but still, she held on. "I got you sugar." Before losing her composure and giggling loudly into the other woman's ear.

Her own heart warned her. "Invalid user detected." When her belt pressed into the other mutant's back.

"Anna Marie, would you release me, please?" The other mutant teen requested.

The power leech continued to giggle and said. “Only once you tell me if you’ve asked him yet or not.”

“That is none of your business.” Wanda snapped before adding. “I should never have let it slip to you of all people how I feel.”

Anna relented and relaxed her hug, but told the other woman off. "Oh, come off it. If my mama had stood up to your daddy, you and I would have been sisters instead of you getting shipped off to that stink hole that is Genosha.”

“My time there… wasn’t… that terrible.” The mage’s disciple mumbled.

“You say with such confidence.” Anna pointed out sarcastically.

“Shut up… Besides you weren’t living there yet. It would have been just me, Kurt, and Pietro. Can you imagine how that would have been? Those two growing up for a couple of years before Dad came by and recruited us?"

“If he did.” The power leech argued. “Remember I would have been there for a year, albeit without my powers yet, by then, and maybe you and your brother would have waited like we did?”

“He wouldn’t have waited. My brother never likes to take things slow.” Wanda argued. She looked sad to Anna before admitting. “And I would have needed to go too, to look after him and the others… Kurt might have even come with us you know?”

“This ‘what if’ is a great distraction and all, but you never answered my question. Have. You. Asked. Him?” Anna poked the other girl’s chest as she said each word of her question.

“I haven’t.” the disciple muttered softly.

“Why not? Arlette already did.” The power leech dropped some motivation on the other woman’s lap.

“She asked Nath’aniel that!? When?” Wanda snapped.

Anna shrugged, since she was guessing, but offered a reasonable opportunity. “Why did you think she offered to teach him French?” Wanda bit the nail of her thumb, causing the southern girl to feel bad. She didn’t want to dishearten the other teen. Anna only wanted to motivate her a little. So she instead told her. "Look, you have an advantage the rest of us girls don't. You get one-on-one classes with the man, so why not use it to your advantage? We all heard how Bass got into his bed, she literally carried him there? So if you're afraid to ask, why not just do something similar, okay?"

She added a wink, before ditching and heading back towards her books and eventually the Great Hall where lunch would be served.



New York City, New York- Dantino’s Restaurant- October 22, 2008 (12:15 PM)

Timothy ‘DUM DUM’ Dugan

They sat outside in the smoking section, the old agent took out a cigar from the case his lunch date gifted him. He cut and then lit the rolled stick, and enjoyed the taste as he took the first couple of drags on the thing.

“Defiantly not Cuban, where did you say you got these?” He asked the woman across from him.

The equally old woman across from him, appeared to be touching up her makeup, but he knew her well enough to know that she was using the mirror to check out their tail. Tim's enhancements didn't include his sight, so he had to go off of what little he could the few times that he spotted them, and could only conclude that they weren't SHIELD, because he spotted them and Fury knew better than to send armatures to tail either of them.

"A local representative," Peggy told him. Tim quickly understood that she meant the tail, and not the cigars, as he could see the foreign markings on the case.

‘Crap not only am I going to need to look where these came from, but I always hate having to step on the toes of my own nation’s people. Actually means I need to go to confessional sometime this year.’ He thought as he enjoyed another drag on his pre-meal treat. Tim watched her put away the makeup kit and then she reached to take a sip of her tea.

He ignored his own coffee, hadn't really needed the stuff after getting injected with the super soldier formula, but still liked the taste after all of these years of drinking it. Still, he had another pull off of his cigar before asking. "So what's up? Besides our guests?... You want me to deal with them?”

Before she could answer him, Peggy's older-style cell phone started playing Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' at them as its ringtone. Instead of a number, it showed a name, due to his many years as a spook Tim had learned to read stuff upside down and could make out 'Trevor' on the display.

Instead of asking if there were problems he ashed his cigar before taking a sip of his coffee.

Seeing the question in his face Peggy explained. “We both knew that our marriage was nearing its end. What with Sharon almost done with college and joining the ‘Academy’ in the spring… I worked most of my adult life trying to change the world into one that Steve would have made… but now that he is back, it must really be a shock for my husband."

Tim fought the impulse to frown at the end of her statement. ‘What did she mean by being back?’ He thought, but covered his confusion with another pull on his cigar.

Then their food came, her pasta salad and his ‘meat lover’s’ calzone. It gave him the time to police his face like she had trained him. Then the waiter asked. “Anything else I can get you?”

Tim’s first instinct was to tell the boy to get lost, but he bit his tongue.

Peggy however asked. “More hot water for my tea, please?”

“Of course ma’am.” The waiter said while bowing to her before leaving.

His thoughts somewhat better organized, Tim asked once the boy was out of earshot. "You've seen him recently?"

“Who?” His former boss asked him.

He stared at the case of cigars as an answer.

“Oh, last week, he was… well he is still adjusting. His liaison didn’t like it when I showed up, but he insisted that I be allowed full access.” Peggy answered before taking a mouthful of her lunch.

As a final test, he tested the identity of who they were talking about by saying. "Well, you were his girl, after all."

“I doubt it anymore, not after all I’ve done, especially not after he met both Trevor and Sharon.” She said between bites. Then it hit her, and she stopped eating.

When their eyes met, he snapped and crushed the coffee mug beside his hand. The ceramics didn't even penetrate his flesh as the mug broke, but still, his hand was covered in hot coffee. Causing a small tingly sensation as some of the flesh boiled and burned.

"Here I am, sitting beside my phone, waiting for news of his funeral service, and you knew that he was both awake and alive." He mumbled in anger. After a moment of silence between them, he added. "I had your back ma'am."

Peggy put down her fork, as she swallowed. After dabbing her mouth off the pasta sauce, she stated what she now realized. "I understand now, that you weren't informed… I am sorry."

“For what? Not telling me sooner? Or breaking protocol and letting me in that my best freaking friend is still alive after spending the last sixty or so years frozen in the Atlantic?” The soldier snapped at her.

After he did, the men tailing them stood and looked like they were going to approach them, but before they could one reached into his coat and answered his phone. When he watched them go back to their seats, Tim actually wished that they would bug them just so he'd have someone to vent on.

"Calm down," Peggy ordered him. He took a long drag on the cigar and tried. As he let out the smoke in his lungs she added. "Fury should have let you know too, I would have, but it's not just us that decided these things. Legally Steve's blood is still the property of the US Army."

“They want the formula.” Tim guessed. She nodded, and he just shook his head.

When the waiter came over to check on them, Peggy waved him away, her hot water and a clean towel in the boy’s hands. Once he was far enough away she told him. “You can’t tell Erik, not yet.”

"And how am I going to tell him, steal a jet, and kidnap a pilot. I knew I should have learned to fly one of these days." Tim said sarcastically.

Yet as he said that the soldier recalled something. During his mission down in the Savage Lands, before they left the area his commander, Barton had been given a device, an emitter I think they called it, that he could use to contact the mage and more importantly his other still surviving squadmate. Why they gave the archer one and not him, he wasn't sure, but with it, he could help both of his war buddies.

"I am just saying what we both already know. It is most likely that you weren't told because of the risk that you would contact him, and he would start an incident. Remember that despite your friendship, he is still a wanted man." She reminded him between bites of her pasta salad.

While he dug into his own lunch, he listened and said a word or two to keep her talking. Tim knows that he doesn't have the power to rescue Steve, but Erik does and would once he knew. However, it would be in both of their best interests if he had all the intel that he could give his fellow commando before he acted.