El has been with the site for nearly two years now and has continued to prove her value. Currently, she is heading up our site event, Battle for Liberterram, on top of keeping up with her own personal plots.
Lux's posts are all wonderful to read. She has done a wonderful job of grasping the new universe and incorporating Peggy into it.
It's good to see Spidey back on the site. Watching him deal with the universe shift in his own snarky way has been nothing short of entertaining.
Eight O'Clock on the Dot!
El and Lux are making magic in this thread. Straight up fireworks, and the way they've played with drawing out the reveal is top class.
“The trick is t’ get t’ know Clint, not Agent Barton,” she drawled, grinning slightly. “Clint’s just full’a surprises.” Spontaneous first kisses, Vegas marriages… And that was only the first two things that popped into her mind from their short relationship thus far.
Rogue’s eyebrows lifted, her shoulders tensing instinctively at the sensation of lips on her bare cheek. The fear only lasted half a moment, before she remembered who was standing next to her. Clint knew about her mutation, and he knew the risks of too much skin contact. A hint of pink crept up onto the Southern Belle’s cheeks at the archer’s compliment but instead of giving him a look of affectionate annoyance - seriously, why was he so adorable sometimes? - she looked towards the other member of their conversation with a ‘See? He ain’t that bad’ expression on her painted lips.
“Well… Ah may be young, but bein’ who - an’ what - Ah am’s given me a differ’nt kinda perspective, Ah think,” she explained to the Atlantean monarch, both shoulders rising in a gentle shrug. Clint had seemed to be friends with Namor, so she assumed he already knew about her gifts. And if he didn’t, well, he’d probably ask. She may not like her ability, but she’d finally come to terms with it a few years ago, so she was no longer shamed by the title ‘mutant’.
Rogue’s blush only deepened at Namor’s next comment as she jumped out of Clint’s arms, but she offered the tall man a playful frown. “He ain’t contemptible. An’ he’s standin’ right here.” Her voice told the story well enough - everything she said was done so in a playful, teasing manner. She assumed his was as well, but with a more regal, deadpan sense of humor.
The shift towards more intelligent conversation was delightful to the young mutant. She was no scientist, but she was naturally curious, so conversations about such topics outside the classroom were always interesting. That didn’t mean she enjoyed getting away with herself, though, and babbling incessantly. Clint’s reassurance helped to assuage her embarrassment, and the smile on Namor’s face aided even further. She’d been afraid her mouth might have caused her to overstep her bounds, but both men seemed genuinely okay with her word vomit. “Maybe he should focus more on the businessman part of him than buildin’ all them suits. You’re his friend - you can tell him Ah said that,” she grinned towards her boyfriend.
Turning towards Namor as he spoke up, Rogue offered the King a brief smile of appreciation at his compliment (or at least, she was fairly certain earning his attention was supposed to be a compliment). She didn’t know exactly what polymers were, but well, he pretty much explained it right there as he continued. Her smile dropped slowly into a frown of concentration as she worked to make sense of everything that was being said. “Byproducts, like fuel,” she mumbled, more to herself, as her head bobbed gently.
Her eyes widened at the things said about Tony Stark, but she didn’t speak up this time. She only knew the man whose Expo they were currently attending from what she saw in the tabloids. And honestly, most of the stuff that was spewed out there was garbage these days, it seemed. Right now, they all seemed to be on a “Tony Stark and Captain America are dating!” kick. Somehow she doubted that. Steve had been awkward on their failure of a date (could it really even be considered a date when both parties felt that horribly about being there with each other before the drinks even arrived?). But she had never gotten the impression that he was that way because of his attraction to men and not women.
Despite the awkwardness, they’d managed to find some decent conversation over the course of their meal, and she’d never deleted his number from her phone. Maybe she’d shoot the All-American hero a text message sometime, inquiring as to the truth of his relationship status. That was neither here, nor there, however, and Rogue dragged her mind back to the conversation at hand as Clint’s voice pierced the air. He didn’t speak for long, however, and soon enough, Namor was responding. Dark orbs flicked back to the monarch, genuine interest still floating in their chocolate irises.
“Ah like otters.”
Wow, Rogue… That was deep.
Mentally shaking herself for such a spontaneous comment, she swallowed past a lump in her throat and continued on. “Ah mean… Ah like other sea animals, too. An’ lotsa countries, like Japan - and Atlantis? -” Truthfully, she didn’t know much about the monarch’s country. Was it the actual sunken city of legend? “ - depend on fish ‘n crab meat for most’a what they eat. So Ah think anyone who don’t care about the ocean is silly. The planet is mostly water, after all…” There, see? She did have a point. “But otters’re mah favorite…” she finished, ducking her head in slight embarrassment.
Really, Namor was in top form when it came to insulting him today. Skin any thinner and he likely would've backed away long before now; as it was he settled for silently pouting while Namor called him names and generally dismissed him. He was pretty sure the guy liked him. Secretly. Very secretly. So secretly that even he didn't know it. Because that was just how it happened; that was how it had happened with Fury, after all; and he and Coulson were nearing the end of that pattern as well. Clint was good at sneaking under people's guards so that he could endear himself to them without them ever realizing it was happening. The perfect mix of jackassery and puppy dog eyes really did work like a strange charm, despite the name-calling and dislike that tended to come first.
Clint was glad that Rogue seemed inclined to come to his defense in the face of the other man's insults, but he really only smiled a little about it instead of calling attention to it. It was nice to see that she liked him still, though. Despite his general jerkishness.
Snorting a bit at the idea of anyone telling Tony what to do, he shook his head a little at Rogue's comment. "I'd have better luck getting through to him by slapping him in the face with a fish," he replied, grinning a bit as his brain went to the place where that visual provided itself. That would be hilarious, if a bit unproductive.
He could tell that Namor was getting a bit passionate about this as they spoke, and part of him was amused by it even as he lifted his hands slightly at the verbal attack, inching the smallest bit backwards in a show of mock surrender. "I just meant that its a good thing that they have you looking out for them, is all. 'Cause this is good for them," he clarified to the other man, though he was sure that it wouldn't actually fix the other's annoyance with him. That was a fairly constant state.
"I like hyenas," Clint mentioned as Rogue finished rambling about her love of otters, the fluffy cuties of the sea, "But they don't live in to ocean, so that's likely irrelevant." He shot Namor a grin. "So, you also doing research into clothes that aren't so...well, that?" he asked cheekily, motioning to Namor's... revealing outfit.
"There's a difference?" He murred low in his throat, voice threaded with mirth as his brow angled into an arch. "From what I've seen, his professional and casual conduct are one in the same. Or else, are so wildly similar that I question at which point the two personas diverge from one another." If there was an Agent Barton as she implied, or a Clint, he certainly could not see the differing shades. Perhaps he was going color blind. Or the poor girl was so enamored with him that she viewed nuances and complexities were there were none.
"Then again, I suppose even a teaspoon has some depth."
The woman's words caught his attention. And what. He looked over her again, curiously. He supposed that she could have some dark and underlying secret, but given that she was Caucasian, with a man, and at least moderately well off, he assumed that her differences had less to do with the typical causes of social unrest. And rather that she was one of his people. Or at least close enough. "Do you number amongst the homo superior, my dear? I must admit that you grow more fascinating by the moment. And it isn't merely my vanity saying that." Though it was not broadcast far and wide, it was decently well known that he was a homo mermanus superior as well as homo sapien. And it was known by children of social history that he'd numbered amongst the Brotherhood's ranks for a time.
"So he is." Namor's eyes flickered over to the blonde's face, brows quirking in a lazy display of mock surprise as his voice deadpanned. "Perhaps I should speak louder and more slowly. He doesn't seem to be keeping up with us at present." Although the determined jutting of his lower lip seemed to suggest at least some modicum of understanding that he was being insulted, at least. Perhaps he should have awarded him some kind of laurels for not being distracted by the woman's charm and beauty. He did seem singularly consumed with outward appearances if their first unfortunate meeting was anything to go by.
"Perhaps he should focus more on being the man that he claims to be. I'd imagine that maintaining all of those facades of his must be exhaustive. It might be invigorating to actually be what he pretends for a brief period." But then again, being a Champion of the Earth in the face of controversy and major investments, away from the same kind of spotlight would involve responsibility, something the middle-aged man seemed tragically allergic to. Better to play at responsibility just enough to get praise when he actually delivered. At the Agent's suggestion of slapping the aforementioned man in the face with a fish, Namor actually managed a smile, if only because the image was satisfying. "Be certain it is still frozen, so it packs more of a wallop."
The monarch watched as the human seemed to take his words personally, and offered him his throat in submission. A large part of him was very much tempted to continue their pattern, go for the kill and sink his teeth in. But he supposed that some courtesy was owed. Particularly in the acknowledgement of his duty, even if it seemed... sad and terribly reflective that somehow his commitment to his people was considered exceptional behavior. "I am their father. All twenty-five million of them. The ones I've never met and will never know. And if it means I must clean up your mess to see them safe, I will do whatever it takes. And dirty my hands so that theirs may remain clean." And devote hours and countless resources to solving the problem. Decades of work across a hundred different approaches.
Thankfully there was a brief pause and a change of conversation... sort of... before the two of them took to blurting inane conversation. He expected as much from Clinton, but to see Rogue similarly affected was almost disappointing. Her attempt to salvage her statement was somewhat endearing, however, and nearly washed it away.
Unfortunately Barton followed it up with more stupidity still, fouling Namor's otherwise improved mood. "They are engineering a fabric to best simulate nudity that I may fashion my suits from for business meetings." And he would see that all of his wardrobe was made from it when it was perfected, including a design in his current wear, and his scant ensembles of choice. "Are they doing research to see how you survived to middle age?"
For someone who was supposedly friends with Clint, Namor was certainly a fan of insulting her boyfriend. Rogue didn’t dare give voice to her concerns, however. Some friendships were just like that, one party bashing the other and vice versa. She liked to think her own relationships with other people tended towards the y’know… friendlier side of the spectrum. Clint and Namor were both grown ass men, and as such, were perfectly capable of telling the other if a line ever got crossed.
Rogue’s eyebrow lifted at the sound of the Atlantean’s question, and she turned her head to face him before answering. “O’ course there is. Trust me - Ah’ve been on missions with Agent Barton. He ain’t nearly as cuddly as Clint,” she smirked.
The Latin that drifted through the air between the group sent a slight shiver up Rogue’s spine. At the Xavier Institute, they were perfectly fine using the word ‘mutant’. It wasn’t until she’d met (see: kidnapped by) Magneto that she’d ever been introduced to the term homo superior. Swallowing down her moment of panic, she gave Namor a stiff nod and a forced smile. “Ah’m a mutant, yeah,” she answered, her voice barely above a whisper. “Mah gloves.. well, they ain’t just fer show.”
Rolling her eyes as the next wave of Clintsults came tumbling off of Namor’s lips, Rogue merely shook her head. God, but these two were ridiculous. “Or maybe he’s just silently plannin’ a better comeback than pretendin’ someone ain’t here,” she quipped, turning to look at the archer expectantly.
As the conversation shifted to the man whose Expo they were currently attending, Rogue’s shoulders relaxed some. Insulting someone who wasn’t actually a part of the conversation was considerably easier on her conscience. Especially someone whom she’d never technically met. Tony Stark was just a man who made a mess in the tabloids, so far as she knew. A slight snort escaped her at the notion of slapping Stark with a fish, and she immediately clamped both hands over her face so that nothing else slipped out as Namor followed up with a frozen fish. God, but that was a hilarious image. She was definitely not brave enough to attempt such a task, but something told her the Atlantean would take more than a little pleasure from the act.
Turning at the movement beside her, Rogue watched with curiosity as Clint backed down from Namor’s words. It wasn’t often he backed down from anything. She’d had him on the ropes once, in the middle of the men’s restroom on the Helicarrier. That had been an utterly awful situation, though, so it was probably best that he’d backed down. But here, they were simply having an impassioned discussion. Why back down? Rogue’s lips pursed together at her boyfriend before she turned her gaze back onto the Atlantean monarch. Any hint of annoyance disappeared, replaced instantly by shock.
Surely they weren’t all actually his children, though. No, no… He was the King, so maybe he just called his subjects his children as a form of endearment. Slowly, the shock dissipated as her head began to bob in understanding. “A real leader does so from the front,” she agreed, more than a hint of respect oozing out of her voice as she smiled up at the Atlantean.
And then, before she knew it, she was babbling. God, but that was embarrassing. Her attempt to recover seemed to work, but only somewhat. A tint of crimson stained her cheeks as Clint offered an animal species he enjoyed and she even let out a quiet groan. “It’s a real good thang yer pretty,” she sighed at the Avenger. Irrelevant his comment might have been, but if his purpose had been to help ease her embarrassment, it had worked marvelously. Her shoulders relaxed again and with another sigh, she crossed both arms across her chest while listening to Namor’s response to Clint’s next verbal attack.
Instead of retaliating with a barb of his own, Namor surprised Rogue by informing them about some kind of new fabric. She didn’t care about simulating nudity, personally, but a whole slough of questions erupted inside of her mind so that she missed the actual insult launched at Clint. Stepping forward, an inquisitive and determined look upon her face, Rogue tilted her head and stared straight up to meet Namor’s gaze. “What kinda fabric? Is it just like naked camo, or can it look like anythin’ ya want? An’ is it thick, like, fer actually coverin’ up an’ keepin’ yer skin safe from bein’ touched?” She knew she was bombarding the monarch with a babble of questions, but this time she didn’t seem to mind that her mouth was running so much. “How breathable is it? Like, can it be worn all the time, rain ‘r shine ‘r snow? Or maybe can it just be made inta gloves that look an’ feel like ya ain’t wearin’ gloves?” If she sounded passionate - more passionate than when she’d confessed her love of otters - it’s because she was.
Really, Namor's insults were numerous enough that they were starting to get to him. It was a bit alarming to realize, and he stamped that feeling down quickly so that he didn't have to dwell on it or allow it to show in his face. One of these days, perhaps Namor would get tired of insulting him. Easy targets weren't supposed to be any fun, right? Well, he knew that that was mostly a lie so perhaps he should rethink that hope a little bit.
Clint frowned a bit at Namor's question, as he'd never liked the whole fake-Latin-name thing that some mutants had gone with. Though mutant was also a bit terrible. He nodded to Rogue's answer, though he didn't brag on her because he knew that it was kinda assholeish to say something if she didn't want him to. Instead, he simply smiled and squeezed her briefly in a show of support. He could be a supporting boyfriend. It would be a first, but there was always room for those.
"I'm not planning a comeback. I'm planning a prank. Clearly," he replied when he realized that he should likely point out that he was not actively being an idiot at this exact point in time. He rolled his eyes a bit as Namor suggested walloping Tony with a frozen fish, but it also brought a smile to his lips, as the idea was an amusing one. That smile turned into a full-fledged grin at Rogue's attempt to not find the thought amusing.
He actually really did admire Namor's dedication to his people, and it was the kind of loyalty and care that was incredibly attractive. He'd really have to work on that crush he was nursing. Luckily, Rogue managed to distract his mind by commenting on his looks and he sent her a grin and a wink in response. "It is. It gets me out of a lot of things," he confirmed.
Seeing as Clint hadn't actually expected a serious response to his question, so he was surprised when he got one. He blinked a bit. "That actually sounds really cool," he responded before Namor went back to insults, "Ha ha, you're hilarious. No, they have better things to do." He let Rogue take things from there on the fabric, though. It was definitely something that she'd be interested in, with her mutation.
"Perhaps it was because I wasn't in the field with him, then." The Atlantean offered with a lazy, dismissive shrug that was reminiscent of the gestures of a feline before it curled up in self-indulgent boredom. Perhaps the archer truly was a different person when he was in a combative situation. Because he certainly saw no difference in a situation that might have required tact, careful political maneuvering, or most any type of social intelligence. "As it is, this Agent Barton sounds far and away more preferable to this defective model. Is there a trade-in program?"
To his surprise, the lovely Southerner seemed uncomfortable with the handle that he used for her prospective condition, but confirmed it all the same. "Mutant is so vulgar." The monarch offered with a critical sigh. "Latina lingua est mater mea." As were Ancient Greek and Lemurian as well as the more obvious Atlantean. And though English had been spoken with him since infancy, his mother had never mastered the tongue, so he'd never reached full fluency in it as he had the others. "So your ability lies in your sense of touch? Or your hands themselves?"
Giving a rolling chortle at her defense of her lover, Namor was ready to respond, although the archer beat him to the punch. Lavender eyes drifting over to the blonde, his brow quirked in a blunted display of curiosity and challenge alike. "I wish you luck. If my security catches hide or hair of you I will personally see to it that your life is made so miserable that you could make Sisyphus weep in pity." Needless to say, he did not like pranks or much find them amusing.
At the brunette's display of surprise, the monarch snorted. He was beginning to see why they were both so enamored of one another. Despite fleeting moments of competence and intelligence, both of them were fools. "They are not literally my children, my dear." Though he suspected that he had more than a few that were of his genuine flesh and blood. Even though he'd been careful in his youth, his appetites had been insatiable. And accidents still happened. Later in his years, his romances were longer and more personal, and he hoped that his paramours would have been kind enough to inform him of any children he might have sired. "I offer them my unconditional support, love and loyalty as though they were."
Still, her point was sound, and her agreement was appreciated. Unnecessary, but appreciated. "Absolutely. A practice that has been sadly abandoned amongst most."
Their shared moment on the archer's alleged attractiveness left the considerably older man to roll his eyes in a display of disgust. "I suppose there's no accounting for taste." He interjected, unbidden and unable to stop himself.
"Well, that makes one of us, Mr. Barton." Namor responded immediately to Clinton's sarcastic declaration of his being amusing. Offering a shark like smile, he turned to the Southern Belle in their midst who seemed content to offer far more questions on the matter than she should of, and his mind returned immediately to her comment on her gloves. "It can look like anything it needs to, with proper treatment, spinning and weaving. As to the thickness? It is thin, but it would still provide a barrier between flesh and outside contact. It will hardly be good for repelling moisture or protecting from the wind, however. Such is the trade off of breathing." Her questions continued after a brief pause, and he smiled. "For a human, it would only be suitable for inner layers or indoor clothing. I suspect you would still have to wear outer wear in the cold or rain. But it could easily make a pair of gloves that feel as though you're wearing nothing at all."
Anna Marie tag! Jfc. These Clintsults make my day.
“Nope. He’s kinda a package deal,” Rogue chuckled, casting a sidelong glance in Clint’s direction as her lips slid upwards in a brief smirk. Clint Barton seemed simple on the surface, but the more time she spent with him, the more complex he seemed to be. He definitely had his flaws (like thinking a marriage certificate from Las Vegas “didn’t count”), but the positives outweighed all the negatives for now. Besides, he made her feel good about herself, which was probably the most healthy aspect of their relationship.
All hints of mirth slipped away from Rogue’s face as Namor argued against her use of the Americanized term versus the Latin one. “Ah’d rather be a bit vulgar than try t’ make mahself seem better’n everyone else. Ah ain’t nothin’ special - just a girl with a differ’nt genetic makeup than the majority ‘f the population,” she shrugged, tilting her head to brush Clint’s shoulder as he gave her a half-hug. “It’s mah skin… Ah, uhh…”
Dark orbs shifted around the area, making sure no one was getting too close to the conversation. When she spoke up again, her voice was slightly more hushed than before. “Ah absorb people. Like, if they’re a mutant, Ah can absorb their ability. Or Ah can absorb skills - like Clint’s archery…” She contemplated stopping there, but something told her doing so would leave questions hanging in the air. “But doin’ so, Ah kinda… drain people… Their memories, personalities, an' life force... I ain’t never killed anyone, but too much contact an’ ya could end up in a coma…”
Pushing past such dark memories, she let them all out with a gentle sigh and turned to look at Clint when he finally piped in to help defend himself. Both eyebrows lifted at his threat of a prank, surprise clearly evident in her chocolate irises. He was well-known for his pranks around the Helicarrier, but surely he wouldn’t dare pull one on a foreign monarch. She was about to advise against such a course of action, but Namor spoke up first, hissing out a threat of retaliation should Clint follow through with his words. Taking a step between the two men, Rogue put one hand on Clint’s chest but held the other out towards Namor without actually touching the Atlantean. “Now, now boys…” she started, but something caused her to stop.
That name, Sisyphus, she’d heard it before. It only took her mind a moment to reach that memory, from nearly five years ago. Sisyphus was an Ancient Greek man who’d been punished for… well, she couldn’t remember what he’d done… But he’d been forced to shove a rock up a hill, only to watch it roll back down. Over.. and over.. and over. As such, Rogue and Ali had deemed him the originator of Rock ‘n Roll. The joke summoned a quiet snort, but she simply blushed in embarrassment and took a step back instead of explaining herself.
Being assured that his term ‘children’ was in fact in place of ‘citizens’ helped Rogue’s shoulders to ease in tension. She couldn’t blame women for wanting to copulate with the monarch - he was incredibly good looking, after all. Her blush deepened as she realized she was staring while mentally attempting to figure out just how many women and how long it would take. Shaking her gaze away, she cleared her throat and nodded. “Right. ‘Course they ain’t actually yer children,” she agreed, turning her attention to Clint in order to shake away the remnants of… what was that she’d been feeling just then? Lust? God, she hoped not.
“Yeah… But Ah thank that’s maybe ‘cause we ain’t fightin’ nearly as many full-on battles as we used to… Times’ve changed, an’ so has the way war works.” Her shoulders rose and fell in a light shrug. She’d done her share of fighting in the past few years, and each time, the team leader had been right there beside the rest of the X-Men. It was something they trained for at the Institute, as well as being able to take up the mantle in case someone should fall. Rogue wasn’t keen on taking control of the leadership reins personally, and perhaps that’s why she’d never received good marks in that area. She was a fighter, but she wasn’t a leader.
“Not outta everythin’, though…” she mumbled, responding to his grin and wink with a straight-lipped smile. “Sorry, it’s a… thang… My friends ‘n Ah tell each other we’re pretty when we say somethin’ stupid,” she explained, hoping the Atlantean didn’t think she was all looks, too. Not that she was anything terribly special to look at to begin with, but still. She had brains. She just… didn’t get to practice using them as much as perhaps she should.
Rogue’s mind slipped over whatever the boys were discussing as the subject of this new cloth came into play, as if it had entered a tunnel. The light at the end contained the answers she sought, and she listened intently as Namor explained the basics. For a moment, she didn’t know what to say as he finished, so she just ran it all over in her mind for a second time. A pair of gloves that could make her feel as if she wasn’t wearing anything… “How long til they’re in production fer sale?” she asked finally, one hand drifting instinctively down to the purse at her side. She didn’t have much, but she’d pay every cent she had in her bank account for something like that.
"There's not a Barton trade-in program. If there was, I would've used it myself by now," he quipped with a grin, although the words were tinged with the bite of disgruntlement that came with having shitty family members. What Clint wouldn't give to have been able to trade in his defective parents for better models...
It wasn't really Clint's place to speak with people about Rogue's ability, but he found himself having to hold his tongue until she'd ventured to say it herself. "If she does it right, it's pretty cool," he added with a grin as she trailed off sadly, bouncing a bit. She needed to become more confident in what she could do that was amazing, rather than fearing the negatives. "It has so many applications, especially in battle. Say for example that one of the team members injures themselves in a way that they can't fulfill their duty. Rogue can absorb their abilities and do it in their stead. It's like having a universal understudy!" He was actually really excited about having Rogue in the field, because you could have an instant expert at pretty much anything. Once she became confident enough in herself, at least.
Clint blinked a bit as Rogue stepped between him and Namor, as he honestly hadn't realized that their little personal war had necessitated intervention in that manner. He stepped away from the other man again and allowed Rogue to take point on the conversation, his mind wandering a bit as they discussed things that he didn't really find interest in. Or that he needed to not find interest in so that he stopped finding Namor all interesting and awesome. Spending time with the man was probably bad for his continuing health.
The fabric that Namor was describing actually sounded pretty neat. He could think of some great uses for it, including as gloves on missions so that he wouldn't leave fingerprints but would still have full functionality. That would be useful. Of course, that meant that it could also make criminals that much more efficient so he did hope that it didn't become too easily available in that respect, even though the idea of Rogue getting gloves or a suit made from it so that they could actually be more intimate was intriguing. And he was sure that that train of thought would be visible on his face.
"At least you realize your limited value. Then again, I suppose the world does as well, else we might actually have that trade-in program. It seems you're not even worth it for base components."
"My dear, we are superior. Our very physiology makes that undeniable truth. You are the next stage in evolution, capable of extraordinary works simply by your existence. You stand above your peers. Even I am superior to my people, whom I would sacrifice everything for without question." And there could be no question that he was superior to humanity. Just as he was greater than his people, so too were his people greater than humans, making him exponentially exceptional. It was merely the fear and loathing of humanity, staring at its own extinction that pressured their kind into thinking they were anything less than great.
Tracking her eyes as she looked about them, he too ensured that none were too close or too interested. The masses mostly bustled about them to the display behind him, and if they lingered it was primarily for the novelty of his dress, or the curve of his ears. A few even recognized him, but they went on, granting them privacy for what she had to say. At first, her ability sounded useful. As she elaborated, it sounded more than useful, (the words Barton offered also helped, for once) and a light suddenly touched his lavender gaze, sparking something that wasn't there before. He swept his eyes over her with a little bit more consideration--like a collector being told that the piece he admired was more than valuable, it was priceless.
Stepping closer to her, he closed the distance so there was but a foot between them, and lifted her gloved hand again, raising it to stroke his fingertips over her cloth-encased knuckles. "Deadly and entrancing? What an alluring combination." And the idea that she could be him, in ability, in skill, in personality, in every way but form was uniquely appealing as well. His baritone dipped lower, timbre sultry and warm, volume only just above a whisper, almost ensuring that only she could hear. "And you, my dear, are quite alluring." Meeting her eyes again, he held them for a smoldering moment and looked back to her palm as he brushed his lips back over the knuckles. And following that was the gentle leveling and release of the underside of her palm.
When she moved to interpose herself between the two of them, his brow arched. He was amused, in a derisive sort of way, but equally endeared. "You're right, my darling. I should not degrade myself by wasting time and resources on whatever childish antics he engages in." Nodding his head in her direction, his eyes flickered briefly over to Clinton, his lip curving at the edge and parting just enough to show teeth. His expression was almost unbearably smug.
The fact that her gaze lingered obviously and overlong did wonders for his already bloated ego, and he seemed to bask in the glow of it for a moment as he between the two and smiled with a regal pleasure. "Of course. I've not had the privilege of children yet; something that I hope to remedy in these next few years. I've no doubt they will be the subject of much talk in my approaching centennial." If he did not find a woman worthy of his Kingdom soon enough, he would simply do as some of the Atlanteans of old did; either name a successor from the progeny of distant relatives, or adopt and so name them the continuation of the line.
But... he hoped. Though he and Betty were unable to conceive, they had desperately wanted to. And the idea of having a true consort, worthy of everything that he could offer her, and starting a family with her was one that he still held near and dear to him.
"A great deal of the change stems from the rise of imperialism the nationalism that came with it. Once the nation was seen as a living entity, something to identify with, and die and bleed for, the rulers became synonymous not simply with the nation, but with the culture and common thread that binds all the occupants." Or at least that was what Namor believed from his studies of history and politics amongst the surface. Nationalism was a great deal younger than most believed, and mostly rose only when empires existed. No earlier than the 1500s in most places in Europe, except going back to the empires of old, as with Rome.
When Rogue mentioned that she called people pretty when they were behaving stupidly, Namor grinned, but said nothing, instead reserving his next instance of speech for the subject of his clothing.
"Actually, it is not intended to go to mass production. In order to be fully effective, it would require tailoring to the desired shape and processing for the texture. It is my plan to spin a large but limited quantity for my use for the foreseeable future, and the use of select few individuals. I can see to it that several yards of fabric in the textures you desire are set aside, and have tailors sent over to you when the time comes."
Rogue lifted a brow in curiosity at Clint’s comment in regards to the Barton trade-in program. She knew nothing about his family, of course, and thus assumed he was speaking about himself. He had his flaws, certainly, but that’s because he was human. She of all people knew the downsides a lack of self-esteem brought on. Her own had grown over the past few years, but it still paled in comparison to her pre-mutation self. Reaching over, she squeezed his arm, just below the elbow, in a quick but comforting gesture. Meanwhile, her gaze shot to Namor as his words sliced through the air, another insult bursting forth from the Atlantean’s tongue. Both eyes narrowed in a slight glare - she didn’t necessarily feel it was safe to give a monarch the full-on death glare, so a less volatile one would have to suffice for now.
As the subject changed to her abilities, Rogue could feel her cheeks beginning to take on a rosier hue. The blush staining her cheeks only deepened as Namor added his two cents in regards to her mutation giving her some kind of superiority over normal humans. She might have abilities that made her “super” in some ways, but it was really just hard for her to refrain from being so humble. “Ah can’t deny Ah’ve got some evolutionary benefits that other people ain’t got… but Ah guess Ah just don’t like the thought’a me bein’ above everyone else. Ah’d rather stand baside mah peers.” Chuckling, she shot the Atlantean a slight grin. “Guess it’s better that yer the King, and I ain’t royalty at all.”
Something gave her pause when Clint piped back in, and one eyebrow lifted cooly. “If Ah do it raight?” she asked, intrigued by her boyfriend’s choice of words. “Darlin’ there ain’t really a method t’ the madness. It all just kainda happens…” She couldn’t help but cringe as Clint went on to explain all of the positive effects her mutation had. He was right, of course - she was extremely useful in superpowered combat, what with the ability to theoretically glean multiple abilities at once. She’d never tried more than one at a time, though, mostly because of the negative effects.
Shoving one person’s psyche - their emotions, memories, instincts… their entire self - down and out of her mind in order to focus only on their abilities was not easy. She could only imagine how difficult it would be to maintain such a strong mental hold on multiple targets.
“But that’s a worst case scenario… We like it better when everahone can stay safe, an’ Ah can absorb just enough’a yer sharpshootin’ t’ make mah crappy skills with a weapon actually useful t’ the team,” she tried, offering a tight smile to both men. While Clint continued to bounce on his toes (she knew just how excited testing out her abilities made him), she turned her attention more towards the Atlantean, only to find his eyes glued to her.
Something about the way they seemed to devour her sent a shiver racing down Rogue’s spine, but before she could react, Namor stepped closer. Rogue’s breath caught at the back of her throat as the monarch swept forward, one of his hand reaching out for her own gloved digits. Whereas before a blush had stained her cheeks, now she went ghostly pale. She wasn’t afraid of him, per se, but well… He was incredibly intimidating this close. His jawline was sharp - just like his ears and canines - and she could finally see that his eyes were an enchanting lavender hue. And his voice…
As he showered her with compliments and kissed her covered knuckles again, the stark hue finally drained from her face, leaving pink cheeks again in its wake. She wanted to argue with what he’d said in response to her begging for the two of them to stop bickering so much, but her brain was still recovering from the smolder. Swallowing a mouthful of dryness, she focused on maintaining a steady breathing pattern in the hopes that neither men noticed just how stunned (and.. curious?..) she was.
When she did finally manage to speak, she found the words leaving her lips without being double-checked by her brain… again…
“Ah love kids.”
Thankfully, the subject of war and politics took over soon enough, and Rogue was able to re-focus all of the mental faculties she’d lost a few moments previously. She had to pay close attention to what the monarch was saying in order to grasp the concept, but her head bobbed up and down in a nod of understanding. “That makes sense. Once the country’s people view the leader as a symbol’a the country itself, they ain’t gotta do any real fightin’ anymore,” she shrugged.
Needless to say, Rogue was significantly more energetic once the topic of Namor’s new fabric came into play. She frowned to hear that the Atlantean did not have any plans to produce it en masse, and the sadness showed on her face as she turned to face Clint. He seemed off in his own world again, a lopsided grin on his face as his eyes stared off into nothingness. She was concerned at first, but the more she pondered over where his mind could have gone, the more it became glaringly obvious.
“Clint Barton!” she hissed, slapping his arm in an attempt to jar him out of his mental reverie.
She didn’t bother waiting to see if he was shaken out of his thoughts, as it seemed not only was Namor finished talking, but that his last bit was about her. “Ah would be forever in yer debt… laike, seriously… How much d’ya want fer the stuff? Ah ain’t got much, but Ah’ve got time t’ save, yeah?” Whatever the price, she’d pay it. This fabric could be her ticket to a semi-normal life.
Honestly, Namor was going to give him some kind of self-image issue with the way he was going. It was a good thing that Clint didn't typically take the time to care what others thought about him, because otherwise it might already be an issue. He smiled a bit at Rogue's touch anyway, as it was a nice gesture.
The talk of mutant superiority made him want to roll his eyes and punch something - likely Namor - but he refrained. Which was probably a good thing, all things considered, because punching royalty likely wouldn't be good for his health or career. It was nice to see that Rogue herself seemed less inclined to believe in some people being inherently superior to others because of a trick of their genetic code.
"Yes, if. I think there's still a way for you to narrow the scope so you're only taking in what you want to, and not just everything. It might just take a while to learn, is all. I'm sure there's ways to make everything far more manageable and all that jazz," he replied to her, leaning in to nuzzle a kiss against her cheekbone.
His gaze shot to Namor as he recognized that particular lilt in the other man's voice. That was flirting. Oh, that was so flirting. He glared as Namor kissed the back of her hand, resisting the urge to pull her tightly against himself. Thankfully, they seemed to move on quickly and he was able to ignore - mostly - the fact that an actual King was eyeing up his girlfriend.
Clint was glad to hear that Namor didn't intend to let the fabric get into the world at large, but he did hope that perhaps they could discuss the idea of SHIELD getting some of it later on, maybe when production was closer. Then his mind drifted to the usefulness of the fabric for him and Rogue in particular.
"Ow!" he jumped as she slapped him, rubbing at the spot where her hand had connected. He was more surprised than anything and he grinned sheepishly over at her. "Sorry," he mumbled, ducking his head a bit. Guess he'd been caught thinking naughty thoughts.
Tuning back in to realize they were discussing Rogue getting some of the fabric herself, the goofy grin slipped back onto his face, although this time he did manage to keep himself from drifting off into inappropriate thoughts.
• rogueypoo • douchefish • stop flirting with her you jerkface -.-
Her protective streak continued, and he had to admit, he rather admired a protective woman. One that was no afraid to stare down a socially, economically, and physically superior being and dare it to continue its course of action. She certainly had some courage to her. Pity that it was over the archer, but still, the smirk that played across his lips was one of intrigue and admiration. He let the silence hang in the air, making no motion to continue his insult in the same vein. Better to simply enjoy the flare of her brows and the set of her jaw.
The furrowing of Clinton's brows and the hardness of his expression were hardly complimentary. There could be no denying the look of serious irritation, exasperation, and perhaps even hostility that passed over his face and into his body language for a moment. Considering what they were speaking of, and that the conversation hardly included him, and indeed, that Namor was being less entitled and bigoted than he could easily be, he found the development worthy of a quirk of his brow and a lopsided grin. "Quite mercurial, aren't we?" Ignoring him further, he went back to the discussion at hand.
"Be that as it may, no matter how hard it may wish, a tiger cannot change its stripes. We are superior. But it is for our greatness that we should be held to a higher standard. As larger threats emerge, it will be up to us to defend them." There could be no denying that it would be the duty of the sensible to protect their peers. Strength amounted to nothing if you could not defend your fellows, and protect those that you loved. And might was best in service for right. But that did not mean that the few and the strong should sit idly by in a culture of fear and contempt. "They will expect it of us, and in return we are owed far greater respect than we are given. We will be their sword and shield, and it is their duty to honor us."
For the few moments that he were near, he let his eyes drink in her everything, but especially the chocolate of her own gaze. He shifted to pull a slip of paper from the pocket on his sleeve. The Atlantean moved closer, until the fabric of her clothing dragged against his torso, and lingered, lips a few inches from hers. "It's a wonder he managed to snare you, is it not?" His words rolled off of her lips in a warm caress, vibration of his baritone washing over his skin as his fingertips played over hers, slipping the scrap of paper between them. On fine-quality cardstock, embossed in immaculate lettering was his personal phone number. He had several of the cards, all for business he considered especially pressing.
And she was in the trade of pressing business, it seemed. Especially with as irritated as Clinton was beginning to look. Unfortunately for the archer, jealous boyfriends were rarely a deterrent.
"I am not especially fond of them myself. Whatever man said that a child is innocent obviously did not meet one for himself. Their capacity for cruelty knows no limits. I should know." He grinned, as age had certainly tempered the sadism of his youth. It was compassion that had to be taught, something that was often forgot. Children were wildly destructive and essentially base animals. A foundation that you built up from. "But the idea of devotion to someone, providing them with everything, and watching them blossom before your eyes, forge their own destiny, and witnessing that personally is something that holds tremendous appeal."
The politics were rightly shelved with the Southern woman's comment. It was correct in his mind and required no further expansion.
The exchange between lovers was eye catching, though. And entirely exasperating. For a man in his middle ages, it seemed that Clinton had the functional maturity of a preteen.
"I am not in the habit of asking for coin from individuals." It seemed... beneath him. Particularly with his wealth. Exceptions were made, of course, but most of his pay-offs were done at a corporate level, and thus furthered some of the economic clout he was attempting to acquire. "If you are insistent on some form of recompense, I will ask of you a favor. Sometime in the future, I will make use of your talents or connections, and we will call it even."
Rogue was glad to see that Clint didn’t seem to be taking any of the sea King’s insults to heart. Her hand slid slowly away from his arm, but once it was free, it joined her other in crossing over her chest. She wasn’t trying to hide the skin that was current visible, but she did feel somewhat self-conscious as the topic of mutant superiority came into play. She’d heard the shpiel from Magneto before. It had unsettled her then, and it unsettled her now. Granted, back then, she’d been hooked up to a machine whose sole purpose was to sacrifice her so that the world’s leaders might learn what it was like to be a mutant…
Ten years later, the memory still sent a shiver racing down her spine, and she lifted one hand to slide fingers through her white streak of hair in a sort of nervous tick. Namor’s comment about a tiger changing its stripes struck Rogue hard, right in the chest. She knew all too well how true that was. The cure had not lasted long in her veins, and thus, the stripes had return to this tigress’ pelt.
What he said next, however, caught Rogue’s attention in a big way and her eyes narrowed as she tried to decide whether he was voicing his true opinion, or whether he was simply saying something nice to placate her. She finally decided on the first option - he may be a CEO and a monarch, but she didn’t get the oily politician vibe from Namor. “Well, when ya put it that way… Ah ain’t got nothin’ against helpin’ t’ keep the world a safer place fer everahone on it. That’s why Ah came back when the Professor called, an’ why Ah joined up with SHIELD fer the merger, an’ why Ah train everyday,” she murmured, her voice soft as she continued to mull over the idea of being superior in her mind.
Looking to Clint, she nodded somewhat bashfully. It was embarrassing, the fact that over ten years after the onset of her mutation, and she still hadn’t got a grasp on it. But perhaps that was the price of avoiding it as long as she had. Hiding her abnormality behind a pair of gloves and a distinct lack of a love life had become as much a part of her as the mutation was. She smiled softly at the kiss Clint placed on her face. As he pulled his lips away, a light stain remained, the physical sign of her slight embarrassment.
She was a humble girl by nature, so trying to convince herself that she was above others was not easy. But she was perfectly fine with raising the bar for herself, and making sure to reach said bar on a daily basis so that others who were not naturally gifted did not suffer. “Ah just… Ah had a bad.. experience.. with some’a us who thought they were more entitled than they should’a been. An’ they didn’t care who they hurt t’ show the world that line’a thinkin’. They even hurt others like us.” Gaining the monarch’s pity was not her goal, so she refrained from explaining further that she’d been the one they had purposefully hurt. She just wanted him to understand that when it came to the term homo superior, she had only met one other man to use it - and he had not been a good man.
Rogue’s breath caught in the back of her throat as Namor breached the distance between them. Was he about to kiss her? Right in front of Clint? Maybe he had the same hairbrained idea that Clint had during their first training sessions and wanted to get a feel for her powers. God, she hoped not. It had been a stupid move on Clint’s part (never mind the infatuation that had built up afterwards between them), and it would be stupid for Namor, too.
Just as she thought Namor’s lips were close enough to taste, he stopped. She could feel the distinct lack of space between the rest of their bodies, but she was frozen in - what was this? fear? anticipation? shock? The blush on her cheeks deepened further as the words rolled off of the Atlantean’s lips, sending an instantaneous shiver racing down Rogue’s spine. “Ah feel quite the same way about him,” she responded, her voice a little shaky as she broke the intense eye contact finally in order to see what was in her hand.
The confusion lasted only a few moments, just long enough for the fog of tension to dissipate somewhat so that she could actually read what was embossed on the card. A name and a number. She recognized the name, and could only assume that the number belonged to the man still standing precariously close to her.
And then he was gone.
Rogue’s mind continued to spin, the gears cranking slowly as she fought to catch up with the conversation at hand. Who was cruel? Her eyes drifted down to the number on the card, letting the combination slowly burn its way into her brain permanently. Wait… Who was he devoted to? Oh! Children! God, had she actually said that outloud?! A gentle smile of understanding curled up Rogue’s lips and she nodded in silent agreement as she worked to tuck the card into one of the zipper compartments inside her small purse for safekeeping.
Clint’s gutter mind was unbecoming. Rogue realized she might be a slight hypocrite for the way she acted after very nearly swooning under the Atlantean’s close proximity gaze, but that was slightly different… right? Just because the King of Atlantis attempted to tug at her sexual appetites, didn’t mean Clint needed to make his own so blatant for any who looked his way. Especially when she was right there! Needless to say, she felt a little.. intimidated being surrounded by these two. Although she refused to admit it out loud, Clint’s sex drive scared the ever-livin’ bajeezus out of Rogue; standing between him (with his mind off in the gutter again!) and a very confident King was immensely nerve-wracking for the southern belle.
Instead of smacking Clint again, Rogue sighed and rolled her eyes before returning her gaze to Namor. As intimidating as the Atlantean was, at least he was willing to continue talking rather than drift off to some sexual fantasy that would probably never happen so long as she didn’t have a grasp on her gifts. “A favor?” she asked, genuine curiosity lining her voice. Well, that didn’t seem too difficult. Hell, it’d probably be easier than trying to scrounge up enough money to afford even a shred of the fabric. Something told her it was not cheap, considering the fact that he had a team of scientists working on creating the stuff.
Before even bothering to mull over what form Namor’s favor might come in, Rogue thrust her gloved hand out towards the monarch. “Done,” she announced, her voice firm and certain as she waited for him to complete the verbal transaction.
Clint knew it was childish; he really did. But he couldn't help the snide repetition of Namor's words under his breath after the man spoke them and went back to ignoring him. The douchefish might be a king, but that didn't mean that he was soooo much better than everyone else. Even if he was the most attractive man Clint had ever met. Save maybe Captain America himself, but that almost didn't count because the man had been engineered by science to be perfect, according to Stark.
"They're the same standards. Do what you can to help the world," Clint pointed out, "It's just that mutants can do it in different ways." He hated the whole superiority angle. He'd trained hard to get where he was; a trick of genetics didn't mean suddenly someone else was better than him. Instead, he figured everything was equal as far as standards went. Be a good person; do whatever was in your power to help out. Certain people were better at some things than others. Mutants just so happened to be better at superpowers than others, so that was what they used to help others. He didn't see why people had to be so segregatory about it. Segregatory? Was that a word?
He bristled as Namor only got closer to Rogue, his Rogue, and his entire posture stiffened up. What did that douchefish think he was doing? Clint was still standing right here, after all, and Rogue was his girlfriend! Granted, Rogue could do what she wanted, since she was a grown woman, but that didn't mean that Namor had to be all flaunty about it right then and there! He and Rogue had something special. Despite his general tension and anger over what was happening, he didn't intervene; what could he really do, after all?
Once they were finally moving apart, he pulled Rogue close to his side, shooting Namor a glare that spoke volumes as to his upset over the situation; he didn't want Namor moving in on his girl, wonderful as she was. He'd lose Rogue in a heartbeat if someone better actually tried to seduce her.
He didn't actually speak, too busy gritting his jaw against anything unnecessarily angry that might come out; instead he just listened to the other two for a moment. About to open his mouth to warn Rogue away from agreeing to undefined favors, he let out a sigh instead as she happily agreed. Shouldn't someone have taught her that open-ended deals were a bad idea at some point in her life?
• douchefish • rogueypoo • stop that namor -.- • rogue stop liking him he's clearly evil
The Atlantean was not at all surprised that Clinton took to murmuring his words softly like a childish mantra, complete with snide inflection. All this merited was a simple, disbelieving look from the monarch who seemed thoroughly unimpressed with the blonde at that. It seemed that he was wrong in his belief that the archer had the emotional maturity of an adolescent. Oh no, an adolescent was far too thoughtful and composed for him. A pre-adolescent might be generous. Perhaps someone on the cusp of pre-adolescence would be more befitting a comparison.
When Rogue seemed to voice an opinion of agreement, Namor nodded his head ever-so-slightly in acknowledgement and approval. He was pleased to see that she was capable of objectivity as well as the brand of romanticism that he bore. The sense that the strong simply be being superior were indebted to those that were weaker than them, for it was upon their shoulders that the world rested. Unfortunately, her companion did not seemed capable of seeing the merit of such thinking yet.
"I agree as a whole, but it is not so simple. As greater threats emerge, our hands will be forced, and we will have to send the best of us. As you would not send a cripple to fight Captain America, nor would you send a soldier to fight me. All you gain in the process is a dead man that could be useful elsewhere, whether in the field or as a member of society. Mutants will be the force to drive back individuals that could fell entire cities. If they are not cared for, appreciated and respected, and are persecuted instead, they will have no inclination to protect their lesser brethren."
It was the lovely southern woman's mention of his former allies that drew his attention back to her. Her bashful smile dispersed as a more tense and almost tumultuous expression settled in on her countenance, even affecting the tone of her voice. "In the wake of the Invasion of '79, there was a surge of anti-Mutant sentiment. I felt..." he paused for a moment, and only a moment as he found a word that he seemed to agree with for his sentiment at the time. "Obliged to help my fellows on the surface. I was amongst the ranks of those you are referring to, for a full year's time. But my kinship could only endure so long in their company." The arrogance of Erik who expected the total obedient devotion of a King, and the more than questionable decisions that they made cooled the fervor with which he first defended his human cousins. Even after the Invasion, when he was at his most livid with humanity, he could not maintain the activities of the Brotherhood with a clear conscience.
Mutants were superior. But not in the way that 'the Master of Magnetism' and his cronies suggested. Not at the expense of the mutants that disagreed with them. Not at the genocide of humanity--even those that supported them. To kill a potential ally simply because they were different bore a degree of bigotry that even the very prejudiced monarch was uncomfortable with.
But he was exceedingly comfortable with the minimal distance between him and his new female acquaintance. The way that her whole body seemed to tense as if in anticipation, as though she were waiting with bated breath stoked the fires of his pride. Nothing was quite so intoxicating a form of flattery as the nonverbal, and he was positively inebriated on his own pride. For a long moment his eyes traced over her lips, genuinely contemplating tasting them, but he decided better of it. Not for Barton, not for his relationship, not even for her investment in the relationship, but out of pragmatism and more pride still. He wanted her to want him, not to fall prey to him in a single moment. And pursuing his passion so totally in front of his very company's display, particularly when the woman in question "belonged" to another was inadvisable.
"Pity." He whispered warmly as he withdrew, allowing her to look at his favor.
After that the archer pulled her to his side in a display of possessiveness that warned a skeptical and simultaneously amused look from the Atlantean, who let his eyes rest upon him heavily for a moment or two. Whatever Rogue did or did not engage in with him would not be dissuaded by an adolescent gesture of jealousy. Either their relationship was strong and would stand the test of time, or it would not. And if he truly felt so fond of her, he could do her the courtesy of divorcing his wife and making his commitment to her known to the world. But he did not.
"Yes, a favor and nothing more." When she proffered out her hand, he smiled genuinely. The idea that she could be of tremendous use was present, but he dismissed it with ease. She had been nothing but kind and considerate. Her taste in mates was to be questioned, but he would not take advantage of her by asking after a particularly lengthy or strenuous favor. What the favor would be exactly, only the future would decide. Shaking her hand with a firm but not uncomfortable grip, the monarch spoke again. "Excellent. Unfortunately, my pets, the contents of the day require my attention. Perhaps I will see you again," his eyes drifted between the two of them but settled especially on Rogue.