Unexcused Absences

April 22, 2016:

Laura has missed quite a few classes. Emma has been assigned to get to the bottom of this and put a stop to it.

Emma's Office -- Xavier Institute

Description in poses.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: X-Man, Marvel Girl, Psylocke

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Like it or not, someone has to be the hard ass. Someone has to be the disciplinarian. Someone has to be the adult all of the kids are suitably afraid of enough that they will obey, despite their awesome powers. And whether anyone else likes it or not, that person is most often Emma Grace Frost. Emma is ice hard and unyielding with adults; with children it reaches a whole other level. And yet as strict and fierce as she can be, she is - at least with reasonable children - calm, productive, and even supportive in her own cold, apparently emotionless way.

Most of the students call her the Ice Queen. Or the Ice B*tch. But that's nothing compared to what some of her fellow adults call her.

Laura Kinney has been missing classes. Enrolled as a student to give her some structure and social interactions, to help her develop something human beyond the living weapon programming that had been shoved into her brain, Laura has rules she has to follow. And one of those is going to classes unless specifically excused. And she wasn't excused. So now it's time to pay the piper.

An embossed white envelope awaited Laura, resting on the pillow of her bed with her name in flowing silvery script. Inside was a rather formal card, a formal invitation like that for a fancy ball or a wedding, inviting Laura to meet with Ms. Frost at her office at a particular hour the next day. This was backed up with emails and text messages until the directive was acknowledged. And given this is Emma Frost, if all of that failed telepathic cajoling is sure to follow.


Yes, Laura has been missing classes and while she knows she should have alerted people as to why she was missing classes, she didn't and still doesn't. She's struggling with handling all that's been happening in her world and it would have taken some prying from Betsy to allow the girl to say just /why/ she's missing classes and what's going on. Sadly, the two Ninjas just haven't been on the same page in terms of schedules and as such, Laura has missed classes and they were definitely marked as unexcused.

As such, when she entered her room the day before, a letter was found. While others might not have realized something was different within their room immediately, Laura does. As soon as her door closes behind her, she pauses. Her eyes quickly scan the room now for what's striking her as out of place. It doesn't take long for her eyes to fall upon that letter upon her pillow. Stepping over to her bed, Laura will look at that elegant silver script. Finally, after a silent second the slim assassin will lift the letter up, open it and read it. As soon as she's finished memorizing the brief missive, the dark-haired woman will simply set it back upon her pillow.

Acknowledgement of the appointment is slow from Laura. It's only after Emma finally sent e-mails and text messages, that the blonde woman would finally receive a very short e-mail in return. It simply stated: I will be there.

And now, finally the witching hour has arrived. At the appointed time and the appointed place, Laura will arrive. She's a shadow darkening the doorstep to Emma's office for a split-second, before there's a crisp knock. Three of them. Then the knocking falls silent, as Laura waits for permission to enter.


The very same scent from the envelope of the invitation lies on the other side of that door. The knocks come, and Laura can be more certain than most that the woman inside knew she was there /before/ she knocked. And still, Emma waits. She waits, until the very second her clock displays the appointed time. And then she calls out, "Enter, please, Ms. Kinney."

The office is not at all like either Jean's or Betsy's office. It is not nearly so Spartan as the Brit ninja's space, and hasn't an ounce of darkness in it. Yet its colors are entirely bold white, crystal, gleaming chrome and the palest of blues, making it rather harsh and unremitting compared to the warmth and vibrancy found in Jean's office. The furnishings are sumptuous and starkly styled; if one knew such things well, it wouldn't be hard to guess Emma must have had this place redecorated at her own expense, as things in here are completely out of even the price range of Xavier.

Emma stands behind the desk of chrome and glass, and welcomes the errant student, her attire and demeanor perfectly suited to this place, or this place to her demeanor. She waits for Laura at the side of the desk, and inclines her platinum blonde head slightly. "Ms. Kinney. We have not been formally introduced, though we have met once in passing. I am Emma Frost." She doesn't bother with a title; she doesn't need one. "Please, be seated." Emma gestures towards one of the chairs that sit arrayed in front of her desk, and stands waiting.


While other students might be bothered by the waiting, Laura isn't. She does just that. Wait. Patiently. Or rather, she waits without any overt emotional cues. There's no fidgeting or sighing, or muttering, as she waited for that permission from Emma. And now, once that permission is given, Laura will push open the door and enter Emma Frost's domain. Stepping neatly into the rather extravagant room, Laura will pause to take everything in. Her eyes dart this way and that, as she takes in just about everything she can, noting the color palette, the style and yes, even the fact that money was involved in creating this room.

Then her gaze shifts to Emma Frost's form. Yes, the two met briefly in the past, but this is the first time that X-23 is afforded a good look at the blonde woman. While Emma's clothes match the decor of her office quite well and just about breathes money, Laura's outfit is much more low key. Black boots, black pants, black shirt and her battered red leather jacket. Two opposite sides of the coin, it would seem. One dark, one light.

Emma's introduction is nodded to, as the slim assassin says in that flat voice of hers, "Yes. I know." And while that might sound snippy and smart from another student, it might not from Laura. Simply because her voice lacks almost all inflection to it and it wasn't meant in any sort of sassy way.

The invitation or rather, command, to sit, is taken as the short young woman steps further into the room. With quick economic movements, Laura will settle into a seat and turn her green eyes to the blonde. Then she waits, expression carefully blank.


Emma follows Laura without crowding her, and settles into the other seat in front of her desk, so that the two of them are turned at an angle towards one another in comfortable seating nook, rather than being separated by the power front of the desk. To one who knows Emma, it would be a curiously warm and welcoming gesture. Of course, Laura doesn't know Emma.

Emma's features and tone are impassive, with as little affectation and emotion as Laura's own demeanor. No wonder some here have wanted these two to get together. Emma's tone is equally cool, professional and matter of fact, as she begins. "Ms. Kinney, you have missed several classes without excuse beforehand or after the fact. You have made no effort to speak with your teachers or the administration to make up work you have missed or obtain tutoring for the materials covered. We are here right now so that you can explain why you have missed these classes, and what you intend to do about correcting this situation." Emma pauses, watching the girl's demeanor, before she adds, "I will let you begin and address that, before I continue." Emma clearly understands that it will all go better if she provides certain simple social cues in more overt fashion, to help guide Laura through this process.


There are very few emotional cues from X-23's face, or really, even her body language. She's shut down and shut down hard. The blank look upon her face is the only 'emotion' that is currently showing, especially after Emma Frost gets into the meat of this particular visit.

This particular meeting doesn't come as a surprise for Laura. Betsy had already warned her not to miss classes again without offering some form of explanation and she ignored that warning. Now there are repercussions and Laura understands this.

The spelled out social cue is heard and it even garners a single nod from the dark-haired girl, but she doesn't speak immediately. Instead, she struggles with what to say. The Facility is such a hard topic for her to discuss openly with friends, with someone so unknown to her, it's even more difficult. That difficulty, or struggle, starts to show ever so slightly with Laura's hands, which are in her lap. Tension causes her hands to curl into fists, as she finally says, "The people who created me wish me back. They have staged several attacks upon myself and others that have interfered with my courses." There, that's the why, now onto how to fix the situation. "When they are dealt with I will be able to return to classes, as scheduled."

Again, all of this is said in that dead voice of hers, her expression still barely betraying anything she's thinking.


Emma listens not just to what Laura says, or how she says it, but to the thoughts and even feelings the younger woman is so studiously not sharing. She is a telepath, and she would no more deny herself the benefits of that gift than Laura would deny herself her sense of smell and other talents. Picking up the conflict and tension within the younger woman at the mention of 'The Facility' and the threats it represents and continues to poke into her life, Emma listens to it all until Laura is done. Even then, Emma pauses before she speaks, adjudicating exactly what needs to be said, and how.

"Alright, Ms. Kinney." Emma begins. "I realize you do not know me very well. But I believe Ms. Braddock made it clear how things work, here at the Institute. " How does she know? Telepath, remember? "And you know that if you have a problem, we have a problem." Most adults would literally collapse at the thought of Emma offering such understanding words, even in her cold, calm, emotionless voice. But Emma does not hesitate. "You have a problem, and you have failed to mention those problems to us, or avail us of the opportunity to assist you in dealing with those problems. That is going to end. Right now." It's not just a pronouncement; it's a declared fact, from a woman who reshapes her universe to obey her commands and whims. She will brook nothing less than absolute obedience to her will.

"We will need to work together. All of the information you have on The Facility, and those who have worked for them and bothered you. And you will attend classes. No exceptions. But. We will deal with this problem. Together." Emma offers. And then the first sign of emotion from Emma. It is a cold, implacable thing of frozen fire and razor sharp determination. "No one threatens our students with impunity. Period." Even Presidents and vast multinational conspiracies do not threaten those who are Emma's with impunity. They should be afraid. But most are too damned stupid and arrogant to know that until it is too late.

More is the pity for them.


The mention of just what Betsy told Laura about the Mansion does earned a flare of surprise from Laura. Again, only within her mind, as her poker face is quite good. Some might say it's the best in the world, but there are certainly others that are somewhat better than Laura.

Either way, that surprise quickly flits away as Laura listens to just what Emma Frost says, and how. There's also a faint flaring of nostrils, as Laura absently scents the air between the two woman. It's something she does when she's trying to ascertain the emotional state of someone else. So, while it's nowhere as near as good as telepathy, Laura can at least tell Emma's being completely honest with her.

And while other people might be shocked at Emma's 'display' of emotion, Laura isn't. Only because she has no idea what's normal for the blonde, versus what's not.

Instead, the dark-haired assassin will finally admit, "I do not know what other steps to take." And here is where her voice betrays just the faintest sounds of uncertainty, "I have killed them and tried to negotiate to no avail … And there is one who I cannot touch. They made her to be my foil." Is that final admission which seems to cost her the most. "And she likes to hurt." Me. Is that last unspoken part.


And Emma just nods. Calmly. There is no hopelessness. No fear. No doubt. Just sheer determination. And in that moment, she has already changed the label for this problem child in her mind. Laura Kinney is no longer Elizabeth's pet project. No longer Nathaniel's clawful young killer. Now she is Emma's student. And all the world had best run away, because no one threatens one of her students. They are Emma's, and only Emma is allowed to threaten them.

"That is precisely why you needed to come to me. To Elizabeth. We needed to know, so that we can help you." Then Emma reaches out, lightly laying a hand over one of those clenching in Laura's lap. "Now we know. And now we will help. Now I will help. But that starts with you telling us everything you can tell us about The Facility and everyone associated with them."

The admonishment about telling Emma, Betsy and really an 'adult' causes Laura to bow her head slightly. She knows she was error there. It's just hard for her to remember to reach out to people, even now. She still feels she is the only person she can always rely upon.

And beneath all of that, there's still part of herself, a tiny portion, that whispers words of darkness. 'If you tell them they'll just think you're too much trouble.'. 'You're not worth the effort.'. And the best one, 'No one will be able to care/love for you.'.

Those little thoughts are banished away for a moment, as Emma reaches out to take one of Laura's hands. It's enough to bring the young woman's eyes back up to Emma's face. "I am sorry." She says, sounding far younger than her typical emotionless voice allows and while others could have easily dwelled upon that apology, Laura doesn't. Not when Emma is asking for details, those questions allow Laura to shift perspective somewhat and say, "Of course. We will need Rachel here, as well. She was able to take a portion of information from Kimura, my former handler." The handler bit returns Laura's voice to her normal typical flat tones. "I believe we will have more success with the information she holds."


Love? No, that's Jean's area, not Emma's. But care for? Definitely. "Remember, Ms. Kinney, that we knew who you were, what you had been prepped to do, and where you came from when we took you in. And we still decided that. We're not going anywhere. And neither are you." Emma cheats, reading those dark thoughts when they cross the girl's mind, and attacking them directly. Emma doesn't lie; she knows better. She just tells the absolute truth. "You are one of ours, now, and we always take care of our own."

That said, Emma pats Laura's hand once, and then draws her hand back to her own lap. "Alright. You will need to record all of the information you have. But if you would be so kind, please, I would like you to go find Ms. Grey and bring her here, so that she can add her information to yours. If she is already involved in this, then I want her involved in our efforts on your behalf." If only because that means Laura has already shown trust in the timelost redhead, which she hasn't - yet - in Emma and others. "Go. But I want you both back here as soon as mutantly possible. Understand me?"


When Emma attacks those dark thoughts of hers, Laura can't help a true emotion from flickering across her features. Surprise. She does understand that Emma is a telepath, but she wasn't quite prepared for her to pluck some of Laura's worrisome thoughts quite so easily from her brain. That surprise doesn't last long, however, as Laura regains her composure. "This is true." She says in her flat and even voice, but perhaps something within her eyes will show the she's taken those words to heart in some form.

Emma's request to find Rachel is given a nod, as the slim assassin rises from her seat, "Yes. I will find her right now." And with her mission set, Laura steps away from the the blonde woman. Before she's out the door, however, she will turn and say, "Thank you."

Then the slim assassin slips out the door and ghosts down the hallway, on the hunt for a particular red-head.

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