xp_wallflower: (Warrior)
[personal profile] xp_wallflower posting in [community profile] xp_logs
Laurie tries to get back into the swing of things with a Danger room training session. Things do not go as she wanted, and her conversation with Garrison afterwards takes them to an interesting decision.

Laurie knocked on the door to the Danger room control centre before entering. She hadn’t exactly covered herself in glory through the scenario, and for the most part she knew exactly why she’d failed but she respected Garrison enough, even if she didn’t like him, to give her an honest assessment of where she needed to improve in order to pass.

“So, suggestions?” she asked, leaning against the door-jam rather than entering the room entirely. “Other than leaving the X-men, which I’m already doing.”

"Oh for fuck's sake, you're already pulling the victim card? Fine, you're leaving the team, fuck off. I'll focus on actual team members then." Garrison said sharply.

“Aggressive, aggressive.” Laurie noted with surprise. In her experience, Garrison was normally better at holding his temper around her. “That’s a new one, you normally just give me the cold shoulder and pretend I don’t exist. I’m joining one of the other teams, not leaving entirely. It was an attempt at lightheartedness.”

"Yes, it is really funny that your lack of preparedness is going to get someone who isn't an X-Man killed." Kane shook his head. "I just don't fucking get you, Laurie. You have been on the front lines. You've lost an arm and seen friends die and you just hump your way through-"

Garrison stopped, trying to stop the fury boiling over. "Why don't you take this seriously? How many fucking friends need to die before you take this seriously?"

“Is that…” Laurie paused, counting to ten in her head before she met him with a look that could only be described as unemotional if you were being generous, and simply blank if you weren’t. “Which part is it that you believe I don’t treat in a serious manner, Mr Kane.”

"The part that after years of training... years, you can't even finish a basic program without your powers." Kane threw up his hands. "Go away, Laurie. Go get a job in a safe hospital somewhere in the Midwest. Because you can't handle this life, and your legacy is going to be getting someone else killed."

“I’m not a fighter, Kane,” Laurie reminded him, frustration leaking into a voice she’d fought to keep even. “But I can hold my own, have held my own against things that no safe hospital somewhere would ever expect me to do. I lost my arm holding my own, and you still don’t give me even the hint of the benefit of the doubt that I’m trying. None of this comes naturally to me. Why have you never understood that?”

"Because five years ago, you said you wanted to be an X-Man and you accepted the role. That's an oath, Laurie." Kane's clutched his hands. "Don't you understand? When you agreed, it was making a commitment to the people around you. To say that you would focus on them. That you would meet the standards established so they know they can count on you when it matters. And... fuck, you don't seem to care. I don't understand why you don't?"

“I care,” Laurie replied with a sigh, entering the room to grab a seat lest she fall where she stood. This conversation, she didn’t know why Garrison was the one she was suddenly having it with but she supposed it was overdue to have it with someone. “The arm thing, and studying to be an emergency room specialist. Those make things difficult, but not impossible. I’m not excusing that I’m rusty, I’m not playing a victim card. I do care. I just need for someone to just...help. So can you please, please just give me some fucking help?”

"Why? We've been doing this for years, Laurie. Years!" He rubbed his eyes. "Look, what do you want? Seriously, no bullshit, no double talk, no I want to save the world during my lunch break of my career. Tell me. Honestly. Straightforward. What do you want?"

“I don’t want to save the world. I don’t even want to save a small part of it. I just want to save my friends,” Laurie replied, the fingers of her artificial hand clenching and unclenching, an unconscious stress response. “I never wanted to be at the front lines, but I wanted to be close enough to be there when they needed me. I can’t do that from a hospital in the Midwest. I can’t do that sitting back here at the mansion waiting for them to come back from a mission so I can maybe save them after however long has passed between there and here. I need to be good enough at this to do that, do you understand?”

"That would be easier if you weren't dating three people who will likely be dead before you get your first grey hair." Garrison stopped. "Sorry. Sorry. That was shitty. Look... this is the thing. If you want to be deployed with any of these groups, you need to hold your own. Because if not, you become a liability. You switch from being an asset to someone they need to save. Does that make sense?"

Laurie nodded, running a hand through her hair with a wry smile. He wasn’t telling her anything she didn’t already know in regards to her relationship. They’d all had that conversation fairly early on, in some cases you just had to make the best of the time you had.

“It does. So, how do we go about making me not a liability? I want to make this work, I just need to figure out how to work around being in New York for half my time. If that means I work harder, then I’ll do that. If that means completely shutting down my powers so I can’t cheat, even subconsciously, I’ll do that too. It’s important to me to do both. I can’t help if I’m not trained as an emergency specialist, it’s what makes me the most effective out there.”

"But I've heard this before. I've heard then when you were going to be the bestest X-Man ever. Tell me why I can trust you know?"

“Because that was before I’d been tortured by a madman, that was before I’d seen people dying to give me just a little more time, and that was before I lost my arm.” Laurie stated, listing off just the most recent examples of her personal experience. “That was before I spent five years becoming a doctor, and learning what was really important to me, where I needed to be the most. We’re going to lose more people, I know that but if I’m there, maybe we can lose them later rather than sooner.”

She thumped the part of her chest that lay over her heart, not dropping her gaze from his once. She wasn’t sure if the next bit would piss him off, but it was honesty he’d asked for, and she’d give it to him.

“I feel the stakes now. It’s real to me now.”

Garrison stared at her for a long moment and sat down. "You need to know. I'm going to do everything I can to break you. Because I don't know if I believe you. And because, if I do, you need so much work. It is going to be brutal... for both of us. You could end up hating me and I could end up hating myself. But... fuck-" He paused, rubbing his eyes. "Say no. Saying yes is going to be so much harder for both of us. Take the way out."

“You already know I won’t,” Laurie said softly, understanding in her eyes. She could do difficult, had done it in fact. Just to get to this point with her arm, learning to be able to use it had already been more than she thought she could ever do. Brutal would be a degree over that, and she was afraid, but she was also determined. She would do this, even if it broke both of them. “How do we start?”

"I'm going to get stupidly drunk. I'll give you a call. You have... the length of an epic hangover to walk away. After that... fuck you."
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