Let The Festivities Begin

February 04, 2016:

Take Back The Night Festivities

M-Town - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

"Nuh uh honey chile'! We ain't finna be shoppin' at this store. Do you SEE these prices? Tuh! Somebody's gotta pay more for the whore if you know what I mean.." Some random drag said that, as she walks out of the store with heels too hall, eyeball glancing from the back of her head left and right as she sees all ways but one. That's the left.

But Mutant Town this day was nothing but filled with happy. A stage set out for a band to play in the background as Debra Manning takes the microphone which squeaks loud as ever, a smile upon her face.

"I am -so- glad we're taking advantage of this freakish winter weather!" The little crowd that gathers around cheers, even a few claps, then there is a 'woo Debra' and a 'shut the fuck up dude!' in there somewhere.

"Now now guys. No swearing! There's little ones in the crowd."

'My Bad.'
'Yeah you damn right.'

"So, all the stores have so far collected fifty percent of the projected number of guns and the police have tagged and marked them." A cop comes upon the stage, clutching his helmet proud, Debra motioning him forward to drag her arm around his waist. "And by the end of next week, we should reach one hundred percent capacity!"

The crowd roars again as she brings her hands up and down to get them to settle.

"Now I want you to partake of all we have to offer. Across the street from me is the Community Center, where we'll house the children and teenagers who want to learn to play a little bit of basketball. We also have a slam dunk contest a little ways over. And one of those water dunk tanks that I think a local teacher is going to get into. We'll see!"

"Food galore is available, and remember, all of the proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity and in part X-Red, who.. in a few weeks time will showcase a house that was built by their very own hands! Music will come hence forth and.."

The cop whispers something within Debra's ear. "Oh. Officer Jones would like people to stop by his daughters booth, she's drawing caricatures for people for five dollars! And.. there's a kissing both somewhere.."

She clears her throat and rushes off the stage.. let the festival begin!

Sucks to be whomever got roped into sitting in the water tank. Betsy's making a killing, and she's doing it without even cheating. It's a sturdy, low table at which the killer psychic is sitting with a patiently demure smile and an increasingly growing jar full of cold hard cashola.

The sign in front? "Arm Wrestling: England vs. Everyone." And a little Union Jack's been artistically applied to the… entire front of the table. Subtle, Betsy is not.

The next victim's wrist slaps the wooden top with a growl of pain, and Betsy smiles that empty, sweet expression that's absolutely pitliess. "What was it you wagered? Twenty dollars? The kids appreciate your donation, … Jim," she says, sitting back on her chair and crossing one leg over the other at the knee. For the moment the crowd disperses— until the next rube arrives.

Outside of the concert area, Scott Summers is not working the kissing booth. Instead, the ruby glasses wearing mutant is trading vouchers for tickets to a five game Knicks or Nets home stand for guns and over-sized knives. As people turn in their weapons, he turns them over to the 11th NYPD Precinct, who is keeping them in a large lockbox as Scott fills out the voucher information for exchange. There's very little needed, in order to keep away the fear of a round up after the carnival.

Kurt Wagner is refereeing the basketball games and supervising. Wearing a striped shirt and black sweatpants with his tail trailing behind him, he's BAMFing back and forth between three separate games on the asphalt playground. At one point, he appears on the backboard itself, swatting away a ball, "I saw that foul, Devon! This is a basketball game, not the WWE, mein freund. Take a breather and walk off your temper. Don't breathe fire at me, young man, I know your mother!" he calls out.

He teleports over to another game and helps up a kid who fell, patting him on the back as the boy tries to keep up with the others, but his legs resemble tentacles more than normal limbs and he keeps flopping around and sticking to the floor, "It's okay, Roger. As you grow to learn how to use these, someday you'll be flinging yourself around way faster than any of these, ja? Here, go get yourself a soda and a hot dog," he says, giving the kid a couple of dollars and then looking back over his shoulder and blowing a whistle before teleporting to it, "Time out! We're not playing shirts versus skins, put your clothes back on!"

While white men couldn't jump, Doug Ramsey -could- at least play basketball. Perhaps it had something to do with not biting on 'fakes' and being able to read body language that he could practically -cheat- on the court defensively, but the young mutant was essentially a pest defensively. On the other hand, he definitely couldn't shoot, going for layups instead, or just dishing the ball off to avoid getting smashed by 'no harm, no foul' rules.

Still, when Kitty -had- to stop by from what she was doing, to make -one- comment, Doug gave her a -look-, and attempted to do exactly that on the next play.

It -was- a valiant enough effort at a dunk, but it just went to prove Kitty's little point -was-, in Doug's case, actually correct.

White men -couldn't- jump.

Sighing, Doug looked up at the sky from his sprawled back. "Shut up."

Kitty is nowhere in particular, wandering the fair. She wanted to play basketball, but a phasing mutant playing a contact sport just wasn't fair. It's also why she wasn't allowed to play touch football at Xavier's. No one could touch her. Moving through the crowd, she stops by the basketball court to tease Doug and his less than stellar skills. Giggling, she yells out, "WOO! Go Doug! Showing that school spirit!" Giving her friend a very innocent look, she raises her arms up in the air, calling more attention to him falling on his back at his attempt at a dunk. She can't help herself.

Jean was busy, walking through the crowds, patting a person here and there, pow'woing with the cops. She looked busy, too busy. All of the X-Men, Red included commanded the scene and kept things in working order.

"Say Red." One of the cops mutter out, sticking to her side as if he had nothing else better to do. To be frank, which his name was, he was a little bit antsy and was used to beating the streets out in Brooklyn.

"I saw this little number with the fly wings back there.."
"Yeah? That's Stacy."
"Y'know.. I kinda was a fly boy myself back in college."
"Oh honey, I think she's too young for you."
"But she's only two years younger than me."
"My point exactly. You need an older woman. Trust me, she'll put you right."
"Well.. can you at least hook a brotha up?"

Jean laughs and drapes an arm around Frank, leading him right towards the kissing booth. It was there that Esmerelda sits, her lips puckered out, tossing on a bit of ruby red and kissing at the mirror. She looks left and right, angling the mirror itself high, her eyes catching sight of Jean and Frank, in which she immediately stands.

"So. Kisses. I do women and men. No kids. Unless they want cheek kisses. I can rock a cheek kiss." She waggles her brows slightly as Jean pushes Frank forward. The man looked nervous enough, but he puts down the five dollar bill and closes his eyes.

'Be nice.' Jean mouths out.. for Esmerelda already bore her fangs, her long as hell python tongue rolling out like a red carpet. Damn Jean, always ruining her fun.

Hands smack against the mans cheek and pulls him into a kiss, his arms begin to flail as she nearly pulls the man into a booth, necking him hardcore and letting him go.

Frank, flustered, stumbles away.. tripping up on the curb just a little until he has to sit down and catch his breath.

"I am going to MARRY the SHIT out of her.."

A special event for Mutant Town? Perfect time for the P.R.-minded quarter of the Fantastic 4 to make an appearance.

Johnny Storm walks into the area, having utilized public transportation to reach the party, rather than relying on his signature, fireball approach. He's dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a collared jacket, navy blue, sporting the Fanastic 4 emblem prominently near the collar.

Storm isn't a mutant, per se; he likes mutants, though, and considers his existence akin to theirs in a way. This isn't merely about P.R., after all. Regardless, he walks in with a smile, and a wave for those passersby who recognize him.

Despite being so recently kidnapped, Dr. Hank McCoy made certain to make an appearance at the 'Take Back the Night' festivities. He's wearing the t-shirt under a jacket and is also milling about, greeting those he knows and just sort of observing. He's not blue and furry right now…and he's not terribly thrilled at that, but he's still doing what is safest for the Institute. Besides, those from the Clinic know him better this way.

Things are slowing down at the ticket for gun exchange as Scott starts to pack up the rest of the vouchers and turns the last of the weapons over to the local police. "Thank you for your help, officers." he says as he places his items in a bag to adjust his glasses and gives a grin as he notices Jean over by the kissing booth. But that's not where he heads first. Instead, he ambles over to where Betsy is, and moves to take a seat. "So, I have a dollar that says I can break this streak of yours, Bets." he says with a casual smile as he pushes his glasses up on his nose.

From the sidelines, Brin watches. When Jean asked X-Red to be there, of course she said yes. With the festivities underway and everything in control, not a feeling the small brunette is used to, she's taken a moment to … just be.

Dressed in her X-Red uniform, she leans against a wall and snorts in amusement as Frank takes a seat on the curb - he really should know better.

As Scott challenges Bets, she just shakes her head, this should … be interesting.

It only takes a few more moments for Betsy to start getting fidgetingly restless. A foot starts bobbing in the air.

She eyes a particularly athletic looking cop who seems promising… and then Scott sits down across from her. One corner of her lip starts to pull into a smirk… then she smiles pleasantly.

"The ante, as you Yanks say, is ten dollars, Scott." She gestures at the table. "Have you suddenly been working out more? Or are you just feeling particularly lucky today?" she asks the lean fellow, sitting upright out of her indolent slouch.

"Man, okay. So you wanna be that way huh." Morgan says, standing up to the crew of other mutants mingled with humans as he puts his arms around his chest.
"Yeah, it's like that." The other guy, James snaps out, a mutant of 5'6 with ears that nearly resembles a bat. "You think I ain't heard you, I heard you. Asshole!"

The crowd goes wild with oo's and boo's, as Morgan's crew slowly approach behind the larger man. "Yeah, well lets do this."

"We ain't doin' pink slips here jackass, ain't no room!"

Morgan only shakes his head, snapping his fingers quickly as his boys rush to the front to drop the split open cardboard box.

"Awe hell naw.." One of James' crew cries out. "This dude wants to BATTLE!"

A BOSE and Stark-Phone hookup was soon produced from one of the crew members as Morgan takes center upon the cardboard box.

Music begins to play, mingling in with those upon the stage as he kicks up with a twist and turn, flipping himself backwards with a stanky-leg handles while James pushes him out of the way. But they were all laughs and show of sports, James was already twirling on his head and accidentally let his tail slip and whip through the air.

Oh, Kitty was so -asking- for it. That she usually couldn't get away with playing contact sports because she phased through didn't mean too much in a charity game, and Doug -had- at least worked out a way to give -her- fits when she would be playing basketball. It only remained to see if he could put theory to action.

"Har har. Well, we're doing this for charity, so why don't -we- play one on one? C'mon, it'll be like Lebron vs Durant, Bird vs Jordan… uh… ninja vs … pirate?" Doug replies, leaping on up from the ground. "C'mon, you know you want to."

"Ten you say? Fair enough. Well, you know. Not had much to do lately except work out." Scott says with a casualness that isn't exactly forced. After all, he had a couple of weeks in a prison with nothing better to do. Settling into the seat with that same pretty much casual expression he always wears, somewhere between stoic and a smirk, he pulls back his sweater a bit to set his arm upon the table. He's not as toned and defined as Betsy is, after all - he's supposed to just be a teacher.

The other hand sets the ten upon the table. "Actually, let's make this a little more interesting.." he says as he looks across to the purple-eyed beauty. "If I win, you handle the school and other things.." his usual field positions, included, "…for two weeks while I take Jean on a much deserved Valentine's vacation."

In his wanderings, Hank makes his way to where Scott and Betsy seem to be…arm wrestling. Really? How interesting. His hearing might not be as sensitive in this form but he does hear the tail end of that bet. Blue eyes blink a bit before he inches closer, peering through the windows of the onlookers. The music catches his attention briefly and even gets a light chuckle.

Both of Betsy's eyebrows go up, then narrow, then a slightly smug smile crosses her purple-tinted lips. "What's in it for me?" she asks, not moving to rest her forearm on the table quite yet. "Ten quid versus two weeks of me pulling …" she counts on her immaculately manicured nails, "four times the work?"

She bats her eyelashes at Scott. "What's two weeks vacation worth to you?" She glances at Hank and flashes the mutant intellectual a quick, flickering smile. From Betsy, that's practically an ecstatic greeting, anyway.

A young man, Mike, from the clinic wanders up towards Hank. He looked nervous, but he does give a shoulder bump to the Doc.
"Hey Doc. You got a sec? I got this weird rash.. And it's kinna' itchin.."

Kitty gives Doug a bit of a grin and shakes her head. "I wouldn't want to steal the court from everyone," she tells him with a laugh. Though, she's not flat out turning him down. "And there's no way you're a pirate. Other than maybe torrenting seasons of Game of Thrones." Moving forward, she puts her hands on her hips. "You really want to go one on one?"

"Depends on what you want me to offer, Bets. What's two weeks of sanity worth to you?" Scott asks in return as he gives his own thin smile. No more complaining about him not taking Jean out like a good boyfriend. No yoga pants. No Netflix and Ben and Jerry's. Two weeks of peace of the Scott and Jean show. What's it worth to her, indeed. He doesn't make any offers, just waits for her to respond. "I already have the tickets bought, she just doesn't know it yet."

It isn't long before Johnny Storm happens upon Kitty Pryde, the first face he recognizes from that super weird operation in the N-Zone like, what, a year back? He stands back for a moment, observing her exchange with Doug, before piping up with his distinctive voice.

"Okay, you guys. I'll ref. Powers? No powers?" He waggles his hand a bit before grinning at the two.

Kurt Wagner gives up on trying to actually enforce rules on the kid games, just makes sure that none of them are beating on each other, breaking any bones or liquifying the environment. He sits on top of the wire surrounding the courts, sipping on a Capri Sun and watching over the rest of the neighborhood, bemused by the sight of Doug and Kitty getting ready to play. His money was on the girl.

He stretches and just looks around casually, peering here and there, the mutant neighborhood's own personal gargoyle.

Hank McCoy turns to look at Mike at the jostle. There's a sigh but he nods, "Sure. It's not anywhere…erm…weird, is it? Do we have to go into the clinic?" He's happy to take a look. "You sure it's not poison ivy or bed bugs or something?" There's another glance back towards Betsy and Scott but any hurt in his eyes is quickly masked as he turns his attention on Mike.

"Powers, I think" Brin calls to Johnny, Kitty and Doug. It's always amusing when that happens. Besides, watching Kitty hand Doug his ass might be funny. The interaction between Scott and Betsy has her smiling slightly.

Still paying some attention to Scott and Betsy, the brunette glances up at the companion who's just her joined her "What do you think about the fesitivities, Gabe?" She's sure he just saw what happened at the kissing booth.

Mike shows off the back of his hands. He scratched the skin off raw to the point there was a show of scales underneath. Surely, Mike had to know what that meant. But he at least wanted something to cool the itch down so he could make it in school. Bajeesus. "This is about as weird as it gets Doc." He wasn't going anywhere, but he does get distracted.

"Hey James! That isn' how yo.." He takes off, then turns slightly. "Sorry doc! I need to show these muties how to break dance!"

Betsy stares at Scott for a few beats, wheels churning in careful thought. She gives Hank a sympathetic look when the young man starts to pull him away.

"The Indian," she says, her amethyst eyes smouldering with eager glee. "You've had that rusty frame knocking around in the garage for too long, anyway, and I've not been on a bike since I finished fifth form here."

She glances at Jean, lips curling into a smile, then looks back at Scott. "I want to finish rebuilding it so I don't have to take the bloody van into town for coffee."

With a deliberate ease she removes her blazer jacket, leaving her in a sleeveless blouse, and she rests an elbow on the table. "How about it, Scott? Game?"

His hat pulled low over his features, Gabriel glances at Brinley when she speaks to him mere moments after her arrived to find her. There's a grunt that leaves his lips when she asks about what he saw. "It is a display. I conducted some reading and learned that such displays are intimate, not normal greetings." The man avoids eye contact with Brin but rather looks out at the goings on. "I still do not understand the purpose of this celebration."

Eddie rolls out the welcome mat for smells that assault the senses. No one said that the man couldn't barbecue in the middle of a weird winter when it was nearly 60 degrees out. The man was from Wisconsin (shoutout) and he could do that in a tank top.

Smokers and grills were rolled out, placed all in a row, the food hot and still going on inside but it fills the entire block with the smell of good charred meat. Smaller grills that housed chicken, brats and steaks were set out as well, then the burger grill, for some reason Eddie wanted to keep that separate.

The matter of obscenity was subjective; Eddie had at least three big gallons of Sweet Baby Rays, rolled out in containers that you could fit at least three bodies in. Not that he was in the business of hiding bodies but the point was made. His entourage set out the tables to add in the salads of all sorts; egg salad, potato salads (American, German, and some concotion that Gran-ma-ma made when he was younger), bowls of fruit, poe-tay-toe chips as he'd call it, and a slew of other drinks that were made out of watermellon shells and for the Goth muties spurting out of skulls.

Food for everyone, probably more than enough. He saves the really, really hot stuff for those who could handle it. And he would always say.. 'Betta not bring 'yo kids'.

The Indian. It was a project that Scott had set aside before everything with Rachel happened, and it actually brings pauses to the ruby framed mutant. His expression turns pensive. He'd put a lot of care into that bike, and while not completely finished as he was still scavening for a last few original parts, it's worth quite a quid in it's current state. And now he has to decide - the Indian or the Redhead.

As he leans back, supposedly in thought, he's dragging it out, of course, the decision was already made. However, as he sees Hank, the field leader gives a wave. "Hank!" he calls out with a relaxation that's evident in his voice. "I heard that you were rescued! I'm sorry we haven't had a chance to visit.. things have been rather busy." he manages with a faint sigh, before he returns his attention back to Betsy.

"Alright, the Indian for the two weeks." he says with a nod of his head at the idea. He's willing to put one of his pride and joys on the line for a chance to get Jean away for a bit.

"Miss Grey."

Matt Murdock's low, but clear tone calls to the doctor from behind just before he approaches her. He smiles and gives her a nod. "It seems as though you've done a fantastic job in organizing so much of this. I wanted to give you congratulations myself. I hope you have already received the check from Delvis'. The CEO was out of the town and only just returned. He assured me everything would be in order on Friday."

"Oh I wouldn't worry too much about team basketball.. but if you want to play it as a team, we can do that."

Calling out to the other team, Doug points at Kitty. "Hey guys, you want to take her on your team? She doesn't usually play because she -cheats-."

There was a few snide comments, but for the most part, they looked enthused. Why not? She didn't look like much, but that was okay, these girls were -so- cute when they tried to play.

"Okay, Kitty, play. And remember, this is -basketball-, not -soccer-. You gotta dribble with your -hands-," Doug replies, more an attempt to trashtalk than anything educational. Not that it was Doug's thing.

"Go get some cortisone cream," Hank offers, noting the molting that Mike is going through. "Try to keep moisturized and chalk it up to winter dry skin?" There's a bit of a smile then before he waves the other off, "Go show them how it's done!"

At his name, he pauses and looks over to the source. He takes a moment before he steps back towards the arm-wrestling duo just a couple of steps, "Yes. I was." After a pause, he then turns around to move towards the food and maybe help organize the queues or something.

Kitty grins at Brinley at her call out that the game should be powered. As Johnny approaches, she gives him a smirk, "Mr. Storm, welcome to Mutant Town. I was just trying to dissuade Doug in taking me on in a one on one game. If you'd like to ref, I'm sure Doug would appreciate it. He seems to think I don't know the rules of the game. Despite the fact that I grew up with the Chicago Bulls."

At Doug's attempt to trash talk, Kitty merely grins and shakes her head. "Oh boy, Doug, you better hope your free throw is better than your trash talk. Do you want to flip for first possession or do a tried and true jump ball?"

That voice! Jean nearly jumps as she whips around to face Matt, a grin piling upon her face as she walks towards the lawyer with an open arm to try to catch ahold of his elbow. Not to show him or lead him, but to follow. Respect. If he moves, she moves. If he stops, she stops. "Oh.. I didn't do all of this. I just put the word out for Ms. Manning." She smiles a little, then glances around at the scene, a little wave given to Brinley and then another towards Scott and Betsy. What in the world were they doing?

With Doug and Kitty heckling each other, Johnny attempting to referee, she glances up towards the wires to wave towards Kurt, then joins her hand back to Matt's elbow. "I received the check, and thank you so much for helping with everything on your end. And congratulations to you for that too. I don't think we wouldn't have this big of a turn out if you didn't help."

Betsy shakes out her arm and drops and elbow onto the table. Betsy's not one to shy away from showing off her athletic frame, of course, but she very rarely works out in public. When she grips Scott's thumb in a familiar clasp, she turns a bit to set her weight— the trick to arm wrestling, after all, is more in the core than in the bicep. Then again, Betsy's got to be packing some fifteen-inch guns when in full flexion, and lines of muscle coil all the way from wrist to her slender neck with the first hints of strain.

"Oh, Hank? Would you mind being the referee? We need an impartial observer," she asks of the fellow with a quick smile.

Once they're set, she focuses on Scott's visor, emotion draining away from her face until it's set into an iron mask of cold and totally precise focus.

At the start signal, her body tightens like a coiling snake and her wrist strains sharply inwards to upset Scott's leverage as much as possible and try valiantly get the upper hand, quickly.

Hank McCoy has already stepped away from the arm-wrestling table and he helping some of the younger festival-goers get plates of food.

Matt's smile widens as he walks with Jean before coming towards a stop a little while down the way. "My mistake, I thought you were spearheading most of the organization. My mistake. In any event, the food smells absolutely wonderful and people seem to be having an excellent time. Ms. Manning should be rather proud."

A casual glance to Brinley is paired with a rueful smile, before Johnny Storm looks back toward Kitty. "You mean…" Wait for it. "Daaaa Bulls!"

Storm laughs, and shakes his head, gesturing for the two to carry on. "I'd only end up lighting the court on fire soon as someone fouls with an oil slick or something. You guys can handle yourselves. Me, I'm gonna try some of that really, really hot meat over there."

With that, he turns and heads over toward Eddie and his grilling mastery.

As soon as their hands are locked, Scott takes on a grim look of determination. But there's something else there, as he feels the pull on his wrist. And he looks up Betsy, his ruby visor locking onto her purple eyes, and as she seems to be getting the early advantage, he says simply, quietly for her ears only.

"Thank you, Bets. Since she found out she was possibly pregnant.."

And he just absently trails off after dropping that little bombshell.

"Jump for it," Doug replies. Giving her a moment to say -something- about his jumping ability, Doug's answer was simple enough - call out the tallest person on his team and let -him- jump for it. Whether or not Kitty followed suit, it didn't matter, because as soon as the ball was recovered by one side or the other, Doug would be sticking to Kitty like glue. Ball denial. If he was correct, Kitty -might- run into a wee bit of problem with the ball once she got it…

Giving Gabe a slightly amused look, Brin pushes off of the wall. "You mean kissing? It can be both, depending on the situation." Just because she's reserved doesn't mean others are and he'll learn that all too soon enough.

"Come on, let's get some food and I'll introduce you to some people." Nope, she's not going to explain the purpose of the festival - he just has to experience it, for now. Time for talking, later.

For now the competition between Betsy and Scott is left behind, as she leads her companion to the grill, giving Jean a wave and a smile.

"Would you like me to make you something, Mr. Murdock?" Jean asks. And thankfully, she was so focused at entertaining the good lawyer that heads were not rolling in the slightest. Heads. They were not rolling. Be thankful for that. "I think Eddie is thinking of setting up shop in Mutant Town instead of where he lives currently. And it's a really good thing you're here. Pretty sure he needs someone to help him broker a deal and help him with the legal aspects of business running."

Jean gives Matt a light tug, then glances towards Brinley and the young man. "Huh.." He looked a little familiar..

Betsy's eyes go for narrowed, tight focus to snapping into wide, absolutely shocked amethyst orbs. The ruse works— and Scott snaps her hand straight back atop the table.

Betsy's jaw drops wide open.

"Jean's PREGNANT?!" she asks in a high, shocked voice— and unlike Scott's coy, careful murmur, her very distinctive cultured accent carries -very- well, stunning a short radius of the crowd into silence.

Kitty let's her team decide on what to do. As the ball is recovered, Kitty is quick to follow it, immediately going on the offensive. She assumed that Doug would be following her - otherwise what was the point of the competition. Pivoting in place a few times before she stops in place at Betsy's high-pitched and shocked voice. She knows Betsy and the cry is enough to stop the mutant in her tracks. Blinking, surprised, she looks to Doug for a few moments - hoping that the pair of them will take this bit of information properly before getting back into their own competition.

"That sounds fantastic. My father was a big fan of BBQ and he passed it on down. I'd be happy to talk with this Eddie—I'll be sure to give him my card." Matt takes a step in that direction before he hears Betsy's declaration-question. He turns to Jean, "Congratulations?"

Gabe again looks at Brinley when she explains and once more the man snorts before he finds himself walking along beside his keeper, looking between the varous displays. None of it seems to make much sense to the man as he does his best to avoid contacting anyone while taking steps. "All of these people here, they are like us?" He asks it simply enough, pausing to look around at a loud noise before focusing his attention the destination; food.

Getting Betsy's hand down was more than worth it. Even if Jean may pick up on Betsy's shock as well as everyone else in the near vicinity - way to go, ninja girl. Scott releases her hand, and dusts it off as he rises to his feet. "Not yet, but maybe after the vacation." he says with a smirk at the psychic. Letting out a breath, he knows he's probably going to have an angry redhead on his hands, but that's a different storm to bear.

You really can't say shit to Eddie about his barbecue. In fact, if you do say something, he figures you better be asking for seconds or thirds and a forth would get you a kick in the ass and sent to the church all to repent. Johnny was going to get a plate full of brisket, specially made. He knew the F4 and the flame dude was a favorite. The others? Well, they'd just have to get it themselves because big Eddie don't make no plates for nobody.

Cept for Johnny.

Johnny is -the- man with the plan right there.

Jean glances around, a slight frown drawn upon her face at Betsy's outburst, then the look towards Matt which has her fingers clenching against his arm. "Wha.." Her hand lifts, pressing to pinch at the bridge of her nose, her head shaking as a rolling wave of fire streaks across the sky and well away from those who were engaged in partying. The area actually heats up for a split second, warming chilled fingers who were dipped into buckets to grab the sodas from the ice, and then just like that. It was gone.

"It's a joke." She assures the Lawyer, drawing him near towards the barbecue to finally release his hand to make him some food. "I'll make enough for you and Foggy, and the lovely lady that works there to take home. "Oh! There are also a -number- of people who would -love- your patronage too." She glances towards Hank, then smiles and gestures towards one of the teens. 'Egg allergy'. She mouths. Careful!

Chasing Kitty, Doug has to stop, long enough to exchange surprised looks with his counterpart, before calling, "HOLD IT! Timeout! Timeout! Stoppage in play due to, uh… Family Emergency…!" Well, it qualifies, at least.

And then it was up to Kitty to ask -that- question, but Doug was going to, at the least, ask, "Did -Scott- finally drop his pants?!"

"Hot as it comes, my friend," instructs Johnny. "See, I sort of burnt my tastebuds off when I was little, which of course is totes a joke, but I like to show off because hot sauce really doesn't do—"

Wait. Jean's pregnant?

Johnny turns slowly toward the source of the exclamation. "— much for me."

"I- she's— you—" Shock gives way to confusion, and then Betsy's eyes literally glow a vibrant shade of purple as those carefully coiled emotions give way to raw, seething rage. She grits her teeth into a snarl, shoulders coiling and fists curling into tight knots of bone and muscle.

Some emotions are better shared, but seething fury is not one of them. Betsy's keen senses react to the wave of Jean's emotions crackling over the sky, and the kunoichi's response is much more cathatically violent— she smashes her hand through the (very) sturdy tabletop. And the plywood base. And breaks the 2x6s that form the frame into several splinters. The repurposed coffee can full of loose bills goes flying into the air.

Face still frozen in rage at having been so duplicitously fooled, Betsy turns on her heel and stalks off towards the 'service' area behind the booths, face dark with a welter of emotions— humiliation at her outburst high among them.

Hank McCoy does manage to catch Jean's eye briefly, enough for her to warn him about the allergy. There's a brief nod before he avoids some of the different cold salads for the teen and moves on to offer eggless options.

Betsy does her impersonation of flipping the table when she loses a game, and Jean's mad - probably understandably so, and Scott's left stuck somewhere in the middle. He rubs his hand slowly over his face, and lets out a sigh. "I hope that two weeks was worth it, Scott." he murmurs, before he finds himself wandering off from the crowd. Jean has work to do, and it's .. probably just better this way right now.

At Betsy's shout and subsequent outburst, Brin stops and looks at Jean as a shower of glowing green and gold motes appear around her and slowly disappear. The older X-Men from the Institute haven't seen that happen for many years…

"Ah, what Gabe? Like us? Oh yes, most of them… " She returns her attention to him as she fixes plates of Eddie's BBQ for both of them, hoping that Gabes stomach is getting used to richer food.

"Mr Storm. A pleasure to meet you." she smiles up at the other man "Brinley Myers, from X-Red …" she'd been … on enforced R&R during the joint operation.

"MAH MAN!" Eddie croons out, cackling like a mad dog as he shelves out the hottest of the hot meat for Johnny. "I made this with the hottest peppers I can find. Picked'm out mahself!" He hands over the plate, fitted with beans and ground beef, chopped onions and a nice helping of Sweet Baby Ray's mixed in. There were green peppers with the concoction of beans and meat too. "Go'on man, try it!" Eddie was giddy.

He was even more so giddy now that Brinley was around. Yeah, he knew of X-Red too. That lil' hot tamale was something he wanted to -CENSORED- and -CENSORED- barbecue sauce.

Was that a fire in the sky? Johnny Storm glances skyward, frowning. "Hey," he murmurs under his breath, "that's my trick."

Storm's blue eyes flash away from Jean and back to Brinley, who receives a delayed smile. "Oh, yes, I've read your public profile. Mana, right?" He offers her a hand, and is positively beaming. "Johnny Storm, the Human Torch."

Snatching the plate from Eddie, Johnny Storm bows his head in gratitude, then shovels a spoonful of it in his mouth. A few chews later, and his face turns red. "Oh… whoa. Whoa! Urnmm, ahem, hrmmm, wait for it…"

He looks left, then right, making sure the coast is clear… then, suddenly, jets of fire shoot out from his ears. "WHOOOAAAH! That's really hot stuff, Eddie!"

When Brinley introduces herself to the man near them, Gabe does the same thing, blurting out rather abruptly; "My name is Gabriel and I am here because I was told to be here." He looks then at Brinley for approval, much like a child would look for approval when encountering social interactions. "Was that acceptable?" He asks it while getting the plate of BBQ foot, looking at it skeptically; extremely so in fact.

"Such a thing to joke about," the blind man says absently. Matt begins to box up his food and place it in a bag to bring it back to the office for Foggy and Karen. His sensitivity to odors makes the aroma of barbecue that more enticing. "I suppose I should get going back, Jean. It was nice to see you again. The food smells amazing."

Just as Gabe makes his introductions to Johnny, the song 'Mr. Roboto' begins to play on the BOSE-Stark phone.

Eddie was a cackling fool as he watches Johnny eat, but then he nods towards Jean and Matt, as the latter begins to make his departure. "Enjoy the barbecue Suh!" He calls out.

"I'd say kids but.. I think there was some sort of competition going on." She tells Matt, then reaches out to lightly pat his shoulder as he sees himself out. "Enjoy the food. And give my regards to your friends!" Which means, I'll be by in two days to make sure everyone has eaten and not worked themselves to death.

She sighs a little, then places her hands upon her hips with a slow stroll towards Brinley and Gabe. "Who's your friend again?" She missed his name.

The broken wooden table was stared at by Joe, his eyes darting back and forth as he grasps a large sliver of wood, then makes off through the crowd. He was apparently eating it.

Taking Johnny's hand and shaking it, Brin steps back in surprise as flames erupt from his ears and … sensing Eddie's emotions she blushes … a lot … just don't ask her why.

"Gabe, we're going to have to work on your social skills…" she murmurs as she shakes her head "Hello Jean, this Gabriel. I've been trying to convince him to come see you at the Institute… " Gabriel can explain the rest. "Gabriel, this Jean Grey. A good friend of mine …"

Gabriel takes a step back when Johnny's ears erupt in flame and his own gaze grows hard momentarily before it settles. The narrowing of his eyes lightens some and attention shifts slowly over towards the new person speaking to him and Brinley, namely that of Jean Grey. A hand extends outwards in greeting. "As Miss Brinley said, I am Gabriel. I was supposed to come to the institute that she mentioned but I do not want to."

Betsy has found the closest thing to a quiet place she can— a curtained area where some portable freezer chests are set up for storing extra ice and frozen treats.

Having shooed all the helpers out with a murderous glare, the leggy ninja is doing what ninjas do best— hiding.

Also, she stole a pizza. An entire extra-large, everything-on-it pizza. And she's clearly said 'carbs be damned' as she tears into her third slice, chewing moodily and trying to throttle her emotions between the extremes of bewildered fury and being generally emotionally overwrought.


Hank McCoy helped a few kids get their food and find places to sit and eat before he notes movement behind one of the curtained areas and the helpers leaving with slightly distressed faces. Bringing his own plate over, he peers inside, noting the pizza and the expression.

"Mind if I join you? The crowd's a bit much for me." He's not really asking permission for he hops up to sit on one of the smaller freezer chests, his plate settled beside him.

Busted. Betsy makes an abortive attempt to hide the pizza, but Hank's just right there, of a sudden, and she's got a very ungraceful mouthful of deep-dish. She contorts her upper lip into a disgusted moue at her own behaviour and swallows, flapping the box open and setting it next to her.

"I… of course, Hank," she sighs, with a British reflexive politeness. Which is where the Canadians inherit it, of course. "Thank you for putting up with that little display. Scott… well, that was a bit of dirty cricket, as Brian would say." She puffs at a bang that dangles over her eye, then pushes it irritably behind one ear. "How are you enjoying yourself?" she asks, forcing a conversational tone.

"Gabriel. It's nice to meet you." Jean murmurs, taking a step back as Johnny blows through his ears from the hot food he had eaten. She moves to the side now, hands soon shoved back within her pockets, intending to ask Brinley about what she's seen but.. it's best to save that at a later date. "I want you to see me later, Brinley." She states, watching the goings on, even seeing Hank disappear with his plate of food. She doesn't need to know where he was going, but she was glad he was here.

"Now, why don't you want to come to the institute, Gabriel?"

Hank McCoy glances at the pizza but says nothing. He's just pretending like it's not there. Or something. "That display…whas Scott cheating. He's been doing that lately." His tone is a bit flat and displeased. He starts to take a bite of the food on his plate before he looks back up at the question. "Seriously? You're seriously asking me that?" There's a brief shake of his head before he answers dryly, "I'm having the time of my life."

Betsy's lips press into a thin line, but she gives Hank a wryly apologetic shrug of one shoulder. "It might be a bit gauche to observe that I'm detecting some sarcasm… so I won't." She folds another slice of pizza in half and takes a big bite.

"I'm not good at this," she reminds Hank. "My coping mechanisms involve a lot more drinking than is medically appropriate. I … wish I could help ease things a bit."

Brins dark eyes watch Hank disappear and her attention snaps back to Jean "Uh, sure Jean…." she knows what it's about and that's a report she hasn't posted… and doesn't intend to.

"It's just Brin, Gabriel. Not Miss Brinley." she murmurs in a resigned tone to the man "He was dropped off to X-Red about a week ago by Miss Moira, as he calls her, and then left to go to The Institute. Turned up on our doorstep a couple of days ago again, seems … he's been sleeping in the streets. For now, I've given him accomodation at X-Red as we get this sorted out."

Gabriel looks at Jean and shrugs his shoulder some before looking down at Brinley during her explanation of events, nodding some. "She makes it sound like a bad thing. I enjoyed being outside, it felt refreshing. Besides the people under the bridge with me were very kind. They showed me where to find food." It is a good innocent sounding story. "I do not wish to go to the institute because I do not think I would like it there." With an awkward smile he looks around them, "This is a … festive place. I heard it was your doing?"

"We don't need to make small talk, Betsy. It's all right." Hank gives a resigned sort of smile, "I didn't come in here to have a fake conversation. I just…" there's a sigh, "I don't know why I came in. I guess I understand the whole 'needing a break from people' bit. Thought I'd take advantage of the kiding place you staked out."

He turns back to his food for a little to eat in silence…and to let Betsy have some more of her pizza. Finally though, he offers more cordially, "Although I really would have liked to have seen you beat him. Now I guess you're stuck being in charge of the school for two weeks."

Betsy starts to frown, then actually laughs a little, and smiles at Hank's reassurances. "I know how much Scott can curl," Betsy says slyly. She curls her arm a little— if her training went a different direction, she'd be a shoe-in for professional fitness modelling. More Bodybuilder Monthly than Fitness Weekly. "I could have won. He… well, it took me rather by surprise. I'm so used to all of Jean's daffy little kids popping up," she says with a fond smile at the memories, "that I guess it shocked me to realize that… y'know, at some point, she's going to HAVE to get pregnant. Right?"

Thwomp. "Who is getting pregnant?" Colossus asks as his massive frame takes a seat next to Betsy. He claps her on the shoulder, cheeks and nose red from.. yeah, okay, he's been drinking. Alot. He's back in the States, baby! "You? Many congratulations! You will have very beautiful but scary baby!" Betsy might have biceps of iron, but he's the Russian Tank and he doesn't check his slap as much as he should, his hand thwapping against her back.

"Honey, if you're not meant nor made to be outside then you shouldn't be. These winter months could be dangerous. But we've had a stroke of luck from Mother Nature and she's given us this warm weather to play in." She smiles a little, then lifts her hand to waffle it. "Sort of. You should meet Ms. Manning, the face of Take Back the Night. I think she'd enjoy your company."

Brinley's story was something, especially about Gabriel, she doesn't comment on it too much. X-Red did the best thing anyone could do, take in strays. "If you don't mind, Gabriel. I'd love to show you through the school. At least give you a bit of options and a second home to stay in along with the X-Red Quarters."

"Ms Manning is student of the Institute, yes Jean?" Brin asks, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. "How about you meet some of the others, Gabe?" Not that she's going to give him a choice, as she moves their little group to where Betsy, Hank and Piotr are …

Betsy can certainly sense her approaching and her mind is open enough for the telepathic ninja to read her intent. The group will have visitors, in …. just a moment.

Betsy neatly avoids choking to death on her next bite of pizza. How the hell does a man that big sneak around so well? She scowls at Piotr, and pointed drives a knuckle into the median space between his quadricep and patella— a target zone about the size of a dime and much equivalent to smacking ones funny bone, except it's the leg and not the arm.

"You hulking twit," she reprimands Colossus, though she does give him an awkward shoulder-and-elbow to the rib that might be something like a hug, except for all the pizza she's hoarding.

"No one. An ill timed joke," she assures Piotr. She sits primly upright and pats her belly with one hand. "-I'm- certainly never going to get knocked up. Ruin this body? Not a bloody chance," she says with a derisive snort. "I'm going to look fantastic until I'm seventy. Then if I live long enough, I'll probably be dancing on your grace, Ruski," she chides the boisterous Russian.

She sits a bit more upright, eyes flickering, then abruptly shoves her pizza box into Colossus' lap and brushes her fingers on a napkin.

"Company," she murmurs in a sing-song, even as she checks her makeup in a compact that appears from nowhere. By the time Brinley and Gabriel and et. al. show up, Betsy looks like she's just… lounging indolently in the company of Hank and Piotr.

Hank McCoy looks up as Colossus comes into the little corner that they claimed and a nod is given. Blue eyes peer over his glasses before he looks towards the curtains. Just because his senses aren't super-heightened, he still has a little more sensitivity than most. "We're about to be invaded. So much for a Sanctum for Introverts."

"Hello, Hank." Colossus says respectfully. Right until a precise ninja strike has him shuffling uncomfortably. Big, incredibly powerful as he is, a skilled opponent that understand pressure points can cause him discomfort. Of course, deep in his drink, it probably hurts less than it should. "Ow."

No tears big guy. His lips form a thin line, disappearing beneath the heavy survivalist beard that Brinley has not yet convinced him to shave off. "Maybe… but when you do finally die, your whole creepy cat cult will eat your remains." Did he really insinuate that Betsy is a prime candidate to become a creepy cat lady? You betcha. The box of pizza in his lap stuns him, glancing at Beast with a bewildered expression. "Is this mine now?"

Yeah, Jean was arriving. Just in time for Betsy to make nice and the others to eat. Jean wasn't staying though. There was a nice meal that she made for the Professor that she would see delivered since he was busy with his own studies. "Piotr!" The redhead calls out, bounding towards him with a hug and a forceful smooshing smooch upon his cheeks. Then, she gives Betsy one of those looks, a look that said 'I know what you did and I totes understand, call me girlfriend, we need lattes!' and a mental smooch atop of her head. Movie night was due soon. Hank was regarded with a kiss upon the cheek as well and a squeeze to his shoulder, and then with the final hugs and a nod spared to Gabe.. (no need to scare the dude), she was off.

Off as in, disappearing from the many minds present and flying through the sky back home.

Gotta keep hidden!

"You are assuming two things are you not? The first being others would desire to meet me and the second being I have a need to meet them?" Gabriel asks it towards Brinley when she drags him off towards others. If his walls of solitude were up before, they are even up further as he somehow manages to sneak further beneath the cowboy hat as if attempting to hide from anyone who may look at him as he's shown around.

"You put your trust in me…" Brins lets out a deep breath as another cloud of green and gold motes spark around her. As Jean bounds over towards Piotr, the quiet brunette looks around the gathering "Hello Betsy, Hank, this is Gabriel." She'll let him tell his story if he wants "Gabriel, these two are from the Institute."

Piotrs beard is eyed, along with the red nose, and she chuckles "Celebrating being back, Piotr?"

Jean, of course, gets a hug as she leaves.

"I'm not eating any of the pizza," Hank offers, looking at his own half-eaten plate of food. "Have at it, if you'd like." The peck on the cheek from Jean gets a bit of a glance to her but he then looks back to the others. As Brinley brings in another and introduces him as from the Institute, he gives a sigh and hops down from his perch on one of the smaller freezers, "I have to wonder why the Institute insists on secrecy at this point."

Taking his half-eaten plate, he moves to step out of the curtained area, "I'm sorry, Ms. Myers. I'm afraid I'm not too social right now. I'd be happy to speak with Gabriel another time if he needs me." A muscle tics on his jaw even as he uses his free hand to push his glasses back up his nose on his way back out into the main celebration.

Colossus looks up as people start departing, taking a slice of pizza after setting the box back on the table. He takes a bite as some introductions are made, and then chews awkwardly when apologies are the answers. Chew, chew, chew.

With his plate of food in hand, Gabriel looks at the people departing with a passive expression before lifting up a piece of the barbeque and starting to gnaw on it some. For a few moments he chews it then swallows it down, managing a smile. "You know something? This food is much better than the food I was eating out of those giant metal cans two days ago."

No wonder everyone is running as fast as they can from him.

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