Dangerous Dames

March 15, 2016:

Laura finally seeks out Doug to finish getting all of her 'credentials' finished to become a 'real citizen'.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Feet slung up on top of his desk, Doug Ramsey answered the phone, the neon lights shining into the dark room, where he plied his trade. "Hullo, toots, what can I do for you?"

"I need ID, and I need it now," a feminine voice says, all business.

Doug knew that voice. The dark and dangerous dame, with those eyes that were like deep ink wells.

The dame could take care of herself, so if she -called-?

"C'mon over, and we'll get you fixed up," the Fixer says.

There was no answer, only a click of the phone.

Leaning back, Doug reviewed what he knew of her.

Laura Kinney. Last time he'd spoken to her, she'd gotten embroiled as the narcs came a-calling, and never -did- get her problem -fixed-.

Still, Doug had to admit, she was intriguing. Seemingly emotionless, she only seemed to come alive when there was -danger-.

Just the scent of danger around her apparently fuelled the seemingly calm dame into a whirlwind of limbs and hair.

A sedentary lifestyle apparently wasn't made for a dame like her. And fixing her problem wouldn't be easy, but still… he wouldn't mind seeing more of her. Just not in the middle of a hail of lead and gunsmoke…

Doug Ramsey?"

Shaking himself out of his reverie, Doug blinks at a young woman standing at the computer lab door. Oh right. Putting down the Dashiell Hammett book on his tablet, Doug stands up. "Laura. C'mon in, have a seat," he says, motioning to the seat across him, as he sits back down.

If only X-23 could see within Douglas Ramsey's mind. Likely she'd find all of that gumshoe thought process a curiosity. Or confusing. It's hard to say how X-23 would react to the whole reading for fun. Yes, she used to have Pinocchio read to her by her mother, but that's not the same as realizing you enjoy reading. That it can be an escape. It can be fun …

Either way, the dark-haired assassin stands within the door was to the computer labs. Her eyes are upon the reclining man and when she realizes he doesn't see her, or notice she's there, she finally speaks his name.

Once invited into the room, the rather slim and short killer will do just that. It only takes a few steps for her to come to Doug's little desk and settle into the seat. For most people her expression is still quite devoid of all emotion, but perhaps with Douglas' powers, he might be able to read the slight thinning around her mouth for what it is. Unhappiness.

"Sorry about that, I was reading, uh, the Maltese Falcon," Doug says, holding up the tablet briefly, before setting it back down. "Right, then… we're overdue for your ID, and I'm sorry about what happened last time and…"

The young blonde frowns slightly. "You're not happy about something, right…? Is something the matter?"

Doug's blue eyes shift from the thin non-smile on X-23's eyes to her eyes, canting his head, trying to switch to non-verbal communication. A welcoming glance, a questioning eyebrow, something that X-23 might respond to on a subconscious level.

His apologies about their last meeting is simply ignored, as her bright green eyes focus upon the blond young man now. It's his second set of questions that brought her gaze back to his face.

She struggles now, internally, though again those micro-expressions might be see able by Doug. Yes, she is unhappy, upset as it were, but she's uncertain how to voice those feelings of her. It's enough to cause the young woman's hands to fist in her lap as she battles with her own self.

While others might offer some sort of social platitude, Laura doesn't. Not yet adept enough to figure out she needs to say something at this point. As such, all that reigns right now is silence.

In times like this, the nonverbal languages helped a lot, especially when dealing with body language. The uncertainty and the silence meant a greater attention towards facial expressions, which told their own story. A need for something, but not knowing what to say to get it, or how to get it.

It was, in its own way, a bit of a detective work, trying to put pieces together from the unspoken cues.

Adjusting to try and find X-23's 'language', as it were, Doug waits just long enough to allow X-23's expression to shift enough to acknowledge that she -does- have to voice something before offering a "If you need something, but you're not sure what, it's ok, just talk about the, um… circumstances? Situation?" Sometimes finding the perfect words in one language didn't work in another, but the look in Doug's blue eyes might have been a better word than the ones he voiced in English.

Doug's words seem to cause another shift in those micro-expressions of Laura's as a muscle along her jaw tenses. It's a sure bet she's gritting her teeth right this moment. Her nostrils flare slightly, as well, as she automatically scents around herself. She's not expecting trouble, but her system is revved up enough, that she's falling to more autonomic processes.

Finally though, there's more than just silence from the slim assassin, as there's a familiar *snikt* of sound. Her claws, they've popped out from her hands and while others might see this movement as aggressive from Laura, Doug might be able to see beyond that initial assumption. Her claws coming out are like steam leaving a tea kettle -

- Relieving just enough pressure to allow Laura a tiny bit of clarity into her own mind. Or rather, her own emotion. "They made me.." Begins the young woman as her gaze drops to her unsheathed claws, "…hurt people again."

Slowly the claws retract back into Laura's hands and forearms.

For the first time he's seen that particular tic, Doug -does- start, but already his linguistic skills is catching up with his instinct, and he takes a bit of a breath, mostly as a non-verbal indication that he's realized what the 'snikt' was for and is settling himself back down, relaxing again, going back to the non-verbal communication as a 'Ok, I got it now,' and then waiting.

As Laura speaks, and the claws retract, Doug nods, in acceptance. He'd read up the files, though he didn't know what might have caused this one. X-23 might recognize a bit of tension, similar to what she'd been displaying earlier, as Doug considers what to say, before he settles for a "… did something upset you, or…?" He leaves the sentence unfinished, letting X-23 fill it in as she would.

While those ever so slight shift in expressions last for a few seconds longer, eventually, thanks to that little jolt of pain from her claws *snikting* out, X-23 suppresses the rest of what she's feeling.

Doug would likely still be able to read her better than the Average Joe, but it's more difficult now, thanks to that outburst of hers.

Thankfully, she does at least answer his semi-trailed off question there. "No." She states, voice once again flat and rather devoid of any inflection, "Someone used the Trigger scent." Trigger with a capital T, it seems, "When that is used I cannot control what I do. I simply kill."

Just looking at X-23's personnel file didn't tell Doug all that much, and there -was- some privacy issues involved, so the young man's hesitation at 'trigger scent' might be enough to tell X-23 that it wasn't completely meaningful to him.

Still, though, Doug's posture has shifted a bit, more to being 'sympathetic'. "It isn't your fault, then," he says. Platitudes, he thought, would work less with X-23. They were, after all, just words, at least to someone who was much more in control of her senses than normal. So instead, having said his words, he communicates nonverbally, moving his chair a bit closer, allowing her just enough space to do as she will, but close enough to allow for easier 'communication' if she wanted.

Doug definitely has it correct. Platitudes do not work on Laura, it seems. In fact, when he offers that tidbit of knowledge, X-23 simply bares her teeth at him for a minute. His words are something she's already heard and having them repeated again doesn't seem to make her feelings any less hard to deal with.

When he moves closer to her, she'll automatically scent the air, once again seeking clues and answers from what his own scent tells her. She can't detect any sort of acrid smell that she associates with lies, but still, it doesn't seem to settle her any further.

"I understand." She says to his platitude, and yes, she really does understand intellectually what he's saying. It's emotionally that she can't quite get a hold of. "I am still …" She continues, her voice dropping slightly away from those monotone syllables, ".. Upset."

And for others that simple sentence would be expected, but for Laura it's something much more. To actually voice an emotion … It's not something she can typically get out so easily. In fact, her fingers will once again curl tightly into the palm of her hands.

"Yeah… usually, when people get upset, they talk it out," Doug offers as an observation. Taking a moment to consider the situation, Doug shrugs, standing up. "Well then, let's 'talk'. Just go easy on me, okay? You're a lot -faster- than I am, for sure."

Taking a stance, Doug shifts into a defensive shift. It's probably a more primal language that X-23 might understand on a more subconscious level. A sort of 'work out your frustration' approach to communication that didn't require -words-. Maybe then, once the frustration was out of the way, other feelings and thoughts could take their place.

And that too, was another approach to non-verbal communication.

Talking. That's definitely not something Laura is often accustomed to. It's enough that Doug is once again given the silent treatment, as Laura figures out just what to say.

It's only when the lean young man rises to his feet and adopts that defensive stance that Laura will stare at him. There's definite surprise in that gaze of hers, even if that emotion doesn't quite filter to her features.

Slowly, because there's a fair amount of uncertainty in this situation, X-23 will say. "No. I would only hurt you." States the slim assassin as X-23 automatically takes a step towards Doug and his proverbial 'ring'.

And while her words might seem egotistical, they truly aren't. She's seen how he moves, seen him in a battle situation and to her, it puts Doug firmly in the non-combative category.

"Well, you -do- need to talk," Doug responds, shrugging briefly. "Just not with words." Lowering his stance, Doug considers, before shrugging. "How about if we use a stand in, then…?"

Moments later, Doug is standing in front of the Danger Room, staring at the wrecked doors. "… I don't suppose you know anything about what happened here, do you…? No, probably not. Hm. The Gym? I'll just get, you know, a lot of padding. Just no claws."

Silently now, because she's an assassin, X-23 will pad after Doug. When he leads the two to the damaged Danger Room, Laura will simply stare at the broken doors a moment. Sure, she could have answered Doug's rhetorical questions (because rhetorical questions are typically lost on Laura), but thankfully, he let's her off the hook with his next statement.

It's only when the two step into the gym that Laura will say, "No claws." Then she's stepping onto the mats, towards the middle of the coverings, as she waits for Doug to 'suit' up, as it were. And yes, she'd help him get the padding on if he needed it. Well, after he asked for help.

Doug didn't ask for help, exactly, simply 'armored up' as best as he could. It restricted his ability to 'talk', as it were, but it was at least, hopefully, sufficient enough to let X-23 talk as she will.

He could at the least, offer -acceptance- at certain areas of 'dialogue', where she was 'raging at the unfairness of it all', followed by resistance when she seemed to be raging at -herself-, and, if rage shifted to unhappiness, shift tactics accordingly. Whatever nonverbal gestures she conveyed, at least, Doug would respond in one way or another.

As Doug joins her on the mats, in his armor, X-23 can't help but give him a look. It still holds some confusion in there, but she's settled enough that she adds, "You are an odd man." Which is saying much, for Laura. Really, it is.

Still, since it seems this is what Doug /wants/, X-23 will raise her hands up in fists. Not one to really hold back, that first strike will be aimed at Doug's midsection. It's obvious that X-23 isn't holding back on her punches, as she executes that punch with all her strength and speed.

And even if Doug manages to block that first punch, X-23's second punch quickly follows that initial strike. This time she's aiming at his padded jaw and whether he dodges or is hit, Laura will offer a third attack, as well. It's a quick leg sweep, intending to knock the young blonde man to rump or back, depending on how he falls.

And while there was no real form of communication with that first punch of hers, by the second Doug (if he's not too hurt) would be able to pick things up from her movements. Anger. So much anger. Anger at herself for hurting Ray, at The Facility, at the Trigger scent, at her life. And while that anger can be seen by Doug, otherwise (unless a telepath) would likely never see it from the blankness of her expression. That anger quickly bleeds out of her movements, however, as she lashes out with her foot. Suddenly, instead of that hot feeling inside of herself, all that lines her movements now is regret.

Regret. Regret. Regret.

That feeling is enough that her attacks stop, as her gaze drops to Doug now. "You are dead." She intones, since in reality she could /easily/ kill the other man. So, so, easily.

Her nostrils flare again, though not to detect the scents around her, no, instead it signifies the pain that statement causes her, which goes back to the regret.

For a moment, Doug feels his blood run cold, staring up at X-23, before her pain registers in his head.

Bending his neck briefly, just exposing it for a second to show submission and vulnerability, Doug then lowers it enough, shifting his body language from something X-23 could read easily to blankness. All that was available was simple economy of motion, the equivalent of body language 'silence' that had to be unnerving for -anyone- to see, before he settles into rubbing his rump. Okay, that did hurt, and Doug expresses that sufficiently, before waving it off, and bringing his arms up and, if allowed, to bring X-23 in a light hug she could pull away from very easily. "Well, I used to be dead. I'm alive. And so are you. Now what are we going to do with being alive?" he asks. "I don't know about you, but I intend to stay that way."

Blankness. While Laura wasn't quite aware that Doug was emoting via his body language, her subconscious level was. So, when he goes 'dark', as it were, she can't help but still. There's a waiting from Laura now, as she senses Douglas falling 'silent' now. It's as if she's waiting for a hand to fall, or the next shoe to drop, something that tells her where she might have gone /wrong/.

And while she continues to hold herself expectantly, when Doug rubs his butt, thanks to the fall he took, X-23 can't help but loosen tensed muscles. Yes, she really was waiting for a 'bad puppy' smack from Doug. Punishment was always used at The Facility as reinforcement while she was there and even though Xavier's seems different, there's still a part of X-23 that expects the same form of negative reinforcement from the people here.

His words about dying and re-birth bring the faintest of frowns from the young woman, as she considers the truth of his words. A single nod will be given to them, before she addresses the next set he speaks. "I do not know." What she's going to do with being alive. "I am .." Lost. That's what she was going to say, but the last word isn't said. Instead, she just stands there watching the young man.

After another few seconds, Doug releases the hug, pulling back and giving X-23 the room to read his face, at least.

"Well then, I guess we just keep on living. A lot of living's about figuring out who you are, anyway, and who you will be," Doug says, shrugging. "The future's funny that way, you never know till it happens. So, for now… I guess, want help getting there?"

While X-23 didn't return the hug the tightness around her mouth seems to have relaxed some. It's enough that Doug should easily be able to read it and when he offers his own version of wise words, she will easily offer a single nod.


Is the only word she says, even as she turns toward the door. She's not leaving, per se, but going back to Doug's computer room, so they can at least start the ID that she keeps seeming to miss out upon.

It's only after all is said and done, that the dark-haired woman will say, "Thank you."

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