Title: ...From The Tree

Fandom: X-men

Pairing: Pryde/Wisdom

Rating: PG-13 (language)

Prompt: 027 Parents

Summary: An AU that won't leave me alone.

London: Thursday, April 5th, 2021 11:27:48 PM, Peckham

Alice Draper never figured her life for this. Her father's rigid rule had never allowed for socializing with boys at all, let alone for socializing with boys like this.

He'd always told her that getting out into the world would lead to her downfall. She doesn't think he had even been thinking of heroin addiction and tricking herself out to Maz's friends in exchange for another hit, but if he had, she couldn't have really blamed him for thinking the way he did.

The car coming down the road is an expensive one. She reckons it's cost the owner more than she could spend, even on drugs, in about a month. It's the most beautiful thing she's seen in weeks. This means dinner, rent and, quite possibly, enough smack to last her for even more than a week.

It slows down and the window lowers, the sound of cash registers rings in he ears. Alice steps up to the window, converses briefly with the handsome gentleman behind the wheel, gets into the car, and it drives off, its practically silent engine gliding into the London night.

London: Friday, April 6th, 2021 07:14:53 AM, Peckham

Garrett doesn't think it's fair. The chief gives all of the good assignments to Collins or Bateman. This doesn't really leave much for him and Marten except for graveyard shift. In the beginning, he thought it was because he was the new guy, but he's been around for two years now, and Bateman's only been there about a month.

At least he's off in forty-five minutes and he can go home and see Claire for breakfast before she leaves for her shift at Marks & Spencer's.

He and Marten are nearly the whole way through the alley, with his coffee on the way back to the station, before he sees her. His muttered "Oh, for fuck's sake," is barely enough to cover not only the horrific scene before them, but the never-ending drama that's about to be Friday morning.

London: Friday, April 6th, 2021 09:03:29 AM, Westminster

She passes through the office in a smooth stride. A medium height, well put-together woman with dark brown hair, pulled back in a utilitarian ponytail. Her sharp, blue eyes are shielded behind silver wire-rimmed, squarish glasses. She's wearing a grey suit with a blue shirt underneath, and small heels that click slightly on the linoleum floor.

A couple of people call out greetings, and in some cases, they're returned quite smoothly. In others, they're simply ignored.

She heads straight for the receptionist who sits in front of the door to the big office. She waves a few fingers in an almost cheekily before striding through the door.

In the big office, two men are having what appears to be pleasant small talk. One, an older bald man with large, round glasses sits behind a large oak desk. Behind him, another man, considerably younger, with sandy brown hair and brown eyes looks through the considerably large windows that span the back wall of the office.

Both men give her their full attention when she enters the room.

"Ah, Regan." The bald man stands, extending his open hand to her. "Thank you so much for coming in today."

In response, the girl waves slightly, heading directly for the coffee pot adorning the table by the windows.

"Who's the skirt, Jardine?" The boy asks.

"Willard, meet Regan Wisdom. Regan, Mark Willard."

Mark's heard of her, of course. Her father revolutionized a department. She, in her limited career, has managed to become a brilliant agent, and something of a legend in her own right. He didn't realize that she'd look so young.

Regan, for her part, appears unimpressed with Mark. She, instead, drops into one of the chairs in front of Jardine's desk and lights a cigarette, gazing at him over the tops of her glasses. She seems to evaluate him within a few seconds and turns her attention back to Jardine.

"Yeah, well you owe me, Jardine. This was supposed to be my day off, you know. I was looking forward to a nice, long soak in a tub with a good, thick book."

"I'm terribly sorry, but the truth is that this couldn't really wait."

"Ah. Well, then. By all means interrupt my day off."

This response brings a snort from Mark.

"I didn't think we got days off. Not really."

Regan stands, strolling over to the window to get a better look at Mark.

"Aww, he's a newbie, Jardine."

"I'll have you know," Mark draws himself up as tall as he can, "that I've been out of the academy for nine months."

Regan turns to Jardine, a cynical look on her pretty face.

"And I didn't get you anything, Jardine."

"Oh, you'll think of some way to repay me, I'm sure." Jardine gestures to the chair before his desk in a dismissive way. "Now, look, this comes to us directly from Scotland Yard. Regan, they'd like you to have a look at another crime scene."

"Fucking hell, Jardine. That's about six this week, innit? This is what I'm here for?"

"I'm afraid so. They think it's the same guy." Jardine shrugs.

"Of course they do." Regan rolls her eyes before sighing resignedly. "Fine, fine. You owe me, though. I want four days off now."

"You'll get two days, Regan. I'm not a fool."

"Three."

"I'll tell you what, Regan. I will give you a week. But, in return, you have to help the Yard with anything else that they find in relation to these murders."

Regan sits back in her chair, finishing her cigarette thoughtfully before putting it out in the ashtray on Jardine's desk.

"Fine." She rises, calling to Mark over her shoulder. "You coming, Willard?"

He follows, nodding to Jardine as he leaves.

They've barely made it out of the building when Regan's mobile rings. It's not a bad ring tone. He thinks it's Beethoven, but he could be wrong. She looks at the caller ID and a pained expression crosses her face for a moment before she answers it.

"Yes, Mum." Mark is intrigued. He knows, from scuttlebutt, that her mother is the famed Shadowcat from one-time super team Excalibur. He also knows that his older brother had a poster of Shadowcat. She's a stunningly pretty girl. It's obvious that Regan inherited some of her mother's genes. "I know. I had to come in. Jardine wants me to--" She pauses, apparently listening to her mother and lights another cigarette. "I know. Look, I will, but I have to stop by and see Granddad. He's got a new nurse and I don't trust her any farther than I can throw her. I have to make sure he takes his meds. Yes. Yes I know that. Okay. I'll see you for dinner, then. Bye, Mum." She disconnects and rolls her eyes, sliding the phone back into the pocket of her trousers.

"Your mother?" Mark inquires politely as they stroll to a small, green car parked at the edge of the car park.

"Your powers of intelligent deduction are astounding. Figure that out from all of the Mums did you?" Regan cocks her head at him, holding out her cigarette pack in a mute offering. Mark shakes his head. She nods and they get into the car. "Yes. My mother. She wanted me to come round this morning. I forgot when I got the call from Jardine."

"Your grandfather? Is he not well?" Mark buckles his seat belt as Regan whips the tiny car out of the lot and into London traffic.

"My grandfather was one of the best crime scene analysts that Scotland Yard ever had until they drove him insane and abandoned him." Regan's tone is bitter as she flicks her cigarette but out of the open window. "It's a crying shame how they've done him. That's why I'm not too keen doing favors for them."

"So why are you?"

"Because Thomas needs a good crime scene analyst for this rash of murders that's been going on in Peckham, and I am, quite honestly, one of the best there is."

"Inspector Dai Thomas?"

"Right. He's a friend of my mum's or I wouldn't give him the time of day. Serial killer or no serial killer."

"Your mother is Shadowcat, right?"

"Yes."

"And your dad is a mutant, too?" Mark wonders how much of this personal interrogation she'll allow before she gets snippy. Still, if they're going to be partners for the time being, then it might be helpful to know all he can about her.

"Yes." Regan takes a sip from a metal traveler's cup in the driver's side cup holder, cringing at its lack of heat. She hesitates a brief second before glancing at Mark. Then, she sets the cup back in the cup holder, sticking the very tip of her pinky finger into the coffee.

A few moments later, steam issues from the cup's contents. She smirks. "Yes, I am. Well done, by the way. That was a tricky way to work into that question, but I've got no real patience for prevaricating. You'll learn that. I get it from my dad." She nods to the coffee cup briefly before returning her focus to the road. "Along with other things."

"Your father is a genius." Mark isn't really trying to suck up, but he thinks that's how it comes out. Regan shoots him another of her appraising looks before continuing.

"My father is brilliant. He's also dangerously close to heading down the same road as my grandfather. 'S what happens when you're too fucking good at what you do and they never let you take a break to read a decent book." She flips the station on the radio to something else, until she seems finally content with the musical selection. It's an eclectic mix of music from the late 60s.

"What were you reading anyway?" Mark observes the organized chaos of the car. It's cluttered. A combination of food wrappers, file folders, empty silk cut packets, and what appear to be computer components.

"Infernal Device: Machinery of Torture and Execution." Regan smiles wickedly and Mark finds himself suddenly uncomfortable. This girl might, quite possibly, be insane. "It's part of a series."

"Ah."

"Look, Mark, is it?" He nods. "A word of friendly advice."

"Yes?" Mark is intelligent enough to realize that any advice that comes from the mutant child of two of British Intelligence's two best products should be well-heeded.

"When you're meeting someone that Jardine has chosen to introduce you to, always assume it's to the benefit of your career." She lights yet another cigarette. Mark wonders what her lungs look like. It can't be good. "And, therefore, it's always best not to refer to them as 'the skirt.'" She snorts abruptly. It's not ladylike, but somehow it's fitting. "Especially when they are not, in fact, wearing one."

"I bet you look brilliant in one, though." Mark grins in what he's been told is his winning way. Regan chortles suddenly and chokes a bit, obviously not expecting him to say anything of the sort.

"Oh, I could blow your mind." She nods emphatically. Mark figures that's probably true. "Of course, I'd just as soon kick your ass. Keep that in mind."

Mark figures it's best not to say anymore. They ride the rest of the way in silence.