You Remind Me of The Babe
Location: The Mutant Underground
If there was one thing Waverley had learned about the Mutant Underground, it was that movement was perhaps the only constant. Not just in a broad sense, jumping from HQ to HQ when each was inevitably was compromised, but also on a personal level. Rest, true rest, was rare and oftentimes polluted by her own frantic mind. And yet, as she found herself in the shoddy kitchen of the Underground holding a cup of water, she found a small sliver of peace. With Sunshine's disappearance and subsequent reappearance, the turmoil in the tunnels, and now her project with Z, she couldn't resist the urge to let her mind melt to relaxed mush as soon as she was alone for more than a minute. So she let herself lean against the counter, her eyelids limply fallen over her eyes as she held the cup to her forehead, cooling off the skin still slick with stress-induced sweat.
Harry hadn't been able to find the time nor the words to speak to Waverley. He had wanted to say something back in the sewer tunnels but any thought got choked up in his throat and tangled in a knot. After that it just felt like she had been busy doing one thing or two next. As the night began to calm Harry made his way up towards the kitchen, needing a glass of water to help clear his throat from all the kicked up dust as well as to cool off his mind. When he'd walked in he stopped for a moment, noticing Waverly in there leaning over the counter having much a similar idea. He knocked on the doorframe to grab her attention. "Mind if I join you?"
He asked as he leaned against the open doorway, resting his weight onto his left shoulder.
As the voice called out into the kitchen, Waverley's head flopped up away from her cup, her eyes lazily fluttering open to see Echo standing there in the doorway. She gave a small nod, making a welcoming gesture that almost looked noncommittal due to her exhaustion. "Be my guest. Zarina's nice and all, but I think it might do me some good to be around someone who isn't a super genius for a few minutes...no offense,"
Waverley replied, letting out a deep sigh as she finally brought the cup of water to her lips.
Harry propped himself off of the doorframe and made his way into the kitchen, grabbing a glass and filling it with water before finally sitting down. He stared into the cup almost as if he was searching for answers that never came. "No offense taken."
He ran his thumb against the rim of the glass, a soft melodic sound resonating from it before he finally stopped and took a sip out of his drink. He fought about how best to approach this subject, not wanting to detract from anything he had said previously or make it seem as though he had any bias. There was silence, and then he cleared his throat. "You know...the first time I met you...well all of you...it was dark for all of us. I didn't fully understand why it was that my sister was here, what was so important. I was so blind to so many things... But then I met you guys and you've all, especially you, shown me just how much I hadn't seen. I just...I hate that it took losing my fiance for me to see it all."
Harry didn't dare meet Waverly's eyes just yet, staring still into his cup back at his reflection hoping to see a better man. His voice was low, barely a whisper like a man choking back tears to clear out his mind of weight that's plagued him.
The exhaustion in her eyes quickly found itself accompanied by sympathy as Echo began to talk, her eyes pulling away from their position staring at a wall to instead look his way. She would've usually took a few moments to soak in the validation he was dealing out, but he was clearly hurting. Instead, she let out a deep sigh that filled the silence that his words gave way to, her eyes shifting to the floor for a moment. She stepped forward, closing what little distance the cramped kitchen allowed, and let a comforting hand fall onto his shoulder. "You have to give up everything for the Underground. The less you have, the easier it is to do...I don't think anyone blames you for having someone you needed to hold onto. You're here now, that's what matters."
Harry placed his hand over hers, finally looking up to meet her eyes. He gave her a weak smile as he shook his head. "You are so much stronger than I am. When I first met you, well, if he had given me that choice, asked me what he asked you...I would've taken it. I would've taken anything to bring her back but...in a way I have her here with me now."
Harry placed the cup down onto the counter and pulled out a photo
from his wallet. He stared at the image for a moment before turning it so Waverly could see. It was the picture of a Fae, his late fiancé. "Not shown there are her beautiful wings that seemed to glisten in the light. You remind me so much of her, like a daughter she never had but would've loved to the ends of the earth. She kept me grounded, made sure my morals were aligned and most of all she made me who I am today. I'm not a hero, I'm not meant to lead or be great. I'm just a musician here to make sure his little Val is safe and somewhere along the line...well...somewhere along the line you showed me that I was so much more than that. Just like how Fae lit a fire in me and made me wish I was a better person."
Waverley went quiet at the mention of Max's proposition. It felt like it'd happened so long ago, much longer than it had actually been. She tried not to think about it when she could help it; she was worried any thought of it would drain her willpower until she eventually gave into the tempting proposal. She let her attention snap to the picture Echo held out, like a mental life preserver, and she leaned in closer, holding the bottom corner between her thumb and forefinger. "She's beautiful...and she sounds amazing. She clearly meant a lot to you."
She was quiet for a few seconds, before letting go of the picture and straightening back up. "I-...I'm flattered, but...that was all your sister. If it weren't for her, I'd still be a kid leaking footage of police brutality to my thirteen subscribers trying not to think about college applications. She has this ability to turn whatever fuckup lands in her lap into a hero. It's- I mean, quite frankly it's remarkable. She's remarkable, the most remarkable person I've ever met. Anything you see in me comes straight from her,"
Waverley deflected, a small smile taking over her lips as she talked about her mentor. While there had been good in Waverley when she joined the Mutant Underground, she'd always felt that it was largely Veil who'd sculpted it and turned it into something that could actually help the world.
Harry couldn't help but chuckled at Waverlys response. Though he agreed that Veil had the gift to mold heros out of anyone, it was because she was capable of bringing out what was already there and refining it into something more. Unlike him, Waverly didn't seem to take compliments easily. Having deflected them towards another instead of seeing the potential she has within herself. "Trust me, I know just how remarkable she is. Though I'm sure she'd still run and hide if she heard me singing 'Valerie', not that it'd do any good seeing as how it's my song of choice to find her even while cloaked. The point is is I can recognize her work, I can see what it is she's done and I am telling you that as much as she has helped you, you've made it that much easier for her to do so. There is such an innate strength and willingness to do good in you that act makes people want to be helped. That's what a hero needs. Someone who can bring reassurance in times of need, to ease the pain or worry by simply being there and having the conviction to do so. And you've got it. You took yours powers and used it to leak police videos, and do good. I took all my years at Xaviers and made them into a laser lightshow to make money playing music."
Harry shifted his weight onto his right foot, giving Waverly a cursory glance before offering her a smile. "There's more to you than you think."
Waverley let her hand slip off Echo's shoulder, instead dropping to her glass and bashfully rubbing away a smudge that wasn't there. The sheer amount of compliments he was dumping onto her was a little overwhelming. She was more used to getting validation little bits at a time, nibble by nibble, so this complete compliment onslaught caused her to lower her head meekly and go quiet for a moment. "Y'know, you sound just like her. She said almost the exact same thing when I decided to sit out on my first big mission,"
she finally said, a small smile stretching across her face. She was quiet for a few more seconds, before giving a stiff, reluctantly gracious nod. "Thank you, Echo. I...I wish I could see me the way you and your sister do."
To an extent Harry should've expected that Veil might have said something similar to Waverly when they first met. They really were twins after all, and even past that they could both see what lay in this meek purple haired Mutant. His lips were slightly agape in a show of small shock before finally curling into a grin before Harry started chuckling. "Of course she did. Always beating me to the punch that one. But she was right you know? I haven't been here much but you've grown so much in the time I have been, I can only imagine how much more you can in the future. Don't diminish your accomplishments, however small, relish in them and know you are becoming a better you. And if along the line you mess up, make a mistake, that's ok. Everyone makes mistakes, it's having to learn from them that's important."
Waves' head bobbed up and down in a series of small nods, bashfully averting her gaze, as though to look at the source of all these kind words would be like looking into the sun, like it would blind her. Oddly enough, she looked more like she was being scolded than praised, with her eyes cast down towards the ground. Still, despite appearances, the words were burrowing themselves into her, causing a light warm feeling to spread out from her chest. "...Thank you. I'll try not to, but...diminishing my accomplishments is kinda my go-to. It's a middle child thing, I think,"
she replied, giving a small chuckle as she awkwardly rubbed her arm with her free hand.
Harry gave Waverly a very paternal look. The kind that a father would give to signify that they're concerned. He pulled her into a hug and held her for a few seconds before letting go. "Hey I'm a twin, I get it. I mean think of just how difficult it must of been for poor little Val having such a fabulous twin to live up to? Why the granduer, the pizzazz alone! But in all seriousness I understand. And I also know it can't change overnight. But little by little, step by step, I will be here to help you make the way. Know there is a shoulder to lean on, and I'm more than certain that most anyone else in the Underground is willing to lend their too. So chin up, stay strong, and remember that your heart beats to a greater song."
Waverley's shoulder's rose up around her neck as she suddenly felt the feeling of Echo's arms around her thin and stringy body, causing her whole body to tense up. After a moment, she awkwardly returned the embrace. Her shoulders dropped when the young man released his grip on her, and she snickered at his comment regarding Veil. Her lips then softened to a more grateful smile as Echo continued on, her eyes mostly staring at the floor, though they took infrequent breaks to glance up and make eye contact. She filed away Echo's rhyme for later; he really was a musician, with rhymes like that. "Thank you, Echo. It really does mean a lot."