5692/Is A Birthday Another Day

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Is A Birthday Another Day
Date of Scene: 23 March 2021
Location: X-Factor Investigations
Synopsis: After attending a birthday party, Rachel comes to the understanding that - she doesn't remember her actual birthday. So it takes a Madrox to help Rachel figure out what day that might be.
Cast of Characters: Rachel Summers, Jamie Madrox

Rachel Summers has posed:
Just a few hours ago, one Rachel Summers was tasked with a question. A single question. When is your birthday? Now, for most, that question shouldn't be something that is both odd nor difficult to answer. The day you were born, for the most part, is one that can be filled with much happiness, reverie, and memories of 'better' (for most) days. Rachel ... has no memory of these things.

She doesn't remember having cake and ice-cream. She doesn't remember getting presents, or having 'family' gatherings. She has no true idea what day, or month and barely the year she was born.

A lot of that is due to the Phoenix's squelching of Rachel's memories. So many were so tragic, so horrific, that Kate and Phoenix thought it best Rachel not fully remember the past, just images. Moments. Knowledge but nothing really or truly concrete.

For the most part, Rachel is quite content to keep it that way, and yet, when is her birthday?

It is this reason Rachel sits upstairs in the living quarters of the X-Factor Investigations. She was supposed to update Jamie Madrox on a case that Theresa and her had done, but instead she's just sitting in front of the television, staring at the void box. Although, sitting probably isn't the right term, Rachel is floating half way up on the ground, legs crossed in mid-air, eyes glowing red with golden crackling flames surrounding her head.

Jamie Madrox has posed:
"Oh, there you are!" The voice of Jamie Madrox rings out as he rounds the top of the staircase and comes into view of the XFI living quarters. He's dressed casually today - just a loose fitting t-shirt and jeans - his hair typically unkempt but still short enough that the tussled look works for him. "I've been downstairs most of the day, didn't see you come in." He pauses just a moment as he regards Rachel's mid-air position, his mouth pulling into a bit of a grin. "But that's probably because you came in through the window..."

With a mild shake of his head, the lanky mutant crosses the room to take position in the comfy chair nearest to Rachel, slinging himself over the piece of furniture half sideways, with one leg draped over the arm of the chair as he settles in. His gaze moves from Rachel to the television and then back to Rachel again, gears almost visibly turning as he ponders either what to say next or whether to say anything at all. From the looks of it, she's pretty deep in concentration about something. Or, maybe just suffering from a case of 'binge-blank'. If that's not already a thing, Jamie thinks to himself, it totally should be.

After a moment - and during an appropriate lull in the television show - Jamie speaks again, his tone casual. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get very far on that laptop. Give me another day or so, but... Might need to bring in some big guns, as it were." His hazel eyes glance over to Rachel again, pursing just a bit, before he continues in a bit more of a concerned voice. "Everything okay? Last we spoke you were all gung-ho about following up on that black-mail case, but now you're up here watching a marathon of Charles in Charge..."

Rachel Summers has posed:
It takes another full five minutes and the end of Season Two of Charles in Charge before Rachel finally answers. Although answers probably isn't the proper term. Unravels herself from her yoga like mid-air pose, plants her boots on the ground and turns off the television before another episode begins. "They have never revealed his last name, yet, and I have watched through two seasons of this ... comedy." She states, her brows furrowing together in consternation, before those same (now green) eyes turn towards Jamie. "When is your birthday?"

It's a simple question to ask anyone, and yet, Rachel's tone has something else deeper within it. Her expression is intense, eyes narrowed upon the man as though the answer to that question is something so personal, and so important, it could SAVE THE WORLD.

Standing before Jamie with the question hanging in the air, Rachel does not respond to the question about the laptop, nor anything else, she simply asks the question and stands there, staring at Jamie.

Jamie Madrox has posed:
In response to the first statement after the television is turned off, Jamie blinks once and cocks his head to the side. He's not a Charles in Charge afficionado (if there is such a thing in the world) but surely the main character has a last name. "Sure he does," he starts out, though his tone grows a little more unsure as he continues. "It's... Wait a minute, it'll come to me... It's..." But alas, no such information surfaces and Jamie is left to wonder - do they ever reveal Charles's last name? Is it some sort of play on words, Charles N. Charge, like Chuck E. Cheese? The mind boggles.

Fortunately, he isn't given much time to dwell on the silver screen mystery before another conundrum is posed to him - at least, it certainly appears to be a conundrum from Rachel's point of view. The question of his birthday is asked with such sincereity and gravitas that Jamie is a bit taken aback. "My birthday...?" He pauses, then his eyes widen. "Oh geeze, was it your birthday and I didn't get you anything? I didn't even know when it was! I'm sorry - gah, I'm usually pretty good about that sort of thing too!" And he is clearly truly upset with himself, face scrunched up in self-recrimination before he senses the intent stare still coming from Rachel and blinks again. "Uh. My birthday's in September. The seventh. Which is kind of funny 'cause you'd totally think I was a Gemini, but, I'm not..." And then, as if realizing he's babbling a bit, he stops and gives an apologetic smile.

Rachel Summers has posed:
"It's a simple answer, isn't it?" Rachel states, still standing before Jamie Madrox, her gaze just as intense and focused as it was a moment prior. "You know it. You've known it. You would think that someone should know it. It's just an automatic response. When is your birthday, for you, it's September Seventh." Rachel's gaze moves away from Jamie and towards the window, there she stares out for a really. Long. Time.

Like insanely long time.

At least five minutes passes and Rachel's still just staring out the window at the wall there. It isn't even like there's a squirrel, or a pigeon, out there. It's just a blank, dirty wall. That's it. And Rachel's gaze is settled upon it.

Thing is, Rachel isn't really looking at the wall, no, her thoughts have become so focused internally, time doesn't have any real meaning.

"I have no memory of a birthday. None. I was asked that earlier today, and I didn't have an answer, and I still don't. Kitty and Hank gave me good advice, pick a date that has special meaning, to me, and yet. How can I even do that, if I have no real good memory. I have days that possess strength, like when Franklin died. Or the day I arrived here, in this world. October thirty-first, and February third." Rachel's completely out of it right now, and it shows. She's only just now really beginning to understand and realize her memories are shielded from her. They're not there, and she has no idea why. Was it the programming done to her as a hound? Or something else?

Jamie Madrox has posed:
Almost even before he's finished answering, Jamie starts to get the feeling that, although Rachel is talking to him, she's not really talking /to him/. It's almost as if she's talking more to herself, or perhaps to no-one. The focused and introspective tone of her voice makes Jamie a bit uncertain as how to proceed, and so when Rachel stops talking alltogether and just stares at the wall for a seeming eternity, Jamie just turns and stands there, staring at the wall with her. Except, Jamie's actually staring at the wall, not focused on an internal wrestling of thought and memory. And it dawns on Jamie that he really needs to spend more time dusting and cleaning up here. And maybe the living area could use a new paint job as well. After all, the downstairs has been remodeled and looks *great*, but they really haven't taken the time to do any work on fixing up the upstairs yet. But what color? Keeping it off-white like it is now would be good, but a pale blue or--

Suddenly, Jamie's brought out of his remodeling daydream by Rachel's confession of not remembering her birthday. Swallowing guiltily that he let himself get distracted so easily, he turns to face the red-head directly, eyebrows furrowing towards the bridge of his nose as he re-focuses himself on what she's saying. Not that it's very difficult, now that she's getting to the crux of the matter. What it must be like, to not know when your birthday is!

"Well, that is pretty good advice," he agrees. "I mean, the date you came here sure would have some synergy with being, well, re-born, I guess you could say," he offers. He doesn't know who Franklin is, so, can't really weigh in on that date. "What's..." He pauses, deciding to come at his question from a different angle. "Do you know the first memory you have? The first memory of a specific date, I mean?"

Rachel Summers has posed:
Once more turning to face Jamie fully, Rachel's caught out of her own reverie to focus on Jamie's words. The first memory she has of a specific date. A specific date. Once again, Rachel isn't really looking AT Jamie, she's looking beyond Jamie. She's looking at a teenager, a young girl being tortured again and again, tortured by Ahab. Tortured so she would stay in line, stay his captive, stay his hound. She welcomed that pain. That pain meant she was still alive. She was still able to -feel-. As long as she could feel, she knew she was still alive, somewhere. Somewhere deep within her.

The weather was just starting to get cooler, the summer had been so warm, so hot, so painfully uncomfortable. She preferred the Winter, the cold, it wasn't Summer, it wasn't Winter, but it was almost Fall.

"I remember... the pain first, and I welcomed it." Rachel's once again talking, but really has she honestly been talking to Jamie all along, anyway? "He was trying to break me again, trying to keep me broken, but I finally had enough." In her mind's eye, Rachel's lashing outwards, her powers bursting forth breaking free from the mold of being a hound, of being a prisoner, a slave. "I threw him against the wall, against the machines, and his body made such a fantastic crunching sound. They couldn't break me again, he tried, oh how he tried, his body broken, scars uncurable, unfixable stitched all across his face and body, and they had to send me to the containment camp, where I met Kate. Where I met Franklin. It was September twentieth, just a few days before the Fall."

Rachel turns then, draws towards Jamie and before the man might be able to react, leans up and plants a kiss right on his mouth. It's long, and drawn, it's full of passion and power, her arms wrap tightly about his shoulders, her body presses up against his, and then she's drawing away again, "Thank you Jamie. My birthday is September twentieth, remember and get me a gift." With that, Rachel walks on towards her room as though nothing else happened, the kiss, the revelation, nothing. All is once again normal in the world.