Blood Bond

February 19, 2016:

Storm tracks down Jubilee and makes a tactical error.

China Basin, Gotham City

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

People tend to go where they can blend in, when they feel out of their element.

Not that Jubilee really knew mainland China stuff that well, she looked the part, and there were a lot of places in this little part of town where she could just… hide, and no one would bother her. So for a return to New York, it was as good a place as any.

Jubilee had access to a little bit of money from her time with Xavier's - it was enough to buy a squalid little apartment here in this section of New York, the window shuttered up to protect her against the wicked daystar that now gave her all kinds of problems. But she wasn't in her apartment at the moment.

She was ~lurking~. Lurking, yes, kinda crouched atop a rooftop, gazing down at all the masses of humanity below, her perch above this particular district in the club sector giving her quite a selection of humanity to peruse. Not that she had much in mind at the moment.

Just pushing back that growing thirst in the back of her mind, and pondering, eyes narrowing as she gazes down, her eyes drawn to someone in the crowd. Young, pretty, well-dressed - Asian like her. Perhaps her in another life.

…god did all vampires just inherit emo naturally?!

Jubilee sighs, spreads her arms wide - and falls back onto the roof of the club she was perching on, her eyes focusing on the moon. There was a plan rumbling in her heart, that was chasing the doldrums in her expression to something akin to a smile, only made devilish with her fangs.

No good could come of this.

A shape crosses the moon, and grows larger. The reindeer might have gotten out of their pens about ten months too early? Either that, or it's a person.

A streak of white hair becomes visible as the figure sweeps closer, and closer still. Her coat is open, left fluttering behind her on the winds. (From the rooftop, the breeze picks up a bit, as winds are redirected for the figure to glide on.)

Then, without any further warning, Ororo is there. She stands over Jubilee's horizontal form, her coat still fluttering in the breeze. She's dressed how she usually dresses — a tannish turtleneck sweater, not too fitted, not too loose, grey linen slacks, wedge heels. The major change since Jubilee last saw her is the mohawk.

"Hello, Jubilation," Ororo says. Her hands go into the pockets of her coat. She makes no move to advance, yet.

For Jubilee's part, she might perhaps look like she hadn't changed at all! That fashion, after all, she has worn for years and years was still on her. In fact, she looked like she hadn't aged a day since leaving Xavier's - which was technically true, she supposed. Peeking one eye open, when Ororo's shadow falls over her - there was a haze of crimson underlining the brown of her eyes.

"Nice mohawk, 'Ro," says the young woman. Pulling herself up to a cross-legged sit with a sigh, she sets her gloved hands upon her knees, her big ol' stompy boots ending right underneath her knees.

"Comin' out on the town to go… clubbing or something?" she asks, bringing up a hand to kinda rub the back of her head, ruffling her hair. She was fighting that sudden twist of awkward that had settled in her chest.

And Jubilee /rarely/ felt awkward.

"We can, if you wish," Ororo replies serenely. She's always so deadpan about everything! The uninitiated might think that she's the most dryly sarcastic woman who ever lived. Those who know her better know that it's not that she's deadpan — it's that she's sincere. "Although I am hardly dressed for it."

Okay, that might have been a joke. The corner of Ororo's mouth lifts just slightly.

"I hope you will forgive me for tracking you down," Ororo says. She sits down, herself, mimicking the cross-legged style of the former X-Mascot. Tracking her down was difficult at 'young Chinese-American woman,' and got much easier when 'in a yellow raincoat' was added. "I wanted to see you."

Unspoken, but clearly implied in Ororo's statement: '…and see if you're okay.'

"I was actually thinking about doing that myself. Just… sneaking into one of these fancy places where I am not anywhere near dress code, and just boogieing the rest of the night away," says Jubilee, drawing her knees up to her chest, and folding her arms on top of that. With those words comes that devilish grin again, her eyes nearly twinkling with mischief. Of course she says she's not dressed for it.

Jubilee snorts. "'Ro, you just ooze fashion in everything, so don't even try to do that whole," Jubilee lets her hand kinda go limp at the wrist, and flop it around, "Oh, dear, I just am not sure if I'm presentable enough!' thing." There was an air of good humor to it, though, and Jubilee kinda scoots over on her little bit on her little piece of rooftop.

"To be honest, I was trying to think of a way to track, you know, anyone from Xavier's down without anyone freaking out," says Jubilee, drawing a hand through her short hair. "But hey - wanna grab a piece of rooftop and people watch? That doesn't require any fashion pressure, no one spills their drinks on you, and we can actually have a conversation," she says.

"Been up to much? I mean, besides the usual goddessing around and teaching?"

Ororo laughs at Jubilee's semi-impersonation. She has a sense of humor about herself (usually), which puts her a peg above most goddesses walking on Earth. "What I was thinking, Jubilation, was not about being presentable." She grins herself. "Only that the clubs I prefer typically have strict dress codes of their own — one that your outfit would be in keeping with. Mine would not."

Ororo does not explain further.

"We miss you," Ororo confirms. "Your personality is among the more irreplaceable elements that the Xavier Institute has encountered." Ororo always talks like this, but there's no mistaking the fondness in her tone. She's not making fun. At least, not enough for it to really count.

Ororo nods to the suggestion of people-watching, and uses a hand to bid Jubilee to lead the way. "Things are otherwise… largely constant. I am trying to ease Rogue into feeling more at home among the group. I have accepted an invitation from Captain America to join a team effort he is assembling. I expect my life will become very busy. Thus, it becomes even more important for me to spend time with my friends — and family."

Jubilee pauses a moment, kinda letting her eyes track along Ororo. She didn't get what clubs the teacher was alluding to, and that was evident by the blank look on her face. She rolls her shoulder with a shrug, kinda turning her eyes downwards. Downwards to kinda spot a beetle scuttling along the rooftop, drawing her hand down to give the beetle a little flick.

Biting her lower lip with a fang as she watches the thing right itself, Jubilee says. "And I miss Xavier's. But… I dunno. I can't go back yet 'Ro. You kinda know that, I think," says Jubilee, kinda rising to a stand - reaching behind herself to brush the dush off of her slicker. "Maybe when I get my head on straight, but it's not there yet," she says, grinning brighter.

"And depending on who you talk to - maybe it never was?"

Bid to lead the way, Jubilee kinda walks to the edge of the rooftop - and then hops off, landing on the fire escape below with the thing protesting with the movement. She kinda squats down there, sets her crossed arms on the handrail, and her chin on top of those arms. From that point, it was easier to see the milling crowds of people. "Captain America, huh?" says Jubilee, if and when 'Ro joins her. "He's pretty big news. You obviously agree, cuz you're a part of his team, but… what are you gonna do? Like superhero X-Men stuff all over again?" she asks, glancing up towards 'Ro again - in the shadows, her eyes take on a more prominent crimson sheen, so it was super sheeny in the shadow of this building.

Ororo smiles as she stands up. She watches the beetle for a moment, ensuring that it's on its merry way without further trouble. "You were always among the most exuberant of us, Jubilation," she says, stepping toward the edge and opting to climb down rather than hopping. "You are also one of the most grounded in reality."

Ororo leans on the fire escape railing, looking down at the crowds. Her mohawk flutters in the breeze. It's like a mane. How it stays up like it does, without being all stiff and greasy and wooden? Ancient weather-goddess secret. She looks over with her cerulean cat's-eyes to smirk just a little bit at Jubilee's description of what Captain America wants. "If not that… then something very similar," Ororo says with a mild laugh. Her smile stays in place as her eyes linger on Jubilee's for a moment, and then she looks back down to the crowd below.

"Believe it or not, Jubilation, I have some understanding of what you are going through." Ororo's voice takes a more serious turn. Her perpetual serenity doesn't break. It's simply pitched down a bit. "This was… before you joined us. Not long after I myself joined the X-Men. It was back when I still thought a leather swimsuit connected by a brass ring was a good idea." She smiles, glancing over again.

"In any event… there was an incident. A powerful vampire sought me out and coveted me as his consort. He wanted me for my powers, my skills as a thief, and… more." Ororo actually grimaces a little. Recounting this obviously isn't easy for her. "He bit me, and placed me in his thrall. You are aware of my, ah, distaste for confinement, Jubilation." 'Distaste' is Ororo's way of saying 'crippling full-blown phobia,' apparently. "This was confinement of a different sort. It was like my soul itself being smothered. My will was no longer my own. With the help of the X-Men, it was overcome. I was cured."

Ororo's eyes scan the people on the street. "But I will never forget it," she says, darkly.

"That hasn't changed, Ororo," says Jubilee. "I can still exhuber with the best of them," she says, grinning a little wider. The smile was so natural on her features - wide and bright and happy with the joke. The grounded in reality thing, she kinda accepts with a flick of the head. If an undead sparkleprincess couldn't be grounded in reality - who could?

No one, that's who!

The lingering eyes thing has Jubilee looking back towards Ororo, the brightness in her smile dimming a bit. She just kinda assumed that high fashion was part of Ro's mutant powers - so if she wanted to make a mohawk work, well - who was reality to get in the way? Although she so had to get the name of the gel Ro was using. "That sounds like it could be a lot of fun," says Jubilee. A little grin slides unto her lips then, and she looks to the other. "A little bit like how the X-Men sounded to me when I first started. Exciting adventures aplenty - but… why are you joining up with them, Ro?" she asks.

The more serious tone has Jubilee kinda glancing back down to the people below, her eyes kinda narrowing a little bit. "The one that got me didn't want anything skeevy like that - just wanted someone like me to use as leverage against the X-Men for… I dunno. Vampire clan wars or something. You know, make Logan or you or whoever kill all his enemies, and then he would give me back - with the surprise twist that I was all vamped up already."

"It wasn't… very nice. I hated… hated how he could just flick his fingers and make me do whatever. How everything that made me me was being pushed underneath what he wanted from me, you know?"

Eyes narrow further. "Still don't know how I managed to kill him, to fight against that. Has a lot of vampires all paranoid about me, though," she says, kinda picking a fang with a suspiciously pointy, but still gloved, finger. "And I'm cool with that," she says.

A beat though, and she glances back towards Ororo. "…you alright?" she asks, her brow furrowing with concern. She just now was picking up the emotional trauma that came with that sharing of the story. And that mostly came with her skeevy way she could hear heartbeats pick up now. How Logan dealt with it she had NO IDEA.

It's not necessary to listen to Ororo's heartbeat to hear the trauma from her story. One need only turn their ear up towards the sky. An otherwise clear night has now grown even darker. Thunder rumbles. Still, no water comes with it. People below alter their traffic patterns, looking up at the change in weather, holding out their hands to feel for raindrops.

Ororo draws in a deep breath, and without looking at her friend, slowly closes her eyes. She lets out that breath, and as she does, the thunder dims, and the clouds begin to lazily drift apart, back toward where they're meant to be. "I apologize," Ororo says as she opens her eyes. "I do not mean for you to worry."

Ororo looks over, and reaches out to put a hand on Jubilee's shoulder. "The X-Men helped me, Jubilation. If you wish, we will help you too. Or I will track down someone outside of the family, so to speak, who can help. Please know that I would go to the ends of the earth for you." Ororo sounds gravely serious in a way that usually only mothers can accomplish — where the grimness in her tone comes from a place of love.

Ororo squeezes the raincoated shoulder gently and releases. "To lack control over one's own will… I would not wish it upon my worst enemy." She breathes in and out again. "As for why I joined Captain America… it is simple. He asked me."

Ororo lets a small smile show. "Perhaps he needed help, himself."

It was the rumbling of thunder that draws Jubilee's eyes upwards, the woman squinting as she brings her hand up to kinda fiddle with the pink sunglasses upon her head. Still biting her lower lip, she chews on it a touch. "Gonna make it rain on us?" she asks, putting a bit of play into her tone. Of course, Jubilee always tended to have play in her tone. It was just part of her schtick.

"You're a big girl, 'Ro - I don't worry about you much," says Jubilee, that smile springing back onto her lips. Bringing a hand up, she kinda massages the back of Ororo's hand there on her shoulder. Even though the thunder dims, and joy seems to return to the skies. "But I know you got a lot of things going on yourself. It's gotta be hard being the stoic goddess for everyone all the time, huh?" she asks, canting her head a bit to one side.

"I think… it would be hard to go back," says Jubilee. "I'm kinda a different person now, and it would be hard seein' people like Logan, or Jean, or…" A pause then. "You know, the other kids, looking at me like I'm a monster," she says with a grin. "And there's sometimes, a bit like now…"

She casts her eyes back down to the crowd. "I try to keep looking at them like people, but as I go without… uh… food at all, for a while, it's easier to see them as…" Jubilee crinkles her nose. "You know," she says. "I got a guy who is going to try to help me with that, but we'll see how that works," she says, kinda knocking her knuckle against the metal of the guardrail - delighting in the ping her knuckle makes. "But you know I would do the same for you too, Ororo. Or anyone at Xavier's."

"Captain America needs all the help he can get," says Jubilee. "You should start by suggesting a different costume to him! It's obvious he's been frozen, because he's still stuck in the 50's, when dinosaurs ruled the earth."

Ororo laughs softly, but the look in her eyes is distant. "I will mention that to him," she says. "I cannot guarantee he will act on your idea."

Ororo is quiet, for a moment. It's a half-beat too long, really, which is how it's obvioust that this is a 'something is wrong' kind of quiet. Finally, she looks over. Ororo isn't smiling anymore. "Jubilation, I realize that this is a difficult question to answer. I do not wish to cause you embarrassment, or distress."

Ororo lets her gaze linger for a long moment, then asks, as if she's forcing the question out of the back of her throat: "Are you hungry?"

"Well, if you can convince him to do that, you've done America a service," says Jubilee, kinda scrunching her knees up a little more to her chest. The something is wrong quiet - Jubilee was already on edge a bit.

The difficult question though, has Jubilee tensing up a little bit - at least until she asks that question properly. In a moment, Jubilee was laughing - a lot of the tension leaving her. "Sure, Ororo - let's go grab a burger?" she answers with that.

"There's a McDonalds down the street about…" Jubilee points one direction than the other. "…that way?" she says, cocking her head to the side. There was a smile on her lips, but a certain sharpness in her gaze that was not very Jubilee. A predator's sharpness.

She knew exactly what Ororo was talking about.

"Jubilation," Ororo sighs in disappointment. Perhaps the weather-witch is upset that Jubilee is making light of a serious question, or saddened that it went misunderstood. Neither, actually: "I would hope that you are no longer eating McDonalds." Ultra mom burn.

Ororo sheds her coat and drapes it on the steps of the fire escape. Then, without a word, she reaches down to pull her turtleneck up and off. Underneath, she has a white undershirt pulled tight under her slacks — probably a bodysuit, really, but that's neither here nor there.

Ororo folds her sweater on top of her coat, and turns away from Jubilee. She's quiet, still. She then moves to sit down on the fire escape's grate, still facing away from the vampire.

"Feed, Jubilation. I offer this willingly. I will not have you suffer the indignity of hunting for rats, or anything similar. Nor would I want the bite to be felt by one who does not already know what to expect."

Ororo looks back over her shoulder. "I trust you," she says, meaningfully. (Meaning, probably: 'I trust you not to take too much.') She then turns to look away again. With her mohawk, both sides of her neck are bared to the teen. Ready for the taking.

"The day when McDonalds discontinues the Shamrock shakes forever is the day I will give up going to those wonderful golden arches," says Jubilee with a laugh. Her laughter leads to a greater loss of tension, the young woman turning her eyes back down to the crowd of people down below.

At least until the motion draws her eyes back upwards, discomfort filling her frame. She shifts, but as that neck is bared, there was a laser focus in her suddenly far more crimson eyes. "/Don't/," she says, her voice sounding a little more strained.

The words 'I trust you' were like a dagger to her heart, twisting around that bloodthirst that was beginning to pound to the fore.

There was a low growling - feminine still, but having a dangerous as opposed to silly vibe. That was released with a hiss, and the fire escape quivers with a fast motion.

But there was no bite on Ororo's neck. No snap of pain. Jubilee had fled, bounding off of the fire escape to heaven knows where.

Ororo closes her eyes. Not because she thinks the biting is imminent. She closes her eyes when she feels the rattle of the fire escape being exited. Inside her head, she curses herself. She would have reacted the same way, when she was young — when she was afflicted by the same curse.

Ororo stands and quietly dresses herself. She does not give chase. She stays on the fire escape for a while, watching people go by. Thinking.

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