Finding Nate (er Rachel)

March 02, 2016:

X-23 comes upon the burnt out ruins of the bungalow Ravager and Nate Grey lived in. She then goes on the hunt for her wayward friend and finds Rachel before Nate.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Burnt ruins. That's what X-23 is currently looking at. She had decided to seek out Nate, to let him know Betsy needed to speak with him and when she came to the bungalow he shared with Rose, all X-23 found was burnt ruins.

Her nostrils will flare slightly as she takes in the scents. Yes, they're very old thanks to X being 'out of town' for a bit, but she can still smell both Rose and Nate's scent here. She can likewise smell the accelerants used to start the fire too; which easily tells X-23 this wasn't an accident. Thankfully, however, she doesn't smell the pungent scent of death. Turning away from the shell of a house, now, X-23 frowns. Her gaze will glance around the street before she seemingly leaps into actions.

Jogging now, the slim assassin is weaving her way between people with quick surefooted steps. Her nearly silent steps eventually lead her straight to Mutant Town. Once inside the hallowed streets of M-Town, X-23 starts a methodical search of the neighborhood. She's looking for Nate, yes, but when she starts down a particularly dark and dank street of M-Town, she pauses. Scenting the air again, X-23 manages to catch a stray scent. One she's familiar with. At least, recently familiar with. Like a bloodhound now, X-23 follows that quickly dissipating scent of Rachel's, to see if perhaps Nate is with his time stream slipped sibling.


Rachel's been methodically exploring M-Town over the last few days, but there are two locations that she's spent more time in than any other. The first, oddly enough, is an internet cafe - same computer, every time, and if she wasn't in the habit of clearing her search history, that computer would betray that it's pretty much the same sites, every time, too - while the second, more visited location, is an apparently abandoned building in the backstreets. While the front of the building is securely boarded up, there's a side entrance down a narrow alleyway - and there's the glint of fresh metal where the padlock that secures the chain across it has been made to work despite the rust coating it.

Should anyone make their way inside, the ground floor looks as derelict as the exterior, but up the slightly wobbly stairs, the upper floor shows signs of having been lived in. There's a sleeping bag in one corner, some tinned food, and a pile of newspapers that seem to have been harvested from the street. Added to which there are signs that the roof has been patched, but no sign of how whoever patched it got up high enough to do so.

What there isn't, right now, is any sign of Rachel Summers.


When X-23 arrives at the abandoned building, she'll give the boarded up front a quick glance, before following that scent trail to the side entrance. While she could easily slice through the lock and gain entrance that way, she doesn't. Instead the young assassin takes her time and actually pick the padlock that holds the entrance way closed. Eventually the tumblers within the lock line up and there's the faintest of clicks that possibly only X-23 can hear. As soon as the lock opens, X-23 quickly twists it off and opens the door. She pauses for a heartbeat as she uses her senses to listen intently to the sounds within the building.

Already X-23 knows there's no one home, but that doesn't stop her from stepping fully inside. The lock and chain will be set aside and the door will be left wide open, as X-23 begins to scout the building.

The first floor holds no clues and so, X-23 makes her way up the would-be wobbly steps. Quickly now, the dark-haired assassin will ghost over to the empty bed, the food tins and newspapers. Crouching down now, X-23 will carefully rifle through the papers, even knowing they likely hold nothing for her.


Outside, Rachel approaches the building she's been using for shelter, unaware that it's been invaded. She's far more aware of the dwindling stack of bills and the handful of spare change that's stuffed into the pockets of her jeans. The rucksack that's slung over one shoulder is clean enough, but the other strap is broken and dangling, betraying that Rachel's 'liberated' it from someone's trash. Despite that minor victory, she's very aware that she can't hide here much longer. She's just about made the decision to reach out to Nate - and hope that this time she can avoid getting shot by his girlfriend - when she turns into the alleyway and sees that 'her' door is already open.

Rachel stops dead, taking in everything she can from where she is before moving closer. Maybe someone else just felt like getting a roof over their heads, but she thinks… not. The work of removing the chain and padlock looks too neat. Frowning, Rachel reaches out with her telepathy and very, very lightly scans the interior of the building. Just one mind. Rachel's frown deepens, and she scans a little more deeply. She was right. The mind is familiar. And if Rachel was smart, she'd turn around and walk away.

Instead, Rachel takes a couple of stealthy steps into the alleyway, and as soon as she's sure she's out of sight, lifts herself off the ground with her telekinesis. Drifting forward, she ducks inside, and her eyes track upwards. The mind's on the upper floor, right where she left her stuff. Of course it is. Cloaking herself as completely as she can from detection, Rachel levitates silently up the stairs until she can see the interloper's back, then drops her cloak.

"If you're here to stab me, I'm really not in the mood."


Unlike others around the Mansion, X-23 has no idea when she's being scanned. At least, scanned steathily. As such, she's unaware that Rachel just pinpointed her whereabouts. Instead, she'll finish ruffling through the papers before her vibrant green eyes lift upward and scan the area again. Even with that second or is third scan now, nothing leaps out to X-23 to help her find Rachel. Frowning now, X-23 will rise to her feet and that's when she realizes she's no longer alone.

A heartbeat, a new scent and the soft sounds of breathing immediately tell X-23 that she has company. Turning slowly now, X-23's gaze will seek out the spot that Rachel's cloaked within. It's easy enough to pinpoint the young woman thanks to her heartbeat. To X-23's ears each beat of her heart is as loud as a drum. Thankfully, just as X-23's eyes fall upon the area where Ray is, the telepathic woman allows that cloak of hers to fall. Whether from Ray's words or something else, X-23 doesn't attack. No, instead the young assassin states, "I am not here to fight."


Rachel was prepared for an immediate and lethal reaction to her words, but she's not disappointed when it doesn't materialise. But she was firmly expecting to surprise her uninvited guest, and she's slightly put out when she doesn't. And she knows the other woman's not just masking her surprise, either. It's simply absent. Rachel's a telepath, she can tell. A flicker of mild annoyance touches her features before she can control them.

Lowering herself to the floor, Rachel keeps her distance - some of that night was a blur, but she remembers the claws, and getting kicked across a room - and keeps her gaze on her guest. "Someday you have to tell me how you do that." It slips out before she can think about it, but Rachel carries on without expecting, or at least waiting for an answer. "Laura, right? I don't want a fight either." Rachel hesitates, but remembers how literal the other woman was last time, so just asks the obvious question. "What are you doing here?"


Another flare of nostrils easily pulls Rachel's scent towards her again. With that new scent comes the knowledge that something has slightly annoyed the other woman. It's just the faintest hint of acrid irritation lacing Rachel's scent, but it's enough to cause X-23 to cant her head to the side; considering. Thankfully, before she could potentially ask any awkward questions, Rachel settles into a seated position. X-23 takes this cue for what it is and settles into a light crouch, as well. One of her hands will settle upon the ground, acting as a stablizer to said crouch.

While Rachel wasn't necessarily wanting an answer for that initial question of hers, X-23 will offer the answer. Once the red-head has said all she needs to say. "Your heartbeat." Comes the monotone response for X-23, "I can hear it. It is easier to pick up when the heart beats faster." Like when adrenalin is pumping through a person's system, because they think their home has been invaded.

As to why she's here, that earns another answer. "I was looking for Nate, but before I found him I found you." And while more could or should be said, X-23 stops right there. Eyes focused solely on Rachel now.


Rachel keeps a very light telepathic touch on Laura's mind, in the hope of getting some early warning if the other woman should change her mind about the whole stabbing thing. "My /heartbeat/?" Rachel repeats in surprise, but then slowly nods. The claws were a dead giveaway, but the enhanced senses too? Rachel just didn't want to quite believe it. Something else that she doesn't remember from her world. Rachel remains thoughtful while Laura answers her question, but shakes her head. "Nate's not here. I haven't seen him since that first night." She answers the question without any undue hesitation, but she's still studying Laura as Laura studies her. "I haven't done anything to him." Rachel adds after a moment, then apparently decides to be helpful. "If you don't have a way to get in contact with him I could…" She reaches up and taps a finger against her temple. "…and I have to ask. Is your Dad a short, angry guy with three metal claws in each hand?"


The mention of Rachel not seeing Nate since that original night causes a faint flare of worry to arise in Laura's mind, but that's about it. Beneath that worry, however, is the ever present anger that resides within X-23. That anger could or rather should more aptly be described as rage, a seemingly constant emotion within the young woman's mind. Beneath that rage is the calculating side of X-23, as well. Constantly keeping track of just how she could easily take a person out and the variables involved with it; these 'idle' thoughts likewise include Rachel and just how X-23 would take her down, as well.

Finally, however, the young assassin says, "Yes. It would be good to contact him. I have found the house he resides at burnt down." Which is concerning, but any of that potential emotion felt doesn't show upon X-23's expression or through her voice.

No, instead it's just monotone flat voice from the dark-haired young woman. Until, that is, Rachel states that last question of hers. Yes, she knows who her 'father' is and while she has yet to meet him in the flesh, so to speak, it does prompt an emotional response. Her free hand, the one that isn't supporting her, immediately curls into a fist and there's just the faintest of movement upon her knuckles as her two metal-clad bone claws slowly start to appear. "He is not my father." States X-23, her voice sounding even flatter than normal, if that's possible. "I am his clone." Within her mind it should be fairly easy for Rachel to see the SPIKE in her anger? Yes, there's definitely anger, as well as confusion and uncertainty, and definitely a need to know just who this man is, but even with that riot of emotions going through her mind, nothing can be seen on her face. Just blankness.


What Rachel can feel of Laura's state of mind isn't all that reassuring, but at least the other woman seems controlled. What Rachel's watching for is any hint of that control breaking. Which makes the provocative question that Rachel asked either a good test of just how careful she needs to be around the other woman… or a very, very stupid idea.

Even if it's the former, Rachel lets herself get distracted far too easily by Laura's casually-delivered news. "Burnt down?!" Rachel leans forward, surprise clear on her face, as well as concern that she doesn't know why she's feeling. She met the man once. All right, he stopped her from getting shot and helped her out, but does she really believe that, in some way, he's her brother? It seems that she does.

Rachel's halfway to her feet when the anger that's wrapped around Laura's mental presence suddenly goes through the roof. Rachel freezes in place, on one knee, and just for an instant there's a shimmer in her eyes that looks like fire. Laura /doesn't/ lunge for her, but Rachel had a telekinetic shield in the way just in case. "OK." Rachel says, very calmly and evenly after the claws come out, her eyes taking the razor-sharp lengths of metal in before switching back to meet Laura's gaze. "Not your father. Got it." She lets that hang in the air for a couple more moments. "Are you going to put those away so I can try to reach Nate?"


It's good that Rachel freezes there in place. Anything else and it would likely have come to bloodshed, as X-23 is literally tossed around in that emotional storm of hers. Again, it's not necessarily seen upon her features, but those claws that are now fully extended and the faintest of growls that can now be heard when Rachel moves are a sure sign of it. It may seem like minutes, maybe more, but in reality the anger that X-23 feels is tamped down sooner rather than later. Her rage lessens, or at least falls back to more normal operating levels for X-23. It helps that Rachel doesn't push the subject either, instead moving back to a safer topic like Nate.

That seems to bring the girl back to the present, as her oddly bright green eyes flick back to Rachel's face.

Swiftly now, the claws that were extended sheath back in her hand, as X-23 rises to her feet. "Yes." Meaning, yes, she's put them away. "Contact him." Are her last words, as she stands there, hands hanging loosely at her sides. Her words likely sound brisk now, hopefully once X-23 learns please and thank yous, she won't come off so stone cold and rude. Maybe.


Rachel doesn't move, and more to the point doesn't take down that telekinetic shield either, until she feels the waves of emotion rolling off of Laura start to settle down again. The odds are a lot more in Rachel's favour this time, but she was being honest when she told Laura she didn't want to fight. She just hopes Laura meant what she said, too. Fighting an enraged mini-Wolverine can only end badly for Rachel, even if she wins.

Rachel hadn't realised that she'd been breathing shallowly, but when the claws finally retract she takes a much-needed deep breath, and finally lets herself blink. That hint of fire in her eyes is gone when then open again, and Rachel even tries a slight smile - but it vanishes quickly as concern for Nate reasserts itself. "OK." Rachel says simply, finally completing her climb to her feet. She takes another breath, and her eyes narrow - though they don't close - and get a bit of a distant look as she reaches out for the man. « Nate? I have your little friend with the claws here. She tells me your house burned down. Where the hell are you? » Rachel's mental 'voice' started off calm and nonchalant, but there's more than a bit of concern filtering through by the end.


+MEET: Nate Grey has arrived via +meet.

Rachel doesn't move, and more to the point doesn't take down that telekinetic shield either, until she feels the waves of emotion rolling off of Laura start to settle down again. The odds are a lot more in Rachel's favour this time, but she was being honest when she told Laura she didn't want to fight. She just hopes Laura meant what she said, too. Fighting an enraged mini-Wolverine can only end badly for Rachel, even if she wins.

Rachel hadn't realised that she'd been breathing shallowly, but when the claws finally retract she takes a much-needed deep breath, and finally lets herself blink. That hint of fire in her eyes is gone when then open again, and Rachel even tries a slight smile - but it vanishes quickly as concern for Nate reasserts itself. "OK." Rachel says simply, finally completing her climb to her feet. She takes another breath, and her eyes narrow - though they don't close - and get a bit of a distant look as she reaches out for the man. « Nate? I have your little friend with the claws here. She tells me your house burned down. Where the hell are you? » Rachel's mental 'voice' started off calm and nonchalant, but there's more than a bit of concern filtering through by the end.


At this point all X-23 can do is wait. She's not a telepath and as such, has no knowledge when Rachel broadcasts that call to their errant friend and brother. X-23 does, however, smell that faint scent of concentration from Rachel. That at least gives her a clue that the red-head is currently doing /something/ that she can't quite see. Either way, it's enough that Laura will simply stand there like a statue her eyes focused on Rachel.

Good thing there aren't any pigeons around.


Nate is currently in New York, no far from Mutant Town, trying to keep himself busy and avoiding thinking about personal issues. Which means Rachel's message pretty much ruins his shaky peace of mind. « Ray? Uh. Crap. I am fine. Rose… decided to torch her place. I am in Greenwich Village, what's up? Is Laura okay? »


Rachel had been doing almost as good a job at standing still as Laura, as she waited for Nate to reply. Almost. The fact that she's almost vibrating with impatience betrays her tension. When she feels Nate's mind answer her requested connection she sags a bit, folding her arms and shifting to stand a bit more comfortably. Laura gets a quick nod, as Nate 'speaks' in her mind, but then he gets to the important bit and Rachel goes rigid again. « She WHAT?! Are you OK? » Abruptly remembering that he's answered that question already, Rachel examines his faint mental presence but doesn't get any impression of pain. « Is this sort of thing normal for her? Because I was hoping that shooting me was a one-off. » Rachel's mental tone is a bit sarcastic, but it's only a partly-successful attempt to mask concern. « Laura is fine. The claws came out but no-one drew blood. I'll let her know you're all right, but you might want to contact her yourself. I don't know if she'll believe me. »

Rachel blinks, and the distant look in her eyes vanishes as she focuses on Laura. "He says he's fine. I don't think he was keeping anything from me. He said Rose burned her own place down. » Rachel shakes her head. "I'm going to ask you what I just asked him: Is this normal for her? And… is he in any danger, from her?"


When Ray returns to the land of the living, as it were, X-23 automatically brings her attention back to the woman. Her explanation of just WHY the bungalow burnt down and that Nate is okay, earns a faint frown from the woman. "I do not know." She finally says, voice flat as ever. "I have only met Rose three times. I cannot say what is normal behavior or not. I cannot answer if she is a threat to him or not, either." Only for the simple fact that she doesn't have enough data to go on. Sure she could /guess/, but X-23 is not a person who guesses, not unless someone asks her to.


« That is… semi-normal, I guess. She was upset, » admits Nate. Then he reaches for Laura and adds her to the psychic conversation. « Hey, Laura. I am alright. Don't cut Rachel, will you? She just got here and things are probably unfamiliar to her. You should know how it goes? » She has almost no social skills, after all. Being so quiet allows Laura avoid many blunders. But Rachel, well. « Are you nearby, I have not eaten in all day, I am starving. I can… » he check pockets. « Invite you for dinner. At least a pizza or two.»


Rachel fights the urge to roll her eyes at the reply she gets from Laura, but for the first time there's the tinge of a genuine smile to accompany the slightly exasperated look. For some reason, the younger, overly-literal woman is growing on her. At least now the claws have gone back in. "You're not very reassuring, you know that, right?" Rachel asks, but it's probably a good thing Laura doesn't get chance to reply before Nate draws her into the mind-link as well.

Rachel wasn't going to try that. She's felt Laura's rage, and doesn't want to do anything that could be misconstrued as an attack. Rachel contents herself with answering Nate.

« Because I knocked her out or because you wouldn't let her shoot me? » Rachel asks, her mental tone dry. She expects the answer is going to be 'both', clearly. Rachel can't help but be amused at Nate's gentle instructions to Laura, and a sense of that amusement colours the mind-link. « I think we're past that, now we established some boundaries. » Rachel glances quickly at Laura, as if to assure her that she's NOT going to bring one particular topic up again, then looks around at the place they're standing in with a quiet snort. « We're at what I'm embarrassed to call 'my place' in M-Town. » Rachel replies, though honestly she's stayed in far worse places. « Food sounds good. » She adds, jerking her head to Laura to follow her. « We'll meet you. »


Nate almost changes his mind. They are going to ask him questions about Rose he doesn't feel like answering. Or rather, he doesn't feel like thinking about answers. But he has never avoided an unpleasant conversation in his life, or a confrontation, and he is not going to stop now. « Mutant Town? Gotcha. Meet you there in 20. Good to know you have settled. I know how is the neighbourhood, if is has walls, it is good. See you soon. »

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