Coming Home

November 30, 2016:

With leads now cold into her search for the new powers behind The Facility, X-23 now returns home.

Xavier's Mansion - Westchester

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

For the majority of people X-23's departure probably seemed quite abrupt - with little to no warning from the dark-haired girl. Only a select few were advised of her plan and while some may have tried to stop her, she didn't allow them to.

Nate was one of those people clued into the plan. That plan was to hunt down whoever was/is now leading The Facility and most importantly, Kimura's actions against her.

Her search would lead her through much of New York, before the trail drifted out of the state and further away. It's only now, when the last lead came up dry, that a familiar presence is finding her way back to New York City, or more specifically, Westchester County.

After all, her to-go bag was left back in her room within the Mansion. Perhaps a silent message to all that she would be back.

It's the wooded areas that extend around the mansion that the possibly familiar presence might be felt, as X-23 unerringly navigates her way through the trees and shrub towards the School.


Nate told Laura her plan sucked. But there was no talking her out of it, she is quietly stubborn (as opposed to Nate's loudly stubborn). But he was ready to come with X-Force to the rescue, and kept daily psychic contact for weeks.

Then Apocalypse happened and he stopped the long-range talking. Fortunately when he was free, Laura was still alive and okay-ish. But no luck at finding the Facility. It still took a while to convince her to return, though.

Because, stubborn.

But now she does, and Nate is waiting, the usual steamy mug of coffee on hand. The day is chilly, so he has a leather jacket on. A new one. He also has more scars over his left eye, and although he looks okay, he might have lost a few pounds. "So, you hungry?" He greets.


Remy is on paper the groundskeeper of the Institute despite never doing more than riding around in the lawnmower. His presence this morning is an active one for once, this time he got to play with the leaf blower, it was fun for all of ten minutes before he passed it off to the normal ground crew, a family crew hired by Xavier's that operate out of Mutant Town. A bit of a drive for them but this is for more than just the pay.
That was all about thirteen minutes ago.

It is the voice of Nate that has the Cajun snooping, his cigarette recently lit he takes it from his lips long enough to peer around the tree hes been hanging out behind after his attempted domestic adventure. His scene due to the cigarettes is an easy give away for those who can pick up on such things. His mind, well, thats a mess of finely honed static silence.


As soon as X-23 is clear of the tree line and close enough to the school, her oddly bright green eyes will automatically scan the area before her. When no overt or hidden danger is spotted, the young woman will then bring her gaze back to Nate. Indeed, a familiar figure.

Once close enough, the slim assassin will give Nate the once over. The additional scars around his one eye are seen, but for now, Laura doesn't remark upon them. Instead, she'll consider that last question of his for a silent second and much like Nate, Laura looks more lean. More whipcord muscle beneath skin versus any sort of padding or fat. "Yes." Comes her answer finally and while she was just about to take a step towards the Mansion and the possibility of food, the wind shifts. The scent of cigarettes and another person near causes X-23 to pause.

Her gaze will turn away from Nate now, as the assassin looks towards that tree that Remy is using as an impromptu shield. "We are not alone." She says quietly to Nate.


Nate offers Laura a knowing smirk, which he loses when he notices she is leaner than before. And she was skinny enough already. "Cafeteria is open," he points out, stepping forward to meet her. Then she notes about Remy. "Yeah, resident smoking Cajun. That's Gambit, didn't you meet him before?"

Then he hugs her. By surprise. "Welcome home, little mouse," he says, ruffling her hair.


"Resident smoking Cajun? Sounds like typecasting." Gambit offers as he steps clear of the tree hestating a moment to just give them that bit of time before hes in their bubble, "Wasn't tryin' to be sneaky. Mebbe just habit. We never officially met, no, seen I 'spose." A vague memory of her or perhaps it wasn't her in M-Town, it has been well over a year after all.
"Not interrupting?" The cigarette swaps out from one hand to the other and he offers his free up in a shake, thats customary after all.


"Gambit." X-23 echoes, repeating the name that Nate has offered up, "No. I do not recall this person." She states in that monotone voice of hers, even as her gaze stays upon the tree and the hidden man behind it.

When Gambit appears the slim assassin will give him the hairy (for X-23) eyeball, which amounts to a flat stare. That assessing stare, however, is interrupted as Nate suddenly reaches out and gives that hug. She wasn't expecting that and so, X-23 can only tense for those few seconds he has his arms around her. Thankfully, Nate does eventually let go and while he ruffles her hair, that's much easier for her to handle. His words of welcome might have brought forth a verbal acknowledgement from Laura, the presence of the Cajun stills those words upon her lips.

In fact, the dark-haired assassin will only give that extended hand a silent look, before she turns her attention back to Gambit's features. And while there's no return on Laura's part, of that offered handshake, the young woman will say instead, "We are going to eat." Which might mean he's welcome to join? Or perhaps that he is interrupting, or possibly isn't? It's a tough call, as there's no real physical or vocal cues from Laura on just what she meant with that statement of hers.


Still the life of a party. But Nate has to wonder how many times Laura has talked in the past months. This might have been the longest in weeks. "Right. Brunch time," is it brunch time? Not important! He slurps the coffee still remaining in his mug and gestures again towards the cafeteria. "Food, then we can find you a new room at the dorms," he considers, "or maybe the mansion, I guess we should try to find Storm. But later."


"Bout dat time, yeah." Remy says with a smile, his hand falling away. A curious look between the two younger mutants, "You enjoy, I'll be out here a bit longer, school grounds and all. Storm catches me she'll have my head." The cigarette held up. "Welcome around, Laura, I'll catch up with you two later on."A step away from them and he holds up two fingers as if making the 'shhing' gesture before disappearing in to the trees.


Likely it has been weeks since she's strung more than one, possibly two words together, so that sentence of hers is an actual good thing. The dark-haired woman will watch Gambit amble on back towards the tree line and only, after he disappears from her sight, does X-23 return her attention to Nate.

His words about brunch and Storm are ignored for now, as she instead shifts to pepper him with questions. Well, Laura's version of 'peppering' with questions.

"Your eye." She begins, in that emotionless voice, "It was injured." She states, or rather asks, as there's the slightest uptick to her voice with that sentence. And while she does ask him questions, she will turn back to the Mansion, for the proposed food.


"Yeah," admits Nate on the way to the cafeteria. "The technovirus again. You must have heard about Apocalypse attack, right? It was all over the news. He caused a flare-up and…" he taps his left temple. "Well, I survived, and we beat him. Only now there is a mutagen in the air that is creating metahumans called Nuhumans and it is toxic for mutants. Rogue had to go to Muir, she was pretty sick. There has been some deaths in M-Town. I don't know if it can harm you, but be watchful."


The mention of Apocalypse is nodded at. Yes, she heard and almost she returned.

Almost.

But in the end her mission kept her away. Still, when Nate reveals the TK virus worsened, Laura will turn an assessing gaze upon him again. It's only after she verified he's still quite whole and mostly healthy, that she'll speak again. "It is good you survived." Which might be translated as: Laura is glad Nate didn't die.

It's only with the mention of Rogue and the Inhuman virus going around that the vaguest of frowns blossoms upon her lips. "The Facility tested many things against my healing factor, none succeeded in killing me, but, I will be cautious."

And while more could be said, should be said, the other words in her head stay quietly behind her now closed lips.


"Yeah, but this thing is a mutagenic and can mess up with your powers," warns Nate. Not that they can do much about it, since the problem is in the Jetstream and the terrigen mist can 'rain' down anywhere. But Xavier and the other science types are working in detectors.

"Anyway. Food now," he opens the door of the cafeteria, which is half-full. Finals are coming! There is a wide variety of edibles around, none very complicated. Nate goes for the burgers, but pills up on his tray all kinds of foodstuffs.


The mutagen messes with a person's powers? Again, her expression changes every so slightly as the slim assassin frowns once more. "I will be cautious." She says, repeating herself in that same flat voice of hers.

When Nate holds the door for her, Laura will step inside, pausing only just long enough to cast her gaze around the area. X-23 is taking it all in, always searching for trouble or danger - the faculty, the students, the full tables, the empty tables and of course, the food.

With the coast clear, Laura will dutifully follow after Nate. While there's more than just burgers around, the slim assassin will take the same foods that Nate does. With plate hand she too puts a burger upon her plate and a handful of French fries.

A table will be secured, somewhat away from the majority of students, and completely empty except for Nate and Laura. Once the two are settled, Laura will look towards Nate again. While others might blurt their fears or anxieties out, Laura doesn't. Instead she struggles to find the words and when they finally come to her, she'll say, "Do I still have a room here." Because in her mind, that's up in the air. No one wanted her to go alone and she basically went against orders - that never turned out well with The Facility.


Nate settles in and looks back at Laura, nodding. "Pretty sure you will if you want it. If you were in the dorms it might not be the same, though. On the other hand I would ask Storm for a place in the mansion, you are more than ready for the X-Men and old enough for college courses if you want to keep studying. I am not sure socializing with high-schoolers was such a great idea for you, anyway."


While her emotional response to that message is pretty subdued and not easily seen by strangers, for Nate it would be easier for him to see the relief the young woman currently feels. It's a lessening of tightness along her shoulders and within her hands.

"I will ask Storm for a place and I will continue to learn." States Laura, even as she turns her attention towards her burger and fries now. She doesn't quite pick it up to eat, not yet, as she speaks again.

"Leadership has changed. Why." Again, the uptick to her voice makes that last word a question versus just a statement.


"Jean and Scott decided to take some time," explains Nate with a shrug. He starts with the fries, so he can keep talking. "Storm and Xavier seem to have a plan in mind, she wants to bring X-Red and… others, back to the school and then go public. That sure will make our lives more interesting, but I think it is also necessary to really move the mutant cause forward. I am not sure if the X-Men are going public too or just the school, though."


The mention of Jean and Scott are simply absorbed - she didn't have too much interaction with those two. Mostly in passing, so their departure isn't earth shattering to Laura.

The rest of what Nate's said is listened to by the slim assassin and while a variety of questions could be asked by Laura, instead, she goes with, "You will be back to the School then?"

Her food, for now, is still left on the plate, slowly congealing together as it loses heat.


"Your food is getting cold," mentions Nate. "Eat and listen or eat and wait, we are in no hurry. As for me… eh, I don't know. I have to talk with Rose. I think I will commute, she doesn't want to get back, and I like living in New York. This place is too far from the people, sometimes it seems another planet."


Nate's words about her food cause the young woman to look down at the burger and fries. Finally, a single French fry will be taken by Laura. It's eaten neatly by the dark-haired youth.

His mention of the School being another planet causes Laura to scan the area about the two. "Yes." She says, voice still somewhat toneless, and only after her gaze has returned to Nate's form, does she add, "Going back out to hunt … Was different."

Likely because her outlook on life has been changed thanks to her short time here at Xavier's.


Nate nods, munching some food. No, no more talking until Laura puts some food in her belly. He can wait and he is hungry anyway. But he doesn't have patience otherwise, so after a few minutes he adds, "place is too nice, too ordered, and almost everyone is a mutant. It would be better if we were in the middle of a city. That is why I like to live in New York, despite the whole… city in my head. I can get used to that, though. It is the world, this is a refuge."


A few more French fries will be eaten, but the burger is simply left there, perhaps she doesn't like burgers.

Either way, Laura will listen to what Nate says. It's hard to say whether she agrees or disagrees with what he states, since her poker face is quite good.

"To go public would open the school to possible attacks." Comments the slim assassin, her mind automatically going to what she knows best. Fighting. Battles. Offensive and defensive planning. "The city is more dangerous. There would be more collateral damage to property and people." Her plate will be pushed away now and her hands dropped into her lap. "But here, there is danger to be caught unaware. There is more ways to trap us within Westchester versus the City."


Nate nods, he has thought about it quite often. "An open attack in the city would quickly draw the police, though, and independent super-powerful agents. Here we are pretty far from any help. On the other hand here we can deploy far more efficient defenses, if only Xavier wasn't so… squeamish about deadly force." He shakes his head at the contradiction of someone that is a hair from being a pacifist forming and financing a group of super-powerful vigilantes. "Oh well, we can adapt, hmm? What are your plans?"


"Yes." Agrees Laura, to the first part of what Nate said. The City would afford more back-up possibilities -

- It's that last part, about deadly force, that causes X-23 to frown. That's where she'll never see eye to eye with most of the people within Xavier. Much like Nate, she knows that sometimes the best plan leads to death.

Thankfully, that's not the plan for today. Her thoughts, however, sharpen at Nate's questions about her plans, even as she gives him a mute stare. The stare only lasts for a minute, possibly two, "I lost the trail of The Facility." Begins the young woman in her muted tones. "I am uncertain now." She ends with, those flat words revealing her inner turmoil of what to do next.


"Come with me to New York next Friday," offers Nate. "Some stage magic and some theatre, and if Rose is around, we can go clubbing. Otherwise, or later, we go to Mutant Town and see what is going on within the mutant community. If the Facility is active in the East Coast, someone will know about it." He smirks, "now get some food you -really- like, you look hungry. I'll see if I can get Storm to talk with you this afternoon."


Stage Magic. She almost forgot about it.

"All right." She says in that dead voice of hers to all of what Nate has to say, even as she rises from her seat.

It's only as she takes a step away that the dark-haired assassin will pause. Pivoting upon her heel, she'll look at Nate for a quiet second, before suddenly admitting, "I am glad I came back."

Then she's disappearing between the various buffet tables of food - in search of something she would really like to eat.

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