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A game of chess

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The new addition to the Inner Circle team was certainly someone, Esme Frost mused. She appeared to be almost solar-powered, like some sort of an energizer bunny gone crazy, (though not completely, even though the bloody insane asylum had tried), a person of emotion rather than interest, and clearly intent of indulging her interests, whichever they were at the moment, which was Andy.

…No, Esme did not care about the Inner Circle’s own Strucker, really – he was just fifteen, even if he was taller than his age. Rebecca, on the other hand, clearly did not care about his age, as their mental processes back in the elevator showed. Not that Esme cared, it was all for the cause, but how old was their new member anyhow? Her and her perky hair and pointy nose-

As she was passing by Lorna’s (and by extension – Dawn’s) room, Esme caught a feel of some very familiar mental processes. Figuring that as a woman she was entitled some pique at least, she opened the door-

“And what are you doing?” she asked Andy, ignoring the obvious – Dawn. Andy took his role as Dawn’s godfather very seriously.

“We’re talking,” Andy replied calmly, pointing to Dawn, naturally. “Lorna told me to keep an eye on Dawn, while she helps you and your sisters put Rebecca through a new test. She thinks that she can relate to Rebecca too, as well.”

“She told you that when?” Esme snapped – Lorna’s relationship with her and her sisters was never smooth; the magnetic mutant wasn’t a big fan of other women that weren’t related to her, unlike Dawn; she and Reeva had gotten along, somewhat, for the last six months because of Lorna’s pregnancy, but now that Dawn was born and alive and all, this could change at any minute.

“When I was taking Rebecca out, before the all the tests,” Andy confessed, nowhere near as smooth as he had wanted, but that would come with age, he was sure. “And now she wants to take it further, by himself. I’m with Dawn, and shouldn’t you be with your sisters, helping Lorna with the new tests?”

“Sophie told me that the two of them can handle it…” Esme trailed away as Andy did his best to look carefully blank. He did not quite succeed, but Esme had other people on her mind too. “The two of them! Where I would be without them-“

“Alone. And that feeling sucks,” Andy spoke without any humor in his voice.

“You still miss your family-“

“I’m getting better. Ms. Reeva helped,” Andy looked away. “I wasn’t performing so well when I came here either. Ergo, I was trying to do what she would do and it kind of went beyond-“

“No, really,” Esme muttered, as she sat down and used her powers to assemble the chess pieces on the chess board that Andy pulled out as an olive branch. The Frost sisters’ powers were telepathic, largely, but sometimes they could do telekinesis on a small scale too. Their old – their previous mentors in- in the Hellfire Club, (not the Inner Circle), had taught them as much; and there had been Dr. Nova…\

For a brief while the pair just played – Andy was not the best chess player, (he preferred checkers, period), but right now it was not the game that mattered, not really.

“…I bet that Rebecca doesn’t care about chess,” Esme finally broke the silence, (after the first few opening moves, but who was counting?).

“No, her idea of fun is to turn things inside out and then blow them up,” Andy admitted readily enough to for Esme to realize that he had been thinking about that sort of thing for a while beforehand. “I do the blowing-up, incidentally. Do you like having things blown up?”

“Only if they’re necessary,” Esme sniffed, (though she felt that it was somehow lacking in her usual disdain).

“And in Ms. Reeva’s plans, there’s going to be plenty of things to be blown up,” Andy continued.

“Yes-“ Esme caught herself and gave Andy a stink-eye. “Strucker, don’t play the fool! You knew-“ she paused, as she remembered her and her sisters’ interactions with the Mutant Underground in the past, and internally admitted that they might’ve been a mite bit dishonest. Just a mite. “-You figured out by now-“

“That Ms. Reeva’s glorious revolution is going to be more like the French one, rather than the American?” Andy nodded, as he made his own move, done at angle for Dawn to see and appr-ciate it all the better. “Yes. I talked to Lorna, and Sage, and the other ex-members of the Under-ground. They are on the level with it. I guess that so am I, then.”

“Reeva doesn’t like guesses – she needs certainties,” Esme snapped, (for a variety of reasons).

“Well then, I’m certain that Ms. Reeva is bringing back her own version of Fenris,” Andy said flatly, “hence – Rebecca. Let me give you a hint – it won’t work as she’s expecting it, because Rebecca loves when things explode, and I don’t.”

“Then you shouldn’t have left your family,” Esme began to reply, when she caught Andy’s gaze, and it was full of – things, things that left her rightfully annoyed, like that puppy crush of his, really, and she was going to say something about it, when-

“And what are you two doing?” Rebecca, the girl of the week, snuck her pointy nose in it. “Andy?”

“Rebecca,” Andy said brightly, though in a rather phony way that Esme assumed that the other girl would see right through. “We’re with Dawn. Have you met her yet? She’s my goddaughter!”

“There’s a baby?” Rebecca promptly ignored everything else, all the nuances, and trotted over to Dawn’s crib. “Wow! Whose is she?”

“Mine,” Lorna appeared behind Rebecca, and despite her own easy-going-sounding voice, everyone immediately paid attention to her, because of baby-related reasons. “Thanks for babysitting her, guys. As I was saying, Rebecca – great progress.”

“Thanks!” Rebecca beamed at the older mutant “Can I hold-“

“So far, only Andy can hold her, occasionally, ‘cause he’s the godfather and de-facto family, sort of,” Lorna said brightly, as she used her powers to turn on the water faucet in her room. Rebecca looked her eye to eye, nodded, (quite submissively), and trotted off to wash her hands, just in case Lorna changed her mind, and did allow her to hold the baby.

“So, what now?” Esme asked nonchalantly, as Andy put away their game, and her sisters with Sage entered the room.

“Now,” Reeva was the one who replied instead. “We move with the next stage of our plan!” She looked so grand and confident as she said that, that Esme was able to put away all of her memories of the slaughter of the old Hellfire Club, and listen to Reeva’s bright, grand and glorious vision of the future.

…But in the back of her mind, the dark memories of the past still lurked.