Emotional Upheaval

March 31, 2016:

X-23 is finally made aware that X-Black is being forced to choose sides. Stay at the Mansion or strike it out on their own and it causes an emotional response from the young woman.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

So Nate wasn't around for the magic show last Friday either. But that is unsurprising given he got shot. And he had actually warned his co-workers about it. But not Laura. He just vanished from Xavier. Or rather, he has failed to show up at Xavier several days in a row. He was going regularly since he dropped Laura there.

It has been only this morning when he finally contacted Laura telepathically. A brief note about him no longer being welcomed at Xavier and inviting her to have breakfast in Mutant Town. It is actually somewhat late for breakfast and chances are Laura has already eaten, but Nate doesn't follow regular feeding schedules, and what he calls breakfast has little to do with anything normal.


So much has been happening. At least, in Laura's world it feels that way. The foundation, that she thought was rock steady beneath her feet, is slowly starting to crumble away and that's causing Laura to feel things she's never felt. Worry, fear, uncertainity. Those are the main things and it's causing the girl to pull further and further into herself.

It may not seem as if she noticed Nate's disappearance, but she has. She noticed it right away and when he missed his last few state shows … well, it was enough to cause the young woman to try and look for him.

While she didn't necessarily find him, she would catch his scent here and there out in the city, but never fresh enough to follow for her to find him. All of that is causing the young woman to have many many sleepless nights. So, when Nate contacts her, he'll find she's quite awake and already in the city. She's finding it hard to stay in the school or her classes, when she's worrying so. Even if she doesn't realize that's what she's doing. Either way, at the appointed time and place, Nate will find Laura there.

Her green eyes are constantly moving around the area, as she looks for her erstwhile teammate. Her sensitive nose is likewise in play, as she scents the area for Nate's familiar smell.


Nate is already there himself. He has been in the area since dawn looking for some unsavory shorts that work (indirectly) for Cyberdata. So much telepathic sniffing he is nursing a mild headache. A pause and coffee would be great, which is what he is asking at the cafe's counter when he senses Laura.

He grins at the brunette and points to the table he picked. The one at the back from where one can watch all the room. Nate smells to Nate, as expected, also to rusty metals and lab chemicals, and maybe a little to Rose. And at some point last week he cut his hair short, buzz cut short.


As soon as she sees Nate, Laura begins to zero in on his position in line. Her movement is only arrested when Nate points towards the seat or rather table that he's staked out as their own. Her green-eyed gaze will turn towards that table and then back to Nate again, before she offers one single nod. It's a short sharp movement of her head, as she drifts to the table. With an economy of movement the dark-haired assassin sits down, her hands resting atop the table.

Her eyes will stay focused on Nate and when he finally makes his way back to his table and Laura, will the slim-assassin speak. And she gets right to the point too with her very blunt query. "Why have you left?" Her gaze will flick to his hair, but the change there isn't remarked upon, only noted. With her words, Nate might notice that her once relaxed hands will curl slowly into fists.


Coffee. Large mug with everything. One for Laura too, Nate will keep trying to get her into coffee. Like a normal mutant person should! He flops down on his seat with a grunt, as his leg still hurts. "Eh, long story. Basically I can't help Ripclaw with Cyberdata from Xavier's. Jean came down on us like a ton of bricks when I was asking him to tell Emma about those guys. Quite frankly, what she did was pretty nasty. She shouldn't have interrupted that meeting to… pretty much make me choose between staying at Xavier or helping Ripclaw and his crew, which I had told him I would."


Perhaps one day Laura will try that coffee, but right now, that mug of Joe is ignored by Laura. She keeps her intense gaze focused upon Nate when he reveals why he left. His words, while understood on some level, cause a blank look to cross her features now. She's struggling to understand just what he's said. To parse those statements of his.

Finally, after a lengthy silence, Laura will say, "I do not understand. Why must you choose?"

Her hands continue to stay tightly curled, as she waits for Nate to answer her last question. Her features continue to hold that same blank look; which might possibly be Laura's tell that she's either confused, or feeling some sort of extreme (for her) emotion.


Nate gives Laura a long, hard look, noticing how tense she is, and… worried? Strange. "As I said it is a long story. Lets see…" he sips his mug, but it is still too hot to drink. Curses. "The X-Men have a code of behavior, they have for years. When they go into the battlefield they always try to minimize damages, avoid killing, use minimum force and a few other rules that put them at higher risk in the battlefield, but are very moral and nice. Those rules should have helped them to become role-models for other powerful mutants and maybe reduce the fear some humans feel. But that wasn't working, because for maybe ten years the X-Men were too secretive. Maybe they will work now the Red Team is in the open. I don't know. I doubt it. Bad press, loud lies and political pressure seem to carry more weight than facts." But this has nothing to do with the problem, really.

That is background information for Laura, and Nate is curious to see what she thinks about it.


Laura listens. She's good at that. She listens and she memorizes. She can't say whether she'll need this information later, but one never knows, and she was taught to memorize anything she hears when it comes to learning about allies and enemies. A slow singular nod is given again by Laura, perhaps losing some of the previous sharpness of the prior head bob from her. "I understand."

And while it may seem like she means for Nate to continue, thanks to that short pause from the slim assassin, she does interject one last thing before he can continue with his story. "They do not want people within the household that do not take the same care as themselves?" A frown now begins to tick Laura's lips downward, her tension still quite apparent in her hands and the way she sits.


Nate hmms, then shakes his head. "No, not exactly. The X-Men rules are fine, most super-hero groups have similar rules. Hell, many super-villains follow somewhat of a code themselves, so I guess it works to go easy on them most times. If we don't use lethal force on them, they won't fight to the bitter end, and they won't murder us if they knock out someone during a battle. Also, less chances to cause civilian casualties, I guess."

Coffee sip. Much better. "You really should try it," comments Nate.

"So when I joined, I knew the rules and I followed them." He continues, "but a little later the Purifiers came, and anti-mutant violence hit an all-time high. So a small group of X-Men formed a black ops sub-team, secret to most of the others, although with the approval of the leaders." Pause. "Most of the leaders," he amends. "Because some enemies are too murderous to give them quarter, or too well connected to jail them. Cyberdata seems to fill the bill, so it was our responsibility, and Ripclaw had the same attitude. Jean told us to abandon our ways or leave Xavier's."


Again she listens. She memorizes. Any knowledge, whether good or bad, is knowledge and as such, Laura pays quick attention. It's only after Nate finishes speaking that silence once again reigns down on Laura. Her sharp eyes stay focused on Nate with that same intensity, but her expression is still quite blank. It's only after a moment that Laura's gaze will actually flick away, roving around the small cafe for a second. She's struggling here, trying to make sense of just what's going on.

She thought Xavier's was stable. In fact, this was the first place she felt any type of stability, that there was a bedrock of unchangingness to it. That it and the people within would always be there. And now she's finding that crumbling away. Like always.

"Who is all leaving?" She asks, her voice dropping to something that sounds just the smallest bit harsh. Sure, she could have said something along the lines of 'but we need people to make the hard decision' or 'we need X-Black for those scenarios', but no, Laura is completely focused on the people she might be losing, because, this is a loss for Laura.


"I am not sure yet," admits Nate. "Rose, Luna and me, I think. Although neither or us was a full-time resident on the grounds. This thing was a secret, so don't tell anyone." He looks at Laura again, and reaches to grab her hand, squeezing lightly. "Hey. We are not going far. You will see us often enough, and we are still going to work magic all Fridays. Well, when my leg is well enough. Next week for sure."


Silence again. It's so hard for Laura to parse all this, all of Nate's saying, let alone all of what she's feeling. Which is a lot. That whirlwind inside of her is enough to cause her to simply sit there, statue-still.

The names he rattles off, the remark about keeping this secret, all of it seemingly bounces right off that blank face of Laura's, as she simply stares fixedly at Nate now. Which likely isn't good. She's shutting herself down. It's just too much for the young woman to weather through.

It's only when he grabs one of her tightly fisted hands, that Laura will finally move again. Her gaze will drop to their hands now; his over hers and she'll stare at them for a long second; then her eyes slowly make their way back to Nate's face. Her voice, which are still quite monotone, finally says, "Will I have to leave? I do not believe the same rules about warfare as them."


Touching her makes Nate blink as her emotions become obvious to him. Why is she so upset? "What? No," he refocuses. "You don't have to go, but I think they won't let you join the field teams if you don't want to play by the rules. But Xavier will let you stay as a student, I am sure. You need a place to belong, Laura. Somewhere stable and friendly, at least for a while. Don't worry about us, we know what we are doing and we made our choice. Maybe once Cyberdata is brought down we will return." He sights. "You are very distressed. What feels so wrong to you?"


Words. Words. Words. So many of them. There are so many of them. As many as her emotions and those words of Nate's are causing even more emotions to swell up within her.

What feels so wrong to her? That she can finally answer. "People are leaving." She states, voice still detached from what's going on inside of her. "Because they are different." She continues, perhaps some of the longest statements that Nate has likely ever heard from Laura. "I was told that Xavier's is a place for everyone, no matter their differences. This was a lie." That last part is a question, but with her voice being so flat, it's very hard to hear the uptick that denotes that question of hers.

She allows her hand to continue to stay beneath Nate's, subconsciously seeking out the comfort of another human's touch, even if she won't admit it to herself.


"Well, it is not because we are different," comments Nate. "It is because…" ugh, he can't defend Jean. She was wrong, she fucked up. Lunair should not have to leave. Or Emma. "Their rules are wrong for what we need to do, that's all." He frowns. "You can't leave. It is the best place for you right now."


"It is a difference. You feel one way with how to deal with people, they feel another. I had thought it was okay to have different opinions and ways than the administration. That is why there were different teams, to allow for all schools of thought. For situations that require more than just subdue and imprison." States the slim assassin in that deaden voice of hers, "But that was a lie."

Slowly she shakes her head, that confusion and roil of murky thoughts flip-flopping at a dizzying speed within the girl's mind.

The hand beneath Nate's twitches, as she starts to pull it free, "I wish to go now." At least she's telling him instead of just up and leaving, right?


"A difference? Laura, wait!" Nate grabs her hand more firmly, "look, there is a difference between disagreeing about the rules and breaking them. You don't need to agree with Xavier to live in the school. In fact, Scott and Jean disagreed enough to allow for the black ops team to form. But something changed, and now we can stay, still free to disagree but not doing it anymore. Or leave and do what we think needs to be done. We left. You…" he frowns and pauses.

Because Nate is not sure Laura can form an educated opinion about things like violence, murder or most morals children learn before being 12. Not yet. That is why a year or two at the school would help her so much. "You should talk to Jean or Xavier and hear their arguments, I guess."


Even more words now. Didn't he hear what she said? She wanted to leave. She wanted to go.

She wanted to get out of thise place because she couldn't take anymore of his or her own words!

He might get that impression once he takes her hand again, as those feelings are easily boiling upward now. Along with the confusion is her anger. Anger at her confusion, anger at this change, anger at all her feelings.

It's enough that her free hand will curl into a fist again and with a faint growl, the slim-assassin will deploy her claws. Or, at least, one set. Which is a good thing, with Nate holding her other hand. Either way, the familiar *SNIKT* can be heard as the claws pop from her free hand. The sound is enough to bring the gaze of people to their little group, but when nothing more happens, they go back to their food and drinks.

This is mutant town, after all.

That flash of pain, from her claws bursting through the skins of her knuckle, affords the girl some measure of clarity, some measure of emotional release, as she stares at her extended claws. Then, slowly, her eyes will turn back to Nate. "I do not wish to talk with them." And within those words of Laura's, is the faint sound of vulnerability. The slightest of wavering to her voice, as she adds, "I do not wish for people to leave." She admits, that vulnerability now turning harsh again and as those last words leave her lips, she'll twist her hand to try and break his grip from around her own.


"I don't want you to leave," he counters. But Nate releases her hand, nevertheless. "Breathe, slowly and deeply, please," they say it works, although his emotions are rarely so easily reigned. "I didn't think it would upset you so much," he admits. "It shouldn't upset you so much. I will be around, and I will be there if you need me."


His revelation that he didn't realize she would be so upset causes her to shift her gaze away from him. It's only when she has her hand returned to her, that she'll drop both of her hands to her side.

Turning back to Nate, now that both of them are standing, Laura will consider his words. There are no 'i would have thought you would understand' from her, instead, she says, "No one every stays." Are her final words, even as she bows her head. "They all leave." Whether by their own means (rarely) or because she killed them (most of the time). "I had thought that had changed." She admits, her words not holding the emotional resonance that they should, but within her mind. That's where all of the emotion that should be behind her words is.

She brings her hands back up, still curled into tight fists. Once again one set of claws slowly peeks through her skin again, just the tips of them and just enough length to allow her to lazily drag the sharp ends against her other arm. As if she's scratching and itch.

Blood wells up slowly from the shallow cut and by the time the bit of blood drips downward, the cut is already healed.


Nate doesn't understand outright, no. Yes, people leave and… oh. Brief flashback to all his dead friends in his all dead world. "I am not leaving -you-" he states firmly. "I would even have asked you to come with me, but you need to stay at the school. At least for a time. You need to learn all the things they wouldn't want you to learn, Laura."


Those claws of her stop at Nate's words. She'll turn her dark gaze upon him, as she considers his words and then focuses upon one particularly thing.

Again she drops her hands to her side, but finally, she speaks. "To learn things. Yes, I understand." Her voice sounds better, more sure of herself, now that she has this mission. Sure, it's really not, but it's something she can focus on and help to keep those pesky emotions from overwhelming her.

"I will do this." She says and then within a heartbeat, she adds, "I am glad you are not leaving." Her, that is. Leaving her. Because that is what caused this meltdown for Laura. That surety that the people within the school would not leave; that all were welcome, no matter how terrible their past were, has been shaken. That foundation that has been so carefully laid is now cracked, it's still there yes, but damage has been done to it now. Only time will tell if that damage can be fixed.


Just like that? She goes from angsty child to focused soldier in seconds. Nate stares at the young woman, glancing at the blood on her arm. He sits down again, and invites her to do the same. "So that is how you do it, hmm? You focus in a goal and try to ignore your feelings. Instead of dealing with them."


Yes, just like that. That's how Laura is. Focus on the end goal. It's how she was raised. Ignore everything else, the feelings, the pain, the fear, everything. The goal is all that matters. And the fact that Nate calls her out on it …

That's enough to cause another swell of emotions again, though whatever she feels doesn't show upon her face. No, instead, it shows by the tension that reasserts itself within her shoulders, her limbs, and her hands.

She could lie. Yes. She could try to say something to shift the conversation away, but that isn't Laura. It will always be truth for her. And violence. "I do not know any other way." She admits, those words pulled out of her like some sort of rusty sword.


"Fair enough," admits Nate with a faint smirk. "I guess drinking or physical exhaustion wouldn't work for you. Some people channel it into art, or meditate to calm themselves. A few even know several ways. Too many do not know how to deal with the darkness at all. It destroys them.

Again, he reaches and takes her hands. This time both of them. He can read her feelings much better this way than trying to figure them out in the best poker face of her generation. "It will get better. Good things will happen to you and the bad won't matter so much. It happened to me too."


As soon as Nate grabs her hands, he'll be able to peer into the window of her soul; as it were. Her emotions are still a whirlwind, but that frantic pace is starting to slow. The most obvious emotion is fear. Fear of losing those she's earmarked as friends, or even more, family. She had just start to lay down feelers with these people, real roots, and to her it feels as if those roots are being torn from the ground.

So, yes, definitely fear.

It's his last words that really earn a response from Laura, as she looks at him, "I do not know if I believe that." She states honestly, her features actually registering an emotion; pensiveness. "It seems that when all is going well, something happens, and it's taken away." And with him being so connected, he might see an image flash through her mind. That of a woman with the same green eyes as her, but brown hair, instead of black. The image of the woman's unmarred face is quickly replaced by the memory and image of her dying in the snow.


"I am pretty sure," Nate pushes that image out of his thoughts. That is not something he wants to know until Laura tells him. "What you have gone through was hellish. Normal life is much better than that. Now, we muties have it raw, but most of us didn't have it as bad as you. So yes, it gets better. I promise."


Laura's gaze searches his own and when he offers that promise of his, all she can do is bow her head a moment.

"Then it must be so." She says finally, thanks to that promise he just uttered.

"I trust you." She finishes with, those words of hers an emotional bomb, thanks to her rarely admitting any sort of connection with people. "Even if I do not always understand why you do what you do."


Well, damn. He just will have to make the promise true this time, won't he? Nate offers the small girl a smirk. "I can probably explain it. But you will have to ask the questions this time," and for once Nate does not feel this conversation is 99 in one direction. This is progress. "Best way to learn, y'know? Asking questions."


She considers his words. Asking questions. That is not something she often does. Not when it comes to feelings and the mysteries of why people do what they do. Still, she does at least nod, as she says, "I will ask questions when I do not understand." She doesn't quite promise, but perhaps with how she states those words, Nate might get the sense that she's promising to that new mission, as well.

Either way, the girl will finally resettle herself into the seat near him. "I do not have much more time before classes start." She finally admit, as she looks towards the clock that hangs upon one of the walls of the cafe.


And seems the questions will have to wait. Maybe better that way. Nate has the impression he gave Laura enough to think for a day. "I'll offer a ride, but I am keeping my metaphysical eye in a few goons in the neighbor and I need to stay within range. I can walk you to the subway station, though," he offers. And since she never did anything with her coffee mug, he picks it up for the walk.


"It is not a problem." She says, when offers her a ride and when he rises to his feet, she likewise follows.

For the majority of the stroll to the subway station, Laura is quiet. It's only when she starts for the steps, that say says, "I will see you later." Which definitely has a ring of promise around it. "ANd next week for the magic show."

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